Allegation: A statement by a Complainant that he/she believes an act of sexual misconduct has occurred.

Bullying: Typically is portrayed as aggressive behavior or intentional harm that is carried out repeatedly over time and occurs within an interpersonal relationship characterized by an imbalance of power. It often includes comments about race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability and frequently involves an imbalance of power, aggression and a negative repeated behavior.

Coercion (La. Board of Regents definition):  The use of express or implied threats, intimidation, or physical force, which places an individual in fear of immediate harm or physical injure or causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. Coercion includes administrating a drug, intoxicant or similar substance with the intent to impair that person's ability to consent prior to engaging in sexual activity.

Complaint: A formal grievance, either orally or in writing, of the belief that sexual misconduct has occurred.

Complainant: A person who believes he/she experienced sexual misconduct.

Confidential Advisor: Designated individuals who have been trained to aid a student involved in a sexual misconduct complaint resolution process, serving as a confidential resource. As suggested by the term "confidential advisor," confidential communications with the advisor will be kept confidential in all circumstances except where the institution or advisor may be required to disclose the communications under state and federal laws. The University describes the duties of the Confidential Advisor to include:

  • To inform both the complainant and respondent of the following:The rights of the complainant and respondent under SUNO policies.
    • The complainant's reporting, options, including the option to notify the Title IX Coordinator, the option to notify local law enforcement, and any other reporting options.
    • If reasonably known, the potential consequences of the reporting options.
    • The process of investigation, adjudication and disciplinary proceedings of SUNO.
    • The limited jurisdiction, scope and available sanctions of SUNO student disciplinary procedures, and that process should be considered a substitute for the criminal justice process.
    • Potential reasonable accommodations that SUNO may provide to complainant.
    • The name and location of the nearest medical facility where a complainant may have a rape kit administered by an individual trained in sexual assault forensic medial examination and evidence collection, and information on transportation options for a visit to such a facility.
  • To advise both the complainant and respondent of, and provide written information regarding, both the complainant and respondent's rights and SUNO's responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no-contact orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by SUNO.

Confidential Resources: A resource that exists, on-campus and off-campus, to provide a safe space for individuals to discuss their options related to the sexual misconduct reporting and investigation protocol, learn about the resources available to them, and to discuss concerns before making any decisions on how to proceed. Individuals who consult with confidential resources are advised that their discussions are not considered reports of sexual misconduct and that without additional action by the individual, the discussions will not result in any action by the University to resolve their concerns. Unless there is imminent risk of serious harm, confidential resources cannot share any information without the consent of the individual sharing the information.

  • Consent: Consent must be clear, unambiguous and a voluntary agreement between participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive, and is given by a clear and sober "YES." Consent also shall be defined as follows:
    Louisiana Board of Regents definition: Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage in a specific sexual activity. Silence along, without actions evidencing permission, does not demonstrate Consent. Consent must be knowing and voluntary. To give Consent, a person must be of legal age. Assent does not constitute Consent if obtained through coercion or from an individual whom the alleged offender knows or reasonably should know is incapacitated. The responsibility of obtaining Consent rests with the person initiating sexual activity. Use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one's responsibility to obtain Consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity may be withdrawn by any person at any time. Once withdrawal of Consent has been expressed, the sexual activity must cease. Consent is automatically withdrawn by a person who is no longer capable of giving Consent. A current or previous consensual dating or sexual relationship between the persons involved does not itself imply Consent or preclude a finding or responsibility.

Cyber-Bullying: Cyber-bullying occurs when an individual is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another person using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.  Those who are electronically engaged can be cyber-bullied at any time or location, making the effect of cyber-bullying ubiquitous and acute. Harassment, hazing and stalking often are used to encompass cyber-stalking or cyber-bullying activities. The severity of the act and state law dictate what is criminal. Examples include flaming, harassment, hazing or stalking. The difference should be assessed through the: 1) kind of threat (e.g. name-calling, threat of harm, bomb, etc.) 2) frequency of threat (how often it occurs) 3) source and nature of threats. Generally speaking, bullying is an on-going behavior. Hazing is often done once or twice during orientations or initiations, but may be more acute.

Dating Violence (Clery Act definition): Violence, including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship or a romantic or intimate nature with the Alleged Victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length and type of relationship and the frequency of interaction.

Dating Violence (La. State Law defination): "Dating violence" includes but is not limited to physical or sexual abuse and any offense against the person as defined in the Criminal Code of Louisiana, except negligent injury and defamation, committed by one dating partner against the other. La. RS § 46.2151(C) For purposes of this Section, "dating partner" means any person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

  • The length of the relationship
  • The type of relationship
  • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship

Domestic Abuse (La. State Law definition): Includes but is not limited to physical or sexual abuse and any offense against the person as defined in the Criminal Code of Louisiana, except in negligent injury and defamation, committed by one family or household member against another. La. RS 46:2132(3)

Domestic Violence (Clery Act definition): Violence, including but not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner or any other person from whom the Alleged Victim is protected under federal or Louisiana law. Felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
  • By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common
  • By a person who is cohabiting with, or has cohabited with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred
  • By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Family Violence (La. State Law definition): Means any assault, battery or other physical abuse, which occurs between family or household members who reside together or who formerly resided together. La. RS § 46.2121.1(2)

Force: The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcomes resistance or produces consent. There is no requirement that a person has to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of forces 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-Based Harassment: Acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation, stalking or hostility based on gender or gender-stereotyping constitute gender-based harassment. Gender-based harassment can occur if students are harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic for their sex, or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. In order to constitute harassment, the conduct must be such that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, demeaning or offensive academic or living environment.

Gender Discrimination: Unequal or disadvantageous treatment of an individual or group of individuals based on gender. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal gender discrimination.

Incapacitation (La. Board of Regents definition): An individual is considered to be incapacitated if, by reason of mental or physical condition, the individual is manifestly unable to make knowing and deliberate choice to engage in sexual activity. Being drunk or intoxicated can lead to Incapacitation; however, someone who is drunk or intoxicated is not necessarily incapacitated, as Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Individuals who are asleep, unresponsive or unconscious are incapacitated. Other indicators that an individual may be Incapacitated include, but are not limited to, inability to communicate coherently, inability to dress/undress without assistance, inability to walk without assistance, slurred speech, loss of coordination, vomiting or inability to perform other physical or cognitive tasks without assistance.

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV): Physical, sexual or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, whether co-habitating or not, and does not require sexual intimacy. IPV can vary in frequency and severity, can occur on a continuum, and can include acts of physical violence, sexual violence or psychological or emotional violence. Psychological or emotional violence is a broad term that results in trauma to a victim caused by acts. threats of acts, or coercive tactics, and can include acts of humiliation, intimidation, isolation, stalking and harassment.

Intimidate: To make timid, fill with fear, to overcome or cow, as through force of personality or a superior display of strength that can control an individual's actions.

Investigator: The Title IX Coordinator. or his/her designee, is officially responsible for administrative investigations of all reports and/or allegations pertaining to a violation of this Gender-Based Sexual Misconduct Policy filed by students and employees.

Rape: Is forced sexual intercourse that is perpetrated against the will of the complainant or when he/she is unable to or incapable of giving consent (i.e. unconscious, asleep or under the influence of alcohol or drugs) and may involve physical violence, coercion, or the threat of harm to the Complainant. Rape is complete at the point of penetration no matter how slight that penetration.

Report: An informal notification that an incident of sexual misconduct may have occurred.

Reporter: A person who has information or who has reported that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a university student, employee or participant in a university program.

Reproductive Coercion: Explicit male behaviors to promote pregnancy (unwanted by a woman). Reproductive coercion can include "birth control sabotage" (e.g. interference with contraception) and/or "pregnancy coercion," such as telling a woman not to sue contraception and threatening to leave her if she doesn't get pregnant.

Retaliation (La. Board of Regents definition): Acts or attempted acts for the purpose of interfering with any report, investigation or proceeding under this policy, or as retribution or revenge against anyone who has reported sexual misconduct or relationship violence or who has participated (or is expected to participate) in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. Prohibited retaliatory acts include, but are not limited to, intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination. Title IX prohibits Retaliation. For purposes of this policy, an attempt requires a substantial step towards committing a violation.

Respondent: The person whose actions are alleged to have violated this policy.

Responsible Employee: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights defines a responsible employee has an individual, (a) who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment/misconduct or any other misconduct by students to the Title IX coordinator or other appropriate designee or (c) who a student reasonably believes has this authority or duty.

Sexual Assault: Is engaging or attempting to engage an individual in one or more of the following sexual actions with or directed against another person:

  • Sexual penetration without the consent of the other person
  • Sexually explicit touching through the use of coercion or where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity
  • Sexual penetration through the use of coercion or where the person is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

Other definitions of sexual assault include:

  • Clery Act definition: an offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape as used in the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program.
  • Louisiana State Law definition:
    • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, or fellatio without Consent. Sexual intercourse is defined as anal or vaginal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or inanimate object.
    • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Any intentional sexual touching or attempted sexual touching, without Consent.

Sexual Contact: The deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of these areas) or using force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts.

Sexual Intercourse: Means penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger or an inanimate object.

Sexual Misconduct: A sexual act or contact of a sexual nature that occurs, regardless of personal relationship, without the consent of the other person(s), or that occurs when the person(s) is unable to give consent or whose consent is coerced or obtained in a fraudulent manner. As defined by the Louisiana Board of Regents, Sexual Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual abuse, violence of a sexual nature, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual intercourse, sexual exploitation, video voyeurism, contact of a sexual nature with an object, or the obtaining, posting or disclosure of intimate descriptions, photos or videos without the express consent of the persons depicted therein, as well as dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. Some examples of misconduct include:

  • Pressure for a date or a romantic or intimate relationship
  • Unwelcome touching, kissing, hugging or massaging
  • Pressure for or forced sexual activity
  • Unnecessary and unwelcome references to various parts of the body
  • Belittling remarks about a person's gender or belittling remarks about a person's sexual orientation based in gender-stereotyping
  • Inappropriate sexual innuendos or humor
  • Videotaping and photographing someone or people without consent
  • Obscene gestures of a sexual or gender-based nature
  • Offensive sexual graffiti, pictures or posters
  • Sexually explicit profanity
  • Use of e-mail, the Internet or other forms of digital media to facilitate any of the above referenced behaviors

Other examples of sexual misconduct may include the following:

  • Sexual Harassment (La. Board of Regents definition): Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person's employment or education; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person is used as the basis for a decision affecting that person's employment or education; 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with a person's employment or education or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment and has no legitimate relationship to the subject matter of a course or academic research. Sexual Harassment also includes non-sexual harassment or discrimination of a person because of the person's sex and/or gender, including harassment based on the person's nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit same): Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or woman that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
  • Sexual Exploitation (La. Board of Regents definition): An act attempted or committed by a person for sexual gratification, financial gain, or other advancement through the abuse or exploitation of another person's sexuality. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, non-consensual observation of individuals who are undressed or engaging in sexual acts, non-consensual audio or videotaping of sexual activity, prostituting another person, allowing others to observe a personal consensual sexual act without the knowledge or consent of all involved parties, and knowingly exposing an individual to a sexually transmitted infection without the individual's knowledge.

Sexual Oriented Criminal Offense: Any sexual assault offense an defined in La. R.S. 44:51 and any sexual abuse offense as defined in R.S. 14:403.

Standard of Proof: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has interpreted Title IX to require institutions to evaluate evidence of alleged sexual misconduct under a "preponderance of the evidence" standard and that is the standard adopted by this policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that the information shows that it is "more likely than not" that the respondent violated this policy. In the context of a judicial hearing hereunder, the respondent will be found to be responsible for the alleged sexual misconduct if it concludes, by a unanimous vote, that such sexual misconduct more likely than not occurred based upon careful review of all information presented.

Stalking: Behavior where a person follows, places under surveillance, or contacts, another person without the consent of the other person for the purpose of harassing and intimidating the other person. The term "contact" means to make or attempt to make any communication, including, but not limited to, communication in person, by telephone, by mail, by broadcast, by computer or computer network, or by any other electronic device. "Harassing and intimidating" refers to communication directed at a person that causes emotional distress because of a reasonable fear for the person's safety or safety of others, and which serves no legitimate purpose. It does not require that an overt threat of death or bodily injury be made. Other definitions of stalking include:

  • Clery Act definition: (1) Intentional and repeated following OR harassing that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed OR that would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress; OR (2) Intentional and repeated uninvited presence at another person's home, work place, school, or any other place that would cause a reasonable person to be alarmed OR would cause a reasonable person to suffer emotional distress as a result of verbal or behaviorally implied threats of death, bodily injury, sexual assault, kidnapping or any other statutory criminal act to the victim OR any member of the victim's family OR any person with whom the victim is acquainted. 34 CFR 668.46(a)(ii).
  • La. State Law definition: Stalking is the intentional and repeated following or harassing of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel alarmed or to suffer emotional distress. Stalking shall include but not be limited to be the intentional and repeated uninvited presence of the perpetrator at another person's home, workplace, school, or any place that would cause a reasonable person to be alarmed, or to suffer emotional distress as a result of verbal or behaviorally implied threats of death, bodily injury, sexual assault, kidnapping, or any other statutory criminal act to himself or any member of his family or any person with whom he is acquainted. La. RS § 14:40.2(A) "Harassing" means the repeated pattern of verbal communications or nonverbal behavior without invitation that includes but is not limited to making telephone calls, transmitting electronic mail, sending messages via a third party, or sending letters or pictures. "Pattern of conduct" means a series of acts over a period of time, however short, evidencing intent to inflict a continuity of emotional distress upon the person. Constitutionally protected activity is not intended within the meaning of pattern of conduct. La. RS § 14:40.2(C)

Student: Any person currently or previously enrolled at the SUNO campus pursuing undergraduate, graduate or professional studies, whether full-time or part-time, and a person who is registered for a future semester.

Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance efforts on behalf of SUNO. The Title IX Coordinator's role is to oversee SUNO's compliance with Title IX regulation and will:

  • Serve as a resource for students wishing to report any acts of sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination, i.e. violations of Title IX
  • Provide oversight for all Title IX activities and identify patterns, issues or problems regarding sexual misconduct complaints
  • Review and support the informational initiatives enabling students, staff, administrators and faculty to fully understand sexual violence and sexual harassment as forms of sexual discrimination and further educate the SUNO campus community about all related policies and procedures
  • Conduct all initial investigations of sexual misconduct complaints and issue written copy of findings

University Judicial Committee (Hearing Board): This is an administrative body that, among other things, conducts hearings under this policy. It is comprised of students, faculty and staff.

University Judicial Process: Encompasses a series of actions and procedures administered by the SUNO Vice Chancellor of  Student Affairs, which are designed to safeguard a student's right to due process. This process does not include the observance and/or application of state and/or federal rules of civil procedures.

University Official: Any person employed by SUNO, performing administrative or professional responsibilities.

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