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Sexual Misconduct FAQs

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Sexual Misconduct

1. What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct covers a range of offenses, including a completed nonconsensual sex act (i.e., rape under the criminal code), an attempted nonconsensual sex act, and nonconsensual sexual contact (i.e., unwanted touching of erogenous zones). All such acts are forms of harassment and are covered under Title IX.

2. How do I know if I’ve been sexually assaulted?

Generally, sexual assault is any unwanted/unwelcome sexual contact against any individual by another. Sexual assault can occur either forcibly (against a person's will) or when a person cannot give consent because they are under age of consent, intoxicated, developmentally disabled, mentally/physically unable to consent, etc.

3. How do I know if I’ve been sexually harassed?

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Accepting the conduct is a term or condition of employment, student status or participation in university activities (directly or indirectly); or
  • The conduct is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it substantially interferes with an individual's education, employment, or participation in university activities; or
  • The conduct is intentionally directed towards a specific individual and unreasonably interferes with that individual's education, employment, or participation in university activities.

Examples of sexual harassment may include the following, when they are part of a pattern of conduct that meets either of the standards set forth above: displays of sexually suggestive materials or content, sexual jokes or innuendos, sexual touching, unwelcome flirting or advances, pressure for sex, repeated requests for dates, persistent email or social network communications, requiring sexual favors in exchange for a grade, a favor or some other benefit, sexual contact, sexual assault.

4. What is Ohio University’s policy regarding sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment is a form of unlawful discrimination and is prohibited by Ohio University Policy 03.004 –  Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking. For more information on the complaint procedures for students, please see the Student Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Process. If you would like information on the grievance procedure for employees, please see the ECRC Grievance Procedure.

5. What should I do if I think I’ve been sexually harassed or victimized?

Contact the Office for Institutional Equity at 740-593-9132, by email, equity@ohio.edu, or you may also fill out the Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form and deliver, email, or fax to the Office for Institutional Equity at 740-597-9059.

If you have been subjected to sexual violence, please contact the Ohio University Police Department immediately at 740-593-1911.  Also, get medical attention, if needed, from Campus Care or any of the local hospitals.

You may also contact the Survivor Advocacy Program at 740-597-SAFE (7233) if you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted or is experiencing dating/domestic violence or stalking.

6. Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?

Yes.  If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant.  Title IX prohibits this type of conduct regardless of gender.

7. If I think I’ve been victimized and I don’t feel safe, what can I do?

Find a safe place away from the assailant and call the police.

ECRC and the Office of Community Standards and Student Responsibility can also coordinate other assistance including no contact directives, relocation of the individuals involved, and reassignment of schedules if the victim and the accused have similar schedules.   However, always call the police for immediate assistance and for advice about your rights under the Ohio Criminal Code.

8. If an incident of sexual violence occurs off-campus, can the University investigate?

Yes, if the incident has sufficient ties to Ohio University (if it occurs at an Ohio University event, if it involves an Ohio University student, staff member, or faculty member, etc.) then ECRC can investigate and provide resolution.

9. If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking, will I get in trouble?

Ohio University’s priority is to prevent sexual misconduct. While the specifics of the situation will be considered, the University’s primary focus will be to address the sexual misconduct. Ohio University does not want the involvement of alcohol or drugs to prevent the reporting of such serious misconduct, therefore the Student Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Process provides amnesty for personal use of prohibited drugs and alcohol when there is also an allegation of sexual misconduct.

10. Someone has filed a complaint against me, what do I do?

Do not contact the alleged victim through any means – in person, by phone, by mail, by social media or electronic communication or through someone else. Familiarize yourself with the ECRC grievance procedure  for sexual misconduct so that you know what to expect.

11. To whom should I report that I’ve been sexually harassed/assaulted?

Sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence should be reported to the ECRC Office. However, sexual violence should first be reported to law enforcement.

12. I’ve already gone to the police, so why do I need to go to the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance (ECRC)?

Some sexual misconduct offenses are potential crimes but they also are violations of Title IX and Ohio University’s Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking policy (03.004). Sometimes, specific conduct may not constitute a crime, but it still constitutes a violation of Title IX and university policy. Ohio University is committed to addressing and preventing sexual misconduct, regardless of whether such activity constitutes a crime.

13. If I reported being sexually harassed or sexually assaulted to ECRC, do I still need to go to the police?

If you believe you have been sexually assaulted or a victim of any other crime, then you should contact the Ohio University Police Department. The ECRC investigation is an internal administrative process, and we cannot offer advice or final resolution on criminal matters.

14. Will my complaint remain confidential?

The privacy of the parties is a priority for ECRC. However, limited information must be disclosed in order to fully investigate a complaint. If you are concerned about confidentiality, discuss this issue with ECRC. Student complainants may make a request for confidentiality directly to ECRC staff, in accordance with the stipulations in the Student Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Process.

15. What if I want to remain anonymous?

Your privacy will be protected to the maximum extent possible, but total anonymity may hinder an investigation into your complaint. ECRC does not use students' names in the reports generated from investigations, and we strip out as many details as possible such that the parties involved cannot be identified by others.

16. Do I have to identify the alleged perpetrator?

Yes, in order to conduct a thorough investigation, the alleged perpetrator must be identified. While ECRC will offer support services to a victim of sexual assault who may be unable to identify the perpetrator, the office is severely limited in its ability to remedy the situation without involving the perpetrator in an investigation.

17. I’m concerned that reporting might make matters worse. Should I still file a complaint?

Ohio University has a strong retaliation policy ( 03.006 — Whistle-blowing and Retaliation ) that is aggressively enforced if a complainant or a witness is retaliated against for participating in an ECRC investigation.  When you are interviewed by ECRC, please inform us if you feel threatened in any way, so we can take measures to support you.

18. My friend told me he or she was assaulted. What can I do to help?

Be supportive – listen to what she or he has to say then encourage your friend to report the incident to the police or to the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance. Please do not attempt to conduct an inquiry or investigation of your own. Do not contact the other party involved to discuss the assault.

19. Who has the duty to report sexual misconduct?

If you are an Ohio University employee you have a duty to report violations of sexual misconduct. This includes faculty, administrators, coaches, staff, graduate assistants, student employees, and volunteers who have supervisory, evaluative, grading, or advisory responsibility over other members of the University community.

Any employee who receives a complaint of sexual misconduct, learns of what may be potential sexual misconduct, or observes conduct that may constitute a violation of the policy is required to report the alleged conduct immediately to the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance.

20. What is a Title IX Coordinator?

The Title IX Coordinator is the University official responsible for ensuring that Ohio University complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating all complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at Ohio University.

21. Who is the Title IX Coordinator?

Sara Trower J.D.
Executive Director
Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance
740-593-9140
email: trower@ohio.edu