To the Williams Community,
Even in the midst of the COVID 19 pandemic, Williams remains deeply committed to the goal of fostering and sustaining a safe community for all of our members. When members of our community are harmed, we seek to provide the resources they need in order to achieve accountability, healing, and support.
As in the past, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the many students, staff, faculty, and alumni who work to improve our prevention and response efforts. Addressing the problem of sexual and intimate violence requires the commitment and engagement of everyone who cares about Williams and our community. Thank you for all that you do to contribute to that effort.
The Office of Intimate Violence Prevention & Response offers an expansive range of programming and prevention initiatives. The Office’s Director, Meg Bossong ‘05, and Violence Prevention Coordinator, Allison Jasso, have been busy maintaining existing programming initiatives and introducing new content in response to student needs. That includes a range of programming across the student lifespan, from orientation to senior year. Burritos & Bystander Training for first-year students, along with required bystander training for students in leadership positions (JA, RLT, Ephventures, etc.) coupled with workshops for student groups on consent, respecting boundaries, healthy relationships, and exploring the relationship between sex and substance use. In addition, a variety of other workshops are available to a wide range of student groups. In partnership with the Athletics department, the office also reaches approximately 40% of the student body each year through individualized workshops with athletic teams. The office also supports the student peer education work of the Rape and Sexual Assault Network (RASAN), and Masculinity, Accountability, Sexual Assault and Consent (MASC).
Formal reporting and disciplinary process
Making a formal report and engaging the college disciplinary process is one option available to those who experience harm. I summarize students’ use of this process below. Even when students choose not to pursue a disciplinary process in response to intimate violence or harassment, there are a number of other systems and resources in place to provide support.
Support, safety, and services
Talking with someone who can listen and make connections to useful resources is an essential part of healing and accountability. In addition, Williams can provide or connect to assistance for a wide array of specific concerns, including finding a different room to live in, feeling safe around campus, navigating relationships after experiencing violence, and managing assignments or class attendance. Nobody should feel that they must contend with any of these challenges on their own; the Title IX Coordinator (Toya Camacho, Assistant Vice President of Institutional Diversity & Equity), as well as staff in the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response and the deans’ office are here to help with these and any other resources or measures you need.
During this time period, much of student life was overshadowed by COVID-19 and the many restrictions placed on student experience. Please know that any formal complaints made about sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, or stalking that occurred in a context in which COVID safety policies were being violated are subject to our amnesty policy. That is, if you are reporting one of the above behaviors, the College will not pursue disciplinary action against you for violations of COVID safety policies that were in place at the time the behavior being reported occurred.
In the majority of instances, students can have conversations about what happened, what options are available, and what steps they are considering with any trusted college staff member without beginning a formal conduct or complaint process. This includes the Title IX Coordinator and deputies, deans, staff from the OIDE, Davis Center, Office of Student Life, and Campus Safety officers, coaches, or professors.
Confidential resources include SASS Survivor Services. SASS is staffed around the clock by staff with specific training on responding to intimate violence (Meg Bossong, Director of Sexual Assault Response and Prevention; Allison Jasso, Violence Prevention Coordinator; Carolina Echenique ‘15, Admissions; Emery Shriver, Libraries; Mike Evans, Zilkha Center; Rabbi Seth Wax, Chaplains’ Office; and Alice Lee, Athletics) who can provide support, help you access resources, or offer information about on- and off-campus options. Other confidential resources on and off campus include Integrative Wellbeing and Health Services; the college chaplains; and the Elizabeth Freeman Center, which is the local rape crisis center and domestic violence organization and also has a 24/7 hotline.
2019-20 and 2020-2021 Student Cases
Over the course of the 19-20 and 20-21 academic years, the college received a total of x reports of misconduct:
- 13 reports of sexual misconduct;
- 4 reports of relationship abuse;
- 5 reports of stalking;
- 3 reports of verbal sexual harassment
Of these 25 cases, 20 involved situations in which the person alleged to have caused harm was a current member of the college community and was therefore eligible for college accountability processes. The other 5 involved individuals who were not current members of the Williams community. In those instances, the college connected students with accountability options through other institutions or in the courts.
Among the students in the 20 cases involving Williams community members, three chose to take part in the college investigation and adjudication process. Their cases were adjudicated between July 1, 2019, and August 31, 2021. One case involved sexual misconduct; it resulted in a finding of responsibility and a sanction of suspension for 2 semesters. The second case involved relationship abuse; it resulted in a finding of responsibility and a sanction of required educational sessions. The third case involved sexual harassment and resulted in a finding of not responsible.
|Category of Conduct||Cases Pursued in Discipline Process/
Total Eligible Cases Received
|Findings of Responsibility|
Occasionally an adjudication process continues past the cutoff date for reporting on the academic year within which the case was reported. In such instances, we include the case in reporting data for the year during which adjudication was completed.
I also want to point out that individuals who have not yet chosen to pursue an investigation and adjudication process still have that option available to them as long as the person they might be lodging a complaint against is still a current student, staff member, or faculty member. The college does not have the authority to hold individuals accountable once they are no longer members of the community (for example, after they graduate, transfer, or terminate their employment at Williams). In those situations, individuals still have the option of lodging a complaint with law enforcement until the applicable statute of limitations is reached.
In closing, I want to again thank everyone working to improve our prevention and response efforts.
Dean of the College and Hales Professor of Psychology
All of Williams’ policies and information about resources for support of students, staff, and faculty can be found at http://titleix.williams.edu/