FSU Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Resource Guide

July 26, 2023 College, College Student Disciplinary Hearing, Criminal Defense

Florida State University (FSU) follows in accordance with the Title IX rule,  preventing them from discriminating against anyone based on sex or gender. Title IX also protects students, teachers, and other visitors on campus from any form of sexual harassment or violence.

While Title IX is not necessarily a criminal offense, it can result in harsh consequences for the accused student or employee. In certain cases, a person who violates the Title IX regulations may also face criminal prosecution.

It is important to be familiar with FSU’s Title IX rules and regulations, along with the relevant reporting options. This page will cover Title IX and the prohibited conduct on FSU’s campus, plus valuable resources for both students and faculty.

Title IX Overview

The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces  Title IX, which protects individuals from discrimination in educational programs based on sex. Title IX applies to schools, local and state educational agencies, and other institutions that receive financial aid. Specifically, Title IX states:

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity that receives Federal financial assistance.”

Key issues under Title IX include the following:

  • Recruitment
  • Admissions
  • Counseling
  • Financial assistance
  • Athletics
  • Sex-based harassment
  • Sexual assault or violence
  • Threats or intimidation against an individual

It is important to note that a Title IX violation will not immediately result in criminal charges against you. A Title IX action can result in suspension, expulsion, permanent damage to your academic record, termination as an employee with FSU, or loss of tenure.

However, Title IX allegations that coincide with a criminal offense may also be prosecuted by law enforcement, which could result in criminal penalties if  convicted.

FSU Sexual Misconduct Policy

FSU maintains in its university regulations that they promote making their campus a safe and welcoming environment for students, employees, and visitors. FSU-6.013 explains that when there are issues of sexual discrimination or sexual misconduct, individuals are encouraged to report the incident immediately.

The sexual misconduct policy applies to any reported prohibited conduct that is committed by students, employees, volunteers, visitors, contractors/vendors, or others, occurring in any of the following places:

  • University campus or premises;
  • At a university sponsored event, program, or activity; or
  • Off-campus as determined by the following factors:
    • The conduct adversely affects or affected the University community; or
    • The conduct endangers or endangered the health or safety of an FSU affiliate or others.

In instances of sexual misconduct allegations at FSU, the Title IX Director will have the authority to determine the procedural standards and jurisdiction to the specific instances of the alleged misconduct. When there is a formal Title IX complaint, the allegations will be reviewed and analyzed to determine the appropriate Title IX Compliance Policy or other processes.

To read more about FSU’s policy and investigation process for sexual misconduct, refer to our blog post here.

Prohibited Conduct at FSU

Under FSU’s Anti-Sexual Misconduct Policy, the following lists the prohibited forms of sexual misconduct:

  • Sex/Gender/Orientation-based Discrimination – Disparate or different treatment towards a person based on sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or pregnancy status which could impact academic, employment, or other decisions related to FSU’s programs.
  • Sexual harassment – When respondent is a faculty member: unwelcome sexual advantages, requests for sexual favors, sexual teasing, sexual remarks about a person’s body, staring at a person’s body parts, or unwelcome touching of another person’s body. When the respondent is a student: Can be found in a single severe incident, or as a pattern of behavior that includes, but is not limited to, sexual teasing, sexual jokes, unwelcome demands for sexual favors, sexual gestures, or the unwelcome touching of another person’s body.
  • Sexual Violence – Any sexual act performed without the consent of the Complainant (or when the complainant individual is unable to give consent). FSU does not distinguish between sexual violence, rape, sexual battery, or sexual assault. For the purposes of FSU’s policy, they are all considered the same and fall under sexual violence. Sexual violence can include any of the following:
    • Non-consensual sexual intercourse.
    • Non-consensual sexual contact (intentional contact, either under or over clothing, of intimate parts such as a person’s breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other intimate parts [based on a reasonable person standard]). This includes:
      • Touching intimate body parts (reasonable person standard);
      • Touching another person with one of their own intimate body parts;
      • Forcing a person to touch you, themselves, or another with any of these intimate body parts person’s body parts;
      • Nonforcible sexual intercourse considered to be incest;
      • Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person under the statutory age of consent (statutory rape); or
      • Any other intentional body contact of a sexual nature.
    • Domestic Violence – A pattern of abusive behavior in a relationship where one partner maintains power over the other, or an isolated, severe incident where one partner is abusive towards the other partner. Dating/domestic violence can include instances of assault, battery, sexual assault, sexual battery, stalking, kidnapping, false imprisonment, or any criminal violation.
    • Stalking When a person engages in a course of conduct (more than once) directed towards a specific person that causes the targeted person to either:
      • Fear for the safety of themselves or others; or
      • Suffer substantial emotional distress.
    • Sexual Exploitation – Any act where one person violates the sexual privacy of another and/or takes unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another person without their consent, for one’s own benefit or the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
      • Causing or attempting to cause the victim incapacitation for the purpose of gaining sexual advantages;
      • Prostituting another person or sex trafficking;
      • Taking photos, videos, or audio-recordings of an intimate, nude, or sexual activity and distributing them via media; or
      • Exceeding the boundaries of consent which can include:
        • Deviation from agreed upon sexual contact with regards to a birth control method for prevention of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases;
        • Knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted disease without their knowledge or consent; or
        • Other omissions that would result in the endangerment of the other person’s health or safety;
      • Engaging in indecent exposure with the intention of alarming, distressing, or offending others;
      • Solicitation a minor, or the possession, production, transmission, or distribution of child pornography; or
      • Voyeurism, which includes watching another person undress, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual activity without the consent of the person being observed.

FSU’s policy also prohibits conduct such as:

  • Retaliation – The creation of any hostile environment or an action that threatens an individual after they have made a report or complaint (this includes those who help others make a report or complaint) pursuant to the FSU Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  • Complicity – Any action that is done with the intention of aiding, facilitating, promoting, or encouraging the commission of an act that is considered sexual misconduct.

For any FSU students who have been accused of sexual misconduct, it is important to familiarize yourself with the Student Code of Conduct, Due Process under Florida Statutes § 1006.60, and the process of disciplinary hearings for alleged violations. If you are facing criminal prosecution in addition to a Title IX violation, consult with a Tallahassee criminal defense attorney who can help fight against your charges.

Find out more about the process and potential need for a defense attorney as an FSU student in our blog post here.

Reporting Options for Sexual Misconduct at FSU

A person who is affected by prohibited conduct under FSU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy can make a formal complaint, report to the University, or disclose the information to another person of authority. While individuals can still receive support resources even if they do not report the prohibited conduct, the university stresses that reporting (preferably in a timely manner) is highly encouraged.

FSU has specified persons who are designated for discussing potential sexual misconduct in confidence. It is important to note that all other FSU employees are considered “Responsible Employees” meaning they are required to report all instances of prohibited conduct that are disclosed to them.

The Confidential FSU Representatives can provide resources and assistance without any obligation to report to the university or law enforcement. This includes licensed medical and mental health providers, FSU victim advocates, and those who collaborate with them.

Important: Incidents involving harm, abuse, or the involvement of a minor that are reported to a Confidential University Representative may be subjected to disclosing the information with the Department of Children and Families, FSU Police Department, or other safety personnel.

The FSU Responsible Employees include all other university staff who have the mandatory duty to report any known or suspected incidents of prohibited conduct. This is regardless of where the incident occurred or how the employee found out about the incident. FSU’s policy page states that a responsible employee who witnesses, becomes aware of, or receives disclosure of prohibited conduct must report it immediately, or made no later than two days after becoming aware of the incident.

FSU Victim Advocate Program

FSU’s Office of the Victim Advocate Program is available to provide 24/7 support to those who have become victims of a crime on or around campus. The services under the Victim Advocate Services are both free and confidential. They do not require you to file a police report or complaint with FSU to receive support and services. FSU’s Victim Advocates can help with any of the following:

  • Providing 24/7 crisis counseling and emotional support;
  • Assisting you with trips to the hospital or doctor appointments;
  • Thoroughly explaining the reporting options and what to expect when filing a criminal report or complaint with FSU;
  • Helping file a complaint with the university;
  • Serving as an advisor or supportive person during any proceedings or hearings with the university;
  • Advocating to professors and academic departments;
  • Safety planning;
  • Temporary safe lodging;
  • Referring you to additional support services on and off FSU’s campus;
  • Petitioning for protective injunction (restraining order);
  • Assisting in filing for victim compensation; and
  • Any other necessary assistance to rebuild your life.

Additional Resources

FSU lists the following resources for reporting and finding assistance after experiencing prohibited conduct:

University Reporting:


FSU Student Defense Attorney

When a college student is accused of a university violation or criminal activity, they can face harsh consequences. Participating in or attempting to participate in prohibited conduct can result in disciplinary action from FSU. If the alleged act is also considered a criminal offense under Florida law, the student or employee may also face criminal prosecution. That means if they are convicted, they could face steep fines and imprisonment.

Depending on the severity of the alleged offense, a disciplinary hearing can result in restitution, disciplinary probation, suspension, or even expulsion. This can cause financial and emotional distress to both the student and their parents. The best way to avoid these harsh punishments is to hire an experienced defense attorney.

Pumphrey Law Firm can assist in your student conduct violation hearings, review any criminal charges against you, and fight to earn back your freedom and educational journey at FSU. To receive a free case evaluation, contact us today at (850) 681-7777 or leave an online message on our website.

Written by Karissa Key

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