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Sexual Misconduct FAQs

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities.

All students and employees at educational institutions receiving federal funds are protected from sex discrimination, including sexual violence.  Any student or employee can experience sex discrimination, including sexual violence – undergraduate students, graduate students, professional school students; males, females, straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students and employees; students and employees with or without disabilities; students and employees of different races, religions, ethnicities, and national origins.

Who is our Title IX Coordinator and what are their responsibilities?

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.

Kerri Griffin
Director and Title IX Coordinator
University Equity and Civil Rights Compliance
email: griffink@ohio.edu

What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct covers a range of offenses, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual touching without consent, sexual exploitation and domestic and dating violence, and stalking. All such acts are forms of harassment and are covered under Title IX.

What is sexual harassment?

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.

Sexual harassment is governed 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.

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

Contact Equity and Civil Rights Compliance at 740-593-9140, by email, equity@ohio.edu, or you may also fill out the Discrimination/Harassment Complaint Form and deliver, email, or fax to the Equity and Civil Rights Compliance 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.

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

Yes; it is possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender.  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.

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

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

The Ohio University Survivor Advocacy Program provides confident medical, academic, policy and legal support and advocacy for all students.

Equity and Civil Rights Compliance 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.

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

Yes; if the incident involves an Ohio University student, faculty or staff member, Equity and Civil Rights Compliance may investigate. Additionally, even if the incident occurred many years ago, Equity and Civil Rights Compliance may still investigate. Off-campus may be defined as an Ohio University event, the greater Athens community, study abroad programs, internships, etc.

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

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. Because Ohio University’s priority is to prevent sexual misconduct, the specifics of the situation will be considered. The University’s primary focus will be to address the sexual misconduct.

Someone has filed a complaint against me. What do I do?

First, we advise that you refrain from contacting the complainant. Familiarize yourself with the ECRC grievance procedure. Students also have the option to request a process advisor through the office community standards and student responsibility; faculty and staff members should contact their respective senate representatives with questions about support.  

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

Survivors have the right to report to whomever they choose. This includes, Equity and Civil Rights Compliance, Community Standards and Student Responsibility, Ohio University Police Department or the Athens Police Department. If you are a student and are unsure of where to report, contact Survivor Advocacy Program. If you are a member of faculty or staff and are unsure, contact Survivor Advocacy Outreach Program.

Why should I consider reporting to both the Office of Equity and Civil Rights Compliance and the police department?

Ohio University is committed to addressing and preventing sexual misconduct, regardless of whether such activity constitutes a crime. Some sexual misconduct offenses are potential crimes but they also are violations of Title IX and Ohio University’s Student Code of Conduct, as well as the Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking policy (03.004). Reporting to these different areas may result in different outcomes, as in some cases specific conduct may not constitute a crime, but it still constitutes a violation of Title IX and University policy.

Will my report remain confidential?

The privacy of the parties is a priority for Equity and Civil Rights Compliance. However, some information, such as the names of those involved, must be disclosed to investigators in order to fully investigate a complaint. If you are concerned about confidentiality, discuss this issue with Equity and Civil Rights Compliance. Student complainants may make a request for confidentiality directly to Equity and Civil Rights Compliance staff, in accordance with the stipulations in the Student Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Process.

Equity and Civil Rights Compliance 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.

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

Yes; there are many protections in place for a complainant, including the University’s retaliation policy ( 03.006 — Whistle-blowing and Retaliation ).  When you are interviewed by Equity and Civil Rights Compliance, please inform us if you feel threatened in any way, so we can take measures to support you.

What should I do if my friend confides in me that he or she was assaulted?

Start by believing them openly & vocally. There are resources available on the national Start by Believing website that might be helpful to you. You can respond with a statement, such as, “I’m so sorry this has happened. What can I do to support you? I believe you.” You should also learn the resources that are available so that you can connect your friends as needed.

Who is responsible for reporting 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.