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Title IX FAQ’s

What is Consent?

Consent is a knowing, conscious, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in sexual activity. Individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time and for any reason, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonably immediate time. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.

Consent is not effective if it results from:

  • The use of physical force
  • A threat of physical force
  • Intimidation
  • Coercion
  • Incapacitation
  • Any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his or her own free will to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

What is incapacitation?

Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or are disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drug consumption. Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, and how” of their sexual interaction).

What happens if I report something to a staff member or faculty member at NU?

Faculty, staff, and other campus leaders at NU are required to report all known details of an incident(s) that could be a Title IX violation to the Title IX Coordinator(s) immediately.

What happens after I file a report?

After a report is made, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will touch base with the reporting party to ensure they are safe, notify them of remedies, and their options to move forward. The Manager of Security is not contacted unless the NU community is at risk or the reporting party requests.

What if I don’t want to file a formal report but need help?

Even if you do not want to go through an investigation or file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator can assess your needs as they relate to your class schedule, work schedule, living situation, or other safety concerns. Any ERP member can also connect students with the Manager of Security, NU Wellness, and other off-
campus resources.

Is it possible to be sexually harassed/assaulted by someone of the same gender?

Yes. If you have been subjected to unwanted sexual contact or sexual harassment, your gender and the gender of the alleged perpetrator are irrelevant. Such conduct is prohibited by Title IX.

What if the incident(s) occurred off-campus?

If the incident involves an NU student, it should still be reported and the Title IX Coordinator(s) can still assist the involved parties.

Does Title IX apply to online behavior?


What about retaliation?

Retaliation against a person who reports a potential violation under this policy, assists someone with a report of a violation, or participates in any manner in an investigation or in the resolution of a complaint made under this policy is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to threats, intimidation, reprisals and/or adverse actions related to an individual’s employment or education.

When do I need to file a report?

Individuals wishing to report a concern or file a report of discrimination and/or harassment are encouraged to do so as soon as possible following the incident(s). The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) can accept reports at any time, however the more time that has elapsed, reduces our ability to speak with witnesses and fact-find.

Do I have to file a formal report if I contact the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE)?

Any member of the University community may consult the OIE without obligation to file a report. During a consultation, the OIE staff will explain University policies and procedures so the visitor can make an informed choice as to whether or not they would like to file a report. In certain limited situations, however, the information learned by the OIE staff may be of sufficient concern that the University must take appropriate action to resolve the situation even if the reporting individual does not wish to file a formal report.

Will my complaint be confidential?

Reports of discrimination and/or harassment are treated with the greatest degree of privacy possible. In all reports of discrimination or harassment, information is only shared with others on a need-to-know basis.

Am I protected from retaliation if I file a report of discrimination or harassment?

The University prohibits retaliation against individuals who have reported alleged policy violations; participated in investigations; and/or requested accommodations.  Retaliatory action is regarded as a basis for a separate policy violation under the University’s procedures. If you believe that you have been retaliated against for reporting alleged policy violations, for participating in an investigation, or for requesting reasonable accommodation, you should contact the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE).

What is the role of the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE)?

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) is an administrative office, not a judicial or legal office. One of its roles is to assist NU community members (faculty, staff and students) in understanding the University’s policies and procedures in the area of discrimination and harassment and to assist in resolving reports of discrimination and harassment.OIE staff members are impartial administrators who are neither advocates nor adversaries with respect to the parties and witnesses. Instead, Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) staff members are advocates for the proper and fair administration of the reporting process.

*Please note, in many cases, a more effective response can be implemented by providing your name and contact information, so staff has an opportunity to ask follow-up questions if necessary.