Sexual Misconduct Policy, Procedures and Resources
It is the policy of William Woods University that sexual harassment and sexual assault are not acceptable conduct at the University. The University is committed to maintaining a learning environment for its students that is free from sexual misconduct. Further, the University shall take reasonable steps to prevent sexual misconduct from occurring, which will include affirmatively raising the subject and expressing strong disapproval thereof; developing appropriate sanctions against; informing faculty, staff, and students of their rights; and developing methods to sensitize all concerned.
Definition of Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, imposed on the basis of gender, that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program and/or activities, and is based on power differentials, the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexually based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence; stalking; gender-based bullying.
Definition of Sexual Assault: William Woods University is a place where individual responsibility and respect for the integrity of others is central to community life. Sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, is a serious violation of these principles. Sexual assault, under William Woods University’s policy, is defined as, “threats of, or deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature, which is against another person’s will, or without consent.” Examples include, but are not limited to, the following offenses:
- Rape: intercourse without consent or against another’s will, whether achieved through force, threat or intimidation, or advantage gained by the aggrieved party’s mental or physical incapacity or impairment of which the perpetrator should have been aware.
- Any actual or attempted nonconsensual or forcible sexual touching including, but not limited to, attempted rape, fondling, kissing, groping, or deliberate physical contact with an individual’s intimate parts or forcing an unwilling person to have contact with another’s intimate parts.
Note: Use of alcohol and/or drugs by the respondent and/or the complainant is not an excuse for violation of the sexual misconduct standard. An intoxicated or incapacitated person cannot provide informed consent to sexual activity. In addition, silence, previous sexual relationships, or current relationship between the parties may not be taken as an indication of consent.
Definition of Consent: Includes words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary agreement to willingly engage in agreed upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, requires communication between all involved individuals, and must be obtained one step at a time e.g., consent for oral sex does not give consent for intercourse. Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent.
Definition of Incapacitation: Includes the inability to make a reasonable and rational decision. Evidence of incapacitation may include, but is not limited to, unconsciousness, slurred speech, blacking out, smell of alcohol on the breath, and unusual behavior.
Assistance for Victims/Support Services for Victims of Sexual Assault
If you have been sexually assaulted, the most important things you need are emotional support and medical attention as soon as possible. See the medical and counseling services section of this policy for more information about on and off campus resources. Discussing the situation can often help victims gain closure more rapidly and feel more effective in their reactions. The University encourages anyone who has been sexually assaulted to: • First go to a safe place and find someone you trust;
- Seek medical attention. Do not shower, bathe, douche, or destroy any of the clothing you were wearing at the time of the assault;
- Inform the University of the assault if it occurred on a University operated facility; • Seek counseling and support;
- Consider pursuing criminal or campus charges;
Medical Treatment: Seeking medical treatment is essential in order to treat any physical injuries and to assess and treat any sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy. If you are considering pressing charges off campus, a medical examination is essential in gathering and preserving evidence. This should ideally occur within twenty-four (24) hours of the incident. A support person of your choice may be present during the exam if you choose.
Note: Even though the medical exam is key to any legal repercussions, it does NOT mean that charges will be filed. This can be discussed with local law enforcement if you choose to involve them. University staff can assist you in contacting local law enforcement.
Medical Services – Off Campus: Examples of some local health care facilities off campus are Callaway Community Hospital, 10 Hospital Drive in Fulton; University Hospital and Clinics, 1 Hospital Drive in Columbia; Boone Hospital, 1600 East Broadway in Columbia; St. Mary’s Hospital, 100 St. Mary’s Medical Plaza in Jefferson City; Audrain Medical Center, 620 E. Monroe in Mexico.
Counseling Services: A WWU counselor is available to help any student who may have been victimized through a violation of this or a related harassment policy. The counselor can provide information on options involving safety, medical exams, counseling, University disciplinary action, and legal prosecution. Any services provided by the counselor will remain confidential and private. The counselor can also help students find a counselor in their own area.
Counseling Services - Off Campus: In Fulton, the local sexual assault advocacy organization is Coalition Against Rape and Domestic Violence (CARDV). Their trained staff provides private and confidential information and referral for medical, legal and recovery issues twenty-four (24) hours a day, seven (7) days a week. Contact CARDV at 573-642-1418 or toll free at 866-642-4422.
Reporting to University Officials
When consulting campus resources, all parties should be aware of confidentiality, privacy, and mandatory reporting in order to make informed choices. On campus, some resources can offer you confidentiality, sharing options and advice without any obligation to tell anyone unless you want them to. Other resources are expressly there for you to report crimes and policy violations and they will take action when you report your victimization to them. Most resources on campus fall in the middle of these two extremes. Neither the University nor the law requires them to divulge private information that is shared with them except in certain circumstances, some of which are described below. A complainant may seek assistance from these University officials without starting a formal process that is beyond the complainant’s control, or violates her/his privacy.
To Report Confidentially: If you desire that details of the incident be kept confidential, you should speak with the on-campus University counselor, or off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality. In addition, you may speak off-campus with members of the clergy who will also keep reports made to them confidential. Crimes can also be reported confidentially on the William Woods University website at http://www.williamwoods.edu/forms/student_life/campus_safety_anonymous.asp
Reporting to those who can maintain the privacy of what you share: You can seek advice from certain resources who are not required to tell anyone else your private, personally identifiable information, unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others. These are individuals who the University has not specifically designated as “responsible employees” for whom mandatory reporting is required, other than in the stated limited circumstances. These resources include those without supervisory responsibility or remedial authority to address sexual misconduct, faculty members, admissions officers, and many others. If you are unsure of someone’s duties and ability to maintain your privacy, ask them before you talk to them. They will be able to tell you and help you make decisions about who can help you best.
These resources listed above, are trained to share incident reports with the Dean of Student Life and/or Campus Safety personnel, but they will not share any personally identifiable information about your report unless you give permission, except in the rare event that the incident reveals a need to protect you or other members of the community. If your personally identifiable information is shared, it will only be shared as necessary with as few people as possible, and all efforts will be made to protect your privacy.
Non-Confidential reporting options: If you have been assaulted or harassed by a member of the William Woods University community, you are encouraged to file a formal report and discuss the matter with Diane Abbott, Coordinator of Off-Campus/Outreach Support at (573) 592-4357 or Venita Mitchell the Vice President and Dean of Student Life, who is the designated Title IX officer for students at (573) 592-4239. You may also report to a campus safety officer at the Columbia, MO and Jefferson City, MO sites, the Director Campus Safety and/or the Director of Human Resources at the main campus in Fulton, MO at (800) -995-3159. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the respondent individual.
If you were assaulted or harassed by an employee of William Woods University that is not a student, you can also report this to the appropriate Academic Dean. The University considers these individuals to be “responsible employees.” Notice to them is official notice to the institution. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures.
Reporting to non-confidential reporting officials will allow you the opportunity to present your concerns and review procedures. Reporting immediately while the details are still fresh in your mind is critical. Reports filed after sixty (60) days of the incident are even more difficult, if not impossible, to investigate. Making a report as soon as possible following the incident will help you and the institution. Reporting sexual assaults may reduce the possibility of future assaults and continued criminal behavior by the assailant.
When you file a report, you are not obligated to continue with participation in legal proceedings or participate in University judicial action. However, this decision does not relieve the University of its obligation to investigate the complaint and initiate the University judicial process if appropriate. The University will assist you with information on filing a police report if you decide to consider legal action through the Fulton Police Department.
Verbal complaints of sexual assault/harassment should be put in writing by the complainant or by the person who receives the complaint and should be signed by the complainant. However, the complainant’s refusal to sign a complaint does not relieve the University of the obligation to investigate the complaint.
After an alleged sexual assault, the complainant may request a change in their academic situations. Changes will be granted if such changes are reasonably available.
Following Receipt of a Report Against A Student
- The recipient of the report will notify the sexual harassment/Title IX coordinator, Kathy Groves, Director of Human Resources, Academic Building, at Kathy.Groves@williamwoods.edu or 573-592-1106. A prompt and thorough investigation of the complaint will be commenced within five (5) business days of the receipt of the report. The respondent (if identified) will be notified of the complaint and will be given an opportunity to respond. The complainant and the respondent will be separately interviewed. Within a reasonable period of time [normally not longer than sixty (60) days], the investigator will complete the investigation and prepare a written report outlining his/her investigation. The University will, to the best of its ability consistent with the requirements of this policy, maintain the confidentiality of the complaint and the details of the investigation to the extent possible.
- If the investigation determines the potential for a violation of University policy, the case will be referred to the University Judicial Council for review.
- The complainant, as well as the respondent, will be notified that the case will be referred to the University Judicial Council (UJC). Members of this council will question both the complainant and the respondent, in a closed hearing, about the circumstances.
- Members of this council will follow the procedures for hearing judicial incidents as found in the judicial procedures section of the student handbook, with the following exceptions: Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to have a support person from the William Woods University community (faculty, staff or student) present during a hearing. Licensed attorneys are not permitted at hearings and may not serve in the role of a support person. In addition, both parties will have the right to see each other’s written statements and know the decision of the UJC. The complainant, as well as the respondent, may ask that the council hear from someone he/she believes possesses pertinent information concerning the situation, including character witnesses.
- After the UJC hears from all critical parties, they will render a decision as to whether or not an act of sexual misconduct or University catalogue occurred and what, if any, disciplinary action is to be taken. Disciplinary action can result in sanctions up to and including dismissal from the University (see the discipline and consequences section of this policy for more information).
- The judicial advisor will simultaneously notify the complainant and the respondent in writing of the decision and any subsequent disciplinary action. In addition, upon written request, the University will disclose to the alleged victim of a crime of violence or a non-forcible sex offense, the results of any disciplinary proceeding conducted by the institution against a student who is the alleged perpetrator of such crime or offense. If the alleged victim is deceased as a result of such crime or offense, the next of kin of such victim shall be treated as the alleged victim for the purposes of this paragraph.
- The accused and the complainant may appeal as per the following appeal process: Appeals must be made in writing to the Vice President and Dean of Student Life within forty-eight (48) hours of the decision of the council. The appeal must contain evidence that (1) council committed procedural error that was prejudicial to the student; or, (2) the sanctions imposed were disproportionate to the misconduct. The review by the Dean of Student Life will be limited to records of the initial hearing and the written appeal, unless the student provides evidence that was previously undiscovered or unavailable to the student. The Dean of Student Life may uphold, reduce or increase the sanctions imposed by the UJC, or remand the matter to the council for further review. Decisions of an appeal are final. The decision will be made and the student notified within seven class days of the Dean of Student Life receiving the appeal. Appeals of suspension or expulsion will go through the President of the University rather than the Dean of Student. The same criteria and procedures listed above will be followed by the President.
Following Receipt of a Report Against an Employee (non-student):
- Following receipt of the report, the recipient of the report will notify the sexual harassment/Title IX coordinator, Kathy Groves, Director of Human Resources, Academic Building, at Kathy.Groves@williamwoods.edu or 573-592-1106. She will be available to answer any questions about the process or procedure. The sexual harassment/Title IX officer and/or the designated official will promptly and fully investigate the complaint. The investigation shall commence within five (5) business days of the receipt of the report. The complainant and the respondent will be separately interviewed. The complainant has the right to have a support person from the William Woods University community (faculty, staff or student) present during an interview. Licensed attorneys are not permitted at interviews and may not serve in the role of a support person. The respondent will be notified of the complaint and will be given an opportunity to respond. Within a reasonable period of time [normally not longer than sixty (60) days] the investigator will complete the investigation and prepare a written report outlining his/her findings. The University will, to the best of its ability consistent with the requirements of this policy, maintain the confidentiality of the complaint and the details of the investigation.
- If the investigation substantiates the complaint, the University will take appropriate disciplinary action against the respondent(s), commensurate with the severity of the harassment, up to and including termination of employment (see the discipline and consequences section of this policy for more information).
- The above-referenced procedure is in addition to and not a limitation of the University’s rights as outlined in the Faculty Handbook, and the William Woods University Employee Handbook. The University reserves the right to formulate additional procedural rules as may be appropriate to supplement the procedures contained in the policy.
University Policy on Retaliation with Regard to Sexual Misconduct
- There will be no retaliation against or adverse treatment of any student who reports an incident of sexual misconduct and uses this procedure to resolve a concern when such complaint has been brought in the good faith belief that the complainant has been subjected to sexual assault/harassment. Reports of retaliation will be investigated and judicial action will be taken if necessary.
- The Dean of Student Life/Director of Human Resources or, if more appropriate, another designated member of the William Woods Community shall follow up regularly with the complainant to ensure that the harassment has been stopped and that no retaliation has occurred.
- The Title IX coordinator will be available to answer all questions regarding this policy or its implementation.
- Any student, and/or employee who engages in sexual misconduct which violates the University Code or policies while on University property, or while participating in University activities, will be subject to disciplinary action. The University reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, interim suspension from campus pending a hearing, and reporting the matter to the local police. Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. The University will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the person accused of sexual misconduct.
- Any student who brings a false charge of sexual misconduct shall receive appropriate discipline. The term “false charge” means charges brought in bad faith, that is, without good faith belief that one has been subjected to sexual harassment. The term “false charge” does not include a charge that was brought in good faith, but which the University was unable to substantiate.
Parts of this policy were adapted from the ATIXA gender-based and sexual misconduct model policy found on their website at www.atixa.org Copyright 2011 NCHERM & ATIXA.
Related Harassment Policies
It is the policy of William Woods University that dating and domestic violence along with stalking are not acceptable conduct at the University.
Definition of Domestic or Dating Violence: Domestic and dating violence involves behaviors used by one person in a relationship to control the other. Violence in a relationship (dating or domestic) can include verbal, emotional and/or physical violence. Examples of verbal or emotional violence can include one partner making fun of, insulting, controlling and/or threatening the other. Physical violence may include grabbing, shoving, slaps or hits by one partner on another.
Dating violence can be committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship is determined by consideration of length of relationship, type of relationship and frequency of interaction. Domestic violence includes crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse, by a person who shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse, and/or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Definition of Stalking: Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or substantial emotional distress. Stalking is a class A misdemeanor and may be a class D felony.
Stalking can include:
- Repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications from the perpetrator by phone, mail email.
- Repeatedly leaving or sending the complainant unwanted items, presents, or flowers.
- Following or laying in wait for the complainant at places such as home, school, work, or recreation places.
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the complainant, the complainant’s children, relatives, friends, or pets.
- Damaging or threatening to damage the complainant’s property.
- Harassing the complainant through the Internet.
- Posting information or spreading rumors about the complainant on the Internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth.
- Obtaining personal information about the complainant by accessing public records, using Internet search services, hiring private investigators, going through the complainant’s garbage, following the complainant, contacting the complainant’s friends, family, work, neighbors, etc. (Source: Stalking Resource Center, National Center for Complainants of Crime)
Violations of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking will be referred to the appropriate board. Students who want to report violations of these policies by students are encouraged to file a formal report with a campus safety officer and/or the Director Campus Safety. Violations against employees can also be filed with the Director of Human Resources. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of harassment taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. These violations when reported against students will be investigated by a committee assigned by the academic dean of that area. Disciplinary action can result in sanctions up to and including removal from campus housing and/or dismissal from the University.
Violations against employees will be investigated and if conclusive the University will take appropriate disciplinary action against the complainant(s), commensurate with the severity of the harassment, up to and including termination of employment.
Complainants can expect the same confidentiality as defined in the sexual misconduct policy and both the complainant and the respondent will be notified simultaneously and in writing of the results of a judicial review.
These policies apply to the Semester Program/On Campus students only. Graduate College Students will need to consult the Graduate College Regulations.