Title IX Update – August 2020

What changed on August 14, 2020?
The U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations that went into effect on August 14,2020.  The new regulations govern how education programs that receive federal funding must respond to sex discrimination including sexual harassment.  The August 14, 2020 regulations set forth specific minimum responsibilities and requirements with how we are to conduct live hearings, issued new definitions.


What were the 2020 changes to Title IX hearings?
When a formal complaint is filed meeting the requirements under Title IX, live hearings are required and questioning the complainant, respondent, and witnesses must be conducted by Advisors – never by the parties themselves.


What has been newly defined under the August 14, 2020 amendments?

  • New narrower definition of sexual harassment is defined as unwelcomed sexual conduct so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to educational programs and activities. 
  • Prohibited conduct also includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.  These definitions are also found within Kent State’s administrative policy regarding complaints of Title IX sexual harassment
  • Allegations on any of the categories of gender-based or sexual harassment listed above must also occur in a university education program or activity, against a person in the United States.


If sexual harassment occurs outside the United States, will the University still allow Complainants to file a formal complaint?
Yes. Kent State will continue to address all reports of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct under other appliable University policies.


Does Kent State’s policies cover broader definitions than the new August 2020 Title IX definitions?
Yes.  Kent State is committed to providing educational and work environments that are free from sexual harassment or gender-based harassment.   The administrative policies and procedures regarding complaints of unlawful discrimination and harassment prohibits discrimination and harassment based on several protected classes including race, color, religion, gender, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, disability, genetic information, age, and military or veteran status.


How do I file a formal complaint to request an investigation?
To initiate the formal complaint process, a Complainant must file a formal complaint online, with the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX.  


If I experience retaliation what should I do?
Persons who believe they are experiencing retaliation are strongly encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX using the same procedure for filing a formal discrimination or harassment complaint. Retaliation complaints can be filed using the online complaint form.