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Reporting Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct

Posted Aug. 26, 2013

It is important that all Kent State University students, employees and visitors enjoy an environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment. This is reflected in the fact that we are protected from unlawful discrimination by several state and federal laws, as well as university policies 5-16 and 5-16.2. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, which will not be tolerated at Kent State.  

All Kent State employees are required to report any instance of sexual harassment or misconduct to the Title IX coordinator or a deputy coordinator, and in the case of sexual assault, to the police.

  • Sexual Harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes, but is not limited to: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Sexual Misconduct is sexual contact with a person without their consent. It includes, but is not limited to: touching or fondling, rape (defined as vaginal, anal or oral penetration with a body part or object without consent), sexual exploitation (e.g. videotaping sexual acts without consent) or letting someone else watch sexual acts without your partner's consent.
  • Retaliatory Harassment occurs when someone complains of or participates in an investigation of discrimination (including harassment or misconduct), and because of it, they experience verbal or electronic harassment, threats or other forms of negative treatment.

What do I do if a student, coworker or campus visitor confides in me that they were sexually harassed or sexually assaulted (regardless of where or when it occurred)?

  1. Let them know that you cannot ensure confidentiality. As an employee, you are required to report any alleged incident of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct that is brought to your attention. The only university employees that may ensure confidentiality are licensed counselors and unlicensed trainees of any university psychological services programs.
  2. In the instance of sexual assault, encourage the student, employee or visitor to seek medical treatment and contact the appropriate law enforcement agency to report the incident.
  3. Let them know where they can get help. The Office of Sexual and Relationship Violence Support Services (SRVSS) website provides resources for victims and those who want to help. Jennifer O'Connell, the SRVSS program coordinator, can also assist victims. O'Connell's office is at the Women's Center, and she can be reached at 330-672-9230 or joconne5@kent.edu.   
  4. Report any incident to the Title IX coordinator or a deputy coordinator, and in the case of assault, to the police. For emergencies, call 911; otherwise, Kent State police can be reached at 330-672-2212. Contact information for the Title IX coordinator and deputy coordinators is below:   

- Loretta Shields, Title IX coordinator: 330-672-2038, aa_eo@kent.edu or lshields@kent.edu 
- Julie Di Biasio, deputy coordinator: 330-672-3391 or jdibiasi@kent.edu 
- Pamela Fitzgerald, deputy coordinator: 330-672-2521 or pfitzge3@kent.edu
- Janet Kittell, deputy coordinator (Athletics):  330-672-8461 or jkittell@kent.edu

To schedule sexual assault and sexual harassment awareness training for faculty or staff, including how to recognize a student in distress, contact O'Connell at the phone number and email address listed above.

More information is also available on the SRVSS and the Human Resources websites.