The U.S. Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provides institutions of higher education with guidance for complying with Title IX and the University strives to act in a manner consistent with the OCR guidelines. Below is an outline of best practices as outlined by OCR.
- Request for Confidentiality. The University encourages survivors of sexual violence to talk to somebody about what happened—to get the support they need —so the University can respond appropriately. If a survivor discloses an incident to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted, the University must weigh that request against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the survivor. In most cases, the victim's request for confidentiality is honored.
- Prompt Investigations. OCR states that most sexual misconduct investigations should be completed within 60 days. It is important to note that there may be times when it is not feasible to complete an investigation within 60 days. In this case, an investigator will document delays and provide both parties with regular updates.
- The Preponderance of Evidence Standard. All Title IX investigations must use this standard, which states that in order to find that a policy was violated, the evidence must suggest that it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred.
- Outcome of an Investigation. When an investigation or hearing board is complete, both parties will be notified of the outcome in writing, at the same time.
- When the University investigates sexual violence cases, the use of mediation between both parties is prohibited.
You may file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights if you feel you have been discriminated against. Please visit the OCR's Web site.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a Federal law, was historically associated with actual or perceived gender-based disparities in athletic programs. However, it is a far broader law.
Title IX actually covers all aspects of educational and academic-related programming and prohibits gender discrimination. Importantly, Title IX prohibits sexual violence and sexual misconduct which may affect the educational or campus environment.
The law provides that:
No person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
In summary, Title IX prohibits sex- or gender-based discrimination in all University of Pittsburgh programs and activities, including, but not limited to, recruiting, admissions, financial aid, academic programs, student services, counseling, guidance, advising, grievance procedures, discipline, course/class assignments, grading, recreation, athletics, housing, meal services, and employment.
In addition to being considered discriminatory, sexual violence is criminal activity. If you ever have a concern for yourself or another member of the campus community, call the University of Pittsburgh Police Department, 412-624-2121, right away.
The Clery Act
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act requires all colleges and universities that receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus. The Clery Act mandates the manner in which crime statistics are to be collected and the format in which the statistics are published. In addition to incidents reported to the University of Pittsburgh Police Department, statistics include offenses that were reported to the City of Pittsburgh police and to University of Pittsburgh officials having significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including staff members of the Title IX Office. View the University's 2014 Crime Statistics Report.