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3.6-1 Sexual Misconduct Policy

Authorizing Body:  President (PRES)

Responsible Office:  Title IX Office

Adopted Date:  07/1/15

Revised Date:  09/25/15; 08/31/2018

Scope and Applicability:  X Faculty X Staff  X Students  X Visitors  X Contractors & Vendors

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction
Policy

Prohibited Conduct 
Privacy and Confidentiality

Procedures

Filing a Report 
Processing a Report of Sexual Misconduct
Sanctions

Definitions 
Resources & Assistance 
Related Policies & Forms 
Appendix

Introduction:

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) is committed to creating and maintaining an educational environment free from all forms of sexual misconduct. Consequently, SVSU strictly prohibits gender and sex-based harassment, dating/domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking.  Intimidation, coercion, and violence of any kind will not be tolerated. 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 an individual's education or professional development. SVSU will take immediate action to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct and to institute appropriate corrective measures. It is the collective responsibility of all members of the SVSU community to foster a safe and secure campus environment.

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 or witnessed an incident of sexual misconduct.

All employees of the University, with the exception of the Professional Counselors in the Student Counseling Center, are required to report sexual misconduct whenever they observe it or otherwise become aware of it.  Professional Counselors do not have to report sexual misconduct that is disclosed to them when providing services.  Please refer to the Definitions Section for more details related to the difference between "Responsible Employees" who must report sexual misconduct and "Confidential Employees" who do not have to report sexual misconduct.

What: This policy prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. Please refer to the Prohibited Conduct Section for a complete list of terms and prohibited acts.

Where: This policy applies to conduct that occurs on the University campus as well as any off-campus conduct that affects the participation by a member of the SVSU community in a University activity.  It also applies to all University Programs and University Activities. Please refer to the Definitions Section of this policy for specific details related to the terms used in this description.

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. She reports directly to the President of the University. Below is her contact information:

Dr. Mamie T. Thorns
Title IX Coordinator
260 Wickes Hall
7400 Bay Road
University Center, MI 48710
Phone: 989-964-4068
Fax:  989-964-2827
mtthorns@svsu.edu

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 misconduct involving any community member (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 reasonable 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 complaint procedures

Available to provide assistance to any University student, employee or third party regarding how to respond appropriately to a report of sexual misconduct

Responsible for monitoring full compliance with all procedural requirements, record keeping and timeframes outlined in this policy

Responsible for the coordination and oversight of outreach education and training to increase awareness, and to prevent sexual misconduct in the University community.

Policy:

Prohibited Conduct

All Sexual Activity Requires Consent

Definition of 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.

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.

Incapacitation

Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. A person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why, or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Consent also cannot be obtained by intimidation, threat, coercion, or force, and agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent.  Please see Section IX for definitions of those terms.

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.  Consequently, evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs affects 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.

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 misconduct and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.

Sexual Misconduct is Prohibited

As used within this policy, sexual misconduct includes all sex and gender-based harassment; sexual assault, Dating/Domestic Violence, Sexual Exploitation, and Stalking. The University will treat attempts to commit any prohibited conduct as if those attempts had been completed. Definitions and examples of each type of sexual misconduct are provided in the following sections. 

Sex and Gender-Based Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when any of the following three conditions occur:

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.

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.

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.

Examples of sex and gender-based harassment include, but are not limited to:

Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor’s office, on the exterior of a residence hall door or on a computer monitor in a public place.

A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender. 

Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is having or attempting to have (1) sexual contact or (2) sexual intercourse with another individual by force or threat of force; without consent; or where the person is incapacitated. Specific information regarding both offenses follows:

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

1.  By force or threat of force;

2.  Without consent; OR

3.  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.

Examples of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact include, but are not limited to:

At a campus event, a student seated at a table unzips his pants and forces the student sitting next to him to touch his penis.

While a student was visiting a friend's dorm room, a neighbor runs into the room naked and hugs him.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse - Having or attempting to have sexual intercourse with another individual:

1.  By force or threat of force;

2.  Without consent; or

3.  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.

Examples of Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse include, but are not limited to:

Despite a student repeatedly stating that she did not want to have sex, another student forced his penis into her vagina.

While a student is passed out from drinking too much, another student pulls down his shorts and puts a finger into his anus. 

Dating/Domestic Violence

Dating/domestic violence is behavior or physical force that is used to intimidate, manipulate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, hurt, or injure someone in order to obtain or maintain power or control over that person. 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.  The existence of such a relationship is determined based upon the length, type, and frequency of interaction between the persons involved.

Examples of Dating/Domestic Violence include, but are not limited to:

A boyfriend shoves his girlfriend into a wall upon seeing her talking to a male friend.

An ex-girlfriend shames her female partner, threatening to out her as a lesbian if she doesn’t give the ex another chance. 

Sexual Exploitation

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. 

Stalking

Stalking means 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 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.

Examples of Stalking include, but are not limited to:

Repeatedly waiting at the classrooms of another student, following her to her car after, and lurking outside her place of employment.

A student repeatedly shows up at another student's on-campus residence despite being told he or she is not welcome.

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.

Retaliation is Prohibited

Retaliation is 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. Adverse actions can include threats, intimidation, pressuring, continued abuse, violence or other forms of harm to others. Retaliation can be committed by any individual or group of individuals, including, but not limited to a Respondent or Complainant.

Examples of Retaliation include, but are not limited to:

Threatening to hit the Complainant if she meets with the Title IX Coordinator.

Excluding an individual from a club activity because he reported another member's sexual misconduct.

Privacy and Confidentiality

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report under this policy. The University also is committed to providing assistance to help students, employees and third parties to make informed choices. With respect to any report under the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the University will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this policy.

Privacy means that information related to a report of prohibited conduct will be shared with a limited circle of University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are involved in the University’s response to reports of prohibited conduct receive specific training about safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the University’s FERPA policy. The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records, generally, is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA. Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, and, where applicable, Human Resources Office.

Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including those with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative services related to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, and licensed counselors, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Michigan law. The University has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as “confidential employees.”

When information is shared with a confidential employee, he or she cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information. For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is a concern that the individual will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others; or (iii) the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18. For more information about "Confidential employees" and "Responsible employees," please refer to the Definitions Section of this Policy.

Individuals who want to have a confidential discussion of an allegation of sexual misconduct may wish to contact the organizations listed below:

For Students

Students can obtain free confidential counseling at the Student Counseling Center (989) 964-7078.

For Employees

Employees can obtain confidential counseling through the Employee Assistance Program at (877) 259-3785 or www.lifebalance.net.

Procedures:

Filing a Report

A sexual misconduct report may be filed by any person who has experienced, observed, or learned of sexual misconduct involving a student, faculty member, staff member or other person in the University community. Anyone who wishes to file a report has several options about how and where the report is submitted.  Reports can be submitted online, via email, by telephone, or by visiting any of the offices listed below.  All of the offices are prepared to provide assistance so there is no "wrong way" to file a report.

To encourage reporting, individuals who in good faith file a report, 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 individuals to report sexual misconduct within 180 calendar days. 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.

Individuals who report that they have experienced sexual misconduct are referred to throughout the process as the "Complainant."  The individual who is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct is referred to throughout the process as the "Respondent."  If the sexual misconduct was reported by an individual who observed it or learned about it indirectly, that individual will be referred to throughout the process as the "3rd Party Reporter."  Individuals who may have information that is relevant to the investigation are referred to as "witnesses." (For more information, please refer to the Definitions Section of this Policy.)

There are two different types of reports that an individual may file: a criminal complaint or an institutional complaint.  A person who has experienced sexual misconduct may choose to file one or both types of complaints. 

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.

To file a criminal complaint, please contact any of the following organizations:

University Police
South Complex A
Corner of Pierce Road & South Campus
(989) 964-4141

Saginaw County Sheriff
Central Dispatch (989) 797-4580 

Institutional Complaints

Institutional complaints will be evaluated based on the policies adopted by the University, including this Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy, and the Code of Student Conduct, when applicable.

To file an institutional complaint, please use the Title IX Sexual Assault and Misconduct Report Form or contact any of the following individuals or offices: 

Dr. Mamie Thorns
Title IX Coordinator
Office of Diversity Programs
Wickes Hall 260
(989) 964-4068
mtthorns@svsu.edu 

Dr. Sidney Childs
Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
Office of Student Affairs
Curtiss Hall 114
(989) 964-4410
schilds@svsu.edu 

Dr. Marie Rabideau
Associate Dean for Student Affairs/ Student Conduct Program
Office of Student Affairs
Curtiss Hall 114
(989) 964-2220
rabideau@svsu.edu 

Ellen Crane
General Counsel/Director of Human Resources
Human Resources
Wickes Hall 373
(989) 964-4108
ecrane@svsu.edu 

Angela Pohl
Deputy Athletic Director/ Senior Woman Administrator
Athletics Department
Ryder Center 215
(989) 964-7311
aspohl@svsu.edu 

Individuals may also report an allegation of sexual misconduct or concerns about the process to the government. 

To file a complaint with the government, please contact the following offices: 

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

Incident Reporting to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is an option for resolution of discrimination.

The Office for Civil Rights for Michigan is located in Cleveland, OH

REGIONAL OFFICE:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

U.S. Department of Education
1350 Euclid Avenue, Suite 325
Cleveland, OH 44115-1812
Phone:  216-522-4970
FAX:  216-522-2573
TDD:  800-877-8339
OCR.Cleveland@ed.gov

NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)

U.S. Department of Education
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg.
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Phone:  800-421-3481
FAX:  202-453-6012
TDD:  800-877-8339
OCR@ed.gov

Post-Filing Assistance 

After an allegation of sexual misconduct is reported, the University offers individuals a range of protective measures.  The University will provide written notification to both parties about available assistance.

Interim Measures 

When appropriate, SVSU will take immediate steps to protect the all parties pending the outcome of an investigation. These steps may include issuing no contact orders. Pending resolution of the complaint, the Respondent may be prohibited from contacting the Complainant 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. 

Academic Accommodations 

The University is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties. The Complainant may request an academic accommodation or change in residence. Any individual who makes a request will receive an appropriate and reasonable accommodation. Possible requests include the ability to change academic schedules; to withdraw from or retake a class without penalty; to access academic support services; or change residence hall assignments. Pursuant to Title IX, SVSU will endeavor, to the extent practicable, to change the schedule or accommodations of the Respondent prior to changing those of the Complainant. 

Employment Accommodations 

The University is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of all parties. The Complainant may request a work accommodation, pending the outcome of the investigation.  Possible accommodations include changing work hours and break times; modifying shifts; or allowing an employee to transfer to another location or building. Pursuant to Title IX, SVSU will endeavor, to the extent practicable, to change the employment conditions of the Respondent prior to changing those of the Complainant. 

Additional Assistance 

For additional assistance, please contact any of the Campus or Community organizations identified under Resources & Support.  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.

Processing a Report of Sexual Misconduct

Initial Evaluation 

The Title IX Coordinator will determine the most effective method of reviewing the concerns raised by the reported sexual misconduct, including whether to proceed with a full investigation under this policy. When an investigation is deemed warranted, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct the investigation or designate a member of the University who is a trained and certified investigator, to conduct the investigation. The Investigator assigned to the case will generally conduct the investigation in partnership with a second member of the University who is also a trained and certified investigator.  In all cases, the University will respond to the report in a prompt, thorough, and procedurally fair and effective manner.

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

If the Complainant 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.  In the event that the Complainant does not want to be involved with or informed about the investigation or resolution of the allegation, he or she will be designated as a "Non-Participating Complainant" and will not receive the notifications ordinarily provided to a Complainant. 

Formal Investigation 

Investigators will notify the Respondent in writing of the commencement of an investigation. Such notice will

1)  Identify the Complainant and the Respondent;

2)  Specify the date, time (if known), location, and nature of the alleged prohibited conduct;

3)  Identify potential policy violation(s);

4)  Include information about the parties’ respective expectations under the policy and these procedures;

5)  Explain the prohibition against retaliation;

6)  Instruct the parties to preserve any potentially relevant evidence in any format; and

7)  Direct the recipient to a copy of the policy and these procedures. 

The investigation is a neutral fact-gathering process. The Respondent is presumed to be not responsible; this presumption may be overcome only where the investigators conclude that there is sufficient evidence, by a preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding that the Respondent violated the policy. (Please see the Definition Section of this Policy for a more detailed description of the preponderance of evidence standard of proof.)

Under the direction of the Title IX Coordinator, the investigators may meet separately with the Complainant (if participating), Respondent, 3rd Party Reporter (if applicable), any pertinent witnesses, and may also review other relevant information offered by either party or discovered independently by the investigators. During the investigation, the parties will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information and corroborating evidence, to identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and to submit questions that they believe should be directed by the investigators to each other or to any witness.

At any time during an investigation, the Complainant, Respondent, or any witness 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 investigation of the reported sexual misconduct. The Support Person may be any individual selected by the Complainant or Respondent.  Both parties are strongly discouraged from selecting a Support Person who is also a witness who will be interviewed by the investigators regarding their independent knowledge of events related to the allegation. Selecting a Witness as a Support Person may prevent the investigators from making an accurate assessment of the credibility of the information offered by that individual. The Complainant or Respondent may choose an attorney as a Support Person, but it shall be at his/her own expense. The Support Person may be present but may not participate in any meeting related to the investigation, other than to advise the Complainant or Respondent.

At any point during the investigation, if it is determined there is no reasonable cause to believe that University policy has been violated, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to terminate the investigation and end resolution proceedings.

If a report also implicates other forms of discriminatory and/or harassing conduct prohibited by University policies, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate all reported allegations to determine whether the allegations may be appropriately investigated together without unduly delaying the resolution of the report of prohibited conduct. Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that a single investigation is appropriate, the determination of responsibility for the violation of University policy will be evaluated under the applicable policy, but the investigation and resolution will be conducted in accordance with these procedures.

Investigation Findings and Outcome Notification 

When the investigation is completed, the investigators will prepare a written report. 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 may 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 investigators 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 when 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 investigators’ final written report will generally contain, at a minimum:

1)  A summary of the investigation;

2)  The investigators’ 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 investigators. A summary of the University’s decision will be sent simultaneously, 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.

Sanctions 

Sanctions for 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 fulfilling its Title IX obligations.

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.

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:

a)  Completion of Rehabilitation Program

b)  Developmental/Educational Assignments

c)  Expulsion

d)  Fines

e)  Referral for Counseling

f)  Restitution

g)  Restrictions

h)  Temporary University Suspension

i)  University Housing Probation

j)  University Housing Suspension

k)  University Probation

l)  University Suspension

m)  Warning

In addition to the sanctions 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;

Revising University policies, practices, or services.

Respondents may also be subject to civil action or criminal prosecution because conduct that violates the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy may also violate state or federal laws. 

Appeals Process

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 are disproportionate to the determined violations(s). 

Both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to appeal decision. To request an appeal, a party must submit a written request indicating the specific grounds for the appeal to the Office of the Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students within two (2) work days of the date of the notification of the University's Final Decision. The Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students may accept or reject a late submission, solely on his or her discretion, based on a determination if the delay is reasonable given specific extenuating circumstances.  The request for an appeal can be submitted via email or delivered to the office of the Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students.

Dr.  Sidney R. Childs
Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students
114 Curtiss Hall
(989) 964-4410
schilds@svsu.edu 

The Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students, or a designee in the event of a real or perceived conflict of interest, will strive to complete the review of an appeal within ten (10) work days of its receipt. The Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students will review the matter based on the issues identified in the request for appeal.

If the Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students concludes that there are no relevant issues of concern, he or she will affirm the final decision and sanctions. The Associate Provost for Student Affairs/Dean of Students decision is final.  Participating parties will be notified simultaneously, in writing.

If the Associate Provost for Student Affairs/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 deemed appropriate under the circumstances:

1.  If there was a material deviation from the procedure, remand the matter to the Title IX Coordinator for corrective action.

2.  If new information appears relevant, refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator to determine whether any modifications may need to be made to the original investigative report.

3.  If the sanctions are clearly disproportionate, alter the sanctions accordingly.

After consideration and consultation with others, including the original investigators when appropriate, Title IX Coordinator will issue a revised final report that reflects the results of the appeal.  All participating parties will be notified simultaneously, in writing.

Sanctions for Faculty or Staff

Review of the findings of the investigation shall occur pursuant to the employee's collective bargaining agreement, where applicable, or in accordance with the applicable SVSU policy. If the Respondent is a member of the faculty or staff, possible sanctions are 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.

Sanctions for Contractors, Guests, Volunteers and Other Third Parties

If the Respondent is a contractor, guest, volunteer, or other third party, possible sanctions are as follows:

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

Definitions:

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.

Complainant: An individual who reports that he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct.

Confidential Employee: A confidential employee does not have to report sexual misconduct.  Confidential employees include (1) any employee who is a licensed mental-health professional (e.g., licensed counselors and social workers, and those performing services under their supervision), when acting in that professional role in the provision of services to a patient who is a student and (2) any employee providing administrative, operational and/or related support for such health care providers in their performance of such services. A confidential employee will not disclose information about prohibited conduct to the University’s Title IX Coordinator without the student’s permission subject to the exceptions set forth in the confidentiality section of this policy). Every University employee is designated as either a, “Confidential Employee”, or a “Responsible Employee”.

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 considered a clear demonstration of non-consent. An example is: “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you. Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”

Intimidation: The use of implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

Non-Participating Complainant: A Non-Participating Complainant has chosen not to participate in the investigation and resolution of his or her allegation of sexual misconduct.  Consequently, he or she will not be notified of the result of the investigation or any sanctions imposed by the Title IX Coordinator.

Participating Complainant: A Complainant who chooses to participate in the investigation and resolution of his or her allegation of sexual misconduct.  A Participating Complainant will receive written notification of the result of the investigation as well as any sanctions imposed by the Title IX Coordinator.

Preponderance of Evidence: The investigator’s findings of responsibility for sexual misconduct will be made using the preponderance of the evidence standard of proof. This standard requires that the information supporting a finding of responsibility 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.  If the weight of the evidence suggesting a violation is equal to or less than the weight of the evidence suggesting no violation occurred (i.e. 50-50), the determination will be that no violation occurred.

Respondent: An individual who faces an allegation of engaging in sexual misconduct.

Responsible Employee: A responsible employee is required to report to the University’s Title IX Coordinator all relevant details (obtained directly or indirectly) about an incident of prohibited conduct that involves any student as a Complainant, Respondent, and/or witness. Responsible Employees include all staff, faculty, Resident Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and all other student employees, when disclosures are made to any of them in their capacities as employees. Every University employee is designated as either a, “Confidential Employee”, or a “Responsible Employee”. A report to a Responsible Employee constitutes a report to SVSU.

3rd Party Reporter: An individual who reports sexual misconduct that he or she observed or learned about indirectly.  A person who was not personally the target of sexual misconduct.

Title IX Coordinator: By law, SVSU must have a Title IX Coordinator who is responsible for overseeing all facets of Title IX compliance in the University community.  This individual not only supervises enforcement of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, he or she is also actively engaged in educating the community and implementing programs designed to prevent sexual misconduct.  For more detailed information, see Section VIII of this policy entitled the "Role of the Title IX Coordinator."

University Activity: 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.

University Campus: The University campus 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.

University Programs: All educational, extracurricular, athletic, or other campus programs.

Witness: An individual who was not directly involved in a sexual misconduct incident but has information that is relevant to the investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct.

Resources & Support:

Related Policies & Forms:

2.5-2 Anti-Harassment/Discrimination Policy

6.5-1 Privacy Act

9.1-1 Minors on Campus Policy

Appendix:

This policy describes how SVSU prevents, investigates, and addresses incidents of sexual misconduct consistent with its values and with the requirements of:

  • Title IX of the Educational Amendments Acts of 1972
  • Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act
  • Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act
  • Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA), and
  • other applicable federal, state, and local laws