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Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures - PART I

for

The College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS
 
 
I.  INTRODUCTION

It is the policy of the College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John's University (SJU) to investigate and promptly seek the equitable resolution of allegations of sexual misconduct in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

The Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures shall be the exclusive process for handling sexual assault and other sexual misconduct complaints and supersedes all other processes. If a complaint implicates the Sexual Misconduct Policy and another CSB and/or SJU policy, the complaint of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy will be handled under the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures and the institutions may, at their discretion and unless an applicable handbook provision states otherwise, consider the other alleged policy violations under the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures or conduct separate proceedings.

II. RESPONSIBILITY

At CSB and SJU, the Chief of Staff to the President of each institution serves as the Lead Title IX Coordinator. The Lead Title IX Coordinator(s) shall exercise oversight for issues related to sexual misconduct and sexual discrimination, the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures, and maintain institutional records of reports. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) or others designated by the Lead Title IX Coordinators are responsible for the implementation of the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures and case management.

     • The Dean(s) of Students, who serve(s) as Deputy Title IX Coordinators for sexual misconduct complaints involving students, are responsible for the implementation of the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures in cases involving a student.

     • The Associate HR Director, who serves as a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for sexual misconduct complaints involving faculty and staff, is responsible for implementation of the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures in cases involving a faculty or staff member.

     • If a complaint involves both a student and a faculty or staff member, the Dean(s) of Students and Associate HR Director shall share responsibility for implementing the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures.

     • If a complaint involves an associate or third party, the Dean(s) of Students and Associate HR Director will determine who should be responsible for implementing the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures.

     • The Vice President(s) for Student Development, who serve as Deputy Title IX Coordinators, normally receive appeals from determinations involving student respondents.

     • The Lead Title IX Coordinators are responsible for implementation of the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures regarding student appeals. The Lead Title IX Coordinators review appeals in faculty/staff cases and are responsible for appointing an appropriate institutional official to oversee the appeal.

In all cases, the Title IX Coordinator(s) will function as (a) neutral party (parties) in implementing the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures.

 

III. POLICY STATEMENT

CSB and SJU are committed to maintaining an environment that is free from the physical and emotional threat of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence. CSB and SJU have zero tolerance for sexual misconduct in any form. As institutions which espouse Catholic and Benedictine values, every community member's awareness of and respect for the rights and human dignity of all persons undergirds community life. These values demand that we strive to create an environment where the sacredness of each person is honored. Sexual assault, sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct violate the sacredness of the person, weaken the health of the community, and are antithetical to the missions of our institutions.

CSB and SJU will strive to treat parties involved in a sexual misconduct report with dignity and will provide nonjudgmental assistance. Complainants will be treated in a manner that does not suggest that they are at fault for sexual assault or that they should have done something differently to avoid becoming a victim.  This applies to all campus authorities and all those involved in complaint procedures, and applies during the complaint process and thereafter.

Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct are forms of sex discrimination. Not only are they prohibited by the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Human Rights Policy, but they are also prohibited by various laws, including Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 and the Minnesota Human Rights Act. CSB and SJU will investigate and promptly seek the equitable resolution of allegations of sexual misconduct, take steps to prevent the recurrence of sexual misconduct, and seek to correct its effects on complainants and others. CSB and SJU will strive to resolve all complaints within 60 calendar days. See the Sexual Misconduct Policy (http://www.csbsju.edu/sexualmisconductpolicy) for more information.

 

IV. Definitions

A.     Adjudication Panel refers to the three-person panel appointed by the institution(s) to determine whether the Policy was violated by a student.

B.     Adjudicator(s) refers to the individual(s) selected by the institution(s) to determine whether the Policy was violated by a faculty or staff member.

C.     Advisor refers to the individual chosen by a party to provide support, guidance and/or advice to the party during the course of the complaint process. 
Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures, Part V- General Provisions (http://www.csbsju.edu/sexualmisconductprocedure).

D.    Associate refers to any individual or organization engaging in or conducting activities associated with CSB and/or SJU or doing business at or with CSB and/or SJU, including members of Saint John's Abbey and Saint Benedict's Monastery.

E.     Campus refers to the entire physical grounds of CSB and SJU.

    1. F.     Campus authorities refer to the Department of Security at the College of Saint Benedict, Life Safety Services at Saint John's University, and/or
      the Dean(s) of Students, or Lead or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. 

G.     Community and institutions refer to CSB and SJU and in the case of community, all of their students, faculty and staff, and associates.

H.     Complainant means a person alleged to have been subjected to a Policy violation, but need not be the person who initiates the complaint.

I.      Complaint refers to an alleged Policy violation that initiates a complaint process as set forth in the Procedures

J.      Complaint process refers to the process used to investigate and adjudicate complaints made under the Procedures, from initiation of complaint through determination and appeal, if any.

K.      Faculty refers to a person employed by CSB or SJU in a faculty appointment.

L.      Investigator refers to the individual selected by the institution(s) to investigate complaints of violation(s) of the Policy made pursuant these Procedures.

M.     Policy refers to the Sexual Misconduct Policy fr the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.

N.     Procedures refer to the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures for the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University.  The procedures can be found at www.csbsju.edu/sexualmisconductprocedure.

O.      Report refers to the providing of any information to the institution(s) regarding conduct that may violate the Policy.


P.      Respondent refers to a person alleged to have violated the Policy.

Q.      Sanctions for students:  The purpose of sanctions is to ensure the health and safety of our campus communities by preventing the recurrence of problematic behavior and addressing its effects including the effects of the violation on the complainant.  In determining sanction(s), the Deans of Students (or their designees) may consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to, the type and severity of misconduct, the weight of the evidence, and the respondent's complete disciplinary record.  Possible sanctions can include any one or more of the following:

1.      Expulsion: the permanent disenrollment of the student from the institution.

2.      Suspension:  the disenrollment of a student for a specific period of time.  Students who are suspended from the institution(s) generally may not be present on the premises of the College of Saint Benedict or Saint John's University for the period of the suspension or leave and may be subject to other conditions as well.  Suspension is also an interim measure that may be taken while an investigation is being conducted. 

3.      Other sanctions include: Disciplinary probation, no contact or limited contact directive, required assessment and/or counseling, required attendance at educational programs, restitution, community service hours, restriction of privileges, administrative referrals, behavioral contracts, reflection paper, written warning.

R.     Sanctions for faculty and staff

1.      Suspension is a sanction that may be used for faculty or staff.  Suspension (or involuntary leave of absence for a staff member) is also an interim measure that may be taken while an investigation is being conducted.

a.    For a faculty member, suspension as an interim measure refers to a temporary suspension of work duties and will be implemented in accordance with Section 2.13.6.4 of the Faculty Handbook. In accord with 2.13.6.4, and pending the results of the investigation, the faculty member will be suspended, or assigned to other duties in lieu of suspension, only if immediate harm to the college [university], to its students, or to other individual members of the college [university] community is threat­ened by continuance. Before implementing 2.13.6.4, the president will consult with the Provost as to the length, and the other conditions of the suspension. Salary and benefits will continue during the period of the suspension.

b.   For a faculty member, suspension as a sanction will be implemented in accord with section 2.13.6.3 of the Faculty Handbook.  The president will consult with the Provost as to the length, and the other conditions of the suspension.

c.    For a staff member, suspension as an interim measure refers to a temporary suspension of work duties when the staff member is the subject of an investigation or when the staff member's presence poses an immediate threat of harm within the institution. This interim measure will be implemented in accordance with the Involuntary Leave of Absence section of the appropriate Administrative and Support Staff Handbook. Before imposing the involuntary leave, the employee's supervisor will consult with the Human Resources department and the appropriate Vice President as to the length, and the other conditions of the suspension. Salary and benefits will continue during the period of the suspension.

d.   For a staff member, suspension as a sanction will be implemented in accord with the Disciplinary Action section of the Administrative and Support Staff Handbook. Before imposing the suspension as a sanction, the employee's supervisor will consult with the Human Resources department and the appropriate Vice President as to the length, and the other conditions of the suspension. 

S.      Staff refers to a person employed by CSB or SJU in an administrative or support staff appointment.

T.     Student refers to any person enrolled in CSB or SJU, undergraduate or graduate.

U.    Supervisor refers to administrators, department chairs, faculty, residence directors, faculty residents, residence assistants, staff persons, and others who have the responsibility for faculty, staff, or students' terms and/or conditions of employment, educational and academic opportunities, and living situations.

V.    Third Party refers to an individual or entity who is not a member of the campus community but whose activities bring them into contact with members of the campus community, including, but not limited to, visitors to campus, alums, prospective students, and prospective employees.

W.   Title IX Coordinators are officials of CSB and SJU who have been appointed by their respective institutions to address issues of gender-based discrimination and/or sexual misconduct, including overseeing Title IX complaints, identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints, and assisting in answering any questions related to the Policy and Procedures. The Title IX Coordinators for each institution who have responsibility for sexual misconduct complaints are listed in the contact information at the end of this Policy and at the end of the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures. See the Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedures, Part I - Responsibility (http://www.csbsju.edu/sexualmisconductcomplaintprocedure). 

 

V.        INSTITUTIONAL RESPONSE

CSB and SJU have a moral imperative and legal obligation to take prompt and appropriate action in response to information received regarding an alleged violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The institutions will conduct an investigation of reports alleging sexual misconduct. Making a report to a Title IX Coordinator, the CSB Department of Security or SJU Life Safety Services does not require a reporting party to initiate or participate in a complaint proceeding. However, based on information gathered, one or both institutions may determine that the institution(s) have a responsibility to initiate a complaint proceeding (even without the participation of the reporting party). See Sexual Misconduct Policy, Section III.A.6 - Response of CSB/SJU to Reports. 

When a complaint involves parties from only one of the institutions, the procedures outlined herein will be addressed by the institution where the parties are students, staff and/or faculty. While the other institution will not be directly involved in responding to the complaint in such matters, in keeping with both institutions' goals under the Policy, the Lead Title IX Coordinator of the institution addressing the complaint will apprise the Lead Title IX Coordinator of the other institution of the existence and outcome of all such complaints, while respecting privacy of the parties.

 

VI. GENERAL PROVISIONS

A.    Right to an Advisor.  The complainant(s) and respondent(s) involved in a complaint proceeding under Section VII.A (Complaint Procedure for Complaints in which the Respondent is a Student) and Section VII.B.1 (Complaint Procedure for Complaints in which the Respondent is a Faculty or Staff Member, for Complaints of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking) below each have the right to an advisor of their own choosing.

The role of the advisor is to support, guide, and/or advise a party during the course of the complaint proceeding. The advisor may accompany the complainant or respondent to in-person interviews or other meetings relating to the complaint proceeding.  In selecting an advisor, each party should consider the potential advisor's availability to attend in-person interviews and meetings.  The procedure provides the parties with the right to an advisor of their choice, but does not contemplate or require an adjustment of any deadlines based on a chosen advisor's schedule.  As a general matter, the institution(s) will not unnecessarily delay their processes to accommodate the schedules of advisors.

An advisor may have access to in-person review of information concerning a complaint proceeding only when accompanying his or her advisee and may have access to written communications (i.e., emails and other correspondence) only when the advisee has given written authorization for the advisor to be copied on such correspondence. Exceptions to this may be made in the rare circumstance that an advisor absolutely cannot be present with his or her advisee on campus. An advisor's access to such information shall be subject to the same limitations as those placed upon the parties and conditioned upon the advisor's agreement to maintain the confidentiality of student education records and other confidential information.  

The advisor may not appear in lieu of the complainant or respondent or speak on his or her behalf in either in-person or written communications to CSB or SJU. The advisor may take written notes, but may not record any meetings. The advisor may not address, either orally or in writing, any CSB or SJU official including, but not limited to, Deans, the Title IX Coordinators, the investigator, members of the adjudication panel or appeal officials. The advisor also may not address the other party.  The advisor may not interrupt or otherwise delay the complaint proceeding. Advisors will be required to sign an Advisor Agreement acknowledging receipt and understanding of these requirements.  Failure to comply with these requirements, including violations of confidentiality, or other forms of interference with the complaint proceeding by the advisor may result in the immediate disqualification of the advisor and the institution(s) reserve the right to dismiss the advisor.

B.    Timing. CSB and SJU are committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of sexual misconduct complaints and strive to meet the timing requirements set forth in these Procedures. However, in some cases, extensions to the timing requirements may be necessary. The Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) may grant reasonable extensions to timing requirements in these Procedures when warranted by the circumstances. For example, extensions of timing requirements may be granted if the institution(s) have been asked to delay its Procedures during the evidence gathering stage of a criminal investigation, if the allegations of sexual misconduct are particularly complex (including, without limitation, allegations that involve multiple incidents and/or multiple individuals), or if witnesses are not on campus due to a scheduled break or for another reason. Extensions will be no longer than necessary. The complainant and respondent shall receive written notice of any extensions and the reason for the extension. 

Where the Procedures indicate that an action will be completed within a specified period of days, "day" generally means business days, unless otherwise specified. Adjustments to the time frames will be made when school breaks, holidays, or exigent circumstances require. As a general rule, CSB and SJU strive to complete their investigation and related procedure within 60 (sixty) calendar days or less, recognizing that certain complaints may take longer to process depending on the circumstances.

Complainants are encouraged to begin the complaint proceeding as soon as possible following an alleged incident. If a complaint is brought forward more than three (3) calendar years after an alleged incident, the Lead Title IX Coordinator(s) or their designee(s), in their discretion, may decline to process a complaint under these Procedures, but reserve the right to take other administrative action as appropriate depending on the specific circumstances of the complaint.  Complaints brought forward more than three (3) calendar years after the alleged incident will generally be addressed pursuant to these Procedures if the complaint involves a party who is still a member of our community.  

C.    Confidentiality. CSB and SJU strive to protect the confidentiality interests of all individuals involved in the sexual misconduct reporting and complaint proceeding. However, because of the need to investigate and respond to reports of sexual misconduct, the institutions cannot guarantee strict confidentiality in most cases. Please refer to the Policy for more information about confidentiality, including confidential resources available to individuals. In addition, individuals with concerns about confidentiality may speak with a Title IX Coordinator about the complaint process.

D.     Interference with Procedure. Interference with these Procedures is strictly prohibited. Interference includes, but is not limited to the following:

1.   Knowingly falsifying, distorting, or misrepresenting information provided to an investigator, adjudication panel, adjudicator(s), or appeal official;

2.   Knowingly instituting a complaint without cause and in bad faith;

3.   Harassment and/or intimidation of any investigator or member of an adjudication panel, or of any complainant, respondent, witness, student, or employee involved in a complaint proceeding before, during, or after a proceeding. See Sexual Misconduct Policy, Section VII - Retaliation;

4.   Breaching the confidentiality requirements.

Students who interfere with these Procedures will be subject to disciplinary sanctions. Staff and faculty members who interfere with these Procedures will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination in accordance with the applicable handbook. Associates or other third parties who interfere with these Procedures will be subject to removal from campus, prohibition from returning to campus, and/or other appropriate measures as determined by CSB and/or SJU.

E.    Interim Restrictions or Suspension

1.   For Students. At any time following the initiation of a complaint proceeding or at any other time throughout the process, the Dean(s) of Students of the institution of the complainant or respondent may impose various conditions or restrictions on a complainant or respondent pending resolution of the complaint proceeding. The Dean(s) of Students may also alter or suspend the rights of a student to be present on campus, to restrict building and space privileges, to attend classes, or to participate in extracurricular activities or events pending resolution of the complaint proceeding. The Dean(s) of Students will base his/her decision on whether the allegations of misconduct are apparently reliable and whether the continued unrestricted status of the student on the campus poses a threat to the physical or emotional condition or well-being of any individual, including the student, or for reasons relating to the safety, integrity and welfare of the community as a whole.

The interim restrictions, behavioral requirements, and/or alteration or suspension of privileges will be communicated to the complainant and respondent in writing and will remain in effect until a final decision has been made in the complaint proceeding, or until modified or withdrawn in writing.

2.   For Faculty, Staff, Associates, and Third Parties. CSB and SJU may impose various conditions and restrictions on a complainant or respondent pending resolution of the complaint proceeding or at any other time throughout the process.

F.    Treatment of Parties. CSB and SJU strive to treat all individuals involved in a complaint proceeding with respect and dignity and, with regard to complainants, in a manner that does not suggest a complainant is ever at fault for sexual assault or that he or she should have done something different to avoid becoming a victim.  This applies to all campus authorities and all those involved in complaint procedures, and applies during the complaint process and thereafter. Complaint proceedings will be prompt, fair, and impartial. In addition, support will be provided to students, faculty, and staff who are engaged in a complaint proceeding. Upon request, personal counseling services are available to students and the Employee Assistance Program is available to faculty and staff.

G.     Participation and Silence. All participants in the complaint procedures have a duty to CSB and SJU to be truthful throughout the process. The complainant may decide when to repeat a description of the incident of sexual assault and either party may at any time decline to provide information and/or participate in a complaint proceeding. If, at any time during the complaint proceeding, a complainant or respondent does not participate, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) may move the proceeding to the next step, dismiss the complaint, or take whatever other steps may be necessary to ensure the integrity of the proceeding.  A respondent's silence in response to a complainant's allegation will not necessarily be viewed as an admission of the allegation, but may leave the complainant's allegations undisputed.   Similarly, a complainant's silence in response to a respondent's denials or defenses will not necessarily be viewed as an admission of the denials or defenses, but may leave the respondent's denials or defenses undisputed.  Even if a party decides not to participate or chooses to stop participating at a phase of the process, the party will still be given the option to participate during additional phases of the process.   

H.    Conflicts. In cases where it is determined that a Deputy Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest given the nature of the complaint and/or the parties or witnesses involved, or in cases where a Deputy Title IX Coordinator is unavailable, the Lead Title IX Coordinator of the institution of the conflicted individual shall appoint an alternate person to serve as the Deputy Title IX Coordinator. If a Lead Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest with respect to a complaint, the President(s) or the President(s)' designee of the institution of the conflicted Lead Title IX Coordinator shall appoint an alternate person to serve as the Deputy or Lead Title IX Coordinator. In cases where the President of CSB or SJU is a party to the complaint or has a conflict of interest with respect to a complaint, the Chair of the Board of Trustees for the institution shall ensure that the institution puts in place appropriate safeguards under the circumstances to ensure that the institution promptly and equitably responds to the complaint, including, but not limited to appointment of alternate individuals to serve in roles of Deputy and/or Lead Title IX Coordinator.

I.     Reservation of Flexibility. These Procedures reflect the desire of the institutions to respond to complaints in good faith and in a manner that promotes fairness to all parties. The institutions recognize, however, that each case is unique in its presentation and requires that the institutions reserve some flexibility in responding to the particular circumstances of each case. In the rare cases where it is not possible or practical to follow these Procedures, the institutions reserve the right to modify these Procedures or to take other administrative action as appropriate under the circumstances.


Approved September, 2016