Ohlone is currently reviewing and updating its policies and associated procedures based on recent legal changes. Ohlone will comply with applicable legal changes during this update process. If you need assistance prior to these updates being posted, please contact Ohlone’s Title IX Officer, Shairon Zingsheim, Vice President of Human Resources at szingsheim@ohlone.edu or 510-659-6201

Summary of Title IX and Other Laws Against Sex Discrimination, Harassment, and Violence

Ohlone is committed to protecting students and staff from unlawful sex discrimination, sexual violence, and sexual harassment.  Unlawful sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual assault.

Ohlone is providing this overview of Title IX and state sex discrimination laws to assist students and staff in understanding their rights and options if the individual has concerns about gender-related violence, sex discrimination, or sexual harassment.

Title IX requires us not to discriminate on the basis of sex in our education programs and activities:

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 [with specified legal exceptions].

Ohlone does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities.

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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is one tool to combat campus violence.

It is the policy of the State of California that all persons, regardless of their sex, should enjoy freedom from discrimination of any kind. Educ. Code § 66281.5. Sexual harassment is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Ohlone will provide supportive measures and remedies. This summary and its linked pages describe rules and procedures for reporting, remedies, and resources. Ohlone will post information on harassment prevention and provide such information for employees and for students, including at orientation and in course catalogs. (Educ. Code 66281.5). Ohlone will also provide information of nondiscrimination required by 66281.5 to each volunteer or contractor who will regularly interact with students. (Educ. Code 66281.8(b)(1)).

Ohlone’s primary concern is student safety. (Educ. Code 66281.8(b)(3)(A).)

Ohlone is committed to and required to combat gender-based violence and harassment. Ohlone will not tolerate sex discrimination, harassment, or violence. Ohlone will also respond to survivors’ needs to ensure students have equal access to education programs and activities. 
Ohlone will respond to sexual harassment when Ohlone has actual knowledge of the harassment that occurred within Ohlone’s education program or activity against a person in the United States under Title IX. Ohlone designates some employees to be confidential resources for students to discuss harassment without triggering a report to the Title IX office. Notice of alleged harassment to a Title IX Coordinator or to any Ohlone official with authority to institute corrective measures counts as actual knowledge that triggers Ohlone’s response obligations. 

Ohlone will also take reasonable steps to respond to each incident of sexual harassment involving individuals subject to Ohlone’s policies that occur in connection with any Ohlone educational activity or other program, and incidents that occur outside of educational programs or activities, whether on or off campus, if, based on the allegations, there is any reason to believe that the incident could contribute to a hostile educational environment or otherwise interfere with a student’s access to education. (Educ. Code § 66281.8(b)(3)(B).)

Regardless of whether or not a complaint has been filed under Ohlone’s grievance procedures, if Ohlone knows, or reasonably should know, about possible sexual harassment involving individuals subject to Ohlone’s policies at the time, Ohlone shall promptly investigate to determine whether the alleged conduct more likely than not occurred, or otherwise respond if Ohlone determines that an investigation is not required. If Ohlone determines that the alleged conduct more likely than not occurred, it shall immediately take reasonable steps to end the harassment, address the hostile environment, if one has been created, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. Ohlone shall be presumed to know of sexual harassment if a responsible employee knew, or, in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known, about the sexual harassment. Ohlone may rebut this presumption of knowledge if it shows all of the following: 
(I) Ohlone provides training and requires all nonconfidential responsible employees to report sexual harassment. 
(II) Each nonconfidential responsible employee with actual or constructive knowledge of the conduct in question was provided training and direction to report sexual harassment. 
(III) Each nonconfidential responsible employee with actual or constructive knowledge of the conduct in question failed to report it. (Educ. Code § 66281.8(b)(3)(C)(i).)

Ohlone has designated and authorized a Title IX Coordinator to coordinate and supervise Ohlone’s employees and compliance efforts with Title IX requirements and responsibilities. This Title IX Coordinator is the VP of Human Resources and Training.  The Coordinator’s telephone number is (510) 659-6201, email is SZingsheim@ohlone.edu.

The Title IX Coordinator also coordinates Ohlone’s compliance efforts with state law requirements, including Education Code 66281.8.

Any person, such as the victim or a third party, can report discrimination or harassment to Ohlone’s Title IX Coordinator in person or by email, phone, or mail. 

Ohlone will disseminate its nondiscrimination policy and provide the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information to provide accessible channels for reporting sex discrimination or harassment and notify students, employees, and others of how Ohlone will respond to reports and complaints of sex discrimination or harassment.

Ohlone does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education program or activity that it operates. Ohlone is required by Title IX and 34 CFR Part 106 not to discriminate in such a manner. The requirement not to discriminate in the education program or activity extends to admission and employment. Inquiries about the application of Title IX and 34 CFR Part 106 may be referred to Ohlone’s Title IX Coordinator and/or to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education. (34 CFR 106.8(b)).

Any sexual violence, whether committed by an employee, student, or visitor, occurring on college-owned property, at college-sponsored or supervised functions, or related to or arising from college attendance or activity (even if off-campus) in the U.S. is a violation of Ohlone’s policies and regulations, and is subject to all applicable punishment, including criminal prosecution of criminal offenses, civil lawsuits, and employee or student discipline procedures. 

Ohlone also complies with state law requirements on sex discrimination, harassment, and violence. Education Code section 66281.8 adds provisions and requirements for sexual misconduct. That section includes: “If on or after the date of implementation, any provision of the act that adds this section conflicts with federal law, that provision shall be rendered inoperative for the duration of the conflict and without affecting the whole.” Ohlone intends to comply fully with Title IX requirements and state law requirements. If a state law requirement conflict with a Title IX requirement, Ohlone will follow the Title IX requirement because the state law requirement that conflicts is “rendered inoperative” by this provision. (Ed. Code 66281.8(f)).

Some key highlights of Title IX include:

1. Title IX is a federal civil right law that prohibits sex discrimination in education. 

Title IX prohibits sex-based discrimination in education, including 

  • Discrimination on the basis of sex in recruitment and admissions,
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex against students participating in an educational program, 
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex against students in counseling for career selection,
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex in financial assistance,
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex in athletic opportunities,
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex in discipline,
  • Discrimination against pregnant and parenting students because discrimination on the basis of sex includes on the basis of pregnancy or marital or parental status,
  • Discrimination against students based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression,
  • Discrimination on the basis of sex in any employment, recruitment, or consideration or selection for employment,
  • Sexual harassment under Title IX means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
    • Quid pro quo (something-for-something or this-for-that) harassment, where a college employee conditions an education benefit or service on a person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct, such as, for example, conditioning receipt of a grade on a dating or sexual relationship, and  
    • Hostile environment harassment, where unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex or of a sexual nature, determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the education program or activity. This includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile environment by being sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s program. If the unwelcome sex-based conduct consists of speech or expressive conduct, the law requires that Ohlone balance Title IX enforcement with compliance with free speech and academic freedom requirements because offensive speech may be protected by free speech or academic freedom,
    • Sexual violence including sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act,
    • Quid pro quo and Sexual violence are each sufficiently serious to violate Title IX and deprive a person of equal educational access, without considering severity, pervasiveness or offensiveness.
  • Sex-based harassment, regardless of the sex of the alleged perpetrator or complainant, including when they are members of the same sex,
  • Gender-based discrimination or harassment (unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity with sex stereotypes, and not necessarily involving conduct of a sexual nature), 
  • Retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, including retaliation against an individual because the individual filed a complaint alleging a violation of Title IX; participated in a Title IX investigation, hearing, or proceeding; or advocated for others’ Title IX rights.
  • Sexual violence. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the student’s age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the student from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including attempted or completed rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, sexual coercion, stalking, voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or physical sexuality-based threats, coercion, abuse, dating violence, domestic violence, and intimate partner violence.

2. Title IX protects any applicant, student, employee or other person from sex discrimination, regardless of your gender.

Title IX protects any applicant, student, employee, or other person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. All female, male, transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.  

3. Ohlone will be proactive in ensuring that the campus is free of sex discrimination.

Ohlone will take prompt steps to address any sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus to prevent it from affecting students or others further. If Ohlone knows about unlawful sex discrimination, harassment or violence, Ohlone will take prompt action to provide interim and/or supportive measures, eliminate the unlawful conduct, remedy the harm caused, and to prevent recurrence of unlawful conduct. Ohlone will encourage survivors to continue their education and will not suggest you “take time off” or suggest you quit a team, club or class. You have the right to remain on campus and have educational programs and opportunities available to you.  Athletes are held to the same behavior standards as all students and may be removed from the athletic team.

4. Ohlone has an established procedure, including the opportunity to file a complaint and hold an investigation and fair grievance process hearing, for complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence in violation of Title IX. 

Ohlone has a Title IX Coordinator who manages complaints. Visit our Title IX Coordinator webpage for more information. 

A) Filing a Formal Complaint

You may file a formal complaint in writing and provide it to the Title IX Coordinator, or you can report the concern verbally and the Coordinator can assist in writing a complaint. Ohlone’s Title IX Coordinator may also file a complaint on your behalf.

Any person may report sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence, whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of the conduct. For example, a witness or a parent/guardian can report. The report may be in person, by mail, by telephone, or by email, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. The report may be made at any time, including during nonbusiness hours, by using the telephone number, email address, or mailing address, that is listed for the Title IX Coordinator. The report may be verbal or written. 

B) Written Notice to Parties

If you or another person decides to file a formal complaint or if Ohlone’s Title IX Coordinator files a complaint on your behalf, Ohlone will give both parties (you and the accused person) written notice of the allegations upon Ohlone receiving a formal complaint.

C) Dismissal of Formal Complaint

Upon a mandatory or permitted dismissal of the formal complaint, Ohlone must promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) therefor simultaneously to the parties. Information on how either party may file an appeal will be sent with the Notice of Dismissal

D) Investigation and Fair Grievance Process Hearing

Ohlone will promptly investigate your formal complaint regardless of whether you report your concern to the police. Ohlone will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding and will conduct its own investigation by the applicable deadline. Read more about Time Limits.

Ohlone’s investigation will be prompt, thorough, reliable, and impartial, including the opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence.  

For additional information on the investigation process, visit our Investigations webpage.

After the investigation report is issued, the parties also participate in a fair grievance process hearing

E) Clear and Convincing Evidence Standard

For Title IX complaints, Ohlone uses a clear and convincing evidence standard (i.e., a fact is highly probable to be true, such as it is highly probable that sexual harassment or violence occurred). One court summarized this standard as: requires “sufficient evidence to produce in the ultimate factfinder an abiding conviction that the truth of its factual contentions are [sic] highly probable.” Sophanthavong v. Palmateer, 378 F.3d 859, 866-67 (9th Cir. 2004). (If the complaint does not meet Title IX requirements or if the complaint also meets the state law definition of sexual harassment or misconduct, Ohlone will use a preponderance of the evidence standard. Educ. Code 67386(a)(3).)

5. Ohlone will take prompt and equitable action to ensure a victim can continue their education or campus employment without ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence.

Ohlone will take steps to protect you including options such as a no contact directive to the accused and reasonable changes to your class or sports schedule, campus job, or extracurricular activity and clubs, so you can continue your education without ongoing sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence. Ohlone will require the accused to change some school activities or classes if the accused’s attendance at those are negatively impacting the victim. These interim and/or supportive measures can occur when you raise a concern with the Title IX Coordinator and before a formal complaint, investigation, hearing, or final decision is made regarding your complaint. You can obtain supportive measures without filing a formal complaint. These or other interventions may be determined appropriate to remain in place after the entire process concludes since you have a right to an education without unlawful sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence. Ohlone will not use these interventions to over-burden complainant-victims or limit your educational opportunities.

6. Ohlone will not retaliate against someone raising a concern or filing a complaint and will take steps to protect you from other retaliatory harassment or behavior.

Ohlone will address complaints of sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. Ohlone can issue a no-contact directive or make other accommodations or interventions to ensure the accused or a third party (such as the accused’s friends) does not retaliate. Ohlone will not take adverse action against the complainant/accuser for their concern or complaint. Any retaliation can and should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator so that further corrective action can be taken or in a formal Title IX complaint to the OCR since it is your right to be free from a hostile educational environment or other unlawful sexual harassment.  Ohlone will not tolerate retaliation by the accused and encourages you to promptly report to the Title IX Coordinator any behavior you believe to be retaliatory so that supportive measures and/or an investigation and corrective action can be taken.

7. Ohlone can issue a no-contact directive under Title IX to prevent the accused student from communicating, approaching, or interacting with the victim.

When necessary for student safety, Ohlone can issue a no-contact directive preventing an accused student from directly or indirectly contacting, communicating, approaching, or interacting with you. Campus security or police can enforce such directives. A court-issued restraining order is another option for the accuser to pursue, and Ohlone’s Title IX Coordinator can obtain and provide you with information on how to obtain such an order if you choose to pursue it.

8. Ohlone allows an informal resolution process such as mediation (rather than a formal investigation and hearing) of the complaint.

Mediation with a facilitator may be offered and used for student-to-student sexual harassment complaints, but cannot be used when the allegation is that an Ohlone employee harassed a student. Both you and the accused student have to consent to an informal process. A party may end the informal mediation and prefer a formal investigation and the fair grievance process hearing. In a fair grievance process hearing, the parties are not allowed to personally question or cross-examine each other during the hearing, but each party’s adviser can do so. Each party will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and evidence.  Ohlone will notify both parties in writing of the outcome of the hearing.

9. Ohlone will protect your confidentiality to the extent possible if requested.  

If the accuser requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, Ohlone will take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or with the request not to pursue an investigation. If an accuser insists that the accuser’s name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator, our ability to investigate and respond may be limited. Even if we cannot take disciplinary action against the alleged harasser because the accuser requests confidentiality, we will provide supportive measures and pursue other steps to limit the effects of the alleged harassment and prevent its recurrence. 

10. Ohlone will comply with applicable legal requirements and updates.

Ohlone will comply with applicable legal requirements. Ohlone has included summaries of Title IX requirements in this summary.  Of course, as those rights change due to revisions in applicable law or regulations, Ohlone will comply with the revisions in applicable law or regulations.  This summary will be deemed to be revised to be consistent with applicable legal revisions whenever such legal revisions become effective even though the summary language has not yet been changed.  

OCR or the Department of Education may require Ohlone to take remedial action.

Ohlone is never required to deprive an individual of rights guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Ohlone is required to consider the interplay of Title IX, Title VII, FERPA, and other legal rights.

11. Title IX requirements may prevail over inconsistent State requirements. 

To the extent of a conflict between State or local law and Title IX as implemented by 34 CFR §§ 106.30 [definitions], 106.44 [response to sexual harassment], and 106.45 [grievance process for formal complaints of sexual harassment], the obligation to comply with 34 CFR §§ 106.30, 106.44, and 106.45 is not obviated or alleviated by any State or local law. (34 CFR § 106.6(h).)

12. Ohlone will provide certain accommodations necessary for the victim to continue their education after experiencing violence.

If you need counseling, tutoring, or other remedies or supportive measures to continue your education, these resources will be provided by Ohlone staff at no cost to you.  Counseling, health, and mental health services are available through the Student Health Center.  

To enhance student safety, Ohlone offers the RAVE Guardian app and one-button option to call Campus Police Services. A student can also use a “Safety Timer” where the user selects the amount of time it should take them to reach their destination.  The “Guardians” you select (such as parents or trusted friends) will be alerted to the user’s travel and will be able to monitor the user’s progress on a map.  A panic button is available if something should occur, which when pressed, will alert the Guardian(s) and Campus Police.

Ohlone is committed to protecting students and staff from campus violence, sex discrimination, and sexual harassment.  

Please contact the Title IX Coordinator with any questions or concerns or to seek assistance.  

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