Sexual Misconduct Questions and Answers

What is sexual misconduct?

Under Georgia Tech’s and the University System of Georgia (USG)’s sexual misconduct policies and procedures, sexual misconduct includes, among other things, unwanted behavior such as dating violence, domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, nonconsensual sexual penetration, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

How do I know if I have experienced sexual misconduct?

You can start by taking a look at the definitions in Georgia Tech’s sexual misconduct policy and USG’s sexual misconduct policy.  You can also speak confidentially with a VOICE (victim-survivor) Advocate or healthcare provider, or contact Georgia Tech’s Title IX Coordinator.

How do I get help and support if I’ve experienced sexual misconduct?

Georgia Tech offers several confidential resources for student-survivors of sexual misconduct, including VOICE Advocates, the Center for Assessment, Referral and Education (CARE), the Counseling Center and the LGBTQIA Resource Center.  Employees may use the confidential Employee Assistance Program for support.  A list of other campus and community resources can be found here.

How do I report sexual misconduct?

You may report sexual misconduct by contacting the Institute’s Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  Their contact information can be found here.  You can also tell a Georgia Tech administrator, supervisor, faculty member, teaching assistant, residential assistant, student manager, orientation leader or any other person in a position of authority.  These individuals are designated as “Responsible Employees” and are required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.

What if I want help and support, but I don’t want to make a report or file a complaint?

You can receive support services without filing an official complaint or report with the institution.  To receive help confidentially, you may contact a VOICE (victim-survivor) Advocate or another confidential campus resource.  Confidential resources can provide support without reporting information to the Title IX Coordinator.

What kinds of support services does Tech offer for sexual misconduct?

For students, support services include counseling, advocates, housing assistance, academic support, disability services and physical and mental health services.  Employees may pursue confidential support through the Employee Assistance Program or their personal health care providers.  Support services are available to the accuser and the accused.

Is there a difference between a report and a complaint of sexual misconduct?

A formal complaint of sexual misconduct triggers an administrative process that may include an investigation and hearing or an informal resolution between the parties involved.  A report of sexual misconduct does not automatically trigger an investigation, informal resolution or other administrative process.  There are circumstances, however, where a report, by itself, may trigger an investigation, for example, when there are larger campus safety concerns.  Support services are available regardless of whether a report or formal complaint is made.

What if I’m not sure if I want to file a complaint, but I want to know what administrative options are available to me?

To discuss available options, you can speak confidentially with a VOICE (victim-survivor) Advocate or contact the Title IX Coordinator.

What kinds of administrative options are available?

Depending on the situation, administrative options may include informal resolution or investigation and hearing.  Interim measures may also be available, including No-Contact Directives, changes in housing assignment and changes to academic or work schedules.

Can I make a sexual misconduct report anonymously?

Yes.  You can make an anonymous report through EthicsPoint; however, an anonymous report may make it more difficult for the institute to respond to the misconduct or take action.

What if I’m afraid to make a report of sexual misconduct because drugs or alcohol was involved?

You can still take advantage of confidential resources even if drugs or alcohol was involved.  Tech also has an amnesty policy for students that applies in certain situations.  For example, information reported by a student during an investigation about the consumption of drugs or alcohol will not be used against that student in a disciplinary proceeding or voluntarily reported to law enforcement.  The student, however, may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, or be required to participate in an educational program.

Is there a deadline for reporting sexual misconduct if I want the institution’s help in addressing the situation?

There is no deadline for reporting sexual misconduct to the institution.  But the sooner you report the misconduct, the sooner you can get help, including support services and information about administrative options.  If an investigation is warranted, delays in reporting may make it difficult to collect information and  evidence.  Failure to report may also cause the conduct to continue.

If I’m not the victim of sexual misconduct, but I’m told about an incident, do I have to report it to the institution?

If you are a “Responsible Employee” (mandatory reporter), you are required to report sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.  Even if you are not a Responsible Employee, you can still put the survivor in contact with the Title IX Coordinator or with a confidential resource so the survivor can get needed help.

If I’m a “Responsible Employee” (mandatory reporter), how do I make a report of sexual misconduct?

To make a report, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator by phone, email, letter, in-person, virtually, etc. and share the information you know as soon as possible.  As a Responsible Employee, you are not required to interview or question the participants, collect evidence, or otherwise attempt to resolve the situation.  You just need to report what you know to the Title IX Coordinator, even if that information is incomplete.

If I’m not sure I’m a “Responsible Employee,” do I still need to report sexual misconduct?

The main goal in reporting sexual misconduct is getting survivors support they may need and stopping the objectionable conduct.  For these reasons, it may be prudent to err on the side of reporting.  If you are unsure whether you are a “Responsible Employee,” you may discuss the matter with your supervisor (who is likely a Responsible Employee) or contact the Title IX Coordinator directly.

What happens once the Title IX Coordinator receives a report of sexual misconduct?

The Title IX Coordinator will contact the survivor, if known, to offer information about support services and administrative options, if applicable, including information about how to file a complaint.  A report to the Title IX Coordinator does not automatically trigger an investigation, but in certain situations an investigation may be warranted even if the survivor does not want one.

In what situations would the institution conduct an investigation even if I don’t want one?

The institution may conduct an investigation in situations, for example, where it concludes that there is an imminent risk to campus safety or to ensure a safe workplace.

What if I’m afraid of retaliation for reporting sexual misconduct?

It is a violation of institute policy to retaliate against anyone who makes a report or complaint of sexual misconduct, or who provides information, assists, participates or refuses to participate in the sexual misconduct administrative process.  Reports of retaliation may be made to the Title IX Coordinator.  Anyone found to have engaged in retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action.

 

CHANGES TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY (beginning 2020-21 ACADEMIC YEAR)

I understand that Georgia Tech changed its Sexual Misconduct Policy.  Why?

Georgia Tech’s sexual misconduct policy is based on the sexual misconduct policy and procedures issued by the University System of Georgia (USG).  On August 11, 2020, USG approved new sexual misconduct policies and procedures in order to comply with federal Title IX regulations that went into effect on August 14, 2020.  The federal regulations mandate how Title IX sexual harassment cases should be handled by educational programs that receive federal funding.

Georgia Tech updated its own policy to be consistent and in compliance with the revised USG policies and procedures, as well as the new Title IX federal regulations.  All colleges and universities, including Tech, who receive federal funding are required to comply with the federal regulations.

I heard that the Title IX regulations that went into effect in August 2020 narrow what qualifies as sexual misconduct under Title IX.  How?

The new Title IX regulations define sexual harassment as sex-based (1) conduct that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the institute’s educational and work programs and activities (hostile environment); (2) conduct by an employee, that conditions

an aid, benefit or service of the institution on another person participating in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); or (3) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.  The regulations also require that the conduct have happened against a person in the United States, on institution-controlled property or in connection with an institution program or activity, against a person participating or trying to participate in the institution program or activity.  This is a narrower definition than previously used and does not include, for example, misconduct that occurs in an educational program outside the United States or in certain off-campus settings.

Does that mean Tech will no longer address sexual misconduct that does not meet Title IX’s narrowed definition?

Georgia Tech remains committed to fostering an environment free from sexual misconduct for all members of the campus community.  Therefore, Tech will continue to address sexual misconduct and to provide support services to the Tech community, as expansively as before.

Although the new Title IX regulations narrow the definition and scope of Title IX sexual harassment, Tech will continue to also address sexual misconduct that falls outside the Title IX definition, including incidents that take place in study abroad programs.  The new USG sexual misconduct policies and procedures take a two-pronged approach, by addressing Title IX sexual harassment in the manner required by the federal regulations, as well as still addressing non-Title IX sexual misconduct.

What are some of the major changes to the sexual misconduct policy as a result of the new federal regulations?

One significant change is that during a Title IX hearing, parties will be permitted to use an advisor to ask questions of the opposing party and of the opposing party’s witnesses.  Moreover, if a party does not have an advisor at the hearing, the institution will make one available, free of charge, for the purpose of asking questions of the other party and that other party’s witnesses.

Under the previous policy, parties were permitted to have an advisor of their choice, however all questions were submitted to and asked by the hearing panel and advisors were not provided by the institution.

The hearing requirement and availability of advisors also applies to incidents of Title IX sexual harassment involving accused employees, which was not the case before.

What are some of the things that remain the same under the revised sexual misconduct policy?

Many procedures remain the same under the updated USG and Georgia Tech sexual misconduct policies and procedures.  For example, Tech will continue to address sexual misconduct and provide support services and interim measures, regardless of whether the conduct at issue is Title IX sexual harassment or another form of sexual misconduct.

Responsible Employees,” as defined under the sexual misconduct policy, continue to have an obligation to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.  The status of “Confidential Employees” and “Privileged Employees” also remains the same.

Tech will also continue to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard in investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct.

Is the administrative process different for a Title IX sexual harassment case than for other types of sexual misconduct?

The main difference is that Title IX sexual harassment cases will require a formal complaint, with specific content, in order to trigger an investigation or informal resolution.  Informal resolution of Title IX matters also have certain requirements.  Furthermore, in Title IX hearings, a party’s advisor will be permitted to ask questions directly to the other party and to that other party’s witnesses.  Also, the institution is required to provide an advisor at the Title IX hearing, to ask questions to the other party and that other party’s witnesses, if a party does not already have an advisor.

Participants in both Title IX and non-Title IX matters will continue to have access to support services throughout the administrative process.

Is the sexual misconduct administrative process different for students than for employees?

Both students and employees receive due process and have access to support services and interim measures.

The investigation and hearing procedures for accused students and accused employees may vary, depending on whether the misconduct qualifies as Title IX sexual harassment or other sexual misconduct.

The procedure for sexual misconduct incidents involving accused students can be found here.  The procedure for sexual misconduct incidents involving accused employees can be found here.  USG’s sexual misconduct policy, which applies to all members of the campus community, can be found here.

Whom should I contact if I have additional questions about the sexual misconduct policies and procedures?

If you have additional questions, you may contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Executive Director for Equity and Compliance.

Can I schedule an information session about the sexual misconduct policies and procedures for my department or group?

To schedule an information session for your department or group, you may contact the Title IX Coordinator or the Executive Director for Equity and Compliance.