Reporting Prohibited Conduct and Accessing Supportive Measures
- Scope of the Policy, Prohibited Conduct, and Related Definitions
- Employee-Student Consensual Relations
- Non-Discrimination Notice and Designation of Title IX Coordinator
- Duties of Title IX Coordinator
- Reporting Prohibited Conduct and Accessing Supportive Measures
- Filing and Addressing a Formal Complaint
- Retaliation and False Complaints
VI. Reporting Prohibited Conduct and Accessing Supportive Measures
An individual who believes they have experienced Prohibited Conduct has several options for addressing Prohibited Conduct, including reporting to the Title IX Coordinator, reporting to law enforcement, seeking confidential resources, or any combination of these. These options, as well as information regarding matters relating to the privacy of such reports, are outlined here. This section also details the Supportive Measures that are available to individuals who report Prohibited Conduct, as well as the options for Emergency Removal and Administrative Leave. Finally, this section addresses mandatory reporting obligations of employees of the University, and what happens when the Title IX Coordinator receives a mandatory report.
A. Privacy and Confidentiality as it Relates to Reporting
Privacy and confidentiality are two unique concepts. Each is explained here.
Privacy means that the information will be shared only with other individuals who have a “need to know” such information to implement this policy, including to provide supportive measures. The University shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of Prohibited Conduct to the extent allowed by law and University policy. For example, information regarding students is protected in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Access to employee personnel records is restricted in accordance with University policies and federal and state law. When the University completes publicly available record-keeping about sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking under the Clery Act or pursuant to other requirements, the University shall keep private the personally identifying information regarding victims of such reported crimes.
Confidentiality governs the information held by certain individuals who learn of such information in the context of a privileged relationship, such as counselor-patient or doctor-patient, or in the context of confidential communications with clergy. Information that is subject to confidentiality shall not be shared except in certain situations, such as where the information indicates imminent threat to the health and safety of others, or where the individual is obligated to report child abuse or neglect. Communications to health professionals employed by the University, including counselors at the University Counseling Center, are privileged and confidential when occurring in the context of that professional relationship. In addition, other University employees (e.g., clergy in the context of confidential communications as recognized by state law) may have a legal obligation to remain confidential. Because discussions with confidential resources are not reported to the University, such discussions do not serve as notice to the University to address the Prohibited Conduct.
B. Making a Report to the Title IX Coordinator
Any person who has experienced or is experiencing Prohibited Conduct, or who has witnessed or is aware of such conduct, is encouraged to immediately contact the University Title IX Coordinator to report the alleged act or acts of Prohibited Conduct. The contact information for the Title IX Coordinator is found in Section IV, above. Reports can be made in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, or by any other means that results in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report.
Filing a report does not require the filing of a formal complaint and undergoing an informal or formal resolution, as explained further below. However, filing a report does assist the Title IX Coordinator in determining whether an individual may be eligible for supportive measures as described more fully below.
In response to receiving a report of Prohibited Conduct, the Title IX Coordinator will advise the Complainant of his or her rights as follows:
The right to contact or decline to contact the appropriate law enforcement personnel to pursue criminal charges under local, state, or federal law. The Complainant should be informed of his or her rights to file a criminal complaint concurrent with, before, or after filing a Formal Complaint under this policy.
The right to access supportive measures under this policy, regardless of whether the Complainant chooses to file a Formal Complaint under this policy or a report with law enforcement.
The right to file a civil action against the Respondent, such as a protective order.
The right to file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and/or the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, as may be applicable under the circumstances.
With regard to reports alleging sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking:
the right to receive information about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services available for those who have experienced sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking. Such resources will include those within the University and in the community.
the right to receive information about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, working situations, and supportive measures.
The right to receive information about the procedures used to address reports and formal complaints as explained by this policy, including disciplinary procedures.
The University’s response may be limited if the alleged Respondent is no longer on campus or is unknown. Nevertheless, resources and assistance may still be available and the Complainant is encouraged to report the Prohibited Conduct to explore those options.
In cases where a Complainant requests that no action be taken or that his/her name not be shared with the Respondent, the University will balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institution’s responsibility to ensure a safe educational environment and workplace. An individual’s request that the respondent not be notified of reports of Prohibited Conduct will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such request will be considered in the context of the University’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will assess such requests by examining the seriousness of the reported conduct, whether the reported misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon, the respective ages and roles of the parties, whether there have been other reports of misconduct or discrimination by the Respondent, whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the alleged conduct, and whether the report reveals a pattern of misconduct (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.
If the University is unable to take action consistent with the wishes of the Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant about the chosen course of action, which may include the Title IX Coordinator filing a Formal Complaint to initiate an investigation.
The University seeks to remove barriers to reporting sexual discrimination. To this end, a violation of the student handbook not relating to Prohibited Conduct (such as an alcohol or substance abuse violation relating to the personal use of alcohol or drugs, or violations of the Commitment to Purity outlined in the student handbook), when the violation is discovered as a result of good faith cooperation with a report or investigation of Prohibited Conduct, will not result in dismissal for the parties or witnesses, provided that the health and safety of the individuals involved is not jeopardized. While dismissal will not be issued under these conditions, the University reserves the right to extend grace to all parties involved and may choose to recommend or require institutional or counseling remedies for a student consistent with our values.
Optional Facilitated Conversation with Respondent
Where a report does not allege Sexual Harassment – Title IX, 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 over the Respondent. Such a meeting shall be coordinated by and take place in the presence of 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 meeting shall be solely at the option of the Complainant. An informal meeting under this section is not a pre-condition for the submission of a formal complaint to the Title IX Coordinator, and the Complainant retains the right to withdraw this request at any time and proceed with a formal complaint if they so choose.
C. Making a Report to Law Enforcement
Some types of Prohibited Conduct may be in violation of criminal laws. Individuals who experience criminal conduct may choose to report such conduct directly to law enforcement. Such reports may be also facilitated by the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Security. Contacting law enforcement may be helpful in preserving evidence, which can assist in a criminal prosecution or obtaining a protective order if an individual wishes to pursue such action either immediately or in the future.
In accordance with Ohio law and as explained in the Mandatory Reporting section below, University employees are required to report felonies to law enforcement. Any criminal prosecution will proceed separate and apart from any University investigation and disciplinary proceeding. The University will cooperate with any criminal investigation or prosecution of sexual assault incidents involving any member of the Cedarville University community.
At the request of law enforcement, the University may agree to defer its Title IX fact gathering until after the evidence gathering stage of a criminal investigation. The University will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant regarding Title IX rights and procedural options and may take supportive measures to protect members of the University community. The University may not, by federal law, wait to address reports of Prohibited Conduct until any external legal processes are resolved. There may, however, be extensions of the timeframe for an investigation for good cause, which may include concurrent law enforcement activity.
D. Seeking Confidential Resources
Individuals may seek confidential resources, in addition to or instead of making reports to the University and/or law enforcement. Such confidential resources may be helpful in assisting an individual in determining whether and how to make such reports. Examples of available confidential resources include:
Cedarville University Office of Counseling Services, (937) 766-7855, Stevens Student Center 163
Cedarville University Medical Services, (937) 766-7863
Springfield Regional Medical Center, (937) 523-1000
Greene Memorial Hospital, (937) 352-2700
Miami Valley Hospital – Jamestown Emergency Center (937) 374-5280
Greene County Violence Prevention, 24-hour crisis hotlines at (937) 426-2334 or (937) 372-4552, violencefreefutures.org
Ohio Sexual Violence Helpline, 24-hour hotline, (844) 644-6435 (OHIO HELP)
National Domestic Violence Hotline, 24-hours, (800) 799-7233 (SAFE)
National Teen and Young Adult Dating Abuse Hotline, 24 hours, (866) 331-9474, www.loveisrespect.org.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 24 hours, (800) 273-8255
Legal Aid of Western Ohio, (888) 534-1432, legalaidline.lawolaw.org
E. Receiving Supportive Measures
“Supportive measures” are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive Measures include protective measures as that term is used in the Clery Act and its regulations.
Supportive measures must be offered to a complainant when the University has “actual knowledge” of allegations of Sexual Harassment – Title IX. Actual knowledge exists when notice of such allegations is provided to the Title IX Coordinator or any University official who has the authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University. These officials are the President, Vice President for Academics, Vice President for Business, Vice President of Student Life & Christian Ministries, Athletic Director, and the Associate Vice President of Human Resources.
“Supportive measures” may include, but are not limited to:
Providing access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment
Issuing and enforcing No Contact Directives, which are usually mutual unless and until a finding of responsibility for a policy violation has been made
Providing alternative on-campus housing
Assisting with relocation of housing or work space
Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities
Making changes to behavior, movement on campus, access to buildings or spaces, and/or participation campus activities
Modifying academic and extracurricular activities, transportation, and dining arrangements
Extending deadlines and assisting with other course-related adjustments
Modifying work or class schedules
Assisting with obtaining a leave of absence
Providing alternative course completion options
Providing academic support services
Assisting in obtaining visa or immigration information
Modifying transportation, parking, dining and working situations
Implementing access restriction or interim suspension of an individual while a matter is investigated and resolved
Imposing other protections or behavioral restrictions as necessary and appropriate
The University offers supportive measures to both complainants and respondents. Upon receipt of a report of an identifiable complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, and inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint if one is desired.
Upon giving notice to a respondent of a report raising potential sexual harassment violations against the respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the respondent of the availability of counseling and may notify the respondent of the availability of other supportive measures, as the Title IX Coordinator deems appropriate.
Throughout any grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator will continually reassess and discuss appropriate supportive measures with the parties as the Coordinator deems appropriate. If the Title IX Coordinator does not offer supportive measures to the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator must document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
The University will treat complainants and respondents equitably in the provision of supportive measures, and shall follow its Formal Complaint process prior to the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not supportive measures against a respondent.
The University will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures.
F. Emergency Removal and Administrative Leave
Upon receipt of a report of Prohibited Conduct and where such circumstances suggest it may be appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator shall conduct an individualized safety and risk assessment to determine whether the respondent’s presence in the University’s education programs and activities poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment. If so, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether such risk assessment justifies the removal of the respondent from campus on an emergency basis pending the outcome of the investigation. Threats must pose more than a generalized, hypothetical, or speculative risk to health and safety for emergency removal to be appropriate.
A removed respondent will receive written notice from the Title IX Coordinator of the emergency removal and will be provided with an opportunity to appeal the decision in writing to the University General Counsel’s designee within two business days of the removal. The decision must be rendered within two business days of receiving the appeal.
Non-student employees may be placed on administrative leave during the grievance process without receiving any appeal of such administrative leave. Administrative leave is not considered to be an emergency removal under this section.
G. Mandatory Reporting Obligations of Employees
All employees of the University are required to report Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible after the information becomes known. These mandatory reports are required to include the name of the employee filing the report, as well as all information known to the employee. This requirement does not apply to a report that the employee has experienced the Prohibited Conduct himself or herself.
All employees of the University are likewise required to report felonies (including sexual assault) to law enforcement. Such reports may be facilitated by the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Security, but it is the obligation of the employee to ensure that the report is made.
Employees that do not make a mandatory report under this section may be subject to discipline, up to and including termination of employment.
Upon receiving a mandatory report, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the potential complainant to ask if they would like to meet to discuss supportive measures and other options. Potential complainants will not be required to meet with the Title IX Coordinator in response to the receipt of a mandatory report.