Title IX and Students

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Title IX and Students

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the first comprehensive federal law to prohibit gender-based discrimination against students and employees of educational institutions. It is one of several federal and state antidiscrimination laws that define and ensure equality in education. The regulations implementing Title IX, published in 1975, prohibit discrimination, exclusion, denial, limitation, or separation based on gender. Title IX 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 education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

There are other laws that also protect students and employees from sex discrimination, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

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Who is protected under Title IX?

Title IX protects men and women, boys and girls, staff and students in any educational institution receiving federal funding. These include local school districts, colleges and universities, for-profit schools, libraries, and museums. Vocational rehabilitation agencies and education agencies of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories and possessions are also included. Title IX covers private educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance.

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Isn't Title IX just about athletics?

No. Title IX addresses any discrimination based on gender. This includes sexual harassment, sexual assault and pregnancy discrimination as forms of sex/gender discrimination. This requires that all of these sorts of incidents, whether they occur on campus or not, be viewed as discrimination and MUST be investigated.

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As a student at San Juan College, am I protected from sex discrimination?

Yes, it is unlawful to discriminate against SJC students because of their gender.

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Is it possible to be sexually harassed or assaulted by someone of the same gender?

Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX.

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Are gay and lesbian students protected from gender-based harassment?

Yes. Title IX prohibits harassing conduct that is of a sexual nature if it is unwelcome and denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's program, regardless of whether the harassment is aimed at gay or lesbian students or is perpetrated by individuals of the same or opposite sex. Title IX does not permit discrimination or other issues related to sexual orientation.

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What is sex discrimination? How is it defined?

Sex discrimination includes not only sexual harassment and sexual assault, but any unequal treatment of a person based on that person's gender. This prohibition covers any term or condition of employment, academic program, student service, activity, benefit or opportunity provided by SJC. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that denies or limits a student's ability to participate in or benefit from a school's education program when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any College activity;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting an individual;
  • Such conduct is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from the employment or educational environment.

In determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of circumstances, including the nature and frequency of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred.

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What are some examples of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault?

Depending on the particular circumstances, discrimination, harassment or assault may include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these assaults; and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature.
  • Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or sexual conduct.
  • Retaliation for refusing sexual conduct such as: taking a negative employment action like termination, demotion, denial of an employee benefit or privilege, or change in working conditions) or negative educational action (such as giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult.
  • The use or display in the classroom or workplace of electronic or hard copy pornographic or sexually harassing materials like posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical justification.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience. Such conduct creates a hostile and/or abusive educational or working environment.

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What should I do if I think I have been discriminated against?

You should speak up. The best way to stop any kind of discrimination is to speak up. You can contact the Title IX Coordinator.

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Whom do I tell?

There are several staff, faculty members and administrators at SJC trained to address complaints of gender discrimination. SJC’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with all Title IX related matters, including the handling of complaints.

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If I file a complaint does it remain confidential?

The privacy of all parties to a complaint of misconduct must be strictly observed, except insofar as it interferes with the college's obligation to fully investigate allegations of misconduct. Where privacy is not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Certain college administrators are informed on a confidential basis (e.g., the President of the College, Director of Public Safety, VP of Student Services). If the report is one of alleged sexual misconduct local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a complainant must speak with the police, but the College is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. Dissemination of any information to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the alleged student may lead to conduct action by the College. In all complaints of sexual misconduct, the complainant will be informed of the outcome. The College also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.

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Will my parents be told?

Whether you are the complainant or the alleged respondent, the College's primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, in certain instances when health or safety emergencies exist, or if the college determines such communication is necessary. For those students under the age of 18 the College is required to contact their parents in the event their health, safety or well-being has been jeopardized while on College property.

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Do I have to name the alleged respondent?

Yes, if you want formal action to be taken against the alleged respondent. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality policy to better understand the college's legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials).

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What do I do if I am accused of gender-based discrimination?

Do not contact the complainant. You may immediately want to contact someone in the campus community who can act as an advisor. You may also contact the Title IX Coordinator, who can explain the college's procedures for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the College counseling center.

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If an incident of sexual violence occurs off campus, can the college investigate?

Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to SJC (if it occurs at an SJC event, if it involves a SJC student, staff member or faculty member, etc.) then SJC MUST investigate and provide resolution.

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Detailed information about how and where to file a complaint of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault can be found by contacting:

Nicholas Hovland, Employee Relations Manager, Title IX Coordinator, 505 566-3516, hovlandn@sanjuancollege.edu

Marti Kirchmer, Director San Juan College East Campus, Lead Title IX Investigator, 505 334 3831 x 201, kirchmerm@sanjuancollege.edu

Kelly Anderson, Department of Public Saftey, andersonk@sanjuancollege.edu