Sexual Assault Policy
Effective June 1, 2011
Union Institute & University is committed to providing a learning environment free from violence. Union Institute & University will not tolerate any sexual offense(s) in the work or academic setting. This sexual assault policy is designed to specifically address the public well-being of students, faculty, and staff. The university prohibits any activity that constitutes sexual assault: offenders may be subject to disciplinary action and/or criminal proceedings.
The victim of sexual assault is never to blame for behavior of the perpetrator. For the purposes of this policy, sexual assault includes, but is not limited to, those activities described within the phrase “gross sexual imposition.” See university policies on “Harassment Avoidance” (employees) and “Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment” (students).Gross sexual imposition involves:
- Sexual act(s) or contact(s) with another which involve compelling a person to submit by force or threat of force;
- use of intoxicants to substantially impair a person's power to give consent to sexual act(s) or contact(s); and/or
- engaging in sexual act(s) or contact(s) when there is reasonable belief that the other person suffers from a mental state which renders him or her incapable of understanding the nature of the contact.
Sexual assault encompasses a range of unwanted sexual contacts and acts, including, but not limited to: rape and attempted rape, child sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, exhibitionism, voyeurism, fondling, and obscene phone calls. While sexual assault can take many forms, it is important to remember that the loss of power and control that a victim of sexual assault experiences is a common thread. Both women and men can sexually assault; both can be sexually assaulted.
Mutually understandable consent is almost always an objective standard. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested an agreement between them to do the same thing, in the same way, at the same time, with one another.
- It is the responsibility of the initiator to make sure he or she has consent from the partner.
- Consent to some forms of sexual activity does not necessarily imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent obtained through the use of fraud or force is ineffective consent.
- Consent may never be given by a minor to an adult.
- Consent may never be given by an incapacitated individual.
- Consent to sexual activity may be withdrawn at any time.
- Consent has an expiration date.
Rape is a violent form of sexual assault—an act of violence in which sex is used as a weapon. It includes any sexual intercourse with a person that occurs without his or her effective consent or when the person is unable to give consent. There are several different circumstances under which rape can occur.
- Stranger rape: the victim does not know the perpetrator.
- Acquaintance rape: the victim and the perpetrator are known to each other.
- Date rape: a type of acquaintance rape, when the assault occurs between two people who are dating partners.
- Marital rape: rape between husband and wife.
Union Institute & University strives to foster a safe learning and working environment, considering both physical surroundings and the university’s response to allegations of sexual assault. The university monitors the physical surroundings of its centers to enhance security and safety through lighting, limited facilities access, security staff, etc. While charges of sexual assault at Union Institute & University facilities and activities have been rare, the university also periodically reviews its responses to any allegations of sexual assault that have arisen.
While there is no absolute way to prevent a sexual assault, students can take simple precautions to minimize their risk. Students should be aware of their surroundings and not let alcohol or other drugs cloud their judgment. Other preventative actions include:
- Being assertive and always demonstrating control.
- Keeping doors and windows locked when leaving your home or your car.
- Not lending your keys or putting your name or address on your key ring.
- Always watching for unwanted visitors and reporting unknown intruders immediately.
- Staying away from isolated areas and walking with a companion or in a group.
Reporting and Response
Victims of sexual assault are strongly encouraged to tell someone about the incident and to seek medical attention. A Union Institute & University student, faculty or staff member, or visitor reporting a sexual assault has several options—there is no single plan of action. Options include any/all of the following:
- Discussing the assault with friend, counselor, etc.
- Pursuing medical treatment.
- Pursuing counseling services with an appropriate agency.
- Initiating a university complaint.
- Initiating a criminal complaint.
- Confidential or anonymous reporting of the incident.
Union Institute & University will respond to all allegations of sexual assault from students, faculty, staff, and visitors. The university’s response to a report of sexual assault may involve a number of individuals and organizations. The victim may be presented with options about how s/he wants to pursue the complaint.
Reporting to Union Institute & University
For the safety of the university community, individuals who have been sexually assaulted arestrongly encouraged to report the assault to the university and/or law enforcement. If the victim chooses to report an assault to university authorities, he or she may do so by contacting the provost or vice president for human resources, or by reporting the incident to any Union Institute & University employee, asking her or him to make the report. Individuals reporting a sexual assault to the university should be aware that Union Institute & University must report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Victims of sexual assault can be assured that, when they provide assault information with university officials, confidentiality will be preserved insofar as is possible within the framework of university policies and applicable state and federal regulations. (See the university procedure for reporting criminal incidents.)
Reporting to Law Enforcement
Union Institute & University encourages all members of its learning community who believe they are victims of sexual assault to immediately report the incident to the police agency of jurisdiction. Although reporting is not required, it is strongly encouraged. Reporting the assault to police can empower the victim by exercising her/his legal rights; it can also help protect others from similar assaults. The victim can report the assault directly, or request that the university make the report. In the event of a medical and/or police emergency resulting from a sexual assault, medical response personnel and/or police should be contacted by calling 911. The victim is also encouraged to seek medical attention—a medical exam will result in treatment of physical problems resulting from the assault, and to avoid destroying evidence by bathing, douching, changing clothes, or cleaning up in any way. Any additional evidence should be preserved by storing items in a paper bag.
If the victim decides report the assault directly to police, he or she has the option of making a “blind” report to the police—notifying the police that a sexual assault has occurred, but giving no names or other identification. The victim may also choose to report the incident at a later date, but should be aware that such delays may hinder the criminal justice system’s efforts to locate and/or prosecute the perpetrator.
Investigating a Complaint
Individuals who believe they are victims of sexual assault may also choose to file a complaint with the university against the perpetrator. Note that reporting an assault to university administration does not constitute a complaint. Complaints from students should be submitted to the provost; complaints from employees should be submitted to the Vice President for human resources.
- The university investigation of a student complaint of sexual assault will be conducted by the provost; investigation of a complaint from an employee will be conducted by the vice president of human resources; a complaint from a visitor will be investigated by either the Provost or Vice President of human resources, as assigned by the President.
- If the alleged sexual assault involves a student and an employee (regardless of which is the complainant and which is the alleged perpetrator), the investigation will be conducted jointly by the provost and vice president of human resources. If the complainant is a student, the procedure will follow that outlined in the “Student Complaints and Appeals” policy. If the complainant is an employee, the procedure will follow the “Conduct and Working Environment” policy outlined in the Human Resources Policy Manual.
While a university investigation is under way, the Provost and/or Vice President of human resources may do any/all of the following:
- Provide escort services to the complainant.
- Alter the complainant’s academic schedule and/or coordinate arrangements with instructors to assist in offsetting potential academic problems.
- Direct the accused person to have no contact with the victim, asserting that failure to adhere to this by the accused may result in further disciplinary action.
- Ban the accused person from Union Institute & University facilities and university-sponsored activities.
- If the accused person is an employee, he or she may be suspended, with or without pay.
- Other disciplinary measures as deemed appropriate.
During an investigation of a complaint of sexual assault, Union Institute & University will respect the rights of both the complainant and the accused. Disciplinary action taken by the university against an employee or student found to be guilty of sexual assault will depend on the severity of the case, up to and including termination of employment (employees) and dismissal from the university (students). Any individual who is found to have intentionally filed a false report of sexual assault will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment (employees) and dismissal from the university (students).
Under the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (as amended in 2000), Union Institute & University has the discretionary authority to disclose to a victim of an alleged crime of violence the final results of disciplinary action taken by the university against the individual found to be the perpetrator of that crime. The victim may not disclose this information, but the university may choose to release certain information regarding the final results of a disciplinary hearing, if the hearing was related to an alleged crime of violence for which an individual was found to be in violation of university rules or policies. Information released will include only the perpetrator’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions imposed by the university against the individual.
The Role of Alcohol and Drugs in Sexual Assault
The use of alcohol or drugs by a victim will not adversely affect his or her report of sexual assault or rape or status with Union Institute & University.
However, Union Institute & University is concerned about the role that drugs and alcohol often play in cases of sexual assault. Alcohol consumption and certain drugs may reduce inhibitions and impair judgment, making individuals more vulnerable to assault. Individuals should also be aware of the so-called "rape drugs" (rohypnol, GHB, etc.), which may be given to an intended victim without her or his knowledge, resulting in loss of control or consciousness and inability to remember what happened while under the influence of the drug. For this reason, no one should accept an open drink from another person, nor should drinks be left unattended. Individuals who suspect that they have been given a drug should seek medical assistance immediately, not only to decrease medical risks but to allow for a blood test that will confirm the presence of a drug.
Union Institute & University prohibits retaliation against individuals who report rape or sexual assault. Victims of sexual assault should immediately report any form of retaliation. Students, faculty or staff found to have engaged in retaliation against a victim will be subject to disciplinary action as provided in Union Institute & University’s applicable policies.