Commonly Used Terms

The following are definitions of keywords used by the Title IX Office. These words are also found in the University's Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures for the Resolution of Allegations of Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Discrimination and Sexual Harassment. 


Reporting Party

 A person who alleges a violation of the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Responding Party

The individual responding to the allegations of a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Formal Resolution

 Resolution of a complaint by the Sexual Misconduct Investigative Panel.

Informal Resolution

Resolution of a complaint by the Title IX Coordinator or designee.

Responsible Employees

All University employees are responsible employees and have a duty to report. Responsible employees must promptly report incidents of sexual misconduct if they become aware or suspect an incident occurring (within 24 hours/next business day) and must include personally identifying information and all related details pertaining to the incident when making a report. 

Sexual Misconduct Investigative Team (SMIT)

A pool of faculty and staff from the Hattiesburg and Gulf Coast campuses who receive training to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct. 

Process Advisor

The Title IX Coordinator will assign a non-serving SMIT member to be the Process Advisor to advise the Reporting Party and the Responding Party during the formal investigation process. 

Support Person

A person selected by the complainant and respondent to accompany them throughout the Title IX resolution process. Support persons can be a friend, family member, attorney, or any other person of the party's choosing. 

The Preponderance of the Evidence 

The standard of proof the University uses to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct. A preponderance of the evidence means, "more likely than not". Where a person is alleged to have committed a particular act of sexual misconduct, the allegation is established by a preponderance of the evidence when the evidence is such that it is more likely true than not true that the person committed the act.