Frequently Asked Questions

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Below are answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to sexual violence response and prevention at Wheaton College.


What is harassment?

Examples of harassment may include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • jokes or epithets about another person's protected status;
  • teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status;
  • the display or circulation of written materials or pictures that degrade a person or group based upon a protected characteristic;
  • verbal abuse or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group of individuals in a protected group;
  • refusing to offer employment or educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected status; and/or
  • making an employment or academic decision because of the person's protected status. 

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What is sexual harassment?

In accordance with its obligations under the Title IX, the College prohibits sexual harassment, which is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following definitions and jeopardizes the equal access to education or employment that Title IX is designed to protect:

  • Quid Pro Quo Conduct. An employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  • Unwelcome conduct that is determinded by a resonable person to be so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education programs or activities; or
  • Sexual Misconduct. Sexual assault/violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking, defined as follows:
    1. Sexual Assault/Violence. An offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense. This category of prohibited conduct includes the following:
    a. Sex Offenses—Any sexual act2 directed against another person, without the consent of the victim/survivor including instances where the victim/survivor is incapable of giving consent.
  • b. Rape—(Except Statutory Rape) The actual or attempted sexual intercourse with a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim/survivor is incapable of giving consent because temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    c. Sodomy—Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim/survivor is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    d. Sexual Assault With An Object—To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim/survivor is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    e. Fondling—The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim/survivor is incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    f. Incest—Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
    g. Statutory Rape—Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
    D. 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/survivor; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship. (ii) The type of relationship. (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
    E. Domestic Violence. Includes felony or misdemeanor crimes committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim under the family or domestic violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant funding and, in the case of victim services, includes the use or attempted use of physical abuse or sexual abuse, or a pattern of any other coercive behavior committed, enabled, or solicited to gain or maintain power and control over a victim, including verbal, psychological, economic, or technological abuse that may or may not constitute criminal behavior, by a person who is a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, or person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim; is cohabitating or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, shares a child in common with the victim; or commits acts against a youth or adult against an adult or youth victim who is protected from those acts under the family or domestic violence laws of the jurisdiction.
    F. Stalking. Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to— (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

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What is the definition of consent?

Consent means voluntary, informed, and mutual agreement to engage in sexual activity, and may be withdrawn at any time. Refusal to consent does not have to be verbal; it can be expressed with gestures, body language, or attitude. However, a lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force, coercion, manipulation, or intimidation does not constitute consent. Likewise, a person’s manner of dress, consent to prior sexual activity, consent to sexual activity with a different person, or relationship status with the person does not constitute consent. It is the responsibility of the initiator of any sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the other person’s consent before engaging in sexual activity.

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Where can I go for counseling?

Contact the Wheaton Counseling center to set up an appointment.  They can also provide you a referral list if you would like to see a provider off-campus.

Location: North Harrison Hall, Suite 170
Phone: 630.752.5321

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Will the information I share about sexual violence be kept confidential?

Wheaton College is committed to creating an environment that encourages students to report if they have experienced any form of sexual misconduct. The College will work diligently to safeguard the identities of the students who seek help or who report sexual violation.

A college cannot guarantee complete confidentiality, but the individual can guarantee privacy. Information is disclosed only to select officials who have an essential need to know in order to carry out their official responsibilities. As is the case with any educational institution, the College must balance the needs of each individual student with its obligation to protect the safety and well-being of the community at large.

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What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?

Students are not forced to report an incident that has occurred to them. However, we encourage you to report because the College wants to protect you and other students. Confidential advisors are also available 24/7 to provide emergency and ongoing support to individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct. Students can talk with an On-Campus confidential advisor: Marie Morrison, Ph.D Wheaton College Staff Therapist by calling Business hours M, Tu, Thu, Fr 8-1pm, Wed 8-12pm: 1-630-752-5319 and an Off-Campus Confidential Advisor, Raven Fisher, MA, LCPC, Owner and Therapist for Nave Wellness Center, PLLC. Business hours M-T 10-5pm After hours 8-10am, 5-7pm and Fridays 10-5pm 1-877-929-6283

Students can report an incident to the College (Title IX Coordinators, Residence Life staff, Student Development Staff, Faculty, or Public Safety) to be resolved and addressed. Students also have the option of making an official report to the Wheaton Police. The College will assist students in contacting the police if they would like.

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What if I'm an employee at the College and I became aware of an incident of sexual misconduct issue?

As a member of the Wheaton community and an employee of the institution we expect, and Title IX requires, that you report all incidents of discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual assault to the Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator (630.752.7885) or the Director of Human Resources (630.752.5060). Once the information is relayed the College will determine next steps in caring for and responding to the individuals involved.

In accordance with Federal mandate (Title IX), the College expects that every faculty or staff member will report incidents of harassment, and sexual assaults to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX coordinator will determine if the incident needs to be pursued further based on the report, the nature of the incident, the student's desires, and knowledge of other situations that have occurred looking for patterns in campus incidents.

Faculty and staff should know that when a student discloses information about a sexual assault, they should inform the student that they are required to share the information they have heard with the Title IX Coordinator. Sample language you may use and helpful strategies and ideas may be found here.

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Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual harassment or violence to the Director of Equity and Title IX?

  1. First and foremost we care about your safety and notifying the College will allow Wheaton to protect and care for you.
  2. Reporting returns a feeling of personal power. You may be able to provide information that will hold an individual accountable for their actions.
  3. Reporting will remind people that sexual assaults really do occur and can happen to anyone.
  4. Reporting can prevent others from being sexually assaulted by making them aware of assaults and where they are occurring.

The Director of Equity and Title IX can assist a student in filing formal complaints or, if the student does not want to file a formal complaint, the staff can work with the student to address concerns over housing, class assignments or schedules, leaves of absence, withdrawal or other academic concerns. The office staff can also assist the student in notifying Public Safety or local law enforcement, if the student so requests.

Contact the Director of Equity and Title IX Coordinator, Beth Maas at 630.752.7885, Student Services Building 2nd floor.

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Should I report a sexual violence if I or others were drinking when it occurred?

Sexual assault is a serious offense and uncovering the truth and responding to the situation at hand is of utmost importance for the College. The College will provide amnesty for students who may be hesitant to report a sexual assault violation out of fear that they themselves or others may be accused of violating other College policies, such as drinking or drugs at the time of the incident. Educational options and accountability will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result. Details of the amnesty policy are described in the policy.

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What should the alleged offender expect?

  • The College will make contact with the accused individual once a formal complaint is made and the complainant desires to pursue the allegations.
  • No decision concerning the outcome will be made based on the allegations. Wheaton is committed to caring for everyone involved and desires to responsibly seek out the truth.
  • The accused individual will be informed of the following:
    • Information regarding College resources for support and care (i.e. Title IX Coordinator, Director of Student Care Services, counseling center, campus Chaplin’s office, local clergy, family, etc.)
    • That their information will be kept as private and confidential as possible and only shared with individuals that need to know about the situation.
    • Information regarding the College’s policy prohibiting, Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Other Relationship Violence, including the Retaliation Policy.
    • The boundaries (i.e. no contact order, class changes, campus restrictions, removal from campus) that may be put in place until the situation is resolved.
  • The College will conduct a thorough, prompt, reliable, and impartial investigation process as laid out in the policy.
  • Interviews will be conducted with all parties involved and those who have knowledge of the incident.
  • A decision about the allegation(s) will be made based on a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not) from the information discovered.
  • The College develops a remediation plan to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.

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Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?

No. The College policy states that the sexual misconduct, sexual assault, and sexual harassment covers both on-campus and off-campus conduct.

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Why should I seek medical attention?

Seeking medical attention can help you in many ways.

  • Medical attention can help you take care of your own health by checking and treating possible injuries. 
  • You can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases including HIV. There is medication that can be provided to you to decrease the chances of contracting certain diseases. 
  • Collecting medical evidence should you decide to report the assault to the police for possible prosecution of the offender.

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What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.

The types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include sexual harassment, the failure to provide equal opportunity in athletics, and discrimination based on pregnancy. To enforce Title IX, the U.S. Department of Education maintains an Office for Civil Rights, with headquarters in Washington, DC.

Any inquiries regarding Title IX or the College’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator identified below. The Coordinator will be available to meet with or talk to students, staff, and faculty regarding issues relating to Title IX and this Policy.

Wheaton College’s Title IX Coordinator is Beth Maas. She can be reached at 630.752.7885.

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX Compliance on behalf of the College.  This includes coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of the complaint and grievance procedures for the handling of suspected or alleged violations of this policy.

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Where can I find information about Wheaton College crime statistics?

Wheaton College crime statistics are available from Public Safety.  

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What if I'm an employee of the College and I become aware of an incident of prohibited conduct?

Any “responsible employee” is required to report any communication or conduct that appears to be prohibited by this Policy immediately to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator/Discrimination Complaint Officer. A responsible employee is defined as any College employee (a) who has the authority to take action to redress sexual violence, (b) who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by students or employees to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator/Discrimination Complaint Officer or other appropriate school designee, or (c) whom a student or employee could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Examples of responsible employees include faculty members, administrators, residence directors (RDs), graduate resident advisers (GRAs), resident assistants (RAs), and all other staff members.

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