Missouri Western adds to sexual assualt and pregnancy policies


While changes at the national level may be in the works, Missouri Western has already made changes to some of its own university policies.
Under the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Complaint Resolution Procedures policy guide, two definitions have been added. The first definition was coercion and how it related to consent. Coercion is an “unreasonable pressure that overrides a person’s ability to freely choose in the activity in question.” Coercion includes an element of threat of force, and if there is coercion, there cannot be consent, McGowan explained.
“There was confusion on whether repeatedly asking for sex or ‘do this or that,’ would be coercion, but it really does involve some aggravating threat of force, threat of harm, or blackmail or something like that to convince someone to do something that they do not want to do,” McGowan said.
Another definition that was added to the Sexual Misconduct Policy was limited amnesty.
“This comes from the idea that an individual who has been drinking or maybe doing drugs may be concerned or hesitant to report for fear of violating any student conduct,” McGowan said. “We were operating under [limited amnesty], but it wasn’t in the [policy guide]. We are just reassuring that we are not going to look at that if you’ve been drinking, if you’re a victim, if you’re trying to get help because the bigger concern is any potential violence.”
Additionally, a new policy guide that went into effect is the Pregnant and Parenting Student Accommodation Policy. While new, McGowan said that Missouri Western was operating under some of the guidelines already. This includes arrangements for adjusting deadlines and making other appropriate changes for pregnant students.
“If a student is pregnant and is going to miss part of the semester to have their baby, we’ve got to accommodate for their time out of class,” McGowan said.
Full text of both the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Pregnancy Accommodation Policy can be found on Missouri Western’s Human Resources site under the university policies section as well as the university Title IX website.