UC Policies and Procedures for Sexual Misconduct

Policy Statement

Ursinus College considers Sexual Misconduct to include Assault, Harassment, Stalking, and Relationship Violence of a sexual nature. These acts will not be tolerated within this community that emphasizes dignity and works of all members and visitors. Ursinus College will not tolerate violence toward or abuse of any member of the community by another. All members of the College community and visitors to campus are strongly urged to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct. The College will provide support to Complainants to seek criminal prosecution under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code. Any student charged with such an offense will be subject to judicial action. Persons charged with such offenses may also be prosecuted under Pennsylvania criminal statutes. Any faculty or staff member charged with such an offense by a student will be subject to the rules and procedures outlined in this policy. Otherwise, the Faculty Handbook or the Staff Personnel Policies Handbook shall be used when dealing with Sexual Misconduct cases involving faculty or staff. Ursinus College is firmly committed to providing immediate care and support to all Complainants. The College will take immediate action to eliminate existing Sexual Misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

            Ursinus College does not discriminate in its educational programs, in accordance with Title IX. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator (Associate Dean of Students, Kim Taylor, 610-409-3333, ktaylor@ursinus.edu).

Sexual Violence Education

Ursinus College provides Sexual Violence prevention and risk-reduction programs to the campus community and educates about the relevant resources.

Through educational programming, Ursinus College encourages students, faculty, and staff to examine their attitudes and challenges them to refuse to condone Sexual Violence of any kind. The Student Affairs staff is a valuable resource for students who have experienced Sexual Violence or who are interested in learning more about how Sexual Violence affects their campus and the society in which they live.

More information on education, programming, and available resources is available on the Ursinus website.

Rights

All Students Have the Right:

  • To report the Sexual Misconduct to the DeanofStudents Office, Campus Safety, or to the Crisis Response Team.
  • To be afforded all rights as defined under the student CodeofConduct.
  • To consideration of academic needs (make-up privileges, etc.) which may result.
  • To have access to the College Wellness Center and Campus Safety.
  • To consideration of a trained support person to accompany him/her through the College and/or criminal court proceedings.
  • To a safe environment which may include a change of College residence until proceedings have been completed.

Complainants and Alleged Perpetrators Have the Right:

  • To be present or absent during the College judicial proceedings.
  • To be notified of the outcome of the College adjudicative process.
  • To consideration of a trained support person to accompany him/her through the College and/or criminal court proceedings.
  • To request confidentiality.
  • To be free from intimidation, harassment, and retaliation.

Complainants Have the Additional Right: 

  • To protection from any reference to past sexual history in the College proceedings.
  • To maintain control of the extent to which he/she wants to pursue College proceedings.

Initial Steps

  1. Intake Meeting: Allegations of sexual misconduct are to be reported to the CrisisResponseTeam (610-409-3344), to the Title IX Coordinator (Associate Dean of Students, Kim Taylor, 610-409-3333, ktaylor@ursinus.edu), or to the Dean of Students’ (Dean of Students, Deborah Nolan, 610-409-3590, dnolan@ursinus.edu). A member of the Crisis Response Team is available 24 hours to respond to calls. A lead Administrator will be designated to coordinate an intake meeting with the Complainant in order to provide a general understanding of this policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Complainant, including referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies, referrals for medical treatment and/or counseling at Wellness Center, and/or the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County. The intake meeting will include a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate for the Complainant's academic, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements. The Administrator will notify, update, and consult with the Title IX Coordinator throughout the process.
  2. Adjudication and Confidentiality: At the initial intake meeting with the Complainant, the Administrator will determine how the Complainant wants to proceed, i.e., whether the Complainant wants to pursue Formal Adjudication, Informal Adjudication or does not want to pursue adjudication of any kind.
  3. If the Complainant wants to proceed with either Formal or Informal Adjudication, the appropriate section below will be followed.
  4. If the Complainant does not want to pursue Formal or Informal Adjudication and/or requests that his or her complaint remain confidential, Title IX nevertheless requires the College to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the Complainant's request. The Administrator will inform the Complainant that the College's ability to respond may be limited. In such cases, Title IX requires the College to evaluate the Complainant's request(s) that the complaint not be adjudicated or remain confidential in the context of the College's commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students. In order to make such an evaluation, the Administrator may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged Sexual Misconduct and will weigh the Complainant's request(s) against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged Sexual Misconduct and whether there have been other complaints of Sexual Misconduct against the same individual if the information is maintained by the College as an “educational record” under FERPA. The Administrator will inform the Complainant if the College cannot ensure confidentiality. Even if the College cannot take disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator because the Complainant insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be adjudicated, Title IX nonetheless requires the College to take prompt and effective action to limit the effects of the alleged Sexual Misconduct and to prevent its recurrence. The Administrator reserves the authority to issue a "no-contact" order and the other interim measures described below.
  5. Interim Measures: In all cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct, regardless of whether the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Adjudication, Informal Adjudication or no adjudication of any kind, the College will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take immediate and effective action to support and protect the Complainant before the final outcome of the investigation and hearing. Accordingly, the Administrator may impose a "no-contact" order, which typically will include a directive that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation and, if applicable, the hearing. The Administrator also may take any further protective action that he or she deems appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties including directing appropriate College officials to alter the students' academic, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements. Title IX requires that, when taking such steps to separate the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator, a school must minimize the burden on the Complainant and thus should not remove the Complainant from his or her classes or housing while allowing the alleged perpetrator to remain. Violation(s) of the Administrator's directive may lead to additional disciplinary proceedings as outlined in the Student Handbook.

  Investigation Procedures:

  1. If the Complainant determines that he/she wants to proceed with College adjudication, the College will proceed with a full investigation.
  2. The alleged perpetrator will be contacted and scheduled for an appointment with the Administrator.
  3. At the time of this meeting the Administrator will:
    1. Inform the alleged perpetrator of his/her rights under the student Code of Conduct.
    2. Inform the alleged perpetrator of the possible legal ramifications resulting from Adjudicative proceedings.
    3. Present the allegations and provide the alleged perpetrator the opportunity to respond.
    4. Give the alleged perpetrator the opportunity to provide a written statement to contest the allegations within three calendar days. This statement is optional and, if submitted, becomes part of the case file and is available during judicial proceedings.
    5. Assess if the alleged perpetrator's continued presence on campus appears dangerous to property, to the student him/herself, or to any other member of the College community. If so, the alleged perpetrator may be subjected to suspension.
    6. Instruct the alleged perpetrator to refrain from any contact with the Complainant.
    7. Schedule a follow-up appointment to discuss the status of the case.
  4. Any person identified by the Complainant or alleged perpetrator who has facts pertinent to the allegations will be contacted by the Administrator and asked to provide information about the incident.
  5. The Administrator will meet with the Complainant and discuss the results of the investigation. With the consent of the Complainant, formal charges may be initiated. 
  6. The Administrator will contact the alleged perpetrator and discuss both the investigation results and steps moving forward.

Informal Adjudication

A Complainant who wishes to file a formal complaint with the Dean of Students’ Office but who does not wish to pursue Formal Adjudication may request a less formal proceeding, known as “Informal Adjudication.” Informal Adjudication is an adjudicative process; it is not mediation.

  1. Purpose of Informal Adjudication: Informal Adjudication provides an opportunity for the Complainant to confront the alleged perpetrator in the presence of and facilitated by a presiding officer, as described below, and communicate his or her feelings and perceptions regarding the incident, the impact of the incident and his or her wishes and expectations regarding protection in the future. The alleged perpetrator will have an opportunity to respond. 
  2. Campus Friend: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may each choose one member of the College Community (faculty, staff, or student) to accompany them throughout the hearing as their Campus Friend.   
  3. Presiding Officer: The Associate Dean of Students or designee will act as Presiding Officer, and may elect to be assisted by another member of the JBoard or Dean of Students staff. 
  4. Outcome of Informal Adjudication: Informal Adjudication cannot result in a formal sanction involving suspension or dismissal of the alleged perpetrator. Informal Adjudication may, however, result in the imposition by the Dean of Students of protective actions agreed upon by the parties. Without such agreement, the Presiding Officer may impose protective actions based on information derived from the proceedings, taken together with any other relevant information known to the College at the time of the Informal Adjudication. 
  5. Election of Formal Adjudication: The College or the Complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Informal Adjudication, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Adjudication instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the Informal Adjudication may not be used as evidence in the Formal Adjudication (although nothing in this policy precludes any such statements or information disclosed in the Informal Adjudication from being considered by the Administrator the imposition of protective actions). 
  6. Confidentiality of Informal Adjudication: In order to promote honest, direct communication, information disclosed during Informal Adjudication will remain confidential while the Informal Adjudication is pending, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of the College. 
  7. Timeline: The Investigation and Informal Adjudication typically conclude within sixty (60) days.   

Formal Adjudication

Ursinus College’s Formal Adjudication process will use the disciplinary procedures found in the Student Handbook. Under Normal Disciplinary Procedures, the Judiciary Board will oversee the Formal Adjudication process, using its usual rules and procedures, as amended below.

  1. Recording: The Chair will arrange for the hearing to be recorded and may arrange for the preparation of any transcript of the recording that he or she deems appropriate or which a party requests (upon prompt payment by the requester of the transcription fee). Such recording will be arranged through the Dean of Students’ Office. 
  2. Campus Friend: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may each choose one member of the College Community (faculty, staff, or student) to accompany them throughout the hearing as their Campus Friend.  
  3. Presence: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may be present throughout the hearing. 
  4. Evidentiary Standard: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has interpreted Title IX to require schools to evaluate evidence of alleged Sexual Misconduct under a "preponderance of the evidence" standard and that is the standard adopted by this Policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that the conduct in question "more likely than not" occurred.  
  5. Determination Letter; Memorandum Opinion: Following the hearing, the Board will issue two documents to the alleged perpetrator and the Complainant: a determination letter and a memorandum opinion. Each such document will be issued concurrently to the alleged perpetrator and the Complainant. 
    1. The determination letter will contain only the following information: the name of the alleged perpetrator; whether the alleged perpetrator has been found responsible or not responsible for Sexual Misconduct; and the sanction imposed, if any. As guaranteed by Federal law, both the alleged perpetrator and the Complainant have a right to this information.
    2. The memorandum opinion will contain an explanation of the Board's reasoning for its determination. The memorandum opinion is both an educational record and private record of the hearing and may not be disclosed without the written consent of the parties and the College, except where disclosure is authorized or required by law.
  6. Timeline: The Investigation and Formal Adjudication together typically conclude within sixty (60) days of receiving the first complaint.

Faculty/Staff Proceedings

When a faculty or staff member is the alleged perpetrator, the following procedures apply. Allegations of Sexual Misconduct are to be reported to the Crisis Response Team, the Title IX Coordinator, or the Dean of Students. A lead Administrator will be designated to coordinate an intake meeting with the Complainant in order to provide a general understanding of this policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Complainant, including referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies, referrals for medical treatment and/or counseling at Wellness Center, and/or the Victim Services Center of Montgomery County. The intake meeting will include a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the Complainant's academic, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements. The Administrator will notify and update the Title IX Coordinator throughout the process.

Informal Adjudication with Faculty/Staff

A Complainant who wishes to file a formal complaint but who does not wish to pursue Formal Adjudication may request a less formal proceeding, known as “Informal Adjudication.” Informal Adjudication is an adjudicative process; it is not mediation.

  1. Purpose of Informal Adjudication: Informal Adjudication provides an opportunity for the Complainant to confront the alleged perpetrator in the presence of and facilitated by a presiding officer, as described below, and communicate his or her feelings and perceptions regarding the incident, the impact of the incident and his or her wishes and expectations regarding protection in the future. The alleged perpetrator will have an opportunity to respond. 
  2. Campus Friend: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may each choose one member of the College Community (faculty, staff, or student) to accompany them throughout the hearing as their Campus Friend.   
  3. Presiding Officer: The Title IX Coordinator or designee will act as Presiding Officer, and may elect to be assisted by another College administrator.  
  4. Outcome of Informal Adjudication: The outcome may include protective actions agreed upon by the parties. Without such agreement, the Presiding Officer may impose protective actions based on information derived from the proceedings, taken together with any other relevant information known to the College at the time of the Informal Adjudication. 
  5. Election of Formal Adjudication: The College or the Complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Informal Adjudication, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Adjudication instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the Informal Adjudication may not be used as evidence in the Formal Adjudication (although nothing in this policy precludes any such statements or information disclosed in the Informal Adjudication from being considered by the Administrator the imposition of protective actions).  
  6. Confidentiality of Informal Adjudication: In order to promote honest, direct communication, information disclosed during Informal Adjudication will remain confidential while the Informal Adjudication is pending, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of the College.

Formal Adjudication with Faculty/Staff

In the event the Complainant or College wants to proceed with formal adjudication, the Title IX Coordinator will constitute an ad hoc committee of three members. The ad hoc committee will consider the complaint, hear from both parties, consider other pertinent evidence, and will issue findings of facts and recommendations in writing.

  1. Recording: The Chair will arrange for the hearing to be recorded and may arrange for the preparation of any transcript of the recording that he or she deems appropriate or which a party requests (upon prompt payment by the requester of the transcription fee). Such recording will be arranged through the Dean of Students’ Office. 
  2. Campus Friend: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may each choose one member of the College Community (faculty, staff, or student) to accompany them throughout the hearing as their Campus Friend.  
  3. Presence: Both the Complainant and the alleged perpetrator may be present throughout the hearing. 
  4. Evidentiary Standard: The Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has interpreted Title IX to require schools to evaluate evidence of alleged Sexual Misconduct under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard and that is the standard adopted by this Policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that the conduct in question “more likely than not” occurred.  
  5. Determination Letter; Memorandum Opinion: Following the hearing, the ad hoc committee will issue two documents to the alleged perpetrator, the alleged perpetrator’s supervisor, and the Complainant: a determination letter and a memorandum opinion. Each document will be issued concurrently to the alleged perpetrator and the Complainant.
    1. The determination letter will contain only the following information: the name of the alleged perpetrator; whether the alleged perpetrator has been found responsible or not responsible for Sexual Misconduct. As guaranteed by Federal law, both the alleged perpetrator and the Complainant have a right to this information.  
    2. The memorandum opinion will contain an explanation of the Board's reasoning for its determination. The memorandum opinion is both an educational record and private record of the hearing and may not be disclosed without the written consent of the parties and the College, except where disclosure is authorized or required by law.  
  6. Outcome: The supervisor, after consultation with the ad hoc committee, will inform both parties in writing of the outcome on the complaint. 
  7. Timeline: The Investigation and Formal Adjudication together typically conclude within sixty (60) days of receiving the complaint.  

Jurisdiction; Timing; Retaliation; Criminal Proceedings

  1. Jurisdiction:
    1. Personal Jurisdiction. Any person may file a complaint of Sexual Misconduct against a student under this Policy. However, the adjudication procedures outlined in this document may only be utilized by students.
    2. Geographic Jurisdiction. This Policy applies to any allegation of Sexual Misconduct against a College student, regardless of where the alleged Sexual Misconduct occurred. Although there is no geographical limitation to invoking this Policy, Sexual Misconduct that is alleged to have occurred at a significant distance from the College may be more difficult to investigate.
  2. Timing of Complaints: Students are strongly encouraged to report alleged Sexual Misconduct immediately in order to maximize the College's ability to respond promptly and effectively. The College will in no circumstances allow an impending graduation to compromise its adjudicative process. The conferral of a degree may therefore be held, if necessary, until proper resolution of any Sexual Misconduct charges, provided that a hearing opportunity is scheduled for the earliest practicable date that can accommodate the parties and their witnesses. 
  3. Retaliation: It is a violation of College policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of Sexual Misconduct or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a witness to) any allegation of Sexual Misconduct. For these purposes, "retaliation" includes intimidation, threats or harassment against any such Complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Campus Safety or the Administrator and may result in disciplinary action independent of the sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of Sexual Misconduct. 
  4. Effect of Criminal Proceedings: Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of this Policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct, for purposes of this Policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute Sexual Misconduct under this Policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and therefore decline to prosecute. The filing of a complaint of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding, and the College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and take interim measures to protect the Complainant and the College community, if necessary. 

 

Definitions:

  1. Administrator” means the designee of the Title IX Coordinator.
  2. Code of Conduct” means the College's policies, as outlined in the Student Handbook.
  3. College” means Ursinus College.
  4. Complainant refers to the individual against whom the alleged perpetrator demonstrated unwanted sexual conduct.
  5. Crisis Response Team” means the student affairs professionals trained to manage sexual assault and sexual misconduct cases.
  6. “Dean of Students” means the Dean of Students (Deborah Nolan, 610-409-3590, dnolan@ursinus.edu) (“DOS”) or designee.
  7. 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, 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.
  8. FERPA” means the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99.
  9. Force” means physical force, violence, threat, intimidation or coercion.
  10. Incapacitation” 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 drugs are involved, Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication, and is defined with respect to how the alcohol consumed impacts a person's decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments.
  11. Judiciary Board (JBoard)” refers to the standing group of students and faculty composed according to the standards outlined in the Student and Faculty Handbooks.
  12. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact” means Sexual Contact that occurs without Effective Consent.
  13. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse” means Sexual Intercourse that occurs without Effective Consent.
  14. Relationship Violence” means a pattern of abusive behaviors by one or both parties in an intimate relationship.
  15. Sexual Assault” is a broad term that includes rape, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, among other forms of forcible Sexual Intercourse.
  16. Sexual Contact” means the deliberate touching of a person's intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas), or using Force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person's intimate parts.
  17. Sexual Exploitation” means taking sexual advantage of another person without Effective Consent, and includes, without limitation, causing or attempting to cause the Incapacitation of another person; causing the prostitution of another person; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; distributing intimate or sexual information about another person; and/or knowingly exposing someone to a sexually transmitted infection.
  18. Sexual Harassment” is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, gender-based harassment, and other verbal, nonverbal, electronic, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
  19. Sexual Intercourse” means penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or an inanimate object.
  20. Sexual Misconduct” is a broad term encompassing “Sexual Exploitation,” “Sexual Harassment,” “Sexual Violence,” “Non-Consensual Sexual Contact,” and “Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse,” as defined in this Policy. Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.
  21. Sexual Violence” includes rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.
  22. Stalking” means to harass or persecute someone with unwanted and obsessive attention.
  23. The “Title IX Coordinator” for the purposes of this policy is the Associate Dean of Students (Associate Dean of Students Kim Taylor, 610-409-3333, ktaylor@ursinus.edu).