Union Institute and University

Sexual Assault Policy

effective October 15, 2014, as Revised

Policy Statement

Union Institute & University (UI&U) is committed to providing a learning environment free from violence. UI&U 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, staff, visitors, and the university’s governing board. The university prohibits any activity that constitutes sexual assault or violence against women: offenders may be subject to disciplinary action and/or criminal proceedings.

This policy, as revised, incorporates actions defined within the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of March 7, 2013, which include domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, in addition to sexual assault. At UI&U, none of these actions will be tolerated, regardless of whether the victim is male or female.

The policy is classified as an interim policy, representing a good faith effort to comply with the new federal regulations, which will not be finalized until later this year.

Purview of the Policy

This policy is not meant to encompass all sexual assaults, rapes, stalking, domestic and dating violence that might be perpetrated against or by UI&U employees, students, and other members of the university community. The purview of this policy extends only to incidents that occur at university facilities and their immediate vicinity or during university sponsored off campus events and that involve a member of the university community: a student, employee, prospective student, member of the governing board, or visitor. For example, the policy does not apply if a UI&U student or employee is assaulted (or is the perpetrator of an assault) in the course of the student’s activities apart from UI&U, if the other involved party has no relationship to the university.

Definitions:

Consent

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.

Dating Violence

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 existing of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence

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.

Hate Crime

A criminal offense of any type committed against a person, property or society which is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnicity, or national origin.

Rape

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.

Sexual Assault

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)
  • 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.

Stalking

Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Prevention

UI&U 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. Occurrences or alleged occurrences of sexual assault and other actions covered under this policy at UI&U facilities and activities have been extremely rare.

While there is no absolute way to prevent a sexual assault or any of the other actions prohibited under this policy, there are a number of simple precautions that can be taken to minimize risk. Individuals should be aware of their surroundings and not let alcohol or other drugs cloud their judgment. Other preventative actions include:

  • Be assertive and always demonstrate control
  • Keep home, office, and car doors and windows locked
  • Do not lend your keys to anyone you do not trust implicitly; do not put your name or address on your key ring
  • Do not provide personal contact information (personal email, phone number, address) to someone you do not know and trust
  • Always watch for unidentified visitors to UI&U facilities; report unknown visitors immediately
  • Stay away from isolated or dark areas
  • Walk with a companion or in a group whenever possible

Reporting and Response

Victims of sexual assault and other forms of violence covered under this policy are strongly encouraged to tell someone about the incident and to seek medical attention. A UI&U student, faculty or staff member, or visitor who is a victim of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking has several options—there is no single plan of action. Options include any/all of the following:

  • Initiating a criminal complaint
  • Confidential or anonymous reporting of the incident
  • Pursuing medical treatment
  • Pursuing counseling services with an appropriate agency
  • Initiating a university complaint
  • Discussing the assault with friend, counselor, etc.

UI&U will respond to all allegations of sexual assault and other actions covered under this policy made by 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 the Incident to Law Enforcement

For the safety of the university community, individuals who have been experienced any of the violations covered under this policy are strongly encouraged to report the incident to local law enforcement and/or the university. UI&U encourages all members of its learning community who believe they are victims of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking to immediately report the incident to the police agency of jurisdiction. Reporting the incident 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 incident directly, or request that the university make the report. In the event of a medical and/or police emergency resulting from an incident, medical response personnel and/or police should be contacted by calling 911. Victims of assault, rape, and domestic or dating violence are encouraged to seek medical attention 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.

Anonymous Reporting

If the victim decides to notify the police directly, he or she has the option of making a “blind” report: notifying the police of the incident 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.

Reporting the Incident to the University

If the victim chooses to report an incident to university authorities, he or she may do so by contacting the vice president for academic affairs (VPAA) or the vice president for human resources (VPHR), or by reporting the incident to any UI&U employee, asking her or him to make the report to university officials. Individuals reporting a sexual assault to the university should be aware that UI&U must report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement agency. Victims can be assured that, when they notify 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, within the policy statement on Facilities Access and Use.) Upon receipt of a report of an incident, the university will initiate a preliminary investigation.

  • The university’s preliminary investigation of a student complaint of sexual assault or other incident covered under this policy will be conducted by the VPAA; a preliminary investigation of a complaint from an employee will be conducted by the VPHR; a complaint from a visitor will be investigated by either the VPAA or the VPHR, as assigned by the president.
  • If the alleged incident involves a UI&U student and a UI&U employee (regardless of which is the complainant and which is the alleged perpetrator), the preliminary investigation will be conducted jointly by the VPAA and VPHR. 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.
  • If the complaint is against the VPAA or the VPHR, it should be submitted to the president.

While the preliminary university investigation is under way, the VPAA and/or VPHR 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 complainant, asserting that failure to adhere to this by the accused may result in disciplinary action.

University Hearing

During this preliminary investigation, UI&U will respect the rights of both the complainant and the accused. Following the preliminary investigation, if the complaint is found to have merit, a hearing will be held. Both parties (complainant and the accused) have the right to participate in that hearing; both parties also have the right to include an advisor of choice. The advisor may participate in the hearing only in an advisory capacity to his or her client: he or she has no voice in the hearing itself. The hearing will be conducted by a standing committee of university employees approved by the president. After the hearing has ended, the standing committee will make a recommendation about appropriate action by the university to either the VPAA or VPHR. Both parties will be informed, simultaneously, in writing, of the decision made by the VPAA or VPHR. Those notifications will include information on the procedure for appealing the decision.

Disciplinary action taken by the university against an employee or student found to be guilty of sexual assault or any of the other actions covered by this policy 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 or any of the other behaviors prohibited under this policy 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), UI&U 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.

Appeals

Both parties involved in the incident have the right to appeal the decision of the panel. Appeals must be submitted to the president, in writing, within 30 days of the written notification of the disciplinary action. Any appeal must contain new information pertinent to the incident that was not considered in the hearing. The president will consider the appeal and respond, in writing, within 30 days, notifying both parties to the incident simultaneously. Any appeal that includes a reference to legal action to be taken against the university will not be considered by the president, but will, instead, be immediately forwarded to the university’s legal counsel.

Internal Communication and Records

Both parties involved in the incident have the right to appeal the decision made by the VPAA or VPHR. Appeals must be submitted to the president, in writing, within 30 days of the written notification of the disciplinary action. Any appeal must contain new information pertinent to the incident that was not considered in the hearing. The president will consider the appeal and respond, in writing, within 30 days, notifying both parties to the incident simultaneously. Any appeal that includes a reference to legal action to be taken against the university will not be considered by the president, but will, instead, be immediately forwarded to the university’s legal counsel.

Anti-Retaliation

UI&U prohibits retaliation against individuals who report any of the types of incidents prohibited under this policy. Victims 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 UI&U’s applicable policies.

The Role of Alcohol and Drugs in Sexual Assault and Violence

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 UI&U in its consideration of an incident. Individuals should, however, be aware 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.