Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Belmont community upholds high moral standards in regard to responsibly expressed sexual behavior, creating a climate of mutual respect. Acts that demean the dignity and beauty of human sexuality conflict with the university’s moral standards of responsibility whether the acts occur on or off campus. Belmont University believes that sexual behavior outside of marriage conflicts with our Christian commitments and students choosing to engage in such behavior violate the university’s Code of Conduct and its Community Commitment to Self-Control.
Additionally, other specific behaviors of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment; sexual violence, including rape, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual coercion, and other non-consensual sex offenses; and possession or distribution of obscene materials. Sexual misconduct also includes instances of sexual activity with persons who are incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs and/or alcohol or who may be unable to give consent due to an intellectual or other disability. Persons engaged in sexual misconduct are subject to disciplinary action. Certain acts prohibited under this policy are also illegal under state and/or federal law and may be prosecuted as criminal acts.
- Sexual harassment is implicit or explicit behavior of a sexual nature used to control, influence or affect the well-being of a person; physical conduct or verbal innuendo of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive environment.
- Rape is forced sexual intercourse without consent through the use of threatening verbal language, gestures or tone of voice; or through physical actions or restraint.
- Sexual Assault is any incident forcing another person to perform a sexual act against her/his will or consent.
- Sexual Battery is the act of making unwanted and sexually offensive contact with an intimate body part of another person or which causes an immediate apprehension in the other person that such an act will occur.
- Sexual coercion is the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone against his or her will; sexual coercion includes persistent attempts to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused.
- Obscene Materials must be both (1) materials in which a reasonable person, applying contemporary Belmont community standards, would conclude they are expressions of an explicitly sexual nature and appeal to prurient sexual/physical interests, and (2) materials that, taken in to regarding their content and their particular usage or application, lack any redeeming literary, scientific, political, artistic or social value.
Procedures for Filing a Report or Submitting a Complaint
In an emergency, first contact Campus Security at 615.460.6911 so the area can be secured, suspects detained and the arrival of outside law enforcement to campus can be coordinated.
Once in a safe place, a student who wishes to report an assault or file a complaint against another student through the University should notify the Coordinator for Student Conduct & Academic Integrity. Students will receive information on support resources, investigative steps and hearing procedures. Students are encouraged to also file a report with the Metro Nashville Police Department by calling 615.862.7540.
Out of concern for community standards and safety, Belmont University retains the right to pursue an investigation and/or disciplinary action of its on accord. However, the victim's personal preference whether or not to move forward with investigation and adjudication of a sexual assault complaint, are strongly regarded.
Belmont University supports the right of all students to live and study in an environment free from sexual coercion and violence. Any retaliatory action or behavior taken toward an alleged victim as a consequence of his or her decision to report a violation, pursue conduct action or criminal prosecution, is prohibited. Retaliation by either party may result in immediate disciplinary action.
What to do after an Assault
Get to a safe place. If you are injured, call 911 for immediate help. If you are on campus, contact your Resident Director, Student Affairs (615.460.6407) or Campus Security (615.460.6911). Ask to talk with someone about your options to help you make an informed decision as to what to do next.
If you are not comfortable talking to any campus representative you can call the Sexual Assault Center at 800.879.1999. Trained staff is available 24 hours a day. They can support you while at the same time directing you to a wide range of victim services.
Deciding whether or not to report the crime to police may be very difficult for you. It is strongly recommended that you visit an emergency room within 24 hours for a rape evidence examination to preserve evidence. All victims of sexual assault must go to Metro General Hospital. If you go to any other hospital emergency room you will be routed to Metro General Hospital. Metro General Hospital is located at 1818 Albion St, Nashville TN., 37208. If you decide to go to the hospital, hospital staff will alert the police of your arrival. It is up to you if you would like to file a police report or to talk to a police officer. The detective will ask you if you would like a sexual assault counselor to assist you at the hospital. This counselor is trained to help you think through your options as well as answer any questions that you might have throughout the entire process.
If possible, take a trusted friend or relative with you to the hospital to provide additional support.
Until you decide whether or not to have evidence collected it is very important to remember that there are things that you should not do:
- DO NOT shower or brush your teeth, if at all possible.
- DO NOT go to the bathroom, if at all possible.
- DO NOT drink or smoke.
- DO NOT change your clothes or underwear. If you have removed this clothing, bring it with you to the hospital in a paper bag. This may preserve a lot of evidence.
Support for Students
Please remember that being sexually assaulted is not your fault. It is the fault of the person who assaulted you. Sexual assault is a very traumatic crime with many short-term and longer-term adverse emotional and physical effects. It is important that you take care of yourself. You deserve understanding, support and ongoing care. The University will work with students who are victims of sexual assault on interim measures to reduce fear and concern about personal safety.
There are many services on and off campus available to help you. Call one of the on-campus or off-campus numbers listed below:
- 24-hour Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-879-1999
- Resident Director or Resident Assistant
- Counseling Services at 615-460-6856
- Office of University Ministries at 615-460-6419
- Health Services at 615-460-5506
- Dean of Students Office at 615-460-6407
- Campus Security at 615-460-6911
A student who files a report, as well as witnesses, and any students present before, during or in the aftermath of an alleged assault may not be referred for disciplinary action for unrelated violations (such as alcohol). Students who alleged a complaint of sexual assault will be provided support from Student Affairs regarding their continued safety and comfort while remaining engaged in life in the community.
The University has a Title IX Coordinator to coordinate and respond to complaints regarding sexual violence, including sexual assault. Complaints or concerns can be directed to:
Dr. Becky Spurlock, Associate Dean of students
Beaman Student Life Center, Suite 200
1900 Belmont Boulevard
Nashville, TN 37212
Investigative Hearing and Procedures
The Coordinator for Student Conduct & Academic Integrity will meet with a student considering submitting a complaint, will outline the process for filing a complaint, and explain University procedures. A written report is required for a case to be referred for action. Upon receipt of a report consultation with the student filing the report, the Coordinator will contact the accused party. This is done to explain the procedures to this student and to outline the basis of the complaint. Accused students have the right to see the report that alleges a violation. As a matter of process, both parties in a case are issued No-Contact orders. This allows the matter to proceed without any possible harassment or miscommunication between parties. Typical procedures will be followed with the following exceptions:
- The accused student has the right to direct questions to their accuser via the adjudicatory body.
- The accuser and the accused party are each permitted to the same opportunities to have a support person present during the hearing.
- Both parties will be informed of the outcome and sanction of any campus disciplinary proceedings alleging sexual misconduct.
- The student bringing the complaint in a hearing may appeal the decision.