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Equity Compliance Q & A

Equity Compliance Q & A

TITLE IX
INCLUSIVE ACCESSIBILITY
INSTANCES OF BIAS
EMERGENCIES  
REPORTING/ PROCESS
MANDATORY REPORTERS
RESOLUTION PROCESS
CONFIDENTIALITY / PROTECTION AGAINST RETALIATION   
PROCEDURAL EVIDENCE STANDARD

 

Title IX

Who is the Title IX Coordinator?

Amy Zavadil is the Title IX/504 Coordinator and Equity Compliance Officer. Amy oversees the Equity Compliance Office and the implementation of the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.

I thought Title IX was just about women in sports.

Title IX since its enactment as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 has been about more than sports, but it is the topic of sports that dominated the media spotlight for a number of years due to the new programs and scholarships schools created in order to comply.  Beyond sports, Title IX also addresses sex segregation, pregnancy and other issues related to gender equity. The Department of Education provides guidance over time, including the obligation of schools to promptly investigate matters of sexual discrimination and the designation of a Title IX Coordinator who can be contacted with questions or concerns about gender equity.  At UD, the Equity Compliance Officer is the Title IX Coordinator, there are also four deputy Title IX coordinators.

Can you give me some examples of sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is addressed when known. When harassment creates a hostile environment it becomes a violation of the Nondiscrimination & Anti-Harassment policy.  Some examples of possible sexual harassment include:

  • A teaching assistant or professor insists that a student have sex with them in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student responds to the request and irrespective of whether a good grade is promised or a bad grade is threatened.
  • An individual repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes via email list or on a list serv (or group chat), even when asked to stop, causing a recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
  • A professor or teaching assistant engages students in class in discussion of sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class.  They probe for explicit details and/or demand that students respond or engage in this dialogue though they are clearly uncomfortable and/or hesitant.
  • Two staff members (or group members) frequently “rate” other members bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about clothing and/or appearance, or suggesting what they might “do” with others.
  • An ex-girlfriend (or ex-boyfriend) widely spreads stories about their sex life with their former partner to the clear discomfort of the former partner, turning that person into a social pariah on campus.

These examples are taken from the model policy developed by The NCHERM Group, LLC/ATIXA, which the University of Dayton has a license to use.

If an incident of sexual violence or other discriminatory harassment occurs off-campus, can the University investigate?

Possibly. The University's Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment policy applies to behaviors that take place on campus and at university-sponsored events, and it may also apply off-campus and to actions online when the Equity Compliance Officer determines that the off-campus or online conduct affects a substantial University interest. If the off campus incident does not involve another member of the UD community, investigation may be limited. Regardless, the University will always offer options for support and resources available regardless of where the incident occurred and whether a formal investigation is undertaken.

INCLUSIVE ACCESSIBILITY

I am a student with a disability.  Do I go to the Equity Compliance Office in order to ask the University to provide me an accommodation?

No.  For student accommodation requests, you should contact the LTC's Office of Learning Resources (https://www.udayton.edu/ltc/learningresources/index.php), located in Roesch Library.  The trained staff in the Office of Learning Resources will work with you regarding necessary accommodations.

If you have an issue with how that accommodation request is handled or determined, then you could seek the assistance of the Equity Compliance Officer (“ECO”) to help resolve that issue by submitting a report online (found at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination) or making an appointment by calling 937-229-3622.  In other words, the ECO provides an avenue of appeal/grievance after the interactive accommodation process has been utilized.

I am an employee with a disability.  Do I go to the Equity Compliance Office in order to ask the University to provide me assistance or an accommodation?

No.  Employees with short or long term disability questions or seeking assistance with accommodation requests should talk to your supervisor or Human Resources (more information from HR is available on the Human Resources website https://www.udayton.edu/hr/employee_resources/disability_accommodations.php).

If you have an issue with how that accommodation request is handled or determined, then you could seek the assistance of the Equity Compliance Office (“ECO”) to help resolve that issue by submitting a report to detail the concern, the online link for such reporting is found at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination.  In other words, the ECO provides an avenue of appeal/grievance after an accommodation decision has been made.  

Are the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and Equity Compliance Resolution Process accessible to individuals with visual impairments?

Yes, the policy and resolution process are presented as web-based content, meaning they meet the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and are compliant with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. If an enlarged print version would be beneficial or there are other needs for accessing this information, contact the Equity Compliance Office.

How can I ensure that I am creating inclusive documents/events?

There are numerous ways you can make your documents and/or events inclusive. The Office of Learning Resources (OLR) has a variety of resources around creating inclusive syllabi, learning and teaching environments, as well as questions around accommodations. OLR also has a free tool to assist members of the UD community that can easily transform your documents into an alternative format that is accessible to a variety of audiences. You can find instructions on the use of this self-service tool here: https://udayton.edu/ltc/learningresources/disability/sensus_access.php. Additionally, when planning an event, it may be helpful to utilize this checklist (https://udayton.edu/studev/_resources/planning_inclusive_events.pdf) to consider and ensure you are advertising and creating an event that is inclusive to all members of our community.

You might also find this resource from Syracuse University provides some helpful tips as well:  http://sudcc.syr.edu/_documents/InclusiveEventsSeminarsGuide.pdf

Can I receive assistance if I don’t have a disability but I’m having trouble with focus or feeling distracted and overwhelmed in classes?

There are a variety of academic support resources one can take advantage of without being registered with the Office of Learning Resources (OLR).  This can include academic coaching, tutoring, supplemental instruction, global learning support or writing help through the Write Place. Students can also work with their academic advisor or professor one-on-one to evaluate their work and receive feedback that may be helpful for future studying or test taking. Explore https://udayton.edu/ltc/learningresources/index.php to learn more about the various resources and support services available.

What is Section 504?

“Section 504” refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination against an otherwise qualified individual with a disability, solely on the basis of the disability, in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance (such as colleges and universities that receive federal funding through the federal financial aid or federal grant funding).  Three of the most substantial implications of this law for colleges and universities are program accessibility; the provision of auxiliary aids; and accommodations. The University of Dayton’s Office of Learning Resources has disability specialists who can assist students who may have a need for academic and testing accommodations, alternative formats, and assistive technology. More information can be found on their webpage at www.udayton.edu/ltc/learningresources. If an individual feels their accessibility needs are not being met through the interactive process with OLR or Human Resources, appeals of their determinations, as well as complaints or concerns of discrimination based on disability, may be made to the Equity Compliance Office (ECO).

INSTANCES OF BIAS

What does the University consider a bias incident?

Bias can be defined as an inclination, temperament or prejudice for or against persons because of their memberships in a protected class, especially in a way considered to be unfair or unjust. An incident that is motivated by bias may include such things as offensive conduct or language, or expressions of disrespect toward a person or group because of actual or perceived membership in a protected class (i.e., race, color, creed, religion, ancestry, national or ethnic origin, sex/gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, cognitive or physical disability, military status, veteran status). While bias can take many shapes, it typically results in a state of emotional discomfort and insecurity for the impacted individual.  Often a bias incident may not be a violation of University policy but is likely to be inconsistent with Commitment to Community.

I’ve experienced bias, what will the University do?

It depends. When the Equity Compliance Office receives a report of a bias incident, the information submitted will be reviewed.  The impacted party has the option to meet with a staff member of the Equity Compliance Office to allow us to better understand their experience, offer resources, and discuss possible next steps. Possible next steps is greatly dependent on the information shared and wishes of the reporting party, but is meant to be an interactive process to understand and discuss expectations or action and the wishes of the impacted party.  The Equity Compliance Office also reviews information to identify opportunities for outreach and education to seek to stop the recurrence of similar behaviors.

What if I don’t know the person who made the bias statements or actions towards me or others?

It is still important to share your experience with the University so as to ensure that should there be a pattern of adverse behavior (with you or someone else), the University has record of all experiences and can work to determine who is engaging in the behavior and/or what the University needs to address regarding climate. In some instances, your experience may provide an important piece of information to help identify and address larger community concerns.  You can submit a report through an online form found here: go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination.  Additionally, the Bias Response Advisory Committee in part, reviews aggregate information compiled from reports to understand the experiences of those in our community, identify opportunities to enhance outreach and education, and explore options to address the larger, potentially systemic, issues.

EMERGENCIES  

I've been physically harmed. What should I do?

You should (1) go to a safe place; (2) tell someone (confidential support of a counselor or advocate, or reporting to Campus Police, other law enforcement, or Equity Compliance for University assistance); (3) seek medical attention; and (4) if you’re a student, you can contact the Equity Compliance Office or Dean of Students office to explore options for a change in academic or living arrangements or other safety planning.  You can report the incident to Campus Police at 911 or 937-229-2121. If you’re a student, you can seek counseling through the University Counseling Center at 937-229-3141 or with a doctor in the Health Center 937-229-3131. If you’re an employee, you can seek counseling through the Employee Assistance Program at 888-267-8126 or www.lifeworks.com.

Where can I get emergency assistance?

Call Police at 911 or Campus Police Dispatch 937-229-2121.  

REPORTING/RESOLUTION PROCESS

What happens when the Equity Compliance Office receives a report?

Typically, when the office receives information, the first step is to conduct outreach to the impacted party, offering rights and resources the office can discuss to assist an impacted individual(s). This outreach also provides the individual the opportunity to meet with a representative from the office to learn about applicable policy/process and available resources, depending upon the circumstance.  An individual can meet with the Equity Compliance Office to hear about options, and then decide what, if anything, they wish to share or discuss further. This allows the office to more fully understand the scope of the circumstances shared. Information shared in online reports, regardless of whether the impacted party opts to meet with staff, can have positive impact on campus efforts and help identify patterns of behavior that allow for some kind of response. You can submit a report online at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination or make an appointment by calling 937-229-3622..


I’m not ready to talk about what I experienced, but I want to know my options. Can I talk with someone in the Equity Compliance Office without disclosing my experience?

The Equity Compliance Office recognizes that the decision to disclose can be difficult. We encourage individuals to schedule an appointment with our office to hear more about how our office can assist them by accessing resources and/or other options for assistance. It also serves as a opportunity to learn more about what the process can look like.

Can I file an anonymous report about my own experience if I am a victim?

Yes, by submitting information using the online reporting link at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination, there is option to withhold your contact information.  However, anonymity will hamper the ability of the University to provide resolution.  

Who is considered a mandatory reporter?

All University employees are mandatory reporters EXCEPT doctors working in the student health center, counselors working in the student counseling center, or ordained members of the clergy acting in that capacity.  As a mandatory reporter, if you become aware of possible discrimination or harassment, you MUST inform the University by contacting the Equity Compliance Officer or one of the Deputy Title IX coordinators. All employees are expected to abide by the Mandatory Reporting Policy. Staff and faculty can satisfy your reporting obligation by submitting a report to detail the concern. The online link for such reporting is found at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination. Please understand that if your role in a matter is that of a mandatory reporter, you do not have the right to know the outcome of the proceedings, and the University is likely to limit the dissemination of any findings or results because of the privacy of the parties involved, sharing only what is needed to be known only with those who have a need to know (although, in limited instances – such as when safety to the community is implicated – the University will make concerns publicly known as appropriate).

I am a student employee.  Does that make me a mandatory reporter?

Yes. Student Employees are mandatory reporters for incidents observed or learned about during their role as an employee.  For example, if you are on duty at an office or building front desk and see discriminatory harassment taking place, you must report that.

What if a student (or colleague) tells me of a sexual assault that occurred several months ago?  Do I still report it?

Yes. Please report it!  The University's wants to be sure an individual knows of available rights and resources, even if a prior experience does not lead to a disciplinary investigation there may be safety measures or other support available to be discussed.  Thus, it doesn't matter if the sexual assault occurred months or years prior; the University still must take steps to find out whether there may be current needs to be addressed. The University does not have a limit on when a matter can be reported, although the options for response may be limited or impacted the longer time has passed.  An individual’s delay in sharing information about an incident is not unheard of, particularly in cases of sexual violence or other sexual misconduct, where an individual might be traumatized, unsure about their experience, or too embarrassed to bring the matter forward when it happens but, after some passage of time (and perhaps as part of their healing process), ultimately comes forward and alerts the University of what happened.  

What if I overhear two people on campus talking in a way that I perceive to be offensive and discriminatory?  Can I try to put a stop to that, or do I just report the incident?

If you witness discriminatory behavior taking place, please intervene (if you can do so safely) and try to put a stop to it.  Remember that intervention does not have to be directly addressing troubling behavior, in some circumstances distraction, such as changing the subject or redirecting attention, can stop the behavior.  There might be additional opportunity to privately address the behavior with the individual. In addition, deferring to someone else - such as calling over a friend or supervisor - can also be an effective means to stop adverse behavior.

Please still report it to the Equity Compliance Office (by completing an online report, the link can be found at go.udayton.edu/nondiscirmination).  Of course, if the behavior you are witnessing is physically dangerous such that you are concerned for safety of you or others, please call Public Safety at 937-229-2121 for on campus emergency assistance or call 911 when away from campus.

What if I’ve heard about a bias incident, discrimination, or harassment second hand?  Should I still report it?

Yes.  Do not assume others have reported it.  If you’ve heard about an incident and you do not know for certain if anyone else has reported it, the best course is to go ahead and report it yourself, clearly describing how you learned of the circumstances.  The Equity Compliance Office will sort through whether any reports are duplicative, i.e., about the same incident.

If I report a discriminatory or harassing incident to Public Safety, do I have to report it here too?

If you are a mandatory reporter, Yes.  Reporting it both places helps ensure that prompt, appropriate action is taken on all fronts.

If I want to be sure others know I may need to share information (as a mandatory reporter), is there something I can say if I think someone is about to tell me about discrimination or harassment that he or she has experienced?

If someone approaches you as though he or she is going to share something very personal with you, we suggest you say something along the following lines:

“I appreciate your willingness in coming me.  It is important you understand that I may not be able to keep what you tell me confidential, I want to protect your privacy but may need to share information with my supervisor or the Equity Compliance Office as I am required.  But if you are comfortable talking with me, I am here to listen. If you are unsure about sharing, I can help connect you to a confidential resource such as the University’s Health Center, Counseling Center or Ordained Clergy. Please know that I do want to be helpful to you, so if you’d like to explore available options together, I can help connect you with the Equity Compliance Office.

If someone has disclosed information to you, it may be helpful to state the following: “Thank you for your willingness to share this with me, and I am sorry to hear of your experience. Please know that the University takes these matters seriously and wants to help.  There are resources and options available. Can I help you explore these options?”

If I’ve reported a matter as a mandatory reporter, does that mean I’m involved throughout the case?

First of all, if you’ve reported a matter – thank you.  Your role in reporting helps the University respond appropriately to claims that are raised.  But once you’ve done that step of reporting, your role is finished, except if the investigators feel they  need to interview you as they gather evidence. Otherwise you do not have a continuing role in the matter, as it is the Equity Compliance Officer and their team who carry the matter forward and ensure that the University remedies any situation needing remedying.  Please understand that if your role in a matter is that of a mandatory reporter, you do not have the right to know the outcome of the proceedings, and the University is likely to limit the dissemination of any findings or results because of the privacy of the parties involved (although, in limited instances – such as when safety to the community is implicated – the University will make concerns publicly known as appropriate).

I understand that as an employee I am a mandatory reporter.  Does that mean I am supposed to investigate possible violations?

No. As a mandatory reporter, your job is simply to report any possible incidents of which you become aware to the Equity Compliance Officer.  It is not an individual employee’s role to conduct an investigation. You fulfill your duty by sharing information when you witness or are told about matters that may indicate discrimination or harassment by using the online report form found at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination (mandatory reporters can also submit a report, seek consultation, and/or ask questions by contacting the Office at 937-229-3622).  You provide a valuable service to the University community simply by reporting behavior or experiences that may be discriminatory or harassing.  The Equity Compliance Office reviews all information received to determine appropriate follow up and response.

RESOLUTION PROCESS

I want to talk with someone about a violation of the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. I think something that happened to me (or something that I witnessed) may be a violation of this policy, and I want to know what my options are.  How do I do that?

You can share your information with the Equity Compliance Office by submitting a report using the link at go.udayton.edu/nondiscrimination, or you can contact the Equity Compliance Officer (ECO) directly, by phone at 937-229-3622 or by email at azavadil1@udayton.edu.

I am a big believer in trying to work things out informally.  Is that a possibility under the Equity Compliance Resolution Process?

Yes, for many types of incidents or adverse interactions an informal process is a great option.  The University would never require or advise that anyone try to work things out with someone who sexually assaulted him or her or otherwise engaged in an act of violence.  But when the matter involves language or behaviors that you believe might be corrected if the other person knew they were objectionable, the University encourages you to talk with him or her if you prefer.  If you would like to seek some guidance about how to have such conversation, you can schedule to meet with the Equity Compliance Officer for consultation. If you do file a detailed report and both parties agree, the University may attempt to help you informally resolve the dispute, if appropriate, through informal means, such as coordinating a facilitated conversation.

The Equity Compliance Resolution Process says I can bring a "support person" with me as part of the resolution process.  What does that mean?

Both reporting parties (impacted individual / complainant) and responding parties (respondent) have a right to be accompanied by a support person of their choosing, this person may be a friend, family member, trusted professional including an attorney or legal advisor.  The role of the support person is to serve as an advisor to a reporting or responding party. The support person may be present at interviews and other proceedings at which the party is attending, but is not a participant permitted to speak on behalf of the party. The support person cannot be someone who may be called as a witness or otherwise participating in the resolution.

Who are the investigators in the resolution process?

Typically*, investigators are University staff and faculty who have been specifically trained to conduct the investigations required by the Equity Compliance Resolution Process. The Equity Compliance Officer assigns the investigation team and provides guidance regarding process, as needed.  Investigators are selected giving consideration to many factors, including seeking to avoid actual or perceived conflict-of-interest; the Equity Compliance Office retains the discretion to hire outside investigators to serve a case when needed.

*As explained in Section 14 of the Equity Compliance Resolution Process, in some circumstances an outside investigator may be retained.

I was a witness in an investigation.  Do I have the right to know how things turned out, or to know that the investigation is over?

In the interest of protecting privacy for all involved, individuals who participate as witnesses or who shared information about a matter under investigation do not receive updates or outcome information.

CONFIDENTIALITY / PROTECTION AGAINST RETALIATION    

If I tell someone who works at the University about an incident of discrimination or harassment, can he or she keep it a secret (i.e., keep it confidential between only the two of us)?

That depends on whom you tell and what exactly you are sharing.  Confidential support can be provided by clinicians of the Counseling Center and/or Health Center, as well as ordained clergy of Campus Ministry.  These resources maintain confidentiality and will not share information except at your request.

Other staff and faculty are expected to protect privacy but must report potential matters of discrimination or harassing behavior to the Equity Compliance Office (per the University’s Mandatory Reporting Policy) to insure impacted parties receive information about rights and resources.  Every effort is made to protect individual privacy.

  • Confidential support for students is available through the Counseling Center, Gosiger Hall.Call 937-229-3141 to schedule an appointment.
  • Confidential support for employees is available through the contracted Employee Assistance Program, Lifeworks.  More information can be found on the HR benefits website, or by visiting lifeworks.com.

Individuals can consult with the Equity Compliance Office by sharing information (even that is not identifiable (e.g. does not includes names or specific details)) to learn more about options that may be available for reporting and resources.

What confidential options are available?

There are a few resources that may maintain confidentiality, offering options and a space for listening without any obligation to inform University officials or an outside agency unless the reporting party (impacted party/complainant) requests that the information be shared. If a party who has experienced an incident of discrimination or harassment does not desire any type of action by the University and would like the details of the incident to be kept confidential, but desires to confide in someone, the party may speak with:

  • a counselor at the University Counseling Center 937-229-3141 (students);
  • a doctor at the Health Center 937-229-3131 (students);
  • an ordained member of the clergy through Campus Ministry 937-229-3339 (students and employees);
  • a counselor through the Employee Assistance Program, www.lifeworks.com (employees);
  • off-campus local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, local or state assistance agencies, ordained clergy members.

Other campus resources, such as public safety or most staff and faculty who are “Responsible employees,” cannot by law provide confidentiality (although they will make reasonable efforts to limit disclosure of information so as to protect privacy, sharing only what is needed to be shared with those who have a need to know). These employees do need to share information about potential discrimination or harassment with the Equity Compliance Office.  Reporting individuals may speak with the Equity Compliance Office to inquire about how their identity may be protected if they wish to share information but also remain confidential (this may limit options for resolution).

Can you explain in what ways the University attempts to keep its investigation confidential?

The University expects that privacy is protected for those reporting or otherwise involved in any report or investigation related to the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy.  Only a small group of officials who need to know may be told what they need to know, including but not limited to: University Policy/Public Safety, relevant Deputy Coordinator(s), members of Threat Assessment Team, and/or staff who may need some information to coordinate remedial action. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve privacy.  All who are made aware of details are also reminded of this privacy expectation. Finally, the records of the Equity Compliance Office are also maintained centrally and securely so as to protect privacy.

The University does not require that participants in an investigation (reporting and responding parties) refrain from discussing the investigation, though those who are involved in an investigation are encouraged to keep the matters discussed private, out of concern for the integrity of the process and respect for all parties involved.    


If I submit a report and/or participate in an Equity Compliance Resolution Process, am I protected from retaliation?

Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, supporting a party bringing forward a report or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of a policy violation is a serious violation of University policy and will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to Equity Compliance Office and will be promptly investigated. The University will take appropriate steps to help protect individuals who may be or fear they may be subjected to retaliation.

PROCEDURAL EVIDENTIARY STANDARDS    

I'm a student who was accused of a crime but the prosecutor decided not to press charges.  Yet the University is still pursuing the matter through University procedures. How?

The University's policy is separate from the legal code of the State of Ohio.  Policy standards of decision making are not the same as criminal standards of evidence.  That is, the University's Policy and Code of Conduct prohibits behaviors that do not amount to a crime, as well as some behaviors that are both prohibited by the University and may violate law. Additionally, the University applies a different standard of proof in University procedures (a "preponderance of evidence" standard) rather than the criminal system's standard of proof (the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard).  The University process will typically proceed regardless of the status of any related criminal charge.

The criminal justice system is separate and distinct from the University’s policy and conduct process.  In the criminal justice system, the inquiry focuses on whether an individual violated the law. By contrast, in a University proceeding, the inquiry focuses on whether the individual violated the University’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy and/or Code of Conduct (or other University policy). Because the standards for pursuing and completing criminal investigations are different from those used for University investigations, the termination of a criminal investigation without an arrest or conviction is not determinative of whether or not a University policy has been violated.


What exactly is "preponderance of evidence"?

Schools use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof when evaluating reports of behavior violation, including sex-based discrimination, harassment, or violence. University procedures gather information and related evidence to make a determination as to whether violation of policy has occurred.  The preponderance of the evidence is met if, when the available evidence is considered, it is determined to be more likely than not (a greater than 50 percent probability) that the violation occurred.

CONTACT

Equity Compliance Office - Room 300

St. Mary's Hall
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469 - 1641
937-229-3622
Email