Commonly Used Terms

The following are definitions of key words 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. 



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


A person who is accused of violating the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy. 

Responsible Employees

Employees designated by the University as "responsible employees". These employees have a duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct promptly to the Title IX Coordinator, and must include all relevant details pertaining to the incident. 

Sexual Misconduct Investigative Team (SMIT)

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

Process Advisor

A non-serving SMIT member who is assigned by the Title IX Coordinator to advise the complainant and respondent 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. 

Preponderance of the evidence 

The standard of proof the University uses to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct. 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.