Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy/Complaint Procedure - Hebrew Union College - Jewish Institute of Religion
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Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy/Complaint Procedure

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Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Policy and Complaint Procedure

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex discrimination—which includes sexual misconduct—in educational programs and activities.  All public and private schools, school districts, colleges and universities receiving federal funds must comply with Title IX.   If you have experienced sexual misconduct, please review this policy for information about your Title IX rights.  Additionally, if you have experienced interpersonal violence including, but not necessarily limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, please review this policy for more information.
 
The Hebrew Union College –Jewish Institute of Religion (“HUC-JIR”) does not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking at this institution.  All students found in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including suspension or dismissal from the College.  Similarly, any employees, professors, or administrators found in violation of this policy shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.  Behavior that violates this policy may also violate federal, state, and/or local laws.
 
In dealing with members of the HUC-JIR community, individual integrity and respect are the primary focus of the College's concern.  The College seeks to foster a climate free from sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking through a coordinated education and prevention program, the promulgation of clear and effective policies, as well as investigative and grievance procedures that are prompt, equitable, and accessible to all.  In the event that the College finds that instances of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking have occurred under the scope of this policy, the College will take immediate and appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its impact.  
 
Title IX Coordinator
 
Marviette Johnson is the designated Title IX Coordinator for HUC-JIR.  She may be contacted at 3101 Clifton Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-487-3215; mjohnson@huc.edu.
 
Any questions concerning or related to this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.  
 
Scope of the Policy
 
This policy applies to all College community members, including students, prospective students, employees, professors, administrators, visitors, or any third parties performing services on any College campus.
 
This policy applies not only to sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking occurring within the typical classroom or campus settings, but also to any location owned or operated by the College as well as College-sponsored or College-sanctioned functions taking place outside those typical settings.  Such College-sanctioned functions include, but are not necessarily limited to, Field-Based Educational Experiences.  The College expects that all members of its community will help promote a learning environment free from sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  Any such off-campus conduct that has an actual or potential adverse impact on another’s College environment may also be addressed under this policy.  The College will consider the effects of off-campus misconduct when evaluating whether there is a hostile environment on campus or in an off-campus education program or activity.  This includes a review of misconduct that did not occur in the context of an education program or activity but may have had such an impact.      
 
Sexual Misconduct
 
Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment as defined below, is a form of sex discrimination that has the purpose or foreseeable effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment for that individual.  Sexual misconduct includes, but is not necessarily limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault (both non-consensual contact and non-consensual intercourse), sexual exploitation, and indecent exposure.  
 
Often times, incidents of sexual misconduct also involve other acts of interpersonal violence such as domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.  The College prohibits such conduct, regardless of whether it is related to conduct of a sexual nature. 
 
Retaliation
 
The College will not tolerate any form of retaliation taken against anyone who makes a complaint of conduct prohibited by this policy or anyone who cooperates in the investigation of a complaint of conduct prohibited by this policy. 
 
Consensual Relations
 
The integrity of the student-teacher relationship is the foundation of the educational mission at HUC-JIR. This relationship vests considerable trust in the teacher, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator and evaluator.  The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heightens the vulnerability of the student, as well as the potential for coercion. The same holds true for the relationship between senior faculty and junior faculty, mentors and mentees, and supervisors and employees. Therefore, HUC-JIR strongly advises against such relationships.  While romantic and sexual relationships among administrators, faculty members and students, and between supervisors and employees may not involve sexual harassment, those who enter into a sexual relationship with a student or employee, where professional power differentials exist, must realize several things:
 
a. Such relationships can be detrimental to the educational process due to the creation of dual roles and may undermine the integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. Such sexual relationships are often perceived by fellow students and coworkers as opportunities for favoritism and biased treatment when evaluations are carried out.
 
b. HUC-JIR is committed to protecting the academic freedom and freedom of expression of all members of its community.  However, that expression is subject to regulation when it causes injury and pain to others, or creates a hostile learning and work environment.
 
c. If a charge of sexual misconduct is subsequently lodged, it may be exceedingly difficult to prove mutual consent.
 
Options and Recommendations for Assistance
 
Interim Measures:  Interim measures, also known as accommodations, are available upon receipt of a report of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking and prior to the resolution of a complaint, as appropriate. Available interim measures include, but are not limited to, restrictions on contact between an alleged victim and an alleged perpetrator (“no contact” orders); changes in academic or living situations; academic support; and escort services.   If appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator generally will offer interim measures upon receipt of a report of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.  Individuals requesting additional interim measures or experiencing difficulty obtaining interim measures that have been approved should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator.  Interim measures will be offered to a complainant regardless of whether the complainant chooses to participate in a hearing against the accused or whether the complainant chooses to report the incident to law enforcement.  To the extent possible, any interim measures that are provided will be confidential.   
 
Protective Measures:  In addition to the interim measures described above, other protective measures also may be available by contacting law enforcement and/or the local prosecutor’s office.  For example, in addition to the normal criminal process, law enforcement and/or the local prosecutor’s office may assist a student in obtaining a protection order.  A protection order is a temporary order intended to help provide safety and protection to victims of certain crimes.   If you have a protection order against someone and that person violates the protection order in any way, law enforcement may be able to arrest that person and charge that person with a violation of the protection order.  To the extent possible, any protective measures that are provided will be confidential.  If needed and to the extent necessary, HUC-JIR will provide assistance in obtaining a protection order.  Please contact the Title IX Coordinator for more information about these protective measures, including for contact information for local law enforcement and/or the local prosecutor’s office.
 
Medical Treatment and Services:  If you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, it is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for several reasons: first, to assess and treat any physical injuries you may have sustained; second, to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy and take preventive measures; and third, to gather evidence that could aid criminal prosecution.  Physical evidence should be collected immediately, ideally within the first 96 hours.  It may be collected later than this, but the quality and quantity of the evidence may be diminished.  A special exam should be conducted as soon as possible following an assault to make sure of your physical well-being and to collect evidence that may be useful in criminal proceedings.  Even if you have not been physically hurt, this special exam is strongly recommended to maintain all your legal options.  After the evidence is collected, it is stored in case you wish to press criminal charges.  The exam is typically performed by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.). 
 
Advocacy, Counseling, Emotional Support, and Other Services Available:  Contact information for Additional Resources and Services is located below.
 
Awareness and Preparation:  Often times your first line of defense to any type of harm is your own awareness and preparation.  Be aware of your capabilities and limitations.  Your judgment and thinking will often be your best weapons.  Evaluate the situation for possible avenues of escape.  Your first concern should be for your safety and survival.  Use your judgment to do what is necessary to save your life.  That may involve making a scene or drawing others’ attention so that the assailant leaves.  It may buy you enough time to escape.  It may involve fighting back.  It may mean not physically resisting.  If you choose not to physically resist the attack, it does not mean that you have asked to be assaulted or harmed.  It means that you did what you needed to do to survive.  Remember—There is no one “right” way to respond.  The person being attacked is the best judge of which options will work well for him or her in that situation.
 
This information, as well as other information throughout this policy, is designed to assist in reducing the risk of violence in the College community.  Risk reduction information is designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence. 
 
Recommended Steps if you are the Victim of Sexual Misconduct:
  • (1) Get to a safe place as soon as you can. Try to preserve all physical evidence.
  • (2) If it can be avoided, do not wash, use the toilet, or change clothing. If you do change clothes, put all clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack in a bag separated from other materials.
  • (3) Get medical attention within 96 hours, if possible, to make sure you are physically well and to collect important evidence in the event you may later wish to take legal action.  If the incident occurred on an HUC-JIR Campus, immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator, the local police, or any on-campus security.  For campus security, contact:
    • Cincinnati: 1-513-383-2559
    • New York: 1-212-824-2282
    • Los Angeles: 1-213-745-7758 
  • (4) Contact and report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will assist you in notifying any other appropriate authorities.
  • (5) Contact someone you trust to be with you and support you.
 
How to Report a Complaint
 
You should immediately report any complaint of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking by contacting any designated campus official.  Designated campus officials include the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Dean of each campus.  You may use the Report an Incident link to send a report directly to the Title IX Coordinator.  You may also always contact the local police department and/or dial 911 for emergencies.  If you report your complaint to a designated campus official other than the Title IX Coordinator, that designated campus official shall contact the Title IX Coordinator as soon as practicable.  Although you are under no obligation to do so, if you choose to involve law enforcement, the Title IX Coordinator will be available to assist you in notifying the local police department.  
 
Depending on when the conduct at issue took place, either the official to whom you made your complaint or the Title IX Coordinator will take a statement from you regarding what happened. That individual will ask you to describe the accused individual(s), and may ask questions about the scene of the incident, any witnesses, and what happened before and after the incident.  A referral to the local police department may be made at that time.  You may have a support person with you during the interview.  Unless you request confidentiality and the College is able to honor that request, an investigation into the incident will begin promptly after you report the incident.  The Title IX Coordinator will also provide you with a written explanation of your rights and options under Title IX and this policy which will include, but may not be limited to, your right to make a report to local law enforcement, your right to file a complaint with HUC-JIR, your right to be free from retaliation for reporting an incident, and your right to receive assistance and resources from HUC-JIR. 
 
In addition to reporting a complaint to an HUC-JIR official, you may also report a complaint to or seek information from federal or state agencies such as:
 
  • The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”)
    • Chicago Office (for Cincinnati campus): (312) 886-8434
    • San Francisco Office (for Los Angeles campus): (415) 556-4275
    • New York City Office (for NY campus): (212) 637-6466 
  • The Ohio Civil Rights Commission (“OCRC”), Cincinnati Regional Office: (513) 852-3344
  • The State of California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DEFE”): (800) 884-1684 (toll free for complaints and information)
  • The New York City Equal Employment Practices Commission: (212) 240-7902
  • The New York State Human Rights Commission on Discrimination Complaints: (212) 306-7450
 
Investigation
 
All complaints of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking will be addressed in a prompt and equitable manner, including in instances where there is a pending law enforcement proceeding.  The College will not delay its own independent investigation until after a criminal investigation, if any, is complete.  Additionally, because the College has a duty to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students, the College may be required to conduct an investigation into an incident regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed.
 
Typical Steps in an Investigation of Sexual Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, or Stalking:  While all investigations will vary due to the individual circumstances surrounding the particular complaint, investigations falling under this policy will typically involve the following:  
 
1. Preliminary review of the complaint by the Title IX Coordinator to determine whether probable cause exists to believe a violation of this policy occurred.
 
2. Assignment of the investigation from the Title IX Coordinator to an investigator who has been trained annually to investigate complaints. 
 
3. Notification to the complainant and the accused that an investigation has commenced.
 
4. Interviews of the complainant, the accused, and any witnesses.  The accused shall be shall be provided a copy of any written complaint or otherwise informed of the substance of the complainant’s allegations.  Similarly, the complainant shall be provided with a copy of any written response provided by the accused or otherwise informed of the substance of the accused’s response to the allegations.  
 
5. Gathering and examining of relevant documents or evidence (e.g., law enforcement investigatory records, student and/or personnel files, etc.).  Both the complainant and respondent will be asked to provide a list of possible witnesses as well as any written or physical evidence (e.g., text messages, social media postings, emails, photos, medical records, etc.) that they wish to be considered by the investigator.
 
6. Preparation of an investigatory report complete with a summary of interviews, relevant documents, findings, and recommendations for further action.
 
Both the complainant and the accused have a right to be accompanied by one support person of his or her choosing during any meeting with an investigator.  That support person should not be someone who may be considered a witness.  The purpose of the support person is to provide support, not advocate or impede the investigation.
 
Typical Timeframe:  Generally, an investigation and, if applicable, a Grievance Committee proceeding (excluding an appeal of a Grievance Committee’s decision) regarding conduct falling under this policy will be completed within 60 days of the complaint.  However, each situation will vary depending on its individual circumstances. 
 
During the investigation, the College will continue to provide any appropriate interim or protective measures.
 
Disciplinary/Adjudication Procedure 
 
Upon completion of the report, the investigator will deliver the report to the Title IX Coordinator.  In the event that the Title IX Coordinator finds that there is probable cause to believe that a violation of this policy has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will issue a notice of violation in writing to the accused and provide a copy of that notice to the complainant.  Any notice of violation will also include a recommendation with regard to disciplinary action.  In the event that the Title IX Coordinator does not find that there is probable cause to believe that a violation has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will notify both the complainant and the accused in writing of that finding.  
 
If either party feels aggrieved by the findings, he or she may challenge those findings through the College’s applicable appeal/grievance procedure.  The procedure for challenging those finding through a grievance can be found in the policy titled “Appeal/Grievance Policy – Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence.”
 
Possible Discipline/Sanctions 
 
Possible discipline or sanctions for engaging in sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may include:
 
  • Oral warning
  • Letter of warning or reprimand, and a copy placed in the student’s file
  • Probation
  • Forced leave of absence
  • Suspension for a defined period of time
  • Dismissal from the College
  
Alcohol/Drug Use Amnesty
 
When reporting instances of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, students and/or bystanders who are acting in good faith will not be subject to alcohol and/or drug use policy violations occurring at or near the time of the alleged incident.  This policy is intended to encourage reporting by eliminating students’ hesitation to report sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking out fear that their own conduct may subject them to HUC-JIR disciplinary action.
 
“No Contact” Orders and Interim Suspensions
 
After receiving a report or complaint of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the Title IX Coordinator has discretion to issue an order of “no contact” between the parties at issue and/or order that the accused be suspended on an interim basis, pending further review.  Interim suspensions will be reserved for those situations where the Title IX Coordinator reasonably believes that the accused may present a continuing threat to the health and safety of the HUC-JIR community.  Within five (5) days of the Title IX Coordinator issuing a “no contact” order or an interim suspension, any affected party may submit a written request (with evidence, if applicable) to the Title IX Coordinator to review the need for, and terms of, the “no contact” order or interim suspension.  The other affected party or parties will be notified of the request and similarly given five (5) days to respond in writing (with evidence, if applicable) to the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will then promptly notify all parties regarding a modification, if any, to the “no contact” order or interim suspension.      
 
Students’ Rights
 
All students have the right to:
 
1. Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police;
 
2. Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously;
 
3. Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure by HUC-JIR;
 
4. Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard;
 
5. Be treated with dignity and to receive from HUC-JIR courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available; 
 
6. Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations;
 
7. Describe the incident to as few institution representatives as practicable and not be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident;
 
8. Be protected from retaliation by HUC-JIR, any student, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of HUC-JIR; 
 
9. Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination;
 
10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, grievant, accused, or respondent throughout the investigative and disciplinary process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process; 
 
11. A presumption that the accused is “not responsible” for any policy violation until a finding of responsibility is made pursuant to HUC-JIR policies and procedures; and
 
12. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of HUC-JIR.
 
Campus Climate Assessments
 
HUC-JIR will conduct anonymous campus climate assessments to ascertain general awareness and knowledge of the provisions of its sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence policy, including, but not limited to, the role of the institution’s Title IX Coordinator or similar representative, how and where to report sexual misconduct and/or interpersonal violence, the definition of affirmative consent, and utilization of the institution’s policies and procedures addressing sexual misconduct and/or interpersonal violence.  HUC-JIR will publish the results of such assessments on its website.