People Involved

Complainant: The person who is alleging, in good faith and in compliance with University policies, the occurrence of sexual misconduct.

Respondent: The person whose actions are alleged to have violated the sexual misconduct policy.

Advisors: Both the complainant and respondent party may be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding covered by this policy by an advisor. An advisor may be a Shippensburg University employee or student, legal counsel, parent/guardian, or an advisor of record for an organization. The advisor may provide consultation only to the party they are advising. The advisor may not speak for or on behalf of the complainant or respondent party in a meeting or proceeding.

Confidential Resources: University employees and off-campus organizations who are not required to report any information regarding an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. For a comprehensive list of on-campus and off-campus confidential resources, go online, to this website:

Mandatory Reporters/Responsible Employees: All other University employees that are not identified as confidential resources.

Student: Persons registered for courses, either full time or part time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, as well as non-degree seeking students; individuals who confirm their intent to enroll in programs; those attending orientation sessions; between academic terms; taking online classes; auditing classes; residing in the residence halls; those that were enrolled on the date of an alleged incident; persons who are active but not enrolled at the University. 

Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s response to Title IX reports and complaints, identifies and addresses any systemic problems, and takes any necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Shippensburg University community.

Title IX Investigator: A trained individual designated by the Office of Equity, Inclusion, and Compliance, who reports to the Title IX Coordinator.  The investigator will conduct a prompt and thorough investigation and acts as a neutral party throughout the investigative process. The investigator will speak with the complainant, the respondent, and any individual(s) who may have knowledge related to the alleged misconduct. The investigator will also review related evidence such as text messages, phone records, emails, photographs, videos but not limited to these items. The investigator will provide the Title IX Coordinator with a detailed, unbiased report regarding the findings of the investigation.

University Resolution Mediators: Trained faculty and staff at Shippensburg University who can facilitate informal mediation between parties involved in the Informal Resolution Process associated with this policy. Each University Resolution Mediator must go through annual training.

Witnesses: Any person who has been identified by the reporting and/or responding party, or the Title IX Coordinator as having relevant first-person information concerning the alleged prohibited conduct.

 General Definitions

Affirmative Consent: Affirmative Consent means words or actions that demonstrate an informed, voluntary, and active decision to engage in a mutually agreed-upon sex act. Affirmative consent cannot be obtained by (a) force, (b) coercion, or (c) incapacitation.

(a)   Force includes: (i) the use of physical violence, (ii) threats, and (iii) intimidation.

  1. Physical violence means that a person is exerting control over another person through the use of physical force. Examples of physical violence include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, restraining, choking, and brandishing or using any weapon.
  2. Threats are words or actions that would compel a reasonable person to engage in unwanted sexual activity. Examples include threats to harm a person physically, to reveal private information to harm a person’s reputation, or to cause a person academic or economic harm.
  3. Intimidation is an implied threat that menaces or causes reasonable fear in another person. A person’s size, alone, does not constitute intimidation; however, a person’s size may be used in a way that constitutes intimidation (e.g., blocking access to an exit).

 (b)   Coercion is the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to have sex. When a person makes clear a decision not to participate in a particular form of Sexual Contact or Sexual Intercourse, a decision to stop, or a decision not to go beyond a certain sexual interaction, continued pressure can be coercive.

 (c)    Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Affirmative Consent cannot be gained by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the person where the person initiating sexual activity knew or reasonably should have known that the other was incapacitated. A person who is incapacitated is unable, temporarily or permanently, to give affirmative consent because of mental or physical helplessness, sleep, unconsciousness, or lack of awareness that sexual activity is taking place. A person may be incapacitated as a result of the consumption of alcohol or other drugs, or due to a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition.

Preponderance of Evidence: The standard of proof utilized by in a Title IX University Board hearing. Preponderance of evidence means that the statements and information presented in the matter indicate to a reasonable person that is is more likely than not that the responding party committed a violation. 

Sanction: The penalty levied against persons or groups found “In Violation” for violating provisions of the student code of conduct.

Stipulation: A condition, beyond the sanction, required of persons or groups found “In Violation” for violating provisions of the student code of conduct.