FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions about the Title IX Process

Sexual Misconduct Policy Definitions and Terminology 

A Complainant is an individual who is reported to have experienced conduct that could constitute Prohibited Conduct, even if they do not participate in any related process.

A Respondent is an individual who has been reported to have engaged in conduct that could constittue Prohibited Conduct.

Witness is an individual who may have information relevant to a report of Prohibited Conduct. A witness may be a student, an employee, or a third party.

Survivor Advocate
A confidential support person that provides individuals with options and resources so they can make informed decisions about their situation. They offer a safe, confidential setting to talk with individuals who have questions or concerns about sexual assault, intimate partner violence, or stalking. Learn about Oxy's Survivor Advocate

Occidental College Prohibited Conduct

Title IX Sexual Harassment
“Title IX Sexual Harassment” is a subset of Prohibited Conduct. Under Department of Education regulations (see 34 C.F.R., Part 106) issued in May 2020 to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the College is required to prohibit certain forms of sexual harassment as defined in those regulations.

Prohibited Conduct meets the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment when:

  • An Employee conditions the provision of an aid, a benefit, or a service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment), within the United States; or
  • A Student, Employee, or Third Party engages in unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that would be determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies another person equal access to the College’s programs or activities, in the United States; or
  • A Student, Employee, or Third Party engages in Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Sexual and/or Gender-based Stalking as defined below; and
    • The alleged conduct was perpetrated against a person in the United States; and
    • The conduct took place within the College’s programs and activities.

Conduct takes place within the “College’s programs and activities” when that conduct occurs: (1) in a location, at an event, or in a circumstance where the College exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the conduct occurs; or (2) in any building owned or controlled by a student organization recognized by the College. Events that occur off campus or in locations with no connection to the College are unlikely to be considered a College program or activity. Conduct that does not meet this strict definition for Title IX Sexual Harassment is still prohibited by this policy if it otherwise constitutes Prohibited Conduct as further defined below. Prohibited Conduct under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment will follow the disciplinary resolution procedures outlined in Appendix A of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The following Prohibited Conduct definitions apply for purposes of the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment:

Title IX Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Conduct on the basis of sex by which an employee of the College conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Title IX Severe, Pervasive and Objectively Offensive Sexual Harassment
Conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a student or employee equal access to the College’s education program or activity.

Title IX Sexual Assault
Title IX sexual assault includes rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape, defined as follows:

  • Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral-genital contact of another person without affirmative consent.
  • Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without affirmative consent.
  • Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. Under California law, individuals younger than 18 years of age are legally incapable of giving consent to sexual penetration or contact by an adult (someone 18 years of age or older) who is three or more years older than the individual.

Title IX Domestic Violence
Conduct, on the basis of sex, that constitutes a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant;
  • By a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common;
  • By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
  • By any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Title IX Dating Violence
Conduct that constitutes violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the parties’ statements and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Title IX Stalking
Conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition:

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the respondent directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling

Non-Title IX Misconduct

Non-Title IX Misconduct is Prohibited Conduct that falls within the Scope of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the definitions below but that does not fall within the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment, either due to the nature of the conduct or because it did not reportedly occur within a program or activity of the College in the United States. Non-Title IX Misconduct will follow the disciplinary resolution procedures outlined in Appendix B or Appendix C of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. Such conduct is defined as:

Non-Title IX Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault (i.e., rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape) as defined in the Title IX Sexual Assault definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the College in the United States.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Any intentional touching of a person’s breast(s), buttock(s), groin, genitals, or other intimate parts without affirmative consent. Touching may be over or under clothing and may include the respondent touching the complainant, the respondent making the complainant touch the respondent or another person, or the respondent making the complainant touch the complainant’s own body.

Sex or Gender-Based Discrimination
The disparate treatment of a person or group because of that person’s or group’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment
“Harassment” is conduct that creates an intimidating, offensive, or hostile working or learning environment or that unreasonably interferes with work or academic performance based on a person’s protected status, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. All such conduct is unlawful.

Sexual Harassment: any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, and/or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise.

Gender-Based Harassment: harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility, whether verbal, physical, graphic, or otherwise. To qualify as Gender-Based Harassment, the conduct need not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Generally speaking, harassment can be divided into two types of conduct:

Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or participation in any aspect of a College program or activity or is used as the basis for the College’s decisions affecting the individual.

Hostile Environment: A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the College’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Whether conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent is determined both from a subjective and objective perspective.

Sexual Exploitation
Any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another. Sexual exploitation may include:

  • surreptitiously observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • recording, photographing, transmitting, showing, viewing, streaming, or distributing intimate or sexual images, audio recordings, or sexual information without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • exposing one’s genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals;
  • knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus; and
  • inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Non-Title IX Stalking
Stalking as defined in the Title IX Stalking definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the College in the United States, or that otherwise fits within the definition of stalking but does not fall within the Title IX Stalking definition because the reported conduct is not directed at the alleged victim on the basis of sex.

Non-Title IX Dating Violence
Dating violence as defined in the Title IX Dating Violence definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the College in the United States.

Non-Title IX Domestic Violence
Domestic violence as defined in the Title IX Domestic Violence definition above that did not reportedly occur in a program or activity of the College in the United States.

Retaliation
Retaliation is a materially adverse action, and may include intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations or this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing regarding Prohibited Conduct (including both Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Title IX Misconduct).

Complicity
Any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of Prohibited Conduct by another person.