Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors


Statement of Philosophy
Gettysburg College is a residential college committed to providing a safe and healthy environment that supports student development. To this end, Gettysburg College will not tolerate sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment or sexually inappropriate conduct in any form, as it interferes with and disrupts the educational environment of the campus and interferes with the rights of other students.

Title IX Information
Sexual Misconduct is a violation of Title IX, and Gettysburg College takes its responsibilities under Title IX seriously. Therefore, those who have questions about Title IX or wish to file a complaint under Title IX may contact one of our Title IX coordinators.

The College Life Office will respond to issues arising from this policy involving students. The College has designated Jennifer McCary, Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, as the Title IX coordinator who will handle student complaints. She is located in the College Union Building, Room 220 and can be reached at (717)337-6900. The Provost’s Office will respond to issues arising from this policy involving faculty members. The College has designated Jack Ryan, Vice Provost, as the Title IX coordinator who will handle faculty complaints. He is located in the Provost’s Office and can be reached at (717)337-6822. The Human Resources and Risk Management Office will respond to issues arising from this policy involving administrators and staff members. The College has designated Regina Campo, and Jennifer Lucas, Co-Directors of Human Resources and Risk Management, as the Title IX coordinators for administrator and staff complaints. They can be located in the Human Resources Office, on the ground floor of Penn Hall and can be reached by phone at (717)337-6202. The college has designated Jane North, Executive Vice President as the institutional Title IX coordinator. She is located in Penn Hall, 3rd floor and can be reached at (717)337-6011.

Policy Definitions
Gettysburg College prohibits all sexual misconduct, sexual harassment and sexually inappropriate behavior. This includes, but is not limited to: sexual misconduct, including sexual assault; incapacitated sex and/or sexual contact; sexual harassment; sexual exploitation; coercion for sex and/or sexual contact and retaliation. Each of these prohibited behaviors is defined below. Incidents which a student considers to be a violation of this policy should be reported as outlined in this policy. The College will investigate and adjudicate as outlined in this policy.

  1. Sexual Misconduct:
    Any sexual behavior that rises to the level of a policy violation and under this policy includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation and sexually inappropriate conduct.”
  • Sexual Assault:  deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature of another person without that person’s consent.
    • Non-consensual sexual contact: Non-consensual sexual contact is any sexual touching, with any object, by a man or a woman upon another person without consent or making any person touch you or them in a sexual manner.
    • Non-consensual intercourse: Non-consensual intercourse is any sexual intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal), with any object, by a man or woman upon another person without consent.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or to benefit others. Examples include, but are not limited to, non-consensual audio or video recording of sexual activity, streaming, voyeurism, and prostitution of self or others.
  • Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances or threats, deliberate or careless use of offensive or demeaning terms that have sexual connotations or are gender-based, repeated and unwelcome requests for sexual favors or a romantic relationship, repeated and unwelcome letters, phone calls, or e-mails of a sexual or romantic nature, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, electronic, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature.
  • Sexually inappropriate behavior: Includes behaviors which may not rise to the level of sexual harassment but is still sexual in nature.  For example conduct that may be an isolated occurrence or rude, obscene or sexually suggestive gestures or communication.  Disrobing or exposure of one’s self to another person without that person’s consent is another example.
  1. Consent
    All sexual interaction between two people must be consensual. Effective consent is informed, freely and actively given, using mutually understandable words or actions which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent is not effective if it results from the use of physical or perceived physical force, if there is intimidation or coercion, or if the recipient party is incapacitated. Silence or non-communication should never be interpreted as effective consent. The initiator of the sexual activity will be found in violation of the policy if he or she did not receive effective consent.
  1. Initiator of Sexual Contact
    The initiator of sexual contact will be found in violation of this policy if it is determined that he or she knew or should have known that the other person could not give effective consent as defined by the policy. If someone is unable to give verbal consent because he or she is sleeping or unconscious at the time of the sexual activity, the initiator of the sexual contact with that person will be found in violation.
  1. Incapacitated Sex
    Incapacitated means the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks. Where alcohol [or other drug] is involved, one does not have to be intoxicated or drunk to be considered incapacitated. Rather, incapacitation is determined by how the alcohol consumed affects a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. The question is whether the accused student knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the accused student should have known, that the complainant was incapacitated. Because incapacitation may be difficult to discern, students are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; i.e., when in doubt, assume that another person is incapacitated and, therefore, unable to give effective consent. Being intoxicated or drunk is not a defense to a complaint of Sexual Misconduct under this policy. 

    *Language adopted from University of Virginia
  1. Coercion
    Coercion exists when a sexual initiator engages in sexually pressuring and/or oppressive behavior that violates the norms of the community, such that the application of pressure or oppression causes the recipient of the behavior to engage in unwanted sexual behavior. Coercion may be differentiated from seduction by the repetition of the coercive activity beyond what is reasonable, the degree of pressure applied, environmental factors such as isolation and the initiator's knowledge that the pressure is unwanted.
  1. Retaliation
    Retaliation or intimidation against anyone involved in the Complaint process or anyone who pursues legal action, including the Complainant, Respondent, or anyone participating in the investigation. Such behavior may also violate the College's Harassment Policy and will be adjudicated.
  1. Complainant
    The person filing a complaint with the College regarding an incident of an alleged violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors.
  1. Respondent
    The person who allegedly violated the College's Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors and is responding to the complaint
  1. Investigator
    The College administrative official who will be responsible for coordinating any investigations into an alleged violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors. Typically, this will be the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Investigator will prepare a report for the Adjudicator for the purpose of resolving the complaint.
  1. Adjudicator
    The College administrative official who will be responsible for disposition and resolution of a Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors complaint. Typically, this will be the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or her/his designee. See section IV, number 5-8 for more information.

 

Process:

For violations of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors

Students who would like to report an incident should carefully review the following information on where to report an incident, the investigatory process, the complaint resolution process and the appeals process.

The College will take prompt action to investigate and adjudicate the complaint.  Our goal is to complete the investigation and adjudication within 60 days.  In most instances, the process will be quicker.  However, there will be times where the process may take longer and the College will communicate on an on-going basis with the parties a realistic timeline, and the circumstances regarding the same.

  1. Students should report incidents that they consider violations of this policy to the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students, Residence Life (including RA, RC, CL staff), Department of Public Safety or Student Rights and Responsibilities. The staff and administrators in each of these areas are identified by the College as reporting authorities and will initiate the College's preliminary investigation process into an incident. This will include notification the Department of Public Safety and the Gettysburg Police.
  2. Members of the Health and Counseling Center staff are confidential resources and do not investigate incidents. They do not make identifiable reports of incidents to the Official On-Campus Resources unless the student requests them to do so. Faculty, staff and administrators outside of these two areas are not confidential resources.
  3. Investigations will be conducted by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or other investigator designated by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students. Investigation by the College will begin promptly and may be coordinated with any investigation by the Gettysburg Police. As stated in the introduction, all reasonable efforts will be made to keep information private during the College's investigation and adjudication of a complaint.
  4. Students charged with violating this policy may be subject to an Interim Suspension or other temporary adjustments to living arrangements, class schedule, etc. until the complaint is resolved. These actions are not a presumption of responsibility for violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors. Please see the Interim Suspension policy for more information.
  5. The investigation will generally include an interview with the complainant, respondent and anyone else deemed by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities as having important information related to the incident. The complainant and respondent are permitted to have an advisor present during this interview(s) as well as during any meetings with the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students during the adjudication of charges. Advisors must be a faculty, administrator, staff or student member of the College community. The role of an Advisor is to support the respondent or witness throughout the process, but the Advisor may not represent the respondent or complainant. The student and Advisor may speak quietly to one another or request a short break in order to speak.
  6. Upon the rendering of his/her report to the adjudicator(s), the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will produce written charges to be delivered to the respondent. The charge letter should indicate the potential elements of this policy that may have been violated. In addition to the formal charge letter the respondent will receive copies of written statements provided by witnesses during the inquiry process. The respondent will have 5 (five) calendar days from receipt of the charge letter and statements to submit a response to the adjudicator(s).

  1. Adjudication of Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors complaints will be conducted by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or her/his designee. The Dean of Students may convene a panel if she/he chooses to do so. This panel would be made up of trained faculty and administrators. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will prepare a written report of the investigation for the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students.

  2. The adjudicators will determine if a violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors occurred and, if so, also determine any necessary disciplinary action. The Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students willadjudicator(s) will base her/his or their decision on the information available in the written report, interviews with the complainant, respondent, and witnesses, and any other information that is deemed relevant and pertinent to the case. Additional investigation may be conducted at the discretion of the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students.
  1. The  adjudicators will resolve a complaint of a violation of this policy by:
  • Determining that the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually   Inappropriate Behaviors has been violated and assigning appropriate sanctions.
  • Determining that there was not a violation of the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors and dismissing the complaint.
  • Determining that there is insufficient information to find the responsible for violation of the policy. Depending upon the circumstances of the case, students who are found not responsible due to insufficient information may be required to relocate and/or have no contact with the complainant/respondent. Other educational sanctions may also be required.
  1. The respondent and complainant(s) will be notified in writing of the decision made by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students or her/his designee.
  2. A student found responsible for violating this policy may be assigned sanctions that include, but are not limited to, expulsion, suspension, probation, residence reassignment, or no-contact.

 

Appeal Process:

For the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors

  1. Reasons for appeal
    The respondent or complainant may appeal a decision in a case for the following reasons:
  • To determine whether the sanction(s) imposed was inappropriate for the violation of policy for which the student was found responsible;
  • To determine procedural error or absence of conformity with prescribed procedures during the investigative stage preventing either the complainant and respondent a reasonable opportunity to prepare and present information to the investigator; and
  • To determine new information is discovered which was not available at the time of the investigative process and could have affected the outcome of the case.
  1. Appellate panel
    Appeals of Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Sexually Inappropriate Behaviors complaint decisions by the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students will be heard by an appellate panel. The panel will consist of one voting faculty member who will serve as chairperson; one voting administrator; and one voting student. Members of the panel will be appointed for one to two year terms and will be trained on issues related to sexual misconduct policy and process.
  1. Process
    a.   A student wishing to appeal should submit their written appeal to the College Life or Provost’s Office within 7 calendar days of receipt of the original decision. Appeals are due by 5:00pm on the seventh day following the original decision.
  • Once a panel has been convened, the original appeal letter will be submitted to the chairperson.
  • Contact information for the chairperson is available in the Vice President for College Life and Dean of Students' office or in the Provost's Office.
  • If the respondent submits an appeal, the complainant will be informed that an appeal has been submitted; if the complainant appeals, the respondent will be informed that an appeal has been submitted.
  • Once all parties have been notified that an appeal has been submitted, the complainant or respondent will then have 3 calendar days of the receipt of the appeal notification to respond to the appeal.
  • The complainant would have the right to appeal in the case that the respondent was found “Not Responsible”, if there were a procedural error or if new information has been discovered.

    b.     All appeals submitted on the grounds of process error or inappropriate sanction(s) will go to the Provost’s Office. All appeals submitted on the ground of new information will be directed to the Chairperson through the Provost’s Office for consideration. Appeals based on new information may be referred back to the Dean of Students for adjudication. The Dean may determine that the new information has no influence on the original decision, that the original decision will be amended, or that there needs to be a new hearing. She/he will send the final recommendation to the Chairperson for approval. All information may be referred back to the appellate panel.

    c.     We will convene the appellate panel, review the relevant materials and vote on whether or not there are grounds for an appeal. A non-voting administrator may be appointed by the chairperson to assist with the process.

    d.     The Respondent or Complainant may request the removal of a member of the appellate panel, including the non-voting administrator, if the student feels that the member may not be fair or impartial. This request, including rationale, must be submitted to the chairperson in writing at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. In cases where the student would like the chairperson removed, this request, including rationale, must be submitted to the Provost or designee in writing at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. The final decision to remove a member of the panel is at the discretion of the chairperson, Provost, or designee.

    e.     The panel will have access to reports, statements by the complainant, respondent, witnesses and any other materials gathered during the investigation.

    f.     If, and only if, the panel decides that one of the three grounds for an appeal are met, the panel will vote at a subsequent meeting on whether or not the original findings and/or sanctions should be amended. Amendment of the sanctions may include an increase or decrease in severity.

    g.     Prior to the "subsequent meeting" referred to in (d) above, the panel may, in its sole discretion, meet with the complainant, respondent, adjudicator and/or other individuals in order to assist it in determining whether the original findings and/or sanctions should be amended. During any meeting with the complainant, respondent and/or other individuals, the Panel will not revisit the entire matter, but will limit its discussion to the "ground(s) for appeal" previously identified.

    h.     The decision of the panel is final.