- Definition of Terms
- Effective Consent
- Possible Sanctions, Protective Measures and Procedural Notifications
- Considerations following a sexual misconduct incident.
- Reporting an Incident
- Preponderance of Evidence
- Formal Hearing Procedures
- Final Notifications
- Appealing Decisions
- Confidentiality and Federal Reporting Policy
In accordance with Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) along with its Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE) provision, Wartburg College strives to execute “best practices” in preventing and responding to incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
Wartburg College enforces a zero-tolerance policy for sexual violence which includes but is not limited to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. 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 has the responsibility of responding promptly and effectively when dealing with sexual harassment or sexual violence. If the College knows or should reasonably know about sexual harassment or sexual violence, we will take immediate action to eliminate the sexual harassment or sexual violence from reoccurring. If a student or his or her parents do not want to file a complaint or do not request Wartburg take any action, if Wartburg is knowledgeable of possible sexual violence or sexual harassment, an investigation must occur. Additionally, a criminal investigation into allegations of sexual harassment or sexual violence does not relieve the school of its duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably.
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.
Wartburg prohibits retaliation by its officers, employees, or agents against a person who exercises his or her rights or responsibilities in relation to Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act and its Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act provision. Identified retaliation will result in appropriate disciplinary action through student conduct or human resources depending on the person involved.
Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same).
- Non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same).
- Nondisclosure of STD information.
- Sexual exploitation.
- Dating / Domestic Violence
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.
The terms below are important to know in relation to Wartburg’s sexual misconduct policy and procedures, Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act provision of VAWA.
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.
“Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of jurisdiction...or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.” (VAWA, 2014)
- corresponding state statute in relation to Clery Act Crimes is Domestic Assault: 708.2A
Violence committed by a person –
A. Who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
B. Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- Corresponding state statute in relation to Clery Act Crimes is currently undefined (August 2014).
i. The length of the relationship
ii. The type of relationship
iii. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship (VAWA, 2014)
“Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to –
A. Fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
B. Suffer substantial emotional distress (VAWA, 2014)
- Corresponding state statute in relation to Clery Act Crimes is Stalking: 708.11
The Campus SaVE Act defines sexual assault, which – unlike domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking – was previously included as a Clery-reportable crime, as “an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (VAWA, 2014)
- Corresponding state statutes in relation to Clery Act Crimes are:
- Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse 1st Degree: 709.2
- Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse 2nd Degree: 709.3
- Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree: 709.4
- Non-Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse 3rd Degree: 709.4
- Non-Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse Lascivious Acts with Child: 709.8
- Non-Forcible Sex Offenses, Sexual Abuse Lascivious Acts with Minor: 709.14
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 http://www.911rape.org/.
Wartburg College does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, religion, disability, genetics, creed, gender identity, or in admission, employment, education programs or activities. Persons having inquiries regarding compliance or wish to file a complaint may contact the Director of Human Resources, the College’s Title IX Coordinator (319-352-8418), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1-800-669-4000), the Iowa Civil Rights Commission (1-800-457-4416) or Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
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 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.
- 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 must seek approval through the Vice President for Student Life to participate and/or 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.
- At that heart of all student conduct and sexual misconduct policies, procedures, legislation and informative communication is the intention to:
- Provide campus community members with the appropriate support
- Assist individuals in seeking, securing and utilizing the necessary services to address their concerns;
- Ensure the campus community and individual students know their campus environment is safe, welcoming and comfortable.
- Take appropriate measures to ensure the aforementioned are adhered too.
- Prevention Efforts – Wartburg College annually educates its students and staff regarding the Clery Act reporting requirements and the educational requirements regarding sexual violence.
The College prohibits dating violence, stalking, domestic violence, rape and acquaintance rape and other types of sexual assault and misconduct. The Student Life staff, including student resident assistants, as well as other mandatory reporters of the College and all responsible staff, as well as new employees receive information regarding these College rules. This information includes primary prevention and awareness information, including how to report and how to seek help. Key staff have been educated as bystander intervention trainers and provide this training about safe and positive interventions to students and employees. The definition of these offenses, the definition of consent and the recognition of signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks is included in the training.
In person training occurs and on-line training is being implemented to ensure easy access to training for all students and employees. Campus –wide awareness events are implemented by student groups, with the support of staff, and other events are implemented by staff and/or faculty.
- If the accuser so desires, Wartburg College will change the accuser’s academic, working, and living situations after an alleged sexual offense and will provide options for those changes if those changes are reasonably available. Those requests should be made with the Assistant Vice President for Student Life and can be made without the accuser reporting the offense to local police.
- After decisions have been made in instances regarding rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, protective measures will be taken. Any of the following may be enacted and this list is not all-encompassing. Some protective measures may stem from conversations with the involved students. The protective measures include but aren’t limited to:
- Residence Hall Relocation
- Residence Hall Bans
- No Contact Orders
- Campus Bans
- Assistance in securing counseling
- Course Section Re-Assignments
- Consultations with parents or other emergency contact people with approval from student
- Security Escorts
The preservation of evidence for proof of criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking as well as for obtaining a protection order is extremely important. It is recommended that you don’t bathe, douche, brush your teeth, drink or change your clothing, as you may be destroying evidence you will need if you decide to prosecute. If you must change clothing, place them in a paper bag (do not use plastic bags).
Seek Medical Attention and Report to Law Enforcement
As soon as possible seek medical attention. Wartburg College encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual misconduct. This is the best option to ensure preservation of evidence and to begin a timely investigative and remedial response. A friend, staff member or Riverview Center advocate can go with you when seeking medical attention. Campus Security staff will assist you in seeking medical attention or notifying the police if you wish. They can be reached at 319-352-8372 or 319-352-9999.
Wartburg College encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct. While deciding whether to report these situations is the right of the individual involved and it is not mandatory, it is important to note that individuals have the opportunity to report matters of sexual misconduct to campus authorities or to local law enforcement. The choice is the individual reporter’s. In matters of sexual misconduct, it is common for the Waverly Police Department to collaborate and work closely with the College when they are informed of the situation. However, when the college is informed, the individual’s right to file a report with the Police is still their decision. Wartburg College strives to respect the confidentiality of its students and other community members. Contact Information for the Waverly Police Department is as follows:
111 4th St. NE
Waverly, IA 50677
Immediate Medical Attention can be found by visiting:
Waverly Health Center Emergency Department
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
312 9th Street SW
Waverly, Iowa 50677
- The medical exam has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma and to consider the possibilities of sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy and, second, to properly preserve evidence in case you decide to prosecute.
- IMPORTANT: Do not bathe, douche, brush your teeth, drink or change your clothing, as you may be destroying evidence you will need if you decide to prosecute. If you must change clothing, place them in a paper bag (do not use plastic bags).
Seeking medical attention does not mean you must report. You can seek medical attention and still choose not to report. Wartburg College encourages medical attention for all students involved in an incident of sexual misconduct for the health and safety of the individual involved. The NOAH Health Center on campus can also provide you with aftercare, but they do not collect evidence.
Director of Campus Security – John Myers, 319-352-8372
Assistant Vice President for Student Life and Director of Residential Life – Wes Brooks, 319-352-8260
Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students – Dr. Deb Loers, 319-352-8745
Residence Hall Directors in respective in-hall offices
Security Officers, 319-352-8372
Title IX Coordinator – Jamie Holloway, 319-352-8418
Seek Support and Information (confidential)
Wartburg College Counseling Services – 319-352-8596
Wartburg College Campus Pastors 319-352-8217
Off campus - Riverview Center 888-557-0037
Complaints may be filed against a student by any member of the community, or by a visitor or guest subject to sexual assault or harassment by a student while on college property or during college-sponsored activities. The following procedures apply to internal processing of complaints. Regardless of whether resolution of the complaint is sought in any public forum or jurisdiction other than the college's internal process, college proceedings will continue to conclusion except under circumstances outlined in the Student Code of Conduct of the Student Handbook.
No one at the college may reprimand, discriminate against or otherwise retaliate against an individual for having initiated an inquiry or complaint in good faith. Such actions will be considered harassment and will be met by serious consequences.
2. Formal Complaint Resolution
- Initiation of Formal Complaint. From the onset of this process, both the accuser and accused are entitled to have an advisor of their choice present during an internal disciplinary proceeding as well as any other related meetings. A formal complaint against a student will be initiated by the filing of a signed, written complaint with the Assistant Vice President for Student Life. Students can seek guidance regarding the initiation of a formal complaint by also visiting with the Vice President for Student Life, Director of Campus Security, or the Title IX coordinator who will then refer the student to the Assistant Vice President for Student Life to complete the written complaint. An additional initiation avenue prior to filing a formal complaint with the Assistant Vice President for Student Life is to complete the GETHELPNOW link which allows members of the Wartburg Community to report crimes, tips, or other situations. GETHELPNOW also allows for anonymous reporting. However, this will limit the college’s ability to take action on the matter and direct follow-up may not be necessary if an anonymous report is filed. Formal complaints will contain the name of the accused student, a description of the specific actions of the accused student that led to the complaint, and any other information that the complainant believes to be pertinent to the complaint. The Assistant Vice President for Student Life will provide copies to the Director of Security and the Vice President for Student Life. After the copies have been disseminated, the Assistant Vice President for Student Life who serves as Chair of the Sexual Misconduct Committee, will initiate an investigative hearing. (See Section 7 of the procedures for committee membership and composition). The accused will be sent a letter detailing the policy alleged to have been violated, the potential sanctions available, and the relevant procedures to be employed in the investigation and hearing process.
- Investigation. Unless the accused student accepts responsibility or the facts are uncontested, the college uses an investigation process to resolve complaints of sexual misconduct. All parties and witnesses will be interviewed and evidence collected by a two or three member investigative team comprised of the Director of Campus Security, Deputy Director of Campus Security, other Security Officers, Affirmative Action Officer, and Title IX Officer or designee. The investigative team is designated by the Vice President for Student Life or if there is a conflict of interest, the Vice President’s designee. All members are trained in civil rights investigations, issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking as well as how to conduct a hearing process that protects victim safety and promotes accountability. The team will be assembled from the aforementioned pool for each complaint. The investigative team usually has male and female members. Students are requested to participate in all proceedings, and are expected to answer truthfully all of the questions posed during the investigation and any hearings.
It is the responsibility of the investigation team to take custody of and arrange safekeeping for any physical evidence to be used in making a determination. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigation team will make a finding, issuing a written report of evidence and conclusions to the Chair.
If the parties agree to the findings, and the investigation indicates a violation of the policy by the college's preponderance of evidence standard. Preponderance of evidence is defined as more likely than not to have occurred. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel members will take up the issue of sanctions, and conduct a sanction hearing. They may call on the investigation team as necessary during these proceedings.
If the investigation team is unable to determine whether there has been a violation, or the investigation team finding is rejected by any party, the complaint and report will be referred to the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel may call on the investigation team as necessary during these proceedings, and it will be the responsibility of the investigation team to arrange for and/or provide the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel with sources of information as necessary.
In all complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment, the complainant will be informed an investigation is occurring. In some instances, the college may also choose to make a brief announcement of the nature of the alleged violation and the action taken, using no names. Certain college administrators (e.g. the College President and Director of Campus Safety) may be informed on a confidential basis. If the investigation finds that there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean that charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the college is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The college must also statistically report the occurrence on campus of any of six major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. The statistical report does not include any personally identifiable information. All records kept use pseudonyms and/or numeric identifiers in an effort to preserve and protect personally-identifiable information on victims.
a. Notice and pre-hearing procedures
Where a complaint has been filed and the accused student denies violation of the sexual misconduct policy, the Chair will upon receipt of a written denial from the accused student, schedule a hearing. Written notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be sent to all parties. The students involved may additionally be notified in person, by telephone, or by email. This notice will include a formal accusation letter detailing each policy alleged to have been violated, the investigation team's findings of responsibility, the potential sanctions available, and the relevant procedures to be using in the hearing. If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the complainant, or the administration may choose as complainant. If a student fails to respond to notice from the Chair, the Chair will initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a college official, and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two class days by answering the initial notice, the student will be automatically suspended until such time as s/he responds to the initial complaint.
Once a student denies a violation, he/she will be given a minimum of three class days to prepare for a hearing. At least forty-eight hours before any scheduled hearing, the following will occur:
- The accused student will deliver to the Chair a written response to the complaint;
- The accused student will deliver to Chair a written list of all witnesses the accused wants the college to call on his/her behalf at the hearing, giving the full contact information of each witness, if known;
- The accused student will deliver to Chair a written list of all items of physical evidence the accused intends to use or needs to have present at the hearing, and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known;
- The complainant will deliver to the Chair a written list of all witnesses the complainant wants the college to call and all physical evidence that will be used by the complainant at the hearing and indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known;
- The parties will notify the Chair, at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing, of the names of any advisors who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing;
- The Chair will ensure that this Information and any other available written documentation is shared between the complainant and accused at least twenty-four hours before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the parties will be given a list of names of all the hearing officers for the complaint. Should a party object to any members of the board or panel, they must raise all objections in writing to the Chair immediately. Hearing officers will only be unseated if the Chair concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the complaint. Objections regarding the Chair should be made to the Vice President for Student Life.
In complaints with more than one accused student, the Chair may permit joint hearings. Both Individual and organizations maybe sanctioned for the same conduct.
b. Role of the Vice President for Student Life
The Vice President for Student Life will arrange for annual training for the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee. S/he is responsible for ensuring that FERPA consents are executed by appropriate parties, witnesses and Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee members. The Vice President for Student Life or his/her proxy is present at all hearings to advise on procedural questions. He/she also attends the deliberation portion of the hearing as an advisor and resource, and provides review of precedent from previous college hearings where applicable. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee is not bound by previous findings or sanctions of other committees, but does have an obligation to weigh the value of such information. The Vice President for Student Life implements and enforces all sanctions against the accused student and is responsible for correspondence and communication related to the actions of the Committee. Records will be kept of all hearings. However, these records will not include personally-identifiable information of the accuser in an attempt to maintain confidentiality. Pseudonyms and numeric identifiers will be applied. The Hearing Committee will keep custody of these records, and all other documents and evidence gathered during the investigation and hearing until the conclusion of the investigation and appeals. After that time, written or taped notes from the hearing are filed in the office of the Vice President for Student Life for seven years.
c. Procedural Fairness
Students have the right to a prompt, fair and impartial conduct system. A Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee member who cannot hear the complaint in an unbiased manner must excuse herself/himself from the complaint. Students may be found in violation of the policy only if evidence brought forward during the investigation and/or hearing persuades a majority of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel members that it is more likely than not that the accused student's actions violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel may have access to records of previous hearings to aid in its sanction decisions, and in rare circumstances such as sexual misconduct complaints where a pattern or series of offenses is suspected, records of previous similar violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy may be considered during the hearing Itself. It is the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Life to bring this information to the attention of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel. Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel members may not reveal the details of the proceedings, including deliberations, unless seeking legal counsel.
Hearings are open only to the accused and his/her advisor, victim and his/her advisor, the Vice President for Student Life, the hearing panel, and the witness being questioned. At no time will hearings be open to the public. However, each party may, for emotional support, be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. The advisor is bound by the same confidentiality guidelines as panel members. While this advisor cannot address the Panel, answer questions from the Panel, or speak for the student, he or she may assist the student in preparing for the hearing, may share notes during the hearing, and may converse with their advisee outside the hearing room. At any time that an advisor steps outside their permitted role, they can be removed from the hearing proceedings. The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel may question the complainant, the accused student, the witnesses, and may review other relevant and credible evidence, including records, exhibits, physical evidence, written statements, and expert sources of information.
The Chair will facilitate the question and answer portions of the hearing and has final say on all procedural and evidentiary questions. Character witnesses may not attend or testify at a hearing, but written statements of matters of character (including the student's academics, work, service, and other accomplishments) may be considered in the Panel's determination of appropriate sanctions. The accused student and the complainant will have the opportunity to respond to the complaint, present evidence and/or witnesses, and make final summary statements. Any false statements by parties or witnesses in the course of the hearing may result in additional conduct proceedings against anyone testifying falsely.
At the end of the deliberation, the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel will reach a finding of "responsible" or "not responsible" with respect to each section of the policy the accused is alleged to have violated. The Chair will prepare a written deliberation report to the Vice President for Student Life detailing the finding, how each Panel member voted, the evidence cited by the Panel in support of its finding, and any evidence that the Panel excluded from its consideration, and why. This report should conclude with any specified or recommended sanctions. This report should not exceed two pages in length, and must be submitted to the Vice President for Student Life action within 48 hours after the end of deliberations. Once the Vice President for Student Life receives this letter, if s/he concurs with the finding and any recommended sanction, s/he will convey the results to the accused, and implements any sanctions. The Vice President for Student Life may modify the finding and/or sanction prior to implementation. Generally, sanctions will take effect immediately unless the Vice President for Student Life decides upon application to stay the implementation of sanctions pending resolution of any appeal.
After the Vice President for Student Life have finalized the findings and sanctions, both the accuser and accused will be notified in writing simultaneously of the outcome of the proceeding and appeal procedures; any change to the result before it becomes final; and when the result becomes final. This is an unconditional disclosure; a victim cannot be required to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Informing both parties of any institutional disciplinary proceeding is not a violation of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
f. Notification to Parents/Guardians
Parents or guardians of dependent students are ordinarily informed if suspension or dismissal is issued.
g. Special provisions for sexual misconduct/discrimination complaints
If student-on-student complaints, in exceptional situations the Vice President for Student Life may appoint a three member Administrative Panel in lieu of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel. This Administrative Panel will function in place of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee and will follow the same procedures and rules as govern the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee.
For sexual misconduct complaints, and other complaints of a sensitive nature, whether the alleged victim is serving as the complainant or as a witness, alternative testimony options will be given, such as placing a privacy screen in the hearing room.
The sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be admissible by the other party in hearings unless such evidence is determined to be highly relevant by the Chair of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel. All such evidence sought to be admitted will be presumed irrelevant, and any request to overcome this presumption by the parties must be included In the complaint/response or a subsequent written request, and must be reviewed in advance of the hearing by the Vice President for Student Life and the Chair of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel.
The alleged victim in any complaint alleging sexual misconduct will be notified in writing of the outcome and any sanctions, and will be kept apprised of the status of any appeal requests or grants.
Either party may make an application for an appeal of a decision of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel or Administrative Panel with a letter presented to the Vice President for Student Life within two class days of the decision. This letter must assert at least one of the following grounds upon which an appeal could be granted:
- New evidence unavailable during the original hearing, that could be outcome determinative;
- Material deviation from written procedures that Impacted the fairness of the hearing;
- Sanction(s) grossly disproportionate to the severity of the offense;
- The finding does not accord with the evidence;
- Bias on the part of a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee member that deprived the process of impartiality.
The Vice President for Student Life will refer the appeal to the Campus Appeals Board for consideration. From the time an appeal is granted, the appeal must be decided within five class days.
The Campus Appeals Board may support or change a decision, increase, decrease or modify a sanction, or refer a complaint back to the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel or Administrative Panel with instructions, if the appeal is on one of the first two grounds. The Campus Appeals Board may confirm a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel decision without a hearing if the reasons for the appeal are not adequate to warrant review. The Campus Appeals Board will be deferential to the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel or Administrative Panel, making changes to the finding or sanction only if a compelling justification to do so exists, and a decision is reached by the Campus Appeals Board. In the event of such a change, the Campus Appeals Board must meet with the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel or Administrative Panel to explain the reasons for altering the finding or sanctions.
4. Disciplinary Actions
Student disciplinary actions are described In the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Handbook and may include dismissal, suspension, or probation.
a. The college is sensitive to the needs of the complainants for privacy and confidentiality. However, the college's responsibility and obligation to protect others in the college community from sexual misconduct and harassment means that the college cannot grant an absolute guarantee of anonymity to complainants.
b. Any individual responsible for a breach of confidentiality in these proceedings will be subject to discipline in accordance with provisions of the policy to which they are subject (e.g. students to applicable student conduct codes, staff to applicable personnel policies, and faculty members to applicable faculty handbook sanctions).
The Vice President for Student Life will maintain records for seven years of all substantiated complaints against students, including the report of the Hearing Panel. The final decision rendered in the complaint and the results of any appeal will be entered into the student's disciplinary file maintained in the Office of Student Life. Records of all complaints, which are not substantiated, will be maintained in a permanent file in the office of the Vice President for Student Life.
7. Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee
The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee will consist of four faculty members, three students, and four administrators appointed by the President who have been trained to hear formal complaints of sexual misconduct and harassment. This training is designed to assist the hearing committee in protecting the safety of victims and promote accountability. The student members will be appointed from the student membership of the Student Conduct Board. The administrators will be appointed from among administrative staff members trained to hear formal complaints of sexual misconduct or harassment. When a conflict of interest is present with the Assistant Vice President for Student Life serving as the chair of the sexual misconduct committee, the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will be appointed by the President from among the administrative staff.
b. The Hearing Panel shall consist of five members including two faculty members, two administrators, and one student selected from among the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee. There must be at least one male and one female member on the Hearing Panel.
c. All Hearing Committee members will be required to participate in a program designed to make them familiar with the issues involved in dealing with sexual misconduct and harassment complaints.
Campus Appeals Board Processes
Campus Appeals Board is convened to consider appeals from the Student Conduct Board and on occasion from Administrative Judicial decisions. Under the procedures for cases of Sexual Misconduct (Sexual Assault) or serious cases of Sexual Harassment, the Campus Appeals Board considers appeals from hearings by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel.
Typically and at the discretion of the Chair of the Appeals Board the appeal process has two steps. The initial decision by the Appeals Board is whether the appeal has merit and meets one or more of the appeal criteria. If it does, the Appeals Board may then elect to hear the appeal. If the Appeals Board does not believe the appeal has merit, then the appeal process ends and the appealing party are notified that the appeal is denied. The Appeals Board is not a substitute for hearing the original case on its merits; instead the focus is on the grounds and criteria that would merit an appeal.
Grounds for Appeal:
The grounds for appeal of sexual misconduct violations are specified in the policy and procedures. One feature that is different from appeals from Student Conduct cases is that either party may appeal. Criteria for appeal for cases from the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Panel are as follows:
- New evidence, unavailable during the original hearing, that could be outcome determinative;
- Material deviation from written procedures that impacted the fairness of the hearing;
- Sanction(s) grossly disproportionate to severity of the offense;
- The finding does not accord with the evidence;
- Bias on the part of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Committee member that deprived the process of impartiality.
If the Appeals Board agrees to grant a hearing, the procedure specifies that such an appeal must be decided within five class days. The Campus Appeals Board may confirm a decision of the Misconduct Hearing Panel decision without a hearing if the reasons for the appeal are not adequate to warrant a review.
Appeals Board Authority:
- Support or change a decision
- Decrease or modify a sanction
- Refer complaint back to Sexual Misconduct Board with instructions (if appeal is on one of the first two grounds).
Appeals Board will be deferential to the Hearing Panel, making changes to the finding or sanction only if a compelling justification to do so exists, and a decision is reached by the Appeals Board.
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 which will then be forwarded to the Assistant Vice President for Student Life. 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.
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.
Confidential Reporting Options
Campus pastors, counseling center staff, Noah Health Center or Riverview Center personnel will maintain complete confidentiality about all details of any sexual misconduct incident reported to them. 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 community members who are covered under state guidelines of confidentiality.
Other Reporting Options
Campus Security Authorities may be consulted. 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.
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 Campus Security Authorities provide statistical information to Campus Security.
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.“