Title IX Policies and Definitions

Oakton's Nondiscrimination Policies

No Tolerance for Harassment
Harassment of any kind is not acceptable at Oakton Community College, whether it is sexual harassment or based on age, color, disability, ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religion or sexual orientation, or any other legally protected classification. Oakton Community College is committed to respecting all individuals and is also committed to the free and dynamic discussion of ideas and issues.

Definition of Harassment
Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment in which verbal, written, visual or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere unreasonably with an individual’s work or education, such conduct being directed at an individual because of race, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation or other legally protected classification.

College employees, students, and third persons are prohibited from harassing other employees, students, or third persons sexually or on any other basis. For this policy's purposes, third persons include any person other than college employees and students, on Oakton property, at any college-sponsored activities or at any activity that bears a reasonable relationship to Oakton. If you are employed or seeking a career at Oakton, you can read more about equal opportunity employment and Oakton's Nondiscrimination Policy here.

Preventing Sexual Misconduct

To provide an environment conducive to learning and professional performance and development, Oakton shall not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form by any employee, student or third person. This policy intends to prevent any occurrence of sexual misconduct at Oakton and inform all members of the college community of the procedures to follow if questions or problems arise.

Sex-based discrimination can occur regardless of whether the discriminatory act is physically sexual in nature. Examples of sexual discrimination include:

  • Sexual harassment.
  • Sexual violence.
  • Dating violence.
  • Domestic violence.
  • Stalking.

Oakton issues this statement of policy to inform the community of our comprehensive plan that addresses sexual misconduct and our educational programs and procedures that attend to matters of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, whether the incident occurs on or off-campus and after it is reported to an Oakton official. In this context, Oakton reaffirms its commitment to maintaining a campus environment that emphasizes all community members' dignity and worth.

To oversee this policy's implementation, Oakton has a team of staff members and administrators that includes the Title IX coordinator and Student Conduct Manager, representatives from Student Affairs, Human Resources and Oakton Police. The team meets at least once annually to develop, review and revise protocols, policies and procedures to address domestic and sexual violence on campus.

Explanation of Title IX Terms

Oakton takes great care to ensure that our policies regarding harassment are clearly stated and explained. We've compiled the list of terminology and definitions below to help you understand Oakton's safeguarding methods from discrimination and harassment.

Oakton will communicate the prevalence of sexual violence, including training, poster and flyer campaigns, electronic communications, films, guest speakers, symposia, conferences, seminars, or panel discussions.

Oakton challenges any behavior that supports, condones, or permits sexual discrimination, harassment and/or misconduct. Bystanders are encouraged to intervene in an emergency or a situation that looks like someone could use help.

The individual who is filing a complaint of sexual abuse, assault, harassment, discrimination, or other violation of Title IX policy. Also referred to as the victim (before a complaint is filed).

An Oakton employee who provides emergency and ongoing support to student victims of sexual violence. Oakton confidential advisors receive 40 hours of training on sexual violence and a minimum of six hours of annual training on issues related to sexual violence. Confidential advisors also receive periodic training on Oakton’s administrative process, interim protective measures and accommodations, and complaint resolution procedures. Confidential advisors may include community-based sexual assault crisis center staff who partner with Oakton. Individuals designated as “Responsible Employees” in Section VII (B), below, are not confidential advisors.

Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or a lack of verbal or physical resistance. A person’s manner of dress does not constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities, or a current or previous dating relationship, does not imply ongoing or future consent. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another person. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including but not limited to, the following:

  1. the person is incapacitated due to the use or influence of alcohol or drugs;
  2. the person is asleep or unconscious;
  3. the person is under age; or
  4. the person is incapacitated due to a mental disability. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred. Coercion, force, or the threat of either invalidates consent.

This is violence committed by a person:

  1. who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
  2. where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Illinois, 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 State of Illinois.

It is prohibited for Oakton employees to engage in any of the following types of conduct (whether on or off college property or during or outside of the college’s operational hours):

  1. Engaging in any romantic or sexual relationships with students, including dating, flirting, sexual contact, inappropriate physical displays of affection, or sexually suggestive comments between staff and students, regardless of whether staff or student initiates the behavior, whether the relationship is consensual, or whether the student has parental permission;
  2. Fostering, encouraging, or participating in inappropriate emotionally or socially intimate relationships with students in which the relationship is outside the bounds of the reasonable, professional staff-student relationship and in which the relationship could reasonably cause a student to view the staff person as more than a teacher, administrator, or advisor;
  3. Initiating or continuing communications with students for reasons unrelated to any appropriate purpose, including oral or written communication; telephone calls; electronic communication such as texting, instant messaging, email, chat rooms, Facebook, or other social networking sites; webcams; or photographs. Electronic and online communications with students, including those through personal accounts, should be accessible to supervisors and professional in content and tone;
  4. Socializing with students outside of class that is unrelated to any appropriate purpose;
  5. Providing alcohol (regardless of age) or drugs – either prescription or illegal (except for those provided per district policy on medication administration) – to students.
  6. Anyone employed at Oakton should understand that personal relationships with students, including student employees, may be perceived as favoritism, misuse of authority, or, potentially, sexual harassment.

Harassment is the creation of a hostile or intimidating environment in which verbal, written, visual or physical conduct, because of its severity and/or persistence, is likely to interfere unreasonably with an individual’s work or education. Such conduct is directed at an individual because of race, national origin, disability, age, religion, sexual orientation or other legally protected classification.

A hostile criminal act or an attempted act aimed toward a victim because of his or her sex, race, ethnicity, religion, age, disability, national origin, sexual orientation, or gender-related identity, color, marital status, military status, or unfavorable military discharge.

This environment is created when conduct by an individual is so severe, pervasive, or persistent that it denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of Oakton’s educational programs or activities or the individual’s employment access, benefits, or opportunities. In determining whether a hostile environment has been created, the conduct in question will be considered from both a subjective and an objective perspective of a reasonable person in the alleged victim’s position, considering all the circumstances.

When a person is incapable of giving consent due to age, use of drugs or alcohol, or because of an intellectual or other disability that prevents them from having the capacity to give consent.

Using threats to make someone feel timid or fearful, to compel or deter them by (or as if by) threats. Intimidation is a form of retaliation prohibited by Oakton’s Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct Policy and Procedures.

When considering all the evidence in a case, the decision-maker is persuaded that the allegations are more probably true than not true.

Action and strategies intended to help prevent sexual violence before it occurs by means of changing social norms and other approaches, including training, poster, and flyer campaigns, electronic communications, films, guest speakers, symposia, conferences, seminars, or panel discussions.

The individual who is being asked to respond to charges. He or she has been accused of committing sexual abuse, assault, harassment, discrimination, or other Title IX policy violations.

Any intimidation, threats, harassment and other adverse action are strictly prohibited when taken (or threatened) against any person reporting or filing a sexual discrimination, harassment or misconduct complaint. It is also prohibited to threaten any person involved in the process of responding to, investigating or addressing such allegations (including, but not limited to: the Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX coordinators, investigators, and any individual who testifies, assists or participates in any manner in an investigation). Action is generally deemed “a threat” if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by the college’s Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct Policy and Procedures. Retaliation may result in independent disciplinary action. Anyone aware of possible retaliation should notify the Title IX coordinator or a deputy Title IX coordinator.

Any sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or coercion or without consent for sexual activity. It includes sexual acts against a person who cannot consent either due to age or lack of capacity or impairment. Sexual assault includes any forced act against one's will where sex is the weapon. Examples include fondling, forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, attempted rape, statutory rape, and rape. Sexual assault can occur between members of the same or opposite sex.

  • “Non-consensual sexual contact” is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact is intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or mouth.
  • “Non-consensual sexual intercourse” is any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object, by a man or woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender-related identity. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and sexual violence.

Occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and the behavior does not meet the definition of sexual assault. Sexual exploitation includes prostituting another person, non-consensual visual or audio recording of sexual activity, non-consensual distribution of photos or other images of an individual’s sexual activity or intimate body parts with an intent to embarrass such individual, non-consensual voyeurism, knowingly transmitting HIV or a sexually transmitted disease to another, or exposing one’s genitals to another in non-consensual circumstances.

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual acts or favors, and other verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic advancement, evaluation, or grades;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for employment, academic advancement, evaluation, or grading decisions affecting that individual;
  • Conduct that substantially interferes with an individual’s employment or educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment; or
  • Such conduct denies or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or receive the benefits, services, or opportunities of educational programs or activities or the individual’s employment access, benefits, or opportunities.

Examples of conduct of a sexual nature include:

  • Verbal: Specific demands for sexual favors, sexual innuendoes, sexually suggestive comments, jokes of a sexual nature, sexual propositions, or sexual threats.
  • Non-Verbal: Sexually suggestive emails, other writings, articles or documents, objects or pictures, graphic commentaries, suggestive or insulting sounds or gestures, leering, whistling, or obscene gestures.
  • Physical: Touching, pinching, brushing the body, or any unwelcome or coerced sexual activity, including sexual assault.

Includes sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual violence and stalking.

Physical sexual acts attempted or perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the person’s age, use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent). Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

A systematic focus on the needs and concerns of a victim of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking that:

  • ensures the compassionate and sensitive delivery of services in a non-judgmental manner;
  • ensures an understanding of how trauma affects survivor behavior;
  • maintains survivor safety, privacy, and, if possible, confidentiality; and
  • recognizes that a survivor is not responsible for the sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

Engaging in the course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • suffer substantial emotional distress.

Any oral or written expression or gesture that could be interpreted by a reasonable person as conveying an intent to cause harm to persons or property.

The complexities of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking must be responded to by trained counselors with an understanding of the neurobiological impact of trauma, the influence of societal myths, the behavior of perpetrators, and the stereotypes surrounding sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.