University Policies

Sexual Misconduct Policy & Protocol for Students

Introduction

Willamette University continually strives to foster a safe environment in which students can pursue their educations free from the detrimental effects of sexual discrimination and misconduct, including sexual harassment and sexual assault. The university prohibits sexual misconduct on the part of any student or employee and is committed to confronting and addressing it effectively. To that end, the university seeks to educate students, faculty and staff about the dynamics of sexual misconduct and its effects, as well as how to prevent it and respond appropriately should it occur. These policies and procedures reflect input from students and seek to be easily understood, fair to all involved, and provide a means of recourse for recipients of such behavior. The university reserves the right to respond with whatever measures it deems appropriate to prevent sexual misconduct and preserve the safety and wellbeing of students.

Purpose

  • To define sexual misconduct involving students, which includes sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, other forms of nonconsensual sexual contact, and sexual assault.
  • To establish procedures for filing complaints of sexual misconduct
  • To identify resources and support for students reporting an incident of sexual misconduct
  • To respond appropriately when incidents do occur
  • To affirm the university’s commitment to preventing sexual misconduct

Willamette University will not tolerate discrimination, violence or intimidation. Sanctions for students found responsible for violations of the university's sexual assault policies include immediate suspension or expulsion.

Options - Seeking Support for Sexual Misconduct

We strongly encourage students to obtain immediate medical attention and seek support and care by disclosing incidents of sexual misconduct to someone who can connect them to support resources.  This may be achieved by contacting one of the resources listed below, or simply by completing the online form available on the Sexual Misconduct website: 

The most important reason to disclose an incident of sexual misconduct is to connect with support resources as quickly as possible. A student seeking support for sexual misconduct has multiple options, described on the web site listed above and in the policy articulated below. The university is committed to helping students connect with the resources they want and need while respecting the student’s wishes regarding what next steps they choose to make.

Students seeking support have a variety of options available to them, including access to resources that are totally confidential, as well as assistance with filing formal complaints with the university’s Office of Rights and Responsibilities and with law enforcement. 

Confidential Support Options

Students may obtain absolutely confidential assistance and access campus resources by speaking with a confidential resource person at one of the following entities:

  • Counseling Services in Bishop Wellness Center provides confidential counseling for survivors, friends, partners and individuals accused of sexual misconduct by appointment and emergency appointments available for urgent needs, Telephone: 503-370-6471.
  • Health Services in Bishop Wellness Center can perform a medical examination for injury post assault (this does not include forensic evidence collection). Medications for possible sexually transmitted infection exposure and pregnancy prevention are offered to survivors at no cost.  Bishop is located on the South Side of Baxter Hall Complex and is open Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm.  Telephone: 503-370-6062.
  • Salem Hospital Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Program): Confidential medical response, 24/7, at the Emergency Department. No appointment necessary.
  • The Chaplain & Assistant Chaplain The university's chaplains are charged to work with all members of the Willamette community including those who are religious and non-religious regarding spiritual, ethical, vocational and personal issues. Located of the 2nd Floor of the University Center (UC) is Available Monday-Friday 8 am-5 pm, Telephone: 503-370-6213.
  • Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service which provides support for men as well as women, is an off campus resource which is also confidential – their 24 hour hotline is 503-399-7722.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct - Other Support Resources

The following resources are also available:

  • Sexual Assault Response Allies (SARAs) corps of trained student volunteers. Weekend hotline: 503-851-4245, Friday evenings through Monday mornings during the academic year. Open office hours, Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. in the Women’s Resource Center, third floor, University Center.  Chat online Monday-Thursday, 8-10 p.m.
  • Campus Safety, available 24 hours a day:  503-370-6911.
  • Salem Police Department, available 24/7:  911 (emergency) or 503-588-6123.

Note:  University policy requires all SARA volunteers, Campus Safety staff and any university staff or faculty member (except those indicated as “confidential resources,” above) who receive information about sexual misconduct involving students to share that information with a minimal number of campus officials, first to ensure that the student who discloses receives support and care, and also in consideration of the safety of the broader campus community.

This may include individual members of the university’s Sexual Misconduct and Assault Response Team (SMART), Behavior Review Team, and the following individuals who are responsible for the university’s response to reports of sexual misconduct involving students and employees:

  • Elizabeth Trayner, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Director of Residence Life, Doney Hall, (503) 370-6212.  Willamette’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator manages the university’s response to reports of student-to-student sexual misconduct.
  • Kristen Grainger, Title IX Coordinator and Vice President & Executive Assistant to the President, Office of the President, 5th Floor, Waller Hall, 503 370-6209.  Willamette’s Title IX Coordinator oversees and monitors the university’s compliance with Title IX, and is the appeals officer for sexual misconduct involving university employees.
  • Keith Grimm, Director of Human Resources.1st Floor Waller Hall, (503)-370-6210. Willamette’s Director of Human Resources oversees and monitors compliance with Title IX for employees at Willamette University.

Policy

Sexual Misconduct Defined

Sexual misconduct encompasses any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion or manipulation. Sexual misconduct can occur between persons of the same or different genders. Sexual misconduct may vary in its severity and consist of a range of behaviors or attempted behaviors.

Sexual Misconduct includes but is not limited to:

  1. Sexual Harassment
    Sexual Harassment is gender-based verbal, written or physical activity that is so severe, pervasive or objectively offensive that it interferes with an individual’s academic performance or ability to benefit from the educational opportunities or activities of the University or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work, living or academic environment.
  2. Intimate Partner Violence (Including Dating and Domestic Partner Violence)
    Intimate Partner Violence is physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among partners of any sex or gender.
  3. Sexual Exploitation
    Sexual Exploitation is taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit or to benefit another person.
  4. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempt to commit same) Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching however slight, with any object (penis, finger, tongue, or other object), by a person upon another person without consent. Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals, or touching with any of these body parts, or making another touch another person or themselves with any of these body parts or any other intentional bodily contact of a sexual manner.
  5. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempt to commit same)
    Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is unwanted penetration of the vagina or anus with a penis, finger, tongue, or other object, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.)

Non-Sexual Harassment

Willamette University recognizes that harassing conduct related to an individual's sex, sexual orientation, or gender presentation can occur in conjunction with conduct related to an individual's race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, or disability. Targeting individuals on the basis of these characteristics is a violation of the university’s Standards of Conduct. In these situations, the university will usually address, at the investigation and hearing stages, the harassing conduct related to the targeted individual's sex, sexual orientation, or gender presentation together with the conduct related to the targeted individual's race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, or disability.

Consent Defined

The university defines consent as a freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity, expressed by clear, unambiguous words or actions.

Adjudication of Consent

  • It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to ensure that the other person involved has given consent to engage in sexual activity.
  • Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity by all parties involved.
  • At any time, a participant can communicate that the participant no longer consents to continuing the activity.
  • Consent may not be obtained through the use of force, coercion, intimidation or manipulation.
  • Consent may not be given by someone who is not of legal age or who is mentally or physically incapacitated or disabled, including through the use of alcohol, other drugs or any other condition.
  • A person who engages in sexual activity with someone who is known to be - or should have been known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated (including by alcohol or other drug use, sleep, unconsciousness, blackout or other condition) is in violation of this policy.
  • Silence, previous or current dating or sexual relationship will not be considered indicators of consent.
  • A lack of physical or other resistance on the part of a participant does not constitute consent.
  • The use of alcohol or other drugs does not diminish responsibility to obtain consent for sexual activity.

Incapacitation Defined

Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of their sexual interaction. If it is unclear whether or not a person is incapacitated, assume the person is unable to give consent.

Amnesty for Alcohol and Other Drug Policy Violations

To encourage reporting, the university offers amnesty from disciplinary action. A student will not be held responsible for violation of the university’s alcohol or other drug (controlled substance) policies if revealed in the course of disclosing an incident of sexual misconduct, filing a complaint or subsequent action taken in response to the complaint.  Educational resources about alcohol or other drugs will be offered as appropriate.

Freedom from Retaliation

The university will not tolerate any form of direct or indirect harassment, retaliation, or intimidation of an individual who makes a report of sexual misconduct or is or perceived to be involved in an investigation or hearing of a report of sexual misconduct. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring a person to drop or not support a report or complaint or providing false or misleading information, or otherwise engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person's educational, living, or work environment. Retaliation is a violation of university policy; sanctions for retaliation can include probation, suspension or dismissal from the university.

Filing a Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct

A person who has been the recipient of unwelcome sexual behavior by a student is encouraged to file a complaint with the Office of Rights and Responsibilities (Conduct Office) as soon as possible after an incident occurs. The Office of Rights and Responsibilities coordinates the conduct process for students who have allegedly violated the Standards of Conduct, which includes this policy.

To file a formal complaint of sexual misconduct to be adjudicated through the conduct process, a written complaint including the names of the involved parties must be submitted to the Office of Rights and Responsibilities. For information or to file a formal complaint, contact Lori Johnson, Office of Rights and Responsibilities, Doney Hall 101, 503-370-6212, johnsonl@willamette.edu. Students may also report a formal complaint of sexual misconduct through the Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form. Speaking with someone from the Office of Rights and Responsibilities or completing the Sexual Misconduct Reporting Form does not commit you to filing a formal complaint.

There are individuals who can assist with writing a formal complaint; there is a statement guide available to give guidance when writing a formal complaint (Sexual Misconduct Complaint Process – Statement Guide).  

Students are encouraged to report sexual misconduct to both law enforcement and the university. Prompt reporting provides the best opportunity for the university to take appropriate action regarding sexual misconduct to prevent its recurrence, address its effects and hold wrongdoers accountable. There are specific individuals who are trained to respond to issues of sexual misconduct who can assist with resources, support, and the formal complaint process (see Support Resources).

Students involved in an incident of sexual misconduct have the right to:

  1. A safe environment - The university will take whatever measures it deems reasonable and feasible to protect the safety of the campus community, and the well-being and rights of students. Such measures may include but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, changing an academic or work schedule, or restricted-contact or no-trespass orders.
  2. Respect - All parties involved in an incident of sexual misconduct will be treated with dignity, respect, and fairness.
  3. Be taken seriously - The university will treat all complaints seriously and will investigate allegations of sexual misconduct.
  4. Access to university resources and support - All parties will have full access to campus services designed to assist in such cases, including the Bishop Wellness Center Health and Counseling Services, the Office of the Chaplains, the Office of Rights and Responsibilities (coordinates the hearing process), and the Office of the Dean of Campus Life.
  5. A fair conduct process - The university will inform all parties about the investigation and adjudication processes and their options, rights and responsibilities therein.
  6. File a complaint with the police - The university will not discourage students from or pressure students into taking legal action off campus.
  7. Privacy - The sexual misconduct hearing is closed to the public, and no one may disclose information from the hearing to anyone not legitimately involved in the proceedings.

Sexual Misconduct Investigation Process

Any individual may report an allegation under the Sexual Misconduct Policy and trigger an investigation of sexual misconduct. After the Deputy Title IX Coordinator receives a report of sexual misconduct, an inquiry will be initiated that could lead to a full investigation and charging a student with allegedly violating Willamette University’s Standards of Conduct - Sexual Misconduct Policy. The university will investigate all reports of sexual misconduct in a thorough, impartial and prompt manner.  All investigations will take place in compliance with applicable laws and university policies, including laws and policies pertaining to student privacy and confidentiality.

  • Based on the assessment of the reported situation, the university will take appropriate interim measures to protect the parties involved. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, restricted contact, residential relocation, or immediate restriction of access for an individual or organization to campus facilities, programs or services. (See Rights & Responsibilites Section XI regarding immediate restriction.)
  • The university's responsibility to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct exists regardless of whether that investigation culminates in a hearing, and it exists independently of any pending criminal justice process.
  • In every case, a preliminary inquiry will proceed to the point where a reasonable assessment of the safety of the individual and of the campus community can be made. Thereafter, an investigation may continue depending on a variety of factors, such as the request of the claimant and the risk to the individual or campus community.
  • Sexual misconduct investigations will be conducted by a trained investigator(s).  The investigator will collect all relevant information. This includes but is not limited to statements and physical evidence.
  • If a hearing is requested or warranted, a sexual misconduct administrative hearing process will be initiated.  In this case, the respondent will be notified by the investigator or designate of the accusation and apprised of the investigation procedures, their rights and responsibilities, and the possibility of a hearing.
  • Students will be afforded the opportunity to review the investigative report in advance of the hearing and be allowed to add additional information prior to the report being reviewed in the hearing. New evidence not reasonably available at the time of the investigation may be considered in the hearing. Evidence and testimony gathered and reviewed during the investigation will not be duplicated in the hearing.

Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process – Administrative Hearing Rights

The sexual misconduct administrative hearing process is used to adjudicate complaints of alleged student sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct administrative hearings panels are comprised of two trained administrators. Sex and gender balance will be carefully considered during the selection of panel members.

A person who reports or for whom a report is made regarding an incident of sexual misconduct is referred to as a claimant and a student accused of sexual misconduct is referred to as a respondent.

The goals of the hearing are: a) to allow both the claimant and the respondent the opportunity to present their experiences, discuss the investigative report, and to ask questions pertinent to the incident(s) in question; b) to have the matter considered and decided by an impartial panel; and c) to determine whether a violation of University Standards of Conduct has occurred.

The preponderance of the evidence standard is used in determining whether or not a student charged with an allegation of sexual misconduct (“respondent”) is responsible for a violation.

Claimants’ and respondents’ rights in the hearing process include:

  • To be assured of confidentiality, in accordance with university policy, the terms of the federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and Oregon State law
  • To be notified in writing of the time, date and location of the hearing; the names of administrators who will hear the case; and all alleged charges.
  • To request that a specific administrator be replaced due to a conflict of interest. (This request should be made in writing to the Director of Rights and Responsibilities within two working days of receiving notice of a hearing)
  • They will at no point in the hearing process required to be in the same room at the same time, or be allowed to question the other party directly.
  • In the event of new information not available at the time of the sexual misconduct investigation, the right to present supporting evidence that pertains directly to the events in question.
  • To have equitable opportunities to present evidence and witnesses
  • To be apprised of all known evidence at the time of the hearing.
  • To equal access to evidence, written statements, and testimony.
  • To submit an impact statement to be reviewed only in the sanctioning phase of deliberations, if the respondent is found responsible for the charge(s).
  • To be informed in writing and in a timely fashion of the outcome of the hearing
  • Opportunity to request an appeal the of the hearing outcome based on the appeal criteria
  • Be informed in writing of appeal request(s)
  • Be informed in writing of appeal outcome

Additional Respondent Rights

  • To be considered not responsible for the alleged violation until proven responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.
  • To address charges in person.  (If a student does not attend a conduct hearing, the case may be heard in absence of the student at the discretion of the hearing administrators. In this case, all available evidence will be considered when deciding the outcome.)

Responsibilities

All members of the university community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The sexual misconduct policy outlines the expectations for sexual communication, sexual responsibility and sexual respect. Further, members of the university community have the responsibility to recognize and challenge forms of sexual misconduct.

Responsibilities for all community members include:

  • Respecting sexual partners and their intentions by listening and obtaining clear, viable consent.
  • Listening carefully to what a date or partner is saying. Remember: “no” means “no”, always.
  • Asking for clarification if mixed messages occur. Don’t guess about what a partner may or may not want.
  • Speaking out. Don’t allow others to make jokes about rape, or derogatory comments which condone violence.
  • Intervening. If you think a person is going to engage in non-consensual sexual behavior or if you think someone may experience unwanted sexual behavior, do something before it happens while keeping yourself safe.
  • Supporting friends, family members and partners who have been assaulted. Let them know it was not their fault and encourage them to follow up with available resources.

Definitions

  • Administrative Hearing – An administrative hearing process is used to adjudicate complaints of student-to-student alleged sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct administrative hearings panels are comprised of two trained administrators. Sex and gender balance will be carefully considered during the selection of panel members. Administrative hearings involve a review of the investigative report and any additional evidence not available at the time of the investigation.
  • Claimant - A student who files a formal complaint of sexual misconduct.
  • Consent – Consent is freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity, expressed by clear, unambiguous words or actions.
  • Formal Complaint - A formal complaint is a written document including the names of the involved parties submitted to the Office of Rights and Responsibilities for adjudication through the conduct system. A statement guide is available to assist with writing a formal complaint.
  • Incapacitation - Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of their sexual interaction. If it is unclear whether or not a person is incapacitated, assume the person is unable to give consent.
  • Investigation – An investigation is fact-finding process conducted by a trained investigator(s). In investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, assigned investigators collect information relevant to the formal complaint of sexual misconduct. This includes but is not limited to interviews, statements and physical evidence. The investigator(s) will write an investigative report which includes information and evidence collected. The respondent and claimant will be afforded an opportunity to review the investigative report prior to a hearing.
  • Respondent - A student accused of sexual misconduct
  • Privacy – the University will attempt to protect the identity of all claimants and respondents and ensure the actions resulting from the initiation of a sexual misconduct complaint are kept private, informing only those officials and individuals with a need to know in order to respond to the case. The University will protect the private status of all educational records except as directed by appropriate legal authority.
  • Preliminary Investigation - In every case of reported sexual misconduct, a preliminary investigation will proceed to the point where a reasonable assessment of the safety of the individual and of the campus community can be made. Thereafter, the investigation may continue depending on a variety of factors, such as the request of the claimant and the risk to the individual or campus community.

Updated August 2013