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My understanding of Title IX is that it is a federal law that requires, among other organizations, universities, to ensure that women are not denied equal opportunities.

In order to ensure compliance with this law, universities create their own policies that they believe tackle relevant misconduct like sexual harassment, stalking, and other related behaviors. However the Title IX office of a university does not attempt to tackle behaviors that fall outside of ensuring compliance with the federal law.

Usually, faculty and staff are required to report or consult with the Title IX office if they become aware of misconduct. I have encountered the belief that once this occurs, faculty/staff are prohibited from engaging on the matter further. I have asked a question on Law Stack Exchange about the legal basis of this belief, but here I want to ask about university policy.

Are there common (or if not, at least notable examples of) policies that prohibit a department, or faculty/staff, from acting on information about misconduct relevant to Title IX further? For example, can a department chair enact sanctions on a perpetrator? Can faculty confront the perpetrator and demand their behavior cease? Can it even be discussed?

Note that again I am not concerned here with the law, but only with university policies.

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    University policies are going to vary from university to university. You'd need to read your university's policies and/or talk to someone in your local Title IX office. – Noah Snyder Aug 31 '19 at 3:16
  • What is the policy at your institution? Then it is easier to discuss the differences in other institutions – Poidah Aug 31 '19 at 3:17
  • While specific policies will vary from university to university, there are likely to be general "best practice" tendencies that are shared, which the current answer I think does a good job of discussing. – jakebeal Aug 31 '19 at 13:50
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I have encountered the belief that once this occurs, faculty/staff are prohibited from engaging on the matter further.

I am a former department chair at a large US university. I don’t know what you mean exactly by engaging further, but this belief sounds mostly false to me, or at best a distorted or misunderstood version of something that’s true but doesn’t quite mean what you think it means.

At my university, the department chair will typically remain involved and play an active role in coordinating the university’s response to the incident, usually in consultation with the Title IX officer or similar campus officials. The chair may be advised to not act independently of the title IX office or prior to consulting with them (and even more so to not act without keeping them informed), but it sounds inaccurate to describe this as a “prohibition”. And it’s not the case that the chair hands over the matter to some outside department and then steps away completely from the situation, as the belief you describe seems to be suggesting. (On the other hand, it’s possible that that is in fact the way things work at some US universities.)

For example, can a department chair enact sanctions on a perpetrator?

Department chairs have a fair amount of independence to do things at the departmental level. So generally speaking, I’d say that yes, the chair can do such a thing, but whether it would be a good idea or recommended practice would depend on the specific details of the situation, and in the absence of more information I’d assume it wouldn’t be either of those things.

Can faculty confront the perpetrator and demand their behavior cease?

Yes, similarly to the above: people can do all sorts of things, but if the matter is being handled by the Title IX office, most sensible people would recognize that letting the professionals (with the appropriate training, legal and psychological background etc) handle it is the best course of action.

Can it even be discussed?

Not sure what you mean by this exactly. Information about sexual misconduct accusations would generally be regarded as confidential, but department chairs and certain other administrators would have a legitimate need to know and discuss such things, so yes, obviously they can discuss them. On the other hand, they would need to exercise discretion and not share details with random people who don’t have an official reason to be involved.

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