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Misconduct Prohibited by this Policy

Green Mountain College is committed to maintaining a community free from sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. Therefore, the following misconduct is prohibited as a matter of College policy. For the information of College community members, definitions of consent, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking used in Vermont criminal law are outlined below. The College’s definitions of these types of misconduct are at least as broad and protective of complainants as the definitions used in Vermont’s criminal law, and the College uses its own definitions as a matter of College policy. The College also uses its own standard of proof (preponderance of the evidence) and its own procedures, and does not depend upon the outcome of any criminal proceedings, in handling reports of misconduct covered by this policy.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct is defined for purposes of this policy as any sexual contact or conduct with another person without that person's expressed consent. Sexual misconduct also includes sexual contact or conduct with another person who is under the age of 16 or whose ability to appraise or control conduct is substantially impaired.

For purposes of this policy, consent is defined by the following three criteria:
  1. That consent given is informed. A person engaging in sexual activity should consciously and fully understand what is occurring.
  2. That consent given is voluntary. A person engaging in sexual activity should do so without any coercion or pressure to do so.
  3. That consent is clearly established. An individual must be clear that his/her partner wishes to engage in all aspects of the sexual activity.
  4. Impairment or intoxication by the alleged perpetrator of forced or non-consensual sexual activity does not excuse the conduct, nor does it excuse the alleged perpetrator’s alleged inability to determine whether the complainant’s ability to appraise or control conduct was substantially impaired.

    The following constitute violations of the Green Mountain College Sexual Misconduct Protocol and sanctions for students found responsible for such violations will be determined on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the nature and severity of the violation: Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:
    Any sexual touching (including disrobing and exposure), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, without effective consent.

    Sexual Exploitation:
    When a student takes non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit and that behavior does not otherwise constitute non-consensual sexual intercourse or contact, or sexual harassment. Examples include:
    • inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually violate another student
    • non-consensual video, audio taping or still photography of sexual activity, allowing others to observe a personal act of consensual sex without knowledge or consent of the partner
    • engaging in voyeurism
    • knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student, or
    • promoting prostitution (i.e. personally gaining money, privilege, or power from the sexual activities of another person).

    Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse:
    Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman, without effective consent. Non-consensual sexual activity occurs if a female/male is forced to have sexual intercourse, or if sexual intercourse occurs under circumstances in which he/she is unable to consent to such activities. Sexual intercourse may involve vaginal, oral, or anal penetration by a penis, other body part, or other object. The alleged perpetrator may be known or unknown to the complainant. The force necessary can be any amount or threat of force, which places the victim in fear of injury or in fear of his/her life. The alleged perpetrator need not use a weapon nor must he/she physically abuse the complainant to make him/her fearful of injury or his/her life.

    Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person, which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking may take many forms, including persistent calling, texting, or posting on a social networking site as well as physical stalking.

    Dating Violence:
    Violence, whether verbal or physical, which is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant.

    Domestic Violence:
    Violence, whether verbal or physical, which is committed by a current or former spouse of the complainant.

    Sexual Harassment
    It is the policy of Green Mountain College that no member of the College community may sexually harass another. Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which includes, but is not limited to: blatant and overt acts such as unwanted or unwarranted touching, bribery, demands for sexual favors, threats of physical and/ or emotional harm, exposing one's self, undue attention, unwanted embraces or bodily contact, sexual gestures, or verbal abuse. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when: such advances or requests are made under circumstances implying that one's response might affect educational or personnel decisions that are subject to the influence of the person making the proposal; or such speech or conduct is directed against another and is either abusive or severely humiliating, or persists despite the objection of the person targeted by the speech or conduct; or such speech or conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and substantially impairs the academic or work opportunity of students, colleagues, or co-workers; (or) the behavior may be an unwanted series of events or an unwanted single encounter that causes a reasonable individual worry, trouble, or concern.

    The College encourages reports of unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, even if the reporting person is not certain whether the perceived conduct meets the thresholds outlined above, so that the College can make a determination through its processes as to whether its policies have been violated.

    Green Mountain College recognizes that the protection of free and open speech and the open exchange of ideas is important to any academic community. This recognition is therefore an important element in the “reasonable person” standard used in judging whether sexual harassment has occurred. This policy is meant neither to proscribe nor to inhibit discussion, in or out of the classroom, of complex, controversial or sensitive matters, when in the judgment of a reasonable person they arise appropriately and with respect for the dignity of others. The College also recognizes, however, that verbal conduct can be used specifically to intimidate or coerce and to inhibit genuine discourse, free inquiry and learning. Such abuses are unacceptable. If someone believes that another’s speech or writing is offensive, wrong or hurtful, he or she is encouraged to express that judgment in the exercise of his or her own free speech or to seek redress under the noted procedure(s) when appropriate.

    Retaliating against a person who has in good-faith filed, supported, or participated in an investigation of a complaint of sexual misconduct as defined above is prohibited. Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or to provide false or misleading information, engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person’s educational, living, or work environment, intimidating, threatening or coercing the person, or otherwise discriminating against any person for exercising his or her rights or responsibilities under this policy.

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