Student Sexual Misconduct

Effective Date: 
July 2016
Last Revised: 
August 2017
Review Date: 
August 2018
Policy Owner: 
Compliance Programs
Contact Name: 
Burns Newsome
Contact Title: 
Executive Director, Compliance Programs
Contact Email: 
burnsnewsome@gatech.edu
Reason for Policy: 

The Georgia Institute of Technology is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is safe and fosters the dignity, respect, and worth of students, faculty, and staff. Each member of the community has the responsibility to practice the highest ethical principles and standards of conduct. Persons who do not adhere to these principles and standards by the commission of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct damage the community and its members.

This policy addresses the process and procedures for addressing complaints of sexual misconduct committed by students

Policy Statement: 

Discrimination on the basis of sex is prohibited by the Georgia Institute of Technology. This prohibition applies to students, faculty, staff, and all other members of the Institute community.

Complaints of sex discrimination, including but not limited to sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and retaliation, shall be addressed as provided in Policy 4.1.7 (Student Sexual Misconduct Policy) and Policy 4.6.5 (Standards for Institutional Student Conduct Investigation and Disciplinary Proceedings) of the policy manual of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia.

The Board of Regents Student Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all students of the Institute. This policy statement sets forth the process and procedures for claims of sexual misconduct committed by students. The process and procedures for claims of sexual misconduct committed by employees are addressed in the Anti-Harassment Policy and the Harassment and Discrimination guidelines issued by the Office of Human Resources.

Definitions:

Community

Students, faculty, and staff, as well as contractors, vendors, visitors and guests.

Complainant

An individual lodging a complaint. The complainant may not always be the alleged victim.

Confidential Employees

Institution employees who have been designated by the Institution’s Coordinator to talk with an alleged victim in confidence. Confidential Employees must only report that the incident occurred and provide date, time, location, and name of alleged respondent (if known) without revealing any information that would personally identify the alleged victim. This minimal reporting must be submitted in compliance with Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”). Confidential Employees may be required to fully disclose details of an incident in order to ensure campus safety.

Consent

Words or actions that show a knowing and voluntary willingness to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, intimidation or coercion; by ignoring or acting in spite of objections of another; or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another where the respondent knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Minors under the age of 16 cannot legally consent under Georgia law.

Consent is also absent when the activity in question exceeds the scope of consent previously given. Past consent does not imply present or future consent. Silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent.

Consent can be withdrawn at any time by either party by using clear words or actions.

Dating Violence

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the alleged victim. 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

Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the alleged victim; by a person with whom the alleged 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, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the alleged victim.

Incapacitation

The physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. It can result from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, status as a minor under the age of 16, or from intentional or unintentional taking of alcohol and/or other drugs. Whether someone is incapacitated is to be judged from the perspective of an objectively reasonable person.

Nonconsensual Sexual Contact

Any physical contact with another person of a sexual nature without the person’s consent. It includes but is not limited to touching (or penetrating) of a person’s intimate parts (such as genitalia, groin, breasts, or buttocks); touching (or penetrating) a person with one’s own intimate parts; or forcing a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts.

Privileged Employees

Individuals employed by the institution to whom a complainant or alleged victim may talk in confidence, as provided by law. Disclosure to these employees will not automatically trigger an investigation against the complainant’s or alleged victim’s wishes. Privileged Employees include those providing counseling, advocacy, health, mental health, or sexual-assault related services (e.g., sexual assault resource centers, campus health centers, pastoral counselors, and campus mental health centers) or as otherwise provided by applicable law. Exceptions to confidentiality exist where the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor (in Georgia, under the age of 18) or otherwise provided by law, such as imminent threat of serious harm.

Respondent

Individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct that violates this Policy.

Responsible Employees

Those employees who must promptly and fully report complaints of or information regarding sexual misconduct to the Coordinator. Responsible Employees include any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who is not a Confidential Employee or Privileged Employee. Student employees who serve in a supervisory, advisory, or managerial role are in a position of authority for purposes of this Policy (e.g., teaching assistants, residential assistants, student managers, orientation leaders).

Sexual Assault

An umbrella term referring to a range of nonconsensual sexual contact, which can occur in many forms including but not limited to rape and sexual battery.

Sexual Exploitation

Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or for the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited.

Examples of sexual exploitation may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Invasion of sexual privacy;
  2. Prostituting another individual;
  3. Non-consensual photos, video, or audio of sexual activity;
  4. Non-consensual distribution of photo, video, or audio of sexual activity, even if the sexual activity was consensual;
  5. Intentional observation of nonconsenting individuals who are partially undressed, naked, or engaged in sexual acts;
  6. Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another individual through sexual activity;
  7. Intentionally and inappropriately exposing one’s breasts, buttocks, groin, or genitals in non-consensual circumstances; and/or
  8. Sexually-based bullying.


Sexual Harassment

Unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct, based on sex or on gender stereotypes, that is implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of employment or status in a course, program, or activity; is a basis for employment or educational decisions; or is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to interfere with one’s work or educational performance creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or learning environment, or interfering with or limiting one’s ability to participate in or to benefit from an institutional program or activity.

Sexual Misconduct

Includes, but is not limited to, such unwanted behavior as dating violence, domestic violence, nonconsensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

Stalking

Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. 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 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.

 

Procedures: 

Reporting Options

To file a confidential report

A student Victim may file a confidential report with the Institute's VOICE Advocates.

In this case, general information is collected for campus safety statistics and the case is referred for investigation to the extent possible given the information provided.

If information is provided that would identify the Respondent, the Institute will endeavor to use that information to investigate the case. Examples of identifying information include, but are not limited to: name, email account, apartment or room number, job title (e.g., TA for particular class, etc.), and/or a specific description.

To pursue a Sexual Misconduct Investigation

A Victim may report a violation in writing or in person to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators to begin an investigation. A Victim may also report a violation to any other Responsible Employee of the Institute, as defined in this Policy. Upon the report of a violation, the Responsible Employee will inform the Victim of:

  • the Responsible Employee’s obligation to report the alleged violation to the Title IX Coordinator; and
  • the Victim’s option to request confidentiality from the Title IX Coordinator after the information has been reported and available confidential advocacy, counseling, and other support services; and
  • the Victim’s right to file a complaint with the Institute and to report a crime to Georgia Tech and/or local police.

To prepare for the official conduct process, students are encouraged to meet with a VOICE Advocate prior to making the official complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.

Victims are encouraged to report as soon as possible. However, the Institute will review all complaints of sexual misconduct.

To seek a criminal investigation

A Victim may file a report with Georgia Tech Police Department or local police for a criminal investigation, which may be sought in conjunction with a Georgia Tech investigation.

Reports to Georgia Tech Police Department of misconduct by students will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator and the Office of Student Integrity and will be investigated for violation of this Policy or violations of the Student Code of Conduct.

The Office of the Dean of Students (including the Women's Resource Center) can provide to a student victim a VOICE Advocate in the Office of Health Initiatives who can assist students with reporting to Georgia Tech Police Department or local police. Advocates are confidential and available 24 hours per day.

A Victim may also choose not to file any report. In that case, a Victim can still receive support services. Contact a confidential VOICE Advocate in the Office of Health Initiatives for assistance. 

Hearing Procedures

Hearing Panel

The panel of any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy shall consist of three members. Panelists shall be assigned to the panel by the Office of Student Integrity in alphabetical order from a list of appropriately trained and available Institute employees. The names and titles of persons available to serve as hearing panelists shall be publicly available and posted on the websites of the Title IX Coordinator and the Office of Student Integrity.

Request for Recusal

If a party to any hearing conducted pursuant to this policy wishes to challenge the impartiality of any proposed panelist, the party may do so by making a written request for recusal to the Director of Student Integrity prior to the scheduled date of the hearing. All such requests for recusal shall specifically identify the alleged bias and include evidence in support of the request. The Director of Student Integrity shall rule on the request for recusal in writing within a reasonable time. If the Director grants the request for recusal, the recused panelist shall be excused and the next (in alphabetical order) available panelist shall be assigned to the hearing panel.

 

Recordkeeping and Release of Information:

Student Information

Maintenance of Disciplinary Files

Disciplinary records of students found responsible of any charges against them will be retained for five (5) years after graduation or date of last attendance. Disciplinary records containing records of Suspension and Expulsion will be permanently retained. A case referral results in the creation of a disciplinary file in the name of the Respondent. This file shall be voided if the student is found not responsible for the charges.

Release of Information

Student disciplinary records shall be governed by the Family Educational Rights of Privacy Act 20 U.S.C. § 1232g.

  • Misconduct resulting in expulsion is released to third parties indefinitely.
  • Any misconduct that resulted in suspension where a potential threat to the campus community exists (including but not limited to illegal drug distribution, endangering or harming any person, or jeopardizing the safety of any person) is released to third parties for five years after sanction completion. In instances of suspension where no threat to the community is identified, the suspension is reported until the sanction is complete.
  • Any misconduct that did not result in suspension or expulsion is not released to third parties.
  • The Institute requires a specific written request from the student to release the entire disciplinary record to third parties.

Resources:

When a sexual assault has occurred, it is important for the Victim to receive medical attention within the first 120 hours. This timeframe allows more options for medical assistance and a greater likelihood of collecting evidence if the Victim chooses to report the assault. Medical care is still encouraged after 120 hours if the Victim has not yet sought care.

The Georgia Tech Stamps Health Services (including the Primary Care Clinic and Women's Clinic) is available during regular hours for medical assistance and follow-up care. Local rape crisis centers are available for medical and counseling assistance 24 hours a day.

Health Initiatives (including the Institute's VOICE Advocates), Counseling Center, Health Services (including Women's Health), and the Women's Resource Center are also available resources. VOICE Advocates are available 24 hours per day including weekends and holidays. Additional campus resources for students includes the Office of the Dean of Students. Campus resources for faculty and staff are available through the Institute’s Employee Assistance Program and through other programs in the Office of Human Resources. Numerous off-campus services are also available.

In addition, a counselor and a member of the Office of the Dean of Students staff are on call 24 hours a day. After hours, staff members are available through the Georgia Tech Police Department (404-894-2500); their assistance may be requested without making a police report. Counseling resources are available for all persons involved in an incident of sexual misconduct.

The aftermath of sexual violence can be devastating to the individuals involved as well as the community. Given the impact on members of the Georgia Tech community, the Institute takes sex harassment seriously and actively works to end it on campus through prevention, advocacy, and educational programs for all incoming students and new employees, as well as ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for current students and employees. One such coordinated effort is called VOICE, a campus-wide prevention program housed in Health Initiatives, a unit of the Georgia Tech Department of Health and Wellbeing.

The most up-to-date campus and community resource information is available at VOICE, www.healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/voice or by contacting the Women's Resource Center at (404) 894-0230 or www.womenscenter.gatech.edu or Health Initiatives at (404) 894-9980.

VOICE Advocates

404-385-4464
404-385-4451

http://healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/contact-voice

VOICE Initiative

404-894-9000

www.healthinitiatives.gatech.edu/voice

Stamps Health Services

404-894-9980

www.health.gatech.edu

Georgia Tech Counseling Center

404-8942575

www.counseling.gatech.edu

Office of the Dean of Students

404-894-6367

www.deanofstudents.gatech.edu

Title IX Coordinator

404-385-5583

titleix.gatech.edu

Georgia Tech Police

404-894-2500

www.police.gatech.edu

Women’s Health

404-894-1434

http://health.gatech.edu/services/womens

Women’s Resource Center

404-894-0230

www.womenscenter.gatech.edu

Student may additionally file a complaint of discrimination with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR):

Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Region IV
61 Forsyth Street, SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Tel: (404) 974-9450
Fax: (404) 974-9459

 

Enforcement: 

To report suspected instances of noncompliance with this policy, please visit Georgia Tech’s EthicsPoint, a secure and confidential reporting system, at: https://secure.ethicspoint.com/domain/en/report_custom.asp?clientid=7508

Policy History: 
Revision Date Author Description
August 14, 2017 Compliance Programs Updated Policy
July 1, 2016 Compliance Programs New Policy

 

 

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