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Equal Opportunity and Inclusion

EOI & TITLE IX GUIDANCE: February 2021


University of North Florida Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion Newsletter



Top Stories in this Issue

Title IX in red letters

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal law that states: "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."

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What is Covered Under Title IX?

Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs, services and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. The law applies to every aspect of education, including programs and activities such as: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, course offerings, student health and insurance benefits and/or other services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education and athletics, housing, marital and parental status of students, and employment. Forms of discrimination include sex-based discrimination, gender-based harassment, sexual harassment.

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Lessons Learned from Penn State University

In a report issued March 2020, the Office of Civil Rights determined that Penn State University (PSU) violated the Title IX. Specifically:

  • The University failed to respond promptly and equitably to complaints of sexual harassment, received during the 2016-17 academic year and complaints initially reported to the Athletic Department during the 2015-16 and 2017-18 academic years.
  • During the 2019-20 academic year, the University's Title IX policies and procedures failed to provide adequate notice to students and employees of the procedures, including where complaints may be filed;
    • to ensure adequate, reliable, and impartial investigations;
    • to provide procedures for complaints alleging gender discrimination by employees and third parties;
    • to provide designated and reasonably prompt timeframes for the major stages of the complaint process; and
    • to provide notice of the outcome of complaints to the parties.
  • During the 2016-17 academic year, the University failed to maintain records necessary to enable OCR to ascertain whether the University is in compliance with Title IX. OCR also has the following concerns:
    • From the 2017-18 through the 2019-20 academic years, the University's practice was to impose interim suspensions prior to providing respondents the opportunity to respond to allegations.
    • From the 2017-18 through the 2018-19 academic years, the University excluded live testimony by nonparty witnesses at hearings which may have precluded relevant information at hearings.

On March 18, 2020, the University voluntarily entered into a resolution agreement, which, when fully implemented, will resolve the aforementioned violations and concerns.

At UNF, we want to learn from PSU and to ensure that we do not have similar issues.

ISSUE #1: OCR found significant delays in persons on campus reporting knowledge of sexual misconduct to the EOI office counterpart at PSU.

UNF PROCEDURE : UNF REQUIRES all Responsible Employees to IMMEDIATELY notify EOI of any information obtained related to or regarding any allegations of sexual misconduct. EOI backs up that procedure with continual and ongoing training to ensure everyone is aware of their obligations.

ISSUE #2 : There was no record of the PSU complainant being notified of the outcome of the investigation.

UNF PROCEDURE : Both parties are notified of the outcome of a case simultaneously. That communications is a part of the paper and electronic file and the communications is documented in Maxient.

ISSUE #3 : There was no assessment of whether or not interim measures were appropriate at PSU.

UNF PROCEDURE : The Title IX Coordinator meets with the Complainant in each case of sexual misconduct to discuss supportive measures the university may be able to provide. These supportive measures are coordinated with campus partners, including Dean of Students, University Ombudsman, and Housing and Residence Life.

ISSUE #4 : The PSU head coach failed to report an allegation of potential sexual harassment involving an assistant coach to the University.

UNF PROCEDURE : The Title IX Coordinator meets with Athletics Department Staff each semester to review sexual misconduct, including the reporting protocols required by Responsible Employees.

ISSUE #5 : The two sets of procedures for cases contained different timeframes.

UNF PROCEDURE: The University's Student Code of Conduct and the University's Sexual Misconduct Regulation were reviewed and revised in 2019. Each office was assisted by the General Counsel's Office to make sure regulations have timeframes that mirror each other.

To avoid similar problems with OCR ALL Responsible Employees MUST notify EOI of ANY information received regarding acts that could be perceived as sexual misconduct immediately upon receipt of the information. Learn more information regarding the obligations of Responsible Employees.

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EOI Office Staff Directory

Director and Title IX Coordinator
Marlynn Jones, Esquire


Title IX & Civil Rights Investigator

Christina Chatman

EOI Coordinator 

Katie Haft


EOI Coordinator 

Fantei Norman

Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion
1 UNF Drive, Building 1, Suite 1200, Jacksonville, FL 32224
Edited by: Marlynn R. Jones, Esquire