Title IX

Sweet Briar College is committed to providing a safe and secure enviornment free of discrimination for our students, faculty, and staff. The College takes seriously allegations of sexual misconduct, including sexual violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence. As a recipient of federal funds, Sweet Briar College is required by federal law to comply with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. S 1681 et seq. (Title IX), which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission, and employment. Sexual misconduct constitues sexual discrimination under certain circumstances and is prohibited by Title IX.

For more information, please read the following documents:


Frequently Asked Questions

What is Title IX and the Clery Act?

Title IX

Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. 1681 et seq., otherwise known as “Title IX,” prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs or activities, admission and employment. The legislation reads, in part:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.

But Sweet Briar is a women’s college. Does that mean men should be admitted?

No. The legislation also reads:

In regards to admissions to educational institutions, this section shall apply only to institutions of vocational education, professional education, and graduate higher education, and to public institutions of undergraduate higher education.

While many people think Title IX exclusively relates to women in athletics, there are several areas that are affected. Some of the additional key areas of Title IX include: access to higher education, career education, employment, standardized testing, education for pregnant and parenting students, learning environment, and sexual harassment.

For more information on Title IX, here are some additional resources:

Clery Act

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, or “Clery Act,” was signed in 1990. The law is named after 19-year-old Jeanne Clery, who was raped and murdered in her residence hall in 1986. Her murder prompted colleges and universities to examine campus crime reporting methods and Congress to pass legislation requiring publically accessible crime reports.

This law mandates every college and university to distribute its Annual Campus Security Report to current and prospective students and employees each fall. The report is required to provide crime statistics for the prior three years. Sweet Briar’s Annual Campus Safety Report can be found here.

Who are the Sweet Briar College Title IX staff members?

Kerri Bond

Kerri BondDirector of Residence Life
Title IX Coordinator

P | 434-381-6346
E | kbond@sbc.edu
O | Student Life Office | Prothro Hall, Second Floor


Tasha Gillum ’04

Tasha GillumAssistant Dean of Student Engagement and Programs
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty/Staff

P | 434-381-6423
E | tgillum@sbc.edu
O | Student Life Office | Prothro Hall, Second Floor


Kate Macklin ’13

Kate MacklinDirector of Outdoor Programs
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students

P | 434-381-6369
E | kmacklin@sbc.edu
O | Sweet Briar Outdoor Program Office | Meta Glass Residence Hall, First Floor


What is your anti-discrimination policy?

The following is from the Sweet Briar College Student Handbook.

In accordance with federal law and the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia, discrimination in educational programs or in employment on the basis of race, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability or veteran status by one member of the Sweet Briar community against any other member of the Sweet Briar community will not be tolerated. Discrimination encompasses any difference in treatment on a prohibited basis. This prohibition against discrimination shall not in any way alter, affect or negate the at-will employment status of any employee.

Further, it is Sweet Briar’s intent and policy to extend protections analogous to the protections provided by law to all members of the Sweet Briar community regardless of whether such protections are legally mandated. Sweet Briar’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity extends beyond what is required by law. Our values uphold the dignity of all persons without regard to sexual orientation, gender identity or its expression, socio-economic circumstances, political convictions or other personal circumstances or characteristics. All members of the community have the right to be free from being subjected to discriminatory behavior.

It is a violation of this policy for any member of the Sweet Briar community to discriminate against any other member of the Sweet Briar community on any basis, including but not limited to, race, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or its expression, socioeconomic circumstances, political convictions, or any other personal circumstances or characteristics.

Retaliation against any individual who raises a good faith report under this policy is strictly prohibited.

Any member of the Sweet Briar community who feels that she or he has been the subject of any form of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence or bullying should promptly report the incident to one of the following College officials:

Student Complaint

Kelly Kraft-Meyer
Dean of Student Life and Academic Support

P | 434-381-6134
E | kraft_meyer@sbc.edu

Kerri Bond
Director of Residence Life
Title IX Coordinator

P | 434-381-6346
E | kbond@sbc.edu

Faculty Complaint

Pam DeWeese
Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

P | 434-381-6205
E | deweese@sbc.edu

Staff Complaint

Nicole Whitehead
Director of Human Resources and Community Engagement

P | 434-381-6510
E | nwhitehead@sbc.edu

If a member of the Sweet Briar community believes that she or he has been discriminated against, bullied or harassed by the person to whom she or he would report the incident, the report may be made to one of the other listed officials.

Any member of the Sweet Briar community who engages in the types of behavior described above or otherwise violates this policy is subject to disciplinary action. For students, this includes the student judicial process and its sanctions. For others, disciplinary action may include dismissal from the relationship that makes such person a member of the Sweet Briar community. Conversely, where results of an investigation reveal that a complaint of discriminatory activity is frivolous or groundless, the individual having made such a complaint may be subject to the same disciplinary action, including dismissal.

It is the responsibility of each member of the administration of the College, from the President to a first-line supervisor, to give this non-discrimination policy full support through leadership and personal example. In addition, it is the duty of every employee of the College to create a work environment that is conducive to our non-discrimination policies, and of every student to create a learning and living environment that is also in support of our non-discrimination policies.

What is sexual misconduct?

Sexual misconduct is defined as sexual harassment, coercion, sexual assault, violence or exploitation, domestic and dating violence, non-consensual sexual intercourse, gender-based harassment, and stalking. Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual misconduct may be committed by men or women, and can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Definitions

Harassment includes acts of aggression, intimidation, stalking, or hostility. Gender-based harassment can occur if a person is harassed either for exhibiting what is perceived as a stereotypical characteristic of their sex or for failing to conform to stereotypical notions of femininity or masculinity. To constitute harassment, the conduct must be unwelcomed and unreasonably interfere with an individual’s education or workplace or create an objectively intimidating, demeaning or offensive academic, working or living environment.

Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (a) submission to, or rejection of, such conduct is made implicitly or explicitly a term or condition of instruction, employment, or participation in any College activity or benefit; (b) submission to, or rejection of, these behaviors by an individual is used as a basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions; or (c) these behaviors are sufficiently severe and/or pervasive to have the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s educational experience, working conditions or living conditions by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

A hostile environment may arise when unwelcome conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature affects a student’s ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity, or creates an intimidating, threatening, or abusive educational, working, or living environment.

A responsible employee is an employee of the College who has the authority to take action to redress the alleged misconduct with the appropriate College officials, or an individual whom a student could reasonably believe has this authority or responsibility to redress or report the alleged misconduct. The following are responsible employees:

  • Title IX coordinator
  • Student life staff, including resident coordinators and resident advisors
  • Human Resources staff
  • Athletics coaches
  • Faculty members
  • Campus safety officers

Sexual assault is actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s effective consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

  • Non-consensual sexual contact
  • Coercing, forcing or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s intimate parts without that person’s effective consent
  • Non-consensual sexual intercourse

Sexual exploitation includes abusive utilization of another person’s sexuality for illegitimate purposes, including but not limited to for personal benefit or sexual gratification.

Relationship violence (including domestic and dating violence) is any intentionally violent or controlling behavior of one individual by a person who is currently or was previously in a relationship with that individual. Relationship violence may include actual or threatened physical injury, sexual violence, psychological or emotional abuse, and/or progressive social isolation. The existence of such a relationship is determined through consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking is more than one instance of unwanted attention, harassment, physical or verbal contact, or any other course of conduct directed at an individual that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm or place that individual in fear of harm or injury, including physical, emotional or psychological harm. This includes cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, texts, or other similar forms of contact are used to pursue, harass or make unwelcome contact with another person.

Stalking may include, but is not limited to:

  • Observing or surveilling someone;
  • Following someone, or presenting at someone’s home, school or workplace;
  • Repeated verbal, written or electronic contact, refusal to discontinue contact after receiving a request to cease;
  • Vandalizing or interfering with personal or real property;
  • Providing unwanted gifts; and
  • Any other pattern of threatening, intimidating or intrusive behavior.

Intimidation is any threat of violence or other threatening behavior directed toward another person or group that reasonably leads the target(s) to fear for their physical well-being or to engage in sexual conduct for self-protection.

Consent is defined as affirmative, voluntary, knowing and continous agreement to engage in a specific form of activity, including sexual activity.

A person is incapacitated if they are unable, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise not aware that sexual activity is occurring. Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate for any reason.

The Jeanne Clery Act of 1990 requires all colleges and universities who receive federal funding to share information about crime on campus and their efforts to improve campus safety, as well as inform the public of crime in or around campus. This information is made publically accessible through the College’s annual security report. The Clery Act also mandates that colleges must provide survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking with options such as changes to academic, transportation, living or working situations, and assistance with notifying local law enforcement, if the student or employee chooses to do so.

What is consent?

Consent is defined as affirmative, voluntary, knowing and continuous agreement to engage in a specific form of activity, including sexual activity. Consent may be communicated verbally or physically. Any lack of clarity regarding consent should be resolved through verbal communication. Consent may not be inferred from silence or lack of resistance to sexual advances, or from prior consensual sexual contact. Consent may be withdrawn at any time, and consent to one sexual activity does not imply consent to any subsequent sexual activity. Relationship status is immaterial to the issue of consent.

In addition, consent may not be obtained from a person who is incapable of giving it, including, but not limited to, circumstances in which the person is:

  • Subject to coercion and acting based on the fear of harm to self or others. Means of coercion may include, but are not limited to:
    • Pressure or persistence after refusal;
    • Threats;
    • Emotional intimidation; or
    • Use of physical force.
  • Mentally, intellectually or physically disabled such that they cannot understand the behavior or its consequences;
  • Under the legal age of consent (18 in Virginia);
  • Asleep, unconscious or otherwise physically helpless;
  • Incapacitated and unable to make informed, rational judgments and decisions, including through the consumption of alcohol or other drugs. The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person; however, warning signs of possible incapacitation include, but are not limited to:
    • Slurred speech;
    • Unsteady gait;
    • Impaired coordination;
    • Inability to perform personal tasks such as undressing;
    • Inability to maintain eye contact;
    • Vomiting; and
    • Emotional volatility.

To gain a better understanding of consent, please watch the video below.

What do I do if I've been assaulted?

Get Safe

  • If in immediate danger, call campus safety at 434-381-6111

Get Medical Attention

  • Do not clean, wash, douche or comb any part of your body. Do not change clothes, if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. If possible, do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
  • Weekdays — Health and Wellness Center (on campus): 434-381-6140
  • Anytime — Lynchburg General Hospital: 1901 Tate Springs Road, Lynchburg, VA 24501 or 434-947-3000

Seek Support

Report Promptly

Any member of the Sweet Briar community who feels that she or he has been the subject of any form of discrimination, harassment, sexual violence or bullying should promptly report the incident to one of the following College officials:

Student Complaint

Kelly Kraft-Meyer
Dean of Student Life and Academic Support

P | 434-381-6134
E | kraft_meyer@sbc.edu

Kerri Bond
Director of Residence Life
Title IX Coordinator

P | 434-381-6346
E | kbond@sbc.edu

Faculty Complaint

Pam DeWeese
Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs

P | 434-381-6205
E | deweese@sbc.edu

Staff Complaint

Nicole Whitehead
Director of Human Resources and Community Engagement

P | 434-381-6510
E | nwhitehead@sbc.edu

You can also report incidents to and seek guidance from:

How do I file a report?

The College encourages students impacted by sexual misconduct to talk promptly to someone about what happened, so that students who have been assaulted can get the support they need and so the College can respond appropriately. Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a student’s confidentiality. Our mental health counselor and chaplain are required to maintain near complete confidentiality. However, most employees are required to report all details of an incident, including the identities of both the victim (complainant) and the alleged perpetrator (respondent), to the Title IX coordinator. A report to the Title IX coordinator constitutes a report to the College, and generally obligates the College to investigate the incident and take appropriate steps to address the situation.

Reporting to a Confidential Resource

Professional, licensed counselors, pastoral counselors and licensed health care professionals (including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) who provide mental health counseling to members of the school community are not required to report any information about an alleged incident to the Title IX coordinator without the student’s permission.

Reporting to Campus Safety

A member of the Sweet Briar College Department of Campus Safety is always on patrol on campus and is available to provide any assistance to our students. A report of sexual misconduct may be made at any time, day or night, by contacting the campus safety officer on duty: 434-381-6111. Campus safety officers are considered responsible employees who will report the incident to the Title IX coordinator.

Reporting to a “Responsible Employee”

All responsible employees must report all experienced or observed alleged incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX coordinator, who is required to investigate and take reasonable action. The College has defined the following employees as responsible employees:

  • Title IX coordinator
  • Student life staff, including resident coordinators and resident advisors
  • Human resources staff
  • Athletics coaches
  • Faculty members
  • Campus safety officers

Other Campus Reporting

Public awareness events, such as “Take Back the Night” and survivor speaking programs, or other forums in which students disclose incidents of sexual violence, are not considered notice to the College of sexual misconduct for purposes of triggering its obligations to investigate any particular incidents. Such events may, however, inform the need for campuswide education and prevention efforts, and the College will provide information about students’ Title IX rights at these events.

Reporting to Local Law Enforcement

Sexual misconduct may constitute both a violation of College policy and criminal activity. The College encourages students to report alleged sexual misconduct promptly to campus safety as well as the Town of Amherst Police Department. The campus safety department can assist in contacting the Amherst police. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of College policy, criminal investigations or reports do not determine whether sexual misconduct has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under the sexual misconduct policy at Sweet Briar even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and decline to prosecute. The Town of Amherst Police Department may be contacted by calling 434-946-7885 or 9-1-1.

Reporting to Off-campus Resources

Off-campus counselors, advocates and health care providers will also generally maintain confidentiality and not share information with the College unless the victim requests the disclosure and signs a consent or waiver form.

Reporting to the Office for Civil Rights

A member of the Sweet Briar community also has the option of contacting the Office for Civil Rights regarding sex discrimination issues:

Washington D.C. Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, D.C. 20002

Phone: 202-453-6020
Fax: 202-453-6021
TTD: 800-877-8339
ocr.dc@ed.gov

Resources

Hotlines:

Websites:

How do I help a friend?

  • Always ensure that your friend is safe.
  • Your role is not to define or prove the assault; the most helpful thing you can do is to remain supportive while referring your friend to campus or community agencies.
  • Walk her over to the Office of Student Life to file a report.
  • Don’t feel like you need to have all the answers. If your friend discloses a sexual assault to you, it usually means they trust you. Often, they just want to be heard.
  • There may be some time-sensitive decisions your friend must make. Screening for date rape drugs should be done within 12 hours. HIV prophylaxis treatment must be started within 72 hours (3 days). Collecting physical evidence must occur within 96 hours (4 days). Emergency contraception must be taken within 120 hours (5 days) to prevent pregnancy. Provide this information to your friend and let them decide what to do next.

Helpful Responses

  • Encourage your friend to seek medical attention and counseling.
  • Remind your friend that she or he is not at fault.
  • Validate your friend’s experiences or reactions.
  • Believe your friend.
  • Listen without interrupting — you don’t have to provide answers, just listen.
  • Remain calm.

Resources