Southeast Missouri State University has a comprehensive policy and plan to deal with sexual violence.
To view the full text of the policy, follow this link: Procedures for Defining and Adjudicating Sexual Violence Cases Involving Students
All members of the University community, including students, faculty, and staff, are expected to abide by institutional policy in regards to sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence. To view the full text of this policy, follow this link: Title IX Compliance
Consent cannot be obtained through the use of physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion. Sexual activity accompanied by any of these behaviors is not consensual.
Coercion refers to unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that they do not want to engage in sexual activity or do not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be considered coercive. The use of coercion can involve the use of pressure, manipulation, substances, and/or force. Ignoring objections of another person is a form of coercion.
Force refers to the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to engage in sexual contact or intercourse. Force can also include threats, intimidation (implied threats), or coercion used to overcome resistance (Rutgers, 2017).
At Southeast Missouri State University, any non-consensual sexual activity is prohibited. The University’s Procedures for Defining and Adjudicating Sexual Violence Cases Involving Students provides a clear explanation of consent.
Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words.
Students should understand that consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. The perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether an accused student knew, or reasonably should have known, whether consent was given. However, being intoxicated or incapacitated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent and will not be an excuse for sexual misconduct.
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions or judgments because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation can occur mentally, from a cognitive impairment or development disability, or physically, from the use of alcohol or other drug use (voluntary or involuntary), or blackout (a period where memory formation is blocked or a period of consistent memory loss).
Sexual activity with someone you know to be or should know to be incapacitated constitutes a violation of the Code of Conduct. The Code of Conduct also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the use of date rape drugs (voluntary or involuntary) (ATIXA, 2017).
Reprisal or retaliation against an individual for making a complaint of sexual harassment, for participating in a sexual harassment investigation, or using or participating in the informal or formal complaint process, is prohibited by University policy and by law. Any member of the University community has the right to raise good faith concerns about sexual harassment without fear of retaliation. Retaliation is also prohibited against anyone who in good faith opposes, in a reasonable manner, an act believed to constitute a violation of this policy. Retaliation shall be considered a serious violation of this policy independent of whether a complaint of sexual harassment, formal or informal, is substantiated. Encouraging others to retaliate also violates this policy.
Retaliation can take many forms, including sustained abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation, and can be in person, through electronic media, and/or through third parties. An individual or a group of individuals can be responsible for retaliation. Retaliation is considered a separate offense from any associated complaint, and will be investigated independent of the associated complaint.
Procedures for Defining and Adjudicating Sexual Harassment
The policies and procedures handbook is intended to act as a guide for students, faculty and staff, and advisors to prevent and adjudicate sexual harassment.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex against any person in education programs and activities receiving federal funding. In part, the regulation reads:
“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
Students have the right to pursue education, including athletic programs, scholarships, and other activities, free from sex discrimination, including sexual violence and harassment. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.) requires schools that receive federal financial assistance to take necessary steps to prevent sexual assault on their campuses, and to respond promptly and effectively when an assault is reported.
Southeast Missouri State University is committed to complying with Title IX in all aspects of University function.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA) (42 U.S.C. §13925 et seq.) established federal legal definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Additionally, VAWA included amendments to the Clery Act that afforded additional rights to campus victims of those crimes.
Southeast Missouri State University is committed to complying with the Violence Against Women Act in all aspects of University function.
In order to understand the complexity of incidents of sexual violence, it is important to work with clear terminology. In investigating and supporting all parties involved in an incident, Southeast Missouri State uses the following terminology.
- Reporting Party refers to the person who was the victim of any type of sexual assault or misconduct, regardless of whether that person actually files a written or verbal report.
- Responding Party refers to the person accused of committing any type of sexual assault or misconduct.
- Third Party Reporter refers to any person, other than the reporting party or responding party, who reports, verbally or in writing, a report of sexual assault or misconduct.
- Sexual Assault refers to any sexual intercourse; anal, oral, or vaginal; however slight; with any object; without effective consent.
- Sexual Misconduct refers to any sexual touching; however slight; with any object; without effective consent.