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Sexual Responsibility and Misconduct at SMC

Title IX (United States Education Amendments of 1972)

The official wording of Title IX is “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”. While most people think of Title IX as related to sports, it also includes behaviors based on gender that deny a student the ability to fully participate in their educational experience. This includes all forms of sexual violence including sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, dating violence and domestic violence.

SMC Sexual/Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

SMC has developed a comprehensive Title IX investigation policy called the “Sexual Misconduct Policy”. Read the full policy here or in the Student or Employee Handbook. Additionally, we have provided some resources on this page from the Sexual Misconduct Policy.


Advocacy and Support

Internal Support
SMC students, faculty, and staff may contact any of the Title IX officers for assistance with the process of reporting, interim actions to protect the reporting person (including class removal, escorts and on-campus no-contact orders), any legal process including Personal Protection Orders and Crime Reporting, and with help finding personal resources such as counseling. The same applies to those persons that have been accused of violating this policy. Our goal is to help provide options that allow the individual to continue to pursue their educational endeavors.

Anonymous Advocacy
Southwestern Michigan College has an official Memorandum of Understanding with Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS). From any campus phone, you can dial extension 8880 (from outside lines you can call 269-783-8880) and this will automatically connect you with DASAS’s 24-hour anonymous reporting, advocacy, and support.

DASAS provides well trained advocates for victims of all forms of sexual violence including Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence. Additionally, they also provide Emergency Shelter, Support Groups, and assistance with Personal Protection Orders.

Expectation of Consent

The expectations of our community regarding sexual conduct 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 non-verbal 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.”

Sexual Misconduct Offenses

If a report is received that fits one of the definitions below, it will be investigated under the Sexual Misconduct Policy in lieu of the Student Conduct Policy. Examples of these charges can be found in the full Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Sexual Harassment
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct that is, sufficiently severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits, or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from the college’s educational program and/or activities, employment, promotion, or emotional well-being on the job, and is based on power differentials (quid pro quo), the creation of a hostile environment, or retaliation.

Non-consensual Sexual Contact
Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by a man or a woman upon a man or a woman that is without consent and/or by force. This includes the attempt to commit any of these acts.

Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse
Non-consensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object or body part, by a person upon another person that is without consent and/or by force. This includes the attempt to commit any of these acts.

Sexual Exploitation
Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual 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 when that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. This includes the attempt to commit any of these acts.

Other Gender-based Misconduct Offenses
Other violations of the Southwestern Michigan College rules, policies, and Student Code of Conduct may fall under this policy when the parties involved are or have been in an intimate relationship with each other or their actions are sex- or gender-based.

Active Bystander Intervention

The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off campus may need assistance. The college encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to get help). The college pursues a policy of partial immunity for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the college will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.

As part of the SMC community, we ask that all students, faculty and staff be active bystanders when they are witnesses to any version of sexual violation. Please see the Active Bystander and Risk Reduction page for tips about being an active bystander.

Risk Reduction

While it is never the victims fault, SMC asks all students to take steps to reduce the risks of being a victim of sexual violence. Please see the Active Bystander and Risk Reduction page for information about risk reduction.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct Violations

Law Enforcement Involvement
The college encourages anyone who has been the victim of sexual violence or potential criminal conduct to call 911 or contact local law enforcement (269 445-1560) as soon as it is safe to do so after an incident.

Confidential Reporting
If one desires that details of the incident be kept confidential, they should speak with a private counselor, members of the clergy and chaplains, or off-campus rape crisis resources who can maintain confidentiality. The college recommends contacting Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services at 1-800-828-2023.

Sexual Assault Hotline
855-VOICES4 (855-864-2374)
Survivors of sexual assault and their friends and family may call the toll-free Sexual Assault Hotline provided by the state of Michigan for confidential support and resources. The hotline is staffed 24/7 by professional crisis counselors with specialized training in crisis intervention, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, victim's rights, health options and Michigan law. Hotline staff can help connect victims with community-based sexual assault programs that offer additional counseling, advocacy and support.

Formal Reporting Options
You are encouraged to submit a College Concerns Form or directly contact one of the Title IX Officers on the right side of the screen.

You may also speak to officials of the institution to make formal reports of incidents (deans, vice presidents or other administrators with supervisory responsibilities, campus security and human resources). The college considers these people to be “responsible employees.” 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.

Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Investigation Procedures

Sexual Misconduct Investigation procedures may be found in the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted...

  1. Get to a safe place.

    After an attempted or completed rape or any other act of sexual violence, it may be helpful to contact a trusted friend to stay with you for support.

  2. Seek medical attention.

    Both local Hospitals (Niles and Dowagiac) have specially trained personnel to provide care in these situations. The Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program provides specially trained nurses who can examine you after an attempted or completed sexual assault and can collect evidence.

  3. Preserve any evidence.

    Place your clothing and other items (sheets, blankets) in a brown paper (not plastic) bag. Avoid drinking, bathing, showering, douching, brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, combing your hair or changing your clothes. Physical evidence will be collected if you choose to visit an Emergency Room after an attempted or completed rape. Write down, or have a friend write down, everything you can remember about the incident. You should attempt to do this even if you are unsure at the moment if you are planning on reporting the incident in the future.

  4. Report the incident.

    You have a few options with reporting:

    1. We encourage you to create a report with Law Enforcement by calling 911 or 269-782-6689. DPD will take seriously every report of sexual misconduct, offering complainants appropriate support and allowing them to maintain as much control as possible over their individual situations.

    2. You can either contact directly any of the Title IX staff listed on this page or you can submit a Concerns report at:

      The College recognizes that a complainant may desire confidentiality and may request that the College not investigate or pursue resolution of a report. In such cases the College will maintain to the extent permitted by law and other safety considerations. However, the College may determine that it must investigate and pursue resolution of a report, and take whatever measures it deems necessary in response to a charge of sexual misconduct in order to protect the rights, interests and personal safety of the Southwestern Michigan College community.

  5. Talk about the incident

    Remember that being a victim of sexual assault is not your fault. You are not responsible for the actions of others and it is not your fault that someone decided to hurt you. Talking with supportive people may help you regain a feeling of control and help you feel less alone.

    We strongly encourage you to contact Domestic and Sexual Abuse Services (DASAS). You can call them at 296-783-8880 (x8880 from any campus phone). They can offer advocacy and support during all steps of the process.

If You Have Been Accused of Violating the College's Sexual Misconduct Policy...

  1. You can speak to the Title IX Coordinator or Administrator.

    This person is an unbiased trained individual who can:

    • Help you understand your rights,
    • Explain the investigation and adjudication process,
    • Refer you to campus and community resources for mental health counseling, and
    • Assist with housing and academic (class) changes and other needs.

  2. Don’t contact the complainant or their witnesses as this may be construed as an attempt to influence the process or threaten the complainant.
  3. Preserve any evidence.

    Document all interactions with the accuser and keep all electronic evidence of conversations, etc.

  4. Take care of your mental and physical health.

    It is important that you stay active and away from drugs and alcohol during the time that you are involved in this process. There are a number of resources listed on the college's Personal Wellness Resources page that can assist as well.