MESSAGE

Operational Procedures for Implementing University Policy # SW 508 and GA 117 - Sexual Misconduct

INTRODUCTION

William Carey University is committed to providing its students, faculty, and employees with an environment free from sexual misconduct in any form, including sexual assault or sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and other forms of nonconsensual sexual conduct. Sexual misconduct of any person is inappropriate, unacceptable, and contrary to Christian Biblical standards of conduct expected of all members of the university community, students, faculty, and staff. William Carey prohibits sexual misconduct of any kind. Engaging in or advocating engagement in sexually immoral acts or lifestyles is deemed inappropriate by the university. Such acts and lifestyles deemed inappropriate include any act of sexual relations outside of marriage, including but not limited to, adultery, cohabitation, incest, stalking, acquaintance or date rape, and sexual assault or abuse.

William Carey University provides a safe environment where students and employees who believe they have been victims of sexual misconduct can not only initiate a complaint with the university but also pursue criminal or civil charges against the individual(s). Retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct will not be tolerated by the university. William Carey University reaffirms its commitment to adhere to all provisions of federal and state laws governing sexual misconduct. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states that all students and employees have a right to be free from sexual discrimination in the form of sexual harassment and sexual violence. All university employees have a duty to report, and are expected to report, actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials. Employees who receive reports should not determine whether or not an incident constitutes an act of sexual misconduct in order to report it.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination in university programs and activities, and employment. Sexual harassment and sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Title IX also prohibits retaliation against people for making or participating in complaints of sex discrimination.  

William Carey University will not tolerate sexual misconduct, sexual assault or harassment, or sexual violence in any form, to include acquaintance or date rape and forced unwanted sexual contact. The use of alcohol or drugs by either party will not diminish the responsibility for sexual assault. Acts of this type not only violate the policies of the university and its community but also the criminal laws of the State of Mississippi.  In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, mediation will not be used to resolve sexual assault complaints.   

SCOPE

University policies #SW 508 and GA 117 apply to all students, employees, and to others, as appropriate, with respect to activities occurring on any university property and university related activities occurring off campus. It also applies to persons conducting business with or visiting the university, even though such persons are not directly affiliated with the university. Likewise, reports of sexual misconduct, sexual assault and/or sexual harassment committed by a university student or employee at a location other than University property are covered by this policy.

CONFIDENTIALITY

William Carey University is committed to creating an environment that encourages individuals to come forward if they have experienced any form of sexual misconduct. To the extent permitted by law and the enforcement of this policy, the university will work to safeguard the identities and privacy of those who seek help or who report sexual misconduct. University employees cannot guarantee complete confidentiality. Information is disclosed only to those individuals who have an essential need to know in order to carry out their university responsibilities. The university will follow local, state, and federal laws regarding reporting sexual misconduct.

EDUCATION

The university will make this policy readily available to all students and employees. Specifically, the university will educate students and employees during orientation sessions for students and new employees, annual faculty/staff meetings, and residence hall meetings. The university utilizes education, equal educational and employment opportunity training, and procedures to ensure the protection of student rights. University conduct officers and Title IX Coordinators will review federal policies and training annually.

Sexual misconduct is a broad term that defines any unwelcomed behavior of a sexual nature committed without consent. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, and sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct encompasses behaviors such as rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and any other conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the purpose or effect of threatening, intimidating, or coercing a person or persons. Sexual misconduct also includes consensual acts outside of marriage including, but not limited to, premarital and extramarital behavior and faculty-student relationships.    

Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Some examples include, but are not limited to, electronically recording, photographing or transmitting sexual activity without consent even if the sexual activity is consensual, secretive observation or electronically recording of another for sexual pleasure, sexually based stalking or bullying, including persistent calling, texting, or internet posting.

Sexual assault or an attempt to commit sexual assault is defined as sexual contact that occurs without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact also may include contact of a sexual nature with an object. 

Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse, however slight, by any person upon another without consent and/or by force. It includes oral, anal, and vaginal penetration, to any degree, with any object. It is referred to as “sexual assault” in this policy.

Non-consensual sexual contact is knowingly touching or fondling a person’s genitals, breasts, thighs, groin, or buttocks, or any other contact of a sexual nature, when consent is not present. This includes contact done directly, through clothing, or with an object.

Dating Violence is violence by a person who is, or has been, in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.

Domestic Violence includes asserted violent misdemeanor and felony offenses committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former husband, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law.

Stalking  is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety (or the safety of a third party) or suffer other emotional distress.

Conduct that can amount to stalking may include any actions directed at another person, whether done directly, indirectly, through others, via devices, or via any other methods or means (specifically including electronic means), including but not limited to:

  • Following a person
  • Being or remaining in close proximity to a person
  • Entering or remaining on or near a person’s property, residence, or place of employment
  • Monitoring, observing or conducting surveillance of a person
  • Threatening (directly or indirectly) a person
  • Communicating to or about a person
  • Giving gifts or objects to, or leaving items for, a person
  • Interfering with or damaging a person’s property
  • Engaging in other unwelcome contact

Sexual Harassment

Harassment can include any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a person’s employment, activities, or education
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting said individual
  • Conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic, activity, or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or otherwise offensive working or educational environment

Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexually degrading words or gestures used to describe an individual
  • Unnecessary touching, patting, pinching, or brushing of another’s body or clothing
  • Repeated sexual flirtation, leering, or ogling
  • Stalking, telephone, or computer harassment
  • Display of sexually demeaning objects, pictures, or cartoons in hallways, outdoor areas, offices, and rooms publicly accessible to members of the University community
  • Direct or indirect threats or insinuations that an individual’s refusal to submit to sexual advances will affect adversely the individual’s status, evaluation, wages, advancement, duties, or career development.
  • Obscene gestures
  • Sexual graffiti, pictures, or posters
  • Sexually explicit profanity
  • Stalking or cyberbullying that is based on gender or sex
  • E-mail, texting (“sexting”) and Internet use that violates this policy

Consent is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to engage in each form of sexual activity. The lack of informed, freely given consent to sexual contact constitutes sexual misconduct.

  • Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity
  • Someone who is incapacitated cannot consent
  • Past consent does not imply future consent
  • Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time
  • Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent

Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent.

  • Sexual activity with someone who should know to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.
  • This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of illegal drugs.
  • The use of alcohol or drugs will not function as a defense to violate this policy.

Reporting sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, or sexual assault

Students have options when reporting an alleged violation:

  • A student may report an alleged violation of this policy to any WCU employee who will report it to the Vice President for Student Support
  • A student may contact one of the university officials listed: the WCU Vice President for Student Support, campus security, the Title IX Coordinator, the Administrative Dean for the Tradition campus, the Associate Dean for Student Affairs (COM students), or the director of the WCU Nursing Center for the Slidell site.

An investigation will be conducted by the Vice President for Student Support in accordance with the complaint and grievance policy for students, faculty, or staff as it relates to the complaint. Students are encouraged to report to designated individuals.
The university will consider the welfare of the alleged victim and the university community, as well as the rights of the accused. Retaliation against a student who brings a complaint is prohibited and will not be tolerated.

In addition to violating the university's policy, sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment and assault, may be a violation of state and federal laws.  Therefore, a student who feels that his/her rights have been violated may bring legal action, in addition to making a complaint to the university.

Individuals who would like to file a report should contact:

Office of Student Support (students)
Vice President for Student Support
WCU Box 195
710 William Carey Parkway
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601) 318-6188

Tradition Campus
Administrative Dean
19640 Highway 67
Biloxi, Mississippi 39532
(228) 702-1802

University Compliance Office
Title IX Coordinator
WCU Box 2
710 William Carey Parkway
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601)318-6433

Campus Security
Hattiesburg campus (601) 318 – 6300

Human Resources (employees)
Director of Human Resources
WCU Box 2
710 William Carey Parkway
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601) 318-6126

COM – Student Affairs
Associate Dean, Student Affairs
WCU Box 207
710 William Carey Parkway
Hattiesburg, MS 39401
(601) 318-6290

Slidell Site
Director of the WCU Nursing Center
320 E Howze Beach Blvd.
I–10 Service Road
Slidell, LA 70461
(504) 671-6684

Procedures for Reporting a Sexual Offense

  • The student should go to a safe place as soon as possible.
  • The student should seek medical treatment immediately for assessment of injuries, determination of risk of sexually transmitted diseases, and collection of evidence in case criminal prosecution is pursued.
  • The student should not shower, bathe, or change clothes until after medical treatment is obtained.
  • Contact any WCU employee who will contact the designated university official for that respective campus or location.
  • The student will be provided with options regarding counseling and other resources for dealing with the situation.
  • The Title IX Coordinator will ensure compliance with reports of sexual misconduct.

Procedures for Responding to Accusations of Sexual Offense

The victim of an alleged sexual offense is entitled to and will receive the following:

  • A caring response to the complaint with emphasis on a concern for his/her well-being
  • A complete investigation of all allegations
  • Notification of the outcome of the investigation and, if applicable, the hearing
  • The opportunity to appeal an unsatisfactory decision

A student accused of a sexual offense is entitled to and will receive the following:

  • A clear description of all charges
  • A minimum 24-hour advance notification of a hearing
  • A fair hearing conducted without unnecessary delay after the investigation
  • Prompt notification of final decision by the person or judicial council which hears the case
  • The opportunity to appeal an unsatisfactory decision

After the incident is reported, the WCU Vice President for Student Support will:

  • Initiate an investigation in which the alleged victim, the accused, and others may be questioned.
  • Prepare a written report of the results of the investigation.
  • Notify the accuser of the outcome of the investigation. 
  • If evidence confirms the allegations, the WCU Vice President for Student Support will then implement appropriate disciplinary action. Any person found responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion or termination, depending on the severity of the incident.
  • The victim of a sexual offense will also be notified of any disciplinary action taken.

The university will make every effort to ensure the safety and well-being of the victim and the accused. Where necessary and if available the university will increase monitoring or security, change housing facilities, alter student work schedules, alter academic schedules, access academic support such as tutoring, and issue no contact orders.

If the accused or the accuser has a complaint about the way in which the case was handled or about the outcome of the process, he/she may appeal the case to the President of the university.

Preponderance of Evidence

The complainant has the burden of providing evidence of the alleged sexual harassment and/or sexual violence, as well as the burden of proving that it is more likely than not that the alleged sexual harassment and/or sexual violence occurred.

RETALIATION

William Carey University strictly prohibits any retaliation against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities under this policy, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations of sexual misconduct. Therefore, any retaliation, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any such individual will be addressed in the most serious way by the university, and individuals who engage in such actions are subject to disciplinary action that may include suspension or dismissal from the university. Anyone who is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator who shall take appropriate actions to address such conduct in a prompt and equitable manner.

Legal Options of the Student

The student is not obligated to pursue disciplinary action or legal prosecution.  However, hospitals are required by law to report anonymously incidents of rape. All institutions of higher education are required to report anonymously any crimes which occur on campus that are officially reported.

Options for assistance

Students, faculty, or staff may seek assistance through the following resources:

  • Wesley Behavior Health Counseling Center - Free sessions for students available through the Office of Student Support.
  • Shafer Center for Crisis Intervention (601) 264 - 7777

            24 – hour local rape crisis center

  • Gulf Coast Women’s Center in Tradition (228) 435-1968 or toll free 1-800-800-1396

Review

This policy will be reviewed annually by the Title IX Coordinator and as necessitated by a change in the law.