According to Title IX, a "responsible employee" is an employee:
- Who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/violence, or
- Who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual harassment/violence or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate school designee, or
- That a student/employee could reasonably believe has either the authority or the duty listed above.
It is considered official notice to the institution if a responsible employee "knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known" about the harassment. This includes incidents that are reported directly, are witnessed, or are reported by a third party (parent, other student), posted on fliers around campus, published in a local newspaper, etc. - all of these should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator(s).
For Title IX compliance, all Michigan Tech employees who are designated as supervisors, with the exception of mental health counselors and ombuds officers, are considered "responsible employees." This includes some select undergraduate student employees such as resident assistants (RAs) and orientation team leaders (OTLs).
Also considered responsible employees are all Public Safety and Police Services officers and employees, student affairs staff, human resources staff, athletics and recreation staff, academic advisors, faculty, instructors, graduate teaching assistants, graduate students that are supervising other students, and individuals designated as Campus Security Authorities. It is important to note that faculty are not required to report if this information is disclosed in the context of academic work and discussions.
The role of a responsible employee is to report allegations of sexual harassment/violence that takes place on or off campus to the Title IX Coordinator(s) to maximize the institution's ability to investigate and potentially address and eliminate sexual harassment/violence. The responsible employee should NOT attempt to determine if the harassment/violence actually did occur, or if a hostile environment is being created.
The information that should be reported includes all the relevant information that the individual has shared and that may be useful in the investigation. This includes names of the alleged perpetrator, the student/employee who experienced the alleged harassment/violence, any other student/employee involved, and the date, time, and location of the alleged incident.
Responsible employees should explain to the student/employee that they are not a confidential resource before a student/employee reveals something that they may want to keep confidential. If a person begins talking about the incident(s) with no warning, interrupt immediately (but nicely) and inform them that the conversation cannot be considered confidential. Assure them that you want to be supportive, but if they do not want the incident(s) to potentially be reported then they should make an appointment with a confidential resource. In emergency situations, where a person's health or safety is in immediate danger, call 911
A report to the Title IX Coordinator does not necessarily lead to a full investigation. Any action is typically determined base on the complainant's choices. However, the Coordinator will make a safety assessment to determine if there is a safety risk to the community. If it is likely that there is continued risk, the Title IX Coordinator may have to proceed without the complainant's consent.
Authority: Title IX of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S. C. 1681-1688)
Source: OCR Questions & Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence