Welcome to the harassment section of our webpage. This front page will reflect our most current information on sexual harassment as well as other types of harassment prohibited by law.
FIRE Standard of Evidence Survey: Colleges and Universities Respond to OCR's New Mandate, Oct. 28, 2011. Survey of how colleges and universities have changed their standard of proof in sexual harassment and assault cases in response to the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague letter which mandated a preponderance of the evidence standard. This survey summarizes the problems with the DCL from a criminal law/due process perspective and raises good questions.
Title IX Training on April 4th, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Assault: Courtesy of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, posted with permission of Scott Goings, Assistant General Counsel. Scroll down to May 12, 2011.
Resolution Agreement: OCR and The University of Notre Dame: June 2011.
This agreement is instructive as to how OCR will deal with investigations post issuance of the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter. See the Chronicle article dated July 1, 2011 and titled U.of Notre Dame to Clarify Sexual Harassment Policies in Settlement with Education Department. A "preponderance of evidence" standard was adopted. The OCR investigated Notre Dame after a student from St. Mary's College committed suicide after filing a sexual assault complaint against a Notre Dame football player.See the July 1st press release from Notre Dame, as well as the June 30, 2011 OCR letter to the University.
Dear Colleague Letter on Sexual Violence, April 4, 2011
This letter clarifies sexual violence is a form of harassment prohibited by Title IX. The letter notes that Title IX coordinators should not have other job responsibilities that create a conflict of interest. Title IX coordinators and the school's law enforcement unit employees should all receive training on Title IX grievance procedures. Grievance procedures should be clarified to note that mediation is not appropriate in sexual assault cases. The letter restates/clarifies what is involved in providing a prompt and equitable resolution of a complaint, as follows:
- Notice to students and employees of the grievance procedures, and where the complaint may be filed;
- Application of the procedures to complaints alleging harassment carried out by employees, other students, or third parties;
- Adequate, reliable and impartial investigation of complaints, including the opportunity (for both parties) to present witnesses and other evidence;
- Designated and reasonably prompt time frames for the major stages of the complaint process;
- Notice to parties of the outcome; and
- An assurance that the school will take steps to prevent recurrence of any harassment and to correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if appropriate.
Schools should not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or criminal proceedings to begin their own Title IX investigation, and if needed, should take immediate steps to protect the student in the educational setting. Any MOU with local police should include clear policies on when a school will refer the matter to local law enforcement. The letter clarifies that a *preponderance of the evidence* standard should be used in place of the higher *clear and convincing evidence* standard which is inconsistent with the standard of proof required for violations of civil rights laws. Schools must maintain documentation of all proceedings, which may include written findings of facts, transcripts, or audio recordings. All persons involved in implementing grievance procedures must have training or experience in handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence, and in the grievance procedures and related confidentiality requirements.
Schools should take proactive measures to prevent harassment and violence, including preventive education programs and victim resources. OCR recommends that schools inform students that the IHE's primary concern is student safety, and that any other rule violations (such as alcohol or drugs) will be dealt with separately. The complainant should be given options to avoid contact with the alleged perpetrator.
OCR Dear Colleague Letter, Oct. 26, 2010 (on bullying)
1/19/2001 Title IX Revised Sexual Harassment Guidance; Harassment of Students By School Employees, Other Students Or Third Parties (still relevant if read in conjunction with April 4, 2011 DCL above)
CUA Sexual Violence Brochure: Recognize It. Prevent It. Report It.
updated 7/6/10 mlo