Policy Portal

University Policy

Sexual Misconduct and Harassment

Policy Number: 3349‐10‐75
Effective Date: 09/03/2009
Updated: 10/03/2019
Reviewed:
Responsible Department: Safety & Security

A. Purpose

  1. The University is committed to maintaining an environment for students, employees, and visitors in which they can work, learn, and participate in activities free from Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.  Sexual Harassment and acts of Sexual Misconduct committed by or against any students, employees or visitors are prohibited at the University and will be fully investigated and adjudicated in accordance with this policy.

B. Scope

  1. This policy applies to all students, employees, and visitors to the University and outlines the manner in which instances of Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment are defined, reported and adjudicated to ensure a safe and secure campus community.

C. Definitions

  1. “Reporting Party” refers to a person who alleges that they have been the victim of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct (as those terms are defined in this policy).
  2. “Responding Party” refers to a person against whom an allegation of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct has been made (as those terms are defined in this policy).
  3. “Campus Official” for the purposes of this policy includes any NEOMED Police Officer, Campus Security Authority and any Title IX Coordinator, or anyone who has the authority to implement interim measures or sanctions.
  4. “Campus Security Authorities” include campus security; individuals who have responsibility for campus security including those who are designated as persons to whom an offense should be reported; and any individual who has significant responsibility for student and campus affairs. Students who are employed by the university and designated as a Campus Security Authority are obligated to report knowledge of the Title IX allegation.
  5. “Consent” for the purposes of this policy refers to permission or agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission and willingness to engage in sexual activity.  Consent must be active; silence cannot constitute consent nor can consent to one form of sexual activity be implied as consent to another form of activity.  Consent can be withdrawn at any time and previous consent for a sexual act cannot imply future consent. Consent for sexual activity is not present if an individual: is in a state of incapacitation (from alcohol or drug use or mental or physical impairment) whereas another individual knows or should have reasonably known of the incapacitation; is coerced; is subjected to the use of force or the threat of force; is unconscious or unaware the act is being committed; or is unable to consent due to age.
      1. Sexual assault, which occurs when a person does any of the following to commit a sexual act: uses force, threats, or deception to make the victim take drugs or alcohol; uses force or threats of force; knows the victim could not resist or consent because of a mental or physical condition. Physical resistance need not occur to meet the definition of this policy. Sexual assault includes:
  6. “Incapacitation” refers to the state of substantial impairment when an individual is unable to make reasonable, rational decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent. For the purposes of this policy, incapacitation includes individuals whose impairment results from physical or mental disabilities, involuntary restraint, or the consumption of alcohol or other drugs. Incapacitation cannot be used in a defense for behavior that violates this policy.
  7. “Coercion” for the purposes of this policy refers to the intimidation, threats of the physical or psychological nature, or pressure used to force another to engage in sexual acts.
  8. “Sexual Harassment” refers to: unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work or educational environment; or unwelcome sexual advances or requests in exchange for employment or academic gain.
  9. “Sexual Misconduct” broadly refers to Title IX Offenses as well as non-consensual sexual contact such as fondling, non-consensual sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of any kind, and indecent exposure, which are generally defined in Section 2907 of the Ohio Revised Code.
  10. “Title IX Offense(s)” include the following terms:
    1. (a) Sexual assault, which occurs when a person does any of the following to commit a sexual act: uses force, threats, or deception to make the victim take drugs or alcohol; uses force or threats of force; knows the victim could not resist or consent because of a mental or physical condition. Physical resistance need not occur to meet the definition of this policy. Sexual assault includes:
      1. Non-consensual sexual contact, which is intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals of another, the forced act of making one touch the other, or the touching of another person with any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
      2. Non-consensual sexual abuse (including rape), which is any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object by any individual upon another without consent or by force. Sexual penetration includes vaginal penetration, anal penetration, and oral copulation.
    2. Sexual exploitation, which occurs when an individual engages in conduct that takes a non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage over another for the benefit of the individual or any person other than the individual being exploited, whereas that behavior does not constitute another sexual violence offense. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to the following:
      1. Voyeurism
      2. Exposing one’s genitals or forcing another to expose their genitals in a non-consensual circumstance
      3. Invasion of sexual privacy including allowing other individuals to watch or record consensual sex or taking or distributing sexual pictures without the consent of both parties
      4. Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to another
      5. Possession or distribution of alcohol or other drugs for the purposes of engaging in or facilitation of any act of sexual misconduct
      6. Prostitution or trafficking of another
    3. Domestic violence, which occurs when a person knowingly or recklessly causes serious physical harm or uses a threat of force to create the belief that imminent physical harm will occur which is committed by any of the following:
      1. A current or former spouse of intimate partner of the victim
      2. A person with whom the victim shares a child(ren)
      3. A person who is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or partner
      4. By another person against an adult or youth victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Ohio (See Revised Code 2919.25)
    4. Dating violence, which occurs when a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature causes serious physical harm or a threat of serious physical harm to the other person in the relationship. The nature of the relationship will be determined based on several factors, including the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between those in the relationship.
    5. Stalking, which occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed toward a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional harm. A course of conduct means two or more acts in which a person directly, indirectly, or through a third party uses a device or actions to follow, monitor, threaten or communicate to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s safety.

D. Body of Policy

  1. Reporting Allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Harassment to Campus Officials
    1. Any person who has experienced an act of Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Harassment is encouraged to promptly report the incident whether the incident occurred on or off campus to the Title IX Coordinator at 330-325-6736, University Police at 330-325-5911, Campus Security at 330-325-6489, or one of the Campus Security Authorities.
      1. Students, employees, or visitors accusing another party of such acts should report their complaints to the Title IX Coordinator at 330-325-6736.
      2. Any person can report such complaints to a Campus Security Authority who can be contacted in accordance with the Emergency or Crime Reporting Policy.
      3. Reports made to any of the above-named contacts are not confidential, as further defined in Section (D)(3).
      4. In order to encourage people to report acts of Sexual Misconduct, the University provides limited amnesty to students and employees who report acts of Sexual Misconduct when behavior that otherwise would be considered a violation of the Student Conduct Code or terms of employment may be involved  (for example, consuming alcohol underage or consuming illegal drugs).  Consequently, an individual who reports Sexual Misconduct, either as a Reporting Party or a third-party, will not be subject to disciplinary action by University for his/her personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk.
    2. If the Reporting Party is incapacitated for any reason and is unable to report, a report should be made on that person’s behalf.
    3. Any student, employee or visitor to the University who has knowledge that an act of Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Harassment has occurred is obligated to report the matter appropriately. The failure to report such an act may result in disciplinary action being taken against a student or employee.
    4. All Reporting Parties (or those reporting on another person’s behalf) are required to complete a Complaint Form upon meeting with a Campus Official (or have the form completed by the Campus Official.)
    5. All Reporting Parties, upon making a report or completing a Complaint Form, shall be advised of counseling services available on and off campus, the option to notify local law enforcement and the ability to immediately pursue any of the Interim Measures set forth in Section (D)(4)(f).
  2. Options Regarding Law Enforcement and Campus Authorities
    1. All persons who believe they have experienced criminal acts of Sexual Misconduct or any Title IX Offense should report the matter to University Police at 330-325-5911 or to the Portage County Sheriff’s Office at 911 or 330-296-5100 to file a police report.
    2. University personnel will assist the Reporting Party in notifying University Police or the Portage County Sheriff’s Office if the Reporting Party requests this assistance.
    3. The Reporting Party has the right to decline to notify University Police and the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
    4. NEOMED Public Safety personnel or the Portage County Sheriff’s Office may assist a Reporting Party in obtaining a civil or criminal protective order if the Reporting Party believes the Responding Party may be a threat to the Reporting Party’s ongoing safety. A protective order can limit or prohibit contact with the Reporting Party by the Responding Party.
  3. Confidentiality
    1. The University preserves confidentiality of reports made pursuant to this policy to the extent possible and allowed by state and federal law.  The degree to which confidentiality can be maintained and protected, however, depends upon the person to whom the Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Offense is reported.  Confidentiality can only be assured when discussing the matter with those in a legally protected role.
      1. Confidential Reporting. Confidential reports of Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Offenses may be made on campus to the Center for Student Wellness at 330-325-6755.  The Director of Counseling Services is the only confidential source for reporting on campus, meaning that a report to the Director of Counseling Services will not result in a report to law enforcement or other University personnel. Confidential reports of Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Offenses may be made off-campus to Townhall II at (330) 678-3006.  The Office of the Ombuds is not a confidential reporting option for acts of Sexual Misconduct as defined in this policy.
      2. Non-Confidential Reporting.  Campus Officials and other campus University personnel who may receive reports of Sexual Misconduct or Title IX offenses will make reasonable and appropriate efforts to preserve the privacy of both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party to the extent possible and permitted by state and federal law.  Reports may be made off campus to the Portage County Sheriff’s Office.
  4. Minors on Campus
    1. Upon receipt of a report of alleged sexual harassment or sexual misconduct committed by or upon a minor in a University affiliated program or activity, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall:
      1. Take immediate steps to prevent further harm to the alleged victim or other minors including, but not limited to removing the alleged respondent from the program or activity or limiting their contact with minors on campus
      2. Determine whether local law enforcement and/or Children and Family Services have been notified and decide whether such notification is required or appropriate
      3. Notify the parents or guardians of the minor(s) involved
      4. Notify the appropriate departments on campus including, but not limited to General Counsel, Office of the President, & Risk Management
      5. Investigate the report and resolve the complaint in the manner described below for a formal investigation
  5. For individuals who are both students and employees of the university
  6. Investigating Reports of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct
    1. Informal Investigation
      1. Reports of mild, non-criminal Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Offenses may be resolved by way of informal investigation or mediation. Allegations of sexual assault do not qualify for an informal investigation.
      2. Both parties must agree with the use of an informal investigation to address the Complaint. All informal investigations shall be conducted in a manner designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution.
      3. The Reporting Party and the Responding Party are not required to address issues directly with one another.
      4. The Reporting Party has the right to discontinue the informal investigation and initiate a formal investigation at any time.
      5. Both the Responding Party and the Reporting Party will receive a written decision based on the evidence gathered during the informal investigation and have the right to appeal the decision.
    2. Formal Investigation
      1. Reports of serious, potentially criminal Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Offenses will be addressed through a formal investigation
      2. A formal investigation will include the interviewing of the reporting party, responding party, and any witnesses by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator. Only witnesses with actual evidence will be interviewed. No character witnesses will be permitted. A preliminary report will be made available to the reporting party and the responding party when the interviews have concluded. Parties involved have the opportunity to submit corrections to the report or add additional information if new witnesses need to be interviewed. Once the report has been approved by both parties, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will make a determination if the evidence presented supports a finding.
      3. If the report indicates that there is sufficient evidence to support a finding, and the Responding Party is a student, the matter will be addressed with a live hearing conducted by a hearing officer. If the Responding Party is an Employee, the matter will be addressed in the manner set forth in the Guidelines for Investigating and Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment.
      4. Both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party have the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice throughout the investigation and be present at any hearing on the matter. Any hearing on the matter will be conducted by an official trained in adjudicating allegations of Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.
      5. When a live hearing takes place, both the Responding Party and the Reporting Party will receive a written decision based on the evidence gathered during the investigation and live hearing and have the right to appeal the decision.
    3. Evidentiary Standard. The evidentiary standard to determine responsibility in a Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct investigation is a preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning that, based on the evidence available, it is more likely than not that the Responding Party committed the conduct.
    4. Sanctions.  Upon the completion of a formal or informal investigation, if the Responding Party is found to have committed acts of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct, sanctions may be imposed.  Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, suspension from or termination of further employment; suspension or dismissal from further matriculation; adjustments to work, living or learning situations; mandatory referrals for education and training; or other sanctions as necessary and appropriate to address the conduct at issue.
    5. Both the Responding Party and the Reporting Party have the right to appeal the written decision within five (5) business days of the release of the decision.  A written appeal must be submitted in accordance with the process outlined in the written decision and must state one of the following grounds for review:
      1. A procedural irregularity that substantially affected the outcome of the matter to the detriment of one of the parties; or
      2. The presence of new, compelling evidence that was not available at the time of the initial review; evidence that there were facts or criteria that were improperly included in the review or that extraneous facts substantially affected the decision to the detriment of one of the parties; or
      3. The decision was arbitrary or capricious in light of the facts, criteria and procedures employed.
    6. All decisions are final in the sixty (60) days after they are issued, unless they are appealed in accordance with Section (D)(4)(e).  Decisions that are appealed are final upon issuance of the decision regarding the appeal.
    7. Timing.  All investigations will be completed in a prompt and reasonably efficient manner.  Ideally, an investigation will not exceed sixty (60) calendar days from the date the initial report was made, however, the complexity, severity and extent of the alleged conduct may require additional time in certain circumstances.
    8. Interim Measures. Interim measures may be available before the final outcome of an investigation to support and protect the Reporting Party.  Interim measures may include, but are not limited to:
      1. Imposing a “no contact” order, requiring that the Reporting Party and the Responding Party refrain from having any contact with one another;
      2. Providing victim advocacy;
      3. Modifying living or work arrangements;
      4. Modifying class schedule and/or assignments;
      5. Providing counseling or health services;
      6. Providing academic support; and
      7. Considering leave requests.
      8. Interim suspension from school or work
    9. Cooperation.  All University students and employees are expected to cooperate in the investigation process.
  7. Resources and Support
    1. Treatment.  Any person who has experienced an act of Sexual Misconduct is encouraged to go to the nearest emergency room or hospital for evaluation, treatment, and counseling.  St. Thomas Hospital in Akron, Ohio, offers specialized services for victims of Sexual Misconduct.  Though a person who has experienced an act of Sexual Misconduct has the option to notify law enforcement authorities about the offense, filing a police report near in time to the office will:
      1. Ensure the person receives the necessary medical treatment and tests at no expense;
      2. Provide an opportunity for the time-sensitive collection of evidence helpful in the prosecution, such as collecting soiled clothes and advising the person to refrain from bathing or douching, washing his/her face, urinating, drinking liquids, eating, or brushing his/her teeth;
      3. Assure that the person has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention.
    2. NEOMED’s Center for Student Wellness is available 24/7 for crisis support counseling to any person who has experienced an act of Sexual Misconduct.  The Center for Student Wellness can be reached at (330) 325-6755.
    3. All first-year students are required to attend an educational program which promotes the awareness of sexual assault, particularly rape and acquaintance rape. The program addresses who a student should contact on campus and in local law enforcement in the event an act of Sexual Misconduct occurs.  The program will emphasize the importance of reporting such offenses to the police and preserving evidence of the assault for prosecution of the offense.
  8. Retaliation.  The University will not tolerate retaliation in any form against a Reporting Party or any witness or participant in an investigation conducted under this policy.  Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator.  Evidence of retaliation is grounds for disciplinary action.
  9. Reporting Under the Clery Act. Employees designated as Campus Security Authorities under the Clery Act are required to provide information regarding any report of a Title IX Offense to University Police to be included in the University’s Annual Campus Security Report and, if appropriate, for the purposes of issuing a Timely Warning in accordance with the Timely Warning Policy.
  10. Release of Information under Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). FERPA Releases.  FERPA generally prevents the disclosure of confidential information about students, however, where a student has been found responsible for committing an act of Sexual Misconduct, Title IX provides for limited disclosure of that information, including the name of the student found responsible for the act and the sanction imposed upon that student.  The name of the Reporting Party, however, will not be disclosed.
  11. Safety Intervention Team.  The Safety Intervention Team is a multidisciplinary team that meets as needed to address concerns related to campus safety and potential threats to the security of the University’s campus and constituents, with the goal of identifying, assessing, managing, and reducing the risk of interpersonal violence on campus.  The Safety Intervention Team includes the University Title IX Coordinators who will assist the Team in performing its duties based on both specific reports received and general trends observed relative to acts of sexual violence that occur on the NEOMED campus.

CONTACT

Lisa Noland
Administrative Specialist
Phone: 330.325.6354
Email: lnoland@neomed.edu

Office of General Counsel

Northeast Ohio Medical University