Duke Policies

Sexual Misconduct


Student Sexual Misconduct Policy: Duke's Commitment to Title IX

A printable version of this policy is available here.

Introduction

Duke University is committed to encouraging and sustaining a learning and living community that is free from harassment, violence, and prohibited discrimination. Consistent with this commitment and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex/gender in any of the institution’s programs or activities, Duke University has developed this comprehensive Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, applicable to all students. Further, Duke conducts extensive education and awareness programs with the goal of preventing and discouraging sexual violence and other forms of Sexual Misconduct. 
 
As discussed more fully below, this Student Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits all forms of sex/gender-based harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence (domestic violence and dating violence), and stalking. Collectively, these terms are referred to in this policy as “Sexual Misconduct.” They are defined below under “Prohibited Conduct.” (Note that non-sex/gender-based harassment is also a violation of university policy, as described under the university’s Harassment Policy, available at http://bit.ly/dukeharassment.) 
 
The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy serves three principal purposes. First, it establishes conduct standards—namely, prohibited Sexual Misconduct—for all Duke students. Note that a violation of this policy may also constitute a crime, which should be independently reported to Duke Police, Durham Police, or other appropriate law enforcement agency. 
 
Second, the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines reporting, investigation, and complaint resolution procedures in cases where it is alleged that a Duke student has engaged in Sexual Misconduct. (The Office for Institutional Equity, Smith Warehouse, Bay 8, ben.reese@duke.edu, 919-684-8122, receives reports in which an alleged perpetrator is a non-student.) In the paragraphs that follow, the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy specifies to whom violations of this policy should be reported, the availability of confidential reporting, intermediate measures available to the complainant (i.e., the individual who was the alleged victim of the behavior[s] in question) and the respondent (i.e., the one alleged to have committed a possible violation of the policy), how the university will investigate and resolve alleged violations, possible sanctions, and appeals. The Office of Student Conduct is primarily responsible for implementing these procedures. Anyone with concerns about a possible violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy by a student is encouraged to contact the Office of Student Conduct at 919-684-6938, conduct@duke.edu, or through an online reporting system at www.reportdukestudentmisconduct.com
 
Third, the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy describes resources available to victims of Sexual Misconduct. A variety of support resources are available on campus and in the community to assist students in dealing with the impact of Sexual Misconduct, whether it happened recently or in the past. Such services include, for example, the Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention (GVPI) in the Women’s Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Case Management, Duke Police (for possible criminal conduct), and interim measures issued by the Office of Student Conduct and/or the Vice President for Student Affairs (or his designee). 
 
Dr. Benjamin D. Reese, Vice President of the Office for Institutional Equity (www.duke.edu/web/equity), is the individual responsible for the coordination and administration of Duke’s nondiscrimination and harassment policies. Dr. Reese is the university’s designated Title IX Coordinator. In this role, he is responsible for overseeing the university’s Title IX compliance efforts, including this policy and its complaint-resolution procedures. The Office for Institutional Equity is located in Smith Warehouse, 114 S. Buchanan Blvd., Bay 8, Durham, North Carolina, 27708. Dr. Reese’s office telephone number is 919-684-8222 and his email address is ben.reese@duke.edu
 

Scope

This Student Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to any instance in which any Duke student is alleged to have engaged in Sexual Misconduct, regardless of the complainant’s or respondent’s sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The university may respond to any complaint of Sexual Misconduct that occurred within a student’s career, from matriculation to graduation (including breaks, leaves of absence, or periods of dismissal), whether on or off campus. The disciplinary process is available as an option until an accused student graduates. 
 

Prohibited Conduct

Rule. Duke University prohibits all forms of sex/gender-based harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, relationship violence (domestic violence and dating violence), and stalking.
 
Sex/Gender-Based Harassment. Sex- or gender-based harassment may take two forms:
 
One form of harassment is unwelcome verbal or physical conduct that, because of its severity and/or persistence, interferes significantly with an individual’s work or education, or adversely affects an individual’s living conditions.
 
The other form of harassment occurs if a person uses a position of authority to engage in unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
  • submission to such conduct is explicitly or implicitly made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or
  • submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions affecting an individual’s education or employment. 
The conduct alleged to constitute harassment under this policy shall be evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and in consideration of the context of the behavior.
 
Harassment must be distinguished from behavior that, even though unpleasant or disconcerting, is appropriate to the carrying out of certain instructional, advisory, or supervisory responsibilities.
 
Examples of conduct that may constitute sex/gender-based harassment include:
  • Continued unwelcome questioning about intimate or personal matters
  • Unwelcome touching or physical acts of a sexual nature
  • Severe or pervasive comments or jokes of a sexual nature
  • Severe or pervasive unwelcome comments or conduct regarding an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity
  • Sending e-mails that contain extreme or persistent sexual messages, images or language  
Harassment may be verbal, nonverbal or physical and the above list is not exhaustive, but intended only to provide general examples of possible prohibited conduct. 
 
Sexual Violence. Sexual violence is defined as any physical act of a sexual nature perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Acts of a sexual nature include, but are not limited to, touching or attempted touching of an unwilling person’s breasts, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or genitalia, either directly or indirectly; and/or sexual penetration (however slight) of another person’s oral, anal or genital opening with any body part or object. Sexual violence may or may not be accompanied by the use of coercion or intimidation, or through advantage gained by the use of alcohol or other drugs. 
 
Sexual Exploitation. Sexual exploitation includes taking non-consensual, sexual advantage of another for one’s benefit or the benefit of another party. 
 
Relationship Violence. Relationship violence includes domestic violence and dating violence. 
  • Domestic violence is any act of violence committed by the student’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under domestic or family violence law, or anyone else protected under domestic or family violence law. 
  • Dating violence is any act of violence committed by a person who has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate relationship with the student. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.  
Sex/Gender-Based Stalking. Sex/gender-based stalking is a course of conduct (including cyberstalking) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress. 
 

The Importance of Consent

Consent is an affirmative decision to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity given by clear actions or words. It is an informed decision made freely and actively by all parties. Relying solely upon nonverbal communication can lead to miscommunication. It is important not to make assumptions; if confusion or ambiguity on the issue of consent arises anytime during a sexual interaction, it is essential that each participant stops and clarifies, verbally, willingness to continue. Students should understand that consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Furthermore, a current or previous dating or sexual relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent, and consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.
 
Conduct will be considered “without consent” if no clear consent, verbal or nonverbal, is given. It should be noted that in some situations an individual’s ability to freely consent is taken away by another person or circumstance. Examples include, but are not limited to, when an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, scared, physically forced, passed out, asleep, unconscious, intimidated, coerced, mentally or physically impaired, beaten, threatened, isolated, or confined.
 

The Impact of Alcohol or Other Drugs

The use of alcohol or other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol or other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and effectively given. The perspective of a reasonable person similarly situated to the complainant and in consideration of the context of the behavior will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of the use of alcohol or drugs on another’s ability to give consent. Being intoxicated or high is never an excuse for sexual misconduct.
 

Retaliation

Retaliation is prohibited under this policy. Any individual who believes he or she has been subjected to misconduct under this policy is encouraged and has the right to seek support, utilize available resources, and come forward with his/her concern or complaint. Fear of retaliation should never be an obstacle to reporting an incident of alleged sex/gender-based harassment, sexual violence, relationship violence, or stalking. Retaliation is prohibited against anyone who participates in an investigation of or follow-up to a complaint of a violation of this policy. 
 

Reporting

Students are encouraged to report violations of this policy to the Office of Student Conduct, 200 Crowell Hall, conduct@duke.edu, 919-684-6938, http://reportdukestudentmisconduct.com. The Office of Student Conduct is charged with investigating reports of a possible violation of this policy when the person alleged to have committed a violation is a student. (The Office for Institutional Equity, Smith Warehouse, Bay 8, ben.reese@duke.edu, 919-684-8122, receives reports in which an alleged perpetrator is a non-student.) Reports involving an alleged student perpetrator may be filed at any time; prompt reporting can aid an investigation. 
 
A student may confidentially report a violation of this policy to those who serve in a professional role in which communication is privileged under North Carolina law and to those whom the university has designated as confidential reporters consistent with Title IX. Persons who may maintain strict confidentiality include:
  • medical providers at Student Health
  • therapists at CAPS
  • Women’s Center staff
  • clergy who are acting as such in their professional role at Duke
 
Students should be aware that, with the exception of these confidential resources, all employees who become aware of conduct that might fall under this policy are expected to notify the Office of Student Conduct with the names of the parties involved and the details of the report. Students who serve in an ongoing peer-advising role (such as Resident Assistants) are also expected to share such reports with the Office of Student Conduct. 
 
Once a report is received, an investigation and possible remedial actions may occur, including adjudication through the disciplinary process described below, interim measures (e.g., a “no contact” directive, trespass from campus, interim suspension), reasonable academic or housing modifications, or other remedies designed to reasonably minimize the recurrence of such conduct as well as mitigate the effects of the alleged behavior.  
 

Requests to Maintain Confidentiality

Duke University recognizes that confidentiality is important. Consistent with this principle, a victim of Sexual Misconduct may request that the Office of Student Conduct maintain his/her confidentiality, which may limit the extent to which the Office of Student Conduct can respond. A request to preserve the confidentiality of any party involved in a report should be made to the Office of Student Conduct, 919-684-6938, conduct@duke.edu. Staff in the Office of Student Conduct will confer with the Title IX Coordinator about the request and inform the party of the extent to which confidentiality may be maintained. The university will attempt to maintain confidentiality except where, in the university’s judgment, maintaining confidentiality would jeopardize the safety of members of the university community (including the complainant) or where the university is required by law to disclose the information (such as in response to a legal process). 
 
All participants (including the complainant and respondent, witnesses, advisors, and members of hearing panels) in any part of the outlined process that follows are expected to respect the confidentiality of the proceedings and circumstances giving rise to the report. 
 

Complaint Resolution

A flowchart illustrating the complaint resolution process is available here.
 
Time Frames
 
The university’s overall goal is to resolve complaints under this policy within 60 calendar days from receipt of a report. An investigation typically takes 21 to 45 days to complete. Generally within 14 days after completion of an investigation (during which time staff in the Office of Student Conduct may be seeking clarifying information and/or meeting with a complainant, respondent, investigator, or others), a hearing, if applicable, is scheduled. 
 
Circumstances may require extensions of this overall 60-day time frame or any individual time frame discussed in this policy. The university reserves the right to extend these time frames in its sole discretion. Examples of reasons why time frames may need to be extended include the complexity of the case, delays due to fall/spring/summer/holiday breaks, inclement weather, and other extenuating circumstances. Exceptions to these time frames will be communicated to the complainant and respondent.
 
Investigation
 
The Office of Student Conduct is charged with investigating reports of violations of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Because every case is different, the Office of Student Conduct will tailor each investigation to the specific facts of the case, which may include some or all of the following steps:
 
  • After receiving a report, staff in the Office of Student Conduct may meet with a complainant and respondent separately in order to hear or clarify his/her account of the incident, review the disciplinary process, and discuss other possible remedies. 
  • A formal investigation may be launched, which may include the use of an independent investigator to investigate the complaint, interview witnesses, collect additional information, and submit a written report of findings. 
  • After the formal investigation, Office of Student Conduct staff may ask further clarifying questions of the complainant, the respondent, and/or witnesses. The Office of Student Conduct will determine whether to proceed with the disciplinary process based on its assessment of whether there is sufficient information to believe that a policy violation may have occurred.
  •  Should a determination be made not to proceed with the disciplinary process, the complainant may meet with Office of Student Conduct staff to review that decision. Should a determination be made to proceed with the disciplinary process, the procedures outlined below in the section “Hearing Procedures” will apply.
  • During an investigation and until resolution of the matter, interim restrictions may be issued as deemed appropriate by the Office of Student Conduct or designee, including restrictions on contact between the complainant and the respondent, exclusion from areas of campus, removal or relocation from residential areas, etc. An interim suspension may be imposed by the dean of the school or college or the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee. 
 
Information for Complainants
 
Complainants will be treated with respect before, during, and after the disciplinary process. Complainants will be informed of the university’s disciplinary process and possible outcomes. The university will communicate substantive and, when warranted, procedural developments regarding an investigation. The alleged conduct may also be criminal in nature, and complainants have the right to report such conduct to Duke Police, Durham Police, or other appropriate law enforcement agency. A criminal report does not preclude university disciplinary action. Regardless of whether a complainant pursues a criminal complaint and/or the university’s grievance process through this policy, the university may investigate the incident(s) in question and will take appropriate responsive action to ensure that the educational environment is free of discrimination and to prevent the recurrence of a hostile environment—and, if appropriate, remedy the effects of the alleged harassment on the complainant. Remedies available to a complainant may include, but are not limited to: reasonable academic accommodations, on-campus housing reassignment, a “no contact” order between the accused and the complainant, and disciplinary action against the accused as determined through the disciplinary process outlined in this policy. Note that mediation is not an appropriate remedy for any allegation of violence.
 
Complainants are strongly encouraged to seek counseling and support available through resources such as Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention (GVPI) in the Women’s Center, Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), and Durham Crisis Response Center (DCRC). For more information on these resources, please see the section of this policy titled “Support Services and Options for Victims of Sexual Misconduct.” 
 
Complainants may request changes to academic and living situations and will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available. Complainants also have access to disciplinary advisors trained by the Office of Student Conduct to guide them through the disciplinary process.
 
An advisor of the complainant’s choice may accompany the complainant to any meeting with Office of Student Conduct staff, the investigator, or to a hearing. The advisor’s role in any meeting or hearing is limited to quietly conferring with the complainant through written correspondence or whisper, and the advisor may not address any other participant or the hearing panel. 
 
Information for Respondents
 
Respondents will be treated with respect before, during, and after the disciplinary process. Respondents will be informed of the university’s disciplinary process and possible outcomes. The university will communicate substantive and, when warranted, procedural developments regarding an investigation. Note that alleged behavior may also be criminal in nature, and a respondent may be subject to a criminal investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agency at the same time as an investigation by the university under this policy. Respondents can expect a presumption of innocence throughout the disciplinary process unless and until they are found responsible for a violation of this policy.
 
Respondents have the right to (and are strongly encouraged to seek) counseling and support available through resources such as Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the Office of Case Management, or other university and local resources. 
 
Respondents may request changes to academic and living situations and will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available. Respondents also have access to disciplinary advisors trained by the Office of Student Conduct to guide them through the disciplinary process.
 
An advisor of the respondent’s choice may accompany the respondent to any meeting with Office of Student Conduct staff, the investigator, or to a hearing. The advisor’s role in any meeting or hearing is limited to quietly conferring with the respondent through written correspondence or whisper, and the advisor may not address any other participant or the hearing panel. 
 

Hearing Procedures

When the Office of Student Conduct decides that a case should proceed to disciplinary proceedings, the case may be resolved either through an administrative resolution or a hearing panel. Under both types of proceedings, the university will use a “preponderance of the evidence” standard and evaluate available information from the perspective of a reasonable person in the complainant’s position and in consideration of the context of the behavior. 
 
Administrative Hearing
 
At the discretion of the Office of Student Conduct, a report may be resolved through an administrative hearing. An administrative hearing is a discussion between a student alleged to be in violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy and a designee of the Office of Student Conduct conducted in private. The respondent will be notified (typically via e-mail) of the specific violations under consideration in advance of an administrative hearing. The designee will review the report with the respondent and give the student an opportunity to respond. The designee will determine if the respondent is responsible for the alleged policy violation, and, if so, issue (an) appropriate sanction(s). If the respondent or complainant does not accept the administrative hearing resolution, he/she may request by the stated deadline a hearing before a hearing panel, as described below.
Upon proper notice, if a respondent fails to attend an administrative hearing, the designee may proceed to resolve the case without benefit of that student’s input. 
 
Hearing Panel
 
If the Office of Student Conduct decides the case should be resolved through a hearing panel, the Office of Student Conduct will appoint a three-person hearing panel (usually two faculty or staff members and one student, when possible) to resolve a complaint under this policy. With a hearing panel, a finding of responsibility must be based on a unanimous vote; any sanction must be decided by a majority vote with the exception of suspension or expulsion, which must be supported unanimously. 
 
The following procedures apply to a complaint that proceeds to a hearing panel:
 
  • Notice: Both the complainant and the respondent will be notified at least 120 hours in advance of the date and time of the hearing and the names of the hearing panelists. 
  • Hearing Packet: In advance of the hearing, the Office of Student Conduct prepares a packet with information relevant to the case to be shared with the hearing panel. The Office of Student Conduct will share a copy of that packet with both the complainant and the respondent at least 120 hours in advance of the hearing. If a complainant or respondent wishes to share additional relevant written information to a hearing panel in advance of the hearing, it must be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct within 72 hours of the hearing, which will then share that material with the complainant or respondent no later than 48 hours before the hearing. The Office of Student Conduct will determine the relevancy of the additionally submitted material. 
  • Conflict of Interest: A complainant or respondent may challenge the participation of a panelist he/she perceives to have a conflict of interest. Such challenges, including rationale, must be made to the Office of Student Conduct at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of the hearing. At its discretion, the Office of Student Conduct will determine whether such a conflict of interest exists and whether a panelist should be replaced. 
  • Witnesses: A complainant and respondent may offer relevant material witnesses to provide testimony. Absent exceptional circumstances, the complainant and respondent should inform the Office of Student Conduct in writing at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing the names of any witnesses he/she wishes to testify and to what they will attest. Names of witnesses submitted to the Office of Student Conduct by the complainant or respondent will be shared with the other party in advance of the hearing. Note that a hearing panel may, in its sole discretion, exclude witnesses or witness testimony deemed irrelevant or duplicative. Participants are reminded that any information shared during a hearing is confidential.
  •  Character References: A complainant and respondent may submit two written character references to a hearing panel before the hearing begins. Character references may only address the character of the complainant/respondent and may not address the specific issue at hand.  
  • Hearing Procedure: The general course of procedure for a panel hearing is as follows: introductions; respondent’s statement regarding whether he/she accepts or denies responsibility; opening comments from the complainant; opening comments from the respondent; questions; testimony/questions of other material witnesses (if applicable); closing comments from the complainant; and, closing comments from the respondent. A complainant or respondent may not question each other or other witnesses directly, but may raise questions to be asked of that party through the hearing panel, which will determine whether to ask them. As noted, the hearing panel may exclude witnesses or witness testimony that it deems irrelevant or duplicative. A hearing panel has general authority over the conduct of the hearing (e.g., it may set time frames for witness testimony and it may limit opening/closing statements or their length, etc.). 
 
The complainant and respondent will receive verbal notification of the decision of a hearing panel no sooner than two business days and no later than five business days after the hearing. Notification will be individually given to the respondent and complainant at approximately the same time. (For reports resolved through an administrative hearing, only a written notice of the outcome will be delivered to the complainant and respondent.) A written hearing report outlining the decision and rationale of the hearing panel will be later delivered to the respondent and the complainant. 
 
Sanctions
 
Sanctions for a finding of responsibility include, but are not limited to, expulsion, suspension, disciplinary probation, recommended counseling, and/or other educational sanctions. The hearing body has complete discretion regarding sanctioning. In determining the appropriate sanction(s) for a violation of this policy, the hearing body will first consider whether expulsion (permanent removal) from the university is appropriate. While expulsion is the starting point for consideration, the hearing body has discretion to decide that (a) different sanction(s) is (are) appropriate. Factors pertinent to the determination of what sanction applies include, but are not limited to, the nature of the conduct at issue, prior disciplinary history of the respondent (shared with a panel only upon a finding of responsibility to the allegation), respondent’s willingness to accept responsibility for his/her actions, previous university response to similar conduct, and university interests. 
 
Appeals
 
A respondent who is found responsible for a violation of this policy may appeal to the Appellate Board based on the following grounds: 1) new information (available after a hearing) of a nature such that the verdict or sanction may have been different; 2) procedural errors within the hearing process which may have substantially affected the fairness of the hearing; and/or 3) the finding was inconsistent with the weight of the information. A complainant may also appeal the outcome on one or more of the above stated grounds. The composition of the Appellate Board for cases arising under this policy includes members of the university community appointed by the Vice President for Student Affairs in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and appropriate university and student leadership. A four-person panel of the Appellate Board, typically including, when possible, at least one faculty, staff member, or student from the complainant and respondent’s school, will review the appeal, the hearing report, any information included in the hearing, and any additional information it deems relevant. A complainant or respondent may request to meet with the panel of the Appellate Board to amplify his/her ground(s) of appeal.
 
The Appellate Board may consult in confidence with other members of the university community (or persons brought forth by the complainant or respondent as part of the appeal) in order to substantiate the grounds for appeal or to seek clarification of issues raised in the appeal. If the grounds for appeal are substantiated, the appellate panel may determine a final resolution to the case or refer the case back to the Office of Student Conduct for further review and/or a new hearing. Written notification of the final decision will be sent to the complainant and respondent.

Examples of Sexual Misconduct

 
Angela and Aaron have been in an ongoing relationship for a year and a half and have engaged in consensual sexual intercourse. One night while becoming intimate, Angela stops and says she doesn’t feel like having sex that night. Aaron continues to touch her, saying that she got him excited and it wasn’t fair of her to lead him on like that. Again Angela tells him she does not want to have sex, and then is silent. Aaron decides she has given in, and proceeds to have sexual intercourse with her.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Aaron had sexual intercourse with Angela against her will. The fact that Angela has freely consented to sexual intercourse with Aaron in the past does NOT mean he has her consent in this situation.
 
Erin is talking to several of her friends in the hallway at a crowded party. Ryan, a student she knows from chemistry class, comes up behind her and places his arms around her waist. She says hi to Ryan and continues her conversation. After a while, she realized that Ryan has moved his hands up to her breasts. She turns to him and tells him to stop, saying she doesn’t want to be touched in that way and that he should have more respect for her. He laughs, tells her she takes herself too seriously, and again begins to grope her.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Ryan touched Erin in a sexual way without her consent, and continued to do so after she told him to stop. This behavior is a form of sexual violence.
 
Kristen and Myra have been intimate for a few weeks. One night, Myra calls Kristen and asks her to come over. When she arrives, Myra kisses Kristen passionately and leads her into the bedroom. They each express their excitement and desire to “hook up,” and are soon making out heavily in Myra’s bed. After a while, Kristen tries to engage in oral sex with Myra. Myra tells Kristen that she really likes her, but that she doesn’t feel ready for that. Kristen tells Myra she’s just being shy, and ignores her when she repeats that she doesn’t feel ready. Finally, Kristen threatens to reveal on the Internet that Myra is a lesbian. Because Myra has not yet come out to her friends and family, she becomes frightened and silent. Kristen proceeds with oral sex.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Because of Kristen’s manipulative and threatening arguments, Myra was afraid and unable to freely give her consent. Kristen did not receive consent from Myra and has committed sexual violence.
 
Liz and Tom have been together for six months. She often tells her friends stories of Tom’s sexual prowess, and decides to prove it to them. One night, she and Tom engage in consensual sexual intercourse. Without Tom’s knowledge, Liz sets up her digital camera to videotape them having sex. The next evening, she uploads the video to an online video-sharing site and discusses it with her friends online.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Tom’s consent to engage in sexual intercourse with Liz did NOT mean Liz had obtained his consent to videotape it. This is a form of sexual exploitation.
 
Andrew and Felix have been flirting with each other all night at a party. Around 12:30 a.m., Felix excuses himself to find a bathroom. Andrew notices Felix slurring his speech. Andrew wonders if Felix went to the bathroom to vomit. When Felix returns, the two begin flirting more heavily and move to a couch. As the conversation continues, the two become more relaxed and more physically affectionate. Andrew soon suggests they go back to his room, and Felix agrees. As they walk down the stairs, Andrew notices that Felix looks unstable and offers his arm for support and balance. When they get back to his room, Andrew leads Felix to the bed and they begin to become intimate. Felix becomes increasingly passive and appears disoriented. Andrew soon begins to have sexual intercourse with him. The next morning, Felix thinks they had sex but cannot piece together the events leading up to it.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Felix was clearly under the influence of alcohol and thus unable to freely consent to engage in sexual activity with Andrew. Although Andrew may not have known how much alcohol Felix had consumed, he saw indicators from which a reasonable person would conclude that Felix was intoxicated, and therefore unable to give consent. Andrew in no way obtained consent from Felix.
 
Denise is an undergraduate teaching assistant in Paul’s economics class. She notes that he has not been performing well on take-home assignments and exams. Both of them have come to a party, each with their own group of friends. Denise has consumed one can of beer, while Paul is rather intoxicated. Denise sees Paul and approaches him. She flirts with him, telling him that she can help him improve his grades if he will hook up with her. As Paul turns to walk away, Denise grabs his buttocks and squeezes them.
 
This is a violation of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. Denise, in a position of power over Paul as his teaching assistant, attempted to arrange a quid pro quo sexual relationship. Additionally, she did not seek consent from Paul to touch him, even if a reasonable person could conclude that Paul was not too intoxicated in order to provide consent.
 

Getting Help

If you are a student at Duke University and are the victim of gender violence—regardless of your own gender—contact the Women’s Center at 919-886-6814 or email WCHelp@duke.edu. See “Support Services and Options for Victims of Sexual Misconduct” for additional information. If case of emergency or immediate threat, call 911 or Duke Police at 919-684-2444.

Support Services and Options for Victims of Sexual Misconduct

A variety of support resources are available on campus and in the community to assist students in dealing with Sexual Misconduct, whether it happened recently or in the past. The following is a list of helpful resources. Additional resource information is available at studentaffairs.duke.edu/wc.
 
Information, advocacy, counseling, and emotional support. The Office of Gender Violence Prevention and Intervention (GVPI) provides education, advocacy, and support for students who are victims of sexual and dating violence as well as their friends and families. Male or female students who are victims can get information, support and accompaniment regarding medical treatment, reporting options, academic and residential relief, referrals, legal interventions, and therapy. Walk-in or scheduled appointments with the GVPI Coordinator are available during business hours by calling 919-684-3897, emailing womenctr@duke.edu, or by visiting the Women’s Center located at 107 Few Fed Building near the bus stop across from the Allen Building. Emergency after-hours assistance is available by calling 919-886-6814. All services are free and confidential.
 
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) also offers ongoing counseling services; call 919-660-1000 for an appointment. For 24-hour crisis information and referral, contact the GVPI information line at 919-681-6882, the dean on-call (pager number 919-970-4169), or the Durham Crisis Response Center at 919-403-6562 (for 24-hour hotline). All services are confidential and do not require making a formal report to the police.
 
Medical concerns. Seek medical attention immediately to have the most options for the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections. Even if you do not think you are injured, you may have injuries as a result of sexual assault that you cannot see. For immediate and urgent medical concerns, go directly to the Emergency Department (ED) of Duke Medical Center (off Erwin Road near Trent Hall). You can call the Duke Police Department (911 or 919-684-2444 from non-campus phones) for transportation without having to make a report. The services available are: medical care, evidence collection, emergency contraception, and sexually transmitted infection prevention. 
 
Evidence can be collected anonymously. Evidence is best collected within 120 hours of the assault. Even if you do not think you would like to pursue a criminal case now, you may have the evidence collected anonymously with a blind report that includes no identifying information other than a case number; you may decide later whether filing a police report is right for you. Your health insurance and the State of NC may cover portions of the costs of your medical care. Contact the GVPI Coordinator in the Women’s Center for more information. 
 
For less immediate medical concerns, schedule an appointment at Student Health (919-681-WELL). The services available are: medical care, emergency contraception, and sexually transmitted infection prevention. The student health fee covers all services, except for a minimal charge for emergency contraception. You may call GVPI for someone to accompany you to the ED or Student Health.
 
Reporting to the police. Sexual misconduct may be criminal in nature, and a student may choose to file a report with law enforcement. Duke Police (911 or 919-684-2444 from non-campus phones) will respond to emergencies and non-emergencies to provide assistance by intervening in cases of assault, providing transportation to the Emergency Department, taking reports of an assault, investigating and participating in legal or disciplinary action. They are responsible for notifying the community in a case of continuing danger, issuing a trespass order that requires an individual to stay away from campus or a particular area of campus when needed, and providing referrals and information including how to obtain a restraining order. Assaults that occur off campus may fall under the jurisdiction of the Durham Police Department or other law enforcement agency. Students may contact the Durham Police directly (911 off campus or 919-560-4427/560-4609) or the GVPI office or Duke Police can help facilitate reporting. Blind reporting—filing a report without your name attached to it—is an available option with both Duke Police and Durham Police. Regardless of whether a complainant pursues a criminal complaint, the university will investigate the incident in question and take appropriate responsive action to ensure that the educational environment at Duke is free of harassment and to prevent the recurrence of a hostile environment, and, as appropriate, to remedy the effects of the harassment on the complainant.

 

Last Updated: 8/12/2014 Policy Owner: Office of Student Conduct