Core Values of Student Conduct at Northland College
Northland College students exemplify honesty, honor and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings.
Northland College students build and enhance the college community.
- Social Justice
Northland College students are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the college community and act to discourage and/or intervene to prevent unjust and inequitable behaviors.
Northland College students show positive regard for each other, for property and for the college community.
Northland College students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others and to the college community.
Northland College students are responsible for knowing the information, policies and procedures outlined in this document. Northland College reserves the right to make changes to this code as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. Students are encouraged to check the Northland College catalog for the updated versions of all policies and procedures.
Section 1: Mission/Vision/Philosophy/Ethos Statement
The Northland College mission reflects our core purpose and confirms our faithfulness to the College’s direction established in the early 1970s.
Northland College integrates liberal arts studies with an environmental emphasis, enabling those it serves to address the challenges of the future.
Our history and our mission inform our future and lead us to our vision for Northland College in this decade.
Northland College will be the nation’s preeminent liberal arts college focused on the environment, preparing students and other stakeholders to lead us toward a more sustainable, just, and prosperous future.
We will model and lead in everything we do to create sustainable and thriving communities and regions, while using Lake Superior and the world as our classroom and laboratory.
We will continuously assess, innovate and reinvent ourselves and our programs.
The Northland College community is committed to fostering a campus environment that is conducive to academic inquiry, a productive campus life and thoughtful study and discourse. The division of Student Affairs and the Office of Residential Life are committed to an educational and developmental process that balances the interests of individual students with the interests of the Northland College community.
A community exists on the basis of shared values and principles. At Northland College, student members of the community are expected to uphold and abide by certain standards of conduct that form the basis of the Code of Student Conduct. These standards are embodied within a set of core values that include integrity, social justice, respect, community, and responsibility.
Each member of the Northland College community bears responsibility for their conduct and to assume reasonable responsibility for the behavior of others. When members of the community fail to exemplify these five values by engaging in violation of the rules below, campus conduct proceedings are used to assert and uphold the Code of Student Conduct.
The student conduct process at Northland College is not intended to punish students; rather, it exists to protect the interests of the community and to challenge those whose behavior is not in accordance with our policies. Sanctions are intended to challenge students’ moral and ethical decision-making and to help them bring their behavior into accord with our college community expectations. When a student is unable to conform their behavior to college community expectations, the student conduct process may determine that the student should no longer share in the privilege of participating in this college community.
Students should be aware that the student conduct process is quite different from criminal and civil court proceedings. Procedures and rights in student conduct procedures are conducted with fairness to all, but do not include the same protections afforded by the courts. Fair process, as defined within these procedures, assures written notice and a hearing before an objective decision-maker. No student will be found in violation of Northland College policy without information showing that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred and any sanctions will be proportionate to the severity of the violation and to the cumulative conduct history of the student.
Section 2: Jurisdiction
Students at Northland College are provided a copy of the Code of Student Conduct annually in the form of a link on the Northland College website. Hard copies are available upon request from the Office of Residential Life. Students are responsible for having read and abiding by the provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. Each Resident Assistant (RA) will maintain a copy of the Code of Student Conduct in a binder in their room for review by residents as requested.
The Code of Student Conduct and the student conduct process apply to the conduct of individual students, and all Northland College-affiliated student organizations. For the purposes of student conduct, Northland College considers an individual to be a student when an offer of admission has been extended and thereafter as long as the student has a continuing educational interest in Northland College.
Northland College retains conduct jurisdiction over students who choose to take a leave of absence, withdraw or have graduated for any misconduct that occurred prior to the leave, withdrawal or graduation. If sanctioned, a hold may be placed on the student’s ability to re-enroll and all sanctions must be satisfied prior to re-enrollment eligibility. In the event of serious misconduct committed while still enrolled but reported after the accused student has graduated, Northland College may invoke these procedures and should the former student be found responsible, Northland College may revoke that student’s degree.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at Northland College-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus when the dean of students or designee determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial Northland College interest. A substantial Northland College interest is defined to include:
- Any situation where it appears that the student’s conduct may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others; and/or
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational mission and/or interests of Northland College;
The Code of Student Conduct may be applied to behavior conducted online, via email or other electronic medium. Students should also be aware that online postings such as blogs, web postings, chats and social networking sites are in the public sphere and are not private. These postings can subject a student to allegations of conduct violations if evidence of policy violations is posted online. Northland College does not regularly search for this information but may take action if and when such information is brought to the attention of Northland College officials.
The Code of Student Conduct applies to guests of college community members whose hosts may be held accountable for the misconduct of their guests. The code may also be applied to resident non-students, campers and high school bridge/extension/partner/dual-credit and continuing education programs. Visitors to and guests of Northland College may seek resolution of violations of the Code of Student Conduct committed against them by members of the Northland College community.
There is no time limit on reporting violations of the Code of Student Conduct; however, the longer someone waits to report an offense, the harder it becomes for Northland College officials to obtain information and witness statements and to make determinations regarding alleged violations.
Though anonymous complaints are permitted, doing so may limit Northland College’s ability to investigate and respond to a complaint. Those who are aware of misconduct are encouraged to report it as quickly as possible to the Office of Residential Life and/or to Campus Safety.
A responding student facing an alleged violation of the Code of Student Conduct is not permitted to withdraw from the Northland College until all allegations are resolved.
Northland College email is Northland College’s primary means of communication with students. Students are responsible for all communication delivered to their Northland College email address.
Section 3: Violations of the Law
Alleged violations of federal, state and local laws may be investigated and addressed under the Code of Student Conduct. When an offense occurs over which Northland College has jurisdiction, the Northland College conduct process will usually go forward notwithstanding any criminal complaint that may arise from the same incident.
Northland College reserves the right to exercise its authority of interim suspension upon notification that a student is facing criminal investigation and/or complaint (additional grounds for interim suspension are outlined below). Interim suspensions are imposed until an inquiry can be completed. The interim suspension will be implemented if a danger to the community is posed.
Students accused of crimes may request to take a leave from Northland College until the criminal charges are resolved. In such situations, the Northland College procedure for voluntary leaves of absence is subject to the following conditions:
- The responding student must comply with all campus investigative efforts that will not prejudice their defense in the criminal trial; and
- The responding student must comply with all interim actions and/or restrictions imposed during the leave of absence; and
- The responding student must agree that, in order to be reinstated to active student status, they must first be subject to, and fully cooperate with, the campus conduct process and must comply with all sanctions that are imposed.
Section 4: The Rules
Core Values and Behavioral Expectations
Northland College considers the behavior described in the following sub-sections as inappropriate for the Northland College community and in opposition to the core values set forth in this document. These expectations and rules apply to all students. Northland College encourages college community members to report to Northland College officials all incidents that involve the following actions. Any student found to have committed or to have attempted to commit the following misconduct is subject to the sanctions outlined in “Section 7: Conduct Procedures.”
Integrity: Northland College students exemplify honesty, honor and a respect for the truth in all of their dealings. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
Knowingly furnishing or possessing false, falsified or forged materials, documents, accounts, records, identification or financial instruments;
- Academic Dishonesty
Acts of academic dishonesty will be addressed by the processes outlined by the faculty of Northland College;
- Unauthorized Access
Unauthorized access to any Northland College building (i.e. keys, cards, etc.) or unauthorized possession, duplication or use of means of access to any Northland College building or failing to timely report a lost Northland College identification card or key;
Action or inaction with another or others to violate the Code of Student Conduct;
Violations of positions of trust within the college community;
- Election Tampering
Tampering with the election of any Northland College-recognized student organization (minor election code violations are addressed by the NCSA);
- Taking of Property
Intentional and unauthorized taking of Northland College property or the personal property of another, including goods, services and other valuables;
- Stolen Property
Knowingly taking or maintaining possession of stolen property;
Community: Northland College students build and enhance the college community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Disruptive Behavior
Substantial disruption of Northland College operations including obstruction of teaching, research, administration, other Northland College activities, and/or other authorized non-Northland College activities which occur on campus;
Causing, inciting or participating in any disturbance that presents a clear and present danger to self or others, causes physical harm to others, or damage and/or destruction of property;
- Unauthorized Entry
Misuse of access privileges to Northland College premises or unauthorized entry to or use of buildings, including trespassing, propping or unauthorized use of alarmed doors for entry into or exit from a Northland College building;
Unauthorized use (including misuse) of Northland College or organizational names and images;
- Damage and Destruction
Intentional, reckless and/or unauthorized damage to or destruction of Northland College property or the personal property of another;
- IT and Acceptable Use
Violating the Northland College Acceptable Use and Computing Policy;
Gambling as prohibited by the laws of the State of Wisconsin. (Gambling may include raffles, lotteries, sports pools and online betting activities.)
In the state of Wisconsin a “dangerous weapon” means any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded; any device designed as a weapon and capable of producing death or great bodily harm; any electric weapon, as defined in statute 941.295; or any other device or instrumentality which, in the manner it is used or intended to be used, is calculated or likely to produce death or great bodily harm. Possession, use, or distribution of explosives and/or dangerous weapons, are not permitted on the Northland College campus. Handguns are not permitted in any college building. Hunting equipment and related tools must be stored in the Hunting Equipment Storage Room as directed by Campus Safety. Refer to the Hunting Equipment Storage Policy. For the protection and safety of all hall residents and the college community, explosives, dangerous weapons and hunting equipment are not permitted in residence halls or any place on campus including storage in vehicles;
Smoking or tobacco use in any area of campus where smoking or tobacco use are prohibited;
- Fire Safety
Violation of local, state, federal or campus fire policies including, but not limited to:
- Intentionally or recklessly causing a fire which damages Northland College or personal property or which causes injury.
- Failure to evacuate a Northland College-controlled building during a fire alarm;
- Improper use of Northland College fire safety equipment; or
- Tampering with or improperly engaging a fire alarm or fire detection/control equipment while on Northland College property. Such action may result in a local fine in addition to Northland College sanctions;
Animals and pets as outlined in the Residence Life Handbook, are not permitted in campus housing except as permitted by law. Exceptions include accommodation animals. For the purpose of this policy, the term “accommodation animal” refers to “service animals,” “emotional support animal”, “assistive animals” and “necessary assistance animals” as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Fair Housing Act, and other applicable laws.
Social Justice: Students recognize that respecting the dignity of every person is essential for creating and sustaining a flourishing college community. They understand and appreciate how their decisions and actions impact others and are just and equitable in their treatment of all members of the college community. They act to discourage and challenge those whose actions may be harmful to and/or diminish the worth of others. Conduct that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
Any act or failure to act that is based upon an individual or group’s actual or perceived status that is sufficiently severe that it limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from Northland College’s educational program or activities.
Any unwelcome conduct based on actual or perceived status. Any unwelcome conduct should be reported to campus officials, who will act to remedy and resolve reported incidents on behalf of those who have been victimized and the college community.
- Hostile Environment: Sanctions can and will be imposed for the creation of a hostile environment when harassment is sufficiently serious that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or denies the ability to participate in or benefit from Northland College’s educational or employment program or activities.
- Retaliatory Discrimination or Harassment
Any intentional, adverse action taken by a responding individual or allied third party, against a participant or supporter of a participant in a civil rights grievance proceeding or other protected activity under this code.
- Complicity with or failure of any student to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law;
- Complicity with or failure of any organized group to appropriately address known or obvious violations of the Code of Student Conduct or law by its members.
- Abuse of Conduct Process
Abuse or interference with, or failure to comply in, Northland College processes including conduct and academic integrity inquiries including, but not limited to:
- Falsification, distortion, or misrepresentation of information;
- Failure to provide, destroying or concealing information during an investigation of an alleged policy violation;
- Attempting to discourage an individual’s proper participation in, or use of, the campus conduct system;
- Harassment (verbal or physical) and/or intimidation of campus conduct officers prior to, during, and/or following a campus conduct proceeding;
- Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the campus conduct system;
- Influencing, or attempting to influence, another person to commit an abuse of the campus conduct system.
Respect: Northland College students show positive regard for each other and for the college community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
- Harm to Persons
Intentionally or recklessly causing physical harm or endangering the health or safety of any person.
- Threatening Behaviors
- Threat: Written or verbal conduct that causes a reasonable expectation of injury to the health or safety of any person or damage to any property.
- Intimidation: Intimidation defined as implied threats or acts that cause a reasonable fear of harm in another.
- Bullying and Cyberbullying
Bullying and cyberbullying are repeated and/or severe aggressive behaviors that intimidate or intentionally harm or control another person physically or emotionally.
Defined as an act that endangers the mental or physical health or safety of a student, or that destroys or removes public or private property, for the purpose of initiation, admission into, affiliation with, or as a condition for continued membership in a group or organization. Participation or cooperation by the person(s) being hazed does not excuse the violation. Failing to intervene to prevent or failing to discourage or failing to report those acts may also violate this policy;
- Intimate Partner/Relationship Violence. Violence or abuse by a person in an intimate relationship with another;
Stalking is behavior and/or action directed at a specific person that is unwelcome and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear or suffer substantial emotional distress;
- Sexual Misconduct
Includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, and/or sexual exploitation (see Gender-based Sexual Misconduct policy);
- Public Exposure
Includes deliberately and publicly exposing one’s intimate body parts, public urination, defecation, and public sex acts.
Responsibility: Northland College students are given and accept a high level of responsibility to self, to others and to the college community. Behavior that violates this value includes, but is not limited to:
Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and Northland College’s Alcohol policy;
Use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs and other controlled substances or drug paraphernalia except as expressly permitted by law and Northland College’s Drug policy;
- Prescription Medications
Abuse, misuse, sale, or distribution of prescription or over-the-counter medications;
- Failure to Comply
Failure to comply with the reasonable directives of Northland College officials or law enforcement officers during the performance of their duties and/or failure to identify oneself to these persons when requested to do so;
- Financial Responsibilities
Failure to promptly meet financial responsibilities to the institution, including, but not limited to; knowingly passing a worthless check or money order in payment to the institution or to an official of the institution acting in an official capacity.
- Reporting an Arrest
Failure of any student to accurately report an off-campus arrest by any law enforcement agency for any crime (including non-custodial or field arrests) to the Office of Residential Life within seventy-two (72) hours of release.
- Other Policies
Violating other published Northland College policies or rules, including all Residence Hall policies;
- Health and Safety
Creation of health and/or safety hazards (dangerous pranks, hanging out of or climbing from/on/in windows, balconies, roofs, etc.)
- Violations of Law
Evidence of violation of local, state or federal laws, when substantiated through Northland College’s conduct process.
Section 5: Overview of the Conduct Process
This overview gives a general idea of how Northland College’s campus conduct proceedings work, but it should be noted that not all situations are of the same severity or complexity. Thus, these procedures are flexible, and are not exactly the same in every situation, though consistency in similar situations is a priority. The campus conduct process and all applicable timelines commence with notice to an administrator of a potential violation of Northland College rules.
A. STEP 1: Preliminary Inquiry and/or Educational Conference
Northland College conducts a preliminary inquiry into the nature of the incident, complaint or notice, the evidence available, and the parties involved. The preliminary inquiry may lead to:
- A determination that there is insufficient evidence to pursue the investigation, because the behavior alleged, even if proven, would not violate the Code of Student Conduct, (e.g.: for reasons such as mistaken identity or allegations of behavior that falls outside the code);
- A more comprehensive investigation, when it is clear more information must be gathered (see detailed procedures below);
- A formal complaint of a violation and/or an educational conference with the responding student.
When an initial educational meeting/conference is held, the possible outcomes include:
- A decision not to pursue the allegation based on a lack of or insufficient evidence. The matter should be closed and records should so indicate;
- A decision on the allegation, also known as an “informal” or “administrative” resolution to an uncontested allegation (see immediately below);
- A decision to proceed with additional investigation and/or referral for a “formal” resolution.
If a decision on the allegation is made and the finding is that the responding student is not responsible for violating the code, the process will end. The party bringing the complaint may request that the director of residential life and the Title IX administrator reopen the investigation. This decision shall be in the sole discretion of the director of residential life and the Title IX administrator and will only be granted for extraordinary cause. If Northland College’s finding is that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student accepts this finding within three days, Northland College considers this an “uncontested allegation.” The administrator conducting the initial educational conference will then determine the sanction(s) for the misconduct, which the responding student may accept or reject. If accepted, the process ends.
If student accepts the findings, but rejects the sanction, Northland College will conduct a sanction-only hearing, conducted by a hearing panel which recommends a sanction to the director of residential life. The sanction is then reviewed and finalized by the director of residential life and is subject to appeal by any party to the misconduct. Once the appeal is decided, the process ends.
If the administrator conducting the educational conference determines that it is more likely than not that the responding student is in violation, and the responding student rejects that finding in whole or in part, then it is considered a contested allegation and the process moves to Step 2.
B. STEP 2: Formal Hearing
In a contested allegation, additional investigation may then be commenced and/or a hearing may be held when there is reasonable cause to believe that a rule or rules have been violated. A formal notice of the complaint will be issued, and a hearing will be held before a panel. In most instances, the hearing will involve reviewing all relevant information about the incident and generally will not include directly interviewing involved parties. A finding will be determined and is final. In cases that involve Title IX or other discrimination allegations, the process will be addressed by the Title IX administrator. If the finding is that the responding student is not responsible, the process ends. Applicable appeals options are described below.
C. STEP 3: Review and Finalize Sanction(s).
If the student is found in violation(s), sanctions will be recommended by the hearing panel to the director of residential life who will review and finalize the sanctions.
Section 6: Student Conduct Authority
The dean of students is vested with the authority over student conduct by the Board of Trustees and College president. The dean of students appoints the director of residential life to oversee and manage the student conduct process. The dean of students and director of residential life may appoint investigators, administrative hearing and appeals officers as deemed necessary to efficiently and effectively supervise the student conduct process.
The director of residential life (or designee) will assume responsibility for the investigation of an allegation of misconduct to determine if the complaint has merit.
No complaint will be forwarded for a hearing unless there is reasonable cause to believe a policy has been violated. Reasonable cause is defined as some credible information to support each element of the offense, even if that information is merely a credible witness or a victim’s statement. A complaint wholly unsupported by any credible information will not be forwarded for a hearing. Complaints that may result in suspension or expulsion from the College will automatically be forwarded to the hearing panel. The director of residential life will serve as the primary gatekeeper.
C. Conflict Resolution Options
The director of residential life has discretion to refer a complaint for mediation or other forms of appropriate conflict resolution. All parties must agree to conflict resolution and to be bound by the decision with no review/appeal. Any unsuccessful conflict resolution can be forwarded for formal processing and hearing; however, at no time will complaints of physical sexual misconduct or violence be mediated as the sole institutional response. The director of residential life may also suggest that complaints that do not involve a violation of the Code of Student Conduct be referred for mediation or other appropriate conflict resolution.
D. Composition of the Hearing Panel
The director of residential life will be responsible for assembling the Hearing Panel according to the following guidelines:
- The membership of the panel is five is appointed and trained annually by the dean of students.
- For each complaint, a panel will be chosen from the available pool, and is usually comprised of three students and two staff /faculty members. Availability may determine a different composition for the panel, and in complaints involving sensitive issues, the dean of students will replace student members and use three staff/faculty members for the panel. Each Hearing Panel will select a facilitator who assures that Northland College procedures are followed throughout the hearing.
- The Hearing Panel will be convened for cases involving suspension or expulsion referred to it by the dean of students or the director of residential life.
E. Panel Pool
To serve in the panel pool, students must:
- Be in academic good standing and have completed 15 hours of academic credit with a cumulative GPA of at least 2.5. This requirements ensures that serving on the hearing panel will not adversely affect academic progress for student members of the panel.
- Be in good standing with the conduct process. Good standing is defined as having no record of misconduct.
- Submit a letter of recommendation from a faculty or staff member from within the Northland College community. This requirement ensures that students who are chosen are endorsed by members of the college community.
The director of residential life will have final authority to approve all those serving on the panel. The director of residential life (or designee) will oversee the panel with responsibility for training the panel, conducting preliminary investigations, and ensuring a fair process for the party bringing the complaint and responding student. In the event of a resignation from the panel, the director of residential life (or designee) will solicit a replacement from the group from which the representative came. Decisions made, and sanctions imposed, by the panel will be final and implemented, pending the normal appeal process. At the discretion of the director of residential life (or designee), implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review.
F. Interpretation and Revision
The director of residential life will develop procedural rules for the administration of hearings that are consistent with provisions of the Code of Student Conduct. Material deviation from these rules will, generally, only be made as necessary and will include reasonable advance notice to the parties involved, either by posting online and/or in the form of written communication. The director of residential life may vary procedures with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this code. The director of residential life may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. Any question of interpretation of the Code of Student Conduct will be referred to the dean of students, whose interpretation is final. The Code of Student Conduct will be reviewed annually under the direction of the director of residential life with a comprehensive revision process being conducted every three to five years.
Section 7: Formal Conduct Procedures
A. Northland College as Convener
Northland College is the convener of every action under this code. Within that action, there are several roles. The responding student is the person who is alleged to have violated the code. The party bringing the complaint, who may be a student, employee, visitor, or guest, may choose to be present and participate in the process as fully as the responding student. There are witnesses, who may offer information regarding the allegation. There is an investigator(s) whose role is to present the allegations and share the evidence that Northland College has obtained regarding the allegations.
B. Group Violations
A student group or organization and its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this code by the organization or its member(s):
- Take place at organization-sponsored or cosponsored events, whether sponsorship is formal or tacit;
- Have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s leaders or officers; or
- Were known or should have been known to the membership or its officers.
Hearings for student groups or organizations follow the same general student conduct procedures. In any such action, individual determinations as to responsibility will be made and sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually and will be proportionate to the involvement of each individual and the organization.
- For Victims
Northland College provides amnesty to victims who may be hesitant to report to Northland College officials because they fear that they themselves may be accused of minor policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
- For Those Who Offer Assistance
To encourage students to offer help and assistance to others, Northland College pursues a policy of amnesty for minor violations when students offer help to others in need. At the discretion of the director of residential life, amnesty may also be extended on a case-by-case basis to the person receiving assistance. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record will result.
- For Those Who Report Serious Violations
Students who are engaged in minor violations but who choose to bring related serious violations by others to the attention of Northland College are offered amnesty for their minor violations. Educational options will be explored, but no conduct proceedings or record will result. Abuse of amnesty requests can result in a decision by the director of residential life not to extend amnesty to the same person repeatedly.
- Safe Harbor
Northland College has a Safe Harbor rule for students. Northland College believes that students who have a drug and/or addiction problem deserve help. If any Northland College student brings their own use, addiction, or dependency to the attention of Northland College officials outside the threat of drug tests or conduct sanctions and seeks assistance, a conduct complaint will not be pursued. A written action plan may be used to track cooperation with the Safe Harbor program by the student. Failure to follow the action plan will nullify the Safe Harbor protection and campus conduct processes will be initiated.
D. Notice of Alleged Violation
Any member of the Northland College community, visitor or guest may allege a policy violation(s) by any student for misconduct under this code.
Notice may also be given to the director of residential life (or designee) and/or to the Title IX administrator, when appropriate. Additionally, administrators may act on notice of a potential violation whether a formal allegation is made or not. All allegations can be submitted by a victim or a third party, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. Northland College has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf and to serve as convener of the subsequent campus conduct process.
The director of residential life (or designee) will assume responsibility for the investigation of the alleged violation as described in the sub-section below.
Investigation is referenced in both steps one and two above, with detailed investigation procedures described in this sub-section. The director of residential life will appoint an investigator(s) for allegations under this code. For any complaint that falls under Title IX (e.g. sexual misconduct) or involves any other form of discrimination, the director of residential life will work under the direction of the Title IX administrator. The investigator(s) will take the following steps, if not already completed by the Title IX administrator or designee:
- Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim (if any);
- Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a Northland College proxy or representative;
- Assess the Duty to Warn;
- Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies that may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;
- If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the victim;
- Notify the victim of whether Northland College intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the victim of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose;
- Preliminary investigation usually takes between one to seven business days to complete;
- If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the Title IX administrator or director of residential life, conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated Northland College policy, and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint;
- If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action;
- A comprehensive investigation usually takes between one day and three weeks;
- Meet with the party bringing the complaint to finalize their statement, which will be drawn up by the investigator or designee as a result of this meeting;
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan. The responding student, will be given notice of the interview prior to the interview;
- Prepare the notice of alleged policy violation(s) on the basis of the reasonable cause determination, which will be delivered to the responding student prior to their interview;
- Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to share;
- Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;
- Obtain all physical evidence that is available;
- Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;
- The Hearing Panel reserves the right to directly question complainants, respondents, and any witnesses;
- Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
- Present the investigation report and findings to the responding student, who may:
- accept the findings,
- accept the findings in part and reject them in part,
- or may reject all findings;
- Share the findings and update the party bringing the complaint on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
The following options (1-3) describe how to proceed depending on whether the responding student is found responsible and whether the responding student accepts or rejects the findings and/or the sanctions either in whole or in part.
Responding students have three days to accept the findings resulting from an administrative conference.
- The Responding Student is Found “Not Responsible”
Where the responding student is found not responsible for the alleged violation(s), the investigation will be closed. The party bringing the complaint, if any, may request that the Title IX administrator and/or director of residential life, as applicable, review the investigation file to possibly re-open the investigation or convene a hearing. The decision to re-open an investigation or convene a hearing rests solely in the discretion of the Title IX administrator or the director of residential life in these cases, and is granted only on the basis of extraordinary cause.
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible”
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible” and Accepts the Recommended Sanctions: Should the responding student accept the finding that they violated Northland College policy, the Investigator will recommend appropriate sanctions for the violation, having consulted with director of residential life and/or Title IX administrator as appropriate. In cases involving discrimination, recommended sanctions will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the Northland College community. If the responding student accepts these recommended sanctions, the sanctions are implemented by the director of residential life and the process ends. This outcome is not subject to appeal.
- The Responding Student Accepts a Finding of “Responsible” and Rejects the Sanctions Recommended: If the responding student accepts the “responsible” findings, but rejects the recommended sanctions, there will be an administrative conference on the sanction, only. Administrative conference procedures are detailed below.
- Responding Student Rejects the Findings Completely or In-part
- Responding Student Rejects the Findings Completely: Where the responding student rejects the finding that they violated Northland College policy, a formal hearing will be convened within ten business days, barring exigent circumstances. At the hearing, the investigator(s) will present their report to the panel. The investigation report will be considered by the panel, which renders an independent and objective finding. The panel may choose to interview the parties and any necessary witnesses if more information is needed. Full panel procedures are detailed below. If the panel finds the responding student not responsible for all violations, the director of residential life will timely inform the parties of this determination and the rationale for the decision in writing. This determination is subject to appeal by any party to the complaint. Appeal review procedures are outlined below. If the panel finds a violation, it will recommend a sanction/responsive action to the director of residential life, who will render a decision within three days of the hearing and timely notify the parties in writing. An appeal of sanction(s) may be filed by any party to the complaint as detailed below.
- Responding Student Accepts the Findings in Part and Rejects in Part: Where the responding student rejects in part the finding that they violated Northland College policy, there will be a panel hearing solely on the disputed allegations within ten business days, barring exigent circumstances. For all findings holding a responding student responsible for a violation, Northland College will follow the sanctioning process detailed below. If the Panel finds the responding student “Not Responsible” on any of the contested allegations, the process will move to the Sanctioning Phase on only the uncontested allegations, as detailed below.
G. Special Hearing Provisions for Sexual Misconduct, Discrimination and Other Complaints of a Sensitive Nature
Sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature including but not limited to dating violence, domestic violence and stalking will be addressed by The director of residential life or the Title IX administrator outside of the hearing panel process.
H. Notice of Hearing
Once a determination is made that reasonable cause exists for the director of residential life (or designee) to refer a complaint for a hearing, notice will be given directly to the responding student. Notice will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the director of residential life (or designee emailed to the student’s Northland College-issued email account; mailed to the student using the Northland College campus mail system; or mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official Northland College records;. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. The letter of notice will:
- Include the alleged violation and notification of where to locate the Code of Student Conduct and Northland College procedures for resolution of the complaint; and
- Direct the responding student to contact the director of residential life (or designee) within a specified period of time to respond to the complaint. This time period will generally be no less than two business days from the date of delivery of the summons letter.
A meeting with the director of residential life (or designee) may be arranged to explain the nature of the complaint and the conduct process. At this meeting, the responding student may indicate, either verbally or in writing, to the director of residential life (or designee), whether they admit to or deny the allegations of the complaint.
I. Interim Action
Under the Code of Student Conduct, the dean of students or designee may impose restrictions and/or separate a student from the community pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct when a student represents a threat of serious harm to others, is facing allegations of serious criminal activity, to preserve the integrity of an investigation, to preserve Northland College property and/or to prevent disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of Northland College. Interim actions can include separation from the institution or restrictions on participation in the community pending the scheduling of a campus hearing on alleged violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct. A student who receives an interim suspension may request a meeting with the dean of students or designee to demonstrate why an interim suspension is not merited. Regardless of the outcome of this meeting, Northland College may still proceed with the scheduling of a campus hearing.
During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to Northland College housing and/or Northland College campus/facilities/events. As determined appropriate by the director of residential life, this restriction may include classes and/or all other Northland College activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the director of residential life and with the approval of, and in collaboration with, the appropriate academic dean, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding student.
J. Hearing Options & Preparation
The following sub-sections describe Northland College’s conduct hearing processes. Except in a complaint involving failure to comply with the summons of the director of residential life (or designee), no student may be found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct solely as a result of the student’s failure to appear for a hearing. In all such instances, conduct hearings will proceed as scheduled and the information in support of the complaint will be presented to, and considered by, the director of residential life, or hearing panel presiding over the hearing.
Where the responding student admits to violating the Code of Student Conduct, the director of residential life (or designee) may invoke administrative hearing procedures to determine and administer appropriate sanctions without a formal hearing. This process is also known as an administrative conference. In an administrative conference, complaints will be heard and determinations will be made by the director of residential life or designee.
Where the responding student denies violating the Code of Student Conduct, a formal hearing will be conducted. This process is known as a panel hearing. At the discretion of the director of residential life (or designee), a request by one or more of the parties to the complaint for an administrative conference may be considered. Students who deny a violation for which a panel hearing will be held will be given a minimum of three (3) days to prepare. Preparation for a formal hearing is summarized in the following guidelines:
- Notice of the time, date and location of the hearing will be in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the director of residential life(or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official Northland College records; mailed to the student through the campus mail system; or emailed to the student’s Northland College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered.
- If there is an alleged victim of the conduct in question, the alleged victim may serve as the party bringing the complaint or may elect to have the Northland College administration serve as the party bringing the complaint forward. Where there is no alleged victim, the Northland College administration will serve as the party bringing the complaint forward.
- If a responding student fails to respond to notice from the director of residential life (or designee), the director of residential life (or designee) may initiate a complaint against the student for failure to comply with the directives of a Northland College official and give notice of this offense. Unless the student responds to this notice within two days by answering the original notice, an administrative conference may be scheduled and held on the student’s behalf. As a result, the student may be administratively withdrawn from attending classes or a disciplinary hold may be placed on their Northland College account, deeming them ineligible to register for courses or Northland College housing until such time as the student responds to the initial complaint.
- At least five (5) days before any scheduled formal hearing, the following will occur:a) The responding student will deliver to the director of residential life (or designee) a written response to the complaint;b) The responding student will deliver to the director of residential life (or designee) a written list of potential witnesses for Northland College to interview;c) The responding student will deliver to the director of residential life (or designee) all physical evidence the student needs to have present at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the director of residential life can arrange for its presence;d) The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the director of residential life (or designee) a written list of potential witnesses for Northland College to interview;e) The party bringing the complaint will deliver to the director of residential life (or designee) all items of physical evidence needed at the hearing and will indicate who has possession or custody of such evidence, if known, so that the director of residential life can arrange for its presence;f) The party bringing the complaint and the responding student will notify the director of residential life (or designee) of the names of an advisor/advocate who may be accompanying the parties at the hearing.
- The director of residential life (or designee) will ensure that the hearing information and any other available written documentation will be gathered at least two (2) days before any scheduled hearing. In addition, the hearing panelists will be given a list of the names of all the parties in advance. Hearing panelists will only be unseated if the director of residential life concludes that a bias exists. Additionally, any panelist who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings.
K. Panel Hearing Procedures
The director of residential life will appoint a staff/faculty panelist as the chair for the hearing. The parties have the right to be present only at their portion of the hearing as called for questioning by the hearing panel; however, they do not have the right to be present during deliberations. If a student cannot attend the hearing, it is that student’s responsibility to notify the director of residential life no less than three (3) days prior to the scheduled hearing to arrange for another date, time and location. Except in cases of grave or unforeseen circumstances, if the responding student fails to give the requisite minimum three (3) day notice, or if the responding student fails to appear, the hearing will proceed as scheduled. If the party bringing the complaint fails to appear, the complaint may be dropped unless Northland College chooses to pursue the allegation on its own behalf, as determined by the director of residential life.
The director of residential life(or designee), the chair and the panel will conduct panel hearings according to the following guidelines:
- Hearings will be closed to the public.
- Admission to the hearing of persons other than the parties involved will be at the discretion of the panel chair and the director of residential life.
- In hearings involving more than one responding student, the standard procedure will be to hear the complaints jointly; however, the director of residential life may permit the hearing pertinent to each responding student to be conducted separately. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding student.
- The parties have the right to an advisor/advocate of their own choosing. An advisor/advocate may be chosen only from within the current Northland College community. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the party bringing the complaint or responding student during the hearing. Their role is to support the party but not to participate in the hearing. Students who have legal representation may consult with their lawyer prior to the panel hearing.
- The panel and the director of residential life (or designee) will have the opportunity to question all present witnesses and question all present complainant(s) and respondent(s) (at the discretion of the chair). Unduly repetitive witnesses can be limited at the discretion of the director of residential life, or designee.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the panel and the director of residential life.
- All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the director of residential life.
- After a panel hearing, the panel will deliberate and determine, whether it is more likely than not that the responding student has violated the Code of Student Conduct. Best efforts will be made to reach consensus during the deliberations, however if consensus cannot be reached, the panel will make determinations by majority vote. The director of residential life(or designee) may be present and available as a resource during all deliberations. Once a finding is determined, if the finding is that of a policy violation, the panel will determine an appropriate sanction(s). The investigators are responsible for informing the panel of any previous conduct violations or other relevant pattern information about the responding student. The panel chair will prepare a written deliberation report and deliver it to the director of residential life, detailing the recommended finding, how each member voted, the information cited by the panel in support of its recommendation, and any information the panel excluded from its consideration and why. This report should conclude with any recommended sanctions. This report should not exceed two pages in length and must be submitted to the director of residential life within two (2) days of the end of deliberations.
- The director of residential life will consider the sanction recommendations of the panel, may make appropriate modifications to the panel’s report and will then render a decision regarding appropriate sanctions and inform the responding student and party bringing the complaint of the final determination within four (4) days of the hearing. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person by the director of residential life (or designee); mailed to the local or permanent address of the student as indicated in official Northland College records; mailed to the student using the campus mail system; or emailed to the student’s Northland College-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, such notice will be presumptively delivered. In cases of sexual misconduct and other crimes of violence, notice of the outcome will be delivered to all parties simultaneously, meaning without substantial delay between the notifications to each.
- There will be a single record for all panel hearings. The record will be the property of Northland College and maintained according to Northland College’s record retention policy.
L. Conduct Sanctions
One or more of following sanctions may be imposed upon any student for any single violation of the Code of Student Conduct:
An official written notice that the student has violated Northland College policies and/or rules and that more severe conduct action will result should the student be involved in other violations while the student is enrolled at Northland College.
Compensation for damage caused to Northland College or any person’s property. This could also include situations such as failure to return a reserved space to proper condition–labor costs and expenses. This is not a fine but, rather, a repayment for labor costs and/or the value of property destroyed, damaged, consumed, or stolen.
Reasonable fines may be imposed. Fines will range from $25.00 to $300.00.
- Community/Northland College Service Requirements
For a student or organization to complete a specific supervised community service project.
- Loss of Privileges
The student will be denied specified privileges for a designated period of time.
- Confiscation of Prohibited Property
Items whose presence is in violation of Northland College policy will be confiscated and will become the property of Northland College. Prohibited items may be returned to the owner at the discretion of the director of residential life and/or Office of Campus Safety.
- Behavioral Requirement
This includes required activities including, but not limited to, seeking academic counseling or substance abuse screening, writing a letter of apology, etc.
- Educational Program
Requirement to attend, present and/or participate in a program related to the violation. It may also be a requirement to sponsor or assist with a program for others on campus to aid them in learning about a specific topic or issue related to the violation for which the student or organization was found responsible. Audience may be restricted.
- Restriction of Visitation Privileges
May be imposed on a resident or non-resident student. The parameters of the restriction will be specified.
- Northland College Housing Probation
Official notice that, should further violations of Residence Life or Northland College policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may immediately be removed from Northland College housing.
- Northland College Housing Reassignment
Reassignment to another Northland College housing facility. Residential Life personnel will decide on the reassignment details.
- Northland College Housing Suspension
Removal from Northland College housing for a specified period of time after which the student is eligible to return. Conditions for re-admission to Northland College housing may be specified. Under this sanction, a student is required to vacate Northland College housing within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the director of residential life. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary. Prior to reapplication for Northland College housing, the student must gain permission from the director of residential life (or designee). This sanction may include restrictions on visitation to specified buildings or all Northland College housing during the suspension.
- Northland College Housing Expulsion
The student’s privilege to live in, or visit, any Northland College housing building is revoked indefinitely. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action if deemed necessary.
- Northland College Probation
The student is put on official notice that, should further violations of Northland College policies occur during a specified probationary period, the student may face suspension or expulsion.
- Eligibility Restriction
The student is deemed “not in good standing” with Northland College for a specified period of time. Specific limitations or exceptions may be granted by the director of residential life and terms of this conduct sanction may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Ineligibility to hold any office in any student organization recognized by Northland College or hold an elected or appointed office at Northland College; or
- Ineligibility to represent Northland College to anyone outside the Northland College community in any way including: participating in the study abroad program, attending conferences, or representing Northland College at an official function, event or intercollegiate competition as a player, manager or student coach, etc.
- Northland College Suspension
Separation from Northland College for a specified minimum period of time, after which the student is eligible to return. Eligibility may be contingent upon satisfaction of specific conditions noted at the time of suspension. The student is required to vacate the campus within 24 hours of notification of the action, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the director of residential life. During the suspension period, the student is banned from college property, functions, events and activities without prior written approval from the director of residential life. This sanction may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Suspension on the student’s official academic transcript.
- Northland College Expulsion
Permanent separation from Northland College. The student is banned from college property and the student’s presence at any Northland College-sponsored activity or event is prohibited. This action may be enforced with a trespass action as necessary. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official academic transcript.
- Other Sanctions
Additional or alternate sanctions may be created and designed as deemed appropriate to the offense with the approval of the director of residential life or designee.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon groups or organizations found to have violated the Code of Student Conduct:
- One or more of the sanctions listed above, and/or
- Deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including status as a Northland College registered group/organization), for a specified period of time in consultation with the Northland College Student Association.
M. Parental Notification
Per the federal financial aid guidelines, Northland College reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. Northland College may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or other drug violations. Parental notification may also be utilized discretionarily by administrators when permitted by FERPA or consent of the student. Parental notification would occur in consultation with the student.
N. Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the education record of the responding student and is protected from release under the Federal Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), except under certain conditions. As allowed by FERPA, when a student is accused of a policy violation that would constitute a “crime of violence” or forcible or non-forcible sex offense, Northland College will inform the alleged victim/party bringing the complaint in writing of the final results of a hearing regardless of whether Northland College concludes that a violation was committed. Such release of information may only include the alleged student’s/responding student’s name, the violation committed, and the sanctions assigned (if applicable). In cases of sexual misconduct and other offenses covered by Title IX, only, the rationale for the outcome will also be shared with all parties to the complaint in addition to the finding and sanction(s).
In cases where Northland College determines through the student conduct process that a student violated a policy that would constitute a “crime of violence” or non-forcible sex offense, Northland College may also release the above information publicly and/or to any third party. FERPA defines “crimes of violence” to include:
- Assault offenses (includes stalking)
- Criminal Homicide—manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal Homicide—murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
O. Failure to Complete Conduct Sanctions
All students, as members of the Northland College community, are expected to comply with conduct sanctions within the timeframe specified by the director of residential life. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions and/or suspension from Northland College. In such situations, resident students will be required to vacate Northland College housing within 24 hours of notification by the Director of Residential Life, though this deadline may be extended upon application to, and at the discretion of, the director of residential life. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance with conduct sanctions is satisfactorily achieved and the student has successfully petitioned to return to the College. This determination will be made by the director of residential life in consultation with the vice president of student affairs.
P. Appeal Review Procedures
Any party may request an appeal of the decision of the Hearing Panel by filing a written request to the director of residential life, subject to the procedures outlined below. All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body remain in effect, and all parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision.
GROUNDS FOR APPEAL REQUESTS
Appeals requests are limited to the following grounds:
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by Northland College for this type of offense or the cumulative conduct record of the responding student.
Appeals must be filed in writing with the director of residential life within five (5) business days of the notice of the outcome to the hearing, barring exigent circumstances. Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the director of residential life and, when appropriate, the Title IX administrator.
The director of residential life will share the appeal by one party with the other party (parties) when appropriate under procedure (e.g., if the responding student appeals, the appeal is shared with the complainant, who may also wish to file a response, request an appeal on the same grounds or different grounds). The dean of students will consider and review request(s) for appeals. The dean of students will draft a response memorandum to the appeal request(s) that the request(s) will be granted or denied, and why.
If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and sanction will stand and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the dean of students will remand it to the original decision-maker(s), typically within 3-5 business days, with clear instructions for reconsideration only in light of the granted appeal grounds. Where the original decision-maker may be unduly biased by a procedural or substantive error, a new panel will be constituted to reconsider the matter. In review, the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately, thus the burden is on the appealing party(ies) to show clear error.
On reconsideration, the original decision-maker may affirm or change the findings and/or sanctions according to the permissible grounds. Procedural errors should be corrected, new evidence should be considered, and sanctions should be proportionate to the severity of the violation and the student’s cumulative conduct record.
All decisions regarding the appeal are to be made within five (5) days of submission and are final.
The presumptive stance of Northland College is that all decisions made and sanctions imposed by the original decision-maker are to be implemented during the appellate process. At the discretion of the director of residential life, and in consultation with the Title IX administrator when necessary, implementation of sanctions may be stayed pending review only in extremely exigent circumstances. This does not include proximity to graduation, end of term, or exams. Instead, it refers to an overwhelming likelihood, as determined by the dean of students and director of residential life, in consultation, that the appeal would result in a reversal of the finding and/or substantial modification of the sanctions.
OTHER GUIDELINES FOR APPEALS
- All parties will be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;
- Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal;
Q. Disciplinary Records
All conduct records are maintained by Northland College for seven (7) years from the time of their creation except those that result in separation (suspension or expulsion, including from housing) and those that fall under Title IX, which are maintained indefinitely.
R. Approval and Implementation
This Code of Student Conduct was approved by the Northland College Student Association on May 30, 2014, and by the Northland College Board of Trustees on July 11, 2014.
Glossary of Terms:
Only for the purposes of the Code of Student Conduct, the following terms and definitions will apply. The vice president for student affairs (or designee) reserves the right to interpret and enforce the Code of Student Conduct.
- “Collusion” is secret or illegal cooperation or conspiracy, especially in order to cheat or deceive others.
- “Complaints of a sensitive nature” sexual misconduct, discrimination and other complaints of a sensitive nature including but not limited to dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
- “Disruptive” behavior is behavior that disturbs the peace or the public order
- “More likely than not” means 50.01%
- “Northland College” refers to the institution
- “Northland College community” refers to the entire community of students, staff, and faculty.
- “Responding student” is the person who is alleged to have violated the code
- “Trademark images” are legally protected identifying symbols or words that belongs to a particular brand, company or person and that is associated with that brand.
- “Trust” is a firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.
Serious violations include, but are not limited to the following:
- Crimes of violence
- Assault offenses (includes stalking)
- Criminal homicide—manslaughter by negligence
- Criminal homicide—murder and non-negligent manslaughter
- Destruction/damage/vandalism of property
- Forcible sex offenses
- Non-forcible sex offenses
- Sexual misconduct
- Weapon possession
- Drug and/or alcohol distribution, manufacture, or facilitating distribution
- Commission of a felony
- Chronic behavior (repeat violations)
Members of the Northland College community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of gender and sex-based discrimination, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. Northland College believes in a zero tolerance policy for sexual and gender-based misconduct. When an allegation of misconduct is brought to an appropriate administrator’s attention, and a respondent is found to have violated this policy, serious sanctions will be used to reasonably ensure that such actions are never repeated. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define community expectations and to establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.
Northland reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct in order to protect students’ rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, interim suspension from campus pending a hearing, and reporting the matter to the local police. Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and Northland reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. Northland will consider the concerns and rights of both the reporting party and the responding party (the person accused of the sexual misconduct).
When a complaint has been filed or when a possible Policy violation has occurred, campus investigations are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available, from all relevant sources. Please refer to the Title IX Grievance Process for the procedure that is followed after a possible violation of Policy.
Northland College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, sex, religion, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, status with respect to public assistance, or sexual orientation in administration of its educational policies, financial aid program, athletics and all other programs. Harassment based upon an individual’s legally protected status is a form of prohibited discrimination.
Title IX Coordinator
The College’s Title IX coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of the sex/gender harassment, discrimination and misconduct policy. The coordinator reports directly to the president and is housed in the Office of the Registrar. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX coordinator. Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern to a member of the College’s Title IX team via email, phone, or in person:
Individuals experiencing harassment or discrimination also always have the right to file a formal grievance with government authorities:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
500 W Madison Street
Chicago IL 60661-4544
In the event that an incident involves alleged misconduct by the Title IX coordinator, reports should be made directly to the president.
Policy Overview: Physical Sexual Misconduct
The expectations of our community regarding sexual misconduct can be summarized as follows: In order for individuals to engage in sexual activity of any type with each other, there must be clear, knowing and voluntary consent prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but nonverbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Silence, without actions demonstrating permission, cannot be assumed to show consent.
Additionally, there is a difference between seduction and coercion. Coercing someone into sexual activity violates this policy in the same way as physically forcing someone into sex. Coercion happens when someone is pressured unreasonably for sex.
Because alcohol or other drug use can place the capacity to consent in question, sober sex is less likely to raise such questions. When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, “no” always means “no,” and “yes” may not always mean “yes.” Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “no.”
Policy Overview: Consensual Relationships
There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of the faculty/staff handbooks.
Northland does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the college. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are generally discouraged. Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift the student out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.
Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:
1. SEXUAL HARASSMENT
Sexual Harassment is:
- Unwelcome, gender-based verbal or physical conduct that is,
- sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it,
- unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from the Northland’s educational program and/or activities, and is
- based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.
- The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the relevant circumstances. These circumstances could include:
- The frequency of the conduct;
- The nature and severity of the conduct;
- Whether the conduct was physically threatening;
- Whether the conduct was humiliating;
- The effect of the conduct on the alleged victim’s mental or emotional state;
- Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person;
- Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct;
- Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the alleged victim’s educational or work performance;
- Whether the statement is a mere utterance of an epithet which engenders offense in an employee or student, or offends by mere discourtesy or rudeness;
- Whether the speech or conduct deserves the protections of academic freedom or the 1st Amendment.
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when there are:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.
- Retaliatory harassment is any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Examples of harassment include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.
2. NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT (or attempts to commit same)
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is:
- any intentional sexual touching
- however slight
- with any object
- by one person upon another person
- that is without consent and/or by force
Sexual contact includes: intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; any intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner, though not involving contact with/of/by breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, mouth or other orifice.
3. NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE (or attempts to commit same)
Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is:
- any sexual intercourse
- however slight,
- with any object,
- by a man or woman upon a man or a woman,
- that is without consent and/or by force.
Intercourse includes: vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
4. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Occurs when a student/employee takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her 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 other sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another student;
- Non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity;
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
- Engaging in voyeurism;
- Knowingly transmitting an STI or HIV to another student;
- Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation
Other Misconduct Offenses (will fall under Title IX when sex or gender based)
- Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
- Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of gender;
- Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
- Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the Northland community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Code of Student Conduct);
- Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally (that is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment).
- Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other;
- Stalking, defined as repetitive and/or menacing pursuit, following, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of a member of the community; or the safety of any of the immediate family of members of the community.
- Domestic Violence
- Dating Violence
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.
Consent as defined by Wisconsin state law:
words or overt actions by a person who is competent to give informed consent indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact.” Minors, persons suffering from mental illness or defect, and sleeping or unconscious persons are presumed unable to give consent. Failure to resist does not indicate consent. – WI Statute Section 940.225 (4).
Incapacitation is a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). Sexual activity with someone who one should know to be–or based on the circumstances should reasonably have known to be–mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), constitutes a violation of this policy.
This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of rape drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy. More information on these drugs can be found at here.
Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me; I’ll do what you want.”).
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for any behavior that violates this policy.
The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals engaging in sexual activity is not relevant to allegations under this policy.
For reference to the pertinent state statutes on sex offenses, please review here.
- Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Contact (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.*
- Any student found responsible for violating the policy on Non-Consensual or Forced Sexual Intercourse will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion.*
- Any student found responsible for violating the policy on sexual exploitation or sexual harassment will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous campus conduct code violations.*
*The Title IX team reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.
Confidentiality, Privacy & Reporting Policy
Northland College encourages individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and related retaliation so that they can get the support they need, and so that Northland can respond appropriately. Certain Northland employees may maintain confidentiality, but most cannot. Although strict confidentiality may therefore not be guaranteed, in all cases Northland will handle information in a sensitive manner and will endeavor to protect the privacy of individuals to the extent it can do so consistent with its obligations to respond to reports of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and/or related retaliation.
This section is intended to inform students, faculty, staff and covered third parties of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available to them, so that they can make informed choices about where to go for help.
To Report Confidentially
A confidential resource is an individual who is legally and ethically bound to keep confidential all information shared with them in the course of providing counsel and support, except under the circumstances noted below. Northland respects that the decision to come forward may be difficult and that individuals may wish to seek assistance from someone who can provide confidential information and support, and who can provide assurances that what is disclosed will not be acted on. These professionals may have to breach a confidence, however, when they perceive a serious risk of danger or threat to any person or property. In addition, medical and mental health professionals may be required by law to report certain crimes (e.g., any allegation of sexual and/or physical abuse of a person under 18). These exceptions to confidentiality are governed by the law of the state in which the confidential resource is located.
If one desires that details of the incident be kept confidential, they should speak with on-campus mental health counselors, campus health service providers or off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality. Campus counselors are available to help you free of charge, and can be seen on an emergency basis. In addition, you may speak on and off-campus with members of the clergy and chaplains, who will also keep reports made to them confidential.
Campus confidential resources include:
Ponzio Center 206
Off-campus confidential resources include:
New Day Advocacy Center
1900 3rd St W
Ashland WI 54806
National Domestic Violence Hotline
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network)
National Sexual Assault Hotline
An individual who speaks to a confidential resource must understand that, if they want to maintain confidentiality, Northland will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. However, confidential resources may assist the individual in receiving other forms of protection and support, such as victim advocacy, academic support or accommodations, disability, health or mental health services, and changes to living, working, transportation or academic arrangements. An individual who initially requests confidentiality may later decide to file a complaint with Northland or report the incident to local law enforcement, and thus have the incident fully investigated. These confidential resources will help to direct the individual to the appropriate resources in the event that the individual wishes to file a complaint.
Non-confidential Reporting Options
Non-confidential resources are all faculty or staff members including residential life staff who are not medical or counseling professionals or clergy and are therefore not permitted to honor requests for confidentiality. Non-confidential faculty or staff who learn of an incident of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking or related retaliation involving a student are required to report that information to the Title IX administrator or deputy coordinators, and are “responsible employees”. The Title IX administrator or deputy coordinators are “responsible employees” for the purposes of redressing reports of sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and related retaliation in accordance with this policy. Notice to them is official notice to the institution. You have the right and can expect to have incidents of sexual misconduct to be taken seriously by the institution when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through administrative procedures. Formal reporting means that only people who need to know will be told and information will be shared only as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused individual.
Evaluating Requests for Confidentiality in Sexual Misconduct Cases
If an individual discloses an incident of sexual misconduct but wishes to maintain confidentiality or requests that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted or disciplinary action taken, Northland will make every effort to respect this request and will evaluate the request against its responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, faculty and staff, including the individual who reported sexual misconduct. Although rare, there are times when Northland may not be able to honor the individual’s request. Further, if Northland honors the request for confidentiality, Northland’s ability to appropriately investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator(s), if warranted, may be limited.
Northland has designated the Title IX administrator and deputy coordinators to evaluate requests for confidentiality, as appropriate to the circumstances. In considering an individual’s request for confidentiality, the Title IX administrator and deputy coordinators may consult with other Northland personnel, as appropriate.
Factors to be considered in determining whether confidentiality should be maintained may include but are not limited to:
- The increased risk that the alleged perpetrator will commit additional acts of sexual misconduct or other violence, such as:
- whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same alleged perpetrator;
- whether the alleged perpetrator has a history of arrests or records from a prior institution indicating a history of violence;
- whether the alleged perpetrator has threatened further sexual misconduct or other violence against the individual or others;
- whether the alleged sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of future acts of sexual misconduct or other violence under similar circumstances (e.g., whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration);
- whether the alleged sexual misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
- whether the alleged victim is a minor;
- whether Northland possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras, information known to Northland personnel, or physical evidence);
- whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group;
- the extent of any ongoing threat to the Northland community or any of its members.
The presence of one or more of these factors may prompt an investigation and adjudication under Northland’s policies and, if appropriate, result in disciplinary action. If none of these factors is present, Northland will likely honor the individual’s request for confidentiality.
Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
Certain campus officials have a duty to report sexual misconduct for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus law enforcement, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.
Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that Northland administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. Northland will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger. The reporting for timely warning purposes are exactly the same as detailed at the end of the above paragraph.
QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
Here are some of the most commonly asked questions regarding Northland’s Gender-based Misconduct policy and procedures.
Does information about a complaint remain private?
The privacy of all parties to a complaint of sexual misconduct must be respected, except insofar as it interferes with Northland’s obligation to fully investigate allegations of sexual misconduct. Where privacy it not strictly kept, it will still be tightly controlled on a need-to-know basis. Dissemination of information and/or written materials to persons not involved in the complaint procedure is not permitted. Violations of the privacy of the complainant or the accused individual may lead to conduct action by Northland.
In all complaints of sexual misconduct, all parties will be informed of the outcome. In some instances, the administration also may choose to make a brief public announcement of the nature of the violation and the action taken, without using the name or identifiable information of the alleged victim. Certain Northland administrators are informed of the outcome within the bounds of student privacy (e.g., the president of the College, dean of students, director of security). If there is a report of an act of alleged sexual misconduct to a conduct officer of the college and there is evidence that a felony has occurred, local police will be notified. This does not mean charges will be automatically filed or that a victim must speak with the police, but the institution is legally required to notify law enforcement authorities. The institution also must statistically report the occurrence on campus of major violent crimes, including certain sex offenses, in an annual report of campus crime statistics. This statistical report does not include personally identifiable information.
Will my parents be told?
No, not unless you tell them. Whether you are the reporting party or the responding party, Northland’s primary relationship is to the student and not to the parent. However, in the event of major medical, disciplinary, or academic jeopardy, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents. Northland officials will directly inform parents when requested to do so by a student, in a life-threatening situation, or if an accused individual has signed the permission form at registration which allows such communication.
Will the accused individual know my identity?
Yes, if you file a formal complaint. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the accused individual has the right to know the identity of the reporting party/alleged victim.
Do I have to name the perpetrator?
Yes, if you want formal disciplinary action to be taken against the alleged perpetrator. No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal complaint (but you should consult the complete confidentiality policy above to better understand Northland’s legal obligations depending on what information you share with different college officials). Victims should be aware that not identifying the perpetrator may limit the institution’s ability to respond comprehensively.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the alleged victim. You may immediately want to contact someone who can act as your advisor; anyone may serve as your advisor. You may also contact the Student Affairs Office, which can explain Northland’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to talk to a confidential counselor at the counseling center or seek other community assistance. See below regarding legal representation.
Will I (as a victim) have to pay for counseling or medical care?
Not typically, if the institution provides these services already. If a victim is accessing community and non-institutional services, payment for these will be subject to state/local laws, insurance requirements, etc.
What about legal advice?
Victims of criminal sexual assault need not retain a private attorney to pursue prosecution because representation will be handled by the District Attorney’s office. You may want to retain an attorney if you are the accused individual or are considering filing a civil action. The accused individual may retain counsel at their own expense if they determine that they need legal advice about criminal prosecution and/or the campus conduct proceeding. Both the accused and the victim may also use an attorney as their advisor during the campus’ grievance processes.
What about changing residence hall rooms?
If you want to move, you may request a room change. Room changes under these circumstances are considered emergencies. It is typically institutional policy that in emergency room changes, the student is moved to the first available suitable room. If you want the accused individual to move, and believe that you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, you must be willing to pursue a formal or informal college complaint. No contact orders can be imposed and room changes for the accused individual can usually be arranged. Other accommodations available to you might include:
- Assistance from Northland support staff in completing the relocation;
- Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and pro-rating a refund;
- Assistance with or rescheduling an academic assignment (paper, exams, etc.);
- Taking an incomplete in a class;
- Assistance with transferring class sections;
- Temporary withdrawal;
- Assistance with alternative course completion options;
- Other accommodations for safety as necessary.
What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?
Police are in the best position to secure evidence of a crime. Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the alleged victim’s person within 120 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Hospital Emergency Room (Memorial Medical Center in Ashland, WI), before washing yourself or your clothing. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (a specially trained nurse) at the hospital is usually on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (call the Emergency Room if you first want to speak to the nurse; ER will refer you). A member of the Northland community can also accompany you to Hospital and law enforcement or Campus Safety can provide transportation. If a victim goes to the hospital, local police will be called, but s/he is not obligated to talk to the police or to pursue prosecution. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help to keep all options available to a victim, but will not obligation him or her to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should the victim decide later to exercise it.
For the victim: the hospital staff will collect evidence, check for injuries, address pregnancy concerns and address the possibility of exposure to sexually transmitted infections. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. You can take a support person with you to the hospital, and they can accompany you through the exam, if you want. Do not disturb the crime scene—leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear evidence for the police to collect.
Will a victim be sanctioned when reporting a sexual misconduct policy violation if he/she has illegally used drugs or alcohol?
No. The severity of the infraction will determine the nature of Northland’s response, but whenever possible Northland will respond educationally rather than punitively to the illegal use of drugs and/or alcohol. The seriousness of sexual misconduct is a major concern and Northland does not want any of the circumstances (e.g., drug or alcohol use) to inhibit the reporting of sexual misconduct.
Will the use of drugs or alcohol affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct conduct complaint?
The use of alcohol and/or drugs by either party will not diminish the accused individual’s responsibility. On the other hand, alcohol and/or drug use is likely to affect the
reporting party’s memory and, therefore, may affect the outcome of the complaint. Use of alcohol and/or other drugs will never excuse a violation by an accused individual.
Will either party’s prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
What should I do if I am uncertain about what happened?
If you believe that you have experienced sexual misconduct, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the institution’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact the institution’s student conduct office (Residential Life). The institution provides non-legal advisors who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.
SEXUAL VIOLENCE–RISK REDUCTION TIPS
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act.
Suggestions offered to reduce risk:
- If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
- Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
- Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
- Find someone nearby and ask for help.
- Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your sexual inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
- Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.
If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:
- Clearly communicate your intentions to your sexual partner and give them a chance to clearly relate their intentions to you.
- Understand and respect personal boundaries.
- Don’t make assumptions about consent; about someone’s sexual availability; about whether they are attracted to you; about how far you can go or about whether they are physically and/or mentally able to consent. If there are any questions or ambiguity then you do not have consent.
- Mixed messages from your partner are a clear indication that you should stop, defuse any sexual tension and communicate better. You may be misreading them. They may not have figured out how far they want to go with you yet. You must respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which they are comfortable.
- Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or drugged state, even if they did it to themselves.
- Realize that your potential partner could be intimidated by you, or fearful. You may have a power advantage simply because of your gender or size. Don’t abuse that power.
- Understand that consent to some form of sexual behavior does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual behavior.
- Silence and passivity cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent. Read your potential partner carefully, paying attention to verbal and non-verbal communication and body language.
This policy is based on a model policy as produced by the NCHERM Group. The NCHERM Group is a law and consulting practice which serves the education field.
* Revised October 30, 2019 *
Northland College (“Northland” or the “College”) takes any complaint of sexual or gender-based misconduct very seriously. The College will act on any complaint of a violation of its Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy (the “Policy”) that it receives.
The procedures described below apply to all allegations of sexual or gender-based misconduct involving a complainant (“Reporting Party”) or respondent (“Responding Party”). These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct occurring in conjunction with an alleged violation of the Policy.
Upon receiving a complaint of sexual or gender-based misconduct, the College will conduct a preliminary inquiry to determine whether to commence a formal investigation, and, if appropriate, conduct a threat assessment. The investigation and the subsequent resolution process determines whether the policy has been violated and what, if any, remedies will be implemented to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
- Reporting Party – refers to the alleged victim of sexual or gender-based misconduct under the Policy.
- Responding Party – refers to the student, student organization, or employee alleged to have violated the Policy.
- Parties – The Reporting Party and Responding Party are collectively referred to as the Parties.
- Gatekeepers – Trained administrators and/or faculty who conduct the preliminary inquiry and, following the inquiry, make a determination regarding whether there is reasonable cause to believe a Policy violation has occurred. The Gatekeepers are also responsible for determining whether to implement interim remedies.
- Investigator – A trained administrator (distinct from the Gatekeeper), faculty member, or external third party who conducts the formal investigation, makes a determination regarding whether a violation of the Policy has occurred, and if so what sanctions and/or remedial actions to implement.
- Appeal Officer – A trained administrator (distinct from the Gatekeeper or Investigator) responsible for resolving all appeals.
- Hearing Panel – A panel comprised of six trained faculty and/or staff members (distinct from the Gatekeepers or Investigator) responsible for conducting an appeal hearing whether the Investigator has made a finding that a Responding Party violated the Policy and has recommended sanctions which include suspension or expulsion.
Threat Assessment and Preliminary Inquiry
Following the College’s receipt of a complaint alleging sexual or gender-based misconduct, the Gatekeepers will:
- Engage in a threat assessment (as described below) and provide for interim measures, if appropriate
- Engage in a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Policy has been violated; and
As part of their threat assessment, the Gatekeepers will review the complaint and any other relevant information to assess the threat posed by the reported conduct to the health and safety of the Reporting Party and/or the College community and determine whether external reports and/or interim measures are required. Among the information the Gatekeepers may consider as part of their threat assessment is the following:
- The nature of the allegations in the complaint, including whether the allegations suggest physical violence, a pattern of misconduct, gender-based misconduct facilitated through the provision of drugs or alcohol, and/or gender-based misconduct against an unconscious or physically helpless individual
- The responding party’s prior record related to gender-based misconduct and/or violent behavior;
- The responding party’s history, if any, of failing to comply with College protective measures and/or any judicial protective order;
- Whether the reported misconduct involved multiple respondents;
- Whether the reported misconduct involved a minor;
- Any indications that the report was made in bad faith;
- Any other aggravating circumstances or signs of predatory behavior; and
- Applicable law, policy, and procedure.
Upon completion of the threat assessment, the Gatekeepers will make any mandated reports as required under applicable law (e.g., the Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Act). If any external report is made, the Gatekeepers will promptly notify the reporting party.
The purpose of the preliminary inquiry is to gather enough information to make a threshold decision regarding whether the College should initiate a formal investigation. During the preliminary inquiry, the Gatekeepers will review the complaint and may conduct preliminary interviews of the reporting party and the responding party.
Both Gatekeepers must jointly decide not to pursue a formal investigation. A decision not to pursue a formal investigation may be appropriate when: (1) the complaint and information provided by the Parties are insufficient to initiate an investigation, (2) the Reporting party has requested no action and the Gatekeepers conclude that this request may be honored, (3) the complaint and information provided by the Parties do not allege conduct that violates the Policy, or (4) the complaint and information provided by the Parties involve only matters for which the College does not have jurisdiction. To the extent the complaint does not allege violations of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, but alleges violations of some other College Policy, the matter will be referred for further action under the appropriate procedure.
The reporting party and the responding party will be informed in writing of the decision not to pursue a formal investigation under this procedure, and whether the matter will be referred for further action under another College procedure. Upon such written notification, the Title IX Grievance Process will end unless the Reporting party requests that the Gatekeepers make an extraordinary determination to re-open the matter. Such a determination may be appropriate where the Reporting party identifies new evidence or information not previously available. The decision to re-open the matter lies in the sole discretion of the Gatekeepers. If one of the two Gatekeepers determines that matter should be reopened, the Gatekeepers will reopen the preliminary inquiry and consider any new (not previously available) information or considerations.
If, during the preliminary inquiry, one or both of the Gatekeepers determines that: (1) the College has jurisdiction, (2) the complaint and information provided by the Parties describes a possible violation of the Policy, and (3) the College cannot honor any existing request for confidentiality, the matter will be referred to an Investigator who will commence a formal investigation.
The preliminary inquiry shall be conducted promptly, typically within ten (10) business days of receiving the complaint, though some inquires may take longer depending on numerous factors, including the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations and the availability of the Parties for preliminary interviews.
During the grievance process, and prior to making a determination whether the alleged violation has occurred, the Gatekeepers (or designee) may provide interim remedies including, but not limited to:
- Referral to counseling, medical, or mental health services;
- Referral to the Employee Assistance Program;
- Education to the campus community;
- Providing campus escorts;
- Implementing contact limitations between the Parties; and
- Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
In addition, Northland may temporarily suspend a student, student organization, or employee pending the completion of an investigation, particularly when in the judgment of at least one of the Gatekeepers (and in consultation with the Investigators where a formal investigation has commenced), the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the on-campus presence of the responding party, or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question. In all cases in which a temporary suspension is imposed, the student, student organization, or employee will be given the option to meet with the Gatekeepers prior to the imposition of the suspension, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why a temporary suspension should not be implemented. The Gatekeepers (or designee) have sole discretion to implement a temporary suspension and to determine its conditions and duration. Both Gatekeepers must agree to stay any such temporary suspension. Violation of a temporary suspension under this policy will be grounds for expulsion or termination.
During a temporary suspension, a Responding Party may be denied access to Northland’s campus, facilities, and events. As determined by the Gatekeepers (or designee), this restriction can include classes and other Northland activities or privileges for which the Responding Party might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Gatekeepers (or designee), alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on a Responding Party.
Once a preliminary inquiry has commenced, the Gatekeepers will provide written notification to the reporting and responding parties that they may have the assistance of an Advisor of their choosing present at each meeting they attend. Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.
The Parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their Advisor as long as he or she is available and not otherwise involved in the resolution process. Northland cannot guarantee equality in the type or effectiveness of an Advisor. For example, one Party may or may not be able to afford an attorney. The decision to enlist an Advisor is entirely that of a Party. Northland is not obligated to, nor will it, provide an Advisor.
Advisors may not address College officials (or designees) in a meeting, hearing, or interview, unless invited to do so. The Advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee during any meeting or proceeding, and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the Gatekeepers, Investigator, Appeal Officer, or Hearing Panel. The Parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees, or in writing as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the investigation and resolution. Any Advisor who steps out of their role will be warned only once. If an Advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of his or her role, the Advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an Advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the Advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX coordinator will determine whether the Advisor may be reinstated, replaced, or whether the Party will forfeit the right to an Advisor for the remainder of the process.
Northland expects an Advisor to adjust his or her schedule to allow for attendance at meetings. Due to the need to promptly conduct investigations and inquiries, Northland does not typically change scheduled meetings, interviews, or hearings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend. Northland will, however, make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in person to attend by telephone, video, and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.
The Parties must advise the Gatekeepers and, in the event of a formal investigation, the Investigator, of the identity of their Advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with the Gatekeepers or Investigator (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The Parties must provide notice to the Gatekeepers, and, in the event of a formal investigation, the Investigator, if they change Advisors at any time.
Formal Investigation and Notice
The Investigator will promptly commence an investigation if (1) the College has jurisdiction, (2) the complaint and information provided by the Parties describes a possible violation of the Policy, and (3) the College cannot honor any existing request for confidentiality. All investigations will be thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair.
Within ten (10) calendar days after the decision to commence a formal investigation, and before conducting any Party or witness interviews, the Investigator will provide written notification by e-mail and certified mail of the investigation to both the reporting and responding party. The notice will identify the Parties involved, the specific section of the Policy allegedly violated, the conduct allegedly constituting the potential violation, and the date and location of the alleged incident.
Investigations entail interviews with all relevant Parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary. Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within sixty (60) calendar days, though some investigations take weeks or even months, depending on numerous factors, including the nature, extent and complexity of the allegations and the availability of witnesses. The Investigator will typically take the following steps (not necessarily in order):
- In coordination with the Gatekeepers, initiate or assist with any necessary interim remedial actions;
- Identify all policies allegedly violated;
- Provide the Parties with notice that a formal investigation has commenced;
- Allow the Parties to identify witnesses and evidence, and provide the opportunity to suggest questions they wish the Investigator to ask witnesses;
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the Parties with a list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding and all relevant evidence that will be used to render a finding. The Parties shall be afforded a full and fair opportunity to address that evidence prior to a finding being rendered;
- Provide regular updates to the Parties, as appropriate, throughout the investigation;
- At the conclusion of the investigation, prepare an investigative report to be kept by the Title IX coordinator.
- At the conclusion of the investigation, reach a finding as to each alleged Policy violation based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not), and if warranted, implement disciplinary action(s) or sanction(s);
- Present the findings and disciplinary actions or sanctions to the Parties and the Title IX coordinator, without undue delay between notifications.
Parties who elect not to participate in the investigation, or to withhold information from the investigation, do not have the ability to offer evidence later during the appeal if it could have been offered during the investigation. Failure to offer evidence prior to an appeal does not constitute grounds for appeal on the basis of new evidence.
All investigation meetings are private. No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. All persons present at any time during the grievance process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings. While the contents of the proceedings are private, the Parties have discretion to share their own experiences if they so choose, and should discuss doing so with their advisors.
Factors considered by the Investigator in determining a sanction/responsive action may include:
- The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation;
- An individual’s disciplinary history;
- Previous allegations involving similar conduct;
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the sexual or gender-based misconduct;
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of sexual or gender-based misconduct;
- The need to remedy the effects of the sexual or gender-based misconduct on the reporting party and the community; and
- Any other information deemed relevant by the Investigator.
The following are examples of sanctions that may be imposed upon a student Responding Party found to have engaged in sexual or gender-based misconduct:
- Warning: A formal statement that the behavior was unacceptable and a warning that further infractions of any Northland policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
- Probation: A written reprimand for violation of the Policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student is found in violation of any Northland policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be specified and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, non-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
- Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years, and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure at Northland. This sanction may be noted as a Conduct Suspension on the student’s official transcript, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status, revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or attend Northland sponsored events. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript.
- Withholding Diploma: Northland may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time, and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending, or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
- Revocation of Degree: Northland reserves the right to revoke a degree awarded for fraud, misrepresentation or other violation of Northland policies, procedures or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
- Other Actions: In addition to, or in place of the above sanctions, Northland may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
The following are examples of sanctions that may be imposed upon an employee Responding Party found to have engaged in sexual or gender-based misconduct against a student:
- Verbal or written warning;
- Performance improvement plan;
- Required counseling;
- Required training or education;
- Loss of annual pay increase;
- Loss of oversight or supervisory responsibility;
- Suspension (with or without pay);
- Discharge; and
- Other actions as deemed appropriate by Northland.
All Responding Parties are expected to comply with issued sanctions and responsive actions within the timeframe specified by the Investigator. Failure to abide by these sanctions and responsive actions by the date specified may result in additional sanctions and may be noted on a student’s official transcript.
All requests for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within ten (10) calendar days of the delivery of the written findings to the appealing Party. Any Party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions under the grounds described below:
- To determine whether the investigation was conducted fairly in light of the alleged violation(s), and
information presented was in conformity with prescribed procedures. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
- To determine whether there was sufficient information provided though the investigation and to
establish that it is more likely than not that a violation of the College’s policy has occurred.
- To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original investigation, because such information and/or facts were not known or available. If additional information is offered or provided, the Appeal Officer may refer the matter back to the Investigator to consider the new information, provide either Party with an opportunity to respond to such new information, and to determine whether the findings should be changed.
In all such cases, the Appeal Officer will conduct an initial review to determine if the appeal requests meets the limited grounds and is timely. The Appeal Officer (or designee) may consult with the Investigator on any procedural or substantive questions that arise. If the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, the original finding and/or sanction(s) will stand and the decision is final. The Appeal Officer will provide written notification to the Parties within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the appeal indicating whether the appeal has been accepted or rejected.
If the appeal is timely and satisfies at least one of the grounds described above, the Appeal Officer will review the case and make a determination. The Appeal Officer will prepare an appeals response and submit written notification to the Parties, generally within twenty (20) calendar days of receiving notice that the appeal has been accepted.
In addition, where the Investigator makes a finding that a student respondent violated the Policy and recommends sanctions which include suspension or expulsion, prior to the implementation of the suspension or expulsion, the student may file an appeal. Such a request for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within ten (10) calendar days of the delivery of the written findings to the appealing Party. Under such circumstances, the matter will proceed to a hearing, before a panel of three trained faculty members, on the issue of whether a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the Responding Party violated the Policy, and if so, what sanctions shall be implemented.
Additional Procedures When an Appeal Results In a Hearing
At least fourteen (14) calendar days prior to the hearing, or as far in advance as is reasonably possible if an accelerated resolution process is scheduled with the consent of the Parties, the Chair of the Hearing Panel (or designee) will send a letter to the Parties by email and certified mail with the following information: (1) an indication that the Parties may have the assistance of an Advisor of their choosing, at the hearing, though the Advisor’s attendance at the hearing is the responsibility of the respective Parties; (2) the time, date and location of the hearing; and (3) a copy of the preliminary investigative report or summary. For good cause, and in his/her sole discretion, the Chair of the Hearing Panel (or designee) may grant requests to reschedule the hearing date.
At least seven (7) calendar days prior to the hearing, the Parties will provide the Chair of the Hearing Panel a list of the names of the proposed witnesses and copies of all proposed documentary evidence. At least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing, the Chair of the Hearing Panel (or designee) will have the names of proposed witnesses and copies of all pertinent documentary evidence available for the Parties.
The Chair of the Hearing Panel, in consultation with the Parties, the Title IX coordinator, and the Investigator, may decide in advance of the hearing that certain witnesses do not need to be physically present if their testimony can be adequately summarized by the Investigator in the investigation report or during the hearing. All Parties will have ample opportunity to present facts and arguments in full and question all present witnesses during the hearing. If alternative attendance or questioning mechanisms are desired, the Parties should request them from the Chair of the Hearing Panel at least two (2) business days prior to the hearing. Northland will make reasonable accommodations for both Parties in keeping with the principles of equity and fairness.
Conduct of Hearing
The Hearing Panel Chair shall preside over the hearing; call the hearing to order; ascertain the presence or absence of the Investigator, reporting party, or responding party; confirm receipt of the notice of hearing; report any extensions requested or granted; and establish the presence of any Advisors. Formal rules of evidence shall note apply during the hearing.
- Investigator’s Report and Testimony
The Investigator will first present the written investigative report and may give a narrative report of the investigation, and then be subject to questioning by the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and the Hearing Panel. The Investigator may also call witnesses who will be subject to questioning by the Investigator, the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and the Hearing Panel. The Investigator may also submit documentary evidence. The Investigator(s) will remain present during the entire hearing process.
- Reporting Party’s Evidence
The Reporting Party may give testimony and be subject to questioning by the Investigator, the Responding Party (through the Hearing Panel Chair), and the Hearing Panel. The Reporting Party may also call and question witnesses who may also then be questioned by the Responding Party, the Investigator, and the Hearing Panel. The Reporting Party may also submit documentary evidence.
- Responding Party’s Evidence
The Responding Party may give testimony and be subject to questioning by the Investigator, the Reporting Party (through the Hearing Panel Chair), and the Hearing Panel. The Responding Party may also call and question witnesses who may also then be questioned by the Reporting Party, the Investigator and the Hearing Panel. The Responding Party may also submit documentary evidence.
- Additional Rights of the Hearing Panel Chair
The Hearing Panel Chair shall:
- Determine the relevancy and admissibility of any evidence offered at the hearing;
- Have the authority to exclude a witness proposed by the Investigator, the Reporting Party, or the Responding Party if it is determined that his/her testimony would be redundant or not relevant;
- Have the authority to dismiss any person from the hearing who interferes with or obstructs the hearing or fails to abide by the Hearing Panel Chair’s rulings.
- Findings and Sanctions
Following the hearing, the Hearing Panel will determine by consensus whether a preponderance of the evidence demonstrates that the Responding Party is responsible for the policy violations in question. If the Responding Party is found responsible, the Hearing Panel shall determine appropriate sanctions and remedial actions.The Hearing Panel Chair (or designee) will prepare a written report detailing the finding and information supporting the finding. If the Responding Party is found responsible, the report will conclude with the sanctions and remedial actions. The report shall be delivered to the Investigator and Title IX Coordinator within ten (10) calendar days of the hearing. Deviation from this timeline will be communicated to the Investigator, Title IX Coordinator, and the Parties. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the Parties of the determination within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the Hearing Panel’s report, without significant time delay between notifications. Notification will be made in writing and delivered by email and certified mail.
- Appeal of Hearing Findings and Sanctions
All requests for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) within ten (10) calendar days of the delivery of the written findings to the appealing party. Any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions under the grounds described below:
- To determine whether the hearing was conducted fairly in light of the alleged violation(s), and information presented was in conformity with prescribed procedures. Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
- To consider new information sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original investigation or hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known or available. If additional information is offered or provided, the Appeal Officer may refer the matter back to the Hearing Panel to consider the new information, provide either Party with an opportunity to respond to such new information, and to determine whether the findings and sanctions should be changed.
- Investigator’s Report and Testimony
The appeal will proceed consistent with the procedures outlined above.
Informal Conflict Resolution
Either Party may request conflict resolution at any time during the Grievance Process. Upon receiving such a request, or of their own accord, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if conflict resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the Parties, the nature of the conduct at issue, and the susceptibility of the conduct to conflict resolution. Conflict resolution is often used for less serious, yet inappropriate behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to resolve conflicts. Mediation as a form of conflict resolution is never utilized in cases involving allegations of nonconsensual sexual intercourse or nonconsensual sexual conduct.
In a conflict resolution meeting, a neutral, College-assigned facilitator will foster a dialogue with the Parties to an effective resolution, if possible. The Parties’ Advisors may attend the conflict resolution meeting. The Title IX Coordinator will keep record of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the agreed upon resolution may result in sanctions. In the even the Parties are not able to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, the matter will be referred to the formal investigation or appeal process as appropriate. The content of the Parties’ discussions during the conflict resolution process will be kept confidential in the event the matter proceeds to the formal investigation or appeal process. The Parties’ agreement to participate in conflict resolution shall not be a factor in any subsequent decisions regarding whether a policy violation occurred.
The records of all allegations, investigations, resolutions, and hearings will be kept by the Title IX Coordinator for seven years following final resolution.
Statement Against Retaliation
Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of that person’s participation in protected activity. Northland strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for making any good faith report of a violation of the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy or for filing, testifying, assisting, or participating in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of a violation of the Policy. Any person who engages in such retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action. Any person who believes he or she has been subjected to retaliation is encouraged to promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator. The College will promptly investigate all complaints of retaliation.
Northland College takes student safety very seriously. The Higher Education Act requires that all institutions that provide on-campus student housing must establish a missing student notification policy and procedure. This policy establishes the procedures for the College’s response to reports of missing students.
This policy applies to students who reside in campus housing including College-owned houses and theme communities. For purposes of this policy, a student may be considered to be a “missing person” if the person’s absence is contrary to his/her usual pattern of behavior and without having informed roommates, friends, or housing staff of the change.
At the beginning of each academic year, students will be asked to voluntarily provide emergency contact information in the event s/he is reported missing while enrolled at Northland. Students age 18 and older and emancipated minors will have the opportunity to designate an individual or individuals to be contacted by the College. Students under the age of 18 will have their parent or custodial guardian notified as required by the law. The emergency contact information will be kept in the Office of Student Life and will be updated annually.
Any individual who has information that a residential student may be a missing person must notify the Office of Campus Safety 715-682-1399 as soon as possible.
- The Office of Campus Safety will collect and document the following information at the time of the report from the reporting person and from the student’s acquaintances:
- The name and relationship of the person making the report;
- The date, time, and location the missing student was last seen;
- A physical description of the student including clothes last worn;
- The general routine or habits of the suspected missing student including any recent changes in behavior or demeanor;
- The missing student’s cell phone number.
- If a residential student has not been seen on campus for more than 24 hours, the Office of Campus Safety will contact the vice president for student affairs and the director of residential life in order to update them on the situation and receive any additional consultation. The vice president for student affairs will ascertain when/if members of president’s cabinet need to be contacted or if the Crisis Team needs to meet.
- Upon notification that a student may be missing, Northland may use any or all of the following resources to assist in locating the student:
- Call the student’s room and/or cell phone number;
- Go to the student’s room and perform a health/safety check;
- Secure a current student ID picture;
- Talk to the student’s roommate, friends, hall mates, RA and RHD to see if anyone can confirm the missing student’s whereabouts and/or confirm the date, time, and location the student was last seen.
- Contact the student’s instructors and work-study supervisor to confirm the last time the student was seen.
- Send the student an email and/or text message.
- Check all possible on-campus locations mentioned by the parties above including the library, gym, common spaces, lounges, etc.
- Ascertain the student’s car make, model, and license plate number. Check all on-campus parking lots for the presence of the student’s vehicle.
- Contact or call any other on- or off-campus friends or social contacts. This includes checking social networking sites.
- Work with IT to obtain email logs and room telephone logs in order to determine last use of the Northland network.
- Every report made to Campus Safety will be followed up with an immediate investigation once a student has been reported missing.
- If the above actions are unsuccessful in locating the student or it is apparent immediately that the student is a missing person (e.g., witnessed abduction), Campus Safety will contact the appropriate local law enforcement agency to report the student as a missing person and the local law enforcement agency will take charge of the investigation.
- No later than 24 hours after determining that a residential student is missing, the vice president for student affairs will notify the emergency contact (for students 18 and over) or the parent/guardian (for students under the age of 18) that the student is believed to be missing.
- Under the supervision of the president of the College, the Office of Marketing Communications is responsible for defining and disseminating College messages during a crisis. Public or media inquiries concerning missing persons, or any active law enforcement investigation, shall be referred to Northland College Office of Marketing Communications for referral to law enforcement authorities as appropriate.
Northland College is committed to maintaining an academic and social environment conducive to the intellectual and personal development of each student. To foster that development, the College strives to provide for the safety and welfare of all its members of the College community. It is in this context that the College seeks to promote responsible, informed choices involving the consumption of alcoholic beverages in accordance with state laws. The consumption of alcoholic beverages in moderation is a privilege for campus residents of legal age. Furthermore, the College discourages alcohol abuse that may lead to academic failure, socially disruptive behavior, or chemical dependency.
Standards of Conduct (Regarding Alcohol and Other Drugs)
- Students at Northland College are subject to all federal, state, county, and local laws and ordinances regulating the sale, possession, and use of alcoholic beverages, as well as the rules and regulations stipulated by Northland College.
- In the State of Wisconsin, it is unlawful for individuals under 21 years of age to possess, purchase, attempt to purchase, or consume any alcoholic beverage. Possession of an alcoholic beverage is evidence of intent to consume.
- It is also unlawful for any person to sell or give alcoholic beverages or to induce such a person to purchase or attempt to purchase such a beverage. The law also forbids the misrepresenting of one’s age for the purpose of consuming alcoholic beverages. Northland College abides by Wisconsin law.
- It is unlawful to manufacture, distribute, dispense, possess, or use controlled substances. Any student who illegally possesses, uses, distributes, and/or sells narcotics, stimulants, hallucinogens, or other controlled substances will be subject to disciplinary action.
- Anyone found by officers of the law to be in violation of the laws regarding alcohol and illicit drugs may be subject to fine, suspension of the person’s automobile operating privileges, participation in a supervised work program, or any combination of the above. Public consumption of alcoholic beverages on the city streets is subject to a fine of $25.00 to $100.00. Further information on these sanctions can be obtained from the Ashland Police Department or the District Attorney.
- Drugs cause physical and emotional dependence. Users may develop a craving for specific drugs, and their bodies may respond to the presence of drugs in ways that lead to increased drug use.
- Regular users of drugs develop tolerance and need to take larger doses to get the same initial effect. They may respond by combining drugs, frequently with devastating results.
- Certain drugs, such as opiates, barbiturates, alcohol, and nicotine, create physical dependence. With prolonged use, these drugs become part of the body chemistry. When a regular user stops taking the drug, the body experiences the physiological trauma known as withdrawal.
- Psychological dependence occurs when taking drugs becomes the center of the user’s life. Psychological dependence erodes academic work performance and can destroy ties to family and friends, as well as cause individuals to abandon outside interests, values, and goals. The user goes from taking drugs to feel good to taking them to keep from feeling bad. Over time, drug use itself heightens the bad feelings and can leave the user suicidal. More than half of all suicides are drug-related.
- Drugs can remain in the body long after use has stopped. The extent to which a drug is retained in the body depends on the drug’s chemical composition, that is whether it is fat-soluble. Fat-soluble drugs such as marijuana and phencyclidine (PCP) seek out and settle in the fatty tissues. As a result, they build up in the fatty parts of the body. Such accumulation of drugs and their slow release over time may have effects on the mind and body weeks or even months after drug use has stopped.
College Stance Regarding Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Northland College will make a good faith effort to ensure a drug-free workplace and College community. Northland College abides by federal laws, Wisconsin laws, their adaptation by the City of Ashland, and all local ordinances.
Violations of the laws related to alcohol and other drug use and abuse will be subject to sanctions as defined in the Student Policies and Procedures. These include: confiscation of illegal substances, reports to officers of the law, referrals to substance abuse education programs, assessments and follow-up counseling, fines, disciplinary probation, suspension, and dismissal from the College. Specific situations are addressed below.
Goals of the Alcohol Policy
- To support all federal, state, and local laws governing alcohol.
- To foster healthy attitudes towards alcohol, balancing personal use with community responsibility.
- To promote awareness of the dangers of abuse, including the physiology and compulsion of addiction.
- To help secure comfortable living and learning conditions for the whole community.
- To promote awareness of community resources and support systems that are available.
- The consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages by anyone under age is prohibited. (Possession includes on the person, in their room or vehicle, or in a room where alcohol is being consumed.)
- Consumption of alcoholic beverages by people of legal age is allowed only in rooms of individuals who are of legal age. The door to the room must remain closed while alcohol is being consumed. All persons present must be of legal drinking age.
- Serving alcoholic beverages anywhere on campus other than in private rooms requires the permission of the Vice President for Student Affairs and Institutional Sustainability.
- On-campus advertisement of on-campus or off-campus events at which alcoholic beverages are to be served should not promote excessive drinking. Signs that do so shall be removed.
- Absolutely no alcoholic beverages are allowed in College motor pool vehicles.
- A person who is unconscious due to over-consumption of alcohol will be treated as a medical emergency. Expenses incurred are the responsibility of that person.
- Giving and/or selling alcohol to underage people and selling without a license to anyone is a violation of state laws and College policy. Selling is defined by the state as: “sell,” “sold,” “sale,” or “selling” means any transfer of alcohol beverages with consideration or any transfer without consideration if knowingly made for purposes of evading the law relating to the sale of alcohol beverages or any shift, device, scheme, or transaction for obtaining alcohol beverages, including the solicitation of orders for, or the sale of future delivery of, alcohol beverages.
Responsibilities Regarding Alcohol
The federal government and the State of Wisconsin have determined that individuals must be at least 21 years old to consume alcoholic beverages legally. Northland College complies with the local, state, and federal laws.
Individuals of legal drinking age should remember that they are responsible for their behavior while using alcohol. It is important to remember that buying or supplying alcohol to underage individuals is against the law. Providing alcohol to underage individuals can have serious and far-reaching consequences, particularly if that person injures him or herself or others while under the influence of alcohol.
Individuals who are underage should remember that consumption of alcohol is against the law and that should they be caught drinking can suffer significant consequences. The Residential Life staff is charged with the enforcement of the policies in residence halls and will confiscate all alcoholic beverages (and open containers) in an underage individual’s possession. Those participating in illegal activities must be ready to accept the consequences of their actions. All confiscated beverages will be disposed of.
No large amounts of alcohol (such as kegs, party balls, wapituli buckets, etc.) are allowed on campus without written permission of the vice president of student affairs and Institutional Sustainability.
In the Residence Halls
Alcoholic beverages can only be consumed by those of legal age in their individual rooms. The door to the room must remain closed while alcohol is being consumed. All persons present must be of legal drinking age. The use of alcohol should not interfere with the normal operation of the residence hall. No open alcohol containers are allowed in common areas (such as lounges, bathrooms, hallways, etc.). An open alcohol container is defined as a bottle or can of intoxicating substance which has the seal broken or other container holding alcoholic beverage. Open containers will be confiscated on the spot and disposed of, and the incident will be documented.
Off-campus individuals are not exempt from the alcohol policy in the residence hall. Should an individual be found in violation in the residence hall, the individual will be asked to leave the residence hall immediately. Failure to do so will result in contacting local authorities.
“Home brewing” is permitted in campus residential facilities as long as the product contains no alcohol. Those found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.
Northland staff realize that drinking can be a problem for many. If drinking becomes a problem for you, or if you think that you may be developing a problem, there are people available on and off campus who can help you. All sessions are confidential.
On Campus Contacts:
Off Campus Contacts:
- Memorial Medical Center Behavioral Health Services, (715) 685-5400
- Alcohol and Drug Information and Referral Center, (715) 682-5207
Sanctions for Violation of Alcohol Policy
These are the mandatory minimum sanctions which will be assessed to students who violate the alcoholic beverage policy:
- Underage drinking, or other policy violations
- Alcohol-related behavior resulting in community disturbance or other actions detrimental to the College
1st Offense: Social probation, fine and/or educational sanction:
- Violations of supplying alcohol to underage people and of possessing alcohol in College vehicles start at second offense.
- Second or subsequent offenses are accumulated through the duration of a student’s consecutive enrollment at Northland.
2nd Offense: Social probation, alcohol assessment either administered by an AOD professional or 40 hours of community service.
3rd Offense: For on-campus residents:
- No less than one full semester suspension from residence halls, loss of room rent, and social probation; and/or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be suspended from the residence hall for no less than one full semester, including loss of room rent.
3rd Offense: For off-campus students:
- Fine, social probation, and exclusion from the residence halls for no less than one full semester; and/or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be excluded from the residence halls for no less than one full semester.
4th Offense: No less than one full-semester suspension from the College and an indefinite exclusion from campus housing.
Where a choice of sanctions exists, the choice is up to the hearing officer.
The illegal use or possession of controlled substances is prohibited. Those who are alleged to have sold controlled substances will be referred to civil authorities. Individuals convicted of delivering controlled substances, will be suspended from the College for not less than one year. Persons found in violation of this policy may be suspended immediately if they are deemed a danger to others. (See Article II, Section 6 of the conduct code.)
Sanctions for Marijuana
For those individuals who are found possessing small quantities of marijuana or possessing paraphernalia that has been used for smoking marijuana will be sanctioned. A small quantity is defined as less than one-half ounce. When packaging and weighing materials are also found, it is considered possession with intent to deliver, which is a felony under Wisconsin Law.
1st Offense: Probation, fine and/or educational sanction.
2nd Offense: Fine, assessment administered by an AOD professional, and probation.
3rd Offense: For on-campus residents
- No less than one semester full suspension from residence halls, loss of room rent, and social probation; and/or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be suspended from the residence halls for no less than one full semester.
3rd Offense: For off-campus students
- Fine, social probation, and exclusion from the residence halls for no less than one full semester; and/ or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be excluded from the residence halls for no less than one full semester.
4th Offense: No less than one full semester suspension from the College and an exclusion from campus housing.
Sanctions for Other Controlled Substances
Those individuals who are found possessing small amounts of any other controlled substances or possessing paraphernalia with residue of their use:
1st Offense: Fine, probation and possible assessment.
2nd Offense: For on-campus residents
- No less than one full semester suspension from residence halls, loss of room rent, and social probation; and/ or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be suspended from the residence halls for no less than one full semester.
2nd Offense: For off-campus students
- Fine, social probation, and exclusion from the residence halls for no less than one full semester; and/or
- Chemical dependency assessment and treatment if indicated. If treatment is not indicated, a fine will be levied as a sanction for the offense. If treatment is indicated and the offender refuses it, a fine will be levied and the offender will be excluded from the residence halls for no less than one full semester.
3rd Offense: $500 fine, plus not less than two full terms suspension and an indefinite exclusion from campus housing.
All drug offenses in which a substance is found and identified to be illegal will be reported to the local police.
All fines collected via drug and alcohol violations will be used to purchase alcohol and drug education materials.
The College strives to balance its concern for the health and welfare of individual students with those of the larger campus community. Consequently, when a student’s conduct is dangerous or disruptive of campus life, the College may take disciplinary action against him or her. In some cases, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Institutional Sustainability, in consultation with the Student Life staff, may offer the student the option of taking a psychological assessment from an agency, institution, or practitioner selected by the College, instead of or in addition to such action.
The assessment process will be coordinated by the vice president for student affairs. A student selecting this option will be required to sign a release providing appropriate College officials access to the assessment results. The College will use the information gathered through the assessment to determine whether the individual will be allowed to continue as a student and/or remain in a College residence hall.
A student who is permitted to continue at the College will be required to follow the recommendations of the assessing agency/practitioner as well as those imposed by the College. The student will be required to execute a release to enable College officials to receive copies of the agency/practitioner’s records to monitor the student’s compliance with the treatment plan. Confidentiality in this process, from referral through the completion of treatment, will be provided according to the College’s policies on student records.
The student’s health insurance will be responsible for paying the costs of the initial assessment and any subsequent treatment. Any failure to adhere to the treatment plan, further endangerment to the well-being of the student or others, or further disruption of the campus environment may result in immediate suspension or expulsion.
As of October 1, 1991, Northland College is a smoke-free campus in all of its campus-owned buildings and vehicles. The only exceptions to this are when smoking is used within campus-approved Native American ceremonial occasions.
A current student wishing to change his or her official name may do so by providing the Registrar’s Office with official documentation of the following:
- Social Security card and
- valid driver’s license or picture ID.
A current student wishing to change his or her address may do so by providing the Registrar’s Office with the necessary information. This not only includes the address but also the type of address. Students must provide an off campus address as a Legal/Home/Permanent (LHP) address; a Northland College campus mailbox is not a valid LHP.
Northland College recognizes that some of its students use first names other than one’s legal first name to identify themselves. Because of this, the College allows students to use a first name different than one’s legal first name on certain college records.
Northland College reserves the right to remove a preferred first name if it contains inappropriate or offensive language or if the name is being used inappropriately (such as for legal misrepresentation). Any review would be conducted by Student Affairs.
One’s preferred first name is considered public directory information.
Please note that changing your preferred first name for certain records does not change your legal first name with Northland College. Below is a listing of all the areas in which your preferred first name will appear (once changed) and areas in which your legal first name will still appear.
Preferred First Name Will Appear
- Alumni office records
- Athletic team lists
- MyNorthland email
- MyNorthland online faculty/staff directory
- Class Rosters
- Commencement Programs
- Dean’s List
- Diploma (if requested on graduation application)
- Faculty Advisee Lists
- Emergency Contact Lists
- Food Service
- Major/Minor lists
- Residential Life rosters
- Student ID Card (provided you obtain a new one from Residential Life)
Legal First Name Will Appear
- Financial aid and billing records and communication
- Official and unofficial transcripts
- Parking permit registrations
- Paychecks and paystubs
- Registrar’s Office records (i.e., permanent student file records)
- Some official forms of correspondence from the College such as financial aid awards, residential life contracts, department or program notices, new hire forms, etc
- Study abroad (i.e., travel documents, signature documents)
- Transfer credit evaluation
All currently enrolled Northland College students are provided with access to the my.northland.edu student website, a Northland email address, and a campus mailbox. The my.northland.edu website provides students access to:
- general information (deadline dates, tuition rates, and registration materials);
- personal information (grades, tuition balance, schedule of classes and unofficial transcript);
- interactive services (online registration and a GPA calculator)
Email is the official means of communication between Northland College and each individual student. The campus mailbox is for correspondence that is addressed to the student coming through the U.S. Postal Service as well as various on-campus departments. Students are expected to check the portal, email, and their campus mailbox on a regular basis.
Statement of Purpose
This policy addresses the presence of pets on the campus of Northland College. It has been established to provide for the health and safety of Northland College students, staff, faculty, and visitors; for the protection and enjoyment of College property; for the responsible and humane treatment of animals; and for the responsible management and operation of the College.
Bringing one’s pet to work may have emotional and psychological benefits for the pet, the pet owner and those people in the area who enjoy the pet’s presence. However, it is important to recognize the rights of people who do not enjoy the pet’s presence. Additionally, it is important for all visitors and members of the campus community to feel secure in campus facilities and on the grounds. For these reasons, domestic pets will be permitted inside an employee’s office but will not be permitted in public areas inside buildings other than in movement to/from an office.
A pet, as defined by this policy, is considered to be a domesticated animal. A domesticated animal is any of various animals that have been tamed and made fit for a human environment. If owners are granted the privilege of having their pets on campus property, courtesy and respect must be extended to colleagues, students, and visitors in the area. Pet owners should always consider safety, health, and the possible fears others may have in the presence of animals. Owners will be held responsible if their pet causes harm to members of the college community and/or damages college property.
Guidelines for Pets on Campus Grounds
Pets on campus grounds are subject to the following guidelines:
- Owners must control and leash, cage, or crate their pets when transporting the pet to and from their office and when the pet is outside on campus grounds, in accordance with the City Of Ashland leash laws.
- Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
- Owners cannot leave pets unattended outside.
- Nuisance pets will not be permitted on campus. A nuisance is defined as, but not limited to, excessive noise, aggressive behavior, physical harm to humans or other animals, and/or destruction of property.
- Pets are not permitted in college classrooms.
Guidelines for Pets in Employee Offices
Pets in employee offices are subject to the following guidelines:
- Employees who wish to have their pets in their offices must register the pets with Campus Safety. Certification of all appropriate vaccinations and a photograph of the pet must be presented when registering.
- In order to have a pet in their office, employees must have an office space that is not shared with someone else and have a door that closes and locks. Additionally, employees must have the approval of the Dean/Vice President of their supervisory area.
- Owners cannot bring pets in heat for office visits.
- The pet must not present any health or safety concern to others in the office area. If colleagues are uncomfortable with pets in their general work area, or have allergic reactions to the pet, the pet will not be allowed.
- Owners must control and leash, cage, or crate their pet when not in the owner’s office.
- Pet owners’ office doors must be locked if a pet is present in the office and the owner is not.
- Pet owners must post a sign on their office door notifying co-workers, students, and service personnel that a pet is present. Signage will be available through Campus Safety and will be provided once the pet is registered.
- Employees who bring their pets to work are wholly responsible for routine cleaning of their offices and removing trash when the pet is present. The Maintenance and Cleaning staffs will perform needed maintenance and cleaning services by scheduling an appointment to ensure the pet will not be present during the maintenance/cleaning services.
- There are days when pets are not allowed in offices including Admissions Visit days, Orientation Check-in days, and Commencement. For other events when a large number of visitors are expected on campus, employees should use their discretion in bringing pets to campus.
Service animals that meet the definition set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act, such as seeing-eye dogs, are not considered pets and are permitted in all areas of campus.
Owners and their companion animals that have passed screening and skills tests that qualify them for school, nursing home, library, hospital visits, etc. may visit public areas inside buildings with permission from the dean/vice president of their supervisory area.
Therapy animals trained to serve the specific needs of an individual may be permitted as an accommodation when deemed appropriate by the coordinator for disability services.
Concerns and Sanctions
- Concerns or complaints should be voiced to the owner directly, to Campus Safety, or the director of human resources.
- All complaints will be investigated. Owners suspected to be in violation may have their office inspected.
- Owners who violate this policy are subject to sanctions and potential removal of the pet from campus.
Respectful adherence to this policy will allow owners the benefits of having their pet with them at work and will protect and safeguard the members of the campus community and visitors.
The information below is designed to help students gain a better understanding of the parameters by which students with disabilities are served by Northland College and, specifically, to identify the rights and responsibilities of each party.
Northland College has the right to:
- Request professional documentation verifying the nature of a student’s disability, the academic or physical limitations the disability presents, and the need for specific accommodations;
- Consult with college officials in attempt to determine the student’s qualifications for a degree program or course;
- Discuss the documentation submitted by a student with the party who produced the documentation and/or professional sources or additional experts (omitting identifying information) as needed to determine eligibility for Accessibility Services under the ADA or section 504;
- Deny a request for accommodation if a student’s documentation does not verify the need for the request;
- Deny a request for accommodation if it is deemed unreasonable, compromises the essential elements of the course or program, or poses an undue financial or administrative burden on the College.
Students with disabilities have the right to:
- Equal access to Northland College’s courses, programs, activities, and facilities;
- Individual assessment of disability and skills;
- Reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids as appropriate;
- Confidentiality of disability related information;
- Control the release of disability related information except as otherwise required by law;
- Appeal the coordinator’s decisions concerning reasonable accommodations by following the grievance procedures outlined in this document.
Students with disabilities have the responsibility to:
- Meet the qualifications essential for participation in academic courses and programs;
- If seeking accommodation, identify him/herself as a student with a disability and follow the procedures for applying for academic accommodations outlined in this document;
- Engage in an interactive process to establish and implement reasonable accommodations;
- Provide professional documentation verifying the nature of a disability, the academic or the physical limitations a disability presents, and the need for specific accommodations;
- Notify their instructors that they will be using accommodations by submitting an accommodation letter to each faculty member each semester.
The Coordinator of Student Accessibility Resources has the responsibility to:
- Ensure that, with or without accommodations, students with disabilities can obtain equal access to the College’s programs, activities, service and facilities;
- Inform students with disabilities about the availability and range of accommodations, and provide the policies and procedures necessary to obtain accommodations upon request;
- Determine each student’s eligibility for accommodation;
- Provide individualized assessments and evaluate students based on their abilities;
- Protect and maintain the integrity of the academic standards of individual courses or programs;
- Ensure that eligible students are provided with approved accommodations in a fair and timely manner;
- Establish through appropriate faculty members, the abilities, skills and knowledge fundamental to academic programs and courses and to evaluate each student’s requested accommodations on this basis;
- Maintain confidentiality of documentation and communication concerning students with disabilities except when otherwise specified by law or consent to release disability related information is provided by the student.
Northland College’s faculty members have the right to:
- Establish abilities, skills, and knowledge fundamental to academic programs and courses;
- Verify a student’s eligibility for accommodations with the coordinator of student accessibility resources;
- Expect students to participate actively in the process of establishing and acquiring accommodations;
- Expect students to abide by all College policies and procedures related to obtaining reasonable accommodations.
Northland faculty members have the responsibility to:
- Work in cooperation with the coordinator of student accessibility resources to ensure that eligible students are provided with approved accommodations in a timely manner;
- Consider equal access issues for students with disabilities when establishing academic courses, course requirements and teaching methods;
- Discuss any concerns related to the provision of accommodations with the coordinator of student accessibility resources as necessary;
- Assure the confidentiality of all disability related information;
- Refer students who identify themselves as, or those suspected as, having a disability to the coordinator of student accessibility resources.
The decision of the Office of Accessibility Resources may be appealed, in writing, within five (5) business days of the date on the decision letter. Written appeals must be submitted to the dean of students. Appeals must state a specific reason for reconsideration. Appeals may only be based on:
- New information, that was not available at the time of the initial review, to support the animal as an accommodation.
- A procedural error that occurred which unfairly affected the decision.