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Dear Colleague Letter


Rescinded: This document has been formally rescinded by the Department and remains available on the web for historical purposes only.

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complainant, and thus should not, as a matter of course, remove complainants from classes or housing while allowing alleged perpetrators to remain. In addition, schools should ensure that complainants are aware of their Title IX rights and any available resources, such as counseling, health, and mental health services, and their right to file a complaint with local law enforcement.41 

Schools should be aware that complaints of sexual harassment or violence may be followed by retaliation by the alleged perpetrator or his or her associates. For instance, friends of the alleged perpetrator may subject the complainant to name-calling and taunting. As part of their Title IX obligations, schools must have policies and procedures in place to protect against retaliatory harassment. At a minimum, schools must ensure that complainants and their parents, if appropriate, know how to report any subsequent problems, and should follow-up with complainants to determine whether any retaliation or new incidents of harassment have occurred.

When OCR finds that a school has not taken prompt and effective steps to respond to sexual harassment or violence, OCR will seek appropriate remedies for both the complainant and the broader student population. When conducting Title IX enforcement activities, OCR seeks to obtain voluntary compliance from recipients. When a recipient does not come into compliance voluntarily, OCR may initiate proceedings to withdraw Federal funding by the Department or refer the case to the U.S. Department of Justice for litigation.

Schools should proactively consider the following remedies when determining how to respond to sexual harassment or violence. These are the same types of remedies that OCR would seek in its cases.

Depending on the specific nature of the problem, remedies for the complainant might include, but are not limited to:42

  • providing an escort to ensure that the complainant can move safely between classes and activities;
  • ensuring that the complainant and alleged perpetrator do not attend the same classes;
  • moving the complainant or alleged perpetrator to a different residence hall or, in the case of an elementary or secondary school student, to another school within the district;
  • providing counseling services;
  • providing medical services;
  • providing academic support services, such as tutoring;

41 The Clery Act requires postsecondary institutions to develop and distribute a statement of policy that informs students of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus personnel in notifying such authorities. The policy also must notify students of existing counseling, mental health, or other student services for victims of sexual assault, both on campus and in the community. 20 U.S.C. §§ 1092(f)(8)(B)(v)-(vi).
42 Some of these remedies also can be used as interim measures before the school’s investigation is complete.

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Last Modified: 01/05/2021