Definitions and More
Students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors and guests.
An individual who is alleged to have experienced conduct that violates this Policy.
Words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion; by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another; or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.
Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.
Consent can be withdrawn at any time by a party by using clear words or actions.
Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. The existence of such relationship shall be determined based on the totality of the circumstances including, without limitation to: (1) the length of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of Domestic Violence.
Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim; by a person with whom the alleged 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, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim.
The physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. It can result from mental disability, sleep or any state of unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, status as a minor under the age of 16, or from intentional or unintentional taking of alcohol and/or other drugs. Whether someone is incapacitated is to be judged from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person.
NONCONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT:
Any physical contact with another person of a sexual nature without the person’s consent. It includes but is not limited to the touching of a person’s intimate parts (for example, genitalia, groin, breasts, or buttocks); touching a person with one’s own intimate parts; or forcing a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts. This provision also includes “Fondling” as defined by the Clery Act.
NONCONSENSUAL SEXUAL PENETRATION:
Any penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by a penis, object, tongue, finger, or other body part; or contact between the mouth of one person and the genitals or anus of another person. This provision also includes “Rape, Incest, and Statutory Rape” as defined by the Clery Act.
Institution employees who have been designated by the institution to talk with a Complainant or Respondent in confidence. Confidential Employees must only report that the incident occurred and provide date, time, location, and name of the Rrespondent (if known) without revealing any information that would personally identify the alleged victim. This minimal reporting must be submitted in compliance with Title IX and the Clery Act. Confidential Employees may be required to fully disclose details of an incident in order to ensure campus safety.
Individuals employed by the institution to whom a complainant or alleged victim may talk in confidence, as provided by law. Disclosure to these employees will not automatically trigger an investigation against the complainant’s or alleged victim’s wishes. Privileged Employees include those providing counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual-assault related services (e.g., sexual assault resource centers, campus health centers, pastoral counselors, and campus mental health centers) or as otherwise provided by applicable law. Exceptions to confidentiality exist where the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor (in Georgia, under the age of 18) or otherwise provided by law, such as imminent threat of serious harm.
An individual who is objectively reasonable under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the person being evaluated by the institution.
An individual who reports an allegation of conduct that may violate this Policy but who is not a party to the complaint.
Individual who is accused of having engaged in conduct that violates this Policy.
Those employees who must promptly and fully report complaints of or information regarding sexual misconduct to the Coordinator. Responsible Employees include any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Confidential Employee or Privileged Employee. Student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role are in a position of authority for purposes of this Policy (e.g., teaching assistants, residential assistants, student managers, orientation leaders).
Which behaviors are considered “discrimination based on sex” in violation of Title IX? “Discrimination based on sex” contains a broad category of activities that prevent or limit the victim from participating in or benefiting from an education program or activity. Examples of sex-based discrimination include, but are not limited to:
- Unequal admission, participation, or employment opportunities in education programs and activities based on a person’s sex
- Unequal opportunities to participate in intercollegiate athletics or to receive athletics-based financial assistance based on a person’s sex
Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.
Examples of sexual exploitation may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another individual;
- Non-consensual photos, video, or audio of sexual activity;
- Non-consensual distribution of photo, video, or audio of sexual activity, even if the sexual activity or capturing of the activity was consensual;
- Intentional observation of nonconsenting individuals who are partially undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts;
- Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another individual through sexual activity;
- Intentionally and inappropriately exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and/or
- Sexually-based bullying.
“Discrimination based on sex” also includes sexual harassment. This is unwelcome sexual conduct, intimidation, or coercion that is severe and pervasive, and that prevents or limits the victim from participating in or benefiting from an education program or activity.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT (STUDENT ON STUDENT):
Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct based on sex (including gender stereotypes), determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to participate in or to benefit from an institutional education program or activity in violation of Title IX.
SEXUAL HARASSMENT (OTHER THAN STUDENT ON STUDENT):
Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex (including gender stereotypes), that may be any of the following:
- Implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity;
- A basis for employment or educational decisions; or
- Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with one’s work or educational performance creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, or interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or to benefit from an institutional program or activity.
VSU also prohibits unwelcome conduct determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to a VSU education program or activity in violation of Title IX.
Valdosta State University uses the term sexual misconduct as a broad term encompassing sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual penetration, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, which are violations of Title IX. Valdosta State University administers the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
For the purposes of this definition:
- Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with person’s property.
- Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
TITLE IX COORDINATOR:
Under the regulations implementing Title IX at 34 C.F.R. § 106.8(a), educational institutions receiving federal funding must designate at least one employee as the Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance efforts and investigate complaints of sex discrimination. Institutions must also provide all students and employees with the name, office address, and telephone number of the Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX Coordinators are responsible for overseeing the university’s response to such reports, and identifying as well as addressing any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports. This would include ensuring that immediate and appropriate steps are taken to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. When investigations reveal that reported sexual misconduct creates a hostile environment, the Title IX coordinator is responsible for taking prompt and effective steps which are reasonably calculated to end the sexual misconduct or sex-based discrimination, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence and, as appropriate, remedy its effects.
While compliance with the law is everyone’s responsibility at Valdosta State University, you can find a list of Title IX Coordinators who have primary responsibility for Title IX compliance.
This helpful video produced by Blue Seat Studios provides a simple, yet informative way of learning about consent. For educational purposes only.
Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios Non-commercial use: Video must have copyright information displayed below video, with a live link to original. No alteration to the video may be made, other than translation.
The VSU Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Task Force is committed to raising awareness and offering preventive resources regarding sexual assault, sexual harassment, relationship violence, and stalking for our Campus and the local community. It is the goal of the VSU Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention (RSVP) Task Force to create a safe environment where individuals are educated, supported, and empowered to reduce the incidence of sexual violence on our Campus and throughout our Community.
Click here to learn more.