SEXUAL MISCONDUCT (Beginning on page 16, Student Code of Conduct)
Students should enjoy a learning environment free of inappropriate harassment, including, but not limited to sexual harassment perpetrated by fellow ECU students, other University members, or non-affiliated third parties. Sexual harassment by any member of the University community, including students, faculty and staff, is a violation of both law and University policy, and will not be tolerated. Harassment between University employees, University employees and students, and/or student-on-student harassment is prohibited. These policies can be found on the myECU portal here.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment shall be defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature in the following context:
- When submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing;
- When submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting such individual; or
- When such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.
Examples of Prohibited Conduct
Conduct, whether in person, in writing, by telephone, through social media, by electronic means, or otherwise, which is prohibited by this policy includes, but is not limited to:
- Unwelcome sexual flirtation, advances, or propositions for sexual activity;
- Continued or repeated verbal abuse of a sexual nature, such as suggestive comments and sexually explicit jokes;
- Sexually degrading language used to describe an individual;
- Remarks of a sexual nature used to describe a person’s body or clothing;
- Display of sexually demeaning objects and pictures;
- Offensive physical contact, such as unwelcome touching, pinching, or brushing the body;
- Coerced sexual intercourse;
- Sexual assault; or
- Actions indicating that benefits will be gained or lost based on response to sexual advances.
Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedures
Sexual harassment is against the law and requires immediate attention and appropriate disciplinary action which may include a range of actions up to and including the expulsion of the offending party. ECU’s policies offer both an informal mediation procedure and a formal grievance procedure to resolve cases of alleged sexual harassment. A complete copy of the sexual harassment policy is available through the myECU portal here. Sexual harassment complaints may be filed by contacting one or more of the following agencies:
- Office of Student Development, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-2361.
- Human Resources Department, Administration Building, Room 204, 580-559-3348.
- ECU Police Department, CBCC, 580-559-5555.
ECU students may contact their Resident Advisor, a Residence Hall Director, an appropriate class instructor, their department chair/school director, their college dean, the Campus Initiative to Reduce Crimes Against Women (CIRCAW) Office, the Dean of Students and/or the Vice President for Student Development if they feel that they have become a victim of sexual harassment. To file a formal complaint, a written, signed, and dated report must be submitted to the Dean of Students, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-2208. After receiving the complaint, the Dean of Students or his/her designee shall promptly commence an investigation of the issue, which shall reflect the normal investigation, hearing, and appeal procedures, as stated in Sections III.L.-Q. If for any reason the student does not believe the Dean of Students can be impartial, the complainant may file the complaint with the following University entities:
- ECU Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, 160, 580-559-5260
- ECU Police Department, CBCC, 580-559-5555.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for monitoring and oversight of implementation of Title IX Compliance at the University. This includes coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of gender discrimination grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students, and other members of the University community. At the conclusion of the investigation and hearing of any sexual harassment case, the Dean of Students shall send written notice of the final determination of the student conduct body, who hears the case, to each party and the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) University business days following the resolution of the matter.
ECU will neither tolerate nor condone any form of sexual violence or misconduct, physical, mental, or emotional in nature. Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. This includes, but is not limited to rape, rape by instrumentation, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, or other forms of sexual assault. In instances where there is reason to believe that University policy prohibiting sexual misconduct has been violated, the University will pursue disciplinary action. The University may immediately suspend any student reasonably believed to have committed sexual violence against a person in violation of this policy, with notice and hearing to follow promptly. The University has established procedures for timely reporting, investigation, and resolution of sexual violence incidents. Even if the victim chooses not to press criminal charges, he or she has the option of pursuing sanctions through the University system. University sanctions may include warnings, probation, restrictions, suspension or expulsion.
Domestic and Relationship Violence
The Oklahoma Penal Code, §21-644, defines domestic violence as any person who commits any assault and battery against a current or former spouse, a present spouse of a former spouse, a former spouse of a present spouse, parents, a foster parent, a child, a person otherwise related by blood or marriage, a person with whom the defendant is or was in a dating relationship as defined by Section 60.1 of Title 22 of the Oklahoma Statutes, an individual with whom the defendant has had a child, a person who formerly lived in the same household as the defendant, or a person living in the same household as the defendant shall be guilty of domestic abuse.
Dating violence occurs between two persons who are dating and who are not yet in a formal relationship. Characteristics of dating violence are physical behavior such slapping, pulling hair, punching; threats of abuse such as threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon; verbal abuse; emotional abuse; or other form of harassment.
Examples of Prohibited Conduct Related to Sexual Assault
Conduct prohibited by this policy includes, but is not limited to:
- Unwanted sexual contact with a stranger or a friend, acquaintance, spouse, current dating partner, or former intimate partner
- Unwanted sexual contact committed by force, threat, surprise, coercion, or intimidation
- Unwanted physical contact, such as touching, brushing, fondling, and groping the body
- Sexual contact without active consent
- Indecent exposure or non-consensual voyeurism
Examples of Prohibited Conduct Related to Consent
- Passive compliance when consent is not actively communicated
- Sexual contact with an individual whose ability to consent is compromised due to alcohol and/or drug use
- Sexual contact with an individual whose ability to consent is compromised due to mental disorder, developmental disability, intellectual disability, physical disability, age (being under 16), or family relations (incest)
- Sexual contact committed by force, threat, surprise, intimidation, or through use of mental or physical helplessness
- Actions related to sexual harassment
Procedures for Reporting Sexual Assault
In the event of a sexual assault, the victim is encouraged to report the crime to ECU Police if the crime was committed on-campus or to the appropriate authority if the crime was committed off-campus. If possible, victims should take care to preserve evidence of a sexual assault which is of paramount importance in offering proof of the crime. For example, victims should not bathe or wash clothing. The victim of a sexual assault should seek medical attention. However, a report can be made even if these steps have not been taken.
An ECU Police officer or designee can transport the victim to an appropriate medical facility to be examined and treated by a physician. After acquiring medical attention, the victim will be interviewed by ECU Police officers to aid in their investigation and gather information necessary to apprehend the assailant. Prosecution of the assailant is a matter for the victim to consider apart from reporting the crime. The information will be treated with the confidentiality afforded any victim of crime.
The Campus Initiative to Reduce Crime Against Women (CIRCAW) Office provides confidential advising to aid victims in reporting sexual assault crimes. The CIRCAW Office provides information on options available to victims through law enforcement, civil proceedings, and the student conduct process. Additionally, the CIRCAW Office can assist victims by providing referrals to resources to meet their individual needs. Students may also report the crime to any faculty or staff who shall inform ECU Police and the Office of Student Development.
Victims will be offered resources such as room changes and on-campus housing relocation to help ensure safety. Victims will also be informed of academic support, such as tutoring and emergency absence notifications. Other on-campus resources include the following entities:
- ECU Title IX Coordinator, Administration Building, Room 160, 580-559-5260
- ECU Police Department, CBCC, 580-559-5555
- Office of Student Development, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-5208
Prohibition of Retaliation for Reporting
Retaliation against reporters of sexual assault is prohibited by University policy and federal and state laws. Retaliation includes threats, intimidation, and/or reprisals against anyone who reports prohibited sexual behaviors.
Suggestions for Sexual Assault Victims
If you are the victim of sexual assault, the most important thing is to know that the sexual assault was not your fault. YOU are not guilty.
- Do not bathe, change your clothes, douche, or do anything to change your appearance. Some important physical evidence may be gone after 48 hours, so it is absolutely imperative to act quickly. However, there is not a statute of limitations on filing complaints with the Dean of Students.
- Contact the CIRCAW Office at 580-559-5861 (if during ECU business hours) A CIRCAW representative may accompany you to ECU Police or the hospital, but they recognize that this is your decision. The CIRCAW representative will assist you regardless of your decision about reporting. If you elect to go to the police or the hospital, you are strongly urged not to undergo this ordeal alone.
- Call ECU Police and report the sexual assault even if you do not want to prosecute. It is important to report sexual assault, so that the crime can be reported for the protection of others.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room, regardless of whether you have physical injuries resulting from the assault. The ER will provide testing for semen, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infection (STI) tests in addition, this will help if you choose to pursue criminal charges. Even if you do not want to prosecute now, you may change your mind later.
- A follow-up check may be recommended by the health care provider since some STI’s cannot be detected immediately.
An anonymous report is an unofficial means to inform the University administration and/or ECU Police that a sexual assault has occurred on-campus, near campus, or against a University member. This method has been developed to encourage student reporting of sexual assaults without the risk of identity exposure and the pressures of filing a report with the Dean of Students and/or filing criminal charges with a local law enforcement agency. The anonymous report will provide valuable information to the University administration and ECU Police, which will allow for improved prevention programming and resources in the future for the ECU campus community.
Student victims of sexual assault may file an anonymous report with the Dean of Students, whether or not the victim of a sexual assault decides to file criminal charges against the offender at a later date. The Anonymous Reporting Form can be acquired online at here. To keep information anonymous, do not include names of victims or perpetrators. If names are included, this is no longer considered an anonymous report and an investigation may be conducted by ECU Police.
Anonymous reports will remain confidential to the public, but may be shared with ECU Police, the Student Counseling Center, and the CIRCAW Office for statistical, programmatic, and/or referral purposes. Since the anonymous reporting method is unofficial, the Dean of Students may not be able to take disciplinary action in response to such a report.
Disciplinary Options Available for Pursuit by Victims of Assault
Regardless of the location of the assault, several options may be pursued. Victims may choose to pursue one or more of the following options, which include but are not limited to:
- Pursuing criminal charges through ECU Police, Ada Police, Chickasaw Lighthorse Police, or other law enforcement agency within the vicinity of the incident and/or your residence.
- Contacting the CIRCAW Office, Memorial Student Union, Room K102, 580-559-5861; the CIRCAW Office provides a safe place where victims can explore the options available to them through criminal proceedings, civil proceedings and student conduct proceedings. In addition, the CIRCAW Office assists with referrals for legal assistance, medical care, counseling, housing needs/relocation, and academic concerns.
- Obtaining a Victim’s Protection Order (VPO) through the office of the Pontotoc County District Attorney, 580-332-0341. VPOs have nationwide and statewide validity unless otherwise stated.
- Pursuing a ECU “No Contact Order” from the Dean of Students, 580-559-5208.
- Pursuing University sanctions through the Dean of Students, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-5208. (See Section III.P. for sanction possibilities.)
The CIRCAW Office, Memorial Student Union, Room K102, 580-559-5861, will provide assistance and resources for recovery from sexual assault. In addition, the ECU Student Counseling Center, Memorial Student Union, Room 137, 580-559-5714, will assist you by providing follow-up counseling and other resource. For more information, go here.
Disciplinary Procedures in Cases of Sexual Misconduct
In addition to addressing sexual assault through the criminal justice system another course of action is available. Cases involving sexual misconduct may be assigned to the Dean of Students. Students found responsible of sexual misconduct may face a number of sanctions, up to and including, expulsion. Further information regarding the disciplinary process may be obtained by contacting the Dean of Students at 580-559-5208. In addition, copies of the Code of Student Conduct may be obtained at the Office of Student Development, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-5208 and online here.
At the conclusion of the investigation and hearing of any sexual assault case, the Dean of Students shall send written notice of the final determination of the student conduct body, who hears the case, to each party and the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) University business days following the resolution of the matter.
Programs and Services
The goal of the CIRCAW Office is to establish and maintain a cohesive response system in order to help students receive assistance easily and confidentially when a sexual assault occurs. The CIRCAW Office will not make decisions for students, but will inform them of available resources. After students have determined what the best plan is for their lives, the CIRCAW Office will aid them until their plan has been completed. For more information on safety educational programs, contact the CIRCAW Office, Memorial Student Union, Room K102, 580-559-5861 or ECU Police at 580-559-5555.
Stalking Policy Statement
East Central University prohibits stalking. The stalking policy applies equally to all members of the ECU community; students, faculty, administrators, staff, contract employees, and visitors. Actions resulting in charges of stalking under this policy may also be subject to criminal/civil sanctions independent of actions by the University. “Stalking” is defined as any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or harasses another person in a manner that 1) would cause a reasonable person or member of the immediate family of that person to feel frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested; and 2) actually causes the person being followed or harassed to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. These behaviors could result in criminal charges. Such behavior includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Following or appearing within the sight of that individual
- Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property
- Appearing at the workplace or residence of that individual
- Threatening or obscene gestures
- Repeated or continuing non-consensual communication, including personal contact, telephone calls, voice messages, electronic mail, written correspondence, unwanted gifts, etc.
- Non-consensual touching
- Surveillance or other types of observation
Prohibition of Retaliation for Reporting
Retaliation against reporters of stalking is prohibited by University policy and state and federal laws. Retaliation may include, but is not limited to, threats, intimidation, harassment, physical abuse, damage to personal property, and/or reprisals against anyone who reports prohibited stalking behaviors.
Procedures for Cases of Stalking
Stalking behavior will not be tolerated at East Central University. Incidents of stalking which were committed on- or off-campus may be addressed by the University discipline system. Stalking is a crime under Oklahoma State Law (Title 21, Section 1173) and could result in criminal charges. Regardless of whether the stalking behavior was committed on- or off-campus, several options may be pursued. Victims may choose to pursue one (1) or more of the following options, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Pursuing criminal charges through ECU Police, Ada Police, Chickasaw Lighthorse Police, or other law enforcement agency within the vicinity of the incident and/or your residence;
- Contacting the CIRCAW Office, Memorial Student Union, Room K102, 580-559-5861;
- Obtaining a Victim’s Protection Order through the office of the Pontotoc County District Attorney, 580-332-0341;
- Pursuing University sanctions through the Dean of Students, Administration Building, Room 103, 580-559-5208. (See Section III.Q. for sanction possibilities.)
Tips for Responding to Stalking Behaviors
Stalking is an unpredictable and dangerous behavior. Yet, you can increase your safety by considering and implementing some or all the following tips:
- Trust your instincts. Do not downplay the danger. If you feel unsafe, you may be unsafe;
- Contact ECU Police or other local law enforcement agency for assistance;
- Consult with the CIRCAW Office for assistance in determining the steps that you may desire to take, helping you to plan for your safety, and assisting you with obtaining resources on and/or off-campus;
- Seek support by notifying your Resident Assistant, family member(s), roommates, co-workers, staff members, faculty members, and/or friends about your concerns;
- Change your email address, screen names, and telephone numbers. Furthermore, be selective about to whom these are given. Change passwords and clear your computer of spyware;
- Utilize privacy/security settings on your online social networking pages;
- Use an unlisted telephone number;
- Decide in advance what steps you will take if the stalker appears at your home, work, or class;
- Do not communicate with the stalker or respond to attempts to contact you;
- Change your locks, install deadbolts and/or a security system and ensure that your windows and doors have working locks;
- Consider obtaining a court order that requires the stalker to cease from contacting you and to keep a certain distance away from you;
- Document and/or save contacts, telephone calls, letters, emails, and preserve evidence of harassment; and,
- If you have any reason to believe that you may be in physical danger, call ECU Police at 580-559-5555 or local police immediately. You may also call the Office of Student Development at 580-559-5208 to reach the Dean of Students.