Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy

Nondiscrimination Policy

Student Handbook

Title IX

About Title IX

Title IX, a portion of the Education Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act, states in part that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance...

Title IX Coordinator

Our Title IX coordinator is responsible for ensuring compliance with the law and coordinating any investigations of Title-IX-related complaints received—including complaints of sexual harassment and violence—though several other people on campus play related roles.

Interim Title IX coordinator:

Angela Voos
Vice President for Strategic Planning and Chief of Staff
104 Nollen House
(641) 269-3024

Title IX Deputy Coordinators:

Deputy Coordinator for Policy
Dee Fairchild
Director of Athletics
P102 Bear Recreation & Athletic Center

Deputy Coordinator for Case Management
Travis Greene
Dean of Students
310-G Joe Rosenfield Center
1115 8th Avenue

Deputy Coordinator for Prevention
Jen Jacobsen '95
Wellness Coordinator
F201 Bear Recreation & Athletic Center

Iowa Civil Rights Commission   
Grimes State Office Building
400 E. 14th Street, Rm 20`
Des Moines, IA 50319-0201
Phone: 515-281-4121 or Toll Free: 1-800-457-4416

Department of Education Office for Civil RIghts
Region V Office
500 W. Madison St., Ste. 1475
Chicago, IL 60661
Phone: 312-730-1560
Email: OCR.Chicago[at]ed[dot]gov

Related Resources

Grinnell-Specific Information

Nondiscrimination Policy

Handbooks-- each includes Grinnell’s policies and procedures concerning discrimination and sexual harassment

Sexual Assault Resources

Prevention Programs

  • Harm Reduction Committee
  • NCAA Pioneering Choices: Off the Field program

Staff Contacts

  • Task Force on Safety, Responsibility, and Prevention: Angela Voos
  • Security: Steve Briscoe
  • Wellness: Jennifer Jacobsen ’95
  • Student Health and Counseling Services: Harriett Dickey Chasins '83
  • Chaplain’s office: Rev. Deanna Shorb

Clery Annual Disclosure Reports

Federal Information about Title IX

The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces several Federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education.

They provide many online resources for helping you understand your rights and responsibilities, including:

  • Know Your Rights – an overview of your rights under federal law.
  • Prevention – resources aimed at prevention of civil rights problems.

The OCR also groups information—such as guidelines, know-your-rights publications, contacts, and other resources—by topics such as:

Educational Resources

OCR: See the links above for fact sheets and guidelines issued by the OCR.

University of Buffalo’s Safety & Violence Prevention videos on YouTube


Source: Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy

Administrative Hearing: a form of resolution that involves a hearing with the Dean of Students (or designee) and not a hearing board.  The same principles of fundamental fairness and standard of proof (i.e., preponderance of evidence – “more likely than not”) are afforded during an administrative hearing as in a College Hearing Board or Judicial Council hearing.

Adviser: any person from the College community from whom the Respondent or Complainant has requested assistance and support during the process of the complaint handling from beginning to end. For cases alleging sexual harassment or misconduct, a list of trained advisers who are knowledgeable about the student conduct process may be obtained from the Dean of Students Office.

Advocate: a trained support person, typically a trained DVA/SAC advocate.

Amnesty: limited immunity from being charged for policy violations for students who, in good faith, make allegations of sexual misconduct and students who offer help to others in need.

Anonymous Reports: the College does not know the identity of the person reporting.

Bargaining Unit: includes the employees of the Department of Facilities Management who are represented by Teamsters Local 90, excluding the staff members.

Bias-Motivated Incident: an expression of hostility against a person, group, or property thereof because of such person’s (or group’s) identifying or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, and/or sexual orientation. See also: Hate Crime.

Campus No-contact Order: a formal directive issued by the College requiring parties, often at the request of students, in any interpersonal conflict to have no direct or indirect interaction. Campus no-contact orders are rarely issued and may be implemented in extreme cases between students when reasonable fear of physical or psychological harm is present.  

Child: a child is defined by Iowa Code, section 232.68 as any person under the age of 18 years. The victim of child abuse is a person under the age of 18 who has suffered one or more of the categories of child abuse as defined in Iowa law (physical abuse, mental injury, sexual abuse, denial of critical care, child prostitution, presence of illegal drugs, manufacturing or possession of a dangerous substance).

College employees who, in the scope of their employment responsibilities, examine, attend, counsel, or treat a child are obligated to report suspected physical or sexual abuse of a child.    This includes most College employees, including, but not limited to, faculty, coaches, student employees, administrators and staff.  Such College employees, regardless of statutorily-protected or -designated confidentiality, must report to both the Grinnell Police Department Dispatch Center (641-236-5679) and Campus Safety and Security (641-269-4600) within 24 hours of receiving a report of alleged child abuse. Both of these numbers are staffed 24 hours a day/7 days a week.

Coercion: a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to persuade a reasonable person of ordinary susceptibility to perform an act which otherwise would not have been performed, or acquiesce in an act to which one would not have submitted.
Complainant: the individual(s) who has experienced a possible instance of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence, regardless of whether that individual makes a report or seeks formal conduct (corrective) action.

Complainant who Makes False Claim: a person who filed a false claim. Such individuals are subject to conduct (corrective) action as outlined below. See also: Corrective Action.

Complaint: a written document alleging discrimination or sexual harassment.

Confidentiality: Grinnell College community members who are bound by confidentiality include medical and counseling staff from Student Health and Counseling Services (SHACS), chaplains, and trained Campus Advocates (i.e., DVA/SAC advocates). See also: Statutorily-Protected or -Designated Confidentiality.

Consent: the Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Policy is based on affirmative consent. In the spring of 2012, the Grinnell College study body voted overwhelmingly to revise the Sexual Harassment and Misconduct policy to incorporate affirmative consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be given knowingly, voluntarily, and affirmatively. Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity, and for each form of sexual contact. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or clear, unambiguous actions that indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive.
  • Each participant in a sexual encounter is expected to obtain and give consent to each act of sexual activity. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not constitute consent to engage in all forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings.  Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.   
  • If at any time it is reasonably apparent that either party is hesitant, confused or unsure, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing such activity.
  • Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by mutually understandable words and/or clear, unambiguous actions that indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
  • Individuals with a previous or current intimate relationship do not automatically give initial or continued consent to sexual activity.  Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly and unambiguously indicates a willingness to engage in sexual activity.
  • Consent is not affirmative if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his/her/hir or own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact.  
  • An individual who is physically incapacitated from alcohol and/or other drug consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or is unconscious, unaware or otherwise physically helpless is considered unable to give consent. For example, one who is asleep or passed out cannot give consent.
  • In the State of Iowa, consent can never be given by minors under the age of 16. For those under the age of 16 the law has two distinctions: First, anybody 13 years of age or younger is considered to be a “child” under Iowa Code, section 702.5 and thus, incapable of consent. Second, for the ages of 14 and 15, the consenting partner must be less than 5 years of age apart from the teen.
  • Corrective Action: measures taken by the President (or designee) against a complainant making a false claim, or against a Respondent when a finding of discrimination or sexual harassment is accepted by the President.

Cyber-Stalking: a form of sexual harassment, cyber-stalking is the use of internet or other electronic devices to stalk someone. Cyber-stalkers may use e-mail, chat rooms, social networking sites (including Plans) and other tools to monitor, harass, embarrass or threaten their victims.

De Novo Review: a type of appellate review that starts from the beginning, or looks at the case anew. The appeals officer will not conduct a de novo review. Instead, the appeals officer shall consider the merits of an appeal only on the basis of the two grounds for appeal: a.) new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing, and/or b.) procedural error that had material impact on the fundamental fairness of the hearing.

Discrimination: denigrates or shows hostility or aversion toward an individual because of his/her/hir race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, religion, physical or mental disability, creed or any other protected class. Discrimination has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment, or living environment, or studying environment.

Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Hearing Board: a review board that is named by the President (or designee) to address allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, veteran status, religion, physical or mental disability, creed or any other protected class; or allegations of sexual harassment against staff, faculty, or bargaining unit employees. This Board may be convened – on substantive or procedural grounds – after the senior official investigates and responds to allegations and, if applicable, imposes corrective action.
Educational Outcomes: rather than using the term “sanctions,” educational outcomes are used by College to reflect the educational and corrective aspirations of the student conduct program. Serious departures from acceptable conduct may lead to one or more of the following educational outcomes: restitution fines, deferred finding of responsibility, conduct warning, conduct probation, behavioral expectations (including a campus no-contact order), parental and guardian notification, College-owned residence suspension, College-owned residence dismissal, suspension, or dismissal from the College, withholding of registration or degree, or rehabilitative measures decided by a College conduct body.

False Claim: a complaint found to have been intentionally dishonest in the contents of a complaint of discrimination or sexual harassment or a complaint found to have been made maliciously.

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA): the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) as amended, also known as the "Buckley Amendment", provides that schools must follow certain procedures with regard to students' records. In sum, FERPA establishes three rights for students:
•    the right to inspect and review education records maintained by the College;
•    the right to seek to amend education records; and
•    the right to have control over the disclosure of information from education records.

Force: the use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual’s freedom to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity.

Fundamental Fairness: as a private institution, Grinnell College is not obligated to provide “due process” to Respondents. Rather, the College incorporates similar principles of “fundamental fairness” that require notice and an opportunity to respond before action is taken against a Respondent.
Grievance: a formal complaint.

Harm to Others: Physical, verbal, or psychological abuse, harassment, intimidation or other harmful conduct that threatens, endangers, or has the potential to endanger the health, well-being or safety of another individual.

Hate Crime: a criminal act that is committed against a person, group, or property thereof because of such person’s (or group’s) identifying or perceived race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, gender, gender identity or expression, and/or sexual orientation.

Incapacitation: the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because an individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, unconscious, or unaware that the sexual activity is occurring.  Where alcohol and/or other drugs (including prescription drugs) are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication.

Informal Resolution: an option when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively or when a formal investigation is not desired. When instances of alleged sexual violence occur, some forms of informal resolution (e.g., mediation and/or restorative justice options) are expressly prohibited under Title IX.

Interim Remedies: actions the College may take to support the complainant(s) to help them feel safer. These remedies and measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College and may be applied to the complainant(s) and/or the Respondent (s). See also: Potential Remedies.

Intimate Partner Violence (also referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence): any act of violence or threatened act of violence against a person who is, or has been involved in, a sexual, dating, domestic or other intimate relationship with that person.  It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Intimate partner violence can encompass a broad range of behavior, including, but not limited to physical violence, sexual violence, emotional violence, and economic abuse.  Intimate partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence to one’s self, one’s sexual or romantic partner and/or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.  Intimate partner violence affects individuals of all genders, gender identities and expressions, sexual orientation, and racial, ethnic, social, and economic backgrounds.

Libel: a false and defamatory written statement or representation about a person. See also: Slander.

Potential Remedies: actions the College may take to support the complainant(s) to help them feel safer. These remedies and measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College and may be applied to the complainant(s) and/or the Respondent (s). Potential remedies may include but are not limited to:

•    Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up initial appointment, both on and off campus;

•    Imposition of a Campus No-Contact Order;
•    Rescheduling of exams and assignments;

•    Providing alternative course completion options;

•    A change in class schedule or transferring sections, including the ability to drop a course without penalty;  

•    A change in work schedule or job assignment;

•    A change in student’s College-owned residence;

•    Assistance from College staff in completing residence relocation;

•    Limiting an individual or organization’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter;

•    A voluntary leave of absence;

•    Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities;

•    Providing medical services;

•    Providing academic support services, such as tutoring;

•    An interim suspension pending the outcome of a conduct hearing;

•    Any other remedy which can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this policy; and/or

•    A change of office space.

See also: Interim Remedies.

Privacy: information related to a report of alleged misconduct will be shared only with those College employees who “need to know” in order to assist the complainant(s) and/or aid in the investigation or resolution of the complaint.

Report: information provided to the College that an alleged incident of sexual harassment or misconduct has occurred, regardless of whether individuals have been identified.

Respondent: the individual(s) alleged to have committed sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, or intimate partner violence, regardless of whether or not formal conduct (corrective) action is taken.

Retaliation: any act to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise “retaliate” against people (students, faculty, staff, bargaining unit members, applicants) because they filed a charge of discrimination or participated in a formal grievance procedure. It is a violation of College policy to retaliate in any way against a student or employee because he/she/zi raised allegations of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual assault, and/or intimate partner violence. The College recognizes that retaliation can take many forms, may be committed by or against an individual or a group, and that a Respondent or third party may also be the subject of retaliation by other individuals, including the complainant.

Senior Official: either the Director of Human Resources (for staff members or members of the bargaining unit) or the Dean of the College (for faculty), or their designee(s).

Sex-Stereotyping: a form of sex discrimination, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex-stereotyping. Sex stereotype discrimination is where an employer takes an “employment action” against someone based on that person's non-conformance with a gender stereotype. Sex-stereotyping applies equally to people of all genders.  

Sexual Assault: having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent.  This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated.  Sexual assault includes the following acts:
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:  Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual without consent. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact.  
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:  Having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without consent.  Sexual contact includes kissing, touching the intimate parts of another, causing the other to touch one's intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.
  • Sexual Exploitation: An act or acts committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person's sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage or any other non-legitimate purpose.  The act or acts of sexual exploitation are prohibited even though the behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to:
    • Observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
    • Non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
    • Prostituting another individual;
    • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
    • Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without his/her/hir knowledge; and/or
    • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.  

Sexual Harassment: unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. It includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Violence: any physical sexual act perpetuated against a person’s will or where the person is incapable of giving consent due to that person’s use of drugs or alcohol. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion.

Slander: a false and defamatory oral statement or representation about a person. See also: Libel.

Stalking: A course (i.e., more than once) of unwelcome conduct directed toward another person that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm, harass, and/or cause reasonable fear of harm or injury to that person, or to a third party, such as a roommate or friend.
Statutorily-Protected or -Designated Confidentiality: trained professionals who are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others, or if there are allegations of child abuse.

Timely Notice: for the purposes of this policy, "timely notice" generally means within 48 hours after an incident has been brought to the attention of a "campus security authority" as defined in the Clery Act.

Title VII: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Title IX: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX Team: generally consists of the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Deputy Coordinators, Dean of Students, Director of Campus Safety and Security and others as applicable, such as the Dean of the College or Director of Human Resources.


Clery Annual Disclosure Reports: As required by the Student Right-to-Know and Campus Security Act, passed by the United States Congress in November 1990, the Clery reports will inform you about  the College’s methods for reporting crime, support and assistance available to crime survivors, policies relating to crime and campus emergencies, and crime statistics for the last three years.


Healthy Relationships

There are basic foundation blocks of a healthy relationship. Try to imagine your relationship like a house…if you take the foundation blocks out from under a house, it would crumble.

Building Blocks

  • Trust and Support
  • Honesty and Accountability
  • Communication
  • Respect
  • Shared Power
  • Negotiation and Fairness

Signs of a healthy relationship

  • Trust
  • Your partner accepts you for who you are
  • Your partner accepts your friends and family members
  • Your partner understands and encourages you to spend time apart
  • Your partner does not attempt to control or change you
  • Your partner compliments you and builds you up
  • You value each other’s opinions and make decisions together
  • You don’t have to lie for your partner or cover his/her mistakes
  • You communicate about any issues in a respectful manner and come to an equally agreeable solution

Signs of an unhealthy relationship

  • One partner gets serious about the relationship too quickly
  • Jealousy, possessiveness, checking up on partner
  • Being bossy, giving orders, making all the decisions
  • Afraid of partner and fear their reactions
  • History of violence and bad relationships
  • Pressures you for sex or other things
  • Tries to portray violence as a masculine trait
  • Blames you for all the problems claiming you provoked them to do it
  • Limits your time with friends or forces you to choose between them and your friends
  • Tells you what to wear
  • Accuses you of cheating on them for no reason
  • Criticizes you in front of others
  • Yells at you or calls you names
  • Abuses alcohol or other drugs
  • Constant texting, calling, messaging, etc.
  • Humiliates or embarrasses you
  • Makes decisions for you
  • Breaks promises or lies to you
  • Loses temper easily
  • Withholds affection as a way to punish you

What You Can Do to Reduce the Number of Sexual Assaults?

As members of the Grinnell College community we all have a role to play in helping to shift social norms and reduce violence. We can all make a choice to intervene when we see a potentially harmful situation or speak up when we here remarks that reinforce gender stereotypes, rape culture, or are potentially harmful. 

What can you do to reduce your own risk?

It is important to know that as a complainant of sexual assault you are never to blame for the incident. However, you may be wondering what you can do to reduce the risk of being sexually assaulted by an acquaintance.  Here are some safety tips to practice in a social situation:

  • When you go to a party, go with a group of friends. Arrive together, check in with each other, and leave together.
  • Practice safe drinking. Try not to leave any beverages unattended or accept drinks from someone you don’t know or trust.
  • Have a buddy system. Don’t be afraid to let a friend know if something is making you uncomfortable or if you are worried about your or your friend’s safety. If someone you don’t know or trust asks you to go somewhere alone, let him/her/hir know that you would rather stay with the group.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Knowing where you are and who is around you may help you to find a way out of a bad situation.
  • Communicate your limits firmly and directly. Back up your words with a firm tone of voice and clear body language.
  • Don’t be afraid to “make waves” if you feel threatened. If you feel you are being pressured or coerced into sexual activity against your will, don’t hesitate to state your feelings in order to get out of the situation. Better a few minutes of social awkwardness and embarrassment than the trauma of sexual assault.

Here are some tips to avoid dangerous situations:

  • If you feel unsafe, call Campus Safety and Security at (641) 269-4600 to escort you anywhere on the campus or within the city of Grinnell.
  • Try to avoid isolated areas and being isolated with just one other person. It is more difficult to get help if no one is around.
  • Walk with purpose. Even if you don’t know where you are going, act like you do.
  • Trust your instincts. If a situation or location feels unsafe or uncomfortable, it probably isn’t the best place to be.
  • Make sure your cell phone is with you and charged.
  • Avoid putting music headphones in both ears so that you can be more aware of your surroundings, especially if you are walking alone.

Tips to avoid being the perpetrator of sexual misconduct:

  • It is never acceptable to use force in sexual situations, no matter what the circumstances.
  • Sexual assault can happen between persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • If a person says “no” to sexual contact, believe them and stop!
  • Don’t make any assumptions about a person’s behavior.
  • Don’t automatically assume that someone wants to have sex just because he or she drinks heavily, dresses in a certain way, or agrees to go back to your room. Don’t assume that because a person has had sexual contact with you previously that he/she/zi is willing to or will consent to having sex with you again.
  • Everyone should be especially careful in situations involving the use of alcohol and other drugs. Alcohol and other drugs can interfere with one’s ability to assess situations and to communicate effectively.
  • All students should beware that having sexual contact with someone who is mentally incapable of giving consent is sexual assault. If you have sex with a person who is drugged, intoxicated, “sleeping” or passed out, incapable of saying “yes” or “no” or unaware what is happening to them, then you may be guilty of sexual assault. Voluntary consent cannot be given if a person is intoxicated or impaired. (Alcohol is a factor in a very high percentage of sexual assaults)
  • Please be especially careful in group situations. Be prepared to resist pressure from friends to participate in violent or criminal activities.

If you see someone at risk for assault:

  • Please get involved if you believe that someone else may be at risk for assault. If you see a person “in trouble” at a party or another person using force or coercion do not be afraid to ask questions and or intervene. You may save someone from the trauma of sexual assault and or from the ordeal of criminal prosecution.

Coping with long-term effects

Sometimes months or even years after an assault, survivors re-experience feelings they had immediately following the attack. Talking to someone - be it a friend, counselor, clergy, or crisis hotline can be a helpful way to work through fears and feelings. Whether you (or someone you know) were sexually assaulted recently or sometime in the past, you do not have to deal with these feelings alone. There are many resources on campus and in the surrounding community that can help you get your life back on track and begin the healing process.