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Policy Statement

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 support and interim resolutions to Complainants, conducting a prompt, fair and impartial investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct with respect for all involved parties, and pursuing appropriate resolution of the matter, including any appropriate remedies to address the effects of sexual misconduct on the Complainants and others, any appropriate corrective action against the Respondent/s found responsible, 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 observed, become aware of, 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 any of Cornell’s programs and activities.

This updated policy applies to any complaint received August 14, 2020 or later.

Scope

This policy applies to all students, employees -- both faculty and staff -- who experience prohibited sexual harassment in Cornell College’s education programs or activities.  This includes locations, events, or circumstances over which Cornell College exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Cornell College.  Cornell College has other policies and procedures that may be applicable if the conduct does not meet the definition of prohibited sexual harassment under this policy or otherwise fall within the scope of this policy.

“Students” include admitted students as well as students who may not be on-campus but are nonetheless considered an active or enrolled student at Cornell.  “Employees” includes full-time and part-time faculty and staff employed on campus, as well as adjunct professors, distinguished lecturers, or visiting scholars, faculty, and instructors teaching or interacting with Cornell students and personnel. 

Non-Discrimination Statement

Cornell College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities, including employment and admission.  Complaints of discrimination on the basis of sex will be handled under the Dean of Students or Human Resources Director.

Cornell College Sexual Misconduct Campus Contacts

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:

Gwen Schimek-Tischler
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students
Old Sem (1st floor)
gschimek@cornellcollege.edu 
319-895-4234

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:

Ilene Crawford
Dean of the College
Old Sem (2nd floor)
icrawford@cornellcollege.edu
319-895-4210

The Employee Relations Coordinator coordinates 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:

Stefanie Bray
Employee Relations Coordinator
Old Sem (1st floor)
sbray@cornellcollege.edu
319-895-4244

The Title IX Coordinator is 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 the College’s non-discrimination policy statement or this Sexual Misconduct Policy can be made directly to the Title IX Coordinator:

Gwen Schimek-Tischler
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Title IX Coordinator
Old Sem (1st floor)
gschimek@cornellcollege.edu
319-894-4234

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
312-730-1560

Non-retaliation Statement

Retaliation 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. Acts of retaliation may also violate state and federal laws. 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.  Acts of retaliation may include, but are not limited to: adverse changes in employment status or opportunities; adverse academic action; adverse changes to academic, educational, and extra-curricular opportunities; harassment or intimidation; and seeking out or attempting to discover the individuals and witnesses involved in a report or complaint process for the purpose of influencing their participation or testimony or taking adverse action against them.  Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, not just by a Respondent or Complainant.  This behavior is prohibited regardless of whether it occurs on or off campus, in person, or through social media, email, or other forms of communication.  Acts of retaliation should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, Dean of the College, and/or Employee Relations Coordinator.

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 does not constitute retaliation prohibited under of this section, provided, however, that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith.

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Prohibited Sexual Harassment

In accordance with its obligations under the Title IX Regulations of 2020, Cornell College prohibits sexual harassment, which is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following definitions:
1. Quid Pro Quo Conduct.  An employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Cornell College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
2. Unwelcome Conduct.  Unwelcome conduct that is determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Cornell College’s education program or activity; or
3. Sexual assault.  An offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense. This category of prohibited conduct includes the following:
  1. Sex Offenses—Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
  2. Rape—(Except Statutory Rape) The actual or attempted carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  3. Sodomy—Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

  4. Sexual Assault With An Object—To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  5. Fondling—The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
  6. Incest—Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
  7. Statutory Rape—Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

4.  Dating violence.  Violence committed by a person— (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship. (ii) The type of relationship. (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

5.  Domestic violence. A felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the state of Iowa or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the state of Iowa.

6.  Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to— (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

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Policy Definitions

Complainant: an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.   A complainant is usually an individual filing a complaint of a violation of Cornell polices. The term “complainant” is also used throughout this policy to refer generally to an individual who has allegedly been subjected to sexual harassment as defined in this policy. In some cases, (such as cases when an individual does not want to participate in the process but the College decides the alleged misconduct must be investigated), the College may pursue an investigation and adjudication under this policy without a designated complainant. 

Formal Complaint: means a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that Cornell College investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.  At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of Cornell College.

Grievance Process: means the fact-finding process from the time the filing of the Formal Complaint through the final determination of an appeal (if any).

Respondent: A respondent is an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment under this policy.  The term “respondent” is also used throughout this policy to refer generally to an individual who is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct under this policy.  

Supportive measures: non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to Cornell College’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or Cornell College’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. Supportive measures may also include written notification about available services both within the institution and the community and options for available assistance as required by the Clery Act. Supportive measures are not disciplinary measures.

Support Person: Please see information in the section labeled “Support Person” near the end of this policy.

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.

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Sexual Misconduct Reporting and Interim Protective Measures

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 employees are required to report sexual harassment, as defined and prohibited by this policy, to the Title IX Coordinator, consistent with the requests of the Complainant.

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 7 years of the alleged incident that are within the scope of the policy. Reports of an incident having occurred more than 7 years ago will be documented in annual statistics, and Complainants will be provided resource information.

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, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College, or a 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 for review. Even if you do not wish to file a formal complaint (initiate conduct/disciplinary proceedings), the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College, and/or the Title IX Coordinator can work with you to provide supportive measures (such as change of housing, dropping a class, change of work assignment, no contact orders[AS1] , contacting police department, etc.).  You will be provided information in writing about:

  1. The importance of preserving evidence as may be necessary to the proof of criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or in obtaining a protection order;

            i.         How and to whom the alleged offense should be reported;

           ii.         Options regarding law enforcement and campus authorities, including notification of the option to:

      1. notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police;

        1. be assisted by campus authorities in voluntarily notifying law enforcement authorities;  and

        2. decline to notify such authorities;

          iii.         Where applicable, their rights and the institution's responsibilities regarding orders of protection, no-contact orders, restraining orders, or similar lawful orders issued by a criminal, civil, or tribal court;

           iv.         Information about appropriate and available services both at the institution and in the community; and

            v.         Options for, available reasonably available assistance and accommodations and how to request them.

Cornell College’s information packet for victims of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking is available from the Title IX Coordinator.

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

In addition to being able to report an incident to the contacts listed at the outset of this policy (also detailed below), 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 Flock Leaders) 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.

If the Respondent is a:

Address concern to:

Student

Dean of Students – Gwen Schimek-Tischler; Old Sem (1st Floor); gschimek@cornellcollege.edu; 319-895-4234

Faculty member

Dean of the College - Ilene Crawford; Old Sem (2nd floor); icrawford@cornellcollege.edu; 319-894-4210

OR

Employee Relations Coordinator* - Stefanie Bray; Old Sem (1st floor); sbray@cornellcollege.edu; 319-894-4244.

Staff member (including administration)

Employee Relations Coordinator* (If this involves a maintenance worker the union will be involved.) - Stefanie Bray; Old Sem (1st floor); sbray@cornellcollege.edu; 319-894-4244.

Other

Employee Relations Coordinator* - Stefanie Bray; Old Sem (1st floor); sbray@cornellcollege.edu; 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; klangseth@cornellcollege.edu; 319-895-4242.

 Concerns regarding any Respondent can also be directed to the Title IX Coordinator - Gwen Schimek-Tischler, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs & Dean of Students; Old Sem (1st floor);gschimek@cornellcollege.edu; 319-894-4234

College-Initiated Sexual Misconduct Report

Individuals filing a report should recognize that, even without the cooperation of the Complainant, College officials may have a duty to investigate an allegation of sexual harassment 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.

Anonymous Reporting

Individuals may also submit a sexual misconduct report anonymously through the online Sexual Misconduct Report form.  Please be aware that there will not be a way for College officials to identify and follow up on 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/Title IX Coordinator, Employee Relations Coordinator, or Dean of the College.

Supportive Measures

Reports of alleged sexual misconduct in violation of this policy may be supported by appropriate immediate interim supportive measures coordinated by the Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College and/or Title IX Coordinator and/or a designee. When appropriate, the College may provide interim supportive measures prior to completion of its investigation. Interim supportive 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 supportive 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.  Records of requests for supportive measures will be maintained.

Emergency Removal

Nothing in this part precludes Cornell College from removing a Respondent from Cornell College’s education program or activity on an emergency basis, provided that Cornell College undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal, and provides the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.

Administrative Leave

Cornell College reserves the right to place a non-student employee Respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of a grievance process.

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Investigation and Adjudication of Sexual Misconduct Reports and Complaints

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 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 addressed and to explore interim supportive measures, if necessary.  They will review the options for a formal complaint to be filed and most often the Complainant will choose whether to file the Complaint.  If filing a formal complaint, the Complainant may wish to proceed with an informal or formal resolution.  If the complaint proceeds informally, either the Complainant or the Respondent has the option to move the complaint to the formal process at any time. Specific requirements must be in place for an informal resolution.  Please see below in the policy to understand these requirements.   If the Complainant, Respondent, and the institution agree an informal resolution should be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee shall attempt to facilitate a resolution of the conflict that is agreeable to all parties.  All parties are expected to act in good faith and be truthful throughout the grievance process.

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.  A complaint will be dismissed when the behavior does not constitute sexual harassment, did not occur in an educational program or activity or did not occur in the United States.  The College may also dismiss a formal complaint at any point prior to the hearing if the complainant withdraws the complaint in writing, the Respondent ceases to be enrolled or employed, or there are circumstances preventing the collection of evidence.  If an allegation is dismissed, the College will notify the parties.  If appropriate, other Compass or Employment Handbook policies may be used to adjudicate the incident.

Cornell College may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a grievance process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in this section to the singular ‘‘party,’’ ‘‘Complainant,’’ or ‘‘Respondent’’ include the plural, as applicable.

Informal Resolution

Consistent with the requirements of this section, at any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility Cornell College may facilitate an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication, provided that Cornell College:

  1. Provides to the parties a written notice disclosing:Obtains the parties’ voluntary, written consent to the informal resolution process; and

    1. The allegations,
    2. The requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a Formal Complaint arising from the same allegations, provided, however, that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the Formal Complaint, and
    3. Any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.
  2. Does not offer or facilitate an informal resolution process to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

  3. Completes the informal resolution process within 60 days of receiving the Formal Complaint, unless unusual or complex circumstances exist.

Cornell College does not require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of Formal Complaints of sexual harassment under this policy. Cornell College shall not require the parties to participate in an informal resolution process and will not offer an informal resolution process unless a Formal Complaint is filed.

Formal Complaint & Resolution

In instances where formal resolution is sought, this process begins through an investigation process.  A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator above. A ‘‘document filed by a Complainant’’ means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by Cornell College) that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint. Where the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a Complainant or otherwise a party. A Formal Complaint shall trigger an investigation except as specified below.  The Formal Complaint should include the date(s) of the alleged incident(s), the name of the Respondent, and should describe the circumstances of the incident(s), where known.  

Dismissal of Complaint

Cornell College shall investigate the allegations in a Formal Complaint, except as follows: 

  1. Mandatory Dismissal.  Cornell College shall dismiss the Formal Complaint if the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint

    1. would not constitute sexual harassment as defined by this policy, even if proved,
    2. did not occur in Cornell College’s education program or activity,
    3. or did not occur against a person in the United States.
    4. This dismissal does not preclude action under another policy or procedure of Cornell College. 
  2. Discretionary Dismissal.  Cornell College may dismiss the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:

    1. A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein;
    2. The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by Cornell College; or
    3. Specific circumstances prevent Cornell College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.
    4. Occurred prior to August 14, 2020, in which case, Cornell College’s 2019-20 Sexual Misconduct Policy shall be used.

Upon a dismissal required or permitted under this section, Cornell College will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) therefor simultaneously to the parties. 

Consolidation of Formal Complaints

Cornell College may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a grievance process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in this section to the singular ‘‘party,’’ ‘‘Complainant,’’ or ‘‘Respondent’’ include the plural, as applicable.

Investigations

Sexual misconduct investigations are conducted by the Director of Campus Safety or other individuals designated by the College 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 investigations are conducted by officials who do not have a conflict of interest or actual bias for or against the Complainant or the Respondent.  The Complainant or Respondent can request an alternate investigator via a written statement identifying the conflict of interest or actual bias within 3 business days of being notified of the investigation from the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, Dean of the College, or Employee Relations Coordinator. 

Once an investigator has been assigned, they will schedule separate meetings with each of the parties to obtain their account of the incident/allegations, including identifying evidence and potential witnesses or those who may have relevant information about the investigation. The Complainant and Respondent are both also given the opportunity to submit a written statement regarding the incident/allegations. Determination of additional interviews and gathering of additional evidence from sources the investigator deems necessary to establish facts or credibility is at the discretion of the investigator.  All investigative interviews are recorded.

Under this grievance process, Cornell College shall:

  1. Ensure that the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on Cornell College and not on the parties provided that Cornell College cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless Cornell College obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so for a grievance process under this section (if a party is not an ‘‘eligible student,’’ as defined in 34 CFR 99.3, then Cornell College must obtain the voluntary, written consent of a ‘‘parent,’’ as defined in 34 CFR 99.3).

  2. Provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.

  3. Not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.

  4. Provide the parties with the same opportunities to have their advisor present during any grievance proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, and not limit the choice or presence of advisor for either the Complainant or Respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding; however, Cornell College may establish restrictions regarding the extent to which the advisor may participate in the proceedings, as long as the restrictions apply equally to both parties.

  5. Provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.

  6. Require an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence—including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence— and provide that credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.

  7. Require that any individual designated as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decisionmaker, or any person to facilitate an informal resolution process, not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent. Cornell College may use internal personnel or external parties in the informal resolution process or the grievance process, provided that they meet this requirement.  Knowledge of, prior teaching of, or employment of either party or witnesses does not necessarily signify grounds for bias.

  8. Require a presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.

  9. Use the following standard of evidence to determine responsibility for allegations in a Formal Complaint of sexual harassment: the preponderance of the evidence standard. The standard of evidence shall be the same for Formal Complaints against students as for Formal Complaints against faculty and staff.

  10. Not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.

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.

Student or Employee Respondent

  1. The student(s) or employee(s) who is alleged to have violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy (Respondent) will be directed to schedule an appointment within 3 business days to meet with the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator, who has been trained in the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases. During this meeting the Respondent will be notified of this allegation, including in writing, will receive a copy of this policy, and have the opportunity to review the conduct allegation, provide information about the incident and accept or deny responsibility for the violation. The Respondent will be notified they are presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.  If a Respondent fails to respond to a request to schedule a meeting, or fails to comply with the request, they will receive written notification, and the investigation will proceed.  The Respondent will also be notified of interim measures, the non-retaliation statement, support resources and accommodations options, and steps in the investigative and conduct processes.
  2. If the Respondent denies responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Dean of Students will assign an investigator and notify both Complainant and Respondent. 
  3. The investigator will separately interview the Complainant, Respondent, and any third parties the investigator deems necessary to establish facts or credibility. 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 parties will be notified of a close of evidence date.  The Complainant and Respondent shall submit any and all information and evidence believed to be relevant to the complaint by the close of evidence date.  After the close of evidence date, the parties shall not be permitted to submit new or additional evidence that existed prior to the close of evidence date, unless the investigator determines otherwise.
    1. Amended Notice of Charges. If, in the course of an investigation, Cornell College decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the initial notice of charge, Cornell College will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.
  4. The investigator will complete a report summarizing interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, any third parties, as well as any other evidence received (e.g., emails or text messages). The report will be provided to the Dean of Students. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will have an opportunity to review all information collected during the investigation, including the summary report.  Information will be provided electronically or hard copy for at least 10 business days prior to the hearing. 

  5. A minimum of 3 business days prior to the hearing, the Complainant and Respondent may provide a response to the review of evidence for the investigator to consider prior to the conclusion of the investigation.  The written statement may not be used to submit new evidence not previously provided to the investigator, but may be used as an opportunity to clarify points in the report or identify information previously given to the investigator that is not included in the investigation report.  Evidence will continue to be accessible to the parties and their advisors for hearing preparation. 
  6. After completion of the investigation, a 3-person sexual misconduct hearing board, selected from a pool of faculty and staff members who have been trained in the adjudication of sexual misconduct cases, will be appointed by the Title IX coordinator on a case-by-case basis.  The board shall be appointed simultaneous to the deadline for the response to the investigation report and materials by the Dean of Students.  The board will review the investigative report and evidence prior to the hearing.  The Title IX Coordinator and/or Dean of Students may also be present at the hearing to answer procedural questions; they will not have a vote. 
  7. Live hearing
    1. Cornell College will provide a live hearing.  Hearings may occur in separate rooms with the use of technology in order for all parties to participate simultaneously.  Cornell will create a transcript of the hearing.  This transcript is available to the Complainant and Respondent for inspection and review.  The board does not include the Title IX Coordinator or Investigator.
    2. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, Cornell College shall provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of Cornell College’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.  Cornell College is obligated to ensure that each Party has an advisor, either of the Party’s or Cornell’s choice, regardless of whether or not the Party is present at the hearing.
    3. During the hearing, the board may request more information from any relevant parties, including the Complainant, the Respondent, or identified witnesses, involved in the case during the hearing.
    4. Cross-Examination: During the hearing, the advisor for each party is permitted to question the other party and any witnesses.  Questions must be direct, oral, and in real time.  Questions must be relevant.  Before answering a question, the chair of the hearing board must determine if each question is relevant and explain, if deemed not relevant, why a question is excluded.  If a party or witness does not participate in questioning, the hearing board must not rely on any statement of that party in reaching a determination of responsibility.  The hearing board cannot use the lack of participation as a factor in making determination of responsibility.  Neither the complainant nor the respondent are permitted to directly question one another nor witnesses.  All questions must be asked by the advisor for each party or members of the hearing board.
    5. Questions regarding prior sexual behavior are irrelevant.  Exceptions include questions or evidence that prove someone other than the respondent committed the conduct, or provide evidence between the complainant and respondent that shows how consent was communicated previously.
  8. The board 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. This means that the board will decide whether it is “more likely than not,” based on the information provided through the investigation and written statements, that the Respondent is responsible for the alleged violations.  

  9. If the Respondent is found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the board will determine the sanctions to be assigned.  If the board determines there is not sufficient basis to establish that it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the policy, the board will make a determination of not responsible.

Notice of Result of an Investigation

The Complainant and Respondent will receive notice via email. The College will strive to provide near simultaneous notification to both parties.

Written notification will include the allegation that is defined as sexual harassment, per the College’s policy, a summary of the procedures including notification to parties; interviews with parties and witnesses, evidence collected, and hearing held; findings of facts that support the outcome; a conclusion applying the policy definition; statement and rationale for each allegation including determination of responsibility, sanctions, and remedies; procedures to appeal.  

Sanctions

If the board determines a Respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the board will determine appropriate sanction(s).  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 or employee Respondents include:
  • no contact orders,
  • disciplinary probation,
  • suspension (removal from Cornell College for a minimum, designated length of time, generally 4 months to 4 years for a finding of responsibility; terms of readmission may include service, counseling, or other educational experiences),
  • expulsion (permanent removal from Cornell College),
  • restriction from campus,
  • restriction from college housing,
  • educational activity and reflection,
  • service,
  • fines,
  • restitution,
  • education of an individual or work group,
  • written warning,
  • administrative leave,
  • corrective action plan,
  • demotion,
  • transfer,
  • reduction in salary,
  • termination and/or
  • counseling.

Right to Appeal

Within 10 days of receiving the written determination, either party may appeal from a determination regarding responsibility, and from Cornell College’s dismissal of a Formal Complaint or any allegations therein, on the following grounds:

Ground 1:    Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;

Ground 2:   New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and

Ground 3:   The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.  Knowledge of, prior teaching of, or employment of either party or witnesses does not necessarily signify grounds for bias.

As to all appeals, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) shall:

i.         Notify the other party in writing immediately when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties;

ii.        Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal is not the same person as the decision-maker(s) that reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, the investigator(s), or the Title IX Coordinator;

iii.      Ensure that the decision-maker(s) for the appeal complies with the standards set forth in this policy;

  1. Give the non-appealing party an opportunity to submit a written statement in response to the appeal within 10 days of receiving the appeal, which shall be transmitted within 2 business days to the Appeal Board;

Within 20 days of receiving the appeal and the response, the Appeal Officer shall issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result; and provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.

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.

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Sexual Misconduct Resources

Emergency Assistance

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

Maintaining Evidence

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.

Confidential Resources

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

  • 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

Additional resource for students

  • Visa and immigration: Cornell College students with visa concerns can contact Hemie Collier, 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

Police Reporting

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 Complainant with outreach to local law enforcement or 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.

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Other Important Policy Provisions

Mandatory Reporting

College faculty and staff including student staff such as Resident Assistants and Flock Leaders 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.

Confidential Employees

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.

Confidentiality

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. 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; 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.

Advisors

All parties have the opportunity to be accompanied to a meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choosing, which may be a lawyer, parent, coach, friend, or other person.  An advisor is not required to be a lawyer. Advisors may accompany the Complainant or Respondent throughout each step of the conduct process.  This includes assistance in the preparation of any written materials or submissions, attending any in person meeting with Investigators or other College personnel, and attending any formal or informal proceeding that may take place.  An Advisor may speak with the party they are supporting throughout the process but may not otherwise participate directly in any investigation.  Within the hearing, the role of an Advisor is to execute the questioning and cross-examination of the other party and witnesses.  Advisors play an in-person role and the process will not be delayed for the arrival of an advisor.  The advisor should not also be a witness, as it may jeopardize the ability for the College to conduct any investigation to reach a resolution.  The Complainant or Respondent may change their support person at any point during the process.  If a Complainant or Respondent is not able to provide their own Advisor, the campus will provide an Advisor for the purpose of the hearing at no cost to the Complainant or Respondent.

As needed to protect the integrity of the investigation and resolution process, the College reserves the right to excuse from any meeting or other proceeding an advisor who is a witness with information about facts material to the complaint. The College reserves the right to dismiss an advisor who is disruptive to the proceedings or who does not abide by the restrictions in the policy.  It is expected that any advisor will understand and abide by the expectations of privacy involved in this proceeding and will act with appropriate decorum at all stages.  An advisor will be asked to sign an affirmation that they understand their role in the process.

Group Infractions

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 an investigation and adjudication 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. The College considers reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to be of the utmost importance. To encourage reporting, the College will generally not pursue conduct action with respect to other policy violations that may be revealed as a result of a report, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident, as long as the report is made in good faith.  The Dean of Students in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator will have the discretion in determining the appropriate course of action.  Individuals should be aware that the use of alcohol or drugs never makes them at fault for sexual misconduct committed against them, nor does it mitigate accountability for committing sexual misconduct against another person.  

False reporting

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

The Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process (whether internal or external( shall receive training on the definition of sexual harassment under this policy, the scope of Cornell College’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. These individuals shall receive annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.  Training materials can be accessed online, through TrainEd solutions.

 Decision makers shall receive training on any technology to be used at a live hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant.

Investigators shall receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.

Any materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, will not rely on sex stereotypes and will promote impartial investigations and adjudications of Formal Complaints of sexual harassment.

Record-Keeping

Cornell College shall maintain for a period of seven years records of— (A) Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript required under this policy, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to Cornell College’s education programs or activities; (B) Any appeal and the result therefrom; (C) Any informal resolution and the result therefrom; and (D) All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. A recipient must make these training materials publicly available on its website, or if the recipient does not maintain a website the recipient must make these materials available upon request for inspection by members of the public.

Cornell College shall create, and maintain for a period of seven years, records of any actions, including any Supportive Measures, taken in response to a report or Formal Complaint of sexual harassment. In each instance, Cornell College will document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to Cornell College’s education program or activity. If Cornell College does not provide a complainant with Supportive Measures, then Cornell College must document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances. The documentation of certain bases or measures does not limit Cornell College in the future from providing additional explanations or detailing additional measures taken.

Compliance

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).

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Additional Policy Definitions Appendix

Actual Knowledge: means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to Cornell College’s Title IX Coordinator or any official of the complainant who has the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of Cornell College.  When faculty, staff, or select student leaders learn of an allegation or experience of sexual harassment, they must report to the Title IX Coordinator for the purpose of corrective measures.

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.)

Consent: Consent, pertaining to this policy, is a mutual, conscious, 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 protest or 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. 

Decision-maker: makes the decision regarding the outcome of a hearing.  Makes determinations regarding relevancy of questions in cross-examination.  Writes and issues written decision letter.  Cornell process includes a hearing panel, in which the chair is identified as the decision-maker.

Fondling: the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent of the complainant, including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

Incapacitation: A person who is incapacitated cannot give valid consent to sexual contact.  Incapacitation means the inability to understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation. Incapacitation may result from mental or physical disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the influence of drugs or alcohol. Where alcohol and/or other drugs (including prescription drugs) are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. A person is not incapacitated merely because they have been drinking or using drugs. Where drugs and alcohol are involved, incapacitation is determined based on the facts and circumstances of the particular situation looking at whether the individual was able to understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, whether the individual was able to communicate decisions regarding consent, non-consent, or the withdrawal of consent, and whether such condition was known or reasonably known to the Respondent, or a reasonable person in the Respondent’s position. Use of drugs or alcohol by the Respondent is not a defense against allegations of sexual misconduct and does not diminish personal responsibility.  It is the responsibility of the person initiating the specific sexual activity to obtain consent for that activity.

Incest: sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law

Informal Resolution: an option to resolve a formal complaint of sexual harassment which allows for the complainant and respondent to agree to next steps.  Informal resolutions may include education, structured communication, or other corrective action aimed at preventing a recurrence of the behavior.  Formal sanctions are not available through informal resolution processes.

Investigator: collects statements and other evidence regarding a formal complaint of sexual harassment.  The investigator interviews complainants, respondents, and witnesses and writes a summary report.

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.

Program or Activity:  includes locations, events, or circumstances over which Cornell College exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Cornell College.  Title IX responsibilities only apply to sexual harassment occurring in an education program or activity of Cornell College against a person in the United States.

Remedies: designed to restore or preserve equal access to Cornell’s education program or activity.  These remedies may include the same individualized services later defined as supportive measures; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the respondent.

Result: Any initial, interim, and final decision made by any official or entity authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within the institution.

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  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.

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 Misconduct:  Sexual misconduct includes sexual violence, rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating/relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual manipulation, stalking, and sexual harassment.

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. 

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.

Support Person: Please see information in the section labeled “Support Person” near the end of this policy.

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.

Approved December 8, 2014

Updated February 8, 2016

Updated August 2016

Updated May 2017

Updated October 2017

Updated August 2020