Title IX Sexual Assault & Discrimination Policy

Northwestern College is committed to providing a learning, living and working environment that promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect in an environment free of sex discrimination, which includes but is not limited to unfair treatment based on gender, sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, domestic and dating violence, and stalking.

Every member of the Northwestern College community has the right to be safe, protected and supported. Sex discrimination is contrary to the standards of our college community as it violates an individual’s rights and dignity as a person made in the image of God.

Statement of non-discrimination

Northwestern College does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or disability in admission, access to or employment in its programs and activities. Northwestern College complies with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Educational Amendments Acts of 1972, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1975, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. To ensure compliance with these and other federal and state civil rights laws, Northwestern College has developed policies and procedures that prohibit sex discrimination in all of its forms.

What to do if you experience sexual assault or discrimination

If you are sexually assaulted, your first priority is to find a safe place. Next, seek medical attention; swift medical treatment is critical for protecting you from sexually transmitted diseases and preserving evidence. In Iowa, your medical exam and follow up visits are free, even if you don’t report the assault to the police.

In the immediate aftermath of a sexual assault, you may not know whether you will eventually want to press charges. Taking care to preserve and collect evidence does not commit you to reporting anything. It’s important that you not shower, bathe, urinate, douche, smoke, brush your teeth or drink anything before going to the emergency room. It’s best if you don’t change your clothes, but if you do, the clothes you were wearing should be brought to the ER in a paper bag (not plastic). If you suspect you have been drugged, either refrain from urinating or urinate in a clean container and bring it with you to the ER. Leave the assault scene as is so you don’t inadvertently destroy evidence before you’ve had time to make a decision about reporting the assault.

Upon request by either party, Northwestern College will help prevent any unwanted contact between a complainant and an accused party by, for example, making reasonable changes to academic schedules or housing assignments. Also upon request, the campus authorities may notify and seek assistance from local law enforcement.

We also recommend and encourage victims involved in such incidents to seek counseling and/or identify a support person. A support person plays an important role in providing personal encouragement to a victim in a crisis situation. Information regarding counseling options, both on campus and in the community, is available from the Wellness Center (located in the Rowenhorst Student Center,) or the Student Life Office (Ramaker Center, 2nd floor).

Who do I tell?

If you experience sexual discrimination or violence, you are encouraged to report the occurrence promptly, to seek all available support, and, when appropriate, to report the incident to local law enforcement. Northwestern College takes reports of sexual discrimination or assault very seriously and will work with all parties to ensure their safety and to investigate and adjudicate the situation.

If you have experienced sexual discrimination or violence, you should notify a Northwestern College employee (immediately in the case of sexual assault). You can tell any faculty or staff member—including your RD—and she or he will then notify the college's Title IX coordinator or an investigator that an incident has been reported. All college employees have a duty to report Title IX violations shared with them except those identified under "Confidential reporting" below.

TITLE IX COORDINATOR Deb Sandbulte Director of Human Resources
712-707-7224 (o) |  712-441-4246 (m)
(in the event the coordinator
as an investigator)
Earl Woudstra Director of Athletics
712-707-7292 (o) |  712-737-7115 (m)
TITLE IX INVESTIGATORS   Julie Elliott Vice President for Student Life
712-707-7204 (o) |  484-318-9063 (m)

Marlon Haverdink Dean of Residence Life
712-707-7205 (o) |  712-454-0328 (m)
  • Other safety & security resources
  • Orange City Police Department | 911
  • Orange City Area Hospital | 712-737-2000
  • Family Crisis Center | 800-382-5603
  • Iowa Victim Service Call Center | 800-770-1650 | text IowaHelp to 20121 | survivorshelpline.org
  • CAASA (Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault) |  caasaonline.org

Confidential reporting

If you want to keep your incident confidential—or if you're unsure at first whether you want to keep your incident confidential—then you should report your incident to one of these campus employees who won't report your incident unless or until you want it reported:

NWC WELLNESS CENTER Dr. Sally Oakes Edman, psychologist
Dr. Michelle Van Wyhe, nurse practitioner
On-campus therapists
NWC CAMPUS MINISTRIES  Dr. Barb Dewald, associate dean for Christian formation
Mark DeYounge, dean of Christian formation
Patrick Hummel, director of missions

What will happen?

If you report a Title IX violation, Northwestern’s Title IX investigators will investigate your incident thoroughly and discretely, doing all they can to protect your identity and dignity. Throughout the process, the Title IX coordinator will ensure the investigators are following the college’s policy. If your incident has been reported to the Title IX coordinator or an investigator, one or more investigators will meet with you to explain your rights and options and the method of investigation. The investigator will also listen to your recollection of the incident and help you determine if law enforcement should be involved and if there are any protective measures—such as no contact or restraining orders—that need to be taken during the investigation. The investigative team is your resource; their actions and investigation will be pursued in consult with you.

If the investigators determine there is a reasonable basis for believing Northwestern’s Title IX policy has been violated, they will proceed to interview all the parties involved, including you, the person who allegedly violated your rights, and any pertinent witnesses. They will then determine whether a violation occurred and, if so, what sanctions will be enacted. At all times, and to every extent possible, the investigators will conduct proceedings in a way that protects your confidentiality as well as the confidentiality of the alleged perpetrator and witnesses.

Parties who are dissatisfied with the incident’s investigation, findings or sanctions may appeal to the Title IX coordinator.

Title IX definitions & examples

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors, or other unwanted visual, verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is directed toward a person because of a person’s gender, when:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s employment, educational benefits, academic grades or opportunities, on-campus living environment, or participation in social, co- or extra-curricular activities.
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as a basis for decisions about employment, performance evaluation, selection for academic awards or benefits, participation in a college activity, education, or living environment decisions affecting the individual.
  • Such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive working, academic, or social environment. The purpose or effect will be evaluated based on the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of a complainant.

While sexual harassment encompasses a wide range of conduct, behaviors that may be considered sexual harassment include but are not limited to:

  • Pressuring someone to engage in sexual behavior for some educational or employment benefit.
  • Making a real or perceived threat that rejecting sexual behavior will carry a negative consequence for or retaliation against the person.
  • Denying, directly or indirectly, a person an education or employment related opportunity if that person refuses to comply with a sexually oriented request.
  • Engaging in unwelcome physical contact such as touching, blocking normal movement, physical restraint or assault.
  • Retaliating against a person for filing a harassment complaint or threatening to report harassment
  • Sexual harassment can involve males or females being harassed by members of either sex. Although sexual harassment sometimes involves a person in a position of greater authority than the harasser, individuals in positions of lesser or equal authority can also be found responsible for engaging in prohibited harassment.
  • Sexual harassment can be physical and/or psychological in nature. An aggregation of a series of incidents can constitute sexual harassment even if one of the incidents considered separately would not rise to the level of harassment.

Sex discrimination is defined as behaviors and actions that deny or limit a person’s ability to benefit from, and/or fully participate in, educational programs or activities or employment opportunities because of a person’s sex. Examples of sex discrimination under Title IX include, but are not limited to, sexual harassment; sexual assault; failure to provide equal opportunity in education programs, activities, and co-curricular programs including athletics; discrimination based on pregnancy; and employment discrimination.

Sex harassment may arise from unwanted conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, and objectively offensive that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the school’s educational, employment, social and/or residential program. Conduct may be physical, verbal or nonverbal. For example, the following type of behaviors may constitute harassment:

  • Inappropriate touching, hugging or kissing
  • Sexual remarks about a person’s clothing, body or sexual relations
  • Repeated requests for a date or romantic advances toward a student or employee despite the person’s rejection of the advances
  • Conversations of a sexual nature or similar jokes and stories
  • Sexually explicit profanity
  • Obscene gestures
  • The display of sexually explicit materials in the workplace or campus housing
  • The use of sexually explicit materials in the classroom that are without defensible educational purposes

Sexual misconduct is a broad term encompassing any sexual behaviors that violate Northwestern College’s Title IX Policy. It includes sexual assault, inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation, stalking, and domestic violence and dating violence. In general, any harassing behavior or nonconsensual physical contact of a sexual nature may constitute sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct may vary in its severity and consists of a range of behaviors or attempted behaviors that may be grounds for disciplinary action under college policy.

Sexual assault means having or attempting to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with another individual without consent and against their will. This includes sexual intercourse or sexual contact achieved by the use or threat of force or coercion, where an individual does not consent to the sexual act, or where an individual is incapacitated. Examples of sexual assault include, but are not limited to, the following behaviors when consent is not present:

  • Nonconsensual sexual contact, which is defined as any 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, or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
  • Nonconsensual sexual intercourse, which is defined as any sexual intercourse, however slight, with any object or body part, by a person upon another person, without consent. Nonconsensual intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
  • Forced sexual intercourse, which is defined as unwilling or nonconsensual sexual penetration (anal, vaginal, or oral) with any object or body part that is committed either by force, threat, intimidation or through exploitation of another’s mental or physical condition of which the assailant was aware or should have been aware.

An individual who is incapacitated cannot consent to sexual activity. Incapacitation is defined as the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because an individual is mentally and/or physically helpless, unconscious or unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. Where alcohol and/or other drugs (including prescription drugs) are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include: slurred speech, vomiting, unsteady gait, odor of alcohol or other substance, combativeness, and/or emotional volatility.

An individual who engages in sexual activity with someone the individual knows or reasonably should know is incapable of making a rational, reasonable decision about whether to engage in sexual activity is in violation of this policy. This includes a person whose incapacity results from ingestion of a “date-rape” or “predatory” drug. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including but not limited to Rohypnol, LEAN, Ketomine, GHB, or Burundanga, is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another person for the purpose of inducing incapacity is a violation of this policy and state criminal statutes.

Sexual exploitation occurs when individuals take nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Voyeurism—observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved (e.g., letting friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex).
  • Nonconsensual digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity.
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of an individual’s sexual activity, intimate body parts or nudity, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information.
  • Prostituting another person.
  • Intentionally/recklessly exposing one’s genitals in nonconsensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals.
  • Inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to nonconsensual sexual activity.
  • Knowingly exposing someone to or transmitting to another person an STI, STD or HIV
  • Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography.
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

Relationship violence (domestic violence, dating violence and intimate partner violence) is abuse or violence against a person who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic or other intimate relationship by the other person in the relationship. It may involve one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. Relationship violence can include, but is not limited to:

  • Physical abuse that causes bodily injury such as hitting, slapping, pushing or strangling
  • Sexual violence (rape)
  • Extreme verbal abuse
  • Emotional abuse creating apprehension of bodily injury or property damage; this can include violence or threat of violence to oneself, one’s sexual or romantic partner, and/or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner
  • Economic abuse
  • Repeated telephonic, electronic, or other forms of communication—anonymously or directly—made with the intent to intimidate, terrify, harass or threaten
  • Relationship violence often escalates from threats and verbal abuse to violence. While physical injury may be the most obvious danger, the emotional and psychological consequences of relationship abuse are also severe and usually cause a fear of the partner and feelings of helplessness and desperation.

Stalking includes repeatedly following, harassing, threatening or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media or any other action, device or method that purposely or knowingly causes substantial emotional distress or reasonable fear of bodily injury or death. Examples of stalking can include, but are not limited to:

  • Nonconsensual communication including in-person communication, phone calls, voice messages, text messages, email messages, social networking site postings, instant messages, postings of pictures or information on websites, written letters, gifts, ordering goods or services, or any other communications that are undesired and/or place another person in fear
  • Following, pursuing, waiting or showing up uninvited at a workplace, place of residence, classroom or other locations frequented by a person
  • Vandalism, including attacks on data and equipment
  • Direct physical and/or verbal threats against a person or a person’s loved ones
  • Gathering of information about a person from family, friends, co-workers and/or classmates
  • Manipulative and controlling behaviors such as threats to harm oneself or threats to harm someone close to another person
  • Defamation or slander against a person, posting false information about a person and/or posing as another person to post to websites, newsgroups, blogs or other sites that allow public contributions, encouraging others to harass another person
  • Arranging to meet a person under false pretenses

Bullying includes repeated and/or severe gender-based aggressive behavior that is likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person either physically or mentally. Gender-based bullying is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the First Amendment. Examples of bullying can include but are not limited to:

  • Disparaging comments about race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation or disability
  • Actions that involve an imbalance of power, aggression and a negative, repeated behavior
  • Hazing—acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the school community when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining or any other group-affiliation activity

Effective consent is the basis of the analysis applied to unwelcome sexual contact. Lack of consent is the critical factor in any incident of sexual misconduct.

In addition:

  • Consent to participate in sexual activity is freely and actively given and requires clear communication between all persons involved in the sexual encounter.
  • Consent is active, not passive. Consent can be communicated verbally or by actions, but in whatever way consent is communicated, it must be mutually understandable. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of an active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent.
  • If at any time it is reasonably apparent that either party is hesitant, confused or unsure, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing such activity.
  • Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by mutually understandable words or clear, unambiguous actions that indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
  • Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity and for each form of sexual contact. Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts.
  • Consent cannot be procured by use of physical force, compelling threats, intimidating behavior or coercion. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another.
  • Effective consent cannot be given by minors, developmentally disabled individuals, or persons incapacitated as a result of consumption of drugs or alcohol. Incapacitation is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because they lack the ability to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction. This policy also covers someone whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint or from the taking of a “date-rape” drug. (Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student or individual is a violation of this policy.)
  • As a Christian college and consistent with the position of the Reformed Church in America, the college lifts up the Christian ideal of marriage between a man and a woman and contends that all sexual intimacy shall be within the bounds of such marriage. Persons that engage in a consensual sexual relationship outside the bounds of such a marriage will be subject to discipline or termination of employment.