Northwest College

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Understanding Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

Title IX Terms and Definitions

People learning about or going through a Title IX investigation can benefit from reviewing the following terms, definitions, and reporting considerations.

Reporting Party:

A Reporting Party is an individual who reports or files a report. A Reporting Party may be someone other than the person who may have been subjected to the sexual misconduct.


The Respondent is the one accused of sexual misconduct by the Reporting Party in their report.


A report is the official record conveyed from the Reporting Party to a College official for official action by the college.

A report can be made in person, electronically, or in writing. Once reported, the college is compelled to initiate an investigation. Options for reporting are detailed in the What to Do When a Sexual Assault Occurs page.

Third Party Reporting:

If an individual is impaired and/or unable to make a coherent report, a bystander (friend, roommate, etc.) may make the report on the Reporting Party’s behalf.


An investigation is the process of gathering and compiling statements of a reported allegation from all parties involved, including (but not limited to) the Reporting Party, Respondent, witnesses, and evidence. For more details on this process, see the Investigation Process page.

Process Advisor:

A Process Advisor is a person (other than an individual who may be called to provide witness testimony) who aids the Reporting Party and the Respondent in understanding the sexual misconduct processes, rules, and proceedings.

Process Advisors are College personnel and are provided by the College. A Process Advisor will be offered to the Reporting Party and Respondent at the beginning of the investigation.

The Process Advisor is not allowed to participate in the questioning or present information during the investigation.


Any person (other than an individual who may be called to provide witness testimony) who attends a sexual misconduct discipline hearing to provide support or guidance to the participants. The supporter is not allowed to participate in the questioning or present information during the investigation.

The Reporting Party and Respondent have the right to a Supporter of their choice throughout the investigatory and finding process.


Every effort is made to protect the identities of those involved in a sexual assault. However, if it is determined by the Title IX Coordinator and/or other College officials that there is potential harm to the campus community from the one(s) involved in the alleged assault, then some details may be revealed. The final determination on issues of confidentiality is made by the Title IX Coordinator.


In an effort to remove barriers to the reporting of acts of sexual misconduct, the College may offer immunity from violations of any Student Code of Conduct policies related to the sexual misconduct if one has knowledge of and reports an act of sexual misconduct, so long as the violations are not violent or dangerous in nature.

No Statute of Limitation:

A report of sexual misconduct may be filed any time. The College encourages the prompt reporting of sexual misconduct in order to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding.

A delay in filing a report may compromise the subsequent investigation, particularly if neither the Reporting Party nor Respondent is employed by the College or enrolled as a student at the time.

Statement of Non-Retaliation:

The Reporting Party, Respondent, and witnesses are protected from retaliatory actions.

Individuals or groups who communicate threats and other acts of harm and/or intimidation to any parties involved in a sexual misconduct case shall be dealt with according to College policies addressing such actions.

The College may issue “no contact” orders to parties identified in the sexual misconduct report. The “no contact” order may include third parties. Specifics of the “no contact” order shall vary from case to case.

False Reporting:

Sexual misconduct is taken very seriously by the college and reports of such acts are assumed to be given in good faith. If, after careful investigation, it is determined that an intentionally false report was made by a student or employee, disciplinary action up to and including student expulsion and/or termination of employment may be imposed.


Sexual consent is giving permission to another to act in specific sexual ways.

Specific Components of Sexual Consent

Consent must be informed, given freely, and given with full knowledge and understanding.

It must be given in mutual agreement through understandable words and actions. Once given, consent can be withdrawn at any point and all sexual activity is to immediately cease.

Situations where there is No Consent

If an individual is mentally or physically impaired or incapacitated so that she/he cannot fully and clearly understand the nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent.

No consent includes conditions resulting from alcohol and drug consumption, being asleep, or being unconscious.

If force, coercion, threats, and/or physical or emotional intimidation are used to obtain consent, the consent is invalid.

Prior sexual activities as well as dress are NOT implied consent and cannot be used to justify sexual misconduct. 

Need for Clear Communications

If at any time during a sexual act any confusion or ambiguity is or should reasonably be apparent on the issue of consent, it is incumbent upon each individual involved in the activities to stop and clarify the other’s willingness to continue.

For more information, see the Consent and Sexual Communications page.

Bystander Intervention:

An active bystander is one who intervenes to prevent further harm when there is a perceived or imminent threat of sexual misconduct. An active bystander may also assist to seek medical attention, secure a safe place to stay, and assist with reporting the sexual misconduct.

For more information, see the Bystander Intervention page.