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General FAQs about Title IX and Sexual Assault


If you have questions that are not mentioned below or would like to know more about a certain topic or question, you can contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, at jacobyc@tcnj.edu or 609-771-3112. Also visit our specialized FAQ pages below, regarding possible student and faculty/staff questions.

Student    Faculty/Staff   Parents & Families


What is Title IX and who does it protect?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states that: No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.This amendment protects all individuals associated with any federally funded institution from any form of gender discrimination and harassment, including sexual violence – specifically, sexual assault, dating/domestic violence, stalking, and sexual harassment.

The College of New Jersey’s Title IX Policy applies to all students, faculty, and staff within the campus community. It includes both on-campus and off-campus conduct in connection with the College or College-recognized programs in addition to conduct that may create a hostile environment for a member of the TCNJ community. Title IX also applies to individuals of all gender identities.

The The United States Department of Justice explains that, “Title IX is a comprehensive federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. The principal objective of Title IX is to avoid the use of federal money to support sex discrimination in education programs and to provide individual citizens effective protection against those practices. Title IX applies, with a few specific exceptions, to all aspects of federally funded education programs or activities. In addition to traditional educational institutions such as colleges, universities, and elementary and secondary schools, Title IX also applies to any education or training program operated by a recipient of federal financial assistance…The Title IX common rule published on August 30, 2000 covers education program providers/recipients that are funded by other federal agencies.”


What is sexual assault?

In New Jersey, sexual assault includes any form of unwanted or involuntary touching or penetration of intimate body parts, by the same or opposite sex. This can include being forced to touch someone else.

“Unwanted or involuntary” means sexual contact without the consent of the victim, including the use of threats, intimidation, coercion, or physical force. It also includes victims who are unable to give consent, because of their age or because they are physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, or intoxicated.

Sexual offenders are often someone known to the victim, such as a friend, acquaintance, date, spouse, or family member. The terms “date rape” or “acquaintance rape” are often used to describe this association, but this does not imply a less serious form of sexual assault.


What is Consent?

Per the College’s Title IX Policy, “Effective Consent” is informed, freely and actively given mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.”

Important factors to consider regarding consent are –

  • Consent is an agreement that individuals must make if they want to have sex. The issue of consent can be a complicated and ambiguous area that needs to be addressed with clear, open, and honest communication. Keep these points in mind if you are not sure consent has been established:
  • Both partners need to be fully conscious and aware.
  • A person may be unable to give Effective Consent when they are unable to consent due to their age, or because the person is physically helpless, mentally Incapacitated, or Incapacitated from alcohol or other Drugs.
    • The use of alcohol or other substances can interfere with someone’s ability to make clear decisions about the level of intimacy they are comfortable with. The more intoxicated a person is, the less they are able to give conscious consent.
  • Both partners are equally free to act.
  • The decision to be sexually intimate must be without coercion. Both partners must have the option to choose to be intimate or not. Both partners should be free to change “yes” to “no” at any time. Factors such as body size, previous victimization, threats to “out” someone, and other fears can prevent an individual from freely consenting.
  • Both partners clearly communicate their willingness and permission.
  • Willingness and permission must be communicated clearly and unambiguously. Just because a person fails to resist sexual advances does not mean that they are willing. Consent is not the absence of the word “no.”
  • Both partners are positive and sincere in their desires.
  • It is important to be honest in communicating feelings about consent. If one person states their desires, the other person can make informed decisions about the encounter.

Who can be a perpetrator of sexual assault?

Perpetrators of sexual assault can be those of all gender identities. The perpetrator may be a stranger, an acquaintance, a lover, a partner, or a date. Most of the time the perpetrator of the assault is someone the victim knows, either a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, other relative, or acquaintance.


Who can be a victim of sexual assault?

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. Although it is more common for women to be victims, approximately 1 out of 10 men have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.


What should I do if I am sexually assaulted?

Get to a safe place *If you are in an immediate crisis call 911 or Campus Police 609-771-2345*

Call a friend, a family member, or someone you can trust and ask them to stay with you.

Get immediate medical attention for possible injuries, sexually transmitted diseases, and pregnancy. Even if you think that you do not have any physical injuries, you should still have a medical examination and discuss the possibility of sexually transmitted infections with a medical provider.

***Please see our Get Help Page to follow in depth guidelines on getting Medical Assistance, Preserving Evidence, Resources, and Interim Remedial Measures.


What happens during the medical exam?

Please visit our Preserving Evidence Page for a comprehensive overview of what occurs during a medical exam.


What are common reactions of sexual assault survivors?

It is normal for survivors to experience a range of feelings after a sexual assault, and all survivors will react to the incident in their own way. One survivor may feel intense anger and even have feelings of revenge, while another may feel numb. Below are some of the common types of reactions survivors might have:

Psychological:

  • Disbelief, numbness, or shock
  • Shame, guilt, or self-blame
  • Anxiety, depression, or anger
  • Confusion or helplessness
  • Fear or lack of safety
  • Difficulty concentrating

Physical:

  • Appetite changes
  • Sleeping pattern changes
  •  Aches and pains in the body

As a friend, you may notice:

  • Moodiness
  •  Acting secretively
  •  Isolating her/himself
  •  Missing classes or appointments
  • Using alcohol or drugs as a way to cope

What can be done to minimize the risk of sexual assault?

Sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking is never the victim’s fault. The tips outlined below are offered in the hope that recognizing patterns can help men and women to reduce the risk of victimization and assault.

  1. Look out for friends. Share your class and social schedule with them, and be sure your family has their contact information.
  2. Stay in groups. Go to parties together, stay together, and leave together. Don’t be alone with someone you don’t know or trust.
  3. Don’t leave your drink unattended or accept a drink from someone you don’t know. Protect your drinks from being spiked with a predatory or “date rape” drug.
  4. Know where emergency phones are located, which campus paths are best lit, and where people hang out. Call Campus Police Services for an escort at night and avoid shortcuts.
  5. If drinking might have impaired your judgment (or your partner’s), say “No” for now; you can always reconsider tomorrow.
  6. Know your sexual desires and limits.
  7. Communicate your limits firmly and directly. If you want to stop, say “Stop,” and say it like you mean it. Be clear and be firm, in body language as well as words.
  8. If you feel uncomfortable in a situation, trust your feelings and act on them.
  9. If you are afraid to say “No,” say you have to go to the bathroom. Then leave and call for help. Your safety is most important!

Who can submit a report of sexual violence to the College and how can they go about doing so?

Anyone who has experienced or been impacted by sexual violence, or has information about an incident involving sexual violence, is encouraged to report the information to the Title IX Office, so we can conduct outreach to the person who has experienced harm and inform them of their rights/options and get them connected with resources. 

A report can be submitted in any of the following ways – 

  • Submitting a report online – You can do so here: File A Report
    • This is the preferred method
  • Contacting the Title IX Office directly
    • Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, via:
    • Title IX Investigator, Caitlin Babcock, via:
    • Meet with the Title IX Staff in person (BSC 201) to make the report 

Is there a time limit on when a report of sexual violence can be made to the College?

No – The College encourages reporting an incident as soon as possible in order to maximize our ability to respond promptly and effectively. If the respondent is no longer a student or employee, the College may not be able to take action against the Respondent, but it will still seek to meet its Title IX obligation by taking steps to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects, when appropriate.


ATTENTION: Due to COVID-19 our staff are working remotely. We are still continuously monitoring incoming reports, processing cases as usual, and providing our services to the community. For questions and concerns, be sure toContact Us