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Sexual Misconduct, Harassment, and Discrimination Policies

I. Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment

Knox College does not discriminate, and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment, on the basis of sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious affiliation, sexual orientation or preference, age, marital or family status, disability, veteran status, or other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law in admission, financial aid, employment, athletics, or any other aspect of its educational programs or activities. Reasonable accommodation will be provided to persons with disabilities, consistent with state and federal law.

Harassment, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics, is a form of discrimination. This includes harassing conduct affecting tangible educational benefits, interfering unreasonably with an individual's academic performance, or creating what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Harassment can include verbal or non-verbal behavior that demeans or stereotypes individuals in a harmful way. While the College is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression, discrimination and harassment identified in this policy are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.

Examples of discrimination and harassment may include (but are not limited to):

  • refusing to offer educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected status;
  • making a grading decision because of the person's protected status;
  • jokes or epithets about another person's protected status;
  • teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status;
  • the display or circulation of written materials or pictures that degrade a person or group based upon a protected characteristic; and
  • verbal abuse or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group of individuals in a protected group.

Mandatory Employee Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Involving Students

In order to enable the College to respond effectively and to address instances of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct involving students, all College employees must, within 24 hours of receiving the information, report information they have about alleged or possible discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct involving students to the Title IX Coordinator or to a member of the Title IX team, which includes Deputy Title IX Coordinators and the Department of Campus Safety. Only those employees who are statutorily prohibited from reporting such information are exempt from these reporting requirements. Upon receiving a report of alleged or suspected discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the information received and determine what further actions should be taken. The Title IX Coordinator will also provide information about the College's Grievance Procedures, as well as available health and advocacy resources and options for criminal reporting.

Any questions or comments concerning this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator, who leads Knox College's Title IX Team. Information on the team is found below:

Title IX Coordinators

Any inquiries regarding Title IX or the School's Policy and Procedures Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct should be directed to one or more of the Title IX Coordinators identified below. Operating as a team with the Director of Campus Safety, these Coordinators will be available to meet with or talk to students, faculty and staff regarding issues relating to Title IX and this policy.

Lead Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Lori Schroeder, Associate Dean of the College and Lead Title IX Coordinator
Old Main 105

The Lead Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX Compliance on behalf of the College. This includes coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of the complaint and grievance procedures for the handling of suspected or alleged violations of this policy.

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Gina Zindt
Director of Human Resources
Administrative Services Center 109

As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Zindt is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted. Ms. Zindt has particular responsibilities for responding to alleged or suspected violations of this policy that involve employees and outside contractors of the College.

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Kim Schrader
Operations Director for Budget and Compliance
Department of Athletics, Fleming Fieldhouse 129

As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Shrader is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted. In addition, Ms. Schrader has particular responsibilities for responding to alleged or suspected violations of this policy that involve student-athletes.

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Catherine J. Denial
Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History
Old Main 310

As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Denial is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted.

II. Policy Against Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

A. Applicable Federal and State Law
B. Policy Statement Regarding Sex Discrimination
C. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct
D. Retaliation

A. Applicable Federal and State Law

This policy supplements the general policy statement set forth above and addresses the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX states as follows:

  • No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Discrimination on the basis of sex (i.e., sex discrimination) includes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct, in turn, includes sexual assault and sexual violence.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act are two other laws that also prohibit sex discrimination.

B. Policy Statement Regarding Sex Discrimination

As noted above, it is the policy of the College to provide an educational environment free of all forms of sex discrimination, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined in this policy and as otherwise prohibited by state and federal statutes. Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual assault and sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by the policies of Knox College as well as state and federal laws. Sexual harassment is contrary to the most fundamental ethical canons of the academic community. This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to all students, faculty, and staff, to other members of the College community, and to contractors, consultants, and vendors doing business or providing services to the school.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:

  • a) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis of an academic or employment decision or is either an explicit or implicit term of employment or admission to any college program or college-related activity, or
  • b) such conduct is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or
  • c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance.

Examples of such conduct may include repeated comments about a person's physical appearance, sexually suggestive remarks or insults; displays of sexually suggestive material, unwelcome advances such as touching, patting, caressing, kissing or sexual propositions and sexual advances accompanied by threat of punishment or promise of reward including the withholding or giving of grades and promotions.

C. Prohibited Sexual Misconduct

The College has drawn the definitions of prohibited sexual misconduct below from the "Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation" of the University of Montana.

Knox College affirms its commitment to create and maintain an environment free from acts of sexual misconduct and to foster within that environment respect for the dignity of all members of the community. Accordingly, Knox College will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct.

Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation and relationship violence.

Sexual assault means an actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

  • Involvement in any sexual contact when the victim is unable to consent. Intentional and unwelcome touching of, or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person's intimate parts (defined as genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast).
  • Sexual intercourse without consent, including acts commonly referred to as "rape."

Consent is informed, freely given, and mutual. If coercion, intimidation, threats, or physical force are used there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the victim. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. Whether an individual has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent.

Inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes includes using drugs, alcohol, or other means with the intent to affect or having an actual effect on the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to consent (as "consent" is defined in this policy) to sexual contact.

Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone's advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity;
  • Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;
  • Exceeding the boundaries of consent;
  • Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
  • Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV, to another without disclosing your STI status;
  • Exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals;
  • Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography;

Relationship or dating violence (which can include but is not limited to domestic violence) is abuse or violence between partners or former partners involving one or more of the following elements:

  • Battering that causes bodily injury;
  • Purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury;
  • Emotional abuse creating apprehension of bodily injury or property damage;
  • Repeated telephonic, electronic, or other forms of communication -- anonymously or directly -- made with the intent to intimidate, terrify, harass, or threaten;

Stalking includes repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, device or method that purposely or knowingly causes substantial emotional distress or reasonable fear of bodily injury or death.

D. Retaliation

Retaliation is action taken by an accused individual or an action taken by a third party against any person because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual's complaint or participation. Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.