Topics relating to sexual harassment

Trigger Warning! This training discusses topics relating to sexual harassment and sexual assault that may be difficult or triggering for someone who has experienced these behaviors. If you need to take a break, it is okay! If you would like to be connected to campus resources, please contact

What Is Title IX?

While it is often thought of as a law that applies to athletic programs, Title IX has a much broader reach than athletics and impacts all of the students, faculty, and staff of Grand Canyon University.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex and gender-based discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal funds. This includes gender-based harassment, and also includes sexual misconduct and sexual violence as forms of sex discrimination. Title IX applies equally to males and females in all educational programs and activities at GCU, including athletics, extracurricular activities and other programs and events. In addition to Title IX, GCU also complies with the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which amended the Clery Act to give additional rights to campus victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

GCU will respond to alleged incidents of sexual and gender-based misconduct that occurred on campus, that were part of an official university program or activity (regardless of location), or where the reporting party and responding party are students, faculty, staff, administration, or a third-party vendor of the university (regardless of location).

Right now, some of you may be thinking, “I am an online only student. Does this requirement apply to me?” Our policies protect all students, regardless of their location. Therefore, it is important for online students to learn about our Title IX program, because prohibited conduct does not require physical touching. Various forms of misconduct, such as sexual harassment and stalking, can occur in the online environment. You may also find the information to be helpful to you outside of the online classroom.

GCU’s commitment to complying with these regulations helps to ensure our school is a safe and responsible learning and working environment. So, it is important that all students, faculty, and staff are aware of GCU’s policy regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. The Title IX and Non-Discrimination Policy spells out the obligations that GCU has to provide for the prompt and equitable resolution of sexual or gender-based harassment or sexual violence complaints. The policy also provides:

An assurance that GCU will take steps to prevent the recurrence of any harassment and address any discriminatory effects

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The various ways that a complaint can be filed

The methods GCU will utilize to conduct a full investigation of the complaint

The rights of both the Complainant and Respondent

Interim measures and campus resources

Sanctions for each type of violation

Policy Violation Definitions

Now let’s talk about the types of behaviors covered by the policy, starting with sexual harassment. Sexual Harassment is a specific form of discriminatory harassment and an unlawful discriminatory practice. Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex of those involved. Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In all forms, the behavior must be sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it unreasonably denies or interferes with someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from GCU’s educational programs, activities, or employment. The following are the various forms of sexual harassment:

Quid Pro Quo:

An employee of the University conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or


Sexual Harassment:

Unwelcome conduct, determined by a reasonable person, to be so severe, and pervasive, and, objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Unwelcomeness is subjective and determined by the Complainant (except when the Complainant is below the age of consent). Severity, pervasiveness, and objective offensiveness are evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances.


Sexual assault, defined as:

Sex Offenses, Forcible

Forcible Rape

Forcible Sodomy

Sexual Assault with an Object

Forcible Fondling

Sex Offenses, Nonforcible:


Dating Violence, defined as: Violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a person, who is

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in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.


Domestic Violence, defined as: Violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Arizona, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Arizona.


Stalking, defined as: Engaging in a course of conduct, on the basis of sex, directed at a specific person, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.


Consensual Relationships

Consensual sexual conduct between GCU employees and students or prospective students is strictly prohibited due to the unequal power inherent in their interactions. Certain exceptions to this prohibition may apply to unique situations, including employees and students who are spouses and employees and students who may have already been involved in a sexual relationship prior to the time they were hired or became a student.


The University reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any offense under this policy.


Other Civil Rights Offenses

In addition to the forms of sexual harassment described above, which fall within the coverage of Title IX, the University additionally prohibits the following offenses as forms of discrimination outside of Title IX when the act is based upon the Complainant’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class. Conduct that does not otherwise constitute Title IX sexual harassment under this policy will be addressed using the Informal Resolution Process or the Discriminatory Harassment Administrative Resolution Process.


Sexual Exploitation, defined as: taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of

another for their own benefit or for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, and that does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this policy.

Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.

Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in


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Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to

any person within the University’s community, when related to the admission, initiation, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity.

Bullying, defined as: Repeated and/or severe, aggressive behavior, likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person physically and/or mentally.

Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive, limit, or deny other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities, including disparate treatment.


*For full policy definitions, please see the Title IX and Non-Discrimination Policy .


Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation

In order to fully understand the policy violations described, it is equally important to understand the role that force, incapacitation, and consent can play in nonconsensual sexual incidents. The following definitions and understandings apply in review of policy violations under this policy:


Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent.

Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, nonconsensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of nonconsent.

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.


Consent: Knowing, voluntary, clear permission, either by affirmative words or actions, to engage in sexual activity.

Silence does not necessarily constitute consent.

Valid consent requires clear words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied.

Clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged. If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter.

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot imply consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship does not

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sufficiently constitute consent.


Proof of consent or nonconsent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on the University to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.


Incapacitation: A state where 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, or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs.

This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.


The Respondent is in violation of this policy if they knew, or should have known, the Complainant to be physically or mentally incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment. The Respondent’s use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.


Filing a Complaint

There are multiple options for reporting sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. All reports of sexual misconduct are submitted to the university’s Title IX Coordinator, regardless of how they are initially reported. Trained investigators will work with the Complainant on options for support, resources, and resolution of complaints. If you experience sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, you have the right to choose one or more of the following options:

Criminal complaint: You can file a criminal complaint by contacting the Phoenix Police Department or GCU’s Department of Public Safety. If you contact Public Safety, they can talk with you about reporting to the police or obtaining an order of protection, and they can also assist you in filing a report with the police. It is important to note that GCU is required to conduct their own Title IX investigation, regardless of a criminal complaint being filed with the police or not.

You can also submit an institutional complaint for review by the university by contacting one of the following areas:

The Title IX Coordinator – or (602) 639-5900

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An Assistant Deputy Title IX Coordinator

For students:

Tim Griffin, Ed.D

Dean of Students


If the Responding Party participates in athletics:

Jamie Boggs

Deputy Director of Athletics

Senior Women’s Administrator


Public Safety: (602) 639-8100

Any Resident Assistant (RA) or Resident Director (RD)

Any staff or faculty member

Anonymous Complaint:

You can file a complaint anonymously using the TIPS Online Reporting Tool on the Public Safety website. If you choose to provide your contact information, the university will contact you to offer information and support. If you do not provide contact information, the University’s ability to thoroughly investigate and offer support will be very limited.

For Confidential Assistance

All GCU staff and faculty, including RAs, RDs, and Student Leaders, are considered mandatory reporters. That means they are required to report any issues or concerns that are disclosed to them and cannot promise confidentiality. If you would like to talk about an incident or discuss your options in complete confidence, you can speak with any of the staff and medical personnel in the Canyon Health and Wellness Center, or staff and licensed counselors in the Student Care Office. Anything discussed with staff, medical providers, or licensed counselors will remain completely confidential. In addition to providing medical and counseling services, they can connect you with other campus resources that may be beneficial to you.


For all reports, the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will immediately assess the risk of harm to the Complainant and the larger campus community, and will take the necessary steps to address any risks.


If a Complainant requests to remain confidential or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will consider the request in the context of the need to prevent additional harm to the reporting party or community members. In these cases, GCU’s ability to respond may be

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limited, and GCU may decide at any time to initiate an investigation.


Supportive Measures and Campus Resources

GCU will take whatever measures necessary to create a safe environment for all students. Students who experience sexual harassment or sexual misconduct can obtain assistance from GCU, regardless of whether a formal investigation takes place. Supportive measures are nondisciplinary individualized services offered as appropriate and reasonably available, to the parties to restore or preserve access to the University’s education program or activity. This includes measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, and/or deter harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

In addition to the offer of supportive measures, the Complainant will be made aware of the ability to file a formal complaint with the University either at that time or in the future. The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented. The University maintains the privacy of the supportive measures, to the extent practicable. Supportive measures will be applied in a manner that ensures as minimal an academic impact on the parties as possible and in a way that does not unreasonably burden either party. Although there are multiple resources and services in place to assist students, the most common assistive measures include, but are not limited to No Contact Agreements; enforcing court-issued protective orders; adjustments to academic, housing, or work arrangements; and coordination of on-campus medical and counseling services.


False Reports

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under the Title IX and Non-Discrimination Policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence after being directed to preserve such evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under the University’s Code of Conduct policy. Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation.


What can you do if you or a friend experience sexual assault?

First, know that sexual assault is never your fault. After an assault has occurred, it is important to get to a safe place as soon as you are able. If you or someone else is in immediate danger, call Public Safety, (602) 639-8100, or 911. It is okay to call a supportive person, such as a friend or family member, to be with you and help you make decisions. Consider getting medical care to treat any injuries, and to check for injuries that you might not be able to see. In addition to receiving medical treatment, you may wish to have a sexual assault forensic exam to collect evidence.

After a sexual assault, important evidence may remain on your body or your clothes. Even if you

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are unsure if you want to press charges, making sure you do not shower, bathe, wash, change clothes, comb your hair, brush your teeth, and eat or drink will help you to preserve evidence of the assault before a physical exam. Evidence can usually be collected for up to 120 hours after an assault.

Electronic evidence is equally important to preserve and is will be very important if you decide to pursue a criminal or university investigation. Save or screenshot any text messages, social media posts, photos, snapchats, voicemails, emails, phone calls, and call logs.

You can seek support and counseling through the GCU Health and Wellness Center. Anything reported to the clinic staff, healthcare providers, or licensed counselors is done in complete confidence. They can provide information about the many support services available to you.

At GCU, we believe there is a shared responsibility to help one another. We are a community…a family…and we need to count on one another to intervene in situations where it looks like someone’s health and safety may be in danger.


Risk Reduction and Bystander Intervention Tips

How to help as a bystander:

Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.

Don’t just be a bystander; if you see something, intervene in any way you can.

Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.

Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re okay.

Get someone to help you if you see something. Enlist a friend, residential advisor, teacher, or parent to help step in.

Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.

If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.

Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.

Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.

Create a distraction, draw attention to the situation, or separate the people you are concerned about.

Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it is rape.

Never blame the victim.


How to keep yourself safe

Be aware of your surroundings.

Try to avoid isolated areas, and don’t allow yourself to be isolated with someone you don’t know or trust.

Walk with a purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.

Trust your instincts.

Make sure your cell phone is with you.

Try to stick with your friends. You can help keep each other safe.

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Don’t leave your drink unattended, and don’t accept drinks from people you don’t know or trust.

Be true to yourself. Don’t feel obligated to do anything you don’t want to do.

Lie. If you are uncomfortable or afraid, make an excuse to leave.


If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct. It is important that you fully understand the impact that these choices can have on your ability to attend or complete school, in addition to any legal ramifications that can result in a criminal record.

Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.

Understand and respect personal boundaries.

DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent, about someone’s sexual availability, about whether they are attracted to you, about how far you can go, or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity, then you DO NOT have consent.

Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension, and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.

Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did so independently.

Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.

Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.

Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and nonverbal communication and body language.

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