Search SiteSkip to Main Content
Top

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct

The college is committed to maintaining a safe and inclusive learning environment and prohibits discrimination, including harassment and violence, based on sex and gender.

Governing policy

College policies and procedures in this area are governed by the Rhode Island Board of Higher Education’s Council on Postsecondary Education. The Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy may be found at www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/03/06/PS17_Sexual_Harassment_040115.pdf

The Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy prohibits actions of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual or relationship violence, or stalking at all Rhode Island educational institutions under the its jurisdiction, including the Community College of Rhode Island. In addition, federal and state law including Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, apply to the college.

The Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy “applies to the perpetration of sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual [or relationship] violence [or stalking] by one member of the Covered Entity’s community (faculty, staff, student or volunteer) against another. Depending on the context, the policy may also apply where one of the involved or affected parties is a visitor or a contractor performing work on behalf of the Covered Entity. The policy applies to all such behavior occurring on campus, and to behavior occurring off campus when the behavior arises in the context of a Covered Entity event or otherwise has a significant relation to, or could have a significant impact on, the Covered Entity’s living, learning or employment environments.”

Application of Student Handbook Violations

Violations of the Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy that involve students will be adjudicated pursuant to the Conduct Code and the policy is incorporated in the Student Handbook for that purpose. Portions of the Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy definitions and terms are replicated below in the section entitled “Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy.” These definitions and terms are also considered to be Conduct Code violations.

Conduct Code Sexual Misconduct Definitions

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. Submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s education, employment, or participation in programs or activities of the college;
  2. Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for decisions affecting that individual’s education, employment, or participation in programs or activities of the college; or
  3. Such conduct is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s education, employment, or participation in programs or activities at the college.

Sexual harassment can arise from many different types of unwelcome verbal, nonverbal and physical conduct ranging from sexual gestures or teasing to sexual assault, acts of sexual violence, including domestic and dating violence, stalking and other coercive activity.

Sexual harassment need not be intentional. The intent of the person who is alleged to have committed such behavior may not be relevant to determining whether a violation has occurred. The relevant determination is whether a reasonable person, similarly situated, could have reasonably considered the alleged behavior to be sexual harassment.

Acts that do not necessarily involve conduct of a sexual nature, but are based on sex or gender stereotyping, and that may include physical aggression, intimidation, hostility, humiliation, insulting and hazing may also be considered sexual harassment under this policy. This may include conduct or comments based on gender, gender expression or identity and sexual orientation.

Behavior that may constitute sexual harassment if unwelcome, includes, but is not limited to:

  • Verbal sexual harassment such as sexual comments, jokes and innuendoes, whistles and “cat calls,” crude and offensive language, comments on physical attributes, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, use of demeaning or inappropriate terms/slurs, discussion of sexual activities, the posing of personal questions, the spreading of stories about someone’s social or sexual life, and propositions or pressure for social or sexual contact.
  • Nonverbal sexual harassment such as sexually explicit stares, gestures implying sexual activity, gestures designed to mock someone, following someone or blocking their path, the display of sexually explicit or suggestive images, and sexual exploitation.
  • Physical sexual harassment, unwanted touching, hitting, patting, grabbing, pinching, hugging, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
  • These definitions will be interpreted and applied by the college consistent with reasonable standards for mature behavior, academic freedom and freedom of expression.

Sexual Violence

Definitions

Sexual Assault

Any sexual act directed against another person, by force, threat of force, coercion or without consent, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual assault includes rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape.

Coercion means express or implied threats of any harm that would place a reasonable individual in fear of immediate or future harm and that is employed to make someone engage in sexual activity.

Consent means conduct that signifies through words or behaviors that the parties have indicated agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent is an informed agreement to participate in specific sexual acts.

  • Past consent does not imply future consent.
  • Silence or absence of resistance, by itself, does not imply consent.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
  • Consent can be withdrawn at any time, including during sexual activity.
  • Coercion, force or threat of force invalidates consent.

Fondling means the touching (with a hand or any other part of the body) of another person’s clothed or unclothed sex organs, breasts, groin, buttocks or anus for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or abuse, without consent of the person, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent. Fondling also includes being forced to touch (with a hand or any other part of the body) another person’s clothed or unclothed sex organs, breasts, groin, buttocks or anus, without consent, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent.

Force means the actual use or threat of physical violence that is employed to make someone engage in sexual acts.

Incapable of giving consent means that because of the person’s age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity they cannot give intelligent, knowing and voluntary consent. If someone is asleep, passed out or incapacitated because of drugs or alcohol, he or she is incapable of giving consent.

Incest means sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

Rape means the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral copulation by mouth-to-genital contact, without consent, including instances where the person is incapable of giving consent.

Statutory rape means sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Sexual Exploitation
Taking sexual advantage of another individual’s nudity or sexuality without consent and includes, but is not limited to:

  • causing, or attempting to cause, the incapacitation of another person in order to make that person vulnerable to sexual acts;
  • recording or photographing of private sexual activity and/or an individual’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks);
  • dissemination, streaming or posting of recordings, photos or other images of an individual’s sexual acts and/or intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breasts or buttocks);
  • voyeurism (watching or taking pictures, videos or audio recordings of another person in a state of undress and/or engaging in sexual acts);
  • allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts;
  • knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection or virus; and/or
  • exposing one’s genitals to another individual.
Domestic Violence

Crimes of violence committed:

  • by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
  • by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
  • by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred
Dating Violence

Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, type of relationship and frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking

Engaging in a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:

    • a. Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others
    • b. Suffer substantial emotional distress, even if said distress does not require medical treatment or counseling. “Acts” include communications transmitted by electronic means through a computer or other electronic device.
Retaliation

Retaliation, physical or through intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination against a complainant, respondent, witness, reporting party or any participant involved (or believed to be involved) in a disciplinary investigation or process, directly or through others acting on your behalf.

Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy

Portions of the Council on Postsecondary Education Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Policy definitions and terms are replicated below. Sexual violence is also prohibited under Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA) and Rhode Island state law.

Sexual Assault (Rhode Island):

The state of Rhode Island generally defines sexual assault as sexual penetration or sexual contact by coercion or force or when the victim is incapacitated, helpless or under the age of consent. The state of Rhode Island defines coercion or force as when the accused:

  • Uses or threatens to use a weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.
  • Overcomes the victim through application of physical force or physical violence.
  • Coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim and the victim reasonably believes that the accused has the present ability to execute these threats.
  • Coerces the victim to submit by threatening to, at some time in the future, murder, inflict serious bodily injury upon, or kidnap the victim or any other person and the victim reasonably believes that the accused has the ability to execute the threat.

The applicable Rhode Island statutes are located in the Policy and are available on the General Assembly’s website: http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE11/INDEX.HTM

§11-37-1 Definitions
§11-37-2 First-degree sexual assault
§11-37-4 Second-degree sexual assault
§11-37-6 Third-degree sexual assault
§11-37-8.1 First-degree child molestation sexual assault
§11-37-8.3 Second-degree child molestation sexual assault

Sexual Assault (VAWA)

The VAWA defines sexual assault as rape (including attempted rape), fondling, incest or statutory rape as used in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program. It includes sexual acts against people who are incapable of giving consent because of their age or because of their temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

Rape (UCR)

The UCR standard of the FBI defines rape as the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.

Fondling (UCR)

The UCR defines fondling as the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental incapacity.

DATING AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

Definitions

Domestic Violence (Rhode Island) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE12/12-29/12-29-2.HTM

Rhode Island General Law §12-29-2 defines domestic violence as any of the following crimes when committed by one family or household member against another: simple assault, felony assault, vandalism, disorderly conduct, trespass, kidnapping, child-snatching, sexual assault, homicide, violation of the provisions of a protective order or a no-contact order, stalking, refusal to relinquish or to damage or to obstruct a telephone, burglary and unlawful entry, arson, cyberstalking and cyberharassment, domestic assault by strangulation and electronic tracking of motor vehicles.

“Family or household member” means spouses, former spouses, adult persons related by blood or marriage, adult persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past three (3) years, and persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together, or persons who are, or have been, in a substantive dating or engagement relationship within the past one year which shall be determined by the court's consideration of the following factors:

    • (1) The length of time of the relationship;
    • (2) The type of the relationship;
    • (3) The frequency of the interaction between the parties.
Domestic Violence (VAWA)

The VAWA defines domestic violence as a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed:

    • (A) By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
    • (B) By a person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
    • (C) By a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as spouse or intimate partner;
    • (D) By a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or
    • (E) By any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic and family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Dating Violence (Rhode Island) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE16/16-22/16-22-24.HTM

Rhode Island General Law §16-22-24 defines a pattern of behavior where one person uses threats of, or actually uses, physical, sexual, verbal or emotional abuse to control his or her dating partner. “Dating partner” means any person involved in an intimate association with another primarily characterized by the expectation of affectionate involvement whether casual, serious or long term.

Dating Violence (VAWA)

The VAWA defines dating violence as violence committed by a person who is, or has been in, a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the following factors:

    • The length of the relationship,
    • The type of relationship, and
    • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking (Rhode Island) http://webserver.rilin.state.ri.us/Statutes/TITLE11/11-59/INDEX.HTM

Rhode Island General Law 11-59 defines stalking as any person who: (1) harasses another person; or (2) willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows another person with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear of bodily
44
injury. The penalty for a felony conviction of stalking is imprisonment for not more than five years, a fine of not more than $10,000 or both.

Stalking (VAWA)

The VAWA defines stalking as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person what would cause a reasonable person to:

    • (A) Fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or
    • (B) Suffer substantial emotional distress.

A “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, including social media, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

What to do in the Event of Sexual Assault

In the event you are a victim of sexual assault, your first priority it to get to a place of safety and seek medical care. Seeking help from a hospital or trauma center ensures that individuals receive the necessary medical treatment and tests at no expense. It also provides the opportunity for collection of evidence that could aid in prosecution (if chosen), that cannot be obtained later (Ideally individuals should not wash, douche, use the toilet or change clothing prior to a medical/legal exam.)

Once you have received appropriate medical care, you will want to seek advice on what to do next. You have multiple options available to you and you will be the person who makes the decisions.

Local, State or Campus Police

You can consult with a police officer trained in sexual trauma to access medical care or counseling and learn about your legal rights WITHOUT having to file a police report. If you choose to consult with Campus Police, we will notify local law enforcement should you choose to file a criminal complaint.

Community Resources

Community support services give victims access to free confidential counseling from counselors trained in the area of sexual assault crisis intervention. Off-campus services that are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week include:

Women’s Center (401-861-2760) Day One (401-421-4100)

College Resources

The college strongly encourages individuals who have been assaulted to report the incident in a timely manner. Individuals reporting to the director of Institutional Equity/Title IX coordinator, dean of students or Campus Police shall be informed of the available options and will be provided information on interim protective measures if appropriate to the situation. For matters taking place on campus, involving other members of the college community or taking place at college events, the individual may choose to have the investigation pursued through the criminal justice system, the college disciplinary system, or both. College action is limited and the college’s disciplinary system is no substitution for legal action, criminal or civil. The community college strongly encourages individuals to file a criminal complaint, but it is the individual’s decision, and a report to the local police is not required in order to report the matter to the college or to receive accommodations or interim measures.

Those affected by sexual violence (rape, fondling, dating/domestic violence, stalking, etc.) will receive a written notice of their rights and options for academic, working and related accommodations, as well as information on resources on and off campus for advocacy, legal support, medical and psychological care, and visa and immigration assistance.

CONFIDENTIAL COLLEGE REPORTING: Individuals may choose to file a confidential complaint where their identity will remain undisclosed at www.ccri.edu/campuspolice/forms/silentwitness.html. This will allow for the incident to be counted in campus crime statistics, but this severely limits the ability to investigate or pursue charges against the respondent.

Various on-campus support and counseling services are available:
On-Campus Confidential Counseling Support On-Campus Reporting On- and Off-Campus Reporting

Advising and Counseling
(for confidential, emotional support)

Warwick: 401-825-2301

Lincoln: 401-333-7160

Providence: 401-555-6063

Newport: 401-851-1625

Title IX coordinator: Elizabeth Canning
Knight Campus, Room 3318
ehcanning@ccri.edu



Dean of Students: Michael Cunningham
Knight Campus, Room 0060
deanofstudents@ccri.edu

Campus Police

Emergency, ext. 2000 from any campus (24-hour resources and criminal complaints)

Warwick: 401-825-2109

Lincoln: 401-333-7305

Providence: 401-455-6050

Newport: 401-851-1620

Hours of operation vary and should not be considered an emergency contact. Check the website for current hours of operation.
Filing a Complaint

Students should not assume that the college is aware of the incident. Students are strongly encouraged to bring their complaint and concern to the college’s attention so that officials can help resolve them. All complaints will receive a prompt, fair, and impartial hearing from initial investigation to the final result. Students’ complaints will be treated with discretion, however, college officials who receive a report will need to share the information with certain college departments and employees as is appropriate for addressing and responding to the concern. The college will seek to honor a request for confidentiality; however, it may not be able to guarantee confidentiality where the safety to the student and/or the community is affected, or where it would affect the investigation and resolution of a reported incident, or violate policy or law. Students will not be penalized for good faith reports of incidents.

Individuals can file complaints with:
  • Elizabeth Canning, director of Institutional Equity
  • Michael Cunningham, dean of students
  • Campus Police

The college follows the process for complaints set forth in the Council on Postsecondary Education Complaint Procedures for Discrimination, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence www.riopc.edu/static/photos/2017/03/06/PS18_DiscrimComplaint_060715.pdf. Please review those procedures for detailed information on the investigation process. Please see Page 16 of this handbook for how disciplinary complaints against students are handled once the investigation is complete.

Please note that, as part of the investigative process, parties may provide names of witnesses or other references to the investigator for inclusion in the process or submit written documentation as may the complainant. At the conclusion of the investigation, a summary of the findings of the investigator will be sent to the complainant and the respondent simultaneously. The full report will be forwarded to the dean of students for possible disciplinary action if warranted. Please see Page 18 for details on how disciplinary complaints are handled for the remainder of this process.

Office of Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education

In addition to the college’s policies and procedures regarding discrimination and harassment, if a student believes he or she has been subjected to discrimination or harassment, the student may contact the appropriate government agencies listed below.

Boston Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
5 Post Office Square, 8th Floor
Boston, MA 02109-3921
Telephone: 617-289-0111
Email: OCR.Boston@ed.gov

Sexual Misconduct Process

The Sexual Misconduct Process at CCRI
Amnesty

CCRI does consider all factors when a community member is involved in a crime of violence and also in violation of the alcohol/drug policies. CCRI recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether voluntarily or involuntarily) at the time of an incident of violence (such as domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or sexual assault) may be hesitant to report such incidents or participate in the process because of fear of potential consequences. CCRI strongly encourages students and employees to report such incidents to officials. A bystander acting in good faith or a reporting individual acting in good faith, or any person or persons involved in the investigation and process who discloses any incident of violence to CCRI officials or law enforcement will not be subject to disciplinary action for violations of the drug and alcohol policies, except in situations that involve health and safety. In certain circumstances CCRI may grant additional amnesty for violations.

Interim Measures

When students file a complaint in any of the above situations, the college may implement interim precautionary measures to ensure their safety and wellbeing after an assault or incident while an investigation and/or conduct hearing is pending. These measures include campus-based “no-contact” directives, an alteration of their course schedule or escort services from Campus Police. Please see Article V, Section B of this handbook for how the college will handle interim measures.

What to do if you have been accused of sexual misconduct

Allegations of sexual assault or harassment are extremely serious and the college will address concerns raised to college officials. The college will not presume that you have violated the Student Conduct Code or any state or federal law. However, the college may put interim measures in place or take other action, such as no-contact directives or interim suspensions, if the college reasonably deems it necessary, including for the safety of the parties or the community. Please see Article V, Section B of this handbook for how the college will handle interim measures.

If you are accused of sexual misconduct, a Title IX investigation will be conducted by a trained member of the Title IX compliance group. You will be notified about the accusation and you will be given an opportunity to respond to the accusation.

Please see the Rights and Options brochure, www.ccri.edu/equity/titleix/2017_CCRI-Title_IX-FINAL-rev.pdf#search=rights%20and%20options, for further information on your rights and resources available to you, including the ability to seek support from a free college counselor and accommodations for work and/or academic obligations. The brochure also provides information about off campus resources such as immigration, visa and legal assistance.

If you are charged with sexual misconduct through local law enforcement action that is unrelated to the community college, the college reserves the right to act preventively for the well-being of the broader community, up to and including interim suspension. However, no formal disciplinary action will be taken until the legal process has been concluded in accordance with the college’s policy on off-campus affairs.

SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY

The Federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information is provided by the state concerning registered sex offenders and where it may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders to register with the state and to provide notice, as required under state law, to each institution of higher education in that state at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation or is a student.

In Rhode Island, convicted sex offenders must register with the local police department in their municipality AS WELL AS the local police department in the town or city in which they take classes. Every person convicted on or after July 1, 1997, including juveniles sentenced as adults of an offense for which registration is required as part of the sentence imposed upon conviction, to register and reregister with the local police agencies.

In addition, all persons convicted of violations under United States law or any other state law substantially similar to an offense for which registration is required shall provide to the local agency all necessary information within 10 days of establishing a residence and reregistering within ten 10 days of any change.

The Community College of Rhode Island requires that sexual offenders register as such with Campus Police before the first day of every semester in which they will be enrolled. Failure to comply with any part of this policy will result in administrative withdrawal from all registered courses and possible disciplinary action. Offenders may be restricted from registering for courses in certain locations or at certain times depending on the type of activities that may occur in said place or at said time.

It is the practice of the community college to make the following notifications when a level II or III sexual offender registers with the college:

  • President
  • The faculty members for the offenders classes for the current semester
  • The Vice President of Student Affairs Office
  • The dean of students
  • Campus Police
  • Managers of open-access centers on the campuses in which the offender is taking classes, including
    •  The library
    • Computer labs
    • Success Center
    • Athletics
    • Advising and Counseling

Notifications are not subject to announcements, but can be shared with staff working in an open-access center. The community college does not make notifications for level I sexual offenders pursuant to state law.

To Obtain Information on Sex Offenders

Any person wanting information on registered sex offenders or related information should contact the local municipal police agency with jurisdiction for the location of our campuses. The State of Rhode Island Parole Board maintains the following website: www.paroleboard.ri.gov/sexoffender/agree.php.