Reporting Sex Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct & Sexual Harassment
Any person may report an incident(s) of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. The reporting party may be the person directly affected by the alleged incident (referred to as “complainant”) or a third party. Reports of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment may be written or verbal and may be made at any time (including non-business hours) in person, by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, of the Title IX Coordinator.
Rockford University Title IX Coordinator contact information is as follows:
Dr. Randy Worden, Vice President for Student Life and Title IX Coordinator
Student Life Office Suite, 1st floor Burpee Student Center (next to Den)
When the Title IX Coordinator receives notice through a report (either written or oral), complaint, or formal complaint of an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to:
- Discuss the availability of supportive measures, as defined in the Supportive Measures section of this policy;
- Consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures;
- Inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without filing a complaint or formal complaint;
- Explain to the complainant the:
- University’s procedures for handling non-sexual harassment sex discrimination, as outlined in the University Non-Discrimination Statement;
- Process for filing a complaint under the University Code of Conduct (for incidents involving students) or the Faculty or Employee Handbooks (for incidents involving employee to employee conduct).; and/or
- Process for filing a formal complaint under Title IX, as outlined in the Filing a Formal Complaint section of this policy.
The Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary assessment of the report, complaint, or formal complaint to assist the complainant in determining which grievance process or procedures the complainant may initiate, if he, she, or they. For more information about the Preliminary Assessment, see Formal Complaint Process under Title IX.
In addition to reporting an incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator, individuals have the following reporting options:
Option #1: Report to the University
A person may report an alleged incident of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment to a University Responsible Employee, as defined on in Definitions of this policy. Responsible Employees must report the alleged incident to the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate University designees.
Any individual may provide a report to the University by contacting any Title IX team member:
- Dr. Randy Worden, Vice President for Student Life and Title IX Coordinator (Senior Title IX Officer)
Office: Student Life Office Suite, 1st floor Burpee Student Center (next to Den)
Phone: 815-226-3398 / E-Mail: RWorden@rockford.edu
- Monique DiVenti, Vice-President of Human Resources (Deputy Title IX Coordinator)
Office: Human Resources Office, 1st floor Nelson Hall
Phone: 815-394-4376 / E-Mail: MDiVenti@rockford.edu
- Elaine Sharpe, Associate Professor of Psychology (Title IX Investigator)
Office: Starr Science, 4th floor, Room 436
Phone: 815-226-4112 / E-Mail: ESharpe@rockford.edu
Option #2: Report to Rockford City Police (Law Enforcement)
Rockford University encourages anyone who has experienced sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to pursue criminal action for incidents that may also be crimes under applicable criminal statutes. City of Rockford police officers are trained in handling sexual assault and other cases involving sexual misconduct and harassment. Reporting to law enforcement does not require prosecution of the offense and the reporting party’s wishes will be taken into account by law enforcement. The police report and any supporting evidence may be turned over to the Winnebago County State’s Attorney’s Office, which decides whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute. Information about the law enforcement process of reporting, the investigation, arrests, filing of charges, hearings, the trial and sentencing will be explained at the time of the report. University employees will assist the reporting party in contacting local law enforcement, if explicitly requested by the reporting party. However, reporting an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to the University does not in any way equate to reporting the incident to the City of Rockford Police Department. An individual may decide to report an incident exclusively to the University, exclusively to the City of Rockford Police Department, or to both the University and the City of Rockford Police Department.
Should an individual report an incident of sexual misconduct or sexual harassment to both the University and the City of Rockford Police Department, the University will comply with law enforcement requests for cooperation. Such cooperation may require the University to temporarily suspend its own investigation into the alleged incident while local law enforcement gathers evidence. During this time, the University will continue to offer supportive measures to the complainant. As soon as the City of Rockford Police Department or the University determines that a delay is no longer necessary, the University will promptly resume its Title IX or conduct investigation.
University policy, definitions, and standard of proof differ from Illinois criminal law. Neither the City of Rockford Police Department’s determination whether to prosecute a respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution will determine whether sexual misconduct or sexual harassment has occurred under this University policy. Proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
Option #3: Report to BOTH RU Public Safety and Rockford City Police Department
Individuals can report incidents of sexual misconduct to both RU Public Safety and the Rockford City Police Department.
The University will comply with law enforcement request for cooperation and such cooperation may require the University to temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of a Title IX investigation while the law enforcement agency is in the process of gathering evidence. During this time, the University will continue to offer support to the reporting party, including discussing Title IX rights, procedural options, and needed interim measures to ensure safety and well-being. The University will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon as notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence gathering process, but will not generally wait for the conclusion of any criminal proceedings.
The University’s policy, definitions, and standard of proof differ from Illinois criminal law. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether to prosecute a responding party nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution is determinative of whether sexual misconduct has occurred under this University policy. Proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
Option #4: Anonymous Reporting
Rockford University permits anonymous parties to report alleged incidents of sex discrimination, sexual misconduct, and/or sexual harassment by telephone at 855-372-0663, by mail to the office of the Title IX Coordinator, or by using the online report system.
If the anonymous report contains the identity of the complainant, upon receipt of the report, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant to offer supportive measures and explain the process for filing a formal complaint. However, if the anonymous report does not contain the identity of the complainant, the University will be unable to contact the complainant to offer supportive measures. While the Title IX Coordinator will keep confidential complainant’s identity (unless disclosing the complainant’s identity is necessary to provide supportive measures for the complainant, such as issuing no-contact orders), the Title IX Coordinator must know the identity of the complainant to offer such supportive measures.
All anonymous reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator for review. EthicsPoint is a service that allows anyone to report suspected misconduct or other issues with complete anonymity or confidentiality. This service allows the person making the report and University administrators to confer about additional details, while the reporting party’s identity remains anonymous and unknown to the University.
EthicsPoint utilizes its own secure servers, outside of the University network, as well as their own call center. While the reports will be forwarded to University administrators for appropriate review and action, the source of all reports submitted to EthicsPoint will remain confidential and will not be shared with University administrators without your permission.
Third-parties are encouraged to report incidents of sexual misconduct. Third-parties may report incidents to any responsible employee or through the anonymous reporting resource (EthicsPoint). After providing a report, third parties are not entitled to information about the University’s investigation and response due to privacy concerns and applicable federal and state laws.
Retaliation After Reporting An Incident
Prohibition of Retaliation
The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a good faith report of a potential violation of this policy, who supports another person’s report, or who acts as a witness in any investigation into an allegation/complaint. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to: any form of intimidation, reprisal or harassment. The University will take appropriate action against those who retaliate, up to an including termination if they are an employee, or dismissal if they are a student, or sanctions if they are a guest or visitor. Retaliation by any party, witness, reporter or respondent will not be tolerated.
Rockford University prohibits parties, including complainants, respondents, and witnesses, from knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process. It is a violation to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
Rockford University reserves the right to charge an individual with a Code of Conduct or Faculty and Employee Handbook violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith during the course of the grievance process. Such charges do not constitute retaliation on behalf of Rockford University against the individual as the individual has violated Rockford University own policy.