What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape that are “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit.” Even a single instance of rape or sexual assault by another student, faculty or staff member could meet this standard.

Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in education. It addresses discrimination against pregnant and parenting students and women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. It also addresses sexual harassment, gender-based discrimination and sexual violence. Sexual violence includes attempted or completed rape or sexual assault, as well as sexual harassment, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats or abuse, and intimate partner violence.

Does Title IX apply to female students only?

Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity or gender expression. Female, male and gender non-conforming students, faculty and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence

Who can report a complaint?

The person filing the complaint does not have to be a student. A complaint could be from an individual including a student, staff or faculty member who has experienced sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault or rape, or has faced retaliation for speaking out about sexual assault issues. Complainants can either be named or anonymous, and they can include as much or little detail about their case. Any college employee must report an sexual assault to the Title IX Coordinator and the college has a duty to investigate and respond to the report.

What happens after a complaint is filed?

The Title IX Coordinator will coordinate an investigation of the complaint. After the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will forward to the investigation report to the Student Conduct Officer. Upon receiving the Title IX investigation report from the Title IX Coordinator, the Student Conduct Officer will independently review the report to determine whether there are sufficient grounds to pursue a disciplinary action against the Respondent for engaging in prohibited conduct under Title IX.  If the Student Conduct Officer determines that there are sufficient grounds to proceed, the Student Conduct Officer will initiate a Title IX disciplinary proceeding.

When necessary for student safety, the college can issue a no contact order preventing an accused student from directly or indirectly contacting or interacting with the victim. Along with issuing a no contact order to the accused, the college can make any reasonable changes to your class schedule, campus job or extracurricular activity to ensure the victim can continue their education free from any ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence.

I am worried about retaliation.

Any attempt to retaliate or any actual retaliation in response to a Title IX report is strictly prohibited. The college forbids any retaliation against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating or addressing allegations or violations of federal, state or local law, or college policies, including, but not limited to, student conduct code provisions prohibiting discrimination and harassment.

What is sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment means any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This includes any unwelcome and sexually offensive conduct, including verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, that is directed at a person because of such person’s protected status and that is sufficiently serious as to deny or limit, and that does deny or limit, the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program or that creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment for other campus community members.

Can I submit anonymously?

Yes, but you are encouraged to enter your name in case additional information is needed.

If the incident occurs off campus, will the college investigate it?

Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to Pierce College (if it occurs at a college sanctioned event or activity and it involves a student, staff member or faculty member, etc.) then Pierce College can investigate and provide resolution.

The college encourages students and employees to report any incidents, because whether or not they meet the definition of a Title IX violation, Pierce College may be able to offer support to those involved and investigate under other college policies or laws.

Who has access to a report?

The reports are managed by the Title IX Coordinator and reviewed by Public Safety or college personnel when appropriate.

All records are maintained in accordance with the 1974 Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).