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Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded educational programs and activities. Under Title IX, sexual assault and sexual harassment are forms of discrimination on the basis of sex. The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which enforces Title IX, has recently provided detailed guidance on how educational institutions like KCC must investigate and respond to complaints of sexual assault and sexual harassment. Learn more in Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence from the Department of Education.
The Clery Act
The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act) is a federal law and accompanying regulations that require colleges and universities to disclose certain timely and annual information about campus crime, and security and safety policies. Compliance with the Clery Act is a condition for universities, like KCC, that participate in the federal student aid program, and is administered by the U.S. Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office. As a part of its Clery program, Kankakee Community College collects and publishes statistical information on crimes occurring on and around campus, as well as relevant crime and safety information, in its annual crime and safety report.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
The federal Violence Against Women Act amendments and accompanying regulations (VAWA) clarify the duties of universities to investigate and respond to reports of sexual assault, stalking, and dating and domestic violence, and to publish policies and procedures related to the handling of these cases. Under VAWA, universities also must provide training to the campus communities on sexual misconduct. Compliance with VAWA is a condition for universities, like KCC, that participate in the federal student aid program, and is administered by the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office. New VAWA regulations were published by the U.S. Department of Education in October 2014 and became effective July 1, 2105.
Illinois Gender Violence Act
Under this Act, a person who has been subjected to gender-related violence may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive relief, or other appropriate relief against a person or persons perpetrating that gender-related violence. You can read more about this act on the Illinois General Assembly website.
Sex discrimination includes any behavior or communication that improperly singles out, stigmatizes, victimizes, or otherwise subjects an individual to unequal treatment to his or her detriment on the basis of his/her sex, gender identity, or failure to conform to stereotypical notions of masculinity or femininity. Sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, verbal abuse, sexual harassment, sexual violence, and other acts of sexual misconduct. Sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with a student’s right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, dating/relationship violence and stalking, are crimes.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or acts that an individual did not request or invite and that are regarded as undesirable or offensive when:
- Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term of condition of a student’s individual’s education, academic advancement, evaluation, grades or employment;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is deemed to be used as the basis for an educational or employment decision affecting the individual;
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s educational or work performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or working environment; or
- Such conduct denies or limits a student’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services or opportunities of KCC’s programs or activities or the individual’s employment access, benefits or opportunities.
Examples of conduct of a sexual nature include:
- Verbal: Specific demands for sexual favors, sexual innuendos, sexually suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, or sexual threats.
- Non-Verbal: Sexually suggestive emails, other writings, articles or documents, objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds or gestures, leering, whistling, or obscene gestures.
- Physical: Nonconsensual touching, pinching, brushing the body, or any unwelcome or coerced sexual activity, including sexual assault.
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Includes any intentional or knowing contact, however slight, between the sex organ, mouth or anus of one person, by the sex organ, mouth, or anus of another person or the intrusion however slight of any body part including a finger(s), animal, or foreign object into the sex organ, anus or mouth of another by force or threat of force; intimidation; without the consent of the victim; or when the victim is unable to give consent due to age, diminished mental capacity, or intoxication.
Other Sexual Misconduct
Includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.
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, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Sexual exploitation includes invasion of sexual privacy, prostituting another individual, non-consensual video, photographing, or audio taping of sexual activity, going beyond the boundaries of consent, engaging in voyeurism, knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another individual, exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances, inducing another to expose their genitals.
Physical sexual acts perpetuated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g. due to the person’s age, use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent). Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
The term dating violence means violence committed by a person: 1) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and 2) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Dating Violence can include, but is not limited to:
- Physical violence: hitting, slapping, pushing, kicking, biting, pinching, holding or restraining, choking, or burning;
- Sexual Violence: forcing sex or specific sexual acts or behaviors or rape;
- Intimidation: breaking items, throwing things, or hurting animals;
- Threats and coercion: suicidal threats, threats of violence, threats to report the victim for misconduct or destroy their reputation and social connections, or coercion under threats to make the victim do things they normally would not and use those activities as further threats, threats against individual’s family, friends, or children;
- Isolation: keeping victim away from friends and family, monitoring and/or limiting phone calls, texts, emails, Facebook or other forms of communication, monitoring interactions and activities throughout the day, not allowing participation in activities or hobbies, or using jealousy as an excuse for all of these behaviors;
- Emotional abuse: name calling, put downs in front of others, humiliating and degrading victim through words and behaviors, or requiring victim to look or dress a certain way;
- Minimizing, blaming and denying the controlling behavior and abuse: blaming the victim for the abusive behavior, defining the abusive behavior as loving behavior, or describing the abusive behavior as normal;
- Use of privilege: use of privilege and social roles to justify behavior, use status as a citizen, certain religious faith, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic situation, or other privilege of status to threaten, coerce or justify behavior;
- For same-sex partners: “outing” or the threat of “outing” can be a strong element of control.
Domestic violence means asserted felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence and includes the use or attempted use of physical abuse or sexual abuse, or a pattern of any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim, including verbal, psychological, economic, or technological abuse that may or may not constitute criminal behavior, by a person who is a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, or person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim, is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, shares a child in common with the victim, or commits acts against a youth or adult victim who is protected from those acts under the family or domestic violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Knowingly and without justification follows or surveils another on at least 2 separate occasions and threatens or places in reasonable apprehension; stalking occurs when he or she knowingly engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person and knows or should know that the conduct would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or the safety of another person, or suffers emotional distress, defined as “significant mental suffering, anxiety or alarm. Stalking in conjunction with causing bodily harm, confining or restraining a person or violating court order or injunction is also prohibited.
Examples of stalking include, but are not limited to (includes third-party contact):
Stalking includes cyberstalking. Cyberstalking is to knowingly use electronic communication, including, without limitation, the creation and maintenance of an internet website or webpage for at least 24 hours which is accessible to one or more third parties, e-mail communication, and posting messages on a third party’s internet website or webpage, to engage in any of the following conduct: 1) transmit a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint to a specific person or a family member of that person; 2) place a specific person or a family member of that person in reasonable apprehension of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint; or 3) knowingly solicit a third party to transmit a threat of immediate or future bodily harm, sexual assault, confinement or restraint to a specific person or a family member of that person in violation of KCC’s Title IX Policy and Procedure.
- Following, monitoring, observing, or surveilling a person;
- Appearing at a person’s home, place of business, or classroom;
- Threatening or communicating to a person or about a person;
- Making harassing phone calls to a person;
- Mailing written messages, or sending electronic messages/photos;
- Leaving messages or objects at person’s home, place of business, vehicle, or classroom; and/or
- Interfering with or damages personal property, including pets.
Any form of retaliation, including intimidation, threats, harassment and other adverse action taken or threatened against any complainant or person reporting or filing a complaint alleging sexual discrimination, harassment or misconduct or any person cooperating in the investigation of such allegations (including testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in an investigation) is strictly prohibited. Action is generally deemed adverse if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by the College’s 2.2.6 Policy and Procedures. Retaliation may result in disciplinary or other action independent of the sanctions or interim measures imposed in response to the allegations of sexual discrimination, harassment or misconduct.
Hostile Environment Caused by Sexual Harassment
A sexually harassing hostile environment is created when conduct by an individual is so severe, pervasive or persistent that it denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services or opportunities of the College’s educational programs or activities or the individual’s employment access, benefits or opportunities. In determining whether a hostile environment has been created, the conduct in question will be considered from both a subjective and an objective perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim’s position, considering all the circumstances.
When a person is incapable of giving consent due to the person’s age, use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability which prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent.
To make timid or fearful, to compel or deter by or as if by threats. Intimidation is a form of retaliation prohibited by the College’s Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct Policy and Procedures.
Any oral or written expression or gesture that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as conveying an intent to cause harm to persons or property.
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual contact/activity.
- Consent to any one form of sexual contact/activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other form of sexual activity.
- Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
- In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.
- Sexual contact/activity with someone who one should know to be or reasonably should have known to be mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drugs, unconsciousness, sleep, or blackout), violate this policy.
- Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent.
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes it clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. This can include coercion by supervisory, instructional, or disciplinary authority.
Nine Fast Facts About Sexual Assault and Title IX*
- Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education programs that receive federal funding. (This means all public and charters K-12 schools, some private K-12 schools, and nearly all colleges and universities.)
- Sexual harassment, including sexual assault, is a type of sex discrimination that’s banned by Title IX.
- Sexual assault = a physical act done against a person’s will. This includes situations in which a person is incapable of giving consent due to drug or alcohol use.
- One in five women are victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college. That’s over 2 million women.
- Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment when it is sufficiently serious that it interferes with or limits a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program. (Rape is sufficiently severe to create a hostile environment.)
- If a school knows (or reasonably should know) about sexual harassment, including sexual assault, that creates a hostile environment, Title IX requires the school to take immediate action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
- Schools are required to adopt and publish grievance procedures for students who complain of sex discrimination, including sexual assault.
- If you file a complaint with the school, regardless of where the assault occurred, your school must process the complaint under grievance procedures.
- Because Title IX investigation is different from law enforcement investigation, even if you file a police report your school is independently required to investigate the assault. This investigation must be prompt, thorough, and impartial.
Nine Fast Facts About Sexual Assault and Title IX provided by www.nwlc.org.