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Frequently Asked Questions on Title IX/Sexual Assault

Find answers to common questions on Title IX and sexual assault. 

A:  The law defines “sexual harassment” as unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, or verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, education, housing or participation in any University activity; or (b) such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment, education, housing or participation in any University activity by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive environment. It is the University’s policy to vigorously enforce the prohibitions.

A:  Actual, attempted or threatened sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault can be a violation of SVSU’s Anti-Discrimination/Harassment Policy. It can also be a crime under the Michigan penal code.  Complaints of sexual assault are investigated and handled pursuant to the University’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy, and should also be reported to the SVSU Police Department. In addition to the SVSU Police Department, you also have the right to file a criminal complaint with any other appropriate law enforcement agency.

A:  Please visit our Report An Incident page to find full instructions on what to do if you think that you are a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault.

A: Sexual assault is a form of sexual harassment.

A: The Title IX Coordinator, Office of Diversity Programs and/or Human Resources

A: Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act prohibits sexual harassment at educational institutions, in addition to requiring equity in sports.  The Title IX Coordinator is the individual responsible for ensuring compliance with the law in this area at SVSU.

A: The Policy is violated when a reasonable person would find that the assault was “so severe, pervasive or persistent that it had the effect of altering one’s educational or employment experience.”  Examples might include the victim dropping out of school or a class where the alleged perpetrator is also enrolled, quitting work or moving from one work shift to another.

A: Relationship violence may be sexual assault or sexual harassment under University policy when harm or abuse, or threats of harm or abuse, arising within or from the personal, intimate relationship (or previous relationship) meets the definition of sexual harassment: the conduct is unwelcome, sexual in nature, and so severe, pervasive or persistent that a reasonable person would find that it altered their educational or work experience.  For example, an ex-boyfriend/girlfriend stalking an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend could be a violation of the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy.  It could also be a crime.

A: Yes. The definition is the same regardless of who the perpetrator is – if there was no consent, there is sexual assault.

A: It could. The Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy prohibits conduct that is sexual in nature, is unwelcome and so severe, pervasive or persistent that a “reasonable person” would find that it altered his/her educational or work experience.  To discuss filing a claim under the policy, please contact the Title IX Coordinator’s office or a Title IX Representative.


Title IX Coordinator - Dr. Mamie Thorns
(989) 964-4068


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University Police
(989) 964-4141