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Understanding the Nondiscrimination and Title IX Processes

For concerns about sexual behavior, UMass Lowell has two distinct processes: Nondiscrimination or Title IX

All types of unlawful discrimination and harassment are prohibited at UMass Lowell, as noted in the university's Nondiscrimination Guidelines, which apply to students, faculty, staff, vendors and visitors. Depending on the nature of the concerns, the university will follow a different process for responding to them.

For unlawful discrimination and harassment based on sex or any other protected class, the Student Code of Conduct standard process is used when there are student respondents, and the Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure is used when there are employee or other respondents. Protected classes are religion or religious belief, color, race, marital status, veteran or military status, age, sex (including sexual misconduct, previously referred to as sexual harassment, as addressed by Title VII, MGL 151B and other state and federal civil rights and anti-discrimination laws), gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin (including language-based discrimination), ethnicity, disability, genetic information, pregnancy or related condition, or any other legally protected class. For that Procedure, the following definitions apply:

Unlawful Discrimination is behavior that is directed at a specific person or persons that subjects them to treatment that adversely affects their employment, application for employment, education, admissions, university benefits, programs, or activities, because of their membership in any of the above protected classes.

Harassment is conduct against a person or persons based upon their legally protected class (listed above) that adversely has the effect of:

  1. unreasonably interfering with a person or person's employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, or participation in University programs or activities; or
  2. unreasonably interfering with a person or person's work or academic performance; or
  3. creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Sexual Misconduct is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person or persons is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such person or persons, or participation in University programs or activities; or
  2. such conduct unreasonably (a) interferes with a person or person's work or academic performance; (b) interferes with or limits a person or person's ability to participate in or benefit from a work or academic program or activity; or (c) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

The equal opportunity process for the above concerns of discrimination involves a complainant, or a supervisor, faculty member, or administrator reporting a concern to Equal Opportunity and Outreach (for concerns involving faculty, staff, visitors, or vendors); or to the Office of Student Conduct (for concerns involving students). The appropriate investigators will meet with the concerned person and will review the concern in a neutral, impartial manner, based on the processes noted above.

The university's response to Title IX concerns of sexual harassment follows the Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure which is a distinct process from the equal opportunity process noted above. The Title IX process changed as of August 14, 2020 (per Part 106 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations).

For sexual harassment as addressed by Title IX, the following definition applies:

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment under Title IX (as defined in Part 106 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations) means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the university conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the university on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that effectively denies a person equal access to the university's education program or activity; or
  3. "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. 1229(a)(8), or "stalking" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (30), as amended. Please see the definitions of these terms.

Please note: Officials with Authority are expected to report concerns of sexual harassment as defined above, which they learn from anyone, to the Title IX Coordinator, Clara I. Reynolds. Please see reporting contact information.

ProcessProcess followed when Concerns may Relate to Either Process

Concerns may sometimes relate to behavior that falls under both the definition of sexual misconduct, noted in the equal opportunity section above; and sexual harassment, noted in the Title IX section above.

If a person has a concern involving sexual harassment and chooses to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure and the sexual harassment definition will apply.

Responsibility of Supervisors, Faculty and Administrators responsibility

Please note: Supervisors, faculty members, and administrators are expected to share all concerns regarding potential violations of the Nondiscrimination Guidelines with Clara I. Reynolds, Associate Vice Chancellor of Equal Opportunity and Outreach and Diversity and Inclusion. Please see reporting contact information.