Anti-Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy

Policy Overview:

Northwest College of Art & Design is committed to ensuring a positive and safe environment for all members of the NCAD community, including students, faculty, and staff. Northwest College of Art & Design expressly prohibits discrimination or harassment based upon race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, veteran status, age or any other basis protected by federal, state or local law. NCAD also strives to provide a safe and respectful environment for its students. As such, sexual harassment or sexual misconduct of any kind, including sexual violence and nonconsensual sexual contact, is not tolerated within the NCAD community. Any student, faculty, or staff who violates this policy is subject to a number of consequences, including but not limited to verbal warning, removal from courses, or dismissal. NCAD reserves the right to sanction students, faculty, or staff based on the procedures discussed herein. NCAD encourages members of our community to report any instances of harassment or discrimination.

Definition of Terms:

Consent: Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Consent cannot be forced, coerced, and cannot be given by a person who is incapacitated, unconscious, unable to make rational decisions, or under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Consent is never implied, and thus past consent does not notate future consent. Silence or a lack of resistance does not imply consent. Consent to engage in one form of sexual activity does not imply consent for another sexual act. Consent is an active and dynamic agreement between cognizant partners and demands verbal communication as well as physical cooperation. Consent can be revoked at any time.

Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is an umbrella term meant to encompass a wide variety of conduct violations, such as sexual harassment, unwanted sexual attention, nonconsensual sexual activity, creation of a hostile environment, intimate partner or domestic assault, and sexual assault/rape.

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is defined as any unwanted or nonconsensual sexual conduct, including but not limited to unwanted verbal or physical contact, physical or emotional intimidation, unwelcome sexual advances or attention, inappropriate exposure of one’s body, non-consensual photography or video of sexual activity, requests for sexual favors in exchange for some kind of benefit, unwelcome sexual innuendo or jokes, and stalking. It is important to note that conduct may be classified as harassment whether the conduct was implicit or explicit.

Nonconsensual Sexual Activity or Rape: Nonconsensual sexual activity consists of any sexual contact which lacks consent. Rape consists of any sexual intercourse or penetration (oral, vaginal, or anal) to any degree with any body part and/or object without consent. Physical force or intimidation does not need to be present in these situations in order to be classified as nonconsensual sexual activity or rape, merely a lack of consent. This definition includes date rape, nonconsensual sexual activity that is perpetrated by an acquaintance, friend, or romantic partner, and includes the knowing and willful transmission of HIV/AIDS.

Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation refers to activity which involves nonconsensual sexual activity, but via behavior which may not be covered by the definition of other forms of sexual violence. Examples of sexual exploitation include inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually violate another, invading sexual privacy, allowing other parties to observe an otherwise consensual act without the consent of the partner, nonconsensual sexual voyeurism, or prostitution of a member of the campus community.

Reporting a Violation of Sexual Misconduct Policy:

Northwest College of Art & Design is committed to seriously investigating any and all incidents that are reported in possible violation of this policy. All students are strongly encouraged to speak with the Title IX Coordinator about any incident that causes them concern, including incidents in which the reporter is not the complainant. If the student is uncomfortable speaking with the Title IX Coordinator for any reason, speaking with the Director of Education or the Director of Operations is also encouraged.

It is important to note that all staff and faculty at NCAD are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator all the details of any incident that is reported to them. A report obligates NCAD to investigate the incident, through one of two investigation procedures. In order to best facilitate effective resolutions for students, there are two methods of reporting and investigation, depending on the individual preference of the reporter.

The first is a formal report, which will consist of a formal complaint filed in writing with the Title IX Coordinator, which will be reported to the Director of Education and the Director of Operations. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an investigation and submit the findings of that investigation to the Title IX Action Committee who will render a disciplinary decision. After the investigation of the incident, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a comprehensive report detailing the investigation of the incident, the conclusion of that investigation, and the resolution and disciplinary action taken, if any. This report will be disseminated to the complainant and the respondent, as well as the Director of Education and Director of Operations.

The second manner of reporting is known as informal reporting. An informal report is reported verbally, with the Title IX Coordinator generating a written report of the informal complaint, which is kept confidential. The Title IX Coordinator may then offer advice on resolving the conflict outside of an official report, and may consult further with other pertinent staff. An investigation will not proceed from an informal complaint, unless an official written report is consequently filed, or in the case that a student informally reports a complaint in which federal or state law was broken. For instance, if a student informally reports an instance which is judged to consist of nonconsensual sexual activity, this will immediately trigger a formal written report and investigation. Informal reporting is meant as an ulterior method of resolving smaller conflicts without necessarily incurring the oversight of a formal reporting. It is up to the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator to judge if it is necessary for a complaint reported informally to be moved to a formal report.

Reporting, Investigation, and Resolution Procedure:

  1. Complainant contacts the Title IX Coordinator about a possible violation of sexual misconduct policy.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator will make an immediate decision as to whether or not the incident constitutes a violation of the policy and whether or not it mandates further investigation.
  3. If it is determined that there may be a violation of the policy, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an interview with the Complainant and issue forth a written summary of the complaint. The Complainant will review this written report, make any necessary revisions, and then affirm this report with a signature.
  4. If the complaint is a violation of federal, state, or local law, such as an instance of rape or sexual assault, and the Complainant wishes to press charges, NCAD will help facilitate contact with police.
  5. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an official investigation promptly. This investigation will be conducted independently of an official law enforcement investigation and may take up to 90 days to resolve. The respondent of the complaint will be notified in a private meeting as well as with an official written report. This investigation may comprise of a number of factors including but not limited to corroboration of complaint through witness accounts or security footage, conducting interviews with involved parties, and inspection of student, faculty, or staff files.
  6. When the investigation is concluded, a written report of this investigation will be generated, then submitted to the Title IX Investigatory Committee, which consists of the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Education, the Director of Operations, and Northwest College of Art & Design’s legal counsel. This report may list recommendations for resolutions and possible sanctions or disciplinary action.
  7. After the investigation is presented to the Committee, the Committee votes on how to resolve the issue. The Director of Education, the Director of Operations, and the legal counsel will be the voting members of this Committee. The Title IX Coordinator will present findings of the investigation only and will not vote on resolutions, in order to maintain the neutrality of the decision making process.
  8. Once a resolution is decided, the complainant and the respondent are both informed with a written notice.
  9. An official report which combines the details of the investigation, the conclusion of the investigation, and the resolution of the investigation is generated. This document is presented to the Director of Education, the Director of Operations, the complainant, and the respondent and will be kept in the Title IX Coordinator’s official records.

Confidentiality:

Northwest College of Art & Design will take every reasonable effort to maintain the confidentiality of every individual and all information pertaining to a sexual harassment complaint. If at all possible, an individual’s identity will not be disclosed. However, it is important to note that in order for NCAD to employ any disciplinary actions, the respondent of the complaint must be informed of the identity of the complainant.

Retaliatory Behavior:

Retaliatory Behavior is any intentional action which harms a complainant or witness for participating in a report of sexual misconduct. Retaliatory behavior is strictly prohibited by Northwest College of Art & Design. Examples of retaliatory behavior may include intimidation, threats, harassment, or any action which is taken against friends or family of a complainant or witness. It will be considered retaliatory behavior regardless of if the respondent or a third party perpetrates it. Northwest College of Art & Design will take strong, immediate responsive action if retaliatory behavior occurs. Such action may include dismissal from the program.

False Complaints:

Knowingly reporting false or misrepresented complaints of sexual misconduct is expressly prohibited and will subject the offender to separate disciplinary action which may include dismissal from the program. It is important to note that a complaint made in good faith is not judged to be a false complaint because the evidence does not support a formal charge.

Rights of a Complainant in Cases of Sexual Misconduct:

Individuals whose complaints of sexual misconduct are being investigated by NCAD can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators and adjudicators.
  • They will be informed in writing that their complaint of sexual misconduct is being investigated, and of any other suspected related policy violations being explored through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of NCAD’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the respondent throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may access NCAD and/or external resources for medical and counseling services at any time.
  • They may choose to pursue a formal complaint with external law enforcement authorities or other federal or state agencies at any time.
  • They may meet with the Title IX Coordinator in person prior to the official determination of a finding.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the respondent, of the finding issued by the Title IX Coordinator, as well as the outcome of any appeal, to the extent permitted by the Code of Student Conduct.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome, provided they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to participate in NCAD’s investigation and adjudication process. Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact NCAD’s legal representation directly.

Rights of a Respondent in Cases of Sexual Misconduct:

Students responding to complaints of sexual misconduct can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators and adjudicators.
  • They will be informed in writing that a complaint of sexual misconduct against them is being investigated, and of any other suspected policy violations being explored through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of NCAD’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and procedures.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the complainant throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may meet with the Title IX Coordinator in person prior to the official determination of a finding.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the complainant, of the finding issued by the Designated Officials, as well as the outcome of any appeal, to the extent permitted by the Code of Student Conduct.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome, provided that they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to participate in NCAD’s investigation and adjudication process. Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact NCAD’s legal representation directly

The current Title IX Coordinator is Julie Perigard, whose office is in the Arts & Administration building. Direct line is 360-697-8133 and email is jperigard@ncad.edu.