UAF Title IX FAQs
Why does UA care about Title IX compliance?
The UA system takes the safety and security of our students, faculty, staff and visitors seriously. Title IX compliance is an important part of ensuring a safe and secure environment, optimum for learning, research and creative work.
What is Title IX?
Title IX is a section of the federal law under the Higher Education Act that prohibits sex discrimination in educational institutions. Many people have known it as a law requiring equal male-female representation in sports teams at U.S. colleges and universities, but it actually demands gender equity in all areas of colleges and universities that receive federal assistance.
The law states that "no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance." Therefore, Title IX forbids sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and violence, in all university student services and academic programs.
What is the University of Alaska doing to comply with this law?
UA requires annual training for its faculty and staff, systemwide, through in-person and online opportunities. Over 4,000 staff and faculty members have received the training, and the training continues. Training also includes students. Bystander training, training regarding what constitutes consent, understanding what is and what isn’t sexual harassment and assault, what to do, resources available, etc., are part of this outreach effort to students.
How well-trained are UA staff members?
What’s the burden of proof for a person bringing forward a Title IX complaint?
Complaints under Title IX do not have to be "beyond a reasonable doubt," as in the criminal justice system, before action can be taken to protect and respond to the complainant. The standard used is known as "preponderance of evidence," which means that the incident occurred more likely than not. Remedies are made available to the complainant (such as switching housing or class schedules to avoid regular contact with an alleged aggressor, safety escorts, university no-contact orders, etc.) prior to an investigation's conclusion.
Are UA campuses safe? What about this "climate survey"?
Yes, they are generally safe. However, there is more UA must know to ensure we're doing everything possible to promote a safe and secure environment, one in which sexual assault and harassment are not tolerated.
UA has conducted a comprehensive, voluntary and confidential "climate survey" on sexual assault and harassment (nonconsensual, e.g., unwanted sexual experiences and relationship aggression) to help us understand how we can improve campus safety, outreach, education and services. It is a safety survey that gauges the appropriateness of our campuses’ attitudes and responses to sexual assault.
The survey was voluntary, confidential and anonymous. Only aggregate results were compiled, with no traceable information (such as IP addresses) that link back to the participant. The goal of the survey is to improve prevention, safety and education on our campuses about sexual assault/harassment and gender discrimination.
What survey methodology was used?
Responses are anonymous, and results will only be used in aggregate. Surveys were electronically distributed to all UA employees and a representative sample of our adult student population. The instrument was created from a review of national, peer-reviewed studies and current campus practices, and represents the most promising survey practices in the field based on empirical evidence. Scales are selected from among those that appear in peer-reviewed research publications. Survey methodology follows content and implementation practices endorsed by the Office of Civil Rights, with a strong focus on privacy, protecting participants from distress and providing access to a wide range of support resources.
Why is UA making such a big deal out of this issue?
Safety on America's colleges and universities, specifically regarding sexual assault and harassment, has become a national issue. In Alaska, domestic violence and intimate partner violence is higher than the national average. These are serious issues for all Alaskans.
Former UA President Pat Gamble was notified May 5, 2014, of the U.S. Department of Education/Office for Civil Rights decision to conduct a compliance review examining the university's handling of complaints and reports of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, to determine if the university has responded promptly and effectively, with particular emphasis on complaints of sexual assault. (www.alaska.edu/files/opa/5.5.14-OCR-letter.pdf)
The university fully cooperated with this review. By the end of July, some 11,500 pages of information were provided to the OCR as part of an information request sent to UA on May 12. (www.alaska.edu/files/opa/2014.05.12-OCR-Title-IX-review---Data-Request.pdf) We do not know why UA was chosen for a compliance review, but the OCR has told us it is not due to specific complaints.
The University of Alaska supports the growth of awareness and prevention programs at campuses across the state, as well as proper reporting, protocol and procedures in providing care to individuals who are affected by sexual violence. The review by OCR will point out areas where we can improve, and UA is committed to making those improvements.
What else is UA doing about sexual assault and harassment?
UA is providing training to State of Alaska magistrates at their upcoming annual conference. As a result, magistrates, traditionally the initial "face" of the court system for those seeking protective orders, will be able to alert UA students, faculty and staff to interim services available to help alleviate some of the problems associated with sexual harassment and sexual assault.
We have also met and allied with domestic violence shelter personnel and law enforcement in many of our campus communities, including rural communities such as Nome, Kotzebue, Bethel and Dillingham. UA is also working with the Alaska State Troopers to develop protocols to ensure that troopers give UA students, faculty and staff information about UA's services for individuals who are affected by sexual assault and domestic violence.
I've heard Alaska has a significant problem with rape and domestic violence. Is that true?
Alaska's overall domestic violence and abuse, including sexual and intimate partner violence, is a significant problem. In addition to the proactive efforts UA has taken to deal with the issue on our campuses, UAA's Justice Center annually conducts the Alaska Victimization Survey in partnership with the Alaska Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault through the governor's Choose Respect initiative and the Alaska State Legislature.
The results of these surveys are chilling, showing that out of every 100 women in Alaska, 59 experience intimate partner violence, sexual violence or both. The governor's Choose Respect campaign is helping increase awareness of the issue, the first step toward eradicating sexual assault and violence.
What are UA's rates of sexual harassment and assault?
- UAF: 103 sexual harassment (including sexual assault) complaints
- UAA: 139 sexual harassment (including sexual assault) complaints
- UAS: 8 sexual harassment (including sexual assault) complaints
UA publishes crime statistics, including allegations of rape and sexual assault, on the following sites:
Campus crime and fire statistics
The UAF campus crime statistics are compiled from an in-house database that tracks the daily activities of incidents reported to or observed by campus police. This database is the basis of the daily crime log, which is updated several times per week. This log is available to the public and can be found at the UAF Police Department during normal business hours.
The crime statistics are based on a calendar year (January through December), not an academic year. The statistics are also entered into the Department of Education website. This is a federal requirement and is a means for the government to track compliance with governmental regulations (the Clery Act).
The Clery Act requires that all staff, faculty and students have access to these statistics. The statistics are published as a PDF and maintained on the UAF police website.
Sex offender information is at the State of Alaska Department of Public Safety website at http://www.dps.state.ak.us/.