Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights provides guidelines to ensure that schools take effective steps to respond to sexual harassment and sexual violence in accordance with the requirements of Title IX.
Definitions: Violations of University Policy
The following definitions outline the University’s prohibited conduct under Title IX. When an incident involving an allegation of Title IX is against a student, the following definitions serve as potential charges or allegations.
Intimate Partner Violence
Referred to as dating or domestic violence, committed against a person by a spouse or former spouse, a cohabitant or former cohabitant with whom a romantic relationship has occurred, a person with whom they have a child, or a person with whom they have a previous or current dating, romantic, intimate, or sexual relationship. The existence of such a relationship shall be based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
IPV is an action by a person towards the other that may include physical, sexual, psychological, and/or emotional harm to that person. It can also include verbal abuse, damage to their possessions or threats to harm them or their loved ones, which causes a reasonable person to be afraid. There is often a dynamic of power and control within the relationship.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is defined as:
• any intentional sexual touching
• however slight
• with any object
• by a person upon another person
• that is without consent and/or by force
Sexual touching includes, but is not limited to, any physical contact with the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth or other bodily orifice of another individual; (a) by another with any of the body parts listed above, or (b) making another touch you or themselves with or on any of the body parts listed above without consent. The non-consensual contact may also include any other physical contact completed for the specific purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.
Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration
Non-consensual sexual penetration is defined as:
• any sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal)
• however slight
• with any object
• by a person upon another person
• that is without consent and/or by force
Sexual penetration includes, but is not limited to, vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
Sexual Misconduct encompasses any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature and can include the following:
(a) Non-consensual viewing, recording, dissemination.
The privacy and dignity of all persons in the University community must be guarded. The following conduct is prohibited:
• Observing or recording by any means the nudity or sexual activity of another without that person’s consent;
• Allowing another to observe or record the nudity or sexual activity of another without the person’s consent;
• Sharing images or recordings of the nudity or sexual activity of another without that person’s consent
(b) Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual policy offenses.
(c) Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is a form of sex and/or gender-based discrimination which may include physical, verbal, nonverbal and/or visual communication or written communication. Although what constitutes sexual harassment will vary with the particular circumstances, it is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Such conduct has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or abusive working or learning environment.
Sexual harassment is determined by the totality of the circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:
• The effect on the reporting party’s mental or emotional state
• Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person
• Whether the statement is an utterance of an epithet which is offensive, or offends by discourteousness or rudeness
• Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protection of Academic Freedom or the First Amendment
• The frequency of the offensive conduct
• Its seriousness
• Whether it is physically threatening or humiliating
• The location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred
• The degree to which the conduct affected the education or employment environment; and
• The relationship between the parties
Some sexual harassment behaviors may also be stalking and/or sexual assault. Some conduct that may appear to be consensual may also be unacceptable and deemed harassment.
Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety. Stalking is repetitive and menacing behavior that includes the pursuit, following, harassing and/ or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another. This includes cyber-stalking which is a course of conduct in which a responding party uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, or text messages to cause reasonable fear or emotional distress.
For the purposes of this definition: Course of conduct means a pattern of behavior composed of two or more acts over any period of time including, but not limited to, acts which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
• Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
• Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Reporting a violation of the sexual misconduct policy.
Complaints of violations of High Point University’s Title IX policies may be reported at any time. There is no statute of limitations on when a report can be made. Reporting parties are encouraged to make reports as soon possible after the alleged conduct occurs in order to best preserve any evidence for the University to investigate the facts, determine the issues, and provide an appropriate remedy or disciplinary action regardless of a police report being filed. Reporting parties are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual violence to the local police department by calling 911.
The University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the recipient of the alleged misconduct.
If a student files a report with the University, interim actions may be necessary during the proceedings and beyond for both the reporting and responding parties. Such interim actions may include temporary residential housing or relocation, class schedule changes, extracurricular activity assessment and possible exclusion, and /or a no contact order for the reporting party and responding party. The University may impose an interim suspension and/or ban from and and/or all parts of campus during the proceeding.
In addition to Interim Actions, the Reporting and Responding Parties are entitled to, and will be offered supportive measures. Such measures include, but are not limited to: access to confidential counseling, access to the Office of Accessibility Resources, or other supportive measures assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Voluntary Confidential Reporting
If you are the victim of a crime and do not want to pursue action within the University system or the criminal justice system, you may still want to consider making a confidential report. With your permission, the Director of Title IX or designee can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing your identity. The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with your wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of yourself and others. With such information, the University can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the annual crimes statistics for the institution.
The process of a violation of the sexual misconduct policy
Once the initial report is made, the Director of Title IX, or designee, will contact the parties involved to review the investigation and hearing board process. This is called an initial intake meeting.
Options for investigation, charging, and Title IX Hearing Board:
1. File a report, but not charge the responding party or proceed to a hearing board resolution.
a. As stated in the Confidentiality section below, the Director of Title IX and University Officials will do their best to respect the request of the reporting party. However, due to Title IX requirements, the University is required to at least complete a preliminary investigation and take prompt and reasonable steps given the information of which they are aware. The University can never ensure complete confidentiality and must consider the safety of the entire campus community.
b.If the reporting party does not wish to pursue action within the University system or the criminal justice system, they may still want to consider making a confidential report. With their permission, the Director of Title IX, or designee can file a report on the details of the incident without revealing the reporting party’s identity. The purpose of a confidential report is to comply with the reporting party’s wish to keep the matter confidential, while taking steps to ensure the future safety of the reporting party and others. With such information, the University can keep an accurate record of the number of incidents involving students, determine where there is a pattern of crime with regard to a particular location, method, or assailant, and alert the campus community to potential danger. Reports filed in this manner are counted and disclosed in the annual crimes statistics for the institution.
2. Make a report, but request to conceal the reporting party identity
a. If the reporting party requests that their name or other identifying information not be shared with the responding party, or that no formal action be taken, the Director of Title IX will balance the request against the following factors to determine whether the request can be honored:
i. The nature and scope of the alleged conduct, including whether the reported conduct involves the use of a weapon;
ii. The respective ages of the reporting party and responding party;
iii. The risk posed to any individual or the campus community by not proceeding, including but not limited to, the risk of additional violence;
iv. Whether there have been other reports of conduct by the responding party;
v. Whether the report reveals a pattern of misconduct (e.g. via illicit drug or alcohol use) at a given location or by a particular group;
vi. The reporting party wishes to pursue disciplinary action;
vii. Whether the University has other means to obtain relevant evidence;
viii. Considerations of fundamental fairness process to the responding party;
ix. The University’s obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.
3. File a report and proceed with an investigation of the incident
a. The Director of Title IX will inform the responding party and reporting party in writing and in person of the investigation, including the nature of the investigation.
b. The Director of Title IX may investigate the claims or will assign the case to a Title IX Investigator to investigate the claims. The Investigator is primarily responsible for investigating the incident(s) as it relates to the report filed by the reporting party. All Title IX Investigators will be up to date on annual training with regard to sexual misconduct investigations approved by the Director of Title IX. The Investigator will:
i. Conduct a fact-finding inquiry or investigation into the complaint, including appropriate interviews and meetings with witnesses named by both the reporting and responding parties.
ii. Contact parties and witnesses as needed: such as when evidence is disputed or when further information is required.
iii. Inform the witnesses and other involved individuals of the confidentiality requirements and the prohibition against retaliation.
iv. Create, gather and maintain investigative documentation, as appropriate.
v. Disclose appropriate information to others only on a need to know basis, consistent with state and federal law.
vi. Handle all data in accordance with applicable federal and state privacy laws.
c. After receiving the report prepared by the Investigator, the Director of Title IX, or designee, will determine what if any, policy violation(s) may have occurred, and what steps to take
next. The Director of Title IX, or desginee, may take the following actions:
i. Review the Investigation Report to determine what, if any charges, under the University Title IX policy and/or Guide to Campus Life, will be applied.
ii. If a violation is alleged to have occurred, assign the case to schedule a Title IX Hearing Board.
iii. Notify the reporting party and the responding party of the alleged violation(s) and the date, time, and location of the Title IX Hearing Board.
iv. A Title IX Hearing Board will take place within approximately 10 days of the Notice of Charge Letter of an investigation.
Even if the University is unable to take disciplinary action against the responding party, the University will seek to take any prompt and effective steps to prevent the sexual misconduct from recurring. In addition, information regarding alleged Title IX violations may be shared among University administrators as appropriate and necessary. The University cannot always control confidentiality violations by students or third parties.
If found responsible for a violation of the High Point University Sexual Misconduct Policy, sanctions may disciplinary probation, degree withholding or removal, reassignment or removal of university housing and/or suspension or expulsion from the University. The Title IX Hearing Board may include additional sanctions dependent on the nature of the violation. Both the Reporting and Responding Party are notified of the outcome of the hearing in writing within 5 business days of the conclusion of the Title IX Hearing Board. Both parties may also appeal the outcome of the formal hearing to the Executive Committee by completing the Appeal link: https://publicdocs.maxient.com/reportingform.php?HighPointUniv&layout_id=8 within 5 business days of the Priority Hearing.
If appealed, no resolutions by the original hearing panel go into effect until the outcome of the appeal to the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee will convene, review the appeal and respond within 15 business days. The outcome of the Executive Committee will be made in writing to both the complainant and alleged. The decision of the Executive Committee is final. In all cases, no matter which choice the complainant makes the University representative handling the case will take reasonable and practical steps to protect the complainant and respondent equally as outlined by Title IX. These steps could vary depending on the complaint from a “no contact” between the individuals to further steps such as separating them in housing, academic, and employment situations. Violations of these directives and protective actions may lead to additional disciplinary actions.