Safer Spaces

Basic information

Policies and procedures to address discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

Calvin's Safer Spaces policy and procedure has been updated as of August 14, 2020 in compliance with new regulations from the U.S. Department of Education. The policy is enforced but provisional, pending approval by the Calvin University Board of Trustees in October 2020.

For a printable version, please view the linked pdf at the bottom of this page.

I. Glossary of Terms

  • Advisor means a person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to conduct cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if any.
  • Calvin University means a postsecondary education program that is a recipient of federal funding.
  • Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute harassment or discrimination based on a protected class; or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
  • Complaint (formal) means a document filed/signed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging harassment or discrimination based on a protected class or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity against a Respondent and requesting that Calvin University investigate the allegation.
  • Confidential Resource means an employee who is not a Mandated Reporter of notice of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation (irrespective of Clery Act Campus Security Authority status).
  • Day means a business day (Monday through Friday) when Calvin University is in normal operation.
  • Education program or activity means locations, events, or circumstances where Calvin University exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment or discrimination occurs and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by Calvin University.
  • Final Determination: A conclusion by preponderance of evidence that the alleged conduct occurred and whether it did or did not violate policy.
  • Finding: A conclusion by preponderance of evidence that the conduct did or did not occur as alleged.
  • Formal Grievance Process means “Process A,” a method of formal resolution designated by Calvin University to address conduct that falls within the policies included below, and which complies with the requirements of 34 CFR Part 106.45.
  • Investigator means the person or persons charged by Calvin University with gathering facts about an alleged violation of this Policy, assessing relevance and credibility, synthesizing the evidence, and compiling this information into an investigation report and file of directly related evidence.
  • Mandated Reporter means an employee of Calvin University who is obligated by policy to share knowledge, notice, and/or reports of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation with the Title IX Coordinator.1
  • Notice means that an employee, student, or third-party informs the Title IX Coordinator or other Official with Authority of the alleged occurrence of harassing, discriminatory, and/or retaliatory conduct.
  • Official with Authority (OWA) means an employee of Calvin University explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures for harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation on behalf of Calvin University.
  • Parties include the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s), collectively.
  • Process Ameans the Formal Grievance Process detailed below and defined above.
  • Process B means the informal alternative resolution procedures detailed in Appendix F.
  • Remedies are post-finding actions directed to the Complainant and/or the community as mechanisms to address safety, prevent recurrence, and restore access to Calvin University’s educational program.
  • Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute harassment or discrimination based on a protected class; or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
  • Resolution means the result of an informal or Formal Grievance Process.
  • Safer Spaces Team includes the Title IX Coordinator, any Investigators, Hearing Officers, Decision-makers, Appeal Officers, and Advisors who may perform any or all of the roles involved in the formal grievance process (though not at the same time or with respect to the same case).
  • Sanction means a consequence imposed by Calvin University on a Respondent who is found to have violated this policy.
  • Sexual Harassment is the umbrella category including the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and domestic violence. See Section VI.B., for greater detail.
  • Title IX Coordinator is at least one official designated by Calvin University to ensure compliance with Title IX and Calvin University’s Title IX program. References to the Coordinator throughout this policy may also encompass Deputy Title IX Coordinators or a designee of the Title IX Coordinator for specific tasks. At Calvin University, the Title IX Coordinator is also the Director of the Safer Spaces office.

II. Introduction

Calvin University is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, that are free from discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Discrimination, harassment, and retaliation of any form are a violation of a person’s rights, dignity, and integrity. Such acts debase the integrity of the educational process and work environment and are contrary to the mission and values of Calvin University. Each person faculty, staff, student, trustee, volunteer, visitor, contractor, and vendor – who has chosen to engage with the Calvin community thereby affirms a willingness to uphold the community's stated standards of conduct and ensure that Calvin University provides a safe environment for students, staff, faculty, and guests of the university.

To ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity, Calvin University has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of discrimination or harassment on the basis of protected class status, and for allegations of retaliation. Calvin University values and upholds the equal dignity of all members of its community and strives to balance the rights of the parties in the grievance process during what is often a difficult time for all those involved. In response to any reported misconduct, the university will take appropriate steps to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects.

III. Purpose and Scope of Policy

III.A. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide the Calvin University community with a set of behavioral standards, common understanding of definitions and key concepts, descriptions of prohibited conduct, and processes for submitting, investigating, and resolving reports. The policy is intended to protect and guide those who have been affected by harassment and discrimination whether as a reporting party, a responding party, or a third party.

This policy also identifies resources and support for all members of the university community, identifies appropriate administrators and describes their roles, provides information about how to make a report, and provides information about how a report will be evaluated and resolved.

This policy stems from model guidance provided by the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA).

ATIXA 2020 ONE POLICY, TWO PROCEDURES MODEL
USE AND ADAPTATION OF THIS MODEL WITH CITATION TO ATIXA IS PERMITTED
THROUGH A LIMITED LICENSE
TO CALVIN UNIVERSITY
ALL OTHER RIGHTS RESERVED.
©2020. ATIXA

III.B. Scope

The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of all forms of discrimination. Sometimes, discrimination involves exclusion from activities, such as admission, athletics, or employment. Other times, discrimination takes the form of harassment or, in the case of sex-based discrimination, can encompass sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, sexual exploitation, dating violence or domestic violence. When an alleged violation of this anti-discrimination policy is reported, the allegations are subject to resolution using Calvin University’s “Process A” or “Process B,” as determined by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and as detailed below.

When the Respondent is a member of the Calvin University community, a grievance process may be available regardless of the status of the Complainant, who may or may not be a member of the Calvin University community. This community includes, but is not limited to, students,2 student organizations, faculty, administrators, staff, and third parties such as guests, visitors, volunteers, invitees, and campers. The procedures below may be applied to incidents, to patterns, and/or to the campus climate, all of which may be addressed and investigated in accordance with this policy.

III.C. Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator

The Director of Safer Spaces serves as the Title IX Coordinator and oversees implementation of Calvin University’s policy on equal opportunity, harassment, and nondiscrimination. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating Calvin University’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution, and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation prohibited under this policy.

III.D. Independence and Conflict-of-Interest

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator leads the Safer Spaces Administrative Team and acts with independence and authority free from bias and conflicts of interest. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator oversees all resolutions under this policy and these procedures. The members of the Safer Spaces Administrative Team are vetted and trained to ensure they are not biased for or against any party in a specific case, or for or against Complainants and/or Respondents, generally.

To raise any concern involving bias or conflict of interest by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator , contact the Calvin University President (Dr. Michael Le Roy: president@calvin.edu) or the Vice President for Student Life (Dr. Sarah Visser: sav36@calvin.edu). Concerns of bias or a potential conflict of interest by any other Safer Spaces Administrative Team member should be raised with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

Reports of misconduct or discrimination committed by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator should be reported to the Calvin University President (Dr. Michael Le Roy: president@calvin.edu) or the Vice President for Student Life (Dr. Sarah Visser: sav36@calvin.edu). Reports of misconduct or discrimination committed by any other Safer Spaces Administrative Team member should be reported to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

III.E. Administrative Contact Information

The Director of Safer Spaces at Calvin University oversees the implementation of all civil rights policies and claims, including those arising under Title IX, related to discrimination and harassment. The administrator is charged with directing the university’s efforts to end alleged discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on individuals and the Calvin community. Reports of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation should be promptly reported to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or one of the university’s Safer Spaces Deputy Coordinators.

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator is supported by an administrative team of Safer Spaces Deputy Coordinators representing student life, human resources, academics, diversity/equity/inclusion, and athletics. Deputy Coordinators, assigned by appointment or as part of their position, carry out training, education, and climate checks on campus. They provide oversight of procedures that promptly and equitably eliminate discrimination and harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects on individuals and the Calvin community. Finally, the Deputy Coordinators organize and direct the review, inquiry, and resolution of reports and ensure that all appropriate interim measures are implemented.

Complaints or notice of alleged policy violations, or inquiries about or concerns regarding this policy and procedures, may be made internally to:

Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator

Jane Hendriksma
Spoelhof University Center 364
Calvin University
Grand Rapids MI 49546
jhendrik@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6117

Safer Spaces Deputy Coordinators

Andrew George, Director of Human Resources
alg35@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6056

Rebecca Hilgert, Women’s Head Softball Coach
rah29@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7635

Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity & Inclusion
lopa@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8703

John Witte, Dean of Students
jwitte@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6547

David Malone, Librarian
dbm9@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6072

Investigators

Martin Avila, Director of Student Conduct
ma24@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7598

Hannah Brenton, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
hlb9@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6595

Bill Corner, Director of Campus Safety
wtc2@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6751

Crystal Bruxvoort, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
cb29@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6019

Michael Dunn, Patrol Supervisor—Campus Safety
mmd22@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6452

Will Katerberg, Curator of Archives
wkaterbe@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7322

Lisa Kooy, Disabilities Coordinator
lrk6@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8431

Kieychia Likely, Assistant Director of Student Engagement & Thriving—Center for Intercultural Student Development
kcl7@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7003

Justin McCoy, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
jm78@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7161

Emily Ottenhoff, Women’s Head Soccer Coach
eao8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6941

Jim Potter, Assistant Director of Campus Safety
jtp8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6710

Karine Rose, Assistant Director of Safer Spaces
ker25@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7509

Hennie Schoon, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
hschoon@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7032

Heidi Weesies, Employee Development Coordinator
hjw8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6733

Hearing Chair/Decision Maker

Martin Avila, Director of Student Conduct
ma24@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7598

Andrew George, Director of Human Resources
alg35@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6056

Karine Rose, Assistant Director of Safer Spaces
ker25@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7509

Advisors

Hannah Brenton, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
hlb9@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6595

Michael Dunn, Patrol Supervisor—Campus Safety
mmd22@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6452

Kieychia Likely, Assistant Director of Student Engagement & Thriving—Center for Intercultural Student Development
kcl7@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7003

Justin McCoy, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
jm78@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7161

Karen Saupe, Professor of English
ksaupe@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6467

Hennie Schoon, Area Coordinator—Residence Life
hschoon@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7032

Kumar Sinniah, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
ksinniah@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6058

Ryan Souders, Men’s Head Soccer Coach
wrs8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8878

Kevin Vande Streek, Professor of Kinesiology
kvstreek@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6704

Kate van Liere, Professor of History
kvliere@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6817

Adam Vedra, Associate CIO & Chief Information Security Officer
avedra@calvin.edu
(616) 526-7128

Rachel Venema, Associate Professor of Sociology and Social Work
revenem68@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8741

Heidi Weesies, Employee Development Coordinator
hjw8@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6733

Hearing Facilitator

Jane Hendriksma, Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator3
jhendrik@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6117

Appeal Officers

Andrew George, Director of Human Resources
alg35@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6056

Todd Hubers, Vice President for People, Strategy, & Technology
thubers@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8754

Michelle Loyd-Paige, Executive Associate to the President for Diversity and Inclusion
lopa@calvin.edu
(616) 526-8703

Jim Timmer, Athletic Director and Professor of Kinesiology
jrt3@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6037

Sarah Visser, Vice President for Student Life
sav36@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6454

John Witte, Dean of Students
jwitte@calvin.edu
(616) 526-6547

Calvin University has determined that the following employees are Officials with Authority to address and correct harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation. In addition to the Title IX Team members listed above, these Officials with Authority listed below may also accept notice or concerns on behalf of Calvin University:

  • Campus Safety Officers/Patrol Supervisors
  • Residence Life professional staff members (Area Coordinators, Graduate Assistants, etc.)
  • Student Success Specialists

Calvin University has also classified all employees as Mandated Reporters of any knowledge they have that a member of the community is experiencing harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation. The section below on Mandated Reporting details which employees have this responsibility and their duties, accordingly.

Inquiries may be made externally to:

Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
Facsimile: (202) 453-6012
Phone: (877) 521-2172
Email: OCR@ed.gov
Web: http://www.ed.gov/ocr

Michigan Department of Civil Rights (MDCR)
Grand Rapids Office
State Office Building, 4th Floor
350 Ottawa, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
Phone: (616) 356-0380
Fax: 616-356-0399
Web: https://www.michigan.gov/mdcr/

For complaints involving employees:

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Detroit Office
Patrick V. McNamara Building
477 Michigan Avenue
Room 865
Detroit, MI 48226
Phone: (800) 669-4000
Web: https://www.eeoc.gov/field-office/detroit/location

IV. Notice/Formal Complaints of Discrimination, Harassment, and/or Retaliation

Notice or formal complaints of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation may be made using any of the following options:

  1. File a formal complaint with, or give verbal notice to, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, a Safer Spaces Deputy Coordinator, or the Safer Spaces Office (see contact information above). Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator or any other official listed.
  2. Report online, using the reporting form posted at https://calvin.edu/offices-services/safer-spaces/report/. Anonymous reports are accepted but can limit our ability to respond with supportive measures, formal action, investigation, and remedy. Calvin University tries to provide supportive measures to all Complainants, which is impossible with an anonymous report. Because reporting carries no obligation to initiate a formal response, and as Calvin University respects Complainant requests to dismiss complaints unless there is a compelling threat to health and/or safety, the Complainant is largely in control and should not fear a loss of privacy by making a report that allows Calvin University to discuss and/or provide supportive measures.
  3. Report using Calvin University’s reporting hotline telephone number: (866) 943-5787.
  4. Report through a trusted Calvin university employee (supervisor, mentor, advisor, professor, Residence Life staff member, etc.). Please note, that all Calvin University employees are considered mandatory reporters, except for confidential resources (see below).

A Formal Complaint means a document filed/signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, or member of the Safer Spaces team alleging a policy violation by a Respondent and requesting that Calvin University investigate the allegation(s). A complaint may be filed in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information in the section immediately above, or as described in this section. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by Calvin University) that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the complaint.

If notice is submitted in a form that does not meet this standard, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to ensure that it is filed correctly.

IV.A. Supportive Measures

Calvin University will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to Calvin University’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or Calvin University’s educational environment, and/or deter harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

The Title IX Coordinator promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. At the time that supportive measures are offered, Calvin University will inform the Complainant, in writing, that they may file a formal complaint with Calvin University either at that time or in the future, if they have not done so already. The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented.

Calvin University will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair Calvin University’s ability to provide the supportive measures. Calvin University will act to ensure as minimal an academic impact on the parties as possible. Calvin University will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party.

These actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services
  • Referral to Calvin’s Employee Assistance Program
  • Referral to community-based service providers
  • Visa and immigration assistance
  • Student financial aid counseling
  • Education to the community or community subgroup(s)
  • Altering campus housing assignment(s)
  • Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees
  • Safety planning
  • Providing campus safety escorts
  • Providing transportation accommodations
  • Implementing contact limitations (no contact orders) between the parties
  • Academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments
  • Trespass, Persona Non Grata (PNG), or Be-On-the-Lookout (BOLO) orders
  • Timely warnings
  • Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus
  • Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator

Violations of no contact orders will be referred to appropriate student or employee conduct processes for enforcement.

IV.B. Emergency Removal

Calvin University can act to remove a Respondent entirely or partially from its education program or activities on an emergency basis when an individualized safety and risk analysis has determined that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual justifies removal. This risk analysis is performed by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator in consultation with key members of the Behavioral Intervention Team (also known as CARE Team) using its standard objective violence risk assessment procedures.

In all cases in which an emergency removal is imposed, the student or employee will be given notice of the action and the option to request to meet with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator prior to such action/removal being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the action/removal should not be implemented or should be modified.

This meeting is not a hearing on the merits of the allegation(s), but rather is an administrative process intended to determine solely whether the emergency removal is appropriate. When this meeting is not requested in a timely manner, objections to the emergency removal will be deemed waived. A Complainant and their Advisor may be permitted to participate in this meeting if the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines it is equitable to do so. This section also applies to any restrictions that a coach or athletic administrator may place on a student-athlete arising from allegations related to Title IX/Safer Spaces. There is no appeal process for emergency removal decisions.

A Respondent may be accompanied by an Advisor of their choice when meeting with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator for the show cause meeting. The Respondent will be given access to a written summary of the basis for the emergency removal prior to the meeting to allow for adequate preparation.

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion under this policy to implement or stay an emergency removal and to determine the conditions and duration. Violation of an emergency removal under this policy will be grounds for discipline, which may include disciplinary suspension, expulsion or termination.

Calvin University will implement the least restrictive emergency actions possible in light of the circumstances and safety concerns. As determined by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, these actions could include, but are not limited to: removing a student from a residence hall, temporarily re-assigning an employee, restricting a student’s or employee’s access to or use of facilities or equipment, allowing a student to withdraw or take grades of incomplete without financial penalty, authorizing an administrative leave, and suspending a student’s participation in extracurricular activities, student employment, student organizational leadership, or intercollegiate/intramural athletics.

At the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an academic impact as possible on the parties.

IV.C. Promptness

All allegations are acted upon promptly by Calvin University once it has received notice or a formal complaint. Complaints can take 60–90 business days to resolve, typically. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances that can cause a resolution to take longer, but Calvin University will avoid all undue delays within its control.

Any time the general timeframes for resolution outlined in Calvin University procedures will be delayed, Calvin University will provide written notice to the parties of the delay, the cause of the delay, and an estimate of the anticipated additional time that will be needed as a result of the delay.

IV. D. Privacy

Every effort is made by Calvin University to preserve the privacy of reports.4 Calvin University will not share the identity of any individual who has made a report or formal complaint of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation; any Complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any Respondent, or any witness, except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g; FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99; or as required by law; or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR Part 106, including the conducting of any investigation, hearing, or grievance proceeding arising under these policies and procedures

Calvin University reserves the right to designate which Calvin University officials have a legitimate educational interest in being informed about incidents that fall within this policy, pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

Only a small group of officials who need to know will typically be told about the complaint, which may include, but is not limited to: Human Resources, relevant staff members within the division of Student Life, Campus Safety, or the CARE Team Coordinator. Information will be shared as necessary with Investigators, Hearing Decision-makers, witnesses, and the parties. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve the parties’ rights and privacy.

Calvin University may contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk but will usually consult with the student first before doing so.

Confidentiality and mandated reporting are addressed more specifically below.

IV.E. Jurisdiction of Calvin University

This policy applies to the education program and activities of Calvin University, to conduct that takes place on the campus or on property owned or controlled by Calvin University, or at Calvin University-sponsored events. The Respondent must be a member of Calvin University’s community in order for its policies to apply.

This policy can also be applicable to the effects of off-campus misconduct that effectively deprive someone of access to Calvin University’s educational program. Calvin University may also extend jurisdiction to off-campus and/or to online conduct when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct affects a substantial Calvin University interest.

Regardless of where the conduct occurred, Calvin University will address notice/complaints to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of its employment or educational program or activity and/or has continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus sponsored program or activity. A substantial Calvin University interest includes:

  1. Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law. This includes, but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state, or federal law;
  2. Any situation in which it is determined that the Respondent poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual;
  3. Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property, or achievements of oneself or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
  4. Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests or mission of Calvin University.

If the Respondent is unknown or is not a member of Calvin University community, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will assist the Complainant in identifying appropriate campus and local resources and support options and/or, when criminal conduct is alleged, in contacting local or campus law enforcement if the individual would like to file a police report.

Further, even when the Respondent is not a member of Calvin University’s community, supportive measures, remedies, and resources may be accessible to the Complainant by contacting the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

In addition, Calvin University may take other actions as appropriate to protect the Complainant against third parties, such as barring individuals from Calvin University property and/or events.

All vendors serving Calvin University through third-party contracts are subject to the policies and procedures of their employers or to these policies and procedures to which their employer has agreed to be bound by their contracts.

When the Respondent is enrolled in or employed by another institution, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator can assist the Complainant in liaising with the appropriate individual at that institution, as it may be possible to allege violations through that institution’s policies.

Similarly, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may be able to advocate for a student or employee Complainant who experiences discrimination in an externship, study abroad program, or other environment external to Calvin University where sexual harassment or nondiscrimination policies and procedures of the facilitating or host organization may give recourse to the Complainant.

IV.F. Time Limits on Reporting

There is no time limitation on providing notice/formal complaints to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. However, if the Respondent is no longer subject to Calvin University’s jurisdiction and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited or impossible.

Acting on notice/formal complaints significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy) is at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, who may document allegations for future reference, offer supportive measures and/or remedies, and/or engage in informal or formal action, as appropriate.

When notice/formal complaint is affected by significant time delay, Calvin University will typically apply the policy in place at the time of the alleged misconduct and the procedures in place at the time of notice/complaint.

IV.G. Online Harassment and Misconduct

The policies of Calvin University are written and interpreted broadly to include online and cyber manifestations of any of the behaviors prohibited below, when those behaviors occur in or have an effect on Calvin University’s education program and activities or use Calvin University networks, technology, or equipment.

While Calvin University may not control websites, social media, and other venues in which harassing communications are made, when such communications are reported to Calvin University, it will engage in a variety of means to address and mitigate the effects.

Members of the community are encouraged to be good digital citizens and to refrain from online misconduct, such as feeding anonymous gossip sites, sharing inappropriate content via Snapchat or other social media, unwelcome sexting, revenge porn, breaches of privacy, or otherwise using the ease of transmission and/or anonymity of the Internet or other technology to harm another member of Calvin University community.

V. Policy on Non-Discrimination

Calvin University adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in private institutions of higher education.

Calvin University does not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment, student, or applicant for admission, employment, and in all other areas of college life on the basis of:[5]

  • Race,
  • Religion,
  • Hearing status,
  • Personal appearance,
  • Color,
  • Sex,
  • Pregnancy,
  • Political affiliation,
  • Source of income,
  • Place of business,
  • Residence,
  • Religion,
  • Creed,
  • Ethnicity,
  • National origin (including ancestry),
  • Citizenship status,
  • Physical or mental disability (including perceived disability),
  • Age,
  • Marital status,
  • Family responsibilities,
  • Sexual orientation,
  • Gender identity,
  • Gender expression,
  • Veteran or military status (including disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran, and Armed Forces Service Medal veteran),
  • Predisposing genetic characteristics,
  • Domestic violence victim status,
  • Height,
  • Weight
  • or any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any grievance process on campus, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or other human rights agencies.

This policy covers nondiscrimination in both employment and access to educational opportunities. Therefore, any member of Calvin University community whose acts deny, deprive, or limit the educational, employment, or residential and/or social access, benefits, and/or opportunities of any member of Calvin University community, guest, or visitor on the basis of that person’s actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of Calvin University policy on nondiscrimination.

When brought to the attention of Calvin University, any such discrimination will be promptly and fairly addressed and remedied by Calvin University according to the grievance process described below.

V.A. Policy on Disability Discrimination and Accommodation

Calvin University is committed to full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities, as well as other federal and state laws and regulations pertaining to individuals with disabilities.

Under the ADA and its amendments, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.

The ADA also protects individuals who have a record of a substantially limiting impairment or who are regarded as disabled by Calvin University, regardless of whether they currently have a disability. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking, or caring for oneself.

The Disability Coordinator in Calvin University’s Center for Student Success has been designated as the person responsible for overseeing efforts to comply with these disability laws, including responding to grievances and conducting investigations of any allegation of noncompliance or discrimination based on disability.

Grievances related to disability status and/or accommodations will be addressed using the procedures below. For details relating to disability accommodations in Calvin University’s resolution process, see page 50.

  1. Students with Disabilities

    Calvin University is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the academic programs, facilities, and activities of Calvin University.

    All accommodations are made on an individualized basis. A student requesting any accommodation should first contact the Disability Coordinator in the Center for Student Success, who coordinates services for students with disabilities.

    The Director of Disability/Access Services reviews documentation provided by the student and, in consultation with the student, determines which accommodations are appropriate for the student’s particular needs and academic program(s).

  2. Employees with Disabilities

    Pursuant to the ADA, Calvin University will provide reasonable accommodation(s) to all qualified employees with known disabilities when their disability affects the performance of their essential job functions, except when doing so would be unduly disruptive or would result in undue hardship to Calvin University.

    An employee with a disability is responsible for submitting a request for an accommodation to the Human Resources and providing necessary documentation. Human Resources will work with the employee’s supervisor to identify which essential functions of the position are affected by the employee’s disability and what reasonable accommodations could enable the employee to perform those duties.

VI. Prohibited Conduct

The university is committed to creating and maintaining safe spaces for learning, living and working. Students, staff, administrators, and faculty are entitled to an employment and educational environment that is free of discriminatory harassment. Calvin University’s harassment policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. The sections below describe the specific forms of legally prohibited harassment that are also prohibited under Calvin University policy. When speech or conduct is protected by academic freedom and/or the First Amendment, it will not be considered a violation of Calvin University policy, though supportive measures will be offered to those impacted.

VI.A. Discriminatory Harassment

Harassment is defined as unwelcome verbal or physical conduct. Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • epithets, slurs, denigrating jokes or negative stereotyping;
  • threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers health or safety;
  • written or graphic material that degrades or shows hostility or aversion;
  • pranks or horseplay intended to embarrass or humiliate;
  • imposing submission to unwelcome verbal or physical conduct;
  • stalking, bullying, hazing;
  • any other action that is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the victim in a protected class.

Discriminatory harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by Calvin University policy. Discriminatory harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct by any member or group of the community on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a class protected by policy or law.

Calvin University does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any employee, student, visitor, or guest. Calvin University will act to remedy all forms of harassment when reported, whether or not the harassment rises to the level of creating a “hostile environment.”

A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, limits, or effectively denies an individual’s educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities.[6] This discriminatory effect results from harassing verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is severe or pervasive and objectively offensive.

When discriminatory harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, Calvin University may also impose sanctions on the Respondent through application of the formal grievance process below.

Calvin University reserves the right to address offensive conduct and/or harassment that 1) does not rise to the level of severe, pervasive, and persistent and/or does not create a hostile environment, or 2) that is of a generic nature and not based on a protected status. Addressing such conduct will not result in the imposition of discipline under Calvin University policy, but may be addressed through respectful conversation, remedial actions, education, effective Alternate Resolution, and/or other informal resolution mechanisms.

For assistance with Alternate Resolution and other informal resolution techniques and approaches, employees should contact the Director of Human Resources, and students should contact the Director of Student Conduct.

VI.B. Sexual Harassment

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the State of Michigan regard Sexual Harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice.

Calvin University has adopted the following definition of Sexual Harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community, which consists not only of employer and employees, but of students as well.

Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.

Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. Quid Pro Quo:
    1. an employee of Calvin University,
    2. conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Calvin University,
    3. on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or
  2. Sexual Harassment:
    1. unwelcome conduct,
    2. determined by a reasonable person,
    3. to be so severe, and
    4. pervasive, and,
    5. objectively offensive,
    6. that it effectively denies a person equal access to Calvin University’s education program or activity.[7]
  3. Sexual assault, defined as:
    1. Sex Offenses, Forcible:
      1. Any sexual act directed against another person,
      2. without the consent of the Complainant,
      3. including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.
    2. Forcible Rape:
      1. Penetration,
      2. no matter how slight,
      3. of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or
      4. oral penetration by a sex organ of another person,
      5. without the consent of the Complainant.
    3. Forcible Sodomy:
      1. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person,
      2. forcibly,
      3. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or
      4. not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age[8] or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    4. Sexual Assault with an Object:
      1. The use of an object or instrument to penetrate,
      2. however slightly,
      3. the genital or anal opening of the body of another person,
      4. forcibly,
      5. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),
      6. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    5. Forcible Fondling:
      1. The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts),
      2. for the purpose of sexual gratification,
      3. forcibly,
      4. and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually),
      5. or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
    6. Sex Offenses, Non-forcible:
      1. Incest:
        1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse,
        2. between persons who are related to each other,
        3. within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Michigan law.
      2. Statutory Rape:
        1. Non-forcible sexual intercourse,
        2. with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of 16
  4. Dating Violence, defined as:
    1. violence,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. committed by a person,
    4. who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.
      1. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition—
      2. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
      3. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
  5. Domestic Violence, defined as:
    1. violence,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant,
    4. by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or
    5. by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or
    6. by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan, or
    7. by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan.

    *To categorize an incident as Domestic Violence, the relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.

  6. Stalking, defined as:
    1. engaging in a course of conduct,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. directed at a specific person, that
      • would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or
      • the safety of others; or
      • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

      For the purposes of this definition—

      1. Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to,
        • acts in which the Respondent directly,
        • indirectly,
        • or through third parties,
        • by any action,
        • method,
        • device,
        • or means,
        • follows,
        • monitors,
        • observes,
        • surveils,
        • threatens,
        • or communicates to or about a person,
        • or interferes with a person’s property.
      2. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the Complainant.
      3. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

VI.C. Romantic and/or Sexual Consensual Relationships between People with Unequal Power

There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (e.g., faculty and student, supervisor and employee). The unequal power inherent in such relationships, even if consensual, heightens the vulnerability of the person with less power and heightens the potential for coercion and abuse. In addition, these relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of this policy. Such relationships can also create a hostile learning and work environment for others.

Examples of the kinds of relationships prohibited by this policy include:

  • Faculty and students. The decision to become a faculty member at the university presumes an educational and mentoring relationship with any student and precludes engaging in such a romantic relationship with any student.
  • Staff or volunteers who have mentoring or supervisory relationships with students. The decision to become a staff member or a volunteer in a position that is defined by mentoring or supervision precludes engaging in such a romantic relationship with any student.
  • Supervisors and subordinates. Romantic relationships are not allowed between employees of Calvin University when a supervisory relationship is involved. This applies to all employees and their supervisors. The power differential makes such relationships open to abuse and to charges of sexual harassment or unprofessional conduct. Such relationships can also create a hostile work environment for others. Should romantic relationships develop, the supervising employee should inform their supervisor so that appropriate actions can be made to remove the involved supervisor from direct supervision of the employee.

Note that Calvin’s Policy on Employment of Relatives (Handbook for Teaching Faculty, Section 6.7 and Staff Handbook) states that staff and faculty members are not permitted to supervise a person to whom they are related.  Calvin University follows the anti-nepotism guidelines further described in the university policy on employment of relatives.

Where students have supervisory employment roles with other students (e.g., in Food Services), a mentoring role (e.g., resident assistants in the residence halls), or otherwise have authority that affects the work or educational environment of other students, they are discouraged from having a romantic relationship with a student under their authority. If such relationships exist, the student in the supervisory role must disclose this to his/her supervisor.

Exceptions to the above prohibitions (e.g., in the circumstances of a pre-existing relationship) will be considered by the provost or the Vice President for People, Strategy and Technology on a limited, case-by-case basis. Faculty or staff with questions about the application or effect of this policy should consult with the Provost or the Vice President for People, Strategy and Technology.

Calvin University reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any offense under this policy.

VI.D. Force, Coercion, Consent, and Incapacitation[9]

As used in the offenses above, the following definitions and understandings apply:

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).

Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

Consent is:

  • knowing, and
  • voluntary, and
  • clear permission
  • by word or action
  • to engage in sexual activity.

Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity., and the party initiating the intimate contact will have the burden for establishing consent.

If consent is not clearly provided or discussed prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter, but clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged.

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied as consent. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.

Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on Calvin University to determine whether there is evidence that its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

Incapacitation: A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep, or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. As stated above, a Respondent violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving consent.

It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation that the Respondent neither knew nor should have known the Complainant to be physically or mentally incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment.

Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction).

Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint, and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs.

VI.E. Other Civil Rights Offenses

In addition to the forms of sexual harassment described above, which fall within the coverage of Title IX, Calvin University additionally prohibits the following offenses as forms of discrimination outside of Title IX when the act is based upon the Complainant’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class.

  • Sexual Exploitation, defined as: taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own benefit or for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, and that conduct does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this policy. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:
    • Sexual voyeurism (such as observing or allowing others to observe a person undressing or using the bathroom or engaging in sexual acts, without the consent of the person being observed)
    • Invasion of sexual privacy.
    • Taking pictures, video, or audio recording of another in a sexual act, or in any other sexually-related activity when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy during the activity, without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent), including the making or posting of revenge pornography.
    • Prostituting another person
    • Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI), without informing the other person of the infection
    • Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity
    • Misappropriation of another person’s identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual connections
    • Forcing a person to take an action against that person’s will by threatening to show, post, or share information, video, audio, or an image that depicts the person’s nudity or sexual activity
    • Knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity
    • Engaging in sex trafficking
    • Creation, possession, or dissemination of child pornography
  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive, limit, or deny other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within Calvin University community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity as defined further in the Hazing Policy;
  • Bullying, defined as:
    • Repeated and/or severe pattern of conduct directed at another person
    • Aggressive behavior
    • Likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically and/or mentally
    • That is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment.

Violation of any other Calvin University policies may constitute a Civil Rights Offense when a violation is motivated by actual or perceived membership in a protected class, and the result is a discriminatory limitation or denial of employment or educational access, benefits, or opportunities.

Sanctions for the above-listed Civil Rights Offenses range from reprimand through expulsion/termination.

VI.F. Racial Harassment

While the Safer Spaces policy generally prohibits discrimination and harassment in employment and in access to educational opportunities on the basis of legally protected characteristics (see section II.A.), this statement on racial harassment is intended to stipulate the university’s position prohibiting racial, ethnic, and cultural harassment within the Calvin University community. Therefore, this statement shall be interpreted in its broadest sense. The examples provided should not be treated as an exhaustive list of situations. This policy is not intended to discourage or impede serious and responsible attention to issues of race, ethnicity, or other markers of cultural differences. Rather, it is expected that this policy will guide the university’s efforts to become a safe environment for students, staff, faculty, and guests of the university.

  1. Definitions

    No member of the Calvin University community shall engage in racial, ethnic, or cultural harassment. Harassment is an act that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, or a pervasive pattern of behavior usually directed toward a person or group. Harassment includes, but is not limited to:

    1. Harassing remarks or actions serving no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose that are made directly or indirectly toward individuals or groups due to their race, ethnicity, or culture.
    2. Intimidating, hostile, humiliating, or demeaning remarks or actions based on race, ethnicity, or culture which, whether intentional or unintentional, interfere with or threaten an individual’s or group’s participation in the life of the University, including academic or co-curricular activities. This may include actions or public displays of material that serve no scholarly, artistic, or educational purpose.
  2. Interpretive Guidelines

    Examples of racial, ethnic, or cultural harassment include, but are not limited to: racial epithets, derogatory comments, jokes, or ridicule directed to a specific person or persons about their race, ethnicity, or culture; threats of or actual violence based upon race or ethnicity or culture of the victim; defacement of property based on race, ethnicity, or culture of the owner; remarks or conduct based on race, ethnicity, or culture, even if it is not directed at a specific person or persons, which unreasonably affects the ability of persons to participate in college programs.

    In determining whether an act or pattern constitutes racial or ethnic harassment, the totality of the circumstances that pertain to any given incident in its context must be carefully reviewed and due consideration must be given to the protection of individual rights, freedom of speech, academic freedom, and advocacy.

  3. Retaliation

    Protected activity under this policy includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the grievance process, supporting a Complainant or Respondent, assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation, and/or acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy.

    Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. Calvin University is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

    It is prohibited for Calvin University or any member of Calvin University’s community to take materially adverse action by intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or policy, or because the 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 this policy and procedure.

    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 a report or complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, constitutes retaliation.

    The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.

    Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.

VII. Mandated Reporting

All Calvin University employees (faculty, staff, administrators) are expected to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials immediately, though there are some limited exceptions.

In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality and are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment. They may offer options and resources without any obligation to inform an outside agency or campus official unless a Complainant has requested the information be shared.

If a Complainant expects formal action in response to their allegations, reporting to any Mandated Reporter can connect them with resources to report crimes and/or policy violations, and these employees will immediately pass reports to the Title IX Coordinator (and/or police, if desired by the Complainant), who will take action when an incident is reported to them.

The following sections describe the reporting options at Calvin University for a Complainant or third-party (including parents/guardians when appropriate):

  1. Confidential Resources

    1. Center for Counseling and Wellness: (616) 526-6123
    2. Chaplains from Campus Ministries (616) 526-8855
    3. Health Services (616) 526-6187

    If a Complainant would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the Complainant may speak with:

    • On-campus licensed professional counselors and staff in the Center for Counseling and Wellness
    • On-campus health service providers and staff in Calvin Health Services
    • On-campus members of the clergy/chaplains in the Campus Ministries office working within the scope of their licensure or ordination
    • Athletic trainers (if licensed and privileged under state statute, and/or working under the supervision of a health professional)
    • Off-campus (non-employees):
      • Licensed professional counselors and other medical providers
      • Local rape crisis counselors
      • Domestic violence resources
      • Local or state assistance agencies
      • Clergy/Chaplains
      • Attorneys

    All of the above-listed individuals will maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics, and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of an individual with a disability, or when required to disclose by law or court order.

    Counselors from the Center for Counseling and Wellness are available to help students free of charge and may be consulted on an emergency basis during normal business hours. In addition, Calvin University employees are encouraged to utilize the Employee Assistance Program, which is also a free resource.

    Calvin University employees who are confidential will submit statistical information for Clery Act purposes in a timely fashion, unless they believe it would be harmful to their clients.

  2. Anonymous Notice to Mandated Reporters

    At the request of a Complainant, notice may be given by a Mandated Reporter to the Title IX Coordinator anonymously, without identification of the Complainant. The Mandated Reporter cannot remain anonymous themselves.

    If a Complainant has requested that a Mandated Reporter maintain the Complainant’s anonymity, the Mandated Reporter may do so unless it is reasonable to believe that a compelling threat to health or safety could exist. The Mandated Reporter can consult with the Title IX Coordinator on that assessment without revealing personally identifiable information.

    Anonymous notice will be investigated by Calvin University to the extent possible, both to assess the underlying allegation(s) and to determine if supportive measures or remedies can be provided.

    However, anonymous notice typically limits Calvin University’s ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies, depending on what information is shared.

    When a Complainant has made a request for anonymity, the Complainant’s personally identifiable information may be withheld by a Mandated Reporter, but all other details must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator. Mandated reporters may not be able to maintain requests for anonymity for Complainants who are minors, elderly, and/or disabled, depending on state reporting of abuse requirements.

  3. Mandated Reporters and Formal Notice/Complaints

    All employees of Calvin University (including student employees), with the exception of those who are designated as Confidential Resources, are Mandated Reporters and must promptly share with the Title IX Coordinator all known details of a report made to them in the course of their employment.

    Employees must also promptly share all details of behaviors under this policy that they observe or have knowledge of, even if not reported to them by a Complainant or third-party.

    Complainants may want to carefully consider whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential Mandated Reporters, as those details must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator.

    Generally, disclosures in climate surveys, classroom writing assignments or discussions, human subjects research, or at events such as “Take Back the Night” marches or speak-outs do not provide notice that must be reported to the Coordinator by employees, unless the Complainant clearly indicates that they desire a report to be made or a seek a specific response from Calvin University.

    Supportive measures may be offered as the result of such disclosures without formal Calvin University action.

    Failure of a Mandated Reporter, as described above in this section, to report an incident of harassment or discrimination of which they become aware is a violation of Calvin University policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply.

    Though this may seem obvious, when a Mandated Reporter is engaged in harassment or other violations of this policy, they still have a duty to report their own misconduct, though Calvin University is technically not on notice when a harasser is also a Mandated Reporter unless the harasser does in fact report themselves.

    Finally, it is important to clarify that a Mandated Reporter who is themselves a target of harassment or other misconduct under this policy is not required to report their own experience, though they are, of course, encouraged to do so.

VII.A. When a Complainant Does Not Wish to Proceed

If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal complaint to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.

The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether Calvin University proceeds when the Complainant does not wish to do so, and the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a grievance process upon completion of an appropriate violence risk assessment.

The Title IX Coordinator’s decision should be based on results of the violence risk assessment that show a compelling risk to health and/or safety that requires Calvin University to pursue formal action to protect the community.

A compelling risk to health and/or safety may result from evidence of patterns of misconduct, predatory conduct, threats, abuse of minors, use of weapons, and/or violence. Calvin University may be compelled to act on alleged employee misconduct irrespective of a Complainant’s wishes.

The Title IX Coordinator must also consider the effect that non-participation by the Complainant may have on the availability of evidence and Calvin University’s ability to pursue a Formal Grievance Process fairly and effectively.

When the Title IX Coordinator executes the written complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant is the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy.

When Calvin University proceeds, the Complainant (or their Advisor) may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The Complainant retains all rights of a Complainant under this Policy irrespective of their level of participation. Typically, when the Complainant chooses not to participate, the Advisor may be appointed as proxy for the Complainant throughout the process, acting to ensure and protect the rights of the Complainant.

Note that Calvin University’s ability to remedy and respond to notice may be limited if the Complainant does not want Calvin University to proceed with an investigation and/or grievance process. The goal is to provide the Complainant with as much control over the process as possible, while balancing Calvin University’s obligation to protect its community.

In cases in which the Complainant requests confidentiality/no formal action and the circumstances allow Calvin University to honor that request, Calvin University will offer informal resolution options (see below), supportive measures, and remedies to the Complainant and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action.

If the Complainant elects to take no action, they can change that decision if they decide to pursue a formal complaint at a later date. Upon making a formal complaint, a Complainant has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by Calvin University, and to have the incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.

VII.B. Federal Timely Warning Obligations

Parties reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking should be aware that under the Clery Act, Calvin University must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community.

Calvin University will ensure that a Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.

VII.C. False Allegations and Evidence

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence after being directed to preserve such evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under Calvin University policy.

VII.D. Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses

Calvin University community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses. Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to Calvin University officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be in violation of certain policies, such as underage drinking or use of illicit drugs at the time of the incident. Respondents may hesitate to be forthcoming during the process for the same reasons.

It is in the best interests of Calvin University community that Complainants choose to report misconduct to Calvin University officials, that witnesses come forward to share what they know, and that all parties be forthcoming during the process.

To encourage reporting and participation in the process, Calvin University maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs related to the incident.

Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution. The decision not to offer amnesty to a Respondent is based on neither sex nor gender, but on the fact that collateral misconduct is typically addressed for all students within a progressive discipline system, and the rationale for amnesty the incentive to report serious misconduct is rarely applicable to Respondent with respect to a Complainant.

Students: Sometimes, students are hesitant to assist others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves (for example, an underage student who has been drinking or using marijuana might hesitate to help take an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct to Campus Safety).

Calvin University maintains a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. [While policy violations cannot be overlooked, Calvin University may provide purely educational options with no official disciplinary finding, rather than punitive sanctions, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.]

Employees: Sometimes, employees are hesitant to report harassment or discrimination they have experienced for fear that they may get in trouble themselves. For example, an employee who has violated the consensual relationship policy and is then assaulted in the course of that relationship might hesitate to report the incident to Calvin University officials.

Calvin University may, at its discretion, offer employee Complainants amnesty from such policy violations (typically more minor policy violations) related to the incident. Amnesty may also be granted to Respondents and witnesses on a case-by-case basis.

VII.E. Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Certain campus officials those deemed Campus Security Authorities have a duty to report the following for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act):

  1. All “primary crimes,” which include homicide, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, and arson;
  2. Hate crimes, which include any bias motivated primary crime as well as any bias motivated larceny or theft, simple assault, intimidation, or destruction/damage/vandalism of property;
  3. VAWA[10]-based crimes, which include sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking; and
  4. Arrests and referrals for disciplinary action for weapons-related law violations, liquor-related law violations, and drug abuse-related law violations.

All personally identifiable information is kept private, but statistical information must be passed along to Campus Safety regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus or in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report and daily campus crime log.

Campus Security Authorities include: student conduct staff, Campus Safety, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations, and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities.

VIII. INTERIM RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE POLICY ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, HARASSMENT, AND NONDISCRIMINATION (KNOWN AS PROCESS “A”)

VIII.A. Overview

Calvin University will act on any formal or informal notice/complaint of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination (“the Policy”) that is received by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator[11] or any other Official with Authority by applying these procedures, known as “Process A.”

The procedures below apply to all allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of protected class status involving students, staff, administrators, or faculty members. A set of technical dismissal requirements within the Title IX regulations may apply as described below, but when a technical dismissal under the Title IX allegations is required, any remaining allegations will proceed using these same grievance procedures, clarifying which policies above are applicable. While the effect of the Title IX regulations can be confusing, these grievance procedures apply to all policies above.

The procedures below may be used to address collateral misconduct arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with reported misconduct (e.g., vandalism, physical abuse of another). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by the Policy will be addressed through procedures elaborated in the student, faculty, and staff handbooks.

VIII.B. Notice/Complaint

Upon receipt of a complaint or notice to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator of an alleged violation of the Policy, Calvin University initiates a prompt initial assessment to determine the next steps Calvin University needs to take.

Calvin University will initiate at least one of three responses:

  1. Offering supportive measures because the Complainant does not want to proceed formally; and/or
  2. An informal resolution; and/or
  3. A Formal Grievance Process including an investigation and a hearing.

The investigation and grievance process will determine whether or not the Policy has been violated. If so, Calvin University will promptly implement effective remedies designed to ensure that it is not deliberately indifferent to harassment or discrimination, their potential recurrence, or their effects.

VIII.C. Initial Assessment

Following receipt of notice or a complaint of an alleged violation of this Policy, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator[12] engages in an initial assessment, which is typically one to five business days in duration. The steps in an initial assessment can include:

  • If notice is given, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator seeks to determine if the person impacted wishes to make a formal complaint, and will assist them to do so, if desired.
    • If they do not wish to do so, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines whether to initiate a complaint because a violence risk assessment indicates a compelling threat to health and/or safety.
  • If a formal complaint is received, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator assesses its sufficiency and works with the Complainant to make sure it is correctly completed.
  • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator reaches out to the Complainant to offer supportive measures.
  • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure they are aware of the right to have an Advisor.
  • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to determine whether the Complainant prefers a supportive and remedial response, an informal resolution option, or a formal investigation and grievance process.
    • If a supportive and remedial response is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to identify their wishes and then seeks to facilitate implementation. No Formal Grievance Process is initiated, though the Complainant can elect to initiate one later, if desired.
    • If an informal resolution option is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator assesses whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution, which informal mechanism may serve the situation best or is available and may seek to determine if the Respondent is also willing to engage in informal resolution.
    • If a Formal Grievance Process is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines if the misconduct alleged falls within the scope of Title IX:
      • If it does, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will initiate the formal investigation and grievance process, directing the investigation to address
        • an incident, and/or
        • a pattern of alleged misconduct, and/or
        • a culture/climate issue, based on the nature of the complaint.
      • If it does not, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines that Title IX does not apply (and will “dismiss” that aspect of the complaint, if any), assesses which policies may apply, which resolution process is applicable, and will refer the matter accordingly. Please note that dismissing a complaint under Title IX is just procedural, and does not limit Calvin University’s authority to address a complaint with an appropriate process and remedies.

VIII.D. Violence Risk Assessment

In many cases, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may determine that a Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) should be conducted by Campus Safety and the Dean of Students Office as part of the initial assessment. A VRA can aid in ten critical and/or required determinations, including:

  • Emergency removal of a Respondent on the basis of immediate threat to physical health/safety;
  • Whether the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator should pursue/sign a formal complaint absent a willing/able Complainant;
  • Whether to put the investigation on the footing of incident and/or pattern and/or climate;
  • To help identify potential predatory conduct;
  • To help assess/identify grooming behaviors;
  • Whether it is reasonable to try to resolve a complaint through informal resolution, and what modality may be most successful;
  • Whether to permit a voluntary withdrawal by the Respondent;
  • Whether to impose transcript notation or communicate with a transfer institution about a Respondent;
  • Assessment of appropriate sanctions/remedies (to be applied post-hearing); and/or
  • Whether a Clery Act Timely Warning/Trespass order/Persona-non-grata is needed.

Threat assessment is the process of evaluating the actionability of violence by an individual against another person or group following the issuance of a direct or conditional threat. A VRA is a broader term used to assess any potential violence or danger, regardless of the presence of a vague, conditional, or direct threat.

VRAs require specific training and are typically conducted by psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, case managers, law enforcement officers, student conduct officers, or other Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)/CARE team members. A VRA authorized by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator should occur in collaboration with the CARE or threat assessment team. Where a VRA is required by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, a Respondent refusing to cooperate may result in a charge of failure to comply within the appropriate student or employee conduct process.

A VRA is not an evaluation for an involuntary behavioral health hospitalization (e.g., 5150 in California, Section XII in Massachusetts, Baker Act in Florida), nor is it a psychological or mental health assessment. A VRA assesses the risk of actionable violence, often with a focus on targeted/predatory escalations, and is supported by research from the fields of law enforcement, criminology, human resources, and psychology.

More about Calvin University’s process for VRA can be found below in Appendix E.

VIII.E. Dismissal (Mandatory and Discretionary)[13]

Calvin University must dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations therein if, at any time during the investigation or hearing, it is determined that:

  1. The conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined in the Policy hereinabove, even if proved; and/or
  2. The conduct did not occur in an educational program or activity controlled by Calvin University and/or Calvin University does not have control of the Respondent; and/or
  3. The conduct did not occur against a person in the United States; and/or
  4. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant is not participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of Calvin University.

Calvin University may dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations therein if, at any time during the investigation or hearing:

  1. A Complainant notifies the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; or
  2. The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by Calvin University; or
  3. Specific circumstances prevent Calvin University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

Upon any dismissal, Calvin University will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and the rationale for doing so simultaneously to the parties.

This dismissal decision is appealable by any party under the procedures for appeal below. The decision not to dismiss is also appealable by any party claiming that a dismissal is required or appropriate. A Complainant who decides to withdraw a complaint may later request to reinstate it or refile it.

VIII.F. Counterclaims

Calvin University is obligated to ensure that the grievance process is not abused for retaliatory purposes. Calvin University permits the filing of counterclaims but uses an initial assessment, described above, to assess whether the allegations in the counterclaim are made in good faith. Counterclaims by the Respondent may be made in good faith, but are, on occasion, also made for purposes of retaliation. Counterclaims made with retaliatory intent will not be permitted.

Counterclaims determined to have been reported in good faith will be processed using the grievance procedures below. Investigation of such claims may take place after resolution of the underlying initial allegation, in which case a delay may occur.

Counterclaims may also be resolved through the same investigation as the underlying allegation, at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory and may constitute a violation of this policy.

VIII.G. Right to an Advisor

The parties may each have an Advisor[14] of their choice present with them for all meetings and interviews within the resolution process, if they so choose. The parties may select whoever they wish to serve as their Advisor as long as the Advisor is eligible and available.[15]

Choosing an Advisor who is also a witness in the process creates potential for bias and conflict-of-interest. A party who chooses an Advisor who is also a witness can anticipate that issues of potential bias will be explored by the hearing Decision-maker(s).

  1. Who Can Serve as an Advisor

    The Advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support, and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may choose Advisors from inside or outside of Calvin University community.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will also offer to assign a trained Advisor for any party if the party so chooses. If the parties choose an Advisor from the Safer Spaces Team available from Calvin University, the Advisor will be trained by Calvin University and be familiar with Calvin University’s resolution process.

    If the parties choose an Advisor from outside the Safer Spaces Team of those identified by Calvin University, the Advisor may not have been trained by Calvin University and may not be familiar with Calvin University policies and procedures.

    Parties also have the right to choose not to have an Advisor in the initial stages of the resolution process, prior to a hearing.

  2. Advisors in Hearings/Calvin University-Appointed Advisor

    Under U.S. Department of Education regulations applicable to Title IX, cross-examination is required during the hearing, but must be conducted by the parties’ Advisors. The parties are not permitted to directly cross-examine each other or any witnesses. If a party does not have an Advisor for a hearing, Calvin University will appoint a trained Advisor for the limited purpose of conducting any cross-examination.

    A party may reject this appointment and choose their own Advisor, but they may not proceed without an Advisor. If the party’s Advisor will not conduct cross-examination, Calvin University will appoint an Advisor who will do so thoroughly, regardless of the participation or non-participation of the advised party in the hearing itself. Extensive questioning of the parties and witnesses will also be conducted by the Decision-maker(s) during the hearing.

  3. Advisor’s Role

    The parties may be accompanied by their Advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help the parties prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.

    Calvin University cannot guarantee equal Advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an Advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not or cannot afford an attorney, Calvin University is not obligated to provide an attorney.

    Where applicable under Calvin University policy, Advisors or attorneys are permitted to fully represent their advisees or clients in resolution proceedings, including all meetings, interviews, and hearings. Although Calvin University prefers to hear from parties directly, in these cases, parties are entitled to have evidence provided by their chosen representatives.

  4. Pre-Interview Meetings

    Advisors may request to meet with the administrative officials conducting interviews/meetings in advance of these interviews or meetings. This pre-meeting allows Advisors to clarify and understand their role and Calvin University’s policies and procedures.

  5. Advisor Violations of Calvin University Policy

    All Advisors are subject to the same Calvin University policies and procedures, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors are expected to advise their advisees without disrupting proceedings. Advisors should not address Calvin University officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to (e.g., asking procedural questions). The Advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee[16] during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the Investigator(s) or other Decision-maker(s) except during a hearing proceeding, during cross-examination.

    The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf throughout the investigation phase of the resolution process. Although the Advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the Advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or by conferring or passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their Advisors should ask for breaks to allow for private consultation.

    Any Advisor who oversteps their role as defined by this policy will be warned only once. If the Advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the Advisor role, the meeting will be ended, or other appropriate measures implemented. Subsequently, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine how to address the Advisor’s non-compliance and future role.

  6. Sharing Information with the Advisor

    Calvin University expects that the parties may wish to have Calvin University share documentation and evidence related to the allegations with their Advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their Advisor or other individuals if they wish. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process.

    Calvin University also provides a consent form that authorizes Calvin University to share such information directly with their Advisor. The parties must either complete and submit this form to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or provide similar documentation demonstrating consent to a release of information to the Advisor before Calvin University is able to share records with an Advisor.

    If a party requests that all communication be made through their attorney Advisor, Calvin University will comply with that request at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

  7. Privacy of Records Shared with Advisor

    Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by Calvin University. Calvin University may seek to restrict the role of any Advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by Calvin University’s privacy expectations.

  8. Expectations of an Advisor

    Calvin University generally expects an Advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend Calvin University meetings when planned but may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend, if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay.

    Calvin University may also make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in-person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.

  9. Expectations of the Parties with Respect to Advisors

    A party may elect to change Advisors during the process and is not obligated to use the same Advisor throughout. The parties are expected to inform the Investigator(s) of the identity of their Advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with Investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired).

    The parties are expected to provide timely notice to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator if they change Advisors at any time. It is assumed that if a party changes Advisors, consent to share information with the previous Advisor is terminated, and a release for the new Advisor must be secured. Parties are expected to inform the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their hearing Advisor at least two (2) business days before the hearing.

IX. Resolution Processes

Resolution proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accordance with Calvin University policy. While there is an expectation of privacy around what Investigators share with parties during interviews, the parties have discretion to share their own knowledge and evidence with others if they so choose. Calvin University encourages parties to discuss this with their Advisors before doing so.

IX.A. Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution can include three different approaches:

  • When the parties agree to resolve the matter through an alternate resolution mechanism including mediation, restorative practices, etc.;
  • When the Respondent accepts responsibility for violating policy, and desires to accept a sanction and end the resolution process; or
  • When the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator can resolve the matter informally by providing supportive measures to remedy the situation.

To initiate Informal Resolution, a Complainant needs to submit a formal complaint, as defined above. If a Respondent wishes to initiate Informal Resolution, they should contact the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator to so indicate.

It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue a Formal Grievance Process, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and begin or resume the Formal Grievance Process.

Prior to implementing Informal Resolution, Calvin University will provide the parties with written notice of the reported misconduct and any sanctions or measures that may result from participating in such a process, including information regarding any records that will be maintained or shared by Calvin University.

Calvin University will obtain voluntary, written confirmation that all parties wish to resolve the matter through Informal Resolution before proceeding and will not pressure the parties to participate in Informal Resolution.

IX.B. Alternate Resolution

Alternate Resolution is an informal process, including mediation or restorative practices, etc. by which a mutually agreed upon resolution of an allegation is reached. All parties must consent to the use of Alternate Resolution.

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may look to the following factors to assess whether Alternate Resolution is appropriate, or which form of Alternate Resolution may be most successful for the parties:

  • The parties’ amenability to Alternate Resolution;
  • Likelihood of potential resolution, taking into account any power dynamics between the parties;
  • The parties’ motivation to participate;
  • Civility of the parties;
  • Cleared violence risk assessment/ongoing risk analysis;
  • Disciplinary history;
  • Whether an emergency removal is needed;
  • Skill of the Alternate Resolution facilitator with this type of complaint;
  • Complaint complexity;
  • Emotional investment/intelligence of the parties;
  • Rationality of the parties;
  • Goals of the parties;
  • Adequate resources to invest in Alternate Resolution (time, staff, etc.)

The ultimate determination of whether Alternate Resolution is available or successful is to be made by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator maintains records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution agreement may result in appropriate responsive/disciplinary actions. Results of complaints resolved by Informal Resolution or Alternate Resolution are not appealable.

IX.C. Respondent Accepts Responsibility for Alleged Violations

The Respondent may accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the Respondent indicates an intent to accept responsibility for all of the alleged misconduct, the formal process will be paused, and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine whether Informal Resolution can be used according to the criteria in that section above.

If Informal Resolution is applicable, Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine whether all parties and Calvin University are able to agree on responsibility, sanctions, and/or remedies. If so, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator implements the accepted finding that the Respondent is in violation of Calvin University policy and implements agreed-upon sanctions and/or remedies, in coordination with other appropriate administrator(s), as necessary.

This result is not subject to appeal once all parties indicate their written assent to all agreed upon terms of resolution. When the parties cannot agree on all terms of resolution, the Formal Grievance Process will resume at the same point where it was paused.

When a resolution is accomplished, the appropriate sanction or responsive actions are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the harassment or discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.

IX.D. Negotiated Resolution

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, with the consent of the parties, may negotiate and implement an agreement to resolve the allegations that satisfies all parties and Calvin University. Negotiated Resolutions are not appealable.

X. Formal Resolution Process (also known as Formal Grievance Process)

The Formal Resolution Process relies on a Safer Spaces team to carry out the process. Members of the Safer Spaces Team are announced in an annual distribution of this policy to all students, employees, prospective students, and prospective employees. They are also listed in the Annual Title IX Report published by the Safer Spaces Office.

The list of Safer Spaces Team members and a description of the Safer Spaces Team can be found at https://calvin.edu/offices-services/safer-spaces/.

X.A. Safer Spaces Team Member Roles

Members of the Safer Spaces Team are trained annually, and can serve in in the following roles, at the direction of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

  • To provide appropriate intake of and initial guidance pertaining to complaints
  • To act as an Advisor to the parties
  • To serve in a facilitation role in informal resolution or Alternate Resolution if

appropriately trained in appropriate resolution modalities (e.g., mediation, restorative practices

  • To perform or assist with initial assessment
  • To investigate complaints
  • To serve as a hearing facilitator (process administrator, no decision-making role)
  • To serve as a Decision-maker regarding the complaint
  • To serve as an Appeal Officer

X.B. Safer Spaces Team Member Appointment

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the President and Vice President for Student Life, appoints the Safer Spaces Team, which acts with independence and impartiality. While members of the Safer Spaces Team are typically trained in a variety of skill sets and can rotate amongst the different roles listed above in different cases, Calvin University can also designate permanent roles for individuals on the team, using others as substitutes or to provide greater depth of experience when necessary. This process of role assignment may be the result of particular skills, aptitudes, or talents identified in members of the Safer Spaces Team that make them best suited to particular roles.

X.C. Safer Spaces Team Member Training

The Safer Spaces Team members receive annual training, jointly and based on their respective roles. This training includes, but is not limited to:

  • The scope of Calvin University’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures
  • How to conduct investigations and hearings that protect the safety of Complainants and Respondents, and promote accountability
  • Implicit bias
  • Disparate treatment and impact
  • Reporting, confidentiality, and privacy requirements
  • Applicable laws, regulations, and federal regulatory guidance
  • How to implement appropriate and situation-specific remedies
  • How to investigate in a thorough, reliable, and impartial manner
  • How to uphold fairness, equity, and due process
  • How to weigh evidence
  • How to conduct questioning
  • How to assess credibility
  • Impartiality and objectivity
  • How to render findings and generate clear, concise, evidence-based rationales
  • The definitions of all offenses
  • How to apply definitions used by Calvin University with respect to consent (or the absence or negation of consent) consistently, impartially, and in accordance with policy
  • How to conduct an investigation and formal grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes
  • How to serve impartially by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
  • Any technology to be used at a live hearing
  • Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
  • Issues of relevance to create an investigation report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence
  • How to determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation allegations

Specific training is also provided for Appeal Officers, intake personnel, Advisors (who are Calvin University employees), and Chairs. All Safer Spaces Team members are required to attend these trainings annually. The materials used to train all members of the Safer Spaces Team are publicly posted here: https://calvin.edu/offices-services/safer-spaces

X.D. Safer Spaces Team Membership

The Safer Spaces Team includes:

  • 3 Decision-makers: at least one representative from HR and at least one representative from Student Life who are members and who respectively Chair hearings for allegations involve student and employee Respondents.
  • 3 or more members of the Academic Affairs administration and/or faculty
  • 3 or more members of the administration/staff
  • 1 or more representative from Campus Safety
  • 1 or more representatives from Human Resources
  • 2 or more representative from Athletics

Safer Spaces Team members are usually appointed to three-year terms. Individuals who are interested in serving in the Safer Spaces Team are encouraged to contact the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

X.E. Formal Grievance Process: Notice of Investigation and Allegations

The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations (the “NOIA”) to the Respondent upon commencement of the Formal Grievance Process. This facilitates the Respondent’s ability to prepare for the interview and to identify and choose an Advisor to accompany them. The NOIA is also copied to the Complainant, who is to be given advance notice of when the NOIA will be delivered to the Respondent.

The NOIA will include:

  • A meaningful summary of all of allegations,
  • The identity of the involved parties (if known),
  • The precise misconduct being alleged,
  • The date and location of the alleged incident(s) (if known),
  • The specific policies implicated,
  • A description of the applicable procedures,
  • A statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result,
  • A statement that Calvin University presumes the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a different determination,
  • A statement that determinations of responsibility are made at the conclusion of the process and that the parties will be given an opportunity to inspect and review all directly related and/or relevant evidence obtained during the review and comment period,
  • A statement about Calvin University’s policy on retaliation,
  • Information about the privacy of the process,
  • Information on the need for each party to have an Advisor of their choosing and suggestions for ways to identify an Advisor,
  • A statement informing the parties that Calvin University’s Policy prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process,
  • Detail on how the party may request disability accommodations during the interview process,
  • A link to Calvin University’s VAWA Brochure,
  • The name(s) of the Investigator(s), along with a process to identify, in advance of the interview process, to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator any conflict of interest that the Investigator(s) may have, and
  • An instruction to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations.

Amendments and updates to the NOIA may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various charges.

Notice will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address(es) of the parties as indicated in official Calvin University records, or emailed to the parties’ Calvin University-issued email or designated accounts. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.

  1. Resolution Timeline

    Calvin University will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process within a sixty-to-ninety (60-90) business day time period, including appeal, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, who will provide notice and rationale for any extensions or delays to the parties as appropriate, as well as a estimate of how much additional time will be needed to complete the process.

  2. Appointment of Investigators

    Once the decision to commence a formal investigation is made, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator appoints Safer Spaces Team members to conduct the investigation (typically using a team of two Investigators), usually within two (2) business days of determining that an investigation should proceed.

  3. Ensuring Impartiality

    Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process (including the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), and Decision-maker(s)) may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for a party generally, or for a specific Complainant or Respondent.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will vet the assigned Investigator(s) to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases. The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another Safer Spaces Team member will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the source of the conflict of interest or bias is the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with the President or Vice President for Student Life.

    The Formal Grievance Process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, including evidence which supports that the Respondent engaged in a policy violation and evidence which supports that the Respondent did not engage in a policy violation. Credibility determinations may not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.

    Calvin University operates with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the Respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation by the preponderance of evidence standard of proof.

  4. Investigation Timeline

    Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within thirty (30) business days, though some investigations may take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.

    Calvin University will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.

  5. Delays in the Investigation Process and Interactions with Law Enforcement

    Calvin University may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to a few weeks) if circumstances require. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to: a request from law enforcement to temporarily delay the investigation, the need for language assistance, the absence of parties and/or witnesses, and/or accommodations for disabilities or health conditions.

    Calvin University will communicate in writing the anticipated duration of the delay and reason to the parties and provide the parties with status updates if necessary. Calvin University will promptly resume its investigation and resolution process as soon as feasible. During such a delay, Calvin University will implement supportive measures as deemed appropriate.

    Calvin University action(s) are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.

  6. Steps in the Investigation Process

    All investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses; obtaining available, relevant evidence; and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.

    All parties have a full and fair opportunity, through the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence and expert witnesses, and to fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.

    The Investigator(s) typically take(s) the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in this order):

    • Determine the identity and contact information of the Complainant
    • In coordination with campus partners (e.g., the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary supportive measures
    • Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct and notify the Complainant and Respondent of all of the specific policies implicated
    • Assist the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator with conducting a prompt initial assessment to determine if the allegations indicate a potential policy violation
    • Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by identifying issues and developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the parties
    • Meet with the Complainant to finalize their interview/statement, if necessary
    • Prepare the initial Notice of Investigation and Allegation (NOIA). The NOIA may be amended with any additional or dismissed allegations
      • Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of an Advisor, who could be a member of the Safer Spaces Team or an Advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the party
    • Provide each interviewed party and witness an opportunity to review and verify the Investigator’s summary notes (or transcript) of the relevant evidence/testimony from their respective interviews and meetings
    • Make good faith efforts to notify the parties of any meeting or interview involving the other party, in advance when possible
    • When participation of a party is expected, provide that party with written notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as the expected participants and purpose
    • Interview all available, relevant witnesses and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary
    • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest witnesses and questions they wish the Investigator(s) to ask of the other party and witnesses, and document in the report which questions were asked, with a rationale for any changes or omissions.
    • Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
    • Provide regular status updates to the parties throughout the investigation.
    • Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective Advisors (if so desired by the parties) with a list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding
    • Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation, all witness interviews, and addressing all relevant evidence. Appendices including relevant physical or documentary evidence will be included
    • The Investigator(s) gather, assess, and synthesize evidence, but make no conclusions, engage in no policy analysis, and render no recommendations as part of their report]
    • Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective Advisors (if so desired by the parties) a secured electronic or hard copy of the draft investigation report as well as an opportunity to inspect and review all of the evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the reported misconduct, including evidence upon which Calvin University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination, for a ten (10) business day review and comment period so that each party may meaningfully respond to the evidence. The parties may elect to waive the full ten days. Each copy of the materials shared will be watermarked on each page with the role of the person receiving it (e.g., Complainant, Respondent, Complainant’s Advisor, Respondent’s Advisor).
    • The Investigator(s) may elect to respond in writing in the investigation report to the parties’ submitted responses and/or to share the responses between the parties for additional responses
    • The Investigator(s) will incorporate relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report, include any additional relevant evidence, make any necessary revisions, and finalize the report. The Investigator(s) should document all rationales for any changes made after the review and comment period
    • The Investigator(s) shares the report with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator and/or legal counsel for their review and feedback
    • The Investigator will incorporate any relevant feedback, and the final report is then shared with all parties and their Advisors through secure electronic transmission or hard copy at least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing. The parties are also provided with a file of any directly related evidence that was not included in the report
  7. Role and Participation of Witnesses in the Investigation

    Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are employees of Calvin University are expected to cooperate with and participate in Calvin University’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of such witnesses to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of policy and may warrant discipline.

    While in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g., study abroad, summer break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WebEx, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigator(s) determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. Calvin University will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.

    Witnesses may also provide written statements in lieu of interviews or choose to respond to written questions, if deemed appropriate by the Investigator(s), though not preferred. If a witness submits a written statement but does not intend to be and is not present for cross examination at a hearing, their written statement may not be used as evidence].

  8. Recording of Interviews

    No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of [and consent to][17] audio and/or video recording.

  9. Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation

    The investigation does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless 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 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.

  10. Referral for Hearing

    Provided that the complaint is not resolved through Informal Resolution, once the final investigation report is shared with the parties, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter for a hearing.

    The hearing cannot be less than ten (10) business days from the conclusion of the investigation to when the final investigation report is transmitted to the parties and the Decision-maker, unless all parties and the Decision-maker agree to an expedited timeline.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will select an appropriate Decision-maker from the Safer Spaces Team, depending on whether the Respondent is an employee or a student. Allegations involving student-employees will be directed to the appropriate Decision-maker depending on the context of the alleged misconduct.

  11. Hearing Decision-maker Composition

    Calvin University will designate a single Decision-maker. The single Decision-maker will also Chair the hearing.

    The Decision-maker(s) will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator may elect to have an alternate from the Safer Spaces Team sit in throughout the resolution process in the event that a substitute is needed for any reason.

    Those who have served as Investigators will be witnesses in the hearing and therefore may not serve as Decision-makers. Those who are serving as Advisors for any party may not serve as Decision-makers in that matter.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may not serve as a Decision-maker or Chair in the matter but may serve as an administrative facilitator of the hearing if their previous role(s) in the matter do not create a conflict of interest. Otherwise, a designee may fulfill this role. The hearing will convene at a time determined by the Chair or designee.

  12. Evidentiary Considerations in the Hearing

    Any evidence that the Decision-maker determine(s) is relevant and credible may be considered. The hearing does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless 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 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.

    Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a determination of responsibility, assuming Calvin University uses a progressive discipline system. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process.

    The parties may each submit a written impact statement prior to the hearing for the consideration of the Decision-maker(s) at the sanction stage of the process when a determination of responsibility is reached.

    After post-hearing deliberation, the Decision-maker renders a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.

  13. Notice of Hearing

    No less than ten (10) business days prior to the hearing, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or the Decision-maker/Chair will send notice of the hearing to the parties. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.

    The notice will contain:

    • A description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result.
    • The time, date, and location of the hearing and a reminder that attendance is mandatory, superseding all other campus activities.
    • Any technology that will be used to facilitate the hearing.
    • Information about the option for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms using technology that enables the Decision-maker(s) and parties to see and hear a party or witness answering questions. Such a request must be raised with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
    • A list of all those who will attend the hearing, along with an invitation to object to any Decision-maker on the basis of demonstrated bias. This must be raised with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator at least two (2) business days prior to the hearing.
    • Information on how the hearing will be recorded and on access to the recording for the parties after the hearing.
    • A statement that if any party or witness does not appear at the scheduled hearing, the hearing may be held in their absence, and the party’s or witness’s testimony and any statements given prior to the hearing will not be considered by the Decision-maker(s). For compelling reasons, the Chair may reschedule the hearing.
    • Notification that the parties may have the assistance of an Advisor of their choosing at the hearing and will be required to have one present for any questions they may desire to ask. The party must notify the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator if they do not have an Advisor, and Calvin University will appoint one. Each party must have an Advisor present. There are no exceptions.
    • A copy of all the materials provided to the Decision-maker(s) about the matter, unless they have been provided already.[18]
    • An invitation to each party to submit to the Chair an impact statement pre-hearing that the Decision-maker will review during any sanction determination.
    • An invitation to contact the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator to arrange any disability accommodations, language assistance, and/or interpretation services that may be needed at the hearing, at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing.
    • Whether parties can/cannot bring mobile phones/devices into the hearing.

    Hearings for possible violations that occur near or after the end of an academic term (assuming the Respondent is still subject to this Policy) and are unable to be resolved prior to the end of term will typically be held immediately after the end of the term or during the summer, as needed, to meet the resolution timeline followed by Calvin University and remain within the 60-90 business day goal for resolution.

    In these cases, if the Respondent is a graduating student, a hold may be placed on graduation and/or official transcripts until the matter is fully resolved (including any appeal). A student facing charges under this Policy is not in good standing to graduate.

  14. Alternative Hearing Participation Options

    If a party or parties prefer not to attend or cannot attend the hearing in person, the party should request alternative arrangements from the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or the Decision-maker/Chair at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or the Decision-maker/Chair can arrange to use technology to allow remote testimony without compromising the fairness of the hearing. Remote options may also be needed for witnesses who cannot appear in person. Any witness who cannot attend in person should let the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or the Chair know at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

  15. Pre-Hearing Preparation

    The Decision-maker/Chair, after any necessary consultation with the parties, Investigator(s) and/or Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, will provide the names of persons who will be participating in the hearing, all pertinent documentary evidence, and the final investigation report to the parties at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing.

    Any witness scheduled to participate in the hearing must have been first interviewed by the Investigator(s) [or have proffered a written statement or answered written questions], unless all parties and the Chair assent to the witness’s participation in the hearing. The same holds for any evidence that is first offered at the hearing. If the parties and Chair do not assent to the admission of evidence newly offered at the hearing, the Chair will delay the hearing and instruct that the investigation needs to be re-opened to consider that evidence.

    The parties will be given a list of the names of the Decision-maker(s) at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. All objections to any Decision-maker must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible and no later than one day prior to the hearing. Decision-makers will only be removed if the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial hearing of the allegation(s).

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will give the Decision-maker(s) a list of the names of all parties, witnesses, and Advisors at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. Any Decision-maker who cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties, witnesses, and Advisors in advance of the hearing. If a Decision-maker is unsure of whether a bias or conflict of interest exists, they must raise the concern to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.

    During the ten (10) business day period prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity for continued review and comment on the final investigation report and available evidence. That review and comment can be shared with the Decision-maker/Chair at the pre-hearing meeting or at the hearing and will be exchanged between each party by the Chair.

  16. Pre-Hearing Meetings

    The Decision-maker/Chair may convene a pre-hearing meeting(s) with the parties and their Advisors to invite them to submit the questions or topics they (the parties and their Advisors) wish to ask or discuss at the hearing, so that the Chair can rule on their relevance ahead of time to avoid any improper evidentiary introduction in the hearing or provide recommendations for more appropriate phrasing. However, this advance review opportunity does not preclude the Advisors from asking at the hearing for a reconsideration based on any new information or testimony offered at the hearing. The Chair must document and share their rationale for any exclusion or inclusion at this pre-hearing meeting.

    The Chair, only with full agreement of the parties, may decide in advance of the hearing that certain witnesses do not need to be present if their testimony can be adequately summarized by the Investigator(s) in the investigation report or during the hearing.

    At each pre-hearing meeting with a party and their Advisor, the Decision-maker/Chair will consider arguments that evidence identified in the final investigation report as relevant is, in fact, not relevant. Similarly, evidence identified as directly related but not relevant by the Investigator(s) may be argued to be relevant. The Decision-maker/Chair may rule on these arguments pre-hearing and will exchange those rulings between the parties prior to the hearing to assist in preparation for the hearing. The Decision-maker/Chair may consult with legal counsel and/or the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or ask either or both to attend pre-hearing meetings.

    The pre-hearing meeting(s) may be recorded.

XI. Hearing Procedures

At the hearing, the Decision-maker has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination.

Participants at the hearing will include the Decision-maker/Chair, any additional panelists, the Hearing Facilitator (may be the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator), the Investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the parties, Advisors to the parties, any called witnesses, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and anyone providing authorized accommodations or assistive services.

The Decision-maker/Chair will answer all questions of procedure. Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will respond to questions on their own behalf.

The Decision-maker/Chair will allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the Decision-maker and the parties and will then be excused.

XI.A. Joint Hearings

In hearings involving more than one Respondent or in which two (2) or more Complainants have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the default procedure will be to hear the allegations jointly.

However, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may permit the investigation and/or hearings pertinent to each Respondent to be conducted separately if there is a compelling reason to do so. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Respondent with respect to each alleged policy violation.

XI.B. The Order of the Hearing—Introductions and Explanation of Procedure

The Decision-maker/Chair explains the procedures and introduces the participants. This may include a final opportunity for challenge or recusal of the Decision-maker on the basis of bias or conflict of interest. If a challenge arises, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will review and decide the challenge.

The Chair AND/OR Hearing Facilitator then conducts the hearing according to the hearing script. At the hearing, recording, witness logistics, party logistics, curation of documents, separation of the parties, and other administrative elements of the hearing process are managed by a non-voting hearing facilitator appointed by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator (the Title IX Coordinator may also play this role). The hearing facilitator may attend to: logistics of rooms for various parties/witnesses as they wait; flow of parties/witnesses in and out of the hearing space; ensuring recording and/or virtual conferencing technology is working as intended; copying and distributing materials to participants, as appropriate, etc.

XI.C. Investigator Presents the Final Investigation Report

The Investigator(s) will then present a summary of the final investigation report, including items that are contested and those that are not, and will be subject to questioning by the Decision-maker/Chair and the parties (through their Advisors). The Investigator(s) will be present during the entire hearing process, but not during deliberations.

Neither the parties nor the Decision-maker/Chair should ask the Investigator(s) their opinions on credibility, recommended findings, or determinations, and the Investigators, Advisors, and parties will refrain from discussion of or questions about these assessments. If such information is introduced, the Chair will direct that it be disregarded.

XI.D. Testimony and Questioning

Once the Investigator(s) present their report and are questioned, the parties and witnesses may provide relevant information in turn, beginning with the Complainant, and then in the order determined by the Decision-maker/Chair. The parties/witnesses will submit to questioning by the Decision-maker/Chair and then by the parties through their Advisors (“cross-examination”).

All questions are subject to a relevance determination by the Decision-maker/Chair. The Advisor, who will remain seated during questioning, will pose the proposed question orally, electronically, or in writing (orally is the default, but other means of submission may be permitted by the Decision-maker/Chair upon request or agreed to by the parties and the Decision-maker/Chair), the proceeding will pause to allow the Decision-maker/Chair to consider it, and the Decision-maker/Chair will determine whether the question will be permitted, disallowed, or rephrased.

The Decision-maker/Chair may explore arguments regarding relevance with the Advisors, if the Decision-maker/Chair so chooses. The Decision-maker/Chair will then state their decision on the question for the record and advise the party/witness to whom the question was directed, accordingly. The Decision-maker/Chair will explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant, or to reframe it for relevance.

The Decision-maker/Chair will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), or abusive. The Decision-maker/Chair has final say on all questions and determinations of relevance, subject to any appeal. The Decision-maker/Chair may consult with legal counsel on any questions of admissibility. The Decision-maker/Chair may ask advisors to frame why a question is or is not relevant from their perspective but will not entertain argument from the advisors on relevance once the Decision-maker/Chair has ruled on a question.

If the parties raise an issue of bias or conflict of interest of an Investigator or Decision-maker/Chair at the hearing, the Decision-maker/Chair may elect to address those issues, consult with legal counsel, and/or refer them to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and/or preserve them for appeal. If bias is not in issue at the hearing, the Decision-maker/Chair should not permit irrelevant questions that probe for bias.

XI.E. Refusal to Submit to Cross-Examination and Inferences

If a party or witness chooses not to submit to cross-examination at the hearing, either because they do not attend the meeting, or they attend but refuse to participate in questioning, then the Decision-maker/Chair may not rely on any prior statement made by that party or witness at the hearing (including those contained in the investigation report) in the ultimate determination of responsibility. The Decision-maker/Chair must disregard that statement. Evidence provided that is something other than a statement by the party or witness may be considered.

If the party or witness attends the hearing and answers some cross-examination questions, only statements related to the cross-examination questions they refuse to answer cannot be relied upon. However, if the statements of the party who is refusing to submit to cross-examination or refuses to attend the hearing are the subject of the allegation itself (e.g., the case is about verbal harassment or a quid pro quo offer), then those statements are not precluded from admission. [Similarly, statements can be relied upon when questions are posed by the Decision-maker/Chair, as distinguished from questions posed by Advisors through cross-examination].

The Decision-maker/Chair may not draw any inference solely from a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.

If charges of policy violations other than sexual harassment are considered at the same hearing, the Decision-maker/Chair may consider all evidence it deems relevant, may rely on any relevant statement as long as the opportunity for cross-examination is afforded to all parties through their Advisors, and may draw reasonable inferences from any decision by any party or witness not to participate or respond to questions.

If a party’s Advisor of choice refuses to comply with Calvin University’s established rules of decorum for the hearing, Calvin University may require the party to use a different Advisor. If a Calvin University-provided Advisor refuses to comply with the rules of decorum, Calvin University may provide that party with a different Advisor to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.

XI.F. Recording Hearings

Hearings (but not deliberations) are recorded by Calvin University for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.

The Decision-maker/Chair, the parties, their Advisors, and appropriate administrators of Calvin University will be permitted to listen to the recording in a controlled environment determined by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

XI.G. Deliberation, Decision-making, and Standard of Proof

The Decision-maker/Chair will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used. The hearing facilitator may be invited to attend the deliberation by the Decision-maker/Chair, but is there only to facilitate procedurally, not to address the substance of the allegations.

When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the Decision-maker/Chair may then consider the previously submitted party impact statements in determining appropriate sanction(s).

The Decision-maker/Chair will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party(ies). The Decision-maker/Chair may—at their discretion—consider the statements, but they are not binding.

The Decision-maker/Chair will review the statements and any pertinent conduct history provided by the Office of Student Conduct (for students) or Human Resources (for employees) and will determine the appropriate sanction(s) in consultation with other appropriate administrators, as required.

The Decision-maker/Chair will then prepare a written deliberation statement and deliver it to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, the evidence disregarded, credibility assessments, and any sanctions [or recommendations].

This report typically should not exceed three (3) to five (5) pages in length and must be submitted to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator within two (2) business days of the end of deliberations, unless the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator grants an extension. If an extension is granted, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties.

XI.H. Notice of Outcome

Using the deliberation statement, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will work with the decision-maker/Chair to prepare a Notice of Outcome. The Notice of Outcome may then be reviewed by legal counsel. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will then share the letter, including the final determination, rationale, and any applicable sanction(s) with the parties and their Advisors within 5 business days of receiving the Decision-maker’s deliberation statement.

The Notice of Outcome will then be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official Calvin University records, or emailed to the parties’ Calvin University-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.

The Notice of Outcome will identify the specific policy(ies) reported to have been violated, including the relevant policy section, and will contain a description of the procedural steps taken by Calvin University from the receipt of the misconduct report to the determination, including any and all notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to obtain evidence, and hearings held.

The Notice of Outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; a statement of, and rationale for, the result of each allegation to the extent Calvin University is permitted to share such information under state or federal law; any sanctions issued which Calvin University is permitted to share according to state or federal law; and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to ensure access to Calvin University’s educational or employment program or activity, to the extent Calvin University is permitted to share such information under state or federal law (this detail is not typically shared with the Respondent unless the remedy directly relates to the Respondent).

The Notice of Outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by Calvin University to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.

XI.I. Statement of the Rights of the Parties (see Appendix C)

XI.J. Sanctions

Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s)
  • The Respondent’s disciplinary history
  • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination,
  • harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of
  • discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
  • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or
  • retaliation on the Complainant and the community
  • The impact on the parties
  • Any other information deemed relevant by the Decision-maker(s)

The sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.

The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities.

  1. Student Sanctions

    The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination[19]:

    • Warning: A formal statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any Calvin University policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
    • Required Counseling: A mandate to meet with and engage in either Calvin University-sponsored or external counseling to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
    • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of institutional policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any institutional policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, exclusion from designated areas of campus, no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
    • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at Calvin University.
    • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or to attend Calvin University-sponsored events. This sanction will be noted permanently as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript, subject to any applicable expungement policies.
    • Withholding Diploma: Calvin University may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
    • Revocation of Degree: Calvin University reserves the right to revoke a degree previously awarded from Calvin University for fraud, misrepresentation, and/or other violation of Calvin University policies, procedures, or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
    • Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges (including Calvin University registration) for a specified period of time.
    • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Calvin University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
  2. Employee Sanctions

    Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation include:

    • Warning—Verbal or Written
    • Performance Improvement/Management Process
    • Required Counseling
    • Required Training or Education
    • Probation
    • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
    • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
    • Demotion
    • Suspension with pay
    • Suspension without pay
    • Termination
    • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Calvin University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

XI.K. Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending

Students: If a student has an allegation pending for violation of the Policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination, Calvin University may place a hold on a student’s ability to graduate and/or to receive an official transcript/diploma.

Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student Respondent permanently withdraw from Calvin University, the resolution process ends, as Calvin University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student.

However, Calvin University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to Calvin University. Such exclusion applies to all campuses of Calvin University. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. They may also be barred from Calvin University property and/or events.

If the student Respondent only withdraws or takes a leave for a specified period of time (e.g., one semester or term), the resolution process may continue remotely and that student is not permitted to return to Calvin University unless and until all sanctions have been satisfied.

During the resolution process, Calvin University may put a hold on a responding student’s transcript or place a notation on a responding student’s transcript or dean’s disciplinary certification that a disciplinary matter is pending.

Employees: Should an employee Respondent resign with unresolved allegations pending, the resolution process ends, as Calvin University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the resigned employee.

However, Calvin University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment or discrimination.

The employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for rehire with Calvin University or any campus of Calvin University, and the records retained by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status.

All Calvin University responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include that the former employee resigned during a pending disciplinary matter.

XI.L. Appeals

Any party may file a request for appeal (“Request for Appeal”), but it must be submitted in writing to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator within 5 days of the delivery of the Notice of Outcome.

A single Appeal Officer will Chair the appeal. No Decision-maker/Appeal Officer will have been involved in the process previously, including any dismissal appeal that may have been heard earlier in the process.

The Request for Appeal will be forwarded to the Appeal Chair for consideration to determine if the request meets the grounds for appeal (a Review for Standing).

This review is not a review of the merits of the appeal, but solely a determination as to whether the request meets the grounds and is timely filed.

  1. Grounds for Appeal

    Appeals are limited to the following grounds:

    1. Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
    2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
    3. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Decision-maker/Chair had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the specific Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

    If any of the grounds in the Request for Appeal do not meet the grounds in this Policy, that request will be denied by the Decision-maker/Appeal Officer and the parties and their Advisors will be notified in writing of the denial and the rationale.

    If any of the grounds in the Request for Appeal meet the grounds in this Policy, then the Appeal Officer will notify the other party(ies) and their Advisors, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the Investigators and/or the original Decision-maker/Chair.

    The other party(ies) and their Advisors, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the Investigators and/or the original Decision-maker/Chair will be mailed, emailed, and/or provided a hard copy of the request with the approved grounds and then be given 5 business days to submit a response to the portion of the appeal that was approved and involves them. All responses will be forwarded by the Appeal Officer to all parties for review and comment.

    The non-appealing party (if any) may also choose to raise a new ground for appeal at this time. If so, that will be reviewed for standing by the Appeal Officer and either denied or approved. If approved, it will be forwarded to the party who initially requested an appeal, the Investigator(s) and/or original Decision-maker(s), as necessary, who will submit their responses in 5 business days, which will be circulated for review and comment by all parties.

    Neither party may submit any new requests for appeal after this time period. The Appeal Officer will collect any additional information needed and all documentation regarding the approved grounds and the subsequent responses and the Appeal Officer will render a decision in no more than 5 business days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.

    A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously including the decision on each approved ground and rationale for each decision. The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration, any sanctions that may result which Calvin University is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent Calvin University is permitted to share under state or federal law.

    Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official institutional records, or emailed to the parties’ Calvin University-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.

  2. Sanctions Status During the Appeal

    Any sanctions imposed as a result of the hearing are stayed during the appeal process. Supportive measures may be reinstated, subject to the same supportive measure procedures above.

    If any of the sanctions are to be implemented immediately post-hearing, then emergency removal procedures (detailed above) for a hearing on the justification for doing so must be permitted within 48 hours of implementation.

    Calvin University may still place holds on official transcripts, diplomas, graduations, and course registration pending the outcome of an appeal when the original sanctions included separation.

  3. Appeal Considerations

    • Decisions on appeal are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only when there is clear error and to the sanction(s)/responsive action(s) only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
    • Appeals are not intended to provide for a full re-hearing (de novo) of the allegation(s). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal.
    • An appeal is not an opportunity for the Appeal Officer/Decision-maker to substitute their judgment for that of the original Decision-maker/Chair merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).
    • The Appeal Officer may consult with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed. Documentation of all such consultation will be maintained.
    • Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the original Investigator(s) and/or Decision-maker(s) for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, decided on appeal.
    • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand (except in the case of a new hearing).
    • In rare cases where a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original Decision-maker/Chair (as in cases of bias), the appeal may order a new hearing with a new Decision-maker/Chair.
    • The results of a remand to a Decision-maker/Chair cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on any of the three available appeal grounds.
    • In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to Calvin University or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

XI.M. Long-Term Remedies/Other Actions

Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may implement additional long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community that are intended to stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.

These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling and health services
  • Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
  • Education to the individual and/or the community
  • Permanent alteration of housing assignments
  • Permanent alteration of work arrangements for employees
  • Provision of campus safety escorts
  • Climate surveys
  • Policy modification and/or training
  • Provision of transportation accommodations
  • Implementation of long-term contact limitations between the parties
  • Implementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

At the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, certain long-term support or measures may also be provided to the parties even if no policy violation is found.

When no policy violation is found, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will address any remedies owed by Calvin University to the Respondent to ensure no effective denial of educational access.

Calvin University will maintain the privacy of any long-term remedies/actions/measures, provided privacy does not impair Calvin University’s ability to provide these services.

XI.N. Failure to Comply with Sanctions and/or Interim and Long-term Remedies and/or Responsive Actions

All Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the final Decision-maker/Chair (including the Appeal Officer).

Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from Calvin University and may be noted on a student’s official transcript.

A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

XII. Recordkeeping

Calvin University will maintain for a period of at least seven years records of:

  1. Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript required under federal regulation;
  2. Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent;
  3. Any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to Calvin University’s education program or activity;
  4. Any appeal and the result therefrom;
  5. Any Informal Resolution and the result therefrom;
  6. All materials used to train Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, Investigators, Decision-maker/Chairs, and any person who facilitates an Informal Resolution process. Calvin University will make these training materials publicly available on Calvin University’s website; and
  7. Any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, including:
    1. The basis for all conclusions that the response was not deliberately indifferent;
    2. Any measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to Calvin University’s education program or activity; and
    3. If no supportive measures were provided to the Complainant, document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

Calvin University will also maintain any and all records in accordance with state and federal laws.

XIII. Disabilities Accommodations in the Resolution Process

Calvin University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to Calvin University’s resolution process.

Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Director of Disability Services (students) or Human Resources (employees), who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process.

XIV. Revision of this Policy and Procedures

This Policy and procedures supersede any previous policy(ies) addressing harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination, and/or retaliation and will be reviewed and updated annually by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. Calvin University reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.

During the resolution process, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the institutional website, with the appropriate effective date identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Policy and procedures.

If government laws or regulations change—or court decisions alter—the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations or holdings.

This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such policies and codes, generally.

This Policy and procedures are effective August 2020.

APPENDIX A: POLICY EXAMPLES

Some examples of possible sexual harassment include:

  • A professor offers for a student to have sex or go on a date with them in exchange for a good grade. This constitutes sexual harassment regardless of whether the student accedes to the request and irrespective of whether a good grade is promised or a bad grade is threatened.
  • A student repeatedly sends graphic, sexually-oriented jokes and pictures around campus via social media to hundreds of other students. Many don’t find it funny and ask them to stop, but they do not. Because of these jokes, one student avoids the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live, eventually asking to move to a different building and dropping a class they had together.
  • A professor engages students in class in discussions about the students’ past sexual experiences, yet the conversations are not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. The professor inquires about explicit details and demands that students answer them, though the students are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
  • An ex-partner widely spreads false stories about their physical relationship with their former partner to the clear discomfort and frustration of the former partner, turning the former partner into a social pariah on campus.

Example of Possible Stalking:

A graduate student working as an on-campus tutor received flowers and gifts delivered to their office. After learning the gifts were from a student they recently tutored, the graduate student thanked the student and stated that it was not necessary and would appreciate it if the gift deliveries stopped. The student then started leaving notes of love and gratitude on the tutor’s car, both on-campus and at home. Asked again to stop, the student stated by email, “You can ask me to stop, but I’m not giving up. We are meant to be together, and I’ll do anything to make you have the feelings for me that I have for you.” When the tutor did not respond, the student emailed again, “You cannot escape me. I will track you to the ends of the earth. If I can’t have you, no one will.”

Example of a Possible Sexual Assault:

Amanda and Bill meet at a party. They spend the evening dancing and getting to know each other. Bill convinces Amanda to come up to his room. From 11:00 p.m. until 3:00 a.m., Bill uses every line he can think of to convince Amanda to have sex with him, but she adamantly refuses. Despite her clear communications that she is not interested in doing anything sexual with him, Bill keeps at her, questions her religious convictions, and accuses her of being “a prude.” He brings up several rumors that he has heard about how she performed oral sex on a number of other guys. Finally, it seems to Bill that her resolve is weakening, and he convinces her to “jerk him off” (hand to genital contact). Amanda would have never done it but for Bill's incessant advances. He feels that he successfully seduced her and that she wanted to do it all along but was playing shy and hard to get. Why else would she have come up to his room alone after the party? If she really didn't want it, she could have left.

Examples of Possible Retaliation:

  • Student-athlete A alleges sexual harassment by a coach; the coach subsequently cuts the student-athlete’s playing time without a legitimate justification.
  • A faculty member alleges gender inequity in pay within her department; the Department Chair then revokes his approval for her to attend a national conference, citing the faculty member’s tendency to “ruffle feathers.”
  • A student from Organization A participates in a sexual misconduct investigation as a witness whose testimony is damaging to the Respondent, who is also a member of Organization A; the student is subsequently removed as a member of Organization A because of their participation in the investigation.

APPENDIX B: FRAMEWORK FOR INFORMAL RESOLUTION (IR)

Calvin University has framed a process for Informal Resolution (IR) that includes:

  1. A response based on supportive measures; and/or
  2. A response based on a Respondent accepting responsibility; and/or
  3. A response based on alternative resolution, which could include various approaches and facilitation of dialogue.

Alternative resolution approaches like mediation, restorative practices, transformative justice, etc., are being used more and more often by colleges and universities. Calvin University is open to using these approaches and believes that, if they are to be used in, and are effective for, sex offenses, they need to be designed and executed carefully and thoughtfully and be facilitated by well-trained administrators who take the necessary time to prepare and lay a foundation for success. While no approach is a panacea, the framework below helps to lay that foundation, regardless of which approach(es) are used.

Here are the principles to be considered for supporting various approaches to informal resolution:

  • IR can be applied in any sex/gender-based interpersonal conflict but should be only be cautiously considered for violent incidents (sexual violence, stalking, domestic and dating violence, severe sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, etc.)
  • Situations involving dangerous patterns or significant ongoing threat to the community should not be resolved by IR.
  • The determination of whether to permit an IR-based resolution is entirely at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator and in line with the requirements for IR laid out in the Title IX regulations.
  • Any party can end IR early-, mid-, or late-process for any reason or no reason.
  • IR can be attempted before and in lieu of formal resolution as a diversion-based resolution (although a formal complaint must be filed if you are within Section 106.30, per OCR).
  • Alternative approaches can inform formal resolution, as in a formal resolution model infused with restorative practices.
  • IR could be deployed after formal resolution, as an adjunct healing/catharsis opportunity (that could potentially mitigate sanctions or be a form of sanction).
  • Alternate Resolution approaches to IR must be facilitated by Calvin University or a third-party. There may be value in creating clearly agreed-upon ground rules, which the parties must sign in advance and agree to abide by, otherwise the informal resolution process will be deemed to have failed.
  • Technology-facilitated IR can be made available, should the parties not be able or willing to meet in person.
  • If IR fails, a formal resolution can take place thereafter. No evidence elicited within the “safe space” of the IR facilitation is later admissible in the formal resolution unless all parties consent.
  • With cases involving violence, the preferred alternative approach typically involves a minimal number of essential parties and is not a wide restorative circle approach in order to ensure confidentiality.
  • Some approaches require a reasonable gesture toward accountability (this could be more than an acknowledgement of harm) and some acceptance, or at least recognition, by the Respondent that catharsis is of value and likely the primary goal of the Complainant. A full admission by the Respondent is not a prerequisite. This willingness needs to be vetted carefully in advance by the TIXC before determining that an incident is amenable/appropriate for resolution by IR.
  • IR can result in an accord or agreement between the parties (Complainant, Respondent, Calvin University) which is summarized in writing by and enforced by Calvin University. This can be a primary goal of the process.
  • IR can result in the voluntary imposition of safety measures, remedies, and/or agreed-upon resolutions by the parties, that are enforceable by Calvin University. These can be part of the accord/agreement.
  • As a secondary goal, IR can result in the voluntary acceptance of “sanctions,” meaning that a Respondent could agree to withdraw, self-suspend (by taking a leave of absence), or undertake other restrictions/transfers/online course options that would help to ensure the safety/educational access of the Complainant, in lieu of formal sanctions that would create a formal record for the Respondent. These are enforceable by Calvin University as part of the accord/agreement, as may be terms of mutual release, non-disparagement, and/or non-disclosure.
  • While a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) could result from IR, it would have to be mutually agreed-upon by the parties in an environment of non-coercion verified by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.
  • Institutions must develop clear rules for managing/facilitating the conference/meeting/dialogue of alternative resolution approaches, to ensure they are civil, age-appropriate, culturally-competent, reflective of power imbalances, and maximize the potential for the resolution process to result in catharsis, restoration, remedy, etc., for the harmed party(ies).

APPENDIX C: STATEMENT OF RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES

  • The right to an equitable investigation and resolution of all credible allegations of prohibited harassment or discrimination made in good faith to Calvin University officials.
  • The right to timely written notice of all alleged violations, including the identity of the parties involved (if known), the precise misconduct being alleged, the date and location of the alleged misconduct (if known), the implicated policies and procedures, and possible sanctions.
  • The right to timely written notice of any material adjustments to the allegations (e.g., additional incidents or allegations, additional Complainants, unsubstantiated allegations) and any attendant adjustments needed to clarify potentially implicated policy violations.
  • The right to be informed in advance of any public release of information regarding the allegation(s) or underlying incident(s), whenever possible.
  • The right not to have any personally identifiable information released to the public without consent provided, except to the extent permitted by law.
  • The right to be treated with respect by Calvin University officials.
  • The right to have Calvin University policies and procedures followed without material deviation.
  • The right not to be pressured to mediate or otherwise informally resolve any reported misconduct involving violence, including sexual violence.
  • The right not to be discouraged by Calvin University officials from reporting sexual misconduct or discrimination to both on-campus and off-campus authorities.
  • The right to be informed by Calvin University officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including on-campus and local police, and the option(s) to be assisted by Calvin University authorities in notifying such authorities, if the party so chooses. This also includes the right not to be pressured to report, as well.
  • The right to have allegations of violations of this Policy responded to promptly and with sensitivity by Calvin University law enforcement and/or other Calvin University officials.
  • The right to be informed of available interim actions and supportive measures, such as counseling; advocacy; health care; legal, student financial aid, visa, and immigration assistance; or other services, both on campus and in the community.
  • The right to a Calvin University-implemented no-contact order (or a no-trespass order against a non-affiliated third party) when a person has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing, or other improper conduct that presents a danger to the welfare of the party or others.
  • The right to be informed of available assistance in changing academic, living, and/or working situations after an alleged incident of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation, if such changes are reasonably available. No formal report, or investigation, either campus or criminal, needs to occur before this option is available. Such actions may include, but are not limited to:
    • Relocating an on-campus student’s housing to a different on-campus location
    • Assistance from Calvin University staff in completing the relocation
    • Changing an employee’s work environment (e.g., reporting structure, office/workspace relocation)
    • Transportation accommodations
    • Visa/immigration assistance
    • Arranging to dissolve a housing contract and a pro-rated refund
    • Exam, paper, and/or assignment rescheduling or adjustment
    • Receiving an incomplete in, or a withdrawal from, a class (may be retroactive)
    • Transferring class sections
    • Temporary withdrawal/leave of absence (may be retroactive)
    • Campus safety escorts
    • Alternative course completion options.
  • The right to have Calvin University maintain such actions for as long as necessary and for supportive measures to remain private, provided privacy does not impair Calvin University’s ability to provide the supportive measures.
  • The right to receive sufficiently advanced, written notice of any meeting or interview involving the other party, when possible.
  • The right to ask the Investigator(s) and Decision-maker/Chair to identify and question relevant witnesses, including expert witnesses.
  • The right to provide the Investigator(s)/Decision-maker/Chair with a list of questions that, if deemed relevant by the Investigator(s)/Chair, may be asked of any party or witness.
  • The right to have inadmissible prior sexual history or irrelevant character evidence excluded by the Decision-maker/Chair.
  • The right to know the relevant and directly related evidence obtained and to respond to that evidence.
  • The right to fair opportunity to provide the Investigator(s) with their account of the alleged misconduct and have that account be on the record.
  • The right to receive a copy of the investigation report, including all factual, policy, and/or credibility analyses performed, and all relevant and directly related evidence available and used to produce the investigation report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, prior to the hearing, and the right to have at least ten (10) business days to review the report prior to the hearing.
  • The right to respond to the investigation report, including comments providing any additional relevant evidence after the opportunity to review the investigation report, and to have that response on the record.
  • The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses whose information will be used to make a finding, in advance of that finding, when relevant.
  • The right to regular updates on the status of the investigation and/or resolution.
  • The right to have reports of alleged Policy violations addressed by Investigators, Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, and Decision-maker/Chair who have received at least eight hours of relevant annual training.
  • The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and permitted by law.
  • The right to meetings, interviews, and/or hearings that are closed to the public.
  • The right to petition that any Calvin University representative in the process be recused on the basis of disqualifying bias and/or conflict of interest.
  • The right to have an Advisor of their choice to accompany and assist the party in all meetings and/or interviews associated with the resolution process.
  • The right to have Calvin University compel the participation of faculty and staff witnesses.
  • The right to the use of the appropriate standard of evidence, preponderance of the evidence to make a finding after an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence.
  • The right to be present, including presence via remote technology, during all testimony given and evidence presented during any formal grievance hearing.
  • The right to have an impact statement considered by the Decision-maker/Chair following a determination of responsibility for any allegation, but prior to sanctioning.
  • The right to be promptly informed in a written Notice of Outcome letter of the finding(s) and sanction(s) of the resolution process and a detailed rationale therefor (including an explanation of how credibility was assessed), delivered simultaneously (without undue delay) to the parties.
  • The right to be informed in writing of when a decision by Calvin University is considered final and any changes to the sanction(s) that occur before the decision is finalized.
  • The right to be informed of the opportunity to appeal the finding(s) and sanction(s) of the resolution process, and the procedures for doing so in accordance with the standards for appeal established by Calvin University.
  • The right to a fundamentally fair resolution as defined in these procedures.

EXPECTATIONS REGARDING UNETHICAL RELATIONSHIPS

There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as faculty member and student or supervisor and employee). These relationships may, in reality, be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power or authority. Similarly, the relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Circumstances may change, and conduct that was once welcome may, at some point in the relationship, become unwelcome.

Even when both parties have initially consented to romantic or sexual involvement, the possibility of a later allegation of a relevant Policy violation still exists. Calvin University does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of Calvin University. However, for the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (e.g., faculty-student, staff-student) are generally discouraged. They may also violate standards of professionalism and/or professional ethics.

Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or otherwise evaluative role over the other party are inherently problematic. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or otherwise evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring these relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor and/or the Title IX Coordinator. The existence of this type of relationship will likely result in removing the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities from the employee or shifting a party from being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. When an affected relationship existed prior to adoption of this policy, the duty to notify the appropriate supervisor still pertains.

This type of relationship includes Resident Advisors (RAs) and students over whom the RA has direct responsibility. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to timely self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine whether to refer violations of this provision to Human Resources for resolution, or to pursue resolution under this Policy, based on the circumstances of the allegation.

APPENDIX E: VIOLENCE RISK ASSESSMENT (VRA)

Threat assessment is the process of assessing the actionability of violence by an individual against another person or group following the issuance of a direct or conditional threat. A Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) is a broader term used to assess any potential violence or danger, regardless of the presence of a vague, conditional, or direct threat.

The implementation of VRAs require specific training and are typically conducted by psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, case managers, law enforcement officers, student conduct officers, and/or other Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) (sometimes also known as CARE teams) members.

A VRA occurs in collaboration with the CARE and/or threat assessment team and must be understood as an on-going process, rather than a singular evaluation or meeting. A VRA is not an evaluation for an involuntary behavioral health hospitalization (e.g., 5150 in California, Section XII in Massachusetts, Baker Act in Florida), nor is it a psychological or mental health assessment.

A VRA assesses the risk of actionable violence, often with a focus on targeted/predatory escalations, and is supported by research from the fields of law enforcement, criminology, human resources, and psychology.

When conducting a VRA, the assessor(s) use an evidence-based process consisting of:

  1. an appraisal of risk factors that escalate the potential for violence;
  2. a determination of stabilizing influences that reduce the risk of violence;
  3. a contextual analysis of violence risk by considering environmental circumstances, hopelessness, and suicidality; catalyst events; nature and actionability of threat; fixation and focus on target; grievance collection; and action and time imperative for violence; and
  4. the application of intervention and management approaches to reduce the risk of violence. 

To assess an individual’s level of violence risk, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will initiate the violence risk assessment process through the Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT). The BIT will assign a trained individual(s) to perform the assessment, according to the specific nature of the Title IX case.

The assessor will follow the process for conducting a violence risk assessment as outlined in the BIT manual and will rely on a consistent, research-based, reliable system that allows the for the operationalization of the risk levels.

Some examples of formalized approaches to the VRA process include: The NaBITA Risk Rubric,[20] The Structured Interview for Violence Risk Assessment (SIVRA-35),[21] The Extremist Risk Intervention Scale (ERIS),[22] Looking Glass,[23] Workplace Assessment of Violence Risk (WAVR-21),[24] Historical Clinical Risk Management (HCR-20),[25] and MOSAIC.[26]

The VRA is conducted independently from the Safer Spaces/Title IX process, free from outcome pressure, but is informed by it. The individual(s) conducting the assessment will be trained to mitigate any bias and provide the analysis and findings in a fair and equitable manner.

The CARE Team or BIT conducts a VRA process and makes a recommendation to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator as to whether the VRA indicates there is a substantial, compelling, and/or immediate risk to health and/or safety of an individual or the community.

APPENDIX F: PROCESS B[27]

  • Process B is applicable when the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines Process A is inapplicable, or offenses subject to Process A have been dismissed.
  • If Process A is applicable, Process A must be applied in lieu of Process B.
  • Calvin University can substitute any alternative process instead of Process B, if desired.
  • VAWA Section 304 requirements apply to Process B or any alternative process for reports that fall under VAWA.
  • Title IX requirements outside of Section 106.30 (based on the original 1975 regulations, the 2001 Revised Guidance, etc.) may also be applicable to Process B.

INTERIM RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE POLICY ON EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, HARASSMENT, AND NONDISCRIMINATION

Calvin University will act on any formal or informal allegation or notice of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination that is received by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator[28] or a member of the administration, faculty, or other employee, with the exception of confidential resources, as articulated in the Policy above.

The procedures described below apply to all allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of protected class status involving students, staff, faculty members, or third parties.

These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct (e.g., vandalism, physical abuse of another). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by this policy will be addressed through the procedures elaborated in the respective student, faculty, and staff handbooks.

  1. Initial Assessment

    Following intake, receipt of notice, or a complaint of an alleged violation of Calvin University’s nondiscrimination Policy, the Title IX Coordinator[29] engages in an initial assessment, which is typically one to five business days in duration. The steps in an initial assessment can include:

    • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator reaches out to the Complainant to offer supportive measures.
    • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure they have an Advisor.
    • The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to determine whether the Complainant prefers a supportive response or an Administrative Resolution.
      • If a supportive and remedial response is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to identify their wishes and then seeks to facilitate implementation. The Administrative Resolution process is not initiated, though the Complainant can elect to initiate it later, if desired.
      • If an Informal Resolution option is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator assesses whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution, and may seek to determine if the Respondent is also willing to engage in Informal Resolution.
      • If Administrative Resolution is preferred, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator initiates the investigation process and determines whether the scope of the investigation will address:
        • Incident, and/or
        • A potential pattern of misconduct, and/or
        • A culture/climate issue.

    In many cases, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may determine that a Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) should be conducted by Campus Safety and the Dean of Students Office as part of the initial assessment. A VRA can aid in ten critical and/or required determinations, including:

    • Emergency removal of a Respondent on the basis of immediate threat to physical health/safety;
    • Whether the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator should pursue/sign a formal complaint absent a willing/able Complainant;
    • Whether to put the investigation on the footing of incident and/or pattern and/or climate;
    • To help identify potential predatory conduct;
    • To help assess/identify grooming behaviors;
    • Whether it is reasonable to try to resolve a complaint through informal resolution, and what modality may be most successful;
    • Whether to permit a voluntary withdrawal by the Respondent;
    • Whether to impose transcript notation or communicate with a transfer institution about a Respondent;
    • Assessment of appropriate sanctions/remedies (to be applied post-hearing); and/or
    • Whether a Clery Act Timely Warning/Trespass order/Persona-non-grata is needed.

    Threat assessment is the process of evaluating the actionability of violence by an individual against another person or group following the issuance of a direct or conditional threat. A VRA is a broader term used to assess any potential violence or danger, regardless of the presence of a vague, conditional, or direct threat.

    VRAs require specific training and are typically conducted by psychologists, clinical counselors, social workers, case managers, law enforcement officers, student conduct officers, or other Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT)/CARE team members. A VRA authorized by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator should occur in collaboration with the CARE or threat assessment team. Where a VRA is required by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, a Respondent refusing to cooperate may result in a charge of failure to comply within the appropriate student or employee conduct process.

    A VRA is not an evaluation for an involuntary behavioral health hospitalization (e.g., 5150 in California, Section XII in Massachusetts, Baker Act in Florida), nor is it a psychological or mental health assessment. A VRA assesses the risk of actionable violence, often with a focus on targeted/predatory escalations, and is supported by research from the fields of law enforcement, criminology, human resources, and psychology.

    More about Calvin University’s process for VRA can be found below in Appendix E.

    Based on the initial assessment, Calvin University will initiate one of two responses:

    • Informal Resolution—typically used for less serious offenses and only when all parties agree to Alternate Resolution, or when the Respondent is willing to accept responsibility for violating policy. This can also include a remedies-only response.
    • Administrative Resolution—investigation of policy violation(s) and recommended finding, subject to a determination by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker and the opportunity to appeal to an Appeals Officer.

    The investigation and the subsequent Administrative Resolution determine whether the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, Calvin University will promptly implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent recurrence, and address the effects.

    The process followed considers the preference of the parties but is ultimately determined at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. At any point during the initial assessment or formal investigation, if the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines that reasonable cause does not support the conclusion that policy has been violated, the process will end, and the parties will be notified.

    The Complainant may request that the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator review the reasonable cause determination and/or re-open the investigation. This decision lies in the sole discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, but the request is usually only granted in extraordinary circumstances.

  2. Resolution Process Pool/Safer Spaces Team

    The resolution processes rely on a Safer Spaces Team of officials (“Pool”) to carry out the process. Members of the Pool/Safer Spaces Tea are announced in an annual distribution of this Policy to all students and their parents/guardians, employees, prospective students, and prospective employees.

    The list of members and a description of the Pool/Safer Spaces Team can be found in Section III.E. of this document. Members of the Safer Spaces Team are trained annually in all aspects of the resolution process and can serve in any of the following roles, at the direction of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator:

    • To provide sensitive intake for and initial advice pertaining to the allegations
    • To act as optional process Advisors to the parties
    • To facilitate Informal Resolution
    • To investigate allegations
    • To serve as a Decision-maker
    • To serve as an Appeal Officer

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the President and Vice President for Student Life, carefully vets Pool/Safer Spaces Team members for potential conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases and appoints the Pool/Safer Spaces Team, which acts with independence and impartiality.

    Safer Spaces Team members/Safer Spaces Team members receive annual training organized by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, including a review of Calvin University policies and procedures as well as applicable federal and state laws and regulations so that they are able to appropriately address allegations, provide accurate information to members of the community, protect safety, and promote accountability.

    The Safer Spaces Team members/Safer Spaces Team receive annual training both jointly and specific to their roles. This training includes, but is not limited to:

    • The scope of Calvin University’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy and Procedures
    • How to conduct investigations and hearings that protect the safety of Complainants and Respondents and promote accountability
    • Implicit bias
    • Disparate treatment and impact
    • Reporting, confidentiality, and privacy requirements
    • Applicable laws, regulations, and federal regulatory guidance
    • How to implement appropriate and situation-specific remedies
    • How to investigate in a thorough, reliable, and impartial manner
    • How to uphold fairness, equity, and due process
    • How to weigh evidence
    • How to conduct questioning
    • How to assess credibility
    • Impartiality and objectivity
    • Types of evidence
    • Deliberation
    • How to render findings and generate clear, concise, evidence-based rationales
    • The definitions of all offenses
    • How to apply definitions used by Calvin University with respect to consent (or the absence or negation of consent) consistently, impartially, and in accordance with policy
    • How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes
    • How to serve impartially, by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
    • Any technology to be use
    • Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
    • Issues of relevance to create an investigation report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence
    • ow to determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment and discrimination allegations

    Specific training is also provided for Appeal Officers, intake personnel, and Advisors. All Pool/Safer Spaces Team members are required to attend this annual training.

    The Resolution Process Pool/Safer Spaces Team includes:

    • 2 or more Co-chairs: one representative from HR and one from Student Life, etc., who are ex officio members and who respectively chair Appeal hearings for allegations involving student and employee Respondents
    • At least 3 members of the Academic Affairs division
    • At least 5 members of the administration/staff
    • At least 1 representative from Campus Safety
    • At least 1 representative from Human Resources
    • At least 1 representative from Athletics

    Safer Spaces Team members are usually appointed to three-year terms. Individuals who are interested in serving in the Safer Spaces Team are encouraged to contact the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

  3. Counterclaims

    Counterclaims by the Respondent may be made in good faith but are also sometimes made for purposes of retaliation. Calvin University is obligated to ensure that any process is not abused for retaliatory purposes.

    Calvin University permits the filing of counterclaims, but uses the initial assessment, described above in the Policy section, to assess whether the allegations are made in good faith. If they are, the allegations will be processed using the resolution procedures below, typically after resolution of the underlying allegation.

    A delay in the processing of counterclaims is permitted, accordingly. Occasionally, allegations and counterclaims can be resolved through the same investigation, at the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator r. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory, and may constitute a violation of this Policy.

  4. Advisors

    1. Expectations of an Advisor

      Calvin University generally expects an Advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend Calvin University meetings when planned, but Calvin University may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend, if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay.

      Calvin University may also make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.

      Parties whose Advisors are disruptive or who do not abide by Calvin University policies and procedures may face the loss of that Advisor and/or possible Policy violations.

      Advisors are expected to consult with their advisees without disrupting Calvin University meetings or interviews. Advisors do not represent parties in the process; their role is only to advise.

    2. Expectations of the Parties with Respect to Advisors

      Each party may choose an Advisor[30] who is eligible and available[31] to accompany them throughout the process. The Advisor can be anyone, including an attorney, but should not be someone who is also a witness in the process. A party may elect to change Advisors during the process and is not obligated to use the same Advisor throughout.

      The parties are expected to inform the Investigators of the identity of their Advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with the Investigator(s) (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired).

      The parties are expected to provide timely notice to the Investigator(s) and/or the Title IX Coordinator if they change Advisors at any time.

      Upon written request of a party, Calvin University will copy the Advisor on all communications between Calvin University and the party. The Advisor may be asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) regarding private, sensitive records.

    3. Assistance in Securing an Advisor

      Calvin University provides Advisors in the resolution process (see section III.E. above).

  5. Resolution Options

    Proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accord with Calvin University Policy.

    While there is an expectation of privacy around what is discussed during interviews, the parties have discretion to share their own experiences with others if they so choose, but are encouraged to discuss with their Advisors first before doing so.

    1. Informal Resolution

      Informal Resolution is applicable when the parties voluntarily agree to resolve the matter through Alternate Resolution (mediation, restorative practices, etc.), or when the Respondent accepts responsibility for violating Policy, or when the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator can resolve the matter informally by providing remedies to resolve the situation.

      It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue Administrative Resolution, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and request the Administrative Resolution process. Further, if an Informal Resolution fails after the fact, Administrative Resolution may be pursued.

      1. Alternate Resolution

        Alternate Resolution is an informal process, such as mediation or restorative practices, by which a mutually agreed upon resolution of an allegation is reached. It may be used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to the Administrative Resolution process (described below) to resolve conflicts. The parties must consent to the use of Alternate Resolution.

        The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines if Alternate Resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue, and the susceptibility of the conduct to Alternate Resolution.

        In an Alternate Resolution meeting, a trained administrator facilitates a dialogue with the parties to an effective resolution, if possible. Institutionally-imposed sanctions are not possible as the result of a Alternate Resolution process, though the parties may agree to accepted sanctions and/or appropriate remedies.

        The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator maintains records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution can result in appropriate enforcement actions.

        Alternate Resolution is not typically the primary resolution mechanism used to address reports of violent behavior of any kind or in other cases of serious violations of policy, though it may be made available after the Administrative Resolution process is completed should the parties and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator believe it could be beneficial. The results of Alternate Resolution are not appealable.

      2. Respondent Accepts Responsibility for Alleged Violations

        The Respondent may accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the Respondent accepts responsibility, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator makes a determination that the individual is in violation of Calvin University Policy.

        The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator then determines appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; prevent its recurrence; and remedy the effects of the conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.

        If the Respondent accepts responsibility for all of the alleged policy violations and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or designee has determined appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented, the process is over. The Complainant will be informed of this outcome.

        If the Respondent accepts responsibility for some of the alleged policy violations and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator has determined appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented, for those violations, then the remaining allegations will continue to be investigated and resolved. The Complainant will be informed of this outcome. The parties are still able to seek Alternate Resolution on the remaining allegations, subject to the stipulations above.

      3. Negotiated Resolution

        The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, with the consent of the parties, may negotiate and implement any agreement to resolve the allegations that satisfies all parties and Calvin University.

    2. Administrative Resolution

      Administrative Resolution can be pursued for any behavior for which the Respondent has not accepted responsibility that constitutes conduct covered by the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy at any time during the process. Administrative Resolution starts with a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation.

      If Administrative Resolution is initiated, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will provide written notification of the investigation to the parties at an appropriate time during the investigation. Typically, notice is given at least 48 hours in advance of an interview. Advanced notice facilitates the parties’ ability to identify and choose an Advisor, if any, to accompany them to the interview.

      Notification will include a meaningful summary of the allegations, will be made in writing, and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official Calvin University records, or emailed to the parties’ Calvin University-issued or designated email account.

      Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered. The notification should include the policies allegedly violated, if known at the time. Alternatively, the policies allegedly violated can be provided at a later date, in writing, as the investigation progresses, and details become clearer.

      Calvin University aims to complete all investigations within a sixty (60) business day time period, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, with notice to the parties as appropriate.

      Once the decision is made to commence an investigation, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator appoints Safer Spaces Team members to conduct the investigation typically using a team of two Investigators, usually within two (2) days of determining that an investigation should proceed.

      The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will vet the assigned Investigator(s) to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no conflicts of interest or disqualifying bias.

      The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another Investigator will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the bias or conflict relates to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with the President or Vice President for Student Life.

      Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within 10-20 business days, though some investigations take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.

      Calvin University will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.

      Calvin University may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to weeks, to allow evidence collection) when criminal charges based on the same behaviors that invoke Calvin University’s resolution process are being investigated by law enforcement. Calvin University will promptly resume its investigation and resolution process once notified by law enforcement that the initial evidence collection process is complete.

      Calvin University action(s) are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.

      Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available, relevant evidence, and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.

      All parties have a full and fair opportunity, though the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence, and to fully review and respond to all evidence, on the record.

  6. Investigation

    The Investigators typically take the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in this order):

    • Determine the identity and contact information of the Complainant
    • In coordination with campus partners (e.g., the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary supportive measures
    • Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct
    • Assist the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator with conducting an initial assessment to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Respondent has violated policy
    • If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the process is closed with no further action
    • Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all parties and witnesses
    • Meet with the Complainant to finalize their statement, if necessary
    • Prepare the initial Notice of Investigation and Allegation (NOIA) on the basis of the initial assessment. Notice may be one step or multiple steps, depending on how the investigation unfolds, and potential policy violations may be added or dropped as more is learned. Investigators will update the NOIA accordingly and provide it to the parties.
    • Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of a Safer Spaces team members as a process Advisor appointed by Calvin University or other Advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the advisee
    • When formal notice is being given, it should provide the parties with a written description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result
    • Give an instruction to the parties to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations
    • Provide the parties and witnesses with an opportunity to review and verify the Investigator’s summary notes from interviews and meetings with that specific party or witness
    • Make good faith efforts to notify the parties of any meeting or interview involving the other party, in advance when possible
    • Interview all relevant individuals and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary
    • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest questions they wish the Investigator(s) to ask of the other party and witnesses
    • Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
    • Provide regular status updates to the parties throughout the investigation
    • Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, summarize for the parties the list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding
    • Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation and all evidence
    • Provide parties with a copy of the draft investigation report when it is completed, including all relevant evidence, analysis, credibility assessments, and recommended finding(s)
    • Provide each party with a full and fair opportunity to respond to the report in writing within 3 business days and incorporate that response into the report
    • Investigators may choose to respond in writing in the report to the responses of the parties, and/or to share the responses between the parties for their responses, while also ensuring that they do not create a never-ending feedback loop
    • Share the report with the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or legal counsel for review and feedback.
    • Provide the final report to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator with one of two options:
      • Include in the report a recommendation to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator /Decision-maker on a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred; OR
      • Gather, assess, and synthesize evidence without making a finding, conclusion, determination or recommendation].
    • Provide the final report to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator. Recommend to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not).
  7. Determination

    Within two to three days of receiving the Investigator’s recommendation, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or a trained, designated Decision-maker from the Safer Spaces team[32] reviews the report and all responses, and then makes the final determination on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence.

    If the record is incomplete, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker may direct a re-opening of the investigation, or may direct or conduct any additional inquiry necessary, including informally meeting with the parties or any witnesses, if needed.

    The recommendation of the investigation should be strongly considered but is not binding on the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker. The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker may invite and consider impact statements from the parties if and when determining appropriate sanction(s), if any.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator then timely provides the parties with a written Notice of Outcome to include findings, any sanction(s), and a detailed rationale, delivered simultaneously (without undue delay) to the parties

  8. Additional Details of the Investigation Process

    1. Witness responsibilities

      Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are students, faculty, or staff of Calvin University are expected to cooperate with and participate in Calvin University’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of a witness to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of Policy and may be subject to discipline.

    2. Remote processes

      Parties and witnesses may be interviewed remotely by phone, video conferencing, or similar technologies if the Investigator(s) or Decision-maker determine that timeliness or efficiency dictates a need for remote interviewing. Witnesses may also provide written statements in lieu of interviews, or respond to questions in writing, if deemed appropriate by the Investigator(s), though this approach is not ideal. Where remote technologies are used, Calvin University makes reasonable efforts to ensure privacy, and that any technology does not work to the detriment of any party or subject them to unfairness.

    3. Recording

      No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during the resolution process. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of and consent to[33] audio and/or video recording.

    4. Evidence

      Any evidence that is relevant and credible may be considered, including an individual’s prior misconduct history as well as evidence indicating a pattern of misconduct. The process should exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence and may disregard evidence lacking in credibility or that is improperly prejudicial.

    5. Sexual history/patterns

      Unless the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding do not consider: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; (2) the sexual history of the parties (though there may be a limited exception made with regard to the sexual history between the parties); or (3) the irrelevant character of the parties.

    6. Previous allegations/violations

      While previous conduct violations by the Respondent are not generally admissible as information supporting the current allegation, the Investigator(s) may supply the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator with information about previous good faith allegations and/or findings, when that information suggests potential pattern and/or predatory conduct.

      Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining the appropriate sanction(s), if Calvin University uses a progressive discipline system.

    7. Character witnesses

      Character witnesses or evidence may be offered. The investigation and hearing will determine if the character evidence is relevant. If so, it may be considered. If not, it will be excluded.

    8. Notification of outcome

      If the Respondent admits to the violation(s), or is found in violation, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with other administrators as appropriate, determines sanction(s) and/or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented in order to effectively to stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; prevent its recurrence; and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.

      The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator informs the parties of the determination within two to three business days of the resolution, ideally simultaneously, but without significant time delay between notifications. Notifications are made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person; mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official Calvin University records; or emailed to the parties’ Calvin University-issued or designated email account. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice is presumptively delivered.

      The Notification of Outcome specifies the finding for each alleged policy violation, any sanction(s) that may result which Calvin University is permitted to share pursuant to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent Calvin University is permitted to share under state or federal law.

      The notice will detail when the determination is considered final and will detail any changes that are made prior to finalization.

      Unless based on an acceptance of violation by the Respondent, the determination may be appealed by either party. The Notification of Outcome also includes the grounds on which the parties may appeal and the steps the parties may take to request an appeal of the findings. More information about the appeal procedures can be found in section 11 below.

  9. Sanctions

    Factors considered when determining any sanction(s)/responsive action(s) may include, but are not limited to:

    • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
    • An individual’s disciplinary history
    • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
    • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the Complainant and the community
    • The impact on the parties
    • Any other information deemed relevant by the Title IX Coordinator

    The sanction(s) will be implemented as soon as is feasible. The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken, or sanctions imposed by outside authorities.

    1. Student Sanctions [Example]

      The following are the sanctions that may be imposed upon students or student organizations singly or in combination:

      • Warning: A formal statement that the behavior was unacceptable and a warning that further infractions of any Calvin University policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
      • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of Calvin University Policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any Calvin University policy, procedure or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, exclusion from designated areas of campus, no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
      • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years, and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at Calvin University. At the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, this sanction may be noted as a Disciplinary Suspension on the student’s official transcript.
      • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status, revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or attend Calvin University-sponsored events. This sanction will be noted as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript.
      • Withholding Diploma and/or Official Transcripts: Calvin University may withhold a student’s diploma and/or official transcripts for a specified period of time, and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities, if the student has an allegation pending, or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
      • Revocation of Degree: Calvin University reserves the right to revoke a degree previously awarded from Calvin University for fraud, misrepresentation, or other violation of Calvin University policies, procedures, or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
      • Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges (including Calvin University registration), for a specified period of time.
      • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Calvin University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
    2. Employee Sanctions

      Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation include:

      • Warning—Verbal or Written
      • Performance Improvement/Management Process
      • Required Counseling
      • Required Training or Education
      • Probation
      • Loss of Annual Pay Increase
      • Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
      • Demotion
      • Suspension with pay
      • Suspension without pay
      • Termination
      • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Calvin University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
  10. Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges are Pending

    Students: Should a student withdraw while the student has an allegation pending for violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination, the records of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status and any Calvin University responses to future inquiries regarding admission or employment references for that individual will include the former student’s unresolved status. Calvin University may place a hold, bar access to an official transcript, and/or prohibit graduation as necessary to permit the resolution process to be completed.

    Employees: Should an employee resign with unresolved allegations pending, the records of the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status, and any Calvin University responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include the former employee’s unresolved status.

  11. Appeals

    All requests for appeal consideration must be submitted in writing to the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator within 5 business days of the delivery of the written finding of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker. Any party may appeal the findings only under the grounds described below.

    An Appeal Officer chosen from the Safer Spaces Team will be designated by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator from those who have not been involved in the process previously. Any party may appeal, but appeals are limited to the following grounds:

    • A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g., substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, failure to correctly apply the evidentiary standard).
    • To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
    • The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions Calvin University has designated for this offense and the cumulative record of the Respondent.

    When any party requests an appeal, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will share the appeal request with the other party(ies) or other appropriate persons such as the Investigator(s), who may file a response within three (3) business days. The other party may also bring their own appeal on separate grounds.

    If new grounds are raised, the original appealing party will be permitted to submit a written response to these new grounds within 5 business days. These responses or appeal requests will be shared with each party. The Appeal Officer will review the appeal request(s) within 7 business days of completing the pre-appeal exchange of materials. If grounds are not sufficient for an appeal, or the appeal is not timely, the Appeal Officer dismisses the appeal.

    When the Appeal Officer finds that at least one of the grounds is met by at least one party, additional principles governing the review of appeals include the following:

    • Decisions by the Appeal Officer are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only when there is clear error and to the sanction(s)/responsive action(s) only if there is compelling justification to do so.
    • Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings (de novo) of the allegation(s). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the investigation and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.
    • An appeal is not an opportunity for the Appeal Officer to substitute their judgment for that of the original Investigator(s), Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, or Decision-maker merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).
    • Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the Investigator(s) for reconsideration. Other appeals should be remanded at the discretion of the Appeal Officer.
    • Sanctions imposed as the result of Administrative Resolution are implemented immediately unless the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
      • For students: Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, etc., do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal.
    • All parties will be informed in writing within 3 business days of the outcome of the appeal without significant time delay between notifications, and in accordance with the standards for Notice of Outcome as defined above.
    • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final; further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand.
    • In rare cases when a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original Investigator(s) and/or the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator or Decision-maker (as in cases of bias), the Appeal Officer may recommend a new investigation and/or Administrative Resolution process, including a new resolution administrator.
    • The results of a new Administrative Resolution process can be appealed once, on any of the three applicable grounds for appeals.
    • In cases in which the appeal results in Respondent’s reinstatement to Calvin University or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.
  12. Long-Term Remedies/Actions

    Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may implement long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community to stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; remedy its effects; and prevent its reoccurrence.

    These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:

    • Referral to counseling and health services
    • Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
    • Education to the community
    • Permanent alteration of housing assignments
    • Permanent alteration of work arrangements for employees
    • Provision of campus safety escorts
    • Climate surveys
    • Policy modification
    • Provision of transportation accommodations
    • Implementation of long-term contact limitations between the parties
    • Implementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

    At the discretion of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, long-term remedies may also be provided to the Complainant even if no policy violation is found.

    When no policy violation is found, the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will address any remedial requirements owed by Calvin University to the Respondent.

  13. Failure to Complete Sanctions/Comply with Interim and Long-term Remedies/Responsive Actions

    All Respondents are expected to comply with conduct sanctions, responsive actions, and corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

    Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/responsive/corrective action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from Calvin University and may be noted on a student’s official transcript.

    A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator.

  14. Recordkeeping

    In implementing this policy, records of all allegations, investigations, resolutions, and hearings will be kept indefinitely, or as required by state or federal law or institutional policy, by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator in the Title IX case database.

  15. Statement of the Rights of the Parties (see Appendix C)

  16. Disabilities Accommodation in the Resolution Process

    Calvin University is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the resolution process at Calvin University. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Director of Disability Services, who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation, and the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process.

  17. Revision

    These policies and procedures will be reviewed and updated annually by the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator and the Safer Spaces Administrative Team. Calvin University reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to these procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules.

    The Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on Calvin University website, with the appropriate effective date identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this policy and procedure.

    Normally, procedures in effect at the time of the resolution will apply to resolution of incidents, regardless of when the incident occurred.

    Policy in effect at the time of the offense will apply even if the policy is changed subsequently but prior to resolution, unless the parties consent to be bound by the current policy.

    If government regulations change in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations.

    This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such policies and codes, generally.

    Note: Reports received prior to August 15, 2020, may be resolved according to the Safer Spaces policy and procedures in effect at the time of the report.

    This policy and procedure was implemented in August, 2020.


1 Not to be confused with those mandated by state law to report child abuse, elder abuse, and/or abuse of individuals with disabilities to appropriate officials, though these responsibilities may overlap with those who have mandated reporting responsibility in this Policy.

2 For the purpose of this policy, Calvin University defines “student” as any individual who has accepted an offer of admission, or who is registered or enrolled for credit or non-credit bearing coursework, and who maintains an ongoing relationship with Calvin University.

3 A Deputy Coordinator could also act as Hearing Facilitator.

4 For the purpose of this policy, privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings. Privacy means that information related to a complaint will be shared with a limited number of Calvin University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are involved in Calvin University’s response to notice under this policy receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with state and federal law. The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in Calvin University’s FERPA policy. The privacy of employee records will be protected in accordance with Human Resources policies. Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including those who provide services related to medical and clinical care, mental health providers, counselors, and ordained clergy. The law creates a privilege between certain health care providers, mental health care providers, attorneys, clergy, spouses, and others, with their patients, clients, parishioners, and spouses. Calvin University has designated individuals who have the ability to have privileged communications as Confidential Resources. For more information about Confidential Resources, see page 28. When information is shared by a Complainant with a Confidential Resource, the Confidential Resource cannot reveal the information to any third party except when an applicable law or a court order requires or permits disclosure of such information. For example, information may be disclosed when: (i) the individual gives written consent for its disclosure; (ii) there is a concern that the individual will likely cause serious physical harm to self or others; or (iii) the information concerns conduct involving suspected abuse or neglect of a minor under the age of 18, elders, or individuals with disabilities. Non-identifiable information may be shared by Confidential Resources for statistical tracking purposes as required by the federal Clery Act. Other information may be shared as required by law.

5 First Amendment Considerations: Because Calvin University is a Christian institution, the university may, under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States and various relevant statutes, lawfully discriminate on the basis of religious and confessional criteria in its employment and educational practices. One example is the University’s use of religious faith, confessional commitments, and church membership as conditions of employment for faculty and administrators with faculty status. Another example relates to sexual conduct. Though it is the University’s policy to assure equal opportunity in its hiring, personnel practices and admissions without regard to marital status or sexual orientation, sexual relations outside of marriage are proscribed (see e.g., Handbook for Teaching Faculty). Marriage is understood by the University and the Christian Reformed Church, with which it is affiliated, to be a covenantal union between a man and a woman.

6 This definition of hostile environment is based on Federal Register / Vol. 59, No. 47 / Thursday, March 10, 1994: Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Racial Incidents and Harassment Against Students At Educational Institutions; Investigative Guidance.

7 Unwelcomeness is subjective and determined by the Complainant (except when the Complainant is below the age of consent). Severity, pervasiveness, and objective offensiveness are evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances (“in the shoes of the Complainant”), including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

8 Per state law.

9 Consent is not specifically defined in Michigan law. The standard used in the sexual assault statues is whether the accused used “force or coercion to accomplish the sexual act.” (Mich. Comp. Laws. Ann. § 750.520b—e).  This definition may differ from the definition used on campus to address policy violations. [Included for Clery/VAWA Sec. 304 compliance purposes]

10 VAWA is the Violence Against Women Act, enacted in 1994 codified in part at 42 U.S.C. sections 13701 through 14040.

11 Anywhere this procedure indicates “Title IX Coordinator,” Calvin University may substitute a trained designee.

12 If circumstances require, the President or Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will designate another person to oversee the process below should an allegation be made about the Coordinator or the Coordinator be otherwise unavailable or unable to fulfill their duties.

13 These dismissal requirements are mandated by the 2020 Title IX Regulations, 34 CFR Part 106.45.

14 This could include an attorney, advocate, or support person. The law permits one Advisor for each party (witnesses are not entitled to Advisors within the process, though they can be advised externally).

15 “Available” means the party cannot insist on an Advisor who simply doesn’t have inclination, time, or availability. Also, the Advisor cannot have institutionally conflicting roles, such as being a Title IX administrator who has an active role in the matter, or a supervisor who must monitor and implement sanctions.

16 Subject to the Calvin University policy above.

17 Consent of both the interviewer and interviewee is required.

18 The final investigation report may be shared using electronic means that preclude downloading, forwarding, or otherwise sharing.

19 Subject to Calvin University’s Student Code of Conduct, Student Handbook, or Employee and Faculty Handbooks.

20 www.nabita.org/tools

21 www.nabita.org/resources/assessment-tools/sivra-35/

22 www.nabita.org/resources/assessment-tools/eris/

23 www.nabita.org/looking-glass

24 www.wavr21.com

25 hcr-20.com

26 www.mosaicmethod.com

28 All references herein to a Title IX Coordinator also include a designee of the Title IX Coordinator.

29 If circumstances require, the President or Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator will designate another person to oversee the process below should an allegation be made about the Coordinator or the Coordinator be otherwise unavailable or unable to fulfill their duties.

30 This could include an attorney, advocate, or support person. Witnesses are not entitled to Advisors within the process, though they can be advised externally. No more than one Advisor will be permitted for each party.

31 “Available” means the party cannot insist on an Advisor who simply doesn’t have inclination, time, or availability. Also, the Advisor cannot have institutionally conflicting roles, such as being a Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator who has an active role in the matter, or a supervisor who must monitor and implement sanctions.

32 When the Director of Safer Spaces/Title IX Coordinator is the Investigator or has been heavily involved in the process prior to determination, a Decision-maker should be designated from the Safer Spaces Team to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

33 Consent of the interviewer and interviewee is required in “dual-party recording” states.

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Sarah Visser

Sarah Visser

Vice President for Student Life
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