Safety & Equity at UWO
About Title IX
Title IX is a federal civil rights law passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. This law protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
See the full law, here.
Understanding Title IX & Sexual Misconduct at UWO
Title IX covers a variety of sexual misconduct and is defined under the general term of sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct is the umbrella term for all prohibited sex and gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual/domestic/dating violence at UWO, including Title IX sexual harassment and non-Title IX sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct can have the effect of denying individuals equal access to, and benefit from, UWO programs and activities. All sexual misconduct is prohibited under Title IX and University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Policy. See Policies for more information.
Title IX Sexual Harassment Definition
- An employee of the institution conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the institution on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
- 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 institution’s education program or activity; or
- Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking.
Title IX Jurisdiction:
- In the United States; and
- Within an “education program or activity”- includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the respondent (individual accused of behavior) and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred.
Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct
In addition to Title IX requirements, UWO has student and employee conduct policies which cover prohibited sexual misconduct which falls outside the scope of Title IX sexual harassment (non-Title IX sexual misconduct). For example, sexual misconduct which occurs in a study abroad program or an incident that happens off campus. This conduct is prohibited by the UWO, Sexual Violence & Sexual Harassment Policy.
No one is alone at UWO. Sexual misconduct in any form can have a profound impact on a victim/survivor’s academic, social, working, and personal life. It can also affect their friends and family, other students, co-workers, and members of the university community. To combat this complex social problem, UWO provides a variety of support services and prevention programs designed to prevent sexual misconduct, provide information about what to do when an incident has occurred, and increase awareness of campus and community resources for support and response. Please see the Support, Prevention, and Education pages for more information.
Everyone has a part in Title IX. UWO carries out compliance of Title IX through a coordinated and collaborative system of initiatives, programs, and services that collectively protect educational access, advance gender equity, and prevent and promptly respond to reports of sexual misconduct and sex discrimination.
Title IX applies to students, employees, visitors, contractors, and guests.
The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh has a Title IX Coordinator to oversee the institutional response to Title IX complaints, identify and coordinate training and education programs, develop resource materials for faculty, staff, and students, as well as monitor trends and effectiveness of Title IX prevention and education efforts.
In addition to the Title IX Coordinator, UWO has Title IX Deputies who respond to reports of sexual misconduct, provide information and support to students and employees, and investigate and adjudicate formal complaints.
For STUDENTS, these Deputies are in the Dean of Students office.
Rights in Reporting and Formal Complaint Processes
Reporting Rights Victims/Survivors
All UWO students, employees, or guests who have experienced sexual misconduct (victims/survivors) at any UWO campus have the right to report or to not report to the University; the right to report to law enforcement and the right to decline to report to law enforcement. The University reporting form does not go to law enforcement. The right to access confidential support services on or off campus. The right to a prompt and compassionate response from the University after a report has been received. The right to be accompanied by a support person of their choice with the first outreach interview with the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy (prior to a formal complaint, if any). The right to pursue a criminal or civil process outside the University process.
After a report of sexual misconduct is received, current UWO students and employees have the right to request changes from their campus (supportive/protective measures) to help keep them safe and to ensure continuing equal access to UWO programs and activities. Such measures include changes to their working, living, academic, or transportation situations. Victims/survivors have the right to these changes even if they choose not to file a formal complaint.
Responsible Employees – All employees, except for the three University identified confidential resources, must report student disclosures (heard or observed) of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy.
Formal Complaint Rights
Title IX Coordinators and Deputies will also provide information and assistance to victim/survivors about their right to file a formal complaint and have it promptly and thoroughly investigated.
Accused individuals (respondents) have the right to be presumed not responsible until proven by a preponderance of the evidence (50% plus a feather) that they are responsible, or they are found not responsible after an investigation and hearing or appeal. Respondents also have the right to access supportive and/or protective measures and services.
All parties have the right to written notice of the allegations and investigation, a fair and impartial grievance process including investigation, hearing, appeal, or informal resolution or settlement.
All parties have the right to an advisor (who can be an attorney) once a formal complaint has been filed.
All parties have the right to review UWO sexual misconduct policy, review any evidence brought forth by the other parties, be notified and updated throughout a grievance/conduct process, to be free from harassment, intimidation, or retaliation, to provide testimony at a hearing, to cross examine witnesses (by their advisor only), to be notified in writing of the outcome of the grievance/conduct process, and the right to appeal a Title IX dismissal or a hearing decision.
Victim/survivors have a right to submit a Victim Impact Statement at the hearing or as part of an informal resolution or settlement process.
The following behaviors are prohibited under Title IX and UWO policies:
- Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment
- Sexual Assault
- Sexual Exploitation
- Dating Violence
- Domestic Violence
- Providing false information to a reporting or investigatory office on a Title IX matter
- Refusal to comply with a reasonable request on a Title IX matter
Programs & Activites
Title IX’s protection extends to a broad array of UWO programs, benefits, and services, including but not limited to:
- Access to Classes
- Financial Assistance
- Employment Assistance
- Health Insurance
- Marital or Parental Status and Pregnancy
Resources for Pregnant & Parenting Students
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex—including pregnancy and parental status—in educational programs and activities. As a pregnant or parenting student, you may be eligible for certain accommodations or reasonable adjustments.
As you work with professors around specific needs and/or missed classes, please feel free to reach out to the Dean of Students office with questions or concerns.
It is important for all members of the UWO community to know that pregnant and parenting students have certain rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Those rights include:
Should a pregnant student have specific classroom needs (e.g., larger desk, elevator access, ability to make frequent trips to restroom), faculty and/or other university personnel are required to comply.
Any absence related to pregnancy or childbirth must be excused for as long as medical personnel deem necessary. Instructors may request that students meet with an employee in the Dean of Students Office, especially if the absence is for an extended period of time. Students with children may need to be absent to care for a sick child, cover a gap in childcare, or other emergencies. Instructors are encouraged to accommodate such absences. Students should work with the Dean of Students Office if these needs arise.
Students returning to class must be allowed to return to the same academic status as before the medical leave began and given the opportunity to make up any work missed during the leave. This includes an opportunity to make-up “class participation” points that the student missed by virtue of not being in class. Further, any deadlines that were missed during the leave must be extended to allow submission of work.
Students who may be interested in taking a semester off should speak with their advisor and/or the Dean of Students office to discuss how the time off would affect the student’s academic progress. Further, students who receive financial aid should meet with the Financial Aid office to learn what implications, if any, time away has on aid.
It is important to note that pregnant or parenting students are held to the level of academic standards and must meet the learning objectives that have been set for the course. Students must work with their faculty to determine what accommodations are reasonable to allow the student to complete all work while also achieving course outcomes.
U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights – “Know Your Rights: Pregnant or Parenting? Title IX Protects You from Discrimination at School”
National Women’s Law Center – Education for Pregnant & Parenting Students