"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."
– Title IX of the Educational Amendment of 1972
The University of Kentucky is committed to providing a safe learning, living, and working environment for all members of the University community and environment. Consistent with these values and applicable law, including Title IX, the Department of Education Title IX Regulations, the Clery Act and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the University maintains a comprehensive program designed to protect members of the University community from discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, which includes Sexual Harassment under Title IX and Sexual Misconduct as defined by Administrative Regulation 6:2.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681) is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Consistent with this obligation, the University of Kentucky prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex in academics, employment, and all of its programs and activities. The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX.
The Department of Education issued new regulations for Title IX on May 6, 2020. The University’s Interim Administrative Regulation 6:2 complies with these regulations and with federal court decisions. For a brief summary of the Interim Regulation, see our Interim Administrative Regulation 6:2 Fact Sheet.
If you would like to learn more about the Interim Regulation, Institutional Equity is offering Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct Information Sessions throughout the fall academic term.
University Title IX Coordinator
The Interim Regulation includes two categories of prohibited behavior: Sexual Harassment Under Title IX and Sexual Misconduct.
Sexual Harassment Under Title IX is conduct on the basis of sex that occurs in the University’s education program or education activity and satisfies one of the following conditions:
- An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. This type of sexual harassment is also referred to as Quid Pro Quo.;
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity. This type of sexual harassment is also referred to as Hostile Environment.; or
- “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (30).
Sexual Misconduct is the following conduct regardless of where it occurs provided one or both of the parties is a member of the University Community:
- Sexual Assault
- Dating Violence
- Domestic Violence
- Sexual Exploitation
Reporting a Concern
Making a report is not the same as filing a formal complaint.
Any individual can make a report of behavior that could violate the Interim Regulation. Only individuals who are employees or students engaging in or seeking to engage in a University program or activity may serve as a complainant. If you are not sure whether you are required to report, please contact Meredith Reeves.
Individuals who believe they have experienced behavior that violates the Interim Regulation can make a report and request supportive measures without filing a formal complaint.
Once a report is made an investigator will reach out to the individual experiencing the behavior to discuss options available to the individual. This includes discussing whether the individual is interested in filing a formal complaint, supportive measures that are available, and how to file a police report, if the individual chooses to do so. Individuals who have experienced behavior that could violate the Interim Regulation are not required to respond to outreach from Institutional Equity. Institutional Equity will take no action without request from or notification to the person experiencing the behavior.
Private Reporting and Responsible Employees
All University employees are responsible employees and are required to forward any report of a violation of the Interim Regulation to Institutional Equity as soon as possible If you are not sure whether you are required to report, please contact Meredith Reeves.
Responsible Employees are required to provide Institutional Equity with the name of the person experiencing the behavior and any other information provided to them related to the concerns.
Once a report is made an investigator will reach out to the individual experiencing the behavior to discuss options available to the individual. This includes discussing whether the individual is interested in filing a formal complaint, supportive measures that are available, and how to file a police report, if the individual chooses to do so. Individuals who have experienced behavior that could violate the Interim Regulation are not required to respond to outreach from Institutional Equity and Institutional Equity will take no action without request from or notification to the person experiencing the behavior.
Individuals may make a confidential complaint or report to the University Violence Intervention and Prevention Center (VIP Center), the University Counseling Center, or University Health Service when receiving counseling or medical services.
Confidential means that the person or office receiving the report is not required to forward the report to Institutional Equity. Confidential offices are able to assist with some supportive measures, but are not able to implement all supportive measures.
Anonymous reports may be made to Institutional Equity. However, Institutional Equity is limited in its ability to fully respond to anonymous reports.
Anonymous reports may also be made to University of Kentucky Police Department (UKPD); however, because police reports are public records under state law, UKPD cannot hold reports of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, domestic violence, or sexual exploitation in confidence.
Violations of the Interim Regulation may be both a violation of University policy and law. Individuals may make a report to both Institutional Equity and the appropriate police department (University of Kentucky Police Department, Lexington Police Department, or other appropriate local law enforcement agencies)
The University will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation to begin conducting its own independent investigation, take supportive measures to protect the University or any member of the University community, or when necessary, initiate hearing procedures.
The result of an external criminal investigation does not affect whether a violation of University policy has occurred. An external criminal investigation will not take the place of a University investigation.
Filing a Formal Complaint
Any member of the University community may file a formal complaint. A formal complaint is a signed document containing allegations and a request that they be investigated. Individuals who need assistance in filing a formal complaint may contact Institutional Equity at 859-257-8927 for assistance.
Campus Security Authorities
Campus Security Authorities are required by law to make reports of certain crimes for inclusion in the Annual Security Reports. These reports include no identifying information and are for statistical purposes only.
Supportive Measures are available regardless of whether an individual desires to file a formal complaint. If a formal complaint is filed, Supportive Measures are not dependent on the outcome of the complaint.
Supportive Measures that are available include but are not limited to:
- Referral to on or off-campus resources, such as the VIP Center and counseling;
- Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments;
- Modifications of work or class schedules;
- Campus safety or security escort services;
- Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties;
- Changes in work or housing locations;
- Leaves of absence;
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus; and
- Other similar appropriate remedies based on each individual situation.
University policy prohibits retaliation against any party cooperating in the investigation of an alleged violation of University Policy or proceeding. Retaliation includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, coercing, or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy. Retaliatory behavior is not limited to behavior by the accused individual, and covers behavior by his or her associates, as well as third parties.
Retaliation may be reported to Institutional Equity, the Office of Student Conduct, Human Resources, or Office of Faculty Advancement and is considered an independent allegation that may lead to interim measures or disciplinary action.
Upon receiving a Formal Complaint alleging violation of the Interim Regulation, Institutional Equity initiates an investigation. Institutional Equity meets with all parties, interviews witnesses, and reviews documents, if necessary. The University strives to complete the investigation as quickly as possible in order to resolve complaints in a timely fashion. Parties receive a copy of the Preliminary Investigative Report and 10 days to provide rebuttal or supplemental information to the Investigator. After receipt of all additional information, the Investigator will provide the Final Investigative Report to the Title IX Coordinator who will review the report to determine whether there is probable cause to go to a hearing.
Dismissal of a Formal Complaint
Dismissal of a Formal Complaint alleging Sexual Harassment does not preclude charges of Sexual Misconduct.
Live Hearing Procedures
Prior to a Live Hearing, respondents have the ability to accept a resolution and waive their right to a hearing and appeal.
Should the Respondent choose to not accept a resolution, a hearing will be held in front of a 3-member hearing panel made up of trained faculty and staff. Hearings are conducted by a hearing officer, who makes all evidentiary decisions.
All hearings will be held virtually via secure video conferencing for the duration of the global health crisis caused by COVID-19 and until the University determines it can protect the health and safety of participants.
During the hearing, the University will present the case against the respondent. Both the complaining and responding party can present evidence and witnesses as well. Advisors who are attorneys may participate in a live hearing. If an individual does not have an attorney, the University will provide an attorney.
Once all information is presented, the hearing panel deliberates to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports a finding of responsibility. If there is a preponderance of the evidence, a hearing to determine an appropriate sanction is held. At this hearing, both parties may present information regarding the impact a potential sanction may have.
Please review AR 6:2 for more information about the range of sanctions available.
Appeals to the University AR 6:2 Appeals Board
Any party may appeal the dismissal of a formal complaint, a finding of no probable cause or the hearing panel’s decision to the AR 6:2 Appeals Board. Please review the Interim Regulation and the FAQs for more information.