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Title IX Policy on Sexual Harassment, Discrimination & Misconduct

In Compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and other applicable laws, Mount St. Mary's University prohibits sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and any other type of sexual misconduct.

Mount St. Mary’s University is a Catholic institution committed to upholding standards that promote respect and human dignity. Members of the university community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of sexual harassment, discrimination and misconduct, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. 

The university uses the preponderance of the evidence (also known as “more likely than not”) as a standard for proof of whether a violation occurred. In campus resolution proceedings, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burdens of proof” are not applicable, but the university never assumes a responding party is in violation of university policy. Campus resolution proceedings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available, from all relevant sources.

A Quick Look at Title IX

who  - link to who title IX applies to      what-link to what title IX covers 

when-where-9.jpg       how-9.jpg

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

Title IX Policy (.pdf)

Title IX Coordinators

The university’s Title IX Coordinators oversee compliance with all aspects of the sexual harassment, discrimination and misconduct policy. The Coordinators report directly to the President of the University, and are housed in the office of the President and the office of the Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinators. Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern to the university Title IX Coordinators:
 

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

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

Reach Out App screenshot imageThe 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

Download the app:

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

Title IX Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

What is consent?

Consent must be freely given with mutually understandable words or actions that indicate a willingness to participate in sexual activity. Consent cannot be obtained from a minor, someone who is mentally disabled, or someone who is unable to understand or who cannot communicate a lack of consent because they are incapacitated by alcohol or drugs. The full definition is in the policies referenced above.

What does it mean to be incapacitated?

Incapacitation means the inability to give consent, because an individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, asleep, unconscious, or unaware that sexual activity is occurring. (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).The full definition is in the policies referenced in the first question.

What does “Reporting Party” and “Respondent” mean?

Reporting Party: In this process, the person alleging a violation of policy, a bystander, or a third-party who learns of a potential incident is referred to as the reporting party.

Respondent: In this process, the person who is alleged to have violated campus policy is referred to as the respondent.

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

No. Reporting parties who report sexual violence receive amnesty for lesser policy violations such as underage drinking or violations of residence hall visitation hours.

What are a reporting party’s options for reporting?

A reporting party has the choice of reporting to:
  • The University or
  • The Frederick County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) (or other jurisdiction if the assault occurred outside of Maryland) or
  • Both or
  • A reporting party may also choose to request that no formal complaint is filed.
It is only by reporting to the University or FCSO that an investigation can be started that might result in investigation of sexual misconduct. The reporting party can report to the University by contacting the Department of Public Safety (DPS), the Dean of Students (DOS), Residence Life, or a Title IX Coordinator. Their contact information is on the homepage of this website and the policy referenced in the first question. A reporting party can also report to a Responsible Employee, who will then contact DPS, the DOS Office, or a Title IX Coordinator.  Please keep in mind that Responsible Employees cannot keep reports of sexual offenses confidential.  A Responsible Employee is a full-time member of the faculty, administration or staff (excluding those identified below as Confidential Reporters).  A student also has the option of contacting the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education regarding sex discrimination issues. The policy referenced in the first question contains OCR’s contact information.

Will the University contact the parents of a reporting party 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 reporting party under age 18.

Will a report to University officials automatically trigger an investigation?

No. The reporting party 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 is the difference between privacy and confidentiality?

Confidentiality means that a person will not repeat information told by the reporting party without the reporting party’s permission. Privacy means that information about a sexual offense will only be shared with key University employees on a need-to-know basis. Information reported to a responsible employee will be kept private, but it cannot be kept confidential.

Where can reporting parties go if they want complete confidentiality?

Reporting parties who want complete confidentiality can discuss their situation with a counselor at the Counseling Center, a physician or someone licensed to practice medicine (such as a nurse practitioner), the University Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry.

Is reporting the same as filing a complaint?

No. A reporting party who reports is not obligated to file a complaint. Many reporting parties report a sexual offense because they want support but are not ready to file a complaint. Reporting parties have the option to change their minds and file a complaint later.

What support is available to reporting parties of sexual misconduct?

Reporting parties have numerous support options. They can obtain interim measures such as no contact orders, academic accommodations, or relocation to a different residence hall. There are also campus and off-campus resources available for immediate emergencies and ongoing support.

What support is available to students accused of sexual misconduct?

Students accused of sexual misconduct (often called respondents) also have numerous support options. Members of the Dean of Students office are trained to help respondents understand their rights and responsibilities and to guide them through the University’s grievance process. Respondents may also obtain counseling through the Counseling Center or Campus Ministry.

Who conducts investigations of sexual harassment or sexual violence?

Select DPS staff typically investigate allegations of sexual violence and has been certified in Title IX Investigation Protocols and Procedures.

Will the University wait to investigate if there are criminal charges pending?

If a reporting party files charges with both the University and FCSO, the University will coordinate with FCSO. However, the University will not necessarily wait until all criminal charges have been resolved because Title IX requires it to promptly resolve sexual offenses, typically within 60 days.

What does the investigation involve?

The investigator interviews the reporting party and respondent. The investigator reviews any evidence including, but not limited to documents, emails, text messages, and social media postings. The investigator also identifies and interviews relevant witnesses, even if no one observed the reported incident. For example, if a reporting party alleges that they could not consent because they were incapacitated by alcohol, the investigator may interview people who encountered the reporting party before or after the alleged offense.

What happens if an individual declines to cooperate with the investigation?

If a reporting party declines to be interviewed, the University will not proceed with an investigation unless it determines that the respondent is a threat to the campus community. In such a circumstance the investigation will proceed without the respondent’s account. All witnesses are encouraged to speak to the investigator.

Can the parties see the investigative report?

If a case goes to a hearing, both parties receive redacted copies of the investigative report with names and identifying information removed to protect the privacy of witnesses.

When do cases go to a hearing?

In cases involving a student as the respondent -- when the Title IX coordinator determines that there is sufficient information available to charge the respondent with an alleged violation of university policy.

In cases involving an employee as the respondent – when the director of human resources determines that there is sufficient information available to charge the respondent with an alleged violation of university policy.

Who may be present at the hearing?

The parties may choose to have a personal advisor. Personal Advisors may not address the hearing officer during the hearing and can only provide support for a student. Hearings are closed to the public, including friends and University personnel without an official interest in the case. Witnesses may be invited to participate in the hearing, but are not required to do so.

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

No. Either party may request an option so that the parties do not see each other, or a party may choose to participate in the hearing electronically or by telephone.

What sanctions can the hearing officer impose if the student respondent is found responsible for a sexual offense?

The hearing officer may impose sanctions ranging from probation to expulsion. Factors include the nature of the violation and the severity of any damage, injury, or harm resulting from it, and the character, disciplinary record, and rehabilitative potential of the respondent. For a detailed explanation of potential sanctions see the Code of Student Conduct (.pdf)