Sexual Assault Policy
Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, and Stalking Prevention Policy
Charter Oak State College seeks to provide a safe environment for employees and students and does not tolerate any type of violence committed against students or employees in person or via electronic means. Though Charter Oak is a non-traditional college community and its students primarily learn at a distance rather than at our campus, the College is mindful of issues of personal safety. Nontraditional students are not immune to incidents of violence. To this end, we want to ensure that all of our students and staff are educated about the issues of sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking so they understand the laws, the College's responsibilities, and their rights and responsibilities.
Individuals and Entities Affected by the Policy
This policy applies to all students and employees of Charter Oak State College, as well as anyone present at any Charter Oak functions. This policy doesn't apply beyond the physical campus, except in cases of online activities or when staff or students are officially representing Charter Oak.
Protecting Against Sexual Assault and Other Violence
Charter Oak State College strongly encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, stalking and intimate partner violence, as an effective means of taking action by reporting such acts to the appropriate officials and pursuing criminal or disciplinary remedies, or both. The only way that action can be taken against anyone who violates another in such a manner is through reporting. Charter Oak provides those who report sexual misconduct with many supportive options, including referral to agencies that provide medical attention, counseling, legal services, advocacy, referrals and general information regarding sexual misconduct. Charter Oak will preserve the confidentiality of those who report sexual misconduct to the fullest extent possible and allowed by law. All Charter Oak employees, victim support persons and community victim advocates being consulted will make any limits of confidentiality clear before any disclosure of facts takes place.
Sexual intimacy is permissible only if it is agreed to by all participants and all activity is affirmatively consensual at all times. Affirmative consent must be given by all parties before engaging in sexual activity. Affirmative consent means an active, unambiguous and voluntary agreement by a person to engage in sexual activity with another person. Sexual misconduct, as defined herein, is a violation of BOR and Charter Oak policies and may subject the accused student to criminal penalties. Charter Oak is committed to providing an environment free of personal offenses. Consensual sexual relationships between staff, faculty and students are discouraged pursuant to BOR and Charter Oak policy.
If you are a student taking courses at another campus, you need to be aware of that campus' policies as well.
Sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking are not just women's issues and can happen anywhere and to anyone. On traditional college campuses, occurrences of sexual assault and other violence are frequently associated with alcohol, and many victims know their assailants. Students who study at a distance from Charter Oak should be aware of personal safety issues and wary of potentially dangerous situations in their daily lives.
Charter Oak is committed to making certain that its offices are secure and safe environments for students, employees, and visitors. To ensure this safety, the College has established the following policies and practices:
The possession, abuse, or distribution of illicit drugs and/or alcohol by students and employees is prohibited.
All visitors to the College buildings must be granted entry by pressing the buzzer. All visitors are expected to sign in at the reception desk.
The main college building at Manafort Drive is outfitted with security cameras. The security cameras are monitored by Central Connecticut State University security.
The Central Connecticut State Police patrol the parking lot and check on the building at the New Britain facility. The Newington Police patrol the parking lot and check on the building at the Newington location.
Personal Safety and Crime Prevention
Many Charter Oak students take traditional classroom courses through other accredited colleges and universities. If you are taking courses on ground at another college, you need to be aware of their policies. You can usually find their policies on their website or at their campus security office. You may want to check their campus safety report which should be on their web site.
Many colleges have "blue light" systems that aid in expediting calls concerning emergencies or criminal incidents. Most are place in high pedestrian walk areas or in secluded areas.
Many colleges have an escort service that will walk student to his/her care in the evening.
Some campuses have safety workshops.
You can view Campus Crime Statistics at https://ope.ed.gov/campussafety/. Remember, colleges only report incidences that happen on campus, not in the surrounding areas to college students.
Students and employees are encouraged to take a proactive approach to crime prevention in order to increase their level of security.
Make it a practice to avoid walking alone after dark. Don't wear head phones. Don't use your cell phone.
When walking in a parking lot, especially at night, have your keys ready.
Students should be watchful of alcohol/drug consumption and its effects on their behavior and the behavior of others.
Students should pay attention to their own emotions. If they feel threatened or uncomfortable in any situation, they should leave immediately.
Know the resources in your community to call. If you are assaulted while attending another campus, you should contact that campus security office, local police, or other local resource immediately.
Reporting Sexual Assault or Other Violent Crimes on the Charter Oak Campus
Employees, including student workers, should contact the Human Resources department and students should contact the Academic Dean or Provost or Director of Academic Services to report an incident or to discuss an incident, if you are undecided about proceeding with charges, or if you have general questions about aggressive behavior.
Any potentially dangerous situation must be reported immediately to a representative of Human Resources, the Provost, or the President so action can be taken to ensure the safety of all individuals involved and the campus.
Reports of confidentiality will be handled appropriately, and information will be disclosed only on a need-to-know basis.
Students are encouraged to report all incidents of assault or other violence to the College in order to receive help in accessing support services and in prosecution the alleged offender. However, the decision whether or not to report the incident and whether or not to press changers must be made by the victim and respected by all members of the College. If the victim does not give permission to disclose identity, with the sole exception of the threat to personal safety, the identity of the victim cannot be given. Reporting can include only time, place, manner, and current condition of the victim. However, if the report builds upon information the College has already about the alleged assailant, the College can take action without the consent of the victim.
When a College staff member is informed of an assault or other violent incident, the staff member must notify the appropriate person, as stated above.
What Happens When a Report is Made?
The person who the report was made to will ensure the victim's safety. If the victim is in danger, the person will call the police.
The person will suggest the victim seek immediate medical treatment. In the case of sexual assault, it is important that the victim not wash, bathe, or change clothes before getting medical attention. This is necessary to preserve valuable evidence, should the victim decide to report the assault and prosecute the assailant. Having a medical examination does not commit the victim to press charges.
The person will help arrange transportation of the victim to the hospital. It is important that the victim have an examination because not all internal injuries are apparent, including sexually transmitted diseases
With the victim's consent, the person will refer the victim to the emergency room and rape crises intervention center, as appropriate.
Sexual misconduct includes engaging in any of the following behaviors:
- Sexual harassment, which can include any unwelcome sexual advance or request for sexual favors, or any conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual's education or employment; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational or employment environment. Examples of conduct which may constitute sexual harassment include but are not limited to:
- sexual flirtation, touching, advances or propositions
- verbal abuse of a sexual nature
- pressure to engage in sexual activity
- graphic or suggestive comments about an individual's dress or appearance
- use of sexually degrading words to describe an individual
- display of sexually suggestive objects, pictures or photographs
- sexual jokes
- stereotypic comments based upon gender
- threats, demands or suggestions that retention of one's educational status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.
Retaliation is prohibited and occurs when a person is subjected to an adverse employment or educational action because he or she made a complaint under this policy or assisted or participated in any manner in an investigation.
- Sexual assaultshall include but is not limited to a sexual act directed against another person without the consent (as defined herein) of the other person or when that person is not capable of giving such consent. Sexual assault is further defined in sections 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b and 53a-73a of the Connecticut General Statutes.
- Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone's advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
- Prostituting another person;
- Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity;
- Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;
- Going beyond the bounds of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
- Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
- Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV to another without disclosing your STI status;
- Exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals; or
- Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography.
Intimate partner, domestic and/or dating violence means any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse of or person in a dating or cohabitating relationship with such individual that results from any action by such spouse or such person that may be classified as a sexual assault under section 53a-70, 53a-70a, 53a-70b, 53a-71, 53a-72a, 53a-72b or 53a-73a of the general statutes, stalking under section 53a-181c, 53a-181d or 53a-181e of the general statutes, or domestic or family violence as designated under section 46b-38h of the general statutes. This includes any physical or sexual harm against an individual by a current or former spouse or by a partner in a dating relationship that results from (1) sexual assault (2) sexual assault in a spousal or cohabiting relationship; (3) domestic violence; (4) sexual harassment (5) sexual exploitation, as such terms are defined in this policy.
Offenses that are designated as "domestic violence" are against family or household members or persons in dating or cohabitating relationships and include assaults, sexual assaults, stalking, and violations of protective or restraining orders issued by a Court. Intimate partner violence may also include physical abuse, threat of abuse, and emotional abuse.
Physical abuse includes, but is not limited to, slapping, pulling hair or punching.
Threat of abuse includes but is not limited to, threatening to hit, harm or use a weapon on another (whether victim or acquaintance, friend or family member of the victim) or other forms of verbal threat.
Emotional abuse includes but is not limited to, damage to one's property, driving recklessly to scare someone, name calling, threatening to hurt one's family members or pets and humiliating another person.
Cohabitation occurs when two individuals dwell together in the same place as if married.
The determination of whether a "dating relationship" existed is to be based upon the following factors: the reporting victim's statement as to whether such a relationship existed, the length of the relationship, the type of the relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons reported to be involved in the relationship.
Consent must be affirmed andis equal approval, given freely, willingly, and knowingly of each participant to desired sexual involvement. Consent is affirmative, conscious decision – indicated clearly by words or actions – to engage in mutually accepted sexual contact. Consent may be revoked at any time during the sexual activity by any person engaged in the activity.
Affirmative consent may never be assumed because there is no physical resistance or other negative response. A person who initially consents to sexual activity shall be deemed not to have affirmatively consented to any such activity which occurs after that consent is withdrawn. It is the responsibility of each person to assure that he or she has the affirmative consent of all persons engaged in the sexual activity to engage in the sexual activity and that affirmative consent is sustained throughout the sexual activity. It shall not be a valid excuse to an alleged lack of affirmative consent that the student or employee responding to the alleged violation believed that the student reporting or disclosing the alleged violation consented to the activity because the responding student or employee was intoxicated or reckless or failed to take reasonable steps to ascertain affirmative consent or if the reporting or disclosing student was unable to consent because the student or employee was unconscious, asleep, unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition, or incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol or medication. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, shall not be determinative of a finding of affirmative consent.
Stalking, which is defined as repeatedly contacting another person when contacting person knows or should know that the contact is unwanted by the other person; and the contact causes the other person reasonable apprehension of imminent physical harm or the contacting person knows or should know that the contact causes substantial impairment of the other person's ability to perform the activities of daily life.
As used in this definition, the term "contacting" includes, but is not limited to, communicating with (including internet communication via e-mail, instant message, on- line community or any other internet communication) or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.
When Charter Oak receives a report of sexual misconduct all reasonable steps will be taken by the appropriate COSC officials to preserve the privacy of the reported victim while promptly investigating and responding to the report. While the institution will strive to maintain the confidentiality of personally identifiable student information reported, which information is subject to privacy requirements of the Family Education Rights Privacy Act (FERPA), the institution also must fulfill its duty to protect the campus community.
Confidential resources are defined as follows. For Charter Oak State College, confidential resources are limited to entities with statutory privilege, such as off campus counseling and psychological services, health services providers, member(s) of the clergy, and the local Sexual Assault Crisis Center and Domestic Violence Center. The personnel of these centers and agencies are bound by state statutes and professional ethics from disclosing information about reports without written releases.
Information provided to a confidential resource by a victim of a sexual misconduct or the person reported to have been the victim of sexual misconduct cannot be disclosed legally to any other person without consent, except under very limited circumstances, such as an imminent threat of danger to self or others or if the reported victim is a minor. Therefore, for those who wish to obtain the fullest legal protections and disclose in full confidentiality, she/he must speak with a confidential resource. Charter Oak will provide a list of such confidential resources in its region. However, since Charter Oak students come from many states and even countries, the student will need to find a confidential resource in their geographic area. Charter Oak will help the student find an appropriate resource.
Where it is deemed necessary for the institution to take steps to protect the safety of the reported victim and/or other members of the campus community, the institution will seek to act in a manner so as not to compromise the privacy or confidentiality of the reported victim of sexual misconduct to the extent reasonably possible.
Other than confidential resources as defined above, in addition to employees who qualify as Campus Security Authorities under the Jeanne Cleary Act, all employees are required to immediately communicate to the institution's designated recipient any disclosure or report of sexual misconduct received from a student regardless of the age of the reported victim. All employees are also required to communicate to the institution's designated recipient (e.g., Title IX Coordinator) any disclosure or report of sexual misconduct received from an employee that impacts employment with the institution or is otherwise related to the business of the institution.
A disclosure is the receipt of any communication of an incident of sexual misconduct not accompanied by a request for an investigation or adjudication by the institution. A report of sexual misconduct, on the other hand, is the receipt of a communication of an incident of sexual misconduct accompanied by a request for an investigation or adjudication by the institution. Upon receiving a disclosure or a report of sexual misconduct, employees are expected to supportively, compassionately and professionally offer academic and other accommodations and to provide a referral for support and other services, as appropriate.
Further, in accordance with Connecticut State law, with the exception of student employees, any paid administrator, faculty, staff, athletic director, athletic coach or athletic trainer who, in the ordinary course of their employment, has a reasonable cause to suspect or believe that a person under the age of 18 years has been abused or neglected, has been placed in imminent harm or has had a non-accidental injury is required by law and Board policy to report the incident within twelve hours to their immediate supervisor and to the Department of Children and Families.
Rights of Those Who Report
Those who report any type of sexual misconduct to any Charter Oak employee will be informed in a timely manner of all their rights and options, including the necessary steps and potential outcomes of each option. When choosing a reporting resource the following information should be considered:
All reports of sexual misconduct will be treated seriously and with dignity by the institution.
Referrals to off-campus counseling and medical services that are available immediately and confidential, whether or not those who report feel ready to make any decisions about reporting to police, a college or university employee or the campus's Title IX Coordinator.
Those who have been the victim of sexual misconduct have the right to take both legal action (criminal/civil action) and action against the individual allegedly responsible.
Those who seek confidentiality may contact a clergy member(s), the Sexual Assault Crisis Center of Connecticut and/or the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence − all of whom are bound by state statutes and professional ethics to maintain confidentiality without written releases.
Options for Changing Academic and Working Arrangements
Charter Oak will provide assistance to those involved in a report of sexual misconduct, including but not limited to, making reasonably available options for changing academic or working situations as well as honoring lawful protective or temporary restraining orders.
Support Services Contact Information
Once the HR Department, Provost, or Director of Academic Services receives a report that a student, faculty or staff member has been subjected to sexual misconduct, that person will immediately provide the student, faculty or staff member with contact information for and, if requested, professional assistance in accessing and using any appropriate campus resources, or local advocacy, counseling, health, and mental health services. See end of policy for contact information.
Right to Notify Law Enforcement & Seek Protective and Other Orders
Those who report being subjected to sexual misconduct shall be provided written information about her/his right to:
- notify law enforcement and receive assistance from campus authorities in making the notification; and,
- obtain a protective order, apply for a temporary restraining order or seek enforcement of an existing order. Such orders include:
- standing criminal protective orders;
- protective orders issued in cases of stalking, harassment, sexual assault, or risk of injury to or impairing the morals of a child;
- temporary restraining orders or protective orders prohibiting the harassment of a witness;
- relief from physical abuse by a family or household member or person in a dating relationship; and
- family violence protective orders.
Employee Conduct Procedures
Employees will be disciplined for sexual assault, stalking, and intimate partner violence.
The process has several components:
- Written complaint or verbal complaint forwarded to the Human Resources Office
- Investigation by HR representative -- this step may involve interviews with the involved parties or discussions with a supervisor or complainant
- Hearing conducted by a trained individual
- Outcome of investigation -- the outcome can be: no action, verbal warning, written warning, suspension, or termination
Student Conduct Procedures for Sexual Misconduct, Sexual Intimate Partner, Domestic Violence & Stalking Reports
The Student Code of Conduct provides the procedures for the investigation, definitions of terms, and resolution of complaints regarding student conduct, including those involving sexual misconduct, as defined herein.
The Provost, or Director of Academic Services can assist in explaining the student conduct process. The Student Code of Conduct provides an equal, fair, and timely process (informal administrative resolution or a formal adjudication) for reported victims and accused students. The reported victim and the accused student shall each have the following rights:
- At any meeting or proceeding, both the reported victim and accused student may be accompanied by an advisor or support person of the student's choice provided the advisor or support person does not cause a scheduled meeting or hearing to be delayed or postponed and provided an advisor or support person may not directly address the Hearing Body, question witnesses, or otherwise actively participate in the hearing process (or other proceeding or pertaining to a report of sexual misconduct);
- The reported victim of sexual misconduct is entitled to request that disciplinary proceedings begin promptly;
- Any hearing regarding an accusation of sexual misconduct shall (i) be fair, prompt and impartial; (ii) be conducted by a Hearing Body annually trained in issues relating to sexual misconduct (iii) use the preponderance of evidence (more likely than not ) standard; (iv) shall allow both the accused student and reported victim the opportunity to present evidence and witnesses on their behalf during any disciplinary proceeding; and (v) shall provide both the accused student and the reported victim with equal access to any information that will be used during meetings and hearings.
- In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the accused student and the reported victim have the right to keep their identities confidential;
- Any reported victim shall be provided written notice of the decision of the Hearing Body at the same time as the accused student, normally within one (1) business day after the conclusion of the Hearing. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) the notice to any reported victim of sexual misconduct shall contain only the following: the name of the accused student, the violation committed, if any, and any sanction imposed against the accused student.
- The reported victim shall have the same right to request a review of the decision of the Hearing Body (appeal rights) in the same manner and on the same basis as shall the accused student; however, if a request for review by a reported victim is determined to be properly made and if the review determines there is sufficient grounds for altering the decision of the Hearing Body, among the other actions that may be taken as set forth above, the sanction of the hearing may also be increased. Notwithstanding the foregoing, in any hearing pertaining to sexual misconduct both the reported victim and the accused student are entitled to be simultaneously provided notice of any change in the results of the hearing prior to the time when the results become final as well as to be notified when such results become final.
Conduct and Disciplinary Records
The written decision resulting from an administrative conference or a hearing under this Code shall become part of the student's educational record and shall be subject to the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). A student's disciplinary record shall be maintained separately from any other academic or official file maintained by the Institution. Disciplinary records will be maintained for a period of five (5) years from the date of the incident, except that the sanction of expulsion shall be noted permanently.
While student education records are generally protected from disclosure by FERPA, there are a number of exceptions to this rule. Students should be aware that a record concerning his/her behavior while a student at the College may be shared with other colleges or universities to which the student may subsequently wish to transfer or be admitted. Similarly, prospective employers may require a student to provide access to his/her education records as part of the employment application process. A record of having been sanctioned for conduct that violates Section I.D. of the Student Code of Conduct may disqualify a student for admission to another college or university, and may interfere with his/her selection for employment.
Interpretation and Revision
This policy is a portion of the overall Student Code of Conduct approved by the Board of Regents, the governing Board for Charter Oak State College. It was approved 1/2015.
Questions regarding the interpretation of this Code shall be referred to Charter Oak State College's Provost or his/her designee for the administration of the Non-Academic Misconduct portion of the Student Code and to Charter Oak State College's Provost or his/her designee for the administration of the Academic Misconduct portion of the Student Code.
This Code shall be reviewed and revised, if and as necessary, every five (5) years, or as directed by the President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education. In accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the accused student and the reported victim have the right to keep their identities confidential.
To report an incident within the College:
Shirley M. Adams, Ph.D.
Director of Academic Services
(Staff and student workers)
Chief Financial Office
Associate Manager of Personnel and Business Services
If you want to speak with a Community Partner (Students or Employees)
Sexual Assault Crisis Services (confidential)
22 Glenn St 163 Murphy Rd
New Britain, CT 06051 Hartford, CT 06114
860-323-1787 (English) 860-241-9217
888-568-8332 (Español) 860-547-1022 (Hot Line)
Prudence Crandall Center for Domestic Violence (confidential)
888-774-2900 (24-hour hotline)
University of Connecticut Health Center
Employee Assistance Program
To report an incident outside of the College contact your local police department.