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Responsible Employee

Faculty Are Responsible Employees under Title IX. What that Designation Means for Faculty

Background

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment and all types of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, sexual coercion, dating violence, and intimate partner violence, as well as gender-based harassment, such as harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity.

In addition to Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (also known as the Campus SaVE Act) also places special obligations on education institutions to address dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Vanderbilt’s Campus SaVE policy can be found here.

Vanderbilt policy prohibits (and defines) the following conduct:

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Sexual Harassment

Stalking

Sexual Exploitation

Other forms of sexual misconduct, such as invasion of privacy of a sexual nature and trying to commit, or helping another person commit, sexual misconduct

Dating violence, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and other forms of power-based personal violence

Retaliation

Faculty are responsible employees under Title IX. This designation means the following:

  • Faculty are mandatory reporters and must report incidents of sexual misconduct or power-based personal violence to the Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Anita Jenious (anita.jenious@vanderiblt.edu; 615-322-4705). Reports should be made to the EAD whether the incident occurred on or off campus. If it is connected to a VU program or activity or person, or if it has the potential to interfere with someone’s ability to participate in or receive the benefit of VU programs or activities, the EAD should be notified.  Faculty should not investigate themselves. Ms. Jenious and her office, the Department of Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action, and Disability Services (www.vanderbilt.edu/ead) will handle the investigation. The EAD link contains additional information about Title IX and Campus SaVe
  • When reporting to the EAD, be prepared to share all relevant details including facts, names, dates, times and location. You may be asked some additional questions. You should answer them to the best of your ability.
  • Faculty are not confidential resources. This statement means that if a Vanderbilt faculty, student, or employee discloses an incident of sexual misconduct to a faculty member that faculty member must report it to the EAD. Faculty may not promise confidentiality. Confidential resources include the following; a list is available here:
    • the Psychological & Counseling Center (PCC),
    • clergy or pastoral counselor, acting in that capacity,
    • physician acting in a patient care role,
    • Student Health Center,
    • Employee Assistance Program,
    • Faculty and Physician Wellness Program,
    • Nurse Wellness Program.
    • Faculty should inform persons about Project Safe, which provides support to anyone affected by power-based personal violence and other forms of sexual misconduct.
    • If you feel you are in a situation where a Vanderbilt student or employee is about to disclose something to you related to sexual misconduct, you may wish to remind that individual that you are not a confidential resource.  For example, you could say the following: “As a faculty member, I can listen and help guide you to resources, but I am obligated to report any allegations of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. If you would like to report to a confidential resource, I can help you identify those resources. When you report to a non-confidential resource, like me, I must share this information with the Title IX Coordinator because Vanderbilt has an obligation to address the situation and take measures to ensure the safety of the individual and the Vanderbilt community. If you request that there be no investigation, or that your identity remain confidential, the University will weigh your request for confidentiality, along with a number of other factors, in deciding how to respond to the situation.”

Where can a faculty member turn for additional training and resources?

Project Safe has two quick reference cards, both of which are available to faculty upon request. The Project Safe wallet card has the hotline number and website for Project Safe. The Project Safe Title IX primer card, which is larger, contains talking points and additional information.

A training module created for faculty is available on the Learning Exchange. Golden Obligation/Golden Opportunity was created by the EAD in partnership with the Faculty Senate and provides additional information about mandatory reporters, confidentiality, and resources.

  1. To access the course, log in to Vanderbilt’s Learning Exchange  at https://webapp.mis.vanderbilt.edu/absorb-sso/login.action
  2. You can search for the course by title:  Golden Opportunity/Golden Obligation.
  3. The training module will take approximately 15 minutes to complete.

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