Sexual Harassment/Sexual Assault Policy
Wheeling Jesuit University is committed to a community that respects the dignity and worth of the individual and strives for the preservation and protection of fundamental human rights. Sexual harassment or sexual assault of students or employees in any form will not be tolerated either on campus or at an off-campus university-sponsored event. The University's process for responding to such allegations can be found in this handbook following this statement. Any form of sexual contact without free and full consent of both parties is completely contrary to the values of the University and is in violation of the University's behavioral expectations.
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment depends on how another person's actions affect you. For example, if someone's actions are unwelcome or offensive to you, cause you emotional or physical discomfort, or affect your job performance, you have experienced harassment. It is important to remember that sexual harassment does not depend on the harasser's intent.
Sexual Harassment may include but is not limited to:
- Sexual remarks
- Patting, pinching, repeated brushing against the body
- Verbal, visual, or physical harassment based on one's sexual orientation
- Subtle pressure for sexual activity
- Solicitation or coercion of sexual activity
- Behavior with an implied or overt promise of reward or preferential treatment, or an implied or overt threat of punishment
- Verbal, physical, or visual expression of a sexual nature which would create a hostile or offensive working, learning or living environment
- Whistling, leering, physically trapping, or cornering
- Derogatory or demeaning comments about a particular group based on sexual orientation
- Repeated pressure for dates after one has said NO!
- Pressure for sexual activity in return for improving grade, passing a course, getting hired, or getting a raise
PROCESS FOR RESPONDING TO SEXUAL HARRASSMENT
To provide assistance to individuals in resolving complaints of discrimination or harassment, each year the University identifies neutral "third parties" who are appointed by the President and serve the University in this capacity until their individual successors are appointed. The names of the current neutral third parties are available at the following locations: Counseling Center, President's Office, the Academic Dean's Office, the Student Development Office, or the Office of Safety & Security
Any individual who feels subjected to discrimination or harassment related to race, color, creed, religion, gender, ethnicity, national origin, age, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, or Vietnam Era or disabled veteran status may pursue the matter by following one of the procedures listed below.
Contact a Neutral Third Party member for assistance. They can help complete a Harassment Reporting Form.
With the Neutral Third Party’s help, a student may choose one of the following actions:
- Write a letter to the offending party stating the behavior, indicating it is inappropriate, and asking that it be stopped; or
- With one of the “third parties,” confront the accused, describe the behavior, state that it is inappropriate, and ask that it be stopped.
- Be aware that once the offending party receives your communication, he or she can request the assistance of one of the Neutral Third Parties in resolving the situation.
The Neutral Third Party may, in its discretion, refer complaints to a University Investigation Official designated by the Executive Committee.
When the Investigation Official receives a complaint, the official shall, within five working days notify the party filing the complaint and the party accused of harassment that a complaint has been received and will be investigated.
The accused party will be required to respond to the complaint in a timely manner as specified by the Investigation Official.
The Investigation Official will determine whether a detailed fact-finding investigation and witness interviews are necessary.
Immediate corrective measures may be implemented while the investigation is being completed to ensure that further harassment does not occur during the investigation.
Once the investigation is completed, the Investigation Official, along with the appropriate university department official, will make a determination as to whether any harassment or other discriminatory practices occurred. Student to student harassment will be referred to the Dean for Student Development.
If it is determined that harassment or discriminatory practices occurred, corrective action will be taken by the University, which may include disciplinary action, as well as training, counseling, apology by the respondent, etc.
The complete University anti-harassment policy may be obtained from the Dean for Student Development, the Neutral Third Party Committee, or the Director of Human Resources.
WHAT IS SEXUAL ASSAULT?
Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to: Non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse with another person; sexual contact or intercourse with another person by use or threat, force, or intimidation; or sexual contact or intercourse with another person who possesses a weapon. More specifically, sexual assault includes rape, acquaintance rape, attempted rape, fondling or touching a person's genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks without the person's consent.
Non-consensual contact shall include, but is not limited to: situations where an individual is unable to consent because she/he is mentally incompetent; is physically or mentally helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption; is asleep; is unconscious for any reason; or is under 17 years of age.
The following clarifications may be of assistance in defining a given situation:
- Sexual contact includes any intentional touching of another person's private areas either directly or through clothing using any body part or other object without the consent of that person.
- Saying "No" means "No, not Yes."
- Failure to resist does not mean consent has been given.
- Consent means words or overt actions by a person competent to give consent.
- Acquaintance assault or "date rape" is a form of sexual assault.
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol does not diminish or relieve personal responsibility of an assaulter. A person who is under the influence of drugs/alcohol is unable to give consent. Any misuse of such an individual is abuse.
- Non-consensual recording of sexual activity is a form of sexual assault.
Any individual who feels subjected to discrimination or harassment related to race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, or physical or mental handicap may pursue the matter through established information and formal procedures.
PROCESS FOR RESPONDING TO SEXUAL ASSAULT
Any student with a complaint regarding sexual assault should contact the Division of Student Development. Official complaints can be reported to the Office of Residence Life & Student Conduct, Safety & Security, or the Dean for Student Development. Students can seek confidential assistance and support by contacting the Counseling Center or the Student Health Center. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Dean for Student Development or his/her designee will follow through with University procedures to assist the student and pursue the matter for the safety of the victim and the University community. The student may choose either to file charges within the University or to exercise legal rights outside of the Campus, or both. For any individual with a complaint, the University strongly recommends that the person immediately seek medical attention and counseling with University resources. Consultation with the University allows the University to offer appropriate medical, psychological, and procedural help to the student. The choice to press criminal charges or civil remedies remains with that student.
- Sexual assaults can occur in many different circumstances and locations on university campuses. Therefore, it is important for members of the University community to know how to respond when they become aware of a sexual assault.
- If a sexual assault occurs in a residence hall or campus apartment, the Resident Assistant will probably be the first person notified. The primary concern should be the welfare of the victim. The Resident Assistant should use strong persuasion to encourage the victim to obtain immediate medical treatment (both to provide for the victim's health and well-being and to document). Every effort should be made to encourage victims to report sexual assault. In compliance with the Clery Act, any Resident Assistant or other residence life staff member who becomes aware of a sexual assault should report the incident through proper channels to the Division of Student Development.
- The Safety & Security Officer should arrange for transportation to the hospital and should contact the Sexual Assault Help Center (234-8519) and ask for a trained advocate to meet the victim at the hospital. Medical attention should be obtained as soon as possible (after 72 hours all physical evidence will be gone). The SAHC advocate and hospital personnel can answer questions regarding possible pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Even if a period of time has elapsed, a victim should be examined by a physician at the Student Health Center or by his or her own Physician.
- The victim should be given information about preserving evidence, such as the importance of not bathing, washing or brushing teeth until after a medical exam. Evidence of the assault, such as bedding, towels, clothing, anything touched should be collected, -wet articles should be placed in a paper (not plastic) bag to preserve evidence. Clothing or bedding should be carefully folded, not shaken.
- If a sexual assault occurs off-campus or in a location other than the residence halls, any member of the University community who becomes aware of the assault should follow these procedures or notify the Division of Student Development.
- Other personnel who are notified will respond in the following ways:
- Safety & Security will attempt to obtain information regarding the incident and will comply with the Clery Act.
- Dean for Student Development or designee - will begin immediate investigation of the incident if he determines that the University should respond. If an immediate removal of the alleged assailant from the campus is in the best interest of the victim, the assailant, or the University community, the alleged assailant may be removed from campus pending an investigation.
The Dean for Student Development or designee will inform the alleged assailant that the case will remain open should the victim decide to initiate Student Conduct action. The Dean or designee will also recommend counseling for all parties involved in the incident and he will forward reports of any incidents of sexual assault to a counselor.
- A University Counselor will meet with the victim as soon as possible to discuss the various options available and other decisions the victim may need to take.
- The counselor will provide support, information on resources available to the victim both on and off campus, and counseling through the stages of rape trauma syndrome.
- If the victim makes a decision to pursue University Student Conduct action, the counselor will refer the victim to the Dean for Student Development.
- The Director of Residence Life & Student Conduct if requested by the victim, will make arrangements to modify housing immediately if the victim and the alleged assailant live in the same residence hall or if such action will facilitate the recovery of the victim.
- All personnel working with victims of sexual assault should be sensitive to the following concerns:
- To a person who has been sexually assaulted, a medical rape exam may seem like a second rape. However, if the victim decides to file charges against the assailant at a later time, physical evidence is necessary. Encourage the victim to have a medical examination, and emphasize concern for the person's health. Suggest to the victim that someone such as a trained SAHC advocate is with her for support at the hospital.
- Many victims are reluctant to report sexual assault and to file charges against the assailant. The victim should view these questions separately. All victims should be encouraged to report sexual assault. If sexual assaults are reported, the University is aware of the magnitude of the problem and can respond with additional resources, programs, and security. The victim can also receive needed support and help in understanding his/her own feelings. Filing an incident report does not mean that further action must be taken by a victim.
- The question of filing legal charges or pursuing Student Conduct action is a much more difficult decision to make. Some individuals may be more emotionally able to handle the stress of a trial or hearing than others. Those who feel emotionally able to prosecute will be encouraged to do so. However, when a victim decides not to file charges his/her wishes should be respected and not criticized.
- While most victims of sexual assault are women, men can also be victims. Usually the assailant is another man. Male victims experience symptoms of psychological trauma similar to those experienced by women. Support services provided for female victims have been shown to be equally helpful for male victims.
- University Response
- Student Conduct Proceedings
- If the victim decides to pursue Student Conduct actions, procedures listed in the Student Handbook for Level B violations will be followed. Sanctions appropriate for a Level B violation will apply.
- If the victim chooses not to pursue Student Conduct actions, the University will document its conclusion of the investigation, and ask the victim to sign a statement acknowledging that he/she concurs with the university’s conclusion and that no further action will be taken. Furthermore, this statement will indicate the victim’s understanding that his/her choice not to pursue Student Conduct actions may prevent the university from pursuing the complaint to resolution.
- If the victim chooses to file charges off-campus through the court and legal system, the University will cooperate with law enforcement personnel. The University will not protect a student who has allegedly violated a West Virginia law.
- The victim may choose to pursue the case both within the institution and through the courts. The University proceedings are separate and different from the legal proceedings.
- In all cases, the University may still conduct an investigation and follow-up in these ways:
- Evidence may be gathered from third party witnesses and a hearing may be held without testimony of the victim.
- The University can pursue other conduct violations that may have occurred during the incident that led to the allegation of sexual assault.
- The University may require the alleged assailant to attend counseling to explore attitudes about men, women, and sexuality; can require that the assailant participate in other types of educational or awareness raising experiences.
- The case will remain open for a reasonable period of time should the victim later decide to pursue Student Conduct action.
- In addition to the initial crisis response, the University will follow-up on the incident in these ways:
- Provide on-going counseling for the victim or provide referral to off-campus services if the victim so desires.
- Follow-up with the alleged assailant by:
- Keeping the assailant informed of the status of the case and the Student Conduct process.
- Requiring the alleged assailant's participation in counseling or other program of an educational and developmental nature to explore attitudes and deal with the issues involved.
- Make adjustments to living arrangements and/or academic schedules of the students involved if such action will help to resolve issues.
- Offer follow-up with friends of the victim and the assailant, or with others involved or concerned, as much as possible without breaching confidentiality.
- The Dean for Student Development or their designee will follow-up in a timely fashion with information to the University community of incidents that are considered to be a threat to other students and/or employees. Safety considerations will be balanced with the privacy interests of victims and others involved in such incidents.
- The University will comply with the Clery Act by providing statistics on the occurrence of sexual assault on campus. Incident reports of sexual assaults will be used to provide these statistics. The Director of Safety & Security will report all such statistics on the Uniform Crime Report to the West Virginia State Police. Students are encouraged to report sexual assault violations to Safety & Security and may report the incident anonymously. Members of the community (other then the victim) are also encouraged to report the offense to Safety & Security anonymously as well.
The University provides regular educational programs that promote student awareness of sexual assault issues. Programs are offered during first year student orientation, as well as through the University's Wellness program. These programs are announced to the University community through the Wellness calendar.
The University will also comply with all applicable federal laws and acts in attempting to prevent, report, and investigate sex offenses that occur on campus.