2.6 SEXUAL HARASSMENT PROCEDURES
(See section 1.6.1 and 1.6.3) (amended May 1996)
The following procedures are to be followed in cases of complaints of sexual harassment brought against members of the faculty by students, staff members, and other faculty members. Cases in which the complaint is brought against a student or a staff member follow the provisions of either the Course of Study or the Staff Handbook, as appropriate. Access to these procedures is limited to current students, employees, and faculty members of Kenyon College.
Any attempt to penalize or retaliate against a person who initiates a complaint in good faith is prohibited and may be considered a separate incident of harassment. Complainants have the right to continue their education or employment without stigma or disadvantage.
Likewise, any attempt to penalize or retaliate against a person who has been subject to complaint and subsequently exonerated is also prohibited and may be considered an incident of harassment
- 2.6.1 Initial Reporting of Harassment: Consultation with Sexual Misconduct Advisors or Equal Opportunity Officer (EOO)
- 2.6.2 Informal Resolution and Mediations
- 2.6.3 Formal Action of Complaint
- 2.6.4 The Faculty Sexual Harassment Hearing Board
- 2.6.5 Procedures Preliminary to Hearing
- 2.6.6 Hearing Procedures
- 2.6.7 The Rights of the Complainant
- 2.6.8 The Rights of the Respondent
- 2.6.9 Sexual Assault
2.6.1 Initial Reporting of Harassment: Consultation with Sexual Misconduct Advisors or Equal Opportunity Officer (EOO)
Members of the College community who believe that they have been the victim of sexual harassment should consult with a Sexual Misconduct Advisor or the EOO. All such consultations are strictly confidential. No written records will be made of the consultation or its circumstances.
After consultation with the advisor, the person bearing the complaint is solely responsible for deciding what course of action to pursue. If no further action is taken, no record of the consultation will be kept by the advisor nor any report of the consultation made.
Further action may be taken either informally or formally. It is recommended that in either case the action be taken as promptly as possible after the alleged harassment occurs.
For a variety of reasons, including confidentiality, speed of resolution, and return to normal relations, it may be in the interest of both the complainant and the respondent to seek some form of informal resolution.
No records or reports identifying the parties involved will be kept of attempts at informal resolution of complaints or their results.
A. Indirect Mediation. After discussion with a Sexual Misconduct Advisor, the complainant may request that the EOO (who is also the College's Ombudsperson) inform the respondent of the general nature of the complaint, preserving, as much as possible, the anonymity of the complainant. The purpose of anonymous mediation is simply to inform the respondent of the nature of the complaint in general terms and solely for the respondent's own information. The substance of the communication will be an explanation of the nature of the complaint and an indication of how the complaint may be resolved. The EOO will inform the complainant of the reaction of the respondent. If this exchange does not resolve the complaint or lead to further negotiation, the complainant should consider the alternatives described below.
B. Direct Communication. The complainant may decide to communicate the nature of the complaint in a personal letter to the respondent. The substance of the letter should be a simple explanation of the nature of the complaint. The complainant may consult with a Sexual Misconduct Advisor or the EOO for assistance and advice in drafting the letter, but the letter should reflect the complainant's understanding of the complaint and articulate the complaint in the complainant's own language and terms. If this letter does not lead to a resolution of the complaint, the complainant may consult with an advisor or the EOO in deciding what further action to take.
C. Direct Mediation. The complainant may decide to seek informal resolution of the complaint through the agency of a Mediator. Ordinarily the Mediator will be the EOO, but may be a person chosen from the Sexual Misconduct Advisors by the EOO with the agreement of the complainant. The purpose of mediation is neither to judge the complaint nor to evaluate its merits, but simply to enable the parties involved to achieve a mutually agreeable understanding and resolution of the complaint. The first step in direct mediation will be the Mediator's consultation with the respondent about the nature of the complaint and the agreement of the respondent to participate in direct mediation. If the respondent refuses to participate in direct mediation, the complainant is responsible for deciding what further action to take.
The Mediator may consult with the parties together or individually in whatever way may be helpful in clarifying the nature of the complaint and finding a mutually agreeable resolution. Ordinarily, mediation will involve only the Mediator and the two persons directly involved; however, with both parties agreeing, each may be accompanied by one advisor.
An attempt at informal resolution does not preclude formal action of any kind.
After the meeting with an advisor to consider the nature of the complaint and possible charges, or after an unsatisfactory attempt at informal resolution, complainants may decide to proceed with a formal action of complaint. In this event, they must make a statement of complaint and request in writing to the Ombudsperson that the Sexual Harassment Hearing Board adjudicate the case.
The statement of complaint must include details, the names, dates, times, and description of the specific incidents involved. The advisor may assist the complainant in preparing this document.
The full Faculty Sexual Harassment Hearing Board consists of seven members as follows: two student members of the Judicial Board appointed by the President of the College; one staff member and one member from the Senior Staff, appointed by the President; and three members of the Faculty Grievance Committee, one as Convener of the Hearing Panel, chosen in accordance with the procedures used in determining a Hearing Panel of the Faculty Grievance Committee (see section 2.5.3). Also, the Provost will attend Sexual Harassment Hearings as an observer and consultant, but without vote.
When a charge of sexual harassment has been brought to the board, the Convener will form a specific Hearing Panel according to the status of the complainant. The two student members from the Judicial Board will be part of the Hearing Panel in cases involving a student complainant. The member from Staff Council and the member from Senior Staff will be part of the Hearing Panel in cases involving a staff or administrative complainant. In cases of a faculty complainant, the Hearing Panel will be composed of only the three members of the Grievance Committee and the Provost. All members of the Hearing Panel except the Provost will be voting members, i.e., five members in the cases of non-faculty complainants, three in the case of a faculty complainant.
The Hearing Panel will be chaired by one of the faculty members drawn from the Grievance Committee, with the administrative assistance of the office staff of the Provost. The duties of the chair will be to communicate with all the parties involved in a specific case, call and conduct meetings, and report the result to the President.
All the members of the Faculty Sexual Harassment Hearing Board will receive special EOO training with appropriate legal, medical, and counseling assistance as needed.
A. Preliminaries. The formal complaint filed with the Ombudsperson will be forwarded to the Provost. The Provost will meet with the respondent as soon as possible. At this meeting the Provost will give the faculty member a copy of the formal complaint, describe the procedures to be followed, advise the faculty member regarding rights and resources, and set a date for the accused to present a written response to the complaint if the accused wishes to provide one.
The Provost will inform the Convener of the Hearing Board of the case and provide copies of the statement of complaint and the faculty member's written response, if one has been provided. The Convener will then appoint a faculty member as the Hearing Panel Chair and call the first meeting of the Hearing Panel with the specific composition appropriate to the complainant.
In the event the accused faculty member refuses to participate, either informally or in a written statement, the procedures will continue.
B. First Meeting. At the first meeting of the Hearing Panel, any members with potential conflict of interest will disqualify themselves from that particular hearing. The chair will appoint appropriate alternates from the Judicial Board, Staff Council, Senior Staff, or the Faculty Grievance Committee, as necessary. After the composition of the Hearing Panel has been determined, it will meet with the EOO to consider the statement of complaint and the response of the accused faculty member and determine its course of action in the particular case. At this point it may decide, by a unanimous vote, not to conduct a formal hearing. In this case both the complainant and the accused may request a meeting with the Hearing Panel to discuss the case.
(amended July 1998)
In deciding when to hold hearings, whom to admit to them as advisors or witnesses, and how to conduct hearings themselves, the Panel will conform to the rights and protections of the complainant and the respondent as described in the current Student Handbook, the current Staff Handbook, and the Faculty Handbook, particularly the provisions in section 2.3.11, "Suspension or Termination of Employment," and section 2.5, "Grievance Procedure," as appropriate to the circumstances and the possible sanctions of the particular case. Except where provisions in section 2.3.11 and 2.5 supersede, hearings will conform to the following guidelines.
A. All hearings shall be closed. Neither party will be accompanied or represented by legal counsel. The only persons attending the hearings are the Panel members, the complainant, the respondent, one advisor for the complainant and one advisor for the respondent, and material witnesses of the specific events described in the formal statement. Witnesses who are not direct parties in the case will be present at the hearing only when they are called upon to speak.
B. All members of the Hearing Panel are required to practice strict confidentiality concerning all aspects of a particular case at all times, including before, during, and after any hearings. The potential serious consequences of sexual-harassment issues indicate that confidentiality ought to be maintained by all parties associated with a hearing, including witnesses and advisors.
C. The Hearing Panel will determine innocence or guilt based on a preponderance of evidence. The Hearing Panel will present its determination of the case in a letter to the President. In the event the charged faculty member is found guilty, the Hearing Panel will recommend appropriate sanctions to the President. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, a warning, a reprimand, a suspension, or termination of employment. The President of the College, in consultation with the Provost, will report in a letter to the faculty member the action taken.
D. Time Limitations. The Hearing Panel will complete its preliminary review of the case and give notice of its determination within one (1) week after the receipt of a request for a formal hearing. If the Panel proceeds to a formal hearing, the hearing will be held not less than seven (7) and not more than fifteen (15) days after notification of its decisions to so proceed. The chair of the Hearing Panel may recess a hearing at such times and for such periods as necessary for a fair and orderly review of the circumstances of the case. The Panel will render its written determination within seven (7) days of the conclusion of the formal hearing.
The President will take action within ten (10) days of receipt of the Panel's written recommendation. The chair of the Hearing Panel, after consultation with the parties involved, may suspend the time limitations during any period when the College is not in session.
E. No written or electronic records will be kept of the preliminary meeting or the formal hearing.
The rights of the complainant include the following:
A. The right to full access to this sexual-harassment procedure, including the opportunity to discuss the case with the Hearing Panel and the right to drop the case at any time.
B. The right to have a Kenyon faculty member, administrator, or student as an advisor. The advisor may not be a party or a witness in the case. The role of advisor is to help the complainants prepare for the hearing and to accompany them to the hearing. During the hearing they are limited to asking questions of the chair of the Panel and consulting with the complainant. The complainant must notify the chair of the identity of the advisor at least forty-eight hours in advance of the hearing, absent good cause to the contrary.
C. The right to present information and witnesses in affirmation of the complaint. The names of witnesses must be given to the chair at least forty-eight hours before the hearing, absent good cause shown to the contrary. The number of witnesses called may be determined by the chair to limit unnecessary repetition during a hearing.
D. The right to question all information, as well as witnesses and the respondent.
E. The right not to have the complainant's sexual history discussed during the hearing, except as it specifically involves the respondent's actions with the complainant.
F. The right to be notified of the outcome of the hearing.
The rights of the respondent include the following:
A. The right to an unbiased hearing and a determination based only on information presented at the hearing.
B. The right to remain silent; silence is not construed as evidence of guilt.
C. The right to receive written notification and detailed information about the charges at least seven (7) days prior to the hearing, absent good cause to the contrary.
D. The right to a hearing conducted promptly after the filing of the formal statement of complaint.
E. The right to present information and witnesses in defense of the complaint. The names of witnesses must be given to the chair at least forty-eight hours before the hearing, absent good cause to the contrary. The number of witnesses called may be determined by the chair to limit unnecessary repetition during a hearing.
F. The right to question all information, as well as witnesses and the complainant.
G. The right to have a Kenyon faculty member, administrator, or student as an advisor. The advisor may not be a party or a witness in the case. The role of advisors is to help respondents prepare for the hearing and to accompany them to the hearing. During the hearing they are limited to asking questions of the chair of the Panel and consulting with the respondents. The faculty member must notify the chair of the identity of the advisor at least forty-eight hours in advance of the hearing, absent good cause shown to the contrary.
H. The right to written notification of the recommendation of the Panel and the action of the President within ten (10) days after the President has been informed of the recommendation of the Hearing Panel.
I. The right to appeal to the Faculty Grievance Committee on various grounds including: failure of the Hearing Panel to follow the procedures set forth here or the relevant procedures under section 2.3.11, "Suspension or Termination" and section 2.5, "Grievance Procedure"; questioning the appropriateness of the sanctions invoked; and new information unavailable at the time of the Hearing. The letter of appeal must be filed with the President within ten (10) days of notification of the action of the President.
According to Ohio law, any individual* who becomes aware of sexual misconduct that rises to the level of a felony (as in a rape or attempted rape) is obliged to report it to local law enforcement authorities (normally, the sheriff's office) usually through Kenyon's Department of Security and Safety. The sheriff's office will, in turn, contact the victim for verification of the allegation. However, it should be understood that reporting an incident is not the same as filing formal charges. Ultimately, the victim determines the course of action in these matters and if she/he decides not to pursue formal charges, it is highly unlikely that any further action would be taken by local law enforcement authorities.
* The College's physician, licensed counselors, trained sexual misconduct advisors, and the clergy are exempt by law from reporting alleged felonies due to the patient-client privilege of confidentiality. Consequently, if a victim of an assault prefers to keep an incident confidential, she/he may choose to discuss it with one of them initially to explore options.