Clemson University has implemented procedures for employees and students in accordance with new regulations required by the U.S. Department of Education through Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.

Carillon Garden image during the Spring 2020 semester

Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Title IX is a gender equity law prohibiting discrimination based on gender in education programs and activities receiving federal funding. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence and other forms of nonconsensual sexual misconduct, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited under this law.

“We take our obligations under Title IX very seriously and are committed to providing a higher education environment that is free from gender-based discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence,” said Alesia Smith, who has served as Clemson’s Title IX coordinator since 2016. “We want students, faculty and staff to know these changes are designed to ensure everyone feels safe, respected and supported as members of our community.”

This summer, the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights issued new rules for how institutions receiving federal financial assistance must respond to complaints of sexual harassment, which includes sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.

Online training will be required for Title IX coordinators, investigators, advisors and decision-makers, all University employees and first-year students. In addition, continuing students are highly encouraged to complete the training. Updated materials will be posted to Clemson’s Title IX website as soon as they are available.

SCOPE OF TITLE IX

Under the new regulations, what can be considered a Title IX case is limited to an allegation of sexual harassment that occurs in an education program or activity and against a person in the United States.

One of the changes is how sexual harassment is defined. It must satisfy one or more of the following requirements to be considered sexual harassment under Title IX:

  • An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo);
  • 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 recipient’s education program or activity; or
  • Sexual assault (as defined by the Clery Act), stalking, dating violence and domestic violence (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act).

Allegations will be reviewed centrally by Clemson’s Title IX coordinator or appointed deputy Title IX coordinators to determine if they meet the criteria above. If the above criteria are met, students will typically be referred to the Office of Community and Ethical Standards (OCES) and employees to the Office of Human Resources (HR) for adjudication. The adjudication process includes an investigation, assistance from a trained advisor, a live hearing with cross-examination and a right to an appeal. Matters that do not fall within the scope of Title IX could still be actionable under the Student Code of Conduct or applicable employment policies.

Supportive measures will be offered as appropriate and reasonably available. Examples of non-disciplinary, non-punitive supportive measures include access to Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), academic support such as class section changes, mutual no-contact orders, University housing relocation, campus escort services and increased patrols and monitoring of campus areas.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION

Another change set forth with the new regulations is the option of informal resolution in lieu of a formal resolution. After a formal complaint is filed, a complainant and respondent may voluntarily agree to initiate an informal process. Participation in this process is voluntary and can be requested to end at any time by either party. One important exception is that informal resolution cannot be used if the complainant is a student and respondent is an employee.

Details on informal resolution will be made available on Clemson’s Title IX website in the future.