Sexual Harassment and Assault

At Middlesex Community College we take sexual assault seriously. In the event that you are assaulted either on or off the campus we want to make sure that you have the information you need in a clear, easy-to-read guide that will assist you in handling what will most likely be a difficult situation.

Board of Regents and Middlesex Community College Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Statement

To insure that each member of the college community has the opportunity to participate fully in the process of learning and understanding, all Connecticut colleges and universities strive to maintain a safe and welcoming environment free from acts of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. It is the intent of the Colleges to provide safety, privacy and support to victims of sexual misconduct and relationship violence.

What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is any sexual act with a person who did not or cannot give consent. More specifically, sexual assault is defined as:

  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse of any kind (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or object, by a man or a woman.
  • Non-consensual sexual contact which includes sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a man or a woman.
  • Sexual exploitation, which includes nonconsensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage taken by a person of another for his or her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to: prostitution, videotaping sexual activity of any sort without a partner’s consent, posting video or audio recordings on social media sites without consent of the individuals on the video or in the audio recording, peeping tommery, and knowingly transmitting sexually transmitted infections without a partner’s knowledge.

What is Relationship Violence?

Relationship violence is physical abuse which can include but is not limited to slapping, pulling hair, or punching. Relationship violence can also include the threat of abuse. For example, when someone threatens to hit, harm, isolate, or use a weapon on a victim or an acquaintance, friend, or family member of the victim. Further, relationship violence may include emotional abuse such as driving recklessly to scare someone, name calling, threatening to hurt one’s pets, and humiliating another person. This type of abuse occurs when one person believes he or she is entitled to control another.

Relationship violence is defined as:

  • Physical abuse, which can include but is not limited to, slapping, pulling hair or punching.
  • Threat of abuse, which can include 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, which can include but is not limited to, damage to one’s property, driving recklessly to scare someone, name calling, threatening to hurt one’s pets and humiliating another person.
  • 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; submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic decisions affecting the individual; or such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational 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 one’s educational status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.

What is Stalking?

Stalking is any behavior that occurs on more than one occasion that collectively instills fear in the victim or threatens her or his safety, mental health, or physical health. Such activities may include non-consensual communications (face-to-face, telephone, email, text, social media, etc.), threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance, or being present outside the victim’s classroom, home, or workplace.

What is Sexual Harassment?

Sexual harassment includes 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 the conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting the individual. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive educational 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 one’s educational or employment status is contingent upon toleration of or acquiescence in sexual advances.

What is Consent?

Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, involving an understandable exchange of affirmative words or actions, which indicates a willingness to participate in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. It is the responsibility of the initiator to obtain clear and affirmative responses at each stage of sexual  involvement.

What Consent is Not!!

The lack of a negative response is not consent. Consent may not be given by a minor or by any individual who is incapacitated, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, by drugs or alcohol, or for any other reason. Past consent of sexual activities does not imply ongoing or future consent. Someone who repeatedly says no and finally says yes is not giving consent. Someone who has been made to feel she or he must say yes is not giving consent. If an initiator uses a position of power or authority to coerce someone into saying yes, the initiator is not obtaining consent.

Can I Help Stop Sexual Assault?

Everyone has a role to play in ending sexual violence. It is our hope that while you are at Middlesex Community College you will take advantage of training opportunities so that you can play an active part in ending sexual assault. If you believe a situation might result in a sexual assault there are ways you can help:

  • Don’t be afraid to get involved
  • Get help from friends
  • Get help from campus security and other college staff
  • Divert the perpetrator’s attention
  • Ask the person who is in a potentially dangerous situation if he or she wants to leave
  • Ask the victim if he or she is okay
  • Provide options and a listening ear

What If a Friend Tells Me She or He Was Sexually Assaulted?

If a friend discloses to you that she or he has been assaulted, the first thing to do is believe your friend. Help your friend to a safe place and ask if she or he needs medical help. If so, take your friend to the nearest hospital that has a sexual assault nurse examiner present. If your friend does not want to go to a hospital, do not insist unless it is a medical emergency. Listen to your friend without interrupting and don’t press for details. Remind your friend that she or he is not at fault. Know the resources on your campus and help your friend connect with those resources.

Minimizing Your Risk of Sexual Assault

Tips for Partying Smart

  1. Stick with your friends. Make a plan before you go out to make it easy for you and your friends to stay connected.
  2. Hold on to your drink—even when you go to the bathroom. If your drink is out of your sight, even for a few seconds, get a new one. Spiking a drink with a date rape drug can happen quickly.
  3. Don’t accept a drink from anyone—unless you watch the bartender pour it.
  4. Don’t drink from punch bowls or open containers.
  5. Avoid clubs or parties that charge men but let women enter and drink for free.
  6. Always keep your cell phone charged and on you. You never know when you’ll need it.
  7. Make sure you always have a ride home or a plan to walk home with a friend.
  8. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right to you, leave and get to a safe place immediately.

Material taken from: https://www.rainn.org/

Minimizing Your Risk of Committing Sexual Assault

  1. Listen carefully. Take time to hear what the other person has to say. If you feel he or she is not being direct or is giving you a “mixed message,” ask for clarification.
  2. Don’t fall for the cliché “if they say no, they really mean yes.” If your partner says “no” to sexual contact, believe your partner and stop.
  3. Remember that sexual assault is a crime. It is never acceptable to force sexual activity, no matter what the circumstances.
  4. Don’t make assumptions about a person’s behavior. Don’t assume that someone wants to have sex because of the way the person is dressed, drinks, or because she or he agrees to go to your room. Don’t assume that if someone had sex with you before that person is willing to have sex with you again. Also don’t assume that if your partner consents to kissing or other sexual activities, he or she is consenting to all sexual activities.
  5. Having sex with someone who is mentally or physically incapable of giving consent is rape. If you have sex with someone who is drugged, intoxicated, passed out, or is otherwise incapable of saying no or knowing what is going on, you may be guilty of rape.
  6. Resist pressure from others to participate in violent acts.

Information on this page courtesy of Cornell College (Iowa) Counseling Center.

When and How to Report

It is always helpful to report an incident of sexual misconduct as soon as possible. However, the college recognizes that the decision to file a report is difficult and may take time. Because memories may fade and witnesses may become inaccessible, the sooner information is gathered the greater is the ability of the college to effectively investigate and resolve the matter fairly to all parties concerned.

Confidentiality

While the college will treat reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence seriously and sensitively for all concerned, the college cannot assure complete confidentiality, particularly when the safety of others may be involved. MxCC employees must share your report with the college’s Title IX Coordinator. Reports that are completely confidential may be filed with the Sexual Assault Crisis Center.

Resources at MxCC

All MxCC faculty and staff are available if you wish to disclose or report any form of sexual harassment. Whether you wish to have the college investigate is entirely up to you. Staff who have specific responsibility for overseeing issues of Title IX and sexual harassment and assault are:

CSCU Title IX Coordinator: Mr. Angelo Simoni, 860-723-0165, simonia@ct.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator: Sharale W. Mathis, Ed.D., 860-343-5745, smathis@mxcc.edu, Founders Hall, Room 107

If You Need Help

  • Emergency: 911
  • CT State Police: 1-800-256-5761 (Westbrook); 1-203-630-5640 (Meriden)
  • Middletown Police Department: 860-638-4000
  • Meriden Police Department: 203-630-6201
  • Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline: 1-888-999-5545; en Española, 1-888-568-8332
    • Middletown Office: 100 Riverview Center, Suite 150, Middletown 860-344-1474
    • Meriden Office: 169 Colony St., Meriden 203-235-9297
  • Middlesex Hospital: 28 Crescent Street, Middletown, CT 06457; 860-358-6000
  • Mid-State Hospital: 435 Lewis Avenue, Meriden, CT 06451; 203-694-8200
  • New Horizons Domestic Violence Services: 635 Main St., Middletown, CT 06457; 860-344-9599; 24 Hr. Hotline 1-888-774-2900; en Española, 844-831-9200
  • Chrysalis Domestic Violence Services: 14 West Main St., #103, Meriden, CT 06451; 203-630-1638

Title IXInstitutional Member of the Student Conduct Institute

Sexual Harassment

Under Title IX sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the recipient conditioned in the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
  3. “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v)ii, “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10)iii, “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8)iv, or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).

See full BOR/CSCU Statement of Title IX Policy here.

Key provisions of the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulation:

  • Defines sexual harassment to include sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex
  • Provides a consistent, legally sound framework on which survivors, the accused, and schools can rely
  • Requires schools to offer clear, accessible options for any person to report sexual harassment
  • Empowers survivors to make decisions about how a school responds to incidents of sexual harassment
  • Requires schools to offer survivors supportive measures, such as class or dorm reassignments or no-contact orders
  • Protects K-12 students by requiring elementary and secondary schools to respond promptly when any school employee has notice of sexual harassment
  • Holds colleges responsible for off-campus sexual harassment at houses owned or under the control of school-sanctioned fraternities and sororities
  • Restores fairness on college and university campuses by upholding a student’s right to written notice of allegations, the right to an advisor, and the right to submit, cross-examine, and challenge evidence at a live hearing
  • Shields survivors from having to come face-to-face with the accused during a hearing and from answering questions posed personally by the accused
  • Requires schools to select one of two standards of evidence, the preponderance of the evidence standard or the clear and convincing evidence standard, and to apply the selected standard evenly to proceedings for all students and employees, including faculty
  • Provides “rape shield” protections and ensures survivors are not required to divulge any medical, psychological, or similar privileged records
  • Requires schools to offer an equal right of appeal for both parties to a Title IX proceeding
  • Gives schools flexibility to use technology to conduct Title IX investigations and hearings remotely
  • Protects students and faculty by prohibiting schools from using Title IX in a manner that deprives students and faculty of rights guaranteed by the First Amendment

Title IX Grievance Process

The following is an outline of the process of investigation after a report of sexual harassment, misconduct, assault, or exploitation has been made.