Terms & Definitions

Advisor of Choice

Both the complainant and respondent have the right to an advisor of choice present when the Title IX process reaches the hearing. This person may be anyone, regardless of their relationship to the complainant/respondent and regardless of their affiliation to the university. The advisor of choice may not interject during the hearing with the exception of asking cross-examination questions. If a complainant or respondent does not have an advisor of choice, the university will assign one to them.

Complainant/Respondent

A complainant is any individual who alleges that they are a victim of sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct. A respondent is any individual who is reported to be the perpetrator of sexual harassment and/or sexual misconduct.

Bystander Intervention

Bystander Intervention is recognizing a potentially harmful situation or interaction and choosing to respond in a way that could positively influence the outcome. Bystander intervention by students can be a critical aspect of enhancing the welfare of their peers. Students are strongly encouraged to contact University personnel, call 911 or seek other professional or medical attention when the health or safety of themselves or others is threatened or appears to be at risk.

Confidentiality

Conversations with Title IX Coordinators and/or other university personnel are kept as confidential as possible, but information about incidents of suspected violations of Title IX must be shared to the extent necessary to provide supportive measures, investigate, and take any corrective action deemed appropriate by the University. There are only two fully confidential resources available on campus: University Health and Counseling Center and University Campus Pastors.

Consent

Consent is explicit, informed, voluntary and mutually understandable communication to willingly participate in specific sexual activity without pressure, threats, coercion, force or intimidation. Verbally agreeing to sexual activities can help partners respect each other’s boundaries. Either person must also be able to withdraw consent and cease any sexual activity at any time. A passive response or sexual advances that are not resisted physically or verbally is not consent. Similarly, in the context of a current relationship, previous sexual encounters and/or silence from the individual is not consent.

Someone who is not of legal age (18 years in Oregon), or is physically or mentally incapacitated, cannot give consent. Similarly, someone who has a mental disorder may not be able to give consent. The use of alcohol or drugs may render an individual incapacitated and unable to give consent due to impaired judgment and the inability to make decisions or communicate intentions. Consent cannot be given by someone who is unconscious or unaware, or for any reason is unable to communicate their intentions.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of: (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the type of the relationship, and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship. The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation and humiliation to control the other person. Forms of abuse can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional and psychological.

Examples include, but are not limited to, trying to cut off the victim’s relationship with family and friends, humiliating the victim in front of friends, making the victim fearful by using threatening behavior, threatening to find someone else if the dating partner doesn’t comply with the abuser’s wishes or demands, using or threatening to use physically assaultive behaviors such as hitting, shoving, grabbing, slapping, beating, kicking, and touching or forcing the victim to engage in unwanted sexual activity.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act) is the use of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or threats to control another person who is a current or former spouse or other intimate partner, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend. It includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Examples of domestic violence include but are not limited to:

  • Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member
  • Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm
  • Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress
  • Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested

Informal Resolution

Students have the option to choose an informal resolution process rather than going through a formal Title IX investigation and hearing. An informal resolution gives both parties an opportunity to go through a mediated process in order to come to a mutually agreeable resolution. Both parties must freely choose to participate in an informal resolution.

Preponderance of the Evidence

Preponderance of the evidence is one type of evidentiary standard used in a burden of proof analysis. Under the preponderance standard, the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the fact finder that there is a greater than 50% chance that the claim is true. This is the standard used by George Fox University in its sexual misconduct grievance processes.

Retaliation

Federal law and institutional policy prohibits retaliation. It is defined as any adverse or negative action against a person participating in any reporting, investigation or proceeding that is perceived as: intimidating, threatening, coercing, hostile, harassing, retribution, or violence that occurred in connection to the making and follow-up of the report.  This also includes actions against an individual who has: (1) complained about alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation, (2) participated as a party or witness in an investigation relating to such allegations, or (3) participated as a party or witness in a court proceeding or administrative investigation relating to such allegations.

Federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, make it unlawful to retaliate against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by these laws. Intimidation means to make fearful or to put a person into fear. Generally, proof of actual fear is not required in order to establish intimidation. It may be inferred from conduct, words, or circumstances reasonably calculated to produce fear. Any person violating this policy may be subject to appropriate community accountability, up to and including termination if they are an employee, and suspension or dismissal if they are an undergraduate or graduate/George Fox Connect student.

SAFE/SANE (Medical Examination)

If you have experienced a sexual assault, you are encouraged to first find a safe location and then to consider getting a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) at the local hospital conducted by a specially trained sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE). Survivors can also request an advocate be present to assist during the exam. These exams can be performed without a report to law enforcement, and evidence can be collected and held for up to six months through an anonymous collection process. This gives the survivor time to consider whether to report the incident to law enforcement. 

Following a sexual assault, the most important concern is for the health, safety, and care of the survivor.  As difficult as it can be, we strongly encourage students to seek medical assistance at the Providence Newberg Hospital Emergency Room (or at the nearest hospital) immediately following a sexual assault. A medical examination is vital for the health and well-being of the sexual assault survivor, and also will offer assistance to law enforcement if a report is made. A medical examination is an important element of obtaining evidence if a person desires to press charges. Normally, there is no cost to the survivor and it is not documented through the person’s health insurance.

While the first inclination of a survivor may be to take a shower, it’s important to not wash, shower, bathe or douche; or to change, destroy or clean the clothes worn during the assault before having the exam. Forensic medical exams should take place within the first 120 hours or 5 days. It is important to bring a change of clothing if the person goes to the hospital. It may be necessary for the nurse or police to keep the clothes worn during the assault. If the person has already changed clothes, the articles of clothing that were worn can be brought in a paper bag. 

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is not tolerated in the George Fox community. These behaviors violate local, state and federal law. Sexual assault can occur between any two or more people, regardless of age or gender. The University highly encourages reporting parties to utilize the provided internal and external resources for reporting, support and help.

Sexual assault is defined as any nonconsensual sexual contact or intercourse, whether it is forced or unforced. This includes any non consensual contact with intimate body parts of an individual, as well as penetration, however slight, with a body part or an object.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited, and the behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.

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

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual viewing, videoing, audio-taping or broadcasting sexual activity;
  • Engaging in voyeurism, which is the sexual interest in or practice of spying on people engaged in intimate behaviors, such as undressing, sexual activity, or other actions usually considered to be of a private nature;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another person;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Sexually based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

Sexual Harassment

Title IX defines sexual harassment as (a) unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive” that it effectively denies a person equal access to education or (b) an employee that conditions aid, benefit, or service of the institution on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo).

While sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of conduct that may be verbal, visual, or physical in nature, specifically prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Promising, directly or indirectly, a student, employee or other person a reward, if the student or employee complies with a sexually oriented request.
  • Threatening, directly or indirectly, retaliation against a student, an employee or another person, if the student, employee or another person refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request.
  • Denying, directly or indirectly, a student or employee an employment or education related opportunity, if the student or employee refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request.
  • Engaging in sexually suggestive conversation.
  • Displaying pornographic or sexually oriented materials.
  • Engaging in indecent exposure.
  • Making sexual or romantic advances toward a student, employee or another person and persisting despite the student’s, employee’s or other person’s rejection of the advances.
  • Physical conduct such as assault, touching, or blocking normal movement.
  • Retaliation for reporting harassing behavior or stating they are going to report harassing behavior.

More subtle forms of inappropriate behavior such as offensive posters, cartoons, caricatures, comments, and jokes of a sexual nature are prohibited, as they may constitute sexual harassment when they contribute to a hostile or offensive work, academic, or student life environment. A person does not have to be the target of sexual harassment to be sexually harassed.

Sexual harassment can involve males or females being harassed by members of either sex.  Although sexual harassment sometimes involves a person in a greater position of authority as the harasser, individuals in positions of lesser or equal authority also can be found responsible for engaging in prohibited harassment.

Sexual harassment can be physical and/or psychological in nature. An aggregation of a series of incidents can constitute sexual harassment even if one of the incidents considered separately would not rise to the level of harassment.

Stalking

Stalking is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Acts of stalking include but are not limited to: electronic or telephone harassment, being followed, receiving unwanted gifts, and other similar forms of intrusive behavior.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

Unwelcome or unwanted attention can also be cause for concern. This may include, but is not limited to, repetitive communication and/or behaviors that can make an individual feel uncomfortable to some degree. These types of behaviors are still cause for concern and will be handled as such.

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are actions coordinated by the Title IX Coordinator that restore or preserve access to educational activities and programs. These measures are assessed on an individual basis and take into consideration the complainant’s needs and wishes. They are made available once a report has been made regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed. The following are examples of the range of supportive measures available to a complainant:

  • Counseling services
  • Extension of deadlines (academic and on-campus employment)
  • Modification of work/class schedules
  • Campus Public Safety escort services
  • Mutual restriction of contact
  • Change in housing/work location
  • Leave of absence

Supportive measures implemented on behalf of the complainant must be non-punitive and cannot place an undue burden on the respondent. However, emergency removals may be enacted if it is determined that there is an immediate threat to an individual’s or community’s safety.

Title IX Roles

All Title IX personnel are designated by the university and specifically trained for their roles. To see the training materials utilized you can visit the George Fox University Title IX website: georgefox.edu/titleIX

Hearing Officer: The hearing officer is responsible for conducting the hearing and issuing a finding of responsibility based upon a preponderance of the evidence. In a formal Title IX hearing, the hearing officer also determines whether a cross-examination question is relevant to the hearing.

Investigator: The investigator is responsible for obtaining all the facts of a sexual misconduct incident and providing a written report for the Title IX Coordinator and hearing officer.

Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for assessing and coordinating the implementation of support services. They are also responsible for the coordination of the Title IX process including providing written notice(s) and submitting the final written report.

False Reporting

Any graduate/DPS student found to be falsely reporting and/or falsely accusing an individual of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, bias-related incidents, or hate crimes may face appropriate aspects of community accountability, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University.

Bullying, Cyberbullying and Hazing

Bullying is unwanted, repetitive and/or aggressive behaviors that intimidate, intentionally harm, attack, or control another person physically, emotionally or socially.  This behavior can often be discriminatory towards protected attributes as outlined in the university’s harassment and discrimination policy.  It often involves an imbalance of power that is directed towards a specific person or group.

Actions may include, but are not limited to the following: making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, inappropriate sexual comments, taunting, spreading rumors about someone, making mean or rude hand gestures, or physically hurting a person’s body or possessions. It may also include various aspects outlined under the hazing policy.

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology, which may include devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers and tablets, as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.  Examples of cyber-bullying include, but are not limited to, the following: demeaning or discriminatory text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. 

For tips, tools and solutions for recognizing and stopping bullying in social media and online please see the following: http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/college-resource-center/cyberbullying-awareness.

Hazing

George Fox supports activities that are designed to develop community and to impart group traditions. We are committed to introducing new students to campus traditions, language and customs that enhance a sense of belonging and encourage involvement in university life. Understanding this, it is our desire to accomplish the following goals as students become members of campus activities, teams or groups: 1) to help students build positive relationships with others; 2) to familiarize students with current and historical traditions; and 3) to provide an atmosphere in which students may come to understand that they are part of the George Fox history, present, and future.

We will make every reasonable effort to ensure that students who voluntarily participate in campus activities and groups are treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with the university’s mission, and that any induction or other activities fit within the mission statement as well as within common and civil law. Thus, induction and other group activities will be governed by the following expectations.

There is to be no behavior that causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger or physical harm, or serious mental or emotional harm, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate. Even if a participant claims that no one was forced to partake, such an activity or behavior is still considered hazing. Groupthink behavior, peer pressure and coercion often play a role.  Specifically, please note the following:

Activity that may cause bodily danger or physical harm includes physical activity such as (but not limited to) forced calisthenics or exposure to the elements, sleep deprivation or confinement. It also includes the forced consumption or application of food, liquid, alcohol or harmful substances.

Mental or emotional harm includes embarrassment, ridicule, verbal abuse and personal humiliation.

No activities are allowed that induce, cause or require students to violate local, state or federal law or campus rules and regulations.

Only currently enrolled George Fox students may be involved in team or group-induction activities, unless they are given explicit permission to include others by their group advisor, coach or instructor.

Violation of this policy could also be a violation of Oregon state law, which may result in a student’s loss of financial aid.  Any group/club/team member violating these standards risks suspension from group/team activities.  Consequences may also involve sanctions for the entire group.  Violations of the Hazing Policy for Oregon State Law will be assumed to constitute violations of university policy, as well.

If you have any questions regarding campus policies or procedures, please contact the dean of students or the associate dean of students.