It is our conviction that as members of a Christian community we should guide our behavior not solely by adherence to civil and criminal law but by principles of personal conduct and life in community that are presented to us in Scripture. In addition, we draw on insights provided by contemporary developmental psychology and are guided by commitments to personal health and responsible life in community. Because of these convictions, Whitworth's behavioral expectations have two things in common: 1) They are reflections of values that are foundational to the character of the Whitworth community – values that are interrelated with Whitworth's mission to glorify God through commitment to educational excellence, liberal learning, Christian faith and growth. 2) They are community expectations, applicable to all students, faculty, staff and visitors while they are on university property. All of Whitworth's behavioral expectations, whether stated here or established elsewhere in university publications, proceed from our Christian convictions and from our commitment to provide the best possible education for all Whitworth students. Whitworth University does not discriminate on any illegal basis in the administration of its admission, educational or employment policies and practices, nor in the recruitment, training, promotion, financial support or compensation of its faculty, students or staff. The university complies with all applicable state and federal laws, including, but not limited to, the following:
- Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972
- Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Washington's Law Against Discrimination
- The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (the ADA);
- The Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended by the Older Worker's Benefit Protection Act (ADEA)
- Any other applicable federal, state or local law addressing nondiscrimination and/or equal employment opportunity
Members of the university community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from discrimination, harassment, retaliation and violence. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others. The university will not tolerate bias-based misconduct (e.g. based on gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, ethnicity, age, etc.) toward students.
The policies and procedures described in the student code of conduct are intended for students at Whitworth University. This includes undergraduate students on the main campus, those participating in off-campus programs, graduate students, continuing education students, and those who have been admitted to Whitworth but have not yet started their coursework. These policies apply at all times while a person is a student at Whitworth, including during breaks and between academic terms. The policies contained in these Behavioral Expectations pertain to behavior that occurs on and off the Whitworth campus. The university will generally respond to off-campus behavior if the alleged violation occurs while students are participating in a Whitworth-sponsored event, the behavior raises concern for the safety of those on campus, or the behavior jeopardizes the university's interests in the community.
III. Behavioral Policies
In addition to our adherence to civil and criminal laws, we have established the following policies that represent the behavioral expectations of the Whitworth community. As with all behavioral policies, Whitworth's goals are as follows: (1) End the offending behavior, (2) prevent its recurrence, and (3) remedy its effects on the complainant and the university community.
The Big Three
- There is to be no on-campus possession, consumption or distribution of alcohol, illegal drugs/mood-altering substances or controlled medication without a prescription. This prohibition includes drug paraphernalia. In compliance with federal law, medical marijuana is not allowed on Whitworth's property. Exceptions may be considered by educational support services. This policy reflects our conviction that possession or consumption within the Whitworth community is inappropriate for moral, educational and developmental reasons. Civil and criminal law inform us of the illegality of the possession and use of alcohol and of most drugs and mood-altering substances by persons under the age of 21; the health risks associated with the use and abuse of these substances are numerous, including exaggerated mood swings from manic to severe depression, loss of memory and reduced cognitive ability, physical deterioration, and, in some cases, serious injury or death. In addition, the potential of these substances to promote behavior that is destructive to both property and lives makes them unacceptable in a community committed to healthy development. For all of these reasons, we strongly believe that the presence and use of alcohol, drugs, and other mood-altering substances on campus is counterproductive to the educational and relational objectives of the Whitworth community.
- There is to be no cohabitation on campus. We understand the term "cohabitation" to include genital sexual contact outside marriage, and/or the spending of a night together by two people engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship or encounter. The Whitworth community's commitment to the authority of Scripture leads us to believe that the genital sexual relationship is to be understood and experienced within the context of marriage, and that to express it otherwise would diminish the high regard we have for this gift from God. These beliefs are based on our understanding of God's design for our sexual lives and on our knowledge of human development and relational dynamics. While the explicit intent of this policy is to encourage members of the Whitworth community to reserve sex for marriage, the practical application of the policy requires that it be used also to address persons who spend extended hours of a night together, who sleep together, and/or who engage in genital contact, even if it falls short of actual intercourse.
- There is to be no violent or destructive behavior or other conduct that threatens or endangers the safety or emotional well-being of any person on campus. This prohibition includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as fighting, vandalism and any behavior that results in destruction or loss of property (including theft) or disruption of community life. This prohibition also includes, but is not limited to, physical abuse, verbal abuse, threats and/or intimidation, as well as behaviors including assault, sexual assault, harassment and other forms of sexual misconduct.
In keeping with Whitworth's commitment to building a community of respect for one another, it is important that standards related to relationships be understood and observed. It is likewise important that we are clear as a community about those behaviors that violate well-being, threaten community and will not be tolerated. The following are definitions of specific destructive behaviors that are prohibited at Whitworth: harassment or other forms of bias incidents are destructive to individuals and to community and will be considered a violation of this policy.
Further explanation of "violent and destructive behavior":
- A bias (or hate) incident is an act of conduct, speech or expression to which a biased motive relative to race, religion, disability status, ethnicity/national origin, gender or sexual orientation, or any other legally protected category is evident as a contributing factor. An "incident" is an act that does not rise to the level of a crime.
- A hate crime is a criminal offense committed against a person that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias.
- Hate speech is speech that reflects the perceived inferiority of a targeted group by denying or belittling its humanity. It is directed at a person of a different identity group and includes references to his or her group's differences with the intent to cause distress. Hate speech typically contains recognizable slurs against the targeted group. Whitworth sees hate activity on a spectrum from prejudice to violence, where words are often a first step in a progression toward physical confrontation. As a community of educated individuals, we believe we can find ways to communicate and disagree with one another without using words that are hateful or that incite violent acts.
- Bias incidents and hate crimes fall under Whitworth's policies relating to, "violent and destructive behavior," which include an expectation that discrimination and harassment are not acceptable within this community.
The Anti-Defamation League's "pyramid of hate," available at www.adl.org/media/2273/download, represents a progression of destructive behavior. The foundation and most common offense is made up of words, with the most drastic and least common offense being genocide. Each level of the pyramid builds upon the previous level in separating people into groups that appear less than human. The sense of "other" often begins with jokes and unexamined vocabulary.
One of Whitworth's three primary behavioral policies is related to sexual encounters. "There is to be no cohabitation on campus. Whitworth understands the term ‘cohabitation' to include genital sexual contact outside marriage and/or the spending of a night together by two people engaged in a romantic or sexual relationship or encounter." The sexual-misconduct policy addresses abuses of sex, which fall under a different Big Three policy: "There is to be no violent or destructive behavior or other conduct that threatens or endangers the safety or emotional well-being of any Whitworth community member or visitor to campus." Students who report sexual misconduct are not held accountable to the cohabitation policy; sexual harassment and/or assault falls under the "Violent and Destructive Behavior" policy. (See immunity and bystander-engagement statements.)
Believing that "[social] integration [and] a sense of fitting in and being accepted by peers are important to student satisfaction and retention" (Tinto, 1987), Whitworth supports activities that are designed to develop community and to impart group traditions. We are committed to introducing new students to campus traditions, language and customs that enhance a sense of belonging and encourage involvement in university life. "An ethic of membership communicates to students ‘that this is your home'" (Kuh, Schu and Witt, 1991). Understanding this, it is our desire to accomplish the following goals as students become members of campus activities, teams or groups: 1) to help students build positive relationships with others, 2) to familiarize students with current and historical traditions, and 3) to provide an atmosphere in which students may come to understand that they are part of Whitworth's history, present and future.
We will make every reasonable effort to ensure that students who voluntarily participate in campus activities and groups are treated with dignity and respect, in accordance with the university's mission, and that any induction or other activities fit within the mission statement as well as within common and civil law. Thus, induction and other group activities will be governed by the following requirements:
There is to be no behavior that causes, or is likely to cause, bodily danger, physical harm, or serious mental or emotional harm, regardless of a person's willingness to participate. Even if a participant claims that no one was forced to participate, such an activity or behavior is still considered hazing. Group-think behavior, peer pressure and coercion often play a role in such activities. Specifically, please note the following:
- Activity that may cause bodily danger or physical harm includes physical activity such as, but not limited to, forced calisthenics or exposure to the elements, sleep deprivation or confinement. It also includes the forced consumption or application of food, liquid, alcohol or harmful substances.
- Mental or emotional harm includes embarrassment, ridicule, verbal abuse and personal humiliation.
- No activities are allowed that induce, cause or require students to violate local, state or federal law or campus rules and regulations.
- Only currently enrolled Whitworth students may be involved in team or group induction activities, unless they are given explicit permission to include others by their group advisor, coach or instructor.
Violation of this policy could also be a violation of Washington state law, which could result in a student's loss of financial aid. Any group/club/team member violating these standards risks suspension from group/club/team activities. Consequences may also involve sanctions for the entire group. Violations of the Hazing Policy for Washington State Law will be assumed to constitute violations of university policy, as well.
If you have any questions regarding campus policies or procedures, please contact the associate dean for community standards and compliance (509.777.4655).
IV. Other University Policies
In addition to The Big Three, the following section details additional policies important to the Whitworth community.
Behavioral expectations, along with their application and their enforcement, are the responsibility of all members of the Whitworth community. Because of this, if one of us is present at the commission of a known violation, and if we fail to confront those who are in violation, our silence will be considered passive approval and participation, making us responsible for the violation as well.
Community Cooperation Expectations
The cohesiveness of any community depends upon the willingness of its members to cooperate to promote community values and ideals. While this cooperation should extend to all members of the community, it is especially important that we cooperate with those members of the Whitworth community who have been entrusted with responsibility for the enforcement of behavioral policies. At a minimum, such cooperation must include a willingness to identify oneself when asked to do so and a commitment to exclude all actions clearly identifiable as hostile or threatening. Members responsible for enforcement of behavioral policy include security personnel, residence life staff and HUB personnel. Students who fail to cooperate with community employees as prescribed in this policy are subject to disciplinary action, which may include suspension from the university for the remainder of the academic term and for the term following any violation.
Students are viewed by the larger community as representatives of Whitworth, and they must understand that their behavior reflects on the university. While the university treats students as private citizens who are responsible for their own behavior, there are instances in which the university reserves the right to address students for behavior that occurs off campus. Examples of off-campus behavior that may warrant disciplinary sanctions include, but are not limited to, criminal offenses, behavior that indicates the student may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of any community member, and behavior that is seriously or chronically disruptive to the community.
Whitworth recognizes the important role animals can play in the lives of employees, students and our neighbors. At the same time, in the interest of safety, and the health of all employees, students, guests and visitors, animals are not allowed in campus facilities or in university vehicles except as provided under the terms of this policy.
Animals are allowed on Whitworth owned or controlled outdoor public spaces under the following conditions:
- The animal owner is responsible for caring for the animal, and ensuring the animal's safe and responsible behavior.
- Animals must be kept on a leash or in an appropriate transport container at all times.
- Animals may not be attached with a leash or other device to any tree, pole, fence, sign, building, fire hydrant, vehicle or other object.
- Animals must be prevented from chasing other animals or wildlife.
- The animal owner is responsible for cleaning up after the animal and properly disposing of waste in appropriate containers.
- Animals must meet local license requirements and wear tags as required by local and state regulation.
- Animals are not allowed on athletic fields.
Only service and working animals are permitted in Whitworth academic, administrative and support facilities.
- Students must work with the Educational Support Services office to secure approval to bring a companion or working animal into a Whitworth facility.
- Companion/emotional support animals owned by students are restricted to the owner's assigned Whitworth residence halls or theme houses only.
Please contact student life to view the Pet Policy in its entirety.
Because Whitworth believes the effects of intoxication are disruptive to an educational community, no student should be publicly intoxicated on campus. Public intoxication is defined as being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana, or other mood-altering substances or controlled medications.
Evidence of public intoxication could include engaging in behavior that is offensive or causes a community member to voice concern or requires the assistance of others.
Recording and Livestreaming Policy
It is expected that faculty, students, and staff will respect the privacy of other individuals in the workplace and educational setting. Consequently, the secret recording or live streaming (audio or video) of classes, meetings or other conversations, including telephone calls, is prohibited, as not compatible with the lase and/or the promotion of an open exchange of ideas. The university does not condone recording or live streaming of any university activities when participants are unaware that such recordings are being made. To see this policy in its entirety, please see Appendix G of the Faculty Handbook.
Weapons, Fireworks and Explosive Devices
Whitworth is a weapons-free campus. Firearms, fireworks, explosives and explosive devices, and other weapons are prohibited anywhere on property owned or leased by Whitworth, including campus buildings, theme houses, Whitworth downtown, and university-sponsored off-campus events. The term "weapons" includes, but is not limited to, flammable gasses/materials or components that could become explosive (propane tanks, helium tanks, hoverboards, etc.), firearms, pellet/BB guns, paintball guns, tasers, home-manufactured cannons, bows and arrows, martial-arts devices, switchblade knives, and other knives (with the exception of kitchen knives) with blades longer than 3 inches.
This prohibition applies to all members of the Whitworth community as well as to visitors. Violations of this policy by students may result in sanctions up to and including suspension. Violation of this policy by faculty or staff may result in disciplinary action up to and including loss of the offender's position at Whitworth.
The two exceptions to this policy are 1) weapons, etc., used by law-enforcement offices in the course of their duties; and 2) explosives used by faculty for academic purposes. Exceptions must be authorized by the director of security.
Reporting violations of this policy: The university expects all members of the community to help maintain safety and security on campus and at university-sponsored off-campus events. Anyone who has knowledge of violations of this policy has an obligation to report that knowledge promptly to the director of campus security at 509.777.3712 or to an on-duty security officer at 509.777.4444.
V. Student Conduct Process
We believe that our behavioral expectations must apply equally to all members of the Whitworth community and that their enforcement must be consistent and equitable. Implementation of these policies is regulated by the Student Bill of Rights.
Student Conduct Process
In Whitworth's student conduct process, legal terms like "guilt," "innocence" and "burden of proof" are not applicable. The university never assumes that a student is in violation of university policy. The campus conduct process is designed to take into account information available from relevant sources.
The university reserves the right to take whatever measures it deems necessary to respond to an allegation of misconduct in order to protect students' rights and personal safety. Such measures include, but are not limited to 1) modification of living and dining arrangements, 2) interim suspension from campus pending a conduct meeting, and 3) reporting the matter to the local police.
The university will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the person accused of misconduct (the respondent).
Reprisal, retaliation or false accusations against anyone who reports or participates in or is thought to have reported or participated in allegation(s) or investigation(s) is prohibited and will be treated as a violation of policy, regardless of whether any alleged policy violation is substantiated. False accusations are prohibited and will be treated as violations of this policy. Submission of a good- faith complaint or report will not affect the complainant's or reporter's future employment or grades, or his/her educational, living or working environment.
The goal of the conduct meeting is to provide an equitable resolution via an equitable process, respecting the rights of all participants. Whitworth uses the preponderance-of-evidence standard ("more likely than not") in determining student responsibility.
Administrative Conduct Meeting Guidelines:
- Such meetings should take place in a timely fashion and in accordance with the student handbook.
- The student involved will be notified via his/her @my.whitworth.edu email address of the date and time of the conduct meeting. This notification will include the policy alleged to have been violated by the student and a summarization of the alleged policy violation.
- Meetings will be scheduled no sooner than two business days after the notification is sent to the student. The student can request a meeting that occurs before the two-day period if the conduct officer agrees to the request.
- Meetings should include a review of evidence pertaining to the alleged violation of policy and should be conducted by the associate dean of community standards and compliance or a designee. They should be attended by the confronted, the confronter(s) or a representative, by any necessary witnesses and by appropriate representatives from student life.
- In addition, a student involved in the conduct process as a complainant or respondent may bring a support person. The role of the support person is to advise and support the student.
- If a student chooses not to attend the conduct meeting, the meeting may take place with the student in absentia.
Based on the preponderance of evidence, the conduct officer will determine whether the student is responsible or not responsible for the alleged violation. If the student is deemed responsible for the alleged violation, the conduct officer will determine appropriate sanctions. In the event that the accused student disagrees with the finding of responsible or not responsible, the sanctions, or the degree to which the university followed the procedures outlined in this handbook, the student may request, in writing, a review of the decision by the vice president for student life or their designee within five business days of receiving the results of the conduct meeting.
False accusations will be treated as a violation of the university's policy against violent and destructive behavior. However, no matter the outcome of the investigation, submission of a good-faith complaint or a report of a potential policy violation will not affect the complainant's or reporter's future employment, grades, or educational, living or working environment.
A written notice of the outcome of the conduct meeting will be delivered to the student's @my.whitworth.edu email address. This notice is kept and considered to be part of a student's educational record. Records are kept for seven years and are then destroyed. In cases of suspension or expulsion, records are kept indefinitely.
Review Process for Conduct Issues
A student may request a review of disciplinary proceedings and the resulting consequences by a regularly constituted review committee that includes both faculty and staff members. The committee should have a quorum to review a student's disciplinary proceeding and/or its consequences. A quorum will constitute three people, one of whom is a faculty member and one of whom is a staff member. The original conduct officer will not participate on the review committee. The committee will be chaired by a person chosen by the vice president for student life (or her/his designee).
A student may request a review by contacting the vice president for student life (or her/his designee) in writing within five business days of the student's notification of the outcome of his/her case. The request will be reviewed for timeliness and for citation of the reason the student is petitioning. Grounds for requesting a review are as follows:
- A student believes the university did not follow the procedures listed in the student handbook. Examples: Notice was not provided to a student that a conduct meeting was going to take place, or the student was not given the opportunity to speak during the conduct meeting.
- New information has been discovered that was not available at the time of the original conduct meeting. A summary of this new information and its potential impact must be included in the request for review. If new information is discovered after the five-day appeal time frame, a student is still encouraged to bring the new information forward.
- A student believes that the sanctions are not consistent and appropriate for the violation. Simple dissatisfaction with the sanctions does not meet this requirement for requesting a review.
If the request for review meets the conditions of timeliness and grounds, the student and the original conduct officer will be notified. The conduct officer will have five business days from the notification to provide the rationale for the decision and sanctions for the case.
The review committee can uphold the decision and sanctions, reduce the sanctions, or send the case back to the original conduct officer for further consideration. The chair will communicate the outcome of the review to the student and the conduct officer in writing within five business days of the committee meeting. The committee's decision is final.
A student's admission status should not be altered, and her/his right to be present on the campus, to live in residence and to attend classes should not be suspended during the review process. Exceptions to this policy should be made when a student's presence constitutes a threat to any member of the community.
Potential Consequences and Sanctions
Student members of the Whitworth community who are found responsible for violating a Whitworth policy are subject to disciplinary sanctions. Actual consequences may vary, depending upon the severity of the behavior and the previous conduct of the student. The range of sanctions is listed below.
- Educational Sanctions
Educational and/or corrective experiences may be incorporated into the consequences for violation of any behavioral policy at any time in the disciplinary history of a student. These experiences are designed with the specific violation and student in mind in an effort to address root causes for students' behavior and to reduce the likelihood of similar behavior in the future. Examples of educational sanctions include, but are not limited to, community service, professional counseling, an online educational module paid for by the student, and/or substance-abuse treatment. In those cases in which substance abuse is suspected, students may be referred to the school's counselor for assessment and/or to a local treatment program.
- Behavioral Probation
Students may be placed on behavioral probation on the basis of their cumulative record of behavioral policy violations, for violations of civil or criminal law, or in the event of other behavior that places or has the potential of placing the offender or the Whitworth community, its mission or any of its members in jeopardy. As such, behavioral probation will be considered and applied in situations where it is believed that such action may redirect a student's behavior and thereby render behavioral suspension unnecessary. The terms of behavioral probation may include suspension from the residence halls and theme houses. Behavioral probation consists of a contract between a student and the university specifying behavioral criteria for the student's continued enrollment. Her/ his violation of these criteria may result in behavioral suspension. The decision to place a student on behavioral probation is made by the dean of students or her/his designee.
- Behavioral Suspension
A student may face behavioral suspension on the basis of his/her cumulative record of behavioral policy violations, failure to comply with the terms of behavioral probation, violation of civil or criminal law, or other behavior which places or has the potential of placing the student or the Whitworth community, its mission or any of its members in jeopardy.
Behavioral suspension includes suspension from classes as well as from all other Whitworth facilities and services; it may be imposed at any time that a student's behavior warrants such action. The decision to suspend a student on behavioral grounds is made by the dean of students or her/his designee.
A student may face expulsion on the basis of his/her cumulative record of behavioral policy violations, failure to comply with the terms of behavioral probation, violation of civil or criminal law, or other behavior which places or has the potential of placing the student or the Whitworth community, its mission or any of its members in jeopardy. Expulsion is a permanent separation between the student and the institution.
Immunity for Complainants and Witnesses
The Whitworth community encourages the reporting of student-handbook violations. Sometimes complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to university officials or to participate in investigations or conduct processes because they fear that they may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking, at the time of the incident. It is in the best interest of this community that as many complainants as possible choose to report violations to university officials and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, the university will not charge complainants and witnesses with a policy violation (e.g. alcohol possession or cohabitation). While complainants and witnesses will not be charged with a policy violation, they may be required to complete educational sanctions.
The welfare of students in our community is of paramount importance. At times, students on and off campus may need assistance. The university encourages students to offer help and assistance to others in need. Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer such assistance, for fear they may get themselves in trouble (for example, an underage student who has been drinking might hesitate to help walk a sexual-assault complainant to Whitworth Security). The university will not charge a policy violation to students in need. While "good Samaritans" will not be charged with a policy violation, they may be required to complete educational sanctions.
Violations of behavioral expectations accrue over the entire period of a person's membership in the Whitworth community. Behavioral records are kept on file for seven years after each student's graduation. Records of students who have received a behavioral suspension are kept indefinitely.
Notification of Outcomes
The outcome of a campus-conduct process is part of the educational record of the accused individual and is protected from release under federal FERPA laws. However, there are legal exceptions for Title IX-related complainants (those who report sexual harassment, assault, etc.) to know the outcome, essential findings and sanctions imposed at conduct meetings related to their incident.
The university may also release the student's name, the nature of the violation and the imposed sanction for any student who is found in violation of a university policy that is a crime of violence, including arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, intimidation (which may encompass stalking and/or bullying), hazing, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction. Regardless of the outcome of the conduct meeting, the university will release this information to the complainant in any of these offenses.
Statement of Values and Principles
It is our conviction that as members of a Christian community we should guide our behavior not solely by adherence to civil and criminal law but by principles of personal conduct and life in community that are presented to us in Scripture. In addition, we draw on insights provided by contemporary developmental psychology and are guided by commitments to personal health and responsible life in community. Because of these convictions, Whitworth's behavioral expectations have two things in common: 1. They are reflections of values that are foundational to the character of the Whitworth community – values that are interrelated with Whitworth's mission to glorify God through commitment to educational excellence, liberal learning, Christian faith and growth. 2. They are community expectations, applicable to all students, faculty, staff and visitors while they are on university property. All of Whitworth's behavioral expectations, whether stated here or established elsewhere in university publications, proceed from our Christian convictions and from our commitment to provide the best possible education for Whitworth students.
Whitworth University does not discriminate on any illegal basis in the administration of its admission, educational or employment policies and practices, nor in the recruitment, training, promotion, financial support or compensation of its faculty, students or staff. The university complies with and enforces all applicable state and federal laws related to protected class and discrimination.
Members of the Whitworth community, guests and visitors have the right to be free from all forms of sex/gender harassment, discrimination and misconduct, examples of which can include acts of sexual violence, sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others.
The university believes in zero tolerance for sex/gender-based misconduct. Zero tolerance means that when an allegation of misconduct is brought to an appropriate administrator's attention, protective and other remedial measures will be used to reasonably ensure that such conduct ends, is not repeated, and the effects on the victim and community are remedied, including serious sanctions when a responding party is found to have violated this policy. This policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals whose rights have been violated. This policy is intended to define the Whitworth University community expectations and establish a mechanism for determining when those expectations have been violated.
This document serves to elaborate upon and clarify standards of conduct and the rights of parties involved in allegations of a violation of the Whitworth University Policy on Sexual Misconduct. This policy identifies the process the university will use to investigate and resolve reports of sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence and stalking.
The university's sex/gender harassment, discrimination and misconduct policies are not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. Academic freedom extends to topics that are pedagogically appropriate and germane to the subject matter of courses or that touch on academic exploration of matters of public concern.
Applicable Standard of Evidence
The university uses the preponderance of the evidence (also known as "more likely than not") as a standard for proof of whether a violation occurred. In campus resolution proceedings, legal terms like "guilt, "innocence" and "burdens of proof" are not applicable, but the university never assumes a responding party is in violation of university policy. Campus resolution proceedings are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available, from all relevant sources.
These policies are intended for students at Whitworth University. This includes undergraduate students on the main campus, those participating in off-campus programs, graduate students, continuing education students, and those who have been admitted to Whitworth but have not yet started their coursework. These policies apply at all times while a person is a student at Whitworth, including during breaks and between academic terms. This policy pertains to behavior that occurs on and off the Whitworth campus. The university will generally respond to off-campus behavior if the alleged violation occurs while students are participating in a Whitworth-sponsored event, the behavior raises concern for the safety of those on campus, or the behavior jeopardizes the university's interests in the community.
Students who wish to report a concern or complaint may speak with the university's Title IX coordinator or her designees or to any RD or faculty member. All university employees (faculty, staff, administrators) except for those with privilege/confidentiality are expected to immediately report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to the Title IX coordinator or designee.
The university's Title IX coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of the sex/gender harassment, discrimination and misconduct policy. The coordinator reports directly to the president of the university. The Title IX coordinator does not investigate complaints, render findings of responsibility or administer sanctions. The deputy coordinators oversee investigations, findings of responsibility and sanctions. Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX coordinator. Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination or harassment may do so by reporting the concern to the university Title IX coordinator or Title IX deputy:
Individuals with complaints of this nature also have the right to file a formal complaint with the U.S. Department of Education:
Seattle Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
915 Second Ave. Room 3310
Seattle, WA 98174
Confidential Reporting Options
For absolute confidentiality in making a report a person should speak with an on-campus or off- campus mental health counselor or call off-campus rape crisis resources – the Lutheran Social Services 24-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line (509.624.7273); or the 24-Hour Crime Victim Crisis Line (866.751.7119) for assistance. In addition, you may speak with campus clergy or health center staff, who will also keep your report confidential upon request. Whitworth University employs a sexual assault advocate who can be accessed through the health & counseling center at 509.777.4655.
To track statistics of incidents, on-campus personnel will report numbers of incidents but not details of specific situations, and will not reveal personally identifiable information without the written permission of the person sharing the information.
When participating in the conduct process, individuals' identities will be protected to the extent possible in accordance with the wishes of the reporting party. The university may need to initiate an investigation and disciplinary action even if the complainant does not request it because the university has a legal obligation to resolve any reported discrimination, harassment or retaliation.
Additional Institutional Reporting Obligations
Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
Certain campus officials – those deemed Campus Security Authorities - have a duty to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student/conduct affairs, campus law enforcement, local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.
Federal Timely Warning Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should also be aware that university administrators must issue immediate timely warnings for incidents reported to them that are confirmed to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The university will ensure that a victim's name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.
Notwithstanding Whitworth University's position on nonmarital sexual relations, Whitworth University recognizes that understanding the concept of consent is important in all relationships. Therefore, Whitworth defines and applies the concept of consent as express permission. Consent can be given by word or action, but nonverbal consent is not as clear as talking about what you want sexually and what you don't. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Previous consent does not imply consent to sexual activity in the future. Silence or passivity – without actions demonstrating permission – cannot be assumed to show consent. Consent, once given, can be withdrawn at any time. There must be a clear indication that consent is being withdrawn.
When alcohol or other drugs are being used, a person will be considered unable to give valid consent if they cannot fully understand the details of a sexual interaction (who, what, when, where, why or how) because they lack the capacity to reasonably understand the situation. Individuals who consent to sex must be able to understand what they are doing. Under this policy, "No" always means "No," and "Yes" may not always mean "Yes." Anything but a clear, knowing and voluntary consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a "No."
- Sexual misconduct offenses include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual harassment
- Nonconsensual sexual contact (or attempts to commit same)
- Nonconsensual sexual intercourse (or attempts to commit same)
- Sexual exploitation
Sexual harassment is unwelcome, sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.
Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any university program is encouraged to report it immediately to the Title IX coordinator or a deputy. Remedies, education and/or training will be provided in response.
Sexual harassment may be disciplined when it takes the form of quid pro quo harassment, retaliatory harassment and/or creates a hostile environment.
A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is sufficiently severe, or persistent or pervasive, and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone's ability to participate in or benefit from the university's educational [and/or employment], social and/or residential program.
Quid pro quo harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another that constitute sexual harassment when:
- Submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual's educational [or employment] progress, development or performance.
- Submission to such conduct would be a condition for access to receiving the benefits of any educational [or employment] program.
- Examples include: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual-based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances; sexual violence; intimate partner violence, stalking; gender-based bullying.
Some examples of possible sexual harassment include:
- A professor insists that a student have sex with him/her in exchange for a good grade. This is harassment regardless of whether the student accedes to the request.
- A student repeatedly sends sexually oriented jokes around on an email list s/he created, even when asked to stop, causing one recipient to avoid the sender on campus and in the residence hall in which they both live.
- Explicit sexual pictures are displayed in a professor's office or on the exterior of a residence hall door.
- Two supervisors frequently "rate" several employees' bodies and sex appeal, commenting suggestively about their clothing and appearance.
- A professor engages students in her class in discussions about their past sexual experiences, yet the conversation is not in any way germane to the subject matter of the class. She probes for explicit details, and demands that students answer her, though they are clearly uncomfortable and hesitant.
- An ex-girlfriend widely spreads false stories about her sex life with her former boyfriend to the clear discomfort of the boyfriend, turning him into a social pariah on campus.
- Male students take to calling a particular brunette student "Monica" because of her resemblance to Monica Lewinsky. Soon, everyone adopts this nickname for her, and she is the target of relentless remarks about cigars, the president, "sexual relations" and Weight Watchers.
- A student grabbed another student by the hair, then grabbed her breast and put his mouth on it. While this is sexual harassment, it is also a form of sexual violence.
Nonconsensual Sexual Contact
Nonconsensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.
Sexual Contact includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
Nonconsensual Sexual Intercourse
Nonconsensual sexual intercourse is any sexual intercourse however slight, with any object, by a person upon another person, that is without consent and/or by force.
Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
Occurs when one person takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.
Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another person;
- Nonconsensual digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity;
- Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity;
- Engaging in voyeurism;
- Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friend hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
- Knowingly exposing someone to or transmitting an STI, STD or HIV to another person;
- Intentionally or recklessly exposing one's genitals in nonconsensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.
Other Misconduct Offenses (Will Fall Under Title IX When Sex or Gender-Based)
- Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct that threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
- Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of sex or gender;
- Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
- Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the university community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);
- Bullying, defined as:
- Repeated and/or severe
- Aggressive behavior
- Likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally
- That is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment.
- Intimate Partner Violence: Violence or abuse between those in an intimate relationship with each other. Examples include:
- A boyfriend shoves his girlfriend into a wall upon seeing her talking to a male friend. This physical assault based in jealousy is a violation of the Intimate Partner Violence policy.
- An ex-girlfriend shames her female partner, threatening to out her as a lesbian if she doesn't give the ex another chance. Psychological abuse is a form of Intimate Partner Violence.
- A graduate student refuses to wear a condom and forces his girlfriend to take hormonal birth control though it makes her ill, in order to prevent pregnancy.
- Married employees are witnessed in the parking garage, with one partner slapping and scratching the other in the midst of an argument.
- Repetitive and menacing
- Pursuit, following, harassing, and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another.
- Example of stalking:
- A graduate student working as an on-campus tutor received flowers and gifts delivered to their office. After learning the gifts were from a student they recently tutored, the graduate student thanked the student and stated that it was not necessary and they would appreciate the gift deliveries to stop. The student then started leaving notes of love and gratitude on the graduate assistant's car, both on campus and at home. Asked again to stop, the student stated by email: "You can ask me to stop, but I'm not giving up. We are meant to be together, and I'll do anything necessary to make you have the feelings for me that I have for you." When the tutor did not respond, the student emailed again, "You cannot escape me. I will track you to the ends of the earth. We are meant to be together."
- Any other university policies may fall within this section when a violation is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the reporting party's sex or gender.
Prohibition Against Retaliation
Retaliation is defined as any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity [subject to limitations imposed by the First Amendment and/or academic freedom]. Retaliation against an individual for an allegation, for supporting a reporting party or for assisting in providing information relevant to an allegation is a serious violation of university policy.
Additional Policy Provisions
- Attempted Violations
In most circumstances, the university will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in the Gender-Misconduct Policy as if those attempts had been completed.
- False Reports
The university will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Behavioral Standards to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
- Amnesty for Victims and Witnesses
The university community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by victims and witnesses. Sometimes, victims or witnesses are hesitant to report to university officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that as many victims as possible choose to report to university officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, the university pursues a policy of offering victims of misconduct and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations related to the incident.
Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to the campus police). The university pursues a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. [While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the university will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.]
- Parental Notification
The university reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The university may also notify parents/guardians of nondependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is nondependent, the university will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The university also reserves the right to designate which university officials have a need to know about individual conduct reports pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
In the university community, instances of conflict may arise where a restorative practice may prove to be an appropriate response to the situation. The university may choose to use restorative practices to bring together all parties involved in an incident for the purpose of addressing the harms associated with the conflict. This process affords the opportunity for discussion of varying points of view and an opportunity to gain a better understanding of those involved. There are numerous methods of restorative practice that can engage all stakeholders, such as mediation, conflict coaching, facilitated dialogue or restorative circles, etc. The context and the needs of those involved will be taken into consideration when determining how best to repair and address the harms caused by a given conflict.
If a student reports an incident of harassment or assault (including sexual harassment or assault), the university will investigate whether the incident occurred on or off campus. This differs from the process used in many other areas of investigation and conduct process, in which the university typically focuses solely on behavior occurring on campus or in connection with a program or activity sponsored by the university.
Whitworth will complete its investigation as soon as is reasonably possible under the circumstances, typically within no more than 60 days.
Guidelines for steps the investigator is likely to take (s/he may combine or eliminate steps depending on the specifics of the situation):
- Determine the identity and contact information of the complainant (whether s/he is the initiator, the alleged complainant, or a university proxy or representative).
- Identify the policies allegedly violated.
- Conduct an initial investigation to determine whether there is reasonable information to charge the accused individual, and determine which policy violations should be alleged as part of the complaint.
- If there is insufficient information to support a policy violation, the grievance may be closed with no further action.
- Meet with the complainant to finalize the complaint.
- Inform the respondent (accused individual) of the investigation (and provide a notice of charges, if appropriate, on the basis of the initial investigation).
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended time frame, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the accused individual, who may be given notice of charges prior to or at the time of the interview.
- Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not to have taken place).
- Present the findings to the accused individual, who may accept the findings, accept the findings in part or reject all findings.
- Share the findings and update the complainant on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
Where a respondent is found not responsible for an alleged violation or violations, the investigation should be closed. Where the respondent accepts the finding that s/he violated university policy, the deputy coordinator assigned to the case will determine appropriate sanctions for the violation. If the respondent rejects part or all of the findings, s/he can request a review of the findings by the vice president for student life or her/his designee. The vice president or her/his designee's decision is the final institutional decision for the case.
Past Sexual History/Character
The past sexual history or sexual character of a party will not be used in an investigation or conduct meeting unless such information is determined by the investigator to be highly relevant. All such information will be presumed irrelevant, and any request to overcome this presumption by the parties must be included in the complaint/response or a subsequent written request that must be reviewed by the investigator. While previous conduct violations by the accused individual are not generally used as information about the present situation, the investigator or associate dean may supply previous complaint information, or may consider it him/herself if s/he is hearing the complaint, only if the following criteria are met:
- The respondent was previously found responsible.
- The previous incident was substantially similar to the present situation.
- Information indicates a pattern of behavior by the respondent.
Definitions That Inform Whitworth Policies:
- Discrimination is defined as unequal, adverse treatment of an individual because of his or her protected legal status, such as race, age or gender. For instance, different treatment of two similar individuals with respect to pay, opportunity for advancement or educational opportunity constitutes discrimination if the reason for the different treatment is the protected status of one of the individuals.
- Harassment is defined as unwelcome, hostile or inappropriate conduct directed toward an individual because of his or her protected status (for instance, persistent comments or jokes about an individual's religion, race, age or gender). Such conduct violates university policy if it has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment, living environment or studying environment for the individual or if it substantially interferes with that individual's employment, living or educational environment.
- Retaliation is defined as adverse or negative action against an individual who has (1) complained about alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation; (2) participated as a party or witness in an investigation relating to such allegations; or (3) participated as a party or witness in a court proceeding or administrative investigation relating to such allegations.
- Sexual harassment is one type of harassment. It includes any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favor, or conduct of a sexual nature when …
- submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment or obtaining an education; or
- submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual affects that individual's employment or education; or
- such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, demoralizing, threatening or hostile employment, living or educational environment.
- Sexual assault, or nonconsensual sexual contact, occurs when a sexual act is intentional and (a) is committed by physical force, threat or intimidation; (b) ignores the objections of another person; or (c) takes advantage of another person's incapacitation, state of intimidation, helplessness or other inability to consent.
- Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to the benefit or advantage of anyone other than the one being exploited. This behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Invasion of sexual privacy
- Prostituting of another student
- Nonconsensual viewing, videoing or audio-taping of sexual activity
- Knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student
- Exposing one's genitals in nonconsensual circumstances; inducing another person to expose his or her genitals
- Sexually based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation
- Domestic violence (as defined by the Violence against Women Act) is the use of physical, sexual or emotional abuse or threats to control another person who is a current or former spouse or other intimate partner, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend. It includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse to the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction. Examples of domestic violence include but are not limited to the following:
- Causing or attempting to cause physical or mental harm to a family or household member
- Placing a family or household member in fear of physical or mental harm
- Causing or attempting to cause a family or household member to engage in involuntary sexual activity by force, threat of force, or duress
- Engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed or molested
- Dating violence (as defined by the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Woman Act of 1994) is violence committed…
- by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
- in a situation where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of (1) the length of the relationship, (2) the type of the relationship, and (3) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power and control in the relationship. The abuser intentionally behaves in ways that cause fear, degradation and humiliation to control the other person. Forms of abuse can be physical, verbal, sexual, emotional and/ or psychological.
Examples include but are not limited to trying to cut off the victim's relationship with family and friends, humiliating the victim in front of friends, making the victim fearful by using threatening behavior, threatening to find someone else if the dating partner doesn't comply with the abuser's wishes or demands, using or threatening to use physically assaultive behaviors such as hitting, shoving, grabbing, slapping, beating, kicking and touching, or forcing the victim to engage in unwanted sexual activity
- Stalking (as defined by the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994) is a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or that might induce substantial emotional distress.
Acts of stalking include but are not limited to harassing another person by telephone, following that person, sending unwanted gifts and other similar forms of intrusive behavior.
- Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. In terms of sexual activity, consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable, clear permission regarding the willingness of both parties to engage in, and to agree on the conditions of, sexual activity.
Consent to any one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts.
Consent can be withdrawn. Thus, even if a person agreed to sexual interaction or continued sexual interaction, that person has the right to change his or her mind, irrespective of how much sexual interaction may have already taken place. Consent cannot be given if the person is incapacitated.
- Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent ("Have sex with me, or I'll hit you." "OK, don't hit me; I'll do what you want").
- Coercion is pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that s/he does not want sex, that s/he wants to stop, or that s/he does not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. NOTE: There is no requirement that a party resist a sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition nonconsensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
In order to give effective consent, one must be of legal age.
Sexual activity with someone whom one should know to be mentally or physically incapacitated (by alcohol or other drug use leading to unconsciousness or blackout) is considered to be forced.
- Incapacitation is a state in which a person cannot make reasonable decisions because s/he lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, why or how" of his/her sexual interaction). Consumption of alcohol or drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation. The question of incapacitation is determined on a case-by-case basis. It will include an analysis of whether the responding party knew, or should have known, that the complaining party was incapacitated, or if the responding party played a role in creating the circumstance of incapacitation.
This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from ingesting rape drugs if the responding party knew, or should have known, of the incapacitating condition or was the cause thereof.
NOTE: Though resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent, the presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition nonconsensual, but nonconsensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
Use of alcohol or other drugs will never function as a defense for behavior that violates a Whitworth policy.
The sexual orientation and/or gender identity of individuals is not relevant to sexual assault allegations.