Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. All federal agencies that provide grants of assistance are required to enforce Title IX. The U.S. Department of Education gives grants of financial assistance to schools and colleges and to certain other entities, including vocational rehabilitation programs.
Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment; the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics; discrimination in a school’s science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) courses and programs; and discrimination based on pregnancy. A more extensive list of Title IX issues that the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) addresses, appears here. The Title IX regulation is enforced by OCR and is in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 CFR Part 106.
Issue areas include: Sex-based Harassment (including Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence and Gender-based Harassment), Harassment and Bullying, Pregnant or Parenting Students, Athletic Opportunities and Benefits, and Retaliation.
Sexual Misconduct under Title IX
Title IX requires schools to take steps to prevent and remedy two forms of sex-based harassment: sexual harassment (including sexual violence) and gender-based harassment. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
Under Title IX, and as a part of the Student Code of Conduct, Westcliff University (WU) does not tolerate and prohibits sexual assault and all forms of sexual misconduct including intimate partner violence, stalking, dating violence, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and domestic violence offenses. These acts are also against California State Law. California State Law considers sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact to be serious crimes that are punishable by imprisonment in jail and/or probation.
All students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the public participating in University activities have the right to an environment free from sexual or physical intimidation that would prevent a reasonable person from attaining educational goals or living and working in a safe environment.
If there is reason to believe that WU campus regulations prohibiting sexual misconduct in any form have been violated, on campus, off campus, in person, and/or online, the administration will pursue disciplinary action through the appropriate University procedures. This includes any online postings or other electronic communication, including cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment, etc. occurring completely outside of the University’s control (e.g. not on University networks, websites or between University email accounts). Regardless of where the violation occurred, the University discipline process will be conducted consistently, in the same manner. WU complies with its obligation to investigate and resolve reports of all forms of sexual misconduct regardless of whether or not a formal complaint is filed, in order to maintain a non-discriminatory and respectful educational environment.
Definitions of Sexual Misconduct & Prohibited Behaviors
Sex-based harassment can be carried out by school employees, other students, and third parties. Title IX protects all students from sex-based harassment, regardless of the sex of the parties, including when they are members of the same sex. Any student can experience sex-based harassment and sexual violence: from elementary to professional school students; male and female students; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students (LGBTQ); part-time and full-time students; students with and without disabilities; students of different races and national origins (regardless of immigration or citizenship status); and students of all ages.
Sexual harassment – is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual violence – is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence, as the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) uses the term, refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion.
Gender-based harassment – is unwelcome conduct based on a student’s sex, harassing conduct based on a student’s failure to conform to sex stereotypes.
Sexual assault – is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to consent either due to age or lack of capacity.
Rape – is the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This offense includes the rape of both males and females.
- (1) Where a person is incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, and this is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act.
- (2) Where it is accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
- (3) Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.
- (4) Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions:
- (A) Was unconscious or asleep.
- (B) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.
- (C) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraud in fact.
- (D) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator’s fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.
- (5) Where a person submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim other than the accused, and this belief is induced by any artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused, with intent to induce the belief.
- (6) Where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person, and there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat.
- (7) Where the act is accomplished against the victim’s will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another, and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official.
Fondling – is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
Incest – is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory Rape – is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
Sexual battery – is any type of contact to an intimate part of the recipient, that occurs without the consent of the recipient, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.
- (a) Specifically, when the recipient is unlawfully restrained by the accused or an accomplice;
- (b) is institutionalized for medical treatment and who is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated; or
- (c) is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act because the perpetrator fraudulently represented that the touching served a professional purpose.
- (d) Sexual battery also occurs when a person causes another, against that person’s will while that person is unlawfully restrained either by the accused, or an accomplice, or is institutionalized for medical treatment and is seriously disabled or medically incapacitated, to masturbate or touch an intimate part of either of those persons or a third person.
Domestic Violence – is a pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship that is used by one partner to maintain power and control over another current or former intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behavior that intimidates, manipulates, humiliates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, hurts, injures, or wounds someone.
- (i) A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed—
- (A) By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
- (B) By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
- (C) By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
- (D) By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or
- (E) By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
Intimate Partner Violence – describes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner. An intimate partner is a person with whom one has a close personal relationship that can be characterized by any of the following:
- Emotional connectedness
- Regular contact
- Ongoing physical contact and/or sexual behavior
- Identity as a couple
- Familiarity and knowledge about each other’s lives
Dating Violence – is violence and abuse committed by a person to exert power and control over a current or former dating partner. Dating violence often involves a pattern of escalating violence and abuse over a period of time. Dating violence covers a variety of actions and can include physical abuse, physiological and emotional abuse, and sexual abuse. It can also include “digital abuse”, the use of technology, such as smartphones, the internet, or social media, to intimate, harass, threaten, or isolate a victim.
- (i) The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- (ii) For the purposes of this definition—
- (A) Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
- (B) Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Stalking – is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact,or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking is dangerous and can often cause severe and long-lasting emotional and psychological harm to victims. Stalking often escalates over time and can lead to domestic violence, sexual assault, and even homicide. Stalking can include frightening communications, direct or indirect threats, and harassing a victim through the internet.
- (i) Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
- (A) Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
- (B) Suffer substantial emotional distress.
- (ii) For the purposes of this definition—
- (A) Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
- (B) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
- (C) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Pregnant & Parenting Students
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—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities.
All public and private schools, school districts, colleges, and universities receiving any Federal funds (“schools”) must comply with Title IX.
More information on the rights of Pregnant & Parenting Students under Title IX. If you are in need of resources and further information, you can also learn more by visiting the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) website.
Title IX in Athletics
The Department of Education’s Title IX regulations prohibit sex discrimination in interscholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics offered by a recipient institution, including with respect to (a) student interests and abilities; (b) athletic benefits and opportunities; and (c) athletic financial assistance.
An institution must provide equal athletic opportunities for members of both sexes and effectively accommodate students’ athletic interests and abilities. In determining whether an institution is providing equal opportunity in athletics, the regulations require the Department of Education to consider, among others, the following factors: (1) the provision of equipment and supplies; (2) scheduling of games and practice time; (3) travel and per diem allowances; (4) opportunity for coaching and academic tutoring; (5) assignment and compensation of coaches and tutors; (6) provision of locker rooms, and practice and competitive facilities; (7) provision of medical and training facilities and services; (8) housing and dining services; (9) publicity; (10) recruitment; and (11) support services. Westcliff University may award athletic financial assistance, including athletic scholarships or grants-in-aid, and provides reasonable opportunities for such awards for members of each sex in substantial proportion to the number of students of each sex participating in interscholastic or intercollegiate athletics.
Title IX Coordinator
Alexandra Dilworth, Equity & Compliance Officer
16715 Von Karman Ave.
Irvine, CA 92606
** Information regarding Title IX is taken from the U.S. Department of Education publications and associated websites. All definitions are taken from United States Federal law or State of California law.
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) 421-3481 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to fill out a complaint form online, you may do so at: http://www.ed.gov/ocr/complaintintro.html.