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Special Alert—Report of Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault

Feb. 24, 2015

To: The Oberlin College Community

From: Marjorie Burton, Director of Safety and Security

Date:February 24, 2015

A report of sexual misconduct has been shared by a College administrator with the office of Safety and Security. The sexual misconduct was reported to have occurred last academic year between two students around lack of consent or capacity to give consent. Reports of alleged sexual misconduct or sexual assault are shared with the Oberlin Police Department, and are also investigated under the College Sexual Misconduct Policy requirements.

Obtaining consent of all sexual partners is crucial in order to prevent sexualized violence. As a community, we all have the responsibility to respect one another in intimate settings, including those of a sexual nature. Consent is most effective when it is understood as an ongoing practice, including the efforts we take outside of intimate situations to educate ourselves. The following are essential elements of effective consent:

  • Informed: all parties demonstrate a clear and mutual understanding of exactly what they are consenting to.
  • Freely and actively given: there is no coercion, force, threats, intimidation, or pressure.
  • Mutually understandable: expressed in words or actions that indicate a clear willingness to do the same thing, at the same time, in the same way, with each other. Silence does not equal consent.
  • Specific to a given situation: consent is not indefinite; furthermore, consent may be withdrawn at any time, and at that time all sexual activity must cease unless and until additional unambiguous consent is given.

Because consent should be positively communicated through words or actions in an ongoing fashion, silence, lack of verbal resistance, lack of physical resistance, previous sexual relationships, and/or a current sexual relationship may not be taken to constitute effective consent.

Alcohol and drugs may compromise one’s ability to recognize whether another person is incapacitated or otherwise unable to provide effective consent. If someone appears to be incapacitated, or becomes incapacitated and therefore unable to give effective consent, do not attempt sexual contact with that person. Consent is always required.

Do not use drugs or alcohol to loosen another’s inhibitions or as an excuse to rationalize your own abusive behavior toward someone else later. Voluntary intoxication is not an excuse for unacceptable behavior under the law or under College regulations.

Set and maintain boundaries for yourself and others. Do not assume it is all right to enter another persons’ room or space or that you can safely leave your room or space unlocked and open where entry can occur when you are asleep or unaware of another person’s presence.

Seek assistance when needed--The College Medical Amnesty Policy allows a student at medical risk to seek medical attention for oneself or another for intoxication or overdose without formal College sanction for illegal use or possession of alcohol or other drugs when College policies have been violated in conjunction with intoxication or overdose.

Seek assistance from the Oberlin Police if there is an emergency: Dial 9-1-1, or dial directly 440-774-1061. Oberlin College Safety and Security urges anyone who believes they have experienced sexual assault to immediately contact the Safety and Security office, 440-775-8444, or local law enforcement.

Persons who have experienced any form of sexual misconduct are encouraged to seek support. Information may be obtained from the Office of Equity Concerns / Title IX Coordinator at (440) 775-8410, or through the Lorain County Rape Crisis Center at 1-800-888-6161. Ref 15-0157