I. Introductory Statement
North Greenville University is a Christ-centered higher education institution committed to promoting, maintaining and strengthening an environment rooted in the biblical principles of truth, love, and grace. As a Christian higher education institution, our posture rests upon and arises from teaching, upholding, and advancing ethical standards drawn directly from Scripture. NGU affirms that all members of our community are created in the image of God, and therefore, should be treated with dignity and respect. The University does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law, including race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability. NGU respects the inherent worth of each member of the community and does not tolerate any form of harassment.
Students, faculty, administrators, and staff are encouraged to report any incidents related to this policy, and pursue the matter through the state's civil and/or criminal systems as well as through the University. In furtherance of encouraging reporting under this policy, the University has adopted an amnesty provision. See Section, V.C.(2)
A report can be submitted online or given directly to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
If you are NOT an NGU student, faculty or staff, (or if your NGU credentials are not working for the above form) submit your complaint here.
II. TITLE IX LEADERSHIP TEAM
Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Jill Rayburn, Jill.firstname.lastname@example.org, Tim Brashier Campus, Room 237
Title IX Deputy Coordinators
Dr. Tracy Kramer, email@example.com, Tim Brashier Campus, Room 231
Stuart Floyd, firstname.lastname@example.org, Tingle Student Life Center, Room 129
Justin Brown, Justin.email@example.com, Tingle Student Life Center, Room 104
The Title IX Office reports to the Executive Vice President
Title IX Steering Committee
The Title IX Steering Committee assists the University Title IX Coordinator with respect to the University’s Title IX compliance efforts and provides the University with advice on promoting a campus culture of respect and responsibility and in identifying and deploying effective measures to prevent and address sexual misconduct.
The committee will assist the Title IX Coordinator to develop and implement educational programs and initiatives designed to educate and support administrators, faculty, staff, and students regarding their rights and, where applicable, obligations under Title IX, including reporting options/responsibilities, support services, University policy and applicable disciplinary code, grievance procedures, Confidential Resources, etc.
The steering committee will consist of at least one representative from each of the following areas: Student Government, Athletics, Student Engagement, Faculty (1 each from Greer and Tigerville), Security, and HR; in addition, all Title IX Deputy Coordinators will serve on the steering committee.
A. The Law
Title IX provides that no person shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or any activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Both men and women can be victims of sex discrimination.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in both the educational and employment settings. Further, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”) became effective as of March 7, 2014, and covers domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (“VAWA Complaints”). VAWA Complaints are referred to the Title IX Coordinator.
Title VII, the ADA and ADEA also provide that no employee of NGU shall be unlawfully discriminated against on the basis of any characteristic protected by applicable federal or state law, including race, color, religion, sex, age, national origin or disability.
Because the University stands against discrimination, harassing and violent behaviors, the University will take prompt, decisive action to: investigate allegations of discrimination, violence, harassment, and stalking; initiate the disciplinary process, if appropriate; issue appropriate disciplinary action(s) against any student, faculty, staff or administrative personnel found responsible for misconduct whether the behavior occurred on campus or off campus; take steps designed to prevent recurrence; and protect against retaliation.
Retaliation against individuals reporting sexual discrimination, harassment and/or sexual violence will not be tolerated and will be addressed through the appropriate University process.
B. The Scriptures
In addition to compliance with federal, state, and local laws, NGU’s policies are rooted in and arise from our doctrinal foundation. Accordingly, the University’s policies reflect the sincerity of our commitment to think and act in a way that is in keeping with biblical instruction. Our religious commitments include the belief that Scripture is the final rule of all Christian faith and practice. We believe that God has established marriage as a lifelong, exclusive relationship between one man and one woman and that all intimate sexual activity outside the marriage relationship, whether heterosexual, homosexual, or otherwise, is contrary to God’s creative order and express will (Gen. 2:24-25; Ex. 20:14, 17, 22:19; Lev. 18:22-23, 20:13, 15-16; Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Rom. 1:18-31; I Cor. 6:9-10, 15-20; I Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 7). We believe that God created the human race male and female and that all conduct with the intent to adopt a gender identity other than one’s birth gender is also contrary to God’s creative order and express will (Gen. 1:27; Deut. 22:5).
North Greenville University prohibits sexual discrimination and harassment of its employees and students in any form. In maintaining this policy, the University seeks to assert basic Christian precepts, to affirm ethical standards universally accepted in the workplace, classroom and other locations, and to uphold existing applicable federal and state law. All forms of prohibited conduct under this policy are regarded as serious University offenses, and violations will result in discipline, including potential separation from the University. Some forms of prohibited conduct may also violate state and federal laws, and criminal prosecution may occur independently of any disciplinary action imposed by the University.
Therefore, as a Christian higher education institution teaching, upholding, and advancing ethical standards drawn from Scripture, NGU calls upon each employee and student to respect and care for every member of the NGU community. Following in step with the teachings of the Bible, NGU has put in place firm policies, along with instructional and investigative structures, so as to teach effectively against all harassment and abuse; including that which is sex-based.
C. YOUR RIGHTS UNDER TITLE IX
1. Complainants have the option to notify law enforcement
a. Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Dial 911
b. Campus Security – 864-977-7777
c. A Title IX Deputy Coordinator can assist with reporting to Law Enforcement
2. Counseling or Confidential Resources include:
i. NGU Counseling Services
ii. Julie Valentine Center for Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Recovery 864-467-3633
iii. Safe Harbor 800-291-2139
v. Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) 800-656-HOPE
3. Complainant (Accuser) and Respondent (Accused) have the same opportunity to have others present
Both the Complainant and Respondent have the right
to bring an advisor into any interview or proceeding under Title IX.
4. Both parties will be informed of the outcome of any disciplinary proceeding
Upon completion of the investigation and adjudication process, NGU will notify, in writing, both the Complainant and the Respondent of the outcome. The written notice will include the process for an appeal of the decision.
5. Complainant and Respondent may request changes in academic and living situations
NGU will be mindful of both parties’ well-being and will take steps to protect the parties from retaliation or harm. NGU will also assist the Alleged Victim in accessing advocacy resources; academic support; counseling, disability, health or mental health services; legal assistance; and will provide other security and support measures as appropriate, including issuing a no-contact order, arranging a change of living or work assignment or class schedules (including for the Respondent pending the outcome of an investigation) or making adjustments for assignments or tests, etc.
A. Advisoris an individual chosen by the Complainant or Respondent to provide support throughout the Complaint Resolution Process. The Advisor’s role of support is at the sole discretion of Complainant and/or Respondent.
B. Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner by use of intimidation or threats or some other form of pressure or force. Coercion may include the use of emotional manipulation to persuade someone to do something the person may not want to do. Being coerced into having sex or performing sexual acts is not consenting sex and such conduct is considered Sexual Misconduct.
C. Consent is informed. Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.
Consent is voluntary. It must be given without coercion, force, threats or intimidation. Consent means the communication of an affirmative, conscious and freely made decision by each participant to engage in agreed upon forms of sexual activity.
Consent is revocable. Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be revoked at any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.
Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated. A person cannot consent if he or she is unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness. A person cannot consent if he or she is under the threat of violence, bodily injury or other forms of coercion. A person cannot consent if his or her understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment. A person cannot consent if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
D. Dating Violence is violence, including but not limited to sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse, committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship will be 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.
E. Domestic Violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse, former spouse, cohabitant, former cohabitant or person with whom the suspect has had a child or is having or has had a dating or engagement relationship.
F. Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation, and coercion that overcomes resistance or produces consent.
G. Rape is forced sexual intercourse that is perpetrated against the will of a person or when the person is unable to give consent (i.e., unconscious, asleep, or under the influence of alcohol or drugs) and may involve physical violence, coercion or the threat of harm to the individual.
H. Responsible Employees include those University employees who have the authority to redress sexual misconduct, who have the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Responsible Employees must notify the Title IX Coordinator of any complaint and/or assist the individual in completing the online complaint form.
I. Retaliation is when action is taken against a Complainant or participant in the complaint process that (i) adversely affects the individual’s employment or academic status; and (ii) is motivated in whole or in part by the individual’s participation in the complaint process.
J. Sexual Assault includes physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s mental or physical incapacitation. The conduct may include physical force, violence, threat or intimidation, duress, menace or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
K. Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes or attempts to take non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing or using the bathroom without the consent of the person observed); and
Taking pictures, video, or audio recording another in a sexual act or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
L. Sexual Harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, on or off campus, when: 1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual's employment or academic standing or progress; or 2) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades or advancement; or 3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance or creating an intimidating or hostile academic or work environment. Sexual harassment may take many forms. Sexual harassment may consist of repeated actions or may even arise from a single incident if sufficiently extreme.
Sexual harassment may include incidents between any members of the University community, including faculty and other academic appointees, administrators, staff, student employees, students, interns, and non-student or non-employee participants in University programs (e.g., vendors, contractors, or visitors). Sexual harassment may occur in hierarchical relationships, between peers or between individuals of the same sex or opposite sex.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: subtle or persistent pressure for sexual activity; unnecessary touching, pinching or brushing against a person; requesting or demanding sexual favors concerning employment, academic activities or other University activities; unwelcome communications (verbal, written, electronic, etc.) of a sexual nature; failure to accept the termination of a consensual relationship with repeated and persistent requests and behavior.
M. Sexual Misconduct is a broad, non-legal term encompassing a range of non-consensual sexual activity or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature or other inappropriate sexual behavior as determined by the University. This term can include sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. However, this term also includes conduct of a sexual nature which may not rise to the level above but is conduct that as a Christian higher education institution, the University determines, in its sole discretion, is inappropriate based upon the teaching and ethical standards drawn from Scripture. Using this term serves to differentiate the University standards of conduct, which are biblically based, administrative and educational, from the criminal and civil justice systems in which people are charged with crimes that carry criminal penalty or found liable for civil violations. The University may find that a person has committed sexual misconduct even though the legal standard may not hold them accountable.
N. Stalking includes a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: 1) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or 2) suffer substantial emotional distress. Such behaviors or activities may include, but are not limited to, non-consensual communications (i.e., face-to-face, telephone, email, and social media), threatening or obscene gestures, surveillance or showing up outside the targeted individual's classroom, residence or workplace.
The University encourages the reporting of all incidents involving sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. If the University knows or reasonably should know about an incident of harassment or sexual violence that creates a hostile environment, the University will take action to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. To be proactive, the University publishes a notice of nondiscrimination and has adopted and published grievance procedures. Reports may be made online through the NGU Title IX webpage or in person to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
A Complainant or witness has many options, including seeking counseling or assistance from a Confidential Resource, making a report under this policy, and/or making a report to law enforcement. The University recognizes that deciding among these options can be difficult and is an intensely personal decision. Complainants and witnesses are encouraged to explore all potential reporting and support options.
Complainants and other reporting individuals are encouraged to report any violation of this policy as soon as possible in order to maximize the University's ability to respond promptly and effectively. There is no time limit for reporting. Reports under this policy may be made at any time without regard to how much time has elapsed since the incident(s) in question. As long as the Complainant or the Respondent remain enrolled or employed by the University, a Complainant may choose to report at any time.
The first priority of a victim of sexual assault or domestic violence is to get to a place of safety. This may mean simply getting away from the location of the incident, calling 911 or seeking support from a friend, Residence Life staff member or person with whom the victim is comfortable. The following are some options for any victim.
- Call 911 for medical or safety emergency. Emergency Room – North Greenville Medical Campus, 807 N. Main St. (Hwy 276), Travelers Rest, SC 29690
- Call Campus Security 977-7777 for assistance and to help coordinate emergency response efforts. See also the University’s Campus Security webpage.
- The victim’s well-being is of primary concern. If the incident caused physical harm, the victim should seek medical attention immediately. See the list of local healthcare facilities above. The victim should also preserve any evidence of the incident and injuries as the evidence may assist with the investigation and/or serve as proof of a crime.
- The University encourages timely law enforcement reporting; however, it is the victim's choice to make such a report or to decline involvement with law enforcement. NGU will assist the Complainant with filing the criminal report if the victim desires to do so.
- Seek support. Telling someone is the first step to healing and will help the victim re-establish control of the situation. The University offers Counseling Services, and the following are some support resources in our area: Julie Valentine Center for Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Recovery 864-467-3633;Safe Harbor 800-291-2139; The South Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 800-656-HOPE.
B. CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING
Confidential reporting refers only to the protections provided to information disclosed in legally-protected or privileged relationships, including licensed professional mental health counselors, licensed medical professionals, and ordained clergy. These Confidential Resources can engage in confidential communications when the information is disclosed within the scope of the provision of professional services. When an individual shares information with a Confidential Resource (on campus or in the community) as a confidential communication in the course of a protected relationship, the confidential resource cannot disclose the information (including information about whether an individual has received services) to any third party without the individual's written permission or unless required by ethical or legal obligations which compel the professional to reveal such information (e.g., the law may permit disclosure when the individual gives written consent for its disclosure, if there is an imminent concern that the individual will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others, or if the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18). A person’s medical and counseling records are privileged and confidential documents.
Confidential Resources submit non-personally-identifying information about Clery-reportable crimes to the Campus Security for purposes of the anonymous statistical reporting under the Clery Act.
In their professional capacity, NGU counselors in the Counseling Services are considered Confidential Resources and are not required to report according to University policy. Information disclosed in the clinical setting will be considered confidential. However, Confidential Resources may encourage clients to report to local and/or campus authorities.
Note: Faculty, staff, administrators, and other employees, who are otherwise involved in pastoral or ministry work, are licensed mental health workers or are licensed medical workers, but who are not working in that capacity for NGU, are NOT Confidential Resources.
Any complaint filed under Title IX is not a confidential complaint. The University will seek to keep private the information obtained in a Title IX investigation to the extent it is consistent with a full investigation of the complaint. However, notification of “need to know” individuals including, but not limited to, supervisory/administrative personnel of the Respondent (and of the Complainant if such notification is necessary due to interim or permanent remedial measures) and/or University staff may be necessary to carry out interim measures, the investigation, and/or final disciplinary actions.
C. FILING A TITLE IX COMPLAINT
A report is submitted online or given directly to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.If you are NOT an NGU student, faculty or staff, (or if your NGU credentials are not working for the above form) submit your complaint here.
or Third-Party Complaints. Where a Complainant requests to remain
anonymous or that no formal action be taken, the University will seek to honor
the request. However, the University must balance this with its obligations to
provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all community and to
afford a Respondent fundamental fairness by providing notice and an opportunity
to respond before any action is taken against a Respondent. In the event that the circumstances of the
complaint dictate a full investigation, the University will take all actions
necessary to conduct the investigation while balancing the wishes of the Complainant. This may include disclosing the identity of
the Complainant and other steps that might compromise the Complainant’s request
for confidentiality and anonymity. Reports that are made anonymously
or by third parties will not on their own initiate the formal complaint
process. However, Title IX requires the
University to investigate all incidents about which the University knows or has
reason to know in order to protect the health and safety of the University
community. The University may undertake
an initial assessment even in cases where the alleged victim and/or Complainant
choose not to cooperate or participate. As
necessary, the University reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve
as Complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint
by the victim or Complainant.
2. Amnesty for Misconduct of the Student Complainant. Students may be reluctant to report incidents because of concerns that their own behavior may be a violation of University policies. The University will not pursue disciplinary action against a student Complainant or witness for disclosure of past personal consumption of alcohol or other drugs where the disclosure is made in connection with a good faith report or investigation of prohibited conduct under Title IX and the personal consumption did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. Similarly, the University will not pursue disciplinary action against a Complainant for past violations of the Student Conduct Policy, including but not limited to with regard to sexual activity, where the disclosure is made in connection with a good faith report or investigation of prohibited conduct under Title IX. The University reserves the right to revoke this amnesty if the University, in its sole discretion, finds that the Complainant filed the complaint in bad faith or in an attempt to deflect potential discipline for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.
3. Initial Assessment. After the Title IX Deputy Coordinator completes an initial evaluation of the complaint, the Title IX Coordinator (or a designee) will conduct an initial Title IX assessment. The purpose of the assessment is to gain a basic understanding of the nature and circumstances of the report; it is not intended to be a full interview. The Title IX Office will gather information about the reported conduct and respond to any immediate health or safety concerns raised by the report. The Title IX Office will assess the Complainant’s safety and well-being, offer the University’s immediate support and assistance, and assess the nature and circumstances of the report to determine whether the reported conduct raises a potential policy violation and the appropriate manner of resolution under this policy. Thereafter, an investigation may be initiated depending on a variety of factors, such as whether the Complainant will pursue disciplinary action, the nature of the allegation, and the proper grievance process to be applied.
As part of the initial assessment, the Title IX Office will:
- assess the nature and circumstances of the report, including whether it provides the names and/or any other information that identifies the Complainant, the Respondent, any witness, and/or any other individual with knowledge of the reported incident.
- address immediate physical safety and emotional well-being.
- notify the Complainant of their right to contact (or decline to contact) law enforcement or seek a civil protection order.
- notify the Complainant of the right to seek medical treatment.
- notify the Complainant of the importance of preservation of evidence.
- provide the Complainant with written information about on and off campus resources.
- notify the Complainant of the range of interim measures available, including the right to reasonable interim remedial measures regardless whether they choose to participate in a University or law enforcement investigation.
- refer the report to Campus Security to enter the report into the University’s crime log if required by the Clery Act.
- with the Campus Security, assess the reported conduct and discern the need for a timely warning under the Clery Act.
- notify the Complainant of the right to be accompanied at any meeting by an advisor of choice.
- assess for any pattern of conduct by Respondent.
- discuss the Complainant’s expressed preference for manner of resolution and any barriers to proceeding (e.g., confidentiality concerns).
- explain the University’s policy prohibiting retaliation, that the University will take prompt action when retaliation is reported, and how to report acts of retaliation.
- determine age of the Complainant, and if the Complainant is a minor, make the appropriate notifications under SC law.
At the conclusion of the initial assessment, the University will proceed with one of the following options:
- Proceed with an investigation under the Title IX process. This will occur when a Complainant requests an investigation, where the Title IX Coordinator determines that the safety and wellbeing of the University community necessitates an investigation even when a Complainant requests that no investigation be pursued or where Informal Resolution is not appropriate or available.
- When the Title IX Coordinator receives a report that a member of the faculty, staff or administration has violated this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will work with Human Resources to investigate in a manner consistent with University personnel policies and all applicable law. The Title IX Coordinator will have the authority to exercise oversight of the investigation and resolution and will ensure that the procedures followed are consistent with the requirements of Title IX and VAWA and the principles set forth in this policy. In extraordinary cases, the Title IX Coordinator may employ the services of an outside Investigator to conduct the investigation of the claim against a faculty, staff, or administrator.
- Proceed with Informal Resolution. This will always require the consent of the Complainant. The consent of the Respondent is also required when the form of resolution involves the Respondent.
- If outside the scope of this policy, refer the matter to another appropriate office or department for resolution under the relevant policy.
4. Interim Measures. At any time during the process, the Title IX Coordinator (or a designee) may impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures designed to support the parties involved. Interim Measures may be imposed regardless of whether discipline or corrective measures are sought by the Complainant or the University. This action assumes no presumption or determination of guilt and the investigation will be completed as soon as possible.
All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an Interim Measure. The University will take responsive action to enforce the Interim Measures.
At any time during the investigation, NGU may implement any one or more of the following Interim Measures:
- place an employee on paid or unpaid administrative leave
- remove a student from campus, housing, and/or current classes
- provide access to counseling services
- issue on-campus No Contact Orders
- modify course schedules, rescheduling of exams and assignments
- limit on time and access to campus (including reduced access to the library, cafeteria, and other University buildings)
- ban individuals from campus except for classes and required University activities
- change class schedules, work schedules or job assignments
- voluntary leave of absence
- provide an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities
- University imposed leave or separation
- any other remedy tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this Policy
The University may use these Interim Measures in any combination thereof or create new measures as needed. The University will take responsive action to enforce the Interim Measures.
A. TIMEFRAME FOR INVESTIGATION AND RESOLUTION
The University will seek to complete the investigation and resolution process in approximately 90 calendar days following the issuance of the notice of the investigation. The University may extend any timeframe in this policy, including extension beyond 90 calendar days for resolution of an investigation. An extension may be required to ensure the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation; to comply with a request by law enforcement; in response to the unavailability of the parties or witnesses; or for other legitimate reasons, such as intervening breaks in the University calendar, University finals periods, special events on campus, the complexity of the investigation, the volume of information or length of the written record, and/or the severity and extent of the alleged misconduct. While requests for delays by the parties may be considered, the University cannot unduly or unreasonably delay the prompt resolution of a report under this policy. Reasonable requests for delays by the parties will serve to extend the 60 calendar day time period for resolution of the report. The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the investigator, has the sole discretion and authority to determine whether an extension is required or warranted by the circumstances.
Although cooperation with law enforcement may necessitate the University to suspend the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation temporarily, the University will resume its investigation as soon as practical given all the circumstances, including the status of criminal proceedings. The University will not, however, wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding to begin its own investigation, and if needed, will take immediate steps to provide appropriate interim remedial measures for the Complainant.
B. CONSOLIDATION OF INVESTIGATIONS
The Title IX Office has the discretion to consolidate multiple reports into a single investigation if evidence relevant to one incident might be relevant to the others. Consolidation might involve multiple Complainants and a single Respondent, multiple Respondents, or conduct that is temporally or logically connected.
The investigator may also investigate other forms of conduct that would be a potential violation of other University policies, and those forms of conduct may be resolved under this policy, as determined at the discretion of the Title IX Office.
The University will seek to keep private the information obtained in a Title IX investigation to the extent it is consistent with a full investigation of the complaint. However, notification of “need to know” individuals including, but not limited to, supervisory/administrative personnel of the Respondent (and of the Complainant if such notification is necessary due to interim or permanent remedial measures) and/or University staff may be necessary to carry out interim measures, the investigation, and/or final disciplinary actions. Individuals involved in investigations or disciplinary proceedings under this policy are encouraged and instructed to exercise discretion in sharing information in order to safeguard the integrity of the process and to avoid all appearances of retaliation. While discretion regarding the process is important, Complainants and Respondents are not restricted from discussing and sharing information with others who may support or assist them during the process. All parties, however, are required to maintain the privacy of FERPA-protected information and are also requested to maintain private sensitive information gathered or learned in the process. Individuals who disclose private information with the intention of intimidating, embarrassing, harassing, or retaliating will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment and/or expulsion from the University.
D. RECORDING OF INTERVIEW(S)
No person shall record a Title IX interview and/or meeting, whether conducted by phone or in person, with the Complainant, Respondent or any witness, without the express consent of all parties. This applies to all participants in the interview including the Witness, Investigator, Complainant and Respondent. Any violation of this policy is subject to disciplinary action, up to and including discharge and/or expulsion. This prohibition does not include the recording of an interview with the express permission of ALL participants.
E. COOPERATION WITH INVESTIGATION
The University understands that a witness may be reluctant to participate in an investigation; however, all members of the administration, faculty and/or staff are expected to cooperate with any investigation. Any employee who refuses to cooperate in an investigation may be subject to discipline. Refusal to cooperate includes, but is not limited to, delaying or failing to acknowledge requests from University officials for information, delaying or failing to make oneself available for meetings with University officials, and/or providing information to University officials that the individual knows or reasonably should have known to be untruthful.
If a Complainant or Respondent chooses not to answer any or all questions in an investigation for any reason, the University will continue its process, and the University will issue any discipline or sanctions, as appropriate. The University will not draw any adverse inference from a Complainant’s or Respondent’s decision not to participate in the investigation or any form of resolution under this policy; however, the Complainant or Respondent should be aware that declining to participate in the investigation may impact the timing and outcome of the case.
At any time, the University may place an administrative hold on the Respondent's University transcript, make a transcript notification or defer or withhold the award of the Respondent's degree. Although a Respondent may withdraw from the University while the investigation is pending, this withdrawal may be considered permanent and the Respondent’s transcript will be noted withdrawal pending investigation. Even if a Respondent withdraws from the University, the Title IX Coordinator may decide to proceed with the investigation and resolution process.
F. INFORMAL RESOLUTION
The University provides an informal resolution process when both parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively. Informal resolution may include inquiries into the facts, but does not typically rise to the level of a formal investigation unless required by applicable law. The informal process, which is overseen by the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator, is designed to resolve complaints quickly, efficiently, and to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved. Where circumstances allow, the informal process will be initiated as soon as possible after the filing of the complaint or receipt of a report of an alleged violation, absent any unusual circumstances. Informal resolution may include, but is not limited to, options such as meeting informally with the Complainant and the Respondent (individual or group representative) with the intent of bringing about resolution, meeting privately with the Respondent and acting as intercessor, targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, supported direct conversation or interaction with the Respondent, and/or indirect action by the Title IX Office.
The University will not compel any party to engage in an informal resolution, to confront the other directly, or to participate in any particular form of Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution, even if voluntary, will not be used in cases involving sexual assault. The recommendation to pursue Informal Resolution will be made when the University has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct, which may occur at any time. Participation in Informal Resolution is voluntary.
A Title IX investigation is an administrative and academic proceeding, and therefore, is not subject to the same requirements as those for a proceeding in a criminal or civil legal hearing.
1. Evidence. During an investigation, the investigator will seek to meet separately with the Complainant, Respondent, and relevant witnesses. Witnesses may not participate solely to speak about an individual’s character. The investigator will also gather other relevant information or evidence, including documents, photographs, communications between the parties, medical records (subject to the consent of the applicable person), and other electronic records as appropriate.
The investigator, not the parties, is responsible for gathering relevant evidence to the extent reasonably possible. Both Complainant and Respondent are encouraged, however, to submit any information they believe may be relevant, and both the Complainant and Respondent will be asked to identify witnesses and provide other relevant information, such as documents, communications, photographs, and other evidence. Both parties are encouraged to provide all relevant information as promptly as possible to facilitate prompt resolution. In the event that a party declines voluntarily to provide material information, the University’s ability to conduct a prompt, thorough, and equitable investigation may be impacted.
The investigator may also consider information publicly available from social media or other online sources that comes to the attention of investigator. The Title IX Office does not actively monitor social media or online sources, however, and as with all potentially relevant information, the Complainant, Respondent or witness should bring online information to the attention of the investigator.
Similarly, the parties should bring any new or evolving evidence, such as harassing or retaliatory conduct, to the attention of the investigator. The investigator may consider such information in the investigation and will also share any information about retaliation or violation of the terms of an interim protective measure with the Title IX Coordinator for independent disciplinary action.
In general, a person’s medical and counseling records are confidential and not accessible to the investigator unless the person voluntarily chooses to share those records with the investigator. In those instances, the relevant information from the records must be shared with the other party.
Prior or subsequent conduct substantially similar to the alleged conduct may be considered in determining pattern, knowledge, intent, motive or absence of mistake. The determination of relevance of pattern evidence will be based on an assessment of whether the previous or subsequent conduct was substantially similar to the conduct under investigation or indicates a pattern of similar prohibited conduct.
2. Coordination with Law Enforcement. If there is a concurrent criminal investigation, the University will contact the law enforcement agency that is conducting any investigation to inform that agency that a University investigation is also in progress to attempt to ascertain the status of the criminal investigation and to determine the extent to which any evidence collected by law enforcement may be available to the University in its investigation.
3. Preliminary Investigative Report. At the conclusion of the fact-gathering investigation, the investigator will notify the parties that his/her investigation has concluded. The preliminary investigative report and accompanying documents, if any, will be made available to the Complainant and the Respondent to review. The Investigator’s file and notes will not be available for the review by either party. Upon review of the preliminary investigative report, each party will have three (3) business days to (1) provide written comment or feedback on the facts as gathered, (2) submit additional information, and/or (3) identify additional witnesses or request the collection of other information by the investigator. If either party provides a written response or provides additional information, the content will be shared with the other party and incorporated as appropriate in the final investigative report.
4. Final Investigative Report. Within five (5) business days after receipt of or expiration of time for additional comments from the parties, the investigator will prepare a final investigative report that in addition to the preliminary report, will include a determination as to credibility of the parties and witnesses as well as any recommendations of the Investigator.
5. Impact and Mitigation Statements. Either or both parties may submit a statement to the Title IX Coordinator for consideration by the Adjudication Panel in determining whether a Title IX violation occurred and/or an appropriate sanction. The Complainant may submit a written statement describing the impact of the prohibited conduct on the Complainant and/or expressing a preference about the sanction(s) to be imposed. The Respondent may submit a written statement explaining any factors that the Respondent believes should mitigate or otherwise be considered in determining the disciplinary action(s) imposed. Any impact or mitigation statement should be submitted no later than five (5) business days after receipt of the Preliminary Investigative Report. The Title IX Investigator will provide any statement(s) with the final investigative report to the Adjudication Panel.
The Final Investigative Report along with all underlying evidence and documentation; any written response by the parties; and any impact/mitigation statements will be submitted to the Title IX Adjudication Panel. The Adjudication Panel has the discretion to determine the specific hearing format.
In most cases, the hearing will be a closed hearing based upon the written record as submitted by the Investigator. In some circumstances, the Panel may determine that a full hearing is required for a resolution of the complaint. If a full hearing is required, both the Complainant and the Respondent (including Advisors, if desired) have a right to be present at the hearing, but neither party is required to participate in the hearing in order for the hearing to proceed. Either party may request alternative methods for participating in the hearing that do not require physical proximity to the other party, including participating through electronic means. If an in-person hearing is held, each party will have the opportunity to be heard and to respond to any questions of the Panel. The parties may not directly question one another, although they may proffer questions for the Panel, who may choose, in their discretion, to pose appropriate and relevant questions to the other party or witness. Although, as a general rule, the University will expect the Complainant and Respondent to be present at the in-person hearing, the Panel may proceed without the presence of one or both parties if the safety and health of the community necessitates it.
The Parties do not have the right to be present during the deliberation of the Panel.
In both the closed and full hearings, the Panel will review all evidence and will determine by a majority vote whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that the Respondent violated this policy.
A. COMPOSITION OF ADJUDICATION PANEL
The Adjudication Panel will consist of three members. At least one member of the Panel will a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the remaining two (2) members will be appointed by the Title IX Coordinator from a pre-approved list of Title IX Adjudicators (made up of University administrators and supervisors). If one of the Panel members has a conflict of interest upon revealing the names of the parties, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a substitute panel member from the list of Title IX Adjudicators.
B. STANDARD OF PROOF
The Adjudication Panel will make a finding, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether there is sufficient evidence to support a policy violation. A finding of responsibility based on a preponderance of evidence means that based on all relevant evidence and reasonable inferences from the evidence, the greater weight of information indicates that it was more likely than not the policy violation occurred. The University’s definition of sexual misconduct is broader than that required by law; therefore, a finding of a policy violation does not require a finding that a legal violation has been committed. It is the policy of North Greenville University to prohibit sexual discrimination and harassment of its employees and students in any form. In maintaining this policy, the University seeks to assert basic Christian precepts that requires a higher standard of conduct for the employee and/or student than that required by the law.
Decisions of the Adjudication Panel will be made by a majority vote. If the Adjudication Panel determines that there is a policy violation, the Panel will then determine the appropriate disciplinary action(s) for the prohibited conduct. If the Panel determines that there was insufficient evidence to support a finding that the Respondent violated this policy, the matter will be considered resolved, and the case will be closed. However, appropriate remedial measures (including, but not limited to, no contact directives issued to both parties) may remain in effect to support a Complainant.
Written notice of the outcome and/or disciplinary action(s) will be provided to the Parties typically within ten days of the hearing.
A party may appeal the Ruling of the Adjudication Panel on one or more of the following grounds: (1) there was a procedural error that materially impacted the outcome, (2) there is new information not reasonably known at the time of the hearing which could materially impact the decision, or 3) a conflict of interest on the part of the investigator and/or Adjudication Panel. To appeal the finding, the Complainant or Respondent must submit a written statement to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of the receipt of the Ruling explaining why the party contests the finding(s). Each party will have the opportunity to review and respond in writing to the other party’s request for an appeal of the ruling; any response must be submitted within three (3) business days of receipt of the other party’s written statement of appeal. The Review Panel will review the written statement(s) and determine, in its sole discretion, whether a review of the ruling is appropriate.
If neither party appeals within the timeframe given, the Ruling becomes final.
The Review Panel, consisting of the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Executive Vice President shall review the Ruling on the grounds of the appeal. If any ground is substantiated, the Review Panel may overturn the ruling and/or remand the matter to the Investigator (or a new investigator) with instructions for further investigation or other action. The instructions may include guidance regarding the scope of information to be further investigated and any appropriate stipulations, including the appointment of a new investigator.
If the Review Panel affirms a Ruling, the matter will be considered resolved, and the case will be closed. Appropriate remedial measures (including, but not limited to, no contact directives issued to both parties) may, however, remain in effect to support a Complainant even where no violation was found.
Written notice of the Review Panel decision will be given to both parties.
Where there is a finding of responsibility, the Adjudication Panel may impose one or more disciplinary action(s). Disciplinary action(s) may include any, or any combination of, the disciplinary action(s) that are listed below or set forth in the University’s Faculty/Staff Handbook and/or Student Conduct Code.
The policy prohibits a broad range of conduct, all of which is serious in nature. In keeping with the University’s commitment to foster a Christ-centered educational environment that is safe and free from discrimination and harassment, the Adjudication Panel has great latitude in the imposition of disciplinary action(s) tailored to the facts and circumstances of each report, including but not limited to, the impact of the conduct on the Complainant and surrounding community, the Respondent’s history, and accountability for the Respondent. Disciplinary action(s) are designed to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while supporting the University’s Christian educational mission and federal obligations. Disciplinary action(s) may include educational, restorative, rehabilitative, and punitive components. Some conduct, however, is so egregious in nature, harmful to the individuals involved or so deleterious to the Christian educational process, that it requires severe disciplinary action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination of employment.
The Adjudication Panel may solicit information from the Complainant, the Respondent, and any other administrator who can provide information relevant to a determination regarding potential disciplinary action(s). The Adjudication Panel may also review any written impact or mitigation statement submitted by the Complainant or Respondent.
A. Disciplinary Sanctions when the Respondent is a Student
Disciplinary action(s) may be imposed individually or in combination. For violations of this policy, the following disciplinary action(s) may be imposed:
Accountability & Mentoring: Students will be assigned to a member of the university faculty or staff for accountability and mentorship. This person is assigned by the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement, and will provide regular updates to the Office of Student Accountability.
Education or Observation Hours: Students will be required to attend support groups, seminars, lectures, or classes. On-line courses may also be mandatory. Students issued education/observation hours are required to provide a written summary of their time to the Office of Student Accountability.
Fine: Students will be charged a monetary fine. Fines will be imposed in conjunction with other sanctions. Fines may vary based on offense and prior disciplinary record. The maximum fine for any violation is $800. North Greenville University institutional financial aid cannot be used to pay a disciplinary fine.
No Contact Order: A “No Contact Order” means a student must make all reasonable effort to avoid any contact with a particular member of the university community. Contact is defined as, but not limited to, close proximity to, contact through other members of the university community or outside persons, or contact via any digital or social media platform. This sanction is applied to on campus and off campus situations. Further details will be provided to the persons involved when the specific no contact order is drafted.
On or Off Campus Counseling: Students will be required to attend counseling sessions. The counselor, in contract with the student, will determine the number of counseling sessions appropriate for the student. Counseling is confidential under guidelines given by the counselor. In compliance with counseling confidentiality, a report of satisfactory completion of counseling will be issued to the Office of Student Accountability.
Parent/Guardian Notification: Students will be issued this sanction at the discretion of the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement. Parents or guardians will always be notified of withdrawal, suspension, or expulsion.
Restrictions: Students’ campus activities, amenities, and/or movements will be restricted. When appropriate in cases involving behavioral misconduct between members of the community, restrictions may be placed on access to space and/or resources or on participation in activities so as to limit opportunities for contact between the parties.
Restitution: Students will be required to reimburse the university or community member for damage to and/or misappropriation of property.
Residency Relocation: When appropriate to the infraction, relocation within University housing may be added to any of the other penalties listed above except warning.
Residency Termination: Students are issued a residency termination when they are ineligible to live in university housing, but allowed to remain a student.
Expulsion: Students assigned an expulsion status will be expelled and not allowed to return to any university campus or attend any event sponsored by the university without prior written consent from the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement.
Disciplinary Notice: A disciplinary notice serves as a warning for students. Students who continue to violate university policies will be subject to further sanctions and increased status level.
Disciplinary Withdrawal: Students assigned a disciplinary withdrawal have egregiously violated the policies of the university. Disciplinary withdrawal serves as a temporary expulsion. Students will not be allowed to return to any university campus or attend any event sponsored by the university without prior written consent from the Associate Vice President of Student Engagement. Students must follow guidelines given by the Office of Student Accountability for readmittance. Two (2) disciplinary withdrawals will result in final expulsion. Students assigned a disciplinary withdrawal from the university, even for a short period of time, may face additional consequences in other areas, such as:
- Tuition, residence hall costs, and fees (suspension does not forgive financial obligations)
- Student financial aid (including state funded scholarships)
- Athletic participation and eligibility
- University Housing and Meal Plan
- Use of campus resources and access to campus
- Immigration status for international students
- Status and benefits of veterans and dependents of veterans
Out of Good Standing: Students out of good standing are prohibited from actively participating in extra-curricular activities, unless required to fulfill an academic requirement. Leadership positions in any club, organization, or team will be forfeited. It is up to university officials if students are allowed to return to prior leadership positions. Students are ineligible for awards while out of good standing.
Additional Remedies: Regardless of the outcome, the Adjudication Panel may recommend additional remedies to address the effects of the conduct, restore the individual’s access to University programs and activities, and restore, to the extent possible, benefits and opportunities lost as a result of the prohibited conduct. The Adjudication Panel may also identify remedies to address the effects of the conduct on the University community. Extended protective measures may be included in the disciplinary action(s).
B. Disciplinary Sanctions when the Respondent is an employee
Disciplinary action(s) may be imposed individually or in combination. For violations of this policy, the following disciplinary action(s) may be imposed upon any faculty, staff, or administrator:
- counseling or training
- written warning
- suspension with conditions
- financial penalty
- unpaid leave of absence
- reassignment of duties
- termination of employment
Disciplinary action(s) will be determined based on the seriousness of the misconduct and on the individual's prior disciplinary history, if any. The findings of fact and responsibility, and in cases when violations of University policy occurred, any sanctions will be communicated to the parties in writing by the Title IX Adjudication panel. The notification will include the parties' rights of appeal. In all cases involving sex discrimination or sexual misconduct, the file will be archived by the Title IX Coordinator.
Additional Remedies: Regardless of the outcome, the Adjudication Panel may recommend additional remedies for the Complainant to address the effects of the conduct on the Complainant, restore the Complainant’s access to University programs and activities, and restore to the Complainant, to the extent possible, benefits and opportunities lost as a result of the prohibited conduct. The Adjudication Panel may also identify remedies to address the effects of the conduct on the University community. Extended protective measures may be included in the disciplinary action(s).
C. Notice of Outcome
Both the Complainant and Respondent will receive a written notice of outcome that documents the Adjudication Panel’s ruling and discipline, as well as the decision of the Review Panel, if appealed. The determination of the Adjudication Panel is final unless appealed by one of the parties.
The Title IX Office will also notify relevant administrative and academic units, including the Financial Aid Office, the Registrar, Human Resources, the Campus Security office, and Student Engagement, as appropriate and necessary, to ensure that disciplinary action(s) and remedies are put into effect immediately.
The Title IX Coordinator will maintain records of all reports, Disciplinary Resolution, Informal Resolution, and steps taken to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. Findings of responsibility may also be included in a student’s disciplinary record and/or an employee’s personnel file.
D. Extraordinary Relief
The University recognizes that under extraordinary circumstances, a Complainant or Respondent may identify newly discovered and dispositive information that was not previously available during the investigation through the exercise of due diligence. The Title IX Coordinator or designee has the discretion to review this information. If it is determined that the information could not reasonably have been discovered prior to the resolution of the report, the information would substantially affect the finding or sanction and compelling justification exists for its consideration, the Title IX Coordinator may review the investigative finding or outcome, and refer the matter for additional action in furtherance of this policy.
E. Violations of Law
Conduct that violates this policy also may violate the laws of the local jurisdiction in which the incident occurred and subject a Respondent to criminal prosecution by the presiding authority. Conduct that violates this policy also may subject a Respondent to civil liability.
IX. PREVENTION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS
As a community, we share the responsibility to prevent sexual misconduct through education, bystander intervention, and mutual respect for one another. As part of our commitment to the prevention of sexual misconduct, the University offers education and awareness programs. Incoming students and new employees receive primary prevention and awareness programming, and returning students and current employees receive ongoing training and related programs. The University provides coordinated programming and training through multiple areas, including the Title IX Office, Student Engagement, Campus Security, Human Resources, the Provost’s Office, Counseling Center, and other University departments.
X. ANNUAL REVIEW
This policy is maintained by the Title IX Office. The Title IX Steering Committee will review this policy on at least an annual basis. The review will capture evolving legal requirements, evaluate the supports and resources available to the parties, and assess the effectiveness of the resolution process (including as to the fairness of the process, the time needed to complete the process, and the disciplinary action(s) and remedies imposed). The review will include the opportunity for individuals affected by the policy to provide feedback and will incorporate an aggregate view of reports, resolution, and climate.