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Learn More About Sexual Misconduct
“Consent” is: expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions mutually understandable to all parties involved; is given for a specific sexual act at a specific time and can be withdrawn at any time; cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, or force; cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual situation occurring, including, but not limited to, those who are under the legal age of consent (17 years in Illinois), asleep, unconscious, or mentally or physically incapacitated through the effects of drugs or alcohol, or mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability. Consent cannot be assumed based on: silence; the absence of verbal or physical resistance; an individual’s manner of dress; the existence of a prior or current relationship; or consent to prior sexual activity. Consent for sexual acts cannot be given by a third party, and consent to sexual activity with one individual does not constitute consent to sexual activity with another individual.If you want additional information regarding consent, check out this entertaining video:
When someone you care about experiences sexual misconduct, you may feel powerless, angry, and unsure of what to do next. The following suggestions may help:
- Listen to your friend. He or she may try to go over and over the incident, replaying it in his or her mind. Listen without judgement as often as your friend would like.
- Assure your friend that he or she is not to blame.
- Remind your friend that there is no right or wrong response; everyone copes differently with trauma.
- Offer resources and information but do not tell your friend what he or she should do; ask how you can help.
- Accompany your friend if she or he seeks medical attention or law enforcement assistance.
- Don’t question or press your friend for details.
- Take time for yourself - It is a big job to be supportive of a friend going through a difficult time. Make sure that you give yourself enough space so that you can be mentally available for your friend.
- Get help if you need it - Sometimes it’s worth recognizing that we don’t have all the answers. You’re not expected to be an expert. If you or your friend need additional help or resources, scout those out and get the help you need too.
- Be there - Sometimes just being there is enough. Your friend is likely looking for a safe space to share, not for a fixer or a solution.
Q1: Am I a responsible employee?
A: You are a “Responsible Employee” if you are employed by the College outside the Health and Wellness Center. Responsible Employee is a term used by the Department of Education to indicate an employee whom a student might reasonably believe has the authority to respond to a sexual misconduct, or an employee whom the school has requested to report sexual harassment complaints that are made to him or her. At Lake Forest College, all faculty, staff and student employees are considered “responsible employees” and are required to report information regarding sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.
Q2: What are my obligations as a responsible employee?
A: Responsible Employees are required to immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator any information they receive regarding an alleged incident of sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or related retaliation involving a member of the College Community.
Q3: What do I do/say if a student contacts me to discuss an incident sexual misconduct?
A: It is important that you inform the student of your obligations as a responsible employee before the student begins to share details in case he or she does not want the incident to be reported to the Title IX Coordinator. That could sound something like:
“Thank you for coming to me. I am sorry this has happened to you. Before you continue, I need to tell you that I am required by the Department of Education to report what you tell me to the College’s Title IX Coordinator, who will review the information and determine what, if any, further action should be taken. If you would rather keep this information confidential, there are other on-campus confidential employees, as well as off-campus confidential resources with whom you can speak. Reporting to a confidential employee or off-campus resource will not result in a report to the Title IX Coordinator.”
Q4: What do I do if a student comes to me and I am unsure as to what I need to do?
A: Be honest with the student. Inform him or her that the information he or she has told you is important, and that in order to effectively assist him or her you need to quickly check to make sure you are responding appropriately. You can then consult this information or contact the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, Director of Human Resources, or your supervisor for assistance.
Q5: What do I do if the student tells me he/she wants to contact a confidential resource?
A: Do not ask any further questions of the student. Instead, show the student how to access that list of confidential employees/resources in the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy webpage here or provide them with the following information:
- Lake Forest College Counseling Services: off-campus 847-735-5240, on campus x5240 during business hours, or after hours by contacting Public Safety at 847-735-5555 or on campus at x5555
- Electronic Reporting: https://www.lakeforest.edu/sexualmisconduct/reporting.php
- Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center in Gurnee: 847-872-7799
- Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: 888-293-2080
- National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline: 800-656-HOPE (4673)
Q6: Do I need to report rumors or second-hand information I hear?
A: Most likely. The College has an on-going obligation to respond to sexual misconduct of which it knew or should have known. Because additional inquiry into rumors or second-hand information may yield information of a violation, you are required to report rumors or second-hand information. However, that you are not required to report information you obtain during “Take Back the Night,” the Clothesline Project, candlelight vigils, protests, “survivor speak outs” or other similar forums. In every other case, you should error on the side of reporting and let the Title IX Coordinator determine the next course of action.
Q7: Do I need to report an incident that occurred off-campus or while school was not in session?
A: Yes. The College has an obligation to address any incident that impacts a student’s ability to access his or her education. Therefore, responsible employees are required to report to the Title IX Coordinator reports received regarding on and off campus conduct, as well as incidents that occurred while school was not in session.
Q8. Is there any other information I should provide to a student that discloses information regarding sexual misconduct?
A: If the student indicates that he or she wants to discuss the incident with you, you should listen to the information that he or she tells you. When relevant, you should inform the student that he or she should preserve any evidence relating to the alleged misconduct, such as electronic messages, voicemails or physical evidence. Physical evidence can be preserved with a medical exam at the ER. You should also confirm that the student feels safe leaving your meeting. If the student is in danger, instruct them to call 911 or Public Safety. It is not your personal responsibility to provide a safe place for the student—your role is to guide the student to on-campus and off-campus resources (listed above) that can get the student the services he or she needs.
Q9: Is there anything I should NOT say to a student who discloses sexual misconduct?
A: Try not to act shocked by the information provided to you and do not push the student for additional details. Keep in mind that you are not responsible for investigating the incident; you are only responsible for reporting the information to the Title IX Coordinator. Do not promise confidentiality unless you are referring the student to the confidential resources set forth above.
Q10: What information am I expected to provide when making a report to the Title IX Coordinator?
A: You are expected to tell the Title IX Coordinator everything you know about the incident. Typically, this will include:
- Name of the involved students
- Date of alleged incident
- Date on which reporter learned of alleged incident
- Specific location where alleged incident occurred
- Time of alleged incident
- Nature of the alleged incident
- Any other information the student provided to you
Q11: Once I have filed my report with a Title IX coordinator, do I have other responsibilities?
A: An employee who reports an incident may be questioned during an investigation of the reported misconduct and/or asked to testify at a sexual misconduct hearing. You will be informed of whether this is required.
Q12: Who can I call with additional questions or if I need additional support?
A: Joan Slavin, the campus Title IX Coordinator, can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 847-735-6009. If the Title IX Coordinator is not immediately available, you should contact your Department Chair, supervisor, the Dean of Students or the Director of Human Resources. Employees can also contact the Campus Health and Wellness Center with concerns or for guidance on responding to distressed students.