Cornell College affirms the rights of its community members to live, study, and work in an environment free from all forms of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating/relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual manipulation, and/or stalking. As a community we are committed to maintaining a standard of conduct that creates an environment of trust, care, and respect. Our community prohibits sexual misconduct and treats violations of this policy as serious violations of the standards of conduct, and sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. The college will take direct action to prevent and correct such behavior consistent with Title IX regulations, federal law, and state law. Those actions include providing supports and interim resolutions to complainants, conducting an investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct, and pursuing appropriate resolution of the matter, including corrective action against the respondent/s consistent with Title IX, and also prohibiting retaliation against participants in the investigation process. The college is also committed to providing institution-wide education to prevent sexual misconduct and to mitigate the impacts of any sexual misconduct on the community.
This policy is intended to guide students, faculty and staff members who have experienced or been affected by sexual misconduct. Because acts of sexual misconduct may occur in a variety of settings, this policy extends to behaviors that occur in the context of any of Cornell’s programs and activities and specifically extends to off-campus behavior that has created or may create a hostile environment on campus or in Cornell’s programs and activities.
Cornell admits qualified persons without regard to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity, ethnicity, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, or genetic information to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to individuals at Cornell. The college does not discriminate in the administration of its educational or admissions policies, scholarships, loan programs, athletic programs, and/or other school-administered programs.
The Dean of Students oversees Cornell College’s student conduct process and coordinates the investigation and resolution of student sexual misconduct complaints. You can also contact the Dean of Students directly for information about resources and to file a report or complaint:
Dean of Students
Old Sem (1st floor)
The Dean of the College oversees coordination of Cornell College’s investigation and resolution of sexual misconduct complaints involving faculty members. You can contact the Dean of the College directly for information about resources and to file a report or complaint involving a faculty member:
Dean of the College
Old Sem (2nd floor)
The Employee Relations Coordinator oversees coordination of Cornell College’s investigation and resolution of sexual misconduct complaints involving employees and non-Cornell individuals (e.g., contractors, volunteers, visitors). You can contact the Employee Relations Coordinator directly for information about resources and to file a report or complaint involving an employee or non-Cornell individual:
Employee Relations Coordinator
Old Sem (1st floor)
The Title IX Coordinator is also responsible for overseeing Cornell’s handling of all Title IX complaints, evaluating requests for anonymity, determining extent of investigation of anonymous reports, identifying and addressing any patterns or institutional issues that become evident through the review of those complaints, and responding to any questions or concerns regarding Cornell College’s policies and procedures. Reports regarding violations of this non-discrimination statement or the Sexual Misconduct policy can be made directly to the Title IX Coordinator:
Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator
Old Sem (1st floor)
Inquiries or complaints concerning the application of Title IX may be also referred to the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
Regional #5 Office
500 West Madison St., Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
Retaliation by any individual or agent of the college against a person who reports, is accused of, or participates in an investigation of sexual misconduct is prohibited. These actions are violations of college policy and may result in conduct charges and possible resulting sanctions. Any behavior that intimidates, threatens, causes harm, or discourages a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy may be considered to be retaliation. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just by a respondent or complainant. Acts of retaliation may also violate state and federal laws. Acts of retaliation should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, and/or Employee Relations Coordinator.
Complainant: The individual(s) who has experienced a possible instance of sexual misconduct.
Respondent: Individual(s) who has been accused of sexual misconduct.
Third Party: Any other participant in the process, including a witness to the conduct, an individual who makes a report on behalf of another person, or an affected community member.
Non-Cornell Individuals: Individuals who have reported, been accused of, or were a witness to possible sexual misconduct who are not directly affiliated with the college. Non-Cornell individuals may include private contractors, volunteers with college programs, or campus visitors.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual misconduct includes sexual violence, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating/relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual manipulation, stalking, and sexual harassment.
Sexual Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of instruction, employment, academic advancement or participation in any College activity;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making an employment, academic or personnel decision affecting an individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment for work, learning, or participating in any College activity.
Sexual harassment may involve the behavior of a person of either sex toward a person of the same or opposite sex when that behavior falls within the operative definition of sexual harassment.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence includes physical sexual acts that are performed against a person’s will or without consent of the other party. A person may be unable to give consent to a sexual act for a number of reasons, including, but not limited to: if they are physically or psychologically pressured, forced, threatened, intimidated, unconscious, drunk, or drugged; due to an intellectual or other disability or health condition; or by operation of laws governing the age of consent. Physical resistance need not occur to fulfill the definition of sexual violence. Sexual violence may include the following: rape, sexual assault, sexual manipulation, domestic violence, and dating violence, as defined below. The following list provides examples but is not exhaustive of the type of behavior that may be considered sexual violence:
Rape: Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the complainant.
Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the complainant. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are:
- attempted rape;
- rape, forcible sodomy, or forcible sexual penetration, however slight, of another person’s anal or genital opening;
- touching of an unwilling person’s intimate parts (defined as genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks, or clothing covering them); or,
- forcing an unwilling person to touch another’s intimate parts.
Domestic Violence: Domestic violence includes asserted violent offenses committed by the complainant’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law. 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, blame, hurt, injure, or wound.
Dating/Relationship Violence: Dating/relationship violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another person without consent for one’s own advantage or benefit or for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, or engaging in sexual intimidation.
Examples of sexual exploitation may include the following:
- causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over such other person;
- causing the prostitution of another person;
- electronically recording, photographing or transmitting identifiable utterances, sounds or images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate body parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
- allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts of a participant without the participant’s consent; and/or
- voyeurism (spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations)
- threatening to sexually assault another person;
- stalking, including cyber-stalking; or
- engaging in indecent exposure.
Stalking: Stalking is a form of sexual harassment that involves engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause most people to fear for their safety or suffer substantial emotional distress. It may include, but is not limited to, repeatedly following a person; persistent attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication, or regular mail; vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person; and/or constantly appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without permission.
Consent: Consent, pertaining to this policy, is a mutual, voluntary and affirmative agreement to engage in any sexual activity(ies). Affirmative consent is given when a fully informed, mentally capable person freely chooses to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity through mutually understandable words or actions. Consent to sexual activity can be communicated in a variety of ways but consent has not been given until both parties have clearly agreed to the sexual act. Each person involved in the sexual encounter is responsible for ensuring that they have received the affirmative consent of their partner(s) in the activity. This consent can be withdrawn by either partner at any point during the sexual experience. Prior consensual sexual activity or the existence of a dating relationship does not imply current consent. Consent to engage in a specific sexual activity does not imply consent to engage in other sexual activities. Consent to engage with one partner does not imply consent to engage in sexual activities with any other/additional persons. Consent is not given if it results from the use of physical force, intimidation, or coercion. A person cannot give consent if incapacitated, including through the effects of drugs or alcohol. Silence, non-communication, or lack of resistance should never be interpreted as consent.
Cornell College is also committed to providing a safe environment for individuals whose capacity to provide effective consent is limited, such as minors, developmentally disabled persons, and vulnerable adults. When a matter involves an individual with the limited ability to consent, this will be considered throughout the process.
Coercion: is direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to persuade a reasonable person of ordinary susceptibility to perform an act which otherwise would not have been performed or acquiesce in an act to which one would not have submitted. Coercion can include unreasonable and sustained pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. A person’s words or conduct cannot amount to coercion unless they wrongfully impair the other’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that they do not want to engage in 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.
Consensual Relationships: Students, faculty, and staff must be aware that consensual romantic or sexual relationships – particularly between individuals of unequal status may be or become a violation of this policy. The college particularly recognizes the potential for abuse in romantic or sexual relationships between faculty members and students and between staff supervisors and their student employees / advisees. (See Statement on Personal Relationships in the Professional Setting.)
Sexual Misconduct Report: Any person who has had an experience they believe may constitute an act of sexual harassment or assault or any campus community member who has knowledge of such an act is encouraged to report it via one of the means outlined below. All reports of sexual harassment and assault will be forwarded to Cornell’s Dean of Students and, in cases involving Cornell employees and/or non-Cornell individual, the Employee Relations Coordinator and investigated to the fullest extent possible. A report does not by itself trigger college conduct proceedings nor does it lead to legal proceedings. Reports may be made anonymously; while anonymous reports enable the college to gather data regarding incidents of sexual harassment and assault, they significantly limit the extent to which the college can investigate and respond to reported sexual misconduct.
Sexual Misconduct Complaint: The filing of a complaint is the first step in the filing of conduct charges against a Cornell student or disciplinary proceedings involving an employee. The process is more fully described below.
Proceeding: All activities related to a non-criminal resolution of an institutional disciplinary complaint, including, but not limited to, fact-finding investigations, formal or informal meetings, and hearings.
Result: Any initial, interim, and final decision made by any official or entity authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within the institution.
Reporting an Incident of Sexual Misconduct
Individuals who have experienced an incident they think involves sexual misconduct as defined in this policy are encouraged to report the incident using any one or combination of the options below. Reports may be made anonymously. While anonymous reports enable the college to gather data regarding incidents of sexual misconduct, they may significantly limit the extent to which the college can investigate and respond to reported sexual misconduct. All reports of sexual misconduct against students will be forwarded to Cornell’s Dean of Students, allegations involving faculty members will be forwarded to the Dean of the College, and, when allegations are made against Cornell employees and/or non-Cornell individuals, the reports will be forwarded to the Employee Relations Coordinator.
The standard of proof for Cornell College sexual misconduct matters is a preponderance of evidence (“more likely than not”) standard to determine if this policy was violated.
The college will investigate all reports of sexual misconduct reported within seven years of the alleged incident. The college will strive to complete the investigation within 60 days. The college will take no longer than 90 days to complete the investigation. Reports of an incident having occurred more than 7 years ago will be documented in annual statistics, and complainants will be provided resource information unless there is an ongoing threat to campus.
To report sexual misconduct:
Submit a Sexual Misconduct Report
You may file a report about sexual misconduct by personally submitting a Sexual Misconduct Report form, which may be completed anonymously or include identifying information. If you provide your name you can expect that within 3 business days a college official charged with responding to reports of sexual misconduct (e.g,. Dean of Students or designee, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College, or designee) will contact you to make sure that we understand your concern and to discuss any possible next steps and support options for you and any other individuals involved. You may also be contacted by the Title IX Coordinator or by the Director of Campus Safety as part of an investigation of the report. Even if you do not wish to file a complaint (initiate conduct/disciplinary proceedings), the Sexual Misconduct Liaison, Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator can work with you to provide support and accommodations (such as change of housing, dropping a class, change of work assignment, no contact orders, contacting police department, etc.).
Anonymous reports provide the college with information regarding incidents of alleged sexual misconduct but significantly limit the institution’s ability to investigate or respond to those reports.
The Sexual Misconduct Report form can be found on Cornell’s Public Incident Report page.
Report Incident to College Employee
You may also file a report by informing a college employee, including faculty member, a member of the Student Affairs professional staff, coach, or Resident Assistant about the sexual misconduct. College staff (including Resident Assistants and Peer Advocates) and faculty are expected to report all information (including the names of parties involved) they receive about suspected incidents of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and/or sexual misconduct involving Cornell students or employees. The table below indicates to whom direct reports about suspected incidents of sexual misconduct should be made.
Cornell’s Sexual Misconduct Liaison is considered a confidential student resource and reports only non-identifiable information regarding incidents of suspected sexual harassment or assault involving students about which they are consulted; while the Sexual Misconduct Liaison is required to file reports, they may do so anonymously if the complainant does not want their identity shared.
If the respondent is a:
Address concern to:
Dean of Students – Gwen Schimek; Old Sem (1st Floor); firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-895-4234
Dean of the College - Joe Dieker; Old Sem (2nd floor); email@example.com; 319-894-4210
Employee Relations Coordinator* - Lindsey Hotz; Old Sem (1st floor); firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-894-4244.
Staff member (including administration)
Employee Relations Coordinator* (If this involves a maintenance worker the union will be involved.) - Lindsey Hotz; Old Sem (1st floor); email@example.com; 319-894-4244.
Employee Relations Coordinator* - Lindsey Hotz; Old Sem (1st floor); firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-894-4244.
*Concerns regarding the Employee Relations Coordinator should be directed to the Vice President for Business Affairs – Kay Langseth; 3rd floor, Old Sem; email@example.com; 319-895-4242.
Concerns regarding any respondent can also be directed to the Title IX Coordinator - John Harp, Vice President for Student Affairs; Old Sem (1st floor); firstname.lastname@example.org; 319-894-4234
College-Initiated Sexual Misconduct Report
Individuals filing a report should recognize that, even without the cooperation of the complainant, college officials have a duty to investigate an allegation of sexual harassment or assault to the fullest extent possible in order to maintain the safety of the Cornell campus community. Situations in which such an investigation and/or conduct charges might proceed could include cases where multiple individuals have reported assaults involving the same respondent or other conditions indicating a high risk of further assaults occurring. Decisions about whether to initiate a college investigation or complaint against a complainant’s wishes will be made through consultation between the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator and/or Dean of the College and the Title IX Coordinator. Complainants will be notified prior to action being taken.
Individuals may also submit a sexual misconduct report anonymously through the online Sexual Misconduct Report form. Students can also file anonymous reports by speaking with the Sexual Misconduct Liaison. Please be aware that there will not be a way for college officials to identify and follow up to an anonymous report. If the individual who submitted an anonymous report later decides to identify themselves, they may do so by contacting the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator.
Interim Protective Measures
Reports of alleged sexual misconduct in violation of this policy may be supported by appropriate immediate interim protective measures coordinated by the Dean of Students, Sexual Misconduct Liaison, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College and/or Title IX Coordinator and/or a designee. When appropriate, the college may provide interim protective measures prior to completion of its investigation. Interim protective measures may be requested by the complainant and the respondent and may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- change in on-campus housing location to alternate housing
- assistance in exploring alternative housing off-campus
- assistance in arranging academic accommodations
- assistance in arranging for incompletes, leaves or withdrawal from a class or the college
- assistance in arranging for alternate college employment arrangements
- “no contact” directive pending the result of the investigation. Such a directive serves as notice to both parties that they must not have verbal, electronic, written or third party communication with one another
- interim suspension (in the case of a respondent who is a current student) or employment leave
- restriction from campus (in the case of a respondent who is not currently affiliated with the college)
In addition to interim protective measures, the college will provide students or employees who report sexual misconduct violations with a written explanation of their rights and options, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services.
Investigation of Sexual Misconduct
The college will strive to be prompt, fair, and impartial in its investigation and resolution of sexual misconduct reports. Upon notice of an allegation of Sexual Misconduct through any of the means outlined above, the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College and/or Title IX Coordinator or designee will contact the complainant, if one exists, to ensure that the concerns are fully addressed and to explore interim protective measures, if necessary. The Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College and/or Title IX Coordinator or designee will make a determination of whether to proceed with an investigation of the allegations of sexual misconduct.
If the complainant, Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College and/or Title IX Coordinator, or designee decides to pursue a complaint, the allegation of sexual misconduct will be fully investigated and resolved via the process appropriate to the respondent’s affiliation with the college.
Sexual misconduct investigations are conducted by the Director of Campus Safety or other officials who receive annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and how to conduct an investigation and decision-making process that protects the safety and promotes accountability of complainants, respondents, and the institution.
All sexual misconduct proceedings are conducted by officials who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or the respondent. If the complainant or respondent believes there is a conflict of interest, they may request an alternate investigator within 3 days of being notified of the investigation from the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, or Employee Relations Coordinator.
The complainant and respondent are both given the opportunity to submit a written statement regarding the incident/allegations, including identifying potential witnesses or those who may have relevant information about the investigation. These statements will be provided to the investigator and are accessible to each party for review at the discretion of the investigator. Determination of additional interviews is at the discretion of the investigator. Lie detector test results cannot be submitted as evidence in sexual misconduct investigations. Complainants, respondents, and witnesses receive drug and alcohol amnesty when cooperating in a sexual misconduct investigation.
The following includes information, as well as an anticipated timeline. If timelines need to be extended, written notice will be provided to both the complainant and respondent, also outlining the reason for the delay.
- The student(s) who is alleged to have violated the sexual misconduct policy (respondent) will be notified in writing of the allegation. The respondent will be directed to schedule an appointment within three (3) business days to meet with an assigned hearing officer who has been trained in the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases. During this meeting the respondent will have the opportunity to review the conduct allegation, provide information about the incident and accept or deny responsibility for the violation. If a student respondent fails to respond to a request to schedule a meeting, the investigation will proceed.
- If the respondent accepts responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the hearing officer, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will determine the sanctions to be assigned, if appropriate.
- If the respondent denies responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct policy the investigator will separately interview the complainant, respondent, and any third parties. Both the complainant and respondent will be informed of any meetings scheduled with the other party. The college will make every effort to conduct these interviews within as short a time as is possible (2-8 weeks).
- The investigator will complete a report summarizing interviews with the complainant, respondent and any third parties. The report will be provided to the hearing officer. Both the complainant and the respondent will have an opportunity within 3 business days of being notified to review the report and provide a written response to the hearing officer within 5 business days of reviewing the report. This written response must be submitted by the complainant or respondent, must be the complainant or respondent’s own statement, and may not be used to submit the statements of others on their behalf.
- The hearing officer will review the report and these responses and will determine whether the respondent is responsible for the alleged policy violation. The standard of evidence for a sexual misconduct violation is a preponderance of evidence. If the respondent is found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the hearing officer, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will determine the sanctions to be assigned.
Notice of Result of an Investigation
Both parties will be informed in writing of the result and rationale of conduct decisions in allegations of sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking. Both parties will be informed in writing of the result of conduct decisions in allegations of sexual harassment. The college will strive to provide simultaneous notification to both parties. In the event that the respondent is found to have violated a policy, the complainant will be informed of any sanctions that are directly related to the complainant (e.g., no contact order, suspension of respondent).
If a policy violation is found, the sanctions will be based on the nature of the incident, any prior conduct violations, sanctions resulting from prior, similar cases, and any other relevant facts. Possible sanctions of student respondents include:
- no contact orders,
- disciplinary probation,
- suspension (removal from Cornell College for a minimum, designated length of time),
- expulsion (permanent removal from Cornell College),
- educational activity and reflection,
- restitution, or
Right to Appeal
Both parties have rights for appeal based on new evidence that has become available since the hearing, a procedural error in the hearing, and/ or if the sanctions are disproportionate to the violation. Appeals must be filed within 3 class days or 30 calendar days (whichever occurs first), in writing to the Dean of Students. In the event that one party files an appeal, the other will be informed of the fact and given the opportunity to provide information related to the appeal, which must be received within 3 business days of notification. Appeals are reviewed by the Appeals Board, and the Appeals Board’s decisions are final. The Appeals Board generally meets within 14 dfays of an appeal being filed. Further information about the appeals process can be found in the Appeals section of the Compass.
Matters not involving sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking may be resolved through informal means through a mediation of the matter by the Employee Relations Coordinator or designee, with consent of both parties. At any point during the informal process, the Complainant may stop the process and proceed to the formal process.
Formal Investigation Process, required for matters involving sexual violence, domestic and dating violence, and stalking, and at the discretion of the Employee Relations Coordinator or designee:
- The employee(s) who is alleged to have violated the sexual misconduct policy (respondent) will be notified in writing of the allegation. The respondent will be directed to schedule an appointment within three (3) business days to meet with the Employee Relations Coordinator or designee to review the allegation, provide information about the incident and accept or deny responsibility for the violation.
- If the respondent accepts responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the Employee Relations Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and designated Vice President(s) will determine what action must take place, including any necessary disciplinary action. If the respondent is a faculty member, the matter will be referred to the Subcommittee on Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion who will make appropriate recommendations for disciplinary action to the Dean of the College.
- If the respondent denies responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct policy, the investigator will separately interview the complainant, respondent, and any third parties. Both the complainant and respondent will be informed of any meetings scheduled with the other party. The college will make every effort to conduct these interviews within as short a time as is possible.
- The investigator will complete a report summarizing interviews with the complainant, respondent and any third parties. The report will be provided to the designated Vice President(s), in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, who will determine the whether policy violation occurred and appropriate sanctions. If the respondent is a faculty member, and the designated Vice President(s) determine that a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy took place, the matter will be referred to the Subcommittee on Reappointment, Tenure, and Promotion who will make appropriate recommendations for sanctions to the Dean of the College who will issue the final determination of sanctions.
Notice of Result of an Investigation
Both parties will be informed in writing of the result. The college will strive to provide simultaneous notification to both parties. In the event that the respondent is found to have violated a policy, the complainant will be informed of any remedies or disciplinary actions that are directly related to the complainant (e.g., administrative leave, transfer, job reassignments).
If a policy violation is found, the discipline will be based on the nature of the incident, any prior conduct violations, discipline resulting from prior, similar cases and any other relevant facts. Possible disciplinary action may include: education of an individual or work group, verbal discussion and/or counseling, written warning, administrative leave, corrective action plan, demotion, transfer, reduction in salary, and/or termination.
Right to Appeal
Both parties have rights for appeal based on new evidence that has become available since the notice of result, a procedural error in the investigation or decision making process, and/or if the disciplinary action is believed to be disproportionate to the violation. Appeals must be filed within 15 calendar days, in writing to the Employee Relations Coordinator. In the event that one party files an appeal, the other will be informed of the fact and given the opportunity to provide information related to the appeal, which must be received within 3 business days of notification. Appeals are reviewed and decided by the respective Faculty and Staff Grievance committees, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. Final appeals are made to the President of the college. Appeals are generally determined within 14 days of an appeal being filed.
Non-Cornell Individual Respondent
When the respondent is a Non-Cornell Individual (e.g., contractors, volunteers, visitors), the allegation will be reviewed by the Employee Relations Coordinator, Title IX Coordinator, and designated Vice President(s). This committee will decide if a violation of the policy occurred and what remedial action must take place. In cases involving contractors and visitors, this may include a ban from Campus or removal from contracted work. In cases involving volunteers this may involve dismissal from assignment.
Individuals who have suffered sexual assault may seek emergency assistance. The following information provides direction to individuals in need of emergency assistance:
- Campus Safety: 319-895-4299
- Mt. Vernon Police Department: 319-895-6141 or 911
- Riverview Center (sexual assault services and advocacy): 888-557-0310
- Waypoint (relationship violence services and advocacy): 800-208-0388
If someone has experienced sexual assault, it can be beneficial to get an evidentiary exam immediately following the assault. Even though the individual may want to change clothes or shower, they should consider reporting the assault before doing so. It is more difficult for a hospital or clinic to gather evidence if the person has showered, bathed, changed their clothes, urinated, defecated, or brushed their teeth.
Medical help is important to identify and treat any physical injuries, gather evidence should the person want to report the crime, and to protect from sexually transmitted infections and/or pregnancy. Someone has up to 72 hours after the assault to take prophylactic medication to prevent some sexually transmitted infections and up to 120 hours to prevent pregnancy (if a concern). The physical evidence of an assault is most effectively collected within the first 24-48 hours of the assault, but some evidence may be collected for up to 72 hours. The exam and subsequent medical treatment are free to individuals who have been victimized. Evidence collection does not require or necessitate filing police charges.
Individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct are encouraged to reach out to the confidential resources available both on-campus and off-campus.
Fully confidential resources
- Third Wave Resource Group (TWRG) (students only): TWRG is a Cornell College student organization located in The Cottage. TWRG members have undergone sexual assault advocacy training, and the group provides information, support and resources, including a campus safe room. These individuals have no reporting responsibility, and any and all conversations can remain completely confidential with these individuals. 319-895-4299.
- Cornell College Counseling Center (students only): Offers counseling and information about both on campus and off campus resources, as well as information about how to help a friend who has been sexually victimized. Ebersole; 319-895-4292
- Student Health Services (students only): Services provided by licensed nurses, includes referrals to area healthcare providers. Ebersole; 319-895-4292
- Cornell College Chaplain: The college Chaplain provides support to Cornell College students, faculty, and staff. Old Sem (3rd floor); 319-895- 4402
- Riverview Center (sexual assault services and advocacy): 888-557-0310
- Waypoint (relationship violence services and advocacy): 800-208-0388
Confidential resource for students
- Cornell College’s Sexual Misconduct Liaison is a member of the college staff outside the Dean of Students’ office and conduct system whose role is to provide support and information to students who may have experienced sexual harassment or assault. This person can provide information about resources and reporting options without initiating any formal investigation or complaint. While the Sexual Misconduct Liaison is required to file reports, they may do so anonymously if the complainant does not want their identity shared. Sharon Grice; Peter Paul Luce Admissions Center; 319-895-4162
Additional resource for students
- Visa and immigration: Cornell College students with visa concerns can contact Schvalla Rivera, assistant dean of students and director of intercultural life; Stoner House; 319-895-4484
- Financial Aid: Cornell College students with financial aid concerns can contact Pam Perry, director of financial assistance; Old Sem; 319-895.4216
Complainants are encouraged to contact the police as soon after an incident of sexual assault as possible in order to facilitate gathering full reports and evidence, and to best ensure that witnesses are available for interviews. Any staff member identified in this policy can assist complainants with this process. A complainant may choose at any time to pursue an external complaint of sexual misconduct, either through the criminal or civil court system. These external processes (criminal or civil) are separate from the Cornell Complaint Process and are outside the control or authority of the college. However, Cornell will assist a victim with outreach to the criminal court system. Anyone who believes that they are a victim of a crime may take steps to file a criminal complaint with local authorities. This option applies regardless of whether the alleged perpetrator is a member of the Cornell community. Local law enforcement authorities may be contacted at: Mount Vernon Police Department - 895-6141 or 911 (9-911 from on campus); 213 First Street West, Mount Vernon. Information about legal processes and resources in Iowa can be found on the Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault website. While the college has no control over any police investigation and legal processes that may follow, college staff will continue to work with students to provide support throughout the process.
College faculty and staff including Resident Assistants and Peer Advocates but excluding “Confidential Employees” defined below are expected to report all information they receive about suspected incidents of sexual misconduct involving Cornell students and employees by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College or by submitting a Sexual Misconduct Incident Report.
Trained sexual assault advocates, Cornell’s Chaplain, Counseling Services and Health Services staff are designated as “fully confidential employees” on campus and provide fully confidential services to persons reporting sexual misconduct. Fully confidential employees are exempt from the reporting requirements set forth above.
Cornell’s Sexual Misconduct Liaison is considered “Confidential” and reports only non-identifiable information regarding incidents of suspected misconduct about which they are consulted. While sexual the Sexual Misconduct Liaison is required to file reports, they may do so anonymously if the complainant does not want their identity shared.
The information pertaining to the sexual misconduct will be shared with only those individuals who need to know. College officials will attempt to keep these matters as confidential as possible, but due to the nature of a sexual misconduct investigation, maintaining a complainant’s total anonymity may not be possible. In investigating an allegation of sexual misconduct, the college will share information only with those individuals responsible who need to know and will take all possible steps to protect confidential information. Requests to maintain complainant anonymity are made to and determined by the Title IX Coordinator; determinations are made based on multiple factors including the severity of the incident, prior incidents involving the respondent, the ability of the college to provide support and remediation without disclosing the complainant’s identity, and the overall safety of the campus community. A complainant or other necessary party who has requested anonymity will be informed before any college official discloses their identity to the respondent. This extends to accommodations, interim or protective measures provided to the complainant, to the extent that maintaining this confidentiality would not impair the institution’s ability to provide accommodations or protective measures.
In cases involving sexual violence, domestic or relationship violence, or stalking complainants and respondents can have an advisor of their choosing present for support at any stage in the process. In cases involving sexual harassment complainants and respondents may have a member of the Cornell College faculty, staff or student body present for support at any stage in the process. Advisors may speak with the complainant or respondent throughout the process but may not otherwise participate directly (e.g., ask or respond to questions, make statements) in any investigation or hearing meetings. Advisors play an in-person role and the process will not be delayed for the arrival of an advisor.
Instances of sexual harassment or assault involving Cornell students, employees and Non-Cornell Individuals are subject to college policies and conduct procedures even if the incident occurs off-campus (including over breaks, during an off-campus course, work conference, or social gathering).
When members of a student group, team or organization, or individuals acting as a group, violate the sexual misconduct policy, they may be charged as a group and a hearing may proceed against the group as joint respondents. Sanctions would be individually determined based on each person’s involvement and level of responsibility for the incident, and may also be applied to the student group, team, or organization.
Policy Violations Amnesty
Students may be hesitant to report sexual misconduct to college officials because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. The college will not pursue conduct action against a complainant or third party who shares information about alleged sexual misconduct as long as the report is made in good faith.
Cornell College takes seriously all reports of sexual misconduct, and recognizes the rarity of false reporting. However, Cornell College will not tolerate intentional false reporting of sexual harassment or assault. It is a violation of college policy to make an intentionally false report of sexual harassment or assault, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws. In limited circumstances, Cornell College may remove reports of crimes that have been unfounded by law enforcement officials. These crimes are incorporated into the institution’s Annual Security Report.
Compliance with these provisions does not constitute a violation of section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g), commonly known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
Approved December 8, 2014
Updated February 8, 2016