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Title IX Definitions

Title IX Definitions

Complainant –a person who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct. A Complainant may also be referred to as a Party. 

Consent -an active agreement to participate in a sexual act. An active agreement is words and/or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in a sexual act. Consent cannot be given by an individual who is asleep; unconscious; or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason; or, is under duress, threat, coercion, or force. Past Consent does not imply future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time. 

Dating violence –violence committed by a person- 

• Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and 
• Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: 
• The length of the relationship; 
• The type of relationship; and 
• The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. 

Domestic violence –includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the 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, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurs, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime occurs. In cases involving allegations of mutual acts or threats of acts of violence, the investigator will, when appropriate, identify the primary aggressor in the situation based on the totality of the information gathered, including without limitation: the history of violence between the Parties; the relative severity of the injuries inflicted on each person; information gathered from the persons involved in the situation and witnesses to the situation; and whether the acts or threats were done in self-defense. The primary aggressor will be considered the Respondent for purposes of evaluating Domestic Violence. 

Education program or activity -education programs and activities include locations, events, or circumstances over which the TBR or a TBR institution exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the alleged Sexual Misconduct occurred. Relevant factors include whether the alleged conduct took place 

(i) on or off premises owned or controlled by TBR, 
(ii) during school or work hours, 
(iii) as part of an institution-sponsored social activity, and 
(iv) as part of an activity that advances an educational purpose. 

Education programs or activities also include any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by a TBR institution. Whether Respondent is an institutional employee, and if so, the nature of the Respondent’s employment may be relevant. No single factor is determinative, including whether or not the alleged harassment took place on premises owned or controlled by a TBR institution. The Title IX Coordinator, after consulting with the Office of General Counsel, will make a fact-specific Determination whether, if proven, the allegations arise out of an education program or activity. Where some alleged Sexual Misconduct took place within a TBR education program or activity and some took place outside of it, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether to investigate and adjudicate all of the allegations in accordance with this policy. The decision-maker will also make a Determination whether the TBR institution has established by a preponderance of the evidence that Sexual Misconduct took place in an institutional education program or activity. 

Force/Forced -words and/or conduct that, viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person, substantially impair(s) a person’s ability to voluntarily choose whether to take an action or participate in an activity. Examples of Force include, without limitation: 

Physical force (e.g., hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, restraining, choking, kidnapping, using a weapon, blocking access to an exit); 

Words and/or conduct that would cause a reasonable person to fear:

  • Physical force or other harm to the person’s health, safety, or property, or a third person’s health, safety, or property;
  • Loss or impairment of an academic benefit, employment benefit, or money;
  • Disclosure of sensitive personal information or information that would harm a person’s reputation;
  • Disclosure of video, audio, or an image that depicts the person’s nudity or depicts the person engaging in a sexual act(s); or
  • Other immediate or future physical, emotional, reputational, financial, or other harm to the person or a third person. 

Formal Complaint -a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Misconduct against a Respondent and requesting that the institution investigate the allegation. At the time of filing a Formal Complaint, a Complainant either must be participating in or attempting to participate in the institution’s education program or activity implicated by the Formal Complaint. 

“Incapacitation” means that a person lacks the ability to actively agree to a sexual act because the person is asleep, unconscious, under the influence of an anesthetizing or intoxicating substance such that the person does not have control over their body, is otherwise unaware that a sexual act is occurring, or their mental, physical, or developmental abilities renders them incapable of making a rational informed judgment. Incapacitation is not the same as legal intoxication. See Clarifications for more information. 

Respondent –a person who has been alleged to be a perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct. A Respondent may also be referred to as a Party. 

“Retaliation” means to intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or Formal Complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy constitutes retaliation. Retaliation is a violation of this policy regardless of whether the underlying allegation of a violation of this policy is ultimately found to have merit. 

  • The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
  • Charging an individual with a policy or code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy does not constitute retaliation. 

“Sexual Assault” is an umbrella term that includes rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape. 

“Rape” means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. 

“Fondling” means the touching of the private body Party of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental incapacity. 

“Incest” means sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within degrees where marriage is prohibited by law. 

“Statutory rape” means sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. 

Title IX Sexual Harassment–conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies either of the following: (1) an employee of an institution conditioning provision of an aid, benefit, or service of an institution on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); (2) unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the institution’s education program or activity. “Reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances as and with similar identities to the Complainant. TBR institutions will consider the totality of the circumstances, including without limitation, the context in which the conduct and/or words occurred, and the frequency, nature, and severity of the words and/or conduct. In no event shall Title IX sexual harassment be construed to prohibit speech protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (e.g., merely offensive or insulting speech). See Clarifications for more information. 

Stalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to either (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress. “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through third Parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates with or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property. “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling. For the definition of Stalking, “reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.

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George Underwood
Executive Director, Equity and Compliance

Equity & Compliance 
Hardin Valley Campus 
Goins Building, Rm 258 
10915 Hardin Valley Rd. 
P.O. Box 22990 
Knoxville, TN 37933 

Open 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. 
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