Below are answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to sexual violence response and prevention at Wheaton College.
- What is harassment?
- What is sexual harassment?
- What is sexual violence?
- What is the definition of consent?
- Where can I go for counseling?
- Will the information I share about sexual violence be kept confidential?
- What options do I have for reporting sexual misconduct?
- What if I'm an employee at the College and I became aware of an incident of sexual misconduct issue?
- Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual harassment or assault to the Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life?
- Should I report a sexual violence if I or others were drinking when it occurred?
- What should the alleged offender expect?
- Does it make a difference if the sexual misconduct occurs on or off campus?
- Why should I seek medical attention?
- What is Title IX?
- Where can I find information about Wheaton College crime statistics?
- What if I'm an employee at the College and I became aware of an incident of sexual misconduct issue?
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.
What is sexual harassment?
- Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education, status in a position of employment or an academic course or program, or participation in any educational program or activity of the College (“quid pro quo” harassment); or
- Such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or persistent that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational or work environment (“hostile environment” harassment).
The following examples illustrate the type of conduct that is prohibited harassment under this Policy:
- Intentional physical conduct that is sexual in nature such as touching, pinching, patting, grabbing, poking, or brushing against another individual's body in a sexual nature;
- Offering or implying a job- or education-related reward (such as a pay increase, a favorable employment evaluation, a job promotion, a better grade, a letter of recommendation, favorable treatment in the classroom, assistance in obtaining employment, grants or fellowships, or admission to any educational program or activity) in exchange for sexual favors or submission to sexual conduct;
- Threatening or taking a negative employment or educational action (such as a reduction in pay, a negative employment evaluation, or a demotion, giving an unfair grade, withholding a letter of recommendation, or withholding assistance with any educational activity) or intentionally making the individual's job or academic work more difficult because sexual conduct is rejected;
- The use or display in the workplace or classroom, including electronic, of pornographic or sexually harassing materials such as posters, photos, cartoons or graffiti without pedagogical or other justification; and
- Unwelcome sexual advances, repeated propositions or requests for a sexual relationship to an individual who has previously indicated that such conduct is unwelcome, or sexual gestures, noises, remarks, jokes, questions, or comments about a person's sexuality or sexual experience.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is a particular type of sexual harassment that includes physical sexual acts perpetrated when consent is not present, where a person is incapable of giving consent, or coercion and/or force is used. This includes non-consensual sexual contact as well as non-consensual sexual intercourse or penetration, which the Policy defines as follows:
- Non-consensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit the same) is the intentional touching or fondling of a person’s genitals, breasts, thighs, groin, or buttocks, or any other contact of a sexual nature (including by bodily fluids) when consent is not present or coercion and/or force is used. This includes not only direct contact, but also contact through clothing and/or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, to similarly touch, fondle, or contact oneself or another.
- Non-consensual sexual intercourse or penetration (or attempts to commit the same) is any penetration of the sex organs or anus of another person or penetration of the mouth of another with one’s sex organs when consent is not present or coercion or force is used. This includes penetration or intrusion, however slight, by an object or any part of the body.
What is the definition of consent?
A person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent. Sexual contact with anyone who is under the legal age of consent, is asleep or unconscious, or is incapacitated due to consumption of alcohol, drugs, medication, or a mental or physical impairment is a violation of this Policy. People who are unconscious or physically unable to communicate are assumed to be incapable of giving consent for purposes of this Policy.
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
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.
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 outside of Wheaton are also available 24/7 to provide emergency and ongoing support to individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct. Students can talk with a confidential advisor by calling the following number and identifying themselves as a Wheaton student. Business hours: 630.653.1717, ext. 1 After hours: 331.771.0082
Students can report an incident to the College (Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life, 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.
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 Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life (630.752.5941) 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 (Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life). 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.
Why am I encouraged to report an incident of sexual harassment or violence to the Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life?
- First and foremost we care about your safety and notifying the College will allow Wheaton to protect and care for you.
- Reporting returns a feeling of personal power. You may be able to provide information that will hold an individual accountable for their actions.
- Reporting will remind people that sexual assaults really do occur and can happen to anyone.
- Reporting can prevent others from being sexually assaulted by making them aware of assaults and where they are occurring.
The Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life 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 Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life at 630.752.5941, Student Services Building 2nd floor.
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.
What should the alleged offender expect?
- The College will make contact with the accused individual once a report 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. Dean of Student Care and Graduate Student Life, 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.
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.
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.
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 Allison Ash. She can be reached at 630.752.5941.
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.
Where can I find information about Wheaton College crime statistics?
Wheaton College crime statistics are available from Public Safety.
What if I'm an employee of the College and I become aware of an incident of sexual misconduct issue?
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.