Title IX Term & Definitions
Methodist University has a legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is reasonably free from discrimination or harassment. Methodist University has procedures to receive, investigate, respond to, and resolve complaints of discrimination, including harassment based on sex. Title IX violations include discrimination based on sex or gender and include sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, nonconsensual sexual acts, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct.
Terms & Definitions
Actual knowledge means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the University’s Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Imputation of knowledge based solely on vicarious liability or constructive notice is insufficient to constitute actual knowledge. This standard is not met when the only official of the University with actual knowledge is the respondent. The mere ability or obligation to report sexual harassment or to inform a student about how to report sexual harassment, or having been trained to do so, does not qualify an individual as one who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University.
Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Violence, sexual abuse, physical abuse, or threats of or attempts at such abuse between partners who are or have been in a personal, romantic, or intimate relationship.
Attempting to cause bodily injury; intentionally causing bodily injury; or inflicting substantial emotional distress by causing fear of imminent serious bodily injury or harassment by someone with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a personal relationship. A personal relationship means one between current or former spouses, persons who live or have lived together, persons who have a child in common, or persons who are or have been in a dating relationship.
Formal complaint means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the recipient with which the formal complaint is filed. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information provided by the University and by any additional method designated by the University. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the recipient) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise a party and must comply with the requirements of this Policy AND all applicable regulations.
Gender Discrimination or Gender Harassment
Prohibited sex discrimination includes discrimination based on the person’s gender, but which is not sexual in nature. Methodist University’s policies prohibit gender‐based harassment, which means unwelcome conduct based on an individual’s actual or perceived sex, including discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation, gender expression, or nonconformity with sex stereotyping.
A report of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator that provides actual notice but that does not meet the standard of formal complaint, as defined herein. Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non‐business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Retaliation is acting against someone for that person’s participation in a protected activity. Protected activity under this policy includes (i) a good faith reporting of a complaint under the policy, (ii) participation in an investigation or hearing under the policy, and (iii) opposition to practices that an individual reasonably believes are in violation of this policy.
Conduct that denies or limits a person’s ability to benefit from or fully participate in educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, failure to provide equal opportunity in educational programs and co‐curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination. While this Policy does not apply to conduct that does not meet the regulatory definition of Sexual Harassment, Sex Discrimination in all forms is prohibited and may be addressed via other University conduct/grievance policies.
Sexual Coercion or Intimidation
Words or actions used to pressure, manipulate, isolate, trick or intimidate a person into engaging in unwanted sexual activity.
Sexual harassment means conduct based on sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
- “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30) [see relevant definitions herein]. The conduct meeting these requirements must occur against a person in the United States, as more particularly set forth in the regulations.
Sexual misconduct is any attempted or actual sexual contact directed against another person in the direct absence of effective, mutually understandable consent.
Prohibited sexual misconduct includes:
- Indecent Exposure: Deliberate exposure of one’s intimate body parts; the display of sexual behavior in a public or open setting.
- Non‐Consensual Sexual Contact: Any attempted or actual sexual touching directed against another person in the direct absence of effective, mutually understandable consent. Examples of sexual contact include but are not limited to the intentional touching, groping, or fondling of a person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or mouth or the clothing covering any of those areas, or using force to cause the person to touch, grope, or fondle his/her own breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or mouth or clothing covering any of those areas.
- Non‐Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Any sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or object by any person upon any other person without consent.
- Sexual Exploitation: Taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent. Examples include but are not limited to causing incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual activity; engaging in voyeurism, trespassing, spying, or eavesdropping for sexual arousal; distributing intimate or sexual information/images of another person; and/or knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection.
- Sexual violence: A form of sexual harassment and refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or when the person is incapable of giving consent because of a disability, drug or alcohol use, or other reason. Examples of sexual violence include rape, “date rape,” sexual assault, and forcefully coercing someone to have sex or perform a sexual act.
- Stalking: Any course of conduct directed against another person that violates reasonable expectations of personal privacy and that is sufficiently serious to cause physical, emotional, or psychological fear or to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment to a reasonable person. This includes actions or contact through a third party. Examples include but are not limited to repeatedly contacting or following a person; use of electronic devices or software to obtain or attempt to obtain private data; entering or opening a student’s private property without express consent; use of another person’s password or ID to attempt to gain access to personal information.
Supportive measures mean non‐disciplinary, non‐punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the recipient’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course‐related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security, and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. The University must maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.