Southwestern

Engaging Minds, Transforming Lives

Title IX


Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

 

Section 1 - STATEMENT

Southwestern University is a community of trust dependent upon strict adherence to standards of conduct by its members. Sexual misconduct violates the dignity of individuals and will not be tolerated within our community. It is a form of discrimination based on sex or gender that violates federal Title IX regulations and is prohibited by University policy. In some cases, sexual misconduct can also be a violation of criminal law. Students at Southwestern University are charged with the responsibility of being familiar with and abiding by the standards of conduct set forth herein.

Southwestern University affirms the rights of its students to live, work, and learn in an atmosphere of mutual respect, free from the threat of sexual misconduct. Accordingly, any form of sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. Southwestern University values the rights and dignity of all members of its community. Sexual misconduct (whether on or off campus) affects the emotional, physical, and psychological well-being of the Complainant and Respondent. The University has an obligation to investigate and hear cases in which students feel they have been violated and to do so in a timely manner. "The United States Department of Education and its Office for Civil Rights believe that providing all students with an educational environment free from discrimination is extremely important. The sexual harassment of students, including sexual violence, interferes with students' right to receive an education free from discrimination and, in the case of sexual violence, is a crime." Dear Colleague Letter April 4, 2011.

State and federal law, including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, prohibits sex/gender-based discrimination. Title IX covers all of the University’s programs and activities, and Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, also prohibits sex discrimination in employment. Consistent with these legal requirements, Southwestern University is committed to providing a campus environment free of discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion, age, disability, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or any other impermissible factor. Southwestern University prohibits sexual harassment, sexual violence including sexual assault and other non-consensual sexual touching (forcible or not), relationship violence (including domestic and dating violence), stalking and other gender-based misconduct. Retaliation against anyone who reports an incident of sexual misconduct is strictly prohibited.

All universities are required by law to name a Title IX coordinator to manage campus sexual misconduct issues. That person’s role is to oversee reporting requirements; to adequately ensure procedures and educational resources are in place; and to identify and address any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints. Southwestern University has designated the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Elma Benavides, as the campus Title IX Coordinator. In addition, a Deputy Title IX coordinator has been identified as the Dean of Students.

Southwestern University encourages all members of the University community to report any concerns or complaints of sexual misconduct. Agents of the University (‘responsible employees’) are required by law to promptly report allegations of sexual misconduct that they learn or observe to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy. “Responsible employees” are defined as employees who have the authority to take action to redress sexual violence or who a student could reasonably believe have this authority or duty.

The University takes all allegations of sexual misconduct seriously and will respond to all complaints, reports, allegations and information about sexual misconduct, of which it is aware. A Complainant has the option either to disclose (tell someone about sexual violence, but not necessarily for the purposes of officially reporting the incident to the school for disciplinary procedure) or report (tell someone because you want the school to be aware of the sexual violence or want to initiate a complaint and/or start the disciplinary process) an incident of sexual misconduct. If a student discloses an incident to a responsible employee who is obligated to report sexual misconduct, but the disclosing person wishes to maintain confidentiality or does not consent to the request to initiate an investigation, the Dean of Students will in her/his discretion weigh the request against the University’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of the community. The University seeks consent from those who disclose prior to conducting an investigation. Declining to consent to an investigation will be honored unless the University determines in its discretion that investigation is required in order to prevent serious future physical harm to the disclosing person or community. If the University determines that an investigation is required, it will notify the disclosing person and take appropriate action. The University is committed to assisting victims/survivors of sexual misconduct through various resources and support services. To receive confidential support, the University encourages assistance from the counseling/health center and/or medical attention.

Students are also encouraged to make reports to local law enforcement and/or to SUPD and have evidence collected. In addition, the University discipline system can be used concurrently or independent from the legal system.

 

Section 2 - JURISDICTION

Southwestern University has the right to review and respond to on and off-campus violations of the University’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy by students, groups of students, or student organizations (see definitions in Section 16). Anyone may report a violation. (If a student wants to report a violation by a faculty or staff member, please report it to Elma Benavides, Associate Vice-President for Human Resources.) The University may take disciplinary action in response to incidents that take place during official functions of the University, or those sponsored by registered student organizations, or incidents that have a substantial connection to the interests of Southwestern University regardless of the location in which they occur. This Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students and employees, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and applies to third parties. When a student is convicted of any crime whether it took place on or off campus, the University reserves the right to pursue its own internal disciplinary proceedings.

An action involving a student in a legal proceeding in civil or criminal court does not affect the University’s ability to pursue its own internal disciplinary proceedings.

 

Section 3 - DEFINITION OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

The University defines sexual misconduct as any non-consensual sexual contact between students, including but not limited to unwanted sexual touching and/or sexual intercourse. Sexual touching includes, but is not limited to, any touching of the breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals or the use of any of these parts for touching another. Sexual touching includes forcing one to self-touch on any of these parts. The definition of sexual misconduct includes contact by means of an object.

In University disciplinary proceedings, consent to sexual acts requires affirmative verbal response to specific sexual suggestion. Consent is a voluntary, non-impaired verbal expression of agreement. The absence of “no” does not mean “yes.” Participation in social activities, sexual history, previous sexual involvement, or a lack of response does not itself create consent. Consent to a sexual act does not create consent to other sexual acts. Moreover, consent to a sexual act at any given encounter does not create consent for a future encounter. Consent may be withdrawn at any time by any party.

Consent cannot be given or obtained when there is any form of intimidation, coercion, including but not limited to, the application or threat of physical force or threats of social disparagement to the victim, or threats to withhold benefits to which the victim may be entitled.

Coercion may include tacit coercion, as may happen when one party holds significant power over another. Such a power differential may make verbal expressions of consent by the less powerful party open to doubt, at any hearing.

Students who are not sure if they are interacting with a person who is incapacitated should, as a matter of practice, avoid engaging in a sexual act with that person at that time. A person who has ingested a “date rape” or other drug or is blacked out may not appear incapacitated; nonetheless this person may be incapable of consent. Thus, a student who has sexual interactions with anyone who may be under the influence of any substance is vulnerable to accusations of violations of this policy.

A person is incapacitated and cannot consent if that person lacks control of his or her motor skills; is unable to understand what is happening; is intoxicated to the point of a potential black out; or is asleep, or unconscious for any reason, including voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

An individual, who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should reasonably know, that the other person is incapacitated, has violated the policy.

Possession, use and/or distribution and/or administering of any incapacitating drugs, is prohibited and is a violation of this policy.

It is not an excuse that the accused party of sexual misconduct was drunk/intoxicated, and therefore did not realize the incapacity of the other.

Three principles are critical in understanding the University’s position in regards to sexual misconduct:

  1. Consent of all parties is mandatory and must be verbal.
  2. Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time via verbal or non-verbal communication.
  3. Alcohol and other drugs impair judgment and undermine the possibility for consent.

A student organization (as defined in Section 16) may be held responsible for sexual misconduct when any of the following conditions exist:

  1. the violation occurs on its premises with the knowledge and/or involvement of a member of the organization, or when a reasonable and prudent person would conclude that a member of the organization should have had such knowledge;
  2. the violation occurs in conjunction with an organization-related event, regardless of whether the event is held on or off campus;
  3. one or more members of an organization permit, encourage, aid, or assist any of its members, alumni/alumnae, or guests in committing a violation;
  4. one or more members of a student organization, under circumstances where such persons knew or should have known that an action constituting a violation was occurring or about to occur, fails to prevent that action or to intercede on the victim’s behalf;
  5. one or more members of an organization fail to immediately report to appropriate University authorities their first-hand knowledge of a violation;
  6. alcohol or other drugs made available or were knowingly allowed by the organization during an organization-related event were a factor in a violation, and that organization did not take reasonable precautions to ensure the safety of the members and their guests.

If a student organization meets any of the above criteria and any member(s) of the organization self-report an incident to the University and cooperate with any investigation(s), it will be taken into consideration as an act of good faith when determining any sanctions. If the University discovers that the student organization knowingly withheld information, the organization may be subject to additional sanctions.

 

Section 4 –IMMEDIATE RESPONSE OPTIONS

One should understand that if a crime has occurred, police officers in the State of Texas MUST pursue an investigation even without the victim’s consent. Therefore, reporting an assault to the police is not a confidential process. If one chooses to file a report, the student is encouraged to bring a trusted friend or family member for support. One can also request to have an SU counselor or an advocate from Williamson County Crisis Center (also known as Hope Alliance) to accompany her/him through the reporting process.

  • A student who believes s/he has had an unwanted sexual experience (even if s/he is unsure), may contact SU Police 24 hours a day by calling 512-863-1944, or by dialing 0 from a campus phone (if the sexual misconduct occurs on campus). The SU Police will help the student get to the appropriate hospital for medical treatment, if necessary. One can also call 911, if the sexual misconduct happened off campus. The student does not have to press charges; however, the student should understand that, if a crime has occurred, police officers in the State of Texas (including SU Police) are obligated to pursue an investigation with or without the student's consent.
  • Immediate medical treatment is available in Williamson County at:
    St. David’s Medical Center – Round Rock
    2400 Round Rock Ave. Round Rock, TX 78681
    Telephone: (512) 341-1000 (Main) 512-341-6428 (ER)

This hospital has a 24-hour On Call SANE NURSE (wait time typically 1 hour), who can conduct a rape kit examination to preserve evidence should the student decide to pursue criminal charges either now or in the future. Obtaining medical attention is highly encouraged to ensure the student’s injuries are treated and mediation provided to treat certain STD’s, receive information about HIV/AIDS and pregnancy. If the student desires medical treatment only, they may utilize services at the University Health Center located on the second floor of the Prothro Center. The contact number is 512-863-1252.

  • A student may talk with an SU counselor by calling 512-863-1252 during business hours. After 5:00 p.m. or on weekends, a student can call the SU Police (512-863-1944) and tell them it is a confidential matter. The Police can then connect the student with a Southwestern counselor. The counselor will provide confidential support, discuss options regarding reporting, accompany the student to the hospital and/or police department (either on or off campus) if requested and facilitate arrangements to ensure safety.
  • A student may contact the Health Center at 512-863-1252. After 5:00 p.m. or on weekends, a student can call the SU Police (512-863-1944) and tell them it is a confidential matter. The Police can then connect the student with the Southwestern nurse practitioner or nurse. The nurse practitioner or nurse will provide confidential support, discuss options regarding reporting, accompany the student to the hospital and/or police department (either on or off campus) if requested and facilitate arrangements to ensure safety.
  • The University Chaplain may be reached by dialing 512-863-1056, or by calling the campus operator (dial 0 on campus, 512-863-6511 off campus). After 5:00 p.m. and on weekends, a student can call the SU Police (dial 512-863-1944) and tell them it is a confidential matter. The Police can then connect the student with Chaplain. The Chaplain will provide confidential support, discuss options regarding reporting, accompany the student to the hospital and/or police department (either on or off campus) if requested and facilitate arrangements to ensure safety.
  • A student may choose to contact off campus resources. Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) can be reached at 1-800-460-SAFE (7233), or SafePlace at 512-267-7233. Both of these resources offer trained advocates to accompany the student to the hospital and immediate counseling to determine options for medical care as well as deciding whether or not to report to the police. Additionally SafePlace can accommodate Spanish speakers and deaf persons.
  • If one chooses to go directly to the hospital, it is recommended that s/he have someone they trust accompany her/him for support - the Williamson County Crisis Center (also known as Hope Alliance) will provide a trained volunteer to accompany the student to the hospital, should they prefer. They can be reached at 1-800-460-SAFE (7233).
  • Ongoing counseling, advocacy and support can be obtained on campus through the Counseling Center, the Health Center or the Chaplain. Off campus resources are Williamson County Crisis Center (Hope Alliance) and SafePlace. Referrals to private counselors can be obtained from all of the above.
  • The Southwestern University booklet, "Help for Sexual Assault/Sexual Misconduct: Where to go? Who to talk to?" may be obtained on-line at www.southwestern.edu/studentlife/misconduct.php. The booklet is also available from Counseling Center, the University Chaplain, any RA, SUPD and the Dean of Students Office. *Please note for the most up-to-date version please see the online version.
  • Another resource for students is a Sexual Misconduct Flowchart, which can assist a student with decision making (e.g. who to speak to about an incident). http://www.southwestern.edu/studentlife/SexualMisconductFlowchart.pdf
  • The Counseling Center’s website has other resources listed addressing sexual violence which students may find helpful: http//www.southwestern.edu/offices/counseling/selfhelp.php
 

Section 5 - ADJUDICATION OPTIONS

If a student has had an unwanted sexual experience, there are numerous options, including doing nothing or one or more of the following:

  1. One can pursue charges based on Texas state laws. This would entail making a police report followed by an investigation and possible criminal proceedings involving the appropriate District Attorney’s office.
  2. One can pursue a case through a civil suit. This option generally seeks monetary remedies and is initiated by contacting an attorney of the student’s choosing and at the student’s expense. Agencies that can help one find an attorney include the Austin Bar Association’s Lawyer Referral Service – www.austinlrs.com/index.asp or (512) 472-8303 or the Sexual Assault Legal Line at 888-296-SAFE.
  3. If a student wishes to seek confidential support, the on campus options are to meet with the Counseling Center, the Health Center or the University Chaplain. These options do not require an investigation nor do they prevent a student from pursuing other options.
  4. The Complainant can pursue a formal, on-campus University disciplinary action by informing the Dean of Students of her/his desire to register a formal complaint. Any member of the University community can be the Complainant. The University also reserves the right to act as the Complainant via Residence Life staff, Dean of Students, or SU Police. Any outcome from a University disciplinary process will not necessarily have any jurisdictional authority beyond the physical campus, its students and affiliated programs.

Once the University is notified of allegations of sexual misconduct an inquiry (but not necessarily an investigation) must be started. If the Complainant desires to proceed with a formal disciplinary complaint against the Respondent, a prompt investigation by the University will follow.

 

Section 6 - SEXUAL MISCONDUCT HEARING BOARD

Disciplinary complaints involving sexual misconduct are heard by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board ("Hearing Board"). The Hearing Board members receive formal training 32 prior to serving as a Board member. This training includes, among other topics, referral sources for assistance, presentations on how Southwestern adjudicates sexual misconduct disciplinary cases, dynamics of acquaintance rape scenarios, variable survivor reactions, myths and facts about sexual misconduct that apply to both men and women, sensitivity to sexual orientation factors and appropriate standards of proof.

The Hearing Board is the only board that can hear cases involving alleged student or student organization sexual misconduct, except during Special Periods (defined in Section 16), when the Special Periods Committee on Discipline shall act as the Hearing Board.

The Hearing Board shall consist of five Hearing Board Members, at least three of whom must be members of the faculty. Every attempt will be made to have gender diversity within the Hearing Board.

The Dean of Students (or designee) will choose the chair of the Hearing Board. The Hearing Board shall be provided with the charge(s), the Complainant's written complaint, the written reply of the Respondent (if any), attachments or list of witnesses, and any other documents or materials submitted by the parties or obtained during the investigation.

The Complainant and the Respondent will be informed of the names of the pool of potential Hearing Board members at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing. The Complainant and the Respondent can request dismissal, with cause, of any potential member of the Hearing Board up to twenty-four hours before the hearing. The decision to grant a dismissal shall be made in the sole discretion of the Dean of Students (or designee).

 

Section 7 - THE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT HEARING

The Dean of Students or her/his designee (if the Dean is the Complainant) is responsible for presenting charges to the Hearing Board. At this point, the Respondent may enter a plea of responsible or not responsible. In the absence of a plea, or in the case of a not responsible, the hearing continues.

In the event the Respondent pleads responsible, the Hearing Board will consider statements from the Respondent and the Complainant. The Dean of Students (or designee) or Hearing Board member may ask questions at that time.

Under usual circumstances, the Complainant attends the hearing as a witness. The Complainant and the Respondent have the right to attend the full hearing, excluding the deliberation of the Hearing Board, if they so choose. If the Respondent has been formally notified of the hearing but fails to attend, the Hearing Board will hear the case in her/his absence.

All witnesses at the hearing must testify live and in person before the Hearing Board, unless the witness (i) is not affiliated with Southwestern University and resides more than 100 miles from Georgetown, Texas, or (ii) makes a showing prior to the hearing to the Dean of Students (or designee) of good cause as to why live testimony is not feasible, such determination by the Dean (or designee) being in her/his sole discretion. In all such cases where the witness is permitted to not testify live, appearance of such witness shall be by live video, internet voice or video, or telephone, as the Dean of Students (or designee) may agree. Under no circumstance will written statements be permitted as testimony of a witness.

If the Respondent pleads not responsible or makes no plea, the Dean of Students (or designee) will present witnesses in support of the charge(s), including any witnesses provided by the Complainant. The Hearing Board members may ask questions, for clarification purposes only, during the witness’s direct testimony. Upon completion of the testimony by the Complainant or a witness, the Hearing Board, the Dean of Students (or designee) can conduct more complete questioning.

Should the Respondent or the Complainant have a question of a witness, or of each other, that question must be provided at the conclusion of the witness’s statement and must be presented to the chair, who will determine whether to ask the question of the witness, based on relevance or other factors is the chair’s discretion.

The Dean of Students (or designee) will then present witnesses on behalf of the Respondent. It is the choice of the Respondent whether or not to testify. Once again, the Hearing Board members may ask questions for clarification purposes only during the direct testimony of the witness.

Upon completion of the testimony by the Respondent or a witness, the Hearing Board may conduct more complete questioning. Once again, should the Respondent or the Complainant have a question of a witness, that question must be provided at the conclusion of the witness’s statement, and must be presented to the chair who will determine whether to ask the question of the witness, based on relevance or other factors is the chair’s discretion. The Hearing Board may, during a hearing, request additional information or witnesses and may take a recess of sufficient time to acquire the information. The Hearing Board chair may also declare a recess, if s/he believes that either the Complainant or the Respondent is emotionally unfit to continue or that there is fatigue of any party in the proceedings. Upon completion of the witnesses’ statements and questioning, the Complainant and the Respondent will have the opportunity to make a brief statement to the Hearing Board concerning the evidence or the issues for the Hearing Board. No new evidence will be permitted in such statements and the Chair of the Hearing Board will have the right to place reasonable restriction on the length of such statements. Upon completion of the closing statements by the Complainant and the Respondent, the Hearing Board will commence deliberation of responsible or not responsible in closed session. Only Hearing Board members are present in the closed session during deliberation. A preponderance of the evidence standard will determine the violation; meaning that it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed the conduct violation. If the Respondent is found responsible, or pleads responsible, both the Respondent and Complainant may make personal statements, followed by questions from the Hearing Board. Character witnesses for the Respondent may then be offered. A character witness is a person who may speak to their experiences with Respondent and Respondent’s good qualities, character and morality. Character witnesses may not address the issue of guilt or the facts relating to such finding by the Hearing Board. Such witnesses are limited to two, and a total time of fifteen minutes is allotted. At this time, the Dean of Students (or designee) will be expected to offer any history of former discipline problems. The Dean of Students (or designee) may also recommend appropriate sanctions. Those recommendations will be given in the presence of the Respondent. These are recommendations only and are not binding. This is followed by deliberation on the penalty by the Hearing Board in closed session. The Respondent is then informed of the penalty and reminded of the right to appeal. The Complainant is then notified of the outcome of the hearing and the right to appeal.

If the Respondent is a student organization, the organization shall be represented at the hearing by its president (or designee appointed from within the student membership of the organization).

The only persons entitled to be present during the hearing are the Dean of Students (or designee), the Complainant, the Complaint’s advisor selected pursuant to Section 8 below, the Respondent, the Respondent’s advisor selected pursuant to Section 8 below, witnesses (during their testimony only), and the Hearing Board members. In addition, an officer of the SUPD and/or a Residence Life staff member may attend, if determined necessary by the Dean of Students (or designee). Finally, the University may choose to have its attorney attend the hearing to consult with the University, the Dean of Students (or designee) and/or the Hearing Board on legal and procedural issues.

If during the hearing, the Hearing Board became aware of any other violation(s) of University policy which may have occurred in connection with the circumstances surrounding the alleged misconduct, the Hearing Board may in its discretion at the conclusion of the hearing make a confidential referral of such other potential violation(s) to the Dean of Students (or designee) for possible future or other disciplinary proceedings.

Southwestern University seeks to complete the investigation of all reports of sexual misconduct within sixty (60) days. That time frame is meant to be a guideline rather than rigid requirement. Circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames, including extension beyond sixty (60) days. Such circumstances may include school breaks or holidays, the complexity of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, or other unforeseen circumstances.

 

Section 8 - RIGHT OF A STUDENT TO HAVE AN ADVISOR

When a student appears before the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board as a Complainant or Respondent, he or she is entitled to be accompanied by one advisor of his or her choosing. The Dean of Students (or designee) should be informed of the identity of the advisor not less than 10 days before the hearing. The advisor may be anyone, including a friend, a member of the faculty or staff, a parent, or an attorney. The only persons disqualified from being your advisor are witnesses, administrators over the disciplinary process, and any person who supervises a participant in the disciplinary process as an employee. If the advisor is an attorney, the Dean of Students (or designee) will still communicate directly with the Complainant and/or the Respondent regarding the procedures and other matters relating to the hearing; however, the attorney must have all of his or her communications be to the University’s attorney and not with the Dean of Students (or designee). Whoever is the advisor, the advisor is not allowed to speak during the hearing, to speak for the party, to argue for the party, to address the Hearing Board, or to address/question any witness during the hearing. The advisor’s role is limited to privately advising the Complainant or the Respondent, as the case may be, in a non-disruptive manner. It is the responsibility of the Complainant/Respondent to assure that the advisor is aware of his or her role.

 

Section 9 - ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURE

If the Dean of Students (or designee) concludes in her/his discretion that implementation of the usual sexual misconduct hearing procedure would result in significant trauma for the Complainant or alleged victim, the Complainant will have an additional option. The Complainant and her/his advisor would be connected to the process via telephone or video conferencing technology instead of being physically present at the site of the hearing. This option does not require the consent of the Respondent. All other aspects of the hearing remain the same.

 

Section 10 - APPEALS

Appeals may be made by both the Respondent and the Complainant. Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Vice President for Student Life within three business days from the date of written notification of the hearing results, with a copy of such appeal being delivered to the Dean of Students (or designee). The Dean of Students (or designee) will then provide a copy of the written appeal to the non-appealing party at which time the non-appealing party may provide a written response within three business days. Appeals must be in writing and signed by the Complainant or Respondent and not by the advisor. An appeal must concisely set forth the grounds for appeal, as well as provide any supporting material.

The grounds for appeal are limited to the following:

  • The hearing was conducted in a manner materially and unfairly inconsistent with the established Hearing Board procedure (see Section 7).
  • Information is available that was unavailable at the time of the hearing, and the new information is relevant to the Hearing Board’s determination.
  • Sanction(s) is (are) inappropriate for the violation(s).

A decision on the appeal by the Appellate Board, composed of the Vice President for Student Life and 2 members of the Hearing Board pool who were not involved in the original hearing or intake process, will be based upon the written appeal and such other information as the Appellate Board deems at its discretion to be relevant. There is no hearing or other oral presentations by the parties in connection with the appeal. The decision on the appeal rendered by the Appellate Board is final, meaning that there is no appeal beyond the Appellate Board, and will be mailed, within thirteen business days of receipt of the appeal, to both the Complainant and the Respondent.

The Appellate Board may take the following measures on appeal:

  1. Uphold the original decision(s) and sanction(s).
  2. Uphold the original decision(s) and alter sanction(s).
  3. Refer the case back to the Hearing Board for rehearing. Both the Respondent and Complainant will have the opportunity to participate in a rehearing.
  4. Refer the case back to the Hearing Board for review. Both the Respondent and Complainant will be informed of the outcome of the review.

Where an appeal is based on assessed sanction(s), the Appellate Board may reduce but not increase sanctions imposed. A rehearing or review by Hearing Board may not result in more severe sanctions. The outcome of the appeal process is final.

Departures from these procedures and errors in their application shall not be grounds to withhold disciplinary action unless, in the sole judgment of the Appellate Board, the departures or errors were such as to have prevented a fair and just hearing. If you want to learn more about your rights or if you believe your institution is violating Federal law, you can contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, at ocr@ed.gov or (800)421-3481. You can also fill out a form online at www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complainintro.html

 

Section 11 - INTERIM SANCTIONS

In certain instances, it may be necessary for the University to impose interim sanctions, including suspension, pending a hearing. This action may be necessary when in the sole opinion of the Dean of Students (or designee), the continued presence of the Respondent may constitute a threat or disruption to the normal academic process of the University, or where the Respondent is considered a danger. In such cases, a hearing will be scheduled as soon as appropriate after interim sanctions commence.

 

Section 12 - RIGHTS OF THE COMPLAINANT

The rights of the Complainant are as follows:

  1. To have assistance from a CASAR (Center for Academic Success and Records) Advisor that can help assess your academic situation and what your options might be. Every case is different, but these options could include (but are not limited to) transferring classes and/or withdrawing from one or more of your classes. Alternative meal hours or housing can be arranged if necessary by talking to the Dean of Students (or designee). Assistance can also be received in regards to any concerns you might have about financial aid and scholarships.
  2. To be informed in writing of time and date of the sexual misconduct hearing and the charges against the Respondent.
  3. To be informed of the names of the pool of potential Hearing Board members at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing.
  4. To request dismissal, with cause, of any potential member of the Hearing Board up to twenty-four hours before the hearing.
  5. To know the name(s) of the Respondents witness(es).
  6. To have an advisor (See Section 8).
  7. To supply the Dean of Students (or designee) with a written statement and any evidence in support of the complaint.
  8. To appear as a witness at the hearing.
  9. To attend the entire hearing exclusive of closed sessions.
  10. To request alternative hearing procedures (See Section 9) in which the Complainant does not have to be physically present at the hearing site.
  11. To supply the Dean of Students (or designee) with a list of witnesses in support of the accusations.
  12. To receive notice and explanation of the processes involving allegations of sexual misconduct.
  13. To provide questions of witnesses to the hearing chair for consideration (See Section 7).
  14. To be informed, in writing, of the final judgment of the Hearing Board, of any appeal request, and of the results of an appeal.
  15. To appeal the decision (See Section 10).
  16. To receive updates and copies of all correspondence throughout the process (when statements are provided to the other, appeal filed, etc.).
 

Section 13 - RIGHTS OF THE RESPONDENT

The rights of the Respondent are as follows:

  1. To have assistance from a CASAR (Center for Academic Success and Records) Advisor that can help assess your academic situation and what your options might be. Every case is different, but these options could include (but are not limited to) transferring classes and/or withdrawing from one or more of your classes. Alternative meal hours or housing can be arranged if necessary by talking to the Dean of Students (or designee). Assistance can also be received in regards to any concerns you might have about financial aid and scholarships.
  2. To be informed in writing of the time and date of the sexual misconduct hearing and of the specific charges.
  3. To be informed of the names of the pool of potential Hearing Board members at least forty-eight hours prior to the hearing.
  4. To request dismissal, with cause, of any potential member of the Hearing Board up to twenty-four hours before the hearing.
  5. To know the name(s) of her/his Complainant and witness(es).
  6. To have an advisor (See Section 8).
  7. To supply the Dean of Students (or designee) with any evidence in support of her/his defense.
  8. To appear as a witness at the hearing.
  9. To attend the entire hearing exclusive of closed sessions.
  10. To not appear at the hearing.
  11. To supply the Dean of Students (or designee) with a list of witnesses in defense of the accusation(s).
  12. To receive notice and explanation of the processes involving allegations of sexual misconduct.
  13. To provide questions of witness(es) to the hearing chair for consideration (See Section 7).
  14. To be informed, in writing, of the final judgment of the Hearing Board, of any appeal request, and of the results of an appeal.
  15. To appeal the decision (See Section 10).
  16. To be notified of any sanction(s) by the Dean of Students (or designee) within twenty-four hours of the Hearing Board's decision, followed by a letter outlining the sanction(s).
  17. To receive updates and copies of all correspondence throughout the process (when statements are provided to the other, appeal filed, etc.).
 

Section 14 - TYPICAL SANCTIONS

If the accused student or student organization is found in violation of the University's Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, the notification will also include notice of any sanctions which may be imposed by the Hearing Board. Such sanctions may include, but are not limited to, those listed below. More than one sanction may be imposed for any single violation. A history of inappropriate behavior by the student or student organization and the nature or severity of an incident are considered in determining appropriate sanctions. If disciplinary sanctions are not fulfilled by the sanctioned student, more serious disciplinary sanctions may be imposed by the University Committee on Discipline. If a student chooses to withdraw from Southwestern University prior to a Sexual Misconduct Hearing, a Criminal Trespass may be issued through Southwestern University Police Department.

The Hearing Board has wide discretion to impose any sanction it deems appropriate for the violation it found of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. In considering the appropriate sanction, the Hearing Board will consider, among other things, the nature of the specific acts, the interests of the Complainant, the character and interests of the individual found guilty, the testimony, if any, at the punishment phase of the hearing, and the interests of the University in a safe environment. The range of potential sanctions include:

Contract Probation – A warning that future violations may be handled more strictly and with additional sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students (or designee). Contract probation expires after a specified amount of time but remains in the internal SU record until graduation (or in the case the student leaves the University, for four years after the violation).

Disciplinary Probation – Disciplinary probation may include any or all of the following sanctions as determined by the disciplinary body: (a) a warning that future misconduct will bring serious consequences; (b) prohibition against keeping or operating a car at the University; (c) prohibition against holding any elected office on campus or representing the University off campus. Students placed on disciplinary probation may not graduate, re-enroll, or confirm registration until the terms of probation are met.

Expulsion – The permanent dismissal of a student or organization. Expelled students must leave campus within twenty-four hours, unless the Hearing Board directs otherwise. Expelled organizations must cease to exist within twenty-four hours, unless the Hearing Board directs otherwise.

Loss of Privileges – Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.

Mandated Counseling – Requirement that a student take part in a counseling program conducted by an off campus licensed professional as determined by the Hearing Board. This includes signing a “Request and Authorization to Exchange Information” form provided by the Dean of Students (or designee). The Hearing Board may require the student to participate in a counseling program that addresses particular issues, such as substance abuse.

Mandated Counseling Assessment – Assessment and/or session with an off-campus licensed professional as determined by the Hearing Board by a specified date. This includes signing a “Request and Authorization to Exchange Information” form provided by the Dean of Students (or designee). Unless otherwise stated by the Hearing Board, the student is required to follow all recommendations made by the treating professional.

Mandatory Housing Relocation and Class Scheduling – To facilitate the Respondent and Complainant avoiding all contact unless the Complainant agrees otherwise.

Physical Restrictions – A directive that forbids a student(s) to be in specified locations on University premises.

Suspension – The forced withdrawal of a student or an organization for a specifically stated period of time. Suspended students must leave campus within twenty-four hours, unless the Hearing Board directs otherwise. Suspended organizations must suspend all operations within twenty-four hours, unless the Hearing Board directs otherwise.

Student Organizations Sanctions – In addition to the other sanctions identified here, as appropriate, student organizations found guilty of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy may also face the following sanctions:

  • Alcohol Ban – Alcohol may be banned from all functions and/or from specific premises, even if all students are of legal age.
  • Expulsion – In addition to the expulsion sanctions identified above, the removal of all organization identification, removal or covering of any permanent signage, social areas being restricted to residents only, the loss of all University privileges, and residential occupancy determined by the Dean of Students (or designee).
  • Mandated Educational Programs approved by the Dean of Students (or designee).
  • National Organization Contact – informing any relevant national organization of the violation.
  • Prohibition of recruiting, adding and/or inducting new members.
  • Social Probation – Prohibiting a student organization from having any social activities (including parties) on or off campus for a specified period of time.
  • Suspension – In addition to the suspension sanctions identified above, the removal of all non-permanent signage during the time of suspension, and residential occupancy determined by the Dean of Students (or designee).
 

Section 15 - RECORDS

Accurate records of hearings and other actions by administrators shall be kept in the student’s and/or organization’s files in the Office of Student Life. These records will be made available to the Vice President for Student Life (or designee) and the Appellate Board upon appeal. Records of hearings usually include information provided by several students. Therefore, they are not considered to be a part of any one student’s record, and are not made available to anyone outside the hearing or the campus appeal process, except under proper subpoena and in accordance with law.

Student disciplinary hearing files will be maintained for ten years following graduation. At the end of this designated time periods, disciplinary hearing files may be destroyed.

 

Section 16 - OTHER SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INFORMATION AND POLICY DEFINITIONS

The following is some additional information relating to the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, as well as some definitions of commonly used words that may arise in the Policy. To the extent these defined terms are defined above in the Policy, the following definitions are not intended to replace them, but are simply short-hand guidance. Similarly, witnesses use of terms defined here are not deemed to adopt these definitions. Rather, witnesses may explain and offer their own meaning as to their use of such terms.

Bystanders: Individuals who witness emergencies, criminal events or situations that could lead to criminal events and by their presence may have the opportunity to provide assistance, do nothing or contribute to the negative behavior.

Bystander Intervention (Adapted from Vassar Website with permission): When a bystander notices a situation that seems out of the ordinary, they need to evaluate and determine if it is an emergency or one in which someone needs assistance. If they decide this is the case, they need to take action. Most frequently, people are less willing to take action if there are other bystanders present since everyone waits for someone else to take responsibility. In situations of physical or sexual violence, having someone else present is often more empowering as the bystander will feel more empowered. The bystander must then decide the best course of action. Whether this is to help the person leave the situation, confront a behavior, diffuse a situation, or call for other support/security. The best way bystanders can assist in creating an empowering climate free of interpersonal violence is to diffuse the problem behaviors before they escalate.

  • Educate yourself about interpersonal violence AND share this information with friends
  • Confront friends who make excuses for other peoples' abusive behavior
  • Speak up against racist, sexist, homophobic and ablest jokes or remarks

Tips for intervening in a situation potentially involving sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking:

  • Approach everyone as a friend
  • Do not be antagonistic
  • Avoid using violence
  • Be honest and direct whenever possible
  • Recruit help if necessary
  • Keep yourself safe
  • If things get out of hand or become too serious, contact the police

Please remember that any situation that threatens physical harm to yourself or another student should be assessed carefully. Contact SUPD at 512-863-1944 if needed to assist to diffuse the situation.

CASAR: Center for Academic Success and Records.

Coercion: The application or threat of physical force or threats of social disparagement to the victim, or threats to withhold benefits to which the victim may be entitled. Coercion may include tacit coercion, as may happen when one party holds significant power over another. Such a power differential may make verbal expressions of consent by the less powerful party open to doubt, at any hearing.

Complainant: The recipient of the alleged sexual misconduct who is filing a complaint.

Consent: See Section 3 of this Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Dating Violence: Violence by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.

Domestic Violence: Violence by the victim'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.

Non-impaired: Mentally and physically capable of exercising judgment concerning one’s own behavior, actions and decisions.

Respondent: The person accused of the sexual misconduct by the Complainant.

Retaliation: Any action taken against another person to seek revenge. This includes physical contact, inappropriate comments through email, text messages, social media, Facebook comments or any other form of communication or any other attempts to ostracize by or on behalf of either student.

Sexual Exploitation: Any actual or attempted abuse of a position of vulnerability, differential power, or trust, for sexual purposes, including, but not limited to, profiting monetarily, socially or politically from the sexual exploitation of another.

Sexual Harassment: See Policies and Procedures on Sexual Harassment, Section XVII of the Student Handbook.

Sexual Misconduct: See Section 3 of this Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Special Periods: When the Honor Code Council Hearing Board, the University Committee on Discipline, and the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board cannot be assembled to hear a case, or when, in the opinion of the Dean of Students (or designee), unusual and/or extenuating circumstances do not allow for a fair hearing, the Special Periods Committee on Discipline will hear the case and act as the Hearing Board under this policy. These periods include, but are not limited to, the first two weeks of the semester, finals week, vacations, and summer terms. * see page 64 of the Handbook for more information.

Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Student: An individual is considered a Southwestern student and is expected to comply with all University policy upon submittal of her/his enrollment deposit and the inception of orientation move-in day. This student status remains until one graduates or withdraws from the University. A deposited individual may be subjected to disciplinary action before move-in day if s/he violates a University policy while on campus or in any interaction with University personnel. Individuals who are both students and employees will be treated as students for the purpose of this policy and procedure, only if their primary relationship to the situation is that of a student. Allegations against individuals who are regular employees (regardless of student status) will be handled under the appropriate personnel policies. Where appropriate, student also includes student organizations.

Student Organization: Any group that has complied with the formal requirements for University recognition or regulation is a student organization.

This page was updated on Sep 03, 2015.