Policy and Procedure

Hope College is committed to fostering an environment in which all persons have an equal opportunity to work and to pursue learning freely, whether in group settings or in close relationships between individual students, faculty, and staff.

Table of Contents

  1. Policy: Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and NonDiscrimination
    1. Applicable Scope
    2. Title IX Coordinator
    3. Reporting Discrimination
    4. Jurisdiction
    5. Hope College Policy on Nondiscrimination
    6. Hope College Policy on Accommodation of Disabilities
      1. Students with Disabilities
      2. Employees with Disabilities
    7. Hope College Policy on Discriminatory Harassment
    8. Racial and Ethnic Discriminatory and Bias-Related Harassment
    9. Sexual Harassment
      1. Sexual Misconduct
        1. Sexual Harassment
        2. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
        3. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
        4. Sexual Exploitation
        5. Force & Consent
    10. Other Civil Rights Offenses
    11. Retaliation
    12. Remedial Action
    13. Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses Under This Policy
      1. Confidential Reporting
      2. Formal Reporting Options
      3. Federal Timely Warning Obligations
      4. False Allegations
      5. Amnesty for Reporting Party and Witnesses
      6. Parental Notification (allegations involving students)
      7. Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
    14. Equity Resolution Process for Allegations of Harassment, Sexual Misconduct and Other Forms of Discrimination
      1. Overview
      2. Equity Resolution Process (ERP)
      3. Reporting Misconduct
      4. Preliminary Inquiry
      5. Interim Remedies/Actions
      6. Investigation
      7. Advisors
    15. Resolution
      1. Conflict Resolution
      2. Administrative Resolution
    16. Sanctions
      1. Student Sanctions
      2. Employee Sanctions
    17. Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending
    18. Appeals
    19. Long-Term Remedies/Actions
    20. Failure to Complete Sanctions/Comply with Interim and Long-term Remedies/Responsive Actions
    21. Records
    22. Statement of the Rights of the Parties
    23. Disabilities Accommodation in the Equity Resolution Process
    24. Revision
  2. Appendix A – Criminal Definitions According to Michigan State Law
  3. Appendix B – Clery Act Crime Definitions
  4. Appendix C – Investigative Process Examples

POLICY: Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination 

As used in this document, the term “reporting party” refers to the person impacted by alleged discrimination. The term “responding party” refers to the person who has allegedly engaged in discrimination.

Applicable Scope

Hope College affirms its commitment to promote the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational enterprise. All policies below are subject to resolution using the College’s Equity Resolution Process (ERP), as detailed below. When the responding party is a member of the Hope College community, the ERP is applicable regardless of the status of the reporting party who may be a member or non-member of the campus community, including, but not limited to, students, student organizations, faculty, administrators, staff, guests, visitors, campers.

Title IX Coordinator

Sara Dorer serves as the Title IX Coordinator[1] and ADA/504 Coordinator and oversees implementation of Hope College’s disability compliance and the College’s policy on equal opportunity, harassment and nondiscrimination. The Title IX Coordinator heads the Title IX Advisory Team and acts with independence and authority free of conflicts of interest. To raise any concern involving a conflict of interest by the Title IX Coordinator, contact the Hope College President at 616-395-7780 or president@hope.edu. To raise concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest with any other administrator involved in the ERP, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.

Inquiries about and reports regarding this policy and procedure may be made internally to Sara Dorer, Kim Frey or John Jobson (contact information listed below.)

Inquiries may be made externally to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
Facsimile: (202) 453-6012
TDD#: (877) 521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

The Local Office of Civil Rights can be contacted at:

Office for Civil Rights (Cleveland Office)
U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
216-522-4970

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Contact: http://www.eeoc.gov/contact/

Reporting Discrimination

Reports of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation may be made using any of the following options. There is no time limitation on the filing of allegations. However, if the responding party is no longer subject to the Hope College’s jurisdiction, the ability to investigate, respond and provide remedies may be more limited:

  1. Report directly to the Title IX Coordinator [or deputies];

    Sara Dorer

    Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer
    Office of the President
    DeWitt Center, Room 220
    (616) 395-6816
    dorer@hope.edu

    Kim Frey
    Deputy Title IX Coordinator
    Human Resources
    Anderson-Werkman Center, Suite 210
    (616) 395-7327
    frey@hope.edu

    John Jobson
    Deputy Title IX Coordinator
    Student Development
    DeWitt Center, First Floor
    (616) 395-7800
    jobson@hope.edu

  2. Report online, using the reporting form posted at hope.edu/reportdiscrimination; and/or
  3. Report by calling Campus Safety at (616) 395-7770.
  4. Report by contacting your supervisor.

All reports are acted upon promptly while every effort is made by the College to preserve the privacy of reports. Such reports may also be anonymous. Anonymous reports will be investigated to determine if remedies can be provided. Additionally, all employees of Hope College (with the exception of those designated as confidential employees) are designated as mandated reporters and will share a report with the Title IX Coordinator promptly. Confidentiality and mandated reporting is addressed more specifically below. Reports of misconduct or discrimination committed by the Title IX Coordinator should be reported to the Hope College President (DeWitt Center- 2nd floor, 616-395-7780 or president@hope.edu).

Student complaints regarding an accommodation decision made by Disability Support Services should be directed to the Director of the Academic Success Center to review the accommodation decision(s) under question. If a complaint cannot be resolved by the Director of the Academic Success Center, the student may file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer using the online form.

Students with complaints regarding alleged disability based discrimination should first speak to their assigned Disability Support Services advisor about the situation to see if an immediate resolution can be achieved. If the issue cannot be resolved by the DSS counselor/advisor, the student will be directed to file a report through this nondiscrimination policy for management of the complaint.

Employees with complaints regarding an accommodation decision made by Human Resources should file a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer using the online form.

Jurisdiction

This policy applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at College-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus and to actions online when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial Hope College interest. A substantial Hope College interest is defined to include:

  1. Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law. This includes, but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state or federal law;
  2. Any situation where it appears that the responding party may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
  3. Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  4. Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the Hope College.

Hope College Policy on Nondiscrimination

Hope College adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in private institutions of higher education. Hope College is committed to the concept of equal rights, equal opportunities and equal protection under the law. It administers all programs--admissions, financial aid, employment, instruction and services--without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, height, weight, national origin, marital status, or handicap, except in the event of a bona fide non-disqualifying occupational qualification.

This policy covers nondiscrimination in employment and in access to educational opportunities. Therefore, any member of the campus community who acts to deny, deprive or limit the educational, employment, residential and/or social access, benefits and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community, guest or visitor on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of Hope College policy on nondiscrimination. When brought to the attention of the College, any such discrimination will be appropriately addressed and remedied by the College according to the Equity Resolution Process described below. Non-members of the campus community who engage in discriminatory actions within Hope College programs or on Hope College property are not under the jurisdiction of this policy, but can be subject to actions that limit their access and/or involvement with Hope College programs as the result of their misconduct. All vendors serving the Hope College through third-party contracts are subject by those contracts to the policies and procedures of their employers.

Hope College Policy on Accommodation of Disabilities

Hope College is committed to full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA and ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities, as well as other federal and state laws pertaining to individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA and its amendments, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects individuals who have a record of a substantially limiting impairment or who are regarded as disabled by the institution whether qualified or not. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking or caring for oneself. 

The Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer has been designated as the ADA/504 Coordinator responsible for coordinating efforts to comply with these disability laws, including investigation of any allegation of noncompliance.

Students with Disabilities

Hope College is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the academic programs and activities of the College.

All accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. A student requesting any accommodation should first contact the Academic Success Center to meet with the Coordinator of Disability Services or  the Assistant Director of the Academic Success Center/Head of Disability Services. They review documentation provided by the student and, in consultation with the student, determine which accommodations are appropriate to the student’s particular needs and academic programs.

Employees with Disabilities

Pursuant to the ADA, Hope College will provide reasonable accommodation(s) to all qualified employees with known disabilities, where their disability affects the performance of their essential job functions, except where doing so would be unduly disruptive or would result in undue hardship.

An employee with a disability is responsible for requesting an accommodation in writing to the Director of Human Resources and provide appropriate documentation. The Director of Human Resources will work with the employee’s supervisor to identify which essential functions of the position are affected by the employee’s disability and what reasonable accommodations could enable the employee to perform those duties.

Hope College Policy on Discriminatory Harassment

Students, staff, administrators, and faculty are entitled to a working environment and educational environment free of discriminatory harassment. Hope College’s harassment policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane, but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. The sections below describe the specific forms of legally prohibited harassment that are also prohibited under Hope College policy.

An important determination of responsibility for harassment is whether harm or injury, intentional or unintentional, caused by an action could have been foreseen.

The College reserves the right to address offensive conduct and/or harassment that 1) does not rise to the level of creating a hostile environment (as defined below), or 2) that is of a generic nature not on the basis of a protected status. Addressing such behaviors may not result in the imposition of discipline under College policy, but will be addressed through respectful confrontation, remedial actions, education and/or effective conflict resolution mechanisms. For assistance with conflict resolution techniques, employees should contact the Director of Human Resources and students should contact the Associate Dean of Students. 

Racial and Ethnic Discriminatory and Bias-Related Harassment

Harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by Hope College policy as well as the law. Hope College condemns and will not tolerate discriminatory harassment against any employee, student, visitor or guest on the basis of any status protected by policy or law. The College will remedy all forms of harassment when reported, whether or not the harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment. When harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, the College may also impose sanctions on the harasser through application of the Equity Resolution Process. Hope College’s harassment policy explicitly prohibits any form of harassment, defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the community.

A hostile environment may be created by harassing verbal, written, graphic, online or physical conduct that is severe or persistent/pervasive, and objectively offensive such that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities.

Examples of discriminatory or bias-related harassment include, but are not limited to:  racial epithets, derogatory comments, jokes, or ridicule directed to a specific person or persons about their race, ethnicity, or culture; threats of or actual violence based upon the race or ethnicity or culture of the victim; defacement of property based upon the race, ethnicity, or culture of the owner; remarks or conduct based on race, ethnicity, or culture, even if not directed at a specific person or persons, which unreasonably affects the ability of persons to participate in college programs.

In determining whether an act constitutes racial or ethnic harassment, the totality of the circumstances that pertain to any given incident in its context must be carefully reviewed and due consideration must be given to the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom, and advocacy.

Sexual Harassment

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the State of Michigan regard sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and, therefore, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. Hope College has adopted the following definition of sexual harassment, in order to address the special environment of an academic community, which consists not only of employer and employees, but of students as well.

Sexual harassment is:

  • unwelcome,
  • sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based,
  • verbal, written, online, graphic and/or physical conduct.

Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any Hope College program is encouraged to report it immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or a deputy. Remedies, education and/or training will be provided in response.

Sexual harassment may be disciplined when it takes the form of quid pro quo harassment, retaliatory harassment and/or creates a hostile environment.

A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is:

  • Severe, or
  • persistent or pervasive, and
  • objectively offensive, such that it:
    • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone's ability to participate in or benefit from the Hope College's educational, employment social and/or residential program.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment:

Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational or employment-related development or performance.

Some examples of possible Sexual Harassment include:

  • A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student accedes to the request and irrespective of whether a good grade is promised or a bad grade is threatened.
  • A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list s/he created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
  • Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor’s office or on the exterior of a residence hall door.
  • Two supervisors frequently ‘rate’ several employees’ bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
  • A professor engages students in her class in discussions about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
  • An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social pariah on campus.
  • Male students take to calling a particular brunette student “Monica” because of her resemblance to Monica Lewinsky. Soon, everyone adopts this nickname for her, and she is the target of relentless remarks about cigars, the president, “sexual relations” and Weight Watchers.
  • Two female students walking through campus holding hands receive several hateful statements and gestures from passing students about their sexual orientation. They then discover one of the students who made a comment has now posted a picture of them on social media with additional degrading comments about the nature of their relationship.
  • A student grabbed another student by the hair, then grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it. While this is sexual harassment, it is also a form of sexual violence.
POLICY EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN SUPERVISORS/EMPLOYEES/STUDENTS

There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as faculty and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of this policy. Hope College does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of Hope College. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student, supervisor-employee) are generally discouraged. Initiation of or consent to a romantic or sexual relationship between an employee of Hope College and any current Hope College student for whom the employee has a direct professional responsibility is unacceptable.

Consensual romantic or sexual relationships between employees in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift a party out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility. Failure to timely self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee. Romantic or sexual relationships of this nature can have a detrimental effect on others who share a work environment with the involved parties. When a third party complains of such effects, it should be taken to a supervisor as a matter of unprofessional conduct (not as a violation of this policy.)

Sexual Misconduct

State law defines various violent and/or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. While some of these acts may have parallels in criminal law, Hope College has defined categories of sex/gender discrimination as sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which action under this policy may be imposed. Generally speaking, Hope College considers Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse violations to be the most serious of these offenses, and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees. However, the College reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any act of sexual misconduct or other sex/gender-based offenses, including intimate partner (dating and/or domestic) violence, non-consensual sexual contact and/or stalking based on the facts and circumstances of the particular allegation. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those involved.

Violations include:

Sexual Harassment (as defined in section above)
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Defined as:

  • any sexual intercourse
  • however slight
  • with any object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force

Sexual intercourse includes:

  • Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact) no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Defined as:

  • any intentional sexual touching
  • however slight
  • with any object
  • by a person upon another person
  • that is without consent and/or by force

Sexual touching includes:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, groin, or genitals, mouth or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or
  • Any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and that behavior does not otherwise fall within the definitions of Sexual Harassment, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
  • Invasion of sexual privacy.
  • Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
  • Prostitution and/or Human Trafficking.
  • Sexual exploitation also includes engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) without informing the other person of the infection.
  • Administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or consent (even if no sexual act is completed).
  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.
Force and Consent
Force

Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you.” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).   

Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

NOTE: Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. There is no requirement on a party to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.

Consent

Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced.

Incapacitation

A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy.

It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the reporting party.

Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint and/or from the taking of incapacitating drugs.

In the State of Michigan, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 16 years) cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person younger than 16 years old may be a crime, and a potential violation of this policy, even if the minor wanted to engage in the act.

Examples of lack of consent:

  1. Amanda and Bill meet at a party. They spend the evening dancing and getting to know each other. Bill convinces Amanda to come up to his room. From 11:00pm until 3:00am, Bill uses every line he can think of to convince Amanda to have sex with him, but she adamantly refuses. He keeps at her, and begins to question her religious convictions, and accuses her of being “a prude.” Finally, it seems to Bill that her resolve is weakening, and he convinces her to give him a "hand job" (hand to genital contact). Amanda would never have done it but for Bill's incessant advances. He feels that he successfully seduced her, and that she wanted to do it all along, but was playing shy and hard to get. Why else would she have come up to his room alone after the party? If she really didn't want it, she could have left.

    Bill is responsible for violating the college policy based on Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. It is likely that campus decision-makers would find that the degree and duration of the pressure Bill applied to Amanda are unreasonable. Bill coerced Amanda into performing unwanted sexual touching upon him. Where sexual activity is coerced, it is forced. Consent is not valid when forced. Sex without consent is sexual misconduct.

  2. Jiang is a junior at the College. Beth is a sophomore. Jiang comes to Beth’s residence hall room with some mutual friends to watch a movie. Jiang and Beth, who have never met before, are attracted to each other. After the movie, everyone leaves, and Jiang and Beth are alone. They hit it off, and are soon becoming more intimate. They start to make out. Jiang verbally expresses his desire to have sex with Beth. Beth, who was abused by a baby-sitter when she was five, and has not had any sexual relations since, is shocked at how quickly things are progressing. As Jiang takes her by the wrist over to the bed, lays her down, undresses her, and begins to have intercourse with her, Beth has a severe flashback to her childhood trauma. She wants to tell Jiang to stop, but cannot. Beth is stiff and unresponsive during the intercourse. Is this a policy violation?

    Jiang would be held responsible in this scenario for Non Consensual Sexual Intercourse. It is the duty of the sexual initiator, Jiang, to make sure that he has mutually understandable consent to engage in sex. Though consent need not be verbal, it is the clearest form of consent. Here, Jiang had no verbal or non-verbal mutually understandable indication from Beth that she consented to sexual intercourse. Of course, wherever possible, it is important to be as clear as possible as to whether or not sexual contact is desired, and to be aware that for psychological reasons, or because of alcohol or drug use, one’s partner may not be in a position to provide as clear an indication as the policy requires. As the policy makes clear, consent must be actively, not passively, given.

  3. Kevin and John are at a party. Kevin is not sure how much John has been drinking, but he is pretty sure it’s a lot. After the party, he walks John to his room, and John comes on to Kevin, initiating sexual activity. Kevin asks him if he is really up to this, and John says yes. Clothes go flying, and they end up in John’s bed. Suddenly, John runs for the bathroom. When he returns, his face is pale, and Kevin thinks he may have thrown up. John gets back into bed, and they begin to have sexual intercourse. Kevin is having a good time, though he can’t help but notice that John seems pretty groggy and passive, and he thinks John may have even passed out briefly during the sex, but he does not let that stop him. When Kevin runs into John the next day, he thanks him for the wild night. John remembers nothing, and decides to make a report to the Dean. 

    This is a violation of policy in regards to Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse. Kevin should have known that John was incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about sex. Even if John seemed to consent, Kevin was well aware that John had consumed a large amount of alcohol, and Kevin thought John was physically ill, and that he passed out during sex. Kevin should be held accountable for taking advantage of John in his condition. This is not the level of respectful conduct the College expects.

Other Civil Rights Offenses

In addition to the forms of sexual misconduct described above, the following behaviors are also prohibited as forms of discrimination when the act is based upon the reporting party's actual or perceived membership in a protected class

  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive, limit or deny other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the College community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);
  • Bullying, defined as
    • Repeated and/or severe
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally
    • That is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment.
  • Intimate Partner Violence, defined as violence or abuse (physical, verbal or emotional) between those in an intimate interaction and/or relationship to each other;
    • Intimate partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior including, but not limited to, physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and verbal abuse. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence toone's self,one's sexual or romantic partner or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic parter. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, harm to others, stalking, and retaliation all may be forms of intimate partner violence when committed by a person who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, or other relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.
      • Examples:
        • A boyfriend shoves his girlfriend into a wall upon seeing her talking to a male friend. This physical assault based in jealousy is a violation of the Intimate Partner Violence policy
        • An ex-girlfriend shames her female partner, threatening to out her as a lesbian if she doesn’t give the ex another chance. Psychological abuse is a form of Intimate Partner Violence
        • A student refuses to wear a condom and forces his girlfriend to take hormonal birth control though it makes her ill, in order to prevent pregnancy
        • Married employees are witnessed in the parking garage, with one partner slapping and scratching the other in the midst of an argument
  • Stalking
    • Stalking 1:
      • A course of conduct
      • Directed at a specific person
      • On the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class
      • That is unwelcome, AND
      • Would cause a reasonable person to feel fear
    • Stalking 2:
      • Repetitive and Menacing
      • Pursuit, following, harassing and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another
  • Examples of Stalking
    • A student repeatedly shows up at another student's on-campus residence, always notifying the front desk attendant that they are there to see the resident. Upon a call to the resident, the student informs residence hall staff that this visitor is uninvited and continuously attempts to see them, even so far as waiting for them outside of classes and showing up to their on-campus place of employment requesting that they go out on a date together (Stalking 1).
    • A student working as an on-campus tutor received flowers and gifts delivered to their office. After learning the gifts were from a student they recently tutored, the tutor thanked the student and stated that it was not necessary and would appreciate if the gift deliveries stop. The student then started leaving notes of love and gratitude on the tutor's car, both on-campus and at home. Asked again to stop, the student stated by email: “You can ask me to stop, but I’m not giving up. We are meant to be together, and I’ll do anything necessary to make you have the feelings for me that I have for you.” When the tutor did not respond, the student emailed again, “You cannot escape me. I will track you to the ends of the earth. We are meant to be together” (Stalking 2).
  • Any other College policies may fall within this section when a violation is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the reporting party’s sex or gender.

     

    Sanctions for the above-listed “Other Civil Rights Behaviors” behaviors range from reprimand through expulsion (students) or termination of employment.

Retaliation

Retaliation is defined as any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, supporting a party bringing an allegation or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of Hope College policy and will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. Hope College is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

  • Examples of Retaliation
    • Student-athlete files an allegation against a coach for racial harassment; the coach subsequently cuts the student-athlete’s playing time in half without a legitimate justification.
    • A faculty member complains of gender inequity in pay within her department; the Department Chair then revokes his prior approval allowing her to attend a national conference, citing the faculty member’s tendency to “ruffle feathers.”
    • A student from Organization A participates in a sexual misconduct hearing against the responding individual – also a member of Organization A; the student is subsequently removed as a member of Organization A because he participated in the hearing.

Remedial Action

Upon notice of alleged discrimination, Hope College will implement initial remedial, responsive and/or protective actions upon notice of alleged harassment, retaliation and/or discrimination. Such actions could include but are not limited to: no contact orders, providing counseling and/or medial services, academic support, living arrangement adjustments, transportation accommodations, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid counseling, providing a campus escort, academic or work schedule and assignment accommodations, safety planning, referral to campus and community support resources.

Hope College will take additional prompt remedial and/or disciplinary action with respect to any member of the community, guest or visitor upon a finding that they have engaged in harassing or discriminatory behavior or retaliation.  

The College will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures, provided confidentiality does not impair the College’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.

Procedures for handling reported incidents are fully described below.

Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses Under This Policy

All Hope College employees (faculty, staff, administrators and Residence Life student staff) are expected to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials immediately, though there are some limited exceptions. In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality – meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate College officials – thereby offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or campus official unless a reporting party has requested information to be shared. Other resources exist for reporting parties to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when an incident is reported to them. The following describes the reporting options at Hope College:

Confidential Reporting

If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with:

  • Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) staff
  • Health Center staff
  • Sara Bazydlo, Sexual Harassment Policy Educator and Victim Advocate
  • Campus Ministries Staff
  • Off-campus (non-employees):
    • Center for Women in Transition
      24-Hour Crisis Line: 616-392-1970 | Information Line: 616-392-2829

    • Holland Hospital Emergency Department

      604 Michigan Ave., Holland, MI Local or state assistance agencies

    • Licensed professional counselors

    • Clergy/Chaplains

All of the above-listed individuals will maintain confidentiality except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor. Campus counselors and/or the Employee Assistance Program are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours.

Formal Reporting Options

All Hope College employees, including Residence Life student staff (RAs, NCs and SARDs), have a duty to report, unless they fall under the “Confidential Reporting” section above. Reporting parties may want to consider carefully whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees, as those details must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator. Employees must promptly share all details of the reports they receive. Generally, climate surveys, classroom writing assignments or discussions, human subjects research, or events such as Take Back the Night marches or speak-outs do not provide notice that must be reported to the Coordinator by employees, unless the reporting party clearly indicates that they wish a report to be made. Remedial actions (such as support for victims and/or campus wide educational opportunities) may result from such disclosures without formal Hope College action.

If a reporting party does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the reporting party may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law.

Note that the College’s ability to remedy and respond to a reported incident may be limited if the reporting party does not want the institution to proceed with an investigation and/or the Equity Resolution Process.

In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the College will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. In cases where the reporting party requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the College to honor that request, the College will offer interim supports and remedies to the reporting party and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. A reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by Hope College when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.

Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told, including but not limited to: Division of Student Development, Campus Safety and the Coordinated Assistance Resource and Education (CARE) team for students and Human Resources for employees. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve a reporting party’s rights and privacy. Additionally, anonymous reports can be made by victims and/or third parties using the online reporting form posted at https://publicdocs.maxient.com/reportingform.php?HopeCollege&layout_id=1. Note that these anonymous reports may prompt a need for the institution to investigate.

Failure of any employee, with the exception of those listed above as Confidential, to report an incident or incidents of sex/gender harassment or discrimination of which they become aware is a violation of Hope College policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply.

Federal Timely Warning Obligations

Parties reporting sexual misconduct should be aware that under the Clery Act, Hope College administrators must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The College will ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.

False Allegations

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Amnesty for Reporting Party and Witnesses

The Hope College community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by reporting parties and witnesses. Sometimes, reporting parties or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that reporting parties choose to report to College officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, Hope College pursues a policy of offering reporting parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations related to the incident. 

Students

Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to Campus Safety). The College pursues a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. [While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the College will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.]

Parental Notification (allegations involving students)

Hope College reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations.  The College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, Hope College will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The College also reserves the right to designate which College officials have a need to know about incidents that fall within this policy, pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials – those deemed Campus Security Authorities - have a duty to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to Campus Safety regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student affairs/student conduct, Campus Safety employees, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.

EQUITY RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR ALLEGATIONS OF HARASSMENT, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION

Hope College will act on any formal or informal allegation or notice of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination, that is received by the Title IX Coordinator or a member of the administration, faculty, or other employee.

The procedures described below apply to all allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of protected class involving students, staff or faculty. These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct (e.g.: vandalism, physical abuse of another, etc.). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by this policy will be addressed through the procedures elaborated in the respective student, faculty and staff handbooks.

Overview

Upon notice to the Title IX Coordinator, this resolution process involves a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, the College will initiate a confidential investigation that is thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair. The investigation and the subsequent resolution process determines whether the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, Hope College will promptly implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

Equity Resolution Process (ERP)

Allegations under the policy on nondiscrimination are resolved using the ERP. Members of the ERP pool are announced in an annual distribution of this policy to campus, prospective students, their parents and prospective employees. The list of members and a description of the panel can be found at hope.edu/titleix. Members of the ERP pool are trained in all aspects of the resolution process, and can serve in any of the following roles, at the direction of the Title IX Coordinator:

  • To provide sensitive intake for and initial advice pertaining to allegations
  • To serve in a mediation or restorative justice role in conflict resolution
  • To investigate low level offenses (as further described below)
  • To act as process advisors to those involved in the Equity Resolution Process
  • To serve as Resolution Administrators
  • To serve on appeal panels for allegations

ERP pool members also recommend proactive policies, and serve in an educative role for the community. The President, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, appoints the pool, which reports to the Title IX Coordinator. ERP pool members receive annual training organized by the Title IX Coordinator, including a review of Hope College policies and procedures as well as applicable federal and state laws and regulations so that they are able to appropriately address allegations, provide accurate information to members of the community, protect safety and promote accountability. This training will include, but is not limited to: how to appropriately remedy, investigate, render findings and determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment and discrimination allegations; Hope College’s Discrimination and Harassment Policies and Procedures (including Sexual Misconduct); confidentiality and privacy; and applicable laws, regulations and federal regulatory guidance. All ERP pool members are required to attend this annual training to be eligible to serve.

The Equity Resolution Process pool includes:

  • At least 8-10 members of the staff
  • At least 8-10 members of the faculty

ERP pool members are usually appointed to three-year terms, with the opportunity to serve two consecutive terms. Members could then be reappointed after a minimum three years hiatus. (During the first year of implementation of this policy we will make staggered term appointments, starting with some two, three and four year appointments). Appointments to the pool should be made with attention to representation of groups protected by the harassment and non-discrimination policy, as well as a broad representation of the campus community. Individuals who are interested in serving in the pool are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator. [No member of the pool may be a practicing attorney].

Reporting Misconduct

Any member of the community, guest or visitor who believes that the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination has been violated should contact the Title IX Coordinator.

It is also possible for employees to notify a supervisor, or for students to notify an administrative advisor or faculty member. Any member of the community, including visitors, may contact Campus Safety to make a report. These individuals will in turn notify the Title IX Coordinator. The Hope College website also includes a reporting form at https://publicdocs.maxient.com/reportingform.php?HopeCollege&layout_id=1 which may serve to initiate the resolution process.

All employees receiving reports of a potential violation of Hope College policy are expected to promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator, within 24 hours of becoming aware of a report or incident. All initial contacts will be treated with privacy: specific information on any allegations received by any party will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, but, subject to Hope College’s obligation to redress violations, every effort will be made to maintain the privacy of those initiating an allegation. In all cases, Hope College will give consideration to the reporting party with respect to how the reported misconduct is pursued, but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the community, to investigate and pursue a resolution even when a reporting party chooses not to initiate or participate in the resolution process.

Preliminary Inquiry

Following receipt of notice or a report of misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator engages in a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. The preliminary inquiry is typically 1-3 days in duration. This inquiry may also serve to help the Title IX Coordinator to determine if the allegations evidence violence, threat, pattern, predation and/or weapon, in the event that the reporting party has asked for no action to be taken. In any case where violence, threat, pattern, predation, and/or weapon is not evidenced, the Title IX Coordinator may respect a reporting party’s request for no action, and will investigate only so far as necessary to determine appropriate remedies. As necessary, Hope College reserves the right to initiate resolution proceedings without a formal report or participation by the reporting party.

In cases where the reporting party wishes to proceed or the College determines it must proceed, and the preliminary inquiry shows that reasonable cause exists, the Title IX Coordinator will direct a formal investigation to commence and the allegation will be resolved through one of the processes discussed briefly here and in greater detail below:

  • Conflict Resolution - typically used for less serious offenses and only when both parties agree to conflict resolution
  • Administrative Resolution - investigation by trained ERP members or an outside contractor, resolution determined by a separate team of trained ERP members

The process followed considers the preference of the parties, but is ultimately determined at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. Conflict Resolution may only occur if selected by all parties, otherwise the Administrative Resolution Process applies. ERP members will typically conduct investigations that are selected for Administrative Resolution. Complex investigations will be referred to an outside, contracted investigator. Upon reviewing the report, the Title IX Coordinator will determine which investigative method will be utilized. (See Appendix C for examples.) If the investigation is assigned to the ERP for investigation, either party can submit an appeal to request use of an outside contractor. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff within two days of learning the assigned investigation method. The decision of the Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff is final.

If conflict resolution is desired by the reporting party, and appears appropriate given the nature of the alleged behavior, then the report does not proceed to investigation, unless a pattern of misconduct is suspected or there is an actual or perceived threat of further harm to the community or any of its members.

Once a formal investigation is commenced, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notification of the investigation to the responding party at an appropriate time during the investigation. Hope College aims to complete all investigations within a sixty (60) calendar day time period, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator with notice to the parties as appropriate.

If, during the preliminary inquiry or at any point during the formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is no reasonable cause to believe that policy has been violated, the process will end unless the reporting party requests that the Title IX Coordinator makes an extraordinary determination to re-open the investigation. This decision lies in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

Interim Remedies/Actions

The Title IX Coordinator may provide interim remedies intended to address the short-term effects of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation, i.e., to redress harm to the reporting party and the community and to prevent further violations.

These remedies may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling and health services
  • Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
  • Education to the community
  • Altering the housing situation of an the responding party (resident student or resident employee (or the reporting party, if desired))
  • Altering work arrangements for employees
  • Providing campus escorts
  • Providing transportation accommodations
  • Implementing contact limitations between the parties
  • Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

Hope College may interim suspend a student, employee or organization pending the completion of ERP investigation and procedures, particularly when in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence on-campus of the responding party or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question. In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student, employee or student organization will be given the option to meet with the Title IX Coordinator prior to such suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the suspension should not be implemented. The Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion to implement or stay an interim suspension and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim suspension under this policy will be grounds for expulsion or termination.

During an interim suspension or administrative leave, a student or employee may be denied access to Hope College housing and/or the College campus/facilities/events. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator, this restriction can include classes and/or all other Hope College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding party.

The institution will maintain as confidential any interim actions or protective measures, provided confidentiality does not impair the institution’s ability to provide the interim actions or protective measures.

Investigation

Once the decision is made to commence a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator appoints ERP pool members (typically using a team of two ERP investigators) or an outside contractor to conduct the investigation, usually within two to three (2-3) days of determining that an investigation should proceed. Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within ten (10) days, though some investigations take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.

Hope College may undertake a short delay its investigation (several days to weeks, to allow evidence collection) when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. The College will promptly resume its investigation and resolution processes once notified by law enforcement that the initial evidence collection process is complete. College action will not typically be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.

All investigations will be thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair. Investigations entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.

The investigators will typically take the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in order):

  • In coordination with campus partners (e.g.: the Title IX Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary remedial actions;
  • Determine the identity and contact information of the reporting party;
  • Identify all policies allegedly violated;
  • Assist the Title IX Coordinator with an immediate preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the responding party has violated policy.
    • If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the inquiry should be closed with no further action
  • Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding party, who may be given notice prior to or at the time of the interview;
  • Prepare the notice of allegation [charges] on the basis of the preliminary inquiry;
  • Meet with the reporting party to finalize their statement, if necessary;
  • If possible, provide written notification to the parties prior to their interviews that they may have the assistance of a ERP pool member or other advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the advisee;
  • Provide reporting party and responding party with a written description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result;
  • Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the reporting party and the responding party with a list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding; 
  • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest questions they wish the investigators to ask of the other party and witnesses.
  • Provide parties with all relevant evidence to be used in rendering a determination and provide each with a full and fair opportunity to address that evidence prior to a finding being rendered; 
  • Complete the investigation promptly, and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;
  • Provide regular updates to the reporting party and the responding party throughout the investigation, as appropriate;
  • Once the report is complete, the report is shared with the parties for their review and comment. The investigators may incorporate feedback from the parties as appropriate;
  • Recommend a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
  • Meet with the Title IX Coordinator and the Resolution Administrators to review the report and answer any questions.

At any point during the investigation, if it is determined there is no reasonable cause to believe that Hope College policy has been violated, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to terminate the investigation and end resolution proceedings.

Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) are expected to cooperate with and participate in the Hope College’s investigation and the Equity Resolution Process. Failure of a witness to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or Equity Resolution Process constitutes a violation of policy and may be subject to discipline. Witnesses may provide written statements in lieu of interviews during the investigation and may be interviewed remotely by phone, video conference (or similar technology), if they cannot be interviewed in person or if the investigators determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. Parties who elect not to participate in the investigation or to withhold information from the investigation do not have the ability to offer evidence later during the appeal if it could have been offered during the investigation. Failure to offer evidence prior to an appeal does not constitute grounds for appeal on the basis of new evidence.

Hope College will create audio recordings of all investigation meetings (meetings with all relevant parties and witnesses) in order to create transcripts. No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings or other Equity Resolution Process proceedings.

Advisors

Each party is allowed to have an advisor of their choice present with them for all ERP meetings and proceedings, from intake through to final determination. The parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor as long as the advisor is eligible and available, and usually otherwise not involved in the resolution process, such as serving as a witness. The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them who is available and eligible. Witnesses cannot also serve as advisors. The parties may choose advisors from inside or outside the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator will also offer to assign a trained ERP pool member to work as an advisor/advocate for any party. The parties may choose their advisor from the ERP pool, choose a non-trained advisor from outside the pool, if preferred, or proceed without an advisor.

The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity and in good faith. The College cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the College is not obligated to provide one.

All advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not address campus officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the reporting party or the responding party during any meeting or proceeding  and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the investigators or hearing panelists. The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf, without representation by their advisor. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees or in writing as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation. Advisors will typically be given an opportunity to meet in advance of any interview or meeting with the administrative officials conducting that interview or meeting. This pre-meeting will allow advisors to clarify any questions they may have, and allows the College an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take.

Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated, may be replaced by a different advisor, or whether the party will forfeit the right to an advisor for the remainder of the process.

The College expects that the parties will wish to share documentation related to the allegations with their advisors. The College  provides a consent form that authorizes such sharing. The parties must complete this form before the College  is able to share records with an advisor, though parties may share the information directly with their advisor if they wish. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with 3rd parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the College . The College  may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the College’s privacy expectations.

The College expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend College meetings when scheduled. The College does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The College will, however, make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.

A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout.

The parties must advise the investigators of the identity of their advisor at least one (1) day before the date of their first meeting with investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The parties must provide timely notice to investigators if they change advisors at any time.

Resolution

Proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings. While the contents of the formal proceedings are private, the parties have discretion to share their own personal experiences if they so choose, and should discuss doing so with their advisors.

The Title IX Coordinator serves as a “gate keeper” of all forms of resolution, providing oversight to assist with procedural questions. The coordinator will review all reports, findings and sanctions for procedural compliance and equitable outcome.

Conflict Resolution

Conflict Resolution is often used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to the formal hearing process to resolve conflicts. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if conflict resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue and the susceptibility of the conduct to conflict resolution. In a conflict resolution meeting, a trained administrator will facilitate a dialogue with the parties to an effective resolution, if possible. Sanctions are not possible as the result of a conflict resolution process, though the parties may agree to appropriate remedies. The Title IX Coordinator will keep records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the accord can result in appropriate responsive actions.

Conflict resolution will not be the primary resolution mechanism used to address reports of violent behavior of any kind or in other cases of serious violations of policy, though it may be made available after the formal process is completed should the parties and the Title IX Coordinator believe that it could be beneficial. Mediation will not be used in cases of sexual violence. It is not necessary to pursue conflict resolution first in order to pursue Administrative Resolution, and any party participating in conflict resolution can stop that process at any time and request a shift to Administrative Resolution.

Administrative Resolution

Administrative Resolution can be pursued for any behavior that falls within the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination, at any time during the process. After the investigation report is complete, the Title IX Coordinator will assign two ERP members who have not been involved in the resolution process in any other capacity to serve as Resolution Administrators. The Resolution Administrators will receive a redacted version of the investigation report (removing names of parties involved).

In Administrative Resolution, the Resolution Administrators have the authority to address all collateral misconduct, meaning that they hear all allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but also may address any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the discrimination, harassment or retaliation, even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination. Accordingly, investigations should be conducted with as wide a scope as necessary.

Any evidence that the Resolution Administrators believe is relevant and credible may be considered, including history and pattern evidence. The Resolution Administrators may exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence and may choose to disregard evidence lacking in credibility or that is improperly prejudicial.

Unless the Resolution Administrators determine it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding will not consider: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they show a pattern, (2) the sexual history of the reporting party (though there may be a limited exception made in regards to the sexual history between the parties), (3) or the character of the reporting party. While previous conduct violations by the responding party are not generally admissible as information about the present allegation, the investigation report will supply the  Resolution Administrators with information about previous good faith allegations and/or findings to consider as evidence of pattern and/or predatory conduct. Additionally, if there is a finding of responsibility and there were any previous conduct/performance findings, previous sanctions will be taken into consideration when determining an appropriate sanction level (as we utilize the concept of progressive discipline). The Title IX Coordinator will provide this information to Resolution Administrators based on student conduct or human resource records.

Neither the Resolution Administrators nor investigators will meet with character witnesses, but investigators will accept up to two (2) letters supporting the character of each of the parties.

The Resolution Administrators will base the determination(s) on the preponderance of the evidence, whether it is more likely than not that the responding party violated policy as alleged.

The responding party may choose to admit responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the investigation or Administrative Resolution process. If the responding party admits responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator will render a determination that the individual is in violation of Hope College policy.

If the responding party admits the violation, or is found in violation, the Resolution Administrators, in consultation with others as appropriate, will determine an appropriate sanction or responsive action, will implement it, and act promptly and effectively to stop the harassment or discrimination, prevent its recurrence and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct.

The Resolution Administrators will inform the parties of the final determination within three (3) days of the resolution, without significant time delay between notifications. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person; mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official Hope College records; or emailed to the parties’ Hope College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered. The notification of outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation, any sanctions that may result which the college is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent the college is permitted to share under state or federal law. The notice will also include information on when the results are considered by the college to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and any appeals options that are available.

Sanctions

Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include:

  • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
  • An individual's disciplinary history
  • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
  • Any other information deemed relevant by the Resolution Administrator
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
  • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation on the reporting party and the community
Student Sanctions

The following sanctions may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination. Primary sanctions include:

  • Letter of Warning
  • Probation Level I: Probation set for a specific length of time. If an individual is found in violation of any College policy during that time, a more serious sanction will be imposed.
  • Probation Level II: Probation set for a specific length of time. Students on Probation II may be removed from leadership positions in student organizations. If an individual is found in violation of any College policy during that time, a more serious sanction imposed.
  • Withheld Suspension: The most serious form of discipline short of suspension. This sanction means that if an individual is involved in a violation of any College policy during the stated period of time, he/she may be immediately suspended from the college.
  • Suspension: A set length of time when an individual may not be involved in any aspect of the college. This includes courses, housing, and campus activities. A student may apply for readmission at the end of the suspension period.
  • Expulsion: A student is dismissed from the College permanently.

Secondary sanctions may be assigned in addition to primary sanction levels. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Educational Sanctions: Could include research papers/projects, reflective essays, educational event development and planning, and required meetings with faculty/staff.
  • Loss of Housing, Meal, or Other Campus Access Privileges
  • Organizational Sanctions: Could include deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including College registration), for a specified period of time; required training or meetings; development of an action plan.
  • Referral for Assessment: This could include, but not be limited to, behavioral, psychological, or substance use assessments.
Employee Sanctions

Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation can include, but is not limited to:

  • Warning - Verbal or Written
  • Performance Improvement/Management Process
  • Required Counseling
  • Required Training or Education
  • Probation
  • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
  • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
  • Demotion
  • Suspension with pay
  • Suspension without pay
  • Termination
  • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Hope College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate
Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending

Students: Hope College discourages a student from withdrawing if that student has an allegation pending for violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination. Should a student decide to leave and/or not participate in the ERP, the process will nonetheless proceed in the student’s absence to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to Hope College unless all sanctions have been satisfied. The student will not have access to an academic transcript until the allegations have been resolved.

Employees: Should an employee resign with unresolved allegations pending, the records of the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status, and any Hope College responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will indicate the former employee is ineligible for rehire. The process on campus will proceed to resolution even though the former employee is no longer participating.

Appeals

All requests for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within seven (7) days of the delivery of the written finding of the Title IX Coordinator. Any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.

A three-member appeals panel chosen from the ERP pool will be designated by the Title IX Coordinator from those who have not been involved in the process previously. Any party may appeal, but appeals are limited to the following grounds:

  • A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
  • A claim that finding is inconsistent with the weight of the evidence.
  • To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
  • The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions Hope College has designated for this offense and the cumulative record of the responding party.

The appeals panel will review the appeal request(s). The original finding and sanction/responsive actions will stand if the appeal is not timely or is not based on the grounds listed above, and such a decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show that the grounds for an appeal request have been met, and the other party or parties may show the grounds have not been met, or that additional grounds are met. The original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. When any party requests an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will share the appeal request with the other party(ies), who may file a response within seven (7) days and/or bring their own appeal on separate grounds. If new grounds are raised, the original appealing party will be permitted to submit a written response to these new grounds within seven (7) days. These response or appeal requests will be shared with each party.

Where the appeals panel finds that at least one of the grounds is met by at least one party, additional principles governing the hearing of appeals will include the following:

  • Decisions by the appeals panel are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction/responsive action only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
  • Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings (de novo) of the allegation. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the investigation, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. An appeal is not an opportunity for appeals panelists to substitute their judgment for that of the original investigator(s) or Resolution Administrator merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions.
  • Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the investigator(s) for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, heard by the three-member appeals panel.
  • Sanctions imposed as the result of Administrative Resolution are implemented immediately unless the Title IX Coordinator ordesignee stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
    • For students: Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal.
  • The Title IX Coordinator will confer with the appeals panel, incorporate the results of any remanded grounds, and render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within three (3) days of the resolution of the appeal or remand.
  • Where appeals result in no change to the finding or sanction, that decision is final. Where an appeal results in a new finding or sanction, that finding or sanction can be appealed one final time on the grounds listed above, and in accordance with these procedures.
  • All parties will be informed in writing within three (3) days of the outcome of the Appeals Panel, without significant time delay between notifications, and in accordance with the standards for notice of outcome as defined above.
  • In rare cases where a procedural [or substantive] error cannot be cured by the original investigator(s) and/or Resolution Administrator (as in cases of bias), the appeals panel may recommend a new investigation and/or Administrative Resolution process, including a new Resolution Administrator. The results of a remand cannot be appealed. The results of a new Administrative Resolution process can be appealed, once, on any of the three applicable grounds for appeals.
  • In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to Hope College or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the responding party to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.
Long-Term Remedies/Actions

Following the conclusion of the Equity Resolution Process and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Title IX Coordinator may utilize long-term remedies or actions stop the harassment or discrimination, remedy its effects and prevent their reoccurrence. These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling and health services
  • Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
  • Education to the community
  • Permanently altering the housing situation of an the responding party (resident student or resident employee (or the reporting party, if desired))
  • Permanently altering work arrangements for employees
  • Providing campus escorts
  • Climate surveys
  • Policy modification
  • Providing transportation accommodations
  • Implementing long-term contact limitations between the parties
  • Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, long-term remedies may also be provided even when the responding party is found not responsible.

The institution will maintain as confidential any long-term remedies/actions or protective measures, provided confidentiality does not impair the institution’s ability to provide the actions or protective measures.

Failure to Complete Sanctions/Comply with Interim and Long-term Remedies/Responsive Actions

All responding parties are expected to comply with conduct sanctions, responsive actions and corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the Title IX Coordinator. Failure to abide by these conduct sanctions, responsive actions and corrective actions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions/responsive/corrective actions and/or suspension, expulsion and/or termination from the Hope College. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Title IX Coordinator. For students, a hold will be placed on the account that prohibits the ability to register for classes or receive transcripts until the hold has been removed.

Records

In implementing this policy, records of all allegations, investigations, resolutions, and hearings will be kept by the Title IX Coordinator indefinitely in Maxient, the Title IX Coordinator database.

Statement of the Rights of the Parties

Statement of the Reporting Party’s rights:
  • The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible allegations of sexual misconduct or discrimination of any kind made in good faith to Hope College officials;
  • The right to be informed in advance of any public release of information regarding the incident;
  • The right not to have any personally identifiable information released to the public, without their consent;
  • The right to be treated with respect by Hope College officials;
  • The right to have Hope College policies and procedures followed without material deviation;
  • The right not to be pressured to mediate or otherwise informally resolve any reported misconduct involving violence, including sexual violence;
  • The right not to be discouraged by Hope College officials from reporting sexual misconduct or discrimination to both on-campus and off-campus authorities;
  • The right to be informed by Hope College officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the reporting party so chooses. This also includes the right not to be pressured to report, as well;
  • The right to have reports of sexual misconduct responded to promptly and with sensitivity by campus safety and other campus officials;
  • The right to be notified of available counseling, mental health, victim advocacy, health, student financial aid, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, or other student services, both on campus and/or in the community;
  • The right to a campus no contact order (or a trespass order against a non-affiliated third party) when someone has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing or other improper behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the reporting party or others;
  • The right to notification of and options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living situations after an alleged sexual misconduct incident, if so requested by the reporting party and if such changes are reasonably available (no formal report, or investigation, campus or criminal, need occur before this option is available). Accommodations for students may include:
    • Change of an on-campus student’s housing to a different on-campus location;
    • Assistance from Hope College support staff in completing the relocation;
    • Transportation accommodations;
    • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
    • Exam (paper, assignment) rescheduling;
    • Taking an incomplete in a class;
    • Transferring class sections;
    • Temporary withdrawal;
    • Alternative course completion options.

Accommodations for employees may involve adjustments or support regarding work environment/schedule as deemed necessary and appropriate.

  • The right to have Hope College maintain such accommodations for as long as is necessary, and for protective measures to remain confidential, provided confidentiality does not impair the institution’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures;
  • The right to be fully informed of campus policies and procedures as well as the nature and extent of all alleged violations contained within the report;
  • The right to ask the investigators to identify and question relevant witnesses, including expert witnesses;
  • The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, prior to a finding by the Resolution Administrator;
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding, in advance of that finding, except in cases where a witness’s identity will not be revealed to the responding party for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the reporting party, which will always be revealed);
  • The right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence;
  • The right to regular updates on the status of the investigation and/or resolution;
  • The right to have reports addressed by investigators and Resolution Administrators who have received annual sexual misconduct training;
  • The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law;
  • The right to meetings and/or interviews that are closed to the public;
  • The right to petition that any Hope College representative in the process be recused on the basis of demonstrated bias or conflict-of-interest;
  • The right to bring a victim advocate or advisor of the reporting party’s choosing to all phases of the investigation and resolution proceeding;
  • The right to have the College encourage the participation of student, faculty and staff witnesses, and the opportunity (if desired) to provide the investigators with a list of potential questions to ask of witnesses, and the right to challenge documentary evidence;
  • The right to submit an impact statement in writing to the Resolution Administrator following determination of responsibility, but prior to sanctioning;
  • The right to be promptly informed of the outcome and sanction of the resolution process in writing, without undue delay between the notifications to the parties;
  • The right to be informed in writing of when a decision by the Hope College is considered final, any changes to the sanction to occur before the decision is finalized, to be informed of the right to appeal the finding and sanction of the resolution process, and the procedures for doing so in accordance with the standards for appeal established by the Hope College.
Statement of the Responding Party's rights:
  • The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible reports of sexual misconduct and/or discrimination made in good faith to Hope College administrators;
  • The right to be informed in advance, when possible, of any public release of information regarding the report;
  • The right to be treated with respect by Hope College officials;
  • The right to have Hope College policies and procedures followed without material deviation;
  • The right to be informed of and have access to campus resources for medical, health, counseling, and advisory services;
  • The right to timely written notice of all alleged violations, including the nature of the violation, the applicable policies and procedures and possible sanctions;
  • The right to review all documentary evidence available regarding the report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, prior to the finding by the Resolution Administrator;
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding, prior to final determination, except in cases where a witness’s identity will not be revealed to the responding party for compelling safety reasons (this does not include the name of the reporting party, which will always be revealed);
  • The right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted as evidence in a campus resolution process;
  • The right to have reports addressed by investigators and Resolution Administrators who have received annual training;
  • The right to meetings and interviews that are closed to the public;
  • The right to have Hope College encourage the participation of student, faculty and staff witnesses, and the opportunity to provide the investigators with a list of potential questions to ask of witnesses, and the right to challenge documentary evidence;
  • The right to have an advisor of their choice to accompany and assist throughout the campus resolution process;
  • The right to a fundamentally fair resolution, as defined in these procedures;
  • The right to provide an impact statement in writing to the Resolution Administrator following any determination of responsibility, but prior to sanctioning;
  • The right to a decision based solely on evidence presented during the resolution process. Such evidence shall be credible, relevant, based in fact, and without prejudice;
  • The right to be promptly informed of the outcome and sanction of the resolution process in writing, without undue delay between the notifications to the parties;
  • The right to be informed in writing of when a decision of Hope College is considered final, any changes to the sanction to occur before the decision is finalized, to be informed of the right to appeal the finding and sanction of the resolution process, and the procedures for doing so in accordance with the standards for appeal established by the Hope College.

Disabilities Accommodation in the Equity Resolution Process

Hope College is committed to providing qualified students, employees or others with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the Equity Resolution Process at the Hope College. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Director of Disability Services, who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation, and the Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation.

Revision

These policies and procedures will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator. Hope College reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. The Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules, etc. The Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the institutional web site, with appropriate date of effect identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this policy and procedure. Procedures in effect at the time of the resolution will apply to resolution of incidents, regardless of when the incident occurred. Policy in effect at the time of the offense will apply even if the policy is changed subsequently but prior to resolution, unless the parties consent to be bound by the current policy. If government regulations change in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with government regulations in their most recent form.

This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such codes generally.

This policy and procedure was implemented September 2016.

[1] Note that throughout this document, the term “Title IX Coordinator” refers to the Title IX Coordinator or their designee.

Appendix A – Criminal Definitions According to Michigan State Law

This document was created/compiled by the University of Michigan. All credit and rights remain with them.

Domestic Violence (includes dating violence) – MCL § 750.81

Domestic Violence = assault or assault and battery of

  • spouse or former spouse,
  • an individual with whom he or she has had a dating relationship,
  • an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or
  • a resident or former resident of his or her household.

"Dating relationship" means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affectional involvement. This term does not include a casual relationship or an ordinary fraternization between 2 individuals in a business or social context.

Aggravated Domestic Violence (includes dating violence) – MCL § 750.81a

Assaults any of the following individuals, without a weapon, and inflicts serious or aggravated injury (without intent to commit murder or inflict great bodily harm less than murder):

  • spouse or former spouse,
  • an individual with whom he or she has or has had a dating relationship,
  • an individual with whom he or she has had a child in common, or
  • a resident or former resident of his or her household.

Sexual Assault = Criminal Sexual Conduct – MCL § 750.520

"Sexual contact" includes the intentional touching of the victim's or actor's intimate parts or the intentional touching of the clothing covering the immediate area of the victim's or actor's intimate parts, if that intentional touching can reasonably be construed as being for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification, done for a sexual purpose, or in a sexual manner for:

  • Revenge.
  • To inflict humiliation.
  • Out of anger.

"Sexual penetration" means sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, of any part of a person's body or of any object into the genital or anal openings of another person's body, but emission of semen is not required.

First Degree – MCL § 750.520b

Engaging in sexual penetration with another person and any of the following circumstances exists:

  • Other person is under 13 years of age
  • Other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age AND any of the following:
    • Actor is member of same household as victim
    • Actor is related to victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree
    • Actor is in position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit
    • Actor is teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school distribute, or intermediate school distribute in which that other person is enrolled.
    • Actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
    • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident, and the sexual penetration occurs during the period of that other person's residency.

  • Sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any felony
  • Actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons AND either of the following circumstances exists:

    • Actor knows or has reason to know that victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless

    • Actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration.
  • Actor is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.

  • Actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

    • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.

    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

    • When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

    • When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.

  • The actor causes personal injury to the victim, and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

  • That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, AND any of the following:

    • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.

Mentally Incapable: person suffers from mental diseases or defect that renders that person temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct.

Mentally Disabled: person has mental illness, is mentally retarded, or has a developmental disability.

Mentally Incapacitated: person is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or other substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or due to any other act committed upon that person without his or her consent.

Physically Helpless: person is unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason is physical unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.

Second Degree – MCL § 750.520c

Engaging in sexual contact with another person and any of the following circumstances exists:

  • Other person is under 13 years of age
  • Other person is at least 13 but less than 16 years of age AND any of the following:
    • Actor is member of the same household as victim
    • Actor is related to victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree
    • Actor is in position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit
    • Actor is teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled.
    • Actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
    • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home in which that other person is a resident, and the sexual penetration occurs during the period of that other person's residency.
  • Sexual penetration occurs under circumstances involving the commission of any felony
  • Actor is aided or abetted by 1 or more other persons AND either of the following circumstances exists:
    • Actor knows or has reason to know that victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless
    • Actor uses force or coercion to accomplish the sexual penetration.
    • Actor is armed with a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.
    • Actor causes personal injury to the victim and force or coercion is used to accomplish sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
    • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, "to retaliate" includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.
    • When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner on for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.
    • When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.
  • The actor causes personal injury to the victim, and the actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  • That other person is mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, AND any of the following:
    • The actor is related to the victim by blood or affinity to the fourth degree.
    • The actor is in a position of authority over the victim and used this authority to coerce the victim to submit.
  • That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections.
  • That other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, a private vendor that operates a youth correctional facility under section 20g of the corrections cord of 1953, 1953 PA 232, MCL 791.220g, who knows that the other person is under the jurisdiction of the department of corrections.
  • That other person is a prisoner or probationer under the jurisdiction of a county for purposes of imprisonment or a work program or other probationary program and the actor is an employee or a contractual employee of or a volunteer with the county or the department of corrections who knows that the other person is under the county's jurisdiction.
  • The actor knows or has reason to know that a court has detained the victim in a facility as a result of the victim having been found responsible for committing an act that would be a crime if committed by an adult, and the actor is an employee or contractual employee of, or a volunteer with, the facility in which the victim is detained or to which the victim was committed.

Third Degree – MCL § 750.520d

Engaging in sexual penetration with another person and any of the following circumstances exists:

  • Other person is at least 13 years of age and under 16 years of age
  • Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual penetration. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
    • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute these threats.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute this threat. As used in this subdivision, "to retaliate" includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.
    • When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes that are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.
    • When the actor, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.
  • Actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  • That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual penetration occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
  • That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
    • The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
  • That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
    • The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
  • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual penetration occurs during that other person's residency. As used in this subdivision, "child care organization", "foster family home", and "foster family group home" mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

Fourth Degree – MCL § 750.520e

Engaging in sexual contact with another person and any of the following circumstances exist:

  • Other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person
  • Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
    • When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat.
    • When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat. As used in this subparagraph, "to retaliate" includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.
    • When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.
    • When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise.
  • The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
  • That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual contact occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
  • The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. A prosecution under this subsection shall not be used as evidence that the victim is mentally incompetent.
  • That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
    • The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
  • That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:
    • The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
    • The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.
  • The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that other person's residency.

Consent

In Michigan, consent is not an element of criminal sexual conduct that prosecutors are required to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt. Rather, consent is an affirmative defense available for defendants who are charged with committing criminal sexual conduct under some of the provided-for circumstances. For example, consent may be used to negate the elements of ‘force or coercion’ under MCL 750.520b(1)(d)(ii); however, it is not available for criminal sexual conduct occurring “under circumstances involving the commission of any other felony” as provided in MCL 750.520b(1)(c). Michigan’s standard criminal jury instructions state that

[a] person consents to a sexual act by agreeing to it freely and willingly, without being forced or coerced. It is not necessary to show that the complainant resisted the defendant to prove that this crime was committed. Nor is it necessary to show that complainant did anything to lessen the damage to him/herself.

Therefore, consent is likely to be defined as a free and willing agreement to engage in a sexual act, provided without force or coercion, between individuals who are of sufficient age and are not mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless.

Stalking – MCL § 750.411h

“Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

“Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

“Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.
  • Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property.
  • Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence.
  • Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.
  • Contacting that individual by telephone.
  • Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.
  • Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

Aggravated Stalking – MCL § 750.411i

An individual who engages in stalking is guilty of aggravated stalking if the violation involves any of the following circumstances:

  • At least 1 of the actions constituting the offense is in violation of a restraining order and the individual has received actual notice of that restraining order or at least 1 of the actions is in violation of an injunction or preliminary injunction.
  • At least 1 of the actions constituting the offense is in violation of a condition of probation, a condition of parole, a condition of pretrial release, or a condition of release on bond pending appeal.
  • The course of conduct includes the making of 1 or more credible threats against the victim, a member of the victim's family, or another individual living in the same household as the victim.
  • The individual has been previously convicted of a violation of this section or section 411h.

“Credible threat” means a threat to kill another individual or a threat to inflict physical injury upon another individual that is made in any manner or in any context that causes the individual hearing or receiving the threat to reasonably fear for his or her safety or the safety of another individual.

“Harassment” means conduct directed toward a victim that includes, but is not limited to, repeated or continuing unconsented contact that would cause a reasonable individual to suffer emotional distress and that actually causes the victim to suffer emotional distress. Harassment does not include constitutionally protected activity or conduct that serves a legitimate purpose.

“Stalking” means a willful course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.

“Unconsented contact” means any contact with another individual that is initiated or continued without that individual's consent or in disregard of that individual's expressed desire that the contact be avoided or discontinued. Unconsented contact includes, but is not limited to, any of the following:

  • Following or appearing within the sight of that individual.
  • Approaching or confronting that individual in a public place or on private property.
  • Appearing at that individual's workplace or residence.
  • Entering onto or remaining on property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.
  • Contacting that individual by telephone.
  • Sending mail or electronic communications to that individual.
  • Placing an object on, or delivering an object to, property owned, leased, or occupied by that individual.

Appendix B – Clery Act Crime Definitions

Dating Violence is defined as 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 shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition—

Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

Domestic Violence is defined as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed—

  • By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • By 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 or intimate partner;
  • By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred;
  • 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 the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—

Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.

For the purposes of this definition—

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.

  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Sexual Assault (Sex Offenses). Any sexual act directed against another person, without consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

  • Rape is the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus, with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. This offense includes the rape of both males and females.

  • Fondling is the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

  • Incest is sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

  • Statutory Rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Additionally, if it is determined that a sexual assault was bias-motivated, it will also be reported as a hate crime.

Hate Crime is a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. Although there are many possible categories of bias, under the Clery Act, only the following eight categories are reported:

  • Race. A preformed negative attitude toward a group of persons who possess common physical characteristics, e.g., color of skin, eyes, and/or hair; facial features, etc., genetically transmitted by descent and heredity which distinguish them as a distinct division of humankind, e.g., Asians, blacks or African Americans, whites.

  • Religion. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons who share the same religious beliefs regarding the origin and purpose of the universe and the existence or nonexistence of a supreme being, e.g., Catholics, Jews, Protestants, atheists.

  • Sexual Orientation. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

  • Gender. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a person or group of persons based on their actual or perceived gender, e.g., male or female.

  • Gender Identity. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a person or group of persons based on their actual or perceived gender identity, e.g., bias against transgender or gender non-conforming individuals.

  • Ethnicity. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of people whose members identify with each other, through a common heritage, often consisting of a common language, common culture (often including a shared religion) and/or ideology that stresses common ancestry.

  • National Origin. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of people based on their actual or perceived country of birth.

  • Disability. A preformed negative opinion or attitude toward a group of persons based on their physical or mental impairments, whether such disability is temporary or permanent, congenital or acquired by heredity, accident, injury, advanced age or illness.

Appendix C – Investigative Process Examples

Below is a list of examples that are more likely than not to be assigned to either the ERP or an outside contractor. However, the nuances of every case and every report are unique and will be considered independently for the appropriate investigative process. Hope College reserves the right to make a determination that is appropriate based on known facts, even if the determination is not consistent with the outlined examples. While this list is not comprehensive, examples of how a case may be investigated are as follows:

ERP Investigations Contracted Investigations
Harassment based on words or actions versus physical touch Non-consensual sexual intercourse
Denial of appropriate access to college programs or facilities based on protected class Any form of assault or harassment involving a weapon
Actions that impact a group or larger community versus harm to an individual Any form of discrimination involving physical violence resulting in bodily harm
Actions deemed to be based on a lack of education versus intentional harm Any form of discrimination that poses a significant, on-going threat to person(s)