Bethel University and Bethel University Foundation
Purpose, Scope, and Policy
Bethel University and the Bethel University Foundation (hereinafter referred to as Bethel) are committed to maintaining a Christ-centered community, free of discrimination, including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and sexual misconduct in all of its forms. Bethel prohibits domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Bethel will not tolerate sexual misconduct by or against its students, faculty, or staff. In addition, visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, or any person that provides services to Bethel 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 activities sponsored by Bethel, or otherwise related to Bethel or its business. Such activities include, but are not limited to classes, seminars, meetings, and study abroad programs.
All complaints will be taken seriously and no one who acts in good faith to report sexual misconduct, including third parties (e.g., vendors), will suffer actual or threatened retaliation or reprisal. Complaints of sexual misconduct will be treated in confidence to the extent feasible, given the need to conduct a thorough investigation and take corrective action. If it is determined through an appropriate and prompt investigation that sexual misconduct has occurred, effective corrective action will be taken to eliminate the sexual misconduct, 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 could include one or more of the following for students: counseling, advising or coaching from student life or campus ministry 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, or termination.
Sexual misconduct is a broad and overarching term used to identify the conduct that constitutes a form of sex discrimination which violates federal and state law, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972; the Minnesota Human Rights Act and Bethel policy. All sexual misconduct is prohibited and includes, but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, actual or attempted sexual assault, stalking, sexual coercion, sexual exploitation, and going beyond the boundaries of consent.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, physical, electronic or digital conduct or communication of a sexual or gender-based nature, when submission to or rejection of the conduct explicitly or implicitly affects a person’s employment or education, unreasonably interferes with a person’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive working, learning, or living environment. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment which may also constitute criminal conduct.
Both men and women 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.
Sexual violence is the most severe form of sexual harassment. Under this policy it is defined as any actual, attempted, or threatened physical sexual act with another person without that person’s consent. It includes, but is not limited to sexual acts perpetrated by force (expressed or implied), or duress, deception, or coercion upon the victim. It includes acts referred to as “date rape” or “acquaintance rape,” and specially includes sexual acts involving a victim who is incapable of giving consent due to age, disability, or intoxication by alcohol or drugs. Sexual violence generally will constitute a crime punishable under Minnesota statutes.
Safety is of primary concern in situations of sexual violence. Any other rule violations will be addressed separately from the sexual violence allegation and the use of alcohol or drugs never makes the victim at fault for sexual violence.
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.
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 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 misconduct.
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.
The institution 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. Further, where an employee is called upon to supervise an individual with whom he or she has had a romantic relationship, he or she should discuss this with a supervisor. The institution 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.
Sexual exploitation is defined as taking non-consensual, unjust, or abusive sexual advantage of another. Examples include, but are not limited to (1) prostituting another person; (2) non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity; (3) going beyond the boundaries of consent, such as knowingly allowing another to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity; (4) engaging in non-consensual voyeurism; or (5) knowingly transmitting or exposing a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or HIV to another person without the knowledge of the other person.
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. See Minnesota Statutes Section 518B.01, www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=518B.01
Dating violence is a 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. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence and is sexual contact or intercourse without consent. See Minnesota Statutes Section 609.341, www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.341
Stalking means to engage in conduct which the actor knows or has reason to know would cause the victim under the circumstances to feel frightened, threatened, oppressed, persecuted, distressed, or intimidated, and causes this reaction on the part of the victim regardless of the relationship between the actor and victim. 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. See Minnesota Statutes Section 609.749, www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=609.749. A victim means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim who suffers mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Retaliation means any materially adverse action taken because a person has or is believed to have exercised rights in good faith regarding a sexual misconduct policy violation.
Community member refers to Bethel’s students, faculty, staff, visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, and any person that provides services to Bethel.
The Director of Human Resources shall act as the Compliance Officer responsible for the administration and supervision of the policy and procedures set forth herein.
A complaint is an allegation that a student, employee or applicant for admission or employment has been subjected to unlawful discrimination or sexual misconduct.
A complainant is an individual or group of individuals who believe that unlawful discrimination or sexual misconduct may have or has occurred.
A grievance officer is a faculty or staff member or administrator appointed by the President who is trained to respond to formal and informal complaints of sexual misconduct.
The term proceeding includes all activities, including but not limited to proceedings (both informal and formal), related to a non-criminal resolution of an institutional disciplinary complaint, including: fact-finding investigations; formal or informal meetings and hearings. It does not include meetings between victims and officials regarding accommodations or protective measures.
A respondent is an individual or group of individuals against whom an allegation of sexual misconduct is made.
A Responsible Officer is an administrator who, in partnership with the senior administrator, adjudicates the complaint. Responsible Officer(s) are identified in the Responsible Officer's chart (Attachment 1). When more than one Responsible Officer is listed, complaints will be adjudicated by all officers identified.
A result is any initial, interim and final resolution or decision by any official or entity authorized to resolve disciplinary matters within an institution. The result must include sanctions imposed. The result also must include the rationale for the result and the sanctions.
Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX Coordinator is the administrator to whom a complaint is reported. The Title IX Coordinator ensures the complaint is addressed according to policy and procedures.
Cara Wald, the University’s Director of Human Resources, serves as Title IX Coordinator with primary responsibility for oversight and enforcement of this Policy, as well as identifying and addressing any systematic problems that arise during the review of complaints. Cara Wald may be contacted at 651.635.8657 or email@example.com.
Education, Prevention and Awareness
Sexual misconduct is a significant issue on college and university campuses. In order to educate and hopefully eliminate sexual misconduct on our campuses, Bethel provides mandatory training to all employees and students regarding sexual misconduct. In general, this training covers what sexual misconduct 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 affirming to all. Some of this training is provided in an online format through training videos.
To access the training, click the link below and enter the requested information on the guestbook page.
Student training: https://www.brainshark.com/trainedsolutions/bethel_mn_student
Employee training: https://www.brainshark.com/trainedsolutions/bethel_mn_employee
Student training: https://www.brainshark.com/trainedsolutions/bethel_ca_student
As employees and students, we all play an important role in this process. It is all of our responsibility to report sexual misconduct so those involved can get the help they need.
Reporting Sexual Misconduct
If you have personally experienced any form of sexual misconduct, tell someone as soon as possible. Immediate notification, ideally within the first 24 hours after any sexual misconduct occurs, helps assure the preservation of evidence. Preserving evidence may be necessary for the proof of criminal sexual misconduct or to obtain a protection order. In an emergency, call 911 (if on campus, dial 9 for an outside line) or call the Office of Security and Safety at 651. 638.6400. 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 misconduct involving a student, faculty or staff member, the Title IX Coordinator must be contacted immediately.
What happens when reporting sexual misconduct also means reporting violation(s) of the Bethel Covenant?
When instances of sexual misconduct 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 the Bethel Covenant. 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 the Bethel Covenant. Bethel’s sole focus is learning everything possible about what happened during the incident so that a finding and resolutions can be reached.
It is strongly recommended that any individual involved in resolution of a sexual misconduct complaint seek personal support through relationships with a few trusted family members or friends. Additional support is available through Counseling Services, Human Resources, or Campus Ministries. Bethel will cover any reasonable costs of outside counseling services for those directly involved in the process.
Interim protective measures, such as changing the work, transportation, living or academic environment, 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. Bethel will meet with the complainant to discuss any interim measures that are needed. However, at any time, the complainant can request an interim measure by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
Bethel shall train all Responsible Officers and at least eight (8) Grievance Officers appointed by the President to assist Bethel in responding to informal and formal complaints of sexual misconduct. 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 Compliance Officer shall regularly review all currently trained and appointed Grievance Officers with the President and ensure their training is current.
In addition to and separate from addressing sexual misconduct 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. A report to police is not necessary for Bethel to proceed with interim measures, informal procedures, or formal procedures.
Informal Complaint Procedure
In the Informal Complaint Procedure, a complainant may discuss a sexual misconduct concern with the Title IX Coordinator without putting the complaint in writing. During this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the complainant with a copy of the policy, discuss the informal and formal complaint procedures, offer counseling or other support assistance, and discuss any interim measures that may be needed. A complainant may elect to discontinue the informal complaint procedure and commence a formal complaint at any time. The informal complaint procedure will not be employed in cases of sexual assault.
The Title IX Coordinator shall keep a written record of the investigation and resolution.
Formal Complaint Procedures
When informal complaint procedures are not possible or appropriate or fail to satisfactorily resolve the concern of sexual misconduct, the complainant may file a formal written complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. The formal complaint procedure begins with an initial meeting between the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator in which the Title IX Coordinator will provide the complainant with a copy of the policy, discuss the formal complaint procedures, offer counseling or other support assistance, and discuss any interim measures that may be needed.
The following outlines the steps and timeline for the formal complaint procedure:
- The complaint should describe in detail the alleged sexual misconduct and the action the complainant requests to resolve the matter. All written 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 misconduct, 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.
- Within five (5) working days after receipt of the signed complaint, the designated Grievance Officers will review the complaint to determine if the complaint sufficiently describes the alleged sexual misconduct.
- If the complaint does not sufficiently describe a concern within the definition of sexual misconduct under this policy, the complaint will be returned and other assistance may be recommended.
- If the complaint does not sufficiently describe the factual details of the concern so that a determination of sexual misconduct can be made, the complaint will be returned and the complainant may submit an amended complaint providing enough factual details to allow a determination to investigate.
- Within ten (10) working days of receiving a complaint or amended complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the respondent that a formal complaint has been received and an investigation has begun. A copy of the written complaint and a copy of this policy will be provided to the respondent.
- Within the next ten (10) working days, 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 is completed and shared with the individual being interviewed for amendment.
- The Grievance Officers shall thoroughly investigate the complaint. 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 others the investigators should speak with, and to request any additional information. A written report of each meeting is completed and shared with the individual being interviewed for amendment.
- After completion of the investigation, the Grievance Officers shall meet with the Responsible Officer(s) and the senior administrator(s) responsible for the involved student, faculty or staff member (if applicable) to review the Grievance Officers’ report and reach conclusion based on a preponderance of evidence (i.e., more likely than not standard) regarding the allegations and appropriate corrective action(s), if any.
- It is the goal of these procedures that, to the extent possible, the above steps be completed within ninety (90) calendar days of receiving the formal complaint. The Responsible Officer(s) and senior administrator(s) shall forward to the complainant and respondent all of the following:
- a summary of the investigative report including the conclusion reached as to whether sexual misconduct did or did not occur with respect to each allegation in the complaint and the rationale for that conclusion,
- a description of resolutions, if any, to resolve any sexual misconduct that occurred, and to prevent similar issues from occurring in the future, and
- a description of the complainant’s and respondent’s right to appeal either the finding or the appropriateness of the corrective action(s).
Depending on circumstances and the severity of the conduct, corrective action will vary. Resolution steps could include one or more of the following for students: counseling, advising or coaching from student life or campus ministry 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, or termination. Sanctions may be imposed on an individual who knowingly provided false information or initiated in bad faith a claim of sexual misconduct.
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 misconduct. Any retaliatory conduct is subject to disciplinary actions.
- If the complainant or respondent is not satisfied with the results of the formal procedures and the final determination, the complainant or respondent may submit a written appeal to the University President within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of the determination.
- The appeal will be considered by a committee appointed by the President comprised of five (5) different Responsible Officers and/or Grievance Officers not involved in the formal investigation. The complainant and respondent may each propose one committee member for consideration.
- Within thirty (30) calendar days after receipt of the appeal, the committee will meet to review and evaluate the investigative report and determination, reach its conclusion by majority vote, and communicate its conclusion in the form of an advisory recommendation to the President. At the discretion of the committee, any party or witness may be asked to appear before the committee to clarify or supplement the record.
- The President shall issue a decision in writing to the complainant and respondent within ten (10) calendar days of the receipt of the committee’s recommendation. Such decision shall be Bethel’s final decision in the case.
Regardless of whether a complaint has been received, Bethel may, at any time and at its sole discretion, initiate an investigation of or take action against any sexual misconduct occurring within the Bethel community. In the event that the complainant does not wish to pursue the disciplinary process, any response by the University may be hindered by the complainant’s wishes for anonymity and/or inaction. In a case of sexual violence where a criminal investigation has been commenced by law enforcement authorities, the procedures outlined in this policy and stated timelines may be adjusted as reasonably required to avoid interference with the criminal justice process.
911 (dial 9 first if using on-campus phone)
Attachment 1: Responsible Officers Chart
Bethel University and Bethel University Foundation
Sexual Misconduct Policy - Responsible Officers
SL = CAS, CAPS/GS, or Seminary Student Life Dean(s); VP Dean = Vice President and Dean of CAS, CAPS/GS or the Seminary, HR = Director of Human Resources
For Bethel students, employees, community members, and all others subject to this policy located in California, the following definitions based on California Statutes are substituted for the Minnesota Statutes referenced in the policy. California contact information is also included.
Consent means positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have clear knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved. A person must be of legal age to give consent. A person who is incapacitated cannot give consent. A current or previous dating or marital relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute 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 the act of using pressure, alcohol, medications, drugs or force to have sexual contact against an another person’s will or with another person who already refused. Force is the use of physical violence to gain sexual access, including threats, intimidation, and actual physical imposition. See Cal. Code Section 261.6.
Domestic violence is felony or misdemeanor violence of abuse perpetrated against a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, person with whom the respondent is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship, a person with whom the respondent has had a child, a child of a party or a child who is the subject of an action under the Uniform Parentage Act, or any other person related by consanguinity or affinity within the second degree. See Cal. Fam. Code Section 6211; Cal. Code Section 273.5.
Dating violence is a 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. Dating relationship means frequent, intimate associations primarily characterized by the expectation of affection or sexual involvement independent of financial considerations. See Cal. Fam. Code Section 6210. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
Sexual assault is a term that covers a range of forcible and non-forcible sexual misconduct, including sexual battery, rape, and sexual coercion. Sexual battery is touching the intimate part of another person, with no consent for the touching or that the consent was fraudulently obtained, and that the touching was done for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse. Rape is nonconsensual sexual intercourse that involves the use or threat of force, violence, or immediate and unlawful bodily injury or threats of future retaliation and duress. Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure, alcohol, medications, drugs or force to have sexual contact against an another person’s will or with another person who already refused. See Cal. Code Section 243.4.
Stalking means any person who willfully, maliciously, and repeatedly follows or willfully and maliciously harasses another person and who makes a credible threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety. Stalking behavior includes, but is not limited to a person who (1) makes repeated, unwanted, intrusive, and frightening communications by phone, mail, or email; (2) repeatedly leaves or sends the victim unwanted items, presents, or flowers; or (3) follows or waits for the victim at places. See Cal. Code Section 646.9. This should generally be examined under a reasonable person standard in which a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the person affected suffers mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
911 (dial 9 first if using on-campus phone)
24-Hour Emergency On-Campus
Office of Security and Safety
Office location HC103
Cara Wald, Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer
Office location: RC311