Right to Learn
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
As members of the academic community, Andrews University students are granted certain rights within the learning environment and process. These include the right to be informed of the professor’s expectations for learners, the grading procedure and the schedule by which the course will be conducted. Students also have the right to reasonable assistance from the professor or course tutor under specified conditions of availability. Within the limitations of the academic freedom afforded to professors, students should expect that they will not be unreasonably penalized by changes in course expectations or grading policy from the course syllabus.
A student should be evaluated academically on the basis of scholastic performance and other criteria relevant to the course being taught. Bias, or conduct in matters unrelated to the academic standards of the course, must not play a role in a professor’s academic evaluation. Certain programs, of course, do require evaluations of a student’s personality, character and conduct. Unless clearly indicated by a professor, however, these matters should not influence grades in individual courses.
Because professors are responsible for creating an environment in which each student has an opportunity to learn, a professor may suspend—temporarily or long-term—a student who fails to meet reasonable class expectations, disrupts the classroom or otherwise interferes with the educational environment. The professor should report any such class suspension to the relevant department chair, dean, vice president for Campus & Student Life and/or the University Student Intervention Team.
Right to be Free from Bias, Discrimination or Harassment
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
Andrews University affirms that every human being is valuable in the sight of God and seeks to be an inclusive community that welcomes all people. Members of the University community are expected to treat each other and the wider community with respect and dignity. Acts of bias, discrimination or harassment are an affront to the core values of the University and will be appropriately addressed. All students have the right to supportive academic, work and residential settings that are free from conduct that could create a hostile, intimidating, offensive or unfair environment. Students and employees should report discriminatory, harassing, inappropriate, threatening or violent behavior, no matter how mild or severe, that may jeopardize the rights, health or safety of an individual or group or that disrupts the mission and/or normal processes of the University.
Bias and Bias Incidents
In social terms, a bias is an inclination or preference—either for or against an individual or group—that interferes with impartial judgment. Social biases are often based on one or more actual or perceived personal characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender, sexual orientation, religion, age or disability.
Such biases can be sorted into three categories: stereotypes (mental bias), prejudices (emotional bias) and discrimination or harassment (behavioral bias).
- Stereotypes are standardized beliefs and mental associations about the characteristics of social groups. They rely on oversimplified opinion and uncritical judgment and can distort reality.
- Prejudices are unjustifiable negative attitudes toward another social group or its members. Prejudice can take the form of disliking, anger, fear, disgust, discomfort and even hatred.
- These biased ways of thinking and feeling are problematic because they can lead to discrimination or harassment (see definitions below), which are unjustifiable negative behaviors toward individuals based on their actual or perceived membership in a particular group.
Some biases are conscious and blatant, explicitly disparaging an outside group while favoring one’s own group. Other biases are unconscious and subtle, occurring at an implicit—though no less powerful—level. These more complex forms of bias are often mixed or masked with good intentions, making them more difficult to identify and acknowledge.
As a human condition, bias cannot be completely eradicated; nonetheless it must be engaged thoughtfully, honestly and respectfully. We are all shaped by our distinct experiences and come to perceive ourselves and others in relation to those experiences. Bias is often unintentional and may not be perceived as aggressive or disrespectful by the responsible party. Yet when bias is not conscientiously named and addressed, it can compound to create negative environments for those affected and/or can escalate into overt acts of discrimination or harassment and even criminal behaviors (see “hate crime” below).
A bias incident occurs when conduct, speech, images or expression is motivated, in whole or in part, by conscious or unconscious bias, which targets and/or negatively impacts individuals or groups based on one or more of the actual or perceived characteristics listed above.
Not all bias incidents involve conduct that violates law or policy. Some incidents, however, may involve conduct that violates federal, state or local laws or University policies, and these will be subject to applicable student conduct, human resources and/or legal processes.
If an act of bias involves criminal behavior, it may be considered a hate crime. In the state of Michigan, a hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person or property (such as arson, invasion of privacy, vandalism, etc.) which is motivated in whole or in part, by the offender’s bias against a race or national origin, religion, sexual orientation, mental/physical disability or ethnicity. It is important to understand that while all hate crimes are bias incidents, not all bias incidents are hate crimes.
Andrews University prohibits unlawful discrimination against any member of its community on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, citizenship, sex, religion, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic in matters of admissions, employment, housing or any aspect of its educational programs and activities.
Discrimination occurs when a person deprives another of a right, benefit or privilege and/or unfairly treats another differently because of one of the actual or perceived characteristics outlined above.
Examples of discrimination include:
- Treating one person differently from another in determining whether such person satisfies any requirement or condition for the provision of such aid, benefit or service
- Providing different aid, benefits or services or provide aid, benefits or services in a different manner
- Denying any person any such aid, benefit or service
- Subjecting any person to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions or other treatment
- Aiding or perpetuating discrimination against any person by providing significant assistance to any agency, organization, or person which discriminates on the basis of a legally protected characteristic in providing any aid, benefit or service to students or employees
- Otherwise limiting any person in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage or opportunity
As a religious institution, the University retains its constitutional and statutory rights to make employment, admission and educational decisions in a manner that is consistent with the University’s Code of Student Conduct (see Code of Student Conduct, “Working Policy,” “Employee Handbook”) and with the tenets of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. Such rights are conferred upon religious institutions by various laws, including but not limited to 42 U.S.C. 2000e-1, 2000e-2; 6-15 of Federal Executive Order 11246; 41 CFR 60-1.5(5); 34 CFR 86.21, 86.31, 86.40, and 86.57, 106.12(a)(b); 20 U.S.C. § 1681(a)(3); and Porth v. Roman Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo, 209 Mich. App. 630 (1995). The University further claims the right to disregard the provisions of Title IX set forth in 34 CFR Sections 86.21, 86.31, 86.40, and 86.57(b) insofar as they conflict with the teachings and practices of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
Sexual orientation is regarded by the University in a manner consistent with the position of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, which makes a distinction between orientation and behavior. On the basis of sexual orientation, in itself, the University does not discriminate in academic, work, residential or other campus environment matters. However, all faculty and staff are required to comply with the University’s “Working Policy” and “Employee Handbook,” as applicable, which limits certain behaviors inconsistent with the teachings of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. All students are required to comply with the University’s Code of Student Conduct, which likewise prohibits certain behaviors that are inconsistent with the University’s commitment to moral propriety as understood by the Seventh-day Adventist Church. For a detailed statement on the University’s position, policies and protections regarding differences in sexual orientation, please refer to Appendix 1 (see Appendix 1: A Seventh-day Adventist Framework for Relating to Sexual Orientation Differences on the Campus of Andrews University).
This non-discrimination policy is in compliance with Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 (as amended), Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (45 CFR 86 et seq., Sections 503 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, Section 402 of the Veterans Era Veterans Adjustment Act of 1974 and the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act.
Notwithstanding the University’s constitutional and statutory rights to make employment, admission and educational decisions in a manner that is consistent with the tenets of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, harassment on the basis of any of the characteristics listed in this section is strictly prohibited.
Andrews University prohibits harassment of any kind whether it takes place on-campus, off-campus or in online communications.
Harassment is often based upon an intolerance or disparagement of perceived or actual personal characteristics such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, age, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected characteristic.
Harassment occurs when a person or group engages in unwelcome speech or conduct that is so objectively offensive and sufficiently severe, and persistent and pervasive, that
- it unreasonably interferes with or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from academics, work or other services and activities or
- it creates an environment (academic, work or residential) that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive or intimidating (an isolated incident, unless sufficiently severe, may not amount to hostile environment harassment).
When harassment is not directed at a specific individual, harassment may still occur.
Harassing behaviors prohibited by this bias, discrimination and harassment policy include, but are not limited to, the following: sufficiently severe, and persistent and pervasive use of derogatory words, jokes, slurs, epithets, statements or gestures; stereotyping activities; use of graffiti or other forms of pictorial or written messages of intimidation; threats about unwelcome physical contact; unwelcome physical contact; stalking; and bullying (repeated and/or aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person).
What to do about Acts of Bias, Discrimination or Harassment
Discrimination and harassment can flourish in a culture of silence. Therefore, every member of the community is asked to be an active participant in creating a culture of civility and respect for all persons.
If you witness or experience misconduct of a sexual or gender nature, please refer to the Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy section of his Handbook or here. Sexual Harassment includes sexual assault, quid pro quo harassment, hostile environment harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking.
If you witness or experience acts of bias, discrimination or harassment based on any other of the protected characteristics outlined above you are encouraged to consider taking the following informal or formal steps.
- If you feel able, assertively tell the person(s) involved that such conduct is offensive and unwelcome and should be stopped immediately.
- Seek an informal consultation to consider what type of University responses are available by sharing the report or concern with one or more of the following: academic dean, director of Human Resources, vice president for Campus Culture & Inclusion, Student Life dean or vice president for Campus & Student Life.
- Consider an informal resolution process, which is generally a mutually agreed upon plan between the relevant parties that may include a variety of supportive, educational, restorative or protective measures to address the concern.
- An informal process does not trigger a formal investigation and resolution process.
Andrews University takes seriously all good faith reports it receives of bias, discrimination or harassment in any form and will seek to provide a reasonably prompt resolution, which generally includes an investigation and resolution process when the allegations, if true, would reach the level of discrimination or harassment.
Written formal complaint involving a student. In cases where a complainant (reporting student) has a concern regarding alleged bias, discrimination or harassment by another student, the concerned student is encouraged to submit a written formal complaint to one or more of the following: vice president for Campus Culture & Inclusion or the Student Life office (Student Life dean, vice president for Campus & Student Life).
- The vice president for Campus & Student Life, in consultation with the vice president for Campus Culture & Inclusion will appoint a Designated Response Team (DRT) to review the complaint and determine next steps
- Such steps include designating a team member to meet with the complainant to clarify the allegation, review processes and identify appropriate interim supportive measures. The designated member will also notify the respondent of the allegation, review processes and identify appropriate interim supportive measures.
Written formal complaint involving an employee. In cases where a student has a concern regarding alleged bias, discrimination or harassment by a faculty or staff member, the concerned student is encouraged to submit a written formal complaint to one or more of the following: vice president for Campus Culture & Inclusion, vice president for Campus & Student Life, director of Human Resources.
- The director of Human Resources, in consultation with Student Life and Campus Culture & Inclusion, will appoint a Designated Response Team to review the complaint and to determine next steps.
- Such steps include designating a member to meet with the complainant to clarify the allegation, review processes and identify appropriate interim supportive measures. The designated member will also notify the respondent of the allegation, review processes and identify appropriate interim supportive measures.
The written formal complaint should include a concise description of the incident with relevant details, date, time and location, identification of the other person(s) and witness involved, etc. A copy of the complaint will be provided to the accused (responding party).
Response and Resolution Processes. Submitting a formal written complaint will signify a request for a formal investigation and trigger the University’s response and resolution processes. The response plan generally includes the following steps:
- Where the allegations, if true, would rise to the level of bias, discrimination or harassment in violation of this policy, an investigative will commence.
- An investigative process will be activated that includes 1) meeting with all relevant persons and providing each with the opportunity to give their own account of events and 2) gathering facts and all available evidence relevant to the allegations.
- If the responding party is another student, the investigation report will be provided to a Decision-Maker Panel or the Student Life Conduct Council.
- If the responding party is faculty or staff, the investigation report will be provided to a Decision-Maker Panel chaired by the HR director.
- Any determination of responsibility will be based on whether there is a “preponderance of evidence” that bias, discrimination or harassment occurred.
- The Decision-Maker Panel reserves the right to assign the type of educational and/or corrective disciplinary response deemed appropriate for the level of violation, broadening or lessening the response relative to the severity, persistence or pervasiveness of the conduct.
- If the allegation does not rise to the level of bias, discrimination, harassment or other violation of other student conduct or employee policies, the Designated Response Team may nevertheless recommend or require an educational experience, as deemed appropriate.
- Retaliation is prohibited by University policy and by law.
- Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person who makes an allegation, files a report, serves as a witness or participates in an investigation.
- Adverse actions may include name-calling, taunting or other threatening behavior.
- Retaliation against an individual for alleging bias, discrimination or harassment, supporting a party bringing a complaint, or assisting in providing information relevant to the allegation is a serious violation of University policy and any offender will be subject to disciplinary action.
- An allegation of retaliation should be reported to a Student Life or Human Resources official.
Title IX (Sexual Harassment) Policy and Resources
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
Andrews University recognizes that God has created every individual, male and female, equal in His image and endowed with unique value. As Creator and Redeemer, He calls us with loving grace and empowers us to give each of His children the utmost respect in speech and action and to expect the same from others.
Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (gender) in educational programs and activities that receive federal assistance.
The Department of Education calls discrimination on the basis of sex (gender) to include “Sexual Harassment,” which the regulations define as follows:
Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
(1) An employee of the [institution] conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the [institution] on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct [also called “quid pro quo harassment”];
(2) Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the [institution’s] education program or activity [also called “hostile environment harassment”]; or
(3) “Sexual assault” …, “dating violence” …, “domestic violence” …, or “stalking” ….
34 C.F.R. § 106.30
When the University has actual knowledge of Sexual Harassment in an education program or activity within its jurisdiction, it must respond promptly in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent. The University’s response would be considered “deliberately indifferent” only if its response to Sexual Harassment is clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Sexual Harassment under Title IX arises from conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature. Andrews University is committed to maintaining a respectful learning and living environment that is free from such Sexual Harassment. Sexual Harassment in any form against any person, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, is inconsistent with this commitment, strictly prohibited and intolerable in the Andrews community. All members of the Andrews University community share a responsibility for upholding this policy.
Any student who is found responsible for committing Sexual Harassment is in violation of the Code of Student Conduct. Any faculty or staff who is found responsible for committing Sexual Harassment is in violation of the University’s “Working Policy” and “Employee Handbook,” as applicable.
This policy complies with Andrews University’s responsibilities regarding Title IX and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013: Sec 304. Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination from educational programs and activities on the basis of sex (gender) in educational programs and activities that receive federal assistance. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) expects that universities have procedures in place to respond to matters of Sexual Harassment, relationship violence, and stalking.
This policy governs Sexual Harassment directed against persons in the United States, including a University student, student employee, faculty or staff, by a member of the University community, if the alleged Sexual Harassment is reported in a formal written complaint and occurred in an educational program or activity as to which the University has substantial control over the respondent as well as the context in which the act occurred.
The University will respond to Sexual Harassment involving faculty and/or staff according to these processes, understanding that cases involving only faculty and/or staff also fall under Title VII and, as such, are handled primarily by the Office of Human Resources.
University Community: The University community includes students, student employees, faculty, staff, appointees, volunteers, non-employee clients, supplier/contractors and visitors.
On-Campus: All on-campus violations are deemed to pose a disruption or threat to the educational environment. The campus includes the geographic confines of the University, including its land, roads, buildings, Andrews Academy, Ruth Murdoch Elementary School and University housing.
Off-Campus within the U.S.: Off-campus violations may pose a disruption or threat to the educational environment. Examples of off-campus Sexual Harassment that may occur where the University has substantial control include conduct that:
- Occurs during a University-sponsored event (e.g., field trips, social or educational functions, University-related travel, student recruitment activities, internships and service-learning experiences)
- Involves students in the United States enrolled in the University’s College of Education & International Services or other off-campus educational programs
Online: Violations can occur in a variety of forums on the internet. Some of these mediums include, but are not limited to, chat rooms, forums/message boards, social networking sites, instant messaging, email, avatars, advertising, redirected/automatic linking, spam and pop-ups. The University will have jurisdiction where the University has substantial control over the respondent and the online environment in which the act occurred.
In instances where Sexual Harassment is found by the Decision-Maker Panel to have occurred, the University will take appropriate action, up to and including separation from the University, with the goal to end such Sexual Harassment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects. Third parties who engage in Sexual Harassment may have their relationship with the University terminated and/or their privileges of being on University premises withdrawn.
Allegations of misconduct that do not fall within the University’s Title IX jurisdiction, may still be subject to the processes contained in the University’s Code of Student Conduct or its Working Policy or Employee Handbook.
Descriptions of Sexual Harassment
Sexual Harassment is conduct of a sexual or gender-based nature that meets the below definitions for sexual assault, quid pro quo harassment, hostile environment harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
Non-Consensual Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts) for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually) or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sex Offenses, Forcible: Any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the complainant including instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent.
a. Forcible Rape: Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the complainant.
b. Forcible Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually) or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
c. Sexual Assault with an Object: To use an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually) or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
3. Sex Offenses, Nonforcible: Nonforcible sexual intercourse.
Incest: Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by state law.
- Statutory Rape: Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent (16 years old in the state of Michigan). This offense only applies if conduct is “consensual” with minor. If forced or against will of victim, revert to Forcible Rape definition.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Quid Pro Quo harassment exists when an employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct. It typically involves an exchange of sexual favors for some benefit, and it most often occurs where there is a power differential (e.g., professor and student or boss and employee).
Other unwanted verbal, written, visual, online or physical contact of a sexual nature may constitute Sexual Harassment when submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of an individual’s education or employment progress, development or performance.
Hostile Environment Harassment
The definition of “hostile environment harassment” differs under Title IX (discrimination in education) and Title VII (discrimination in employment).
Under Title IX, hostile environment harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual or gender-based conduct is so severe and pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s educational program or activity, as determined by a reasonable person.
Under Title VII, hostile environment harassment occurs when unwelcome sexual or gender-based conduct is so severe or pervasive or objectively offensive that it alters the terms and condition of employment, as determined by a reasonable person.
For purposes of Title IX, the nature of the unwelcome conduct underlying a hostile environment harassment must be either sexual or gender-based in nature. Thus gender-based harassment may occur even if the unwelcome conduct is not “sexual” in nature. Unwelcome conduct based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity may also form the basis of hostile environment harassment. Unwelcome conduct may be expressed in the form of acts of aggression, intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or nonverbal, graphic, physical or other.
An isolated incident typically will not amount to hostile environment harassment under Title IX, but it may violate another aspect of the Code of Student Conduct.
The following is a non-exhaustive set of behaviors which may constitute hostile environment harassment in violation of Title IX:
- Unwelcome sexual advances, propositions or requests for sexual favors
- Unwelcome or inappropriate exposure, display, touching or physical contact
- Showing/displaying sexually suggestive, demeaning or objectifying objects, pictures, words or gestures
- Unwelcome or inappropriate comments disparaging a person’s gender
- Gender-based or sexually suggestive jokes, innuendos or gestures
- Gender-based stereotyping, bullying, sexism, sexist attitudes
- Unwelcome conduct based on sexual orientation or gender identity
A finding that such unwelcome conduct actually occurred is not enough, in itself, to support a Title IX violation for hostile environment harassment. Rather, a Title IX violation occurs only when it is further found, by a preponderance of evidence, that as a result of the unwelcome conduct the complainant was effectively denied equal access to the University’s educational program or activity.
“Dating violence” means violence committed by a person—
(A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
(B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
(i) The length of the relationship
(ii) The type of relationship
(iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship
Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical abuse (which includes, but is not limited to, pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, strangling, restraining, holding, and tying down)
- Leaving the victim in a dangerous place
- Emotional/psychological abuse
- Threats of harm and/or intimidation
- Physical or social isolation
- Sexual abuse or Sexual Harassment
“Domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Michigan.
Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, the following:
- Physical abuse (which includes, but is not limited to, pushing, shoving, slapping, punching, kicking, strangling, restraining, holding, and tying down)
- Leaving the victim in a dangerous place
- Emotional/psychological abuse
- Threats of harm and/or intimidation
- Physical or social isolation
- Sexual abuse or Sexual Harassment
“Stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to—
- fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
- suffer substantial emotional distress.
For the purposes of this definition—
“course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker 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.
“reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
“substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Stalking behaviors when repeated include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Non-consensual or unwelcomed communication, including face-to-face, phone calls, voice messages, electronic mail, online communication, written letters, etc.
- Excessive calling or texting
- Threatening, intrusive, frightening or obscene gestures
- Following or pursuing
- Surveillance or other types of observation
- Vandalism or destruction of victim’s property
- Unwelcome gifts, flowers, etc.
Stalking is an insidious form of harassment that may initially be dismissed as harmless yet can dramatically impact the life of the person stalked and pose both physical and psychological risks.
All concerns about stalking should be taken seriously, whether or not there appears to be a level of threat and whether or not the alleged stalker is known by the victim.
A complainant is anyone (a) who is alleged to be the victim of Sexual Harassment as defined by this policy, and (b) who, at the time of filing a formal complaint, is participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the school with which the formal complaint is filed. Note that anyone who shares a report about alleged Sexual Harassment impacting another person is considered a third-party reporter—not a complainant.
The respondent is any member of the University Community who is reported and alleged to have engaged in conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment within the University’s jurisdiction or conduct that occurred in an educational program or activity where the University has substantial control over the respondent as well as the context in which the act occurred.
The University Community includes students, student employees, faculty, staff, appointees, volunteers, supplier/contractors, and visitors.
For Title IX processes, a student is an individual to whom an offer of admission has been extended, paid an acceptance fee, registered for classes, or otherwise entered into another agreement with the University to take instruction. Student status lasts until an individual graduates, is permanently dismissed, or is not in attendance for two complete, consecutive terms, and includes those with a continuing educational relationship with the University.
Actual knowledge is when the University’s Title IX Coordinator or a designated University official with the authority to institute corrective disciplinary action (as specified in the chart under the header “Reporting”) receives a report or notice of allegations of Sexual Harassment. The University response obligation begins when actual knowledge of an alleged Sexual Harassment has been reported to a designated University official.
A report is an allegation of Sexual Harassment, which can be made by anyone including students, employees, University community members, or other individuals who are directly involved in, observe or reasonably believe that Sexual Harassment may have occurred. A report can be filed by completing the online Title IX Report Form. A person making a report of alleged Sexual Harassment impacting another person is considered a third-party reporter.
A formal complaint is a complaint filed in writing by the complainant or by the Title IX Coordinator through the completion of the online Title IX Formal Complaint Form that triggers the University’s mandatory dismissal assessment and, if not dismissed, a full investigation and hearing.
A Decision-Maker Panel is composed of three members and an appointed chairperson who review the case, provide any hearing, make a determination of responsibility and determine any corrective disciplinary actions which take place as part of the formal resolution process.
It is important not to make assumptions about whether another party or potential partner is consenting. The burden to obtain effective mutually understood consent is on the initiator of the sexual act.
- Effective consent is informed, voluntary, and freely and actively given.
- Effective consent cannot be obtained from threat, force, threat of force, intimidation, coercion or incapacitation.
- Effective consent cannot be given by minors, mentally disabled individuals, or individuals who are mentally or physically incapacitated (such as by alcohol or drug use, etc.)—see “incapacitation” definition below.
- Consent can be communicated by words or can be manifested through action.
- Consent must be mutually understandable.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent at one time does not imply consent to another time.
- Silence or passivity alone does not imply consent.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
When incapacitated, an individual lacks the physical and/or mental ability to make informed, rational judgments (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interactions) and thus cannot give effective consent to sexual activity.
- Incapacitation may be temporary or permanent and result from mental disability as well as states including, but not limited to, sleep, unconsciousness, blackouts resulting in memory loss, etc. Incapacitation may also occur in persons who, as a result of alcohol or drug use, appear to be functional or coherent but still may not be able to make a rational decision or give effective consent. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Keep in mind that under this policy, “no” always means “no,” but “yes” may not always mean “yes.”
- The impact of consuming alcohol or drugs will vary from person to person. Evaluating incapacitation due to the use of substances requires an assessment of each individual. Warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include slurred speech, vomiting, unsteady gait, odor of alcohol, combativeness, emotional volatility, etc.
- Because incapacitation may be difficult to discern, especially where alcohol and drugs are involved, persons are strongly encouraged to err on the side of caution; when in doubt, assume the other person is incapacitated and therefore unable to give effective consent.
- Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is not a valid defense to an allegation.
- In evaluating effective consent in cases of alleged incapacitation, the University asks two questions: (1) did the respondent know that the other party was incapacitated? and (2) if not, would a sober, reasonable person in the same situation have known that the other party was incapacitated? If the answer to either of these questions is “YES,” effective consent was absent and the conduct by the respondent is likely a violation of this policy.
Reminders and Resources
Preservation of Evidence and Medical Assistance
A person reporting Sexual Harassment is reminded of the importance of taking every precaution to preserve all evidence and to abstain from tampering with any items at the scene, changing clothes or washing any area of their body. Under some circumstances, the complainant should seek immediate medical attention before washing themselves or clothing. If clothes have been removed, place each item separately in paper bags. The complainant should preserve all phone call logs, emails, text messages, online communication and other evidence that is relevant to the specific complaint.
Medical assistance can be sought from any emergency room, such as the one located at Lakeland Medical Center, St. Joseph, Michigan. Financial assistance for hospital exam costs may be available—contact Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission for more information (517-333-SAFE).
In addition to the collection of evidence, hospital staff is able to check for other potential injuries and respond to the potential of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
Release of Documents and Disclosure
Under federal privacy laws any documents prepared by the University, such as the investigative summary or report (which includes written statements and responses from both parties) constitute education records which may not be disclosed outside of University processes except as may be authorized by law. As such, both parties are instructed not to redisclose written documents they receive from the University. However, the University does not impose any restrictions on the parties regarding verbal redisclosure of the case (including verbal disclosure of the content of the investigative report), their participation in the process or the contents of the final outcome letter. Parties are advised to seek legal advice as to whether or not such verbal disclosure might subject them to liability for defamation.
The University will seek to be sensitive, supportive and respectful to all involved individuals. The University will also seek to take reasonable steps to safeguard privacy to the greatest extent possible and will refrain from including in public available records the identity of the complainant.
The University will seriously consider requests for confidentiality and will attempt to limit the number of individuals who may learn about an allegation of Sexual Harassment. The University, however, cannot guarantee confidentiality in all matters. The University will attempt to balance the complainant’s request with the moral responsibility and federal guidelines to create a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.
Ultimately, and especially in cases that involve pattern, predation, threats or violence, the University reserves the right to proceed in whatever manner it deems appropriate to protect the safety of the campus and provide fundamentally fair processes. To comply with certain federal laws, the University is required to report statistics regarding Sexual Harassment on its campus. Recordkeeping for this statistical report will be accomplished without the inclusion of identifying information about the complainant or witnesses to the extent permissible by law.
Counselors and chaplains (hired or appointed by the University for a specific job description to provide counseling and pastoral care) have confidentiality obligations that prohibit them from reporting and activating established University processes. Therefore, while these individuals are able to provide confidentiality and important support, they are not the designated University official to whom reports or formal complaints should be given (see chart below).
Professional Counseling and Support Resources
A person reporting Sexual Harassment is encouraged to seek the assistance of trained professional support systems. Students are encouraged to seek professional support from on-campus resources that include campus chaplains and counselors or from a community provider listed below. Faculty and staff are encouraged to seek professional support from a community provider listed below.
On-campus services for students (at no charge) include:
- Andrews University’s Counseling & Testing Center (located in Bell Hall, 269-471-3470)
- Chaplains (located in the Center for Faith Engagement, Campus Center, 269-471-3211)
Off-campus community services (for self-pay) for students, faculty and staff include:
- Samaritan Counseling Center, 1850 Colfax, Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022 (269-926-6199)
- Berrien County Child & Family Services/Safe Shelter (for women and children), PO Box 8820, Benton Harbor, Michigan 49023-8820 (phone: 269-925-1725/269-925-9500, crisis: 888-983-4275/269-925-9500), cfsswmi.org/our-programs/ safe-shelter.html
- Michigan Crime Victim Services Commission, 201 S Townsend, PO Box 30195, Lansing, Michigan 48933 (877-251-7373 for victims only or 517-373-7373)
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (1-800-656-4673)
- Cass/St. Joseph County Domestic & Sexual Abuse Services, PO Box 402, Three Rivers, Michigan 49093 (phone: 269-279-5122, crisis: 800-828-2023), dasasmi.org
- S-O-S of the Family Justice Center, 533 North Niles Ave, South Bend, Indiana 46617 (574-234-6900), Info@fjcsjc.org
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline (1-800-799-SAFE)
- Hinman Counseling Services, 640 St Joseph Ave, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103 (269-471-5968)
- Life Coach Psychology, 300 W Ferry St, Berrien Springs, Michigan 49103 (269-815-5331)
- To Her Credit (navigating financial help when leaving an abusive relationship)
The Counseling & Testing Center and the Division of Campus & Student Life provide educational materials and information as well as prevention and risk reduction programs dealing with Sexual Harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking and discrimination based on sex. On an annual basis education is provided to new students and employees, and ongoing programs are provided periodically for the wider body of students and University employees.
The University’s Processes and Response to Sexual Harassment
The University response begins when a designated University official receives notice or actual knowledge of alleged Sexual Harassment. University proceedings will seek to provide a prompt, fair and impartial consultation, investigation and response by officials who receive annual training.
Initiating a Report
Anyone may make a report of allegations of Sexual Harassment, including students, employees, parents or any individual who is directly involved in, observes or reasonably believes that Sexual Harassment may have occurred. A report is not the same as a formal complaint (see below).
The University encourages complainants and witnesses to report any violations of this policy to a designated University official with authority to implement corrective action (as identified in the chart below).
Reports of allegations of Sexual Harassment become actual knowledge when they are received by a designated University official. Reports to a designated University official are what give the University the opportunity to begin an initial assessment process, but do not yet trigger the University’s Title IX response process until a formal complaint is submitted.
Reports also provide the University with an opportunity to ensure that appropriate supportive measures and resources are provided for the complainant and the respondent even if an informal resolution process is selected. At the same time, before a complainant reveals information (name of the respondent, details, etc.), they should understand that only professional counselors, pastors and chaplains (hired or appointed by the University for a specific job description to provide counseling and pastoral care) are required to retain confidentiality and not trigger a report to the Title IX office.
Employees Duty to Report
With the exception of professional counselors and chaplains (hired or appointed by the University to provide counseling and pastoral care) all other faculty and staff are required to report allegations of Sexual Harassment to a designated Title IX University official.
In K–12 schools, as well as for minors at the University level, all faculty and staff, as well as counselors and pastors, are mandatory reporters in cases involving minors. Mandated reporters must immediately report known or suspected mental or physical abuse or neglect of a child made known to them in their professional or official capacity directly to Michigan’s Department of Human Services by calling 855-444-3911 (24/7 toll free number). You must submit a written report to the Department of Human Services within 72 hours of the initial verbal report. Faculty and staff are not required to report information regarding Sexual Harassment in circumstances where a survivor speaks out at a public event or when the individual participates in an approved human subject research protocol.
Designated University Officials With Authority to Implement Corrective Disciplinary Action
|Title IX Compliance Officer
|Title IX Coordinator, Frances Faehner,
vice president for Campus & Student Life (269-471-2679), firstname.lastname@example.org, Campus Center, Student Life
Reports or inquiries regarding Sexual Harassment (which include sexual assault, quid pro quo harassment, hostile environment harassment, relationship violence, stalking and sexual exploitation) should be made online or in-person to the Title IX Coordinator or to one or more of the designated University officials in the chart below:
||Should Report To
|Student, faculty or staff
||Alleged by a student toward another student
||Title IX senior deputy coordinator and deputy coordinator for students, Alyssa Palmer, dean of Camus & Student Life, 269-471-6684, email@example.com, Campus Center, Student Life
|Student, faculty or staff
||Alleged by a student toward a faculty or staff member
||Title IX senior deputy coordinator and deputy coordinator for students, Alyssa Palmer, dean of Campus & Student Life, 269-471-6684, firstname.lastname@example.org, Campus Center, Student Life
|Student, faculty or staff
||Alleged by a faculty or staff member toward a student
||Title IX senior deputy coordinator and deputy coordinator for students, Alyssa Palmer, dean of Student Life, 269-471-6684, email@example.com, Campus Center, Student Life or Title IX deputy coordinator, Ethan Jones, 269-471-6515, firstname.lastname@example.org, Administration Building
|Student, faculty or staff
||Alleged by a faculty or staff toward another faculty or staff
||Title IX deputy coordinator, Ethan Jones, , 269-471-6515, email@example.com, Administration Building
|Student, faculty or staff
||Alleged by a student, faculty or staff toward a student, faculty or staff
||Title IX onvestigator, Ben Panigot, director of Campus Safety, 269-471-3321, firstname.lastname@example.org, Office of Campus Safety
Concerns about the University’s application of Title IX or VAWA may be addressed to the Title IX coordinator, United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights at OCR@ed.gov or 800-421-3481.
Local Law Enforcement
Sexual Harassment may also be criminal. In keeping with the goal to stop the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, the University encourages the complainant to seriously consider reporting the allegation(s) to local law enforcement. Upon a request from the complainant, the University will assist in making the connection between a complainant and an appropriate law enforcement agency. In Berrien Springs, the local police department can be reached at 269-471-2813. In an emergency, call 911. The complainant, generally, also has the right to decline to make a formal report to law enforcement and campus authorities.
Supportive Interim Measures
As reasonably available, the University will offer to parties impacted by Sexual Harassment, interim supportive measures it deems appropriate.
- Supportive Measures—These are non-disciplinary, non-punitive measures offered without fee or charge and designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party but and while protecting the safety of all parties.
- A Title IX official will conduct an individualized assessment and will review requests from both the complainant and respondent to determine appropriate supportive measures whether or not a Formal Complaint is filed.
- Requests are not “guaranteed,” but the University will carefully consider any such requests.
- Supportive interim measures may include, but are not limited to:
- “No Contact” orders or other mutual restrictions
- Referral to campus resources for counseling, and disability services
- Academic support and other course-related adjustments
- Modification of work or class schedules
- Change in work, committee or housing locations
- Change related to co-curricular activities
- Change in reporting relationship
- Consideration of leave requests
- Interim measures are for a provisional period of time pending the outcome of an investigation or until a specified condition is met.
- No Contact Order—A party who feels he/she is the target of threats, harassment, intimidation or other similar behaviors which pose a concern to his/her safety or wellbeing may request a No Contact Order (NCO), which will be made mutual. The goal of the mutual NCO is to restrict contact between the parties without requiring either party to forgo educational activities.
- A mutual No Contact Order, once issued, generally directs each party to refrain from all forms of contact with the other party via any method including, but not limited to, phone calls, text messages, emails, social media, in-person, or through a third party. The specific terms may vary case by case.
- Individuals requesting a NCO are likewise not permitted to contact the other party.
- No Contact Orders are issued, and will remain in effect, at the discretion of Campus & Student Life for students and Human Resources for faculty and staff. A NCO will typically remain in effect until the requesting party asks for it to be removed or until the University deems it no longer necessary.
- If the University determines that the reported behavior does not warrant the issuance of a NCO, the reporting individual will be referred to other forms of resolution. The University may put a NCO in place even if parties do not request one, if circumstances warrant it.
- No Contact Orders do not become part of an individual’s conduct record. However, failure to abide by a NCO may result in disciplinary action for a violation of the Code of Student Conduct, “Working Policy” or “Employee Handbook” and will become part of an individual’s conduct record.
- Requests for a NCO or reports of violations should be directed to the director of Human Resources (faculty/staff) and to the Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator (for students) during regular business hours and to Campus Safety (269-471-3321) on weekends or after hours.
When the University is unable to proceed with the investigative resolution process, such as the lack of information in the report or a request by the complainant that an investigation not move forward, the University may take other remedial measures as appropriate to remedy the effects of the alleged Sexual Harassment and/or prevent its recurrence.
- Remedial measures may also be implemented when it is determined that inappropriate conduct occurred, but that the conduct did not rise to the level of a Title IX policy violation.
- Remedial measures may include and are not limited to:
- Providing education or training
- Increasing security in a designated space
- Changing policy or procedure, and
- Conducting University climate checks
Interim Emergency Removal Provision
- An individual can be removed from the education programs or activities (including an interim campus ban) prior to the determination and outcome of a formal complaint but only after an individualized safety and risk assessment determines that the individual poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations.
- The individual will be given notice as well as an opportunity to challenge the action immediately following the removal.
- Employee respondents can be placed on administrative leaves during the investigative period.
- These interim actions do not assume the respondent will be found responsible for the alleged Sexual Harassment.
- Retaliation is prohibited by University policy and law.
- Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person who makes an allegation, files a report, serves as a witness, or participates in an investigation.
- Adverse actions may include name-calling, taunting or other threatening behavior.
- Retaliation against an individual for alleging a violation of Title IX, supporting a party bringing a complaint, or assisting in providing information relevant to a Title IX allegation is a serious violation of University policy as well as this Sexual Harassment policy and any offender will be subject to disciplinary action.
- An allegation of retaliation should be reported to a Title IX Coordinator or official.
Amnesty, Bystander Engagement and Good Faith Reports
The welfare of every member of our community is of paramount importance. The University wants to facilitate a safe and caring campus climate for all good faith reports of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, stalking and discrimination based on sex. The University believes that bystanders can play a key role in the prevention of Sexual Harassment. Thus, the University encourages members of our community to take responsibility by reporting allegations and participating in University processes.
Although the University cannot provide anonymity for witnesses, in an effort to remove fears and obstacles to reporting and participating in the process, the University does not apply disciplinary action to student complainant or student witnesses of Sexual Harassment who, in the process of making a good-faith report, voluntarily report their own violation(s) of the Code of Student Conduct (such as being in proximity to alcohol, alcohol consumption, curfew violations, etc.) related to the specific reported incident. To foster healing and growth, those making good faith reports may be asked to engage in educational opportunities.
The University also prohibits members of the community from knowingly filing a false report or making misrepresentations of Sexual Harassment. However, a report made in good faith is not considered false merely because there is insufficient evidence to support the allegation. Acts of knowingly filing false reports are, by themselves, cause for corrective disciplinary action. Complainants may also be held personally responsible for any intentional false communication that is defined by the courts as defamatory, provided the respondent pursues legal action.
Formal and Informal Resolution
Formal Resolution Process
- The University’s formal resolution process is triggered upon receipt of a formal complaint. A formal complaint may be filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator.
- Formal complaint filed by complainant—is an online form filed by a complainant alleging Sexual Harassment against a respondent and requesting that the school investigate the allegation(s).
- Formal complaint signed by Title IX Coordinator—is a written document signed by the Title IX Coordinator, which may occur especially in cases that involve pattern, predation, threats or violence.
- Because the University recognizes that such conduct includes an attack on an individual’s dignity and self-determination rights, as far as possible the University will attempt to let the complainant select the process for addressing their allegations. However, the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate an investigation over the wishes of the complainant to protect the campus community.
- Complaint Filing Requirements—A complainant who desires to make a formal complaint of alleged Sexual Harassment must complete and submit the online Title IX Formal Complaint Form.
- The formal complaint must (1) contain a concise written statement of the alleged violation; (2) be made by a person who (a) experienced the alleged conduct and (b) is participating or attempting to participate in a program or activity of the University; (3) be a document that is physically or digitally signed or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing; (4) be made against a respondent (as defined above); (5) request an investigation; and (6) may include the names of any witnesses with relevant information to the allegations.
- The complainant may be reluctant to identify the respondent; however, this will limit the University’s ability to investigate and respond.
- The University may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the othe party, where the allegations arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
- Dismissal Assessment—When a formal complaint is received, the Title IX Coordinator will review the formal complaint to evaluate whether any or all of the allegations therein are subject to dismissal under the Dismissal Procedures contained in this policy (see below). If one or more allegations are dismissed both parties will be notified in writing of the dismissal and relevant rationale.
- Notice of Allegations and Case Awareness—If the formal complaint is not dismissed, the appropriate Title IX Deputy Coordinator will meet separately with the complainant and the respondent to provide written notice of the allegations and the University’s formal and informal resolution processes, utilizing the Notice of Allegations and Case Awareness Form. If during the course of an investigation the University decides to investigate allegations about either party that were not included in the Notice of Allegations, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties.
- Presumption of Nonresponsibility—The respondent will be presumed to be not responsible for the alleged conduct unless and until a finding of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the resolution process.
- Respondent’s Written Response to Complaint—The respondent will be given an opportunity to provide a written response to the allegations in the formal complaint and provide the names of any witnesses with relevant information to the allegations.
- ADA or Disability—If the complainant or the respondent has a qualified disability, they should provide documentation to the Office of Disability at 269-471-3227. They should also notify the Title IX Deputy Coordinator during the Case Awareness aspect of the process regarding any requests for accommodations that may be appropriate to the disability.
- Advisor/Support Person—Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to have a single designated advisor or support person of their choice or through appointment by the University, to support them and be present with them throughout the formal resolution process (including any appeal process). The advisor/support person chosen by a party may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. If an attorney is retained by a party, the attorney has no additional rights or access than other advisor/support persons and thus the typical attorney-client relationship is not recognized. Each party and the party’s advisor/support person (if any) will be given written notice of the time, date, location, participants and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews or other meetings as to which such party’s participation is invited or expected, with sufficient time to allow for preparation. No advisor/support person for either party will be permitted to participate or speak during any hearing, interview or other meeting, except that an advisor/support person is permitted to ask relevant cross-examination questions and follow-up questions at the live hearing with the Conduct Panel on behalf of the party they are supporting. In K–12 proceedings where there is not a live hearing the advisor/support person may pose written questions to the other party and witnesses. In addition, in a K–12 proceeding, a student’s parent will be allowed to accompany the student to meetings, in addition to the student’s advisor/support person.
- Equitable Treatment—Complainants and respondents are treated equitably. This means that no formal disciplinary sanctions will be imposed against any respondent unless and until the grievance process has been completed and the respondent has been found responsible. Likewise, complainants will be provided notice of the remedies or outcomes after a determination of responsibility for Sexual Harassment has been made against the respondent in a reasonably prompt time frame.
Dismissal of a Formal Complaint
- A formal complaint may be subject to a mandatory dismissal. After conducting an initial assessment focused on the allegations set forth in a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator and/or Title IX Deputy Coordinator are/is required to review and dismiss the formal complaint
in the following situations: (1) where the allegation(s), if proven to be true, would not constitute Sexual Harassment as defined in this policy; (2) if the alleged conduct did not occur in an education program or activity of the University; or (3) if the alleged Sexual Harassment was inflicted upon a person outside the United States.
- A formal complaint may also be subject to a discretionary dismissal. The University may, in its discretion, dismiss a formal complaint or allegations therein in the following situations: (1) if the complainant informs the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant desires to withdraw the formal complaint or allegations therein, (2) if the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University, or (3) if specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination.
- If the University activates a mandatory or discretionary dismissal, both parties will be notified in writing of the dismissal of the formal complaint, the reason(s) therefore, and their right to appeal the dismissal of the complaint.
- Allegations that are dismissed under Title IX may still be addressed with supportive measures.
- When a formal complaint or a specific allegation is dismissed, the Title IX Coordinator may, nevertheless, offer other non-Title IX resolution processes and may refer the case directly to the Student Life Conduct Council to be reviewed for inappropriate conduct or a general violation of the Code of Student Conduct and corrective disciplinary action. In cases where the respondent is a faculty, staff or student employee, the case may be referred to Human Resources to be reviewed for inappropriate conduct and a general violation of the University’s “Working Policy” and corrective disciplinary action. Evidence received as part of the Title IX process may be relied upon in the non-Title IX process.
Informal Resolution Processes
- Informal processes are available only after a formal complaint has been signed and submitted by the complainant.
- Upon the voluntary, written consent of both parties, the University will facilitate an informal resolution that does not involve a full investigation, hearing and determination.
- Informal processes are not available in cases regarding allegations of the misconduct of a faculty or staff respondent and a student complainant.
- Informal resolution processes provide both parties with the opportunity to develop a mutually agreed-upon resolution that may include acknowledgements and commitments to remedy the situation.
- The mutually agreed-upon measures may include, but are not limited to:
- providing information, education or training
- community service
- no contact orders, proximity separations
- counseling sessions
- informal meetings with facilitated dialogue or mediation with both parties present or more indirectly with separate meetings
- a facilitated accountability plan between the respondent and a designated University faculty or staff member, or
- corrective disciplinary measures agreed upon by both parties
- Corrective disciplinary actions are typically recorded in the respondent’s educational or personnel record as a conduct violation, while resolutions void of disciplinary action are not included in the respondent’s record. The University reserves the right, however, to record such actions in an educational or personnel record depending on the nature and severity of the conduct involved.
- At any time prior to agreeing and signing the resolution agreement, either party may withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal resolution process. However, an informal resolution agreement is final when it is signed by both parties.
Investigation and Hearing
Investigation of Formal Complaints
- The respondent will be presumed to be not responsible for the alleged conduct unless and until a finding of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the formal resolution process.
- The director of Campus Safety is generally appointed to lead the investigation and is usually assisted by the appropriate Title IX Deputy Coordinator for students (if the respondent is a student) or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator for faculty/staff (if the respondent is a faculty or staff).
- According to established practices, the investigation is a neutral fact-gathering process and will follow the trail of evidence regarding the alleged Sexual Harassment.
- The investigator(s) will meet in separate settings with the complainant and the respondent, as well as with other witnesses, and review texts, emails, communications and other documentary evidence to gather facts.
- Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to the same opportunities to present their account of events, identify witnesses who may have relevant information and provide other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
- Both parties have an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint.
- Before completing the investigative report, the appropriate Title IX Deputy Coordinator will send to each party and the party’s advisor (if any) such directly related evidence in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will be given at least 10 calendar days to submit a written response (the “Evidence Response Period”).
- The investigator(s) will consider both responses prior to completing the investigative report.
- Notwithstanding the foregoing provision, the University cannot access, consider, disclose or otherwise use any party’s record that is protected by a legally recognized privilege (e.g., attorney-client, physician-patient, psychologist-patient, clergy-parishioner, etc.) unless that party (or that minor party’s parent) has voluntarily provided written consent to do so.
- After the Evidence Response Period has passed, an investigative summary describing the relevant evidence will be created and, at least 10 calendar days before the hearing (or other appropriate proceeding to determine responsibility), sent to each party and each party’s advisor/support person (if any) in an electronic format or hard copy for their review and to prepare their written response (the “Investigative Summary Response Period”).
- The final investigative report, directly related evidence, and written responses from both parties will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator who will review and then direct such materials to the appropriate Decision-Maker Panel.
- If the respondent accepts responsibility for the specific allegations, they may provide the Panel with a written acceptance of the facts of the allegation. In such cases where the respondent accepts responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator may direct the Panel to convene solely to determine appropriate corrective disciplinary action.
- To resolve formal complaints involving University students, a live hearing to determine responsibility will be held after the Investigative Summary Response Period has ended. At the University’s discretion, formal complaints involving K–12 students may, but need not, be resolved through a hearing process.
- A three-person panel, called the Decision-Maker Panel, will be convened for live hearings to serve as the decision-makers in determining the question of responsibility for Sexual Harassment as well as determining any corrective action. A fourth person will be assigned to chair the Panel and will be non-voting.
- The makeup of the Decision-Maker Panel will vary, depending on whether the respondent is a student or a University employee.
- If the respondent is a student, the Panel will be selected from the members of the Student Life Deans Council. This Panel will generally be chaired by the assistant vice president for Campus & Student Life.
- If the respondent is a University staff or faculty member, a Panel will be selected from a pool of trained faculty, staff or administrators. This Panel will generally be chaired by the director of Human Resources.
- The parties will be notified of the make-up of the Panel no less than five days prior to the hearing.
- The Decision-Maker Panel will presume the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct unless and until a finding of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the formal resolution process.
- The Decision-Maker Panel will be instructed that the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on the University and not on the parties.
- The Panel will objectively review the investigative report, all relevant evidence—both inculpatory and exculpatory—developed during the investigation, and the parties’ written responses. Credibility determinations must not be based on a person’s status as complainant, respondent or witness.
- The Panel will also provide a hearing for the parties before making any determination regarding responsibility or corrective disciplinary actions.
- Both the complainant and the respondent will have the same opportunity to participate in the live hearing with the Panel.
- All parties and witnesses will appear at the live hearing virtually while located in separate rooms, with technology to see and hear each other.
- The live hearing portion of the process will be recorded. During the live hearing, both parties will have an equal opportunity to pose cross-examination questions and limited follow-up questions, deemed relevant in advance by the chair, that their advisor/support person may ask to the other party or any witness. Such questions must be asked directly, orally and in real time. At no time will a party personally be permitted to ask questions to the other party or any witness. Except when asking cross-examination questions during a live hearing, neither party’s advisor/support person is permitted to speak during a University proceeding.
- If any party plans to appear at the hearing without his or her own advisor/support person, the University will assign (at no cost) a non-attorney advisor/support person of the University’s choice to conduct cross-examination on behalf of such party.
- A party may not dismiss an assigned advisor during the hearing, but if the party correctly asserts that the advisor is refusing to conduct cross examination on the party’s behalf, the University will provide the party an advisor to perform that function, whether that means counseling the assigned advisor to perform the requested role or pausing the hearing to assign a different advisor.
- If a party or witness does not submit to questions at the live hearing, the Decision-Maker Panel must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. However, the Panel cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or unwillingness to answer questions.
- If, at any point during the hearing, the Decision-Maker Panel determines that unresolved issues exist that could be clarified through additional investigation time, the Panel chair may suspend the hearing and reconvene it in a timely manner that accommodates further investigation.
Determination and Outcome
Determination of Responsibility
- Following the hearing, the Decision-Maker Panel will deliberate using the “preponderance of evidence standard” to determine by majority vote whether “more likely than not” the respondent is responsible or not responsible for committing Sexual Harassment as outlined in this policy. Note: This is a lesser standard of evidence than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in the criminal justice system. The “preponderance of evidence standard” will be applied to all Title IX cases, including those involving a respondent who is a University faculty or staff member.
- If and after there has been a determination of responsibility and before imposing corrective disciplinary action, the Panel may consider any impact statement submitted by the complainant and mitigation statement submitted by the respondent.
- A determination by the Panel that the respondent is “not responsible” does not necessarily mean the alleged incident did not happen or that the conduct was appropriate. Rather, it may mean that there was insufficient evidence to reach a determination of responsibility for a violation of the alleged Title IX Sexual Harassment. It may also mean that the conduct was inappropriate and a violation of the general codes of student, faculty or staff conduct.
- Even when there is a determination that the respondent is “not responsible,” the Title IX Coordinator and/or Panel may, nevertheless, refer the case to the Student Life Deans Council to be reviewed for a potential response for inappropriate conduct or a general violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If the respondent is a faculty, staff or student employee, the case may be referred to Human Resources to be reviewed for a potential response for inappropriate conduct or a general violation of the “Working Policy” or “Employee Handbook.”
- Once a respondent is found responsible, the Panel’s imposed response may be disciplinary, punitive and burdensome to the respondent.
Corrective Disciplinary Action and Outcome
- Any student, faculty or staff member who is found responsible for Sexual Harassment defined in this policy will be subject to a range of corrective disciplinary action that includes, but is not limited to, verbal counsel, written warning, probation, suspension, dismissal, mandatory education and other remedies the University deems appropriate.
- The Decision-Maker Panel reserves the right to determine what type of disciplinary response is appropriate for the level of Sexual Harassment as well as to broaden or lessen the responses relative to the nature of the behavior. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances, if they exist, may also be considered.
- The chair of the Panel will issue to both parties a written outcome letter that includes: allegation(s), procedural steps taken, determination of responsibility, rationale supporting the determination, corrective disciplinary actions and appeal processes.
- The outcome letter will be provided to both parties as simultaneously as possible.
- If a request for an appeal is filed, the determination of responsibility and any corrective disciplinary actions will become final on the date the results of the appeal are sent to the parties. If no appeal is filed, the determination of responsibility will become final the day after the deadline for filing an appeal.
- When the University makes a finding of responsibility or a policy violation, it will take steps, whether individual or systemic, to stop the alleged Sexual Harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate.
Both the complainant and the respondent have the same right to appeal from a determination regarding responsibility and from the dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein on the grounds below. The limited bases to activate an appeal process are one or more of the following:
- Procedural Irregularity: The original processes had a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter.
- New Evidence: New and relevant evidence that (a) was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made and (b) such new evidence could affect the outcome of the matter. A summary of such new information should be included in the request.
- Conflict of Interest: The Title IX Coordinator, investigators or decision-makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter.
A formal request for an appeal should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator within three business days of receiving written notice of the decision. The appeal must contain a concise written statement outlining the grounds for the appeal as described above. The Title IX officer will provide a copy of the written appeal to the other party. Both parties will be given a reasonable and equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome.
The determination as to if there are grounds for an appeal will not be decided by the (1) Decision-Maker Panel that reached the determination for the dismissal of the formal complaint or regarding responsibility for the allegations, (2) the investigator(s) or (3) by the Title IX Coordinator. Rather, the appeal will generally be directed to a new panel of three members. An additional, nonvoting person will be appointed to chair the panel. The Conduct Appeals Panel will be selected from a trained pool of conduct and appeals panel members.
Given that in most cases the complainant and the respondent have already had a face-to-face hearing with the investigative processes and/or the judicial body, the appeal process does not provide a second opportunity for a face-to-face hearing nor does it provide a rehearing of the facts or a repeat of the investigative processes. The appeal is generally limited to the review of a written appeal or other relevant documents in the context of the stated grounds.
The Conduct Appeals Panel will issue a determination and rationale as to if the appeal identified one or more valid grounds (described above) to facilitate the appeal process. The chair of the Appeals Panel will issue a written determination and rationale regarding if the appeals process will be granted or denied, as simultaneously as possible to both parties.
If grounds for an appeal is granted, the case will be returned for further proceedings to the original Decision-Maker Panel; provided, however, that if there has been a finding of bias on the part of an original member of the Panel, the case will be given to a newly constituted Decision-Maker Panel. Following the granting of the appeal, the original or new Decision-Maker Panel can uphold the original decision, alter the original decision and/or alter the Panel’s response or disciplinary action.
The decision of the Appeals Panel will be final; provided, however, that in cases involving a faculty or staff, or a student’s permanent dismissal from the University, both the complainant and the respondent will have an equal opportunity to request an additional review with the Office of the President.
Duration of University Processes
- If a criminal complaint has been lodged with local law enforcement by the complainant, the University’s investigation may be delayed temporarily, as requested by the criminal investigators. The University, however, may not wait on the outcome of the criminal processes and has a responsibility to begin its own investigation in a timely manner and to take any necessary interim supportive and protective measures.
- The informal resolution process is typically completed in 20–30 days.
- A typical formal resolution process which includes an investigation, hearing and outcome from the University may take approximately 60–90 business days after the Title IX Coordinator has received a written formal complaint.
- The timeframe for resolving an appeal is typically an additional 30 days.
- In some cases the timeframe may be delayed and extended for good cause. Both parties will be notified about any delays or extensions and the reasons. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, accounting for University breaks, concurrent law enforcement activity, the need for language assistance or disability accommodation, the need to troubleshoot technology issues, or to accommodate the availability of participants or witnesses.
Right to Discuss, Inquire, Express and Petition
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
Students are free to express their views, individually or collectively, on matters of significance to them within the parameters described in this section. They may exchange views privately with others or publicly in classrooms, discussion groups and meetings. They may also use established campus channels of printed, online or audio-visual communication. Unsolicited broadcasting of email (“spamming”) is not allowed.
In the Classroom
In class as well as online, students’ questions and commentary should be respectful of the professor and fellow students and not detract from the professor’s course objectives or teaching methods. Students are expected to express themselves with civility by refraining from personal attacks or ad hominem argumentation, listening respectfully to others, and taking care not to monopolize discussion. When appropriate, students may ask questions or express views that are at variance with the beliefs and values of the University or other class members. However, dissenting remarks ought to offer an alternative point of view, rather than attack, disparage or demean views held by others or the University. In return, each student has the right to be treated respectfully by the professor and his or her classmates. Students with concerns related to inappropriate communication in the classroom should follow the procedures outlined in the section titled “Right to Appeal/Grievance” (see Right to Appeal/Grievance).
With University Officers
Students have the right to engage in constructive dialogue about the policies and procedures of the University. Students or student groups who have concerns or points of view they wish to share, or who desire to achieve constructive changes within the University, may present their thoughts directly to University officers. They may also circulate and submit to University officers’ petitions for action. Furthermore, the undergraduate and graduate student associations (AUSA and AUGSA) are established and appropriate vehicles for addressing student-related matters with the University administration. Students seeking to resolve personal or group differences with the University are encouraged to make use of the University’s appeal and grievance procedures. Those who turn to public forums (such as social media, media outlets, etc.) to air their concerns rather than working directly with the University’s established means of resolution will not be acting in good faith with the University and may be subject to disciplinary action.
By Means of Assembly
Students have a constitutional right to assemble and publicly express their views on matters of local, national or global importance. Peaceful, law-abiding demonstrations, such as rallies, marches and vigils, may be organized by students on campus or in the community, provided that these events are in harmony with the values of the University and the Seventh-day Adventist Church. As with other events, organizers must submit a request for administrative approval to the Student Life office, allowing up to a week for approval. Event organizers will be guided by established University protocols with the oversight of a faculty or staff sponsor. On-campus events may not impair University functions or deprive other students of their rights and should honor campus policies. Demonstrations held in the community are to comply with local, state and federal laws and be done with the prior knowledge of local law enforcement officials. As the safety of students is of paramount concern to the University, every reasonable precaution must be taken by organizers to ensure the well-being and lawful behavior of students. The tenor of all public demonstrations should reflect a spirit of justice, compassion and wisdom.
Through Student Communication Media
Student communication media such as the “Student Movement,” “Cardinal,” AUTV, etc., are aids in establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of responsible discussion and intellectual exploration on the Andrews campus. They communicate the activities and interests of Andrews’ students, as well as help form student opinion. The vice president for Campus & Student Life and the Student Association general sponsors, through the Student Associations, delegate editorial responsibility to the editor under the guidance of the faculty advisor and/or the Student Communications Board. Since the University administration has the ultimate responsibility for the content of student communications issued on the campus, they reserve the right—in rare circumstances—to override editorial decisions.
Access and Privacy of Student Educational Records (FERPA)
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
In compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), the federal law that governs release of and access to student education records, Andrews University grants the rights outlined within the Act to its students.
A student has the right to inspect and review his/her educational records. A request to review these records should be made, in writing, to the appropriate University office (see table below). The student’s request will be granted within 45 days from the time the request is made. If a student believes that there is inaccurate or misleading information contained in one or more of his/her records, he/she has the right to request that the record be amended. If the record is not amended, the student has a right to submit a written response or explanation which will then become a permanent part of the record. The student may file a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education concerning alleged failures by the University to comply with the FERPA requirements.
A student has the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information contained in his/her education records, except to the extent that FERPA authorizes disclosure without consent. One exception which permits disclosure without consent is disclosure to school officials with “legitimate educational interests.” A school official has a legitimate educational interest if the information from your education record is necessary in order to fulfill his or her official responsibilities. A student’s parent does not have a right to access the student’s educational records unless the student is a “dependent” of the parent for income tax purposes.
A student may, of course, provide authorization for the release of records—for example, it is common to do this for parents. Students can provide authorization through their iVue by selecting “Manage FERPA Contacts” and adding them as a “New Contact.” Whenever third-party access is granted, a record should be kept in the file that shows which persons have reviewed the records, except in the cases where students grant third-party direct access to electronic files.
Andrews University has the right to disclose “directory information” without the written consent of the student unless the student has informed the University Registrar in writing of his/her refusal to permit the dissemination of directory information. A “Request for Non-disclosure” may be obtained at the Office of Academic Records. The University has designated the following information as “directory information”: name, local address, local telephone number, Andrews University email address, gender, marital status, hometown, date and place of birth, school, academic program (degree, major and minor), enrollment status, class standing/classification (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate), participation in officially recognized activities, dates of attendance, degree(s) received, honors and awards and photographs. Even where directory information may be released, Andrews University reserves the right to withhold such information from third parties.
In addition, Andrews University may forward education records (which include student conduct records), without the student’s consent, to school officials of other institutions of postsecondary education at which the student seeks or intends to enroll, or where he/she has already enrolled, so long as the disclosure is requested for purposes related to the student’s enrollment or transfer.
The student may be asked to care for the reproduction costs of copies of records requested by the student. The University is not obligated to keep and maintain all educational records and thus some student records are destroyed.
For more information, please visit the University FERPA website at andrews.edu/go/ferpa.
Location of Record
Office of Academic Records
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
Office of Graduate Enrollment (School of Graduate Studies and Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary)
Office of Human Resources
Student employment records
Office of Student Financial Services
Student account records
Division of Campus & Student Life
Student Life and Student Conduct records
Counseling & Testing Center
Achievement and Intelligence test scores, Interest inventory and Personality test scores
Department of Instruction
Official folder of records, if one is kept
University Schools (Ruth Murdoch Elementary and Andrews Academy)
Academic records, Admissions records (except medical records), Student Life and Student Conduct records
Right to Appeal/Grievance
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
The University seeks to provide an opportunity for the redress of student grievances, consistent with biblical guidance and sound practices. If a student feels his/her rights may have been violated, or that there may be something unique about the circumstances surrounding a matter, there is a grievance process or suggested courses of action which will be appropriate in most circumstances. The student should attempt to utilize the grievance process in the most appropriate and reasonable way (e.g., on a few occasions, it may be appropriate to “skip” a step).
If a student feels that his/her academic rights have been violated, the student should speak directly with that professor. If the student is unsatisfied with the professor’s response, the student may appeal to the department chair. Following a decision by the department chair, the student (or professor) may appeal to the appropriate academic dean, followed by an appeal to the Office of the Provost.
Housing and Residence Hall Grievances
If a student has a complaint concerning an issue in a University-operated housing facility, he/she should first deal directly with the individual(s) responsible for the behavior/action that is the subject of the complaint. If the student is not satisfied with the response, he/she should go to their respective director of University Apartments (and Houses), University Towers, Lamson Hall or Meier Hall. If he/she is still not satisfied with the decision, he/she may appeal to the assistant vice president for Residence Life (for residence hall concerns), then to the vice president for Campus & Student Life and then to the provost.
If a student has a work-related concern, he/she should deal directly with the related individual, followed in order by the direct supervisor or the department director. If the student is not satisfied with the decision, he/she may appeal to the Employee Services coordinator followed by the director of Human Resources and then to the provost or president.
Student Conduct Intervention (Disciplinary) Grievances
Please see Student Conduct Intervention (Disciplinary) Processes.
Sexual Harassment Grievances
Please see Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Quid Pro Quo Harassment, Hostile Environment Harassment, Relationship Violence, and Stalking Discrimination that is sex or gender biased.
Academic Integrity Grievances
Please see Academic Integrity.
Discrimination and Harassment Grievances
Please also see Right to be Free from Discrimination and Harassment.
If a student has a grievance that is not addressed in one of the categories described above, he/she should seek counsel from a trusted member of the University faculty or staff. Typically, the appropriate course of action is to communicate directly with the individual(s) whose decision/action is the source of the complaint. If the student is unsatisfied with that individual’s response, the student may appeal along a similar path described in the other sections. If the student is unsure of the best way to proceed, he/she may start by consulting with the vice president for Campus & Student Life.
General Hints for Solving Problems
In the heavy study/work/social program at a university, students will inevitably encounter stress and problems for which assistance would be helpful. Personnel in Student Life (269-471-3215), the Student Success Center (269-471-6096) or the Counseling & Testing Center (269-471-3470) are available for counsel. Problems may be solved in consultation with the personnel listed below in the order given (where appropriate).
In rare cases when the student has exhausted normal University procedures for resolving issues and the difficulty is still unresolved, the student is advised to contact an ombudsperson.
Teacher, Advisor, Student Success Center, Department Chair, Academic Dean, Provost
Statement Clerk, Student Financial Advisor, Manager for Student Financial Services, Assistant Vice President of Student Financial Services, Vice President for Financial Administration
Counseling & Testing Center, Residence Hall/Student Life Dean, Vice President for Campus & Student Life
Counseling & Testing Center, Residence Hall/Student Life Dean, Vice President for Campus & Student Life
Center for Faith Engagement, Pastor, Residence Hall/Student Life Dean, Vice President for Campus & Student Life
Work Supervisor, Employee Services Coordinator, Director of Human Resources
Counseling & Testing Center, Residence Hall/Student Life Dean, Vice President for Campus & Student Life
Return to: Student Handbook 2021-2022
Purpose of the University Ombudspersons
The University ombudspersons facilitate understanding, communication and resolution of conflict among students, faculty and staff. The office serves as an impartial and confidential means of facilitating dialogue between parties on campus and as a means, apart from formal grievance procedures, of resolving differences. The office was established as part of the University’s Christian commitment to foster a courteous and considerate climate conducive to productivity and well-being for the University community.
The ombudspersons work independently from University administrative offices. Discussing a matter with an ombudsperson is confidential to the extent allowed by law and does not constitute notice to the University.
What an Ombudsperson May Do
- Help resolve problems and conflicts, especially those not being adequately addressed through other channels
- Provide informal services outside the usual review and/or appeal procedures
- Take a nonaligned role when hearing about a problem, remaining independent and impartial
- Recommend changes in University policies or procedures
How an Ombudsperson Can Help You
- By listening carefully to your concerns
- By helping analyze the situation
- By identifying and explaining relevant University policies, procedures and problem-solving channels
- By helping you to explore options
- By looking into a concern, including talking with involved parties with your permission
- By identifying other University programs and resources that might be helpful
- By providing a safe and confidential setting where individuals feel respected and where they can be candid and forthright
When to Contact an Ombudsperson
- In most cases, the ombudsperson should be contacted after you have exhausted normal University procedures for resolving issues and:
- You want to discuss a sensitive issue in confidence
- You want help and are unsure of where or what options are open to you
- You have a situation requiring help with communication or negotiation
- You are unsure which policies, procedures or regulations apply in your situation
- You believe a policy, procedure or regulation has been applied unfairly or erroneously to you
When an Ombudsperson Does Not Get Involved
- You want legal advice or legal representation
- You have a non-University related disagreement or problem
- You want to file a grievance or make a formal complaint
- You want someone to represent you in formal University procedures
For information or to schedule a private appointment, contact the ombudspersons: