LAFAYETTE COLLEGE POLICY ON SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT AND OTHER PROHIBITED CONDUCT
I. STATEMENT OF PUPOSE
Lafayette College is committed to providing a learning and working environment that emphasizes the dignity and worth of every member of its community. In order to create and maintain such an environment, the College recognizes that all members of the College community are responsible for ensuring that Lafayette College is free from harassment based on sex or gender. Sexual and gender-based harassment in any form or context subverts the mission and the work of the College and can threaten the career, educational experience, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff.
Lafayette College is, further, committed to freedom of thought, discourse, and speech and the attainment of the highest quality of academic and educational pursuits. Consistent with the College’s policy on academic freedom (Faculty Handbook, Appendix A), Lafayette’s harassment policy is not meant to prohibit or inhibit educational content or discussions that include controversial or sensitive subject matters. In articulating this policy, the College affirms its adherence to the principle of academic freedom as well as its commitment to providing a learning and working environment free of sexual and gender-based harassment.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in the College’s programs and activities. The College will provide a prompt and equitable response to complaints or notice it receives about prohibited conduct with measures designed to stop the behavior, prevent its recurrence, and address any adverse effects of such conduct in College-related programs or activities.
II. POLICY ON SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT AND OTHER PROHIBITED CONDUCT
A. GENERAL RULE PROHIBITING SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT
Sexual and gender-based harassment are forms of discrimination which violate the standards of conduct expected of every member of the College community and are strictly prohibited. This policy prohibiting sexual and gender-based harassment applies to the conduct of all community members including students, employees, volunteers, and other third-parties. Sexual and/or gender-based harassment will not be tolerated in any context or position whether it be between faculty and students, faculty and other faculty, coaches and athletes, supervisors and employees, staff and students, students and other students, workers and coworkers, or others. This general rule prohibiting sexual and gender-based harassment applies equally regardless of the relative status or position of the individuals involved.
All community members have a responsibility to adhere to College policies, as well as local, state, and federal laws. This policy applies to conduct occurring on Lafayette College property as well as at College-sanctioned events that take place off campus. This policy also applies to off-campus conduct.
The prohibited conduct defined in this policy can be committed by individuals of any gender and can occur between individuals of the same gender or different genders.
B. FORMS OF SEXUAL AND GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT
a. QUID PRO QUO:
Quid pro quo sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature such as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome expressive, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
i. submission to such conduct is made explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, academic standing, or status in a course, program, or activity; or
ii. submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for an employment-related, educational, or other decision(s) affecting evaluation, grades, or advancement.
b. HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT
A “hostile environment” exists when unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature (such as unwelcome sexual advances, unwelcome requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome expressive, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, educational participation or performance, or status, i.e., it is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to create an intimidating, offensive, demeaning, or humiliating educational, residential, or working environment. Sexual conduct is unwelcome if it is not solicited or invited and the recipient considers it undesirable or offensive.
In order to constitute a violation, the hostile environment must be subjectively perceived by the complainant, and that perception must be reasonable for a person in the complainant’s position. Whether the conduct creates a hostile environment depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to: the degree to which the conduct affected one or more person’s education or employment; the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; the relationship between the parties; the number of people involved; and the context in which the conduct occurred. Sexual and gender-based harassment may be at issue even in relationships that begin as welcome.
Examples of behavior that might be considered conduct of a sexual nature include, but are not limited to:
• unwelcome sexual attention, propositions, touching, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature;
• unwelcome sexual or gender-specific innuendo or jokes; humor about sex-specific or gender-specific traits; sexual slurs or derogatory language directed at another person’s sexuality or gender;
• unwelcome oral, written, or electronic communications of a sexual nature;
• written graffiti or the display or distribution of sexually explicit drawings, pictures, or written materials; sexual rumors or ratings of sexual activity or performance; and
• implied or overt threats of punitive action, as a result of rejection of sexual advance.
As described in the Statement of Purpose (section I), the normal activities of teaching, learning, or producing or consuming artistic or scholarly work will not be construed as “conduct of a sexual nature” merely by virtue of the representation or consideration of sexual matters in the course of these activities.
Other forms of sexual harassment, such as sexual assault, are addressed in the College’s Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking Policy (link).
2. GENDER-BASED HARASSMENT
A gender-based hostile environment exists when verbal, nonverbal, graphic, visual, or physical conduct based on sex, sex stereotyping, or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to create intimidating, offensive, demeaning, or humiliating educational, residential, or working environment.
In assessing all related circumstances to determine whether a hostile environment exists, incidents of gender-based harassment combined with incidents of sexual harassment could create a hostile environment, even if neither the gender-based harassment alone nor the sexual harassment alone would be sufficient to do so.
If any gender-based or unwelcome sexual conduct occurs, even if that conduct does not rise to the level of constituting a hostile environment, it is unacceptable and should be reported so that the College can take prompt measures to address the concern before it rises to the level of creating a hostile environment.
Retaliation or retaliatory harassment is intentional action taken by an individual or allied third party that harms an individual as reprisal for reporting in good faith a potential policy violation or for participating in the College’s investigation or disciplinary process.
Retaliation against anyone involved in filing a complaint under this policy, filing an external complaint, or participating in the College’s investigation or disciplinary process is prohibited.
C. Other Prohibited Conduct
There are risks inherent in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions. Although such relationships may not constitute harassment, they may compromise the integrity of the educational or employment process. The special relationship between students and teachers, coaches, advisors, or other staff members who counsel them, and employees and their supervisors, requires that special additional rules apply as addressed below.
1. Prohibited Relationships between Instructor/Staff Member and Student
a. While a student is a student of a particular instructor/staff member, the instructor/staff member shall not ask the student for a sexual favor or in other ways make a sexual advance to the student. While a student is a student of a particular instructor/staff member, any romantic advance or sexual relationship between the student and the particular instructor/staff member is prohibited. This rule applies even if the romantic advance or sexual relationship is welcome.
A student is a “student of a particular instructor/staff member”:
(i) when a student is in a course taught by the instructor and/or has not yet received a final grade; or
(ii) when a student is assigned to be advised by a particular instructor/staff member;
(iii) when a student is an athlete coached by a particular intercollegiate athletic coach or trainer;
(iv) when a student is advised by a professional advisory committee member, honors committee member, or member of a comparable committee;
(v) at other times when an instructor/staff member has a relationship with a student such that a student’s activities at the College are being supervised or evaluated by the instructor/staff member.
b. Unless prohibited by section II.C.1.a. above, if a welcome sexual and/or romantic relationship develops between a student and an instructor/staff member, the instructor/staff member must not thereafter take part in any activity that involves evaluation of the student’s work or performance. If a student later becomes a “student of a particular instructor/staff member,” the instructor/staff member shall disclose the existence of such relationship to the Provost or Vice President of Human Resources, as appropriate, who shall make alternative arrangements for the evaluative process.
2. Prohibited Relationships Between Supervisors and Subordinates
Any person (a) who has power, either individually or collectively with others, to dispense or influence rewards or punishments regarding another person, (b) who evaluates the work performance of another person, or (c) to whom another person reports regarding work assignments may not subject such other person to any unwelcome sexual conduct such as an unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, regardless of whether submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a basis for a decision affecting such person or whether such conduct creates a hostile environment.
If a welcome sexual and/or romantic relationship develops between a supervisor and a subordinate, or between faculty in the same department or program, the more senior employee must not thereafter take part in any activity that involves evaluation of the other’s work. Under such circumstances, the more senior employee shall disclose the existence of such a relationship to the Provost or the Vice President of Human Resources as appropriate, who shall make alternative arrangements for the evaluative process.
III. TITLE IX COORDINATORS
The Title IX and Equity Coordinator coordinates the College’s compliance with Title IX. This includes coordinating campus-wide education programming; reviewing policies, procedures, and protocols related to Title IX; and monitoring investigations. The Title IX and Equity Coordinator can be contacted by telephone, by email, or in person during regular office hours. Appointments are encouraged.
Title IX and Equity Coordinator
101 Hogg Hall
The College has also appointed Deputy Coordinators to assist with coordinating compliance under Title IX. The Deputy Coordinators can be contacted by telephone, by email, or in person during regular business hours. Appointments are encouraged.
Director of Student Conduct
Director of Human Resources—Employment
12 Markle Hall
The President has the authority to designate more Deputy Coordinators as needed. For a complete list of Coordinators, visit sash.lafayette.edu.
IV. REPORTING, RESOURCES, AND CONFIDENTIALITY
A. GENERAL INFORMATION REGARDING CONFIDENTIALITY:
An individual who has experienced sexual or gender-based harassment has a variety of available options and resources. Individuals are encouraged to familiarize themselves with their options and responsibilities before disclosing a potential violation of this policy to a College employee. When the College has notice of a potential violation of this policy, every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of all individuals involved in a manner consistent with the need for a thorough review of the allegation(s). If you have any questions or concerns regarding the reporting requirements of individuals, please do not hesitate to ask them. An inquiry into an individual’s reporting obligations will not, by itself, trigger an investigation.
B. REPORTING OPTIONS:
1. Reporting to Title IX Coordinators:
The Title IX and Equity Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the College’s response to reports of sexual and gender-based harassment. Therefore, the College strongly encourages all individuals to report a potential violation of this policy directly to the Title IX and Equity Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
When the Title IX and Equity Coordinator becomes aware of a complaint or allegations of sexual or gender-based harassment, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator, in conjunction with other relevant administrators, will conduct a Title IX assessment to determine appropriate action. The Title IX Coordinator will maintain as confidential the identity of the complainant, to the extent possible. (See section V. A. “Notice Received by the Title IX and Equity Coordinator” below.)
Reports can be made in person during regular business hours. Individuals may also report to the Title IX Coordinators through the reporting tool located at sash.lafayette.edu. The reporting tool is only checked during regular business hours and should not be used in emergencies or situations where an immediate response is required.
2. Confidential Reporting and Resources:
Several campus professionals are designated confidential resources where members of the community can seek counseling and guidance. Professional, licensed mental health professionals and pastoral counselors whose official responsibilities include providing mental-health counseling or pastoral care to members of the College community are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX and Equity Coordinator without an individual’s permission. In rare circumstances, these individuals may have other reporting obligations under the law (for example, abuse of a minor). The following is the contact information for these individuals:
The Counseling Center
Bailey Health Center, 2nd Floor
Call for information about walk-in hours and appointments
College Chaplain, Alex Hendrickson
Available during regular business hours
3. Private Reporting (Mostly Confidential):
Some College employees, designated under Private Reporting, can talk to a complainant without being required to disclose the name of the complainant or other personally identifiable information to the Title IX and Equity Coordinator. These employees are only required to share a limited report to inform the Title IX and Equity Coordinator of the date, time, general location, and nature of the sexual or gender-based harassment. This general information is necessary in order for the College to track patterns appropriately, evaluate the scope of the problem, and formulate appropriate campus-wide responses. Individuals can seek assistance and support from the employees listed below without triggering an investigation that would reveal the identity of the complainant. Before sharing the general report with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator, these employees will work with the complainant to ensure that no personally identifiable details about the complainant are shared. The following is contact information for those who serve in this private reporting role:
SASH Advocate on-call 24/7: 610-330-5964
Bailey Health Center (Medical)
607 High St.
(S.W. Corner of High & McCartney Sts.)
4. Reporting to Responsible Employees:
A Responsible Employee is a College employee who has the authority to redress sexual or gender-based harassment or who has the duty to report sexual or gender-based harassment, or whom a student could reasonably identify as having this authority or duty.
Lafayette College has designated all faculty (including visiting faculty) and all administrators as Responsible Employees. Examples of administrators include: Public Safety Officers or other Campus Security Personnel, Residence Life Staff, and Student Life Staff including Athletic Coaches and Trainers. Resident Assistants are also Responsible Employees. For a complete list of Responsible Employees, visit sash.lafayette.edu.
According to this Policy, whenever a Responsible Employee is told or becomes aware of any information related to alleged sexual or gender-based harassment, the Responsible Employee must share all relevant information about the alleged incident with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The Responsible Employee is only responsible for sharing what was disclosed and should not attempt to investigate the allegations. To the extent possible, information reported to a Responsible Employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report.
Before a complainant reveals any information to the Responsible Employee, the Responsible Employee will do her or his best to ensure that the complainant understands the limitations on confidentiality and the obligation of the Responsible Employee to disclose personally identifiable information to the Title IX and Equity Coordinator. If, as a result, the complainant prefers to consult with a confidential resource (as described in section IV.B.2 above), the Responsible Employee should assist with an appropriate referral prior to the complainant’s disclosure of details pertinent to the sexual or gender-based harassment.
If the complainant decides to report an incident to a Responsible Employee, but requests that the Responsible Employee maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into the incident be conducted or disciplinary action be taken, the Responsible Employee should inform the complainant that the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will review the information and consider the request for such confidentiality/non-action, but should explain that confidentiality/non-action cannot be guaranteed.
5. Reporting to Public Safety:
The Office of Public Safety is available 24 hours a day to receive complaints regarding sexual or gender-based harassment and may be reached at (610) 330-4444 (emergency), or (610) 330-5330 (non-emergency). A complainant who wishes to file a criminal complaint regarding sexual misconduct may also contact the Office of Public Safety.
V. INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE AND AVAILABLE COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
A. NOTICE RECEIVED BY THE TITLE IX AND EQUITY COORDINATOR
When the Title IX and Equity Coordinator receives information about a potential violation of this policy, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will conduct a Title IX assessment. The first step of this assessment will usually be a meeting with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator and the complainant. The Title IX and Equity Coordinator will invite appropriate administrators to participate throughout the assessment.
As part of the Title IX assessment, the College will assess the nature of the allegation, address immediate needs of the complainant and the campus community, discuss available procedural options and determine the complainant’s preference for resolution (whether to pursue an informal resolution, a formal resolution, or not to pursue a resolution of any kind), provide the complainant with information about resources both on and off campus, and assess for pattern evidence or other similar conduct by the respondent. This assessment will continue until the College has sufficient information to determine an appropriate course of action.
If the complainant requests confidentiality, asks that the complaint not be pursued, or does not respond to requests for a meeting, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will consider this request in the context of the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the College community. The College, through the Title IX and Equity Coordinator, will take reasonable steps to respond in a manner consistent with the complainant’s request; however, the response may be limited. Additionally, there may be situations in which the College must override a request in order to meet its Title IX obligations.
B. AVAILABLE COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
The following informal and formal procedures are intended to afford a prompt and equitable response to complaints of sexual and gender-based harassment and other conduct prohibited under this policy. They are designed to ensure fairness, maintain privacy, and enable the imposition of appropriate sanctions on members of the College community who violate this policy. Resources are available for both students and employees, whether as complainants or respondents, to provide guidance throughout the investigation and resolution of the complaint.
The informal and formal complaint procedures set forth below are internal administrative procedures of the College. As to those forms of sexual or gender-based harassment that also violate state or federal law, an aggrieved person may also file a complaint simultaneously or thereafter with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency (such as the Office for Civil Rights) or in a court with jurisdiction. (See section VI “External Remedies” below.)
2. Informal Resolution Procedures
In cases involving allegations of sexual and gender-based harassment, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will determine whether there is an appropriate facilitated informal resolution mechanism that may be considered. This determination will be made when the College has completed a Title IX assessment. (See section V. A. “Notice Received by the Title IX and Equity Coordinator.”) Upon determining that a facilitated informal resolution is appropriate, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will work with relevant administrators to coordinate an informal resolution. This may include shuttle diplomacy, facilitated conversation, training and education for individuals or groups, and/or any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this policy.
If it is determined that a facilitated informal resolution may be appropriate, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will speak with the complainant about this option. If the complainant agrees, the Title IX and Equity Coordinator (or other administrator in consultation with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator) will speak with the respondent. Informal resolution will be pursued only with the consent of both parties, and a complainant or respondent has the right to end the informal resolution process at any time and begin the formal resolution process. If the facilitated informal process results in a resolution, both parties will receive outcome notification that the process has concluded and the case will be closed.
If the parties are unable to reach a resolution in a timely manner (normally within 45 days), or if either party requests to terminate the informal resolution process, the formal complaint process will proceed.
The use of the informal resolution process is not a prerequisite to initiating formal resolution procedures. The College will never require the complainant to work out the problem directly with the respondent. Informal resolution (such as mediation) is never permitted in cases involving sexual violence.
Informal resolution eliminates a potential hostile environment by identifying and implementing remedies to eliminate the harassment, address its effects, and prevent its recurrence. Because it does not involve a formal adjudication process, it does not result in disciplinary action against the respondent.
Anyone who has an inquiry or who is requesting an informal resolution may bring a support person to meetings with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator and/or designee as long as that person agrees to be bound by the confidentiality provisions of this policy.
3. Formal Complaint Procedures
In circumstances where the Title IX Coordinator determines that the matter is not appropriate for informal resolution, or where the complainant does not wish to pursue or withdraws from the informal resolution process, or the informal resolution process is unsuccessful, and the Title IX Coordinator, after completing the Title IX assessment (see section V.A. “Notice Received by the Title IX and Equity Coordinator”), concludes that there is sufficient information to warrant an investigation, then the Title IX and Equity Coordinator will refer the case to the responsible officer who shall proceed as provided below. Because the relationship between the College and students, staff, and faculty differs in nature, the procedures that apply when seeking action against such individuals differ as well. However, each of the procedures is guided by the principles of fundamental fairness and respect for all parties and include the following: notice, an equitable opportunity to be heard, and an equitable opportunity to respond.
The responsible officer shall refer the complaint to an internal or external investigator (or, if needed, an investigation team) who shall conduct an investigation to determine whether there is a reasonable basis to believe that the policy has been violated. All investigators must have specific training and/or experience investigating allegations of sexual and gender-based harassment.
The investigator shall inform the responsible officer and the Title IX and Equity Coordinator in writing of the results of their investigation and their conclusion, normally within 10 calendar days. Both parties shall be notified in writing if the Title IX and Equity Coordinator deems it warranted to extend this time period.
If the investigator or investigation team concludes that there is a reasonable basis to believe that the policy has been violated, the responsible officer shall then cause a hearing to occur pursuant to the relevant procedures below:
a. for alleged violations of this policy by students, the dean of students (or designee) will initiate procedures applicable to charges of sexual misconduct that can be found in the student handbook (link);
b. for alleged violations of this policy by staff members not in the bargaining unit, the College officer responsible for the division employing the respondent will initiate procedures that can be found at (link);
c. for alleged violations of this policy by union staff members, the vice president for human resources will initiate procedures in accordance with the collective bargaining agreement (link);
d. for alleged violations of this policy by members of the faculty (including, in any teaching role, administrators with faculty status), the Provost (or designee) will initiate procedures in accordance with the Faculty Handbook (link);
e. for alleged violations of this policy arising out of the teaching role of any other instructor of a course, the Provost (or designee) will initiate disciplinary procedures in accordance with the attached procedure (note: draft will be forthcoming from POCSASH); and
f. for any other alleged violation of this policy, the President (or designee) will initiate appropriate disciplinary procedures.
The individuals identified in a-f above may consult with the Title IX Coordinator as needed.
If the complainant or the respondent feels that a complaint brought under this policy was not promptly resolved with due regard for the rights of the parties involved, s/he should bring these concerns to the Title IX and Equity Coordinator. If the concern involves the Title IX and Equity Coordinator, it should be brought to the President.
Even if the respondent is a third party and not a student or employee, the College will promptly and equitably respond to all reports of sexual and/or gender-based harassment against students or employees in a manner that is reasonable to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects on any individual or the community.
VI. EXTERNAL REMEDIES
Lafayette College expects all members of the College community to uphold the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States regarding sexual and/or gender-based harassment. Sexual and gender-based harassment also constitutes sex discrimination which is illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, and the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addition to any sanctions that may be imposed by the College for violations of this policy, a member of the College community who sexually harasses (including gender-based harassment) another member may be held personally liable to the victim and be subject to sanctions independent of those imposed by the College. Nothing in this policy shall prevent the complainant or the respondent from filing a complaint with the appropriate local, state, or federal agency or in a court with jurisdiction. If the complainant or the respondent feels that a sexual harassment complaint was not promptly resolved by the College with due regard for the rights of the parties involved as afforded to them by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, either party may file a formal complaint with the Title IX and Equity Coordinator or the Office for Civil Rights:
Office for Civil Rights, Philadelphia Office
U.S. Department of Education
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
VII. EDUCATION AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The Title IX and Equity Coordinator works with all campus divisions to provide education about sexual and gender-based harassment to meet campus and compliance needs. In an effort to prevent and eliminate sexual misconduct, Lafayette College maintains an informative website about the sexual and gender-based harassment policy, procedures, prevention, and response. Education efforts will be reviewed periodically by the Title IX and Equity Coordinator and the Presidential Oversight Committee on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment (POCSASH).
Questions regarding Title IX may be referred to the College’s Title IX and Equity Coordinator or the Office for Civil Rights.
VIII. POLICY DISTRIBUTION AND REVIEW
This policy will be widely distributed on campus and available on sash.lafayette.edu and hr.lafayette.edu so that all students, faculty, and staff will be made aware of it upon their arrival and at the beginning of each academic year.
The Title IX and Equity Coordinator and the Presidential Oversight Committee on Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment will review the Policy on Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment and Other Prohibited Conduct and related procedures on a periodic basis in order to capture evolving legal requirements and improve the delivery of services.