Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX

The Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits all forms of dating violence, discrimination, intimate partner violence, retaliation, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment (including quid pro quo harassment, hostile environment harassment, and retaliatory harassment), sexual violence, and stalking against Lawrence University community members of any gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation. This policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Expectations of Conduct

While sexuality and sexual interest are normal parts of adult life, students, faculty, and staff have a right to live, learn, and work in an environment free from hostility based on gender or sexuality.  Unwelcome sexual talk, attention, or advances that are repeated or persistent undermine the sense of community and purpose that is at the heart of liberal education.  The sharing of private messages, images, or videos without permission is an affront to our values and respect for one another.  A single incident of sexual violence—sexual aggression that asserts power, control, or dominance over another—may be sufficient to create a hostile environment. Individuals who witness or experience sexual misconduct can file a report or complaint.  

Understanding Consent

  • Appropriate sexual behavior is consensual, respectful, non-exploitative, and safe.  
  • Consent may be given by word or action, but it must be clear, freely given, and evident throughout a sexual encounter.  
  • Consent can be revoked at any time.  
  • Silence, passivity, or inactivity is not consent.  
  • Consent to mutual touching does not constitute consent to sexual penetration.  
  • Consent to sexual activity on one occasion does not constitute consent to sexual activity on another occasion, nor does a dating relationship or history of sexual relations provide assumed consent.  
  • In Wisconsin, no one under the age of 18 can legally consent to sexual activity.
  • Pressuring or coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy, as does the threat of violence or the use of force.  
  • A person under the influence of alcohol or drugs or otherwise mentally impaired is deemed unable to consent if that person is too incapacitated to understand the situation and to act freely and knowingly.  
  • A person who is sleeping or has fallen asleep is unable to consent.  
  • Anything other than clear, knowing, and voluntary consent is considered equivalent to a “no” under this policy.

Title IX

Title IX covers sexual discrimination in a variety of forms, including sexual harassment in any area of college life, which encompasses but is not limited to sports as well as discrimination and different treatment based on sex.

Misconduct Covered by Title IX

Title IX violations include but are not limited to the following:

  • Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it creates a hostile environment.  The conduct can include unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational program or activities and/or to carry out the duties of employment. Examples of sexual harassment range from pervasive sex talk and repeated unwanted sexual attention to stalking, bullying, and intimate partner violence.  The more egregious the conduct, the fewer instances are needed to create a hostile environment.  Activities that do not constitute sexual harassment include assignment of materials or discussion of topics that are legitimately related to the subject of a course, tutorial, or other academic experience governed by the principles of academic freedom.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching by one person upon another person, however slight and whether with a body part or object, without consent and/or by use of force or coercion.  Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals of another person; touching a person or making someone touch you with or on any of these body parts; and other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner (such as rubbing against the body of another person).
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse (oral, anal, or vaginal), however slight, without consent and/or by use of force or coercion.  Intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object; anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger, or object; and oral copulation (mouth-genital contact), no matter how slight.
  • Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another.  Examples of sexual exploitation include voyeurism or letting someone secretly view sexual activity, nonconsensual photography or video- or audio-recording of sexual activity, showing or sharing sexual images or videos without permission, knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection to another person, and prostituting another person.  Acts of sexual exploitation may also constitute sexual harassment as defined above.

Title IX Policy Violations

Lawrence University takes all violations of Title IX seriously and therefore encourages any
member of the community who has experienced sexual misconduct to report the incident
to the Title IX Coordinator. TheTitle IX Coordinator will respond to all reports and complaints of sexual misconduct.

A report is filled out by anyone including a responsible employee (instructor, coach, residence hall director or RLA, administrator, staff supervisor, or campus safety officer) who learns of sexual misconduct.  Responsible employees are required to report all relevant details available to them including the names of both parties involved, any witnesses, the date, time, and specific location of the alleged event to the Title IX Coordinator in an effort to improve campus safety.

A report notifies the Title IX Coordinator of behavior that might indicate sexual misconduct.  Reports are kept in a secure location and used to offer help and to improve campus safety.  They are not formally investigated unless they indicate a pattern, predator, threats, violence, or weapons.

A complaint is filled out by a person who has experienced alleged sexual misconduct and wants the university to take action (to mediate or investigate with possible sanctions). A SHARE advocate can help the person fill out the complaint.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct/Title IX Policy Violation

Anyone may report sexual misconduct or a Title IX policy violation to the university by:

  • Contacting the Title IX Coordinator: Emily Bowles (phone: 920-832-7496; office: Room 101 Brokaw Hall), email: titleix@lawrence.edu.
  • Completing a Report or Complaint Form
  • Contacting Campus Safety: 920-832-6999 (x6999).
  • Making a report to other college employees (e.g., Responsible Employees or Campus Securities Authority designees: staff, faculty, Residence Life, campus security, or a student).
  • Discussing concerns confidentially with a Counselor, Confidential Resource, or sexual assault crisis center, to receive support and guidance.

  • Reporting a crime to law enforcement, which may lead to criminal charges and prosecution.

Responsible Employees

All University employees (with the exception of Confidential Resources) who become aware of incidents or allegations of sexual misconduct are Responsible Employees.  University employees include Resident Life Advisors (RLAs). Responsible Employees must report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator. All Lawrence University employees are encouraged to completed yearly Title IX training as well as Bystander Intervention training.

Confidential Resources

The person who reports that she/he/they have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, or related retaliation (referred to as the complainant) may choose to speak to one of the University’s Confidential Resources, Counselors in the Wellness Center or the Campus Advocate, or the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/share/about-share

The Title IX Coordinator is NOT a Confidential Resource.

Complaint Process

Any Lawrence University community member who believes that she/he/they have been subjected to discrimination prohibited by Title IX, or to whom the University has failed to meet its Title IX obligations may bring the concern to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator.

The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to initiate an investigation based on allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX, even absent the filing of a formal complaint or after its subsequent withdrawal. In such a circumstance, the Title IX Coordinator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the matter in a manner that is informed by the complainant’s concerns.

In addition, on some occasions, the University may need to move forward with a response regardless of the complainant’s preference. A request for confidentiality or no action will be considered in the dual contexts of:

  1. The University’s commitment to providing a safe living and learning environment free from sexual misconduct; and
  2. The right of the person charged with committing an act or acts of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation—referred to as the respondent—to be informed of any/all allegations against her/him/them in writing.

If a complaint is made, or a report is escalated to the level of a complaint and therefore requires investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant and the respondent by email.  University email will serve as the official mode of contact between the Title IX Coordinator and the complainant and respondent.  

The Title IX Coordinator will then provide a summary of information and any supporting documents to the Title IX investigator. Lawrence University has an external investigator who completes all formal investigations.  The external investigator is an independent expert contracted by the university to investigate all complaints of sexual assault and any complaints of sexual harassment or exploitation referred by the Title IX coordinator or university authorities.

Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although the University will comply with requests for confidentiality to the extent possible.

The Title IX Coordinator will consider various factors, including the following, in deciding the extent to which disclosure of information may be necessary:

  • The seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct;
  • The complainant’s age;
  • The respondent’s age;
  • Whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct against the same respondent;
  • The ability to conduct an investigation without revealing identifiable information; and
  • The extent of any threat to the University community.

The Title IX Coordinator will strive to coordinate her/his/their activities with other University offices charged with responsibilities for student, faculty, and staff conduct and discipline, and for enforcing the University’s policies and procedures.

Both the complainant and respondent may have a support person available during any part of the process; however, that support person may not speak on behalf of the affected individual and does not have standing within the administrative process.

Preponderance of the Evidence Standard

The Lawrence University Title IX Coordinator and those authorized to address issues and violations under Title IX (e.g., the Title IX Formal Sanction Counsel and Appeals Board), shall review allegations of discrimination and misconduct prohibited by Title IX by applying a “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard, which means more likely to be true than not.

Informal Resolution

In many instances, counseling, advice, or informal discussion may be useful in resolving concerns about allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.  A complainant wishing to informally resolve an issue shall bring the concerns to the Title IX Coordinator for informal and/or mediated resolution.

If an informal resolution is pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will attempt to facilitate a resolution that is agreeable to the complainant and the respondent.  Any informal resolution must adequately address the concerns of the complainant as well as the rights of the respondent, and the overall intent of the University to stop, remedy, and prevent policy violations.

Participation in informal resolution is voluntary, and the complainant and respondent have the option to discontinue the informal process at any time and request a formal investigation. The Title IX Coordinator also always has the discretion to initiate a formal investigation. If at any point during the informal resolution process, the complainant or respondent, or the University, wishes to cease the informal resolution process and to proceed to the formal resolution process, the informal resolution process will stop and the formal resolution process outlined below will be invoked.

In cases involving sexual assault, informal resolutions are not appropriate and are never permissible.

Response to a Formal Complaint

Lawrence is obligated to follow up on, and resolve all reports of sexual misconduct in a timely, fair, and impartial manner. The resolution process will proceed regardless of whether either party chooses to withdraw from the University, or goes on leave after a report has been made to the University.

Furthermore, silence, in response to an allegation, will not be viewed as an admission of the allegations in dispute. At any time, a party may decline to provide information or participate further in the process. When this occurs, the University will review the matter based on all of the other information gathered.

Notice of Allegations

When the Title IX Coordinator receives a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, The Coordinator will meet with the respondent to provide notice of the complaint and the alleged policy violation being investigated.

Accommodations

Accommodations are actions taken by the University to ensure equal access to its educational programs and activities, and to foster a safer, more stable environment during the process of reporting, investigation (interim accommodations), and/or after adjudication. These measures may be extended or made permanent as remedies, at the conclusion of the investigation.

Sample accommodations include, but are not limited to:

  • Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up initial appointments, both on and off campus.
  • Imposition of a campus “No-Contact Order.”
  • Rescheduling of exams and assignments.
  • Providing alternative course completion options.
  • Change in class schedule, including the ability to drop a course without penalty or to transfer sections.
  • Change in work schedule or job assignment.
  • Change in student’s campus housing.
  • Assistance from University support staff in completing housing relocation.
  • Limiting access to certain University facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter.
  • Voluntary leave of absence.
  • Options for changing campus transportation arrangements.

The Lawrence University Title IX Council: Roles, Procedure, and Responsibilities

The role of the University Title IX Council is to review the information presented in the investigation report and determine if an individual or individuals have violated the University policy. If the answer is yes, the Council is also responsible for determining appropriate sanctions.

Members of the Title IX Council may be human resources professionals, designated faculty, and/or other responsible employees.

Four members of the Title IX Council will be selected to serve on the hearing panel. One of the four will serve as the non-voting Chair of the hearing panel.  The Chair is responsible for the administration of the hearing process, including ensuring the integrity of the procedure.

Hearing Process

The Hearing Panel will consist of members drawn from the Title IX Council.  The Title IX Council is made up of faculty and staff members of the Lawrence University Community including the Director of Human Resources or designee, the Dean of the Conservatory or designee, the Director of Athletics or designee, and Faculty members nominated by the Faculty Governance Committee.

Prior to convening the Hearing Panel, the Title IX Coordinator will provide a list of potential Title IX Council members to serve on the Hearing Panel to the complainant and respondent.  The complainant and respondent will then have 48 hours to submit a written objection to any of the prospective panelists, due to a potential conflict of interest or concerns related to a lack of objectivity. After the panel is selected, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the names of the parties to the Chair, to ensure that similar conflicts or concerns do not exist. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate any written objections by all parties and panel members, and then, determine which members of the Council will serve on the panel. The Title IX Coordinator will submit the finalized panel list to the Hearing Panel Chair.

The complainant and respondent will not be present in the hearing room. The presumption is that the Investigator has provided all necessary information for the Hearing Panel, to render its decision, and determine sanctions. However, if any additional relevant information is gathered after the investigative report is finalized, the information will be shared with both parties, and each will have an opportunity to respond within three (3) business days of the date the information is received. During deliberations, the Title IX Council may choose to convene with the investigator after having an opportunity to read the investigator’s report if there are significant questions regarding the investigator’s report.

The panel may also request to hear from one or more of the witnesses. The Chair has the discretion to approve or deny the request to summon witnesses.  The complainant and respondent shall be granted the opportunity, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and the Panel Chair, to appear before the Hearing Panel, if either the complainant or respondent wishes to make an oral statement related to the facts.  This is not an opportunity to restate the information already provided to the investigator. Further, the complainant and respondent will not be in the hearing room together, unless both agree to do so in writing.  If necessary, the Hearing Panel may ask direct and follow up questions.

Sanction and Decision

The Hearing Panel will convene to deliberate and render a decision by a majority vote regarding whether or not the respondent had violated the Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy, by the preponderance of the evidence. No member may abstain.

If the Hearing Panel determines that a violation has occurred, the panel shall consider one or more sanctions. Sample sanctions include, but are not limited to:

  • Dismissal from the University
  • Suspension for one or more terms, with or without conditions for return
  • Disciplinary Probation
  • No Contact or Limited Contact Agreement
  • No Contact or Order
  • Chemical Health Assessment
  • Restricted Campus Access
  • Restricted Course Enrollment
  • Change of Housing
  • Warning
  • Required education or training

Sanctions may be combined. A majority vote of the Hearing Panel is required for all sanctions.

Both parties will be notified in writing of the Hearing Panel’s findings within 5 days of the meeting.  Either party may choose to make an appeal if the request for appeal meets specific guidelines.

Appeals

Both the respondent and complainant may appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel. However, the following threshold must be met to qualify for appeal:

  1. The request must be timely.
  2. The appeal is on the basis of any of the following three articulated grounds:
    1. A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the informal or formal resolution (e.g., substantial bias, material deviation from established procedure, etc.); and/or
    2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing, informal or formal resolution, or investigation, that could substantially impact the finding or sanction; and/or
    3. The sanctions fall outside the range typically imposed for this offense, or for the cumulative conduct record of the respondent.
  3. When viewed in the light most favorable to the appealing party, the appeal states grounds that could result in an adjusted finding or sanction.
The Appeals Board

The Title IX Coordinator will issue a written acknowledgment of the Appeal to the complainant and respondent by email within 48 hours of the appeal. The Title IX Coordinator will then notify the Appeals Board Chair. The Chair will convene the Appeals Board, and they will have five (5) business days to review the appeal and submit a written response.

The Appeals Board will consist of three (3) members of the Title IX Council, including the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. The Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion will serve as the Chair of the Appeals Board.  No member of the Appeals Board may be the same as the members of the Hearing Panel who heard the original complaint. The decision on the appeal must be unanimous among all members. No member of the Appeals Board may abstain.

The Appeals Board will render a decision applying the following principles:

  1. Decisions by the Appeals Board are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error, and to the sanction/remedial action only if there is a compelling justification for review.
  2. Appeals are not intended to be a full rehearing of the complaint. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the formal or informal resolution, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. Appeals granted based on new evidence will be remanded to the original Hearing Panel or to the Title IX Coordinator for reconsideration.
  3. Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Hearing Panel or Title IX Coordinator (or designee) stays the implementation, pending the outcome of the appeal.
  4. The Title IX Coordinator will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from accepting the request for appeal.
  5. All parties will be informed of whether the grounds for appeal are accepted and the results of the appeal decision.
  6. After an appeal is decided, the outcome is final.  Further appeal is impermissible.

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