Reporting Title IX Concerns
Reports involving employees
Michelle Smith is the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for employees at all sites. Michelle can be reached at 330-972-5146.
You also may contact the Equal Employment Opportunity / Affirmative Action Office at 330-972-7300.
- The investigatory procedures contained in the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy will continue to apply to all instances of sexual harassment and Title IX. The term “sexual harassment” shall continue to be broadly construed to include all instances of gender discrimination, including but not limited to sexual misconduct, sexual violence, sexual assault, and any other sexually motivated physical conduct. Sexual assault includes any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained by the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion.
- The University reserves the right to refer any sexual conduct, defined as criminal conduct, to the appropriate external agency, including the prosecutor, the police, or any other appropriate investigative agency. Some sexual conduct, because of its severity, will require mandatory reporting by the University, regardless of a complaining party’s wishes to keep the matter confidential.
- All University faculty, including part-time faculty, are considered “responsible employees” pursuant to Title IX. All responsible employees who receive notice of sexual harassment/sexual misconduct have an affirmative obligation to report the alleged conduct to the Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The only University employee’s not required to report Title IX violations are those “confidential employees” that work in Health Services or The Counseling and Testing Center.
- All investigations conducted pursuant to the Sexual Harassment Policy, will be done by trained investigators. Investigations involving University of Akron employees will be conducted through the EEO/AA Office. The investigators will apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof when making a finding. Preponderance of the evidence means that it is “more likely than not”, or higher than a 50% chance, that a violation of the policy has occurred.
- Either party that is not satisfied with the results of an investigation will have the right to appeal such findings to the Associate Vice President for Talent Development and Human Resources within ten (10) business days from the date of the Equal Employment Opportunity Office’s finding. The party filing the appeal shall give notice of the appeal to the Title IX Coordinator. If either party appeals the finding, the investigation will be reviewed for procedural fairness, including due process.
- The Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees has the ability to enact interim measures to protect the complainant and to ensure a safe educational or work environment.
- The University will investigate all allegations of sexual harassment, including, sexual assault and sexual violence. The University will investigate those matters that occur off campus, if there is a connection to University academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other programs or activities. The administrative investigation will be conducted pursuant to the Sexual Harassment Policy, regardless of any criminal complaint that may have been made. A complainant will still have the option of filing a complaint with the appropriate administrative agency, including the police.
The University of Akron is committed to timely investigating all allegations of sexual harassment, including sexual assault and sexual violence, and immediately eliminating the alleged conduct, seeking to prevent its recurrence, and addressing its effects. Continuing to conduct investigations pursuant to University policy ensures fairness and due process for all parties involved in the complaint process.
Rights and responsibilities of victims and witnesses
The University of Akron urges people who have been the victim of sex-based offenses to pursue criminal charges against the person or persons they believe to have committed the crime. A criminal charge and a disciplinary charge may be pursued at the same time; however, individuals may pursue a disciplinary complaint without pursuing criminal charges. Victim support and resources are available even if an individual elects not to pursue criminal charges or University disciplinary action.
Individuals having knowledge of a sex-based offense (including dating violence, domestic violence and stalking) also are strongly encouraged to timely report that crime to the police.
In fact, under Ohio law, persons who have knowledge of a felony - a victim of or witness to the crime - are required to report the crime to the police and failure to report a crime may itself be a crime. (Ohio Revised Code §2921.22.)
These individuals also are encouraged to contact the deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees, Michelle Smith to discuss options for safe and positive intervention.