Title IX Policy and Procedures

Title IX Policy

Revised August 2015

Nondiscrimination Policy

Elon University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its programs and activities.  Federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex including sexual harassment as well as sexual violence (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972).  The University has designated the following person(s) as Title IX Officer(s) to coordinate compliance and handle inquiries regarding this nondiscrimination policy.

Title IX Officer:  Dr. Jana Lynn Fields Patterson, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student Health and Wellness, Ellington Center for Health and Wellness 104, 2970 Campus Box Elon, NC 27244, (336) 278 7200; patters@elon.edu

Deputy Title IX Officer for Athletics: Ms. Faith Shearer, Associate Athletic Director and Senior Women’s Administrator, Alumni Field House 239-H, 2500 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244, (336) 278-6790; fshearer@elon.edu

Deputy Title IX Officer for the Law School: Ms. Melissa Duncan, Associate Director of Student and Professional Life, Law School Room 107-M, 2005 Campus Box, Elon, NC 27244, (336) 278-9256; mduncan6@elon.edu

Elon University has a legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or harassment.  Elon University has procedures to receive, investigate, respond to and resolve complaints of discrimination, including harassment based on sex.  Title IX violations include discrimination on the basis of sex or gender and include sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, nonconsensual sexual acts, and sexual misconduct.  In this policy, “discrimination,” refers generically and inclusively to all forms of discrimination based on sex or gender, including sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, nonconsensual sexual acts, sexual misconduct and sexual violence.



Sex Discrimination: Conduct that denies or limits a person’s ability to benefit from or fully participate in educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex.  Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, failure to provide equal opportunity in educational programs and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination.

Gender Discrimination or Gender Harassment: Prohibited sex discrimination also includes discrimination or verbal, non-verbal or physical harassment which is based on the person’s gender but which is not sexual in nature.  Elon University’s policies prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include discrimination or harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is a particular type of harassment and is a form of prohibited sex discrimination. Sexual harassment generally may be described to include, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical and expressive behavior of a sexual nature when:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of or a condition of education, employment, or participating in university activities;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is or could be used as the basis for evaluation in making academic or personal decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, living or learning environment.


  Examples of this type of prohibited sex discrimination include but are not limited, to slurs, threats, derogatory or suggestive comments, unwelcome jokes, exposure to sexually-oriented literature or pictures (an exception is granted for justified academic purposes), sexual violence, teasing or sexual advances and other similar verbal or physical conduct, including e-mail, phone calls or other online communications.  Sexual violence including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX.

Sexual Misconduct: Generally, sexual misconduct is described as any attempted or actual sexual contact directed against another person in the direct absence of effective, mutually understandable consent.  The use of force or perceived force to coerce a person into performing sexual acts against his/her will, or not forcibly or against that person's will where the target/survivor is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity, including but not limited to the or use of drugs or alcohol. Sexual violence including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion are forms of sexual harassment covered under Title IX. Below are more detailed descriptions of acts considered sexual misconduct:


  • Sexual Misconduct: Indecent Exposure: Deliberate exposure of one’s intimate body parts; the display of sexual behavior.


  • Sexual Misconduct: Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Any attempted or actual sexual touching directed against another person by a student in the direct absence of effective, mutually understandable consent.  The use of force, perceived force, or threats to coerce a person into performing sexual acts against their will, or any groping, touching, or fondling of another against their will or where the victim does not or is incapable of giving consent. Examples of sexual acts include but are not limited to contact with breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or mouth.


  • Sexual Misconduct: Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Any sexual penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or object by any person upon any other person without consent.  The use of force, perceived force, or threats to coerce a person into acts involving penetration against their will, or not forcibly or against that person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.


  • Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Exploitation: Taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent. Examples include but are not limited to causing incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual activity; engaging in voyeurism, trespassing, spying, or eavesdropping for sexual arousal; distributing intimate or sexual information/images of another person; and/or knowingly exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection.


Domestic violence: Any abusive behavior that is used by one person to gain power and control over a current or former intimate partner.  The unacceptable behavior can be physical (including but not limited to striking, shoving, kicking, punching, strangling, restraining, etc.), sexual (including but not limited to rape, sexual assault, etc.), emotional (including but not limited to isolation from friends and family, verbal abuse, etc.), and psychological (including but not limited to threats of harm to victim/survivor or self, a third party, pets, or property, humiliation and degradation, harassment, etc.). This policy applies to opposite or same sex partners and is considered a Title IX or sexual misconduct violation.


Stalking: Behavior directed against another person that violates reasonable expectations of personal privacy and/or privacy of personal information; behavior which the student knows or should know is unwelcome; or behavior which would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or anxiety.  This includes actions or contact through a third party.  Examples include but are not limited to:  repeatedly contacting or following a person; use of electronic devices or software to obtain or attempt to obtain private data; entering or opening a student’s private property without express consent; use of another person’s password or ID to attempt to gain access to personal information.  (When acts are based on sex or gender, this may also be considered a Title IX or sexual misconduct violation.)


Making a Report:

In the event of an emergency where immediate assistance is needed, call 9-1-1.

Survivors of sexual  discrimination,  harassment or violence may also report the incident to local police authorities (Town of Elon Police, 336-584-1301; Elon University Campus Police, 336-278-5555.

At Elon University, the Title IX Officer has primary responsibility for coordinating efforts for the investigation, resolution, implementation of corrective measures, and monitoring the educational environment and workplace to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination based on sex.  To assist Elon in preventing discrimination based on sex or gender, all members of the university community are encouraged to contact the Title IX Officer or one of the Deputy Officers if they are personally subjected to, become aware of, or observe conduct that may be in violation of Elon University’s policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex or gender. 

The following officers and individuals are designated as mandatory reporters (also known as responsible employees)  when they receive reports or complaints of alleged sex and gender-based discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct involving students.  Responsible employees include:

  • academic department chairs
  • deans
  • department  heads
  •  senior administrators
  • supervisors
  • human resources staff
  • campus safety and security staff
  • residence life staff
  • student conduct administrators

 Faculty and other employees supervising overnight domestic or international student trips are also required to report violations of Title IX.  

All responsible employees must promptly report the incident to one of the University’s Title IX Officers, who will determine the most appropriate course of action to ensure a prompt and equitable response, in accordance with University policy. Reports taken by a mandatory reporter and filed with the Title IX Coordinator must include all available information including the name of the complainant (target, victim, and survivor), the respondent (if known) and any other details which may help determine if a violation may have occurred. 

If the Title IX Officer (or deputy officer) is the person alleged to have discriminated, a complaint may be filed with Ms. Carla Ugboro, Associate Director of Human Resources for Employee Relations, The Office of Human Resources, Human Resources Building, (336) 278-5560.

To file a complaint, the individual may make a verbal or written report to the Title IX Officer detailing the alleged violation of the law.  It is important that the complainant explain what he or she would like to result from the resolution of the complaint.  The complaint should be filed as soon as possible and will be investigated in a timely manner.  

Members of the University community wishing to make a confidential report of sex discrimination should consult procedures located on the Inclusive Community Wellbeing website at https://www.elon.edu/e/campus-life/inclusion-global-engagement/bias-response/report-bias.html

Confidential reports made to this system are not considered official reports to the University  and do not serve as notice to the University to address the alleged discrimination or harassment. 


Persons making a complaint will be informed about options for resolving potential violations of the policies prohibiting discrimination based on sex.  These include informal resolution, formal investigation and handling under the applicable University policy, and the availability of resources outside of any University process. Informal resolution procedures will not be utilized for acts of sexual violence. Complainants will also be informed of their rights to report to law enforcement and will be assisted in filing the report if requested.   Complainants shall also be informed about the range of outcomes of the handling of a complaint including the availability of interim protections, remedies for those being harmed by violations of the policy and actions that may be taken against those accused of a violation.

All investigations should be completed within the guidelines specified by the appropriate adjudicating policy found in the Student Handbook, The Staff Handbook and the Faculty Handbook. Additional information about Title IX grievance procedures may be found at the Inclusive Community website at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/org/inclusive-community/.   Grievance procedures may also be reviewed in the Office of Student Health and Wellness located in the Ellington Center for Health and Wellness.



Privacy and Confidentiality of Reports of Discrimination

Complainants should not assume that reports of sex discrimination, including sexual violence are confidential. The University attempts to balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. Confidentiality is an aspiration, but is not always possible or appropriate. An individual’s requests regarding the privacy and confidentiality of reports of discrimination or harassment will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such requests will be considered in the dual contexts of the University’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or harassment and the rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.

Privacy generally means that information related to a report under this policy will only be shared with those University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, investigation, or resolution of the report. These individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process. If the decision is made to pursue disciplinary action against a respondent, information related to the report will be shared with the respondent. Those persons and entities classified as confidential resources will maintain the highest level of confidentiality of all reports except as required or allowed by law.


Information regarding a report will not be shared with either party’s parents or guardians unless: the party is a minor (and sharing is permissible under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); the party has signed a waiver that is compliant with FERPA; or there is an articulable threat to the health or safety of the party or other individuals.


As indicated above, complainants cannot assume confidentiality when making an official report to a responsible employee of the University. In fact, responsible employees are required to share information they have regarding any incident of sexual bias, discrimination, or harassment with the Title IX coordinator. However, there are individuals on campus who are specifically designated as confidential resources (see list below in section titled “Confidential Support and Advocacy Resources"). These resources are afforded  the highest level of confidentiality, which means that information shared with them will only be disclosed with the individual’s express written permission, unless there is a continuing threat of serious harm to the patient/client or to others or there is a legal obligation to reveal such information (e.g., where there is suspected abuse or neglect of a minor). These confidential resources are not responsible employees with regard to mandatory reporting of incidents of sexual bias, discrimination, and harassment, and are therefore not required (except in the cases listed above) to share information about such incidents to the Title IX officer.

            Once a responsible employee has been informed of an incident of sexual bias, discrimination, or harassment, the complainant can request that the university treat the case with as much privacy and/or confidentiality as possible, including disclosure of the complainant’s identity  in an investigation process. Such requests may limit the scope of action the University may take against a respondent.  Such requests will be evaluated by:

Dr. Jana Lynn Patterson

Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student Health and Wellness

Elon University Title IX Coordinator


When weighing a complainant’s request for privacy, confidentiality or that no investigation or discipline be pursued, Elon University will consider a range of factors, including the following:

  • The increased risk that the alleged perpetrator /respondent will commit additional acts of sexual or other violence
  • whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same alleged perpetrator/respondent;
  • whether the alleged perpetrator/respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;
  • whether the alleged perpetrator/respondent  threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the victim or others;
  • whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple perpetrators/respondents;
  • whether the sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • whether the victim is a minor;
  • whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the sexual violence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
  • Whether the complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.

The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and, if appropriate, pursue disciplinary action. If none of these factors is present, the University will likely respect the complainant’s request for privacy and confidentiality.

If the University determines that it cannot maintain a complainant’s privacy or confidentiality, the University will inform the complainant prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the University’s response. The University will remain ever mindful of the complainant’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to provide support and resources, protect the complainant from retaliation or harm and work with the complainant to create a safety plan.  The same standard of privacy and confidentiality will be afforded to the respondent.

The complainant will be apprised if the institution believes that it must move forward with proceedings.


Timely Warnings


In accordance with Clery Act mandates, the Elon University Police Department Chief, or a designee, will develop timely warning notices for members of the Elon University community about serious crimes against people and/or property that occur on campus (including  reported sexual assaults), where it is determined that the incident may pose an ongoing threat to members of the Elon University community.  These warnings will be distributed if the incident report is either to Elon University Police Department directly or to the Elon University Police Department indirectly through a campus security authority or the Town of Elon Police Department.


Confidential Support and Advocacy Resources  

Targets of sex discrimination and violence may seek support and advice from confidential resources. Members of the community may seek confidential guidance and support through the following campus, community and national resources.  These resources may be consulted at any time in the process, including prior to making an official report.  Exceptions to confidentiality may be dictated by state statute in cases of imminent danger or child welfare.  Because content of discussions with confidential resources is not reported to a Title IX Officer or mandated reporter, such discussions do not serve as notice to the University to address the alleged discrimination or harassment.

On Campus Confidential Resources

  • The Coordinator for Violence Response, (336) 278-5009 or (336) 278-3333 (any time)
  • Counseling Services, R.N. Ellington Center for Health and Wellness, (336) 278-7280
  • Health Services, R.N. Ellington Center for Health and Wellness,  (336) 278-7230
  • Members of the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life staff who are ordained and acting in their role as a clergy-counselor within their respective faith tradition.  

Off Campus Confidential Resources

  • CrossRoads Sexual Assault Response and Resource Center -  336-228-0360- 1206 Vaughn Road, Burlington, NC    http://www.crossroadscares.org/
  •    Family Abuse Services - 336-226-5985- 1950 Martin Street, Burlington, NC  http://www.familyabuseservices.org/
  • Employee Assistance  and Counseling Program (faculty and staff), Cone Health Systems 1240 Huffman Mill Road, Burlington, NC 27215, (336) 538-7481. Employees may access any location.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673

The complainant may also, or instead, file a complaint with the United States Department of Education (Office of Civil Rights) at any time.

The OCR office for North Carolina is located at:

Washington DC (Metro)
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475

Telephone: 202-453-6020
FAX: 202-453-6021
TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR.DC@ed.gov

Interim Remedies:

Interim measures will be implemented at the discretion of the University. Potential remedies, which may be applied to the Complainant and/or the Respondent, include:

  • Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up initial appointment, both on and off campus
  • Imposition of campus “Cease Contact Order”
  • Assistance in making reports to police or other authorities
  • Assistance in pursing legal judicial orders regarding contact  (i.e. “Restraining order” )
  • Rescheduling of exams and assignments (in conjunction with appropriate faculty)
  • Providing alternative course completion options (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty)
  • Change in class schedule, including the ability to take an “incomplete,” drop a course without penalty or transfer sections (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty)
  • Change in work schedule or job assignment
  • Change in on-campus housing
  • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund in accordance with campus housing policies
  • Assistance from University support staff in completing housing relocation
  • Limit an individual or organization’s access to certain University facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter
  • Voluntary leave of absence/withdrawal (with pending hearing for a respondent)
  • Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities
  • Providing medical services
  • Providing academic support services, such as tutoring
  • Interim suspension or College-imposed leave
  • Any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this policy.


Complicity:  It is important that members of the University community look out for one another and report dangerous situations including acts of sex discrimination.  Complicity is defined as any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes or encourages the commission of a code of conduct violation by another person.  Students, faculty and staff who are found to engage in complicity around sex discrimination may also be held accountable.


Retaliation will not be permitted.  An individual who is subjected to retaliation (e.g. threats, intimidation, reprisals, or adverse employment or educational actions) because he or she (a) made a report of discrimination or harassment in good faith, (b) assisted someone with a report of discrimination or harassment, or (c) participated in any manner in an investigation or resolution of a report of discrimination or harassment, may make a report of retaliation under these procedures.  The report of retaliation will be referred by the Title IX Officers to the appropriate academic or administrative supervisor or to the University Office of Student Conduct for immediate action.

Centralized Coordination, Monitoring, and Reporting

In some circumstances, investigation and disposition of complaints may be referred to other offices within the University such as University Human Resources or the Office of Student Conduct for proper handling.  To assure University-wide compliance with this policy and with applicable law, the Title IX Officer receives reports of all incidents of sex discrimination and their resolution, regardless of how the complaint is brought, investigated, or resolved, except as noted in Confidential Resources section.

Annual reporting shall be made by the Title IX Officer to the Office of the President, Office of the Vice President for Student Life, and to the Office of the Provost.

The University also complies with federal statistical reporting obligations and timely warning reporting obligations under the Clery Act.  All faculty, staff and students will be provided an electronic copy of these procedures annually.  No information that identifies individuals will be reported in the annual statistical reports. 




Other Resources

Emergency response procedures and resources to assist victims of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation or acts of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault) are available by  contacting the Office of Campus Safety and Police at (336) 278- 3333 (SafeLine)  or (336) 278-5555 at any time.

Additional education and materials about Title IX, sex discrimination, sexual harassment and other related issues are available:

The Office of Student Health and Wellness, R.N. Ellington Center for Health and Wellness104 (336) 278-7200

The Office of Student Conduct, The Center for Leadership (336) 278-7271 http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/conduct/

The Elon University Student Handbook at  http://elon.smartcatalog.co/en/2015-2016/student-handbook

Sexual Assault and Interpersonal Violence Response at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/students/saa/default.xhtml

Elon University Campus Safety and Police at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/bft/safety/

Elon University Inclusive Community website at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/org/inclusive-community/

Not Alone at https://www.notalone.gov/The Office of Human Resources at http://www.elon.edu/e-web/bft/hr/

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault at www.nccasa.org and 919-871-1015


Office of Student Health and Wellness, August 2015

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