Sexual Harassment Definition
The law now defines sexual harassment to include any of three types of misconduct on the basis of sex, all of which jeopardize equal access to education of which Title IX is designed to protect.
Sexual Harassment = conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- Any instance in which an employee of the recipient (district/school) conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e. “quid pro quo” sexual harassment);
- Any unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the district/school’s education program or activity or;
- Any instance of sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act).
Education Program or Activity Definition
The Title IX statute applies to persons in the United States with respect to education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Under the new law, schools must respond when sexual harassment occurs in the school’s education program or activity, against a person in the United States.
The Title IX statute and existing regulations defines education program or activity to include any location, event, or circumstance over which the recipient (district/school) exercises substantial control over both the alleged harasser (respondent) and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred.
Actual Knowledge Definition
The new regulation requires the school to respond whenever any employee has notice of any allegations of sexual harassment to the district’s Title IX Coordinator or any official of the district who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the district or to any employee of an elementary or secondary school. The school has actual knowledge when the school has notice that an individual may have been victimized by sexual harassment.
- A Complainant is an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
- A Respondent is individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
- Party or Parties refers to the complainant or respondent.
- Parent and guardians do not become complainants or respondents, the law expressly recognizes the legal rights of parents and guardians to act on the behalf of parties regarding Title IX matters.
Formal Complaint Definition
Title IX new regulations defines “formal complaint” as an official document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the district/school investigate the allegation of sexual harassment and states:
At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the school with which the formal complaint is filed.
The phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by e-mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the school) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
The Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint; however, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or a party during the grievance process.
Supportive Measures Definition
Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the district’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the district’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.
Preponderance of the Evidence Definition
The law requires the grievance process to state the standard of evidence the school will use to reach a determination regarding responsibility. Eagle Mountain-Saginaw ISD has decided that the standard of evidence applicable is the preponderance of the evidence standard. The law requires that we apply the same standard of evidence for all formal complaints of sexual harassment whether the respondent is a student or an employee.
Preponderance of the Evidence means the greater weight of the evidence required to decide in favor of one side or the other. This preponderance is based on the more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of evidence.