Samford University

Student Handbook: Students' Rights and Responsibilities

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Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy: Definitions

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that provides guidance related to the dissemination of students’ educational records. FERPA applies to all educational institutions that receive any type of federal funding administered by the United States Department of Education.

Sexual Assault is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs or alcohol. An individual also may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual assault including, but not limited to, rape, sexual battery, and sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX.

Sexual Harassment is conduct, including physical contact, advances, and comments in person and/or via phone, text message, email, or other electronic medium, that is (1) unwelcome; (2) based on sex or gender stereotypes; and (3) is so severe or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with a person's academic performance or equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from University programs or activities. Sexual Harassment may include, depending upon the facts, persistent and unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship; persistent and unwelcome commentary about an individual's body or sexual activities; threatening to engage in the commission of a sexual act with another person; stalking or cyber stalking; and engaging in indecent exposure. Title IX and this Policy prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Contact means the deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts of a person’s body, or using force or coercion to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts.

Incapacitation means the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks. Where an intoxicant is involved, incapacitation is a state of intoxication where the intoxicant consumed impairs a person's decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments.

Consent means words or actions that show an active, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, by coercion, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the actor knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent. Consent is also lacking when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given.

Sexual Exploitation means taking sexual advantage of another person without consent, and includes, without limitation, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate sounds or images of another person; and/or allowing third parties to observe sexual acts.

Sexual Misconduct of any kind is inconsistent with the University’s values and incompatible with the safe, healthy, Christian environment that the Samford University community expects. Sexual misconduct prohibited by this policy encompasses sexual harassment, sexual assault, non-consensual sexual contact and sexual exploitation.