Ashford University is committed to maintaining a safe and positive learning experience. When students experience acts of sexual violence or misconduct, their sense of safety and trust is violated. This can significantly interfere with their lives, including their educational goals.
Students are strongly encouraged to report all incidents that threaten the student’s continued wellbeing, safety, or security. University personnel will assist the student in notifying authorities, if requested. Ashford University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy has been developed to proactively create an environment in which incidents of sexual misconduct can be promptly and effectively responded to without further victimization, retaliation, and with possible remediation of its effects.
Ashford University Sexual Misconduct Policy
The University is committed to maintaining an academic climate in which individuals of the university community have access to an opportunity to benefit fully from the University’s programs and activities. When students experience acts of sexual misconduct, their sense of safety and trust is violated. This can significantly interfere with their lives, including their educational goals. This policy has been developed to proactively create a campus environment in which incidents of sexual misconduct can be promptly and effectively responded to without further victimization, retaliation, and with possible remediation of its effects.
For additional information, please review the Ashford University Academic Catalog.
An Overview of the Regulatory Drivers
Title IX is a federal law intended to protect people from discrimination based on gender or sex in all areas of education. It is the regulatory framework that guides the University Sexual Misconduct Policy. For more information about Title IX, please visit the US Department of Justice Title IX Overview page.
Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) is a federal law that requires colleges to disclose annual campus crime data, provide fire safety information and report incidents, issue safety alerts, provide security policy statements, and more. For more information about the Clery Act, please visit the US Department of Education and/or the Clery Education Center page.
Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a federal law aimed at ending violence against women and protecting victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. For more information about VAWA, please visit the US Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women.
Abusive sexual conduct by anyone is a threat to the entire University community. All students who believe another individual has personally violated them in a sexual manner should immediately report the incident to the Title IX/SaVE Coordinator, Student Grievance Resolution Officer, University Security personnel, and/or to local police. Students are strongly encouraged to report all incidents that threaten the student’s continued wellbeing, safety, or security. University personnel will assist the student in notifying authorities, if requested.
Reporting sexual misconduct helps:a
- Protect the victim and others from future harm.
- Apprehend the alleged assailant.
- Maintain future options regarding prosecution.
- Disciplinary action, criminal, and/or civil action against the perpetrator.
If you are raped or sexually assaulted:
- Go to a safe place. Think safety first.
- Preserve evidence. Do not bathe, shower, douche, change clothes or straighten up the crime scene.
- Contact someone who can help. The police, campus security, a friend, campus staff or faculty.
- Seek medical attention at a Hospital Emergency Room:
- to assess and treat any physical injuries.
- to determine the risk of sexually transmitted infections or pregnancy and to take appropriate measures.
- to collect evidence.
Confidential support resources can be found on the emergency assistance page.
Title IX/SaVE Coordinator for Ashford University:
Associate Vice President, Student Affairs, Title IX/ADA Coordinator
P / 866.974.5700 X / 20702
E / [email protected]
M / 8620 Spectrum Center Blvd, San Diego, CA 92123
Response & Reporting
Whenever a report or complaint is filed, the University will inform of the options for action. Please see the Dispute Resolution Procedure for Student Complaints in the Ashford University Academic Catalog for more information. Regardless of whether a victim files a formal complaint or requests action, the institution will conduct a prompt, impartial, and thorough investigation and take steps to resolve. For information about confidentiality, please review the Student Rights and Responsibilities section of the Ashford University Academic Catalog.
The University considered the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), and for the purposes of the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy, the various sexual misconduct definitions listed below are by applicable jurisdictions.
Title IX is a federal law intended to protect people from discrimination based on gender or sex in all areas of education. It is the regulatory framework that guides our University Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges to disclose annual campus crime data, provide fire safety information and report incidents, issue safety alerts, provide security policy statements, and more.
VAWA is a federal law aimed at ending violence against women and protecting victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Consent means cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will and with knowledge of the nature of the act. A current or previous relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute consent. Submission under the influence of fear shall not constitute consent.
Incapacitation is the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, but are not limited to, unconsciousness, sleep and blackouts. Where alcohol or drugs are involved, incapacitation is defined with respect to how the alcohol or other drugs consumed affect a person’s decision-making capacity; awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments. Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol does not diminish one’s responsibilities to obtain consent. The factors to be considered when determining whether consent was given include whether the accused knew, or whether a reasonable person should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX/SaVE. Title IX/SaVE also prohibits gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking. Sexual violence can be carried out by University employees, other students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.
Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other Sexual Misconduct/Harassment offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Prostituting another student
- Non-consensual video or audio recording of sexual activity
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex)
- Engaging in voyeurism
- Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student
The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- The length of the relationship.
- The type of relationship.
- The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
A person commits stalking if directly, or indirectly through another person, the person knowingly:
- Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, or places under surveillance that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship.
- Makes a credible threat to another person and, in connection with the threat, repeatedly makes any form of communication with that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship, regardless of whether a conversation ensues.
- Repeatedly follows, approaches, contacts, places under surveillance, or makes any form of communication with another person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to suffer serious emotional distress and does cause that person, a member of that person’s immediate family, or someone with whom that person has or has had a continuing relationship to suffer serious emotional distress.
For purposes of this paragraph, a victim need not show that he or she received professional treatment or counseling to show that he or she suffered serious emotional distress.
Stepping in / Taking action - Bystander intervention keeps the community safe:
- Support and demonstrate healthy behaviors in your community: communication, respect and consent.
- Look for signs that someone is disrespectful of other’s boundaries before an assault occurs: coercive, pressuring or aggressive behaviors are examples.
- Speak up about acceptable and unacceptable behavior, take action to prevent violence, and report it when it does occur.
- If something doesn’t feel right, say something and intervene.
- Use the “three D’s” as a guide:
- Direct: Assess whether it is safe to intervene.
- Delegate: Call for help.
- Distract: Make some noise after you’ve sent for him.
Sexual Violence Prevention Strategies
Sexual violence cannot always be prevented, but there are ways to protect yourself, and lower your risk of sexual violence. Check out these tips, courtesy of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network):
Avoiding dangerous situations
- Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where and who is around you can assist you in avoiding a dangerous situation.
- Try to avoid isolated areas. It is difficult to seek help when there is no one around you.
- Walk with a purpose. Even if you do not know where you are heading, act as if you do.
- Trust your instincts. If a location or a situation feels uncomfortable or unsafe, leave.
Getting out of an uncomfortable situation
- Be true to yourself. Don't feel obligated to do anything you don't want to do. Do what feels right to you and what you are comfortable with.
- Lie. If you don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings it is better to lie and make up a reason to leave than to stay and be uncomfortable, scared, or worse.
- Try to think of an escape route. How would you try to get out of the room? Where are the doors? Windows? Are there people around who might be able to help you? Is there an emergency phone nearby?
- If you and/or the other person have been drinking, say that you would rather wait until you both have your full judgment before doing anything you may regret later.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline has trained advocates who are available 24/7 to talk confidentially with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship.
911rape provides support for sexual assault victims, is a safe and anonymous way to learn how to get help after a sexual assault, and provides information and resources to educate the public about rape and sexual assault.
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and online.rainn.org) in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country, and also operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense.
To learn more, be sure to check out these Promoting Awareness and Wellness (PAWs) articles; they feature conversations with professionals who have made it their personal mission to promote equality, and increase awareness around gender equality.
We would like to provide you with contact information for the following resources. Each of these resources exists to assist individuals in need of help, information or support. If you have any questions regarding this list, please feel free to contact your student advisor, or the Office of Student Access and Wellness at [email protected].
Emergency (police, fire, and rescue):
Always dial 911 for life-threatening emergencies
24 Hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline / Mental Health Crisis Lifeline
TTY Line: 800.799.4889
Poison Control Center
National Child Abuse Hotline
Counseling and Rehabilitation Programs for Ashford University
American Council on Alcoholism
Addresses alcoholism as a treatable disease through public education, information, intervention, and referral.
Helps families and friends of alcoholics recover from the effects of living with the problem drinking of a relative or friend.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse Hotline
Provides information, support, treatment options, and referrals to local rehab centers for any drug or alcohol problem.
800.662.HELP / 800.662.4357
Gay and Lesbian National Hotline