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Policies & Regulations - Rape and Sexual Assault Policy and Guidelines

Policy on Sexual Assault

 

I.             Statement of Purpose

The University of Maine will not tolerate and prohibits rape and sexual assault in any form. These acts are against Maine State Law. Rape and other sexual assaults also violate the University’s policy prohibiting sexual harassment. If there is reason to believe that The University of Maine campus regulations prohibiting sexual assaults of any kind have been violated, on or off-campus, the administration will pursue disciplinary action through the appropriate University procedures.

Sexual assault occurs with disturbing frequency among college age men and women but is very often unreported. In order to provide support for individuals reporting incidents of sexual assault and to enforce the behavioral standards critical to the University’s mission, students are encouraged to report all violations of this policy to appropriate University personnel.

To the fullest extent possible, the University will protect the privacy of all parties to a report of sexual assault.  That said, under federal law, campus officials (with the exception of those listed under Confidential Resources in Section V below, who receive a report of sexual assault, whether from the student involved or a third party, must share that information with the appropriate university authorities for investigation and follow-up.  (See Section IV on Reporting below for more information).  The University is obligated to investigate the complaint to eliminate sexual harassment and assault, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

The University acknowledges that rape perpetrated by someone unknown (often referred to as “stranger rape”) does occur. However, the most prevalent form of sexual assault on a college campus is between two people who know each other (often referred to as “acquaintance rape”). The acquaintance may be a date, partner, or someone known casually from a residence hall, class, club, or through mutual friends. Regardless of the relationship, the same institutional response and penalties apply. To clearly illustrate the seriousness of these offenses, this policy does not differentiate the types of offenses based on the relationship between the individuals. This policy is intended to provide more detailed information about how The University of Maine handles sexual assault matters and is not intended to replace the UMS Student Code of Conduct, the UMS Sexual Harassment Policy, or the UMS Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure.

II.          Definition of Terms

The University of Maine, as a standard for the Student Code of Conduct, defines sexual assault as follows:

A. Sexual Assault: Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

Sexual Assault, also known as rape, may consist of non-consensual penetration of the genitals, anus or mouth of one by the genitals or fingers of another, or an instrument or device manipulated by another person. This may include vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse (sodomy), oral sex, or non-consensual sexual penetration of genital or anal openings by a foreign object, including a finger. Force, the threat of physical harm, coercion, or manipulation may be present during non-consensual sexual intercourse. Non-consensual sexual intercourse may take many forms including, but not limited to, rape by a stranger, an acquaintance, while on a date; rape by multiple perpetrators (often referred to as “gang rape”), and may occur both on and off campus.

B. Sexual Harassment

Other forms of non-consensual sexual acts include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, e.g., unwanted touching, directly or through clothing, of an intimate part of another person such as a sexual organ, thighs, buttocks, or breast. These behaviors are covered by the Sexual Harassment Policy, which may be found at: http//www.umaine.edu/eo/about-us/policies-procedures/sexual-harassment-policy/.

C. Sexual Exploitation

Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual, unfair, or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. This behavior must not otherwise constitute a violation of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, prostituting another student, non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, presentation or unauthorized viewing of such recordings, going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends watch you having consensual sex without the knowledge or consent of your sexual partner), engaging in peeping tommery, and knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student.

D. Consent

Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, and consist of a mutually agreeable and understandable exchange of words or actions. Any consent that is given is invalid or moot when the exchange involves unwanted physical force, coercion, intimidation, and/or threats. If an individual is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired such that one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, and the incapacitation or impairment is known or should be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious.

III.       Statement and Intent of Policy

The University of Maine, as a standard for the Student Code of Conduct, determines the following to be its intentions for this policy:

A. Maine State Law

In publishing this policy the University is not intending to substitute or supersede related civil and/or criminal law.  It is the policy of The University of Maine to strongly encourage individuals to report all incidents and violations to law enforcement officials or agencies with appropriate jurisdiction and avail themselves of all the services and rights to which they are entitled.

It should be clearly understood that there is a fundamental difference between the nature and purpose of student discipline and criminal law. Maine State Law considers gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact to be serious crimes that are punishable by imprisonment in jail and/or probation. It also involves creation of a criminal record and may include a monetary fine.

B. Multiple Adjudication

A student charged with sexual assault may be prosecuted under the Maine Criminal Justice System and disciplined through the University of Maine student discipline process. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the accused may be subject to University disciplinary action. University disciplinary procedures should be considered distinct and independent of any and all criminal procedures. Discipline procedures may precede, occur simultaneously, or follow court action. In the event that University disciplinary procedures follow court action, the court proceedings and/or verdict may be considered in the disciplinary proceeding. When necessary, temporary action may be taken by the University in the form of summarily suspending or summarily restricting the accused, or officially requesting no contact between the complainant and the respondent. Relocation or removal from the residence halls may also occur. Any of these measures may result in the accused student’s restricted access to the University and/or participation in University events, such as attendance at classes and residing on campus.

C. Disciplinary Action

Any student found by The University of Maine Office of Community Standards, Rights, and Responsibilities to have committed sexual assault may be subject to severe disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or dismissal from the University. For information about sanctions, individuals should refer to The University of Maine System Student Conduct Code, Section IV Sanctions.

The University recognizes that violations of sexual assault are not the fault of the individual filing the complaint. The University intends to encourage the report of sexual assaults and therefore the University generally does not intend to hold complainants accountable for conduct code violations that may have occurred along with violations of sexual assault. The University administration will use discretion to ensure the rights of the complainant are preserved.

Rights of the Complainant

•           Individuals who report their experience of sexual assault to University officials may be assured that:

•           All sexual assault cases will be treated seriously.

•           They will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner.

•           University officials will inform students of their option to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and offer assistance in notifying proper authorities when an individual discloses an incident of sexual assault.

•           When an incident of sexual assault, harassment or exploitation is reported, the incident will be investigated and adjudicated by appropriate criminal and/or University authorities.

•           A person may invite an advisor of choice to accompany her/him throughout the process.

•           University personnel will not discourage anyone from reporting, nor encourage them to under-report or report the incident as a lesser crime.

•           University personnel will cooperate in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence (including a medical examination) necessary in legal proceedings.

•           Individuals will be notified of available on- and off-campus counseling, mental health, and psychological services, or other student services for those reporting sex offenses.

•           Individuals will be afforded the opportunity to request immediate on-campus housing relocation, transfer of classes, or other steps to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity to an alleged perpetrator when reasonably available.

Campus disciplinary proceedings:

In order to conduct a fair, orderly hearing, the complainant may request reasonable accommodations be made in hearing procedures, such as special seating arrangements in the hearing room.

•           The complainant may invite an advisor of choice to accompany him or her through University disciplinary proceedings.

•           S/he has the right to remain present during the entire Student Conduct Code Committee hearing except during committee deliberations.

•           S/he has the right not to have his or her sexual history discussed during the hearing.

•           S/he has a right to make an “impact statement”.

•           S/he has the right to be informed concurrent with notice to the accused (respondent) of the decision of the Director of Community Standards, Rights, and Responsibilities and the Student Conduct Code Committee regarding the alleged sexual assault violation and any sanction(s) imposed.  The complainant and the respondent must respect the privacy of all involved.

Rights of the Person Accused of Sexual Assault

The student accused of sexual assault (the respondent) may be assured that:

•           All sexual assault cases will be treated seriously.

•           The respondent will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner.

•           The respondent will be advised of on- and off-campus organizations and services that may be of assistance.

•           University personnel will cooperate in investigating the case fully for legal and judicial proceedings.

•           The respondent will be informed of available counseling and psychological services.

•           The respondent may invite an advisor of choice to accompany him/her through University disciplinary proceedings.

•           The respondent has the right to remain present during the entire Student Conduct Code Committee hearing except during committee deliberations.

•           In order to conduct a fair, orderly hearing, reasonable accommodations may be made in hearing procedures, such as special seating arrangements in the hearing room.

Campus disciplinary proceedings

•           S/he will be informed of the decision of the Campus Conduct Officer and the Student Conduct Code Committee regarding the alleged sexual assault violation and any sanction(s) imposed. The respondent and the complainant must respect the privacy of all involved.

•           Individuals should refer to the University of Maine System Student Conduct Code. Attention should be given to Section V. Procedures and Section IV., Sanctions, in particular. Any questions regarding the Student Conduct Code should be directed to the Campus Conduct Officer

Group Infractions

Every organization has the duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent any infraction of University rules and state laws growing out of or related to the activities of the organization. This duty is applicable not only to members of the organization who are engaging in the activity, but also to every member, including those not engaging in the activity.

When students violate policy, they should be aware that in addition to being adjudicated as individual offenses, there may also be sanctioning of the entire organization. In determining whether a group may be held collectively responsible for the individual actions of its members, all the factors and circumstances surrounding the specific incident will be reviewed and evaluated. As a guiding principle, groups will be held responsible for the acts of their members when those acts grew out of, or were in any way related to, group life.

Use of Alcohol and Drugs

The use of alcohol and other drugs by the accused in conjunction with an incident of sexual assault does not mitigate accountability for the commission of sexual assault or diminish the seriousness of the incident.  The accused person’s intentional use of a substance to affect an individual in order to facilitate an assault will be considered when determining responsibility and, if found responsible, appropriate sanctions.

D. Procedure for Policy Assessment and Improvement

The University supports and maintains the Sexual Assault and Relationship Abuse Prevention Committee as a standing committee. This Committee is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community members. The members of this committee are appointed by a three-person oversight panel consisting of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, the Associate Vice President of Human Resources and Administration, and the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity.

This Committee is responsible for:

•           reviewing and commenting on non-identifiable campus crime information being collected in compliance with The Clery Act,

•           reviewing and commenting on other general reports regarding sexual assault prepared by the Title IX Coordinator;

•           assisting in the development of effective prevention strategies

•           sharing general information, upcoming events, programming ideas, and concerns on the topic of sexual violence;

•           making recommendations regarding ongoing awareness and educational programs on campus; and

•           producing an annual report related to these responsibilities to the oversight panel.

E. Policy Dissemination

As required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998, the University provides to each of its students the following:

•           The University of Maine Sexual Assault Policy;

•           Data on the prevalence of these crimes and their frequency on college and university campuses;

•           Information about the circumstances in which campus rapes commonly occur; and

•           The range of administrative, civil, and criminal penalties that may be invoked against perpetrators.

Notice of availability of this information is made by October 1st of each year by mail to enrolled students. Notice to prospective students is included with the information in application materials prepared by the Admissions Office.

F. Education and Prevention

An important part of the University’s prevention strategy is education.  The Sexual Violence Prevention/Deputy Title IX Coordinator makes numerous rape awareness, education, and prevention presentations each year to members of the campus community.  The Coordinator may be reached at 581-1406.

The University of Maine’s Police Department also provides a variety of safety training.  More information on this may be found at their website:  http://umaine.edu/police/crime-prevention/safety-programs/

 

IV.        Reporting Procedures

All students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the public participating in University activities have the right to an environment free from sexual or physical intimidation that would prevent a reasonable person from attaining educational goals or living and working in a safe environment.

A.  Reporting Allegations of Sexual Assault

The University needs the members of its community to report alleged sexual violence that occurs both on and off campus so that the University may respond appropriately and effectively.

All University employees have a responsibility to forward information about allegations of sexual violence to appropriate campus officials.  When allegations like these arise, the University expects all its employees and volunteers to report what they have witnessed or heard to designated university officials.  Further, while everyone in the University community should report this information, some individuals on campus, because of their positions, have a heightened obligation to report.  For instance, administrators, faculty, supervisors, police, student affairs staff, and athletic coaches and staff are required to report allegations of sexual violence.

Of course, if a crime is in progress or the situation presents an ongoing danger to the University community, immediately dial 911 to reach the University of Maine Police Department.  Otherwise:

*Report information about alleged sexual violence by students to Student Affairs (Robert Dana) at 581-1406.

*Report information about alleged sexual violence by employees to Equal Opportunity (Karen Kemble) at 581-1226.

 

B. Reporting Timeframe

Any individual may file a complaint of sexual assault at any time. Early reporting is encouraged to preserve evidence and provide the person filing the complaint with information regarding rights, options, and resources available to them by this policy and federal or state laws.

C. Safety and Security Information Report (The Clery Act)

Under the Clery Act, an institution must report certain crimes to the campus community in a timely manner that will aid in prevention of similar crimes that represent a threat to students and employees. To that end, a community alert will be issued whenever appropriate. Additionally, departments will comply with all mandatory reporting requirements. More information may be found at the UMaine Police website: http://www.umaine.edu/police/

 

V.           Confidential Resources

If a student wishes the details of an incident to be kept strictly confidential, she or he can speak with counselors at the University’s Counseling Center (581-1392) or Employee Assistance Program (581-1392) and healthcare providers at Cutler Health Center (581-4000).  Individuals in these offices will honor confidentiality unless there is an imminent danger to the student or to others.

Confidential resources are also available off campus from health care providers and counselors as well as specialized agencies such as Rape Response Services (1-800-310-000).

 

Nothing in this policy should be interpreted as precluding enforcement of the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the State of Maine, any locality in the state of Maine, or the University’s Student Conduct Code.

 

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Student Handbook
5748 Memorial Union
Orono , ME 04469-5748
Phone: (207) 581-1406 | Fax: (207) 581-4215
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1110
A Member of the University of Maine System