Effective Date: October 15, 2014
Mills College is firmly committed to providing a community in which students, faculty and staff are not subjected to discrimination, harassment, exploitation, or intimidation. This Policy prohibits all forms of sexual or gender-based harassment, discrimination or misconduct, including sexual violence, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Sexual violence (sexual misconduct and sexual assault) is a severe form of sexual harassment and will not be tolerated at Mills College. Every member of the Mills community should be aware that the College prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence and that such behavior violates both law and College Policy. The College encourages the prompt reporting of any incident of sexual or gender-based misconduct to the College and to local law enforcement or to civil rights enforcement agencies. The College will take appropriate action to correct and discipline behavior that is found to violate campus Policy proscribing any form of sexual assault.
This Policy has been developed to reaffirm the College’s institutional values, to define community expectations, to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated, and to provide for fair and equitable procedures for determining when this Policy has been violated. All members of the Mills community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The College will not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence. Any individual who is found to have violated this Policy may face disciplinary sanctions up to and including expulsion or termination of employment.
Sexual Harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual conduct of any nature that creates an offensive or hostile work environment or unwelcome sexual conduct that is made a condition of working or studying at the College. Sexual harassment, like other forms of prohibited harassment, will not be tolerated.
Examples of prohibited sexual harassment include unwelcome sexual conduct such as:
The legal standards and consequences of unlawful sexual harassment are still evolving. The College’s Policy is more all-encompassing than what the law prohibits. This is because the College’s Policy rests on the fundamental precept that each individual must treat all others with respect, dignity, and professionalism. Deviation from that standard will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence (see definition below). The College will respond to reports of any such conduct.
Sexual harassment may include incidents between any members of the College community, including faculty and other academic appointees, staff, student employees, students, coaches, residents, interns, independent contractors, and non-student or non-employee participants in College programs (e.g., vendors, contractors, visitors). Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships, between peers, or between individuals of the same sex or opposite sex. To determine whether the reported conduct constitutes sexual harassment, consideration shall be given to the record of the conduct as a whole and to the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the conduct occurred. Sexual harassment is not limited to conduct motivated by sexual attraction or desire.
Sexual Violence is defined as physical sexual acts engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, battery, and sexual coercion, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
Domestic Violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, a person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.
Dating Violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Sexual Assault occurs when physical sexual activity is engaged without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. The activity or conduct may include physical force, violence, threat, intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, penetration by a foreign object, causing the other person’s intoxication or incapacitation through the use of drugs or alcohol, the other person’s minor status, or taking advantage of the other person’s incapacitation (including voluntary intoxication).
Consent is informed. Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
Consent is voluntary. It must be given without coercion, force, threats, or intimidation. Consent means positive cooperation in the act or expression of intent to engage in the act pursuant to an exercise of free will.
Consent is revocable. Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. A person cannot consent if s/he is unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness. A person cannot consent if s/he is under the threat of violence, bodily injury or other forms of coercion. A person cannot consent if his/her understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment. A person cannot consent if he/she is under the age of 18.
For purposes of this Policy, the age of consent is consistent with California Penal Code Section 261.5.
Incapacitation is defined as the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments. States of incapacitation include, but are not limited to, unconsciousness, sleep, and blackouts. Where alcohol or drugs are involved, incapacitation is defined with respect to how the alcohol or other drugs consumed affects a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make fully informed judgments. Being intoxicated by drugs or alcohol does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent. The factors to be considered when determining whether consent was given include whether the accused knew, or whether a reasonable person should have known, that the Complainant was incapacitated.
Stalking is behavior in which a person repeatedly engages in conduct directed at a specific person that places that person (i) in reasonable fear of his or her safety or the safety of others; or (ii) to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Complainant refers to the individual who identifies him/herself as being a victim or survivor of sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, or intimate partner violence.
Respondent refers to the individual who has been accused of prohibited conduct under this Policy.
Third party refers to any other participant in the process, including a witness to the incident or an individual who makes a report on behalf of someone else.
The College prohibits sexual or gender-based misconduct. Such behavior violates both law and College Policy. The College will respond promptly and effectively to reports of sexual or gender-based misconduct and will take appropriate action to correct, and when necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this Policy. Upon receipt of a report, the College will take prompt and effective action by: providing interim remedies and support for individuals who make a report or seek assistance under this Policy (referred to as the “Complainant”); conducting a review of the conduct under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; addressing the safety of individuals and the campus community; and as warranted, pursuing resolution through informal measures or formal disciplinary action against the accused individual (referred to in this Policy as the “Respondent”). The Policy provides specific procedures for investigation and resolution based on the role of Respondent (student, staff or faculty).
All Mills College community members are required to follow College policies and local, state, and federal law. This Policy applies to conduct occurring on Mills College property or at College-sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus. In situations in which both the Complainant and Respondent are members of the Mills College community, this Policy will apply regardless of the location of the incident. In particular, off-campus conduct that is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on, or poses a threat of danger to, any member of the Mills College community or Mills College is covered under this Policy. A Complainant is encouraged to report misconduct regardless of where the incident occurred or who committed it. Even if the College does not have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the College will still take prompt action to provide for the safety and well-being of the Complainant and the broader campus community.
A. Prohibited Acts
This Policy prohibits sexual harassment and sexual violence as defined in Section II. Conduct by an employee that is sexual harassment or sexual violence in violation of this Policy is considered to be outside the course and scope of employment.
B. Consensual Relationships
This Policy covers unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Consensual romantic relationships between members of the College community are subject to other College policies. For example, policies governing faculty-student relationships are detailed in the Faculty Handbook
C. Gender Identity, Gender Expression, or Sexual Orientation Discrimination
Harassment that is not sexual in nature but is based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex- or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation is also prohibited by the College if it denies or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational programs, employment, or services. While discrimination based on these factors may be distinguished from sexual harassment, these types of discrimination may contribute to the creation of a hostile work or academic environment. Thus, in determining whether a hostile environment due to sexual harassment exists, the College may take into account acts of discrimination based on gender, gender identity, gender expression, sex- or gender-stereotyping, or sexual orientation.
D. Retaliation Prohibited
No individual shall be penalized in any way for reporting or threatening to report sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual violence nor for cooperating or participating in an investigation of a complaint. Retaliation against any member of the Mills College community who makes a complaint of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sexual violence, or otherwise participates in an investigation or proceeding, is prohibited and may result in disciplinary action that includes termination of employment or expulsion from the College. Intentionally making a false complaint, claim, or report or providing false information, however, is grounds for discipline including suspension, expulsion, or termination.
E. Dissemination of the Policy, Educational Programs, and Employee Training
As part of the College’s commitment to providing a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and sexual violence, this Policy shall be disseminated widely to the College community through publications, websites, new employee orientations, student orientations, and other appropriate channels of communication. The College shall make preventive educational materials available to all members of the College community to promote compliance with this Policy. The College will designate employees responsible for reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence and make available prevention training to designated employees. In addition, the College will provide training to investigators and hearing officers.
F. Role of the Title IX Officer
Mills College has appointed the Chief Human Resources Officer to serve as the College’s Title IX Officer. The Title IX Officer oversees the College’s investigation and resolution of reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence. The Title IX Officer also oversees the College’s overall compliance with Title IX. Deputy Title IX Coordinators have a shared responsibility for supporting the Title IX Officer and are accessible to any member of the community for consultation and guidance.
Inquiries or complaints concerning the application of Title IX may be referred to
the College’s Title IX Officer, Deputy Title IX Coordinators and/or to the US Department
of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
Mills College Chief Human Resources Officer/Title IX Officer
US Office for Civil Rights
Beale Street, Suite 7200
San Francisco, CA
G. Reporting Sexual Misconduct
Any member of the College community may report conduct that may constitute sexual harassment or sexual violence to any supervisor, manager, or the Title IX Officer. Supervisors, managers, other designated employees, anyone who has the authority to take actions to redress sexual violence or harassment, or anyone else a student could reasonably believe has the authority to report sexual harassment and sexual violence are responsible for promptly forwarding such reports to the Title IX Officer or other official designated to review and investigate sexual harassment and sexual violence complaints. These employees should make every effort to ensure that the Complainant understands: (i) the employee’s obligation to report the names of the alleged perpetrator and student involved in the alleged sexual violence, as well as relevant facts regarding the alleged incident (including the date, time, and location), to the Title IX Officer or other appropriate school officials; and (ii) the student’s option to request that the school maintain his or her confidentiality, which the Title IX Officer will consider.
Any manager, supervisor, designated employee, or other employees named above who are responsible for reporting or responding to sexual harassment or sexual violence who knew about the incident and took no action to stop it or failed to report the prohibited act may be subject to disciplinary action. The College shall provide confidential resources with whom members of the College community can consult for advice and information regarding making a report of sexual harassment or sexual violence.
H. Privacy vs. Confidentiality
The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, dating violence, or domestic violence. All College employees who are involved in the College’s Title IX response, including the Title IX Officer, investigators, and hearing panel members, will respect and safeguard private information. Throughout the process, every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of all individuals involved in a manner consistent with the need for a thorough review of the report. The Title IX Officer will conduct an initial assessment of the conduct, the Complainant’s expressed preferences, if any, as to course of action, and the necessity for any interim remedies or accommodations to protect the safety of the Complainant or the community.
The only campus and community professionals who can offer legally protected confidentiality are mental health providers, ordained clergy, and attorneys, acting in their capacity as such. Requests regarding the confidentiality of reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence will be considered by the Title IX Officer in determining an appropriate response. The Title IX Officer will honor such requests to the extent they do not impede the College’s obligation to ensure a working and learning environment free from sexual harassment and sexual violence and the rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. The information will only be shared with individuals who are responsible for handling the College’s response to incidents of sexual violence.
I. Response to Reports of Sexual Misconduct
The College shall provide prompt and effective response to reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence, which may include an investigation, and/or targeted prevention training or educational programs. Where sexual harassment, including sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking has occurred, an investigation will take place. An individual shall be provided with a written explanation of the individual’s rights and options whether the offense occurred on or off campus, with counseling references, and with nearby hospital contact information by the Title IX Officer or by deputies designated by the Title IX Officer.
Any member of the College community who is found to have engaged in sexual harassment or sexual violence is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal in accordance with the applicable College disciplinary Policy. Generally, disciplinary action will be recommended when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it alters the conditions of employment or limits the opportunity to participate in or benefit from educational programs. If the accused is a student, they will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion.
J. Timely Warning
If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or continuing threat to the Mills community, the College may issue a campus-wide timely warning (which can take the form of an email to campus) to protect the health or safety of the community. The timely warning will not include any identifying information about the Complainant. Even where there is no imminent threat, the College may send campus-wide email notifications on all reported sexual misconduct.
At no time will the College release the name of the Complainant to the general public without the express consent of the Complainant. The release of the Respondent’s name to the general public is guided by Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act.
All College proceedings are conducted in compliance with the requirements of FERPA, the Clery Act, Title IX, and state and federal law. No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law and College Policy.
K. Additional Enforcement Information
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) investigate complaints of unlawful harassment, including sexual violence, in employment. The US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) investigates complaints of unlawful harassment and sexual violence by students in educational programs or activities. These agencies may serve as neutral fact finders and attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of disputes with the parties. For more information, contact the nearest office of the EEOC, DFEH or OCR.
The College encourages all individuals to make a report to the College and to local law enforcement. Reporting options are not mutually exclusive. Both internal and criminal reports may be pursued simultaneously.
A. External Reporting Options
The College encourages all individuals to seek assistance from a medical provider and/or law enforcement immediately after an incident of sexual misconduct. This is the best option to ensure preservation of evidence and to begin a timely investigation and remedial response. The College will help any Mills community member to get to a safe place and coordinate with law enforcement about on- and off-campus resources and options for resolution.
B. Internal Reporting Options
All members of the College community are encouraged to contact the Title IX Officer if they observe or encounter conduct that may be subject to this Policy. This includes conduct by employees, students, or third parties. The College cannot take appropriate action unless an incident of sexual harassment or sexual violence is reported to a “responsible employee” of the College. Reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence may be brought to the Title IX Officer or to any manager, supervisor, other designated employee responsible for responding to reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence, anyone who has the authority to take actions to redress sexual violence or harassment, or anyone else a student could reasonably believe has the authority to report sexual harassment and sexual violence. If the person to whom harassment normally would be reported to is the individual accused of harassment, reports may be made to another manager, supervisor, or designated employee. Managers, supervisors, and designated employees are required to notify the Title IX Officer or other appropriate official designated to review and investigate sexual harassment complaints when a report is received.
Reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence should be brought forward as soon as possible after the alleged conduct occurs. While there is no stated timeframe for reporting, prompt reporting will better enable the College to respond to the report, determine the issues, and provide an appropriate remedy and/or action. All incidents should be reported even if a significant amount of time has passed. However, delaying a report may impede the College’s ability to conduct an investigation and/or to take appropriate remedial actions.
C. Anonymous Reporting
Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual harassment or sexual violence. An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her name, identifying the Respondent or requesting any action. Depending on the extent of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, however, the College’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited.
The Title IX Officer will receive the anonymous report and will determine any appropriate steps, including individual or community remedies as appropriate, and in consultation with the Director of Public Safety, compliance with all Clery Act obligations.
To make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual harassment or campus safety that is not an emergency, please go to Ethics Point or call 888.399.0351. Do not use this site to report events presenting an immediate threat to life or property. Reports submitted through this service may not receive an immediate response.
To make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual harassment, sexual violence, or campus safety that is an emergency, please call the Office of Public Safety at 510.430.5555 or dial 911.
D. Required Notifications For Reports of Sexual Violence
The College will provide a written explanation of available rights and options, including procedures to follow, when the College receives a report that the student or employee has been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, whether the offense occurred on- or off-campus or in connection with any College program.
The written information shall include:
E. Interim Measures
Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the College may impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures to protect the parties involved. Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether formal disciplinary action is sought by the Complainant or the College. A Complainant or Respondent may request a Stay-Away Letter or other protection, or the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all parties. All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure.
Interim measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College. Potential remedies, which may be applied to the Complainant and/or the Respondent, include:
F. Investigation Procedures
In cases where a Complainant states he or she does not want to pursue an investigation, the Title IX Officer should inform the Complainant that the ability to investigate may be limited. In cases of sexual harassment, when determining whether to go forward with an investigation, the Title IX Officer may consider: 1) the seriousness of the allegation, 2) in the case of a student complainant, the age of the student, 3) whether there have been other complaints or reports against the accused, and 4) the rights of the accused individual to receive information about the Complainant and the allegations if formal proceedings with sanctions may result from the investigation. Even if a Complainant does not want to pursue an investigation, under some circumstances, the Title IX Officer may have an obligation to investigate a complaint, such as when sexual violence, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking may have occurred or where there is a risk to the campus community if the accused remains on campus. The Complainant should be made aware of this independent obligation to investigate the complaint.
In order to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution, any investigation of reports of sexual misconduct shall incorporate the following standards:
Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the College’s Title IX Officer will conduct an initial assessment to consider the nature of the report, the safety of the individual and of the campus community, and the Complainant’s expressed preference for resolution. The Title IX Officer may recommend interim protective measures to provide for the safety of the individual and the campus community.
A. Informal Resolution
At the conclusion of the assessment, the College may choose to pursue informal resolution through a remedies-based approach. Where the Title IX assessment concludes that informal resolution may be appropriate, the College will take immediate and corrective action through the imposition of individual and community remedies designed to maximize the Complainant’s access to the educational and extracurricular activities at the College and to eliminate a hostile environment. Examples of protective remedies are provided in Section IV (E). Other potential remedies include targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, direct confrontation of the Respondent, and/or indirect action by the Title IX Coordinator or the College. Depending on the form of informal resolution used, it may be possible to maintain anonymity.
The College will not compel a Complainant to engage in informal resolution, to directly confront the Respondent, or to participate in any particular form of informal resolution. Informal resolution may not be used in cases involving sexual violence or assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. The decision to pursue informal resolution will be made when the College has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct, which may occur at any time. Participation in informal resolution is voluntary, and a Complainant can request to end informal resolution at any time.
The Title IX Officer will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal resolution. Informal resolution will typically be completed within thirty (30) business days of the initial report.
B. Formal Resolution
The College may decide that an investigation is needed. The goal of the investigation is to gather all relevant facts and determine if there is sufficient information to refer the matter to formal disciplinary action using the College’s formal resolution procedures for student, faculty or staff respondents.
Disciplinary action against a Respondent may only be taken through the College’s formal resolution procedures. Because the relationship of students, staff, and faculty to the College differ in nature, the procedures that apply when seeking disciplinary action necessarily differ as well. Each of the procedures, however, is guided by the same principles of fundamental fairness and respect for all parties, which require notice, an equitable opportunity to be heard, and an equitable opportunity to respond to a report under this Policy.
The specific procedures for Formal Resolution will vary based upon the role of the Respondent:
C. Advisors, Support Persons, and Attorney Advisor: In any hearing, the Complainant and Respondent may choose to be assisted by an advisor. The advisor may accompany the student to any College investigative, administrative, or adjudicative meeting, including the panel hearing. The advisor may not speak to the panel during the hearing.
Support Person: A Complainant and Respondent may also choose to be assisted by an emotional support person of their choice. The person must be a member of the Mills community (student, faculty, staff, or administrator).
The support person cannot be a witness in the proceedings. The support person is a silent and non-participating presence who is there solely to observe and provide moral support during the hearing itself. This person is not to address the hearing panel, Administrator, or interviewer, except to ask for a short recess if one of the parties requires some time to compose him or herself or collect his or her thoughts. The hearing panel coordinator, Administrator, or interviewer has the right at all times to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of a support person and whether the person may remain at the proceedings or meetings. While the support person may be present to hear testimony, no written materials are to be shared with support people.
Absent extenuating circumstances, witnesses and others involved in an investigation, administrative meeting, or hearing are not entitled to have a support person present.
The Title IX Officer is responsible for maintaining records relating to sexual harassment and sexual violence reports, investigations, and resolutions. Records shall be maintained in accordance with College records policies. (See Policy 7710, Document Retention and Destruction Policy.) All records pertaining to pending litigation or a request for records shall be maintained in accordance with instructions from legal counsel.