Title IX & Non-Discrimination
Cairn University is committed to a safe learning and working environment where relationships among community members are free from any form of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.
The university seeks to build and maintain a positive and constructive work environment free from unlawful discrimination for students, staff, and faculty as stated in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and in Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964 as amended. The University will not tolerate any form of harassment or discriminatory practice. Discriminatory harassment is not only a violation of Cairn University policy but a violation of state and federal laws.
Cairn University is a community honoring the principles of biblical teaching on sexuality and human relationships in which community members are required to affirm and abide by the biblical teaching that God intends sexual activity to take place within the bond of a monogamous heterosexual marriage. Sexual activity outside a marital relationship is a violation of biblical teachings and therefore a violation of Cairn community standards.
Cairn will not tolerate sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking (collectively “Sexual Misconduct”) University officials will take seriously any report of sexual misconduct and take immediate steps to investigate, prevent its recurrence, address its effects, and prohibit retaliation.
Report Discrimination or Sexual Harassment
Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment and sexual assault. Sexual harassment is any sexually based unwelcome verbal, non-verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature and can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual misconduct also includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking as defined in the Violence against Women Act (VAWA).
Discriminatory conduct is detrimental action based on an individual’s sex, race, color, age, national or ethnic origin, or disability that is so severe, persistent, or objectionably offensive that it unreasonably interferes with or limits an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s employment and/or educational program or activities.
Report online or by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. Reports can be made anonymously.
Scope & Jurisdiction
The provision of a safe campus depends on community members living in deference and respect to one another and the willingness of community members to report concerns, suspicious behaviors, and criminal activity. Cairn utilizes the same investigative process for complaints made about discriminatory conduct as it does sexual misconduct.
Cairn’s Title IX Team investigates allegations perpetrated by or against any university students, employees, participants in university programs and activities, or visitors, independent contractors and vendors.
Cairn’s jurisdiction in Title IX incidents covers education programs, social and cultural activities, sports, and residential life on the Cairn campus, in buildings owned by Cairn, on line when using cairn networks and technology resources and at events or programs under the domain of Cairn responsibility. The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to expand the scope to off campus scenarios where significant student impact occurred.
Students who wish to make a report alleging an issue of sexual misconduct or harassment perpetrated by a student, employee, or other individual connected to the University have multiple options. You may contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Safety and Security or make use of our simple online reporting form.
Cairn has declared most employees to be mandatory reporters with the exception of counselors in the Oasis Counseling Center and the Health Center Nurse. Employees who are mandatory reporters are required to inform the Title IX Coordinator of any incident they witness, vaguely hear about, are told directly, or of which they become aware.
This means that if you want to have a conversation about a sensitive issue and want it kept in confidence that you need to speak to a confidential support person inside Cairn or with an outside agency listed as a confidential support provider. An investigation into an allegation of sexual misconduct or harassment does not begin until reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
Support Resources outside of Cairn University
Choice One Pregnancy and Sexual Health Resource Center (Confidential Support)
2222 Trenton Road Levittown, PA 19056
A Woman’s Place (Confidential Support)
1281 Almshouse Road Doylestown PA 18901
NOVA, Network of Victims Assistance (Confidential Support)
2370 York Road, Suite B1 Jamison, PA 18929
Jefferson Bucks Hospital (Confidential Support)
380 North Oxford Valley Road, Langhorne PA 19047
Saint Mary Medical Center (Confidential Support)
1201 Newtown-Langhorne Road, Langhorne PA 19047
Bucks County Mobile Crisis (Confidential Support)
500 N. West Street, Doylestown PA 18901
1.800.499.7455 (24 hr crisis/emergency services)
Police (Non-Confidential Support)
Support Resources at Cairn University
Oasis Counseling Center (Confidential Support)
Dr. Jeff Black, Director
Health Center (Confidential Support)
Robyn Brogan, Nurse
Office of Safety & Security (Mandatory Reporter; Not Confidential)
James Richardson, Director
Faculty, Staff, Administration (Mandatory Reporter; Not Confidential)
Resident Directors & Resident Assistants (Mandatory Reporter; Not Confidential)
Title IX Team
Mr. Rick Swift, VP & Dean of Students – Title IX Coordinator
Mrs. Ericka Potts, Director, Academic Resource Center – Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Mr. David Babb, Director of Athletics – Athletics Compliance
Ms. Whitney Seidel, Asst. Director of Athletics, Women’s Volleyball Coach – Athletics Compliance
Mr. James Richardson, Director Safety & Security – OSS Liaison
Mrs. Ericka Potts, Director, Academic Resource Center – 504 Coordinator
Mr. Andrew Gordon, Associate Dean of Students – Lead Investigator
Dr. Brian Luther, Faculty, School of Divinity – Hearing Panelist
Ms. Annie Vincent, Coordinator, Academic Resource Center – Hearing Panelist
Mrs. Andrea Stange, Director of Academic Operations – Hearing Panelist
Mr. John Kim, Resident Director, Manor Residence Hall – Hearing Panelist
Mrs. Lizzie Palmer, Resident Director, Heritage Hall – Investigator
Mr. Luke Gibson, Director, Pathway Center – Investigator
Cairn University follows an established investigation process, which has been developed and informed by experts in the field of Title IX.
This brief abbreviated presentation on the Cairn process is meant to inform the Cairn community of our sincere and timely response to all allegations of discrimination and sexual misconduct.
Upon receipt of a “complaint” (notice), the Title IX Coordinator will commence an assessment. The first step is to determine whether the alleged incident is a misconduct issue to be handled under the Community Life Covenant or a potential Title IX violation. Not all incidents referred for Title IX investigation are Title IX violations, but could still be serious violations of the university and/or a breach of State law.
- Consults with the Office of Safety and Security to determine if
- local, state, or federal laws have been broken
- Clery Act reporting requirements are applicable including “duty to warn”
- evidence needs to be protected
- Begins process of preliminary assessment through intake interviews and conversations.
- Examines whether informal dispute resolution (mediation) could be constructive to resolve the issue between the grieved parties.
- Informal resolution is not required and is not appropriate, even on a voluntary basis, in instances of sexual violence or other criminal behavior, or when an employee has been accused of sexually harassing a student.
- When a preliminary level assessment determines there is reasonable and sufficient evidence to pursue action, the individuals are informed and if the incident is perceived to be a Title IX violation, it is referred to the Title IX Investigators for a prompt and thorough investigation to be commenced.
FORMAL INVESTIGATION begins with a declaration statement from the Title IX Coordinator or the Title VII Coordinator that sufficient evidence exists to warrant a full investigation. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the lead investigator who will select a qualified member of the Title IX Team to promptly investigate the allegations.
- The investigation should be thorough, prompt, adequate, reliable, and impartial.
- The university will, in good faith, attempt to conclude the investigation and resolution within sixty calendar days of the Title IX Coordinator receiving the report.
- The Lead investigator will create the case file kept in a secured network drive with access limited to the Title IX team.
- A standard of equal communication is expected by the lead investigator. The Complaining and Responding Parties should receive notices and updates within the same timeframe.
- Cairn University has trained investigators who consistently use a systematic format of investigation for Title IX complaints. The determination of “finding” (final ruling) and sanctions will depend on the nature of the complaint/report, as follows:
- At the conclusion of a sexual misconduct investigation the case will be presented to a Judicial Conduct Hearing panel for a fair and impartial hearing in which determination of finding and assessing of any sanctions assure that the decision is made by a panel of trained Title IX personnel.
- Cases, which involve other types of discrimination or harassment (non-sexual), will be fully investigated and be presented to the Title VII and or Title IX Coordinator for final ruling and sanctions.
- The respective administrator, Title IX coordinator (if the Responding Party is a student), and the Title VII coordinator (if the Responding Party is an employee), will be responsible for the final communication of determination. Both parties will be communicated with and are permitted to know the outcome.
JUDICIAL CONDUCT HEARING provides the complainant and respondent in a Title IX sexual misconduct incident with a fair and impartial hearing in front of a panel of trained Cairn University Title IX Team members. A Judicial Conduct Hearing is conducted after the Title IX investigation finds that the initial notice or report of a sexual misconduct incident to be a credible account and needs to be adjudicated by this panel.
This hearing takes place in an organized format with a presentation of the investigation, examination, and cross-examination of both parties and witnesses. The panel is responsible to guide the procedure and render a binding decision. In order for Judicial Conduct Hearings to be conducted in a professional and competent manner, the University forms a standing committee of trained faculty and staff into a working Title IX Team. Within the team, select individuals will be designated to specialize as investigators or as hearing panelists.
Hearing Details and Order of Events:
- The Title IX Coordinator will formally request one of the Title IX Team members to serve as the Presiding panelist. During the hearing, the presiding panelist will lead the process and work towards a fair and equitable judgment.
- Presiding panelist will confirm that all parties invited to the hearing are aware of the time, location, purpose, structure and limitations of the hearing.
- Depending on the nature of the hearing and possibility of tensions, the lead investigator should evaluate whether assistance from the Office of Safety and Security is needed in the proximity to help guide each party to the hearing room and waiting area.
- Timing of the hearing needs to be established so it takes place at one time and in one setting. A window of two hours should be established and the presiding panelist must facilitate the event from the onset so all parties have their opportunity to respond and witnesses can be heard.
- The University will not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records maintained in connection with treatment by a physician, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional unless they obtain the party’s voluntary written consent to do so.
- To protect the level of confidentiality; only the panelists, the investigator in charge of the incident, and the complainant and respondent along with their advisors may be present in the hearing room. Witnesses can be located in an adjoining space and brought in to testify as needed.
- The entire proceeding is to take place with the understanding that the respondent has the presumption of being innocent of the allegations and only when the evidence is sufficiently clear and convincing will they be judged as responsible.
- The presiding panelist will open the hearing by asking the investigator in charge of the incident to present the findings in the case. This is to be an unbiased presentation of the incident detailing what is alleged, who was involved, dates and times along with a recap of the salient observations made by witnesses. This material will have been provided to the panelist and both parties in advance of the hearing. Therefore, the opening presentation of the investigator is not designed to inform the panel as much as allow questions to be asked dealing with pertinent elements of the incident.
- Once the initial presentation of the case has been stated, the panel will ask the complainant questions. Following this, the panel will question the respondent. At each stage, the advisor to one party may cross-examine the other party.
- During the hearing, the two parties to the incident (complainant and respondent) are not permitted to ask questions of one another.
- Any cross-examination from one party to the other is to be done by the advisor of one party to the party of the other side.
- The presiding panelist will be responsible for evaluating whether every question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
- Witnesses can be called as needed and once again, questions and cross-examinations can take place as prescribed.
- The presiding panelist will close the hearing once all questions and cross-examinations have been completed and dismiss the room occupants leaving only the three panelists.
- The panel will then discuss the incident and hearing details and come to a finding on responsibility and sanctions.
- The presiding panelist will document the decision of the hearing panel and submit the finding and any applicable sanctions to the two parties and the Title IX Coordinator.
Understanding students may be reluctant to report incidents of sexual assault or sexual harassment involving drugs or alcohol because of the potential consequences related to violating the Student Standards of Conduct, Cairn University has established an amnesty policy for Title IX incidents. Any victim or witness of sexual misconduct, who reports the incident in good faith, will not be sanctioned by the University for violating the Student Standards of Conduct regarding drugs, alcohol or sexual activity.
RETALIATION or intimidation against an individual who has provided information or refused to participate in connection with an investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct is strictly prohibited. Retaliation is any adverse action taken against an individual by the university, or member of the university community, because he or she has engaged in a legally protected action opposing discrimination or sexual misconduct. Similarly, intimidation is any adverse action or threat of action reasonably likely to prevent or dissuade an individual from making a “Report” or providing information in connection with an investigation. Cairn University will take steps to prevent retaliation and will take strong responsive action to any act of retaliation of which it becomes aware.
Retaliation includes but is not limited to direct threats to an individual, indirect threats to an individual, witness intimidation, creating a hostile atmosphere, demonstrating repeated physical presence, filing frivolous counter claims.
MEDIATION is an informal resolution, which concludes the matter to the satisfaction of both parties quickly and confidentially. Consent for informal resolution must be made by both parties and is to be recorded in written record. If satisfactory resolution is not reached during mediation or if either the complaining or responding party believes informal resolution is no longer possible he or she may forego the informal resolution process or discontinue it at any time and address the concern using the formal investigation process.
Informal resolution is not appropriate, even on a voluntary basis, in instances of sexual violence or other criminal behavior, or when an employee has been accused of sexually harassing a student.
RIGHTS of the Complainant (person making the report) and Respondent (person alleged to be responsible) are protected during the Title IX investigation process. Several rights afforded to both parties include:
- The right to have support from the University as an incident is investigated.
- The right to be treated with dignity and respect.
- The right to changes in academic, professional or living conditions if possible and necessary.
- The right to bring an advisor or support person to every interview / meeting.
- The right to name witnesses.
- The right to a lawyer or other advisor in any judicial hearing.
- The right to a judicial hearing advisor provided by the University if either party does not have an advisor yet the other party does.
- The right to appeal.
The Title IX Coordinator develops and oversees training and education programs to promote the awareness of harassment, sexual misconduct, rape, acquaintance rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
Specific Training for Cairn Students
- Students go through an orientation at the onset of their first semester as part of entry into the Cairn community.
- Orientation Seminars for undergraduates typically include a detailed slide show and opportunities for peer-to-peer response and/or role-play.
- Orientations for online students are brief and most of the information is provided through links and reference to documents on the Cairn website.
- Resident Life orientations cover expectations for community living with emphasis on student relationships.
- Students are made aware of the annual Clery report and of the resources available to students on and off campus.
- The University Health Center and the Oasis Counseling Center conduct seminars as needed and conduct wellness events relating to student relationships.
- The university sends periodic emails to the students reminding them of services and prevention efforts.
- The university uses climate surveys to monitor student awareness of discrimination and sexual misconduct and the Cairn response to complaints.
Specific Training for Employees
- Administrators, deans, chairs, directors, managers, and supervisors are responsible to ensure that employees within their areas of stewardship are properly trained on their obligations under this policy and applicable laws.
- Employees are provided with the Employee Handbook when an employment offer is made and additional training at the onset of employment during orientation. At that time, pertinent details are shared on the expectations of proper relationships with other employees and with students.
- Employees take part in periodic training. Topics are wide ranging and include many of the policies and procedures involved in anti-discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.
- At established intervals, employees go through mandatory training. This is done for specific employees working in settings where compliance and knowledge of the law is required as a university, state or federal expectation.
- Employees are notified of the annual Clery report and are made aware of their responsibility regarding issues of sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct for their own well-being as well as that of students.
- Additional Campus Safety Resources
- Clery – Annual Campus Safety Report
- Behavioral Incident Report
(Report strange or suspicious behavior of a community member)
Professional Training Source
Cairn University is a private faith based institution of higher education committed to maintaining a positive and constructive work environment free from unlawful discrimination for students, staff and faculty as stated in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and in Title VII of the Civil rights Act of 1964 as amended. The University will not tolerate any form of harassment or discriminatory practice. Discriminatory harassment is not only a violation of Cairn University policy, but is a violation of state and federal laws. The University will also not tolerate retaliation against any party who has complained of discrimination or harassment, or who has provided information or testimony in connection with such a complaint.