Faculty and Staff
All Hope College faculty and staff are responsible employees (except those designated as confidential) and must report any knowledge of sexual harassment or sexual assault that occurred to someone within our community.
As faculty and staff, we know you are committed to supporting our students to the best of your ability. The following resources and information can help you as you help our students.
- REPORTING REQUIREMENTS
Anytime a disclosure is made during a personal discussion with you (before/after class, in your office hours, outside of class, when leading a trip, etc.) regarding potential sexual discrimination made by another member of the Hope community, you have an obligation to report (as you, and therefore the college, have been put on notice). The only exceptions from reporting occur when the disclosure is made in the context of a classroom discussion (on a relevant topic) or in a written assignment.
If you have any questions about the context in which you were put on notice of an alleged violation, you are encouraged to contact Taylor Sinclair, Title IX coordinator/compliance officer, to discuss the nature of the disclosure and determine if the content requires a report.
The spirit of these requirements is grounded in our desire to cultivate a culture free from discrimination based on sex or gender. Our intent is to remedy any individual or environmental concerns on campus in order to provide students with a barrier-free environment in which to receive their education.
- WHAT TO REPORT
You have to report the following information, if it is known. (You never have to act as an investigator to gain more information than what was shared with you.)
- Name(s) of perpetrator(s)
- Name of student who experienced violence
- Other students involved
- AFTER YOU REPORT
- Once you submit a report, you will likely be contacted by the Title IX coordinator. Depending on the nature of the situation, she will do her best to keep you in the loop about next steps as appropriate (based on considerations of confidentiality).
- DISCLOSURES IN THE CONTEXT OF ACADEMIC DISCUSSION/CONVERSATION
- If a student discloses a situation through a written assignment or in the context of a relevant classroom discussion, you do not have to report that information. However, if you engage the student in a dialog about the incident they disclosed, the material is no longer protected and your mandatory reporting obligations come into play. One way to address this might be to send an email to the student that outlines your reporting obligations if you speak about the incident, but also provides the referral to campus resources if needed. For a sample email, contact Taylor Sinclair.
- DISCLOSURES ABOUT THE PAST OR NON-HOPE AFFILIATED PEOPLE
Situations that happened in the student’s past (before coming to Hope) or in which the perpetrator is not affiliated with Hope do not need to be reported to the Title IX coordinator.
However, our responsibility to care for the student remains. Please verify the student is aware of both on-campus and off-campus support options as needed. Referrals to Counseling and Psychological Services and Campus Ministries are great starting places for students, regardless of if they have accessed services off-campus (currently or in the past).
- HOW TO RESPOND
First and foremost, trust the student and make no judgment about what is being shared. Asking specific questions about the incident can be received as victim blaming and we never want to re-traumatize a person. Your goal is to respond with care and concern for their well-being. Often everyday activities can be challenging for victims, so you can be helpful in verifying they are feeling safe, attending class, etc. The best thing you can do is point them to the other resources on campus where there are trained employees to help them through their situation.
Good questions to ask
- Are you okay?
- Do you feel safe?
- How can I help you?
The types of questions to avoid
- Why were you walking alone?
- Were you drinking?
- Did you say no or fight back?
- Do you really need this accommodation?
- Is it that big of a deal?
People who have experienced a traumatic situation do not always respond the way we think they will (or the way we think they should) based on their circumstances. It is important to not place judgment on their affect, their memories or their choices at that time. Many people will also need several nights of sleep to truly start to process what happened before they are prepared to talk about it. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, this short video is a great resource.
- SYLLABUS LANGUAGE
Many faculty members find it helpful to include a statement in their syllabus that states up front that they are mandatory reporters. This can be a simple, short statement or can be written to include more general information as well. A sample statement is included here for your use as you see fit:
Hope College is committed to providing a safe and secure environment where each student is able to learn, grow and prosper. One way in which we demonstrate this commitment is through our Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination policy. For information about this policy, about reporting concerns or about local resources, please see hope.edu/offices/
I am available if you would like to speak to me about an incident of harassment, discrimination or assault that occurred while you were a student at Hope. However, it is important to note that all Hope College faculty members are mandatory reporters. If you speak to me about a personal experience, I have a responsibility to report my knowledge of the incident to the senior director of equity and compliance/Title IX coordinator, Taylor Sinclair (email@example.com or 616-395-6816).
For those that would like to include additional language regarding resources, here is a sample paragraph:
Confidential resources on campus include Kelsey Colburn, Prevention Educator/Victim Advocate (616-395-7802; firstname.lastname@example.org), Counseling and Psychological Services (616-395-7945), Health Clinic Staff (616-395-7585), and Campus Chaplains (616-395-7966). Off-Campus Confidential Resources include Resilience (previously the Center for Women in Transition, 24-Hour Crisis Line: 616-392-1970; Information Line: 616-392-2829) or Holland Hospital. Alleged violations can be reported (non-confidentially) to the Senior Director of Equity and Compliance/Title IX Coordinator (noted above), to Campus Safety (395-7770) or to the Holland Police Department (616-355-1100). There is an online reporting form, which can be submitted anonymously if so desired, at hope.edu/reportdiscrimination.
For courses that require touch during instruction, including a statement about that in the syllabus is very beneficial. Here is a sample statement:
As part of the teaching methods in this class, it is common practice for the instructor to make physical touch/adjustments and corrections with students in an effort to improve performance, guide and instruct. It will be professional and appropriate to the need, and if at any time you are uncomfortable with the instruction, you can ask the instructor to direct you verbally instead. If this presents any concerns for you, please feel free to discuss it with me in advance.
- TRIGGER WARNINGS
Without debating the pros/cons of trigger warnings (or taking a stance for or against), classes utilizing materials that include sexual violence should be evaluated to determine if a warning would be of value. If you would like to include a warning, this can be accomplished either in the syllabus at the start of the semester (to make students aware it will be part of the course in general or on specific dates) or by announcement in a class period prior to the material being presented.
If providing a warning, you will also need to think through what adjustments you might be willing to make in this regard. You will need to use your professional judgment and assess each request individually, conferring with other campus resources as needed (your department head, your dean, the Title IX coordinator, CAPS, etc.). If the student making the request discloses they are working through an investigation on campus currently, please discuss the request with the Title IX coordinator.
A sample warning:
Please note that we will utilize materials in this course throughout the semester that contain references to physical and sexual violence. If you have any concerns about your ability to participate in regards to this content or need warnings in regards to specific dates and/or pieces involved, please speak to me privately about your concerns or needs.
- BE A PART OF THE SOLUTION
There are several ways (big or small) in which you can get involved to be a part of the solution, helping create a culture of inclusion on campus, one free of educational barriers for students.
The little things
- Include a statement in your syllabus
- Put the “It's On Us” logo on your Moodle page
- Speak up when you hear students or employees making inappropriate or disparaging jokes/comments about women
- Attend a campus event to learn more about the experiences of the LGBTQ student experience on campus
The bigger things
- Determine if there is a place in your course to embed any parts or pieces of these conversations (which could include discussing heathy relationships, setting/respecting boundaries, review of gender stereotypes, discussion of interconnectedness of alcohol/drug use with sexual violence, etc.)
- Host a speaker or educational program on campus and tell us about it so that we can encourage others to attend and track it as part of our overall prevention
- Have students partner with campus staff to assess/evaluate these issues on campus and/or design prevention efforts
- Email Taylor Sinclair to note your interest in getting involved on a committee or as a policy advisor