The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX oversees the University’s compliance with Title IX, equal opportunity, affirmative action, and other state and federal civil rights laws. It helps investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking.
What Values Do We Represent?
Santa Clara University's fundamental principles of academic excellence through diversity and inclusion are central to our Jesuit, Catholic values. These principles and values call on us to provide a workplace and educational environment free from discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. In its admission, educational and employment practices, programs, and activities, the University does not discriminate and prohibits discrimination against any individual based on race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, age, gender, gender expression, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, registered domestic partner status, veteran or military status, physical or mental disability (including perceived disability), medical condition (including cancer related or genetic characteristics), pregnancy (including childbirth, breastfeeding, and related medical conditions), or any other basis prohibited under applicable federal, state, or local laws.
Which Laws and Regulations Guide our Work?
As Santa Clara University is a federally-funded institution, it falls within the purview of several federal laws and regulations, including:
- Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. Title IX promotes equity in academic and athletics programs, prevents hostile environments on the basis of sex and sexual misconduct, and prevents discrimination against pregnant and parenting students. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or forms of sexual violence, such as rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking.
Senate Bill 493 is a California law mandating that all staff and faculty members are considered Mandatory Reporters of incidents or concerns involving Gender-Based Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct. Mandatory Reporters or "Responsible Employees" are people who have the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment or provide supportive measures to students, or who have the duty to report sexual harassment to an appropriate school official who has that authority.
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on race or national origin. Under Title VI, no person can, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any federally funded education program or activity.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (as amended 2008) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 are Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability. These policies ensure that those with disabilities can fully participate and have equitable access to academic courses, programs, activities, services, and employment opportunities. Under ADAAA and Section 504, ‘disability’ can include (but is not limited to) learning disabilities, ADHD, chronic health conditions, traumatic brain injuries, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, psychological disorders, visual impairments, and other health impairments.
For more detailed information regarding the University’s policies and procedures related to equal opportunity and nondiscrimination, please review the Nondiscrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
What Do We Do?
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX oversees the University’s equal opportunity programs and provides assistance in resolving and investigating complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking). Reporting parties are under no obligation to utilize any services or resources offered and are free to opt in or out at any time — nothing is required. Beyond facilitating the impartial investigation and prompt resolution of any formal complaints, for any given case, our team can assist through:
- Meeting with all parties involved to discuss the options and resources available to them.
- Referring parties to resources that can provide further support and guidance, such as the Wellness Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, or outside agencies.
- Implementing supportive measures to address the health and safety of all parties involved and facilitate continued access to their educational program and employment, as appropriate.
- Connecting parties with an advisor, who will assist them with navigating the investigation and resolution process and will pose questions on their behalf during any formal hearing proceedings.
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX also provides members of the SCU community with several avenues to learn what they need to stay informed and active in the ongoing pursuit of creating a respectful learning and working environment free from discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. The Equal Opportunity and Title IX team provides annual training to students, faculty, and staff. In addition, we frequently collaborate with other departments, including the Wellness Center and student organizations, to promote campaigns and initiatives that increase awareness of issues related to discrimination and harassment and help prevent sexual violence on campus.
How Do We Operate?
The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX is ultimately responsible for ensuring, in all cases, that reports are handled equitably and with care and concern for all parties involved. In doing so, the Director and members of the Equal Opportunity and Title IX team serve in a neutral role, acting with independence and authority that is free from bias and conflicts of interest. The Director works to ensure that all faculty and staff involved in the University's response and resolution process act with objectivity and impartiality. Prior to engaging in the resolution process for a case, each party involved will have an opportunity to assess and bring up any concerns about potential conflicts of interest and personal bias with the decision-makers involved. In addition, annual training is provided to all advisors, investigators, hearing officers, panelists, and appeals officers on how to serve impartially and without bias, as well as how to protect the safety of victims and promote accountability throughout the entire investigation and resolution process.