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.
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.
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:
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 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:
Employee Relations Coordinator
Old Sem (1st floor)
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:
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 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.
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, 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.
Complainant: 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 misconduct 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.
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. Dating 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Respondent: A respondent is an individual whose alleged conduct is being investigated to determine if it is in violation of Cornell policies. 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.
Result: Any initial, interim, and final decision made by any official or entity authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within the institution.
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.
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.
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 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.
Sexual Violence: Sexual violence includes physical sexual acts that are performed against a person’s will or without the 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, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence.
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; unauthorized placement of a global positioning device; and/or constantly appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without permission.
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.
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 7 years of the alleged incident. The College will strive to complete the investigation through its resolution (determination and sanction, if any), exclusive of any appeal(s), within 60 calendar days. This timeframe may be extended for good cause, which may exist if additional time is necessary to ensure the integrity of the investigation, to comply with a request from local law enforcement for a temporary delay due to an ongoing criminal investigation, to account for complexities of a case (e.g., multiple Complainants or Respondents), to accommodate schedules of key witnesses, and/or due to College vacation periods or breaks. 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, the Director of Campus Safety or other assigned investigator, as part of an investigation of the report. Even if you do not wish to file a complaint (initiate conduct/disciplinary proceedings), the Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College, 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
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 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.
Respondent is a student
Address concern to:
Dean of Students
First floor, Old Sem
Respondent is a faculty member
Address concern to:
Dean of the College
Second floor, Old Sem
Employee Relations Coordinator*
First floor, Old Sem
Respondent is a staff member (including administration)
Address concern to:
Employee Relations Coordinator*
First floor, Old Sem
If this involves a maintenance worker the union will be involved.
Any other respondents
Address concern to:
Employee Relations Coordinator*
First floor, Old Sem
*Concerns regarding the Employee Relations Coordinator should be directed to the Vice President for Business Affairs – Kay Langseth; 3rd floor, Old Sem; firstname.lastname@example.org; 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); email@example.com; 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 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. 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, Employee Relations Coordinator, Dean of the College 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, 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 addressed and to explore interim protective measures, if necessary. The Dean of Students, Employee Relations Coordinator, and/or Dean of the College, in consultation with the 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 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. 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 and gathering of additional evidence from sources the investigator deems necessary to establish facts or credibility is at the discretion of the investigator. The College does not permit lie detector test results or any other outside “expert reports” to be submitted as evidence in sexual misconduct investigations.
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 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. If a student 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.
- If the Respondent accepts responsibility for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will determine the sanctions to be assigned.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 within 3 business days of being notified to meet with the Dean of Students for an in-person review of the report and then have an opportunity to provide a written response about the report to the Dean of Students 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 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. The Complainant and Respondent will each be given an opportunity to review the other’s response within 3 business days and will be able to submit a written response to the response within 3 business days.
- After completion of the investigation, a 3-person sexual misconduct 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 and Dean of Students on a case-by-case basis. The board shall be appointed within 5 business days following the receipt of the investigative file by the Dean of Students. At this time, identifying information about the Complainant and the Respondent will be redacted from documents. The board will review the investigative report and the written responses from the Complainant and Respondent. The Title IX Coordinator and/or Dean of Students may also be present at the meeting of the board to oversee the process and, if necessary, answer procedural questions; they will not have a vote.
- The board may request more information from any relevant parties, including the Complainant, the Respondent, or identified witnesses, involved in the case. Requests will be channeled through the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator.
- 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.
- If the Respondent is found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, 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
At the time of review of investigative statements, the Complainant and Respondent will each choose whether they prefer to receive notice of the result at a meeting or via email. The College will strive to provide near simultaneous notification to both parties.
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. In allegations of sexual harassment, both parties will be informed in writing of the result of conduct decisions. 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). In cases involving sexual assault or sexual violence, the Complainant will be notified of any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, not just those sanctions that directly relate to the Complainant.
The Complainant and the Respondent each have the right to review documents used in the determination of the allegation, including the investigative report and any responses to the report, upon request. Notes can be taken; however, photos and photocopies are not allowed. These files cannot be removed from the office.
If the board determines a Respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Dean of Students in conjunction with the Title IX Coordinator 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 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,
- restitution, and/or
Right to Appeal
Both parties have rights for appeal based on new evidence that has become available since the final determination is issued and/or a procedural error in the determination process. Appeals must be filed within 3 business days or 10 calendar days (whichever occurs first), in writing to the Title IX 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. The appeal request will be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, who will determine whether either or both of the grounds for appeal are satisfied. The other party will be given notice of the appeal having been submitted and will have 3 business days to provide additional information to be considered in the appeal.
If one or more grounds for appeal has not been satisfied, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the appeal. This decision is final and not appealable.
The Title IX Coordinator will strive to provide the Complainant and Respondent with simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the appeal request (i.e., appeal request is granted or denied), within 10 business days of the filing of the appeal.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines the appeal meets the criteria, they will then determine whether the appeal will be heard by the initial board or whether a new board should review the matter. The Title IX Coordinator may not change the board’s determination or the Dean of Students’ imposition of sanctions. Only the board reviewing the appeal may change the determination of the original board and based on the new determination, only the Dean of Students, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, may modify any of the sanctions previously imposed.
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 and provided a copy of this policy. The Respondent will be directed to schedule an appointment within 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 Committee 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 any relevant evidence collected as well as the 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 whether a 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 Committee 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). In cases involving sexual assault or sexual violence, the Complainant will be notified of any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, not just those sanctions that directly relate to the Complainant.
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, and/or a procedural error in the investigation or decision making process. 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 business 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
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
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.
College faculty and staff including student staff such as 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.
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.
In cases involving sexual violence, domestic or relationship violence, or stalking Complainants and Respondents can have a support person 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. Support persons 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. A Support Person may speak with the party they are supporting throughout the process but may not otherwise participate directly (e.g., ask or respond to questions, make statements) in any investigation or adjudication meetings. Support persons play an in-person role and the process will not be delayed for the arrival of a support person. The support person cannot also be a witness, as it may jeopardize the ability for the College to conduct any investigation to reach a resolution. The support person may not contact the other party or potential witnesses. The Complainant or Respondent may change their support person at any point during the process. 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 a support person/advisor who is a witness with information about facts material to the complaint. The College reserves the right to dismiss a support person who is disruptive to the proceedings or who does not abide by the restrictions in the policy. It is expected that any support person will understand and abide by the expectations of privacy involved in this proceeding and will act with appropriate decorum at all stages. A support person will be asked to sign an affirmation that they understand their role in the process.
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 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.
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
Updated August 2016
Updated May 2017