Commitment to Address Sexual Misconduct

The University of the South stands firmly for the principle that its employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs have a right to be free from discrimination based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran/reserve/national guard status, pregnancy and childbirth, and genetic information, and free from sexual misconduct in its educational programs and activities and with regard to employment. The University is committed to sustaining a community in which the dignity of every individual is respected. Key to this value are efforts to nurture an environment of civility and mutual respect and to foster a culture of reporting concerns so that the University can respond promptly and equitably whenever an incident occurs. All employees, students, and participants of university-sponsored programs also have the right to be free from harassment and retaliation.

Related Commitments

The University is also committed to free expression. Speech not specifically directed against individuals in a harassing way may be protected by traditional safeguards of free speech, even though the comments may cause considerable discomfort or concern to others in the community.


Scope & Definitions

WHAT conduct is covered by this policy?

This policy covers all forms of sexual misconduct between undergraduate students. Sexual misconduct is a broad term that includes sexual assault (including Non-consensual sexual contact and Non-consensual sexual intercourse), sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. All undergraduate sexual misconduct is considered prohibited conduct under this policy. Prohibited conduct also includes retaliation, complicity, and certain other related misconduct. Each of these terms is defined below. Harassment and discrimination concerns unrelated to sexual misconduct are addressed using the Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy.

WHO is subject to this policy?

This policy addresses matters of sexual misconduct involving undergraduate students at the University, including alleged incidents of sexual misconduct involving a undergraduate student and  a faculty or staff, a graduate student, or a non-University individual. All other allegations of sex discrimination or misconduct involving other faculty and staff should be reported through the Non-Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation Policy.  

For purposes of this policy, “undergraduate student” includes any student who is registered or enrolled in coursework at the University or is participating in an approved study-away program during or between any academic session (fall, spring, or summer terms).

WHERE must sexual misconduct occur in order to be covered by this policy?

Because the University views sexual misconduct as deeply inconsistent with a community of caring and trust and likely to have continuing effects within the community, wherever it occurs, this policy applies both to on-campus and to off-campus student conduct.

WHEN does this policy apply?

There is no deadline for reporting sexual misconduct under this policy, although delayed reporting may compromise the ability of the University to investigate and remedy the sexual misconduct in question. A report of sexual misconduct (discussed below) must be filed while the respondent (the student responding to the report) remains a student, in order for action to be taken by the University.

Differences in University and Legal Processes

The University provides a fair, respectful, prompt, and reasonable process. The University’s disciplinary processes do not and are not intended to afford the same rights of criminal or civil statutes or any other legal authorities. Conduct violations that are also violations of Tennessee law may be referred to the appropriate legal authorities for investigation and adjudication.


Updated: August 10, 2018