Frequently Asked Questions for Students
Q: Where do I go or how should I help my friend immediately after a sexual assault?
Q: Where do I report sexual misconduct or sex/gender discrimination?
A: Rhodes wants to make it very clear where all forms of gender/sex discrimination and sexual misconducted should be reported. You may begin the reporting process by entering the information here OR you may contact the designated Title IX official at Rhodes:
Title IX coordinator
Another option is to report the incident to any Resident Assistant or Peer Advocate, faculty or staff member who will then pass the information to the Title IX Coordinator.
Q: This is overwhelming. Is there someone who can help me understand more about the policy and my next decisions?
A: Yes! The Title IX Coordinator will visit with you in a safe place to help walk you through the options. Your decisions don’t have to be made all in one visit. It takes time to process and we want you to ask any and all questions you may have. The college also has a trained group of faculty and staff who can provide assistance as a support person or as an advisor to either the claimant or the respondent during the entire process. A list of faculty and staff who serve in these roles may be obtained from the Title IX Coordinator.
Q: Is there anyone I can speak to confidentially at Rhodes?
A: Yes, confidential resources are available! Confidential resources are not required to report incidents of sex/gender discrimination or sexual misconduct. It is important to note that reporting to a confidential source will NOT result in any institutional action.
Q: If I share a report of harassment or misconduct with a faculty member or a member of the Rhodes staff, will they be able to keep it confidential?
A: All Rhodes faculty and staff must report any incident of sexual misconduct or sex/gender harassment to either the Title IX Coordinator. This also includes Resident Assistants and Peer Advocates.
Q: If I share a report with another student, may they keep it confidential?
A: Yes, but the college strongly encourages individuals who have been involved in, who know of, or who have witnessed incidents of Sex/Gender Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct to report such incidents as soon as possible.
Q: Where do I seek assistance if I have been accused of discrimination or misconduct?
A: A student accused (the respondent) of violating the sex/gender and sexual misconduct policy should seek assistance from the Title IX Coordinator (listed above.) The Title IX Coordinator maintains a list of faculty and staff who are trained and available to assist students going through a Title IX process.
Q: Do I have any protections provided by the college as a claimant or a respondent to an accusation?
A: Yes. It’s important to know that both parties will be provided the following procedural protections and considerations.
Q: Can I report an incident and choose to not be involved in the process any further?
A: Yes, a report can even be made anonymously here. Reporters are also encouraged to meet with the Title IX Coordinator (see above). After making a report, you may choose to end your involvement in the process, may choose to be or not to be involved in the college’s investigation and any related proceedings, or you may choose to file a formal Claim and, if applicable, pursue an Informal Resolution Conference, or participate in an investigation and Formal Resolution Hearing against the respondent.
Q: Why does the school use a different standard of proof than a court would use?
A: Campus Title IX investigations are not criminal investigations. Criminal investigations are required to use what’s referred to as the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, which specifies that a verdict of guilty can only be returned if the facts demonstrate an overwhelming body of evidence in favor of the defendant’s guilt. However, Title IX is a non-discrimination statute and not a criminal statute. When it is argued in courts, it is considered civil litigation. Civil litigation carries a lesser standard of proof – the “preponderance of evidence” standard, which holds that the proof must only show that the defendant is more likely than not to be guilty (like a simple majority, 50 percent plus 1 likelihood).
While campus Title IX investigations are not conducted in a courtroom and do not carry the weight of law in the same way, guidance issued on April 4, 2011 by the Office of Civil Rights instructs administrators to use the same standard of evidence as provided in civil litigation suits involving discrimination. If a claimant were to choose to pursue criminal sexual assault charges, they would be held to the higher “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard, which requires a greater level of evidence to prove guilt. Because of that difference, a respondent may be found guilty of unlawful sexual harassment under Title IX by the college’s investigation even if the police do not have sufficient evidence of a criminal violation.
Q: What happens if I go to the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center?
A: Between the hours of 8:00 am – 4:30 pm Monday – Friday, you can visit the Rape Crisis Center for a free forensic examination. The Center is set up much like a doctor’s office with a receptionist, a waiting area, and examination room. A trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) who specializes in conducting exams for survivors of sexual assault will meet with you for a brief interview to collect your health history and to identify any areas you may have injuries, review what will happen during the exam, and answer any questions you may have. You’ll then be taken to an examination room that looks like one you would find any most doctors’ offices. There the SANE will perform an examination that may include any of the following, dependent on the circumstances of your assault: a full-body examination, including internal examinations of the mouth, vagina, and/or anus. It may also include taking samples of blood, urine, swabs of body surface areas, and sometimes hair samples. The nurse may take pictures of your body to document injuries and the examination. With your permission, they may also collect items of clothing, including undergarments. Any other forms of physical evidence that are identified during the examination may be collected and packaged for analysis, such as a torn piece of the perpetrator’s clothing, a stray hair, or debris. You will be offered prevention treatment for STIs and other forms of medical care that require a follow up appointment with a medical professional. During this process, a trained Sexual Assault Advocate can also be present to offer support if necessary.
If your assault happens after hours or on Saturday or Sunday, you can still access the Rape Crisis Center but only by contacting the police first. The 911 dispatcher will send an officer to escort you to the Rape Crisis Center where you will be met by a Sexual Assault Advocate and a SANE.
Q: What if I want to go to the Shelby County Rape Crisis Center but I don’t want to pursue a criminal case or get the police involved?
A: The decision to report the crime is entirely yours. It may take some time to decide what to do. Having a sexual assault forensic exam ensures that the forensic evidence will be safely preserved if you decide to report to law enforcement at a later time. If your assault occurs after hours or on the weekend and you do not want to contact the police, visit the Rape Crisis Center as soon as it is open for regular business hours Monday – Friday 8 am - 4:30 pm.
Q: I heard that the Trump Administration’s new laws do not protect people on the basis of gender identity or gender expression. Is that true?
A: It is true that the Office of Civil Rights, responsible for enforcing Title IX within the Department of Education, does not recognize gender identity or gender expression as a legally recognizable basis for discrimination. However, Rhodes’ policy does prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression and will promptly respond to such reports. In the policy, Section III. Title IX and Nondiscrimination - it is clear that the following characteristics are protected: sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Therefore, a student/employee can be held responsible for discrimination or harassment based on those characteristics under our policy.
Q: What happens if a guest from another school harasses or assaults a Rhodes student?
A: Rhodes encourages all members of its community to report harassment, discrimination, or sexual violence to the Title IX Office immediately, regardless of the perpetrator’s affiliation. In such cases where the perpetrator is not a student or employee of Rhodes, the College will work with our student or employee to ensure that they receive medical attention and support services. The Title IX Office can assist the student with filing a police report, obtaining orders of protection, or filing a Title IX claim with the perpetrator’s home institution. In some cases, Rhodes will issue a No Trespass Order to the perpetrator to ensure that they do not enter the Rhodes campus. However, Rhodes does not have any legal authority to discipline a non-Rhodes student or employee or monitor or intervene in another institution’s Title IX process.