This definition of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” is published in the MIT Policies and Procedures, Section 9.5, and the MIT Mind and Hand Book, Section II. To learn more about this policy update, please refer to the letter from Senior Leaders sent to the community on August 14, 2020.
Although MIT broadly prohibits sexual harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct, federal Title IX regulations require MIT to follow specific processes when the Institute has actual knowledge of a report of certain categories of sexual misconduct, referred to as “Title IX Sexual Harassment.”
Title IX Sexual Harassment means: Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following
- An employee of MIT conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of MIT on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to MIT’s education program or activity; or
- “Sexual assault,” “dating violence,” “domestic violence,” or “stalking,” as defined by federal law and set out on the Institute Discrimination and Harassment Response (IDHR) website.
MIT must follow the specific processes cited below when it receives a formal complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment and where all of the following apply:
- At the time of filing a formal complaint, the Complainant was/is participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity at MIT;
- The alleged conduct occurred in an education program or activity controlled by MIT; and
- The alleged conduct occurred against a person in the United States.
Information about MIT’s processes for responding to reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment is available here. Formal Complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment are investigated in accordance with the IDHR Investigation Guide and hearings are held in accordance with the process available here for complaints against a faculty member, staff member, or postdoctoral scholar (fellow or associate) and in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Hearing Procedures in the Committee on Discipline Rules for complaints against students.
Formal Complaints of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct that do not meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment are addressed under the complaint resolution process described in Section 9.8 for complaints against a faculty member, staff member, or postdoctoral scholar (fellow or associate) and in the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedures (Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment) in the Committee on Discipline Rules for complaints against students.
MIT prohibits retaliation as set forth in Section 9.7 and the Mind and Handbook. In the context of Title IX Sexual Harassment, this means that: No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual:
- for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or
- because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in a Title IX Sexual Harassment investigation, proceeding, or hearing.
In addition, retaliation also includes intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for policy violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX.
Title IX Sexual Harassment Definitions. For the purposes of Section 188.8.131.52 of Policies and Procedures and Section II of the Mind and Hand Book, the following definitions apply:
Complainant means an individual who is reported to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment.
Dating Violence means violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Massachusetts, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Massachusetts.
Education program or activity means locations, events, or circumstances over which MIT exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the reported sexual harassment occurred, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by MIT.
Title IX Sexual Harassment Formal Complaint means a document submitted by a Complainant, or signed by the Title IX Coordinator, alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that MIT investigate the allegation of Title IX Sexual Harassment. The Title IX Sexual Harassment Formal Complaint must contain the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicate that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint.
Respondent means an individual who is reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment.
Sexual Assault means an offense classified as a sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sex offenses include:
- Sex Offenses, Forcible: Any sexual act directed against the Complainant, without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.
- Forcible Rape: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of the Complainant, without the consent of the Complainant.
- Forcible Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with the Complainant, forcibly, and/or against the Complainant’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the Complainant’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sexual Assault with an Object: The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of the Complainant, forcibly, and/or against the Complainant’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the Complainant’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Forcible Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of the Complainant (buttocks, groin, breasts), for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly, and/or against the Complainant’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the Complainant’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sex Offenses, Non-forcible:
- Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, between persons who are related to each other by blood or adoption as prohibited by Massachusetts law.
- Statutory Rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, with a Complainant who is under the statutory age of consent of sixteen-years-old.
Consent means “effective consent” as defined in the Mind and Hand Book, Section II.
Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at the Complainant that would cause a reasonable person to: (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.