Title IX

Procedures and Responsibilities

Delta State University is firmly committed to maintaining a campus environment free from sexual misconduct. The University is also committed to meeting its ethical and moral obligation to prevent sexual misconduct; to provide support for assault victims; and to educate the campus community about sex/gender-based misconduct.

The university believes in zero tolerance for sex/gender-based misconduct. Zero tolerance means that when an allegation of misconduct is brought to an appropriate administrator’s attention, protective and other remedial measures will be used to reasonably ensure that such conduct ends, is not repeated, and the effects on the victim and community are remedied, including serious sanctions when a accused is found to have violated this policy. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. Therefore, both women and men should know that the University is committed to providing a consistent, timely and caring response to anyone who is the victim of sexual misconduct within the campus community.

While the University recognizes that a complainant may wish to preserve his or her privacy after a traumatic experience, it should also be understood that the University has a responsibility to maintain the integrity and safety of the campus as a whole. Where circumstances exist that are deemed a danger to the University community at large, pertinent details about a sexual assault will immediately be publicly released. Further, the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act (the Clery Act) of 1990 mandates the annual disclosure of statistics of sexual assaults known to have occurred within the University’s jurisdiction. Incidents reported only to the O. W. Reily Student Health and  Campus Counseling Center are included in these statistics, along with statistics from the Department of Public Safety. The complainant’s identity is not disclosed, however, in any such statistical reporting.

Other inappropriate conduct may also be reported confidentially to the O. W. Reily Student Health and Campus Counseling Center or reported formally to the Delta State Police and/or the Cleveland Police Department. Other such inappropriate conduct may include: repeated unwanted telephone calls, social media, and/or email contacts of a lewd or obscene nature, personal threats, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence and sexual harassment.

Confidentiality

If a complainant would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the complainant may speak with:

  • On-campus licensed professional counselors and staff
  • On-campus health service providers and staff
  • Off-campus:
    • Licensed professional counselors
    • Local rape crisis counselors
    • Domestic violence resources,
    • Local or state assistance agencies,
    • Clergy/Chaplains
    • Personal Attorney
    • Primary care physician

All of the above parties will maintain confidentiality except in extreme cases of immediate threat or danger, or abuse of a minor. Campus counselors are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours. These employees will submit [timely] anonymous, aggregate statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to a specific client, patient or parishioner.

Reporting Alleged Sexual Misconduct

The University strongly encourages anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct to report the incident through the procedures in this policy. Properly reporting the incident allows the University to take steps to ensure the safety of the complainant and others and to provide support services. Any person may submit a report against any other person for sexual misconduct on a DSU campus, in connection with any DSU program or activity, and/or involving a member of the University community.

There are alternatives to reporting sexual misconduct to the University. For example, a person may choose to speak confidentially to a counselor, a victim advocate, a health care professional, or certain others on campus. Likewise, a person always retains the right and is encouraged to report misconduct to any law enforcement agency, regardless of whether they have reported to the University or not. In short, it is important for all members of the University community to familiarize themselves with all their options for seeking assistance.

1. Emergency Assistance

If you are in immediate physical danger or need emergency medical care, CALL 911. Your safety is the first priority. The options for assistance listed below can provide a quick response, but they cannot provide the immediate physical presence necessary to assist you if you are in danger. If you believe you are in immediate physical danger or if you need immediate medical assistance, call 911. Police and/or an ambulance will be dispatched to assist you as necessary. University officials if not alerted by your 911 call, can be alerted once you are safe.

2. Reporting to the University

Whom should I contact?

The University’s Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing compliance with Title IX and other laws that address sexual misconduct and discrimination. The Coordinator oversees investigations and disciplinary proceedings in cases of sexual misconduct, as well as the interim accommodations and assistance for those who report such misconduct. The simplest and most direct route to submit a formal report to the University is to contact the Title IX Coordinator:

  • Title IX Coordinator; Phone: 662-846-4690

If a person does not wish to report directly to the Title IX Coordinator, they are encouraged to contact one of the following officials, who also can provide prompt assistance:

  • Vice President of Student Affairs; Phone: 662-846-4150
  • Senior Women Administrator; Phone: 662-846-4300
  • Director of Student Life; Phone: 662-846-4666
  • Human Resource Director; Phone: 662-846-4035
  • University Police; Phone: 662-846-4155

In addition to these officials, many DSU personnel are trained to convey reports of sexual misconduct to the proper authorities on campus. These personnel are called “Responsible Employees” and their duties are discussed below. Whenever possible, however, incidents of sexual misconduct should be reported to one of the individuals listed above to provide the most prompt and direct response.

What should I do with any evidence of sexual assault?

A person who experiences sexual assault should take steps to preserve evidence as soon as possible after the incident, even if he or she is unsure about reporting it. To better preserve evidence:

    • Do not shower or douche.
    • Try not to urinate. Urinating may reduce the ability to detect “date rape” drugs.
    • If there was oral contact, do not smoke, eat, or brush your teeth.
    • Do not change clothes. If you have already changed your clothes, place them in a paper bag, as plastic may destroy evidence. If you haven’t changed, keep the original clothes on and bring an extra set to wear home.
    • A Physical Evidence Recovery Kit (PERK) will help preserve forensic evidence of an assault. Inform your medical care provider that you wish to have a PERK performed as soon as possible.

What if I am reporting workplace sexual harassment?

Sexual harassment or other misconduct against University employees in the workplace may violate both this policy and/or the University’s Harassment (http://www.deltastate.edu/policies/policy/university-policies/employment/employee-responsibilities-and-standards/harassment/) and Non-Discrimination Policy (http://www.deltastate.edu/policies/policy/university-policies/employment/recruitment-and-selection/equal-employment-opportunity/). When reporting workplace sexual harassment that does not involve sexual assault or other violence, employees are encouraged to follow the reporting procedures contained in this document. If workplace misconduct does involve sexual assault or other violence, employees should never attempt to resolve the matter directly with the accused person. In such cases, employees should report the matter directly to the Title IX Coordinator or the Human Resources Director.

What if I report sexual misconduct to someone else at DSU?

If a report is made to an employee of the University other than those listed above, that employee may or may not have a duty to report the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator, depending on the employee’s position and job duties. See below for clarification.

Certain University employees are deemed “Responsible Employees” for purposes of Title IX and this policy. When a Responsible Employee receives a report of sexual misconduct, he or she has a mandatory duty to report that allegation to the Title IX Coordinator. As discussed below, there is a single, narrow exception to this mandatory reporting requirement where the alleged misconduct involves nonviolent employee-on-employee workplace harassment.

After reporting misconduct, will the information be kept confidential?

The University will endeavor to keep reported information about sexual misconduct private to the greatest extent possible, but cannot guarantee that all information it receives will be kept confidential. Once a report is submitted to a Responsible Employee, the University has a duty to investigate the matter and endeavor to protect the safety of members of the community. In some instances, this means that certain information must be provided to individuals involved in an investigation.

Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will attempt to contact the person who made it (the “complainant”) to determine his or her wishes with respect to privacy. If the complainant requests that their identity or other information be kept private, or that no disciplinary action be pursued, the University will give careful consideration to that request. However, there may be instances in which such requests cannot be honored, as they would impair the University’s ability to ensure a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students. Factors considered include, but are not limited to:

  • The risk of the accused committing other acts of sexual misconduct, such as where other complaints have been made against the same person.
  • The risk of sexual misconduct of a similar nature, such as where multiple assaults occurred at the same location or involving the same group.
  • The use of physical violence and/or weapons.
  • The involvement of multiple alleged perpetrators.
  • Allegations of threats or retaliation by the accused against the complainant or others.
  • The complainant’s age.
  • The parties’ rights and/or the University’s obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other applicable privacy laws.

If the University determines it can honor a request to keep information private, it will take steps consistent with that request to ensure the safety of the complainant and others. However, complainants should understand that honoring a request for privacy necessarily will impair the University’s ability to investigate and normally will prevent any disciplinary action from being taken against the accused. If someone who initially requested privacy later requests an investigation, the University will honor that request. However, delays may impair the University’s ability to conduct a thorough investigation or take appropriate remedial action.

If the University determines it cannot honor a request for privacy, it will inform the complainant before any disclosure is made. The University will take whatever steps it deems necessary to protect the complainant and to ensure that information is available only to those who have a legitimate need to know. The University will make it clear to the accused party and others receiving information that any act of retaliation against the complainant will not be tolerated.

Who are DSU’s Responsible Employees?

A Responsible Employee is any DSU employee (a) who has actual authority to redress sexual misconduct; (b) who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual misconduct or any other misconduct to appropriate University authorities; or (c) who a student would reasonably but mistakenly believe has this authority or duty.

The Responsible Employee designation applies to professors and other faculty, deans and department heads, athletic coaches and administrators, personnel in the Vice President of Student Affairs’ Office, University Police Department personnel, resident assistants and directors, and any other employee who meets any of the three elements above. If you are uncertain whether you or someone else is a Responsible Employee, the Title IX Coordinator can help you make that determination.

Confidential Employees– Certain employees are specifically exempted from Responsible Employee status. These include (1) licensed counselors, such as those at the Campus Counseling Center, (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. Faculty members with duties that meet the above descriptions are exempted from mandatory reporting for information received when acting in their counseling or clinical capacity, but not for information received in other settings, such as office hours with students.

 

What happens when I inform a Responsible Employee of sexual misconduct?

When a Responsible Employee receives a report of sexual misconduct, they have a mandatory duty to report that allegation to the Title IX Coordinator. This means that the Responsible Employee must inform the Title IX Coordinator, even if the person who experienced the alleged misconduct asks the employee not to do so.

University personnel who are not Responsible Employees are encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the University, but are not required to do so. Consequently, individuals who experience sexual misconduct should not presume that informing these employees will result in any remedial action by the University. They should instead report the matter to the Title IX Director or other personnel listed above.

Statements concerning sexual misconduct that are directed to groups generally do not constitute reporting for purposes of this policy, even if a Responsible Employee is present or learns of the statement. This includes without limitation statements made in the course of public events such as rallies, vigils or speeches. If a person wishes to seek assistance from the University, they should speak directly to a Responsible Employee in a one-on-one setting.

Are there any exceptions to a Responsible Employee's duty to report?

There is one narrow exception to the mandatory reporting requirement for Responsible Employees. If the alleged sexual misconduct is harassment of one employee by another employee and there is no allegation of sexual assault or other violence and no student or minor allegedly was involved, then a Responsible Employee may, in his or her discretion, decide not to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator.

This exception recognizes that employees may wish to confer with co-workers about incidents of non-violent harassment without immediately triggering a university investigation. It applies solely to the reporting obligation addressed in this policy. It does not relieve any employee of any other reporting obligation he or she may have under any other policy or law. In all cases, all employees are strongly encouraged to inform their co-workers of their options for reporting workplace harassment or other sexual misconduct to the University.

What are my duties as a Responsible Employee?

Responsible Employees are required to notify the University’s Title IX Coordinator when they learn of sexual misconduct against any member of the University community, guest on campus, or participant in any University program.

  • Reporting should be prompt. A Responsible Employee should report an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as is practical under the circumstances.
  • Reporting is not discretionaryTo be clear, aside from the single exception described above, the obligation to report sexual misconduct is not discretionary. A Responsible Employee may not, for example, decide not to report alleged misconduct because he or she believes it is not sufficiently serious, or because he or she does not believe it happened. These are decisions for the Title IX Coordinator and appropriate University officials to make.
  • Independent responses are prohibited. Under no circumstances may any employee, department, organization, or division of the University attempt to resolve unilaterally any complaint of sexual misconduct that is required to be reported under this policy. In these cases, the Responsible Employee must always notify the Title IX Coordinator first, who will determine the appropriate response after consultation with appropriate officials.
  • Inform students of your obligations. Many Responsible Employees can reasonably anticipate the possibility that students may report sexual misconduct to them. The University encourages these employees to inform students of their reporting obligations in advance. When sexual misconduct is actually reported, the employee should tell the reporting person as early in the conversation as possible that any information provided will have to be relayed to the Title IX Coordinator, and that if the reporting person prefers to keep the information confidential, the University has resources such as the Campus Counseling Center and O.W. Reily Student Health Center that can provide confidential assistance.
  • Tell the reporting person what will happen next. A Responsible Employees should tell the person reporting sexual misconduct (1) that they will be informing the Title IX Coordinator of the incident; (2) why they are sharing this information—i.e., their obligation to inform those on campus in a position to respond; and (3) that the University will contact them to provide additional information and support.
  • Do not share the information with others. Once you have informed the Title IX Coordinator, your reporting duties are complete. You may not share the information with anyone else. If your supervisor or someone you report to expects to be notified of such reports, you may inform them that you have relayed a complaint to the Title IX Coordinator, and that they may contact the coordinator directly with questions or concerns.
  • Failure to report. Failure of a responsible employee to report an incident or incidents of sex or gender harassment or discrimination of which they become aware of, is a violation of university policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply with university policies.

If my report of sexual misconduct involves alcohol use, will be punished?

While the University does not condone violations of its policies, reporting incidents of sexual misconduct is of paramount importance. Thus, the University will not pursue disciplinary action against any person for possession or consumption of alcohol or drugs, when that possession or consumption is revealed in the course of a good faith report of sexual misconduct or other good faith statements made in connection with an investigation under this policy.

3. Confidential Assistance

Certain University personnel are able to provide assistance to victims of sexual misconduct on a confidential basis. These individuals are not required to convey information regarding sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or anyone else. Consequently, communications with these individuals do not put the University on notice of sexual misconduct. While these individuals may be able to provide assistance such as counseling or health care, notifying them will not trigger an investigation by the University or any disciplinary proceedings. Sources of confidential assistance include:

  • Campus counseling  (662)-846-4690 allows students to meet confidentially with mental health counselors. Additionally, campus counseling can provide a Sexual Assault Advocate, who can offer confidential assistance, including (1) explaining reporting options; (2) providing accompaniment and assistance in seeking medical care or police assistance; and (3) seeking other assistance without disclosing the victim’s identity.
  • O.W. Reily Student Health Center (662)-846-4630 provides medical care to members of the University community. Information shared with Health Center staff, including information pertaining to sexual assault or other misconduct, is confidential.

As discussed above, the University may elect to confer confidential status to other employees consistent with applicable laws and regulations. If you are not certain whether an employee is required to report sexual misconduct to the University, please inquire with the Title IX Coordinator.

4. Anonymous Disclosure

Anonymous complaints of sexual misconduct or other unethical or unlawful behavior can be made through the DSU Ethics Line, a comprehensive and confidential online reporting tool. An online report can be completed via the Ethics Line web page (https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/media/en/gui/31497/index.html), a link also located on the University’s main home page. To submit a report by telephone, dial 877-310-0424.

The DSU Ethics Line is not a 911 or emergency service. If your situation involves any immediate threat, call 911 or the DSU Police Department, not the Ethics Line. Further, the Ethics Line is not a substitute for reporting under this policy. While the University will take appropriate steps to address threats to safety or other ongoing problems identified by anonymous disclosures, its ability to respond, impose discipline, and/or accommodate the complainant normally will be significantly limited. Members of the community are therefore strongly encouraged to consider the other options for reporting listed in this policy.

5. Reporting to Law Enforcement Agencies

The reporting procedures in this policy are not intended as a substitute for reporting sexual misconduct to law enforcement agencies. Sexual misconduct may involve violations of the law. Members of the University community always retain the right to report sexual misconduct to the police. However, reporting to law enforcement is never required under this policy.

In an emergency, the DSU and Cleveland Police Department can be reached by calling 911. Non-emergency contact information for these agencies is as follows:

DSU Police Department (662) 846-4155
Cleveland Police Department (662) 843-3611
Bolivar County Sherriff’s Office (662) 843-5378
U.S. Department of Justice – Office of Civil Rights (404) 562-7886

Reporting to the DSU Police Department will trigger the responses outlined in this policy. Reporting to other law enforcement agencies will not trigger these responses unless and until that agency elects to share the information with University officials or until you make a report as outlined in this policy.

Making a report under this policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceedings. Thus, you may report to the University, a law enforcement agency, or both. The University, in its discretion, may not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation or disciplinary proceedings. The University may take interim measures, if necessary, for the safety and security of the University community.

Individuals who bring reports of sexual misconduct to the University will be informed of their options for reporting to law enforcement agencies. If requested, the University will take reasonable steps to assist the individual in reporting to law enforcement.

While requests by reporting parties for non-disclosure of information to law enforcement will be carefully considered, there may be circumstances under which University officials must provide law enforcement with information, such as where disclosure is required by law or is necessary to ensure campus safety.

Title IX Coordinator:

Deidra Byas
662.846.4690
dbyas@deltastate.edu