Skip to main content

Understanding Title IX

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What issues does Title IX cover?

Title IX covers a range of issues that may limit or deny a student, employee, or visitor from accessing OKCU’s programs and services. Those issues include:

  • Discrimination based on sex, which includes actual or perceived sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation 
  • Sexual harassment 
  • Discrimination or harassment based on pregnancy
  • Sexual violence, including sexual assault and rape
  • Dating violence and domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Hate crimes that are based on sex or gender, including gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation

Definitions and examples of conduct that is prohibited by Title IX and OKCU policies are included in our Non-Discrimination Policy.

2. Who is covered by Title IX?

Title IX applies to all members of OKCU’s community. That includes students as well as faculty members, staff members, contracted employees, and visitors. Our goal is to ensure our entire community is a safe and healthy place to live, work, and study. To do that, our policy applies to everyone in our community. 

3. What do gender identity and gender expression mean?

Gender identity refers to a person’s sincere, internal sense of their gender. Everyone has a gender identity. For many people, their gender identity is either male or female, though others may self-identify as a different gender. Some may self-identify as non-binary, meaning their gender is not included in the binary of male or female.

Individuals who have a gender identity that is different from the sex they are assigned at birth are generally described as transgender. Individuals whose gender identity matches the sex they were assigned at birth are generally described as cisgender.

Gender expression refers to the way we present our gender identity to other people. Generally, gender expression refers to a variety of different behaviors, including speech, mannerisms, dress, etc., that convey masculinity, femininity, neither, or both. Everyone has a gender expression. Gender expression may align with someone’s gender identity, and it may not. For some, gender expression can be an important way to assert their gender identity. However, it is not required that anyone acts or dresses in stereotypically masculine or feminine ways to be treated fairly and consistently with their gender identity.

4. Where does Title IX apply? Is it on-campus only?

Title IX applies when anyone’s ability to access our programs or services is limited due to sex discrimination. That means it addresses on-campus conduct, and it also addresses off-campus conduct when an off-campus issue may create a hostile environment for an individual or group on campus. For example, an off-campus sexual assault would be covered under Title IX because the impact of the assault could limit one’s ability to go to classes or work on campus.

If the accused person in a Title IX report is not affiliated with OKCU, we may be limited in taking disciplinary action and investigating since we may not have jurisdiction. However, there are certainly other options. If the accused is affiliated with another school or university, we can assist the reporting party in understanding their policy and procedure and reporting it to their Title IX staff. We can also provide assistance in reporting the issue to campus or local police and/or obtaining a protective order. With all reports, we can work with the reporting party to address the impact of the issue on their academics, housing, safety, campus employment, or other areas.

Please do not hesitate to contact a Title IX administrator if you have questions about assistance available to you through the University related to a Title IX issue, whether or not it involves an OKCU campus and whether or not the accused is affiliated with OKCU.

5. Are there time restrictions for reporting Title IX issues?

Everyone in our community can report issues when they choose to do so. OKCU fully responds to reports of incidents that may have happened very recently as well as reports of incidents that may have happened several years ago. The impact of any Title IX issue may continue to limit someone’s ability to access the University’s programs and services long after the incident itself.

When there is a significant delay in filing a complaint, information important to the investigation may no longer be available. For example, some documentation may no longer be available, and witnesses may not have as clear a memory of the issue after time has passed. Delayed reporting can make it difficult, but not impossible, to investigate. Regardless of any delay in reporting, we take all reports very seriously and fully respond to all complaints.

6. What are interim measures? 

Interim measures are ways OKCU can support students and employees reporting a Title IX issue. Assistance through interim measures may include: 

  • implementing no-contact orders, which prohibit communication between the parties 
  • altering the housing assignment of the reporting or responding party 
  • for employees, altering work arrangements 
  • academic assistance 
  • issuing temporary suspensions during an investigation 
  • reporting incidents to local police and/or prosecutors 
  • referral to campus counseling and health services, or local resources 
  • community-wide education 
  • campus safety measures, including a safety escort or transportation assistance 

It is not necessary to file a formal complaint or a police report to receive interim assistance. 

Interim measures are implemented by the Title IX Coordinator to ensure the individuals involved in a report or a complaint may continue to access our programs and services and maintain a healthy and safe learning or work environment. If you have questions about interim measures or would like to request assistance related to a Title IX issue, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator or file a complaint using the reporting form in the navigation pane.

Definitions

Consent: 

Knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.

Consent is knowing, or informed. This means that the participants have to understand what is happening, or what specific sexual behaviors, acts, or activities they are consenting to. Someone may consent to one sexual activity but not another. Consent is not effective if someone is not aware of what they are being asked to consent to.

Consent is voluntary and freely given. If someone is threatened or coerced, they may not be able to give meaningful consent.

Consent is clear and mutually understandable. Consent can be verbal or non-verbal as long as there is clear communication. Non-verbal cues may be more difficult to interpret than verbal cues. For consent to be effective, there has to be a clear expression, in words or in actions, that the other person consented to the specific sexual conduct.

It is the responsibility of the person who initiates a sexual activity to make certain that their partner has consented before engaging in that activity. During a sexual encounter, different parties may initiate sexual activities at different points. For each act, the person who initiates it is responsible for making sure they have consent.

Consent can be withdrawn once given as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated. People can change their mind. If someone provides explicit consent to engage in sexual conduct, they can withdraw that consent and inform the other person they want the behavior to stop. Once that withdrawal is communicated, the sexual activity should stop.

Consent should not be assumed. Consent to some sexual contact, such as kissing or fondling, cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity, like intercourse. Being in a sexual or romantic relationship does not constitute consent by itself.

Silence or the absence of resistance is not consent. Resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent, but not resisting is not the same thing as consenting. The presence of consent is evaluated based on all the circumstances, and consent means much more than

Coercion:

Unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is a specific type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another person that is unreasonable. If someone makes it clear that they do not want to have sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not consent to specific sexual activities, continued pressure past that point can be coercive.

Force:

In this context, using physical violence, threats of violence, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion to overcome resistance or produce consent. Using force to obtain consent to sexual activity is sexual assault. Consent is not effective when it is not freely given.

Incapacitation:

A state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they are not able to give their consent. If someone does not understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of a sexual situation, they are likely incapacitated and unable to consent.

Someone is incapacitated when they are not able to understand what is happening, if they are disoriented, or if they are helpless, asleep, or unconscious. If someone is unconscious due to use of alcohol or other drugs, they are incapacitated. Incapacity may also result from a mental disability and involuntary physical restraint. In Oklahoma, a person under the age of sixteen cannot consent to sexual activity. Sexual contact between an adult and a person younger than sixteen may be a crime and potential policy violation, regardless of whether they minor wanted to engage in the act or if they voluntarily participated. When an individual engages in sexual activity with someone who is incapacitated, and that person knew or should have known the other was incapacitated, they have engaged in sexual misconduct. The intoxication of the responding party (or accused person) is not an excuse for failing to recognize when someone else is incapacitated. 

Intimate Partner Violence: 

Violence or abuse between those in an intimate relationship to each other. 

Reporting Party: 

An individual or group who reports possible sex discrimination to the University

Responding Party

An individual or group who is accused of engaging in sex discrimination

Retaliation: 

Any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. For Title IX, protected activities include reporting a Title IX issue, participating in an investigation, and otherwise exercising your rights under the law. 

Sex discrimination: 

Actions that deprive, limit, or deny members of the OKCU community of educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities based on actual or perceived sex, gender gender identity, gender expression, and/or sexual orientation. 

Sexual harassment: 

Unwelcome and sexual, sex-based, and/or gender-based verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct. 

  • A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is severe, persistent, or pervasive and objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone's ability to participate in or benefit from Oklahoma City University's educational programs or employment. 
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having real or perceived power or authority over another constitutes quid pro quo sexual harassment when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual's educational and/or professional development and/or performance. 

Sexual misconduct: 

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object, or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact) no matter how slight the penetration or contact. 
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual touching includes intentional contact with the breasts, groin, or genitals, or mouth, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch themselves or the responding party with or on any of these body party. Sexual touching also includes any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
  • Sexual Exploitation: any situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and that behavior does not otherwise fall within the definitions of Sexual Harassment, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include sexual voyeurism, invasion of sexual privacy, and exceeding the boundaries of consent. 

Stalking: 

A course of conduct, directed at a specific person on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking may also be repetitive and menacing and involve pursuit, following, harassing, and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another.