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Ramapo College faculty and staff play an important role in preventing, addressing, and ending sexual violence on campus.

As a faculty or staff member, you frequently encounter students who are under stress or going through a difficult time. Because students look up to you as mentors and trust your opinions and guidance, you can serve as a reliable source of information about the resources available to them.

The following information and resources are available to faculty members to help provide a safe, inclusive, and welcoming environment at Ramapo College.

Responsibility to Report Sexual Misconduct

All faculty and staff are Responsible Employees. (Healthcare professionals in Health Services, Licensed Professional Counselors in the Counseling Services, Athletic Trainers, Pastoral Counselors are exempt from this and maintain a confidential status.)

This means that when an incident of sexual misconduct is disclosed to a faculty or staff member, they must report it to the Director of Title IX to ensure the safety of the reporting individual and the larger campus.

All Responsible Employees must report sexual misconduct reported to them or observed by them, including the name of the Complainant and Respondent (if known), to the Director of Title IX within 24 hours. The College requires everyone in the campus community to report the suspected abuse of children (those under the age of 18) to the Director of Title IX.

The following sexual misconduct MUST be reported to the Director of Title IX:

1. Sexual Harassment: “Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature including unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment also may include inappropriate touching, suggestive comments, and public display of pornographic or suggestive calendars, posters, or signs where such images are not connected to any legitimate academic or workplace purpose. Sexual Harassment also exists when: (1) submission to conduct is made as express or implicit term or condition of an individual’s employment, performance, appraisal, or evaluation of academic performance; or (2) unlawful conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or offensive working or learning environment.”

2. Sexual Assault: “An offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. (Sexual assault includes Rape, Fondling, Incest and Statutory Rape.) Since the College administrative process is not a criminal process, the terms that are used to describe rape, fondling, incest and statutory rape are non-criminal terms as stated and described below:

  • Non-Consensual Sexual Contact (or attempts to commit) defined as any intentional sexual touching with any object(s) or body part that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact is defined as kissing or touching others intimate parts. Intimate parts may include, but are not limited to, a person’s groin, buttocks, mouth or breasts.
  • Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (or attempts to commit) defined as penetration, no matter how slight, of a person’s vagina, anus or mouth with any object(s) or sex organ that is without consent and/or by force.”

3. Sexual Exploitation: “Occurs when a person takes sexual advantage (or attempts to take sexual advantage) of another without that individual’s consent for the initiator’s own advantage or benefit or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses.”

4. Stalking: “Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress.”

5. Dating Violence: “Threatened or actual physical or sexual violence committed by a person (a) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (b) where the existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes the use or threat of physical force or restraint carried out with the intent of causing pain or injury to another within a dating relationship.”

6. Domestic Violence: “Threatened or actual physical or sexual violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, or by a person cohabitating with (or having cohabitated with) the victim who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim.”

For full definitions of these terms under college policy, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy Governing Students.

Contact Information for Reporting

Kat McGee, Director of Title IX, ADA and Compliance Training (available during regular business hours) 
Phone: (201) 684-7220
Office Location: D-104
kmcgee@ramapo.edu

The Public Safety Department (available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
Phone: (201) 684-6666
Office Location: C-102

If applicable, the Title IX Coordinator or the Public Safety Department will provide a copy of the Sexual Assault Survivor Intake Resource Form and/or the Sexual Violence Resource Packet.

Handout: Responsible Employee Reporting Requirements

Sample Syllabus Statement for Responsible Employees

Faculty are encouraged to consider including the following statement on their syllabi each semester. When Faculty explain their reporting requirements as a Responsible Employee, this enables students to make informed decisions about whom they choose to confide in.

  “A Note on Sexual Misconduct:

Ramapo College is committed to fostering a safe, productive learning environment. Title IX and our college policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex or gender.  Sexual misconduct — including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are prohibited.  The College encourages anyone experiencing sexual misconduct to talk to someone about what happened, so they can get the support they need and our college can respond appropriately.

If you wish to speak confidentially about an incident of sexual misconduct, please contact the Counseling Center at 201-684-7522 or 201-684-6666 during nights and weekends. If you wish to report sexual misconduct or have questions about policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct, please contact the College’s Title IX Coordinator at 201-684-7220.

The College is legally obligated to investigate reports of sexual misconduct, and therefore it cannot guarantee the confidentiality of a report, but it will consider a request for confidentiality and respect it to the extent possible.

As a faculty member, I am also required by our College to report incidents of sexual misconduct and thus cannot guarantee confidentiality, but I will respect your privacy and only share the information with those who have a duty to respond. Should I become aware of an incident involving sexual misconduct, I must provide our Title IX Coordinator with relevant details such as the names of those involved in the incident.”

Speaking to Students about Sexual Assault and Violence: Do's and Don'ts

It is important to remember that as Responsible Employees, faculty and staff members do not have a special privilege or ability to maintain the confidentiality of reports shared with them and should not promise confidentiality.  However, you do have an opportunity to make a difference in the healing process during the initial conversation.

If a someone tells you tells you that she/he is a victim/survivor of sexual assault or violence, here are some positive ways in which to respond, as well as some others to avoid:

Do respond in these ways:

  • Be receptive & responsive to how the student  is behaving  and try to stay attuned to the student’s  emotions & feelings.
  • Let them know that that you do not intend to share his/her story with just anyone; but will need to share it with others (be honest) – as you are required to share the information with the Title IX Coordinator and cannot keep it completely confidential to yourself.
  • Be a validating and active listener. Validate their courage and strength for sharing this information with you. Be open and “present.”
  • Acknowledge and affirm that it is a painful and difficult experience.
  • Try to use the words they use to describe their situation (i.e., if the student calls it “date-rape” – you call it the same thing) in order to avoid exaggerating or minimizing it. Accept the experience as the student describes it.
  • If the person tries to rationalize what happened, that is fine, but remind the person that what happened is not OK.
  • Assure the student that it is not their fault. Self-blame is common among victims of sexual violence.
  • Discuss next steps & explain that you will make a report to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will follow up with the student as soon as possible (typically within 24 hours).
  • Express genuine concern, care and curiosity about the person’s well-being and safety.
  • Get support for yourself. Do not hesitate to seek advice from individuals who are in a position to help.

Public Safety and the Title IX Coordinator will ensure the victim/survivor is aware of information about on- and off-campus counseling services where they can receive additional support, including their options for reporting to the police and seeking medical attention.

Avoid responding in these ways:

  • Don’t question the validity of what the person is telling you (i.e. doubting what happened; being skeptical; questioning why the person is telling you now about this, etc.).
  • Don’t try to figure out all the details; rather, let the person share what they want to share.  Your role is not to investigate.  Do, however, listen closely as you will be asked by the Title IX Coordinator what information you were told.
  • Don’t make excuses for the attacker or minimize what happened.
  • Don’t suggest having the victim & attacker meet; asking for an apology or to clear the air, etc.
  • Do not comment on what could have been done differently or make statements that imply that the student could have avoided the harassment or assault.
  • Don’t assume you know how they feel or label what happened since every situation and person is different / unique – don’t assume, tell, or dictate to the student how she/he should be feeling.
  • Don’t compare your own experiences or feelings with the victim/survivor’s. This can be experienced as invalidating.
  • Don’t guarantee complete confidentiality – let them know that that you do not intend to share his/her story with just anyone; but will need to share it with others (be honest).
  • Don’t share this information with others who are not the “need to know” people.
  • Don’t ask about a survivor or anyone’s sexual history.
  • Don’t make comments about the possible outcomes.

Source: adapted from Fordham University

What is Affirmative Consent?

Ramapo College Definition of Affirmative Consent

Affirmative consent (hereafter “consent”) is the voluntary, unambiguous, clear agreement in an act and understood by each party. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any time before the completion of an act. A person may be incapable of consent due to physical or mental incapacitation, physical or mental disability, threat, coercion, the influence of alcohol or drugs, being asleep, or under the legal age of consent.

Affirmative consent (hereafter “consent”) is the voluntary, unambiguous, clear agreement in an act and understood by each party. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that the person has the consent of the other or others to engage in the sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any time before the completion of an act. A person may be incapable of consent due to physical or mental incapacitation, physical or mental disability, threat, coercion, the influence of alcohol or drugs, being asleep, or under the legal age of consent.

• Consent to one act does not infer or imply that a person is consenting to another act;

• Consent to an act on a prior occasion does not infer or imply consent to a current act;

• The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent.

• An individual’s silence or lack of protest does not infer or imply that they are consenting to an act,

• Consent must be clear and obvious by all partners, who have willingly and affirmatively chosen to participate without force, threat, or coercion, throughout the act;

• Incapacitated individuals, (physically, mentally, and/or due to alcohol or other drugs) are unable to consent.

The standard that shall be applied in College investigations under the Sexual Misconduct Policy Governing Students is whether or not a reasonable person would have known, based on the facts and circumstances presented, that the other person was incapacitated and therefore, not capable of giving consent. A respondent cannot claim that being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a defense or excuse for engaging in sexual misconduct.

If at any time consent is uncertain, the initiating party should stop and obtain verbal consent. The use of any force, coercion, threat, or intimidation negates consent.

It is important to note that in the evaluation of a complaint in a disciplinary process, it shall not be a valid excuse that the accused believed that the complainant consented to the sexual activity under either of the following circumstances:

  1. the accused’s belief in consent arose from the intoxication or recklessness of the accused; or
  2. the accused did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the accused at the time, to ascertain whether the complainant consented.

Additionally, it shall not be a valid excuse that the accused believed that the complainant consented to the sexual activity if the accused knew or reasonably should have known that the complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances:

  1. the complainant was asleep or unconscious; (2) the complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; or (3) the complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition. The College will use the reasonable person standard in determining whether or not the respondent knew or should have known given all facts and circumstances present at the time if any of the above conditions were met.
  2. the complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; or (3) the complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition. The College will use the reasonable person standard in determining whether or not the respondent knew or should have known given all facts and circumstances present at the time if any of the above conditions were met.
  3. the complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

The College will use the reasonable person standard in determining whether or not the respondent knew or should have known given all facts and circumstances present at the time if any of the above conditions were met.

Source: Sexual Misconduct Policy Governing Students

Understanding Consent: “Tea Consent” Video

Request Title IX Training
If you would like to request a training for your group of staff, faculty, or students, please email kmcgee@ramapo.edu with the information below:
  • What type is your group? (faculty, staff, students, class, etc.)
  • What is the name of your organization/class?
  • Why have you requested a Title IX Training?
  • Are there any questions you want addressed or specific areas of interest to your group?
  • What are your preferred training dates and times?
Requests for trainings should be submitted at least 2 weeks in advance.
What's In A Name? Creating a Supportive Environment In the Classroom for Students

What’s In a Name?
Creating a Supportive Environment In the Classroom for Students

Document prepared by Maya Poran, Ebony Jackson (she, her, hers), and The Name Committee

September 2017

Many students identify themselves with names that are not matching those on official rosters and college forms, as well as other legal documents.  This is very common for students who are transgender or gender variant in some way, although there are many other reasons that someone may have a name that does not match the legal documents.  These include religious and spiritual needs, traditions from various cultures and international experiences, as well as other personal and unique needs in relation to identity.

We are reaching out to you on behalf of “The Name Committee.”  Chaired by Melissa Van Der Wall (Dean of Students), this committee of students, staff, and faculty from various areas of campus are working to address issues regarding names, pronouns, gendered title markers (Mr. Mrs. Ms. Miss), and related issues.  Our goal is that all members of our community are recognized, included, and given the opportunity to identify themselves as they wish.

Some students indicate that being mis-named and mis-gendered is a source of stress, anxiety, and creates an environment in which it is difficult to learn and focus on class material.  Our hope is that this document helps you maintain a positive and affirming environment in the classroom and beyond that will help all students feel welcome.

Create a space in the classroom for chosen names:
1.  Make it known that you are aware, and supportive, of a student’s right to define themselves.

2.  Make a statement: A simple statement of your commitment to create a safe environment for all students and work to be inclusive. Include this on your syllabus and think of including at the bottom of your emails. Here is a sample statement that you are welcome to use or edit as you see fit:

“I am committed to creating a safe environment for all students by working to be inclusive. This includes using the name and pronouns a student uses, using gender inclusive language, and trying not to make assumptions about one’s gender identity, religion, national origin, or other identities.”

3.  Gender Pronouns on the syllabus: If you are comfortable, in your contact information, next to or under your name, you can write your gender pronouns.

Example:
Ebony F. Jackson, M.A
Pronouns: she, her, hers, herself
Coordinator | Women’s Center C-220

4.  Write a statement on your syllabus regarding your awareness that, at present, our computer systems do not allow students to be listed under their chosen names and that you wish to work with students to have them fully recognized.  Here is a sample statement that you are welcome to use or edit as you see fit:

“Presently, the College’s computer systems do not have an option for a “used” or “chosen name” entry. If you wish to be referred to by a name different than your legal name, please let me know so I can make this change in my own records.”

5.  Create a custom roster.  In the beginning of the semester, you can ask students to fill out a basic information card that includes their chosen names and the gender pronouns they use if they wish to share them (note:  not all students are comfortable sharing their gender pronouns).  You can then customize your own records (paper, electronic, etc.) so that students are properly represented.

6.  Lead by example: When introducing yourself to the class, you can say who you are, share your gender pronouns, as well as what you would like to be called.  In addition, work to address students by their names and refrain from using general gendered language such as “ladies and gentlemen” or “guys” or gendered titles (i.e., Ms., Miss, Mrs., Mr.).   Another way to lead by example is to have your pronouns in your email signature.

Example:
All the best,

Ebony F. Jackson, M.A
Pronouns: she, her, hers, herself
Coordinator | Women’s Center C-220

7.  Make a Mistake:  If you make a mistake, apologize and move on!  Importantly, highlight awareness of a mistake and don’t dwell there.  This is an ongoing effort.

We are working on a system in which students can identify by their chosen name and have their name represented accurately on Banner, email, and other areas of college life; however, these initiatives will take time to accomplish.  In the interim, there are other initiatives moving forward. For example, the committee created (and the Dean’s Council endorsed) the use of a Name Advocacy Letter.  Students may contact the Dean of Students or Coordinator of the Women’s Center and request that a letter be e-mailed to their faculty (or others at the College) in order to inform them of the student’s used name and pronouns.  You may be the recipient of the Name Advocacy Letter, so we ask that you honor the student’s request. Whatever you can do to create an inclusive space in your classroom will make a difference for the students who are learning from you.

For further information on Name and Gender Pronouns/Gender Inclusive language and education, please contact Maya Poran, Associate Professor of Psychology (mporan@ramapo.edu) or Ebony Jackson, Coordinator of the Women’s Center (ejackso1@ramapo.edu), and for further information on the Name Committee please contact Melissa Van Der Wall, Dean of Students: ( mvanderw@ramapo.edu).

Thank you for helping to make Ramapo classrooms a welcoming place to learn for all students.

Employee Assistance Program

Learn more about free resources available to all faculty and members.

Know Your Rights: Helpful Links

Employee and Student Rights:

New Jersey State Policy Prohibiting Discrimination in the Workplace  (DOC) (PDF)
Model Procedures For Internal Complaints Alleging Discrimination in the Workplace (DOC) (PDF)
Discrimination Complaint Processing Form (PDF)

Student Rights:

New Jersey Sexual Assault Victim’s Bill of Rights

Sexual Misconduct Policy Governing Students (located in the Student Handbook):
https://www.ramapo.edu/student-conduct/

On Campus Resources:

Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Compliance:
https://www.ramapo.edu/affirmaction/

Center for Health and Counseling Services:
https://www.ramapo.edu/chcs/

Office of Violence Prevention:
https://www.ramapo.edu/student-affairs/ovp/

The Women’s Center:
https://www.ramapo.edu/womenscenter/