Title IX Overview

The Law

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq. states in part that "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."

Sex discrimination also includes sexual misconduct in the form of sexual harassment, hostile environment, sexual violence (i.e., rape, sexual assault, and sexual abuse), domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and gender/sex-based harassment or discrimination, all of which represent conduct/behavior that is prohibited by NIU in accordance with Title IX.

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for enforcing Title IX. Questions or concerns regarding Title IX or the Title IX Policy may be directed to Sarah Garner, Acting Ethics and Compliance Officer and Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu.

Inquiries and/or questions regarding Title IX may also be referred to:

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661-4544
312-730-1560
OCR.Chicago@ed.gov

Types of Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is one or more acts of, sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse), dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, or gender-based harassment or discrimination.

Sexual misconduct can occur among, between or to heterosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

Dating Violence

Every relationship is different, but the things that unhealthy and abusive relationships have in common are issues of power and control. Violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner.

Dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

It is the act of threatening to use physical, mental, or emotional abuse to control another person who is in a dating relationship with the person; or the existence of a dating relationship in the above mentioned shall be determined based on the reporting party's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of dating violence, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is a violent confrontation between family or household members involving physical harm, sexual assault, or fear of physical harm. The violence may not happen often, but may remain a hidden and constant terrorizing factor.

Domestic Violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

  • Current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
  • Person with whom the victim shares a child in common
  • Individual who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner
  • Someone similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred
  • Any other individual against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred

Domestic Violence is also physical abuse, harassment, intimidation of a dependent, interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation of a family or household member, which includes:

  • Spouses or former spouses
  • Parents
  • Children or stepchildren
  • Other persons related by blood or by present or prior marriage
  • Individuals who share or formerly shared a common dwelling
  • Persons who have or allegedly have a child in common
  • Individuals who share or allegedly share a blood relationship through a child

If you or someone you know has been a victim of domestic violence, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Gender/Sex-Based Discrimination

Gender/sex-based discrimination are acts of a verbal or nonverbal nature or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based upon sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping (even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature) that is sufficiently serious to limit or deny the ability to participate in or benefit from the University's programs and activities or the terms and conditions of employment.

Examples include: the repeated sabotaging of female graduate students' laboratory experiments by male students in the class.

If you have been subjected to gender/sex-based discrimination, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Sexual Harassment

You should be able to feel comfortable in your place of work or learning. If you are being sexually harassed, you can report it to a confidential resource, the NIU Title IX Coordinator or NIU Police and Public Safety.

Sexual harassment is unwelcome, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature (such as sexual advances or requests for sexual favors) sufficiently serious that it unreasonably interferes with or limits a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs, activities, and/or employment.

Sexual harassment may be based on a power differential, the creation of a hostile environment (reasonably severe conduct that is sufficiently pervasive to have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with work or educational performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment), or retaliation.

If you have been subjected to sexual harassment, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Sexual Violence

It's hard to know what to do, how to feel, or what your options are when a sexual assault has occurred. Please know that you're not alone. Sexual Violence includes rape, sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Sexual Violence is nonconsensual physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the person's age, use of drugs or alcohol, or a disability that prevents a person from having the capacity to give consent). Conduct will be deemed sexual violence whether obtained by force or threat of force and whether completed or attempted.

Sexual exploitation (taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for your own benefit) may also be considered a form of sexual violence, depending on the circumstances.

What To Do if You Are a Victim of Sexual Violence
  • Get to a safe place.
  • Talk to someone you trust. NIU Counseling and Consultation Services provides confidential, no-cost support and advocacy to all students regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. This includes assistance navigating resources and legal options.
  • Preserve physical evidence. Physical evidence may be necessary to prosecute the offender and be helpful in obtaining an order of protection. If at all possible, do not bathe, wash your hands, use the restroom, drink, smoke, change clothing, or brush your teeth following an assault.
  • Seek medical attention. Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital can provide medical services and evidence collection. Alternative medical services are also provided on campus by NIU Health Services. For severe injuries, call 911 immediately.
  • Report the incident. Victims are encouraged to report incidents of sexual assault to NIU Police and Public Safety or to the DeKalb Police Department. This is not a requirement. You may also file a Title IX complaint.

Retaliation against anyone who reports a sexual assault is strictly prohibited. Reports of retaliatory behavior will be addressed immediately If you have been subjected to retaliation, you may also file a retaliation complaint.

If you or someone you know has been subjected to any form of sexual violence, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Stalking

Discovering that you are being stalked, either in person, online, or via technology, can be incredibly scary. It's normal to feel fear, anxiety, confusion, and to be overwhelmed. Learning more about stalking behaviors can help you notice them before they escalate and help you protect yourself.

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a person to:

  • Fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or
  • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person's property;

  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim;
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling; or

Knowingly and without lawful justification, on at least two separate occasions, following another person or placing the person under surveillance or any combination thereof and

  • At any time transmitting a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint and the threat is directed towards that person or a family member of that person, or
  • Places that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint to or of that person or a family member of that person; or

When, having been previously convicted of stalking another person, knowingly and without lawful justification on one occasion:

  • Follows that same person or places that same person under surveillance; and
  • Transmits a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint to that person or a family member of that person.

Stalking may be accomplished by physical act or electronic means, such as computer or cell phone.

If you have been subjected to stalking, you may file a Title IX complaint or contact Sarah Garner, Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator@niu.edu or 815-753-5560.


Non-Discrimination Statement

The university will not tolerate sex discrimination in the form of sexual misconduct. If the university knows or reasonably should know of possible sexual misconduct, a thorough, impartial, and confidential investigation will be conducted in as prompt a manner as possible to determine if there has been a violation of the TitleIX/Sexual Misconduct Policy. If, as a result of that investigation, it is determined that any act of sexual misconduct has occurred, appropriate discipline will be imposed, and the university will take the necessary steps to address and stop the sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

Academic and employment decisions based upon sex or gender and/or acts of sexual misconduct are forms of illegal sex discrimination under Title IX, additional federal and state laws, and are prohibited under this and other policies of Northern Illinois University. The university does not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender or gender identity in any phase of its educational or employment programs; the university is required by Title IX and other applicable laws to not discriminate.

Contact Us

Michelle Johnson
Title IX Investigator
Swen Parson Hall 100
mjohnson1@niu.edu
815-753-6042 
D. Lockett
Title IX Investigtor
Swen Parson Hall 100
dlockett1@niu.edu
815-753-2434
Sarah Garner
Title IX Coordinator
Sarah Garner
Altgeld Hall 238A
titleixcoordinator@niu.edu
815-753-5560