ASU amends sexual misconduct policies
by Anna Oakes
Appalachian State University Chancellor
Ken Peacock in August approved a new 29-page addendum to the Code of Student Conduct addressing
On Friday, ASU Dean of Students J.J. Brown presented a report on the changes and other programs related to interpersonal violence at the quarterly ASU Board of Trustees meeting.
“This was a big revision this year in part because of our agreement with the Office of Civil Rights,” Brown said.
Last academic year, two female students said they were sexually assaulted in separate incidents by five male students in 2011, four of who were ASU football players. Although none of the men were criminally charged, those allegations and the university’s handling of them led to widespread media coverage and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
investigation resulted in a resolution agreement reached in May that required ASU to form an
interpersonal violence task force, conduct a campus survey on sexual harassment and evaluate
current and potential policies and programs for preventing sex-based harassment.
Among the changes to the Code of Student Conduct is the creation of an investigation process for complaints or reports of sexual misconduct.
“We have gone to this investigative model.
We assign an investigator to cases of sexual misconduct,” said Brown.
Under the code, investigations shall be concluded and investigative reports will
be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct director no later than 30 days following the receipt
of a complaint.
In addition, a new Sexual Misconduct Council has
been established to make determinations and hear appeals regarding allegations of sexual
misconduct subject to the authority of the Code of Student Conduct and the Vice Chancellor
for Student Development.
Charges of Code of Student Conduct
violations related to sexual misconduct will be heard by a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board and, if
findings are appealed, by a Sexual Misconduct Appeal Board.
Students will no longer serve on campus conduct boards that hear cases involving
charges of sexual misconduct.
“That’s a significant
change,” Brown said. “We felt that students … that would put them in a difficult
The addendum also includes lengthy descriptions
and definitions of consent.
“Consent is clear, knowing,
voluntary, and sober permission for another person to do something that affects the person giving
consent,” the code states. “Going along with sexual activity because of wanting to fit
in with the group, being deceived or feeling bad is not consent. Being verbally, emotionally,
psychologically or physically pressured into any kind of sexual activity is not
Peacock created the Interpersonal Violence Task
Force in May, and the group met for the first time a few weeks ago, Brown said. The campus survey
on sexual harassment will launch this fall, he said.
month, ASU launched the “It’s Up to Me” campaign at the annual Walk for
Awareness event. Peacock and other university leaders emphasized the need for students to be aware
and to speak out against all forms of violence.
“It’s going to take all of us to truly move this initiative forward,” Brown said.