July 21, 2024

Student Life Updates Sexual Misconduct Policy

Images of prior Sexual Misconduct Policy documents. Photo by Owen Haworth.

By Hannah Deane ’20
Staff Reporter

The student life office recently announced revisions to the school’s sexual assault policy. The Tartan spoke to Nancy Anderson, Director of Head of Resources and part of the Title IX team, to define some of these changes and how they affect Gordon students.

“The updates are clarifications of current policy.” Anderson said.

“For example, one update that we made was to the definition of sexual assault. The wording in the old policy was a little bit confusing. So, we wanted to make it plain what we were talking about. ‘Sexual assault’ has a wide variety of meaning. So, we more clearly explained the difference between unwanted touching and rape,” Anderson explained.

Gordon’s sexual misconduct policy now defines sexual assault as “any sexual act directed against another person without their consent, including rape, fondling, and any other non-consensual sexual touching.”

A new section on coercion has also been added to the policy.

“We [The Title IX team] had found that [coercion] was a factor in some of the cases that we have investigated over the past couple years, and we wanted to make it clear that coercion to a sexual act is also sexual misconduct,” said Anderson.

The Title IX team is made up of six Title IX investigators and representatives from the Student Life staff.

“[The Title IX team] meet occasionally, as needed. We talk about education initiatives for students. But also for faculty and staff. We talk about the policy, how we are interpreting it and if we find that there are some areas that we think may need to be revised,” Anderson stated.

The Title IX team deals with cases of sexual misconduct on campus.

However, the Title IX team isn’t always thought of as the first point of contact in cases of sexual misconduct.

The Tartan then asked Nancy Anderson to whom Gordon College students could turn for help in cases of sexual misconduct.

“A student can contact any faculty or staff member on campus. They should talk to someone in campus police or residence life staff. But, all of our faculty and staff are required reporters,” Anderson said.

The Gordon College faculty and staff members are held accountable to report the case of the misconduct. However, for a more confidential meeting a student can see a counselor or the college chaplain.

The Tartan then inquired as to what course of action is taken if a case of sexual misconduct is reported to the Title IX team.

“When it’s reported to [the Title IX team] our responsibilities are to see if there’s a further threat to the college or to the campus, to make sure that the reporting student has whatever services they need and to make sure that they understand what their options are. Whether that be an investigation, counseling, or going to the local police.” said Anderson.

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