N. Sexual Misconduct
As set forth in the Code of Conduct in this Student Handbook, Illinois Tech prohibits acts of sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking. Definitions of the foregoing terms and other relevant details, including support services and procedural considerations, are set forth in this Section N. Illinois Tech respects the fact that the decisions whether to inform authorities and which authorities to inform rests with the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct. An individual who experienced sexual misconduct and desires to contact an authority should call the Public Safety Department (312.808.6300) or the Chicago Police Department (or relevant local police department) at 911 as soon as possible. Help can also be received from the Student Health and Wellness Center (312.567.7550), Office of Community Standards (312.567.5172), the Title IX Coordinator (312.567.5735) (See Section M above for additional details on the Title IX Coordinator), or the Office of Student Affairs (312.567.3081). Representatives from these offices are available to assist the victim in notifying law enforcement authorities if the victim so chooses. An individual who experienced sexual misconduct may also wish to contact a community-based sexual assault crisis center, and information, including names, addresses, websites and telephone numbers, for such centers is available at www.iit.edu/student-affairs/vawa-save-acts.
Under federal law, all institutions of higher education must designate those of its staff with significant responsibility for student and campus activities as "Responsible Employees". (Note: Not all Responsible Employees are actually employed by Illinois Tech.) Responsible employees have an obligation to report immediately any information they come to learn regarding suspected Sexual Misconduct; thus, these individuals cannot agree to maintain privacy or confidentiality with respect to such matters. At Illinois Tech, Responsible Employees are to report such information to the Office of Student Affairs, the Title IX Coordinator, or the Department of Public Safety. Illinois Tech has designated individuals holding the following titles/positions as Responsible Employees: the President, Provost and those designated to serve in the role of Associate or Assistant Vice Presidents/ Provosts; academic deans, directors and department chairs, including those serving in associate or assistant roles; student affairs directors; residential life personnel, including resident advisors; Greek life coordinators; athletic administrators, including directors, assistant directors, coaches, assistant coaches and trainers; student activities coordinators; faculty and staff advisors to Illinois Tech recognized student organizations; academic advisors; and Department of Public Safety staff.
Faculty and staff members who do not meet any of these criteria are not considered Responsible Employees, though all such employees, while safeguarding an individual's privacy, are encouraged to share any information that they may learn regarding Sexual Misconduct so that Illinois Tech may address the same. Confidential Advisors (as defined in Subsection 4(b) below) are also not Responsible Employees, and Confidential Advisors are the only individuals who generally have an obligation to maintain privacy and confidentiality and not to report information that they may learn regarding Sexual Misconduct.
In addition, consistent with its general crime reporting policies and procedures, members of the Illinois Tech community who become aware of a possible incident of sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to report it immediately to the Public Safety Department and/or local law enforcement.
1. Reporting Instances of Sexual Misconduct
If a person accused of the sexual misconduct is an Illinois Tech student, a complaint under the Code of Conduct may be formally filed with the Office of Student Affairs, the Title IX Coordinator, or a Confidential Advisor (see Subsection 4(b) below). The privacy of the reporting party and responding party (the accused student) shall be protected throughout the proceedings to the extent possible, (see Subsection 4 below).
Though individuals are encouraged to come forward and report crimes, reports may be made anonymously by contacting the Public Safety Department at 312-808-6300 or filing a report at www.iit.edu/incidentreport. All reports of sexual misconduct against and by students will be reviewed by the Office of Student Affairs in collaboration with the Title IX Coordinator; however, the University's ability to investigate and to address alleged misconduct reported by anonymous sources is generally significantly limited. Accordingly, the more information that can be provided, the more thorough the investigation will likely be.
In cases of sexual misconduct, it is important to preserve relevant evidence as failure to do so could compromise any subsequent investigation, jeopardize the ability to punish the accused and/or complicate the ability to obtain an order of protection. Though the decision of whether and when to report is up to the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct, delayed reporting may make it more difficult to find and convict/discipline the accused. Thus, an individual who experienced sexual misconduct is encouraged to consider filing a report with the police; filing a report does not obligate the victim to press charges or pursue legal action. In order to preserve evidence, a victim should strongly consider obtaining an appropriate medical examination as soon as possible. Although Illinois Tech does not have the staff or facilities to do so, the emergency rooms at Mercy Hospital (2525 S. Michigan Avenue / (312) 567-2000) and University of Chicago Hospital (5841 S. Maryland Avenue / (773) 702-1000) do, including conducting a forensic examination. Such an examination often serves a valuable evidentiary purpose. Completion of a forensic examination does not require one to file a police report.
2. Order of Protection
If desired, one who has experienced sexual misconduct may seek an order of protection (750 ILCS 60/214) or no contact order (740 ILCS 22/101.1 et seq.) from an Illinois court. The decision to grant such an order in any particular instance is at the discretion of the court. If such an order is issued, Illinois Tech will honor it as and to the extent required by law. Additional information on orders of protection and the process for obtaining such an order is available on the website of the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court at www.cookcountyclerkofcourt.org/?section=SERVRESPage&SERVRESPage=orderprot.
Complaints will be investigated by staff of the Title IX Office or individuals designated by the Title IX Officer, in either case such individuals will have received training to conduct such investigations, and, if warranted, disciplinary proceedings will be initiated according to the procedures outlined in the Code of Conduct as supplemented by the provisions of this Section N. The preponderance of the evidence standard set forth in the Code of Conduct will also be used in all investigations and hearings pertaining to cases of sexual misconduct. Sanctions for cases of sexual misconduct will vary based on the nature and severity of the situation as well as the perpetrator's prior disciplinary history, if any. The full range of applicable sanctions is listed under Article II Section C (Conduct Sanctions) of the Code of Conduct. Pursuant to the Code of Conduct, sanctions of suspension and expulsion are automatically stayed and referred to the Provost for review. The Provost may make any determination outlined in the Code of Conduct, and such determination shall not be subject to further appeal on the basis that the sanction imposed was inappropriate to the offense.
Notwithstanding any provision of the Code of Conduct to the contrary, sexual assaults may not be informally resolved. Further, in cases of sexual misconduct, the reporting party and responding party will not be permitted to directly question one another, unless both such parties have agreed to such questioning in writing. In the case where such mutual agreement does not exist, each may suggest questions to be posed by the chair of the Campus Judicial Board or the Dean of Students (or designee), as the case may be. Upon request of either the reporting party or responding party, at any time during the proceedings, Illinois Tech will provide reasonable accommodations to ensure that the reporting party and responding party are separated, while still being able to hear one another. Both the reporting party and responding party (i) will have equal access to the same information to be provided pursuant to the Code of Conduct in connection with a disciplinary proceeding and (ii) will be afforded the same opportunity to participate in the process equally, meaning the reporting party will have the same rights and options as are afforded to the responding party under the Code of Conduct. Finally, consistent with the process and procedures and within the timeframes provided for in the Code of Conduct, both the reporting party and responding party will have the same right to appeal a decision made and/or sanction imposed in matters involving complaints of sexual misconduct.
Illinois Tech will generally seek to protect the privacy of all parties to a complaint or other report of sexual misconduct to the extent possible, and a number of the procedures outlined in this Student Handbook are intended to facilitate Illinois Tech's ability to do so. Illinois Tech will, to the extent permitted by law, also seek to ensure that the name and identifying information of an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct is not included in any publicly available records. However, when a complaint of sexual misconduct is received, Illinois Tech may well have an independent legal obligation to investigate the same and to respond in a way that limits the effects of the sexual misconduct and prevents its reoccurrence, even if the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct has elected as is his or her right, not to pursue it or has declined to cooperate.
Accordingly, Illinois Tech reserves the right to share information during or after an investigation with people who reasonably need to know it in order to promote campus safety; comply with law; provide for a prompt, fair and impartial resolution; and/or institute accommodations or protective measure. Such individuals may include Illinois Tech officials, faculty members, staff, investigators, Campus Judicial Board members, witnesses, the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct, and the person accused of committing such misconduct. If an individual who experienced sexual misconduct is unsure of someone's duties and abilities to maintain his or her privacy, he or she should ask the individual before speaking to them. As detailed further in Subsection 4(b) below, certain, limited staff members in certain Illinois Tech departments are generally obligated by law to maintain confidentiality, including certain licensed health professionals acting in their professional capacity; pastoral counselors, meaning individuals who are associated with a religious order or denomination, recognized by that order or denomination as people who provide confidential counseling and acting within the scope of that recognition; designated confidential advisors; and staff of local rape and domestic violence crisis centers.
b. Persons with the Legal Ability to Maintain Confidentiality
Illinois Tech's Student Health and Wellness Center has licensed health professionals who can meet with victims on a professional basis and discuss matters in confidence. Staff members of the Student Health and Wellness Center, whose official responsibilities include providing mental health counseling to members of the student body, when acting within the scope of their license or certification, are generally obligated by law to maintain confidentiality, and these individuals when so acting are not required by law to report criminal offenses, including sexual misconduct, about which they are informed.
In addition, Illinois law has established the recognized role of "Confidential Advisor", which is as an individual retained by a higher education institution that has certain mandated training and has the duty and ability to provide emergency and ongoing support to students who have experienced sexual misconduct. Illinois Tech has elected to contract for Confidential Advisor services. The provider of such services is:
- Resilience, located 180 N Michigan Avenue, Suite 600, Chicago, Illinois 60601. The phone number for students needing to access Resilience's 24 hour Confidential Advisor services is 773-907-1062.
Under Illinois law, communications between a Confidential Advisor and an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct and all records related thereto are to remain confidential, unless (i) the survivor consents to a disclosure in writing, (ii) disclosure is mandated by law or court order, or (iii) failure to disclose such communication would result in a clear, imminent risk of serious physical injury to or death of the individual or another. In addition, a Confidential Advisor shall, on a monthly basis, report to Illinois Tech's Title IX Coordinator the number and type of incidents of sexual misconduct reported exclusively to the Confidential Advisor so as to permit Illinois Tech to fulfill its crime reporting obligations under state and federal law.
In the course of working with an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct, a Confidential Advisor will (i) inform him or her of the choice of possible next steps regarding reporting options and possible outcomes, whether through Illinois Tech's policies and procedures or local law enforcement; (ii) notify him or her of the resources and services available to him or her, both on and off campus; (iii) discuss with him or her orders of protection and no contact orders; (iv) provide confidential services to and have privileged, confidential communications with him or her in accordance with Section 8-804 of the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure; and (v) at his or her request, liaise with and assist in contacting and reporting to Illinois tech officials, local law enforcement or community-based sexual assault crisis centers as well as to secure accommodations (as defined below) from Illinois Tech.
5. Support Options
In an effort to advance the cause of deterrence and reduce the possibility of a student experiencing sexual misconduct, information concerning sexual misconduct, sexual misconduct prevention options and warning signs, and safe and positive options for bystander intervention is available at www.iit.edu/student-affairs/vawa-save-acts. In addition, a description of (i) Illinois Tech's ongoing sexual misconduct prevention and awareness campaigns for members of the Illinois Tech community, (ii) existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance and other services available for victims of sexual misconduct both on campus and in the area, and (iii) options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, dining, transportation and working situations (collectively, "accommodations") will be made available. Illinois Tech will provide accommodations if they are so requested by the victim and if they are reasonably available under the particular circumstances. Requests for accommodations should be made to the Dean of Students (312-567-3080; MTCC, Room 209). The option to seek accommodations is available regardless of whether the victim has elected to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement.
Upon learning that a student has reported that he or she experienced sexual misconduct, whether the offense occurred on or off campus, the student will be provided (and in the case of electronic reports, the reported will be responded to with) the following information in writing: (i) the possible sanctions or protective measures that could be imposed upon an individual found, after a disciplinary proceeding pursuant to the Code of Conduct, to have committed such an offense after a disciplinary proceeding; (ii) procedures an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct should consider, including, but not limited to, information about the importance of preserving evidence, to whom the alleged offense should be reported, and options regarding law enforcement and campus public safety authorities, including notifying the same, how Illinois Tech staff can assist with making such notification and the individual's right to decline to notify such authorities; (iii) the ability of an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct seek to secure an order of protection or no contact orders under Illinois law; (iv) detailed information concerning Illinois Tech's disciplinary process for cases of sexual misconduct, including the victim's rights and options thereunder; (v) information about how and to what extent Illinois Tech can and will protect the confidentiality of victims; (vi) available counseling, physical and mental health treatment options, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other services available for victims of sexual misconduct both on campus and in the area; (vii) options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, dining transportation and working situations (collectively, known as "accommodations"); and (viii) contact information for Illinois Tech's Title IX Coordinator, Confidential Advisors, Department of Public Safety as well as local law enforcement and community-based sexual assault crisis centers.
6. Definitions Applicable to Sexual Misconduct
Consent represents the cornerstone of respectful and healthy intimate relationships. Illinois Tech strongly encourages its community members to communicate – openly, honestly and clearly – about their actions, wishes, and intentions when it comes to sexual behavior, and to do so before engaging in intimate conduct. It is always the requirement of the individual initiating sexual contact (or undertaking a new type of sexual activity) to ensure that consent is present before acting and is present during sexual activity.
When determining whether consent was present, Illinois Tech will consider whether a reasonable person in the same circumstances should have known whether the other party could or could not consent to the sexual activity. Thus, to have sex with someone who you know to be, or should have known to be incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about a sexual situation is a violation of this policy (e.g. an intoxicated person or someone with a temporary or permanent mental or emotional impairment). Consent is not present when an individual does not have the capacity to give consent, voluntarily or involuntarily, due to age (younger than 17 in Illinois), physical condition, or disability that impairs the individual's ability to give consent. Reasons why one could lack capacity to give consent due to a physical condition include, but are not limited to, incapacitation due to the consumption of drugs or alcohol (voluntarily or involuntarily) or being in a state of unconsciousness, sleep, or other state in which the person is unaware that sexual activity is occurring. To be clear, a person may appear to be giving consent but may not have the capacity to do so; in which case, the apparent consent is not effective. If there is any doubt as to another person's capacity to give consent, one should assume that the other person does not have the capacity to give consent. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol does not excuse one from the responsibility to obtain consent. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse to commit sexual misconduct. With the foregoing, consent means the existence of clearly understandable words or actions that manifest a knowing, active, voluntary, and present and ongoing agreement to engage in specific sexual or intimate conduct by one not suffering from incapacitation (as defined below). Consent must be all of the following:
Knowing: Consent must demonstrate that all individuals are in a state of mind to understand, to be aware of, and to agree to the "who" (same partners), "what" (same acts), "where" (same location), "when" (same time), and "how" (the same way and under the same conditions) of sexual or intimate activity.
Active: Consent must be communicated in clearly understandable words or actions that reveal one's expectations and agreement to engage in specific sexual or intimate activity. This means that silence, passivity, submission, or the lack of verbal or physical resistance (including the lack of a "no") should not - in and of itself - be understood as consent. Consent cannot be inferred by an individual's manner of dress, the giving or acceptance of gifts, the extension or acceptance of an invitation to go to a private room or location, or going on a date.
Voluntary: Consent must be freely given and cannot be the result of force (violence, physical restraint, or the presence of a weapon); threat or coercion (defined below); or fraud (misrepresentation or material omission about oneself or the present situation in order to gain permission for sexual or intimate activity).
Present and ongoing: Consent must exist at the time of the sexual or intimate activity. Consent to previous sexual or intimate activity does not imply consent to later sexual or intimate acts; similarly, consent to one type of sexual or intimate activity does not imply consent to other sexual or intimate acts. Consent may also be withdrawn at any time by the person making known, by articulated word or concrete action, his or her intention to withdraw it, and thereupon, the sexual or intimate activity should immediately cease.
Threat or Coercion: The direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution sufficient to persuade a reasonable person one would have to submit. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. A person's words or conduct cannot amount to coercion unless they wrongfully impair the other's freedom of will or ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. When someone makes it clear that they do not want to engage in sexual activity, that they want to stop, or they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be threatening or coercive.
i. The inability to understand the nature of the activity or to give knowing consent;
ii. The inability to understand the "who, what, when, where, and how" of a situation;
iii. When a person is sufficiently intoxicated, high, intellectually disabled or the like that the person is not capable of understanding and appreciating what is happening; or
iv. The legal inability to give effective consent because of age or declared incompetent.
b. Specific Acts of Sexual Misconduct
As set forth in the Code of Conduct, Illinois Tech prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. Such conduct violates the community values and principles of Illinois Tech and disrupts the living, learning, and working environment for students, faculty, staff and other community members. Therefore, Illinois Tech's Code of Conduct prohibits the actions noted in the Code of Conduct as the same are defined below. An attempt to commit any such act, as well as assisting or willfully encouraging any such act, is also considered a violation of the Code of Conduct. An act may violate one or more provisions of the Code of Conduct; thus, Illinois Tech reserves the right to bring multiple charges against an individual for a single act. As circumstances warrant, a student may also be held responsible for the misconduct of his or her visitors and guests. The terms and definitions below are important components of Illinois Tech's Code of Conduct. The definitions are intended to give meaning to these terms in the context of the Illinois Tech community.
i. Sexual Assault
- Sexual Penetration without Consent (e.g., rape): Any penetration of the sex organs or anus of another person when consent is not present, or any penetration of the mouth of another person with a sex organ when consent is not present. This includes penetration or intrusion, however slight, of the sex organs or anus of another person by an object or any part of the body, specifically including cunnilingus, fellatio, vaginal intercourse, and anal intercourse.
- Sexual Contact without Consent (e.g., fondling): Knowingly touching or fondling a person's genitals, breasts, thighs, groin, or buttocks, or knowingly touching a person with one's own genitals, breasts or buttocks, when consent is not present. This includes contact done directly or indirectly through clothing, bodily fluids, or with an object. It also includes causing or inducing a person, when consent is not present, similarly to touch or fondle oneself or someone else.
- Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by the laws of the state in which the incident occurred.
- Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent under the laws of the state in which the incident occurred, which, under the laws of the State of Illinois, the age of consent is 17.
ii. Sexual Exploitation
Taking sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of oneself or a third party in any of the following ways or by any of the following means, including via electronic means, methods or devices, includes but not limited to:
- Sexual voyeurism or permitting others to witness or observe the sexual or intimate activity of another person without that person's consent;
- Indecent or lewd exposure or inducing others to expose themselves when consent is not present;
- Recording or taking, without regard to any distribution, photos, imagines, video or the like of (i) any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity or who is naked or otherwise in a state of undress, (ii) who is in a private space or a place where the person has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and (iii) without that person's consent;
- Distributing in any format, including electronic and via social media, and without regard to who took or created the same, sexual information or photos, images, videos or the like, of the type described in 3 above, about or of another person without that person's consent;
- Recruiting, harboring, transporting, providing, or obtaining another person for the purpose of sexual exploitation;
- Inducing incapacitation in another person with the intent to engage in sexual conduct, regardless of whether prohibited sexual conduct actually occurs.
The following elements constitute stalking:
- Engaging in a course of conduct, meaning two or more acts, that is directed at a specific person;
- In which a perpetrator – directly, indirectly or through third parties – by any action, method, device or means, including electronic: follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about said person or interferes with said person's property; and
- Such that a reasonable person, meaning one under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the person to whom in the conduct is directed, would: fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress, meaning significant mental suffering or anguish regardless of whether such anguish does or does not require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Provide all of the foregoing elements are satisfied, the following is a non-exhaustive list of examples of acts that could constitute stalking: following a person; being or remaining in close proximity to a person; entering or remaining on or near a person's property, residence, or place of employment; using electronic devices to monitor, observe or conduct surveillance of a person; threatening, by word or deed, a person; unwelcome, incessant electronic or telephonic communication or electronic posting to or about a person; giving gifts or objects to or leaving items for a person; and interfering with or damaging a person's possessions or pets.
iv. Dating/Domestic Violence
Intimidation; harassment; physical abuse, including hitting, slapping, shoving, grabbing, pinching, biting, hair pulling or any act that would constitute a crime of violence under state law; sexual abuse, including rape, attacks on sexual parts of the body, forcing sex after physical violence, treating one in a sexually demeaning manner, coercing or attempting to coerce any sexual contact or behavior without consent; psychological or emotional abuse, including any pattern of behavior undermining an individual's sense of self-worth or self-esteem through constant criticism, diminishing one's abilities, name-calling or damaging one's relationship with one's children; or interference with personal liberty of any person by someone in an intimate relationship, as described below.
In the case of Dating Violence, the following initiate relationships are covered: persons who have or have had a dating relationship; and persons who have or have had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship is determined based on the reporting party's statements and with consideration to the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between persons involved in the relationship.
In the case of Domestic Violence, the following intimate relationships are covered: current and former spouses; current and former domestic partners; intimate partners or dating partners who share or formerly shared a common dwelling; persons who otherwise have a child in common or share a relationship through a child; and any other person protected by the domestic and family laws of the State of Illinois.
Illinois Tech strictly prohibits any material adverse action against any individual for, in good faith, reporting, providing information, exercising one's rights or responsibilities under this Section N or the Code of Conduct, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations of sexual misconduct. All reasonable measures will be taken to assure that no one involved in any complaint, investigation, or remedy suffers retaliation as a result of the proceedings. To this end, any retaliatory actions, including, but not limited to. intimidation, threats, coercion, denial of benefits or the like, against any such individual for having engaged in good faith in any of the above activities is prohibited and will be addressed in the most serious way by Illinois Tech. Anyone who suffers retaliation or is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator or the Dean of Students; either party will investigate the matter and make findings so Illinois Tech can take appropriate actions to address such conduct in a fair and impartial manner. The Title IX Coordinator may be reached at 312.567.5725 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The Dean of Students may be reached at 312.567.3081 or email@example.com
8. Amnesty for Sexual Misconduct Reporting Party and Witnesses
Illinois Tech encourages reporting of sexual misconduct and seeks to remove any barriers to an individual making a report. To this end, Illinois Tech recognizes that an individual who was drinking or using drugs at the time of such an incident may be hesitant to make a report because of potential consequences for their own conduct. Accordingly, an individual(s) who, in good faith, reports sexual misconduct that was directed at them or another person, either as a Reporting Party or a third party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by Illinois Tech solely for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs.