Sexual Misconduct Policy
- Resources for Support
- Policy Definitions
- Investigation Procedures and Protocols
- Student College Conduct Process (Adjudication Procedures)
Keene State College is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which students, faculty, and staff can work together in an environment free of all forms of harassment, exploitation, violence, and intimidation. Relationship violence and sexual misconduct are antithetical to the standards, values, and mission of Keene State College and will not be tolerated. This policy prohibits all forms of relationship violence and sexual misconduct. These broad terms include, but are not limited to, acts of sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, stalking and cyberstalking. The College also prohibits retaliation, including retaliatory harassment, against individuals who report sexual misconduct, and/or relationship violence, or who participate in the College’s investigation and handling of such reports. The College will respond to reports of relationship violence and sexual misconduct to stop the prohibited conduct, take steps to prevent the reoccurrence of the conduct, and address its effects on the campus community regardless of location. This policy applies to all students – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. This policy applies to all forms of relationship violence and sexual misconduct committed by or against a student when: the conduct occurs on campus; the conduct occurs off campus but in the context of College employment, education, research, or activities; the conduct occurs off campus but has any continuing effects on campus or in an off campus program or activity and is creating or contributing to a hostile environment. The College reserves the right to assert its jurisdiction in certain off-campus incidents when specific actions by Keene State College community members adversely affect the College community and/or its mission.
Title IX Coordinator
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other laws prohibit gender discrimination at institutions of higher education. Keene State College prohibits gender discrimination in any of its programs or activities. The Title IX Coordinator oversees and coordinates the College’s response to all issues of gender equity. The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee is available to meet with any member of the College community to discuss Title IX compliance or issues of gender discrimination, including sexual misconduct and relationship violence.
Jeffrey Maher, Title IX Coordinator
Keene State College, 229 Main Street Keene, NH
Elliot Center Room 252
603-358-2959 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Freedom of Speech
The protections of the First Amendment must be carefully considered in all complaints involving speech or expressive conduct. The fact that speech or expressive conduct is offensive is not, standing alone, a sufficient basis to establish a violation of this policy. Students and faculty in an educational environment have robust speech rights, including the right to freely examine, exchange, and debate diverse ideas. Speech or expressive conduct that constitutes sexual harassment is neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.
Resources for Support
The health and safety of campus community members is the College’s primary concern. Call 911 if you or another member of the KSC community is in immediate danger.
A victim of sexual misconduct or relationship violence may experience many conflicting emotions including shock, fear, anger, guilt, shame, or numbness. Each survivor’s response is unique. Often people find that their eating, sleeping, exercise, self-care or social patterns have changed, that they are isolating themselves from others, or that they are unable to concentrate on work or schoolwork. Whether someone chooses to report an assault or not, talking with a counselor or a trusted friend or family member can be very helpful.
Confidential Support and Help
Keene State College has support resources that have professional and legal mandates to protect the confidentiality of the information disclosed by a person impacted by sexual misconduct and/or relationship violence. These resources are not required to report what is shared with them to the College or law enforcement personnel.
- KSC Counseling Center: 603-358-2437 (business hours) After hours 24/7: 603-358-2436
- KSC Center for Health and Wellness: 603-358-2450 (business hours)
- Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention: 1-888-511-6287 or 603-352-3782
- Cheshire Medical Center: 603-354-6600
- Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention: 1-888-511-6287 or 603-352-3782
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-4673 and [Hotline])(https://hotline.rainn.org/online/terms-of-service.jsp)
You may wish to seek medical attention. Aside from treating any injuries you may have suffered, prompt medical examinations can test for pregnancy, STI’s, and other injuries. A medical examination can also secure valuable evidence that could be used later should you wish to involve law enforcement. Physical evidence may exist up to five (5) days, or longer, after an assault. Local medical facilities can arrange to have a specially trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) conduct a forensic examination. The results of this examination can be provided to law enforcement anonymously, if you so choose. The choice to report and prosecute is yours.
When a sexual assault victim seeks treatment at the hospital, the State of New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General will pay the cost for medical expenses, including the physical examination, if the assault is reported to the police. Other expenses related to the assault may also be provided at no cost to the victim through the Victim’s Compensation Program. Specific information on expenses is available through the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention.
Academic Accommodations and Interim Measures
Keene State College may take interim measures upon learning of any allegation of sexual misconduct or relationship violence. These measures are available regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the relationship violence or sexual misconduct to law enforcement. Interim measures may be remedial or protective. Interim measures will not disproportionately impact the reporting party or the responding party.
Possible interim measures may include the ability to change academic or work schedules, withdraw from or retake a class without penalty, receiving academic support services or counseling, or changing housing accommodations.
The College may also issue “no contact” orders between involved parties or limit an individual or organization’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter 1 .
In sexual misconduct or relationship violence cases, the Dean of Students will assure appropriate interim measures are provided for students.
Outside Options for Complaint Resolution
Keene State College community members who believe that they are the victim of discrimination or discriminatory harassment may also wish file a complaint with the regional enforcement office for the Office of Civil Rights or the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission at the following addresses:
Office for Civil Rights
US Department of Education
5 Post Office Square - 8th floor
Boston, Mass 02109-3921
New Hampshire Human Rights Commission
2 Industrial Park Drive
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
1 It is important to distinguish between a College-issued ‘no contact’ order and a protective order obtained through a civil or criminal court. A violation of a College-issued ‘no contact’ order may result in sanctioning through the College conduct system. In all other cases, the College will assist the reporting person in reporting a violation of a civil or criminal protective order to law enforcement personnel.
The following are definitions for this College policy and may differ from definitions under federal, state, or local law. Offenses may occur along a continuum that includes verbal statements that create a hostile environment through physical acts such as unwanted and/or forced sexual contact. It is impossible for a policy to depict all circumstances of offenses. It is important to recognize that gender discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and other forms of misconduct as discussed below:
Sexual Misconduct is a broad term that encompasses sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual exploitation.
Sexual Violence - Sexual Violence is a form of sexual harassment. It is a physical sexual act perpetrated without consent. Such acts include, but are not limited to, unwanted sexual contact and sexual assault (rape).
- Unwanted Sexual Contact - intentional contact or touching of the intimate parts of another, whether directly or through clothing, or the intentional exposure of intimate parts of self, without consent. Intimate parts may include but are not limited to: breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, or mouth.
- Sexual Assault - having, or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another by force or threat of force; or without consent; or where that person is incapacitated. This also includes sexual penetration, however slight, of another person, without consent (rape). Sexual penetration may be vaginal, anal, or oral, and may involve the use of a body part or object.
Sexual Exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, for any purpose, and that behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Sexual exploitation can take many forms including, but not limited, to the following:
- Inducing intoxication or incapacitation for the purpose of sexual activity: providing drugs, alcohol, or other substances with the intent to impair their ability to withhold consent or their ability to knowingly consent to sexual activity
- Invasion of privacy: surreptitiously recording, preserving, or storing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved, or in which the person observed has not attained 18 years of age. Sharing, transmitting, distributing, or streaming of images, video, or audio recordings of sexual activity or nudity, without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved shall constitute a separate act of sexual exploitation. The act of sexual exploitation can be committed by anyone knowingly possessing an image that was sent without the individual’s consent.
- Voyeurism: the act of intentionally observing or, spying on, or listening to a person(s) involved in sexual contact or in any state of undress, without their consent. Voyeurism also occurs when an individual allows others to observe this behavior without the consent of all the person(s) involved.
- STIs: knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without their knowledge.
Sexual Harassment - sexual harassment may take the form of unwelcome sexual advances, graffiti, jokes, pranks, slurs, insults, threats, vandalism, assignment of unpleasant duties, or even physical assault which serves to interfere with a person’s work or academic life. Federal and state laws define harassing behavior as occurring when:
- Such contact has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or creating a hostile or offensive working or academic environment;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that individual; or
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic work.
It is important to note that one cannot assume that conduct is acceptable simply because an individual does not actively protest against it. In addition, some conduct may be considered sexual harassment, even if it not intended as such. A single incident may constitute sexual harassment, depending on the severity of the conduct and on factors such as the degree to which the conduct affected the student’s education or the employee’s work environment, the type of conduct, and the relationship between the involved parties.
Relationship Violence is a broad term that encompasses domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. It is important to note that while abusive relationships often include ongoing emotional, psychological, and financial abuse, this policy addresses the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical violence. Physical violence involves the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force. Individuals experiencing other facets of an abusive relationship, on or off campus, are strongly encouraged to seek help from the resources listed in this policy.
- Domestic Violence is violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner, a person sharing a child with the victim, or a person cohabiting or who has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner.
- Dating Violence is violence committed by a person who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the victim’s statement and/or with consideration of the type and length of the relationship and the frequency of the interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. A course of conduct means two or more acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through a third party follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social media, texts, cell phones, GPS, and other similar forms of contact are used. This policy prohibits all stalking, not just stalking that occurs within the context of a relationship.
Consent - Consent is the voluntary, informed, knowing, unambiguous agreement to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity through clearly communicated actions or words. It is important not to make assumptions. When in doubt, stop and ask. Consent cannot be inferred from silence, passivity, or a lack of active resistance. Consent cannot be given by someone who is sleeping, unconscious, or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated because of drugs, alcohol, or other contributing factors. Consent cannot be given under duress, threat, deception, coercion, force, or a misuse of authority. Consent cannot be assumed because of a previous relationship or because of previous sexual relations. In the State of New Hampshire a person under the age of sixteen (16) cannot give consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during a sexual encounter.
Incapacitated Sexual Contact - sexual activity that occurs when one party lacks conscious knowledge of the nature of the act and/or is physically helpless due to impairment, illness, or physical or mental limitation or disability. An individual is incapacitated, and unable to give consent, when they are asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware sexual activity is occurring. When incapacitation results from the use of alcohol or other drugs, evidence of impairment or intoxication are insufficient alone to establish incapacitation. Evaluating incapacitation requires an individual assessment of the impact of the consumption of alcohol/drugs on that individual as well as, an assessment of whether the responding party knew, or should have known, the reporting party was incapacitated. The impairment or intoxication of a responding party is not a defense for misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.
Reporting Party - a person who alleges that another person or an organization violated this policy. This may be the person who is alleged to have suffered a violation of this policy but may also be a third party reporter.
Responding Party - any person or organization who is alleged to have violated this policy.
Confidential - communication is legally privileged and cannot be shared. The only individuals at Keene State College who can maintain confidentiality of a disclosure of sexual misconduct or relationship violence are the professional staff of the Counseling Center and the Center for Health and Wellness. Confidential information cannot be revealed to any other person without the express permission of the individual, or as otherwise required by law.
Private - A private communication means that the information will only be shared with those individuals with a need to know and that all necessary precautions will be taken to protect the identity of the reporting person
Responsible Employee - a College employee who has the authority to redress misconduct, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or a student could reasonably believe has this authority of duty.
Reporting Sexual Misconduct
The College strongly encourages individuals impacted by relationship violence or sexual misconduct to disclose what happened and seek support services. Any person who has been the victim of or witness to sexual misconduct or relationship violence, whether on or off campus, can report directly to the Title IX Coordinator, Department of Campus Safety, a Residential Life staff member, Human Resources, any College official, or the Keene Police Department. This does not obligate the reporting person to proceed any further with an investigation or criminal charges. If desired, college officials will assist the student in notifying law enforcement authorities. It is the individual’s choice whether or not to make such a report to law enforcement.
Furthermore, it can be difficult for an individual to come forward after such an event, and there are several different options available for Keene State community members who wish to maintain confidentiality while getting the support they need. In these cases, a student may find a conversation with the Counseling Center, Center for Health or Wellness, or the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention helpful. These offices can provide a confidential space where KSC community members may obtain support services and explore their options.
To Report Sexual Misconduct
Keene State College has a comprehensive system to assist students who choose to report sexual misconduct or relationship violence. You may report such an incident to the following College authorities:
- KSC Campus Safety: 603-358-2228
- Keene Police: 603-357-9813 or 911
- Title IX Coordinator: 603-358-2959
- Your Residence Director or Residence Assistant
- Human Resources 603-358-2234
Students should understand that most KSC employees, with the exception of those who exist in a legally recognized confidential relationship, are required to report any disclosure about sexual misconduct or relationship violence. This report is made to the Title IX Coordinator even when the student requests that they not report the disclosure. The “Confidential Support and Help” resources identified are not required to report a disclosure.
Making a Report to Campus Safety
A student may file a report of sexual misconduct or relationship violence with Campus Safety at any time regardless of where or when the incident occurred. While a report does not obligate a student to file charges either with the student conduct office or with the relevant law enforcement agency, the College has an obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees. Campus Safety will provide a same-sex officer to take the report if desired by the reporting student. The reporting student may have an advisor or advocate with them during any interviews or meetings with College officials.
In making the report, the College will:
- Encourage the student to go to the hospital emergency room or the Center for Health and Wellness for medical services and offer to transport and/or accompany the student, if applicable.
- Provide resources to speak directly with the on-call counselor or an advocate from the Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention, for support in understanding, evaluating, and choosing among the services described in this policy.
- Provide the student with a written explanation of student rights.
- Inform the student of his/her rights and options including the options of filing charges through the student conduct system and Keene Police
Keene State College maintains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Keene Police Department. This memorandum outlines the coordinated process and rights and responsibilities that will be followed in the event that the reporting person wishes to file a concurrent report with the Keene Police Department.
The College may issue a campus alert (without identifying the reporting individual) in cases in which the College believes there is a threat posed to the campus community. Any and all actions taken, including the possible release of a warning to the community, will be designed to protect the reporting individual’s identity.
Employee Reporting Obligations
A ‘Responsible Employee’ is a College employee who has the authority to redress misconduct, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority of duty. A responsible employee must report to the Title IX coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual misconduct or relationship violence shared by the reporting party. [At Keene State College, all faculty and staff, with the exception of those who exist in a legally recognized confidential relationship to the reporting party, have a duty to report sexual misconduct or relationship violence]2 . To the extent possible, information reported to the responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling the College’s response to the report. Before a victim reveals any information to a responsible employee, the employee should ensure the victim understands the employee’s reporting obligation and, if the victim wants to maintain confidentiality, direct the victim to confidential resources.
2 The only College employees who exist in a confidential relationship are employed in the Counseling Center and certain employees in the Center for Health and Wellness.
Requests for Anonymity
At times, victims of relationship violence or sexual misconduct may request that their name not be shared with the responding party, that the responding party not be notified of the report, or that no investigation occur.
The Title IX Coordinator will weigh the reporting person’s request for anonymity with the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including the victim. If the College honors the request for anonymity, the reporting person must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action may be limited.
The Title IX Coordinator will weigh a range of factors when considering a request for anonymity. These factors include:
- The risk the responding party will commit additional acts of relationship violence or sexual misconduct
- Whether the act was perpetrated with a weapon
- Whether the victim is a minor
- Whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of relationship violence or sexual misconduct
- Whether the reporting person’s report reveals a pattern of relationship violence or sexual misconduct at a specific location or by a particular group or individual
At times, in order to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for KSC community members, the College may not be able to honor a victim’s request for anonymity. In such a case, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the victim prior to starting an investigation. Furthermore, the College will remain mindful of the reporting person’s well-being and will take ongoing steps to protect the reporting person from retaliation or harm.
Investigation Procedures and Protocols
When an investigation is conducted, Keene State College has an obligation to ensure that the investigation is prompt, adequate, reliable, and impartial. In fulfilling these obligations, the College will respond to all reported complaints to ensure that the prohibited conduct is stopped, eliminate any hostile environment, take steps to prevent its recurrence, and address any effects.
Trained professionals will conduct an investigation under the oversight of the Title IX Coordinator. Both the reporting party and responding party will be notified, in writing, of the initiation of the investigation and the potential policy violation(s) at issue. Interviews will be conducted of both parties and any relevant witnesses. All parties will have an opportunity to identify potential witnesses and provide any evidence or other information that may be relevant to the investigation. The investigator may review law enforcement investigatory files (if applicable) and student or personnel files. During the investigatory process, both parties will receive timely notice of any meetings at which their presence is requested. Both parties will be provided regular updates regarding the status of the investigatory process. If, after a review by the Title IX Coordinator, information exists to suggest a violation of this policy occurred, the results of the investigation will be released to the Student Conduct Office.
Upon receipt of an investigation the Director of Student Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will review the materials and determine what College policies may have been violated and the manner in which the infraction will be addressed. These alleged policy violations become the charges that will be brought by the College against the responding person(s) or organization if the matter moves forward through the Conduct System. The parties are provided similar and timely access to any information used in the hearing or sanctioning process.
Law Enforcement Investigations
A reporting party may pursue an administrative complaint (with the College) and criminal complaint (with the police) simultaneously. The investigations may proceed concurrently, and the outcome of one investigation does not determine the outcome of the other investigation. While the College may briefly suspend fact-finding at the request of law enforcement, Federal law does not permit the College to delay its investigation until the resolution of the criminal process.
The College will conduct a timely review of all reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. Absent extenuating circumstances, the investigation and resolution are expected to take place within sixty (60) calendar days from receipt of the complaint. These timeframes may be extended during periods when classes are not held or for good cause. Both parties will be provided with written notice of any extension.
Keene State College is committed to a policy that encourages disclosure of sexual misconduct and relationship violence. Any person, who, in good faith, reports an actual or perceived violation of this policy, shall not be subject to retaliation. The College will take strong responsive action if retaliation occurs. If a reporting person or witness believes that (s)he has been subjected to retaliation, (s)he should promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator
Student College Conduct Process (Adjudication Procedures)
The Keene State College Office of Student Conduct will convene a hearing board for the purpose of adjudicating an alleged incident of a suspension or expulsion level policy violation involving students. The hearing will provide a fair, impartial, and equitable process that respects the rights of all participants. The Board will determine if a policy violation occurred using a preponderance of the evidence standard – namely, that it is more likely than not that the student or student organization has committed the violation as charged.
Composition of the Hearing Board
The Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board shall be composed of College faculty, staff, and student members who are trained annually on sexual misconduct issues, investigations, and hearing practices. In each hearing, the Board shall be comprised of three members of the College community and a fourth member who serves as the Hearing Board Chair (typically a staff member of the Office of Student Conduct or designee) who is charged with conducting the hearing. The hearing board chairperson is a non-voting member of the Board. At the hearing, the following individuals may be present:
- Three Hearing Board members
- Reporting party
- Advisor for the Reporting party
- Responding Party
- Advisor for the Responding party
- Witnesses (only while providing relevant information)
- Hearing Board Chair (typically a staff member from the Office of Student Conduct or designee)
The reporting person and responding party may have an advisor of their choice to assist them throughout the investigatory and/or student conduct processes. Trained advisors are available for students seeking support. A list of trained advisors is available here. The advisor is a silent and non-participating presence who is there to observe the proceedings and provide support, guidance, or advice. The College reserves the exclusive right to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of the advisor. The availability or lack of availability of an advisor will in no way impact or impair the investigatory or student conduct process, and all requests for extensions remain within the sole discretion of the College. During a student conduct hearing, either party may request a brief recess to consult with their advisor. This request may be granted at the discretion of the hearing board chair or designee. The advisor may not be a fact witness in any proceedings nor have any real or reasonably perceived conflicts of interest in any proceedings.
Hearing Board Process
The Hearing Board Chair will conduct the hearing in accordance with the established hearing board process. The process ensures that the investigation report is presented, that each party and witnesses have the chance to be heard, and that the Hearing Board has the opportunity to ask relevant questions of all parties and witnesses involved. All hearing board proceedings are audio recorded. Individual recordings are not permitted by any other party. Additionally, the hearing board process ensures:
- All parties are introduced
- The rights of the parties involved are acknowledged
- Each party involved hears and accepts the “Expectation of Truth Statement”
- All alleged conduct code violations are read
- Investigative report is presented
- The Responding Party is provided an opportunity to accept responsibility, deny responsibility, or decline to make a statement, for each alleged conduct code charge
- Each party and witness has an opportunity to be heard and submit relevant questions for consideration
- Each party will be provided the opportunity to describe any mitigating factors relevant to this situation
- Each party has the chance to provide a closing statement to the Hearing Board
If either party wishes to do so, they may provide a written impact statement to the Hearing Chair. If the responding party is found responsible, the Hearing Chair will share the impact statement to the hearing board members as part of the sanctioning conversation.
If any individual should become disruptive during the hearing, including witnesses and advisors, the Hearing Chair retains the discretion to remove that individual from the hearing.
Both the reporting party and the responding party may present witnesses. It is the obligation of the student who wants the witness to attend the hearing to notify them of the date, time, and location of the hearing. Additionally, a student must notify the Office of Student Conduct at least 24 hours prior to the hearing who they intend to call as a witness.
Sexual History of Parties
As a general rule, the sexual history of both the reporting person and responding person is not relevant and will not be considered as evidence. However, prior sexual history may be considered under the following limited circumstances:
- Where there exists a prior or ongoing sexual relationship between the parties and the responding party asserts that consent was given. The prior sexual history between the parties may be relevant only to assess the manner and nature of communications between the parties as it relates to consent. As noted above, the mere fact of a prior relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
- To establish a pattern or practice of similar conduct by the responding party
- To explain an injury or physical finding
Relevant evidence of prior sexual history must be based on direct evidence, not rumor, hearsay, or conjecture. The relevance and introduction of prior sexual history in a student conduct hearing will be determined by the Hearing Chair, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator when appropriate.
Hearing Board Deliberations
At the conclusion of the Hearing, all parties will be dismissed from the proceedings and the Board will deliberate privately to determine the Responding Party’s responsibility for the alleged violation(s). All decisions require a majority vote from the Hearing Board members.
If the Responding Party is found responsible, the hearing board will recommend appropriate sanctions based on the severity of the violation, that student’s conduct history, and case precedent. During the sanctioning phase of deliberations, the Hearing Chair will:
- Disclose the Responding Party’s past student conduct history, if any;
- Provide sanction parameters, as defined by this policy for the applicable violations of the code of conduct. If the Responding Party is found not responsible, there is no discussion of sanctions and the official proceeding concludes.
Once a recommendation is made, the Hearing Chair will convene a meeting with the Director of Student Conduct and Associate Dean of Student Affairs to review the Hearing Board’s recommendations of findings of responsibility and sanctions, if applicable.
Both the reporting party and the responding party will be informed of the Hearing outcome, in writing, concurrently. The final outcome letter will set forth the name of the accused student; the violation(s) of policy for which the accused student was found responsible, if any; any essential findings supporting the decision of responsibility; and the sanction(s) imposed, if any.
Violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy may result in suspension or expulsion from Keene State College. In instances where student organizations are involved, these organizations may also have sanctions taken against them, including the rescinding of their institutional recognition.
Students who would like more information regarding either the New Hampshire Sexual Assault Statute or College conduct expectations should review the law and the Student Code of Conduct. They may also contact the Director of Campus Safety, the Dean of Students or Associate Dean of Students.
Each party will also receive information on how to appeal the Hearing Board decision through the appeal process as established by the Office of Student Conduct. More information on the appeal process is available here.
Leave of Absence/Withdrawal
A reporting person who requests a leave of absence or withdrawal from the College does not forfeit his/her right to resolution of the complaint.
Any student charged with sexual misconduct violation(s) of the Code of Conduct who requests a leave of absence or withdrawal from the College prior to a hearing will still incur relevant administrative actions. Depending on the case circumstances, these actions may include but not be limited to:
- The continuation of the conduct process
- Interim suspension, and/or
- Withdrawal with disciplinary case pending
The latter action makes the charged student ineligible to register or attend classes at any USNH institution for as long as the charge remains pending.
Statement of Rights for Involved parties
- The right to a prompt and impartial college investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of sexual misconduct and relationship violence made in good faith to college administrators
- The right to notification of and assistance in options for changing academic, work, or living situations after an alleged incident, whether or not the crime is reported to law enforcement
- The right to be informed of and have access to campus resources for medical, health, counseling, and advisory services
- The right to receive regular updates on the status of an investigation or resolution
- The right to have an advisor of choice with them throughout the investigative and resolution process
- The right to be treated with respect by college officials
- The right not to be discouraged by college officials from reporting an assault to both on-campus and off-campus authorities
- The right to review all relevant documentary evidence regarding the allegation including the investigative report (subject to statutory privacy limitations), at least two (2) business days prior to a student conduct hearing
- The right to a student conduct hearing conducted by officers who have received sexual misconduct training
- The right to accommodations throughout the Student Conduct process to minimize contact between the parties, if so requested
- The right not to have past sexual history introduced as part of the testimony unless determined to be relevant by the Director of Student Conduct or his/her designee
- The right to make an impact statement and to have that statement considered in determining sanctions
- The right to be informed, in writing, promptly of the outcome, pending all appeals
- The right to the preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law
Prevention and Education
Keene State College also has a well-developed and robust training and education program. These programs include an online module all incoming students must complete concerning consent and respect. During orientation and welcome week incoming students participate in several interactive presentations on issues of sexual misconduct, consent, relationship violence, and stalking. All incoming students are introduced to Keene State’s primary bystander invention program, “No Zebras No Excuses.” This program emphasizes bystander intervention and stresses sexual aggression can no longer be ignored, empowering students to stand up, take a stand, and help keep others safe. Keene State has adopted a national model of peer education through Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP), which provides ongoing learning opportunities throughout the year. MVP has conducted programming in Athletics, Greek Life, and in various classrooms. Keene State College has forged partnerships and worked to develop strong working relationships with both on campus and off campus constituencies and stakeholders. Regular meetings are held with representatives from the County Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, and Keene Police Department. The Title IX coordinator and Director of Campus Safety are members of the Cheshire County Sexual Assault Resource Team (SART) and The Title IX Coordinator is a member of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Advisory Board (SAB). Support and service efforts are coordinated with the Keene State Counseling Center, Center for Health and Wellness, and Monadnock Center for Violence Prevention (MCVP).
For questions concerning Keene State College’s prevention, education, and training programs please contact the Title IX Coordinator.
What happens when a person who has been engaging in underage drinking reports a sexual assault?
Keene State College’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students. When conducting an investigation of an alleged sexual assault, the College’s focus will be on addressing the sexual assault and not on lesser policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed. The College may, however, provide referrals to counseling or require other educational options. More information is available here.
What happens when the sexual assault happens off-campus? Who do I report this to?
You may report to the Title IX Coordinator. Additionally, Campus Safety will take any report of a sexual assault, even if the assault occurred off campus. While Keene Police Department has primary jurisdiction, some students may feel a greater sense of comfort reporting to a campus department. If the student does not wish to make a report with KPD, a report that does not identify the victim will be made on the student’s behalf by Campus Safety to notify them that an assault has occurred.
What do I do if the sexual assault happened last week? Last month? Last semester? Longer ago?
Report as soon as possible even if some time has passed. While timely reporting increases the likelihood of obtaining more accurate information during an investigation, reporting at any time will ensure that you receive information on available support services. For a victim considering criminal charges, the statute of limitations for reporting a sexual assault varies from state to state and may be impacted by a number of factors.
What if I have a relationship with the person who assaulted me?
It is never okay to force, threaten or coerce someone into having sex against his/her will, even if they are in a relationship or are married.
What happens if someone falsely reports a sexual assault?
False reports of sexual assault are extremely rare estimated at less than 2% of all reports. If an allegation of sexual assault moves forward to a student conduct hearing and/or a legal proceeding, and the accused party is found not responsible or not guilty, this does not necessarily mean the assault did not occur, it merely indicates that the burden of proof was not met.
Will my parents be told?
Whether you are the reporting person or responding person, the College’s primary relationship is to the student and not the parent. In the event of a major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to tell their parents. College officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, or in a life-threatening situation. The College reserves the right to notify a parent or guardian in the event that your status at the College has changed or is in serious jeopardy of changing. More information on parental notification is available here.
What should I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct or relationship violence?
Do not contact the alleged victim. You may want to contact the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator who can explain the College’s procedures for handling sexual misconduct and relationship violence complaints. You may also wish to talk to a confidential counselor at the Counseling Center. Accused students (responding person) will be informed of their rights as a student and will be treated fairly and equitably. Students are strongly encouraged to work with an advisor, a list of which is available here.
What if I am uncertain if what happened is a sexual assault?
You are encouraged to schedule a meeting with the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator to review all of your options and to discuss available support and confidential resources. No details of the incident need to be provided at this meeting. You are welcome to bring an advisor or support person with you.
If I report sexual misconduct, will the responding party know my identity?
At times, victims of relationship violence or sexual l misconduct may request that their name not be shared with the responding party, that the responding party not be notified of the report, or that no investigation occur. The Title IX Coordinator will weigh the reporting person’s request for anonymity with the College’s obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students and employees, including the victim. If the College honors the request for anonymity, the reporting person must understand that the College’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action may be limited.