Title IX FAQ
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault is the commission of an unwanted or coerced sexual act, further defined as:
- Non-consensual sexual contact: the deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks), or clothing covering any of those area(s) without consent, or using force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse: penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger or an inanimate object that occurs without consent, however slight the penetration, whether by an acquaintance or by a stranger, that occurs without indication of consent of both individuals or that occurs under threat or coercion.
Sexual assault can occur either forcibly and/or against a person's will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent.
Under federal and state law, sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, rape, forcible sodomy, forcible oral copulation, sexual assault with an object, sexual battery, forcible fondling (unwanted touching or kissing for purposes of sexual gratification) and threat of sexual assault.
» See Fla. Stat. 784.011 (assault), 784.046(c) (sexual violence), 794.011 (sexual battery)
What is consent?
Consent means words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
- Consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity can never imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent is not the lack of resistance; there is no duty to fight off a sexual aggressor.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated by the person withdrawing consent through words or actions.
A person shall not knowingly take advantage of another person who has an intellectual or physical disability, who is incapacitated by the use of prescribed medication, alcohol or other chemical drugs or who is not conscious or awake, and thus is not able to give consent as defined above.
Further, a person shall not physically or verbally coerce another person to engage in any form of sexual conduct to the end that consent, as defined above, is not given. In addition, certain states have designated a minimum age under which a person cannot give consent.
In the state of Florida, the age of consent is 18.
How do I help a friend who doesn't want to report an incident?
Students with concerns about a friend are encouraged to consult with a confidential resource about how to support their friend. Individuals that experience sexual harassment, sexual violence or intimate partner violence may want to maintain control of the information that is shared with the university and others. There are many ways to assist a friend, and there is more information about available resources at Stetson University and in the local community.
Is there a time limit for making a report?
There is no time limit for invoking this policy in responding to complaints of alleged sexual harassment, sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Nevertheless, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to report allegations immediately to maximize Stetson University's ability to obtain evidence and conduct a thorough, impartial and reliable investigation. Failure to promptly report potential policy violations may result in the loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony, and may impair the university's ability to enforce this policy.
Why should I report an incident to Stetson University?
- Stetson University is committed to providing all students and employees with a safe and secure learning and working environment that is free of sex- or gender-based discrimination.
- University staff members can implement supportive measures and remedies to assist and support the Complainant in continuing their academic/employment pursuit.
- Remedies may include, but are not limited to: providing Public Safety escorts on campus, when available; assistance with academics, modifications in living arrangements, academic and/or employment schedules; No-Contact orders; and counseling and support referrals.
- University staff can also assist a Complainant Party with contacting local law enforcement and/or pursuing a petition for a Court-issued Injunction for Protection, if so desired.
- University staff can assist the Complainant with the university's formal resolution process, which determines whether a violation of University policy occurred, and if so, the appropriate sanctions for the Respondent, and appropriate remedies for the Complainant.
- Reports assist the University in understanding the frequency and magnitude of these occurrences within our community and develop strategies for preventing and ending sexual harassment, sexual violence and intimate partner violence.
Someone has accused me of violating the Gender-Based Misconduct, Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence Policy. What can I do?
If you have been alleged of a policy violation, the first step is to read the policy and understand the allegation. A Respondent (an individual alleged of a university policy violation) is afforded rights throughout the investigation and resolution process as well as a University-provided Advisor to assist Respondent navigating the process. A Respondent should attend scheduled meetings with the Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Coordinator, to review the investigation and resolution process and to ask any questions.
What should I do if I witness sexual harassment?
You can report your observations to the university and/or directly address the inappropriate behavior. As a friend, classmate, family member or even a stranger, you are in a unique position to do something about abuses you see and to be an empowered bystander. Everyone can help someone. You can take a stand utilizing bystander intervention strategies such as distraction, group intervention, authority and/or preparation. Learn more about Intervene! Bystander Intervention training offered as a Wellness educational workshop on campus.
- Distraction – Call your friend's cell asking them a question or suggesting it's time to go.
- Group Intervention – Ask your friends to help out with distraction or separation. They can pull the potential victim aside to check-in.
- Authority – Ask a bartender, faculty member, staff member or any other authority figure to help support the intervention.
- Prepare yourself –Be aware of the pressures we face not to take a stand and choose what kind of person you want to be.
I don't want to tell the University about what happened, but I need help. Who can I talk to about an incident?
If you are in immediate crisis, call 911.
Do I have to report my experience and pursue disciplinary action?
No. A Complainant maintains personal discretion regarding who they speak with and what information they choose to share; however, the university's response may be limited by the amount of the information shared by a Complainant. When the university receives a report, university staff evaluate the information to assess and ensure the safety of the involved individuals, the safety of the campus community and to determine an appropriate response.
Even if a Complainant does not wish to participate in any form of resolution, the university shall still offer supportive measures, which may include, but are not limited to:
- Providing Public Safety escorts on campus, when available;
- Assistance with academics, modifications in living arrangements, academic and/or employment schedules;
- Mutual "No Contact" orders; and
- Counseling and support referrals.
Supportive measures shall be designed to minimize the burden on the Complainant.
As a Stetson University faculty/staff member, am I required to report Title IX incidents to the Title IX Office?
Yes, all university employees are designated as Responsible Employees under this policy and are required to report potential violations of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator. All faculty and staff not legally bound by client-counselor privilege, who receive information about a potential violation of this policy have the obligation to immediately forward the information to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will determine the most appropriate response to the situation for the protection and support of the Complainant and the university community. Information shared with employees designated in this policy as Confidential Resources (Student Counseling Services, Health Services or Chaplains) is not required to be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. Report form for Gender-Based Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Intimate Partner Violence!
Who can I talk to if I want to learn more about Title IX?
Please contact any Title IX Leadership Team member for more information about this policy and available resources.
Can someone help me through the investigation process?
Yes. University-provided Advisors are made available to both parties (Complainant and Respondent) to assist with navigating the investigation and resolution process and supporting the party throughout the process. Parties are allowed to have one person accompany them during all meetings with university officials during the investigation and resolution process; the party may choose whether to have either the University-provided Advisor or a personally selected Advisor (i.e., parent, friend, attorney, etc.) accompany them during a meeting. Advisors are required to be present for a scheduled hearing. An Advisor will not be allowed to represent either party nor speak on their behalf.
How do I request university support?
You have options for requesting support from the university. You may contact a Confidential Resource (Student Counseling Services, Health Services or Chaplain) to discuss your situation and/or supportive options confidentially. Or, you may contact the Title IX Office for assistance with identifying available supportive measures for your situation.