About Title IX
Title IX is a federal statute prohibiting sex discrimination. Gender cannot be a basis for a person’s exclusion from participation in, denial of benefits, or subjecting him or her to discrimination under any education program or activity, including employment. This includes: admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, registrar’s office, classroom assignments, grading and discipline, recruiting for employment or the benefits of employment. The statute applies equally to men and women.
The Board of Regents created the Institutional Equity Office on January 24, 2012, to promote and foster the University's commitment to prohibit gender based discrimination in the educational and employment context. The Institutional Equity Office reports to the President and Board of Regents and handles discrimination claims, affirmative action plans, claims involving the Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy and gender equity issues related to athletics.
If you are a University employee and you receive information from any faculty, staff or student regarding a possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Harassment Policy, you are required to report the information. Provided, however, attorneys, clergy-member, licensed counselors, or physicians, who are engaged in such capacity by the reporting party may keep such reports confidential. OU Advocates is also considered a confidential reporting resource. It is not your obligation to determine whether a policy violation actually occurred. If you receive a report of any sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment, you should notify the Institutional Equity Office immediately. In certain types of cases, the University is under an obligation to begin an investigation immediately upon receipt of such information.
Policy Violations Include:
- Sex discrimination - Conduct directed at a specific individual or a group of identifiable individuals that subjects the individual or group to treatment that adversely affects their employment or education, or institutional benefits, on account of sex or gender (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression discrimination). It may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
- Pregnancy Discrimination - Discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy or recovery therefrom. Discrimination of the basis of pregnancy should be reported in accordance with this policy. Employees with questions regarding accommodations during pregnancy are encouraged to contact the Office of Human Resources (http://hr.ou.edu), students and visitors with questions regarding accommodations during pregnancy are encouraged to contact the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center (http://www.ou.edu/drc/home.html).
- Title IX Sexual Harassment - A specific form of sex discrimination that includes the following types of Prohibited Conduct when they occur in the context of the University's educational programs or activities, and within the United States, that satisfies one or more of the following:
- Hostile Environment Harassment, which is 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 University’s education program or activity;
- Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, where an employee of the University is conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
- Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking as defined below in accordance with applicable law:
Sexual Assault includes:
- Rape - 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;
- Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim;
- Incest - Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law; and
- Statutory Rape - sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
- Dating Violence - which is violence between individuals in the following circumstances:
- The party is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- length of the relationship
- type of relationship
- frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
- Domestic Violence - which is an assault and battery against: a current or former spouse; a present spouse of a former spouse; a former spouse of a present spouse; parents; a foster parent; a child; a person otherwise related by blood or marriage; a person with whom the Respondent is or was in a dating relationship; an individual with whom the Respondent has had a child; a person who formerly lived in the same household as the Respondent; or a person living in the same household
- Stalking - which is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
- fear for the person's safety or the safety of others, or
- suffer substantial emotional distress
- Workplace Harassment - Unwelcome conduct that is based on sex (including pregnancy), and (1) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or (2) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive.
- Employee Sexual Misconduct - Employee conduct that occurs outside the context of the educational program or outside the United States, but where the conduct otherwise meets one or more definitions of Sexual Harassment.
- Sexual Misconduct- Student Code Violation - Student conduct that occurs outside the context of the educational program or outside the United States, but otherwise meets one or more definitions of Sexual Harassment.
- Retaliation - Any attempt to penalize or take an adverse employment, educational or institutional benefit action, including but not limited to making threats, intimidation, reprisals, interference with an individual’s protected rights, or other adverse action, against a person because of participation or non-participation in a report, investigation, or grievance process of Prohibited Conduct.
- False Reporting - Knowingly making a materially false statement in bad faith or knowingly submitting materially false information during the grievance process is prohibited. False reporting does not include accidental or inadvertent false statements, immaterial inaccuracies, or statements made outside the context of making a report, filing a grievance, participating in a grievance procedure, or during the grievance process.
- Violation of Consensual Sexual Relationships Policy - The Consensual Sexual Relationships Policy may be found here: https://www.ou.edu/eoo/policies.
If you have a report of a potential policy violation, you should report it directly to one of the following:
Christine Taylor, Institutional Equity and Title IX Coordinator
Evans Hall, 660 Parrington Oval, Room 102
Norman, Oklahoma 73019
Health Sciences Center Campus
Kaeleigh Birckelbaw, Associate Equal Opportunity and Title IX Officer
Williams Pavilion, 920 Stanton L Young, Room 2320
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73104
Josh Davis, Executive Director of OU-Tulsa Student Affairs & Associate Title IX Coordinator
Founders Student Union, 4502 East 41st Street, Room 1C76
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74135
You should also encourage the person making the report to report their issue to any of the above individuals directly.
Unless you are an OU Advocate, licensed counselor, physician, attorney, priest or clergy, and are seeing the person in that capacity, the information disclosed to you is not confidential; however, it is private. The distinction is that although you can agree to maintain the person’s privacy (by ensuring any documents are secured, not sharing the information with officials other than the police, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee), you cannot agree that you will not report it to appropriate University officials.
Except as noted above, as University employees, we each have an obligation under Title IX not only to protect the wishes of the reporting party, but also to stop the harassment/discrimination and remedy the situation for the present complainant as well as the University community as a whole. The Department of Education requires prompt reporting and investigation of all such reports.
If the person making the report asks you not to utilize his or her name, you may tell them that you will do your best to keep names private, but if the Title IX Coordinator or their designee determine that the matter is of a serious nature, you may be required to identify the person making the report, the potential victim and/or the alleged perpetrator.
Yes, all employees who are aware of allegations of Prohibited Conduct are expected to promptly report the matter. The failure to do so can result in legal liability not only for the institution, but also individually for those who knew about the issue, but did not report it to the appropriate University officials.
This is known as the "reluctant complainant". The University must still investigate the report and you must report it to the Title IX Coordinator or their designee immediately. You should encourage the person to file a report. If they are concerned about retaliation, the University can assist and any such acts will be punished as additional charges of misconduct.
If the person declines to personally file a report, the extent of the investigation may differ, however, where a reluctant complainant is involved. For example, if a complainant indicates she does not wish to move forward with any complaint but has briefly indicated she was inappropriately fondled by a fellow student in her rotation, the Institutional Equity Office may conduct a simple training session on professionalism and the sexual harassment and misconduct policy for the group as a whole, along with moving the complainant and or potential respondent to another rotation. The potential respondent need not know the particular reason why.
There are additional University policies that apply for the investigation of discrimination based upon race, disability, veteran’s status, ethnicity, age, national origin, religion, political beliefs and are handled by the Institutional Equity Officer, Christine Taylor, at (405) 325-3546. Additionally, the Institutional Equity Office may handle purely employment-related sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims.
If you hear of any complaints about the manner in which an investigation is handled by the Institutional Equity Office, please report it at (405) 325-3546.
Once the Institutional Equity Office has interviewed the relevant individuals and gathered the relevant evidence, s/he will issue a report to the Title IX Coordinator who will review the report and determine whether it complies with Title IX requirements and whether additional action needs to be taken. If additional action is needed and the alleged respondent is a student, the matter will be referred to Student Conduct for official charges to be filed. Depending on the severity of the issue, Student Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, may seek expulsion as a maximum penalty.
If the person is an employee, the Title IX Coordinator and/or IEO will discuss appropriate disciplinary action with the Executive Officer over the area. If the person is a faculty member, the Title IX Coordinator/IEO, in consultation with the Provost, shall recommend appropriate discipline and whether any faculty appeals board process should be initiated, up to and including abrogation of tenure.
There are several actions the University may be able to take to ensure a complainant is able to work or receive an education outside the context of an investigation and administrative process. For example, if the complainant and respondent are in the same classes, scheduling arrangements may be made; if they share the same on-campus housing, the University may move the alleged respondent; if they wish to have no-contact orders in place, the University may impose those. All of these actions may occur prior to the completion of any investigation.
Potential complainants should never be discouraged from seeking law enforcement assistance and should be advised of the services offered by:
OU Advocates (Confidential Resource)
(via Gender + Equality Center) OU Advocates is a 24/7 helpline (call/text/WhatsApp) and in-person support service for anyone in the OU community experiencing sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and/or sexual harassment. They are a free and confidential resource, located in the Oklahoma Memorial Union.
Phone: 405-615-0013 (Available 24/7)
OU Police Departments
Norman Campus - (405) 325-2864
Health Sciences Center Campus - (405) 405-271-4300
Tulsa Campus - (918) 660-3900
Except where noted, these telephones are answered 24/7.
Yes. The Department of Education requires universities to commence the investigation of reports concerning sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment within 10 business days of receiving the complaint regardless of whether a police investigation is on-going. The Department of Education through the Office of Civil Rights has determined that these matters should reach a conclusion (to include the final disciplinary action) within approximately 60 days of the complaint.
As University officials, you are likely considered a “campus security authority” under the Clery Act. Generally, these individuals include campus law enforcement, most University officials, athletic directors, coaches and assistant coaches, faculty or staff advisors of student organizations, most Student Affairs staff and others with significant student interaction.
As a campus security authority, if you receive notice of certain crimes, e.g. murder/non-negligent manslaughter, negligent manslaughter, sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible), robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, liquor law violations, drug abuse violations and weapons (illegally carrying and possessing), sexual assault, stalking, dating violence or hate crimes which occur on campus, in or on non-campus buildings or property owned or controlled by our institution, and public property within or immediately adjacent to our campus, you must report this as a statistic to your OU campus police department (see contact numbers listed above).
You have a statutory obligation to directly contact the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) at 1-800-522-3511, and/or local law enforcement.
If the incident occurred on campus or involved someone affiliated with campus and is sexual in nature, you must also contact the Institutional Equity Office at (405) 325-3546 or (405) 325-2215, and your OU campus police department (see contact numbers listed above).
Some Issues to Consider:
- Consensual Relations-although consensual relationships are not prohibited, where one person is in a position of real or apparent authority over the other, the superior must notify his/her supervisor so that arrangements can be made to ensure he/she no longer supervises them (this includes teaching assistants and students)
- Pregnancy-although pregnancy is not considered a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), it is considered gender-related. Accordingly, similar types of reasonable accommodations must be made in certain cases when requested by the student/employee. Please contact Chelle' Guttery in the Accessibility and Disability Resource Center (405) 325-3852 or the Institutional Equity Office (405) 325-3546 to discuss further. Please see FAQs regarding Pregnancy for more information.
- Minors on Campus - if there are issues of sexual harassment occurring between minors on our campus, you should report this immediately to the Institutional Equity Office. Further, you should ensure you have procedural safeguards in place for the safety and security of minors (e.g. chaperones required at all times, sufficient adult to child ratio supervising the group).