Sexual Misconduct Response Protocol/Procedures

Statement of Policy

The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) and each of its member colleges and universities are committed to ensuring that each member of the community has the opportunity to fully participate in the process of education and development. Southern Connecticut State University strives to maintain a safe and welcoming environment free from acts of sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence (see definitions on pages 5-6).   It is also Southern’s goal to provide safety, privacy and support to survivors of sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence.

The BOR has established a policy concerning sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence (http://www.ct.edu/files/pdfs/hr-policy-sexual-misconduct.pdf).  The policy strongly encourages and supports the reporting of sexual misconduct and intimate partner violence. As a Southern Connecticut State University employee, you may find yourself responding to a student or other employee’s report or disclosure of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence   This protocol is designed to assist employees to respond effectively to such reports or disclosures. Other than those employees with confidentiality (health providers, professional counselors, and pastoral counselors whose official responsibilities include providing mental-health counseling to members of the University community), all university employees are mandated reporters.   In the case of an emergency contact University Police at (203)392-5375 or 911 immediately.

Mandated Reporting & Rights of Those Who Report or Disclose

In an effort to be in compliance with the University’s obligation under Title IX, Connecticut Public Act No. 14-11, and the Board of Regents Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault and Intimate Partner Violence, all faculty, staff, and administrators, with the exception of health providers, professional counselors, and pastoral counselors whose official responsibilities include providing mental-health counseling to members of the University community are mandated to report all disclosures and reports of incidents of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence, regardless of the age of the survivor. This mandate is a result of the University’s obligation to stop the conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, remedy its effects, provide care and support for the reporting or disclosing person, and ensure the safety and security of our community. 

In addition, the University is required to inform in a timely manner those who report or disclose any type of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence of all of their rights and options, including the necessary steps and potential outcomes of each option.

In an effort to support members of our community and our obligations, the following steps must be followed by all faculty, staff and administrators (with the exception of those listed earlier in this section) whenever someone discloses or reports sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence.  To assist, specifically, with working with students or employees, please consider the sample script on page 3 when dealing with these situations.

Report of Disclosure Reporting Procedures

If a student/employee discloses an incident of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence or stalking, do not ask for any details other than those pertaining to an emergency situation.  If the student/employee shares any details of the incident you are mandated to report them to Jules Tetreault, Interim Title IX Coordinator.  Kindly inform the student/employee that, while you are mandated to report any information regarding sexual misconduct, you do want to help. Your role is to compassionately and professionally assist in helping the student/employee get the support and resources they need.

Student Disclosure or Report

  1. While with the student contact Catherine Christy, Women’s Center, University Advocate and S.A.R.T. Coordinator, at (203) 392-6946 (o) or (203) 814-6957(c).  Ms. Christy will offer guidance and review information and procedures that can assist the student in getting the help they may need, and will offer to speak and/or meet with the student. Ms. Christy will also provide written, concise information to the student regarding rights, options and possible outcomes of each option.
  1. Once the student has been connected with Cathy Christy, University Advocate, the administrator, faculty or staff member must submit the Sexual Misconduct or Intimate Partner Violence Notification Form (T-9 Form) to Jules Tetreault, Interim Title IX Coordinator. The questions on the form are NOT to be asked of the person disclosing or reporting the situation, therefore, areas will remain blank. Please make sure to provide all information that was reported or disclosed to you.  If you are a Campus Security Authority, please make sure to indicate this on the form. Remember that if you know information, the University is also considered to know.  The University’s obligation to respond begins the moment the University is on notice that a member of our community has experienced sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence.
     

Employee Disclosure or Report

  1. While with the employee, contact Diane Mazza, Office of Human Resources at (203) 392-5405.  Ms. Mazza will offer guidance and review information and procedures that can assist the employee in getting the help they may need, and will offer to speak and/or meet with the employee. Ms. Mazza will also provide written, concise information to the employee regarding rights, options and possible outcomes of each option.
  2. Once an employee has been connected with Diane Mazza, Office of Human Resources, the administrator, faculty or staff member must submit the Sexual Misconduct or Intimate Partner Violence Notification Form (T-9 Form) to Jules Tetreault, Interim Title IX Coordinator. The questions on the form are NOT to be asked of the person disclosing or reporting the situation, therefore, areas will remain blank. Please make sure to provide all information that was reported or disclosed to you.  If you are a Campus Security Authority, please make sure to indicate this on the form. Remember that if you know information, the University is also considered to know.  The University’s obligation to respond begins the moment the University is on notice that a member of our community has experienced sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence.

Employee Self-report

University employees wishing to report personal incidents of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence should contact Jules Tetreault, Interim Title IX Coordinator at (203) 392-5556. If an employee wishes to receive information about University and community support and advocacy services he/she should contact Diane Mazza, Office of Human Resources at (203) 392-5405.  To make a criminal report the employee should contact University Police at (203) 392-5375 or 911 in an emergency.           

What Happens After You Notify Title IX Coordinator?

  1. The Title IX Coordinator or her/his designee begins an investigation.  It is important to note, that while the institution must make every effort to reach out to the survivor as part of the investigation, the survivor has the option to speak with the investigator or not.  This will be explained by the Human Resources/Women’s Center directly to the survivor. Her or his privacy will be respected; identities and details will be shared only with those who need to know to support the reporting or disclosing person and to address the situation through the University’s processes.  
  2. If the reporting or disclosing person is under the age of eighteen (18), the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Connecticut Department of Children and Families to inform them of the alleged situation involving sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence.
  3. If you, as the mandated reporter, also serve as a Campus Security Authority under the Jeanne Clery Act, the Title IX Coordinator will contact University Policy to report the possible sexual assault regardless of the age of the survivor. Employees identified as CSAs will be contacted by University Police and training will be provided.
     

Sample Script When Dealing with Student Disclosure or Report

“Excuse me for interrupting. It sounds like you are going to tell me about a situation involving sexual violence (sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence or stalking)   Please know that I want to help.  However, if you want to continue this conversation with me, you need to know that I am a mandated reporter.  I have a duty to report this conversation to the university’s Title IX Coordinator.  The university has professionals who you can speak with about this and I can give you their information.  I also have information about resources for counseling, health, advocacy and reporting options.  I want you know that you do not need to share any information on the incident with anyone to receive support and advocacy.    Also, while you are here I am going to contact the University Advocate who will help to ensure that you are getting the information and support that can best help you at this time.  You do not have to speak to the advocate unless you choose to.  Is there anything else I can do for you now?”

Confidential Resources & Confidentiality

When SCSU or any of its employees receives a report of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence, all reasonable steps will be taken by the appropriate University officials to preserve the privacy of the reported survivor while promptly investigating and responding to the report.  While the institution will strive to maintain the confidentiality of the information reported, the institution also must fulfill its duty to protect the campus community.  

As a mandated reporter employees can no longer have confidential conversations with students or employees reporting or disclosing information about their experiences with sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence. The University recognizes the significant trust relationship and the difficult situation you are placed in when a student/employee requests confidentiality. To help mitigate this challenges students/employees have been informed that all faculty, staff and administrators must share information with the University and that they have options for confidential reporting.

Confidential resources such as off-campus community counseling, psychological services, health services providers, member(s) of the clergy, and the local Sexual Assault Crisis Services Center  and Domestic Violence Services Center are bound by state statutes and professional ethics from disclosing information about reports without written releases. Information provided to a confidential resource by a survivor of sexual misconduct or intimate partner violence cannot be disclosed legally to any other person without consent, except under very limited circumstances, such as an imminent threat of danger to self or others or if the reported survivor is a minor.

Where it is deemed necessary for the institution to take steps to protect the safety of the reported survivor and/or other members of the campus community, the institution will need to act in a manner so as not to compromise the privacy and confidentiality of the reported survivor of a sexual assault to the extent reasonably possible.  

Information on University Reporting Options and Support/Advocacy Services

Reporting Options 

University Police (Criminal complaints) @ (203)392-5375 or 911 

Title IX Coordinator – Jules Tetreault (Student & Employee complaints) @ (203)392-5556

Office of Judicial Affairs – Christopher Piscitelli (Student complaints) @ (203)392-6188

Confidential Advocacy & Support Services

SCSU Counseling Services @ (203)392-5475

SCSU Health Services@ (203)392-6300 

Women & Families Center 1-(888) 999-5545, 24/7 

The Umbrella Center for Domestic Violence Services (203)789-8104, 24/7 

Visit Support and Resource Team for further information including reporting options, students’ rights, restraining and protective orders, advocacy and medical attention.

Definitions

(1)  Report: a report is a disclosure accompanied by an immediate request for an investigation and adjudication.

(2)  Disclosure: a disclosure is a communication of an incident of sexual violence not accompanied with a request for an investigation or adjudication, although there may be a request for accommodations and referral to services

(3)  Sexual misconduct*: may include engaging in one of more behaviors:

(a) Sexual harassment, includes any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s education; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational environment. Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

• sexual flirtation, touching, advances or propositions;

• verbal abuse of a sexual nature;

• pressure to engage in sexual activity;

• graphic or suggestive comments about an individual’s dress or appearance;

• use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual;

• display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures or photographs;

• sexual jokes;

• stereotypic comments based upon gender; or,

• threats, demands or suggestions that retention of one’s educational status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.

(b) Sexual assault may include a sexual act directed against another person when that person is not capable of giving consent, which shall mean the voluntary agreement by a person in the possession and exercise of sufficient mental capacity to make a deliberate choice to do something proposed by another. Sexual assault is further defined sections 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a of the general statutes.

(c) Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

• Prostituting another person;

• Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity;

• Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;

• Going beyond the bounds of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);

• Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;

• Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV to another without disclosing your STI status;

• Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals; or

• Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography. 

(4)  Consent*is the equal approval, given freely, willingly, and knowingly of each participant to desired sexual involvement. Consent is an affirmative, conscious decision – indicated clearly by words or actions – to engage in mutually accepted sexual contact. Consent cannot be assumed because there is no physical resistance or other negative response. A person who initially consents to sexual activity shall be deemed not to have consented to any such activity which occurs after that consent is withdrawn. A lack of consent may result from mental incapacity (e.g., ingestion of alcohol or drugs which significantly impair awareness or judgment) or physical incapacity (e.g., the person is unconscious or otherwise unable to communicate consent.

(5)  Intimate partner violence*any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of or person in a dating relationship with such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a of the general statutes, stalking under section 53a-181c, 53a-181d or 53a-181e of the general statutes, or domestic violence as designated under section 46b-38h of the general statutes. “The offenses that are designated as “domestic violence” are against family or household members or persons in dating relationships and include assaults, sexual assaults, stalking, and violations of protective or restraining orders issued by a Court. Stalking is one person's repetitive and willful following or lying in wait behavior towards another person that causes that other person to reasonably fear for his or her physical safety. Relationship violence may also include physical abuse, threat of abuse, and emotional abuse.

*Definitions taken from the Board of Regents Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Assault, and Intimate Partner Violence Policy