How Will the College Respond?
The following procedures will govern all investigations of complaints alleging violations of this policy. Covenant College reserves the right to deviate from these procedures only when such deviation is necessary to ensure appropriate processing of the investigation.
- A complaint is made to the Title IX coordinator, a deputy coordinator or a responsible employee. A complaint should include the following information:
- The names, addresses, and phone numbers of the individuals involved
- Specific acts alleged, including dates, times, and locations
- Names and contact information of potential witnesses
- The investigation will begin within 10 work days of the receipt of the complaint. Should the Title IX coordinator be unavailable within the time frame, his/her designee will act instead. If an employee of the College is involved in the alleged discrimination, the complaint will be investigated by the director of human resources. If the director of human resources is involved in the alleged discrimination, the complaint will be investigated by the chief financial officer.
- The Title IX coordinator or his/her designee will investigate allegations of violations of this policy. The Title IX coordinator may request assistance from other trained and qualified employees.
- If the complainant or the respondent is under 18 years of age, his/her parent or legal guardian will be notified of the complaint via phone, e-mail, or U.S. mail.
- The investigation should include interviewing the complainant and the respondent, as well as any relevant witnesses suggested by the complainant and the respondent.
- The investigation should also include interviewing any additional witnesses or reviewing any documents deemed relevant by the Title IX coordinator.
- Confidentiality of the investigation will be maintained to the extent possible.
- If witnesses cannot be reached or are not available, the complaint will be investigated in their absence.
- After all available information is reviewed and interviews are completed, the Title IX coordinator will:
- Determine whether a violation of this policy has occurred, and if so, the appropriate response.
- Notify the complainant and the respondent either orally or in writing of the outcome of the investigation within ten working days after the completion of the investigation.
- Make recommendations to the appropriate supervisor/dean regarding discipline, if warranted.
- Partner with departments, divisions, programs, and deans to take any corrective action as may be appropriate under the circumstances.
- All complaints will be adjudicated as expeditiously as possible and generally within 60 work days.
Protection of the campus community is paramount, however, and the College may find it necessary to take appropriate disciplinary action with or without concurrence of the complainant where there is a potential threat to the College community.
The College reserves the right to suspend any member of the College community suspected or accused of violating this policy or to take any other interim measures the College deems appropriate, pending the outcome of an investigation or grievance. Such interim measures can include, but are not limited to, removing a student, employee, or other individual from campus, modifying course schedules, and issuing a “no contact” order. Any such interim steps will be taken in a manner that minimizes the burden on the complainant to the extent possible and respects the rights of all involved parties.
The College will provide an alternative accountability process for individuals who may be hesitant to report a sexual assault violation out of fear that they themselves or others may be accused of violating other College policies, such as drinking or drugs at the time of the incident. Educational options and accountability may be explored, but no conduct proceedings or conduct record (for students) or disciplinary actions (for employees) will result.
During any on-campus disciplinary action relating to a sexual assault, the complainant and accused are entitled to the same opportunities to have one advisor present during a campus disciplinary proceeding; neither party, however, shall have the right to have an attorney present during the proceeding. At the conclusion of an on-campus disciplinary action relating to a sexual assault, both the complainant and accused shall be informed of the outcome of any campus disciplinary proceeding alleging a sexual assault.
Disciplinary action at the College will normally proceed even if criminal proceedings have been initiated. College action will not be subject to challenge on the grounds that criminal charges involving the same incident have been dismissed or reduced, or that no criminal charges have been brought. The procedures and burdens of proof in a disciplinary action are different from those applicable to a criminal trial. In all procedures involving allegations of violations of this policy, regardless of any language found within any applicable policy, the standard of proof shall be “preponderance of the evidence.” A preponderance of the evidence means that the information shows that it is “more likely than not” that the accused violated this policy. If civil authorities are notified, students can anticipate that the College may consult with and be in communication with such authorities.
- Within two weeks of being notified by the Title IX coordinator of the decision regarding the investigation, either party may appeal the decision by submitting a written statement of the basis for the appeal to the president of the College.
- Appeals will be heard by the president who will hear/review statements (oral or written) from the parties and review evidence compiled by the Title IX coordinator during his/her investigation. All appeals will be heard as expeditiously as possible and generally within 30 work days.
Covenant College prohibits reprisals or retaliation against any person for:
- alleging or complaining about discrimination or harassment,
- filing an internal complaint of discrimination or harassment,
- filing an agency action or lawsuit alleging discrimination or harassment, or
- participating in a harassment investigation.
Any person who retaliates against a complainant will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including, in the case of an employee, termination of employment, and in the case of a student, expulsion. Knowingly making false allegations of discrimination or harassment, or providing evidence during an investigation with knowledge that the evidence is false, is also a violation of College policy and will subject a person to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment or expulsion. Complaints of retaliation should be reported in the same manner as complaints of discrimination or harassment.