Bethany will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, and any witness, except as may be permitted by the FERPA statute or regulations, 20 U.S.C. 1232g and 34 CFR part 99, or required by law, or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR part 106, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder.
Licensed Professional Counselors
The Bethany community encourages the reporting of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment, and crimes by individuals. Sometimes, individuals are hesitant to report to seminary officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations. It is in the best interests of this community that as many individuals as possible choose to report to Bethany officials. To encourage reporting, Bethany pursues a policy of offering individuals amnesty from minor policy violations related to the incident.
Bethany prohibits any person from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations, or because an individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title IX and its implementing regulations.
This retaliation provision may apply to any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any respondent, any witness, or any other individuals who participate (or refuse to participate) in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing of Bethany’s Title IX grievance process. This policy includes protecting the complainant, respondent, and witnesses from being coerced, intimidated, threatened, or otherwise discriminated against based on their participation or refusal to participate in the Title IX grievance process.
Retaliation includes Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its implementing regulations.
Charging an individual with a Code of Conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of the grievance process does not constitute retaliation. However, a determination regarding responsibility alone is not sufficient to conclude that an individual made a materially false statement in bad faith. A complainant’s allegations may not have been false even where the ultimate determination is that the respondent is not responsible and/or that the complainant may not have acted subjectively in bad faith (and conversely, that a respondent may not have made false, or subjectively bad faith, denials even where the respondent is found responsible).
Exercising rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
The parties have the right to discuss the allegations under investigation, but this right does not preclude Bethany from warning the parties not to discuss or disseminate the allegations in a manner that constitutes retaliation or unlawful tortious conduct. It is unacceptable for any person to leak or disseminate information to retaliate against another person.
Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed with Bethany’s Title IX Coordinator, which will be handled using the prompt and equitable grievance procedures available for non-sexual harassment sex discrimination complaints by students and employees, as referenced in Bethany’s harassment and non-discrimination policy on pages 14-18 of the Student Handbook and in the Employee Handbook.
The following section defines sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, sexual harassment under Title IX, and other terms related to the Title IX grievance process.
Discrimination against an individual based on that person’s sex, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation.
Sexual Harassment is a form of sex discrimination. Title IX defines sexual harassment as conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following three types of behavior:
A Bethany employee conditioning provision of an aid, benefit or service of Bethany on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. For example, unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational or employment progress, development or performance. This includes when submission to such conduct would be a condition for access to receiving the benefits of or opportunities in any educational or employment program.
Quid pro quo harassment does not need to be severe and pervasive as required under Item III.2. below, because the abuse of authority in the form of even a single instance is inherently offensive and serious enough to jeopardize equal educational access.
Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Bethany’s education programs or activities.
Signs of enduring unequal educational access due to severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive sexual harassment may include skipping class to avoid a harasser, a decline in a student’s grade point average, or having difficulty concentrating in class. However, no concrete injury is required to conclude that serious harassment would deprive a reasonable person in the complainant’s position of the ability to access Bethany’s education programs or activities on an equal basis with persons who are not suffering such harassment.
Sexual Assault: Forcible or non-forcible sex offenses under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting program (U.C.R.). Various forms of sexual assault include:
Sex Offenses, Forcible: Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
Forcible Rape: (Except Statutory Rape) The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Forcible Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Sexual Assault with an Object: To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Forcible Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Sex Offenses, Nonforcible: (Except Prostitution Offenses) Unlawful, nonforcible sexual intercourse.
Incest: Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory Rape: Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. In Indiana, the age of consent is 16.
Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
Domestic Violence: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. 34 U.S.C. 12291 (a)(8)
Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress.
Sexual assault, which includes rape, is referenced in the third prong of the definitions of sexual harassment. Note that any report of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking is not subject to the Davis elements referenced in the second prong of definitions of sexual harassment, which consider whether the incident was “severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive.” A single act of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking does not need to demonstrate severity, pervasiveness, objective offensiveness, or denial of equal access to education because denial of equal access is assumed. Therefore, complainants can feel confident reporting such incidents to Bethany and receive supportive measures without wondering whether sexual assault is ‘bad enough’ to report.
Bethany is required under Federal Title IX regulations to respond to incidents of sexual harassment as stated above. Additionally, conduct outlined in the above definitions of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct may be considered a violation of Indiana law and subject to mandatory reporting and/or criminal investigation.
The following terms are related to the grievance process required under Title IX to address incidents of sexual harassment. To learn more about the grievance process, see Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process.
Actual Knowledge: Notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment delivered to Bethany’s Title IX Coordinator. Such notice may be written or verbal and includes reports sent to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, by telephone, by email, telephone call, in-person, or any other means that result in the Title IX Coordinator receiving a person’s written or verbal report.
Advisor: An individual who provides support, guidance, and/or assistance to the complainant or responding party throughout the investigation, hearing, appeals, and/or informal resolution process. Complainants and respondents have the right to select an advisor of their choice. Advisors may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them who is both eligible and available. Advisors are required during the hearing process. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing process, Bethany will provide the party with an advisor. Additional information about the role of advisors can be found in Right to an Advisor.
Complaint: A document that initiates the compliant resolution procedures referenced in Bethany’s Student Handbook or Employee Handbook against a respondent alleging sexual misconduct. For more information about how to file a complaint, Bethany Student or Employee Handbooks.
Complainant: An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment. A complainant may, but is not required to be, a student, employee, or other Bethany community member.
Consent: sexual permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but non-verbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don’t. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Previous consent does not imply consent to sexual activity in the future. Silence or passivity — without actions demonstrating permission — cannot be assumed to show consent. Consent, once given, can be withdrawn at any time. There must be a clear indication that consent is being withdrawn.
A person is unable to give consent if: (1) the victim is compelled by force or imminent threat of force; (2) the victim is unaware that the sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct is occurring; or (3) the victim is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct cannot be given. IC §§ 35-42-4-1; 35-42-4-8.
Capacity to consent presupposes an intelligence capable of understanding the act, its nature, and possible consequences. Stafford v. State, 455 N.E.2d 402, 406 (Ind. Ct. App. 1983).
Education Program or Activity: All of the operations of Bethany, which may be on or off campus, as well as locations, events, or circumstances over which Bethany exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which an incident of sexual harassment occurs. Additionally, any building owned or controlled by student organizations which are officially recognized by Bethany are also considered to be part of Bethany’s education program or activity, irrespective of whether the building is on or off campus and irrespective of whether Bethany exercises substantial control over the respondent and the context of the harassment other than the fact that Bethany officially recognizes the fraternity or sorority that owns or controls the building. Therefore, Title IX requires Bethany to investigate formal complaints alleging sexual harassment that occurred in a fraternity or sorority building (located on or off campus) owned by a fraternity or sorority that is officially recognized by Bethany as a Greek life organization.
Bethany’s education program or activity also extends to operations which include computer and internet networks, digital platforms, and computer hardware or software owned or operated by, or used in the operations of Bethany.
Formal Complaint: A document that initiates the grievance process outlined in this policy against a respondent alleging Title IX sexual harassment (See Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process to learn about the full process). A formal complaint must be filed by the complainant or signed by the Title IX coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that Bethany investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity at Bethany. A formal complaint may be a document delivered to the Title IX Coordinator’s office or electronic submission sent via email which contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the complaint. Individuals may download the Formal Complaint form and submit it via email, mail or in-person to the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals may also complete and submit a formal complaint online at:
Submission of a formal complaint to Bethany is not equivalent to filing charges with local law enforcement and does not require a complainant to file charges with local law enforcement. For more information about reporting incidents of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to local law enforcement, go to Reporting Options.
Report: Notice, either written or oral, provided to the Title IX Coordinator of an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct. Any person, regardless of whether or not the person reporting the alleged incident is the person alleged to be the victim the incident may report sex discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Reports may be made at any time, including during non-business hours, in person, by mail to the office address listed for the Title IX Coordinator, by telephone, by email, or any other means that result in the Title IX Coordinator receiving a person’s written or verbal report. Individuals may submit an Incident Report by email, mail, or in person directly to the Title IX Coordinator or complete an online Incident Report at: link address. A report is distinguished from a formal complaint or complaint as defined above. A report is distinguished from a formal complaint or complaint as defined above.
Respondent: An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or sexual misconduct.
Responsible Employees: Employees who have been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence or any other misconduct by members of the Bethany community (students, staff, faculty, guests, visitors) to the Title IX Coordinator or other appropriate Bethany designees, or whom a reporting party could reasonably believe have this authority or duty. Responsible Employees who receive information or a report about any act that potentially constitutes sexual misconduct or sexual harassment must further report that information to the Title IX Coordinator.
The following employees of Bethany are Responsible Employees: faculty, staff, Resident Advisors, and Graduate Assistants. In addition, Responsible Employees are expected to make every effort to explain their duty to report to anyone disclosing, or about to disclose, information to them.
Preponderance of the Evidence: The standard of evidence used to determine if a Title IX policy violation occurred. Bethany uses a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which means that the evidence collected and presented during the grievance process demonstrates that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct or policy violation occurred.
Supportive Measures: Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to Bethany’s education programs or activities without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or Bethany’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Read more about Supportive Measures here.
Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant and respondent without unreasonably burdening the other party.
Supportive measures are designed to:
Bethany’s supportive measures include, but are not limited to:
Bethany will offer supportive measures to every complainant when the Title IX Coordinator receives a report, complaint, or formal complaint of an incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment. Examples of forms a report may include written or oral reports submitted by a complainant, Responsible Employee, anonymous reporting party, third-party reporter, or other Bethany community member.
Upon receiving a report, complaint, or formal complaint of an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures and explain the option for filing a formal complaint as well as the formal complaint process under Title IX and/or the complaint resolution procedures outlined in the Bethany Student and Employee Handbooks. The complainant will have the opportunity to express what they would like in the form of supportive measures, and the Title IX Coordinator will take into account the complainant’s wishes in determining which supportive measures to offer. Supportive measures will be available to complainants regardless of whether or not they wish to file a formal complaint to initiate a grievance process or complaint to initiate Bethany complaint resolution procedures.
Supportive measures remain available to the complainant before and after filing a formal complaint of sexual harassment or a complaint of sexual misconduct as well as when no formal complaint or complaint has been filed. Additionally, Bethany will provide supportive measures to complainants even when the alleged incident does not constitute sexual harassment under Title IX, fall within the jurisdictional conditions under Title IX, or constitute sexual misconduct under Bethany’s Student or Employee Handbooks. For example, a complainant may still seek supportive measures when an incident of sexual harassment occurs outside of Bethany’s education program or activity or outside of the United States. A complainant may request supportive measures when the alleged conduct is considered to be sexual misconduct under this policy but does not qualify as sexual harassment under Title IX.
Supportive measures may remain in place throughout an appeal process.
Regardless of the result of the Title IX grievance process, Bethany reserves the right to continue supportive measures. Therefore, if Bethany determines that a respondent is not responsible for violating Title IX or other Bethany policies, Bethany may continue providing supportive measures to a complainant or respondent to restore or preserve equal access to their education.
Bethany adheres to Federal Title IX regulations, which require the equitable treatment of complainants and respondents. Equitable treatment under Title IX includes providing supportive measures and remedies for complainants and avoiding disciplinary action against respondents until the formal grievance process as outlined in this policy is completed. While respondents will be offered supportive measures, Title IX does not require equality or parity with respect to the supportive measures provided to complainants and respondents.
Confidentiality & Supportive Measures: Bethany will keep confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of Bethany to provide the supportive measures. For example, where a no-contact order is appropriate, the respondent would need to know the identity of the complainant in order to comply with the no-contact order, or campus security is informed about the no-contact order in order to help enforce its terms. For more information about Confidentiality during the Title IX grievance process, go to Confidentiality, Amnesty, and Retaliation.
In order for Bethany to provide supportive measures to the complainant, Bethany must know the identity of the complainant. Therefore, it is not possible for the complainant to remain anonymous and receive supportive measures because at least one school official (such as the Title IX Coordinator) must know the complainant’s identity in order to offer and implement any supportive measures. A complainant or third party may desire to report sexual harassment without disclosing the complainant’s identity—and may do so using the Reporting Options detailed in in this policy–but Bethany will be unable to provide supportive measures in response to the report without knowing the complainant’s identity.
Implementation of Supportive Measures: The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures. Although supportive measures may require collaboration with various Departments on campus, the Title IX Coordinator will serve as the point of contact for complainants and respondents.
Bethany reserves the right to remove a respondent from a Bethany education program or activity without undergoing a grievance process on an emergency basis in the event that Bethany undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis and determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal.
In the event of emergency removal, Bethany will provide the respondent with post-removal notice and the opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.
Bethany reserves the right to place all non-student employee respondents on administrative leave during the pendency of a grievance process outlined in this policy.
Licensed Professional Counselors
Richmond Community Resources
Any person may report an incident(s) of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. The reporting party may be the person directly affected by the alleged incident (referred to as “complainant”) or a third party. Reports of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment may be written or verbal and may be made at any time (including non-business hours) in person, by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, of the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals may also submit an Incident Report by email, mail, or in person directly to the Title IX Coordinator or complete an online Incident Report at: link address.
Bethany’s Title IX Coordinator contact information is as follows:
Academic Dean, Professor & Title IX Coordinator
615 National Road W.
Richmond, IN 47374
When the Title IX Coordinator receives notice through a report (either written or oral), complaint, or formal complaint of an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to:
The Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary assessment of the report, complaint, or formal complaint to assist the complainant in determining which grievance process or procedures the complainant may initiate. For more information about the Preliminary Assessment, go to Formal Complaint Process under Title IX.
In addition to reporting an incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator, individuals have the following reporting options:
A person may report an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to a Bethany Responsible Employee, as defined in this policy (See Definitions). Responsible Employees must report the alleged incident to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate Bethany designees. After a Responsible Employee reports an incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator.
Bethany permits anonymous parties to report alleged incidents of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, and/or sexual harassment by telephone or by mail to the office of the Title IX Coordinator.
If the anonymous report contains the identity of the complainant, upon receipt of the report, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant to offer supportive measures and explain the process for filing a formal complaint. However, if the anonymous report does not contain the identity of the complainant, Bethany will be unable to contact the complainant to offer supportive measures. While the Title IX Coordinator will keep confidential complainant’s identity (unless disclosing the complainant’s identity is necessary to provide supportive measures for the complainant, such as issuing no-contact orders), the Title IX Coordinator must know the identity of the complainant to offer such supportive measures.
III. Reporting to the Richmond, IN Police Department
Bethany encourages anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to pursue criminal action for incidents that may also be crimes under applicable criminal statutes. Law enforcement officers are trained in handling sexual assault and other cases involving sexual misconduct and harassment. Reporting to law enforcement does not require prosecution of the offense and the reporting party’s wishes will be taken into account by law enforcement. The police report and any supporting evidence may be turned over to the Indiana State’s Attorney’s Office, which decides whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. Information about the law enforcement process of reporting, the investigation, arrests, filing of charges, hearings, the trial and sentencing will be explained at the time of the report. Bethany employees will assist the reporting party in contacting local law enforcement, if explicitly requested by the reporting party. However, reporting an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to Bethany does not in any way equate to reporting the incident to local law enforcement. An individual may decide to report an incident exclusively to Bethany, exclusively to local law enforcement, or to both Bethany and local law enforcement.
Should an individual report an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to both Bethany and local law enforcement, Bethany will comply with law enforcement requests for cooperation. Such cooperation may require Bethany to temporarily suspend its own investigation into the alleged incident while local law enforcement gathers evidence. During this time, Bethany will continue to offer supportive measures to the complainant. As soon as local law enforcement or Bethany determines that a delay is no longer necessary, Bethany will promptly resume its Title IX or Code of Conduct investigation.
Bethany’s policy, definitions, and standard of proof differ from Indiana criminal law. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether to prosecute a respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution will determine whether sexual misconduct or sexual harassment has occurred under this policy. Proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
Contact Information for the Richmond, IN Police Department:
Non-emergency line: (24 hours a day, M–F): (765) 983-7247
Address: 50?N.?5th?St.,?Richmond, IN 47374
Bethany’s Student and Employee Handbooks prohibit parties, including complainants, respondents, and witnesses, from knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
Bethany reserves the right to discipline an individual for making a materially false statement in bad faith during the course of the grievance process, in accordance with the Bethany Student and Employee Handbooks. Such charges do not constitute retaliation on behalf of Bethany against the individual as the individual has violated Bethany’s own policy.
Upon receiving a report, complaint or formal complaint of an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary assessment to determine Bethany’s response using the following threshold criteria:
If the answer is “no” to any of these questions, the alleged incident may be considered one or more of the following forms of conduct and addressed accordingly:
If the answer is “yes” to all three threshold criteria, the incident may constitute sexual harassment under Title IX, and the complainant may file a formal complaint under Title IX to initiate an investigation and grievance process.
After conducting the assessment, the Title IX Coordinator will send a written notification of their preliminary assessment to the complainant.
The complainant may appeal the Title IX Coordinator’s preliminary assessment of the alleged incident to Bethany’s President within 10 days of receiving written notice from the Title IX Coordinator. If a formal complaint or complaint is filed, the respondent may appeal the Title IX Coordinator’s preliminary assessment to Bethany’s President within 10 days of receiving the notice of the complaint.
Complainants may request supportive measures or an investigation into allegations of conduct that do not meet Title IX jurisdictional conditions, under Bethany’s Student and/or Employee Handbooks.
Regardless of whether an alleged incident is determined to constitute sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, or sex discrimination, and regardless of whether or not the complainant files a formal complaint under Title IX or a complaint under Bethany’s Student and/or Employee Handbooks, Bethany will provide supportive measures to the complainant. Learn more about Supportive Measures.
Filing of a formal complaint of an alleged incident of sexual harassment under Title IX initiates the investigation and grievance process outlined in this policy. Go to Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process to learn more about this process.
The complainant or Title IX Coordinator must file the formal complaint.
Third parties cannot file formal complaints. Additionally, fundamental fairness and due process principles require that a respondent be informed of the details of the allegations made against them, to the extent that the details are known, to provide an adequate opportunity for the respondent to respond. Therefore, a complainant cannot remain anonymous and file a formal complaint. However, the Title IX Coordinator will keep confidential the identities of the complainant and respondent (and witnesses) from anyone not involved in the grievance process, except as permitted by FERPA, required by law, or as necessary to conduct the grievance process. For more information about confidentiality, see Confidentiality, Amnesty & Retaliation.
While a formal complaint requires the complainant’s identity, Title IX does not require a complainant to identify the respondent in a formal complaint. If a complainant does not know the respondent’s identity and file a formal complaint, Bethany is still required to investigate the formal complaint because an investigation may reveal the respondent’s identity. If the respondent’s identity becomes known, Bethany will send both parties the written notice of allegations (as described in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process), follow the grievance process outlined in this policy, and may impose disciplinary sanctions against the respondent at the conclusion of the grievance process. However, if a respondent’s identity remains unknown, Bethany will be unable to comply with the required grievance process outlined in this policy and therefore unable to impose disciplinary sanctions against the respondent.
Under certain circumstances, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that an investigation is necessary, even when the identity of the complainant is unknown or the complainant does not want an investigation. In this case, the Title IX Coordinator may choose to sign a formal complaint and initiate the grievance process. When this occurs, the Title IX Coordinator is not a complainant or otherwise considered a party included in the grievance process. The alleged victim will remain the complainant and be treated as a party in the grievance process. However, the complainant is not required to participate in the grievance process.
Individuals may download and complete Bethany’s Formal Complaint form, which may be submitted in person, by mail, or by email to the Title IX Coordinator, whose contact information is listed on the Bethany Sexual Misconduct & Sexual Harassment Policy Homepage. Formal complaints may also be submitted online at: link.
Formal complaints cannot be filed by telephone.
A formal complaint is a document or electronic submission (such as an email) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the complaint.
A formal complaint alleges sexual harassment against a respondent and requests that Bethany investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. Therefore, submitting a formal complaint indicates an intentional decision on behalf of the complainant to initiate the Title IX grievance process.
There is no time limit on a complainant’s decision to file a formal complaint, so the decision to sign and file a formal complaint does not need to occur in the immediate aftermath of an alleged incident or reporting an incident.
However, at the time of filing a formal complaint, the complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in Bethany’s education program or activity.
This requirement does not exclude a complainant who has graduated or is on a leave of absence if the complainant intends to apply to a different Bethany Seminary program, intends to remain involved in Bethany’s alumni programs and activities, or may intend to re-apply after a leave of absence.
The investigation of the conduct alleged in the formal complaint may uncover new information about the incident. In accordance with Title IX, Bethany must dismiss the formal complaint of sexual harassment under Title IX if at any point during the investigation or hearing process it is determined that the conduct alleged in the formal complaint:
Such dismissal does not indicate that a Bethany policy violation did not occur. Therefore, Bethany may choose to address such incidents using the complaint resolution procedures outlined in the Bethany Student or Employee Handbook.
Bethany reserves the right to dismiss a formal complaint or allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:
Upon dismissal of a formal complaint (either as required or not), Bethany will promptly send a written notice of dismissal and reason(s) therefor simultaneously to both parties.
The complainant and respondent have the right to appeal Bethany’s dismissal of the formal complaint or any allegations therein on several bases. For more information about the bases of appeal, see Title IX Sexual Harassment Grievance Process.
Bethany may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against another party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. Where a grievance process involves more than one complainant or more than one respondent, references in this policy to the singular “party,” “complainant,” or “respondent” include the plural, as applicable.
The following grievance process complies with 34 CFR § 106.45 of Title IX. All processes, provisions, and rules stated in this policy apply equally to both parties—complainants and respondents.
Bethany will treat complainants equitably by providing the complainant and respondent with supportive measures throughout the grievance process, following the grievance process before imposing any disciplinary sanctions (or other actions that are not supportive measures) against a respondent, and providing remedies to a complainant where a determination of responsibility for sexual harassment has been made against a respondent.
Bethany’s grievance process relies upon an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence—including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. Bethany applies the preponderance of the evidence standard, which means that the evidence collected and presented during the grievance process demonstrated that it is more likely than not that the alleged conduct or policy violation occurred. Bethany applies the same standard of evidence for formal complaints against students and employees, including faculty, and applies the same standard of evidence to all formal complaints of sexual harassment.
Determination of a party’s credibility will not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness. Bethany presumes that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility at the conclusion of the grievance process.
All Bethany employees involved in the Title IX investigation and grievance process have received the appropriate training to participate in the Title IX grievance process, and training materials have been made publicly available on Bethany’s website. Training topics include, but are not limited to, the definition of sexual harassment under Title IX, steps to conducting a Title IX investigation and grievance process, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of facts, conflicts of interest, and bias.
If a complainant or respondent considers Bethany’s treatment of a formal complaint of sexual harassment to constitute discrimination on the basis of sex under Title IX, they may file a report of sex discrimination with the Title IX Coordinator.
Bethany employees participating in the Title IX grievance process including the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decision-makers, and informal resolution facilitators as well as external parties employed by Bethany to complete Title IX investigation and adjudication functions (hearings, appeals, and informal resolution options) are prohibited from having a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or as an individual complainant or respondent.
In an effort to avoid potential conflicts of interest, Bethany may provide the names and titles of internal and external Title IX investigators and adjudicators to the parties at the initiation of the investigation, informal resolution process, or hearing. Such information will be provided no less than five (5) days before any meeting or hearing between the party and the investigator or adjudicator. The complainant or respondent may request the removal of an investigator or adjudicator on the grounds of personal bias or other conflicts of interest by submitting a written statement to the Title IX Coordinator setting forth the basis for the request no more than three (3) days after receiving notice of the identity of the individual involved in the Title IX grievance process. The Title IX Coordinator will review the written statement and make a determination if there is a conflict of interest. Appropriate steps will be taken to ensure that no conflict of interest exists on the part of anyone involved in the Title IX investigation, hearing, appeals, or informal resolution processes. If a conflict of interest exists, another individual will be assigned to the appropriate role. If a conflict of interest exists between the complainant or respondent and the Title IX Coordinator, reports should be directed to the Bethany Seminary President.
Bethany aims to complete the Title IX grievance process, including appeals and informal resolution processes, in a reasonably prompt time frame. Generally, Bethany will conclude the grievance process within ninety (90) days.
Bethany reserves the right to allow for the temporary delay of the grievance process or the limited extension of time frames for good cause with written notice to the complainant and the respondent of the delay or extension and the reasons for the action. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of the party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, Bethany will provide a written notice of allegations to both parties, if known, simultaneously. The notice includes the following information:
If, during the course of the investigation, Bethany decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent that are not included in the initial notice provided to the parties, Bethany will provide written notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known.
Bethany is obligated to investigate formal complaints of sexual harassment. Bethany will complete the Title IX investigation within thirty (30) days, excluding weekends and holidays. Bethany will inform the parties of the name and title of the assigned investigator in the written notices of investigative interview issued to the parties.
During the investigation, the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on Bethany Seminary and not on the parties.
Both parties are provided with an equal opportunity to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence during the grievance process. Bethany will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.
Bethany is prohibited from accessing, considering, disclosing, or otherwise using a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless Bethany obtains the party’s voluntary, written consent to do so for the grievance process outlined in this policy.
Bethany will provide written notice to a party who is invited and expected to participate in any investigative interviews, hearings, or other meetings. This written notice will include the date, time, location, names of participants, and purpose of the meeting and be provided not less than five (5) days prior to the meeting, providing the party with sufficient time to prepare.
Parties may not attend interviews of any other party or witness or any meeting or hearing related to the investigation, unless invited and expected to participate by Bethany.
Prior to completion of the investigative report at the conclusion of the investigation, all parties have the opportunity to have not more than one other person present during any grievance proceeding, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any grievance-related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice, who may be an attorney. A party may only be accompanied by their advisor during the live hearing. Bethany does not limit the choice or presence of advisor for either the complainant or respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding, including investigative interviews. However, Bethany reserves the right to establish restrictions regarding the extent to which the advisor may participate in the proceedings, which will apply equally to both parties. For more information about rights to an advisor, see Right to an Advisor.
All parties and their advisors will be given an equal opportunity to inspect and review all evidence gathered during the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint, including evidence upon which Bethany does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility as well as inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, regardless of the source. The evidence subject to inspection and review will be provided either in electronic format or hard copy to the parties and their advisors, if any. The parties will have ten (10) days to submit a written response regarding the investigation evidence. The investigator will consider the parties’ responses prior to completion of the investigative report.
Bethany may redact confidential portions of the investigation file or require the parties and their advisors to execute nondisclosure agreements to preserve the confidentiality of confidential information prior to release of the investigation file to the parties and their advisors.
All of the evidence which was provided to the parties for inspection and review will be made available at any hearing related to the formal complaint to provide each party the equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
The parties may submit any additional evidence prior to the investigator finalizing the investigative report with a copy provided to the other party and their advisor.
The Title IX investigator will create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
Upon completion, investigator will send the investigative report to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, at least ten (10) days prior to a scheduled hearing, in electronic format or hard copy. Upon review, the parties may submit a written response to the decision-maker not less than five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing, with a copy to the other party and their advisor. The other party may submit a written reply to the written response at least two (2) days prior to the scheduled hearing, with a copy to the other party and their advisor.
The investigator may include recommended findings or conclusions in the investigative report, but the decision-maker is under an independent obligation to objectively evaluate relevant evidence in making a determination.
Live hearings are a mandatory part of the Title IX grievance process. Generally, the decision-maker will be the Bethany Seminary President. However, when deemed necessary, a panel of hearing officers may act as the decision-maker(s) at Bethany Title IX hearings. The decision-maker must not be the same person as the Title IX Coordinator or investigator. Bethany will provide specific procedural rules for the live hearing to the parties and their advisors at least 10 (ten) days prior to the scheduled hearing.
Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location. In this instance, at the request of either party, Bethany will arrange for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-maker(s) and the parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or witness answering the questions.
Bethany also reserves the right to require or permit any or all parties, witnesses and other participants to appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants to simultaneously see and hear each other.
Bethany will create an audio recording, audiovisual recording, or transcript of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.
Both parties have the right to present relevant fact and expert witnesses as well as inculpatory and exculpatory evidence at the hearing. A written summary of any evidence not included in the investigation file should be provided to the decision-maker and the other party and their advisor no less than five (5) days prior to the hearing.
During the live hearing, the decision-maker will permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses any relevant questions and follow-up questions, including questions which challenge credibility.
Cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor, and cross-examination may never be conducted by a party personally.
Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the decision-maker(s) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless: 1.) such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant; or 2.) if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent.
If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the decision-maker(s) may not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. However, the decision-maker(s) may not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witnesses’ absence from a live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Apart from the advisor’s role in cross-examination, Bethany reserves the right to restrict the extent to which advisors may participate in the proceedings.
If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, Bethany will provide, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of Bethany’s choice to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party. The advisor may be, but is not required to be, an attorney.
Bethany will include details regarding the role of the advisors in the hearing procedural rules provided to the parties at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing.
Following the live hearing, the decision-maker(s) will issue a written determination. To reach the determination, the decision-maker(s) will apply the preponderance of the evidence standard of evidence, as defined in this policy. Go to Definitions.
The decision-maker(s) will issue the written determination to the parties simultaneously generally no more than ten (10) days after the conclusion of the live hearing. Copies will be sent to the parties and their advisors by email, certified mail, or overnight delivery service such as Federal Express, with receipt of acknowledgement.
The written determination will include the following information:
The determination is final either:
Either complainant or respondent may file a written notice of appeal of a determination of dismissal of a formal complaint within five (5) days after receiving the written determination or notice of dismissal. The notice of appeal must be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator within such 5-day period by email, personal delivery, certified mail or overnight delivery service.
A party may appeal from a) determination regarding responsibility, and b) Bethany’s dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein, on the following bases:
In the event that a party files an appeal, the appeal decision-maker(s) will generally be the Chair of the Board of Trustees. The appeal decision-maker will be free of bias as well as conflict of interest and will not be the Title IX Coordinator, investigator involved in the investigation, or decision-maker who reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal. The appeal decision-maker will have received required training under Title IX.
Bethany will notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties, including a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome.
The appealing party must submit a statement to the appeal decision-maker in support of the appeal within five (5) days of filing the notice of appeal with a copy to the other party and their advisor. Although the other party is not obligated to respond to the appealing party, should the other party wish to respond, the other party must submit a written response to the statement filed by the appealing party to the appeal decision-maker within five (5) days of receipt of the appealing party’s statement with a copy to the other party and their advisor.
No oral arguments will be held on the appeal unless so directed by the appeal decision-maker, in which case both parties’ advisors will be given an equal opportunity to present oral arguments.
The appeal decision-maker will issue a written decision simultaneously to both parties, describing the result and the rationale of the decision generally within ten (10) days of receiving the final written statements from the parties.
At any time following the filing of a formal complaint and prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, Bethany offers complainants and respondents informal resolution options such as mediation, restorative justice, or other forms of alternative dispute resolution, which do not involve or require a full investigator and adjudication (hearing process).
In order for Bethany to proceed with informal resolution options, Bethany will:
Bethany will provide the parties with the specific guidelines corresponding to the various informal resolution options prior to the parties signing a written consent to the informal resolution process.
Bethany is prohibited from offering informal resolution options in cases which involve a Bethany employee’s sexual harassment of a student.
Bethany is prohibited from requiring as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment as outlined in this policy. Additionally, Bethany cannot require the parties to participate in an informal resolution process and cannot offer an informal resolution process unless a formal complaint has been filed.
Bethany will maintain for a period of seven years the records regarding the following:
For each response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, Bethany will create and maintain for a period of seven years, records of any actions, including any supportive measures taken. In each instance, Bethany will document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to Bethany’s education program or activity. If Bethany does not provide a complainant with supportive measures, then Bethany will document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the circumstances.
These records will be maintained in the personnel files maintained by the President’s Office.
All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to assist them throughout the Title IX grievance process. The advisor may be a friend, counselor, faculty member, family member, attorney or any other individual a party chooses to advise them who is eligible and available to serve during the grievance process. Any person who may be called as a witness may not serve as an advisor. Individuals seeking guidance about how to select an advisor may contact the Title IX Coordinator.
Parties are entitled to be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings, interviews, hearings, and appeals at which the party is entitled to be present during the grievance process. Parties are required to have an advisor present at the live hearing. If a party does not have an advisor available to be present at the live hearing, Bethany will provide the party with an advisor of Bethany’s choice in Bethany’s sole discretion, who may or may not be an attorney.
Bethany cannot guarantee equal advisory rights. Consequently, if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney but the other party does not or cannot afford an attorney, Bethany is not obligated to provide an attorney or other advisor, except at the hearing. Bethany is not required to provide an attorney as an advisor at the hearing.
All advisors are subject to the same rules whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not present on behalf of their advisee in a meeting or interview. Advisors must conduct all cross-examination of the other party and all witnesses in a live hearing even in the event that the advisee is not present at the live hearing.
Advisors should request or wait for a break in the interview, hearing, or meeting if they wish to interact with Bethany’s Title IX personnel. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation.
Advisors may be given an opportunity to meet in advance of any interview or hearing with the Bethany Title IX personnel during the grievance process.
Any advisor who fails to follow the guidelines established by Bethany in the grievance process will be provided an oral warning. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to follow those guidelines, the advisor will be asked to leave the proceeding. If an advisor is asked to leave, the meeting, interview, hearing or other proceeding will be suspended until the party advisor is reinstated; the party secures another advisor to accompany them at that meeting, interview, hearing or proceeding; or Bethany provides the party with another advisor for the hearing.
If an advisor is asked to leave a proceeding, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or must be replaced by a different advisor for the remainder of the grievance process.
The parties must advise the Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with Title IX Coordinator and scheduled hearing. The parties must provide subsequent timely notice to the investigators if they change advisors at any time. No audio or video recording of any kind other than as required by institutional procedure is permitted during meetings with Bethany officials.
Respondents found responsible for sexual harassment as defined in this policy may be subject to disciplinary sanctions at the conclusion of the grievance process. Disciplinary sanctions may include, but are not limited to:
For student respondents:
For employee respondents:
Remedies are provided to the complainant and designed to restore or preserve their equal access to Bethany Seminary education program or activities. Remedies may be the same individualized services as described in this policy as Supportive Measures. However, remedies do not need to be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and do not need to avoid burdening the respondent. Possible remedies include, but are not limited to:
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementation of any remedies.