Title IX & the Policies and Procedures on Sexual Harassment
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from sex discrimination in educational programs and activities at institutions of higher education. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
As members of an academic community, students share responsibility with the faculty and administration of Franklin University for creating and maintaining an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and personal growth and respectful of the rights of others. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. By a student’s attendance at Franklin University, students are obligated to comply with Franklin University’s regulations and procedures.
Franklin University’s Anti-Discrimination Statement
Franklin University does not discriminate on the basis of age, religion, race, ethnicity, color, national origin, ancestry, immigration status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital or familial status, disability, or veteran or military status. Please refer below for the policies and procedures on sexual harassment or find the University’s Policies and Procedures on Discrimination and Equity here.
Equity and Title IX Coordinator
Chelsea C. Polly, J.D.
Anonymous reports may be submitted through Lighthouse.
The Equity and Title IX Coordinator is the designated University official with primary responsibility for coordinating the University’s compliance with Title IX. This includes providing leadership for Title IX activities; facilitating educational programs and trainings; and helping to ensure the University responds appropriately, effectively, and equitably to Title IX issues.
To file a report of sexual harassment, click here
Last reviewed 8/14/2020
Scope of Title IX
- Occurs in the United States
- At a University controlled program or activity
- Committed by a person under University control to a person affiliated or attempting to be affiliated with the University.
- Must meeting the definition of sexual harassment as defined by the Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
*If the Respondent leaves the campus community, the Equity and Title IX Coordinator (the Coordinator) has the discretion to dismiss the formal complaint.
*Any issues that do not fall within the scope of Title IX may be addressed under other Codes of Conduct.
Definition of Sexual Harassment as Defined by OCR
Sexual Harassment become the umbrella for all offenses within the scope of Title IX and must satisfy one or more of these:
Quid Pro Quo – an employee of the University that conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
Sexual Harassment – unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive to a reasonable person that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity.
Sexual assault – any sexual act direct against another person, without the consent of the complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. Sexual Assault comes in forcible and non-forcible forms.
Sexual Assault with an object
Dating Violence – violence on the basis of sex committed by current or previous romantic, intimate, or sexual partner of the Complainant. The relationship is based from the Complainant’s point of view of the relationship as well as length, type, and frequency of the relationship. Dating Violence includes but is not limited to sexual or physical abuse or threat of such abuse, and does not include acts covered under the definition of Domestic Violence.
Domestic Violence – violence on the basis of sex committed by a current or former spouse or partner of the Complainant who shares a child with the Complainant, lived with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner - including those considered to be spouses under Ohio state laws – and/or anyone protected by the Respondent under Ohio state laws. Those living as roommates do not fall under this definition unless the roommates have or have had an intimate relationship.
Stalking – engaging in a course of conduct on the basis of sex directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional stress.
Retaliation is any action, statement, or behavior that is designed to punish an individual for filing a report, cooperating with an investigation, seeking guidance regarding a concern or to deter someone from taking such action. Retaliation in any form will not be tolerated by any participant or third-party to a discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct policy violation or suspected violation. Acts of retaliation will be investigated and addressed according to this policy.
For more information regarding the offenses covered under the Title IX Policy please access the full PDF here
Federal laws establish responsibilities for employees to report certain types of crimes and incidents, particularly sexual misconduct: Title VII, Title IX and the Clery Act. Each of these laws has a different purpose, but generally they 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.” Additionally, state law imposes mandates with respect to the reporting of child and elder abuse, sexual abuse, and felony crimes under federal, state, and local laws.
As a University employee, you are expected to report such crimes immediately. The University defines all Campus Security authorities, all employees (both staff and faculty), and all volunteers who have mentoring or supervisory relationships with students as mandatory reporters, except those listed under “Confidential Reporting” below. If you become aware of an incident of potential sexual harassment, you are expected to promptly contact the Equity and Title IX Coordinator. Other serious crimes, including those covered by the Clery Act, must be reported to Campus Safety and Security.
Where student employees have supervisory or mentoring roles (i.e., student manager, resident assistant, student coach), oversee a facility (i.e., Student Center or Library), or otherwise have authority that affects the work or educational environment of other students, they are considered mandatory reporters under this policy.
When reporting crimes or misconduct, a University employee will provide names, descriptions, witness information as they are able, and if a clear threat to health or safety is present, some identifying information would be required. Other campus officials may need additional information in order to fulfill the University’s obligations under various laws. When reporting crimes or misconduct, a university employee cannot and should not promise confidentiality.
In some cases, Campus Safety and Security may be required to release a timely warning to the University community about a threat to the community. In such cases, an initial investigation or determination of the nature of the threat may be conducted, after which a warning will be issued immediately.
Confidentiality & Privacy
Confidentiality and privacy are valued for parties involved in an incident of sexual harassment. When the investigation and/or resolution process requires disclosure of certain information, the University will keep the Complainant informed and protected to the extent permitted by law.
The University cannot promise complete confidentiality. However, we will work to ensure each situation is resolved as privately as possible in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law and 34 CFR §106.30. The University understands that reporting a crime may involve disclosing sensitive information, and it will use and disseminate such information consistent with the need to conduct an appropriate investigation, to provide supportive measures to Complainants and Respondents, and to perform other appropriate university functions. The University is required by Ohio Law (2921.22) to report all felonies that have knowingly been or are in the process of being committed to law enforcement authorities. Note that the use and release of personally identifiable information from an education record of a student is governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and the University will only disclose covered student information in compliance with that law and university policy.
If a Complainant does not desire action by the University and would like the details of the incident to be kept confidential, the Complainant may seek support and/or guidance from certain resources who are not required to tell anyone else private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear of Complainant’s safety, cause for fear of the safety of other members of the community, and/or situations that mandate reporting, such as child or elder abuse. In addition, both Complainant and Respondent may access the resources during and after the Title IX process in order to regain control over their educational environment. These resources are listed below:
Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio: 614-267-7020
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Organization for Victims Assistance: 800-TRY-NOVA (879-6682)
Reporting under This Policy
Reporting is vital. The University is committed to creating a culture of reporting by stressing the critical importance of the members of its community and the University’s dependence on them as reporters. The University is obligated to follow up on all allegations and is able to respond formally to alleged incidents of sexual harassment that occurred on campus, that were part of official University program or activity, or where the Complainant and Respondent are members of the University community.
How to Report Sexual Harassment:
Chelsea Polly, J.D.
Equity and Title IX Coordinator
Or file a report here
Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to the University’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, and/or deter sexual harassment and/or retaliation.
The Equity and Title IX Coordinator promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. At the time that supportive measures are offered, the University will inform the Complainant, in writing, that they may file a formal complaint with the University either at that time or in the future, if they have not done so already.
The University will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the University’s ability to provide the supportive measures. University will act to ensure as minimal an academic or occupational impact on the parties as possible. Measures will be implemented in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party.
These actions may include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare service
- Employee Assistance Programs found here
- Referral to community-based service provides
- Student financial aid counseling
- Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees
- Safety planning
- Providing campus safety escorts
- Implementing contact limitations (no contact orders) between the parties*
- Academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments
- Timely warnings
- Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus
- Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Equity and Title IX Coordinator
*Violations of no contact orders will be referred to appropriate student or employee conduct processes for enforcement.
Following receipt of notice or a complaint of an alleged violation of this Policy, the Equity and Title IX Coordinator (the Coordinator) or designee engages in an initial assessment, typically within one to five business days. The steps in an initial assessment can include a discussion of supportive measures, Complainant wishes moving forward including filing a formal complaint, confidential resources, and local law enforcement resources.
Anyone may file a report of sexual harassment, regardless of whether or not the reporter is the Complainant. In order to initiate Title IX proceedings, the Complainant must submit a written complaint to the Coordinator. In addition, a formal complaint may be filed by the Coordinator should they feel that the allegations need further exploration.
Formal complaints must fall under the scope and jurisdiction of the University’s Policy on Title IX. Please see the above section on Scope & Jurisdiction or review the full policy pdf found in the Additional Information section below for more information.
If the formal complaint meets the requirements of this policy, the Coordinator will inform the parties of the options of informal resolution (see informal resolution section below) or formal investigation to address the complaint. The Complainant may, at any time, withdraw their formal complaint If, based on the formal complaint, the Coordinator finds that it does not rise to a violation under this section, the formal complaint must be dismissed.
If the Respondent is not a member of the campus community or no longer a member of the University, the formal complaint against the Respondent may be dismissed unless the Coordinator feels the proceedings should continue; however, the Complainant may still be entitled to remedies.
the Coordinator may also dismiss a formal complaint if specific circumstances prevent the college from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or specific allegations therein.
the Coordinator will inform all parties of any dismissal as well as the reasoning behind the dismissal. ALL dismissals are appealable by both parties.
Notice to the parties
Once the Complainant or The Coordinator has filed a formal complaint, both parties will receive a notice from the Coordinator or designee. All notices to both parties will be notified and include dates, times, and locations. Notices will also include a copy of these policies and procedure, the section of the code alleged to be violated, identities of the parties involved (if applicable), and available appointment times for an initial meeting with the Coordinator, designee, or investigator. Parties’ will be given 5 business days to respond to notices.
The Coordinator will assign a trained, efficient, and impartial investigator. Each party will be informed by the Coordinator when the investigator has been assigned and be given the investigator’s contact information. Parties will be afforded adequate time before interviews to secure representation if they wish; however, the securing of representation shall not impede the timeline of the investigation.
The investigator will conduct an impartial, unbiased, and thorough investigation within a reasonable and efficient timeframe. Each party will be interviewed by the investigator and asked provide witnesses and/or any evidence they wish to present to the investigator. In addition, the investigator may gather any and all evidence related to the investigation on behalf of the University.
Parties will be given 10 days to review and respond to any evidence uncovered by the investigator once evidence gathering has been concluded and a draft report has been made available for all parties to review. During this time parties may edit their statements, present new evidence, and reply to all evidence gathered by either party or the investigator. After the 10 day period, each party will receive notice from the Coordinator that the investigator has begun writing the investigative report. When the investigative report has been completed by the investigator, it will be sent to the Coordinator for review. After the Coordinator has reviewed the report, both parties will receive a copy of the investigative report.
Parties will be given the decision maker’s contact details with the investigative report. Parties will be given 10 days to review the investigative report and may have pre-hearing conferences with the decision maker to determine the relevancy of questions. Parties are not required to have pre-hearing conferences with the decision maker, and any questions that the decision maker does not determine relevancy on in a pre-hearing conference may still be brought up at the live hearing.
After the 10 day period has been concluded, a live hearing will commence. The hearings will be conducted in person unless circumstances make it more reasonable for technology to be used.
Each party is required to have an advisor, who is not required to be legal representation. If a party does not have an advisor, then the University will provide an advisor. Please note, the advisor the University provides does not have to be legal representation even if the opposing party has legal representation. Only advisors may pose questions to the decision makers and other parties or witnesses; parties may not directly communicate with each other during the live hearing.
All questions must be posed to the decision maker first, who will determine if the question is relevant or irrelevant. If the decision maker deems a question relevant, it may be posed to the party or witness in question. If the decision maker deems a question irrelevant, the party asked will not be required to answer it. The decision maker will give a sufficient, reasonable explanation for why the question is not relevant.
All hearings will be recorded and available to either party as a part of the final report. Once the hearing has been concluded, the decision maker will make a determination of responsibility based on a preponderance of the evidence standard or 50.1% that the sexual harassment occurred.
Final Determination Report
The decision maker will have 5 days to make a ruling regarding responsibility and write the final determination report. The final determination report will be written by the assigned decision maker that details findings of fact, reasoning for responsibility determination, any sanctions/disciplinary actions imposed, or remedies given. The report will also give the parties details of how to request an appeal, and the basis on which an appeal may be filed. Lastly, the Coordinator will review the report and deliver it simultaneously to all parties. All appeals must be filed within 5 days of receipt of report.
Each party may appeal from any determination regarding responsibility and/or the Equity and Title IX Coordinator’s (the Coordinator) dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein, on the following bases:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
- The Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the specific Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
Any party may file a request for appeal, but it must be submitted in writing to the Coordinator within 5 days of the delivery of the Notice of Outcome. The Coordinator will forward the request to the appeals chair to determine if the request meets the requirement for appeal. A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously including the decision on each approved ground and rationale for each decision. The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration, and any sanctions/disciplinary action that may take effect.
If the Petition for Appeal is accepted, the original decision will be reviewed by an unbiased appellate authority who is not the Coordinator, investigator, or decision maker of the original investigation. The appellate may speak with the parties, witnesses, investigator, decision-maker, and the Coordinator if needed. In addition, parties are allowed to submit evidence relevant to the appeal to the appellate authority.
If the original decision is upheld, the Coordinator will notify both parties of the outcome, and sanctions/disciplinary actions will begin. The Coordinator will also inform both parties should the outcome of the original investigation change and what effect on sanctions/disciplinary actions or remedies that decision has. Once the appeal has been decided, no more appeals may be filed and the case will close.
Sanctions & Disciplinary Actions
The University will consider the concerns and rights of both the Complainant and Respondent as well as the severity of the case in determining any disciplinary actions/sanctions. Sanctions/disciplinary actions can include but are not limited to:
- Writing warning
- Letter of Corrective Action
- Loss of Privileges
- Restriction from Campus
- Suspension (for students)
- Paid or Unpaid Administrative Leave (for employees)
- Dismissal (for students)
- Termination (for employees)
The Equity and Title IX Coordinator (the Coordinator) will determine if a voluntary informal resolution process is appropriate based on the complexity of the matter and the severity and extent of the alleged harassment. There are some serious offensives that may not be resolved through voluntary informal resolution including but not limited to non-consensual sexual intercourse, domestic violence, and/ sexual harassment between an employee and student where the employee is the Respondent. A voluntary informal resolution may include but is not limited to mediation, targeted educational programming, and training for relevant individuals and groups.
If the Coordinator determines that voluntary informal resolution is an appropriate option then, during the initial meetings with Reporting Party and Responding Party, the Coordinator will inform the parties of the option to proceed with a voluntary informal resolution process. The Coordinator or their designee will not force a Reporting Party to directly confront a Responding Party in mediation. Either party may request a voluntary informal resolution; however, both parties must agree to undergo the process. If the matter is regarding an issue under section II of this policy, no informal resolution may begin without a formal complaint.
Once both parties agree to an informal resolution, the Coordinator will draft an Informal Resolution Agreement and deliver it to both parties. Each party has five (5) business days to sign the agreement. If the parties do not sign within the required time, the case will revert to a formal investigation. The Coordinator will coordinate the voluntary informal resolution process.
The Coordinator will assign an unbiased and trained party to facilitate to the informal resolution process. The Coordinator will schedule the beginning of the process approximately 5 business days after the informal resolution agreement has been signed. The facilitator will keep the Coordinator informed of the progress of the informal resolution and will inform the Coordinator if another meeting is needed. Either party may bring a support person to informal resolution proceedings, but all questions and comments must be directed to the facilitator, not directly between parties or their advocates. At any time prior to the conclusion of the voluntary informal resolution, either party may withdraw from the voluntary informal resolution and request a formal investigation.
Both parties must agree to the outcome of the voluntary informal resolution. If a mutual decision cannot be reached, the case will revert to a formal investigation. If a mutual decision is reached and agreed upon, neither party may appeal the final decision. Any information discovered during the course of a voluntary informal resolution process will not be considered during a subsequent formal investigation. The Title IX Office will seek to complete the process within thirty (30) days of the request for a voluntary informal resolution. In the event that the voluntary informal resolution exceed the timeframe initially established, the Title IX Office will notify all parties of the need for additional time, the reason that extended time is required, and an estimated timeframe for completion of the process. In no instances, will the informal resolution process delay University-provided support services, resources or other measures for either party.
Amnesty for Parties and Witnesses
The University will take into consideration the positive impact of reporting an incident of sexual harassment when determining the appropriate response to reports. An individual who reports sexual harassment, either as a Complainant or third party, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University for his/her own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided the specific incident has not come to the university’s attention via normal reporting channels and/or any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Education options may be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result.
The University encourages all community members to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of sexual harassment. Taking action may include direct non-violent intervention, calling law enforcement, and seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to intervene in good faith and reasonable manner will be supported by the University and protected from retaliation.
The University has an obligation to investigate all complaints. However, it also recognizes that false complaints are likely to cause significant damage to the person and reputation of an individual who is wrongfully accused. Individuals found to have knowingly made false reports may be subject to disciplinary action, but an erroneous report made in good faith will not result in disciplinary action.
Other Reporting Options
Inquiries or complaints that involve potential violations of Title IX may also be referred externally to the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights:
Office of Civil Rights, Cleveland Office
US Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
Please contact the Equity and Title IX Coordinator with any questions regarding these policies at:
Chelsea Polly, J.D.
Student Services Building, Columbus OH 43215
A full version of the Policies and Procedures on Title IX may be found here