DOE Title IX Compliance at UCI
Note on Federal Regulations and Interim UC SVSH Policy issued August 14, 2020:
On August 14, 2020, the University of California implemented the Interim UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy and corresponding adjudication frameworks in response to the Title IX regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Education (“DOE”). The new Interim SVSH Policy can be found here. The Interim SVSH Policy is compliant with The Clery Act and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
These DOE regulations require the University to follow a specific grievance process (“DOE- Grievance Process”) in response to conduct covered by the regulations (“DOE-Covered Conduct”), which occurred on or after August 14, 2020. The Interim SVSH Policy is more expansive than the Title IX regulations in both conduct prohibited (described in Section II of the Interim SVSH Policy) and described in Section C of the UCI Guidelines on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence ) and its coverage (described in Section III B of the Interim SVSH Policy and of the UCI Guidelines on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence).
Additional information is posted on UCOP’s website.
The University implements the DOE-Grievance Process only in response to DOE-Covered Conduct. It will follow its existing process for all other reports.
The following policies and frameworks are applicable for sex-based cases, including sexual harassment and sexual violence cases:
- Interim UC SVSH Policy
- UCI Guidelines on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence
- UCI Guidelines Discrimination and Harassment
- UC PACAOS Appendix E
- UC PACAOS Appendix F
- UC Staff and Faculty Frameworks
- UC Systemwide Investigation and Adjudication Model for Senate and Non-Senate Faculty
- UC Systemwide Investigation and Adjudication Model for Staff and Non-Faculty Academic Personnel
- UCI Student Adjudication Framework
- UCI Staff and Faculty Adjudication Frameworks
Consistent with the DOE’s statements in the Title IX regulation’s preamble regarding non-retroactivity, the regulations do not apply to the University’s response to sexual harassment as defined by the regulations for conduct that is alleged to occurred prior to August 14, 2020. Consistent with DOE’s statements, the Interim SVSH Policy applies to sexual harassment that is alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020. Conduct occurring between 2016 and July 30, 2019 is covered by the UC SVSH Policy. Conduct occurring between July 31, 2019 and August 13, 2020 is covered by UC SVSH Policy. This means all cases currently underway at UCI will continue under existing processes.
Assessment of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Complaints:
Appendix IV of the Interim SVSH Policy describes how the University will determine whether it must implement the DOE-Grievance Process. At UCI, OEOD will provide a complaint form for parties who are requesting to file a formal complaint of DOE-Covered Conduct. The Title IX Officer in OEOD will assess whether the conduct alleged is DOE-Covered Conduct according to the assessment procedures detailed in Appendix IV of the Interim SVSH Policy.
Appealing a Dismissal of DOE-Covered Complaints by OEOD:
If a DOE-Covered Conduct complaint is dismissed by the Title IX Officer in OEOD, the Complainant has the right to appeal the dismissal to the Systemwide Title IX Director for a secondary review. The Systemwide Title IX Director will assign another UC Title IX Officer to conduct a secondary review and assessment of the complaint. To initiate this process, Complainants can ask the Title IX Officer to connect them with the Systemwide Title IX Director.
Under University Policy and procedures, there is no secondary review or appeal process for OEOD’s dismissal of non DOE-Covered Conduct.
Resources and Advisors/Support Persons:
All students can also use the Counseling Center for confidential support.
All students, staff, and faculty can use the Ombudsman for confidential support. (link)
For a complete list of UCI and community resources please click here.
At UCI, Complainants and Respondents that participate in an OEOD investigation and/or adjudication process have the right to have an advisor and a support person present with them at interviews and meetings.
Supportive Measures for Parties:
As was the case at UCI prior to the regulations, UCI students, staff, and faculty impacted by sexual harassment and sexual violence continue to have the right to receive campus supportive measures, regardless of whether they file a formal complaint for investigation. Parties can receive this support by contacting the Title IX Officer or confidentially through the CARE office.
DOE-Grievance Process Advisors:
In DOE Grievance Processes, Complainants and Respondents have the right to have an advisor participate during the hearing process, as detailed in the Interim SVSH Policy. If a party is in need of an advisor, please contact OEOD and a University staff advisor can be assigned.
Disability-Related Accommodations for Investigation or Adjudication Process:
To request a disability related accommodation for the investigation or adjudication process, please contact the Title IX Officer/OEOD.
In DOE Grievance Process, parties may propose expert witnesses. The Title IX Officer/OEOD will determine the relevance of the proposed expert to the case and allow or disallow accordingly. Parties (not OEOD) are responsible for providing any applicable information to their proposed expert witness. In certain circumstances, such as medical/patient cases, OEOD may identify an expert witness and provide applicable information. The Senior Investigator assigned to the case will assess the relevance and credibility of all information provided by witnesses including expert witnesses.
At UCI, CARE staff and the Respondent Services Coordinator will not serve as expert witnesses.
UCI follows the UC Guidelines on Investigating Prohibited Conduct in the Context of Patient Care and UC Guidelines on Prohibited Conduct Definitions in the Context of Patient Care (link) regarding sexual harassment complaints made by patients that arise in a clinical care setting. Patient sexual harassment concerns can be reported directly to OEOD. Complaints made to UCI Health or UCI student health center will be referred to OEOD for assessment. Patients can also file sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights.
UCI Staff Training:
All UCI staff who investigate and adjudicate cases of sexual harassment and sexual violence are provided training by the UC Office of the President Systemwide Title IX Office. For information on this training please see here (link to UCOP).
OEOD investigative staff are compliant with UCOP requirements from the California State Auditor on required annual training and training for new staff including the following topics: UC policies and procedures including SVSH policy and adjudication frameworks; guidelines and templates issued by the Systemwide Title IX Office, and the clinical guidance; case resolution skills, techniques, and best practices including interviewing and evidence gathering, scoping, application of preponderance of the evidence, report writing, alternative resolution approaches, record keeping and documentation; legal requirements of Title IX and implementing documents, VAWA, the Clery Act, privacy related laws including FERPA and HIPPA, CANRA, and key court cases; complexities and considerations related to sexual violence in higher education; relevance of trauma in sexual violence and cultural competency; university and community based referral resources for parties. Content for training on sexual violence policy, FERPA, HIPPA, CANRA and others can be found through the University of California Learning Center online courses.
Additionally, OEOD investigators receive key internal training from UCI campus partners, such as: ADA compliance; Clery Act compliance; trauma informed practices and neurobiology of trauma; public records requests; bystander intervention; managing distressed and disruptive students; suicide prevention; disAbility ally training; veteran ally training; SafeZone LGBTQ training; AB 540 and UndocuAlly training.
Adjudicators of sexual violence and sexual harassment cases (both SVSH and DOE Grievance Process cases) listed below receive annual systemwide training and campus training on the sexual violence and sexual harassment policies and frameworks and trauma informed practices.
- Student Adjudication in SVSH cases is handled by conduct officers in the Office of Academic Integrity and Student Conduct. The Appeal Officer is Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs.
- The Chancellor’s Designee for adjudication of faculty SVSH cases is Vice Provost of Academic Personnel. The Vice Provost also utilizes a committee of faculty members called the Peer Review Committee, as detailed in the adjudication framework.
- The Chancellor’s Designee for adjudication of staff SVSH cases is Associate Chancellor Human Resources.
For any questions regarding the above information, the Interim SVSH Policy, corresponding adjudication frameworks, and UCI Guidelines, please contact the Title IX Officer in OEOD.