Printed on: 03/08/2021. Please go to http://policy.umn.edu for the most current version of the Policy or related document.
University of Minnisota  FAQ

Designation of Reported Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Stalking and Relationship Violence as Title IX Prohibited Conduct

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Why are some forms of prohibited conduct designated as Title IX prohibited conduct under University policy while others are not?

    Under Title IX, a federal statute, the University is required to prohibit certain forms of prohibited conduct and to adjudicate reports of these forms of prohibited conduct in very specific ways.  These forms of prohibited conduct are designated as “Title IX prohibited conduct.”

    Title IX allows the University to prohibit additional forms of prohibited conduct and to respond to these additional forms of misconduct in the manner of the University’s choosing.  These forms of prohibited conduct are not designated as Title IX prohibited conduct under our policy.

    See questions 8-11 below for more information about the differences in our policy’s definitions of conduct that has been designated as Title IX prohibited conduct, and prohibited conduct that has not been so designated.  See question 12 for information about the differences in the grievance processes provided in cases involving Title IX prohibited conduct and prohibited conduct that is not so designated.

  2. Why does the University’s policy cover more prohibited conduct than required by Title IX?

    The University of Minnesota is committed to taking steps intended to end sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, relationship violence, and related retaliation, prevent their recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy their effects

    The current Title IX regulations do not capture all of the prohibited conduct that could negatively impact the University’s education and work environments.  For example, the Title IX regulations do not cover sexual assault that occurs during a University sponsored study abroad program between two University students.  Yet, the University believes this type of sexual assault should be prohibited under University policy.  As a result, some of the definitions of prohibited conduct in our policy are broader than those required by Title IX.

    Also, other federal regulations, for example Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, require the University to respond to prohibited conduct beyond what Title IX requires.

  3. I am a party in a prohibited conduct case. How will I know whether the allegations in the case have been designated as Title IX prohibited conduct?

    When the campus Title IX office initiates a grievance process, it will provide notice to the parties in writing of, among other things, its decision about whether to designate the alleged prohibited conduct as Title IX prohibited conduct, the reasons for this decision; and the parties’ right to appeal this decision.

  4. I am a party in a prohibited conduct case. Can I appeal the campus Title IX office’s decision to designate, or not to designate, the reported conduct as Title IX prohibited conduct?

    Yes.  Any party may appeal the campus Title IX office’s written decision to designate the alleged prohibited conduct as Title IX prohibited conduct or its decision to not make that designation.

    Appeals are limited to the following grounds:

    • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome.
    • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the campus Title IX office’s decision was made that could have affected the outcome.
    • A decision that is not based on substantial information. Substantial information means relevant information that a reasonable person might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
    • the Title IX Coordinator or any other decisionmaker in the campus Title IX office, had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
  5. What information does an Appellate Officer consider when deciding an appeal?

    In most cases, the appellate review is limited to review of the written decision and the appeal and response documents submitted by the parties. However, the Appellate Officer may, at their discretion, request and review additional information from the campus Title IX office.

  6. What is the difference between Title IX sexual assault and sexual assault that is not Title IX designated?

    Title IX sexual assault is a subset of sexual assault under University policy that occurs in the United States and: 1) on campus; 2) as part of the University’s operations; 3) in locations, events or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the prohibited conduct occurred; and/or 4) in buildings owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University. Title IX sexual assault occurs when there is actual or attempted:

    • penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object without affirmative consent;
    • oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without affirmative consent; or
    • the touching of the private body parts of another person without affirmative consent and for the purpose of sexual gratification.

    Sexual assault will be designated Title IX sexual assault by the campus Title IX office if it meets the above definition and the complainant is participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity at the time the complainant files a formal complaint, or if it meets the above definition and the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint. 

    Sexual assault that is not Title IX designated is 1) actual or attempted sexual contact without affirmative consent; or 2) a threat to engage in contact that would be, if the threat were carried out, sexual contact without affirmative consent.  Sexual assault that is not Title IX designated can occur outside of the United States, off-campus, and when the parties are not engaged in a University program or event.  It can also involve a complainant who is not participating or attempting to participate in a University program or event.

  7. What is the difference between Title IX sexual harassment and sexual harassment that is not Title IX designated?

    Title IX sexual harassment is a subset of sexual harassment that occurs in the United States and: 1) on campus; 2) as part of the University’s operations; 3) in locations, events or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the prohibited conduct occurred; and/or 4) in buildings owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University. Title IX sexual harassment occurs when:

    • a University employee conditions the provision of a University aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
    • unwelcome conduct is 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.

    Sexual harassment will be designated Title IX sexual harassment by the campus Title IX office if it meets the above definition and the complainant is participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity at the time the complainant files a formal complaint, or if it meets the above definition and the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint.

    Sexual harassment that is not Title IX designated is unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex under the following conditions:

    1. Quid pro quo sexual harassment: When a University member conditions the provision of a University aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in sexual conduct.
    2. Hostile environment sexual harassment: When conduct is severe, persistent or pervasive and:
      • unreasonably interferes with an individual's employment or educational performance,
      • creates a work or educational environment that an individual finds, and a reasonable person would find, to be intimidating, hostile or offensive, or
      • effectively denies an individual equal access to a University program or activity.

    Sexual harassment that is not Title IX designated can occur outside of the United States, off-campus, and when the parties are not engaged in a University program or event.  It can also involve a complainant who is not participating or attempting to participate in a University program or event. 

  8. What is the difference between Title IX stalking and stalking that is not Title IX designated?

    Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific individual that would cause a reasonable person to: 1) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or 2) suffer substantial emotional distress. 

    Title IX stalking is a subset of stalking that occurs in the United States and: 1) on campus; 2) as part of the University’s operations; 3) in locations, events or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the prohibited conduct occurred; and/or 4) in buildings owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.  Stalking will be designated Title IX stalking by the campus Title IX office if it meets the above definition and the complainant is participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity at the time the complainant files a formal complaint, or if it meets the above definition and the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint.

    Stalking that is not Title IX designated can occur outside of the United States, off-campus, and when the parties are not engaged in a University program or event.  It can also involve a complainant who is not participating or attempting to participate in a University program or event. 

  9. What is the difference between Title IX relationship violence and relationship violence that is not Title IX designated?

    Relationship violence is: 1) actual, attempted or threatened violence by one individual against another individual with whom they are, or have been, in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature; or 2) conduct that would constitute a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence by an individual against: (i) a current or former spouse or intimate partner; (ii) an individual with whom they share a child; (iii) an individual similarly situated to a spouse under the Minnesota state domestic or family violence laws; or (iv) any adult or youth who is protected from the individual’s acts under the Minnesota state domestic or family violence laws.

    Title IX relationship violence is a subset of relationship violence that occurs in the United States and: 1) on campus; 2) as part of the University’s operations; 3) in locations, events or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the prohibited conduct occurred; and/or 4) in buildings owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.  Relationship violence will be designated Title IX relationship violence if it meets the above definition and the complainant is participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity at the time the complainant files a formal complaint, or if it meets the above definition and the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint.

    Relationship violence that is not Title IX designated can occur outside of the United States, off-campus, and when the parties are not engaged in a University program or event.  It can also involve a complainant who is not participating or attempting to participate in a University program or event.

  10. How do the grievance processes differ for Title IX prohibited conduct and prohibited conduct that is not Title IX designated?

    For the most part, the grievance processes are the same for Title IX prohibited conduct and prohibited conduct that is not Title IX designated.  There are, however, a few, important differences:

    Informal Resolution.  An informal resolution is not available to resolve allegations that an employee engaged in Title IX prohibited conduct toward a student. In contrast, an informal resolution may be available to resolve allegations that an employee engaged in prohibited conduct that is not Title IX designated toward a student.

    Failure to submit to cross-examination.  For reports of Title IX prohibited conduct, if a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the hearing panel and Appellate Officer (where applicable) will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a decision on responsibility.  In contrast, for reports of prohibited conduct that is not Title IX designated, if a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the hearing panel and Appellate Officer (where applicable) may rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a decision on responsibility. 

    Disclosure of information about discipline imposed on a respondent.  In cases involving Title IX prohibited conduct, the University can only share information about a respondent’s identity when necessary to: 1) carry out an informal problem-solving or grievance process; 2) disclose data as required by the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act (MGDPA); or 3) otherwise comply with legal obligations.  In contrast, in cases involving prohibited conduct that it not Title-IX designated, the University can choose to share information about the discipline imposed on a respondent after discipline is imposed, even when not required by law.

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