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Policies | Sexual Misconduct (Title IX Policy)

Policy Statement on Sexual Misconduct (Title IX)

In keeping with Trinity’s mission and identity as a Catholic institution rooted in principles of respect for human life and dignity, devoted to action for social justice, Trinity seeks to ensure that all students, faculty and staff, visitors and guests, personnel of vendors and others on campus act at all times with respect for the rights of each person, maintaining an environment free from harassment, intimidation, discrimination, sexual or other forms of assault or violence against persons in any form.

Trinity’s Harassment Policy covers all forms of harassment, intimidation or assault broadly for all persons on campus.

Additionally, in keeping with federal requirements for compliance with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972 and its amendments, which prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender in any University program or activity, Trinity expects full compliance with this Policy Statement on Sexual Misconduct (Title IX Policy).  In any case in which a student complains of sexual assault or other forms of sexual misconduct by others, this policy statement takes precedence.

Sexual misconduct constitutes a violation of Title IX and will not be tolerated.  Students may bring complaints or concerns under this policy about any member of our community, whether student, staff, faculty or third parties.  Moreover, students who have been victims of sexual misconduct that occurred outside of school, and who feel the incident is affecting their Trinity experience, may also seek out the resources outlined in this policy.

Trinity is committed to the prevention and eradication of all forms of sexual intimidation or coercion, which are inimical to a living and learning community. Trinity provides programs to educate students about sexual misconduct and how to prevent it, as well as resources for those who have been a victim of sexual misconduct. 

NOTE:  Trinity reserves the right to call the police and to refer cases of sexual misconduct described in this policy to the police or prosecutor at any time.  Referral of a case to the police or prosecutor does not prevent Trinity from also pursuing internal disciplinary actions.

I.  Definitions

Sexual misconduct includes the following:

            1.  Sexual harassment
            2.  Non-consensual sexual contact, or its attempt
            3.  Non-consensual sexual intercourse, or its attempt
            4.  Sexual exploitation

  • sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
  1. submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s academic evaluation;
  2. submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a factor in academic decisions affecting the individual;
  3. such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive or demeaning educational environment.
  • Non-consensual sexual contact means any intentional sexual touching or contact, without consent,  no matter how slight, regardless of the relationship of the parties.
  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse means unwanted penetration of any orifice with any object or body part, no matter how slight.
  • Sexual exploitation means taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for the perpetrator’s benefit; such behavior may not fit into one of the previously mentioned categories. Examples of sexual exploitation include prostituting a student or recording sexual acts without the other person’s consent.
  • Consent means words or actions that communicate approval of sexual activity taking place between the parties; consent to one activity does not automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.  Consent must be made in the absence of coercion of any kind, and silence in and of itself cannot be interpreted as consent.  In addition, persons who are incapacitated due to the use of alcohol or drugs cannot give consent.  

II.  Related Misconduct

Other misconduct offenses will fall under this policy if committed against a student due to gender. These may include:

  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health and safety or any person;
  • Discrimination, as defined by actions that deprive other members of the community of educational access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause fear of bodily injury to a person or their family;
  • Some acts of hazing;
  • Bullying, which is defined as severe or repeated behavior intended to intimidate, control, or diminish another;
  • Violence between those in an intimate partner relationship;
  • Stalking, which is defined as a repeated course of conduct intended to place another or their family members in fear of bodily harm.

III.  Reporting

Students who wish to make Title IX complaints should report them to:

            Ms. China Wilson
            Title IX Coordinator
            Trinity Library, First Floor
            125 Michigan Avenue, NE
            Washington, DC  20017

Violations of this policy may also be reported to:

            Chief Adrienne Murray
            Director of Public Safety
            Trinity Department of Public Safety
            125 Michigan Avenue, NE
            Washington, DC  20017

            Ms. Carole King
            Director of Human Resources
            125 Michigan Avenue, NE
            Washington, DC  20017

            Ms. Michele Bowie
            Dean of Student Services
            125 Michigan Avenue, NE
            Washington, DC  20017

Other campus personnel who learn of sexual assaults or sexual misconduct may have reporting obligations, e.g., personnel in housing, student affairs and academic affairs.  Trinity conducts routine staff training to ensure full compliance with Title IX.

IV.  Process for Investigations and Case Management

Trinity will investigate all reports of sexual misconduct promptly.  Complainants (the person making the complaint) who request anonymity or confidentiality should be aware that Trinity may not be able to honor that request in all cases.  Trinity is required by Title IX and its own policies to maintain the safety and security of the campus community, and in some instances Trinity may have to go forward over the objection of the complainant if the facts warrant.  In every case, the privacy of the complainant will be preserved to the maximum extent possible. 

A.  Protection and Support Resources

Prior to the full investigation or hearing on the matter, Trinity may impose interim measures to ensure the safety of the complainant or the community, such as orders of no contact between the parties, removal from residence halls, or immediate suspension and barring from campus in some cases. 

Trinity will also provide the complainant with information and assistance in obtaining support resources. 

B.  Initial Assessment

Promptly following the receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator will assess the complaint to determine if there is evidence of a violation of this policy and will request information from the complainant, including a statement and list of witnesses, if any.  If the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is sufficient evidence available to commence an investigation, then the case will proceed for further inquiry.

C.  Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator will direct an investigation conducted by a staff member specially trained in the investigation of sexual misconduct.  The investigation may include interviews and the gathering of any relevant documentary evidence, at the investigator’s discretion. 

The respondent (the person identified as the perpetrator of the misconduct) will receive notification of the complaint.  The respondent be interviewed as part of the investigative process and will have the opportunity to provide a written statement  In addition to his or her statement, the respondent may attach other documents directly relevant to the charge.  Letters of testimony to the respondent’s good character will not be accepted.  The respondent’s failure to respond will not stop the process; the respondent may be found responsible, and sanctioned, in absentia.

Respondents must not engage in any form of retaliation against the complainant.  Retaliation is a separate offense that bears severe consequences.

In the absence of extraordinary circumstances, the investigation should normally conclude within seven (7) calendar days of the receipt of the complainant’s statement, though different fact patterns may result in variances to this timetable.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will make a report to the Title IX Coordinator who, with the investigator, will determine whether it is more likely than not that sexual misconduct actually occurred.

D.  If the Respondent Admits Sexual Misconduct

If the investigation results in a positive finding that sexual misconduct did occur, the Title IX Coordinator will meet separately with the complainant and the respondent to discuss the findings of the investigation, and give the respondent the opportunity to either admit or deny the allegations.

If the respondent admits the allegations, then the case moves directly to the penalty phase which is entitled “disciplinary proceedings” in Section F. of this policy statement. 

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Services manage disciplinary review and imposition of penalties in cases involving student respondents who admit guilt.

The Director of Human Resources manages disciplinary review and imposition of penalties in cases involving respondents who are Trinity personnel who admit guilt. 

The Vice President for Administration and the Director of Public Safety manage disciplinary review and imposition of penalties in cases in which the respondents are the personnel of vendors, conference guests, members of the Trinity Center, or other visitors to campus.

In all cases, the complainant must receive a report on the disposition of the case including the penalty imposed on the respondent.

E.  Hearings if Respondent Denies Allegations

If the respondent disputes the finding of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator directs that a hearing will convene as soon as reasonably possible after the investigation.  The hearing will not be postponed on the grounds that there is a criminal proceeding pending regarding the allegations. 

In cases in which a hearing should be convened, both the complainant and the respondent should be mindful that the University has an obligation to protect the privacy of its students and staff to the extent possible.  Prior to the hearing, both parties may be allowed to review and make notes (not photocopy) the contents of the disciplinary case file that will be in evidence at the hearing, but the University may redact portions of the file that contain information that should be kept confidential to protect witnesses, students or others, in the sole discretion of the University. 

Trinity will appoint an independent hearing panel from among the professional personnel of the university who have received Title IX training.  The panel will be constituted appropriately for the academic level and unit of the complainant, with care in the selection to avoid conflicts of interest, e.g., the academic advisor or departmental supervisor of the respondent would not be a panel member.  One member of the panel will chair the proceeding.  The hearing may not be recorded.

Rules of evidence will not apply in the hearing, nor may parties be represented by attorneys; this is not a legal proceeding.  Each party may have a support person with them in the hearing, but that person may not speak during the proceedings.  Each party may make a statement, and call witnesses, although character witnesses will not be heard.  Any student who provides false information during the hearing may be charged with a violation of the student code of conduct.  Any staff member who provides false information during the hearing will incur penalties within the context of Trinity’s personnel policies.

A respondent who fails to appear at a scheduled hearing may be adjudicated in absentia.  In such cases, decisions will be based solely on witness testimony and other written information presented during the proceeding.  In order to find against a respondent, the panel must decide that the preponderance of the evidence indicates that that the respondent was responsible of the misconduct as charged. 

Preponderance of evidence means that a greater weight of evidence has been demonstrated in order to decide in favor of one side or the other.  This decision is based on the quality or likely accuracy of the evidence presented, not on the amount.

The outcome of the disciplinary proceeding and the sanctions imposed, if any, shall be conveyed to the complainant and respondent in writing.

If the respondent is found guilty, the hearing panel is empowered to impose the sanctions described in the penalties section of this policy, below.  In order to ensure the most appropriate application of the penalty and its enforcement, and before making a final decision on the penalty, the hearing panel should consult with the senior staff member named in the sections below depending upon the status of the respondent, and the hearing panel and the senior staff member should agree upon the protocols for administration of the penalty.

F.  Disciplinary Proceedings and Penalties When Respondent Admits Responsibility

As stated in Section D, above, if the respondent admits responsibility after the initial investigation, before empaneling a hearing, then the case moves immediately to the disciplinary proceeding and penalty phase described below.

If the respondent denies responsibility but is subsequently found guilty in the hearing process described in Section E, above, the hearing panel may impose the penalties described below after appropriate consultation with the designated senior staff manager who will carry out the actual administration of the penalty.

Disciplinary proceedings and penalties occur as follows:

1.  If the Respondent is a Student

The Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Services, or their designees, will review the case file.  They may meet with the parties separately should any additional discussion be necessary, depending on the nature of the case.  Once they have reviewed the case, they will determine the appropriate penalty and issue notice of the penalty to the respondent in writing.   They also have the authority to consult with other professionals on Trinity’s staff, e.g., Health Services, Legal Services, Academic Advisors, Residence Life Staff, Athletics Staff, in order to develop any necessary follow-up plans for both the respondent and complainant.

Depending on the facts and circumstances of the case, the Vice President and Dean may impose one or more of the following penalties:

                        a) Expulsion with no opportunity to return to Trinity;

                        b) Expulsion with readmission consideration after a period of time;

                        c) Suspension for a stated period of time, with or without conditions;

                        d) Removal from campus housing, temporarily or permanently;

                        e) Orders of “no contact” between complainant and respondent;

                        f) Mandatory educational programs;

                        g) Community service;

                        h) Such other penalties as may be appropriate for the case.

Penalties of expulsion or suspension take place immediately.  Students will receive “W” grades for courses in progress.  No refunds will issue.

Respondent may appeal a dismissal penalty to the president of the university whose decision in the matter is final.  However, the dismissal is immediate even while the president considers the case.  Should the president overturn the dismissal, it will be the respondent’s obligation to make up class time and assignments missed during the dismissal period.

2.  If the Respondent is an Employee

The Director of Human Resources and one additional member of the senior staff (not an immediate supervisor of the respondent) will review the case file and will meet with the parties should discussion be necessary.  Following review, the following penalties may be imposed depending upon the circumstances of the case:

a) Immediate termination from employment;

b) Suspension without pay from employment for a stated period of time;

c) Probation with conditions;

d) Mandatory educational programs;

e) Such other penalties as may be appropriate.

3.  If the Respondent is a Vendor, Trinity Center Member, Guest or Visitor

The Vice President for Administration and Director of Public Safety will review the case file and take one or several of these actions:

a) In the case of a vendor employee, request for immediate separation from the Trinity contract

b) Report to the vendor supervisor with a request for disciplinary action and educational program participation should the vendor employee remain at Trinity;

c) In the case of a visitor, guest, Trinity Center member or other person, immediate removal from campus and a barring notice;

d) Such other actions as may be warranted given the facts and circumstances of the individual case.

Additional Information:

For more information about your rights under Title IX, contact:

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100 Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 800-877-8339

To contact the Metropolitan Police Department directly, dial 911 from any telephone or visit the 5th District located at:

Fifth District Station
1805 Bladensburg Road, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Phone: (202) 698-0150
Fax: (202) 727-8453

For questions about Trinity policies, please contact the Academic Affairs, Human Resources, or President's Office as appropriate.



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