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Equal Opportunity and Inclusion

EOI & TITLE IX GUIDANCE

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VOL. 3 , ISSUE 1
AUGUST 2022

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Department of Education: Office of Civil Rights

The U.S. Department of Education  Office for Civil Rights (OCR)  is a federal agency with the responsibility of ensuring equal access to education through the enforcement of civil rights. Specifically, this office is responsible for enforcing numerous federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. This includes all public education institutions - i.e., all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, that receive U.S. Department of Education funds.

The federal laws that OCR enforces prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age. The agency is specifically responsible for enforcing two laws that prohibit discrimination based on disability in public education, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

EOI is charged with ensuring that all members of the Osprey community are familiar with the areas that OCR enforces so that we limit any potential issues and protect the federal funding received by the university to operate the programs and services provided for the benefit of our students.


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Audit Preparation is Ongoing

If you know anything about IRS audits, you know that if you wait until you are notified of the audit, it is too late to get your documents in order. An audit of the university’s procedures regarding Title IX compliance is no different. There are certain things that ALL members of the UNF community should know. If we are audited regarding our Title IX procedures, the auditors will ask the same questions of different community members to see if they receive the same response. If they do, it indicates compliance within our organization. If they receive different answers from different people, it shows the potential for problems and that more training and education is required.

The Office of Civil Rights calls their audits, “compliance reviews.” In preparation for a future visit by the OCR, EOI will periodically present questions and answers you should expect in an audit. This newsletter will cover information from the UNF Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment Regulation. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call EOI at extension 2507.

QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD BE ABLE TO ANSWER

Answers are provided below.

What is an OCR compliance review?

What specifically can OCR obtain from UNF employees during a “compliance review?”

What is the name of the university regulation that covers sexual misconduct?

What actions fall under the sexual misconduct umbrella at UNF?

Who is included in the definition of “University Community?”

How does UNF train its community on sexual misconduct?

“What does the sexual misconduct training include?”

What is the name of the Title IX Coordinator?

Where is the Title IX Office located?

Where can I find a list of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators?

How is sexual harassment defined in the regulation?

When is a student employee considered a responsible employee for this Regulation?

How does the Regulation define stalking?

What supportive measures are offered by UNF?

How do you report sexual misconduct?

Is it possible to report sexual misconduct anonymously?

What triggers an investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct?

What is the burden of proof used in sexual misconduct investigations?

Are parties involved in an investigation allowed to examine the evidence collected?

What is the university policy regarding amorous relationships between faculty or staff and students?


ANSWER KEY TO QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD KNOW 

What is an OCR compliance review?

OCR conducts “compliance reviews” to determine if policies, procedures and actions of covered entities are consistent with civil rights laws.

What specifically can OCR obtain from UNF employees during a “compliance review?”

OCR may access information maintained by the university that is necessary to determine the compliance status of the allegations under investigation or, during monitoring, the university’s compliance with a resolution agreement. Generally, this includes access to books, records, and accounts, including electronic storage media; retrieval systems and photocopies; and other sources of information, including witnesses and the recipient’s facilities. OCR may also obtain information from UNF’s public websites, climate surveys, and other self-assessment tools.

Refusal to permit OCR access to its employees during the recipient’s regular business hours; failing to provide information by virtue of the refusal of one of its employees to do so or to provide access to information maintained exclusively by an employee in his/her official capacity; or refusing to complete applicable Office of Management and Budget-approved compliance and survey forms relevant to an investigation may cause OCR to issue a Letter of Enforcement Action against the University.

What is the name of the university regulations that covers sexual misconduct?

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment

What actions fall under the sexual misconduct umbrella at UNF?

Sexual harassment and sexual violence (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking). Sexual Misconduct may constitute crimes (e.g., sexual battery, rape and related sex crimes), or may be noncriminal conduct (e.g., sexual harassment). Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex. This Regulation is applicable regardless of the sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity.

Who is included in the definition of “University Community?”

"University Community" is defined to refer to any person who is a student; faculty and/or staff member; University official; any other person employed or contracted with the University; and any other individual interacting with the University.

How does UNF train is community on sexual misconduct?

Training is provided to new faculty members and employees during orientation, during admissions for students, and annually thereafter for all members of the community.

“What does the sexual misconduct training include?”

Information regarding conduct and behaviors that constitute Sexual Misconduct, how to report allegations of Sexual Misconduct, and what services are available at the University and in the community to assist individuals who believe they have been subjected to Sexual Misconduct.

What is the name of the Title IX Coordinator?

Marlynn Jones

Where is the Title IX Office located?

J.J. Daniel Hall Building 1, First Floor, Suite 1200, off the Bamboo Garden

Where can I find a list of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators?

On the EOI webpages related to Title IX and who to call: https://www.unf.edu/title-IX/who-to-call.html .

How is sexual harassment defined in the regulation?

"Sexual Harassment" means unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal, written, or electronic communications or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is objectively offensive and sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive so as to deny or limit an individual's ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs or activities, or substantially interfere with or alter the conditions of an employee's employment.

Sexual harassment can also occur as quid pro quo harassment, such as when

  • Submission to such conduct or request is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a status in a course, program, or activity, or of academic achievement; or
  • Submission to such conduct or request is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, salary increase, position advancement, or other employment-related benefits; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct or request by an individual is used as the basis for an academic decision or employment decision affecting such individuals.

Sexual harassment can occur to any member of the University Community, on or off campus. It includes conduct that is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar laws.

Please provide examples of behavior that may be defined as “Sexual harassment.”

The following are examples of unwelcome conduct that, when sex-based, may rise to the level of Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Harassment.  

  • Inappropriate touching or brushing against the body of another including, but not limited to patting, fondling, massaging, caressing, pinching, attempted or actual kissing.
  • Requesting sex or sexual acts in exchange for an occupational or educational benefit.
  • Repetitive propositions, invitations or pressure for sexual activity by a party when the other party finds the propositions and invitations to be unwelcome.
  • Suggestive or inappropriate sex-based communications, notes, letters, e-mail, text messages, contact through social media (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), or other written materials.
  • Displaying, transmitting, or sending sexually based suggestive or inappropriate photographs, videos, computer images, slides, calendars, cartoons, or drawings through any medium.
  • Sexual innuendo, comments, or remarks about a person's clothing, body, or activities which places an individual in fear of imminent physical or psychological harm or injury.
  • Actual or implied sexual threats or intimidation which places an individual in fear of imminent physical or psychological harm or injury.
  • Intentionally mis-gendering an individual in a manner that is severe or pervasive.

 

When is a student employee considered a responsible employee for this Regulation?

When the student works in one of the following areas:

  • Graduate Teaching Assistants and Graduate Research Assistants;
  • The Athletics department; or
  • UNF Housing and Residence Life.

This definition of "Responsible Employee" does not absolve anyone with knowledge or reason to suspect child abuse, abandonment, or neglect, of the responsibility to report relevant information to the Department of Children and Families in accordance with Florida Statute section 39.201, and Board of Governors Regulation 3.002.

How does the Regulation define stalking?

"Stalking" means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:  

  1. fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  2. suffer substantial emotional distress.

What supportive measures are offered by UNF?

Supportive Measures mean non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint, or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University's education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University's educational environment, or deter Sexual Misconduct. Supportive Measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.

How do you report sexual misconduct?

If you believe that you have experienced, witnessed, or learned of Sexual Misconduct, notify the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible after the incident. You do not have to tolerate unacceptable behavior, regardless of who is creating the situation. There is no specific time frame for individuals who have experienced Sexual Misconduct to make a report pursuant to this Regulation. Individuals are, however, encouraged to make a report soon after the incident in order to maximize UNF's ability to investigate and resolve the matter. Note that under the Student Code of Conduct, generally a student will not be charged with a violation of the Student Code of Conduct more than one year after the date the conduct occurred or was discovered, whichever is later.

Responsible Employees and those designated as a Campus Security Authorities must report allegations of Sexual Misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Additionally, anyone who interacts in our University Community and believes that they have experienced, learned of, or witnessed a violation of this Regulation is strongly encouraged to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator.

Any person may report Sexual Misconduct (whether or not the person reporting is the alleged victim of Sexual Misconduct) in person, by mail, by telephone, by email using the contact information for the Title IX Coordinator as listed in this policy, or the web portal found in the definition of Formal Complaint. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number, email address, mail to the office address listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or through the web portal.

Is it possible to report sexual misconduct anonymously?

Individuals may make an anonymous report concerning an instance of Sexual Misconduct by completing a form found at the following website:  https://www.unf.edu/internal-auditing/unf-ethics-hotline.html  or using UPD's "Silent Witness" procedure.

Anonymous reporting is not permitted for Responsible Employees who are relaying another individual's potential incident of Sexual Misconduct that has come to their attention.

However, anonymous reporting may limit the University's ability to investigate, respond, and take action.

What triggers an investigation into a claim of sexual misconduct?

The University's investigation is triggered by the filing of a Formal Complaint, whether by the Complainant or Title IX Coordinator. In order to facilitate the investigation, a Formal Complaint should include as many details of the incident as possible. For example, providing names of the individuals involved and names of any witnesses can help expedite the investigation.

What is the burden of proof used in sexual misconduct investigations?

The burden of gathering evidence and burden of proof is on the University. For example, in a case where consent is a key issue, this means that the University will not shift the burden of proof to a Respondent to prove consent, and will not shift that burden to a Complainant to prove absence of consent

Preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not is the standard of proof used by UNF.

Are parties involved in an investigation allowed to examine the evidence collected?

Yes. The Title IX Coordinator will provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including the evidence upon which University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation. Prior to completion of the investigative report, the University must send to each party and the party's advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will be given at least 10 days to submit a written response. The investigator will consider any written responses prior to completion of the investigative report.

The University will also make all directly related evidence subject to the parties' inspection and review available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.

The Title IX Coordinator will send the parties and their advisors an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, with at least 10 days for the parties to respond, prior to a hearing or determination of responsibility.

What is the university policy regarding amorous relationships between faculty or staff and students?

It is not uncommon for University Community members who study, work or interact together to develop caring relationships. However, when persons in positions of unequal power engage in amorous or sexual relationships (e.g., between a supervisor and an employee, faculty member and student, or staff member and student), the person of greater power places themselves at risk of being accused of sexual harassment, either during the relationship or after the relationship ends. Accordingly, the University has adopted a policy prohibiting amorous or sexual relationships where one individual in the relationship is in a position to exercise authority such that it could impact the educational or work performance of the other individual. Please refer to the Amorous or Sexual Relationships Policy (1.0070P).


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INVESTIGATIONS

Total EOI Investigations  

2019-2020 (July 1 - June 30) 129 
2020-2021 (July 1 - June 30) 124 

 

Current EOI Investigations 2022-2023

Total Investigations       29 
Cases Opened in July 
Cases Closed in July 15 
Referred to OSAR    

As of July 31, 2022

Note: Cases involving students must be closed by EOI before it can be referred to OSAR.    


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EOI Office Staff Directory

Director and Title IX Coordinator

Marlynn Jones, Esquire

Marlynn.jones@unf.edu

 Title IX and Civil Rights Investigator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Fantei Norman

Fantei.norman@unf.edu

EOI Investigator

Leslie Hicks

Leslie.Hicks@unf.edu  

EOI Coordinator

Vacant



Office of Equal Opportunity & Inclusion
1 UNF Drive, Building 1, Suite 1200, Jacksonville, FL 32224
904-620-2507
Edited by: Marlynn R. Jones, Esquire