Disability Discrimination Policy
The following internal grievance procedures have been adopted for students and employees of SAU who have complaints alleging a violation of Section 504, pertaining to disability discrimination, including harassment based upon disability. Please note that as provided for in CFR 34 §104.7(b), these procedures do not apply to Section 504 complaints from applicants for employment or from applicants for admission to the University, which is a private, postsecondary educational institution.
1. Disability Discrimination
If an individual believes they have been discriminated against on the basis of disability they may make a complaint that their rights under Section 504 have been denied. Complaints of disability discrimination, including complaints of disability harassment carried out by employees, other students, or third parties, may be filed under this Section 504 grievance procedure. Such a complaint is referred to in these procedures as a “grievance”. The person who has the grievance is referred to in these procedures as the “grievant.” The person or entity against whom the grievance is made is referred to in these procedures as “the respondent.”
2. Filing of a Grievance
A grievance must be set forth in writing, be signed by the grievant, and filed with the University’s Section 504 Grievance Administrator. A grievance must contain the name, address, and contact information of the grievant, how the grievant believes he or she was discriminated against, and identify the person or entity which the grievant believes engaged in the discriminatory action. The grievance must be filed with the Grievance Administrator within 60 days of the date the discrimination is alleged to have occurred. Failure to file a grievance within the required 60 day time period will result in the grievance being dismissed as untimely. The Grievance Administrator for Spring Arbor University is the University’s Director of Human Resources. Filing of a grievance may be made by hand delivery, by first class mail, or by fax transmission. The address, telephone number, and fax number for the Grievance Administrator is: Section 504 Grievance Administrator, Spring Arbor University Human Resources Office, 106 East Main Street, Spring Arbor, MI 49283; telephone number (517) 750-6426; fax number (517) 750-3227. If the Grievance Administrator is alleged to have been involved in the discrimination or harassment, the grievance should be filed with the University’s Section 504 Coordinator and the steps listed in these grievance procedures to be taken by the Grievance Administrator shall be taken instead, by the Section 504 Coordinator. The address, telephone number, and fax number for the Section 504 Coordinator is Section 504 Coordinator, Spring Arbor University, Academic Student Connections Office, 106 East Main Street, Spring Arbor, MI 49283; telephone number (517) 750-6479; fax number (517) 750-6650. The Grievance Administrator will maintain the files and records of the University regarding any grievance. Records shall be retained for three years from the date of the conclusion of the grievance and may thereafter be destroyed.
3. Receipt of Grievance
Upon receipt of a timely grievance, the Grievance Administrator, (or his or her designee), shall provide a copy of the grievance to the respondent and inform the respondent that they may file a written response to the grievance. The written response shall be due within ten days of delivery of the grievance to the respondent. The Grievance Administrator also shall provide a copy of the grievance to the Section 504 Coordinator. If the respondent files a written response with the Grievance Administrator, a copy of the response shall be provided to the Section 504 Coordinator and to the grievant.
4. Informal Resolution Process
At any time during the grievance process, the Grievance Administrator may inquire of the parties if they wish to participate in an informal resolution of the grievance. If both the grievant and the respondent agree to do so, the Grievance Administrator will meet with them informally to attempt to resolve the grievance. If a resolution of the grievance is reached between the parties, the agreement shall be reduced to writing and signed by the grievant and the respondent, the grievance will be considered resolved and no further action will be taken on the grievance.
5. Investigation Process
The Grievance Administrator shall commence an investigation of the grievance within seven business days of receipt of the grievance. As a part of the investigation, the Grievance Administrator may interview the grievant and the respondent. Both the grievant and the respondent shall have the right to provide names and contact information of any witnesses they believe may have information regarding the facts involved in the grievance, and to provide any evidence to the Grievance Administrator which they believe may be relevant to the grievance. The Grievance Administrator shall use his or her best efforts to locate any witnesses named by the grievant and respondent and to interview any available witnesses. Any interviews may be conducted in person or by telephone.
6. Involvement of Section 504 Coordinator
It is the goal of the University that the investigation process be adequate, reliable and impartial, in order to fairly and adequately process grievances filed under this procedure. During the investigation process, the Grievance Administrator shall involve the Section 504 Coordinator in the investigation to the extent reasonably necessary to ensure adherence to the requirements of Section 504 and its implementing regulation. The Grievance Administrator shall discuss with the University’s Section 504 Coordinator the facts and evidence discovered during the investigation and may designate the Section 504 Coordinator, or any other individual, to conduct an investigation in the place of the Grievance Administrator.
7. Timing of Investigation
The investigation process should be completed within fifteen business days from the date of commencement of the investigation. If, in the judgment of the Grievance Administrator, particular circumstances require that the investigation period be extended, the grievant, the respondent, and the Section 504 Coordinator will be notified that additional time is required to complete the investigation. The notice shall include a date by which the investigation will be concluded, which should be no longer than fifteen (15) business days from the date of the notice.
8. Findings of Investigation
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the Grievance Administrator will discuss his or her findings as to the investigation with the Section 504 Coordinator and shall thereafter set forth in writing, the Grievance Administrator’s findings as to whether the results of the investigation uphold the grievance or whether the grievance is denied as being unsupported by the results of the investigation. The written report will be completed within one week following the conclusion of the investigation.
9. Delivery of Report
A copy of the report will be delivered to the President of the University, the grievant, the respondent, and the Section 504 Coordinator within three business days of its completion. For all delivery requirements under these grievance procedures, delivery shall be deemed to have been made as of the date of hand delivery, mailing by first class mail, or transmission by fax.
10. Remedial Steps
If the report of the Grievance Administrator finds that disability discrimination has occurred, the University will thereafter take such steps as are necessary to ensure that the discriminatory effects on the grievant, and others, if appropriate, are corrected. In the case of disability harassment, the University also will take steps to prevent recurrence of any such harassment.
11. Right of Appeal
If either the grievant or the respondent is dissatisfied with the findings of the investigation report, they may file an appeal with the Grievance Administrator. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the person making the appeal, and must be delivered to the Grievance Administrator within ten calendar days of the date the report was delivered to the person who is filing the appeal. If the Grievance Administrator determines that the appeal is not timely filed, no further action shall be taken in regard to the appeal.
12. Hearing on Appeal
If a timely appeal is filed, the Grievance Administrator will take steps to arrange for the selection of a hearing panel and schedule a hearing on the grievance. The hearing shall be held within fifteen calendar days of receipt of the appeal. The hearing panel shall consist of three members; one chosen by the grievant, one chosen by the respondent, and one chosen by the Grievance Administrator. The individuals chosen must be current faculty, staff, students, or employees of the University, and unrelated by blood or marriage to either the grievant or respondent, in order to be eligible to serve on the hearing panel. The panel members shall designate one of their members to serve as chairman of the panel. The Chairman shall commence and end the hearing and maintain order during the hearing process.
13. Hearing Procedure
To protect the confidentiality of the parties involved, the hearing shall be a non-public hearing unless both the grievant and the respondent request that the hearing be public. This is an internal grievance proceeding, and neither the grievant nor the respondent has a right to representation by an attorney or any other agent at the hearing. The grievant and the respondent shall have the right to present witnesses and evidence to the panel, and to question witnesses. The grievant and the respondent also shall be entitled to make an oral statement to the panel at the commencement of the hearing, to state their position as to the grievance, if they wish to do so. The panel members also may ask any questions of the witnesses, the grievant, and the respondent, which the panel deems relevant to the matter.
14. Decision of Hearing Panel
At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel shall meet privately to reach a decision as to whether the finding contained in the written report should be upheld. A majority of the panel must vote in favor of a decision, in order for the decision of the panel to be valid.
15. Delivery of Panel Decision
The decision of the panel shall be reduced to writing, signed by the panel members voting in favor of the decision, and shall be delivered to the President of the University, the Grievance Administrator, the grievant, the respondent, and the Section 504 Coordinator, within three business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
16. Final Appeal
If either the grievant or the respondent is dissatisfied with the decision of the appeal panel, they may file a final appeal with the President of the University. The appeal must be in writing, signed by the person making the appeal, and must be filed within seven calendar days of delivery of the panel’s decision to the person making the appeal. If the President determines that the appeal is not timely filed, it shall be dismissed without any action taken. Upon receipt of a timely appeal, the President of the University shall review such materials regarding the grievance as the President deems necessary to make an informed decision as to the appeal. Within ten days of receipt of a timely appeal, the President shall issue a written decision regarding the appeal. A copy of the decision shall be delivered to the Grievance Administrator, the grievant, the respondent, and the panel members. The decision of the President shall be final and non-appealable.
NOTICE: Retaliation against individuals who file disability discrimination complaints or who participate in this grievance process is prohibited. Individuals who believe they have been retaliated against for filing a grievance or for participating in the grievance process should notify the University’s Section 504 Coordinator at the address and telephone number set forth above.
The University reserves the right to amend, change, or substitute, in whole or in part, any of the grievance procedures set forth herein, in the event there are changes in applicable law or regulations which require changes in these procedures.
Diversity at Spring Arbor University
A Statement of Commitment
Spring Arbor University is a community of learners committed to reflecting the Kingdom of God in diversity of our students, faculty, staff, trustees, and other associates. Valuing the dignity of every human being is part of the historic legacy of our founding denomination. The University’s continued focus on creating a diverse learning environment reflects these values and honors our heritage.
This University is committed to be a place where ethnic and racial inclusiveness is a hallmark of the community we create. However, as an imperfect human organization, we must acknowledge and plan for the challenges such diversity brings. But we boldly embrace this challenge, because as Christians, we know it is right. Jesus Christ is the perspective for our learning, and through Him, we are called to move beyond mere tolerance of each other to genuine acceptance and mutually transformative learning.
Becoming a diverse community of learners is consistent with our liberal arts tradition. It facilitates a healthy exchange of culture, economic, social, religious, philosophical views within the classroom and in campus activities.
Further, as an educational institution, we know we will ill- prepare students for personal and professional lives in a global society if we fail to expose them to the rich diversity of peoples and cultures. This exposure cannot solely come from books but needs to be tested and experience though interactive and on-going personal relationships.
Therefore, we will seek ways to invite and welcome diversity into our community. We will be proactive and creative in integrating different cultural perspectives into the curriculum and community life, and we will strive to be always a community of love and respect.
Approved by the Board of Trustees, 2003
Responding and Reporting
Spring Arbor University seeks to create and nurture an environment free from discrimination and harassment and asks students, faculty and staff to participate in fostering and protecting this community by addressing deviations from SAU Community Standards. In minor circumstances, community members should follow the redemptive model found in Matthew 18:12-17 and provide one-on- one constructive feedback. In circumstances where the behavior does not change or are more serious in nature, student issues should be reported to any member of the Student Development and Success staff and/or the individuals identified below and academic issues should be reported to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Kevin Brown, Chief Diversity Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-750-7668
Racism and Discrimination
Racism is a set of attitudes or beliefs that hold particular racial or ethnic groups superior to others, often resulting in justification of discriminatory treatment or other acts of racism. Because it is universally true that humans are clearly equal in value and worth, we seek to honor and cherish every person in dignity, kindness, and grace.
Racist attitudes and actions do not reflect the Kingdom of God and violate the Christian community Spring Arbor University strives to create. Spring Arbor University will respond to complaints of racist behavior by:
- Advising the student reporting the alleged in inappropriate conduct about available University and community resources;
- Assisting the student in accessing college and community resources, arranging for reconciliation between affected parties, and contacting campus and local law enforcement authorities when such assistance is requested;
- Making reasonable accommodations in living, student employment, or academic arrangements as appropriate;
- Conducting a timely and thorough investigation;
- Managing all complaints as confidential to the extent consistent with conducting a thorough investigation;
- Determining the appropriate accountability response where appropriate;
- Communicating outcomes of the investigation and applicable accountability response to the appropriate parties when warranted.
The University requires that no student, officer, employee or agent of the University shall retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or otherwise discriminate against any individual for exercising their right or responsibilities to report incidents of racial misconduct.
University responses to racial misconduct will be determined after the incident has been thoroughly investigated. As part of the accountability process, SAU will provide opportunity for reconciliation between the students impacted by the incident. Depending on the severity of the offense, University responses may include–but are not limited to–the following:
- Verbal confrontation
- Written correction and warnings
- Restriction of campus access, benefits, or services
- Guided research paper
- Mandatory mentoring, accountability and/or training/ education
The University reserves the right to deny enrollment, continued enrollment or re-admittance to any student who provided false information to gain or maintain access, or whose personal history indicates his or her presence at the University would endanger the health, safety or welfare of themselves or other members of the SAU community.
Family Education Rights and Privacy Act
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA) gives University students the right to view educational records (records, files, documents and other materials that contain information directly related to the student and maintained by the University) maintained in the various University offices.
Educational records do not include: records of instructional or administrative personnel that are personal in nature and are not accessible to any other person; records maintained by physicians, psychiatrists, psychologists or other recognized professional or para- professionals; or financial records of parents.
Students who wish to view their files should indicate that they wish to do so to the University official responsible for maintaining that particular file. An appointment will be made for the student to view the file within a reasonable amount of time. Parents of dependent students (as defined by the Internal Revenue Service) have the same right of access to the records of their dependents.
The Privacy Act permits the University to release, without student consent, directory information. Directory information at Spring Arbor University includes a student’s name, address, telephone number, major field of study, place of birth, participation in officially recognized activities and sports, weight and height of members of athletic teams, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received and the most recent educational agency or institution attended. Students who do not want directory information released must submit a request in writing to the Office of the Registrar. The University will communicate academic and behavioral information to parents when appropriate.
Information on the types of educational records maintained by Spring Arbor University, officials responsible for maintaining records, persons who have access to such records, purposes for which these persons have access to records, and procedures for correcting inaccurate records is available through the Office of the Registrar.
Formal Complaint Policy
Spring Arbor University strives to provide a quality Christian education in a vibrant and safe environment. At times an individual may feel personally dissatisfied with an interaction with a SAU employee, policy or process. This Spring Arbor University Complaint Policy is available to individuals who request to have a concern resolved that has been unsuccessful in attempts to resolve the situation informally, or for situations not covered by existing policies (e.g., the grade appeal policy, residency policy, student accountability policies, sexual harassment policy, etc.).
When an individual has a complaint, resolution should be sought through informal communication (face to face, email or phone) with the appropriate staff member, instructor, dean, and/or administrative officer who may be able to help rectify or clarify the situation before an official complaint is initiated. If the issue remains unresolved through informal communication, or if the complainant is not satisfied or not willing to address the issue with the individual involved or his/her supervisors, a formal process may be initiated. All formal complaints must be in writing using the official Spring Arbor University Complaint Form, which is available on www.arbor.edu and in the Office of Student Development and Success.
Formal Complaints should be filed during the semester of occurrence but no later than 30 days after the incident or after the end of the semester. Process and procedures for the complaint resolution are available on www.arbor.edu, the Office of Student Development and Success, and in all student handbooks.
Formal Complaint Resolution Process:
- Formal complaints should be completed in writing on the form provided and submitted to the Office of the Vice President for Student Development and Success. Additional letters or documentation may be submitted in addition to the form.
- The complaint should provide sufficient detail on the issue of concern and of the efforts at attempted resolution. If appropriate efforts have not been attempted, the issue may be returned to the individual with insights on how to make effective use of the informal processes available.
- The Office of Student Development and Success will determine the appropriate personnel needed to address the complaint or follow up to request additional information.
- The individual filing the complaint will be contacted within five business days of filing the complaint either to communicate a resolution or to request more information and inform on the process.
- Unless the issue demands significant exploration or investigation, a written response should be communicated to individual within ten business days.
As stated in the policy above, some issues are covered under existing policies, and the individual could be referred to those policies and the personnel associated with those areas.
Freedom of Expression
SAU encourages the vigorous pursuit of truth, and therefore, supports the freedom of expressing personal opinions and perspectives. As a Christian university, we believe the Bible, as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is true and reliable. We recognize that there are Christians inside and outside our community who have different interpretations of Scripture. SAU’s commitments may be in conflict with the practice or vision of the larger culture, as Christians beliefs have been in other times and places. That said, community members are expected to be respectful when issues of disagreement emerge.
Students may express a dissenting opinion without fear of repercussions as long as discussions do not encourage others to violate SAU community standards.
Campus Demonstration Policy
As an academic institution, SAU supports the freedom of expressing personal opinions and perspectives in a civil and respectful manner both inside and outside the classroom. In order to protect students and SAU the following guidelines have been established:
- On-campus groups must apply and be granted permission to demonstrate on the SAU campus. A Campus Demonstration Application is available in the Office of Student Development and Success.
- The Campus Demonstration Application requires organizers to state the reason for the demonstration, campus organization sponsoring the demonstration, number of people involved, date, time and location.
- No off-campus organization or demonstrators may participate in an approved demonstration unless first approved by the Office of Student Development and Success and included in original Campus Demonstration Application.
- All protests must abide by all tenets of the SAU Student Handbook.
- The Office of Student Development and Success may discontinue any demonstration not in compliance with the above guidelines or the SAU Student Handbook.
Interpersonal Harm Policy (with Title IX Implications)
Spring Arbor University prohibits the offenses of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault. A student or employee who reports to the University that they have been a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, whether the offense occurred on- or off- campus, shall be provided with a copy of this Policy, which contains a written explanation of the student’s or employee’s rights and options available under clauses (ii) through (vii) of subparagraph (B) of the ‘Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act’.
In order to help prevent domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault, the University educates the student community about matters such as domestic violence, stalking, sexual assaults, rape, acquaintance rape, dating violence, including date rape, through its mandatory freshman orientation program each fall, for incoming students, and during orientation of new employees. The education programs include primary prevention and awareness programs and include:
- A statement that the University prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault;
- The definitions of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault in Michigan;
- Sexual assault (often known as rape) is forcing or coercing an individual to engage in any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration. It is also a crime if the assailant is your dating partner or spouse.
- Coercion is a form of sexual assault. It is putting pressure and manipulation in place to obtain sexual activity.
- Dating violence is a pattern of assaultive and controlling behaviors that one person uses against another in order to gain or maintain power 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, sexual, emotional and psychological.
- Domestic Violence is the occurrence of any of 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; and/or engaging in activity toward a family or household member that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested.
- Stalking is a pattern of behavior involving repeated or continuing harassment of another individual that would cause a reasonable person to feel terrorized, frightened, intimidated, threatened, harassed, or molested. Pattern of behavior is defined as two or more non-continuous instances which share the same purpose. The term harassed is defined as repeated or continuing unconsented contact directed toward a victim resulting in emotional distress.
- Sexual harassment is unwelcome, sexually-based behavior such as touching, pressure for dates, sexual comments or jokes, and the open display of sexually oriented materials.
- The definition of consent, in reference to sexual activity, in Michigan;
- Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed in mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any point. A person that is incapacitated in any way cannot reasonably offer consent.
- Safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault against a person other than such individual. Students who report instances of these behaviors will not face Spring Arbor University discipline for being involved in a scenario where community standards are violated.
- Information on risk reduction to help individuals recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks; and
- This Policy Statement, which includes the required information in clauses (ii) through (vii) of (8)(B) of §485(f) (20 U.S.C. 1092(f)).
The Office of Student Development and Success also offers the above information in items (1) through (6), on domestic violence, dating violence, stalking and sexual assault to University students and employees on a continuing basis, through prevention and awareness campaigns for students and employees, and also makes such information available upon request. Literature on date rape education, domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and prevention and risk reduction in regard to these behaviors and the University’s response in the event a complaint is made regarding such behaviors, is available through the Office of Student Development.
If you are a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking at the University, your first priority should be to get to a place of safety. You should then obtain necessary medical treatment. It is important that any evidence of any such actions be preserved as the evidence may be necessary to prove criminal domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking, or to obtain a personal protection order. The University’s Campus Safety Department strongly advocates that a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault report the incident in a timely manner.
The University will protect the confidentiality of victims, to the extent permissible by law. For example, a victim’s name and other identifying information about the victim will not be contained in publicly available records, to the extent omitting such information is permitted by law. Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation. An assault should be reported directly to the Human Resources Director if an employee, or the Student Development Staff Member, Director of Campus Safety, or Resident Director if a student. A victim also has the option to notify proper law enforcement authorities such as the Spring Arbor Police, the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department, or the Michigan State Police. If the victim chooses, campus authorities will assist the victim in notifying law enforcement authorities, however, the victim may choose to decline to notify such authorities. Filing a report with a University official will not obligate the victim to notify law enforcement authorities or to prosecute, nor will it subject the victim to scrutiny or judgmental opinions from officers. Filing a report will:
- Ensure that a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault receives the necessary medical treatment and tests, at no expense to the victim;
- Provide the opportunity for collection of evidence helpful in prosecution, which cannot be obtained later.
- Assure the victim has access to free confidential counseling from counselors specifically trained in the area of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault crisis intervention.
In Michigan, a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault has the right to apply to the civil court for a personal protection order or a restraining order against the accused individual. The University does not provide legal services in regard to any such legal proceedings, as it is not equipped to do so, however, the University will refer a victim who wishes to pursue such legal action to outside legal sources such as the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney’s office or Legal Services of South Central Michigan.
When a victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault contacts the Campus Safety Director, the Director will notify the Spring Arbor Police Department or another appropriate Police Agency, unless the victim specifically requests that such notification not occur. A representative from the Office of Student Development and Human Resources, if appropriate, will also be notified. The victim of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault may choose for the investigation to be pursued through the University’s accountability process through the Office of Student Development or Human Resources Department, as applicable, and the criminal justice system, or only through the University’s disciplinary process. A University representative from Human Resources, the Office of Student Development, or the Campus Safety Director will guide the victim through the available options and support the victim in his or her decision. Various counseling options are available from the University through the Holton Health and Wellness Services and the Office of Student Development, and referrals can be made to support services outside the University system in the community, including legal assistance through such agencies as the victims’ assistance program at the office of the Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney and Legal Services of South Central Michigan.
The University follows the procedures of the Campus Sexual Assault Victims Bill of Rights, and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, in regard to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. The University’s disciplinary proceedings, as well as special guidelines for cases involving sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking are detailed in the Student Handbook and in the Employee Handbook. The disciplinary proceedings used by the University to handle these matters are the Title IX Grievance Procedure, including the Hearing Process for that procedure. The University uses this Grievance Procedure to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution of the matter. The procedure will be conducted by one or more University officials who receive annual training on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault, and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. The standard of evidence to be used will be the “preponderance of the evidence standard”, meaning that the University official(s) making the determination must be convinced, by a preponderance of the evidence, that it is more likely than not that the accused individual did engage in the behavior complained of by the victim. The accuser and the accused are both entitled to the same opportunities to have others present during the University disciplinary proceeding.
Each will have the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice. A “proceeding” in regard to students, is defined as the University’s administrative disciplinary proceeding under the Title IX Grievance Procedure. In a case where only employees are involved in a matter covered by this policy, a proceeding is defined as an administrative procedure before the Director of Human Resources, or such other University staff or faculty member designated to handle such matters, who is qualified under the requirements of Title IX to be a hearing officer in such matters. If the matter involves at least one party who is a student, the Title IX Grievance Procedure will be used. Accountability proceedings are used in matters involving violations of University behavioral standards, not including reported incidents of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault. In regard to employees, the administrative hearing proceeding applies in matters involving reported incidents of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault, and is not required for other employee disciplinary matters. A “proceeding” does not include communications and meetings between officials and victims concerning accommodations or protective measures to be provided to a victim.
In the case of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault involving an employee, but no students, the disciplinary procedures will be handled through the Human Resources Department, using the same preponderance of the evidence standard referenced above. The ‘at-will’ nature of the employment relationship between the University and its employees, and the right of the University or an employee to end the employment relationship based upon that ‘at-will’ nature, will not be altered or eliminated by the procedures involved in an investigation or disciplinary proceeding into a reported incident of sexual harassment, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, involving an employee.
As required by federal regulations, both the accuser and the accused will be simultaneously informed in writing of the outcome of any University disciplinary proceeding that arises from an allegation of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault. The decision made by the University official(s) regarding the complaint will be in writing and contain the University’s procedures for the accused and the accuser to appeal the results of the disciplinary hearing, and the time at which the results become final. Compliance with these provisions does not constitute a violation of section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g), commonly known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA).
If there is any change to the results that occurs prior to the time such results become final, both the accused and the accuser will receive written notification of such change. A student found guilty of violating the University’s policy on domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault, could be criminally prosecuted in the state courts and may be suspended or expelled from the University.
Other possible University disciplinary actions include being placed on probation, being restricted from being in certain areas and/or buildings on campus, being subject to a behavior plan, and being designated persona non grata as to the University’s campus. In the case of an employee, employment may be terminated immediately, at the discretion of the University, or an employee may be suspended either with or without pay, placed on probation pursuant to a last-chance agreement, or be subject to such other disciplinary action as the Human Resources Department determines to be appropriate.
Regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or local law enforcement, if the victim so requests of the Office for Student Development, or the Human Resources Department, as applicable, the victim will have the option to change their academic and/or on-campus living situations, their working situations, assistance with financial aid matters, and their transportation, after an alleged incident of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, or sexual assault, if such changes are reasonably available. In the case of a student victim, the Office for Student Development will work with that individual to determine the reasonable availability of any such requested changes and will assist in arranging for those requested changes that are determined to be reasonably available. In the case of an employee victim, the Human Resources Department will work with that individual to determine the reasonable availability of any requested changes and will assist in arranging for those requested changes that are determined to be reasonably available.
The University requires that no officer, employee, or agent of the University shall retaliate, intimidate, threaten, coerce, or otherwise discriminate against any individual for exercising their rights or responsibilities under any provision of the “Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act”, including the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, (“VAWA”), and the Sexual Violence Elimination Act, (“SaVE”), or under Title IX.
Besides confidential resources such as the University Chaplain and members of Holton Health and Wellness Services, all SAU employees are responsible to report incidences of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault of a student or employee. This information should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator, Director of Human Resources and/or the Director of Campus Safety. Dan Vander Hill, the Associate VP for Student Development and Success is Spring Arbor University’s Title IX Coordinator. He can be contacted at 517-750-6367 (office), 517-414-1036 (mobile), or email@example.com.
Racism and Discrimination Policy
Spring Arbor University is committed to creating a community that is free from all forms of discrimination and harassment. SAU endeavors to prevent all forms of discrimination and does not discriminate against any protected classes as defined by law and in accordance with the University’s standards of Christian behavior and its statutory exemptions and designation. The University prohibits behavior which creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive environment, or which prevents free academic interaction and opportunities for critical discourse.
Examples of such inappropriate behavior may include but are not limited to: insensitive verbal or written comments via social media and/or hard copy, slurs, threats, jokes, teasing, racial profiling, prejudice or overt bias. Violation of this community standard will not be tolerated and will be addressed through the student accountability system. When necessary, consultation will be sought from SAU’s Chief Diversity Officer, and the Director of the Office of Intercultural Relations. (See “Baseline Levels of Accountability Process” in the next section and Appendices for full Policy and University Response for more information.)
Part of being a member of a community is to demonstrate through day-to-day actions that one is able to assure one’s own welfare and meet normal obligations. This essentially means that students must agree to care for themselves and behave in ways that will not cause problems for themselves or those around them, nor negatively impact the welfare, safety and success of other community members. Examples would include – but are not limited to – caring adequately for one’s physical and emotional health, dealing appropriately with life challenges, getting along with others successfully, making adequate academic progress, and not causing or threatening to cause harm to one’s self.
It is also expected that students will seek out and/or accept professional assistance for those situations that they are unable to resolve on their own. If these self-care expectations are not met, students will be held accountable for their disruptive or inappropriate behavior and the negative impact on the community. Accountability may include being removed from campus housing and/or temporary or permanent separation from the University.
Students seeking accommodation due to a documented disability or significant, ongoing medical condition are required to contact the Director of the Academic Support Center to discuss accessibility issues.
Sex Offender Registry Information
In accordance to the “Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act” of 2000, which amends the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the Jeanne Clery Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, the Spring Arbor University Campus Safety Department provides a link to the State of Michigan – Sex Offender Registry. In order to access the Registry, visit www.arbor.edu/campussafety and click on the link provided. This act requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement information provided by a state concerning registered sex offender may be obtained. It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a state to provide notice of each institution of higher education in that state at which the person is employed, carries a vocation, or is a student. In Michigan, convicted sex offenders must register with the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry maintained by the Department of State Police.
MI Sex Offender Registration Act
The Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry is available via Internet at www.mipsor.state.mi.us.
Registry information provided under this section shall be used for the purposes of the administration of criminal justice, screening of current or prospective employees and students, volunteers or otherwise for the protection of the public in general and children in particular. Unlawful use of the information for purposes of intimidating or harassing another is prohibited and willful violation shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The Michigan Department of State Police is responsible for maintaining this registry. It should be noted that because SAU operates educational centers across the state of Michigan, in Ohio and internationally, the registry may list adult and graduate students enrolled at any of SAU’s sites.
Sex, Sexuality, and Gender Identity
Affirming the Dignity of Every Person and Response as a Christian Community
Spring Arbor University affirms the full humanity and dignity of every human being, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Among the sins that the Bible clearly condemns is sexual immorality (I Corinthians 6:9-11). We recognize that there are individuals who experience same- sex attraction, and or confusion about gender within our community. They are loved and valued and we condemn any malice directed toward them.
As a university, we encourage the vigorous pursuit of truth. As a Christian university, we believe the Bible, as illuminated by the Holy Spirit, is true and reliable. We recognize that there are Christians inside and outside our community who have different interpretations of Scripture. The Spring Arbor University statement concerning sexuality is in line with the Free Methodist Book of Discipline. Regardless of one’s perspective or tradition, we encourage all of our community members to engage this issue with civility and respect.
Spring Arbor University’s position as communicated in the Spring Arbor University Student Handbook and Community Covenant:
We believe that the value of human beings does not depend on their marital status, but that human families were established by God to perpetuate humankind and to provide a stable community for nurturing faith and righteous living. Marriage between one man and one woman is the instruction of the Bible for establishing families, and physical sexual expression is to be confined to the marriage relationship.
Student Community Standard regarding sexual expression:
All students, regardless of age, sexual preference, residency or status, are required to abstain from cohabitation, inappropriate sexual behavior, any involvement in premarital or extramarital sexual activity, and same-sex dating behaviors.
We recognize that this belief and instruction may be in conflict with the practice or vision of the larger culture, as Christian beliefs have been in other times and places. That said, we hold to the historically biblical Christian position on this issue while being respectful of those who disagree with us. Students who violate our community standards regarding sexual expression will meet with an accountability committee and be treated in a loving redemptive manner throughout the accountability process.
Although in a fallen world certain medical anomalies are occasionally encountered, Spring Arbor University understands gender to be a matter of primary, overt sexual characteristics at birth, other than in cases in which these characteristics are ambiguous. We perceive the weight of the implications of Holy Scripture to guide us to reaffirm the birth gender of individuals (Matthew 19:4, Mark 10:6), although we acknowledge that there are persons who genuinely experience gender confusion.
We regard such confusion as evidencing at least some degree of spiritual confusion warranting pastoral care, though not necessarily any greater spiritual need than presents itself in other forms among our student and employee populations. That said, the actions and behaviors that sometimes result from gender confusion can be disruptive and contrary to a community seeking to exhibit and encourage in persons in our care an understanding of personal identity and holiness rooted in the truth of Christ.
Therefore, since college is traditionally a time of personal exploration and growth and change, we do not seek to exclude those persons for whom gender identity is an issue. However, we do reserve the right to terminate or deny enrollment of those whose influence upon our community should prove to be in our judgment intractably contrary to the best interests of our students, and commitments to our university and to our Lord. Therefore, Spring Arbor University will not support persistent or conspicuous expressions or actions that are deliberately discordant with birth gender, and will address such matters within the appropriate pastoral and accountability processes of the university. Spring Arbor University reserves the right to examine situations on an individual basis taking into consideration the unique characteristics of a given issue or person while upholding the Doctrine of the Free Methodist Church, Spring Arbor University Statement of Faith, Community Covenant and Student Community Standards. The Spring Arbor University Board of Trustees has the final authority and responsibility for the interpretation of our Statement of Faith, Community Covenant and of the biblical principles that serve as their foundation.
Title IX Policy
Notice Regarding Title IX Grievance Procedure
Pursuant to regulations at 34 C.F.R. §106.9, It is the intent of Spring Arbor University in keeping with its equal opportunity policy, to comply with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, and related regulations. The University, in compliance with Title IX, does not discriminate on the basis of sex in treatment, admission or access to, or employment in its programs and activities, as limited by the University’s religious exemptions.
Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations may be referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. This notice is also to inform you that, in keeping with the University’s policy of non-discrimination, the University has a grievance procedure for reporting claims of sex discrimination under Title IX. The Title IX grievance procedure, which pertains to how sex discrimination grievances, including claims of sexual harassment, will be handled by the University, is posted on the University’s website. A copy of the grievance procedure can be obtained from Dan Vander Hill, Associate Vice President for Student Development and Success, who is the University’s designated Title IX Coordinator, by calling 517-750-6367, or by visiting the Student Development and Success offices on the University’s main campus at 106 East Main Street, Spring Arbor, Michigan. Complaints involving only Employees should be directed to Kerry Klee-Tiesman, the Chief Human Resources Officer, at 517-750-6426 or by visiting the campus at the address above.
Use of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Drugs
The federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989 provides that each institution of higher education receiving any form of federal financial assistance, (including student loans or grants), must adopt a policy regarding the unlawful use, possession, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by its students and employees, and implement a program to prevent the use, possession, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by its students and employees. Spring Arbor University has had a policy in effect for many years prohibiting the unlawful use possession, or distribution of illicit drugs and alcohol by its students and employees, and also has had a prevention program in place. However, to affirm the requirements of the Act, Spring Arbor University has restated its policy and adopted the restated policy as set forth herein, and has centralized its prevention program. A copy of this policy will be posted on the University website and will be distributed to the University’s students and employees on an annual basis, in accordance with the guidelines of the University’s Program. A copy of this policy also is included in the Annual Campus Fire and Safety Report, and in the Student Handbook and the Employee/Faculty Handbooks.
In keeping with the distinctive Christian nature of our community and the University’s “Community Standards,” Spring Arbor University’s policy also prohibits tobacco use, and provides that the University has zero tolerance in regard to the use of illegal drugs (also known as “illicit drugs”), by its students and employees. This prohibition extends to the use and/or possession of marijuana, which is considered by the University to be a prohibited drug whether or not a student or employee has a prescription for medical marijuana use. The unlawful manufacture, distribution, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited at the University by students or employees. The use of alcohol or tobacco by students, and the use, misuse and abuse of drugs and other illicit substances will not be tolerated. This policy is in effect on a campus- wide basis, at all campus facilities, and also during any University-sponsored events and activities, whether held on or off-campus. It is applicable in all University facilities, including but not limited to, classroom buildings, residence halls, and other student housing.
The University’s Community Standards are posted on the University website and also appear in the Student Handbook and the Employee/Faculty Handbooks. Students are under the Community Standards from the day they arrive on campus until they leave in the spring semester and/or May term. This includes all Core trips, class trips, internships, cross-cultural programs, and semester abroad programs. All Community Standards also must be adhered to, if a student chooses to live or work on campus during the summer or during any semester breaks. A student who uses or distributes alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs or substances on-campus or is on campus under the influence of such substances will be subject to disciplinary action. A student’s behavior off-campus may be subject to disciplinary action, if it fails to comply with the Community Standards and this policy.
Spring Arbor University recognizes our evangelical Christian community has specific expectations of the traditional resident and commuter students on- and off-campus, and specific expectations of University employees. In keeping with these expectations and the University’s Community Standards, students are obligated to abstain from the use, possession or distribution of alcohol or tobacco, and students and employees are obligated to abstain from the abuse of prescription or non-prescription drugs or mind-altering substances. The University reserves the right to address suspected violations involving employees and the nontraditional student who resides off-campus, on an individual basis.
All University employees are expected to abide by the Community Standards as long as they are employed by Spring Arbor University, as their behavior is considered to directly reflect on the University and the University community. An employee who distributes alcohol, tobacco, or illicit drugs or substances on-campus or on the job, or comes to campus or work under the influence of such substances will be subject to disciplinary action. Nothing in this policy will be deemed to change the ‘at- will’ nature of the employment relationship. Employees must, as a condition of employment, abide by the terms of this policy and report any conviction under a criminal drug statute for violations occurring on or off University premises. As required by the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988, the employee must report any such conviction to the University’s Human Resources department, within five (5) days after the conviction.
In addition to complying with the Community Standards, the University requires all of its students and employees to abide by the laws of local, state and federal governments. The illegal use, possession, or distribution of alcohol or tobacco, or the use, possession or distribution of illegal drugs is prohibited. The University reserves the right to discipline students up to and including dismissal from the University, and to take disciplinary action in regard to its employees, up to and including termination of employment, when the University is made aware of any such violations, whether on or off-campus. Students are expected to review the provisions of the Student Handbook regarding the use and possession of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Employees are expected to review the provisions of the Employee/Faculty Handbook regarding the use and possession of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. In addition to internal disciplinary action by the University, the illegal use of drugs or alcohol can result in a range of criminal penalties including fines, probation, and imprisonment, depending on the seriousness of the crime and the criminal history of the offender.
The laws of the State of Michigan provide that persons under the age of 21 may not purchase, possess or consume alcohol, and persons under the age of 18 may not purchase, possess, or use tobacco, however, Spring Arbor University has designated its campuses to be drug, alcohol, and tobacco-free, notwithstanding that an individual may be of legal age to purchase, possess, or consume such substances. The possession, sale, or consumption of alcohol or tobacco on Spring Arbor University’s campus is prohibited. The possession, sale, manufacture or distribution of any controlled substance is prohibited and illegal under both state and federal laws. Such laws are strictly enforced by the Campus Safety Department, with assistance from local police agencies. Violators are subject to University disciplinary action, in addition to any criminal enforcement which may include criminal prosecution, fines, and imprisonment.
The University is also concerned about the serious health and safety consequences which can occur due to the use and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs. Students and employees should be aware that health conditions such as alcoholism, cirrhosis of the liver, and alcohol poisoning can result from the use and abuse of alcohol. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is also a serious safety issue which can cause accidents resulting in serious injury or death. Use of illegal drugs can result in serious health problems such as drug addiction, hepatitis, and even death. The use of tobacco can cause cancer, emphysema, and other serious health problems for the user and for those who are subject to second-hand effects of such use.
Conduct contrary to the University’s stated standards, values and expectations regarding alcohol, illegal drugs, or tobacco use is subject to institutional confrontation and accountability action, which may include separation from the community. It is understood that a person’s level of maturity and leadership role may impact the institution’s response to that individual. The University has a Growth Initiative process which may be used by students to deal with issues involving alcohol, misuse of prescription drugs, or tobacco use. The Growth Initiative process is considered to be a proactive measure and a student may not avail themselves of the Growth Initiative process in regard to a particular issue after being caught violating the Community Standards regarding that issue.
If a student or employee is experiencing problems with drug, alcohol, or tobacco use, Spring Arbor University has a variety of options available for advice and help. These include the University chaplain, the University’s Holton Health and Wellness Center, Student Development and Success, the Residence Life staff, Human Resources, and faculty members. In cases where more specialized counseling is needed, referrals can be made to the University’s Director of Counseling Services. Substance Abuse Assistance is available and any member of the University community seeking assistance for substance abuse is encouraged to contact a staff member of Holton Health and Wellness Services or Human Resources. Informational brochures regarding substance and alcohol abuse are available at the Student Development and Success Office, the Holton Health and Wellness Center, and in the Office of the Human Resources. This policy is implemented through the University’s Program to Prevent Alcohol, Tobacco, and Illegal Drug Use, (“the Program”). The Program is designed to prevent the use of illicit drugs and the use and abuse of alcohol and tobacco by students and employees. The Program contains guidelines related to the Policy, and includes procedures regarding the dissemination of informational materials, educational programs, available counseling services, referrals, and University disciplinary actions. The University reserves the right to amend, change, or replace this policy in its entirety at any time, in its sole discretion. In the event there is a material revision to the policy, in the opinion of the University, students and employees will receive a notice containing a revised copy of the policy, or instructions as to where they may obtain a copy of the revised policy.