Policy on Sexual Assault

OKLAHOMA CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY 

Date:                                    August 1, 2015

Review:                                 June 1, 2018

Responsible Administrator:      Title IX Coordinator

1.   Policy Statement: 

Oklahoma Christian University prohibits all unlawful discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in its educational programs and activities.  Discrimination on the basis of sex or gender is also prohibited by federal laws, including Title VII and Title IX.  Notwithstanding, Oklahoma Christian University is a religious institution with sincerely held religious beliefs, based in scripture, and is therefore exempt on religious grounds, from certain civil rights' laws, including portions of Title VII and Title IX.

This policy governs the University's response to unlawful discrimination based on sex or gender, and all forms of sexual misconduct (which includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation, and stalking).  Such behaviors are against the law and are unacceptable behaviors under Oklahoma Christian University policy.  These unacceptable behaviors are hereafter referred to as "sexual misconduct."  The University does not tolerate sexual misconduct and it will take action to prevent and address such misconduct.  The University has jurisdiction over all Title IX and related complaints.  Questions about Title IX may be directed to Oklahoma Christian University's Title IX Coordinator, Tamie Willis, (405) 425-5320, or the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights.

Individuals who have experienced sexual misconduct are strongly urged to promptly report such incidents.  Oklahoma Christian University will respond to all reports of sexual misconduct.  According to the procedures below, the University will provide a fair and impartial review and resolution for complaints and, where appropriate, issue sanctions and remedial measures.  The severity of the corrective action, up to and including termination or expulsion of the offender/respondent, will depend on the circumstances of the particular case.  Any person who is a Responsible Employee (as defined below) at the University, such as administrators, supervisors, managers or faculty members, and who has received information or has knowledge of sexual misconduct, must make a report to designated University officials or be subject to disciplinary action (see section on Responsible Employees below).

Retaliation against anyone who makes a report of sexual misconduct is prohibited by University policy as well as Title IX and other state and federal laws.  Procedures for reporting incidents of sexual misconduct, and investigating and adjudicating sexual misconduct complaints are part of this policy and are included or linked below.  In exceptional cases, and upon consultation with the Vice President and General Counsel, the University reserves the right to take prompt action without employee or student conduct proceedings.

2.   Scope of the Policy: 

This policy is designed to protect all members of the University community:

     (1)  all students

     (2)  all employees: academic, staff, temporary (hourly)

     (3)  others including volunteers and visitors while on University property or involved in an Oklahoma Christian University       program off-campus.

The policy applies regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration status and citizenship status.  It applies to relationships among peers as well as to superior-subordinate relationships.

Other University policies and codes related to misconduct will remain in effect for complaints of misconduct other than sexual misconduct.  However, any report or complaint of misconduct that includes elements defined below will be addressed in accordance with this sexual misconduct policy and included procedures.

3.   Purpose of the Policy: 

Oklahoma Christian University is committed to the safety and well-being of all members of the University community, including students and employees.  Oklahoma Christian University recognizes that sexual misconduct may result in grave and often long-lasting effects on those involved and is committed to timely investigation of allegations of sexual misconduct, use of interim measures when appropriate, and appropriate actions and consequences following investigations.  Oklahoma Christian University is committed to compliance with state and federal laws regarding sexual misconduct, required reporting to state and federal agencies, and to working with law enforcement officials and agencies.  The University is also committed to education to improve preventative programs.

4.   Important Policy Definitions (Additional Definitions Below):

Sexual Harassment 

Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment includes Sexual Violence.  Both violent and non-violent sexual harassment is prohibited.  Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, written, electronic (e.g. by e-mail, text, social media, etc.), or physical conduct of a sexual nature.  Sexual harassment occurs when:

     (1)  submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual's employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo), or when

     (2)  such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to limit or deny a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the University's educational programs or affects employment, creating a hostile environment.

Sex-Based or Gender-Based Discrimination

Sex-based or Gender-based discrimination is verbal, nonverbal, graphic, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostile conduct based on sex, sex-stereotyping, sexual orientation or gender identity, but not involving conduct of a sexual nature, when such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive that it interferes with or limits a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education or work programs or activities. For example, persistent disparagement of a person based on a perceived lack of stereotypical masculinity or femininity is prohibited under this policy. Nothing in this policy limits or restricts any of the University’s rights under any religious exemption from any civil rights law.

On or Off Campus Behaviors

This policy applies to sexual misconduct that occurs on campus or in the context of any University program or activity, including off-campus conduct in the context of a University program or activity. This policy also applies to sexual misconduct that has a continuing adverse effect or creates a hostile environment on campus or in any University program or activity whether on or off campus. Prohibited conduct that takes place off campus includes, but is not limited to, sexual misconduct in connection with an academic course assignment, internship, practicum, field trip, study abroad program, student teaching, research, or other University activity; or sexual misconduct in connection with any activity sponsored, conducted, or authorized by the University or by a student organization; or where the sexual misconduct undermines the security of the University community or the integrity of the educational process or poses a serious threat to self or others. Where a student organization has contributed to or created a hostile environment 41 | Page in connection with an incident of sexual misconduct, the student organization will be subject to discipline and appropriate sanctions, as determined by the Vice President and Dean of Students.

Consent

Consent – is expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions mutually understandable to all parties involved:

     (1) Consent is given for a specific sexual act at a specific time and can be withdrawn at any time.

     (2) Consent cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, or force.

     (3) Consent cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual situation occurring, including, but not limited to, those who are under the legal age of consent, asleep, unconscious, mentally or physically impaired through the effects of drugs or alcohol, or mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability.

     (4) Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop”, the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.

Intellectual Inquiry and Debate

In determining whether sexual misconduct has occurred and what type of remedy, if any, might be appropriate in a given case, the University will also consider the fact that free intellectual inquiry, debate, and constructive dialogue are vital to the University’s academic mission and must be protected even when the views expressed are unpopular or controversial. Accordingly, any form of speech or conduct that is protected by state or federal law, including the First Amendment, is not subject to this policy.

The definition of sexual harassment in this policy is meant neither to proscribe nor to inhibit discussions, in or out of the classroom, of complex, controversial, or sensitive matters, including matters involving sex, gender, sexuality, sexual-orientation, sexual behavior, or gender-identity or expression, when in the judgment of a reasonable person they arise for legitimate pedagogical purposes. This includes intellectual inquiry, debate, and dialogue on issues of sexual misconduct. The mere expression of views, words, symbols or thoughts that some people find offensive, does not by itself create a hostile environment.

Awareness, Education, Prevention and Training Programs

Oklahoma Christian University is committed to providing ongoing educational programming for students, employees and other members of the University community to promote awareness of the problems caused by sexual misconduct and to help prevent and attempt to reduce the risk of the occurrence of sexual misconduct. Educational programs will include information on how and where to report incidents of sexual misconduct, resources available, as well as safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of sexual misconduct being inflicted on another person. Efforts will be made to ensure that educational programs are culturally relevant and inclusive of the diverse communities and identities found at Oklahoma Christian University. Employee training shall be provided to those involved in reporting, receiving reports, investigating, adjudicating and otherwise responding to charges of sexual misconduct at the University. Certain training may be mandated by applicable federal or state law. The appropriate training will be tailored to the audience, and include reporting and response obligations, available 42 | Page resources, as well as information about how to prevent and identify sexual misconduct. Individuals specifically involved in implementing the University’s sexual misconduct procedures will be trained on issues and applicable policies and procedures relating to sexual misconduct, as well as how to conduct the investigation and hearing process in a manner that protects the safety of all parties and promotes fairness and accountability.

Resource Information

The University will disseminate campus-specific information regarding available on and off campus resources and other relevant materials. Resource information will include, but is not limited to:

     (1) University and community psychological and counseling resources;

     (2) University and community medical resources (including the availability of nurses trained in sexual assault response);

     (3) Resources for non-U.S. citizens (visa, immigration, and translation assistance);

     (4) How to report an incident of sexual misconduct to the University and local law enforcement;

     (5) Available confidential employees;

     (6) Information and assistance regarding adjustments to academic housing, financial aid, obtaining no contact orders, and other needs on campus;

     (7) Community resources such as legal assistance and obtaining protective orders.

Duties of Title IX Coordinator

Oklahoma Christian University's Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Tamie Willis, (405) 425- 5320, will be informed of all reports of sexual misconduct, and will oversee the University’s review, investigation, and resolution of those reports to ensure the University’s compliance with Title IX, and other related laws, and the effective implementation of this policy. The Title IX Coordinator will have adequate training on what constitutes sexual harassment, including sexual violence.

The Title IX Coordinator is:

     (1) Responsible for oversight of the investigation and resolution of all reports of sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, and domestic and dating violence involving students, and employees;

     (2) Knowledgeable and trained in University policies and procedures and relevant state and federal laws;

     (3) 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;

     (4) Available to provide assistance to any University employee regarding how to respond appropriately to a report of sexual misconduct;

     (5) Responsible for monitoring full compliance with all procedural requirements, record-keeping, and timeframes outlined in this policy;

     (6) Responsible for overseeing training, prevention, and education efforts, and any reviews of climate and culture; and

     (7) Responsible for providing the University aggregate, non-identifying information in regard to reports, investigations, resolutions, and sanctions.

Deputy Title IX Coordinators are responsible for assisting the Title IX Coordinator and tracking and reporting to the University Title IX Coordinator all incidents of sexual misconduct. Deputy Title IX Coordinators will work with the University Title IX Coordinator to ensure that the appropriate designated campus officials are involved in investigating and adjudicating complaints according to this Sexual Misconduct Policy and other applicable University policies and procedures.

Deputy Title IX Coordinators will work with the University Title IX Coordinator to ensure that adequate education, training, sanctions, and appropriate resources are available and provided. Student Services Professionals assist in educating the campus community and directing those who report an incident of sexual misconduct to the appropriate campus resources.

5.   Procedure

Immediate Assistance

In an emergency or if you see a crime in progress, always call 911 immediately.

The University shall provide, publicize and update information for immediate assistance, including contact information for emergency and medical assistance, counseling services, as well as local law enforcement. Information about ways to report anonymously or to speak to a confidential employee will also be provided to each student and employee.

The University will provide written information to anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct, about:

     (1) University procedures dealing with sexual misconduct, including to whom and how the alleged offense should be reported, as well as their rights and options;

     (2) The importance of preserving evidence that may assist in proving the alleged criminal offense occurred, as well as how to preserve such evidence;

     (3) Options about the involvement of law enforcement;

     (4) Rights and University responsibilities with respect to orders of protection and how to obtain such orders; and

     (5) Available campus and community resources.

Reporting Sexual Misconduct

In an emergency or where immediate help is needed, call 911.

Anyone wishing to report an incident of sexual misconduct can do so using the following methods:

     (1) Reporting directly to campus or local law enforcement if the incident involves sexual violence;

     (2) Reporting directly to the Dean of Students;

     (3) Reporting directly to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator; or

     (4) Reporting directly to the University Title IX Coordinator.

All reports of sexual misconduct will be shared with the University Title IX Coordinator in a timely manner. In addition, if a report of sexual misconduct is not made initially to the Oklahoma Christian University Police Department (OCPD), and the information indicates it may be a crime reportable under the Clery Act, non-identifying information regarding the date, time, location and nature of the crime will be shared with OCPD for purposes of complying with the Clery Act. If the University and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) receive a report that indicates law enforcement should be informed and involved due to the potential threat to health and safety of an individual or the University community, they may also share the identifying information needed for appropriate response by OCPD.

Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child/Minor

Sexual misconduct involving a child/minor (anyone under 18 years of age) must be reported. Oklahoma state law requires that any person who has reason to believe that a child/minor is a victim of child abuse or neglect (including sexual misconduct) has an affirmative duty to make an oral report to Department of Human Services (see 10A Okla. Stat. §1-2-101). Failure to report may result in criminal charges.

Amnesty

The University strongly encourages students to report instances of sexual misconduct. Therefore, students reporting an incident of sexual misconduct will not be disciplined by the University for a violation of the Code of Conduct related to their drug and/or alcohol consumption in connection with the reported incident of sexual misconduct.

Retaliation

Protections against retaliation are critical to reducing the prevalence of sexual misconduct within the University community. Retaliation against anyone who has reported an incident of sexual misconduct, provided information, or participated in procedures or an investigation into a report of sexual misconduct, is prohibited by the University and will not be tolerated. Acts of retaliation include intimidation, threats, and/or harassment, whether physical or communicated verbally or via written communication (including the use of e-mail, texts and social media), as well as adverse changes in work or academic environments or other adverse actions or threats. The University will take steps to prevent retaliation, and will impose sanctions on anyone or any group who is found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of this policy. Concerns about potential retaliation in connection with a report of sexual misconduct should be reported to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the University Title IX Coordinator.

The Role of a “Responsible Employee” to Report and Respond to Sexual Misconduct

The University encourages anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct to talk to someone about what happened, to ensure they are informed of the available support, resources and applicable complaint processes and to allow the University to respond appropriately. The information below explains the obligations of certain employees, known as Responsible Employees under Title IX, to report information brought to their attention regarding incidents of sexual misconduct to the appropriate University officials.

Responsible Employees

Pursuant to Title IX, a “Responsible Employee” includes those University employees who have the authority to redress sexual misconduct, who have the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

The University’s Responsible Employees include, but are not limited to:

     (1) All full-time instructors, including full-time professors, lecturers, and any others who offer instruction (whether in-person or online) or office hours to students;

     (2) All advisors;

     (3) All coaches, and other athletic staff who interact directly with students;

     (4) All student affairs administrators;

     (5) All residential hall staff;

     (6) All full-time employees who work in offices that interface with students; and

     (7) All supervisors and University officials.

When an individual tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual misconduct, that individual has the right to expect the University to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably. Therefore, Responsible Employees have an obligation to report the information as explained below, as well as assist the individual in seeking medical attention and emergency response where appropriate, in understanding available resources on and off campus, and in understanding their options in making a criminal complaint as well as a complaint through the University’s procedures set forth in this policy.

If the incident is an emergency or poses a serious and continuing threat, the responsible employee should first call 911 or Campus Police Department immediately.

In all situations, a responsible employee must report to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The responsible employee must report all relevant details of the alleged sexual misconduct that are known or reasonably known to them, or that have been shared with them, that the University will need to be aware of to determine what happened. This includes the names of the individual(s) affected and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time and specific location of the alleged incident. A Responsible Employee should not discuss or share any information related to the incident, including the individual’s name, with anyone other than the Deputy and University Title IX Coordinators, and those directly involved in handling the University’s response, unless they received the individual’s prior consent or in the event of an emergency or existing threat to anyone’s health and safety.

Responsible Employees should make every effort to ensure that all individuals, including students, understand that the employee is legally obligated to make a report to the University Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator in the event they are made aware of an incident of sexual misconduct.

In some instances, an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct may express a desire that the University not investigate the incident and/or not inform the individual accused. In those situations, the Responsible Employee must still report the information known to them, as required, but should also explain to the individual that the University will strongly consider the request, and will generally honor the request except in limited circumstances where the safety and well-being of the individual or the University community outweighs the reasons for the request. In reporting the details of the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, the Responsible Employee should ensure they inform the Coordinator of the individual’s request. Responsible employees who are also Campus Security Authorities (CSA) under the Clery Act, will satisfy their CSA reporting obligation by reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the University Title IX Coordinator, who will ensure that the appropriate nonidentifiable information is conveyed to OCPD for Clery Act compliance purposes.

If an individual has not yet shared information with a Responsible Employee regarding an incident of sexual misconduct, and the individual wishes to maintain anonymity, the Responsible Employee may refer them to a Confidential Employee or off- campus resource. However, once a Responsible Employee has knowledge of an incident of sexual misconduct, they must report.

Role of Law Enforcement

Any individual who has experienced sexual violence is encouraged to contact OCPD or local law enforcement. OCPD responds to emergency situations on the Oklahoma Christian University campus, and typically communicates and works with the University Title IX Coordinator to assist in investigations and incident response, as well as to track statistics for Clery Act reporting.

Individuals with a possible criminal case who have not made their initial compliant via the police will be provided with information about how to file a complaint with law enforcement. Individuals may also request assistance from campus authorities in notifying law enforcement. Individuals may decide not to notify law enforcement authorities, and proceed with a University investigation.

A University investigation under the procedures outlined in this policy may be initiated and/or proceed simultaneously with a criminal case. The University will cooperate with law enforcement, and if requested by law enforcement, defer its fact gathering for a brief period during the evidence gathering stage of a criminal investigation. However, the University will not consider its investigation on hold pending a criminal prosecution or investigation and will continue to communicate with individuals and address the need for any interim measures regarding safety and well-being, and resume its own fact gathering as soon as reasonable.

The determination by law enforcement whether or not to prosecute a respondent or the outcome of a criminal proceeding does not determine whether a violation of University policy has occurred. Records of University proceedings may be subpoenaed for a criminal prosecution. The University shall comply with the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Confidentiality and Privacy

Confidential Employees

Certain University employees – based on their professional licensure and the nature of their role on campus – are available to speak with individuals about incidents of sexual misconduct and maintain the individual’s desire for anonymity and absolute confidentiality. These confidential employees are exempt from the reporting requirements that apply to Responsible Employees. Individuals, who desire anonymity in discussing and seeking assistance about sexual misconduct, should contact and/or be referred to a confidential employee.

The University’s confidential employees include:

     (1) Licensed, professional mental health counselors working in that capacity, and those they supervise;

     (2) The Campus Minister;

     (3) Health care professionals and staff located in on-campus health care centers; and

     (4) Any staff or specialists on a campus specifically designated as non-professional sexual assault advocates.

Note: faculty, staff and other employees who are licensed mental health workers or are licensed medical workers, but who are not working in that capacity, such as faculty members in psychology, social work, nursing, etc., are not confidential employees under this policy. The University shall identify and publicize confidential employees.

Privacy

The University is committed to safeguarding the privacy of the parties in a manner consistent with the objective to effectively investigate and prevent incidents of sexual misconduct. In all cases, the University will share the parties’ information and details of the allegation only with University officials, law enforcement personnel, and other individuals who have a legitimate administrative or legal reason to be so informed. Records will not be disclosed outside the University unless required by law. All individuals with knowledge of an alleged incident of sexual misconduct are expected to safeguard the privacy of those involved and should refrain from discussing the incident with anyone other than appropriate University officials and law enforcement.

Requests for No-University Action

If an individual discloses they have experienced an incident of sexual misconduct to a Responsible Employee, but requests that the University not investigate the particular incident, requests that no disciplinary action be taken, requests that the alleged perpetrator not be notified, or makes any similar request, the University will consider such request(s), and in general work to honor them. The Responsible Employee must still report the information to the designated officials, but also convey the individual’s desired request(s). The University will weigh such request against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct. If the University determines that it is able to honor the individual’s request(s), the individual should understand that the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and/or respond appropriately may be limited.

The University has designated the following individual(s) to evaluate an individual’s request for no or limited action by the University in connection with a report of sexual misconduct: the Title IX and Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s), in consultation with relevant administrators and University legal counsel, where appropriate.

Investigation

Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the University will respond promptly to investigate and provide interim measures where appropriate. Procedures after a report of sexual misconduct will follow the steps listed below depending on whether the respondent is a student or employee. Employees who are students may be subject to procedures for students or employees, or both, at the sole option of the University. Investigation of the alleged misconduct shall be conducted by the University Title IX Coordinator, or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Information for the investigation may be provided by the parties, witnesses identified by any party, or the University. The University may also consider information relating to prior complaints of misconduct known to the University. Information related to prior sexual history of the parties will be prohibited, except in very limited circumstances regarding prior sexual history between the parties where such information may be relevant to the issue of consent. However, consent will not be assumed based solely on evidence of any prior sexual history.  All investigators shall have the appropriate required and ongoing training on conducting sexual misconduct investigations, issues related to sexual misconduct and applicable University policies and procedures.

If the person identified as having engaged in sexual misconduct is not a student or employee of the University, the University shall take all appropriate measures to determine information regarding the individual, what occurred, whether another entity needs to be contacted to join in or assume an investigation (e.g. another institution of higher education), and to provide assistance in notifying the proper law enforcement authorities. The University will also provide interim and remedial measures, to the extent possible, to protect the reporting individual and eliminate any hostile environment. If upon investigation, it is determined that an individual is responsible for sexual misconduct and has a continuing relationship with the University, the University shall consider appropriate sanctions to prevent further harm and eliminate the hostile environment. In addition, the University reserves the right to investigate circumstances that may involve sexual misconduct in situations where no complaint, formal or informal, has been filed.

6.   Interim and Remedial Measures

Procedures for incidents involving students and employees will include providing appropriate and necessary interim measures pending the result of an investigation and remedial measures that will be long-term and continuous. Both interim and remedial measures are available to an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct, regardless of whether they move forward with their complaint. Interim and remedial measures may vary depending on the individual, the individual’s needs and the specific circumstances. These measures could include no contact orders; assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, and/or work situations; counseling services; victim advocacy services; and assistance in obtaining protective orders. Interim measures may also include suspension of the respondent pending completion of the investigation.

7. Summary of Rights of the Complainant and Respondent in Sexual Misconduct Procedures

The rights of the parties to a sexual misconduct proceeding include:

     (1) To be fully informed of University policies and procedures as well as the nature and extent of all alleged violations contained within the allegation.

     (2) To be treated with respect by University officials.

     (3) To have an advisor present during a University sexual misconduct proceeding, investigation meeting, or related meeting. The role of the advisor will be limited to being present only; they will not be allowed to speak during any University sexual misconduct proceeding, investigation meeting, or related meeting. If the advisor is an attorney, the attorney must notify the Vice President and General Counsel prior to being present at a University sexual misconduct proceeding. Attorneys may serve as an advisor but shall, like all such advisors, remain silent during such proceedings.

     (4) Adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation and appropriate resolution of all reports of sexual misconduct.

     (5) To be informed by the University of the option to notify proper law enforcement authorities including OCPD and local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying proper law enforcement, if the individual chooses.

     (6) To be notified of available counseling, mental health, academic, legal and other support services, both at the University and in the community.

     (7) To have allegations investigated by individuals who are properly trained to investigate and resolve allegations of sexual misconduct.

     (8) Equitable participation in the investigation and disciplinary process, including the opportunity to identify witnesses and other appropriate evidence.

     (9) To the use of the preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not) in determining responsibility.

     (10) The right to appeal as set forth in these procedures.

8. Procedures for Responding to Incidents Involving Allegations of Sexual Misconduct by or against Students

The University will promptly respond to all reports of sexual misconduct alleged against a University student following the procedures outlined in this policy. Allegations of sexual misconduct by students will be addressed by the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Code of Conduct (“Student Handbook”). Students may be charged according to specific code violations under the Student Handbook, which will reference the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Any individual reporting they have been a victim of sexual violence will be informed of how to, and provided assistance in, making a criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency. The pursuit of criminal charges may be in addition to, or instead of, pursuing cases through the University process.

Throughout the process, the parties will have equal opportunities to present information, have advisors present, and pursue an appeal, if applicable. The University will have as a priority, the interests of all parties involved, in regard to fairness, dignity, privacy, and due process.

The investigation and determination of responsibility will generally be concluded within 60 days of the report, absent special circumstances.

(1) Investigation: Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct by a victim/survivor (hereinafter referred to as “complainant”) or third party, the University will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate the incident. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with those requests, keeping in mind that the University must weigh such requests against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the complainant.

a. If sexual misconduct proceedings are initiated, the parties will be notified, and the student alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct (hereafter referred to as "respondent") will be provided a date by which an appointment must be made to discuss the matter. At such time, the respondent shall be informed of the allegations made against them and shall be provided the opportunity to respond.

b. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses identified as having information relevant to the allegations made, as well as the examination of written statements by the parties, relevant documents, and other relevant information. Information for the investigation may be provided by complainants, respondents, witnesses identified by any party, or the University. Any person believed to have information relevant to an investigation may be contacted and requested to make an appointment to discuss the matter.

c. Failure to comply with a request to make and/or keep an appointment relevant to an investigation may result in a disciplinary hold being placed on a student’s account and/or the initiation of charges for student conduct failure to comply.

d. All members of the University are expected to cooperate with the investigative process. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary measures pursuant to applicable University policy and procedure.

e. Upon completion of the investigation, the University will provide notice of all relevant charges and notice of next steps of the sexual misconduct process.

(2) Alternative Resolution Options:

a. In appropriate cases, the University may pursue alternative resolution with the consent of all parties at any point in the investigation process. Alternative resolution options may include, but are not limited to, mediation, development action plans, voluntary resolutions, and/or appropriate sanctions.

b. Under any alternative resolution, the complainant will not be required to resolve the problem directly with the respondent, unless desired by the complainant. All parties must be notified of the right to end the alternative resolution process at any time, and begin the formal process. Mediation may not be used in cases involving sexual violence. The Investigator shall document the outcome of any alternative resolution and share with the parties.

        (3) Acceptance of Responsibility Option:

a. In cases where facts are generally not in dispute, and the respondent expresses a willingness to accept responsibility for all charges in a case, with the consent of the complainant, the respondent will be offered the opportunity to waive the right to a formal hearing and all related procedural guarantees, and agree to receive a sanction from a designated official by whom charges were brought or by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing panel. In such situations, the parties will each be provided the opportunity to submit a written statement to the designated official or hearing panel for consideration in determining appropriate sanctions.

b. The designated official or hearing panel shall consider only the parties’ written statements regarding sanctions, the relevant facts from the investigation, and past conduct history of the respondent (if applicable). In such cases, the right to appeal will be limited to an appeal on the grounds that the sanction is grossly disproportionate to the violation(s) committed, in light of all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, and in consideration of applicable University guidelines. The parties may end this process, and seek full hearing, at any point prior to issuance of the sanction.

(4) Sexual Misconduct Hearing:

The respondent is required to attend the sexual misconduct hearing. The complainant has an equal right to attend the sexual misconduct hearing and participate to the same extent as the respondent, if he or she chooses. If either respondent or complainant is unavailable to participate in person based on significant travel or schedule restrictions, participation by other means may be made available.

a. Sexual Misconduct Hearing

i. A hearing panel will be assembled for the sexual misconduct hearing. The hearing panel will be composed of three staff or faculty members of the University. Hearing panel members will be drawn from the pool of staff and faculty members who have completed the University’s required annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and University policies and procedures. At a minimum, at least one panel member shall be a student affairs officer.

ii. The sexual misconduct hearing is closed. However, the complainant and respondent may each select one advisor of his/her choice and expense to accompany him/her at any point in the disciplinary process. Advisors are limited to an advisory role and may not participate or speak. Both parties will be afforded similar and timely access to view any information that will be used at the hearing.

b. Procedures for a Sexual Misconduct Hearing

i. The Chair of the panel shall review the Charge(s) made against the respondent and the specific facts alleged. The respondent may, but need not, respond to allegations.

ii. Both the complainant and the respondent will have equal opportunity to present oral and/or written evidence. The respondent may, but need not, respond to the allegations and evidence. Generally, the complainant and respondent shall not be in the hearing at the same time, unless each agrees in writing.

iii. No one other than the hearing panel members, the complainant, and the respondent may pose questions during the hearing. The complainant and respondent may not directly question each other, but may submit questions to the Chair, to be asked of the other party. The Chair or other panel members will review questions prior to posing to the other party to prevent questioning that is not permitted under these proceedings.

iv. If the respondent fails to appear at the sexual misconduct hearing, the hearing may proceed without his or her participation. The respondent may explain the failure to appear in writing to the University within two business days of the scheduled hearing. Written documentation supporting the cause of absence must be included. Within three business days after receiving the respondent's letter, the University will notify the respondent and the complainant whether the failure to appear was excused, and if so the hearing may be rescheduled. The failure to appear will only be excused due to extraordinary circumstances.

v. If the respondent failed to appear and such failure was not excused, the respondent's right to appeal the finding and any sanction(s) imposed will be automatically forfeited, and the outcome reached in absentia will go into effect.

c. Decision & Sanctions

i. At the conclusion of a hearing, the panel shall deliberate without the parties present to determine responsibility based on the evidence, and sanctions if applicable.

ii. If, after deliberations the hearing panel determines that the information available in the sexual misconduct hearing does not support by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the respondent is responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the hearing panel will notify both the respondent and the complainant by means of a written notice. The complainant and/or respondent may request an appeal.

iii. If, after deliberations, the hearing panel determines that the information available in the sexual misconduct hearing does support by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the respondent is responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the hearing panel will notify both the respondent and the complainant and will assign appropriate sanctions by means of a written notice. The respondent and/or the complainant may request an appeal.

iv. Possible sanctions for cases in which students are found in violation of the Student Handbook for acts of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to formal warnings, required behavioral assessment and/or counseling, required educational training, disciplinary probation, suspension, and/or permanent expulsion.

(5) Appeal: The respondent or the complainant may appeal the decision of the sexual misconduct hearing panel to a panel consisting of the Executive vice President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and the Vice President and Dean of Students. To initiate an appeal, the respondent or complainant must send written notice of appeal to the designated official. The written notice must include the basis for seeking the appeal and include information to support such basis (See Section 5b.)

a. Timing: The notice of appeal must be filed no later than five (5) calendar days after the date the written decision of the sexual misconduct hearing panel is sent. If no written request for an appeal is received by the University within the time specified, the request for an appeal will not be reviewed, any sanction(s) proposed by the hearing panel will be imposed, and the action will be final.

b. Basis for Appeal: The Vice President and Dean of Students will have the sole discretion in determining whether the basis for appeal has been met and whether the appeal can move forward. An appeal must be based on one of the following criteria:

i. Significant procedural error that reasonably would have affected the outcome of the student’s case.

ii. The sanction imposed is grossly disproportionate to the violation(s) committed, in light of all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, and in consideration of applicable University guidelines.

c. Decision and Sanction: If the basis for appeal has been met, the Vice President and Dean of Students will review the written appeal and the pertinent part of the sexual misconduct hearing panel record only. The Vice President and Dean of Students will not consider new evidence or information that is not a part of that record. The Vice President and Dean of Students must render a decision within ten (10) calendar days of receipt of the appeal and may take any of the following actions:

i. Affirm the original decision regarding responsibility.

ii. Affirm the original decision concerning the disciplinary sanction/s to be imposed.

iii. Set aside the original decision regarding responsibility and impose a new decision.

iv. Set aside the original decision regarding responsibility and order that a new sexual misconduct hearing be held before a new hearing panel.

v. Set aside the original decision concerning the disciplinary sanction/s to be imposed and impose a different sanction or set of sanctions.

d. The Vice President and Dean of Students or his/her designee is required to notify the respondent and the complainant, in writing, of his/her decision and will initiate the necessary procedures to effectuate the decision.

e. The decision of the Vice President and Dean of Students or his/her designee is final and there will be no further appeals.

(6) Notice: To the extent possible, the complainant and the respondent will be provided notice of the outcome of the sexual misconduct hearing, in person, with an accompanying written notice provided. In addition, the parties shall be provided, to the extent possible, simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the sexual misconduct hearing, the appeals process, and the appeal decision, if applicable. Written notice may be provided electronically through Oklahoma Christian University email accounts. In the event the appeal decision changes the results of the outcome of the sexual misconduct hearing, notice of such change shall be provided before those results are final, and include an explanation of when those results will become final.

NOTE: Just as students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in their classes, accommodations may be available for these procedures as well. Students with disabilities requesting accommodations and services under these procedures will need to present a current accommodation verification letter from the disability services office before accommodations can be considered and provided.

9. Definitions

For purposes of addressing complaints of sexual misconduct against or by University students and employees, the following uniform definitions shall be used by the University:

Advisor - means any person, who may assist, support, guide and advise the respondent or complainant during the investigation, conduct proceedings, and/or related meetings. Advisors are not permitted to actively participate or speak during the investigation, proceedings and related meetings. In certain circumstances where a party may be unable to speak on their own behalf, an advisor may present a statement prepared by the party. An attorney may be used as an advisor but must provide notice to the Vice President and General Counsel prior to being present as an advisor, regardless of whether the attorney is representing the party or is present in some other capacity.

Bodily injury - shall mean physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition.

Campus security authority (CSA) - a term used in the Clery Act to describe someone who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The Clery Act (34 CFR 668.46) defines a CSA as:

(1) A campus police department or a campus security department of an institution.

(2) Any individual or individuals who have responsibility for campus security but who do not constitute a campus police department or a campus security department such as an individual who is responsible for monitoring entrance into institutional property.

(3) Any individual or organization specified in an institution's statement of campus security policy as an individual or organization to which students and employees should report criminal offenses.

(4) An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings.

(5) Pastoral and professional counselors are not considered a campus security authority when acting in their roles as a pastoral or professional counselor.

Clery Act – refers to The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, (20 U.S.C. §1092(f)), a federal law that requires institutions such as Oklahoma Christian University to collect and publish statistics for certain crimes reported to have occurred on OC’s “Clery Geography” (i.e., occurring on campus, on public property within or immediately adjacent to campus, and on other noncampus OC property), for the purpose of informing current and prospective students and employees. Oklahoma Christian publishes an Annual Security Report under the Clery Act, which contains these crime statistics as well as campus specific information on resources, campus emergency responses, safety and security policies, and disciplinary procedures. These crime statistics include, but are not limited to, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Clery also requires “timely warnings” be issued to the campus community for crimes occurring on Clery Geography that are considered a serious or continuing threat to students or employees. Under Clery, any good-faith report of a crime occurring on Clery Geography must be included in the statistical data.

Complainant - refers to a member of the University community who brings a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy.

Confidential Employees - certain University employees – based on their own professional licensure and the nature of their role on campus – are available to speak with individuals about incidents of sexual misconduct and maintain the individual’s desire for anonymity and absolute confidentiality. These confidential employees are exempt from the reporting requirements that apply to responsible employees. Individuals who desire anonymity in seeking assistance about sexual misconduct should be referred to a confidential employee.

The University’s confidential employees include:

(1) Licensed, professional mental health counselors working in that capacity, and those they supervise;

(2) Health care professionals and staff located in an on-campus health care center; and

(3) Oklahoma Christian University’s Campus Minister.

Consent – is expressed through affirmative, voluntary words or actions mutually understandable to all parties involved:

(1) Consent is given for a specific sexual act at a specific time and can be withdrawn at any time.

(2) Consent cannot be coerced or compelled by duress, threat, or force.

(3) Consent cannot be given by someone who, for any reason, cannot understand the facts, nature, extent, or implications of the sexual situation occurring, including, but not limited to, those who are under the legal age of consent, asleep, unconscious, mentally or physically impaired through the effects of drugs or alcohol, or mentally impaired due to an intellectual or other disability.

(4) Consent cannot be assumed based on silence, the absence of “no” or “stop”, the existence of a prior or current relationship, or prior sexual activity.

Dating violence - violence committed by any person who is or has been in a relationship of a romantic or intimate nature. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interactions between the persons involved in the relationship. (See 42 U.S.C. 13925(a))

Domestic violence - includes conduct that is an element of an offense under either 21 Okla. Stat §§641-642, occurring in the context of a domestic relationship as further described herein. Domestic Violence occurs under this policy if the conduct is an element of assault or battery and perpetrated by one party against another party who:

(1) is or was a spouse of;

(2) is or was living as if a spouse of;

(3) has a child in common with;

(4) is a minor subject to the control of; or

(5) is an incapacitated individual under the guardianship or otherwise subject to the control of the other person regardless of whether the act or threat has been reported to a law enforcement agency or results in a criminal prosecution.

Employee – this term shall be synonymous with and include all employees working for Oklahoma Christian University – academic employees, including faculty, and staff, including full-time, part-time, and temporary (hourly) employees working on behalf of the University.

Finding of Responsibility - means that it is more likely than not that the Respondent has committed one or more acts of sexual misconduct. A preponderance of the evidence standard must be used when determining responsibility for sexual misconduct.

Force or threat of force - (a) the use of physical force which overcomes the person’s resistance or (b) the threat of physical force, express or implied, against the person or a third party that places the person in fear of death or in fear of serious personal injury to the person or a third party where the person reasonably believes that the actor has the present or future ability to execute the threat.

Hostile environment - when conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to limit or deny a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or affects employment.

Oklahoma Christian University Property – buildings, grounds, and land that are owned by Oklahoma Christian University or controlled by Oklahoma Christian University via leases or other formal contractual arrangements to house ongoing OC operations.

Interim and Remedial Measures - procedures for incidents involving students and employees will include providing appropriate and necessary interim measures pending the result of an investigation and remedial measures that will be long-term and continuous. Both interim and remedial measures are available to an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct, regardless of whether they move forward with their complaint. Interim and remedial measures may vary depending on the individual’s needs and the specific circumstances surrounding the complaint. These measures could include no contact orders, assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, and/or work situations; counseling services; victim advocacy services; and assistance in obtaining protective orders. Interim measures may also include suspension of the respondent pending completion of the investigation.

Investigator - a University official authorized to investigate reports of sexual misconduct under the procedures outlined in this policy. Typically the investigator is a trained Title IX Deputy Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator.

Notice - To the extent possible, the parties shall be provided simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the sexual misconduct proceeding, the appeals process, and the appeal decision, if applicable. Written notice may be provided electronically through Oklahoma Christian University email accounts.

Member of the University community - includes any individual who is a student, staff, faculty member, University official, trustee, or any other individual employed by, contracted, or acting on behalf of, the University. An individual’s status in a particular situation shall be determined by the Investigator or Title IX Coordinator.

Rape - 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.

Respondent - is any member of the University community alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct as defined in this policy.

Responsible Employee - Pursuant to Title IX, a “Responsible Employee” includes those University employees who have the authority to redress sexual misconduct, who have the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

The University’s responsible employees include, but are not limited to:

(1) All professors and instructors, including full-time professors, adjuncts, lecturers, teaching assistants (TAs), and any others who offer classroom instruction or office hours to students;

(2) All advisors;

(3) All full-time coaches, and other athletic staff that interact directly with students;

(4) All full-time student affairs officers and administrators;

(5) All full-time residential hall staff;

(6) All employees who work in offices that interface with students; and

(7) All supervisors and University officials.

Retaliation - Protections against retaliation are critical to reducing the prevalence of sexual misconduct within the University community. Retaliation against anyone who has reported an incident of sexual misconduct, provided information, or participated in procedures or an investigation into a report of sexual misconduct, is prohibited by the University and will not be tolerated. Acts of retaliation include intimidation, threats, and/or harassment, whether physical or communicated verbally or via written communication (including the use of e-mail, texts and social media), as well as adverse changes in work or academic environments or other adverse actions or threats. The University will take steps to prevent retaliation, and will impose sanctions on anyone or any group who is found to have engaged in retaliation in violation of this policy. Concerns about potential retaliation in connection with a report of sexual misconduct should be reported to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the University Title IX Coordinator.

Sexual assault - is committed when an individual subjects another person to sexual penetration (i) without the consent of the person, (ii) when the individual knew or should have known that the other person was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or appreciating the nature of the other person’s own conduct, (iii) or when the other person is less than sixteen years of age.

Sexual assault is also committed when an individual touches another person for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification of either party (i) without consent of the person, or (ii) when the actor knew or should have known that the person was physically or mentally incapable of resisting or appraising the nature of the person’s own conduct, (iii) or when the person is less than sixteen years of age.

Sexual exploitation – conduct or manner that extends the bounds of consensual sexual activity with or without the knowledge of the other individual for any purpose, including sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Examples of sexual exploitation include but are not limited to:

(1) Non-consensual streaming, audio- or video-recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images without consent of all parties involved;

(2) Allowing others to view sexual acts (whether in person or via a video camera or other recording device) without the consent of all parties involved;

(3) Engaging in any form of voyeurism (e.g., “peeping”);

(4) Compelling another individual to touch his or her own or another person’s (third party) intimate parts without consent;

(5) Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without that individual’s knowledge; and

(6) Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

Sexual harassment - Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct or behavior of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment includes sexual violence. Both violent and non-violent sexual harassment is prohibited. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, nonverbal, written, electronic (e.g. by e-mail, text, social media, etc.), or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment occurs when:

(1) submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a condition of an individual’s employment or academic standing or is used as the basis for employment decisions or for academic evaluation, grades, or advancement (quid pro quo), or when

(2) such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent to limit or deny a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or affects employment, creating a hostile environment.

Sexual misconduct - includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, sexual exploitation and stalking. For purposes of this policy, unlawful sex or gender based discrimination is considered sexual misconduct.

Sexual violence - refers to physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to use of drugs or alcohol, or due to an intellectual or other disability. Sexual violence includes rape and sexual assault.

Stalking - a knowing or an intentional course of conduct involving repeated or continuing harassment of another person that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened and that actually causes the victim to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, or threatened.

Student - includes all individuals taking courses at the University, whether full-time or part-time, pursuing undergraduate, graduate, or professional studies, whether or not they reside in the University residence halls. Individuals who withdraw after having allegedly committed sexual misconduct, or who are not officially enrolled for a particular term, but who have an expected continued academic relationship with the University, may be considered “students.”

Student Affairs Officer - individuals authorized by the University to be responsible for the administration of the Student Handbook, and in certain circumstances includes his or her designee.

Title VII - refers to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. section 2000e), which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.

Title IX - refers to the portion of the federal Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. section 1681-1688), which provides in part that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance”.

Title IX Coordinator - the individual designated by the University to coordinate University’s compliance with Title IX and respond to allegations of sexual misconduct by members of the University community. In some circumstances this can include his or her designee.

University - means Oklahoma Christian University, and any of its subsidiary corporations or associations.

10. Important Contact Information1

OC Title IX Coordinator

Ms. Tamie Willis

Oklahoma Christian University

PO Box 11000

Oklahoma City, OK 73136-1100

e-Mail: tamie.willis@oc.edu

(405) 425-5320

Office for Civil Rights

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights

Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building

400 Maryland Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20202-1100

Telephone: 800-421-3481

FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 800-877-8339

Email: OCR@ed.gov

Website: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html

Oklahoma Christian University Sexual Misconduct Policy is referenced in the 2015-2016 Student Handbook located @oc.edu.