Title IX – Gender Discrimination and Sexual Harassment

What is Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972?

Title IX is a federal law that states: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Under Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, the University of Hawaii has a responsibility to ensure that students have a learning environment that is free of gender discrimination and sexual harassment. The United States Department of Education (ED) maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with 12 enforcement offices throughout the nation and a headquarters office in Washington, D.C., to enforce Title IX.

A Resource Guide for Students on Sexual Misconduct: Campus Policies, Procedures and Victim Services is provided by the Title IX and Office of Institutional Equity.

Graduate Division

In accordance with the University of Hawai`i’s Policy E1.203 Sexual Harassment and Related Conduct; E1.204 Sexual Assault Policy and Procedural Guidelines; A9.920 Discrimination Complaint Procedures for students, employees and applicants for admission or employment; and revisions of the Title IX 34 C.F.R. Part 106, the Graduate Division does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities.

The Graduate Division staff have a duty to identify and promptly report all acts of or complaints made on sexual harassment or discrimination to the aforementioned offices.

The  Office of Graduate Student Services is a resource for all graduate students. The Office upholds the UH System-wide Executive policies and procedures and commitment to eliminate sexual harassment and sexual discrimination. It is the policy of the UH System-wide that harassment and discrimination based on sex, sexual preference, ethnicity, economic or other differences is prohibited.

Title IX Reporting

Sexual Harassment

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual Harassment is any unwanted verbal or physical behavior of a sexual nature, which interferes with one's academic performance or work environment. It is the use of authority to emphasize the sexuality or sexual identity of an individual in a manner, which prevents the individual's access to the educational benefits, or opportunities of UHM. Some people think that sexual harassment isn't a big deal, but it is a big deal. It is illegal.

Key elements to remember:     

  1. The offending behavior can be verbal, physical or visual;

  2. is unwanted;

  3. is sexual in nature, or based on gender;

  4. has either the purpose or effect of altering an individual’s access to their education or employment.

What laws protect me from sexual harassment on campus?

Sexual harassment constitutes illegal discrimination under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Hawai‘i State Fair Employment Practices Act, Chapter 378 HRS, as amended. 

Furthermore, Section 1-5, Policy on Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action, of the Board of Regents’ Bylaws and Policies provides the administrative basis for complying with applicable federal and state statutes, rules, regulations, city and county ordinances, and provisions in the collective bargaining agreements governing nondiscrimination. Board Policy is implemented through Executive Policy E1.202, Nondiscrimination and Affirmative Action, and this Executive Policy on sexual harassment.

In addition, sexual assault or any forcible physical sexual behavior is prohibited by each campus’s sexual assault policy and may also be prosecuted as a criminal offense.

What do I do if I feel like I'm being harassed?

Informal complaint:

In many cases, informal procedures are effective in stopping sexual harassment. This option is open to any individual at the University, who is willing to identify themselves and the alleged harasser, and who wishes to seek a mutually agreeable resolution. Informal actions include holding workshops for the department, distributing written information, counseling the offender, mediating between the two parties, and other preventive measures. The Gender Equity Specialist can meet with you to identify the best strategy for your situation. Informal procedure:

  1. You must be willing to identify yourself and the respondent.

  2. Contact any of the following: Title IX Coordinator, Gender Equity Specialist, UH Manoa Office of the Dean of Students, or EEO/AA Office.

You will be asked to describe your situation and the resolution you are seeking. You may be asked to fill out a complaint form. Examples of informal resolutions include:

  • Obtaining your department's commitment to host a sexual harassment workshop

  • Privately counseling the Respondent to the harassment on University's Policy

  • A written resolution signed by both parties to the complaint

  • Arranging a mediation session with a professional facilitator

Formal Complaint:

This option requires a full investigation of all formal charges. Anyone who is considering filing this type of complaint is urged to do so as soon as possible. Complaints should be filed within 180 calendar days of the last incident of harassment. If the individual can show good cause for later filing, the deadline may be extended to 300 days from the last incident. Formal complaints by students must be filed with the Dean of Students. Individuals can receive assistance from the Gender Equity Specialist during this process. Formal procedure:

  1. Identification - 

    You must be willing to identify yourself and the respondent

  2. Deadline - 

    Complaints must be filed within 180 calendar days of the last incident of harassment

  3. Filing Office: 

    Gender Equity Specialist or UH Manoa Office of the Dean of Students.

An individual may file a grievance with the Title IX Coordinator if the complainant believes there was discrimination. The complaint should be filed within 180 days after the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice. To file the complaint, the individual may make a verbal statement to the Title IX Coordinator or make a written statement, detailing the violation of the law. It is important that the complainant explain what he or she would like to result from the resolution of the complaint.

Sexual Assault

What is sexual assault?

The scope of “sex offenses” is mandated by the Clery Act [34 CFR 668.46] and include rape, acquaintance rape, and other sexual acts directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his or her youth or because of his or her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity (including incapacity due to drugs or alcohol).

Examples of sex offenses include but are not limited to:

  • Acts of sexual intercourse where such an act is accomplished against a person’s consent by means of force or threat of harm to the complaining party.

  • Nonconsensual intercourse by a friend or acquaintance.

  • Acts of sexual fondling or other sexual assault where the person is prevented from resisting or giving consent as a result of intoxication or is unconscious at the time of the act, and this fact is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act.

  • Acts of sexual intercourse where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his or her youth; or where the victim is incapable of giving legal consent because of mental, developmental, or physical disability, and this fact is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act.

What to do if you've been a victim of sexual assault?

1. Seek medical help

Any person who reports being sexually assaulted is urged to seek medical treatment for injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and possible pregnancy from the campus’s student health service or at the emergency room of any local hospital. A forensic medical exam to preserve evidence of an assault can be performed within 72 hours of a sexual assault by a certified agency. Victims of sexual assault should be informed that they have the option of undergoing an exam even if, at the time of the exam, they are not certain they will formally report the assault. To preserve as much evidence as possible, victims should not perform any personal hygiene until the exam is done.

2.  Report incident of sexual assault to law enforcement officials

Any member of the University community who is sexually assaulted is encouraged, and has the option and right, to report the incident to local police and/or with Campus Security. Campus Security will inform individuals of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including local police, and the option to be assisted by Campus Security in notifying such authorities, if the individual so chooses. 

Persons who report being sexually assaulted may also contact the UH Manoa Office of the Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator, Office of Gender Equity, or Office of Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action (EEO/AA). These offices will inform individuals of their options and rights to notify local police or Campus Security and the option and right to be assisted by campus personnel in notifying such authorities, if the individual so chooses. They can also provide referrals to on- and off-campus resources such as campus women’s centers, campus counselors, and off-campus sex abuse treatment centers.

Incidents reported to the University under this policy will be addressed promptly. The University has the right to proceed with an investigation of the complaint at any time. University proceedings need not await the disposition of any related criminal investigation or prosecution.

3. You may use on-campus procedures and file complaints with the Dean/Vice Chancellor of Students or other designated Complaint Officer.

Students may file formal complaints of sexual assault with the campus Title IX Coordinator, who is responsible for ensuring that the complaint is investigated promptly.

Before the investigation is completed, the complainant may request changing academic, student employment, or campus residence situations after an alleged sexual assault incident if such changes are reasonably available. 

Both the complainant and the individual charged with sexual assault are entitled to have a representative or observer present during an on-campus student disciplinary proceeding. The individual charged with sexual assault is entitled to due process and will be given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. 

Both the complainant and the individual charged will be informed of the outcome of any on-campus student disciplinary proceeding brought alleging a sexual assault.

Will the process remain confidential?

Efforts to maintain confidentiality will be exercised to the greatest extent possible; however, appropriate members of the University community will be informed that an incident of sexual assault has been reported. Certain information may need to be disclosed to appropriate administrators, the respondent, and witnesses in order to conduct the investigation. Information may also be disclosed if required by law, rule, regulation, or by order of the court or arbitrator        

Title IX Coordinators have the primary responsibility for sexual harassment and sexual discrimination investigations, resolutions, trainings, remediation, resolution and prevention on the basis of sex. For more information on the options and procedures for filing a complaint, please contact the Title IX Coordinators or go to the Office of Gender Equity Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure website.