Article 1, Part 1 - Student Rights

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§ 1-111 Sexual Misconduct Policy

  1. Purpose

    The purpose of this policy is to provide a safe and welcoming educational and work environment and to establish standards of conduct that are appropriate for our campus community; and to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 106; Section 304 of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”), 20 U.S.C. 1092(f), and its implementing regulations, 34 C.F.R. Part 668.46; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); the Illinois Human Rights Act; and the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, 105 ILCS 155/1 et seq.

    This policy was revised in July 2020 as part of the effort to align the University’s policy and procedures with new Title IX regulations and to incorporate recommendations made by the Committee on Faculty Sexual Misconduct for addressing unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct by employees. When investigating and adjudicating complaints of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” (as defined below), federal regulations require the University to follow specific procedures, some of which are unique to Title IX. This policy also addresses other categories of sexual misconduct that do not fall within the definition of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” (for example, because of the nature of the alleged conduct, where it took place, or who was involved) but that may violate other conduct requirements.

    The purpose of this policy in delineating which conduct is “Title IX Sexual Harassment” is not to imply that the University considers certain conduct more or less objectionable, nor to discourage any person from submitting a report. Rather, the purpose of this policy is to ensure that all persons who experience sexual misconduct described in this policy have full access to the rights and resources they are entitled to, and that every complaint is handled fairly and equitably, in a manner consistent with applicable law, and with the ultimate aim of maintaining an institutional climate of safety and accountability. Title IX requires a definition of “Title IX Sexual Harassment” that provides a floor—not a ceiling—to the varied forms of misconduct that can be prohibited at a university, and the University of Illinois has decided to go beyond this floor to promote a safe and welcoming culture and climate.

    Relation to Other Laws and Policies

    Conduct prohibited by this policy may violate other laws and policies, including, but not limited to, the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy, the University Code of Conduct, and the Student Code. Sexual misconduct that constitutes Title IX Sexual Harassment will be addressed pursuant to the University’s Title IX grievance procedure(s). Nothing in this policy prevents the University from addressing prohibited sexual misconduct that does not trigger the University’s Title IX response obligations under other applicable policies and procedures.

    In addition, this policy does not cover every allegation of discrimination based on sex. Other University policies prohibit discrimination and harassment that would not constitute sexual misconduct, as defined in this policy. When an individual alleges discriminatory action that is not sexual misconduct, as defined in this policy, the allegations are assessed under the applicable University policy. For information regarding other University policies addressing discrimination and harassment, visit the Nondiscrimination Policy.

    If the regulations implementing Title IX at 85 Fed. Reg. 30026, 30026-30579 are enjoined or invalidated by a Federal Court with jurisdiction over the University or reversed or replaced by any agency with sufficient authority, the Prohibited Sexual Misconduct Processes will immediately begin to apply to all reports and complaints of Prohibited Sexual Misconduct, including Title IX Sexual Harassment, and the Title IX Sexual Harassment Process will immediately be inoperative unless and until any such injunction, invalidation, reversal, or replacement is overturned.

  2. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (“University”) is committed to providing a safe and welcoming campus environment that is free from all forms of discrimination based on sex. The University does not discriminate against any person based on sex in its education programs or activities or in employment. This policy includes the processes to be used for all reports or complaints of sexual misconduct. The grievance processes for Title IX Sexual Harassment and other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct shall be distinct as set out in this policy. The University also prohibits retaliation against any person who, in good faith, reports or discloses a violation of this policy, files a complaint, or otherwise participates in an investigation, proceeding, complaint, or hearing under this policy.
  3. This policy applies to
    1. All students, Registered Organizations, Registered Student Organizations, and others subject to student discipline pursuant to § 1-301 of the Student Code;
    2. All University employees;
    3. Applicants for enrollment or employment with the University;
    4. Other affiliated individuals, including but not limited to, for purposes of this policy, visiting faculty, visiting scholars, and post-doctoral fellows; and
    5. Third parties, including but not limited to contractors, subcontractors, volunteers, and visitors.
  4. Title IX Sexual Harassment Process

    The Department of Education Office for Civil Rights amended in 2020 the regulations implementing Title IX. Under the regulations, Title IX prohibits sex discrimination, including Title IX Sexual Harassment, as defined below, in an education program or activity of the University against a person in the United States. An education program or activity of the University includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the alleged misconduct occurred, and also any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.

    Title IX Sexual Harassment is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that falls into one or more of the following categories as defined below in this policy: Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment, Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking. If a reported incident of sexual misconduct falls under the scope of Title IX (as determined by the Title IX Coordinator or their designee), the University will promptly contact the Complainant to review the University’s Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance process, review and offer available supportive measures, and provide information on the University’s process for filing a Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment, if desired. If a Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment is filed or if the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the University will respond promptly in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent and will follow its Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance procedures. Additional information about the University’s Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance procedures for Formal Complaints involving an employee respondent and for student conduct can be found on the We Care website, specifically at wecare.illinois.edu/policies/campus/.

    Reports of sexual misconduct that fall outside the University’s jurisdiction for responding to complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment will be dismissed under the University’s applicable Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance procedure. Additionally, the University may dismiss a Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment, or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing

    1. the Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein;
    2. the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University; or
    3. specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein.
  5. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct Processes

    Reports or complaints of sexual harassment that are not one of the categories included in Title IX Sexual Harassment will be addressed following the processes set out in the Office for Student Conflict Resolution’s Case Coordinator and Subcommittee Hearing Procedures (for student respondents) or the Office for Access & Equity’s Procedures for Addressing Discrimination, Harassment, and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Complaints (for employee respondents). Additional information about these procedures can be found on the We Care website, specifically at wecare.illinois.edu/policies/campus/.

  6. Definitions
    1. Sexual Misconduct means Title IX Sexual Harassment, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct, sexual violence, or sexual exploitation, as defined below.
    2. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct means any conduct prohibited by this policy other than Title IX Sexual Harassment.
    3. Title IX Sexual Harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
      1. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: conduct
        1. by an employee of the University, which
        2. conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University, on
        3. an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
      2. Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment:
        1. unwelcome conduct that
        2. a reasonable person would determine to be so
        3. severe,
        4. pervasive, and
        5. objectively offensive that
        6. it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or
      3. Sexual Assault (defined below); or
      4. Stalking (defined below); or
      5. Dating Violence (defined below); or
      6. Domestic Violence (defined below).
    4. Sexual Assault means any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. This includes:
      1. Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without the consent of the victim;
      2. The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent, as defined in this policy, of the victim; and
      3. Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
    5. Consent means informed, freely and actively given, mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity. A person can withdraw consent at any time. There is no consent when there is coercion, force, threats, or intimidation. There is no consent when the victim is under duress or is deceived. A person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or manner of dress do not constitute consent. Consent to past sexual activity with another person does not constitute consent to future sexual activity with that person. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another person. A person cannot consent to sexual activity if the person is unable to understand the nature, fact, or extent of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances including without limitation the following:
      1. the person is incapacitated due to the use or influence of alcohol or other drugs;
      2. the person is asleep or unconscious;
      3. the person is under the legal age to provide consent; or
      4. the person has a disability that prevents such person from having the ability or capacity to give consent.
    6. Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition,
      1. course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to, acts which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means follows, monitors, observes, surveilles, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property;
      2. reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim; and
      3. substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
    7. Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
    8. Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:
      1. a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim;
      2. a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common;
      3. a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the alleged victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
      4. a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Illinois; or
      5. any other person against an alleged adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Illinois.
    9. Unwelcome Sexual, Sex or Gender-Based Conduct means any unwelcome sexual, sex-based, or gender-based conduct occurring within or having an adverse impact on the workplace or academic environment, regardless of how it is conducted (physically, verbally, in writing, or via an electronic medium) and regardless of the sexes or genders of the individuals involved. This category of misconduct comes in three forms, each of which may also qualify as Title IX Sexual Harassment or violate the Nondiscrimination Policy in some circumstances:
      1. Gender-Based or Sexual Hostility: Objectively offensive treatment of another person or group, through words or conduct, with hostility, objectification, exclusion, or as having inferior status based on sex, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), or sexual orientation.
      2. Unwanted Sexual Attention: Objectively offensive sexual attention, advances, or comments that a person reasonably should know are unwanted or which continue to occur or persist after the recipient has communicated a desire that the behavior stop.
      3. Sexual Coercion: Use of force, violence, threats, or other threats of harm by an individual to compel or attempt to compel another individual to engage in unwelcome sexual activity.

      Unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct need not be illegal under existing laws to violate this policy. To be disciplined through a formal complaint process, however, the behavior must be by an employee acting in the course of employment. In investigating and responding to reports of violations, due consideration will be given to an individual’s rights to free speech, expression, and academic freedom. While speech can be used to harass or engage in unwelcome sexual, sex or gender-based conduct and can provide evidence of discriminatory intent, speech does not violate this policy just because it is subjectively offensive. A reasonable person must also find it offensive, it must lack bona fide academic purpose, and it must fall within one of the definitions of misconduct found in this policy. What sanctions or other responsive actions may be deemed appropriate, if any, will depend on the facts and circumstances of the case.

    10. Sexual Harassment means any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when
      1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or educational opportunities, assessment or status at the University;
      2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such individual, or
      3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working or educational environment.
    11. Sexual Exploitation means the use of another person’s nudity or sexual activity without consent for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit, personal advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Sexual exploitation includes, but is not limited to:
      1. without the knowledge and consent of all participants, observing, recording, or photographing nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons in a location where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, allowing another to observe, record, or photograph nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons, or otherwise distributing recordings, photographs, or other images of the nudity or sexual activity of one or more persons; and
      2. sending sexually explicit materials of another person without consent of the recipient.
    12. Sexual Violence means physical sexual acts attempted or perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual Violence includes Sexual Assault.
  7. Retaliation means intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, its implementing regulations, or this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy. Retaliation may include, but is not limited to harassment, discrimination, threats, or adverse employment action. Any person or group within the scope of this policy who engages in prohibited retaliation is subject to a separate complaint of retaliation under this policy.
  8. Title IX

    The lead Title IX Coordinator is responsible for and authorized to coordinate the University’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities for institutions that receive federal financial assistance, as well as retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege protected by Title IX. The lead Title IX Coordinator also oversees the University’s response to all reports and complaints of Prohibited Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment to monitor outcomes, identify any patterns, and assess their effects on the campus climate. The lead Title IX Coordinator evaluates requests for confidentiality by those who report or complain about Prohibited Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment for all students free from discrimination based on sex. The lead Title IX Coordinator is also responsible for effective implementation of any supportive measures or remedies for Prohibited Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment, and for overseeing the University’s recordkeeping obligations under Title IX. All formal complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment shall be reviewed and addressed in accordance with the grievance process set forth in the University’s Title IX Sexual Harassment grievance procedures for Formal Complaints which are required to:

    1. Treat complainants and respondents equitably in all manners, including by providing remedies to a Title IX Complainant where a determination of responsibility for Title IX Sexual Harassment has been made against the respondent, and by following the grievance process before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not supportive measures against a Title IX respondent;
    2. Require an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and provide that credibility determinations will not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness;
    3. Require that any individual designated by the University as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated by the University to facilitate an informal resolution process: a) not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent; and b) receive training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope of the University’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process, and how to serve impartially;
    4. Require that any individual designated by the University as a decision-maker receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence;
    5. Require that any individual designated by the University as an investigator receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
    6. Include a presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
    7. Include reasonably prompt timeframes for conclusion of the grievance process;
    8. Describe the range of possible disciplinary sanctions and remedies or list the possible disciplinary sanctions and remedies that the University may implement following any determination of responsibility;
    9. Base all decisions on the preponderance of the evidence standard;
    10. Include the procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.
    11. Describe the range of supportive measures available to complainants and respondents; and
    12. Not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitutes or seeks disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege will be required, allowed, or relied on unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.
  9. Danielle Morrison serves as the University’s lead Title IX Coordinator and can be contacted in person or by mail at 616 E. Green Street, Suite 214, Champaign, IL 61820; by phone at (844) 616-7978; or by email at titleixcoordinator@illinois.edu.
  10. A person should contact the lead Title IX Coordinator’s office to:
    1. seek information or training about rights and available actions to resolve reports or formal complaints involving potential sex discrimination, including Title IX Sexual Harassment and other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct;
    2. file a formal complaint or make a report of sex discrimination, including Title IX Sexual Harassment and other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct;
    3. obtain information about the availability of and for coordination of resources (including confidential resources) and supportive measures relating to sex discrimination, including Title IX Sexual Harassment and other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct;
    4. notify the University of an incident, policy, or procedure that may raise potential Title IX concerns; and
    5. ask questions about the University’s policies and procedures related to sex discrimination, including Title IX Sexual Harassment and other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct.
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