Sexual Misconduct Policy

Wartburg College enforces a zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence. Members of the Wartburg College community, guests, and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence and other forms of sexual misconduct. When an allegation of sexual misconduct is brought to the administration and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be used to ensure that such actions are never repeated. When members of groups, members of campus organizations, or other individuals act collusively to violate the sexual misconduct policy, they may be charged as a group, and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint respondents. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The Wartburg College Sexual Misconduct Policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for individuals whose rights have been violated. The policy is intended both as a guide for appropriate sexual communication, sexual responsibility, and sexual respect and as a measure for determining, after the fact, whether behaviors trespass on community values.

Wartburg College believes the welfare of community members is of paramount importance, and it is in the best interest of the community and the victim that as many victims as possible choose to report to college officials. For this reason, Wartburg College offers victims of sexual misconduct immunity from policy violations related to the sexual misconduct incident. Furthermore, the college encourages community members to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes students may hesitate to help others for fear that they may get into trouble (e.g., a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to take a sexual misconduct victim to Campus Security). Wartburg College provides limited immunity for those who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the college may provide educational options or may impose reduced sanctions in such cases.

Intentional false reporting of sexual misconduct is a violation of the Code of Conduct and may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:

     1. Non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same).
     2. Non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same).
     3. Nondisclosure of STD information.
     4. Sexual exploitation.

In most circumstances, Wartburg College will treat attempts to commit any of the following violations as if those attempts had been completed. The requirements of this policy are blind to the sexual orientation of individuals engaging in sexual activity. Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function to excuse an offender’s sexual misconduct.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse, however slight, as defined below:

  • Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger or oral copulation (mouth-to-genital contact or genital-to-mouth contact).
  • By a man or woman upon a man or woman.
  • Without effective consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Non-consensual sexual contact is any sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part, as defined below:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, groin, or genitals or touching another with any of these body parts or making another person touch the offending party or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth, or other orifice.
  • By a man or woman upon a man or woman.
  • Without effective consent.

Understanding “Effective Consent”

Effective consent is active, not passive, and can be given only by persons of legal age. Silence, in and of itself, will not be accepted as evidence of consent.

Effective consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity — with whom, when, where, why, and how sexual activity will take place. Obtaining consent is an ongoing process in any sexual interaction. Sexual consent must be asked for and granted each and every time sexual activity takes place, regardless of previous levels of sexual intimacy between partners. Effective consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior, or continued pressure to submit after someone makes it clear that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction.

  • When reasonably possible, the person with whom sexual contact is initiated is responsible for expressing verbally and/or physically her or his willingness or lack of willingness.
  • If someone has initially consented but then stops consenting during sexual interaction, she/he should communicate withdrawal verbally and/or through physical resistance. The other individual(s) must stop immediately.
  • Any time sexual activity takes place, the individuals involved must be capable of controlling their physical actions and making rational, reasonable decisions about their sexual behavior.
  • Sexual intercourse or sexual contact with someone you know is mentally or physically incapacitated, or you have reason to believe is mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness, or blackout), violates this policy.
  • This policy also applies to someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from ingestion of a so-called “date-rape” drug. Possession, use and/or distribution of any such substance, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc., is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student for the purpose of inducing incapacity
    is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at

Non-Disclosure of STI Information

Anyone who knows he or she has a sexually transmitted infection or disease must disclose that information to a potential sexual partner prior to any sexual activity.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation is any act involving sexual behavior that places another person in a degrading, exploitative, abusive, or humiliating situation without their consent, and which does not fall under any of the other three sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include placing photographs of a sexual nature involving another member of the campus community on the Internet or making an audio or video recording of any sexual activity and distributing or sharing it with a third party.

Sanction Statement

  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse will receive a recommended sanction of suspension or dismissal. Should the sanction be suspension, it will be for one year or until the offended party has graduated or is no longer enrolled, whichever is longer. Upon return from the suspension, the offending student may no longer publicly represent the college in co-curricular activities not required for completion of the student’s degree requirements.
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will receive a sanction ranging from warning to dismissal, depending on the severity of the incident and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on non-disclosure of STI information or sexual exploitation will receive a sanction ranging from warning to dismissal, depending on the severity of the incident and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.

The judicial body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions on the basis of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Nevertheless, neither the judicial body nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.

Wartburg College Confidentiality and Reporting Policy

In order to protect their privacy, victims of sexual misconduct need to be aware that some people on campus can provide completely confidential advice and assistance, but some people are mandatory reporters. Most faculty and staff members fall in between these two extremes; neither the college nor the law requires them to divulge confidential information shared by a student, except in extremely rare circumstances as described below.

Confidential Reporting Options

Campus pastors, counseling center staff, the campus nurse, and trained members of the SMART Team or off-campus rape crisis center personnel will maintain complete confidentiality about all details of any sexual misconduct incident reported to them, except for the statistical reporting required by the federal government (see below). Campus counselors are available free of charge to help students and can be seen on an emergency basis. In addition, students may choose to consult off-campus members of the clergy, who will also maintain absolute confidentiality.

Semi-Confidential Reporting Options

Faculty members, career services staff, and select others may be consulted on a semi-confidential basis. Students who are unsure whether an individual is able to provide confidential advice and assistance should ask that person before providing any details of a sexual misconduct incident. Community members, including RAs, are instructed to share incident reports with their supervisors, but they do not share any personally identifiable information unless they are given permission to do so by the person who has sought their advice, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect the victim or other members of the community from further harm. If the victim’s personally identifiable information is shared, it will be shared with as few people as possible, and the victim’s confidentiality will be protected as completely as possible.

Other Reporting Options

Victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged to make formal reports of incidents to college officials. Although other faculty and staff may assist and advise victims, formal disciplinary action against the offender(s) can result only when a victim pursues the non-confidential reporting option. Those to whom victims can make formal reports include deans, vice presidents, campus security officers, and human resources personnel. Victims have the right and can expect that college officials to whom they make a formal report of an incident of sexual misconduct will take the report seriously and ensure that the incident is investigated and properly resolved through the student conduct process. Formal reporting does not mean that the report will be public information, but it does mean that people who need to know will be told, and information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused. The circle of people will be kept as small as possible to preserve the rights and privacy of the parties involved. All formal complaints received by these individuals must be referred to the Student Life Office for review.

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

The federal government requires campus law enforcement to publish an annual Campus Security Report describing the types of sexual misconduct incidents that have occurred and their general location (on or off campus or in the surrounding area; no addresses are given). These reports contain statistical information only. All personally identifiable information is kept confidential. This report helps to ensure greater community safety by providing the community with a clear picture of the nature and extent of campus crime. The college requires that all of the following provide statistical information to Campus Security: student/judicial affairs, campus law enforcement, local police, all athletics staff, all residence life staff, all student activities staff, all human resources staff, all advisers to student organizations, all faculty members, campus clergy, counselors, all supervisors, deans and cabinet-level administrators, medical providers, student advocates, and any other official with significant responsibility for campus life and activities.

Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations

Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that college administrators must issue timely warnings regarding incidents whose perpetrators continue to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The college will make every effort in such cases to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing sufficient information to permit students to make appropriate decisions about their safety. Persons required to report timely warnings are the same persons listed under the preceding “Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations.“