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Title IX - Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedure

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Students, faculty, staff, and administrators are entitled to an educational and working environment free of discriminatory harassment on the bases of sex and gender. Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) is committed to ensuring a safe learning and working environment for all members of the GSW community in accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”). GSW does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of sex in any of its education programs or activities or in employment.

Definitions and Prohibited Conduct
  • Community: Students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors and guests.

  • Complainant: An individual who is alleged to have experienced conduct that violates this Policy.

  • Consent: Words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion; by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another; or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.

    Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.

    Consent can be withdrawn at any time by either party by using clear words or actions.

  • Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. 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.

  • Domestic Violence: Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim; by a person with whom the alleged victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim.

  • Incapacitation: The physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. It can result from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, status as a minor under the age of 16, or from intentional or unintentional taking of alcohol and/or other drugs. Whether someone is incapacitated is to be judged from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person.

  • Nonconsensual Sexual Contact: Any physical contact with another person of a sexual nature without the person’s consent. It includes but is not limited to touching (or penetrating) of a person’s intimate parts (such as genitalia, groin, breasts, or buttocks); touching (or penetrating) a person with one’s own intimate parts; or forcing a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts. This provision also includes “Fondling” as defined by the Clery Act. 

  • Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration: Any penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by a penis, object, tongue, finger, or other body part; or contact between the mouth of one person and the genitals or anus of another person. This provision also includes “Rape, Incest, and Statutory Rape” as defined by the Clery Act.

  • Confidential Employees: Institution employees who have been designated by the GSW Title IX Coordinator to talk with an alleged victim in confidence. Confidential Employees must only report that the incident occurred and provide date, time, location, and name of alleged respondent (if known) without revealing any information that would personally identify the alleged victim. This minimal reporting must be submitted in compliance with Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”). Confidential Employees may be required to fully disclose details of an incident in order to ensure campus safety.

  • Privileged Employees: Individuals employed by the institution to whom a complainant or alleged victim may talk in confidence, as provided by law. Disclosure to these employees will not automatically trigger an investigation against the complainant’s or alleged victim’s wishes. Privileged Employees include those providing counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual-assault related services (e.g., sexual assault resource centers, campus health centers, and campus mental health centers) or as otherwise provided by applicable law. Exceptions to confidentiality exist where the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor (in Georgia, under the age of 18) or otherwise provided by law, such as imminent threat of serious harm.

  • Respondent: Individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates this Policy.

  • Reporter: An individual who reports an allegation of conduct that may violate this Policy but who is not a party to the complaint.

  • Responsible Employees: Those employees who must promptly and fully report complaints of or information regarding sexual misconduct to the Coordinator. Responsible Employees include any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Confidential Employee or Privileged Employee. Student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role are in a position of authority for purposes of this Policy (e.g., teaching assistants, residential leaders, and student managers).

  • Sexual Exploitation: Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.

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

    • Invasion of sexual privacy;
    • Prostituting another individual;
    • Non-consensual photos, video, or audio of sexual activity;
    • Non-consensual distribution of photo, video, or audio of sexual activity, even if the sexual activity was consensual;
    • Intentional observation of nonconsenting individuals who are partially undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts;
    • Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another individual through sexual activity;
    • Intentionally and inappropriately exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and/or
    • Sexually-based bullying.
  • Sexual Harassment (Student on Student): Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct based on sex (including gender stereotypes), determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to participate in or to benefit from an institutional education program or activity.

  • Sexual Harassment (Other Than Student on Student): Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex (including gender stereotypes), that may be any of the following:

    1. Implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity;
    2. A basis for employment or educational decisions; or
    3. Is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with one’s work or educational performance creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, or interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or to benefit from an institutional program or activity.

    GSW also prohibits unwelcome conduct determined by a Reasonable Person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to a GSW education program or activity in violation of Title IX.

  • Sexual Misconduct: Includes, but is not limited to, such unwanted behavior as dating violence, domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

  • Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their 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 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 person’s property.
    2. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

GSW encourages complainants to report their complaints in writing, though oral complaints are accepted, taken seriously, and investigated, to the extent possible. While complaints should be made as quickly as possible following an alleged incident of sexual misconduct, all reports will be accepted regardless of when the alleged incident(s) took place.

Following are reporting options:
Anonymous Reports

Individuals can report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct anonymously online. Please note that it will be more difficult for GSW to investigate and to take action upon anonymous reports.


Confidential Reporting Options 

Confidential service options provide students and employees with the ability to confidentially share and discuss an incident of sex-based misconduct without the reporting party’s information being shared with the Title IX Coordinator. Please be aware that reporting to confidential services limits GSW’s ability to respond to incidents.  While these individuals are not required to report to GSW, they may have reporting or other obligations under state law, such as mandatory reporting to law enforcement in cases involving minors, imminent harm to self or others, or requirements to testify if subpoenaed in a criminal case.

Professional Counselors: Professional and licensed counselors who provide mental-health counseling (including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report any information. Included in this category are counselors at GSW’s Student Counseling Center and those provided by the Employee Assistance Program.

University Health Providers: GSW Health Services medical personnel are a confidential service option. 


Non-Confidential Reporting Options

Any person may report an incident. The reporting person does not have to be the victim of the incident.  Reports may be verbal or in writing to the GSW Title IX Coordinator:

Laura Boren
Student Success Center  


Responsible Employees: Responsible Employees are those who are mandated to report to the Title IX Coordinator when they become aware of an incident of sex-based misconduct. GSW employees in a supervisory role over employees or students are considered Responsible Employees. Responsible Employees informed about sexual misconduct allegations involving any student should not attempt to resolve the situation, but must notify and report all relevant information to the Coordinator as soon as practicable. 

Campus Safety: Because sexual misconduct may constitute criminal activity, a complainant also has the option, should he or she so choose, of filing a report with campus or local police, for his or her own protection and that of the surrounding community.

Complainants considering filing a report of sexual misconduct with law enforcement should preserve any evidence of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Clothing worn during the incident including undergarments;
  • Sheets, bedding, and condoms, if used;
  • Lists of witnesses with contact information;
  • Text messages, call history, social media posts;
  • Pictures of injuries; and/or
  • Videos


Support Services

Once a student or employee makes a complaint or receives notice that a complaint has been made against him or her, or the Coordinator otherwise learns of a complaint of sexual misconduct a designated GSW representative will provide information on university and local support resources. The complainant and respondent should receive written information about support services, such as counseling, advocacy, housing assistance, academic support, disability services, health and mental services, and legal assistance.

Information on support services will be provided regardless as to whether an individual elects to go forward with filing a formal complaint of sexual misconduct or with notifying law enforcement. Information on support services will also be provided to students and employees, regardless of where the alleged misconduct occurs.

Available support services is listed on GSW’s Title IX webpage,


Interim Measures

Interim measures may be undertaken at any point after the institution becomes aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct and should be designed to protect the alleged victim and the community.

The institution will follow Student Conduct Code procedures when implementing interim measures.



GSW takes necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of its community. Sexual misconduct allegedly committed by a student are addressed by this Policy when the misconduct occurs on institution property, or at institution-sponsored or affiliated events, or off-campus.



Both the alleged victim and respondent, as parties to the matter, shall have the opportunity to use an advisor (who may or may not be an attorney) of the party’s choosing at the party’s own expense for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel, as outlined in the Student Conduct Code Procedures. 


Informal Resolutions

Allegations of sexual misconduct may be resolved informally, without a determination of misconduct, if all of the following are met:

  • When complainant(s) and respondent agree to an informal resolution;
  • When the initial allegation could not result in suspension or expulsion;
  • When the complainant(s) and respondent(s) agree to the terms of the informal resolution; and
  • When the investigator concludes that informal resolution is in the best interest of the parties and the GSW community.

The alleged victim(s) and respondent(s) have the option to end informal resolution discussions and request a formal process at any time before the terms of an informal resolution are reached. However, matters resolved informally shall not be appealable.



Efforts will be made to complete the investigation within a reasonable timeframe, which will be determined based upon the allegations, availability of witnesses and/or evidence, etc. in a particular case. When the timeframe will extend past the reasonable timeframe, the parties will be informed of the delay and the reason for the delay. The investigator shall keep the parties informed of the status of the investigation.



All sexual misconduct investigations involving a student respondent, whether overseen by GSW’s Title IX Coordinator or the System Director, shall follow the investigation process set forth in GSW’s Student Conduct Code Procedures

All reports of sexual misconduct alleged to have been committed by a non-student member of the institution community will be addressed and/or resolved through GSW’s and the Board of Regents’ applicable policies for discipline of non-students.


Hearings, Possible Sanctions and Appeals

All sexual misconduct hearings, sanctions, and appeals involving a student respondent, whether overseen by the institution’s Coordinator or the System Director, shall follow the investigation process set forth in GSW’s Student Code of Conduct Procedures

All sexual misconduct adjudication involving an employee respondent, shall be addressed utilizing the GSW’s employment policies and procedures.



Anyone who, in good faith, reports what he or she believes to be misconduct under this Policy, or who participates or cooperates in, or is otherwise associated with any investigation, shall not be subjected to retaliation. Anyone who believes that he or she has been the target of retaliation for reporting, participating, cooperating in, or otherwise being associated with an investigation should immediately contact GSW’s Title IX Coordinator. Any person found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of this Policy shall be subject to disciplinary action.


False Complaints

Individuals are prohibited from intentionally giving false statements. Any person found to have intentionally submitted false complaints, accusations, or statements, including during a hearing, in violation of this Policy shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action (up to and including suspension or expulsion) and adjudicated under the Student Conduct Code.



Individuals should be encouraged to come forward and to report sexual misconduct notwithstanding their choice to consume alcohol or to use drugs. Information reported by an individual during an investigation concerning use of drugs or alcohol will not be used against the particular individual in a disciplinary proceeding or voluntarily reported to law enforcement; however, individuals may be provided with resources on drug and alcohol counseling and/or education, as appropriate.


GSW Title IX Policy and Procedures are guided by University System of Georgia – Board of Regents Policies 6.7 and 4.6.5.

Updated 2/21/2023