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HR Focus

 

Title IX—Important Information for all CUA Employees

By Christine Sportes, Associate Vice President/Chief Human Resources Officer, and Lisa Wood, Director of Employee Relations/EO Officer and Title IX Coordinator

 
   

Last year marked the 40th anniversary of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It is the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs and activities operated by recipients of federal funds. It states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Most of us, when asked about Title IX, will think of equality for female athletes in educational programs. This is where it has had the most impact: lessening discrimination and ensuring equal treatment for women athletes. However, the Department of Education (DOE) has stated the protection extends to all aspects of an institution’s education program and activities, and that Title IX prohibits all forms of sex discrimination, including gender-based harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Title IX covers staff, faculty, students, and third parties who come to our campus.

The DOE has stated that sexual violence is an epidemic on college campuses and universities. However, the department feels universities have not been resolving these situations appropriately. Cases in the news, such as Penn State, highlight this. The DOE states that one in five college women will be the victim of attempted or actual sexual assault, as will about six percent of undergraduate men.

The DOE has delegated to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforcement of Title IX regulations for educational institutions. In an effort to support educational institutions, OCR has provided guidance through Dear Colleague letters. Training members of the University community about our obligations under Title IX is clear guidance provided by OCR.

So what are our obligations under Title IX?

We are required to have a Title IX coordinator. The CUA Title IX coordinator is Lisa Wood. Her office is in Leahy Hall 170. She can be reached at 202-319-6594 or titleix-coord@cua.edu. The Title IX coordinator is responsible for ensuring the University’s compliance with Title IX, receiving and investigating complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination, overseeing all investigations for compliance, and conducting training on Title IX. Additionally, there is a deputy Title IX coordinator, Captain Kim Gregory, who is responsible for investigating complaints of sexual assault. She is located at the Department of Public Safety and can be reached at 202-319-6260.

We are required to investigate complaints adequately, reliably, and impartially.

We are required to provide grievance procedures for students that promote prompt, equitable resolutions.

We are required to undertake education and prevention efforts and train students, faculty, and staff on Title IX.

We also need to clearly define what sexual harassment and assault are, and what to do if someone reports them to us, or if they happens to us.

If a student or employee reports to you that they have been a victim of sexual assault, make sure they are safe and then immediately call the Department of Public Safety (DPS) at 202-319-5111. DPS is available 24 hours a day. Comfort the victim but do not ask for specifics regarding what happened. DPS employees are well trained and will take the appropriate steps.

If a student or employee reports sexual harassment or discrimination to you, encourage them to contact the Title IX coordinator directly.

In either case, it is important that you tell them that you cannot guarantee confidentiality. As CUA employees, you are required to report once you have knowledge of sexual harassment or discrimination. You must report the information to the Title IX coordinator at 202-319-6594 or titleix-coord@cua.edu.

All CUA employees must be familiar with the following policies to become more knowledgeable about sexual harassment and assault.

Feel free to contact the Title IX coordinator with any questions concerning Title IX or if you would like to schedule training for employees under your supervision.