The University of Toledo has updated its Title IX policy and procedures in compliance with new regulations on how to address incidents of sexual harassment.
The new regulations from the U.S. Department of Education, which went into effect Aug. 14, impact the procedures that fall under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination at institutions that receive federal funding.
Among the changes to the regulations, and therefore also UToledo’s Title IX policy, is an updated definition of sexual harassment, which is the umbrella category that includes sexual harassment, actual or attempted sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. It is defined as unwelcome conduct that would be determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education, employment program or activity.
The new regulations also change the hearing processes for Title IX investigations requiring a live hearing with cross examination through an advisor, which may be, but doesn’t need to be, an attorney. It also has been determined that the hearings can take place in person or using technology.
The scope of incidents that fall under jurisdiction of Title IX also is narrowed to programs or activities that includes locations, events or circumstances over which the school exercised substantial control.
The regulations set minimum standards that universities must take, but institutions can choose to do more. UToledo will continue to use a preponderance of evidence standard of proof that the alleged conduct did or did not violate the Title IX policy.
“We are committed to creating a safe environment for everyone on our campuses that is free of harassment,” said Vicky Kulicke, Title IX coordinator and director of Title IX and compliance. “We appreciate the campus community’s input in updating our policy, and we remain committed to our continued prevention and education programming, in addition to our role in investigating reports of sexual misconduct against members of the University community.”
The new regulations also expand the University’s obligation to ensure the community knows how to report incidents to the Title IX coordinator. The Title IX Office is working with units across campus to include contact information in additional materials and UToledo added a Notice of Nondiscrimination to its website.
UToledo’s Title IX website also has been updated aligned with the new regulations, providing additional information about what the office does, how to contact it, the investigation and appeals processes, and the training UToledo employees participate in. The updated Title IX policy is available online.
A summary of the major provisions to what is referred to as the Title IX Final Rule is available on the U.S. Department of Education website.