Student Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy

This Policy covers reports of alleged Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence involving Bowdoin College students. The health, safety and well-being of students is the College’s primary concern. If you or someone you know may be the victim of any form of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, as defined below, you are strongly urged to seek immediate assistance from the appropriate community resource. Assistance can be obtained 24 hours a day, seven days a week from:

* Police (Town of Brunswick): 911 or (207) 725-6620 
* Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM): (800) 871-7741
* Family Crisis Services: (866) 834-4357
* Midcoast Hospital: 911 or (207) 729-0181
* Parkview Adventist Medical Center: 911 or (207) 373-2000
* Bowdoin Office of Safety and Security: x3500 or (207) 725-3500

Seeking assistance immediately is important to protect yourself and the members of the College community and to preserve physical and other evidence. You are also strongly urged to contact the Director of Gender Violence Prevention and Education, Benje Douglas, as soon as reasonably possible to report any Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence you believe may have occurred. Benje can be reached at (207) 721-5189 or by email at bdouglas@bowdoin.edu.  Benje is available to help connect students to the resources available on campus and in the community, including making reports to law enforcement, as well as to explain the processes available through this Policy.  You may also contact the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, Meadow Davis, at (207) 725-3037 or mdavis1@bowdoin.edu.

If you or someone you know may be the victim of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence by a member of the College’s faculty or staff, you may report such misconduct or file a complaint with the College’s Title IX Coordinator. Bowdoin College’s Title IX Coordinator is the Vice President for Human Resources, Tamara Spoerri. Tama can be reached at (207) 725-3838 or by email at tspoerri@bowdoin.edu.  

Further information about Title IX and sex discrimination in education is available from the Office for Civil Rights, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100 (by Customer Service Hotline: (800) 421-3481; fax: (202) 453-6012; TDD: (877) 521-2171; email: OCR@ed.gov; or on the web at http://www.ed.gov/ocr)

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Overview of College Procedures

B. Definitions

C. Geographic Jurisdiction

D. Confidential Resources

E. Procedural Options  

F. Supporters and Advisors to the Parties

G. Timing of Complaints and Availability of Procedures

H. Retaliation

I. Other Related Misconduct

J. Criminal Proceedings

II. THE PROCESS: INITIAL STEPS

A. Intake Meeting with Complainant

B. Complainant Wishes to Pursue Formal or Informal Resolution

C. Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality

D. Interim Measures

III. FORMAL RESOLUTION

A. Notice of Charges

B. Investigation

C. Appeal of Investigator’s Recommendation

D. Convening of Panel and Challenges to Panel Composition

E. Pre-Decision Board Preparation

F. Complainant Changes Election to Informal Resolution

G. Respondent Elects to Accept Responsibility

H. Privacy of the Process

I.  Panel Proceedings

 

IV. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

A. Purpose of Informal Resolution

B. Presiding Officer

C. Conduct of the Informal Resolution

D. Outcomes of Informal Resolution

E. Confidentiality of Informal Resolution

F. Election of Formal Resolution

 

V. POLICY INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENTS

I. INTRODUCTION

A. Overview of College Procedures

Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence as defined by this Student Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy (the “Policy”) comprise a broad range of behavior that will not be tolerated at the College. For purposes of this Policy, “Sexual Misconduct” includes Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment, Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, and Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, each as defined below.  Gender Based Violence includes Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking, each as defined below.  Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence are serious offenses that violate College policy and state and/or federal law and may also be subject to criminal prosecution. The College encourages students to report Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence promptly to local law enforcement agencies and/or the proper Bowdoin College administrators for the timely and fair resolution of Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence complaints.

As a recipient of federal funds, the College is required to and does comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC 1681 et seq. (“Title IX”), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities. Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence, as defined by this Policy, are a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Students who have experienced instances of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence may receive support from a variety of sources both on and off campus, including Counseling Services, Health Services, the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, the Office of Residential Life, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, Safe Space, Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM), Family Crisis Services and the Women’s Resource Center.  The College urges all of its students to become familiar with available support services and obtain needed support. College students are eligible to receive support regardless of whether they elect to pursue administrative remedies under this Policy.

The College offers alternative options to address cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence within the framework of the College’s administrative processes. The options are designed to provide an opportunity for parties to present their versions of the incident and to understand the nature of the incident and its effects on each party and the College community. The options differ in their procedures, degree of formality, and potential results. The timeline for resolution of Formal Complaints, from initiation of the complaint to the Panel’s decision, is generally approximately 60 days. This excludes any appeals taken pursuant to Section III(I)(e). Regardless of the process chosen to address cases of Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence, the College will provide prompt, fair and impartial resolution of complaints.

The initiation of procedural options is normally coordinated through the Advisor to the Student Sexual Misconduct Board. However, nothing in these procedures precludes the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee from taking appropriate action to enforce College policy or comply with applicable law in response to a report of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence. This would include, but not be limited to, restricting contact between the parties, initiating housing or academic accommodations or ordering interim suspensions. The College may take appropriate protective and administrative action even in situations where the student who alleges that Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence has been committed against themself is absent from campus or not participating in a formal or informal process under this Policy. Use of these procedures does not preclude the use of other dispute resolution options outside the College, including civil and/or criminal proceedings.

Instances in which a current Bowdoin College student is alleged to have committed Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence may be resolved through the procedures outlined herein. These procedures apply to all students who are currently matriculants, 12 College Exchange or Special Students at Bowdoin College. Instances in which a non-student College employee or faculty member is alleged to have committed Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence will be resolved through the Bowdoin College Human Resources Department. The Office of the Dean of Student Affairs will assist students in accessing support and resources in these other instances involving non-student College employees or faculty.

The College recognizes the importance of the availability of confidential reporting and, to that end, there are several Bowdoin community members to whom students can make Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence complaints and who will not disclose identifying details of such complaints to the Advisor or Title IX Coordinator.  See Section I(D) below for more information on confidential resources. 

B. Definitions

Advisor” means Advisor to the Student Sexual Misconduct Board. This person is appointed by the Dean of Student Affairs.

Board Chair” means the Chair of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board. The Chair is the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee.

Clery Act” means the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1092(f); 34 C.F.R., Part 668.46. 

Complainant” means the individual who alleges that Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence has been committed against themself or against another individual.

Effective Consent” means words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Effective Consent cannot be gained by Force, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the Incapacitation of another, where the Respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such Incapacitation. The use of alcohol or other drugs will never function to excuse behavior that violates this Policy. Effective Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of Effective Consent previously given. In addition, certain states have designated a minimum age under which a person cannot give Effective Consent.

Expert Witness” means any individual who has expertise, training or special knowledge that is relevant to the specific details of a Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence case.

FERPA” means the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, 20 U.S.C. Section 1232(g); 34 C.F.R. Part 99.

Final Outcome Letter” means the letter issued by the Sexual Misconduct Panel stating its decision and setting forth: the name of the Respondent; the violation(s) of this Policy for which the Respondent was found responsible, if any; and the sanction imposed, if any.

Force” means physical force, violence, threat, intimidation or coercion.

Formal Complaint” means the document prepared by the Advisor, and signed by the Complainant, that sets forth the name of the Respondent, and the date, location and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence.

Gender Based Violence” is a broad term encompassing “Dating Violence,” “Domestic Violence,” and “Stalking.”  Gender Based Violence can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in both long term and brief intimate partnerships. Gender Based Violence can be committed by someone of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

“Dating Violence” is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional violence or the threat of such violence and does not include acts that meet the definition of “Domestic Violence.”

“Domestic Violence” as defined by Maine law to mean felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic law of Maine or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Maine.

“Stalking” is engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.  Examples of stalking include: unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, and/or email; repeatedly leaving or sending unwanted items such as gifts; following or waiting for a person at places such as home, school or work; making direct or indirect threats of harm to a person, or the person’s children, relatives, friends or pets; damaging or threatening to damage property; harassment through the internet or social media; and posting information or spreading rumors about a person.

Incapacitation” means the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of Incapacitation include, without limitation, sleep, blackouts, and flashbacks. Where alcohol [or other drug] is involved, Incapacitation is determined by how the alcohol [or other drug] consumed impacts a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments.

Investigator” means the external, neutral fact-finder, who, during the course of a Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence investigation, typically conducts interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and relevant third-party Witnesses and completes the Investigative Report. The Investigator decides, based on their investigation, whether there is a substantial basis to initiate a proceeding pursuant to this Policy.

Investigative Report” means the report, submitted by the Investigator to the Advisor, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, the Dean of Student Affairs, the Complainant and the Respondent and, if applicable, the Sexual Misconduct Panel. The report generally includes summaries of all interviews, copies of all other evidence, and a detailed written analysis of the events in question. 

Respondent” means the individual student who is alleged to have committed one or more acts of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence.

Responsible Employee” means any Bowdoin employee: who has the authority to take action to redress Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence by students to the Title IX Coordinators or other appropriate school designee; or whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. This includes but is not limited to faculty, coaches, residential life staff, and deans.

Sexual Misconduct” is a broad term encompassing “Sexual Exploitation,” “Sexual Harassment,” “Non-Consensual Sexual Contact,” and “Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse,” as defined in this Policy. Sexual Misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate sexual relationship. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by someone of any gender, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact” means Sexual Contact that occurs without Effective Consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse” means Sexual Intercourse that occurs without Effective Consent.

Sexual Contact” means the deliberate touching of a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas), or using Force to cause a person to touch their own or another person’s intimate parts.

Sexual Exploitation” means taking sexual advantage of another person without Effective Consent, and includes, without limitation: causing or attempting to cause the Incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over such other person; recording, photographing or transmitting identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks) of another person; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; and/or knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection.

Sexual Harassment” means unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature.  Where sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it substantially interferes with a student’s College employment, academic performance, participation in College programs or activities, or living, learning or working environment, the sexual harassment creates a hostile environment in violation of Title IX and this Policy.

Sexual Harassment may include, for example, unwelcome physical contact; sexually explicit comments in person or via phone, letter, note, gift, text message, email or other electronic medium; sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; unwelcome invitations to engage in sexual activity; unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities; threatening to engage in an unwelcome sexual act with another person; engaging in indecent exposure; and stalking or cyber stalking.  A single instance of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature may constitute Sexual Harassment if it is sufficiently serious.

Title IX and this Policy also prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Intercourse” means penetration (anal, oral or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger or an inanimate object.

“Student Sexual Misconduct Board” means the group of students, faculty and staff from which the Sexual Misconduct Panel is selected. The Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee serves as its Chair. Student and faculty members will be appointed from current members of the Judicial Board.  The Board Chair and Advisor shall ensure that all Board members receive annual training that draws on professional and expert resources and focuses specifically on issues related to Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence. 

Sexual Misconduct Panel” means the panel convened by the Board Chair to consider and decide complaints brought under this Policy. The panel is made up of members of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board and shall include one student, one faculty member and the Dean of Student Affairs, or the Dean’s designee, who will serve as the presiding chair. If the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee is unavailable, the President shall select the Panel members and designate a Board member to preside over the proceedings.

Witness” means any individual who can attest first-hand to the specific details of an alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence case. 

C. Geographic Jurisdiction

Bowdoin students are responsible for their behavior on and off campus and are expected to comply with the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code, including the Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy, in all circumstances. Therefore, this Policy applies to any allegation of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence against a Bowdoin student, regardless of where the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence occurred. 

D. Confidential Resources

While Bowdoin strongly encourages students to report any incident of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence to the Advisor or Title IX Coordinators, the College also recognizes that not every individual will choose to engage with the procedural options available through this Policy.  For those individuals who are not prepared to make a report, there are several confidential resources available to students who wish to talk to someone about an incident of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence without moving forward with a procedure at that time.  These confidential resources will not release any information shared with them except under limited circumstances that pose an imminent danger to the individual or others. If you would like to speak with a professional staff member confidentially, please contact one of the individuals or offices listed below: 

On-Campus:                          

Counseling Services:                                                                207-725-3145

Health Services:                                                                      207-725-3770

Bob Ives,

Director, Religious and Spiritual Life:                                         207-798-4196

Melissa Quinby,

Director, Women’s Resource Center:                                         207-725-3724

Kate Stern,

Director, Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity:        207-725-4223

Only the people on this list are considered confidential resources under Title IX.  Any other employees of Bowdoin College including faculty, coaches, residential life student and professional staff and deans, are considered Responsible Employees and therefore must report incidents of Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence involving a student to the Director of Gender Violence Prevention and Education, Benje Douglas.

The following off campus resources are also available 24/7 and state on their websites that they provide confidential resources for all who use them. 

Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine:                   800-871-7741

Family Crisis Services:                                                             866-834-4357

E. Procedural Options

The College has established two procedures to address cases of alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence based on the filing of a written complaint with the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs: Formal and Informal Resolution. Details of these procedures and the associated limitations on their use are outlined below. 

F. Supporters and Advisors to the Parties

Both the Complainant and the Respondent may each have a Supporter present for emotional and personal support and assistance during the Intake Meeting, Investigation, Informal Resolution or the various stages of the Formal Resolution process.  The Advisor will work with the student to arrange for a Supporter of their choice provided that the Supporter shall be a member of the Bowdoin community, including a student, faculty member, College official or College employee, but shall not be a member of the Dean of Student Affairs, Health Services or Counseling Service staffs, or anyone else on the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee.

In addition to the Supporter, the parties are also entitled to have an advisor of their choice present during any part of the process outlined in this Policy. Neither the advisor nor the Supporter may make statements or question other parties or any Witnesses at any point during any of these processes. 

G. Timing of Complaints and Availability of Procedures

Any person may file a complaint of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence against a Bowdoin College student under this Policy. So long as the Respondent is matriculated as a Bowdoin College student, there is no time limit associated with invoking this Policy. Nevertheless, students are encouraged to report alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence immediately in order to maximize the College’s ability to obtain evidence and conduct a thorough, impartial and reliable investigation. Failure to promptly report alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence may result in the loss of relevant evidence and Witness testimony.

Under no circumstances will the College allow an impending graduation to compromise its resolution processes. The conferral of a degree may therefore be postponed or deferred, if necessary, until resolution of any Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence charges. 

H. Retaliation

It is a violation of College policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence or against any person cooperating in the investigation of (including testifying as a Witness to) any allegation of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence. For these purposes, “retaliation” includes intimidation, threats, and other adverse action against any such Complainant or third party. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Advisor and may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the underlying allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence. 

I. Other Related Misconduct

In accordance with this Policy, the Student Sexual Misconduct Board, acting through a Sexual Misconduct Panel, is empowered to consider allegations of, and to impose sanctions for, Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence and any alleged violations of the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code directly related to any alleged violations of this Policy. Such related misconduct may include, without limitation, violations of the rules of privacy and/or confidentiality as articulated herein, violations of the Dean's or Advisor’s directive(s) and/or protective action(s), and/or violations of the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code that occurred in the course of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence.

College students who provide information as part of an investigation, whether as parties to the proceedings or as Witnesses, are expected to be truthful in accordance with the College's Academic Honor Code and Social Code, and failure to do so may result in the initiation of a case with the Judicial Board.

The College encourages reporting Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence in all cases. Students who report Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence or provide testimony as to an incident of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, will generally not be held responsible for unrelated actions that might constitute a violation of the Social Code. This means, for example, that a student reporting an act of Sexual Misconduct but who was at the time engaged in conduct that violates the Social Code will not be held responsible as long as their actions did not put another student or the community at risk.   

J. Criminal Proceedings

Because Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence may constitute both a violation of this Policy and criminal activity, Bowdoin encourages students to report alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence promptly to local law enforcement agencies. The Complainant may request that the Advisor identify a member of the College community to assist the Complainant in understanding and navigating the criminal process.  Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of this Policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, for purposes of this Policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence under this Policy even if law enforcement agencies decline to prosecute.

The filing of a complaint of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence under this Policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding (except that the College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily if the criminal investigators request a delay to gather evidence). The College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceeding to commence its own investigation, take appropriate interim measures to protect the Complainant and the Bowdoin community, if necessary, as described in Section II(D), below, and to complete whichever resolution process has been selected. 

II. THE PROCESS: INITIAL STEPS

A. Intake Meeting with Complainant

Upon receipt of notice of any allegation of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, the Advisor will first schedule an individual intake meeting with the Complainant in order to provide to the Complainant a general understanding of this Policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Complainant. The intake meeting may also involve a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the Complainant’s academic schedule, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements. 

B. Complainant Wishes to Pursue Formal or Informal Resolution

At the initial intake meeting with the Complainant, the Advisor will seek to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed, i.e., whether the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution or does not wish to pursue resolution of any kind. If the Complainant wishes to proceed with either Formal or Informal Resolution, the Advisor will determine the name of the Respondent, and the date, location and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, and will schedule an individual intake meeting with the Respondent in order to provide to the Respondent a general understanding of this Policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Respondent.

If the Complainant wishes to proceed with Formal Resolution, the Advisor will promptly prepare and forward a Formal Complaint, signed by the Complainant, to the Investigator for investigation, in accordance with Section III below. The Formal Complaint will set forth the name of the Respondent, and the date, location and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence.

If the Complainant wishes to proceed with Informal Resolution, the Advisor will promptly meet with the Respondent and outline the allegation of misconduct and then refer the Complainant to the Student Sexual Misconduct Board Chair to initiate Informal Resolution proceedings, in accordance with Section IV, below. 

C. Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality

If the Complainant does not wish to pursue Formal or Informal Resolution and/or requests that the complaint remain confidential, Title IX nevertheless requires the College to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the Complainant’s complaint consistent with the Complainant’s request(s). If the Complainant requests that their name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the Respondent, the Advisor will inform the Complainant that the College's ability to respond may be limited and that Title IX prohibits retaliation. If the Complainant requests that their complaint not be resolved, such request shall be in writing and include a waiver of investigation and resolution. The College will evaluate the Complainant’s request(s) for confidentiality or no action in the context of the College’s commitment to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students. In order to make such an evaluation, the Advisor may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence and may weigh the Complainant’s request(s) against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence; the Complainant’s age; whether there have been other complaints of Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence against the same Respondent; and the Respondent’s right to receive information about the allegation if the information is maintained by the College as an “education record” under FERPA. The Advisor will inform the Complainant if the College must move forward with an investigation or take disciplinary action against the Respondent, because the safety of a student or students is in question, and therefore cannot ensure confidentiality. In cases where the College is able to ensure confidentiality, because the safety of a student or students is not in question, the Advisor reserves the authority to undertake an appropriate inquiry, issue a “no-contact” order, and take other reasonably necessary measures. 

D. Interim Measures

In all complaints of alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, regardless of whether the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution or no resolution of any kind, the College will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances to support and protect the Complainant and protect the College community, including taking appropriate interim measures before the final outcome of the investigation and any panel proceeding. Accordingly, at or after the Intake Meeting, the Advisor may impose a “no-contact” order, which typically will include a directive that the Respondent refrain from having contact with the Complainant, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation. The Dean of Student Affairs, or the Dean’s designee, also may take any further protective action that the Dean deems appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties pending the investigation, including, without limitation, ordering interim suspensions, and directing appropriate College officials to alter the students’ academic, College housing and/or College employment arrangements. When taking steps to separate the Complainant and the Respondent, the Dean of Student Affairs, or the Dean’s designee, will seek to minimize unnecessary or unreasonable burdens on either party; provided, however, that every reasonable effort will be made to allow the Complainant to continue in their academic, College housing and/or College employment arrangements. Violations of the Dean’s directives and/or protective actions will constitute related offenses that may lead to additional disciplinary action. 

III. FORMAL RESOLUTION

The signing of a Formal Complaint initiates the Formal Resolution process, as described in this section. 

A. Notice of Charges

Once a Formal Complaint has been signed, the Advisor, on behalf of the Office of the Dean of Student Affairs, will commence the Formal Resolution process by providing written notice to the Respondent (“Notice of Charges”) stating: (1) the nature of the complaint; (2) the aspects of the Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy and, if applicable, Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code allegedly violated; (3) the name of the Complainant; and (4) the date, time, and place of the Respondent’s interview with the Investigator.

The Notice of Charges will be delivered, at the Advisor’s discretion, by e-mail or in person, and will be considered effective immediately upon delivery. The Complainant shall be copied on the Notice of Charges. 

B.  Investigation

The Advisor will prepare and forward the Formal Complaint to a trained Investigator. The Investigator is an external, neutral fact-finder, who, during the course of the investigation, will interview the Complainant, the Respondent and any relevant third-party Witnesses (including Expert Witnesses, where applicable). The Investigator will also review any relevant documents or electronic evidence and, where applicable, coordinate with law enforcement agencies to collect and preserve relevant evidence.

The Complainant and Respondent are encouraged to disclose all facts related to the complaint, and to identify all sources of evidence, including witnesses the Investigator should interview and any relevant documents, electronic communications or social media evidence the Investigator should analyze, to enable the Investigator to develop a complete record.  They may suggest questions to the Investigator to be asked of other parties or witnesses.  Final decisions about with whom to talk and what to ask will be made by the Investigator.

Before issuing a report, the Investigator will allow the Complainant and Respondent an opportunity to review a summary of their respective interviews and to advise the Investigator of any errors or additional information or additional sources of information that should be pursued with respect to the complaint. 

The Investigator will then issue an Investigative Report that will include: summaries of interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent and each third-party Witness and any Expert Witnesses; where applicable, photographic, electronic and forensic evidence; and a detailed written analysis of the events in question. The Investigative Report will also make a recommendation to the Board Chair regarding whether there is a sufficient basis to convene a Panel to consider the matter. The Investigative Report shall be made available, concurrently, to the Advisor, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, the Dean of Student Affairs, the Complainant and the Respondent.  If either the Complainant or the Respondent believes that the Investigator has inaccurately reported a Witness’s statement, they should immediately request that the Investigator seek clarification from that Witness. 

C. Appeal of Investigator’s Recommendation

A party wishing to challenge the recommendation of the Investigator that the Panel should or should not consider a complaint once an investigation is complete shall notify the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee, acting as Board Chair of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board, in writing, stating the reason(s) for the party's appeal. Such a challenge must be made in writing and delivered to the Board Chair’s office within five (5) working days of receipt of the Investigative Report. The Board Chair will consider the appeal and promptly issue a decision, which will be final, on whether or not to uphold the Investigator’s recommendation.  If panel proceedings are denied by the Investigator or by the Dean of Student Affairs or his/her designee on appeal, the Complainant may proceed with Informal Resolution. 

D.  Convening of Panel and Challenges to Panel Composition

If the Investigator concludes that there is sufficient basis to convene a Panel, the Board Chair shall promptly convene one from among the members of the Sexual Misconduct Board. The Advisor shall provide both the Complainant and the Respondent with notice of the composition of the Panel. A party wishing to challenge the participation of the faculty or student member of the Panel shall notify the Board Chair in writing, stating the reason(s) for the party's objection. Such a challenge must be made in writing and delivered to the Board Chair’s office within five (5) working days of receipt of the notice of Panel composition. The Board Chair will determine whether the challenge has merit and reserves discretion to make changes in the Panel composition at all times. A party wishing to challenge the participation of the Board Chair of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board shall notify the President in writing, stating the reason(s) for the party’s objection, within five (5) working days of receipt of the notice of Panel composition. The President will determine if challenges to the Board Chair have merit and will make the final decision whether or not to remove and replace the Board Chair. 

E.    Pre-Decision Board Preparation

Once a Board member has been named to the Panel, that person may not publicly or privately discuss any aspects of the case with the parties, with anyone acting on the parties’ behalves, or anyone uninvolved in the case. 

F. Complainant Changes Election to Informal Resolution

At any time prior to the Panel’s consideration of the matter, the Complainant may elect to pursue Informal Resolution instead of Formal Resolution, by making such request to the Advisor or the Board Chair. 

G. Respondent Elects to Accept Responsibility

At any time prior to the Panel’s consideration of the matter, the Respondent may elect to acknowledge their actions and take responsibility for the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence. In such cases, the Board Chair will first propose a resolution to the Complainant and a sanction. If the Complainant agrees, the Board Chair will then propose the resolution and sanction to the Respondent.  If both the Complainant and the Respondent agree to the proposed resolution, the complaint is resolved without further consideration by the Panel. At any time during this process, the Board Chair may request a statement from the Complainant and/or the Respondent in order to determine an appropriate sanction. If either the Complainant or the Respondent objects to such proposed sanction, the Panel will be convened for the exclusive purpose of determining a sanction, which determination is not subject to appeal. For purposes of this proceeding, all of the other provisions of this Policy relating to the imposition of a sanction for Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence shall apply.

In determining the sanction, the panel will review the Investigative Report and any other relevant information.  Both the Respondent and the Complainant will be provided with the opportunity to present the panel with a statement, either verbally or in writing at the sole discretion of the Board Chair, that outlines their thoughts about an appropriate sanction.  The panel is not bound by these statements in determining a sanction. 

H.    Privacy of the Process

In order to comply with FERPA and Title IX, and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, proceedings before the Panel are confidential. Accordingly, documents prepared as part of such proceedings (including the Investigative Report, the Notice of Charges, and documents, interviews or other information submitted to the Panel,) may not be disclosed outside of the investigative process, except as may be required or authorized by law. 

I.  Panel Proceedings 

a. Procedure for Panel Decision:  If a panel proceeding is recommended by the Investigator, the Advisor will provide the panelists with a copy of the Notice of Charges, the Investigative Report and any accompanying documents or evidence. Upon receipt of the Investigative Report, the Panel may pose questions or issues to the Investigator that require additional investigation and may consider any objections to the Report or issues identified by the Complainant or the Respondent. 

The Complainant and the Respondent will each have an opportunity to appear, separately, before the Panel to make a statement.  This statement can include, but is not limited to, an explanation of the facts, a party’s views on the accuracy of evidence included in the Investigative Report, and their thoughts on an appropriate outcome and/or sanction.  A party may choose to submit a written statement to the Panel in lieu of appearing in person.

The Panel first determines, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the Respondent is responsible for the charges, and then, if appropriate, the sanction. A preponderance of the evidence means that the information shows that it is “more likely than not” that the Respondent violated the Policy. All decisions by the Panel will be made by majority vote. 

b. Sanction: The Panel may impose any sanction that it finds to be appropriate and that is authorized for violations of the Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy and/or the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code, including but not limited to social probation, suspension, and indefinite or permanent dismissal. In determining an appropriate sanction, the Panel may consider any record of past violation(s) of the Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy, the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code and/or any directives or protective actions, as well as the nature and severity of such past violation(s). The Panel will also consider, as part of its deliberations, whether the sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (c) remedy the effects of the violation on the Complainant and the Bowdoin community. 

c. Decision: Within five (5) working days from the conclusion of the formal proceedings (or such longer time as the Board Chair may for good cause determine), the Board Chair will concurrently provide the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Dean of Student Affairs (if not the Chair) with a copy of the Panel’s Final Outcome Letter. The Final Outcome Letter will set forth, as required by the Clery Act, the name of the Respondent; the violation(s) of this Policy for which the Respondent was found responsible, if any; the sanction imposed, if any; and the parties’ appeal rights as described in Section III(I)(e), below. 

d. Effective Date of Sanction: Sanctions imposed by the Panel are not effective until any timely administrative appeal of the decision is completed. However, if advisable to protect the welfare of the Complainant or the College community, the Panel may include in its Final Outcome Letter that any probation, suspension, or dismissal is effective immediately and shall continue in effect until such time as the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee may determine otherwise. 

e. Appeals: Either the Complainant or the Respondent may appeal the Panel’s decision to the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee by notifying the President of the College, who serves as the Chair of the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee, in writing with any supporting materials within five (5) working days of the Panel’s decision.  The Board Chair and/or Advisor may provide a written statement to the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee in response to issues raised in the appeal. Only one appeal may be brought by any party.

The Student Appeals and Grievances Committee will limit its review of Student Sexual Misconduct Board decisions to a review of the record, including the Investigative Report, supporting documents or other evidence, and any statement by the Complainant, the Respondent, and/or the Board Chair and/or Advisor regarding any issue raised in the appeal. In order for an appeal to be granted, the appeal must demonstrate at least one of the following:

     1.  procedural error(s) that may have prejudiced the Panel; or

     2.  evidence unavailable at the original proceeding, which would likely have affected the decision.

If the Student Appeals and Grievances Committee grants the appeal, it shall direct the Sexual Misconduct Panel to reconsider the case with appropriate corrections or convene a new panel to hear the case, either of which could eliminate, reduce or increase the sanction.  The members of Student Appeals and Grievances Committee will receive annual training that draws on professional and expert resources. 

IV. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

A Complainant may elect to pursue Informal Resolution, as more particularly described in this section. Informal Resolution is a resolution process that does not involve a Panel proceeding and is not mediation. The Respondent is expected to attend the Informal Resolution proceeding, but is not required to participate in the proceeding. 

A. Purpose of Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution provides an opportunity for the Complainant to communicate their feelings and perceptions, including the impact of the incident of the alleged Sexual Misconduct or Gender Based Violence, to the Respondent, in the presence of and facilitated by a presiding officer, as described in Section IV(C) below.  It also allows the Complainant to share their wishes and expectations regarding protection in the future.  The Respondent will have an opportunity to respond. 

B. Presiding Officer

The Board Chair, or a designee of the Board Chair, will preside over the Informal Resolution, and may elect to be assisted by another member of the Board or staff of the College. 

C. Conduct of the Informal Resolution

Upon timely request by a party, the Board Chair may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant or the Respondent by providing separate facilities, by using a visual screen, and /or by permitting participation by telephone, videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, audiotape, written statements or other means, where and as determined in the sole discretion of the Board Chair to be appropriate. 

The Complainant will be given an opportunity to make statements. The Respondent will then be given the opportunity to respond. The Board Chair will then, if applicable, ask clarifying questions. The Complainant and the Respondent may ask the Board Chair to pose additional questions by submitting these requests to the Board Chair in writing or orally, at the discretion of the Board Chair. 

D. Outcomes of Informal Resolution

At the conclusion of Informal Resolution, the Board Chair may propose a resolution, which must be agreed upon by the parties, or may impose a protective order based on information derived from the Informal Resolution proceedings, taken together with any other relevant information known to the College at the time of the Informal Resolution. Protective actions imposed by the Board Chair may include accommodations to living, academic or employment situations; limitations of contact between the parties; and required counseling for the Respondent. 

E. Confidentiality of Informal Resolution

In order to promote honest and direct communication, information disclosed during the Informal Resolution must remain confidential while the Informal Resolution is pending, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of the College.  At the conclusion of Informal Resolution, any documents prepared in anticipation for or disclosed during the Informal Resolution may not be disclosed outside the proceeding, except as may be required or authorized by law. 

F. Election of Formal Resolution

Except in cases where the Investigator has determined that there is insufficient basis to convene a Panel, or the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee on appeal has reached a similar conclusion, the College or the Complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Informal Resolution, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Resolution instead. Formal Resolution may not be initiated, however, after the conclusion of an Informal Resolution. 

V. POLICY INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENTS

Any question of interpretation or application of the Student Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy and Procedures shall be referred to the Dean of Student Affairs or the Dean’s designee for final determination.

The Sexual Misconduct and Gender Based Violence Policy may be amended, in writing, by the President or the President’s designee at any time. 

Date of last revision: November, 2014