Title IX - Evangel University

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Title IX

Evangel University cares deeply for and is committed to the safety and well-being of each of our students. As members of the community, students agree to live within certain spiritual and behavioral expectations, as identified in the Community Covenant.  As a University, we work to maintain a safe and healthy environment for all students.  One important part of this commitment is a comprehensive Sexual Misconduct Policy  In this section, you will find information about sexual misconduct, how Title IX reports are handled at Evangel, as well as our commitments to you.

We view our care for all students and members of our community as a sacred trust. All reports of sexual misconduct are taken seriously, guided by policy, in accordance with Title IX federal regulations. When any student reports a violation, he or she is offered protective and other remedial measures with the goal of ensuring the student’s safety and well-being, while also ensuring that the reported behavior ends and is not repeated. Students are informed of their right to make a police report and are fully supported in doing so. We work closely with reporting and responding students to conduct a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation to determine alleged policy violations and then issue appropriate sanctions, up to and including dismissal, according to our policies and the law.

Beyond the measures we take after sexual harm has occurred, we also have a strong commitment to proactive educational programs and activities.  We must all be involved in building a culture of prevention and respect on campus.

If you have experienced a sexual assault

  1. Go to a safe location as soon as you are able.
  2. Seek immediate medical attention if you are injured, or believe you may have been exposed to an STI/STD or potential pregnancy.
  3. Contact any of the following for immediate assistance:
    • Title IX Coordinator 417-865-2815, x7316. Regular business hours, M–F
    • Campus Public Safety, 417-575-8911, 24 hours/7 days a week
    • Campus Health Services, 417-865-2815, x7280. Regular business hours, M–F *
    • Campus Counseling Center, 417-865-2815, x7222. Regular business hours, M–F *
    • Community Life Office, 417-865-2815, x7317. Regular business hours, M–F
    • Campus Pastor, 417-865-2815, x7305. Regular business hours, M–F *
    • The Victim’s Center, 417-863-7273 or 417-864-7233 (24/7 rape crisis line).* The Center will provide a victim’s advocate (and go to a hospital, at the request of the victim) and a number of additional resources.

*Denotes that this resource is confidential.

Note that campus public safety officers may contact on-call staff from these departments when their offices are closed or they are otherwise unavailable to assist immediately.

If you are off-campus and experiencing an emergency, call local police by dialing 911

  1. It is important to preserve physical evidence that may include tissue and fluid samples, evidence of violence, sheets, towels, clothing, etc. You may choose to avoid washing, bathing, urinating, etc., until after being examined at a local hospital, if possible. All local hospitals provide sexual assault exams for victims
    • Cox South: 3801 S. National Ave., Springfield, MO, 417-269-6000
    • Cox North: 1423 N. Jefferson, Springfield, MO, 417-269-3000
    • Mercy: 1235 E Cherokee St, Springfield, MO, 417-820-2000

Because evidence of a sexual assault can deteriorate quickly, you may choose to seek a medical exam as soon as possible. Evidence collection should be completed within 120 hours of an assault, but fluids, hair samples, and DNA can be collected for a long time thereafter. Even if you have washed, evidence can often still be obtained. After 120 hours, it may still he helpful to have medical attention, even if you are not trying to obtain evidence of an assault. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) are trained in the collection of forensic evidence, and can check for injuries and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases. If you are still wearing any clothes worn during the assault, wear them to the hospital, but bring a change of clothes, as the hospital will keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. If you have changed clothes, bring the ones you were wearing during the assault to the hospital in a clean paper (not plastic) bag or a wrapped in a clean sheet. Leave sheets/towels at the scene of the assault. Police will collect them. Typically, police will be called to the hospital to take custody of the rape kit, but it is up to you whether you wish to speak with them or file a criminal complaint.

  1. Choose how to proceed. You have options, and are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator or a confidential resource (listed above) to discuss your options: 1) Do nothing until you are ready; 2) Pursue resolution by the University; 3) Initiate criminal proceedings; and/or 4) Initiate a civil process against the perpetrator. You may pursue whatever combination of options is best for you. If you wish to have an incident investigated and resolved by the University, students should contact the Community Life Office. Employees should contact the Human Resources Office. University procedures will be explained. Those who wish incidents to be handled criminally should contact Campus Public Safety or local police where the assault occurred. A campus official is available to accompany students in making such reports, if desired. Contact the Office of Student Development for more information.

Confidentiality and Reporting

To make informed choices, all parties should be aware of confidentiality and privacy issues, as well as institutional mandatory reporting requirements.

CONFIDENTIAL REPORTING

If students wish that details of an incident be kept confidential, they should speak with campus mental health counselors, health service providers, or campus pastor. Campus counselors are available to help on an emergency basis. Their service is free of charge. Members of the clergy, chaplains, and off-campus rape crisis center staff can maintain confidentiality. Local resources such as The Victim Center (417-863-7273 or 417-864-7233) are also confidential.

REPORTING AN OFFENSE

Individuals who report sexual misconduct to employees (other than to confidential reporters) can expect action to be taken by the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinators.

If a person reports an offense but:

  • does not wish for his or her name to be shared,
  • does not want an investigation to take place, and/or
  • does not want a formal resolution to be pursued,

the reporting party may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. In cases indicating pattern, predatory behavior, threat, weapons and/or violence, the University will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. In cases where the victim requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the University to honor that request, the University will offer interim actions to the victim and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action.

When a person reports an offense and allows the university to investigate, we still afford privacy to the reporting party, to the extent possible and the reporting party will be notified as to who is told. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve a reporting party’s rights and privacy.  Reports can be made via email, phone or in person to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator.

Policy

Sexual misconduct including sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, and stalking are violations of Evangel University’s Conduct Code and its sexual misconduct policy. A number of federal laws and regulations, including Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act, and the Clery Act mandate how institutions respond to such allegations. Many types of sexual misconduct also constitute violations of Missouri law.

Members of the campus community, guests, and visitors have a right to be free from sexual misconduct. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a way that does not infringe upon the rights of others. When individuals accused of sexual misconduct are found to be in violation of the policy, the University will impose serious sanctions

All members of the campus community, guests, and visitors are protected by this policy regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The University has jurisdiction over all acts of sexual misconduct involving members of the campus community, no matter where they occur, whether on- or off-campus. For complete policy, please visit the appropriate portal:

Students: https://web.evangel.edu/Portal/Student/Services/SexBasedOffensesPolicyandProcedures.pdf

Employees: https://web.evangel.edu/Portal/Employee/HR/Forms/SexBasedOffensesPolicyandProcedures.pdf

Additional information about campus crime, state laws, and disclosures related to sexual misconduct can be found online in the campus Annual Security Report. Access it here: https://www.evangel.edu/eu-parents/security/

Sexual Misconduct Violations

The following are the definitions of conduct prohibited by the sexual misconduct policy.

SEXUAL HARASSMENT

Sexual harassment is unwelcome, sex-based, and can take the form of verbal, written, online, and/or physical conduct.  It is a form of sex discrimination covered by Title IX and takes three forms: Hostile Environment Harassment, Quid Pro Quo Harassment, and/or Retaliatory Harassment.

A Hostile Environment is created when sexual harassment is

  • Severe, or
  • Persistent or pervasive, and
  • Objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies, or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s education or employment programs.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment is:

  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and/or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature, and
  • By a person having power or authority over another, and
  • When submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating, evaluating, or providing a benefit to an individual’s educational or employment progress, development, or performance.

Retaliatory Harassment

Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity.  An example may include: a student alleges sexual misconduct by another student and the institution begins an investigation. The responding party is angry at the reporting party and while the investigation is ongoing, the responding party spreads rumors and pictures of the reporting party on social media. This action likely constitutes both hostile environment and retaliatory harassment.

Disciplinary sanctions range from warning through dismissal/ termination.

NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL CONTACT

Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object (or body part), without consent and/or by force (physical violence, threats, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation).

Disciplinary sanctions range from probation through dismissal/termination.

NON-CONSENSUAL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE

any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object (or body part), without consent and/or by force (physical violence, threats, intimidation, coercion, or incapacitation).

Disciplinary sanctions range from probation through dismissal/termination

SEXUAL EXPLOITATION

Occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but not limited to: engaging in voyeurism; unauthorized sharing/distributing digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity, etc.

Disciplinary sanctions range from warning through dismissal/ termination

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE

A pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner.  Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse/violence or the threat of such abuse/violence.

Disciplinary sanctions range from probation through dismissal/ termination.

STALKING

A pattern of conduct which may include communication by any means, with no legitimate purpose that puts another person reasonably in fear for his or her safety or would cause a reasonable person under the circumstances to be frightened, intimidated or emotionally distressed.

Disciplinary sanctions range from probation through dismissal/ termination.

OTHER MISCONDUCT OFFENSES AND DEFINITIONS

Other University policies may fall within the Sexual Misconduct Policy when a violation is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the reporting party’s sex.

Consent

Consent under this policy, is: clear; knowing; and voluntary words or actions that give permission for a specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive.  Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

Note:  Consent to one form of activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other form of sexual activity; someone who is incapacitated cannot consent. Previous relationships or past consent does not imply fu­ture consent. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly community (once consent is withdrawn, activity must stop reasonable immediately). Coercion, force, or threat of either invalidates consent. In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.

Force

The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcomes free will or resistance or that produces consent. When force is used, consent is not assumed to be valid.

Incapacitation

A state where persons cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent. There are two forms of incapacity, mental and physical. Mental incapacity results from cognitive impairment, such as developmental disability. Temporary mental incapacity can result from conditions such as epilepsy, panic attacks, and flashbacks. Physical incapacity results from a physical state or condition, such as sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or alcohol or other drug consumption.

Your Rights

Evangel University strives to provide members of the campus community with fair and equitable resolution processes.

  • Investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible reports or notice of sex-based offenses made in good faith to university officials;
  • Notification in advance, when possible, of any public release of information regarding incident;
  • Respectful treatment by university officials;
  • Be fully informed and have university policies/procedures followed without material deviation;
  • Formal resolution of any reported misconduct involving violence;
  • Support from university officials in reporting sex-based offenses;
  • Be informed of options to notify law enforcement authorities (and for assistance by campus authorities to notify such authorities), or to not to report, if desired;
  • Notification of services (counseling, advisory, health, assistance, etc.—on or off campus);
  • Notification of possible interim measures to redress violence, such as: a change in campus housing; work assignment rescheduling; academic accommodations, no contact order;
  • Maintain interim measures for as long as is necessary, and to remain as confidential as possible;
  • Ask investigator to question relevant witnesses and be aware of witnesses questioned, except in cases where a witness’ identity will not be revealed to the responding party for compelling safety reasons;
  • Review the investigative summary regarding the allegation, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, prior to findings;
  • Regular updates on the status of the investigation and/or resolution;
  • Have report heard by Title IX officers who have received annual sex-based offenses training;
  • Preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law;
  • Meetings and interviews that are closed to the public;
  • Bring an advisor of one’s own choosing to all phases of investigation and resolution;
  • Make or provide an impact statement in person or in writing to be included in the investigation summary following any determination of responsibility, but prior to sanctioning;
  • Be informed of outcome of the resolution process in writing, without undue delay between the notifications to the parties;
  • Be informed in writing: when a decision of the university is final; any changes to a sanction (in case of appeal); appeal a finding/sanction of resolution process, and procedures for doing so.

Timeline of Procedures

The University’s procedures are detailed fully on the Student Portal (click on Services and Hours, then Sexual Misconduct Policy) or the Employee Portal (see Employee Resources, Sexual Misconduct Policy).The process is intended to be equitable for all parties involved.  If, at any time, it is determined that “reasonable cause” does not exit to move forward in the process, the case will be closed.  In general, the parties can expect the following:

  1. Initial report and assessment. Contact can be made directly to the Title IX Officer or can be received by any employee and will be forwarded to a Title IX officer (Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator) to identify any necessary interim measures.
  2. Preliminary inquiry and finding. Title IX officer reviews the report and determines if there is reasonable cause to proceed (typically 1-3 days in duration). Based on the preliminary finding, Title IX officer may initiate an informal resolution or may ask for an investigator to be appointed.
  3. Informal Resolution. For allegations that do not involve sexual violence,the Deputy Coordinator may facilitate conversations among the reporting party and the responding party to try and resolve the conflict, if both parties are willing. If informal resolution successfully concludes, the matter resolved and no appeal is available. If informal resolution fails or is not appropriate, an investigator is appointed.
  4. Formal investigation. Investigator meets with all parties (ranges from days to weeks, depending on complexity of allegations). The reporting party and responding party are regularly apprised of the status of the investigation as it unfolds.
  5. Investigation summary. The investigator will document statements from reporting party, responding party, and any applicable witnesses to produce a timeline of the evidence. Both parties will have opportunity to review their summary and add additional information or clarification, prior to a formal resolution.
  6. Formal Resolution. After input from both parties, the investigator will finalize the investigative summary, make a determination as to preponderance of the evidence, and forward it to the appropriate party.
  7. Finding/Sanction. Deputy coordinator (and/or designees) determines appropriate sanctions according to the policy, will share the findings and explain sanctions to both parties.
  8. Appeal, if desired. Appeals may be requested, with a three-day window to file appeal requests once a formal determination is reached, a three-day window to grant or deny the appeal request, and another 7-10 days for a final resolution to be reached.

Appeals

All parties involved in sexual misconduct proceedings may appeal decisions within a specified time frame on the basis of the grounds permitted by University policy. All parties are included in any appeal reconsideration and have equal rights of participation. There is only one level of appeal. That decision is final. See complete policy for further details.

Risk Reduction

While victim-blaming is never appropriate and Evangel University fully recognizes that only those who commit sexual misconduct are responsible for their actions, the University provides the suggestions that follow to help individuals reduce their risk of being victimized and their risk of committing acts of sexual misconduct. The university also affirms its student code of conduct that does not condone sex outside of marriage, nor the use of alcohol or drugs (see Student Handbook for more information).

REDUCING THE RISK OF VICTIMIZATION

  • Make any limits/boundaries you may have known as early as possible.
  • Clearly and firmly articulate consent or lack of consent.
  • Remove yourself, if possible, from an aggressor’s physical presence.
  • Reach out for help, either from someone who is physically nearby or by calling someone. People around you may be waiting for a signal that you need help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol and/or drug consumption. Alcohol and drugs can increase your vulnerability to sexual victimization.
  • Look out for your friends, and ask them to look out for you. Respect them, and ask them to respect you, but be willing to challenge each other about high-risk choices.

REDUCING THE RISK OF BEING ACCUSED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

  • Show your potential partner respect if you are in a position of initiating any sexual behavior.
  • If a potential partner says “no,” accept it and don’t push. Don’t proceed without clear permission.
  • Clearly communicate your intentions to your potential partners, and give them a chance to share their intentions and/or boundaries with you.
  • Respect personal boundaries. If you are unsure what’s OK in any interaction, ask.
  • Avoid ambiguity. Don’t make assumptions about consent, about whether someone is attracted to you, how far you can go with that person, or if the individual is physically and mentally able to consent. If you have questions or are unclear, you don’t have consent.
  • Don’t take advantage of the fact that someone may be under the influence of drugs or alcohol, even if that person chose to become that way. Others’ loss of control does not put you in control.
  • Be on the lookout for mixed messages. That should be a clear indication to stop and talk about what your potential partner wants or doesn’t want to happen. That person may be undecided about how far to go with you, or you may have misread a previous signal.
  • Respect the timeline for sexual behaviors with which others are comfortable, and understand that they are entitled to change their minds.
  • Recognize that even if you don’t think you are intimidating in any way, your potential partner may be intimidated by or fearful of you, perhaps because of your sex, physical size, or a position of power or authority you may hold.
  • Do not assume that someone’s silence or passivity is an indication of consent. Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal signals to avoid misreading intentions.
  • Understand that consent to one type of sexual behavior does not automatically grant consent to other types of sexual behaviors. If you are unsure, stop and ask.
  • Understand that exerting power and control over another through sex is unacceptable conduct.

Programs

SEXUAL VIOLENCE PREVENTION EDUCATION

The university takes measures to provide a safe campus environment for its students and employees.  We offer to promote awareness and prevention of sexual violence. The programs include:

  • Annual review of the Evangel University Sexual Misconduct Policy which prohibits all forms of sexual violence and harassment, as stated in the student and employee handbooks;
  • Title IX compliance training provides education on awareness, risk reduction, and university policy.
  • Green Dot bystander intervention training for intervening and preventing harm.
  • Sexual Harassment and Rape Prevention (SHARP) training are self-defense classes.
  • One Love program–Understanding healthy relationships and relationship violence and recognizing signs of abusive behavior.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse prevention through online and seated programs

Key Contacts

  • The university’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance of the sex-based offenses policy. The Coordinator reports directly to the President of the University. Questions about this policy or anyone wishing to make a report relating to a sex-based offense may do so by contacting the Title IX Coordinator (or deputy coordinator). Title IX Coordinator: Dr. Sheri Phillips, VP for Student Development, Office: Riggs Hall, 304, 1111 N. Glenstone, Springfield, MO 65802, Phone: (417) 865-2815, ext. 7316, phillipss@evangel.edu
  • Title IX Deputy Coordinator (for employees):  Ocki Haas, Director of Human Resources, Office: Riggs Hall, 309, Phone: (417) 865-2815, ext. 7311, haaso@evangel.edu
  • Title IX Deputy Coordinator (for students): Gina Rentschler, Director of Community Life, Office: Cantrell Student Union 203, (417) 865-2815, ext. 7317, rentschlerg@evangel.edu
  • Two coordinators oversee gender equity in athletics and disability accommodations:
    Athletic Compliance Coordinator: Steven Gause, Assistant Basketball Coach, Office: Ashcroft Center, Phone: (417) 865-2815, ext. 7409, gauses@evangel.edu
    Section 504 Compliance Coordinator: Mr. Stephen Houseknecht, Student Disability Coordinator Office: Zimmerman 208, Phone: (417) 865-2815, ext. 8271, houseknechts@evangel.edu
  • Immediate assistance is available 24/7 by calling the Evangel University Office of Public Safety at (417) 865-2815 ext. 7000, or the direct line at (417) 575-8911. An officer can assist in facilitating medical treatment, contacting a victim’s advocate, support person, Title IX Coordinator, and/or campus pastor, as well as reporting the crime to local law enforcement (if requested).

Statement of Nondiscrimination

Evangel University does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, veteran status, or any other protected legal status in matters of admissions, employment, housing, educational programs or activities. We operate in compliance with federal non-discrimination laws (Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI and Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination Act of 1975).  As a religious institution, the university is exempted from certain provisions and retains the right to make legitimate employment, admission, and educational decisions on the basis of religious tenets, consistent with applicable laws (Title IX statute, 1st Amendment, and Religious Freedom Restoration Act).