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Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code


Appendix B:
Information Regarding Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking Cases Reported to Community Standards


Introduction

Community Standards is responsible for the management of Responsibilities of Community Life: The Student Code (The Student Code) which can be viewed at http://www.community.uconn.edu/student_code.html. The Student Code describes the process for handling complaints of alleged student misconduct. This document provides supplemental information regarding the student conduct process for addressing issues regarding sexual misconduct. All members of the University community are encouraged to review the University of Connecticut’s Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Inappropriate Romantic Relationships which can be viewed at http://www.sexualviolence.uconn.edu.

As stated in The Student Code’s Preamble, "Admission to the University of Connecticut means acceptance into a new and special kind of community - an academic community. With acceptance comes a responsibility to uphold and build upon the values and the traditions that have served to define and to strengthen this community over time." Any behavior, including sexual misconduct and harassment, that denigrates others is unacceptable and deplorable. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. Complaints against students regarding such alleged behavior are governed by the provisions of The Student Code.

Consent

Consent is an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual involvement. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. The lack of a negative response is not consent. An individual who is incapacitated by alcohol and/or other drugs both voluntarily or involuntarily consumed may not give consent. Past consent of sexual activity does not imply ongoing future consent.

If any of the following are present, consent cannot be given:

  • Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because s/he lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g. to understand the "who, what, when, where, why, or how" of their sexual interaction).
    • Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be, or based on circumstances should reasonably have known to be, mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of The Student Code.
    • A person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the consumption of rape drugs cannot give consent.
    • Alcohol related incapacity results from a level of alcohol ingestion that is more severe than impairment, being under the influence, drunkenness or intoxication. Evidence of incapacity may be detected from context clues, such as:
      • Slurred speech
      • Bloodshot eyes
      • The smell of alcohol on their breath
      • Shaky equilibrium
      • Vomiting
      • Unusual behavior
      • Unconsciousness
    • Context clues are important in helping to determine incapacitation. These signs alone do not necessarily indicate incapacitation.
  • 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/or coercion that overcome resistance.
  • Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercion is the use of emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something they may not want to do such as being sexual or performing certain sexual acts. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting to having sex and is considered sexual misconduct.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, the true threat of or actual sexual assault, unwelcome sexual contact, and/or sexual harassment. Sexual misconduct may vary in its severity and consist of a range of behaviors or attempted behaviors including, but not limited to the following examples:

  • Non-consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit) is any intentional sexual touching with any object(s) or body part that is without consent and/or by force.
  • Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit) is penetration of a bodily orifice with any object(s) or body part that is without consent and/or by force.
  • Sexual Exploitation occurs when a student takes advantage of another without that individual’s consent for the initiator’s own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.
    • Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
      • Sexual exhibitionism
      • Prostituting or soliciting another student
      • Non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-taping of a sexual nature and/or distribution of these materials via mediums such as the internet
      • Exceeding the boundaries of consent (e.g., allowing people to watch consensual sex without knowledge from the participants)
      • Peeping or other voyeurism
      • Knowingly transmitting a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or HIV to another individual
      • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation
  • Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, such as sexual assault or acts of sexual violence. Sexual harassment also may include inappropriate touching, suggestive comments and public display of pornographic or suggestive calendars, posters, or signs where such images are not connected to any academic purpose. All forms of sexual and sex-based harassment and discrimination are considered serious offenses by the University. A violation of The Student Code will be found where: (a) submission to sexual harassment of any kind is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's employment, performance appraisal, or evaluation of academic performance; or (b) these actions have the effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning or working environment. Sexual harassment creates a hostile environment when the harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to deny or limit a student's or employee's ability to participate in or benefit from the academic or work environment. State and federal law protect individuals from discrimination or discriminatory harassment in connection with employment and all academic, educational, extracurricular, athletic or other programs of a school. This protection extends to conduct that occurs both on and off University property.
    • Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
      • Unwelcome sexual advances
      • Requests or attempts to extort sexual favors
      • Sexual violence
      • Inappropriate touching
      • Suggestive comments
      • Public display of pornographic or suggestive calendars, posters, or signs
      • Acts that do not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature but are based on sex or sex-stereotyping and which may include physical aggression, intimidation or hostility are considered gender-harassment and are similarly prohibited.

Intimate Partner Violence (domestic violence)

Intimate partner violence is a pattern of behavior in an intimate relationship that is used to establish power and control over another person through fear and intimidation.

A pattern of behavior is typically determined based on the repeated use of words and/or actions and inactions in order to demean, intimidate, and/or control another person. This behavior can be verbal, emotional and/or physical. Examples of intimate partner violence include, but is not limited to:

  • Slapping
  • Pulling hair
  • Punching
  • Damaging one's property
  • Driving recklessly to scare someone
  • Name calling
  • Humiliating one in public
  • Harassment directed toward a current or former partner or spouse
  • Threats of abuse such as threatening to hit, harm, or use a weapon on another (whether victim or acquaintance, friend, or family member of the victim), or other forms of verbal threats

Stalking

Stalking involves any behaviors or activities occurring on more than one occasion that collectively instill fear in the victim and/or threaten her/his safety, mental health, and/or physical health. Such behaviors or activities may include, but are not limited to non-consensual communications (face to face, telephone, e-mail), threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance, or showing up outside the targeted individual's classroom or workplace.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Options

All reports of sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual assaults, made to any University employee must be reported to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Elizabeth Conklin, Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), located in Wood Hall (241 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2175, Storrs, CT 06269-2175). In addition, any person who believes he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination may contact the Title IX Coordinator directly. The telephone for ODE is 860-486-2943 and email is elizabeth.conklin@uconn.edu. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure complaints of this nature are addressed by the appropriate University entities (Community Standards if the complaint is against a student, ODE if the complaint is against an employee) and will assist complainants in receiving any medical, mental health, or other services that may be warranted. The Title IX Coordinator will also facilitate any interim measures that may be necessary to protect the complainant in the institutional setting.

Complaints against students are typically handled by Community Standards and are governed by The Student Code. Such complaints should be directed to Associate Director of Community Standards Kim Hill or Assistant Director of Community Standards Cinnamon Adams. Community Standards is located in Wilbur Cross Building, room 301 (233 Glenbrook Road, Unit 4119, Storrs, CT 06269-4119) and can be reached by calling 860-486-8402 or via email at community@uconn.edu.

Third party or anonymous reports alleging student sexual misconduct will be accepted by Community Standards through the previous mentioned contact venues. The information provided to Community Standards anonymously will only be used in compliance of The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act for data collection. Anonymous reports will typically not be used to initiate the formal student conduct process; however, under federal law the University is required to investigate all incidents of sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual assaults, about which the University knows or has reason to know to protect the health and safety of the University community. The University will undertake an investigation even in those cases in which the victim chooses not to cooperate.

Any person who believes s/he has been sexually harassed or discriminated against on the basis of his/her sex or sexual orientation is strongly encouraged to contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator, Elizabeth Conklin, Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), located in Wood Hall (241 Glenbrook Road, Unit 2175, Storrs, CT 06269-2175). The telephone for ODE is 860-486-2943 and email is elizabeth.conklin@uconn.edu. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure complaints of this nature are addressed by the appropriate University entities and will assist complainants in receiving any medical, mental health, or other services that may be warranted. The Title IX Coordinator will also facilitate any interim measures that may be necessary to protect the complainant in the institutional setting.

It is encouraged that incidents of sexual assault be reported to the University of Connecticut Police Department at 860-486-4800 or by dialing 911 in the event of an emergency. Off-campus incidents can be reported to the Connecticut State Police, Troop C, 860-896-3222.

Individuals may decide not to file a report with any of the above units. Individuals are highly encouraged to seek medical attention, including counseling. A listing of resources through can be found at www.sexualviolence.uconn.edu. Students who wish to file a report at a later date may contact any of the above mentioned units. Please note that a delay in reporting could weaken the information used to determine whether a student is responsible for sexual misconduct.

Student Conduct Process

The student conduct process for dealing with complaints is described in The Student Code. The information contained in this document provides additional information regarding sexual misconduct complaints. Individuals are strongly encouraged to read The Student Code to fully understand the process.

Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, Community Standards may initiate an interim administrative action(s) as allowed by The Student Code. Such action may be taken when, in the professional judgment of a University official, a threat of imminent harm to persons or property exists. Interim administrative action is not a sanction. It is taken in an effort to protect the safety and well being of the accused student, of others, of the University, or of property. Interim administrative action is preliminary in nature; it is in effect only until a hearing has been completed. Actions may include, but are not limited to, no contact instructions, modification of residence hall status, limited access to campus, or interim suspension. The Title IX Coordinator may also impose interim measures or remedies that are not limited by The Student Code.

Community Standards will immediately begin an investigation after receiving a complaint and strive to reach a resolution within one month of notification; however, there are circumstances that may extend this resolution timeline (e.g., gathering witness information, scheduling). Incidents resulting in an administrative hearing are typically conducted within fifteen days of the accused student being formally notified of the actual alleged violations. Community Standards will provide regular updates as to the progress of the investigation to the complainant/victim and the accused student. Both the alleged victim and the accused student will be notified in writing of the outcome within 24 hours of the conclusion of the investigation or hearing, whichever is later. Either party may request an appeal by submitting a request in writing within five business days of notification. Appeals are limited to a review of the process as outlined in TThe Student Code.

Community Standards will follow the process outlined in The Student Code. Both the complainant and accused student are afforded the same rights as outlined in The Student Code. This includes participating in the hearing process, being accompanied by a support person, notification of the hearing results, and the opportunity for appeal. The complete list is available in Part IV, Section D of The Student Code.

Determination of Facts Relative to an Alleged Violation

The standard used in determining whether or not the accused student violated University policy is a preponderance of evidence (whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred).

Sanctions

If the accused student is found responsible for committing sexual misconduct and therefore, violating The Student Code appropriate sanctions will be imposed. Sanctions are determined by the seriousness of the violation, precedent for similar violations, and any existing aggravating and/or mitigating factors.

The University has four major sanctions: Warning, University Probation, University Suspension, or University Expulsion. When a student is found responsible for a violation(s), one of these is imposed. It is highly unlikely that a student found responsible for sexual misconduct would receive the sanction of a University Warning. The precedent regarding sexual misconduct is University Expulsion. A student may receive additional sanctions related to housing, student privileges, educational interventions, etc.

Privacy versus Confidentiality

To the extent possible, under federal law, if a student makes a formal report about an act of sexual misconduct to Community Standards, Community Standards has an obligation to investigate the complaint. Community Standards will protect the privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct but Community Standards cannot promise confidentiality. By law, very few University employees are permitted to promise confidentiality and are primarily limited to those employed by the University’s Counseling and Health Services and the University’s Department of Health Services.

Retaliation

Retaliation against a person for filing a complaint, or against witnesses for providing a statement during an investigation, is also prohibited and is a violation of The Student Code.

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