Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct (Interim Policy)

Established: August 2011
Date Last Revised: August 14, 2020
Approved by:
Title IX Coordinator
Responsible Office:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Responsible Senior Staff Member:
Title IX Coordinator or designee

Statement

Mount Holyoke College (the College) is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, that are free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. To ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm our commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity, the College has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected class status, and for allegations of retaliation. 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) is a federal civil-rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sex or gender based discrimination, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct, including stalking and intimate partner violence. 

Mount Holyoke College’s Interim Policy Gender-based and Sexual Misconduct (“Policy”) prohibits the following types of conduct as defined in below (also referred to collectively as “Prohibited Conduct”):

  • Title IX Misconduct (i.e., Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment; Severe, Pervasive and Objectively Offensive Sexual Harassment; Sexual Assault; and Sex-Based Intimate Partner Violence and Stalking; as defined by and within the scope of Title IX); and
  • Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct  (i.e. Sexual or  Gender-Based Harassment; Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse; Non-Consensual Sexual Contact; Relationship Violence; Sexual Exploitation; Sex and/or Gender-Based Stalking; Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination; Retaliation). 

The College must define and respond to the Title IX Misconduct as required by regulations issued in May 2020 by the U.S. Department of Education to implement Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, codified at 34 C.F.R. Part 106 (the “Title IX Regulations”). The Title IX Regulations allow the College to define and regulate Prohibited Conduct that falls outside the definition of Title IX Misconduct, but which the College is committed to addressing as a matter of College policy and/or as required by other applicable law. 

Accordingly, the College’s policy prohibiting Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Misconduct is consistent with the Title IX Regulations, as well as our mission and commitment to ensuring a safe and non-discriminatory campus community. 

This Policy sets forth how the College will proceed once it is made aware of possible Prohibited Conduct. The Policy is in keeping with our institutional values and is intended to meet our obligations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) and regulations promulgated thereunder in 2020; the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”), as amended by the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”), with respect to its application to Prohibited Conduct; and other applicable law and regulations.

Policy of Nondiscrimination 

Mount Holyoke is committed both to its historic mission as a women’s college and to providing access to talented students from all backgrounds. The diversity within our students, staff, faculty, and curricula is a point of pride and a hallmark of the institution. The framework for our commitment to diversity sits within our active prohibition of discrimination in our educational policies, employment, campus services and activities on the basis of age, color, creed, disability, gender identity, national/ethnic origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, veteran/uniform status, and all other classifications protected by law. This same principle applies to admission to our graduate and extension programs.

With respect to admission to our undergraduate degree program, Mount Holyoke admits qualified women without regard to age, color, creed, disability, national/ethnic origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran/uniform status. 

— Approved by the Board of Trustees, fall 2015

Potential violations of this policy will be address through one of the following options:

Glossary of Terms

  • Advisor: a person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to conduct cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if any. 
  • Alternative Resolution also described as Informal Resolution: an umbrella term that refers to approaches such as mediation, restorative practices, negotiated terms or agreements and other methods outside of the Formal Grievance Procedures. (See Alternative Resolution for Alleged Violations of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct)
  • Complainant: an individual who is alleged to be the victim or survivor of Prohibited Conduct.
  • Complaint (formal): a document filed and signed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Prohibited Conduct against a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation.
  • Confidential Resource: an employee who is not a Mandated Reporter of notice of Prohibited Conduct, (irrespective of Clery Act Campus Security Authority status).
  • Decision-maker: those who decision-making and sanctioning authority within Mount Holyoke’s Formal Grievance Process either at the hearing phase or the Appeal.
  • Education program or activity: locations, events, or circumstances where Mount Holyoke College exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Prohibited Conduct occurs and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the College.
  • Final Determination: a conclusion by preponderance of evidence that the alleged conduct occurred and whether it did or did not violate policy. 
  • Finding: a conclusion by preponderance of evidence that the conduct did or did not occur as alleged.
  • Formal Grievance or “Procedures”: a method of formal resolution designated by the recipient to address conduct that falls within the policies included below, and which complies with the requirements of 34 CFR Part 106.45.
  • Grievance Process Pool: includes any investigators, hearing officers, appeal officers, and Advisors who may perform any or all of these roles (though not at the same time or with respect to the same case).  (See Grievance Process Pool Members)
  • Hearing Panel: refers to those who have decision-making and sanctioning authority within Mount Holyoke’s Formal Grievance Process.
  • Investigator: the person or persons charged by Mount Holyoke College with gathering facts about an alleged violation of this Policy, assessing relevance and credibility, synthesizing the evidence, and compiling this information into an investigation report and file of directly related evidence.
  • Mandated Reporter: an employee of Mount Holyoke who is obligated by policy to share knowledge, notice, and/or reports of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation with the Title IX Coordinator. (Not to be confused with those mandated by state law to report child abuse, elder abuse, and/or abuse of individuals with disabilities to appropriate officials, though these responsibilities may overlap with those who have mandated reporting responsibility in this Policy. )
  • Notice: an employee, student, or third-party informs the Title IX Coordinator or other Official with Authority of the alleged occurrence of harassing, discriminatory, and/or retaliatory conduct. 
  • Official with Authority (OWA): an employee of Mount Holyoke explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures for harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation on behalf of Mount Holyoke College. 
  • Parties: include the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s), collectively. 
  • Procedures: the Formal Grievance Process.
  • Remedies: post-finding actions directed to the Complainant and/or the community as mechanisms to address safety, prevent recurrence, and restore access to the Colleget’s educational program.
  • Respondent: an individual who has been reported to have committed an act of Prohibited Conduct. 
  • Resolution: the result of an Alternative Resolution or Formal Grievance Process.
  • Sanction: a consequence imposed by the College on a Respondent who is found to have violated this policy.
  • Sexual Harassment: the umbrella category including the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and domestic violence. 
  • Title IX Coordinator: at least one official designated by the College to ensure compliance with Title IX. References to the Coordinator throughout this policy may also encompass a designee of the Coordinator for specific tasks.
  • Title IX Team: the Title IX Coordinator, any deputy title IX coordinators and any member of the Grievance Process Pool.

Scope

The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of all forms of sex and gender based discrimination. This policy applies to students, employees and third parties. (For the purpose of this policy, the College defines “student” as any individual who has accepted an offer of admission, or who is registered or enrolled for credit or non-credit bearing coursework, and who maintains an ongoing relationship with Mount Holyoke.)

This Policy covers acts of Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct (as defined in the section on Prohibited Conduct) committed by or against Students, Employees, and Third Parties when the Prohibited Conduct occurs:

  • On campus or other property owned or controlled by the College; 
  • In the context of a College program or activity including, but not limited to, Mount Holyoke sponsored study abroad, research, field work, internship programs, online programs, employment; or
  • Outside of a College program or activity but potentially poses a serious threat of harm, has a continuing adverse effect on, or creates a hostile environment for Students, Employees, or Third Parties. 

This Policy also covers Title IX Misconduct (as defined in the section on Prohibited Conduct) committed by or against Students and/or Employees in a College program or activity, in the United States. 

The Respondent must be a member of the Mount Holyoke College community in order for its policies to apply. The Complainant, who may or may not be a member of the Mount Holyoke community. This community includes, but is not limited to, students, student organizations, faculty, administrators, staff, and third parties such as guests, visitors, volunteers, invitees, and campers. 

Regardless of where the conduct occurred, the College will address notice/complaints to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of its employment or educational program or activity and/or has continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus sponsored program or activity.

If the Respondent is unknown or is not a member of the Mount Holyoke College community, the Title IX Coordinator will assist the Complainant in identifying appropriate campus and local resources and support options and/or, when criminal conduct is alleged, in contacting local law enforcement or Public Safety and Supports if the individual would like to file a police report. 

Further, even when the Respondent is not a member of the Mount Holyoke community, supportive measures, remedies, and resources may be accessible to the Complainant by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. 

In addition, the College may take other actions as appropriate to protect the Complainant against third parties, such as barring individuals from Mount Holyoke College property and/or events. 

All vendors serving the College through third-party contracts are subject to the policies and procedures of their employers. The College reserves the right to modify or cancel third party contracts when behavior is reported that is in violation of College Policy. The College may also address concerns through other channels if appropriate. 

When the Respondent is enrolled in or employed by another institution, including one of the other Five Colleges, Smith College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Title IX Coordinator can assist the Complainant in liaising with the appropriate individual at that institution, as it may be possible to allege violations through that institution’s policies. 

Similarly, the Title IX Coordinator may be able to advocate for a student or employee Complainant who experiences discrimination in an externship, study abroad program, or other environment external to Mount Holyoke College where sexual harassment or nondiscrimination policies and procedures of the facilitating or host organization may give recourse to the Complainant. 

This Policy supersedes any conflicting information in any other College policies with respect to the definitions or procedures relating to Prohibited Conduct.

Oversight 

The Vice President for Equity and Inclusion oversees implementation of the Mount Holyoke College’s policy on Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct. 

Kijua Sanders-McMurtry
Vice President for Equity and Inclusion
Chief Diversity Officer
Dwight Hall 217
413-538-2800
kijuasm@mtholyoke.edu

Title IX Coordinator 

The Associate Director of Equity and Compliance serves as the Title IX & 504 Coordinator and oversees implementation of Mount Holyoke College’s compliance with Title IX & Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating the College’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution, and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prohibited under this policy. 

Shannon Da Silva
Associate Director of Equity and Compliance
Title IX & 504 Coordinator
Dwight Hall 217
413-538-3642
sdasilva@mtholyoke.edu
titleixofficer@mtholyoke.edu

Independence and Conflict-of-Interest

The Title IX Coordinator acts with independence and authority free from bias and conflicts of interest. The Title IX Coordinator oversees all resolutions under this policy and these procedures. The members of the Title IX Team are vetted and trained to ensure they are not biased for or against any party in a specific case, or for or against Complainants and/or Respondents, generally. 

To raise any concern involving bias or conflict of interest by the Title IX Coordinator, contact the Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Kijua Sanders-McMurtry at kijuasm@mtholyoke.edu or 413-538-2800. Concerns of bias or a potential conflict of interest by any other Title IX Team member should be raised with the Title IX Coordinator.

Reporting

Notice or complaints of Prohibited Conduct and/or retaliation may be made using any of the following options:

  1. Reports to a Title IX team member at the contact information listed below.
  2. Anonymous Reporting Online: Report can be made using the Campus Bias, Insensitivity and Discrimination Incident Reporting Form: which gives the option to remain anonymous. Anonymous reporting can help the College monitor campus climate and inform its training, program planning and policy development. However, the College’s ability to take specific action on an incident can be limited depending on the amount of information provided. 
  3. Reporting to Law Enforcement: A report to Public Safety and Service can be filed by going directly in person or by calling 413-538-2304 or 911. Public Safety and Service can help identify the appropriate law enforcement agency if the incident occurred off campus. 

Filing a Formal Complaint

A Formal Complaint means a document signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging a policy violation by a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation(s). A complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail. A formal complaint must be filed in order to proceed with a Formal Grievance.

Title IX Team Contact Information

Complaints or notice of alleged policy violations, or inquiries about or concerns regarding may be made internally to:

Shannon Da Silva
Associate Director of Equity and Compliance
Title IX & 504 Coordinator
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Dwight Hall 217
413-538-3642
sdasilva@mtholyoke.edu

TitleIXofficer@mtholyoke.edu

She/her/hers

Latrina Denson
Associate Dean of Students
Division of Student Life
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Students)
205 Blanchard Hall
413-538-2551
ldenson@mtholyoke.edu

She/her/hers

Amber N. Douglas, PhD*
Dean of Studies & Director, Office of Student Success and Advising
Associate Professor of Psychology
Student Success and Advising
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Faculty)
3rd Floor Mary Lyon Hall
413-538-2859
adouglas@mtholyoke.edu

She/Her/Hers

Gary B. Gillis*
Associate Dean of Faculty
Director of the Science Center
Norman Wait Harris and Emma Gale Harris Foundation Professor of Zoology
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Faculty)
Mary Lyon Hall, Dean of Faculty’s Office
413-538-2515
ggillis@mtholyoke.edu
He/him/his

Heidi Friedman
Associate Vice President
Executive Director of Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Staff)
Skinner Hall
413-538-3626
hfriedma@mtholyoke.edu

She/her/hers

Catie LeBlanc
Assistant Athletic Trainer
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Athletics)
Division of Student Life
126 Kendall Sports and Dance Complex
413-538-3316
cleblanc@mtholyoke.edu

She/her/hers

Erica Lemm
Associate Director of Athletics
Division of Student Life
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Athletics)
112 Kendall Sports and Dance Complex
413-538-2276  
elemm@mtholyoke.edu
She/her/hers

Elizabeth Markovits*
Associate Dean of Faculty
Professor, Department of Politics
Director, Teaching & Learning Initiative
Director, First Year Seminar Program
Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Faculty)
Dwight Hall Room 217
413-538-3065
emarkovits@mtholyoke.edu
She/Her/Hers

*Newly appointed Title IX Deputy, will be trained Fall 2020

In compliance with new Title IX regulations, Mount Holyoke College has also deemed all Officers and Deans of the College to be Officials with Authority (OWA). OWAs may also be contacted with concerns related to this policy or procedures or to give notice of a complaint. OWAs are Mandated Reporters and have an additional duty to report any potential Prohibited Conduct under this Policy to the Title IX team.  

Parties may wish to file a complaint with one or more of the following external agencies:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C.  20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
Fax: (202) 453-6012 
TDD#: (877) 521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

Hampshire County District Attorney’s Office
One Gleason Plaza
Northampton, MA 01060
Main: 413-586-9225
Fax: 413-584-3635

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
John F. Kennedy Federal Building
475 Government Center
Boston, MA 02203
617-565-3200

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)
Springfield Office
436 Dwight Street
Springfield, MA 01103
413-739-2145

Boston Office
One Ashburton Place, Room 601  
Boston, MA 02108
617-994-6000

Promptness

All allegations are acted upon promptly by the College once it has received notice or a formal complaint. Complaints can take 60-90 business days to resolve, typically. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances that can cause a resolution to take longer, but the College will avoid all undue delays within its control.

Time Limits on Reporting

There is no time limitation on providing notice/complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. However, if the Respondent is no longer subject to the College’s jurisdiction and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited or impossible. 

Acting on notice/complaints significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy) is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, who may document allegations for future reference, offer supportive measures and/or remedies, and/or engage in Alternative Resolution or Formal Grievance Process, as appropriate. 

When notice/complaint is affected by significant time delay, the College will typically apply the policy in place at the time of the alleged misconduct and the procedures in place at the time of notice/complaint.

Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses

Mount Holyoke College encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses. Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to college officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be in violation of certain policies, such as underage drinking or use of illicit drugs at the time of the incident. Respondents may hesitate to be forthcoming during the process for the same reasons.

It is in the best interests of the College community that Complainants choose to report misconduct to college officials, that witnesses come forward to share what they know, and that all parties be forthcoming during the process. 

To encourage reporting and participation in the process, the College maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations – such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs – related to the incident. 

Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution.

Privacy

Every effort is made by Mount Holyoke to preserve the privacy of reports. The College will not share the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint under this Policy; any Complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any Respondent, or any witness, except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g; FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99; or as required by law; or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR Part 106, including the conducting of any investigation, hearing, or grievance proceeding arising under these policies and procedures.

The College reserves the right to designate which Mount Holyoke officials have a legitimate educational interest in being informed about incidents that fall within this policy, pursuant to the FERPA.

Information will be shared as necessary with Investigators, Hearing Panel members/Decision-makers, witnesses, and the parties. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve the parties’ rights and privacy.  

The College may contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk.

Note: For the purpose of this policy, privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings. Privacy means that information related to a complaint will be shared with a limited number of Mount Holyoke College employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are involved in the College’s response to notice under this policy receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the Recipient’s FERPA policy. The privacy of employee records will be protected in accordance with Human Resources policies. Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including those who provide services related to medical and clinical care, mental health providers, and counselors. The law creates a privilege between certain health care providers, mental health care providers, attorneys, clergy, spouses, and others, with their patients, clients. The College has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as Confidential Resources. For more information about Confidential Resources, see Section 13. When information is shared by a Complainant with a Confidential Resource, the Confidential Resource cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information. For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is a concern that the individual will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others; or (iii) the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18, elders, or individuals with disabilities. Non-identifiable information may be shared by Confidential Resources for statistical tracking purposes as required by the federal Clery Act. Other information may be shared as required by law.

Mandated Reporting

All Mount Holyoke College employees, including student employees, are expected to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials immediately, though there are some limited exceptions. 

In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality and are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment. They may offer options and resources without any obligation to inform an outside agency or campus official unless a Complainant has requested the information be shared. 

If a Complainant expects formal action in response to their allegations, reporting to any Mandated Reporter can connect them with resources to report crimes and/or policy violations, and these employees will immediately pass reports to the Title IX Coordinator (and/or law enforcement, if desired by the Complainant), who will take action when an incident is reported to them. 

Mandated Reporters and Formal Notice/Complaints

Mandated Reporters must promptly share with the Title IX Coordinator all known details of a report made to them in the course of their employment.

Employees must also promptly share all details of behaviors prohibited under this policy that they observe or have knowledge of, even if not reported to them by a Complainant or third-party. 

Complainants may want to carefully consider whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential Mandated Reporters, as those details must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator. 

Generally, disclosures in climate surveys, human subjects research, or at events such as “Take Back the Night” marches or speak-outs do not provide notice that must be reported to the Title IX Coordinator by employees, unless the Complainant clearly indicates that they desire a report to be made or a seek a specific response from the College.

Failure of a Mandated Reporter, as described above in this section, to report an incident of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy of which they become aware is a violation of Mount Holyoke College policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply.

In compliance with new Title IX regulations, Mount Holyoke College has also deemed all Officers and Deans of the College to be Officials with Authority (OWA). OWAs may also be contacted with concerns related to this policy or procedures or to give notice of a complaint. OWAs are mandated reporters and have an additional duty to report any potential violations of this policy to the Title IX team. 

Confidential Resources 

All of the resources listed in this section will maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics, and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor/elder/individual with a disability, or when required to disclose by law or court order. 

Mount Holyoke College employees who are confidential will timely submit anonymous statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to their client or patient.

Confidential Resources on Campus

Counseling Service
Pattie J. Groves Health Center
413-538-2037

Students can receive counseling services free of charge, including crisis intervention and trauma recovery services during the academic year. Year-round emergency services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week and can be reached by calling the Counseling Service Care and Support Line at 413-538-2037. 

Health Services
Pattie J. Groves Health Center
413-538-2242

Students can contact Health Services for medical assistance and referrals. Assistance could include connecting with a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE), providing emergency contraception, testing for sexually transmitted infections or other screening for predatory drugs up to 96 hours after the incident. A clinician is on call 24 hours a day during the academic year.

Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP)
Safford Hall
413-538-2616

Students can contact the ADAP therapist for crisis intervention and to assist in trauma recovery.

Employee Assistance Program

Confidential Resources Off-campus

Center for Women and Community (CWC) 24/7 Hotline
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Main number: 413-545-0800  
Toll-free: 888-337-0800               
TTY: 413-577-0940 or Mass Relay: 711

CWC is a multicultural campus-based center that offers many services to meet the needs of the diverse cultural and linguistic populations of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Five Colleges and surrounding Hampshire County community. Services include crisis counseling in individual and group settings for survivors of sexual and relationship violence.

SAFEPLAN

This statewide, court-based program provides specially trained and certified advocates to help survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking who are seeking protection. SAFEPLAN provides services to survivors free of charge. Advocates help survivors develop personalized safety plans, obtain 209A restraining orders (also called protective orders) and 258E harassment prevention orders from the court, and accompany the survivors to protective-order hearings.

  • SAFEPLAN Office — Hampden County
    Womanshelter/Compañeras, Inc.
    PO Box 1099
    Holyoke, MA 01040
    413-538-9717
  • SAFEPLAN Hampshire County
    YWCA of Western Mass., Inc
    One Clough Street
    Springfield, MA 01108
    413-732-3121

Safe Passage 

Safe Passage offers a variety of programs designed to support survivors of domestic violence. Services include support and advocacy; individual and group counseling; advocacy related to housing, welfare, medical and educational issues; safety planning; support for children who have witnessed violence; specialized services for immigrants; and legal assistance with divorce, child custody, and other probate and family issues. Safe Passage also has a 24-hour, confidential, toll-free hotline for crisis intervention and emotional support, and an emergency shelter.

Safe Passage
43 Center Street, Suite 304
Northampton, MA 01060
Main: 413-586-1125
Hotlines: (voice) 413-586-5066; (TTY/TTD) 888-345-5282
Fax: 413-586-3742
info@safepass.org

Supportive Measures 

The College will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation. 

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to Mount Holyoke’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the College’s educational environment, and/or deter harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

The Title IX Coordinator promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. At the time that supportive measures are offered, the College will inform the Complainant, in writing, that they may file a formal complaint with the College either at that time or in the future, if they have not done so already. The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented. 

The College will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the College’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The College will act to ensure as minimal an academic impact on the parties as possible. The College will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party.

These actions may include, but are not limited to: 

  • Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services
  • Referral to Employee Assistance Program 
  • Referral to community-based service providers
  • Visa and immigration support
  • Student financial aid counseling
  • Education to the community or community subgroup(s)
  • Altering campus housing assignment(s)
  • Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees
  • Safety planning
  • Providing campus safety escorts
  • Implementing contact limitations (no contact orders) between the parties
  • Academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments
  • Trespass orders
  • Timely warnings
  • Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus 
  • Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator

Violations of no contact orders will be referred to appropriate student or employee conduct processes for enforcement.

Emergency Removal 

The College can act to remove a Respondent entirely or partially from its education program or activities on an emergency basis when an individualized safety and risk analysis has determined that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual justifies removal. This risk analysis is performed by the Title IX Coordinator in conjunction with the Behavioral Intervention Team using its standard objective violence risk assessment procedures. 

In all cases in which an emergency removal is imposed, the student or employee will be given notice of the action and the option to request to meet with the Title IX Coordinator prior to such action/removal being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the action/removal should not be implemented or should be modified. 

This meeting is not a hearing on the merits of the allegation(s), but rather is an administrative process intended to determine solely whether the emergency removal is appropriate. When this meeting is not requested in a timely manner objections to the emergency removal will be deemed waived. A Complainant and their Advisor may be permitted to participate in this meeting if the Title IX Coordinator determines it is equitable to do so. This section also applies to any restrictions that a coach or athletic administrator may place on a student-athlete arising from allegations related to Title IX. There is no appeal process for emergency removal decisions.

A Respondent may be accompanied by an Advisor of their choice when meeting with the Title IX Coordinator for the show cause meeting. The Respondent will be given access to a written summary of the basis for the emergency removal prior to the meeting to allow for adequate preparation. 

The Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion under this policy to implement or stay an emergency removal and to determine the conditions and duration. Violation of an emergency removal under this policy will be grounds for discipline, which may include expulsion or termination. 

The College will implement the least restrictive emergency actions possible in light of the circumstances and safety concerns. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator, these actions could include, but are not limited to: removing a student from a residence hall, temporarily re-assigning an employee, restricting a student’s or employee’s access to or use of facilities or equipment, allowing a student to withdraw or take grades of incomplete without financial penalty, authorizing an administrative leave, and suspending a student’s participation in extracurricular activities, student employment, student organizational leadership, or intercollegiate/intramural athletics. 

At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an academic impact as possible on the parties.

Online Harassment and Misconduct

The policies of Mount Holyoke are written and interpreted broadly to include online and cyber manifestations of any of the behaviors prohibited below, when those behaviors occur in or have an effect on the College’s education program and activities or use the College’s networks, technology, or equipment. 

While the College may not control websites, social media, and other venues in which harassing communications are made, when such communications are reported to the College, it may engage in a variety of means to address and mitigate the effects. 

Members of the community are encouraged to be good digital citizens and to refrain from online misconduct, such as feeding anonymous gossip sites, sharing inappropriate content via Snaps or other social media, unwelcome sexting, revenge porn, breaches of privacy, or otherwise using the ease of transmission and/or anonymity of the Internet or other technology to harm another member of the Mount Holyoke College community.

Disability Accommodations 

Mount Holyoke College is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the College’s resolution process. 

Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Office of AccessAbility Services for students or Human Resources for employees, who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process. 

If any participant involved in any process under this Policy is already registered with Human Resources or the Office of AccessAbility and has previously been approved for accommodations, the Title IX Coordinator will work with the individual to apply those accommodations to this process where applicable at the parties request.

When a Complainant Does Not Wish to Proceed

If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal complaint to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal laws. 

The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the College proceeds when the Complainant does not wish to do so, and the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a grievance process upon completion of an appropriate violence risk assessment. 

The Title IX Coordinator’s decision should be based on results of the violence risk assessment that show a compelling risk to health and/or safety that requires the College to pursue formal action to protect the community. A compelling risk to health and/or safety may result from evidence of patterns of misconduct, predatory conduct, threats, abuse of minors, use of weapons, and/or violence. Mount Holyoke may be compelled to act on alleged employee misconduct irrespective of a Complainant’s wishes.

The Title IX Coordinator must also consider the effect that non-participation by the Complainant may have on the availability of evidence and the College’s ability to pursue a Formal Grievance Process fairly and effectively. 

When the Title IX Coordinator executes the written complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant is the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy. 

When the College proceeds, the Complainant (or their Advisor) may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The Complainant retains all rights of a Complainant under this Policy irrespective of their level of participation. Typically, when the Complainant chooses not to participate, the Advisor may be appointed as proxy for the Complainant throughout the process, acting to ensure and protect the rights of the Complainant. 

Note that the College’s ability to remedy and respond to notice may be limited if the Complainant does not want the College to proceed with an investigation and/or grievance process. The goal is to provide the Complainant with as much control over the process as possible, while balancing the College’s obligation to protect its community.

In cases in which the Complainant requests no formal action and the circumstances allow the College to honor that request, the College will offer Alternative Resolution options supportive measures, and remedies to the Complainant and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. 

If the Complainant elects to take no action, they can change that decision if they decide to pursue a formal complaint at a later date. Upon making a formal complaint, a Complainant has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by the College, and to have the incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.

Federal Timely Warning Obligations

Parties reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking should be aware that under the Clery Act, the College must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. 

The College will ensure that a Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.

False Allegations and Evidence

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence after being directed to preserve such evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under College policy.

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials – those deemed Campus Security Authorities – have a duty to report the following for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act):

  1. All “primary crimes,” which include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson;
  2. Hate crimes, which include any bias motivated primary crime as well as any bias motivated larceny or theft, simple assault, intimidation, or destruction/damage/vandalism of property;
  3. VAWA-based crimes, which include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; and
  4. Arrests and referrals for disciplinary action for weapons-related law violations, liquor-related law violations, and drug abuse-related law violations.

All personally identifiable information is kept private, but statistical information must be passed along to Public Safety and Service regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus or in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report and daily campus crime log. 

Campus Security Authorities include: student affairs/student conduct staff, Public Safety and Service, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations, and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.

Note: VAWA is the Violence Against Women Act, enacted in 1994 codified in part at 42 U.S.C. sections 13701 through 14040

Prohibited Conduct

Students, staff, administrators, and faculty are entitled to an employment and educational environment that is free of discriminatory harassment. The College’s Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. 

The sections below describe the specific forms of legally prohibited harassment that are prohibited under Mount Holyoke College policy. When speech or conduct is protected by academic freedom, it will not be considered a violation of Mount Holyoke College policy, though supportive measures will be offered to those impacted.

Title IX Misconduct

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts regard Sexual Harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. 

All conduct alleged using the definitions below will be addressed through the Formal Grievance Procedures or Alternative Resolution. 

Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved. 

Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. Quid Pro Quo:

  1. an employee of the College, 
  2. conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College,
  3. on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or
  1. Sexual Harassment:

  1. unwelcome conduct, 
  2. determined by a reasonable person,
  3. to be so severe, and
  4. pervasive, and,
  5. objectively offensive, 
  6. that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity.
  1. Sexual assault, defined as:

  1. Sex Offenses, Forcible:

    1. Any sexual act directed against another person, 

    2. without the consent of the Complainant, 

    3. including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent. (Note: This definition set is not taken from SRS/NIBRS verbatim. ATIXA has substituted Complainant for “victim,” has removed references to his/her throughout, has defined “private body parts,” has removed the confusing and unnecessary term “unlawfully,” and has inserted language clarifying that the College interprets “against the person’s will” to mean “non-consensually.” These are liberties ATIXA thinks are important to take with respect to the federal definitions. Mount Holyoke has adopted these changes.)

  2. Forcible Rape:

    1. Penetration, 

    2. no matter how slight, 

    3. of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or

    4. oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, 

    5. without the consent of the Complainant.

  3. Forcible Sodomy:

    1. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, 

    2. forcibly,

    3. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or 

    4. not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age (per state law) or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

  4. Sexual Assault with an Object:

    1. The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, 

    2. however slightly, 

    3. the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, 

    4. forcibly, 

    5. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), 

    6. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

  5. Forcible Fondling:

    1. The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts), 

    2. for the purpose of sexual gratification, 

    3. forcibly, 

    4. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), 

    5. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity. 

  6. Sex Offenses, Non-forcible:

    1. Incest:

      1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse, 

      2. between persons who are related to each other, 

      3. within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Massachusetts law. 

    2. Statutory Rape:

      1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse,

      2. with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of 16. 

  1. Dating Violence, defined as: 

    1. violence, 

    2. on the basis of sex,

    3. committed by a person,

    4. who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. 

      1. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition—

      2. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.

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

  1. Domestic Violence, defined as:

    1. violence,

    2. on the basis of sex,

    3. committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant,

    4. by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or

    5. by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or

    6. by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Massachusetts or

    7. by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Massachusetts.

*To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.

 

  1. Stalking, defined as:

    1. engaging in a course of conduct,

    2. on the basis of sex,

    3. directed at a specific person, that 

      1. would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or 

      2. the safety of others; or

      3. Suffer substantial emotional distress. 

        For the purposes of this definition—

  1. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the Respondent directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  2. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.
  3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

The College also has a Policy on Staff Family and Other Close Relationships as well as Staff-Student Romantic and Sexual Relationships

Mount Holyoke College reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any offense under this policy. A list of sanction options can be found in the Section titled Sanctions.

Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation

As used in Title IX Misconduct and Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct, the following definitions and understandings apply:

Force

Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”). 

Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent. 

Coercion

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. 

Consent

Consent is: 

  • knowing, and
  • voluntary, and
  • clear permission 
  • by word or action 
  • to engage in sexual activity. 

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. 

If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter, but clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged.

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back. 

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time. 

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. 

Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on the College to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced. 

Consent in relationships must also be considered in context. When parties consent to BDSM (Bondage, discipline/dominance, submission/sadism, and masochism) or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance, force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual, so the College’s evaluation of communication in kink situations should be guided by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to policy that assumes non-kink relationships as a default. 

Incapacitation

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. As stated above, a Respondent violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving consent. 

It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation that the Respondent neither knew nor should have known the Complainant to be physically or mentally incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment. 

Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). 

Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk. This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.

Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct

In addition to the forms of Title IX Misconduct defined in Section A, the College also prohibits Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct as defined below. Allegations of these offenses will be resolved through the Interim Formal Grievance Procedures or Interim Alternative Resolution. 

  1. Sex or Gender-Based Harassment

Sex based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, as determined by a reasonable person that is severe, pervasive or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity. Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following conditions outlined below are present.

Gender-based harassment includes unwelcome conduct of verbal, nonverbal or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation or sex stereotyping that, as determined by a reasonable person that is severe, pervasive or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the 

College’s education program or activity when one or both of the following conditions below are present:

  • Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of the individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, participation or enrollment at the College. This is often referred to as “quid pro quo.”
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s working, learning or living environment or limits the individual’s ability to participate or benefit from the College’s employment, education programs or activities by creating an intimidating, threatening, abusive, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive environment using both a subjective and objective perspective. This is often referred to as a “hostile environment.”

Sexual or gender-based harassment can take many forms. Reported conduct of this nature will be evaluated by considering the totality of the circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual or gender-based harassment, a single incident, even if isolated, can create a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical or sufficiently serious. A single incident of sexual assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In addition, conduct that was initially welcomed may develop into a form of sexual or gender-based harassment depending on the circumstances. The conduct does not have to be directed at a particular person to constitute sexual or gender-based harassment.

Examples of conduct that may constitute sexual or gender-based harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, whether they involve physical touching or not.
  • Sexual innuendos, jokes, written or verbal references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one’s own sex life, comments on an individual’s body, discussion or inquiry about an individual’s sexual orientation, gender identity, activity, deficiencies or prowess.
  • Displaying or circulating sexually suggestive objects, pictures, videos or cartoons, including via electronic communications.
  • Threats or insinuations that a person’s employment or wages, academic grade, promotional opportunities, classroom work assignments or other conditions of employment or academic life may be adversely affected by not submitting to sexual advances.
  • Refusal to use or consistent misuse of someone’s stated name or pronouns.
  • Outing someone as transgender with the intent to cause harm.
  • Bullying or hazing based on sex or gender:
    • Bullying is the repeated use by one or more people of a written, verbal or electronic expression or a physical act or gesture or any combination thereof, directed at another person that causes physical or emotional harm to the victim or damage to the victim’s property, places the victim in reasonable fear of harm to self or damage of personal property, creates a hostile environment at the College for the victim, infringes on the rights of the victim at the College, or materially and substantially disrupts the education process or orderly operation of the College.
    • Hazing is any conduct or methods of initiation into student organizations, whether on public or private property, that willfully or recklessly endanger the physical or mental health of any person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment of forced physical activity that is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any person, or that subjects the person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
  1. Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Sexual intercourse is any penetration, however slight, with any object or body part performed by a person upon another person. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; any contact no matter how slight, between the mouth of one person and the genitalia of another person.

  1. Non Consensual Sexual Contact 

Sexual contact includes an intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or body part without consent. Sexual contact includes intentional touching of the mouth, breast, buttocks, groin or genitals whether clothed or unclothed, or intentional touching of another with any of these body parts, making another touch themselves or another with or on any of these body parts.

See the full definition of consent under Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation above.

  1. Relationship Violence 

Relationship violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic, intimate, domestic partner, spousal, sexual or dating nature with the person subject to that violence. Relationship violence is also referred to as intimate partner violence, dating violence or domestic violence. The existence of a romantic, intimate, domestic partner, spousal, sexual, domestic or dating relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s characterization of the relationship and the following factors:

  • Length of the relationship.
  • Type of relationship.
  • Frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Relationship violence includes but is not limited to:

  • Physical or sexual violence.
  • Emotional or psychological abuse.
  • Economic abuse in the form of threats, assaults, property damage or other violence.

Relationship violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities, gender expressions and sexual orientation and does not discriminate by racial, social or economic background. Relationship violence may include other forms of sexual misconduct under this policy.

Physical violence is the intentional use of physical force with the potential for causing harm, disability, injury or death. Emotional or psychological abuse is a persistent pattern or prolonged climate of domination or controlling behavior, often involving the use of verbal and nonverbal control over another person. Examples of emotional or psychological abuse may include: 

  • Name calling.
  • Humiliation.
  • Social isolation.
  • Limiting access to transportation or money.
  • Monitoring behavior.
  • Threats of violence.
  • Control of reproductive health or intentional deception about use of safer sex methods.
  • Exploitation of vulnerabilities.
  • Presenting false information with intent of making the person doubt their own memory or perception.
  1. Sexual Exploitation defined as: taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own benefit or for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, and that conduct does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this policy. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as observing or allowing others to observe a person undressing or using the bathroom or engaging in sexual acts, without the consent of the person being observed)
  • Invasion of sexual privacy.
  • Taking pictures, video, or audio recording of a sexual nature of another when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy during the activity, without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent), including the making or posting of revenge pornography
  • Prostituting another person
  • Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI), without informing the other person of the infection
  • Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity
  • Misappropriation of another person’s identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual connections
  • Forcing a person to take an action against that person’s will by threatening to show, post, or share information, video, audio, or an image that depicts the person’s nudity or sexual activity
  • Knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity
  • Engaging in sex trafficking
  • Creation, possession, or dissemination or child pornography
  1. Sex or Gender-based Stalking

This Policy prohibits stalking on the basis of sex or gender. Stalking is the willful and malicious pattern of conduct or series of acts over a period of time that:

  • Are directed at a specific person.
  • Cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.
  • Make a threat with the intent to place a person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury.

Stalking includes two or more acts of unwanted or harassing behavior, such as following a person; appearing at a person’s home/residence hall, class or work; making or sending 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; monitoring or tracking a person’s activity; using third parties to monitor or track behavior or engage in other unwanted contact; and threatening, intimidating or intrusive behavior.

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

  1. Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination 

Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination is conduct that is based upon an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or pregnancy that: 

  • Adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a College program or activity; and/or
  • Is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a program or activity. 
  • Some examples of conduct that may constitute prohibited Sex or Gender Based Discrimination may include, but are not limited to: 
  • Denying a person access to an educational or employment program based on that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or pregnancy; 
  • Denying raises, benefits, promotions, and/or other conditions of employment on the basis of a person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or pregnancy; and/or 
  • Preventing any person from using College facilities or services because of that person’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or pregnancy.

The same definitions of Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation as defined above apply.

Retaliation

Protected activity under this policy includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the grievance process, supporting a Complainant or Respondent, assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation, and/or acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy. 

Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. The College prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

It is prohibited for the College or any member of the Mount Holyoke community to take materially adverse action by intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy and procedure. 

Charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, constitutes retaliation. 

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.

Sanctions

Below is a list of possible sanctions. Sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities. More information about factors to consider when sanctioning can be found in the Formal Grievance Procedure.

Student Sanctions

The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations: 

  • Warning: A formal statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any College policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions. 
  • Housing: Housing related sanctions may include room relocation, housing probation or loss of on campus housing privileges.
  • Educational Project: A specific project deemed appointed by the Decision Makers intended to help the Respondent deepen their understanding of a concept related to the Policy violation such as consent, healthy relationships or substance use. The Decision makers will determine the parameters of the project and the deadline for its completion. The Decision makers will also determine if the submitted project is sufficient to meet the terms of the assigned sanction. 
  • Disciplinary Probation: A written reprimand for violation of institutional policy. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities both on and office campus, removal from leadership positions, exclusion from designated areas of campus, no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.  Students on disciplinary probation are not in good standing with the college.
  • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at the College. 
  • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or to attend College-sponsored events. This sanction will be noted permanently as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript. 
  • Withholding Diploma: The College may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation. 
  • Revocation of Degree: The College reserves the right to revoke a degree previously awarded from the College for fraud, misrepresentation, and/or other violation of College policies, procedures, or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation. 
  • Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges for a specified period of time.
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

Employee Sanctions

Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation include: 

  • Warning – Verbal or Written
  • Performance Improvement/Management Process
  • Required Training or Education
  • Probation
  • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
  • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
  • Demotion
  • Suspension with pay
  • Suspension without pay 
  • Termination 
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.