Gettysburg College: Unjust Sexual Misconduct Policy

Category: Due Process
Schools: Gettysburg College

After more than a year of public pressure from FIRE, Gettysburg College amended its controversial Sexual Misconduct Policy. Gettysburg students are now free from the draconian policy, which failed to distinguish between an innocent, spontaneous hug and forcible rape. The school’s old Sexual Misconduct Policy infringed on students’ rights to due process and fundamental fairness. Despite months of agreeing to undertake an administrative review and revision of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Gettysburg continued to maintain it. In response, FIRE added Gettysburg to its Red Alert list, where FIRE highlights the “worst of the worst” offenders against liberty on campus. In light of the policy change, Gettysburg was removed from FIRE’s Red Alert list. The original policy’s broad definition of sexual interaction included not only sex acts but also “brushing, touching, grabbing, pinching, patting, hugging, and kissing,” drawing no distinction between innocent hugging and sex crimes.  The revised policy has eliminated the language equating rape with mere hugging.  Instead, it prohibits “[s]exual misconduct, including sexual assault, [which] is defined as deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature without the other person’s consent.”