1.14—Sex/Gender Discrimination, Harassment and/or Sexual Misconduct
Senate Proposal: No
Responsible University Officer: President
Responsible Office: Institutional Equity
Members of the Michigan Technological University community, including students, employees, and third parties have the right to be free from all forms of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct as provided in Board of Trustees policies 5.1, 5.2, 5.3 and State and Federal law.
Michigan Tech expressly prohibits sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual violence, termed as sexual misconduct by employees, students, and third parties, against students and/or employees, or third parties, such as a vendor or visitors to Michigan Tech.
Sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct includes pregnancy discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. Sexual violence is hereafter referred to as sexual misconduct and includes non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence including dating violence and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual coercion. Michigan Tech's standards and definitions of sexual misconduct often overlap with or include the crimes of rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence. Victims of these behaviors are protected by Federal and State Constitutions and laws, including but not limited to Title IX of the U.S. Equal Opportunity in Education Act, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Jeanne Clery Act. See the Definitions section for complete definitions of these sexual misconduct terms.
When an allegation of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct is brought forward, the University will take thorough, reliable, impartial, and fair steps to investigate in a prompt, effective, and equitable manner. If found to have occurred, the University will take steps to remedy the discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, whether or not the discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct is the subject of a criminal investigation. The University will take appropriate steps to protect the reporting party as necessary, including interim steps prior to the final outcome of the investigation.
In order for individuals to engage in appropriate sexual conduct/activity of any type, there must be consent. Consent is clear, knowing, and voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity.
In the event that sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct do occur, Michigan Tech takes the matter very seriously and reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation in order to protect students' and employees' rights and personal safety. Michigan Tech employs interim action such as interim suspensions and/or no contact orders in any case where a student's or employee’s behavior presents a risk of ongoing violence, predation or other prohibited activity. The university interim actions and measures may also include, but are not limited to, modification of academic, living or work arrangements.
In the investigation, determining whether the alleged conduct constitutes sex/gender based discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct, consideration shall be given to the record as a whole and to the totality of circumstances, including the nature and frequency of the conduct and the context in which the alleged incidents occurred to determine if it is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive and objectively and subjectively offensive so as to unreasonably interfere with an individual's employment, education or ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services or opportunities of the University. The investigation will be conducted by officials who receive annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of the reporting party and promotes accountability.
If sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct is established, Michigan Tech will discipline the responding party. Disciplinary action for violations of this policy can range from verbal or written warnings, probation, up to and including suspension, expulsion, termination from employment or dismissal from Michigan Tech. Third parties, guests and other persons who violate the policy are subject to corrective action, which may include removal from campus and termination of contractual agreements. The University reserves the right to impose necessary and appropriate interim actions and the full range of sanctions in response to misconduct which threatens the safety and security of the University community.
Attempts to commit prohibited conduct may be punished to the same extent as completed violations. Repeated or aggravated acts of prohibited conduct may result in enhanced sanctions. Repeated or intentional failure to comply with imposed sanctions may result in enhanced sanctions. Violations of this policy that are motivated by the offender's bias due to race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, genetic information, marital status, disabled veteran status, veteran status, disability or any other legally protected status may result in enhanced sanctions.
A person wishing to officially report such an incident may do so by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, and/or Public Safety and Police Services. If a student is accused of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct, they are subject to action in accordance with this policy, Board of Trustees Policy 5.3 and Student Conduct Polices of Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct policy and procedures. If an employee is accused of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct, they are subject to action in accordance with this policy and Board of Trustees Policy 5.3.
If the reporting party desires confidentiality, they should speak with individuals who are not required to disclose personally identifiable information. These include mental health counselors, Counseling Services for students or the Employee Assistance Program for employees, and/or providers of off-campus crisis resources such as Dial Help and/or Barbara Kettle Gundlach Shelter, all of whom can maintain confidentiality.
In an emergency, dial 911 for immediate assistance.
Each individual who reports having experienced sexual misconduct will be advised of their options to report the matter to law enforcement, to the Title IX Coordinator, to both, or to neither as the individual chooses. For Title IX compliance, all Michigan Tech employees who are designated as supervisors, with the exception of mental health counselors and the Ombuds Officer, are considered "responsible employees."
Public Safety and Police Services are notified by The Title IX coordinator when sexual misconduct occurs, typically without providing identifying information about the incident, unless the reporting party wishes that information to be shared, or an emergency requires disclosure. Certain campus officials called Campus Security Authorities have a duty to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes for the Clery Act. See the Definitions section of this policy for detailed information on the Campus Security Authorities / Clery Act.
Retaliation against anyone who files a claim/complaint/report, or is identified as the reporting party or the responding party, or a witness, or who participates in the investigation and/or resolution of a case, regardless of the outcome of the case, is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal.
Any individual who knowingly files a false complaint, provides false information to intentionally misleads, or withholds available requested information from University officials who are investigating a complaint may be subject to disciplinary and/or corrective action.
Under most circumstances, the investigation and final determination of a complaint will be completed within 60 days, from the date on which the University receives notice of an alleged incident. If not completed within that time the victim and respondent will both be notified promptly of the reason for the delay and of the expected completion date.
In an effort to reduce the risk of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking each year, it is the policy of Michigan Tech to utilize a range of campaigns, strategies, training, and initiatives to promote awareness, educational, risk reduction, and prevention programming. Bystander engagement is also used to encourage safe and positive intervention techniques and empower third-party intervention and prevention.
Federal and State Compliance
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that: 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.
Originally known as the Campus Security Act, the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act is the landmark federal law that requires colleges and universities across the United States to monitor, investigate and disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. The law is tied to an institution's participation in federal student financial aid programs and it applies to most institutions of higher education both public and private. The Clery Act is enforced by the United States Department of Education.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is federal legislation's comprehensive approach to sexual violence prevention with programs to provide services for victims combined with provisions to hold offenders accountable.
The University Board of Trustees, by Board Policies 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3, affirmed the rights and obligations of all students and employees pursuant to the above and other civil rights laws.
Related Policy Information
- Board of Trustees Policy 5.1, 5.2, and 5.3
- Annual Security and Fire Safety Report
- Student Conduct Policies : Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct Policy
|Office/Unit Name||Telephone Number|
|Title IX Coordinator||487-3310|
|Public Safety and Police Services||487-2216|
Advisor — Typically a faculty, staff, or student member of the University who is able to be present during all processes for support to either the reporting party or responding party. The advisor may not participate directly in the process, but may be present at all times to offer advice, guidance, and/or support to the student/employee. This may be an attorney.
Bystander Engagement — Used to encourage safe and positive intervention techniques and empower third-party intervention and prevention. Bystander empowerment training highlights the need for those who intervene to ensure their own safety in the intervention techniques they choose, and motivates them to intervene as stakeholders in the safety of the community when others might choose to be bystanders.
Campus Security Authorities (Clery Act) — University employees designated under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998 to report certain crimes including the sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible) of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes for the Clery Act. All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location for publication in the annual Campus Security and Fire Safety Report. Arrest records, however, are not confidential and are not protected by FERPA. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime to ensure greater community safety. The Reporting party of sexual misconduct should also be aware that to comply with the Clery Act university administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The university will make every effort to ensure that a reporting party's name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
Coercion (Sexual) — Unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes clear that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. This can also include the act of using alcohol or drugs to have sexual contact or intercourse with someone against their will.
Confidential resources — Individuals that are not required to tell anyone personally identifiable information unless there is a significant case for fear of the reporting party's safety or the safety of others. To contact confidential resources see the Title IX webpage.
Consent — Giving sexual permission. Clear, knowing, and voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity. Consent must be freely and actively given, with mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon activity. Mutually understandable consent is a subjective standard. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested a mutually understandable agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with each other. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent is active not passive. Silence, without actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to show consent. Consent which is obtained through the use of fraud or force whether that force be physical force, threats, intimidation, or coercion, is not consent. Consent may never be given by minors to legal adults, by mentally disabled persons, or by physically incapacitated persons. One who is physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption (voluntary and involuntary), or who is unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically helpless, is also incapable of giving consent. One may not engage in sexual activity with another who one knows or should reasonably have known is physically incapacitated. Incapacitation means being in a state where a person lacks the capacity to appreciate the fact that the situation is sexual or cannot appreciate (rationally and reasonably - who, what, when, where, why, or how) the nature and/or extent of that situation.
Course of conduct — Two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts in which the alleged responding party directly, indirectly, or through third parties, undertakes action, method, device, or means to commit sexual or relationship misconduct.
Emotional/Psychological Abuse — A persistent pattern or prolonged climate of dominating or controlling behavior, often involving some type of power imbalance. The behavior is intended to terrorize, intimidate, isolate, or exclude an intimate partner. This does not include isolating/excluding oneself from a former intimate partner.
Force — The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force will also include threats, intimidation, and coercion that overcomes free will, resistance, or produces consent. There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
Gender Discrimination — Discrimination and harassment on the basis of a person's sex or gender. Gender discrimination can occur when persons are excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, any University program or activity because of their sex or gender. The University's policy prohibiting gender discrimination also prohibits discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth and parenting.
Hostile Environment — Unwelcomed sexual, sex-based, and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and or physical conduct that is severe, persistent or pervasive, and objectively and subjectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the institution’s education or employment programs. While a person engaging in harassing behavior most often has some form of power or authority over the person being harassed, that is not always the case. The harasser can be a peer of the person being harassed. Sometimes the harasser is harassing a person who has power over them. For example, a supervisee can sexually harass a supervisor, or a student can sexually harass a faculty member. To determine whether a hostile environment exists, the University examines the context, nature, scope, frequency, duration, and location of incidents, as well as the identity, number, and relationships of persons involved, when judged both objectively and subjectively (meaning that a "reasonable person" would find the environment hostile). In some cases, a single incident may be considered so severe and objectively offensive so as to substantially or effectively interfere with an individual's employment or education. Such incidents may include injury to persons or property, or conduct threatening injury to persons or property. Threatening or negative employment action (such as termination, demotion, denial of an employee benefit or privilege, or change in working conditions) or negative educational action (such as giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected could be examples of hostile environment. Other examples may include the objectionable use or display in the classroom or workplace, including electronic, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti meeting the above definition of a hostile environment without pedagogical justification.
Impact Statement — An oral or written statement of what happened; what impacts have been created by what happened; who has been impacted and how; what action(s) should be considered to address the impacts.
Interim Action — An immediate action taken by the University prior to and/or during the investigation to ensure safety and well-being and/or address threats of disruption or interference with normal University operations.
Interim Measure — An action to assist the reporting and/or responding party prior to and/or during the investigation with changes to academic schedules; on-campus housing/work arrangements; visa/immigration documents; financial aid assistance, employment assignments/schedules; on-campus escorts; etc.
Intimate Partner Violence — Any instance of violence or abuse (verbal, physical, or psychological) that occurs between those who are in or have been in an intimate relationship with each other. This includes dating and domestic violence.
Intimate Relationship — A relationship that includes some romantic, sexual and/or domestic element.
Investigator — An individual who investigates complaints.
Menacing — Conduct intended to control someone, restore a relationship at any cost, or obtain some other desired end for which an individual is willing to or threatens to cause harm if they don’t get what they want.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact — Any intentional or reckless sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, by a person upon another person, without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact is any intentional or reckless contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, mouth, or genitals of another person, or intentional or reckless touching of another person with any of these body parts, making another person touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts, or any other intentional or reckless bodily contact in a sexual manner. This includes sexual assault.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse — Any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another
person that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes vaginal or anal
penetration by a penis, object, tongue, finger or other body part; and oral copulation
(mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration
or contact. This constitutes sexual assault.
Physical violence or abuse — Intentionally or recklessly causing another bodily harm; attempting to cause another bodily harm; or putting another in fear of imminent bodily harm.
Pregnancy Discrimination — Any discrimination against a person based on pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from any of these conditions.
Preponderance of Evidence — A party has shown that its version of facts, causes, damages, or fault is more likely than not the correct version. The concept of "preponderance of the evidence" can be visualized as a scale representing the burden of proof, with the totality of evidence presented by each side resting on the respective trays on either side of the scale. If the scale tips ever so slightly to one side or the other, the weightier side will prevail. If the scale does not tip toward the side of the party bearing the burden of proof, that party cannot prevail.
Private Reporting Resources — Resources from whom one can expect to have complaints/incidents to be taken seriously and to have those complaints/incidents investigated and properly resolved. This means only people who need to know will be told and information will be shared only as necessary. Those needing to know may be the person(s) you are complaining about, witnesses and investigating officials from the University or outside the University.
Programming — Offered by Michigan Tech to identify and prevent sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking each year. Educational programs are offered to raise awareness for all incoming students and employees and conducted as a part of new student and new employee orientation. All new students are required to complete an online sexual misconduct prevention course. New undergraduate first year and transfer students are provided an in-person prevention presentation, which includes the Title IX Coordinator and relevant contact information. All returning students are provided an annual online sexual misconduct prevention course. Programs and other campaigns offered throughout the year to all students and employees include strong messages regarding not just awareness, but also primary prevention (including the meaning of consent and bystander intervention), and discuss institutional policies on sexual misconduct as well as the Michigan definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and consent in reference to sexual activity. Programs also offer information on risk reduction that strives to empower victims, recognize warning signals and avoid potential attacks. All do so without victim-blaming approaches. Programs are informed by evidence-based research and/or are assessed for their effectiveness.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment (meaning "this for that") — Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s education or employment progress, development or performance. This includes when submission to such conduct would be, or under the circumstances would reasonably be understood to be, a condition for access to receiving the benefits of any educational or employment program. Examples include offering or implying an employment-related reward (such as a promotion, raise, or different work assignment) or an education-related reward (such as a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct.
Rape — A person forcibly subjects another person to sexual intercourse without consent. Also see Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse in the Definition section.
Reasonable person — A person who behaves in a way that is legally appropriate. Such person exercises average care, skill and judgment in conduct.
Reporting Party — The person who allegedly experienced sex/gender based discrimination, sexual harassment, and/or sexual misconduct regardless of whether they chose to report the conduct to the university or authorities. The person who reports the alleged violation may or may not be the reporting party. If not, they are considered the person to have brought forward the allegation, a witness, or a third-party reporter.
Responding party — The person(s) or student organization(s) alleged to have violated the policy.
Responsible Employees — Any employee who has the authority to take action to redress sexual and/or relationship misconduct; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents to the Title IX Coordinator; or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. A responsible employee is required to report allegations of sex/gender based discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator to maximize the institution's ability to investigate and potentially address and eliminate the misconduct. For Title IX compliance, all Michigan Tech employees who are designated as supervisors, with the exception of mental health counselors and the Ombuds Officer, are considered "responsible employees." This includes some select undergraduate student employees such as resident assistants (RAs) and orientation team leaders (OTLs). Also considered responsible employees are all Public Safety and Polices Services officers and employees, student affairs staff, human resources staff, athletics and recreation staff, academic advisors, faculty, instructors, graduate teaching assistants, graduate research assistants, graduate assistants, and individuals designated as Campus Security Authorities. The responsible employee should not try to determine if a violation actually did occur, or if a hostile environment is being created. The information that should be reported includes all the relevant information that the individual has shared and that may be useful in the investigation. This includes names of the alleged responding party, the student/employee who experienced the alleged violation, any other student/employee involved, and the date, time, and location of the alleged incident. Responsible employees should inform student/employee that they are not confidential resources before they reveal something that they may want to keep confidential.
Retaliatory Harassment — Any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person's participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct. Retaliation against anyone who files a report, the reporting party, the responding party, or participates in the investigation and/or resolution of a case, regardless of the outcome of the case, is expressly prohibited and could lead to discipline and possible dismissal. Retaliation exists when action is taken against a participant (whether a reporting party, witness, responding party, or investigator) which affects their employment, academic/student, or business status which is motivated in whole or in part by their participation in the process. Retaliation for filing a complaint or participating in the complaint process may be found regardless of whether or not the underlying complaint is found to have merit. Persons who feel that they have been subject to retaliation because of filing or participating in the complaint procedure may file a complaint based on the alleged retaliation.
Rights — See the procedures section for detailed rights and support guidelines.
Sexual Assault — An assault of a sexual nature on another person.
Sexual battery — An unwanted form of contact with an intimate part of the body that is made for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse.
Sexual Exploitation — is taking nonconsensual, unjust or abusive advantage of another in a sexual or intimate context for the responding party’s own advantage or benefit OR to benefit/advantage anyone other than the individual being exploited AND that does not constitute any other sexual and/or relationship misconduct offense addressed in the University’s policy , including without limitation: prostituting another person; engaging in, permitting or facilitating nonconsensual viewing, photographing, videotaping, audio taping, or posting to the internet sexual or intimate activity (such as dressing, showering and similar activity of oneself or others); knowingly infecting another person with HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases; and/or inducing incapacitation of another person with the intent to facilitate nonconsensual sexual intercourse or contact with that person.
Sexual Harassment — Unwelcomed sexual, sex-based, and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and or physical conduct. It includes two types of sex discrimination: Quid Pro Quo and Hostile Environment Harassment. Retaliation as defined above also lies within the definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual Violence — Refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person's will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, nonconsensual sexual contact, nonconsensual sexual intercourse, and/or sexual coercion. Sexual violence can be carried out by University employees, fellow students, students from other schools, or third parties. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment.
Substantial emotional distress — Anxiety, sorrow or pain that is not mild or brief, and is so substantial or long lasting that a reasonable person would not be expected to allow its continuance.
Stalking — Engaging in a menacing course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Verbal abuse — Extreme/excessive use of language designed to mock, shame, embarrass, or humiliate the other intimate partner. The language must be sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive and objectively and subjectively offensive.
Title IX Coordinator —Monitoring and oversight of overall implementation of Title IX and VAWA compliance
at the University.
Public Safety and Police Services — Monitoring and oversight of overall implementation of the Clery Act and VAWA compliance at the University.
In support of this policy, the following procedures are included:
Procedure 1.14.1: Sex/Gender Discrimination, Harassment and/or Sexual Misconduct
|12/16/2016||Approved by the University President|
|8/28/2018||Annual updates to the Sexual Harassment/Sex Discrimination policy. The previous wording of this policy can be found in the previous policy verbiage pdf.|
|4/25/2018||Institutional Equity department name change|
|11/03/2017||Annual updates to the Sexual Harassment/Sex Discrimination policy|
|04/10/2017||Transfer of policy page from HTML to CMS. General Policy numbers renamed from "2.1000" to "1.00 General University". Specifically from "2.1014—Sex/Gender Discrimination, Harassment and/or Sexual Misconduct" to "1.14—Sex/Gender Discrimination, Harassment and/or Sexual Misconduct".|