The Oberlin Student Cooperative Association
Sexual Offense Policy
Contact OSCA for the current version of this document.


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OSCA Policy on Procedures For Sexual Offenses Within OSCA

I. Statement of Purpose

Because sexual offense can seriously undermine the effectiveness of a cooperative community such as OSCA, it is a crime against the entire community. For this reason, OSCA prohibits and will not tolerate a sexual offense against any member, guest, or employee of OSCA by any other member, guest, or employee.

This policy is intended to ensure that OSCA is a safe environment and that OSCA supports survivors of sexual offenses. The policy is an attempt to remove any barriers which OSCA as an institution may place before the survivor in her/his healing process and to expedite that healing process. The educational aspects of this policy are intended to prevent sexual offense before it happens.

This policy seeks to prevent any imbalance of justice in cases of sexual offense. Only if all parties are treated equally can the policy be truly effective.

This policy deals with instances of sexual offense as they occur within the context of OSCA. OSCA as a cooperative association of living and dining cannot and does not wish to replace Oberlin's all campus policy.


II. Scope

A. OSCA's policy deals specifically with sexual offenses as they pertain to OSCA's cooperative living and dining situations.

B. Students who use the OSCA policy will still be allowed to use other policies for dealing with their grievance.


III. Definitions


A. Sexual offense

is defined as behavior which calls attention to gender, sexuality or sexual identity of persons in a manner that prevents or impairs their full enjoyment of dining and/or living benefits, climate and activities in OSCA. It may include the following:


1. Sexual Harassment

a. Behavior towards an individual or group relating to gender or sexual orientation which has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with that individual's or group's sense of comfort and safety and/or creates a hostile, offensive or intimidating environment.


b. Inappropriate behavior, i.e., unwelcome comments (verbal, written, or visual), gestures, or touching which may be perceived as a sexual overture or sexual denigration.


c. Any obviously unwelcome request for sexual favors.


d. Any request for sexual favors accompanied by threat of repercussion if these favors are not granted.



2. Sexual Assault

Coercion (see below for definition) for the purpose of sexual relations; sexual contact to which any party involved does not give full and free consent.


3. Sexual Battery

When a person engages in sexual intercourse, fellatio or cunnilingus with another through the use of coercion.


4. Rape

When a person engages in sexual intercourse, fellatio, cunnilingus, or penetration of anal or vaginal areas with any object, with another person through the use of physical force, threat of force, or by forcefully, deceitfully, or surreptitiously administering intoxicants.

[Both rape, sexual assault, and sexual battery are felony crimes in the state of Ohio and therefore every member of the college community, OSCA included, has a legal responsibility to report knowledge of such a crime to the Oberlin police]


B. Coercion

Defined here as:

1. The abuse of interpersonal power relationships which may or may not be based on race, gender, religion, and/or sexual orientation, and differences in size and obvious physical ability
2. The administration of alcohol or drugs to prevent resistance
3. The use of alcohol or drug induced situations to reduce resistance
4. Taking advantage of an individual's lack of ability to appraise a situation or state of awareness (i.e., if the person is asleep).


C. Consent

Consent to one type of action, including various degrees of sexual behavior, or past sexual behavior with the perpetrator does not imply consent to any further action(s).

IV. Process

At any time during a tier one or tier two action, the complainant may stop the process or move to a different tier, and a complainant may enact both a Tier One and a Tier Two action at the same time.


A. Tier One: actions that affect only the complainant

1. Any member who has experienced or is experiencing a sexual offense within OSCA may be granted an immediate switch into another co op or job by the membership director. With respect to housing, the member will be moved to the top of the wait list for the next available housing co op.


2. The switch may be temporary or permanent, and may be altered at any time. This decision is left to the discretion of the individual requesting the change.


3. To make a request, the individual must contact an advocate who will be responsible for working with the membership director to enact the move. The membership director will not be told of any details of the situation.


4. At the beginning of each semester, the advocates will ask members of OSCA to volunteer their rooms, or off campus houses to be used as a place for people who need to move out of their living situation immediately.


5. Should the individual wish to move from a co op into a dorm or into CDS, the advocates will be responsible for working with Res. Life to expedite the process.


6. No investigation of the "truth" should take place, no names should be revealed, a complainant telling an advocate that a sexual offense has been committed against them will be sufficient to prompt a move. In addition, any lapse in time between when the alleged offense(s) took place and when the request for a move is made is irrelevant in a Tier One action.


B. Tier Two: Mediation

1. Mediation may take place between a complainant and a respondent only if both parties agree to it.


2. If both parties agree, each will choose an advocate to go through the mediation process with them, and to advise them of their options. The advocates can not make any decisions for their respective parties or about the outcome of the mediation. They can only advise and suggest and act according to the wishes of those for whom they are advocating.


3. Anyone may act as a mediator, as long as both parties agree.


4. At any time either parry can end the mediation process.

V. Record Keeping

A. There will be records kept for all actions that are taken under this policy. In addition, OSCA members may file a statement without taking an action.

1. All records will be confidential.
2. All records will be anonymous unless the complainant chooses to include their name and/or a detailed account of the incident.
3. No records should include the name of the respondent.

B. All forms will be held confidential. They will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the OSCA office, the key to which will be made available to only the advocates.

C. Advocates should compile and publish statistics pertaining to issues of sexual assault within OSCA. These statistics will be made available to the OSCA and Oberlin College community. They may be drawn from any advocate records and will contain no personally identifiable information, only numbers.

D. Any records kept by the advocates will not be included in any OSCA member's College Transcript. This is because OSCA does not have jurisdiction over academic/administrative matters and we have no desire to take such punitive action(s).

VI. Education

A. Education regarding sexual assault, harassment, and rape is the responsibility of the advocates. While very broad, this educational role is extremely important.

B. Publicity: advocates must publicize this policy and separate definitions within OSCA.


1. Post permanent laminated copies of this policy and separate definition sheets in every co-op.
2. Post and publicize advocate names, phone numbers and office hours in every co-op.
3. Post information sheets with resources (on and off campus) which survivors can turn to.
4. Post comment sheets.
5. Regularly contribute educational articles to OSCA periodicals.

C. Workshops

1. Develop and implement workshops on sexual assault, harassment and rape for all LECs and HLECs. These should take place at the beginning of every semester.
2. Develop and implement co-op workshops on sexual assault, harassment and rape, especially in living co-ops.
3. Work with the OSCA Education committee to develop further possibilities and to integrate sexual assault, harassment and rape education into other educational events.

VII. The Advocates


A. The position

1. There will be four advocates. These will be full credit, all-OSCA positions. Ideally there will be three female and one male advocate. Ideally at least one advocate should be a person of color. There should be no more than two advocates from each co-op, and they will serve one-year terms.


B. Responsibilities

1. The primary responsibility of the advocates is to help OSCA members to deal with issues involving sexual offense.


2. Although the primary role of the advocate is not counseling, advocates should be prepared to do at least some initial counseling of the complainant before getting him/her to a fully trained counselor.


3. Advocates are responsible for facilitating the process of Tier One.


4. Advocates are responsible for helping both the complainant and the respondent through Tier Two.


5. Advocates must be readily available to the OSCA community. This means:
a. All advocates are responsible for two regular office hours per week. Office hours must be in the OSCA office. There must be at least one hour of office hours scheduled every day of the week. The advocates are responsible for publicizing these office hours.


b. Advocates shall publicize their phone numbers and other ways of getting in contact with them, and be prepared to handle situations outside of their office hours.


c. Advocates should be present at co ops often.


d. Advocates are responsible for permanent, accessible postings of the policy itself, their office hours and phone numbers, resources for survivors on and off campus, and anything else that may be relevant to issues of sexual offenses


6. Education. Advocates are responsible for educating the OSCA community about this policy and about issues surrounding sexual offenses. Additionally, advocates must educate and train the relevant OSCA officials (OSCA Board, H&DLEC's, etc.) about the policy and about basic issues relating to sexual harassment, assault, and rape.


7. Advocates are responsible for keeping fun and complete records. See Record keeping. 8. OSCA advocates must not be advocates for the college Sexual Offense Policy simultaneously.

C. Training

1. All advocates should be trained in mediation.
2. All advocates must be thoroughly familiar with this policy and with its history, with the College policy, and with legal and counseling resources both on and off campus.
3. SAST training (or something similar) is preferred

D. Intra-policy Responsibilities

1. Conduct an ongoing critical evaluation of this policy and report any problems or glitches to the Board, with suggestions for change.
2. Train future advocates.
3. Consult with SAST and the College about the Policy.


The most current, OSCA-approved version of this policy may vary slightly from the version posted here. For an official copy of the policy contact the OSCA office, Wilder Student Union Box 86, 775-8108.


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