Interim Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy

SCOPE OF POLICY

This Interim Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy addresses complaints of alleged sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, and stalking by University students. It applies to any instance in which a Gallaudet student is alleged to have engaged in a violation of this policy. All students are responsible for conducting themselves in accordance with this policy as well as other published University policies and procedures. Visitors to and guests of Gallaudet University are both protected by this policy and subject to the restrictions of this policy. Visitors and guests may initiate grievances for violations of this policy committed against them by students of Gallaudet University. Visitors and guests may also be permanently placed on persona non grata status from the University for alleged violations of this policy. Hosts of guests may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. This policy may also be applied to behavior conducted online, via email, or other electronic medium. Students should be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if information of policy violations is posted online. Gallaudet does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of University officials.

PERSONAL JURISDICTION

Any member of the University community may make a complaint of sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking against a University student under this policy. For purpose of determining personal jurisdiction, an "University student" means all persons taking courses at Gallaudet University, either full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, persons who withdraw or graduate after allegedly violating the Student Code of Conduct, who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with Gallaudet University and/or are persons who are living in Gallaudet University residence halls and Kendall apartments, although not enrolled in this institution. A member of the University community includes any person who is a student, staff, faculty member, University official, or any other person employed by Gallaudet University.

GEOGRAPHICAL JURISDICTION

The Interim Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to any allegation of sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking against a Gallaudet University student, regardless of where the alleged sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking occurred. It applies to conduct off University premises or outside the University's educational programs and activities when such conduct negatively affects the complainant's school experience or creates a hostile environment on campus. Although there is no geographical limitation to invoking this policy, sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking that is alleged to have occurred at a significant distance from Gallaudet may be more difficult to investigate.

TIMING OF COMPLAINTS AND AVAILABILITY OF PROCEDURES

As long as there is personal jurisdiction over the accused student, there is no time limit to invoking this policy in response to complaints of sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking. Nevertheless, students are strongly encouraged to report alleged sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking promptly in order to assist the students with getting assistance and support on and off campus as well as to conduct a thorough, impartial and reliable investigation. Failure to promptly report an alleged sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking incident may result in the loss of relevant information, including information from witnesses, and may impair the University's ability to enforce this policy. To promote timely and effective review, reports of possible sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking should be made within 180 calendar days following the last occurrence of the behavior that gives rise to the concern.

REPORTS TO LAW ENFORCEMENT

Because sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking may constitute both a violation of University policy and criminal activity (sexual assault, for example), Gallaudet strongly encourages students to report a sexual assault or other criminal activity promptly to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) if the assault occurred on campus, and to local law enforcement for assaults occurring off campus. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. The collection and preservation of such evidence related to the reported sexual assault makes prompt reporting of the incident to law enforcement especially critical.

RELATED CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS

Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards of finding a violation of this policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct, for purposes of this policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under this policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and therefore decline to prosecute. The filing of a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding. Students retain the right to file a criminal complaint and a Title IX complaint simultaneously. The University will fulfill its legal and ethical obligation to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate possible sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking allegations even if there are other external processes or procedures pending in connection with that same sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking report. In other words, the University will not necessarily wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and will take interim measures to protect the complainant and the community, as appropriate. The University may delay temporarily the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation and impose interim measures while the police are gathering evidence.

D.C. CIVIL PROTECTION ORDERS

Students also retain the right to file for a civil protection order in the District of Columbia against another person for sexual assault, sexual abuse, stalking, and domestic violence (including intimate partner violence, intrafamily violence, and interpersonal violence).

A Civil Protection Order (CPO) is an instrument of the District of Columbia courts and is enforced by the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD). The Department of Public Safety (DPS) has only a support role assisting MPD in documenting any alleged violations and is not responsible for enforcing the CPO. MPD is responsible for making the final determination whether 1) a CPO has been violated and 2) what action to take. Students who have a CPO in effect and believe that their CPO has been violated can contact either DPS or MPD. If the alleged violation takes place on-campus, DPS prefers the student make an initial report of the alleged violation to DPS. DPS will take a report and contact MPD for review and action if needed. If the alleged violation took place off-campus, the student should contact MPD directly, however, DPS is available to assist in contacting MPD if the student prefers.

If DPS officers witness a situation where violence, threat of violence, and/or intimidation takes place between individuals on-campus, they will intervene as they would for any student, faculty, or staff with or without a CPO. It is important to stress that MPD, not DPS, makes the final determination on how to address the complaint and the final authority concerning CPO enforcement is with MPD and the DC Court system.

RETALIATION

Gallaudet University strictly prohibits retaliatory discrimination or harassment against any person(s) for reporting, filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking. The Campus SaVE Act also prohibits retaliation. Retaliatory discrimination or harassment may include, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, harassment, violations of no-contact orders, and other intentional, adverse action threatened or taken by any individual or group of individuals, including a complainant, respondent, or third party. The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that a person who, in good faith, reports, or participates in a sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking investigation will not be subject to retaliation. A retaliation concern will be reviewed as a separate violation under this policy; that is, a person can be found responsible for retaliation even if not found to be responsible for the underlying reported sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking.

FALSE REPORTS

Gallaudet University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to furnish false or misleading information to any University official, of any policy violation including sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking. A complainant who makes a report that is later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action. This does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are not substantiated by the investigation. Similarly, a respondent or witness who is later proven to have intentionally given false information may be subject to disciplinary action.

UNIVERSITY AS COMPLAINANT

As necessary, Gallaudet University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate remedies-based or sanctions-based resolution without the formal complaint by the complainant of misconduct.

THIRD PARTY REPORTS

In cases where a sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, or stalking incident is reported to the Title IX Coordinator (or other University sources) by a third party, the complainant will be notified by the Title IX Coordinator that a report has been received. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant to discuss his/her options and resources available on- and off-campus.

NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

Gallaudet University is committed to establishing and maintaining a safe and nondiscriminatory educational environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. It is the policy of Gallaudet University to provide an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. Any Gallaudet employee, student, applicant for admission or employment, or other participant in Gallaudet University programs or activities, who believes that he or she has been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, sexual orientation, age, disability, veteran status or other items listed in the D.C. Human Rights Act. This policy addresses all forms of sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, and stalking. Students who believe they have been subjected to sexual or gender-based harassment or discrimination in violation of this policy should follow the procedure outlined in the Interim Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Policy to report these concerns.

In accordance with Federal and District of Columbia law, the University prohibits retaliation of any kind against any individual who has filed a complaint regarding discrimination or has participated in procedures to redress complaints of discrimination. Gallaudet University is committed to taking appropriate action against those who violate its policy of non-discrimination.

Complaints of discrimination should be directed to:

Ms. Sharrell McCaskill
Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) and Title IX Coordinator
800 Florida Avenue NE
Washington, DC 20002
Email: sharrell.mccaskill@gallaudet.edu
202-559-5683 (VP)
202-651-5462 (V)

EFFECTIVE DATE: JUNE 30, 2015
UPDATED: SEPTEMBER 4, 2015