Frequently Asked Questions
Title IX is a federal law that protects individuals from sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
No, not entirely. Title IX addresses discrimination based on sex/gender. Title IX considers sexual harassment and sexual violence as forms of sex/gender discrimination and it requires that all incidents of sexual harassment and sexual violence be viewed as discrimination and be investigated.
Yes. Title IX protects all students from sex discrimination, including sexual violence. Any student can experience sexual violence: from elementary to professional school students; male and female students; straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students; part-time and full-time students; students with and without disabilities; and students of different races and national origins.
Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct. The University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy contains definitions of these terms.
Depending on the particular circumstances, sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault may include, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical assaults of a sexual nature, such as rape, sexual battery, molestation, or attempts to commit these assaults; and intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking, or brushing against another individual's body.
- Offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct.
- Threatening or taking a negative employment action (such as termination, demotion, denial of an employee benefit or privilege, or change in working conditions) or negative educational action (such as giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected.
- The use or display in the classroom or workplace, including electronic, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical justification.
- Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience. Such conduct between peers must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates an educational or working environment that is hostile or abusive. A single incident involving severe misconduct may rise to the level of harassment.
Additional examples are listed in the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
You should speak up. The best way to stop any kind of discrimination is to tell someone who is an official with authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of St. Thomas. Contact information for some of the University's "Officials with Authority" is below. Officials with Authority will provide advice and assistance to reporting parties and other individuals who contact them and help ensure that St. Thomas responds appropriately and in accordance with applicable law.
Title IX Coordinator
Dean of Students
Room 241, Anderson Student Center
Human Resources Partners
Room 217, Aquinas Hall
OneStThomas Human Resources Site
Department of Public Safety
St. Paul: Morrison Hall, 1st Floor
Minneapolis: School of Law, 1st Floor
If you have personally experienced sexual misconduct and wish to keep details of the incident completely confidential, you are urged to contact a Confidential Resource. Contact Information is available in Section IX of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
All Campus Alerts
Depending on the situation, St. Thomas will communicate a sexual assault report to the community in one of two ways: through Clery-mandates emergency notification or timely warning. Emergency notifications and timely warnings are requirements of the Clery Act, which provides specific guidance for when universities must notify the entire campus community of a crime, significant emergency or dangerous situation. The details of these requirements can be found in the 2016 Clery Handbook for Campus Safety here, or see excerpts from the handbook below.
In any emergency, including when the University of St. Thomas learns about an incident involving a reported sexual assault, members of the University Action and Response Team (UART) meet to determine immediate actions required to protect the parties involved and to further assess risk to the St. Thomas community. This may include providing transportation to an area hospital or coordinating with Public Safety and local law enforcement. A risk assessment will also be conducted to determine if a campus notification is required under the Clery Act. The safety of those involved and the community as a whole is a priority in each and every situation.
From the 2016 Handbook for Campus Safety and Security Reporting:
When is an emergency notification necessary?
Under the Clery Act, every institution is required to immediately notify the campus community upon confirmation of a significant emergency or dangerous situation occurring on the campus that involves an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees. An “immediate” threat as used here includes an imminent or impending threat, such as an approaching forest fire, or a fire currently raging in one of your buildings.
The Clery Act requires you to alert the campus community to certain crimes in a manner that is timely and will aid in the prevention of similar crimes. Although the Clery Act doesn’t define “timely,” the intent of a warning regarding a criminal incident(s) is to enable people to protect themselves. This means that a warning should be issued as soon as pertinent information is available.
St. Thomas Sexual Misconduct Policy
St. Thomas' obligation to respond appropriately to sexual violence complaints is the same regardless of the sex or gender of the parties involved. Title IX protects all students from sexual violence, regardless of the sex/gender of the alleged Reporting Party or Responding Party, including when they are members of the same sex or gender.
A person who is incapacitated cannot understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of a sexual situation. Incapacitation may result from a mental or physical disability, impairment, or injury, the voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs, or other causes. Alcohol or drug use are the most common causes for incapacitation on college and university campuses. Incapacitation is tricky, because it occurs differently in different individuals. Just a few of the factors that impact incapacitation are: rate and quantity of alcohol consumption or drug use, physical size, genetics, and whether the person has taken other drugs (including prescribed medications).
When the University is determining whether a person is incapacitated for purposes of determining responsibility for sexual misconduct, it will look at all the facts and circumstances, not just the number of drinks or drugs consumed.
There are some common signs to look for to determine if another person might be incapacitated or approaching incapacitation. These include:
- Impaired control over physical movements and/or loss of coordination (for example, stumbling, swaying, loss of balance, shaky equilibrium, or difficulty walking or standing);
- Significant confusion regarding circumstances or surroundings (for example, lack of awareness of where one is, how one got there, or who one is with);
- Impaired ability to effectively communicate for any reason (for example, slurred speech, difficulty finding words);
- Repeating the same story or statement multiple times without apparent awareness of the repetition;
- Inability to dress/undress without assistance;
- Inability to perform physical or cognitive tasks without assistance;
- Bloodshot, glassy or unfocused eyes;
- Vomiting; or
- Inability to understand some or all of the following questions: “Do you know where you are?” “Do you know how you got here?” “Do you know what is happening?” “Do you know whom you are with?”
Yes, it is unlawful to discriminate against St. Thomas students because of their sex.
Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX.
Officials with Authority are responsible for initiating the response and resolution process promptly upon receipt of a Report or Complaint of sexual misconduct and will notify and share the Report or Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. A Response Manager(s), generally the Title IX Coordinator, will be assigned based on the identities of the Reporting Party and Responding Party and will also consider whether and what supportive measures or additional action is reasonably necessary or appropriate to protect and support the parties and the broader St. Thomas community. The Response Manager will meet with the Reporting Party to discuss supportive measures and determine the appropriate process, if any, to address the Report or Complaint. More information on those processes can be found in the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy in Appendix A.
Yes, if the incident occurs at a St. Thomas event, involves a St. Thomas student, staff member, or faculty member, or has some other tie to St. Thomas, then St. Thomas can investigate and provide a resolution.
The appropriate response will be different depending on the circumstances and level of control St. Thomas has over the Responding Party. At minimum, St. Thomas will conduct an inquiry into what occurred and may report the incident to the Responding Party's school and encourage them to take appropriate action to prevent further sexual violence in their own community. St. Thomas will also notify the Reporting Party of any right to file a complaint with the Responding Party's school or local law enforcement. St Thomas may also decide to take other action to protect the Reporting Party and/or the St. Thomas community. In all cases, St. Thomas will work with the Reporting Party to provide support and resources.