COVID-19 UPDATE: Title IX Office

March 26, 2020

Dear Members of the GW University Community:

Now that classes and other academic programs are being conducted online, the Title IX office reminds members of our community that maintaining an academic program free from sex/gender discrimination remains a high priority for the university. Faculty, staff and students should be aware of the following important points:

The Title IX office remains open and is functioning remotely at this time. Anyone impacted by sex/gender discrimination and harassment is encouraged to contact the Title IX office to make a report at: https://haven.gwu.edu/report-incident. Investigations and all other services will be conducted virtually to assure that any sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, retaliation, or other sexually discriminatory behaviors are addressed promptly.

University policies on sexual harassment and misconduct apply to behaviors that occur in any context, including in person, as well as in online environments and through virtual communications. Any behavior that is prohibited by policy continues to be prohibited in cyberspace, including cyber-harassment, sex-based cyber-bullying, and cyber-stalking.

Faculty and staff members who are responsible employees are reminded that reporting alleged sexual harassment and misconduct is required when they become aware of incidents or allegations involving members of the campus community, regardless of how they learn of the potential misconduct, whether in person, in writing, or online.

Remember that Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment involves a broad range of conduct.  As provided in the university’s Sexual and Gender Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy:

Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one of the conditions outlined in (1), (2) or (3), below, is present.

Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve contact of a sexual nature, when one of the conditions outlined in (1), (2) or (3), below, is present.

(1) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of a person’s instruction, academic standing, employment or participation in any university program, activity or benefit.

(2) Submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions.

(3) Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A hostile environment exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives an individual from participating in or benefiting from the university’s educational employment and/or campus-residential experience when viewed through both a subjective and objective standard.

A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of sexual assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment.

The full text of the university’s Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Interpersonal Violence policy can be found online, and our online reporting form can be accessed here.

Sincerely,

Rory Muhammad
Director & Title IX Coordinator

Caroline Laguerre-Brown, JD
Vice Provost
Office for Diversity, Equity and Community Engagement