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Title IX and Colorado College: Know Your Rights

When people speak about Title IX they are referring to 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a), which says:

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.

Title IX forbids sex discrimination in all university student services and academic programs, including admissions, financial aid, academic advising, housing, athletics, recreational services, college residential life programs, health services, counseling and psychological services, Registrar's office, classroom assignments, grading, recruitment, and discipline. Title IX applies to any educational institution that receives federal funding or aid. Although Title IX is a brief statute, the scope is very broad. For example, sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence since it creates a hostile educational environment. Under Title IX, schools are legally required to respond to and remedy hostile educational environments that may potentially interfere with a student’s ability to learn or participate in educational or extracurricular activities. Failure to do so would be considered a violation that potentially jeopardizes federal funding.

What does compliance look like?

Colorado College disseminates a notice of nondiscrimination.

Students can access our Anti-Discrimination Policies and Procedures online in The Pathfinder and also in our Annual Security Report (ASR) through Campus Safety.  CC policies are detailed and very clear that sexual harassment and violence are prohibited under Title IX and will not be tolerated.

Colorado College has a Title IX Coordinator.

Title IX Coordinator Gail Murphy GeissProfessor Gail Murphy-Geiss is the Title IX Coordinator at CC.  In her role, she ensures that CC remains compliant with Title IX, coordinates the investigation and disciplinary process, and looks for patterns or systematic problems with compliance to ensure federal obligations are met.

Professor Gail Murphy-Geiss
Palmer 131A
x6868
gmurphygeiss@coloradocollege.edu

Colorado College has a clear grievance process for sex discrimination.

If a student is navigating a situation involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, they have many reporting options moving forward, ranging from informal to informal responses. Processes and procedures for filing complaints are detailed in the Anti-Discrimination Policy and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Under Title IX, the grievance procedure must be both “prompt and equitable,” meaning it must be a timely response to discrimination and provide both parties equivalent rights during the investigative process. At CC, investigations are completed within a 60 days and both parties are offered the same options. Both parties have the right to have relevant witnesses speak on their behalf, both have the right to appeal, and both are entitled to an adviser or their choice to be present during the investigation. If a student has questions about their options or the process, they can contact the Title IX Coordinator or may also speak confidentially with the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator. The SARC can be reached in 219 Worner, x8101, or Tara.Misra@ColoradoCollege.edu.

Colorado College employees are trained to address sexual violence.

Faculty and staff involved in investigation and adjudication of sex discrimination complaints receive comprehensive training regarding dynamics and impact of sexual violence. Training is also campus-wide and ongoing for Residence Life staff, Campus Safety, Athletics, and academic departments.

Colorado College relies on the appropriate standard of evidence for disciplinary hearings.

Since Title IX is a federal civil right, the appropriate standard of evidence is a “preponderance of the evidence.” This standard of evidence means that an investigation must determine whether a complaint of sex discrimination is “more likely than not” to have occurred or 51% likely to have occurred. This standard applies for all complaints of sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and violence, because Title IX outlines standards for school disciplinary processes. This is different than the standard used in criminal complaints, which is considered the highest standard of evidence, “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

Colorado College does not tolerate retaliation due to a Title IX or sexual misconduct complaint.

As a federal civil right, Title IX automatically protects any individual who reports sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence against retaliation. This means employees and third party reports are protected along with reporting victims from any adverse consequence, harassment, intimidation, or discrimination that is causally related to reporting sex discrimination under Title IX.

How can you enforce Title IX at Colorado College?

Students and other concerned third parties have the right to report sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence to a school. Schools who fail to appropriately respond can suffer consequences under Title IX, such as the loss of federal funding, a non-compliance finding, a voluntary resolution agreement, or a lawsuit. The U.S. Department of Education accepts Title IX complaints, which can be reported to OCR@ed.gov. Additionally, Title IX allows harmed individuals to bring a private civil suit to seek money damages and an injunction to stop discriminatory practices.