Title IX

Title IX FAQs

Support and Help

How can I get help and support if I have been assaulted, harassed, or stalked?

Confidential advocates are available to all students and employees at no cost. A confidential advocate is a good place to start, and they can keep your information confidential while you explore your options.

SafeCampus provides consultation and support when you have safety and well-being concerns for yourself or others, including concerns about unwelcome conduct or gender-based violence. You can contact SafeCampus anonymously 24 hours a days, 7 days a week.

The Office of the Title IX Coordinator assists any member of the University community with concerns or inquiries regarding sexual misconduct or gender discrimination, including making a formal complaint. You do not need to make a formal complaint to receive supportive measures, which include things like getting an extension on an assignment or adjusting work schedules.

How can I be sure the information I share is confidential?

Confidential advocates have legally protected confidentiality and share information with others when given specific permission by the person who has experienced the harm or when required by law.

The Office of the Title IX Coordinator and SafeCampus do not have legally protected confidentiality but strive to safeguard the privacy of individuals who have been impacted by sexual misconduct. They share information as needed to respond to the requests of those who have been harmed, to assess community safety, or to comply with legal requirements.

What if I don’t want to talk to anyone right now? Are there resources online?

The Know Your Rights and Resources guide provides information on resources and reporting options so individuals can decide what feels right for their situation.

Information can also be found on the UW Sexual Assault Resources website, as well as through national organizations such as RAINN and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

If someone has submitted a formal complaint of sexual misconduct about me, how will I be notified?

If a formal complaint requesting an investigation is received, you will receive a written notification of the allegations and information about the investigation process.

If I’m a respondent in a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, what support will the University offer me?

Community Standards & Student Conduct (CSSC) offers guidance and information to student respondents at all UW campuses. Employee respondents receive resources and options from staff in HR, the Secretary of the Faculty, and/or the Office of the Title IX Coordinator.

Reporting options

How do I make a formal complaint?

A formal complaint is a request for the University to investigate alleged sexual misconduct. It must be submitted in writing by the person who experienced the conduct or by the Title IX Coordinator.

Formal complaints about employees can be submitted to the University Complaint Investigation Resolution Office (UCIRO). Formal complaints about students can be submitted to the Title IX Investigation Office. Confidential advocates can explain and answer questions about this process.  Visit the Title IX Reporting Options page for more information.

The staff in the Office of the Title IX Coordinator can answer questions or address concerns about formal complaints or any other issue related to sex or gender discrimination.

What should I do if I learn that someone has been assaulted, harassed, or stalked?

SafeCampus is a good place to start. The Know Your Rights and Resources guide may be helpful for you in assisting a friend or colleague. If you are an employee of the University, visit the Title IX faculty & staff resources page.

Who are Title IX Officials Required to Report and how do I know if I am one?

The 2020 Department of Education federal regulations specify that certain individuals, referred to as “officials with authority,” must report incidents of sexual misconduct. At UW, these individuals have been designated Title IX Officials Required to Report. The purpose of this report is not to initiate an investigation but rather to ensure the person who has experienced harm is offered supportive measures and is aware of their right to submit a formal complaint if they choose to do so.

If you are a Title IX Official Required to Report you have received an email notice with important information regarding your responsibilities.

If you are not a Title IX Official Required to Report, the University still encourages you to connect with SafeCampus or the Office of the Title IX Coordinator in order to learn about next steps for supporting a colleague or friend. Visit the Faculty & Staff resources page for more information.

The 2020 Title IX Regulations

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a 1972 federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in schools, colleges, and universities. Other laws, including Title VII, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), and Washington State law also prohibit sex and gender discrimination. While Title IX covers all forms of sex discrimination, the term “Title IX” is often used as a short-hand to describe the sub-set of policies, procedures, or programs that specifically address sexual misconduct.

Does Title IX apply to everyone?

Yes, Title IX protects and holds accountable faculty, staff, and students of all genders. The 2020 Department of Education federal regulations require specific sexual misconduct grievance procedures for both employees and students.

Does UW have to comply with the federal regulations?

Yes, as a recipient of federal funding, UW is required to comply with the federal regulations. If a court ruling or federal proceeding results in the rules being enjoined or otherwise changed, UW will shift its policies and procedures as appropriate and allowable.

How do the 2020 Title IX regulations change things at UW?

The federal regulations require UW to address a subset of sexual misconduct allegations using a specific investigation and adjudication process. When alleged conduct does not meet the federal definitions or criteria, other UW policies and procedures may apply. UW will continue to address all complaints of sexual misconduct and will assess formal complaints to determine if UW policy and/or federal regulations apply.

When the federal regulations apply, the adjudication will include a live hearing with oral cross-examination of the parties and witnesses.

What conduct is prohibited by the federal regulations?

The federal regulations narrow the definition of sexual harassment to include only unwelcome conduct that is so severe, pervasive and objectionably offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University. Beyond sexual harassment, federally defined prohibited conduct includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Review the University’s Executive Order 70 or WAC 478-121-605 part VII for full definitions of conduct that is subject to the federal regulations grievance procedures.

In addition to meeting one or more of these definitions, for the federal regulations to apply the conduct must have happened in the US, in conjunction with a UW program or activity, or in a building owned or controlled by UW or a recognized student organization. Finally, the complainant must be a current student, employee, applicant, or otherwise participating in a UW program or activity.

Why does UW policy cover more behaviors and have broader jurisdiction than the federal rules?

The University of Washington is committed to providing an environment that does not tolerate sex or gender discrimination, including sexual harassment and gender-based violence. UW policies and protocols will remain in place to support this commitment and to affirm the values of equity, access, and fairness.

If what happened to me isn’t covered by the new federal regulations, will the University still investigate?

UW will continue to address all complaints of sexual misconduct and will assess formal complaints to determine if UW policy and/or federal regulations apply. If you make a formal complaint, the investigator will assess which policies may or may not apply, and if an investigation is initiated, what procedures will be used.

If sexual misconduct happens outside the United States, will the University still investigate?

Although the 2020 federal regulations apply only to conduct within the United States, University policy depending on context extends to the conduct of UW students and employees outside of the United States. If the conduct would violate University policy, the University will investigate.

If sexual misconduct happens off campus will the University still investigate?

The 2020 federal regulations apply to locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the place where the conduct occurred. The 2020 federal regulations also apply to any building owned or controlled by a recognized student organization, so the regulations may also apply to conduct in fraternity or sorority houses.

If the criteria is not met for jurisdiction under the 2020 Title IX regulations, the University may still investigate if the conduct would violate other University policy.

How do the new federal regulations impact employee respondents?

If a formal complaint about an employee includes alleged conduct subject to the federal regulations, both parties will receive written notice of the allegations; the University Complaint and Investigation and Resolution Office (UCIRO) will investigate; complainants and respondents will be given access to evidence in advance of a hearing; there will be a hearing in front of a trained decision-maker(s) where parties and witnesses are subject to live oral cross-examination; and the complainant and respondent will have the right to appeal the results of the decision made at the hearing.

How can I get involved in UW’s response to the new federal regulations?

Phase I of UW’s two-phase response to the federal regulations focused on coming into compliance by the regulations’ implementation date of August 14. This included an emergency amendment to the Student Conduct Code and an interim executive order. Phase II will extend over the 2020-21 academic year and will include broader input and participation from students, staff, faculty, and the larger community.  This will lead to final UW protocols, policies and code revisions. Email titleix@uw.edu if you are interested in participating in Phase II of the UW response to the new federal Title IX regulations.

What will happen to the 2020 federal Title IX regulation as a result of Biden’s election?

The Office of the Title IX Coordinator recently posted an answer to this question. Please view our answer here. We anticipate that a Biden administration will change the 2020 federal Title IX regulations; however, a Biden-run Department of Education will likely need to undergo the same lengthy rulemaking process the Department of Education under the Trump administration did. While this process is ongoing, the University of Washington is still legally required to comply with the 2020 regulations until new ones are issued and go into effect.