Faculty & Staff Frequently Asked Questions

Does Title IX apply to faculty and staff?

Yes. The Title IX regulations, which were promulgated in May of 2020, state that the application of Title IX is not limited to students, and in fact applies to University employees.

What is considered sex-based discrimination?

Prohibited sex-based discrimination and harassment includes, without limitation, discrimination or harassment based on gender, pregnancy or childbirth. As mandated by Title IX and its implementing regulations, the University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs or activities, admissions, or employment. Educational decisions that cannot be based on sex include, without limitation, decisions relating to: admission; financial aid; academic advising and instruction; class assignments; evaluation and grading; discipline; housing; athletics; health and counseling services; recreational, residential, or extracurricular services or programs; and participation and status in any University program or activity, whether on or off campus.

Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex that effectively denies an individual access to an educational program or activity of the University. Both men and women are protected from sex-based discrimination and sex-based harassment.

What does “sexual harassment” under Title IX include?

Pursuant to Title IX and University policy, sexual harassment encompasses a broad range of conduct, and means either: (1) an employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; (2) unwelcome sexual conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to an educational program or activity of the University; or (3) sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

This definition of sexual harassment includes certain forms of interpersonal violence and sexual misconduct. Please see the University of Mississippi’s complete Title IX Policy for more information.

Does sexual harassment under Title IX differ from sexual harassment under Title VII?

Yes. Under Title VII, sexual harassment consists of unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. A “hostile environment” is generally found where the individual’s conduct is severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive.

Under Title IX, sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of activity (see above). An important differentiation between the Title VII and the Title IX definition of sexual harassment can be found in the second prong of the Title IX definition. In the second prong of the Title IX sexual harassment definition, sexual harassment is found where the individual’s conduct is severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.

What do I do if a student tells me about an incident of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence?

If a student tells you about an incident of sexual misconduct, it is important to remember your role. You are not a counselor or an investigator; listen, but do not question. Keep the student’s needs and feelings in the forefront. Let the student know you care. Let the student know you must report this information to the Title IX Coordinator and help connect the student to other forms of support that may be helpful (University Counseling Center or Violence Intervention and Prevention Services). See the Guide for Title IX Mandatory Reporters of Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking for additional details about how a University faculty or staff member might structure a conversation with a student who is reporting an incident of sexual misconduct.

What should I say will happen next if a student reports an incident of sex-based discrimination, sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence to me?

Ideally, a faculty or staff member will make a student aware of his or her responsibility to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator before a student discloses this information. However, if this is not possible, the faculty or staff member should let the student know that the information the student has shared will be given to the Title IX Coordinator and that she will more than likely contact the student in the next few days. Please do not make any promises as to next steps, as the process depends on several factors, including the student’s participation, what the student wants to do, and what the University is able to do.

Can my conversation with a student be confidential?

Typically, no. Unless a faculty or staff member is considered a confidential resource, conversations with students related to sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence are not confidential. Faculty and staff members must share with the Title IX Coordinator all information they have about an incident of sexual misconduct. The only confidential resources at the University of Mississippi are employees of the University Counseling Center, University Health Center, and Psychological Services Center.

Which employees must report to the Title IX Coordinator?

All University employees must share reports of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence that have been disclosed to them with the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The only exceptions to this requirement at the University are employees of the University Counseling Center, University Health Center and Psychological Services Center.

Who is considered a confidential resource?

The only confidential resources at the University of Mississippi are employees of the University Counseling Center, University Health Center, and Psychological Services Center.

What is a Title IX Coordinator and how do I get in touch with that person at the University?

Colleges and universities that receive federal financial assistance are required to designate a University employee to comply with the University’s responsibilities under Title IX, and this individual is referred to as the Title IX Coordinator. The University’s Title IX Coordinator, Honey Ussery, is responsible for overseeing the development of sexual misconduct policies, ensuring compliance with Title IX and relevant federal and state regulations, and overseeing investigation and adjudication of formal complaints. The Title IX Coordinator is also responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures and accommodations, with or without the filing of a formal complaint.

You may contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Honey Ussery, by calling her at (662) 915-7045 or by emailing her at hbussery@olemiss.edu.

What resources are available to students who have been involved in sexual misconduct?

Please see Get Help Now.

What should I do if the student seems suicidal or a danger to her/himself?

If a student seems suicidal or a danger to her/himself, immediately call or walk with the student to the University Counseling Center to help the student obtain additional help and support, or contact the University Police Department (UPD) at (662) 915-7234.

Besides the Title IX Coordinator, are there other individuals I should inform when a student reports to me that he or she has been involved in sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence?

Although faculty and staff members are not required to report incidents of sexual misconduct to anyone other than the Title IX Coordinator, it is often appropriate to make the student aware of other campus resources available to her or him, including the University Counseling Center, Violence Intervention and Prevention Services, and UMatter: Student Support & Advocacy.

Am I required to provide accommodations in my class to students (complainants and respondents) involved in Title IX cases?

Yes. Under Title IX, colleges and universities must offer supportive measures to students as appropriate and as reasonably available. Faculty members are expected to provide reasonable accommodations in class to students who are involved in Title IX cases. Students who are involved in Title IX cases are often under extreme stress, may have a difficult time focusing on course material both in and outside of class, and may even be reluctant to leave their residences. In these situations, faculty members are asked to exercise some flexibility with regard to class attendance, assignments and/or exams. Generally, faculty members will be contacted directly by the Title IX Coordinator or the Violence Intervention and Prevention Services advocate to facilitate these supportive measures or accommodations.

When do I have to call the police?

If anyone is in imminent danger, call the police immediately. For all other situations, the Jeanne Clery Act mandates that crimes that happen on or near campus be reported to the University Police Department. In reporting incidents of sexual misconduct (sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, etc.), faculty and staff may provide “Jane/John Doe” reports, and do not have to include identifying information such as names and student identification numbers, about the student(s) involved. If you need training on the Clery Act, please contact the University Police Department at 662-915-7234.

Do I have to report sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence that would be considered a crime to the police?

Yes. University employees must report acts of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Honey Ussery.

How can I get more education on how to respond to sexual misconduct and how to prevent misconduct on our campus?

Please contact Shelli Poole at sapoole@olemiss.edu to become added to any interest list for upcoming faculty and staff advanced trainings.