This policy statement sets forth Erskine’s sexual harassment policy and is effective immediately. The enforcement of this policy shall be the responsibility of the Non-Discrimination Coordinator.
Contact information for the Non-Discrimination Coordinator can be found on the Contact Info page.
This policy shall be considered a part of the Employee Resource Handbook, student regulations, and other similar guidelines that may be published from time to time. These guidelines shall apply to all employees and students while they are on Erskine property, attending an Erskine function, traveling in a group to or from an Erskine function or in other appropriate situations.
Erskine condemns and prohibits sexual harassment of or by any employee or student. Sexual harassment subverts the mission of Erskine. It diminishes individual dignity, impedes equal employment and educational opportunities, and compromises freedom of academic inquiry.
Sexual harassment violates Erskine’s long-standing policy against discrimination on the basis of sex. It is also a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Erskine is committed to ensuring and maintaining an academic and work environment free of sexual harassment. Any individual who, after appropriate investigation, is found to have engaged in sexual harassment, will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment or expulsion from Erskine.
Definition of Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other written, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in an Erskine activity;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for or a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment, education, or participation in an Erskine activity; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or academic performance or creating an intimidating, offensive, or hostile environment for an individual’s employment, education, or participation in an Erskine activity.
For the purposes of determining whether a particular act or course of conduct constitutes sexual harassment under this policy, the alleged incident will be evaluated by considering the totality of the particular circumstances, including the nature, frequency, intensity, location, context, and duration of the questioned behavior. Although repeated incidents generally create a stronger claim of sexual harassment, a serious incident, even if isolated, can be sufficient.
This policy seeks to encourage employees and students to report and address incidents of sexual harassment. Retaliation against any employee or student for complaining of sexual harassment or enforcing this policy violates this policy and is strictly prohibited. Any overt or covert act of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, coercion, intimidation, or harassment against an individual for exercising rights under this policy will be subject to appropriate and prompt disciplinary action.
An employee or student who is determined to have violated this policy on sexual harassment may be held personally liable for damages and/or costs incurred by Erskine related to such conduct.
This policy shall not be used to bring knowingly false or malicious charges against any employee or student. Disciplinary action may be taken against any person bringing a charge of sexual harassment in bad faith.
Persons Subject to Policy
Employees and students of Erskine are subject to this policy whenever they are acting as representatives of Erskine, whether on or away from the Erskine campus. Likewise, Erskine will not tolerate sexual harassment of its employees or students by persons conducting business with or visiting Erskine, even though such persons are not directly affiliated with Erskine.
Amorous relationships that occur in the context of educational or employment supervision and evaluation present serious concerns about the validity of consent. The element of power implicit in amorous relationships between a teacher and student, supervisor and subordinate, or senior and junior colleagues in the same department or unit makes them susceptible to exploitation. Those who abuse their power in such a context violate their duty to the Erskine community.
Relationships between employees and students are particularly susceptible to exploitation. The respect and trust accorded an employee by a student, as well as the power exercised by an employee in giving grades (faculty employee) or recommendations for further study and future employment make voluntary consent by the student or another employee suspect.
Anyone who engages in a sexual relationship with a person over whom he/she has any power or authority within the Erskine structure must understand that the validity of consent can and may be questioned. In the event of a charge of sexual harassment, Erskine will give very critical scrutiny to any defense based upon consent when the facts establish that a power differential existed within the relationship.
Procedures for Filing Complaints
All complaints of sexual harassment should be made to the Non-Discrimination Coordinator. Such complaints shall be handled in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Policy and Procedures Relating to Title IX and other Discrimination Complaints.
The contact information for the Non-Discrimination Coordinator can be found on the Contact Info page.
Sexual Assault Policy
Erskine is committed to providing an environment for employees and students free of sexual assault. This policy is intended to comply with 20 USCS Section 1092(f)(8) contained in the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes Statistics Act (the “Jeanne Clery Act”).
Anyone can be the victim of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a flagrant violation of the conduct expected at Erskine. When the assailant is an acquaintance, a victim often has mixed feelings concerning the incident and what to do about it. Besides feeling frightened, angry, hurt and ashamed, victims can feel betrayed and even guilty for having “facilitated” the assault. In some cases, they do not even acknowledge that they have been assaulted until long after the incident has occurred. If an employee or student finds herself/himself in an unwanted sexual situation, on a date or anywhere else, they should be assertive and say “NO”. If a person is told “NO” when making sexual advances, he/she must accept it. No means no! Sexual assault is a crime!
Sexual assault is any actual or attempted non-consensual sexual activity, including, but not limited to, intercourse, attempted intercourse, or sexual touching by a person known or unknown to the victim. Rape is an act of sexual intercourse with a person against his/her will and consent, whether one’s will is overcome by force or fear resulting from the threat of force, or by drugs administered without consent, or when a person is physically unable to communicate willingness due to unconsciousness, intoxication or otherwise. Having sexual relations with someone who is unable to give consent because they are mentally incapacitated, passed out, or otherwise unconscious is rape.
Victims may be unsure of how to deal with the assault and can wonder what courses of action are available and appropriate. An unfortunate result of this insecurity is that many victims elect not to tell anyone about their ordeal and decline to seek the help they need to deal with the terrible hurt they have suffered on a physical and emotional level. All employees and students should be aware of both the consequences of sexual assault and the options available to the victim. Seeking assistance in connection with a sexual assault from the hospital, the police, the institution, or anyone else does not obligate a victim to take further action.
If a sexual assault should occur, the victim should: go to a safe place; contact a friend or family member; get prompt medical attention; call the Erskine College Police Department by dialing (911), Victim Assistance Program, and the Non-Discrimination Coordinator (for employees), or the Student Dean (for students) to report the incident. (Persons currently holding these positions and their telephone numbers are listed on the Contact Info page). The victim should tell someone all details about the assault or write down all details as soon as possible and keep the clothes worn during the assault. If clothes are changed, the victim should place clothes in a paper bag (evidence deteriorates in plastic); not shower, bathe, or douche; not urinate, if possible; not eat, drink liquids, smoke or brush teeth if oral contact took place; and not destroy the physical evidence that may be found in the vicinity of the crime. If the crime occurred in the victim’s home (or dormitory room), the victim should not clean or straighten up until the police have had an opportunity to collect evidence.
When a victim tells another person that she/he has been assaulted, the person who was told should encourage the victim to seek medical attention, contact the Victim Assistance Program or the Student Dean (for students), and report the incident to Erskine College Police Department. Means for contacting these individuals is found on the Contact Info page. No victim should be allowed to suffer alone. If the victim does not wish to report the assault, anyone can inform the Student Dean (for students) or the Erskine College Police Department. When a third party makes the complaint, it is necessary for that third party to document the “anonymous” report to the Erskine College Police Department within 24 hours. If the third party requests to remain anonymous, the Erskine College Police Department will respect that request to the extent possible by excluding the third party’s name from the report.
If the victim of a sexual assault feels uncomfortable in his/her living or academic situation, he/she should notify the Victim Assistance Program, Non-Discrimination Coordinator, the Student Dean (students), or the Human Resources Office (employees). Erskine College will notify the victim of options for, and available assistance in, changing academic and living/working situations. If requested by the victim, Erskine will assist in changing the victim’s academic or living situations if the changes are reasonably available.
A victim of any sexual assault is encouraged to seek medical assistance. This is the first step in regaining control over one’s life. Even if the victim decides not to report the assault to the appropriate authorities, it is very important to seek medical attention immediately for possible internal injuries or sexually transmitted diseases. To keep all options available, the collection of medical evidence becomes critical in the event the victim chooses, even later, to prosecute. At the emergency room, the doctor may collect samples, hair, semen, and other trace evidence. The hospital may also collect the clothing worn during the assault so it may be helpful for the victim to bring a change of clothes. Normally, the hospital will communicate with a rape crisis center and their representative will come to the emergency room to assist the victim in any way possible. Going to the hospital and having evidence collected does NOT obligate the victim to complete other actions. This simply aids in keeping options open until the victim decides how to proceed. Options include choosing to pursue charges later against the perpetrator criminally through the legal system or through the Erskine’s policies and procedures.
Sexual assault is a crime committed against the victim, not by the victim. Victims should not blame themselves. Emotional trauma is severe after a sexual assault. Violation, loss of trust, and loss of control can have serious long-term impact on the victim. It is not unusual for a victim to feel guilty or distrustful or to withdraw from others, particularly in an acquaintance rape. There are, however, trained persons who can provide counseling and support during recovery. Erskine has a Victim Assistance Program through the Erskine College Police Department to serve the needs of the victim. The Victim Assistance Program’s contact information is listed on the Contact Info page. There is also counseling available through the Student Dean (for students). Contact information for the Student Dean is found on the Contact Info page. Assistance can also be obtained through the Sexual Trauma and Counseling Center for Greenwood and Abbeville at (864) 227-1623 (Hotline: 1-888-297-4546).
Reporting to the Police
Following an incident, victims are encouraged to make a report to an Erskine College Police officer or to the local police. This action does not obligate prosecution, but it does make legal action possible if the decision to prosecute is made at a later date. The earlier an incident is reported, the easier it is to collect valuable evidence. Incidents may also be reported to the Student Dean (for students) and/or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator who will assist in obtaining assistance for the victim. Erskine Police officers will aid the victim in completing the report. Off-campus incidents should be reported to the police in whose jurisdiction it occurred as well as to an Erskine official. Erskine is committed to making every effort to see that the victim is offered medical and psychological care as well as informed about prosecuting the suspect through the criminal court’s legal system or Erskine’s policies and procedures while keeping their report of sexual assault in confidence and protecting the victim’s right to anonymity, to the extent feasible taking into consideration the victim’s desires as to reporting.
The Erskine College Police Department believes a victim deserves the right to a professional investigation. Victims are often confused and not sure if they wish to report the incident. Reporting the assault to the police and obtaining medical attention are not synonymous with criminal prosecution. The victim retains the right not to pursue criminal prosecution even if these steps are taken. Even if the victim decides not to pursue charges, reporting the assault is a step in regaining a sense of personal control. Providing information about the assault may help someone else avoid becoming a victim. The Office of Student Services (for students) and/or the Non-Discrimination Coordinator (student and employees) will aid victims in arranging for medical care, contacting counseling and other resources that are available. An Erskine Police officer will meet with the victim privately, at an appropriate place, to make a report. All members of the Erskine College Police Department will treat the victim and the case with sensitivity and professionalism and will be available to answer questions and explain the processes involved. The Erskine College Police Department will investigate the case which may result in an arrest and prosecution of a suspect. Finally, the victim will be kept up to date on progress of the investigation or prosecution as well as their rights and options.
Campus Judicial Proceedings
If a victim of sexual assault chooses to make a complaint pursuant to Erskine’s policies and procedures, such complaint shall be made to the Non-Discrimination Coordinator whose contact information is provided on the Contact Info page. Such Complaint shall be handled in accordance with the procedures set forth in the Policy and Procedures Relating to Title IX and other Discrimination Complaints. If the victim does not wish to make a complaint pursuant to Erskine’s policies and procedures, Erskine will make reasonable efforts to respect the confidentiality of the victim; however, Erskine reserves the right to take disciplinary action against the perpetrator in the interest of campus safety. If a case is being pursued by a criminal or civil court, Erskine will evaluate safety concerns for the campus and the risk of impairment of the rights of the parties to a fair trial in determining whether an on-campus hearing should go forward or be delayed. Erskine reserves the right to bring, delay, resume, or reinstitute a hearing at any time before or after the verdict in the Court’s legal system. At Erskine proceedings, the accuser and the accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during the disciplinary proceeding. Both the accuser and the accused will be informed of the outcome of Erskine proceedings. Reports will be included anonymously in statistics required by the Jeanne Clery Act as applicable.
If criminal charges are pressed and the suspect is found guilty, Erskine reserves the right to further discipline the perpetrator in line with the severity of the offense upon completion of the criminal prosecution. Erskine also reserves the right to discipline the perpetrator even if no criminal charges are brought or if the perpetrator is found not guilty in a criminal proceeding. Possible disciplinary action may include, but is not limited to: fines, dismissal from or refusal of campus housing, or dismissal/termination from Erskine.
There are a number of proactive measures an employee or student can take to minimize the potential for becoming a victim, such as: reporting suspicious persons to the Campus Police, keeping others aware of one’s anticipated destinations and times of arrival and departure, not working, studying or being alone in buildings or isolated areas. Employees and/or students who “feel” uncomfortable at any place on campus should trust their feelings and contact the Campus Police (911) to be accompanied to their destination. Students should be cautious dating persons they do not know well, and get information about such persons from a mutual acquaintance or try to arrange a double date or group activity. Leaving a party or other social event with someone only recently met can be dangerous. Excessive alcohol impairs judgment. Acquaintance rapes usually involve drugs or alcohol use by one or both parties. Illicit drugs or improperly used prescription drugs can interfere with clear thinking and clear communication. Sexual limitations and desires should be communicated clearly. Finally, students should walk with confidence and alertness. Assailants are less likely to target a person who appears assertive and difficult to intimidate.
Prevention, intervention and education programs specifically addressing rape, acquaintance rape and other sexual offenses are presented during Freshman Orientation for students (Every freshman is required to attend these sessions.) and periodically through Erskine’s Residence Life Program and during Faculty/Staff orientation sessions for employees. For more information on these programs, contact the Office of Student Services (for students) or Non-Discrimination Coordinator (for employees).
Sex Offender Registry and Access to Related Information
Incarceration may remove a sex offender from the streets, but it does nothing to prevent the offender from committing another crime when released. The federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information provided by a State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in the State to provide notice, as required under State law, to each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, or is a student. In South Carolina, convicted sex offenders must register with the County Sheriff’s Office where they reside.
In addition, all persons convicted of violations under the laws of the United States or any other state substantially similar to an offense for which registration is required shall provide to the local agency all necessary information for inclusion in the State Offender Registry within ten days of establishing a residence within South Carolina. Any person required to register shall also be required to re-register within ten days following any change of residence.
Non-resident offenders entering the State for employment, to carry on a vocation, or as a student attending school who are required to register in their state of residence or who would be required to register under this section if a resident of South Carolina shall, within ten days of accepting employment or enrolling in school in South Carolina, be required to register and re-register pursuant to this section. For purposes of this section, “student” means a person who is enrolled on a full-time or part-time basis, in any public or private educational institution, including any secondary school, trade or professional institution, or institution of higher education.
The State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) maintains a website, http://www.sled.state.sc.us/, which allows a search of the Sex Offender Registry for Offenders by Name, City, County, or Zip Code. Information may also be obtained from the SC Attorney General’s office and/or website.
Registry information provided under law shall be used for the purposes of the administration of criminal justice, for the screening of current or prospective employees or volunteers or otherwise for the protection of the public in general and children in particular. Use of the information for purposes not authorized by law is prohibited and a willful violation with the intent to harass or intimidate another can result in prosecution.
The contact information for reporting sexual assaults can be found on the Contact Info page.