This Policy, its supplemental procedural guidance, and the Formal Grievance Policy are intended to protect and guide individuals who have been affected by sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct, whether as a Complainant, a Respondent, or as a witness, and to provide fair and equitable procedures for investigation and resolution of Reports and Complaints.
As noted above, when sexual misconduct meets the criteria specified in new Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020, it must be addressed under the Formal Grievance Policy, and not this Sexual Misconduct Policy, to the extent the processes differ between the two policies. The Formal Grievance Policy applies to “sexual harassment” in a Rhodes “education program or activity” against a person in the United States. 34 C.F.R. § 106.44(a). “Sexual harassment” is defined in the Regulations (§ 106.30) to be conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
1. A Rhodes employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (“quid pro quo”);
2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Rhodes’ education program or activity; or
3. Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. (These terms are defined in the Definitions section below, Section XIII.)
“Sexual misconduct,” which is addressed in this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy, is a broader term that covers sex-based conduct beyond the Title IX Regulations’ “sexual harassment” definition. Examples may include sexual exploitation and many forms of verbal harassment that may not meet the Regulations’ definition of “sexual harassment.”
Additionally, the Title IX Regulations’ jurisdictional criteria is narrower than this Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Formal Grievance Policy applies to a Rhodes “education program or activity,” which is defined by the Regulations to include locations, events or circumstances over which Rhodes exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Rhodes, if it occurs in the United States. (§ 106.44(a).)
If sexual misconduct is alleged to have occurred that does not satisfy the Title IX Regulations’ jurisdictional criteria, such as off-campus sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment) alleged to have an on-campus effect or occurring during a study abroad program, then it may be addressed according to this comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Rhodes retains the right to utilize different processes for certain Title IX cases. For example, cases meeting the criteria of the new Title IX Regulations will be governed by the accompanying Formal Grievance Policy. Cases that are reported during the non-academic year or that extend into the non-academic year may proceed under different processes in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator as long as they do not conflict with Rhodes’ policies. While the Formal Grievance Policy applies to alleged employee sexual harassment per the Title IX Regulations, this Sexual Misconduct Policy does not apply to alleged employee sexual misconduct or discrimination that falls outside of the new Title IX Regulations; such alleged misconduct between employees or between an employee and a non-student are governed by the Employee Handbook and Rhodes retains the right to apply modified processes for cases involving such alleged misconduct in which a student is a party if an employee or faculty member is also a party to the case.
B. Overview of Policy and Certain Key Definitions
Rhodes will investigate all reports received by the Title IX Coordinator of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct (“Reports”). Rhodes is authorized under this Sexual Misconduct Policy and its accompanying Formal Grievance Policy to take certain actions to address or remedy sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct after receiving a Report, during an investigation, and after an investigation even if the matter does not proceed to an adjudication.
Anyone can report an incident of sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct to Rhodes under the procedure described in Section VIII of this Policy. For example, a “Reporter” can be any individual who reports to Rhodes that they are a victim or survivor of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct or that they have been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (sometimes referred to as a “First-Party Reporter”) or that they have knowledge of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (sometimes referred to as a “Third-Party Reporter”).
A Report will become a “Complaint” if a First-Party Reporter files a written document with the Title IX Coordinator describing an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct and indicating that they want Rhodes to take further steps, such as a full investigation and possibly holding an adjudication to resolve the alleged issue. Rhodes can also convert a Report to a “Complaint” if Rhodes determines that, in order to meet its Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the broader Rhodes Community, it must take further steps to address and resolve the matter. A Formal Complaint under the Formal Grievance Policy is a type of Complaint. See Formal Grievance Policy, Section IV.A., regarding Formal Complaints.
A “Complainant” refers to an individual who is alleged to have been subjected to an incident of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct (i.e., a First-Party Reporter or a victim or person who has otherwise been affected by sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, or under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment). A Complainant has certain rights under this Policy, as discussed below. A Reporter who reports witnessing sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct happening to or affecting someone else (i.e., a Third-Party Reporter) can file a Report and request that it be treated as a Complaint, but that does not make them a Complainant. Similarly, the fact that the Title IX Coordinator may elevate a Report to a Complaint does not make the Title IX Coordinator a Complainant.
A “Respondent” refers to an individual who has been accused of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct prohibited under this Policy (or, under the Formal Grievance Policy governing sexual harassment, an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment). A student Respondent has certain rights under this Policy, as discussed below, and under the Formal Grievance Policy when that policy is applicable.
A “third party” refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a Report on behalf of someone else.
As used throughout this Policy, references to the “Title IX Coordinator” shall include any Deputy Title IX Coordinator and any other person expressly designated by the Title IX Coordinator to act on their behalf.
Additional definitions are contained in Section XIII of this Policy.