What follows is not meant to be a comprehensive document and instead focuses on questions we are often asked. Please contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator Tamara Kosic, firstname.lastname@example.org, with questions that are not answered here.
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Title IX prohibited conduct includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, relationship (dating or domestic) violence and stalking.
What is sexual misconduct?
Sexual misconduct is any act or conduct of a sexual nature that is perpetrated against an individual without consent. It can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual misconduct can be committed by men or by women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex. The College encourages reporting of all sexual misconduct. More information is available here.
What is consent?
Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by words or actions to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.
This link provides definitions and helpful videos defining consent.
What are the College’s obligations when it has notice of a Title IX-related incident?
Title IX law requires the College – if it knows of an incident of sexual harassment, including sexual violence, that creates a hostile environment – to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred (subject to confidentiality considerations).
Isn’t rape a crime? Why do colleges handle sexual violence reports?
Title IX requires schools to combat sex discrimination in education. Rape and other forms of gender-based violence manifest and perpetuate inequality, and federal anti-discrimination law recognizes that. To make sure all students, regardless of their gender identity and expression, have equal access to education, schools are required to prevent and respond to reports of sexual violence. This isn’t a replacement for reporting to the police; it is a parallel option for survivors based in civil rights – rather than criminal – law. (Source Know your Title IX https://www.knowyourix.org/)
How is a Title IX investigation different from a criminal investigation?
College and university Title IX investigations determine whether a respondent has violated the institution’s policy on sexual misconduct, and if so, what disciplinary actions and remedial measures are appropriate. Imprisonment is not a sanction colleges and universities can impose, so Title IX processes are not subject to the Constitution’s full due process protections. Unlike in criminal matters, colleges and universities are required to use the “preponderance of the evidence” standard to determine whether there has been a violation of university policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that over 50% of the evidence supports a finding.
When in the process does the College contact local law enforcement, namely Lynchburg Police?
Upon receipt of a sexual misconduct report, the College involves the police if the complainant wishes to inform law enforcement. The College will aid in facilitating this introduction if desired, along with other supportive measures.
Title IX requires colleges and universities to promptly respond to and address any complaint of sexual harassment or sexual violence brought forward to the school. An investigation is undertaken following guidelines set forth in the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.
The statute does allow investigations by school officials and police to take place concurrently.
Does the complainant have to confront the respondent or be together in the same room?
Maybe. If a formal process occurs that results in a hearing, the complainant may have to answer questions from a advisor of the respondent in the form of cross examination with respondent visible (hearing could be virtual). The scope of the questions, however, are limited (ex. Rape Shield law applies).
Who can report a Title IX incident and how?
The College strongly encourages anyone who experiences or becomes aware of an incident of sexual misconduct to report it immediately to the College through one of the reporting options listed in this link. The College offers resources to support the individual during the process. Reports can be made to the College’s Title IX Coordinator Tamara Kosic, email@example.com; to law enforcement; or both. Because misconduct may be both a violation of College policy and a criminal offense, we strongly encourage you to consider reporting to both the College and law enforcement. There exists a statute of limitations on when an individual can report an incident (ex. Only while enrolled as a student; before graduating); and the College strongly encourages individuals to file complaints promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential disciplinary or legal proceeding.
Randolph College requires that all employees (with a few exceptions) report information related to potential violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to the Title IX Coordinator. It is important to note that Resident Assistants, Head Residents, and Davenport Leaders are mandated reporters.
Will I suffer retaliation for raising my complaint?
No, the College does not retaliate and prohibits retaliation against people for bringing Title IX complaints or participating in the complaint process. The College will promptly investigate and address concerns that a party or others are engaging in prohibited retaliation. Further, Title IX prohibits retaliation against people for reporting sexual misconduct and/or participating as a witness in an investigation.
What about false reports of sexual misconduct?
Any person who files a complaint knowing it to be false at the time it is made is subject to disciplinary sanctions, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion. A knowingly false claim is different than a claim that cannot be substantiated by the preponderance of the evidence. It’s important to note studies have shown that knowingly false complaints of sexual assault are uncommon.
Should bystanders play a role?
Bystanders can intervene to prevent a potential sexual assault. If your instinct tells you that a situation is wrong, it probably is. Ways to intervene include the 3 D’s:
- Direct (direct intervention with the parties);
- Distract (create a distraction that separates the parties or diffuses the situation); or
- Delegate (get help such as a resident assistant, friend, or police).
If sexual misconduct occurs in an off-campus location, will the College still investigate?
In most cases the College will investigate. Pursuant to the 2020 Regulations, Colleges no longer have jurisdiction to investigate cases occurring outside the United States or on study abroad. If the incident occurs in connection with a Randolph College program or activity in the USA, or it involves an alleged perpetrator who is connected to the College, or if it has continuing effects related to the College, Randolph College will provide support services and protective measures for a complainant and the larger College community, even when the College’s ability to investigate an incident and take direct action against an accused person may be limited.”
Does Randolph College publicize data on the number of sexual assaults each year?
The College publishes an Annual Security Report under the Clery Act, which provides data on the number of various crimes, including sexual offenses, that are reported to have occurred on campus and related areas. The report can be found on the Crime Statistics Summary page of the Campus Safety website.
What is the culture at Randolph College given social media reports related to sexual assaults?
First and foremost, the College condemns sexual violence, rape and all forms of sexual, sex or gender-based harassment, discrimination or misconduct. Zero tolerance is Randolph College’s policy. The painful accounts shared on social media over the summer of 2020, however, made clear we must do more to ensure ours is campus culture of respect. That led us to the effort currently underway and outlined in the President’s August 15, 2020 message to the community.
The College is not alone in addressing these issues. The global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements, to highlight just two of the powerful initiatives focused on ending sexual assault and harassment, illustrate what transparency and collective, creative enterprises can do to end oppressive behavior. Join the College is this critically important effort.