Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sexual discrimination in educational institutions that receive federal funding. Recent developments create new regulations for the University and its employees, with which we are obligated to comply. To meet the reporting obligations for allegations of sexual misconduct and/or harassment, the following internal reporting procedures have been developed.

Your Reporting Obligations Under Title IX

Any employee not already designated as a confidential employee is considered to be a “responsible employee” and is required to report any allegation of sexual misconduct or harassment that is reported to you, or that you learn about, to one of several administrators who are responsible for addressing allegations of these types of misconduct.

Within 24 hours of learning about an allegation of sexual misconduct or harassment, you must notify:

  1. The Vice President for Student Engagement and Success / Dean of Students / Title IX Coordinator, Dwayne Todd, in cases in which a university employee is accused, or

  2. The Coordinator of Student Conduct / Title IX Coordinator Designee, Michael Esler, in cases in which a student is accused.

The notification must provide the following:

  • the name of the alleged victim
  • the name of the alleged perpetrator
  • the name of the person providing the information (if different from the alleged victim)
  • the names of witnesses
  • basic facts of the incident, and
  • the date, time and location of the incident

Informing the Individual of Your Reporting Obligation

When an employee or student approaches you about an allegation of sexual misconduct or harassment, first make sure that the individual is safe and provide information about where he or she can get assistance. Before an employee or student reveals any information about the incident, you must inform him or her that you are obligated to notify a Title IX Coordinator or Designee about your meeting and share the information that you receive. Assure the individual that the University takes allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment seriously, will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate, and will resolve the matter promptly and fairly. Inform the individual that the Title IX Coordinator or Designee will contact him or her after receiving notification.

Requests for Confidentiality

If the individual seeks to maintain confidentiality and does not want his or her identity revealed to the Title IX Coordinator or Designee, stop the conversation and direct the individual to employees who can maintain confidentiality. On campus, these include:  

  1. Psychological counselors at University Counseling Services 740-368-3145 (or 3145 from a campus phone)
  2. Pastoral counselors at the Office of the University Chaplain 740-368-3082 (or 3082 from a campus phone)
  3. Student Health Services 740-368-3160 (or 3160 from a campus phone)

Employees and volunteers in these offices will provide basic information about the incident to Title IX Coordinators so that the University can maintain a record of reported sexual misconduct and harassment cases and identify any patterns that might exist. However, these offices will not provide information that will reveal the alleged victim’s identity.

If the individual would like to tell you what happened but also wants to maintain confidentiality:

  1. Remind the individual that you must report any information that is revealed about the incident to the  Title IX Coordinator or Designee.
  2. Tell the individual that you will include notice in your report that he or she requests confidentiality.
  3. Inform the individual that once the Title IX Coordinator or Designee is notified, the University will consider a request for confidentiality, but cannot guarantee that it will be honored.
  4. Inform the individual that if the University is able to assure confidentiality, its capacity to respond fully to an allegation may be limited by honoring the individual’s request to remain anonymous.

The University must balance the complainant’s privacy request with our obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. Maintaining confidentiality may limit our ability to pursue disciplinary action against the person who is identified as the perpetrator and whose rights must be protected as well. However, if the University is able to honor the request for anonymity and confidentiality, it sometimes can take steps to respond to complaints in ways other than confronting the accused. 

Assure the individual that OWU will respect his or her privacy and other interests, to the extent possible, and will work with him or her to resolve the matter in a prompt and fair manner. OWU will not require an alleged victim to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding against his or her will. 

Protective Measures 

Assure the individual that whatever he or she decides to do, University policy provides protective measures against retaliation; that academic, living and working accommodations are available; and that activity restrictions and interim suspensions can be used for limiting contact between the individual and the alleged perpetrator. Also, assure the individual that if he or she files a report, his or her privacy will be protected by limiting the number of people who will be informed of the incident to those who are directly involved in resolving it and that all records will be kept confidential with limited access to them.

Types of Sexual Misconduct

  1. Sexual Assault: No person shall perpetrate, without consent, any of the following: vaginal intercourse between a male and a female; anal intercourse, fellatio, or cunnilingus between persons regardless of sex; or the insertion, however slight, of any part of the body or any instrument, apparatus, or other object into the vaginal or anal cavity of another. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to constitute vaginal or anal intercourse. Sexual Assault is also known as rape.
  2. Sexual Contact: Touching intimate parts of another’s body including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttocks, pubic region, or breast, or clothing covering any of those areas, or causing a person to touch his or her own or another’s intimate parts, without consent.
  3. Stalking: No person will engage in a course of conduct directed at another person that would cause a reasonable person to a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or b) suffer substantial emotional distress.
  4. Sexual Exploitation: Includes, without limitation, publicly exposing one’s private parts, publicly engaging in masturbation, or publicly engaging in other sexual conduct. Also includes surreptitiously invading the privacy of another by spying or eavesdropping upon that person with the purpose or effect of assisting or enhancing one’s sexual gratification; causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over that person; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing and/or transmitting images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts of another’s body, including without limitation the thigh, genitals, buttocks, pubic region, or breast without consent; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts without consent; and/or knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk or sexually transmitted infection.
  5. Dating Violence: This can be a form of sexual misconduct committed by a person who is, or has been, in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  6. Domestic Violence: Domestic violence also can be a form of sexual misconduct. It includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse or intimate partner of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the relevant jurisdiction, or by any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  7. Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment is considered to be both a type of sexual misconduct and a type of harassment.

Types of Harassment: Non-Prejudicial Harassment and Prejudicial Harassment

Non-Prejudicial Harassment is defined as words, nonverbal symbols, or actions that are:

  • directed toward another individual
  • unwanted
  • severe or pervasive enough to substantially interfere with that person's learning, living, and working experience at OWU, and thereby create a hostile environment
  • outside the realm of appropriate academic study or practice.

A hostile environment can be created by a series of events or a single event. When considering whether a hostile environment exists, both objective and subjective standards will be considered.

 Prejudicial Harassment is defined as words, nonverbal symbols or actions that are:

  • directed at an individual because of person’s race, color, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, family configuration, religion, national origin, age, disability or military status
  • unwanted
  • severe or pervasive enough to substantially interfere with a person's learning, living, and working experience at OWU, and thereby create a hostile environment  
  • outside the realm of appropriate academic study or practice.

 A hostile environment can be created by a series of events or a single event. When considering whether a hostile environment exists, both objective and subjective standards will be considered.

Sexual Harassment is a specific form of Prejudicial Harassment that is defined in two broad categories:

  1. Quid Pro Quosexual harassment which can involve 1) promises or favors, such as when a tutor offers assistance that could lead to a student getting a higher grade or when a student leader promises membership in a club/organization in return for submission to sexual advances, or other unwelcome attention based on gender or sexuality; 2) threats, such as spreading rumors, threatening demotions within clubs/organizations, or other unwelcome attention based on an individual’s refusal to submit to a sexual or romantic relationship, granting sexual favors, or engaging in other sexual or unwelcome activities based on gender or sexuality. Quid pro quo sexual harassment can be overt or implied from the conduct, circumstances and relationship of the individuals involved.
  2. Hostile Environment sexual harassment exists when words, nonverbal symbols or actions are:
    • directed toward another individual because of that individual’s gender, gender identity and/or expression, or sexual orientation
    • unwanted
    • severe or pervasive enough to substantially interfere with a person's learning, living, and working experience at OWU, and thereby create a hostile environment
    • outside the realm of appropriate academic study or practice.

 A hostile environment can be created by a series of events or a single event. When considering whether a hostile environment exists, both objective and subjective standards will be considered.

Your Cooperation is Key 

When you are not sure if a particular form of conduct is covered by these policies, err on the side of reporting. Recognize that these reporting requirements can put you in an awkward position. An individual who undoubtedly trusts and respects you seeks your assistance following a traumatic event, but before the individual can say anything, you must inform him or her that you are obligated to report whatever he or she tells you.

Reporting requirements are designed to balance two sometimes competing goals:

  1. The first is to assure that colleges address allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment. To achieve this, Title IX requires colleges to designate officials responsible for addressing allegations of misconduct and to put in place a process for getting information to them in a systematic and timely way.
  2. The second goal is based on the understanding that sexual misconduct and harassment are traumatic events and that victims often need time and space to consider their options. Having someone to speak to in confidence is often critical to these considerations.

You are the front line in striking a balance between these two important goals.

For more information, see the Sexual Misconduct Policy in the Student Handbook and the OWU Harassment Policy. Links are provided below:

Employee Reporting Obligations Compiled by OWU Title IX Officer/Designees, 3 August 2014