What is Title IX?

Title IX is a federal law that prohibits discrimination and harassment in educational programs, activities and its employment practices. It ensures equal access without regard to sex, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status. BHSU is committed to providing an environment not impaired by sex and gender based misconduct, including sex discrimination and sexual harassment. This includes, without limitation, sexual harassing, violent intimidating or discriminatory conduct by its students, employees or any other member/visitor to the University community.


Who Does Title IX Protect?

This applies to anyone involved with University programs or activities including academic programs, admissions, athletics, recruitment, financial aid, housing, and employment.

Title IX Covers...

  • Students
  • Staff
  • Faculty
  • Applicants
  • Visitors / Guests
 

BHSU Title IX Non-Discrimination Notice

Black Hills State University is committed to ensuring equal access to its educational programs and employment opportunities without regard to sex, gender, race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, gender identity, sexual orientation, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status, veteran status, military status, domestic violence victim status, or ex-offender status. Black Hills State University is committed to providing an environment not impaired by sex and gender-based misconduct, including sex discrimination and sexual harassment. Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs, activities and employment practices. Therefore, students, employees, applicants and other members of the Black Hills State University community (including without limitation, vendors, visitors, and guests) may not be subject to discrimination or harassment or otherwise treated adversely based upon a protected characteristic. This includes, without limitation, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Similarly, the University will not tolerate harassing, violent, intimidating or discriminatory conduct by its students, employees or any other member of or visitor to the University community. This policy applies to conduct occurring on campus, during any University program or activity on or off-campus or abroad, including academic programs, admissions, athletics, recruitment, financial aid, housing, employment, as well as certain off-campus conduct perpetrated or suffered by a Black Hills State University student, employee, staff member, or third party member of the University community.

  • The University encourages individuals to report all gender-based misconduct immediately to the Title IX Coordinator, one of the Deputy Title IX Officers or another University staff member.
 
  • The University will fully and promptly investigate all allegations of gender-based misconduct and will impose disciplinary measures, or take similar actions, as may be appropriate.
 
  • Title IX and the University strictly prohibits retaliation. Any person who attempts to penalize, intimidate or threaten a person who makes a report or cooperates in an investigation of gender-based misconduct, harassment or discrimination will be disciplined. Any person who believes he or she has been the victim of retaliation should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Title IX Investigators.

This University policy is in accordance with federal and state laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination and harassment. These laws include Title IX (prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sex), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, and Title VII.

Pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1681, Black Hills State University must ensure that the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, receive training on the definition of sexual harassment in § 106.30, the scope of the recipient’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. Initial Training occurred on August 10, 2020 and was conducted by Nathan D. Lukkes, J.D., General Counsel for the South Dakota Board of Regents. Follow-up training is scheduled for October, 2020.

The following BHSU Title IX Team members attended the August 10, 2020 Initial Training:

Michael Isaacson, Title IX Coordinator

Colleen Mischke, Title IX Investigator

Lesleigh Owen, Title IX Investigator

Roxanne Lewis, Title IX Investigator

BHSU has the responsibility to protect every student's right to learn in an environment free from unlawful discrimination. Through the South Dakota Board of Regent policy 1:19, BHSU upholds several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities. BHSU is committed to ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence.

Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This includes discrimination based on a person’s limited English proficiency or English learner and/or perceived shared ancestry or ethnic characteristics, including membership in a religion that may be perceived to exhibit such characteristics (such as Hindu, Jewish, Muslim, and Sikh individuals).

Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This includes discrimination based on pregnancy, parental status, and sex stereotypes (such as treating persons differently because they do not conform to sex-role expectations or because they are attracted to or are in relationships with persons of the same sex).

Discrimination against persons with disabilities is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. This includes discrimination against individuals currently without an impairment that substantially limits of a major life activity, but who have a record of or are regarded as having a disability.

Discrimination on the basis of age is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.

As a recipient of federal financial assistance, BHSU must provide aids, benefits or services in a nondiscriminatory manner in an environment free from discriminatory harassment that limits educational opportunities. Such aids, benefits or services may include, but are not limited to, admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, student treatment and services, counseling and guidance, discipline, classroom assignment, grading, vocational education, recreation, physical education, athletics, and housing.

Under Title IX, the following conduct if based on sex constitutes sexual harassment:

    • A school employee conditioning an educational benefit or service upon a person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (often called “quid pro quo” harassment); 
    • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or 
    • Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as those offenses are defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), and the Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)). 

Sexual Assault

Any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent. Rape: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This offense includes the rape of both males and females. Fondling: Touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental capacity. Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law. Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of consent. Any sexual touching other than non-consensual sexual penetration without consent. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact may include: genital-genital or oral-genital contact not involving penetration; contact with breasts, buttocks or genital area, including over clothing; removing the clothing of another person; and kissing.

Dating Violence

Acts of violence, threat or intimidation that harm or injure a partner in a current or former dating relationship. These acts may be physical, emotional/psychological, sexual or economic in nature. Dating relationship violence can be a single act or pattern of behavior.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence under the Title IX policy includes acts of violence, threat or intimidation that harm or injure members of a family or household, when those members have, or have previously had, a sexual relationship. Students are deemed to be in the same “household” when they share access to the same private living space or bathroom.

Stalking

Stalking under the Title IX policy is a course of conduct (i.e., more than one act) directed at a partner in a current or former dating or sexual relationship that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or the fear for the safety of a third person. Acts that together constitute stalking may be direct actions or may be communicated by a third party, and can include, but are not limited to: threats of harm to self, other or property; pursuing or following; non-consensual (unwanted) communication by any means; unwanted gifts; trespassing; and surveillance or other related types of observation.

Unwelcome Conduct (Sex-Based Harassment)

Acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping that are so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the institution’s education program or activity.


Were You Sexually Harassed?

Black Hills State University takes allegations of sexual harassment, assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking and sex-based harassment seriously. We want to make sure that anyone who reports experiences related to such discrimination feel safe, know her or his rights and is aware of all available resources and options. Title IX related experiences are some of the most difficult life-experiences; support and next-steps for all parties can be difficult to navigate. Be assured that help is here for you. We will support your title IX journey with privacy, dignity, equity, due process, and most importantly...with care.

if you suspect sexual harassment...

      • You are encouraged to meet with the BHSU Title IX Coordinator (Woodburn Hall, room 129).
      • The Title IX Coordinator will provide information regarding our investigation procedures and resources. 
      • The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial interview and will ask for a statement to help establish the case.  As needed, supportive measures to protect the interests of those involved in the investigation will be discussed and offered. 
      • Upon signed approval (via the submission of a Formal Complaint), the Title IX Coordinator will then conduct a formal investigation of the matter or will refer the case to the appropriate office.
      • It is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator to conduct a thorough, timely, and unbiased investigation. Upon completion, the Investigation Report will be sent to the Executive Director of the South Dakota Board of Regents for adjudication. Both parties (Complainant and Respondent) will receive a lightly-redacted (privacy protected) copy of the Investigation Report.


Consent is defined as informed, freely given, and mutually understood. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each participant. If coercion, intimidation, threats and/or physical force are used, there is no consent. If a person is 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. If a person is fifteen (15) years old or younger, there is no consent. Whether one has taken advantage of a position of influence over another may be a factor in determining consent. Consent to any one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to any other form of sexual activity. Consent to one sexual encounter does not imply consent to another sexual encounter. Consent may be revoked at any time.