Title IX at Cypress College

Welcome to Cypress College’s Title IX webpage, your resource for understanding and accessing protections against sex-based harassment and misconduct within our college community. Title IX is a cornerstone federal law ensuring equal opportunities and fair treatment for all individuals regardless of sex, and our institution is committed to upholding its principles. Here, you’ll find information on policies, reporting procedures, and support resources aimed at fostering a safe and inclusive educational environment.

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities. Title IX addresses sexual harassment which includes sexual assault, stalking, and other forms of sexual misconduct or violence.

Section 1681 of Title 20 of the United States Code (20 U.S.C. § 1681) is the specific statutory provision that outlines the basic principles and prohibitions of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This section establishes that “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.”

Cypress College Title IX Office

Cypress College’s Title IX Coordinator monitors and oversees Title IX compliance. The coordinator is available to explain and discuss the College’s Title IX complaint process.

Celeste Phelps
Dean, Student Support Services
Title IX Coordinator
E: cphelps@cypresscollege.edu
T: (714) 484-7107

Belinda Allan
Title IX Administrative Support
E: ballan@cypresscollege.edu
T: (714) 484-7123

Reporting Title IX Violations and the Grievance Process

If you believe you have experienced sex-based harassment (including sexual violence and sexual abuse) at Cypress College or at a Cypress College-sponsored event or activity, we encourage you to submit an incident report. Cypress College takes all reports of Title IX violations seriously. Reporting incidents under Title IX does not have a specific timeline. However, it is important to note that Title IX only has jurisdiction over affiliated respondents.

1. Initial reporting to the Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance and manages investigations into sexual harassment reports. Students can report incidents to the coordinator through different means, such as in-person, by mail, email, or by using the Cypress College Title IX incident report form. Upon receiving a report, the coordinator contacts the student to offer Title IX information and discuss available options. It’s important to note that this initial incident report is not the same as filing a formal complaint. Thus, students can seek support and explore options without engaging in a formal grievance process.

2. Formal Complaint / Grievance Process: After receiving information and support from the Title IX Coordinator, a student may choose to initiate a formal grievance process by filing a formal complaint. This can be accomplished in-person, through mail, or electronically, and must include the complainant’s physical or digital signature. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator evaluates whether the complaint aligns with the College’s Title IX policy, which adheres to federal regulations.

Important note: Only the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant have the authority to initiate a formal grievance process.

3. Notification of Allegations: Once the formal complaint has been submitted and reviewed, a notification of allegations is provided to the complainant and respondent. This communication informs the parties of their involvement in the Title IX Grievance process and provides essential details about the accusation, mirroring those outlined in the formal complaint.

4. Dismissal of Formal Complaint: Cypress College is obligated to dismiss the formal complaint if:

  • The alleged conduct does not meet the criteria for sexual harassment;
  • The incident did not take place on the college campus, program, or at an activity affiliated with the college; or
  • The alleged conduct did not involve a person within the United States.

The formal complaint could be dismissed at any point during the investigation or hearing if:

  • The complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing of their decision to withdraw the complaint;
  • The respondent is no longer enrolled at Cypress College; or
  • Unforeseen circumstances impede the gathering of evidence necessary for reaching a determination.

Important note: Dismissal does not preclude action under other sections of the College’s Code of Conduct, Board Policy, or Administrator Procedure.

5. Investigation

  • Complainant Interview: Once the formal complaint and notification of allegations have been finalized, the complainant will meet with the investigator to provide a statement detailing the incident. They have the option to have an advisor present during this meeting. The complainant has the autonomy to share as much or as little information as they feel comfortable with. While witnesses and additional materials are not obligatory, the investigator may inquire about them during the interview process. Witness interviews will be conducted as deemed necessary.
  • Respondent Interview: The respondent is extended an invitation to meet with an investigator, during which they may opt to have an advisor accompany them. In this session, the respondent retains the discretion to disclose as much or as little information as they feel comfortable with. They also have the right to simply listen to the information shared by the investigator without making a statement, if they so choose. At this juncture, the respondent is made aware of the ongoing investigation and will be asked about the reported incident(s). This meeting serves as a primary opportunity for the respondent to offer their account of the incident(s). They are afforded the same opportunity as the complainant to present additional materials or provide names of witnesses.
  • Following the interviews, the investigator will furnish both parties (and their advisors) with a preliminary report comprising evidence and accompanying documents, inviting written responses, if desired.
  • Subsequently, the final investigative report will be provided to both parties (and advisors, if any), at least 10 days prior to a hearing, for review and written response. Written responses will be attached to the Final Investigative Report.

Important note: During the investigation process, the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to explore informal resolution options, if they so choose. (See section #9.)

6. Hearing: The hearing is a formal proceeding where both the complainant and respondent may bring an advisor and present their sides of the incident. This process typically includes presenting evidence, calling witnesses, and cross-examination by the parties’ advisors. The goal is to determine whether the respondent violated the college’s policies regarding sexual harassment/misconduct. Cross-examination must be conducted directly, verbally, and in real-time by the party’s chosen advisor and never by the party themselves. A decision-maker will determine if the cross-examination questions are relevant. The decision-maker will explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.

7. Determination of Responsibility: The decision-maker issues a written determination of responsibility that includes an analysis of facts, conclusions about violations, sanctions, etc. The written decision will be provided to both parties simultaneously.

8. Appeals: After a determination of responsibility, both parties have the right to appeal. This involves challenging the decision based on specific grounds, such as procedural errors or new evidence or a conflict of interest or bias by the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker.

9. Informal Resolution Process: The informal resolution process entails resolving complaints through alternative methods like mediation or discussion. Both parties must provide voluntary, informed, and written consent. Either party retains the option to withdraw from the informal process at any point and resume the formal process.

Filing a Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights
Office for Civil Rights
San Francisco Office
U.S. Department of Education
50 United Nations Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94102
Phone: (415) 486-5555
Email: OCR.SanFrancisco@ed.gov

Title IX – Pregnancy and Childbirth

Title IX provides protections for students who are pregnant or have just given birth to ensure they have equal access to educational opportunities. These protections are crucial in preventing discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions, and in supporting individuals who are balancing their educational pursuits with parenting responsibilities.

If you require an accommodation due to pregnancy or a birth-related condition, please speak with your instructor as soon as possible. Your instructor will then liaise with the college’s Title IX coordinator to determine the appropriate accommodation. Alternatively, you may directly contact the college’s Title IX Coordinator for assistance.

At Cypress College, we prioritize the well-being of all our students. We are pleased to offer private lactation rooms and Mamava pods on campus to provide a supportive environment for breastfeeding students and staff. These spaces are designed to ensure privacy and comfort, allowing individuals to attend to their needs with dignity and convenience.

Location of Lactation Rooms/Pods

  • College Complex Building, 3rd Floor (room)
  • Student Center, 2nd Floor (*pod)
  • Tech Education Building (*pod)
  • Gym 2 (room)

*To access the pods, simply unlock them using a smartphone app. For details regarding the app, please reach out to Belinda Allan at ballan@cypresscollege.edu.