Roles and Concepts


Complainant– The individual who is the alleged victim of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, gender-based violence, and/or sex and gender-based discrimination. The complainant does not have to be the party making a report.

Respondent – The individual alleged to have committed sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, sexual misconduct, and sex and/or gender-based discrimination.

Title IX Coordinator – The Title IX Coordinator is an employee trained in all aspects of Title IX and this policy and process. The Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the university’s education, prevention, and response to sexual harassment, interpersonal violence, sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, and sex and/or gender-based discrimination. The Title IX Coordinator receives reports, assigns investigators in conjunction with the Title IX Investigator, reviews investigative reports, coordinates and facilitates the hearing process and serves as the primary point of contact regarding Title IX at the university. In the Sexual Misconduct Investigation and Adjudication process the Title IX Coordinator reviews the recommendations of finding and renders outcome decisions. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) also facilitates alternative resolution of complaints. The Associate Vice President for Human Resources may appoint an Interim Title IX Coordinator as needed and as circumstances dictate. The Title IX Coordinator may designate Deputy Title IX Coordinators to assist with providing education, training and handling intake of reports within the campus community.

Investigator(s) – The Investigator is a full-time staff member trained in the investigation of Sexual Misconduct and Title IX cases, including all aspects of this policy and process. They serve as the primary investigator and/or team lead for all investigations under this policy. The Investigator can provide the following functions:

  • Receive reports;
  • Investigate reports of prohibited conduct under this policy; and
  • Write investigative reports.

Hearing Officer – The Hearing Officer is appointed by the Associate Vice President for Human Resources to facilitate and adjudicate outcome hearings and decisions for Sexual Misconduct cases when the prohibited conduct meets the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX.

Appeal Board – The Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Appeals Board is jointly appointed by the Vice President for Student Life and the Provost to hear appeals regarding all cases invested under this Policy.



Consent – Consent is clear, knowing, and voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. There is no consent when force, coercion, intimidation, or threats are used. There also cannot be consent when an individual is incapacitated, or if one is below the legal age (16 years of age in North Carolina) to grant consent. Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity, nor can previous relationships or previous consent imply consent to any future sexual acts. Consent can be withdrawn once it is given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated.

Consent is considered in context. Explicit and contemporaneous consent by all parties is required in advance for any behaviors that fall under bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, and sadism and masochism (BDSM). If consent is established for these behaviors, the evaluation of consent will be considered within the context of compliance with established boundaries or other mechanisms to revoke consent (i.e., safe words).

Coercion – Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sexual contact, 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. If coercion is used, there is no consent.

Force – 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 to produce consent. If force is used, there is no consent.

Incapacitation - Incapacitation is defined as a state in which a person cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation can occur from many things, including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, from the use of alcohol and/or drugs, or blackout. If a person is incapacitated, there is no consent. Sexual activity with someone known to be or whom an individual should reasonably know to be incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy.

Note: The use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.

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