Gender and Sex-Based Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence
UW Colleges and UW-Extension (UWCX) is an equal opportunity institution, committed to providing safe and inclusive working, living, and learning environments. We prohibit gender and sex-based discrimination, harassment, and violence (including sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, dating/relationship violence, and stalking) as outlined in our policy.
We encourage all members of our educational community to seek support for and report all sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and gender-based discrimination. The Reporting Options website describes the different avenues you have to share your concerns.
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded educational program or activity, which includes both UW Colleges and UW-Extension.
Title IX is a living, breathing law that has been used to address inequalities in educational programming since 1972. It was first enacted to address different admittance standards and quotas for women in academic programs, but since then, has also been used to address access to athletics, sexual harassment, sexual assault, transgender students' rights, and rights of parenting students and employees. Title IX applies to all aspects of the institutions’ programs and services.
On a regular basis, the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, issues Dear Colleague Letters as a form of guidance to institutions about their responsibilities. In 2011, they released this Dear Colleague Letter that gave significant guidance on responding to sexual harassment and sexual violence. To view this and other letters, visit the Department of Education's website.
Institutions must be proactive to ensure a campus is free from discrimination, harassment, and violence, including sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. The 2011 DCL requires schools to designate a Title IX Coordinator, develop a policy and procedures to investigate complaints, stop misconduct, and remedy its effects.
The Title IX Coordinators are responsible for overseeing compliance with these responsibilities.
The Title IX Coordinators will respond to concerns relating to gender and sex-based discrimination, discrimination, and violence. They will also ensure that UWCX eliminates prohibited misconduct, prevents its recurrence, and addresses the effects.
University, community-based, state-based, national, and international resources are available to respond to and provide support for issues relating to gender and sex-based discrimination, harassment, and violence. The Resources website includes contact information for medical, law enforcement, counseling, and other supportive resources.
Complainant is the person who has experiences a Title IX issue. Since Title IX issues fall in a huge range from discrimination to violence, it is not appropriate to only use the words "victim" or "survivor." These two words also carry a lot of weight, and as an institution, we do not want to label anyone with these words, given their social and psychological implications.
Respondent is who is named as the perpetrator of discrimination, harassment, and/or violence against the complainant. This may be a person, people, and/or office/department. Being named as a respondent for a Title IX issue is not the same as being found guilty or responsible.
Dating Violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant.
Domestic Violence is violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant; by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant; as defined by the Wisconsin State Legislature.
Interpersonal Violence includes stalking, cyber-stalking, bullying and cyber-bullying, and dating and domestic violence. Interpersonal violence refers to an ongoing pattern of controlling and abusive behaviors, including physical, sexual, or emotional attacks, and/or economic control. UWCX policy prohibits this.
Sex/gender-based discrimination takes place where a UWCX student, employee, or third party receives negative or adverse treatment based on sex, gender, or gender identity and the conduct denies or limits the individual’s ability to obtain the benefits of UWCX’s programs or activities. This policy applies to all students and employees of UWCX, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, parenting, and transgender identity.
Sexual/gender-based harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This is defined in the Board of Regent Policy 14-2 found on their website here.
Sexual/gender-based violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the person’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, and sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX. Gender-based violence may be directed at a person because of the person’s gender, gender identity, or perceived gender/gender identity. This is defined by Wisconsin Statute, as described in our Policies and Laws webpage.
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would: cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Retaliation is defined as adverse action taken against an individual in response to, motivated by or in connection with an individual’s complaint of discrimination or discriminatory harassment, participation in an investigation of such complaint, and/or opposition of discrimination or discriminatory harassment in the educational or workplace setting. If you have concerns regarding retaliation, please communicate these with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, and they will help take steps to mitigate this. Retaliation is directly prohibited by Regent Policy 14-6 found at their website here.
There are a number of different policies and laws that outline how UWCX must respond to issues involving sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and gender-based discrimination. The Policies and Laws webpage describes how these different obligations intersect and lists the legal definitions for prohibited behavior.