Title IX Policy
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance”. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX. In addition to the 1972 definition of discrimination on the basis of sex, Federal legislation of 2001 and 2006 identify sexual assault and sexual harassment as policy violations which are to be specifically dealt with by universities receiving any Federal funding.
Samford University complies with applicable laws prohibiting discrimination, including applicable provisions of and amendments to Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Executive Order 11246, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, genetic information, or veteran status in admission or access to, or treatment or employment in, its programs or services.
Samford University is a Christian institution of higher education that has a moral commitment to the worth and dignity of all individuals. Samford’s policy of opposition to sexual harassment and sexual assault is not only a legal responsibility and practical utility, but stems from the University’s profound commitment to Christian and moral values as expressed in its mission and purpose.
Responsible Employee Required Reporting
All university employees are required to report any act of sexual misconduct or sexual assault to the university Title IX coordinator. The only exceptions to this policy are university identified confidential resources.
Confidential resources are given federal authorization to provide trusted advice to individuals who are subject to an allegation of sexual assault and not disclose any information obtain in the discussion.
Relationship Violence Definitions
a person who files/reports a Title IX violation. University officials are discouraged from calling a person a “victim” until such time that another has been determined to be a responsible for committing an act of violence against the complainant.
a person who responds to an allegation of violence against another.
Hostile environment includes any situation in which there is harassment, or the perception of harassing conduct, which is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent enough that it limits, interferes with, or denies educational benefits or opportunities from both a subjective (the complainant’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint. The determination of a hostile environment is determined by the totality of circumstances that could include, but not limited to: age participants, severity of conduct, mental or emotional state, or physical threat. A single incident may be severe enough to create a hostile environment.
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.
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, coercion, 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.
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) so severe or pervasive that it unreasonable 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 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 sexual nature.
Sexual contact means the deliberate touching of a person’s intimate body parts, or using force or coercion to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts.
Non-consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is defined as intentional sexual contact, however slight with any object by a person upon another without consent and/or by force.
Sexual coercion is defined as the act of using unreasonable pressure to gain consent for sexual activity, using alcohol and drugs to lower another’s inhibitions, or the use of force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will.
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 is defined as any sexual behavior or act of any kind is inconsistent with the university’s values and incompatible with the safe, health, 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.
University Amnesty Policy
Samford’s goal is to encourage the reporting of sexual assault incidents so that those affected can receive the support and resources needed. Therefore, values violations by a complainant may be exempt from disciplinary action in situations where the reported sexual misconduct or harassment also occurred, provided that such violations did not jeopardize the health or safety of others.
How to Assist a Student Who Reports a Sexual Assault
The following points provide guidance to assist a student who experiences an act of relationship violence:
Student reports a sexual assault
- In most situations when a student wants to talk about an act of sexual misconduct, the conversation might begin with “Can I talk with you about something?” If you are not a university identified confidential resource, before the student starts talking you should indicate “I am here to assist you. However, please know if you tell me anything related to sexual misconduct I will have to report that information to university Title IX Coordinator. If you want to talk with someone privately and confidentially, I can direct or take you to a confidential resource.”
- Amnesty policy: a student who reports a sexual assault complaint will not be held accountable for a values violation provided the conduct of the complainant does not jeopardize the safety of another or the university.
- Student indicates she/he is a victim of sexual assault:
- Inform the complainant that he/she can make an official report with Public Safety or the university Title IX coordinator. Although a student files a report with Public Safety, the student does not have to initiate criminal action. If a report is filed with the Title IX coordinator, the Title IX coordinator will initiate an investigation that may lead to university action.
- Direct the student to the Student Handbook to review the Title IX misconduct policy and its enforcement.
- The student may want to talk with an attorney about their options.
- Direct the student to university counseling or the office of spiritual life; staff in these offices are equipped to assist students to make the decision to report or not report a violation.
Student indicates he/she has been accused of a sexual assault
- Inform the responder that he/she can make a statement to Public Safety or to the university Title IX coordinator. When a student indicates he/she has been accused of sexual assault violation, the Title IX coordinator with initiate an investigation that may or may not lead to university action.
- Inform the student that he/she may want to seek legal advice from an attorney.
- Direct the student to university counseling or the office of spiritual life; staff can advise the student as to their best option to respond to the allegation.
Actions That May be Initiated in Response to a Sexual Assault Allegation
In order to eliminate elements of a hostile educational environment, the Title IX Coordinator may initiate any or all of the following:
- No contact order – the complainant and responder are instructed to have no further contact unless specifically approved by the Title IX Coordinator.
- Residence hall reassignment – due to the nature of the incident or allegation, a student’s campus residence hall assignment may be changed to provide the student with a better feeling of safety.
- Classroom and/or course modification – in some instances where the complainant and responder are in the same class, the elimination of a hostile education environment will require one or both individuals being moved from the current classroom or course.
- Reasonable attendance adjustment – in conjunction with discussion with the professor, the university counselor and the Title IX Coordinator, curriculum attendance may be subject to realistic modifications.
- Campus restriction – the protection of a student’s educational environment may require restricting access to another who has no legitimate educational interest in a particular area of campus. In some situations, restriction may entail the creation of a schedule when the complainant and the responder can be in a particular area of campus (i.e. cafeteria).
Clery Act Compliance
The Jeanne Clery Act is federal legislation that informs individuals about crimes that occur on campus or the immediate surrounding area of university property or where university activities take place. On an annual basis Samford University compiles crime statistics that are available for review by anyone who desires to have information about crime and fire statistics on or near any Samford University property. Under the Clery Act, Samford University must identify campus security authorities (CSA) on campus.
A CSA is any employee who possess significant responsibility for student campus activities. Activities include student housing, student discipline, campus activities and programs, and student organizations. Examples of a CSA include:
- Director of housing/residence life
- Director of Greek Life
- Residential life staff including student staff
- Director of athletics, coaches, trainers, etc...
- Student judicial officers, student conduct, VP of Student Affairs
- Student center administrators
- Officials who oversee student extracurricular activities
- Faculty advisors to student groups/organizations
Employees who are not a CSA include:
- Faculty who does not advise a student group
- University support staff (clerical, maintenance and food service workers)
- University health physicians or nurses
- Employees who are exempt when acting in their assigned employment role within the scope of a professional license or religious assignment (a faculty advisor who is a licensed counselor, would be required to report a crime if they are not hired as a university counselor). Examples:
- Pastoral counselor recognized by a religious organization to provide confidential counseling
- Professional licensed mental health counselor
Clery reportable crimes that must be reported to the Public Safety office include:
- Criminal offense
- Sexual assault (forcible and non-forcible sex offenses)
- Aggravated assault
- Motor vehicle theft
- Liquor violation
- Drug violation
- Weapon violation
- Hate crime
- Simple assault
- Destruction/damages/vandalism of property
- Other crime
- Domestic violence
- Dating violence
- Stalking incidents
These crimes must be reported if they occur:
- On campus – including student residential buildings
- On public property adjacent to and accessible from campus
- On non-campus property owned or controlled by the university
Pursuant to federal legislations – Title IX policy and the Jeanne Clery Act - all university employees, except Samford University identified confidential resources, are required to report any act of sexual misconduct or sexual assault. University personnel identified as confidential resources are university counselors Richard Yoakum and Lyndsay Cogdill; university health provider Ms. Leslie Canfield; and ministers to students Mr. Brian Pitts and Mrs. Renee Pitts. All other employees are considered a Campus Security Authority – CSA.
CSAs are university personnel who have significant contact with students.
Title IX Enforcement for Employees
This section is being developed.