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Office of Institutional Equity

Frequently asked questions: K-State's policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking

Office of Institutional Equity

What is the role of the Office of Institutional Equity?

The Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) is an administrative office of the university. It is not a court or a law enforcement agency. It does not have the power to arrest persons, issue subpoenas, or obtain warrants to search private property.

Some of OIE's primary roles include: (1) to assist campus community members in understanding the university’s policies and procedures in the areas of discrimination, harassment, affirmative action, and equal employment opportunities, including those policies that implement Title IX; and (2) to process all complaints of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and related retaliation.

OIE staff members are impartial administrators — they are neither advocates nor adversaries of the parties and witnesses involved in a particular complaint. OIE provides a prompt and equitable process for evaluating and investigating complaints of conduct that falls within the scope of PPM 3010. OIE also connects students to a wide range of resources and services.

A list of the university's Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinators can be found on the Title IX homepage.  

 Complaints and processing

Who may file a complaint?

Any person may report suspected discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and related retaliation to the Office of Institutional Equity. The university encourages persons to make a report as soon as possible after the alleged incident(s) but no later than 180 days after an incident of conduct prohibited by PPM 3010. OIE will process all reports it receives and may proceed with a full investigation and adjudication proceedings as set forth in PPM 3010.

Regardless of when sexual violence is reported, K-State will still offer support and assistance services to the reported victim and others involved. Please see the Support and assistance services section below for further information.

How do I file a complaint?

Persons wishing to report concerns of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or related retaliation should contact the Office of Institutional Equity, 785-532-6220 or equity@ksu.edu. You may also contact OIE by completing an online reporting form.

Do I have to file a complaint once I contact the Office of Institutional Equity?

Any member of the university community may consult the Office of Institutional Equity without obligation to file a complaint. Office of Institutional Equity staff will give university community members information designed to explain the university’s policies and procedures so that they may make an informed choice as to whether they would like to file a complaint. In certain situations, however, information learned by the Office of Institutional Equity may be of sufficient concern that the university must take appropriate action to resolve the concern even though an individual does not wish to file a complaint.

Retaliation

What is retaliation? What should I do if I report a concern to the Office of Institutional Equity and then believe the Respondent is retaliating?

In the Policy, retaliation is any materially adverse action taken against an individual because he or she has: (1) openly opposed a policy or practice the individual believed was a violation of this Policy or state or federal anti-discrimination law; (2) engaged in protected activity such as making a request for a reasonable accommodation; or (3) participated in the investigation or resolution of a report or complaint under this Policy or under state or federal anti-discrimination law. There must be a sufficient causal nexus between the protected activity and the adverse action.

Training

Do you offer training for preventing discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking?

Yes. The Office of Institutional Equity conducts training sessions throughout the year for faculty, staff, and supervisors on anti-discrimination and related topics. For more information on dates and times of training events, visit the HRIS Employee Self-Service Training Enrollment website or see the OIE homepage.

Students at K-State are required to complete an annual online training about alcohol and other drug use, sexual harassment and sexual violence prevention. The program is designed to help students make healthy decisions; know and understand state laws and K-State policies; be aware of university and community resources; know how to report concerning behavior; and learn how to safely intervene when suspicious or concerning behavior is observed. More information about the Alcohol & Sexual Assault Prevention training is available on the ASAP website.

Discrimination based on sex: Sexual harassment and violence

What is sexual violence?

In the Policy, the term "sexual violence" refers to a physical act of a sexual nature perpetrated against a person's will, or against a person who is so incapacitated that he or she is incapable of giving consent due to the use of drugs or alcohol, or against a person who is incapable of giving consent due to an intellectual or other disability. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including but not limited to, rape, sexual battery, domestic violence, and dating violence. Use of alcohol or other drugs by a perpetrator or victim does not excuse acts of sexual violence.

What is a sexual harassment hostile environment?

Among other things, sexual harassment occurring in the context of the university’s employment and education programs and activities constitutes prohibited sex discrimination when it creates a hostile employment, on-campus living, or educational environment for a victim.

For a hostile environment to exist such that the conduct is prohibited by PPM 3010, that conduct must be sufficiently severe or pervasive such that it alters the terms, conditions, or privileges of the reported victim’s employment, on-campus living, and/or educational opportunities.

Whether or not unwelcome sexual conduct rises to the level of creating a hostile environment depends on the totality of circumstances including the identity of the alleged perpetrator, the alleged perpetrator’s relationship to the reported victim, the frequency of the conduct, the severity of the conduct, and whether the conduct is physically threatening or humiliating as opposed to merely an offensive utterance. These factors are evaluated from both subjective (the reported victim’s) and objective (based on a reasonable person standard) viewpoints. 

Repeated incidents, even where each would not, on its own, create a hostile environment, may collectively create a hostile environment under PPM 3010.

If I believe I have experienced sexual violence but am uncertain if it would fall under PPM 3010, what should I do?  

You have three options. First, if you want to have a conversation about the incident before making a complaint under PPM 3010, you can speak to a victim advocate with the Center for Advocacy, Response, and Education (CARE) who can discuss potential resources and options with you.

Second, you can contact the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) directly. An OIE investigator will meet with you to take down information about your report, and OIE will evaluate the report to determine whether it falls within the jurisdiction of PPM 3010. Conversations with OIE are not confidential, but OIE will consider your wishes about how you would like the matter handled before determining what further steps, if any, will be taken under PPM 3010 and related policies.

Third, you can make a report directly to the police, who can begin a criminal investigation.

Regardless of whether your report implicates conduct covered by PPM 3010, the university offers support and assistance services to reported victims of sexual violence as well as respondents. Please see the Support and assistance services section below for further information.

May I have a support person with me during the PPM 3010 process when the report pertains to sexual violence or another crime?

Yes. As a Complainant or as the Respondent, you are entitled to one advisor or support person of your choice, and the advisor or support person may accompany you to any meeting or proceeding that you are invited to attend under this policy when the report pertains to sexual violence or another crime. However, the advisor or support person may not be a potential witness or anyone connected or related to the complaint. An advisor or support person may be an attorney, but may not stand in your place as the Complainant or the Respondent. Advisors or support persons (including attorneys) are not permitted to participate during the interview, other than to speak to you as an advisee. An advisor or support person who disrupts the process (as determined by the Office of Institutional Equity) may be excluded from the meeting. You must provide prior notice to the Office of Institutional Equity that an advisor or support person will attend a meeting or proceeding and whether or not that person is an attorney. Your CARE advocate may also serve as your support person.

May I, as the Complainant, request confidentiality or that no action be taken by the university with the report?

Complaints and other information obtained through the Policy process are not disclosed to anyone who does not have a need to know in connection with the Policy process. This requirement applies to reporters, complainants, respondents, witnesses, and any others involved with a report or complaint. The University cannot guarantee absolute confidentiality, but the University will endeavor to keep the matter confidential to the extent possible, consistent with preventing future acts of discrimination, harassment or retaliation, providing a remedy to persons injured, allowing respondents to reply to a complaint if it warrants an administrative review, and complying with applicable law. Complaints and other information may be disclosed to state or federal anti-discrimination agencies for investigations or audits, and during litigation.

If I was drinking when I was assaulted, will I get into trouble under the Student Code of Conduct?

Students should report all incidents of sexual violence. Students may be hesitant to report incidents or seek help if they were under the influence of alcohol or drugs for fear of getting in trouble. In the context of making a sexual violence report, the university will not discipline a student for alcohol and drug violations if the student reports to have been a victim of sexual violence. For your safety and well-being, the university may initiate an educational discussion about the use of alcohol or drugs and their impact.

What is consent?

Consent is permission or an agreement for something to happen. To be consent, the person must have the capacity to consent and the permission or agreement must be knowing and given without coercion. Consent will not necessarily be inferred from silence or passivity alone. Whether someone has given consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context. Once consent to a sexual act has been given, consent can be withdrawn if communicated to the other person before or during that sexual act.

Comparing PPM 3010 to the criminal justice system

How is a PPM 3010 investigation and finding different from a criminal investigation and prosecution?

PPM 3010 sets forth a fair and impartial process for evaluating and, if necessary, investigating reports of prohibited conduct, including sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation. When conducting a full investigation, an administrative review team, or ART, typically interviews the reported victim, the alleged perpetrator, and identified witnesses who may have relevant knowledge. The ART may also review non-testimonial evidence, such as text messages, emails, photos, or video footage if available.

The PPM 3010 process is an internal administrative process. This process is different and separate from the criminal justice process that police and prosecutors use to charge and convict criminals. Neither the Office of Institutional Equity (OIE), which administers PPM 3010, nor an ART, has the legal authority to arrest persons, issue subpoenas, obtain warrants to collect evidence from third-parties or on private property, search private property (such as off-campus apartments, fraternity and sorority houses, among others), and/or to conduct criminal forensic analysis of evidence. The goal of the PPM 3010 process is to address and remedy discrimination, harassment (including sexual violence), domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation occurring within university employment, programs and activities so that the university maintains an environment free of discrimination.

The possible outcomes of an investigation under PPM 3010 include: (1) a finding of no violation of the policy; or (2) a finding of a violation of the policy. The PPM 3010 process does not result in a finding of criminal guilt. Only a prosecution brought by a local prosecutor, after a jury verdict or guilty plea, will result in a criminal conviction for rape or a similar sex crime.

A report to Riley County Police is separate and distinct from a report to the university’s Office of Institutional Equity. The processes may run simultaneously but will remain independent of each other with different burdens of proof. Consistent with Kansas law, to preserve the integrity of their criminal investigations, and protect the privacy of parties involved, law enforcement agencies typically treat criminal investigation records as “closed” records under the Kansas Open Records Act and do not share those records with university administrators, including OIE and an ART, unless they have reason to for purposes of the criminal investigation.

For these reasons and others, the university strongly encourages anyone who believes they are a victim of criminal conduct to make a report to Riley County Police, who have jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations throughout the City of Manhattan, or to Kansas State University Police for alleged criminal conduct occurring on university property, in addition to reporting to OIE any conduct prohibited by PPM 3010.

You may also request a protection order from a court under Kansas state law. University Police will enforce such orders on university property.

Responsible Employees/Confidential Employees

Who are Responsible Employees?

There are two categories of Responsible Employees, who are required to report information to the Office of Institutional Equity: Administrators and Supervisory.

Administrator Responsible Employees are management level personnel. This typically includes department and unit heads, directors, and equal or higher ranking administrators. Administrator Responsible Employees must report all potential prohibited conduct in any university employment, program or activity, regardless of their lack of personal supervisory responsibilities over the Complainant or Respondent.

Supervisory Responsible Employees are personnel with authority over other employees or students (such as day-to-day management of employee tasks, or hiring and firing responsibility) or with authority over a particular university environment (such as responsibility for a classroom or floor of a residence hall). Supervisory responsible employees are only required to make reports to OIE within their area of supervisory responsibility, but they are strongly encouraged to report all potential prohibited conduct of which they might be aware.

For example, regarding supervisory Responsible Employees, if a professor who controls a classroom or lab learns about potential prohibited conduct within the classroom or lab, then the professor must report the conduct to OIE. Similarly, a residential assistant in a residence hall must report any potential prohibited conduct in that facility.

University employees who are unclear about their area of supervisory responsibility should contact their immediate supervisors.

Faculty and staff who wish to report potential prohibited conduct may do so online or in person to the Office of Institutional Equity.

Are all K-State employees required to notify the Office of Institutional Equity if I report an incident of discrimination (including sexual violence) to them?

While the university strongly encourages all campus community members to report incidents of discrimination (including sexual violence), several classifications of employees have been identified as Responsible Employees who are required to report information about discrimination (including sexual violence) to OIE. These Responsible Employees include all administrative employees and supervisory employees for matters within the scope of their supervision. 

The university has specifically designated some employees as “Confidential Employees.” These Confidential Employees include mental health counselors (Counseling Services and Family Center), medical professionals (Lafene Health Center), and/or victim advocates (CARE). Confidential Employees are not Responsible Employees outside their scope of supervision.

Contact information for the relevant offices of Confidential Employees is as follows.

Center for Advocacy, Response and Education (CARE)
Kansas State University
206 Holton Hall
1101 Mid-Campus Drive North
Manhattan, KS 66506 
Phone: 785-532-6444
Fax: 785-532-6457
http://www.k-state.edu/care/

Lafene Health Center (For students)
Kansas State University
1105 Sunset Ave.
Manhattan, KS 66502-3761
Phone: 785-532-6544
Fax: 785-532-3425
http://www.k-state.edu/lafene/

Family Center
Kansas State University
139 Campus Creek Complex
1405 Campus Creek Road
Manhattan, KS 66506
Phone: 785-532-6984 
http://www.he.k-state.edu/familycenter/

Counseling Services (For students)
Kansas State University
232 English/Counseling Services Bldg.
1612 Steam Place
Manhattan, KS 66506-6503
Phone: 785-532-6927 
http://www.k-state.edu/counseling/

Please speak with the individual department or professional so they can inform you about their degree of confidentiality because the extent of each professional’s confidentiality varies depending on his or her role.  

If you are a student who is not based in Manhattan, a listing of confidential and nonconfidential resources in your area can be found on our resources website

On and off campus

Does the policy (PPM 3010) apply to off-campus conduct?

Yes, PPM 3010 applies to some off-campus conduct. PPM 3010 specifically prohibits discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and related retaliation that occurs in university employment and university education programs and activities.  If a university-sponsored program or activity takes place off-campus, then PPM 3010 applies and discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and retaliation occurring in that program or activity are prohibited.

In addition, even if discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation occurs off-campus and outside the context of university employment or a university-sponsored program or activity, the university will still investigate the conduct under PPM 3010 if it relates to discrimination, harassment, sexual violence domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or retaliation that is alleged on campus or in the context of university employment or a university-sponsored program or activity.

If a person makes a non-confidential report of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or retaliation—regardless of where the conduct is reported to have occurred—the university’s Office of Institutional Equity (OIE) will evaluate and process the report to determine whether further action should be taken under PPM 3010.  At a minimum, this evaluation process includes a review of the facts alleged and may include a preliminary investigation by OIE itself or by an Administrative Review Team (ART) to gather additional facts necessary to determine whether the report falls within the PPM 3010’s jurisdiction.

Regardless of whether the university determines that a report falls within the jurisdiction of PPM 3010, the university offers resources and assistance to potential victims and respondents. See Support and assistance services below.

Do other university policies apply to off-campus conduct?

Yes. In addition to PPM 3010, other policies and risk management processes can apply to off-campus conduct. For example, if there is a report that a student has engaged in forcible off-campus rapes using a gun to threaten his victims, the university, through its Critical Incident Response Team, or CIRT, would assess the report to determine whether the student posed an immediate threat to persons on campus or in university-sponsored programs and activities. The CIRT process could result in the student being removed from campus. The CIRT process is facilitated through the Office of Student Life and applies independently of any determination about whether a report comes under PPM 3010. 

I'm being sexually harassed by someone who is not a K-State employee, but who comes on K-State's campus to conduct business. Is there anything I can do?

PPM 3010 protects you from sexual harassment by vendors, contractors and third parties you encounter in your university employment, living and learning environment. If you believe that you have been subjected to conduct that violates the policy, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity.

What are some examples of off-campus conduct that fall within the jurisdiction of PPM 3010? 

Under university policy, a fact-specific evaluation is conducted when a concern is raised to OIE.

When off-campus conduct that does not take place during a university-sponsored program or activity is reported to OIE, OIE processes the complaint by first asking questions to determine if the off-campus conduct contributes to a hostile environment on campus. Based on the responses, OIE makes a determination about whether any allegations relate to harassment or a hostile environment on campus or through a university-sponsored program or activity in accordance with PPM 3010.

A few examples are below. Additional or different facts or circumstances may change whether the university would investigate the allegations presented in these examples.

  • Example 1: A university department is hosting a picnic at a local park for its faculty members, staff, and students. During the picnic, a staff member makes unwelcome sexual advances on a student, kisses the student against her will and gropes her breasts. If this conduct were reported, the university would investigate the alleged conduct to determine whether there is a violation of PPM 3010.
  • Example 2: Lance, an undergraduate student, is leaving a bar in Aggieville on a Saturday night. As Lance is walking down an alley, Joey, a graduate student who is working with and supervising Lance on a research project, appears out of the darkness, pins Lance against a wall, and gropes Lance's genitals while holding his hand over Lance's mouth. The next Monday, Lance arrives at the on-campus lab he shares with Joey and other students. Joey is there. As Lance is setting up his workstation, Joey walks over, puts his hand on Lance's shoulder, and whispers in Lance's ear "So, what did you think of Saturday night?" Joey's comment causes Lance to panic and leave the lab. If this conduct were reported, the university would investigate the alleged conduct to determine whether there is a violation of PPM 3010.  
  • Example 3: A student, Ty, receives several text messages from his ex-girlfriend, Shana, who lives off campus. In the text messages, Shana refers to Ty as an “asshole” and “bastard” for dating another girl, who Shana refers to as a “slut.” In the messages, Shana also threatens to physically harm Ty and his new girlfriend. Shana sent the text messages while she was off campus, but Ty was on campus when he received some of them and off campus when he received others. The text messages cause Ty to fear for his safety. He has seen Shana near his car and watching him on campus outside his classrooms, causing him to believe Shana is following him. If this conduct were reported, the university would investigate the alleged conduct to determine whether there is a violation of PPM 3010.
  • Example 4: Kate lives in a sorority house off campus. She goes out on a date with Brad, who lives in an off-campus apartment with three roommates. After dinner, Brad and Kate go to bar and Kate has several drinks. Brad takes Kate back to his apartment, into his bedroom, pins her down, and has sex with her against her will. Kate passes out and wakes up early the next morning. She walks back to her sorority. Later that day, Kate is in the student recreation center when Brad comes up to her and says, “You put up a good fight last night. Maybe you should come back to the house with me when you’re done. I love a good fight. See you later.” Kate stops going to the recreation center to avoid another encounter with Brad. If this conduct were reported, the university would investigate the alleged conduct to determine whether there is a violation of PPM 3010.

Are fraternity and sorority houses part of the Kansas State University campus?

No. Fraternity and sorority houses are located off campus. These residences are privately owned and operated, and not owned or operated by the university.

Support and assistance services

What support and assistance services does the university offer? 

Regardless of whether a report results in a full investigation and adjudication under PPM 3010, the university helps reported victims of prohibited conduct by providing support and assistance services. These support and assistance services are intended to help a reported victim continue to access the working and learning environment at the university. Support and assistance services are also available to respondents.

The specific support and assistance services available will vary depending on the nature of the report and the parties involved but some examples include:

  • Providing access to counseling or medical services and assistance in setting up initial appointments, both on and off campus, for students.
  • Rescheduling of exams and assignments.
  • Providing alternative course completion options.
  • Change in class schedule, including the ability to drop a course without penalty or to transfer sections.
  • Change in work schedule or job assignment.
  • Change in student’s campus housing.
  • Assistance from university staff in completing housing relocation.
  • Voluntary leave of absence.
  • Providing an escort to assure safe movement between classes and activities.
  • Assisting a student in communicating with faculty.
  • Providing academic support services, such as tutoring.

In certain cases, the university may also issue an interim order separating the parties by prohibiting contact, altering schedules, and/or restricting the time and nature of a respondent’s access to campus and activities. Such orders are issued based on information gathered during a report and are not intended to be permanent resolutions; therefore, they may be amended or withdrawn as additional information is gathered. Such orders are not appropriate in every case.