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Eastern Mennonite University prohibits harassment of, and discrimination against, any and all community members. This policy applies to students who are registered or enrolled for credit- or non-credit-bearing coursework (students); all university employees, consisting of full-time and part-time faculty and staff, including temporary and adjunct (employees); and contractors, vendors, visitors, volunteers, guests, or other third parties (third parties).

This policy pertains to acts of relationship violence and sexual misconduct or other forms of prohibited conduct that may be based on sex or gender and are committed by or against students, employees, and third parties. This policy applies when:

  1. the conduct occurs on university property or other property owned or controlled by the university;

  2. the conduct occurs in the context of a university employment or educational program or activity including, but not limited to, university-sponsored cross-culturals, research, online, or internship programs;

  3. the conduct occurs off-campus but is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on any member of the EMU community; or

  4. the conduct occurs outside the context of a university employment or educational program or activity but has continuing adverse effects on, or has the propensity to create a hostile environment for, students, employees, or third parties while on university property, other property owned or controlled by the university, or in any university employment or education program/activity.


Some conduct prohibited under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, if not of a sexual nature (e.g., stalking or hazing) or not done in retaliation for acts of or reports of relationship violence or sexual misconduct (e.g., bullying and intimidation) will be adjudicated under EMU’s student conduct policy.

3.1. NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

The university is committed to maintaining an environment free from harassment and discrimination for everyone. EMU does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other protected status in any of its education or employment programs and activities. This policy prohibits specific forms of behavior that may violate Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX); relevant provisions of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII); the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act); and the Virginia Human Rights Act.  

The university recognizes that it is important to coordinate this policy with other existing policies related to harassment and discrimination, knowing that harassment related to an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression can occur in conjunction with misconduct and harassment related to a person’s race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, pregnancy or parenting status, disability, and/or other protected status.  Therefore, when a report is made of harassment or discrimination based on sex as well as harassment or discrimination based on some other protected status, the university’s response will be governed by the procedures referenced in this policy. Questions about which policy applies in a specific instance should be directed to the Title IX coordinator.

This policy covers relationship violence and sexual misconduct. Employees should seek further information regarding equal opportunity, disability, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation that is not based on sex or gender with the director of human resources at (540) 432-4148 or hr@emu.edu.

3.2. BIAS

Bias is prejudice in favor of or against one thing, person, or group compared with another, usually in a way considered to be unfair. Due to the identity of EMU as a small, historically denominationally affiliated university, as well as human nature, the university recognizes that biases exist. EMU makes every effort to recognize and mitigate the impacts of bias. The university strongly encourages all parties involved to identify, name, and work to address the various forms of bias that may impact the campus community.   

3.3. CONFLICT OF INTEREST

Conflict of interest means that a person may have the potential to undermine the impartiality of a process due to the possibility of a conflict between the person’s self-interest and professional interest or public interest. The university makes every effort to identify and prevent conflicts of interest at any and every level. Should a conflict of interest be identified, the university will identify and utilize alternative (up to and including external) resources.

3.4. PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY

The university is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report under this policy. The university will provide assistance to help students, employees, and third parties make informed choices. With respect to any report under this policy, the university will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy; prevent its recurrence; and remedy its effects. Privacy and confidentiality have distinct meanings under this policy.

3.4.1. PRIVACY

Privacy means that information related to a report of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy will be shared with a limited circle of university employees who have legitimate need to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. All employees who are involved in the university’s response to reports of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy receive specific training and guidance about sharing and safeguarding private information in accordance with federal and state law.

Further, the university will privately maintain any accommodations or protective measures provided to the reporting or responding party(s) to the extent that maintaining such privacy would not impair the university’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.

The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).  All documentation related to a student’s report, investigation, and resolution are protected by FERPA and will not be released, except as required by law. Non-identifying information about a report will be shared with Campus Safety and Security to comply with the Clery Act. A reporting party’s name will never be published in connection with the university’s obligations under the Clery Act. In addition, any person involved in a case of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and/or any other form of conduct prohibited under this policy may request that their directory information on file be removed from public sources by contacting the Title IX coordinator at titleixcoordinator@emu.edu or by calling 540-432-4849.

The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records is generally protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), except health records protected by FERPA and by Virginia’s Health Records Privacy Act, Va. Code § 32.1-127.1:03. Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted in accordance with the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

3.4.2. CONFIDENTIALITY  

Confidentiality means that information shared by an individual with designated confidential campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without the express permission of the disclosing party. The university has designated groups of individuals who can have privileged communications as confidential employees and are therefore exempt from reporting incidents of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, and/or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy that are disclosed to them while they are serving in particular confidential roles.

Disclosures must occur when confidential employees are in their role as a confidential employee  in order for the disclosure to remain confidential. Disclosures that occur when the confidential employee is not acting in this official capacity must be reported.

Confidential employees are prohibited from breaching confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others or the disclosure is otherwise legally required or is expressly permitted by the disclosing party. Non personally identifying, aggregate data will be shared with EMU by confidential employees for statistical purposes consistent with the Clery Act.

The following classifications of individuals are confidential employees under university policy when serving in these official capacities:

Licensed mental health clinicians and those working in auxiliary roles within EMU’s Counseling Services.  Mental health clinicians licensed with the Commonwealth of Virginia and those clinicians in training whose official university responsibilities include providing mental health counseling to members of the campus community, as well as staff members working in auxiliary roles in Counseling Services at EMU while serving in their official roles, are not required by Title IX to report any information regarding an incident of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy to the Title IX coordinator or other university officials.

Medical health professionals who are registered with the Commonwealth of Virginia and whose official university responsibilities include providing health services to members of the campus community are not required by Title IX to report any information regarding an incident of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy to the Title IX coordinator or other university officials.

Pastors who are licensed and/or credentialed and whose official university responsibilities are to provide pastoral services to members of the university community are not required by Title IX to report any information regarding an incident of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy to the Title IX coordinator or other university officials when the pastor is acting in the official capacity of campus pastor. For example, students may disclose sexual abuse to a pastor who is their faculty member for purposes of getting help, receiving an academic extension or accommodation, or the like. If this disclosure is received in the context of the pastor’s role as a faculty member, the incident must be reported.

If any of the above confidential employees receive a report when operating outside of their official capacities as a licensed mental health clinician, a Counseling Services staff member, a medical health professional, or a campus pastor, the incident must be reported on the Campus Safety Incident Form or directly to the Title IX coordinator.

3.5. EMPLOYEE REPORTING RESPONSIBILITIES   

Title IX uses the concept of notice, and imposes obligations for a “prompt and effective remedy” on colleges and universities when notice of sex and/or gender discrimination or harassment is given to a responsible employee. A school has notice if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, about the harassment. A responsible employee is every faculty, staff, and volunteer on campus who works with students or minors, (with the exception of the confidential employees named above).

All responsible employees must immediately report to the Title IX coordinator any relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy reported to them or observed by them, including the name of the reporting and the responding party(s), if known, and all known details. This reporting can be done by calling (540) 432-4849, emailing titleixcoordinator@emu.edu, or completing a campus safety incident form at https://emu.edu/safecampus/. The university requires everyone in the campus community, including confidential employees, to report the suspected abuse of children (individuals under the age of 18).  

Public awareness events or other open forums such as “Take Back the Night,” candlelight vigils, protests, and “survivor speak outs” in which students or employees disclose incidents of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy are not considered a report or notice to the university for purposes of initiating the university’s obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Such events may, however, inform the need for campus-wide education and prevention efforts, and the university will provide information about Title IXClery Act, and Violence Against Women Act rights at these events.

Similarly, information disclosed during a student’s participation as a subject in an Institutional Review Board-approved human subjects research protocol (IRB Research) is not considered a report of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy for purposes of initiating the university’s obligation to investigate any particular incident(s). Institutional Review Boards may, in appropriate cases, require researchers to provide information regarding rights and resources to all student subjects of IRB Research.

3.6. REQUEST FOR ANONYMITY BY A REPORTING PARTY  

Reporting parties who experience relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy may request anonymity, including that their name not be shared with the responding party(s), that the responding party(s) not be notified of the report, and/or that no investigation occur. Where the reporting party(s) requests that their identity not be shared with the responding party(s) or that the university not pursue an investigation, the university will balance this request with the university’s responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all university community members as required under the Clery Act.

The university, through the Title IX coordinator, will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the report consistent with the request not to share identifying information or pursue an investigation, but their ability to do so may be limited. If the reporting party wants to tell the Title IX coordinator what happened, but also wants to maintain anonymity, the Title IX coordinator will tell the reporting party that the university will consider the request but cannot guarantee anonymity. Requests for anonymity are balanced against the following factors:

  1. the respective ages and roles of the reporting and the responding parties;

  2. whether there have been other reports of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy involving the responding party(s);

  3. whether the circumstances suggest there is a risk of the responding party(s) committing additional acts of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy;

  4. whether the responding party(s) has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;

  5. whether the report indicates the responding party(s) threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the reporting party(s) and other individuals involved;

  6. whether the reported conduct was committed by multiple individuals;

  7. whether the circumstances suggest there is a risk of future acts of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy under similar circumstances;

  8. whether the reported conduct was perpetrated with a weapon;

  9. whether the university possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or security personnel, physical evidence).


Where the university is unable to act consistent with the request of the reporting party(s), the Title IX coordinator will inform the reporting party(s) about the chosen course of action, which may include the university seeking disciplinary action against the responding party(s). Alternatively, the course of action may also include steps to eliminate the effects of the relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or other forms of conduct prohibited under this policy and prevent its recurrence that do not involve formal disciplinary action against a responding party(s) or revealing the identity of the reporting party(s).

Where the university determines that it must move forward with an investigation despite a reporting party’s request for anonymity, the university will notify the reporting party(s) and will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of the reporting party(s) to the extent possible. However, certain actions that may be required as part of the university’s response, including an investigation and disciplinary resolution, will involve speaking with the responding party(s) and others who may have relevant information, in which case the responding party’s identity may have to be disclosed only to those individuals who need to know in order to protect the safety of the campus community. In such cases, the university will notify the reporting party(s) that it intends to move forward with an investigation, but in no event will the reporting party(s) be required to participate in any such actions undertaken by the university.

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