WAU Policy Concerning Sexual Discrimination, Harassment, Misconduct, Assault, Dating and Domestic Violence, and Stalking
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, misconduct, 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 and visitors.
WAU prohibits and will not tolerate sexual harassment, discrimination, 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:
Dr. Ralph Johnson
Dean of Student Success
Washington Adventist University
Betty Howard Center for Student Success
Wilkinson Hall, Suite 133
7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Phone: 301-891-4106 │ Fax: 301-891-4548
It is the policy of WAU to comply with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibiting discrimination based on sex (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) 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.
It is the policy of WAU to comply with VAWA, which imposes duties on universities and colleges 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 misconduct on the basis of sex.
WAU prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a broad term used to describe a range of behaviors, including sexual harassment, 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 events, including by way of example, conferences, and social events. This is a zero tolerance policy.
Sexual harassment has been defined generally as including unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, whenever (1) submission to the conduct is either an explicit or implicit term or condition of employment or a student’s academic standing; (2) an individual’s reaction to the conduct is used as a basis for employment or academic decisions affecting that employee or student; or (3) 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 unwelcomed 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 also may 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.
Sexual harassment does not refer to occasional compliments of a socially acceptable nature, or 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 harassment, including sexual harassment, of any nature, including the conduct described above. Furthermore, no student, employee or volunteer will be required to suffer harassment, including sexual harassment or discriminatory conduct, by any customer, student, employee, guest, visitor, vendor, or supplier.
WAU strictly prohibits any material 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 is 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. In situations where the alleged sexual misconduct 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.
The WAU Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the university’s training and educational programs related to sexual misconduct. 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 misconduct. As noted, sexual misconduct is a broad term used to describe a range of behaviors, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, coercion, relationship violence, sexual exploitation, sexual intimidation, and stalking. Sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. It corrupts the integrity of the educational, work and spiritual environment and violates the core mission and values of WAU.
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; 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 misconduct. 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 misconduct. Complainants may be individuals or groups of individuals who have been impacted by discrimination or sexual misconduct.
Complaint: A description of facts alleging one or more violations of the university’s policy against discrimination or sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator may request that a complaint be made in writing. 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.
Consent: 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 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
- Consent to one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent must be present throughout 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
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 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 state 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 effectively communicate for any reason (for example, slurring speech, difficulty finding words).
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.
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 misconduct 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 misconduct. An inquiry may also refer to an informal notification that discrimination or sexual misconduct may have occurred and/or request for information about where or how to bring a complaint.
Interim Protective Measures: Reasonably available steps the university may take to protect the parties pending a university investigation and/or adjudication of sexual misconduct.
Investigation: A fact finding inquiry by the university’s Title IX Coordinator that attempts to determine whether behavior in violation of policy prohibiting discrimination or sexual misconduct occurred, and to make recommendations for resolution of the discriminatory or harassing conditions.
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.
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 a 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 misconduct, 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 misconduct. 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).
- 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.
(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;
(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 Misconduct: A range of behaviors including sexual harassment/discrimination, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking. It includes, but is not limited to, unwelcomed sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that (a) is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a student’s or employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from an education program, employment or to create a hostile or abusive educational environment, or (b) explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s academic or work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive learning/work environment.
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.
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) conduct sexual discrimination/harassment and misconduct investigations; 3) oversee, review content, and, in collaboration with other university offices, oversee training for students, faculty, and staff on sexual discrimination/harassment and misconduct issues; 4) ensure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for responding to complaints of sexual discrimination/harassment and misconduct against faculty, staff, and students; and 5) work with university and local law enforcement to ensure coordinated responses to sexual misconduct 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 harassment/discrimination or misconduct that will tend to prove, disprove, or otherwise illuminate an investigation of a complaint.
Both parties (victim 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/harassment or misconduct educational programming and training, required counseling, revocation of an offer or extension of any benefit 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/harassment or misconduct 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 Misconduct
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 misconduct 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.
There are confidential resources available on campus. Confidentiality is limited to counselors, pastors, attorneys and other employees with responsibility to adjudicate such cases as well as the institutional Victims/Witness Advocate. Because 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 misconduct.
On-Campus Confidential Resources
Department of Public Safety, Office of Crime Victim/Witness Advocate
General Services Building #6, GS-4. Phone number: (301) 891-4019
Office of Student Life
Wilkinson Hall, 4th floor, Building #1. Phone number: (301) 891-4525
Wilkinson Hall, Room 426, Building #1
Campus Chaplains’ Office
Richards Hall, Room 204, Building #10. Phone number: (301) 891-4112
Office of Human Resources
Wilkinson Hall, 4th floor, Building #1
Off-Campus Confidential Resources
Montgomery County Victim Assistance Program (VASAP)
1301 Piccard Drive, Suite 4100, Rockville, MD 20850. Phone number: 240-777-4357
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA)
Call for appointment. Phone number: (301) 328-7023
Shady Grove Hospital, Forensic Examiners Office
9901 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.
Located in the Emergency Room.
Phone number: (240) 826-6000.
Government Agencies that Address Complaints of Sexual Misconduct
Complaints of sexual misconduct may also be filed with following:
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
City Crescent Building
10 S. Howard Street, Third Floor
Baltimore, MD 21201
Maryland Commission on Civil Rights
William Donald Schaefer Tower
6 Saint Paul Street, Ninth Floor
Baltimore, MD 21202-1631
Complaints involving violations of Title IX in the State of Maryland should be directed to:
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
REPORTING AND RESPONDING TO REPORTS OF SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION, HARASSMENT, OR MISCONDUCT
The following procedures have been adopted by the university to receive, investigate, and resolve complaints of discrimination/harassment or misconduct 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, including sexual misconduct. Internal investigation of allegations of institutional discriminatory treatment or systemic discriminatory practices, sexual misconduct, and 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 Responsible University Employees
A “Responsible Washington Adventist University Employee,” as that person is defined herein, must promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator of any report of sexual discrimination/harassment or misconduct brought to his/her attention, including campus security. 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 misconduct will be responded to immediately and appropriate action will be taken in accordance with WAU’s Title IX’s sexual misconduct investigation procedures. If WAU determines that sexual misconduct has occurred, it will take prompt and effective steps to eliminate the sexual misconduct, 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 misconduct, particularly sexual violence, may be a crime. WAU will assist complainants who wish to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement authorities, including the Office of Student Life, and Campus Security. 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 misconduct and related internal WAU processes may occur prior to, concurrent with, or following criminal proceedings off campus.
Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct 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 investigation and adjudicative processes under this and other appropriate policies. In addition, “Responsible WAU employees” under this policy and campus security who receive any type of report of sexual misconduct, whether it rises to the level of a crime or not, shall promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Co-Occurring Criminal Action
Proceeding with a WAU investigation under this policy and potential adjudication of a complaint of sexual misconduct under the Student Sexual Misconduct Investigation & 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 misconduct 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 interim protective 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 investigative process to all parties in the event of a deferral. The WAU Title IX Coordinator shall not disclose information about sexual misconduct 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 misconduct discloses a serious and on-going threat to the campus community, 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 misconduct. Sometimes, students may be reluctant to come forward and report an incident of sexual misconduct, or serve as a witness, because they are concerned that they may be charged with violating other campus polices, such as WAU’s alcohol or drug policy.
Therefore, for students who report an incident of sexual misconduct or who serve as witnesses to an incident of sexual misconduct, the university will not institute disciplinary sanctions for 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 expression or the proper exercise of academic freedom. The university will consider academic freedom in the investigation of reports of sexual misconduct or retaliation that involve an individual’s statements or speech.
INTERIM PROTECTIVE MEASURES
Reports of sexual misconduct in violation of this policy may require immediate protective measures to protect the safety and well-being of the parties and/or the campus community pending the outcome of the investigative and adjudicative processes. Interim protective 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 incompletes, 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 work groups/teams or alternative supervision/management, and
- Transportation and parking
OPTIONS FOR RESOLUTION
Individuals making reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct shall be informed about options for resolving potential violations of the policies which prohibit discrimination or sexual misconduct. These options include informal dispute resolution, referral to other university offices or programs, formal investigation by the university Title IX Coordinator, and availability of resources outside the university process. The university shall respond, to the greatest extent possible, to reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct brought anonymously or brought by third parties not directly impacted by the discrimination or sexual misconduct. However, the response to such reports may be limited if information contained in the report cannot be factually verified by independent investigation. Complainants and other individuals submitting reports of discrimination or sexual misconduct shall be informed about the range of possible outcomes of the report, including interim protections, remedies for the individual harmed by the discrimination or sexual misconduct, and disciplinary actions that might be taken against the accused 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 or 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 email@example.com.
- Complaints against Students: Complaints against students based on a violation of this policy will be reviewed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Student Sexual Misconduct Investigation & Adjudication Procedures (Appendix A01).
- Complaints against Staff: Complaints against staff based on a violation of this policy will be reviewed in accordance with the procedures set forth in Faculty and Staff Sexual Misconduct Investigation &Adjudication Procedures (Appendix A02).
- Complaints Against Third Parties Not Affiliated With the University. If a community member of WAU (student, faculty, staff or volunteer) is subjected to sexual misconduct 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 be issued to the third party denying access to the WAU 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).
Temporary Measures: WAU may, at any point in the complaint process, elect to place the respondent on investigative leave, reassignment, or authorize other types of temporary measures while an investigation is pending, including but not limited to “no contact” provisions.
STEPS TO TAKE FOLLOWING A SEXUAL ASSAULT
Seek Medical Attention
It is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. A medical examination will ensure appropriate medical treatment, including testing for pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. You may also want to obtain a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE). A SAFE exam allows for the collection of evidence and can ensure any physical evidence is preserved in the event of a report to law enforcement. A SAFE exam may be obtained within 72 hours after an assault at the Shady Grove Hospital, located at 9901 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, MD 20850.
Many sexual misconduct offenses also are crimes in the state or locality in which the incident occurred. For that reason, survivors of sexual misconduct often have legal options that can be pursued. These options may be available solely at the discretion of survivors, who may change their minds about pursuing some, but not all, of these options at any time. For example, a survivor may seek a protective order from a court against the perpetrator(s); pursue a civil action against the perpetrator(s); and/or participate in a law enforcement investigation and criminal prosecution of the perpetrator(s). Regardless of whether an incident of sexual misconduct is reported to the police or the university, WAU strongly encourages individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible, as this will best maintain all legal options for them in the future.
Additionally, such evidence may be helpful in pursuing a complaint with the university. While the university does not conduct forensic tests for parties involved in a complaint of sexual misconduct, the results of such tests that have been conducted by law enforcement agencies and medical assistance providers may be submitted as evidence that may be considered in a university investigation or proceeding, provided they are available at the time of the investigation or proceeding.
Below are suggestions for preserving evidence related to an incident of sexual misconduct. It is important to keep in mind that each suggestion may not apply in every incident:
General evidence preservation suggestions:
- Do not alter, dispose of, or destroy any physical evidence.
- If there is suspicion that a drink may have been drugged, inform a medical assistance provider and/or law enforcement as soon as possible so they can attempt to collect possible evidence (e.g., from the drink, through urine or blood sample).
- Preserve evidence of electronic communications by saving them and/or by taking screen shots of text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, or other electronic communications, and by keeping pictures, logs, or copies of documents that relate to the incident and/or perpetrator.
Evidence preservation suggestions specific to sexual assault
- Because some evidence, particularly evidence that may be located on the body, dissipates quickly (within 48-96 hours), individuals who have been sexually assaulted and wish to preserve evidence should go to a hospital or medical facility immediately to seek a medical examination and/or evidence collection.
- An individual who has been sexually assaulted should not shower, bathe, douche, smoke, brush teeth, eat, drink, or change clothes or bedding before going to the hospital or seeking medical attention.
- If individuals who have been sexually assaulted decide to change clothes or bedding, they should not wash the clothes worn or bedding used during the assault, and should bring them to a hospital, medical facility or the police in a non-plastic bag (e.g., paper bag) “as is”.
In order to avoid forgetting important details, write down the facts about the accused and the assault.
Persons who experience sexual assault may be in a state of shock. It is important to stay warm by wrapping up in a blanket or coat. This will help recovery from shock and make it less likely that physical evidence is disturbed.
Get to a Safe Place and Seek Emotional Support
Talking with a trusted friend or relative or someone who is professionally trained to deal with sexual assault like a confidential WAU DPS Crime Victim advocate or mental health professional at the Washington Adventist Hospital can help you make decisions about what to do. Whether you decide to go to security or law enforcement or not, it is important to take care of your own emotional needs. Professional counseling may be beneficial.
The health and safety of all members of the campus community are the university’s primary concern. WAU DPS makes the following services available:
Washington Adventist University, Department of Public Safety
Located: General Services Building #6 Office GS-04
7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
24 Hour Walking Escort Service
Washington Adventist University, Department of Public Safety
Located: General Services Building #6 Office GS-04
7600 Flower Ave, Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
Persons who experience sexual misconduct are also strongly encouraged to contact the WAU DPS. If a person is not certain whether criminal conduct has occurred, a WAU DPS officer can assist in determining whether a crime has occurred. If sexual misconduct occurred off campus, a WAU DPS officer can assist in contacting the appropriate law enforcement agency. A student can request and receive the assistance of WAU DPS without making a criminal complaint but one may be made regardless. WAU DPS can also assist in accompanying the student to a hospital that can provide a Sexual Assault Forensic Exam (SAFE) both to ensure appropriate medical treatment and the timely collection of physical evidence in the event the person seeks to make a criminal complaint.
The university Title IX Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records relating to discrimination or sexual misconduct 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 victim/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 respondent has any documented history of violence known to the university;
- The age of the complainant subjected to the sexual misconduct;
- Circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the respondent committing additional acts of sexual misconduct or other violence (e.g., whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same respondent);
- Whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence);
- Whether the sexual misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
- Whether the sexual misconduct was committed by multiple persons; and
- Any other relevant information.
The university shall protect the privacy of individuals involved in a report of discrimination/harassment or sexual misconduct to the extent allowed by state and federal law and university policy. A report of discrimination/harassment or sexual misconduct 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 survivor’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 Student Life Office (Wilkinson Hall, 4th 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 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.
EDUCATION TRAINING, AWARENESS AND PREVENTION PROGRAMS
The university provides educational and prevention materials dealing with sexual misconduct. On an annual basis, during new student orientation, sexual misconduct 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 misconduct can be found on the WAU DPS website (wau.edu/security).
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RIGHTS
- Both the complainant and the accused have the right to the same opportunities to present their account of events and to have a designated advocate to assist them, advise them and be present with them throughout the process. Advocates generally will be individuals from within the university’s faculty or staff, as long as they are not a relative of the parties involved and they don’t conflict with the CSA status. The Crime Victim Advocate works only on the behalf of the complainant. The “accused” does not have the right to have an advocate assist him/her, unless it is a person who is outside of WAU DPS.
- The complainant and the accused may elect to seek counsel from an attorney at their own expense; however, in accordance with all university disciplinary processes, attorneys are not permitted to speak or otherwise participate in university proceedings.
- Both the complainant and the accused have the right to be informed of the final outcome of the investigation of the complaint of sexual misconduct.
- Both the complainant and the accused have the right to appeal the outcome of a complaint of sexual misconduct.
- If the complainant or alleged victim is deceased as a result of such offense, the next of kin of such complainant shall be treated as the accuser or alleged victim to receive information regarding the outcome of an investigation.
- Any complainant or victim of sexual misconduct 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 accused should not attempt (directly or indirectly) to contact the complainant and the complainant should not attempt (directly or indirectly) to contact the accused.
- The university will also consider other appropriate interim measures to facilitate the emotional and physical well-being of the parties involved, the broader community and/or integrity of the investigative and resolution process.
- Retaliation harassment from the accused (or the accused’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.
- Being under the influence of alcohol or drugs is never a valid defense for the accused or the perpetrator of sexual misconduct.
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 Conduct 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.