Note: This protocol refers to no contact orders issued as supportive measures for safety concerns related to sexual misconduct, domestic/dating violence, and stalking, or retaliation related to those concerns.
College administrators may impose a no contact order (NCO) to prohibit contact that contributes to a hostile environment or presents a reasonable risk of physical harm, emotional abuse, or gender-based harassment.
How to Request a NCO
To request a NCO, members of the Williams community (students, staff, and faculty) should meet first with one of the following members of college staff:
- The Title IX Coordinator (for student, staff, or faculty concerns);
- The appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator (the Dean of the College for students, the Director of Human Resources for staff, or the Dean of Faculty for faculty concerns);
- The Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (for student requests only);
- A Sexual Assault Survivor Services (SASS) advocate (for student requests only)
If a person reports to the college that they have experienced sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will automatically reach out to that person to discuss the availability of supportive measures, which might include a NCO.
A person who is not a member of the Williams community may request that a NCO be imposed with respect to a member of the Williams community. For example, a student of another institution might request their former dating partner, a Williams student, not to contact them. This request should be made by contacting the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Student Concerns.
If a NCO is not an appropriate safety tool because the responding party is not a Williams community member, the requesting party will be directed to information on abuse prevention or harassment prevention orders (aka restraining orders) available in Massachusetts courts. In these circumstances, students seeking assistance should call the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response or the on-call SASS advocate. Faculty or staff should contact the Director of Human Resources (Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Staff Concerns), the Dean of the Faculty (Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty Concerns), or the Title IX Coordinator, or should seek help directly from an appropriate law enforcement agency or the district or probate court.
Staff members who receive a request for a NCO will collect the following information, if it is not available through other means (for example, a Campus Safety or police incident report):
- The name of the requesting party;
- The name of the responding party;
- Facts from the requesting and responding parties sufficient to assess any ongoing safety, abuse, or harassment concerns and to determine if this is a sexual misconduct issue or non-sexual misconduct issue, to the extent that it is appropriate; and
- The following data for Clery purposes, which will be passed along to the Associate Director of Campus Safety for Clery Compliance: the date(s) of incident(s), the location(s) of incident(s), and sufficient facts for the Assoc. Director to determine the Clery categorization of the incident.
The Criteria for Implementing a NCO
The college will consider all applicable facts and circumstances when deciding whether to issue a NCO. Upon consideration of the information collected, the Title IX Coordinator or the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator will determine whether to issue a NCO based on the following criteria:
- Whether the NCO serves to prevent a reasonable risk of physical harm, emotional abuse, or gender-based harassment.
- Whether the NCO will help remedy a hostile environment.
A NCO may in rare cases be imposed by the college without an individual’s request.
The terms of a NCO will be reasonably tailored to the particular risks of harm. The NCO will be subject to periodic review as set forth below.
Preparing a NCO
In order to determine the proper scope of the NCO, the Title IX Coordinator or the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator will review the relevant information with the requesting party, including the following details:
- Contact restrictions-direct or indirect, including through third parties and social media
- Card access restrictions
- Whether there are any existing space/schedule overlaps, for example housing, classes, extracurriculars, etc.
- If overlaps exist, discuss other accommodations related to housing, class changes, etc.
NCOs will not be implemented in a way that is punitive, disciplinary, or unreasonably burdens another party, unless it is issued following an investigation, adjudication and finding of responsibility. Staff should contact the Campus Safety and Security Director, Associate Directors, or On-Call Supervisor to prepare NCO paperwork.
Issuing a NCO
The Office of Campus Safety and Security issues and maintains records for all NCOs. Records of NCOs issued as a supportive measure following a report or complaint of sexual misconduct will also be kept by the Title IX Coordinator.
Once the college has determined that a NCO is appropriate and identified its proper scope, the Office of Campus Safety and Security will issue the NCO. The Office of Campus Safety and Security will arrange for the requesting party to sign the NCO. The requesting party will receive a copy of their order as well as any additional information about the NCO.
The following offices will contact the responding party for an appointment to discuss the NCO:
- For student responding party: Dean of the College’s Office
- For staff responding party: Human Resources
- For faculty responding party: Dean of the Faculty’s Office
- Alternatively, for any responding party: Title IX Coordinator
At the meeting, the Title IX Coordinator or the appropriate deputy, in conjunction with Campus Safety and Security (CSS), will review the terms of the NCO and the precipitating incident(s) with the responding party, the responding party will sign an acknowledgement that they have received and reviewed their order, and will receive a copy of their order and any additional information about the NCO. The applicable staff office will then notify the requesting party that the NCO is in effect.
Appealing the issuance of a NCO
The issuance of a NCO may be appealed by any party to it using the procedures for appealing supportive measures described in the sexual misconduct adjudication procedures.
Modifying a NCO
Either party may request modifications to a NCO at any time by contacting the Title IX Coordinator or the applicable deputy. The Title IX Committee for Student Concerns (defined below) will consider all applicable facts and circumstances when deciding whether to modify, or discontinue a NCO.
NCOs will be modified under the following conditions:
- The modification is necessary to protect privacy interests.
For example, if students reside in different entries of the same building and one party feels that moving the other party from the building would cause obvious disruption such that their confidentiality and privacy would be compromised, the NCO may restrict access to entries, floors, shared bathrooms, or adjoining suites, rather than the building in its entirety.
Similarly, if a party feels that removing the other party from a shared classroom would have the same effect and the shared classroom environment does not disrupt their academic success, the Dean of the College/Deputy Title IX Coordinator can work with the faculty member to navigate classroom seating and group work to avoid interactions between the parties to the NCO.
- The housing, academic, or extracurricular circumstances of either the requesting or responding party have changed since the issuance of the order, necessitating changes to the NCO’s conditions.
For example, NCOs may be modified if one party has changed their housing mid-year, or changed classes during the drop/add period.
The Committee will also review and consider whether other facts or circumstances warrant modification of the NCO. This may include whether one party has intentionally or unintentionally violated the terms of the NCO.
Regular review of NCOs
For student orders, a NCO Review committee meets twice yearly (generally once in August before the Fall Semester and once in December before Winter Study and the Spring Semester) to review existing student NCOs, formally discontinue those NCOs no longer active, and contact the parties with the updated terms of their orders. This committee ordinarily consists of:
- The Director of Campus Safety and Security (or designee)
- The Security Systems Manager
- The Director of the Office of Student Life (or designee), as the office responsible for the student housing system, room draw process, and special housing accommodation process
- The Title IX Coordinator
- The Dean of the College/Deputy Title IX Coordinator
- The Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response
Discontinuing active NCOs
Either party to a NCO may request that a NCO be discontinued by contacting the Title IX Coordinator or the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
The Title IX Committee for Student Concerns will review these requests twice per year, generally in August before the Fall Semester and in December before Winter Study and Spring Semester. The Title IX Committee for Student Concerns currently consists of: Toya Camacho, Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Vice President for Institutional Diversity and Equity; Gretchen Long, Deputy Title IX Coordinator and Dean of the College; Meg Bossong, the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response; and Allison Jasso, Violence Prevention Coordinator.
As part of the assessment, this committee will ask that the party requesting discontinuance provide the following in writing:
- A description of any hardship placed upon them as a result of the NCO being issued;
- Detailed information about why they believe the NCO has interfered with their ability to access any College program, activity or benefit of the College;
- An explanation of how they believe the identified hardship will be alleviated if the NCO is removed or amended;
- An explanation of whether they have violated their current NCO in whole or in part; and
- Any additional facts or relevant information that they believe will help the committee determine whether to continue, terminate, or modify the NCO.
The committee will also provide the party opposing discontinuance an opportunity to explain why the NCO should remain in place.
The NCO will be discontinued under the following circumstances:
- The responding party is no longer a member of the Williams community, including because of graduation, expulsion, or termination of employment. In this case, if safety concerns remain, the requesting party should be directed to information on abuse prevention or harassment prevention orders (sometimes referred to as restraining orders) that are available in district or probate court. The requesting party may also discuss with Campus Safety and Security, the Title IX Coordinator, or the applicable Deputy Title IX Coordinator whether the circumstances warrant the posting of the responding party from entry onto the College campus.
- The Title IX Committee for Student Concerns determines there is no longer a likelihood of physical harm, emotional abuse, or gender-based harassment sufficient to justify a NCO.
- The NCO is no longer necessary to help remedy a hostile environment.
- A NCO will generally be removed when both parties request in good faith that it be discontinued.
The Title IX Committee for Student Concerns will forward the results of its review of NCOs to the NCO Review Committee, which, as part of its biannual review of NCOs, will inform the parties to a NCO whether it will be discontinued, modified, or remain in place.
Any violations of the NCO should be reported immediately to Campus Safety and Security (24/7). Ongoing concerns about a NCO should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator (business hours), or the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator (business hours).
CSS officers will follow ordinary protocols for assessing and responding to campus safety concerns, consulting as necessary with the on-call staff (dean, mental health counselor, or SASS advocate), the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, and the Title IX and Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
The Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinators will follow up on alleged violations of NCOs and determine via investigation whether the contact in question was incidental or intentional.
Contact determined to be incidental will be addressed via advisory meetings with the responsible party, and/or modifications to the specific terms of the NCO, for example establishing schedules for the use of shared campus spaces.
Contact determined to be intentional will be addressed in accordance with the investigation and adjudication processes outlined in the sexual misconduct policy.