Student Guide to Title IX:What You Need to Know About Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence and Gender-Based Discrimination
BUNKER HILL COMMUNITY COLLEGE CARES
Our goal is to continue to promote an educational environment and workplace that is free of all forms of discrimination, including gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence. BHCC does not tolerate such behaviors, all of which are prohibited by state and federal laws as well as College policy. We keep our campuses safe by responding promptly and immediately whenever an incident may occur.
Bunker Hill Community College is committed to create a safe environment for all members of our college community. Many behaviors addressed in this guide begin as low-level scenarios in informal situations that students may encounter. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to respond in a safe, responsible and supportive manner.
The purpose of this Guide is to educate our students about Title IX and our collective responsibility to keep our learning and working environments safe and free from all types of discrimination based upon sex for every student, faculty member and staff person. It is important that students be aware of their rights under Title IX and how to protect them.
WHAT IS TITLE IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs that receive federal financial assistance. Gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and acts of sexual violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking are all forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and BHCC policy.
WHAT IS A TITLE IX COORDINATOR?
The College employee assigned the responsibility for maintaining the College’s compliance with Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for administering College policies and BHCC’s discrimination complaint procedure concerning all Title IX Offenses.
The College’s Interim Title IX Coordinator is Cheryl Cephas, and she may be contacted at Room H193, Charlestown Campus, by calling (617) 228-3331 or via email at email@example.com.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for providing any student, employee or visitor who believes s/he has been discriminated against with information and documents necessary to file a discrimination complaint, and for responding effectively to those complaints. BHCC’s Title IX Coordinator also investigates or otherwise resolves all other complaints of discrimination that are made to the College. See How Do We Ensure Confidentiality for more information.
WHAT IS GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION?
Gender-Based discrimination is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes when:
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; and/or
- submission to, or rejection of, such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; and/or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic or professional performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive educational, employment, or living environment based on gender.
WHAT IS SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:
- submission to or rejection of such advances, requests or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or as a basis for academic decisions or employment; or
- such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's academic or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating or sexually offensive learning or working environment.
Under these definitions, direct or implied requests by an instructor or supervisor for sexual favors in exchange for actual or promised academic or job benefits constitute sexual harassment. The legal definition of sexual harassment is broad and sexually oriented conduct, whether it is intended or not, that is unwelcome and has the effect of creating a educational or work environment that is hostile, offensive, intimidating, or humiliating to another may also constitute sexual harassment.
While it is not possible to list all those additional circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment, the following are some examples of conduct which if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances, including the severity of the conduct and/or its pervasiveness:
- Unwelcome sexual advances - whether they involve physical touching or not.
- Repeated, unsolicited propositions for personal phone numbers, dates and/or sexual contact.
- Sexual epithets, jokes, written or oral references to sexual conduct, gossip regarding one's sex life; comment on an individual's body, comment about an individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or sexual ability.
- Displaying sexually suggestive objects, pictures, cartoons.
- Unwelcome leering, whistling, brushing against the body, sexual gestures, suggestive or insulting comments.
- Verbal harassment or abuse on the basis of sex.
- Inquiries into another person’s sexual activities, practices or experiences.
- Discussion of one's own sexual activities, practices or experiences.
WHAT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE?
Sexual violence refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent (e.g., due to the person’s age or use of drugs and/or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent). A number of different acts fall into the category of sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse, and sexual coercion. Sexual violence can be perpetrated by employees, students, or third parties. All such acts of sexual violence are forms of sex discrimination and are prohibited by Title IX.
Sexual Violence under this Policy includes, but is not limited to:
- Rape - Defined by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as follows: 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 victim.
- Sexual Assault- Actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:
- Fondling - The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her age or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental incapacity;
- Incest - Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law; and
- Statutory Rape - Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. The age of consent in Massachusetts is 16 years of age.
- Sexual Exploitation- Occurs when a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person’s consent. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
- Prostituting another person;
- Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
- Distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and
- Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
- Aiding in the Commission of Sexual Violence - The aiding or assisting in the commission of an act(s) of sexual violence is prohibited.
- Dating Violence- Violence committed by a person: (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (b) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
- the length of the relationship;
- the type of relationship; and
- the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition, 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.
- Domestic Violence- A felony or misdemeanor crime of violence including, but not limited to, attempting to cause or causing physical harm; placing another in fear of imminent serious physical harm; or causing another to engage involuntarily in sexual relations by force, threat or duress, which is committed by
- a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
- a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
- a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
- a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred, or
- any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.
- Stalking - Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition, “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker 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. For the purposes of this definition, “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
WHAT IS CONSENT?
Consent must be informed, voluntary, and mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or when coercion, intimidation, threats, or duress is used. Whether a person has taken advantage of a position of influence over another person may be a factor in determining consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Past consent to sexual activity with another person does not imply ongoing future consent with that person or consent to that same sexual activity with another person.
If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or other drug consumption that meets this standard, or being asleep or unconscious. Further, there is no consent if a person is younger than sixteen years old (the age of consent in Massachusetts).
WHO IS AT RISK?
Title IX applies to all students. Gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual violence have no boundaries. Anyone can be a victim of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence regardless of race, religion, sex, gender identity and expression, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status or level of education.
HOW DO WE ENSURE CONFIDENTIALITY?
Personal identifiable information about a victim will be treated as confidential and only shared with persons with a specific need to know and/or who are investigating and/or adjudicating the complaint, delivering resources or support services to the victim or as public safety requires. The College does not publish the names or other identifiable information of victims in the BHCC Police Department’s Daily Crime Log, in any Timely Warnings issued or online. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, no directory information maintained by the College will be released absent the victim’s prior, written consent.
Where a complainant requests that no action be taken by the College or requests that her/his identity not be revealed, the College shall take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint, but shall inform the complainant that such a request may hamper its ability to fully investigate an alleged violation of College policies and/or to take appropriate remedial steps, including disciplinary action. Where an allegation of discrimination involves the potential of an ongoing threat to the health, safety or security of others at the College or a potential adverse employment action, the Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator shall inform the Complainant that it cannot ensure confidentiality and disclosure of her/his name may likely be required. If you have any questions about confidentiality, contact Interim Affirmative Action Officer/Title IX Coordinator Cheryl Cephas, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 617-228-3331.
Nurses in the Health Services Office acting in their professional capacity may speak with a victim in confidence, unless a potential risk to health and/or safety becomes apparent.
TITLE IX POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
- Discrimination complaints, including Title IX complaints, are investigated pursuant to the complaint procedure contained in the Policy on Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity & Diversity. The policy contains both informal and formal procedures with respect to resolving complaints. The policy is available on-line here. Hard copies may be obtained in the Office for Diversity and Inclusion.
- The College’s investigations are conducted in a prompt, fair, thorough and impartial manner. The College may take interim actions before the investigation is completed to protect the complainant, witnesses and the integrity of the investigation and to protect the alleged perpetrator from further allegations.
- The investigation will be completed as soon as is practicable, usually within 60 days.
- During the investigative process, both parties can identify witnesses, present other evidence and can have a personal adviser.
- Both parties will be notified of the outcome of the investigative process.
- Where a violation of policy is found to have occurred, the College will act promptly to end the discrimination, remedy its effects, prevent its recurrence and protect the complainant and others from retaliation.
REPORTING INCIDENTS OF GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION, SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND/OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE
Victims have the right not to make a report to anyone. BHCC strongly encourages victims of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence to seek counseling, support, and/or medical attention when needed. If you choose to report what has happened to you, there are several options available to you. You may report the incident(s) to:
- Interim Title IX Coordinator, Cheryl Cephas at email@example.com or 617-228-3331;
- BHCC Campus Police at 617-228-2222 (Emergencies) or 617-228-2053;
- Dean of Students, Julie Elkins, at 617-228-2436;
- Dean of the applicable academic division;
- Nurses in the Health Services Office, at 617-228-2185;
- Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Molly Ambrose, at 617-228-2457 and/or
- Any staff or faculty member you know whom you are more comfortable speaking with.
With the exception of the Nurses in the Health Services Office acting in their professional capacity (with whom you may speak confidentially unless a potential to risk and/or safety becomes apparent), all others at the College whom you might tell what happened to you are required to report the matter promptly to the Title IX Coordinator.
You have the option of filing a Police report with the BHCC Police Department and/or an external law enforcement agency – it’s your decision. Reporting the incident to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Campus Police does not obligate a victim to file criminal charges. Our Title IX Coordinator can help you understand your administrative and legal options. We encourage victims to reach out right away. We are here to help.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
For a person subjected to an act of sexual violence, there can be time-sensitive decisions to make about sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy, and collecting physical evidence in the event of prosecution. Therefore, victims of sexual violence are advised as follows:
Protect Yourself and Get Medical Attention – Find a safe place as soon as possible and seek medical attention immediately. Injuries and exposure to disease may not be immediately apparent. A medical examination can provide necessary treatment and collect important evidence. It is recommended that a physical exam be conducted within 72 hours of the incident. Submitting to a physical exam does not mean that a victim is required to press charges. This action merely preserves the option to do so. Designated College personnel can assist in providing transportation to the hospital.
Preserve Evidence - It is important to preserve all physical evidence following an act of sexual violence. Physical evidence may be necessary in the event criminal prosecution is pursued. If possible, a victim should be advised not to wash, eat, drink, douche, clean, use the bathroom, or change clothes. If clothes are changed, all clothes that were worn at the time of the incident should not be cleaned and should be placed into a clean paper bag.
Health and Support Services - Various health and support services are available on and off campus for victims of sexual violence. For information about such services, including counseling, please contact the Interim Affirmative Action and Title IX Coordinator, Cheryl Cephas, 250 New Rutherford Avenue, Room H193, by calling (617) 228-3331 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
HOW ARE YOU PROTECTED?
A person subjected to sexual violence will:
- Be provided with a copy of the College’s Sexual Violence – Victim’s Rights and Information Advisory, which shall include information concerning counseling, health, and mental health services, victim advocacy and support, law enforcement assistance, and other services available on and off campus;
- Have the right to pursue, or not pursue, assistance from campus administration officials or campus law enforcement;
- Not be discouraged by College officials from reporting an incident to on-campus and/or off-campus authorities;
- Be provided assistance in contacting local law enforcement if requested and have the full and prompt assistance and cooperation of campus personnel should a civil and/or criminal complaint be pursued;
- Be free from any suggestion that they somehow contributed to or had a shared responsibility in the violent act;
- Receive the same level of support at any proceeding before College officials as is permitted to the accused party, including the presence of a personal advisor during any investigative or disciplinary proceeding and the right to be notified in a timely manner of the outcome of such proceedings and any appeal right available;
- Receive full and prompt cooperation from College personnel in obtaining and securing evidence (including medical evidence) necessary for any potential criminal proceedings;
- Have access to existing professional staff in the Health Services Office, and to obtain referrals to off-campus counseling and support services if desired;
- Be permitted to attend classes, work and participate in College activities free from unwanted contact or proximity to the alleged perpetrator(s) insofar as the College is permitted and able;
- Be permitted to request changes to an academic schedule if such changes are reasonably available;
- Be informed of any no-contact or no-trespass orders issued to the accused party by the College and the College’s commitment to honor any court-issued restraining or protective orders, to the extent permitted by law; and
- Be informed that retaliation of any kind against an individual who files a complaint or cooperates with an investigation is prohibited by College policy as well as state and federal laws. Should retaliation occur, the Title IX Coordinator and/or BHCC Police should be contacted immediately.
RAPE CRISIS CENTER INFORMATION
The Rape Crisis Centers listed below offer free, confidential services for adolescent and adult survivors—and for people who care about survivors of all ages. Trained rape crisis counselors at local programs:
- Answer 24/7 hotlines for phone counseling, questions, and referrals
- Will meet a sexual assault survivor 24/7 at a hospital or a police station
- Will go with a sexual assault survivor to court
- Offer in-person counseling sessions at no cost (some rape crisis centers also offer support groups)
- Provide prevention education; professional training; outreach
This is the current listing from the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services Department of Public Health website as of December 8, 2016.
Greater Boston Area
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Cambridge, 617-492-8306; Hotline, 800-841-8371
North Shore Rape Crisis Center, Lynn, 781-477-2313; Hotline, 800-922-8772
Center for Hope and Healing, Lowell, 978-452-7721;Hotline, 800-542-5212
YWCA of Greater Lawrence, 978-682-3039;SA Hotline, 877-509-9922
A Safe Place, Nantucket, 508-228-0561; Hotline, 508-228-2111
Independence House, Hyannis, 508-771-6507; Hotline, 800-439-6507
Martha’s Vineyard Community Services, Vineyard Haven, 508-684-8082; Hotline, 508-696-7233
New Bedford Women’s Center, New Bedford, 508-996-3343; Hotline, 508-839-6636
New Hope, Attleboro, 508-226-4015; Hotline/TTY, 800-323-4673
New Bedford Women’s Center, New Bedford/Fall River, 508-675-0087; Hotline, 508-673-3328
Health Imperatives, Brockton, 508-580-3964; SA Hotline, 508-588-8255
Bystander intervention should de-escalate problematic situations and effectively assist in the prevention of gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence. The first priority of an active bystander must be to protect her/his own safety. You can’t be a positive and effective intervener if you don’t.
Being an active bystander may include:
- Speaking out against statements, attitudes or behaviors that may create a culture endorsing gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment and/or sexual violence;
- Educating yourself and your friends;
- Talking openly with friends about the issues and how to confront them;
- Not laughing at sexist jokes or comments;
- Identifying and stopping situations that involve sexual harassment or that could lead to a sexual assault;
- Intervening if you see or hear someone targeting another person;
- Asking the person who appears to be in a potentially traumatic and/or dangerous situation if s/he is OK and/or wants to leave;
- Intervening during a high-risk incident, whether by disruption, distraction, speaking up or asking for help so others can intervene with you. Involving others increases the potential for a successful outcome.
- Not hesitating to involve BHCC Police, College administrators or external law enforcement agencies when you believe such action is necessary.
The Student Activities Office presents a series of Bystander Trainings each semester. Please Contact the office in D106H, or email email@example.com for a complete schedule of upcoming trainings.