Student Handbook: Institutional Policies, Procedures, and Guidelines
All information is valid for the academic year 2017-2018.
This Section of the Handbook sets forth general policies, procedures and guidelines for all students enrolled at Wheelock. These policies, procedures and guidelines are not intended to be all-inclusive and are subject to change by the College, as it deems necessary and appropriate.
The College is committed to creating and maintaining a campus environment that is free of the use of illicit drugs and alcohol. In compliance with the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendments of 1989, and other state and federal laws, the College has developed the following Drug and Alcohol Awareness Policy. The College reserves the right to change this policy at any time.
College students are adults and, as such, are expected to obey the law and take personal responsibility for their conduct. Students who drink alcohol are expected to do so in a safe, responsible and legal manner. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of controlled substances, illicit drugs, or alcohol by students on College property or at any College-sponsored activity is prohibited. For purposes of the College's Drug and Alcohol Awareness Policy, a controlled substance is any illegal or prescription drug that, if abused, may lead to physical or psychological dependence. Massachusetts law prohibits individuals under the age of twenty-one from drinking alcoholic beverages. Under the College's Policy (and in some cases as required by state and federal law), the list of prohibited conduct can be found in the Student Code of Conduct.
Drug Awareness Policy:
Wheelock College supports all laws governing the possession, use and sale of illegal drugs and fully cooperates with the enforcement of all such laws. The College strictly forbids the use, possession of distribution of illegal drugs, or use, possession or distribution of illegal drug paraphernalia. The College also strictly forbids the use of illegal drugs at College sponsored events off campus. In addition, all students present at the time of a drug violation may be subject to disciplinary action.
Students are required to abide by all requirements of the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and this policy as a condition of continued enrollment at the College. A student who violates any provision of this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion from the College. Also, in appropriate circumstances, as determined by the College, law enforcement officials may be notified. Unlawful possession, use, or distribution of illicit drugs may subject a student to criminal penalties.
Any student determined to be manufacturing, dealing, selling, or distributing illegal drugs on or off campus may face dismissal from the College. Such students may be subject to arrest and further legal action. The College will cooperate fully with law enforcement officials in the investigation and prosecution of drug related cases. The College will assume a student is dealing drugs if the student possesses a large quantity of illegal drugs. For example, more than two ounces of marijuana and more than four grams of cocaine would constitute a large quantity of illegal drugs.
Persons suspected of bringing illicit drug on their person or in their belongings on property owned or leased by the College will be subject to search by the residence hall staff, Public Safety staff or other authorized personnel. The responding staff member will document the situation. All students involved may be subject to disciplinary action. Residence hall staff members will address any persons suspected of using or keeping illicit drugs or paraphernalia in a residence hall. In such an instance, residence hall and/or Public Safety staff will conduct a visual inspection of the location and require the resident(s) to gather and surrender any illicit drugs or paraphernalia. Public Safety will confiscate all found/surrendered illicit drugs or paraphernalia. If such an incident occurs in a residence hall room, any guest of the resident(s) at that time will be asked to leave the room and/or hall. The responding staff member(s) will document the situation and all students involved may be subject to disciplinary action.
Alcohol Awareness Policy:
Under this Policy, if a student is over twenty-one years old and all of his or her roommates are also over twenty-one years old, he or she may have a limited amount of alcohol in his or her residence hall room. Each student who is over twenty-one years of age may have no more than the following amount of alcohol in his or her room at any time: one six pack of beer; or one standard (750 ml) bottle of wine; or one (750 ml) bottle of other alcohol, excluding grain alcohol, other "fortified" wines, and any caffeinated alcoholic beverages. Residents are responsible for any alcohol possessed by non-resident visitors. Any alcohol possessed by non-resident visitors is treated as if possessed by the resident host. The limit of alcohol is applies to the present occupants of the room.
It is a violation of this Policy for a student who is over twenty-one years old to consume or be in the presence of alcohol in his or her residence hall room when students who are under twenty-one years old are present, even if the student who is under twenty-one years old is not consuming alcohol. This is a violation for both the student who is over twenty-one years old and the underage student.
It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to violate the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Policy. Violations of this Policy may result in sanctions and disciplinary action up to and including expulsion. The College may also require a student to complete an educational program and/or assessment.
The College may refer violations of the Drug and Alcohol Awareness Policy to state or county authorities for prosecution. Penalties for the violation of local, state and federal laws pertaining to illicit drugs and alcohol include imprisonment and/or fines. A felony drug or alcohol conviction may bar an individual from entering certain fields of employment.
The College encourages any student who may have a problem or may know of someone else who has a problem with the use of illicit drugs or abuse of alcohol to seek professional counseling. The College has counselors and support groups available to all students in need of counseling, referrals, education, and information. Contact the Counseling Center at 617-879-2410 or 617-879-2413 for counselors and referral on a confidential basis. The Counseling Center also has information concerning off campus counseling and treatment resources.
Smoking is prohibited in all Wheelock buildings, including residence halls, and on all Wheelock College grounds.
Email is an official method of communicating at Wheelock College. The Office of Information Technology creates and issues a Wheelock email account to each student upon enrollment. Each student is notified, in writing, of his/her email address and receives instructions for accessing his/her email account. The Wheelock College Student Email Policy requires students to activate and utilize their Wheelock email accounts. The Policy was developed to set standards for communications between the College and its students, to ensure that all students have access to pertinent College information, and to ensure that administration, faculty, and staff of the College have a standardized method and a timely process for communications with students.
Use of any electronic communication, including but not limited to, the network, electronic mail, or social networking sites (i.e., Facebook or Twitter) for transmitting anonymous, rude, abusive, harassing or malicious messages is unethical and will result in disciplinary action.
Communications sent to students' Wheelock College email address may include notification of campus events, course selections and registration, and deadlines regarding financial aid and tuition bills. Although students may maintain separate email accounts, students are held accountable for information disseminated to their Wheelock College email addresses and are expected to check their Wheelock email regularly for College communications. Students who choose to have their Wheelock College email address forwarded to an alternate email address are also accountable for information communicated by the College via email. It is the student's responsibility to read College email communications on a regular basis and to take action in a timely manner, whenever appropriate.
Questions regarding activation and usage of email accounts or this Policy should be directed to the Department of Information Technology at http://wheelock.edu/helpdesk or (617) 879-2309.
Massachusetts law prohibits hazing and imposes criminal penalties not only on those who organize and carry out hazing but also on those who are present and fail to report it. Additionally, hazing is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and students who engage in hazing or fail to report hazing may be subject to sanctions or disciplinary actions.
The College complies with Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 269, Sections 17, 18 and 19. For the purposes of Massachusetts law, hazing is defined as:
any conduct or method of initiation into any student organization, whether on public or private property, which willfully or recklessly endangers the physical or mental health of any student or other person. Such conduct shall include whipping, beating, branding, forced calisthenics, exposure to the weather, forced consumption of any food, liquor, beverage, drug or other substance, or any other brutal treatment or forced physical activity which is likely to adversely affect the physical health or safety of any such student or other person, or which subjects such student or other person to extreme mental stress, including extended deprivation of sleep or rest or extended isolation.
The fact that a student consents to hazing is not a defense under the law.
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) gives each student access to his or her educational records, the right to correct inaccuracies in those records, and the right to control distribution. Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. Department of Education has stated that a college or university must provide (absent a request) information it reasonably believes will assist law enforcement officials in investigating or preventing terrorist activities. In addition, there are exceptions to FERPA, such as a lawfully-issued subpoena, which allow the College to release student records even if a student objects.
Certain personally identifiable information from a student's education record, designated by the College as "directory information," may be released without a student's prior consent. A student who wishes has the right to prevent release of this information, subject to the exemptions provided by law. To prevent the release of "directory information," a student must complete and submit a Request to Prevent Disclosure of Directory Information form available from the Office of Academic Records and Registration at the beginning of each academic year. The College has designated the following personally identifiable student data as "directory information":
Name, addresses (local, permanent, e-mail), phone numbers (local and permanent), date of birth, on-campus mailbox, dates of attendance, major field of study, year in school (class level), previous institutions attended, degrees and awards received, and participation in officially recognized activities and sports.
Under the Patriot Act of 2001, the College is required to implement a Student Exchange and Visitor System and the Immigration and Naturalization Student/Scholar Tracking System. This impacts all international students studying in the United States on a non-immigrant visa in the following ways:
- students will have to register for a full-time load of courses each semester without exception;
- students will be required to inform the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service of their address and change of addresses on a regular and timely basis;
- students will have to be aware of the end date of their legal status on their visa document;
- students will have to be sure that all legal requirements have been met when transferring from one school to another in the United States; and
- students will face penalties and potentially be prohibited from continuing their studies in the United States if they do not comply with the policies and requirements of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service.
Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act ("Clery Act"), the College is required to disclose crime statistics as part of a campus security report published annually. This information includes statistics regarding instances where students were not arrested but were subject to College sanctions or disciplinary actions, for the following offenses: liquor law violations, drug law violations, and illegal weapons possession. These instances are in addition to the seven specific criminal offenses subject to required reporting per Clery Report. This disclosure does not include the names of the complainant or respondent. Visit the Office of Public Safety web page for the latest Clery Report.
To inspect or review his or her records, a student must submit a written request to the Office maintaining the education records. The request will be honored within fourteen days of receipt. If requested, copies of a student's records are available to the student for a fee to cover the cost of duplicating. The College has the right to deny a student a copy of the following records:
- an official transcript for any student for which a financial "hold" exists (a "hold" is imposed if the student fails to pay term bills, fees or fines),
- a copy of an original transcript from another institution,
- a diploma for any student for which a financial "hold" exists (a "hold" is imposed if the student fails to pay term bills, fees or fines).
Within the College community, academic and administrative officials, including personnel of the Office of Academic Records and Registration, are permitted access to student educational records for legitimate educational purposes. It is the responsibility of each Office maintaining education records to keep a log that verifies the name of each person (other than academic and administrative officials) who has viewed the record, the reason, and the date of access. Students have the right to see this log.
A student's records are not accessible to parties outside the College without written authorization from the student. Exceptions include:
- directory information, as defined above;
- officials of institutions in which students seek to enroll or have enrolled;
- accrediting agencies carrying out their accreditation function;
- parents of students who declare the student as a "dependent" for federal income tax purposes;
- persons acting in compliance with a judicial order or lawfully-issued subpoena;
- persons acting in an emergency to protect the health or safety of students or other persons;
- federal and state educational officials acting pursuant to their official duties;
- organizations conducting educational testing research; and
- alleged complainants of any crimes of violence who seek from the College the results of any disciplinary proceedings conducted by the College against the alleged perpetrators of such crimes with respect to such crimes.
Additionally, federal law requires that the College disclose a student's name, address, telephone number, date and place of birth, level of education, academic major, and degree received, and the most recent educational institution enrolled in by the student to the federal government for purposes of military recruitment.
A student has the right to receive a response from the Office that maintains his or her education records to a reasonable request for an explanation or interpretation of the records. A student who believes that his or her education records contain information that is inaccurate or misleading, or otherwise violates his or her privacy or other rights, may contest the information in question by submitting a written request to the head of the Office that maintains the education records. If the College decides not to amend the record as requested, the student has a right to a hearing. The student also has the right to place in his or her records a statement disputing or clarifying the records.
For more detailed information on Wheelock's policies regarding privacy and records, contact the Office of Academic Records and Registration.
Wheelock College is committed to creating and sustaining a campus community that accepts and honors the diversity of its members. Diversity is the understanding and appreciation of all people regardless of ethnic origin and background, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or ability. The goals supporting this commitment include the following:
- promoting an institutional commitment to diversity;
- creating and sustaining a campus climate that values diversity;
- increasing and supporting sustained opportunities for student experiences and student learning from a diverse, equitable and multicultural perspective;
- ensuring that Wheelock College is a place where persons of any age, race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, socio-economic status, handicapping condition, and gender or sexual orientation feel welcome and respected.
Notice of Non-Discrimination
Wheelock College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, disability, religion, or any other protected class.
In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law applicable to most schools, including Wheelock, the College does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational, extracurricular, or other programs, or in the context of employment. Sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment as defined in this policy, is a form of sex discrimination that unjustly deprives a person of equal treatment and is prohibited by Title IX.
This policy prohibits sexual misconduct against all College community members of any gender or sexual orientation. This policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that may not involve conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to certain reports of domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.
Institutional Mission and Community Expectations
Wheelock College ("the College") is committed to providing a non-discriminatory and harassment-free educational, living, and working environment for all members of the community, including students, faculty, administrators, visitors, and staff. The Policy Against Sexual Misconduct ("the Policy") prohibits all forms of sexual or gender-based harassment, discrimination, and misconduct, including but not limited to sexual violence, sexual assault, stalking, intimate partner violence, and retaliation (collectively, "prohibited conduct" or "sexual misconduct"). Conduct of this nature is contrary to the College's mission and Code of Conduct, and may also violate state and federal law.
Applicability and Scope
The Policy applies to all members of the Wheelock community, including students, faculty, staff, and applicants for admission or employment, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as third parties (e.g., visitors, independent contractors, and others who are neither students nor employees), where their conduct is directed toward or otherwise affects Wheelock community members.
The Policy is applicable to conduct that occurs on campus and off campus, including online or electronic conduct, when the conduct:
• Occurs in the context of an employment or education program or activity of the College;
• Has continuing adverse effects on campus;
• Has continuing adverse effects in an off-campus employment or education program or activity, such as travel abroad or internship programs; or
• Has, or may have, the effect of contributing to and/or continuing a hostile environment in a College program or activity.
It is important to note that a report of sexual misconduct can happen at any time, meaning that there is no statute of limitations when referencing the College's obligation to respond.
Wheelock College Response
The College is committed to promptly, impartially, and equitably addressing and resolving all reports of prohibited conduct. In response to a report, the College will provide appropriate interim measures and support, and address any immediate safety concerns. The College will carefully review and/or investigate all reports and complaints of sexual misconduct with an intent to understand the perspective and experiences of each individual involved, and provide for fair and impartial evaluation and resolution. When the College learns of behavior in violation of this Policy, it is committed to taking prompt action to stop it, prevent it from recurring, and address its effect on community members.
The College is also committed to providing support and education concerning appropriate resources to all community members, including the individual who experienced the misconduct (referred to as "Complainant"), the accused individual (referred to as "Respondent"), and any person identified as someone with information regarding the alleged misconduct (referred to as "Witness"). The College, as well as state and federal laws, prohibits retaliation against any person who in good faith reports, assists in reporting, or participates in the investigation of possible sexual misconduct.
If you believe you have experienced or witnessed any conduct in violation of the Policy, or if you have questions about the Policy, you are encouraged to contact a Title IX Coordinator for more information.
Erin A. Sullivan, Esq.
Title IX Coordinator
Main Administration Building ACW - Room 307B
For faculty and staff:
Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator
Main Administration Building ACW - Room 307
Additional questions about Title IX may also be referred to the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights at 617-289-0111.
Sexual misconduct is a broad term used in this policy to encompass unwelcome or unwanted sex or gender-based conduct or behavior of a sexual nature that is prohibited by the College and may also be prohibited by federal and state law, including Title IX. The term sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, physical or non-physical behavior, such as sex and gender discrimination, assault, rape, abuse, stalking, harassment, and intimidation.
Stalking is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their own or others' safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Examples include, but are not limited to, repeatedly following such person(s) in his/her course of daily activities and repeatedly committing acts that alarm, cause fear, or seriously annoy such other person(s) and that serve no legitimate purpose. This includes forms of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or make unwelcome contact with another person.
Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when such behavior has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's education or work performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or educational environment. In addition, such actions are prohibited when:
1. Submission to such advances, requests, or conduct is made an express or implied condition of employment or academic standing; or
2. Submission to or rejection of such advances, requests, or conduct is used as a condition of the provision of the benefits, privileges, or placement services, or as a basis for other employment or academic decisions affecting the individual who submits or rejects.
Sexual harassment is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 151B, and other applicable state and federal statutes.
Gender-based harassment is unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student's actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation or hostility.
Sexual assault is the act of committing unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature, whether by an acquaintance or by a stranger, and is a form of sexual violence. There are many degrees and forms of sexual assault including, but not limited to, the following:
Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse or Rape: Any form of sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal) with any object without consent. Intercourse includes but is not limited to: vaginal penetration, however slight, by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration, however slight, by a penis, objects, tongue or finger; or mouth-to-genital contact.
Non-consensual Sexual Contact: Non‐consensual sexual contact involves intentional and unwelcome sexual touching, however slight, usually but not necessarily involving contact with genitals, breasts, groin or buttocks by a body part or object, that is without consent. Sexual touching includes but is not limited to: intentional contact with someone's breasts, buttocks, groin or genitals; touching someone else with any of these body parts; making someone touch you or themselves on these same body parts; or intentional physical contact in a sexual manner, even if it does not involve contact with or by these body parts.
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of anyone other than that person without that person's consent. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
1. Prostituting another person;
2. Recording or distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person's consent; or
3. Viewing another person's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person's consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
Coercion includes the use of pressure or oppressive behavior, including express or implied threats of harm, or severe or pervasive emotional intimidation, which reasonably places an individual in fear of immediate or future harm or physical injury and that causes or is used in order to compel a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. A person's words or conduct amount to coercion if they wrongfully impair the other's freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. In assessing whether coercion was used, the frequency, duration, and intensity of the pressure applied will be taken into consideration. If sexual acts were preceded by threats or coercion, there is no consent.
Complicity includes assisting, facilitating, or encouraging the commission of a violation of this policy.
Relationship or intimate partner violence (also known as dating violence or domestic violence) refers to a pattern of violent or manipulative behavior by one person toward another in an intimate, dating, or domestic relationship. Relationship violence includes but is not limited to:
1. Physical violence, such as kicking, hitting, pinching, choking, biting;
2. Sexual violence, such as forcing a partner to take part in a sex act when the partner does not consent;
3. Psychological/emotional violence, such as isolation, intimidation, belittling, stalking, cyber-bullying/harassment, or threat of physical force;
4. Economic control, such as withholding financial resources to intimidate, threaten or cause a person to remain in a relationship because of access to finances.
Other Key Concepts/Definitions
Consent is the clear, knowing, and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. Consent can be given by words and/or actions, as long as those words or actions create a mutually understandable agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent may be withdrawn at any time and cannot be obtained through force (express or implied) or when coercion, intimidation, threats, or duress is used. Silence or absence of resistance does not imply consent. Consent cannot be inferred from previous sexual activity, prior sexual relationships, consent to a different sexual activity, or consent to sexual activity with another person.
Consent cannot be obtained from an individual who:
• Has a mental, intellectual, or physical disability;
• Is under the legal age to give consent (16 years of age in Massachusetts);
• Is asleep, "blacked out," unconscious, or otherwise physically helpless; or
• Is incapacitated, including through the consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Incapacitation is the inability to make informed, rational, reasonable judgments and decisions, because the person lacks the ability to understand their decision. If alcohol or drugs are involved, incapacitation may be measured by evaluating how the substance affects a person's decision-making capacity, awareness, and ability to make informed judgments. The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person; however, warning signs of possible incapacitation include but are not limited to slurred speech, unsteadiness, impaired coordination, inability to perform personal tasks such as undressing, inability to maintain eye contact, vomiting, and sudden change in emotion. Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. With regard to consent, the question is whether the Respondent knew, or a sober, reasonable person in the position of the Respondent should have known, that the other person was incapacitated.
A hostile environment exists when sexual misconduct is sufficiently serious to deny or limit the Complainant's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs or activities. In determining whether a hostile environment exists, the College must find that a reasonable person in the Complainant's position would have perceived the conduct as undesirable or offensive. The College will consider the following factors when making a determination: (1) the type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; (2) the identity and relationship of persons involved; (3) the number of individuals involved; (4) the location of the conduct and the context in which it occurred; and, (5) the degree to which the conduct affected one or more community members' education or workplace.
Acts or attempts to retaliate against the Complainant, Respondent, or any individual or group of individuals involved in the complaint, investigation, and/or resolution of an allegation of misconduct, based on their participation in, support of, or involvement in such proceedings, are strictly prohibited. Any individual or group of individuals, not just a Respondent or Complainant, can commit retaliation. Retaliation may include, but is not limited to: threats, intimidation, pressuring, continued abuse, violence, and other forms of harm, whether direct or indirect. Retaliation may be found even when an underlying report of prohibited conduct made in good faith was not substantiated.
Reporting Options and Confidentiality
The College encourages individuals who experience or witness sexual misconduct to report the incident so that they may obtain support and so the College can respond appropriately. Reports may be made by the person who experienced conduct in violation of the Policy or any person who has information that conduct in violation of the Policy may have occurred in connection with a College community member, event, or activity.
Reports may be made to any of the following on-campus offices with varying degrees of privacy and/or confidentiality:
On-Campus Private Resources
Title IX Coordinators
The Title IX Coordinators are required to respond on behalf of the College to all reports of sexual or gender-based harassment, discrimination, and misconduct. A Title IX Coordinator will only share information with other College officials on a need to know basis or as required by law (e.g. Clery Act, Massachusetts Law on Protection of Minors).
Office of Student Life, Office of Residence Life
These offices are required to share information with college personnel necessary to carry out College policies and procedures. They will report any incidences of alleged sexual misconduct to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator so that the College may investigate and respond.
Wheelock Public Safety will report incidences of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator so that the College may investigate and respond.
All faculty and staff are considered "responsible employees" and are required to report information to the appropriate College personnel necessary to carry out College policies and procedures. Only those individuals who are statutorily prohibited from reporting (as listed below) shall not have a duty to report all incidents
On-Campus Confidential Resources
The College recognizes that not every individual will choose to file a formal report with the College or with local law enforcement. Individuals who wish to talk to someone about an incident confidentially, without triggering an investigation or response by the College, may utilize the confidential resources listed below. These resources may not release an individual's information without that individual's express consent, except under limited circumstances that pose an imminent danger to the individual or to others.
Students who have been subjected to misconduct and those who have been accused of misconduct may discuss their experiences confidentially with counselors at the Counseling Center. An individual's conversations with a college counselor will not be disclosed to anyone else in the College within the limits of the law. These limits include cases of life-threatening emergencies, imminent danger to self or others, or current abuse of children or other dependents. Otherwise, no information is released outside of the Counseling Center without the explicit permission of the student.
The Ombuds Office provides students, faculty, and staff with the opportunity to talk "off the record" about campus concerns, issues, or conflicts. The ombuds is available to assist in resolving problems, concerns, and complaints in an independent, neutral, confidential, and impartial manner. The ombuds will listen, coach, provide advice, and mediate between parties when necessary as well as inform the community of available resources and provide advice on how to best address concerns.
The College is committed to protecting the privacy interests of all individuals involved in a report, investigation, or resolution of an allegation of sexual or gender-based harassment, discrimination, or misconduct. As such, information related to same will only be shared with members of the College who "need to know" in order to assist in a thorough investigation and/or resolution of the complaint. If a report of misconduct discloses a serious and ongoing threat to the health or safety of the campus community, the College will issue a timely notice of the conduct to the community in accordance with the Clery Act.
All proceedings under this Policy are conducted in compliance with the requirements of the Federal Educational Rights & Privacy Act (FERPA), the Clery Act, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Title IX, and College policy. No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law or College policy.
The Complainant may disclose an incident but request confidentiality and/or that no investigation into the particular incident is pursued nor action taken by the College. In such instances, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with a small number of key college administrators, will weigh the request against the College's obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all Wheelock community members.
In reviewing this request, the College may consider the following:
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct is likely to continue;
- If the Complainant is a minor;
- Whether the report reveals a pattern of behavior at a given location or by a particular group; and/or
- What information is available to the College.
If the College honors a Complainant's request for confidentiality or decision not to participate in an investigation, the College's ability to meaningfully investigate the incident or pursue action against the accused may be limited. If the College determines that it cannot maintain a Complainant's confidentiality, the College will inform the Complainant prior to an investigation and, to the extent possible, share information with a limited number of personnel responsible for handling the College's response. The College will remain ever mindful of the victim's well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the victim from retaliation or harm. Retaliation against the victim, whether by students or College employees, will not be tolerated.
Within the College
College officials - other than licensed health and counseling professionals - who learn of an instance of sexual or gender-based harassment, discrimination, or misconduct, are required to report the incident to their supervisor or a Title IX Coordinator. In a situation where the accused party is an employee of the College, the incident will be reported to the Director of Human Resources.
Clery Act Compliance
Under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), the College is obligated to disclose information about crime on campus and in the surrounding community. As part of this compliance, College officials who become aware of an incidence of sexual misconduct must notify the Director of Public Safety that such an incident has occurred along with the location and date of the incident. This information is collected only for statistical reporting as mandated by the Clery Act; no individuals or identifying details are revealed.
If a report of sexual or gender-based misconduct discloses a serious and immediate threat to the campus community, Public Safety will issue a timely notification to protect the health or safety of the community as required by the Clery Act. This notification will not include identifying information about a reporting party.
Mandated Reporter Obligations
Members of the Wheelock community who hold certain positions are considered "mandated reporters" under state law and are required by law to report suspected abuse of minors to the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). These positions include, but are not limited to:
• Educational administrators;
• Police officers;
• Medical treatment providers;
• Social workers;
• Pre-school and after-school program staff;
• Child care providers;
• Clergy; and
• Guidance or family counselors.
The College encourages reporting and seeks to remove any barriers to reporting by making the procedures for reporting transparent and straightforward. An individual who reports sexual misconduct, either as a Complainant or Witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations are minor and did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The College may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs. The Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will determine what policy violations will be considered "minor" and therefore eligible for amnesty in this context.
Effect of Legal Proceedings
Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law differ from the standards for finding a violation of the Policy, criminal investigations are not determinative of whether sexual or gender-based misconduct, for purposes of the Policy, has occurred. Conduct may constitute misconduct under the Policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime or decline to prosecute. The filing of a complaint of misconduct under the Policy does not depend on any criminal investigation or proceeding and, except in limited and extenuating circumstances, the College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceeding to commence its own investigation, take interim measures, or implement disciplinary proceedings.
Individuals are encouraged to report harassment, discrimination or other conduct that violates the Policy as soon as possible to maximize the College's ability to respond promptly and equitably. The College does not limit the timeframe for reporting an incident and will conduct an assessment to determine if an investigation and/or any safety measures are necessary to maintain the community's safety regardless of when the incident occurred. However, our ability to investigate and respond to a complaint may be limited with the passage of time and the College will not be able to impose disciplinary sanctions against an individual who is no longer affiliated with the College.
Preservation of Evidence
The College encourages all individuals who have experienced an incident of misconduct to preserve any evidence of the incident, even if there is uncertainty as to whether a claim will be filed or legal action will be taken. In addition to physical evidence of the conduct, an individual may elect to memorialize their knowledge of the incident by writing a statement for their records. The preservation of evidence is encouraged, but not required to report an incident.
Prevention, Education, and Training
Through educational programming and security measures, the College attempts to help reduce the risk of victimization for all community members. The college is committed to spreading awareness and teaching preventative strategies through New Student Orientation, New Hire Orientation, Faculty and Staff Training Forums, Student Leadership Training, Bystander Intervention Training, Sexual Assault Prevention, The Clothesline Project, and more programs sponsored by the Title IX Office, Student Life, Public Safety, the Counseling Center, Human Resources, and student organizations.
In addition, the College encourages all members of our community to participate in the process of creating a safe, welcoming and respectful environment on campus. In particular, the College expects that all community members will take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of sexual misconduct. Taking action may include direct intervention (when safe to do so), enlisting the assistance of friends, contacting law enforcement, or seeking assistance from a person in authority. Community members who choose to exercise bystander intervention will be supported by the College and protected from retaliation.
The Title IX office may maintain a record of any report, complaint, investigation, resolution, or documentation. These records will be treated as confidential and shared only on a need-to-know basis or as required by law.
Role of an Advisor
Both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to one (1) advisor of their choice.
Advisors are not permitted to advocate for a party or speak on their behalf during any proceeding. Individuals who are witnesses to the incident or are otherwise involved in the matter cannot serve as advisors. The College reserves the right to remove an advisor from any proceeding should these expectations and guidelines be violated.
Proceedings are not generally delayed or rescheduled due to an advisor's schedule or availability. The advisor's name and relationship to a party (e.g., student, faculty member, family member, attorney, etc.) must be disclosed to the investigator at least two days prior to any proceeding. The Title IX Coordinator will consider requests made to delay or reschedule a meeting or other proceedings and will make the final determination with respect to that request. The advisor may not address the conduct hearing adjudicator and/or hearing board directly nor may the advisor question any witness.
The College will strive to complete its review within sixty (60) days of commencing an investigation, but circumstances may require that an investigation continue beyond this time period. The College will keep the parties regularly appraised of the status of the investigation, including when it will continue beyond 60 days. The College may grant extensions to any time periods in this policy for good cause, with written notice to both parties about the extension.
Reporting a Complaint
Initiating a Complaint
Any member of the Wheelock community, who believes conduct in violation of the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct has occurred, or who has questions concerning this procedure, is encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints do not have to follow a particular form or format, but a written complaint is preferred.
Complaints should be as detailed as possible and should include the following information whenever possible:
- A description of the incident(s);
- Date of the incident(s);
- Personal reaction to the incident(s);
- Names of persons who may have witnessed the incident(s) or have relevant knowledge;
- Names of others who may have experienced the same type of behavior;
- Names of those within the College with whom you have discussed your concerns;
- Any documentation that you may have to support your complaint; and
- A description of the outcome you seek.
Reports to Law Enforcement
Reports may be filed with law enforcement at any time, regardless of whether a Complaint has been made to the College. A party may elect to contact the Boston Police Department (617-343-4400) directly or request assistance from the Office of Public Safety (617-879-2151). Neither the results of a criminal investigation nor the decision of law enforcement to investigate or decline to investigate the matter is determinative of whether misconduct, for the purposes of the Policy, has occurred.
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial assessment to determine the nature and circumstances of the report. In doing so, the Coordinator will address whether any interim measures are needed and provide a list of on- and off-campus resources for support. During this preliminary investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant with a copy of the Policy and discuss the Complainant's options and preferred method of resolution (i.e. informal or formal resolution process).
Upon receipt of a report, the College will provide appropriate interim support and reasonable protective measures designed to prevent further acts of misconduct, and to provide a safe educational and work environment. The College will determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures. If a Complainant or Respondent does not specifically request that protective action be taken, the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of any individual, the broader College community, or the integrity of the review process.
Individuals desiring such assistance should speak with the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator who will coordinate such requests. The College will maintain contact with the parties to ensure that all safety (emotional and physical) concerns are being addressed.
Individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure. The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce measures previously ordered or implemented by the College.
The range of interim measures includes, but is not limited to:
• Assistance with obtaining on- and/or off-campus medical treatment, counseling, and other related services;
• Alternate housing arrangements, if residing in College housing;
• Academic, employment, or residence modifications;
• No Contact Order through the College;
• Interim suspension from the college; and
• Assistance in obtaining help from local law enforcement (including a restraining order and/or protective order from the court).
There are two manners (informal or formal) in which the College attempts to bring resolution to a complaint of sexual misconduct. When a complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will discuss both processes with the Complainant to determine how they wish to proceed. The Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will take into consideration the Complainant's preferred process, except in cases involving alleged sexual assault, which are never appropriate for informal resolution. The following sections outline both resolution processes in detail.
Note to Employees: the hearing and appeals process varies for Faculty and Staff. Please refer to respective handbooks and follow all policy guidelines as applicable.
Informal Resolution Process
Initiating the Informal Resolution Process
A Complainant may request a resolution through an informal process, which provides an opportunity for the parties to come to a resolution without initiating a comprehensive investigation and review. An informal resolution process is only available when all parties agree to participate and the College deems it a suitable option for resolving the complaint. The informal resolution process is never appropriate when a complaint alleges sexual assault.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent may request that the College conduct a comprehensive investigation and review at any time during the informal resolution process or within ten (10) business days of concluding the informal resolution process.
Informal Resolution Procedures
Notifying the Respondent
Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator shall notify and meet with the Respondent to discuss the complaint, procedures, and their rights and responsibilities.
The Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will conduct a preliminary fact-finding investigation to better understand the circumstances of the complaint. This initial investigation may include interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, or relevant witnesses in addition to collecting relevant physical evidence. Upon this preliminary investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will determine whether the College can honor a party's request for an informal resolution. If so, the College will consult with all parties to determine the appropriate method for an informal resolution.
An informal resolution may include, but is not limited to, any of the following:
- Mediation between the Complainant and Respondent;
- A meeting with the Complainant's and/or Respondent's supervisor;
- A letter of apology;
- A written agreement or memorandum of understanding approved by the Title IX Coordinator and signed by both parties;
- A verbal or written warning;
- Mandated training(s); or
- No further action at the request of the Complainant.
Failure to Resolve the Complaint
If the matter is not resolved to the approval of both parties upon completion of the informal resolution process, either party may request the formal resolution process be initiated by requesting same in writing within ten (10) calendar days. If such a request is made, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will provide a detailed report of the informal resolution attempt to the parties and any information that may be relevant during the formal review. Please note that the ten (10) day deadline will be strictly enforced; if a request is not received within that period the matter will be considered closed.
Formal Resolution Process
Standard of Proof
For all reports reviewed pursuant to the Policy, the College will use a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. more likely than not) to determine whether a violation occurred. In other words, an individual will be found responsible for a violation if there is a greater than fifty (50) percent chance that the conduct in violation of the Policy occurred.
Failure to Cooperate
Parties to a complaint and/or investigation conducted by the College are expected to cooperate fully with the resolution of the complaint and/or investigation. This includes providing complete and accurate information as well as relevant documentation. If a party elects not to participate, the College may be obligated to continue with its investigation and adjudication without that party's input. Alternatively, the College may determine that no further action is needed and consider the matter closed. These determinations will be made by the Title IX Coordinator upon review of all information available to them. Note: parties do not generally need to participate in the conduct process to receive resources and support.
Formal Investigation Procedure
Responding to a Complaint
Upon receipt of a report of an alleged violation of the Policy, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will meet with the Complainant to review their report, inform them of their rights and responsibilities under the Policy, provide information regarding on- and off-campus resources, discuss potential interim measures, and review relevant procedures. If the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator determines that interim measures are appropriate, the Chief Student Affairs Office will be advised of same and measures will be enacted.
Following this meeting with the Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator will contact the Respondent to notify them of the complaint, inform them of their rights and responsibilities under the Policy, provide information regarding on- and off-campus resources, discuss potential interim measures, and review relevant procedures. In many cases, the College will issue a mutual no-contact order between the parties.
All parties will be advised of their right to submit a written statement to the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator that addresses the complaint, provides a list of potential witnesses they would like the investigator to interview, and details any further relevant evidence.
A trained investigator will engage in a fact-finding investigation so that the College may take appropriate measures designed to ensure the safety of the campus community, including evaluating responsibility and determining potential sanctions. The following list identifies some, but not all, measures the investigator may take as part of their investigation:
- Interview(s) with Complainant;
- Interview(s) with Respondent;
- Interview(s) with relevant witnesses; and/or
- Review of physical evidence (e.g. photographs, video, text messages, phone logs, social media posts, etc...).
Throughout the course of the investigation the investigator will determine what information, statements, and/or evidence will be shared with the involved parties. The parties will receive similar, timely access to all shared information, statements, and/or evidence and have an opportunity to respond to same.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a written report that summarizes the scope of the investigation, identifies applicable policies, summarizes available evidence, reviews the standard of evidence, provides a credibility assessment, and recommends findings along with copies of any documentation supporting these findings. The Complainant and Respondent will simultaneously be provided a copy of the investigator's report. Each party will have three (3) calendar days to review the report and provide a written response to the investigator. The investigator has sole discretion to update, revise, or supplement their report based on the written responses of the parties.
If there is insufficient credible evidence to support the allegation(s) of discrimination, harassment, or misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will dismiss the complaint and take no further action.
If sufficient, credible evidence to support the allegation of discrimination, harassment, or misconduct is found, the Title IX Coordinator may initiate a Title IX Board Hearing or, if the evidence is such that no hearing is necessary, the Title IX Coordinator may issue an administrative finding.
Title IX Hearing
The Title IX Hearing Board (the Board) consists of trained members of faculty and staff at the College. When a Title IX Hearing is needed, the Board will be contacted and three (3) members will be selected to serve on the hearing panel. The Title IX Coordinator shall solicit information from each prospective panel member concerning any factors that might prejudice an objective evaluation of the evidence and shall disqualify any potential member if a conflict or potential conflict emerges. The Title IX Coordinator will then inform the Complainant and Respondent of the selected panelists and provide them with three (3) calendar days to raise concerns about potential conflicts of interest.
Once it is determined that no conflict exists, the hearing panel will be provided with a copy of the final investigator report, accompanying documentation, and/or any available interview transcripts. Following review of the provided materials, a formal hearing will be held and may include the following:
- Complainant's testimony and statement;
- Complainant's witness(es) testimony and statement;
- Respondent's testimony and statement;
- Respondent's witness(es) testimony and statement;
- Deliberation; and
During the testimony period, panel members will have the opportunity to ask questions directly to the Complainant, Respondent, and witness(es). Please note that parties to the complaint will not be permitted to question each other directly but may offer suggestions to the panel when appropriate. Before making a determination, the panel may request that the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator gather additional relevant information and adjourn the hearing until that information is gathered. This additional information may include further testimony and/or physical evidence. The Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator may assist with explaining and/or answering questions regarding their final report.
If the respondent is found responsible for a violation of the Policy, a sanction appropriate to the severity of the offense will be imposed. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to:
- Disciplinary reprimand or warning;
- Eviction from campus housing;
- No-contact order;
- Mandatory counseling or mentoring;
- Successful completion of an educational training, awareness, or prevention program
- Community service;
- Loss of College privileges (e.g. prohibition from participation in College activities, events, organization, withdrawal from a program of study or class, etc...);
- Delay in obtaining administrative services or benefits from the College (i.e. holding transcripts, delaying registration, graduation, diplomas, etc...);
- Financial restitution;
- Work restrictions;
- Transfer, reassignment, or demotion;
- Expulsion; and/or
- Termination of employment or non-renewal of a contract.
Sanctions are determined by the hearing panel or the Title IX Coordinator (if violation determined via an administrative finding). When determining what sanction(s) to impose, the College may consider the severity of the violation, the nature of the conduct at issue, prior disciplinary history of the Respondent, and its interest in promoting safety and deterring individuals from similar behavior in the future.
Upon making its finding, the panel shall inform the Title IX Coordinator of its determination. If the panel finds that a violation of this Policy occurred, they will recommend an appropriate disciplinary sanction as outlined above. The Title IX Coordinator shall inform all parties of the Hearing Panel's decision simultaneously, in writing.
All parties to the complaint have equal rights to an impartial appeal. The parties shall have three (3) calendar days after receiving written notice of the outcome of the investigation to submit a written appeal of the outcome. Sanctions from the original hearing will go into effect immediately after the decision is delivered to the Respondent, even if a request for appeal is submitted. If either party files an appeal, the other party will be notified.
Requests for appeal should be submitted in writing to the Chief Student Affairs Office to determine if grounds exist to hear the appeal. Appeals can only be made regarding the finding of a case (Responsible vs. Not Responsible), not the nature and severity of the sanctions.
Grounds for an Appeal
Violation of Procedure
An appeal will be accepted if the appellant demonstrates that the College committed a material procedural error that was likely to adversely affect the result of the conduct adjudication. Minor or inconsequential deviations from procedure do not give rise to an appeal right.
Previously Unavailable Information
An appeal will be accepted in circumstances where the appellant is able to provide relevant testimony or other evidence that (i) was unavailable to the individual submitting the appeal at the time of the adjudication process and (ii) would have likely affected the finding.
If an appeal is accepted, both parties will be notified and the appeal will be processed for a decision. The appeal may be heard by the Chief Student Affairs Office and/or their designee. The appellate may seek further information from the parties, witnesses, or investigator, but will not hold a formal appeal hearing. Both parties will be notified in writing of the outcome of the appeal, generally within fourteen (14) days of the initial filing of appeal.
The College will not require either party to abide by a nondisclosure agreement, in writing or otherwise, that would prevent the re-disclosure of information related to the outcome of the appeal.
OFFICE LOCATION/ PHONE NUMBER
Title IX Coordinator, 150 Riverway, ACW 307, 617-879-1174
Campus Safety, 210 Riverway, 617-879-2151
Health Services 133 Brookline Avenue, 617-421-1196
Residence Life and Housing, 37 Pilgrim Road, 617-879-2108
Campus Spiritual Life, 150 Riverway, 617-879-2185
Counseling Center, 37 Pilgrim Road, CLR 003, 617-879-2410
Student Life, 37 Pilgrim Road, 617-879-2100
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Boston Medical Center
Brigham and Women’s Hospital
617-972-6260 or 877-785-2020 after 5pm and on weekends
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA 1990), ADA Amendments Act (2008), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the College is committed to providing support services and reasonable accommodations on an individual basis to students with disabilities (as defined by law). Students requesting accommodations must submit appropriate documentation verifying the need for accommodations and contact the Disabilities Services Office to participate in an intake process and to request accommodations. (http://www.wheelock.edu/academics/academicservices/disability-services)
The Disability Services Office is located in Library 205.