Unlawful gender-based discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, stalking, and intimate partner violence. Unlawful gender-based discrimination can interfere with a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from university academic and non-academic programs, an employee’s ability to function in the workplace, and a campus visitor’s ability to utilize the university’s programs and services. Unlawful gender-based discrimination may include but is not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, unwelcome physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual jokes, verbal comments and other conduct of a sexual nature that creates a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment. Sexual assault and sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment that involve having or attempting to have sexual contact with another person without consent.
What is unlawful gender-based discrimination?
What is consent?
Consent is the voluntary, unambiguous agreement to participate in an act, the nature of which is known to and understood by the consenter. Consent is a decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words. It is an informed decision made freely, willingly, and actively by all parties. Consent is informed, knowing, and voluntary, and is active, not passive. Silence or an absence of resistance cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another; likewise, consent to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time. If consent is withdrawn, all sexual activity must immediately cease.
Someone is NOT giving consent if they are:
- Saying "no" or "stop"
- Moving away or pushing the other(s) away
- Completely motionless or unengaged
- Incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or some other debilitating substance
- Asleep or unconscious
- Physically or psychologically pressured or forced
- Mentally or physically impaired
- Beaten, threatened or confined
- Under the age of consent
What can I do if I believe I have experienced sexual misconduct?
Anyone who has experienced unlawful gender-based discrimination is encouraged to seek help immediately, including medical assistance, counseling, law enforcement assistance and the university’s internal complaint filing process (if applicable).
- Kent State University provides 24-hour assistance to those who have been affected by any form of unlawful gender-based discrimination through the Kent State University Police Department ( Emergency Dial 911 from a campus phone or Non-emergency Dial 330-672-3070). University Police will provide a safe place, arrange medical assistance, and offer information regarding on and off-campus resources.
- The University Health Services Nurse Line (330-672-2326) or Townhall II Helpline (24/7 helpline – 330-678-4357) also offers 24-hour assistance and support for survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- Talk to a university employee about what happened so you can get the support you need, and so the university can respond appropriately. The Center for Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services can provide support for anyone who has experienced or knows someone who has experienced power-based personal violence. Other campus resources for support include the Women’s Center, the LGBTQ Student Center, the Student Ombuds and the Dean of Students Office. For employees, the Employee Assistance Program can provide support. Additional information on resources that are available on and off-campus can be found on the University’s Title IX web page.
- File a complaint with the University’s Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, if the accused is affiliated with the university as another student, faculty member or employee. If you speak with a "Responsible Employee" (most Kent State University Faculty and Staff) about what happened, they have a duty to report unlawful gender-based discrimination to the Title IX Coordinator. An individual who is employed at the university in University Medical Services or as a professional licensed counselor and who provides mental health counseling to members of the university community in that role, is not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without a Complainant's permission. All other university employees are required to report all details to the Title IX Coordinator.
How do I report an unlawful gender-based discrimination incident?
Anyone (including a third-party or bystander) may make a report of unlawful gender-based discrimination to the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, AA Facilitator or a Responsible Employee. Reports can be made in person, by telephone, in writing, or by email (TitleIX@kent.edu). Anonymous reports may be submitted via the Title IX reporting form. Anonymous reports will be reviewed and addressed in the appropriate manner (if applicable).
How do I file a complaint of unlawful gender-based discrimination?
Anyone who believes they have experienced any type of conduct that is prohibited by Kent State University’s gender-based discrimination policy can file a complaint. Complaints can be filed in person, by email (TitleIX@kent.edu) or by using the Gender Based Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Form. If the complaining party wishes to file a formal complaint, the complainant’s name and any written statements will be submitted to the accused party. However, if the complaining party requests that their personal identifiable information (i.e., name, cell number, email or address etc.) not be shared with the accused, the university will honor such a request in so far as is compliant with the law. Be advised that maintaining a complainant’s anonymity may limit the extent to which the university is able to investigate and respond to the complainant.
What happens after a complaint is filed?
A Complaint Notification Memo will be emailed to the Respondent (Accused) notifying them that a complaint has been filed regarding a possible violation of university policy 5-16.2. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will schedule a meeting independently with the parties involved to advise them of their rights, provide information about available campus support resources, explain the investigation process, and assess if interim measures are necessary. Generally, the university will attempt to complete the investigation of the complaint within sixty (60) business days of opening the complaint. In the event the investigation requires additional time, the involved parties will be notified by the investigator. Be advised that university jurisdiction concerning unlawful gender-based discrimination incident(s) generally applies to members of the university community (i.e., the accused is a Kent State University student or employee).
What are the general steps in the investigation process?
- Initial meeting with the Complainant. The Title IX Coordinator (or assigned Deputy Title IX Coordinator) will contact the Complainant to schedule an initial meeting. During this meeting, an overview of the investigation process, an explanation of the Complainant’s rights, information about filing with external agencies (i.e., law enforcement, state and federal agencies), information about campus support resources, and an assessment to determine the necessity of interim measures are provided to the Complainant. The Complainant may bring an advisor or support person to this meeting and any follow up meetings.
- Initial meeting with the Respondent. The assigned investigator will contact the Respondent to schedule the initial meeting. During this meeting, an overview of the investigation process, an explanation of the Respondent’s rights, information about campus support resources, and an assessment to determine the necessity of interim measures are provided. The Respondent is given the option to provide a written response regarding the complainant’s allegations. The Respondent is allowed ten (10) working days to prepare the written response. The Respondent may bring an advisor or support person to this meeting and any follow up meetings.
- Gathering Information. The investigator will interview all parties and witnesses, compile statements, verify statements, gather/obtain documentation and evidence, and draft the final report. The investigator will work with the parties to obtain originals or copies of documents, videos, pictures, etc. that will be maintained in the case file. Both the Complainant and Respondent will be given periodic status updates, as available, throughout the investigation.
- Outcome and Sanctions. If the Respondent is a student, the investigator will prepare an investigation summary report and then submit the report to the Office of Student Conduct requesting a review hearing. The Office of Student Conduct may convene and review the evidence to determine by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) whether the Respondent has violated university policy 5-16.2. Both parties will receive the Outcome Determination at the conclusion of the hearing. If the Respondent is an employee, the investigator will prepare an investigation summary report and determine by a preponderance of the evidence whether the employee violated university policy. If the investigator finds that the Respondent did violate university policy, the investigator will submit recommendations for disciplinary sanctions to the employee’s supervisor.
- Appeals. Either party has the right to appeal the outcome decision. If the Respondent is a student, they will follow the appeals procedure outlined by the Office of Student Conduct. If the Respondent is an employee, they have 15 days to file an appeal with the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an administrative review of the investigation.
Who may experience sexual misconduct?
Both females and males can experience sexual misconduct. In addition, sexual misconduct can occur between individuals of the same gender. If you believe you have experienced any type of conduct that is prohibited by Kent State University's unlawful gender-based discrimination policy, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant.
Can I file a complaint if the sexual misconduct offense occurred off-campus?
Yes. In situations in which both the Complainant and Respondent are members of Kent State University community (faculty, staff or students), Kent State University’s unlawful gender-based discrimination policy will apply regardless of the location of the incident. Unlawful gender-based offenses may be reported whether the alleged offense happened on Kent State University’s property or at university-sanctioned events and programs that take place off campus, including athletic events, study abroad, internship programs, and trips to conferences.
If I am underage and have been drinking, should I still file a complaint, or help someone who may have experienced sexual misconduct?
Yes. A student who has experienced unlawful gender-based discrimination is encouraged to come forward under any circumstances so he or she can get support, and to allow the university to take steps to investigate and address the situation. Also, all Kent State University students are expected to report violations described in the university’s gender-based discrimination policy. If a student who reports or serves as a witness for such an incident is also in violation of another policy (such as a drug or alcohol offense) in conjunction with the incident, amnesty will be considered by the Office of Student Conduct.