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Public university could punish neck rubs as sexual battery under new policy 

Jan 5, 2016 by

East Carolina University dropped the news – sort of – the same day as graduation.

Only public announcement appears to be one tweet

East Carolina University students who are good at neck rubs could find themselves hauled before a sexual misconduct board under new rules approved by the board of trustees.

The new policy describes sexual battery as “the intentional or attempted sexual touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including but not limited to the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner without their consent.”

The school described updates to nondiscrimination and Title IX policies in a press release dated Dec. 18, the same day as winter commencement.

Though it’s labeled “ECU News Services,” the release is nowhere to be found from the news portal. The school’s only apparent public communication of the changes appears to have been four days later on Twitter.

According to the release, the trustees approved the new policies Nov. 20. They took effect Friday. The school doesn’t say why it waited almost a month to announce the changes, after classes had ended.

It’s sexual battery ‘however slight’ the contact is

Moves commonly associated with flirting or even intimate friendship have been listed under a new “sexual battery” category.

The previous version, which took effect Jan. 1, 2015, said “non-consensual sexual contact … includes, but is not limited to, kissing, touching of the genitalia, anus, buttocks or breast of a person.”

The new policy describes sexual battery as “the intentional or attempted sexual touching of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including but not limited to the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breast, by another with any part of the body or any object in a sexual manner without their consent.”

Such touching need not be drawn out: It qualifies as sexual battery “however slight” the contact is. The policy does not appear to define what makes certain touching “sexual,” endangering students who touch another person’s neck for a benign reason.

Neither the Title IX office nor university media relations had responded to requests for comment as of Monday night. Emails sent a week ago were returned with automatic vacation notices to The College Fix by the media relations team, while the Title IX office provided no response of any kind.

Few reports of forced sexual touching in national college survey

It is not clear what prompted the changes. The university’s 2015 Clery Report, which covers 2014, showed seven reported rapes and four reports of “fondling.”

sexual-battery.Morehouse_CollegeAnother school in the region, historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta, warns “college men” in a brochure that they can get “three or more years in prison” for answering any question wrong on its “sexual assault knowledge test.”

Yet even the brochure doesn’t seem to contemplate that mouth or neck touching is sexual battery. Though defined as “the touching of an intimate part of another” for “sexual arousal,” both examples of battery involve breasts.

An April article in The East Carolinian said that the university “has continuously failed to meet” the standards set by the White House “It’s On Us” campaign against sexual assault, “according to testimonies of alleged sexual assault victims and further research” into its investigative procedures.

But the article focused on complaints by accusers that they were asked about their clothing and drinking at the time of alleged attacks, not that the school dismissed sexual touching of the mouth, neck or any other body part.

The American Association of Universities asked students about “unwanted touching or kissing that could be defined as sexual battery” in its nationwide campus climate survey, whose results were released this fall.

Yet only 7 percent of those who said they were “victims of physically forced sexual touching or kissing” reported the incident.

East Carolina University has emphasized its efforts to reduce “sexual violence,” without defining it. A February press release quoted its Title IX coordinator explaining that she gets involved in incidents that seem to be police matters because students need help getting away from their alleged attackers or coping with “taunting or teasing.”

Source: Public university could punish neck rubs as sexual battery under new policy – The College Fix

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