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Westfield State University    
 
    
 
  Oct 17, 2017
 
2014-2015 Undergraduate Catalog/Student Handbook [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Sexual Violence Policy and Investigation and Resolution Procedures


A. POLICY INTRODUCTION 

The Massachusetts State Universities are committed to maintaining safe and healthy learning, living and working environments that are free from all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. Consistent with this commitment, the Universities comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, as well as retaliation for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX. The Universities do not discriminate on the basis of sex in admission to or employment in its education programs and activities.  

This Policy prohibits all forms of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. These behaviors are antithetical to the Universities’ educational mission and are prohibited forms of harassment under Title IX. The Universities provide educational and prevention programs, services for individuals who have been impacted by discrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, and accessible, timely and equitable methods of investigation and resolution of complaints.   

This Policy and the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures are intended to comply with Title IX, the reauthorized Violence Against Women Act, including the Campus SaVE Act, the Clery Act, and the guidance documents on Title IX issued by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights and the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.  

1. Policy Purposes

The purpose of this Policy is for the Universities to educate their campuses about sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, as well as their efforts to prevent, address and remedy all forms of such prohibited conduct.   Accordingly, this Policy:  

  • states that sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation are prohibited and will not be tolerated;
  • defines and describes the conduct that is prohibited;  
  • explains what to do if one experiences sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation;
  • identifies available on- and off-campus resources; 
  • identifies the persons with whom one may speak confidentially; 
  • describes all reporting options, including how to file a complaint with the University;  specifies the rights of both complainants and respondents; and
  • explains the Universities’ response to alleged incidents, including how reports of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation are evaluated, investigated and resolved.  

2. Prohibition Against Sexual Violence, Sexual Harassment, Gender-Based Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking and Retaliation 

The Universities prohibit and will not tolerate sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation.  These behaviors violate this Policy, state and federal civil rights laws, and possibly the criminal laws of Massachusetts. (Incidents of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking)

These behaviors can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including between people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Victims3 can be any gender. Any person, regardless of gender identity, can commit sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, and these behaviors can occur between people of the same or different gender.

The Universities prohibit any student, faculty or staff member, visitor or contractor, regardless of gender, from sexually harassing, stalking, engaging in sexual violence toward or committing domestic or dating violence against another community member or anyone having dealings with the Universities. Any member of the University community who believes that s/he has been subjected to such misconduct is encouraged to report it as described in this Policy. Upon receiving a report, the University will respond quickly and seriously, and, where appropriate, will take steps to prevent the recurrence of the behavior, remedy its effects, and discipline individuals who violate this Policy.  

The Universities prohibit retaliation against anyone who reports sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, who assists another in making a report, or who participates in an investigation of a report.  All persons should feel free to report their concerns without fear of retribution or reprisal.

3. Policy Application

This Policy applies to all University community members, including students, faculty, staff, visitors, contractors and applicants for employment or admission, and without regard to a person’s race, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital or parental status, or veteran status. This Policy applies to all University programs and activities, both on and off campus.  

Acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation that take place off campus may be subject to investigation and disciplinary action under this Policy when the conduct involves behavior by or toward a community member, which (1) occurs during University-sponsored events or the events of organizations affiliated with the University, including study abroad and outside internships; (2) negatively impacts a person’s access to education programs and activities;  (3) adversely affects or disrupts the campus community; and/or (4) poses a threat of harm to the campus community.  

4. Title IX Coordinator 

Pursuant to Title IX and its implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 106, each University has appointed a Title IX Coordinator, who has the primary responsibility for coordinating the University’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX.  

In this role, the Title IX Coordinator:  administers this Policy; monitors the University’s responsive actions to ensure that the learning, living and working environments are free of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation; and monitors the steps taken to remedy the effects of the misconduct on the complainant(s), including any investigation, resolution or disciplinary proceedings. The Title IX Coordinator also: provides information about reporting options and support resources; initiates interim protective measures; evaluates requests for confidentiality; coordinates appropriate accommodations; assists persons in filing complaints with law enforcement (when requested); provides or facilitates training for faculty, staff and students; and may investigate complaints.

The Title IX Coordinator may also serve as the University’s Equal Opportunity Officer (“EO Officer”).  If these positions are held by different persons, the Title IX Coordinator and EO Officer may collaborate on the enforcement of any aspect of this Policy.  There may also be a Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) designated to assist the Title IX Coordinator in the performance of the Coordinator’s duties and to whom specific responsibilities may be delegated. 

Anyone with questions, concerns or complaints related to Title IX, sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, and/or this Policy may contact the Title IX Coordinator on the relevant campus. The names and contact information for the Universities’ Title IX Coordinators and any Deputy Coordinators are identified on each University’s website.

5. Coordination with the Non-Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy

Harassment, misconduct or violence related to a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression is sometimes also related to a person’s race, age, disability, or membership in another protected class. Discriminating against or harassing any person on such bases is prohibited by the Universities’ Non-Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation Policy. In cases where the alleged conduct implicates both Policies, the University will coordinate its evaluation, investigation and resolution efforts to address the alleged conduct on all prohibited bases.  

Note:  While this Policy and the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures identify certain University officers and employees who have particular roles and duties, the Universities may designate other officers or employees to perform specific roles and/or duties set forth in this Policy or the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures.

B. DEFINITIONS AND EXAMPLES OF POLICY VIOLATIONS

For the purposes of this Policy, the following definitions and terms apply:

1.   Sexual Violence 

As defined by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, sexual violence “refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the [person’s] age or use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the [person] from having the capacity to give consent).”  All forms of sexual violence are prohibited by the Universities and Title IX.  

a. Rape

Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.  Rape is also the performance of oral sex or anal sex on another person without that person’s consent.

b. Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any kind of sexual physical contact that involves any form of coercion, force or lack of consent.  Sexual physical contact includes the intentional touching of another person on an area of the body generally recognized as a private part of the body, or touching any part of another person’s body with a private part of one’s own body, no matter how slight.  Sexual intercourse means penetration, no matter how slight, of a bodily orifice (vagina, anus, or mouth) by an object or by a body part, and/or non-consensual oral sex or anal sex.   

Examples of sexual assault include, but are not limited to:

  • kissing or fondling without consent;
  • rape;
  • advancing sexual activity without consent;
  • ignoring a partner’s objections to sexual activity on one occasion even when consent has been given in the past; and
  • engaging in manipulative, threatening and coercive behavior to obtain consent.

c. Sexual Exploitation  

Sexual exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another person for one’s own benefit or the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent. 

Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • prostituting another person;
  • recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
  • distributing through social media, texting, email or other media images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and
  • viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent.

d. Incest

Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other and whose marriage would be prohibited by law.  Attempts to commit incest are also prohibited.

e. Statutory Rape

Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent, which is 16 in Massachusetts.  Attempts to commit statutory rape are also prohibited.

f. Aiding in the Commission of Sexual Violence

The aiding or assisting in the commission of an act(s) of sexual violence is prohibited.  

Examples of aiding in the commission of violence include, but are not limited to:

  • videotaping a friend having sex with a person who has passed out drunk at a party; 
  • helping a friend to drug the friend’s date’s drink; and
  • encouraging students to engage in sexual activity when one knows those students to be  incapacitated by drugs or alcohol.

g. Affirmative Consent 

Consent is an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness by all parties to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  Consent must be informed, freely and actively given.  It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement.  

Whether an individual has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent. For example, a position of influence could include supervisory or disciplinary authority.

Silence, previous sexual relationships or experiences, and/or a current relationship may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent. While nonverbal consent is possible (through active participation), it is best to obtain verbal consent.  Similarly, consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as the withdrawal is communicated clearly.  

h. Incapacitation

An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. Alcohol or drug related incapacitation is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, or intoxication.  Evidence of incapacity may be detected from context clues, such as slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol on the breath, shaky equilibrium, vomiting, unusual behavior or unconsciousness. While context clues are important in determining incapacitation, they alone do not necessarily indicate incapacitation.

Persons unable to consent due to incapacitation also include, but are not limited to:  persons under age 16; persons who are intellectually incapable of understanding the implications and consequences of the act or actions in question; and persons who are physically helpless.  A physically helpless person is one who is asleep, blacked out, involuntarily physically restrained, unconscious, or, for any other reason, unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in any act.  

The use of alcohol or drugs to render another person mentally or physically incapacitated as a precursor to or part of a sexual assault is prohibited. The use of alcohol, medications or other drugs by the respondent or accused does not excuse a violation of this Policy.

i. Force

Force is the use of physical strength or action (no matter how slight), violence, threats of violence or intimidation (implied threats of violence) as a means to engage in sexual activity.  A person who is the object of actual or threatened force is not required to physically, verbally or otherwise resist the aggressor.

j. Coercion

Coercion is unreasonable pressure or emotional manipulation to persuade another to engage in sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that s/he does not want to engage in sexual behavior, or s/he does not want to go beyond a certain point of sexual activity, continued pressure beyond that point can be considered coercive.  Being coerced into sexual activity is not consent to that activity.

2.   Sexual Harassment  

Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is prohibited when:    

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or 
  • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or 
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating a sexually intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

Examples of sexual harassment may include, but are not limited to:  

  • repeatedly pressuring another person for sexual activity; 
  • making sexist remarks about an individual’s clothing, body or sexual activities; 
  • unnecessary touching, patting or pinching another person; 
  • demanding sex from a subordinate while making threats concerning the subordinate’s job;
  • demanding sex from a student while making implied threats concerning the student’s grade;
  • electronically transmitting derogatory, demeaning or pornographic materials; 
  • posting explicit sexual pictures on an exterior office door or on a computer monitor; and
  • sexually assaulting another person. 

Sexual harassment can occur between people of any gender. It can occur between equals (e.g., student to student, staff to staff, faculty to faculty) or between persons of differing power status (e.g., supervisor to subordinate, faculty to student, coach to athlete).  It is possible for a person who appears to have the lesser power to commit sexual harassment (e.g., a student harassing a faculty member).  

In order for conduct to constitute sexual harassment under this Policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

Reasonable directions or warnings by authorized University personnel as to the time, place and manner in which employees perform their assigned responsibilities, students carry out their educational assignments or program participants engage in sponsored activities do not constitute evidence of sexual harassment under this Policy.

Hostile Environment 

A hostile environment exists when sexual harassment is sufficiently serious to deny or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities. A hostile environment can be created by anyone involved in the University’s programs or activities (e.g., administrators, faculty members, students, and campus visitors).

To make the ultimate determination of whether a hostile environment exists for campus community member(s), the University considers a variety of factors related to the severity, persistence, or pervasiveness of the sexual harassment, including: (1) the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; (2) the identity and relationships of persons involved; (3) the number of individuals involved; (4) the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred; and, (5) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more person’s education or employment.

A single or isolated incident may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.  The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to show evidence of a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.  

3.   Gender-Based Harassment 

Unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a person’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, is prohibited when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or 
  • submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or 
  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment based on gender.

Examples of gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • using derogatory comments and terms toward a male or female who do not act in ways that align with their gender stereotype, such as a male being called names for being interested in the arts or a female being called names for being interested in construction;
  • telling someone to use a restroom that does not align with that person’s gender identity; and
  • making generalized derogatory comments about one gender, such as “all females” are ______ or “all males” are _______. 

While harassment based on non-sexual factors may be distinguished from sexual harassment, these types of behaviors may contribute to the creation of a hostile environment. Thus, in determining whether a sexually hostile environment exists, the University may consider acts of gender-based harassment.  In order for conduct to constitute gender-based harassment under this Policy, a reasonable person under similar circumstance would have to conclude that the behavior was harassing or discriminatory.

Reasonable directions or warnings by authorized University personnel as to the time, place and manner in which employees perform their assigned responsibilities, students carry out their educational assignments or program participants engage in sponsored activities do not constitute evidence of gender-based harassment under this Policy.

The definition of hostile environment provided under the Sexual Harassment section above also applies in the context of gender-based harassment.

4.  Domestic and Dating Violence

Domestic and dating violence are acts of abusive or coercive behavior (physical, sexual, financial, verbal and/or emotional) used by a perpetrator to gain or exercise control over another, including any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.  Domestic and dating violence can occur in relationships between persons of any gender. 

Domestic violence is such behavior directed against a current or former spouse, family member (blood, step, adoptive or foster), person with whom a child is shared, or cohabitant (possibly a roommate). 

Dating violence is such behavior directed against another person in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based on a consideration of the length and type of relationship and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.   

Examples of domestic and dating violence include, but are not limited to:

  • hitting, slapping, punching, kicking, pulling hair or other physical misconduct;
  • isolating a partner from family and friends;
  • destroying a roommate’s personal items;
  • physically assaulting the child of a partner;
  • pursuing sexual activity when a partner is not fully conscious, is not asked, or is afraid to say no, or coercing a partner to have sex without protection;
  • threatening to reveal a person’s sexual orientation without the person’s permission;
  • exhibiting excessive possessiveness and jealousy;
  • constantly belittling or insulting a partner;
  • checking a roommate’s cell phone or email account without permission;
  • demanding that a partner dress or act in a certain way; and/or
  • threatening violence against the victim’s acquaintances, friends, or family members.

5. Stalking

Engaging in a course of harassing, threatening, or unwanted behavior that would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress or fear for their safety or the safety of others.  Stalking may occur in a range of formats including, but not limited to, in-person conduct, writings, texting, voicemail, email, social media, following someone with a global position system (GPS), and video/audio recording. 

Examples of stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • repeated unwanted or unsolicited contact or leaving unwanted gifts or items; 
  • posting disturbing messages or threats online; 
  • creating, attempting to create, or disseminating unauthorized recordings of another; 
  • gathering information about an individual from family, friends, co-workers, and/or classmates, or by electronic means by installing spy-ware on a computer or using GPS;
  • threats in any form about an individual or their loved ones or threats to harm oneself;
  • damaging, stealing, borrowing, or relocating property, trespassing and vandalism;
  • pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by an individual; and
  • directing a third party to take any of the above acts.

6. Retaliation

The Universities prohibit retaliation against any person for making a complaint of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, for assisting in making a complaint, for resisting or openly opposing such conduct, or for otherwise using or participating in the complaint investigation process under the Policy.  Persons who file, or participate in the investigation or resolution of, claims or complaints of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation with outside agencies, law enforcement or otherwise pursuant to any applicable state or federal law, are also protected from retaliation by this Policy.

Prohibited retaliation includes, but is not limited to:  threats; intimidation; reprisals; continued harassment or misconduct; other forms of harassment; slander and libel; and adverse actions related to employment or education. Retaliation can be committed by individuals or groups, including friends, relatives or other associates of the person against whom a complaint is filed. Retaliation, even in the absence of proven sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking in an underlying complaint, constitutes a violation of this Policy that is just as serious as the main offense itself.

Any person who believes that he or she is the object of retaliation, or any person with questions or concerns about retaliation should contact the University’s EO Officer.  

C. CONDUCT THAT IS NOT PROHIBITED 

The Universities are committed to protecting, maintaining and encouraging both freedom of expression and full academic freedom of inquiry, teaching, service and research.  Nothing in this Policy shall be construed to penalize a member of the University community for expressing an opinion, theory, or idea in the process of responsible teaching and learning.  Any form of speech or conduct, no matter how offensive, unpleasant or even hateful, which is protected by the principles of academic freedom or the U.S. Constitution, is not subject to this policy.

D. CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

Consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships in which one party retains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical and create a risk for real or perceived coercion.  The Universities do not intrude upon private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not violate the Universities’ policies, or cause harm or increase the risk of harm to the safety and wellbeing of members of the campus community. 

Faculty/Administrator/Staff Member Relationships with Students

No faculty member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who is being taught or advised by the faculty member or whose academic work is being supervised or evaluated, directly or indirectly, by the faculty member.  No administrator or staff member shall have a romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, with a student who the administrator or staff member supervises, evaluates, advises, or provides other professional advice or services as part of a University program or activity.  A romantic and/or sexual relationship, consensual or otherwise, between a faculty member, administrator or staff member and a student is looked upon with disfavor and is strongly discouraged.  

Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinates or Between Co-Workers

A consenting romantic and/or sexual relationship between a supervisor and subordinate or coworkers may interfere with or impair the performance of professional duties and responsibilities and/or create an appearance of bias or favoritism.  Further, such relationships could implicate state ethics laws and/or result in claims of discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation.  Therefore, such workplace relationships are strongly discouraged.  

E. RESOURCES

The safety, health and well-being of the campus communities are of paramount importance to the Universities. All who experience any form of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation are strongly urged to talk to someone to get the support they need, no matter when or where the incident occurred.  

For information on the location, phone numbers, hours and services provided for the campus and community resources listed below, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the EO Officer, Human Resources, Student Life or Student Conduct, Residence Life, Health Services, the Counseling Center and/or Campus Police.  The information is also listed on each University’s website.

1.  Immediate Needs:  Assuring One’s Safety and Preserving Evidence

If an incident occurs, the Universities encourage victims to report the incident and seek both police and medical assistance.  Seeking police or medical assistance does not obligate a victim to make a complaint or take any further action, but the decision to seek medical help and gather evidence allows victims to preserve the full range of available options. The Universities will assist any community member to get to a safe place, provide transportation for medical help and, if requested, contact law enforcement.  For 24/7 help, contact Campus Police, or contact the Title IX Coordinator during normal University hours.

Any person who has experienced sexual violence is encouraged to take steps to preserve evidence of the incident, as doing so may be necessary to the proof of a crime or to obtain a protection order from the court. After an incident occurs, one should try to refrain from bathing, showering, brushing teeth, drinking, eating, douching or changing clothes until the evidence can be collected.  If one changes clothes, one should place each garment in a separate paper (not plastic) bag. If the incident involves any written or electronic communications (e.g., pictures/videos, texts, social media posts, etc.), take care to preserve copies and not delete the originals.

2.  Confidential Medical Attention 

Medical attention is strongly encouraged to treat any possible injuries, including internal injuries, or infections.  Please note that there are some medical actions that are more effective if taken within a few days after an offense, such as preventative treatment for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, evidence collection, and toxicology testing if there are signs that drugs or alcohol facilitated the offense.  Generally one may discuss the incident with licensed medical personnel on a confidential basis.

a.  Confidential Medical Resources On Campus

Students may access the services of the Student Health Center on a confidential basis. 

Employees may seek the confidential services of the Employee Assistance Program (“EAP”).   

b. Confidential Community Medical Resources

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) are specially trained, certified professionals skilled in performing quality forensic medical-legal exams.  Here one may find more information about SANE services and where to obtain them: 

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/community-health/dvip/violence/  

3. Confidential Counseling and Support  

Generally, one may discuss the incident with a licensed mental health counselor or a counselor recognized by a religious order or denomination on a confidential basis. These counselors are good options if one wishes to discuss one’s situation with someone who can keep one’s information as confidential as possible while assisting one to determine what additional steps to take, such as obtaining further counseling, seeking medical attention, preserving evidence, and/or reporting to University or law enforcement authorities then or at a later time.  

a. Confidential Counseling and Support Resources On Campus

Students may access the services of Counseling Services on a confidential basis.  Employees may seek the confidential services of the EAP. All community members may access the confidential services of any religious/pastoral counselors on campus.

b. Confidential Community Counseling and Support Resources 

Many off-campus counseling resources are available. These service providers are not required to report any information to the University and will generally maintain one’s confidentiality.

White House Initiative to Combat Sexual

Assault on College Campuses

www.notalone.gov  (searchable listing of local resources & hotlines)

The National Stalking Resource Center 

http://www.victimsofcrime.org/our-programs/stalking-resource-center

National Sexual Assault Hotline

(800) 656-4673 (24 hour)

RAINN [Rape Abuse & Incest National Network]

(800) 656-4673 (Hotline) www.rainn.org (On-Line Chat Live)

National Domestic Violence Hotline

(800) 799-7233 (24 hour)

MA Spanish Language Rape Crisis Center Hotline

(Llamanos)

(800) 223-5001(Hotline)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

(800) 273-8255 (Hotline)

Victim Rights Law Center 

115 Broad Street, 3rd Floor Boston, MA 02110

Phone: 617-399-6720 

(legal services for victims of sexual assault)

Additionally, the Rape Crisis Centers listed below offer FREE services, including: 

  • 24/7 hotline counseling, information, and referral;
  • will go with survivors to hospitals and/or police stations 24/7;
  • will go with a survivor to court;
  • provide one-to-one counseling and support group counseling; and
  • provide primary prevention education; professional training; outreach.

Greater Boston Area

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Cambridge

(800) 841-8371 (24 hour hotline), (617) 492-6434 TTY

BARCC ha ayudado a miles de mujeres y hombres.  Por favor llámanos si necesita ayuda. Estamos aquí para usted. Usted puede llamar nuestra oficina al numero 617.649.1297 o llamar la línea de ayuda de Llámanos y Hablemos al numero 1.800.223.5001

Francais et Kreyol: http://www.barcc.org/francais; http://www.barcc.org/francais/kreyol

Northeastern Massachusetts

North Shore Rape Crisis Center, Beverly, 800-922-8772 Hotline, 978-921-8729 TTY

Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, 800-542-5212 Hotline, 978-452-8723 TTY

YWCA of Greater Lawrence, 877-509-9922 SA Hotline, 978-686-8840 TTY

Central Massachusetts

Rape Crisis Center of Central Mass., Worcester, 800-870-5905 Hotline, 508-852-7600 TTY

Rape Crisis Center of Central Mass., Fitchburg, 800-870-5905

Wayside Victim Services, Milford, 800-511-5070 Hotline, 508-478-4205 TTY

Voices Against Violence, Framingham, 800-593-1125 Hotline, 508-626-8686 TTY

Southeastern Massachusetts

A Safe Place, Nantucket, 508-228-2111 Hotline, 508-228-0561 TTY

Independence House, Hyannis, 800-439-6507 Hotline, 508-778-6782 TTY

Women Support Services, Vineyard Haven, 508-696-7233

Greater New Bedford Women Center, New Bedford, 888-839-6636 Hotline, 508-996-1177 TTY

New Hope, Attleboro, 800-323-4673 Hotline/TTY

Stanley Street Women Center, Fall River, 508-675-0087 Hotline, 508-673-3328 TTY

Womansplace Crisis Center, Brockton, 508-588-8255 SA Hotline, 508-894-2869 TTY

Western Massachusetts

Elizabeth Freeman Center, Pittsfield, 413-443-0089 Hotline, 413-499-2425 TTY

Everywoman Center, Amherst, 413-545-0800 Hotline, 888-337-0800 TTY

NELCWIT, Greenfield, 413-772-0806 Hotline/TTY

YWCA, Springfield, 800-796-8711

YWCA of Western Mass, Westfield, 800-479-6245 Hotline/TTY

As the above contact information may be subject to change, current contact information on rape crisis centers in Massachusetts can be found at:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/consumer/physical-health-treatment/health-care-facilities/rape-crisis-centers.html. For more information about programs and services offered by the Commonwealth regarding sexual and domestic violence see:

http://www.mass.gov/eohhs/gov/departments/dph/programs/community-health/dvip/violence/sapss/

4. Non-Confidential Campus Resources

The Universities offer a variety of resources to those community members who have experienced or been affected by sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. While the following resources are not bound by confidentiality, they will maintain one’s privacy within the limited group of University personnel necessary to address the issues of prohibited conduct presented.

  • Title IX Coordinator (and any Deputies)      
  • Housing/ Residence Life
  • EO Officer                                                   
  • Student Life/Student Affairs
  • Campus Police                                            
  • Student Conduct
  • Human Resources                                       
  • Disability Services

F. REPORTING OPTIONS

The Universities strongly encourage all who have experienced sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation to report the incident so that the University can provide support and pursue an appropriate resolution. The Universities prohibit and will not tolerate retaliation against anyone who makes a report.  

Victims have several options for reporting:  Confidential Reports, Non-Confidential Reports and Making No Report.  While each option will be described in detail below and summarized at Appendix A, as a general rule, if a University receives a report of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation, it must investigate the report.  If one is unsure of someone’s duty to report or ability to maintain one’s privacy, one should ask them before one talks to them about an incident.  They will be able to explain if they are required to make a report, and they can identify others who can help. 

All parties and witnesses to incidents of such prohibited conduct have reasonable expectations of privacy in matters reported and investigated under this Policy.  The Universities want all community members to seek the assistance they need without fear that their private information will be shared more broadly than they would like. Federal and state laws, however, impose reporting obligations on certain University employees that, under some circumstances, require those employees to share information about an incident of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation with others at the University. Even when these employees have an obligation to report, they will protect the privacy of the reporter to the greatest extent possible and share information on only a need-to-know basis.  

When a person makes a report, a University employee or official will try to ensure that the person is informed of their reporting obligations, and they will direct the person to Confidential Resources to whom one may make a private report.  So that one fully understands the ability to make reports and the ability to keep one’s information confidential, please review the following reporting options. If one needs assistance in making a report, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.

  1. Confidential Reporting Options                                                                  

a. Clergy, Pastoral Counselors, Licensed Medical and Mental Health Providers

One may report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation in confidence to licensed mental health counselors, licensed health care personnel, pastoral counselors or clergy who work for the Universities. Employees may also report such misconduct in strict confidence through the EAP. Except in rare, extreme circumstances, these individuals will share nothing without one’s permission. For example, a University official who works as a clinical provider is legally required to break confidentiality when there appears to be a risk of immediate harm.  Also, the University may be required to notify the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families if it receives a report regarding the abuse (including sexual assault) of a child.  

Even if one does not wish to make a complaint, these individuals can help one to obtain support services and provide information about one’s options. Please bear in mind, however, that if one requests certain protective interim measures from the University, e.g., extension for academic work or changing classes, residence halls or work locations (see Section H), the Dean of Students and/or other University officials as necessary may be contacted only for the purpose of providing the requested measures.  In such cases, one’s privacy will be maintained to the extent that maintaining confidentiality will not impair the University’s ability to provide the requested measures.  

One may also confidentially report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation to community support resources, which are not required to share information with the Universities.  

b. Anonymous Reporting

One may file an anonymous report (without including one’s personal identification) with the Title IX Coordinator.  Anonymous reports will typically be used only for statistical data collection under the Clery Act, will be kept confidential, and will not be used to initiate an investigation or a complaint except:  (1) when necessary to comply with applicable law; or (2) to protect the health and safety of the campus community.

2. Non-Confidential Reporting Options

a. Campus Reporting Options

If one wishes to report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation to the University, one may notify the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the EO Officer, Campus Police, the Human Resources Director, the Dean of Students or Student Conduct.  Upon receipt of a report, the University will conduct appropriate follow-up to ensure that one has access to support, services, safety measures, and accommodations. One may also request a criminal investigation through Campus Police, who will assist in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction (see below for more information on Criminal Reporting Options).

The Universities recognize that one may feel most comfortable disclosing an incident to a University employee that one knows well, such as a resident advisor, coach or faculty member. Pursuant to Title IX, however, certain employees are required, under nearly all circumstances, to report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator. These employees, known as “Responsible Employees” or “REs” are those with supervisory responsibilities or the authority to address or remediate sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, or whom a student might reasonably believe has such supervisory responsibility or authority.  

The Universities encourage victims to speak with an RE so that the incident can be investigated and properly resolved.  When one makes a report to an RE, one has the right - and should expect - the University to take the report seriously, to undertake a prompt, thorough and fair investigation, and to resolve the matter in accordance with the procedures in this Policy.  

The REs at the Universities include persons holding the following positions:

  • Members of the Boards of Trustees;
  • The President and Vice Presidents;
  • Assist./Assoc. Vice Presidents;
  • Title IX Coordinator/ Deputy Coordinators;
  • EO Officer;
  • Campus Police;
  • Institutional Security Officers;
  • Director and Assist./Assoc. Director of Human Resources;
  • Departmental Directors and Assist./Assoc. Directors4;
  • Residence Life Staff (including RDs and RAs);
  • Athletic Coaches, Assistant Coaches and Athletics Administrators;
  • Studio Managers;
  • Lab Managers;
  • Deans and Assistant/Associate Deans
  • Academic Department Chairs;
  • Academic and Non-Academic Program Directors/ Coordinators; 
  • Faculty/Staff Leading or Chaperoning Travel or Overnight Trips; and
  • Faculty/Staff Advisors to Student Organizations.

The complete listing of the REs for each University can be found on each University’s website.  http://www.westfield.ma.edu/sexual-violence/non-confidential-reporting-options#Responsible_Employees

Once an RE receives the report, the University is “on notice” of the incident and the University is then required, under most circumstances, to investigate. If one makes a report to an RE, however, only the people who need to know about the report will be told.  Personal information will be shared only as necessary, and consistently with state and federal law: (1) with Administrative Investigators, witnesses, and the accused; (2) with other University officials to provide interim measures or accommodations; or (3) when required to be disclosed by law.

Whenever possible, REs will disclose their duty to report incidents before someone reveals information about an incident.  REs will also inform a person making a report of their option to make a confidential report on campus, and where to obtain support services.

Additionally, University employees who are designated as Campus Security Authorities (“CSAs”) for the purposes of the Clery Act must provide Campus Police with non-identifying statistical victim information regarding all reported incidents of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. This statistical information is used by the Universities to compile their Annual Security Report, and by Campus Police for purposes of advising the campus of any potential safety risks or concerns.  

Accordingly, unless a University employee or official is identified as a Confidential Resource in Appendix A, most other University employees and officials who receive reports of incidents of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation are required to report them to the Title IX Coordinator. 

b. Criminal Reporting Options  

Victims may file a criminal complaint with Campus Police and/or the local police department where the incident occurred.  Victims can make a criminal report and a report to the University; one does not have to choose one or the other.  

The Universities encourage victims to report incidents to the police so that the police can take appropriate measures to help victims and prevent future crimes.  If one would like assistance in filing a report with local law enforcement, Campus Police will help.

Victims are never required, however, to report an incident to Campus Police or local law enforcement.  If a victim elects not to make a criminal report, the Universities will respect that decision to not report the incident to the police.

If a victim chooses to make a report to Campus Police, the Department will conduct an investigation and, if wished, assist the victim in filing criminal charges against the alleged offender. Campus Police can also assist a victim in the process of obtaining protective restraining orders and abuse prevention orders for relationship/domestic violence. The Department has specially trained officers to respond to complaints of sexual assault and domestic violence, and, whenever possible, Campus Police will make every effort to offer female victims/survivors an opportunity to have a female officer present during all interviews. Campus Police also helps the University to evaluate, investigate and resolve complaints under this Policy, and Campus Police assists in protecting the safety of complainants.

c. Governmental Reporting Options

If one wishes to file a complaint of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation outside of the University or in addition to a complaint filed under the University’s Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures, the following agencies may provide additional resources: 

U.S. Department of Education,

Office for Civil Rights

http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

U.S. Department of Education

Office for Civil Rights

33 Arch Street, 9th Floor

Boston, MA 02119-1424

(617) 289-0111, TDD (877) 521-2172

U.S. Department of Justice

Office on Violence Against Women

http://www.ovw.usdoj.gov/

Office on Violence Against Women

145 N St., NE, Suite 10W. 121

Washington, D.C. 20530

(202) 307-6026

Fax: (202) 305-2589

Email: ovw.infor@usdoj.gov

Persons who have questions or who wish to file a complaint of gender discrimination or sexual harassment under state law may contact the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination:

Boston Office:

One Ashburton Place, 

Rm. 601

Boston, MA 02108

(617) 727-3990

Worcester Office:

Worcester City Hall

455 Main Street, Rm. 101

Worcester, MA 01608

(508) 799-8010

Springfield Office:

424 Dwight Street, Rm. 220

Springfield, MA  01103

(413) 739-2145

New Bedford Office:

800 Purchase Street, Rm. 501

New Bedford, MA  02740

(508) 990-2390

Employees with complaints, questions or concerns about gender discrimination, sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation may also contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, John F. Kennedy Federal Building, 475 Government Center, Boston, MA 02203, (800) 669-4000, TTY (800) 6696820.

 d. Third Party Reporting

Anyone may make a report of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation against another member of the campus community or a person affiliated with the University by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, Campus Police or another Responsible Employee.

e. Unknown/Non-University Offenders

If one does not know the identity of an alleged offender, or if the alleged offender is not a member of the campus community, the University will assist a victim in identifying appropriate resources or local authorities if the victim wishes to file a report. In addition, the University may investigate to the fullest extent possible and take other actions to protect the University community.

3.  Making No Report

Victims have the right not to make a report to anyone. The Universities, however, strongly encourage victims to seek medical attention, counseling and support. Victims are always welcome to file a report at a later date, but please note that a delay in reporting could weaken the evidence necessary to determine whether the accused is found responsible for committing an act of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation.

4.  Amnesty 

Students may be hesitant to report sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation out of concern that they, or witnesses, might be charged with violations of the Universities’ drug/alcohol policies. While the Universities do not condone such behavior, they place a priority on the need to address sexual violence and misconduct. Accordingly, a University may elect not to pursue discipline against a student who, in good faith, reports, witnesses or possesses personal knowledge of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation.

5.  Timeframe for Reporting 

The Universities do not limit the timeframe for filing a complaint under this Policy.  While reports may be made at any time, complainants are reminded that the more time that passes from the time of the incident, the more difficult it is for the University to obtain information and contact witnesses, and the alleged respondent may no longer be affiliated with the University.

6.  False Charges 

The filing of a knowingly false report of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation is a serious offense prohibited by this Policy. A report made in good faith, however, is not considered false merely because the evidence does not ultimately support the allegation of prohibited conduct. If an investigation reveals that a complainant knowingly filed false charges, the University shall take appropriate actions and issue sanctions pursuant to other applicable University policies, including any applicable collective bargaining agreement. The imposition of such sanctions does not constitute retaliation under this Policy.

7.  Employees’ Duty to Report

All members of the Universities’ campus communities are encouraged to promptly report incidents of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator.

As set forth above in Subsection 2, each University employee designated as a Title IX Responsible Employee who is informed about an allegation of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation involving any member of the campus community is required to notify the Title IX Coordinator either directly or through their relevant reporting structure.  

Additionally, as set forth above in Subsection 2, University employees who are designated as CSAs for the purposes of the Clery Act must provide Campus Police with non-identifying statistical information regarding all reported incidents of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. 

University employees who serve in professional roles in which communications are afforded confidential status under the law (e.g., licensed mental health care providers, medical providers, pastoral counselors and clergy) may, consistent with their ethical and legal obligations, be required to report limited information about incidents without revealing the identities of the individuals involved, to the Title IX Coordinator. Such employees who receive reports of violence or misconduct when not functioning in their licensed capacity (e.g., teaching a course) are not prohibited by their ethical codes or legal obligations from making a full report to the University.

8. Employees’ Duty to Cooperate

Every faculty member, librarian, administrator, staff member and University employee has a duty to cooperate fully and unconditionally in an investigation conducted pursuant to the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures at Appendix 3 of the EO Plan, subject to the provisions of any relevant collective bargaining agreements. This duty includes, among other things, speaking with the EO Officer, Title IX Coordinator, Administrative Investigator, reviewing or appellate body, and voluntarily providing all documentation that relates to the claim being investigated. The failure and/or refusal of any employee to cooperate in an investigation may result in a separate disciplinary action up to and including termination.

G. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY:  ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

1. Requests for Confidentiality or for No Investigation

If a victim discloses an incident of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation, but requests that the University maintain confidentiality or that no investigation or disciplinary action occur, the University will weigh the request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for its entire community, including the victim, and its obligation to comply with applicable laws. It is important to understand that the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate an incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s) may be limited if the University honors a confidentiality or no investigation request.

In consultation with Campus Police and other University personnel as necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate a request for confidentiality or that investigation/discipline occur by considering a range of factors including, but not limited to, whether:

  • there have been other similar complaints about the same alleged perpetrator; 
  • the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence; 
  • the alleged perpetrator threatened any further violence against the victim or others; 
  • the misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  • the act was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • the alleged perpetrator holds a position of power over the victim;
  • the victim is a minor; 
  • the University possesses no other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence); 
  • there appears to be a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group; and/or
  • other circumstances indicating an increased risk of violence or harm.

The presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to investigate and/or pursue discipline. The University will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, share information with only the people responsible for handling the University’s response.

The Universities may not require a victim to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.  If none of the factors listed above are present, the University will likely honor the victim’s request for confidentiality.  It will also take interim measures as necessary to protect and assist the victim.  In this circumstance, the University will consider broader remedial action, such as increased monitoring, supervision or security, increased or targeted education or prevention measures, conducting climate assessments/victimization surveys, and/or revisiting its policies and practices.

In the event that the victim requests that the University inform the alleged perpetrator that the victim asked the University not to investigate or seek discipline, the University will honor this request and inform the alleged perpetrator that the University made the decision to go forward.

2. Privacy for Respondents Who Are Students

A student’s right to privacy is primarily governed by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy

Act (“FERPA”), which provides that personally identifiable information maintained by the Universities in students’ educational records may not be disclosed except with the consent of the student or as otherwise specified by law.  For more information, see each University’s website for its Annual Notice on FERPA.  

3.  Disclosures Made At Public Awareness Events

Public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak outs” or other forums in which individuals disclose incidents of sexual violence or relationship violence are not considered notice to the Universities and do not trigger an obligation to investigate any particular incident(s).  Such events may, however, inform the Universities’ education and prevention efforts.

4.  Statistical Reporting and Timely Warnings Under The Clery Act

The Clery Act requires the Universities to maintain a daily log of reports of crimes that occurred on campus, University-controlled property or public property immediately adjacent to campus, including reports of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence and stalking.  The Universities must also publish an Annual Campus Crime Report concerning reported incidents. The Universities do not include names or other personally identifying information in the daily logs or the Annual Security Reports.  

Additionally, when the University becomes aware that an incident of sexual misconduct or violence occurred, and there is a potential for bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community, the University will issue a timely warning to the campus.  While the University will provide enough information to safeguard the campus community, a victim’s name or other personally identifying information will not be disclosed in the timely warning.

H.   PROTECTIVE INTERIM MEASURES

The Universities are committed to supporting victims by providing the necessary crisis intervention, safety and support services, and academic accommodations throughout the investigation and resolution process. The Universities want all community members to be safe, to receive appropriate medical attention, and to get the help they need to heal and to continue to access their educational or employment opportunities. The Universities also want victims to understand their reporting options and how to access available interim measures. The Universities encourage victims of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation to report incidents to the Title IX Coordinator or any Responsible Employee with whom the victim feels comfortable.

Victims may obtain protective interim measures by either (1) reporting the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or other Responsible Employee and requesting interim measures, or (2) disclosing the incident to a counselor, who in turn can request interim measures on the victim’s behalf from the University.  

If a victim elects to confidentially disclose an incident to a counselor and also seeks protective interim measures from the University, the counselor may ask the victim to sign a release specifying the information that may be shared with the University. In accordance with the University’s practice of allowing counselors to seek such measures for victims of trauma without requiring that the nature of the trauma be disclosed, the University will not require a counselor to disclose that sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation is the basis for the request. Additionally, if a victim does not wish for the University to investigate or otherwise notify the alleged respondent of the reported incident, a counselor may still request protective interim measures on behalf of the victim. In such cases, the Title IX Coordinator will consider whether the University can honor the request for confidentiality or no investigation while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the campus.

Upon receipt of a report or request for protective interim measures, the University will provide the victim, or the victim’s counselor, with a written explanation of the interim measures available, and shall ask victims, or their counselors, which measures are sought. Some possible interim measures are listed below, and the University determines which measures are appropriate for each victim on a case-by-case basis.  Not all of the measures listed below will be necessary to keep every victim safe and ensure their equal access to University programs and activities.  If the victim or counselor requests an interim measure that is not already provided by the University, it will consider whether the request can be granted.  In cases where interim measures affect both the victim and the alleged respondent, the University will minimize the burden on the victim wherever appropriate.  

The Universities will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective interim

measures provided to the victim, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the Universities to provide the accommodations or protective interim measures.

The University may provide one or more of the following protective measures:

  • “no contact/communication” orders; 
  • escorts to ensure safety while moving between locations on campus;
  • changes in academic or work schedules;
  • statutorily-provided leave to employees, such as Domestic Violence Leave pursuant to M.G.L. c. 49, §52D; 
  • alternative housing, dining and/or office accommodations;
  • restrictions from areas of campus;
  • medical and/or mental health services;
  • assistance in  identifying an advocate to help secure additional assistance, such as off-campus and community advocacy, support and services; and/or
  • academic accommodations, such as: 
    • transferring to another section of a course, lecture or lab;
    • rescheduling an academic assignment or test;
    • arranging for incompletes, a leave of absence, or withdrawal from campus; and
    • preserving eligibility for academic, athletic, or other scholarships,  financial aid, internships, study abroad, or foreign student visas.

The Universities may also suspend a student on an interim basis or place an employee on paid administrative leave prior to completing an investigation under this Policy when it reasonably concludes that the person: (a) poses a threat to health or safety; (b) poses a threat to University property or equipment; (c) is disruptive or interferes with an investigation under this Policy or the normal operations of the University; or (d) is charged with a serious violation of state or federal law. The University shall provide the employee or student of the specific reason(s) for the interim action. During an interim action, the University reserves the right to prohibit the person from entering upon the University’s property or participating in any University activities absent written authorization from an appropriate University official. When a person has been placed on interim suspension or paid leave of absence, the Universities will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation process in an expedited manner.  

The failure of a person to comply with an interim suspension, temporary leave or other interim measure is a violation of this Policy and may lead to additional disciplinary action.

Additionally, in some circumstances, a victim may wish to seek an order of protection from a court or appropriate jurisdiction against the alleged perpetrator. In these circumstances, Campus Police will assist individuals in their attempt to secure these orders. Individuals may also seek restriction of access to the University by non-students or non-employees when appropriate.

I. WRITTEN NOTIFICATION OF RIGHTS, OPTIONS, AVAILABLE RESOURCES, SERVICES AND INFORMATION

The Universities will provide written information to community members regarding counseling, medical and mental health services, disability accommodations, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, and other services available on and off campus. In addition, the Universities will provide notification to victims of their rights and options set forth in this Policy, including, but not limited to, options for, protective interim measures, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to the police or file a complaint with the University.  

The Universities will notify complainants alleging sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation in writing that they have the following rights:

  • to an explanation of the options available;
  • to referrals to confidential assistance and support services from both on- and off-campus resources, including 24 hour services;
  • to a change in on-campus residence and/or an adjustment to their academic schedule if such changes are reasonably available;
  • to request that the University impose no contact/communication orders or other interim measures; 
  • to make a complaint that starts the University’s investigation and resolution processes;
  • to a prompt, thorough and equitable investigation and resolution of a complaint;
  • to choose whether or not to initiate a formal investigation of the complaint, unless the University deems it necessary to investigate to protect the safety of the community or in compliance with applicable law;
  • to the confidentiality of the investigation process to the extent possible (see Privacy and Confidentiality at Section G);
  • to an advisor of one’s choice who will assist and be present at any time during the investigation proceedings, but who may not participate in or otherwise provide representation in any way throughout the process;
  • to reasonable accommodations for a documented disability during the process;
  • to know, in advance, the names of all persons known to be involved; 
  • not to have irrelevant sexual history discussed; 
  • to be present at meetings and review documents; 
  • to speak and present information on one’s own behalf; 
  • to submit questions for the Administrative Investigator to ask witnesses;
  • to know the status of the case at any point during the process; 
  • to be informed of the outcome of the process in a timely manner;
  • to an appeal from the outcome of the process;
  • to file no complaint with the University, but receive support services from the University;
  • to file a police report and/or take legal action separate from and/or in addition to the University discipline process;
  • to seek and enforce a no contact, restraining or similar court order;
  • to be assisted by the University in seeking assistance from or filing a complaint with local law enforcement;
  • to not file a complaint or seek assistance from local law enforcement, but receive support services from the University; 
  • to be free from any behavior that may be construed by the University to be intimidating, harassing or retaliatory; and
  • to have the matter handled in accordance with University Policy.

Respondents to claims of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation have the following rights:

  • to an explanation of the allegations against them;  
  • to referrals to confidential assistance and support services from both on- and off-campus resources, including 24 hour services;
  • to receive a copy of the complaint filed against them;
  • to be presumed not in violation of University policy until a violation is established through the complaint investigation process;
  • to the confidentiality of the investigation process to the extent possible (see Privacy and Confidentiality at Section G);
  • to an advisor of one’s choice who will assist and be present at any time during the investigation proceedings, but who may not participate in or otherwise provide representation in any way throughout the process;
  • to reasonable accommodations for a documented disability during the process;
  • to know, in advance, the names of all persons known to be involved; 
  • not to have irrelevant sexual history discussed; 
  • to be present at meetings and review documents; 
  • to speak and present information on one’s own behalf; 
  • to submit questions for the Administrative Investigator to ask witnesses;
  • to know the status of the case at any point during the investigation and resolution process; 
  • to be informed of the outcome of the process in a timely manner;
  • to an appeal from the outcome of the process;
  • to be free from any behavior that may be construed by the University to be intimidating, harassing or retaliatory; and
  • to have the matter handled in accordance with University Policy.

Note:  In some circumstances, a complaint alleging an act of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation may also allege conduct that may constitute a potential violation of other University conduct policies.  To avoid duplicative efforts, the University may undertake a joint investigation of the conduct under Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures at Appendix 3 of the EO Plan. Based on the findings of the joint investigation, the respondent may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the Sexual Violence Policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct, as well as other policy violations.

J. EDUCATION AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS

As part of the Universities’ commitment to providing working, living and learning environments free from sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation, this Policy shall be disseminated widely to the campus communities through publications, new employee and student orientations, physical posting in places where students and employees are likely to see it, and other appropriate communications. A copy of this Policy shall be prominently posted on each University’s website.

The Universities provide sustained and comprehensive training to the campus community concerning: (1) prevention and awareness programs that address rape, acquaintance rape, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking; (2) the provisions of the Universities’ Sexual Violence Policy; and (3) the Universities’ Complaint and Investigation Procedures for alleged violations of the Sexual Violence Policy.  Additionally, the Universities provide all new or incoming students and employees primary prevention and awareness programs that promote awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, domestic and dating violence,  sexual assault, and stalking.  

The Universities have implemented primary and on-going prevention and awareness programs for students and employees focused on sexual violence, domestic and dating violence and stalking, and the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster mutually respectful relationships and sexuality. The Universities shall make preventative educational materials available to all community members to promote compliance and familiarity with this Policy.

In the training programs for students and employees, the Universities address the following:

  • The Universities’ prohibition of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
  • The University’s Sexual Violence Policy and Complaint and Investigation Resolution Procedures for addressing complaints of  sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
  • The Massachusetts’ legal definitions of the crimes of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
  • The legal definition of “consent” in reference to sexual activity in Massachusetts. 
  • The rights and remedies of students and employees under Title IX.
  • Practical information about identifying, preventing, and reporting sexual violence and sexual harassment.
  • The reporting options available to victims, on and off campus. 
  • The confidential resources available to the victims, on and off campus. 
  • How to obtain accommodations and/or interim protective measures.
  • How the Universities’ analyze complaints. 
  • Positive options for bystander intervention that an individual may take to prevent harm or intervene in risky situation.
  • The role of alcohol and drugs and student safety.
  • How employees should respond to reports of sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic and dating violence, and stalking; employees’ duty to make reports to the Universities and how to make such reports.
  • The Universities’ prohibition against retaliation.

In addition, the Universities provide annual training to its Title IX Coordinators and Deputy Coordinators, EO Officers, Administrative Investigators, review and appellate body members, responsible employees, Campus Police, and all others involved with the administration of this Policy and the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures on the topics listed above, as well as the following:

  • The obligations of responsible employees when interacting with students or employees making reports of sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.
  • The obligations of responsible employees to forward reports to the Universities. 
  • The dynamics of sexual violence and the unique toll it can take on self-blaming and traumatized individuals.
  • Understanding how sexual violence occurs, how it is perpetrated, and how victims naturally respond during and after assault. 
  • Issues related to sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.
  • The requirements of the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures.
  • How to conduct an investigation in a manner that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.
  • How to conduct prompt, fair, impartial and thorough investigations.

Furthermore, the Universities pledge to routinely:

  • evaluate current policies, procedures, and practices;
  • ensure appropriate training of all persons charged with administering this Policy and/or involved in the complaint investigation and resolution process;
  • evaluate who is designated an RE for Title IX reporting purposes and/or CSA for Clery Act reporting purposes, and disseminate and publish applicable list of REs and CSAs;
  • ensure appropriate training of REs and CSAs;
  • evaluate campus climate assessment survey data;
  • provide education and prevention programming for students and employees; and
  • evaluate physical security needs on campus.

K.  INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATIONS

At any time, the University, at its discretion, may conduct an investigation independent of, or in addition to, the procedures described in this Policy.  The investigation may involve complaints or allegations of violence, or concerning violations of Title IX, VAWA and/or the Clery Act against the University, or any of its employees or students.  Any such independent investigation will comply with the requirements of Title IX, VAWA and/or the Clery Act, as applicable.

L. COMPLIANCE CONCERNS

All are encouraged to report any concerns about the University’s handling of a sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation investigation to the University’s Title IX Coordinator.  Individuals may also report concerns about the University’s handling of such investigations to:

U.S. Department of Education 

Office for Civil Rights 

33 Arch Street, 9th Floor 

Boston, MA 02119-1424 

Telephone: (617) 289-0111 

FAX: (617) 289-0150; TDD (877) 521-2172

Email: OCR.Boston@ed.gov

M.  MASSACHUSETTS LEGAL DEFINITIONS

Alleged incidents of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation are determined by the language of this Policy rather than by the provisions of the criminal laws of Massachusetts.  However, community members who believe they have been the victim of a crime may choose to pursue a criminal investigation through local law enforcement.  In those instances, the criminal laws will apply.  Here are the definitions of Massachusetts crimes related to the conduct prohibited by this Policy:  

A.  Sexual Assault

Massachusetts uses the term “rape.”  The definition encompasses (1) the penetration of any orifice by any body part or object (2) by force (or threat) and (3) without consent.  Rape also includes instances where the victim is incapacitated (“wholly insensible so as to be incapable of consenting”) and the perpetrator is aware or should have known of the incapacitation.  Relatedly, under M.G.L. c. 268, § 40, a person who knows that an individual is a victim of an aggravated rape and is at the scene of the crime, must report the crime to law enforcement as soon as is reasonably practicable. 

http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section22; http://masscases.com/cases/sjc/450/450mass583.html

B.  Domestic Violence

Section 1 of M.G.L. c. 209A defines domestic abuse as “the occurrence of one or more of  the following acts between family or household members:  (a) attempting to cause or causing physical harm; (b) placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; (c) causing  another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress.”   http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A

For the purposes of Chapter 209A, “family or household members” are defined as persons who

(a) are or were married to one another;  (b) are or were residing together in the same household;  (c) are or were related by blood or marriage;  (d) have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together; or  (e) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship, which shall be adjudged by district, probate or Boston municipal courts’ consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time elapsed since the termination.  http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartII/TitleIII/Chapter209A

Section 13M of M.G.L. c. 265 prohibits assault and/or assault and battery against family or household members, which is defined as:  “persons who: (i) are or were married to one another, (ii) have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together or (iii) are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.” https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section13m https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter260

In determining whether Section 13M applies to a particular relationship, the courts shall consider the following factors:  “(1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship.” https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section13m

Section 15D of M.G.L. c. 265 prohibits the strangulation or suffocation of another person.  https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter260

C.   Dating Violence

While Massachusetts does not have a law concerning dating violence, conduct may constitute an assault or assault and battery under M.G.L. c. 265, § 13A. An assault or an assault and battery: (i) upon another and [the perpetrator] by such assault and battery causes serious bodily injury; (ii) upon another who is pregnant at the time of such assault and battery, [the perpetrator] knowing or having reason to know that the person is pregnant; or (iii) upon another who [the perpetrator] knows has an outstanding temporary or permanent vacate, restraining or no-contact order or judgment issued pursuant to [applicable law], in effect against him at the time of such assault or assault and battery.”  https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section13a

Section 13M of M.G.L. c. 265 prohibits assault and/or assault and battery against family or household members, which is defined as:  “persons who: (i) are or were married to one another,

have a child in common regardless of whether they have ever married or lived together or
are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.” https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section13m https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter260

In determining whether Section 13M applies to a particular relationship, the courts shall consider the following factors:  “(1) the length of time of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; (3) the frequency of interaction between the parties; and (4) if the relationship has been terminated by either person, the length of time that has elapsed since the termination of the relationship.” https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section13m

Section 15D of M.G.L. c. 265 prohibits the strangulation or suffocation of another person.

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter260

D.  Stalking

Section 43 of M.G.L. c. 265 defines “stalking” as “(1) willfully and maliciously engages in a knowing pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time directed at a specific  person which seriously alarms or annoys that person and would cause a reasonable person  to suffer substantial emotional distress, and (2) makes a threat with the intent to place the  person in imminent fear of death or bodily harm.”  http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIII/TitleI/Chapter265/Section43

E.  Consent

There is no definition of the term “consent” in the Massachusetts General Laws.  Massachusetts courts use the term “against his/her will” which means without consent.  Cases have held that consent cannot be compelled or induced by force or threats, and consent is not present when the victim is incapacitated.  In other words, consent requires a voluntary agreement demonstrated by words or actions, by a person with sufficient mental capacity to make a conscious choice to do something proposed by another, free of duress. Commonwealth v. Lopez, 433 Mass. 722 (2001), Commonwealth v. Lefkowitz, 20 Mass. App. Ct. 513 (1985); see also: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter265/Section22

 

APPENDIX A

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING

Personnel/Organization

Confidential  Status

Obligation to Report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or Outside of the University

University Counseling Services

Confidential

None, with the following exceptions:

If there is reasonable cause to suspect that a minor, or an elderly or disabled person, has been abused, Counseling Services may report this to the University in compliance with state law. 

If a person presents an imminent threat of harm to one’s self or others, a clinical provider may break confidentiality.

If one would like to request certain protective interim measures in the aftermath of reported sexual violence, e.g., more time to submit academic work or changing classes, residence halls or work locations, the Dean of Students and/or other University officials as necessary may be contacted only for the purpose of implementing the interim measures.

De-identified statistical information may be reported to Campus Police in compliance with the Clery Act.

University Health Services

Confidential

None, with the following exceptions:

If there is reasonable cause to suspect that a minor, or an elderly or disabled person, has been abused, Counseling Services may report this to the University in compliance with state law. 

If a person presents an imminent threat of harm to herself or others, a medical provider may break confidentiality.

If one would like to request certain protective interim measures in the aftermath of reported sexual violence, e.g., more time to submit academic work or changing classes, residence halls or work locations, the Dean of Students and/or other University officials as necessary may be contacted only for the purpose of implementing the interim measures.

De-identified statistical information may be reported to Campus Police in compliance with the Clery Act.

University Chaplains,

Clergy or Pastoral

Counselors 

Confidential

None, with the following exceptions:

If one would like to request certain protective interim measures in the aftermath of reported sexual violence, e.g., more time to submit academic work or changing classes, residence halls or work locations in the aftermath of reported sexual violence, the Dean of Students and/or other University officials as necessary may be contacted only for the purpose of implementing the interim measures.

De-identified statistical information may be reported to Campus Police in compliance with the Clery Act.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING

Personnel/Organization

Confidential  Status

Obligation to Report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or Outside of the University

University Employee Assistance Program 

Confidential

None

Off-Campus Medical Providers

Confidential

None

Off-Campus Rape Crisis

Centers, Counseling and/or

Victim Support Services

Confidential

None

Off-Campus Chaplains,

Clergy, Pastoral

Counselors

Confidential

None

Local Police or other Law Enforcement

Not Confidential

There is no obligation for local police or law enforcement to make a report to the University, but information may be shared with the University within the requirements of Massachusetts law.  

Outside Agencies 

(MCAD, EEOC, OCR,

BHE)

Not Confidential

The relevant agency will notify the University of accepted complaints.

Title IX Coordinators (and Deputies)

Not Confidential

Yes.  The Title IX Coordinator will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

EO Officers

Not Confidential

Yes. The EO Officer will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement

University policies and procedures.

Campus Police/Public Safety

Not Confidential

Yes.  Campus Police will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement

University policies and procedures.

Depending on the circumstances, an anonymous public warning may be issued by Campus Police.   Whenever possible, the University will notify one if this will be issued and one’s name and identifying information will not be included.  

University Trustees

Not Confidential

Yes.  Members of the Board of Trustees will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

The President 

Not

Confidential

 

Yes.  The President will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement

University policies and procedures.

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING

Personnel/Organization

Confidential  Status

Obligation to Report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or Outside of the University

Vice Presidents,

Associate and Assistant

Vice Presidents

Not Confidential

Yes.  The Vice Presidents and Associate/Assistant Vice Presidents will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Director and Assistant

Director of Human

Resources

Not Confidential

Yes.  The Director/Assistant Director of Human Resources will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Departmental Directors and Assistant Directors

Not Confidential

Yes.  Departmental Directors and Assistant Directors will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures, except:

Those Departmental Directors and Assistant Directors who serve in professional roles in which communications are afforded confidential status under the law (e.g., licensed mental health care providers, medical providers, pastoral counselors and clergy) will maintain confidentiality.

Residence Life

Professional Staff

(including RDs/RAs)

Not Confidential

Yes.  These Residence Life professionals will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Athletic Coaches, Assistant

Coaches and Athletics

Administrators

Not Confidential

Yes.  These members of the Athletics Department will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Studio Managers

Not Confidential

Yes.  Studio Managers will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Deans, Associate and Assistant Deans

Not Confidential

Yes.  The Deans and Associate/Assistant Deans will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Academic Department Chairs

Not Confidential

Yes. Academic Department Chairs will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Academic and Non-

Academic Program

Directors and Program

Coordinators

Not Confidential

Yes.        Academic   and   Non-Academic   Program    Directors/

Coordinators will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

 

 

 

CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING

Personnel/Organization

Confidential  Status

Obligation to Report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or Outside of the University

Faculty and Staff Leading or Chaperoning Travel or Overnight Trips

Not Confidential

Yes.  Faculty and Staff Travel Leaders and/or Chaperones will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

Faculty and Staff Advisors to Student Groups

Not Confidential

Yes.  Faculty and Staff Advisors to Student Groups will share information with University officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement University policies and procedures.

 

INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION PROCEDURES FOR COMPLAINTS OF DISCRIMINATION, DISCRIMINATORY HARASSMENT, SEXUAL VIOLENCE, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT, DOMESTIC VIOLENCE, DATING VIOLENCE, STALKING AND RETALIATION

I.  INTRODUCTION AND APPLICATION

It is the policy of the Universities to provide each student, employee, and other person having dealings with the institutions an environment free from all forms of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic and dating violence, stalking and retaliation as defined in the Universities’ Equal Opportunity, Diversity and Affirmative Action Plan (“EO Plan”) and/or each University’s Student Code of Conduct.

These Procedures are intended to provide a mechanism to investigate and resolve complaints of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation. These Procedures are available to all students, faculty, librarians, staff, visitors, contractors, applicants for employment or admission, and others having dealings with the Universities.

No community member may retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce or otherwise discriminate against any individual for filing a complaint under these Procedures or for otherwise exercising his or her rights or responsibilities under the EO Plan or the Student Code of Conduct.

Complaints of the following prohibited behaviors may be made under these Procedures:

Discrimination or discriminatory harassment on the basis of:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • national origin
  • age
  • disability/failure to accommodate
  • sex/gender
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • gender expression
  • genetic information
  • marital/parental status
  • veteran status

Any form of the following prohibited conduct:

  • sexual violence
    • rape
    • sexual assault
    • sexual exploitation
    • incest
    • statutory rape
    • aiding in the commission of sexual violence
  • sexual harassment
  • gender-based harassment
  • domestic violence
  • dating violence
  • stalking

Retaliation

II.  INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

Investigations of complaints are necessary to determine:

  • whether a complaint alleges a violation of the EO Plan or the Student Code of Conduct;
  • whether prohibited conduct has occurred;
  • whether there is an ongoing risk of harm for further prohibited conduct and, if so, what steps must be taken to prevent its recurrence;
  • whether interim protective measures should be in place for the safety of the complainant or the community, or to redress the effects of prohibited conduct;
  • whether the conduct warrants disciplinary action; and
  • whether local or system-wide changes to policies, practices or training should be considered and implemented by the Universities.

These Procedures have been designed to provide prompt, thorough, fair and impartial processes from investigation to final result. The proceedings pursuant to these Procedures will be conducted transparently and consistently with the Universities’ policies. The formal rules of process or evidence, such as those applied in criminal or civil courts, are not used under these Procedures.

The complaint investigation and resolution process is comprised of two processes, the Informal Resolution Procedure and the Formal Investigation Procedure, which are detailed below.

Deviations from the Informal Resolution Procedure or Formal Investigation Procedure shall not necessarily invalidate a decision, unless significant prejudice may result to a party or the University.

Note: While these Procedures identify certain University officers and employees who have particular roles and duties, the Universities may designate other officers or employees to perform specific roles and/or duties set forth in these Procedures.

A.  Informal Resolution Procedure

The Informal Resolution Procedure may not be used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.  If you seek to make such a complaint, the Formal Investigation Procedure in Section B will apply.

Where appropriate, the parties to a dispute may attempt to reach an informal resolution of the potential violation. The Universities encourage involved parties to request the intervention of the University to assist in an informal resolution by contacting the EO Officer.

In conference with the Title IX Coordinator and/or others as necessary, the EO Officer or the EO Officer’s designee will assess the request for informal resolution against the severity of allegations and the potential risk of a hostile environment or safety concern for other campus community members. If an informal resolution is appropriate, the EO Officer will notify the parties.  The University will not ask a complainant to resolve a problem with a respondent without the involvement of the EO Officer or designee.

The EO Officer or designee will facilitate a dialog with the parties in an attempt to reach a resolution. At no time prior to the resolution of the matter shall either party question or confront the other, or engage a third party to do so, outside the presence of the EO Officer or designee.

The matter will be deemed resolved when all parties expressly agree to an outcome that is acceptable to them and to the University.  Every attempt will be made to conclude the Informal Resolution Process within sixty (60) days of the date of the complainant’s request. 

A complainant is not required to use the Informal Resolution Procedure before initiating the Formal Investigation Procedure. A party may withdraw from the Informal Resolution Procedure and initiate the Formal Investigation Procedure at any time.

B.  Formal Investigation Procedure

Submission of Complaint and Initial Review

When a person believes that s/he has been harassed, discriminated or retaliated against, stalked or subjected to violence in violation of the EO Plan and/or the Student Code of Conduct, s/he may file a written complaint, preferably using the Complaint Form attached to these Procedures.[1]  Individuals are encouraged to file complaints directly with the EO Officer, but complaints may also be filed with other offices, such as the Title IX Coordinator, Student Conduct, Human Resources, Residence Life or Campus Police. Any complaint that is initially filed with other offices will be reported to the EO Officer. 

In certain circumstances, the University may initiate the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures without the filing of a written complaint or the active participation of a complainant. Complaints may be generated upon receipt of a report by a complainant or by a third-party reporter, such as, but not limited to, a friend, spouse, family member, advisor, parent or coworker.

A complaint must be filed by the complainant or a University official, and the complaint must be in the words of the complainant or the University official. Complaints should contain all known facts pertaining to the alleged violation, the names of any known witnesses and others with knowledge of the allegations, and an identification of any documents or other evidence.   

The EO Officer or designee will determine if the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of these Procedures. When complaints allege sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or retaliation, the EO Officer or designee will refer them to the Title IX Coordinator for jurisdictional evaluation and review. At this point, the University will implement any necessary and/or appropriate interim protective measures, or monitor and/or revise any measures already in place. If the University determines that the complaint is not properly filed pursuant to these Procedures, it will provide written notice to the complainant (or third party reporter).

Investigation Process

If a complaint has been properly filed, or the University otherwise determines that an investigation is necessary, the University will assign the matter to an Administrative Investigator.  The University may also designate other trained and knowledgeable University officials to assist with the investigation. Under circumstances where the University deems it necessary or appropriate, the University may also appoint an external investigator.

The Administrative Investigator will notify the respondent of the complaint, provide him or her with a copy of the complaint, and invite the respondent to submit a written response.  See the model Notice to Respondent attached to these Procedures. If the respondent does not respond, or otherwise fails to participate in the investigation, the Administrative Investigator will complete the investigation on the basis of the other information obtained. Where a complaint is brought by a third party reporter, the Administrative Investigator shall attempt to meet with the potential complainant to discuss his/her participation in the investigation, and to gain additional information. 

The investigation shall include, but is not limited to: an analysis of the allegations and defenses presented using the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) standard; consideration of all relevant documents, including written statements and other materials presented by the parties; interviews of the parties and other individuals and/or witnesses; and/or reviewing certain documents or materials in the possession of either party that the Administrative Investigator has deemed relevant. The Administrative Investigator may also review any available campus police investigation reports or the investigation reports of local law enforcement authorities.

In regards to complaints alleging sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, questions, statements, or information about the sexual activity of the complainant or alleged victim with any person other than the respondent is not relevant and will not be considered.  Parties to such complaints are permitted to submit questions for the Administrative Investigator to ask of the other parties and witnesses, but the questions must be specifically about the allegations of the present complaint.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Administrative Investigator shall prepare an Investigation Report for an administrative review. The Investigation Report shall:  outline the investigatory steps undertaken; summarize the factual findings; state whether a policy violation has occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence; explain the rationale for the violation determination; and, if applicable, recommend a sanction(s). The Investigation Report will not be shared with the parties except upon request following the issuance of the Notice of Outcome, and then only in accordance with applicable law.

At any point during the investigation, a respondent may agree to the allegations and the recommended sanction.

Administrative Review

The EO Officer, Title IX Coordinator or other designated University official(s) (the “reviewing body”) will conduct an administrative review of the Investigation Report. The purpose of the administrative review is to determine whether the investigation is prompt, fair, impartial and thorough. If the reviewing body determines the investigation is deficient, the reviewing body shall remand the matter back to an Administrative Investigator for further investigation.

If the reviewing body determines that the investigation is prompt, fair, impartial and thorough, the reviewing body will then consider whether the recommended discipline or sanction is consistent with University policy and practice. In determining discipline, the Administrative Investigator and the reviewing body may consider the respondent’s disciplinary history, if one exists. The Administrative Investigator and/or reviewing body may discuss sanctions with other University personnel as necessary, such as Human Resources, Student Conduct or upper-level administrators.

At any point during the administrative review, a respondent may agree to the allegations and the recommended sanction.

Notice of Outcome

At the completion of the administrative review, the University will notify the respondent of all sanctions imposed. If the sanctions imposed on the respondent include a separation from the residence halls or the University, and, in the opinion of the Administrative Investigator and/or reviewing body, the respondent poses a continued threat to the safety of the campus community, the sanctions may take effect immediately, and while an appeal is pending.

At the completion of the administrative review, the University will also contemporaneously issue a written Notice of Outcome to the complainant and the respondent. The Notice of Outcome shall include the following:

  1. the factual findings of the investigation;
  2. the policy violation determination and the rationale for the determination;
  3. all sanctions that result from an allegation of sexual violence or other crime of violence; 
  4. the sanctions that directly relate to the complainant that arise from an allegation of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, non-violent sexual or gender-based harassment, and/or retaliation; and
  5. the parties’ appeal rights.

If no appeal is filed by either party within five (5) days of their receipt of the Notice of Outcome, the results will become final and the University will proceed with the imposition of the recommended sanction(s). 

A person making a complaint of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking may submit a victim impact statement. A respondent to such a complaint may submit a statement of mitigation or extenuation.

Option for Mediation of Formal Complaints

Mediation may not be requested or used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. 

During a formal investigation, at any time prior to the issuance of the Notice of Outcome, either party may request mediation of the complaint by contacting the EO Officer or Title IX Coordinator.  All parties must agree to mediation for this option to be used. 

The purpose of mediation is to resolve the dispute to the satisfaction of all parties. When mediation is appropriate, the EO Officer shall designate an impartial Mediator, who shall be mutually agreed upon and not unreasonably refused by the parties, and inform the parties in writing of the mediation process and schedule. Where practicable, a mediation session shall be conducted no later than thirty (30) days after agreed to by the parties. The timelines presented under these Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures shall be tolled pending the outcome of mediation. If successful in resolving the complaint, the Mediator shall reduce to writing the terms of the mediated resolution, which shall be signed by the parties. If mediation does not result in a resolution, all mediation discussions shall remain confidential and may not be used or introduced in this process or any other forum.

Timeframe

The University will make every attempt to conclude the Formal Investigation Process within sixty (60) days of the date of the submission of the complainant.  If, for good cause, an investigation cannot be completed within 60 days, the University will provide the parties status updates at reasonable intervals until the investigation is completed.

Appeals

Either party may appeal the results of an investigation under these Procedures by submitting a written letter of appeal to the EO Officer or designee within five (5) business days of the party’s receipt of the Notice of Outcome. An appeal may be transmitted electronically to the EO Officer or designee.Appeals may be submitted on the following grounds:

  1. to allege a material procedural error within the investigation and resolution process that would substantially change the outcome; or
  2. to consider new evidence that was not known at the time of the investigation that would substantially change the outcome.

Appeals will not be considered on any other basis.

Upon timely receipt of the appeal letter, the EO Officer shall transmit the Investigation Report and the appeal letter to the appropriate appellate officer or body for review. If the appealing party has presented an appeal on the basis of the grounds set forth above, the appellate officer or body, who shall not have participated in the investigation or administrative review, will review the appeal and make a determination to uphold, reverse or modify the decision. When necessary, the appellate officer or body may seek additional information and/or refer the matter back to the Administrative Investigator, prior to making an appellate determination. 

Where practicable, within (30) days of receiving the appeal, the appellate officer or body shall contemporaneously issue a written decision to the parties in which it may uphold, reverse or modify the decision. All appellate decisions are final, provided that any corrective action and/or discipline imposed upon a unit member is subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements.

D.  Possible Sanctions And Additional Remedies

For Employee Respondents.  Disciplinary action taken against an employee shall be regarded as an administrative action, up to and including termination, subject to all provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements or personnel policies.

For Student Respondents.  A student who has been found to have violated the EO Plan and/or Student Code of Conduct may be subject to sanctions including, but not limited to:

  • reprimand
  • warning
  • disciplinary probation
  • loss of privileges
  • relocation of residence
  • restriction from facilities or activities
  • temporary or permanent residence hall suspension
  • fines and/or restitution
  • disciplinary hold
  • assessment
  • educational program or project
  • revocation of admission or degree
  • withholding of degree
  • suspension
  • expulsion 

In general, the sanction typically imposed for students for rape or non-consensual sexual intercourse is expulsion. The sanction typically imposed for students for non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking is suspension or expulsion. All student sanctions, however, are determined on a case-by-case basis in consideration of:  the seriousness of the violation; sanctions typically imposed for similar violations; prior disciplinary history; and any other circumstances indicating that the sanction should be more or less severe. 

Additional Remedies Following Finding of a Violation. 

Where necessary, the Universities will provide additional measures to remedy the effects of a violation. These remedies are separate from, and in addition to, any protective interim measures that may have been provided or sanctions that have been imposed.  If the complainant declined or did not take advantage of a specific service or resource previously offered as a protective interim measure, such as counseling, the University will re-offer those services to the complainant as applicable or necessary. 

In addition, the University will consider broader remedial action for the campus community, such as increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations where the incidents occurred, increased or targeted education and prevention efforts, climate assessments/victimization surveys, and/or revisiting its policies and Procedures.

III.  RELATED INFORMATION AND DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of these Procedures, the following terms are defined and used as follows:

Complainant.  An individual who makes a complaint under these Procedures. The Complainant may also be the University under certain circumstances.

Respondent. An individual who is accused of violating the EO Plan.

Day.  A day shall mean a calendar day. 

Discipline or Sanctions.  The terms may be used interchangeably.

Advisors.  Each victim, complainant or respondent to an investigation initiated under the Complaint Investigation and Resolution Procedures is entitled to have an advisor present during any meetings regarding the process (other than meetings between victims and University officials regarding accommodations or protective interim measures) and disciplinary proceedings.  Except as otherwise required by law, the advisor may observe, but may not participate in any way whatsoever, including, without limitation, by asking questions or speaking during the meeting or proceeding.  The advisor’s role is to provide support and/or advice to the party. During meetings and proceedings, the advisor may speak with the party or pass notes in a non-disruptive manner. The Universities reserve the right to remove from the meeting or proceeding any advisor who disrupts the process, or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation.  In addition, please note that the University does not need to cancel or delay a meeting or proceeding simply because an advisor cannot be present.  Further, the advisor is not permitted to attend a meeting or proceeding without the advisee. 

The personal advisor for a complainant, a student respondent or a non-unit employee respondent can be any person, including an attorney.  For respondents who are unit members, the personal advisor shall be a union representative or other University employee pursuant to the respondent’s Weingarten rights.  A respondent who is a unit member may choose as an advisor a person who is not a union representative or other University employee, but the unit member will not be allowed two advisors. If the advisor is an attorney, the University’s legal counsel may also attend the meeting or proceeding.

Referrals to Title IX Coordinator.  Complaints of sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and retaliation will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for evaluation. Before starting an administrative investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will determine whether the reported facts, if true, would violate the Sexual Violence Policy and/or the Student Code of Conduct, and may consult with the complainant to obtain more information and discuss his/her options. 

Interim Protective Measures. Upon review of a complaint, the University may determine that interim protective measures are necessary or appropriate. The Universities will implement interim measures as described in Section H of the Sexual Violence Policy.  Interim measures may also be instituted and/or modified at any point during the investigation and resolution process.

Off Campus Behavior.  The Universities may investigate off-campus conduct alleged to violate the EO Plan and/or Student Code of Conduct when such conduct involves behavior by or toward a community member, which (1) occurs during University-sponsored events or the events of organizations affiliated with the University, including study abroad and outside internships; (2) negatively impacts a victim’s access to education programs and activities;  (3) adversely affects or disrupts the campus community; and/or (4) poses a threat of harm to the campus community. 

Grade Disputes. While grade changes must generally be pursued through the academic grade change procedure, a complaint may proceed under these Procedures when a student alleges that a grade was improper because of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual or gender-harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or retaliation. The remedy for policy violations in cases pursued under these Procedures may be determined and/or implemented in conjunction with Academic Affairs. 

Amnesty. Students may be hesitant to report sexual violence, sexual or gender-harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or retaliation out of concern that they, or witnesses, might be charged with violations of the Universities’ drug/alcohol policies. While the Universities do not condone such behavior, they place a priority on the need to address sexual violence and other conduct prohibited by the Sexual Violence Policy. Accordingly, a University may elect not to pursue discipline against a student who, in good faith, reports, witnesses or possesses personal knowledge of sexual violence, sexual or gender-harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or retaliation.

Conflicts of Interest.  If any University official involved in the investigation, resolution or appeal process believes there is a potential or actual conflict of interest regarding their role, they must disclose this conflict in advance to the EO Officer, Title IX Coordinator (where applicable) or designee.  Likewise, if a complainant or respondent believes there is a conflict of interest present regarding any University official involved in the investigation, resolution or appeal process, s/he must disclose the conflict in advance to the EO Officer, Title IX Coordinator (where applicable) or designee. If a valid conflict of interest exists, the University will take steps to remedy or eliminate the conflict.

Confidentiality of Process. These Procedures will be conducted as confidentially as reasonably possible to protect the privacy of all involved. The Universities may share information about the allegations with parties, witnesses or others on a need-to-know basis, and shall share information with union representatives pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws Chapter 150E, or as otherwise required by law. All with whom information is shared shall be advised of the confidential nature of the information and directed not to discuss it with anyone except an advisor or union representative.  See Section VI of the Sexual Violence Policy for more information about confidential reporting options.

Joint Investigation. In some circumstances a respondent’s conduct may constitute a potential violation of other University conduct policies in addition to the EO Plan and/or the Student Code of Conduct.  To avoid duplicative efforts, the University may undertake a joint investigation of the conduct under these Procedures. Based on the findings of the joint investigation, the respondent may be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the EO Plan and/or the Student Code of Conduct, as well as other policy violations.

Preponderance of the Evidence. The standard of review used to evaluate all complaints.  Under this standard, conclusions must be “more likely than not.”  Accordingly, the fact-finder must find that it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the University’s EO Plan, Student Code of Conduct or other relevant University policy.

Notice of Meetings and Access to Information. Each party to an investigation will be provided timely notice of meetings at which such party or both parties may be present.  The parties will be afforded the same and timely access to any information that the University is aware will be used at any meeting or hearing.  Where appropriate or required by law, the University may redact the complainant’s name and other identifying information from any information provided to the respondent, including the specific charge and the complaint or related materials.

Training of Officials Who Participate in the Investigation and Resolution Process.  Proceedings pursuant to these Procedures are conducted by officials who receive annual training on the issues of discrimination, discriminatory harassment and retaliation. Officials also receive training specific to matters of sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, as well as how to conduct an investigation that protects the safety of complainants, promotes accountability, and provides all parties with the same opportunities to be accompanied to meetings or proceedings by an advisor of their choice. 

Refusal of Participation.  In cases where a complainant or respondent (or both) refuses or fails to participate in the investigation and resolution process, the University may continue the process without the complainant and/or respondent’s participation. The failure of the respondent to participate in the investigation and resolution process will not prevent the University from imposing discipline or other sanctions when a violation is found.

Right to File an Outside Complaint. Individuals have the right to file charges of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual violence, sexual or gender-harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or retaliation at any time with the appropriate government agency, with or without utilizing these Procedures.  More information about filing an outside complaint can be found in the Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy and the Sexual Violence Policy, both of which are contained in the EO Plan.

Concurrent Criminal or Civil Proceedings.  Persons may be accountable to both the Universities and the state for conduct that constitutes potential violations of the EO Plan and/or Student Code of Conduct and state or federal law. University investigations may be conducted before, after or simultaneously with civil or criminal proceedings, and University investigations are not subject to challenge on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same conduct have been dismissed or reduced. When a person has been charged with a crime or a violation of civil law, the Universities will neither request nor agree to special consideration for the individual solely because of his/her student status.  Persons subject to parallel criminal charges shall be instructed that their statements and/or other information supplied by them may be subject to subpoena. 

When a criminal investigation of an incident of sexual violence, sexual or gender-based harassment, domestic or dating violence, stalking or retaliation is also occurring, the University will not delay its investigation due to the criminal investigation, unless law enforcement requests to gather evidence. When law enforcement makes such a request, the University will typically resume its investigation within three to ten days.

Withdrawal of Complaint.  The complainant may withdraw a complaint at any point during the investigation.  The EO Officer, Title IX Coordinator, or designee, however, may determine, in their discretion, that the allegations raised in the complaint warrant further investigation despite the complainant’s desire to withdraw the complaint.  See Section VII(A) of the Sexual Violence Policy for more information on the circumstances under which the University may elect to proceed with an investigation of alleged sexual violence, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or retaliation.