As a deliberately Christian Community, Belmont University seeks to create a climate of mutual respect and upholds high moral standards with regard to sexual behavior. Specifically, the university believes that sexual behavior outside of marriage and/or acts that demean the dignity and beauty of human sexuality conflict with the institution’s Christian character and commitments. Students choosing to engage in such behavior, consensually or non-consensually, on or off campus violate the university’s Code of Conduct.
Additional behaviors considered sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment; non-consensual sexual contact, and possession or distribution of obscene materials. Students engaged in these behaviors not only violate this policy, but also the Community Commitments of Individual Worth and Self Control. For this reason, all instances of sexual misconduct are subject to disciplinary action by the institution. Certain acts prohibited under this policy are also illegal according to state and/or federal law and may be subject to prosecution as criminal acts.
Sexual harassment is any implicit or explicit behavior of a sexual nature used to control, influence or affect the well-being of a person or physical conduct or verbal innuendo of a sexual nature that creates an intimidating, hostile, offensive environment.
Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching or intercourse, regardless of gender, however slight, with any object, that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual contact includes intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts.
Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in and the conditions of sexual activity. Consent to some form of sexual activity cannot be automatically taken as consent to any other form of sexual activity. Sexual activity with someone who is known to be- or based on the circumstances should reasonably have been known to be-- mentally or physically incapacitated (for any reason including alcohol or other drug use, unconsciousness or blackout), is considered non-consensual. This also refers to a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint, or from ingestion of medication including so called “rape drugs”
Procedures for Filing a Report or Submitting a Complaint
In an emergency, first contact Campus Security at 615.460.6911 so they may secure the area, detain appropriate individuals, and coordinate any engagement of outside law enforcement. 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 own accord. However, the victim's personal preferences whether or not to move forward with investigation and adjudication of a sexual misconduct complaint are strongly regarded.
Belmont University supports the right of all students to live and to 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 or to pursue conduct action or criminal prosecution is prohibited. Such behavior or retaliation by either party will result in immediate disciplinary action.
What to do after an Incident
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 a 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 and direct you to a wide variety of appropriate services.
It is strongly recommended that you visit an emergency room within 24 hours for a rape evidence examination to preserve evidence and support your opportunity to make decisions later. If possible, take a trusted friend or relative with you to the hospital to provide additional support. 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.
Deciding whether or not to report a crime to police may be difficult for you. If you decide to go to the hospital, by procedure hospital staff will alert the police of your arrival. It is up to you if you would like to file a police report or talk to a police officer. You will be asked 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.
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 a victim of sexual misconduct is not your fault. It is the fault of the person who engaged in the misconduct. This is a very traumatic event with many short-term and longer-term emotional and physical effects. It is important that you take care of yourself and access resources at your disposal. You deserve understanding, support and ongoing care and the University will seek to address any ongoing concerns you may have for your personal safety.
There are many services available to help you on and off campus:
- 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 following an alleged incident may not be referred for disciplinary action for unrelated violations (such as alcohol). Students who alleged a complaint of sexual misconduct 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 non-consensual sexual contact. 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 Director 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 Director 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.