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Sexual Misconduct Policy

2021-2022
Table of Contents

Important Information for Those Against Whom an Act of Sexual Misconduct is Committed

ARTICLE I……… INTRODUCTION

  • Section 1.01……….. Notice of Nondiscrimination
  • Section 1.02……….. Background
  • Section 1.03……….. Applicability of This Policy
  • Section 1.04……….. Period of Limitations
  • Section 1.05……….. Definitions Applicable to This Policy
  • Section 1.06……….. Safety and Health Information

ARTICLE II…….. STATEMENTS OF POLICY

  • Section 2.01……….. Prohibition on Sexual Misconduct
  • Section 2.02……….. Prohibition on Retaliation
  • Section 2.03……….. Prohibition on Providing False Information
  • Section 2.04……….. Related Misconduct
  • Section 2.05……….. Limited Immunity
  • Section 2.06……….. Individuals with Disabilities
  • Section 2.07……….. Sexual Misconduct Education

ARTICLE III……. CONFIDENTIALITY

  • Section 3.01……….. Confidentiality in Reporting and Disclosure
  • Section 3.02……….. Confidentiality Following Notice of Sexual Misconduct
  • Section 3.03……….. Review Committee

ARTICLE IV……. HOW AND WHERE TO REPORT ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Section 4.01……….. Reporting to the College
  • Section 4.02……….. Initial Response to a Report of Sexual Misconduct
  • Section 4.03……….. Reporting to Local Law Enforcement
  • Section 4.04……….. Protective Orders

ARTICLE V…….. POLICIES APPLICABLE TO ALL COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Section 5.01……….. Oversight
  • Section 5.02……….. Conflicts of Interest and Bias
  • Section 5.03……….. Advisors of Choice
  • Section 5.04……….. Timing
  • Section 5.05……….. Documentation
  • Section 5.06……….. Confidentiality and Disclosure

ARTICLE VI……. THE PROCESS APPLICABLE  TO ALL FORMAL COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Section 6.01……….. A Report of Sexual Misconduct Becomes a Complaint
  • Section 6.02……….. Initial Meeting of Complainant and Title IX Coordinator
  • Section 6.03……….. Notice of Allegations
  • Section 6.04……….. Evaluation of Supportive Measures and Removal
  • Section 6.05……….. The Investigation
  • Section 6.06……….. Dismissal of Complaint

ARTICLE VII…… FORMAL RESOLUTION

  • Section 7.01……….. The Formal Resolution Process
  • Section 7.02……….. Appeals

ARTICLE VIII….. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

ARTICLE IX….. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

  • EXHIBIT A.  Safety and Health Information
  • EXHIBIT B.  Sexual Misconduct Education
    EXHIBIT C.  Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint Form

Important Information For Those against whom an act of
Sexual MISCONDUCT is committed:

If you or someone you know may have been subjected to an act Sexual Misconduct, you are strongly encouraged to seek immediate assistance.

Assistance can be obtained 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from
Bridgewater College Campus Police and Safety Department
122 College View Drive
Bridgewater, VA 22812
(540) 828-5609
OR BY CALLING 911

During business hours (8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday), you are also strongly encouraged to contact one of the following individuals:

Jill Moffitt
Title IX Coordinator
Kline Campus Center, Room 120
402 East College Street
Bridgewater, VA 22812
jmoffitt@bridgewater.edu
TitleIXCoordinator@bridgewater.edu
(540) 828-8063

Shannon L. Pope
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Kline Campus Center, Room 123
402 East College Street
Bridgewater, VA 22812
spope2@bridgewater.edu
(540) 828-8072

Heather J. Grant
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Nininger Hall, Room 248
402 East College Street
Bridgewater, VA 22812
hgrant@bridgewater.edu
(540) 828-8043

For additional information about seeking medical assistance and emotional support, as well as important contact information for local law enforcement agencies, hospitals, and other resources, see Section 1.06 and Exhibit A of this Policy

ARTICLE I. INTRODUCTION

Section 1.01 – Notice of Nondiscrimination

In accordance with the provisions of Title IX and 34 CFR § 106.8, Bridgewater College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic or status protected by applicable local, state, or federal law in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities. In addition, Bridgewater College does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, marital status, disability, age, religion, veteran status, or political affiliation in admission, treatment, or access to, or employment in, its programs and activities.

The following individuals have been designated to handle inquiries regarding Bridgewater College’s nondiscrimination policies.

  • (a) Inquiries concerning discrimination on the basis of sex may be referred to Bridgewater College’s Title IX Coordinator, Jill Moffitt, whose office is located in Room 120 of Kline Campus Center, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA 22812. Ms. Moffitt may be contacted by phone at (540) 828-8063 or by email at jmoffitt@bridgewater.edu. You may also contact the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, D.C. 20202-1475, Telephone: 202-453-6020, Fax: 202-453-6021; TDD: 800-877-8339; e-mail: OCR.DC@ed.gov.
  • (b) Inquiries concerning discrimination on the basis of a student’s disability may be referred to Bridgewater College’s Director of Academic Support and Disability Services, Ms. Denise Miller. Ms. Miller’s office is located in Room 116 of Flory Hall, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA 22812. She may be contacted by phone at (540) 828-5611, or by email at dmiller2@bridgewater.edu.
  • (c) All other inquiries concerning discrimination may be referred to Bridgewater College’s Vice President for Compliance and Risk Management, Roy Ferguson. Mr. Ferguson’s office is in Room 218 of Flory Hall, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA 22812. Mr. Ferguson may be contacted by phone at (540) 828-5307 or by email at rferguson@bridgewater.edu.

Section 1.02 – Background

Bridgewater College (the “College”) is committed to maintaining and strengthening an environment founded on civility and respect.  Sexual Misconduct, as defined by this Sexual Misconduct Policy (this “Policy”), is antithetical to the values and standards of the College community, is incompatible with the safe, healthy environment that the College community expects and deserves, and will not be tolerated.

The College is committed to providing programs, activities, and an educational and work environment free from sex discrimination. The College is also committed to eliminating Sexual Misconduct, preventing its recurrence, and addressing its effects, as well as fostering a community that promotes prompt reporting of Sexual Misconduct and timely and fair resolution of Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaints. In furtherance of these commitments, this Policy sets forth available resources, describes prohibited conduct, and establishes procedures for responding to reports of Sexual Misconduct.

The College will make this Policy and information about recognizing and preventing Sexual Misconduct readily available to all members of the College community.

Section 1.03 – Applicability of This Policy

This Policy applies to any allegation of Sexual Misconduct made by or against a student or an employee of the College or a third party, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity of any party, if the alleged conduct giving rise to the Formal Complaint occurred on or after August 14, 2020, and is related to the College’s United States academic, educational, athletic, or extracurricular programs or activities. 

In the case of Sexual Misconduct alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020, unless otherwise stated, this Policy supersedes and applies in lieu of all other procedures and policies set forth in other College documents.

With respect to Sexual Misconduct alleged to have occurred prior to August 14, 2020, the College policy that addressed the College’s response to allegations of Sexual Misconduct in effect when the conduct is alleged to have occurred will govern the College’s response to the alleged conduct.

Section 1.04 – Period of Limitations

A Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct may be filed at any time, regardless of the length of time between the alleged Sexual Misconduct and the decision to file the Formal Complaint. However, the College strongly encourages individuals to report Sexual Misconduct promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding. A delay in reporting Sexual Misconduct may compromise the subsequent investigation, particularly if neither the Complainant nor the Respondent is employed by the College or enrolled as a student at the time the Formal Complaint is filed.

Section 1.05 – Definitions Applicable to This Policy 

Capitalized terms used in this Policy have the meanings given to them as described below:

  • (a) Appeal Officer.  “Appeal Officer” is defined in Section 7.02.  All Appeal Officers will receive training as may be required by Section 106.45(b)(1)(iii) of the Final Rule.
  • (b) Clery Act.  The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the “Clery Act”) is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), with implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. § 668.46. The Clery Act requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid programs to keep and disclose information about crime on and near their respective campuses.
  • (c) Complainant.  A “Complainant” is a person against whom an alleged act(s) of Sexual Misconduct has been committed (regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is filed). 
  • (d) Formal Complaint.  A “Formal Complaint” is a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Misconduct against a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation of Sexual Misconduct, initiated pursuant to Section 6.01.
  • (e) Confidential Resource.  “Confidential Resource” is defined in Section 3.01(a).
  • (f) Consent.  “Consent” is informed, freely and actively given, and mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent is mutually understandable when a reasonable person would consider the words or actions of the parties to have manifested a clear and unambiguous agreement between them to engage in certain conduct with each other. Consent cannot be gained by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another.

    Consent cannot be inferred from:
    • (i) Silence, passivity, or lack of resistance alone;
    • (ii) A current or previous dating or sexual relationship alone (or the existence of such a relationship with anyone else);
    • (iii) Attire;
    • (iv) The buying of dinner or the spending of money on a date; or
    • (v) Consent previously given (i.e., consenting to one sexual act does not imply consent to another sexual act).

  • Consent is not effective if it is obtained through the use of physical force, violence, duress, deception, intimidation, coercion, or the threat, expressed or implied, of bodily injury.  Whether a party used intimidation or coercion to obtain Consent will be determined by reference to the perception of a reasonable person found in the same or similar circumstances.
  • Consent may never be given by:
    • (1) Minors, even if the other participant did not know the minor’s age.
    • (2) Mentally disabled persons, if their disability was reasonably knowable to a sexual partner who is not mentally disabled.
    • (3) Persons who are Incapacitated. The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain Consent and does not excuse conduct that constitutes Sexual Misconduct under this Policy.

If at any time during a sexual act any confusion or ambiguity is or should reasonably be apparent on the issue of consent, it is incumbent upon each individual involved in the activity to stop and clarify the other’s willingness to continue and capacity to consent. Neither party should make assumptions about the other’s willingness to continue.

  • (g) Dating Violence.  “Dating Violence” means violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. 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.
  • (h) Day.  A “day” is a business day, unless otherwise specified.
  • (i) Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s).  The College’s “Deputy Title IX Coordinators” are:
  • Shannon L. Pope
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator
  • Kline Campus Center, Room 123
  • 402 East College Street
  • Bridgewater, VA 22812
  • spope2@bridgewater.edu
    (540) 828-8072

    Heather J. Grant
    Deputy Title IX Coordinator
    Nininger Hall, Room 248
    402 East College Street
    Bridgewater, VA 22812
    hgrant@bridgewater.edu
    (540) 828-8043

    The Deputy Title IX Coordinators work under the oversight of the Title IX Coordinator to assist with the handling of Title IX-related matters. The Title IX Coordinator may, at their discretion, assign a given report or Formal Complaint to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

    The Deputy Title IX Coordinators will receive training as may be required by Section 106.45(b)(1)(iii) of the Final Rule.
  • (j) Domestic Violence.  “Domestic Violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence, on the basis of sex, committed by:
    • (i) a current or former spouse of the Complainant,
    • (ii) a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common,
    • (iii) a person who is cohabiting with or has cohabited with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner,
    • (iv) a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, or
    • (v) any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under domestic or family violence laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • (k) Education Record.  “Education Record” has the meaning assigned to it under FERPA.
  • (l) FERPA.  The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) is a federal statute codified at 20 U.S.C. § 1232g, with implementing regulations at 34 § C.F.R. 99. FERPA protects the privacy of student Education Records. FERPA grants to eligible students the right to access, inspect, and review Education Records, the right to challenge the content of Education Records, and the right to consent to the disclosure of Education Records.
  • (m) Final Outcome Letter.  “Final Outcome Letter” is defined in Section 7.01(c)(i)(2).
  • (n) Hearing Officer.  “Hearing Officer” is defined in Section 7.01. All Hearing Officers will receive training as may be required by Section 106.45(b)(1)(iii) of the Final Rule.
  • (o) Incapacitated.  “Incapacitated” means lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. A person may be Incapacitated for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to being asleep or unconscious, having consumed alcohol or taken drugs, or experiencing blackouts or flashbacks.
  • (p) Investigative Report.  “Investigative Report” is defined in Section 6.06.
  • (q) Investigator.  An “Investigator” is a neutral fact-finder designated by the Title IX Coordinator to investigate a Formal Complaint. Investigators will receive training as may be required by Section 106.45(b)(1)(iii) of the Final Rule.
  • (r) Mandatory Reporter.  A “Mandatory Reporter” is an employee of the College who has the obligation to report to the Title IX Coordinator any report or allegation of Sexual Misconduct of which they become aware. Confidential Resources are not Mandatory Reporters. 

    The following individuals are the College’s Mandatory Reporters:
    • (i) All Vice Presidents, Associate Vice Presidents, Provosts, Associate Provosts, Deans, Associate Deans, Assistant Deans, Department Chairs, Directors, Coaches, and Athletic Trainers;
    • (ii) All Student Life staff (including, for purposes of clarity, Resident Assistants and Soar Mentors);
    • (iii) All employees who supervise activities or programs that involve direct contact with students, such as advisors to recognized student organizations;
    • (iv) All members of the faculty; and
    • (v) All members of the College’s Campus Police and Safety Department, including both sworn officers and campus security officers.
  • (s) Notice.  “Notice” means that an employee, student, or third-party informs the Title IX Coordinator or other Official with Authority of an alleged occurrence of Sexual Misconduct.
  • (t) Official with Authority.  An “Official with Authority” means an employee of the College explicitly vested with the authority to implement corrective measures for Sexual Misconduct and/or retaliation on behalf of the College. The following positions at the College are the College’s Officials with Authority:
    • (i) Title IX Coordinator
    • (ii) Deputy Title IX Coordinators
    • (iii) President
    • (iv) Provost and Executive Vice President
    • (v) Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students
    • (vi) Associate Deans of Students
    • (vii) Assistant Deans of Students
    • (viii) Director of Athletics
    • (ix) Chief of Campus Police and Safety
    • (x) Lieutenant of Campus Police and Safety
    • (xi) Vice President for Compliance and Risk Management
    • (xii) Director of Human Resources
  • (u) Personally Identifiable Information.  “Personally Identifiable Information” (as that term is defined by FERPA) includes, but is not limited to:
    • (i) a student’s name;
    • (ii) the name of a student’s parent(s) or other family members;
    • (iii) the address of a student or a student’s family;
    • (iv) a personal identifier, such as a student’s social security number, student number, or biometric record;
    • (v) other indirect identifiers, such as a student’s date of birth, place of birth, or mother’s maiden name;
    • (vi) other information that, alone or in combination, is linked or linkable to a specific student and that would allow a reasonable person in the College community, who does not have personal knowledge of the relevant circumstances, to identify the student with reasonable certainty; or
    • (vii) information requested by a person whom the College reasonably believes knows the identity of the student to whom the Education Record relates.
  • (v) Respondent.  A “Respondent” is an individual who has been accused in a Formal Complaint of committing Sexual Misconduct.
  • (w) Retaliation.  “Retaliation” means any adverse action threatened or taken against a person because they have filed, supported, or provided information in connection with a Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct, including but not limited to direct and indirect intimidation, threats, and harassment.
  • (x) Review Committee.  “Review Committee” (a) is mandated by Virginia law to determine whether reporting an act of alleged Sexual Misconduct to law enforcement is required pursuant to Virginia  law; (b) consists of three or more persons, including the Title IX Coordinator or designee, a representative of law enforcement, and a student life representative; (c) reviews information related to acts of sexual violence as defined by Virginia Code § 23.1-806; and (d) conducts its review in compliance with federal privacy law.
  • (y) Sexual Assault.  “Sexual Assault” means any actual, attempted, or threatened sexual act with another person without that person’s Consent. By way of example and not limitation, Sexual Assault includes:
    • (i) Rape (the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the Consent of the Complainant).
    • (ii) Fondling (the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the Consent, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving Consent because of their age or because they are temporarily or permanently Incapacitated),
    • (iii) Incest (sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by state law,
    • (iv) Statutory Rape (sexual intercourse with an individual under the statutory age of consent, as defined by state law), and
  • (z) Sexual Exploitation.  “Sexual Exploitation” means any act of taking non-consensual, unjust or abusive sexual advantage of another person for one’s own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the person being exploited. Sexual Exploitation includes, but is not limited to:
    • (i) Causing or attempting to cause another person to be Incapacitated in order to gain a sexual advantage over such person;
    • (ii) Prostituting another person (i.e., personally gaining money, privilege, or power from the sexual activities of another);
    • (iii) Non-consensual videotaping, recording, photographing, or audio-taping of sexual activity and or intimate body parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks), and/or distribution of these materials via media such as, but not limited to, the Internet;
    • (iv) Exceeding the boundaries of Consent (e.g., allowing another person to observe consensual sex without the knowledge of or Consent from all participants);
    • (v) Voyeurism; and
    • (vi) Knowingly or recklessly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (including HIV) to another individual.
  • (aa) Sexual Harassment.  “Sexual Harassment” is unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, written, electronic, or physical conduct on the basis of sex described below:
    • (i) Submission or consent to the unwelcome conduct is reasonably believed to carry consequences for the individual’s education, employment, on-campus living environment, or participation in a College activity, sometimes referred to as quid pro quo harassment. Examples of this type of sexual harassment may include:
      • (1) pressuring an individual to engage in sexual behavior for some educational or employment benefit, or
      • (2) making a real or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behavior will carry a negative educational or employment consequence for the individual.
    • (ii) Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies the individual equal access to the College’s education programs or activities.  Examples of this type of sexual harassment may include:
      • (1) persistent unwelcome efforts to develop a romantic or sexual relationship;
      • (2) unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors;
      • (3) unwelcome commentary about an individual’s body or sexual activities;
      • (4) repeated and unwelcome sexually-oriented teasing, joking, or flirting;
      • (5) Sexual Exploitation; and
      • (6) verbal abuse of a sexual nature.
    • (iii) Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking.
  • (bb) Sexual Misconduct.  “Sexual Misconduct,” as used in this Policy, means unwelcome verbal, nonverbal, written, electronic, or physical conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes Sexual Harassment as defined in this Policy, and includes (i) quid pro quo harassment, (ii) unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies the individual equal access to the College’s education programs or activities, (iii) Sexual Assault, (iv) Dating Violence, (v) Domestic Violence, and (vi) Stalking.
  • (cc) Stalking.  “Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct, on the basis of sex, directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. For purposes of this definition, “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the Respondent 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 a person’s property; “reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant; and “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
  • (dd) Third-Party Reporter.  A “Third-Party Reporter” is an individual who reports that another individual was subjected to Sexual Misconduct.
  • (ee) Title IX Coordinator.  The College’s “Title IX Coordinator” is Jill Moffitt. Her office is in room 120 in Kline Campus Center, her phone number is (540) 828-8063, and her email address is jmoffitt@bridgewater.edu or titleixcoordinator@bridgewater.edu. The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate oversight responsibility for handling Title IX-related reports and complaints and for identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems involving Sexual Misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator provides training, education and prevention opportunities on Title IX issues for the campus community; evaluates a student’s request for confidentiality in the context of the College endeavoring to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students; conducts Title IX investigations, including investigating facts relevant to a Formal Complaint and determining appropriate Supportive Measures and support for the parties; and is available to meet with individuals who are involved with or concerned about issues or College processes, incidents, patterns, or problems related to Sexual Misconduct. All allegations involving Sexual Misconduct should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator
    Deputy Title IX Coordinators perform the same duties when the Title IX Coordinator is unavailable or when delegated or assigned some or all of those duties. For any reporting of Sexual Misconduct and other process under the provisions of this Policy, references in the Policy to “Title IX Coordinator” shall, as applicable, be read as “Deputy Title IX Coordinator” if the Deputy Title IX Coordinator is the College official assigned to the matter.
    The Title IX Coordinator will receive training as may be required by Section 106.45(b)(1)(iii) of the Final Rule.

Section 1.06 – Safety and Health Information

If an act of Sexual Misconduct is perpetrated against you, the College’s first priority is to help you take steps to address your safety, medical needs and emotional well-being. Exhibit A to this Policy provides information to help you ensure your physical safety, seek medical assistance and treatment, obtain emotional support, and otain other information and report the misconduct. You are encouraged to take the actions described in Exhibit A, as applicable, regardless of whether you have made a decision about whether to report the Sexual Misconduct to the College or pursue a criminal complaint.

  • (a) Important Contact Information
    • (i) College Resources
    • (ii) Community Resources.
      Off-campus counselors, advocates, and health care providers are available to assist and support Complainants following an act of alleged Sexual Misconduct. Those off-campus resources will generally maintain confidentiality and not share information with the College unless the Complainant requests the disclosure and signs a consent or waiver form. Off-campus resources include the following organizations and contact information:
      • Collins Center is a sexual assault crisis center located in Harrisonburg, and all services are free of charge and confidential (24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline – 540-432-6430)
      • First Step, 24-Hour Domestic and Dating Violence Hotline – 866-223-9169
      • Sentara RMH Medical Center – 540-689-1300
      • Crime Victim Assistance Info-Line – 888-887-3418

ARTICLE II. STATEMENTS OF POLICY

Section 2.01 – Prohibition on Sexual Misconduct

This Policy is designed to protect the rights and needs of both Complainants and Respondents. Creating a safe environment is the responsibility of all members of the College community.

The College prohibits Sexual Misconduct, as defined in this Policy. The College strongly encourages prompt reporting of all types of Sexual Misconduct and is committed to fostering a community that promotes timely and fair resolution of Sexual Misconduct cases. To that end, the College will promptly address all allegations of Sexual Misconduct of which it has Notice.

Not all unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature constitutes Sexual Misconduct as defined in this Policy, thus warranting adjudication and/or discipline pursuant to this Policy. The College will address allegations of conduct that does not constitute Sexual Misconduct through its other resolution procedures.

Section 2.02 – Prohibition on Retaliation

Retaliation against any person for filing, supporting, or providing information in good faith in connection with a report or Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct, or any complaint of unlawful discrimination, is strictly prohibited. Violations of this prohibition will be addressed through this Policy and/or other College disciplinary procedures, as deemed appropriate in the College’s discretion. Any person who feels that they have been subjected to Retaliation should make a report to the Title IX Coordinator.

Section 2.03 – Prohibition on Providing False Information

Any individual who knowingly submits a false report or files a false Formal Complaint under this Policy, who knowingly provides false information to College officials, or who intentionally misleads College officials who are involved in the investigation or resolution of a Formal Complaint may be subject to disciplinary action.

Section 2.04 – Related Misconduct

The Hearing Officer may hear allegations of and impose sanctions for alleged misconduct that is related to the Sexual Misconduct at issue, even if such related misconduct is not, when standing alone, governed by this Policy.

Section 2.05 – Limited Immunity

The College considers the reporting and adjudication of Sexual Misconduct cases to be of paramount importance.  While the College does not condone the use of illegal drugs or underage drinking, the College may extend amnesty to alleged Complainants, Third-Party Reporters, and those assisting Complainants from punitive sanctioning for illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. Please refer to the College’s amnesty policy (in the Student Handbook) for details regarding the circumstances under which amnesty may be granted.  

Section 2.06 – Individuals with Disabilities

The College will make arrangements to ensure that individuals with disabilities are provided appropriate accommodations, to the extent necessary and available, to participate in the procedures outlined in this Policy. Requests for student accommodations must be made to the Office of Academic Support and Disability Services, located in the Bicknell House, 419 College Street. Requests for employee accommodations must be made to the Office of Human Resources, located at 313 Dinkel Avenue.

Section 2.07 – Sexual Misconduct Education

Bridgewater College is committed to the prevention of Sexual Misconduct and routinely conducts outreach and educational programming designed to increase awareness of the prevalence of Sexual Misconduct involving college-age students and other College constituents, inform the College community about issues related to Sexual Misconduct such as substance abuse and the role of the bystander, and promote knowledge of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and resources available to Complainants and Respondents. The College also regularly conducts or provides training for its constituents as described in Exhibit B to this Policy.

ARTICLE III. CONFIDENTIALITY AND REPORTING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Section 3.01 – Confidentiality in Reporting and Disclosure

The College encourages students and employees subjected to Sexual Misconduct to talk to someone about what happened, both so that they can get the support they need and so that the College can respond appropriately. The College wants individuals to be aware of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available to them so that they can make informed choices about where to turn should they be subjected to Sexual Misconduct. While some employees are authorized to maintain in confidence the information a student or employee may share, other employees have an obligation to report the information to College officials. Communicating information about alleged Sexual Misconduct to certain employees may constitute Notice to the College and obligate the College to investigate the incident and take steps to address it, which may not be what the individual sharing the information intended. So, it is important that you understand the roles different employees have in this process. 

  • (a) Confidential Resources.  Individuals who want to discuss alleged Sexual Misconduct with a College employee in confidence can speak with a College employee who works in the following offices:

These employees are considered “Confidential Resources” and information shared with a Confidential Resource is not part of a student’s or employee’s College records and will not be reported to other College personnel, including the Title IX Coordinator, or the Respondent, unless the disclosing individual gives their consent to the disclosure or the law requires it (as may be the case with alleged Sexual Misconduct involving a minor or under conditions involving imminent physical harm, for example). Confidential Resources are not required to (and will not, absent direction from the disclosing individual to do so) report incidents of alleged Sexual Misconduct to others at the College.

  • (b) Reporting Resources. Other employees on campus are not Confidential Resources, and are not authorized to keep information shared by a student or employee confidential. In fact, some employees have specific responsibilities to report to the Title IX Coordinator any information about alleged Sexual Misconduct of which they become aware. Employees with such reporting responsibilities fall into one of three categories.
    • (i) First, a report to the Title IX Coordinator, or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators, of alleged Sexual Misconduct constitutes Notice to the College and may obligate the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the allegations, including disclosures described in Section 3.02.
    • (ii) Second, a report to an “Official with Authority” constitutes Notice to the College and may obligate the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the allegations, including disclosures described in Section 3.02. See the definition of “Official with Authority” in Exhibit A and a list of the College’s Officials with Authority.
    • (iii) Third, the College has designated some employees as Mandatory Reporters. These employees are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator any allegations of Sexual Misconduct of which they become aware. While Mandatory Reporters are required to report alleged sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, a report to a Mandatory Reporter does not constitute Notice to the College. See the definition of “Mandatory Reporter” in Exhibit A for a list of the College’s Mandatory Reporters.

Before a student or employee reveals information about alleged Sexual Misconduct to an employee who is an Official with Authority or Mandatory Reporter, the employee should explain the employee’s reporting obligations, and, if the individual wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the individual to the College’s Confidential Resources. If the individual wants to tell the employee what happened but also wants to maintain confidentiality, the employee should tell the individual that the College will consider the request but cannot guarantee that the College will be able to honor it. In reporting the details of the Sexual Misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, the Official with Authority or Mandatory Reporter will also inform the Title IX Coordinator of the Complainant’s request for confidentiality.

Section 3.02 – Confidentiality Following Notice of Sexual Misconduct

  • (a) Sharing of Information.  The College will respect and will make every reasonable effort to avoid the inappropriate disclosure of the information shared by and the identities of the parties involved in Sexual Misconduct matters.
    Information regarding alleged Sexual Misconduct will generally be disclosed by College personnel during the investigation and resolution processes only as follows:
    • (i) College personnel will (and are obligated to) communicate information regarding alleged Sexual Misconduct in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal laws.  For example:
      • (1)Under conditions of potential imminent harm to the community, the College may be required by federal law to inform the community of the occurrence of the alleged incident(s) of Sexual Misconduct.
      • (2) Information regarding the alleged Sexual Misconduct may be used as a statistical, anonymous report for data collection purposes under the Clery Act.
      • (3) The College may be required by state law to inform local law enforcement and/or the Commonwealth’s Attorney of the occurrence of the alleged incident(s) of Sexual Misconduct (see Section 3.03 below). 
    • (ii) College personnel may report alleged Sexual Misconduct to local law enforcement if warranted by the nature of the allegations at issue or if required by law.
    • (iii) College personnel will share information regarding alleged Sexual Misconduct, as appropriate and necessary, in order to address and resolve the allegation(s) at issue, prevent the recurrence of similar Sexual Misconduct, and address the effects of the Sexual Misconduct.
  • (b) Requests for Confidentiality.  If a report of alleged Sexual Misconduct is shared with an Official with Authority or a Mandatory Reporter, but the alleged Complainant desires that (i) the information not be shared with the Respondent, or with others, even as appropriate and necessary to address the allegations, (ii) the College not investigate the information,  (iii) no disciplinary action be taken, or (iv) only Supportive Measures be provided, the Complainant must request that the College treat such information as confidential. For purposes of clarity, a request for confidentiality is synonymous with a request that no formal action be taken in response to a report of Sexual Misconduct. This request must be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator.
    • (i) Evaluation of the Request.  The College takes requests for confidentiality seriously; however, granting such requests may limit the College’s ability to investigate and take reasonable action in response to a report of Sexual Misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the request for confidentiality in the context of the College’s commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment and will determine whether such request will be granted. In order to make such a determination, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged Sexual Misconduct and may weigh requests for confidentiality against the following factors, among others:
      • (1) the seriousness of the alleged Sexual Misconduct (including, but not limited to, whether the Sexual Misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon);
      • (2) the increased risk that the alleged perpetrator will commit additional acts of Sexual Misconduct, such as (A) whether there have been other reports or complaints against the alleged perpetrator, (B) whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of Sexual Misconduct or a history of violence, (C) whether the alleged perpetrator threatened further Sexual Misconduct or threatened violence against the Complainant or others, or (D) whether the Sexual Misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
      • (3) whether the information reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group or person;
      • (4) the Respondent’s right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by the College as an Education Record;
      • (5) whether the Complainant is a minor;
      • (6) whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the Sexual Misconduct (e.g., security cameras or security personnel, physical evidence); and
      • (7) the effect that non-participation by the Complainant may have on the availability of evidence and the College’s ability to pursue formal resolution fairly and effectively.
    • The presence of one or more of these factors may lead the Title IX Coordinator to file a Formal Complaint. If none of these factors is present, the College may honor the request for confidentiality. In any event, the decision whether to investigate or honor the request is within the sole discretion of the College.
    • (ii) Determination as to Whether Request Can Be Granted.  The Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant whether the College intends to honor the request or whether the Title IX Coordinator will file a Formal Complaint. When the Title IX Coordinator files the Formal Complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant is the person against whom an alleged act(s) of Sexual Misconduct has been committed.

      If the College determines that it cannot maintain confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for addressing the allegations. The College will also take ongoing steps to protect the Complainant from Retaliation or harm and work with the Complainant to create a safety plan, if warranted, and assist the Complainant in accessing other services and Supportive Measures (see Section 6.04(a)).

      Even when the College determines to abide by a request for confidentiality (and even if such request limits the College’s ability to take disciplinary action against the Respondent), to the extent practicable and appropriate, the College will take prompt action to limit the effects of the alleged Sexual Misconduct and to prevent its recurrence. The College may also consider broader remedial action (such as increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations where the reported Sexual Misconduct occurred, increased education and prevention efforts, including to targeted population groups, and climate assessments). Information regarding the alleged Sexual Misconduct may be included in College records, as necessary and appropriate.

      Please note that the College cannot control disclosure by students or third parties.

Section 3.03 – Review Committee.

  • (a) Meeting of Review Committee. Notwithstanding the provisions of Sections 3.01 and 3.02, upon receipt of information regarding an act of sexual violence (as defined in Virginia Code § 23.1-806) committed against a student attending the College or which may have occurred on campus, in or on a non-campus building or property, or on public property (all as defined in Virginia Code § 23.1-806), the Title IX coordinator shall promptly report the information, including any Personally Identifiable Information, to the Review Committee. The Review Committee shall meet to review the information within 72 hours of the Title IX Coordinator receiving the information.
  • (b) Disclosure to Law Enforcement. If, based on the consideration of all factors, the Review Committee, or if the Review Committee cannot reach a consensus, the representative of law enforcement on the Review Committee, determines that the disclosure of the information, including Personally Identifiable Information, is necessary to protect the health or safety of the Complainant or other individuals, the representative of law enforcement on the review committee shall immediately disclose such information to the law enforcement agency that would be responsible for investigating the alleged act of sexual violence. Such disclosure shall be for the purposes of investigation and other actions by law enforcement. Upon such disclosure, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall notify the Complainant that such disclosure is being or has been made.
  • (c) Disclosure to Commonwealth’s Attorney. In cases in which the alleged act of Sexual Misconduct is sexual violence that would constitute a felony, the representative of law enforcement on the Review Committee shall inform the other members of the Review Committee and shall, within 24 hours of receiving the information, consult with the attorney for the Commonwealth or other prosecutor responsible for prosecuting the alleged act of sexual violence and provide the information received by the Review Committee without disclosing Personally Identifiable Information, unless such information was disclosed as described above. In addition, if such consultation does not occur and any other member of the Review Committee individually concludes that the alleged act of sexual violence would constitute a felony, that member shall, within 24 hours of receiving the information, consult with the attorney for the Commonwealth or other prosecutor responsible for prosecuting the alleged act of sexual violence and provide the information received by the Review Committee without disclosing Personally Identifiable Information, unless such information was disclosed as describe above.
  • (d) Further Investigation; Records. At the conclusion of the review by the Review Committee, the Title IX Coordinator and the law enforcement representative shall each retain (i) the authority to proceed with any further investigation or adjudication allowed under state or federal law and (ii) independent records of the Review Committee’s considerations, which shall be maintained under applicable state and federal law.

ARTICLE IV.  HOW AND WHERE TO REPORT ALLEGED SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

For information about seeking medical assistance and emotional support,
as well as important contact information for local law enforcement agencies,
hospitals, and other resources, see Section 1.06 of this Policy.

Because Sexual Misconduct may in some instances constitute both a violation of College policy and criminal law, and because the College’s grievance process is not a substitute for instituting legal action, the College encourages but does not require nor mandate that individuals report alleged Sexual Misconduct promptly to College officials and to law enforcement authorities, where appropriate. The College will respond to a report of Sexual Misconduct regardless of whether the matter is reported to law enforcement.

When the College has Actual Knowledge of Sexual Harassment (or allegations thereof) against a person in the United States in its Education Program or Activity, the College is obligated to respond and to follow Title IX’s specific requirements, which are addressed and incorporated in this Policy.

Promptly upon receiving allegations of Sexual Harassment against a person in the United States in the Colleges Education Program or Activity, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint and to explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

Section 4.01 – Reporting to the College

  • (a) The College has identified certain groups of employees as “Officials with Authority” and others as “Mandatory Reporters” for purposes of addressing reports of Sexual Misconduct. Employees designated as Officials with Authority and Mandatory Reporters are identified in Exhibit A. Both Officials with Authority and Mandatory Reporters are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) of which they become aware about an alleged incident of Sexual Misconduct, including dates, times, locations, and names of parties and witnesses. A report to the Title IX Coordinator or an Official with Authority constitutes Notice to the College of a report of Sexual Misconduct and may obligate the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the allegations. While Mandatory Reporters are required to report alleged sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, a report to a Mandatory Reporter does not constitute Notice to the College.
  • (b) Individuals may report information regarding Sexual Misconduct on their own behalf (i.e., as an alleged Complainant) or on behalf of an alleged Complainant (i.e., as a Third-Party Reporter).
  • (c) If the Title IX Coordinator is the Respondent or is otherwise at issue in a report, or if an individual is otherwise uncomfortable making a report to the Title IX Coordinator, they may report alleged Sexual Misconduct to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
  • (d) No member of the College community may discourage an individual from reporting alleged incidents of Sexual Misconduct.
  • (e) Disclosures of alleged Sexual Misconduct made by an individual during the individual’s participation as a subject in an Institutional Review Board-approved human subjects research protocol (an “Approved Research Project”) will not be considered Notice to the College of Sexual Misconduct for purposes of triggering its obligation to investigate the incident at issue.  More specifically, an Official with Authority or Mandatory Reporter whose knowledge of a known or suspected incident of Sexual Misconduct is gained as a result of conducting an Approved Research Protocol is not required to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator. Institutional Review Boards may, in appropriate cases, require researchers to provide information to all subjects of a study about the subjects’ Title IX rights and about available College and community resources and support services with regard to Sexual Misconduct.
  • (f) Public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak outs” or other forums in which students disclose incidents of Sexual Misconduct, will not be considered Notice to the College of Sexual Misconduct for purposes of triggering its obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Such events may, however, inform the need for campus-wide education and prevention efforts, and the College may provide information about students’ Title IX rights at these events.
  • (g) Individuals may also file anonymous reports by visiting the Title IX Resources page on the College’s website and clicking the Reporting Sexual Misconduct drop down menu or visiting the following link: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?BridgewaterCollege&layout_id=3. Individuals who choose to file anonymous reports are advised that it may be very difficult for the College to follow up or take action on anonymous reports, where corroborating information is limited, and an anonymous report cannot be treated as a Formal Complaint. Anonymous reports may be used for Clery Act data collection purposes

Section 4.02 – Initial Response to a Report of Sexual Misconduct

Upon receiving any report of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator shall contact the Complainant (if their identity can be ascertained from the report) to schedule a meeting, at which the Title IX Coordinator will:

  • (a) provide the Complainant with a copy of this Policy;
  • (b) inquire of the Complainant the name of the Respondent, and the date, location and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct;
  • (c) discuss the availability of Supportive Measures as described in Section 6.04(a), consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures, and inform the Complainant that Supportive Measures are available with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint;
  • (d) explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint (if one has not already been filed), investigation and resolution: and
  • (e) inform the Complainant of the following:
    • (i) the importance of seeking appropriate medical attention and the opportunity for referrals for medical treatment;
    • (ii) the available law enforcement options for investigation and prosecution, and that the Complainant may decline to report the matter to law enforcement;
    • (iii) the importance of collection and preservation of evidence;
    • (iv) the available options for a protective order; and
    • (v) the available on-campus resources (e.g., the College’s Counseling Center, Student Health Services, financial aid office) and any unaffiliated community resources, including sexual assault crisis centers, domestic violence crisis centers (e.g., the Collins Center), or other support services (e.g., counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and visa and immigration assistance).

Section 4.03 – Reporting to Local Law Enforcement.

Individuals may file a complaint directly with local law enforcement agencies by dialing 911

Individuals may contact any of the following for assistance in filing a complaint with local law enforcement:

  • (a) Bridgewater College Campus Police and Safety Department, 24 hours a day, seven days a week (available by phone at (540) 578-0652 and located at 122 College View Drive in Bridgewater, VA);
  • (b) Title IX Coordinator, Jill Moffitt, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (available by phone at (540) 828-8063 or by email at jmoffitt@bridgewater.edu)  and located in Room 120 in Kline Campus Center, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA;
  • (c) Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Shannon Pope, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (available by phone at (540) 828-8072 or by email at spope2@bridgewater.edu) and located in Room 123 in the Kline Campus Center, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA; or
  • (d) Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Heather Grant, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday (available by phone at (540) 828-8043 or by email at hgrant@bridgewater.edu) and located in Room 248 in the Nininger Hall, 402 East College Street, Bridgewater, VA

Individuals may inform law enforcement authorities about Sexual Misconduct and discuss the matter with a law enforcement officer without making a report to the College. Individuals who make a criminal complaint may also choose to report the alleged Sexual Misconduct to the College simultaneously or subsequently.

Section 4.04 – Protective Orders.

Protective orders are civil court orders meant to protect individuals who have experienced or are reasonably in fear of physical violence, sexual assault or stalking by another individual. The Bridgewater College Campus Police can provide assistance in the process of obtaining protective orders. An individual Complainant also may seek the assistance of the Town of Bridgewater Police Department or the Rockingham County Sheriff’s Department. The Campus Police and Safety Department will enforce valid protective orders issued in jurisdictions of the United States as if they were issued in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Students are encouraged to inform Campus Police of any protective orders upon arrival on campus.

ARTICLE V. POLICIES APPLICABLE TO ALL FORMAL COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Section 5.01 – Oversight.  

The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution of Formal Complaints filed with the College. 

Section 5.02 – Conflicts of Interest and Bias  

  • (a) Any individual designated by the College as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing or appeal officer, or any person designated to facilitate an informal resolution process, must not have a conflict of interest or demonstrated bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent.
  • (b) Whether bias exists requires an examination of the particular facts of a situation. The College will apply the reasonable person standard in evaluating whether a particular person serving in a Title IX role is biased. The reasonable person standard denotes a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for the College to assess claims of bias. Prior professional experience of a person whom the College would like to serve in a Title IX role need not disqualify the person from serving impartially in a different Title IX role through obtaining the requisite training.
  • (c) Title IX Coordinators, investigators, hearing and appeal officers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process, must receive training on how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.
  • (d) Any employee or third party designated by this Policy to participate in the investigation or resolution of a Formal Complaint (e.g., Coordinator, investigator, hearing or appeal officer, or person designated to facilitate an informal resolution process) is required to disclose to the Title IX Coordinator or, in the event the Coordinator has a conflict, to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, any conflicts of interest or bias of which the employee or third party may be aware.
  • (e) If any employee designated by this Policy to participate in the investigation or resolution of a Formal Complaint is the Respondent, then the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, will appoint a College employee, or a qualified third party retained by the College, to perform such person’s duties under this Policy.

Section 5.03 – Advisors of Choice.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent may have an advisor present to support and assist them throughout the Formal Complaint process, including, but not limited to, during related prehearing meetings, during investigative interviews, and during the hearing or proceeding (for purposes of this section, “meetings”). The Complainant and the Respondent are not limited in their choice of an advisor.  Advisors may be friends, victim advocates, lawyers, or others. The Complainant and the Respondent may consult with their respective advisor during meetings, provided that such consultation is not disruptive. Except as provided in Section 7.01(b)(vi), the advisor may not present evidence, question witnesses, or otherwise participate in a meeting, hearing or proceeding.

For the avoidance of doubt, the College may seek advice from College employees and/or outside counsel at any time (including during any meeting, hearing or proceeding).

Section 5.04 – Timing

  • (a) This Policy provides for the prompt and equitable resolution of student and employee reports alleging Sexual Misconduct. The College will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation and resolution of a Formal Complaint occurs in as timely and efficient a manner as possible. The College’s investigation and resolution of a Formal Complaint (not including an appeal or informal resolution, if applicable) will generally be completed within sixty (60) days of the receipt of the Formal Complaint, absent extenuating circumstances.
  • (b) Any party may request an extension of any deadline by providing the Title IX Coordinator with a written request for an extension that includes reference to the duration of the proposed extension and the basis for the request. The Title IX Coordinator may modify any deadlines contained in this Policy as necessary and for good cause. In such case, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and the Respondent with written notice of the modification and the reason(s) therefor. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, considerations such as concurrent law enforcement activity, the need for language assistance, the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness, or the needs for accommodations of disabilities.

Section 5.05 – Documentation

The College will retain documentation, including but not limited to the written Formal Complaint, notifications, the Investigative Report, written findings of fact, petitions for appeal, notifications of decisions (including the Final Outcome Letter) and any written communication between the parties, for at least seven (7) years. Documentation pertaining to expulsions or degree revocations will be retained indefinitely or in accordance with College policy. 

Section 5.06 – Confidentiality and Disclosure

In order to comply with FERPA, Title IX, and other applicable laws, and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, the resolution processes are not open to the public. Accordingly, documents prepared in anticipation of the informal and/or the formal resolution processes (including the Formal Complaint, the Investigative Report, and notices and communications to or from the Complainant or the Respondent); documents, statements, or other information introduced in the interviews, meetings, and proceedings; and the Final Outcome Letter may not be disclosed outside of those processes except as may be required or authorized by law.

For the avoidance of doubt, College policy does not prohibit the further disclosure of the Final Outcome Letter by either the Complainant or the Respondent.

ARTICLE VI. THE PROCESS APPLICABLE TO FORMAL COMPLAINTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

Section 6.01 – A Report of Sexual Misconduct Becomes a Formal Complaint

A Formal Complaint may be initiated in one of the following ways:

  • (a) Complainant may file a written Formal Complaint with the College or the Title IX Coordinator may file a written Formal Complaint. A Complainant may complete a Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint Form (see Exhibit B) or may submit a written statement providing sufficient information for the College to investigate the allegations (including, if known, the name of the alleged Complainant, the name of the alleged Respondent, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct).
  • (b) An alleged Complainant may meet in person with the Title IX Coordinator to report alleged Sexual Misconduct. However, either the Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator must file and sign a written Formal Complaint to give rise to the College’s obligation to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the allegations.
  • (c) At the time of filing the Formal Complaint, the Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the College.
  • (d) In deciding whether to sign a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will take into account the Complainant’s wishes regarding how the College should respond to the Complainant’s allegations. In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will consider the following factors in determining whether to exercise discretion to sign a Formal Complaint: allegations of violence, threats, use of weapons, and serial predation. The Title IX Coordinator may believe that signing a Formal Complaint is not in the best interest of the Complainant and is not otherwise necessary for the College to respond in a non-deliberately indifferent manner.

Section 6.02 – Initial Meeting of Each Party with the Title IX Coordinator

  • (a) Complainant:  As soon as is practicable following the filing of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to schedule an initial meeting to discuss the Formal Complaint and avenues for its resolution. During this initial meeting the Title IX Coordinator will explain the availability of Supportive Measures (as described in Section 6.04(a)). The Title IX Coordinator will document the reasons why Supportive Measures are or are not provided.
  • (b) Respondent:  As soon as is reasonably practicable after the Title IX Coordinator’s initial meeting with the Complainant and the distribution of the Notice of Allegations (see Section 6.03), the Title IX Coordinator will schedule an initial meeting with the Respondent to discuss the Formal Complaint, to inform the Respondent of any Supportive Measures already determined and being provided to the Complainant that directly affect the Respondent, and to discuss the process for resolving the Formal Complaint. During this initial meeting the Title IX Coordinator will explain the availability of Supportive Measures and will document the reasons why Supportive Measures are or are not provided to the Respondent.
  • (c) Both the Complainant and the Respondent may, within seven (7) days after their respective initial meetings with the Title IX Coordinator, submit to the Title IX Coordinator a written statement of position regarding the alleged Sexual Misconduct in support of the Formal Complaint.
  • (d) Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be offered Supportive Measures. The Title IX Coordinator will, if applicable, promptly determine the Supportive Measures to be provided to the Complainant and the Respondent during the pendency of the investigative and resolution processes (such as those listed in Section 6.04(a)).

Section 6.03 – Notice of Allegations

  • (a) Following the initiation of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide formal written notice to all known parties at least seven (7) days in advance of any initial interview with the Respondent. The written notice will contain the following information:
    • (i) Details of the allegations of Sexual Misconduct, including the identities of the parties involved, if known, the date and location of the alleged incident, if known, and the conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Misconduct;
    • (ii) A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged Sexual Misconduct and that a determination of responsibility will be made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
    • (iii) An explanation of the College’s formal grievance process as established by this Policy, including a summary of possible sanctions in the event the Respondent is found responsible for the alleged Sexual Misconduct;
    • (iv) An explanation of the College’s informal resolution process as established by this Policy;
    • (v) A statement that the parties may select an advisor of their choice, and that the advisor may be an attorney;
    • (vi) A statement that the parties’ chosen advisors may inspect and review evidence gathered during the Investigation directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint; and
    • (vii) A statement that knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process is a violation of the College’s Code of Conduct.  
  • (b) If, during the course of the investigation, the College decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that were not included in the initial written notice, the College will provide notice of the additional allegations to all parties whose identities are known.

Section 6.04 – Evaluation of Supportive Measures and Removal

Following the receipt of a report of Sexual Misconduct or the initiation of a Formal Complaint, and at any point during the Formal Complaint, investigation, or disciplinary processes, if the Title IX Coordinator deems it necessary for the protection of any member of the College community, the Title IX Coordinator will determine which, if any, of the following measures and/or actions should be taken.

  • (a) Supportive Measures.  When warranted to restore or preserve a party’s equal access to the College’s education programs or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, protect the safety of all parties as well as the College’s educational environment, or deter Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator may implement one or more Supportive Measures, if appropriate and/or reasonably available, and without fee or charge to a party, including but not limited to the following:
    • (i)  Issuing mutual no-contact orders to prevent any contact between or among the Complainant and the Respondent;
    • (ii) Providing the Complainant or Respondent with an escort to ensure that they can move safely between classes, work, and/or activities;
    • (iii) Changing a Complainant’s or a Respondent’s on-campus housing, if any, to a different on-campus location and providing assistance from College personnel in completing the relocation;
    • (iv) Changing a Complainant’s or a Respondent’s work arrangements or schedules;
    • (v) Changing academic schedules (such as moving the Complainant or the Respondent from one class section to another);
    • (vi) Arranging to dissolve a campus housing contract and offering a pro-rated refund;
    • (vii) Rescheduling class work, assignments, and examinations;
    • (viii) Arranging for the Complainant or Respondent to withdraw from or take an incomplete in class without penalty;
    • (ix) Providing academic support services;
    • (x) Providing alternative course completion options;
    • (xi) Permitting a temporary withdrawal from the College; and
    • (xii) Providing counseling services.

The Title IX Coordinator shall consider the totality of the circumstances when evaluating the implementation of Supportive Measures, including, without limitation, the wishes of the party and the potential hardship on the other party caused by any proposed measures. Supportive Measures must be non-disciplinary, non-punitive, and not unreasonably burdensome to the other party. The College must maintain as confidential any Supportive Measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the College to provide the Supportive Measures. The College may continue providing any Supportive Measures even in the event a Respondent is found not responsible for Sexual Misconduct.

  • (b) Interim Removal.
    • (i) Student Respondents.  When a student Respondent’s alleged actions or behaviors immediately threaten the physical health or safety of the Complainant, other students, and/or the College community, the Title IX Coordinator may remove a Respondent from its education program or any College activity prior to the adjudication of the Formal Complaint pursuant to this Policy.

      Removal may include but is not limited to requesting that the Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students or their designee (A) impose on the Respondent an administrative withdrawal from the College, or (B) summarily suspend the Respondent from campus housing on an interim basis, or (C) suspend the Respondent’s participation in a College activity.

      The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Respondent of the proposed interim removal measures in writing. The Respondent may appeal these actions to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students (available by phone at 540-828-5382, email at lfrere@bridgewater.edu, and located in Room 126 of Kline Campus Center), or designee. The decision of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, regarding the imposition of these actions is final.
    • (ii) Employee Respondents.  When an employee Respondent’s alleged actions or behaviors immediately threaten the health and safety of the Complainant, students, other employees, and/or the College community, the Title IX Coordinator may request that the individual authorized to make personnel decisions regarding the employee at issue take such steps as are reasonable, appropriate, and necessary to restrict the Respondent’s presence or movement on campus, including but not limited to temporarily adjusting the Respondent’s job duties of or placing the Respondent on administrative leave.

      The Title IX Coordinator will notify the employee Respondent of the proposed interim removal or limitations in writing (to the extent necessary to implement those measures). These actions may be appealed to the Director of Human Resources (available by phone at (540) 828-5393, email at kharper@bridgewater.edu, and located 313 Dinkel Avenue, Bridgewater, VA). The decision of the Director of Human Resources regarding the imposition of these actions is final.

Section 6.05 – The Investigation

  • (a) Effect of Corollary Criminal Investigation.  The College’s investigation may be delayed temporarily while criminal investigators are gathering evidence.  In the event of such a delay, the College may provide Supportive Measures when necessary to protect the parties and/or the College community.

    Neither the results of a criminal investigation nor the decision of law enforcement to investigate or decline to investigate a matter is determinative of whether Sexual Misconduct, for the purposes of this Policy, has occurred.
  • (b) Designation of Investigator. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly either commence an investigation or appoint an Investigator to conduct an investigation. The College may use a single investigator or a team of two (2) or more investigators. Any investigator must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest or demonstrated bias. The Title IX Coordinator will provide to the parties the Investigator’s name and contact information and will forward the Formal Complaint to the Investigator.

    The parties may object to the appointment of any investigator(s), including the Title IX Coordinator, on the basis that the investigator has a conflict of interest or demonstrated bias. Such an objection must be made in writing and submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) days of the party being informed of the name(s) of the investigator(s), and must specify the basis for the objection. The Title IX Coordinator will carefully consider such statements and will assign a different individual as Investigator if it is determined that demonstrated bias or a material conflict of interest exists. If the objection is to the Title IX Coordinator, the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, will carefully consider such statements and will assign a different individual as Investigator if it is determined that demonstrated bias or a material conflict of interest exists.
  • (c) The Investigator’s Activities. The Investigator (who may be the Title IX Coordinator, and for purposes of this Section the Investigator and the Title IX Coordinator conducting the investigation will be referred to as “Investigator”) will promptly begin the investigation, taking such steps as:
    • (i) Conducting interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and third-party witnesses (including expert witnesses, where applicable) and summarizing such interviews in written form;
    • (ii) Visiting, inspecting, and taking or reviewing photographs at relevant sites where applicable; and
    • (iii) Collecting and preserving relevant evidence, including documents, communications between the parties, and other electronic records as appropriate (in cases of corresponding criminal complaints, this step may be coordinated with law enforcement agencies).
  • Throughout the investigation, the Investigator will remain neutral. The investigation is a neutral fact-gathering process. The Respondent is presumed to be not responsible; this presumption may be overcome only where a Hearing Officer concludes that there is sufficient evidence, by a preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding that the Respondent violated this Policy.

    The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence rests on the College, not on the parties.

    No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties will be made aware of the audio and/or video recording. Recordings made during the investigation will be destroyed after a final resolution is reached.
  • (d) Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation. The Investigator will exercise discretion in determining which evidence to pursue and how evidence should be considered (if at all). Evidence is relevant if it makes it more or less likely that the Respondent is responsible for the alleged Sexual Misconduct. Evidence may be provided to the Investigator by the College, the Complainant, the Respondent, or any other persons. However, it is possible that not all evidence will be considered or that not all evidence will be given equal weight.

    The investigation does not consider questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior to be relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.

    Prior or subsequent conduct of the Respondent cannot be used to demonstrate character, reputation, or any personality trait. However, such evidence may be deemed relevant if it suggests a pattern or scheme of misconduct or if it reflects knowledge, intent, or purpose. 
    (e) Parties’ Ability to Gather and Submit Relevant Evidence. The College will not restrict the ability of the Complainant and Respondent to discuss the allegations made in the Formal Complaint, or to gather or present relevant evidence. The Complainant and Respondent may present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence to the Investigator. Evidence that is not gathered and presented, and witnesses that are not identified or made available, during the investigation may not be introduced, or testify, at the hearing on the Formal Complaint.
  • (f) Parties Present During Investigation. The College shall provide, to a party whose participation is invited or expected, written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
  • (g) Prohibition on Submission of Privileged Information and Medical Records. The Investigator will not allow submission of or rely on questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected by a legally recognized privilege, unless the holder of such privilege has voluntarily waived the privilege. In addition, the Investigator cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless that party provides voluntary, written consent to do so.
  • (h) Parties’ Ability to Inspect Evidence. The College will provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including evidence upon which the College does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, as well as inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source. Prior to completion of the Investigative Report, the College will send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format that is “view only” and that prevents either party or their advisor from copying, saving, duplicating or disseminating the evidence. The Complainant and Respondent shall have ten (10) days to submit a written response to the evidence. The Investigator will consider any written response received and conduct any further investigation in response, at the sole discretion of the Investigator, prior to completing the Investigative report. Any written responses, or portions thereof, to the evidence received from a party may be shared with the other party at the discretion of the Investigator. Neither the parties nor their advisors may photocopy or duplicate in any way any of the information provided by the Investigator.
  • (i) The Investigative Report. The Investigator will complete a written investigative report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence and synthesizes the areas of agreement and disagreement between the parties and any supporting information (the “Investigative Report”). The Investigative Report will include as appendices all of the relevant evidence gathered during the investigation. Irrelevant and inadmissible evidence may be excluded from the Investigative Report. The Report will include items such as the written Formal Complaint, any written statements of position from the parties, summaries of all interviews conducted, photographs, descriptions of relevant evidence, and a detailed report of the events in question. The Investigator will provide the Investigative Report to the Title IX Coordinator, who will send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the Investigative Report for review in an electronic format that is “view only” and that prevents either party or their advisor from copying, saving, duplicating or disseminating the Investigative Report. Recipients may not make photocopy or duplicate in any way the Investigative Report. The parties will have ten (10) calendar days from receipt of the Investigative Report to submit a written response to the Investigative Report. Any written responses, or portions thereof, to the Investigative Report received from a party may be shared with the other party at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

    All parties to whom the Investigative Report is distributed pursuant to this Policy must maintain it in confidence (even after the resolution of the Formal Complaint). The Investigative Report may only be disclosed as is contemplated by this Policy. The College will make all such evidence subject to the parties’ inspection and review available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
  • Section 6.06 – Dismissal of Formal Complaint.
  • (a) Mandatory Dismissal. If at any time following the filing of a Formal Complaint and prior to the hearing the Title IX Coordinator concludes that the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint (1) would not constitute Sexual Misconduct as defined in this Policy even if proved, (2) did not occur in the College’s education program or activity, or (3) did not occur against a person in the United States, then the Title IX Coordinator must dismiss the Formal Complaint with regard to that conduct; provided, however, such a dismissal does not preclude the College from taking action under another provision of the College’s code of conduct or as required pursuant to Article IX below.
  • (b) Discretionary Dismissal. The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint or any allegations therein if at any time following the filing of a Formal Complaint and prior to the hearing, (1) the Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein, (2) the Respondent is no longer enrolled at or employed by the College, or (3) specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.
  • (c) Notice of Dismissal. Upon a dismissal required or permitted by this section, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reasons therefor simultaneously to the parties. Either party may appeal the Title IX Coordinator’s decision as provided in Section 7.02 of this Policy.

ARTICLE VII. FORMAL RESOLUTION

Section 7.01 – The Formal Resolution Process

In the case of a formal resolution, a Hearing Officer will conduct a live hearing in which the Complainant and the Respondent will be entitled to present evidence. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will make a determination regarding the responsibility of the Respondent regarding the allegations made against them. If the Hearing Officer concludes the Respondent is responsible, then the Hearing Officer will determine the sanctions that the College will impose against the Respondent. 

  • (a) The Designation of the Hearing Officer.
    • (i) The Hearing Officer The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, will appoint the Hearing Officer.  The Hearing Officer may not be the Title IX Coordinator, any Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or the Investigator that investigated the matter to be heard. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the Formal Complaint and the Investigative Report (redacted, if applicable, pursuant to Section 6.06(e)) to the Hearing Officer and, if only a portion of the misconduct alleged in the Formal Complaint justifies continuing to the hearing process, the Title IX Coordinator will specify which part(s) of the alleged misconduct will be the subject of the hearing.
    • (ii) Notice of the Designation of the Hearing Officer.  Promptly after the appointment of the Hearing Officer, the Title IX Coordinator will provide concurrent written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent setting forth the name of the individual selected to serve as the Hearing Officer. 
      The parties may challenge the participation of the Hearing Officer by submitting a written objection to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) days of receipt of the notice of the designation of the Hearing Officer. Such objection must state the specific reason(s) for the objection.  The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the objection and determine, in consultation with the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, whether to designate an alternate Hearing Officer. Failure to submit a timely and proper objection will constitute a waiver of any right of objection to the designation of the Hearing Officer. Any change in the designation of the Hearing Officer will be provided in writing to both parties prior to the date of the hearing.
    • (iii) Authority of the Hearing Officer.  The Hearing Officer may adopt rules to govern the hearing process, so long as such rules apply equally to both parties. Such rules may include, but are not limited to, rules controlling the conduct of participants to ensure that questioning is done in a respectful manner; rules that instruct party advisors to conduct questioning in a respectful, non-abusive manner; whether the parties may offer opening or closing statements; whether to permit objections to the relevance of questions and evidence; whether to place reasonable time limitations on a hearing; and whether to adopt evidentiary rules for the hearing. The parties will be advised in writing of any such rules in advance of the hearing.
  • (b) Hearing Policies and Procedures.
    • (i) Submission of Witness and Exhibit Lists by Complainant and Respondent.  Within ten (10) days of receipt of the notice of designation of the Hearing Officer, the Complainant and the Respondent shall provide the Title IX Coordinator with a list of witnesses, if any, that they intend to call at the hearing, a brief description of each proposed witness’s connection to and/or knowledge of the issues in dispute, and a brief description of any documentary evidence that they intend to present at the hearing; provided, however, that evidence that was not gathered or presented, and witnesses that were not identified or made available, during the investigation may not be introduced, or testify, at the hearing on the Formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator will provide to the Hearing Officer and both parties the names of the witnesses intended to be called at the hearing by the parties, and the evidence identified by the parties.
    • (ii) Notice of the Hearing(s).  Not less than ten (10) days after delivery of notice of the designation of the Hearing Officer to the parties, the Hearing Officer will provide a separate notice to the Complainant, the Respondent, the parties’ advisors, if any, and any witnesses identified by the parties, requesting such individual(s) to appear before the Hearing Officer. The notice will set forth, as applicable, the date, time, and location of the hearing. The date of the hearing ordinarily will be no more than twenty (20) days following the submission of the Investigative Report.
    • (iii) Failure to Appear.  If the Complainant and/or the Respondent fails to appear before the Hearing Officer if requested to do so, and such party was provided proper notice of the hearing as set forth above, then absent extenuating circumstances, the Hearing Officer will proceed to determine the resolution of the Formal Complaint. The Hearing Officer will not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing.
    • (iv) Advisors of Choice.  As provided in Section 5.03, both the Complainant and the Respondent may select an advisor to assist them during the hearing. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, the College will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the College’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.  
    • (v) Presentation of Evidence. Hearings will be live and may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location, or, at the discretion of the Hearing Officer, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the hearing virtually, with technology enabling the participants to simultaneously see and hear each other.

      The Complainant and the Respondent and witnesses may provide relevant information in turn, beginning with the Complainant, and then in the order determined by the Hearing Officer. Evidence that was not gathered or presented, and witnesses that were not identified or made available, during the investigation may not be introduced, or testify, at the hearing on the Formal Complaint. The parties and witnesses will submit to questioning by the Hearing Officer and then by the parties through their advisors. At the live hearing, the Hearing Officer must permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Only relevant questions may be asked of a party or other witness. Cross examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor and never by a party personally.

      The witnesses, including the parties, may choose not to testify, or not to face cross-examination. However the Hearing Officer cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions. Notwithstanding the foregoing, and to the extent permitted by law, if the Hearing Officer deems it reliable and relevant and not otherwise subject to exclusion under this Policy, the Hearing Officer may consider the statements of persons who were not present at the live hearing, or persons who were present at the live hearing but who nevertheless were not subject to cross-examination. For purposes of this Section, the term “statement” includes, but is not limited to, opinions and statements in police reports or other official reports, medical records, court records and filings, investigation notes of interviews, emails, written statements, affidavits, text messages, social media postings, and the like. Statements can be considered by the Hearing Officer in situations where the statement itself constitutes the alleged policy violation.
    • (vi) Evidentiary Matters
      • (1) Relevancy.  Before the Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination question, the Hearing Officer must first determine whether the question is relevant. The Hearing Officer must explain on the record to the party proposing the question any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. All questions are subject to a relevance determination by the Hearing Officer. The advisor, who will remain seated during cross-examination, may pose the proposed question orally, electronically, or in writing. The proceeding will then pause to allow the Hearing Officer to consider the question, and the Hearing Officer will determine whether the question will be permitted, disallowed, or rephrased. The Hearing Officer will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), threatening, intimidating, or abusive. The Hearing Officer has final say on all questions and determinations of relevance. The Hearing Officer may consult with legal counsel on any questions of admissibility.
      • (2) Prohibition on Submission of Privileged Information and Medical Records. The Hearing Officer will not allow the introduction of or rely on questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected by a legally recognized privilege, unless the holder of such privilege has voluntarily waived the privilege. In addition, the Hearing Officer will not allow the introduction of or rely on questions or evidence from a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity or assisting in that capacity and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless that party provides voluntary, written consent to do so.
      • (3) Complainant’s Prior Sexual Conduct or Predisposition.  Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior will not be permitted at the hearing, with the following exceptions:
        • (A) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant; or
        • (B) questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
    • (vii) Record of the Hearing.  The Hearing Officer will arrange for the audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of the hearing. This recording or transcript will be the property of the College, but each party is entitled to inspect and review it after the hearing and prior to the conclusion of any appeal. The Appeal Officer may use the recording or transcript as part of the appeal process.
  • (c) Responsibility Determinations and Sanctions.
    • (i) Decision of the Hearing Officer Regarding Responsibility
      • (1) Responsibility Determination.  Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will objectively determine whether the evidence (including the information provided in the Investigative Report, the evidence presented at the hearing, and the testimony of the parties and witnesses) establishes that it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed Sexual Misconduct. In making the responsibility determination, the Hearing Officer will not make credibility determination based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
      • (2) Written Decision.  Within fifteen (15) days following the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will prepare a written decision that explains the responsibility finding (“Final Outcome Letter”). The Hearing Officer will provide this decision concurrently to the parties and the Title IX Coordinator. This decision will include:
        • (A) Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Sexual Misconduct that the Hearing Officer adjudicated;
        • (B) A description of the procedural steps taken, from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the responsibility determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
        • (C) Findings of fact supporting the determination;
        • (D) Conclusions regarding the application of this Policy to the facts. If the Respondent is found Responsible, the Hearing Officer will specify the specific type(s) of Sexual Misconduct for which the Respondent is found Responsible (e.g., Sexual Assault, Stalking).
        • (E) A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the recipient imposes on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s education programs and activities will be provided by the College to the Complainant; and
        • (F) The College’s procedures and permissible bases for the parties to appeal, including the deadlines for bringing an appeal.
    • (ii) Decision of the Hearing Officer Regarding Sanctions.  If the Hearing Officer renders a finding of “Responsible,” it will determine appropriate sanctions to be imposed on the Respondent.
      • (1) Generally.  Sanctions for a finding of responsibility depend upon the nature and gravity of the misconduct, any record of prior discipline for misconduct, or both. Sanctions include, but are not limited to, the following: withholding a promotion or pay increase, reassigning employment, terminating employment, temporary suspension without pay, compensation adjustments, expulsion or suspension from the College (with or without requirements for reinstatement), withholding or revocation of degree/diploma, transcript notation, deferred suspension, disciplinary probation, expulsion or suspension from campus housing or housing relocation, restricted campus access, loss or restriction of privileges, mandated counseling, academic class section reassignment, educational sanctions, community service, reflection or research paper, parental notification, letter of reprimand, warning, apology, fines and/or restitution, deemed appropriate by the Hearing Officer. The Hearing Officer will determine sanctions by giving consideration to whether a given sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (c) remedy the effects of the violation.
      • (2) Implementation of Sanctions.  Sanctions imposed are not effective until the resolution of any timely appeal pursuant to Section 7.02, or, if no appeal is filed, the date on which the appeal would no longer be considered timely pursuant to this Policy. However, if it is advisable in order to protect the welfare of the Complainant or the College community, the Hearing Officer may recommend and/or the Title IX Coordinator may determine that any sanctions be effective immediately and continue in effect until such time as the appeal process is exhausted.
    • (iii) Corrective Action and Accommodations.
      • (1) The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the College promptly implements the sanctions imposed by the Hearing Officer.
      • (2) The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the effective implementation of remedies.
      • (3) The Title IX Coordinator will also determine if any additional Supportive Measures should be provided to the Complainant. If so, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate such decision to the Complainant, and, to the extent that it affects them, to the Respondent. Such Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to, those listed in Section 6.04(a) of this Policy.
      • (4) The Title IX Coordinator will also take steps, where necessary, to prevent the further harassment of or Retaliation against the Complainant or third parties, by, for example, informing them about how to report subsequent problems, following up with them to ensure that there are no subsequent problems, providing trainings for the school community, and providing counseling. The Title IX Coordinator will also, where appropriate, take steps to prevent the harassment of or Retaliation against the Respondent.
      • (5) The Title IX Coordinator will take prompt corrective action if the Complainant, Respondent or third party experiences Retaliation, or if the Complainant is subjected to further Sexual Misconduct, or if the original sanctions imposed on the Respondent are ineffective to protect the safety and wellbeing of the Complainant or other members of the College community.
    • (iv) Effective Date. The decision of the Hearing Officer becomes final either on the date that the Appeal Officer provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.

Section 7.02 – Appeals

  • (a) Notice of Appeal.  The Complainant and the Respondent may appeal the decision of the Hearing Officer, and the Title IX Coordinator’s dismissal of a Formal Complaint or any allegation in the Formal Complaint, by submitting a written Notice of Appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) days from the date of the Hearing Officer’s, or Title IX Coordinator’s, as the case may be, written decision. The Notice of Appeal must include a brief statement of the ground(s) for the appeal consistent with Section 7.02(b) of this Policy. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly provide the other party a copy of the Notice of Appeal.
  • (b) Appeal Process.
    • (i) Grounds for Appeal.  The only permissible grounds for an appeal are:
      • (1) A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
      • (2) New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
      • (3) The Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s), or the Hearing Officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
    • (ii) Appeal Officer Designation. The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, will appoint the Appeal Officer and the Title IX Coordinator will provide notice to the parties of the appointment. The Appeal Officer may not be the Title IX Coordinator, any Deputy Title IX Coordinators, the Hearing Officer, or the Investigator(s). A party may contest the impartiality of the Appeal Officer by submitting an objection in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) days of the notice of the appointment of the Appeal Officer. The objection must detail why the party asserts that the Appeal Officer is biased or has a conflict of interest in the case. If the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students or designee, determines that actual bias or a conflict of interest has been demonstrated, the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee, will assign an alternate Appeal Officer for the completion of the case. There is no appeal from the decision of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, or designee.
    • (iii) Appeal Opposition Statement. The parties may submit to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) days of the date of the Notice of Appeal a written statement explaining why the Hearing Officer’s decision should be reversed or affirmed. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly provide a party’s written submission to the other party. There is no requirement that a party submit a written statement, and the fact that a party does not submit a statement shall not be considered evidence that the party agrees or disagrees with the Hearing Officer’s decision.
    • (iv) Appeal Officer Review. The Title IX Coordinator will provide to the Appeal Officer for their review the Formal Complaint, the Investigative Report, the Final Outcome Letter, the recording or transcript of the hearing, the Appellant’s appeal statement, and the Appellee’s statement, if any. In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal, as the original determination and sanction(s) are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. Decisions on appeal are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only when clear error has been demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence, and making changes to the sanction(s) only if there is a compelling justification to do so. Appeals are not intended to provide for a re-hearing (de novo) of the allegation(s). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal. An appeal is not an opportunity for the Appeal Officer to substitute their judgment for that of the Hearing Officer merely because the Appeal Officer disagrees with the finding and/or sanction(s). The Appeal Officer may consult with the Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed. Documentation of all such consultation will be maintained.
    • (v) Appeal Officer Decision. Within fifteen (15) days of the Title IX Coordinator’s receipt of the appeal (or as soon as is reasonably practicable), the Appeal Officer will make a determination either to affirm the decision of the Hearing Officer or remand the case to the Hearing Officer to evaluate new evidence, correct a procedural error, or where there were extraordinary circumstances. In addition, the Appeal Officer may remand the case to the Hearing Officer in cases where the Appeal Officer determines that the sanction(s) lacked a reasonable basis. The Appeal Officer will specify, after consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, and other College personnel, as necessary, the appropriate steps to be taken to come to a final resolution of the Formal Complaint. The Appeal Officer may recommend that a new Hearing Officer be selected if the Appeal Officer believes doing so is necessary for fundamental fairness, or if the appeal was granted due to a conflict of interest or bias of the original Hearing Officer. The Appeal Officer will issue a written explanation describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result. The Appeal Officer will provide the decision concurrently to the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator. The decision of the Appeal Officer is final and there is no further appeal following this decision.

ARTICLE VIII. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

  • (a) At any time following the submission of a Formal Complaint and prior to the date of the hearing (Section 7.01(b)(vi)), either the Complainant or Respondent may notify the Title IX Coordinator in writing stating that they are interested in pursuing informal resolution. Upon receipt of a request for informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will provide concurrent written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent, which includes the allegations; the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a Formal Complaint arising from the same allegations; and any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared. To proceed with informal resolution, both parties must voluntarily agree in writing following receipt of the notice from the Title IX Coordinator, but no party is required to participate in informal resolution. The informal resolution must be completed within twenty (20) days following the Title IX Coordinator’s receipt of the party’s written notice referenced above; provided, however, that the Title IX Coordinator may, for good cause shown, grant one extension of no more than fifteen (15) days. If the informal resolution is not concluded within the twenty (20) days, or an extension granted by the Title IX Coordinator, the grievance process with respect to the Formal Complaint shall resume.
  • (b) Informal resolution may not be selected for less than all of the Sexual Misconduct alleged in the Formal Complaint. If the parties agree to informal resolution (and informal resolution is appropriate for all of the claims at issue), then all of the claims must be resolved according to the informal resolution process.
  • (c) Both parties have the right to terminate the informal resolution process at any time prior to agreeing to a final resolution and resume the grievance process with respect to the Formal Complaint. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the informal resolution process may be considered in the subsequent formal resolution proceedings.
  • (d) If both parties agree to pursue informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will propose a Resolution Agreement for consideration of the parties. If both the Complainant and Respondent agree to accept the Resolution Agreement, then the Formal Complaint is resolved by the acceptance of the Resolution Agreement without any further rights of appeal by either party.
  • (e) If either the Complainant or the Respondent objects to the proposed Resolution Agreement, the party has the right to terminate the informal resolution process at any time prior to agreeing to a final resolution and resume the grievance process with respect to the Formal Complaint.
  • (f) If the Resolution Agreement represents a disciplinary action against the Respondent, any findings of responsibility and sanctions will become part of the Respondent’s student disciplinary record, if the Respondent is a student, or personnel file, if the Respondent is an employee.
  • (g) Formal Complaints alleging Sexual Misconduct by a faculty or staff member against a student are not eligible for informal resolution.

ARTICLE IX. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

While the above provisions primarily relate to the College’s obligations and a party’s rights under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal financial assistance, the College is also committed to addressing allegations of prohibited conduct that may arise under the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013 (“VAWA”), which provides additional campus safety and security measures, including procedures for institutional disciplinary action in response to reports of alleged dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. The College will apply this Sexual Misconduct Policy and the foregoing procedures to any report or complaint alleging dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, all of which are individually defined in Exhibit A, even if the Complainant is no longer participating or attempting to participate in a College education program or activity at the time of the report, the alleged conduct occurred off-campus, or no Formal Complaint is received.  In such circumstances, the mandatory dismissal provisions contained in Section 6.07(a) shall not apply.

EXHIBIT A
BRIDGEWATER COLLEGE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

Safety and Health Information

If an act of Sexual Misconduct is perpetrated against you, the College’s first priority is to help you take steps to address your safety, medical needs and emotional well-being. You are encouraged to take the following actions, as applicable, regardless of whether you have made a decision about whether to report the Sexual Misconduct to the College or pursue a criminal complaint.

  • (a) Ensure Your Physical Safety
  • You may seek help from local law enforcement agencies (call 911) or by contacting the Bridgewater College Campus Police and Safety Department (call 540-828-5609). The Bridgewater College Campus Police and Safety Department can assist you with contacting local law enforcement and can help you obtain transportation to the local law enforcement office, regardless of whether you have made a decision about whether to report the Sexual Misconduct to the College.  Campus Police and Safety personnel are on duty on campus 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • (b) Seek Medical Assistance and Treatment.
  • The hospital serving the Bridgewater area is Sentara RMH Medical Center, located at 2010 Health Campus Drive, Harrisonburg, VA. You may contact the hospital at 800-736-8272, or 540-689-6000, or call 911.
  • Because your safety and health are important, please consider seeing a health care provider even if you do not want to make a report of Sexual Misconduct to the College or to the police. The health care provider can check for injuries and talk about possible pregnancy concerns and/or sexually transmitted infections. Medical facilities can also screen for the presence of sedative drugs such as Rohypnol or GHB (date-rape drugs). If you think you may want to report the assault, the health care provider can collect evidence of the assault from your body. This is called a P.E.R.K. (physical evidence recovery kit) exam. If you think you may want to report the assault to the police, the sooner you have evidence collected, the better. A P.E.R.K. exam will not be done if more than three days have passed since the assault, and certain date-rape drugs may not be detected on a toxicology screening within hours after ingesting the drug. The Commonwealth of Virginia will pay for the costs of the P.E.R.K. exam. Your insurance will be billed first if you have Medicaid, Medicare, CHAMPUS, Tri-Care or another type of federal insurance. If you do not want the insurance information to be sent to your home, please tell the health care provider.

    In order to preserve any evidence collected in a P.E.R.K. exam, it is important to follow these suggestions:
    • DO NOT bathe or shower
    • DO NOT brush or comb your hair
    • DO NOT douche
    • DO NOT urinate (if possible)
    • DO NOT change clothes. If clothes are changed, take the clothes worn at the time of the assault to the hospital in a PAPER bag (evidence deteriorates in plastic)
    • DO NOT eat or drink anything or brush or rinse your teeth if there was oral contact
    • DO NOT touch items at the incident or crime scene
    • DO NOT put on or remove makeup
  • Take a change of clothes to the hospital because some items of clothing may be kept as evidence. At the emergency room the physician may collect hair samples, semen and other evidence. The police will be contacted to take possession of these samples until you make a decision about prosecution.

    Employees at Student Health Services or Campus Police can help you obtain transportation to a health care provider and can help you contact a support person, such as a family member, a friend, or a roommate. 
  • (c) Obtain Emotional Support.
  • The College’s Counseling Center can help students sort through their feelings and begin the recovery process. The professionals at the Counseling Center are trained to provide crisis intervention on short-term and emergency issues. The Counseling Center can also provide referral services for outside providers and law enforcement. Counseling is free of charge to all students and confidential.

    The College provides an employee assistance program to employees and family members with free, comprehensive counseling support through the Anthem Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 1-800-346-5484. More information is available at https://www.anthem.com/employer/eap/employee/www.anthemeap.com.
  • (d) Obtain Information/Report Misconduct
  • You are encouraged to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to the College’s Title IX Coordinator (even if you have filed a report directly with law enforcement). Further information about how to report Sexual Misconduct is provided in this Sexual Misconduct Policy. The Title IX Coordinator can help you access resources (including contact information for legal counsel, if requested) and can provide you with support and information, including information on the College’s procedures for investigating and addressing instances of Sexual Misconduct.
  • (e) Important Contact Information
    • (i) College Resources
    • (ii) Community Resources.
      Off-campus counselors, advocates, and health care providers are available to assist and support Complainants following an act of alleged Sexual Misconduct. Those off-campus resources will generally maintain confidentiality and not share information with the College unless the Complainant requests the disclosure and signs a consent or waiver form. Off-campus resources include the following organizations and contact information:
      • Collins Center is a sexual assault crisis center located in Harrisonburg, and all services are free of charge and confidential (24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline – 540-432-6430)
      • First Step, 24-Hour Domestic and Dating Violence Hotline – 866-223-9169
      • Sentara RMH Medical Center – 540-689-1300
      • Crime Victim Assistance Info-Line – 888-887-3418

EXHIBIT B
BRIDGEWATER COLLEGE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

Sexual Misconduct Education

Bridgewater College is committed to the prevention of Sexual Misconduct and routinely conducts outreach and educational programming designed to increase awareness of the prevalence of Sexual Misconduct involving college-age students and other College constituents, inform the College community about issues related to Sexual Misconduct such as substance abuse and the role of the bystander, and promote knowledge of the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and resources available to Complainants and Respondents.

  • (a) The College regularly conducts or provides training for its constituents, including the following groups:
    • (i) Title IX Coordinator & Deputy Title IX Coordinators
    • (ii) Investigators
    • (iii) Hearing Officers and Appeal Officers
    • (iv) Employees
    • (v) Students
    • (vi) Campus Police and Safety Officers
  • (b) The groups listed in Section 2.07(a) are trained, as appropriate and applicable to their roles on campus, on such subjects as:
    • (i) This Sexual Misconduct Policy.
    • (ii) Title IX and related regulatory guidance, including the meaning of sexual harassment as defined by 34 CFR § 106.30.
    • (iii) The scope of the College’s education programs and activities.
    • (iv) The College’s responsibility to address allegations of Sexual Misconduct.
    • (v) Recognizing and responding to reports of Sexual Misconduct.
    • (vi) How to conduct an investigation into Formal Complaints of Sexual Misconduct, including issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, as set forth in paragraph (b)(5)(vii) of 34 CFR § 106.45.
    • (vii) How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes
    • (viii) How to investigate and adjudicate (including informal resolution) Formal Complaints of Sexual Misconduct in an impartial manner by avoiding bias, conflicts of interest, and prejudgment of the facts at issue.
    • (ix) When questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, as set forth in paragraph (b)(6) of 34 CFR § 106.45.
    • (x) Any technology to be used at a live hearing.
    • (xi) Which employees are “Officials with Authority” and “Mandatory Reporters” and which individuals and offices are Confidential Resources for students and employees.
    • (xii) Understanding what questions and evidence are relevant to determination of responsibility for alleged Sexual Misconduct.
    • (xiii) Reasonable, appropriate, and sensitive investigative, interview, and hearing techniques that protect the safety of all parties.
    • (xiv) Issues related to Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking, including the College’s obligations to respond to reports or Formal Complaints that arise solely under the Violence Against Women Act, as further defined by 34 C.F.R. § 668.46(k).

Approved By:  Dr. David W. Bushman, President
Approval Date: 08/14/2020
Effective Date: 08/14/2020
Last Revision Date:   12/06/2020
                                  08/17/2021

Policy Owner: Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students

EXHIBIT C
BRIDGEWATER COLLEGE SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint Form

Today’s date: ____________________

Information Regarding the Complainant:

Name of the Complainant: _________________________________________________________________________________

The Complainant is (please check one):                       a faculty member                         a student                                                                                                                                                        a staff member                             not affiliated with the College

For faculty, staff, & students, indicate whether   current or  former

Information Regarding the Respondent:

Name of the Respondent: _________________________________________________________________________________

The Respondent is (please check one):                         a faculty member                         a student                                                                                                                                                        a staff member                             not affiliated with the College

For faculty, staff, & students, indicate whether   current or  former

Information Regarding the Alleged Sexual Misconduct:

Time and date of the alleged Sexual Misconduct: ______________________________________________________________

Location of the alleged Sexual Misconduct:

 on campus: ____________________________________________________________________________

 off campus: ____________________________________________________________________________

Witnesses or third parties who may have information regarding the alleged Sexual Misconduct:

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please provide a brief description of the alleged Sexual Misconduct:

You may wish to consider including, among other things, some or all the following information in your description: the gender of the parties, the relationship between the parties, whether one or more of the parties were under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the alleged Sexual Misconduct, whether the Respondent used pressure or force (physical or otherwise) in the course of the alleged Sexual Misconduct, and the frequency (if applicable) of the alleged Sexual Misconduct.

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Please feel free to use the reverse side of this form or separate pages to continue your description, if desired

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Signature of the Complainant                                                                                                                       Date