Sexual Harassment Policy

The seminary community will not tolerate sexual harassment, and is committed to providing and preserving an atmosphere free from harassment in any form.

Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s admission, evaluation, graduation or other aspects of academic progress, or employment, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as a basis for academic or employment decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive academic or working environment.

This policy covers all full- and part-time students on all campuses and teaching sites, as well as extension students. Anyone who experiences harassment in the classroom or on the job should seek the assistance of the Dean of Student Development. (Please note: A corresponding policy relating to seminary employees may be found in the seminary employee’s handbook.)

Investigating Complaints: Our Policy

A sincere attempt will be made to thoroughly investigate all complaints and to assure preservation of the reputation and integrity of the involved individuals. Names of individuals involved, the facts of an investigation or any written information regarding an investigation will be kept confidential except to those actually involved in the investigation in order to protect the accuser from retribution and the accused against false accusation.

If informal efforts are unsuccessful, formal procedures exist which allow both parties an opportunity to pursue a resolution. Complainants have the opportunity to pursue their allegations without fear of retribution and to seek relief from proven sexual harassment. Alleged offenders will have the opportunity to defend themselves and clear themselves of the complaint. Proven offenders will have the opportunity to make amends, based on an increased awareness of the effect of their behavior. Appropriate counseling may be made available to the proven offender and/or disciplinary action or dismissal consistent with the degree of seriousness of the sexual harassment will be taken.

Any individual will have up to 60 days after the alleged occurrence(s) to file a complaint. It must be recognized, however, that a lengthy period of time between an alleged occurrence(s) and an investigation may make fact finding extremely difficult or impossible.

Investigating Complaints: Our Process

The process for investigating a complaint of sexual harassment shall be as follows:

a. The complaint shall be reported to the Dean of Student Development or his/her representative. If the complaint is able to be resolved at this level to the satisfaction of the parties involved, a report shall be filed with the Academic Dean so that the seminary will be aware of any pattern of harassment by a particular individual and also be aware of all complaints of sexual harassment. The report should detail the complaint and its resolution.

b. If the complaint cannot be resolved informally, the Dean of Student Development must file a report within ten working days to the Sexual Harassment Committee, which will be formed to investigate and resolve the complaint. This committee will include a faculty member appointed by the Academic Dean, a student chosen by the Dean of Student Development, and the Director of Human Resources. In pursuing the investigation, the committee shall take the following steps:

Confirm the name and position of the parties involved;

Thoroughly ascertain all facts, asking questions in a nonjudgmental manner to determine the type of alleged harassment, the date(s) and location where it occurred, and if there were any witnesses who observed the alleged harassment;

Communicate its findings and its intended actions to the Academic Dean and those involved in the alleged harassment.

c. The investigation shall begin within fifteen working days from the time the complaint was referred to the committee. The committee shall report its decision within 30 working days from the time the complaint was referred to the committee.

The decision of the investigating committee may be appealed to the President and/or the Board of Trustees. This appeal must be filed within 30 days of the decision of the investigating committee.

It is the policy of the seminary to enforce Title IX of the Federal Legal Code and to create an academic and employment environment free of sexual harassment.

Student Handbook