The College encourages anyone who experiences or becomes aware of a Sexual Misconduct Violation to make an immediate report. There are multiple channels for reporting a Sexual Misconduct Violation. A Complainant may choose to report a Sexual Misconduct Violation to the College for Resolution under these Procedures, to law enforcement for potential criminal prosecution, to both, or to neither. Complainants may simultaneously pursue criminal and College disciplinary action. The College will support Complainants in understanding and assessing their reporting options.
A. Reporting to the College
Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX coordinator, or by any other means that results in the Title IX coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Please go to the Interim Title IX Grievanc Policy, Reporting Sexual Harassment page for details.
Employees should be aware that every employee, including supervisors, managers, and human resources professionals are “Responsible Employees” who are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about a Sexual Misconduct Violation. A Responsible Employee is any College Employee; this includes RAs, TAs, EMTs, and other student employees; who is not a Confidential Employee or Private Employee. This is discussed in detail in Section VI. B. of the Policy.
Upon receipt of a report of a Sexual Misconduct Violation, the College will conduct an initial assessment and take any immediate action that may be necessary to protect the health and safety of the Complainant and the College community, as described in the Procedures below.
The College also offers access to confidential resources for individuals who are unsure about whether to report a Sexual Misconduct Violation or are seeking counseling or other emotional support in addition to (or without) making a report to the College. Section II above identifies confidential resources, both at the College and in the Amherst community. Section VI of the Policy also provides information about confidential resources.
Although there is no time limit for reporting Sexual Misconduct Violations to the College, the College’s ability to respond may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade, and Respondents may no longer be affiliated with the College. If the Respondent is no longer a Student or an Employee, the College will provide reasonably appropriate remedial measures, assist the Complainant in identifying external reporting options, and take other reasonable steps to respond under Title IX.
B. Reporting to the Police
A Complainant has the right to notify Police or decline to notify Police. Anyone may contact the Police directly (see Section II.A.2, above). Alternatively, College community members may seek assistance in notifying Police from HR. HR can assist in setting up an initial meeting with Police. Filing a Police report does not obligate an Employee to participate in any subsequent criminal proceedings. A Complainant who wishes to pursue criminal action in addition to, or instead of, making a report under these Procedures should contact law enforcement directly:
- Hampshire College Campus Safety can be reached by dialing “5555” (for emergencies) or 413.559.5424 (for non-emergencies).
- Town of Amherst Police can be reached by dialing “911” (for emergencies) or 413.259.3000 (for non-emergencies).
C. Preservation of Evidence
The College recognizes that making the decision to report a Sexual Misconduct Violation often takes time. Nevertheless, pending the decision to report, Employees are strongly encouraged to take immediate steps to preserve all evidence that might support a future report of a Sexual Misconduct Violation, a Protective Order, or an investigation by the Police, by the College, or both. Such evidence may include:
- A forensic sexual assault examination (within 72 hours);
- Any clothing, sheets or other materials (items containing bodily fluids should be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags);
- Electronic exchanges (e.g., text messages, emails, and Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts, to the extent that they can be captured or preserved);
- Photographs (including photographs stored on smartphones and other devices); and
- Voice-mail messages and other physical, documentary and/or electronic data that might be helpful or relevant in an investigation.
Electronic and photographic evidence may be lost through the upgrade or replacement of equipment (including smartphones), software and/or accounts or may simply be lost to the passage of time or damage to the device.
D. Seeking a Protective Order
Where a Sexual Misconduct Violation is reported to the Police, it may be possible to obtain a court-ordered Protective Order. These Protective Orders may be issued if the judge or magistrate believes that there is an immediate threat to health or safety.
“Protective Orders” are separate and distinct from “No-Contact Directives” (described in Section VII.A. of the Policy). Protective Orders may be obtained only from a court of law and are enforceable anywhere in the United States; their violation may result in criminal charges.
In contrast, No-Contact Directives may be obtained from the Title IX Coordinator and are enforceable through the College. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators can explain the process for seeking a Protective Order and can escort a Student or Employee to the appropriate office in order to initiate a petition seeking a Protective Order.