Sex Discrimination and VAWA Offenses Policy and Investigation Procedures
Consistent with G1.31 Prohibition of Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking, this policy prohibits sex discrimination, as defined herein, in educational programs, activities and employment. Title IX applies to students, faculty, staff, volunteers, and visitors of the university and prohibits all forms of sex discrimination. Similarly, Title VII prohibits all forms of sex discrimination in the workplace. Moreover, the university is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as contemplated by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”), as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”). The university has jurisdiction over Title IX , Title VII, and VAWA complaints, including allegations of sexual discrimination; sexual violence; sexual assault; sexual misconduct; sexual harassment; domestic and dating violence; and stalking, and has enacted this Policy to:
- Prohibit specified acts of sex discrimination, sexual violence, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence and stalking.
- Provide complaint and investigation procedures for providing prompt and fair resolution of complaints.
- Provide available university and community resources for participants in an alleged violation of this policy (i.e. those alleging a violation, those accused of a violation, and a bystander to a violation.
- Provide the university’s sexual discrimination and VAWA prevention and awareness programs.
To the extent this policy contradicts any other university policy, practice or procedure, this policy will control.
The following definitions are used for purposes of this policy. The definitions provided herein will control to the extent there is a conflict with any other university policy.
Campus Security Authority (“CSA”): is a designation created by the federal government to define those individuals at an institution of higher learning who have the responsibility to report criminal offenses, including reports of sex discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking, once the individual is made aware of the offense. The university has designated specific employees as CSAs depending on their university division and department.
Clery Act refers to The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, (20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)), a federal law that requires institutions of higher learning to collect and publish statistics for certain crimes reported to have occurred on specific property owned or used by the institution.
Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities (“Code”): Is the university document detailing prohibited conduct of students, and the potential consequences for such conduct violations. The Code also includes guidance regarding student’s rights during the student conduct and adjudication process. The Code is available in the university Policy Library as G5.01 Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.
Complainant: An individual who comes forward to complain of a violation of this policy against or by a member of the university community or a third party.
Consent is the agreement or permission expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions that are mutually understandable to all parties involved, to engage in a specific act at a specific time. Consent if given for a specific sexual act at a specific time can be withdrawn at any time. Consent cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, force or deception. Consent cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent or implications of the sexual situation occurring, including, but not limited to, those who are under the legal age of consent, asleep, unconscious, mentally or physically impaired through the effects of drugs or alcohol, or mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability. Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop,” the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.
Dating Violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. Dating violence includes, but not is not limited to sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
Domestic Violence is violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; or with whom the victim shares a child in common; or a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
Gender-Based Harassment is a form of Sexual Harassment and refers to unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including harassment based on gender identity or nonconformity with sex stereotypes, and not necessarily involving conduct of a sexual nature.
Incapacitation is the state where an individual is unaware of their surroundings and therefore prevented from being able to give consent. Incapacitation can be caused by, but is not limited to, alcohol or drug consumption, sleep, or unconsciousness.
Incest is marriage or sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other in the degrees set forth in Mo. Rev. Stat. 568.020.1(1)-(4).
Interim Measures are steps the university may take to ensure equal access to its education program and activities and to protect the parties to a complaint as necessary. Interim Measures available to university officials include but are not limited to: No Contact directives between Complainants, Respondents, or other individuals involved in the Complaint; changes to academic, extracurricular, living, transportation, dining, and employment schedules; interim suspension; provisional orders; or campus ban. (OCR FAQ).
No Contact Directive is an official university directive to an individual to avoid all contact with another individual.
Preponderance of the Evidence is the applicable standard of proof adopted for adjudication of university Title IX, Title VII, and VAWA offenses, and which requires that the evidence demonstrate that it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred for a finding of responsibility.
Rape is defined as sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of force, including the administration of a substance without the victim’s knowledge or consent which renders the victim physically or mentally impaired so as to be incapable of making an informed consent to sexual intercourse.
Respondent is the individual whom a report or allegation of a violation of this policy is made against.
Responsible Employee is an employee of the university who/whom: i) has the authority to take action to redress sex discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and/or stalking, ii) has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sex discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking or any other misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate university designee, or iii) a student could reasonably believe has the authority or duty to report instances of sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking. Note that any mental health clinician of the university Counseling Center or any employee or staff member of the Magers Health and Wellness Center are not Responsible Employees under this policy.
Sex Discrimination occurs when a person has been treated inequitably based on sex, gender identity, or gender expression. All Prohibited Acts found in Section 3, are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by this Policy.
Sexual Abuse occurs when one person subjects another person to sexual contact when that other person is incapacitated, incapable of consent, or lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of forcible compulsion.
Sexual Assault occurs when an actor subjects a person to sexual contact of the breast of a female person, or the genitals or anus of any person: (a) without the consent of the person, or (b) when the actor knew or should have known that the other person was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or appreciating the nature of the person’s own conduct.
Sexual Battery means any act involving the genitals of one person and the hand, mouth, tongue, or anus of another person or a sexual act involving penetration, however slight, of the penis, female genitalia, or the anus by a finger, instrument or object done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of any person or for the purpose of terrorizing the victim.
Sexual Coercion occurs when an individual pursues sexual conduct through i) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; ii) a scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause another person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or iii) the abuse or threatened abuse of any legal or campus process.
Sexual Contact means any touching of another person with the genitals or any touching of the genitals or anus of another person, or the breast of a female person, or such touching through the clothing, for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person or for the purposes of terrorizing the victim without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity. Sexual contact includes fondling, defined as the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when one person takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for their own advantage or benefit or for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited and which behavior does not constitute any other form of sexual conduct. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, the following activities done without the consent of all participants: i) invasion of sexual privacy; ii) prostituting another person; iii) taping or recording a sexual activity; iv) engaging or facilitating voyeurism of a sex act; v) knowingly transmitting an STI, STD, venereal disease or HIV to another person; vi) taking, sharing, displaying, or distributing nude or sexually explicit images of an individual.
Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination based on sexually explicit behavior. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favor and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: 1) submission is a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic opportunities; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis of employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or 3) such conduct is so pervasive or severe that it creates an abusive, intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Sexual Misconduct is the broad term encompassing any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. Sexual misconduct can be committed by a person of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different gender.
Sexual Violence: includes physical sexual conduct perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapacitated, or otherwise incapable of giving consent (due to the person’s age, the use of drugs or alcohol, or because of an intellectual disability or other disability that prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent.). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence including: rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.
Stalking (on the Basis of Sex) is a knowing or an intentional course of conduct directed at a specific person involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, fearful or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, fearful or threatened.
Standard of Proof is the degree or level of proof demanded in a specific proceeding to assign responsibility.
Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is less than fourteen years old; or less then seventeen years of age if the other person is twenty-one years of age or older.
Title IX refers to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Title VII refers to Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964.
Title IX Coordinator is a full-time staff position, reporting to the Missouri State University president, responsible for the university’s compliance with Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator’s office is located in Carrington 205.
Title IX Investigator is a full-time staff position, reporting to the Title IX Coordinator, whose primary job responsibility is the investigation of Title IX complaints. The Title IX Investigator’s office is located in Carrington 205.
University Community: means faculty, staff and students of Missouri State University.
Every member of the university community is prohibited from the following acts, and the commission of the following acts shall be a violation of this policy:
- Engaging in any act of Sex Discrimination; Sexual Harassment; Sexual Violence; Domestic or Dating Violence; or Stalking, as defined by this policy.
- Retaliating in any manner against an individual who reports an act of Sex Discrimination; Sexual Harassment; Domestic or Dating Violence; or Stalking, as defined in this policy.
- Interfering with any university investigation or procedure to redress a complaint of Sex Discrimination; Sexual Harassment; Sexual Violence; Domestic or Dating Violence; or Stalking, as defined in this policy.
Any member of the university community who engages in one of these prohibited acts will be subject to sanctions and corrective actions, pursuant to this policy and, depending on the participant’s status within the university, the: Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, the Faculty Handbook, and/or the Employee Handbook.
Any individual who is not a member of the university community who engages in one of these prohibited acts against a member of the university community will be subject to: i) any and all available university sanctions including, but not limited to, university facility ban and disbarment from university contracting and ii) potential criminal penalties.
No individual who makes a good faith complaint pursuant to this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
The potential sanctions for violations of this policy by members of the university community, depends on the particular classification of the Respondent. All violations will be subject to the appropriate investigation procedures and disciplinary proceedings outlined in this Policy.
If the Respondent is a student, the university will follow the adjudication process outlined in the Code. As found in the Code, possible sanctions for Students found to have violated this policy may include, but are not limited to:
- Probation (from university or residence halls)
- Suspension (from university or residence halls)
- Residence Hall Expulsion
- Denial of Privilege to Re-enroll
- Revocation of Admission
- Revocation of Degree
- Withholding of Degree
If the Respondent is a faculty member, the university will follow the adjudication process outlined in the Faculty Handbook and the Professional Practice Review Process (“PPRP”). Possible sanctions for violations of this policy include but are not limited to:
- Letters of reprimand
- Suspension of employment without pay
- Involuntary reassignment of duties
- Revocation of tenure
- Demotion of rank
If the Respondent is a staff member, the university will utilize the process outlined in the Employee Handbook. Possible sanctions for violations of this policy include:
- Suspension without pay
- Compensation reduction
- Withholding of salary increases
Individuals who wish to report an incident or complaint under this policy may do so by reporting the incident to a number of on- and off-campus resources.
Springfield campus resources
MSU University Safety: 417-836-5509
Office of the Dean of Students: 417-836-5527
Human Resources Office: 417-836-5102
Magers Health and Wellness Center: 417-836-4000*
Missouri State University Counseling Center: 417-836-5116*
*Note: As discussed more fully below, counselors in the Missouri State University Counseling Center and Magers Health and Wellness Center employee and staff are not included in the university’s definition of Responsible Employees. Therefore, a report of sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking to a member of Missouri State University’s Counseling Center or Magers Health and Wellness Center will be kept confidential and will not result in a report to the Title IX Office.
Springfield area off-campus resources
Springfield Police Department: 911 (emergency number) or 417-864-1810 (non-emergency)
Springfield Victim's Center: 417-864-7273 (SAFE) or https://www.thevictimcenter.org/contact
Mercy Emergency-Trauma Center: 417-820-2115
Cox North Emergency Department: 417-269-3193
Cox South Emergency & Trauma Center: 417-269-4083 or 417-269-0920
Reporting to United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Right (“OCR”) enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal assistance, including sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. A complaint of discrimination can be filed with the OCR by anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against by an educational institution that receives Federal financial assistance.
The OCR office for Missouri is located at:
Office of Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
One Petticoat Lane
1010 Walnut Street, 3rd Floor, Suite 320
Kansas City, MO 64106
Fax: 816-268-0599; TDD: 800-877-8339
The OCR National Headquarters is located at:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
The OCR offers a Complaint Assessment System designed to help individuals determine if the OCR may be able to assist by investigating a complaint of discrimination.
Reporting to United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal assistance, including sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII. A complaint of discrimination can be filed with the OCR by anyone who believes that they have been discriminated against by an educational institution that receives Federal financial assistance.
The EEOC office for Missouri is located at:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Robert A. Young Federal Building
1222 Spruce St., Rm 8.100
St. Louis, MO 63103
The EEOC National Headquarters is located at:
Office of Equal Opportunity
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Sixth Floor, Suite 6NW14G
131 M Street, NE
Washington, DC 20507
The EEOC provides a Public Portal, which can be accessed for purposes of submitting an inquiry or initiating the complaint process.
Reporting to Missouri Commission on Human Rights
The Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) enforces the Missouri Human Rights Act. A complaint of sex discrimination can be filed with the MCHR by anyone who believes that they have experienced sex discrimination in employment, public accommodations or housing.
The MCHR office is located at:
Missouri Commission on Human Rights
3315 W. Truman Blvd., Rm 212
P.O. Box 1129
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1129
Toll-Free Complaint Hotline: 1-877-781-4236
The MCHR offers a Discrimination Complaint Assessment System designed to help individuals determine whether the MCHR may be able to assist by investigating a complaint of discrimination.
Importance of receiving medical care
A victim of sexual violence, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence who is considering making a criminal complaint should seek medical care as soon as possible after an assault. Medical professionals are trained to provide physical and psychosocial treatment to survivors of this type of trauma, as well as collecting any available evidence of the alleged criminal offense, which may be helpful in future university or criminal proceedings.
Individuals who formally report possible violations of this policy have the right to be taken seriously by the university. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told about the complaint, and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual (i.e., Respondent).
The university community is strongly encouraged to report conduct that may constitute a violation of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator, a CSA or a Responsible Employee. Any Responsible Employee must forward such reports to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) calendar days of receiving such report or witnesses conduct that may constitute a violation of this policy. Any Responsible Employee who knew about a violation of this policy and took no action to stop it or failed to report the prohibited act may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
If a member of the university campus community has experienced an incident that could be a violation of this policy but does not wish for such incident to be reported to the Title IX Office, there are confidential reporting options. In addition to reporting to university Counseling Center Counselors or Magers Health and Wellness physicians, or staff, an individual may contact one or more of the off-campus resources listed above. Additionally, members of the clergy may also keep such reports made to them.
To the extent that an individual reports an allegation of prohibited conduct under this Policy, or the Title IX Office becomes aware of such an allegation, and the individual wishes to remain confidential, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, will evaluate such request for confidentiality on a case-by-case basis.
Upon receipt of a report of a potential violation of this policy, the Title IX Coordinator may open a formal case file and assign the investigation to either the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Investigator to lead the investigation. If the alleged conduct is also the subject of a criminal investigation, the Title IX Office need not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation to begin an investigation pursuant to this policy.
If the Title IX Office proceeds with an investigation, the investigation may include the following steps:
- Determine the identity and contact information of the alleged victim;
- Attempt to meet with the Complainant regarding the initial complaint received and discuss;
- In coordination with appropriate university officials, initiate any necessary Interim Measures while the matter is being investigated;
- Meet with the Respondent and provide the Respondent with a copy of this policy and information regarding the Complaint against them;
- Commence an investigation by interviewing available witnesses disclosed by the parties and/or witnesses who may be relevant to the complaint. The investigation will be prompt, impartial, and thorough and will be undertaken without unnecessary delay. The duration of the investigation may depend on external factors, such as student availability, university calendar, and other factors affecting the availability of investigation participants. The thoroughness and completeness of the investigation, and corresponding investigative report, will not be compromised in favor of efficiency.
- Make an investigative finding as to the Respondent’s responsibility for the charges identified above. Document the course of the investigation and justification for the finding in an Investigative Report.
- Prepare an Investigative Report wherein the factual findings are articulated and the investigation is summarized. The Investigative Report will also include the alleged violations of this policy and whether or not the evidence collected provides the necessary standard of proof to find the Respondent responsible for those charges; and
- Provide reasonable access of the Investigative Report to the Complainant, Respondent, and the appropriate university official based on the status of the Respondent.
The university is required to enter into memorandum of understandings, or similar agreements, with area law enforcement regarding the investigation and treatment of sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and/or stalking. Therefore, the Title IX Office may need to coordinate its fact-finding efforts with any related law enforcement investigation.
To the extent feasible, the Investigator and Title IX Office will keep both the Complainant and Respondent informed as to the status of the investigation and will be available to the Respondent and Complainant for consultation throughout the investigation.
In addition to this policy, the university will provide written notification to Complainants and Respondents about options for available assistance with, as well as how to request changes to, academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures.
The Complainant has the right to choose whether or not to file a formal Complaint. There may be circumstances, however, in which the university must investigate and take action to protect the complainant or other members of the university community.
In addition to pursuing administrative penalties and remedies, the Complainant maintains the right to pursue criminal charges.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent shall be informed of the outcome of any institutional disciplinary proceeding brought under this policy.
The Complainant and the Respondent are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent may have the option to change university housing, academic arrangements, transportation, and work assignments, if such changes are reasonably available.
Under the Clery Act, certain campus officials have been designated as Campus Security Authorities (“CSAs”). CSAs have a duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes. All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to the university’s Department of University Safety regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus or in the surrounding area, but no addresses are provided) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, with the goal of ensuring greater community safety. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously. Missouri State’s Annual Campus Security Report can be found on the Department of University Safety website.
Under the Clery Act, university administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are considered by the university to pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The university will make every effort to ensure that a victim’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.
Students are often reluctant to participate in Title IX or VAWA (i.e., domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking) proceedings or investigations out of fear that the student may get in trouble for various violations of the Code related to the underlying Title IX or VAWA event. The university pursues a policy of limited immunity for university students who participate in Title IX or VAWA proceedings, investigations, or otherwise offer help to others in need. While violations of the Student Code cannot be overlooked, the university’s Student Conduct Office provides educational options, rather than punishment, to those who participate in Title IX or VAWA proceedings, investigations, or otherwise offer their assistance to others in need. The university encourages students participate in Title IX and VAWA proceedings and to offer help and assistance to others in need.
The university participates in Green Dot, a national violence prevention program. Green Dot is a bystander intervention program with the goal to reduce power-based personal violence, including sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. All members of the university community are encouraged to participate in available Green Dot training and sponsored activities. The Green Dot program offers the university community safe and positive options for bystander intervention to prevent and reduce instances of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking. More information can be found on the Green Dot website or by visiting the Green Dot Program Coordinator in Carrington 205.
Additionally, in coordination with Ozarks Technical Community College (“OTC”), the university participates in Project HEAL, which is a grant-funded, comprehensive community approach to coordinating campus prevention and response to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. Project HEAL offers trainings and presentations about campus sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking to members of the campus community. Additionally, through Project HEAL, the university Counseling Center employs a counselor who specializes in providing trauma-based counseling to victims of sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking.
As part of the university’s commitment to providing a working and learning environment free from sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking, this policy shall be disseminated widely to the university community through publications, websites, new employee orientations, student orientations and other appropriate channels of university communication. The university shall make preventive educational materials available to all members of the university community to promote compliance with this policy and familiarity with its procedures. The university provides annual training opportunities to investigators and hearing officers. Additionally, all new students, new staff and new faculty are required to participate in a Sexual Assault Awareness Training program. Failure to successfully complete this course can lead to student holds, and faculty / staff sanctions. Individuals from the Title IX Office are available to speak to members of the university community regarding this policy and the university’s efforts to address sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking.