Title IX Sexual Harassment Summary

What is Title IX and the purpose of the Title IX Grievance Policy at CUNY?
Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits any person in the United States from being discriminated against on the basis of sex in seeking access to any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. On May 19, 2020, the United States Department of Education (“USDOE”) issued a Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This Final Rule re-defines the meaning of “sexual harassment” (including forms of sex-based violence) and mandates a grievance process that CUNY must follow.  The revised CUNY Sexual Misconduct Policy (“SMP”) details the new grievance process for all Title IX Sexual Harassment claims assuring that all parties are treated fairly. Additionally, the SMP continues to provide a grievance process for any claims that do not meet the new standard of Title IX Sexual Harassment.

Covered Sexual Harassment under the CUNY SMP
Title IX Sexual Harassment includes any conduct (on the basis of sex) that occurs in CUNY’s education program or activity against a person in the U.S. that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee conditioning educational benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo); (examples: a teacher telling a student they will get an “A” if they agree to go on a date with them/academic advancement or career advancement conditioned upon submission to sexual demands);
  2. Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the educational institution’s education program or activity; (examples: continued and ongoing sexual advances and/or inappropriate touching)
  3. Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), which includes any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent;
  4. Dating violence which includes any violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Determining whether violence constitutes dating violence is based on facts presented by complainant;
  5. Domestic violence (as defined in the VAWA amendments to the Clery Act);
  6. Stalking - engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety (example of stalking behaviors can include: repeated phone calls, texts, emails, photos)

CUNY will continue to investigate all sexual harassment. Examples of sexual harassment that would be considered violations of the CUNY Policies but would not fall into the category of Title IX Sexual Harassment may include: an unwelcome comment about someone’s appearance, the request for a date, a sexual advance from a colleague.

Any person can report sexual harassment whether they are alleged to be the victim of the conduct or not. Reports can be made to Public Safety, Dean of Students, and HR (all of whom will provide privacy, but not confidentiality, upon receiving a report of conduct prohibited under this policy). To file a Formal Complaint, a complainant (the alleged victim) must provide the Title IX Coordinator a written, signed complaint describing the facts alleged. If a complainant does not wish to make a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may determine a Formal Complaint is still necessary (reasons may include: severity of the misconduct and safety risk to college community). Notice to parties will be provided by the Title IX Coordinator. Timeframe for grievance process begins with the filing of a Formal Complaint and will be concluded within a reasonably prompt manner, no longer than 120 days. If there is a delay parties will be notified and reason will be documented (reasons for delay may include: unavailability of parties and request by law enforcement).

After a formal complaint is filed, there will be an assessment of whether this is a Title IX Sexual Harassment Case, ie – if substantiated, would the alleged conduct constitute (1) quid pro quo harassment by an employee, (2) severe persistent and objectively offensive sexual harassment, or (3) sexual assault, domestic violence or dating violence or stalking?  If the answer to the above question is “no,” Title IX Coordinator can consider proceeding as a Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Matter.

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