Title IX

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​​​​​​​Title IX is a federal law passed in 1972 that prohibits sex-based discrimination in all activities and programs of educational institutions receiving federal funds.  Prohibited sex-based discrimination includes pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual violence.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.   –Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Non-Discrimination Statement

Central Ohio Technical College is committed to building and maintaining a diverse community to reflect human diversity, and to improve opportunities for all. The college is committed to equal opportunity and eliminating discrimination and harassment. This commitment is both a moral imperative consistent with an intellectual community that celebrates individual differences and diversity, as well as matter of law. Central Ohio Technical College does not discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status (past, present or future), national origin (ancestry), race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, protected veteran status, status as a parent during pregnancy and immediately after the birth of a child, status as a parent of a young child, status as a foster parent or any other basis under the law, in its education program or activity, which includes employment.

Title IX Coordinators

For student concerns, contact:

Holly Mason, Director of Student Life
Warner Center Suite 226, 1179 University Drive, Newark, Ohio 43055
740.366.9219, mason.536@mail.cotc.edu

For faculty and staff concerns, contact:

John Ralston, Director of Human Resources
Founders Hall, 1179 University Drive, Newark, Ohio 43055
740.366.9407, ralston.87@mail.cotc.edu

The Title IX Coordinators are responsible for monitoring and overseeing Title IX compliance at the college, to include coordination of training, education, communications and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community.

Definitions

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The Law

​​Title IX states that “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”.

The law forbids sex discrimination in all college student services and academic programs including, but not limited to, admissions, financial aid, academic advising, residential life, athletics, discipline, recreational services, health, wellness and support services, academic assignments and grading. Title IX also forbids sex discrimination in college employment and recruitment consideration or selection.

Sex discrimination includes a variety of behaviors which can limit or negatively impact educational opportunity. These behaviors include: sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, relationship violence (dating, domestic and intimate partner violence), gender identity, gender presentation and sexual orientation discrimination.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX. OCR engages in compliance enforcement to ensure institutions that receive certain federal funds comply with Title IX.​

Source: U.S. Department of Education website

Sex Discrimination

​Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities operated by recipients of Federal financial assistance.

In the p​rovision of aid, benefit or service to students, the college may not, on the basis of sex:

  • Treat one student differently from another in determining whether the student satisfies any requirement or condition for the provision of any aid, benefit, or service
  • Provide different aid, benefits, or services or provide aid, benefits, or services in a different manner
  • Deny any student any such aid, benefit, or service
  • Subject students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment
  • Aid or perpetuate discrimination against a student by providing significant assistance to any agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of sex in providing any aid, benefit, or service to students
  • Otherwise limit any student in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity.​

Source: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/shguide.html

Sex Harassment and Violence

​​Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. §1681 et seq., is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. All public and private elementary and secondary schools, school districts, colleges, and universities (hereinafter “schools”) receiving any Federal funds must comply with Title IX. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

Below is additional information regarding the specific requirements of Title IX as they pertain to sexual harassment and sexual violence.

What are a school’s responsibilities to address sexual harassment and sexual violence?
  • A school has a responsibility to respond promptly and effectively. If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment or sexual violence, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
  • Even if a student or his or her parent does not want to file a complaint or does not request that the school take any action on the student’s behalf, if a school knows or reasonably should know about possible sexual harassment or sexual violence, it must promptly investigate to determine what occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
  • A criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitabl​y.
What procedures must a school have in place to prevent sexual harassment and sexual violence and resolve complaints?

Every School Must Have And Distribute A Policy Against Sex Discrimination

  • Title IX requires that each school publish a policy that it does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities. This notice must be widely distributed and available on an on-going basis.
  • The policy must state that inquiries concerning Title IX may be referred to the school’s Title IX coordinator or to Office of Civil Rights.

Every School Must Have A Title IX Coordinator

  • Every school must designate at least one employee who is responsible for coordinating the school’s compliance with Title IX. This person is sometimes referred to as the Title IX coordinator. Schools must notify all students and employees of the name or title and contact information of the Title IX coordinator.
  • The coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing all complaints of sex discrimination and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints.

Every School Must Have And Make Known Procedures For Students To File Complaints Of Sex Discrimination

  • Title IX requires schools to adopt and publish grievance procedures for students to file complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Schools can use general disciplinary procedures to address complaints of sex discrimination. But all procedures must provide for prompt and equitable resolution of sex discrimination complaints.
  • Every complainant has the right to present his or her case. This includes the right to adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaints, the right to have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence, and the right to the same appeal processes, for both parties.
  • Every complainant has the right to be notified of the time frame within which: (a) the school will conduct a full investigation of the complaint; (b) the parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint; and © the parties may file an appeal, if applicable.
  • Every complainant has the right for the complaint to be decided using a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred).
  • Every complainant has the right to be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint. Even though federal privacy laws limit disclosure of certain information in disciplinary proceedings: 
    • Schools must disclose to the complainant information about the sanction imposed on the perpetrator when the sanction directly relates to the harassed student. This includes an order that the harasser stay away from the harassed student, or that the harasser is prohibited from attending school for a period of time, or transferred to other classes or another residence hall. 
    • Additionally, the Clery Act (20 U.S.C. §1092(f)), which only applies to post secondary institutions, requires that both parties be informed of the outcome, including sanction information, of any institutional proceeding alleging a sex offense. Therefore, colleges and universities may not require a complainant to abide by a non-disclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise.
  • The grievance procedures may include voluntary informal methods (e.g., mediation) for resolving some types of sexual harassment complaints. However, the complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time and begin the formal stage of the complaint process. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, mediation is not approp​riate.

If you want to learn more about your rights, or if you believe that a school district, college, or university is violating Federal law, you may contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at 800.42.3481 or ocr@ed.gov. If you wish to fill out a complaint form online, you may do so at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html.

Source: Department of Education website, Know Your Rights: Title IX Prohibits Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Where You Go to School http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/title-ix-rights-201104.html

First Amendment

In cases of alleged harassment, the protections of the First Amendment must be considered if issues of speech or expression are involved. Free speech rights apply in the classroom (e.g., classroom lectures and discussions) and in all other education programs and activities of public schools (e.g., public meetings and speakers on campus; campus debates, school plays and other cultural events; and student newspapers, journals, and other publications). In addition, First Amendment rights apply to the speech of students and teachers.

Title IX is intended to protect students from sex discrimination, not to regulate the content of speech. The Office of Civil Rights recognizes that the offensiveness of a particular expression as perceived by some students, standing alone, is not a legally sufficient basis to establish a sexually hostile environment under Title IX. In order to establish a violation of Title IX, the harassment must be sufficiently serious to deny or limit a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the education program.

Moreover, in regulating the conduct of its students and its faculty to prevent or redress discrimination prohibited by Title IX (e.g., in responding to harassment that is sufficiently serious as to create a hostile environment), a school must formulate, interpret, and apply its rules so as to protect academic freedom and free speech rights. For instance, while the First Amendment may prohibit a school from restricting the right of students to express opinions about one sex that may be considered derogatory, the school can take steps to denounce those opinions and ensure that competing views are heard. The age of the students involved and the location or forum may affect how the school can respond consistently with the First Amendment.

As an example of the application of free speech rights to allegations of sexual harassment, consider the following:

Example 1: In a college level creative writing class, a professor’s required reading list includes excerpts from literary classics that contain descriptions of explicit sexual conduct, including scenes that depict women in submissive and demeaning roles. The professor also assigns students to write their own materials, which are read in class. Some of the student essays contain sexually derogatory themes about women. Several female students complain to the director of student life that the materials and related classroom discussion have created a sexually hostile environment for women in the class. What must the school do in response

Answer: Academic discourse in this example is protected by the First Amendment even if it is offensive to individuals. Thus, Title IX would not require the school to discipline the professor or to censor the reading list or related class discussion.

Example 2: A group of male students repeatedly targets a female student for harassment during the bus ride home from school, including making explicit sexual comments about her body, passing around drawings that depict her engaging in sexual conduct, and, on several occasions, attempting to follow her home off the bus. The female student and her parents complain to the principal that the male students’ conduct has created a hostile environment for girls on the bus and that they fear for their daughter’s safety. What must a school do in response?

Answer: Threatening and intimidating actions targeted at a particular student or group of students, even though they contain elements of speech, are not protected by the First Amendment. The school must take prompt and effective actions, including disciplinary action if necessary, to stop the harassment and prevent future harassment.

Source: Excerpted (footnotes excluded) from U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance: Harassment of Students by School Employees, Other Students, or Third Parties (January 2001)

Additionally see, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, Dear Colleague Letter (July 28, 2003) http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/firstamend.html

Complaints and Concerns

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Support and Assistance

​​The Office of Student Life has the Counseling Services program that serves as a central support resource for all students. Counseling Services helps students and their families manage crises, life traumas, and other barriers that impede success. The Counseling Services staff works to address the needs of students who struggle in such areas as psychological health, physical health, victimization, relationship issues, social adjustment and academics through a variety of interventions, referrals and follow-up services. Counseling Services strives for a culture of caring on campus.

COTC Title IX Policies, Reporting & Resources

If there is a report of discrimination/harassment on campus it is common for a Counseling Services staff member to reach out to affected individuals. Counseling Services welcomes referrals and contact from students who need support. Counseling Services staff help students identify various options, sources of support, and campus and community resources.

Counseling Services is located in the Office of Student Life
John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, Room 226
740.364.9578

Additional support/assistance options are listed under Personal Support Services.

Interim/Immediate Measures

​​​​Interim actions are short-term, remedial measures to ensure (a) the safety of all individuals involved in a complaint of sex discrimination/harassment and (b) the fairness of the complaint process. They are not decisions about responsibility.

Interim measures can be enacted quickly, even before (or without) a complaint being filed.

Interim measures can include:

  • No-contact orders
  • Changes to on-campus housing
  • Temporary emergency housing (for off-campus students)
  • Changes to class or activity schedules
  • Interim suspension

Additional measures may also be possible.
The Director of Student Life coordinates/authorizes interim measures.

Holly Mason
Warner Center Suite 226, 1179 University Drive, Newark, Ohio 43055
740.366.9219, mason.536@mail.cotc.edu

Code of Student Conduct and Policies

Click here to view t​he​ Code of Student Conduct page and related polic​​​​ies

Click here to view Nondiscrimination and Anti-harassment Policies

  • Affirmative Action, Equal Employment Opportunity & Non-Discrimination​ 2.1.10
  • Harassment 2.1.20
  • Workplace and Family and Relationship Violence 2.5.10

Reporting Responsibilities of Employees

All Employees​

All college employees, except those exempted by legal privilege of confidentiality or expressly identified as a confidential reporter, are required to promptly report any incidents of sexual assault.  Any employee who becomes aware of information that would lead a reasonable person to believe that sexual assault may have occurred involving anyone covered by the college’s Harassment policy must report such information immediately.   

Supervisory Employees

Additionally, if you supervise employees, contractors, agents or students; teach or advise students; or have management authority related to a COTC-sponsored program or activity, you have an additional obligation to report incidents of sexual harassment as well as sexual assault.  You must report the incident within five working days of becoming aware of such information.

To report allegations of student sexual misconduct, contact the students’ Title IX Coordinator, Holly Mason by calling 740.364.9578 or emailing mason.536@mail.cotc.edu.  

To report allegations of employee sexual misconduct, contact the employees’ Title IX Coordinator, John Ralston, in the Office of Human Resources by calling 740.366.9360, filing a Discrimination and Harassment Complaint form; or emailing ralston.87@mail.cotc.edu.

 It can be difficult to tell a student that you need to report the concern she or he has raised so we offer the following tips:Tell the student you need to report the concern.

  • As soon as you are aware that the student may have a sex discrimination concern let her/him know your reporting obligation so that s/he can determine what information s/he would like to disclose.
    • If the student is reporting an incident of violence (sexual assault, relationship violence) let the student know you will be obligated to report the names of the alleged perpetrator(s) and student(s) affected, as well as relevant facts (date, time, location).
    • Let the student know that s/he may request that her/his confidentiality be maintained and the College will consider her/his request.
    • Let the student know that there are on-campus confidential reporting options.
    • Listen to the concern carefully and empathetically without judgment.
  • Try not to make comments about the specific people or situations involved in the concern.
  • Try to gather information from the student that will be helpful in assessing the concern without forming an opinion about the viability of the complaint.
  • Let the student know multiple complaint and support options are available and provide her/him with a copy of the Title IX brochure available here or from the Office of Student Life or the Title IX website.

What if the student asks that you maintain confidentiality after s/he has already shared information with you?

  • Tell the student you are unable to and must report the concern.
  • Let the student know that even when you repo​rt a concern s/he remains in control of whether or not they want to file a complaint, utilize support/assistance options, etc.

Remember that most interim/immediate measures, such as no-contact orders, housing and academic changes, are coordinated by the Director of Student Life. It is important that you promptly report concerns.​

Confidentiality

​​​As a public institution, the college cannot promise complete confidentiality. Each situation is resolved as discreetly as possible, maintaining confidentiality to the extent allowed under state and federal laws. Complaints about faculty and staff may be subject to public records requests. In addition, there may be situations that mandate reporting, such as child or elder abuse.

Complaints against students are protected under federal law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Information can only be shared within the college if there is a “legitimate educational need”. In order for information to be shared outside of the college, a survivor would need to give explicit permission that information would need to be subpoenaed or one of the other exceptions occurred. If a survivor or co-survivor has any questions about what will happen if they share information with any College employee, it is important to ask.

Central Ohio Technical College is obligated to follow up on all allegations. There are times when a one-on-one conversation between a college official and the alleged harasser can resolve the situation without revealing the complainant’s identity. If this doesn’t work or if the situation is not appropriate for this kind of resolution, then it may be necessary to reveal the complainant’s identity to conduct an investigation.

Medical services provide confidentiality to patients. In general, a medical/health professional is required to keep a patient’s information confidential. That is, no information can be shared without explicit permission from the survivor unless it is subpoenaed due to a court case. Please note, however, that if someone presents a danger to themselves or others, medical/health professionals may break confidentiality to ensure safety.

An individual who wishes to strictly protect the confidentiality of information is encouraged to utilize the following non-emergency confidential reporting options:

  • Counseling Services (on-campus confidential reporting and counseling options) located in the Warner Library and Student Center – Room 226​
  • SARNCO, Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio 614.267.7020
  • Family Health Services/Licking County Rape Crisis Center 800.688.3266

Without the identity of one or more of the individuals involved, and limited or no ability to gather additional information, the college’s ability to investigate and respond to matters may be limited. Please know that assistance options, including medical care, remain available even if a student chooses to share limited information.

You may call the Office of Student Life at 740.364.9578 or the Office of Human Resources at 740.366.9360 if you have any questions related to the confidentiality of information or have concerns about accessing college support services.

Retaliation

​​​​​The college will not tolerate retaliation in any form against any faculty, staff, student or volunteer who files an allegation, serves as a witness, assists an alleger, or participates in an investigation of discrimination or harassment. College policy and state and federal law prohibit retaliation against an individual for reporting discrimination, sexual violence or harassment, or for participating in an investigation.

Retaliation is a serious violation that can subject the offender to sanctions independent of the merits of the allegation. Allegations of or questions about retaliation should be directed to the Office of Human Resources, the Office of Student Life, or the appropriate Title IX coordinator.​