Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy
(the information below is also found the Student Conduct Code)
Members of the university community, guests, and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of sex-based discrimination, including but not limited to, sexual violence, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. These offenses, whether committed by a stranger, friend or acquaintance are serious offenses. Students engaging in this activity are subject to both criminal and civil prosecution in a court of law and is subject to disciplinary action by Georgia Southern University. In addition to being potentially criminal actions, these offenses are also some of the most underreported crimes on American college campuses. Georgia Southern University encourages victims of these offenses to report them and to seek assistance from appropriate campus and community resources.
GLOSSARY OF TERMS RELATING TO THIS POLICY:
Definition of Domestic Violence
- Includes all felony offenses and certain misdemeanor offenses (battery, simple battery, simple assault, assault, stalking, criminal damage of property, unlawful restraint, and criminal trespass) committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, persons who are the parents of the same child, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.
Definition of Consent
- Consent is considered clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
- Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
Definition of Stalking
- Includes a course of conduct directed at a specific person that causes the victim to reasonably fear for her, his, or others’ safety or to suffer substantial emotional distress (Please refer to the Student Conduct Code Part I, Section VIII.17 Harrassment.b, pg.7)
Definition of Dating Violence
- Includes violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether such a relationship has existed is determined by the length, type and frequency of interaction between the parties
Definition of Force
- Force is considered to be the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (example: “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want”).
- Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type or pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
- NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
Definition of Incapacitation
- Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g. to understand the “who, what, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). A person who is incapacitated cannot give consent. Incapacity may result from, among other things, mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or alcohol or drug use (including rape drugs). Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances (including, but not limited to Rohypnol Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc.) is prohibited and administering one of these drugs to another student or person is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at http://www.911rape.org/
- Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy. For reference to the pertinent state statutes on sex offenses, please see The Official Code of Georgia.
In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.
The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy
OFFENSES UNDER THIS POLICY INCLUDE:
- Sexual Harassment
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same)
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
- Sexual Exploitation
1. Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is:
- Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is,
- Severe or pervasive enough to,
- Create a hostile work or academic environment,
Depending on severity, it is possible for a single incident to be sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.
Examples include, but are not limited to, an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship, to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention, to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking.
2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is:
- Any intentional touching
- However slight,
- With any object,
- That is without consent and/or by force
Sexual Contact includes:
Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, whether on the body part or directly on the clothing covering the body part, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts, any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:
- With any object,
- However slight,
- Any sexual intercourse,
- That is without consent and/or by force.
Vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
4. Sexual Exploitation:
Occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her 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 other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Non-Consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity or distributing or posting without consent, such audio or video,
- Prostituting another student or person,
- Invasion of sexual privacy
- Going beyond boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex),
- Engaging in voyeurism,
- Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student or person,
- Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances, inducing another to expose genitals,
- Stalking may also be a form of sexual exploitation.
Other misconduct offenses which apply:
- Where applicable, other regulations from the Student Conduct Code may be applied in addition to the umbrella term of Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence.
- Georgia Southern University will conduct a thorough and confidential investigation of all complaints of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence. Any act that may violate this policy will subject the offender to sanctions up to and including dismissal after compliance with due process requirements.
- In order that the University can take measures to correct the behavior, persons who feel that they have been subjected to actions that violate this regulation, and persons who may have knowledge of these violations, should:
File a report with the Director, Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office or any member of the University’s faculty or staff.
If anyone is unwilling or unable to file a report during normal business hours, they may call Public Safety at (912) 478-5234.
- For more information about the procedures for reporting sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence contact the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office at (912) 478-5136 or TDD (912) 478-0273. Inquiries concerning Title IX may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator in the University’s Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office or to the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.
- Retaliation against a person who participates in a good faith investigation of a sexual harassment complaint is a violation of state and federal laws for which the offender shall be subject to disciplinary action.
Procedures for Processing a Student Title IX/VAWA Case
- Report filed with the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office.
- Interim measures and support are provided through the Dean of Students Office.
- Investigation completed as determined by the Director of the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office.
- Investigator generates a report after the investigation is completed and forwards it to the Director of the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office. The Director reviews the report and determines one of the following:
- No charges, close the case and continue providing support measures.
- Charges, send to the Office of Student Conduct for notification to include any additional charges under the Student Conduct Code.
- The Office of Student Conduct will send a notice of charges and hearing to the accused and complainant(s).
- Hearing occurs with the Title IX Hearing Committee (members of the committee will be appointed annually by the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management).
- The decision from the hearing with the Title IX Hearing Committee is shared with all parties at the same time via Georgia Southern email.
- For information regarding appeals please see the Student Conduct Code Part I, Section XVI. Appeals, pg.17.
- WHAT TO DO IF YOU BECOME A VICTIM:
- If you have been the victim of one of these offenses, you are encouraged to take immediate action. Whether the incident or course of conduct occurred on or off-campus you may report the assault to the Department of Public Safety. If the incident or course of conduct has occurred off-campus, it may be reported to the appropriate agency, such as Statesboro Police Department or the Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office. The Department of Public Safety will also involve these outside law enforcement units as necessary depending on the facts of each individual case. Student Conduct Code violations may be reported to the Office of Student Conduct. In addition, these offenses may be reported to the Title IX Coordinator in the Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office. It is the victim’s option whether or not to seek assistance from law enforcement and campus authorities.
- If you have been sexually assaulted or physically abused, seek immediate medical attention, preferably within 72 hours of the assault or as soon as possible:
- You may elect to file criminal charges in a court of law or file a report under the Georgia Southern University Student Conduct Code, or both,
- Call the Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center (SRSAC) crisis line if it occurred in Statesboro (912-489-6060 or 1-866-489-2225). They will instruct you on where to meet the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) who will provide you medical attention. If you go to the emergency room, you may be charged for those services which are free through SRSAC.
- Through the SANE, the victim will be provided a physical examination for possible internal or external injuries. Staff will also conduct a pregnancy test and a test for sexually transmitted diseases. If necessary, they will provide antibiotics and the morning after pill. It is important to note the morning after pill should be taken within 72 hours of the sexual contact.
- Medical evidence of a sexual assault will be collected by the SANE assigned to you by SRSAC. This is done through a Sexual Assault Kit. The Sexual Assault Kit is provided by the police officer investigating the assault; however, having one completed does not mean you have to press criminal charges. It is important not to bathe, douche, or use mouthwash before receiving a medical examination. Doing so could interfere with the collection of evidence. If you want to change clothes, the removed clothing should be saved and should not be washed.
- If a student happens to go to the Georgia Southern University Health, Health Services will contact a Victim’s Advocate through SRSAC if the victim agrees to the Sexual Assault Kit. If a victim does not want the staff to contact SRSAC, Health Services will put the victim in touch with Counseling Services. This person will provide support and explain what options are available to you under the law and from the University conduct system, and help you decide what, if anything, you want to do next. The main objective is to provide you with support, information, and options. Even if you choose not seek medical care, you may seek services through the Counseling Center on your own.
- While it is always your option to contact law enforcement, it is important you strongly consider doing so, regardless of whether you intend to press criminal charges, file a report with the Office of Student Conduct, or seek a protective order. When it is established in a court of law a substantial amount of time has elapsed before reporting a sexual assault to law enforcement officials, it may tend to diminish your credibility. If you decide to press criminal charges, it is important a prompt report be on file with the appropriate law enforcement agency. It is important to understand reporting the incident to the police does not obligate you to press criminal charges or file a report with the Office of Student Conduct.
- Georgia Southern University will investigate complaints of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, promptly, fairly, and impartially. Confidentiality, including exclusion of the victim’s personal identifiable information, will be respected to the extent permitted by law if requested by the victim. Investigations will be conducted by officials who receive annual training on issues related to these offenses, how to conduct an investigation and hearing process which protects the safety of the victims and promotes accountability.
- Know the victim has the right to have past unrelated behavior excluded from any hearing held pursuant to the Student Conduct Code.
Possible sanctions for Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence:
Possible sanctions for a student found in violation of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking include, but are not limited to, disciplinary probation, suspension, or expulsion from the University.
If a student is charged with one of these offenses and is prosecuted in a court of law, student conduct sanctions may be imposed in addition to any criminal penalties if the student is convicted, pleads guilty or nolo contender or is granted First Offender treatment (in which case the student conduct sanctions may be imposed until all conditions of First Offender treatment are successfully completed).
In any campus disciplinary proceedings related to this policy, the complainant and the accused student will be informed of the outcome of the case, along with any sanctions imposed. The Director of the Equal Opportunity Office and Title IX Office, or designee, may also implement other interim measures, including but not limited to no contact agreements and bans from certain areas of campus. Violation of any such no contact agreement or ban may result in a separate charge of Failure to Comply. The University may impose an interim suspension when it is determined it is appropriate against an accused student under this policy (see the Student Conduct Code PART I, Section XV, pg.17 for more information).
YOUR RIGHTS AS A VICTIM AND ACCUSED:
In cases of sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence, both the victim and the accused have the following rights:
- The victim has the right to choose to charge the accused student with a violation of law. The victim may also file a report alleging a violation of the Student Conduct Code, resulting in an investigation and possible action under the Student Conduct Code. Reports can be made to the Equal Opportunity & Title IX Office at (912) 478-5136 or TDD (912) 478-0273.
- The victim has the right to have his/her name withheld from “timely reports” issues under the Clery Act.
- Both the victim and the accused have the right to have an advisor of his/her choice accompany him/her throughout the process.
- Both the victim and the accused may submit a Personal Impact Statement prior to any penalty being imposed.
- Both the victim and the accused will be informed simultaneously, in writing, of the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding, and when the result becomes final.
- In appropriate cases, both the victim and the accused may request reasonable accommodations including but not limited to adjustments in academic programs and campus living arrangements.
- Both the victim and the accused may appeal the decision (see the Student Conduct Code Part I, Section XVI, Appeals pg.17 for more information).
- The victim has the right to have orders of protection, no contact agreements, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issues by criminal, civil or tribunal courts, enforced on campus.
Below you will find a list of resources for both the victim and the accused. This is not a comprehensive list.
- Georgia Southern University Counseling Services (student can confidentially report cases of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence here), (912) 478-5541
- Georgia Southern University Health Services (student can confidentially report cases of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence here), (912) 478-4636
- Georgia Southern University Equal Opportunity and Title IX Office (912) 478-5136
- Georgia Southern University Dean of Students Office (912) 478-3326
- Georgia Southern University Office of Student Conduct (912) 478-0059
- Georgia Southern University Public Safety, (912) 478-5234
- Statesboro Police Department, (912) 764-9911 or 911
- Bulloch County Sheriff’s Office, (912) 764-8888 or 911
- Statesboro Regional Sexual Assault Center, (912) 489-6060
- East Georgia Regional Medical Center, (912) 486-1000
Note: Portions of this policy have been adapted from ATIXA’s Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy and Model Grievance Process.
Last updated: 6/7/2016