Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures

2021-2022

Purpose of Policy
Prohibition Against Sexual Harassment
Applicability and Scope
Role of the Title IX Coordinator
Prohibited Conduct Defined 
Relevant Definitions
Academic Freedom
Confidentiality
Amnesty for Students
Options for Reporting Sexual Harassment 
Interim Actions
Requirements for Title IX Personnel
Informal Resolution Process
Formal Complaint Overview
Formal Complaint Grievance Process: Overview
Formal Grievance Process: Investigation
Formal Grievance Process: Live Hearing 
Formal Grievance Process: Written Determination of Responsibility
Formal Grievance Process: Remedies and Disciplinary Sanctions
Formal Grievance Process: Appeals 
Potential Delays in the Informal or Formal Resolution Process
Requests for Extensions of Timelines from the Parties 
Time Limits
Written Explanation of Rights and Options
Record Keeping
Additional Information
Policy Revision
Appendix A 
Appendix B

PURPOSE OF POLICY 

On August 14, 2020, the United States Department of Education and the Office for Civil Rights implemented Title IX regulations that govern how institutions of higher education that receive federal funding must respond to allegations of sexual harassment.1 

This document describes Roger Williams University’s (“RWU”) Title IX Sexual Harassment policy and procedures. Incidents that do not meet the definitions of prohibited conduct described herein or other criteria outlined in this Title IX policy will be referred to other University departments as appropriate (e.g. Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Human Resources, etc.).

[1] See 34 C.F.R. § 106 et seq.

PROHIBITION AGAINST SEXUAL HARASSMENT

RWU prohibits all forms of discrimination on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities and is required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and its implementing regulations not to discriminate in such a manner. According to Title IX, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”2 

This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to incidents of sexual harassment as defined by 34 C.F.R. § 106.30, as well as dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking as defined by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. Sexual harassment, including sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination that is illegal under both federal and Rhode Island state law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Section 28-51-2 of the General Laws of Rhode Island.

[2] See20 U.S.C. § 1681(a).

APPLICABILITY AND SCOPE

This policy applies to all RWU community members, including faculty, adjunct faculty, staff, students, and participants in University programs or activities. In certain situations, this policy may also apply to other individuals, such as contractors, visitors, volunteers, and/or other third parties.

The policy and procedures described herein only apply to allegations of sexual harassment that meet the Title IX regulatory definition of sexual harassment and conduct that has occurred within the University’s education programs or activities in the United States. For purposes of this policy, an education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Title IX sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.

ROLE OF THE TITLE IX COORDINATOR

In compliance with Title IX requirements, the University has named Dr. Jen Stanley as its Title IX Coordinator. The responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator and/or other Deputy Title IX Coordinators include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Oversee compliance with the Title IX statute and implementing regulations, and review University Title IX policies and procedures accordingly;
  2. Receive and assess reports of sexual harassment in violation of this policy made by any person through the reporting means described herein;
  3. Respond to reports of sexual harassment, when the University has actual knowledge, in a way that is not deliberately indifferent;
  4. Coordinate and oversee the administration of all Title IX formal complaints, informal resolution processes, formal grievance processes, and appeals processes described herein;
  5. Oversee the effective implementation of supportive measures, remedies, and disciplinary sanctions;
  6. Coordinate and develop programming and informational initiatives that enable individuals to understand sexual harassment as a form of sex discrimination; and
  7. Educate community members about the University Title IX policy and procedures.

The Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to delegate some of the aforementioned responsibilities to other University employees who meet the requirements described in the “Roles of Professionals Involved in the Informal Resolution Process and Formal Grievance Process” section below.

The Title IX Coordinator’s contact information is as follows:

•    Name: Dr. Jen Stanley
•    Role: Title IX Coordinator
•    Office Location: Center for Student Development Building
•    Office Mailing Address: 1 Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809
•    Phone Number: (401) 254-3123
•    Email Address: jstanley@rwu.edu

PROHIBITED CONDUCT DEFINED

Title IX Sexual Harassment

Title IX Sexual Harassment is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following three categories: (1) Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment; (2) Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment; and/or (3) Sex-Based Crimes.

1.    Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment occurs when an employee of RWU conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Examples of Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment include, but are not limited to the following:

  • A Professor of the University promises a student that they will receive an A in their course in exchange for sexual favors;
  • A coach employed by the University conditions a student’s athletic success or failure in an extracurricular activity on the student’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
  • University employee who supervises a student-employee asks the student to go out on a date. When the student declines, the University employee threatens to fire the student.

2.    Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment occurs when unwelcome conduct is determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity.

Examples of Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Acts that do not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature but are based on sex or gender-stereotyping, and which may include physical aggression, intimidation, hostility, humiliation, insulting and hazing, etc.
  • Physical contact, such as intentional touching, pinching, brushing against another’s body, impeding or blocking movement, assault;
  • Unwelcomed sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
  • Verbal contact, such as sexually suggestive or obscene comments, phone calls, threats, slurs, epithets, jokes about gender-specific traits, sexual propositions;
  • Visual contact, such as leering or staring at another’s body, gesturing, displaying sexually suggestive objects or pictures, cartoons, posters or magazines; or
  • Written contact, such as sexually suggestive, harassing, or obscene letters, texts, faxes, emails, notes, invitations;

3.    Sex-Based Crimes occur when conduct constitutes “sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).

  • Sexual Assault includes the sex offenses of Rape, Sodomy, Sexual Assault with an Object, Fondling, Incest, and Statutory Rape.
    • Rape is the carnal knowledge of a person, without the consent of that person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Sodomy is oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of that person, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Sexual Assault with an Object is the use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of that person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent of that person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    • Incest is nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
    • Statutory Rape is nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Dating Violence means violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors:
    1. The length of the relationship;
    2. The type of relationship; and
    3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  •  Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction
  • Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
    1. fear for their safety or the safety of others; or
    2. suffer substantial emotional distress.

Title IX Retaliation

Neither the University nor any other person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or the Title IX regulations, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy.

Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for Code of Conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or this policy, constitutes retaliation.

The University must keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by federal or Rhode Island state law, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.

Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the policy described herein.

RELEVANT DEFINITIONS

Consent is a clear, informed, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent to one type of sexual activity does not equal consent to other types of sexual activity. Consent can be withdrawn at any point during sexual activity, wherein the sexual activity must stop immediately. A verbal “no” establishes lack of consent. Silence, without clear actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to indicate consent—the absence of “no” does not equal “yes.” Consent cannot be obtained by coercion, force, intimidation, or threat. Consent cannot be given by someone if they are mentally or physically incapacitated.

The University strongly encourages students who choose to engage in sexual conduct to verbally communicate their intentions and consent as clearly as possible.

Coercion is unreasonable or sustained pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes it clear that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Complainant is any individual who is alleged to be the victim of sexual harassment that is prohibited under this policy.

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force can include intimidation or implied threats to overcome an individual’s resistance or produce consent. There is no requirement that a party resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Incapacitation is a state where an individual is temporarily or permanently impaired to the extent where that person can no longer make a rational and informed decision to consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by mental or physical disability, or when a person has consumed alcohol or other drugs, including prescribed medication. Individuals who are asleep or unconscious are incapacitated. A person who does not comprehend the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of a sexual interaction may be incapacitated.

Indicators of alcohol-related incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, stumbling or shaky equilibrium, vomiting, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, smell of alcohol, outrageous or unusual behavior, unconsciousness (for short or long periods of time), elevated blood alcohol level, sleeping, blackout, or loss of memory.

Intimidation is defined as overt or implied threats or acts that would cause reasonable fear of harm in another.

Preponderance of the Evidence standard is met if the greater weight of the evidence demonstrates that it is “more likely than not” that a violation has occurred.

Respondent is any individual who has been alleged to be the perpetrator of sexual harassment that is prohibited under this policy.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM

The University is committed to the principles of Academic Freedom as found in the RWU Faculty Contract.3  Reported conduct that is deemed protected under the Academic Freedom policy would not qualify as a Title IX violation.

[3] For the RWU Faculty Contract, see Appendix B of the following link: https://www.rwu.edu/sites/default/files/downloads/hr/faculty_union_contract_2017-21.pdf

CONFIDENTIALITY

RWU will make all reasonable efforts to keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment under this policy, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sexual harassment, any Respondent, or any witness. RWU will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures.

RWU may reveal confidential information as permitted or required by law, to carry out the purposes of this policy, including conducting any investigation, live hearing, or proceeding arising thereunder.

Although RWU will make all reasonable efforts to maintain privacy and confidentiality, the University will not restrict the ability of any party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence. However, the prohibition against retaliation continues to apply to all parties.

Certain types of Sexual Harassment are considered crimes for which the University must disclose crime statistics in its Annual Security Report that is provided to the campus community and available to the public. In these instances, the University will continue to complete publicly available recordkeeping in accordance with relevant laws, including the Clery Act reporting and disclosures, without the inclusion of personally identifying information about the parties. In addition, RWU will issue “Timely Warnings” in compliance with the Clery Act to alert the campus community about crimes that pose a serious or continuing threat to safety. Timely Warnings may be issued for ongoing or imminent threats, both on- and off-campus, and will aid in the prevention of similar occurrences. The decision to issue a Timely Warning is decided on a case-by-case basis in light of all the facts surrounding an incident, including factors such as the nature of the crime, the continuing threat to the campus community, and the possible risk of compromising law enforcement efforts, and are not limited to crimes being committed by persons not known to the victim.4

[4] For more information about timely warnings, see the following link: https://www.rwu.edu/who-we-are/administrative-offices/public-safety/clery-reports/timely-warning

AMNESTY FOR STUDENTS

The health and safety of every student at RWU is of utmost importance. RWU recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time that an incident of violence occurs, including, but not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. RWU strongly encourages students to report incidents of violence to University officials. A bystander acting in good faith, or a reporting individual acting in good faith, who discloses any incident of violence to RWU’s officials or law enforcement will not be subject to disciplinary action under RWU’s Code of Conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug-use policies occurring at or near the time of the commission of the incident of violence.

OPTIONS FOR REPORTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Title IX Reporting Procedure

Any person (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the Complainant) may report sexual harassment, in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator in Appendix A, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator. For purposes of this policy, RWU will be deemed to have actual notice of allegations only when notice of said allegations is made to the Title IX Coordinator or to a University official who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University.5

A reporting party may request that RWU not investigate and/or adjudicate the report under the formal complaint procedures described herein. RWU will make all reasonable efforts to honor a reporting party’s request in this regard. However, in certain circumstances, the University may decide to pursue a formal complaint. These circumstances include, but are not limited to, instances when the University has received multiple reports of misconduct by the same individual or when the conduct reported poses a compelling risk to the health and safety of the University community.

Upon receiving a report of sexual harassment, if the Title IX Coordinator is made aware of the identity of a Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will make all reasonable efforts to promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the Complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.  

Upon receiving a report of sexual harassment, if the Respondent is unknown or is not a faculty, staff, or student member of the University, the Title IX Coordinator will make all reasonable efforts to provide the Complainant with supportive measures, as well as information and options regarding potential criminal processes. The Title IX Coordinator may also take appropriate actions to protect the Complainant, such as providing assistance in obtaining no-trespass and no-contact orders. If requested, the University will assist in filing/applying for orders of protection, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court.

[5] See Appendix A.

Option of Confidential Reporting

Individuals have the option to report confidentially through the RWU Confidential Reporting Form and/or to speak confidentially with the RWU Counseling Center employees, with RWU Health Services employees, or with other off-campus resources in accordance with law.6

[6] See Appendix B for reporting resources.

Option of Reporting to Law Enforcement

Individuals who have experienced criminal violations are encouraged to report incidents to local law enforcement and have the option to do so. Formal reporting options include contacting the police department in the jurisdiction in which the incident occurred. If a Complainant chooses to report to law enforcement or pursue a criminal process, the Complainant may simultaneously pursue a formal complaint under this policy. Individuals are advised that if there is concurrent law enforcement activity, RWU, at its sole discretion, may temporarily delay its investigative or adjudicative process.

The University can provide Complainants with information and support in the process of reporting criminal conduct to law enforcement.

Regarding the involvement of law enforcement, the Complainant has several options, including: (1) to notify law enforcement authorities; (2) to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities; or (3) to decline to notify such authorities. The University will comply with the Complainant’s request for assistance in notifying law enforcement to the extent it is consistent with law. The Complainant’s choice to report to law enforcement will not impact the provision of supportive measures.

INTERIM ACTIONS

Emergency Removal and Administrative Leave

Upon receiving a report that a Respondent engaged in prohibited conduct described in this policy, RWU reserves the right to remove the Respondent on an emergency basis7,  provided that it conducts an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any individual arising from the allegations justifies removal, and provides the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.

[7] When the Respondent is a non-student employee, RWU reserves the right to place the non-student employee on an emergency paid or unpaid administrative leave.

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.

RWU will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures.

Both the Complainant and Respondent involved in either an informal or a formal resolution process have a right to receive supportive measures from the University.

Supportive measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Counseling services;
  • Academic modifications;
  • Housing adjustments, such as:
  • Emergency housing; and
  • Protective measures, such as:
  • No contact orders/directives;
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus

Additional options and resources may be found in Appendix A and on the RWU Title IX website.

REQUIREMENTS FOR TITLE IX PERSONNEL

Training

The Title IX Coordinator(s), Investigator(s), Decision-Maker(s)8,  and Facilitator(s) of Informal Resolution Processes receive training on:

  • Prohibited behaviors as defined in this policy, including Title IX Sexual Harassment;
  • The scope of the University’s education program or activity as it relates to Title IX complaints;
  • How to conduct the informal resolution process and formal complaint grievance processes under this policy, including investigations, live hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes as applicable; and
  • How to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

The Decision-Maker(s) receives additional training on:

  • Any technology to be used at a live hearing; and
  • Issues related to relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior may not be relevant.

The Investigator(s) receive additional training on:

  • Issues related to relevance in order to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.

Any materials used to train will not rely on sex or other stereotypes and will promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints.

All Title IX training materials will be posted on the RWU website as a part of its recordkeeping in accordance with law.9

In addition to the aforementioned trainings, RWU also offers primary prevention and awareness programs, as well as educational programs and campaigns for students and employees to promote the awareness of discrimination and harassment, including dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

As required by the Clery Act, the Grievance Process will also be implemented by officials who, at a minimum, receive annual training on relevant issues related to sexual assault, dating and domestic violence and stalking and on how to conduct the Grievance Process.

[8] For purposes of this policy, the Appeal Officer is a Decision-Maker.

Conflicts of Interest, Bias, and Impartiality

The Title IX Coordinator(s), Investigator(s), Decision-Maker(s), and Facilitator(s) of Informal Resolution Processes will make all reasonable efforts to ensure that the formal complaint grievance process is facilitated in an impartial manner.

The Title IX Coordinator(s), Investigator(s), Decision-Maker(s), and Facilitator(s) of informal resolution processes may not have a conflict of interest for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent.

The parties are expected to promptly report concern(s) regarding conflict of interest or bias regarding the above-listed personnel to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as reasonably possible once they become aware of the conflict of interest or bias. Upon receiving a report of conflict of interest or bias, the University will evaluate the report, and if it is determined that a conflict of interest or bias exists, the University will appoint another individual to serve in the role.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS

Overview of Process

Informal resolution does not involve a full investigation and adjudication like the formal grievance process. Rather, the informal resolution process uses mediation or other forms of dispute resolution with the goal that the parties will arrive at a mutually agreed-upon outcome. The informal resolution process cannot be used for cases involving allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

In order to engage in an informal resolution process, the Complainant must first file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator,  the process must be deemed appropriate for informal resolution by the Title IX Coordinator10, and the Complainant and Respondent must voluntarily consent in writing to participate in the process.

To complete the informal resolution process, both parties must voluntarily agree to the outcome with the understanding that the outcome is final and will not be subject to further procedures under this policy, unless there is material evidence to show that a party engaged in misrepresentation or fraudulent conduct that impacted the resolution.

Both parties reserve the right to terminate the informal resolution process and may move forward with the formal grievance process any time prior to resolution. Such termination must be provided to the Title IX Coordinator in writing.

[10] See Filing a Formal Complaint described in the “Formal Complaint Overview” section. 

Written Notice to the Parties

Prior to initiating an informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties that includes:

  • The allegations alleged by the Complainant;
  • The requirements of the informal resolution process, including the circumstances under which the parties are precluded from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations; provided, however, that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and move forward with a formal complaint grievance process; and
  • Any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.
FORMAL COMPLAINT OVERVIEW

Filing a Formal Complaint

A Formal Complaint is a document signed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator, alleging sexual harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegations11.  At the time of filing a formal complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the University. For purposes of this policy, employment by the University constitutes participation in the education program or activity.

A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail.12  For purposes of the definition of Formal Complaint, “document signed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a Complainant or otherwise a party.

Consolidation of a Formal Complaint

RWU may consolidate formal complaints under this policy when allegations arise out of the same facts or circumstances. In addition, a formal complaint of retaliation described herein may be consolidated with a formal complaint of sexual harassment under Title IX. Where the formal resolution process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references made to the singular “party,” “Complainant,” or “Respondent” include the plural, as applicable.

Initial Assessment of a Formal Complaint

Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate whether the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute a Title IX violation because it meets or could meet the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and occurred or could have occurred within the jurisdiction and scope required by Title IX as described herein. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct alleged in the formal complaint, if proven, would meet the aforementioned requirements, then the complaint will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the procedures outlined in this policy. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct alleged in the formal complaint, if proven, would not meet the aforementioned requirements, then the complaint will follow the dismissal process described below and may, if appropriate, be referred to another University office.

Dismissal of a Formal Complaint and Acknowledgment of Responsibility

RWU reserves the right to dismiss a formal complaint. However, a dismissal of a formal complaint under Title IX may be resolved through other means outside of Title IX, including the University’s conduct process and procedures. Upon the decision to dismiss a formal complaint, both parties will be notified in writing and will be given the opportunity to appeal the dismissal.13

  • Mandatory Title IX “dismissal” will occur if:
    • The alleged harassment would not constitute a Title IX violation because it does not meet or could not meet the definition of Title IX sexual harassment as described herein;14  or
    • The alleged harassment did not occur within the jurisdiction and scope required by Title IX as described herein.15
  •  Discretionary Title IX “dismissal” may occur if:
    • At any time during the investigation or live hearing a Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
    • The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the University; or
    • There are specific circumstances that prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

At any point during the grievance process, a Respondent may choose to voluntarily admit responsibility for the alleged violation(s) and execute a written waiver, at which point the Respondent will be assigned a sanction(s) and the grievance process will be terminated.

[11] Unless the parties have met the requirements described in the “Informal Resolution Process” section and chosen to proceed with an informal resolution process as described herein, the University will evaluate the request for an investigation.

[12] See Appendix A for contact information.

[13] Please see Appeals section below.

[14] See the “Prohibited Conduct” section above.

[15] See the “Applicability and Scope of Policy” section above.

FORMAL COMPLAINT GRIEVANCE PROCESS: OVERVIEW

Once a formal complaint (as defined above) is filed, and the Title IX Coordinator has conducted the initial assessment and determined that the alleged conduct may proceed under this Title IX policy, the formal grievance process will commence.16  The grievance process will include written notice of allegations, an investigation with interviews of all parties and relevant witnesses, a live hearing that includes all parties and relevant witnesses led by a Decision-Maker, a written determination of responsibility, and the option for appeal.

RWU will make all reasonable efforts to provide a prompt, equitable, fair and impartial resolution of student and employee complaints,17  including providing a grievance process that treats Complainants and Respondents equitably by providing remedies to a Complainant where a determination of responsibility has been made against the Respondent, and by following its grievance process before imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not supportive measures. Remedies will be designed, where possible, to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Such remedies may include the same individualized services offered as supportive measures; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the Respondent.

Advisors

The Complainant and the Respondent are entitled to the same opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney; and the University may not limit the choice or presence of an advisor for either the Complainant or Respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the advisor must comply with the restrictions established by the University regarding the extent to which the advisor may participate in the proceedings. The restrictions are set forth below.

  • Meetings and Investigation Interviews: Advisors may not speak for or on behalf of any Complainant or Respondent during any meetings and/or investigation interviews. While an advisor cannot speak for or on behalf of the Complainant or Respondent during any meetings and/or investigation interviews, time will be granted for the advisor and the party to confer, if deemed appropriate, by the Investigator or University personnel facilitating any meeting. The Investigator and University personnel reserve the right to exclude an advisor from any meeting or investigation interview for failure to abide by these restrictions.
  • Live Hearings: Each party must have an advisor present at the Title IX live hearing. If a Complainant or Respondent does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the University will provide one. The University reserves sole discretion to select the advisor to provide under these circumstances. The advisor selected by the University will be provided without cost to the Complainant or Respondent. The role of any advisor during the live hearing is solely to conduct questioning on the Complainant’s or Respondent’s behalf. At the live hearing, the Decision-Maker will permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. It is the expectation of the University that the advisor will at all times act in a respectful and non-aggressive manner. The Decision-Maker reserves the right to exclude an advisor from the live hearing for failure to abide by these restrictions. Should an advisor be excluded from the live hearing, the party will be able to choose a new advisor, or one will be provided by the University.

Advisors are required to follow all procedures described in this policy. In a situation where an advisor engages in a material violation of this policy or does not abide by reasonable instruction from the Title IX Coordinator(s), Investigator(s), Decision-Maker(s), or other University personnel, RWU reserves the right to either limit or preclude the advisor from participation in the formal complaint grievance process. In the circumstance where an advisor is precluded from future participation, the party may select a new advisor of their choice or the University will provide an advisor for them.

Privileged Information

The University will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise permit questions or use of evidence that constitutes, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if a person holding such a privilege has waived the privilege, then the information may be used during an investigation or live hearing.

In gathering evidence, the University will not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so.

Evidence Pertaining to Sexual History

Questions about or evidence of a Complainant’s sexual predisposition is never considered relevant for the purposes of preparing an investigative report or questioning in a live hearing.

Questions about or evidence of a Complainant’s sexual history is only considered relevant for the purposes of an investigative report or questioning in a live hearing if:

  • Such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual history are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant; or
  • Such questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual history with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.

Questions or evidence about a Complainant’s sexual history that do not meet the two exceptions described above will be excluded from investigative reports and live hearings and are to be deemed irrelevant.

Written Notice of Allegations

Upon receiving a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to all known parties that includes:

  • The University’s grievance process, including any informal resolution process;
  • The allegations alleged by the Complainant, including sufficient details known at the time, and allowing sufficient time for a Respondent to prepare a response before any initial interview. “Sufficient details” include the identities of the parties involved, if known; the conduct allegedly constituting the sexual harassment, if known; and the date and location of the alleged incident(s), if known.
  • A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  • Information regarding the parties’ right to have an advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be an attorney.
  • A statement that the parties may inspect and review evidence as described in the “Investigation” section of this policy;18  and
  • A statement that RWU prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information in bad faith at any point in the grievance process. Individuals who engage in this misconduct may be subject to disciplinary actions.19  Disciplinary action pursued against a party for knowingly making false statements or submitting false information in bad faith does not constitute retaliation prohibited under this policy; provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement or provided materially false information in bad faith.

If in the course of an investigation, RWU decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the written notice of allegations described above, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.

[16] Unless the parties have met the requirements to proceed with an informal resolution process as described herein.

[17] As defined under Title IX and in the Clery Act.

[18] See the “Investigation” section below.

[19] See Code 9 "Dishonesty" of the Student Code of Conduct at the following link: https://www.rwu.edu/student-handbook/student-code-conduct

FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS: INVESTIGATION

Overview of the Investigative Process

Once a formal complaint is filed, and the Title IX Coordinator has conducted the initial assessment and determined that the alleged conduct may proceed under this Title IX policy, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Investigator to conduct a formal investigation into the allegations.20

The Investigator will contact the parties whose participation is invited or expected for an investigative interview and will provide written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of the meeting. Parties will be given reasonably sufficient time to prepare to participate.

The Investigator will make all reasonable efforts to complete the investigative report within 90 business days. This timeline may vary depending on the scope of the formal complaint, the amount of evidence to be considered, the number of persons to be interviewed, and additional factors. If the investigative report is going to take longer than 90 business days to complete, the parties and their advisors will be given notice.

The parties and their advisors are not authorized to disseminate any portion of the investigative report provided to them to any other person or entity, through any electronic or hardcopy means.

Unauthorized video or audio recordings of investigative interviews are not permitted by the parties or their advisors.

Equal Opportunity Given to the Parties

All parties have an equal opportunity to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to meet separately with the Investigator.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent are permitted to provide names of potential witnesses to the Investigator. The Investigator will determine which of those potential witnesses, or other persons, may have relevant information about the alleged conduct; and the Investigator may request statements, either orally or in writing.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent are permitted to provide other relevant evidence to the Investigator. For instance, evidence may include any facts or information presented in support of or opposition to an allegation, including, but not limited to, text messages, email exchanges, timelines, receipts, photographs, etc. The Investigator may also consider additional documents, items, or other relevant information.

All parties will be given an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as a part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint. This includes evidence that the University does not intend to rely upon in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence, whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to the conclusion of the investigation.

Review of Evidence

All parties must submit to the Investigator any evidence that they would like the Investigator to consider prior to the completion of the investigative report.

Prior to the completion of the investigative report, the University will send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the evidence subject to the parties’ inspection and review in an electronic or hardcopy format. (Note: All evidence that was subject to the parties’ inspection and review also will be made available at the live hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the live hearing, including for purposes of questioning.)

Each party will be given 10 days to submit a written response, which the Investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.

Completion of the Investigative Report

Either after the Investigator receives the parties’ written responses or after the 10-day time limit has expired, the Investigator will create an investigative report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence.

At least 10 days prior to the live hearing, the Investigator will send a copy of the investigative report in an electronic or hardcopy format to each party, their advisors, and the Title IX Coordinator. The parties will be given the opportunity to review the investigative report and provide a written response.

[20] The appointed Investigator will meet standards set out in the “Roles of Professionals Involved in the Informal and Formal Resolution Processes for Sexual Harassment” section above.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS: LIVE HEARING

Role of the Decision-Maker(s)

Shortly after receiving the final investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint one or more Decision-Makers to conduct the live hearing. If more than one Decision-Maker is appointed, the Decision-Makers will work together to make determinations during the live hearing regarding relevancy, responsibility, and sanctions.

The Complainant and Respondent will be notified of the identity/identities of the Decision-Maker(s) prior to the live hearing. If any party has concern(s) of potential bias or conflict of interest in regard to a particular Decision-Maker, the party must alert the Title IX Coordinator of said concern(s) no later than two days prior to the live hearing. Upon receiving a report of bias or conflict of interest, the University will evaluate the report, and if it is determined that a conflict of interest or bias exists, the University will appoint another individual to serve in the role.

Prior to the live hearing, at the discretion of the University, the Decision-Maker(s) may schedule a preliminary conference with each of the parties and their advisors to provide an overview of the live hearing procedures.

Written Response to the Final Investigative Report

Prior to scheduling the live hearing, a Decision-Maker (who will be the Hearing Chair when more than one Decision-Maker is appointed) will contact each party to provide a deadline for which they can submit their written responses to the final investigative report.

Live Hearing Schedule

Promptly after receiving the parties’ written responses, a Decision-Maker (who will be the Hearing Chair when more than one Decision-Maker is appointed) will provide the parties, their advisors, and witnesses with written notice of the live hearing date, time, and location. In this notice, the parties will be asked to inform the Decision-Maker right away if there is a scheduling conflict that would make it impossible to attend the live hearing.

Live Hearing Location and Attendance

At the request of either party, the University will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms. Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location, or, at the Title IX Coordinator’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually. In either of the aforementioned situations, the University will provide technology that enables the participants to simultaneously see and hear each other.

The only persons permitted to attend the live hearing are the parties, their advisors, the witnesses, and designated University personnel. The witnesses are only to be in attendance at the live hearing during the time in which they are offering information or answering questions. Otherwise, the witnesses are to be waiting in a designated room (or virtual room) until called upon.

Recording of Live Hearing

The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript of any live hearing. The choice of whether it is an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript is made in the sole discretion of the University. The audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript will be made available to both parties for inspection and review. In compliance with applicable disability laws, the University will ensure that all parties are properly accommodated with respect to use of technology and reliance on visual, audio, or written communication.

Standard of Evidence

Preponderance of the evidence is the standard of evidence to be used to determine whether a Respondent is responsible for the prohibited conduct alleged in the formal complaint.21 This is the standard of evidence that will be applied to all formal complaints of prohibited conduct described in this policy, regardless of whether the Respondent is a student or employee of the institution.

Questioning During Title IX Live Hearings

At the Title IX live hearing, the Decision-Maker (who will be the Hearing Chair when more than one Decision-Maker is appointed) will permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility.

Before a party or witness answers a question, the Decision-Maker (who will be the Hearing Chair when more than one Decision-Maker is appointed) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. The Decision-Maker has complete discretion to make relevancy determinations.

Advisors are required to engage with parties, witnesses, and the Decision-Maker(s) in a respectful and non-aggressive manner.

Questions will be asked directly, orally, and in real-time from the advisors of the parties, not from the parties themselves. Advisors are permitted to ask the other party and witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility.

The advisor may only ask relevant questions to each party and witness. Repetitive questions asked at the Title IX live hearing may be deemed irrelevant.

If a party or witness does not submit to questions at the Title IX live hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The Decision-Maker(s) is prohibited from drawing an inference regarding the determination of responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’ absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer questions.

[21] See the “Relevant Definitions” section above.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS: WRITTEN DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY

At the conclusion of the live hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) will undertake an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence (including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence). In addition, the Decision-Maker(s) will not make any credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness. Upon a determination of responsibility using the preponderance of the evidence standard described herein, the Decision-Maker(s) simultaneously issue a written determination regarding responsibility to both parties.

The written determination regarding responsibility will include:

  • Identification of the allegations potentially constituting prohibited conduct;
  • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and live hearings held;
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • Conclusions regarding the application of relevant policies to the facts;
  • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed, where possible, to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided by the University to the Complainant; and
  • The University’s procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant or Respondent to appeal.
  • The determination of responsibility will be deemed final on either of the following dates:
  • If an appeal is filed, the date that the Appeal Officer22  provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal; or
  • If an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.

[22] The Appeal Officer will be the Vice President of Student Life or designee, as indicated in the written determination of responsibility. See Appendix A for contact information.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS: REMEDIES & DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Remedies will be designed, where possible, to restore or preserve the Complainant’s equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Disciplinary actions may range from warnings to University dismissal or termination, depending on the magnitude and specifics of the violation. The types of prohibited conduct described in this policy are all serious offenses, and such violations are subject to any combination of conduct remedies or sanctions listed below.

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies.

Possible remedies and disciplinary sanctions are described in Appendix B.

FORMAL GRIEVANCE PROCESS: APPEALS

Appeals for Dismissal of a Formal Complaint or Determination of Responsibility

Both parties have the option to appeal a dismissal of a formal complaint and/or the determination regarding responsibility on the following bases:

  1. A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Decision-Maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter. If it is found that a party was aware of a potential bias or conflict of interest prior to the determination regarding responsibility and the party knowingly withheld that information from the University, the party will not be permitted to raise that allegation of bias or conflict of interest on appeal.

All appeals must be submitted in writing to the Appeal Officer within 5 days of receiving the written determination of responsibility.

Within 7 business days of receiving the written appeal, the Appeal Officer will review the appeal to determine whether it falls within one of the three bases for appeal as described above. If it does, the University will promptly notify the other party when a valid appeal is filed and will implement appeal procedures equally for both parties. If it does not meet the appeal criteria, the appealing party will be notified in writing.

The other party will be given 5 business days from the date of notification of the appeal to submit to the Appeal Officer a written response to the appeal.

Either after receiving the other party’s written response to the appeal, or after the time for the other party to submit a written response has expired, the Appeal Officer will make a determination regarding the outcome of the appeal within 7 business days.

Upon a determination of the outcome of the appeal, the Appeal Officer will provide written notice of the decision to both parties and will make all reasonable efforts to simultaneously notify said parties. This written notice will describe the rationale for the result of the appeal.

The University will ensure that the Appeal Officer is not the Investigator, Title IX Coordinator, or the Decision-Maker(s) who made the decision regarding responsibility and/or sanctioning.23

[23] The Appeal Officer will abide by the procedures described in the “Roles of Professionals Involved in the Informal and Formal Resolution Processes for Sexual Harassment” section above.

 
POTENTIAL DELAYS IN THE INFORMAL OR FORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESSES

RWU will make all reasonable efforts to abide by the timelines described throughout this policy. If the timeline for any stage of the informal resolution process or the formal complaint grievance process must be changed, the Complainant and Respondent will receive written notice of the temporary delay or limited extension of timelines and the reasons for the change. Possible reasons for temporary delays or extensions of timelines include, but are not limited to, the absence of a party or a party’s advisor, concurrent law enforcement activity, the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities, etc.

REQUEST FOR EXTENSIONS OF TIMELINES FROM THE PARTIES

If a party has good cause and needs an extension during the formal complaint grievance process, they can contact the Title IX Coordinator to request such extension. It is within the Title IX Coordinator’s discretion to grant such a request. In the case that an extension is granted, the same extension will be given to the other party.

TIME LIMITS

There is no time limit on reporting violations of this Policy, although the University’s ability to respond fully may be limited with the passage of time.

WRITTEN EXPLANATION OF RIGHTS AND OPTIONS

When an individual reports any allegation(s) of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, whether the offense occurred on or off campus, the University will provide the individual with a written explanation of rights and options.

RECORD KEEPING

RWU will document and maintain in University records for a period of seven years the following:

  • All materials used to train Title IX Coordinator(s), Investigator(s), Decision-Maker(s), and Facilitator(s) of Informal Resolution Processes. The University will make these training materials publicly available on its website;
  • Any informal resolution and the results therefrom;
  • Any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance of actions taken in response to Title IX reports or formal complaints, the University will document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity. If the University does not provide a Complainant in Title IX cases with supportive measures, then the University must document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances;
  • Each formal investigation, including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript of the live hearing;
  • Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, and/or any remedies provided to the Complainant designed, where possible, to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity; and
  • Any appeal and the result therefrom.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Bystander Intervention refers to safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual(s) to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of discrimination or sexual harassment, including sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, or stalking, against a person(s) other than the individual. Safe and positive options for bystander intervention include: recognizing prohibited conduct and situations of potential harm; understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence; overcoming barriers to intervening; and identifying effective ways to intervene and take action, provided that the intervention or action can be undertaken in a way that ensures the safety of the bystander. For more information about bystander intervention, Dr. Jen Stanley (jstanley@rwu.edu; 401-254-3123). A description of the University’s educational and primary prevention and awareness programs, including bystander intervention, can be found in the University’s most recent Annual Security Report.

Risk Reduction is defined as options designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, increase empowerment in order to promote safety, and help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence. A description of the University’s educational and primary prevention and awareness programs, including risk reductions, can be found in the University’s most recent Annual Security Report.

Preserving Evidence:In cases of sexual violence, including sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking, as defined herein, it is critical that the Complainant preserve evidence because doing so may assist in proving that the alleged behavior occurred and/or may be helpful in obtaining a protective order.24

Resources: The University will provide written notification about existing resources and services, which may include counseling, health, mental health, advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other resources and services that may be available at the University and in the community. The written information may include options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations; or protective measures. The University will make requested accommodations and protective measures if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether a report is made to Public Safety or local law enforcement.

Violations of Rhode Island State Law:Individuals may also wish to pursue criminal charges through local law enforcement. Below are relevant violations under Rhode Island General Law:

  • First Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-2): A person is guilty of first degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person, and if any of the following circumstances exist: (1) The accused, not being the spouse, knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless. (2) The accused uses force or coercion. (3) The accused, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim. (4) The accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation.
  • Second Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-4): A person is guilty of second degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist: (1) The accused knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless. (2) The accused uses force, element of surprise, or coercion. (3) The accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation.
  • Third Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-6): A person is guilty of third degree sexual assault if he or she is over the age of eighteen (18) years and engaged in sexual penetration with another person over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of consent, sixteen (16) years of age.
  • Stalking (RIGL § 11-59-2): Any person who: (1) harasses another person; or (2) willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury, is guilty of the crime of stalking. “Harasses” means a knowing and willful course of conduct directed at a specific person with the intent to seriously alarm, annoy, or bother the person, and which serves no legitimate purpose. The course of conduct must be such as would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress, or be in fear of bodily injury. “Course of conduct” means a pattern of conduct composed of a series of acts over a period of time, evidencing a continuity of purpose. Constitutionally protected activity is not included within the meaning of “course of conduct.”
  • Cyberstalking and Cyberharassment (RIGL § 11-52-4.2): Whoever transmits any communication by computer or other electronic device to any person or causes any person to be contacted for the sole purpose of harassing that person or his or her family is guilty of a misdemeanor.
  • Dating Violence (R.I.G.L. §16-22-24) "Dating violence" means a pattern of behavior where one person uses threats of, or actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner. "Dating partner" means any person involved in an intimate association with another primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement, whether casual, serious, or long-term.
  • Domestic Violence (RIGL § 12-29-2): (a) "Domestic violence" includes, but is not limited to, any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another: (1) Simple assault (§ 11-5-3); (2) Felony assaults (chapter 5 of title 11); (3) Vandalism (§ 11-44-1); (4) Disorderly conduct (§ 11-45-1); (5) Trespass (§ 11-44-26); (6) Kidnapping (§ 11-26-1); (7) Child-snatching (§ 11-26-1.1); 13 (8) Sexual assault (§§ 11-37-2, 11-37-4); (9) Homicide (§§ 11-23-1 and 11-23-3); (10) Violation of the provisions of a protective order entered pursuant to § 15-5-19, chapter 15 of title 15, or chapter 8.1 of title 8 where the accused has knowledge of the order and the penalty for its violation, or a violation of a no-contact order issued pursuant to § 12-29-4; (11) Stalking (chapter 59 of title 11); (12) Refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone (§ 11-35-14); (13) Burglary and Unlawful Entry (chapter 8 of title 11); (14) Arson (chapter 4 of title 11); (15) Cyberstalking and cyberharassment (§ 11-52-4.2); (16) Domestic assault by strangulation § 11-5-2.3; (b) "Family or household member" means spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three (3) years, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together, or persons who are, or have been, in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year which shall be determined by the court's consideration of the following factors: (1) The length of time of the relationship; (2) The type of the relationship; (3) The frequency of the interaction between the parties. (c) "Protective order" means an order issued pursuant to § 15-5-19, chapter 15 of title 15, or chapter 8.1 of title 8. (d) "Victim" means a family or household member who has been subjected to domestic violence.

[24] See Appendix B.

POLICY REVISION

RWU reserves the right to revise this policy at any time in its sole discretion. Revised policies will be posted on the University's website.


APPENDIX A

IMPORTANT CONTACT INFORMATION
Any person believed to have experienced sexual harassment is encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator (or a deputy coordinator) for support, resources and information regarding the University policy and procedures, including how to file a complaint.

TITLE IX COORDINATOR

  • Name: Dr. Jen Stanley
  • Office Location: Center for Student Development Building
  • Office Mailing Address: 1 Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809
  • Phone Number: (401) 254-3123
  • Email Address:jstanley@rwu.edu

Request for appeals are to be submitted in accordance with the criteria outlined in the “Appeals” section of this document to:

  • Dr. John King, Vice President for Student Life
  • Office Mailing Address: 1 Old Ferry Road, Bristol, RI 02809
  • Phone Number: (401) 254-3042
  • Email Address:  jjking@rwu.edu

Official with Authority (OWA)
An Official with Authority is a Roger Williams University employee explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures on behalf of the institution for sex or gender-based discrimination, harassment, violence, and/or retaliatory conduct involving students, faculty, staff, or third parties.

This includes:

  • The President and Members of the Cabinet
  • Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
  • Academic and Administrative Deans
  • Title IX Coordinator and Title IX Deputies
  • Director of Public Safety
  • Director of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution
  • Office of Student Conduct & Conflict Resolution Staff
  • Director of Athletics
  • Residence Life & Housing Professional Staff
  • Student Life Senior On-Call Staff Members

Complaints and inquiries regarding the application or enforcement of this Policy should be made to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. Inquiries regarding the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator or designee, or to the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at OCR@ed.gov or (800) 421-3481. This Policy is in compliance with applicable legal requirements, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, relevant provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, the Clery Act, and other applicable federal and Rhode Island state laws.

EMERGENCY MEDICAL, COUNSELING AND LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES
Emergency medical assistance, counseling support and campus safety/law enforcement resources are available on and off campus.  Individuals are encouraged to seek prompt medical attention following incidents that pose a threat to safety or physical well-being.

LOCAL MEDICAL RESOURCES:

  • Women & Infants Hospital: (401) 274-1100 (24/7)
  • Rhode Island Hospital: (401) 444-4000 (24/7)
  • Roger Williams Hospital: (401) 456-2121 (24/7)
  • Hasbro Children’s Hospital: (401) 444-4000 (24/7)
  • RWU Health Services: : (401) 254-3156

LOCAL COUNSELING RESOURCES:

CAMPUS SAFETY / LAW ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES:

CONFIDENTIALITY, PRIVACY AND REPORTING POLICY
Any person reporting a violation of this policy has the right to confidential support and advice on and off campus. The following list includes confidential resources on and off campus.

RWU CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCES

OFF-CAMPUS RESOURCES

DATING & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE RESOURCES(including criminal justice and protective order advocacy, emergency shelter, transitional housing, safety plans, counseling, education and/or policy) are available at the following member agencies of the RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence:

APPENDIX B

SANCTIONS

When an individual has been determined to be in violation of the policy, a range of sanctions may be assigned. When determining the appropriate sanction(s), the following factors may be considered:

  • nature, context, and severity of an incident,
  • level of accountability and responsibility taken by the individual,
  • level of cooperation from the individual,
  • need to stop the misconduct and prevent its recurrence,
  • need to remedy and address the impact or effects of the conduct on others,
  • disciplinary history of the individual,
  • best interests of the University community, and
  • any other aggravating, mitigating, or relevant factors.

Sanctions related to employees may include:

  • termination or dismissal from the University,
  • suspension,
  • probation,
  • reprimand,
  • warning, and
  • directed counseling and/or mandatory education and training

Sanctions related to students may include:

  • fines and restitution,
  • community service,
  • suspension of privileges,
  • educational intervention,
  • educational / restorative sanctions,
  • conduct warning,
  • conduct probation,
  • suspension from housing,
  • dismissal from housing,
  • university suspension,
  • interim suspension,
  • university dismissal, and
  • transcript notation for sanctions of suspension (during the suspension period) and dismissal

For both employees and students: Other Reasonable Sanctions
Any reasonable sanction may be assigned that appropriately promotes the education and development of a student or employee, ensures safety, or otherwise furthers the mission of the University.

Additional information regarding sanctions can be found here.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

NOTICE OF RHODE ISLAND MANDATORY REPORTING LAWS

TITLE IX at RWU

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION OFFICE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

Administratively revised July 2021.

For a full list of Roger Williams University's policies go to the Policies & Guidelines page.