FAQ's

Isn’t Title IX just a federal law mandating equality in athletics?

To many that is what it is best known as, but discrimination on the basis of sex in education – which Title IX prohibits – can also include sexual violence such as sexual harassment, sexual assault, rape, as well as gender-based discrimination and harassment, domestic and dating violence, retaliation, and stalking.

Doesn’t Title IX only apply to female students?

No, Title IX protects any person from sex-based discrimination, regardless of their real or perceived sex, gender identity, and/or gender expression. Female, male, and gender non-conforming students, faculty, and staff are protected from any sex-based discrimination, harassment or violence.

What does sexual assault mean? What is sexual violence?

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual act that occurs without consent. Sexual Violence is often used as a broad term to talk about a range of behavior including sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and rape.  All forms of sexual violence are prohibited by the Academy and Title IX.

What is the purpose of Title IX?

Title IX is about eliminating threatening or abusive behavior, preventing the recurrence of these behaviors, and addressing the effects through support and resources. Title IX is about creating an equitable system for adjudicating cases and, ultimately, creating a campus where sexual violence, discrimination and harassment will not be tolerated so that all campus members can thrive.  These behaviors violate Title IX, Academy policy, state and federal civil rights laws and possibly the criminal laws of Massachusetts.

Does Title IX force victims/survivors to share their experience with the Academy or pressure a student to pursue disciplinary action?

The student always retains control over who to talk to and what level of information to share. We will never force a survivor/victim to share the details of their experience, but when a report of sexual violence is shared with a Title IX Coordinator or other mandated reporter, we have a legal duty to follow up on the report to determine the appropriate response under Title IX.

The Title IX Investigator will conduct an initial assessment regarding, among other things, the nature of the report, the safety of the individual and of the broader campus community, and the complainant’s expressed preference for resolution. Students are not pressured to pursue a specific action. In planning any response, the wishes of the reporting student are given full consideration. Nevertheless, the Academy may need to pursue a certain path despite the wishes of the student, but usually only if there is a broader safety risk for the campus and Academy community.

Is the only avenue I have for recourse a disciplinary process?

Not necessarily. Following the Title IX investigation/assessment, the Academy may seek a remedies-based resolution that does not involve disciplinary action against a respondent. A remedies-based resolution may include interim protective measures, such as a no-contact order, academic accommodations, or housing modifications.  In some cases, a remedies-based resolution is not appropriate based on the facts and circumstances of the misconduct (for example, conduct that presents an ongoing threat to an individual or to the Academy community).

What are my reporting options?

You have several options for reporting including Confidential Reports, Non-Confidential Reports and Making No Report at all. 

If you are unsure of what to do, discussing alternative reporting options and available resources with a confidential reporting source is highly recommended.  They can hear your story and give you the available support services you need and where they can be found, so that you can make an informed decision about how you would like to proceed. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat for this process. 

The only on-campus, confidential* reporting options are:

•             Counseling Center (3rd Company),

•             Health Services (4th Company)

•             Campus Chaplain (Father Jim Houston)

*If a person presents an imminent threat of harm to one’s self or others, a clinical provider may break confidentiality

Off-campus, confidential reporting options include any off-campus medical provider, rape crisis center, counseling and/or victim support services, and off-campus chaplains, clergy, or pastoral counselors.

All other entities on campus (i.e. Cadet Cadre, Company Officers, Academy Administrators, Campus Police, the President, Deans and DH’s, Coaches, and Title IX Coordinators to name a few) are non-confidential and will share information with Academy officials and employees who need to know it in order to implement Academy policies and procedures.

Does Title IX always start a criminal/legal process?

Reporting an incident to the police and/or pursuing criminal charges are always available to a student and we can help in accessing those resources, but it is separate and different from the Academy’s investigation process.

A police investigation has the prospect of putting a perpetrator behind bars and, if applicable, requiring them to register as a sex offender. The Academy’s Class I Mast board can’t send a perpetrator to prison, but can expel or suspend them if they’re found responsible.  Victims who want to report a sexual assault can choose to pursue one of these routes, both, or neither.

Are all employees at the Academy required to report incidents of sexual violence or other Title IX violations?

Title IX requires most employees to report, but not all. Some employees have legally-recognized confidentiality protections and will not share information without the consent of the victim/survivor. The on-campus confidential resources include our health Counselors in the Counseling Center, health practitioners at Health Services, and our religious advisor, Father Jim Houston.

Does Title IX cover student complaints of sexual violence against employees?

Yes, if a student reports sexual violence/harassment by an employee, the Academy must take action. Based on the report (to a mandated reporter), the Academy will notify the student of options and resources available for support. The Academy will notify the employee and in most instances will conduct an investigation, and if it is found that the employee has engaged in sexual violence/harassment, the Academy will take steps to ensure the conduct stops. If the investigation reveals inappropriate behavior by the student, charges may be filed against the student through the Commandant of Cadets office’s.

Does Title IX also require students to report incidents involving their peers?

While most employees are responsible for reporting, most of our students are not. That is, unless you are a student that holds a leadership position.  Cadet Cadre are required to report incidents as they work directly for the Commandant of Cadets Office.  Students with concerns about a friend are encouraged to consult with a confidential resource (such as the Counseling Center or Health Services) about how to support their friend.

Is there a time limit for making a report?

Although there is no timeframe for reporting, know (particularly in a sexual violence incident) that the more time that passes from the time of the incident, the more difficult it will be for the Academy to gather the evidence needed to determine a violation of Title IX. The Academy encourages reporting an incident as soon as possible in order to maximize our ability to respond promptly and effectively.

Victims are never required to report an incident to Campus Police or local law enforcement, but this action will assist in gathering and preserving evidence.  This action does not obligate you to make a complaint or take any further action if you choose.  This can be done at a later date if desired and the process will still be available to you, regardless of how long you wait.  The Academy will support you in any way we can, but if the incident involves a threat to the campus community we may be forced to proceed with an investigation (for which you will be notified if that is the case).

Can I still receive services and support from the Academy if I decide not to pursue a criminal or internal investigation?

Yes. The Academy will still offer a full range of support and services, even if you decide not to make a formal report. The Academy's Title IX Coordinator’s, Counseling Center, and Health Services are available to provide support, and the Academy will provide interim measures in appropriate cases, like changes to class schedules/assignments, room/housing relocation, or issuing "no contact" orders. These supports and services are available to you whether or not you decide to pursue a criminal or internal investigation. The best way to get support or get help with interim measures is to contact the Title IX Coordinator directly.

What if a Title IX violation occurs while I am off campus or abroad?

The Academies Title IX policy applies to all Academy programs, activities or Academy affiliated events, whether they are on or off campus, including study abroad and internships.

What should I expect if I have been accused of sexual violence or any other Title IX violation?

If there is a formal complaint against you, the Title IX investigator will send you a notice letter, via your Academy email account, outlining the accusations and identifying the complainant. The investigator is a neutral third-party fact finder, and does not represent you or the complainant. His/her job is solely to conduct a thorough and impartial investigation, and to determine whether or not an Academy policy violation occurred.

The notice letter you receive will invite you to contact the investigator for a meeting. At your meeting with the investigator, you will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations, identify witnesses, evidence, or other information that you think might be important, and ask any questions that you may have. You can bring a support person of your choice with you to the meeting if you choose.

While you are encouraged to meet with the investigator, so that you can provide any information you are aware of that might be helpful to a thorough and impartial investigation, you are not required to do so. If you prefer, you can send any information or materials you wish to provide in writing (via electronic or regular mail). You may also choose not to participate in the investigation process at all, which means that you can decline to meet with the investigator and to provide any written or other materials. Keep in mind, though, that if you decide not to participate at all, the investigator's report will only include the testimony and evidence provided by the complainant and other witnesses, and your testimony will not be considered in making a determination of whether or not a policy violation occurred.

I think I was sexually assaulted, but I was drunk when it happened, and I'm not 21. Will I get in trouble for drinking if I report the sexual assault?

You may be hesitant to report Title IX offenses out of concern that you, or witnesses, might be charged with violations of the Academies drug/alcohol policies or other listed offenses. The Academy can elect not to pursue discipline against a student who, in good faith, reports, witnesses or possesses personal knowledge of a Title IX offence.