College should be a time of joy, full of learning and new experiences. However, when sexual harassment rears its destructive and insidious head, it can feel like the world is coming down around you, making it impossible to feel safe on campus. While justice may not be able to heal all wounds, it can ensure that the aggressor never hurts you or anyone else again. If you feel alone and don’t know where to start, take a quick look at your Title IX rights and how to report sexual harassment on campus.
On June 23rd of 1972, President Richard Nixon signed and enacted the Education Amendments of 1972, of which Title IX is a part. This amendment was in response to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which banned employment discrimination, but not education discrimination. Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or education program that receives funding from the federal government. In simple terms, sex-based discrimination is unfair or unfavorable treatment on the basis of someone’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or pregnancy status.
In terms of a school’s responsibilities, every school must have and publish a policy against discrimination and must clearly outline complaint procedures. Additionally, every school must have a Title IX coordinator that is responsible for ensuring the school’s compliance with Title IX, and students must have access to their contact information.
Students also have particular rights that they’re entitled to. All students have a right to present their cases, and every case must receive impartial treatment and investigation. The law also requires that the school send a notification, in writing, about the outcome of the investigation. Keep in mind that you do not have to be a direct victim of sexual harassment to report it. If you are a witness or believe sexual harassment has occurred, you can file a complaint with your school.
If you are unsure what your school’s procedures regarding sexual harassment complaints are, you can go directly to the school’s health center or a campus police officer. It is likely that this is the first step in your campus’s complaint procedures. If not, a campus officer or health center worker should be able to point you to the school’s procedures which you then must follow.
Understandably, this process may be frightening to navigate on your own. You have the right to bring a trusted friend or family member with you if you need support. Once you file the report, the school must make reasonable accommodations to protect you, which vary depending on the severity of the incident, before the investigation. They may move you or the perpetrator to a different class or dormitory.
If you’ve reported a sexual harassment case on campus, but the school seemingly does nothing about it, know that your Title IX rights state that they must conduct an investigation. If they fail to act or you believe they are not taking adequate investigation measures, you then have the right to seek legal counsel.
If you want help from a lawyer that you know you can trust and who is dedicated to your cause, contact the Law Firm of Tamara N Holder today. We’ll put you in touch with one of our Title IX lawyers immediately so that you can get the representation and compensation you deserve.