Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

What is Title IX?

The federal Title IX law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity) in any federally funded education program or activity.  The law specifically provides:

“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.”

The intent of Title IX is to prevent the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs or activities and to provide individuals in the United States effective protection against those practices.

What is Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

An employee of Pellissippi State Community College conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct:

Unwelcome conduct, determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or

‘Sexual assault’ as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), ‘dating violence’ as defined in 34 U.S.S.  12291(a)(10), ‘domestic violence’ as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or ‘stalking’ as defined in 34 U.S.C. 1229(a)(30).

For additional information, please see 34 C.F.R. § 106.30

Title IX covers all forms of sexual harassment, and sexual violence is considered a form of sexual harassment.  Title IX sexual misconduct and harassment includes any unwelcome sexual conduct, such as sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

What are examples of Title IX Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct?

Sexual abuse or assault, battery, or coercion.  Unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or completed rape; using force or manipulation of unwanted sexual activity.  Physical acts against a person’s will or when the person is incapable of giving consent.  Inappropriate touching. Physical and/or aggressive sexual advances. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

An employee of Pellissippi State conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Who is protected under Title IX?

Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression.  All female, male, and gender non-conforming individuals are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.

All students are protected from discrimination by Title IX.  Title IX also applies to Pellissippi State employees, such as faculty, staff and administrators.

If I consult with someone in the Equity & Compliance office or file a complaint, would I have to participate in an investigation?

You would not have to participate in an investigation.  However, if you are the victim of sexual harassment the Equity & Compliance office would encourage you to participate.  The Title IX Coordinator can move forward with an investigation  if violent behavior; use of a weapon; significant health and/or safety concerns multiple reports; or further action is needed to ensure safety. 

Can I also file a criminal charge?

Yes, filing a complaint with the Equity & Compliance  Office doesn’t prevent you from filing criminal charges with law enforcement agencies or other entities.

Can I remain anonymous?

Every effort is made by the College to preserve the privacy of reports of allegations of sexual harassment/discrimination.  If a Complainant requests that their name or other personally identifiable information not be shared with a Respondent or determines they do not want to file a formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will take this request into consideration while balancing this request with ensuring there is a safe environment without sexual harassment for the PSCC Community.  If a Complainant chooses not to make a formal report with the Title IX Coordinator and/or with local law enforcement, the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that supportive measures will be provided which includes community resources.

For the purpose of Title IX and this procedure, privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings.

Privacy generally means that information related to a report within this procedure will be shared only with those College employees who need to know in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of the report.  These individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.  If the decision is made to pursue an investigation involving a Respondent, information related to the investigation including the investigation report will be shared with the Respondent.

Confidentiality means that information shared with designated community professionals outside of PSCC, or External Confidential Resources, will be disclosed only with the individual’s express written permission.  Confidentiality exists in the context of the laws that protect certain relationships including those who provide services related to medical care, mental health providers, counselors, attorneys and ordained clergy.  These external resources will not share information about an individual (including whether that individual has received services) with anyone, including the College, without the individual’s express written permission, unless there is a continuing threat of serious violence to the patient/client or to others, or there is a legal obligation to reveal such information (e.g., suspected abuse or neglect of a minor).  The College provides students and employees with access to external resources that are available in the community. These resources are available on the Office of Equity & Compliance webpage.

How do I report?

A report may be filed with George Underwood at any time (including during non-business hours) by telephone, email, United States postal mail, in-person

George Underwood
Deputy Title IX Coordinator & Investigator
gtunderwood@pstcc.edu
865-539-7354

Equity & Compliance 
Hardin Valley Campus 
Goins Building, Rm 258 
10915 Hardin Valley Rd. 
P.O. Box 22990 
Knoxville, TN 37933 

Open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
By appointment only 

or through the online reporting form.

What is the grievance procedure?

PSCC follows the Tennessee Board of Regents Title IX  P-080 investigation procedure. 

What about retaliation?

Retaliation under Title IX is defined as: action taken against someone to get them back for their action or accusation, a form of revenge or reaction because someone filed a complaint or participated and/or cooperated in an investigation, refusing to promote, advance, or accurately support/qualify a person because they filed a complaint or participated in and/or cooperated in an investigation.

Examples include but are not limited to:  demoting or prohibiting the advancement of someone who filed a complaint or participated in and/or cooperated in and investigation, terminating, loss of benefits, or other adverse actions against someone who filed a complaint or participated in and/or cooperated in an investigation, unfair treatment or discrimination against someone who filed a complaint or participated in and/or cooperated in an investigation.

Contact Us

George Underwood
Deputy Title IX Coordinator & Investigator
gtunderwood@pstcc.edu
865-539-7354

Equity & Compliance 
Hardin Valley Campus 
Goins Building, Rm 258 
10915 Hardin Valley Rd. 
P.O. Box 22990 
Knoxville, TN 37933 

Open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
By appointment only