Dean of Students

Policy on Sexual Assault


The University of Southern Maine will not tolerate and prohibits rape, acquaintance rape, and sexual assault in any form. These acts are against Maine State Law. Rape and other sexual assaults also violate the University's policy prohibiting sexual harassment. If there is reason to believe that The University of Southern Maine campus regulations prohibiting sexual assaults of any kind have been violated, on or off-campus, the administration will pursue disciplinary action through the appropriate University procedures if requested to do so by the complainant.

Sexual assault occurs with disturbing frequency among college age men and women but is very often unreported. In order to provide support for individuals reporting incidents of sexual assault and to enforce the behavioral standards critical to the University's mission, students are encouraged to report all violations of this policy to appropriate University personnel.

The University acknowledges that rape perpetrated by someone unknown (often referred to as "stranger rape") does occur. However, the most prevalent form of sexual assault on a college campus is between two people who know each other (often referred to as "acquaintance rape"). The acquaintance may be a date, partner, or someone known casually from a residence hall, class, club, or through mutual friends. Regardless of the relationship, the same institutional response and penalties apply. To clearly illustrate the seriousness of these offenses, this policy does not differentiate the types of offenses based on the relationship between the individuals. This policy is intended to provide more detailed information about how The University of Southern Maine handles sexual assault matters and is not intended to replace the UMS Student Code of Conduct, the UMS Sexual Harassment Policy, or the UMS Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure.


The University of Southern Maine, as a standard for the Student Code of Conduct, defines sexual assault as follows:

  • Sexual Assault: Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
      Sexual Assault, also known as rape, may consist of non-consensual penetration of the genitals, anus or mouth of one by the genitals or fingers of another or an instrument or device manipulated by another person. This may include vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse (sodomy), oral sex, or non-consensual sexual penetration of genital or anal openings by a foreign object, including a finger. Force, the threat of physical harm, coercion, or manipulation may be present during non-consensual sexual intercourse. Non-consensual sexual intercourse may take many forms including, but not limited to, rape by a stranger, an acquaintance, while on a date; rape by multiple perpetrators (often referred to as "gang rape"), and may occur both on and off campus.


  • Sexual Harassment
        Other forms of non-consensual sexual acts include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, e.g., unwanted touching, directly or through clothing, of an intimate part of another person such as a sexual organ, thighs, buttocks, or breast. These behaviors are covered by the Sexual Harassment Policy, which may be

found here


  • Sexual Exploitation
      Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual, unfair, or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit; or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. This behavior must not otherwise constitute a violation of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, prostituting another student, non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, presentation or unauthorized viewing of such recordings, going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends watch you having consensual sex without the knowledge or consent of your sexual partner), engaging in peeping tommery, and knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student.

  • Consent
      Consent must be informed, freely and actively given, and consist of a mutually agreeable and understandable exchange of words or actions. Any consent that is given is invalid or moot when the exchange involves unwanted physical force, coercion, intimidation, and/or threats. If an individual is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired such that one cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, and the incapacitation or impairment is known or should be known to a reasonable person, there is no consent. This includes conditions resulting from alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious.



The University of Southern Maine, as a standard for the Student Code of Conduct, determines the following to be its intentions for this policy:

          • All sexual assault cases will be treated seriously.
          • They will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner.
          • University officials will inform students of their option to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and offer assistance in notifying proper authorities when an individual discloses an incident of sexual assault.
          • When an incident of sexual assault, harassment or exploitation is reported and action is requested, the incident will be investigated and adjudicated by appropriate criminal and/or University authorities.
          • A person may invite an adviser of choice (except an attorney) to accompany her/him throughout the process. A university advocate is also available for the student throughout this process. If the respondent is facing criminal charges for the same incident, then the complainant may also be advised by an attorney whether not the respondent has an attorney. Also if the respondent has a hearing before the Conduct Committee the complainant is permitted to have an attorney as an advisor at that time whether or not the respondent has an attorney present.
          • University personnel will not discourage anyone from reporting, nor encourage them to under-report or report the incident as a lesser crime.
          • University personnel will cooperate in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence (including a medical examination) necessary in criminal and university proceedings.
          • Individuals will be notified of available on and off-campus counseling, physical, and psychological services, or other student services for those reporting sex offenses.
          • Individuals will be afforded the opportunity to request immediate on-campus housing relocation, transfer of classes, or other steps to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity to an accused person when reasonably available.
          • The complainant may invite an advisor of choice to accompany him or her through University disciplinary proceedings. A university advocate is also available upon request.
          • S/he has the right to remain present during the entire Student Conduct Committee hearing except during committee deliberations.
          • S/he has the right not to have his or her sexual history discussed during the hearing.
          • S/he has a right to make an "impact statement".
          • S/he has the right to be informed concurrent with notice to the accused (respondent) of the decision of the Director or Assistant Director of Community Standards, and/or the Student Conduct Committee regarding the alleged sexual assault violation and any sanction(s) imposed. The complainant and the respondent must respect the privacy of all involved.
          • All sexual assault cases will be treated seriously.
          • The respondent will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner.
          • The respondent will be advised of on- and off-campus organizations and services that may be of assistance.
          • University personnel will cooperate in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence (including a medical examination) necessary in criminal and university proceedings.
          • The respondent will be informed of available counseling and psychological services.
          • The respondent may invite an advisor of choice (except an attorney) to accompany him/her through University disciplinary proceedings. If the respondent is facing criminal charges for the same incident he/she is permitted to have an attorney. Also if the respondent has a hearing before the Conduct Committee he/she is permitted to have an attorney as an advisor at that time.
          • The respondent has the right to remain present during the entire Student Conduct Committee hearing except during committee deliberations.
          • In order to conduct a fair, orderly hearing, reasonable accommodations may be made in hearing procedures, such as special seating arrangements in the hearing room.
          • S/he will be informed of the decision of the Director or Assistant Director of Community Standards and/or the Student Conduct Committee regarding the alleged sexual assault violation and any sanction(s) imposed. The respondent and the complainant must respect the privacy of all involved.
          • Individuals should refer to the University of Maine System Student Conduct Code. Attention should be given to Section V. Procedures and Section IV., Sanctions, in particular. Any questions regarding the Student Conduct Code should be directed to the Director of Community Standards.
    2. Rights of the Complainant
          Individuals who report their experience of sexual assault to University officials may be assured that:

      Campus disciplinary proceedings:

          In order to conduct a fair, orderly hearing, the complainant may request reasonable accommodations be made in hearing procedures, such as special seating arrangements in the hearing room.

    4. Rights of the Person Accused of Sexual Assault
          The student accused of sexual assault (the respondent) may be assured that:

      Campus disciplinary proceedings:

    6. Group Infractions
          Every organization has the duty to take all reasonable steps to prevent any infraction of University rules and state laws growing out of or related to the activities of the organization. This duty is applicable not only to members of the organization who are engaging in the activity, but also to every member, including those not engaging in the activity.

          When students violate policy, they should be aware that in addition to being adjudicated as individual offenses, there may also be sanctioning of the entire organization. In determining whether a group may be held collectively responsible for the individual actions of its members, all the factors and circumstances surrounding the specific incident will be reviewed and evaluated. As a guiding principle, groups will be held responsible for the acts of their members when those acts grew out of, or were in any way related to, group life.

    8. Use of Alcohol and Drugs
          The use of alcohol and other drugs by the accused in conjunction with an incident of sexual assault does not mitigate accountability for the commission of sexual assault or diminish the seriousness of the incident. The accused person's intentional use of a substance to affect an individual in order to facilitate an assault will be considered when determining responsibility and, if found responsible, appropriate sanctions.

        1. The University of Southern Maine Sexual Assault Policy;

        1. Data on the prevalence of these crimes and their frequency on college and university campuses;

        1. Information about the circumstances in which campus rapes commonly occur; and

      1. The range of administrative, civil, and criminal penalties that may be invoked against perpetrators.
  • Maine State Law
      In publishing this policy the University is not intending to substitute or supersede related civil and/or criminal law. It is the policy of The University of Southern Maine to strongly encourage individuals to report all incidents and violations to law enforcement officials or agencies with appropriate jurisdiction and avail themselves of all the services and rights to which they are entitled.

      It should be clearly understood that there is a fundamental difference between the nature and purpose of student discipline and criminal law. Maine State Law considers gross sexual assault and unlawful sexual contact to be serious crimes that are punishable by imprisonment in jail and/or probation. It also involves creation of a criminal record and may include a monetary fine.

  • Multiple Adjudication
      A student charged with sexual assault may be prosecuted under the Maine Criminal Justice System and disciplined through the University of Southern Maine student discipline process. Even if the criminal justice authorities choose not to prosecute, the accused may be subject to University disciplinary action. University disciplinary procedures should be considered distinct and independent of any and all criminal procedures. Discipline procedures may precede, occur simultaneously, or follow court action. In the event that University disciplinary procedures follow court action, the court proceedings and/or verdict may be considered in the disciplinary proceeding. When necessary, temporary action may be taken by the University in the form of summarily suspending or summarily restricting the accused, or officially requesting no contact between the complainant and the respondent. Relocation or removal from the residence halls may also occur.

The University reserves the right to alter and/or restrict the respondent's access to the University and/or participation in University events, such as use of GroupWise (university e-mail system), attendance of classes and campus residency.

  • Disciplinary Action
      Any student found by The University of Southern Maine Office of Community Standards, Rights, and Responsibilities to have committed sexual assault may be subject to severe disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or dismissal from the University. For information about sanctions, individuals should refer to The University of Maine System Student Conduct Code, Section IV Sanctions at

      The University recognizes that violations of sexual assault are not the fault of the individual filing the complaint. The University intends to encourage the report of sexual assaults and therefore the University generally does not intend to hold complainants accountable for conduct code violations that may have occurred along with violations of sexual assault. The University administration will use discretion to ensure the rights of the complainant are preserved.

  • Procedure for Policy Assessment and Improvement
      The University supports and maintains the Gender Violence Collaborative. This Collaborative is comprised of faculty, staff, students, and community members. This group is responsible for: a) reviewing non-identifiable campus crime information being collected in compliance with The Clery Act, b) reviewing various policies and protocols related to incidents of sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking, c) ensuring ongoing awareness and education programs on campus, and d) advocating for support services for individuals who report incidents of sexual assault, relationship abuse, and stalking.

  • Policy Dissemination
      As required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998, the University provides to each of its students the following:

      Notice of availability of this information is made by October 1st of each year by e-mail to enrolled students and all University staff by e-mail or mail. Notice to prospective students is included with the information in application materials prepared by the Admissions Office.

  • Education
      In cooperation with the University's Gender Violence Initiative numerous rape/sexual assault awareness education, and prevention presentations are made each year to members of the campus community. For more detailed information, see the following websites:


      University Police Department

      Dean of Students office


All students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the public participating in University activities have the right to an environment free from sexual or physical intimidation that would prevent a reasonable person from attaining educational goals or living and working in a safe environment. Disruptive behavior of this nature should be reported to appropriate University staff so it may be addressed. Any member of the community can file a report with the appropriate University official. Sexual assault by an employee will be dealt with under the Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure and applicable law.

    2. Confidential Disclosure
          The University of Southern Maine offers confidential advocacy services to all University affiliates (students and employees). The USM Gender Violence Initiative offers assistance by providing a confidential advocate to support and assist individuals to: 1) weigh options and associated risks, 2) discuss possible next steps, and 3) obtain information about available resources and services. Other campus offices offer confidential support, e.g., the University Counseling and Health Center, Employee Assistance Program. No one is expected or required to pursue a specific course of action.

    4. Official Reporting
          All University of Southern Maine students, employees, or visitors are strongly encouraged to make an official report of any incident of sexual assault to the USM Police and/or Office of Community Standards whether the incident occurred on or off campus. Official reporting may initiate a course of action.

    6. Anonymous Reporting
        Any University of Southern Maine students, employees, or visitors may file an anonymous report via website Anonymous reports are not identifiable by the recipient. Such reports may be filed irregardless of any legal or University disciplinary action.
  • Safety and Security Information Report
      Under The Clery Act, an institution must report certain crimes to the campus community in a timely manner that will aid in prevention of similar crimes that represent a threat to students and employees. To that end, a community alert will be issued whenever appropriate. Additionally, departments will comply with all mandatory reporting requirements. More information may be found at the USM Police website:

  • Reporting Timeframe
      Any individual may file a complaint of sexual assault at any time. Early reporting is encouraged to preserve evidence and provide the person filing the complaint with information regarding rights, options, and resources available to them by this policy and federal or state laws.

  • Reporting Options
      In order to provide appropriate support and services, this policy delineates the following reporting options.

      Nothing in this policy should be interpreted as precluding enforcement of the laws and regulations of the United States of America, the State of Maine, any locality in the state of Maine, or the University's Student Conduct Code.


[1] Sexual intercourse with a person under the statutory age of consent is classified by the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting Program as a non-forcible sex offense and for purposes of this policy is considered sexual assault.

University & Community Services and Resources
Campus Services

University Police Department 780-5211

Dean of Students 780-5242

Center for Sexualities and Gender Diversity 228-8235

University Health Services 780-4211

Campus Equity and Diversity 780-5510

University Counseling Services 780-4050

Commuter Information 228-8200

Multicultural Student Affairs Office 780-4006

Residential Life 780-5240

Community Resources
Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine
1-800-313-9900 TTY Hotline: 888-458-5599

Bath/Brunswick: Sexual Assault Support Services of Midcoast Maine

Lewiston-Auburn: Sexual Assault Crisis Center

Ingraham - Offers toll free, 24-hour hotline from anywhere in Maine for anyone in a crisis situation

Cumberland County Emergency: All towns dial 911
Cumberland County Sheriff's Department - 207-774-1444

York County Sheriff's Department - 207-324-1113

Maine State Police - 1-800-228-0857

USA Cops - This link will provide you with the contact information for all the police and sheriff's departments in Maine.

Hospitals in Southern Maine
Goodall Hospital - Sanford

Maine Medical Center - Portland

Mercy Hospital - Portland

Southern Maine Medical Center - Biddeford

York Hospital - York

National Sexual Assault Resources
National Sexual Violence Resource Center

RAINN: Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network

National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization

Clothesline Pins by Bonnie Shelley

SANE-SART Homepage - This guide is designed for nursing professionals involved in providing evaluations of sexually abused victims.

Survivorship Homepage - For survivors of cult and ritualistic abuse.