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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 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 all forms of sexual harassment, sex discrimination and sexual misconduct, examples of which can includes acts of 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: A person who has been subjected to conduct that may constitute conduct prohibited by the policies referenced in the first question.

Responding Party: A person who is alleged to have engaged in conduct prohibited by the policies referenced in the first question.

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

No. 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 the policies addressed in this document.

What are a reporting party’s options for reporting?

A reporting party has the choice of reporting to:

  • A 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 Policy
  • Or by calling or submitting an anonymous report as indicated in the policy
  • Or all of the above.

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 Title IX Policy (.pdf) 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?

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 responding parties?

Responding 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.

Who conducts investigations of sexual harassment or sexual violence?

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

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

The university’s process typically will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced.  However, the university may undertake a short delay in its investigation or resolution process to comply with a law enforcement request for cooperation (e.g., to allow for criminal evidence collection) when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. 

What does the investigation involve?

The investigator interviews the reporting and responding parties. 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.

Can the parties see the investigative report?

A copy of the Investigative Report will be provided to both the reporting and responding parties upon their singing a document confirming the confidential nature of the report and the prohibition against unnecessary disclosure.  Both parties may submit, in writing, any concerns that they have about the information in the Investigative Report and any information that is not included in the Report.

When do cases go to a hearing?

In cases involving a student as the responding party -- when the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is sufficient information available to charge the responding party with an alleged violation of University policy.

In cases involving an employee as the responding party – when the Director of Human Resources determines that there is sufficient information available to charge the responding party with an alleged violation of University policy

Who may be present at the hearing?

The parties may choose to have a personal supporter. If applicable, as set forth in the policy, an attorney or advocate may also be in attendance.  The hearing officer may request witnesses to attend the hearing in certain circumstances in which case, both parties will be notified in advance of the hearing.

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

No. At the request of either the Reporting Party or the Responding Party, the hearing will be held via telephone or videoconference or in another way that allows the Reporting Party and Responding Party to hear each other and the witnesses if any, but does ot require them to be in the physical presence of the other. 

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

For students who are found responsible for a violation of this policy, the potential sanctions includes disciplinary actions as set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.   For a detailed explanation of potential sanctions, see the Student Code of Conduct (.pdf)

Can a party appeal the decision of the hearing officer?

Yes. A party may appeal to a Title IX Coordinator in cases involving a student responding party. The written appeal must address at least one of the following criteria:

  1. A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing
  2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
  3. The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions designated for this offense and the cumulative conduct history of the respondent.