FSU’s Policy and Investigation Process for Sexual Misconduct

May 12, 2022 College, College Student Disciplinary Hearing, Criminal Defense, Sex Crimes

In 2021, FSU Professor John “Read” Gainsford was accused of sexual misconduct with a male undergrad student. Although Gainsford was never charged and remains a faculty member, the incident brings up the current state of the university’s policy on sexual misconduct.

There are different routes to take for either a student or faculty member getting accused of sexual misconduct. This article will cover the difference between Title IX and the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Office (EDI), the updated policies of FSU’s Anti-Sexual Misconduct Act, and finding legal help for university students in Florida.

Title IX vs. EDI

If there are complaints against students at a university, it is filed under the Title IX director, while complaints against a faculty or staff member are filed through the EDI office.

At FSU, the EDI Office is the internal authority that is in charge of investigating complaints on Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO), discrimination, sexual misconduct, affirmative action, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA). More can be found on FSU’s Office of Human Resources website.

Updated Policy

As of 2021, FSU President Richard McCullough approved an update for the Anti-Sexual Misconduct policy. Under the FSU Office of Human Resources, it addresses the policy: “sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence (rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking,), and all other forms of sex discrimination are violations of University policy and contrary to the University’s values…Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated by Florida State University, whether by faculty, staff, students, visitors, or others.”

If there is a complaint filed with the EDI, it will then go to a hearing with the university. After the hearing is complete, it gets handed off to the Human Resources Employee Labor Relations or Faculty Relations. The determining and assigning of the outcome to student violations are made by the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards and are made on a case-by-case basis.

Under section IV of the FSU Sexual Misconduct Policy 2-2, it states, “Authority for scope and applicability of this Policy is delegated to the Title IX Director by the President of FSU. Title IX Director has the authority to determine which procedural standards and jurisdiction apply to specific instances or reported conduct.”

The Anti-Sexual Misconduct policy addresses that the university will consider the various factors that decide if coercion was used by the individual who is accused of sexual misconduct. It also covers “incapacitation” and how the university defines it with the signs of stumbling, slurred speech, word confusion, loss of consciousness, and being disoriented in a place or time.

FSU stands by its statement in the Anti-Sexual Misconduct policy: “In order for the University to address situations of sexual misconduct, individuals should promptly report an incident.”

Legal Help for University Students

As a young aspiring student at a Florida university, safety should be the number one priority. Whether it be from faculty members or fellow students, an individual should not have to worry about sexual misconduct while on campus. However, the reality is that it can happen anywhere. On top of that, there can be instances where there are false allegations made of sexual misconduct. This is why it is important to have an understanding of the school code of conduct, what to do in a university school hearing, and how to protect yourself in a legal battle with a university. The best way to go about it is to find a skilled defense attorney in your area.

Finding a Defense Attorney in Tallahassee, Florida

Being a university student in Florida already comes with plenty of stress. Between trying to do well in classes and having an exciting social life, the last thing a young person wants is a criminal charge to deal with. If you or a loved one have been accused of a crime in Florida or find yourself being the victim of possible sexual harassment by a teacher, prioritize finding an experienced defense attorney. A sexual assault charge can lead to harsh consequences such as expensive fines, social stigma, potential expulsion from school, and even potential jail time.

Don Pumphrey and his legal team at Pumphrey Law Firm understand the importance of creating a strong defense for university students who are accused of a crime. We will work tirelessly to fight for your freedom and ensure that you can still pursue your dreams at college. Call (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message for a free consultation today.

Written by Karissa Key

Back to Top