Gordon College Response to Sexual Misconduct

GORDON COLLEGE RESPONSE TO SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Gordon College is committed to assisting and supporting individuals who report sexual misconduct, and providing an adequate, reliable and impartial process to complainants as well as to those who are accused. The College will respond promptly and reasonably to reports of violation of this policy, will conduct a fair and thorough investigation, and impose appropriate discipline.

Even if the College cannot take disciplinary action against the accused because of the request for privacy or the request to not pursue an investigation by the complainant, the College will nevertheless take prompt and reasonable action to limit the effects of the alleged sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remediate any adverse effects of such conduct on the College community (see Interim Measures below).

Responsibility to Investigate
Under Title IX, colleges and universities have a responsibility to respond to all reports of sexual misconduct. This may mean that, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, reports of sexual misconduct may be investigated even if the reporting individual requests that the matter not be pursued. The College must weight requests for confidentiality against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the complainant. In order to make such an evaluation, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct and weigh: the wishes of the complainant and accused; evidence of a pattern of behavior; the nature and severity of the behavior or action any risk posed to any individual or to the campus community; and the College’s obligation under Title IX. In the limited situations where the College cannot ensure confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant. In all cases, the primary consideration will be the safety of the College community and fairness to all individuals involved.

Gordon Police have a duty to uphold and enforce the law if they become aware of a possible criminal act. They have a responsibility to investigate even if the person experiencing the sexual misconduct does not wish to participate in the investigation.

Initial Assessment and Interim Measures
Students, faculty members, staff members, or visitors can approach any member of the Title IX Team with a report of sexual misconduct. The first concern will be for the physical safety and emotional wellbeing of the reporting individual. The purpose of the initial assessment is to end the sexual misconduct, eliminate a hostile environment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. The Title IX Team member will review this policy and the options for an informal or formal resolution. If the Title IX Team member concludes that the alleged conduct falls outside the scope of this policy, the complainant may be referred to another campus office. The Title IX Officer may consult with the chief of Gordon Police, the Title IX Coordinator, or the vice president for student life.

When a complaint is received the College will provide appropriate interim action to prevent further acts of misconduct, or safeguard the wellbeing of the complainant, the accused, or the broader campus community while the investigation is in process, and to ensure equal access to the College’s education programs. The College will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measure. Such measures may include: ensuring access to counseling and medical services; issuing a campus no-contact order; providing alternative work arrangements such as adjusting work schedules or supervisors; providing access to appropriate academic support, such as tutoring or permission to withdraw from or retake a class, or providing alternate living arrangements, or any other remedy that can be used to achieve the goals of this policy. All College personnel are expected to cooperate with whatever interim measures are deemed necessary by the College.

Even when the College has determined that it can respect a complainant’s request for confidentiality and therefore may not be able to respond fully to an allegation of sexual misconduct, the College will take immediate action to protect the complainant while keeping her or his identity confidential. Such actions may include: providing support services, academic support, and providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security.

Parties may also seek protective measures from outside law enforcement agencies.

Informal Resolution
Some matters of sex discrimination can be resolved between parties through mediation or other measures, without invoking the steps of a formal investigation. This informal resolution process is intended to resolve complaints quickly and effectively to the mutual satisfaction of both the complainant and the accused, with appropriate involvement by the College.
Note: This Informal Process will not be used in the case of sexual violence and sexual exploitation.

Participation in an informal process is strictly voluntary. Any resolution through this informal process must be mutually agreed upon by both the complainant and the accused. Because the outcomes of the informal resolution process are mutually developed and agreed upon by both parties, an appeal of the process and its results is not permitted. If the parties are unable to agree on a voluntary resolution, the matter will be referred to the investigation process.

If, during the informal process, the accused person accepts responsibility for violating this policy, the matter will be referred to the accused’s Cabinet officer to decide on appropriate sanctions, and the complainant will accept the resolution.

At the end of the informal process, the Title IX Officer will prepare a written report of the complaint and of the resolution which will be given to both of the parties, and to the Title IX Coordinator.

Either party may, at any time, end the informal process and request an investigation. The Title IX Investigator will not have access to any records gathered during the informal resolution process.

Rights of the Complainant and Accused
Gordon College will handle complaints of sexual misconduct in a fair and timely manner. All parties can expect that their rights under this policy will be respected and that their privacy will be maintained to the extent possible. In addition, both the complainant and the accused have the right:

  • To access support resources listed in this policy, including mental health services both on campus and in the community.
  • To choose an informal process or an investigation in accordance with the process in this policy.
  • To equal opportunity to provide relevant information and witnesses.
  • To appeal the findings of the investigation in accordance with this policy.