Reporting Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
It is important that all Kent State University students, employees, and visitors enjoy an environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. This is reflected in the fact that we are protected from unlawful discrimination by several state and federal laws, as well as University policies 5-16 and 5-16.2. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions. Gender based discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence and stalking, which will not be tolerated at Kent State.
All Kent State University employees are REQUIRED to report any instance of sexual harassment or misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator, and in the case of sexual assault, to the police.
- Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes, but is not limited to: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- Sexual Misconduct is sexual contact with a person without their consent. It includes, but is not limited to: touching or fondling; rape (defined as vaginal, anal, or oral penetration with a body part or object without consent); sexual exploitation (e.g. videotaping sexual acts without consent); or letting someone else watch sexual acts without your partner's consent.
- Inmate Partner Violence includes violence or intimidation committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.
- Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, fear for the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Retaliatory Harassment occurs when someone complains of, or participates in, an investigation of discrimination (including harassment or misconduct), and because of it they experience verbal or electronic harassment, threats, or other forms of negative treatment.
What do I do if a student, coworker, or campus visitor confides in me that they were sexually harassed or sexually assaulted (regardless of where or when it occurred)?
- Let them know that you cannot ensure confidentiality. As an employee, you are required to report any alleged incident of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct that is brought to your attention. The only university employees that may ensure confidentiality are licensed counselors and unlicensed trainees of any university psychological services programs.
- In the instance of sexual assault, encourage the student, employee, or visitor to seek medical treatment and contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to report the incident.
- Let them know where they can get help. Share with them the Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS). Give them the web address as well to get information. The SRVSS Office is also available for consultation with faculty and staff around how best to support a student who has disclosed experiencing sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking.
- Report any incident to the Title IX Coordinator, a Deputy Coordinator, and in the case of assault, to the police. For emergencies, call 911; otherwise, Kent State police can be reached at 330-672-2212. Contact information for the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators is below:
- Loretta Shields, Title IX Coordinator: 330-672-2038, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Julie Di Biasio, Deputy Coordinator: 330-672-3391 or email@example.com
- Pamela Fitzgerald, Deputy Coordinator: 330-672-2521 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Erin Barton, Deputy Coordinator: 330-672-2038 or email@example.com
- Janet Kittell, Deputy Coordinator (athletic gender equality): 330-672-8461 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Kent State’s Grievance Procedures
You have the right to file a complaint against the person who assaulted you. The SRVSS Office can help you understand this process and assist you in initiating a complaint through the Title IX Coordinator.
The University Administrative policy regarding complaints, investigations and hearings of power-based personal violence may be found at University Policy 5-16.2 - Gender Discrimination.
WHEN THE ASSAILANT IS A STUDENT
Most complaints involving a student go through the Office of Student Conduct following an investigation by a Title IX Deputy Coordinator.
The student conduct process is not a legal process and is separate from local, state, and federal court proceedings. Instead, the standard of responsibility is based on a preponderance of the evidence. The student conduct process is expected to:
- Determine consequences for behaviors that violate university rules, policies, and local, state, and federal laws
- Offer outcomes to assist students in learning about the impact of their actions on themselves and others within their respective communities
- Protect the integrity of students, faculty, staff, the institution, and the University community
The Code of Student Conduct is also a useful resource, as it contains information regarding prohibited student conduct, the student conduct adjudication process, and the rights of students (including the rights of victims of sexual misconduct). It may be found on the Office of Student Conduct website.
WHEN THE ASSAILANT IS A FACULTY OR STAFF MEMBER
Complaints involving a faculty or staff member will be investigated and a report of finding made by a Title IX Deputy Coordinator.