Sexual Harassment and Assault
In order for us to live out Regent's mission of being Christian leaders to change the world, we must provide a safe and secure academic and work environment for our students and employees alike. In supporting our Christ-centered community, we provide equal education and opportunities for all students, regardless of their gender. We have a federal – and Christian – obligation to prevent and efficiently and effectively address complaints of sexual harassment and assault. The Title IX Coordinator is the staff member responsible for handling and addressing these types of issues for students. Human Resources handles sexual harassment and assault issues for staff and faculty, and the Employee Handbook provides more information to address those situations. However, when a student and employee are involved in the same incident, the Title IX Coordinator and Human Resources will work together to ensure the rights and appropriate disciplinary procedures are followed for each member of the University community. This ensures that we treat our campus population equitably.
Furthermore, as part of Regent's Student Code of Conduct, students are to “fully accept the teachings of the traditional biblical view with regard to the goodness of our sexuality, the importance of chastity, and the place of heterosexual marriage as God's intended context for complete expression to occur (Gen. 2:21-24).”
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 is a law passed requiring gender equality for males and females in every educational institution that receives federal funding. Fundamental to this goal is the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, which can hinder a positive learning environment.
Title IX regulations fall under the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education, whose mission is to “ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”
Definitions of sexual offenses under Title IX**:
- Words or actions that demonstrate a knowing or voluntary willingness to engage in mutually-agreed-upon sexual activity constitutes consent. Consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring objections, or by taking advantage of another's incapacitation. Consent may not be inferred from silence or any other lack of active resistance. It may not be implied by attire or inferred from an individual by spending money on that individual (e.g., buying a meal on a date). Prior consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts. In addition, consent to one type of sexual act does not automatically imply consent to another type of sexual act.
- Once a person says "no," it does not matter if or what kind of sexual behavior has occurred at an earlier date in time. For example, if individuals have previously engaged in sexual behavior, and then during another interaction individual says "no" and the other forces penetration, it is sexual assault.
- Consent may not be given by the following persons:
- Individuals who are mentally incapacitated at the time of the sexual contact in a manner that prevents him or her from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved;
- Individuals who are unconscious or otherwise physically helpless; and
- Incapacitation is defined as the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments that voids an individual's ability to give consent. Incapacitation may be caused by a permanent or temporary physical or mental impairment. Incapacitation may also result from the consumption of alcohol or the use of drugs.
- The use of alcohol or drugs may, but does not automatically affect a person's ability to consent to sexual contact. The consumption of alcohol or drugs may create a mental incapacity if the nature and degree of the intoxication go beyond the stage of merely reduced inhibition and reach a point in which the victim does not understand the nature and consequences of the sexual act. In such case, the person cannot consent.
- A person violates the sexual misconduct policy if he or she has sexual contact with someone he or she knows or should know is mentally incapacitated or has reached the degree of intoxication that results in incapacitation. The test of whether an individual should know about another's incapacitation is whether a reasonable, sober person would know about the incapacitation.
- A person who is passed out or unconscious as a result of the consumption of alcohol or drugs is physically helpless and is not able to consent.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
- Any sexual contact that occurs without consent constitutes non-consensual sexual contact. Examples of sexual contact include, but are not limited to: the intentional touching of a person's genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks or the clothing covering any of those areas, or using force to cause the person to touch his/her own genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
- The act of sexual intercourse that occurs without consent constitutes non-consensual sexual intercourse. Sexual intercourse is defined by penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or inanimate object.
- Sexual Harassment
- Unwelcome sexual advances, including requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, when one or more of the following occur:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic success;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions;
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creates a hostile, intimidating, or offensive work or educational environment.
- Sexual Exploitation
- Taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent constitutes sexual exploitation. This includes but is not limited to causing the incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; causing the prostitution of another person; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; distributing intimate or sexual information about another person; and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, to another person.
- Repeatedly contacting another person when the contact is unwanted constitutes stalking. The conduct may cause the other person reasonable apprehension of imminent physical harm or substantial impairment of the other person's ability to perform the activities of daily life. Contact includes but is not limited to communication (in person, by phone, or by computer), following a person, and watching or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.
- Coercion is an unreasonable amount of pressure to engage in sexual activity. Coercion begins not when you make the sexual advance, but when you realize they do not want to be convinced and you continue to push.
- Physical Force
- Force equated with violence or the use of a weapon constitutes physical force. No matter how slight, any intentional physical impact upon another, use of physical restraint, or the presence of a weapon constitutes the use of force.
- Threats cause a person to do something that he or she would not have done without the threat (forcible compulsion), e.g., "If you do not have sex with me, I will:
- harm someone close to you."
- tell people you are gay."
- tell people you are a whore."
- Intimidation can be defined as an implied threat, i.e., "If you make-out with me, I will let you join my football team."
- Relationship Violence
- Physical assault(s), or credible threat(s) of bodily harm, involving adults who are in an intimate relationship.
- This is an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment; destroys or removes public or private property; involves the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or violates any of the policies of the University. Hazing that involves sexual offenses fall under Title IX purview.
**All definitions are reproduced with permission from the University of Richmond.
Go here for a compilation of Virginia law specific sexual offense definitions, age limits, and statute of limitations.
What is the Title IX Coordinator, and what are her responsibilities?
Each university is required to have a Title IX Coordinator — who is responsible for reporting, investigating, and educating the campus on matters related to sexual harassment and assault.
- REPORTING: takes all reports and complaints of sexual harassment and assault; identifies and addresses any systemic patterns; works with Clery Compliance Officer
- INVESTIGATING: promptly and thoroughly investigates each complaint and interviews all parties involved, maintaining confidentiality as requested by the victim and as appropriate in the context of campus safety
- EDUCATING: trains students, faculty, and staff on Title IX-related issues and how to report; answers questions on subject matter
Regent University's Title IX Coordinator is Amber Steele. Should you have any questions or concerns about any information on this website, please contact her here.