Sexual assault is a very serious issue on college campuses, including at Williams. On the Deans Office website you’ll find resources for help if you or someone you care about has experienced assault. You can also find information on the College Code of Conduct, Massachusetts law, and how to report an assault within the College or to the police.
Sexual Assault will not be tolerated at Williams College. The Williams Code of Conduct forbids sexual assault as defined in Massachusetts law, and also enforces other expectations of our community. Williams is a community based on trust whose very existence depends on adherence to standards of conduct set by its members. Sexual assault is a crime punishable by both civil and criminal legal action and is a serious violation of the Williams College Standards of Conduct.
Sexual assault and domestic violence are serious concerns for LGBTQ identified people, as they are for all people. All Sexual Assault Survivor Services (SASS) staff members have been trained in supporting LGBTQ survivors, they are available 24/7 by calling 413-597-3000.
Domestic violence and sexual assault have long gone unnoticed in queer communities because of homophobia, transphobia, and ignorance. For example, some people may believe that domestic violence always involves a male abuser and a female victim. Others may believe that rape always involves penetration by a penis. These beliefs do not allow for the possibility of violence within a “same-sex” relationship. It is important to note that LGBTQ people as well as heterosexuals may hold these beliefs.
When violence happens within same-sex relationships, some perpetrators may use specific tactics to maintain power and control, including:
- Threatening to “out” the victim to family, work or friends
- Using institutionalized homophobia, such as:
- Suggesting that the victim may not be believed by police because “women don’t sexually assault.”
- There are likely no shelters available to transgendered persons or gay men, and shelter environments may be hostile to lesbian women.
- Reinforcing feelings the victim may have that disclosing abuse somehow reflects badly on the entire queer community.
- At a glance resource sheet
- Resources of Support
- If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted
- Frequently Asked Questions About Medical Care After Sexual Assault
- Some common reactions to sexual assault
- No Contact Orders & Housing and Academic Accommodations
- Confidentiality & Privacy
Reporting an Assault
Williams is committed to doing everything possible to prevent discrimination, harassment, and violence; to mitigating their effects when they occur; and to preventing their re-occurrence and retaliation for reporting. The College is best able to accomplish this when it is made aware directly of such conduct. All members of the Williams community are encouraged to report any instances or claims of sexual harassment, including sexual assault and sexual exploitation, whether or not you want to pursue the case through the college’s disciplinary system at the time you make the report. The college will seek to investigate and adjudicate all reports of sexual assault made to them. They will also inform the Williamstown Police of the basic facts of reports made to them. The wishes of the person who has been sexually assaulted are likely to predominate in any decisions regarding investigation, complaint, or determined outcome except under particular circumstances where there is clear danger to one or more members of the community.
Names of those who report having experienced assault will not be released to the police without their permission. (For more information see “Confidentiality and Privacy” section below.)
There are several reasons why it is important to report. First, the College has resources that you can use for support and accommodation after an incident. Second, it is important for the College to know about an incident in order to maintain the safety of the community. Finally, the College offers a way to discipline the perpetrator if they are a member of the college community. The police offer a way to pursue prosecution of the perpetrator whether or not they are a member of the Williams community.
To report a sexual assault or other sexual misconduct to the College contact:
- Campus Safety and Security at 597-4444 (for any member of the community)
- Any Dean at the Dean of the College’s office 597 – 4261 (for students)
- Interim Title IX Coordinator, Sarah Bolton, 597- 4261 (for students)
- Deputy Title IX Coordinator Martha Tetrault, 597- 2058 (for staff)
- Deputy Title IX Coordinator Denise Buell, 597 – 4351 (for faculty)
To report a sexual assault to the police contact:
- Williamstown Police Department at 413 458 5733
The on-campus option is not exclusive of other reporting options such as reporting to the police, and survivors may choose them concurrently or consecutively.
- More Information on Reporting Sexual Misconduct for Disciplinary Action at Williams
- More Information on Reporting to the Police for Prosecution
What is Sexual Assault?
Frequently Asked Questions About Sexual Assault
Q. What’s the definition of sexual misconduct at Williams?
A. Any sexual activity that takes place without consent.
- CONSENT of each party is required for every kind of sexual activity – including touching, kissing, intercourse, and any thing else.
- Filming, recording, or watching sexual activity is also a violation of the code of conduct if it happens without explicit consent of all parties. These are forms of sexual exploitation.
Title IX Information
Consistent with its commitment to addressing sex and gender-based misconduct, the College complies with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendment of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.
Interim Title IX Coordinator
Dean of the College and Professor of Physics
Office of the Dean