Accused – The individual responding to the allegations of a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
Age – There is no consent for purposes of this policy where a person is too young to give effective consent under applicable law. Under Mississippi law, persons under fourteen cannot give effective consent to sexual activity with any older person, where the age difference is greater than twenty-four months. Persons between the ages of fourteen and sixteen cannot give consent to sexual activity with any older person where the age difference is greater than thirty-six months.
Bystander – Any person present but not involved.
Coercion –Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. (When someone makes it clear that they do not want to participate in sexual activity, that they want to stop participating, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.)
Complainant – a person who alleges a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
Confidential Employees – Certain employees specifically exempted from Responsible Employee status include (1) licensed counselors, such as those at Student Counseling Services, (2) health care providers, such as those at the O.W. Reily Student Health Center; and (3) pastoral counselors. These employees are not required to relay any information about reported sexual misconduct to the University.
Consent – Consent is defined as a clear, informed, and voluntary agreement/exchange between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be communicated by words or actions as long as those words or actions are unambiguous and create mutually understandable permission regarding the scope of sexual contact or activity. Although consent can be communicated with actions, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent.
Domestic/Dating Violence – acts of physical violence, or threats of physical violence, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The violent act itself may or may not be sexual in nature.
Employee –This generally includes faculty, staff, and hourly employees who are working on paid appointments by the University. It generally excludes students or temporary employees. For specific information on who is considered an employee, contact the Human Resources Department.
Force – The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcome resistance.
Incapacitation– Occurs when a person cannot make rational, reasonable decisions due to alcohol, drugs, unconsciousness, or cognitive disability because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent. There is no consent if a person is mentally or physically incapacitated due to drug or alcohol consumption, voluntarily or involuntarily, or if the person is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that sexual interaction/activity is happening. It also includes instances in which a person lacks the required understanding due to medical conditions, cognitive disabilities, or other disabilities.
Intimate Partner Violence – Actual or threatened physical violence, intimidation, or other forms of physical or sexual abuse in a marriage, dating relationship, or domestic partnership that would cause a reasonable person to fear harm to self or others. The term “intimate partner” refers to marriage, domestic partnership, dating relationship, casual, or serious romantic involvement, whether the relationship is current or not.
Intimidation – Implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.
Non-consensual intentional sexual contact (or attempts to commit same) – Any intentional sexual touching with any object, by any person upon another, without consent, and/or by force, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation. This includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch the offender or themselves with or on any of these body parts.
Non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same) – Any sexual intercourse, however slight, by any person or object upon another without consent, and/or by force, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation. It includes oral, anal, and vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any object or body part (i.e. penis, finger, tongue). Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object; 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.
Preponderance of Evidence – The standard of proof for adjudicating any sexual misconduct charge is a preponderance of the evidence standard. In other words, the evidence must show that it is more likely than not that the alleged sexual misconduct occurred.
Reporting Party – a person who alleges a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
Responding Party – the individual responding to the allegations of a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
Formal – resolution of a complaint by the Title IX Committee.
Informal – resolution of a complaint by the Title IX Coordinator or designee.
Responsible Employee- All employees are responsible employees and have a duty to report all reports of sexual misconduct. They are required to share all known details (names, dates, times, locations, witnesses etc.) of incidents or suspected incidents of sexual misconduct with the Title IX Coordinator. When an alleged victim tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual misconduct, the University will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened to resolve the matter promptly and equitably, and prevent its recurrence.
A report to these employees constitutes a report to the University—and generally obligates the University to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.
Retaliation –Retaliation is defined as any adverse action or threat taken against an individual for filing a complaint of sexual misconduct, serving as a witness, or for participating in the investigation or resolution process. The University strictly prohibits retaliation. This includes any form of intimidation, threats, harassment, or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from participating in protected activity, such as reporting sexual misconduct, seeking services, or receiving interim measures and accommodations. Retaliating against a person for participating in protected activity is a basis for disciplinary action, regardless of the outcome of the underlying complaint. Complaints of retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator.
Sexual Assault – Intentional physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person without their consent. Sexual assault includes sexual penetration or intercourse or any other physical contact of a sexual nature that occurs without consent. This includes but is not limited to deliberate physical touching as well as contact of a sexual nature with an object. Sexual assault also includes attempts to induce sexual activity via direct threats of physical violence, even where no physical contact ultimately occurs.
Sexual Contact – Sexual contact includes, but is not limited to intentional sexual contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch another or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
Sexual Exploitation –Taking sexual advantage of another person in a way that deliberately infringes on his or her reasonable expectation of privacy and/or security, but does not involve actual or attempted physical contact. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to (a) recording images, video, or audio depicting another person engaged in sexual activity or in a state of undress without that person’s consent, even if the sexual activity itself is consensual; (b) distributing images, video, or audio depicting another person engaged in sexual activity or in a state of undress—or threatening to distribute the same—if the person distributing knew or reasonably should have known that the person depicted did not consent to the recording or the distribution; (c) intentionally viewing another person engaged in sexual activity or in a state of undress in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent and for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire; (d) intentionally failing to notify a person with whom one is engaged in a sexual activity that another person is observing.
Sexual Harassment – Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent that it denies or limits or is likely to deny or limit a reasonable person’s ability to participate in or benefit from University programs, services, opportunities or activities.
Sexual Harassment can include verbal or non-verbal communication or physical conduct. Examples of prohibited sexual harassment include, but are not limited to (a) repeated sexual solicitations toward a person who has indicated they are unwelcome; (b) conditioning favorable treatment in connection with any University program upon sexual favors; (c) threats of a sexual nature that do not rise to the level of sexual assault or domestic violence; and (d) insults or derisive comments related to sex, gender, or sexual orientation directed at a specific individual that are sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that they deny or limit a reasonable person’s ability to participate in or benefit from University programs.
Whether sexual harassment is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to violate this policy may depend on multiple factors. Thus, a person should not be deterred from reporting unwelcome sexual conduct simply because they are not certain whether it is severe, pervasive or persistent enough to constitute a policy violation. That is a determination for the University to make, and a person reporting harassment will never be penalized or retaliated against for any report made in good faith.
Sexual Misconduct – A broad, non-legal, term to describe any non-consensual behavior of a sexual nature. This term includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Sexual misconduct varies in its nature and severity. Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers, acquaintances, or persons who know each other well, including between people who are or have been involved in an intimate/sexual relationship. It can be committed by anyone, regardless of sex or gender, and can occur between people of the same or different sex or gender. This policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct.
Stalking – Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or suffer substantial emotional distress. Examples of stalking include but are not limited to physically pursuing a person against their wishes, or sending repeated unwanted messages by electronic or other means. Stalking violates this policy when it is undertaken, at least in part, for a sexual purpose.
Some examples of stalking include, but are not limited to:
- Vandalizing a person’s property
- Photographing a person without their consent; and other threatening, intimidating, or intrusive behavior
- Sending repeated, unwanted messages electronically (cyber stalking), by mail, a mutual friend, or by other means, even after the person it is directed to request that the unwanted attention and communication stop.
Student – A person enrolled at Delta State University, either full-time or part-time.
Title IX Committee – a group of faculty and staff selected by the Title IX Coordinator in conjunction with the Vice President of Student Affairs who are trained to adjudicate reports of the University’s Sexual Misconduct policy.
Witness – A person who directly observes the alleged incident.