Campus SaVE Act: Policy Concerning Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking

Introduction

Emerson College is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment. In compliance with federal law, specifically the Jeanne Clery Act (Clery Act) and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act), Emerson College has adopted policies and procedures to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. These guidelines apply to all members of the Emerson community (students, faculty, and staff) as well as contractors and visitors.

Emerson College will not tolerate sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, as defined in this Policy, in any form. Such acts of violence are prohibited by Emerson policy, as well as state and federal laws. Individuals who the College determines more likely than not engaged in these types of behaviors are subject to penalties up to and including dismissal or separation from Emerson, regardless of whether they are also facing criminal or civil charges in a court of law.

Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking

Sexual Assault refers to any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against the person’s will; or not forcibly or against the person’s will where the survivor is incapable of giving consent, as well as incest or statutory rape.

Domestic Violence includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by:

  • A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the survivor;
  • A person with whom the survivor shares a child in common;
  • A person who is or was residing in the same household as the survivor; or
  • Any person against someone who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence refers to violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor.

Stalking occurs when an individual engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress.

Reporting an Incident

Emerson College encourages any member of the Emerson community who has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, or knows of another member of the community who has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to report the incident to the College.

If an Emerson student, faculty or staff member, visitor, or contractor has experienced a sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, they should immediately report the incident to the Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) at extension 8888 from an on-campus telephone, or 617-824-8888 from an off-campus telephone.

Individuals who are on campus can also make an in-person report at ECPD. ECPD will assist all members of the Emerson community by assessing the incident, advising the survivor on how he or she can seek legal protection, and making the survivor aware of medical, counseling, and other support services. If a reported incident did not occur on campus, ECPD can assist the survivor in notifying the local police department with jurisdiction over the crime. In case of an emergency or ongoing threat, a survivor should get to a safe location and call 911. Calling 911 will put you in touch with local police.

Students who have experienced a sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may also report an incident to Student Life at Piano Row, 150 Boylston Street, 2nd floor, 617-824-8637, or to the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Alexa Jackson, at 617-824-8580.

Employees who have experienced a sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking may also report an incident to the Office of Human Resources at State Transportation Building, 8 Park Plaza, 2nd floor, 617-824-8580.

These offices will provide survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking with information about available support services and resources, and also assist any survivor in notifying law enforcement, including the local police, if the survivor elects to do so.

Survivors are not required to report to area law enforcement in order to receive assistance from or pursue any options within Emerson College. For more information, please visit the section on how to report an assault on the website.

Reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking to the police (including the Emerson College Police Department) does not commit the survivor to further legal action. However, the earlier an incident is reported, the easier it will be for the police to investigate, if the survivor decides to proceed with criminal charges.

Written Notification of Right and Options

Any student or employee who reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, whether the incident occurred on or off campus, shall receive a written explanation of their rights and options as provided for under this policy.

These rights and options include the right(s) of a survivor to:

A. Go to court, and to file a domestic abuse complaint requesting an order restraining your attacker from abusing you, and/or an order directing your attacker to leave your household, building, school, college, or workplace;
B. Seek a criminal complaint for threats, assault and battery, or other related offenses;
C. Seek medical treatment (the police will arrange transportation for you to the nearest hospital or otherwise assist you in obtaining medical treatment if you wish);
D. Request the police remain at the scene until your safety is otherwise ensured;
E. Request that a police officer assist you by arranging transportation or by taking you to a safe place, such as a shelter or a family or friend's residence; and
F. Obtain a copy of the police incident report at no cost from the police department.

Procedures Survivors Should Follow

If an incident of sexual assault, domestic assault, dating violence, or stalking occurs, it is important to preserve evidence so that successful criminal prosecution remains an option.

The survivor of a sexual assault should not wash, shower or bathe, douche, brush teeth, comb hair, or change clothes prior to a medical exam or treatment. If a survivor has removed the clothing he or she was wearing during the assault prior to seeking medical treatment, that clothing should be placed in a brown paper, not plastic, bag and brought to the hospital when treatment is sought. If the survivor is still wearing the clothes that he or she was wearing during an assault, he or she should bring a change of clothes with him or her to the hospital so that the clothes containing possible evidence can be preserved and examined for evidence of the crime.

Evidence of violence, such as bruising or other visible injuries, following an incident of sexual assault, or domestic or dating violence, should be documented by taking a photograph. Evidence of stalking, including any communications such as written notes, email, voice mail, or other electronic communications sent by the stalker, should be saved and not altered in any way.

On Campus and Off Campus Resources

Emerson College, the City of Boston, and the City of Los Angeles, all offer other important resources to the survivors of sexual assault, domestic assault, dating violence, or stalking, including medical treatment, counseling services, and advocacy that survivors may wish to utilize.

The following Emerson employees and on campus offices can assist members of the Emerson community in considering their options and navigating through any resources or recourse they may elect to pursue.

A survivor need not formally report an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to law enforcement or Emerson College in order to access the following resources:

Emerson College Departments:

Dean of Students Office, 150 Boylston St., 2nd floor 617-824-8640
Center for Health and Wellness, 216 Tremont St., 3rd floor 617-824-8666
Counseling & Psychological Services, 216 Tremont St., 2nd floor  617-824-8595
Housing and Residence Life, 80 Boylston St., 1st floor 617-824-8620
Title IX Coordinator, State Transportation Building, 8 Park Plaza 617-824-8580

Off-Campus Resources Available:

Emerson College Employee Assistance Program 800-828-6025
Boston Area Rape Crisis Center   617-492-7273
Gay & Lesbian Helpline  617-267-9001
Safe Link, 24-hour Multilingual Resource 6877-785-2020

Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance

617-586-1340
Mass. Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence 617-248-0922
National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-4673

Los Angeles:

Los Angeles Rape Hotline 626-793-3385
National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-4673

Kasteel Well, Netherlands:

Netherlands Rape Hotline 088-755-5588
Rape Crisis Network Europe +44 (0) 141 3314180

Additional resources and information on police departments, ambulance service, hospitals and taxi services can be found here »

Accommodations

Regardless of whether a student or employee reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to law enforcement or pursues any formal action, if they report such an incident to the College, Emerson College is committed to providing them as safe a learning or working environment as possible. Upon request, Emerson College will make any reasonably available change to a survivor’s academic, living, transportation, and working situation. When a reported incident of abuse involves more than one member of the Emerson community, the College’s Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, or Emerson College Police Department may also issue an institutional No Contact order, prohibiting the individuals from contacting one another, either on or off campus. Students may contact the Dean of Students’ office (150 Boylston St., 2nd floor, 617-824-8640) for assistance, and employees may contact the Office of Human Resources (8 Park Plaza, 2nd floor, 617-824-8580) for assistance.

ECPD officers will advise survivors of a reported incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking about how to seek a restraining order from a criminal court that directs the respondent to refrain from abuse and to leave the survivor’s household, building, school, college, or workplace.

Emerson College is committed to ensuring that orders of protection issued by courts are fully upheld on all College-owned, used, and controlled property as well as properties immediately adjacent to Emerson College. Therefore, if any member of the Emerson community obtains an order of protection or restraining order, he or she should promptly inform ECPD and provide ECPD with a copy of that order, so that the College can enforce it. Emerson College is also committed to protecting survivors from any further harm, and if the Emerson College Police Department determines that an individual’s presence on campus poses a danger to one or more members of the College community, ECPD can issue an institutional No Contact or No Trespass Order barring that individual from Emerson property.

Survivor Confidentiality

Emerson College recognizes the sensitive nature of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incidents. We are committed to protecting the privacy of individuals who report incidents of abuse, to the extent that doing so is permitted by law and consistent with the College’s need to protect the safety of the community. Different Emerson officials and personnel are able to offer varying levels of privacy protections to survivors.

Emerson requires all College employees, with the exception of licensed mental health counselors who work at ECAPS, licensed medical professionals who work at the Center for Health and Wellness, the College’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate, and the students and staff volunteers who work under the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Advocate’s direction (SASA volunteers), to share with the College’s Title IX Coordinator information they learn concerning a report of sexual assault, or an incident of domestic or dating violence, or stalking, so that the Title IX Coordinator can investigate the incidents, track trends (including possible multiple reports involving the same assailant) and determine whether steps are needed to ensure the safety of the community. It is the survivor’s choice whether he or she wishes to participate in the investigation; however the College may proceed with an investigation without the survivor’s participation if there is a concern for the safety of other members of the community.

Reports made to the ECPD will be shared with the Title IX Coordinator in all cases, and may also be made public (maintaining the survivor’s anonymity) and shared with the respondent in cases where criminal prosecution is pursued. Reports received by the College concerning the abuse of a minor or juvenile must be reported to state officials in compliance with state law requiring mandatory reporting of child abuse. All members of the Emerson community are required by College policy to report any instances of known child abuse or neglect to ECPD, and ECPD will in turn report such information to the appropriate state authorities.

Reports and information received by Emerson’s medical professionals, licensed mental health counselors, and its Sexual Assault Advocate, are considered legally protected or ‘privileged’ under Massachusetts law. Thus, those individuals will not share information they learn from survivors with others within the institution (including the College’s Title IX Coordinator) or with any third party except in cases of imminent danger to the victim or third party. Absent such circumstances of imminent danger, the only information that these employees will report to the College concerning incidents is statistical information, which does not identify the survivor, so that the incident can be included in the College’s crime reporting statistics that are reported in Emerson’s annual Clery Reports. Such crime reporting statistics are also included in a Title IX trend report maintained by the College.

Reports of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, which are shared with Emerson’s Title IX Coordinator or other College officials, will be treated with the greatest degree of respect and privacy possible while still fulfilling Emerson’s obligation to investigate and effectively respond to the report. Every effort will be made to limit the scope of information shared to keep it to a minimum of detail, and only when absolutely necessary. It is the survivor’s choice whether to participate in the investigation; however the College may proceed with the investigation without the survivor’s participation if there is a potential threat to other members of the community.

A survivor’s ability to speak in confidence and with confidentiality may be essential to his or her recovery. Emerson College thus expects employees to treat information they learn concerning incidents of reported sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking with as much respect and as much privacy as possible. College employees must share such information only with those College officials who must be informed of the information pursuant to College policy. Failure by an Emerson College employee to maintain privacy in accordance with Emerson College policy will be grounds for discipline.

While federal law requires Emerson College to include certain reported incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking among its annual campus crime statistics, such information will be reported in a manner that does not permit identification of survivors.

Emerson College Educational Programs

Emerson College is committed to increasing the awareness of and prevention of violence. Emerson College makes continued efforts to provide students and employees with education programing, and strategies intended to prevent, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking before they occur.

To address the issue of sexual assaults, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in a college environment, Emerson College offers practical guidance for comprehensive violence prevention, bystander intervention, and shaping a safe campus environment to reduce risks and threats of harm and violence. 

Personal Safety Workshops – In an effort to educate the Emerson community about safety, Emerson College provides opportunities for all members of the community to learn about safety precautions. Resident Directors, Resident Assistants, and Police Officers conduct awareness workshops for Emerson community members on a wide variety of subjects including but not limited to the definition of consent and sexual assault and wellness.

New Student Orientation – Undergraduate orientation programs addressing active bystander awareness, support services, medical amnesty, wellness, and personal safety are delivered by members of Student Life and the Emerson College Police Department to first year and transfer students.

Safety Escorts – The Emerson College Police Department provides safety escorts twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. This service provides students, faculty, and staff with walking or motor vehicle escort between locations on campus.

Crime Bulletins and Alerts – The Emerson College Police Department periodically distributes crime bulletins or alerts to inform members of the Emerson community about incidents of crime in the areas surrounding the College that may pose an imminent threat of harm to members of the community. Bulletins and alerts are also circulated at times, not in response to a specific incidents, but as general reminders to community members about measures that members of the community can take to enhance personal and property security.

New Employee Orientation – All new employees receive online training on Sexual Harassment and Title IX through the Office of Human Resources. The Emerson College Police Department also provides new employees with information concerning issues of safety and personal awareness on such subjects as Emergency Preparedness, Campus Security Authorities, and Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) Programs.

Residence Hall Programs – These programs are run through the Office of Housing and Residence Life and inform students on a wide variety of topics, such as sexual assault, consent, bystander awareness, and personal safety.

Bulletin Board Campaigns – The Office of Housing and Residence Life uses passive programming strategies in the residence halls to provide information on crime prevention and safety issues related to Emerson College students on and off campus.

Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) – Emerson College Police Department (ECPD) is aware that most sexual assaults are perpetrated by people known by the survivor, and not by strangers. However, many members of the Emerson community have expressed an interest in taking RAD (Rape Aggression Defense) classes, and members of the community who have taken RAD classes in the past have indicated they have found such classes useful. RAD is a nationally recognized program that advocates realistic self-defense tactics. RAD teaches that once a decision is made to resist a violent encounter, the resistance should come in the form of quick, deliberate, and precise defensive movements. Instructors teach students, staff, and faculty who choose to enroll in these free courses offered by the College how to increase personal safety by increasing risk awareness, risk recognition, risk reduction, and risk avoidance.

Office of Diversity and Inclusion Programs – The staff of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion provide educational sessions for staff, faculty, and students focusing on issues related to campus climate, gender issues, power and privilege, sexual assault, conflict resolution, and helping skills. These programs are made available to the Emerson Community throughout the year.

Violence Prevention and Response facilitates primary prevention strategies aimed towards raising individual knowledge and skills, community education, and training potential bystanders and responders to recognize potential warning signs and how to respond safely and effectively to reduce risks and improve community safety.

Conduct Proceedings

Emerson College strictly prohibits all acts of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. In addition to facing criminal investigation and prosecution, students, employees, and other affiliates may also face action by Emerson College. When students or employees are accused of having engaged in sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the College may, depending on the facts alleged, issue interim safety measures prior to the resolution of the charges. Such interim safety measures might include issuing No Contact orders between the parties, altering an individual’s work or class schedule or a student’s on-campus housing assignment, placing an employee respondent of misconduct on administrative leave, or placing a student respondent of misconduct on an interim suspension.

Emerson’s Title IX Coordinator will oversee all investigations of allegations of gender-based violence. Employees who are found responsible for having committed such a violation could face termination of employment, and students who are found responsible for having committed such a violation may face disciplinary probation, deferred suspension, suspension from college housing, dismissal from college housing, suspension from the college, or dismissal from the college. In addition, Emerson College may issue No Contact Orders and No Trespass Orders to those found responsible.

If a Title IX investigation concludes that evidence exists which suggests a student more likely than not engaged in sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the matter will be referred to the Dean of Students’ office (150 Boylston St., 2nd floor, 617-824-8640) for adjudication pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct. The Office of Human Resources (8 Park Plaza, 2nd floor, 617-824-8580) will handle any incidents involving employees and College affiliates who are found by the College to have engaged in behavior that violates College policy, including but not limited to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking.

All conduct proceedings, whether the conduct is reported to have occurred on or off campus, shall provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution. All investigations and proceedings shall be conducted by officials who receive annual training on the nature of the types of cases they are handling, how to conduct an investigation, and how to conduct a proceeding in a manner that protects the safety of survivors and promotes accountability.

Emerson College seeks to investigate and adjudicate any official complaints of sexual abuse, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking that are filed with the College within sixty (60) days of receipt of that complaint, unless mitigating circumstances require the extension of time frames beyond sixty (60) days. Such circumstances may include the complexity of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, College breaks or vacations that occur during the pendency of an investigation, or other unforeseen circumstances. In these matters the complainant and the respondent shall be notified, provided an explanation, and given information about the amount of additional time required.

In all investigatory and adjudication proceedings conducted by the College concerning charges of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, including any related meetings or hearings, both the complainant and the respondent will be afforded the same process rights, including equal opportunities to have others present. This includes the right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. Both the complainant and respondent will also be afforded an equal opportunity to introduce evidence and identify witnesses.

When a student is accused of any violation of the student conduct code, including but not limited to charges that he or she engaged in sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, the charges will be decided using the preponderance of evidence standard, which means that it is more likely than not that the reported misconduct occurred. The Title IX Coordinator and the Dean of Students have discretion to decide whether sufficient evidence warrants referring charges of misconduct against a student to an Administrative/Faculty Hearing Board (a “Board”). If a Board hears such charges and issues a finding of responsibility against a student respondent, the Board may also recommend sanctions to the Dean of Students. However, the Dean of Students retains authority to determine the sanctions that will be issued to any student who has been found responsible for violating the Code of Conduct.

When the Title IX Coordinator completes an investigation and/or when a Board issues a decision, both the complainant and the respondent shall simultaneously be informed in writing within 7 business days of the outcome of the investigative or adjudicative proceeding. Both the complainant and respondent will be given the same procedures and timeframe to appeal the outcome of the proceeding, both parties will receive the same process rights if an appeal is granted, and the parties will both receive timely notice when the outcome becomes final. Disclosure of the outcome shall be made to both parties unconditionally, and each shall be free to share or not share the details with any third parties.

For additional information about student conduct proceedings please consult the Graduate and Undergraduate Student Handbooks on the Student Resources and Policies section of the website.

For additional information about employee conduct please visit Sexual Assault Resources for Faculty and Staff or consult the Emerson College Employee Handbook.