Federal and State Regulations

Title IX

On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education released new regulations requiring institutions to address sexual harassment as a form of sexual discrimination in education and programs.

“Enacted in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive Federal financial assistance. The final regulations obligate [institutions] to respond promptly and supportively to persons alleged to be victimized by sexual harassment, resolve allegations of sexual harassment promptly and accurately under a predictable, fair grievance process that provides due process protections to alleged victims and alleged perpetrators of sexual harassment, and effectively implement remedies for victims.”

Title IX defines sexual harassment as (a) unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” that it effectively denies a person equal access to education or (b) an employee that conditions aid, benefit, or service of the institution on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo).

It is important to note that while there has been a needed focus on sexual harassment, there are other forms of discrimination on the basis of sex that can occur. If you have experienced discrimination and want to know if it falls under Title IX, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.

VAWA (Violence Against Women Act)

Title IX also extends the definition of sexual harassment to include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These sexual offenses do not need to meet all three elements of “severe, pervasive and objectively offensive” as courts have ruled that a single incident of the four offenses is severe enough to have the systemic effect of denying the victim equal access to an education program or activity.

Oregon HB 3415

On June 6, 2019, the Oregon State Legislature enrolled House Bill 3415 stating that:

Each institution of higher education shall adopt written policies concerning sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that occur both on and off campus. Written policies adopted under this section must include:

(a) The adoption of the definition of sexual harassment “Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or it has created an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person.”

(b) Procedures to address sexual harassment.

(c) Provisions clarifying that the institution of higher education is required to conduct an initial inquiry, or to make contact with named parties, whenever a designated responsible employee has actual knowledge, or in the exercise of reasonable care should know, that possible sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking has occurred.

(d) A jurisdictional statement explaining that the institution will analyze and may have an obligation to respond to any complaint received by the institution, regardless of whether the incident occurred on the campus of the institution or elsewhere, that relates to:

(i) Sexual harassment;

(ii) Sexual assault;

(iii) Domestic violence;

(iv) Dating violence; or

(v) Stalking.

Institutional Compliance

Sexual misconduct against members of the campus community, guests, and visitors is not tolerated. George Fox University commits to providing an educational environment free of all forms of sex discrimination, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined in this policy and as otherwise prohibited by state and federal statutes. Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual assault and sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited at George Fox University. This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to all students, faculty and staff, to other members of the George Fox community, and to contractors, consultants and vendors doing business or providing services to the school. Conduct that does not meet the definitions stated in Title IX or Oregon HB 3415 may still be subjected to other University codes of conduct.

All members of the community must conduct themselves in a way that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The University’s sexual misconduct policy defines expectations for appropriate conduct and outlines resolution processes to address conduct that does not meet these expectations. When individuals are found to be in violation of the policy, the University will impose appropriate sanctions.

All members of the campus community, guests, and visitors are protected by this policy regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The University has jurisdiction over all acts of sexual misconduct involving members of the campus community, no matter where they occur, whether on or off campus.

This information can also be found on the George Fox University Title IX website.