Letter to the Middlebury Community

By Guest Contributor

Editor’s Note: In light of the specific account and criticisms made in this column, The Campus asked the administration if it wanted to respond.  We publish that response here.

 Middlebury College understands that the process of investigation and adjudication of any alleged violation of our Student Handbook Policy can be a challenging and trying experience for students in spite of all best efforts. This is especially true with cases involving reports of sexual misconduct or related offenses. We appreciate the impact these matters can have on student lives.

Without commenting on this or any particular case, the Title IX Office makes every effort to conduct its investigations in a manner that is both timely and thorough. While it is our goal to complete investigations within 60 days, this is not always possible, as we state clearly in our policies. Student and class schedules, school breaks, availability of witnesses, collection of evidence and the need to review conflicting accounts and contested claims with care, as well as to provide the parties with sufficient time to thoroughly review and respond in writing to all evidence, all can extend the process.

We want to emphasize that we believe Middlebury’s processes, while they can never be perfect, are thorough and fair. The federal government requires that colleges use a “preponderance of evidence” standard in cases involving reports of sexual assault, and we make every effort to apply it with great care.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we sincerely hope that anyone in our community who believes they have been or may have been involved in an incident of sexual misconduct, domestic or dating violence or misconduct or stalking, or is aware of such an incident, will report it. Information on how to do so is available at go/sexualviolenceinfo. If you have any questions, please contact my office.

Sue Ritter is the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer.