Title IX

Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices.

"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..."

20 U.S.C. § 1681

The Office of Equity & Diversity ensures compliance for all Hillsborough Community College policies and procedures that prohibit discrimination against faculty, staff, and students because of their race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or because they (or someone closely related to them) pursued their rights under these laws.

The Office of Equity & Diversity is available to investigate and resolve all complaints involving unlawful and immoral treatment of one another, including discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, etc. All complaints are taken seriously and prompt and equitable action will be taken to resolve the matter and prevent a recurrence. Any student, faculty, staff or applicant who believes that they have experienced incidents of discrimination or sexual harassment may contact us for assistance. Title IX complaints involving student-to-student sexual harassment will be referred to this Office and shall be subject to the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures.

To report or file a complaint, use our online form.  Any form of retaliation against someone who files a complaint or participates in the investigation is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action.

New Title IX Regulations

In May, the U.S. Department of Education released a Final Rule, which changes how colleges and universities that receive federal funds must handle allegations of sexual assault and sexual harassment under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The Rule takes effect on August 14, 2020. At Hillsborough Community College (HCC), we are moving forward to ensure full compliance with these new regulations with the understanding that the procedure may be modified as we work through the new regulations. This includes revising HCC policies and procedures to conform to the new regulations before the effective date and the start of the Fall 2020 semester. Several of your colleagues have assisted with this endeavor.

Although Title IX rules are changing, HCC’s outlook remains unchanged: Title IX is crucial to the health and well-being of our HCC community overall. One of HCC’s highest priorities is fostering a welcoming and inclusive environment at our campuses for employees, students, applicants and campus visitors – ONE HCC. Student safety has always been, and will remain, our priority.

Key Changes to Title IX

Definition of Sexual Harassment for Title IX Purposes 

Under the new Title IX rules, the term “sexual harassment” is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

(i)   An HCC employee conditioning education/work benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct or

(ii)  Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to an education program or activity, or

(iii) Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).                      

Grievance Process

The new Title IX rules require HCC to handle formal complaints of sexual harassment through a formal grievance process only where the alleged sexual harassment occurs in a covered institution’s education program or activity; against a person in the United States.

Accessible Reporting- Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, whether or not the person reporting is the Complainant or a third party, in person, by mail, by telephone, or by email, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report.  The report may be made at any time, including during non-business hours, by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

Live Hearings- The Title IX grievance process includes live hearings for formal complaints of sexual harassment. The hearings will be conducted before a Decision-maker and will feature witness testimony and questioning, including cross-examination.

Advisor- Complainants and respondents may select an Advisor to represent them during the live hearings. HCC will appoint an Advisor for a party that does not have one.

Appeals- Decisions made on a formal complaint of sexual harassment under the new Title IX rules will be subject to appeal under some circumstances.

Informal Resolution- When a formal complaint of sexual harassment is filed, the parties may voluntarily and mutually agree in writing to engage in an informal resolution process (i.e., mediation) to try to resolve the formal complaint.( An informal resolution process is not permitted for a complaint involving allegations that an HCC employee sexual harassed a student.) Mediation, where available, can serve as an alternative to the live-hearing process.

Methods for Processing Sexual Harassment and Title IX allegation procedure (Administrative Procedure 2.12)

HCC Title IX Process Flowchart

HCC Title IX Decision Tree

Agreement regarding evidence disclosed in a Title IX Investigation or Hearing

Live Grievance Hearing Process

Title IX Training


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