Information for Faculty
Title IX is part of the Higher Education Act of 1965 which is a federal mandate with implications for all College employees, including full time faculty and adjunct faculty. Failure to comply with Title IX can result in violations of students' and employees' civil rights, a loss of students' financial aid money, and lawsuits and federal investigations. Faculty at Harper College have a unique role because they are often the only trusted adults with whom students may interact on a frequent basis, making them likely to learn about incidents of sexual misconduct and discrimination. At the same time, Harper students are likely to see faculty as responsible adults who have the authority to assist them or address concerns.
What are my responsibilities as a faculty member?
First, you must be familiar with Harper's policy on sex discrimination. If you interact with a student who has experienced discrimination or harassment, you should respond in a caring manner. You also are required to report incidents of sexual harassment that you observe, or that are reported to you by students or others, to the Title IX Coordinator(s). This applies whether the incidents happen on- or off-campus, and whether they involve students, employees, visitors to campus, or others. Finally, you can help Harper reduce the risk of discrimination by utilizing resources and promoting education about this important issue.
Given the nature of our commuter campus, faculty can help ensure that Harper meets it legal mandates to educate all students about the campus policy, what constitutes consent, how to report incidents, and how to reduce the risk of sexual violence. Please be assured that you are not expected to be an expert on the policy, nor are you expected to provide counseling to help a student who has been traumatized. But, you should know how to contact the Title IX Coordinator(s), and you should comply with directions from them when needed to provide interim or permanent remedies under Title IX.
Following these five principles will enable you to do your part to help Harper College be compliant with Title IX and other relevant state and federal laws, such as the Violence Against Women Act, the Clery Act, and the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act.
Harper College prohibits sex discrimination, which includes discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. This includes things like:
- Harassment, including creating a hostile environment
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse (such as sexual assault and rape)
- Non-consensual sexual physical contact
- intimate partner violence (including dating violence and domestic violence)
- Sexual exploitation
- Other forms of gender-based misconduct, such as bullying or hazing
The policy applies to behaviors that occur both on and off-campus, when the behavior affects a student's access to their education or a program at Harper, or when it affects an employee's ability to do their job. It also applies to transgender, pregnant, and parenting students. View Harper's complete policy on Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct as well as the Definitions of Criminal Behaviors.
If a person has experienced harassment, victimization, or violence, the response from those they confide in will impact what they do, how they feel about what happened, whether they feel supported at Harper College, and ultimately, whether they are successful here.
- If someone tells you about an incident, exhibit care. Believe them, and offer them information and resources. You don't have to be an expert on the policy or the law to be a good listener and to connect them to a Title IX Coordinator.
- Don't just be a bystander. Intervene if you hear offensive jokes or comments made in a class. Address things in the moment and make them part of classroom discussions so that those who hear them know that you don't tolerate hurtful words or attitudes. While a specific statement may constitute protected speech, it may also contribute to a hostile environment. Having a conversation about the impact of words (regardless of intent) may be one of the most educational things you can do for a student.
- Comply with direction from the Title IX Coordinator(s). Remedies under Title IX may include no-contact orders, require that a student be moved to another class section, allow a student to finish a course remotely, or allow a student to administratively withdraw from a course. The Title IX Coordinator(s) will work with you to ensure that your academic freedom and authority over the academic performance is maintained, while the involved students' rights are upheld.
Faculty are considered to be responsible employees and may not keep reports of crimes or incidents of sexual misconduct to themselves. Even if a student requests that you keep their information confidential, it is important that you remind them that you are not a confidential resource and you just want to ensure that they receive the information and support that they are entitled to under the law. Faculty are required to report the following:
- If you observe or become aware of sexual or gender-based misconduct that occurred on campus, or was experienced on- or off- campus by student or employee, report that online. This includes incidents ranging from unwanted text messages to forced sexual intercourse. It is not your job to determine if harassment actually occurred - you should communicate all reports of alleged harassment. If you have questions about what happens when you report an incident, contact the Title IX Coordinator(s).
- If it is reported to you that a crime may have occurred on campus or near the campus, call Harper Police Department at 847-925-6330 and report the known information, including: the names of the individuals involved, the nature of the incident, the date/time, and the location. You do not need to investigate or determine if a crime actually occurred, you just need to inform the Police that it was reported to you that one may have occurred. This applies to all crimes, not just incidents related to sexual misconduct.
- If you become aware of a child (under 18) who is abused or neglected, you must report that to DCFS by calling 1-800-252-2873, and then report it to the Chief Human Resources Officer.
- Don't engage in behaviors that constitute harassment, discrimination, or other forms of gender or sexual based misconduct.
- Ensure that your teaching practices don't favor or adversely affect one gender or sex over another.
- Educate yourself on Title IX and the campus policy. For example, these protect transgender students, pregnant, and parenting students.
- Discuss the campus policy with your students and ensure they know that Harper does not tolerate sex discrimination, that there is a process to investigate and address incidents, and how they can contact the Title IX Coordinator(s).
- Include a statement on your course syllabus, such as: "Title IX prohibits sex discrimination including sexual misconduct, harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. If you or someone you know has been harassed or assaulted, you can receive confidential support and advocacy through Northwest Center Against Sexual Assault by calling the 24-hour hotline at 888-802-8890. To report a crime or get assistance from Harper College Police, please call 847-925-6330. To report any incident of sexual or gender based misconduct, or learn about your options for support and assistance from the College, visit http://harpercollege.edu/titleIX or email titleIX@harpercollege.edu. As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to promote a safe learning environment on campus, which means I am not a confidential resource and I will need to report incidents brought to my attention to the appropriate authorities, including law enforcement and the Title IX Coordinator(s)."
- Invite the Title IX Coordinator(s) or Northwest CASA to present information to your class or facilitate a discussion. This contributes to Harper's compliance with the federal and state mandates for educating students.
In addition to Title IX requirements, the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act requires that starting in August 2016, all students who attend at least one class on campus receive education about the College's policy, definition of consent, how to report incidents, available resources for survivors, and strategies for risk reduction and bystander intervention. Faculty have a critical role to play towards campus compliance.
Helping a student who has been a victim of sexual harassment, especially incidents involving sexual assault, stalking, or intimate partner violence, require specialized training. Use your resources as you are not expected to support a student on your own. Review the content on the Title IX website, which explains:
- Campus Policy
- What to do After an Incident & Resources
- Reporting Options
- Investigation & Resolution Process
- Risk Reduction & Bystander Intervention Strategies
If you aren't sure whether you should report something, or whether something constitutes potential harassment or discrimination, contact one of the College's Title IX Coordinators:
- Laura Bennett, Student Conduct Officer 847-925-6483
- Beverly Riley, Employee Relations Manager 847-925-6218