Policy Applicability and Dissemination

All students, faculty, staff, contractors, board members, guests, and any other individual(s) are subject to this policy. Individuals who violate this policy are subject to discipline up to and including termination and/or expulsion, in accordance with policy guidelines. Other, lesser sanctions may be imposed, depending on the circumstances.

 

Relationship to Freedom of Expression

Lander University is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression. Vigorous discussion and debate are fundamental rights and this policy is not intended to stifle teaching methods or freedom of expression. Discrimination or sexual harassment, however, is neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom. It compromises the integrity of our institution, the tradition of intellectual freedom and the trust placed in our institution by the campus community.

 

Prompt Attention

Complaints of discrimination or sexual harassment are taken seriously and will be dealt with promptly, thoroughly, impartially, and equitably. Where discrimination is found to have occurred, the institution or unit where it occurred will act to stop the discrimination or sexual harassment, to prevent its recurrence, to remedy its effects, if any, and to discipline those found responsible.

 

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual misconduct for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime. Information shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.

 

Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations

Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that Lander University is required to issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The university will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.

 

Student Amnesty

The university recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) may be hesitant to report violence due to fear of potential disciplinary action. The institution strongly encourages students to report such matters to college officials. A bystander acting in good faith, or a reporting individual acting in good faith, that discloses any incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault to college officials or law enforcement will not be subject to Student Code of Conduct action.

 

Prohibited Behaviors Defined 

 

Retaliation 

Retaliation against an individual who in good faith complains of alleged discrimination or sexual harassment or provides information during an investigation is against the law, will not be tolerated, and may be grounds for discipline up to and including termination or expulsion. Intentionally providing false information is also grounds for discipline up to and including possible termination or expulsion. "Retaliation" may include, but is not limited to, conduct as the denial of adequate personnel to perform duties; frequent replacement of members of the staff; frequent and undesirable changes in the location of an office; the refusal to assign meaningful work; unwarranted disciplinary action; unfair work performance evaluations; or a reduction in pay.

  • An employee who believes that he or she has been subjected to retaliation may file a retaliation complaint with one of the Title IX Coordinators.
  • A student who believes that he or she has been subjected to retaliation may file a retaliation complaint with one of the Title IX Coordinators.

Complaints of retaliation under Title IX are required to be promptly communicated to the Primary Title IX Coordinator.

False Reports

Because discrimination and sexual harassment frequently involve interactions between persons that are not witnessed by others, reports of discrimination or sexual harassment cannot always be substantiated by additional evidence. Lack of corroborating evidence or "proof" should not discourage individuals from reporting discrimination or sexual harassment under this policy.

However, individuals who make reports that are later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action under the applicable disciplinary procedures, up to and including termination or expulsion. This provision does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report cannot be substantiated by subsequent investigation.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is so sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational program and/or activities. Sexual harassment is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

Examples include:

  1. An attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship
  2. To repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention
  3. To punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request
  4. To condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances
  5. Sexual violence
  6. Intimate partner violence
  7. Stalking
  8. Gender-based bullying
  9. Even one incident, if it is sufficiently serious, may constitute sexual harassment. One incident, however, does not usually constitute sexual harassment.

Consensual Relationships

Sexual harassment and/or the assignment or suggestion of rewards and punishments on the basis of sex or sexuality have no place in the work of the University and are prohibited.

For the protection of our university community, no employee shall enter into a sexual or romantic relationship (consensual or otherwise) with a student, staff member, or faculty member when the work of one is directly evaluated or supervised by the other. In cases where there is a pre-existing sexual or romantic relationship, effective steps – including initial disclosure by the direct evaluators or supervisors to their unit heads – must be taken to ensure unbiased evaluation or supervision of the student, staff member, or other faculty member.

If complaints occur and are substantiated, employees will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination or non-renewal. All complaints will be adjudicated with due process for all parties in accordance with university policies, federal, state, and local laws.

Complainants are protected from retaliatory acts and are not to be discouraged from reporting in good faith any concerns regarding sexual harassment or favoritism.  However, malicious or frivolous claims of harassment or favoritism are prohibited, and, if substantiated, will result in disciplinary action against the complainant. Disciplinary actions may include termination, non-renewal, probation, suspension, expulsion, or other appropriate action.

Students serving as teaching assistants and resident assistants are also professionally responsible for students, and therefore fall under this policy.  Students found in violation of this policy will be subject to sanctions as outlined herein, and if appropriate, sanctions within the Student Conduct Policy.

Sexual Exploitation

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:

  1. Invasion of sexual privacy;
  2. Prostituting another student;
  3. Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
  4. Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
  5. Engaging in voyeurism;
  6. Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
  7. Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals.
  8. Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

Physical Sexual Misconduct

The expectations of our community regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows: In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence--without actions demonstrating permission--cannot be assumed to show consent.

Additionally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex.

When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “No” always means “No,” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman 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, 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.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object by a man or woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse includes 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.

Consent, Force, and Coercion

  • Consent: Consent is 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.
  • Force is 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 (“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 of 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.

In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.

Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be -- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be -- mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy. 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, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).

This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at the Office of Women's Health. Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of this policy.

The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.

Other Misconduct Offenses Will Fall Under Title IX When Sex/Gender Based

  1. Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.
  2. Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender.
  3. Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.
  4. Bullying is defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
  5. Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other.
  6. Stalking is defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.