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3.6-1 Sexual Misconduct Policy

Table of Contents 

    1. Introduction
    2. General Statement of Policy Requirements and Notice of Non-Discrimination under Title IX
    3. Scope of Policy
    4. Role of Title IX Coordinator
    5. Prohibited Conduct and Definitions
    6. Prohibited Relationships by Persons in Authority
    7. Procedures-Filing a Report
    8. Sanctions
    9. Resources

 I. Introduction

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) is committed to creating and maintaining an educational environment free from all forms of sex discrimination, including sexual misconduct. Any act involving sexual harassment, violence, coercion, and intimidation will not be tolerated.  SVSU also strictly prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. These acts have a real impact on the lives of victims. They not only violate a person’s feelings of trust and safety, but they can also substantially interfere with a student’s education. It is the policy of SVSU that, upon learning that an act of sexual misconduct has taken place, immediate action will be taken to address the situation and to take appropriate corrective action. This includes working with State and local law enforcement to bring possible criminal charges, and seeking disciplinary action through the University.

II. General Statement of Policy Requirements and Notice of Non-Discrimination under Title IX

This policy is intended to provide clarity on how SVSU prevents, investigates, and addresses incidents of sexual misconduct consistent with its values and with requirements of Title IX of the Educational Amendments Acts of 1972, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, and other applicable federal, state, and local laws.

SVSU encourages the reporting of sexual misconduct that is prompt and accurate. This allows the University community to quickly respond to allegations and offer immediate support to the victim. SVSU is also committed to protecting the confidentiality of victims, and will work closely with persons who wish to obtain confidential assistance regarding an incident of sexual misconduct. Certain professionals at SVSU (Student Counseling Center representatives) are permitted by law to offer confidentiality. Those who do not maintain the privilege to offer confidentiality (responsible employees) are expected to keep reports private to the extent permitted under the law and University policy. This means that they may have to report to SVSU officials, but will not disclose the information beyond what is required by law and policy. All allegations will be investigated promptly and thoroughly, and both the victim and the accused will be afforded equitable rights during the investigative process. It is the collective responsibility of all members of the SVSU community to foster a safe and secure campus environment.

In an effort to promote this environment and prevent acts of sexual misconduct from occurring, the University engages in ongoing prevention and awareness education programs. All incoming students and employees are required to participate in these programs, and all members of the University community are encouraged to participate throughout the year in ongoing efforts focused on the prevention of sexual misconduct on campus. This policy does not supersede or negate other applicable SVSU policies relating to sexual misconduct, including the University's Anti-Harassment/Discrimination policy.

III. Scope of Policy

Who: This policy applies to all members of the SVSU community, including students, faculty, staff, visitors, independent contractors, and other third parties who are on campus and involved in an incident of sexual misconduct (this may be someone who witnessed an incident or who wishes to report an incident on behalf of another).

What: This policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. This broad term includes, but is not limited to, acts of sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual coercion, sexual threats or intimidation, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Please refer to the Definitions section for a complete list of terms and prohibited acts.

Where: This policy covers conduct that takes place on the University campus. This includes any building or property owned or controlled by SVSU and used in direct support of, or in a manner related to, the school’s educational purposes, including residence halls, dining halls, and public property within or immediately adjacent to and accessible from campus. This also includes any building or property not within the same reasonably contiguous geographic area of SVSU that supports or relates to the school’s educational purposes and is frequently used by students. This policy also covers conduct that takes place off-campus if the sexual misconduct affects the participation by a member of the SVSU community in a University activity.

Programs: This policy covers all educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other campus programs. 

Activities: This policy covers all campus and school-related activities, including, but not limited to, student organizations (academic, Greek, multicultural, religious, service, social and support, sports and recreational), community organizations with student and/or faculty participation, and all other educational or extracurricular events hosted by or at the University.

Relationships: This policy covers sexual misconduct occurring between individuals in various types of relationships. These include, but are not limited to, student to student, staff to staff, faculty member to faculty member, visitor/contracted employee to faculty/staff, faculty member to student, staff to student, supervisor to subordinate, and coach to student athlete. Sexual misconduct may be acts committed by an individual or collective actions committed by members of a group or organization. These acts may be committed against an individual or against a group or organization. These acts may be committed by a stranger, an acquaintance, or someone with whom the victim has a social, romantic, or intimate relationship.

Confidentiality: The University is committed to maintaining the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct. While SVSU encourages victims to report an incident of sexual misconduct, there are many options available for students to speak with someone about what happened while maintaining confidentiality. Please see http://www.svsu.edu/studentcounselingcenter/.

Training: Persons responsible for handling sexual misconduct investigations will undergo annual training. SVSU will offer prevention and awareness programs relating to sexual misconduct to new students, faculty, and staff, on an as needed basis.

SVSU will offer periodic programs focused on informing the campus community regarding sexual misconduct issues throughout the year.

 IV. Role of the Title IX Coordinator

SVSU has designated Dr. Mamie T. Thorns, Special Assistant to the President for Diversity Programs, to serve as the University's Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator shall be notified of all sexual misconduct complaints by the University employee who took the complaint in order for the Title IX Coordinator to oversee the complaint processes and any accommodations for any student or employee. The Title IX Coordinator is:

  • Responsible for overseeing investigations of sexual and gender-based harassment and dating/domestic violence, or stalking involving all community members (student, faculty, staff, administrators, visitors and third parties)
  • Responsible for monitoring and overseeing the University’s compliance with Title IX and relevant VAWA provisions
  • Knowledgeable and trained in University policies and procedures and relevant state and federal laws
  • Available to advise any individual, including a Complainant, a Respondent or a third party, about the courses of action available at the University, both informally and formally, and in the community
  • Responsible for overseeing and providing reasonably available interim measures that protect a Complainant and assure equal access to university programs and activities, including educational and employment opportunities
  • Responsible for administering and communicating the grievance procedures
  • Available to provide assistance to any University student, employee or third party regarding how to respond appropriately to a report of sexual or gender-based harassment or violence, dating/domestic violence or stalking
  • Responsible for monitoring full compliance with all procedural requirements, record keeping and timeframes outlined in this policy
  • Responsible for coordinating and oversight of outreach education or training to increase awareness and prevention of sexual and gender-based harassment and violence, dating/domestic violence and stalking throughout the campus community. Inquiries or complaints concerning the application of Title IX or Title VII may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator and/or the appropriate external agency.

 V. Prohibited Conduct and Definitions

The University prohibits all forms of sexual harassment and violence, dating/domestic violence, and stalking prohibited by Title IX and the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The University will treat attempts to commit any prohibited conduct as if those attempts had been completed. Within these broad categories, the University prohibits the following forms of conduct:

Coercion: The improper use of pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against the individual’s will. Coercion can include a wide range of behaviors, including intimidation, manipulation, threats and blackmail. A person’s words or conduct are sufficient to constitute coercion if they wrongfully impair another individual’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity. Examples of coercion include threatening to “out” someone based on sexual orientation or gender identity and threatening to harm oneself if the other party does not engage in the sexual activity.

Consent: For the purposes of this policy, consent to sexual activity is defined as: a clear, unambiguous, and voluntary communication of willingness to engage in specific sexual acts or behavior, expressed by words or clear, unambiguous action. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no.” A clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Silence, passivity, past consent, or lack of active resistance does not imply consent.

No person shall engage in the sexual assault of any student, faculty, or staff member or others in the University community nor shall a person engage in conduct that threatens, intimidates or endangers the health, safety, or welfare of any such person. Sexual assault includes intentional bodily contact that is without consent and/or by force (either by body part or by object) with the breasts, buttocks, groin, inner thigh, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.

Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent to some sexual contact does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time.

Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by intimidation, threat, coercion, or force, and agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent.

Dating/Domestic Violence: No person shall engage in acts of dating/domestic violence. Dating/domestic violence constitutes behavior or physical force that intimidates, manipulates, isolates, frightens, terrorizes, coerces, threatens, hurts, injures or wounds someone in order to obtain and/or maintain power or control over another. It is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the other person and where the existence of such a relationship is determined based upon the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating/Domestic Violence includes: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse of the injured person; by a person with whom the injured person shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the injured person as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the injured person under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Michigan, or by any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Michigan. These definitions do not require sexual contact between partners.

Force: the use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual’s freedom of will to choose whether or not to participate in sexual activity. For the use of force to be demonstrated, there is no requirement that a Complainant resist the sexual advance or request. However, resistance by the Complainant will be viewed as a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Harm to Others: Words or types of conduct that threaten or endanger the health or safety of any person including physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats, intimidation and/or harassment. This behavior is typically treated as a violation of the Student Conduct Code or applicable employment policy. However, acts which constitute harm to others that are a form of sexual or gender-based harassment and violence, intimate partner violence, or stalking will be resolved under this policy.

Incapacitation: A state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because the individual lacks conscious knowledge of the nature of the act (e.g., to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of the sexual interaction) and/or is physically helpless. An individual is also considered incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, when asleep, unconscious, or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol and/or other drugs. Consumption of alcohol or other drugs, impairment, inebriation or intoxication are insufficient to establish incapacitation. The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs impacts an individual’s: 

  • Decision-making ability;
  • Awareness of consequences;
  • Ability to make informed judgments; or
  • Capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.

Evaluating incapacitation also requires an assessment of whether a Respondent knew or should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated when viewed from the position of a sober, reasonable person. In general, sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all parties. Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of the consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication or impairment, the prudent course of action is to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual and gender based harassment and violence, intimate partner violence, or stalking and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Having sexual contact with another individual: 

  • By force or threat of force;
  • Without consent; or
  • Where that individual is incapacitated. Non-consensual sexual contact includes intentional contact with the intimate parts of another, causing another to touch one's intimate parts, or disrobing or exposure of another without permission. Intimate parts may include the breasts, genitals, buttocks, groin, mouth or any other part of the body that is touched in a sexual manner.

Responsible Employees: SVSU employees who are required to report the details of a potential sexual misconduct incident to the Title IX Coordinator. A report to a Responsible Employee constitutes a report to SVSU.

Retaliation: Acts, words or attempts to take adverse action against the Complainant, Respondent, or any individual or group of individuals because of their good faith complaint or participation in an investigation and/or resolution of an allegation of prohibited conduct. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, including, but not limited to a Respondent or Complainant. Retaliation can take many forms, including threats, intimidation, pressuring, continued abuse, violence or other forms of harm to others.

Sexual Assault: Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual:

  • By force or threat of force;
  • Without consent; or
  • Where that individual is incapacitated. Sexual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration, however slight, with a body part (e.g., penis, tongue, finger, hand) or object, or oral penetration involving mouth to genital contact.

Sexual Exploitation: Occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Surreptitiously observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Non-consensual sharing or streaming of images, photography, video, or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved;
  • Exposing one's genitals or inducing another to expose their own genitals in non-consensual circumstances;
  • Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without their knowledge;
  • Sexually-based bullying; and
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Sexual Harassment: Any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (1) 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 any aspect of a University program or activity; or (2) Submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for decisions affecting the individual; or (3) Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work, academic performance, housing/residential environment, i.e. it is sufficiently serious, pervasive or persistent as to create an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, residential, or social environment. Sexual harassment also includes gender-based harassment, which may include acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature. A single isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to create a hostile environment, particularly if the harassment is physical.

Stalking: No person shall engage in acts of stalking. Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress because of fear, intimidation, apprehension or threat. It is the willful course of conduct over time that involves repeated or continuing harassment made against the expressed wishes of another

VI. Prohibited Relationships by Persons in Authority

Sexual or romantic relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are prohibited. In general, this includes all sexual or romantic relationships between students and their employers, supervisors, professors, coaches, advisors, or other non-student University employees. Similarly, University employees (faculty and staff) who supervise or otherwise hold positions of authority over others are prohibited from having a sexual or romantic relationship with an individual under their direct supervision. Faculty, administrators, and others who educate, supervise, evaluate, employ, counsel, coach or otherwise guide students or subordinates should understand the fundamentally asymmetrical nature of the relationship they have with students or subordinates. Romantic or sexual relationships where there is differential in power or authority produce risks for every member of our community and undermine the professionalism of faculty and supervisors. In either context, the unequal position of the parties presents an inherent element of risk and may raise sexual harassment concerns if one person in the relationship has the actual or apparent authority to supervise, evaluate, counsel, coach or otherwise make decisions or recommendations as to the other person in connection with their employment or education at the University.

Sexual relations between persons occupying asymmetrical positions of power, even when both consent, raise suspicions that the person in authority has violated standards of professional conduct and potentially subject the person in authority to charges of sexual harassment based on changes in the perspective of the individuals as to the consensual nature of the relationship. Similarly, these relationships may impact third parties based on perceived or actual favoritism or special treatment based on the relationship. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who contemplate beginning or are involved in such relationships are required to promptly: 1) discontinue any supervising role or relationship over the other person; and 2) report the circumstances to their direct supervisor. Failure to fully or timely comply with these requirements is a violation of this policy, and the person in authority could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from employment by the University.

The University does not intend to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not violate the goals and policies of the University. Any individual may file a complaint alleging harassment or discrimination, including an aggrieved party outside the relationship affected by the perceived harassment or discrimination. Retaliation against persons who report good faith concerns about consensual relationships is prohibited and constitutes a violation of this policy. 

VII. Procedures-Filing a Report

A report of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking may be made to the following offices:

1. Criminal complaint:

    • University Police (989-964-4141)
    • Saginaw County Sheriff (989-797-4580)

2. Institutional complaint:

    • Title IX Coordinator (989-964-4068)
    • Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students (989-964-4410)
    • Associate Dean for Student Affairs/Student Conduct Program (989-964-2220)
    • Human Resources Director (989-964-4209)
    • Associate Director of Athletic Department/ Senior Women's Administrator (989-964-7311)
    • University Ombudsman (989-964-4166)

A person may file a complaint with one or more offices, and each office is prepared to assist the student with deciding on where to follow up with complaints.

  • Filing a Complaint with a State and/or Federal Agency: A person who is not satisfied with the University’s handling of a complaint, may also file a complaint with federal and state agencies.

A sexual misconduct report may be made by the person who believes they have experienced sexual misconduct or by a person who has information that sexual misconduct may have been committed by a University student, faculty, staff member or other person in the University community.

To encourage reporting, individuals who in good faith report conduct prohibited by this policy, either as a Complainant or a witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The University may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs.

To promote prompt, thorough, and effective investigations, the University strongly encourages reporters and complainants to report possible incidents of sexual misconduct within 180 calendar days following the last occurrence of the misconduct. Although the Title IX Coordinator may conduct an investigation based on a report made after 180 days of the last occurrence of the behavior, the lapse of time may make it more difficult to gather relevant and reliable information.

Procedures Applicable to Specific Complaints:

  1. Criminal complaints: the State of Michigan and/or federal law will apply, and the matter will follow the criminal processes through a police investigation, a referral to the Prosecutor’s Office for prosecution and the criminal court system for resolution.
  2. Institutional complaints: the complaint will be handled through the University’s Title IX and/or Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy and Procedures, where applicable.
  3. Student Disciplinary complaints: the complaint will be handled pursuant to the University’s Code of Student Conduct.
  4. Employee Disciplinary complaints: the complaint will be handled through the Office of Human Resources, in accordance with its procedures.

If the reporter or complainant chooses not to participate in the University investigation of the report, the University may, as described below, pursue the report without that person’s participation.

The University’s Response to Incidents of Sexual Misconduct 

Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the University will proceed as described below:

Services

After an allegation that an act of sexual misconduct has occurred, including any act of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the University offers students a range of protective measures.  The University will provide written notification to victims about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to: 

  1. Resources for Immediate Assistance: The information below provides contacts for trained on- and off- campus persons who can provide an immediate confidential response in a crisis situation. Also provided are emergency numbers for on- and off- campus safety, law enforcement, and other first responders.
  2. Confidential Resources: The University encourages all members of the community to report any incidents of sexual misconduct; however, there are several confidential resources available to students who are not yet ready to report an incident. Please see http://www.svsu.edu/studentcounselingcenter/. These individuals can help a victim obtain needed resources, explain reporting options, and assist in navigating the reporting process. These resources are required by law to keep all communications confidential without an individual’s express consent to release information or as otherwise required by law.
  3. Campus Resources: These are resources provided by the University community offering intervention services, counseling, academic support, and medical services. These resources are not bound by confidentiality, but will work together to maintain individual privacy. On-Campus: University Police, Title IX Coordinator, University Health Center, Dean of Students.
  4. Community Resources: These are resources located off-campus in the local community offering intervention services and counseling. Information regarding these resources can be found at the website for the University's Title IX Program.
  5. Health Care Resources: Medical assistance is available Monday through Saturday 8AM-8PM, Sunday 9AM-6PM, Holidays 9AM-3PM by calling 989-583-0285. Every victim has the option to seek treatment for injuries sustained during an incident of sexual misconduct, preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and other health services. A medical exam is also an important way for a health provider to properly collect and preserve evidence. In cases where necessary, rape kits are also available, and victims may contact a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE). Please see www.sexualassaultcentersaginaw.org.
  6. Academic Accommodations: The University is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the victim. A student who has been a victim of sexual misconduct may request an academic accommodation or change in residence after a report of sexual misconduct. Any individual who makes a request will receive an appropriate and reasonable accommodation. Possible requests include the ability to change academic schedules or work schedules, withdraw from or retake a class without penalty, access academic support services, and change residence hall assignments. Pursuant to Title IX, in most cases of sexual violence or sex discrimination, SVSU will endeavor, to the extent practicable, to change the schedule or accommodations of the accused student prior to changing the schedule or accommodations of the victim.
  7. Employment Accommodations:  The University is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of the victim. An employee who has been a victim of sexual misconduct may request a work accommodation after a report of sexual misconduct. Pending the outcome of the investigation, possible accommodations may include changing work hours and break times, modifying shifts, and allowing an employee to transfer to another location or building. 
  8. Interim Measures: In situations where it is necessary, SVSU will take immediate steps to protect victims pending the final outcome of an investigation. These steps include the accommodations listed above in addition to issuing no contact orders. Pending resolution of the complaint, the Respondent may be prohibited from contacting the victim and may be placed on suspension or denied access to campus. Also, the University may change the course schedule or residence assignment of the Respondent. Please refer to the Code of Student Conduct for disciplinary procedures related to acts of sexual misconduct. The Complainant may also consult with the Coordinator of Student Conduct Programs.

The Respondent will be offered appropriate support and other resources and notified of applicable institutional policies by the Coordinator of Student Conduct Programs.

The Title IX Coordinator will take appropriate steps to prevent and/or address retaliatory conduct following a report. Any attempt to retaliate against an individual who reports an incident of sexual misconduct, files a complaint, or participates in an investigation of sexual assault is prohibited by this Policy and by law. Parties that engage in retaliation are subject to the remedial actions outline in this policy.

If requested, other participants in the process (such as those who reported the assault or witnesses) may also be offered appropriate support services and information

Confidentiality, Privacy, and Reporting

For purposes of this policy, “confidential” and “confidentiality” shall mean that the Title IX Coordinator and others involved in the investigation pursuant to this policy or providing support to the victim, that the personally identifiable information will be restricted to those persons unless the victim consents or that the law so requires.

To the extent the law recognizes counselor-patient privilege, representatives of the Student Counseling Center and licensed counselors participating in SVSU’s Employee Assistance Program for University employees are not obligated to release any information as may be reported to them by those seeking their assistance.

All investigative documents and files will remain in the investigator’s office pending the conclusion of the investigation. At the close of an investigation, the files will be maintained by the office of the Title IX Coordinator.

Decision to Proceed with Investigation

If the Complainant is willing to participate with an investigation, the University will proceed as described in the Investigation section below.

If the Complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the report of sexual misconduct not be pursued, the University will, before taking any further investigative steps, forward that information, along with all available information about the report, to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator is charged with balancing the University’s commitment to supporting victim-centered practices with its equally strong commitment to providing due process to the Respondent and promoting a safe University community.

 In rendering the decision on whether to proceed with an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator shall consider the following factors:

  1. Whether, how, and to what extent, the University should further investigate the report of sexual misconduct;
  2. What steps may be possible or appropriate when an alleged perpetrator is unknown, and
  3. What other measures or remedies might be considered to address any effects of the reported sexual misconduct on the campus community.

The final decision on whether, how, and to what extent the University will conduct an internal investigation, and whether other measures will be taken in connection with any allegation of sexual misconduct, rests solely with the Title IX Coordinator.

Investigation

The Title IX Coordinator will determine the most effective method of reviewing the concerns raised by the reported sexual misconduct, include whether to proceed with an investigation under this policy. When an investigation is deemed warranted, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct the investigation or a member of the University who is trained to investigate matters of sexual misconduct, to conduct the investigation. In all cases, the University will respond to the report in a prompt, thorough, and procedurally fair and effective manner. Upon receipt of a report, the University will strive to complete its review of the complaint within sixty (60) calendar days. If circumstances prevent the completion of an investigation within sixty (60) calendar days, the Investigator will notify the Complainant and Respondent.

The Title IX Coordinator may assign an assistant in an investigation, if needed. The assistant will also be a University member trained to investigate matters of alleged sexual misconduct. In conducting an investigation, the investigator may meet separately with the Complainant (if participating), Respondent, or the reporter (if applicable), any pertinent witnesses, and may also review other relevant information offered by either party or discovered independently by the investigator.

At any time during the course of an investigation, the Complainant, Respondent, or any witnesses may provide a written statement, other supporting materials, or identify other potential witnesses, regarding the matter under review.

Throughout the process, the Complainant or Respondent may have a Support Person present at any meeting they participate in that is related to the review of the reported sexual misconduct. This Support Person may be any individual selected by the Complainant or Respondent. The Complainant or Respondent may choose an attorney as a Support Person, but it shall be at his/her own expense. The Support Person shall have no role during any meeting related to the review of the reported sexual misconduct and may not participate in any meeting, other than to advise the Complainant or Respondent.

Standard of Proof

The investigator’s findings of responsibility for sexual misconduct will be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard requires that the information supporting a finding of responsibility to be more convincing than the information in opposition to it. Under this standard, individuals are presumed to not have engaged in sexual misconduct unless a preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that sexual misconduct occurred.

Investigation Findings and Outcome Notification

Where an investigation is completed, the investigator will prepare a written report at the investigation’s conclusion. Before the report is finalized, the participating Complainant and Respondent will be given the opportunity to review their own statements and, to the extent appropriate with respect to due process and privacy considerations, the participating Complainant and Respondent will be provided with a summary of other information collected during the investigation. A Complainant or Respondent must submit any comments about their own statement, or on any investigation summary that might be provided, to the Investigator within five (5) work days after that statement or summary was sent to them for review.

For the purpose of this Policy, a “work” day is a day where the University is open and conducting regular University operations. Work days do not include weekends, holidays that close the University, and days where emergency conditions warrant University closure.

Following the receipt of any comments submitted, or after the five (5)-day comment period has lapsed without comment, the investigator will address any identified factual inaccuracies or misunderstandings, as appropriate, and then make a determination. The investigator’s final written report will generally contain, at a minimum:

    1. A summary of the investigation;
    2. The investigator’s findings, and
    3. A summary of the investigator’s rationale in support of the findings.

The Title IX Coordinator will review the report and findings of the investigator. A summary of the University’s determination will be sent simultaneously and in writing to the participating Complainant and Respondent. The University neither encourages nor discourages the subsequent disclosure or sharing of the written notification by either person.

If a Complainant has chosen not to participate in the University’s review of the sexual misconduct report, but expresses, in writing to be notified of the outcome, the University will notify the Complainant. If a Complainant has expressed a desire, in writing, not to be notified of the outcome, the University will honor that decision. In such cases, the University will not send the notification itself to the Complainant, but may proceed with any necessary follow-up, including as described below. If appropriate, the University may need to provide notification of that follow-up.

VIII.  Sanctions Concerning Students

If the Respondent is found responsible for sexual misconduct, the University will initiate a sanctioning process designed to address the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while engaging in the University’s educational mission and Title IX obligations. Sanctions or interventions may also serve to promote safety or deter Respondents from future misconduct. Some behavior is so harmful to the University community or so deleterious to the educational process that it may require more serious sanctions or interventions, such as removal from University housing, removal from specific courses or activities, suspension from the University, or expulsion.

A.  Process

Whether resolved by agreement or decision, the University will strive to complete the sanctioning process within fifteen (15) work days after the University’s findings are shared with the participating Complainant and Respondent.

B.  Remedial Action 

Any student who violates this Policy will be subject to the range of remedial actions (in accordance with University Code of Student Conduct), which for students, range from probation to expulsion, depending on the totality of the circumstances of the incident, and taking into account any previous Student Code violations. Remedial actions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:

CODE OF STUDENT CONDUCT

    1. Completion of Rehabilitation Program
    2. Developmental/Educational Assignments
    3. Expulsion
    4. Fines
    5. Referral for Counseling
    6. Restitution
    7. Restrictions
    8. Temporary University Suspension
    9. University Housing Probation
    10. University Housing Suspension
    11. University Probation
    12. University Suspension
    13. Warning

In addition to the sanctions/interventions applied to students found responsible for sexual misconduct, the University may find it helpful or necessary to request or require others to undertake specific steps designed to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, or remedy its effects. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Requesting or requiring a University entity to conduct training for its staff or members;
  • Making involved parties aware of available academic support services;
  • Making involved parties aware of available counseling or medical services;
  • Arranging, where possible, for a party to re-take or withdraw from a course without penalty, and;
  • Revising University policies, practices, or services.

Respondents may also be subject to civil action or criminal prosecution because sexual misconduct may also violate state or federal laws. 

Review of the Findings and/or Remedial Actions

Either party may appeal the outcome of the matter except where a Respondent has accepted an agreement under the sanctioning process outlined above. A party may seek review only on the following grounds: 

  1.  The procedures of the sexual misconduct policy were not materially followed;
  2.  Discovery of new evidence, which was not available at the time of the investigation, that could reasonably affect its findings; or
  3.  The sanctions/interventions are inappropriate or disproportionate to the determined violations(s). 

To request a review, a party must submit a written appeal to the Office of The Dean of Students within two (2) work days of the date of the notification of the decision regarding any sanctions or interventions. If the investigation concluded that no violation occurred, a party may seek review of that decision based on any of the above grounds for review within two (2) work days of the date of the notification of the Investigator’s decision. The Dean of Students may deem a late submission reasonable under extenuating circumstances.

The Dean of Students, or his/her designee in the event of a conflict of interest, will strive to complete the review of an appeal within ten (10) work days of its receipt. The Dean of Students will review the matter based on the issues identified in the request for appeal. The Dean of Students may conclude that there are no relevant issues of concern and may affirm the final decision and any sanctions/interventions. If the Dean of Students identifies issues of concern, he or she will provide the Title IX Coordinator with one of the following recommended actions and any additional instructions or recommendations it deems appropriate under the circumstances:

  1. If there was a material deviation from procedure, remand the matter to the Title IX Coordinator and/or a new Investigator with corrective instructions.
  2. If new information appears relevant, refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator, and the original Investigator, if available, to determine whether any modifications may need to be made to the original investigative report.
  3. If the sanctions are clearly inappropriate or disproportionate, alter the sanctions or interventions accordingly.

After consideration and consultation with others, as appropriate, including the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students or his/her designee, may accept or modify the sanctions/interventions. The Dean of Students’ decision is final will be made available to the participating parties, in writing, simultaneously.

Concerning Faculty or Staff

With regard to faculty and staff as Respondents, sanctions will be determined as follows:

Formal Reprimand:  Written documentation of a failure to abide by SVSU policy or procedures maintained in the employee's personnel file.

Educational Programs:  Participation in educational programs, such as training, workshops, seminars, or other educational activities.

Revocation of SVSU privileges: Revocation of SVSU privileges, such as participation in extra-curricular or volunteer activities, for a definite or indefinite period of time.

Campus restrictions: Limitations on the times and/or places where the employee may be present on campus.

No contact orders: Prohibition on all forms of contact with certain people.

Suspension: Exclusion from work, with or without pay, and other related activities as set forth for a definite period of time.

Termination: Permanent separation from employment.

Review of the Findings and/or Remedial Actions: Review shall occur pursuant to the employee's collective bargaining agreement, where applicable, or in accordance with the applicable SVSU policy.

Concerning Contractors, guests, volunteers and other third parties

Trespass Warning: Notice that future visits to the SVSU campus may result in a citation for trespassing.

Campus Restrictions: Limitations on the times and/or places where the person may be present on campus.

No Contact Orders: Prohibition on all forms of contact with certain people.

Relationship Termination:  Termination of the person's relationship with SVSU

Review of the Findings and/or Remedial Actions: Review shall occur pursuant to the applicable SVSU policy.

 IX. Resources

The following campus and local resources may be helpful.  Be assured that assistance in getting appropriate help will be provided.

Campus Resources 

  • Student Counseling Center: To schedule an appointment, call 989-964-7078 or stop by Curtiss 112; counselingservices@svsu.edu, www.svsu.edu/healthysvsu
  • University Police: 989-964-4141
  • Peer Health Education: 989-964-4658
  • Title IX Coordinator and Representatives: Listed above
  • Residential Life: 114 Curtiss Hall, 989-964-4410
  • Student Conduct Programs: 114 Curtiss Hall, 989-964-2220

Community Resources  

  • Covenant Sexual Assault Victim Assistance Area:  Information to come.
  • Underground Railroad, Inc.: Administrative Office, 989-399-007, Fax: 964-399-0010
    • Crisis Line: 989-755-0411 or Toll free: 888-399-8385
    • Program email: www.undergroundrailroadinc.org
    • Provides a 24 hour hotline and shelter services, court support services, support groups, trained advocates for domestic and sexual assault issues, and legal assistance.
  • Child and Family Services: 989-790-9118, Provides information gathering, forensic examinations under the direction of the Sexual Assault Response team, (known as SART), and follow-up treatment.
  • Personal Protection Order Office: 989-790-5412
  • Bay Area Women’s Center: 989-686-4551 or 3411 E. Midland Rd., Bay City, MI; www.BAWC-mi.org
  • Caro Thumb Area Assault Crisis Center: 800-292-3666; 429 Montague Ave., Caro, MI
  • Saginaw Underground Railroad: 989-755-0411 or 888-399-8385
  • Saginaw Sexual Assault Center: 989-790-9118; 2806 Davenport, Saginaw, MI;www.sexualassaultcentersaginaw.org
  • Shelterhouse of Midland:  877-216-6383; www.shelterhousemidland.org

Adopted 7/1/15 PRES
Revised 9/25/15 PRES