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For Parents & Family Members

Prevention programs

OCU is committed to robust response plans for any incident of sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, and stalking. However, preventing these incidents from happening is always our preference. We want our community to be safe and to keep these issues from affecting anyone in our community. To prevent these community-wide problems, we provide prevention programs around these issues to our new students and for all our students throughout each academic year.

Supporting a family member

Nearly all issues Title IX addresses relate to power and control. It is very common for someone reporting a Title IX issue to feel as though all control has been taken away from them. It can be very helpful to restore your student’s sense of control in the aftermath of a Title IX issue. Some great ways you can do this are by following their lead. They may be reluctant to open up and share their experience with you. Letting them go at their own pace and figure out what would be most helpful for them can be a very empowering and healing experience.

If your student is involved in an investigation, that can be an extremely stressful experience. It may be difficult for them to talk about the complaint and seek help. They may not feel comfortable sharing information about the complaint with their family right away. For many students, it can be important to let them open up at their own pace. They may want to access confidential support, and you can help connect them to counselors, physicians, and clergy as appropriate.

If a family member is involved in a Title IX investigation

Federal law and University policy may limit what information can be shared with you. You are welcome to contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or the investigator assigned to your family member’s case. However, they may not be able to discuss specific details of the investigation without a release of information. They can provide general information about OCU’s policies, procedures, and support resources.

Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and OCU policies on records retention, information about students and employees is not generally disclosed to third parties without the individual’s consent. Under FERPA, parents do not have the right to access their student’s educational record if they are a University student and/or are over the age of 18. Your student or family member has the option of signing a release of information which would grant you access to particular information that they may specify from their educational record.

Overlap between civil rights and criminal law

Some issues that are addressed by Title IX may also be violations of criminal law. Title IX covers crimes such as dating and domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and various hate crimes because they are also civil rights issues when they happen in the context of an education institution. These instances of sexual misconduct are severe forms of sexual harassment that can limit access to education or employment opportunities, programs, and services. Because sexual harassment may deny someone access to our programs and services, sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination. For this reason, sex-based discrimination, harassment, and violence may be civil rights issues as well as criminal issues.

OCU’s resolution process may take place at the same time as the criminal process. In such cases, OCU will take steps to make sure the parties can participate in each process. The outcome of OCU’s process may not be the same as the outcome of the criminal process. It is not necessary for someone to file a police report before reporting the issue to OCU, nor is it necessary for them to report it to OCU before the criminal process will start.