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SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY[1]Edit

Members of College/University community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence and discrimination. All members of the College/University community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The College/University sexual misconduct policy has been developed to reaffirm this expectation and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. The College/University maintains a policy of zero tolerance for sexual misconduct regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity. Zero tolerance means the College/University will remedy all unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature and will impose serious sanctions on anyone who violates this policy. Resolution by the College/University is intended to bring an end to harassing or discriminatory conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy the effects on the victim and the community. This policy has dual purposes; it serves as a measure to determine, after-the-fact, if behaviors trespassed on community values and as a guide for students on the College/University’s expectations, preventatively, for sexual communication and interaction, responsibility and respect.

While the policy below is quite detailed and specific, the expectations of this community can be summarized in this simple paragraph: Consent is clear sexual permission and can only be given by one of legal age. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is more ambiguous than explicitly stating one’s wants and limitations. Consent to one form of sexual activity should not, and cannot, be taken as consent to any other sexual activity. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to fully understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “No” always means “No” and “Yes” may not always mean “Yes.” For example, when alcohol or other drugs are used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if the person cannot appreciate the who, what, where, when, why, or how of a sexual interaction. In addition, silence—without clear actions demonstrating permission—cannot be assumed to indicate consent.

Finally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion; coercion is defined in this policy as unreasonably pressuring another person for sex. Coercing someone into engaging in sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into engaging in sexual activity.

Violations of the College/University Sexual Misconduct PolicyEdit

Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and such violations are subject to any combination of conduct sanctions as described in the Code of Student Conduct -Section 7: “Formal Conduct Procedures”, with individuals found responsible for violation of the nonconsensual sexual intercourse policy facing a recommended sanction of College/University suspension or College/University expulsion. Deviations from this range are rare and only made where there are compelling mitigating circumstances. Suspensions, if given, are based on satisfying conditions rather than solely on a period of time. Predatory, pattern and/or repeat offenders face expulsion, which is also available for any serious offense whether pattern, predatory or repeat offending is evidenced or not. The other forms of sexual misconduct defined below cover a range of behaviors, and therefore a range of sanctions from warning to expulsion can be applied, depending on the nature of the misconduct. [Any use of the campus restorative justice program in a sexual misconduct case must still result in sanctions within the offense-specific ranges defined here, though conditions may be specific to the restorative model]. A partial list of College/University sexual misconduct policy violations is listed below.

  1. Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. The College/University encourages the reporting of all sexual harassment to a supervisor and/or the Title IX Coordinator (referenced above). The College/University will promptly and effectively remedy all instances of reported sexual harassment by providing resources to the victim and addressing the effects on the victim and the community. To impose discipline on a harasser, sexual harassment must also meet the definition of hostile environment, quid pro quo or retaliation defined immediately below:
    • Hostile Environment includes situations where harassment is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from the University/College’s educational or employment program or activities, sanctions can be imposed for the creation of a hostile environment. The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all the circumstances. [These circumstances could include, but are not limited to:
      1. The frequency of the speech or conduct;
      2. The nature and severity of the speech or conduct;
      3. Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
      4. Whether the speech or conduct was humiliating;
      5. The effect of the speech or conduct on the alleged victim’s mental and/or emotional state;
      6. Whether the speech or conduct was directed at more than one person;
      7. Whether the speech or conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
      8. Whether the speech or conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance;
      9. Whether a statement is a mere utterance of an epithet, which engenders offense in an employee or a student or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness.
    • Quid Pro Quo sexual harassment exists when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where submission to, or rejection of, such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action. Quid pro quo harassment may also exist when a threat of adverse action or a promise of a benefit is explicitly conditioned on submission to, or rejection of, such requests.
    • Retaliation exists when an individual harasses, intimidates or takes other adverse action(s) against a person because of the person’s participation in an investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct or their support of someone involved in an investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Retaliatory actions include, but are not limited to, threats or actual violence against the person or their property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, intimidation, bullying, or ostracism. The College/University will impose sanctions on any faculty, student or staff member found to be engaging in retaliation.
  2. Nonconsensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit the same):
    • Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal),
    • however slight,
    • with any object,
    • by a person upon another person,
    • without consent and/or by physical force
  3. Nonconsensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit the same):
    • Any intentional sexual touching,
    • however slight,
    • with any object,
    • by person upon another person,
    • without consent and/or by physical force
  4. Sexual Exploitation: Taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit a person other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
    • Prostituting another student;
    • Non-consensual video or audio recording of sexual activity;
    • Exceeding the boundaries of explicit consent, such as allowing friends to hide in a closet to be witness to one’s consensual sexual activity;
    • Engaging in voyeurism (Peeping Tommery); and/or
    • Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease/infection or HIV to another student.

Confidentiality and Reporting Sexual MisconductEdit

College/University officials, depending on their roles at the College/University, have varying reporting responsibilities and abilities to maintain confidentiality. In order to make informed choices, one should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality, offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless you have requested information to be shared. Other resources exist for you to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when you report victimization to them. Most resources on campus fall in the middle of these two extremes; neither the College/University nor the law requires them to divulge private information that is shared with them, except in the rare circumstances. The following describes the three reporting options at College/University:

  1. Confidential Reporting: If you would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, you may speak with on-campus counselors, campus health service providers, off-campus rape crisis resources, [advocates, peer advisors]or clergy/chaplains who will maintain confidentiality. Campus counselors are available to help you free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours.
  2. Private Reporting: You may seek advice from certain resources who are not required to tell anyone else your private, personally identifiable information unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others. These resources include employees without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, such as resident advisors (RAs), [faculty members, advisors to student organizations], career services staff, admissions officers, student activities personnel, and many others. If you are unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain your privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you and can help you make decisions about who can help you best. Some of these resources, such as RAs, are instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but they do not share any personally identifiable information about your report unless you give permission, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect you or other members of the community. If your personally identifiable information is shared, it will be shared with as few people as possible and all efforts will be made to protect your privacy to the greatest extent.
  3. Formal Reporting Options: You are encouraged to speak to College/University officials, such as the Title IX Coordinator, Director of Student Conduct, Campus Security/Public Safety, or Deans to make formal reports of incidents of sexual misconduct. You have the right, and can expect, to have incidents of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the College/University when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve your rights and privacy.

Federal Timely Warning ObligationsEdit

Victims of sexual misconduct should be aware that College/University administrators must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College/University will ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.

Information Supplementing the College/University Sexual Misconduct PolicyEdit

In addition to the information provided in the College/University Sexual Misconduct Policy, students should know that rape is a crime that can be reported to civil authorities. Rape is often thought of as a violent attack on a woman by a stranger who uses a weapon to threaten his victim, but this description does not apply to the majority of rapes that take place in the United States. “Victims of rape and sexual assault report that in nearly 3 out of 4 incidents, the offender was not a stranger…two thirds of the victims 18 to 29 years old had a prior relationship with the rapist.”[2] Therefore, College/University students are more likely to be victimized by someone they know, and perhaps trust, than by someone who is a stranger. Both men and women can be victims. Non-consensual intercourse by a person one knows is often referred to as date rape or acquaintance rape, both of which are as serious an offense as stranger rape.

Resources for Victims of Sexual Harassment and AssaultEdit

College/University Campus Resources [List contact information and hours of availability of each, below] Campus Security/Public Safety Counseling Services Student Health Services Director of Student Conduct College/University Title IX Coordinator Deputy College/University Title IX Coordinator Community Resources [List Community Resources here]

Frequently Asked QuestionsEdit

The following are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding the College/University’s sexual conduct policy and procedures.

Does a complaint remain confidential?

Reports made to counselors, health service providers and clergy will be kept confidential. All other reports are considered private. The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct will be maintained, except insofar as it interferes with the College/University’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where information is shared, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted.

In all complaints of sexual misconduct, the accusing party will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, to the community, though personally identifying information about the victim will not be shared. Certain College/University administrators are informed privately (e.g., the President of the College/University, Director of Student Conduct, Title IX Coordinator, Director of Security, etc.) of the outcome and any change to a student’s status, as necessary. The College/University must statistically report the occurrence on campus of any of seven major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, and hate crimes in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information. Will my parents/guardians be told?

No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the accusing party or the responding party, the College/University’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent/guardian; however, in the event of major medical, conduct action, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. College/University officials may directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in a life-threatening situation, in the case that the student is a minor, or if the student has signed the permission slip at registration which allows such communication.

Will I have to confront the alleged perpetrator?

Yes, if you file a formal complaint, but not directly. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the responding party has the right to question the accuser; however, the College/University does provide options for allowing questioning without direct contact, including closed-circuit testimony, Skype, using a room divider or using separate hearing rooms.

Do I have to name the alleged perpetrator?

Yes, if you want formal conduct action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint. One should consult the complete privacy policy described above to better understand the College/University’s legal obligations regarding information that is shared with various College/University officials.

What should I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

First, do not contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone who can act as your advisor; anyone may serve as your advisor. You may also contact the Director of Student Conduct, who can explain the College/University’s procedures for dealing with sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor in Counseling Services.

What should I do about legal advice?

Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to seek prosecution because legal issues will be handled through a representative from the District Attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the responding party. Victims may also want to retain an attorney if you are considering filing a civil action against the alleged perpetrator. Both the accused and the victim may also use an attorney as their advisor during the campus’ investigative and hearing processes.

How can the College/University help to remedy the effects of discrimination?

If you want to move, or have the responding party moved, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is the College/University’s policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. Other accommodations available to you might include:

  1. Assistance from College/University support staff in completing the relocation;
  2. Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
  3. Exam, paper or assignment rescheduling;
  4. Taking an incomplete in a class;
  5. Transferring class sections;
  6. Temporary withdrawal; and/or
  7. Alternative course completion options;
  8. A no-contact order;
  9. Counseling assistance;
  10. Escorts or other campus safety protections.

What should I do to preserve evidence of a sexual assault?

Physical information of a sexual assault must be collected within about 120 hours of the assault for it to be useful in a criminal prosecution. If you believe you have been a victim of a sexual assault, you should go to a hospital Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. A sexual assault health professional (a specially trained nurse called a SANE) at the hospital is on call and will counsel you. [Note here if SANE services are available on your campus]. If you go to the hospital, local police will be called but you are not obligated to talk to the police or to prosecute. The exam will help to keep that option open for you should you decide later to exercise it.

The hospital staff will collect information, check for injuries and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet. (Plastic containers do not breathe, and may render forensic information useless.) If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as information. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene—leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear information for the police to collect.

Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be considered when reporting sexual misconduct?

No, not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.

Will a student be sanctioned when reporting an act of sexual misconduct if the student has illegally used drugs or alcohol?

No. The College/University offers amnesty in such situations. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and the College/University does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.[See “Amnesty” policy in Section 7(C) of the Code of Student Conduct]

What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?

If you believe that you have experienced non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the College/University’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Student Conduct. The College/Universityalso provides [advocates/counselors/etc.] who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.

Risk Reduction TipsEdit

Tips like these tend to make victims feel blamed if a sexual assault occurs. It is never the victim’s fault, and these tips are offered in the hope that recognizing patterns can help men and women to reduce the risk of victimization. That said, only a rapist or an empowered bystander can intervene to prevent a rape or assault. Generally, an assault by a known offender will follow a four-step pattern:

  1. An individual’s personal space is violated in some way. For example, the perpetrator may touch the victim in a way that does not feel comfortable.
  2. If the victim does not express discomfort, the perpetrator may begin to view the victim as an easy target because she/he is not acting assertively.
  3. The perpetrator may take the victim to a location that is secluded and where the victim is vulnerable.
  4. The victim feels trapped or unable to be assertive and is raped or assaulted.

Decisive action early in an encounter may be the key to avoiding rape. An individual who can combine assertiveness and self-defense skills, who is self-confident and definite in his/her interactions with others, is less likely to become a victim of rape. If the individual can assertively defend his/her rights initially, he/she has a better chance of avoiding being raped than does a person who resorts to techniques such as pleading or trying to talk the perpetrator out of it. If you find yourself in an uncomfortable sexual situation, these suggestions may help you to reduce your risk:

  1. Make your limits known before things go too far.
  2. Give clear messages. Say “yes” when you mean yes and “no” when you mean no. Leave no room for misinterpretation. Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and loudly, like you mean it.
  3. Try to extricate yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  4. Grab someone nearby and ask for help.
  5. Be responsible for your alcohol intake/drug use and realize that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you more vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
  6. Watch out for your friends and ask that they watch out for you. A real friend will get in your face if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them if they do.
  7. Be aware of any nonverbal messages you may be sending that conflict with what you are saying. Notice your tone of voice, gestures and eye contact.
  8. Be forceful and firm when necessary. Don’t be concerned with being polite. Your passivity may be interpreted as permission or approval for this behavior.
  9. Do not acquiesce to something you do not want just to avoid unpleasantness. Do not allow “politeness” to trap you in a dangerous situation. This is not the time to be concerned about hurt feelings.
  10. Trust your feelings or instincts. If a situation does not feel comfortable to you or you feel anxious about the way your date is acting, you need to respond. Leave immediately if necessary.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  1. Do not make assumptions about:
    • Consent;
    • Someone’s sexual availability;
    • Whether a person is attracted to you;
    • How far you can go; or
    • Whether a person is physically and mentally able to consent to you.
  2. Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give him/her a chance to clearly relate his/her intentions to you.
  3. Mixed messages from your partner should be a clear indication that you should step back, defuse the sexual tension, and communicate better. Perhaps you are misreading your partner. Perhaps your partner has not figured out how far he/she wants to go with you yet. You need to respect the timeline with which your partner is comfortable.
  4. Do not take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if he/she did it to him/herself.
  5. Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Do not abuse that power.
  6. Understand that consent to some forms of sexual behavior does not necessarily imply consent to other forms of sexual behavior.
  7. On this campus, silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
  8. Do not force someone to have sex with you, or have sex with a partner who has not clearly consented to you by words or actions unmistakable in their meaning.

FootnotesEdit

  1. When alleging a violation, the accusation is of violating the sexual misconduct policy, encompassing all four of the sub-offenses listed below. Some or all of the four sub-offenses may be relevant in any given case, and by using the accusation of sexual misconduct, you can be sure that overlapping behaviors are alleged appropriately. For example, non-consensual sexual intercourse includes the offenses of non-consensual sexual contact and sexual harassment, all of which will be covered by the accusation of sexual misconduct.
  2. Greenfield, L.A. (1997). Sex offenses and offenders [Electronic version].U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics. Retrieved July 26, 2010, from http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/SOO.PDF.