Title IX

The Concord University Title IX Team is trained to receive and respond to complaints of Title IX infractions. Our role is to investigate reported misconduct and other gender equality concerns, support those involved, maximize campus safety, and promote knowledge and understanding of creating an environment free from gender-based discrimination. The Title IX Team can help you obtain confidential support, connect with resources (academic, housing, work, transportation, counseling, etc.), access protective measures, and file a criminal complaint with local law enforcement. View Concord University’s Policy No. 37 Nondiscrimination, Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Harassment HERE.

U.S. Code, Title IX of the Higher Education Act (Amendments of 1972)

“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 educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”

Title IX of the Education Amendments and Concord University Policy prohibits discrimination in services or benefits offered by the University based upon gender.

Concord University is committed to creating a safe environment where all are free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. We encourage all members of the Concord University community to report discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct.

It is the policy of Concord University to provide equal employment and educational opportunity on the basis of merit without discrimination because of age, race, ethnicity, color, sex, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veterans’ status, or disability.

Title IX:

  • Prohibits sexual harassment
  • Prevents discrimination based on pregnancy
  • Provides equal opportunity in athletics
  • Provides equal opportunity in employment in education fields
  • Promotes equal attention and a supportive learning environment
  • Ensures equitable and fair standardized testing
  • Promotes equal access to higher education, math and science fields, technology, and vocational education

Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination and therefore prohibited under Title IX. Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual/gendered nature.

The following are examples of types of conduct that may constitute sexual harassment:

  • Inappropriate touching, patting, or pinching
  • Physical assault or coerced sexual activity
  • Non-consensual sexual contact
  • Demands or subtle pressure for sexual favors
  • Obscene phone calls, texts, email, other social media, or gestures
  • Bullying
  • Stalking

The following protocol is intended as a general guideline for sexual assaults. Note that it may be necessary to deviate from the protocol on a case-by-case basis.

Your safety and well-being is the main concern if you are the victim of a sexual assault! First, be certain that you are safe and away from future harm. The following are steps you may wish to take if you are the victim of a sexual assault or are assisting a victim.

  • If you are on campus, contact a Residence Life employee—Resident Assistant or Resident Director—or a member of the Concord University Sexual Assault Response Team (SART).
  • Seek immediate medical assistance. Hospital emergency rooms (ER’s) often have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners, or SANE nurses, who have special training for assisting sexual assault victims. You may also request a victim advocate from a local rape crisis center who will meet you at the hospital and guide you through the process.
  • Preserve evidence (e.g. do not shower, dispose of clothing or other evidence, etc.)
  • Consider contacting law enforcement. If the assault occurred on campus, the Concord University Police Department (CUPD) has jurisdiction. If the assault occurred off-campus, CUPD can still help, but local law enforcement will have primary jurisdiction. CUPD phone #: 304-384-5357. Law enforcement can assist with no contact orders, whether or not you choose to pursue a criminal complaint.

After you are safe and have received medical attention, if needed, the Concord University Title IX Coordinator should be notified to ensure your continued safety and that of others who could be potential victims. This is important whether the assault occurred on or off campus. You may contact the Title IX Coordinator directly, through completing an online referral form, or have someone report the incident on your behalf. All Concord University employees are considered “responsible employees” and are required to report known incidents of sexual misconduct. You may request to remain anonymous.

Responsible Employees: Note: All Concord University employees are considered Responsible Employees and are therefore considered mandatory reporters. The CU Counselor has confidentiality within the counselor-client relationship and to the extent allowed by law. CU SART members are considered privileged employees (i.e. may report to Title IX Coordinator without providing victim identity information.)

  • If there is a medical emergency or an immediate danger, call 911.
  • If the person has sustained minor injuries, offer immediate first aid through a qualified professional (Athens Medical Center, Med Express, hospital emergency room, etc.)
  • Preserve evidence (e.g. do not shower, dispose of clothing or other evidence, etc.)
  • If you believe someone is about to disclose an act of interpersonal violence or has disclosed, respectfully interrupt and inform the individual of your mandatory reporting requirements.
    • If person does not want the information reported, refer them to a confidential resource (on or off campus).
    • Confidential resources include: official Rape Crisis Centers (e.g. Family Refuge Center: serving Mercer, Greenbrier, Monroe, & Pocahontas Counties–Phone: toll free: 1-866-645-6334; Women’s Resource Center:  serving Raleigh, Fayette, Summers, & Nicholas Counties—Phone: toll free 1-888-825-7835).
    • Having an advocate present at the earliest time possible is ideal. Advocates can provide support from the initial report through recovery. Effective September 2016, Mercer County has a full-time advocate through the Family Refuge Center (toll free, 24-hour hotline: 1-866-645-6334). CU SART members are another resource.
  • If the individual wishes to continue speaking with you, listen and provide support. Never ask questions that may make the person feel s/he is to blame (e.g., “Did you say ‘no’ or ask them to stop?”).
  • If the individual wishes to speak to a confidential support person, connect them to someone on or off campus, based on their request (e.g. physician or licensed health/mental health professional. See above for Crisis Center contact information.).
  • Determine where and when the assault occurred, who, if anyone, witnessed the assault, and whether anyone else may be in imminent danger.  If so, call 911 or CUPD (304-384-5357).
  • Listen to the individual’s needs and concerns in order to determine next steps. Always make sure s/he feels safe, first.
  • Provide the individual with information on reporting options, both on and off campus.
    • Explain options for reporting through the campus Title IX Coordinator and on and off campus law enforcement. CUPD phone #: 304-384-5357.
    • Inform the individual about the option to have a forensic medical examination, with and without participating in a law enforcement investigation. If s/he does not want a forensic exam, encourage them to obtain a medical exam. Princeton Community Hospital and Bluefield Regional Medical Center have SANE nurses who have special training for handling sexual assault cases. A rape kit can be collected and delivered to appropriate law enforcement officers.
    • Encourage the person to preserve evidence.
    • An online form is available for reporting sexual assaults (Student Affairs Referral Form)
  • Help arrange transportation to the hospital, if needed. (CUPD, Resident Director, Rescue Squad)
  • Follow campus protocol for mandatory Title IX and Clery reporting. Remember, only non-identifying aggregate data is needed for Clery.
  • Concord University is committed to maintaining privacy for victims of interpersonal violence. However, in order to assure a safe campus and victim services, complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed for any person reporting sexual violence.
    • CUPD should report all sexual misconduct cases to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as reasonably possible. Title IX and CUPD/law enforcement investigations may be conducted concurrently, but in such a way as to minimize the number of times a victim must repeat their account.

NOTE:  Victims of interpersonal violence more often than not have experienced a traumatic incident. A trauma-informed response focuses on the victim’s needs. Victims are often in crisis following an assault. Keep this in mind when identifying who is involved/notified. Think about who needs to be contacted immediately, and who can be contacted at a later time.

NOTE:  Resident Assistants should report incidents to their Resident Director or the RD on call as soon as realistically possible and preferably when the person begins to disclose. Saying something such as, “Would you mind if I contact XX? He/she knows how to help.” However, be sensitive to the situation and only offer to contact the RD if doing so will not jeopardize disclosure and the ability to provide the person immediate assistance.

  • To live and learn free from gender-based discrimination at Concord University
  • To have your privacy protected
  • To file a complaint and have it resolved promptly, fairly, and thoroughly
  • To receive support and reasonable protective measures, including No Contact Orders and Civil Protection Orders
  • To choose whether to participate in any formal investigative process
  • To chose whether to file a criminal complaint
    • Sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking, violates federal and state civil rights laws and may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to action taken by the university.
  • To be free from retaliation of making a report
  • To receive equal access to information and timely notice of meetings
  • To receive written notification of outcome (including sanctions, changes due to appeal, and final dates)
  • To appeal the outcome
  • To speak confidentially with resources if you are uncertain whether to file a complaint. Only in extremely rare circumstances, such as endangerment to self or others, abuse, court involvement, will these resources share your information with the Title IX Officer, law enforcement, or others. These resources include:
  • To report privately

An internal grievance procedure provides for prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging any action prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Any person (student, faculty, staff, or guest) who believes that discriminatory practices have been engaged in based upon gender may discuss their concerns and file informal or formal complaints of possible violations of Title IX with the Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students.

Title IX complaints should be addressed to Dr. Joan Pendergast, Professor of Social Work and Title IX Coordinator, P.O. Box 1000, Concord University, Athens, West Virginia 24712-1000 (304-384-5289), by filling out the Student Affairs Referral Form, or emailing titleix@concord.edu.

Email other concerns to studentaffairs@concord.edu.

  • A complaint should be filed in writing, electronically (email or online complaint form) or verbally; contain the name, address and contact information of the person filing it; and briefly describe the alleged violation of the regulations. (See Concord University Board of Governors Policy No. 37 Section 7.3 regarding the filing of complaints.)
  • A complaint should be filed promptly, although there is no time limitation on the filing of reports, as long as the accused individual remains subject to Concord’s jurisdiction.
  • The respondent (accused) will receive notification, in writing, of the charges. All parties will be apprised that no retaliation may occur.
  • The University may initiate interim corrective measures to insure the safety of the complainant, respondent, and the campus community, such as a “No Contact Order,” a ban from certain locations or events on campus, an adjustment to an academic schedule or campus living situation, a temporary suspension or removal from campus, etc.
  • The respondent may file a written response to the complaint within five business days, whenever possible.
  • The respondent and the complainant will have the opportunity to meet separately with the Title IX Coordinator or designee to review the policy and procedure.
  • If criminal activity is involved, the Office of Public Safety will be notified.
  • Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to be accompanied by an advocate in all proceedings.
  • Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to submit evidence, including written materials.
  • An investigation, as may be appropriate, will follow a complaint filing.  The investigation will be conducted by individuals designated by the Title IX Coordinator or her designee(s). These investigators will gather any pertinent documentation materials and may interview the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses.
  • To the extent possible, confidentiality will be maintained. Involved parties will be apprised to respect privacy considerations. However, some level of disclosure by the University and investigator(s) may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.
  • A written determination as to the findings and conclusions will be issued by the investigator(s). Both the complainant and respondent will be notified of the outcome of the investigation, ideally within 15 working days of the investigators’ report. The complainant and accused will be notified of any further action, and any University-imposed sanctions, including referral to a University Hearing Board.
  • Any acts of retaliation are strictly prohibited and may result in separate charges.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency responsible for addressing complaints related to discrimination on the basis of sex. Please file complaints with OCR in a timely manner. Information on how to file a discrimination complaint with the OCR can be found online HERE.

The U.S. Office for Civil Rights Regional Office in Philadelphia, PA can be reached by phone at 215-656-8541 (Voice) or 800-877-8339 (TDD).

The OCR National Headquarters, located in Washington D.C., can be reached at 800-421-3481 (Voice) or 800-877-8339 (TDD).

OCR’s policies, procedures, and contact information may change over time, so please visit their website for the most current information.

Concord University has a number of free campus and external resources to assist students. If you or a friend need assistance, please reach out for help!