WTS – Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, etc.
WALTHER THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY POLICY
PROHIBITING SEXUAL HARASSMENT, SEXUAL DISCRIMINATION,
SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND GENDER-BASED DISCRIMINATION
I. POLICY STATEMENT
Walther Theological Seminary (“WTS”) is committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment in which students, employees and other members of the seminary community can pursue their education and work free from the detrimental effects of sexual misconduct and sexual violence, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Such actions, in any form, are prohibited and will not be excused or tolerated. Therefore, the Seminary seeks to educate students and employees about these issues and to provide a means of recourse should a member of the seminary community believe he or she has been the victim of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct. When brought to the attention of the Seminary, such actions will be appropriately responded to according to the procedures outlined in this policy.
Further, as a Seminary that seeks to glorify God in every way, we seek to obey all of the teachings of the Bible on all issues, including human sexuality. All of those Biblical principles are incorporated into this policy even though not all of them are set forth word for word herein. The Seminary deeply holds to the following religious beliefs: That sexual immorality as defined in the Bible is sin and should be fled from by all persons associated with the Seminary. Sexual intimacy of any kind must be exclusively reserved for a marriage relationship where mutual love exists. We believe that the marriage relationship is defined by God as a lifelong committed and loving relationship between one woman and one man. All other sexual intimacy outside of such a marriage relationship is sin. While avoiding sexual sin is the primary goal of this policy, the Seminary acknowledges that no person associated with the Seminary is without sin and that at some times and in some situations sexual contact may occur outside of the Biblically accepted standards. This policy addresses these situations.
This policy strives to ensure that the Seminary campus community is knowledgeable about:
• Procedures survivors should follow if sexual misconduct and sexual violence has occurred;
• How to report such offenses;
• Definitions of behaviors that constitute sexual misconduct, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking;
• Ways to prevent or reduce the incidence of these behaviors;
• Disciplinary procedures for and potential consequences of engaging in such acts.
II. SCOPE OF POLICY
This policy prohibits all forms of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, relationship violence and stalking. The policy applies to all members of the seminary community, including students, faculty, staff, administrators, employees, board members, vendors, consultants and visitors.
III. PROHIBITED CONDUCT
WTS will not tolerate any form of sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, gender-based discrimination or stalking. Based on scripture and Biblical principles, however, Walther Theological Seminary does reserve the right to only admit men into its Master of Divinity Program.
- Sexual discrimination means:
- Discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation or gender-related identity.
- Sexual discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual misconduct and sexual violence.
- Sexual harassment means:
- Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which denies or limits, on the basis of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation, a student’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities in the Seminary’s programs or activities.
- Sexual harassment includes any unwelcome sexual advance or requests for sexual favors or any conduct of a sexual nature when:
- submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of employment or education, or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or learning performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s work or learning performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or learning environment.
- Sexual Misconduct includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual violence, and sexually based stalking.
- Sexual Violence: Physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent, due to the person’s age, use of drugs or alcohol, or because an intellectual or other disability prevents the person from having the capacity to give consent. Sexual violence includes, but is not limited to, rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual abuse and sexual coercion.
- Domestic Violence: A violent misdemeanor or felony committed by the victim’s current or former spouse or intimate partner, current or former cohabitant, or by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common.
- Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.
- Gender-Based Discrimination: Discrimination based on a person’s gender or sex, including identity; transgender or sexual orientation.
- Stalking: A course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for her, his, or others’ safety, or to suffer substantial emotional distress.
- Consent: At a minimum, recognizes that (i) consent is a freely given agreement to sexual activity, (ii) a person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent, (iii) a person’s manner of dress does not constitute consent, (iv) a person’s consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual activity, (v) a person’s consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another, (vi) a person can withdraw consent at any time, and (vii) a person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including without limitation the following:
- The person is incapacitated due to the use of influence of alcohol or drugs;
- The person is asleep or unconscious;
- The person is under age; or
- The person is incapacitated due to mental disability.
10. Confidential advisor means a person who is employed or contracted by the Seminary to provide emergency and ongoing support to student survivors of sexual violence with the training, duties, and responsibilities described at 11O ILCS 155/20. The Confidential Advisor for the Walter Theological Seminary is:
Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center
270 W. Prairie Avenue
Email: cbyers@ growingstrongcenter.org.
V. STEPS A SURVIVOR SHOULD TAKE FOLLOWING AN INCIDENT OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND/OR SEXUAL VIOLENCE
If you are the survivor of sexual misconduct and/or sexual violence, help is available on the Seminary campus and in the Decatur, Illinois community.
The Seminary provides education and prevention resources, offers various support services and referrals for anyone who has experienced unlawful sexual misconduct or sexual violence, encourages and facilitates reporting, and is committed to disciplining anyone whom Seminary procedure determines has violated this policy.
If you have been sexually assaulted, it is important to receive the necessary support for your safety and health. It is always your choice about who you want to tell and what you want to do; however, there are some recommended steps a person can take that can be beneficial for you.
• Find a safe environment. Remove yourself from your attacker as soon as possible. Contact a person you trust and ask this person to come get you or go to their location. Ask this person to remain with you as support while you decide your next action.
• If you have experienced any sexual misconduct or sexual violence, you are encouraged to report the incident and to seek medical care and support as soon as possible. Seek medical attention immediately from a hospital or another health care provider. Going to the hospital or other medical facility does not mean that you will need to make a police report; however, you will be given that opportunity. Try to preserve all physical evidence. This means do not bathe, shower, use the toilet, or change clothing if at all possible. If you must remove your clothing, place your clothing in a paper bag to prevent deterioration of evidence. A rape crisis advocate can be called to help you through this process at the hospital. Medical and follow up care are advised whether or not you report the assault. Even if you do not see any visible injuries, it is important to seek medical attention to make sure you have not sustained any internal injuries.
• If you suspect you have been drugged, go to your nearest emergency medical facility. It is extremely important for your safety and for collecting forensic (crime-solving) evidence. Again, even if you have forensic (crime-solving) evidence collected, it remains your choice regarding how you wish to proceed.
• For emergencies, call 911. If you have been assaulted on the Seminary campus, you can also call the Administrative Offices at 217-877-2446.
• If you are not sure if you would like to proceed with formal action, i.e., filing a police report or reporting it to the Seminary, there are informal support options available at WTS. Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center, 217-428-0770, is a resource where you can talk confidentially about what happened and learn about available resources to support you. For more information about steps to take after being sexually assaulted, you can also review the following brochure from the Illinois Coalition on Sexual Assault: http://www.icasa.org/docs/brochures/after sexual assault 2013.pdf
VI. WHERE CAN A SURVIVOR SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION?
Whether you choose to file a report, it is important that you obtain medical treatment following a sexual assault. It is important that you be examined for any possible injuries, visible or not visible. Also a hospital exam to collect evidence for potential criminal prosecution should be done as soon as possible after an assault. This exam can only be performed at a hospital emergency room. Having the exam keeps your options open. If a police report is filed, there should be no cost to you for services you receive at the emergency room. There are two local Decatur, Illinois hospitals where you can go:
• DECATUR MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
2300 North Edward Street
Decatur, IL 62526
• HSHS ST. MARY’S HOSPITAL
1800 East Lake Shore Drive
Decatur, IL 62521
VII. HOW CAN SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE BE REPORTED?
The Seminary urges anyone who has experienced sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking to seek support as soon as possible to minimize and treat physical and emotional harm and to understand options for pressing charges. Various options exist for reporting these offenses, as described below.
• On-Campus, Confidential Reporting Options: To confidentially report an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual violence on-campus, please contact one of the resources listed below. Confidential reporting means the individual reporting the incident would like the details to be kept confidential and except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or in case of abuse or neglect of a minor, the representatives listed below will do so. These representatives will, however, submit anonymous statistical information to allow the Seminary to fulfill reporting requirements of 110 ILCS 205/9.21(6).
• CONFIDENTIAL IN-PERSON REPORTING: (NOTE: Reporting to any one of the following resources maintains the confidential nature of your report until and unless you say otherwise.)
Please contact one of the following:
1) For emergency medical services:
Decatur Memorial Hospital HSHS St. Mary’s Hospital
2300 North Edward Street 1800 East Lake Shore Drive
Decatur, IL 62526 Decatur, IL 62521
Phone: 217-876-8121 Phone: 217-464-2966
2) For 24 hour services:
Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center
270 West Prairie Avenue
Decatur, IL 62523
24 Hour Hotline Number: 217-428-0770
3) For non-emergency services (to discuss your situation confidentially with a Seminary Officer):
Please contact the Vice President of Academic Affairs at 217-877-2446.
• ELECTRONIC REPORTING:
• Incidents can be reported electronically online at the Seminary website or by email addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Incidents reported electronically are confidential, may be done anonymously, and may be submitted by the victim, a third-party, or by-stander. Within 12 hours of receiving an electronic report, IF THE PERSON REPORTING PROVIDES HIS/HER CONTACT INFORMATION, the Seminary will respond to the electronic reporter with information about available resources.
• Off-Campus Reporting Options of Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Violence in Decatur, Illinois:
Macon County Sheriff’s Department, 217-424-1321
Decatur Police Department, 217-424-2711
• Complete the Online Sexual Assault Report, which can be accessed on the Seminary’s website at www.waltherseminary.org (your information will be sent only to the Seminary Confidential Advisor).
VIII. WHAT ARE THE RIGHTS OF SURVIVORS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE?
• A survivor has the right to concise information, written in plain language, concerning the survivor’s rights and options.
• The survivor will be informed of the Seminary’s policy, procedures, disciplinary process and possible outcomes.
• The Seminary will inform the survivor of available counseling services, medical services, mental health services, and other resources available.
Survivors have the right to, but are not required to report a sexual assault to local law enforcement by calling 911 or the Macon County Sheriff’s Department (217-424-1321) or the Decatur Police Department (217-424-2711). Calling law enforcement will not prevent the Seminary from pursuing disciplinary action.
To ensure the safety and well-being of the survivor, he or she may request interim remedies after an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual violence occurs, which could include providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between the parties, offering adjustments to academic deadlines and/or course schedules, altering work arrangements for employees, etc.
Survivors have the right to have an advisor of their choice throughout the investigation and disciplinary process, including at related meetings and hearings.
A survivor can request a campus “no-contact order,” which prohibits the accused student or employee from having contact of any kind (including electronic contact or contact from third parties acting on the accused’s behalf). Contact the Seminary office for more information.
Survivors can also request a civil Order of Protection or No-Contact Order issued by the court. In Decatur, Illinois, assistance in filling out related paperwork is available from the Macon County Circuit Clerk (217-424-1454) located at 253 East Wood Street, Decatur, Illinois 62523. Survivors may also contact Dove Inc. (217-423-2238), located at 302 S. Union, Decatur, Illinois.
The survivor is afforded the right to be updated on the investigation and to be informed of the outcome of disciplinary proceedings.
IX. WHAT ARE THE PROCEDURES FOR COMPLAINT RESOLUTION AND DISCIPLINE?
When a report of sexual misconduct and/or sexual violence is made to the Seminary, the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center will be available to respond and assist the survivor in accessing and navigating health care, safety, and support options available on and off campus.
Any person who experiences conduct that he or she believes violates the Seminary’s policy on sexual misconduct and sexual violence is encouraged to report that conduct to the Vice President of Academic Affairs or any member of the Board of Trustees. The person is also encouraged to make a report to the police for legal action. Both of these processes can happen simultaneously. For the purposes of this process, the person who reports an act of sexual misconduct or sexual violence is called “the accuser”. The person who is accused of committing sexual misconduct or sexual violence is called the “the accused.” Both the accuser and the accused are encouraged to participate in the investigation and decision process.
The Seminary’s procedures seek to ensure prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution. Procedures will be conducted by Seminary officials who receive annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and sexual violence, as well as on conducting a hearing process that protects survivor safety and promotes accountability.
The Standard of Evidence used in the decision of cases of sexual misconduct or sexual violence will be by a “preponderance of the evidence.” Possible sanctions if a student or employee is found responsible for a violation of this policy include the full range of disciplinary sanctions available at the Seminary, up to and including suspension and expulsion for students or termination of employment for employees. The same procedure will apply to all students at the Seminary.
Any student who reports, in good faith, an incident of sexual misconduct and sexual violence will not receive any disciplinary sanction by the Seminary for a student conduct violation, that is revealed in the course of such a report, unless the Seminary determines that the violation was blatant, including, without limitation, an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk.
Before the process of investigation starts:
• The Vice President of Academic Affairs will meet SEPARATELY with both the accuser and the accused. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will explain the process and will also serve as a resource for any questions or concerns.
• The Vice President of Academic Affairs will issue a campus no-contact order between the accuser and the accused if one is not already in place. This helps ensure the integrity and privacy of the process.
• The Vice President of Academic Affairs will make available additional protective measures to increase the accuser’s safety and well-being on campus, which may include, among other measures, providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between the parties, offering adjustments to academic deadlines and/or course schedules.
• The student will be advised that the Seminary may not compel him or her to testify in the presence of the accused.
Both the accuser and the accused have the right to an advisor of their choosing who can be present with them for all parts of the process, including any meeting with campus officials, and with the investigators. The advisor can speak to their advisee at any time during the process but cannot speak directly to the investigators.
• If the accuser reports an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual violence but does not wish to participate in the investigation and determination process, the situation will be reviewed by the Vice President of Academic Affairs. He or she shall then determine whether there is sufficient information to proceed with an investigation and determination without the participation of the accuser, and also whether there is evidence of a risk to the larger campus community such that a timely warning to the campus should be issued. The Seminary will not compel the accuser to testify in the presence of the accused.
• If the accused does not wish to participate in the investigation and determination process, the process may proceed without his or her contribution to the determination of the facts of the case. The accused should note that the appeal process based on appearance of new information not available to the investigators does not apply in cases of deliberate omission of information by the person making the appeal, including refusal by the person making the appeal to participate in the investigation.
• The Vice President of Academic Affairs will convene an investigative team consisting of two individuals, one male and one female, who do not have a bias or other conflict of interest with the accuser or accused. All individuals appointed to serve as investigators shall have participated in annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and sexual violence. The student shall receive notice of which individuals will investigate and resolve the complaint in sufficient time to request a substitution, in the event a conflict of interest exists. Within 10 business days, the investigative team will take primary statements from the accuser and the accused, ask follow up questions, and reach out to and collect statements from others who have evidence/information relevant to the incident. The accuser and the accused may each suggest questions to the investigative team to be asked of others, and may also suggest others that the investigative team should speak with. Final decisions about whom to talk with and what to ask will be made by the investigators. To the fullest extent possible, all individuals (over which the Seminary has authority) contacted by the investigators will be required to maintain the confidentiality of the investigation. All persons over whom the Seminary has no authority will be strongly requested to maintain the confidentiality of the investigation. The investigators will also collect any additional evidence available, such as health care records, if any, with permission of the student, and previous disciplinary records, if any.
• Using the information gathered by the investigators and in consultation with them, the Vice President of Academic Affairs will prepare a formal report consisting of a description of the incident, the response of the accused, the investigator findings, and a recommendation of the appropriate action(s) to be taken. The report will be submitted to the President of the Seminary. If the Report involves the President it shall be submitted to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
• The President will review the report and he or she will make the decision about whether there has been a violation of this policy. He or she may: 1) accept the report and recommendations as presented; or 2) request additional information/clarification from the investigative team and consider a modified report, as appropriate;
• After consideration of the final report, the President will make a final determination regarding the report. The President will prepare a formal decision to be provided in writing and sent simultaneously to the accuser and the accused, which will include a summary of the investigation findings and a communication of any action to be taken.
• The same procedure shall apply if the President of the Seminary is the accused, but the Chairman of the Board of Trustees shall make the appropriate determination.
• Both parties have the right to request an appeal of the decision made by the President or the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. The right to appeal is limited to (a) significant procedural lapses or (b) the appearance of substantive new evidence not available at the time of the original decision. (Note that deliberate omission of information by the appealing party in the original investigation is not grounds for appeal.) Each party has 7 business days following the receipt of the written decision to indicate their intention to appeal. Requests for appeal, with reasons, should be sent in writing to the President’s Office. Upon an appeal, the Board of Trustees will be provided with all relevant documents and they will decide the appeal, by a majority vote, with the President abstaining. The Board of Trustees may uphold the prior findings and recommendation(s) or may determine a different response.
• The results of any appeal will be communicated simultaneously and in writing to the accuser, the accused, and the President of the Seminary by the Vice President of Academic Affairs within 7 days after the conclusion of the appeal of findings or sanctions.
• During the process described above, or at any time thereafter, retaliation of any kind against the person reporting sexual misconduct or assault or against any person participating in the investigation is strictly prohibited. Any retaliation will be treated as a new and additional violation of this policy.
In recommending or determining a sanction for student violators, the applicable decision maker(s) will consider all relevant factors, including the nature of the offense, the severity of any damage, injury or harm resulting from the offense, the student’s current demeanor, and the student’s past disciplinary record, if any.
The following are sanctions which may be imposed for a violation of the policy.
1. Expulsion – Permanent separation from the institution. The student will be barred from Seminary property.
2. Suspension – Separation of the student from the Seminary for a specified period of time. The student will not participate in Seminary sponsored activities and will be barred from Seminary property, unless otherwise specified.
3. Deferred Suspension – A specified period of time during which a student’s continued enrollment at the Seminary is clearly in jeopardy. Should the Seminary find a student in violation of this policy of deferred suspension the Seminary will automatically consider imposing a lengthy suspension or an expulsion from the Seminary.
4. Housing Removal – Removal of the student from Seminary housing for a specified time, or permanently.
5. Disciplinary Probation – A specified period of time during which the student is removed from good standing. The student may be precluded from representing the Seminary in any extracurricular activity or running for or holding office in any student group or organization.
6. Disciplinary Censure – A specified period of time during which any further violation of this policy will likely subject the student to more severe disciplinary action.
7. Disciplinary Reprimand – A written warning to the student that the cited behavior is not acceptable by Seminary standards. The student is warned that further misconduct may result in more severe disciplinary action.
8. Other Sanctions – Other sanctions may be imposed instead of or in addition to those specified above, including, but not limited to, the following: community service, educational or research projects, mandated counseling or therapy, loss of specified privileges, or loss of institutional financial aid. The imposition of such sanctions must be related to the nature of the violation.
XI. PURSUING CRIMINAL CHARGES
Every victim of sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking maintains the personal right to file criminal charges with the appropriate local law enforcement agency in addition to filling an incident report with the Seminary. The Seminary will reasonably assist students in such filings when requested. For more information about pursuing a criminal charge, individuals may call the Decatur Police Department (217-424-2711), Macon County Sheriff’s Department (217-424-1321), Growing Strong Sexual Assault Center (217-428-0770), or Dove Inc. (217-423-2238).
XII. AMNESTY POLICY FOR REPORTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT
The Seminary encourages reporting of sexual misconduct and seeks to remove any barrier for reporting parties. The Seminary recognizes that an individual who has been drinking or using drugs at the time of the incident may be hesitant to make a report because of potential consequences for their own conduct. Any student who reports sexual misconduct, either as a victim or witness, will not be subject to student conduct action by the Seminary for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs during the incident, so long as the consumption did not result in harm to others or the community at large. The Seminary does, however, reserve the right to engage in developmental and educational practices in relation to alcohol/drug education with involved parties..
XIII. TRAINING AND PREVENTION
The Seminary will take appropriate, periodic measures to educate and train employees and students regarding this policy, conduct that could violate the policy, resources, risk reduction strategies and bystander intervention tactics. All students, faculty, administrative, and supervisory personnel are required to participate in such education and training. In addition, all responsible persons and confidential counselors will be educated and trained on the Seminary’s policy and on how to handle reports and/or complaints and what to do to help victims of sexual violence. All individuals responsible for investigating complaints will be trained on issues related to sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and all applicable laws. Individuals who resolve complaints must receive eight to ten hours of additional annual training, including training on how to resolve complaints. All training programs shall be in conformity with the requirements of 110 ILCS 155/30(b)-(c).
XIV. REGIONAL TASK FORCE
The Seminary and its representatives shall participate in a Regional Task Force, in conformity with the requirements of 110 ILCS 12/10(b).