Sexual Misconduct

Policy Statement

As a matter of policy, the faculty, staff and students of the university community will not tolerate sexual misconduct, exploitation, or harassment. The University of West Georgia (‘the University’) is committed to maintaining a fair and respectful environment for living, working, and studying. To that end, and in accordance with federal and state law, Board of Regents’ policy, and Title IX, the University prohibits any member of the faculty, staff, administration, student body, or visitors to campus, whether they be guests, patrons, independent contractors or clients, regardless of the sex of the other party, from sexually harassing, assaulting, or exploiting any other member of the University community including behaviors defined as sexual misconduct in the university policies. Reports of any behaviors that may be construed as any of these will be met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is defined as sexual contact by anyone, whether they are an acquaintance, stranger or intimate partner, without consent, and includes but is not limited to: intentional touching without consent, either of the victim or when the victim is forced to touch, directly or through clothing, another person's genitals, breasts, groin, thighs, buttocks; rape (sexual intercourse without consent whether by an acquaintance or a stranger); aggravated assault; aggravated sodomy (sexual penetration with an object without consent); sodomy (anal or oral intercourse without consent); non-consensual kissing; statutory rape; child molestation; aggravated child molestation; voyeurism; and public indecency. It is a violation of this policy to engage in any form of sexual activity or conduct without the consent of the other person. Such consent may be withdrawn at any time, without regard to activity preceding the withdrawal of consent.

Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by fraud, threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time.

The perpetrator's honest, but unreasonable, belief that the victim has consented does not constitute consent. The use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of this policy. The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of the individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy. For reference to the pertinent state statues on sex offenses, please see Georgia Statues in section 16-6.

Any student found responsible for violating the policies on sexual misconduct will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion. The conduct body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.

Sexual Harassment

Pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 'sexual harassment' is defined as Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:

1. submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment or status in a course, program or activity;

2. submission 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 interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity.

Examples of Sexual Harassment

1. Threats to make an adverse employment or academic decision if another person refuses to engage in sexual activities.

2. Demands that another person engage in sexual activities in order to obtain or retain employment or academic benefits.

3. Promises, implied or direct, to give employment or academic benefits if another person engages in sexual activities.

4. Unwelcome and unnecessary touching or other sexually suggestive physical contact, or threats to engage in such conduct.

5. Indecent exposure.

6. Invasion of sexual privacy.

7. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexual comments and questions, and other sexually oriented conduct that is directed against a specific individual and persists despite its rejection.

8. Conduct, even that not specifically directed at the complainant, which is sufficiently pervasive, severe or persistent to alter the conditions of the complainant's employment or status as a student and create a hostile working or learning environment, when viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person of the complainant's gender.

Sexual Exploitation

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

• Prostituting another student
• Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity
• Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as allowing friends to hide in the closet to watch you have consensual sex)
• Voyeurism
• Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student.
• Child Molestation
• Statutory Rape

Rights of Complainants

It is the policy and practice of the University of West Georgia to provide an environment that is sensitive and responsive to victims of sexual misconduct, harassment, and exploitation. In accordance with this position and Title IX as well as other discrimination polices defined by the Office for Civil Rights, the university has established a policy for students, employees, and others who may become victims of such incidents on its campuses.

Complainants are entitled to the following rights:

1. To have sexual misconduct, harassment, and exploitation treated with seriousness.

2. To be treated with dignity.

3. To have sexual misconduct, harassment, and exploitation investigated and adjudicated by appropriate criminal and civil authorities.

4. To receive the full and prompt cooperation and assistance of university personnel in notifying the proper authorities.

5. To be free from any kind of pressure by university personnel not to report crimes, to report crimes as lesser offenses than the victim/complainant perceives, or to resolve complaints through mediation.

6. To have legal assistance, or to have others present, in any campus disciplinary proceedings in the same manner that the institution permits to the accused and to be notified of the outcome of such proceedings.

7. To receive the full and prompt cooperation of campus personnel in obtaining, securing, and maintaining evidence as may be necessary to the proof of criminal sex-related behaviors in legal proceedings.

8. To be made aware of, and assisted in exercising, options regarding mandatory testing of sexual assault and misconduct suspects for communicable diseases and to be notified of the results of such testing.

9. To receive counseling from mental health services established by the university or from other victim-service agencies.

10. To be protected by campus personnel to the extent reasonably feasible from unnecessary or unwanted contact with alleged assailants, including the right to reasonable accommodations for academic and housing arrangements.

11. To give testimony for a judicial hearing in a manner where the victim is outside the room where the accused is present.

12. To appeal judicial decisions according to the university appeals process for victims of sexual-related offenses. The hearing officer can supply a description of the appeal process.

Victims of sexual misconduct, harassment, or exploitation may contact the offices listed next for assistance.

University Police
(to report incident or to reach other offices after hours)

Health Services: Services for those impacted by sexual assault are free and confidential. Services include medical treatment, forensic exam, medications and advocacy.

Counseling Center: Provides Confidential Counseling with licensed therapists.

West Georgia Prevention & Advocacy Resource Center: A 24 hour hotline that provides crisis intervention and advocacy.

UWG Patient Advocates
Jill Hendricks

Corey Hindman

Title IX Coordinator
Claudia Lyerly

The Title IX Coordinator oversees the process for addressing sexual discrimination complaints.

Grievances or Making a Complaint 
The grievance or complaint process for victims of sexual misconduct, assault, harassment, exploitation, or any other complaint qualifying under Title IX includes elements supplementary to the adjudication of student conduct cases outlined in Appendix A of the Student Handbook.

Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents to the police and/or the university (contacts listed above) regardless of the time elapsed since the incident. The contact information for Title IX Coordinators is listed on the University web site. Complaints may also be filed through the UWG Cares web site via the online reporting tool

The complaint should clearly describe the alleged incident(s), when and where it occurred, and the remedy sought. Additionally, the submitter of the complaint should submit any supporting materials in writing as quickly as it is practical.

Students who file a complaint will be contacted by a trained university official. Students who make a complaint are not required to pursue legal action. In some cases depending on the circumstances, the university may be compelled to complete an investigation whether or not the complainant chooses to take a complaint through the criminal or university student conduct processes.

Prohibition against Retaliation

Anyone who, in good faith, reports what he or she believes to be sexual misconduct, discrimination, or harassment, or who participates or cooperates in any investigation, should not be subjected to retaliation.  Anyone who believes he or she has been the survivor of retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct, discimination or harassment or participation or cooperation in an investigation should immediately contact the Dean of Students. Any person found to have retaliated against a person who has participated or cooperated in an investigation will be in violation of policy and will be subject to disciplinary action.

Promptness of Investigation

The amount of time needed to conduct an investigation of sexual misconduct will depend in part on the nature of the allegation(s) and the evidence to be investigated (e.g., the number and/ or availability of witnesses involved).  Within 60 days of receipt of the complaint, the Dean of Students or designee will provide notice of the outcome of the investigation or will advise the parties of the additional estimated amount of time needed for the investigation.