How to Report Sexual Misconduct


Any person who believes she/he has been the subject of discrimination or harassment due to sex (sexual misconduct) or interpersonal violence or is aware of a member of the community who has been subject to sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence is strongly encouraged to contact either the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.

  • If the person you are reporting is a student, please contact Melissa Barrett at barrettm@queens.edu orr 704-688-2818. Note: a “student” is defined by Queens as a person who has been admitted to the University and has enrolled in one or more classes or academic program.
  • If the person you are reporting is a faculty or staff member, please contact Teri Orsini at orsinit@queens.edu or 704-337-2297.
  • If you are a third party or concerned person who is not a current student, faculty or staff member who wants to report sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence involving a member of the university community, please contactT eri Orsini at orsinit@queens.edu or 704-337-2297.

The Deputy Title IX Coordinators work closely with the Title IX Coordinator to oversee all reports of sexual misconduct and associated acts that fall under the purview of Queens' Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence policy. Deputies are empowered to oversee the grievance processes in their specific areas based on, among other things, the status of the accused party.  

Individuals are encouraged to report potential crimes of sexual assault (sexual assault by a person that is known or a stranger) to campus law enforcement in addition to the Title IX Coordinator/Deputies. The Title IX Coordinator/Deputies are available to assist an individual in notifying law enforcement. Criminal and University investigations are separate and may be conducted simultaneously. The University investigative process will not wait for the completion of a criminal investigation in order to proceed.

Although the University strongly encourages all members of its community to report violations of this policy to law enforcement, it is the victim's choice whether or not to make such a report and victims have the right to decline involvement with the police. The University AVP of Campus Public Safety and Campus Police and/or the Chief of Campus Police or the Title IX Coordinator/Deputies will assist any victim with notifying local police if they so choose.

A "report" is made when the University knows or reasonably should know based on the statements of a complainant that sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence is being alleged. A complainant need not supply a written statement, although it is preferable. Actual notice, which consists of direct statements from a complainant of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, are desirable, although the University accepts verbal or written statements from any party who has knowledge of an incident occurring either on or off campus that has the potential to interfere with the educational mission of the University or create a hostile environment on campus.

Victims and/or witnesses will not be sanctioned for alcohol or drug use in violation of the Queens Honor Code when reporting a sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence policy violation. The serious nature of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence is a major concern of the University and Queens does not want any of the circumstances (e.g. drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting and investigation of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence.


Sexual Misconduct is a broad term used by the University to identify a number of forms of discrimination based on sex. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation. This policy also prohibits sex-based harassment, which may include dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking or other acts of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:
1. Sexual Harassment
2. Sexual Assault (or attempts to commit same)
3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
4. Sexual Exploitation
5. Dating Violence
6. Domestic Violence
7. Stalking

Sexual Harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone's ability to participate in or benefit from Queens' educational programs and/or activities or privileges of employment, and is based on the creation of a hostile environment, quid pro quo harassment or retaliation.

A hostile environment is any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive and objectively offensive. The determination of whether an environment is "hostile" must be based on all of the circumstances. These circumstances could include but are not limited to: 
1. The frequency of the conduct;
2. The nature and severity of the conduct;
3. Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
4. Whether the conduct was humiliating;
5. The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim's mental or emotional state;
6. Whether power differentials exist between the parties;
7. Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person.

Not all workplace or educational conduct that may be described as "harassment" affects the terms, conditions or privileges of employment or education.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications, when submission to this conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual's employment or academic success; or submission to or rejection of this conduct is used as the basis for an employment or academic decision; and/or power differentials exists that impact a person's ability to reject such advances.

Examples of Harassment:

  • A professor offers that a student can have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student agrees to the request.
  • A student repeatedly sends sexually-oriented jokes around on an email list, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall where they both live. 
  • Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor's office, on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public space.
  • Two supervisors frequently ‘rate' several employees' bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
  • A professor engages students in discussions in class about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
  • An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social outcast on campus.

Sexual Assault is any intentional sexual touching, directly, or over clothing, however slight, with any body part or object, without explicit consent. It is also considered sexual assault if the individual is forced to touch the intimate parts of another individual. Sexual assault includes non-consensual sexual intercourse.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, by one person upon another, without consent and/or by force.

Consent Defined

Communication of mutually understandable words or actions, freely, actively and affirmatively given that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activities or actions. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties involved to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time. Consent cannot be given if the individual has a reasonable fear he or she will be injured if the individual does not give consent, is incapable of giving consent or is prevented from resisting due to physical or mental incapacity, which may include but is not limited to the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if the individual has a mental or physical disability that would prohibit their ability to provide consent. In the absence of mutually understandable words or actions, it is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to make sure they have consent from their partner. Consent can also be withdrawn at any time.

What Constitutes Lack of Consent?
Consent cannot be inferred through silence or lack of resistance. Consent to one activity does not constitute consent to other sexual acts. Past sexual activity does not constitute consent for future acts. A minor cannot provide consent under any circumstances. If at any time consent is uncertain, the initiating party should stop and obtain verbal consent. The use of any force, display of force, coercion or intimidation negates consent.

Individuals who are incapacitated may not legally give consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation includes, but is not limited to, being highly intoxicated, passed out or asleep. A person who is incapacitated for purposes of this policy is one who is not legally able to give consent because they are mentally or physically helpless. Mentally helpless is when a person has a mental illness or a condition (like being passed out, asleep or highly impaired) that renders them incapable of understanding the nature of their conduct. Physically helpless means a person has restriction of movement, either temporarily or permanently.

When incapacitation occurs due to alcohol or drug use, indicators of incapacitation may include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Bloodshot or unfocused eyes
  • Unsteady gait; needing assistance to walk/stand
  • Vomiting
  • Outrageous or unusual behavior
  • Concern expressed by others about the individual
  • Expressed memory loss or disorientation

An individual may also be in a state known as a "blackout," where they are incapacitated and will likely have no memory of the sexual activity, but are up, and walking and talking. Therefore, it is of particular importance that any two people engaging in sexual activity know the other person's level of intoxication prior to beginning sexual contact. For purposes of the University's policy, the standard that shall be applied is whether or not a reasonable person would have known, based on the facts and circumstances presented at the time of the alleged conduct, that the other party was incapacitated and therefore, not capable legally of consenting. As the accused party, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a defense to this policy and does not excuse sexual misconduct.

Examples of Sexual Assault or Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

  • Having sex with an unconscious or semi-conscious person.
  • Having sex with someone who is asleep or passed out.
  • Having sex with someone who has said "no."
  • Having sex with someone who is not reciprocating body movement.
  • Allowing another person to have sex with your partner without his or her consent.
  • Having someone perform sexual acts as a condition of acceptance into a fraternity or athletic organization, or any other organization affiliated with the University. This includes acts of intercourse; penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth with any object; being made to facilitate the abuse of another; assisting with physically assaulting another's private parts; or purchasing or providing alcohol or drugs to another for the purposes of facilitating a sexual assault (complicity).
  • Having sex with a person who is vomiting, unable to stand without assistance or has had to be carried to bed by a partner.
  • Telling someone you will "out" them if they don't engage in sex (disclose their sexual orientation without their consent).
  • Telling someone you will fail them or give them a grade different from what they deserve if they don't agree to have some form of sexual contact.
  • Telling a subordinate that you will grade them differently on an evaluation, deny them an employment opportunity (like training, a promotion, etc.), deny leave or impact their employment in some other negative way of they do not agree to have some form of sexual contact.

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes advantage of another without that individual's consent for the initiator's own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.

Examples of Sexual Exploitation:

  • Prostituting another.
  • Allowing a third party to watch consensual sexual contact without the permission of both parties involved in the sex act or showing voluntarily recorded sexual activity to others without permission.
  • Knowingly giving another a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or HIV.
  • Allowing others to have sex with an incapacitated person.
  • Disseminating explicit photos or videos of someone without their consent.

Dating Violence means violence committed by a person (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (b) where the existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
1. The length of the relationship.
2. The type of relationship.
3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating violence includes the use or threat of physical force or restraint carried out with the intent of causing pain or injury to another within a dating relationship.

Examples of Dating Violence:

  • Threatening to self-harm if another does not do what is said.
  • Threatening to or physically assaulting someone with whom they are intimately or romantically involved.
  • Taking away a person's cell phone during an argument so the person cannot call a friend or the police for help.

Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person cohabitating with or who has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Examples of Domestic Violence:

  • Hitting, punching, pinching, slapping or choking someone or threatening violence against someone with whom the person is intimately involved.
  • Violating a protective order.
  • Harming a person's animals or children while in a marital relationship.

Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Examples of Stalking:

  • Spreading lies about a person.
  • Repeatedly communicating with a person who doesn't wish to be communicated with.
  • Persistently following a person or lying in wait for them.
  • Sending unwanted gifts.

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate Partner Abuse is a pattern of controlling behavior with a current or former dating partner or spouse. Abuse occurs regardless of age, income, culture, religion, education and race. It often begins with isolation, jealousy, threats or name-calling and may include emotional, sexual or verbal abuse. Physical violence may or may not be part of this pattern.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

  • Coercion and Threats: making/carrying out threats to do something to hurt you; threatening to leave, commit suicide, and/or to report you to authorities; forcing you to drop charges of any sort; making you do illegal acts
  • Intimidation: making you afraid with gestures, actions, looks; breaking/destroying property; abusing pets; displaying weapons
  • Emotional Abuse: putting you down; making you feel bad about yourself; calling you names; making you think you're crazy; playing mind games; humiliating you; making you feel guilty
  • Denial/Blame: controlling what you do, who you see, who you talk to, what you read, and where you go; limiting your outside involvement; and using jealousy to justify actions
  • Using the Children: making you feel guilty about the children; using children to relay messages; using visitation to harass you; threatening to take children away
  • Master/Servant Behavior: treating you like a servant; making all big decision; acting like master of the house
  • Economic Abuse: preventing you from getting or keeping a job; making you ask for money; giving you an allowance; taking all your money; not letting you know about or have access to the family income

Signs of a Healthy Relationship

  • Negotiation and Fairness: willing to compromise; accepting change; seeking mutually satisfying resolution to conflict
  • Non-threatening Behavior: talking and acting so that you feel safe and comfortable
  • Respect: listening non-judgmentally; emotionally affirming and understanding; valuing opinions
  • Trust and Support: supporting your life goals; respecting your feelings, friends, activities, and opinions
  • Honesty and Accountability: accepting responsibility; admitting being wrong; open and truthful communication
  • Responsible Parenting: sharing parental responsibilities; being a positive non-violent role model
  • Shared Responsibility: making family decisions together; mutually agreeing on a fair distribution of work
  • Economic Partnership: joint money decisions; both partners benefit from financial agreements

How to Help a Friend

Sexual assault is an act of violence, not sex. It is a traumatic event that most deeply affects the survivor, but also has impacts on the people that care about her/him. If you discover your friend or partner has been sexually assaulted you may want to help, but not know how. Below are some tips for being a supportive partner or friend.

  1. Give her or him control over her/his healing process. Everyone heals in her/his own way and time. All power and control was stripped from the survivor during the violation. Returning control to her/him is an essential step to demonstrating respect and caring.
  2. Believe her or him unconditionally. More than 98% of people who seek help for sexual violence are truthful. Make it clear that you believe your partner or friend was violated.
  3. Reassure her/him that she/he is NOT to blame. Only the perpetrator is to blame. It does not matter where the survivor was, or what s/he was wearing or doing. The fault lies solely with the perpetrator.
  4. Listen respectfully. Let your partner/friend know that you will listen respectfully, then do so. Allow your friend to speak without interrupting. If s/he pauses or stalls, sit quietly and let her/him guide the conversation.
  5. Respect quiet. Sometimes a victim will need you to be a supportive, but quiet, presence. Accept that quiet is a necessary part of healing, and be willing to offer quiet support.
  6. Respect personal space. Sit at a comfortable distance for the survivor and face her/him. You may want to touch her/him reassuringly, but ask first. Honor the survivor's answer and know it isn't personal - just what she/he needs right now.
  7. Suggest resources, but remember every step in the healing process the survivor's choice. Survivors are strongly encouraged to seek medical help, information and support. Refer the survivor to these resources, but allow her/him to make the decisions regarding her/his care.
  8. Give it time. Wanting to quickly fix everything is normal, but not realistic. Violence takes time to heal. Respect the survivor's process no matter how long it takes.
  9. Respect the survivor's privacy. Your partner or friend has trusted you with deeply personal information. If she/he has confided in you, then respect her/his privacy and keep the story to yourself unless you are expressly given permission to share.
  10. Seek help for yourself. As someone supporting a survivor you will likely also experience a range of thoughts, feelings and questions. Confusing, contradicting or upsetting thoughts are normal. Seek support for yourself to ensure you are taking care of your own well-being.

There is no right way to heal. You must be patient with the survivor, and with yourself. The emotional impact of violence may take time, patience and space to heal. For additional resources please contact the counselors at the Health and Wellness Center 704.337.2220.

How to Help Your Child

When a Student is sexually assaulted or the victim of relationship violence, parents may experience a range of feelings and be unsure about what to do. Below are some suggestions to help your student.

Listen and believe your student. Telling a parent about sexual assault can be very frightening for a survivor. Sexual assault is an act of violence that may traumatize the victim. She/he might fear that no one will believer her/him. Believing your child will offer her/him a foundation of support from which to make other decisions.
Allow your student to be in control of her or his healing. This might be the first traumatic event your student experiences. The urge to rescue them or do everything for them is understandable. They likely want your help. However, what you must remember is that sexual assault strips the victim of power and control. Returning power and control to your student is crucial for healing. Offer support, but allow your student to decide what options to take.

Blame the perpetrator, not your student. Your student is not to blame for being victimized. Only the perpetrator is to blame. No matter where she/he was, what she/he was doing, or who she/he was with your student is NOT to blame. The details of the incident matter for helping your student heal, but not for portioning out blame. All of the blame is on the perpetrator. Try not to ask "why?" questions, instead focus on comments and questions that validate and do not minimize their experience such as, "No one deserves to be treated in that way" or "Whatever your feelings are right now, they are valid."

Separate your feelings about your student's victimization from concerns about other issues. If your student is a victim of sexual assault you may learn unexpected details about her or his life. You may find out that she/he drinks alcohol, consumes other drugs, goes to parties or engages in sexual activity. These can be challenging issues for a parent to confront. Support your child's healing around sexual assault first. Address other issues at a more appropriate time. (Please note, none of these behaviors caused your student's sexual assault).

Direct your student towards resources and support. Queens provides a number of campus resources for survivors of sexual assault. There are also resources in the local community. Counselors at the Health and Wellness Center (HWC) are available to help your student access appropriate resources. Please let her/him know that there are qualified counselors in the HWC, phone at 704-337-2220. If you prefer, you can also seek resources for your child off campus. (http://www.safealliance.org)

Seek support for yourself. Your child's victimization can cause you and your family stress, anxiety, fear, anger or other psychological and physical symptoms. If you or a member of your family has been the victim of sexual assault in the past this can be an especially difficult time. Seek help to manage your feelings and help you support your child and communicate with your family through this experience.

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