All reports are handled by the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, even though they may originate in a variety of places, such as the online reporting form, direct contact with a GC employee, an email or a phone call. You have the right to share as much as you are comfortable sharing or what you believe would be helpful to achieve the outcome you desire. If you request an investigation, you will be asked to provide additional detail needed for a prompt, thorough, and confidential investigation.
At any point in the process, survivors may contact a variety of people for support, to get advice on options, or to be directed to additional resources. The faculty advocate, assistant athletic trainer, campus counselors, and campus pastors can help you consider resource and reporting options. They can help you contact the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, but are not required to do so.
Any GC employee is also available to help you report your experience to the Title IX Deputy Coordinators. Responsible Employees include residence life coordinators, residence assistants (RAs), as well as faculty, staff, and administrators. GC employees can be your bridge to resources and reporting and help you find support along the way. All Goshen College employees are required to report sexual/gender harassment or assault to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, so that those involved can have equal access to resources and processes that will help them.
Off-campus contacts are available as well, especially if you have experienced a crime or have medical concerns. Survivors may also contact the Goshen Police Department at any time after experiencing a crime. Please note that reporting a crime close to the time of the incident increases your chances of preserving valuable evidence for a criminal investigation and prosecution. A criminal investigation is separate from campus investigations, which are aimed at resolving violations of community standards. Off-campus reports will not be shared with Goshen College unless you ask them to, if the crime occurred on college property, or if the situation poses a threat to you or the campus community. In some cases, an on-campus investigation might be temporarily paused to allow a criminal investigation.
Goshen’s Study Service Term and Off-Campus courses are also protected by Title IX guidelines against gender/sexual harassment or assault. This includes discrimination based on sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation. If you experience any kind of harassment–gender, sexual, or racial–or any form of physical assault, you should find information, support, and resources, including the right to report your experience with sexual or gender harassment or assault to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator for accommodations or investigation.
If studying in Goshen, Indiana, you have options to report sexual assault to on or off-campus agencies.
Off-campus resources include:
- Goshen Health Emergency Room (574) 364-1000. This option gives you immediate access to medical treatment and does not require reporting to the police or to Goshen College, unless you ask to collect physical evidence or what is commonly referred to as a “rape kit.” In those situations, the police are contacted to assign a case number to your evidence and collect basic information about you, not about the incident. If you want to file charges, a police detective will be contacted to begin a criminal investigation. If you would like Goshen College support, you can ask an On-Call Residence Administrator, Residence Life Coordinator, Campus Safety, the Faculty Advocate, a Student Life Staff member, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, or a trusted friend to go with you. See the contact numbers on the Support and Resources page.
- You may also call the Goshen City Police Department directly: 911 for emergency situations and (574) 533-8661 for non-emergency incident. The Goshen City Police Department will respond by sending an officer to the location you tell them. The officer will ask you questions and collect information about the assault. They can help you go to a safe place or to the emergency room.
- In a non-emergency situation you may also contact Goshen Family Physicians for any health issues. Call (574) 534-8200 between 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to make an appointment. Your information will not be shared with Goshen College. If you report an assault to them, the medical staff can also advise you of your options.
- A trained advocate from Victim Assistance Services for the Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney’s office (574) 523-2237) can help you access resources and options for requesting a protective order or filing criminal complaint.
Goshen College will promptly and equitably address any complaints of sexual misconduct by:
- Advising the person reporting the sexual conduct (“the complainant”) about the importance of preserving evidence, as well as the standard for a substantiated report being a preponderance of evidence;
- Providing the complainant with Goshen College policy and procedures for response and investigation.
- Advising the person reporting about available college and community resources, including health care services, counseling and other mental health services, and law enforcement authorities;
- Assisting the reporter in accessing college and community resources, including campus and local law enforcement authorities, when such assistance is requested;
- Providing interim accommodations, such as changes in living, working, employment, or academic arrangements as appropriate;
- When accommodations involve the person against whom a report has been filed (“the respondent”) or in the case of an investigation, advising the respondent about the nature of the report and any steps involved, as well as any interim accommodations put in place, such as a no-contact order;
- Providing the respondent with Goshen College policy and procedures for response and investigation;
- Advising the respondent about available college and community resources, as stated above and as appropriate to the situation;
- Carrying out a prompt and thorough investigation conducted by the Sexual Misconduct Response Team and supervised by Title IX Deputy Coordinator.
- Communicating with both the complainant and respondent about progress of an investigation;
- Informing both the complainant and respondent of the outcome of an investigation through a written Memo of Understanding (MOU).
- Informing both the complainant and respondent about the prohibition of retaliation; and
- Informing the complainant and the respondent about options for appealing a determination.
Rights of Complainant & Respondent
Every member of the Goshen College campus who reports gender or sexual assault or misconduct and any person against whom a report has been filed have rights to be treated with respect and professionalism. The identity of and information about any person involved in a report will be private and only be shared with their permission and to those who need to know information related to the services they are providing. See the following list of rights for more detail.
- Rights of a student reporting sexual misconduct/violence
- Rights of a person against whom a report of sexual misconduct/violence has been made
Title IX Deputy Coordinator
As the representative designated to receive reports, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator as the following responsibilities:
- To receive all reports of sexual misconduct;
- To assure that both complainant and respondent are provided with information regarding appropriate health, counseling, spiritual, and other resources and to assist the complainant and respondent in accessing those resources, if requested;
- To assure that each complainant receives information on how to contact campus and local law enforcement authorities, if appropriate, and to assist the complainant in contacting law enforcement authorities, if requested;
- To assist with accommodations and arrange for appropriate changes to the academic, employment, or living circumstances of complainants and respondents before, during, and after investigation of a complaint of sexual misconduct;
- To undertake steps needed to address the reported behavior, remedy its impact on the individuals involved, and prevent further occurrence of the behavior. This will be done with respect for confidentiality and privacy of those involved.
- To work with the Dean of Students and Campus Safety to assess all reports for an immediate or potential threat of harm to the reporter, to any parties named in the report, or to the campus community. In those cases, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will facilitate appropriate responses to each circumstance. Individuals involved in responding to an immediate threat will only be given information they need to know to assist the individuals involved.
- To inform all parties involved about the prohibition against retaliation of any kind and to address any retaliatory behavior as a violation of community standards.
- To assign cases requesting investigation to members of the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT), a group of Goshen College employees that collects evidence and provides a finding of situations of sexual misconduct.
- To record the determination reached by the SMRT and assist in developing an appropriate response to the determination.
- To draft a memo of understanding regarding the complaint, the determination, and response and share that with both complainant and respondent.
- To oversee implementation of any steps or disciplinary action following from the determination.
Types of Reports
Goshen College encourages students and employees to report incidents of gender or sexual assault or misconduct to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator so that we can address and remedy a situation and do what we can to prevent such an incident from happening again. You have several options when reporting and may choose to pursue the process that is most helpful for you. You might file a report to inform the institution about a problem (through an anonymous report), to request support and accommodations (report with your name provided), or to pursue an investigation (report for investigation) into whether or not campus policy has been violated. In cases where a violation has occurred, we will determine a response or discipline that fits the severity of the violation.
When filing an online report, you choose to remain anonymous. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator receives your report and consults with the appropriate administrators to assess and document the information provided. If names of other parties are provided, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator and other administrators will determine whether or not the information reported poses an immediate threat to those parties or the campus community. If so, they will proceed as the circumstances require to address the threat, which may require an investigation. In other cases, they will use the information to address a general problem, such as a hostile environment. With an anonymous report, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator is unable to contact the reporter to offer support, accommodations, or options. Even if you submit an anonymous report, you always have the option to file another report and identify yourself. You can also contact any GC employee or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator to provide additional information or file a report.
Reporting for Accommodations
If your report includes your name, you will be contacted within 48 hours by the Title IX Deputy Coordinator with an offer of resources and a chance to meet to discuss your options. You can choose if, when, and how you will have further contact. In meeting with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator, you will learn more about your options for support, accommodations, or investigation. You may always bring a support person with you to any meeting, as long as that individual does not speak on your behalf.
Reporting for Investigation
When your report includes a request for an investigation, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will first contact you with an offer of resources and a chance to meet to discuss your options. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will forward your report to two members of the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT), a group of Goshen College employees that collects evidence and provides a finding of situations of sexual misconduct.
The person who reports experiencing sexual misconduct/violence is identified technically as “complainant.” The person against whom a report of sexual misconduct/violence is made is identified technically as “respondent.”
- The SMRT’s role is to receive reports of sexual misconduct, conduct an investigation of witnesses and evidence, and determine whether or not the report is substantiated.
- The Title IX Deputy Coordinator works with SMRT to determine consequences and/or disciplinary action. After the finding is summarized in a memo of understanding, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator meets with the complainant and respondent separately to share the determination and establish a plan for next steps.
- Confidentiality is maintained to the extent that it does not inhibit a thorough investigation. Your identity is known to members of the Sexual Misconduct Response Team but otherwise remains protected throughout the investigative process.
- Students are provided with “interim measures” such as room or class changes, a no contact order, or academic and counseling support during the investigation.
The Sexual Misconduct Response Team
SMRT members have had training in Title IX guidelines and the investigative process. They work to complete an investigation and reach a determination that is objective, fair, and timely. The SMRT process is not a legal process and only determines if there has been a violation of community standards. A criminal investigation can be pursued separately from the campus investigation and is always an option for cases where state or federal laws have been violated.
Procedure and process when a complaint is submitted to the SMRT
- A student files a report requesting and investigation with the Title IX Deputy Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator contacts the reporting party and arranges for a time to meet, discuss options, and consider safety needs.
- Immediate administrative action will be taken to end the harassment, provide support and prevent the recurrence of violations.
- If a student decides to pursue a formal investigation, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator contacts a member of the Sexual Misconduct Response Team (SMRT) with a copy of the initial meeting and report. Reporters and alleged offenders have the right to indicate when they would not like to have an investigator because of a potential conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator is notified that a report has been submitted to the SMRT.
- After the report is received by a member of SMRT, the investigator contacts the complainant to review the report and gather any additional information. The complainant may always have a support person or advocate present, as long as that individual does not interfere with the interview or speak on the complainant’s behalf.
- The SMRT investigator will give the complainant options of responses to the incident and ask the complainant for their preferred response. If additional accommodations are needed, the SMRT investigators will request those from the Title IX Deputy Coordinator.
- SMRT investigators will inform the complainant of the prohibition against retaliation by the respondent or any other individual involved with a complaint. Retaliation is behavior that is intended to threaten, coerce, or manipulate someone to prevent them from pursuing their rights under Title IX. The complainant is encouraged to notify the SMRT with any additional information related to the reporter if any retaliatory behaviors are observed.
- Following the meeting with the complainant, the investigative team meets with the respondent. A summary of the complainant’s report is shared with the respondent.The respondent may always have a support person or advocate present, as long as that individual does not interfere with the interview or speak on the complainant’s behalf. The investigators will interview the respondent and any witnesses identified by the complainant and respondent.
- The respondent is encouraged to notify the SMRT investigators with any additional information or if any retaliatory behaviors are observed.
- The SMRT maintains a position of impartiality. In some cases, particularly complex cases, Goshen College may contract with an external investigative team to support the ability of the SMRT to reach a timely determination. The Title IX Deputy Coordinator will work with the Title IX Coordinator to determine the need to employ external investigators.
- At all stages of a report, investigation, and determination, all parties involved in the complaint (complainant, respondent, witnesses, advocates) will be required to maintain confidentiality about the identities of those involved, the nature of the report itself, and any aspect of the process.
- After all evidence is collected into an investigative report, which is reviewed separately with the complainant and respondent. Both the complainant and respondent are given a recommended time period in which they need to respond, review the report, and submit additional information and sign the report. Each party has the option to decline reading the report but then waives their right to provide additional information.
- After data collection, the investigative team meets with remaining members of the SMRT to 1) review available data 2) to reach a conclusion: Substantiated, Unsubstantiated or Inconclusive. The SMRT uses a “preponderance of evidence” standard, meaning that the misconduct/violence is “more likely than not” to have occurred. This standard is different than that used in criminal cases (“beyond a reasonable doubt”).
- The Title IX Deputy Coordinator, as coordinator of SMRT processes, helps document the determination meeting. Following the meeting, the Title IX Deputy Coordinator provides a written statement of the findings and determinations in a Memos of Understanding (MOU).
- The Title IX Deputy Coordinator then shares the MOU with the complainant and then the respondent, both of whom may be accompanied by a support person or advocate.
- The amount of time from the receipt of report to communication of determination will vary according to an incident’s complexity. Goshen College will complete the investigation, make a determination and implement responses within a 60-day timeline as outlined by Title IX, except in cases of unusual complexity. SMRT investigators and the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will provide both complainant and respondent with updates of an investigation’s progress.
Appealing an SMRT Determination
The complainant and respondent have the right to appeal the final determination of responsibility and/or the resulting sanction based on 1) a substantial procedural error that materially affected the outcome and/or 2) material, new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination.
Any appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, Beth Martin Birky, within 72 hours (or three working days) of the receipt of the Memo of Understanding. An appeal should include an explanation of the procedural error or new evidence.
The Title IX Coordinator, who has no prior knowledge of the original case or proceedings, will review the information and investigation report, request additional information from SMRT and the complainant and/or respondent, and make a determination. This will be done in the timetable outlined in the appeal process.
In the case that the Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest with any of the parties involved, another administrator will be identified to handle the appeal
The response team receives annual training on the issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and survivors and promotes individual and institutional accountability.