Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Staff
What types of incidents or situations does Title IX apply to?
Title IX applies to any type of sex-based discrimination, including but not limited to: sexual harassment, rape or sexual assault, relationship or dating violence, gender-based stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct.
What information do I need to make a report to the Title IX Office?
When reporting, please give us your name and position here at the college. We then ask that you share whatever information you've received about the incident(s). Please do not try to investigate the situation yourself or to play detective to find out more details.
What if I'm not certain that the alleged incident(s) actually took place?
You do not need to be certain or to do any investigating to determine whether the claim is valid in order to report it. Just report what you know so far and we'll take it from there.
Do I have to report it to the Title IX Office if a student discloses they've experienced a Title IX issue?
Yes. Under Title IX, faculty members and most staff members are required to report these disclosures. When in doubt, please contact the Title IX Office for additional guidance.
What happens if I fail to report a Title IX issue that I become aware of?
Colleges are required to comply with Title IX reporting requirements. Failure to do so can trigger severe sanctions for colleges including lawsuits, revocation of federal funding, etc... IN addition, "deliberate indifference" to Title IX reporting requirements can trigger personal liability as well as institutional liability in these situations.
Do we have to report abuse that happened many years ago?
Title IX doesn't require college employees to report abuse of a student that happened before they got to college. However, if the student under age 18, and the abuse happened within the past two years, then it may fall under the PA State Mandated Reporting requirements for child abuse. (The Title IX Office can help determine whether the law applies and if so, we'll help determine next steps in reporting to the appropriate authorities.) Even if past abuse doesn't fall under Mandated Reporting for child abuse or TitleIX, we'd still want to provide information about available resources to any student who discloses past abuse, in case they need support around the issue now. Please contact the Title IX Office for additional guidance and resources in these situations.
What if a student discloses a Title IX issue in a class assignment or during a class presentation? Do I still have to report it to the Title IX Office?
It depends. Although Title IX is not intended to deter or inhibit students' freedom of self-expression, there are a number of vairables that impact the answer to this question. The existence of an ongoing threat to student or employee safety is one variable that might require reporting. In addition, if the alleged victim is 18, that could trigger PA State Mandated Reporting (of child abuse) requirements. If the victim is 18 or older, in most cases, faculty and staff do not have to report a disclosure that happens in a reasonable context of coursework or research projects. Nonetheless, if this ever happens in one of your classes or in an educational activity, please contact the Title IX office so that we can help evaluate that specific situation, and provide guidance on how to best respond to and support that student. If you're not sure whether a particular student's disclosure is technically covered under the "coursework" exception, please contact the Title IX Office for additional guidance. Note: Act 126 indicates that PA State Mandated Reporting requirements for child abuse do apply to disclosures of abuse via class assignments when the alleged victim is under age 18. The Title IX Office can provide more guidance on this as needed.
What about disclosures that happen at "Take Back the Night" events or "Speakouts"?
If a student discloses a sexual assault or other sexual misconduct during a speech or activity at one of these events, such disclosures are generally not viewed as reportable under Title IX. If/when such an event is planned, we'll proactively provide resources for attendees about available support services on and off campus related to these issues.
What if someone doesn't want to report a Title IX concern for fear of retaliation?
Multiple civil rights laws, including Title VII and Title IX, protect against retaliation. If a student or employee makes a report about harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind, it is unlawful for the school, its representatives, or any student to retaliate against that person. It's also unlawful to retaliate against anyone who provides information as a witness or respondent to an incident, or against anyone who participates in good faith in the school's investigation and/or a conduct hearing process. Retaliation includes but is not limited to: intimidating, threatening, or coercing a victim, a witness, or a respondent, impeding an investigation, or in any way discriminating against an individual because they made a complaint or because they are participating in an investigation or in the adjudication of that complaint. Any incidents of retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Office.
What about free speech?
Although Title IX protects students from any kind of sex-based discrimination, it does not regulate the content of that speech. Having said that, please keep in mind that certain offensive actions or speech that are unwelcomed, and severe or repetitive could create a hostile environment or quid pro quo harassment - which IS prohibited by Title IX and Title VII. Likewise, the First Amendment does not protect speech that is intimidating or threatening to others or otherwise creates a hostile environment or unsafe conditions.
Does Title IX dictate what materials I can use in my classes?
No. Title IX does not require, prohibit, or abridge the use of particular textbooks or curricular materials.
Parts of this information were adapted from US Department of Education's Office on Civil Rights guidelines.
Is Title IX-related education and training available for my department?
Absolutely. Trainings can be scheduled at dates and times that are most convenient for the employees in your department, and can cover a variety of topics, including but not limited to:
- Employees' responsibilities under Title IX
- What happens here on campus once a Title IX issue is reported
- The role of the Title IX Coordinator
- Effective strategies for responding to disclosures or related questions from students in the moment
- How you can help/support a student who's dealing with these issues
- What to do if you hear a rumor about a student dealing with a Title IX issue
- What to do if you're being propositioned, harassed, or stalked by a student
- Other related issues
To report a Title IX-related incident, concern, or question, or to schedule a training for your department or team, please contact the Title IX Office.