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Statement on Sexual Abuse & Assault


In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and state civil rights law, Briar Cliff University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities. Discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence.

Briar Cliff University pledges to maintain an environment that promotes the development of healthy relationships and respect for individuals.

The University prohibits sexual violence and sexual harassment in any form, (including sexual misconduct, dating/relationship violence and stalking). Sexual violence and sexual harassment are often misunderstood and under-reported. It is important that students understand these issues so they can avoid committing or being victims of such behavior. If sexual violence or harassment occurs, it should be reported so the University can take immediate and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred. The University has a duty to attempt to end sexual violence and harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. This duty may exist separate and apart from any corresponding criminal investigation.

The University has appointed a Title IX Coordinator, Louise Paskey, the Vice President for Student Development, who can be reached at (712) 279-5494; Student Development Office, Stark Student Center, louise.paskey@briarcliff.edu.

Any questions about a student’s rights under Title IX, (the federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities) can be directed to Louise Paskey, Title IX Coordinator, or the Office of Civil Rights for the Department of Education.

IMPORTANT DEFINITIONS

Sexual violence means physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of acts fall into this category, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery and sexual coercion.

Under State law, “Sexual Abuse” is a crime and is defined as any sex act between persons performed under any of the following circumstances: a) the act is done by force or against the will of the other. If the consent or acquiescence of the other is procured by threats of violence toward any person or if the act is done while the other is under the influence of a drug inducing sleep, or is otherwise in a state of unconsciousness, the act is done against the will of the other; b) the other person is suffering from a mental defect or incapacity which precludes consent, or lacks the mental capacity to know the right and wrong of conduct in sexual matters; c)the other person is a child. (Iowa Code Section 709.1).

Consent means the mutual deliberate and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent is a clear YES to the sexual act. Consent is an ongoing process and must be obtained for each level of sexual contact. Even if a victim does not resist or if the victim knows the offender, the law does not presume consent.

Sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, and sexual intimidation and can be committed by men or women. It can occur between people of the same or different sex. It may include any touching or fondling of the victim’s genitals, breasts, thighs or buttocks directly or through the clothing without the victim’s consent. 

In addition to being forbidden by this policy, sexual misconduct may be a violation of state criminal law and of other University policies.

Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Examples of prohibited stalking can include but are not limited to (a) non-consensual communication including in-person communication, telephone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, and other social networking communications, letters, gifts, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear; (b) Following, pursuing, waiting, or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom, or other locations frequented by the victim.

Sexual harassment may include unsolicited and deliberate sexually explicit statements, gestures, or physical contacts which are objectionable to the recipient, cause discomfort, humiliation, or intimidation, or create a hostile and offensive environment. Sexual harassment may involve pressure from a person of either gender against a person of the opposite or same gender.

Examples of sexual harassment:

  • Demanding or soliciting sexual favors accompanied by implied or overt threats;
  • Creating an offensive interpersonal environment;
  • Comments or jokes referencing sex or sexual orientation;
  • Unnecessary touching or leering at another’s body; and,
  • Sexist remarks about clothing, body, or sexual activities.

REPORTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE TO LAW ENFORCEMENT

The University encourages victims of sexual violence, (including date/acquaintance rape) to report such actions to the local police department. The Campus Security Office (Heelan Hall) can assist students in making such reports.

IN THE EVENT OF SEXUAL ASSAULT YOU SHOULD:

Go to a safe place. Call 911, 1- 800-982-SAFE (7233) or the Rape Crisis Center (258-7233).

  • Tell the first person you see what happened. This account could corroborate your testimony if you decide to report or prosecute.
  • Talk with someone you trust: a friend, your RA, a faculty member, Residence Life Area Coordinator, the Assistant Dean of Students, the Director of Health Services or Director of Counseling Services.
  • Seek medical attention at an emergency room. Request tests for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Do not shower, bathe, or douche. Preserve physical evidence, such as clothing. Resist the urge to change clothes or clean up the area until medical and legal evidence is collected.
  • Request a urine test as quickly as possible to detect the presence of sedating substances.

PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING SEXUAL VIOLENCE/MISCONDUCT TO THE UNIVERSITY 

The University urges students to report all incidents of sexual violence or misconduct or harassment to the Title IX Coordinator, or the Assistant Dean of Students. Students are strongly encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct as soon as possible after the incident occurred. While addressing concerns about confidentiality, students will be informed of their rights, the options available for recourse, and the contacts for professional counseling and other supports. In situations that require an immediate and decisive 44 response, the University authorizes the Assistant Dean of Students to coordinate all necessary action.

Complaints of sexual violence/misconduct, stalking, or harassment against a member of the University community will be investigated and adjudicated in accordance with the applicable University procedures. University disciplinary action may be taken whether or not criminal charges are filed and without regard to whether the conduct occurred on or off the campus. 

Interim Measures: Where appropriate, the University may implement interim measures to protect the complainant, which could include, but are not limited to, changing academic or work schedules or living arrangements and providing such academic, counseling, or other supports as are prudent in the circumstances. In certain cases, the University may impose a “no-contact” order against the alleged perpetrator.

Confidentiality: Students should communicate clearly with the University any concerns about confidentiality and the University will honor such requests to the extent possible. Where a student victim of a sexual assault requests that his or her name not be disclosed, the University’s ability to fully respond to the incident may be limited. The University’s policy prohibits retaliation and steps will be taken to prevent retaliation and to strongly respond to it if it occurs.

Student Grievance Procedure for Sexual Violence Allegations: Informal means of resolution may be appropriate and are an option for students. If informal resolution is not successful or is not appropriate in the circumstances (such as in a sexual assault case), or at any time until the informal process is concluded, the complainant my elect to request a formal investigation/grievance procedure. 

Formal Grievance Procedure: The accuser and the accused individually will meet with the Assistant Dean of Students. Each will be allowed to choose a support person (from a list of designated Briar Cliff University Faculty or Administrators) who is present during the process.

The Assistant Dean of Students will determine if the matter is within the University’s jurisdiction (generally, this requires the party or parties to be current students/members of the campus community, and the incident to have occurred on campus or off-campus with a resulting effect on the campus environment) whether a different University policy/procedure should be followed, whether further investigation is necessary and/or whether a hearing is recommended. Any investigation will be adequate, reliable, impartial and prompt and will include the opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence.

Both parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of any investigation, which will be determined based on the “preponderance of evidence” standard (“more likely than not”).

This process should be completed promptly; generally, not longer than 30 days absent unusual circumstances. 

Hearing or Appeal Procedures: If a hearing is deemed necessary by the Assistant Dean of Students or if either party desires to appeal a decision of the Assistant Dean of Students, the Vice President of Student Development will appoint a three-person hearing panel to adjudicate the case or hear the appeal. Panel members should have no conflict of interest and preferably should not be teaching or working with the students involved in the case. An appeal from a decision of 45 the Assistant Dean of Students must be submitted in writing to the Vice President for Student Development within 5 days of the decision:

  • The Vice President for Student Development or his/her designee will serve on the Panel as a non-voting facilitator.
  • Prior to the hearing, both the accuser and the alleged perpetrator will be given notice of the date, time and place of the hearing; the names of the Panel members (and opportunity to raise any conflict of interest concerns); their right to have an advocate of their choice attend the hearing; their right to present witness testimony and other evidence; and their right to submit written statements to the Panel detailing the charges or any defense.
  • The hearing itself is closed. The University support person for a party may provide counsel but may not speak for the party.
  • In the case of a sexual assault or abuse complaint, the parties may choose an attorney for their advocate.
  • The Panel will formulate specific procedures to deal with the presentation of evidence, witnesses, and cross-examination and any other matters as appropriate to the conduct of the hearing.
  • A “Preponderance of the Evidence" will be the standard of proof. The Panel may hear new evidence on an appeal.
  • The Panel will strive for consensus but may determine the outcome of the proceedings by majority vote.
  • The Panel is empowered to impose such measures as it deems appropriate Disciplinary measures may include, but not be limited to, fines, work assignments, discontinuation of scholarships or privileges, dismissal from the residence halls or from campus events, temporary suspensions or permanent dismissal (expulsion) from the University.
  • Panel members must maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings.
  • Within ten day of the conclusion of the hearing, the Panel will inform both parties of the final outcome of the complaint (including information pertaining to sanctions where the proceeding involved a finding of sexual violence).

Students always have the option to seek legal remedy in the courts through local law enforcement whether or not the incident occurred on campus and whether or not the alleged assailant was a Briar Cliff student. University officials will stand ready to:

  • Assist students with notifying police,
  • Help secure an advocate from the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence to guide students through the legal processes, and
  • Consider appropriate interim measures to support the victim. If a Briar Cliff student is criminally convicted of (or pleads guilty to) sexual assault or any other felony, Briar Cliff University reserves the right to determine the student’s standing with the University. 

UNIVERSITY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES

If you feel you have been sexually abused the Director of Counseling Services at Briar Cliff University can provide confidential counseling and can be contacted at 279-5433. Counseling for victims is also available through the Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, 258-7233. If you are a victim of date or acquaintance rape, you are not to blame.

Whether or not you report the rape or engage in legal action, you should consult CSADV at 258-7233 or the Director of Counseling Services at 279-5433 to begin the healing process. Counseling services also are available for perpetrators either in the Counseling Center or at a community mental health agency. Counseling provides an environment in which  perpetrators can learn new behaviors.

PROCEDURES FOR REPORTING SEXUAL HARASSMENT TO THE UNIVERSITY

If a student feels that they are being sexually harassed, first, if possible, inform the individual that you feel you are being harassed and ask them to stop.

If the harassing behavior continues contact Louise Paskey the University’s Title IX Coordinator, (712) 279-5495, louise.paskey@briarcliff.edu.

Other options for reporting harassment include the following (who will also alert the Title IX Coordinator):

  • Director of Human Resources
  • Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Title IX Coordinator for Athletics

Submission of a good faith complaint or report of discrimination or harassment will not affect the complainant’s or reporter’s future employment, grades, educational or working environment.

All complaints will be promptly investigated and acted upon as necessary to ensure that the discrimination or harassment stops and does not recur. Informal methods of resolution, such as facilitated mediation, may be requested by the complainant, however, the complainant has the right to end such informal processes at any time and begin formal procedures. Note: in cases involving sexual violence, mediation is never an appropriate process for resolution.

Depending on the allegations, the sexual harassment grievance procedure may be followed or the University may deem other procedures applicable. In any such procedure, both parties will have the same opportunities to present evidence and witnesses, and to request an appeal should appeal rights be available. Both parties will also be notified of the outcome of any investigation. The complainant may also be notified if any sanctions are imposed that directly relate to the complainant.

The University will take any and all appropriate action (up to and including termination or expulsion), against any employee, student, agent or any other person under the control or supervision of the University, who is found to have engaged in harassment or who retaliates against any person who reports, testifies, assists, and/or participates in a proceeding, investigation or hearing relating to an incident of alleged discrimination or harassment.

(The University has the right to modify the Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment at any time.)