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 twenty-four 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
* Mid Coast Hospital: 911 or (207) 729-0181
* 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 e-mail 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.  

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 Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees and Visitors. Bowdoin College’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Employees and Visitors is 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 Alternative Resolution

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

D. Interim Measures

III. FORMAL RESOLUTION

A. Formal Complaint

B. Investigation

C. Appeal of Investigator’s Determination

D. Convening of Panel and Challenges to Panel Composition

E. Pre-Decision Board Preparation

F. Complainant Changes Election to Alternative Resolution

G. Respondent Elects to Accept Responsibility

H. Privacy of the Process

I. Panel Proceedings

 

IV. ALTERNATIVE RESOLUTION

A. Purpose of Alternative Resolution

B. Board Office

C. Process of the Alternative Resolution

D. Outcomes of Alternative Resolution

E. Confidentiality of Alternative Resolution

F. Election of Formal Resolution

 

V. POLICY INTERPRETATION AND AMENDMENTS

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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 Students, the Office of Residential Life, the Center for Sexuality, Women, and Gender, Safe Space, Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine (SASSMM), and Family Crisis Services. The College urges all of its students to become familiar with available 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 prompt and fair resolution of Complaints as well as 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 and potential results. The timeline for resolution of Complaints, from initiation of the Complaint to the Panel’s decision, is generally approximately sixty (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 Title IX Coordinator. However, nothing in these procedures precludes the Dean of Student Affairs 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 them is absent from campus or not participating in a formal or alternative 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, including active students on campus, those on study away, and those who are on a leave or suspension. 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 Students will assist students in accessing support and resources in these other instances involving non-student College employees, faculty or visitors to the College.

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 Title IX Coordinator. See Section I(D) below for more information on confidential resources.

B. Definitions

“Board Chair” means the Chair of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board. The Chair is the Dean of Students.

“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.  

“Coercion” means the improper use of pressure to compel another to engage in or continue sexual activity against their will, including duress, cajoling, manipulation, and blackmail. Coercion occurs when a Respondent keeps pressuring the Complainant to acquiesce to sexual activity even after the Complainant has made clear that the pressure is unwelcome.

“Complaint” means the document prepared by the Title IX Coordinator 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.

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

“Dean of Student Affairs” means the Dean of Student Affairs or their designee.

Dean of Students” means the Dean of Students or their designee.

“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, and the sanction imposed, if any; and the parties’ appeal rights.

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

“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, means 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” means 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.

“Investigative Report” means the report submitted by the Investigator. The Investigative Report generally includes summaries of all interviews, copies of all other evidence, a detailed written analysis of the events in question, including resolution of credibility issues and findings as to responsibility.

 “Investigator” means the external, neutral fact-finder hired by Bowdoin 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 makes a determination as to whether or not the Respondent is responsible for a violation of the Policy. The Investigator prepares and completes the Preliminary Report and the Investigative Report at the conclusion of the investigation.

Preliminary Report” means the report submitted by the Investigator. The Preliminary 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 who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. This includes but is not limited to faculty, coaches, residential life student and professional 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, e-mail, 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. Gender-based harassment may include acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. Where gender-based 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 gender-based harassment creates a hostile environment in violation of Title IX and this Policy.
  • “Sexual Intercourse” means penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger or an inanimate object.

“Sexual Misconduct Panel” means the panel convened by the Board Chair to consider the appropriate sanction(s) in cases where the Investigator, or the Board Chair on appeal, has determined that the Respondent is responsible for a violation of this Policy. The panel is made up of members of the Student Sexual Misconduct Board and will typically include one student, one faculty member, and the Dean of Students, who will serve as the presiding chair. If the Dean of Students is unavailable, the Dean of Student Affairs shall select the Panel members and designate a Board member to preside over the proceedings.

“Student” includes all persons who are active students, including those on study away and those who are on a leave or suspension.

“Student Sexual Misconduct Board” means the group of students, faculty, and staff from which the Sexual Misconduct Panel is selected. The Dean of Students serves as its Chair. Student and faculty members will be appointed from current members of the Judicial Board. The Board Chair and the Title IX Coordinator 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.  

“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 Title IX Coordinator, 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

Eduardo Pazos Palma, Director, Religious and Spiritual Life: 207-798-4196

Leana Amaez, Co-director, Center for Sexuality, Women, and Gender: 207-725-3048

Kate Stern, Co-director, Center for Sexuality, Women, and Gender: 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 Title IX Coordinator, Benje Douglas.

Off-Campus:

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 Title IX Coordinator: Formal and Alternative 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 Alternative Resolution, or the various stages of the Formal Resolution process. The Title IX Coordinator will work with the student to arrange for a trained supporter, who shall be a member of the Bowdoin community, but shall not be a member of the Dean of Students, Health Services, or Counseling Service staffs, or anyone else on the Student Appeals 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 participate in the process or make statements or objections or question other parties or any Witnesses at any point during any of these processes.

To maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings as required by Title IX, supporters and advisors will be required to sign a confidentiality agreement.

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 a 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 impose sanctions for violations of this Policy as determined by the Investigator, or the Board Chair on appeal, and any alleged violations of the Bowdoin College Academic Honor Code and Social Code directly related to any alleged violations of this Policy as also determined by the Investigator. Such related misconduct may include, without limitation: violations of the rules of privacy and/or confidentiality as articulated herein; violations of the Dean of Student Affairs’ or Title IX Coordinator’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 forthcoming and 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 or administrative resolution by a Dean.

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 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 and the initiation of a criminal proceeding may be pursued simultaneously. The filing of a Complaint 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 Alternative Resolution

At the initial Intake Meeting with the Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed, i.e., whether the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Resolution, Alternative Resolution, or does not wish to pursue resolution of any kind. If the Complainant wishes to proceed with either Formal or Alternative Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare the Complaint and schedule an individual Intake Meeting with the Respondent in order to provide to the Respondent a general understanding of this Policy, the nature of the allegations against them, and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Respondent.

If the Complainant wishes to proceed with Formal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly prepare and forward a Complaint, signed by the Complainant, to the Investigator for investigation, in accordance with Section III, below. The 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 Alternative Resolution, the Coordinator will work with the Complainant to initiate Alternative Resolution proceedings, in accordance with Section IV, below. This will include the Title IX Coordinator preparing and forwarding a Complaint, signed by the Complainant, to the Respondent and meeting with the Respondent to outline the allegation of misconduct. 

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

If the Complainant does not wish to pursue Formal or Alternative Resolution and/or requests that the Complaint remain confidential, Title IX nevertheless requires the College to respond and take reasonable action in response to the Complainant’s Complaint consistent with the Complainant’s request(s), to the extent possible. If the Complainant requests that their name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the Respondent, the Title IX Coordinator 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 and/or that they do not want the College to investigate, that request shall be confirmed, in writing, by the Title IX Coordinator. 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 Title IX Coordinator 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, Alternative 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 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 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

A. Complaint

Once a Complaint has been signed and a Complainant has chosen to move forward with the Formal Resolution option, the Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the Complaint to the Investigator and the Respondent.

The Complaint will be delivered, at the Title IX Coordinator’s discretion, by e-mail or in person, and will be considered effective immediately upon delivery. The Complainant shall be copied on the transmittal of the Complaint to the Respondent.

B.  Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator will prepare and forward the 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 expected 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 a Preliminary 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 Preliminary Report shall be made available, concurrently, to the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant, and the Respondent.

If either the Complainant or the Respondent believes that the Investigator has failed to incorporate their comments on their interview, inaccurately reported a Witness’s statement, or omitted material information, they may, within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Preliminary Report, request that the Investigator amend the Preliminary Report, seek clarification from that Witness, or include the omitted material. The Title IX Coordinator may request that clarifications to the Preliminary Report be made or that further investigation be undertaken before the report is finalized. Final decisions about clarifications, corrections, or additions will be made by the Investigator. After consideration of these requests, if any, the Investigator shall issue the Investigative Report, which will include resolution of any issues of credibility and a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether or not the Respondent is responsible for a violation of this Policy and/or any related violations of the Social Code. The Investigative Report will be made available to the Complainant, the Respondent, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Board Chair.

C. Appeal of Investigator’s Determination

A party wishing to challenge the Investigator’s determination as to responsibility shall notify the Board Chair in writing, stating the reason(s) for the party's appeal. Such a challenge must be delivered to the Board Chair’s office within three (3) working days of receipt of the Investigative Report. The Dean’s office shall promptly provide the other party with a copy of the appeal and notify the other party that they may file a written response to the appeal within three (3) working days of receipt of such notice. The Title IX Coordinator shall be copied on the appeal and notice to the other party. In considering the appeal, the Board Chair will review the Investigative Report and the parties’ written submissions and may return the Report to the Investigator to seek additional information or clarification. If additional information or clarification is requested, the Board Chair, before issuing a decision, will afford the parties an opportunity to comment on any such additional information or clarification. The Board Chair will promptly issue a decision in writing, which will be final, on whether or not to uphold the Investigator’s determination. This decision will be made available to the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator. In any case where the Board Chair grants the appeal, the reasons for the decision shall be explained in sufficient detail to provide a basis for further action, as appropriate.

D. Convening of Panel and Challenges to Panel Composition

If the Investigator finds the Respondent responsible for a violation of the Policy, or the Board Chair does on appeal, the Board Chair shall promptly convene a Sexual Misconduct Panel from among the members of the Sexual Misconduct Board. The Title IX Coordinator 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 two (2) 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 Dean of Student Affairs in writing, stating the reason(s) for the party’s objection, within two (2) working days of receipt of the notice of Panel composition. The Dean of Student Affairs 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’ behalf, or anyone uninvolved in the case. 

F. Complainant Changes Election to Alternative Resolution

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

G. Respondent Elects to Accept Responsibility

At any time prior to the Investigator’s issuance of the Investigative Report, 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 a 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, a Panel will be convened to determine the appropriate sanction.

In determining the sanction, the Panel will consider the Complaint and the statements of the Respondent and Complainant to the Investigator. 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, all proceedings under this Policy are confidential. Accordingly, the Preliminary Report, the Investigative Report, the Complaint, and all documents, interviews, or other information obtained during the proceedings may not be disclosed outside of the processes set forth in this Policy, except as may be required or authorized by law. 

I.  Panel Proceedings 

a. Procedure for Panel Decision: The Title IX Coordinator will provide the panelists with a copy of the Complaint, the Investigative Report (and the decision by the Board Chair on appeal if an appeal has been granted), and any accompanying documents or evidence. Upon receipt of the Investigative Report (and the decision by the Board Chair on appeal if an appeal has been granted), 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.

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. All decisions by the Panel will be made by majority vote.

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 Title IX Coordinator will concurrently provide the Complainant and the Respondent 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; 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 Committee may determine otherwise. 

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

For purposes of appeals of decisions of a Panel, a panel of three members of the Student Appeals Committee shall be convened. The Dean of Student Affairs shall typically serve as Chair and select two other members of the Committee to also serve. The members of the Student Appeals Committee selected to hear Panel appeals will receive training that draws on professional and expert resources.

The appeal panel will limit its review of Student Sexual Misconduct Panel decisions to a review of the record, including the Complaint, Investigative Report, and the decision by the Board Chair on appeal if an appeal has been granted, supporting documents or other evidence, and any statement by the Complainant, the Respondent, and/or the Board Chair and/or Title IX Coordinator 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 during the investigation or subsequent proceedings that would likely have affected the decision. 

If the appeal panel grants the appeal, it shall direct the Sexual Misconduct Panel to reconsider the case with appropriate corrections or convene a new panel, either of which could eliminate the finding of responsibility or eliminate, reduce, or increase the sanction.

IV. ALTERNATIVE RESOLUTION

A Complainant may elect to pursue Alternative Resolution, as more particularly described in this section. Alternative Resolution is a resolution process that does not involve an investigation or a panel proceeding and is not mediation. The Respondent is expected to attend and participate in the Alternative Resolution proceeding.

Once a Complaint has been signed and a Complainant has chosen to move forward with the Alternative Resolution option, the Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the Complaint to the Respondent and to the Dean of Students.

The Complaint will be delivered, at the Title IX Coordinator’s discretion, by e-mail or in person, and will be considered effective immediately upon delivery. The Complainant shall be copied on the transmittal of the Complaint to the Respondent.

A. Purpose of Alternative Resolution

Alternative 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. Board Chair

The Board Chair will preside over the Alternative Resolution and may elect to be assisted by another member of the Board or staff of the College. Typically, the Title IX Coordinator also attends the Alternative Resolution.

C. Process of the Alternative 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 by 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 Alternative Resolution

At the conclusion of the Alternative Resolution, the Board Chair may propose a set of protective measures, which must be agreed upon by the parties, or may impose a protective order based on information derived from the Alternative Resolution proceedings, taken together with any other relevant information known to the College at the time of the Alternative Resolution. Protective actions imposed by the Board Chair may include but are limited to: accommodations to living, academic, or employment situations; limitations of contact between the parties; and required counseling for the Respondent. At the conclusion of the Alternative Resolution, the Board Chair, or the Title IX Coordinator on the Board Chair’s behalf, shall provide to each party a summary of the decisions. 

If either party wishes to appeal a protective measure imposed by the Board Chair without the agreement of both parties, they may do so by contacting the Dean of Student Affairs in writing within three (3) working days of the Board Chair’s decision. The matter will be decided by the Dean of Student Affairs with no additional option for review or appeal. 

If the Complainant believes the Respondent has violated the terms of the Alternative Resolution, they should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator to report the violation. The Title IX Coordinator shall determine whether an investigation is warranted. If an investigation is conducted and concludes, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, that a violation occurred, the matter will be referred to the Dean of Students for a determination of sanction. That determination and any sanction imposed by the Dean of Students may be appealed to the Dean of Student Affairs, in writing, within three (3) working days. The decision of the Dean of Student Affairs is final and cannot be appealed. 

E. Confidentiality of Alternative Resolution

In order to promote honest and direct communication, information disclosed during the Alternative Resolution must remain confidential while the Alternative 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 Alternative Resolution, any documents prepared in anticipation of or disclosed during the Alternative 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 no violation of the Policy, or the Dean of Students on appeal has reached a similar conclusion, the College or the Complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Alternative Resolution, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Resolution instead. Formal Resolution may not be initiated, however, after the conclusion of an Alternative 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 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: August, 2017