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Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence Policies

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Members of the Vassar College communit y, guests, and visitors have the right to be free from sexual violence. Vassar College is committed to fostering a communit y that promotes the prompt reporting of sexual misconduct and timely and fair resolution of sexual misconduct complaints. The expectations of our communit y regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows: In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing, and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activit y. Vassar’s policy is to prohibit sexual misconduct. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.

Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment (see Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment), non-consensual sexual contact or attempts to commit same, nonconsensual sexual intercourse or attempts to commit same, and sexual exploitation. Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense to a violation of this policy. The College will consider the concerns and rights of both the reporting individual and the accused.

Intimate Partner Violence Policy

Vassar’s policy is to prohibit Intimate Partner Violence. Intimate Partner Violence is any instance of violence or abuse that occurs between those who are in or have been in an intimate relationship with each other. Abuse can be physical, sexual, emotional/verbal, psychological and/or economical. This includes (but not limited to) any behaviors that frighten, intimidate, terrorize, manipulate, hurt, humiliate, blame, injure or wound someone.

Stalking Policy

Vassar’s policy is to prohibit stalking. Stalking occurs when a person engages in repetitive behavior directed toward another person and knows or should reasonably know that such conduct is likely to alarm, harass, or cause reasonable fear of harm or injury in that person, or in a third part y. The feared harm of injury may be to the person’s physical, emotional, or mental health, personal safet y, propert y, education, or employ- ment. Stalking may include, but is not limited to, unwanted visual or physical proximit y to a person, repeatedly conveying oral or written threats, extorting money or valuables, implicitly threatening physical conduct, or any combination of these behaviors directed at or toward a person. All incidents of stalking will be taken seriously. When the stalker is anonymous, the college will investigate as thoroughly as possible using all available resources. The following are some examples of stalking t ype behavior:

  1. Unwelcome communication, including, but not limited to: face-to-face, telephone, voice message, electronic mail, written letter, and/or contact; unwelcome gifts or flowers, etc.

  2. Threatening or obscene gestures

  3. Surveillance

  4. Trespassing

  5. Vandalism

  6. “Peeping-tommery”

  7. Voyeurism

  8. Unwelcome touching or physical contact

  9. Gaining unauthorized access to personal, medical, financial, and/or other identifying information, including, but not limited to: access by computer network, mail, telephone, or written communication

Cyber-stalking is an extension of the physical form of stalking where electronic media such as the internet, pagers, cell phones, or other similar devices are used to pursue, harass or to make unwanted contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion and will not be tolerated. Some examples of cyber-stalking include but are not limited to: unwanted/unsolicited emails or instant messages, disturbing messages on online bulletin boards, unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends, or co-workers, or sending/posting disturbing messages with another username.