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Sex Discrimination Policy: Part 2

II. Definitions 

Sexual Harassment:

Sexual harassment is:

  • Unwelcome;
  • Sexual, sex-based and/or gender based;
  • Verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.

Sexual harassment may take the form of quid pro quo harassment and/or hostile work environment harassment.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational development or performance.

Hostile Work Environment Sexual Harassment: A hostile work environment is created when sexual harassment is:

  • Severe, or;
  • Persistent or pervasive, and;
  • Objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from ONU’s educational, residential, social, or employment environment under both an objective and subjective standard.

Sexual harassment may be committed by anyone, regardless of gender, age, intent, position, relationship or authority, and it may occur in the classroom, workplace, residential settings, over electronic media (including the internet, telephone, and text), or in any other setting on or off campus.

Sexual harassment also includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, transgender status, gender identity, or gender expression, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex/gender or sex/gender-stereotyping, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

A single, isolated incident of sexual harassment alone may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe, such as rape. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. In assessing the existence of a hostile environment, ONU will review and consider both objective and subjective factors.

It is important to the University that individuals feel free to come forward and seek assistance before issues of sexual harassment become severe or pervasive. Reports of sexual harassment that do not rise to the level of creating a hostile environment may be investigated and addressed by the University so as to prevent further incidents from occurring.

Sexual Misconduct:

Sexual misconduct is “non-consensual physical contact of a sexual nature,” such as acts using force, threat, intimidation, or advantage gained by the offended person’s mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the offending person was aware or should have been aware. Sexual misconduct may include, but is not limited to, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Stalking, Domestic Violence and Dating Violence. These categories of behavior are further defined as follows:

Sexual Assault - Sexual assault is defined as:

  • Having sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without effective
  • consent (as defined below), by the use or threat of force or coercion, or where the
  • individual is incapacitated (as defined below);
  • Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body
  • part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand, etc.) or object, or oral penetration involving
  • mouth to genital contact;
  • Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing
  • another to touch one’s intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without
  • permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth,
  • or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner. Sexual contact also
  • includes attempted sexual intercourse.

Sexual Exploitation - Sexual exploitation is defined as:

  • An act or acts committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose.

The act or acts of sexual exploitation are prohibited even though the behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.

Examples of sexual exploitation include:

  • Observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Prostituting another individual;
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; without that individual’s knowledge; or
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to nonconsensual sexual activity.

Stalking - Stalking occurs when a person:

  • Engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person on
  • the basis of sex, gender, or sexual orientation, under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to:
    • (1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
    • (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.

Examples of stalking include:

  • Unwelcome and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person;
  • Repeated oral or written threats;
  • Extortion of money or valuables;
  • Unwelcome/unsolicited written communication, including letters, cards, emails, instant messages, and messages on online bulletin boards;
  • Unwelcome/unsolicited communications about a person, his or her family, friends, or coworkers;
  • Sending or posting unwelcome/unsolicited messages with an assumed identity;
  • Implicitly threatening physical contact; or
  • Any combination of these behaviors directed toward an individual person.

Domestic Violence – Domestic Violence is defined as:

  • Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence;
  • committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim/survivor;
  • by a person with whom the victim/survivor shares a child in common;
  • by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim/survivor as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim/survivor under Ohio’s domestic or family violence laws; or
  • by any other person against an adult or youth victim/survivor who is protected from that person’s acts under Ohio’s domestic or family violence laws.

Dating Violence – Dating Violence is defined as:

  • Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim/survivor;
  • And where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the following factors:
    • the length of the relationship;
    • the type of relationship; and
    • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

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 above.


Consent means informed, freely given agreement, communicated by clearly understandable words or actions, to participate in each form of sexual activity.

Guidance for determining consent:

  • Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance.
  • A current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • When consent is requested verbally, absence of any explicit verbal response constitutes lack of consent. A verbal “no” constitutes lack of consent, even if it sounds insincere or indecisive.
  • By definition, there is not consent when there is a threat of force or violence or any other form of coercion or intimidation, physical or psychological.
  • Either person may withdraw consent at any time. Withdrawal of consent should be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
  • A person who is the object of sexual aggression is not required to physically or otherwise resist the aggressor; the lack of informed, freely given consent to sexual contact constitutes sexual misconduct.
  • Intoxication is not an excuse for failure to obtain consent.
  • A person incapacitated by alcohol or drug consumption, or who is unconscious or asleep or otherwise physically or mentally impaired, is incapable of giving consent.
  • A person who is below the legal age of consent is incapable of giving consent.


Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because he or she lacks the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of his or her sexual interaction).

An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physical or mentally incapacitated has violated this Policy.


Intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual’s informal or formal complaint or participation in a University of Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) investigation or proceedings related to practices prohibited by this Policy. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop sex discrimination. Conduct will be deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by the Policy.

Advisor of Choice:

In any proceeding involving Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, Complainants and Respondents have the right to be accompanied by an Advisor of Choice. The Advisor of Choice’s role is advisory only, as the Advisor of Choice provides support, advice and guidance to the Complainant and/or Respondent. The Advisor of Choice is not permitted to speak during any proceeding, to address the Disciplinary Board or University Board of Appeals, or to question witnesses. ONU may remove or dismiss an Advisor of Choice who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on his or her participation.

The Complainant and the Respondent should select an Advisor of Choice whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for all proceedings. Delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of an Advisor of Choice.

University Advisor:

In any proceeding involving Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation, Complainants and Respondents have the right to a University Advisor. University Advisors must be members of the ONU community excluding trustees, members of the Disciplinary Board or University Board of Appeals, or any parent/guardian of anyone involved in the matter. University Advisors may not be licensed attorneys.

The University Advisor’s role is advisory only, as the University Advisor provides support, advice and guidance to the Complainant and/or Respondent. The University Advisor is not permitted to speak during any proceeding, to address the Disciplinary Board or University Board of Appeals, or to question witnesses. ONU may remove or dismiss a University Advisor who becomes disruptive or who does not abide by the restrictions on his or her participation.

The Complainant and the Respondent should select a University Advisor whose schedule allows attendance at the scheduled date and time for all meetings and proceedings. Delays will not normally be allowed due to the scheduling conflicts of a University Advisor.


Proceeding means all activities related to a non-criminal resolution of an institutional disciplinary complaint, including, but not limited to, fact finding investigations, formal or informal meetings, and hearings. Proceeding does not include communications and meetings between officials and Complainants concerning accommodations or protective measures to be provided to a Complainant.

Title IX Coordinator and Team:

  • The Title IX Coordinator is the designated University official with primary responsibility for
  • coordinating the University’s compliance with Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator oversees the
  • implementation of grievance procedures, which includes notification, investigation and
  • disposition of complaints of sex discrimination. The Title IX Coordinator will coordinate the
  • provision of educational materials and training for the campus community. Finally, the Title IX
  • Coordinator will ensure a fair and neutral process for all parties and monitor all other aspects of
  • the University’s Title IX compliance. If the Title IX Coordinator is unavailable or has a
  • potential conflict of interest, then Deputy Title IX Coordinators are also available to address
  • Title IX issues. The following individuals have been designated to handle Title IX issues and
  • questions:

Title IX Coordinator:

Nancy Sabol
Director of Academic Support & Associate Professor of Law
ONU Pettit College of Law
Tilton Hall of Law 181
525 South Main Street
Ada, Ohio 45810
(419) 772-2218

Deputy Title IX Coordinator: Brian Hofman
Associate Professor of Sports Management, Assistant Coach of Women’s Volleyball, & Assistant Athletic Director
Department of Human Performance & Sport Sciences
525 S. Main St.
Ada, Ohio 45810
(419) 772-1878

Deputy Title IX Coordinator: LaShonda Gurley
Director of Multicultural Development
Division of Student Affairs
Lehr-Kennedy House
525 S. Main St.
Ada, Ohio 45810
(419) 772-3145