Frequently Asked Questions for Faculty and Staff
Q: Where can I find a copy of Rhodes' Sex/Gender Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy (the Policy)?
Q: Does there have to be a formal claim for an investigation to take place?
A: No. Once the institution knows or reasonably should know of a potential Title IX or Rhodes Policy violation, we have an obligation to respond.
Q: Why is sexual violence/misconduct reported to the Title IX Coordinator?
A: Guidance provided by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights states that colleges must designate one person to be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the institution’s Title IX obligations. The Title IX Coordinator works closely with designated Title IX Deputy Coordinators to provide information about resources, the College’s policies and procedures, and to monitor the College climate with respect to sex/gender discrimination and sexual misconduct.
Q: Does stalking or domestic/dating violence need to be reported?
A: Yes. Under the provisions of Title IX and Rhodes Policy, the College is required to investigate matters involving gender-based harassment or misconduct which includes stalking and dating/domestic violence.
Q: If it involves same-sex harassment or sexual misconduct, is Title IX implicated?
A: Title IX prohibits sexual harassment or sexual misconduct regardless of the sex of the harasser, i.e., even if the harasser and the person being harassed are members of the same sex.
Q: The survivor has chosen not to press criminal charges. Why is a Title IX investigation still being conducted?
A: Whether a survivor pursues criminal charges into an allegation of sexual violence does not relieve the College’s duty under Title IX and Rhodes Policy to investigate the matter. Additionally, the standards for criminal investigations are different from those of Title IX, therefore, police investigations are not determinative of whether sexual harassment or sexual misconduct violates Title IX or Rhodes Policy and cannot be relied upon to satisfy the College’s administrative investigative responsibilities.
Q: Should I try to gather information before reporting to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator?
A: No. Only persons who have had specific training and experience in handling complaints of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct should engage in any fact-finding related to Title IX or Rhodes Policy.
Q: Should I put any information in my syllabus informing students of Title IX?
A: Yes. Every year approximately 20% of reports of sexual misconduct come from faculty members. It is important that students know that faculty are mandatory reporters and what will happen if they disclose to a professor. Below you will find some recommended language.
1. Rhodes is committed to ensuring a safe learning environment that supports the dignity of all members of the Rhodes community. Rhodes prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct, which includes, but is not limited to, dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment and sex/gender discrimination. Rhodes strongly encourages members of the Rhodes community to report instances of sexual misconduct immediately. All Rhodes faculty, staff, Peer Advocates, and Resident Assistants are Mandatory Reporters (exceptions are confidential resources: Counseling Center- 901-843-3128, Chaplain Beatrix Weil- 901-843-3822, and Student Health Center- 901-843-3895) and are required by the College to report any knowledge they receive of possible violations of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator, Tiffany Cox. If you choose to share information related to sexual misconduct with me I will report it to the Title IX Coordinator; however, you will control how your report is handled and you are not required to pursue a formal claim. The goal is to make you aware of the range of options and resources that are available to you. For more information about Rhodes’ sexual misconduct policy or to make a report please see www.rhodes.edu/titleix .
2. Rhodes faculty are concerned about the well-being and development of our students and are required by policy to share knowledge of sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, sexual harassment and sex/gender discrimination with the Title IX Coordinator, Tiffany Cox. For more information about Rhodes’ sexual misconduct policy or to make a report please see www.rhodes.edu/titleix .
For classes where it is anticipated that this topic may come up in a student’s writing:
3. In the event that you choose to write or speak about having survived sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking or sexual exploitation, I am required to report this to the Title IX Coordinator, Tiffany Cox, who will contact you to inform you of your options and available resources. If you do not want a report to be made to the Title IX Coordinator you can speak confidentially with the Student Counseling Center- 901-843-3128; Student Health Center- 901-843-3895; or Chaplain Beatrix Weil- 901-843-3822.
Q: Once I report it, do I have any other obligations?
A: No. After you forward a report to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, you have met all your obligations under Title IX and Rhodes Policy.
Do's and Don'ts of Communicating with Survivors of Sexual Assault
- Ensure the immediate safety of the reporting student. If the reporting student is in immediate danger, in need of immediate medical attention, or if the assault presents an immediate danger to the College community, contact 911 or Rhodes Campus Safety at 901-843-3880.
- Encourage the reporting student to seek medical attention and/or police services. The student should not be pressured to report, not report, or under-report a sexual misconduct; however, without pressuring them, inform the student that timely reporting is an important factor in a sexual assault investigation and prosecution. Make them aware that reporting the assault keeps their legal options open and may also prevent others from being assaulted. Even if the assault happened some time prior to the report the survivor my still benefit from medical care.
- Sample Language: “I’m sorry this happened. Are you open to seeking medical care?” or “Would you like help in contacting law enforcement? There are certain windows of time to collect important evidence that can be used later if you decide to pursue your legal options.”
- Talk to the reporting student in a place that ensures privacy and conveys support:
- Sample Language: “Thank you for telling me this; I realize how hard this is. I am required by Rhodes to report this to our Title IX Coordinator. Our Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators are trained to work with students who have been assaulted. They can offer you help with whatever you choose to do or not to do. One of them will be contacting you to be sure you get any resources/assistance you need.”
- Remain nonjudgmental. Harmful or inappropriate responses to reports of sexual assault can be detrimental to the reporting student’s willingness to participate in the Title IX or police investigative process.
- Sample Language: “It’s not your fault;” “I believe you;” “This doesn’t change how I think of you.” If a student discloses to you, it means they trust you. This language helps to remind the student that they have support.
- Don’t ask the student questions about the assault. This is best for the reporting student personally, as we want to prevent re-traumatization. While being supportive, we want to limit the number of times the reporting student discusses the details of the incident. However, if a student wants to share, you are not required to stop them from doing so; just refrain from “interviewing” the student.
- Don’t dismiss the student’s feelings or minimize their experience. Faculty and staff who are the first to receive a report do not have the responsibility of determining whether the report was harassment/sexual misconduct or if the reporting student is being truthful. Your only responsibility to report the allegations to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator immediately.
- Don’t notify persons who are not “need to know” of the report. Do not call the police unless the survivor requests or there is imminent danger. Remember, the Title IX Office is the only office that must be notified of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators have the responsibility of making additional notifications, if any. Keeping this information confidential helps to protect the privacy of the parties involved and reduces the likelihood of retaliatory conduct.
- Don’t sit on a report because it is after hours on the weekend. If you receive a report after 5:00 p.m. on weekdays or any time over the weekend, you should still immediately report the incident through the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form which can be found here or on Rhodes Express and inform the student of their options and resources available. Without pressuring the student, you should also encourage them to contact Campus Safety at 901-843-3880 and/or the Rhodes Counseling Center at 901-843-3128. On- and off-campus resources can be found here.