Policy: Section VIII

VIII. Reporting

The college is committed to providing a variety of accessible means of reporting any form of bias, discrimination, or harassment, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual harassment, or sexual violence and other sexual misconduct.[1] Our goals are to reduce barriers to reporting and to simplify the reporting process as much as possible. By providing a variety of reporting options, individuals wishing to report an incident can use whatever reporting mechanism that is most comfortable and convenient for them. All Bates community members, even those who are not obligated by the college’s policy, are strongly encouraged to report information regarding any incident of bias, discrimination, or harassment to the Director of Title IX and Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator (hereafter “Title IX Coordinator”), who is specifically charged with coordinating the initial assessment, investigation, and response to such allegations.

At the time a report is made, a Complainant does not have to decide whether or not to request a formal resolution process. Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that occurs over time. To the fullest extent possible, the college will respect an individual’s autonomy in making these decisions and provide support that will assist each individual in making that determination. 

Whenever possible the Title IX Coordinator will defer to the wishes of the Complainant.  In the rare situations where the college must act to provide for the safety of the community and/or take action to fulfill its obligation to foster a harassment-free working and learning environment, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate this decision with the Complainant.

Any individual who reports discrimination or harassment can be assured that all reports will be investigated and resolved in a fair and impartial manner. All individuals involved can expect to be treated with dignity and respect. In every report under this policy, the college will make an immediate assessment of any risk of harm to the Complainant or to the broader campus community and will take steps necessary to address those risks. These steps may include temporary protective measures to provide for the safety of the Complainant or others involved and the campus community as necessary. In this process, the college will balance the Complainant’s interests with its obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all members of the college community.


[1] Throughout the remainder of this section, the terms “harassment” and “discrimination” are used as umbrella term to capture all forms of bias, harassment, and discrimination, including those specifically named here.

A. Key Reporting Definitions

While many individuals conflate the terms “report”, “complaint”, and “notice”, these terms have very specific meanings under this policy.

+a. Report

Report is an umbrella term used to indicate a Complainant or third-party has shared allegations of bias, harassment, discriminiation, or retaliation by either informing any Bates employee with reporting responsibilities in conversation or writing, via phone (including leaving a voicemail message) or electronic means (email, text, chat, etc.) or by using the online anonymous reporting system.

Employees with reporting responsibilities are required to share any information of which they become aware with the Title IX Coordinator. For more information on employees who are required to report disclosures of prohibited behavior under this policy and the information they must share, please see Section IV. C.

Reports differ from formal complaints (see below) and individuals who submit reports are under no obligation to initiate a formal complaint or to pursue any further action.  Except in rare circumstances involving a compelling threat to health and/or safety of the Complainant or the broader Bates community, the Complainant maintains significant influence on how the resolution process proceeds.  Making a report simply initiates outreach from the Title IX Coordinator and allows them to offer supportive measures and further information regarding the Complainant’s rights under this policy.

+b. Notice

Notice means that a Complainant or third-party has informed the Title IX Coordinator, any Deputy Title IX Coordinator, any Bias Response Team member, or other Official with Authority of the alleged occurrence of bias, harassment, discrimination, or retaliation.  Upon receiving notice, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will reach out to the Complainant to offer supportive and safety measures and to explain how to file a formal complaint.  When the college receives notice of allegations of Sexual Harassment or any other Title IX violation, its official obligations under Title IX are initiated.

+c. Formal Complaint

A formal complaint is an official document filed by the Complainant, or in rare circumstances by the Title IX Coordinator, that: 1) alleges either bias, harassment, or discrimination based on any protected class or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity against a Respondent; and 2) requests that the college investigate the allegation(s). A complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail.  The Title IX Coordinator will assist any individual who wishes to submit a formal complaint to ensure it is filed correctly.

B. Reporting to and Coordination with Law Enforcement

The college encourages individuals to pursue criminal action for incidents of discrimination or harassment that may also be crimes under Maine criminal statutes. The college will assist a Complainant, at the Complainant’s request, in contacting local law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law. Except where the Complainant is less than 18 years old, the college will respect a Complainant’s choice whether or not to report an incident to local law enforcement, unless the college determines that there is an overriding issue with respect to the safety or welfare of the college community. When a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18, the college is required by state law to notify the Maine Office of Child and Family Services and/or the Maine District Attorney’s office.

The college’s policy, definitions, and standard of proof can differ from Maine criminal law.[1] A Complainant may seek resolution through the college’s resolution process, may pursue criminal action, may choose one but not the other, or may choose both. Neither law enforcement’s decision whether or not to prosecute a Respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution are determinative of whether discrimination or harassment has occurred under this policy. Proceedings under the college’s Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Harassment Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus. Individuals seeking assistance under Bates’s policy are not required to file a criminal complaint.

At the request of local law enforcement, the college may agree to defer for a short time its own fact gathering until after the initial stages of a criminal investigation. The college will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant regarding rights under this policy, procedural options, and the implementation of supportive measures to foster their safety and well-being. The college will promptly resume its own fact gathering as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation.

Individuals wishing to file a criminal complaint for incidents of discrimination or harassment that occurred on campus may contact the Lewiston Police Department directly.  Individuals may also contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate, or Bates Campus Safety for assistance with filing a criminal complaint. 

Lewiston Police Department

911  |  207-784-6421 (non-emergency dispatch) |  171 Park Street


[1] See Appendix B for key definitions in the State of Maine statutes.

C. Campus Reporting Options

The college encourages all individuals to report all forms of bias, discrimination, and harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or any of the individuals listed in below.  These professionals are trained to support individuals affected by bias, discrimination, and harassment based on any measure of identity, including racism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual harassment, and sexual violence, and to coordinate with the Title IX Coordinator consistent with the college’s commitment to a safe and healthy educational and work environment. Title IX Team members have additional robust training in supporting those individuals reporting sexual harassment, including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic and dating violence; Bias Response Team Members are particularly attuned to issues of racism, homophobia, transphobia, and bias based upon other protected classes. 

Reports can be made in-person, via telephone, mail, or email, or using the online anonymous reporting system.  Upon receipt of any report, including third-party reports, Title IX Coordinator, or their designee, will contact the Complainant to offer supportive measures and to provide information on how to file an formal complaint. 

Complainants should be aware that with the exception of those employees who have legally recognized confidentiality or who are listed as Confidential Support Resources in this Section VII of this policy, all college employees with responsibility for the welfare of students and all supervisors, including faculty, coaches, administrators, and residence life staff, are required to share with the Title IX Coordinator any report of discrimination or harassment, including reports of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, and stalking, they receive or of which they become aware. Student employees who have responsibility for the welfare of other students, such as Junior Advisors (JAs), Residence Coordinators (RCs), and RC Team Leaders (RCTLs), are also required to report to the Title IX Coordinator any incident of which they become aware.  More information on the reporting responsibilities of employees can be found in Section IV.

Reports made to the Title IX Coordinator or any member of the Title IX Team or Bias Response Team constitute notice to the institution and will initiate outreach from the Title IX Coordinator or their designee.  Other Officials with Authority include the following individuals:  President; Vice President for Academic Affairs; Vice President of Campus Life; Vice President for College Advancement; Vice President for Equity and Inclusion; Vice President for Finance and Administration; Vice President for Information and Library Services; Vice President for Institutional Affairs; Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs; Dean of Admission and Financial Aid; Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety; any Senior Associate Dean of Students; Director of Athletics; and Associate Dean of Students for Residence Life and Health Education.  Any report to an Official with Authority also constitutes notice to the institution.

Contact Information for Campus Reporting Options

TITLE IX TEAM

Director of Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator, Gwen Lexow
Lane Hall 202-A | 207-786-6445 |  glexow@bates.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Athletics, Celine Cunningham
Senior Associate Athletic Director
Alumni Gym | 207-786-6342  |  cunning@bates.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Faculty,  Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir
Associate Dean of Faculty and Professor of Politics
Lane Hall 120 | 207-786-6472  |  aasgeirs@bates.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Staff and Visitors, Melissa Benoit
Manager of Human Resources Partner Services
215 College Street | 207-753-6935  |  mbenoit@bates.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, Erin Foster Zsiga
Senior Associate Dean of Students
Lane Hall 104 | 207-786-6215  |  efoster@bates.edu

BIAS RESPONSE TEAM

Director of Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator, Gwen Lexow
Lane Hall 202-A | 207-786-6445 |  glexow@bates.edu

Vice President for Equity and Inclusion, Noelle Chaddock
Lane Hall 201 |  207-786-6031 |  nchaddoc@bates.edu

Manager for Human Resources Partner Services, Melissa Benoit
215 College Street | 207-753-6935  |  mbenoit@bates.edu

Member of the DoF Office, TBD

Member of the Student Affairs Team, TBD

ADDITIONAL CAMPUS REPORTING OPTIONS

Bates Campus Safety & Security
Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
245 College Street | 207-786-6254
Emergency: 207-786-6111

Junior Advisors/Residence Coordinators/Residence Coordinator Team Leaders

In houses and residence halls

D. Anonymous Reporting

Any individual may make an anonymous report of behaviors prohibited by this policy. In doing so, an individual may report the incident:

  • without disclosing their own name;
  • without identifying the Respondent; and/or
  • while requesting that no action be taken.

Depending on the extent of information available about the incident and/or the individuals involved, however, the college’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited. Wherever possible, the college will take action to stop any harassing or discriminatory behavior, to prevent its recurrence, and to provide supportive measures and/or remedies to those who have been negatively affected.

The college’s anonymous reporting system is hosted by a third-party provider, EthicsPoint. This service allows the college to communicate with the person making the report, while maintaining their anonymity. EthicsPoint stores all information regarding these reports on their secure servers.  Information collected by EthicsPoint is subject to their data security and privacy policies.

The Title IX Coordinator will receive the information contained in the anonymous report and will determine any appropriate response or action, including individual or community remedies as appropriate. In consultation with the Director of Campus Safety and Security, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if the anonymous report provides sufficient information to submit a Clery crime report.

To report anonymously online:  bates.ethicspoint.com

To report anonymously by phone:   844-251-1879

EthicsPoint is NOT a 911 or Emergency Service:  If you require immediate or emergency assistance, please contact the Bates Campus Safety and Security at 207-786-6111 or dial 911.

E. Reporting Considerations

+a. Timeliness of Report

All community members are encouraged to report harassment and discrimination as soon as possible in order to maximize the college’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. The college does not, however, limit the time frame for reporting. If the Respondent is no longer a student or employee or is not a member of the Bates community, the college may not be able to take disciplinary action against the Respondent;  but the college will take all reasonable steps to provide support to the Complainant and to end the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

Pursuing formal resolution of reports significantly impacted by the passage of time is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.  In all cases, however, the Title IX Coordinator will document the allegations and offer supportive measures as appropriate.

When there is a significant delay between the occurrence of the alleged incident and the resolution of a report of it, the college typically will apply the policy in place at the time of the incident and the procedures in place at the time of resolution.

+b. Location of Incident

An incident does not have to occur on campus to be reported to the college. All college community members are responsible for their actions and behavior, whether the conduct in question occurs on campus or in another location. Members of the college community have a responsibility to adhere to college policies and local, state, and federal law. As a result, this policy applies both to on-campus and off-campus conduct as described in Section II. In particular, off-campus conduct that is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on any member of the college community or Bates College may be addressed under this policy.

F. Student Amnesty for Alcohol and Other Drug Use

The college seeks to remove any barriers to reporting. A student who reports bias, harassment, or discrimination, either as a Complainant or a third party, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the college for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another person or illicit drug distribution.  The college may initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational or therapeutic remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs for those individuals receiving amnesty.

G. False Allegations and Evidence

The college takes the accuracy of information very seriously, as an accusation of racism, homophobia, sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, or dating or domestic violence, or other harassment or discrimination, may have severe consequences. Knowingly making a false report or complaint under this policy, or knowingly providing false or intentionally misleading information during an investigation, may result in disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college or termination of employment. A good faith complaint that results in a determination that the evidence is not sufficient to support a formal charge or to constitute a violation of this policy is not considered to be a false report.

Parties or witnesses may be subject to disciplinary action if they engage in any of the following:

  • knowingly fabricating or otherwise providing false evidence;
  • destroying or tampering with evidence;
  • pressuring other parties to provide false information or evidence; and
  • deliberately misleading any official involved in the resolution of the complaint.

It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and the Employee Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation or to obstruct college disciplinary procedures.  Filing a false report may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

H. Counterclaims

The college is obligated to ensure that the grievance process is not abused for retaliatory purposes. This policy permits the filing of counterclaims but uses an initial assessment, described in Section X, to assess whether the allegations in the counterclaim are made in good faith. Counterclaims determined to have been reported in good faith will be resolved using the resolution procedures outlined in this policy. Counterclaims made in bad faith or with retaliatory intent will be dismissed.

Counterclaims may be resolved through the same investigation and/or hearing as the underlying allegation or may take place after resolution of the underlying initial allegation at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. As with initial complaints, any good faith counterclaim that results in a determination that the evidence is not sufficient to constitute a violation of this policy is not considered to be a false report.

When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered a false report and may constitute a violation of the college’s retaliation prohibition as well.  As a result, any individual filing a counterclaim in bad faith may be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal from the college or termination of employment.

I. Reports Involving Minors or Suspected Child Abuse

When a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18, the college is required by state law to notify the Maine Office of Child and Family Services and/or the District Attorney’s office. This requirement extends to resources designated as confidential by the college, including staff and counselors at Bates Health Services and Bates Counseling and Psychological Services, ordained Multifaith Chaplains, and the Sexual Assault Victim Advocate.

J. Reluctance by Complainant to Pursue Resolution

If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal complaint to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.

In cases in which the Complainant requests confidentiality or no formal action and the circumstances allow the Title IX Coordinator to honor that request, the Title IX Coordinator will offer informal resolution options, supportive measures, and remedies to the Complainant and the community, but will not otherwise pursue Formal Resolution.

If the Complainant elects to take no action, they can change that decision if they decide to pursue a formal complaint at a later date. Upon making a formal complaint, a Complainant has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously and to have the allegations investigated and properly resolved through these procedures. Delays in proceeding with Formal Resolution may cause limitations on access to evidence, or present issues with respect to the status of the parties.

The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the college proceeds when the Complainant does not wish to do so, and the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a Formal Resolution process upon completion of an appropriate initial assessment.  A Formal Resolution process will result from any violence risk assessment that shows a compelling risk to health and/or safety that requires the college to pursue formal action to protect the community.  A compelling risk to health and/or safety may result from evidence of patterns of misconduct, predatory conduct, threats, abuse of minors, use of weapons, and/or violence. The college may also be compelled to act on alleged employee misconduct irrespective of a Complainant’s wishes.

When the Title IX Coordinator executes the written complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant remains the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy and they may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The Complainant retains all rights of a Complainant under this Policy irrespective of their level of participation. Typically, when the Complainant chooses not to participate, the Advisor may be appointed as proxy for the Complainant throughout the process, acting to ensure and protect the rights of the Complainant, though this does not extend to the provision of evidence or testimony.

The college’s ability to remedy and respond to notice may be limited if the Complainant wishes to maintain anonymity or does not want to proceed with an investigation and/or resolution process.

K. Withdrawal of Complaint

The Complainant may withdraw a formal complaint prior to the completion of the resolution options described in this policy. Withdrawal of the compliant will, in most circumstances, end any investigation or process taking place under this policy. The college reserves the right to move forward with a complaint, even after the Complainant withdraws it, in order to protect the interests and safety of the college community.  A Complainant who wishes to withdraw their complaint should discuss matter with the Title IX Coordinator who will assist them.