Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
Wheaton College
Sexual Assault Information

Campus Life

Title IX Information

The federal government provides clear guidelines for colleges and universities to follow when responding to students’ charges of sexual harassment. These guidelines come from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Sexual misconduct is considered a form of sexual harassment under Title IX because it is discrimination on the basis of sex.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal office that oversees Title IX compliance. OCR tells colleges and universities that they have these responsibilities:

  • A school has the responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to charges of sexual misconduct. If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action.
  • Even if a student doesn’t want to file a complaint or doesn’t request that the school take action on the student’s behalf, the school must make an effort to investigate the charge to determine what has occurred and then take appropriate steps to resolve the situation.
  • Every school must have and distribute a policy against sex discrimination (including sexual misconduct). Here are the procedures that Title IX requires be in that policy:
    • Every complainant has the right to present his or her case. This includes the right to adequate, reliable and impartial investigation of complaints, the right to have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence, and the right to the same appeal processes, for both parties.
    • Every complainant has the right to be notified of the time frame within which a) the school will conduct a full investigation of the complaint; b) the parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint; and c) the parties may file an appeal.
    • Every complainant has the right to have the complaint decided using a “preponderance of evidence”, or “more likely than not.”
    • Every complainant has the right to be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint.
    • The sexual misconduct policy may include voluntary informal methods (e.g., mediation) for resolving some types of sexual harassment complaints. However, the complainant must be notified of the right to end the informal process at any time and begin the formal stage of the complaint process. In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, mediation is not appropriate.

• The school must follow that policy.

Wheaton’s Sexual Misconduct Policy is consistent with these guidelines.
None of these guidelines preclude or affect a complainant’s right to pursue criminal charges against another individual.


Our Title IX Coordinator is Rachael Pauze. She is responsible for making certain that Wheaton’s policies and practices comply with Title IX.

Rachael can be reached at pauze_rachael@wheatoncollege.edu, titleIX@wheatoncollege.edu, or (508) 286-3231, or at her office in the Science Center, room 227. We also have “deputy coordinators” who work with particular populations. If you have a concern or complaint, you can direct it to the Title IX Coordinator, or to the following offices/individuals, depending on the situation:

Complaints against Wheaton students may be referred to:
• Brandon White, Associate Dean of Students, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students (508) 286-8218
• Courtney Ruggles, SMART Coordinator (508) 286-3374
• Public Safety (508) 286-8213
• Counseling Center (508) 286-3905 - confidential reporting resource

Complaints against Wheaton staff members should be referred to:
• Barbara Lema, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources (508) 286-8206, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for staff

Complaints against faculty members should be referred to:
• Kersti Yllo, Professor of Sociology, (508) 286-3654, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for faculty

Complaints regarding athletics should be referred to:
• Lisa Yenush '90, Associate Director of Athletics/SWA (508) 286-3982, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for athletics

If you believe that Wheaton College has not followed its policy and processes as described in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, or if you believe that the policy itself is discriminatory, you can file a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights. The person who can help you do this is Wheaton’s Title IX Coordinator, Rachael Pauze, or you can choose to contact the Office of Civil Rights directly at (800) 421-3481 or ocr@ed.gov . If you wish to fill out a complaint form online, you may do so at: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/complaintintro.html

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