Title IX - Glossary of Terms

The University of Hawai’i, in accordance with Title IX, uses the following glossary:

Adapted from the Know Your IX Webpage

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act or Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges to report crimes that occur “on campus” and school safety policies. This information is available each year in an Annual Security Report (ASR), which can be found on your school’s website. The Clery Act also requires schools to send timely warnings to the school community when there are known risks to public safety on campus.

The Clery Act also contains the Campus Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights, which requires colleges to disclose educational programming, campus disciplinary process, and victim rights regarding sexual violence complaints. The Clery Act was expanded in 2013 by the Campus SaVE Act (VAWA), which broadened Clery requirements to address all incidents of sexual violence (sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking).”

Campus climate surveys are important tools that are used to help colleges prevent sexual assault and other forms of gender-based violence. These surveys measure the prevalence of gender-based violence on campus and gauge students’ attitudes and behaviors.

(See also Reporting Party.)

Under EP 1.204, the University’s Policy and Procedure on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence, the Complainant, also known as the Reporting Party, is defined as a person who alleges being a victim of prohibited behavior.

(But see Privacy.)

In the Title IX context, Privacy and Confidentiality are sometimes accidentally used interchangeably, but have separate meanings.

Confidential Resources for students are where students can seek assistance without placing the University on notice of a specific allegation. Non-personally identifiable information may still be shared with the University, in the interest of allowing for some institutional accountability while still respecting victim autonomy.

ONLY designated employees can promise confidentiality.

(But see Privacy.)

In the Title IX Context, Privacy and Confidentiality are sometimes accidentally used interchangeably, but have separate meanings.

Confidential Resources for students are where students can seek assistance without placing the University on notice of a specific allegation. Non-personally identifiable information may still be shared with the University, in the interest of allowing for some institutional accountability while still respecting victim autonomy.

ONLY designated employees can promise confidentiality.

Consent is an affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in agreed upon forms of sexual contact.

Since different people may experience the same interactions differently, each party is responsible for making sure that partners have provided ongoing, clear consent to engaging in any sexual activity or contact.

A person may withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity or contact through words or actions. If that happens, the other party must immediately cease the activity or contact. Pressuring another person into sexual activity can constitute coercion, which is also considered to be sexual misconduct.

Silence to some forms of sexual activity (e.g., kissing, fondling, etc.) should not be construed as consent for other kinds of sexual activities (e.g., intercourse).

Being or having been in a dating relationship with the other party does not mean that consent for sexual activity exists. Previous consent to sexual activity does not imply consent to sexual activity in the future.

To legally give consent in Hawai’i, individuals must be at least 16 years old.

Domestic Violence (DV) is: physical, sexual, emotional, financial or psychological abuse, or threats of abuse, against another person who is a family or household member (e.g. current or former spouse/intimate partner).

DV is prohibited conduct under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

The University of Hawai‘i is committed to maintaining and promoting safe and respectful campus environments that are free from sex discrimination and gender-based violence.

Thus, EP 1.204 prohibits: Sex discrimination; Sexual harassment; Gender-based harassment, including harassment based on actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression; Sexual exploitation; Sexual assault; Domestic violence; Dating violence; Stalking; and Retaliation.

Gender-based harassment is:

  • unwelcome verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct
  • based on actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, or sex-stereotyping
  • that creates a hostile, intimidating or abusive environment.

Gender-based harassment is prohibited conduct under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is:

  • severe or pervasive, and
  • both subjectively and objectively offensive that it
  • unreasonably interferes with an employee’s work performance or student’s academic performance.

Incapacitation is a mental or physical state in which individuals are unable to make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the ability to understand the consequences of their actions.

Individuals cannot give consent to sexual activity if they can’t understand what is happening, or if they are disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason. That applies even if it is because they voluntarily consumed alcohol or drugs.

Unless consent is “knowing,” it is not valid. Those engaging in sexual activity who know or should have known that the other party is incapacitated are engaging in sexual misconduct in violation of EP 1.204. The possession, use, distribution, and/or administration of any incapacitating substances is prohibited.

The fact that a responding party was intoxicated, and thus did not realize the reporting party was incapacitated, does not excuse sexual misconduct.

Interim Measures are services, accommodations, or other assistance that the University puts in place for Reporting Parties after receiving notice of an allegation of a violation of this Policy and before any outcomes – investigatory, disciplinary, or remedial – have been determined. This is to preserve the Reporting Party’s educational experience, ensure the safety of all parties and the broader University community, maintain the integrity of the investigative and/or resolution process, and deter retaliation. The University may provide Interim Measures regardless of whether the Reporting Party seeks formal disciplinary action or makes a crime report.

Interim Measures include, but are not limited to, if reasonable and appropriate: Issuing interim suspensions/leaves pending the outcome of an investigation; Referring to counseling and health services; Referring to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP); Providing education to the community; Altering work arrangements for employees or class schedules for students; Providing campus escorts; Providing transportation assistance; Implementing limitations on contact between the parties; Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

The Title IX Coordinator can assist you with interim measures, as appropriate.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) or Dating Violence is: physical, sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological abuse, or threats of abuse, against another person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the alleged abuser.

IPV or Dating violence is prohibited conduct under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

Once a school has “notice” of a possible violation of Executive Policy 1.204, it should take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate and take prompt and effective steps to end any harassment, eliminate the hostile environment if one has been created, and prevent harassment from reoccurring. These steps are the school’s responsibility regardless of whether the student who was harassed makes a formal complaint or otherwise asks the school to take action.

An institution has notice if a responsible employee knew or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about the prohibited behavior.

Schools can receive notice in many ways beyond receiving a formal, written grievance. For example: a student verbally complains to another employee or the Title IX Coordinator; a student, parent, or other individual contacts a responsible employee; a professor or other responsible employee witnesses the harassment; the news media reports on a sexual assault that occurred on campus; a student calls the anonymous whistle-blower hotline; a University athletics coach observes a student’s tweet or other online posting; an employee makes a comment about their department to HR during an exit interview; a student cites sexual harassment in an anonymous course evaluation; etc.

The University of Hawai’i System Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) oversees UH’s Title IX and VAWA efforts on all ten campuses and at the UH System and UH Community College System level. OIE creates and supports a foundation that encourages respectful and nonviolent relationships for students, faculty and staff at UH and addresses all forms of gender-based violence and sexual misconduct, including sex discrimination, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation.

(see also Protective Order and Temporary Restraining Order)

You have a right to live in a safe environment, free from the threat of harm. If someone is engaging in a pattern of harassment (including physical or sexual violence, verbal threats, property damage or stalking), you can seek protection by obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the perpetrator.

If granted, the order sets guidelines aimed at protecting you. This can include prohibiting the defendant from calling or visiting you.

If the defendant is someone you are married to or were married to; is a family member; lives or had lived with you; is someone with whom you had a child; or is or was in a dating relationship with you, please file through Family Court.

Otherwise, please file through District Court.

The University uses the preponderance of evidence standard in evaluating cases of sex-discrimination and/or gender-based violence. This means that decision makers will consider whether given the available credible evidence, it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.

The preponderance is alternatively described as: it is “50% plus a feather” more likely that a violation did occur.

(But see Confidentiality.)

Privacy means that information related to a report or allegation of violations of this policy will be shared with a limited circle of University employees who need to know in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report or allegation. Further, the University will maintain as private any accommodations or protective measures provided to the complainant (i.e. reporting party) to the extent that maintaining such privacy would not impair the University’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.

(see also Order for Protection and Temporary Restraining Order)

You have a right to live in a safe environment, free from the threat of harm. If someone is engaging in a pattern of harassment (including physical or sexual violence, verbal threats, property damage or stalking), you can seek protection by obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the perpetrator.

If granted, the order sets guidelines aimed at protecting you. This can include prohibiting the defendant from calling or visiting you.

If the defendant is someone you are married to or were married to; is a family member; lives or had lived with you; is someone with whom you had a child; or is or was in a dating relationship with you, please file through Family Court.

Otherwise, please file through District Court.

(See also Complainant.)

Under EP 1.204, the University’s Policy and Procedure on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence, the Reporting Party, also known as the Complainant, is defined as a person who alleges being a victim of prohibited behavior.

(See also Responding Party.)

Under EP 1.204, the University’s Policy and Procedure on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence, the Respondent, also known as the Responding Party, is a person against whom an allegation of prohibited behavior is directed.

(See also Respondent.)

Under EP 1.204, the University’s Policy and Procedure on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence, the Responding Party, also known as the Respondent, is a person against whom an allegation of prohibited behavior is directed.

Responsible Employees are University employees who are required to share the details of any report of sexual misconduct that they become aware of to the Title IX Coordinator.  Responsible Employees are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator even if the disclosing person asks them not to. In addition, a Responsible Employee who becomes aware of a report but is unsure whether the reported conduct qualifies as a prohibited sexual misconduct should still report to the Title IX Coordinator to enable the Coordinator to make an assessment and respond appropriately. See the Responsible Employees Guide (PDF).

Retaliation is: any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity.

Example 1: Bob fires Sally because Sally has made a report of sexual harassment against Bob.
Example 2: Bob fires Jim because Jim is serving as a witness in support of Sally’s report of sexual harassment against Bob.

The University prohibits and will not tolerate retaliation. A retaliation complaint will be viewed as a separate offense —i.e., a person can be found responsible for retaliation even if not found responsible for the underlying reported sexual misconduct.

Sex Discrimination is any unlawful distinction, preference or detriment based on sex or gender that is sufficiently serious to unreasonably interfere with educational access and/or employment.

Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment, which is a form of sex discrimination outlawed under Title IX. Sex discrimination is also prohibited conduct/behavior under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

Sexual assault is: unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature that occurs without Consent, or when at least one of the individuals is incapacitated or incapable of giving Consent.  

Sexual assault is prohibited under the University's Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

Sexual exploitation is: violating the sexual privacy of another, or taking unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another without Consent, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute Sexual Assault.

Sexual exploitation is prohibited conduct under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

Sexual Harassment is:

  • unwelcome
  • verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
  • where submission to or rejection of that conduct is a term or condition of employment or education, or
  • where submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting employment or education,
  • or where such conduct creates a hostile environment.

Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination outlawed under Title IX and prohibited conduct/behavior under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

Stalking is: a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or would be viewed by a reasonable person as hostile, intimidating or abusive.

Stalking is prohibited conduct under the University’s Executive Policy 1.204 on Sex Discrimination and Gender-Based Violence.

(see also Protective Order and Order for Protection)

You have a right to live in a safe environment, free from the threat of harm. If someone is engaging in a pattern of harassment (including physical or sexual violence, verbal threats, property damage or stalking), you can seek protection by obtaining a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the perpetrator.

If granted, the order sets guidelines aimed at protecting you. This can include prohibiting the defendant from calling or visiting you.

If the defendant is someone you are married to or were married to; is a family member; lives or had lived with you; is someone with whom you had a child; or is or was in a dating relationship with you, please file through Family Court.

Otherwise, please file through District Court.

Title IX is a landmark federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. Title IX is not just about sports; it is a prohibition against sex-based discrimination in all educational or school-sponsored programs.

Title IX states:

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. 20 U.S.C. § 1681 & 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (1972).

The University of Hawai’i has Title IX Coordinators and Deputy Title IX Coordinators on each campus to help address issues of sex discrimination and gender-based violence. Each campus Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the University’s response efforts at the campus level.

Information shared with these employees will put the University on notice of an allegation.

The campus Title IX Coordinator is responsible for:

  • Receiving information about allegations of sex discrimination and gender-based violence
  • Providing interim measures
  • Serving as a resource for questions about sex discrimination and gender-based violence
  • Providing information on the University Policy and Procedures
  • Providing information on the wide range of resources available on campus and in the community

 Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Under VAWA, colleges and universities are required to:

  • Report domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, beyond crime categories the Clery Act already mandates;
  • Adopt certain student discipline procedures, such as for notifying purported victims of their rights; and
  • Adopt certain institutional policies to address and prevent campus sexual violence, such as to train in particular respects pertinent institutional personnel.