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Frequently Asked Questions

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We are always adding to our FAQs.  If there is something you think we should add to these questions, please send it to us via the Contact Us form.

What falls under non-discrimination at Clarkson?

Anything category listed in our non-discrimination policy is considered a protected class at our university.  If you experience, witness or hear of discrimination based in one of these categories Clarkson wants you to report it to the appropriate authority.  You may use the contact us feature on this page or contact the appropriate authority directly.

What if I am not sure something falls under a protected category?

It’s ok to be unsure. One of the duties of the personnel tasked with overseeing non-discrimination is helping individuals understand what incident or concerns fall under non-discrimination policies at the university.

What if I want to report anonymously?

While we encourage individuals to identify themselves to personnel, it is not required.  You may use the contact us form to submit an anonymous report.  Please, be aware without contact information we will not respond to you directly concerning your comment/inquiry/question.

What is the Role of the Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the oversight of:

  • employee and student notification and education about their rights under Title IX
  • grievance procedures of alleged discriminatory behaviors that are in violation of Title IX
  • monitoring University compliance related to all aspects of Title IX.

Are there exemptions to Title IX?

Yes, under Title IX certain types of organizations and few specific organizations are exempt from Title IX.  They are listed out on the Department of Labor’s website

When should I report a complaint?

The University is committed to ensuring a community that is safe for all who study, live, work and visit here. Immediate notification to one of the many listed resources (see below) is critical to fulfilling our commitment to you. We understand that sexual discrimination, harassment, assault, misconduct or violence may be difficult to report but immediate reporting allows for the best possible efforts to support victims, and to investigate and address the claim. Delays in reporting may limit the type or effectiveness of responses from the University, law enforcement and external resources. Delays may impact physical evidence and access to witnesses that may assist us in investigating and responding to your claim.

Sexual discrimination, harassment, assault, misconduct or violence can take many forms, including any sexual contact that lacks mutual consent. Harassment may take the form of stalking or the distribution, the display or discussion of any written, graphic, visual or auditory material that is sexual in nature and has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating or interfering with a person or person’s ability to study or work would constitute violations of University policy, NYS State and/or Federal law and should be reported immediately.

What happens once I report a Title IX complaint?

The Coordinator or designated deputy coordinator will work with you to gather information on your complaint and provide some resources that may be helpful to you. You are not expected to make decisions about moving forward with your complaint at that time. In fact, we encourage you to return (or we will reach out) in a day or two to once again review all of your options and decide on a course of action. Please note that in cases of rape or sexual assault, you will be advised that the timing of medical attention is very important to preserving your future legal rights with external law enforcement agencies. There are certain immediate steps we can take to help you feel safer and we will work with you to provide and coordinate the right options for your circumstances. You may change your mind about participating in this process at any time.

If you choose to move forward, the Title IX Coordinator will work with appropriate offices to ensure that you (the complainant), respondents and witnesses are treated equitably throughout the process and that respectful and timely communication occurs.

What is the difference between informal and formal resolution?

Whenever possible, the Title IX Coordinator will work with the complainant and alleged offender to find an informal resolution (please note that OCR does not recommend informal resolution as an option in cases of rape/sexual assault). The goal is to acknowledge behavior and risk of behavior, to raise awareness and prevent future occurrences. Both parties must be willing to engage in facilitated discussions or mediation. Either party may, at any time, change their mind about participating in the informal resolution process.

If either party withdraws or if an informal resolution cannot be reached, then the Title IX Coordinator can guide you through the formal resolution process. The Title IX Coordinator will work closely with Student Affairs (for student claims) or Human Resources (in claims involving an employee) to determine the timing of an investigation, interviewing of witnesses and review of the evidence. Evidence is reviewed based on a standard of preponderance of the evidence; that means that the evidence gathered shows that the claim is more likely than not to have occurred. Findings and/or recommendations will be issued and if a violation is found, disciplinary action or sanctions as prescribed by policy or law will be imposed. The role of the Title IX Coordinator is to ensure equity for all parties, to serve as a resource for the adjudication processes and to bring forth timely communication and resolution.

Can I also seek assistance from external agencies?

Yes. The University takes Title IX claims very seriously and will take appropriate steps to assist the victim and provide a timely response. You may elect our internal process while maintaining your right to pursue options with external law enforcement agencies, which may include local law enforcement or the District Attorney’s office, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, The New York State Division of Human Rights, or the United States Department of Educations’ Office of Civil Rights (OCR). The University can continue its investigative process as long as it does not conflict with the jurisdiction of these outside agencies. The Title IX Coordinator can provide you with information on accessing these external resources.

Is my complaint confidential?

We understand how difficult it can be to come forward with a concern or claim. We encourage candid and honest participation in our process so that we can identify the right options and correct course of action. The University will make every effort to keep the confidentiality of any person(s) reporting a claim and when possible will keep the identity of an unwilling victim or witness confidential. However, we cannot guarantee unqualified confidentiality as we must also balance the safety of other members in our community. If we determine that there is the threat of imminent harm to an individual or to the community, information may need to be shared and then only with appropriate individuals. Complainants will be advised if information pertaining to a claim is shared with individuals outside of the University’s investigative process.
There are certain individuals who, under the law and under specific circumstances, are bound by rules of confidentiality. If you choose to report a claim to any of the University resources listed, you may ask whether your conversation with them is privileged under the law.

What happens if someone else reports an incident and indicates me as a victim? Am I required to file a formal charge?

Again, any and all incidents reported are taken seriously and will be investigated and addressed in a timely fashion and with sensitivity to confidentiality. The Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will reach out to an individual upon a third-party report that the individual may have been a victim of sexual assault, violence, harassment or discrimination.

The purpose of reaching out to the individual is to provide guidance as to the processes and support resources available. However, no individual will be forced to file a claim or otherwise participate in the University’s investigative process. Unwilling victims or witnesses will be asked to sign an acknowledgement if they do not wish to engage in any resolution process. Even if you decline to engage in any resolution process, you can return to the Title IX Coordinator at a later time. In the interim, you are encouraged to seek support and assistance from any of the listed campus resources.

PLEASE NOTE: The University as well as external law enforcement may be limited in their ability to fully investigate or resolve a complaint if the victim is unwilling to engage in the investigative process. Likewise, delays in formally reporting a complaint can limit the type or effectiveness of our response. More broadly, delays in reporting can prevent the University from understanding if a pattern of risk or behavior is developing. The University must take steps to end or otherwise address the behavior that violates policy or law. Every effort will be made to keep the identity of an unwillingly victim or witness confidential in taking steps to protect the larger community.

I am uncomfortable reporting a claim because I am afraid of retaliation.

The University’s ability to address and respond to claims is dependent on the honest and willing engagement of participants in the process. Any person who in good faith and belief of the facts, reports an incident of sexual harassment, misconduct, violence or discrimination or participates in the investigative process may expect respectful treatment and equitable access to the resources. Retaliation against anyone who reports in good faith or participates in the investigative process is prohibited and may be viewed as harassment itself and may be subject to sanctions as determined by the University.

Who is a mandatory reporter?

There are three federal laws that establish responsibilities for employees of Universities to report certain types of crimes and incidents, especially sexual misconduct---the Clery Act, Title VII and Title IX. Each of these areas of federal law has a different purpose, but generally the laws are intended to protect members of the campus community, visitors and guests from criminal and discriminatory behavior. The responsibilities established by these laws give rise to the term “mandatory reporter.”  Most University employees should consider themselves mandatory reporters.  It is not advisable to make the call not to report for someone else.

Is Title IX just for females?

You can be of any gender and file a complaint.  The perpetrator can be of any gender.  It is the nature of and the impact of the incident that will determine if the actions were a Title IX violation.

If we didn’t answer your question, please use the contact us form. If you do not enter your name or email address, we will not be able to respond directly to you on your comment/inquiry/question.

What are affirmative action and equal opportunity, and are they the same?
 

Equal Opportunity prohibits discriminatory employment and academic decisions taken based on protected classifications such as race, color, religion, gender, age, national origin, veteran status, genetic information or disability. It also includes measures taken to ensure fairness in the employment process; it is the idea of equal treatment and respect.

Affirmative action goes further than equal employment opportunity. Affirmative action asserts that organizations and individuals in organizations seek to overcome the effects of past discrimination against groups such as women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities by making a positive and continuous effort in their recruitment, employment, retention, and promotion efforts.

Affirmative action also requires organizations to actively seek to remove any barriers that artificially limit the professional and personal development of individuals who are members of protected groups. Affirmative recruitment steps should be taken to increase applications from qualified women, minorities, veterans and persons with disabilities for each position vacancy.

What affirmative action programs are required for the University?
 

Clarkson is required to direct employment efforts toward increasing the numbers of women, minorities (American Indian, Asian, Black, and Hispanic), veterans, and persons with disabilities. These efforts focus on advertising employment opportunities in media and other forums that will likely be viewed by underrepresented groups.

What are some types of affirmative action measures?

  • Aggressive recruiting to expand the pool of candidates for job openings.
  • Evaluating and updating selection tools and criteria to ensure their relevance to job performance.
  • Revising traditional measures of merit to better recognize talent and performance under varying conditions.

What is the Affirmative Action Program? 

A written affirmative action program is required of all federal contractors holding contracts of $50,000 or more and with 50 or more employees. The Affirmative Action Program is designed to provide ways in which to measure hiring, training and promotional opportunities for qualified minorities and women in all parts of an organization. The Affirmative Action Program is prepared annually and is located in the  Human Resources Office. 

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“No person shall be discriminated against because of race, color, religion, sex (gender), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristics, domestic violence, victim status, marital status, personal status, ancestry, source of income, or other classes protected by law.”

-Clarkson University’s Non-Discrimation Policy