By Steven Viera || Senior Editor
Last week, the College released its annual report on sexual misconduct which describes the incidents of sexual assault reported to the administration as well as the results of the adjudication process, when applicable. The College, as an institute of higher education, is federally required to submit such a report each year.
“We are dedicated to providing information that will help convey to the community the College’s commitment to confronting the very serious issue of sexual violence and harassment,” said Margaret Hazlett, dean of the College, in her e-mail releasing the report to the F&M community.
According to Hazlett’s e-mail, the College received 29 reports of sexual misconduct, stalking, and domestic violence during the 2014-2015 academic year (July 1, 2014-June 30, 2015): 10 reports of sexual assault, including rape, physical assault, and any unwanted touching of a sexual nature; one report of cyber-stalking; five reports of domestic or dating violence; 12 reports of sexual harassment, which include unwanted attention but not necessarily physical contact; and one report of videotaping a sex act without consent.
The e-mail also noted which cases were adjudicated: two of the 10 cases of sexual assault, where the respondent in one case was separated from College employment and another respondent was suspended; all five cases of domestic or dating violence, where “No Contact” orders were put in place for three respondents, one respondent was suspended, and
another was expelled; and seven of the 12 cases of domestic violence, where “No Contact” orders were put in place for two respondents, one case was resolved through mediation, two employees were issued warnings, and two respondents were suspended.
These results describe cases adjudicated through the College’s judicial process, not through the legal system. While students have the opportunity to pursue both College-level and criminal complaints, Hazlett noted in her email that many do not choose to pursue either.
“However, it’s worth noting that when those involved in a complaint request not to have a hearing, the College reviews the complaint to assess for an ongoing threat to the safety and security of the victim or the College community and sanctions may be sought,” Hazlett continued. “This review is conducted with the utmost attention to the privacy of the complainant. Our highest priority is
creating a safe and secure environment for our students.”
The remaining cases were not adjudicated, according to the e-mail, either because the identities of the reporter and/or respondent are unknown, because the complainants did not choose to pursue a hearing, because complainants choose not to provide information during an investigation, or because of a determination not to pursue a hearing due to insufficient evidence after an investigation.
Notably, the figures in the report are distinct from those in the College’s Annual Safety and Fire Report, available here, which has older data of reported cases from the previous full calendar year.
“The issue of sexual misconduct on college campuses is one of national concern, and the entire Franklin & Marshall community must commit to working together to prevent sexual misconduct and promote the safety of our community,” Hazlett said in her email.
Senior Steven Viera is a senior editor. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.