Title IX Frequently Asked Questions
The Office of Equity works to create a learning and working environment free from sexual misconduct through its prevention efforts and by offering support and resources to those who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. The office provides information about supportive measures, reporting options, and the university's grievance process.
What is sexual misconduct?
Sexual misconduct is a broad non-legal term encompassing sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, and sex-based stalking. Sexual misconduct is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by USU Policies 339, 339A, and 339B. The previous policies related to sexual misconduct are applicable to conduct alleged to have occurred August 14, 2020 or later per 34 CFRR 106 (2020). They are subject to change at any time.
Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any sex, and it can occur between people of the same or different sexes.
Using the term "sexual misconduct" serves to differentiate university policy processes, which are administrative and educational, from the criminal justice system, in which people are charged with crimes that carry criminal penalties.
How should sexual misconduct be reported?
What is the role of the USU Title IX Coordinator?
The USU Title IX Coordinator has three main roles. These include: (1) sharing information about how to report sexual misconduct to the university or police; (2) offering and providing supportive measures to individuals impacted by sexual misconduct; and (3) following a prompt and fair grievance process to address sexual misconduct.
What options are available through the Office of Equity for an individual who experienced sexual misconduct?
An individual who has experienced sexual misconduct may choose several options through the Office of Equity.
An individual may receive supportive measures.
An individual may also file a formal complaint, where they provide information about the sexual misconduct and agree that they want the university to move forward with an informal resolution or a formal investigation. An informal resolution may happen when the parties mutually agree on the outcome that addresses the sexual misconduct raised in the formal complaint. A formal investigation is when both parties are interviewed, provide evidence, and participate in a hearing. If the individual who engaged in the behavior is found to have violated university policy, appropriate sanctions are instituted.
What are supportive measures?
Supportive measures are actions that address safety concerns and help an individual continue in their educational or employment opportunities at USU. They can include academic accommodations, mutual no-contact orders, employment modifications, or financial aid appeals. An individual can access supportive measures even if they do not file a formal complaint or do not choose to proceed with a formal investigation.
What if the assailant or harasser is not a part of the USU community?
If the assailant or harasser is not part of the USU community (i.e. they are not a student, staff, faculty, visiting scholar, etc.), USU does not have authority to proceed with an informal resolution or formal investigation and cannot impose any disciplinary action. However, USU still offers anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct with information about designated confidential resources and supportive measures.
What is the difference between reporting to the USU Title IX Coordinator and reporting to police? What standard of evidence is used in these processes?
The university’s formal investigation process, which is coordinated by the USU Office of Equity, is an administrative process that determines whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, a member of the campus community (student, staff, or faculty) has violated interim USU Policy 339, 339A, or 339B. The preponderance of the evidence standard means a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred. If someone is found responsible for violating university policy, they may face administrative sanctions, including, but not limited to, a warning, probation, suspension, or expulsion. The information about sexual misconduct that is reported may also result in campus offices participating in education and training. These consequences do not carry criminal consequences, including jail or prison time.
If someone wishes to seek justice for a crime – such as sexual assault, stalking, or relationship violence – they can report the crime to police. Criminal justice procedures use beyond a reasonable doubt as the standard of evidence, which is a higher standard of evidence than the USU’s grievance process, as the consequences may include jail time and a criminal record.
What if the individual who experienced sexual misconduct wants to keep their information confidential?
The USU Title IX Coordinator will consider requests for privacy (meaning that an individual doesn’t want their name connected to the incident or report) or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued. These requests are evaluated in the context of the university’s responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment.
If an individual does not want to share information about the incident with the Office of Equity, then the office will still assess safety threats with the information that is available but may be limited in its ability to investigate the incident.
Confidential resources are available both on- and off-campus.
Does USU discipline students for drug and alcohol student code violations discovered when reporting to the USU Title IX Coordinator?
No, if a student who experiences or witnesses an incident of sexual misconduct reports it to the USU Title IX Coordinator, they will not get in trouble for a student code violation related to the incident, such as underage drinking or having alcohol on campus.
Read more about USU’s amnesty policy.
What are the reporting obligations of USU staff, faculty, and other academic appointees?
Some university employees are designated as "reporting employees", which means they must report all information they receive about sexual misconduct to the USU Title IX Coordinator at equity.usu.edu/report.
The university provides designated confidential resources – professional counselors, non-professional counselors, and advocates – so individuals who have been impacted by sexual misconduct can have access to support services in a confidential setting.
Many university employees are designated as "resource connection employees", which means they are not required to report information they receive about sexual misconduct to the USU Title IX Coordinator, but are required to share information about resources and how to report to the USU Title IX Coordinator.
Who does the Office of Equity share information with?
The Office of Equity keeps information private but may share some information on a need-to-know basis with specific USU employees. Examples of USU employees who this information could be shared with include USU Police, members of the university’s safety risk panel, and USU supervisors.
When an incident occurs on USU property that involves dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the Office of Equity sends this information, based on their obligations as Campus Security Authorities, to USU Police. When USU Police receives this information and the incident has occurred recently, they are required to evaluate for a timely warning notice, in accordance with the federal Clery Act. Timely warnings are a way to let the USU community about possible safety risks on campus, but do not include information that would identify an individual who allegedly experienced the sexual misconduct (claimant).
If the Office of Equity determines there is an immediate safety risk to an individual or to campus, the USU Title IX Coordinator may share information with local law enforcement or USU Police, depending on where the incident occurred. When possible, the office will inform the claimant that they are sharing the information with law enforcement.
In some cases, including when the allegations suggest a risk to physical health or safety or there is an alleged pattern of sexual misconduct by the same person and the claimant does not want to participate in the university’s grievance process, the safety panel can approve a university-driven investigation. This means that the claimant’s name and the nature of the allegations will be shared with the person who allegedly engaged in the sexual misconduct (respondent) and the Office of Equity will proceed with an investigation. The claimant still has the opportunity to bring a formal complaint on their own, even if there is a university-driven investigation.
If the respondent is a university employee, unless there is a safety concern, the Office of Equity will share information with the respondent’s supervisor. The office will generally require the respondent to engage in education and training related to the allegations. However, if the claimant does not want their name and information used, this information will not be shared with the respondent if there is not a formal complaint.
Is there a time limit for making a sexual misconduct report to the USU Title IX Coordinator?
There is no time limit for making reports to the USU Title IX Coordinator, but reporting as soon as possible after an incident gives the USU Title IX Coordinator a better chance to respond promptly and effectively. After a significant amount of time passes, it may be difficult to gather evidence to determine whether a policy violation occurred.