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Sexual Misconduct

Title IX at USM


The University of Southern Mississippi complies with applicable state and federal regulations, including Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits sex discrimination in any education program or activity receiving federal funding. USM will not tolerate discrimination and sexual misconduct and has provided a way to report these incidents through the Title IX Office.

The office has two primary functions:

1. Responds to allegations of harassment or discrimination based on a person’s sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or
pregnancy and parenting status.

2. Implements and oversees the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.


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.

Rebecca Malley

Title IX Coordinator 

Rebecca Malley serves as the University's first Title IX Coordinator and has been functioning in that capacity since February 2015. She joined the University in 2000 as USM's first full-time Affirmative Action/EEO Officer.  Prior to joining USM, Rebecca worked in higher education administration for over 25 years with positions in student life and institutional equity at each of the following institutions:  Oregon State, University of Northern Iowa, Illinois College, and Oberlin College. Rebecca received a B.A. from Millsaps College, a master’s from Oregon State University, and a Ph.D. (in Communications Studies) from USM during which she conducted research focused on organizational crisis communication.

Phone: 601.266.6804

Email:  rebecca.malleyFREEMississippi

Cristin Reynolds

Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Cristin Lee Reynolds received her B.S. in Biological Sciences (Chemistry minor), and her M.Ed. in Higher Education (focus on Student Affairs) from The University of Southern Mississippi. Currently, Cristin is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Administration program at The University of Southern Mississippi. She has served as an intern and graduate assistant for the Title IX office since August 2015. Her research interests include student conduct, higher education law/policy, and Title IX compliance. 

Email: cristin.reynoldsFREEMississippi

Below are some frequently asked questions from students in postsecondary schools regarding their Title IX rights:<

How does Title IX ensure that my pregnancy does not interfere with my education?Title IX requires professors and administrators to treat pregnancy, childbirth, and related conditions:

  • in the same manner and
  • under the same policies as they would a temporary medical condition.

Are students required to provide a certification of fitness signed by a doctor to continue within a program or participating in an activity? 

The University may require a pregnant student to provide a physician’s certification of fitness to continue in an education program or activity.

If you have a concern regarding your status as a pregnant or parenting student, please contact Dr. Rebecca Malley, USM’s Title IX Coordinator. You can reach Dr. Malley by phone at 601-266-6804 or by emailing Rebecca.malleyFREEMississippi

Do my professors have to excuse my absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or other pregnancy related issues? 

They will excuse absences due to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions deemed to be medically necessary. Your professors will provide you a leave of absence for as long as your medical doctor deems is necessary. At the end of your leave, a university employee will reinstate you to the status you held prior to your leave.

After returning from an excused absence, your professors will allow a reasonable amount of time to make up missed assignments and tests. The makeup assignments and tests will be reasonably equivalent to those missed but need not be identical. If a professor provides specific “points” or other advantages to students based on class attendance, they will give you the opportunity to earn back the credit from classes missed due to pregnancy.

What if my professor says their absence/makeup policy applies regardless of any medical condition? 

Contact Dr. Rebecca Malley, Title IX Coordinator.  You can reach her at 601-266-6804 or by emailing Rebecca.MalleyFREEMississippi

Does the University provide me with special academic services, like tutoring? 

Under Title IX, the University will provide pregnant students with any special services that the University provides to students with any other type of temporary medical situation. Contact the ODA office for additional information by calling 601-266-5024.  If my program requires internships, career rotations, or other off-campus elements, can they exclude me from participation? 

No, your program will allow you to continue participating in off-campus programs. If your program provides opportunities to “work in the field,” they cannot exclude you based on your pregnancy. Your professor cannot require a doctor’s note for continued participation unless your professor requires one for all students who have a medical condition that requires treatment by a doctor. If they do ask for a note, they will accept the doctor’s decision regarding the medical necessity of the condition.

What if classmates or professors have made offensive comments to me about my pregnancy? 

Title IX requires the University to prevent and address sex-based harassment, including harassment based on pregnancy. If you experience sex-based harassment, seek help immediately. The law prohibits anyone from retaliating against you for filing a complaint or raising a concern. The University’s complaint form can be completed online.

I would like to take a semester off. Can I keep my student status, scholarships, etc.? 

Yes, you will keep your status as a student for up to one year. However, if you want to take off additional time (i.e. in excess of one year) that your doctor verifies as medically necessary, please contact the ODA office at 601-266-5024. 

If you are an international student, please contact the International Student and Scholar Services Office at 601.266.4841 or visit their office located in International Center (IC) 411.

Is there a lactation room? 

Yes, each of our campuses has a Lactation Room, as listed below:

Hattiesburg Campus:

Union Building, Room 215

(Contact person for building is Stephen McKay)

Gulf Park Campus:

Hardy Hall Room 241

The access code is 54321, then press ENTER.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in the United States Department of Education (ED) is responsible for enforcing laws prohibiting discrimination in federally assisted educational programs and activities. These laws include Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities.  Title IX protects students in all of the academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic, and other programs or activities of schools. The Title IX regulation also prohibits a school from applying any rule related to a student's parental, family, or marital status that treats students differently based on their sex.

TITLE IX:  Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education and in programs and activities that receive federal funding including:

  • Pregnancy;
  • Childbirth;
  • False pregnancy;
  • Termination of pregnancy;
  • Recovery from above listed medical conditions.


A pregnant or parenting student has the right to stay in school, so she can meet her educational goals.


If a student is unable to attend classes or complete academic requirements due to a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth, the University will provide that student medical accommodations consistent with services to students who have a temporary disability.  The Office of Disability Accommodations (ODA) will assist the student with all reasonable accommodations to keep his or her academic progress on track. 

Those who have documentation signed by a physician requesting a pregnancy-related accommodation based on medical necessity can seek assistance from the Office of Disability Accommodations (ODA). The Office of Disability Accommodations will review the request issued by the physician to confirm that someone has met the criteria for accommodation, and will work with the student to identify reasonable accommodations, including, but not limited to:

  • Providing preferential seating;
  • Allowing the student to sit or stand as needed;
  • Using a voice recorder;
  • Taking extra time to take tests, quizzes and/or to complete in-class assignments;
  • Excusing absences due to pregnancy or childbirth;
  • Making up missed assignments;
  • Extending assignment deadlines; and
  • Permitting the student to complete missed work.

For assistance related to pregnancy/childbirth accommodation, please contact:

Mr. Scott Dossett
Director, Office of Disability Accommodation
Bond Hall 144, Hattiesburg Campus; Campus Box 8586
Scott.DossettFREEMississippi; 601.266.5024

Our office provides Title IX training on critical issues of sexual assault, intimiate partner violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and more - among students, faculty, and staff. For more information about trainings, call the Title IX Office at 601.266.6804 or email the coordinator, Dr. Rebecca Malley, at rebecca.malleyFREEMississippi

Contact Us

Title IX Office
Hattiesburg Campus
Cook Library (LIB) Room 129

Gulf Park Campus
Hardy Hall Room 332 (Monday 10 a.m. -2 p.m. or by appointment)


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