The University of Saint Mary is committed to resolving student discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation complaints on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or sexual violence) in a timely and effective manner and providing prompt corrective action if complaint is believed to have occurred. The grievance complaint process is intended to provide effective resolution for such complaints.
Students are eligible to utilize these procedures.
Who may utilize the Grievance Complaint Procedures?
Any individual claiming a student was the subject of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or sexual violence) from a student, employee or third party of the University of Saint Mary may initiate the grievance complaint process by contacting any one of the following:
Sarah B. Kent
Title IX Coordinator & Chief Compliance Officer
Saint Mary Hall, Room 101
4100 South 4th Street
Leavenworth, KS 66048
Online Report of Concern
Campus Safety and Security
On campus: ext. 6446
24-hour cell: 913-683-5201
Regardless of whether a harassed individual files a complaint under these procedures or otherwise requests action on the person’s behalf, if the University knows, or reasonably knows, about possible sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence the University will promptly investigate to determine what occurred and take appropriate actions to resolve the situation.
Informal Grievance Complaint Resolution Actions
The process for resolving grievance complaints may include some or all of the following actions: informal inquiry and discussion, mediation (except in cases of sexual assault or violence), disciplinary action, or other appropriate action. If the subject matter or issue of the complaint does not fall within the jurisdiction of this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will advise the complainant of other available procedures.
If the complainant is comfortable doing so, he or she may bring the concerns (except in the case of sexual assault or violence) to the attention of the person responsible for the behavior or action. In many cases, individuals will take appropriate corrective action when they are made aware of how their actions or behaviors are being perceived. However, complainants will never be required to raise the concerns with the alleged perpetrator, and those who choose not to address the behavior directly on their own or through other informal processes may seek the assistance of the Title IX Coordinator. A complainant does not have to utilize any of the informal processes discussed above and may choose to invoke the formal investigation and resolution procedures outlined below at any time, even if he or she first chose to use an informal method.
Who must report?
Any employee who believes that a student has been the subject of sexual discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation complaints on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or sexual violence) by a student, employee or third party of the University of Saint Mary or who has reason to believe that said discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation may have occurred, must contact the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety and Security to initiate the filing of a grievance complaint. Students and third-parties are strongly encouraged to do the same.
Complainants are encouraged to file their complaint promptly as late reporting may limit the University’s ability to investigate and respond to the conduct complained of.
A verbal or written grievance complaint should include the following, to the extent known and available:
Name and contact information (address, telephone, e-mail) for the complainant;
Name of person(s) directly responsible for the alleged discrimination or retaliation;
Date(s), time(s), and place(s) of the alleged violation(s);
Nature of the alleged violation(s); i.e. discrimination, harassment, retaliation;
Detailed description of the specific conduct that is the basis of the alleged violation(s);
Copies of any documents or other tangible items pertaining to the alleged violation(s);
Names and contact information for any witnesses to the alleged violation(s);
Any other relevant information.
Upon receiving a grievance complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the complainant with an acknowledgement of receipt as soon as is reasonably possible but no later than ten (10) working days after the complaint was received.
A complainant will also be given a copy of the document titled “Rights and Options After Filing a Complaint Under the Title IX Policy.”
Conduct that Constitutes a Crime
Any person who believes they have been subject to sex discrimination that also constitutes a crime—including sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking—is encouraged to make a complaint to local law enforcement, as well as to the University’s Title IX Coordinator. If requested, the University will assist the complainant in notifying the appropriate law enforcement authorities. In the event of an emergency, please contact 911. A victim may decline to notify such authorities.
Special Guidance Concerning Complaints of Sexual Violence, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking
If you are the victim of sexual violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, the University recommends that you immediately go to the emergency room of a local hospital and contact local law enforcement, in addition to making a prompt complaint under this policy.
If you are the victim of sexual violence, domestic violence, or dating violence, do everything possible to preserve evidence by making certain that the crime scene is not disturbed. Preservation of evidence may be necessary for proof of the crime or in obtaining a protection order. Victims of sexual violence, domestic violence, or dating violence should not bathe, urinate, douche, brush teeth, or drink liquids until after they are examined and, if necessary, a rape examination is completed. Clothes should not be changed. When necessary, seek immediate medical attention at an area hospital and take a full change of clothing, including shoes, for use after a medical examination.
It is also important to take steps to preserve evidence in cases of stalking, to the extent such evidence exists. In cases of stalking, evidence is more likely to be in the form of letters, emails, text messages, etc. rather than evidence of physical contact and violence.
Once a complaint of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking is made, the complainant has several options such as, but not limited to:
contacting parents or a relative
seeking legal advice
seeking personal counseling (always recommended)
pursuing legal action against the perpetrator
pursuing disciplinary action
requesting that no further action be taken
Grievance Complaint Evaluation
Upon receiving a grievance complaint, or learning of possible sexual harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation, the Title IX Coordinator shall conduct an initial evaluation of the merits of the complaint and determine the appropriate investigatory action required.
Complainants and other individuals bringing reports of sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence shall be informed about the range of possible outcomes of the report, including interim protections, remedies for the individual harmed by the conduct, and disciplinary actions that might be taken against the accused as a result of the report, including information about the procedures leading to such outcomes.
Pending final outcome of an investigation, the University will take steps to protect the complainant from further discrimination or harassment. This may include assisting and allowing the complainant to change his or her academic, transportation, work, or living situation if options to do so are reasonably available. Such changes may be available regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to Campus Safety and Security or local law enforcement. Other interim remedies may include separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, suspension, or making alternative class-placement or workplace arrangements. Failure to comply with the terms of these interim remedies or protections may constitute a separate violation of the University’s Title IX Policy.
In response to reports of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation where the complainant does not wish to engage in informal resolution, where informal resolution is not appropriate, or in cases where attempts at informal resolution are unsuccessful, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct a formal investigation. In such cases, the individual making the report shall be encouraged to file a written grievance complaint. In cases where there is no written grievance complaint, such as situations that involve a third party complaint, the Title IX Coordinator, may initiate an investigation after making a preliminary inquiry into the facts, and will inform the person(s) who were allegedly harmed of the decision to initiate an investigation. The Title IX Coordinator may also designate his or her investigative responsibilities to other appropriate University personnel. The Title IX Coordinator, or other investigator(s) assigned to conduct an investigation, will be impartial and will receive annual training on these procedures and how to conduct an investigation that is fair, protects the safety of victims, and promotes accountability.
A copy of these procedures will be provided to all individuals involved in the grievance complaint.
The University will strive to complete grievance complaint investigations, including issuance of a report of findings to the complainant and respondent, in as timely and efficient a manner as possible within sixty (60) days of receipt of a complaint. However, this timeframe may be extended based on factors such as, but not limited to, schedule and availability of witnesses, holidays or semester breaks including summer break, and complexity of the complaint. If an investigation cannot be completed within sixty (60) days of receipt of the grievance complaint, then the investigator(s) will notify the complainant and respondent of that fact and provide a timeframe for completing the investigation. Both parties will be given periodic updates throughout the investigation process.
Right to File a Criminal Complaint
Some instances of sexual harassment and sexual violence may also constitute criminal conduct. Complainants have the right to file a criminal complaint during any point of the internal investigation and are encouraged to do so. If requested, the University will assist the complainant in filing such a report. The pendency of a criminal investigation, however, does not relieve the University of its responsibilities under Title IX, and the filing of a criminal complaint will not generally delay the University’s investigation process. However, a delay may be necessary while police are gathering evidence. Should a delay be necessary, the complainant and respondent will be promptly notified.
It may be necessary to implement appropriate interim steps during the law enforcement agency’s investigation period to provide for the safety of an individual(s) and the community and the avoidance of retaliation.
The investigation will include the following steps:
Contact with Complainant. The University will inform and obtain consent from the complainant before beginning an investigation. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks the complaint not be pursued, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation. If a complainant insists that his or her name or other identifiable information not be disclosed, the ability to respond to the complaint may be limited.
If the investigator did not speak with the complainant at the time a grievance complaint was received by the University, then the investigator will meet or speak with the complainant at the start of the investigation.
The investigator will meet or speak with the complainant at the start of the investigation and throughout the investigation as appropriate.
The University will not require a student victim filing a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Security to sign a “no-contact” order on the sole basis that the student filed a complaint. Other interim measures, as discussed above, may be available.
Notice to Respondent. The respondent will be provided with a statement of the grievance complaint. The respondent will be provided an opportunity to meet with the investigator(s) investigating the complaint and to respond to the allegation. Respondents may respond in person or in writing within a reasonable time to be determined by the investigator. If a respondent chooses not to participate or refuses to answer a complaint, his/her nonparticipation will not prevent the investigation from proceeding and could result in a finding based solely on the information provided by the complainant.
The investigator will meet or speak with the respondent at the start of the investigation and throughout the investigation as appropriate.
The University may at any point in the complaint process elect to place the respondent on investigative leave, reassignment, suspension, or authorize other types of temporary measures while an investigation is pending, including but not limited to “no contact” provisions.
Notice regarding Retaliation. All parties to a complaint (complainant, respondent, witnesses, and appropriate administrators or supervisors) will be informed that retaliation by an individual or his/her associates against any person who files a complaint or any person who participates in the investigation of a complaint is prohibited. Individuals who engage in retaliation are subject to disciplinary action. Individuals who feel they are being retaliated against as a result of their filing a complaint or participating in an investigation will be expected to notify the Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety and Security immediately.
Advisor/Support Person. In any meeting with the investigator(s), the parties to the complaint can be accompanied an advisor or support person of their choice. This person does not serve as an advocate on behalf of a party, may not be actively involved in any proceedings, and he or she must agree to maintain the confidentiality of the process. If the representative is an attorney, the party must notify the Title IX Coordinator and/or Investigator in writing at least three (3) working days before the meeting date.
Information relevant to Investigation. The parties to a complaint (complainant and respondent) will be informed that they have the opportunity to identify witnesses, present witness statements, and any other evidence they believe relevant to resolution of the complaint. The investigator will interview other persons whom the investigator, in his/her discretion, determines to be necessary to gather relevant information. The investigator will review any written materials, e-mails or other media that, as determined by the investigator in his/her discretion, may provide relevant information regarding the complaint.
Findings of Investigation. The investigator(s) will provide a written summary of their findings to the respondent and the complainant within fourteen (14) calendar days following the conclusion of the investigation. The findings will be based on a preponderance of the evidence (e.g., more likely than not that the conduct occurred or did not occur). It may be necessary to notify additional internal and/or external department(s), office(s) or agency(s) with these findings, as required by policy or law.
Should the findings of the investigation find any discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation complaints on the basis of sex (including pregnancy, sexual harassment, sexual assault and/or sexual violence) has occurred, appropriate steps to prevent recurrence will be taken. These steps may include, but is not limited to; educational programs, counseling/coaching, mediation, remedies for the complainant, and a referral for disciplinary or corrective actions for certain individual(s) as appropriate (which can include suspension or dismissal).
Respondent, Finding of Sex Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence and/or Retaliation with Imposition of Discipline. If formal disciplinary action is imposed as a result of a finding of violation of the University’s policies prohibiting sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation, then a respondent may request an appeal within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the notice.
Complainant. If the complainant believes that the Title IX Coordinator’s investigation finding that there was no sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual violence and/or retaliation is in error, then the complainant may appeal that conclusion within ten (10) calendar days of the date of the notice of the investigator’s findings. A complainant may also appeal a finding that the conduct occurred on the basis that the discipline imposed was not adequate.
The request for an appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the investigator’s findings of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation are erroneous. The appeal must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will bring the appeal forward to an Administrative Council member who is an impartial decision maker without any conflicts of interest between the complainant or respondent. The Administrative Council member will review the appeal request and the investigation, as necessary. The Administrative Council member may interview the complainant and/or respondent in order to obtain any additional information necessary to make a determination. An appeal determination will be made within fourteen (14) working days of receipt of the appeal. Both the complainant and the respondent will be informed of the outcome of the appeal in writing. The determination on appeal will constitute final action and there will be no further appeal within the University.
Closure of a Complaint without Investigation
The University may not proceed with a complaint investigation under a variety of circumstances, for instance:
A complainant, even after contact and follow up with an investigator, fails to describe in sufficient detail the conduct that is the basis of the complaint;
The conduct alleged in the complaint is not covered by this policy; or
The complainant refuses to cooperate with the University’s investigation.
If it is determined that the University will not proceed with investigation of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the complainant (if not anonymous) in writing explaining the reasons why the complaint is not being investigated. The notification letter will include a statement notifying the complainant that he or she may appeal the determination not to proceed with an investigation of the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator within fourteen (14) calendar days of the notice. The request for an appeal must be a signed, written document articulating why the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation was in error. The Title IX Coordinator will respond to the request for appeal within fourteen (14) calendar days of receipt of the appeal. If the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation is upheld, then that decision will constitute final institutional action and there is no further appeal within the University. If the decision to administratively close the complaint without an investigation is overturned, the complaint will be sent back for investigation in accordance with this procedure.
Extensions of Time
The Title IX Coordinator will make every reasonable attempt to adhere to the time limits set forth in these procedures. However, it is recognized that circumstances may necessitate an extension of time. Therefore, the Title IX Coordinator may extend the time limits set forth in these procedures.
Abuse of the Grievance Complaint Resolution Process
The University takes all complaints seriously. However, knowingly filing a false complaint is considered serious misconduct and is also subject to disciplinary action.
The University will take all precautions feasible to preserve the confidentiality of those involved in an investigation. Complainants, respondents, witnesses, and any other parties involved in a complaint of discrimination shall refrain from disclosing information about a complaint of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation to anyone who does not have a legitimate, business need or right to know. Such disclosures are inappropriate and unprofessional and may result in disciplinary action. The foregoing does not preclude either party from seeking the advice or counsel of a spouse, counselor, attorney, or other person in a similar role.
Under conditions of imminent harm to an individual and/or community, the University is required by federal law to inform others, as appropriate. In addition, the University cannot control confidentiality violations by other individuals who may be involved in the investigation.
The report may be used as evidence in other related procedures, such as subsequent complaints, grievances and/or disciplinary actions.
Throughout all stages of the investigation, resolution, and appeal, the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, person(s) who hear appeals, and any other University personnel involved, as the case may be, are responsible for maintaining documentation of the investigation and appeal, including documentation of all proceedings conducted under these complaint resolution procedures, which may include the written grievance, written findings of fact, transcripts, and audio recordings.
State and Federal Reporting of Discrimination
Employment discrimination complaints may be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
Students may file discrimination complaints through the Office of Civil Rights in the U. S. Department of Education or the Kansas Human Rights Commission.
Revised: 08/05/2014, 09/08/2014, 09/26/2014, 07/10/2015