Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff,

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released the final version of its new Title IX regulations on sexual harassment, effective today, August 14, which amend the current regulations for implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The changes in the new Title IX regulations are significant. You can, and should, review the new rules in the Student Handbook, Article III or at https://web.iit.edu/hea-compliance/sexual-harassment-and-misconduct-prevention/title-ix-illinois-tech. What follows is a general, high-level outline of the new rules.

Over the course of the summer, Title IX staff and key Illinois Tech administrators have collaborated with representatives from other institutions and legal counsel to create a policy that complies with the new requirements and best serves our students, faculty, and staff. Because the resolution processes required under the new rules are more prescribed compared to previous federal guidance, Illinois Tech administrators have created a new policy that will allow greater flexibility in resolving complaints of sexual harassment informally, which the new regulations expressly allow, including options integrating facilitated communication and restorative processes. 

Because the new rules narrow the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment, any allegation that does not meet this definition cannot be subject to the Title IX Sexual Harassment Process and must be dismissed. While complaints or reports received after August 14, 2020 may fall outside of the scope of this policy, other university policies, such as the Code of Conduct or general human resource policies, may be used to address such complaints. Over the course of the summer, Title

IX Staff has been working closely with the Office of Student Affairs and the Office of Human Resources to establish such processes for resolving complaints that fall outside of Title IX jurisdiction.

Reporting Title IX Sexual Harassment

Any person may report “Title IX Sexual Harassment” under this policy, whether the reporting party is the person alleged to be the target of the conduct. Reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment may be made in person, by mail, by telephone, by electronic mail at any time or online at iit.edu/incidentreport, and should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator, whose contact information

is below. Under the new rules, a “Formal Title IX Complaint,” defined as a written statement signed by an individual who experienced sexual harassment, must be filed with the Title IX Coordinator to initiate the resolution process.

Initiating a Formal Title IX Complaint

Once a Formal Title IX Complaint alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment is filed or initiated, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will, at a minimum: provide a detailed written notice of allegations to both the Title IX Complainant and Respondent including all required notices and statements under the Title IX Sexual Harassment Process.

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures will be offered to anyone (students and employees) who reports sexual harassment, regardless of whether they file a Formal Title IX Complaint, with the aim of restoring or maintaining their access to their education and/or employment. Supportive Measures are also available to Title IX Respondents after a Formal Title IX Complaint is filed. Supportive Measures are individualized and are intended to be non-punitive and non-disciplinary and can include, but are not limited to: counseling services, extension of academic deadlines, escort services, and workplace accommodations.

Title IX Sexual Harassment Formal Process

The new Title IX regulations require that Illinois Tech follow specific procedural protocols with respect to investigating and adjudicating Formal Title IX Complaints. These new mandatory protocols do differ from the procedures that Illinois Tech used under the prior Title IX regulations. After an investigation, a determination of responsibility will be made at a a live hearing in accordance with the Title IX Sexual Harassment Process. During the live hearing, under the new regulations, both parties have the right for all evidence to be cross-examined by their advisor, and never by either party. The opportunity to appeal the final determination is available to both parties.

Title IX Informal Resolution

Once a Formal Title IX Complaint has been filed, the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy offers the option for the Title IX Complainant and Respondent to participate in a voluntary informal resolution process to resolve allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment. The Title IX Informal Resolution Facilitator facilitates a process in which the Complaint and Respondent aim to reach a mutually agreed upon solution to resolve and to restore educational access following the allegation. This process is highly customizable and includes options such as educational programming or agreed upon restrictive contact.

Additional Information

Again, specific information about the Title IX Sexual Harassment Process can be found in the Student Handbook under Article III or on the Title IX Office website at https://web.iit.edu/heacompliance/sexual-harassment-and-misconduct-prevention/title-ix-illinois-tech. Contact information for the Title IX Coordinator is provided below and on the website.

Sincerely,
Virginia Foster
Title IX Coordinator, Assistant Vice President of HEA Compliance foster@iit.edu
312.567.5725
IIT Tower, 10 West 35th Street, Room 2D7-1

The Title IX Office is working remotely, but the office is open. The best way to contact us is by sending an email to either Esther Espeland at eespeland@iit.edu or Virginia Foster at foster@iit.edu.

Dear Illinois Tech Students, Faculty, and Staff:

On May 6, 2020, the Department of Education released new regulations mandating how higher education institutions must respond to sexual misconduct under Title IX of the Higher Education Act of 1972. These regulations will take effect on August 14.

Illinois Tech’s current Title IX Policy complies with prior regulations and guidance issued by the Office of Civil Rights, as well as Illinois state laws. However, the recently released changes are significant, and Illinois Tech will work to ensure compliance with these new federal regulations. We will be carefully reviewing the new regulations over the coming weeks and will inform you as we revise our policy.

As we begin this work, it is important that you know we remain committed to preventing sexual assault, supporting those impacted by sexual assault, and conducting a fair and thorough grievance process. Building a safe, supportive, and inclusive campus environment is our top priority.

You may always reach out to the Office of Title IX Compliance staff at foster@iit.edu or eespeland@iit.edu. For confidential support, you can schedule an appointment with the Student Health and Wellness Center at student.health@iit.edu or call our confidential advisor at Resilience at 773.907.1062. More information and resources can be found at https://web.iit.edu/heacompliance. Thank you.

Virginia Foster
Assistant Vice President of HEA Compliance and Title IX Compliance Coordinator

Dear Illinois Tech Faculty and Staff,

Thank you for completing your annual Title IX training from EverFi. Given the disruptions caused by COVID-19, we will be extending the deadline to complete the training to April 30, 2020. The training has been sent to you through email and can be accessed by logging in with your Banner credentials.

For employees who have not yet received the training from EverFi, please contact Deputy Title IX Coordinator Esther Espeland at eespeland@iit.edu.

Thank you,

Virginia Foster
Assistant Vice President of HEA Compliance and Title IX Compliance Coordinator

***Content notice: This article discusses sexual harm and domestic violence.

Sexual Assault Month

Title IX Sexual Assault Month

Sexual Assault Awareness Month is an annual campaign that raises awareness about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment, and educates communities on sexual violence prevention.

This year’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month is unique, as we adapt to higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of our staff, faculty, and students are working, teaching, and learning remotely for the first time. Illinois Tech is committed to creating a fair and respectful learning environment through educating our students, faculty, and staff on how to prevent and respond to sexual violence. This year the Title IX Office is commemorating Sexual Assault Awareness Month by sharing the resources available to our community.

Digital Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Digital Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Our community’s transition to working digitally brings its own unique challenges to understanding and responding to sexual misconduct. People experiencing domestic or dating violence may be at greater risk for harm under social distancing measures. The increased use of technology may affect how we experience sexual harassment and sexual exploitation—namely, digitally. Whether on campus or at home, the sexual harassment and sexual misconduct policy still applies to all members of our community. This video best outlines how to ask for digital consent.

Resources and Support

The Title IX Office works to connect students to support and resources related to sexual violence. A list of on-campus and Chicago-area counseling, physical health, legal, and immigration resources can be found on the Title IX Office website. For students currently learning remotely,Title IX staff will collaborate with you to find support options local to you. Some resources of note are:

  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline, which operates 24/7 and is free and confidential:
  • 1.800.799.7233 or through chat.
    For students in need of confidential support, Aetna Health offers 24/7 remote support through the Student Assistant Plan (SAP). The SAP is a 24-hour hotline available for students to call if they need information or just want to talk to someone. The toll-free hotline is 1.877.351.7889. The school identification code is IIT. Students can also email the Student Health and Wellness Center at student.health@iit.edu to schedule an appointment with a counselor
  • The Title IX Office continues to receive reports of policy violations, which can be submitted online at iit.edu/incidentreport.

Social distancing does not have to lead to social isolation. We can take care of one another during this crisis and connect with friends, family, and fellow members of our Illinois Tech community to ensure that they have the support they need.

Title IX Sexual Assault Awareness Month

While the Title IX Office is working remotely, our staff is here to support our community and can be reached by email. To make a report or be connected to support resources, please contact Title IX Coordinator Virginia Foster at foster@iit.edu or Deputy Title IX Coordinator Esther Espeland at eespeland@iit.edu, or submit online at iit.edu/incidentreport.

Dear Illinois Tech Faculty and Staff:

In order to align with university policy and social distancing best practices, the Title IX Office is canceling the faculty and staff information sessions that were scheduled for March 18, March 25, and April 8.

The hour-long online training from EverFi is still live. Employees who have not yet completed the training are strongly encouraged to do so. Faculty and staff can contact Deputy Title IX Coordinator Esther Espeland at eespeland@iit.edu with any questions or concerns regarding the training.

We appreciate your commitment to building a safe campus community.

Sincerely,

Virginia Foster
Assistant Vice President of HEA Compliance and Title IX Compliance Coordinator

March 2, 2020: Title IX Debriefing Sessions

To the Faculty and Staff of Illinois Tech:

Thank you for completing your annual Title IX training! You are invited to an in-person debriefing session to supplement the online module. These optional sessions will be held in March and April, and they will provide an opportunity to further discuss any Title IX-related topics or answer any remaining questions.

We hope to see you at one of the sessions:

  • March 4, 1–2 p.m., MTCC Auditorium
  • March 18, 1–2 p.m., MTCC Auditorium
  • March 25, 1–2 p.m., DTC Room 580
  • April 8, 1–2 p.m., Hermann Hall Auditorium

Sincerely,

Virginia Foster
Assistant Vice President of HEA Compliance and Title IX Compliance Coordinator

January 8, 2020: Save the Date: Title IX Training

To the Faculty and Staff of Illinois Tech:

Please mark your calendars for online Title IX training from February 10-April 10, 2020.

Let's work together to make our campus a safe, just, and equitable place for every member of the Illinois Tech community.

Sincerely,

Virginia Foster
Director of HEA Compliance and Title IX Compliance Coordinator