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Title IX Sexual Harassment Discrimination Policy

Title IX Sexual Harassment Discrimination Policy

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Mount St. Mary’s University is committed to providing an educational and work environment in which all members of the campus community are able to participate without being subjected to discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Where Mount St. Mary’s University learns that any such discrimination occurs, Mount St. Mary’s University is committed to remedying the discrimination and its effects.

Statement of Policy Against Title IX Sexual Harassment

In compliance with Title IX, a federal law, Mount St. Mary’s University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the education programs or activities that it operates. Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (20 U.S.C. §1681, et seq.) and its implementing regulations (34 C.F.R. Part 106) prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities.

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any Education Program or Activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Title IX requires that colleges and universities maintain an environment free from sex discrimination for all faculty, staff, and students. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex includes Title IX Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking. Sexual harassment is also prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and by the state law.

What is covered by Title IX?

Title IX Sexual Harassment: Conduct, on the basis of sex, that occurs within Mount St. Mary’s University’s Education Program or Activity within the United States, and that involves:

  1. an employee of Mount St. Mary’s University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. unwelcome conduct that is determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to Mount St. Mary’s University’s Education Program or Activity;
  3. Sexual Assault;
  4. Dating Violence;
  5. Domestic Violence; or,
  6. Stalking.

Dating Violence: 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 by (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Title IX requires that Mount St. Mary’s University use this definition, of Dating Violence.

Domestic Violence: 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 spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the state, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the state. Title IX requires that Mount St. Mary’s University use this definition of Domestic Violence.

Sexual Assault: Any conduct that would constitute a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Sexual Assault includes the following prohibited conduct: Rape (Except Statutory Rape); Sodomy; Sexual Assault with An Object; Fondling; Incest.

Title IX requires that Mount St. Mary’s University use this definition of Sexual Assault.

Stalking: engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (a) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (b) suffer emotional distress. Title IX requires that Mount St. Mary’s University use this definition of Stalking.

The Title IX policy goes into detail about what is considered a violation and what conduct is prohibited on page 3 of the policy.

what is considered a violation?

Pauline Engelstätter
V.P. University Affairs, Title IX Coordinator
301-447-5086
engelsta@msmary.edu

Title IX Policy (.pdf)

Confidential Resources and Support

If a person who has experienced Prohibited Conduct or suspects that he/she has experienced Prohibited Conduct wishes to keep the information confidential, he or she may speak with the following Confidential Resources.

On-campus

Counseling Services provides a confidential space for students to receive emotional support and information about campus and community resources, discussing options and general counseling. On-campus licensed professional counselors:

Center for Campus Ministry - On-campus members of the clergy/chaplains working within the scope of their licensure or ordination:

Health Services provides free and confidential general medical services on campus. Call 301-447-5288.

Off-campus

Heartly House

Heartly House is an advocate center that provides support in the way of a 24-hour hotline, personal support at the hospital after a sexual assault, legal services, counseling services and crisis intervention.

Heartly House (Hotline) 301-662-8800

Frederick Memorial Hospital

Frederick Memorial Hospital is a SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner) certified site. SANE nurses are specifically trained to perform exams and collect forensic evidence from sexual assault survivors. You can seek medical care whether or not you report the assault to the police or university.

400 W. 7th St.
Frederick, MD 21701
240-566-3300

Gettysburg Hospital

147 Gettys St.
Gettysburg, PA 17325
717-334-2121
Visit the Gettysburg Hospital website

Washington County Hospital

251 E. Antietam St.
Hagerstown, MD 21740
301-790-8000
Visit the Washington County Hospital website

The hospitals nearest to campus that are equipped with the Maryland Department of State Police Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit are Frederick Memorial Hospital and Washington County Hospital. Gettysburg Hospital is able to collect forensic evidence of a sexual assault.

Who to contact

The university’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Discrimination Policy. Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concerns to:

Title IX Coordinators

Pauline Engelstätter
Vice President for University Affairs
Title IX Coordinator
Bradley Hall, Second Floor
301-447-5086
engelsta@msmary.edu

Levi Esses, Ed.D.
Dean of Students
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
McGowan Student Center
301-447-5475
l.k.esses@msmary.edu

Kristin Hurley
Director of Human Resources
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Bradley Hall, Second Floor
301-447-5522
k.hurley@msmary.edu

John D. Love, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Systematic and Moral Theology-Seminary
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Seminary-Keating Hall, Room 002
301-447-8323
jlove@msmary.edu

Justine Miller
Assistant Athletic Director for Student Athlete Support/SWA
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Knott Athletic Recreation Convocation Center
301-447-6782
justine_miller@msmary.edu

Residence Life

Contact an Assistant Director at:

  • 301-447-5274 office hours
  • 301-447-5357 after hours

Public Safety

Visit the Department of Public Safety's website or call 301-447-5357.

Frederick County Sheriff

Visit the Frederick County Sheriff's website or call 301-600-1046 or 911.

Maryland State Police

410-379-9700

Anonymous reports

Additionally, anonymous reports can be made by victims and/or third parties using the online reporting form posted at www.msmu.ethicspoint.com. Note that these anonymous reports may prompt a need for the institution to investigate.

Reach out app

The Reach Out App is a smartphone resource guide that is convenient and completely anonymous. Some of the things you can find with the app are:

  • Someone to talk to
  • Medical care options
  • Local support resources
  • Quick policy information
  • How to help a friend
  • Education and prevention videos

Reach out app on the App Store Download the Reach Out app on the Google Play Store

Supportive Measures

Supportive Measures

Promptly after receipt of a Report, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant and Respondent (if identified or identifiable based upon the Report) to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures. Supportive Measures are available with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint. In determining the Supportive Measures to be provided, the Title IX Coordinator will make an individualized determination, considering Complainant’s wishes and other relevant factors, of the non-disciplinary, non-punitive measures that will be provided to the Complainant and Respondent to restore or preserve equal access to Mount St. Mary’s University’s Education Programs or Activities, to protect the safety of the Parties, and/or to deter Title IX Sexual Harassment.

All Supportive Measures will be provided without fee or charge and without unreasonably burdening the other Party. Supportive Measures will be maintained as confidential by Mount St. Mary’s University to the extent that confidentiality will not impair the ability to provide the Supportive Measures.

Examples of Supportive Measures that may be implemented by Mount St. Mary’s University include:

  • Academic extensions or adjustments
  • Campus escort services
  • Changes in housing
  • Counseling
  • Increased security or monitoring of certain areas of the campus
  • Changes in work schedules or locations
  • Modifications of class or activity schedules
  • Mutual restrictions on contact between the Parties

Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

What sexual harassment discrimination offenses are prohibited by Mount St. Mary’s University?

The university’s policies (.pdf) prohibit all forms of sexual harassment discrimination, examples of which can include dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. For detailed descriptions of each offense, please review the definitions in the policies.

What is consent?

Affirmative Consent is a knowing, voluntary, and mutual decision among all participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear permission regarding willingness to engage in the sexual activity. Silence or lack of resistance, in and of itself, does not demonstrate Consent. The definition of Consent does not vary based upon a participant's sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

  • Consent to any sexual act or prior consensual sexual activity between or with any Party does not necessarily constitute Consent to any other sexual act.
  • Consent is required regardless of whether the person initiating the act is under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • Consent may be initially given but withdrawn at any time.
  • Consent cannot be given when a person is incapacitated, which occurs when an individual lacks the ability to knowingly choose to participate in sexual activity. Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot Consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to Consent.
  • Consent cannot be given when it is the result of any coercion, intimidation, force, or threat of harm.
  • When Consent is withdrawn or can no longer be given, sexual activity must stop.

What does it mean to be incapacitated?

Incapacitation may be caused by the lack of consciousness or being asleep, being involuntarily restrained, or if an individual otherwise cannot Consent. Depending on the degree of intoxication, someone who is under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants may be incapacitated and therefore unable to Consent.

What does “Complainant” and “Respondent” mean?

Complainant: An individual who is alleged to have been the target of conduct that could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment under this Policy, whether or not the individual has filed a Formal Complaint.

Respondent: Any individual who has been alleged to have engaged in conduct that could violate this Policy.

Will a Complainant who reports get in trouble for underage drinking or other rule violations?

No. Sometimes, people are hesitant to report to university officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking. It is vital that members of the campus community come forward to share information about potential violations of this policy. To encourage reporting, the university provides amnesty for certain drug and alcohol policy violations or other minor policy violations to persons who, in good faith, report conduct prohibited by this policy to the university or a law enforcement officer and to persons who, in good faith, participate in an investigation under this policy. Under this amnesty, the university will not impose disciplinary sanctions for that person’s own violations of university drug or alcohol policies or other minor policy violations, for conduct that occurred during or near the time of conduct prohibited under this policy, as long as the person’s conduct did not place the health or safety of another person at risk. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the university will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who report conduct prohibited under this policy.

What are a Complainant’s options for reporting?

A Complainant has the choice of reporting to:

  • A Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or to one of the Confidential Resources listed in the policy
  • The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) or the Maryland State Police
  • Or by calling or submitting an anonymous report as indicated in the policy
  • Or all of the above.

Their contact information is on the homepage of this website or can be found in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Discrimination Policy (.pdf) referenced in the first question.

Will the university contact the parents of a Complainant who reports sexual violence?

The University will not inform parents of students age 18 or older unless there is a medical emergency or serious concern about the student’s emotional well-being. University departments other than the Counseling Center may have a legal duty to contact the parents of a Complainant under age 18.

Will a report to university officials automatically trigger an investigation?

No. The Complainant can report but ask the University not to investigate. The University will honor that request unless it has evidence that the alleged perpetrator may be a threat to the community, such as a predator who may have assaulted others.

What privacy can a Complainant and Respondent expect?

Mount St. Mary’s University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a Report or Formal Complaint, and the identity of any Complainant, Respondent, and Witness except as permitted by FERPA, required by law, or as necessary for the Institution to take action under this Policy.

What support is available to Complainants and Respondents?

Supportive Measures are available with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint. In determining the Supportive Measures to be provided, the Title IX Coordinator will make an individualized determination, considering Complainant’s wishes and other relevant factors, of the non-disciplinary, non-punitive measures that will be provided to the Complainant and Respondent to restore or preserve equal access to Mount St. Mary’s University’s Education programs or Activities, to protect the safety of the Parties, and/or to deter Title IX Sexual Harassment.

All Supportive Measures will be provided without fee or charge and without unreasonably burdening the other Party. Supportive Measures will be maintained as confidential by Mount St. Mary’s University to the extent that confidentiality will not impair the ability to provide the Supportive Measures.

Who conducts investigations of formal complaints under this Policy?

Mount St. Mary’s University’s investigation process is designed to allow for the thorough, impartial, and reliable gathering of information and to result in a comprehensive investigation report summarizing relevant, admissible evidence. Mount St. Mary’s University strives to complete its investigation within thirty (30) Business Days, understanding that numerous issues arise during investigations that may justify a good cause extension of the timeline.

Will the University wait to investigate if law enforcement has also been engaged?

When Mount St. Mary’s University receives a Report of Title IX Sexual Harassment to which it has determined it must respond through its Grievance Process, Mount St. Mary’s University’s process continues regardless of whether a Complainant has made or decides to make a report to law enforcement. The filing of a report with law enforcement, or an ongoing law enforcement investigation or proceeding does not relieve Mount St. Mary’s University of its obligation to address the Complaint through its Grievance Process. At Mount St. Mary’s University’s discretion, Mount St. Mary’s University may temporarily pause its investigation at the request of law enforcement. In that circumstance, the Title IX Coordinator will send written notice to the Parties explaining the reason for pausing the investigation.

What does the investigation involve?

Mount St. Mary’s University’s investigation process is designed to allow for the thorough, impartial, and reliable gathering of information and to result in a comprehensive investigation report summarizing relevant, admissible evidence. Mount St. Mary’s University strives to complete its investigation within thirty (30) Business Days, understanding that numerous issues arise during investigations that may justify a good cause extension of the timeline.

Can the parties see the investigative report?

The assembled information will then be shared with the Parties and their Advisors in hard copy or an electronic format. Depending on the nature of the information shared, Mount St. Mary’s University may require Parties and their Advisors to agree to restrictions or sign a non-disclosure agreement prohibiting dissemination of any of the information provided for inspection and review or use of such evidence for any purpose unrelated to this Grievance Process. The Parties will have at least ten (10) Business Days to review the assembled information and submit a written response to it.

When do cases go to a hearing?

If the Formal Complaint is not dismissed, the Title IX Coordinator will issue a Notice of Charge simultaneously to the Parties. The Notice of Charge shall not issue before the Parties have had five (5) Business Days to review and respond to the investigation report and will be sent to the Parties within ten (10) Business Days of the conclusion of the investigation. The hearing shall not be scheduled sooner than ten (10) Business Days after the Notice of Charge is issued. The Notice of Charge will include the following information:

  • a brief factual summary of the conduct alleged to have violated the Policy, including date, time, and location;
  • the specific Policy provision(s) at issue; and
  • possible sanctions associated with a finding of responsibility for the alleged Policy violation(s).

Following the issuance of the Notice of Charge, if Informal Resolution is not being conducted, the Grievance Process proceeds to a Live Hearing.

Do the parties have to see each other during the hearing?

Live Hearings may be conducted with all Parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at Mount St. Mary’s University’s discretion, any or all Parties, Witnesses, and other participants may appear at the Live Hearing virtually, with the Parties being able to see and hear each other and Witnesses live.

At the request of either Party, Mount St. Mary’s University will provide for the entire Live Hearing (including Cross-examination) to occur with the Parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the Parties to see and hear each other. Unlike Parties, Witnesses do not have the right to demand to testify in a separate room, but Mount St. Mary’s University, in its discretion, may permit any participant to appear remotely.

Can a party appeal the decision of the hearing officer?

The Parties have equal rights to file an Appeal. Appeals will be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) Business Days of the issuance of the Notice of Dismissal or Written Determination that the Party seeks to appeal.

An Appeal is not intended to be a rehearing of the information presented at the Live Hearing. An Appeal may only be based upon one or more of the following grounds:

  1. Procedural Irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
  3. Conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; and/or,
  4. The sanction imposed is substantially disproportionate to policy violation.