Title IX Communication

4/18/18

Dear Campus Community, 

As you may know, there have been several social media and news reports this week related to a report of sexual assault on our campus. 

I want to be clear: sexual assault is reprehensible and should never be a part of any community—certainly not a learning community and definitely not the Mount Mercy community. 

Title IX Policy on Sexual Assault/Harassment 

Our policy prohibiting sexual assault and harassment—and obligation to Title IX enforcement—is rooted in our long-standing values, based on the Sisters of Mercy Critical Concerns.  

You all are aware that we have a robust Title IX policy, process, and protocol in place. Over the last two years, we’ve strengthened our policy and procedures in light of both legal and U.S. Department of Education contexts, as well as reviewed it through the lens of our compassion and action mission. We investigate each and every report we receive and act on all information available to us from all sources. We report to and work in concert with the CRPD. No one receives special treatment because of any aspect of their lives as students. 

We’ve also improved our Title IX team and trained several new investigators. I assure you that we will continue to review and improve. As a reminder, our current Title IX team includes: 

  • Nate Klein (Student Services), Title IX Coordinator
  • Tom Doermann (HR and Operations), Title IX Deputy Coordinator
  • Eden Wales Freedman (English Faculty), Title IX Deputy Coordinator
  • Eric Werling (Campus Safety), Title IX Deputy Coordinator
  • Connie Albaugh (Human Resources), Trained Investigator
  • Jeremiah Fields (Residence Life), Trained Investigator


Continuing the Discussion
 

These important conversations about sexual assault and harassment have caused many of you to ask more questions about Mount Mercy’s Title IX practices—the ways investigations are conducted, the relationship MMU staff has with local police, what sanctions are given to students who violate the policy, what internal and external support systems are available for students who report sexual assault and harassment, what educational methods are being used to prevent sexual assault and harassment, and how you can be more involved in the educational process and enforcement of our policies. 

Our Title IX team and I would like to speak with you about these and other related topics. Please join us at an MMU Community Forum on Wednesday, April 25 at 5 PM in the Chapel of Mercy to learn about our policy, procedures, and educational methodology—and to share your questions and concerns. 

Following the Community Forum, you’re invited to participate in our annual Take Back the Night walk at 6:30 PM. The mission of this international event is to end sexual, relationship, and domestic violence in all forms. 

While we’d like to say more in person and on social media about the specific case in question, federal law—and the promise of confidentiality to students involved—prohibits us from disclosing any information, even when a student involved chooses to speak out. We cannot describe the facts of the situation, the investigation conducted, or the support provided without a student’s permission.

Student Support Resources 

We have the utmost concern for campus safety and for supporting our students. A student can report sexual assault or harassment 24/7 to a trained campus safety or residence life staff member and expect follow-up and an unbiased investigation without delay. 

Reporting students will receive information on available support services (including police, medical, victim’s assistance, counseling, academic, and housing options) and safety measures that Mount Mercy can take on their behalf. We also respect the rights of students who are accused of violating Mount Mercy’s sexual assault and harassment policy by providing them with due process safeguards while their cases are going through our Title IX process.

Campus Education & Training 

Additional education and training on Title IX, mandatory reporting, student resources/services, and bystander intervention will continue to be offered to faculty, staff, and students. 

I appreciate your concern, support, and dedication to providing the very best learning, working, and living environment for everyone on the Hill—free from sexual assault and harassment, and with academic excellence and compassion.

Sincerely, 

Laurie Hamen
President

 


 

4/16/18

Several recent social media posts reference a confidential Title IX investigation on Mount Mercy University's campus.

Mount Mercy's protocol in situations like these includes filing a report with the police, providing support services to the reporting party, conducting a full internal investigation with all involved (using trained Title IX investigators), and acting on the information we have.

Title IX further requires an investigation without undue delay and in situations where a witness, complainant, or respondent fails to provide additional information/evidence, we are required to proceed with the information/evidence that we have—per Title IX and our own Mount Mercy University process. If at a later time, information/evidence is provided, the case can be appealed and evaluated with the new information/evidence.

Mount Mercy welcomes a conversation with anyone who would like to discuss our Title IX process or this matter further. Our Title IX policy can be found here (https://www.mtmercy.edu/title-ix) and the following people serve as our Title IX staff who can also answer any questions about our process:

  • Tom Doermann – Title IX Deputy Coordinator, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources & Operations
  • Dr. Nate Klein – Title IX Coordinator, Vice President for Student Success
  • Dr. Eden Wales-Freedman – Title IX Deputy Coordinator, Assistant Professor of English
  • Eric Werling – Title IX Deputy Coordinator, Director of Campus Safety & Security

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