Initiating Department: Human Resources
Policy Type: General Administrative
Action Taken: Modify an Existing Policy
Date of Development: 3/26/1990
Date of Implementation: 3/26/1990
Date Last Modified: 10/23/2017
Next Review Date: 11/21/2017
Table of Contents
I. Policy Statement
The University of Maine System (“the University”) is committed to providing a safe environment which promotes the dignity and worth of each member of the community. In complying with the letter and spirit of applicable laws and in pursuing its own goals of diversity, the University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in employment, education, and all other programs and activities. For this reason, the University will not tolerate sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or retaliation in any form. All conduct of this nature is considered a violation of this policy.
The University will respond promptly and effectively to complaints and reports of violations of this policy. The University has an obligation to address incidents of sexual harassment that it knows or should know about, even when a complaint or report is not filed. The University will take steps to end and prevent recurrence of violations and to correct their discriminatory effects on the complainant and others. In responding to all complaints and reports, the University will act to ensure the safety of students, guests, and employees while complying with state and federal laws and provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and employee handbooks.
It is important that members of the University community understand that the law does not just prohibit violations of this policy against employees by employers. The law also prohibits violations between members of the University community more generally: for example, between an instructor and a student, between two students, or between a student and an applicant or campus guest.
This policy applies to all members of the University community and to third parties, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. It applies to all University programs and activities, both on campus and off campus, including, but not limited to, instruction, grading, housing, athletics, electronic communication and employment.
This policy does not substitute for or supersede related civil and criminal law. It is the policy of the University to strongly encourage individuals to report all incidents and violations to law enforcement officials or agencies with appropriate jurisdiction and to avail themselves of all the services and rights to which they are entitled.
Any individual may file a complaint under this policy at any time. However, the University strongly encourages individuals to file complaints promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding. A delay in filing a complaint may compromise the subsequent investigation. Reporting in a timely way also allows the University to provide all persons involved with information regarding their rights, options, and resources available under this policy and federal or state laws.
All members of the University community are expected to cooperate fully in investigations and other proceedings necessary for the effective execution of this policy.
This policy covers the following information:
III. What to do if you are Sexually Assaulted or Experience Domestic Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking
IV. Terms Used in this Policy
Consent is agreement to engage in sexual contact. Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, and consist of a mutually agreeable and understandable exchange of words or actions. Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Consent may be withdrawn at any time. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and conditions of) sexual activity. Past consent does not imply future consent. Consent to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to engage in any other sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with any other person.
It is not consent when the exchange involves unwanted physical force, coercion, intimidation, and/or threats. If an individual is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired such that one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, and the incapacitation or impairment is known or should be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. Consent is not valid if the person is too young to consent to sexual activity under Maine law.
VI. How to File a Complaint and How the University Will Respond
The University strongly encourages anyone who has experienced sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking to report the incident to the appropriate contact at the University (see VI (A)). A report can be made under this policy at any time, regardless of when the incident happened. Reporting the incident to the University does not mean that you have to file a formal complaint or bring criminal charges. Reporting the incident, however, will allow the University to provide individuals involved with information about available support and services, both on campus and off campus.
Any individual may make a third-party complaint about a violation of this policy. Individuals are encouraged to contact the appropriate office identified below as soon as possible. After receiving a complaint, the University will determine what further action, including contacting the alleged victim, is warranted. If a concern is reported by someone other than the alleged victim and the alleged victim is unwilling or unable to cooperate with an investigation, the University’s ability to respond may be significantly limited.
The Title IX Coordinator is the person on your campus, or in the System Office, responsible for the University’s overall compliance and response to incidents of sexual assault, sexual harassment and sex discrimination in general.
Confidentiality: What are the Options?
The University encourages people who have experienced sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or retaliation to talk to somebody about what happened so they can get the support they need, and so the University can respond appropriately. People on campus and off-campus have different abilities to maintain confidentiality depending on their roles and responsibilities.
VIII. Support Services and Interim Measures
Whether or not an individual who has experienced a violation of this policy files a formal complaint, reporting the incident will allow the University to provide all individuals involved with available support and services, both on-campus and off-campus. The University can also take interim measures to promote the safety and well-being of both the complainant and respondent, including, but not limited to, moving the complainant or respondent to a new living, dining or working situation; issuing a no contact order; changing class or work schedules; changing transportation; financial aid accommodations; and other academic and/or employment accommodations and support. The University can assist all individuals involved in obtaining counseling on or off campus and provide information regarding medical care and other resources, such as victim advocacy, legal assistance and visa and immigration assistance. The University will provide written notification to students and employees about existing resources, both within the University and the community. The University will provide written notification to complainants and respondents about how to request the above services and accommodations. The University must make such accommodations or provide such protective measures if the complainant requests them and if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement.
IX. Options Regarding Law Enforcement
An individual who has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, or any other conduct which may violate criminal laws, has a right, at his or her own discretion, to:
University officials may, however, provide law enforcement with details about an incident under some circumstances if a determination has been made that such disclosure is required by law and/or is necessary to secure campus safety. See section VII(D) above. Complainants have a right to proceed simultaneously with a criminal investigation and a University internal investigation. If necessary to the criminal investigation, the University may defer its investigation for a limited time for fact gathering by law enforcement, and then will promptly resume its investigation.
X. Enforcement of Protection-from-Harassment or Protection-from-Abuse Orders
The University will provide assistance or referrals for a student or employee who wishes to obtain a protection-from-abuse or protection-from-harassment order. If a protection-from-abuse or protection-from-harassment order has been issued by a court in a civil or criminal proceeding, a copy of the order should be provided to local police, the Student Affairs office, and the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible to enable enforcement by the appropriate authorities.
XI. Student Amnesty
The University strongly encourages students to report instances of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. Students who report information about a violation of this policy will not be disciplined by the University for any violation of alcohol possession or consumption policies or other minor violations of the Student Conduct Code in which they might have engaged in connection with the reported incident.
XII. Free Speech and Academic Freedom
Recognizing that many citizens have differing views on the matter of whom and which groups should have an opportunity to express opinions, the University of Maine System affirms its commitments to the rights of free speech and academic freedom.
To that principle, there shall be no restrictions, on any of the System institutions, placed on the fundamental rights of free speech and assembly, except those necessary to preserve the order for the University System to function as an institution of higher learning. Additional information pertaining to Free Speech can be found online.
Academic freedom is essential to the fulfillment of the purposes of the University. The University acknowledges and encourages an atmosphere of confidence and freedom while recognizing that the concept of academic freedom is accompanied by a corresponding concept of responsibility to the University and its students and employees. Academic freedom is the freedom to present and discuss all relevant matters in the classroom, to explore all avenues of scholarship, research and creative expression, and to speak or write without any censorship, threat, restraint, or discipline by the University with regard to the pursuit of truth in the performance of teaching, research, publishing or service obligations.
The University of Maine System is a public institution of higher education committed to excellence in teaching, research, and public service. Together, the students, faculty, and staff form our state-wide University community. The quality of life on and about the member Universities is best served by preserving the above described freedoms and civility. This policy shall not be construed or applied to restrict academic freedom within the University, nor construed to restrict constitutionally protected expression
XIII. Off-Campus and Off-Duty Conduct
Reports of violations of this policy that occur off campus and/or off-duty can be the subject of a complaint. Reports of off-campus and/or off-duty sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking should be brought to the University’s attention as soon as possible. The University will evaluate the incident to determine whether it violates this policy by resulting in continuing effects that create a hostile environment on campus or otherwise has a connection to the University.
XIV. Educational Programs
The University will conduct educational programs to promote awareness of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. This will include primary prevention and awareness programs for incoming students and new employees, and ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for students, faculty and staff. All employees and students must participate in all required educational programs.
XV. External Complaints
Individuals who experience a violation of this policy may file a complaint or suit with an outside agency, including the Maine Human Rights Commission, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights. The University will still investigate and respond appropriately to any internal complaint.
A complainant who filed a complaint with the University and believes the University’s response was inadequate may also file a complaint with the above agencies.
Complainants should keep in mind, however, that although they may report a violation of this policy to the University at any time; external agencies typically have time limits within which complaints must be filed. To learn more about the procedures for filing complaints with an outside agency, Complainants should contact that entity directly.
XVI. Review and Revision of this Policy
A representative Policy Review Board will be established consisting of university and System participants to review and recommend changes, as appropriate, to this policy and procedures. The Board will meet at least every three years or more often, as needed and in synchronization with the review of the University of Maine System Student Conduct Code. Revisions of this policy require approval of the Board of Trustees.