CRCDS strongly encourages prompt reporting and resolution of any and all issues concerning sexual misconduct or sexual harassment.
Complainants have the option to seek to resolve their complaints informally, formally or both, except in cases involving allegations of sexual violence, which will only be resolved through the formal process described below.
In addition, there may be instances in which a Complainant seeks only to discuss matters with the Title IX Coordinator, a member of the Title IX Team or ordained faculty, and CRCDS encourages such discussion. An individual reporting sexual misconduct or sexual harassment should be aware, however, that the Title IX Coordinator and/or any member of the Title IX Team will evaluate information provided in an informal discussion to determine whether it is necessary to take action to address the issue.
Both the Complainant and the Respondent are to be treated with respect. All allegations will be taken seriously.
All individuals involved in implementing the procedures below are annually trained in handling sexual harassment complaints, including complaints alleging sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and/or stalking, the effects of trauma, impartiality, the rights of respondents (presumption of “not responsible” until investigation and resolution processes are complete), and the operation of CRCDS’ process.
When allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment are brought to CRCDS’ attention, CRCDS will promptly evaluate whether the Respondent should continue in the Respondent’s present position and what other interim remedial action is appropriate, as explained in Section X above, including measures intended to protect the Complainant and/ or the campus community.
The first step of this initial assessment will usually be a preliminary meeting between the Title IX Coordinator and the Complainant. The purpose of the preliminary meeting is to:
• assess the nature and circumstances of the allegation;
• address the immediate physical safety and emotional well-being of the Complainant;
• notify the Complainant of the right to contact law enforcement (or not) and seek medical treatment;
• notify the Complainant of the importance of preservation of evidence;
• provide the Complainant with information about on- and off-campus resources;
• notify the Complainant that the institution can provide assistance in initiating legal proceedings in family court or civil court;
• notify the Complainant of the range of interim accommodations and responses;
• provide the Complainant with an explanation of the procedural options;
• assess for pattern evidence or other similar conduct by Respondent;
• enter the report into CRCDS’ daily crime log;
• assess the reported conduct for the need for a timely warning under the Clery Act;
• discuss the Complainant’s expressed preference for the manner of resolution and any barriers to proceeding; and
• explain CRCDS’ policy prohibiting retaliation.
After this assessment, the Title IX Coordinator may direct that an investigation continue depending on a variety of factors, such as the Complainant’s wish to pursue disciplinary action, the risk posed to any individual or the campus community by not proceeding, and the nature of the allegation. Where possible, CRCDS will seek action consistent with the Complainant’s expressed preference for the manner of resolution.
CRCDS will utilize the formal procedure set forth below to investigate and resolve complaints of sexual misconduct.
In addition to the formal or informal procedures set forth below, a Complainant may elect to utilize other available procedures such as the criminal, judicial or denominational systems to redress a complaint of sexual misconduct.
1. Time Frames for Resolution
CRCDS seeks to resolve all reports of sexual misconduct within sixty (60) days. All time frames expressed in this Policy are meant to be guidelines rather than rigid requirements. Circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames, including extension beyond sixty (60) days. Such circumstances may include the complexity of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening school break or vacation or other unforeseen circumstances.
CRCDS will make its best efforts to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness. In the event that the investigation and resolution exceed this timeframe, CRCDS will notify all parties of the reason for the extension and the expected adjustment in time frames.
When a Complainant is pursuing criminal remedies at the same time as on-campus remedies and at the request of law enforcement, CRCDS may agree to defer its fact-gathering until after the initial stages of a criminal investigation at the request of law enforcement. CRCDS will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant regarding Title IX rights, procedural options, and the implementation of interim measures to ensure safety and well-being. CRCDS will promptly resume its fact-gathering as soon as law enforcement has completed its initial investigation, which will typically not require CRCDS not to pause its process more than ten days, except when law enforcement specifically requests and justifies a longer period of time.
2. Parties’ Rights
• To be treated with dignity, respect, and compassion by all persons involved in the disciplinary process.
• Information regarding CRCDS’ sexual misconduct resolution process.
• Information about accessing support services on and off campus.
• Freedom from intimidation and harassment throughout this process.
• Privacy throughout this process in relation to campus and other media, and in relation to all other involved parties, including to have all information obtained during the course of the process be protected from public release until final determination unless otherwise required by law. In this regard, while parties are permitted to disclose or discuss the outcome of the process, CRCDS encourages parties to refrain from speaking publicly about the result of student conduct cases.
• To be notified in advance of any meeting they are required or eligible to attend, of the specific rule, rules or laws alleged to violated and in what manner, and the sanction(s) that may be imposed on the Respondent based on a finding of responsibility.
• To be notified of the charge(s) of violation(s) of this Policy against the Respondent, including the following information:
o the date, time, location, and type of process (formal or informal);
o a brief factual summary of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy, including date, time, and location;
o the specific Policy provision(s) at issue;
o possible sanctions associated with a finding of responsibility for the alleged Policy violation(s); and
o the members of the Response Team (explained further below) who will investigate the complaint (discussed further below).
• The right to request that the Title IX Coordinator remove a member of the Response Team based on reasonable and articulable grounds of bias, conflict of interest or an inability to be fair and impartial. This challenge must be raised in writing within two (2) business days of receipt of the notice of charges/Response Team membership. All objections must be raised prior to the commencement of the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether to grant the request for removal.
• To recommend questions to be asked of the other party (parties) and any witness(es) by the Response Team. The Response Team has discretion to determine which questions to ask based on the likelihood that the question will elicit information relevant to the determination of responsibility for a violation of this Policy.
• To be accompanied by an advisor of their choice to any meeting or proceeding related to the sexual misconduct complaint. An advisor is any individual who provides a party support, guidance or advice. Each party’s respective advisor may confer with and assist the party, but may not speak as an advocate or directly address the Response Team through questions or otherwise. Parties should identify their advisor of choice at the earliest opportunity during the process.
• To exclude their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment from admittance in the institution disciplinary stage that determines responsibility. (See Section XI.B.1.b below)
• To exclude their own prior sexual history with persons other than the other party. (See Section XI.B.1.b below)
• To have timely and similar access for review of available information and evidence in the case file or otherwise in CRCDS’ possession or control, and relevant to the conduct case, and to present such information and evidence consistent with institution policies and procedures.
• Written, simultaneous notice of the determination of responsibility with findings of fact, the disciplinary sanction(s) (if applicable), and the rationale for the decision and sanction.
• If the Respondent is found responsible, to provide an impact statement for consideration of appropriate sanctions.
• To be advised in writing of appropriate procedures for requesting an appeal. Such notice will be included with the written decision disseminated to the parties.
• Written notice of the decision on appeal, if applicable, and the finality of such decision.
B. Resolution Procedures
1. Formal Process
a. Identification of Response Team
Within five (5) business days of receiving a complaint, the Title IX Team will appoint two of its members as a “Response Team” for each unique complaint. If possible, the Response Team selected shall include at least one faculty member, and shall have representation from both genders. Each Response Team will promptly investigate the complaint to which it has been assigned. In certain circumstances, such as disqualification due to conflict of interest, the Response Team may involve an external investigator or investigators.
The Response Team will endeavor to commence its investigation within five (5) business days of being convened. The Response Team will meet and prepare a proposed protocol for the investigation—including among other things, the witnesses with whom it intends to meet and other types of information (written, electronic) it expects to collect—which it will discuss with the Title IX Coordinator. Upon the Title IX Coordinator’s approval of the proposed protocol, the Response Team will commence its investigation.
In pursuing the investigation, the Response Team will take the parties’ wishes into consideration, however, the Response Team will thoroughly investigate the matter as it sees fit. The Response Team will periodically inform the Complainant and Respondent of the status of the investigation. The investigation process may include any or all of the following:
• Interview the Complainant and the Respondent to ascertain all facts in connection with the alleged incident.
• Determine the type of objectionable conduct and, if possible, the date(s) and location(s) of the conduct.
• Ask the parties to identify any witnesses they believe have relevant information, and if any are identified, ask the parties to describe the information they expect each such witness to share and to advise the Response Team of any questions they request that the Response Team ask such witnesses, and determine whether to interview the identified witnesses.
• Remind the parties of CRCDS’ policy against retaliation.
• Independently identify additional witnesses, if any, based on party interviews, and conduct interviews of witnesses the Response Team determines may have relevant information.
• Ask witnesses to identify any others they believe have relevant information, and if any are identified, ask the witnesses to describe the information they expect each such witness to share and to advise the Response Team of any questions they believe the Response Team ask such witnesses, and determine whether to interview the identified witnesses
• Gather any physical evidence (voice mails, text messages, security logs, security videos, etc.) relevant to the complaint.
• If applicable, develop a thorough understanding of the professional relationship, degree of control, and amount of interaction between the Respondent and Complainant.
• Determine whether the Respondent has made and carried out any threats or promises directed at the Complainant.
• Determine whether the Complainant knows of or suspects that there are other individuals who have been subjected to similar conduct by the respondent. Receipt of any complaint shall be cause for a file review to determine if a prior complaint against the same person is on file.
While pursuing an investigation means that confidentiality cannot be promised, as noted above, CRCDS will attempt to maintain confidentiality throughout the investigatory process to the extent practical and appropriate under the circumstances. The Response Team will strive to complete these investigation meetings within thirty (30) days of commencement of the investigation.
The Response Team will prepare a summary of each interview. Each interviewee will be given the opportunity to review and suggest revisions to their respective interview summary. The interview summary review may include suggestions with respect to other sources of information for the Response Team to review and consider. The Response Team has discretion to decide whether to explore and/or review any such other sources of information.
After receiving approval for all interview summaries, the Response Team will prepare a written Investigation Report containing a summary of the facts gathered during the investigation and findings of fact. In order to make its findings of fact, the Response Team will examine the information gathered, including any related documents or other physical or tangible evidence, and apply the preponderance of evidence standard (i.e. whether it is more likely than not) to determine whether or not that the actions in question occurred. The Response Team will in most cases complete the report within fifteen (15) days after receiving the final approved interview summary.
Upon completion of the Investigation Report, the parties will have an opportunity to review the entire report, after which they will have two (2) business days to submit a written response to the Response Team, including additional questions they would like asked of parties and/or witnesses. The Response Team has discretion to determine whether it is necessary to conduct any additional questioning or to seek any other further information indicated in the parties’ responses. Each party has the right to exclude their own prior sexual history with anyone other than the other party, as well as their own mental health diagnosis and/or treatment and can make a request for redaction of any such information contained in the Investigation Report (and any underlying document) as part of their response after review. The Response Team will evaluate such redaction requests in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator and, if deemed appropriate, will redact the information from the Investigation Report.
The Response Team will expand the Investigation Report to include the parties’ responses (and, if applicable, any additional information gathered after party responses) and its recommended finding(s) as to Respondent’s responsibility for a violation or violations of this Policy, as well as recommended sanctions (if applicable). The Response Team will provide the investigation Report to the Title IX Coordinator for review to determine whether any additional investigation may be advisable. In the event it is determined that further investigation would be prudent, the Title IX Coordinator and the Response Team will agree to the scope of additional investigation, which the Response Team will carry out. The Response Team will then supplement and finalize its Investigation Report accordingly to produce the Final Investigation Report.
c. Resolution of the Complaint
The Response Team will then present its Final Investigation Report to the Title IX Coordinator, at which point the Title IX Coordinator will consider the information contained in the Final Investigation Report, determine whether or not the alleged conduct is more likely than not to have occurred and, if so, whether the conduct violates this Policy. If applicable, the Title IX Coordinator will decide upon appropriate action to be taken, including determining sanctions, which may be those recommended by the Response Team. Past findings of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and/or sexual assault may be considered as part of any sanctions determination.
The Title IX Coordinator will communicate the findings and any sanctions to the Complainant and Respondent (including written notice given simultaneously) within three (3) business days of its determination. The written notice of outcome will include the decision with findings of fact, the disciplinary sanction(s) (if applicable), the rationale for the decision and sanction, and information about the appeal process.
If the Title IX Coordinator finds that harassment or sexual misconduct occurred, the Respondent will be subject to appropriate sanctions (described below). The Complainant will be informed of the sanctions imposed upon the Respondent related to the Complainant and/or alleged sexual misconduct.
The Complainant may request and the Title IX Coordinator will independently evaluate whether any interim measures (described in Section X above) previously imposed should be extended and/or whether new or additional measures should be imposed in order to ensure the Complainant’s continued safety, security, and participation in an environment free from discrimination and harassment. To the extent applicable, the Title IX Coordinator will also consider appropriate additional remedies for the CRCDS community, which the Title IX Coordinator will recommend to the President for consideration and potential implementation in a manner that will protect the confidentiality of the Complainant’s identity.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that no sexual harassment or sexual misconduct has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will also meet with the Complainant and Respondent to provide ongoing support, as needed.
Respondents found to have engaged in sexual misconduct or behavior constituting sexual harassment will be disciplined up to and including discharge, removal or expulsion from CRCDS. In addressing incidents of sexual harassment, CRCDS’ response at a minimum will include reprimanding the offender and preparing a written record. Additional action may include: referral to counseling, clinical supervision by a licensed psychotherapist to reflect on one’s ministry, withholding of a promotion, reassignment, temporary suspension without pay, reduction in duties, discharge or removal or expulsion from CRCDS.
2. Informal Process
Informal resolution includes a mediation between the parties facilitated by the Title IX Coordinator. In most instances, the informal process will not be utilized if physical contact is involved in the complaint. In all instances, mediation will not be utilized when allegations of sexual violence are made.
In the event that informal resolution is not achieved, either the Complainant or Respondent may request that the complaint proceed to formal resolution.
Sanctions, other than oral admonitions and written administrative warnings, may be appealed using the appeal procedures discussed below.
C. Grounds for Appeal
The parties have equal opportunity to appeal the determination. Requests for appeals of decisions must be made in writing to the Vice President for Academic Affairs on or before a date, specified in the notice of outcome, which shall be no later than five (5) calendar days after the parties’ receipt of the written notice of outcome.
Angela D. Sims, President
320 N. Goodman Street, Suite 207
Acceptable grounds for an appeal are limited to:
• the sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the violation found to have been committed; and/or
• procedural error(s) that could significantly impact the outcome of a case.
Previously unavailable relevant information that could significantly impact the outcome of the determination must be brought to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator, who will reconvene the Response Team to determine whether the information would have affected the outcome.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines it appropriate, interim suspensions or conditions may be kept in place and/or imposed during the time of an appeal or until the time to appeal has passed.
Upon receipt of a request for an appeal, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will convene an appeals panel consisting of the Vice President for Academic Affairs and a member of the Title IX Team who did not serve on the Response Team for the appealed matter. The appeals panel is charged with determining whether the appeal will be accepted based upon the two criteria set forth above. The panel will then initiate one of the following actions:
• Reject the request for appeal due to insufficient reason(s).
• Analyze the materials related to the appeal and render a decision.
In the event that an appeal is accepted, the non-appealing party will be permitted to read the appeal and invited to submit a response within forty-eight (48) hours. (If both parties appeal, both parties will be given the opportunity to read and respond to the appeal within forty-eight (48) hours.)
After considering the information submitted in support of and in opposition to the appeal, if any, the panel will take one of the following actions:
(1) deny the appeal thereby affirming the decision of the Response Team and Title IX Coordinator;
(2) remand the complaint to the original Response Team for further consideration on the grounds that there was a procedural irregularity that could be corrected in a review;
(3) direct the complaint to a new Response Team due to an extraordinary case where, in the opinion of the panel, the matter would be best addressed by a newly-constituted Team; or
(4) remand the matter to the Title IX Coordinator with a recommendation that the sanction(s) be modified, together with an explanation of why the original sanction(s) is deemed inappropriate.
When the panel takes action pursuant to section (1) above, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will issue simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the appeal to each party (copying the Title IX Coordinator), including the rationale for the decision.
When the panel takes an action specified in (2), (3) or (4) above, the Vice President for Academic Affairs will provide the Title IX Coordinator written notice of the panel’s decision, including the rationale for the decision. The Title IX Coordinator will then provide the parties written notice of the next steps in the process and/or of any sanction(s) modified pursuant to (4) above.
Decisions made during the appeal process are final, and there is no right to appeal from a decision made after remand of a matter related to (2) or (4) above.
In the case where option (3) is determined, a new investigation team will be formed and the investigation process will begin in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.
The record of the appeal will consist of the letter of appeal, any written statements from the parties, and any written notices related to action on and/or outcome of the appeal. This record will be kept with the written record of the original decision.