Montreat College recognizes the dignity and worth of all humanity as God’s creation in His own image and therefore seeks to maintain a community free of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of violation. These offenses are also a violation of the law and grounds for disciplinary action up to and including discharge or suspension. Further, the College does not condone solicitation or threats to bring false accusation of sexual violation.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the College’s programs and activities. The College will respond to complaints or reports about prohibited conduct with measures designed to stop the behavior, eliminate any such discrimination, prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct, and remediate any adverse effects of such conduct on campus or in College-related programs or activities. This may include the implementation of interim restriction(s).
Non-Discrimination Statement: In accordance with federal and state statutes (including Title IX, which prohibits discrimination gender-based discrimination), Montreat College is committed to maintaining a community that is free from sexual harassment and all forms of sexual intimidation, exploitation, coercion, and violence. The Payroll and Benefits Manager is designated as the Title IX Coordinator, and is responsible for overseeing the College’s compliance with Title IX. Inquiries concerning the College’s policies, compliance with applicable laws, statutes, and complaints may be directed to Mickie Kelly, Title IX Coordinator, Montreat College, P.O. Box 1267, Montreat, NC 28757, (828)669-8012 (ext. 3755).
Scope of Policy
This policy governs the conduct of all students, staff and faculty, contractors and third parties in the United States. This policy applies to conduct that occurs on campus or College property; in the context of any College-related or sponsored education program or activity, regardless of the location; by a College student, regardless of location; and whether or not school is in session.
Resources for Immediate Assistance
In the event of an emergency where immediate assistance is needed, call 911.
For non-emergency medical attention, contact Student Health Services at x3536, or seek medical attention at Mission Hospital (828) 213-1111 as soon as possible, even if the individual does not plan to press charges. If possible, avoid bathing or brushing teeth, and preserve clothing and other evidence in a paper (not plastic) bag. The hospital employs a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (S.A.N.E.) who can document injuries, collect evidence (which may be important for future prosecution options), and help the individual with other medical issues such as sexually transmitted disease (STD) prevention.
Montreat College has trained on-campus resources who can provide an immediate confidential response in a crisis situation. Complainants may seek assistance from the following confidential on-campus resources (“Confidential Resources”) who are authorized to engage in legally protected or privileged relationships under state law. Confidential Resources may not disclose information to any third party without the disclosing individual’s permission or as required by legal or ethical obligations that compel disclosure:
- Counselor: (828) 669-8012 (x3538)
- Nurse: (828) 669-8012 (x3536)
- Chaplain: (828) 669-8012 (x3537)
- After regular daytime office hours, the Counselor, Nurse and Chaplain can be contacted through Student Services staff (including Residence Directors and Campus Safety)
The following off-campus resources are also available to complainants:
- Our Voice: (828) 252-0562
After hours dial (828) 255-7576
- Helpmate: (828) 254-0516
- Buncombe County Family Justice Center: (828) 250-6900
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE
Montreat College encourages all individuals to report prohibited conduct or a potential violation of this Policy to the Title IX Coordinator, Campus Police, and/or local law enforcement. An individual may make a report to the College, to law enforcement, to neither, or to both. Policies and procedures for each reporting option are outlined below.
Title IX Coordinator
Montreat College has designated the Payroll and Benefits Manager to serve as the Title IX Coordinator to oversee compliance with Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual harassment is a form of sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX and covers three categories of conduct:
- Quid pro quo sexual harassment by employees
- Sexual Assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as defined by the Clery Act; and
- Any other unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it denies a person access to the recipient’s education program or activity.
The Title IX Coordinator coordinates the College’s compliance with Title IX and related provisions of the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (the Clery Act), as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Title IX Coordinator will oversee the College’s centralized response to all reports of prohibited conduct to ensure implementation of this policy and ensure compliance with federal and state law. The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to:
- Communicating with all members of the College community regarding Title IX and VAWA and providing information about how individuals may access reporting and support options;
- Reviewing applicable College policies to ensure institutional compliance with federal and state law;
- Monitoring the College’s administration of its own applicable policies, including record keeping and procedural requirements;
- Conducting training regarding Title IX, the Clery Act, VAWA, and this policy;
- Responding to any complaint or report regarding conduct that may violate this policy. In this capacity, the Title IX Coordinator shall oversee the investigation and resolution of such alleged misconduct, direct the provision of any remedial measures (including supportive measures or Interim Measures), and monitor the administration of any related appeal.
The Title IX Coordinator may delegate responsibilities under this policy to appropriately trained administrators or external professionals.
The Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to adjust any time frames under this Policy for good cause and upon notification to the parties.
The Title IX Coordinator’s contact information is:
Title IX Coordinator
P.O. Box 1267
Montreat, NC 28757
(828) 669-8012 x3755
Actual knowledge is notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator or an official who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the college.
- Notice includes, but is not limited to, a report of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator
- Vicarious liability and constructive notice are insufficient
- Standard not met if the only official with actual knowledge is the respondent
- The following does not qualify an individual as having the authority to institute corrective measures:
- Mere ability or obligation to report sexual harassment
- Ability or obligation to inform a student about how to report
- Being trained in how to report
Advisor is an individual chosen by the complainant or respondent to ask questions during the hearing process. The college will provide an advisor if needed.
Adjudicator(s) or Decision-maker(s) are the members of the Title IX team designated by the College to reach determinations of responsibility or non-responsibility consistent with this Policy. A hearing panel of three (3) employees of the College will serve as Adjudicator(s) or Decision-maker(s) to reach determinations of responsibility or non-responsibility at a live hearing and determine sanctions, if necessary. The Dean of Students (or designated representative) is the final decision-maker in cases in which the Respondent is a student. The Vice President for Finance & Administration/CFO (designated representative) is the final decision-maker in cases in which the Respondent is an employee.
Complainant is an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
Complicity is any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of prohibited conduct by another person.
Consent is voluntary, intentional, freely given agreement to engage in particular sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive, and can be revoked at any time. Absence of “No” is not the equivalent of “Yes.” Consent cannot be gained by force, threats, intimidation, coercion, or by taking advantage of another’s mental or physically incapacitation (including a person’s incapacitation by intoxication). Consent cannot be given by one who is not of legal age. Consent may not be inferred or implied from silence, from lack of active resistance, or from prior consent to sexual acts. Consent may be withdrawn at any time.
Deliberately indifferent is a response to sexual harassment that is clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Education program or activity includes all locations, events, or circumstances over which the College exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs. This includes all incidents of sexual harassment occurring on the college campus. Also, includes off-campus conduct if the conduct occurs as part of the college’s operations. The college exercises substantial control over the respondent and the context of alleged sexual harassment when the conduct occurs at an off-campus building owned or controlled by a student organization officially recognized by the college.
Exculpatory evidence is the evidence favorable to the defendant in a criminal trial, which clears or tends to clear the defendant of guilt
Formal complaint is a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the college investigate the allegation of sexual harassment and states that, at the time of filing a formal complaint, the complainant is participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the college. A document filed by a complainant means a document or electronic submission (such as by e-mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the college) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
Grievance Officer is a College employee, or other designee, appointed by the President who is trained to investigate formal and informal complaints of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep, or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, an individual is incapacitated whenever the individual demonstrates that the individual is unaware of his or her location, present circumstances, or why or how he or she became engaged in a sexual interaction. When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence or impaired by use of the drug. Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently, and determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized determination.
Inculpatory evidence is evidence that shows, or tends to show, a person’s involvement in an act, or evidence that can establish guilt.
Preponderance of Evidence is the standard by which the hearing panel will determine whether there is sufficient evidence to support a finding that a policy violation occurred. This means that in order to recommend a finding of responsibility for alleged sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, the hearing panel, after considering all of the evidence, must find that the greater weight of evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the alleged violation occurred. Rape shield protections make it so that a victim’s reputation or previous sexual history cannot be introduced into the evidence.
Respondent an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Responsible Employee (or Mandatory Reporter) is a College employee who is obligated to report incidents of alleged sexual harassment or sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Responsible Employees include faculty, Residence Life staff, Student Services staff, Campus Safety, Academic Affairs staff, Athletics staff, supervisors of student employees, the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Team, the President, and members of Cabinet. A Responsible Employee who receives a report must report all relevant details about the alleged misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, including the date, time, and location of the alleged misconduct, and the names of the person who provided the report, the individual who experienced the alleged misconduct, the individual(s) accused of committing the alleged misconduct, any other individuals involved in the alleged misconduct.
Supportive Measures are individual services reasonably available that are nonpunitive, non-disciplinary, and not unreasonably burdensome to the other party while designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, or deter sexual harassment.
The Title IX Team is a group of trained staff and faculty members appointed by the President, who serve a three-year term. Members will serve as the hearing panel, on a rotating basis, at each hearing. Two team members of each gender will be designated Grievance Officers to investigate complaints on a rotating basis.
Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Assault is any attempted or actual intentional touching or penetration of another person’s clothed or unclothed body, including but not limited to the mouth, neck, buttocks, anus, genitalia, or breasts by another person in the absence of effective, mutually understandable consent. Sexual assault also includes causing another person to touch their own or another person’s body in the manner described above. Sexual misconduct includes but is not limited to:
Rape: The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.
Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, without the consent of the victim.
Incest: Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
Sexual Harassment covers three categories of conduct on the basis of sex (conduct must satisfy one or more of the following):
- An employee conditioning educational benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo sexual harassment)
- Sexual Assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking , as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA); and
- Any other unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity.
Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term of or a condition of education, employment, or participation in College activities;
- Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for evaluation in making academic or personnel decisions affecting that individual; or
- Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s performance, or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, living, or learning environment.
Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to: slurs, threats, derogatory or suggestive comments, unwelcome jokes, sexual violence, teasing or sexual advances and other similar verbal or physical conduct, including e-mail, phone calls, or other online communications.
Stalking is any course of conduct directed against another person that violates reasonable expectations of personal privacy and that is sufficiently serious to cause physical, emotional, or psychological fear or to create a hostile, intimidating, or abusive environment for a reasonable person. This includes actions or contact through a third party. Examples include but are not limited to: repeatedly contacting or following a person; threats of harm to self, others, or property; trespassing; and surveillance or other related types of observation. Stalking also includes cyber-stalking through electronic media, like the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, or text messages.
Intimate Partner Violence (which is commonly referred to as dating violence, domestic violence, and relationship violence) is any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are involved or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic, or other intimate relationship. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction. Intimate partner violence may include any form of prohibited conduct under this policy.
Complicity, any act that knowingly aids, facilitates, promotes, or encourages the commission of prohibited conduct by another person, is prohibited conduct under this policy.
Retaliation is taking action against someone for that person’s participation in protected activity. Protected activity under this policy includes (i) a good faith reporting of a complaint under the policy, (ii) participation in an investigation or hearing under the policy, and (iii) opposition to practices that an individual reasonably believes are in violation of this policy.
Reporting Options, Policies, and Protocols
The College encourages all individuals to report prohibited conduct or a potential violation of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator, Campus Police, and/or local law enforcement. An individual may make a report to the College, to law enforcement, to neither, or to both.
Reports to Local and Campus Police
Complainants may report the incident to local police authorities:
- Town of Montreat Police Department: (828) 419-9350
- Campus Police, Safety, and Security: (828) 713-2520
Reports to Title IX Coordinator
The Title IX reporting process is initiated when an incident of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct is submitted to the Title IX Coordinator by a student, employee, or Responsible Employee. A Responsible Employee who receives a report of alleged sexual harassment or misconduct must report all relevant details about the alleged misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator, including the date, time, and location of the alleged misconduct, and the names of: the person who provided the report, the individual who experienced the alleged misconduct, the individual(s) accused of committing the alleged misconduct, and any other individuals involved in the alleged misconduct.
The college will promptly respond to any alleged misconduct when the college has actual knowledge of sexual harassment in an education program or activity of the College and against a person in the United States.
The Title IX Coordinator will provide Complainant with a written explanation of rights and options under this Policy, the Sexual Violation Response (see APPENDIX B), a listing of resources and services available to Complainants, and Complainant’s option to request supportive measures or Interim Measures, which are described in more detail below. The Title IX Coordinator will report the alleged incident to the Campus Safety for Clery Act purposes, but may refrain from disclosing personally identifiable information to Campus Police at Complainant’s request.
It is important to note that the federal Clery Act requires that “Campus Security Authorities” (CSAs) must report sexual violation offenses for data collection purposes. CSAs include administrators, staff, and faculty who have significant responsibility for student and campus activities, such as student services and residence life staff (including student resident assistants), the Athletic Director and coaches, faculty and staff advisors to student organizations, supervisors for work-study students, the President, trustees of the College, and administrators of branch campuses. In most cases, the Complainant may remain anonymous, if he/she so chooses.
Non-Title IX Complaints
The following acts of conduct will be considered Non-Title IX complaints:
Quid pro quo harassment by a student;
Hostile environment harassment that occurs outside a program or activity of the College;
Hostile environment harassment that occurs against a person outside of the United States;
Sexual harassment that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to any education program or activity;
Sexual Exploitation occurs when an individual takes sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, without effective consent. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, invasion of sexual privacy; recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual activity; engaging in voyeurism, trespassing, or spying; or sexually-based stalking or bullying.
In an instance where the Title IX Coordinator deems a complaint a non-title IX complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties that the formal complaint is dismissed and of applicable appeal rights. The Title IX Coordinator also, may refer the complaint to be addressed under the applicable student or employee discipline process.
The College may remove a respondent from the education program or activity on an emergency basis if the college undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal and provides the respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.
Non-student employees may be placed on administrative leave during a grievance process.
Provision does not modify any rights under any other applicable law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act or the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Requests for Confidentiality; Privacy
Reports made to a Confidential Resources as defined by this Policy are strictly confidential and will not be disclosed including to the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety without the Complainant’s consent.
College officials other than Confidential Resources may have reporting responsibilities that prevent them from maintain confidentiality. Those wishing to report alleged Policy violations should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. If a Complainant requests confidentiality with a non-confidential reporter, the College, through the Title IX Coordinator, will determine whether it can honor the request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for the campus community, including the person who reported the harassment.
Privacy is a concept closely related to confidentiality, but they are different. Privacy is the discretion that the College uses in its handling of investigations and disciplinary proceedings under this policy. All proceedings of informal and formal complaints will be documented. Information related to a report of prohibited conduct and any subsequent investigation will be shared only with those who need to know in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report and related issues, including, but not limited to the vice president-level supervisor of the respondent The College will make reasonable efforts to investigate and address reports of prohibited conduct under this policy, and information may be disclosed to participants in an investigation as necessary to facilitate the thoroughness and integrity of the investigation. In all such proceedings, the College will take into consideration the privacy of the parties to the extent reasonable possible.
Amnesty Related to other Policy Violations
To encourage reporting of the acts prohibited by this Policy, the College will not pursue disciplinary action against a student who reports an alleged incident of sexual harassment or misconduct for a violation of College policy occurring at or near the time of the alleged incident of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, such as personal consumption of alcohol or drugs. The College may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or drug use. Further, the College may offer amnesty related to other policy violations revealed in the process of pursuing a formal complaint.
In addition, or instead of, submitting a report to Montreat College, a complainant may file a complaint with the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) at any time:
Office for Civil Rights,
District of Columbia Office
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475
Telephone: (202) 453-6020
Fax: (202) 453-6021
Supportive or Interim Measures
Upon receipt of a report of prohibited conduct, the Title IX Coordinator, in collaboration with other College officials as appropriate, may take whatever supportive measures or Interim Measures the Title IX Coordinator deems necessary in order to preserve a Complainant’s and Respondent’s educational experience; protect parties during an investigation; address safety concerns; maintain the integrity of the investigation or procedure under this policy. Supportive or Interim Measures are separate from any disciplinary actions that may be imposed and are not disciplinary in nature. These Supportive or Interim Measures are not a statement of responsibility of the Respondent.
Supportive or Interim Measures include, but are not limited to:
- modification of living arrangements
- no contact orders
- change in class schedule without penalty
- rescheduled tests or assignment deadlines
- escort between classes and activities
- change in work schedules
- change access to buildings
- interim suspension of Respondent from campus pending a hearing, including a no trespass order
- reporting the matter to local police
The Title IX Coordinator will provide both the Complainant and the Respondent with a copy of the Supportive or Interim Measures.
Remedies will be provided to the complainant any time a respondent is found responsible and will treat respondents equally by not imposing disciplinary sanctions without following the grievance process. These remedies will maintain the complainant’s equal access to education and will include the same individualized services as supportive measures, but remedies do not need to be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and do not need to avoid burdening the respondent. Such remedies include but are not limited to:
- modification of living arrangements
- no contact orders
- change in class schedule without penalty
- rescheduled tests or assignment deadlines
- escort between classes and activities
- change in work schedules
- change access to buildings
- suspension of respondent from campus, including a no trespass order
- reporting the matter to local police
Investigation and Grievance/Adjudication Procedures When the Respondent is a Student
There are two procedures to consider for addressing sexual harassment or sexual misconduct concerns, the Informal Complaint Procedure and the Formal Complaint Procedure. All proceedings of informal and formal complaints will be documented.
The college will not require, allow, or rely upon, otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such a privilege has waived the privilege.
The college will not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment of the party, unless the college obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so.
Informal Complaint Procedure
In the Informal Complaint Procedure, a Complainant may discuss a sexual harassment or misconduct concern with the Title IX Coordinator without putting the complaint in writing. During this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant with a copy of the policy, discuss the informal and formal complaint procedures, offer counseling or other support assistance, and discuss any supportive measures or interim measures that may be needed. A Complainant has the right to access their description of the incident as it was reported to Montreat College at any time. A Complainant may elect to discontinue the informal complaint procedure and commence a formal complaint at any time. The informal complaint procedure will not be employed in cases of sexual assault. If the Complainant elects to move forward with the informal complaint procedure, in order to promptly respond, the Title IX Coordinator should ensure the following procedure is completed within ninety (90) calendar days of the date the complaint is received:
- Two (2) Grievance Officers will meet with the Complainant to understand the nature of the concern and collect any evidence.
- The Grievance Officers will then meet with the Respondent to understand the Respondent’s response to the complaint and collect any evidence. The Grievance Officers will do an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, inculpatory and exculpatory, and avoid credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
The Grievance Officers provide a written summary of their recommended finding and resolutions to the Title IX Coordinator. Resolution steps could include one or more of the following for students:
- Advising/mentoring/accountability meeting with faculty/staff member
- Reflection paper or formal learning assignment
- Community service
- Participation in educational workshop/online course
- Permanent no contact order
- Letter of apology
- The Title IX Coordinator shares the Grievance Officers’ finding and resolutions with the Adjudicator or Decision-Maker to determine the finding and resolutions.
- The Adjudicator’s or Decision-Maker’s findings and resolutions are communicated to the Complainant and Respondent in writing.
- If the parties agree, the resolutions are implemented and the informal process is concluded. If the parties do not agree upon a resolution, or at any time during the informal process, the Complainant or Respondent may initiate a formal complaint.
The Title IX Coordinator shall keep a written record of the investigation and resolution.
Formal Complaint Procedure
When a complaint cannot be resolved through the informal complaint process or the Complainant or Respondent does not want to pursue the informal complaint process, the Complainant may pursue a formal complaint. The formal complaint process is initiated when a Grievance Form is submitted to the Title IX Coordinator (whether by a Complainant, an employee, or a Responsible Employee). A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information listed under Title IX Coordinator in the policy.
The Title IX Coordinator can also sign the grievance form alleging sexual harassment against a respondent requesting that the college investigate the allegation of sexual harassment and states at the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the college. When the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or a party during a grievance process and must comply with requirements for Title IX personnel to be free from conflicts and bias.
The college may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
The formal complaint procedure begins with an initial meeting between the Complainant and the Title IX Coordinator in which the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant with a copy of the policy, discuss the formal complaint procedures, offer counseling or other support assistance, and discuss any supportive or Interim Measures that may be needed.
The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether there are any violations of College policy with which the Respondent could be presented with an alleged charge and which should be investigated, and the initial notice of charge(s) will be communicated to the Respondent by the Title IX Coordinator.
The formal complaint process will be explained to the Respondent, with instructions not to interfere with the investigation process in any way. The Respondent must not retaliate against anyone in the investigation; doing so will be another violation of policy. The Respondent should know that he/she will have the opportunity to tell his/her story as the complaint is investigated. Any supportive measures or interim measures for the care of the Complainant that may affect Respondent will be explained.
The Respondent should also know that he/she will be presumed as not responsible by the College to be in violation of College policy until an investigation and live hearing has occurred, including a hearing panel that has taken into account the totality of all evidence available, from relevant sources.
The Respondent will be given until the end of the next business day to accept or not accept responsibility and to provide notice to the Adjudicator or Decision-Maker.
If the Respondent accepts responsibility, the Adjudicator(s) or Decision-maker(s)will make a disciplinary decision and inform the Respondent and Complainant in writing concerning the sanction within 24 hours of receipt of the Respondent’s statement.
The Adjudicator(s) or Decision-maker(s) will submit a summary report of findings and sanction(s), as well as measures requested to address Complainant needs, to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator will determine, with the Adjudicator(s) or Decision-maker(s), whether any additional measures to prevent similar incidents should be taken.
If the Respondent does not accept responsibility and withdraws from the College, the Adjudicator(s)or Decision-maker(s) will inform the Complainant and the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will make sure that sufficient measures have been taken to address the Complainant’s needs resulting from the incident(s) and invite the Complainant to let the Title IX Coordinator know if other needs arise (retaliation, academic accommodations, etc.). The Title IX Coordinator will also investigate to determine whether any measures need to be taken to lessen the likelihood of such incidents taking place again.
- The Title IX Coordinator will assign two Grievance Officers to continue the investigation and file a summary report of findings based on testimony of witnesses and other evidence.
- The Respondent will not be allowed to apply for readmission to Montreat College without the completion of the investigation and hearing process.
If the Respondent does not accept responsibility and desires to stay at the College, the Adjudicator or Decision-Maker will inform the Complainant and the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will, in a timely manner, assign two Grievance Officers from the Title IX Team, with no known conflicts of interest and trained to conduct thorough, impartial, and reliable Title IX investigations.
Sexual harassment or sexual misconduct will not be tolerated at Montreat College. An alleged act of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct will be taken seriously, investigated thoroughly by the College and the Complainant may be encouraged to report the offense to the local authorities.
A full investigation will occur if a formal complaint is made by submitting a Grievance Form to the Title IX Coordinator. (See APPENDIX A.) If the Complainant decides not to file a disciplinary charge or participate in an investigation, the College may still have responsibility under federal law to investigate the incident to the best of its ability, in order to prevent further harassment to others on campus or similar incidents in the future and ensure campus safety.
Montreat College shall provide a prompt, fair, and unbiased investigation and resolution. The College will strive to conduct and complete investigations within approximately 45 days of the initial complaint. The investigation team will consist of two Grievance Officers. All interviewed parties will be asked to sign a pledge of honesty prior to providing their testimony and to provide details related to the alleged incident(s), names of witnesses, and provide relevant evidence, as available.
A full investigation of the complaint will be conducted, including interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses whose names are provided by the Complainant and Respondent and whose testimony is deemed relevant by the Grievance Officers.
The Grievance Officers will do an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, inculpatory and exculpatory, and avoid credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
Generally, this policy will provide for a timeframe of approximately 45 days for the Grievance Officers to submit a written report of findings to a hearing panel, consisting of three members from the Title IX Team, who are faculty and staff not affiliated with the case. If circumstances, such as semester break or study abroad, warrant an extension of time, the Complainant and Respondent will be notified.
The investigation will be kept as confidential as possible; information will only be disclosed on a “need to know” basis for the purpose of taking steps to provide a healthy campus environment for students and employees. All parties and witnesses will be advised that the matter is to be kept confidential and that retaliation of any kind is prohibited.
Prior to completion of investigation report, the college must provide equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained that is directly related to the allegations. This includes evidence upon which the college does not intend to rely in reaching a determination and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source. This information will be sent to party and party’s advisor in hard copy or electronic format. The party must be given at least 10 days to submit a written response. The investigator must consider that written response before completing the investigation report. All evidence will be available at any hearing.
Both parties may have an advisor of their choice present at all meetings/proceedings that occur under this Policy. This advisor may be an attorney, parent, counselor, or other support person. The college will provide an advisor free of charge if a party does not have an advisor. The advisor is required for the live hearing and will conduct cross-examination by asking the questions given to them by the complainant or respondent in the proceedings.
Hearing Panel Will Conduct a Live Hearing
Within no fewer than ten (10) days of the parties receiving the report from the Grievance Officers, a live hearing will be scheduled. Both parties will have access to any information that will be used at the live hearing, including names of the hearing panel members, witness list, and documentary evidence. Any conflict of interest between a party and any member of the hearing panel must be disclosed.
At the request of either party, the college will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-makers and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party answering questions. The live hearing may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same location or at the school’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
The college will record the live hearings and make the recording available to the parties for inspection and review.
During the live hearing the “preponderance of the evidence” standard (i.e. “more likely than not”) will be used rather than the criminal standard (i.e. “beyond a reasonable doubt”). Both parties will be allowed to present relevant evidence and witnesses, and to question witnesses, but not each other. The hearing panel may ask questions of the witnesses and/or the parties may submit questions to the hearing panel to be asked of the parties and witnesses. The hearing panel has full discretion to decide whether to ask questions submitted to it by the parties. Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the designated chair of the hearing panel must first determine whether the question is relevant. If a question is excluded as not relevant, the designated chair must explain the decision to exclude the question.
The decision-makers cannot draw any inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
“Rape shield” protections apply in this process; in other words, questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent.
The hearing panel will deliberate following the hearing and make the final decision regarding responsibility and disciplinary action. Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the conduct hearing, including any sanctions imposed on the Respondent that relates directly to the Complainant. Both parties will be advised to contact the Title IX Coordinator if they experience retaliation or any further incidents.
Written Determination will include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment
- Procedural steps since complaint
- Notices to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, hearings held
- Supportive Measures Provided
- Finding of fact
- Conclusion regarding application of code of conduct to the facts
- Statement of and rationale for the result as to each allegation
- Determination of responsibility
- Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on respondent
- Any remedies provided
- Appeal information
- Notice of simultaneous delivery to the parties
- Notices that the decision becomes final either the date the parties receive the written determination of the appeal or the date on which the appeal would no longer be timely.
When the hearing panel makes a finding of responsibility on the part of Respondent, it shall also recommend appropriate sanctions. The Sanctions may include any of the sanctions that are set forth in the Student Handbook.
The hearing panel may solicit information from the Complainant and the Respondent relevant to determination regarding potential sanctions, including but not limited to impact and mitigation information. In addition, in determining the appropriate sanction, the Review Panel shall consider the following factors:
- The nature and violence of the conduct at issue
- The impact of the conduct on the complainant
- The impact or implications of the conduct on the community or the College
- Prior misconduct by the Respondent, including Respondent’s relevant prior disciplinary history, including criminal convictions
- Maintenance of a safe and respectful environment conducive to learning
- Protection of the College community
- Any other mitigating, aggravating, or compelling circumstances in order to reach a just and appropriate resolution.
Sanctions will be imposed immediately.
Regardless of the outcome, the hearing panel may recommend additional remedies for the Complainant to address the effects of the conduct on the Complainant, restore the Complainant’s access to College programs and activities, and restore the Complainant, to the extent possible, benefits and opportunities lost as a result of the prohibited conduct. The Title IX Coordinator will review the remedies recommended by the Review Panel and will consider the appropriateness of continuing Supportive Measures or Interim Measures.
Both parties may appeal the decision from a dismissal of a formal complaint (or any allegations therein) or regarding responsibility within seven (7) business days by submitting a request for appeal to the Title IX Coordinator. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator. The written request must articulate at least one of the following grounds:
- Policies or procedures were not following that affected the outcome of the case (procedural irregularity);
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding dismissal or responsibility was made, that could affect the outcome of the case;
- The Title IX coordinator, Grievance Officer(s), or Decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter;
- Sanctions were inconsistently or capriciously applied.
The appeal process is as follows:
- The Vice President for Student Life (or designated representative) will review and make the decision on appeal if the Respondent is a student. The Vice President for Administration and Finance/CFO (or designated representative) will review and make the decision on appeal if the Respondent is an employee.
- Notify other party in writing when an appeal is filed.
- Both parties will be given reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome.
- A decision will be communicated within ten (10) business days of receipt of the appeal.
- Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the appeal.
The decision of the Adjudicator or Decision-maker on appeal is final.
Investigation and Grievance/Adjudication Procedures When the Respondent is an Employee
When the Title IX Coordinator receives a report that a member of the faculty or staff violated this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will work with Human Resources to investigate in a manner consistent with the College’s personnel policies and all applicable law. The Title IX Coordinator will have the authority to exercise oversight of the investigation and resolution and will ensure that the procedures followed are consistent with the requirements of Title IX and VAWA.
Prevention and Education
Prevention and education training will be offered to all Montreat College students, faculty and staff on a regular basis.
Montreat College makes online training available to each incoming SAS freshmen, SAS transfer student, and new AGS student by the end of the first week of arriving on campus.
In addition, each incoming SAS freshmen, SAS transfer student, and returning student athlete is required to attend a “Safe Community” presentation. The scope of the “Safe Community” presentation includes: sexual harassment, consent, coercion, alcohol/drug education, stalking, bullying, dating/relationship violence, sexual exploitation, bystander behavior/active bystander, resources/support after an assault, and reporting procedures.
All new employees will receive Title IX and sexual harassment or misconduct training during their new employee orientation. All employees will receive training on a biennial basis.
College officials involved in matters related to the Title IX process shall have annual training on this policy and issues related to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, including reporting procedures and promotion of accountability.
All members of the Title IX Team will receive annual training on conducting investigations, and assisting with sexual assault and trauma.
Sexual Harassment/Violence Response
Montreat College takes seriously reports of sexual harassment and sexual violence. The College will respond promptly and fairly to all reported violations of its Policy on Prohibited Sexual Harassment, Discrimination, and Related Misconduct. If you make a report, the College will address as follows:
- We will respond quickly to your complaint of sexual harassment or sexual violence, and we will treat you with courtesy, sensitivity, dignity, respect and professionalism.
- You will not be discouraged from making a report.
- We will meet with you privately, at a place of your choice in this area, to take a complaint report. If you feel more comfortable talking with a female or male, we will grant your request.
- Information related to a report of prohibited conduct and any subsequent investigation will be shared only with those who need to know in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report and related issues.
- We will assist you in arranging for any hospital treatment or other medical needs, and you will be notified of available counseling, mental health or others support services for individuals reporting sexual harassment and sexual violence, both on campus and in the community.
- You can request reasonable support services, supportive measures or interim measures and/or protection.
- We will inform you of your options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement, if you so choose.
- We will explain the College’s process of addressing reported violations, what the policy does and does not cover, and give you a chance to ask questions.
- You will be kept up-to-date on the progress of the investigation and/or adjudication of your report, including when the complaint is delivered to the respondent; a list of Conduct Board members, witnesses, and documentary evidence included in the hearing; and the outcome and sanction of any adjudication of sexual harassment or violence.
- During all College disciplinary proceedings, you may have an advisor of your choice present.
- You will not be required to be in the same room as the accused at the same time.
- You will have the right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted in a campus hearing.
- We will not use the informal complaint procedure in cases of sexual assault.
- You will have the right to make an impact statement at a disciplinary hearing and to have that statement considered by the hearing panel in determining its sanction.
- You will have the right to appeal the finding and sanction of the conduct hearing consistent with College policy.
- We will continue to be available for you, to answer your questions, and to explain the systems and processes involved.