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  • Counseling Center » University Protocol For Notification

Under federal law (Title IX), students have a right to expect that RWU will take reports of sexual/gender-based misconduct seriously. Apart from any legal obligation, however, RWU encourages survivors of sexual/gender-based misconduct to talk to someone about what happened so that they can get the support that they need and so that RWU can respond effectively.

When receiving reports of sexual misconduct, different RWU employees have different responsibilities with respect to confidentiality. Some employees, those in the Counseling Center, Health Services and RWU’s Chaplain, are required to maintain total confidentiality. Other employees, called “responsible employees,” such as the Residential Life staff, Student Affairs, and Athletics, have a duty to report all details of the incident to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator.

In general, reports of sexual misconduct to responsible employees will be promptly investigated and managed through administrative procedures, including those detailed in the Student Conduct and Community Standards section of the Student Handbook. To the greatest extent possible, information reported to a “responsible employee” will be shared only with others involved in RWU’s response to the report. Yet, if the student reporting the incident seeks investigation or if RWU determines that an investigation is  necessary to protect the community, then information will be shared with specific administrators, the alleged perpetrator, and possibly others, such as witnesses.

If a student has reported an incident to a “responsible employee”, but wishes it to maintain confidential or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, then RWU will weigh this request against its obligation to provide a safe environment for all students. A student should be aware that if RWU decides to honor a request for confidentiality, then RWU’s ability to comprehensively investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator may be limited. Also, when deemed necessary to protect the interests of the community, RWU may not be able to honor a student’s request for confidentiality.

Apart from its obligations under Title IX, RWU has a duty to report data about various forms of sexual/gender-based misconduct in accordance with The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Act (Clery Act). No personally identifiable information is disclosed, but statistical information is disclosed as part of the University’s annual security report. The information to be shared includes the date, general location, and specific crime category. In addition, RWU administrators must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that continue to pose a substantial threat to the safety of members of the campus community. The University will make every effort to ensure the survivor’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members.

Students are encouraged to report, whether the incident occurred on or off-campus, sexual assault and other incidents of harassment to local police. RWU Public Safety can assist students who wish to make a report to the police or students can make reports to the police independently. Deciding not to report to the police will not impact the University’s student conduct process, as both are independent of each other.

Please see the University’s sexual misconduct/gender-based misconduct website for further detailed information regarding Responsible Employees and Public Safety as well as third-party and anonymous reporting. Additional information can be found there such as the University’s prevention and awareness programs.

The University encourages survivors and bystanders to report incidents of sexual misconduct without fear of being accused of lower-level policy violations themselves, such as underage alcohol or drug intoxication. To encourage reporting, the University will review amnesty options for all reporters.

Sexual Misconduct Investigation and Adjudication:

Notice of a formal complaint can be made in writing or orally to an appropriate staff member such as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, Residential Life staff, Student Conduct staff, Public Safety, other Student Affairs staff, etc) though the University encourages the submission of written complaints. The complaint should clearly describe the alleged incident and when and where it occurred. Additionally, the initiator of a formal complaint should submit any supporting materials in writing as quickly as possible. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator for students is designated to formally investigate and address the University’s compliance efforts regarding student complaints. The investigation and adjudication typically should be completed within 60 days of receipt of the complaint, often sooner. All reports will be taken seriously. Every reasonable effort will be made to preserve the privacy of all parties to the extent that the investigation allows. Only relevant information will be disclosed to those people with a need for information regarding the investigation (i.e. a need to know basis).

Interim remedial actions may be implemented by the University to stop the alleged harassment or discrimination and/or to protect the safety and well-being of the involved parties and the University community. Interim remedial actions include but are not limited to: no contact orders, academic and housing changes/accommodations, and emergency housing and campus restrictions/suspensions.

The Deputy Title IX Deputy Coordinator will oversee the designated investigators and determine the course of action, which may include formal Student Code of Conduct charges. When a sexual misconduct complaint goes through the Student Conduct system, all procedures set forth in the Student Conduct and Community Standards handbook will apply. All rights and notices afforded to the accused (responding) parties also apply to reporting victims and will be equitable throughout the adjudication process.  During the  Student Conduct adjudication, the inclusion of irrelevant prior sexual history, such as the reporting victim’s sexual conduct with anyone other than the responding student, is prohibited. The victim has the right to participate in the Student Conduct process by means other than being in the same room as the responding student if they choose. The responding student and reporting victim will simultaneously be notified in writing of the outcome of the complaint and options to appeal, if applicable.

Federal Law – Title IX – Sexual Misconduct as Sexual Discrimination

The US Department of Education and the Office of Civil Rights have issued specific requirements for educational institutions regarding sexual misconduct. The sexual harassment of students, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by federal law under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and therefore is a civil rights violation. In compliance with the Title IX requirements, the University has named Dr. Kathleen McMahon, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and the Dean of Students, as its Deputy Title IX Deputy Coordinator for students.  Her role is to oversee University compliance with Title IX regulations in collaboration with The University’s Coordinator, Mirlen Mal, RWU’s Title IX Coordinator.

Dean McMahon will meet with students as needed to:

1. Serve as a resource for students wishing to report any acts of sexual violence or sexual harassment, i.e. violations of Title IX.

2 .Provide oversight for all Title IX complaints and identify patterns or issues.

3. Coordinate and develop programming and informational initiatives enabling students to fully understand sexual violence and sexual harassment as forms of sexual discrimination and further educate students re: University procedures and policies that address those issues.

All reports of sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual assault, made to any University “responsible employee” must be reported to the University’s Title IX Deputy Coordinator for students or his/her designee. Any person who believes they have been subject to sexual harassment or discrimination may contact the University Title IX Deputy Coordinator or her designee as well as the designated areas on and off campus listed previously.

The Deputy Title IX Coordinator is Dean McMahon. Her office is located in the Center for Student Development. Her phone number is 401-254-3161 and her email is kmcmahon@rwu.edu