Title IX Office

What is Title IX?

Title IX is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs, activities, admission and employment. Complaints of sex-based discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual or gender-based harassment are governed by NOVA's Policy on Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct. 

This report can be submitted anonymously. We will respond to reports as promptly, thoroughly, and impartially as possible, so we encourage all reporters, anonymous or disclosed, to provide as much information about the report they are submitting as possible.

What to do if you have been sexually assaulted

  • Make sure you are in a safe place.
  • Call someone -- you should not be alone. Call a trusted friend, family member, trained counselor or medical professional, NOVA Police or 911.
  • Get medical help right away. You need to be examined for injury, physical evidence, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy as soon as possible but no later than 72 hours after the assault. A specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner will perform DNA collection (Physical Evidence Recovery Kit - PERK), injury assessment, documentation, preventive medications and referrals to legal and support services. Going to the hospital to seek medical attention does not obligate you to report the crime.
  • In order to preserve evidence, do not change your clothes, wash, shower, douche, eat, drink, brush your teeth or use the bathroom. If you must change your clothes, place the items in a paper bag – not plastic – and take them with you to the emergency room. This is very important if you decide to file a report later. Bring a change of clothes with you.
  • Consider reporting the assault. You are encouraged to report the assault to the NOVA police or the local police.

Hospitals that perform SANE exams

A Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) is a Registered Nurse who has received special training so that he/she can provide comprehensive care to sexual assault victims. In addition, he/she is able to conduct a forensic exam and may provide expert testimony if a case goes to trial. These exams are also known as Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK).

  • Inova Fairfax Hospital (forensic evidence collection available)
    3300 Gallows Road
    Falls Church, VA 22042
  • Sentara Northern Virginia Medical Center (forensic evidence collection available)
    2300 Opitz Boulevard
    Woodbridge, VA 22191

Advocacy and Support Resources

Resources at NOVA
  • Laura Buchs, Title IX Coordinator,   titleix@nvcc.edu
  • NOVA Police: 703.764.5000
  • Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer: Dr. Nathan Carter 
    at  titleix@nvcc.edu  or 703.323.2262
  • NOVA Human Resources: 703.323.3110
Resources in the Community
Safe houses for victims of domestic violence
Legal Resources

What happens once a complaint has been filed?

Formal Complaints

A formal complaint is required to begin an investigation. It must be completed and signed by the Complainant or by the Title IX Coordinator on behalf of the College.

Interim Actions

The Title IX Office can assist in arranging academic accommodations (course schedule adjustments, extension of assignments, alternative class or work arrangements), changing work arrangements, and may issue No Contact Orders as well as interim suspension and disciplinary or administrative leave.

Complainant’s Rights

A person who is the victim of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, or stalking is referred to as the complainant.

Respondent’s Rights

A person who has been accused of sexual harassment, sex discrimination, sexual assault, sexual harassment, dating/domestic violence, or stalking is referred to as the respondent. 


An individual who may have information relevant to a report of sexual misconduct. Witness participation in the College’s Title IX Resolution process is voluntary.

Steps in an Investigation
  • Title IX Coordinator receives a report of an incident; contacts Complainant to discuss investigation and support services.
  • Title IX Coordinator or designee conducts an evaluation - interviewing parties and reviewing documentation.
  • Process can take up to 120 business days to complete, at the end of which an administrative determination will be made.
  • Both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of the investigation.
  • Both parties will be given an opportunity to review all information used to make the determination.
  • Both parties have the right to appeal a final decision.
  • If the complaint proceeds to a hearing, all attendees must adhere to the Rules of Decorum.


Identifying information of a complainant will be protected as much as possible. This means that a complainant’s name will not be published or otherwise publicized without permission. When a person makes an official complaint to authorities, all possible protections will be afforded this individual, whether or not they participate in any investigation. When the College needs to act to protect the safety of others, absolute confidentiality may not be possible.

Faculty & Staff as Responsible Employees

A Responsible Employee is required by law to report any incidents of sexual misconduct to NOVA’s Title IX Office. Responsible employees (or Persons with Authority) at NOVA include all employees except those with privileged communication, per VCCS instruction. As a Responsible Employee, employees must report any incidents of sexual harassment that they become aware of to the Title IX Coordinator. 

Responsible Employee Handout

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

1. Are there any active LGBTQ student groups or organizations at NOVA? YES. Several NOVA campuses have active LGBTQ student organizations. Contact the Student Life Office at each campus for contact information about current student organizations or for information on starting a new student organization.

2. What should I do if I feel threatened, harassed, bullied, stalked, or if I am attacked?
If you are injured or in danger, call 911 or College Police immediately. College Police can assist you if an assault has taken place. If you wish to report an incident of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Office can assist you with filing a report.

NOVA takes all incidents of bias and harassment – including anti-LGBTQ – seriously. Depending on the type of incident and who is alleged to have committed the harassment, there are a variety of ways NOVA may respond.

Title IX now includes sexual orientation and gender identity-based discrimination and harassment, as well as complaints of sex-based discrimination, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual or gender-based harassment are governed by the Title IX Policy and may be submitted to   titleix@nvcc.edu.

Faculty and staff may submit complaints of discrimination that they experience to the Equal Opportunity Officer at   eo@nvcc.edu.

3. Are sexual orientation and gender identity included in NOVA’s non-discrimination policy?
YES. NOVA includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its non-discrimination policy.

  • NOVA Police DepartmentIf an incident occurs on campus: 703.764.5000
  • Local Police Department: If incident occurs on or off campus: 911
  • Office for Civil Rights, District of Columbia Office
    • U.S. Department of Education
      400 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, DC 20202-1475
      Phone: 202.453.6020
      Fax: 202.453.6021

Our goal is to create an environment in which everyone feels safe, and sexual misconduct is not tolerated. Every person has the ability to be an active and responsible bystander. Bystander intervention aims to prevent various types of violence including bullying, sexual harassment, sexual assault and intimate partner violence. When you see something that you think is not right, say something, do something and/or get someone's attention to help prevent violence.


Bystander Intervention


Double Standard

The Morning After

Relationship Violence



One Love Foundation

Educational institutions that receive federal financial assistance are covered by Title IX. In compliance with Title IX, NOVA prohibits discrimination in employment as well as in all programs and activities on the basis of sex.

Here are some things you should know about your Title IX rights at NOVA:

  • NOVA must respond promptly and effectively to sexual violence
  • NOVA must provide support measures as necessary
  • NOVA should make known where you can find confidential support services
  • NOVA must conduct an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation
  • NOVA must provide remedies as necessary

NOVA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy covers a wide range of behaviors prohibited under Title IX. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, and relationship violence.

Please see the College Policy Page, to read NOVA’s Sexual Misconduct Policy 110.

Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

As a reminder, all employees except those with privileged communication per the law are deemed Responsible Employees, per VCCS instruction.

Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact, stalking, sexual harassment, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal and physical conduct of a sexual nature (when behavior is severe or pervasive enough to create an intimidating or hostile environment), threatening to sexually assault someone, cyber-stalking, indecent exposure, or sexual exploitation (which includes taking non-consensual or abusive advantage of others, i.e. taking sexual photos).

Employees are welcome to contact the Employee Assistance Plan. Students, employees, and visitors can also contact any of our community partners, including:

  • Alexandria Sexual Assault Center: 703.683.7273
  • Alexandria Domestic Violence Shelter: 703.746.4911
  • Fairfax County Office of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services: 703.360.7273
  • Stafford County Family Violence and Sexual Assault Hotline: 540.373.9373
  • Prince William Domestic Violence Intervention ACTS/Turning Points, Prince William: 703.221.4951

You are always welcome to explore law enforcement and Title IX options when, how, and if you would like. Keep in mind that Title IX processes are only available if the person who perpetrated the harm is a member of the College community. Law Enforcement officials always encourage individuals who have experienced harm to sit down with an officer to discuss options. The law enforcement options are going to vary depending on when and in what jurisdiction the harm took place.

No. It is very common for individuals to choose to work with local police first before using Title IX resources.

We know that any form of sex-based discrimination can be a difficult experience. You can talk with us at any time, no matter when or where the conduct occurred. We also want you to remember that after speaking with us, learning about all your options, and receiving information about resources, it’s okay if you are not ready to make a decision. We will continue to be here for you.

The College strongly supports a student’s interest in confidentiality in sexual misconduct cases. The College will only disclose information regarding such cases to individuals with responsibility for preparing the College’s response and in accordance with local, state, or federal law.

A complainant may request that their name not be disclosed to the respondent or that the College not investigate or seek action against the respondent. The College will determine whether it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, including the complainant. A complainant’s desire for anonymity may limit the College’s ability to stop, prevent or remedy the misconduct.

The College will notify the complainant of its intention to disclose the complainant’s identity if the College decides that providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the College’s community members outweighs the complainant’s right to inaction or anonymity.

No. Title IX can provide individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct with resources and support even if they do not wish to pursue an investigation. These resources are called interim measures because they are options that can be provided in the short term while someone is considering whether to move forward with a process. Academic assistance, No Contact Orders, and referrals to on-campus resources are all considered Interim Measures.

Every situation is different. Interim measures such as academic assistance, referrals, and No Contact Orders are the most frequently requested resources. However, other options and resources may be available.

The College’s goal is not to get someone in trouble but to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, stop the behavior, prevent its recurrence and address its effects. This may include taking disciplinary action against the respondent to hold that individual accountable for their behavior and prevent this from happening again.

Yes. Both complainants and respondents can have a person of their choosing with them throughout all steps in the College’s process.

No. Retaliation is a violation of the College’s Sexual Misconduct policy. It is against the College’s policy to retaliate against any person who exercises their right to file a sexual misconduct complaint or cooperate with an investigation. Any person who experiences or observes retaliation should promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator.

Each party will have an opportunity to appeal if they are dissatisfied with the outcome. The appeal process is described in the Sexual Misconduct policy.

Yes. Interim measures including academic assistance and referrals to medical and counseling resources, are available to respondents. The Title IX office can provide respondents with information about support and resources.

Campus conduct processes are only available if the respondent is a member of the campus community. However, resources like academic assistance and confidential resources are still available to the complainant.

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.

Title IX

Questions for Responsible Employees

No. Responsible Employees fulfill their reporting obligation by reporting to Title IX. 

No. Responsible employees report instances of sexual misconduct involving any and all NOVA community members.

Check out this handout with basic information for Responsible Employees.

Contact Us

Title IX Office

Dr. Nathan Carter, Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer (CDEIO)

Dr. Johnetta Banks, Interim Title IX Coordinator