What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. It states: 

“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 educational program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.” 

“The University of West Alabama is committed to providing an educational and employment environment free of harassment and other forms of discrimination on the basis on Race, Religion, Hearing status, Personal appearance, Color, Sex, Pregnancy, Political affiliation, Religion, Creed, Ethnicity, National origin (including ancestry), Citizenship status, Physical or mental disability (including perceived disability), Age, Marital status, Sexual orientation, Gender identity, Gender expression, Veteran or military status, Predisposing genetic characteristics, Domestic violence victim status, or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any grievance process on campus, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or other human rights agencies. University policies relating to harassment and/or discrimination are published and are accessible on the University’s web page.” 

All members of the University community should be aware that the University prohibits and will not tolerate sexual harassment of its faculty, staff, and students. Each member of the University community is expected to support efforts to keep the campus free of sexual harassment. 

Who Is Protected Under Title IX? 

All University of West Alabama students, faculty, staff, and volunteers are protected under Title IX. Title IX protects those who experience sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, interpersonal violence (including dating and domestic violence), stalking, or discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. 

Sexual Violence 

Risk-reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act: 

  • If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
  • Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly. 
  • Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor. 
  • Find someone nearby and ask for help. 
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity. 
  • Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do. 

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct: 

  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you. 
  • Understand and respect personal boundaries. 
  • DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you DO NOT have consent.
  • Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable. 
  • Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves. 
  • Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power. 
  • Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior. 
  • Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.  

Reporting a Title IX Incident 

In the event of sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, or the crimes of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence occurring, the University takes the matter very seriously. If a University student or employee faces such accusations, he or she is subject to action in accordance with the Policies and Procedures Regarding Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination

A student wishing to officially report such an incident may do so by contacting the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Byron Thetford, bthetford@uwa.edu, Brock Hall 202, (205) 652-3435

Anyone with knowledge about sex- or gender-based discrimination, harassment, or violence, or the crimes of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence is encouraged to report it immediately to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Byron Thetford, bthetford@uwa.edu, Brock Hall 202, (205) 652-3435

Anonymous reports are accepted by the Title IX Coordinator but can give rise to a need to investigate. The University tries to provide supportive measures to all Complainants, which is impossible with an anonymous report. Because reporting carries no obligation to initiate a formal response, and as the University respects Complainant requests to dismiss complaints unless there is a compelling threat to health and/or safety, the Complainant is largely in control and should not fear a loss of privacy by making a report that allows the University to discuss and/or provide supportive measures. You can report anonymously through the online reporting form here.  

The University employs supportive and protective measures such as no contact orders or emergency removal in cases in which a violence risk assessment indicates such action is warranted. Supportive and protective measures for individuals who have experienced these incidents are available from the campus whether the individual chooses to report to local and/or campus law enforcement, and irrespective of whether the individual pursues a formal complaint through the University’s resolution process. 

Reporting to Law Enforcement 

It is the policy of University to notify campus law enforcement when sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, or violence occurs, typically without providing identifying information about the incident. However, the University will not notify law enforcement if a Complainant wishes that information not to be shared, unless an emergency requires disclosure. 

Complainants have the option to notify law enforcement directly, or to be assisted in doing so by campus authorities. If requested, campus officials can facilitate reporting to campus or local law enforcement but may also respect a Complainant’s request not to do so. To report to the University Police, call (205) 652-5555, or to report to the City of Livingston Police Department dial 911

Title IX Pool and Training  

Find information about asvisors, hearing and appeals offciders, coordinators and investigators and training materials. 

Learn More

Title IX Resources 

UWA offers counseling services to students and employees free of charge. Each consultation is confidential. To schedule an appointment with UWA Counseling Services, please call (205) 652-3651

Additional Counseling for Victims of Sexual Assault can also obtain counseling through: 

Turning Point 24-hour Crisis Line 

(205) 758-0808 
Collect calls accepted 

Care Lodge Domestic Violence Shelter 

(601) 693-HOPE 
24-hour crisis line