Sexual Misconduct

Young Harris College strictly prohibits sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct refers to sexual or gender-based harassment; sexual assault; non-consensual sexual contact; sexual exploitation; domestic violence; dating violence; stalking; and retaliation.

This page provides information regarding what you should do if you experience a sexual assault, and it is a resource for local and regional services and response efforts. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact any on- or off-campus resource for further information.

What is Consent?

In order to avoid possible disciplinary action, everyone should familiarize themselves with the elements of consent:

1. “Consent can be communicated between parties through words or actions, but must be clearly given with the intention of creating a mutual understanding regarding the conduction of sexual activity.”

2. Consent is not valid when it involves

a. Physical force, threats, or intimidation;
b. Minors under the age of consent;
c. Persons whose mental disabilities prohibit sound judgment;
d. Persons physically or mentally incapacitated, either voluntarily or involuntarily, as a result of alcohol or other drug consumption; and
e. Individuals who are unconscious, unaware, or otherwise physically incapacitated.

3. Silence cannot be interpreted as consent.

4. Lack of consent may also be communicated through the use of non-verbal expressions or actions indicating resistance.

5. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.

6. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent.

7. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person.

What is Sexual Assault?

“Sexual Assault” is having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual: 

• By force or threat of force;
• Without effective affirmative consent; or
• Where that individual is incapacitated.

Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact.

Please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy for the definitions of sexual or gender-based harassment; sexual assault; non-consensual sexual contact; sexual exploitation; domestic violence; dating violence; stalking; and retaliation.

What should I do if I have been sexually assaulted?

1.  Go to a safe place.

2. Consider seeking medical attention. You may seek medical care at any time after unwanted sexual activity without reporting a crime or notifying the police. However, if you think you want to prosecute, you should have a medical examination as soon as possible. You may receive a medical exam at either of the following local hospitals:

Union General Hospital Young Harris Clinic
1155 Main Street
Young Harris, Georgia 30582

Chatuge Regional Hospital
110 S Main Street
Hiawassee, Georgia 30546

Union General Hospital
35 Hospital Way
Blairsville, Georgia 30512

Regardless of your decision whether or not to prosecute, it is important to be examined by a medical professional for possible injuries or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

3. Consider preserving any physical evidence (this may be necessary to establish proof of criminal activity or to obtain an order of protection in the future). Do not change your clothing, bathe, shower, wash your hands or comb your hair. If you do choose to change your clothes, store them in a paper bag to preserve possible DNA evidence.

4. Consider seeking support and/or counseling. Sexual misconduct is a complex and painful experience that often requires a combination of legal, medical, psychological and academic support. Victim-survivors may wish to have a confidential conversation about their options and what steps to take next. There are resources both on- and off-campus for victim-survivors to get confidential support.

Student Counseling
Student Counseling offers confidential one-on-one counseling and crisis services for YHC students. The Student Counseling Office is located on the lower level of the Rollins Campus Center. To schedule an appointment, please contact Student Counseling at (706) 379-5057.

Support in Abusive Family Emergencies, Inc. (S.A.F.E.)
Serving Towns and Union counties, S.A.F.E. offers a comprehensive array of services for victim-survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, including a 24-hour crisis hotline (706) 379-3000. Victim-survivors can receive confidential support via the hotline or in person. For more information, visit

National Sexual Assault Hotline and Website (RAINN)
Access free, 24/7 local crisis support online or by calling 800-656-HOPE (4673). For more information, visit

5. Consider reporting the incident. You have the right to choose whether reporting an incident is in your best interest. Any of the following departments can help you report an incident of sexual misconduct.

YHC or Towns County Police Department
Both the YHC Police Department and Towns County Police can help with filing a criminal report and investigation. To contact the YHC Police Department, please call (706) 896-7460. To contact Towns County Police, please dial 9-1-1.

Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Laura Whitaker-Lea, Vice President for Student Development and Title IX Coordinator, (706) 379-5118 or through this contact form, can file a report with the College for violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. 

Office of Student Development
The Office of Student Development, (706) 379-5118, can help students report incidents of sexual misconduct.

What are my options if I report?

There are a variety of options available should you decide to report an incident of sexual misconduct. Victim-survivors may pursue criminal charges and/or a campus investigation. While victim-survivors can request anonymity during either process, this may limit the ability of the police and/or the College to investigate the incident.

Regardless, all reports of sexual misconduct are investigated by officials appropriately trained on the issues related to sexual assault and misconduct.

To file a confidential report, please contact the following:

• Susan Murphy, Counselor, at (706) 379-5160 or through this contact form

To file a criminal report, please contact the YHC Police Department at (706) 896-7460 or Towns County Police at 9-1-1.

To file a report for a violation of the Young Harris College Sexual Misconduct Policy, contact the following:

• Dr. Laura Whitaker-Lea, Vice President for Student Development and Title IX Coordinator, at (706) 379-5118 or through this contact form
• Assistant Coordinator/Deputy Coordinators
• Any faculty or staff member

Additional Resources

More detailed information about YHC’s sexual misconduct polices and reporting procedures can be found in the Guide to Student Life.

Support in Abusive Family Emergencies (S.A.F.E.)
Georgia Network to End Sexual Assault
Sexual Assault Center of NW Georgia
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)