Skip to content »

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX

Sexual Misconduct Policy

Seminary Policy Statement

Sexual misconduct is unacceptable and will not be tolerated at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. The Seminary prohibits discrimination based on sex in its educational programs and activities. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary prohibits the offenses of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Accordingly, the Seminary urges an individual to make a formal report if that individual is the victim of sexual misconduct, has knowledge of another person being the victim of sexual misconduct, or believes in good faith that he/she has witnessed a possible warning sign of sexual misconduct. A report of sexual misconduct will be dealt with promptly. Confidentiality will be maintained to the greatest extent possible.

All members of Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary community, including but not limited to students, faculty (including adjunct faculty), staff, volunteers and independent contractors are subject to this policy.   

Violators will be subject to disciplinary action that may include termination, expulsion, suspension, removal from campus, cancellation of contract, other appropriate institutional sanctions, or any other means necessary to address the behavior.  Prosecution by civil authorities may also occur.

A complete copy of the Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary policy governing sexual misconduct is available here.

The Seminary’s Title IX Coordinator is Carine Lopez Velazquez and she should be contacted by calling 847.866.3918, or by visiting the Main Building room 118 or emailing

Scope of Policy

This policy applies to all of the member of the Seminary community - students, faculty, adjuncts, staff, administrators, and contractors, as well as Seminary visitors, volunteers, guests, and third parties.

Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct

Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary is committed to a safe and healthy environment and, as such, does not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form, including but not limited to, sexual harassment or sexual assault, gender harassment, discrimination based on pregnancy and prenatal status, stalking, and dating and domestic violence. Such conduct violates the community values and principles of our institution and disrupts the living, learning, and working environment for students, faculty, staff and other community members.

An attempt to commit an act identified in this policy, as well as assisting or willfully encouraging any such act, is considered a violation of this policy. Community members may also be held responsible for any misconduct by their visitors and guests.

Title IX (Title IX 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681, et seq.) of the U.S Higher Education Act protects individuals from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities which receive federal financial assistance:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

Discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment, unwelcomed sexual advances or sexual violence.


The terms and definitions used here are important components of Seminary policy. The definitions are intended to give meaning to these terms in the context of the Seminary community. Any incident meeting a definition denoted with a ** is considered a crime for the purposes of Clery Act reporting.


Sexual activity requires consent, which is defined as informed, voluntary, and a mutual agreement between the participants engaging in a specific sexual activity. Consent must be acquired prior to or contemporaneously with sexual activity and may be withdrawn at any time from any participant. A person who is not of legal age (17 years old in Illinois) cannot consent to sexual activity.

Consent must be all of the following:

  • Knowing: Consent must demonstrate that all individuals understand, are aware of, and agree to the “who” (same partners), “what” (same acts), “where” (same location), “when” (same time), and “how” (the same way and under the same conditions) of the sexual activity.
  • Active: Consent must take the form of “clearly understandable words or actions” that reveal one’s expectations and agreement to engage in specific sexual activity. Silence, passivity, submission, or the lack of verbal or physical resistance (including the lack of a “no”) should not – in and of themselves – be understood as consent. Consent cannot be inferred by an individual’s manner of dress, the giving or acceptance of gifts, the extension or acceptance of an invitation to go to a private room or location, or going on a date.
  • Voluntary: Consent must be freely given and cannot be the result of force (violence, physical restraint, or the presence of a weapon), threats (indications of intent to harm, whether direct or indirect), intimidation (extortion, menacing behavior, bullying), coercion (undue pressure) or fraud (misrepresentation or material omission about oneself or the situation in order to gain permission for sexual or intimate activity).
  • Present and Ongoing: Consent must exist at the time of the sexual activity. Consent to previous sexual activity does not imply consent to later sexual acts; similarly, consent to one type of sexual activity does not imply consent to other sexual acts. Consent may also be withdrawn at any time – provided the person withdrawing consent makes that known in clearly understandable words or actions.


Consent is not present when an individual is incapacitated, voluntarily or involuntarily, due to physical condition (sleep, lack of consciousness, alcohol, drugs), or disability that impairs the individual’s ability to provide consent. Incapacitation is a state where an individual cannot make a rationale, reasonable decision and is unaware of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction.

Alcohol or Drug Use

Some indicators of incapacitation due to alcohol or drugs may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate for any reason. An individual may experience a blackout state in which they appear to be giving consent, but they do not actually have conscious awareness or the ability to consent. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication.

Using alcohol or drugs or being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual misconduct and does not excuse one from the responsibility to obtain consent.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature, which includes, but is not limited to, unwelcome sexual advances; the use or threatened use of sexual favors as a basis for academic or employment decisions (so called “quid pro quo harassment”); conduct that creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive academic or working environment; conduct that has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s academic or work performance; and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive to limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from an educational program or activity.

Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute harassment when:

  • Submission to such conduct is made or threatened to be made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual's employment or education;
  • Submission to such conduct by an individual is used or threatened to be used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual; or
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's academic or professional performance or creating what a reasonable person would sense is an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment, educational, or living environment.

Sexual harassment is distinguished from a voluntary sexual relationship by the introduction of the element of coercion, threat, hostility, or unwanted attention of a sexual nature.

Examples of sexual harassment include:

  • Unwelcome sexual flirtations, advances or propositions;
  • Pressure for a dating, romantic, or intimate relationship;
  • Pressure for sexual favors;
  • Verbal abuse of a sexual nature, sexual innuendoes or humor, unnecessary references to parts of the body, off-color jokes, gossip about sexual relations; and remarks about a person's gender or sexual orientation; Visual conduct such as leering or making obscene gestures
  • Display of derogatory or sexually suggestive or explicit graffiti, pictures, or posters;
  • Sexually explicit profanity;
  • Stalking or cyber harassment that is based on gender or sex, including but not limited to disseminating information, photos, or video of a sexual nature without consent;
  • Engaging in conduct of a sexual nature which creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive academic or work environment;
  • E-mail, texting (“sexting”) and Internet use that violates this policy; and
  • Punishing or threatening to take adverse action against a subordinate or student for refusing to comply with sexual demands.

Sexual harassment can occur anywhere or anytime between and among students, faculty, staff and coworkers, in consensual and nonconsensual relationships.  It can occur between members of the opposite or same sex.

All forms of sexual misconduct identified in this policy are also prohibited forms of sexual harassment.

Gender-Based Harassment

Gender-based harassment includes acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on gender, sex or sex-stereotyping, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature.

Sexual Orientation-Based Harassment

Sexual orientation-based harassment includes verbal, non-verbal and physical acts of aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on an individual’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, or transsexuality.

Sexual Assault **

Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.

a. Non-consensual sexual contact: Any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person(s) upon a person(s) without effective consent.
b. Non-consensual sexual intercourse: Any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a person(s) upon a person(s), without effective consent.

Sexual Exploitation:

Taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another person for the benefit of oneself or a third party. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following actions (including when they are done via electronic means, methods or devices):

  • Prostituting another individual;
  • Sexual voyeurism or permitting others to witness or observe the sexual or intimate activity of another person without that person’s consent;
  • Indecent or lewd exposure or inducing another person to expose themselves when consent is not present
  • Recording any person engaged in sexual or intimate activity in a private space without that person’s consent;
  • Distributing sexual or intimate information, images or recordings about another person without that person’s consent


Is defined as harassing or threatening another person to the point where that individual fears for his/her safety or the safety of a third party or suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking can occur in various forms including, but not limited to, in person, through third parties, and electronically (phone, internet, etc.).

Stalking behavior includes but is not limited to:

  • Following a person;
  • Being or remaining in close proximity to a person;
  • Giving gifts or objects to, or leaving items for, a person;
  • Placing a person under surveillance;
  • Threatening (directly or indirectly) a person or a third party member of that person;
  • Interfering with or damaging a person’s property (including pets).
  • Engaging in unwelcome contact.

Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is defined as a pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure, or wound someone.

Individuals encompassed in this definition include, but are not limited to: persons who have or have had a dating or engagement relationship; persons who have or have had a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature, including same sex couples; current or former spouses, domestic partners, parents, children, stepchildren and other persons related by blood or by current or prior marriage; persons who share or formerly shared a common dwelling; persons who have or allegedly have a child in common; persons who share or allegedly share a relationship through a child; and personal assistants and personal caregivers for the elderly or disabled.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is when a person uses or threatens to use sexual violence, physical, mental, or emotional abuse to gain or maintain power or control over another person who is in a dating relationship with that person. A dating relationship is established when two individuals engage in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

All forms of sexual misconduct identified in this policy are also prohibited forms of sexual harassment.            


Retaliation is a violation of Title IX. Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary also strictly prohibits any person or group to retaliate against, threaten, intimidate, interfere with, coerce or take any other adverse action against any participant (complainant, respondent, or witness), a that: 1) reports sexual misconduct; 2) seeks advice concerning sexual misconduct; 3) assists or supports another individual or group that reports sexual misconduct; or 4) participates as a witness or in the investigation of a sexual misconduct report.

The Seminary will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation. Any individuals who engage in such actions are subject to disciplinary or remedial action, which can include expulsion from the Seminary, termination of employment, and may also be subject to criminal and/or civil action. Anyone who is aware of possible retaliation or has other concerns regarding the response to a complaint of sexual misconduct should report such concerns to the Title IX Coordinator.


Every effort will be made to ensure confidentiality to the extent feasible, while permitting the Seminary to investigate the complaint thoroughly to take appropriate action. Once a formal investigation has begun, complete confidentiality may not be possible.  When the Seminary receives a report of sexual misconduct, it has a legal obligation to respond in a timely manner under Title IX to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all members of the Seminary community, including the individual who has experience sexual misconduct.

If the Seminary determines that it cannot maintain a complainant’s confidentiality, the Seminary will inform the complainant prior to starting an investigation and will, to the extent possible, only share information with people responsible for handling the Seminary’s response. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate all requests for confidentiality to determine the extent to which the Seminary can honor the request and still satisfy its obligations under Title IX and this policy. When the Seminary is obligated to provide the Seminary community with timely warnings under the Clery Act, names of individuals are not used and every effort will be made to reserve identifying information.

The Seminary will remain mindful of the complainant’s well-being, and will take ongoing steps to protect the complainant from retaliation or harm and work with the complainant to create a safety plan as long as it is warranted.

The Seminary may also:

  • Assist the complainant in accessing other available advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability, health or mental health services, and legal assistance both on and off campus
  • Provide other security and support, which could include issuing a no-contact order, helping arrange a change of living or working arrangements or course schedules or adjustments for assignments or tests; and
  • Inform the complainant of the right to report a crime to local law enforcement and provide the complainant with assistance if the complainant wishes to do so.


File a Report

Reporting Violations

For emergency assistance, please dial 911.

The Seminary strongly encourages all individuals to report incidents of sexual misconduct to Seminary officials. All employees are considered “responsible employees” for Title IX purposes and are obligated to promptly report sexual misconduct of which they are aware of to the Title IX Coordinator, unless they have a recognized confidentiality privilege. Further, the Seminary encourages students and third parties who have observed or been made aware of sexual misconduct to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator for investigation.

Despite the Seminary’s strong interest in having individuals report allegations of sexual misconduct, the Seminary realizes that not every individual involved in a sexual assault is prepared to make a report to the Seminary.  Certain persons have a recognized confidentiality privilege (e.g., certified counselors, a chaplain serving in that capacity, and/or off-campus mental health or rape crisis providers) and will not tell anyone your private, personally identifiable information without your permission, unless there is cause for fear for your safety, or the safety of others.  (Confidential resources may submit non-identifying anonymous information about violations of this policy the Title IX Coordinator or the HR Director for purposes of legally required statistical reporting under the Clery Act.)

An individual(s) who reports sexual misconduct that was directed at them or another person, either as a Complainant or a third party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the Seminary for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The Seminary may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational interventions regarding alcohol or other drugs. Amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities.

All alleged violations of this Policy should be directed to one of the following:

Title IX Coordinator

Carine Lopez Velazquez
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
2121 Sheridan Road, Room 118
Evanston, IL 60201

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for monitoring and oversight of overall implementation of Title IX compliance and the prevention of harassment and discrimination at the Seminary, including coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the Seminary community. If you have questions or concerns related to Title IX, you should contact the Seminary’s Title IX Coordinator.

Staff Complaints: Carine Lopez Velazquez, Associate VP for HR, Room 118, Main Building, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201, 847.866.3918, or email

Faculty Complaints: Mai-Anh Le Tran, Academic Dean, Room 333, Pfeiffer 300 Building, 2121 Sheridan Road Evanston, IL 60201, 847.866.3863, or email

Student Complaints: Carine Lopez Velazquez, Associate VP for HR, Room 118, Main Building, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60201, 847.866.3918, or email

A report may also be submitted online. Click here to access the form.

Complainants are also encouraged to notify local law enforcement authorities of any criminal sexual misconduct. Individuals will be assisted, upon request, in notifying law enforcement by the Title IX Coordinator, the HR Specialist, or the Dean of Students. They can assist you with making claims, petitioning for restraining orders, and/or advising on other options that may be available to you.

Confidential Resources

Student Chaplain, Rev. Dr. Karen Mosby. Rev. Dr. Mosby is located in Main 202, 847.866.3969, via email at


Evanston Hospital
2650 Ridge Ave Evanston, IL 60201

YWCA Evanston/North Shore
1215 Church Street
Evanston, IL 60201

Rape Victims Advocates
180 N. Michigan Ave, Suite 600 Chicago, IL 60601

Porchlight Counseling Services
(Free counseling for sexual and/or domestic/dating violence)


Local Law Enforcement

For emergency assistance, please dial 911.

Complainants are also encouraged to notify local law enforcement authorities of any criminal sexual misconduct. Individuals will be assisted, upon request, in notifying law enforcement by the Title IX Coordinator, HR Specialist, or the Dean of Students. They can assist you with making claims, petitioning for restraining orders, and/or advising on other options that may be available to you.

Evanston Police Department
1454 Elmwood Ave
Evanston, IL 60201

Life Span Center for Legal Services and Advocacy
70 E. Lake Street, Suite 700
Chicago, IL 60601
(312) 408-1210

Investigation Procedures

Complaints may be made by the person who believes their rights under the Seminary’s Sexual Misconduct Policy have been violated, by a Seminary employee, any member of the Seminary or a third party. Complaints may be made to the Title IX Coordinator, the Human Resources Office, the Academic Dean, the Dean of Students or any other employee of the Seminary. Any employee of the Seminary receiving a complaint has a mandated obligation to inform the Title IX Coordinator immediately. Complaints may also be made through the online form here or via email at

As soon as the Seminary receives information alleging a violation under this policy, the representative receiving the concern must report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator within 2 business days. An investigation will begin within 3 business days after the Title IX Coordinator receives a formal complaint, unless unusual or complex circumstances exist. The investigation will be timely and impartial. Barring unforeseen circumstances, the investigation will be completed, including any formal proceedings that occur, within 60 calendar days from the time a formal complaint is initiated. If the investigation extends beyond 60 calendar days, the Seminary will explain the reason for the delay to both parties and keep them apprised of the modified timeline. At the conclusion of the investigation and proceedings (if any), writing notification about the outcome of the investigation and any appeal will be delivered concurrently to the complainant, the respondent and any appropriate Seminary officials.

Interim Measures

Upon receiving a complaint of a potential violation of this policy, the Seminary may take appropriate interim measures to protect a complainant or to meet its obligations to maintain a safe, nondiscriminatory learning/working environment. The Seminary may take such steps even when a complainant asks that the Seminary keep a reported violation of this policy confidential and/or that it not investigate the matter.  Such measures will vary based on the particular facts and circumstances and based on a complainant’s confidentiality preferences. These measures include but are not limited to:

  1. Establishing a “no contact” order between individuals.
  2. Prohibiting an individual from being on campus or at Seminary events.
  3. Changing a student’s or employee’s status, in consultation with appropriate administrator(s).
  4. Changing living arrangements in the on-campus dorms or off-campus Seminary apartments.
  5. Changing work, class, or other schedules, in consultation with appropriate administrator(s).
  6. Changing academic requirements or providing assistance with academic issues.
  7. Providing time off from class or work, or a leave of absence.
  8. Issuing a timely warning of any substantial threat or danger to the community.
  9. Making information about and providing assistance with respect to orders for protection and harassment restraining orders, including enforcement of such orders.
  10. Transportation arrangements.
  11. Safety planning measurements.

To request an accommodation or protective measure, complainants should contact the Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator or the Office of Human Resources.

Investigation Procedures and Timelines

The Seminary will complete a thorough, fair, impartial, and timely investigation and resolution process. Instances of sexual misconduct that are criminal acts may also subject the respondent to criminal and civil penalties under federal and state law. Reports of all sexual misconduct made to any Seminary employee will automatically be referred to the Title IX Coordinator. Allegations are investigated by the administrator(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator. 

The investigation process shall will take no more than 60 calendar days to complete. The investigation process typically involves the following:

  • The Seminary uses the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine responsibility of violations of its sexual misconduct policy (more likely than not to have occurred).  
  • The complainant and respondent each have access to the Title IX Coordinator who will serve as a resources to answer any questions about processes and resources.
  • The Seminary will allow the complainant and respondent timely and equal access to each other’s statements and to any new information presented throughout the investigation.
  • Following the filing of a complaint, the complainant and respondent will each receive notification in writing to attend a separate initial conference with the investigator assigned to the case. This initial conference will inform the complainant and the respondent of their rights, the Title IX process, and to gather initial statements.
  • Complainant and respondent must respond to the investigator within 3 calendar days (or the next weekday following a weekend or Seminary holiday) after the notice has been sent to set up an initial conference.
  • Complainant and respondent will be asked to make a preliminary formal statement at each of their respective initial conference.
  • Complainants and respondents may be accompanied by one advisor throughout the investigation and any hearing process. The investigator must be notified at least 72 hours prior that an advisor will be present and only one advisor may be present. An advisor may not speak, write, or otherwise communicate with an investigator or investigation panel on behalf of the complainant or respondent, nor may the advisor function as legal counsel. Advisors who do not abide by these guidelines may be excluded from the process.
  • The investigator(s) may interview any witnesses who may have information of relevance to the alleged misconduct or any retaliation against witnesses for their participation in the investigation. 
  • The investigator(s) may request and/or review any other evidence of relevance to the misconduct.
  • Following the period of fact finding, the complainant and the respondent will each receive notification in writing to attend separate formal Title IX hearings with the investigator assigned to the case. In this hearing the complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to review the evidence and make final statements.
  • Complainant and respondent must respond to the investigator within 3 calendar days (or the next weekday following a weekend or Seminary holiday) after the notice has been sent to set up the formal Title IX hearing.
  • Complainant and respondent will be asked to make any final statements at each of their respective formal Title IX hearings. After the conclusion of the formal Title IX hearing, no additional evidence will be accepted by the investigator, unless it is done so during the appeal process.
  • Once the investigator determines she/he has enough information to write a summary of finding, the investigation process is complete. The investigator will provide a written Summary of Findings to the Title IX Coordinator. The complainant and respondent will each be notified of the outcome of the investigation in writing and of any sanctions that may, if any, are to be imposed on the respondent.
  • The Summary of Findings will be keep on file within the Title IX records, which the Title IX Coordinator is in charge of maintaining.

Appeal Process

The complainant or respondent (if students or employees of the Seminary) may request an appeal of the decision. The request for an appeal must be submitted, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator within 10 business days after receiving notification of the outcome.  Failure to file a timely appeal constitutes a waiver of any right to an appeal.

The appeal should include a detailed description of why the appeal should be allowed based upon one or more of the criteria below. The Title IX Coordinator will assign the appeal to a designee that is also a Title IX investigator who did not hear the case and does not have a bias toward the complainant or respondent.

The basis for an appeal will be limited to the following:

  1. New evidence can be submitted that was not available at the original Title IX hearing;
  2. The sanction(s) are thought to be disproportionate to the violation(s);
  3. The investigation process as described above was not followed.

The Title IX Coordinator may deny the request for an appeal if at least one of the criteria above is not met. Also the original findings and any assigned discipline will stand unless and until the appeal is completed.

The Title IX Coordinator will communicate to both parties, in writing, whether or not the appeal has been granted and, if granted, who is the new assigned investigator. The Title IX investigator may use discretion to resolve the appeal based solely on written documents from Title IX hearings and the appeal letter, whether to meet with only the complainant, only the respondent, only witnesses, or both parties of the incident. Upon completion of the appeal review, the Title IX Coordinator may make any of the following decisions:

  1. Uphold the original decision and any sanction(s);
  2. Overturn the original decision; remove or reduce any sanction(s);
  3. Assign additional sanctions up to and including dismissal from the Seminary.

The Title IX Coordinator will have 10 business days from the date of the delivery of the appeal to present the appeal decision. The appeal decision will be sent simultaneously in writing to both the complainant and respondent regardless of who filed the appeal.


Alternative Procedures

Nothing in this policy is intended to interfere with the right of any individual to pursue other avenues of recourse which may include, but is not limited to, filing a complaint with:

Office for Civil Rights – Chicago Office
U.S. Department of Education
Citigroup Center
500 W. Madison Street, Suite 1475
Chicago, IL 60661-4544
TDD 800.877.8339

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission – Chicago District Office
500 West Madison Street, Suite 2000
Chicago, Illinois 60661
TDD 800.669.6820