• Introduction

    Hardin-Simmons University affirms that all members of our community are created in the image of God and therefore should be treated with dignity and respect. We do not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. Further, we respect the inherent worth of each member of the community and do not tolerate conduct which fosters any form of harassment. We follow the profound truth found in the Golden Rule, “In everything do to others as you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12).

    With a Biblical foundation of human dignity and worth, HSU approaches issues of sexual misconduct not only as acts that may be potential violations of the law, but as conduct that is antithetical to Christian scripture. Thus, sexual misconduct is harmful not only to the individuals involved, but undermines the values of the entire community.

    This policy will address some of the complexities of legal requirements under Title IX, and our policy expectations in the areas of sexual misconduct, sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. We hold to the expectation that sexual misconduct does not fit within our mission of Christian education. Violations of this policy are regarded as serious offenses of trust and integrity, and will result in disciplinary action. Sexual misconduct can be committed by men or women, and it can occur between people of the same or different gender. This policy will also provide resources and help for victims and their advocates.

    Hardin-Simmons University expects students to abide by the Student Conduct and Regulations Statement (see Section 26).

    Purpose of this policy

    Pursuant to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and Violence Against Women’s Reauthorization Act of 2013, HSU prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender in its programs and activities. HSU has jurisdiction over complaints or reports under Title IX. Our university will respond to, and make reasonable efforts to, investigate and address complaints or reports about prohibited conduct, or possible prohibited conduct, that staff becomes aware of, with measures designed to stop the prohibited conduct, eliminate any such discrimination, prevent the recurrence of the prohibited conduct, and remediate any adverse effects of such conduct on campus or in university related programs or activities. The procedures in this policy are designed to provide for a timely and fair investigation of sexual misconduct cases, regardless of how the information was brought to HSU’s attention or the extent to which the complainant (as defined below) wishes to participate or be involved, and to protect the rights and privacy of all parties involved.

    Retaliation against anyone involved in filing an internal complaint under this policy, filing an external complaint, participating in the internal disciplinary process, or opposing in a reasonable manner an act believed to constitute a violation of this policy, is prohibited and will not be tolerated.

    Scope of this policy

    The policy includes investigation and disciplinary procedures that will be followed in response to allegations of sex or gender discrimination, including sexual misconduct such as sexual harassment and sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and related retaliation. In a case of alleged sex or gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, this policy supersedes policies and procedures for other forms of misconduct, unless otherwise provided in this policy.

    This policy defines: the prohibited conduct; the options and resources available to individuals who experience sexual misconduct; and the complaint; investigation and disciplinary procedures that will be followed when the University receives a complaint of sexual misconduct. All allegations of sexual misconduct, including, but not limited to, sexual harassment, sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, and retaliation will be carefully reviewed.

    This policy applies to all members of the HSU community, including administrators, students, faculty and staff, whether full-time or part-time, and any third parties (i.e. non-members of the university community, such as visitors to the campus, volunteers, vendors, and contractors). This policy applies to students regardless of location, whether on or off campuses.

    This policy applies to university-sponsored programs and activities occurring both on and off campuses, as well as the university’s computing and network resources being used on and off campus. This includes, but is not limited to, field trips, mission trips, study-abroad programs, off-site courses, volunteer work or internships, and use of any electronic or media associated with HSU including email and/or social media. If an incident of sexual misconduct involving a member of the HSU community occurs at a non-university sponsored event, and when such conduct may have a significant, adverse impact on the individual or on the campus community, the procedures of this policy will apply.

    When used in this policy, the term Complainant refers to the person who believes that he/she has been the subject of sexual misconduct, regardless of whether that person makes a complaint or requests an investigation. The term Respondent refers to the person(s) who has been accused of sexual misconduct. The term third party refers to an individual who is not a University student or employee. The term witness refers to any individual who may have information pertinent to the complaint or investigation. All Hardin-Simmons employees are designated as Responsible Employees which means they must report all disclosures of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Office. A Confidential Resource refers to designated employees at Hardin-Simmons who are not required to report disclosures of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Office. The Office of Counseling Services (Moody Center 2nd floor, 325-670-2272) is a designated Confidential Resource. Students who are not ready to disclose sexual misconduct to responsible employees or the Title IX Office are encouraged to talk with HSU’s Office of Counseling Services.

    All forms of prohibited conduct described in this policy are regarded as serious offenses. Any member of the HSU community found in violation of this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or termination of employment.

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