Title IX

Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct

Saint Joseph's College
Policy Manual

Human Resources
Section Name: Work Environment
Section Number: 4.14
Effective Date: September 2, 2013

SUBJECT: Title IX - Sexual Discrimination, Harassment and Misconduct

Purpose:

Saint Joseph’s College is committed to providing a community in which the learning, working and living environment reflect our Core Values. This environment is free from all forms of gender-based discrimination or harassment because such behavior violates an individual’s fundamental rights and personal dignity. Saint Joseph’s College considers gender-based discrimination to be a serious offense and has zero tolerance. This policy covers all forms of gender-based discrimination and harassment connected to the college, whether the matter involves students, faculty, staff or volunteers.   This policy also applies to Sexual Misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual exploitation and relationship violence by students, faculty, staff, or visitors/guests of the college. 

In compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other federal, state and local equal opportunity laws and in accordance with our values, the College has developed these policies and procedures that prohibit gender-based discrimination in all of its forms. The policies and procedures have been developed to affirm our commitment and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.

Title IX Coordinator and Advisory Committee

In accordance with Title IX regulations, the College has designated a Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator is charged with monitoring on an institution wide basis the College’s compliance with the regulations promulgated under Title IX.  In addition, the College has named members of the Title IX Advisory Committee which can be found in Appendix A. 

Title IX Advisory Committee Purpose

The purpose of the Title IX Advisory Committee is to receive complaints of gender related discrimination and harassment, to conduct initial investigations, to handle informal resolutions of appropriate grievances and to direct cases that are not resolved informally to the appropriate formal judicial procedure.  The Title IX Coordinator or her designee will ordinarily conduct the initial investigation but will seek the advice and counsel of the Title IX Advisory Committee as appropriate and may delegate responsibility for investigating claims where appropriate (e.g., where the Title IX Coordinator is not immediately available or where there is an actual or perceived conflict of interest.) 

Typically, where the focus of a formal complaint is a student, if the matter is not resolved after the initial investigation, the matter will be referred to the Dean of Campus Life for resolution under the college judicial process as violations of the Student Code of Conduct.  Formal complaints against non-faculty employees after initial investigation will be referred to the Director of Human Resources for resolution under the hourly or salaried administrative staff handbooks.  Formal complaints against members of the faculty after initial investigation will be referred to the Chief Learning Officer/designee for resolution under the Faculty Handbook   Refer to the appropriate policies for more detailed procedural rules that apply.  

Mandatory Participants:

All faculty, staff & students

Policy:

GUIDING PRINCIPLES

Complainant Rights:

  • To be treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity throughout the process.
  • To a prompt and thorough investigation of the allegations.
  • Freedom from retaliation by the accused (or the supporters).
  • To seek and use all available internal and external support services in dealing with the results of the offense.
  • To confidentiality and protection under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The College will make all reasonable efforts to ensure preservation of privacy, restricting information to those with a legitimate need to know.
  • Ability to speak on his or her own behalf during the investigation and any disciplinary procedures.
  • To have an advisor from the College community and/or a support person present during the disciplinary process.
  • Freedom from having irrelevant sexual history inquired into or discussed during the investigation or disciplinary process.
  • To be notified, in writing, of the case resolution.

Accused Party Rights:

  • To be treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity throughout the process.
  • To a prompt, objective and thorough investigation of the allegations.
  • Freedom from harassment by the Complainant (or the supporters).
  • An explanation of the charges.
  • To confidentiality and protection under the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The College will make all reasonable efforts to ensure preservation of privacy, restricting information to those with a legitimate need to know.
  • The ability to speak on his or her own behalf during the disciplinary procedures.
  • To have an advisor from the College community and/or a support person present during the disciplinary process.
  • To be notified, in writing, of the case resolution.

Procedure:

GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE

Prompt Reporting Encouraged:

Any member of the Saint Joseph’s Community who has experienced any form of gender based discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct is encouraged to report the incident promptly to the Title IX Coordinator or any member of the Title IX Advisory Committee, and to seek all available assistance to assure prompt investigation and adjudication of the complaint. If another member of the College administration becomes aware that an incident of sexual discrimination, harassment or misconduct may have taken place, he or she should immediately report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator. The College takes allegations very seriously and will work with complainants to ensure their safety and to reach an appropriate remedy.

External Reporting of Sexual Assaults Encouraged:

A victim of a sexual assault should immediately report the incident to both a campus security officer and to the Title IX Coordinator. The College also strongly encourages victims of sexual assaults to report to proper external authorities, including local police. The College will assist victims in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency. Victims will be counseled on the importance of preserving physical evidence of a sexual assault. In all cases, victims of sexual assault will be made aware of both campus and community mental health and counseling resources.

All allegations of Sexual Assault against a member of the college community, whether or not investigated by police for criminal prosecution, will be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for investigation of possible violations of the Gender Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy. Even if the allegation of Sexual Misconduct is against a person over whom the College has no authority—such as a visitor from another school or an intruder—the College is nevertheless committed to supporting members of our community using all available resources and maintaining an environment free from discrimination.

External Reporting of Sex Discrimination and Sex Harassment:

A victim of sexual discrimination or sexual harassment in the employment or academic environment also has the right to file a charge with the Maine Human Rights Commission. The Maine Human Rights Commission is charged with investigating allegations of employment and school related discrimination and harassment. The Commission does not have the authority to award damages or to compel respondents to take remedial action, but encourages the parties to engage in conciliation to resolve the dispute.

In most cases involving sexual harassment, particularly harassment by coworkers or fellow students, the complainant must first report the harassment to the educational institution before filing a charge with the Commission. To be timely filed, a charge must be filed within 300 days of the most recent incident of harassment or discrimination.

To contact the Maine Human Rights Commission:

          By Phone: (207) 624-6290

                              Maine Relay 711

          By Fax: (207) 624-8729

          By Mail: Maine Human Rights Commission

                              51 State House Station

                              Augusta, Maine 04333

          Website: http://www.maine.gov/mhrc/

RESOLVING COMPLAINTS:

Initial Response by Title IX Coordinator:
The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial intake of any complaint of sexual discrimination, harassment or misconduct and may conduct a preliminary investigation of the matter or assist the Complainant in resolving the matter informally as more fully described below. 

  • Report to Title IX Coordinator.  A complaint may be brought to the Title IX Coordinator or to any member of the Title IX Advisory Committee by any member of the College community.  If a complaint is brought to the attention of another member of the college administration, it should be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for initial response.
  • Intake Meeting with Complainant.  Upon receipt of notice of any allegation of a violation of the Title IX policy, the Title IX Coordinator will schedule an intake meeting with the Complainant.  Complainant will be offered an intake meeting at the earliest possible time considering the nature and urgency of the complaint, usually within 24 hours in the case of alleged Sexual Misconduct and within 7 days of an allegation of Discrimination or Harassment.  The purpose of the Intake Meeting is to gain a general understanding of the nature of the concern, counsel the Complainant as to his/her rights under the law, identify forms of support available, explain College policy and describe the informal and formal complaint procedures available.
  • Limitations of Confidentiality. The Complainant will be advised at the Intake Meeting that the complaint will be kept confidential to the extent practicable, consistent with the College’s obligation to investigate and to provide the Accused Party with a fair opportunity to respond.  An individual bringing a complaint should be aware that the College may be obligated to take action to address the behavior even if the Complainant does not want to move forward with a formal procedure.  The decision to move forward with an investigation shall be discussed with the Complainant in advance. In order to evaluate whether to honor a request for confidentiality or that the complaint not be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator should weigh the Complainant’s request against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged violation; whether the complaint is credible on its face, whether there have been other complaints of a similar nature against the same Accused Party, and the ability of the College to fairly and adequately investigate and remedy the complaint without having to disclose the existence of the complaint or the identity of the Complainant.
  • Complainant Preference that Complaint Remain Confidential.  Sometimes a Complainant will prefer that the Intake Meeting remain confidential and will request that no investigation or other formal action be taken by the College.  The College will honor a Complainant’s request to keep the consultation with the Title IX Coordinator confidential in situations where it can do so consistent with its legal obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory academic/work environment.[1]  If the College cannot honor the Complainant’s request for confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant of that conclusion before any investigation is initiated.  In situations where the College cannot investigate or take disciplinary action against the Accused Party because the Complainant insists on confidentiality or refuses to participate in any investigation and/or adjudication, Title IX nonetheless requires the College to take whatever prompt and effective remedial action is reasonably available to limit the effects of the discrimination or harassment, and the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that these actions are taken.
  • Interim Protective Measures.  Immediately after the Intake Meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether interim interventions and protective measure should be implemented, and, if so, take steps to implement those protective measures as soon as possible.  Examples of interim protective measures include: an order of no contact, residence hall relocation, adjustment of course schedules, a leave of absence, or reassignment to a different supervisor or position.  These remedies may be applied to one, both, or multiple parties involved.  Applicable law requires that, when taking such steps to separate the Complainant and the Accused Party, the College must minimize the burden on the Complainant and thus should not, as a matter of course, remove the Complainant from his or her job, classes or housing while allowing the Accused Party to remain. Violations of the Title IX Coordinator’s directives and/or protective measures will constitute related violations that may lead to additional disciplinary action. Protective measures imposed may be temporary pending the results of an investigation or may become permanent.
  • Determination of Informal or Formal Resolution.  After the Intake Meeting, the Title IX Coordinator and the Complainant will determine the most appropriate strategy to stop the behavior.  Some situations are minor and may be corrected by informal procedures, such as coaching the Complainant on possible tactics he or she may take to stop the offending behavior, providing a group of employees or students with non-disciplinary counseling or education about sexual harassment without indicating a complaint has been raised, or having the Title IX Coordinator mediate a discussion between the Complainant and the Accused Party.  Informal resolution may be appropriate in situations where the allegations of discrimination or harassment would not ordinarily merit serious discipline of the student or employee (e.g., probation, suspension, or expulsion of a student; or probation, suspension, demotion or termination of an employee.)  An informal resolution will almost always be inappropriate where there are allegations of Sexual Misconduct.  The Complainant has the right to terminate Informal Resolution and request a Formal Resolution at any time.
  • Assistance with Criminal Complaint to Local Law Enforcement.  Where Sexual Misconduct has been alleged, the Title IX Coordinator will instruct the Complainant about the option of initiating a criminal complaint through local law enforcement and will offer to assist the Complainant in contacting appropriate authorities.  A Complainant may pursue both a criminal complaint and an internal adjudication.  The College will not suspend its internal complaint process simply because a criminal complaint is pending but may delay its own investigation for a brief period in order not to interfere with the criminal investigation.

Informal Resolution Process:
Informal procedures for addressing sexual discrimination or harassment are aimed at stopping the behavior rather than determining culpability or intent. The Complainant may at any time terminate the Informal Resolution process and proceed to a Formal Resolution

The following process will be followed in an Informal Resolution:

  • STEP ONE.  The Complainant will file a written complaint with the Title IX Coordinator describing precisely and clearly the facts.  The Complainant may submit this written and signed complaint, or the Title IX Officer, after an interview with the Complainant, may draft the complaint for the Complainant’s review and signature. The Complainant will also sign a statement confirming his or her preference to pursue an Informal Resolution of the complaint.   
  • STEP TWO.  The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Complainant to discuss the complaint and informal strategies that may resolve the situation.  Some informal strategies include:
    • Coaching the Complainant to tell the person that the behavior is unwelcome and to stop;
    • Coaching the Complainant to write to the person telling them that his or her behavior is unwelcome and to stop;
    • Coaching the Complainant to send a copy of the sexual harassment policy with a note asking the person to stop;
    • Having the Title IX Coordinator meet with the person who is the subject of the complaint and telling that person that the Complainant is uncomfortable with his or her behavior and it needs to stop or providing other coaching and/or education
    • Having the Title IX Coordinator mediate a discussion between the Complainant and the person who is the subject of the Complaint.
  • STEP THREE.   The Complainant will choose his or her preferred method(s) of addressing the complaint. 
  • STEP FOUR.  The Title IX Coordinator will conduct appropriate follow-up, usually within a few days of Step Three.  The purpose of the follow up is to determine if the action taken was successful in stopping the alleged behavior. 
  • STEP FIVE. The Title IX Coordinator will prepare a written report of the resolution of the complaint, including a summary of the incident, the informal strategies selected and the results of the follow up. 
  • STEP SIX.   If satisfactory resolution is not achieved, the Complainant may pursue the Formal Resolution process.  Even where the Complainant chooses not to file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will consult with the Title IX Advisory Committee as to whether the College should pursue other remedial action.

Formal Resolution Process:
If the Complainant wishes to file a formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or his or her designate (“Investigator”)[2] will conduct an administrative investigation. 

  • STEP ONE.   Filing of Complaint.  If not done already as part of an attempt to resolve the matter informally, the Complainant will file a written complaint with the Title IX Coordinator describing precisely and clearly the facts.  The Complainant may submit this written and signed complaint, or the Title IX Officer, after an interview with the Complainant, may draft the complaint.  If written by the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant must sign the complaint indicating that the statement is a fair, accurate and complete representation of the complaint that was presented to the Title IX Coordinator.
  • STEP TWOWitness Interviews and Review of Tangible Evidence. Ordinarily, an administrative investigation will include interviews of both the Complainant and the Accused Party, a review of written statements obtained from each party, interviews with witnesses as appropriate and review of relevant documentary evidenceThe Investigator may elect to conduct some or all of the interviews in the presence of some or more of the members of the Title IX Advisory Committee or another appropriate administrator.   Either the Complainant or the Accused Party may request that a member of the College community attend the interview as a silent observer.  Neither party is entitled to be represented at the interview by legal counsel.
  • STEP THREE.  Investigation Report.  Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator will draft a report summarizing the scope of the investigation, making detailed findings of fact as to what transpired and articulating his or her reasoned conclusions as to whether there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Accused Party has committed a violation of the College’s Title IX Policy.  The factual findings will be based upon the “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof. If there is a reasonable grounds finding, the Investigation Report may contain recommended remedial action, including recommendations for discipline of the Accused Party or permanent protective measures. The administrative investigation and report will ordinarily be completed within 5-14 days of the filing of the formal complaint.  Both the Complainant and the Accused Party will be notified of the outcome of the Investigation.
  • STEP FOUR.  Referral of Substantiated Complaint to Appropriate Administrator.  In cases where the Investigator finds there are reasonable grounds to believe a violation of policy has occurred, the Investigation Report and complete file will be referred to the appropriate Administrator for disposition under the procedures applicable to the Accused Party.  Where the Accused Party is a student, the matter will be referred to the Associate Dean of Campus Life and will be resolved pursuant to the policies in the Student Handbook.  Where the Accused Party is a Faculty member, the matter will be referred to the Chief Learning Officer and will be resolved pursuant to the policies in the Faculty Handbook.  Where the Accused Party is a non-faculty staff member, the matter will be referred to the Human Resources Director and will be resolved pursuant to the policies in the appropriate Salaried or Hourly Staff Handbook.  Where the Accused Party is a Senior Administrator (at the level of VP or above), the matter will be referred to the President.  In cases involving Sexual Misconduct, the Complainant will be entitled to the same appeal rights and procedural rights accorded to the Accused Party.
  • STEP FIVE.    Appeal by Complainant of Finding of No Violation.  In cases where the Title IX Coordinator finds there are no reasonable grounds to believe a violation of policy has occurred, the Complainant may appeal the determination to the appropriate Administrator identified in Step Four above for further consideration.

Timeframes for Procedures
The College will endeavor to conduct an investigation of a complaint in as timely a fashion as possible. Both parties will be given periodic status updates throughout the process as appropriate. The Intake Meeting will ordinarily be conducted within 24 hours of a report in the case of alleged Sexual Misconduct and within 7 days of an allegation of discrimination or harassment. The timeframe for completing an Informal or Formal Resolution process will ordinarily be 5 to 14 days from the Intake Meeting. However, this time frame will vary based upon the complexity of the investigation, the severity and extent of the alleged Sexual Misconduct, delays caused by a criminal investigation by law enforcement, and the availability of witnesses, particularly where the time frame overlaps with a school vacation or the end of an academic term. Final resolution of a complaint by the appropriate Administrator will ordinarily be completed within 60 days of the Intake Meeting. This time frame will also vary depending upon the nature of the procedure available to the parties involved.

Prohibition Against Retaliation
No faculty, staff or student who is filing a complaint or is a witness in the investigation shall be subject to retaliatory action for their good faith participation in the procedure. Words or behaviors that punish a person for the good faith filing of a complaint or participating in an investigation are illegal and against College policy. Any person who violates this policy will be subject to discipline up to and including termination in the case of an employee and expulsion in the case of a student.

DEFINITIONS OF TERMS

  • Sex Discrimination: behaviors and actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from and/or fully participate in the educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex.
    • Examples include, but are not limited to, sexual misconduct, failure to provide equal opportunity in education programs and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy and employment discrimination.
  • Sexual Harassmentis defined as conduct of sexual nature (which may be verbal, non-verbal, or physical) that has the effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work, learning or co-curricular environment. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive employment or educational environment. Sexual harassment may involve individuals of the same or different genders. Sexual harassment is most frequently associated with those situations in which a power differential exists between persons involved; however it also may occur between individuals of the same College status, e.g. student-student and employee-employee. Such conduct, whether intended or not, constitutes sexual harassment and is illegal under both state and federal law. Men, as well as women, may be victims of sexual harassment.
    • Examples of conduct which, if continued or repeated, may constitute sexual harassment are:
      • Promising directly or indirectly, a reward if the student or employee complies with a sexually oriented request.
      • Threatening to deny or denying an education related opportunity, directly or indirectly, in retaliation against a member of the community if that person refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request.
      • Unnecessary touching, patting, hugging or brushing against a person’s body, staring, ogling, leering, whistling, sexually explicit statements, comments, jokes, or anecdotes, graphic comments about a person’s clothing or body.
      • Displaying pornographic or sexually suggestive objects or pictures in the workplace.
      • Harassing use of electronic mail or telephone communication system, other physical or verbal conduct of a sexual nature.
      • Making sexual or romantic advances toward a member of the community despite the rejection of such advances.
      • Stalking or cyberstalking
      • Bullying
      • Hazing

Sexual harassment can be physical and/or psychological in nature. An aggregation of a series of incidents can constitute sexual harassment even if one or more of the incidents considered individually would not rise to the level of harassment.

  • Sexual Misconduct is a broad term defined by the College to encompass Rape, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse and Sexual Harassment.  Sexual Misconduct may vary in its severity and consists of a range of behaviors or attempted behaviors.  Sexual Misconduct violates federal and state civil rights laws and may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to action taken by the College.  
  • Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual intercourse, meaning penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration and/or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact with an object or body part), by a man or woman upon a man or a woman without Effective Consent.
  • Forced Sexual Intercourseis unwilling or non-consensual sexual penetration (anal, vaginal or oral) with any object or body part that is committed either by force, threat, Coercion, intimidation or through exploitation of another’s mental or physical condition of which the assailant was aware or should have been aware.
    • Force means physical force, violence, intimidation, Coercion, or a Threat that would reasonably cause a person to fear for their physical or psychological well-being. 
    • Threat means a verbal or non-verbal act that would directly cause a reasonable person to fear for their own safety or well-being or for the safety or well-being of another causing that person to do something they would not normally do.
    • Coercion means behavior that, based on its frequency, duration and intensity, causes an unreasonable application of pressure causing a person to do something they would not normally do. 
  • Sexual Assault means Sexual Contact that occurs without Effective Consent.
  • Sexual Contact is any intentional touching of a person’s intimate body parts, (including the breasts, buttock, groin or genitals, or clothing covering any of those areas), or the use of Force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts. 
  • Effective Consent means words or actions that show an active, knowing, and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.  Effective consent cannot be gained by force, duress, or deception, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the Incapacitation of another, where the actor knows or reasonably should have known of such Incapacitation.  Effective Consent is also lacking when the activity in question exceeds the scope of Effective Consent previously given.  Effective Consent is informed, freely and actively given and requires clear communication between all persons involved in the sexual encounter.  Effective consent cannot be given by minors, developmentally disabled individuals or persons incapacitated as a result of drugs or alcohol.
  • Incapacitation is a state where individuals cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the nature of their sexual interaction.
  • Sexual Exploitationoccurs when a member of the community takes sexual advantage of another person without Effective Consent. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
    • Invasion of sexual privacy
    • Non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity.
    • Posting non-consensual materials on social media such as Facebook or Twitter.
    • Engaging in voyeurism.
    • Stalking
    • Bullying
  • Relationship Violence: the use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship constitute relationship violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt injure or wound someone.  Relationship violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Intimate partner relationships are defined as short or long term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional and/or physical intimacy.

Refer to Appendix A: Title IX Coordinator, Advisory Committee Members and Support Service Contact Information