Gardner-Webb University is committed to maintaining a safe and healthy learning, living, and working environment in which no member of the Gardner-Webb community is, on the basis of sex, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in any University program or activity. Sexual Misconduct that denies or limits a University community member’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities is prohibited under federal law (referred to as “Title IX”) and this Policy. Under this Policy, the term “Sexual Misconduct” includes Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Non-Consensual Sexual Contact, Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, and Stalking.
In support of the overall goals of Gardner-Webb University, the purpose of the Sexual Misconduct Policy is to maintain a campus living, learning and working environment that supports the University’s educational mission, maintains respect and dignity for members of the Gardner-Webb community, and protects the rights of all members of the community. This Sexual Misconduct Policy is intended to foster personal responsibility, high ethical values, individual accountability and civility toward others. The policy applies to all members of the Gardner-Webb community.
Gardner-Webb is also committed to fostering a campus community that promotes prompt reporting of all types of Sexual Misconduct and timely and fair resolution of Complaints of Sexual Misconduct. In furtherance of this commitment, this Policy sets forth the available resources, describes prohibited conduct, and establishes procedures for responding to Complaints of Sexual Misconduct.
Gardner-Webb University’s publications, including, but not limited to, its catalogs, handbooks, policies, procedures, website, guidelines, communications, and social media posts do not constitute a contractual agreement between the University and any person or entity. The University reserves the right to unilaterally modify all such publications and/or modify its operating practices without prior notice.
This Policy applies to: (1) reports of Sexual Misconduct as defined in this Policy; (2) that occurred in connection with any Gardner-Webb Educational Program or Activity; and (3) that occurred against a person in the United States. The source of a report of Sexual Misconduct does not matter: The University Title IX Coordinator will investigate reports of Sexual Misconduct not only from Complainants, but also from third parties, including, but not limited to, parents, faculty, staff, students, and law enforcement.
While Complaints of Sexual Misconduct are most often brought against other students, faculty or staff, the University may investigate and pursue Complaints of Sexual Misconduct within its jurisdiction against Respondents who are third parties, such as non-employees and students of other schools. In all cases, the University will make available Supportive Measures and take appropriate action to provide an educational environment that does not deny or limit the student or employee’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities. If a complaint is brought against a student of another school the other school may be notified of the Complaint.
To the extent that a reported incident of Sexual Misconduct falls outside this Policy, the University will address it under other applicable University policies, including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, the Personnel Policy Manual, and the Faculty Handbook. Such violations of other applicable policies could result in sanctions, up to and including expulsion (students) and termination (employees).
The University encourages Complainants to pursue all remedies available to them, including reporting incidents of potential criminal conduct to law enforcement. If the conduct in question is alleged to be a violation of both this Policy and the law, the University will proceed with its normal process under this Policy, regardless of action or inaction by outside authorities. Decisions made or sanctions imposed under this Policy are not subject to change because criminal or civil charges arising from the same conduct are dismissed, reduced, or rejected in favor of or against a Respondent.
A Complaint of Sexual Misconduct may be filed at any time, regardless of the length of time between the alleged Sexual Misconduct and the filing of the Complaint. However, Gardner-Webb strongly encourages individuals to file Complaints promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding. A delay in filing a Complaint may compromise the subsequent investigation and may provide cause for the University to dismiss a Complaint due lack of access to evidence, witnesses no longer being available, or other reasons indicating that the investigation will be substantially compromised due lapse of time.
Mrs. Pam Scruggs
Associate Athletics Director and Senior Women’s Administrator
Lutz-Yelton Convocation Center
Traditional Undergraduate programs
Dr. Carmen Butler
Dean of Student Success
Tucker Student Center
Degree Completion programs
Dr. Elizabeth Pack
Director of the Degree Completion Program
Dr. Sydney Brown
Dean of Graduate Studies
Mrs. Lesley Villarose, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students,
Interim Title IX Coordinator and ADA Coordinator
Tucker Student Center #243
Boiling Springs, NC 28017
Inquiries and Complaints may also be made to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
Office for Civil Rights North Carolina
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
FAX: 202-453-6012; TDD: 877-521-2172
Email: OCR @ed.gov
Gardner-Webb University complies with all applicable non-discrimination laws and is committed to providing a working, living and learning environment free from illegal discrimination and harassment based on race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, military status, veteran status, or any other basis prohibited by law.
Gardner-Webb University is committed to providing a working, living and learning environment free of Sexual Misconduct. Gardner-Webb prohibits Sexual Misconduct in all of its working, living and learning environments. Sexual Misconduct violates an individual’s legal rights and personal dignity. Gardner-Webb considers Sexual Misconduct to be a serious offense.
Gardner-Webb University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person acting in good faith who (a) reports an allegation or incident of potential Sexual Misconduct; (b) or files, testifies, assists or participates in any manner in any investigation or other process or proceeding involving alleged Sexual Misconduct.
Any person who retaliates against a person who has made a Complaint/report or who has cooperated in any activity or proceeding connected with investigation and/or hearing is in violation of Gardner-Webb policy and will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion (students) or termination (employees). Any person who believes that they have been retaliated against in violation of this Policy should immediately contact the Title IX Coordinator. An allegation of retaliation may be investigated and adjudicated as an additional Complaint under this Policy or under other applicable University policy, including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, Faculty Handbook or Personnel Policy Manual
All members of the Gardner-Webb community are strongly encouraged to promptly report information regarding any incident of Sexual Misconduct directly to the Title IX Coordinator. The University cannot take appropriate action unless incidents are reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
Gardner-Webb’s Responsible Employees are all faculty and staff, with the exception of the Confidential Resources listed below. All Responsible Employees must immediately report to the Title IX Coordinator all alleged incidents of Sexual Misconduct of which they become aware. If an employee is uncertain whether a reported incident falls within this Policy, the employee should still report it to the Title IX Coordinator, who will determine whether this Policy applies.
The following principles are reflected in the definition of Consent:
Sexual Harassment can occur between strangers or acquaintances, as well as people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual Harassment can be committed by any person, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex. Sexual Harassment can occur in person, by phone, text message, e-mail or other electronic, written, or social medium. Sexual Harassment can be physical, verbal and/or psychological in nature. An aggregation of a series of incidents can constitute Sexual Harassment even if one of the incidents considered on its own would not be considered Sexual Harassment. Sexual Harassment includes conduct that may also be criminal in nature such as rape, sexual assault, and other similar offenses.
This policy is intended to make students aware of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available to them so they can make informed choices about where to turn should they become a victim of, or witness to, Sexual Misconduct.
Mrs. Lesley Villarose, Vice President of Student Development and Dean of Students,Interim Title IX Coordinator and ADA CoordinatorGardner-Webb UniversityTucker Student Center #243Boiling Springs, NC 28017(704) 406-2081[email protected]
If an employee of the Campus Police Department or any other Responsible Employee of the University receives a report of alleged Sexual Misconduct, that employee must notify Gardner-Webb’s Title IX Coordinator.
Regardless of whether they choose to officially report an incident of Sexual Misconduct, a student or employee may request Supportive Measures and other resources. There are both confidential and non-confidential care and support resources available.
Confidential care and support resources are individuals who, by the nature of their work, are required by law to keep information shared with them confidential and who cannot provide information revealed to them to another person without the express permission of the individual sharing the information, or as required/allowed by law. These campus and community professionals include medical providers, mental health providers, ordained clergy, rape crisis counselors, and attorneys representing a Complainant or Respondent.
All persons are encouraged to voluntarily seek medical attention immediately following an incident of Sexual Misconduct, and particularly Sexual Violence, to assess and treat any injuries, screen for pregnancy (if desired and appropriate) and sexually transmitted infections, and to properly collect and preserve evidence. Collecting evidence does not obligate an individual to any particular course of action but can assist the authorities should the individual decide to pursue criminal charges now or in the future. Gardner-Webb will assist any campus community member in seeking medical services.
Physical evidence of Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Violence should be collected from the individual’s person within a few hours of the incident, although it may be possible to obtain evidence from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for longer periods of time. An individual who believes they have been subjected to Sexual Misconduct and particularly Sexual Violence should go to an emergency room before washing their body or changing clothing. Hospitals have personnel who are specially trained to collect evidence in such cases. If clothes have been changed, the clothes worn at the time of the incident should be brought to the emergency room in a clean, sanitary container such as a paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). Bring a change of clothing to the hospital, as the clothes worn at the time of the incident will likely be kept as evidence.
These Complaint and Investigation procedures have been adopted by Gardner-Webb to provide a prompt and equitable pathway for reporting, investigating, and resolving Complaints of alleged violations of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX.
Gardner-Webb will respond to Complaints and Formal Complaints of Sexual Misconduct of which it is aware, and Gardner-Webb will endeavor at all times to respond promptly in a manner that is reasonable in light of all circumstances. Gardner-Webb will treat Complainants and Respondents equitably by offering Supportive Measures to both parties and by following the Complaint process set forth in this Policy before disciplinary actions are imposed under this Policy.
Complainants and Respondents may be held responsible for their behavior and the behavior of any of their non-University Advisors and support persons.
If a Complainant has indicated an intention to participate in this process, but, nevertheless, the Complainant or the Complainant’s non-University Advisor has/have engaged in unreasonable delay or otherwise unreasonably failed to cooperate in the process or is/are obstructing or disrupting the process, all without good cause, the Title IX Coordinator may move forward with the processes set forth in this Policy without the Complainant’s participation, or dismiss the Complaint, after providing the Complainant with written notice of the Complainant’s/non-University Advisor’s inappropriate conduct or failure to cooperate and an opportunity to respond no later than five (5) business days after receipt of the notice. If the Complainant is excluded from the process or the Complaint is dismissed the Advisor is also disqualified from proceeding in the process. If the Complaint has not been dismissed the Title IX Coordinator shall consider a Complainant’s subsequent written request, if any, to recommence involvement with a different Advisor, whether appointed by the University or not.
If a Respondent has indicated an intention to participate in this process, but, nevertheless, the Respondent or the Respondent’s non-University Advisor has/have engaged in unreasonable delay or otherwise unreasonably failed to cooperate in the process or is/are obstructing or disrupting the process, all without good cause, the Title IX Coordinator may move forward with the processes set forth in the Policy without the Respondent’s participation after providing the Respondent with written notice of the Respondent’s/non-University Advisor’s alleged inappropriate conduct or failure to cooperate and an opportunity to respond no later than five (5) business days after receipt of the notice. If the Respondent is excluded from the process in this manner, the Advisor is also disqualified from proceeding in the process. The Title IX Coordinator shall consider the Respondent’s subsequent written request, if any, to recommence involvement with a different Advisor, whether appointed by the University or not.
Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered and provided as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant and/or the Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Supportive Measures are available to the Complainant, Respondent, and as appropriate, witnesses or other impacted individuals. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party’s access to the University’s educational programs, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter Sexual Misconduct. Supportive Measures may include “no contact” orders, counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of Supportive Measures.
Advisors: The Complainant and Respondent may be assisted by one Advisor of their choice in any Sexual Misconduct investigation and/or Complaint proceeding. If requested, Gardner-Webb will appoint a person trained in Gardner-Webb’s Sexual Misconduct Policy as a Complainant’s or Respondent’s Advisor. No Advisor shall have had any involvement in the underlying facts and circumstances of the Complaint. The Advisor is present in an advisory capacity only to their respective party. Unless the Title Coordinator determines that active participation is beneficial to the process the Advisor may attend but shall not actively participate or intervene in pre-hearing meetings or any other proceeding related to the Complaint, except as set forth below with regard to a hearing. This same standard applies in cases in which the Advisor is an attorney retained by the Complainant or Respondent. While Complainants’ and Respondents’ conversations with Advisors appointed by Gardner-Webb are treated confidentially, those conversations are not privileged by law and may be revealed by court order or other legal proceedings. If at any time during the process an Advisor becomes disruptive or impedes the fair and efficient flow of the procedures set forth in this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator may in writing bar the Advisor from further proceedings. The written notice shall set forth the reasons for such action. The Complainant or Respondent may then pick another Advisor or have one appointed by the University.
Support Persons: In addition to an Advisor, the Complainant and Respondent may each have one Support Person present with them at all Complaint-related meetings and proceedings. The Support Person is a silent and non-participating presence who is there solely to observe and provide emotional support. The Support Person must be a member of the Gardner-Webb community or a member of the Complainant’s/Respondent’s immediate family and shall have had no involvement in the underlying facts and circumstances of the Complaint. Before being allowed to serve as a Support Person, the individual may be required to meet or otherwise communicate with the Title IX Coordinator prior to participating in meetings associated with the Complaint. If at any time during the process a Support Person becomes disruptive or impedes the fair and efficient flow of the procedures set forth in this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator may in writing bar the Support Person from further proceedings. The written notice shall set forth the reasons for such action. The Complainant or Respondent may then pick another Support Person.
NOTE: Advisors and Support Persons may not act in the role of witnesses.
It is a violation of Gardner-Webb policy to knowingly file a false Complaint of alleged Sexual Misconduct. Action against such conduct may be pursued using the procedures set forth in this Sexual Misconduct Policy or other applicable University policies, including, but not limited to, the Code of Student Conduct, the Faculty Manual, and the Personnel Policy Manual. A knowingly false Complaint includes but is not limited to a report where the Complainant or Reporting Person:
Gardner-Webb strives to provide a fair and equitable process for responding to and resolving Complaints of Sexual Misconduct. The University will make every effort to ensure that both parties are treated with respect, dignity, and sensitivity by the University throughout the process, including as applicable:
All reports of actual or potential Sexual Misconduct, Complaints of Sexual Misconduct and Formal Complaints of Sexual Misconduct should be immediately brought to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator. All members of the Dean of Students Office and the Campus Police Department are equipped to assist and connect the individual (Complainant, Respondent or witnesses) with obtaining the emergency and support services that may be needed and/or with contacting the Title IX Coordinator to file a Complaint or Formal Complaint.
Upon receipt of a report of actual or potential Sexual Misconduct, a Complaint of Sexual Misconduct, or a Formal Complaint of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly and confidentially (1) contact the Reporting Individual to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint; (2) provide appropriate Supportive Measures; (3) inform the Reporting Individual that any report made in good faith will not subject the Reporting Individual to disciplinary action; and (4) explain to the Reporting Individual the process for filing a Complaint or Formal Complaint.
If a Complainant chooses not to file a Formal Complaint or files a Formal Complaint and later decides to withdraw it, the Title IX Coordinator will respect that decision. However, the Title IX Coordinator will also determine whether it is necessary for the University to file or continue with a Formal Complaint and proceed forward under this Policy stage if such action is determined necessary in light of a health or safety concern for the campus community. In making this determination the Title IX Coordinator may take into consideration the nature of the allegations and the existence of prior complaints against the same Respondent.
The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the Respondent should be subject to immediate emergency removal from the University’s educational program, activities and/or campus, or, if the Respondent is a non-student employee, whether the Respondent should be placed on administrative leave, the latter being only after consultation with other University officials who hold supervisory positions over the employee. Emergency removal of a Respondent must be based upon the University’s individualized safety and risk analysis, when it determines that a threat to the physical health or safety of one or more individuals arising from the allegations of Sexual Misconduct justify removal. Respondents subject to emergency removal shall immediately cooperate with the directives of the Title IX Coordinator or other University officials.
A Respondent who is removed or placed on administrative leave may challenge that determination as follows:
Whether or not Respondent who has been removed or placed on administrative leave timely challenged the original removal, the Title IX Coordinator may later consider a Respondent’s written request to return. The Respondent must set forth in writing facts and circumstances not reasonably available to the Respondent or the Title IX Coordinator at the time of removal or challenge, as the case may be. The Respondent’s failure to so support the request shall be grounds for denial of the request.
The University reserves the right to make further adjustments to any removal or return as facts and circumstances warrant and in compliance with the notice provisions set forth above.
Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint from a Complainant the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Respondent of the receipt of a Formal Complaint, inform the Complainant and Respondent of the availability of Supportive Measures and explain the processes set forth in this Policy. The written notice may be in electronic or hard copy form and shall contain a paper, pdf or link to the Policy, as appropriate. The Notice of Formal Complaint shall also describe at least the following:
The University may consolidate Formal Complaints that contain allegations of Sexual Misconduct against more than one Respondent where the allegations of Sexual Misconduct arise out of the same facts and circumstances. The University may consolidate Formal Complaints by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents where the allegations of Sexual Misconduct arise out of the same facts and circumstances. The University may consolidate the initial Formal Complaint with any Formal Complaint subsequently filed by the Respondent against the same Complainant arising out of the same facts and circumstances.
If the conduct alleged in a Formal Complaint would not constitute Sexual Misconduct as defined in this Policy or under Title IX even if proved, did not occur in Gardner-Webb ’s Education Program or Activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then Gardner-Webb must dismiss the Formal Complaint with regard to this Policy. In such event, Gardner-Webb will promptly and simultaneously notify the parties in writing of the dismissal and the reasons for the dismissal. Either party may appeal the dismissal through the process set forth below. However, such dismissal does not preclude the University from commencing or continuing proceedings to determine whether the conduct complained of constitutes a violation of other Gardner-Webb policies or other legal requirements applicable to members of the Gardner-Webb community, including the Code of Student Conduct, Faculty Manual, or the Personnel Policy Manual.
If a Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein, if the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by Gardner-Webb, or if specific circumstances prevent Gardner-Webb from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or material allegations therein, Gardner-Webb may, but is not required to, dismiss the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein. If the Formal Complaint is dismissed Gardner-Webb will promptly and simultaneously notify the parties in writing of the dismissal and the reasons for the dismissal. Either party may appeal the dismissal through the process set forth below. However, such dismissal does not preclude the University from commencing or continuing proceedings to determine whether the conduct complained of constitutes a violation of other Gardner-Webb policies or other legal requirements applicable to members of the Gardner-Webb community, including the Code of Student Conduct, Faculty Manual, or the Personnel Policy Manual.
Within five (5) business days after the Complainant and Respondent receive the Formal Complaint and the written Notice of the Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will in writing inform the Complainant and Respondent that they have five (5) business days within which to tell the Coordinator whether they will attend separate Informational Meetings to provide them information on the investigative process and to allow them to ask questions. This communication will also alert them to the fact that they may choose to not participate in the Informational Meeting including the fact that even if they choose not to participate, the processes set forth in this Policy may continue without their participation. Non-responsiveness from either party, or failure to attend a scheduled meeting without a compelling reason, may reasonably be interpreted as a decision to not participate, in which case the Title IX Coordinator may proceed with the party who has responded in the affirmative and participated. Requests to postpone the Informational Meeting may be granted, provided that the request is based on a compelling reason. When possible, Complainants and Respondents should request a postponement no fewer than 24 hours before the scheduled meeting and/or interview.
Within five (5) business days of after the Informational Meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant and Respondent that they must inform the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days whether they wish to continue to participate, or begin participating, (as the case may be) in the investigative process. This communication will also alert them to the fact that they may choose to not participate in the investigative process, including the fact that even if they choose not to participate, the processes set forth in this Policy may continue without their participation. Non-responsiveness from either party may reasonably be interpreted as a decision to not participate, in which case the Title IX Coordinator may proceed with the party who has responded in the affirmative and participate. The Complainant or Respondent may request additional time to make that decision and/or to schedule an investigative interview. However, in the event that the Title IX Coordinator finds that the Complainant or Respondent have engaged in unreasonable delay, the Title IX Coordinator may move forward with the investigation and resolution process without that individual’s participation after providing the individual with written notice and an opportunity to respond.
The Title IX Coordinator may, at any time in the process, choose to recommend resolving a Formal Complaint through informal means. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate whether the Formal Complaint is appropriate for Informal Resolution. If Informal Resolution is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate with the Complainant about this option. If the Complainant voluntarily agrees and indicates so in writing, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate with the Respondent about the Complaint and the possibility of informal resolution. Informal resolution will be pursued only with the written consent of both parties and the Title IX Coordinator. Gardner-Webb’s Informal Resolution process is set forth in Appendix D hereof.
If an Informal Resolution does not resolve, or is not appropriate for resolving, the Formal Complaint prior to an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator and facilitate a reasonable, impartial, and prompt investigation of the Formal Complaint.
The examples of sanctions provided are guidelines and not an exhaustive list of the sanctions that may be implemented for violations of the Policy. Any one or more sanctions may be imposed upon a Respondent who is found responsible for any Sexual Misconduct policy violation(s). The fact that a Respondent has completed all academic requirements for his/her academic degree does not preclude the imposition of any sanctions under this policy, including suspension or expulsion. The examples of sanctions include but are not limited to those stated below:
Revised Policy adopted September 2021