Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

Introduction:

Wellesley College is committed to providing an environment that is free of sexual violence, sexual harassment, and other forms of sexual misconduct, in particular one that is free of student-to-student sexual violence, harassment, and misconduct. Sexual violence, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination that are prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 and other laws.  This Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy addresses all types of student-to-student sexual misconduct.

In addition, students may refer to the College’s Notice of Non-discrimination, which sets forth its prohibitions of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. 

Policy:

Any Wellesley College student to Wellesley College student sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and will be considered an Honor Code violation.  Any retaliation, intimidation, or harassment by a student against any person who has reported an incident of sexual misconduct, who has filed an Honor Code charge about sexual misconduct, who is charged with an incident of sexual misconduct, or who has cooperated in the Honor Code process or other process that addresses a report of sexual misconduct will not be tolerated and will also be considered a Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy violation of the Honor Code.  The Honor Code process for Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct may be found here.

The College will investigate reports of violations of the Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy in an impartial, prompt, and equitable manner.  Investigation for student-to-student sexual misconduct may occur through the Honor Code Council Procedures (in cases where a student files a charge for a violation of the Wellesley College Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy) or through administrative procedures.  Investigation through administrative procedures may occur where no charge about the alleged incident is heard by the Honor Code Council. Depending upon the facts and circumstances, the College, in its discretion and judgment, may determine that the allegations of student-to-student sexual misconduct will be addressed and resolved outside of the Honor Code procedures, and as determined through the Office of the Dean of Students or other College officials.  In some instances, reports of student-to-student sexual misconduct may result in the College needing to implement interim steps (for example, removal from campus or interim suspension) to address the health, safety, and/or interests of the students or members of the college community.  If the College has addressed the alleged incident of student-to-student sexual misconduct through a process other than the Honor Code, normally, the case will not subsequently be heard through the Honor Code procedures.

A student who engages in conduct in violation of this Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion.

People are considered Wellesley College students for the purpose of this Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy if they are: (1) Wellesley College degree seeking or enrolled students, (2) visiting students who are taking a class(es) or conducting research at Wellesley College, or (3) Wellesley College non-degree seeking students, who are enrolled in a class or conducting research on-campus (and who are non-employees of the College).

When an enrolled Wellesley College student is engaged in academic pursuits and participating as a member of another campus community, the student will still be accountable to Wellesley College policies.  The policies and procedures of the student’s host institution may also apply.

Sexual Misconduct Definition:

Sexual misconduct covers a range of behaviors that are prohibited by federal laws (including Title IX) and state laws and not tolerated within the Wellesley College community.  The definitions provided below are College, not legal, definitions.  For the purposes of its commitment to provide an environment that is free of sexual misconduct, Wellesley College definitions are not limited by, and therefore may be broader than, the legal definitions.

 

Wellesley College’s Student-to-Student Sexual Misconduct Policy defines an act of sexual misconduct as:

an incident in which a student commits any sexual act on another student or attempts to obtain a sexual act from another student, or in which a student makes unwanted sexual comments to another student, using coercion (without the voluntary consent of the student).

Coercion includes psychological intimidation, the threat of physical harm, or situations in which a student is unable to give consent because the student is incapacitated due to the influence of alcohol or drugs, unconscious, or asleep. Coercion can include the utilization of a position of authority or social power and may include physical violence with or without weapons.  Consent given in face of threat or force is coerced, and therefore not voluntary.  Consent cannot be given by a student who is a minor, not mentally competent, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to consent as defined by state or federal law.   

Sexual misconduct includes acts of sexual violence, such as rape, sexual penetration, and sexual assault, and other types of unacceptable conduct, such as non-contact sexual abuse and sexual harassment.  Rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment and non-contact sexual abuse are defined below.

  • Rape: oral intercourse, anal intercourse, sexual penetration, digital (finger/thumb) penetration, or object penetration that is physically forced, includes threat of bodily injury, or occurs without consent. On most college campuses, acquaintance rape (the students know each other) is a more common form of sexual violence than is stranger rape (the student does not know the accused).  In some instances, the students have engaged in consensual sexual activity prior to the assault. The fact that there was consensual sexual activity between these two students on a prior occasion does not mean that there is automatically consent subsequently.

  • Sexual Assault: includes rape, as well as any touching or fondling of a sexual nature that is accompanied by physical force or threat of bodily injury, or occurs without consent.

  • Sexual Harassment:  unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and which creates an intimidating or hostile educational environment and/or denies or limits the student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the College’s program or activities.  See the Wellesley College Policy Against Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Discrimination for a more comprehensive description of sexual harassment.

  • Non-Contact Sexual Abuse:  sexual abuse, including but not limited to voyeurism, intentional exposure of an individual to unwanted exhibitionism; unwanted exposure to pornography, verbal or behavioral sexual harassment, threats of sexual violence to accomplish some other end, or taking photographs of a sexual nature of another student or recordings (audio or visual) without the student’s consent or knowledge or of a student who is unable to consent or refuse. 

Additional Information:

A student survivor of student-to-student sexual misconduct has a number of campus resources available. The Wellesley College Resources for Student Survivors of Sexual Misconduct contains information about medical, psychological, pastoral, safety, and administrative resources available to a Wellesley College student survivor of sexual misconduct.  The Wellesley College Resources for Student Survivors of Sexual Misconduct provides the following information:

  • Immediate steps to take following an act of sexual misconduct;
  • Next steps: accommodations, reporting, pursuing institutional response;
  • Support for peers and community members, and additional resources;
  • Related information: educational programs, educational programs, related college policies and complaint procedures, Clery Act, legal definitions.

If a student has any questions regarding any issues of sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, sex discrimination, any other types of unlawful discrimination, harassment or retaliation, or this policy, she may consult the Dean of Students, Debra DeMeis (ddemeis@wellesley.edu, x2322, 344 Green Hall), or the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Kathryn Stewart, Deputy Director of Human Resources (kstewart@wellesley.edu, x2214, 136 Green Hall).

In addition, students may contact the Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor, Boston, MA  02109-3921, phone 617.289.0111) regarding their right to be free from unlawful sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, and other types of unlawful discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Students also have the right to pursue a criminal complaint for acts of sexual misconduct with the Town of Wellesley Police Department (or other police authorities).  Police and emergency authorities can be reached by dialing “911.”  The Town of Wellesley Police Department (phone is 781.235.1212) is located at 485 Washington Street, Wellesley, MA.  In addition, the Wellesley College Campus Police Department is located next to the Davis Parking Facility across from the Lulu Chow Wang Campus Center, and can be reached for emergencies at x5555 or non-emergencies at x2121. The College’s Campus Police Department can also assist individuals in contacting the local police. 

The most up-to-date information regarding this policy is available here.

Related

Contact Us

Office of the Dean of Students
Green Hall 344
Wellesley College
106 Central Street
Wellesley, MA 02481

Linda Hilts
Executive Assistant
lhilts@wellesley.edu
Tel: 781.283.2322