Sexual Misconduct Policy & Procedures for Students

Seeking Support for Sexual Misconduct

Introduction

Willamette University continually strives to foster a safe environment in which students can pursue their educational goals free from the detrimental effects of discrimination, intimidation, and violence, including sexual misconduct. This policy prohibits sexual misconduct of any kind against Willamette University community members of any sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Sexual misconduct includes sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual and gender-based stalking, interpersonal violence (including dating and domestic partner violence), sexual exploitation, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual sexual intercourse

Willamette 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 Willamette University reserves the right to respond with whatever measures it deems appropriate to prevent sexual misconduct and preserve the safety and well being of students.

Purpose

  • To identify support resources and remedy options for students who have been the recipients of unwanted behavior defined by this policy (Resources).
  • To define, for purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct which includes: sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual and gender-based stalking, interpersonal violence, sexual exploitation, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual sexual intercourse.
  • To establish procedures for reporting incidents of sexual misconduct.
  • To establish procedures for responding appropriately when incidents are reported.
  • To affirm the university’s commitment to preventing and addressing sexual misconduct.

Scope of Policy

The university is the convener of every action under this policy. This policy applies to students who have allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct and to individuals who report having been the recipients of unwanted behavior as covered under this policy.

Members of the Willamette University community, including students, who believe they have been harassed or subjected to other sexual misconduct from an employee of the university, including a student who is employed by the university, are encouraged to immediately report the issue through the online Sexual Misconduct Report Form or by contacting Keith Grimm, Director of Human Resources, 503-370-6210, kgrimm@willamette.edu. Student employees who violate this policy within the course and scope of their employment role will be accountable under both this policy as a student and under Human Resources policy as an employee.

Personal Jurisdiction
This policy applies to all Willamette University undergraduate and graduate students and student organizations. The term “student” throughout the policy shall refer to an individual student or student organization.

“Student(s)” includes persons enrolled in credit or non-credit courses or educational programs offered through Willamette University. Student status, for purposes of enforcement of the Standards of Conduct, continues whether or not the university is in session and includes persons who were enrolled during the immediately preceding semester, who are not officially enrolled for a particular semester but have a continuing relationship with Willamette University, or who have been notified of their acceptance for admission.

“Student organization” includes any group of students that is officially recognized by Willamette University or a group of students acting as a collective. The University may take action against a student organization under this policy when an alleged violation may reasonably be held to be a collective act of that organization. Student organizations may be held responsible through the rights and responsibilities process when any of the following situations, exist:

  • Members of the organization act in concert to violate Willamette University Standards of Conduct.
  • A violation arises out of an event sponsored, financed, or endorsed by the organization.
  • An organization leader has knowledge of the act or incident before or while it occurs and fails to take corrective action.
  • The incident occurs at a facility, on or off campus, which is owned, leased, rented, or used by the student organization.
  • A pattern of individual violations is found to have existed without proper or appropriate organization remedy or sanction.
  • Members of the organization attempt to cover up or fail to report improper conduct to the appropriate Willamette University officials.

Geographic Jurisdiction
Generally, university jurisdiction shall attend to student conduct that occurs on university premises, at university-sponsored or university-supervised events (including off-campus university-sponsored internships, university-sponsored post-sessions and study abroad programs), or other off-campus settings in which the behavior has an adverse impact on the University community, its members, or the pursuit of its objectives.

Procedural Jurisdiction
Reports of alleged violations will be charged using the Standards of Conduct in effect at the time a situation occurred. The most current procedures will be used to investigate and adjudicate alleged behavior covered by this policy.

Timeliness of Reporting
Community members are encouraged to report sexual misconduct as soon as possible to increase the likelihood that the recipient of the unwanted behavior receives support and access to resources, and also to maximize the university’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. There is no time limit to invoking this policy in responding to complaints of alleged sexual misconduct as long as the university has jurisdiction over the individual involved; however, the longer someone waits to report an alleged offense, the more difficult it becomes to investigate and resolve.

Timely Warning

If a report of misconduct involves a serious or continuing threat to the community, Willamette University may issue a campus-wide timely warning to protect the health and safety of the community. The timely warning will not include any identifying information about the person who was the recipient of unwanted behavior as defined by this policy.

Time Frame for Resolution

The University seeks to resolve all reports within 60 calendar days of receiving an initial report. “Resolve” may also mean, at the reporting person’s request, taking no further action. Extenuating circumstances may arise that require an extension beyond 60 days. Extenuating circumstances may include the complexity and scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the involved parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening University break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.

Remedies/Interim Measures

To receive remedies/interim measures a person must report a concern to an on-campus confidential or non-confidential resource. Upon receipt of a report of unwanted behavior defined within this policy, the University will implement remedies and responsive actions. Such actions are determined by the context of the situation and will be based on ensuring the student has full access to educational resources and experiences as they would have had if the unwanted behavior had not occurred. Remedies and interim measures may be provided or imposed regardless of whether formal action is sought by the University or the person who experienced the unwanted behavior.

Remedies may include, but are not limited to:

  • No contact/restricted contact order.
  • Room change for involved students. Under this policy, supported by Title IX, a student who allegedly engaged in behavior prohibited by this policy may be required to be moved.
  • Assistance with arrangements with faculty for academic work (extended deadlines, rescheduled exams, etc.).
  • Taking an incomplete in a course.
  • Other accommodations for safety as necessary.

Privacy, Confidentiality, & Anonymity

Willamette University is committed to respecting to the greatest extent possible an individual’s privacy and opportunities to choose options for support and to report. The terms privacy, confidentiality, and anonymity have specific definitions under the University’s sexual misconduct policy.

Privacy
Privacy generally means information related to a report of alleged sexual misconduct brought to the University’s attention will only be shared with a limited number of trained University professionals who “need to know” in order to provide support for the individual and to ensure safety for individuals and the community as well as legal compliance. The circle of people with knowledge of the situation will be limited as much as possible to preserve privacy and ensure safety. University employees serve as required reporters who are responsible to maintain the privacy of students’ information. Required reporters include all employees of the University (full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty, full-time and part-time classified and administrative staff, contract employees, and student employees) and volunteers working under the auspices (authority) of the University.

Confidentiality
Confidentiality means information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other entity without the express permission of the individual, unless required by law. These campus and community professionals include mental health and health care providers, ordained clergy, and attorneys (within established professional-client privilege), all of whom must keep information confidential by virtue of their professions and licenses. Students seeking confidential assistance may do so by speaking with the Chaplain, the Assistant Chaplain, the staff of the Bishop Wellness Center, and the Sexual Assault Response Allies (SARAs). SARAs are specially-trained Willamette University student volunteers. These individuals are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others, or if a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18. Confidential entities, like many other professions, including employees in higher education, are required by state law to notify Child Protective Services or local law enforcement in cases of suspected child abuse.

Anonymity
Anonymous reports may be submitted via the Sexual Misconduct Report Form. Anonymous reports can include information about an incident without including the reporting party’s identity. This information may be useful to track patterns or identify high risk locations, situations, or activities. Although anonymous reports are accepted, it is important to understand that the University’s ability to investigate and respond meaningfully to an anonymous complaint is limited. University required reporters may not make anonymous reports unless they are reporting for themselves as recipients of unwanted behavior covered by this policy.

Options – Seeking Support

The most important reason to disclose an incident of sexual misconduct is to connect with support resources as quickly as possible. A person who has been the recipient of unwanted behavior has multiple support options including on and off campus confidential resources and on and off campus non-confidential (private) resources. Students are encouraged to obtain immediate medical attention and seek support and care by connecting with support resources.

Willamette University is committed to helping students connect with the resources they want and need while respecting students' wishes regarding what next steps they choose to make. If students want to move forward with an accountability process, any on-campus confidential or non-confidential resource person can assist with reporting. A report can also be made using the on-line Sexual Misconduct Report Form.

It is important to note, if an individual reports to a required reporter (an on campus non-confidential resource) an assessment of the following risk factors may result in further action, including investigation and adjudication through conduct, if there are concerns regarding:

  • Level of ongoing risk to the community or to the individual involved (risk criteria include use of a weapon, threats, or violence).
  • Evidence of pattern or predation.
  • A Willamette University employee is involved (Federal law requires investigation).
  • A person under age 18 was a recipient of the unwanted behavior (the university is required to notify law enforcement).

On-Campus CONFIDENTIAL Support Resources

  • Sexual Assault Response Allies (SARAs), specially-trained Willamette University student volunteers
    • Weekend Hotline: 503-851-4245 (available from Friday evening at 5 p.m. through Monday morning at 8 a.m. during the academic year)
    • Open Office Hours: Wednesdays from 6-9 p.m. in the Women's Resource Center located in UC3 (University Center, 3rd floor)
    • Online Services: Chat online with a SARA, Monday-Thursday 8-10 p.m.
  • Counseling Services: Bishop Wellness Center provides confidential counseling for students who are survivors, friends, partners, and individuals accused of sexual misconduct, by appointment and emergency appointments available for urgent needs. Bishop is located on the south side of Baxter Hall Complex and is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Telephone: 503-370-6471.
  • Health Services: in Bishop Wellness Center can perform a medical examination for injury post assault (note: 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 a.m.-5 p.m., Telephone: 503-370-6062.
  • The Chaplain and Assistant Chaplain: Willamette University's chaplains welcome all members of the Willamette community, non-religious and religious (of all kinds) regarding spiritual, ethical, vocational, and personal issues. Located in the first floor of the Art Building, they are available Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m., Telephone: 503-370-6213.

Off-Campus CONFIDENTIAL Support Resources

  • Salem Hospital: Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Program): Confidential medical response, 24/7, at the Emergency Department. No appointment necessary. Location: 890 Oak St. Salem (across Bellevue St. on the south-side of campus. You have a right to have a support person during the process. Support advocates are available from the Marion County District Attorney's Office and Mid-Valley Women's Crisis Service.
  • The Center for Hope & Safety: which provides support for people of all genders, is an off-campus resource which is also confidential – their 24-hour hotline is 503-399-7722 or toll free in Oregon at 866-399-7722.
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline provides anonymous and confidential support – their 24-hour hotline is 800-656-4673.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline and online chat 800-799-7233

NON-CONFIDENTIAL (Private) Support Resources

The term "non-confidential" can be distressing. In this context, it means information about a report of unwanted harassing or non-consensual behavior may be shared with key staff members who have the ability and responsibility to help in some way. Individuals who provide support in cases of sexual misconduct are carefully trained to respect the reporting person's rights while assessing if follow up steps are needed to ensure safety for individuals and the community as well as legal compliance.

Non-confidential, required reporters will work with a reporting party to access support and resources the reporting party wants, and also create a report of what information was shared about the incident by submitting a Sexual Misconduct Report Form. Students are in control of what and how much information they share with a non-confidential resource person. Students will not be pressured to provide more information than they want to give. The report, based on the information provided, may be shared with key staff members to ensure the reporting party has access to resources, remedies, and available options.

  • Campus Safety: located in Doney Service Center, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at 503-370-6911
  • Salem Police Department: available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at: 911 (for emergency) or 503-588-6123 (for any situation where the crime has already occurred and the alleged perpetrator is not present).
  • Cynthia Stinson, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Director of Educational Equity Assurance, UC 3, 503-370-5361, cstinson@willamette.edu. Cynthia Stinson is Willamette University's lead investigator for alleged sexual misconduct incidents.
  • Elizabeth Trayner, Director of Housing and Community Life, Doney Hall, 503-370-6212, etrayner@willamette.edu. Liz Trayner is responsible for housing and residential initiatives, and she can assist with housing concerns. She can provide information about reporting options, resources, and accountability processes.
  • Lori Johnson, Director, Office of Rights and Responsibilities, Doney Hall 101, 503-370-6212, johsonl@willamette.edu. Lori Johnson coordinates Willamette University's conduct processes; she can provide information about reporting options, resources, and accountability processes.
  • Jackie Balzer, Title IX Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President for Student Success and Retention, Student Success Center, Matthews Hall, 503 370-6453, jbalzer@willamette.edu. Willamette's Title IX Coordinator coordinates, facilitates, and monitors Willamette University's compliance with Title IX, and is the appeals officer for sexual misconduct disciplinary cases involving University employees.
  • Keith Grimm, Director of Human Resources, Executive Building, Room 105, 503-375-5445, kgrimm@willamette.edu. Willamette's Director of Human Resources coordinates and monitors compliance with Title IX for employees at Willamette University.
  • US Department of Justice, Office for Victims of Crime, Sexual Assault Resource Service
  • US Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, 1-800-421-3481.

Standard 9. Sexual Misconduct

Prohibited Conduct - Definitions and Examples

This policy prohibits sexual misconduct of any kind including sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual and gender-based stalking, interpersonal violence (including dating and domestic partner violence), sexual exploitation, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual sexual intercourse, against individuals of any sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. Willamette University reserves the right to determine, based on the information available, what constitutes prohibited conduct under the following definitions.

  1. Sexual or Gender-Based harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal, physical, or other conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature when:
    1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, or participation in social or extracurricular activities;
    2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual; or
    3. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic or social environment.

      The effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person with similar identities and circumstances in the position of a claimant. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical. A single or isolated incident of sexual or gender-based harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.
  2. Sexual or Gender-Based Stalking (including via electronic means or on-line activity) – is a course of conduct (more than one behavior) targeted at an individual by an individual or group using various forms of contact to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion that would cause a reasonable person with similar identities and circumstances to feel harassed or afraid, or cause fear for or by a third party. (Oregon Law regarding Stalking)
  3. Interpersonal Violence (including Dating and Domestic Partner Violence) – is harm or threat of harm by a current or former partner or spouse, or a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The harm or threat of harm can involve physical, sexual, psychological, economic, emotional, or other aspects.
  4. Sexual Exploitation – is taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for one’s own or another’s advantage or benefit.
  5. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempt to commit same) – is any intentional sexual contact that occurs without consent or capacity to give consent or by threat or use of force. Sexual contact includes touching of a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas), or using force to cause a person to touch their own or another person’s intimate parts.
  6. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempt to commit same) – is penetration of the vagina or anus with a finger, tongue, penis, or other object, or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact) without consent or capacity to give consent or by threat or use of force.

Standard 10. Harassment

Willamette University recognizes 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, disability, or other protected status. Targeting individuals on the basis of these characteristics, in isolation or in conjunction with sexual misconduct, 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, disability, or other protected status.

Consent Defined

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

Adjudication of Consent

  • It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to ensure any person involved has given consent to engage in sexual activity.
  • Individuals must ensure they have consent from all parties involved throughout any sexual activity.
  • 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 (actual or implied, immediate or future), whether that force be physical, threats, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation.
  • Consent may not be given by someone who is not of legal age or who is mentally or physically incapacitated, including incapacitation caused by voluntary or involuntary consumption 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.

Force Defined

Force is the use of physical violence or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), coercion, or manipulation that overcomes resistance. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation to persuade individuals to do something they may not want to do, such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting to having sex and is considered sexual misconduct. Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity.

Incapacitation Defined

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

Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy. Whether or not someone knew or should have known if a person was incapacitated is based on a reasonable person standard. A reasonable person is able to judge if a person is able to give consent before engaging in sexual activity. The test of whether an individual should know about another's incapacitation is whether a reasonable, sober person would know or should have known about the incapacitation.

Amnesty for Minor Policy Violations

The Willamette University community encourages the reporting of prohibited conduct under this policy. It is in the best interest of this community that as many claimants as possible choose to report to University officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, individuals who report sexual misconduct, as claimants or witnesses/third parties, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University for minor policy violations including personal consumption of alcohol or other drugs at or near the time of reported incidents, provided any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Educational resources regarding alcohol or other drugs will be offered as appropriate.

Freedom from Retaliation

It is a violation of university policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of sexual misconduct, cooperating in an investigation or hearing of alleged sexual misconduct, or against any individual perceived to be involved in reporting, in an investigation, or hearing of sexual misconduct. An individual reporting sexual misconduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not substantiated based on the available evidence. For the purpose of this policy, retaliation includes but is not limited to, confirmed or implied behaviors or actions (including on-line activity) which intimidate, threaten, or harass, or result in other adverse actions threatened or taken. Sanctions for retaliation may include, but are not limited to warning, probation, suspension, or dismissal from Willamette University.

If a person accused of prohibited conduct under this policy (respondent) experiences negative ramifications as a result of involvement with an investigation or conduct process, please report the situation to the investigator(s) immediately so problematic behavior can be addressed and stopped as appropriate. A respondent has full access to University resources for support.

Examples of Retaliation

  • A student cooperating with an investigation finds out a group of students (who are friends with the respondent) have shared derogatory pictures and drawings of the person via Snapchat.
  • After logging into Facebook, a claimant finds that friends of the respondent have sent messages telling the claimant to not pursue any further action against their friend, or they will spread rumors about the claimant.
  • A respondent follows a claimant to classes and also asks one of the claimant’s friends where the claimant's off campus apartment is located.
  • When studying in the library, a witness in an investigation starts to feel nervous when friends of the respondent sit at each of the tables surrounding where the witness is studying. When the witness leaves, the friends follow the witness outside and past the UC, but do not approach the witness.
  • Friends of a student who has been accused of sexual misconduct, confront the reporting student at a dance, tell the reporting student to drop the case, and threaten to cause problems for the reporting student's partner.
  • A person serving as a witness in an investigation is told by the respondent, if the person provides information, the respondent will report that the witness sells marijuana.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

For individuals seeking resources for support who have not yet decided to report an incident, please see Options – Seeking Support section of this policy.

Willamette University community members have the right, and can expect, to have incidents of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the University when reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved in a timely manner through administrative procedures.

Individuals who have been the recipient of unwanted behavior covered under this policy are encouraged to disclose the situation to someone who can help, and are also encouraged to report to law enforcement, and the University. All of the University offices and individuals listed in the resources list are able to assist with connecting to resources including the police. A person who has been the recipient of unwanted behavior as covered by this policy has the right to choose to report to law enforcement, to the university, to both, or to neither.

To report an incident complete the Sexual Misconduct Report Form. In addition to filling out the Sexual Misconduct Report Form, students may choose to speak with any Willamette University employee they feel comfortable with and trust to initiate a report of sexual misconduct. Please be aware all University employees (with the exception of confidential resources), including faculty, staff, and administrators, student employees, and volunteers are required to share with a member of the Title IX Team or via the on-line report form, any report of sexual misconduct they receive or of which they become aware. While every effort will be made to respect a student’s privacy, confidentiality cannot be assured if a student discloses to a required reporter.

Students involved in incidents of sexual misconduct have the right to:

  1. A safe environment – Willamette 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 Willamette 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 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 nor pressure students into taking legal action off campus.
  7. Privacy – Willamette University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct. All University employees who are involved in the University’s sexual misconduct response receive specific instructions about respecting and safeguarding private information. Sexual misconduct investigations and hearings are closed to the public. No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law and University policy.

Sexual Misconduct Inquiry & Investigation Process

This section of the policy is currently being updated. If you need information about the inquiry or investigation process, please contact Lori Johnson at 503-370-6212

Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process – Administrative Hearing

Administrative Hearing: An administrative hearing process is used to adjudicate complaints of alleged student sexual misconduct and any other violations of Willamette University’s Standards of Conduct that occurred in the course of the alleged sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct administrative hearing panels are comprised of two trained hearing 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.

Administrative hearings will not follow a courtroom model, and formal rules of evidence will not be observed. Hearing Administrators will review in advance of the hearing all of the written materials provided to them by the Director of the Office of Rights & Responsibilities or designee. The claimant and respondent will have reviewed or been provided the opportunity to review these materials prior to the hearing. The parties will be expected not to repeat undisputed details or non-material circumstances that would merely duplicate information contained in the Investigative Report or in other written materials.

Evidentiary Standard: The preponderance of the evidence standard is used in determining whether or not a respondent charged with an allegation of sexual misconduct is responsible for a violation. The respondent is presumed not responsible for any violation unless responsibility is established by a conscientious and rational judgment on the whole record indicating it is more likely than not the alleged behavior occurred.

Administrative Hearing Goals 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 and if so, determine appropriate sanctions.

Administrative Hearing Rights
Claimants’ and respondents’ rights in the hearing process include:

  • To be assured of privacy 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(s) be replaced due to a conflict of interest. (This request should be made in writing to the Director of the Office of Rights and Responsibilities within two working days of the notice having been sent.)
  • To be provided a reasonable opportunity to participate in the hearing, in person or by electronic means. (If a claimant or respondent does not respond or does not attend the hearing after having been duly notified, the case may be heard in absence of the individual at the discretion of the hearing administrators. In this case, all available evidence will be considered when deciding the outcome.)
  • Claimants and respondents may have one support person of their choice present throughout the hearing process.
  • At no point in the hearing process will the claimant or respondent be required to be in the same room at the same time, or required to speak with the other party. Claimants and respondents may submit questions in advance of and during the hearing to the hearing administrators. Hearing administrators are empowered to disallow or reframe any questions that are irrelevant or redundant.
  • Claimants and respondents may choose to not answer questions. In this case, all available evidence will be considered when deciding the outcome.
  • In the event of new information not available at the time of the investigation, the right to present supporting evidence that pertains directly to the events in question.
  • To have equitable opportunities to present evidence and witnesses. In sexual misconduct hearings, evidence is submitted, and witnesses are interviewed during the investigation process.
  • 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.
  • An opportunity to request an appeal of the hearing outcome based on the appeal criteria. There is no appeal of an appeal outcome by any party.
  • To be informed in writing of appeal request(s).
  • To be informed in writing of appeal outcome.

Sanctioning Process

If a student is found responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy, the University will initiate a sanctioning process with the intent to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Hearing administrators may consider any record of past violations of the Standards of Conduct, as well as the nature and severity of such past violation(s). The hearing administrators will also consider, as part of its deliberations, whether the sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (c) remedy the effects of the violation on the claimant and the University community. This approach to sanctions supports the Willamette University educational mission and fulfills its Title IX obligations.

Just as there is a range of behaviors which violate this policy (e.g. sexual and gender-based harassment, sexual and gender-based stalking, sexual exploitation, interpersonal violence - including dating and domestic partner violence, non-consensual sexual contact, and non-consensual sexual intercourse), there is a range of sanctions which may be imposed. General categories of sanctions include educational intervention, warning, probation, suspension, and dismissal.

Sanctioning Guidelines

  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse will face a recommended sanction of suspension or dismissal.*
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will face a recommended sanction ranging from probation to dismissal, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous policy violations.*
  • Any student found responsible for violating the policy on sexual or gender-based harassment, stalking, interpersonal violence, or sexual exploitation will face a recommended sanction ranging from warning to dismissal, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous policy violations.*

* The Office of Rights & Responsibilities reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating or aggravating circumstances. Suspensions, if given, are based on satisfying conditions rather than solely on a period of time. Neither the initial hearing administrators nor any appeals body or administrator(s) will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.

Additional Sanction Information
  • Dismissals generally include permanent restriction from Willamette University facilities, property, programs, and services.
  • Suspensions, if given, are based on satisfying conditions for return rather than solely on a period of time.
  • A student generally will be restricted from Willamette University facilities, property, programs, and services for the duration of the suspension and until the individual is allowed to return to Willamette University.
  • In the case of a responsible finding or upon approved return to campus after a suspension, a student may be required to attend regular meetings, complete specific educational or assessment requirements, or other requirements as determined through the hearing/sanctioning process.
  • In the case of a responsible finding or upon approved return to campus after a suspension, students who apply for Willamette University employment, volunteer, or leadership positions may be required to notify a Willamette University employee/advisor (non-student) of their conduct record during the application/selection processes.
  • Other requirements as determined through the hearing/sanctioning process.

Suspension Return Process

Is a student is suspended as a result of this process, the individual will need to complete all recommended sanctions before requesting to return. Petitions for return will be reviewed by the Dean of Campus Life or designee. The Dean or designee will make the decision as to whether or not the individual is permitted to return. If the request to return is approved, notice will be provided to the claimant of the approval to return if the claimant is still affiliated with the University as a student, volunteer or employee.

Transcript Notation

If a student is dismissed from Willamette University as a result of a conduct hearing, a notation of “dismissal” will be placed on the student’s academic transcript. If official transcripts are sent by the Registrar’s Office prior to recording of the dismissal decision, a good faith effort will be made to send updated official transcripts, including the dismissal notation, to academic institutions from which Willamette University received a request for official transcripts and that received official transcripts prior to the conclusion of the conduct process.

Current students may access and print unofficial transcripts. If an institution accepts a student’s unofficial transcript for admission or enrollment and an official transcript was not requested, the institution may not receive an updated, official transcript from Willamette University.

Appeal Request Process

A written request for an appeal must be completed directly by the claimant or respondent and filed with the Assistant to the Dean of Campus Life. Both the claimant and the respondent will have three business days from the notification of the hearing outcome to request an appeal. While an appeal process is pending, a student found responsible for violation of policy must comply with the sanctions previously imposed and deemed necessary by the Director of the Office of Rights and Responsibilities.

If either party submits an appeal request, that appeal request will be shared with the other party who will then have three business days to write a response. The response to the appeal request will be shared with the appealing party. The appeal materials from both parties will be submitted to the Appellate Body for review, and to make a final determination. The appeal process is a closed process and is limited to the review of appeal materials and the hearing record. There is no appeal of an appeal outcome by any party.

Appeal Criteria
The grounds for appeal must meet at least one of the following criteria:

  1. A significant procedural error occurred that reasonably may have impacted the outcome.
  2. Newly discovered information exists which is sufficient to alter a decision and which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time for the hearing. A summary of the new evidence and its potential impact must be included. Deliberate omission of information by an appealing party is not sufficient grounds for appeal.
  3. The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions designated for this Standards of Conduct violation and the cumulative conduct history of the respondent.

Appellate Body
The Dean of Campus Life or designee will determine the most appropriate person/group to serve as the appellate body from the list below:

  • Dean of Campus Life or designee
  • Director of the Office of Rights & Responsibilities (only an option if the director was not involved in the investigation or hearing)
  • Individual faculty, staff, or administrator trained to serve as a sexual misconduct appeal administrator
  • Administrative panel of two or more faculty, staff, or administrators trained to serve as a sexual misconduct appeal panel

Progression of an Appeal
The assigned appellate body will determine if one or more of the criteria has been met. If none has been met, the request for an appeal is denied and the determination of the conduct hearing is final. If a request for an appeal is granted on the basis of newly discovered information, the matter may be referred back to the original conduct hearing administrator(s) for reconsideration of the determination or sanction.

If the request for an appeal is granted on the basis of a significant procedural error or a sanction outside the designated range for a violation, the appellate body shall determine the appeal process from the options below:

  • Conduct a new hearing
  • Refer the matter to another administrator(s) or board to conduct a new hearing, or
  • Revise the sanction if the issue of responsibility is not in dispute.

Definitions

  • Administrative Hearing – An administrative hearing process is used to adjudicate complaints of alleged student sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct administrative hearing 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 Title IX Investigative Report and any additional evidence not available at the time of the investigation.
  • Claimant – an individual who has been identified as having been the recipient of unwanted behavior as defined by this policy.
  • Confidentiality – Information shared by an individual with a support person who is a confidential resource cannot be revealed to any other entity without the express permission of the individual, unless required by law. Individuals who serve as confidential resources are prohibited from divulging information unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others, or if a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18. Confidential entities are required by state law to notify Child Protective Services or local law enforcement in cases of suspected child abuse.
  • Confidential Resources – Willamette University confidential resources include the staff at Bishop Wellness Center, the Chaplain and Assistant Chaplain, and SARAs (Sexual Assault Response Allies). SARAs are specially-trained Willamette University student volunteers.
  • Consent – The university defines consent as a freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity, expressed by clear, mutually understandable, unambiguous words or actions.
  • Incapacitation – Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make reasoned decisions because the person lacks the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of the sexual interaction. If it is unclear whether or not a person is incapacitated, assume the person is unable to give consent. Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be – or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be – mentally or physically incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy.
  • Initial Inquiry – In every case of reported sexual misconduct, an initial 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 or may not ensue depending on a variety of factors, such as the wishes of the person who experienced unwanted behavior and the continued risk to that person or other campus community members.
  • Investigation – An investigation is a fact-finding process conducted by a trained investigator (two, in most cases). In investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, assigned investigators collect information relevant to the allegation 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 have an opportunity to review the investigative report prior to a hearing.
  • Hearing Administrators – Hearing administrators include faculty and staff members who receive yearly training regarding sexual misconduct and general conduct processes and procedures. Hearing administrators determine if a violation of the Standard of Conduct occurred based on a preponderance of the evidence and if a violation occurred, determine appropriate sanction(s).
  • OCR – The Office for Civil Rights enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973; and age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975. These civil rights laws enforced by OCR extend to all state education agencies, elementary and secondary school systems, colleges and universities, vocational schools, proprietary schools, state vocational rehabilitation agencies, libraries, and museums that receive U.S. Department of Education funds.
  • Privacy – The University will attempt to protect the identity of claimants and respondents and ensure the actions resulting from the initiation of a sexual misconduct allegation 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.
  • Report or Sexual Misconduct Report – A report is information submitted to a Willamette University employee or otherwise conveyed via a University web form by an individual or third party reporting on someone’s behalf regarding an alleged incident of sexual misconduct. Reports of sexual misconduct are forwarded to the Title IX Team for review and response. Student disclosures of sexual misconduct shared with confidential resources on campus including staff at Bishop Wellness Center, SARAs, or the University Chaplains will not be forwarded to the Title IX Team; these disclosures remain confidential.
  • Required Reporters – Required reporters include all employees of the university (full-time, part-time, and adjunct faculty, full-time and part-time classified and administrative staff, contract employees, and student employees) and volunteers working under the auspices (authority) of the university.
  • Respondent – an individual who has been identified as allegedly engaging in conduct prohibited under this policy.
  • Standards of Conduct – Refers to Willamette University’s Standards of Conduct, as enforced by the Office of Rights & Responsibilities.
  • Support Person – A support person may be any individual who is not directly involved in a report being investigated or adjudicated. A support person may accompany an individual to an initial inquiry, an investigation, and hearing. A support person who accompanies a claimant or respondent during a hearing may not serve as a witness during the hearing. A support person may not directly address the investigator(s), hearing administrators, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the processes. A support person is there for the limited purpose of providing support. When choosing a support person, ensure the individual can attend the scheduled investigative meetings and the hearing; meetings may not be scheduled to accommodate a specific support person’s schedule.
  • Third Party – Refers to any person (other than the claimant and respondent) including witnesses to the incident or individuals who make a report on behalf of someone else, or who are involved in an inquiry, investigation, or hearing.
  • Title IX – Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment (dating and domestic partner violence, stalking, sexual exploitation, and sexual violence), the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy. Title IX prohibits retaliation for filing an OCR complaint or for advocating for a right protected by Title IX. To enforce Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with headquarters in Washington, DC and 12 offices across the United States.
  • Title IX Report/Title IX Investigative Report – In investigating allegations of sexual misconduct, assigned investigators collect information relevant to the 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.
  • Title IX Team –Willamette University’s Title IX Team meets regularly to ensure consistent and timely application of the policy to all individuals so that the University responds promptly and equitably to eliminate sexual misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The Title IX Team coordinates the review, investigation, and resolution of reports and ensures appropriate interim measures are implemented.
  • The Title IX Team is an interdepartmental team consisting of:
    • Cynthia Stinson, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Director of Educational Equity Assurance
    • Elizabeth Trayner, Director of Housing and Community Life
    • Margaret Trout, Director, Bishop Wellness Center
    • Lori Johnson, Director, Office of Rights and Responsibilities
    • Ross Stout, Director of Campus Safety
    • Jackie Balzer, Title IX Coordinator and Special Assistant to the President for Student Success and Retention
    • Other trained individuals may be added to the Title IX Team on an as needed basis
    • If a University employee is named in a report of sexual misconduct involving a student, the Director of Human Resources is added to the team to help assess the situation.

Updated August 2015