Human Relations Officer
The Human Relations Officer is the administrator responsible for receiving and processing complaints of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and related retaliation brought under Middlebury's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy. See also the College's Nondiscrimination Statement. The Human Relations Officer also serves as the Title IX Coordinator's designee for the purposes of overseeing investigations and adjudicating complaints of sex discrimination under the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy.
Any Middlebury College student, faculty member or staff member who has reasonable cause to believe that discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, as defined by the College's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy, has occurred or is occurring, or who believes that a student, faculty member or staff member has been subjected to retaliation for having brought or supported a complaint of discrimination or harassment, is encouraged to bring that information to the immediate attention of:
Susan Parsons Ritter
Human Relations Officer
If the Human Relations Officer is unavailable, or if the Human Relations Officer has a conflict of interest that would preclude her from processing the discrimination, harassment, and/or related retaliation complaint, the matter shall be brought to the immediate attention of:
Alternate Human Relations Officer
Middlebury, VT 05753
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY, PLEASE CALL THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY AT 802.443.5911 or DIAL 911
Middlebury 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. Middlebury has a separate Sexual Misconduct Policy that governs the behavior of all Middlebury 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 College program. In all other cases, the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy applies to sexual misconduct complaints involving students, faculty, and staff. Complaints under the College's Sexual Misconduct Policy should be brought to the attention of Karen Guttentag, Associate Dean for Judicial Affairs and Student Life (802.443.2024; firstname.lastname@example.org).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
To whom does the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy apply?
The policy applies to all faculty, staff, and students, as well as others who participate in Middlebury’s programs. The policy may also apply to third parties, depending on the circumstances.
Where can I obtain information about the process and available resources?
You should feel free to contact the Human Relations Officer to learn more about the process for addressing harassment and discrimination matters. Students who are seeking information about the process under the Sexual Misconduct policy should contact the Judicial Affairs Officer.
Other staff or faculty members are likewise available to assist you, including:
Dean of the College (who also serves as the Title IX Coordinator)
Commons deans and CRAs (undergraduate students)
Dean of Faculty (undergraduate program faculty)
Human Resources (staff)
Vice President for Language Schools, Schools Abroad and Graduate Programs or the program director (Language Schools, Schools Abroad, Bread Loaf School of English and Bread Loaf Writers' Conference faculty, staff and students)
The Monterey Institute's Director of Student Services (Institute students)
The Monterey Institute's Human Resources Manager (Institute staff)
The Monterey Institute's Provost (Institute faculty)
Our Vermont campus staff can also direct you to confidential resources, including the Parton Center for Health and Wellness, the Chaplain's Office, the Employee and Family Assistance Program, Counseling Service of Addison County, WomenSafe and Porter Hospital.
See also Sexual Assault Resources and Information.
For confidential resources at locations other than our Vermont campus, please consult Appendix B to the policy or contact the appropriate on-site program director or other appropriate official (see above).
Can I talk with someone to learn more about the process without having to reveal names or other identifying information?
Yes. We want to encourage you to come forward to explore your options. As such, if you want to make general inquiries about policies or procedures you may do so without having to identify the alleged wrongdoer by name or by implication.
Is help available even if I don’t want to pursue a formal complaint?
Depending on the circumstances, there are ways we can address harassment and discrimination matters without a formal investigation and adjudication. For instance, we can issue No Contact Orders, provide academic and/or housing accommodations, or pursue an informal resolution. In some cases, a discussion with the person at issue may be enough to address the behavior. Also, we can offer alternative dispute resolution (i.e., mediation) in appropriate cases (this will depend on the nature of the allegations, the agreement of the individuals involved in the matter, or other relevant factors such as any history of misconduct of the accused individual). We can also direct you to other available resources such as counseling.
Is confidentiality guaranteed?
It depends. In general, the law protects the confidentiality of communications between a person seeking care and a medical or mental health professional or religious advisor. Middlebury’s chaplains and medical and mental health professionals respect and protect confidential communications from students, faculty and staff to the extent that they are legally able to do so. One of these professionals may have to breach a confidence, however, when they perceive an immediate and serious threat to persons or property. Also, medical and mental health professionals are required by law to report any allegation of sexual assault of a person under 18. Confidential resources are listed in Appendix B to the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy.
Other Middlebury officials cannot guarantee strict confidentiality. This is because Middlebury has an obligation to investigate complaints and take reasonable steps to prevent ongoing harassment, discrimination, sexual misconduct and related retaliation. Be assured, however, that Middlebury handles these matters with sensitivity and discretion and that we will endeavor to protect the privacy of individuals to the extent we can do so consistent with our obligations under the policy. If a person insists that their name or other identifiable information not be revealed, we will evaluate the request in the context of our responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, staff, and faculty. Thus, we may weigh the request for confidentiality against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the nature and extent of other complaints against the respondent, and the extent of any threat to the Middlebury community.
What policies are in place to prevent retaliation?
Concerns about retaliation are common. Retaliation against a person who has, in good faith, filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of any type of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct is prohibited under our Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy. We want to assure you that incidents of retaliation are treated seriously, and we encourage people to report any concerns about retaliation to the Human Relations Officer.