Terms & Definitions

Collecting Information Relevant to the Case. The Investigator will also review any documents and other information relevant to the allegations. If you have any materials that you believe may be relevant to this investigation that you have not already submitted to the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX please prepare to give copies to the Investigator during your upcoming interview, (e.g., emails, texts, instant messages, photos, social media postings, videos, notes or other documents).  

Prior to completing the investigation report, the Investigator will send to the Complainant and Respondent (and their respective advisors) the evidence that has been gathered, in the form of a confidential Draft Case File. You and your adviser may inspect and review the Draft Case File and will have at least 10 calendar days to submit a written response. 

After reviewing any written responses, the Investigator will prepare a final Investigative Report that summarizes the relevant evidence, and the Investigative Report will be forwarded to the Complainant and Respondent (and their respective advisors).  Complainant and Respondent will both have at least 10 calendar days to submit another written response regarding the final Investigative Report. 

Complainant. An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Consent. An action defined as the voluntary, unambiguous and uncoerced agreement to participate in an act, the nature and full extent of which is understood by all parties. Silence or lack of resistance cannot be the sole factor in determining consent. Consent may be given verbally or nonverbally. All parties are responsible for confirming that their counterpart’s consent is maintained throughout the act and is present before engaging in a new act. A person may be incapable of giving consent due to physical incapacitation, physical or mental disability, threat, coercion, the influence of alcohol or drugs, or age.

Coercion. When an individual unreasonably pressures another to engage in sexual activity, despite responses that the conduct is unwelcome or unwanted. Coercion includes elements of pressure, duress, cajoling, and compulsion. The pressure to participate may also be considered unreasonable when the pressuring individual is in a position of influence or authority over the other individual.

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. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Determination of Responsibility. After considering the Investigative Report and the answers during the live hearing, the Decision-Maker will issue a written determination regarding responsibility based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. “whether it is more likely than not the alleged conduct occurred”).  The written decision will provide notice of determination and explain how to file an appeal. 

Domestic violence. 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, 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.

Discrimination. Discrimination (disparate treatment and disparate impact) occurs when an adverse action is taken under university authority against a university community member in an educational program or activity and the action is based upon one’s protected class status. Disparate treatment occurs when one suffers less favorable treatment than others because of their protected class status. Disparate impact occurs when a university policy or practice, although neutral on its face, adversely impacts persons in a protected class.

Harassment. In the employment context, harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct based on a protected class that unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance or created as intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. In the education context, harassment is unwelcome, verbal, or physical conduct based on a protected class that interferes with, denies, or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s educational programs and activities. Harassment can take two forms: power differentials (quid pro quo) or hostile environment. There are also Title IX and University definitions of sexual harassment.

Hearings.  After the parties’ review and comment period, a trained, Decision-Maker, who is not the Title IX Coordinator, or the Investigator will be assigned. Formal complaints that are not resolved informally or dismissed will result in a live hearing. When the respondent is a student, the hearing will be convened by the office of student conduct in accordance with that office’s procedures. When the respondent is an employee, the hearing will be convened by human resources or the office of the provost. 

Incapacitation. A state where a person lacks the capacity to reasonably appreciate the nature or extent of the situation because of their physical or mental status, developmental disability, or alcohol or drug use.

Informal Resolution Process. At any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the university may facilitate an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. Both parties mutually agree to the proposed informal resolution strategy in writing. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal complaint process.

Investigation Process.  Investigations will be conducted in a timely, thorough, and impartial manner. The Investigator will interview the Complainant, relevant witnesses, and Respondent in a discrete and confidential manner. Disclosure of facts and allegations by the Investigator to persons interviewed will be limited to what is reasonably necessary to complete a fair and thorough investigation. You may bring an advisor of your choice to your interview or related meetings. 

Formal complaint. A document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. The document may be a physical or electronic submission (such as reporting online, using the reporting form that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.

Protected Class. Protected class is defined by federal law/executive order, federal agencies, or Kent State policy. The protected classes include: age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV/AIDS status, military status, national origin, race, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, pregnancy, veteran status, or any other bases under the law.

Respondent. An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Retaliation prohibited. No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual 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 under this policy. Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the grievance procedures in this policy.

Sexual harassment. Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

An employee of the university conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the university on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the university’s education program or activity.

Sexual assault

Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Timeline. The Office of Gender Equity and Title IX endeavors to complete the investigation and complaint process within reasonably prompt time frames, typically within ninety (90) calendar days of the time the formal complaint was filed.  If the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX has good cause to extend the timeline, written notice to the Complainant and Respondent will be provided explaining the reasons for the delay and the needed extension.