Student Sexual Misconduct Policy
Statement of Purpose
Wellesley College is committed to providing an environment of well-being, learning, and accountability for its members by preventing the occurrence of sexual misconduct and addressing its effects. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the College’s mission and the College takes seriously its obligation to prevent and respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, as set forth in Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, the Violence Against Women Act and its Reauthorization, the Campus SaVE Act, the Clery Act, and other related laws. To this end, the Wellesley College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy is grounded in the four community standards derived from the Honor Code, which are described below.
The Office of the Dean of Students has primary responsibility for enforcement of this Policy. The College will administer this Policy in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner.
The Wellesley College Student Sexual Misconduct Policy informs Wellesley College students* of their individual, organizational, and community rights and responsibilities regarding student sexual misconduct; the College's response to student sexual misconduct; and the resources available to Wellesley College students for addressing any sexual misconduct-related concerns.
This Policy applies to all Wellesley College students whether they are on or off campus, and describes how the College will investigate a report that a Wellesley College student is responsible for a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and determine what, if any, safety measures and/or disciplinary sanctions are appropriate.
Claims of sexual misconduct brought against Wellesley College students (by another Wellesley College student or other reporting party) are governed by this Policy. Claims brought against a Wellesley College employee are governed by the Wellesley College Policy Against Sexual Harassment and Other Unlawful Discrimination Harassment, and Retaliation.
As members of this community, Wellesley College students are expected to:
- Comply with governing law and College policies regarding sexual interactions.
- Conduct sexual interactions with honesty, integrity, and respect. Students are expected to obtain consent for any sexual interaction(s) and to communicate effectively with sexual partner(s) so that they are able to clearly understand their partner(s)’ wishes and concerns during a sexual encounter. Sexual misconduct committed by a Wellesley College student will not be tolerated and will be considered an Honor Code violation.
- Be educated, empowered, and engaged in preventing sexual misconduct and responding to its effects. Students are expected to learn about sexual misconduct on college campuses, acquire skills to prevent sexual misconduct as active bystanders when possible, and respond effectively to disclosures of sexual misconduct.
- Report sexual misconduct and use support services, and encourage one another to do so. Students who experience or are aware of an instance of sexual misconduct are encouraged to access College and/or community support services and to report it to the College. Reporting allows the College to respond appropriately and offer support and assistance to any affected student(s).
In order to encourage students to report incidents of sexual misconduct, the College has developed the following policies:
When responding to a report of sexual misconduct, the College will generally waive an Alcohol and Other Drug Policy violation for a student seeking assistance, or assisting another person in obtaining support, or serving as a witness during an investigation regarding an instance of sexual misconduct. A student for whom an Alcohol or Other Drug Policy violation is waived by the Responsible Action Clause may be referred for a meeting with the Assistant Director of Health Education. The College may also waive violations for other College policies or rules, unless in the College’s discretion, it is determined that the behavior placed the health and safety of any person at risk, or if it created a continuing danger to the College community.
The College values the privacy of individuals involved in the reporting, investigation, and/or resolution of matters subject to this Policy. The U.S. Department of Education has provided guidance indicating that there are situations in which it may be necessary for the College to override a request for privacy or confidentiality, for example, when the individuals involved present a threat to the broader campus community.
The College will not tolerate retaliation in any form against any persons for their participation or involvement in the reporting, investigation, and/or resolution of matters subject to this Policy. Retaliation means any adverse action or threat taken or made against an individual for making a report of Prohibited Conduct, participating in any investigation or proceeding related to this Policy, or seeking protections under this Policy. This provision applies to reports made or information provided, even if the facts alleged in the report are determined not to be accurate. Such retaliatory conduct is a violation of this Policy. The College will take appropriate steps to prevent and/or address retaliatory conduct immediately.