Policy | Resources and Support | Privacy and Confidentiality | Reporting | Retaliation | Advisors
Sexual harassment and misconduct subverts the educational mission of Bennington College and threatens the well-being of students, faculty, and staff. Conduct, whether intentional or unintentional, that results in sexual harassment or misconduct is prohibited and will not be tolerated.
Bennington College is committed to offering and providing support to individuals who have experienced, or know of someone who has experienced, an incident of sexual harassment or sexual assault. Our goal is to provide you with crucial information that may help at a time when action and decision-making can be difficult. Please know that the offices and individuals are available to assist you with questions or to assist in other ways as needed. For additional information, please refer to the Bennington College Policy and Procedures Governing Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct.
Resources and Support
If you are in immediate danger, find a safe environment/location and contact Campus Safety by dialing 767 (SOS) on campus or 802-447-4250 from any noncampus phone. Campus Safety staff will provide assistance to you and can help you make connections to medical, psychological, and other staff and resources, as needed.
Medical Considerations. Consider a medical evaluation for your own safety and well-being. A medical evaluation can be an important part of a criminal investigation and the collection of physical evidence. Agreeing to a medical examination does not obligate you to pursue legal action.
- Contact Campus Safety by dialing 767 (SOS) on campus or 802-447-4250 from any noncampus phone; emergency personnel on campus will arrange for you to speak with the College physician who is on-call 24 hours per day.
- The College can arrange for you to be examined in the emergency room at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, or you may wish to contact the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center directly by calling 802-447-5300.
- The medical examination has two goals: first, to treat the full extent of any injuries or physical trauma and to consider the possibilities of sexually transmitted infection or pregnancy; and second, to obtain legally correct evidence (i.e., ``articles of clothing) in case you decide to report the crime to the police. You may wish to preserve physical evidence such as articles of clothing and the like. You may report the crime to the police at any time.
- Sexually transmitted infections. Tests for sexually transmitted infections are done at the hospital and may be repeated later. Immediate and potentially preventive medicines may be administered.
- Pregnancy. The doctor can review the possibility of pregnancy with you and help you consider your options, including emergency contraception.
Emotional Considerations. You may experience a wide range of emotions in the days, months, and years following an incident. Healing takes time and everyone reacts to trauma in a unique way. We advise you to seek professional help to assist you with tending to your emotional responses. Professional guidance and support is available. You may talk to a psychological counselor on campus. If you dial x767 (SOS) on campus or 802-447-4250 from any noncampus phone, emergency personnel on campus can arrange for you to speak with the Psychological Services on-call counselor.
If you are not in immediate need of aid or protection, consider contacting others who will be knowledgeable and helpful to you. Any member of the Bennington College community who believes that he or she has been sexually harassed is encouraged to report the incident. You may wish seek support and information from trained personnel, both on and off campus.
Privacy and Confidentiality
You may wish seek support and information from trained personnel, both on and off campus. Staff members at the College will ensure your privacy and do their best to respect the need for confidentiality. However, in situations when there is a threat to your own well-being or safety or a threat to other members of the College community, the College may not be able to maintain confidentiality.
Once any other College official learns of a sexual harassment or misconduct complaint, written or unwritten, the College may be required by law to investigate it and to take action consistent with the law and with the College’s policies and procedures. Within the requirements of such laws and policy, confidentiality will be observed as much as:
On-campus resources (confidential)
Confidential resources are not required to report any information about an incident to the Title IX Coordinator without your permission. There are some exceptions. For additional information, please refer to the Bennington College Policy and Procedures Governing Sexual Harassment and Misconduct.
- All clinical staff in Psychological Services (x4451; off campus 802-440-4451)
- All clinical staff in Health Services (x4426; off campus 802-440-4426)
Other on-campus resources (partially confidential)
Partially confidential staff may be able to maintain an individual’s confidentiality but have an obligation to provide select details to the College such as nature, date, time and general location of the incident.
- All nonclinical staff in Psychological Services (x4451; off campus 802-440-4451)
- All nonclinical staff in Health Services (x4426; off campus 802-440-4426)
- Sexual Harassment and Misconduct Advisors can offer information about your options and assist you with reporting
A written complaint of sexual harassment must be filed with the Title IX Coordinator (Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives David Rees, 802-440-4302, office location Barn 125) or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator (Director of Library and Information Services Oceana Wilson, 802-440-4606, office location Crossett Library).
You may want to consider reporting a crime and/or bringing civil action against the perpetrator. You may consult with a lawyer at any time or report a crime to the Bennington Police. You may also file a complaint by writing or calling relevant state or federal agencies. Specific resources and contact information can be found in the Bennington College Policies and Procedures Governing Sexual Harassment.
Any attempt by a member of the College community to penalize, intimidate, or retaliate in any way against a person because he or she makes a report or complaint of sexual harassment, or who is otherwise involved in a sexual harassment investigation or hearing, is prohibited. Any person who believes that he or she has been retaliated against should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator (Senior Vice President for Strategic Initiatives David Rees, 802-440-4302, office location Barn 125). Any person who takes such retaliatory actions will be subject to disciplinary action.
Important note regarding leniency. Sometimes, victims of sexual harassment are reluctant to come forward out of fear that they may be charged with violations of Student Conduct standards (for example, underage drinking at the time of the incident). It is of paramount importance to the College that all incidents of sexual harassment be reported so that those affected can receive the support and resources needed. Therefore, in order to facilitate reporting, the College may choose to not charge students who report incidents of sexual harassment with violations of Student Conduct standards for behavior that otherwise would be considered violations.