Sexual Assault Policy, Harassment Policy and Sexual Harassment Policy
St. Olaf College is committed to a safe and healthy environment and as such will not tolerate sexual assault and sexual harassment in any form. Sexual assault is a crime and is a violation of and individuals rights and dignity. Sexual assault is not only an act of disrespect, violence, aggression or coercion against an individual, but also an attack on our College community.
Sexual assault committed in connection with any College program, whether on or off campus, is prohibited and will not be tolerated. This applies to academic, educational, extra-curricular, athletic, residential and other College programs.
St. Olaf College encourages victims to report sexual assault incidents to appropriate College authorities as described in part IV of this policy. Perpetrators of sexual assault will be subject to strict disciplinary action by the College, up to and including suspension, expulsion, discipline, or termination of employment. Retaliation against an individual who brings a complaint, participates in an investigation of sexual assault or pursues legal action is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Students, faculty and staff members should understand that apparently "consensual sexual relationships," particularly those among persons of unequal status, may be or become a violation of this policy. Anyone who engages in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he or she has any degree of power or authority must understand that the validity of the consent involved can and may be questioned. For more information on consensual relationships, see the College's Consensual Relations policy.
Sexual Assault under this policy is any sexual contact with another person who does not or cannot give consent. This may or may not include force. The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish a person's responsibility for assaulting someone. Sexual Assault includes, but is not limited to:
Unwanted sex by acquaintance or stranger
Unwanted touching, fondling, grabbing
Use of coercion to cause submission
Consent is words or conduct indicating a freely given present agreement to perform a particular sexual act with the actor.
Consent can only be given or implied by someone who: acts freely, voluntarily, and with knowledge of the nature of the act involved.
Consent cannot be given if someone:
Consent cannot be inferred from:
is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol
is coerced into submission
is not conscious
is physically incapacitated
is mentally incapacitated
permission for one particular act
a prior sexual, romantic or marital relationship
an existing sexual, romantic or marital relationship
The person filing a complaint with the College under the Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment policy.
The person named as the perpetrator in a complaint. The person responding to the complaint.
III. Support Services
Students who feel they have been the victim of any form of sexual misconduct may wish to seek confidential counseling or support from the following resources. If you are unsure as to where to go or what to do first contact a SARN advocate at x3777.
On Campus Confidential Resources
On Campus Resources (Non-Confidential)
Sexual Assault Resource Network (SARN): x3777 or x3062
Pastors Office: x3092
Counseling Center: x3062
Student Health Services: x3064
Off Campus in Northfield Community Confidential Resources
Dean of Students Office: x3615
Area Coordinator: x3011
Junior Counselors or Resident Assistants: x3011
Public Safety: x3770 or x3666 (24 hour dispatch-emergency)
Confidential resources will not file a report for investigation. Other resources are required to follow up if the identity of the alleged assailant is known or can be determined, but will do so with respect for the privacy of those allegedly involved in the incident.
Northfield Hospital: 646-1000
WomenSafe Center: 1-800-607-2330
1. Complaints of sexual assault may be made by students, faculty members or staff members to the following
- the Dean of Students,
- the President,
- a Vice President,
- a Dean,
- Human Resources Office,
- Residence Life Office, or
- Public Safety Office.
If a complaint is made to anyone else, the complainant risks the possibility that it will not come to the attention of the proper college officials and may, therefore, not be acted upon.
Again, confidential resources are members of the Counseling Center, Pastors Office, and Health Services. All other employees are not confidential resources.2. Complaints of sexual assault committed by a student, faculty member or staff member against any student, faculty member or staff will be investigated promptly.
In general, investigations will be done by a designee from the Dean of Students' office if the respondent is a student, and by a representative of Human Resources if the respondent is a faculty member or staff member.
3. The person investigating the complaint of sexual assault will prepare a written fact-finding report in consultation with the Responsible College Authority. The Responsible College Authority will then determine whether sexual assault has occurred which violates this policy, and, if so, the disciplinary or other action that is appropriate.
If the respondent is a student, the investigation generally shall include, at a minimum, separate interviews of the complainant and the respondent. The complainant student and the respondent student will be permitted to have their attorney or other support person present during their own interview. The designee also shall gather and review other evidence as deemed necessary. The Responsible College Authority shall base its decision on the available evidence including the fact-finding report and the information gathered by the designee in the investigation. The Responsible College Authority may, in his or her discretion, conduct additional investigation or institute disciplinary hearing proceedings in addition to the investigation. If a hearing is held, normal College hearing procedures shall be followed. The complainant student and the respondent student will be permitted to have their attorneys or other support person present during any campus hearing.
If the respondent is an employee, the matter will be handled in a manner consistent with the employee handbook, the faculty handbook, and the faculty manual.
4. A complaint of sexual assault will be resolved by:
In some circumstances, the College Authority will not be able to determine whether the policy has been violated because of insufficient information.
A. a determination that the policy has been violated and imposition of appropriate disciplinary or other action; or
B. a determination that there was no violation of the policy or that a violation cannot be determined and dismissal of the complaint.
5. In all cases where there is a finding of a violation of policy, the College will take prompt and appropriate action. Complainants and respondents in matters alleging sexual assault by a student will be notified as to the outcome of their Complaint.
In the case of a finding of assault by a student, disciplinary action may include, for example; suspension, expulsion, warning, reassignment to another residence hall, restriction from residence halls, and/or no contact with the complainant.
In the case of a staff member or a faculty member, the action(s) may include, but not be limited to, counseling, a warning, suspension, reassignment, demotion, or termination of employment.
The complainant or respondent student shall have a right to an appeal of the decision or the sanctions imposed. The Appeal shall be conducted in accordance with the College's applicable appeal process.
St. Olaf College is committed to creating and maintaining an environment in which all members of the St. Olaf community — students, faculty, and staff are treated with respect and dignity, free from harassment. Faculty, staff, and students are together responsible for maintaining an educational and working environment that is harmonious with the College’s mission.
Harassment consists of unwelcome conduct based on a person’s race, color, creed, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, or any other protected class status when submission to such conduct:
- Is a condition of employment or academic advancement or
- Is a basis for an employment or academic decision or
- Interferes with an individual’s job or academic performance or
- Creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or academic environment.
Harassment of any member of the St. Olaf community by another community member is prohibited.
The College prohibits sexual harassment by any individual, including faculty, staff, students, and third parties such as consultants, contractors or vendors, in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment. Appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against any person found to have violated this policy.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome conduct that emphasizes the sexuality or sexual identity of a person, such as: sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment is distinguished from a voluntary sexual relationship by the introduction of the element of coercion, threat, hostility, or unwanted attention of a sexual nature.
Actions that can constitute sexual harassment include:
- The conditioning of employment benefits or participation in a class based on obtaining sexual favors
- Engaging in conduct of a sexual nature which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or work environment (e.g., sexually-oriented jokes, offensive physical contact, obscene messages and gestures)
- Punishing or threatening to take adverse action against a subordinate or student for refusing to comply with sexual demands.
Although the facts of sexual harassment as listed above may seem self-evident, recognizing such behavior when it is happening to you or others around you may be difficult. Consider whether the behavior:
- Is offensive, unwanted or both
- Interferes with your ability to enjoy your employment or academic situation
- Interferes with job or academic performance
- Causes unnecessary discomfort, humiliation or harm to you or others around you.
If at any time you are able to answer yes to any of the above questions, you should immediately contact the Director of Human Resources or another Investigating Officer.
Faculty and employees are reminded to review the College’s Consensual Relations policy for other guidance relating to romantic relationships.
Harassment Complaint Process
Concerns of harassment should be directed to an Investigating Officer. These are: the Director of Human Resources, Associate Director of Human Resources, Assistant Provost, or a professional member of the Dean of Students staff. Arrangements will be made to have the allegations investigated and complaints resolved appropriately.
The College will determine what type of investigation is appropriate given the circumstances. If it is determined that the matter can be resolved informally through discussion and education, the College may opt to respond through less formal means. If the investigator deems the offending conduct to be severe or pervasive, a more formal investigation may be deemed appropriate.
A formal complaint process will include the questioning of witnesses. The Investigator will ask to hear the particulars of the complaint. Complaints will be handled in as discrete and confidential a manner as possible. However, in order to aid in conducting a thorough investigation, the College cannot promise complete confidentiality.
The Investigator will investigate the facts of the complaint. The Investigator will seek facts to ascertain the circumstances of the complaint and generally will request that witnesses keep the discussion about the complaint confidential. All documentation regarding the investigation will be kept in a confidential file within the Human Resources Office. It will not be part of an individual’s personnel file.
If a violation of the harassment or sexual harassment policy has occurred, the College will take prompt and responsive action including (but not limited to) counseling or education on appropriate behavior, a requirement of behavioral changes, a written warning and/or other disciplinary actions, up to and including termination of employment or enrollment. Any written disciplinary action will be included in the individual’s personnel file.
Individuals involved in a harassment complaint must take care to neither say nor do anything that could be perceived as retaliation toward the complainant or any witnesses. Retaliation against any faculty, staff or student for making a complaint under this policy, or for participating in an investigation under this policy, is strictly prohibited and will result in disciplinary action. If an individual believes he or she has been the subject of such retaliation, he or she should notify one of the Investigators as listed above.
Both the complainant and the accused are encouraged to seek counsel through the College’s Employee Assistance Program or other support mechanisms available on or off campus. Assistance in locating appropriate support may be requested from the Human Resources Office.
Rationale and Definition
A Consensual Relationship as that term is used in this policy is one in which two members of the St. Olaf College community are engaged by mutual consent in a romantic or sexual relationship. When such a relationship involves people who differ in power within the College community, it is of special concern because of the potential for conflict of interest and/or abuse of power. Decisions that must be made free from bias or favor may come under question when made by a person who may benefit from or be harmed by the decisions. The mere appearance of bias resulting from a Consensual Relationship may seriously disrupt the academic or work environment. Equally important, such relationships have the potential to undermine our sense of community, mutual trust, and support.
The seeds of harassment and sexual harassment can exist in Consensual Relationships of any kind that involve differences of status or power. For these reasons, St. Olaf College has adopted the following policy with respect to Consensual Relationships and places all employees on notice that the College views Consensual Relationships between College community members, especially when a power relationship exists, as unwise and of a high risk, particularly when students are involved. Furthermore, should any legal claims arise out of a consensual relationship between communities members, the defense of such claims will generally be the responsibility of the parties involved.
Consensual Relations Policy
A. St. Olaf College strongly discourages Consensual Relationships between staff and faculty members where a power or reporting relationship exists.
B. St. Olaf College prohibits Consensual Relationships between a faculty or staff member and any student enrolled at the College.
In situations involving the discouraged behavior in part A, the College reserves the right to transfer employees, rearrange reporting arrangements, or take other action, including disciplinary action, to remedy any situation deemed inappropriate. A member of the College community who violates part B will be subject to discipline up to and including dismissal.
Reporting Apparent Violations and Procedures for Action
Any member of the College community who has reason to believe that a violation of the Consensual Relations Policy has occurred should contact one of the Investigators listed under the Sexual Harassment Policy. The Investigator contacted is responsible to see that the matter is investigated and/or acted upon appropriately. Any concern about violations at the Dean/Vice President/Provost level may be taken to any of the Investigators, or to the President, who shall take, or cause to be taken, appropriate action. If a student believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual harassment, he or she also may file a grievance under the student grievance policy published in “The Book.”