If an individual requests that concerns raised remain confidential, RISD will make all reasonable attempts to comply with this request consistent with and subject to the College’s obligation to respond to complaints of this nature. Accordingly, other than a medical provider, no representative of RISD can promise complete confidentiality to any person who possesses information relevant to an incident of sexual misconduct, including a complainant. RISD will advise an individual requesting confidentiality that complying with such a request may limit its ability to respond to the complaint. RISD will weigh a complainant’s request for confidentiality with its commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment and will consider the following factors in determining whether it can maintain confidentiality: the seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct; whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct against the same accused student; and the accused student’s right to receive information about the allegations if the information is maintained by RISD as an “education record” under FERPA. For further discussion on confidentiality issues regarding employee complaints, see httpXXXX
If a complainant does not wish to pursue a formal complaint, RISD will review incidents of sexual violence or harassment and take reasonable action in response to the complainant’s information although the College’s ability to take action may be limited. A complainant who indicates that they are not seeking any resolution of a complaint will be asked to confirm so in writing and such record will be kept in with a Title IX Coordinator.
No one shall be retaliated against for raising a concern of sexual misconduct in good faith as a complainant, or participating as a witness, an investigator or in any other capacity. Retaliation is typically a significant adverse action taken against an individual because the individual participated in an internal complaint process. Retaliation is a serious offense. A complaint of retaliation may be investigated and may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or otherwise terminating the individual’s relationship with the Institute. If any individual has concerns about retaliation, he or she should contact a Title IX coordinator, deputy coordinator or a human resources officer.
Use of alcohol and other drugs
The use of alcohol and other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol and other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and affirmatively given. Alcohol and/or drugs can impact an individual’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences and ability to give informed consent. The use of alcohol or drugs never makes an individual at fault for sexual misconduct committed against an individual. The question is whether an accused individual knew, or should have known, that the complaining individual was incapacitated due to alcohol and/or drugs and therefore unable to give consent to engage in sexual activity. Because determining whether an individual is incapacitated so as to be unable to give effective consent may be difficult to discern, individuals are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution (i.e., when in doubt, assume that another person is incapacitated and therefore unable to consent). Being intoxicated or impaired by alcohol or drugs is never a defense to a complaint of sexual violence.
The outcome of a campus hearing is part of the educational record of the responding student, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA. Notification of the panel’s decision will be made via letter written by the Title IX Coordinator or appointed designee. Copies of the letter will be sent to both parties for any misconduct determination without condition or limitation. Sanctions range from warnings through expulsion for violations of RISD’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. All sanctions may include a requirement to seek counseling and/or mandate education related to the policy violated. The Sexual Misconduct Panel, Title IX Coordinator, or appointed designee has final decision making authority with regard to formal complaints, subject to appeal. Where the responding student is found in violation of RISD policy, the Sexual Misconduct Panel or Title IX Coordinator will impose appropriate sanctions for the violation. The College will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the victim and the community.