Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil-rights law that applies to all schools, like Westminster, that receive federal funding. Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education and employment programs and activities. Sex includes gender, gender identity or expression, nonconformity with gender stereotypes, and sexual orientation.
The text of the law 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.
Westminster's Title IX policy prohibits:
- Sexual assault
- Sexual harassment
- Gender-based harassment
- Gender-based discrimination
- Sexual exploitation
- Dating violence
- Domestic violence
- False reporting
These forms of prohibited conduct are defined in the policy.
- Consent is present when clearly understandable words or actions manifest a knowing, voluntary agreement between parties to engage in specific sexual or intimate contact with one another.
- When determining whether consent was present, the college will consider whether a reasonable, sober person would consider the words or actions of the parties to clearly express a knowing, voluntary agreement between them to engage in specific sexual or intimate contact with one another.
- Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent.
- Consent cannot be inferred from:
- Silence, passivity, acceptance, or lack of resistance alone;
- A current or previous dating or sexual relationship;
- Consent given on a prior occasion;
- Consent given to another person (i.e., consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another person);
- Attire; or
- Buying dinner or spending money on a date.
- Consent to one sexual activity does not imply consent to another sexual activity.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time and for any reason.
- Consent is not effective if it is obtained through the use of physical force, violence, duress, intimidation, coercion, or the threat, either express or implied, of bodily injury. Whether the party used such methods to attempt to obtain consent will be determined by the perception of a sober, reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances.
- It is important not to make assumptions about whether a potential partner is consenting. In order to avoid confusion or ambiguity, participants are encouraged to talk with one another before engaging in sexual activity.
- If confusion or ambiguity arises during sexual activity, participants are encouraged to stop and ensure that there is a mutual willingness to continue that sexual activity.
- Incapacitation is defined as lacking the ability to understand one's actions.
- Intoxication vs. incapacitation: Consent cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated.
Therefore, it is imperative to be able to determine the difference between incapacitation
and intoxication. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. A
person is not necessarily incapacitated merely as a result of drinking or using drugs.
The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person.
- Some signs of intoxication include, but are not limited to:
- Slurred speech
- Weaving or stumbling while walking
- Exaggerated emotions
- Some signs of incapacitation include, but are not limited to:
- Inability to speak coherently
- Confusion on basic facts (day of the week, birthdate, etc.)
- Inability to walk unassisted
- Passing out
- Some signs of intoxication include, but are not limited to:
- It is possible for a person who has been drinking to give consent, however, consent given by someone who has been drinking or using drugs must be clear, voluntary, and unambiguous. To give consent, a person must be able to make informed decisions free from undue influence, pressure, or coercion. If a person lacks the ability to act clearly, voluntarily, and unambiguously, or if a person is unable to make informed decisions free from undue influence, pressure or coercion, they are incapacitated and cannot give consent.
- In evaluating consent in cases of alleged incapacitation, the college looks for the common signs of incapacitation and asks two questions: (1) Did the respondent know that the complainant was incapacitated and, if not, (2) Should a sober, reasonable person in the same situation have known that the complainant was incapacitated? The college also considers that a person who is incapacitated may not be able to understand some or all of the following questions: "Do you know where you are?" "Do you know how you got here?" "Do you know what is happening?" "Do you know whom you are with?"
- One should be cautious before engaging in sexual activity when either party has been drinking alcohol or using drugs. The introduction of alcohol or drugs may create ambiguity as to whether consent has been sought or given. If one has doubt about either party's level of intoxication, the safe thing to do is to forego all sexual activity.
- The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one's responsibility to obtain consent and does not excuse prohibited conduct under the Title IX policy.
On campus, individuals affected by potential prohibited conduct or those accused of engaging in prohibited conduct can speak confidentially with a therapist at the Counseling Center. Confidential means that information you provide will not be shared with anyone else on campus without your consent, unless required by law. You can make an appointment with the Counseling Center by calling 801.832.2465.
Off campus, you can receive help confidentially from the Rape Recovery Center by calling 801.467.7273. Contact information for other confidential resources is available on this webpage. Note that faculty, staff, and RAs are required to report potential prohibited conduct to the Title IX coordinator to ensure your safety, well-being, and academic success and the safety of the campus community.
No. There is no time limit for reporting prohibited conduct. Some individuals may not feel comfortable reporting sexual assault or interpersonal violence for days or weeks after an incident. There is also no time limit for requesting an investigation.
The Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinator will reach out to you to make sure you feel safe and know about resources. They will offer to meet with you to talk about supportive measures and your options, including an investigation, if appropriate. You don't have to respond to the Title IX coordinators if you don't want to, but are encouraged to do so.
No. Westminster does not contact law enforcement after receiving a report of prohibited conduct. However, the college will help you get in touch with law enforcement if you wish. By reporting a crime to law enforcement, you may be able to obtain a protective order. Westminster has limited ability to protect you off campus.
No. To encourage the reporting of prohibited conduct, the college will not pursue disciplinary action for disclosure of illegal personal consumption of drugs or alcohol where such disclosures are made in connection with a good-faith report or investigation of prohibited conduct. Students will be offered resources and educational opportunities.
You cannot be intimidated or harassed for making a good-faith report of prohibited conduct or participating in a proceeding. This is called retaliation, and you should let the Title IX coordinator know if you feel you are being retaliated against whether you are a reporting party, respondent, or witness.
No. You never have to pursue an investigation unless you choose to. However, in rare cases, the college may need to proceed with an investigation to ensure the safety of the broader campus community. In that case, you are not required to participate in the investigation, but this could limit the college's ability to take corrective action.
No. Reporting parties are entitled to supportive measures and resources regardless of whether they pursue an investigation. Examples of supportive measures are changes in housing, adjustment to class or work schedules, extensions on assignments, or rescheduling exams. You can make a request for supportive measures to the Title IX coordinator.
Yes. You can choose not to pursue either, to only pursue a college investigation, to only pursue a criminal investigation, or to pursue both. A college investigation is focused on ensuring that you are safe and have equal opportunity to pursue your education and employment. If you seek legal justice, you should report a crime to law enforcement.
During an investigation, the complainant (person bringing the complaint) and respondent (person accused of violating the policy) have the right to:
- Have proceedings free of conflicts of interest or bias
- Be informed of the allegations
- Have an advisor
- Provide information through interviews
- Provide information through documents such as emails, text messages, or photos
- Recommend witnesses who should be interviewed
- Review and comment on notes from their interviews
- Be fully informed about the process
- Receive the determination and any sanctions in writing
- Appeal the determination to a trained appeal panel
Yes. Both parties have the right to a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation. Impartial means that the Title IX coordinator and the specially trained investigators are neutral, do not favor one party over the other, and do not make prejudgments. The Title IX coordinator ensures that both parties have a fair process.
During an investigation, both parties are entitled to an advisor. This can be any person, including an attorney, with limited exceptions. The advisor does not participate in the process, but may accompany the parties to meetings or interviews. The college has trained faculty and staff who can serve as advisors.
The college attempts to complete the investigation within 60 calendar days of the respondent receiving written notice of the investigation. However, this timeframe may need to be adjusted to account for holidays; school breaks; availability of the parties, witnesses, or staff; a concurrent criminal investigation; or the complexity of the case.
Not exactly. Only the Counseling Center and Student Health Services are confidential resources. The college makes great efforts to ensure that any report or investigation is kept private, meaning that information is only shared with college officials on a need-to-know basis. We also encourage you not to discuss the investigation with others at the college.