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Ohio Dominican University is a community of trust, committed to respect and the promotion of an ethical, just way of life. All members of this community, guests, and visitors are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe on the rights of others.
Ohio Dominican University is committed to providing a healthy learning, working, and living environment that promotes personal integrity and mutual respect. It is free from all forms of discrimination and conduct that can be considered harassing, coercive or disruptive, including sexual misconduct. This type of conduct will not be tolerated within our community.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. It states, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” To ensure compliance with Title IX and other federal and state civil rights laws, the University has developed policies and procedures that prohibit sex discrimination in all of its forms.

It is the policy of Ohio Dominican University, as well as federal, state, and local discrimination statutes, to forbid illegal discrimination and/or retaliation in the workplace and with admission to the University. The law and the policies of ODU prohibit disparate treatment, hostile environment, or retaliation on the basis of sex or any other protected characteristic.
  • Who to Contact
    The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding this policy:

    Sharon Reed
    Assistant Vice President for Student Development
    Dean of Student Life
    Title IX Coordinator
    Ohio Dominican University
    1216 Sunbury Road, Columbus, Ohio 43219
    Office location: Griffin Student Center 247
    (614) 251-4593

    Amy Thomas

    Director of Human Resources
    Ohio Dominican University
    1216 Sunbury Road Columbus, Ohio 43219
    Office location: Erskine 136
    (614) 251-4597

    U.S. Department of Education:

    Nothing in this policy is intended to prohibit you from filing a complaint with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

    Office for Civil Rights
    Cleveland, Office
    U.S. Department of Education
    600 Superior Avenue East, Suite 750
    Cleveland, OH 44114-2611
    (216) 522-4970
    Fax: (216) 522-2573
  • Sexual Misconduct Defined
    Sexual Misconduct is contact of a sexual nature without clear, knowing, or voluntary consent, or offensive sexual or other behavior which exploits another person on the basis of his/her gender or sexual orientation, including the following:

    1. Sexual Harassment
    Sexual Harassment is defined as unwanted sexual conduct that creates a hostile environment or otherwise results in individuals being denied equal opportunity in education, including sexual advances or requests for sexual favors, or other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. This definition includes many forms of offensive behavior and includes gender-based harassment of a person of the same or different gender as the harasser.
    • Quid pro quo (promises such as higher grades, raises, promotions) based on a person’s willingness to submit to unwelcome behavior or unwelcome attention based on a person’s gender or sexual orientation. It can also involve threats based on an individual’s refusal to submit to unwelcome behavior, including a romantic relationship or granting sexual favors or if submission to such conduct is made a term or condition of employment or the educational relationship;
    • Hostile environment exists where there are incidents of verbal or nonverbal behavior in the academic environment or workplace that focus on the gender or sexuality of a person that are unwelcome, that are sever or pervasive enough to adversely affect a person’s academic, work, or living environment, and are outside the scope of appropriate academic study or work practices.
    Examples include:
    • Inappropriate comments of a sexual nature, including sexually explicit comments or derogatory comments, slurs, or jokes;
    • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic verbal commentaries about an individual’s body; sexually degrading words used to describe an individual; or suggestive or obscene letters, notes, or e-mails;
    • To repeatedly subject a person to unwelcome sexual attention, such as requests for dates, flirtation, sexual advances, phone calls, or unwanted gifts;
    • To punish a refusal to comply with a sexually based request;
    • Displaying inappropriate or sexually suggestive or derogatory materials, pictures, or posters in a location where others can see them;
    • An attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship;
    • Gender-based bullying;
    • Intimate partner violence, sexual violence or assault
    2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
    Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force.

    Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals,
    • Touching another with any of these body parts,
    • Making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts,
    • Any other intentional bodily contact of a sexual nature.
    3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
    Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual penetration however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, which is without consent and/or by force. For example, vaginal penetration, anal, or oral, no matter how slight the penetration or contact, is non-consensual.

    4. Sexual Exploitation
    Sexual exploitation occurs when a student/employee takes non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another for personal gain or benefit. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Invasion of sexual privacy;
    • Prostituting another;
    • Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
    • Knowingly allowing another to watch consensual sexual activity;
    • Knowingly transmitting or exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
    • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
    4. Stalking
    Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, or any course of conduct directed at a specific person, based on gender or sexual orientation, that would cause a reasonable person to be afraid or concerned for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress, including by phone, mail or e-mail, or Internet social networks. Threat may be direct or indirect and conduct may include following or writing to a victim.

    5. Domestic Violence
    Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive and violent behavior, usually involving a current or former spouse, an intimate partner, a person with whom the complainant shares a child, by a person who is or was cohabiting with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, and/or by any other person against a youth or adult victim who is protected against that person under the domestic or family violence laws, that is used one by partner to gain or maintain control over another partner.

    Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound the other partner.

    6. Dating Violence
    Dating violence means violence by a person who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged the following: length of relationship, type or relationship, and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.
  • Additional Applicable Definitions
    Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is informed, freely and actively given in mutually understandable words or actions, creating clear permission and a willingness to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.
    • Consent is active, not passive;
    • Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent;
    • Consent can be given by words and actions, as long as those words and actions create mutually understandable clear permission about willingness to engage in sexual activity: who, what, when, where, and how sexual, activity will take place; It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to make sure they understand fully what the person with whom they are involved wants and does not want sexually
    • Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
    • Previous relationships or prior consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts.
    • Consent can be withdrawn or modified after initially given.
    • It is the responsibility of the initiator of sexual contact to make sure they understand fully what the person they are involved with wants and does not want sexually;
    • Effective consent cannot be given by minors, mentally disabled individuals or persons incapacitated as a result of drugs, alcohol, sleep, or taking of “rape” drugs.
    To be effective, consent cannot be obtained by use of physical force, threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion.

    Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”). There is no requirement that a party resists the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance.

    Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When a person makes clear by words or actions that he or she does not want to engage in sexual activity, wants to stop, or does not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. There is no requirement that a party must resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

    Intimidation is implied threats, including the exertion of perceived or actual power resulting from position or stature.

    An incapacitated person cannot give consent. Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug us, unconsciousness or blackout) is not consented sexual activity and therefore is a violation of this policy.
    • Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions;
    • Incapacitation may result from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from taking “rape drugs” (any drug used intentionally to incapacitate another victim to assist in the execution of drug-facilitated sexual assault);
    • Possession or use of any “rape drug” is prohibited, and administering these drugs to another person is a violation of this policy;
    • Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs will not excuse behavior that violates this policy.
  • Complaint Procedure - Informal
    Some complaints of sexual misconduct can be resolved through informal mediation between the parties. Informal resolution procedures are optional and may be used when the University determines that it is appropriate and the parties agree.

    Informal procedures are never applied in cases involving violence or sexual assault.
    • Once a report has been made, and investigation into the report shall be started by the Title IX Coordinator or designee within seven days.
    • Once the informal resolution procedure is complete, written notification to all parties of the outcome shall be given by the Title IX Coordinator or designee within seven days of the findings.
    • Any agreed upon resolution must be consistent with the University’s obligation to eliminate the misconduct, address its effects, and prevent its recurrence.
    • If the reporting party is unsatisfied with the outcome of the informal resolution, they may pursue a formal complaint procedure.
  • Complaint Procedure - Formal
    The complainant should provide as much information as possible. Typically this would include a description of the incident(s), date(s), location(s), witnesses, background information, and person(s) of interest. An investigation into the report shall be initiated within seven calendar days.
    • For University Employees and/or Third Parties: The investigation will typically be conducted by the Human Resources Department
    • For Students: The investigation will typically be conducted by the Office of the Dean of Student Life or designee.
  • Guidance on Reporting
    Reporting incidents is important to address sexual misconduct on campus. Any person who believes they are or have been the victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, should report it immediately. Victims of sexual violence are encouraged to get to a safe place and obtain immediate medical treatment. Calling 911 is important to obtain immediate medical assistance and medical support.

    In the event that sexual violence or sexual assault, including dating violence and domestic violence has occurred, do everything possible to preserve evidence by making sure the crime scene is not disturbed. Survivors should not bathe, urinate, douche, brush teeth, or drink liquids. Clothes should not be changed but if they are, all original clothing should be brought to the hospital in a paper bag (plastic bags damage evidence). With a private physician, survivors may have request a rape kit be completed.

    Survivors may choose whether or not to speak to police at the hospital. If they do not, the option to choose to file charges against the accused still exists.

    Additional immediate contacts include:
    • Ohio Dominican Public Safety Office – 614-251-4700
    • The Area Coordinator on-call in the residence halls and your resident assistant
    • SARNCO (Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio – 24-hour rape helpline at 614- 267-7020
    • Additional resources available at the end of this policy

    Any allegation of sexual and/or discriminatory conduct will be quickly and discreetly investigated. The University will investigate a complaint, even if a similar complaint is filed with law enforcement or a government agency.

    To the extent possible, confidentiality of the person making the complaint and that of any witnesses and the alleged harasser will be protected against unnecessary disclosure.

  • To Report Confidentially
    If a person desires that the details of the incident be kept strictly confidential, they should speak with on-campus mental health counselors, health providers, student health care providers (Wellness Center), the University Chaplain or campus ministry staff or other off-campus resources who may maintain confidentiality. Be advised that the University generally must act on any non-confidential information it receives.

    Campus Confidential Resources
    • Ohio Dominican Counseling Services: 614-251-4589 or 614-251-4446
    • Ohio Dominican Wellness Center: 614-251-4570
    • University Chaplain: 614-251-4659
    • Campus Ministry Office: 614-251-4567

    Off-Campus Confidential Resources:

    • SARNCO (Sexual Assault Response Network of central Ohio): 614-267-7020
    • CHOICES 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline: 614-224-4663
    • Mt. Carmel Crime & Trauma Assistance program: 614-234-5900
    • RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network): 800-656-4673 – Connects caller to nearest rape crisis line
  • Non-Confidential Reporting Options
    The following options are not confidential as these University employees have a “need to know” of the complaint so as to stop the behavior, conduct an investigation, and resolve the matter. Sexual misconduct, which includes sexual harassment, involves a variety of inappropriate behavior, the most serious being non-consensual sexual intercourse (sexual assault).
    • Complaints concerning sexual harassment: Students are encouraged to make a formal complaint against another student(s) to the Dean of Student Life or the Assistant Dean of Student Life. To report complaints against faculty or employees, Students are encouraged to contact either the Dean of Student Life or the University Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources). The Dean will share complaints with the Title IX Coordinator, who will coordinate the “next steps”. The Dean of Student Life and/or the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the student to provide support and obtain detailed information about the student concern.
    • Reporting of sexual assaults and other sexual violence: Students are encouraged to report sexual assaults and other sexual violence to the Ohio Dominican Public Safety Office or the Columbus Police Department immediately after the incident if possible. An officer from the Public Safety Department will meet with the student to take a report. The Complainant can make decisions about his/her level of involvement in an investigation and potential criminal or campus conduct action. Public Safety will provide assistance in preserving relevant materials and will obtain, secure, and maintain evidence needed for proceedings.
    • Following an incident, the complainant and his/her friends may contact the Dean of Student Life who can explain all aspects of the reporting process, support measures and possible next steps. Because of the sensitive nature of sexual misconduct, a complainant may also turn to the Assistant Dean of Student Life, the Residence Life Area Coordinators or resident assistants or any other faculty/staff member with whom he/she is comfortable. Information disclosed by a student to these “responsible employees” will need to be shared with the Dean of Student Life, the Title IX Coordinator, the Public Safety Office and possibly others.
    • However, every attempt will be made to review the information and address the concern as confidentially as possible. Any responsible employee who becomes aware of possible sex discrimination or harassment must immediately advise the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Dean of Student Life when appropriate. Ignoring such conduct is not acceptable and may subject the employee to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Any false report of behavior or incident is also a violation of this policy
  • Federal & State Reporting Obligations
    Certain campus officials have a duty to report violations of this policy for federal statistical reporting purposes under Federal “Clery” law. Typically, these reportable incidents pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community.

    This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. The University will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed.

    In addition, Ohio Law requires the University to call the local authorities anytime it has knowledge that a felony has been committed, or a felony may have been committed.
  • Investigation & Resolution
    The investigation will be conducted in a manner that is adequate, reliable, and impartial. Witnesses and any other parties involved are expected to cooperate during the investigation process.

    During the investigation period, the University will take steps to be sure the alleged conduct does not continue and that the complainant is safe from further improper conduct and retaliation.

    The investigation may include any of the following:
    • Meeting with the complainant to gather information about the allegation: should the complainant choose, an advisor of his or her choice may be present at the investigative meeting. Before proceeding further, the Title IX Coordinator(s) will determine whether the conduct complained of, would if true, constitute a violation of this policy. If the conclusion is the conduct would not, there is no further investigation. The University will take any steps needed to remedy the inappropriate behavior that does not constitute a violation of this policy.
    • If the conclusion is the conduct, if true, would constitute a violation of the policy, Interviews of the respondent and all parties involved, including witnesses, and the gathering of other relevant information.
    • The investigators recommending interim protections or remedies for the parties involved or witnesses. (Examples may include: separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, suspension, or making alternative workplace or student housing arrangements.)
    • Compliance with law enforcement request(s) for cooperation, which may require the University to temporarily suspend the fact-finding process.
    • A resolution shall be determined at the conclusion of the investigation. Victim(s) and anyone accused of violating this policy will be given notice of the findings and outcome in writing.
  • Appeal Process
    If either the complainant or the respondent disagrees with the findings or outcome of the investigation, he or she may submit an appeal. An appeals should be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within seven days of the final report. If an appeal is not submitted within that time, the conclusions and recommendations of the report become final.

    For University Employees and or Third Parties
    The sole ground for appeal is the emergence of new evidence that was previously unavailable, despite the exercise of due diligence, that could significantly affect the outcome.

    For Students

    Appeals are considered in accordance with standards of appeal established by the university’s student handbook the written request for appeal must identify the reasons and evidence supporting the appeal, the result sought and submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. A copy of the request will be sent to the non-appealing party.

    The Title IX Coordinator will forward the report, the file, the request for appeal and the response to the appeals officer designated by the Vice-President for Student Development (in consultation with the University President).

    The appeals officer will issue a decision and both the complainant and respondent will be advised in writing of the appeal officer’s decision.
  • Student Sanctions

    Sexual Misconduct sanctions may include the following: Restricted Access to Campus and Residence Halls; Residence Hall probation or suspension; Drug/alcohol Assessment and/or counseling; no-contact order; loss of participation in University activities/programs; University probation or suspension; dismissal.

    First time offenders who are found responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse will receive a sanction to include at minimum:

    • Contact with victim/survivor strictly forbidden;
    • If resident,  suspension of residential privileges and access to residence halls for the remainder of the academic year;
    • May be suspended from the University for one semester or longer;
    • Must submit documentation of off-campus counseling received from a counselor licensed by the State of Ohio and approved by the Dean of Student Life or ODU Counseling Services staff.  Documentation must include assessment of student’s ability to return to campus without threatening the well-being of others.

    If a second offense of nonconsensual sexual intercourse occurs the student will receive a minimum of dismissal from the University and permanent exclusion from campus.

  • Statement of Victim's Rights

    The welfare of the victim is a matter of great concern to the University and administrators, therefore, they are available to guide the person through the investigation process. 

    In addition, the victim should be assured of the following rights afforded a complainant:

    • To have all allegations of sexual misconduct taken seriously and to be given a timely and respectful response by University officials.
    • The right to be notified of immediate measures for medical care and preservation of evidence if applicable.
    • To be informed of University support services and resources, as well as available counseling or student/employee services for victims of sexual assault, both on campus and in the community.
    • The right to not be discouraged by University officials from reporting an assault to both on-campus and off-campus authorities, and the right to be assisted by campus authorities in doing so.
    • The right to notification of protective measures and other options and available assistance, included but not limited to:
      • Change of an on-campus student’s housing to a different on-campus location.
      • Assistance from University support staff in completing the relocation.
      • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund.
      • Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling.
      • Taking an incomplete in a class.
      • Transferring class sections.
      • Temporary withdrawal.
      • Alternative course and completion options.
      • Changing of job assignment or location.
    • To be offered a University faculty/staff member to serve as a support person and resource.
    • To have related policy, process, and support information explained clearly and fully at each stage of the conduct process.
    • The right to have complaints reviewed by university officers who have received sexual harassment and sexual misconduct training.
    • The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of sexual misconduct made in good faith to university administrators.
    •  Adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation of complaints, including the opportunity for both parties to present relevant witnesses and other evidence during the investigation and hearing.
    • To be informed of the outcome in writing of the student conduct proceeding and appeal procedure at the same time that the Respondent is informed, usually within 24 hours of the finding.
    • The right to appeal the findings and sanction applied, in accordance with standards of the appeal established by the institution.

    Other Rights of the Student Victim Specific to a Conduct Hearing

    • The right not to have any complaint of sexual assault mediated (as opposed to adjudicated).
    • The right of both accuser and accused to have the same opportunity to have others  present (in support or advisory roles) during a campus disciplinary hearing.
    • The right to a hearing closed to the public.
    • The right to give testimony in a campus hearing by means other than being in the same room with the accused student.
  • Statement of Rights of the Respondent (Accused)

    The welfare of the respondent is also a matter of great concern to the University and its administrators, therefore, the respondent should be assured of the following rights also afforded a complainant:

    • The right to be informed of all allegations of sexual misconduct in a timely and respectful manner and to be fully informed of the nature of all alleged violations contained within the complaint.
    • The right to be treated with respect by University officials.
    • To be informed about University and community support services and resources.
    • To be informed about criminal and student conduct reporting options and the right to be assisted by campus authorities.
    • To be offered a University faculty/staff member so serve as a support person and resource.
    • To have related policy, process and support information explained clearly and fully at every stage of the conduct process.
    • The right to present names of witnesses to be interviewed to the investigator.
    • The right to have complaints reviewed by university officers who have received sexual misconduct training.
    • The right to be informed of the outcome and sanction of any disciplinary action involving sexual misconduct at the same time the Complainant is informed.
    • The right to an outcome based solely on the evidence provided during the process.  Such evidence shall be credible, relevant, based in fact, and without prejudice.
    • The right to appeal the findings and sanctions applied, in accordance with standards of appeal established by the institution.

    Rights of the Accused Student in a Conduct Hearing (Respondent)

    • The right to a hearing on the complaint, including timely notice of the hearing date, and adequate time for preparation.
    • The right not to have any complaint of sexual assault mediated (as opposed to adjudicated).
    • The right of both accuser and accused to have the same opportunity to have others present (in support or advisory roles) during a campus disciplinary hearing.
    • The right to a fundamentally fair hearing.
    • The right to written notice of the outcome and sanction of the hearing.
  • Prohibition on Retaliation
    Retaliation against individuals who exercise rights or participate in investigations or proceedings under this policy is prohibited. However, frivolous or bad faith proceedings or abuse of process may also violate this policy.
  • Support Services
    There are various supportive measures available for those who have experienced sexual misconduct. These support services include:

    • Wellness Center: 614-251-4570 - Health and counseling services personnel available.*
    • Public Safety: 614-251-4700
    • Dean of Student Life: 614-251-4593
    • Campus Ministry: 614-251-4567*

    *Indicates confidential reporting option