Sexual Harassment, Assault and Domestic Violence

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary does not tolerate interpersonal or intimate partner violence, which includes sexual assault, prohibited sexual contact, dating violence or domestic violence in any form.  These acts are prohibited at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and are a violation of seminary policy and potentially Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or Federal Law.  This policy applies to all members of the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary community and includes, but is not limited to, faculty, staff, students, seminary visitors, volunteers and vendors.  It also applies to alleged acts of sexual assault, prohibited sexual contact, dating and domestic violence whether those acts occur on or off campus.

Appropriate disciplinary actions following the process outlined in the student or staff handbooks may be taken against any persons or groups engaging in these acts, up to and including expulsion from the seminary, termination of seminary employment, and termination of contracts/agreements with that person(s) or group(s).  In addition, the seminary may terminate or suspend its relationship and associated privileges with any perpetrator of interpersonal or intimate partner violence covered by this policy, including but not limited to visitors, volunteers, vendors and other such guests of seminary.  To this end, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary expressly reserves its rights to revoke the privilege, right and/or permission to anyone to be physically present on-campus, participate in seminary activities, and use seminary facilities or resources in order to carry out the intent and purposes of this policy.

The seminary may refer any alleged perpetrator of interpersonal or intimate partner violence to law enforcement.

The standard for determining whether a violation of this policy exists shall be based upon the preponderance of the evidence standard of the victim of an act of interpersonal or intimate partner violence.

 

Definitions

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is any unwanted, coerced, or forced sexual contact or intercourse or sexual contact or intercourse with someone who is not able to give consent (e.g. incapacitated by alcohol or drugs or asleep). Sexual assault can involve the sexual penetration of any body orifice, but also includes other unwanted sexual contact including Statutory Rape (minor under 16 in Massachusetts). Victims can be either women or men. Most victims/survivors know the perpetrators who may be the victim’s/survivor’s best friend, lover, partner, date, family member, neighbor, teacher, employer, doctor or classmate. The perpetrator can be a husband, wife, boyfriend or girlfriend. Sexual assault can occur between members of the opposite sex or same sex. Alcohol, date rape drugs, or other substances may be involved.

Consent

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be freely given, not assumed. Alcohol or drug use can render a person incapable of giving consent.

Domestic Violence (from 42 USC ss 13925)

The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.

Dating Violence (from 42 USC ss 13925)

The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person—
(A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
(B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:

(i) The length of the relationship.
(ii) The type of relationship.
(iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Stalking (from 42 USC ss 13925)

The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to — (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress. In Massachusetts such conduct are felonies. M.G.L. c. 265 § 43 (Stalking). Stalking includes a willful and malicious knowing pattern of conduct or acts over a period of time directed at a specific person which seriously alarms or annoys the person and which causes a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress and makes a threat with the intent to place the person in imminent fear of death or bodily injury. Stalking can be accomplished by mail, telephone, electronic mail, internet communications and facsimile. Conduct which does not include a threat of death or bodily injury is also illegal and considered harassment by the seminary and Massachusetts law. M.G.L. c. 265 § 43A (Criminal Harassment).

Domestic, dating, intimate partner or family violence is an abuse of power and control. It is a pattern of behavior used by one person to control another through force or threats.