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Title IXWhat Is Title IX?

What is Title IX?

Title IX is designed to insure that no person is discriminated against on the basis of sex/gender in an educational setting. While, in the past, the emphasis in its enactment has been on female access to athletics in education, Title IX is intended to be enforced much more broadly. Colleges and universities have a responsibility to address and prevent sexual harassment and violence in all its forms on their campuses.

The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in any of its education or employment programs and activities. The Policy prohibits specific forms of behavior, which the Policy collectively refers to as “Prohibited Conduct”:

In addition to being unlawful, acts of Prohibited Conduct undermine the character and purpose of the University. They will not be tolerated.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational programs or activity receiving federal financial assistance. — From the preamble to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX, as a landmark civil rights law, profoundly affects all aspects of education by requiring equal opportunity for females and males.

Title IX prohibits institutions that receive federal funding from practicing gender discrimination in educational programs or activities. Because almost all schools receive federal funds, Title IX applies to nearly everyone. The Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Education is charged with enforcing the civil rights and regulations in education.

The University prohibits a broad spectrum of behavior, including all forms of sexual and gender-based discrimination, harassment and violence, stalking and intimate partner violence. The following definitions are from the Mount Vernon Nazarene University’s Sex/Gender-Based Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy.


Informed, knowing and voluntary (freely given) via affirmative action through clear words or actions, that creates mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity. It cannot be obtained by use of force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion. It cannot be given by someone known to be – or who should be know to be – mentally or physically incapacitated.


One is incapacitated by some mental or cognitive impairment, injury, or when one is asleep or unconscious. Evidence of incapacity will come from context clues, such as:

  • slurred speech
  • bloodshot eyes
  • the smell of alcohol on the breath
  • shaky equilibrium
  • vomiting
  • outrageous or unusual behavior
  • unconsciousness (including blackout)


The following conduct is specifically prohibited under this policy:

A. Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sex-based or gender-based verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct advance, i.e., request for sexual favors, or other unwanted verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or more of the following conditions are present:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of employment or education, i.e., “quid pro quo”; or
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting the individual, i.e., “quid pro quo”; or
  • Such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or demeaning employment or educational environment.


A single incident of Sexual Harassment alone may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” will be based on the totality of the circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • Sufficiently severe, or
  • Persistent or pervasive, and
  • Objectively offensive that it:
    • unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational and/or employment, social and/or residential program.

Totality of Circumstances Factors:

  • The degree to which the conduct affected one or more student’s education;
  • The type, frequency, and duration of the conduct;
  • The identity of and relationship between the alleged harasser and the subject(s) of the harassment;
  • The number of individuals involved;
  • The age and sex of the alleged harasser and the subject(s) of the harassment;
  • The size of the school, location of the incidents, and the context in which they occurred;
  • Other incidents at the school; or
  • Incidents of gender-based, but non-sexual harassment

B. Sex/Gender Discrimination

Discrimination occurs when a behavior or policy has the purpose or effect of restricting or denying an individual’s or group’s access to opportunities, programs, or resources in relation to sex or gender, in a manner that interferes with an individual’s working, academic, residential, or social environment or athletic participation or performance.

Examples of discrimination include but are not limited to:

  • Treated differently in determining whether such person satisfies any requirement or condition for the provision of any aids, benefits, or services;
  • Provided different aid, benefits, or services;
  • Provided aid, benefits, or services in a different manner;
  • Denied any aids, benefits or services;
  • Subjected to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions or other treatment;
  • Discriminated against by providing significant assistance to any agency, organization or person which discriminates on the basis of sex in providing any aid, benefit, or service to students, faculty or staff;
  • Otherwise limited in the enjoyment of any rights, privileges, advantages or opportunities with regard to aids, benefits or services; or
  • Treated differently with regard to terms, conditions or benefits of employment, or in the recruitment, consideration or selection thereof.

*When these or other forms of discrimination are based on sex or gender, the conduct will be resolved under this policy.

*Discrimination on the basis of sex/gender in employment is permissible in situations where sex/gender is a bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the University. Note that the federal regulations regarding Title IX include certain exceptions, such as single-gender housing, athletic participation and chorus participation, that do not constitute Sex/Gender Discrimination. These limited permissible exceptions, found in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 106, will be considered when determining whether Prohibited Conduct occurred under this policy.

C. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is defined as having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual:

  • Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object by a person upon another person;
  • By force or threat of force;
  • Without consent; or
  • Where that individual is incapacitated.

Penetrative examples of sexual intercourse include but may not be limited to: vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact or mouth to anus contact.

Non-penetrative examples of sexual intercourse may include, but may not be limited to: exposed genitals rubbing against each other, rubbing one’s exposed genitalia against parts of another individual’s body, or rubbing another’s exposed genitalia.

D. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is defined as having sexual contact with another individual:

  • Any intentional touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person,
  • By force or threat of force;
  • Without consent; or
  • Where that individual is incapacitated.

Sexual contact includes any intentional touching of the intimate parts of another, causing another to touch one's intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner. Sexual contact may be over the clothes or skin-to-skin.

E. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation is knowingly, intentionally or purposefully taking advantage of the sexuality of another person without consent or in a manner that extends the bounds of consensual sexual activity without the knowledge of the other individual for any purpose, including sexual gratification, financial gain, or personal benefit. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include but not limited to:

  • Observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Non-consensual recording of individuals in locations in which they have a reasonable expectation of privacy, such as restrooms, locker rooms, or dorm rooms, regardless of whether the images captured reveal sexual activity or nudity;
  • Prostituting another individual;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
  • Removal of a condom, without consent, during sexual intercourse;
  • Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without that individual’s knowledge; and
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity, e.g., by using alcohol or other drugs (such as Rohypnol or GHB).

F. Stalking

Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, under circumstances that demonstrate either of the following:

  • Placing the person in reasonable fear of bodily injury to oneself or others, or of damage to their property; or
  • Reasonably causing substantial emotional distress to the person.

Cyber-stalking is a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used. Cyber-stalking is considered stalking under this policy if it meets either of the conditions above.

G. Physical Harm and Intimidation

Physical harm and/or intimidation include threatening, or causing physical harm, written or verbal abuse or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person; or implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another. Examples include but are not limited to: hitting, choking, or otherwise contacting another person in a physically aggressive manner. These acts may be directed at the individual and/or the individual's property and possessions. When these acts occur in the context of a romantic or sexual encounter, or intimate partner violence or when the behavior is perpetrated on the basis of sex or gender, the conduct will be resolved under this policy.

H. Harassment Bullying or Cyberbullying

Harassment, bullying or cyberbullying are defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate, threaten, or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally that includes, but is not limited to: creating web pages with a negative focus; posting insults or lewd photos on social networking sites; and/or spreading rumors with malicious intent. When these acts occur in the context of a romantic or sexual encounter or intimate partner violence, or when the behavior is perpetrated on the basis of sex or gender, the conduct will be resolved under this policy.

I. Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Violence (including dating violence and domestic violence) includes any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are involved or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship. Intimate Partner Violence may include any form of Prohibited Conduct under this policy.

The University will evaluate the existence of an intimate relationship based upon the reporting party's statements and taking in to consideration the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

J. Retaliation

Retaliation is any real or perceived act or attempt to take an adverse action against or seek retribution from any individual or group of individuals involved in the investigation and/or resolution of a report under this policy. Retaliation can take many forms, including, but not limited to: social aggression, damage to property, abuse, violence, threats, and intimidation.

Retaliation may also include attempting to interfere with an investigation. This may include attempting to influence a witness, trying to alter evidence, and/or presenting knowingly false information in an investigation.

Conduct not typically considered retaliation includes, but may not be limited to, making an allegation of misconduct, filing a complaint, serving as a witness, assisting a complainant or respondent, or otherwise participating in an investigation and/or resolution of alleged conduct as defined in this policy.

Any individual or group of individuals, including but not limited to, reporting party or responding party, can be held accountable for retaliation under this policy.

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