Title IX and Gender Equity

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
- Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Consistent with federal law and its own Christian mission, Chowan University does not discriminate, nor tolerate discrimination, on the basis of race, color, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, marital status, veteran status, or disability.

 SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

 Introduction

Chowan University strives to provide an environment that is fully conducive to learning and intellectual pursuit within a Christian context. The University therefore condemns all forms of sexual discrimination as being inconsistent with its mission. Chowan University, as a Christian institution of higher education affirms its moral commitment to the dignity and worth of all individuals.

 Title IX of the Education Amendment of 1972 states that “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.” Sexual violence and harassment are forms of discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

 Chowan’s policies prohibiting sexual violence and sexual harassment (“sexual misconduct”) are not only legal responsibilities with practical applicability, they stem from the University’s historical and continuing commitment to Christian and moral values. Chowan University takes seriously every allegation or report of sexual misconduct it receives. The University’s response is intended to assure that all parties involved are treated fairly, that victims receive appropriate support, and that allegations of sexual misconduct are handled in a prompt, thorough and equitable manner.

 Scope

All members of the Chowan University community (students, faculty, and staff) are protected by and are responsible to adhere to the Sexual Misconduct Policy. This policy applies to any instance in which a member of the Chowan University community becomes a victim of or is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct. The Sexual Misconduct Policy applies to all conduct that impacts the educational environment, regardless of whether it takes place on or off campus and regardless of the gender or sexual orientation of the individuals involved. Sexual misconduct committed electronically or via social media is included in this policy and is strictly prohibited by Chowan University.

 Chowan University defines sexual misconduct to include:

  • Sexual harassment – unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances; requests for sexual favors; or other verbal or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature.
  • Gender-based harassment – unwelcome conduct of a nonsexual nature based on a student’s actual or perceived sex, including conduct based on gender identity, gender expression, and nonconformity with gender stereotypes.
  • Sexual violence (assault) – actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:Intentional touching of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent;
    • Other intentional sexual contact with another person without that person’s consent;
    • Coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force a person to touch another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent;
    • Rape, which is penetration, no matter how slight, of (1) the vagina or anus of a person by any body part of another person or by an object, or (2) the mouth of a person by a sex organ of another person, without that person’s consent.
  •  Sexual exploitation – a person takes sexual advantage of another person (victim) for the benefit of anyone other than the victim without the victim’s consent. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
    • Prostituting another person;
    • Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
    • Distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure; and,
    • Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.
  • Relationship violence – committing an act of violence (including but not limited to, pushing, hitting, striking, using a weapon) against another person in the context of a dating, cohabitation or marriage relationship.
  • Sex/gender-based stalking – engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his/her safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress.

 Definition of Affirmative Consent

For purposes of applicability to Title IX only, affirmative consent between individuals engaging in sexual activity is defined as “informed, freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear and unambiguous words or actions.” Clear and unambiguous words or actions are those that are freely and actively given by informed individuals that a reasonable person in the circumstances would believe communicate a willingness to participate in a mutually agreed upon sexual activity.

 The following factors will be considered when determining consent:

  • It is the responsibility of each person who wishes to engage in the sexual activity to obtain consent.
  • A lack of protest, the absence of resistance and silence do not indicate consent.
  • The existence of a present or past dating or romantic relationship does not imply consent to future sexual activity.
  • Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity and may be initially given, but withdrawn at any time.
  • When consent is withdrawn, all sexual activity must stop. Likewise, where there is confusion about the state of consent, sexual activity must stop until both parties consent again.
  •  Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Consent is not obtained where:
    • There is physical force, threats, intimidation or coercion.
    • There is incapacitation due to the influence of drugs or alcohol.
    • There is the inability to communicate because of a physical or mental condition.
    • An individual is asleep, unconscious or involuntarily physically restrained.
    • An individual is unable to understand the nature or extent of the sexual situation because of mental or physical incapacitation or impairment.
    • One party is not of legal age to give consent.

  Report for Support

Chowan University strongly encourages any victim of sexual misconduct to report such misconduct to the University.  Whether or not the victim intends to pursue disciplinary action against the accused, Chowan University places the highest importance on providing victims with support in responding to the incident. The University strives to end all forms of discrimination, prevent their reoccurrence, and remedy their effects both on individual victims and the larger University community. Retaliation and intimidation, whether by the accused or third parties, are prohibited and are considered violations of this policy.

Title IX Coordinator

Chowan University has designated a Title IX Coordinator to oversee the University’s compliance with and response to instances of sexual misconduct.  The Title IX Coordinator is:

Dr. Brenda Tinkham
Marks Hall 212 B
tinkhb@chowan.edu
252-398-6437

 The Office of the Title IX Coordinator investigates incidents, coordinates support for victims, and may make initial disciplinary determinations when formal disciplinary proceedings are instituted in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct.

 In addition to contacting the Title IX Coordinator, victims of sexual assault and of dating or domestic violence should immediately call Chowan University Public Safety at 252-398-1234 (if the assault took place on campus) or local law enforcement at 911. Victims are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical attention as well. Please seek medical attention prior to bathing or changing clothes to avoid destruction of evidence.

 Reporting

There are many ways to report an alleged incident(s) of sexual misconduct.  You may submit the Title IX Discrimination Complaint Form [GMG1] by email to TitleIX@chowan.edu, by campus or US mail, or bring it to the office of the Title IX Coordinator, Marks 212B.  If you are unable for any reason to complete this form and would like to make a verbal complaint, please call the Title IX Coordinator at 252-398-6437.  Upon receiving a call, the Title IX Coordinator will be in touch.  Please use the reporting method with which you are most comfortable.

 Terminology

This policy refers to the individual who is the alleged victim of the behavior(s) in question as the “complainant” and the student alleged to have committed the violation of the policy as the “respondent”.  Both the complainant and the respondent will be treated fairly and with respect throughout the process.

 Time Frames

The university’s overall goal is to resolve complaints under this policy within 60 calendar days from receipt of a report.   An investigation typically takes 10 to 30 days to complete. Generally, within 14 days after completion of an investigation (during which time the Title IX Coordinator may be seeking clarifying information and/or meeting with a complainant, respondent, or others), a hearing, if applicable, is scheduled. 

 Circumstances may require extensions of this overall 60-day time frame or any individual time frame discussed in this policy. The University reserves the right to extend these time frames in its sole discretion. Examples of reasons why time frames may need to be extended include the complexity of the case, delays due to fall/spring/summer/holiday breaks, inclement weather, and other extenuating circumstances. Exceptions to these time frames will be communicated to the complainant and respondent. 

 Investigation and Initial Action

Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator will confer with the Vice-President of Student Affairs to determine whether the report falls within the scope of Title IX.  If the report is considered a Title IX incident, the Title IX coordinator will (1) coordinate interim action to support the alleged victim, (2) determine appropriate investigatory measures, and (3) take other short-term actions as necessary.  See the Student Conduct Process for Sexual Misconduct Allegations chart.

 

Administrative Resolution

In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator will propose an administrative resolution to resolve the matter.   If both Complainant and Respondent accept the proposed resolution, the matter is closed.  In the event that either party rejects the administrative resolution or the Title IX Coordinator decides the case is not appropriate for administrative resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to a hearing board to determine whether Respondent is in violation of Chowan University policy.

 Hearing Procedures

Through the process of a hearing, a panel of faculty and staff determines – by a preponderance of the evidence – whether it is more likely than not that Respondent violated University policy. The following procedures apply to a complaint that proceeds to a hearing panel.  Hearing panels typically consist of three to five members, one of whom is designated to serve as chairperson.   The hearing chair has general authority over the conduct of the hearing.  

  • Notice: Both Complainant and Respondent will be notified at least 72 hours in advance of the date and time of the hearing and the name(s) of the hearing panelists. 
  • Recusal: A complainant or respondent may challenge the participation of a hearing panelist who he/she perceives to have a conflict of interest. Such challenges, including their rationale, must be made to the hearing panel chairperson at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of the hearing.  In his/her discretion, the hearing panel chairperson will determine whether the challenged panelist should be replaced. 
  • Hearing Packet:   In advance of the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a hearing packet with information relevant to the case for the hearing panelists.  The hearing packet will typically include the investigator’s report.   The Title IX Coordinator will make the hearing packet available to both Complainant and Respondent at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing.   If the hearing packet contains particularly sensitive information, Complainant and Respondent may be asked to review the information at the Title IX office rather than receiving a copy.
  • Additional Information.  If Complainant or Respondent wishes to share additional relevant written information with the hearing panel, it must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator at least 36 hours in advance of the hearing.   The Title IX Coordinator will share the additional material with the other party at least 8 hours before the hearing.
  • Witnesses: Complainants and Respondents may offer relevant material witnesses to provide testimony. Complainants/Respondents must provide (in writing) the names of any witnesses they wish to testify and a description of each witness’s relevant information to the Chair of the Hearing Panel [SLF2] at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing . Names of witnesses submitted to the Title IX Coordinator by the Complainant or Respondent will be shared with the other party in advance of the hearing. Note that the Chair of the Hearing Panel [SLF3] may exclude witnesses or witness testimony deemed irrelevant or duplicative. Participants are reminded that any information shared during a hearing is confidential.
  • Hearing Format: The general format of a hearing is as follows: introductions; Respondent’s statement regarding whether he/she accepts or denies responsibility; statement of Complainant; questions; statement of Respondent; questions; witnesses; closing comments from the Complainant; and closing comments from the Respondent. A complainant or respondent may not question one another or other witnesses directly, but may submit questions to the hearing panel, which will determine whether to ask them. 
  • Notice of Findings: Written notification of the hearing panel’s decision will be provided to Respondent and Complainant at approximately the same time no later than five business days after the hearing.

 Sanctions

If Respondent is found responsible for violating University policy, the hearing panel will recommend a sanction to the Vice President of Student Affairs and the Title IX Coordinator.   Sanctions for a finding of responsibility include, but are not limited to, expulsion, suspension, disciplinary probation, mandatory counseling, and/or other educational sanctions. Factors pertinent to the determination of what sanction(s) applies to the finding include, but are not limited to, the nature of the conduct at issue, prior disciplinary history of Respondent, and Respondent’s willingness to accept responsibility for his/her actions.  The Vice President of Student Affairs in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator has[SLF4]  discretion to adopt or modify the panel’s recommended sanction.

 Appeals

Either Respondent or Complainant may appeal the hearing panel’s decision on two limited grounds.  The two grounds of appeal are:

  1.  New information not reasonably available at the time of the hearing that is material to the hearing panel’s decision has become available.
  2.  Procedural error(s) that materially impacted the hearing panel’s decision were committed. 

 Note that an appeal is not a re-hearing of the case.

 Procedures

The party who files the appeal is the “Appellant.”   The other party is the “Appellee.”   The following procedures guide the Appellate Board process:

  • Appeal Statement.  The appeal statement of the Appellant is due five business days from the date of the hearing panel’s decision.  Appeals must be submitted in writing and are limited to five pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins). 
  • Grounds of Appeal.   Appeal statements must identify the grounds of appeal.  The Appellate Board Chair may summarily deny an appeal if it is not based on one or both grounds of appeal.
  • Response to Appeal.  The Chair will provide written notice to the Appellee that an appeal has been submitted and will give the Appellee an opportunity to review the appeal statement.  The Appellee may submit a written response to the appeal statement (“response”).  The response is due five business days from the date the chair provides written notice of the appeal to the Appellee and is limited to five pages (12-point font, 1-inch margins).  The Chair will provide the Appellant an opportunity to review the response, but no additional opportunity to respond in writing will be provided to the Appellant.
  • Composition of Appellate Board.  The Chair will convene an Appellate Board and notify the Appellant and Appellee of the names of the Board members.  Individuals who served as hearing panelists may not serve as Appellate Board members in the same case.
  • Recusal.  The Appellant or Appellee may challenge the participation of an Appellate Board member who he/she perceives to have a conflict of interest. Such challenges, including their rationale, must be made to the Appellate Board chairperson at least 48 hours prior to the commencement of the hearing.  In his/her discretion, the Appellate Board chairperson will determine whether the challenged Board member should be replaced. 
  • Role of the Appellate Board.  The Appellate Board’s role is limited[SLF5]  to reviewing the hearing panel record[SLF6] , the Appellant’s written appeal statement and any response to that statement by the Appellee.

The Appellate Board will generally provide written notice of its decision within 20 business days from receipt of the appeal statement.  If the decision will take longer, the Chair will inform the parties.  Both the Appellant and the Appellee will be notified at approximately the same time.  

If the Appellate Board determines that a ground of appeal is substantiated, the panel has the authority to resolve the case or to remand the case to the original hearing panel with instructions for further proceedings.  If the case is reconsidered by the original hearing panel, the Complainant and/or Respondent may appeal the subsequent decision of that hearing panel, but the appeal is limited to those issues(s) considered in response to the original appeal.

 Information for Complainants

Complainants will be treated with respect before, during, and after the Title IX process. Complainants will be informed of the University’s disciplinary process and possible outcomes. The University will provide updates as to the status of the investigation as appropriate.

The alleged conduct may also be criminal in nature, and complainants are encouraged to report such conduct to Chowan University Public Safety, Murfreesboro Police, or another appropriate law enforcement agency.  The University process and the criminal process are two different processes and may proceed simultaneously but separately.  Regardless of whether a complainant pursues a criminal complaint and/or the University’s grievance process through this policy, the University may investigate the incident(s) in question and will take appropriate responsive action to ensure that the educational environment is free of discrimination, to prevent the recurrence of sexual misconduct, and, if appropriate, to remedy the effects of the alleged misconduct on the complainant.

Remedies available to a complainant may include, but are not limited to: reasonable academic accommodations, on-campus housing reassignment, a “no contact” order between the accused and the Complainant, and disciplinary action against the accused as determined through the disciplinary process outlined in this policy.

Complainants are strongly encouraged to seek counseling and support available through resources such as the University Counselor and/or Campus Ministry Staff as well as local, off-campus resources.  Complainants may request changes to academic and living situations and will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available.

An advisor of the Complainant’s choice may accompany the Complainant to any meeting with Title IX Coordinator, the case officer, or to a hearing. The advisor’s role in any meeting or hearing is limited to quietly conferring with the Complainant through written correspondence or whisper, and the advisor may not address any other participant or the hearing panel. 

Information for Respondents

Respondents will be treated with respect before, during, and after the Title IX process. Respondents will be informed of the University’s disciplinary process and possible outcomes. The University will provide updates as to the status of the investigation as appropriate.

Note that alleged behavior may also be criminal in nature, and a respondent may be subject to a criminal investigation by the appropriate law enforcement agency at the same time as an investigation by the University under this policy.

Respondents are strongly encouraged to seek counseling and support available through resources such as the University Counselor and/or Campus Ministry Staff as well as local, off-campus resources.  Respondents may request changes to academic and living situations and will be notified as to what changes are reasonably available. 

An advisor of the Respondent’s choice may accompany the Respondent to any meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, the case officer, or to a hearing. The advisor’s role in any meeting or hearing is limited to quietly conferring with the Respondent through written correspondence or whisper, and the advisor may not address any other participant or the hearing panel. 

Retaliation

Chowan University strictly prohibits retaliation against any individual for reporting, providing information, exercising one’s rights or responsibilities, or otherwise being involved in the process of responding to, investigating, or addressing allegations of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence.  Therefore, any retaliation, intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination against any such individual, undertaken or attempted either directly or by third parties, will be addressed in the most serious way by Chowan University.  Individuals who engage in such actions are subject to discipline up to and including suspension, expulsion, or dismissal from the University, consistent with University procedure.   Anyone who is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator, who will take appropriate action(s) to address such conduct in a prompt and equitable manner.

Title IX Complaint Form

The Title IX Complaint Form is can be submitted electronically here, or printed and submitted here

 Do not use this form to report events presenting an immediate threat. If you require emergency assistance, please contact Public Safety at 252-398-1234 or call 911.

Dr. Brenda Tinkham
Title IX Coordinator
Marks Hall 212 B
tinkhb@chowan.edu
252-398-6437

This form is designed to provide Chowan University students, faculty, staff, and visitors with a method to report specific information related to an alleged incident(s) of discrimination, harassment (including sexual misconduct), or retaliation. To file this form, please complete and email, mail, or bring it to the office listed above.  If you are unable for any reason to complete this form and would like to make a verbal complaint or send a complaint via email, please use the Title IX Coordinator’s contact information listed above. The University treats all information with sensitivity and discretion. However, the University has an obligation to assess all reports of sexual misconduct, and doing so may require the dissemination of some information. Please contact the Title IX Coordinator if you have any questions regarding the process for filing or investigation of complaints.

RESOURCES

In an emergency, always call 911 first.

Campus

Chowan University employees should report any information regarding violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to the Title IX Coordinator.

Two Chowan employees, listed below, may act as confidential resources and will not make a report to the Title IX Coordinator unless specifically requested to do so by the complainant or as required by law:

Drew Phillips, Associate Minister to the University
Hawks Nest
252-398-6383
philld@chowan.edu

Yolanda Majette, University Counselor
Hawks Nest
252-398-6249
 majety@chowan.edu
 

 Title IX Information

The following are other campus resources who are required to report any information regarding violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to the Title IX Coordinator.

Public Safety
401 Union Street
252-398-1234
publicsafety@chowan.edu

Joy Taylor, Campus Nurse
Penny Hall
252-398-6248
tayloj2@chowan.edu
 

Local

Vidant Roanoke Chowan Hospital
500 South Academy Street
Ahoskie, NC 27910
252-209-3000

Roanoke-Chowan Service for Abused Families with Emergencies (S.A.F.E.)
P.O. Box 98
Ahoskie, NC 27910
252-332-1933
www.roanokechowansafe.com

 Murfreesboro Police Department
115 East Broad Street
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
252-398-4151
http://bit.ly/2aGw5qv

 Murfreesboro Primary Care
3015 Beachwood Boulevard
Murfreesboro, NC 27855
252-398-3323
http://www.rcchc.org/murfreesboro-primary-care.html

 The following Not for Profit agencies provide a range of resources for people in need:

Albemarle Hopeline
P.O. Box 2064
Elizabeth City, NC 27906
252-338-3011
www.ablemarlehopeline.org

The Genieve Shelter
157 North Main Street
Suffolk, VA 23434
1-800-969-HOPE (hotline)
www.thegenieveshelter.org

HER Shelter
P.O. Box 2187
Portsmouth, VA 23702
757-485-3384 (hotline)
www.hershelter.com

LGBT Center of Hampton Roads 
247 West 25th Street
Norfolk, VA 23517
757-200-9198
www.accessaids.org

 State and National

North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence
3710 University Drive, Suite 140
Durham, NC 27707
919-956-9124
www.nccadv.org

North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault
811 Spring Forest Road, Suite 900
Raleigh, NC 27609
919-871-1015
www.nccasa.org

 National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-7233
www.thehotline.org

 Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
1-800-656-HOPE
www.rainn.org

1 in 6: Support for Men
www.1in6.org

 Love Is Respect: Empowering Young People in Abusive Relationships
1-866-331-9474
www.loveisrespect.org

If there are concerns that the University has not handled Title IX issues appropriately, questions may be directed to:

United States Department of Education – Office of Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
1-800-421-3481
OCR@ed.gov
www.ed.gov/ocr

                                                                                                              December 1, 2016