Middlebury

Sexual Misconduct Policy

  1. Introduction
  2. Notice of Nondiscrimination/Title IX Coordinator
  3. Sexual Misconduct and Harassment
  4. Definitions
  5. Confidentiality
  6. Procedures for Addressing Sexual Misconduct
  7. Sexual Misconduct Investigation
  8. Appeals
  9. Communicating with Honesty and Integrity
  10. Scope of Oversight and Pending Discipline
  11. Policy Access
  12. Appendices:

A: Administrative Contacts

B: Resources

C: Title IX Coordinator


 

1.  Introduction
As an educational institution, Middlebury College is committed to promoting a campus environment where sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault and inappropriate sexual conduct, is not tolerated, and where survivors of sexual misconduct of all kinds are provided support and avenues of redress as appropriate. Many activities prohibited by Middlebury’s sexual misconduct policy are unlawful, and all are antithetical to the mission of the College. Middlebury College will take reasonable and appropriate remedial action to prevent sexual misconduct, eliminate any hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others, if applicable.

This Sexual Misconduct Policy governs the behavior of all Middlebury College undergraduate students enrolled in classes on the Vermont campus when the alleged conduct occurs during the academic year, or when the alleged conduct occurs in the summer and neither the complainant nor the respondent(s) are participating in another Middlebury program.  In all other cases, the procedures set forth in the College’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy will apply to sexual misconduct complaints.

Any Middlebury student, staff member,  faculty member, or third party participating in any Middlebury College undergraduate program or activity, who wishes to report a complaint of sexual misconduct against a Middlebury undergraduate student may do so at any time.

Middlebury’s process to address cases of alleged sexual misconduct is designed to:

  • Consider the rights of the complainant, the rights of the respondent, the safety of the community, and applicable laws and College policies;
  • Conduct a timely, fair, impartial, and equitable investigation and adjudication process with thoroughness and respect for all involved parties;
  • Protect the privacy of all parties to the extent practical, while balancing the need to perform an investigation, follow the procedures outlined below, comply with applicable law, and maintain campus safety;
  • Hold all students found to have violated Middlebury College policies accountable for their actions and provide appropriate remedies to address the discriminatory effects of sexual misconduct on the complainant and others.

The parties will be provided procedural rights as outlined in this policy.  Since the College lacks full judicial authority, such as the power to subpoena or place witnesses under oath, a student's rights cannot be coextensive with or identical to the rights afforded an accused in a civil or criminal legal proceeding. The procedures outlined below are designed, however, to assure fundamental fairness and to protect students from arbitrary or capricious disciplinary action. All panel members, investigators, and College officials shall conduct their proceedings in the spirit of these principles. If exceptional circumstances dictate variation from these procedures, the variation will not invalidate a decision unless it prevented fundamental fairness.

Students found to have violated this Sexual Misconduct Policy may be subject to the full range of disciplinary actions, as applicable, up to and including expulsion from the College.

There are many resources available to support individuals who are involved in some way with an incident of sexual misconduct. Please see Appendices A & B for contact information. See also the resources outlined at go/sexualassaultinfo.

2.  Notice of Nondiscrimination/Title IX Coordinator
Middlebury College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities, and Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, as amended (“Title IX”), as well as applicable state law, requires that it not discriminate in such a manner. Prohibited sex discrimination includes sexual harassment (as defined in the College’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy) and sexual misconduct (as defined below). The dean of the College is the Title IX Coordinator, and is responsible for coordinating the College’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX.  Information on how and with whom to pursue a Title IX complaint can be found in Appendix C of this policy. The full text of Middlebury’s Nondiscrimination Statement is available in the on-line Handbook.

3. Sexual Misconduct and Harassment
In addition to this Sexual Misconduct Policy, Middlebury College also maintains an Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy that includes sexual harassment among its prohibited behaviors. Definitions of sexual misconduct can be found below in Section 4, and definitions of other forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, can be found in the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy.  In some cases the behaviors alleged in an initial complaint may potentially violate both policies. As a result, the investigative processes for both policies are structured to be a coordinated effort when appropriate.

4. Definitions

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct violates the rights of others, and demonstrates flagrant disregard for the principles of this community. Middlebury seeks to prevent all forms of sexual misconduct, and desires to establish and maintain a safe and healthy environment for all members of the community through sexual misconduct prevention, education, support, and a fair adjudication process. Use of alcohol or other drugs does not minimize or excuse a person’s responsibility for conduct that violates this policy.

Sexual misconduct may include  sexual assault, inappropriate sexual conduct, or both. The definitions below are intended to provide clarity, and do not suggest that one behavior is more severe or violating than the other.

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault occurs when a person engages in a sexual act, as defined in this subsection, with another person and compels that person to participate in a sexual act without consent; by threat or coercion; by placing the other person in fear that any person will suffer imminent bodily injury; by impairing substantially the ability of another person to appraise or control conduct by administering or providing drugs or intoxicants without the knowledge or against the will of the other person; or when a person is under the age of 16.

A sexual act for purposes of this subsection is contact, including oral contact, with the genitals or the anus of another person.  

Sexual assault can be committed by any person against any other person, regardless of gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, or past or current relationship status. Sexual assault may occur with or without physical resistance or violence.

Inappropriate Sexual Conduct
Inappropriate sexual conduct includes unwelcome sexual conduct that does not constitute sexual assault as defined above but is sexually violating in nature. It includes but is not limited to the following:

  • Nonconsensual physical contact of a sexual nature. This includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, mouth, genitals, or contact of a sexual nature with any other body parts;
  • Sexually exploitative behavior. Examples include but are not limited to:
    • Capturing through any means images of sexual activity, sexually explicit images, or another’s nudity without consent, and/or sharing this material with others without all participants’ consent;
    • Viewing or allowing or aiding others to view sexual activity or another’s nudity without all participants’ consent.

Exception: This section is not intended to prohibit the use of sexually explicit materials that are reasonably related to the academic mission of the College. Specifically, this section is not intended to proscribe or inhibit the use of sexually explicit materials, in or out of the classroom, when in the judgment of a reasonable person they arise appropriately to promote genuine discourse, free inquiry, and learning.

Consent
Consent means words or actions, freely and actively given by each party, which a reasonable person would interpret as a willingness to participate in agreed-upon sexual conduct.

Consent is not valid when a person is incapable of giving consent due to the person’s use or consumption of drugs or alcohol; when intimidation, threats, physical force, or other actions that a reasonable person would consider coercive are applied; when a physical or mental condition is present such that the person cannot knowingly or voluntarily give consent; or when a person has not achieved the age required for consent, as defined by state law.  Silence, non-communication, or a lack of resistance does not necessarily imply consent. Previous relationships or consent do not imply consent to future sexual conduct.  Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent can be rescinded at any time.

The use of alcohol or drugs does not minimize or excuse a person’s responsibility for committing sexual misconduct, or for determining whether another is capable of giving consent, as described above.  

Capability to Give Consent
An objective standard will be used in determining whether a person is incapable of giving consent due to the person’s use or consumption of drugs or alcohol, or if a physical or mental condition as described above is present. That is, consent is not valid when:

(a) From the standpoint of a reasonable person, the respondent knew, or reasonably should have known, that the person was incapable of giving consent due to the person’s use or consumption of drugs or alcohol, or that the person’s physical or mental condition would prevent knowing and voluntary consent; and
(b) The person was, in fact, incapable of giving consent due to the person’s use or consumption of drugs or alcohol,  or the person was incapable of providing knowing or voluntary consent due to a physical or mental condition.  

Coercion
Coercion is defined as compelling someone to act by applying pressure, harassment, threats,  intimidation, or other actions a reasonable person would consider to be coercive.

Retaliation
Retaliating directly or indirectly against a person who has in good faith filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of sexual misconduct as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint, or to provide false or misleading information, or engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment. Depending on the circumstances, retaliation may be unlawful and may constitute a violation of this policy, whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit.

Complainant
A complainant is usually an individual filing a complaint of a violation of Middlebury College policies. In some cases (such as, e.g., cases in which a person involved in an incident of alleged sexual misconduct does not wish to participate in the process but the College decides that the alleged misconduct needs to be investigated ), Middlebury College may serve as the complainant. In these cases, the College may extend the full rights of the complainant as defined in this policy to affected parties as deemed appropriate by the JAO.

Respondent
A respondent is an individual alleged to have violated Middlebury College policies.  See Scope of Oversight and Pending Discipline at the end of this policy for more information.

Judicial Affairs Officer (JAO)
The judicial affairs officer is the administrator and Title IX Coordinator’s designee responsible for overseeing the investigation and adjudication of sexual misconduct complaints against students. The JAO serves as an informational resource for all parties involved in the sexual misconduct complaint, investigation and review process. Contact information may be found in Appendix A.

Human Relations Officer (HRO)
The human relations officer is the administrator and Title IX designee responsible for coordinating sexual harassment training, overseeing sexual harassment investigations, and adjudicating harassment complaints brought by students, faculty and staff under Middlebury’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy. If extraordinary circumstances dictate that a case must be adjudicated when it is not possible to convene the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel (see below), the HRO will adjudicate the case, and will assume all authority otherwise granted to the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel. Contact information may be found in Appendix A.

Sexual Misconduct Review Panel (SMRP)
The Sexual Misconduct Review Panel is convened at the conclusion of an investigation to review the final report, determine a finding, and if required, determine a sanction. This panel will ordinarily consist of the Community Judicial Board (CJB) administrative co-chair, one CJB faculty or staff member, and two CJB student members. When the undergraduate program is not in session, it may not be possible to include student members, and the SMRP may consist entirely of staff and faculty members from the judicial boards. If extraordinary circumstances dictate that a case must be resolved when it is not possible to convene the SMRP, the HRO will adjudicate the case, and will assume all authority otherwise granted to the SMRP. See General Disciplinary Process for  more information about the CJB.

Days
Unless otherwise noted, “days” indicates calendar days, regardless of whether the majority of Middlebury’s administrative offices are open. “Business days” indicates days on which the majority of Middlebury’s administrative offices are open, and generally connotes Mondays through Fridays.

5.  Confidentiality
People who have concerns about sexual misconduct often ask for assurances about confidentiality.

In general, the law recognizes and protects the confidentiality of communications between a person seeking care and a medical or mental health professional or religious advisor. The medical, mental health, and religious professionals at Middlebury College respect and protect confidential communications from students, faculty and staff to the extent they are legally able to do so. These professionals may have a responsibility to report, however, when they perceive an immediate and/or serious threat to any person or property. In addition, medical and mental health professionals are required by law to report any allegation of sexual assault of a person under age 18.

General inquiries to College officials other than those identified above about policies or procedures may remain private. In all cases, Middlebury College will endeavor to protect the privacy of individuals to the extent it can do so consistent with its obligations to uphold relevant policies, and to protect the safety of the community. The College has an obligation to investigate complaints of sexual misconduct and/or harassment, however, and to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual misconduct or ongoing harassment (see below), so strict confidentiality may not be guaranteed.

If a complainant insists that his or her name or other identifiable information not be revealed, Middlebury will evaluate the request in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, staff, and faculty. Thus, Middlebury may weigh the request for confidentiality against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged conduct, whether there have been other sexual misconduct or sexual harassment complaints about the same individual, and the extent of any threat to the College community.

Middlebury College is also part of a larger community and context. If there is an independent investigation or lawsuit related to a sexual misconduct, harassment, or retaliation matter, Middlebury officials, those involved in the investigation, or others may be required by law to provide documents, investigation reports and related materials, and findings and sanctions issued under this policy.

6. Procedures for Addressing Sexual Misconduct
A) In General
The information in the sections below applies to students, staff or faculty of Middlebury College who wish to report a complaint of sexual misconduct against a Middlebury College student, as defined above, through Middlebury College processes.

All Middlebury students, faculty members and staff members have the right to pursue sexual misconduct complaints beyond the College, and are encouraged to use local, state, or federal enforcement agencies, including the Middlebury police and the Vermont State Police, as applicable, regardless of whether they choose to file a complaint on campus. See contact information in Appendix A.

Middlebury will not wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or proceeding to begin its own investigation and resolve complaints under this policy. The College will, however, comply with valid requests by law enforcement for cooperation in a criminal investigation. As such, the College may need to delay temporarily an investigation under this policy while law enforcement is in the process of gathering evidence. Once law enforcement has completed its gathering of evidence, the College will promptly resume and complete its investigation. The College may also take interim measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the complainant and the school community while law enforcement is gathering evidence.  

B) Complaints
Any Middlebury College student, faculty member, or staff member who has reasonable cause to believe that a student has violated the sexual misconduct policy, or who believes that she or he has been subjected to retaliation for having brought or supported a complaint of sexual misconduct against a student, is encouraged to bring that information to the immediate attention of the Judicial Affairs Officer. Contact information for the Judicial Affairs Officer can be found in Appendix A. A complaint may be brought verbally or in writing, and will ultimately need to be recorded in written form by the complainant or a member of the staff involved with the investigation.

Any student, faculty member or staff member may file a complaint of sexual misconduct against a faculty or staff member by following the procedures outlined in Middlebury’s Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy.

Any faculty or staff member who learns of an incident or conduct that appears to be prohibited by this policy must report this information to Middlebury’s Human Relations Officer (see Appendix A for contact information), unless their status  as a confidential resource precludes this disclosure. Confidential resources include the staff of the Parton Center for Health and Wellness, the staff of the Chaplain’s Office, or other medical, counseling, support, or religious personnel and volunteers who are required by law to maintain confidentiality.

Rights of Complainants
Individuals whose complaints of sexual misconduct are being investigated by the College can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators and adjudicators.
  • They will be informed in writing that their complaint of sexual misconduct is being investigated, and of any other suspected related policy violations being explored through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of Middlebury’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the respondent throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may access Middlebury College and/or external resources for medical and counseling services at any time.
  • They may choose to pursue a formal complaint with external law enforcement authorities or other federal or state agencies at any time.
  • They may invite a Middlebury College student, faculty, or staff member to accompany them at meetings regarding the investigation process.
  • They may submit one letter of character reference for consideration by the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel.
  • They may meet with the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel in person prior to the Panel’s determination of a finding.
  • In the event of a finding of guilt, they may submit an Impact Statement.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the respondent, of the finding issued by the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel, as well as the outcome of any appeal, to the extent permitted by law.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome based on the grounds designated in this policy, provided they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to participate in Middlebury’s investigation and adjudication process.  Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact the College’s legal counsel directly.

Rights of Respondents
Students responding to complaints of sexual misconduct can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators and adjudicators.
  • They will be informed in writing that a complaint of sexual misconduct against them is being investigated, and of any other suspected policy violations being explored through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of Middlebury’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the complainant throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may access Middlebury College and/or external resources for medical and counseling services at any time.
  • They may invite a Middlebury College student, faculty, or staff member to accompany them at meetings regarding the investigation process.
  • They may submit one letter of character reference for consideration by the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel.
  • They may meet with the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel in person prior to the Panel’s determination of a finding.
  • In the event of a finding of guilt, they may submit a Sanction Statement.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the complainant, of the finding issued by the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel, as well as the outcome of any appeal, to the extent permitted by law.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome based on the grounds designated in this policy, provided that they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to participate in Middlebury’s investigation and adjudication process.  Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact the College’s legal counsel directly.

Complaint Receipt and Review
A complaint of sexual misconduct or retaliation brought against a student should be submitted to the Judicial Affairs Officer (JAO). Upon receiving the complaint, and at any point during the investigation and review process, the JAO and HRO may consult to determine if a complaint of sexual misconduct also contains allegations that, if proven, could constitute other forms of sexual harassment. Consultation between the HRO and the JAO may include a review of available information, including but not limited to Public Safety reports and/or statements provided by the respondent or other relevant witnesses.

In cases where the JAO, or the JAO in consultation with the HRO, believes that the allegations, if proven, would not constitute sexual misconduct or harassment, the complainant will be advised of other judicial and support options as appropriate, and no further sexual misconduct or harassment investigation will be pursued. If a complainant subsequently provides new information, this decision may be reevaluated.

In cases where there is a basis to believe that other forms of sexual harassment, but not sexual misconduct, may have occurred, the procedures outlined in the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy will ordinarily be followed.

In cases where there is a basis to believe that sexual misconduct, but not other forms of sexual harassment, may have occurred, the procedures outlined below will ordinarily be followed.

In cases where there is a basis to believe that sexual misconduct and other forms of sexual harassment may have occurred, the JAO and the HRO will ordinarily conduct or supervise an investigation jointly, or in conjunction with other College offices or individuals (including, if warranted, independent investigators), as appropriate under the circumstances. The adjudication procedure outlined in the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy will ordinarily be followed in connection with a harassment complaint and the adjudication procedure outlined in this policy will ordinarily be followed in connection with a sexual misconduct complaint, but the nature of the allegations may compel a departure from the separate processes.

7. Sexual Misconduct Investigation

Investigation Overview

  1. The JAO will inform the respondent in writing that a complaint of sexual misconduct has been filed against him or her and is being investigated.
  2. Should a respondent who has been notified of an investigation fail to cooperate with the investigator, the investigation may proceed, a finding may be reached, and a sanction may be imposed based on the information available.
  3. A no-contact order is normally issued to restrict contact and communication between the complainant and respondent for the duration of the investigation. In addition, other preventative measures, such as room changes or class changes, or in particularly serious cases, temporary removal of a student from campus, may be taken at any time.
  4. If prior to or during the investigation the College becomes aware that additional College policies may have been violated, students will be notified in writing, and these too will be investigated  and resolved through this process. While not condoning infractions of any kind, the College considers reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to be of paramount importance.  Therefore, to encourage reporting, the College may, where appropriate, offer leniency with respect to other policy violations that may be revealed as a result of a report.  The nature and scope of the leniency will depend on the particular circumstances involved. The JAO will have sole discretion in determining the appropriate course of action.
  5. The College may choose to discontinue an investigation at any time. The complainant may request that an investigation be discontinued  at any time. The College will attempt to honor the wishes of the complainant. However, to accommodate cases where compelling evidence suggests significant individual or community safety concerns, the decision to discontinue an investigation is within the sole discretion of the College.

Investigation

  1. The JAO will appoint an investigator. The investigation will be conducted as promptly and equitably as possible without compromising thoroughness. The investigator is expected to 1) conduct the investigation in a thorough, impartial, and expeditious manner; 2) make all findings in a fair and objective manner, and 3) submit a written investigation report to the JAO in a timely manner. The investigator is authorized to contact any and all individuals; the College recognizes, however, that individuals who are bound by legal privileges may not be able to disclose privileged information, unless an exception applies. The investigator is authorized to access relevant records, except those legally protected as confidential or privileged, and may collect any additional evidence relevant to the complaint.
  2. The respondent and the complainant may each elect to have a Middlebury College student, faculty or staff member present with them at all phases of the investigation process to provide support. This individual may not play any other role in the investigative process (e.g., may not also be a witness or serve as legal counsel), and may only speak or otherwise represent the complainant or respondent at the discretion of the investigator or the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel.
  3. The complainant and respondent will be asked to identify all relevant evidence they would like the investigator to review, as well as witnesses they would like the investigator to interview. Both students may provide, if they wish, a list of questions they would like the investigator to ask of particular witnesses or of each other. The investigator is not required to consider the evidence submitted or interview any particular witness, even if identified by one of the parties, nor to ask questions provided by either party. However, in determining whether to interview witnesses or review evidence, the investigator should consider such factors as equity, fairness, thoroughness, and impartial treatment of both parties.
  4. All participants in the investigation are expected to cooperate fully by providing complete, accurate, and truthful information. They may also be expected to sign statements or other documents memorializing the information they provided, and may be asked to keep the substance of the interview confidential. Failure to cooperate fully with the investigator may subject the witness to the full range of disciplinary actions, as applicable.
  5. Formal rules of evidence do not apply in College disciplinary proceedings. The JAO will make rulings on evidentiary or procedural questions related to the investigation and adjudication process.
  6. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will share the witness statements and other relevant materials with the complainant and the respondent. Both will have an opportunity to respond to this information in writing within seven days.
  7. The deadline for the receipt of the complainant’s and respondent’s written responses is also the deadline for receipt by the investigator of the character reference letters for each party. Guidelines for character references will be provided by the JAO.
  8. If at any stage following the submission of these responses new relevant evidence is gathered, it will be shared with the complainant and respondent, who will have an opportunity to submit a written response within a time frame determined by the JAO.
  9. When the final responses, if any, from the complainant and respondent have been received, the JAO will share each student’s response with the other student.
  10. The investigator will submit a final report to the JAO. The final report will include all investigation materials, the complainant and respondent responses, both students’ character references, and the investigator’s recommended finding of whether the sexual misconduct policy and any additional policies being explored through this investigation have been violated. This recommendation will be based on the standard of preponderance of evidence, i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the policy was violated, along with the investigator’s rationale for this recommendation.

Sexual Misconduct Review Panel

  1. Upon receipt of the report, the JAO will convene a four-person Sexual Misconduct Review Panel. This panel will ordinarily consist of the Community Judicial Board (CJB) administrative co-chair, one CJB faculty or staff member, and two CJB student members. If extraordinary circumstances dictate that a case must be adjudicated when it is not possible to convene the SMRP, the HRO will serve in this role.
  2. The panel (or in extraordinary circumstances as noted above, the HRO, henceforth implied in all following references to the panel in this Handbook section) will be provided with the investigator’s complete report. The panel is not bound by the investigation report; rather, it is advisory to the panel. The panel may accept or reject the investigator’s recommended finding in whole or in part, and may request additional relevant information before making a final determination. The panel may consult with other persons as appropriate. The panel should avoid duplicating the efforts of the investigator, as well as accepting the investigator’s recommended finding without careful review of all of the evidence.
  3. The complainant and respondent may choose to meet individually with the panel prior to the panel’s finding. The panel may request an individual meeting with either party. Guidelines for this meeting will be provided by the JAO.

Finding and Sanction

  1. The panel will issue a finding regarding whether Middlebury College policy has been violated, based on the standard of preponderance of the evidence. Three of the four panel members must find that a policy has been violated for a finding of guilt.
  2. The JAO will notify concurrently both the complainant and the respondent in writing of the finding to the extent permitted by law.
  3. If the panel determines that no Middlebury College policies have been violated, complainants and respondents will be notified concurrently of the finding in writing. The respondent will have no record of the complaint or the outcome in his or her permanent file. Complainants may appeal this outcome; see Appeals below. Non-disciplinary outcomes, such as extending and modifying No Contact Orders, may be imposed regardless of the finding.
  4. If the panel determines that the sexual misconduct policy has been violated, the complainant may submit an Impact Statement to the panel, and the respondent may submit a Sanction Statement to the panel, within three business days of notification. Guidelines for each statement will be provided by the JAO.
  5. The panel will reconvene, consider the Impact and Sanction statements if they have been submitted, and determine a sanction. Prior conduct and judicial history may also be taken into account in determining a sanction. Although sanctions may include any form of College discipline listed in the Handbook under General Disciplinary Processes, violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy will most likely result in suspension or expulsion.  Sanctions may also include remedies applied to the respondent to address the needs of the complainant, including but not limited to room changes, class changes, building restrictions, extracurricular activity restrictions, modification of No Contact Orders to favor the complainant, and other actions to preserve the rights of the complainant to a discrimination-free environment.  
  6. The JAO will inform the complainant and respondent concurrently in writing of the sanction to the extent permitted by law.

Time Frames for the Investigation and Finding by the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel
As noted above, the investigation will be conducted as promptly and equitably as possible without compromising thoroughness. Absent extenuating circumstances, the College’s investigation of a sexual misconduct complaint will ordinarily be completed within 45 days from the time a formal complaint, as described above, is made.  This time period may be shorter or longer depending on the circumstances including, but not limited to, the complexity of the case and the availability of witnesses.  If the complainant or respondent would like to request an extension of this time frame, a request for extension with a description of the reasons for the request should be directed to the JAO.  The JAO will make a decision on the appropriateness and extent of any extension (after notice to the other party), and will inform the complainant, the respondent, and any other individual who needs to know, of that decision.  The JAO may also decide to extend this general 45-day time frame given extenuating circumstances.  The JAO will inform the complainant, the respondent, and any other individual who needs to know, of any such decision.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel will issue a finding regarding whether Middlebury College policy has been violated within 15 days after receipt of the investigator’s complete report. The 15-day period may be extended if the panel determines that further information or investigation is needed.

Absent extenuating circumstances, the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel will issue a decision regarding sanctions, to the extent applicable, within five business days of the deadline set for the Panel’s  receipt of an Impact Statement and/or Sanction Statement.

8. Appeals
The complainant and respondent each has the right to appeal the decision of the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel. The purpose of an appeal is to review the adjudication process.

Grounds
Appeals are accepted on the basis of one or more of the following:

  • discovery of significant new factual material not available to the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel that could have affected the original outcome; however, information that was deliberately omitted by the appealing party will not support an appeal;
  • procedural error where the error prevented fundamental fairness;
  • abuse of discretion in the issuance of a sanction, meaning that the SMRP imposed a sanction significantly disproportionate to the offense.

The right of appeal is only available to a respondent or complainant who participated in the investigative process. An appeal must be made in writing to the vice president for Academic Affairs or designee ("VPAA") within five business days of receipt of written notification of the finding in cases where no violation has been found, or within five business days of receipt of written notification of the sanction in cases where a policy violation has been found. The appeal must include the grounds for appeal and an outline of supporting evidence.

Procedures
The VPAA will invite an informational response to the appeal from the JAO and the other party, who may respond within five business days of the request. The  VPAA may request assistance from the original investigator, a new investigator, or any other relevant individual, as necessary.

The VPAA may deny the appeal, or if any of the appeal grounds have been met, may:

  • return the case to the original Sexual Misconduct Review Panel for reconsideration; or
  • convene a new Sexual Misconduct Review Panel to review the case, which will ordinarily occur when the original outcome was deemed to be based upon an abuse of discretion.

It is the responsibility of the  VPAA to determine which aspects of the case merit a new review, and the parameters of the review, and to direct the JAO accordingly. Absent extenuating circumstances, the  VPAA  will notify the complainant and respondent of the determination concurrently in writing within 30 days, to the extent permitted by law, and will notify the JAO in writing of instructions for any further action.

All decisions by the VPAA and following a second review of the case are final, except in cases where the sanction is expulsion. In cases of expulsion, the respondent may submit a final appeal to the president within five business days of written notification of the appeal outcome. The complainant may submit a response to the respondent’s final appeal within five business days thereafter. The president may reduce the sanction, if warranted, after consultation with the VPAA and a representative of the Sexual Misconduct Review Panel.  Absent extenuating circumstances, the president will inform the parties of the final decision concurrently in writing within 30 days of receiving the appeal and complainant’s response, if any, to the extent permitted by law.

9.  Communicating with Honesty and Integrity
Middlebury College prohibits intentionally making a false report or providing false or misleading information in any investigation of complaints of Middlebury College policy violation; please see Communicating with Honesty and Integrity under General Conduct, which applies to proceedings under this Sexual Misconduct Policy as well.

Complainants will not be deemed to have provided false or misleading information under the Handbook if their factual allegations are intended to be truthful and are made in good faith, regardless of whether the conduct complained of is ultimately found to constitute sexual misconduct. Staff or faculty members who provide false or misleading information during the investigation/adjudication process may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination, in accordance with existing contracts or policies.

10. Scope of Oversight and Pending Discipline
Please see "Scope of Oversight" and “Pending Discipline” under Student Life Policy Overview.  

11. Policy Access
The Sexual Misconduct Policy is available in Middlebury's on line Handbook. Printed copies of this policy are also available upon request at several College offices, including the dean of the College, the dean of students, the Commons offices, dean of the Faculty, Human Resources, and Public Safety. This policy may be amended from time to time; the web site referenced above should be consulted for any updates. The amended policy, as published through the College’s web site, shall supersede wholly any prior versions of the policy. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for persons with disabilities who need assistance in filing or pursuing a complaint of sexual misconduct or retaliation, upon request.

Appendices

Appendix A: Administrative Contacts

Title IX Coordinator
Shirley M. Collado
Dean of the College and Chief Diversity Officer
Middlebury College
Old Chapel
Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.5382
scollado@middlebury.edu

Judicial Affairs Officer/Title IX Coordinator’s Designee for the Sexual Misconduct Policy
Karen S. Guttentag
Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs and Student Life
Middlebury College
McCullough 138
802.443.2024
kguttent@middlebury.edu

Human Relations Officer//Title IX Coordinator’s Designee for the Anti-Harassment/Nondiscrimination Policy
Susan P. Ritter
Middlebury College
DKE 101
Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.3289
sritter@middlebury.edu

Alternate Human Relations Officer
Laura Carotenuto
Middlebury College
Human Resources
Service Building
Middlebury, VT 05753
802.443.2012
lcaroten@middlebury.edu

Federal/State Agencies

Middlebury Police
802.388.3191
Vermont State Police
802.388.4919

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
8th Floor
5 Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Telephone: 617.289.0111
Facsimile: 617.289.0150
Email: OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
33 Whitehall Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10004
Phone: 1.800.669.4000
Fax: 212.336.3790
TTY: 1.800.669.6820

Vermont Attorney General’s Office, Civil Rights Unit
109 State Street
Montpelier, VT 05609-1001
802.828.3171
802.828.3665 (TTY)
civilrights@atg.state.vt.us

Vermont Human Rights Commission
14-16 Baldwin Street
Montpelier, VT 05633-6301
800.416.2010, x25 (voice)
802.828.2481 (fax)
877.294.9200 (TTY)
human.rights@state.vt.us

Appendix B: Resources
Alternative Academic and Living Situations
The College will change a complainant’s academic and/or living situation(s) if changes are requested and are reasonably available.
Confidential Health Care

Parton Center for Health and Wellness
Health Services: 802.443.5135
Middlebury College has a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) on staff at the Parton Center. She has received specialized training to provide comprehensive care to survivors of sexual assault, including physical assessment and collection of forensic evidence using a Sexual Assault Evidence Kit ("Rape Kit"). Having evidence collected does not commit you to filing a complaint with Middlebury College or charges with the police. It will allow you to preserve evidence while you take time to decide if you want to file a report and/or press charges. If you bathe, change clothes or otherwise alter your physical condition before having evidence collected, then you may be washing away valuable evidence. A lengthy delay in reporting may make evidence more difficult to collect.

To contact the SANE call the Health Center at 802.443.5135. After hours the phone message will direct you to the appropriate contact number, or you can call the Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) directly at 802.388.7641, and they will connect you with the SANE and other resources. The SANE is typically available 24 hours a day. When she is not available, please see information under Porter Hospital Emergency Room below.

Care is provided to students at no cost. Lab tests, medical care and medications provided by the Health Center will be paid for by the Vermont Center for Crime Victim Services at the student’s request.

These services are confidential and information is not shared without the student’s written permission, except in the limited circumstances described herein. Health care professionals are required to report to law enforcement authorities the sexual assault of a person under the age of 18, or where there is risk of immediate danger to self, others or property. Consequently, in some circumstances, providers may not be able – legally or ethically – to maintain confidentiality.

Counseling Services: 802.443.5141
Short-term and crisis counseling is available for students who have been sexually assaulted or have had an upsetting sexual encounter. These services are confidential, except in the limited circumstances described herein. Mental health professionals are required to report to law enforcement authorities the sexual assault of a person under the age of 18, or where there is risk of immediate danger to self, others, or property. Consequently, in some circumstances, providers may not be able – legally or ethically – to maintain confidentiality.

When Parton Center for Health and Wellness is closed: call CSAC at 802.388.7641, and they will connect you with the appropriate resources.

Porter Hospital:  802.388.4701
If the Parton Center is closed, or if you prefer to seek treatment off campus, you may receive care at Porter Hospital’s Emergency Room. The Department of Public Safety can provide transportation, and it is not necessary to share information with them about the nature of your emergency. Porter Hospital staff offers medical treatment and can collect physical evidence. There may be a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner available, but this is not guaranteed. You may want to call in advance to request that a SANE be made available, if possible, before you come in. Please see the recommendations above under Parton Center for Health and Wellness regarding evidence collection.

College Chaplain:  802.443.5626
The College chaplains are available to provide supportive confidential counseling of all kinds, faith-based or otherwise.

Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC): 802.388.6751; after hours or in emergencies, call 802.388.7641
CSAC offers a wide range of professional mental health and developmental services designed to meet the needs of those seeking help. Their staff includes persons trained in developmental services, substance abuse treatment, psychiatry, psychology, mental health counseling, and social work. They provide emergency counseling 24 hours a day at the number above.  Services may be provided over the phone or in person.

Independent Counselors
In addition to CSAC, there are a number of independent counselors in Addison County with experience working with survivors of sexual assault. For assistance choosing a counselor, you can talk with any member of the Middlebury counseling staff or other individuals with whom you feel comfortable.

Employee and Family Assistance Program (for staff and faculty): 1.800.828.6025
The College's Employee and Family Assistance Plan provides confidential counseling and referral services to reduce stress and improve the quality of life for employees.  The EFAP provides confidential assessment and referral services, and short-term counseling. The services of the EFAP are free to employees, up to the limits of the plan.  All assistance is confidential; no one at Middlebury College will know that an employee has used the EFAP.
Emergency and Non-crisis Support

Department of Public Safety: 802.443.5911
The Department of Public Safety encourages any student, faculty, or staff member who has been sexually assaulted to report this incident to their office. From a safety and investigatory standpoint, the sooner a sexual assault is reported, the better; even so, we strongly encourage reporting at any time you are ready to do so. Public Safety can help you to attend to your immediate needs, including transportation to Parton Center for Health and Wellness (students only),  or the Porter Hospital Emergency Room. A request for assistance does not obligate you to make a report to Public Safety.

If you report a sexual assault to Public Safety, after your immediate needs have been attended to, you will be interviewed by a member of their staff and asked to share your account of what took place. You may indicate a gender preference of the staff member who interviews you if you wish. S/he may ask you additional questions to make sure all of the important details are recorded. The officer will take notes, and once they are typed up, you will be asked to review them for accuracy. You may choose to ask someone you trust to be present with you during this conversation; although reporting your experience can be empowering, it can also be difficult and upsetting. Your conversation with Public Safety can take place in their office at 125 South Main Street, or a member of their staff may be willing to meet you in another confidential space on campus that feels more comfortable to you.

Also, upon receiving a report of sexual assault, Public Safety may alert the campus and community that a sexual assault has occurred if there is concern about further risk to others. The warning will be general and will not specify your name or other identifying information. Reports of sexual assault made to Public Safety will result in the notification of the sexual assault incident to the Judicial Affairs Officer, Human Relations Officer, the dean of Students, and/or the Parton Center for Health and Wellness. Reporting a sexual assault to Public Safety does not commit you to pursuing a complaint. We  also encourage survivors to report any sexual assault to the Middlebury Police.

WomenSafe 24-Hour Hotline:  1.800.388.4205; Office, 802.388.4205
Based in Middlebury, WomenSafe is a local non-profit organization providing crisis intervention, problem-solving assistance, safety planning and emotional support to survivors of physical, sexual and/or emotional abuse, including female, male, and transgender members of the Middlebury College community. They also provide medical and legal advocacy, and support groups for female survivors.

SafeSpace Vermont:  866.869.7341 or 802.863.0003
SafeSpace, a service of the RU12? Community Center, provides information, support, referrals, and advocacy to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning survivors of violence and offers education and outreach programs in the wider community. Support services include a hotline during established hours, direct advocacy, one-on-one support, and support groups.

RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network): 1-800-656-HOPE [for men as well as women]
This comprehensive national resource includes a telephone and on-line hotline, and may be particularly helpful for male survivors of sexual assault.

Vermont Statewide Emergency Number: 800.489.RAPE
This number will automatically connect the caller with the local Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program.
For Individuals with Disabilities:  800.489.7273
This number will automatically connect the caller with the local program for crisis intervention, peer counseling, court advocacy, information, referral and other services.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct
On Campus
To report a complaint of sexual misconduct on campus, contact the Judicial Affairs Officer listed in Appendix A. You may also contact the Department of Public Safety; see above.

Off Campus
Middlebury Police or Vermont State Police
802.388.3191                   802.388.4919
You may also report an assault to the police. Assaults on campus should be reported to the Middlebury Police Department. Assaults occurring in Vermont, but outside the town of Middlebury, should be reported to the Vermont State Police. Assaults that occur outside of Vermont should be reported to the police department that serves the location where the assault took place.

Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office: 802.388.7931.

Appendix C: Title IX Coordinator
Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to Middlebury College’s Title IX coordinator or to the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (contact information is listed in Appendix A). The full text of the College’s Nondiscrimination Statement is available at http:www.middlebury.edu/about/handbook/general/nondiscrimination. Printed copies are also available from the offices of the dean of the College, the dean of Students, the Commons deans, the judicial affairs officer and the human relations officer. Reasonable accommodations will be provided for persons with disabilities who need assistance in reviewing the College’s Nondiscrimination Statement and its Anti-Harassment/Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct policies.

The dean of the College serves as the College’s Title IX coordinator for the purposes of coordinating the College’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX. The Title IX coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing the process for handling all Title IX complaints and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints.

The College’s judicial affairs officer serves as the Title IX coordinator’s designee for the purposes of overseeing sexual misconduct complaints and charges under this policy.

The College’s Human Relations Officer serves as the Title IX coordinator’s designee for the purposes of coordinating sexual harassment training and education, conducting and/or supervising sexual harassment investigations, and adjudicating sexual harassment complaints on behalf of the College. The College’s Alternate Human Relations Officers serve in a similar capacity as the Title IX coordinator’s designee(s) when the Human Relations Officer is unavailable or has a conflict of interest.