Ohio State Agrees to Revise Its Title IX Policies

School agreed to changes after the Department of Education found it violated Title IX sexual harassment provisions.

Ohio State University has entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) to provide “a learning, living, and working environment that is free from sexual assault and sexual harassment.”

The agreement came about as the result of OCR’s compliance review, which determined the school had violated Title IX because its written policies and procedures for responding to complaints, reports and other incidents of sexual violence and harassment do not comply with the law’s requirements. The review began in 2010, but was not prompted by a complaint.

During OCR’s review, the university investigated alleged sexual harassment within its marching band and found that there was a sexually hostile environment for students in the marching band and that the band director failed to adequately eliminate that harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. OCR incorporates in the resolution agreement the university’s own corrective action steps for the marching band as requirements.

As part of the agreement, Ohio State has agreed to revise certain policies consistent with the law; review the handling of sexual harassment/violence complaints and reports since the 2011-12 academic year and continue to provide and expand mandatory sexual assault and harassment training to all members of the university community. Ohio State will also establish a campus focus group to provide input on strategies for ensuring that students understand their rights under Title IX, how to report possible violations, and Ohio State’s obligation to promptly and equitably respond to Title IX complaints. The school will take action to ensure students and staff members are aware of Title IX’s prohibition against sexual assault and sexual harassment, including how to recognize it when it occurs, and how to report incidents; and provide timely and effective interim relief for complainants, including academic adjustments, housing changes, counseling, and health and mental services, as necessary, and document this relief in investigative files.

During the review, Ohio State undertook a number of steps to further improve its efforts to prevent and respond to sexual harassment, including:
Establishing a one stop Title IX webpage and creating a centralized Office of University Compliance and Integrity, and forming a sexual violence consultation team, a group of first responders that meets bi-weekly to discuss and respond to all sexual violence complaints;
Developing online training modules for students on bystander intervention;
Making substantial improvements in documenting its sexual violence investigations.

Read the resolution agreement.

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Tagged with: Sexual Harassment

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