Student Handbook

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Handbooks prior to the 2010/2011 Academic Year are available for review at Archives and Special Collections


Alcohol and Other Drugs

Alcohol Policy Statement

General Principles

Mount Holyoke College understands that each student makes their own choices regarding whether or not to engage in the use of alcohol and/or other drugs.  Thus the College emphasizes the responsibility of each community member to be law-abiding, knowledgeable, and thoughtful about any decisions regarding alcohol and drug consumption. The College expects all faculty, staff, and students to become familiar with the laws and with the College's policies governing substance use and to consider the penalties and risks that can result from violations. The law puts major responsibility, and therefore liability, on both the person who serves and/or the person who buys the alcohol, and the penalties for both the individual and the institution are very severe.

The College also recognizes that substance use can lead to health risks (i.e., impaired judgment, impaired coordination, unconsciousness, unintentional injury, substance use disorders, contracting a sexually transmitted disease, exacerbate mental health symptomatology, substance induced memory loss and death).  Similarly, substance use can lead to legal consequences and poor academic performance in addition to having a greater impact on the larger community contributing to a host of other potential consequences (i.e., violence, social conflict, and property destruction).  Therefore, the harmful use of substances is considered a public health problem and the College has identified resources to reduce the harmful use of substances at Mount Holyoke College.

With the help of the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program and other educational resources, the College provides information regarding alcohol and drug use and urges all community members to take advantage of the opportunity to become educated and make informed choices regarding the use of substances. We encourage those with concerns about their own or others' difficulties with alcohol and/or other drugs to seek confidential assistance through the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program.

The College strives to provide:

  • An atmosphere free of coercion for those who choose not to use alcohol and drugs.

  • Information and education for all students to make informed choices regarding the use of substances.

  • A community where the effects of alcohol and drug use are minimal and where problem behavior is reduced.

  • Confidential and effective guidance and counseling for students with issues related to substance use (Federal Confidentiality Law 42CFR, Part 2)

The following policy outlines the importance of the health and safety of our students, compliance with state and federal laws regarding the use, possession, purchase, sale and distribution of alcohol and drugs, and highlights our educational mission to inform students so they can make responsible life choices regarding their use of substances.

Alcohol Policy

Alcohol Policy Guidelines

Mount Holyoke College’s alcohol policy is guided by and bides by law outlined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the town of South Hadley, MA. The acquisition, possession, transportation, consumption, and distribution of alcoholic beverages is governed by statute and regulation. For full text of the law, please see https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter138

  • A person must be 21 years of age or older to purchase, possess, consume and transport alcoholic beverages.

  • Use or possession of alcoholic beverages by any persons under the age of 21 years of age is prohibited.

  • The presence, possession, or use of kegs by individuals or groups other than at a registered, approved event is prohibited on the College campus.

  • Persons 21 years of age and over may use alcohol in the privacy of their rooms providing all guidelines governing guests, noise, and appropriate behavior are followed

  • Consumption of alcohol in unapproved areas (e.g., residence hall public space, stairways, corridors, elevators, bathrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, laundry rooms, academic buildings etc.) will result in disciplinary action.

  • Possession of open containers of alcoholic beverages is prohibited in public/common areas or on the grounds of the College, except at registered events or licensed facilities.

  • Students requiring medical assistance and/or transport to the hospital for care for the over consumption of alcohol, whether of legal age or not, is a violation of the alcohol policy and may qualify for medical amnesty.

  • Students under the legal drinking age cannot serve or host alcohol in their residence hall room, including instances where the alcohol is in the possession of or is the property of a person of legal drinking age.

Drug Policy

Drug Policy Guidelines

Members of the College community are expected to follow applicable Federal and State laws regarding the use of controlled substances. For the purposes of this policy, controlled substances include over-the-counter medications, prescribed medication not used as indicated or prescribed, illegal drugs, and chemical substances not used for their intended purpose. Federal, state and local sanctions for unlawful possession or distribution of illicit drugs range from probation and forfeiture of property to fines and imprisonment.

The use, cultivation, manufacture, sale, distribution, and/or possession of drugs or controlled substances in violation of federal, state, or municipal laws is prohibited by the College and is not permitted in the residence halls, on any College property, or while on College business.

Violations of the Drug Policy include but are not limited to:

Possession or use of illegal drugs and controlled substances

  • The non-medical use of prescription drugs or over-the-counter medications
  • Failure to report the use, cultivation, manufacture, sale, distribution, and/or possession of illegal substances on any College property to a College official
  • Knowing presence during the use of illegal drugs or the misuse of substances

Enforcement

Enforcement

The College recognizes that it cannot guarantee that this policy or the alcohol or drug-related laws will be honored by everyone. It must therefore rely on the good judgment of students, faculty, staff, and other members of the College community to observe the laws and policies. Those who choose to violate them must be prepared to accept total responsibility for their individual or collective actions and should understand that possible outcomes include disciplinary action, personal liability, fines and/or imprisonment.  Students who violate state or federal laws will not be protected by the College and their actions may be subject to civil or criminal complaints. Mount Holyoke College will not intervene on an individual’s behalf with campus, local or state law enforcement authorities. Campus Police always have the option to arrest. In accordance with federal law, a conviction of a drug offense in any criminal proceeding may make a student ineligible for financial aid. For more information, visit https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/eligibility/criminal-convictions#drug-convi... .

Violations of the alcohol and drug policy and dangerous or disruptive behavior that often come with alcohol and drug use will be handled by the usual general judiciary procedure under the honor code.

The involvement of alcohol and drugs with dangerous or disruptive behavior will be considered an exacerbating factor, not a mitigating one. If a student does not choose to follow these policies, the student may receive sanctions ranging from a written warning to suspension or expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense.

Violations and Sanctions Under 21

Violations

  • Possession & consumption of alcohol under age of 21
  • Possession of alcohol or drug paraphernalia associated with the dangerous consumption
  • Dispensing alcohol
  • Intoxication
  • Possession/use of illegal drugs or probable cause to believe there was use.

1st Offense

  • Meeting with Residential Life
  • Referral to the

Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program  for Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment/ Education.

2nd Offense

  • Meeting with Residential Life or a Dean in the Department of Student Life
  • Referral to Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program for  Alcohol and Other Drugs Assessment/Education
  • Social Probation
  • Possible Parental Notification

3rd Offense

  • A meeting with a Dean in the Department of Student Life.
  • Parental Notification.
  • Social Probation.
  • Possible housing probation and suspension.
  • Possible withdrawal.

Violation

Selling/distributing illegal drugs

1st Offense

  • Meeting with a Dean in the Department of Student Life.
  • Referral to the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program  for a minimum of three (3) Alcohol and Other Drugs Awareness appointments.
  • Parental Notification.
  • Social probation.
  • Possible withdrawal or suspension.

2nd Offense

  • Meeting with Dean of Students.
  • Parental Notification.
  • Withdrawal or suspension.

Download or Print:
Sanctions for Violations of the Campus Alcohol Policy for students under 21 years of age

Violations and Sanctions Over 21

Violations

  • Open container
    • Drug paraphernalia associated with the dangerous consumption
    • Dispensing alcohol
    • Intoxication
    • Possession/use of illegal drugs or probable cause to believe there was use

1st Offense

  • Meeting with Residential Life
  • Referral to the Alcohol and Drug  Awareness Program  for Alcohol and Other Drug

Assessment /Education.

2nd Offense

  • Meeting with Residential Life or a Dean in the Department of Student Life
  • Referral to Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program for Alcohol and Other Drugs Assessment/ Education..
  • Social Probation
  • Possible Parental Notification.

3rd Offense

  • A meeting with a Dean in the Department of Student Life.
  • Parental Notification.
  • Social Probation.
  • Possible housing probation and suspension.
  • Possible withdrawal.

Violations

  • Selling/distributing illegal drugs

1st Offense

  • Meeting with a Dean in the Department of Student Life.
  • Referral to the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project for a minimum of three (3) Alcohol and Other Drug Assessment/Education..
  • Parental Notification.
  • Social probation.
  • Possible withdrawal or suspension.

2nd Offense

  • Meeting with Dean of Students.
  • Parental Notification.
  • Withdrawal or suspension.

Download or Print:
Sanctions for Violations of the Campus Alcohol Policy for students over 21 years of age

Medical Marijuana Policy

Medical Marijuana Policy

Massachusetts has instituted legislation under Massachusetts Act (Chapter 369) “An Act for the Humanitarian Medical Use of Marijuana” which allows for the controlled use of medical marijuana in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Thus, citizens of the Commonwealth may legally obtain a medical marijuana “registration card” from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  Mount Holyoke College students, staff, and faculty who legally possess a medical marijuana “registration card” are not permitted to possess and/or use any form of marijuana on Mount Holyoke College property or at college-sponsored events.

Although Massachusetts law permits the use of medical marijuana, federal laws outlined by the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) has classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug which prohibits the use, possession and/or cultivation of marijuana. Therefore, the use, possession, cultivation, or sale of marijuana in any form on campus violates federal law. Moreover, Mount Holyoke College must comply with Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act (DFSCA) (20 U.S.C. 1011i; 34 C.F.R. part 86) as well as Drug Free Workplace Act which requires a drug-free environment on campus.  Institutions of higher education such as Mount Holyoke College must comply with Drug-Free Communities and Schools Act regulations or risk losing federal funding such a financial aid.   Any student, staff or faculty member who violates Mount Holyoke College policy prohibiting the use and/or possession of illicit drugs (including medical marijuana) on campus may be subject to disciplinary action.

Alcohol and Drug Policy Definitions

Alcohol and Drug Policy Definitions

Possession: The evidence that alcohol consumption has occurred (e.g., empty beer bottles) or drug consumption has occurred (e.g., bong, pipe, etc.).

Intoxication: The College considers intoxication requiring a medical assistance or a medical transport to the hospital a health emergency. If medical assistance is deemed necessary, the College expects the student to accept transportation to the hospital for medical attention.  

Students that refuse transport will be placed into protective custody as outlined by state law (https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXVI/Chapter111B/Section8).  There may be instances in which the parental/ emergency contact will be notified in response to intoxication. Please refer to the College’s policy on Parent Notification noted earlier in this document.   

In addition, the College prohibits students from attending class under the influence of alcohol or drugs and identifying such behavior as unsafe.  

Students suspected of being under the influences of substances will be asked to leave the classroom and such an incident would warrant staff/faculty to document the behavior and actions taken.  As a follow-up students will be referred to the Alcohol & Drug Awareness Program and/or counseling services.

Violations regarding alcohol or drugs will be counted as a second offense when a first offense of either policy is already on the record.

Related Policies - Massachusetts State Law on Alcohol:

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXX/Chapter138/Section34

The record of each offense remains on file for seven (7) years.

Alcohol & Drug-Free Environment

Alcohol & Drug-Free Environment

In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, Mount Holyoke College has developed this policy in an effort to provide a healthy environment by preventing the use of drugs or the harmful use of alcohol within the College community and in response to the federal drug-free legislation. The Drug-Free Schools and Campus Act, which became law in December 1989, mandates that institutions of higher education adopt and implement a program designed to prevent the unlawful possession, use, dispensation, or distribution of drugs and alcohol by students and employees and to provide certification to the Department of Education that such a program is in place.

Mount Holyoke College prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of controlled substances and alcohol by any member of the faculty, staff, or student body on College property or at any College sponsored function, whether on or off campus, and requires the cooperation of the entire campus community in its pursuit to maintain a drug-free environment in all aspects of campus life. At certain sanctioned College functions, alcoholic beverages may be allowed, but will be monitored.

Any employee or student who violates this prohibition, or who does not cooperate with the College in its attempts to maintain a drug-free environment, will face disciplinary action up to and including termination, expulsion or dismissal from the College and may be required, as a condition of continuing the faculty/staff/student relationship with the College, to enroll at their own expense in a substance abuse counseling and treatment program.

In addition, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires that any employee (including student employees) working at Mount Holyoke College who is convicted under a criminal drug statute for conduct in the workplace must report this conviction to the College no later than five days after the conviction. Workplace in this instance is defined as a site for the performance of work done in connection with a particular federal grant or contract. Once the College is informed of such a conviction, the College is required by law to notify the federal contractor or grantor within ten days after an employee's conviction or within ten days after it has actual knowledge of such conviction, whichever is earlier. Faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with resources available in the area for substance abuse, counseling, and treatment.

Additional Information on Alcohol & Drug Use

Additional Information on Alcohol & Drug Use

Serving Alcohol

No person shall receive a license or permit under this chapter who is under 21 years of age. Whoever makes a sale or delivery of any alcohol beverage or alcohol to any person under 21 years of age, either for his own use or for the use of his parent or any other person, or whoever, being a patron of an establishment licensed under section 12 or 15, delivers or procures to be delivered in any public room or area of such establishment if licensed under section 12, 15, 19B, 19C or 19D or any area of such establishment if licensed under said section 15, 19B, 19C or 19D any such beverages or alcohol to or for use by a person who he knows or has reason to believe is under 21 years of age or whoever procures any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age in any establishment licensed under section 12 or procures any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age who is not his child, ward or spouse in any establishment licensed under said section 15, 19B, 19C or 19D or whoever furnishes any such beverage or alcohol for a person under 21 years of age shall be punished by a fine of not more than $2,000 or by imprisonment for not more than one year or both.

For the purpose of this section, the word "furnish" shall mean to knowingly or intentionally supply, give, or provide to or allow a persons under 21 years of age except for the children and grandchildren of the person being charged to possess alcoholic beverages on premises or property owned or controlled by the person charged. (See M.G.L., Ch. 138, ¶34.)

Serving Alcohol to intoxicated persons. Any person licensed to serve alcohol may not serve intoxicated persons. To do so may result in civil liability for injuries caused by the intoxicated person. (See M.G.L., Ch. 138, ¶69.)

Alcohol and/or Drugs and Driving

Transporting alcohol: It is unlawful for a person under twenty-one years of age to knowingly drive a car with alcohol in it or carry alcohol on their person unless accompanied by a parent.

Conviction is punishable by mandatory suspension of driver's license for 90 days. Punishment also includes a fine of not more than $50.00 for the first offense and not more than $150.00 for a second or subsequent offense.

Open Container in a Motor Vehicle

It is unlawful for a person to possess an open container of alcoholic beverage in the passenger area of any motor vehicle. The "passenger area" is defined as the area designed to seat the driver and passengers while the motor vehicle is in operation and any area that is readily available to the driver or a passenger while in a seated position including, but not limited to, the glove compartment. Violation of this section is punishable by a fine of not less than $100 or more than $500. (See M.G.L., Ch. 90, ¶ 24I)

Operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs

If arrested, the driver will be detained by the police and read their rights. The vehicle will be towed and the driver taken in a police cruiser to the police station for a breathalyzer test. Refusal to take this test will result in automatic suspension of license for 120 days.

  • If the breathalyzer test registers over .05 but below .08 the driver will be held, but there will be no presumption of driving under the influence.

  • If the test registers .08 or over, the driver will be held, and there will be a presumption of driving under the influence. The driver will be kept in the police lockup until bailed out. Upon arraignment, the license of the defendant having a breathalyzer of .08 or above is immediately suspended for ninety days.

For persons under twenty-one years of age, there will be a presumption of driving under the influence if the test registers over .02. The driver will be kept in the police lockup until bailed out. Upon arraignment, the license of the defendant will immediately be suspended for 180 days. Drivers between the ages of 18 and 21 who refuse or fail a breathalyzer test must complete a Youth Alcohol Program (Y.A.P.) and suffer a 180-day license suspension. In addition, the law mandates a fine dedicated to the Trust Fund for Head Injury Treatment Services; allows out-of-state convictions to be used to calculate repeat offenses; and allows a court to look back ten years to calculate repeat offenses. For more information regarding offenses, including first-fifth offense conviction information, see M.G.L., Ch. 90, paragraph 24).

Homicide by motor vehicle

Anyone who operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and who operates that vehicle recklessly or negligently so as to endanger and who, by any such operation, causes death shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than two and one-half or more than 15 years and a fine of not more than five thousand dollars. Punishment also includes suspension of license for 15 years with first offense and lifetime suspension with subsequent offense.

The Higher Education Amendments

The Higher Education Amendments

On October 7, 1998 the Higher Education Amendments of 1998 became effective, which make specific amendments to the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act of 1990 (20 U.S. C. 10920 and the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA)(20 U.S. C. 1232g). The following outlines the significant changes to these acts that influence the alcohol and other drug policies at Mount Holyoke College and all other private and public schools that receive federal funds.

The Amendments to the Campus Security Act expanded the scope of the reporting requirement. It must report not only arrests, but record the number of people referred for campus disciplinary action for liquor law violations, drug-related violations, and weapons possession.

FERPA generally provides that information about students be protected from disclosure. Generally, the student's educational record is protected from disclosure. The Higher Education Act of 1998 added a provision which indicates that FERPA cannot prevent a school from releasing information to a parent or legal guardian regarding the use or possession of alcohol or a controlled substance by a student, if the student is under the age of 21 and the institution determines that the student has committed a disciplinary violation with respect to such use or possession.

Drug Enforcement Laws

Drug Enforcement Laws

An Act Providing for Drug-Free Schools

Effective July 11, 1989, anyone convicted of dealing drugs within 1,000 feet of an elementary, vocational, or secondary school will face a mandatory two-year prison sentence. It will not matter whether the dealer knew they were near a school, whether it is a public or private school, or whether the school is in session. The law pertains to drug distributors, manufacturers, or persons possessing a controlled substance with intent to distribute it. A fine of up to $10,000 may also be imposed but not in lieu of the two-year term of imprisonment.

An Act Providing for Suspension of a License to Operate a Motor Vehicle upon Conviction of Violation of the Controlled Substance Act

This law provides that a conviction of any drug offense shall result in the loss of the right to drive for a period of up to five years. A minor who does not yet have a driver's license at the time of their conviction can lose the right to obtain a license until reaching age twenty-one.

An Act Further Regulating the Misuse of Driver's Licenses and Identification Cards

This law makes a broad spectrum of activities related to false identification cards or licenses punishable by a fine or imprisonment. These activities include, but are not limited to, making, using, or carrying a false identification card or license; using the cards or license of another; and furnishing false information in obtaining a card or license. In addition, a conviction on any of these charges will result in an automatic one-year suspension of the license to drive.   



Amnesty/Bystander Intervention

Medical Amnesty Policy

Medical Amnesty Policy

Because the health and safety of students are of primary importance, student are encouraged to take steps to ensure their health and safety, as well as their peers.  For students who choose to consume alcohol, they are expected to use in moderation to avoid compromising personal safety.  The College acknowledges that there may be times when students may face medical emergencies involving alcohol and drug use.  Therefore, immediate action should be taken when a person’s health and safety are threatened or appear to be in jeopardy.

Alcohol poisoning can occur with the consumption of alcohol and symptoms can include:  unconsciousness or unresponsiveness, disorientation or confusion, slow breathing, vomiting, and cool or pale skin.  If the affected student is on campus, Campus Police and/or MERT must be contacted (x2304; 413-538-2304) to evaluate the student’s need for medical assistance.  If medical assistance is deemed necessary, the College expects the student to accept transportation to the hospital for medical attention.

In order to support students in this effort and decrease the risk that a student will hesitate to seek help in an alcohol or drug related emergency, the College has developed a Medical Amnesty Policy to remove concerns about disciplinary action.  Students who actively seek help or medical assistance for themselves or when concerned about someone else’s use of alcohol and other drugs will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions.

 

The College provides amnesty of the disciplinary process for students who:

  • Request medical assistance for oneself

  • Request medical assistance for another person

When responding to such alcohol and drug violations, the College will consider the student’s decision to request medical assistance, and in most cases, view the act of seeking medical assistance as good judgment.  Thus if it is determined that the medical amnesty policy applies, the students involved will not be subject to violation of the policy, nor will they receive a violation on their disciplinary record.  In follow up with the student granted medical amnesty, the student will meet with the Health Education Coordinator to have an opportunity to review the incident, ask questions and/or engage in further education to support future good judgment.

This provision does not protect repeated, flagrant, or serious violations, or violations that caused harm to another person or property. Abuse of the Amnesty Policy may result in disciplinary action by the college. This provision does not preclude or prevent action by Campus Police or other outside


Anti-Hazing

Anti-Hazing Policy

Hazing Policy

Hazing Policy Hazing is a serious offense. The College

encourages students to report such offenses

promptly. Hazing is prohibited by both state law and the

Mount Holyoke College Honor Code and will

not be tolerated in this community of trust. All reported

cases of suspected hazing would be

investigated with a fair process. On November 26, 1985,

legislation prohibiting hazing took effect in

the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although hazing is

most commonly associated with induction

into college fraternities and sororities, the practice can also

occur in a number of other circumstances.

The legislation states: “The term "hazing"... shall mean any

conduct or method of initiation into any student

organization, whether on public or private property, which

willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental

health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall

include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics,

exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food,

liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other

brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to

adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such

student or other person, or which subjects such student or

other person to extreme mental stress, including extended

deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.”


Notwithstanding any other provisions of this section to the

contrary, consent shall not be available as a defense to any

prosecution under this action.


Under the Massachusetts code, the failure to report hazing

is also a violation. The Legislation states:

“Whoever knows that another person is the victim of hazing

as defined in section seventeen and is at the scene of such

crime shall, to the extent that such person can do so without

danger or peril to himself or others, report such crime to an

appropriate law enforcement official as soon as reasonable

practicable. Whoever fails to report such crime shall be

punished by a fine of not more than one

thousand dollars.”


Go to the following website for the complete text of the Massachusetts Hazing Law and review 269:

17, 18, 19: http://s-p.mit.edu/government/house_docs/docs/MA_Hazing_Law.pdf and

https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartIV/TitleI/Chapter269


Some ways to tell if an activity is hazing:

  • A selected group is singled out for ritual

  • It results in behavior or pictures that you would not share with your parents, coach,

  • professors or athletic director

  • The activity is humiliating, demeaning, intimidating, and exhausting, and/or results in physical or

  • emotional discomfort, involves harassment or ridicule, or which endangers the health or safety of any

  • person whether on or off campus.

  • Remember: what may seem like harmless “fun” to you may be deeply humiliating to another person.  

Distribution Policy

Distribution of Policy

All students receive a copy of this policy electronically by the Dean of Students (or designee).

All student organization chairpersons receive copies of the policy from Student Programs a the start of the year and are required to have each member of their group sign a statement that they agree to abide by this policy. Each group member then receives a copy of the policy statement they have signed. Certain student organizations, such as the SGA, FPSA, Class Boards, and Commuter Student Organizations that act as governing bodies or represent a constituency based upon enrollment in the college, require only the signatures of officers and other actively participating students, not the entirety of their constituency.           

Additionally, all varsity student-athletes receive and review the policy with a staff member from Athletics during a mandatory compliance and eligibility meeting at the start of the year/their Season, and each student-athlete is required to sign a statement and agree to abide by this policy.  During the mandatory Preseason Coaches Meetings, all club sport head coaches and a representative from their teams are informed of the requirement for all club sport athletes to complete the Waiver and Release Form, which is combined with an Anti-Hazing Form, on the Five College Risk Management system. All club sport athletes from each participating team are required to complete the form prior to the first game competition of the season.

Myths and Facts About Hazing

Myth #1: Hazing is a problem for fraternities and sororities primarily. Fact: Hazing is a societal problem. Hazing incidents have been frequently documented in the military, athletic teams, marching bands, religious cults, professional schools and other types of clubs and/or, organizations. Reports of hazing activities in high schools are on the rise.

Myth #2: Hazing is no more than foolish pranks that sometimes go awry. Fact: Hazing is an act of power and control over others --- it is victimization. Hazing is premeditated and NOT accidental. Hazing is abusive, degrading and sometimes life-threatening.

Myth #3: As long as there's no malicious intent, a little hazing should be O.K. Fact: Even if there's no malicious "intent", safety may still be a factor in traditional hazing activities that are considered to be "all in good fun." For example, serious accidents have occurred during scavenger hunts and kidnapping trips. Ask what purpose such activities serve in promoting the growth and development of group team members?

Myth #4: Hazing is an effective way to teach respect and develop discipline. Fact: First of all, respect must be EARNED--not taught. Victims of hazing rarely report having respect for those who have hazed them. Just like other forms of victimization, hazing breeds mistrust, apathy and alienation.

Myth #5: If someone agrees to participate in an activity, it can't be considered hazing. Fact: In states that have laws against hazing, consent of the victim can't be used as a defense in a civil suit. This is because even if someone agrees to participate in a potentially hazardous action it may not be true consent when considering the peer pressure and desire to belong to the group.

Myth #6: It's difficult to determine whether or not a certain activity is hazing--it's such a gray area sometimes. Fact: It's not difficult to decide if an activity is hazing if you use common sense and ask yourself the following questions:

IS IT HAZING?

Make the following inquiries of each activity to determine whether or not it is hazing:

  • Is alcohol involved?
  • Will active/current members of the group refuse to participate with the new members and do exactly what they're being asked to do?
  • Does the activity risk emotional or physical abuse?
  • Is there risk of injury or a question of safety?
  • Do you have any reservation describing the activity to your parents, to a professor or University official?
  • Would you object to the activity being photographed for the school newspaper or filmed by the local TV news crew?

If the answer to any of these questions is "yes," the activity is probably hazing.

FAQs

Where can I make a report and/or receive support if I’ve experienced hazing?
You may report hazing to the appropriate law enforcement individual and/or any of the following offices – click on the office for a link to direction. Reports should include what happened, where it happened, when it happened and who was there.

Can I make an anonymous report?
Yes you can make an anonymous report to any of the resources listed above.

If I am the witness of a hazing incident, what responsibility do I have to report it?
Yes, you have an ethical and legal responsibility under the Honor Code and MA law to report any incident of hazing that you witness to an appropriate law enforcement official and a College administrator as soon as reasonably practical. See list above of offices to report hazing

What is the range of outcomes for reported hazing incidents involving Mount Holyoke community members?
Hazing is a serious offense. If it is determined to be a criminal offense, legal outcomes include fines of not more than three thousand dollars or imprisonment in a house of correction for not more than one year, or both fine and imprisonment.

Even if there is no criminal case

  • The range of outcomes at the College depends on facts of the matter, as determined by the College’s investigation of the report.
  • The complainant may choose to pursue action against those involved with the hazing (i.e. none, informal grievance, formal grievance, Student Disciplinary Process through the Dean of Students Office, legal remedies).
  • The Dean of Students or other college officials may also take action to enforce College policy or comply with applicable law. The College may take appropriate protective and administrative action even in situations where the Complainant is absent.
  • Outcomes may include, but are not limited to: a letter of reprimand, mandatory educational project, social probation, suspension, required withdrawal or expulsion. Team players may be suspended or expelled from the team. Club members may be suspended or expelled from their club. In addition, teams or clubs participating in hazing may lose the right to organize, play, compete for any period of time, including permanently.
  • Grievance procedures
  • Standards of Social Conduct


Grievance Procedures

Grievance Procedures are maintained by Compliance and Risk Management.


Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Mount Holyoke College’s commitment to diversity and inclusion is steadfast and serves as the foundation for our efforts to create a living, learning and working environment that is free from gender and sex-based discrimination of any kind, including sexual misconduct. Members of the campus community must conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon another’s ability to access the programs, activities, and services of the College. Specifically, the College community should be aware that Mount Holyoke prohibits gender and sex-based discrimination and sexual misconduct.  Sexual misconduct incorporates a continuum of behavior that includes sexual harassment, nonconsensual touching, nonconsensual penetration, stalking, intimate partner violence, and sexual exploitation.

Scope of this policy

This policy covers incidents that occur on the College grounds and the conduct of students that occurs off campus while on college related business including College sponsored study abroad programs, academic exchange, or College organized internships.

This policy protects students of the Mount Holyoke community including visiting students, 5 College students, and admission applicants, of all ages, abilities, genders, gender identities, national origins, races, religions, sexual orientations, socio economic classes and undocumented status.   The College does not discriminate in providing services for victims and survivors. The support services and resources highlighted in this policy document are available to students at no cost.

Related Policies and Applicable laws

This Sexual Misconduct policy is a component of the College’s overall compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), the Violence Against Women’s Act of 1994 (VAWA), and our commitment to Nondiscrimination.  When a violation of sexual misconduct intersects with the harassment of other protected class (i.e race, religion, socioeconomic class, etc), the College will follow these procedures to address the allegation.

College Disciplinary Options

  • College disciplinary options are available for reported sexual assault and sexual misconduct involving Mount Holyoke students.
  • The College's Grievance Procedures is the mechanism used to respond to complaints of harrassment and discrimination.
  • Any type of sexual assault or sexual misconduct may be reported.
  • The range of outcomes depends on the findings of the investigation into the case.
  • The Title IX Coordinator or other college officials may also take action to enforce College policy or comply with applicable law. The College may take appropriate protective and administrative action even in situations where the Complainant is absent.
  • Outcomes may include, but are not limited to: a letter of reprimand, mandatory educational project, social probation, suspension, required withdrawal or expulsion.

Getting Help at Mount Holyoke

Students can access help at Mount Holyoke after a sexual assault through the Dean of Students Office, Campus Police, Health Services, Counseling Services, or the Office of Residential Life.  We encourage students to seek the services of Health Services, Counseling Service and Campus Police immediately after an assault.  These offices can provide you with immediate medical attention and assist you in collecting and preserving evidence.   Individuals can also report instances of sexual violence, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sex discrimination to the campus Title IX Coordinator.

The on- and off-campus services referenced below are available at no charge to all Mount Holyoke students.

On-Campus Resources

Getting Help from Campus Police

For immediate assistance after a sexual assault, you are encouraged to contact Mount Holyoke College Campus Police. Campus Police is available on campus 24 hours a day and can provide services immediately. A Campus Police officer will:

  • Encourage you to get immediate medical attention. An officer from Campus Police will contact the on-call clinician and escort you to the Health Center or other medical facility for medical assessment and treatment of any injuries.
  • Arrange for you to see a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). This examination includes collection and documentation of evidence to preserve your future legal options. An on-call nurse will provide the exam at UMass University Health Services or Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Campus Police will arrange for transportation to either location.
  • Advise you of on-campus options for counseling and other services available through the Health Center, Counseling Service, Residential Life, Dean of Students, Academic Deans, and Religious and Spiritual Life.
  • Connect you to off-campus resources, such as the Everywoman’s Center Counselor Advocate Program, Womanshelter/Compañeras, and the District Attorney’s Office for SAFEPLAN.

If you request, Campus Police will also investigate the incident and provide follow-up services. In its investigation of a sexual assault, Campus Police will assign an officer who has received special training in these matters. The officer will ask for a description of the assailant(s) at the time you report the incident. During the investigation, the officer will ask you many questions and go over the details of the incident.

If necessary, Campus Police will provide liaison with the South Hadley Police Department, the Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office, and other local police departments, depending on where the sexual assault occurred.

Requesting Campus Police to investigate does not mean you are making a commitment to follow through with criminal prosecution. If you choose to report the crime and the assailant is known, you may have the following judicial and/or criminal options:

Campus Trespass

If the assailant is not a member of the Mount Holyoke community, a trespass notice may be appropriate to prevent the person from entering the campus.

Campus Sanctions

If the assailant is another member of the Mount Holyoke community, you may opt to utilize campus sanctions. The Dean of Students will direct you to the appropriate resources for your situation.

Protective Order

If you and the assailant had a relationship such as dating or living together, you may be able to obtain a restraining order against that person.

Criminal Complaint

The College--or in some cases you--may be able to request a criminal hearing, or an arrest may be made.

Resources at Mount Holyoke during the Academic Year

The following departments will help you access all campus and community services during the academic year. Campus Police is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Availability of other departments will vary during vacations, summer, and January Term.

Campus Police

Getting Help from Other Departments

In addition to the option of contacting Campus Police, you may choose to access help after a sexual assault through the Health Center, the Counseling Service, or the Office of Residential Life. These departments will explain all of your options and will contact other departments at your request.

Health Center

  • Phone: 413-538-2242
  • On Campus: x2242
  • Staff is on call 24 hours a day.
  • MHC anonymous reporting by staff required.

At the Health Center, a nurse can:

  • Provide emergency contraception (EC) up to 120 hours after the incident.
  • Provide screening and treatment for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
  • Provide anonymous and confidential HIV testing and counseling.
  • Screen for predatory drugs up to 96 hours after the incident.
  • Contact Everywoman’s Center at UMass to arrange for a Counselor Advocate to provide you with support.
  • Encourage you to seek further treatment through the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at UMass University Health Services or Cooley Dickinson Hospital. Campus Police can arrange for transportation to either location.

In order to preserve evidence after a sexual assault it is important that you do not change your clothes, bathe or shower, brush your hair or teeth, or apply medication or cosmetics prior to any kind of medical exam.

Counseling Service

  • Phone: 413-538-2037
  • On Campus: x2037
  • Staff is on call 24 hours a day.
  • MHC anonymous reporting by staff not required.

At the Counseling Service, a clinician can:

  • Listen to you, validate your experience, and empower you with options.
  • Offer crisis intervention and brief therapy to assist you in recovering from the trauma.
  • Offer referral to other services including the Counselor Advocate Program at the UMass Everywoman’s Center.
  • Provide you with information regarding the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program.
  • Offer support, counseling, and referral for others who may have been affected by the sexual assault such as friends, partners, and witnesses.

Residential Life

  • Phone: 413-538-2088
  • On Campus: x2088
  • Staff is on call 24 hours a day.
  • MHC anonymous reporting by staff required.

At Residential Life, a staff person can:

  • Escort you to campus resources if needed.
  • Discuss temporary housing assignments if the sexual assault happened on campus, or if returning to your room is not an option.

If you talk with a Hall President (HP) or Student Advisor (SA) they must contact an Assistant Director of Residential Life (AD), the Dean on Call, and/or Campus Police.

ADAP (Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program)

  • Phone: 413-538-2616
  • On Campus: x2616
  • Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm; some evening hours

Academic Deans

  • Phone: 413-538-2855
  • On Campus: x2855
  • Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm

Additional Campus Resources

If you have academic or personal issues related to a sexual assault that are not addressed by the services described in this guide, you are encouraged to contact other campus resources for assistance. These include the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, Academic Deans, ADAC, the Ombudsperson, and Religious and Spiritual Life.

Off-Campus Resources

If you do not wish to use campus resources, you may also contact the following directly:

Local Police and Emergency Services

Phone: 911 off campus

Services reached depend on your location and the phone from which the call originates.

South Hadley Police

Phone: 413-538-8231 or 911 in South Hadley

If the incident occurred on the Mount Holyoke campus, you will be referred to Mount Holyoke Campus Police.

Everywoman’s Center: Toll-Free 24 hour Rape Crisis Hotline

Phone: 413-545-0800; 888-337-0800
(Local Long Distance)
413-577-0940 (TTY)
MA Relay 711

Llamanos

1.800.223.5001
Spanish Speaking Rape Crisis Counselors,
M-F, 11am - 5pm

Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE)

Phone: 413-577-5000

On-call nurse available at UMass Amherst or Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Northampton.

 

Confidentiality & Privacy

Confidentiality and Privacy

Title IX and related legal amendments such as the Violence Against Women Act require that the College engage in an investigation of all reports of sexual misconduct or gender-based harassment.  This initial assessment (called a Title IX review) is an investigation internal to the College and completed by the Title IX Coordinator (or designee). The College will work with the target of the misconduct and/or the reporting party (if different) to determine the extent to which the Title IX review is conducted. When reviewing allegations of gender discrimination, sexual assault or other violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Mount Holyoke College will take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to a complaint in a manner that is consistent with the request for privacy or request not to pursue an investigation.  Individuals should note that requests for privacy limits the College’s ability to investigate or respond.

Although rare, there are times when the College cannot grant a request for confidentiality and privacy.  The College evaluates its ability to adhere to a request for confidentiality and privacy on a case-by-case basis.  The Title IX Coordinator will make this determination in consultation with others as appropriate.  The College considers the following factors when making this assessment:

  • the seriousness of the alleged behavior;

  • the complainant’s age;

  • whether there have been other harassment complaints about the same individual; and

  • the alleged harasser’s rights to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the school as an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99.

If the College determines that it cannot maintain the reporting party or target’s preference for confidentiality, the College will inform them prior to the start of an investigation and will only share information that is necessary with individuals responsible for handling the College’s response.

Students should also note that the College may disclose a student’s name in connection to a Title IX incident when implementing interim measures such as housing changes or excused absences. Please note that this information is shared with those individuals directly involved in providing services and will include the name of the student only.

Exemption to Confidentiality and Privacy Standard

 

MHC Anonymous Reporting

If you disclose a sexual assault to a Mount Holyoke staff member they must report it using the MHC Sexual Assault Centralized Report Form. This form does not include your name. It includes only a minimal amount of general information about the sexual assault for federal Clery Act purposes. It is also included in statistics used to reduce the future incidence of such crimes. The only staff members exempt from this requirement are individuals working as counselors in the Counseling Service and in Religious and Spiritual Life.

Prosecution

If you decide to make a sexual assault report to Campus Police this does not mean that you must go to court and prosecute. Decisions about possible prosecution are made later. Filing a sexual assault report preserves evidence and documents the incident to protect your rights. You are involved in all decisions about proceeding with criminal charges. By Massachusetts state law, your name on all sexual assault reports is kept confidential and will not be released without your permission.

Non-Student Complainants

Survivor's or reporting parties who are non-Mount Holyoke College community members (including Five College students) may file a sex discrimination, sexual assault or sexual misconduct complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will respond to any complaint that involves a current member of the Mount Holyoke community (faculty, student, or staff) or that occurs on campus grounds or during a college sponsored activity away from campus. 

FAQs

Who can I talk to about my experience who will not tell anyone or do anything at all?

At Mount Holyoke, staff of the Counseling Service and staff of Religious and Spiritual Life are not required to report anything about you or your experience to anyone at all.

What is considered sexual contact? How can I know how someone else is experiencing touch or physical intimacy?

People have different understandings of what they consider intimate and “friendly” versus what they consider intimate and sexual. These understandings can vary on the basis of religious and cultural values, social and family norms, and personal values and experiences.

The best way to find out how someone experiences touch and physical intimacy is to ask and discuss it before something happens and obtain consent for physical touch or intimacy before it takes place.

Many situations are ambiguous and risky if not clarified in advance. Consider the possibility of sleeping in the same bed as another student because “It’s too late to walk across campus to my own residence hall.” Does this imply that you have given consent to be touched in a sexual way? Who is responsible for clarifying the situation—and when?

It can be awkward and even embarrassing to talk about the situation and establish boundaries in advance—but it can be devastating for everyone involved if an awkward situation turns into sexual misconduct or a sexual assault that could have been avoided through a frank discussion about expectations and consent in advance.

How should consent be obtained? Can body language be understood as consent?

Ideally, consent is given verbally. However, consent can also be expressed (given or withdrawn) through body language. For example, active reciprocation could express consent, pushing someone away or moving away could express lack of consent.

Body language and even verbal responses may be ambiguous. It may also be unclear who is responsible for getting consent and who is responsible for giving consent at any particular moment. If consent is unclear, there is a risk of committing a sexual offense. Consequently, when in doubt, each participant in the activity should stop and ASK.

What are some of the indicators that I am at risk for committing sexual assault or sexual misconduct?

  • You are touching another person in a sexual manner without their consent.
  • You are initiating sexual contact when you are not sure what the other person wants.
  • You are initiating sexual contact when the other person is drunk or otherwise intoxicated.
  • You decided to have sex by any means necessary.
  • You are hoping that they won't say anything but will just be quiet and like it.
  • You are acting on an impulse or dare.
  • You are getting mixed messages/signals.
  • You have not spoken with the person about what they want to do.
  • Ask rather than assume. You and your partner should talk about what would be most enjoyable together.

If I am accused of committing a sexual assault, how serious is it?

Being convicted of a sexual assault is a felony in Massachusetts.

How can alcohol and drugs impact consent and decision making?

The use of alcohol and other drugs impairs judgment and undermines the ability to make good decisions, including decisions about sexual activity.

If I hear about a sexual assault that happened to someone else, should I report it?
Yes!  The College takes all reports of sexual harrassment (including sexual assault) and sexual misconduct seriously.  Individuals are welcome to make an anonymous report of sexual assault. Information regarding the College's anonymous reporting option is linked here.

Does Mount Holyoke College collect data regarding sexual assaults?
Yes.  The College gathers and reports data consistent with various federal and state reporting mandates.  Individuals interested in the College's crime statistics are encourage to review our Campus Clery Crime and Fire Safety Report.

Definitions

Definitions of Prohibited Conduct Covered Within This Policy

This section of the policy defines the specific behaviors prohibited within this policy. The definitions below use explicit language to describe sexual contact and anatomical names of body parts.

  • Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is forced, manipulated, or coerced sexual activity. Sexual activity with another person who DOES NOT or CANNOT give consent due to the age, mental or physical disability, or incapacitation due to substances of which the initiator was aware of or should have been aware is considered a violation of this policy. Sexual assault includes rape, incest, statutory rape, and nonconsensual touch such as kissing, fondling or groping.

  • Rape: Rape is nonconsensual sexual penetration  with a person by force or by threat of bodily injury. Penetration must exist, no matter how slight. Examples of penetration include the insertion of a body part or object, however slight, into the vagina or rectum; fellatio or cunnilingus.

  • Incest: Incest is sexual intercourse, sexual activity or marriage of persons within degrees of consanguinity.

  • Statutory Rape: Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the legal age to give consent. In the State of Massachusetts (Massachusetts General Law MGL c.265 s.23A) statutory rape is “sexual intercourse” with a child under 16 years of age and:

    • there exists more than a 5 year age difference between the defendant and the victim and the victim is under 12 years of age; or

    • there exists more than a 10 year age difference between the defendant and the victim where the victim is between the age of 12 and 16 years of age.\

  • Nonconsensual Touch: Nonconsensual touch is the intentional physical touching of a sexual nature. Examples include unwelcome physical contact with a person’s mouth, genitals, buttocks, or breasts or forced physical touching of another person’s mouth, genitals, buttocks, or breasts.

 

  • Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the provision of the College’s educational benefits, privileges or services or as a basis for the evaluation of academic achievement; or

  • such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive academic or educational environment. [Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151C]

 

Sexual harassment in employment is a form of illegal sex discrimination and is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  • submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment;

  • submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment decisions affecting such individual; or

  • such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive working environment. [Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and Massachusetts General Laws chapter 151B ("chapter 151B").]

 

  • Stalking: Stalking is the willful and malicious pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time that:

  • is directed at a specific person;

  • causes a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress; or

  • makes a threat with the intent to place a person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury.

Stalking includes unwanted and repeated harassing behavior, such as: following a person; appearing at a person’s home/residence hall, class or work; making frequent unwanted phone calls, emails, text messages, etc.; continuing to contact a person after receiving requests not to; leaving written messages, objects or unwanted gifts; vandalizing a person’s property; and threatening, intimidating or intrusive behavior.

Stalking also includes cyber stalking which is the use of internet, social networks, blogs, cell
phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person.

  • Dating/ Intimate Partner Violence: Dating/Intimate partner violence includes sexual assault, physical abuse, or threat of such violence and abuse by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s characterization of the relationship and the following factors:

  • the length of the relationship;

  • the type of relationship; and

  • the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior by a current or former partner or family household member used to gain or maintain power and control over another.  Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Family or household member is defined as persons who

  • are or were married to one another;

  • are or were residing together in the same household;

  • are or were related by blood or marriage;

  • have a child in common regardless if they were married or lived together; or

  • are or have been in a substantive dating or engagement relationship.

  • Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • prostituting another student;

  • non-consensual video or audio taping of sexual activity;

  • distribution of consensual recordings, photos or other images without the knowledge or permission of the other parties involved;

  • letting others hide to watch one have consensual sex;

  • knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV;

  • inducing incapacitation to make another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity;

  • exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and

  • possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view pornography.

Key Concepts

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The following concepts are factors the College considers when determining whether a violation of our policy has occurred.

  • Consent: Mount Holyoke College believes that all sexual activity should be consensual. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary; it must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity and exist for each form of sexual contact. Consent given for a past sexual activity does not give consent for new activity. The existence of a current or prior dating or intimate relationship does not imply consent.

One demonstrates consent through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive.  Silence or the absence of resistance does not imply consent.  

Consent can be withdrawn at any time. The withdrawal of consent must also be mutually understandable using words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to stop the sexual activity.

An individual who was asleep, or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, or who was under duress, threat, coercion, or force, would not be able to consent to a sexual activity.

  • Retaliation: Retaliation is any act or attempted act to seek retribution from any individual or group of individuals involved in the reporting, investigation and/or resolution of a complaint of sexual misconduct or allegation of gender-based discrimination. Retaliation can take many forms, including continued abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation.  Mount Holyoke College prohibits retaliation against a reporting party, survivor, witness, the accused, administrator, or any individual who participates or cooperates in the investigation or grievance proceedings. Retaliation is also prohibited under Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation and of 1973, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Reports of retaliation are investigated separately from the initial incident.  The sanction for an outcome of retaliation may include termination or expulsion.

  • Incapacitation: Incapacitation is the lack of the ability to make informed, rational judgment to engage in sexual activity. A person who is incapacitated cannot offer consent to sexual activity.   Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs; when a person is asleep or unconscious; or unable to provide consent due to age or intellectual or other disability. Consumption of alcohol or other drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation.  Incapacitation due to alcohol or drug use is a state beyond the use of substances or drunkenness. Markers of incapacitation include the inability to control one’s physical movements, the lack of awareness of the current circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate. The College will consider what the accused person knew or should have known when making the determination if the other party to the sexual act could not give consent due to incapacitation.

  • Coercion: Coercion is the improper use of pressure to compel individuals to initiate or continue sexual activity against their will. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats and blackmail. A person’s words or conduct is sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include threats to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression or threats to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity.

  • Intimidation: Intimidation is any action used to influence another person to acquiesce to a behavior by use of power or authority in a situation where the aggressor’s actions would cause a reasonable person to be fearful.  Intimidation may occur by physical force, threat of violence, threat of outing someone, threat of disclosing personal information, or the threat of removal from membership in a group or activity. Under this policy, an overt act must exist to causes a person’s feelings of intimidation. A person can be found responsible for intimidation due to their own direct actions or the known action of others on their behalf.

Consent, Retaliation and Other Key Concepts

Consent

Mount Holyoke College believes that all sexual activity should be consensual. Consent to engage in any sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary; it must exist for each form of sexual contact.  Consent given for a past sexual activity does not give consent for a new activity.  The existence of a current or prior dating or intimate relationship does not imply consent.  Consent can be given and withdrawn at any time.

One demonstrates consent through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity.  Consent is active, not passive. Silence or the absence of resistance does not imply consent.  

An individual who was asleep, mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effects of drugs, alcohol or for any reason, or who was under duress, threat, coercion, or force, would not be able to consent to sexual activity. 

Guidance on Consent

  • It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain consent. Students are encouraged to communicate openly about what they do and do not want. Students may be held responsible for a violation of the sexual violence policy by NOT OBTAINING consent. A student will not be held responsible if they do not GIVE consent.
  • If the sexual interaction is mutually initiated, both parties are equally responsible for getting and giving consent.
  • All parties must demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of the nature and scope of the act to which they are consenting. 
  • Consent must be a free choice. Consent cannot be obtained by force, coercion, threats, intimidation or pressuring, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another individual.
  • Consent is not unlimited. Consent is required for each separate sexual activity (i.e. kissing, touching, penetration). Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person. Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of contact with each participant. 
  • Everyone has the right to change his or her mind and withdraw consent at any time. Individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout all stages of sexual activity.  Withdrawal of consent can be an expressed “no” or can be based on an outward demonstration that conveys that an individual is hesitant, confused, and uncertain or is no longer a mutual participant. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.
  • The ability to give consent freely may also be jeopardized if the initiator is in a position of power over the student, such as a professor, employer, or functioning in a supervisory capacity.
  • Silence is not consent. Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of response. An individual who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. Relying solely upon non-verbal communication can lead to a false conclusion as to whether consent was sought or given.
 

Retaliation

Retaliation is an act or attempted act to seek retribution from an individual or group of individuals involved in the reporting, investigation and/or resolution of a complaint of sexual violence or allegation of gender-based discrimination. Retaliation can take many forms, including continued abuse or violence, threats, and intimidation.  Mount Holyoke College prohibits retaliation against a reporting party, survivor, witness, accused or ant individual who participates or cooperates in the investigation or grievance proceeding. The sanction for an outcome of retaliation may include employment termination or expulsion from the College. 
 

Incapacitation

Incapacitation is the lack of ability to make informed, rational judgement to engage in sexual activity.  A person who is incapacitated cannot offer consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or drugs, when a person is asleep or unconscious or unable to provide consent due to age or disability. Where alcohol or other drugs are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how substances consumed impact a person’s decision-making ability, awareness of consequences, ability to make informed judgements or capacity to understand the nature of the act. 
 

Force

Force is the use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity. For the use of force to be demonstrated, there is no requirement that a Complainant resists the sexual advance or request. However, resistance by the Complainant will be viewed as a clear demonstration of non-consent.
 

Coercion

Coercion is the improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against his/her will. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats and blackmail. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity.

Title IX Coordinator

Title IX Coordinator

The College has named the following individual as the coordinator to direct the College’s compliance with the various civil rights protections against sex and gender discrimination for faculty, staff, students, and visitors.

Title IX Coordinator

Rene Davis

201 Mary Lyon Hall

South Hadley, MA 01075

titleixofficer@mtholyoke.edu

413-538-3569

The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities includes the following so the College can prevent and address discriminatory issues that affect the Mount Holyoke community

  • Oversee the College’s response to reports and complaints that involve possible gender discrimination;

  • Monitor the outcomes of the investigation and adjudication of  complaints;

  • Identify and address any patterns of inappropriate behavior identified through reports; and

  • Assess the effects of sexual misconduct on the campus climate.

Individuals can report behavior that they experience, witness, or learn about to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will review all reports of gender harassment and sex discrimination. Survivors can also reach out to the Title IX Coordinator to access interim measures to redress, to the extent possible, the discriminatory effects of the sexual misconduct experienced while at the College and prevent its reoccurrence.  

The college may appoint deputy Title IX coordinators, as appropriate, to assist the coordinator in responding to the specific needs of the community.

Offices with Legal Mandates for Confidentiality

Offices with Legal Mandates for Confidentiality

Staff within offices that hold legal confidentiality, such as the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program, Counseling Service or Health Services, are exempt from this confidentiality and privacy guideline, except as otherwise required by law.  Students seeking to disclose an assault or other discriminatory experience confidentially should visit these offices.  The contact information is below. The content of a discussion shared with a confidential resource is not reported to the Title IX Coordinator.  Disclosure to a confidential office does not serve as notice to the College to address the alleged discrimination or sexual misconduct.

Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program

Pattie J. Groves Health Center

Mount Holyoke College

50 College Street

South Hadley, MA 01075

413-538-2616

 

Counseling Service

Pattie J. Groves Health Center

Mount Holyoke College

50 College Street

South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone 413-538-2037

 

Health Services

Counseling Service

Pattie J. Groves Health Center

Mount Holyoke College

50 College Street

South Hadley, MA 01075

Phone 413-538-2121 or 413-538-2242

 

Reporting

Mandatory Reporting

Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 and the Jeanne Clery Act require a “responsible employee” of the College to report instances of gender harassment and sexual violence that they witness or that is reported to them to the Title IX Coordinator. Title IX defines a responsible employee as an employee who has the authority to take action to redress the effects of sexual misconduct; who has been given the duty to report information to an appropriate school official about incidents of sexual misconduct reported by students; or is a person who a student could reasonably believe has the authority or responsibility [1].  Responsible employees are also required to report behaviors they should have reasonably known “in the exercise of reasonable care” when carrying out their duties on campus.

Responsible employees at Mount Holyoke College are  supervisors, student organization advisors, faculty advisors, coaches, Campus Police, deans, and Residential Life staff (including student staff).  Responsible employees must report concerning behavior to their supervisor, department chair or department director.  Employees could also report concerns directly to the Dean of Students, Director of Human Resources, or the Title IX Coordinator.

No employee can offer confidentiality unless that employee’s employment function holds a legal confidentiality mandate.

Third Party and Anonymous Reporting

The College welcomes third party and anonymous reports of sexual misconduct and gender discrimination.  Individuals can make a third party or anonymous report with Campus Police. The Title IX Coordinator will investigate third party and anonymous reports to the extent possible.  Support is available for person making the report.   

Confidential Reporting

Students can make confidential reports to the Alcohol and Drug Awareness Project, Counseling Services, and Health Services.  These offices have a legal mandate for confidentiality.  These offices are not required to turn over identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator; but may provide anonymous data to the Title IX Coordinator to fulfill the College’s security statistics reporting required by law.

Complaints from Guests and Visitors of the College

Survivors or reporting parties who are non-Mount Holyoke College community members (including Five College students) may file a gender discrimination or sexual misconduct complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will respond to any complaint that involved a current member of the Mount Holyoke community (faculty, student, or staff) or that occurred on campus grounds, or during a college sponsored activity away from campus.  The Title IX Coordinator will discuss disciplinary options, interim measures, and support services that are available to guests and visitors.

Provision on Amnesty

The College also recognizes that the fear of disciplinary repercussions may deter reporting or requests for help. The College provides disciplinary amnesty for victims or third-party witnesses who, in the course of seeking support services or reporting a violation of the sexual misconduct policy, disclose personal behavior that would also be a violation of College policy or Honor Code. The reporting student will not receive a violation on their record. This provision on amnesty protects those who report conduct covered within the Sexual Misconduct policy and students who participate in the procedure to adjudicate violations of this policy.

Example of when this provision would apply:

A student is reluctant to report a sexual assault to avoid a violation of the College Alcohol or Drug policy.  To encourage reporting incidents of sexual assault, the College will not pursue or process any violations related to the Alcohol or Drug policy.

This provision does not apply to repeated, flagrant, or serious violations, or violations that caused harm to another person. Amnesty does not preclude action by Campus Police or other outside legal authorities.

Interim Measures

Interim Measures

Interim measures are a set of short-term actions taken to mitigate or remedy harm caused by behavior prohibited under this policy and to prevent its reoccurrence. Interim measures can range from a no-contact agreement to a temporary suspension pending investigation.  Interim measures will be used when a complaint is open and the investigation is in process to ensure both parties involved in an investigation have access to the programs, activities, and services of the College.  Students interested in obtaining interim measures should speak with the Title IX Coordinator or the Dean of Students.

Interim measures are available regardless if formal disciplinary action is sought. The College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all parties, the safety of the broader College community and/or to maintain the integrity of the investigation and/or resolution process. The type of interim measure used will be considered using those same factors.

Examples of interim measures

  • a mutual on-campus “no-contact agreement”;

  • an extension of time for assignments and/or rescheduling of an exam where possible;

  • an approval for a reduced academic course load for one semester.

  • a withdrawal from a course without penalty;

  • a change to work schedules or job assignments where possible;

  • a change of residence hall assignment or temporary removal from housing;

  • permission to live off-campus;

  • trespass order

  • an approval of a voluntary leave of absence; and/or

  • a temporary suspension during the investigation.

The College will consider any other remedy proposed to achieve the goal of safe access to College programs, activities and services.