Approved by: The President
History: Issued           -- August 13, 2020
Revised          -- 
Last Reviewed -- 
Related Policies: Code of Student Conduct; Equity in Athletics PolicyNon-Discrimination Policy; Non-Retaliation and Reporting Ethical Misconduct PolicySexual Offenses Policy (Employees); Sexual Offenses Policy (Students)
Additional References: Title IX Grievance Procedures
Responsible Official: Title IX Coordinator and Equal Opportunity Officer, tel. (202) 319-4177

I. Introduction


The Catholic University of America prohibits sex discrimination in its programs and activities and is committed to creating a living, learning, and work environment free from sex discrimination and harassment.  Guided by reason and the light of Catholic faith, the University is a community dedicated to the cultivation of knowledge, skills, wisdom, and virtue. Catholic teaching and university policy require respect for the dignity of others. Membership in the University community brings with it the obligation to conduct oneself in ways that promote these goals. Consequently, CUA expects a higher standard of behavior than the law requires.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX applies to employees and students alike. The following are examples of discrimination covered by Title IX:

  • Unequal opportunity in athletics
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual harassment
  • Stalking
  • Dating violence
  • Domestic violence

II. Definitions 

 

1. Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
 
2. Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
 
3. Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
  • An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or 
  • Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. Sexual assault means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation:
  • Rape - The carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  • Sodomy - Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  • Sexual Assault With An Object - To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.  An “object” or “instrument” is anything used by the offender other than the offender’s genitalia, e.g., a finger, bottle, handgun, stick.
  • Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  • Incest - Non-Forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  • Statutory Rape - Non-Forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.  There is no force or coercion used in Statutory Rape; the act is not an attack.

5. Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. 

6. Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.   The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:  The length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

7. Domestic Violence means felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the District of Columbia, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the District of Columbia.

8. Formal Complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the University.  A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator under and by any additional method designated by the University. The phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the University) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party. 

9. Consent means informed, freely given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in sexual activity. Effective consent may never be obtained when there is a threat of force or violence, or any other form of coercion or intimidation. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent can be revoked at any time. Consent cannot be obtained from someone legally prevented from giving consent by their age or from someone who is unable to understand or who cannot communicate a lack of consent. This includes someone who is incapacitated due to drugs, alcohol, or some other condition. Silence or lack of active resistance does not imply consent. Voluntary intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent.

10. Incapacitation means the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because an individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, asleep, unconscious, or unaware that sexual activity is occurring. The impact of alcohol and drugs and medications will vary from person to person. Warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, vomiting, incoherent speech, and difficulty walking or standing up. The perspective of a sober, reasonable person in the position of the respondent will be the basis for determining whether a respondent should have been aware that the complainant was incapacitated and therefore unable to consent. 

11. Supportive Measures means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.

III. Scope

 

This policy applies to individuals working or participating  in University programs or activities in locations where the University exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the alleged misconduct  occurs.   It also covers activities in any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.  Title IX does not apply to activities outside the United States.  Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in all university programs and activities, including, but not limited to, admissions, recruiting, financial aid, academic programs, student services, counseling and guidance, discipline, class assignment, grading, recreation, athletics, housing, and employment.  

This policy implements the Department of Education’s revised Title IX Rule, which became effective on August 14, 2020, and is applicable to all violations reported to have occurred on or after that date.  However, this revised Rule is not applicable to violations which occurred prior to that date.  The University will process any complaints of violations reported to have occurred prior to August 14, 2020, under its policies in effect on the date of the reported violation.

IV. Notice to Institution

 

The University will react promptly and in a way that is not deliberately indifferent whenever the Title IX Coordinator or individuals in a position to take corrective measures receive actual notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment.  Individuals with authority to take corrective action include the University’s president, vice-presidents, deans of schools (but not assistant or associate deans), dean of students, and deputy Title IX coordinators.  The mere ability or obligation of University-designated responsible employees to report sexual harassment or to inform a student about how to report sexual harassment, or having been trained to do so, does not qualify an individual as an official with authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University.  Therefore, knowledge of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment by those individuals does not constitute actual notice for the purposes of Title IX.   

V. Reporting Title IX Violations

 

Where to Report

An individual (including a third party) may report a Title IX violation to the Title IX Coordinator, a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students, or the Department of Public Safety.  The Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Dean of Students, and Department of Public Safety will notify the Title IX Coordinator of any reports.  The following is the contact information for those individuals:

Title IX Coordinator
Frank Vinik
170 Leahy Hall
tel. 202-319-4177
titleix-coord@cua.edu  

Dean of Students
Jonathan Sawyer
Pryzbyla Center, Suite 353
tel.  202-319-5619
sawyerj@cua.edu 

Department of Public Safety
121 Leahy Hall
tel. 202-319-5111 (staffed 24/7)

Deputy Title IX Coordinators

Kim Gregory
Department of Public Safety
271 Leahy Hall
tel. 202-319-6062
gregoryk@cua.edu 

Amy Love
Dean of Students Office
Pryzbyla Center, Suite 353
tel.  202-319-5619
lovea@cua.edu 

Heidi Zeich
Dean of Students Office
Pryzbyla Center, Suite 353
tel.  202-319-5619
zeich@cua.edu 

Amy Kerr
Dean of Students Office
Pryzbyla Center, Suite 353
tel.  202-319-5619
kerra@cua.edu 

Kathryn Jennings
Dean of Students Office
Pryzbyla Center, Suite 353
tel.  202-319-5619
jenningsk@cua.edu  

Amnesty for Lesser Policy Violations

The University encourages reporting of sexual offenses and seeks to remove any barriers to making a report. At times, students may be hesitant to report a sexual offense to University officials because they are concerned that they may be subject to student conduct action for lesser policy violations such as visitation or alcohol violations, or prior consensual conduct that occurred during the incident. These behaviors are not condoned by the University, but the importance of dealing with an alleged sexual offense is the paramount consideration to the University. Consequently, students who report a sexual offense in good faith, as a complainant or witness, will not be subject to student conduct action for other policy violations that occurred during the incident as long as such violations did not place the health and safety of any other person at risk. The University may, however, require students to participate in educational activities or health interventions for any conduct that comes to the University's attention as deemed appropriate.

Supportive Measures

After a report is received, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.  Examples of supportive measures include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, and increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus. The University will engage in a meaningful dialogue with the complainant to determine which supportive measures may restore or preserve equal access to the University’s programs or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.  If a complainant desires supportive measures, the University will keep the complainant’s identity confidential (including from the respondent), unless disclosing the complainant’s identity is necessary to provide supportive measures for the complainant (e.g., where a no-contact order is appropriate and the respondent would need to know the identity of the complainant in order to comply with the no-contact order).

Right to File a Complaint

A formal complaint is a document filed by a complainant or signed by a Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegations.  At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be either an employee or an individual participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the University.  A complainant who has graduated may still be attempting to participate in the University’s education program or activity; for example, where the complainant has graduated from one program but intends to apply to a different program, or where the graduated complainant intends to remain involved with a University’s alumni programs and activities.  A complainant who is on a leave of absence may be participating or attempting to participate in the University’s education program or activity.  In addition, a complainant who has left school because of sexual harassment, but expresses a desire to re-enroll if the University appropriately responds to the sexual harassment, is attempting to participate. 

Right of Title IX Coordinator to File a Complaint

When the complainant decides not to file a formal complaint, some circumstances may require the Title IX Coordinator to initiate an investigation and adjudication of sexual harassment allegations in order to protect the University’s educational community or otherwise avoid being deliberately indifferent to known sexual harassment. In such circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator will file a formal complaint only after consulting with the alleged victim and only if filing the complaint is not clearly unreasonable under the facts and circumstances.

VI. Retaliation Prohibited

 

Both the University’s Non-Retaliation Policy and Title IX prohibit retaliation, which will result in disciplinary action regardless of the outcome of the underlying complaint.  No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in a Title IX  investigation or proceeding.  Retaliation includes the filing of charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment.  Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding does not constitute retaliation.  However, a determination regarding responsibility is not alone sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.  The exercise of free speech rights under the First Amendment is not retaliation.

VII. Recordkeeping 

 

The University will maintain for seven years records of the following:

  1.  Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility
  2. Any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript
  3. Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent
  4.  Any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity
  5.  Any appeal and its results
  6. Any informal resolution and its results
  7. Any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance, the University will document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity. If the University does not provide a complainant with supportive measures, it will document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.  The documentation of certain bases or measures does not limit the University in the future from providing additional explanations or detailing additional measures taken.
  8. All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process.

VIII. Training 

 

The University will ensure that Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, receives training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope of the University’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.  The term “decision-makers” includes individuals who decide responsibility, individuals who decide sanctions, and those who decide appeals.  The University will ensure that decision-makers receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant.  The University will also ensure that investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.  Materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process will not rely on sex stereotypes and will promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment.  In addition, the materials will include a presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The University will make these materials publicly available on its website.