Equal Opportunity & Access

Approved: 11/16/2004
Revised: 09/30/2014
Approved By: President

Sexual Misconduct Policy (Title IX) [FKA Anti-Harassment Policy]

  1. Policy Statement

    Consistent with Western Illinois University’s (University) Non-Discrimination Policy and in compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations, as well as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the university prohibits discrimination based on sex in its educational programs and activities. At Western Illinois University, sex discrimination includes:

    1. Dating violence
    2. Domestic violence
    3. Gender harassment
    4. Discrimination based on pregnancy and parental status
    5. Sexual assault/Rape
    6. Sexual harassment
    7. Stalking

    Incidents of discrimination will be thoroughly investigated and met with appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including separation or dismissal from the University. Any action taken as a result of a violation of this policy will be in accordance with the relevant collective bargaining agreements or University policies.

    1. Scope

      This policy applies to University students, faculty, staff, and contractors, as well as University visitors, guests, and clients.

    2. Definitions

      Western Illinois University adheres to the following definitions applicable to this policy:

      1. Dating violence- when a person uses or threatens to use sexual violence, physical, mental, or emotional abuse to control another person who is in a dating relationship with that person. A dating relationship is established when two individuals engage in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.
      2. Domestic violence- physical, mental, or emotional abuse committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person sharing a child in common with the victim, by a person who is or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner. Any person who physically abuses, harasses, or interferes with the personal liberty of another family or household member is also covered under this definition.
      3. Gender harassment- subjecting a person to adverse treatment based on held gender stereotypes. Adverse treatment can include verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender or held gender stereotypes, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
      4. Discrimination based on pregnancy and parental status - excluding persons from, denying them the benefit of, or discriminating against them due to their pregnancy or status as a parent.
      5. Sexual assault/Rape- a nonconsensual sexual act by force or threat of force.
      6. Sexual harassment -
        1. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when:
          • submission to such conduct is made either implicitly or explicitly a term of an individual's employment or status in a course, program, or activity;
          • submission or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or education decisions affecting such individual; or
          • such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual's work or educational performance; or 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.
        2. Examples of Sexual Harassment

          Examples of behavior and conduct that constitute sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to, the following:

          • physical assault;
          • direct or implied threats that submission to sexual advances will be a condition of employment, work status, compensation, promotion, grades, or letters of recommendation;
          • sexual advances, physical or implied, or direct propositions of a sexual nature. This activity may include inappropriate/unnecessary touching or rubbing against another, sexually suggestive or degrading jokes or comments, remarks of a sexual nature about one's clothing and/or body, preferential treatment in exchange for sexual activity, and the inappropriate display of sexually explicit pictures, text, printed materials, or objects that do not serve an academic purpose;
          • a pattern of conduct, which can be subtle in nature, that has sexual overtones and is intended to create, or has the effect of creating, discomfort and/or humiliation of another; or remarks speculating about a person's sexual activities or sexual history, or remarks about one's own sexual activities or sexual history, that do not serve a medical or academic purpose;
          • allowing third parties to view sexual acts whether in person or via video or other recording device without the knowledge and consent of the subjects; engaging in voyeurism of sexual acts without the knowledge and consent of the subjects.
      7. Stalking- A course of conduct directed at a specific person based on their sex. The course of conduct causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or to fear for the safety of themselves or others.
    3. Consent

      Sexual activity of any kind requires consent. Consent is defined as an informed, voluntary, and mutual agreement between participating individuals. Consent is clearly communicated in words or actions. Consent must be acquired prior to or contemporaneously with sexual activity.

      Consent can be withdrawn at any time, given that it is clearly communicated by the person withdrawing it. Note that silence or passivity does not equate to consent. Prior relationship status does not indicate future consent.

      Drugs and Alcohol

      A person who is physically incapacitated as a result of drug or alcohol use, voluntarily or involuntarily, is incapable of giving effective consent. Further, drug or alcohol incapacitation is never an excuse for violating this policy.

  2. Title IX and Athletics

    Western Illinois University strives to afford student athletes equitable treatment in all aspects of men’s and women’s athletic programs. The University appreciates the valuable benefits offered by student involvement in athletics, and as such, offers students the opportunity to participate in NCAA Division I athletics programs, as well as club and intramural sports. The Gender Equity Committee, in partnership with the Title IX Coordinator, monitors Title IX compliance in athletics.

    Participation Requests

    Students who wish to compete on a varsity sport that is not currently offered at Western Illinois University may make a request to the Athletic Director or Title IX Coordinator. The Athletic Director and Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Gender Equity Committee, will review requests annually. Factors considered shall include gender equity, interest and ability, intercollegiate competitive opportunities, among others. Students may also take advantage of the club and intramural opportunities the University offers.

  3. Victim Rights

    Individuals who experience sex discrimination in violation of Title IX are entitled to:

    • An effective internal investigation of complaints separate from law enforcement or criminal proceedings.
    • The implementation of protective interim steps prior to the final outcome of the investigation (e.g.: schedule/room changes, safety protocols, etc.)
    • Notification of the investigatory outcome
    • Protection from retaliation
    • File an appeal
  4. Title IX Complaint Procedures
    1. Reporting Responsibilities

      Individuals who experience or learn of an alleged violation of this policy must report the alleged violation immediately to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator can be reached at 309-298-1977, by email address at  title-ix@wiu.edu , or through the Title IX websiteNo student, faculty, or employee should assume that an official of Western Illinois University knows about a situation or incident.

    2. Investigation and Resolution

      The Director of Equal Opportunity and Access serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator may delegate investigative responsibilities to individuals in their supervisory chain of command.

      Investigations will be conducted promptly to reach an equitable resolution. Once a reported violation of this policy is received, the following steps will occur:

      1. The Title IX Coordinator, or an appointed investigator, will assess the report to identify further action. If needed, immediate interim steps will be implemented to protect the complainant from further misconduct and/or notify the respondent that their behavior is concerning and must stop.
      2. The investigator will promptly make contact with the complainant to discuss the incident and inform them of available campus support resources and their right to file an internal complaint.
      3. If the complainant files a formal complaint:
        1. The investigator will meet with the complainant to review their written complaint. The complainant may provide supplemental witnesses and evidence at this meeting and any time throughout the investigation. The complainant may also have a support person present at this meeting.
        2. The respondent will be notified of the complaint and given the opportunity to respond within five (5) calendar days.
        3. Once the response is received, the investigator will meet with the respondent to review the complaint and their response. The respondent may provide any supplemental witnesses and evidence at this meeting and any time throughout the investigation. The respondent may also have a support person present at this meeting.
          1. Those employees covered under collective bargaining agreements have the right to utilize a union representative as a support person; however, it is the employee’s responsibility to affirmatively make such a request from their union.
        4. The investigator will interview pertinent witnesses and gather additional documentation to assist them in their determination.
        5. By evaluating the totality of the record by a preponderance of the evidence, the investigator will compose the investigative report to determine whether a violation of University policy occurred.
        6. Both parties will be notified of the outcome of the investigation.
        7. If the respondent to the complaint is a student, the investigative findings will be provided to the Office of Student Judicial Programs for discipline, up to and including expulsion from the University.
        8. If the respondent to the complaint is classified as Faculty or Administrative/Professional staff, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, and other relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Vice President will determine what appropriate action will be taken. The Vice President will inform the respondent of action to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining contract.
        9. If the respondent to the complaint is classified as Civil Service, the investigator will meet with the appropriate Vice President, the Human Resources Director, and relevant supervisory personnel to review the Investigative Report. The Human Resources Director in consultation with the Vice President will determine the appropriate action to be taken. The Human Resources Director will inform the respondent of action to be taken and provide a copy of the correspondence to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. If the respondent is a member of a bargaining unit, action will be taken in accordance with the appropriate collective bargaining contract.
        10. Both parties will be notified of the discipline administered.
      4. If the complainant refuses to file a formal complaint:
        1. The investigator will assess whether there is a campus risk.
        2. If the investigator determines that the respondent poses a campus risk, the complaint will be referred to Student Judicial Programs for processing and resolution.
        3. If the investigator does not determine a campus risk, informal methods, such as mediation, can be utilized to resolve the concern. Please note that informal methods of resolution are not available in instances of sexual assault/rape.
        4. Both parties will be notified of the action taken and discipline administered.
    3. Time Frame

      Investigations will typically be completed within 60 calendar days, inclusive of holidays, after receipt of a complaint. If the investigation cannot be completed in the 60 day interval, the complainant, respondent, and other parties, as appropriate, will be notified as to the delay.

    4. Right to Appeal
      1. Either party has the right to appeal the investigator’s finding to the University President within 10 calendar days of receiving the finding. Either party must base their appeal on one or more of the following circumstances:
        1. Procedural error;
        2. New and material evidence exists that was previously unavailable to the party (despite due diligence) at the time of investigation;
      2. The President or his/her designee may receive additional information if he/she believes such information would aid in the consideration of the appeal. A decision will be made within a reasonable time and the Office of Equal Opportunity, the appropriate administrator, complainant, and the respondent will be notified of the decision. The President’s decision is final.
    5. Separate Processes

      Please note that the internal investigative process is separate and may occur concurrently with any possible criminal proceedings undertaken by the legal system.

      Complainants may also file complaints with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). Once a complaint is filed with OCR, the University’s internal investigative process ends. The University will then fully cooperate with OCR’s investigative process.

    6. No implication of Title IX identified

      If the Title IX Coordinator, or appointed investigator, determines that Title IX is not implicated, existing grievance procedures through the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access or Student Judicial Programs will be followed.

  5. Education and Training

    The Office of Equal Opportunity and Access will provide primary prevention and awareness programs for students and employees. Participation in at least one of these programs is mandatory for new students and employees.

    This policy will be disseminated annually to employees and students through orientation programs, electronic outreach, and the Student Handbook. The policy and related procedural information is also available on the University's website.

  6. Retaliation

    Retaliation is a separate cause for complaint. Retaliating against an individual who has reported or filed a complaint alleging discrimination/harassment or participated as a witness in such an investigation is strictly prohibited. Individuals who disregard, or delay investigation of harassment claims when responsibility for reporting and/or investigating harassment charges comprise part of their supervisory duties also violate this policy.

  7. Record Retention and Confidentiality

    During an investigation of a complaint, and upon the completion of an investigation, the custodian of the files shall be the Office of Equal Opportunity and Access. Files will remain confidential unless compelled by state or federal law.

  8. Campus/Community/National Resources