Effective Aug. 14, 2020, University of Utah President Ruth V. Watkins approved interim policy changes to the university's non-discrimination policies to be in compliance with new Title IX regulations issued by the U. S. Department of Education. The policies continue to reflect the U's ongoing commitment to prevent sexual misconduct, support those who experience harm and to conduct a fair, transparent and safe grievance process for all parties involved. We remain steadfastly focused on continuing to build a supportive, safe, welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone can learn, work and thrive.
The university took the approach that to the extent possible, existing policies and rules remain the same.
Here are the key points:
- Mandatory reporting remains the same.
- Definitions of "Sexual Misconduct" remain the same:
- "Sexual Misconduct" is a broad term that includes sexual or gender-based harassment, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, nonconsensual sexual contact and nonconsensual sexual penetration. "Sexual Misconduct" also includes the crimes of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking as defined by state and federal law. The definition of "Sexual Harassment" is being expanded to include the Davis standard as set out by the U.S. Supreme Court which is, "Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's program or activity."
- The university will continue to use "preponderance of the evidence" as the standard for evaluating the evidence in a sexual misconduct case.
- The new Title IX regulations affirm the university's practice of promptly contacting a person who is reported to have experienced sexual misconduct to discuss the availability of supportive measures—with or without requiring a formal complaint—and to explain options for filing a formal complaint about addressing the reported behavior.
- Providing supportive measures to students, staff and faculty will remain the same.
- The new regulations include enhanced training requirements for the Title IX coordinator, investigator and decision-makers.
The most significant changes affect the process of adjudicating sexual misconduct issues:
- A hearing is required in all sexual misconduct cases. Previously, a hearing was not required if neither party requested one.
- If a party does not have an "advisor" at the hearing, the university will be required to provide an "advisor" for the limited purpose of conducting cross-examination of witnesses, at no expense to the party.
- In Sexual Misconduct cases, the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX will no longer be issuing findings of "insufficient evidence" or "cause." Rather, the Office of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Title IX will be issuing investigative reports with recommendations for a Hearing Committee to make a determination of whether or not a policy violation has occurred.
Click here to read the full Interim Policy 1-012.
Resources, services and support
We recognize that many members of our community have been profoundly impacted by sexual violence. It is important that you know of our ongoing commitment to prevent sexual assault, support those who report experiencing harm and to conduct fair, transparent and safe grievance processes for all parties involved. We remain steadfastly focused on continuing to build a supportive, safe, welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone can learn, work, and thrive.
If you have experienced interpersonal harassment or violence, we encourage you to connect with the resources at the U that can best support you.
Complaints of sexual misconduct should be made directly to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-581-8365.
Confidential support is available through the following:
- Victim Survivor Advocates at email@example.com or 801-581-7776
- University Counseling Center at 801-581-6826
- Women’s Resource Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-581-8030
- University of Utah Community Services Crisis Support Specialist at 801-581-6429
If you need immediate support after our regular business hours, please contact a 24-hour resource or emergency department:
- Emergency at 911
- University of Utah Police at 801-585-2677 and ask to speak with the Crisis Support Specialist
- Rape Recovery Center Crisis Line at 801-467-7273
- Domestic Violence Link Line at 1-800-897-5465
- Mental Health/Suicide Crisis at 801-587-3000
- Salt Lake Police Victim Advocates at 801-580-7969