Download the Governors State University Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Policy & Procedures (PDF) 

Governors State University (GSU) has committed itself, unequivocally, to ensuring a working and learning environment in which the dignity of every individual is respected. GSU continues to provide an environment for employees, students, and campus visitors that is free from any form of sexual violence. Likewise the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender in all University activities and programs. Any form of sexual harassment or discrimination is a violation of University Policy 52 and the Student Code of Conduct.

At GSU, we strive to comply with all applicable legal requirements prohibiting sexual violence against any member of the GSU community. In addition to facing University consequences, those who engage in acts of sexual violence may also be prosecuted criminally.

The information contained on this site will provide the necessary information to obtain needed resources and make a report of sexual violence.

In addition, the University will provide students, who take at least one class on campus, with prevention and awareness programming. On a yearly basis, all students will be provided with an electronic copy the GSU Title IX Policy and Procedure Manual. Employees of the university will also receive annual training regarding addressing sexual violence. 

If you experience any form of sexual violence or know someone that has, we encourage you report it so that we can provide you with immediate assistance.


Contact the Title IX Coordinator to report an incident:

Sandra Alvarado
Title IX Coordinator
1 University Parkway
C-1360
University Park, IL 60484

Email: Title IX Coordinator

Phone: 708.534.4100 (Request to speak with the Title IX Coordinator)

Online Reporting: Submit a secure electronic report to the Title IX Coordinator


Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I have to submit a report?

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    Members of the university community who may have experienced sexual misconduct have the right to choose whether or not to report the incident to the University or law enforcement, and, in most circumstances, have the right to choose whether or not to pursue a sexual misconduct complaint with the University once the University receives a report.

    GSU encourages individuals to make a report of the incident(s) in a timely manner by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. There is no time limit for reporting prohibited conduct to the University under this policy; however, a delay in reporting may hinder the University’s ability to respond.

    Employees of the university community who have information about sexual misconduct are, in many cases, required to report information to the Title IX Coordinator.

    • Responsible employees must immediately report allegations or disclosures of sexual misconduct involving students to the Title IX Office, including identification of persons reporting as victims and persons accused, along with other relevant information. Contact the Title IX Coordinator if you need assistance in determining whether you are a responsible employee with reporting obligations. The following staff are considered responsible employees who must report such allegation(s) to the Title IX Coordinator:
      • Faculty and teaching staff
      • Unit/department heads
      • Staff within the offices of University Housing, Student Affairs & Enrollment Management, Deans, and Associate Provosts, and other administrators.
    • If you are NOT a Responsible Employee, you may report an incident without disclosing anyone’s name or requesting any action. Please note that choosing to make an anonymous report can significantly limit the ability of the university to respond. This information will be used for statistical purposes as well as for enhancing understanding of our campus climate so that we may strengthen sexual misconduct response and prevention efforts.

    Governors State University (GSU) will not tolerate sexual misconduct of its students or employees and will investigate all allegations of misconduct. Reports will be investigated promptly. As stated above, please retain any notes, pictures, or other documents that may relate to the complaint. Where sexual misconduct is found, steps will be taken to end it immediately.

  • Who can I speak to confidentially?

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    Most university employees, unless specifically exempted, must immediately report allegations or disclosures of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.

    Students can speak confidentially to counselors and healthcare providers in the Health and Student Counseling Center.

    Employees have access to the Employee Assistance Program & Counseling (EAP), which is a free and confidential resource. 

    Confidential YWCA Rape Crisis Hotline
    Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Rape Crisis Hotline provides survivors of sexual assault/abuse and their significant others immediate support, crisis intervention and referrals for the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

    • Call 888-293-2080 in Chicago Metropolitan Area
    • Call 630-971-3927 in DuPage County
    • Call 708-748-5672 in the South Suburbs

  • What is sexual misconduct?

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    Sexual Misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual and gender-based harassment, Sexual Violence, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking. Sexual Misconduct includes the full range of unlawful sex-based misconduct under Illinois and federal law, regardless of whether it is specifically defined in this policy.

  • What is sexual harassment?

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    Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

    Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment when submission to or rejection of 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 or academic environment.

    Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:  

    • The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
    • The harasser can be the victim's supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee. A student can be harassed by teachers, other students, or anyone else with whom the student interacts while at school or while engaging in school-related activities.
    • The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
    • Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
    • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual’s work or educational performance; of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working and/or learning environment; or of interfering with one’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program or activity.
    • The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome.   

    Examples of sexual harassment:

    • Pressure for sexual activity
    • Requests for sexual favors
    • Unwelcome patting, hugging or touching of a person’s body, hair or clothing, intentionally brushing up against someone
    • Sexual innuendos, gestures, looks, jokes or comments
    • Disparaging remarks to a person about their gender or body; claiming that a person is gay or lesbian
    • Spreading sexual rumors about a person
    • Displaying or transmitting sexually suggestive electronic content, including emails and texts
    • Giving unwelcome personal gifts
    • Sexual assault
     

      • What should I do if I am being sexually harassed?

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        • Sexual harassment which is ignored often escalates. It is helpful to directly inform the harasser that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. Alert other people about the behavior. Doing this will provide you with support and can be important evidence later. Use any complaint mechanism or grievance system available and/or in place.
        • Keep a detailed written record of the harassment. Record what happened, when, where, who else was present, and how you reacted. Save any notes, pictures, or other documents you receive from the harasser.
        • Report the behavior. Contact the Title IX Coordinator to schedule an initial appointment to discuss your situation. We normally set aside an hour to speak with you. When you visit the Title IX Office, we will ask you to describe your situation and your view of what is going on, so that we can inform you of your options. No one will force you to take any action you do not want to take.

      • What is consent?

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        Consent is informed, freely given, and a mutually understood agreement to sexual activity. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each person; a person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent.

        • If coercion, intimidation, threats and/or physical force are used, there is no consent.
        • If a person is under age, mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption or being asleep or unconscious.
        • A person’s manner of dress does not constitute consent.
        • A participants consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual activity, their consent to sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another and consent may be withdrawn at any time.
        • Whether one has taken advantage of a position of influence over another may be a factor in determining consent
        More information on consent is available through the Counseling Center Website

      • What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

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        If the incident(s) involve sexual assault or rape and you are seeking medical attention, you are encouraged to immediately contact Department of Public Safety (DPS) at (708) 534-4900 or dial 911.

          

        About Medical Care after Sexual Assault:
        Your physical and emotional safety are first and foremost. Make the choices that feel best for you.

        Some medical concerns may not be immediately apparent, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), internal injuries and pregnancy. Even if you do not wish to have a doctor or nurse collect evidence for an investigation, seeking prompt medical evaluation may be beneficial. Some medications, such as emergency contraception, are most effective when administered as soon as possible. If you think that you may want to pursue criminal charges immediately or in the future, a forensic exam conducted soon after an assault may yield valuable evidence.


      • How do I preserve evidence of a sexual assault?

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        If you're interested in having a forensic exam:

        • It's best not to shower, bathe, wash your hands, eat, drink or brush your teeth.
        • If possible, place each item of clothing in a separate paper bag (no plastic).
        • Leave the area where the assault occurred undisturbed.

        You can call 911 for a police response and accompaniment to medical care. Evidence collection is done in the county where the assault occurred, usually within the first 72 hours following an assault (the earlier, the better).

        For more information on preserving evidence, please see the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) http://www.rainn.org website regarding what to do in the aftermath of a sexual assault.

      • How can I support someone else?

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        If someone you know within the GSU community has experienced sexual misconduct, we can help you help them. Sometimes, the most valuable advice comes from someone the individual already trusts. Whether you’re a friend, roommate, parent, or concerned member of our faculty or staff, we can point you to resources that you can share, as well as provide support for you through the process.

        Listen

        • Confirm the person’s safety. Ask the person, “Are you safe right now?” If they say no, help them create a plan to get to a safe place. Call 911 if necessary.
        • Provide nonjudgmental support. Your role is not to determine whether or not something occurred. Your primary responsibility is to remain supportive, while referring the person to others who are trained in providing assistance and/or intervening.

        Refer

        • Help the person get medical care if needed.
        • Help the person consider whether to make a report with the police or with the University.
        • Direct the person to on-campus or off-campus confidential counseling and advocacy resources.
        • Let the person know who at GSU they can contact to request protective measures and accommodations such as no-contact directives, housing relocation, adjustment of schedules, time off, etc.
        • Offer resources and information without pressure or judgment about their decisions.
        • If the person wants to seek medical attention or report the assault, offer to accompany them wherever they need to go (e.g., hospital, police station, campus security, etc.).

        Report (as required)

        • If you are a responsible employee, inform the person of your obligation to report information to the university's Title IX Coordinator.

        Additional tips on supporting someone impacted by sexual violence are available through the RAINN website.

        • What if I’m not sure if my experience constitutes harassment?

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          If you believe you may have experienced harassment or assault, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of GSU sexual harassment policy, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator.  It is imperative that all accounts of harassment are reported and investigated, in order to maintain the safety of the GSU community. The Title IX Coordinator will help clearly define acts that constitute sexual misconduct, and provide information regarding options.

        • What if other students discover I’ve filed a report?

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          Students who, in good faith, report what they believe to be sexual harassment, or who cooperate in any investigation, will not be subjected to retaliation.  Any student who believes he or she has been the victim of retaliation for reporting sexual harassment or cooperating in an investigation should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.

        • Will I be get in trouble if I was drinking or using drugs when the incident happened?

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          The University seeks to remove any barriers to reporting sexual misconduct The University will generally offer any student, whether the Complainant or a third party, who reports sexual assault, sexual misconduct or relationship violence limited immunity from being charged for policy violations related to the personal use of alcohol or other drugs, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health and safety of another person at risk. The University may choose, however, to pursue educational or therapeutic remedies for those individuals.

        • Will the complaint remain confidential?

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          Before reporting, it is important to know that different people on campus have different reporting responsibilities and different abilities to maintain confidentiality, depending on their roles.  We encourage you to contact the Title IX Coordinator because they is best equipped to help explain your options.  Please know that if you contact the Title IX Coordinator only people that need to know will be told.


          The University will make reasonable and appropriate efforts to preserve the Complainant’s and/or Respondent’s privacy and to protect the confidentiality of information. Should an Complainant request confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant that the University’s ability to respond may therefore be limited.

        • Will my parents be told?

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          No, not unless you tell them.  Whether you are the complainant or the accused, the University’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent.  However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents.  University officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by the student.  The University also reserves the right to inform parents where permitted by FERPA, including in a life threatening situation.

        • Do I have to name the perpetrator?

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          While you are not required to name the perpetrator, the University still has an obligation to investigate.  Without the name of the accused, the University is limited in its ability to respond to allegations, offer remedies for the complainant, and to sanction the accused.  Sometimes victims are hesitant to report for fear of retaliation.  GSU vigorously enforces a policy of no retaliation.

        • What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

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          Do not contact the alleged victim.  If you have not already been contacted by the Title IX Officer, you may want to contact that office, which can explain the University’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints.  You may also want to talk confidentially to a counselor or seek other community assistance.

        • Emergency/Crisis Resources

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          If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual harassment and/or assault or other misconduct and are in need to of immediate help, please contact one of the following.  

          Department of Public Safety (DPS)
          C-1375
          (Next door to Human Resources Dept.)
          24-Hour Number: (708) 534-4900

          Campus Emergencies

          Dial ext. 911 from any campus phone (not pay phones). Calls go directly to DPS dispatch.

          • Dial 911 on any cell or pay phone. Calls will go directly to University Park Police and DPS will also be notified.
          • From any campus emergency phones (located throughout campus buildings and in the parking areas), push the emergency button. Calls go directly to DPS.

          Community Resources


          St. James Hospital
          1423 Chicago Rd., Chicago Heights, IL 60411
          708.756.1000


          St. James Hospital and Health Center
          20201 Crawford Ave., Olympia Fields, IL 60461
          708.747.4000

           
          YWCA South Suburban Center
          320 West 202nd St., Chicago Heights, Illinois 60411
          708.754.0486


          YWCA Rape Crisis Hotline
          Operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Rape Crisis Hotlines provides survivors of sexual assault/abuse and their significant others immediate support, crisis intervention and referrals for the city of Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

          • Call 888-293-2080 in Chicago Metropolitan Area
          • Call 630-971-3927 in DuPage County
          • Call 708-748-5672 in the South Suburbs
          National Hotlines for Sexual Assault Survivors

        • For More Information and Resource Links

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          If you would like more information about Title IX and the various acts that are relevant to Title IX, we encourage you to visit any of the sites provided below.  We have also provided a site to assist you in supporting a survivor.  If you have questions, please feel free to email TitleIXOfficer@govst.edu and we will be more than happy to assist you.

           KNow Your IX Office on Violence Against Women
          Clery CenterDepartment of Justice
           Campus Save Act 

          Know Your IX is a campaign that aims to educate all college students in the U.S. about their rights under Title IX. Founded in 2013, Know Your IX is a national survivor-run, student-driven campaign to end campus sexual violence. For more information on your Title IX rights or to learn more about Know Your IX please visit their website here.