WAU Policy Concerning Sexual Discrimination and Harassment
Washington Adventist University (WAU or university) is committed to providing a safe learning and working environment for all members of our campus community. In compliance with federal law, specifically Title IX, the Jeanne Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act), WAU has adopted policies and procedures to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual discrimination, harassment, assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. These guidelines apply to all members of the WAU community (students, faculty, staff, and volunteers) as well as contractors, guests and visitors.
WAU prohibits and will not tolerate sexual discrimination, harassment, misconduct, assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking, as defined in this policy, in any form. Such acts are prohibited by WAU policy, as well as state and federal laws. Individuals who the university determines more likely than not engaged in these types of behaviors are subject to penalties up to and including dismissal or separation from WAU, regardless of whether they are also facing criminal or civil charges in a court of law.
The Washington Adventist University Title IX Coordinator:
Director, Campus Safety and Security
Washington Adventist University
Campus Security Office
7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
It is the policy of WAU to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the U. S. Department of Education’s Final Rule of 2020, prohibiting discrimination and harassment based on sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Title IX also prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participating in the assertion of claims of sex discrimination and harassment.
It is the policy of WAU to comply with VAWA, which imposes duties on colleges and universities to investigate and respond to reports of sexual assault, stalking, and dating or domestic violence, and to publish policies and procedures related to the way these reports are handled.
To ensure compliance with Title IX and VAWA, as well as other federal and state civil rights laws, including without limitation, the Jeanne Clery Act, and the SaVE Act, WAU has developed internal policies that prohibit discrimination and sexual harassment on the basis of sex.
WAU prohibits all forms of sexual harassment, which is a broad term used to describe a range of behaviors, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, coercion, relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, and stalking. Such conduct violates the community values and principles of our institution and disrupts the living, learning, and working environment for students, faculty, staff, and other community members. An attempt to commit an act identified in this policy, as well as assisting or willfully encouraging any such act, is also considered a violation of this policy. An act may violate one or more parts of this policy. Community members may also be held responsible for the misconduct of their visitors and guests.
The university will not condone or tolerate any harassment, including sexual harassment, of its students, employees, volunteers, customers, guests, vendors, or suppliers. Harassment of, or discrimination against, students, applicants, and employees on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, sexual orientation, national origin, age, marital status, or disability, (all as defined and protected by applicable law) or on any other basis prohibited by local, state, or federal law, is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This policy applies to all persons, i.e. students, faculty, administrators, managers, supervisors, employees, volunteers, and visitors. Harassment will not be tolerated at any university-sponsored event, including by way of example, conferences, and social events. This is a zero-tolerance policy.
Sexual harassment has been defined generally as including (1) unwelcomed sexual advances
determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; (2) requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whenever submission to the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or a student’s academic standing (i.e. Quid pro quo); an individual’s reaction to the conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that employee or student; (3) Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking (as those offenses are defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), and the Violence Against Women Act, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)). or (4) the conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an employee’s or student’s work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning or working environment. No student, employee or applicant should be subjected to discrimination, harassment or unsolicited and unwelcome sexual overtures, nor should a student, employee or applicant be led to believe that an academic assessment or employment or student opportunity or benefit will in any way depend upon “cooperation” of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment is not limited to demands for sexual favors. It may also include such actions as (1) sex-oriented verbal “kidding,” “teasing,” or jokes; (2) repeated behavior of offensive sexual flirtations, advances, or propositions; (3) repeated behavior or verbal abuse of a sexual nature; (4) graphic or degrading comments about an individual or his or her appearance; (5) the display of sexually suggestive objects or pictures; (6) subtle pressure for sexual activity; and (7) inappropriate physical contact. These actions may occur in person and/or through all forms of electronic and social media. In so responding to these types of behaviors, the university must do so while not infringing on academic freedom or anyone’s First Amendment rights.
Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature of consensual personal and social relationships without a discriminatory effect. It refers to behavior that is unwelcome and that is personally intimidating, hostile, or offensive.
Harassment on other grounds, including race, color, gender, national origin, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or any other ground prohibited by local, state, or federal law, is also prohibited. Harassment includes, but is not limited to, jokes, verbal abuse, and epithets, degrading comments, the display of offensive objects and pictures, and other conduct that the individual might reasonably find to be offensive. This policy prohibits harassment, whether sexual or of another nature, and is not limited to relationships between and among employees, prospective employees, and volunteers, but also extends to interaction with customers, students, guests, visitors, vendors, or suppliers. No student or employee shall ever subject any customer, student, employee, guest, visitor, vendor, or supplier of the university to sexual harassment of any nature, including the conduct described above. Furthermore, no student, employee, or volunteer will be required to suffer sexual harassment or discriminatory conduct, by any customer, student, employee, guest, visitor, vendor, or supplier.
WAU strictly prohibits any materially adverse action against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities under this policy, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations of discrimination/harassment or sexual misconduct. Therefore, retaliatory actions such as intimidation, threats, or coercion against any such individual for having engaged in the above activities will be addressed seriously. Individuals who engage in such actions are subject to disciplinary action that may include but are not limited to, the sanctions described below up to and including exclusion from the university, and termination of employment. Anyone who is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator, who shall investigate the matter and make findings so the university can take appropriate action to address such conduct in a fair and impartial manner.
WAU has jurisdiction to investigate any alleged violations of this policy that occur in the context of a university program or activity or that otherwise affect the university’s working or learning environments, regardless of whether that conduct occurred on or off-campus within the United States. In situations where the alleged sexual harassment occurred outside of the context of a university program or activity or off-campus, and where one or more of the parties are not members of the university community, it is possible that the university’s ability to investigate and/or impose disciplinary sanctions may be limited. In such instances, the university reserves the right to take any steps it deems appropriate to address the situation and provide appropriate resources to those individuals impacted and, where appropriate, the broader university community. Alleged incidents not covered in the jurisdictional parameters outlined here may be addressed in the university’s student code of conduct (i.e., Study Abroad programs occurring outside of the United States).
STANDARD OF EVIDENCE FOR THE ADJUDICATION PROCESS
The university will use the preponderance of evidence as to the standard for determining the outcome of a case and whether or not the respondent is responsible for the alleged sexual harassment. This standard is based on the premise that the evidence suggests that it is more likely than not that the respondent is responsible for the alleged harassment.
The WAU Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the university’s training and educational programs related to sexual discrimination and harassment. To learn more about various resources, on-going training initiatives, and educational programs for students, faculty, and staff, please consult the university’s website for more current and up-to-date information.
WAU is committed to a working and learning environment free from sexual discrimination harassment. As noted, sexual harassment is a broad term used to describe a range of behaviors, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, coercion, relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, and stalking. Sexual harassment corrupt the integrity of the educational, work, and spiritual environment and violates the core mission and values of WAU.
Affirmative Consent: This means a knowing, voluntary, and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in a particular activity or behavior. Only a person who has the ability and capacity to exercise free will and make a rational, reasonable judgment can give consent. Consent may be expressed either by words and/or actions, as long as those words and/or actions create a mutually understandable agreement to engage in a specific activity. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to ensure that he/she has affirmative consent from the other party and that the other party is capable of providing consent.
- Lack of protest or resistance is not consent. Nor may silence, in and of itself, be interpreted as consent. For that reason, relying solely on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstanding and is strongly discouraged.
- Previous relationships, including past sexual relationships, do not imply consent to future sexual acts.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent must be present throughout a sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any time. If there is confusion as to whether there is consent or whether prior consent has been withdrawn, it is essential that the participants stop the activity until the confusion is resolved.
- Consent cannot be obtained by use of physical force, threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion.
Consent is not present when an individual does not have the capacity to give consent, voluntarily or involuntarily, due to age, physical condition, or disability that impairs the individual’s ability to give consent. The reasons why a person could lack the capacity to give consent due to a physical condition include, but are not limited to, consumption of drugs or alcohol (voluntarily or involuntarily) or being in a state of unconsciousness, sleep, or other states in which the person is unaware that sexual activity is occurring.
Signs of incapacitation include when individuals demonstrate that they are unaware of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction. Some indicators of a lack of capacity to give consent due to consumption of drugs or alcohol may include, but are not limited to:
- Lack of full control over physical movements (for example, difficulty walking or standing without stumbling or assistance);
- Lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings (for example, lack of awareness of where one is, how one got there, who one is with, or why or how one became engaged in sexual interaction); and
- Inability to communicate effectively for any reason (for example, slurring speech, difficulty finding words).
Coercion: Includes conduct, intimidation, and expressed or implied threats of physical and/or emotional harm that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm and that is employed to persuade or compel someone to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include, among other things, causing the deliberate incapacitation of another person; conditioning an academic benefit or employment advantage on submission to the sexual contact (Quid pro quo); threatening to harm oneself.
Complainant: All members of the campus community, including students, faculty, staff or volunteers, who allege that they have been subjected to discriminatory practices or sexual harassment. A third-party complainant is a person bringing a complaint on behalf of another member of the campus community who has allegedly been the subject of discrimination or sexual harassment. This may include the parents or guardians of alleged victims (respondents). Complainants may also be individuals or groups of individuals who have been impacted by discrimination or sexual harassment.
Complaint: A description of facts alleging one or more violations of the university’s policy against discrimination or sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator may request that a complaint be made in writing either through the university complaint form, handwritten notes, Email messages. The formal complaint should contain, at a minimum, a concise written statement of the alleged violation and a detailed statement of the facts supporting the allegation as well as the names of any witnesses or interested parties.
Confidential: Refers to communications between two parties where one party, based on his/her professional status, has the ability to ensure the communications between the two parties are legally protected as private.
Confidential resources: Designated university employees to whom students or employees may disclose and discuss incidents of sexual discrimination and harassment without automatically triggering a report to the Title IX Coordinator.
Cross-examination: A party’s advisor’s ability to ask questions that might challenge the other party’s statements or allegations
Dating violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the complainant; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Decision-maker: The individual(s) involved with leading the adjudication of Title IX grievance proceedings and will be responsible for the evaluation of all evidence to determine if it is relevant to the grievance proceedings; will determine if the respondent is responsible for the alleged sexual harassment; will determine if and what remedies will be provided to the complainant, will determine the appropriate disciplinary consequences for the respondent and will issue a single, final written determination regarding respondent responsibility, remedies, and appropriate disciplinary actions if any. The Final Rule prohibits the Title IX Coordinator or any investigator from being the Decision-maker(s).
Domestic violence: The Higher Education Act (HEA) defines the new crime categories of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in accordance with section 40002(a) of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 as “[A] felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies [under the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA], or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.”
Gender Discrimination or Gender Harassment: Includes discrimination or verbal/ physical harassment which is based on the person’s gender but which is not sexual in nature. WAU’s policies prohibit gender-based harassment, which may include discrimination or sexual harassment on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, and harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex-stereotyping.
Incapacitated: An individual who is “incapacitated” is unable to give consent to sexual contact. States of incapacitation include sleep, unconsciousness, intermittent consciousness, or any other state where the individual is unaware that sexual contact is occurring. Incapacitation may also exist because of a mental or developmental disability that impairs the ability to consent to sexual contact.
Alcohol or drug use is one of the prime causes of incapacitation. Where alcohol or drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond intoxication, impairment in judgment, or “drunkenness.” Because the impact of alcohol or other drugs varies from person to person, evaluating whether an individual is incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, requires an assessment of whether the consumption of alcohol or other drugs has rendered the individual physically helpless or substantially incapable of:
- Making decisions about the potential consequences of sexual contact;
- Appraising the nature of one’s own conduct;
- Communicating consent to sexual contact; or
- Communicating unwillingness to engage in sexual contact.
It is a violation of this policy to engage in sexual activity with someone you know, or should know, is incapacitated. For purposes of this policy, incapacitated means that the person’s decision-making ability is impaired such that he/she lacks the capacity to understand the “who, what, where, why or how” of the sexual interaction. Incapacitation may result from sleep or unconsciousness, temporary or permanent mental or physical disability, involuntary physical restraint, or the influence of alcohol, drugs, medication, or other substances used to facilitate sexual misconduct.
Inquiry: A request from a member of the university community for information about the policy or the procedures for resolving a situation that involves discrimination or sexual harassment. An inquiry may also refer to an informal notification that discrimination or sexual harassment may have occurred and/or request for information about where or how to bring a complaint.
Investigation: A fact-finding inquiry by the university’s investigator(s).
Investigator: The individual(s) responsible for interviewing the complainant, the respondent, and any witnesses. He/she presents all of the data and evidence to the university Decision-maker(s). The Final Rule prohibits the Title IX Coordinator or the Decision-maker from being an investigator.
Live hearings: As part of the adjudication process, live hearings, whether in-person or virtual, must be held in real-time. However, if either party requests it, the entire hearing must be held with the parties located in separate rooms, with technology enabling everyone to see and hear each other. Both parties must be allowed to have advisors, who may be attorneys, present at the live hearing and those advisors must be allowed to cross-examine the complainants, respondents, or witnesses.
Mandatory Reporter: Designated university employees or agents who must report incidents of sexual harassment to the Title IX office or another campus authority if they hear about them. Reports to these individuals constitute sufficient institutional notice. At WAU, all administrators, unit leaders, managers, full-time and adjunct faculty, and staff, as well as students in key leadership roles such as Resident Assistants (RA’s), FYE, and OPAL team members, are designated as mandatory reporters.
Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object or part of the body, with another person without that person’s affirmative consent.
Non-Consensual Sexual Penetration: Non-consensual sexual penetration is any sexual penetration (vaginal, anal or oral), however slight, with any object or part of the body, with another person without that person’s affirmative consent.
Non-Decision-maker: Individuals who may participate in the university’s sexual harassment grievance process, but who do not have the authority to evaluate evidence, question either party or make any decisions pertaining to the case. They may be other hearing officers, the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, and other institutional representatives with an expressed purpose for their involvement.
Recipient: Any college, university, or educational program that receives federal funding and thereby mandated to comply with Title IX.
Relationship Violence: A broad range of behaviors that includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, physical abuse and other acts, threats or a pattern of abusive behavior of physical or sexual nature by one partner intended to control, intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, frighten, coerce, or injure the other. These acts may be directed toward a spouse, an ex-spouse (also referred to as “domestic violence”), or by a current or former intimate partner (also referred to as “dating violence”).
Respondent(s): Person or persons who are members of the campus community who allegedly discriminated against or harassed another person or persons. Respondents may be individuals, groups, programs, academic or administrative units, or the institution.
Responsible University Employee (RUE): Any university administrator, supervisor, faculty member, campus police, coach, athletic trainer, resident assistant, or non-confidential first responder who has the authority to take action to redress sexual harassment and/or misconduct; or whom a student or employee could reasonably believe has such authority or duty.
Retaliation: Intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or university policy relating to sexual harassment, or because an individual has made a report, filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding related to sexual harassment. Retaliation includes retaliatory harassment.
Sexual Assault: Any type of actual or attempted sexual contact with another individual without that person’s consent, including sexual intercourse (rape) and attempted sexual intercourse (attempted rape). In Maryland, the following categories apply:
- Sexual Assault I. – Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Any act of sexual intercourse with another individual without affirmative consent (rape). This includes penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s affirmative consent.
- Sexual Assault II. – Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
Any unwanted intentional touching of the intimate body parts of another person, causing another to touch the intimate parts of oneself or another, or disrobing or exposure of another without affirmative consent. Intimate parts may include genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks, or clothing covering them, or any other body part (including one’s own) that is touched in a sexual manner. Non-consensual sexual contact includes attempted sexual intercourse without affirmative consent (attempted rape).
Sex Discrimination: Behavior or action that denies or limits a person’s ability to benefit from and fully participate in educational programs, activities, or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. Examples of the types of discrimination that are covered under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, failure to provide equal opportunity in educational programs and co-curricular programs including athletics, discrimination based on pregnancy, and employment discrimination.
Sexual Exploitation: Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for one’s own advantage or benefit or for the advantage or benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited.
Sexual Harassment: Can be a single act of one or more of the following conditions:
(a) Unwelcomed sexual advances;
(b) Unwelcomed requests for sexual favors; or
(c) Other behavior of a sexual or gender-based nature where:
(i) Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, or participation in a university-sponsored educational program or activity (quid pro quo);
(ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for an academic, employment, or activity/program participation decision affecting that individual; or
(iii) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment, academic or work performance, (i.e., it is sufficiently severe or pervasive to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, residential, or social environment).
Sexual Intimidation: Threatening behavior of a sexual nature directed at another person, such as threatening to sexually assault another person or engaging in indecent exposure.
Sexual Violence: Physical sexual acts perpetrated without affirmative consent. Sexual violence includes but is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual coercion, and sexual assault.
Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. Examples of such include constantly following the individual around or contacting the individual by phone or email when the individual has asked the respondent to stop. This includes cyberstalking.
Supportive Measures: Reasonably available steps or services the university may take or offer to protect and accommodate the complainant or the respondent, without fee or charge, pending a university investigation and/or adjudication of sexual harassment. They are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the school’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party. Supportive measures must be offered as soon as the university has notice of alleged sexual harassment, whether or not the complainant chooses to file a formal complaint. Schools must keep supportive measures offered to the party confidential, to the extent possible.
Title IX Coordinator: The individual designated by the President of the university to: 1) oversee the university’s response to sexual discrimination/harassment and misconduct complaints and identify and address any patterns or systemic problems revealed by such reports and complaints; 2) oversee, review content, and, in collaboration with other university offices, provide training for students, faculty, and staff on sexual discrimination and harassment issues; 4) ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for responding to complaints of sexual discrimination and harassment against faculty, staff, and students; and 5) work with university and local law enforcement to ensure coordinated responses to sexual harassment cases.
WAU Public Safety: The Washington Adventist University Department of Public Safety (WAU DPS).
Witnesses: Persons who have or may have information relating directly or indirectly to alleged sexual discrimination or harassment that will tend to prove, disprove, or otherwise illuminate an investigation of a complaint.
Both parties (complainant or respondent) shall be informed of the outcome of any investigations based on a violation of this policy. WAU shall take reasonable measures to avoid publically disclosing personally identifiable information about either of the parties, except as required by law.
WAU-Employees: Employees (including volunteers) found in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action ranging from a written reprimand up to and including termination of employment, depending on the circumstances.
WAU-Students: Students found in violation of this policy are subject to disciplinary action based on the circumstances and nature of the violation. Sanctions include, but are not limited to: dismissal from the university (suspension or expulsion), removal from university housing, disciplinary probation, and other sanctions such as community service and mandatory and continuing participation in sexual discrimination and harassment educational programming and training, required counseling, revocation of an offer or extension of any benefit, scholarship or subsidy, or employment, loss of privileges and monitoring. For details, please refer to the Student Code of Conduct in Appendix A01. Persons who commit sexual discrimination or harassment in violation of federal, state, or local law may also be subject to criminal charges and penalties, and civil proceedings.
Confidentiality of Reports of Discrimination or Sexual Harassment
The university will attempt to balance the needs of the parties for privacy with the institutional responsibility of ensuring a safe educational environment and workplace. Confidentiality is an aspiration but is not always possible or appropriate. An individual’s requests regarding the confidentiality of reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct will be considered in determining an appropriate response; however, such requests will be considered in the dual contexts of the university’s legal obligation to ensure a working and learning environment that is free from discrimination or sexual harassment and the due process rights of the accused to be informed of the allegations and their source. Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation. Again, at no time is anyone required to file a formal complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment and may refuse to continue participating in an investigation of an initial complaint at any point in the process. The Final Rule requires that the university supports the complainant’s autonomy in these major decisions.
There are confidential resources available on campus. Confidentiality is limited to clinical/mental health counselors, pastors, attorneys, and other employees with the responsibility to adjudicate such cases as well as the institutional Victims/Witness Advocate. Because the content of discussions with confidential resources is not reported to an office of record, such discussions do not serve as notice to the university to address the alleged discrimination or sexual harassment.
REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO REPORTS OF SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION OR HARASSMENT
The following procedures have been adopted by the university to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex. These procedures are designed to provide a supportive process for individuals who report these incidents and to ensure a fair process for individuals who are accused of discriminatory or harassing conduct. Internal investigation of allegations of institutional discriminatory treatment or systemic discriminatory practices or harassment is intended to ensure that WAU meets its commitment to an open and inclusive educational and employment environment. These procedures also describe the university’s efforts to conduct a timely, thorough, and fair investigation as required by law.
Obligations of Mandatory Reporters
A “Washington Adventist University Mandatory Reporter,” as defined herein, must promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator of any report of sexual discrimination or harassment brought to his/her attention. The Title IX Coordinator works collaboratively with the reporting individual or entity, making every effort to operate with discretion and maintain the privacy of the individuals involved.
Prompt Reporting is Encouraged
Persons are encouraged to report sexual misconduct promptly in order to maximize WAU’s ability to obtain evidence, identify potential witnesses, and conduct a thorough, prompt, and impartial investigation. There are no time limits to reporting sexual misconduct; if too much time has passed since the incident occurred, the delay may result in loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony, impairing WAU’s ability to respond and take appropriate action.
All reports of sexual harassment will be responded to immediately and appropriate action will be taken in accordance with WAU’s Title IX’s sexual harassment adjudication procedures. If WAU determines that sexual harassment has occurred, it will take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the sexual harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. WAU will diligently take appropriate action, including investigation and resolution of complaints within sixty (60) calendar days from when the complaint was filed. The university may extend the time frames set forth in this policy for good cause, with written notice to both parties of the delay and the reason for the delay. Exceptions to this timeframe may vary depending on the complexity of the investigation, access to relevant parties, and the severity and extent of the misconduct.
Reporting a Crime
Sexual harassment, particularly sexual violence, maybe a crime. WAU will assist complainants who wish to report sexual harassment to law enforcement authorities, including Campus Safety and Security and local police. Victim/Witness Advocates are available to assist students in reporting to campus security or local law enforcement agencies. Campus security will also assist complainants in notifying other law enforcement authorities in other jurisdictions, as appropriate. To report to the WAU DPS, the telephone number is 301-891-4019.
Because the standards for a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for a violation of this or any other university policy, the institution and any determinations reached in criminal investigations and proceedings are not determinative of whether a violation of this policy has occurred. In other words, conduct may violate university policy even if law enforcement agencies or local prosecutors decline to prosecute or a criminal proceeding results in acquittal. Complaints of sexual harassment and related internal WAU processes may occur prior to, concurrent with, or following criminal proceedings off-campus.
Upon receipt of a report of sexual harassment that may constitute a crime, campus security will advise the student that in addition to making a criminal report, he/she also has the right to file a complaint with the university and engage the university’s adjudication processes under this and other appropriate policies. In addition, “Mandatory reporters” under this policy and campus security who receive any type of report of sexual harassment, whether it rises to the level of a crime or not, shall promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator at email@example.com.
Co-Occurring Criminal Action
Proceeding with a WAU investigation under this policy and potential adjudication of a complaint of sexual harassment under the Students and Employees Sexual Harassment Adjudication Procedures is independent of and may be subordinated to any criminal investigation or proceeding. Reporting to law enforcement does not preclude a person from proceeding with a complaint of sexual harassment under this policy. WAU is required to conduct an investigation in a timely manner, which means, in most cases, WAU will not wait until a criminal investigation or proceeding is concluded before conducting its own investigation, implementing supportive measures, and taking appropriate action. However, at the request of law enforcement, the Title IX Coordinator may defer its fact-gathering until the initial stages of a criminal investigation are complete. If such a request is made, WAU DPS will submit the request in writing and the complainant will be notified. In addition, when possible, in cases where there is a co-occurring criminal investigation by WAU DPS, Takoma Park Police, Montgomery County Police, or the county state attorney’s office, the WAU Title IX Coordinator will work collaboratively and supportively with each respective agency within the parameters outlined above. The WAU Title IX Coordinator will communicate any necessary delays in the Washington Adventist University’s adjudication process to all parties in the event of a deferral. The WAU Title IX Coordinator shall not disclose information about sexual harassment complaints to third parties (persons other than those in the WAU or law enforcement community with a need to know) except as may be required or permitted by federal or state law. If a report of sexual harassment discloses a serious and on-going threat to the campus community, the Washington Adventist University Department of Public Safety may issue a timely warning of the conduct under the Clery Act in the interest of the health and safety of the campus community. This notice will not contain any personally identifying information related to the complainant.
STUDENT AMNESTY POLICY AND BY-STANDER INTERVENTION
WAU is committed to the safety and well-being of all of its students. As such, WAU has a variety of policies in place to help enhance the safety of the campus community. WAU encourages the reporting of sexual harassment. Sometimes, students may be reluctant to come forward and report an incident of sexual harassment or serve as a witness, because they are concerned that they may be charged with violating other campus policies, such as WAU’s curfew, alcohol or drug policy.
Consequently, for students who report an incident of sexual harassment or who serve as witnesses to an incident of sexual harassment, the university will not institute disciplinary sanctions for violation of curfew or his or her own personal consumption of drugs or alcohol-related to the incident as long as any such violations did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk and/or damage property. WAU may pursue other educational remedies regarding the use of alcohol and illegal drugs in order to protect the health and well-being of the student.
FREE EXPRESSION AND ACADEMIC FREEDOM
WAU is firmly committed to free expression and academic freedom. We are equally committed to creating and maintaining a safe, healthy, and harassment-free environment for all members of our community. We firmly believe that these two legitimate interests can coexist. Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against members of the university community are not protected expressions or the proper exercise of academic freedom. The university will consider academic freedom in the investigation of reports of sexual harassment or retaliation that involve an individual’s statements or speech. Moreover, the university will work to insure that an individual’s academic freedom and First Amendment rights are protected.
Reports of sexual harassment in violation of this policy may require immediate supportive measures to protect the safety and well-being of the complainant and/or the campus community pending the outcome of the investigative and adjudicative processes. Supportive measures may include the following:
No Contact Order
A no-contact order is an official university directive that serves as notice to an individual that he/she must not have direct or indirect verbal, electronic, written, or third party communications with another individual.
- Academic accommodations, such as assistance in transferring to another section of a lecture or laboratory, assistance in arranging for incomplete grades, leaves or withdrawal from campus, or rearranging class schedules, and;
- Housing accommodations, such as facilitating changes in on-campus housing location to alternate housing, assistance in exploring alternative housing off-campus, and;
- Employment accommodations, such as arranging for alternate university employment, different work shifts, etc., and;
- Transportation and parking
- Employment accommodations, such as temporary assignment, if appropriate, to other work duties and responsibilities, or other work locations, or other workgroups/teams or alternative supervision/management, and
- Transportation and parking
OPTIONS FOR RESOLUTION
Individuals making reports of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be informed about options for resolving potential violations of the policies which prohibit discrimination or sexual harassment. These options include informal dispute resolution, referral to other university offices or programs, formal investigation by the university, and availability of resources outside the university process. The university shall respond, to the greatest extent possible, to reports of discrimination or sexual harassment brought anonymously or brought by third parties not directly impacted by the discrimination or sexual harassment. However, the response to such reports may be limited if information contained in the report cannot be factually verified by an independent investigation. Complainants and other individuals submitting reports of discrimination or sexual harassment shall be informed about the range of possible outcomes of the report, including interim supportive measures, remedies for the individual harmed by the discrimination or sexual harassment, and disciplinary actions that might be taken against the respondent as a result of the report, including information about the procedures leading to such outcomes.
RETALIATION COMPLAINT PROCEDURES
Complaints of Retaliation
Individuals who engage in retaliatory behavior against a reporting party participating in an investigation are in violation of this policy and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action pursuant to the procedures for this policy. Individuals who believe they have experienced retaliation in violation of this policy should immediately report such conduct to the Title IX Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Complaints against Students and/or University Employees
Complaints against students or university employees based on a violation of this policy will be reviewed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Students and Employees Sexual Harassment Adjudication Procedures’
- Complaints Against Third Parties Not Affiliated With the University.
If a community member of WAU (student, faculty, staff, or volunteer) is subjected to sexual harassment by a third party not affiliated with the university on university premises or during WAU sponsored activities, the matter should be immediately reported to the Title IX Coordinator. The matter may be referred to law enforcement with a request that a formal letter is issued to the third party denying access to WAU sponsored activities, buildings, or grounds for acting in a manner that disrupts or disturbs the normal educational functions of the institution. WAU is authorized to deny campus access to a third party engaged in disruptive behaviors under Maryland State law (see Sections 26-101 and 26-102, Education Article, Annotated Code of Maryland).
- Annual Reporting
The University Title IX Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records relating to discrimination or sexual harassment reports, investigations, and resolutions. Records shall be maintained in accordance with university records policies, generally, seven years after the date the complaint is resolved. Records may be maintained for a longer period of time at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator in cases where the parties have a continuing affiliation with the university. All records pertaining to pending litigation or a request for records shall be maintained in accordance with instructions from university Legal Counsel. Requests for information should be directed to the University Legal Counsel. These statistics are included in the Annual Security Report.
In order to promote the operations of the university’s business and academic enterprise, as well as to avoid misunderstandings, complaints of favoritism, and other problems of supervision, security, and morale, faculty, administrators, and supervisors are expected to avoid dating or pursuing romantic relationships with employees whom they supervise, directly or indirectly. Faculty, administrators, and supervisors should be aware that romantic or close social involvement with a subordinate employee could be subject to formal action if a complaint of inappropriate behavior is initiated. Even when both parties have consented to the development of such relationships, they can raise serious concerns about the validity of the consent, conflicts of interest, and unfair treatment of others.
All employees shall avoid dating or pursuing romantic relationships with students.
REQUESTS FOR CONFIDENTIALITY
If a complainant requests that his/her name not be disclosed or that WAU not investigate or take action against the respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether or not it can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, faculty, and staff, including the victim/complainant. The Title IX Coordinator shall make a determination as to whether the complainant’s request can be honored, by considering the following factors:
- Whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
- Whether the sexual harassment was perpetrated with a weapon;
- Whether the sexual harassment was committed by multiple persons; and
- Any other relevant information.
The university shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of discrimination or harassment or sexual harassment to the extent allowed by state and federal law and university policy. A report of sexual discrimination or harassment may result in the gathering of extremely sensitive information about individuals in the university community. The university may be required to disclose personal information in accordance with Maryland Public Records law.
Regardless of whether a student, faculty, staff or volunteer reports an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to law enforcement, campus security or pursues any formal action, if they report such an incident to the university, WAU is committed to providing them with as safe a learning or working environment as possible. Upon request, WAU will make any reasonably available changes to a complainant’s academic, living, transportation, and working situation. When a reported incident of abuse involves more than one member of the university community, the university Title IX Coordinator or WAU DPS may also issue an institutional No Contact order, prohibiting the individuals from contacting one another, either on or off-campus. Students may contact the Vice President of the Center for Student Life (Wilkinson Hall, 1st floor, 301-891-4110) for assistance, and employees may contact the Office of Human Resources (Wilkinson Hall, 4th floor, 301-891-4542) for assistance.
WAU DPS officers or the Crime Victim/Witness Advocate will advise individuals who report an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, about how to seek a restraining order from a criminal court that directs the respondent to refrain from abuse and to leave the survivor’s household, building, school, university, or workplace. WAU is committed to ensuring that orders of protection issued by courts are fully upheld at all university-sponsored activities and on all university-owned, used, and controlled property (as well as properties immediately adjacent to WAU to the extent possible). Therefore, if any member of the WAU community obtains an order of protection or restraining order, he or she should promptly inform WAU DPS and provide WAU DPS with a copy of that order, so that the university can enforce it. WAU is also committed to protecting individuals who report an incident of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking from any further harm, and if the WAU DPS determines that an individual’s presence on campus poses a danger to one or more members of the university community, WAU DPS can issue an institutional “Trespass Notification” barring that individual from WAU property or attending any university-sponsored event.
EDUCATION TRAINING, AWARENESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The university provides educational and prevention materials dealing with sexual harassment. On an annual basis, during new student orientation, Title IX and sexual harassment education is provided to first-year students and periodically for the wider student body. Professional counseling and support services, as well as educational materials and information, are available for all students. Academic support services are available at the Betty Howard Center for Student Success. More information about educational and prevention materials dealing with sexual harassment can be found on the WAU DPS website (www.wau.edu/security).
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RIGHTS
- Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to the same opportunities to present their account of events and to have a designated advisor to assist them, advise them and be present with them throughout the process. Advisors generally will be individuals from within the university’s faculty or staff.
- Both student respondents and complainants have the right to have a licensed attorney, an advocate supervised by an attorney, or a trained advocate in attendance at any disciplinary hearings. Subject to funding, students may request and receive assistance from the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) sponsored attorneys. Please see the MHEC website for a list of attorneys.
- Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to be informed of the final outcome of the investigation of the complaint of sexual harassment.
- Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to appeal the outcome of a complaint of sexual harassment.
- If the complainant is deceased as a result of such offense, the next of kin of such complainant shall be treated as the complainant to receive information regarding the outcome of an investigation.
- Any complainant of sexual harassment may request accommodations in academic or work settings, changes in living situations, “no contact” orders or other support systems designed to help the student cope with the situation. Requests are not “guaranteed,” but the university will consider carefully any such requests.
- Once a “no contact” order has been issued, the respondent should not attempt (directly or indirectly) to contact the complainant and the complainant should not attempt (directly or indirectly) to contact the respondent.
- The university will also consider other appropriate supportive measures to facilitate the emotional and physical well-being of the complainant, the broader community and/or integrity of the investigative and resolution process.
- Retaliation harassment from the respondent (or the respondent’s associates) to the complainant, such as name-calling, taunting or other threatening behavior, is unacceptable, should be immediately reported and will be treated as a separate offense either through the Students and Employees Sexual Harassment Adjudication Procedures, the Student Conduct Code or the Employee Handbook, as appropriate.
Making Deliberately False Accusations
All university community members are expected to provide truthful information in any report or proceeding under this policy. Submitting or providing false or misleading information in bad faith or with a view to personal gain or intentional harm to another in connection with an incident of sexual harassment is prohibited and subject to disciplinary sanctions under the appropriate adjudication procedures of this policy. This provision does not apply to reports made or information provided in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are not later substantiated.