Title IX at RWU

The Roger Williams University community understands that any instance of sexual violence affects the entire community and, as such, is dedicated to educating and supporting students, staff, and faculty on any and all Title IX topics and issues.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the Higher Education Act of 1965 ensures that, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

The Roger Williams University Title IX website serves as a resource for any member of the university community. Here you will find information regarding campus policies, resources for getting help, how to a file report, and educational programs and events.

List of Deputy Coordinators

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Title IX Coordinator

Dr. Jen Stanley, Title IX Coordinator and Associate Dean

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees

Flora Prestipino, Manager of Employment

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students

Heidi Hartzell, Student Life Compliance Manager

Danny DiCamillo, Assist. Director of Residence Life
(specializing in LGBTQ)

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty

Betsy Learned, Dean School of University Library

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for School of Law

Lorraine Lalli, Assistant Dean of Students, School of Law

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics

Joyce Maudie, Assistant Athletic Director /
Senior Women's Administrator / Head Softball Coach

Deputy Coordinator for Continuing Studies

Esther Jazmin, Student Services and Support Coordinator

RWU Title IX Committee

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Chair – Jen Stanley, Title IX Coordinator

Rachel Nuzzo, Office of General Counsel

Lisa Landreman, Assistant Vice President / Dean of Student Life

Steve Melaragno, Director of Public Safety

Heidi Hartzell, Student Life Compliance Manager

Lisa Lyons, Assistant Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards

Lorraine Lalli, Assistant Dean of Students, School of Law

Debbie Knapman, Counselor, Counseling Center

Betsy Learned, Dean of University Library

Joyce Maudie, Assistant Athletic Director / Senior Women’s Administrator / Head Softball Coach

June Speakman, Professor of Political Science

Alexander Knights, Assistant Professor, Gabelli School of Business

Mary Randazzo, Coordinator of Residence Education / Advisor to the Women's Collective


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    1. Effective Consent:

    RWU strongly encourages students who choose to engage in sexual behavior to verbally communicate their intentions and consent as clearly as possible. Effective consent is informed, knowing and voluntary. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable willingness regarding engaging in mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

    Consent may never be given by minors, mentally disabled persons, and those who are incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drug consumption or those who are unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless. Incapacitation means being in a state where a person cannot understand the nature and/or extent of the situation. Slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, smell of alcohol, shaky equilibrium, unsteady gait, vomiting, outrageous or unusual behavior, unconsciousness (short or long periods), elevated blood alcohol level, sleeping, blackout and loss of memory are some indicators of alcohol-related incapacitation. A person’s state of incapacity is a subjective determination. Indications of consent are irrelevant if the initiator knows or should have reasonably known of the incapacity of another person. Intentional use of alcohol or other drugs does not excuse perpetration of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct/Gender-Based Misconduct policy.

    Consent as a result of coercion, intimidation, threat of force or force is not effective consent. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Whensomeone makes it clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want tostop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction,continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. A person who knowsor should have reasonably known that another person is incapacitated maynot engage in sexual activity with that person.

    In the absence of mutually understandable words or actions, it is the responsibility of the initiator, or the person who wants to engage in the specific sexual activity, to make sure that they have consent from their partner. Consent to some form of sexual activity doesn’t automatically mean consent to other forms of sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator to re-confirm consent during each step of sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words and/or actions of the parties to have expressed a mutually understandable agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with one another. Silence, previous sexual relationships, and/or a current relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) may not, in themselves, imply consent. Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time, as long as withdrawal is communicated between the engaging parties.


    2. Non-consensual sexual intercourse:

    Non-consensual sexual intercourse is a form of sexual assault which includes any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object or body part by a person against another person that is without consent and/or by force. Examples of non-consensual sexual intercourse include, but are not limited to: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact).


    3. Non-consensual sexual contact:

    Non-consensual sexual contact is a form of sexual assault which includes any intentional touching, however slight, whether clothed or unclothed, with any object or body part by a person against another person that is without consent and/or by force. Examples of non-consensual sexual contact include, but are not limited to: intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals; intentional touching of another with breast, buttocks, groin or genitals; making another person touch someone or themselves in a sexual manner; and/or any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.


    4. Sexual harassment:

    Sexual harassment is a form of gender-based discrimination involving quid pro quo or hostile environment harassment. Quid pro quo harassment is an intentional, intolerable exploitation of a position of power and authority such as unwelcome sexual advances, requests or demands for sexually-based favors, or other gender-based verbal or physical conduct where submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used by a person(s) in a position of power or authority, as a basis for employment, academic or institutional environment decisions affecting such individual. Hostile environment harassment arises where one or more members of the University community engage in gender-based conduct that unreasonably creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working and/or living/study environment that has the effect of altering one’s work or educational experience and the conditions of employment or living/study at the University. Examples of sexual harassment include but are not limited to: subtle or persistent pressure for sexual activity or favors; unnecessary touching or brushing up against a person; unwelcome communication (verbal, written, electronic, etc.) of a sexual nature; and/or failure to accept the end of a consensual relationship with repeated and persistent requests and behavior.


    5. Sexual exploitation:

    Sexual exploitation includes but it not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy and voyeurism (in-person or through audio or video recording); recording any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity in a private space without that person’s full knowledge and consent; distributing sexual or intimate information, images or recordings about another person without that person’s full knowledge and consent; and/or exposing of a person’s body or genitals.


    6. Relationship Violence (Domestic Violence/Dating Violence):

    Relationship violence is behavior in an intimate relationship that is used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation. This behavior can be verbal, emotional and/or physical.


    7. Stalking/Intimidation:

    Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fearful, intimidated, threatened, or cause emotional distress. Intimidation is defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear or harm in another. It also includes when the knowledge of prior violent behavior is used to threaten or menace another.


    8. Retaliation:

    Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. The University will take seriously any allegation of retaliation.

Definitions from the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

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Dating Violence:

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim:

  1. The existence of such a relationship shall be based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  2. For the purposes of this definition –
    1. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse
    2. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence:

A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed –

  1. By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim
  2. By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common
  3. By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or an intimate partner
  4. By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence has occurred; or
  5. 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 in which the crime of violence occurred.

Sexual Assault

An offense that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest, or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. Per the National Incident-Based Reporting System User Manual from the FBI UCR Program. A sex offense is “any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.”

  1. Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
  2. Fondling: The touching of the private parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.
  3. Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  4. Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.


Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to

  1. Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
  2. Suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition:

  1. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  2. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Rhode Island General Laws

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Sexual assault is a felony crime in Rhode Island, and punishable for a period not less than ten years to lifetime in prison. State law defines sexual assault in three degrees:

First Degree Sexual Assault, R.I.G.L.  § 11-37-2 also called rape, has two major components:

  1. Any forced, coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth by any part of another’s body or an object; and,
  2. Legally, lack of consent does not necessarily require physical resistance or verbal refusal. For instance, someone who is incapacitated, asleep or intoxicated is, by definition of the law, unable to give consent.

Second Degree Sexual Assault,R.I.G.L. § 11-37-4 is non-consenting sexual contact with another person. This includes any forced or coerced contact with a person’s genital area, inner thigh, buttocks, or the breast of a female. This includes contact occurring by element of surprise.

Third Degree Sexual Assault, R.I.G.L.§ 11-37-6 is consensual sexual penetration by a person 18 years of age or older of a person over 14 years of age, but under the age of consent (16 years old).

*In Rhode Island, it is a crime to fail to report to the police a first degree sexual assault or an attempted first degree sexual assault which you have witnessed. R.I.G.L. §11-37-3.1; 11-37-3.3.

Domestic Violence,R.I.G.L.§ 12-29-2. Includes any of the following crimes when committed by a family member, a person who presently resides with or has resided with the victim in the past 3 years, a person who has a child in common with the victim, or a person who has been in a substantive dating relationship within the past year with the victim:

  1. simple assault,
  2. felony assault,
  3. vandalism,
  4. disorderly conduct,
  5. trespass,
  6. kidnapping,
  7. child-snatching,
  8. sexual assault,
  9. homicide,
  10. violations of a protective order,
  11. stalking,
  12. refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone,
  13. burglary and unlawful entry,
  14. arson,
  15. cyber stalking and cyber harassment, 
  16. domestic assault by strangulation, and
  17. electric tracking of motor vehicles.

*Please note: Students in the same residence hall/off-campus apartment may be considered under this definition.

Stalking R.I.G.L. § 11-59-1; § 11-59-2

  1. Engaging in a 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, or
  2. Willfully, maliciously and repeatedly following another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily injury. 

Copies of the R.I. Statutes are available in the following offices: Counseling, Health Services, Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution, Public Safety, Residence Life and Housing, and the Title IX Office.

What RWU Conduct & Sanctions Apply to Sexual Misconduct

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Sexual misconduct (Conduct Code 2) is considered to be one of the most serious violations of the Roger Williams Student University Code of Conduct. Students found responsible for a violation of sexual assault through the Sexual Misconduct Review Process will receive a sanction of suspension for no less than one semester up to dismissal from the University. Other violations of Conduct Code 2 can result in a sanction range up to dismissal as well. All RWU students are responsible for being familiar with and abiding by the standards of conduct in this section.


Conduct Code #2:Sexual Misconduct/Gender-Based Misconduct

Members of the Roger Williams University community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from sexual/gender-based misconduct and discrimination. The University will not tolerate misconduct regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity. The University will remedy all unwelcome conduct of a sexual/gender-based nature and will impose serious sanctions on anyone who violates this policy. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual assault (including non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact);
  • Sexual harassment;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Dating violence or domestic violence;
  • Stalking; and
  • Illegal possession or distribution of pornography.

The policy applies to all students, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. A student charged with sexual misconduct can be held accountable under the University’s Code and could face possible criminal charges with law enforcement agencies. These above actions are separate and not dependent upon one another.