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UNIFIED PROCESS FOR SEXUAL ASSAULT

     Effective June 19, 2014 (the start of summer term), the College is adopting the enclosed Unified Disciplinary Procedures for Sexual Assault by Students and Student Organizations. The new procedures will apply to conduct occurring on or after June 19, 2014. Complaints concerning misconduct that is alleged to have occurred before that date will continue to be subject to the generally applicable student disciplinary procedures. For example, a complaint by an undergraduate student that a sexual assault occurred prior to June 19, 2014 would be processed under the existing Standards of Conduct and Committee on Standards procedure. 

     As noted in the Unified Disciplinary Procedures, this policy applies to the investigation and resolution of complaints of: sexual assault; aiding, abetting, or inciting sexual assault; and retaliation for reporting or participating in an investigation of sexual assault. Sexual and gender-based harassment not involving physical assault -- as well as domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking[1] -- will be addressed in the generally applicable standards of conduct and disciplinary procedures for undergraduate students and graduate and professional students. For example, a complaint that a Geisel School of Medicine student engaged in sexual harassment not involving sexual assault would be addressed under the Geisel School's student disciplinary procedure. The same would be true for complaints against students alleging domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

     The continued use of generally applicable disciplinary procedures to investigate and resolve complaints of sexual misconduct not involving sexual assault is in no way intended to minimize the impact of such conduct or the seriousness with which Dartmouth regards and deals with it. On the contrary, sexual and gender-based harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by both federal law and Dartmouth policy, and the College will take prompt, appropriate, and effective action to eliminate the behaviors, prevent their recurrence, and address their effects, including the full range of possible disciplinary sanctions when a student is found responsible. However, allegations of sexual assault involve distinct issues which can be investigated and resolved more effectively through the procedures set forth in the Unified Disciplinary Procedures.

A draft of the Unified Disciplinary Procedures was posted on March 19 for community comment. Many comments were received, each was carefully considered, and many changes were made. While time does not permit us to address every comment or change, the following are especially noteworthy:

  • Definitions of “Incapacitation” and “Intentional Incapacitation” have been added.
  • The draft included aiding, abetting, or inciting of sexual assault within the definition of sexual assault. The final policy provides that aiding, abetting, or inciting sexual assault is a separate form of misconduct under the policy.
  • The final policy provides that if alleged violations of other College policies or standards arise out of the same set of facts as a complaint under the Unified Disciplinary Procedures, all claims will ordinarily be investigated and have responsibility determined by the Investigator designated under the Unified Disciplinary Procedures, with the sanction for any finding of responsibility for the other claims determined by the disciplinary system of the Responding Person’s school. However, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Director of Judicial Affairs, has discretion to refer the claims other than those under the Unified Disciplinary Procedures to the Responding Person’s school.
  • The draft proposed that the Sanctioning Panel be composed of: the Director of Judicial Affairs; the Title IX Coordinator; and an associate dean responsible for student affairs designated by the Dean of the College (where the Responding Person is an undergraduate) or the Dean of the Responding Person’s school (where the Responding Person is a graduate or professional school student). Because federal guidelines are unclear about whether a Title IX Coordinator may perform this function, the final policy removes the Title IX Coordinator from the Sanctioning Panel and substitutes a tenured or tenure-track faculty member holding an appointment outside the Reporting and Responding Persons' declared majors or areas of concentration.
  • The draft proposed that the Dean of the College decide all requests for review. While the Dean of the College has various College-wide responsibilities, some of the comments stated that the Dean of the College is generally identified with undergraduate activities; these comments suggested that other College officials resolve requests for review in cases involving graduate/professional school students. The final policy provides that the Provost will designate a College official to consider each request for review. It is anticipated that the Dean of the College will perform this function in most cases involving undergraduates, whereas a different administrator or senior faculty member will be selected to perform the review in graduate/professional student cases.



[1] Recent federal legislation requires colleges and universities to adopt policies to address sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, in addition to sexual assault. See Section 304(a)(5) of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (also known as the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE)), Pub. L. No. 113-4, 20 U.S.C. 1092 (f)(8)(A)(ii).

 

Last Updated: 6/18/14