Title IX Policy
TITLE IX – SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY
Cedarville University is a Christ-centered institution of higher education that is committed to the biblical principle that all human beings are created in the image of God. Because of that belief, the University is committed to basing judgments concerning the admission, education, and employment of individuals upon their qualifications and abilities.
Cedarville University is also committed to maintaining and strengthening an educational, working, and living environment founded on the biblical principles of love and mutual respect. The University seeks to provide programs, activities, and an educational environment free from sex discrimination. In accordance with this policy and as delineated by federal and Ohio law, Cedarville does not discriminate on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, including but not limited to recruitment, admissions, housing, athletic and extracurricular activities, discipline, distribution of financial assistance, distribution of institutional resources, hiring practices, employment, promotion, and policies. A relevant portion of Title IX states as follows:
“No person in the United states shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or any activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
The University is committed to promoting respect for the bodily integrity of all persons, the virtues of chastity, and the sacredness of human sexuality. The University affirms that sexual relationships are designed by God to be expressed solely within a marriage between husband and wife. Sexual acts of any kind outside the confines of marriage are inconsistent with biblical principles and are prohibited by University policies.
“Sexual Misconduct,”as that term is used in this policy, means any form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Sexual misconduct is antithetical to the standards and ideals of our community and will not be tolerated. Cedarville recognizes the spiritual, moral, legal, physical and psychological seriousness of all sexual misconduct, regardless of the level of acquaintance between the perpetrator and the victim, however casual. Cedarville aims to eradicate sexual misconduct through education, training, clear policies, and serious consequences for violations of these policies.
In addition, the University recognizes that sex discrimination, in any form, is a violation of University regulations and policies. Sex discrimination includes all forms of sexual violence and sexual harassment. Further, the University recognizes that sexual violence is a serious threat to the University community, is prohibited by Title IX, and is a criminal act. Therefore, the University is committed to providing the following to members of the University community:
- A statement of expectations for behavior with regard to community standards pertaining to sex discrimination.
- Resources aimed at reducing the risk of sexual violence, including educational programs for men and women.
- Procedural intervention to offer support and information following the report of sex discrimination.
- Student conduct and employee disciplinary procedures that address the needs of victims and protect the rights of alleged assailants.
The University will take immediate action to address sex discrimination promptly and to equitably investigate complaints to resolve the situation, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects by implementing awareness and/or preventative measures.
A. Sex Discrimination: For the purposes of this policy, “sex discrimination” shall include, but not be limited to, any acts of sexual violence, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. In compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, sex discrimination applies to, but is not limited to: recruitment, admissions, housing, athletic and extracurricular activities, rules and regulations, discipline, class enrollment, access to programs, courses and internships, distribution of financial assistance, distribution of institutional resources, hiring practices, employment, promotion, and policies.
B. University Community: For purposes of this policy, “University Community” includes all students, faculty, staff, interns, volunteers, trustees and visitors. In addition, this policy shall also apply to instances of sex discrimination which occur on University owned, operated, or affiliated properties, as well as incidents of sex discrimination that occur off campus, including but not limited to instances involving faculty and staff who are conducting University business off campus or conduct that occurred at the permanent or temporary local residence of a University student, employee or third party.
C. Sexual Assault: Sexual assault is the commission of sexual contact or a sexual act, whether by an acquaintance or by a stranger, that occurs without indication of consent of both individuals, or that occurs under threat or coercion.
When there is a lack of mutual consent about sexual activity, or where there is ambiguity about whether consent has been given, an individual can be charged with, and found to have committed, sexual assault, or another form of sexual misconduct.
Much sexual misconduct includes nonconsensual sexual contact, but contact is not a necessary component. Threatening speech, which is sufficiently serious to constitute sexual harassment, for example, will constitute sexual misconduct. Photographs, video, or other visual or auditory records of sexual activity made without explicit consent constitute sexual misconduct, even if the activity documented was consensual. Similarly, sharing such recordings without explicit consent is a form of sexual misconduct. For example, forwarding a harassing electronic communication may also constitute an offense.
In addition to being prohibited by Ohio and federal law, including Title IX of the education amendments of 1972, sexual assault could result in criminal prosecution or civil liability. Reports of sexual assault will be reported to local law enforcement for appropriate action, including investigation and prosecution as appropriate. Such criminal prosecution will proceed separate and apart from any University investigation and disciplinary proceeding. The University will cooperate, to the fullest extent possible, with any criminal investigation or prosecution of sexual assault incidents involving any member of the Cedarville University community. The University will ordinarily not wait for the conclusion of the any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and may take interim measures to protect members of the University community.
All sexual assault reports shall be treated with gravity, dignity, and justice throughout the process. Members of the University community should not do any of the following:
- Pressure a student to suppress a report of sexual assault;
- Cause a student to believe that the student is responsible for the commission of any crime against him/her;
- Communicate to any student that the student was contributorily negligent or assumed the risk of being assaulted by reason of circumstances, dress, or behavior; or
- Communicate to any student that the University would incur unwanted publicity as a result of a report of sexual assault.
D. Effective Consent: All University standards provide that sexual activity outside of marriage is prohibited. In addition, sexual activity requires consent as a matter of state and federal law. Such consent is defined as clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the parties.
Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is under 18 years of age, asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other temporary or permanent, physical or mental disability or condition. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent.
E. Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is antithetical to biblical and academic values and to a work environment free from the fact or appearance of coercion. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination, a violation of University policies, and may result in serious disciplinary action. Sexual harassment consists of nonconsensual sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature on or off campus, when:
- Submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing; or
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades or advancement; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with or limiting an individual’s work or academic performance, or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment.
Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode, as well as in persistent behavior. Conduct that occurs in the process of application for admission to a program or selection for employment, as well as conduct directed toward University students, faculty, or staff members, is covered by this policy and the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy. In addition, conduct by third parties (i.e., individuals who are neither students nor employees, including but not limited to invited guests and consultants) is covered by this Policy and the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy.
Both men and women are protected from sexual harassment, and sexual harassment is prohibited regardless of the sex of the harasser. Sexual harassment is a matter of particular concern to an academic community in which students, faculty and staff are related by strong bonds of intellectual and spiritual interdependence and trust.
F. Sexual Violence: Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment prohibited by Title IX. Sexual violence includes as any physical sexual act perpetuated against a person’s will or where the person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, and sexual coercion
G. Sexual Contact: Sexual contact means the deliberate touching of a person’s intimate parts (including genitalia, groin, breast or buttocks, or clothing covering any of those areas), for the purpose of sexual gratification, or using Force to cause a person to touch his or her own or another person’s intimate parts.
H. Force: Force means physical force, violence, threat, intimidation, or coercion.
I. Employee: Employee means any person employed by the University, whether as a faculty or staff member, whether full-time, part-time, adjunct, tenure-track or non-tenure track.
J. Standards of Conduct: Standards of conduct means the University’s Standards of Conduct, as approved by the University’s Administrators and/or Board of Trustees.
K. Third Party: Third party means any individual, including a contractor or invited guest, who is alleged to have committed sexual misconduct against a University student.
L. University: University means Cedarville University, Cedarville, Ohio.
M. University Student: University student means any student who is registered or enrolled at the University at the time of the alleged sex discrimination.
III. TEACHER-STUDENT CONSENSUAL RELATIONS
The integrity of the teacher-student relationship is the foundation of the University’s educational mission. This relationship vests considerable trust in the teacher, who, in turn, bears authority and accountability as a mentor, educator, and evaluator. The unequal institutional power inherent in this relationship heightens the vulnerability of the student and the potential for coercion. The pedagogical relationship between teacher and student must be protected from influences or activities that can interfere with learning and personal development
Whenever a teacher is or in the future might reasonably become responsible for teaching, advising, or directly supervising a student, an amorous relationship between them is inappropriate and should be avoided. In addition to creating the potential for coercion, any such relationship jeopardizes the integrity of the educational process by creating a conflict of interest and may impair the learning environment for other students. Finally, such situations may expose the University and the teacher to liability for violation of laws against sexual harassment and sex discrimination.
For purposes of this policy, “direct supervision” includes the following activities (on or off campus): course teaching, examining, grading, advising for a formal project such as a thesis or research, supervising required research or other academic activities, and recommending in an institutional capacity for admissions, employment, fellowships or awards.
“Teachers” includes, but is not limited to, all tenured and non-tenured full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty of the University. It also includes graduate and professional students and associates only when they are serving as part-time acting instructors or in similar institutional roles, with respect to the students they are currently teaching or supervising.
“Students” refers to those enrolled in any and all educational and training programs of the University. Additionally, this Policy applies to members of the Cedarville community who are not teachers as defined above, but have authority over or mentoring relationships with students, including athletic coaches, supervisors of student employees, advisors and directors of student organizations, residential advisors, as well as others who advise, mentor, or evaluate students.
Teachers or students with questions about this policy are advised to consult with the University’s Title IX Coordinator, or the Associate Vice President of Human Resources or the Academic Vice President as Co-Chairs of the standing Harassment Policy Oversight Committee (“HPOC”).
IV. OTHER RELATED MISCONDUCT
In accordance with this Policy, the University is empowered to investigate allegations of, and to impose sanctions for, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or any other violations of the University’s Standards of Conduct directly related to the allegations brought under this Policy. Such related misconduct may include, without limitation, incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, as those terms are defined by state and federal laws. Violations of the rules of confidentiality as articulated herein, violations of any interim measures imposed under this Policy, and/or violations of other Standards of Conduct that occur in connection with the alleged sexual misconduct, may also implicate the use of this policy.
The University reserves the right to extend grace through mitigation or avoidance of disciplinary action against a Complainant or witness for his or her improper use of alcohol or drugs, provided that such person is acting in good faith as a Complainant or witness to the events of the alleged sexual misconduct.
V. TITLE IX COORDINATOR
- The Title IX Coordinator is the individual designated by the University to coordinate the University’s efforts to comply with and enforce the responsibilities of the University under this policy in accordance with pertinent Title IX regulations.
- Currently serving in the capacity of Title IX Coordinator is Kris DeWitt, whose office is located in Williams Hall, 251 North Main Street, Cedarville, Ohio 45314. Ms. DeWitt’s phone number is 1-937-766-7777.
- The University has designated the duties and responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator who shall:
- Appoint deputy Title IX Coordinators as needed.
- Ensure coordination with the deputy Title IX Coordinators and appropriate staff with relevant responsibilities for such activities on campus as housing, University Medical Services, Counseling Services and Campus Security.
- Prepare and arrange for a preventative education program. Such programs will include information designed to encourage students to report incidents of sexual violence to the appropriate University and law enforcement authorities.
- Develop specific sexual violence materials that include the University’s policy, rules and resources for students, faculty, coaches and administrators and arrange for such materials to be included in all employee and student handbooks. These materials would include:
- What constitutes sexual harassment or violence.
- What to do if a student has been the victim of sexual harassment or violence.
- Contact information for counseling and victim services on and off school grounds.
- How to file a complaint with the school.
- How to contact the University’s Title IX coordinator(s).
- What the University will do to respond to allegations of sexual harassment or violence, including interim measures that can be taken.
- Analyze periodically any trends or patterns of sexual misconduct on campus and assess the efficacy of campus-wide response to sexual misconduct.
- Disseminate to members of the University community information regarding Title IX protections, the University’s Title IX Policy, including the Complaint Resolution Process therein, and assistance to all persons who have been subjected to sexual harassment or violence.
- Conduct an annual review of all Title IX complaints brought to the University Title IX Coordinators.
- Communicate with Campus Security regarding the University’s obligations under Title IX and serve as a resource regarding Title IX matters.
- Develop a protocol with Campus Security regarding complaints of sexual misconduct filed with Campus Security.
- Annually assess the University’s overall Title IX compliance efforts.
- In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will arrange for or conduct at least annual training for the following individuals or relevant members of the departments or offices named below:
- Members of the staff of the University Medical Services.
- Members of the Campus Counseling Department.
- Members of Campus Security.
- Academic Deans.
- Department chairpersons.
VI. COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS
The University shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of sex discrimination to the extent allowed by law and University policy. Communications to health professionals employed by the University, including counselors at the University Counseling Center, may be privileged and confidential. Because the content of discussions with confidential resources is not reported to the University office of record, such discussions do not serve as notice to the University to address the alleged discrimination or sexual misconduct.
In the event of reports of sex discrimination being received by other University officials, including faculty and staff, such officials are required by law to relay such reports to the Title IX Coordinator, and in some instances, to law enforcement officials. In such cases, the University will balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institution’s responsibility to ensure a safe educational environment and workplace. In some cases, strict confidentiality may not be possible or appropriate. An individual’s request regarding the confidentiality of reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such request will be considered in the dual context of the University’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual misconduct and the rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation.
B. Definitions of Parties:
Complainant: A student (including a former student if the alleged discrimination occurred while enrolled at the University), employee, or other member of the University community, defined above, who contemplates filing or actually files a complaint based on sex discrimination.
Respondent: A person alleged to have committed a violation of the University Title IX policy herein. The term may be also used to designate persons with direct responsibility for a particular action or to those persons with supervisory responsibilities for conduct, procedures or policies in those areas covered by the complaint.
C. Preliminary Stage
A student, faculty member, or employee of the University who believes that he or she is experiencing or has experienced sex discrimination of any kind may initially wish to discuss the situation with a trusted friend, advisor or colleague, or the University official to whom the alleged respondent reports or is responsible. The University strongly recommends that the potential Complainant not contact unaccompanied the person who is alleged to have committed the inappropriate conduct.
D. Report to Title IX Coordinator
Any student, faculty member, employee, or other member of the University community who believes that he or she has experienced or is experiencing sex discrimination, should immediately contact the University Title IX Coordinator to report the alleged act or acts of sex discrimination. (In the event of alleged sexual harassment, the aggrieved person may choose to file a complaint pursuant to the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy.) Such report should be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator.
E. Response of Title IX Coordinator
Upon receipt of notice of any allegation under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will do the following:
- Schedule a meeting with the Complainant in order to provide to the Complainant a general understanding of this Policy (and a copy of the Policy, if necessary), and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions available to the Complainant, such as health services, mental health services, crime victim services, or services of a local rape crisis center. The meeting will cover any Interim Measures or accommodations that may be appropriate under the circumstances. Upon the receipt of notice of allegations pursuant to this Policy, regardless of the action chosen by the Complainant, the University will undertake an appropriate inquiry and take such prompt and effective action as is reasonably practicable under the circumstances to support and protect the Complainant. Such measures include a “no-contact” order, which will typically direct that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means. The Title IX Coordinator also may take any further protective action deemed appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties, including, without limitation, directing appropriate University officials to alter the students’ academic, housing or employment arrangements, providing an escort for the Complainant, and any other measure deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator. Violations of the Title IX Coordinator’s directive and/or protective actions may lead to additional disciplinary action.
- Advise the Complainant of his or her rights and provide any needed assistance as follows:
- The right to contact the appropriate law enforcement personnel to pursue criminal charges under state, local, or federal law. The Complainant should be informed of his or her right to file a criminal complaint concurrent with or after the University’s Title IX investigation. The University investigation will not be suspended or delayed in the event of an investigation of possible criminal charges by law enforcement personnel.
- The right to file a civil action against the alleged Respondent.
- The right to file a complaint with the EEOC and/or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.
- In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will provide assistance in arranging for needed medical or hospital treatment, counseling and for the personal safety of the Complainant.
F. Optional Pre-Complaint Meeting
Following contact with the Title IX Coordinator, but prior to the submission of a formal, written complaint to the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant may request a meeting with the respondent alleged to be directly responsible for the violation or with the person having immediate supervisory authority related to the complaint. Such contact shall be in the presence of the Title IX Coordinator. In addition, the persons identified above who are alleged to be directly or indirectly responsible for the violation of this policy may discuss the allegations of the Complainant with the Title IX Coordinator. The purpose of any pre-complaint contact will be for the Complainant to request a proposed course of action in order to resolve the matter in a manner consistent with biblical principles of dispute resolution. Such pre-complaint meeting shall be solely at the option of the Complainant. At no time will the Complainant be required to confront the Respondent. In cases involving sexual assault, such a meeting shall not occur. Such contact is not a condition for the submission of a written complaint to the Title IX Coordinator. If the matter cannot be resolved as result of any pre-complaint meeting, then the Complainant may submit to the Title IX Coordinator a formal, written Complaint. If it is alleged that the Title IX Coordinator is involved in any discriminatory action, then the complaint shall be submitted to a deputy Title IX Coordinator or another individual appointed by the President of the University to serve as a substitute Title IX Coordinator.
G. Written Complaint
If the pre-complaint meeting does not resolve the complaint, or if such meeting is not held, the complainant shall then have the right to file a written complaint with the Title IX coordinator, which shall contain the following information:
- At the option of the Complainant, the name and address of the Complainant.
- The name or names of the person or persons alleged to be responsible for the act of discrimination, if known.
- Specific acts of discrimination alleged including, the dates, times, and locations.
- Names, addresses and telephone numbers of potential witnesses who may be called in support of the complaint.
- A description of any actions taken by any party in an effort to address the alleged discrimination.
- The complaint shall be signed and dated by the Complainant. Such date shall be the “Date of the Complaint.”
H. Title IX Coordinator’s Investigation
After the filing of the written complaint, the Title IX coordinator may assign the matter to a deputy Title IX coordinator for investigation. References in this section to the Title IX Coordinator include any actions by a deputy coordinator, if one is assigned.
Following the filing of the written complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with and interview the Complainant. Subsequent to the filing of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will also schedule an interview with the Respondent to discuss the allegations, provide a copy of the complaint and the University’s Title IX Policy, and discuss the complaint process in general. The Title IX Coordinator will direct the Respondent to provide a written response to the Complaint. The Complainant shall be entitled to receive and review such response. The Title IX Coordinator will collect all relevant documents and information from each party and establish a deadline for the receipt of such information and documents from each party. The Title IX Coordinator will also interview any relevant witnesses to the allegations and may request documentation from the appropriate departments and offices at the University.
If the Respondent or any witness refuses or fails to respond to the Title IX Coordinator’s request for a response to the complaint or request for information, or otherwise fails to cooperate, the Title IX Coordinator may nevertheless continue the investigation.
Within sixty (60) days after the date of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will render a decision as to whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, it has been determined that sex discrimination has or has not occurred. Such decision shall be supported by a written report containing findings of fact, along with a recommendation by the Title IX Coordinator of the remedial and/or disciplinary action(s) to be taken. Within five (5) days of the date of the decision, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify in writing, the Complainant and the Respondent, as well as the President of the University, of his or her decision described above.
I. Appeal of Findings of Investigation
All parties to the complaint may appeal the findings and recommendation of the Title IX Coordinator. All grounds for appeal shall be based on the emergence of new evidence that was previously unavailable, or the grounds that some aspect of this policy or procedure was not adequately followed. The sole method of appeal shall be the impartial review by the Vice President for Academics, provided that he was not involved as a party or witness to the investigation, in which case the appeal shall instead by reviewed by the University President. Any appeal must be filed within 10 days of the Title IX Coordinator’s decision. The Vice President for Academics, or the President in his stead, shall render a decision on the appeal within 10 days of receipt of the appeal.
J. Determination of Disciplinary Action
In the event the Title IX Coordinator finds that the Respondent has committed an act of sex discrimination as defined by this policy, the matter will proceed as follows:
- Students: If the Respondent is a University Student, the Vice President of Student Life will determine and administer the appropriate disciplinary action. If the University Student is found to have committed a sexual assault, the Vice President may initiate expulsion proceedings pursuant to the Student Handbook.
- Staff: If the Respondent is a staff member, the Title IX Coordinator will recommend the appropriate disciplinary action to the Director of Human Resources. If a staff member is found to have committed a sexual assault, then his or her employment may be terminated in accordance with the Staff Handbook.
- Faculty: If the Respondent is a faculty member and his or her conduct warrants discipline that is less severe than discharge or suspension, the Title IX Coordinator will recommend sanctions to the Academic Vice President. In cases where the faculty member’s actions warrant discharge or termination of employment, the Title IX Coordinator will recommend to the President that termination proceedings be initiated. If the President accepts the recommendation, the matter will proceed in accordance with the terms of the University’s Faculty Handbook providing for Dismissal for Cause. If a faculty member is found to have committed a sexual assault, then the matter may proceed in accordance with the terms of the University’s Faculty Handbook providing for Dismissal for Cause.
Any appeal of the Title IX Coordinator’s decision and recommendation shall stay the imposition of disciplinary action under this section, but only during the pendency of the appeal. If the disposition of the appeal does not alter the recommended sanction, disciplinary action pursuant to this section shall proceed.
K. Complaints Initiated by Administration
The University President, Vice Presidents, Deans, supervisors or Chairs may request the Title IX Coordinator investigate allegations of sex discrimination with or without the consent of the alleged victim. Such administrator requesting the investigation will act as the Complainant and must specify the person or persons responsible for exhibiting the alleged discriminatory conduct. The Title IX Coordinator will use the same notification and procedural guidelines outlined in the foregoing Complaint Process.
VII. RETALIATION; FALSE COMPLAINTS
It is a violation of this Policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint alleging a under this Policy or against any person cooperating or participating in an investigation under this Policy. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator and may result in appropriate disciplinary action independent of other sanctions or interim measures administered under this Policy.
B. Filing a False Complaint
Any Complainant who knowingly makes false charges alleging violations of this policy may be subjected to disciplinary action.