By Bill Studenc
Following a recent regulatory overhaul of federal Title IX civil rights legislation by the U.S. Department of Education, Western Carolina University has revamped its Title IX-related policies and procedures.
The university adopted Policy 129 “Title IX Sexual Harassment” on Aug. 4. Taking effect Friday, Aug. 14, the policy is designed to provide an independent policy and framework to protect employees, visitors and students from sexual harassment within any education program or activity, said Ivy Gibson, WCU’s associate general counsel and Title IX coordinator.
Important aspects of the new policy include a uniform complaint and grievance hearing process, options for informal resolution when both parties agree, and a 60-day processing timeframe absent good cause for extension, such as unavailability of one or both of the parties.
“The preponderance of the evidence standard will remain the standard of evidence for Title IX grievance hearings, which now apply to faculty and staff as well as students,” Gibson said. “Additionally, the university will continue to promptly respond to reports of sexual harassment and provide supportive measures to all parties, even if the parties do not wish to engage in a formal complaint process.”
The federal regulations that underpin University Policy 129 “Title IX Sexual Harassment” apply only to instances of sexual harassment in an educational program or activity within the United States.
“Western Carolina University is committed to investigating and addressing instances of discrimination that are beyond the scope of Policy 129 through other university policies, including Policy 53 ‘Unlawful Discrimination’ and the Code of Student Conduct,” Gibson said.
For more information, review University Policy 129 or contact the Title IX Coordinator Ivy Gibson at 828-227-7116 or firstname.lastname@example.org.