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BETHEL UNIVERSITY AND BETHEL UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION

Purpose, Scope, and Policy

Title IX is a federal civil rights law that protects persons from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination including sexual harassment in all its forms. The federal regulations implementing Title IX may be viewed here

Consistent with Title IX, Bethel University and the Bethel University Foundation (together referred to in this document as “Bethel”) are committed to maintaining a Christ-centered community, free of discrimination, including sexual harassment in all of its forms. Sexual harassment includes: sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as well as other unwanted or coercive conduct related to sex. Bethel will not tolerate sexual harassment by or against its students, faculty, or staff in its education programs or activities. In addition, visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, or any person that provides services to Bethel’s education programs or activities are required to comply with the provisions of this policy. All community members must comply with this policy, whether on campus or off campus, when engaged in education programs or activities sponsored by Bethel, or otherwise related to Bethel or its business. Such activities include, but are not limited to classes, seminars, meetings, sporting events, alumni activities, and Bethel clubs or associations. Acts of sexual harassment that meet the definitions of Title IX will be handled in accordance with this policy.  All other actions that do not fall under this policy will be handled in accordance with other applicable Bethel policies and procedures. 

All Bethel employees are required to report any instance of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator except confidential resources. Persons who are confidential resources are listed at the end of this policy.

The purposes of this policy include:

  • Prohibiting sexual harassment that occurs in an education program or activity;
  • Creating a work environment that is free from sexual harassment;
  • Encouraging good faith complaints when sexual harassment has occurred; and
  • Providing options for addressing and resolving complaints of sexual harassment.

All incoming students and new employees are required to complete training on sexual harassment.

Persons who believe that they have experienced sexual harassment or have witnessed sexual harassment of another community member are expected to bring the conduct to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator so that Bethel can take prompt corrective action. Bethel will take prompt corrective action against any sexual harassment by or against its community members as soon as it has actual knowledge (as defined in this document) of the sexual harassment. All Bethel community members are directed to implement and abide by the procedures outlined in this policy.

All complaints will be taken seriously and no one who acts in good faith to report sexual harassment will suffer actual or threatened retaliation or reprisal. If it is determined through an appropriate and prompt investigation that sexual harassment has occurred, effective corrective action will be taken to eliminate the sexual harassment, attempt to ensure that it does not recur, and appropriately care for those who may have been harmed. Depending on circumstances and the severity of the conduct, corrective action will vary. Resolution steps taken in response to a complaint may include one or more of the following for students: counseling, advising or coaching from student life or other similar professionals, reflection paper, behavioral probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion. For employees, resolution steps could include one or more of the following: counseling, training, advising or coaching from a professional, verbal or written warning, termination and referred to law enforcement authorities.

Types of Sexual Harassment and Terms Related to Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is the term used to identify any conduct that constitutes a form of sex discrimination which violates Title IX federal law requirements, relevant sections of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) and Bethel policy. For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is prohibited and includes, but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.

Sexual Harassment, in general, means unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that constitutes one or more of the following types of actions or behavior:

  • Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment;
  • Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Dating Violence;
  • Domestic Violence; or
  • Stalking

All persons are protected from sexual harassment, whether that harassment is perpetrated by a member of the same or opposite sex. Sexual harassment may be committed by a male or a female toward either a male or a female.

Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment
Quid pro quo harassment occurs when the harasser either provides or denies an employment or educational benefit in exchange for unwelcome sexual conduct. Examples of quid pro quo sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, the following: a supervisor granting a promotion to an employee because the employee unwillingly consents to have sexual relations with the supervisor; a supervisor firing an employee because the employee refuses to have sexual relations with the supervisor; a faculty member providing an undeserved failing grade to a student because the student refuses to have sexual relations with the faculty member; a faculty member giving an undeserved high grade to a student because the student consents to have unwanted sexual relations with the faculty member; or a supervisor providing positive references or evaluations for an employee or student in exchange for sexual favors.

Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment
Hostile environment sexual harassment exists when unwelcome sexual conduct determined by a reasonable person is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Bethel’s education program(s) or activities. Examples of hostile environment harassment include, but are not limited to, the following: requests for sexual favors, persistent sexual slurs, repeated requests for an unwelcome sexual relationship, continual sexually suggestive jokes, gestures or sounds, a pattern of widespread favoritism based on sexual relationships, offensive pornographic or suggestive materials, or unwelcome sexual touching. A hostile environment can exist by virtue of a combination of individual incidents that would not, individually, constitute sexual harassment. In order for these examples or other behaviors to constitute hostile environment harassment, the effect of the harassment must create an abusive or hostile environment, usually over a period of time. Even one serious incident may, however, constitute hostile environment harassment.

Sexual Assault
Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence and is sexual contact or intercourse without consent. Specifically, sexual assault is an offense that meets any of the following definitions: rape (the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim), sodomy (oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person against a person’s will), sexual assault with an object (the use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person), fondling (the touching of the private body parts including the genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim), incest (sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law), statutory rape (sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent).

Dating Violence
Dating violence is another form of sexual violence and is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The relationship existence is determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (1) the length of the relationship; (2) the type of relationship; and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by the victim’s current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, person similarly situated under Minnesota domestic or family violence laws, or anyone else protected under applicable domestic or family violence laws.

Stalking
Stalking means to engage in conduct which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking behavior includes, but is not limited to a person who (1) follows, monitors, or pursues another, whether in person or through any available technological or other means; (2) repeatedly makes telephone calls, sends text messages, or induces a victim to make telephone calls to the actor, whether or not conversation ensues; (3) makes or causes the telephone of another repeatedly or continuously to ring; or (4) repeatedly mails or delivers or causes the delivery by any means, including electronically, of letters, telegrams, messages, packages, through assistive devices for people with vision impairments or hearing loss, or any communication made through any available technologies.

Consent
Consent means conduct or words that indicate a person freely and voluntarily agrees to engage in a sexual act at the time of the act. A person must be of legal age to give consent. A person who is incapacitated cannot give consent. Consent to a prior sexual act does not imply ongoing future consent. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. Silence, absence of resistance, or the failure to give a negative response does not imply consent. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.

The use of coercion, threat, or force takes away a person’s ability to give consent. Sexual coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity through words or circumstances that cause a person to reasonably fear that the other will inflict bodily harm. Force is the use of physical violence to gain sexual access, including threats, intimidation, and actual physical imposition.

Consensual Relationships
Intimate or romantic relationships between employees, or between employees and students, even when within the bounds of acceptable Christian conduct, may nonetheless pose potentially serious moral, ethical, and legal concerns to the individuals and to the institution.

Where a power differential between the parties exists, even consensual relationships may constitute sexual harassment if the effect of such a relationship interferes with an individual‘s academic or professional performance or if it creates an intimidating environment. Further, conflicts of interest or breaches of professional ethics may arise if one party to the relationship evaluates the work or academic performance of the other, during the relationship or even after it ends. This includes situations in which a faculty member teaches a student or employee with whom he or she has had a relationship.
Employees are cautioned that such relationships could potentially result in a sexual harassment charge, and could result in the individual with the power in the relationship bearing the burden of responsibility.

Bethel recommends that where such relationships develop, the individual in a position of authority notify his or her supervisor and that he or she surrenders responsibility for evaluation or supervision of the other party. Further, where an employee is called upon to supervise an individual with whom he or she has had a past romantic relationship, he or she should discuss the situation with a supervisor. Bethel discourages romantic relationships between faculty members and students, and discourages faculty members teaching students with whom they have or have had an intimate or romantic relationship.

Incapacitated
An incapacitated person is a person unable to consent to sexual activities due to the use of alcohol or drugs impairing judgment, lack of consciousness, being asleep, developmental disabilities, or who lacks full knowledge or information of what is happening. The use of drugs or alcohol by the accused is not a defense against allegations of sexual harassment.

Terms Defined

ACTUAL KNOWLEDGE
Actual knowledge means notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator, Bethel’s President or a Disciplinary Officer. Actual knowledge includes a report or formal complaint as defined below.

COMMUNITY MEMBER
Community member refers to Bethel’s students, faculty, staff, visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, and any person that provides services to Bethel.

COMPLAINANT
A complainant is an individual or group of individuals who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that would constitute sexual harassment.

DISCIPLINARY OFFICER
A Disciplinary Officer is a staff member or administrator appointed by the President who is trained to issue any corrective action(s)/sanction(s) based upon the findings of the Responsible Officer.

FORMAL COMPLAINT
A formal complaint is a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requiring that Bethel investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. 

GRIEVANCE OFFICER
A Grievance Officer is a faculty or staff member or administrator appointed by the President who is trained to respond to formal complaints of sexual harassment.

INVESTIGATION
The term investigation includes all activities related to a non-criminal resolution of a formal complaint, including fact-finding investigations, formal or informal meetings, and a live hearing. It does not include meetings between complainants and officials regarding accommodations or supportive measures.

REPORT
A report is a claim by a person alleging sexual harassment that does not require an investigation because a formal complaint has not been filed.

RESPONDENT
A respondent is an individual or group of individuals who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

RESPONSIBLE OFFICER
A Responsible Officer is an appointed individual who, in partnership with the Title IX Coordinator as applicable, adjudicates the formal complaint during the hearing process.

RESULT
A result is any initial, interim, or final resolution, finding or decision by any official or administrator authorized to resolve complaint matters at Bethel. The result may include sanctions imposed. 

RETALIATION
Retaliation means any materially adverse action such as intimidation, threats, coercion or discrimination, taken against a person who has or is believed to have exercised rights in good faith regarding a sexual harassment policy violation.

TITLE IX COORDINATOR
The Title IX Coordinator is the administrator to whom a report or formal complaint is made. The Title IX Coordinator ensures the report or formal complaint is addressed according to policy and procedures.

Cara Wald, the University’s Vice President of People and Organizational Development, serves as Title IX Coordinator with primary responsibility for oversight and enforcement of this policy, as well as identifying and addressing any systemic problems that arise during the review of the report or formal complaint. Cara Wald may be contacted at any time at 651.635.8657 or c-wald@bethel.edu

Conflict of Interest or Bias

As soon as possible after a formal complaint has been initiated under this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will certify both to the complainant and to the respondent, that inquiry has been made concerning any potential conflict of interest or bias and a written assurance will be issued to the parties that all persons involved in the investigation of the formal complaint have certified they are aware of no conflicts of interest or bias that would prevent them from conducting an impartial investigation or consideration of the case. To the extent possible, Grievance Officers will not have supervisory oversight over a complainant or respondent. If the Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest or bias, said officer will withdraw from the case and the duty to certify that there is no conflict of interest or bias will be assumed by the appropriate responsible officer assigned to the case, or another person designated by the University President, such that both parties are assured that no person with a conflict of interest or bias shall be involved in the investigation or consideration of the case.

Education, Prevention, and Awareness

Sexual harassment is a significant issue on college and university campuses. In order to educate the campus community and hopefully eliminate sexual harassment on our campuses, Bethel provides mandatory training to all employees and students regarding sexual harassment. In general, this training covers what sexual harassment is, how to prevent it, and most importantly where those affected can go for help. For Bethel, we believe this training is important because of who we strive to be as a community of believers, one that is safe and thriving for all. Some of this training is provided in an online format through training videos which can be accessed through the Office of Human Resources website.

These training videos also provide Awareness Programs and Primary Prevention Programs. Awareness Programs are specific programming for employees and students that contain initiatives and strategies to increase knowledge and share information and resources in order to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration. Primary Prevention Programs include Bethel’s training videos that contain information on how to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster healthy, mutually respectful relationships and sexuality, encourage safe bystander intervention, and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions.

The mandatory training videos also provide information on Bystander Intervention and Risk Reduction. With respect to Bystander Intervention, it is important to understand safe and positive options for individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. Some options include: recognizing situations of potential harm; understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence; overcoming barriers to intervene; identifying safe and effective intervention options; and, taking action to intervene. Risk Reduction serves to educate employees and students on options to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.

Bethel provides this training in an online format through links to four separate training videos: (1) Minnesota students, (2) Minnesota employees, (3) California students, and (4) California employees. Students take the training for the state they reside in during the academic year. Employees and students living in a state other than Minnesota or California take the Minnesota training and use the “Reference” tab for their state-specific information. Employees who are also students only need to take the employee training.

In addition to the mandatory online training video, Bethel provides ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns regarding sexual harassment. Ongoing Prevention and Awareness Campaigns are programming, initiatives and strategies sustained over time, focused on increasing understanding of topics, relevant to, and skills for addressing sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking through a range of strategies. More specifically, Bethel distributes materials on sexual harassment and regularly trains leaders, confidential resources, first responders, campus security personnel, student life deans and resident directors on how to report, handle and respond to incidents involving sexual harassment.  

As employees and students, we all play an important role in this process. Everyone is responsible to report sexual harassment so those involved can get the help they need.

Reporting Sexual Harassment

If you have personally experienced any form of sexual harassment, tell someone as soon as possible. Bethel understands that this is a difficult situation. All persons involved will be treated with dignity. Immediate notification, ideally within the first 24 hours after any sexual harassment occurs, helps assure the preservation of evidence. Campus Security, at the discretion of law enforcement authorities, shall assist with the preservation of evidence which may be necessary for the proof of criminal sexual harassment or to obtain an order for protection. In an emergency, call 911 or call the Office of Security and Safety at 651.638.6400.

Reporting to Law Enforcement and Crime Victim’s Bill of Rights

In addition to and separate from addressing sexual harassment concerns within the institution, complainants may notify or decline to notify local law enforcement. Bethel will give assistance to any complainant who requests help notifying law enforcement. For additional information about your rights when reporting a crime, visit the Minnesota Department of Public Safety for the Crime Victim's Bill of Rights, or if in California, the Sexual Assault Survivor’s Bill of Rights. A report to law enforcement is not necessary for Bethel to proceed with supportive measures, reports, or formal complaints.

How do I initiate Bethel’s response and resolution process?

In order to initiate Bethel’s response and resolution process under this policy, you or another person must notify the Title IX Coordinator. If a member of the Bethel community has a concern or has become aware of an instance of possible sexual harassment involving a student, faculty or staff member, the Title IX Coordinator must be contacted immediately. You may also choose to remain anonymous and submit an online anonymous report. Anonymous reporting is separate from and does not initiate a formal complaint to the Title IX Coordinator.

What happens when reporting sexual harassment also means reporting violation(s) of Bethel’s standards for student conduct or other campus policies?

When instances of sexual harassment have been reported, Bethel’s concern is focused solely on learning all that is possible about what happened. In order to have a full and thorough investigation, it is important that all facts are shared with the Grievance Officers, even if some of those facts involve disclosing violations of Bethel’s standards for student conduct or other campus policies. It is important for complainants, respondents, and witnesses to know that they will not be disciplined in any manner, during or after the investigation, for reporting facts about the events that include violations of Bethel’s standards for student conduct or other campus policies. Bethel’s sole focus is learning everything possible about what happened during the incident so that a finding and resolutions can be reached.

Resources

SEXUAL ASSAULT NURSE EXAMINATION (SANE)
Following a sexual assault, the most important concern is for the health, safety, and care of the person who has experienced sexual assault. As difficult as it can be, we strongly encourage students to seek medical assistance at the nearest hospital emergency room immediately following a sexual assault. A medical examination is vital for the health and well-being of the person who has experienced the assault and also serves to collect and preserve evidence. This specific type of medical examination is called a Sexual Assault Nurse Examination or SANE.

Individuals may go to the nearest hospital emergency room by themselves or with a friend. This will allow for confidentiality in the event the individual chooses not to make a report to Bethel or law enforcement. With the occasional exception of a few preventative medications, there is no charge for care related to sexual assault.

While the first inclination of an individual may be to take a shower, it is important to not wash, shower, bathe, douche, brush teeth; or to change, destroy, or clean the clothes worn during the assault before having the exam. There is a limited window of time following an incident of sexual assault to preserve physical and other forms of evidence. It is important to bring a change of clothing if the individual goes to the hospital. It may be necessary for the nurse or law enforcement to keep the clothes worn during the assault. If an individual has already changed clothes, the articles of clothing that were worn can be brought in a paper bag.

SANE exams are completely confidential. The results are not given to the law enforcement unless the individual consents. Individuals are not required to report the assault to the law enforcement or to Bethel through this process, but if they choose to do so, the support staff at the nearest hospital emergency room will assist them in the reporting process.

SUPPORT SERVICES
It is strongly recommended that any individual involved in the resolution of a sexual harassment complaint seek personal support through relationships with a few trusted family members or friends.

Additional support is available through Counseling Services, Human Resources, or the Office of Christian Formation and Church Relations. Bethel reserves the right to provide supportive measures during the investigation process to create a safe and thriving environment.

SUPPORTIVE MEASURES
Supportive measures are offered as appropriate, as reasonably available and without a fee or charges to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Supportive measures will be considered immediately, regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to local law enforcement. Bethel will make information available to complainants on the right to seek orders for protection, no contact orders, or restraining orders.

Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equitable access to Bethel’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the Bethel community, or deter sexual harassment. Bethel 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 Bethel to provide the supportive measures.

Bethel will meet with the complainant and respondent separately to discuss any supportive measures that are needed or may be desirable. Examples of supportive measures are: referring the student or employee to appropriate resources for developing a safety plan, seeking medical attention or counseling, or seeking legal assistance; providing alternative housing, academic, or workplace arrangements; providing safety escorts to and from campus; modifying workplace or academic schedules or responsibilities; assisting with a leave of absence from work or school; screening phone calls; transferring harassing calls to Safety and Security; and removing the employee’s or student’s name from all directories.

At any time, the complainant or respondent can request a supportive measure by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. At the request of the complainant, Bethel will provide a complainant who transfers to another postsecondary institution with information about resources for victims of sexual assault at the institution to which the complainant is transferring.

REQUESTS FOR REASONABLE ACCOMMODATIONS
Individuals who need a reasonable accommodation during the pendency of a Title IX process should contact the Title IX Coordinator. Bethel will consider requests for reasonable accommodations submitted to the Title IX Coordinator on a case-by-case basis. Accommodations that Bethel may provide include:

  • Providing reasonable accommodations as required by law to an individual with a disability who requests an accommodation necessary to participate in the complaint resolution process.

  • Providing an interpreter for individuals who are limited English-language proficient.

Confidentiality

The Title IX Coordinator, Responsible Officers, Grievance Officers, and other Bethel officials will keep all personal information connected to a Title IX proceeding confidential to the extent practicable, except as may be required or permitted by applicable law or court order. Medical and mental health professionals are generally required by law to protect confidential communications, unless the professional perceives an immediate or serious threat to a person or if there is an allegation of abuse to a person under 18 or a vulnerable adult.

Governmental Recordkeeping

Under the Clery Act, Bethel is obligated to report annually certain sexual harassment offenses and issue a timely warning through the Office of Security and Safety. Any publicly available notice or recordkeeping will keep the victim’s name confidential and any identifying information will be protected to the extent reasonably possible to take appropriate preventative measures or to comply with applicable law.

In accordance with Minnesota’s Sexual Harassment and Violence Policy statute, Minn. Stat. §135.A15, all postsecondary institutions are required to annually report statistics on sexual assault to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education as well as to their campus community. Data privacy laws require that data be suppressed and noted if the number is fewer than 10 students. The Minnesota Office of Higher Education defines sexual assault as rape, fondling, and statutory rape. It is important to note that this report has different definitions than Clery so the data from the two reports may differ. The Office of Security has made these reports viewable on its website.

Investigation Overview

Bethel shall train all Responsible Officers and Grievance Officers appointed by the President to assist Bethel in responding to formal complaints of sexual harassment. Responsible Officers that are not Bethel employees shall be fully competent in Title IX and have appropriate legal training. In addition to both male and female representatives, representatives will include members of staff and faculty from each of the schools to ensure an unbiased investigation. The Title IX Coordinator shall regularly review all currently trained and appointed Grievance Officers with the President and ensure their training is current.

There are two options to consider for addressing sexual harassment concerns, a report and a formal complaint. If at any point in the process, the complainant declines to provide information or declines to participate further in the formal complaint process, Bethel will review the matter based upon all of the information gathered to determine whether the formal complaint may or must be dismissed. The complainant and respondent shall be simultaneously informed in writing of the outcome of any proceeding, the right to appeal, any change in results that occurs prior to the time that such results become final, and the date when such results become final. Bethel shall provide a prompt, fair, and unbiased investigation and resolution.

Report

A complainant who claims to be the victim of sexual harassment may contact the Title IX Coordinator to inform them of the alleged incident. If the complainant does not file a formal complaint about the alleged sexual harassment, then an investigation will not take place because a formal complaint has not been filed. A complainant may still request supportive measures.

Formal Complaint Procedures

The formal complaint process begins with a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that Bethel investigate the alleged sexual harassment. Once Bethel receives this document, an initial meeting between the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator is scheduled to discuss the sexual harassment allegations. At the initial meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the complainant with a copy of this policy, discuss the formal complaint procedures, and offer counseling or any supportive measures that may be appropriate, if any.

The following outlines the steps and timeline for the formal complaint procedure:

  1. The complaint should describe in detail the alleged sexual harassment and the action the complainant requests to resolve the matter. All written formal complaints must be signed and dated by the complainant and, where known, should contain the name(s) of the individual(s) involved, the date(s) of the event(s) at issue, a detailed description of the actions constituting the alleged unlawful discrimination or sexual harassment, and any other relevant information. If possible, names, addresses, and phone numbers of witnesses or potential witnesses and any other evidence should also be included.
  2. After receipt of the signed complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the complainant to review the complaint to determine if the complaint meets the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX and, if so, whether it sufficiently describes the alleged sexual harassment.
    1. If the complaint does not meet the definition of sexual harassment under this policy, the complaint will be returned and other assistance may be recommended.
    2. If the complaint does not sufficiently describe the factual details of the concern so that a determination of sexual harassment can be made, or an investigation launched, then the complaint will be returned and the complainant may submit an amended complaint providing enough factual details to allow the case to proceed.
  3. After the acceptance of a complaint or amended complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint Grievance Officers to investigate the matter.
  4. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the respondent that a formal complaint has been received and an investigation has begun and an initial meeting with the respondent will be scheduled. A copy of the written complaint and a copy of this policy and procedures document will be provided to the respondent prior to the initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator. At the initial meeting between the respondent and the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss the formal complaint procedures and offer counseling, support assistance, and any supportive measures that may be appropriate, if any. The respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the complaint process.
  5. The Grievance Officers will meet with the complainant to review the nature of the complaint and identify the scope and nature of the investigation. The Grievance Officers will also meet with the respondent to receive the respondent’s response to the complaint, request names of witnesses, request evidence, and to review with the respondent the scope and nature of the investigation. A written report of each meeting shall be prepared and shared with the individual being interviewed for amendment.
  6. The Grievance Officers shall thoroughly investigate the complaint by interviewing witnesses and reviewing any evidence. The Grievance Officers shall prepare a written report of each witness interview and shall share that written report with the individual being interviewed for amendment. Prior to completing the investigation, the Grievance Officers shall meet again with the complainant and the respondent separately to give an overview of the steps taken during the investigation, to ask the complainant and the respondent for the names of any other individuals relevant to the investigation, and to request any additional information.
  7. After all of the meetings and interviews have been concluded, the Grievance Officers shall provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation. Each party shall have ten (10) days to submit a written response to the evidence obtained, and the Grievance Officers will consider any written response prior to completion of the investigative report.
  8. Upon completion of the investigation, the Grievance Officers shall create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. The Grievance Officers shall provide the investigative report to each party, at least fourteen (14) days prior to a live hearing to determine responsibility. The Grievance Officers shall then deliver all evidence and reports to the Responsible Officer. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties of the date of the live hearing on the formal complaint.
  9. Prior to the hearing, the Responsible Officer shall make all evidence available to the parties for inspection and copying, and give each party the opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination. The Responsible Officer shall preside over the live hearing in a manner consistent with any hearing procedures established by Bethel. All parties and witnesses shall conduct themselves in a professional and respectful manner throughout the hearing.
  10. Live Hearing Procedures
    1. The Responsible Officer shall allow the complainant and respondent or their advisor, the option to make a brief opening statement.
    2. The Responsible Officer will then direct the complainant to present the complaint and any supporting evidence, including witnesses. Once the complainant has presented the complaint, then the respondent will present a response.
    3. Each party’s advisor may ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions, follow-up questions, and cross-examination questions, including those challenging credibility.
      1. Such cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. At the request of either party, the live hearing may occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the Responsible Officer and parties to simultaneously see and hear the other party or the witness answering questions.
      2. Only relevant cross examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. A party’s advisor may challenge the relevance of any pending question. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the Responsible Officer will determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
      3. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, Bethel will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of Bethel’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.
      4. If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the Responsible Officer cannot rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. A party or witness must notify Bethel immediately if, at any point, he/she decides not to submit to cross-examination.
    4. The live hearing will be transcribed and/or recorded.
  11. After the conclusion of the live hearing, the Responsible Officer shall evaluate all of the evidence, the credibility of the parties and witnesses, and reach a conclusion based on a preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not standard). The Responsible Officer shall report the findings to the Title IX Coordinator. The findings will involve a determination regarding responsibility which will include:
    • Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment as defined in this policy;
    • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
    • Findings of fact supporting the determination;
    • Conclusions regarding the application of Bethel’s code of conduct to the facts; and
    • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility.
  12. Upon receipt of the findings from the Responsible Officer, the Title IX Coordinator will review the findings and if the Responsible Officer has found a violation of Title IX has been committed by respondent, the Title IX Coordinator shall advise the President. The President will appoint a committee of Disciplinary Officers that will consist of no less than 2 and no more than 5 persons to issue any disciplinary sanctions. The Title IX Coordinator will then provide a copy of the findings and sanctions, if any, to the complainant and respondent. The Title IX Coordinator will also provide information to both parties regarding the right to appeal either the finding or the appropriateness of any disciplinary sanctions.
  13. It is the goal of these procedures that, to the extent possible, the above steps be completed within ninety (90) working days of receiving the formal complaint or amended complaint. Depending on the complexity and circumstances of the case, however, and any obstacles encountered to a thorough investigation, the process and timing of the investigation may be altered at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Grievance Officers.

Advisors

During the proceedings, the parties are entitled to the same opportunities to have one advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, present during all Bethel complaint proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding. The advisor shall be present to provide support but shall not actively participate in any meetings or interviews, unless invited to do so, with the exception of the live hearing in which the advisor may question and cross-examine parties and witnesses. Any advisor who accompanies the complainant or respondent must sign an Advisor Agreement (See Addendum B), which stipulates the role of the advisor.

Additional Allegations

If, in the course of an investigation, Bethel decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent which were not included in the complaint or response to the complaint, then Bethel will provide notice of the additional allegations to both parties in a timely manner.

Dismissal of a Formal Complaint

Bethel will investigate the allegations in a formal complaint. If, however, the conduct alleged in the formal complaint does not constitute sexual harassment as defined in this policy, even if proven, or did not occur in Bethel’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then Bethel MUST dismiss the formal complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual harassment proceedings under this policy. Such a dismissal does not preclude action under Bethel’s code of conduct or other policy provisions.

In addition, Bethel may, but is not required, to dismiss the formal complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing: a complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant is withdrawing the formal complaint or any allegations therein; the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by Bethel; or specific circumstances prevent Bethel from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein. The determination of whether to dismiss the formal complaint in such circumstance is within the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and is not subject to appeal.

Upon a dismissal, Bethel shall promptly send written notice of the dismissal and the reason(s) thereof simultaneously to the parties. 

Consolidation of Formal Complaints

Bethel may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a proceeding involves more than one complainant or more than one respondent, references in this section to the singular “party,” “complainant,” or “respondent” include the plural, as applicable.

Informal Resolution Process

If a formal complaint has been filed, Bethel may offer the opportunity to the parties to participate in an informal resolution process. Participation in an informal resolution process is completely voluntary and is not required by any party. The parties may only participate in the informal resolution process after Bethel has provided them with notice of this option and:

  1. Both parties have voluntarily, agreed in writing to the informal resolution process; and
  2. Both parties have been notified of the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations, provided, however, that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal complaint process, and any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.

An informal resolution process is not available to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

Sanctions

Depending on circumstances and the severity of the conduct, sanctions (including corrective actions) will vary. Resolution steps may include one or more of the following for students: counseling, advising or coaching from student life or other similar professional, verbal or written warning, reflection paper, no contact order, continuing supportive measures, behavioral probation, suspension, dismissal, or expulsion. For employees, resolution steps may include one or more of the following: counseling, training, advising or coaching from a professional, verbal or written warning, loss of staff or faculty privileges, demotion, suspension, termination, or criminal prosecution. Sanctions may be imposed on an individual who knowingly provides false information in an investigation or initiated in bad faith a claim of sexual harassment.

No Retaliation

Federal and state law, as well as Bethel policy, prohibits retaliation, threats of retaliation, suspension, or discharge against persons for raising good faith concerns regarding sexual harassment. Any retaliatory conduct is subject to disciplinary action.

Appeal Rights

1. Either party may appeal upon the following limited grounds:  

  • procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the case;
  • new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination of responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the case;
  • the Title IX Coordinator, Grievance Officers, or Responsible Officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or respondent generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the case; or
  • any sanctions imposed are not commensurate with the findings.

A written appeal must be submitted to the University President, or President’s designee, within ten (10) calendar days of the issuance of the final determination or sanctions.

2. The President or Presidents designee shall consider the appeal based on the record of the hearing and the arguments submitted by the parties.

3. The President, or President’s designee, shall issue a decision in writing to the complainant and respondent within thirty (30) calendar days of the hearing record any arguments by the parties. The decision is final and conclusive.

Recordkeeping

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for maintaining the official university records of sexual harassment reports and complaints. When a complaint is pending, each official having a role in the response and resolution process is responsible for handling records appropriate to their role. When the process is complete, the official records relating to the complaint or report will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator, who shall maintain such records in accordance with university record retention requirements and applicable law.

The official records include:

  • Intake records for complainant and respondent indicating that the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Compliance Specialist met with the complainant and/or respondent and the issues covered;
  • The formal complaint and any response thereto;
  • A description of any supportive measures taken and copies of communication from Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Compliance Specialist to the complainant and respondent relating to the interim action;
  • A copy of any Clery Act report submitted to Director of Campus Safety (Campus Safety shall maintain the original or a copy);
  • A record of the advisor selected by the complainant and/or respondent and their signed agreements;
  • Copies of any notices given to the complainant and/or respondent;
  • Investigative report and accompanying documentation compiled by the Grievance Officers;
  • Copies of meeting summaries and addendums for complainant, respondent and witnesses;
  • Live hearing audio/visual recording or transcript;
  • Documentation indicating the decision reached and any sanctions imposed;
  • Copies of the notice of outcome letters provided to the parties;
  • Appeal statement, if any; and
  • Appeal decision and copies of notices of outcome letters sent to parties regarding appeal, if applicable.

Each official having a role in the response and resolution process may elect to send additional records to the Title IX Coordinator depending on the particular facts and circumstances. Personal notes of officials involved in the response and resolution process generally will be maintained in the sole possession of the official who took the notes according to the official’s normal recordkeeping practices, any university record retention requirements, and applicable law. 

Records related to sexual harassment reports and complaints will be treated as confidential and shared only on a need-to-know basis or as required by law.  

Minnesota law, Minn. Stat. 135A.15, requires institutions to collect statistics, without inclusion of any personally identifying information, regarding the number of reports of sexual assault received by an institution and the number of types of resolutions. Data collected for purposes of submitting annual reports containing those statistics to the Minnesota Office of Higher Education under Minn. Stat. 135A.15 shall only be disclosed to the victim, persons whose work assignments reasonably require access, and, at the victim’s request, police conducting a criminal investigation. Nothing in this paragraph is intended to conflict with or limits the authority of Bethel University to comply with other applicable state or federal laws.

Contact Information:

24-Hour Emergency
911

24-Hour Emergency On-Campus
Office of Security and Safety
651.638.6400
Office location: HC103

Cara Wald, Vice President of People and Organizational Development and Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer
c-wald@bethel.edu
Office: 651.635.8657
Cell: 612.709.4783
Office location: ANC530

Shaune Younkers, Title IX and Compliance Specialist
s-younkers@bethel.edu
Office: 651.638.6992
Office location: ANC530

If any changes are made in the persons holding these positions, current information will be available on Bethel’s website.

Confidential Resources:

Counseling Services            Office of Christian Formation and Church Relations           Health Services
651.635.8540                      651.638.6372                                                                        651.638.6215

Ramsey County
SOS Sexual Violence Services                                                           
651.266.1000                                                      
https://www.ramseycounty.us/residents/health-medical/clinics-services/sos-sexual-violence-services

Anonymous Report Option:

An online anonymous report can be made at any time. This report is separate from initiating a formal complaint through Bethel University. The online anonymous report may be accessed at: https://www.bethel.edu/human-resources/complaints-concerns/submit-anonymous-report/.

Addendum A

California Addendum

For Bethel students, employees, community members, and all others subject to this policy located in California, the California contact information is also included.

Contact Information:

24-Hour Emergency
911

24-Hour Emergency On-Campus
Office of Security and Safety
651.638.6400
Office location: HC103

Cara Wald, Vice President of People and Organizational Development and Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer
c-wald@bethel.edu
Office: 651.635.8657
Cell: 612.709.4783
Office location: ANC530

Shaune Younkers, Title IX and Compliance Specialist
s-younkers@bethel.edu
Office: 651.638.6992
Office location: ANC530

If any changes are made in the persons holding these positions, current information will be available on Bethel’s website.

Confidential Resources:

Counseling Services            Office of Christian Formation and Church Relations           Health Services
651.635.8540                      651.638.6372                                                                        651.638.6215

San Diego County
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)

  • Center for Community Solutions (CCS) Rape Crisis Hotline: 888.385.4657
  • Women's Resource Center (WRC): 760.757.3500

https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/hhsa/programs/phs/emergency_medical_services/sexual_assault_response_team.html

Anonymous Report Option:

An online anonymous report can be made at any time. This report is separate from initiating a formal complaint through Bethel University. The online anonymous report may be accessed at: https://www.bethel.edu/human-resources/complaints-concerns/submit-anonymous-report/.

Addendum B

Advisor Agreement

The following information is provided to further detail the role of an advisor in the Title IX investigation process.

A Title IX Formal Complaint Investigation is a Bethel Administrative Process

A Title IX formal complaint investigation is part of an administrative process at Bethel to determine whether the Bethel Title IX Policy has been violated. The investigation of a formal complaint does not determine guilt or innocence relative to any local, state or federal law, nor does it adhere to the same rules that govern or might be applied in a legal proceeding. 

Role of an Advisor

Individuals bringing forward allegations (“complainants”), and individuals responding to allegations (“respondents”) who participate in a Title IX investigation process, have the right to have one individual of their choosing serve as their advisor throughout the investigation process. The right to an advisor is extended so that the complainant or respondent can identify someone that they believe can assist them in navigating and understanding the formal complaint investigation process, including providing support during each portion of the process and any meeting or interview that is associated with the process. An advisor may not be someone who is witness in the investigation.

An Advisor May . . .

  • Accompany a complainant or respondent to any meeting or conversation related to an investigation including interviews with the investigator.
  • Confer with the party they are advising, but must do so outside of the meeting area. The complainant or respondent must notify the interviewing Grievance Officers that they would like to confer with their advisor and then step outside of the room to confer.
  • Assist a complainant or respondent in understanding and navigating the investigation process.
  • Seek clarification regarding the investigation process.
  • Ask procedural or process questions.
  • Support the complainant or respondent during the process.
  • Have access to information concerning a case only when accompanying the complainant or respondent (for in-person access to information) or only when the complainant or respondent has given written permission for the advisor to be copied on emails or other correspondence. An advisor’s access to such information is conditioned upon the advisor’s agreement to maintain the confidentiality of any student education records or other confidential information.

An Advisor May Not . . .

  • Speak, act, or appear in lieu of or on behalf of a complainant or respondent, including answering questions for, or on behalf of, a complainant or respondent.
  • Use, copy, disclose, duplicate, redistribute, share, or provide access to any confidential information supplied during the complaint process whether the information is presented in hard copy, electronically or verbally, now or in the future. This confidentiality requirement remains effective indefinitely.
  • Appear as a witness in the proceeding.
  • Impede the investigation process or act in a manner that obstructs, delays, or disrupts the investigation process.
  • Communicate directly with the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Compliance Specialist, Grievance Officers, Responsible Officer or any other school official involved in the complaint process, except as part of the live hearing process and only as directed by the Responsible Officer or as permitted by Bethel’s hearing procedures.

Bethel University will not as a general matter, unnecessarily delay its processes to accommodate the schedules of advisors.

An advisor may be disqualified or dismissed from the process by Bethel University for violations of confidentiality or other forms of interference with the complaint process.

FERPA Waivers

Students who participate in the investigation process with an advisor must complete a Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) waiver prior to engaging with an advisor in any manner.


I have read the above Advisor Agreement and agree to abide by all provisions.

____________________________                                                                                                                                                         

Name Printed                                                                       Signature                                                               Date



Revised 07/2020