The University of New Hampshire is a public institution with a long-standing commitment to equal opportunity for all. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, veteran’s status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs, services, or activities.
Your Rights at UNH
As a member of the University of New Hampshire community there are additional options and resources available to you. There are several laws that apply to colleges & universities, detailing how they must respond when someone in their community experiences interpersonal violence. Most well-known is Title IX, which is a federal law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in schools. Title IX was originally passed in 1972 and in May 2020 the federal government issued new regulations of how schools should apply this in practice. These new regulations went into effect August 14, 2020.
SHARPP advocates are confidential and can speak with you about your rights and options at UNH and can help you gain the information you need to make an informed decision on what is right for you. If you do choose to report to the University, SHARPP advocates can accompany you to any meetings, including the investigation interview and a hearing if one is scheduled.
To speak with a SHARPP advocate you can:
- Call the 24/7 helpline at (603) 862-7233
- Visit the SHARPP office Monday-Friday 10am-4pm at Wolff House (green building next to Health and Wellness)
- Chat with an advocate online Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
- Text with an advocate by texting (603) 606-9393 Monday-Friday 9am-4pm
Important things to know about Title IX
- UNH is required to have policies and procedures to respond to reports of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking.
- UNH is obligated to provide supportive measures to individuals who have experienced violence regardless of whether they choose to make a formal report to the University.
- Students and employees have the right to report their experience of violence to the University and request an investigation from the school. If the incident falls within the scope of Title IX it must be investigated. UNH maintains additional policies that allow for investigation and response to violence that is considered to be outside of the scope of Title IX.
What does it mean to be “within the Scope of Title IX”?
- The behaviors meet the federal definitions of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, or stalking (See these definitions in Student Rights, Rules, and Responsibilities pgs 4-5)
- It happened within the University’s programs or activities. This means it occurred in an environment that UNH had reasonable oversight over the perpetrator’s behavior and the context in which the violence occurred.
- It happened within the United States.
How to report an incident of violence
Individuals who have experienced violence have the right to choose when, to whom, and how to share their experience. They are not required to share their story with anyone, however it is important to note that under UNH policy, faculty and staff are required to report any disclosures of violence to the Title IX Coordinator. For more information regarding reporting obligations, contact the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.
A formal written report is a signed written statement by the person who has experienced violence and is the first step of the University’s investigation process. Individuals are not required to make a formal report to receive supportive measures from the University.
Reporting to the University and a University investigation process is separate from a police report or criminal investigation. These processes can be done independently, and may be able to share investigation materials.
Reporting for Students
Students who have experienced interpersonal violence may make a formal report to either the Community Standards Office or the Title IX Coordinator. Violence that has occurred between students will be addressed through the Community Standards Office, and reports of violence involving an employee will be addressed through the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.
Title IX Coordinator, Donna Marie Sorrentino
Affirmative Action and Equity Office
Thompson Hall 105
Reporting for Employees
Employees who have experienced interpersonal violence may make a formal report through the Affirmative Action and Equity Office.
Title IX Coordinator, Donna Marie Sorrentino
Thompson Hall 105
What happens after a report is made?
After a formal report is received, it is reviewed to determine whether it falls under the scope of Title IX (see above) or whether it will be addressed through other UNH policies. From there, an independent investigator will be assigned and there will be an investigation into the report.
Both the person who experienced violence as well as the person reported to have caused harm are entitled to an advisor of their choice, which can but is not required to be an attorney. If either person does not have an advisor of choice, the University will provide one.
At the conclusion of the investigation there will be a live hearing.
What happens at the hearing?
The individuals involved in the report will speak to either an individual or panel of 3 decision makers about their experience.
Individuals involved in a hearing will NOT have to be in the same room as the person who caused them harm, however they will have to be heard and seen through a live video feed. All individuals will be able to see and hear the other people involved in the hearing.
As part of the hearing, one person’s advisor will be able to question the other person. The person who has been harmed and person who has caused harm will NOT be directly interacting at any time during the hearing! SHARPP is able to attend these hearings as a support person for the person who has been harmed, though we are not able to speak in the hearings or serve as the advisor.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the decision maker(s) will make a determination of whether the person is responsible for violating UNH policy. Their decision will be sent in writing including their rationale for the decision they made.
For more information on the Title IX process, including what it may look like for your particular experience, contact a SHARPP advocate 24/7 at (603) 862-7233.