Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual violence, which includes sexual assault. Harassment of any one or in any context is unacceptable at Old Dominion University.
Educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance are covered by Title IX. Title IX is a broad law that applies to many programs at Old Dominion University. In compliance with Title IX, Old Dominion University prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment as well as in all programs and activities. Read the explanation of Title IX from U.S. Department of Education.
ODU faculty, staff and students who believe that they have been discriminated against based on any of the protected categories listed in the policy below have the right to seek resolution through the Office of Institutional Equity & Diversity. Discrimination is inequitable and unlawful treatment, and it can include harassment on the basis of a protected category. The OIED offers both formal and informal resolution options for complaints of discrimination. Use of the informal option does not preclude a complainant from later pursuing the formal process.
Any member of the university community including Faculty members, staff members, students, volunteers, guests, etc. may file a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment with Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity.
Additionally, any faculty, staff, or students connected with the University may file a complaint directly with Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity if they believe they are being retaliated against because:
- They challenged what they believed to be a discriminatory behavior, or
- They provided information or participated in an investigation of a claim of discrimination or discriminatory harassment.
We are neutral. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity does not take sides. We are committed to providing a fair and unbiased review, and our investigations are focused on evidence. We also help Complainants and Respondents by providing information about support and advocacy services.
Complainants frequently want to know if the Respondent will be told they raised concerns. Respondents are provided enough information about the allegations to allow them a fair opportunity to respond, and the level of detail necessary to do that varies depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident and the applicable regulations. In some cases, it is not necessary to identify the Complainant in order to provide enough information for the Respondent to respond (e.g., comments made in front of a large group of people).
Yes. ODU prohibits retaliation. Individuals who file complaints or reports of discrimination or sexual harassment, or who participate in the complaint process, are protected from retaliation. Retaliatory behavior should be reported to the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity immediately.
Respondents who engage in retaliatory behavior, either directly or through others, are subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal.
Understanding the complaint. The first step the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity takes in an investigation is to assign an investigator to gather information about the complaint. This usually involves interviewing the Complainant and gathering all evidence the Complainant has, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any. The Respondent is not present during the Complainant's interview and vice versa.
Interviewing the Respondent. After the investigator understands the nature and scope of the complaint, the Respondent is asked about the allegations and given a full and fair opportunity to respond. The Respondent is also asked to provide any documentation and identify witnesses relevant to the complaint. Respondents are strongly encouraged to share all information they have regarding the matter.
Gathering other evidence. The Investigator interviews witnesses and reviews relevant documentation and may also contact the Complainant and Respondent with additional questions or to request additional information.
Decision and follow up. The Investigator analyzes the evidence and drafts an investigation report. The investigation report is provided to the decision-maker(s). If the decision-maker(s) determines that discrimination or harassment has occurred, the relevant administrators will follow up with a remedy aimed at addressing the offending behavior. Because personnel matters are confidential, the Complainant is not told the specific steps that are taken, but is asked to contact us immediately if the behavior occurs again.
Corrective Action. While the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity does not impose corrective action, the Respondent should be aware that the University takes all allegations of discrimination and harassment very seriously.
After the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity conducts a fair, equitable and timely investigation. If corrective action is warranted, such action can include, but is not limited to:
- specialized training
- time off without pay
- other actions up to and including termination for employees or expulsion for students
If a Respondent does not agree with the corrective action taken, the corrective action may be appealed.
We help Complainants find the right process. The University has processes that provide prompt and effective review of discrimination and harassment complaints. The Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity addresses some of these concerns directly, but if the Office of Institutional Equity and Diversity is not best suited to address the concerns (e.g., some complaints against students), we will assist the Complainant in determining the appropriate resources and provide contact information.
There are resources available. The University has many resources available to assist you with any aspect of the process, including clarifying and explaining procedures. A list of resources and contact information is available for both Complainants and Respondents.
If you have any other questions about the investigation or investigative process, please do not hesitate to contact the OIED at 757-683-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.