Student Policies: Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct Policy (for Students)

Members of the college community, guests, and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of sexual misconduct. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The University will not tolerate sexual misconduct. When an allegation of sexual misconduct is brought to an appropriate administrator's attention, and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are not repeated. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.

The policy outlined on this web page addresses matters of sexual misconduct involving only undergraduate students at the University. Students with concerns of alleged incidents of sexual misconduct involving an employee and/or non-University students are encouraged to contact the Office of the Dean of Students for guidance on how to proceed. This policy pertains to students' conduct on and off campus. 

For immediate attention after an assault, call the University's
Sexual Assault Crisis Response Team at 931-636-4887,
available 24 hours a day.
Leave a message.  They'll call you back promptly.

Other resources include:
The Chattanooga Rape Crisis Center hotline at 423.755.2700.
All American Taxi service at 1.888.514.TAXI (8294) for a confidential ride to the center.


Ask for consent. Respect the reply.

The expectations of our community regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows: In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing, and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what a person wants sexually and what a person doesn't want. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence--without actions demonstrating permission--cannot be assumed to show consent.

Additionally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex.

Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, "No" always means "No," and "Yes" may not always mean "Yes" (for example a drunken or coerced "Yes" is not a valid "Yes").  Nor does a "Yes" to some sexual activities imply a "Yes" to all sexual activities.  Anything but a clear, knowing, and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a "No."

In short: Ask for consent. Respect the reply.

Students have an obligation to help uphold the standards of the community. Go to this page to report a violation, including a Title IX (sexual misconduct) violation.

Students should understand that the University’s disciplinary processes do not and are not intended to afford the specificity or the due process or other rights of criminal or civil statutes or any other legal authorities. Conduct violations that are also violations of Tennessee law may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities for adjudication.

In campus hearings, legal terms like "guilt," "innocence," and "burdens of proof" are not applicable, but the University never assumes a student is in violation of college policy. Campus hearings are conducted to take into account the totality of evidence available from relevant sources.

The University reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students' rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, interim suspension from campus pending a hearing, and reporting the matter to the local police. Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from warning to permanent separation from the University, depending on the severity of the offense. The University will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the person accused of sexual misconduct.

The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy. 

It is imperative that all community members understand the terms and definition listed here. Again, students have an obligation to help uphold the standards of the community. Go to this page to report a violation, including a Title IX (sexual misconduct) violation.

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Sexual Misconduct is a form of sexual discrimination and thus a violation of Title IX.  

The University of the South does not discriminate in employment, the admission of students, or in the administration of any of its educational policies, programs, or activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran/reserve/national guard status, or religion (except in The School of Theology’s Master of Divinity program, where preference is given to individuals of the Episcopal faith and except for those employment positions where religious affiliation is a necessary qualification). The University of the South complies with the 1964 Civil Rights Act, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the I.R.S. Anti-Bias Regulation, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Vice Provost for Planning and Administration of the University of the South, 735 University Avenue, Sewanee, TN 37383-1000, 931.598.1000, is the person responsible for coordinating the University’s effort to comply with these laws.


Portions ©2011 Occidental University · Los Angeles, CA – Special thanks to Occidental University and to National Association of College and University Attorneys for sharing many excerpts of their policy and recommendations with us.