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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is sexual harassment?

A: An unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's employment or education, 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as the basis for a decision affecting that person's employment or education, and/or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's employment or education or creating an intimidating hostile or offensive employment or educational environment and has no legitimate relationship to the subject matter of a course or academic research. Sexual harassment also includes non-sexual harassment or discrimination of a person because of the person's sex and/or gender including harassment based on the person's nonconformity with gender stereotypes


Q: Does sexual harassment have to occur over a long amount of time to be considered actionable?

A: No. A single incident can be sexual harassment.


Q: What is gender-based discrimination?

A: Conduct that interferes with an individual's employment or educational performance and has the purpose or effect of denying or limiting an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from the school's programs based on a person's gender. Gender discrimination includes sex equity, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and sexual violence (which is considered a subset of sexual harassment).


Q: Can a consensual sexual relationship between two people be deemed as sexual harassment?

A: The issue is whether the advances are welcome. One may consent and yet not welcome the advances. In situations involving two people of unequal status, a subordinate may be unable to refuse sexual advances do the fear of adverse employment or education action.


Q: Will what I say remain confidential?

A: Confidentiality shall be maintained to the greatest extent possible within the requirements of conducting reasonable investigations. Only those who have an immediate need to know may find out the identity of the parties. However, Responsible Employees have a duty to notify the Title IX Coordinator.


Q: Can a sexually charged joke constitute sexual harassment?

A: It can. There are two components. A victim's subjective standard and reasonable person's objective standard to the joke. The victim could allege that they laughed to avoid an adverse reaction from the rest of the coworkers or their superior. 


Q: Who enforces Title IX?

A: The United States Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR).


Q: Does Title IX only apply to female students?

A: Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment, or violence.


Q: What is the retaliation policy?

A: Retaliation against any person who alleges a violation of the Gender-Based Sexual Misconduct Policy or who reports or assists SUNO in the investigation of a complaint under this policy may result in disciplinary action up to and including termination or expulsion by SUNO. Retaliation against any person who is the Complainant/victim of sexual misconduct is prohibited as well. There will be no retaliation against those who report or assist the SUNO campus in the investigation of a complaint. Retaliation against the Complainant or witnesses may warrant a separate University judicial process hearing.


Q: How much does filing a Title IX complaint cost?

A: If you need counseling, tutoring, and changes to your campus housing or other remedies in order to continue your education, your school should provide these at no cost to you. Similarly, you should not suffer the financial burden of your school's mistakes. If your school fails to take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the violence and prevent its recurrence, your school may be required to reimburse lost tuition and related expenses. You can file a formal Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education or seek legal counsel to enforce your right to education under Title IX. It is your choice how to handle sexual harassment or violence, but realize that you have a right to your education and that your school MUST take steps to ensure you can learn free from a hostile environment.


Q: How does Title IX apply to sports?

A: Title IX requires that educational institutions (1) provide male and female students with equal opportunities to play sports, (2) give male and female athletes their fair share of athletic scholarship dollars, and (3) provide equal benefits and services (such as facilities, coaching, and publicity) to male and female athletes overall. 


Q: Does Title IX include pregnancy and parental status?

A: Yes. 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. Title IX makes it illegal to discriminate because of sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions, including recovery. A student seeking an adjustment due to pregnancy or childbirth should discuss the request with their instructor. The instructor must grant the adjustments required by Title IX.