Title IX Policy

Sexual Harassment
Sioux Falls Seminary, in order to maintain a positive, discrimination-free educational and work environment, declares that sexual harassment in the workplace or the educational environment is unacceptable and therefore prohibited. To assure such an environment, the seminary shall provide education regarding sexual harassment to all members of the campus community.

Sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

1. A school employee conditioning education benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo); or

2. Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school's education program or activity; or

3. Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

The seminary bears legal responsibility for responding to complaints when sexual harassment occurs in the seminary’s education program or activity, against a person in the United States.

Grievance Procedure

1. Filing a Complaint

Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the person alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sex discrimination or sexual harassment), at any time, to any faculty member or administrator or directly to the Title IX Coordinator (identified below). Recipients of such a report who are not the Title IX Coordinator are responsible for relaying that report to the Title IX Coordinator in a timely manner. Reports can be submitted in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator, or by any other means that result in the Title IX Coordinator receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours).

The Title IX Coordinator is: Nate Helling, Chief Financial Officer and VP of Operations
Their contact information is: nhelling@sfseminary.edu; 605-336-6588 ext. 2718

The Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the reporter to discuss the availability of supportive measures (with or without the filing of a formal complaint) available, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the options available for pursuing the issue, and explain the processes and protections that will follow.

2.  Informal Process

In some cases, an informal resolution process, such as mediation or restorative justice, may be sought between the parties. (An informal process will not be applied when the complaint alleges that an employee sexually harassed a student.) Otherwise, both parties must be given written notice of the allegations and both parties must give voluntary, written consent before using any such informal process. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from informal resolution and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint.

3.  Formal Process

In all other cases, a formal process, including an investigation, will be employed. That process includes the following steps:

a. Individuals who allege sexual discrimination or harassment will file a formal grievance with the Title IX Coordinator, identifying those against whom the complaint is made and the circumstances of the event(s) in which the alleged behavior occurred, and explicitly requesting that the Seminary investigate the alleged harassment. This document will be signed and dated by the complainant. The complainant must be a current or prospective participant in the Seminary community.

b. The Title IX Coordinator will investigate the matter or will utilize the services of another investigator with training in Title IX processes, internal or external to the seminary. Such investigation will be conducted without prejudgment of the facts at issue and free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against either party. The investigation will protect parties’ privacy by requiring a party’s written consent before using the party’s medical, psychological, or similar treatment records during the process.  The investigator will apply a presumption that the respondent is not responsible during the process, utilizing the clear and convincing evidence standard of evidence in all cases.

c. Both parties will be given equal opportunity to select an advisor of the party’s choice (who may be, but does not need to be, an attorney), and an equal opportunity to submit and review evidence throughout the investigation.

d. Both parties will be given the opportunity to present their case at a live hearing, in person or online. Each party will be given all evidence gathered by the investigator in advance of the hearing. Each party may call witnesses. Each party’s advisor can ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Such cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the seminary will provide an advisor for them. If a party chooses not to participate in a live hearing, such absence does not weigh against them in the final determination of the matter. The hearing will be conducted by the decision-maker in the case, who will be the president or a disinterested party appointed by the president for this purpose.

e. All evidence gathered in the investigation and the hearing will be given to the decision-maker for a final determination. That final determination will be made in a timely manner, typically no more than 60 days from the filing of the complaint, will be in writing, will be distributed to both parties, and will include information on opportunities to appeal.

4.  Appeals

Any appeals must be made in writing within 14 days to the decision-maker, with rationale provided, such rationale to consist only of one or more of the following: procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter; new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination was made that could affect the outcome of the matter; and/or the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter. Should the decision-maker see grounds for reconsideration, s/he will refer the matter to another disinterested party for review and a subsequent decision, which shall be binding.

Should the determination find the respondent responsible for sexual harassment, the decision-maker shall effectively implement or recommend remedies for the complainant, the respondent, and the institution. Should such remedies include alterations to employment, the processes employed in doing so will, under most circumstances, be confidential. The complainant should not expect to participate in this aspect of the case.

Other Protections
The seminary is committed to protecting any individual, including complainants, respondents, and witnesses, from retaliation for reporting sexual harassment.  The seminary will keep confidential the identity of complainants, respondents, and witnesses, except as may be permitted by FERPA, or as required by law, or as necessary to carry out a Title IX proceeding.