Reporting Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Violence, and Gender-based Discrimination
Click on the links below to get answers to the most Frequently Asked Questions. If your question isn't listed, please call or email the Title IX Programs Director/Title IX Coordinator, Karen Rentz, at (850) 474-2175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who can file a report?
Any UWF student, faculty, or staff may file a report of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination against any University student, employee, visitor, or vendor under the UWF Title IX Policy. In those cases where either party is both a University student and a University employee, the Title IX Coordinator will determine, based on the nature of the allegations, the procedures to be used for addressing the alleged misconduct, violence, or discrimination.
The University policy prohibiting sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and gender-based discriminiation applies to any allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination against a University student, faculty, or staff regardless of where the alleged sexual misconduct occurred. Under the Title IX Policy, the University may take action against a student or employee for misconduct occurring off-campus where one or more of the following applies:
(a) The conduct is disruptive to the orderly processes and functions of the University;
(b) the conduct demonstrates that the continued presence of the student or emloyee on campus presents a danger to the health, safety or welfare of the University community;
(c) the off-campus conduct is intimidating or threatening to the University community or an individual within the University community;
(d) The off-campus conduct is of such a serious nature that it adversely affects the student or employee's suitability to remain a part of the University community; or
(e) the off-campus conduct is such that it could constitute a violation of the law.
How do I make a report?
Students or employees who feel that they have been victims of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination, or have witnessed such, should file a report as soon as possible. There are multiple ways to file a report. See below:
Does information about a report remain private?
The University respects the private nature of reports of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination. If a student or employee discloses an allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual violence or gender-based discrimination to a "Responsible University Employee," they should expect that, beyond the required notification to the Title IX Coordinator, the report will remain private.
In all complaints of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and gender discrimination, all parties will be informed of the outcome. The University also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an Combined Annual Security & Fire Safety Report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
What if I do not want to pursue an investigation?
If the Complainant does not wish to pursue any remedy under the Title IX Policy and/or requests that his or her complaint remain confidential, the University will consider the Complainant's request. However, the University is required to investigate and take reasonable action in response to information received as part of the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator, in conjunction with the appropriate Deputy Coordinator/Investigator, will weigh the Complainant's request against the following factors:
- Whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination against the same Accused.
- Whether or not the accusations are of a nature that the continued presence of the Accused on campus poses a threat to the safety of other community members.
- Any rights of the Accused to receive information related to the allegations.
The Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant if the University makes the determination to move forward with charges under this policy without the Complainant's participation.
What if I want to speak with someone about sexual misconduct or sexual violence perpetrated against me, but I want the information kept completely confidential?
Students or employees reporting sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination to any "Responsible University Employee" should know that every effort will be made to respect the private and sensitive nature of their report. However, as required under UWF's Title IX Policy, reports will result in a notification of the report to the Title IX Coordinator. The Complainant will have the option of whether or not to pursue further remedies, but should take note that any report to a Responsible University Employee will result, at minimum, in a written report to the campus Title IX Coordinator.
If a student wishes to speak with someone on campus confidentially about an act of sexual misconduct or sexual violence or any other matter, he or she should contact and schedule an appointment with Counseling & Psychological Services (850-474-2420). If an employee wishes to do the same, he or she may contact the Employee Assistance Program (1-800-860-2058).
Any information disclosed to a counselor during a counseling session is considered private and confidential and is legally protected. A counselor will encourage the complainant to report the alleged sexual misconduct and sexual violence to appropriate authorities, but is not required by federal law to report the incident to the UWF Title IX Coordinator. Additionally, any information shared by a student/employee regarding alleged sexual misconduct or sexual violence with any medical provider (doctor, nurse, or administrative staff) in Student Health Services will only be reported to the Title IX Coordinator with the student's permission.
How long after the incident can I file a report?
As long as there is University authority over the Accused student or employee, as described in the University's Title IX Policy, there is no time limit or statute of limitations to make a report of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination. Nevertheless, students and employees are encouraged to report alleged sexual misconduct, sexual violence and gender-based discrimination immediately in order to maximize the University's ability to obtain evidence and conduct a thorough, impartial and reliable investigation. Failure to promptly report alleged sexual misconduct, sexual violence and gender-based misconduct may result in the loss of evidence and witness testimony, and may impair the University's ability to enforce the Title IX Policy.
What happens after a report is filed?
Upon receipt of notice of any allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the University Intake Officer, who will contact and schedule an individual intake meeting. This initial intake meeting will provide the student or employee with an understanding of the Title IX Policy, the student's or employee's rights to pursue remedies under the policy, and will serve to identify the sources of support and immediate interventions available to the student/employee on campus and in the local community. The intake meeting may also involve a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the Complainant's academic, University housing and/or University employment arrangements.
If and when the case is assigned to a Title IX Investigator, the University will attempt, in as much as possible, to conclude the investigation within 30 days. As part of the investigation, the Title IX Investigator will:
- Interview all persons involved, including any witnesses.
- Obtain evidence, either through direct observation of the scene of the alleged sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discriminination, or through information/evidence provided by the Complainant, Accused, witnesses and/or law enforcement agencies.
- Provide the Complainant, the Accused, and any witnesses the opportunity to have a representative/advisor accompany them during investigative meetings.
- Keep records of the investigation, including a description of allegations and notes from all interviews.
- Provide a written report of the investigation (“Investigative Report”), including findings and recommended courses of action and remedies to the Title IX Coordinator.
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator.
If the student or employee does not wish for formal disciplinary action to be taken, but still wants to make a report and seek assistance, a complaint may be filed without naming the alleged perpetrator. However, Complainants should be aware than not identifying the perpetrator may limit the University's ability to respond in a comprehensive manner.
Will the Accused know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint.
Sexual misconduct and sexual violence is a serious offense and the Accused has the right to know the identity of the Complainant (alleged victim) and the allegation(s). Note: After investigating the allegation(s), if a Title IX Policy violation is found that results in a conduct hearing, the University does provide options for questioning without the Complainant and the Accused having to be in the same room.
If I accuse someone of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination, can they retaliate against me?
It is a violation of University policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination, or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a witness to) any allegation of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, and gender-based discrimination. For these purposes, "retaliation" includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse actions threatened or taken against a Complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator, and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination.
What can be done immediately until the investigation is completed?
These remedies are designed to prevent the recurrence of the alleged prohibited conduct and to limit the negative effects of the alleged conduct during the investigation period. Immediate accommodations available to a Complainant include, but are not limited to:
- No Contact Order - The University may issue no-contact orders between the Accused individual and the Complainant.
- On-Campus Housing Reassignment - The University may complete an administrative housing reassignment in order to separate the Complainant and the Accused student. This may include reassigning the Complainant, the Accused, or both.
- Academic Measures - The University will work with a Complainant to assist him/her regarding his/her academic coursework. Depending on the circumstances, examples of interim measures may include working with instructors related to missed classes, assigning the Complainant or Accused student to a new course section as scheduling permits, allowing the Complainant to finish the course requirements via distance learning or independent study, or providing the Complainant with a medical withdrawal from one or more courses.
- Employment Measures - The University will work with a Complainant to provide interim measures in situations where the alleged sexual misconduct sexual violence, or gender-based discrimination occurs within the context of his or her employment on campus, including student employment. Depending on the circumstances, examples of interim measures may include, but are not limited to, allowing the employee to work alternative hours in order to avoid contact with the Accused, assigning the employee to a different work location in order to avoid contact with the Accused, or assigning the employee to a different department during the duration of the investigation.
What happens after an investigation?
Once the investigation is completed, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Title IX Policy was violated and issue a final report to both the Complainant and the Accused. Both parties have an opportunity to review and respond to the report. If it is believed the Title IX Policy was violated, the appropriate conduct process will begin. The University may still take intervening measures even if it is determined that the policy was not violated.