Student Sexual Misconduct Policy
The University of Michigan – Dearborn (University or U-M) values civility, dignity, diversity, education, equality, freedom, honesty, and safety, as described in the Statement of Student Rights and Code of Conduct, and is firmly committed to maintaining a campus environment free from sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sex-based discrimination (collectively referred to in this policy as sexual misconduct).
Sexual misconduct jeopardizes the mental, physical, and emotional welfare of our students, as well as the safety of our community. Sexual misconduct diminishes students’ individual dignity and impedes their access to educational, social, and employment opportunities. It can permanently impact students’ lives and may cause lasting physical and psychological harm. Sexual misconduct violates our institutional values and its presence in the community presents a barrier to fulfilling the University’s scholarly, research, educational, and service missions. Sexual misconduct, therefore, will not be tolerated at the University of Michigan – Dearborn and is expressly prohibited. Anyone who is aware of sex-based misconduct by a University student should promptly report such misconduct to the University. Upon receiving a report, the University will promptly respond by taking the appropriate steps to reduce or eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
This policy provides information regarding the University’s prevention and education efforts related to student sexual misconduct, as well as how the University will proceed once it is made aware of student sexual misconduct in keeping with our institutional values and to meet our legal obligations under Title IX and other relevant laws. Students shall be made aware of this policy through: publication on the University’s Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management and Student Life (VC EMSL) website, institutional equity website, and department of public safety website; annual email notification to faculty, staff and students; annual student orientation session; publication with the Statement of Student rights and Code of Conduct; and publication in the annual campus security report.
This policy does not cover statements or written materials that are appropriate for classroom subject matter. Nothing in this policy will be interpreted to violate individual constitutional rights of expression, to infringe academic freedom, or to compromise the University’s educational mission. Offensive speech alone is not legally sufficient to establish a violation of this policy. The expressive conduct must constitute sexual misconduct as defined within this policy in order for a violation to occur. Sexual misconduct, however, is not legally protected expression or a proper exercise of academic freedom.
Sexual Misconduct – umbrella term used to encompass unwanted or unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is committed without valid consent, including sexual assault, sexual harassment (including stalking), and other forms of sex-based discrimination. Men or woman in engage in sexual misconduct and sexual misconduct can occur between people of the same or different sexes. Sexual misconduct can include both intentional conduct and conduct that result in negative effects, even if the negative effects were unintended. Sexual misconduct can also include retaliation in connection with the Complainant’s allegations under this policy.
Sexual Assault – unwanted or unwelcome touching of a sexual nature, including hugging, kissing, fondling, oral sex, anal or vaginal intercourse, or other physical sexual activity that occurs without valid consent.
Sexual Harassment – unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature if: 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as term or condition of an individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity; 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, offensive, or abusive environment for that individual’s education, living environment, employment, or participation in a University-related activity. Sexual harassment may occur via various communication devices, via social media, or via the Internet.
Conduct reported as sexual harassment will be evaluated by considering the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual harassment, a serious incident, even if isolated, may violate this policy.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: unwanted sexual statements; unwanted personal attention (e.g., cyber-stalking); unwanted physical or sexual advances that would constitute sexual assault (as defined in this policy); electronic recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; touching oneself sexually for others to view; and voyeurism (e.g., spying on others who are in intimate or sexual situations).
Stalking – any unwanted contact between a stalker and their target of a sexual or romantic nature that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the target in fear. This includes but is not limited to: following a person; repeated and unwanted telephone calls; making repeated and unwanted contact by email or on social media sites (e.g., Twitter, Facebook); or leaving gifts for their target.
Intimate Partner Violence – unwanted or unwelcomed touching of a sexual nature or use of physical violence, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, stalking, or other forms of emotional, sexual or economic abuse directed towards a partner in an intimate relationship, such as domestic violence and dating violence. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone. Intimate partner violence can be a single act or a pattern of behavior in relationships. Intimate partner relationships can include both short or long-term relationships (current or former) between persons intended to provide some emotional/romantic or physical intimacy.
Complainant – an individual who reportedly experienced sexual misconduct, regardless of whether that individual participates in the disclosure or review of that report by the University at any point. The University may assume the role of a Complainant.
Consent – Clear, freely given, and unambiguous agreement to engage in a particular activity. Consent cannot be procured by the use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior or coercion. A person who is incapacitated or unable to give consent due to age or an intellectual and/or other disability cannot validly give consent.
Either party at any point can withdraw consent. Moreover, consent to engage in one sexual activity, or past agreement to engage in a particular sexual activity, cannot be presumed to constitute consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage again in sexual activity. For the purposes of this policy, the issue is whether the accused student knew or should have known that the activity in question was not consensual based on a reasonable person standard.
Coercion – unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Continued pressure beyond the point when someone has made it clear that they do not want to engage in sexual behavior, or going beyond a certain stage of sexual interaction can constitute coercion.
Force – use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force an also include threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that are used to overcome resistance.
Incapacitated – lacking the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments. This lack of ability can have a variety of causes, including but not limited to, sleep, alcohol, drugs, blackouts, or flashbacks.
Investigator/Institutional Equity Officer – a University employee who reviews and investigates reports of sexual misconduct under this Policy in support of the work of the Student Conduct Advisor. On the University of Michigan – Dearborn campus, the investigator is the Assistant to the Chancellor for Institutional Equity or designee. The Investigator is responsible for maintaining the files related to investigations under this Policy.
Reporter – an individual who reports to the University a concern regarding possible sexual misconduct perpetrated against or by a student. A Reporter need not be a Complainant.
Student Conduct Advisor – a University official appointed by the VC EMSL who is responsible for managing reported violations of the Statement of Student Rights and Code of Conduct, including informal resolutions and sanctioning. The Student Conduct Advisor is responsible for maintaining all files related to the Statement of Student Rights and Code of Conduct. The Student Conduct Advisor is also responsible for reporting all sanctioning to the University of Michigan Title IX Coordinator or designated deputy.
Respondent – a University student or participant in a University program who is reported to have violated this policy.
Title IX – Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) (20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq.; 34 C.F.R. Part 106) is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs that receive federal financial assistance.
Title IX Coordinator – a University official charged with ensuring the University’s overall compliance with Title IX and related University policy. Inquiries or complaints may be addressed to the University of Michigan, Senior Director for Institutional Equity, and Title IX/Section 504/ADA Coordinator, Office of Institutional Equity, 2072 Administrative Services Building, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1432, (734) 763-0235, TTY (734) 647-1388.
University Program – a University sponsored activity that is geared toward elementary, secondary, or post-secondary students.
For purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behaviors that create a hostile educational environment including sexual assault and sexual harassment. Individuals who are concerned about inappropriate student behavior, regardless of whether the actions may violate this policy, should still report these incidents to the Student Conduct Advisor, 2136 University Center, (313) 593-5390.
This policy applies to sexual misconduct that is committed by a University student or a participant in a University program whenever that sexual misconduct occurs:
- On University-controlled property; or
- In connection with a University or University-recognized program or activity; or
- In a manner that may pose an obvious and serious threat of harm to, or that may have the effect of creating a hostile educational or social environment for, any member(s) of the University community.
This policy does not cover:
- Sexual misconduct reportedly committed by faculty or staff; or
- Sexual misconduct committed by a third party that is not affiliated with the University.
Such misconduct by faculty or staff will continue to be addressed in accordance with SPG 201.89-0. Individuals subjected to sexual misconduct by third parties not affiliated with the University may still utilize University resources. The University will attempt to take prompt action to eliminate the harassment and prevent its recurrence; however, the University’s response against the accused may be limited.
At the University’s discretion, this policy and related processes may also apply to reported violations of other University policies if, in the University’s judgment, those other allegations are directly related to the reported sexual misconduct.
The University is committed to providing a campus environment free from sexual misconduct. Therefore, if the University finds that it has enough information or becomes aware of possible incidents of sexual misconduct, it may proceed with the investigation even if no formal complaint has been filed or the individuals involved are unwilling to cooperate.
The University strongly encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct to University officials. Reports of sexual misconduct to University officials may be made by:
- A person who believes they experienced sexual misconduct by a student; or
- A person who has information that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a University student or a participant in a University program.
Third Party Reporting. Third parties who are not affiliated with the University, and who believe they have experienced sexual misconduct by a University student or who have information that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a University student or a participant in a University program, may bring their Complaint against the student or participant to the University by contacting the Student Conduct Advisor, 2136 University Center, (313) 593-5390.
Reports of sexual misconduct must be reported to the appropriate University Officials. Accordingly, any faculty or staff whose roles include responsibility for the safety and security of any part of the University community and those whose knowledge of a possible violation could be imputed to the University, must timely forward all reports to the Student Conduct Advisor, 2136 University Center, (313) 593-5390, in addition to other reporting obligations, such as direct reporting to law enforcement. Examples of individuals who may receive reports and who are required to forward them to the Student Conduct Advisor in compliance with this Policy include Campus Security Authorities (e.g. regents; executive officers; deans (including associate and assistant deans); department chairs; supervisors; academic advisors; directors and coordinators of any undergraduate and graduate studies; coaches; student affairs staff, sponsors of sponsored student organizations; and Department of Public Safety staff).
Anonymous Reports. Anonymous reports of violations of this Policy may be made to the University of Michigan’s Compliance Hotline – (866) 990-0111. The University may not be able to fully address reports received from anonymous sources unless sufficient information is furnished to enable the University to conduct a meaningful and fair investigation. The University will, however, take whatever steps it deems appropriate in the best interests of the overall University community, consistent with the information that is available.
Confidentiality Concerns. If confidentiality is requested by the Complainant or the Respondent, or if the Complainant requests that the Complaint not be pursued, the University will take all reasonable steps to comply with this request. In situations where a Complainant requests privacy, the University’s ability to investigate and respond to the allegations may be limited. If the Complainant requests that the University not investigate and/or the offender is unknown, the VC EMSL and the University’s Title IX Coordinator will determine if an investigation is warranted,
The University will evaluate the request for no investigation in the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students. The University will consider the following factors when determining whether it can maintain confidentiality: the seriousness of the alleged harassment; the age of the student harassed; whether there have been other complaints or reports against the alleged harasser; and the rights of the alleged harasser to receive information about the accuser and the allegations if a formal proceeding with sanctions may result. The University will ensure that the Complainant or Respondent’s identity will only be revealed to those on a need-to-know basis.
When a report of sexual misconduct is filed, the Complainant, the Respondent, and all identified witnesses who are named in the investigation, will be notified of the University’s expectation of confidentiality.
Timing. To promote timely and effective review, the University strongly encourages Reporters and Complainants to make reports of possible student sexual misconduct as soon as possible but within 180 calendar days. If reports are made after 180 days of the incident, the VC EMSL and the Title IX Coordinator will determine the appropriate University response that may include an investigation. The lapse of time may make it more difficult to gather relevant information and prevent similar misconduct.
Intentionally Filing a False Report. The University understands that sexual harassment is often not witnessed by others and that reports of sexual misconduct are not always substantiated by evidence. Therefore, individuals should not be discouraged from reporting sexual misconduct under this policy simply because there is a lack of evidence. However, any member of the University community who knowingly or recklessly files a false complaint or provides false information under this policy or intentionally misleads University officials who are investigating or reviewing a complaint of alleged sexual misconduct is subject to disciplinary action. This does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the Complaint cannot be substantiated by an investigation.
Reports to Local Law Enforcement. The University encourages those who believe they experienced a sexual assault to file a report with local law enforcement. University staff is available, upon request, to assist the individual in making the report. Collection and preservation of evidence relating to the reported sexual assault is essential for law enforcement investigations in particular, so timing of the report to law enforcement is especially critical.
Respect for Medical Amnesty Law. The University’s primary concern is for student health, wellness, and safety. Sometimes students are reluctant to seek help after experiencing sexual misconduct, or may be reluctant to help others who may have experienced sexual misconduct because they fear being held responsible by the University or law enforcement for underage alcohol consumption or providing alcohol to a minor. Students should not be reluctant to report instances of sexual misconduct because they fear being charged with other policy violations or criminal prosecution. The State of Michigan has adopted a medical amnesty law to encourage underage individuals to call or seek prompt and appropriate medical attention. This law also provides amnesty from prosecution for alcohol possession or consumption for minors who report experiencing sexual misconduct or who assist those who report experiencing sexual misconduct.
Michigan law continues to prohibit a minor from purchasing, consuming, or possessing, or attempting to purchase, consume, or possess, alcohol and from having any bodily alcohol content. Michigan law, however, an exemption from prosecution for the following:
- A minor who voluntarily accesses a health facility or agency for treatment or observation after consuming alcohol;
- Any minor who accompanied a minor voluntarily accesses a health facility or agency for treatment or observation after consuming alcohol; and
- Any minor who initiated contact with law enforcement or emergency medical services personnel for the purpose of obtaining medical assistance in connection with their own personal consumption of alcohol or consumption by others.
Confidential Reporting. Those who wish to access confidential support services or resources, or to explore reporting options without initiating further action from the University, should contact the Counseling and Disability Services Offices located at 2157 University Center, (313) 593-5430. Short-term counseling provided by licensed psychologists and counselors is available to registered UM-Dearborn students. There is no fee for counseling. Counseling Services are strictly confidential in accordance with Michigan Privilege Communication Statutes. No information is released without written permission and no information is entered in a student's college record.
UNIVERSITY RESPONSE PROCEDURE
A. Interim Measures
Once a report of sexual misconduct has been made to the University, the report will be forwarded to the Institutional Equity Officer, the Student Conduct Advisor and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) to ensure appropriate distribution of university-wide warnings and maintenance of accurate statistics. The University will also offer the appropriate support services and notification of institutional policies to the Complainant and the Respondent. The University will take the appropriate steps to prevent and/or address retaliatory conduct following a report.
The Student Conduct Advisor, in consultation with the VC EMSL and Title IX Coordinator, may also implement interim measures, as needed to protect the students involved and the larger University community. Interim measures may include separation of the parties’ academic and living situations or other interventions deemed appropriate. These measures may be kept in place until the end of any review or appeal process. Failure to abide by the interim interventions is a violation of this Policy and may lead to additional disciplinary actions.
B. Grievance Process
The Investigator will determine the most effective method of reviewing the concerns raised by the reported sexual misconduct. In all cases, the University will respond to the report in a prompt, thorough, procedurally fair, and effective manner. Upon receipt of a report, the University will strive to complete its investigation within sixty (60) calendar days.
In most cases, the Investigator will conduct a fact-finding investigation, which includes meeting separately with the Complainant, Respondent, and pertinent witnesses, and reviewing and analyzing other relevant information.
Support Person(s). At any time during the course of an investigation, the Complainant and Respondent may both provide a written statement, and other supporting material, regarding the matter under review. During the investigative process, the Complainant and the Respondent may also have a support person(s) present at any meeting with the Investigator. The support person(s) may not participate directly in the investigative process, but may be present to provide support to the Complainant or Respondent.
2. Concurrent Law Enforcement Investigations.
In the event that a Complainant files a report with local law enforcement, the University will not delay its own investigation nor will it delay taking steps to protect the Complainant or campus community through interim measures. However, if necessary, the University may delay the fact finding portion of its investigation until law enforcement has completed gathering evidence. If the Respondent requests a reasonable delay of the resolution process until external proceedings are resolved, the University will evaluate the circumstances of the case (including the length and impact of the delay on the Complainant and community, and the integrity of the resolution process) before determining whether it will grant the request.
Standards for criminal investigations are different than the standards for violation under this policy, and therefore the University is not required to rely on law enforcement reports and/or actions to make decisions under this policy. If the University finds sexual misconduct has occurred, the University must take effective steps to end it, prevent its recurrence, and redress its effects, regardless of the outcome of external procedures. This University is, however, committed to appropriate coordination with its DPS and with local law enforcement.
3. Investigation Findings and Outcome Notification.
In most cases, when an investigation is conducted, the Investigator will prepare a written report at the conclusion of the investigation. Before the report is finalized, the participating Complainant and Respondent will be given the opportunity to review their own statement. The Investigator’s written report will contain, at a minimum: 1) summary of the complaint; 2) investigator’s findings; and 3) summary of the investigator’s rationale in support of the findings.
Standard of Proof. The investigator’s findings will be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard requires that the information supporting each finding be more convincing than the information offered in opposition to it. Under this standard, individuals are presumed not to have engaged in the conducted report unless a preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that sexual misconduct occurred.
The Investigator’s report and findings must be reviewed and approved by the University’s Title IX Coordinator. The University’s written findings will be provided to the Student Conduct Advisor and then concurrently to the participating Complainant and Respondent, in the manner and to the extent appropriate to honor due process and privacy considerations. The University neither encourages nor discourages the subsequent disclosure or sharing of the written notification by either party.
If the Investigator’s findings determine that the Respondent committed the alleged sexual misconduct, the University will take further action to address the behavior, prevent the recurrence of that misconduct, and remedy its effects.
The Student Conduct Advisor will consult with the University’s Title IX Coordinator and VC EMSL, before making a final determination regarding the appropriate sanctions. Once a decision has been finalized, the Student Conduct Advisor will issue a statement containing the sanctions within fifteen (15) business days and meet with the Respondent to discuss the rationale for the sanctions imposed.
The sanctions applied to students found responsible for sexual misconduct are designed to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while honoring the University’s educational mission. Sanctions may also serve to promote safety or to deter students from future threatening or harmful behavior. Some behavior is so harmful to the University community or so deleterious to the educational process that it may require more serious sanctions, such as removal from University housing, specific courses or activities, suspension from the University or expulsion.
Dual Roles. When the Respondent holds a role within the University in addition to that of a student (e.g., student-employee), the sanctions may apply to all roles held by the student provided there is a sufficient nexus between the alleged conduct and the position held by the student. For example, if a student-employee is found to have violated this policy due to an off campus, off hour’s action, the sanctions cannot include the removal of the student’s employee status unless there is a demonstration that the student’s action has a sufficient nexus to their employment. If the student’s alleged sexual misconduct occurred in their employment capacity, the review and sanctioning process will be completed according to SPG 201.89-0. If the student-employee is found to have engaged in sexual misconduct after that review, the student-employee may be subject to sanctions both in connection with their employment and their student status, as appropriate under applicable processes and in accordance with any procedures set forth in any applicable collective bargaining agreement.
D. Appeal Process
Either party may appeal the sanctions imposed. Given the personal and sensitive nature of these circumstances, and out of the respect for the rights of all participants, a review of the matter will be efficient and narrowly tailored.
Neither party has the right to appeal the investigator’s findings unless there is newly discovered and relevant information that was unavailable at the time of the investigation that could have reasonably affected the investigation findings. If this is the case, the party possessing the information may present it to the University Title IX Coordinator and request that the matter be reconsidered or appeal the finding of responsibility or non-responsibility.
1. Grounds for Review.
A party may only seek review of the sanctions on the following grounds:
- A material deviation from the procedures affected the outcome of the case;
- There is new and relevant information that was unavailable at the time of the investigation and resolution that could reasonably affect the matter of the outcome;
- The sanctions are not appropriate or proportionate to the determined violation(s).
To request a review, the party must submit a written appeal to the Senior Advisor to the Chancellor for Inclusion within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the notification of decision regarding any sanctions. The VC EMSL may waive the ten(10)-day limitation when reasonable.
Both parties will be notified if either party submits an appeal and will be informed of the grounds of the appeal. A party may submit a short written response to the request for appeal within five (5) calendar days of the notification.
If the appeal satisfies the requirements listed above, the matter will be reviewed by the Code Appeals Board described within the Statement of Student Rights and Code of Conduct. In a closed session, the Code Appeals Board will review the matter based on the relevant considerations identified in the request for appeal. The Code Appeals Board may conclude that there are no relevant issues of concern and, therefore, recommend that the Student Conduct Advisor affirm the sanctions.
If the Code Appeals Board identifies issues of concern, the Board will provide the Student Conduct Advisor with one of the following recommended actions and any additional instructions or recommendations it deems appropriate under the circumstances:
- If there was a material deviation from procedure, remand the matter to the Title IX Coordinator and/or a new Investigator with corrective instructions from the Code Appeals Board.
- If newly discovered information appears relevant, refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator and the original investigator to determine whether any modifications may need to be made to the original investigative report.
- If the sanctions appear inappropriate or disproportionate, alter the sanctions accordingly.
The VC EMSL may accept or modify the recommendations made by the Code Appeals Board. The VC EMSL’s final decision will subsequently be made available to the participating parties, to the extent appropriate to honor due process and privacy concerns.
E. Retaliation Protection
The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that a person who in good faith reports, complains about, participates in a sexual misconduct investigation or resolution, or assists others in doing so, or is accused of violating this policy, will not be subjected to retaliation by the Respondent or others with knowledge of the underlying report. This protection exists even if a complaint is dismissed or the Respondent is found to have not violated this policy. The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that all participants in an investigation are treated fairly. Anyone who believes that he or she is experiencing retaliation is strongly encouraged to report this concern using the same procedure for reporting possible sexual misconduct under this policy.
Education & Training
The University will ensure that the Title IX Coordinator and any other employees who are involved in the processing, investigating, or resolving complaints of sexual misconduct receive training on the University’s responsibility to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.
Resources & Roles
Members of the University community are encouraged to contribute to the prevention, intervention, and effective response to student sexual misconduct. All members of the community may play a role in building a safe and just educational environment by:
- Modeling healthy and respectful behavior in personal and professional relationships;
- Increasing personal awareness of what constitutes sexual misconduct;
- Speaking out against anti-social behavior that serves to encourage sexual misconduct or to discourage reporting;
- Developing the necessary skills to be an effective and supportive ally to survivors of sexual misconduct;
- Intervening in situations that can lead to sexual misconduct and related misbehavior; and
- Interrupting an incident of sexual misconduct when it is safe to do so.
The University has created or identified resources both across campus and in the larger community to reduce, eliminate, and address the effects of student sexual misconduct. Many programs or units serve to ensure a safe campus, educate and prevent sexual misconduct, assist and advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and ensure a fair process when misconduct occurs.
To learn more about how to prevent sexual misconduct on campus and support education efforts, see the following resources:
Women's Resource Center
2106 University Center
Counseling & Support Services
2157 University Center
Department of Public Safety
1300 Campus Support Services Building
Effective: September 1, 2013