Sexual Violence and Title IX
Title IX Sex Discrimination in Educational Institutions
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in an educational institution. It applies in all aspects of education including academic programs, financial assistance, athletics and more.
The sex discrimination prohibition includes sexual harassment and sexual violence. It states in part: 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. 20 U.S.C. § 1681.
It is Ridgewater College policy not to discriminate on the basis of sex in its admissions, educational programs, activities, or employment policies as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Student inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX may be directed to Jay Morrison at 320-222-8040 and employee inquiries may be directed to Tara Strey at 320-222-5211. You may also contact the Director of the Office of Civil Rights, Department of Education, Washington, D.C.
This page provides information and resources regarding the important issues of sexual violence and sexual harassment. It also contains contact information for persons who can assist you should experience or observe sexual violence or sexual harassment on a Ridgewater College campus.
- Reporting Sexual Violence/Harassment
If you have experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment on a Ridgewater campus or involving Ridgewater College, call 911 for emergencies or to start a possible criminal investigation through local law enforcement.
To start an investigation through the College, please contact any of the contacts listed on this page to file a formal complaint or use Campus Eye, a tool for online and mobile reporting of sexual assault. You may submit a report through the online reporting form, Campus Eye iOS app, or Campus Eye Android app to report from a phone. Use Ridgewater code KD6H.
Individuals may report incidents of sexual violence anonymously or with their name. Anonymous reports may not initiate a college investigation.
Ridgewater Student Contacts
Ridgewater Employee Contact
Ridgewater College has Counselors available if you would like to speak to a confidential resource regarding sexual violence. The Counselors are trained advocates that are not legally mandated to report sexual violence, harassment, or misconduct. They can provide resources, support, and reporting options to students that are victims are sexual assault.
- If You Have Been a Victim of Any Form of Sexual Violence
- Know that this incident is not your fault.
- Find a safe environment and a trusted friend to stay with you.
- If you have been drinking and you’re underage, or you were under the influence of other illegal drugs, reporting assault does not mean that you will get in trouble with Ridgewater College for violating the Code of Conduct. It is important to us to get you the help that you want and need without fear of getting in trouble.
- Consider reporting the crime. Any individual who believes they have been or is being subjected to conduct prohibited by this policy is encouraged to report the incident to the designated officer. The report/complaint should be brought as soon as possible after an incident occurs. Any student or faculty member or employee who knows of, receives information about or receives a complaint of discrimination/harassment is strongly encouraged to report the information or complaint to the designated officer of the college.
- Consider taking steps to preserve physical evidence. If possible, go directly to an Emergency Room at a local hospital.
What happens after a formal complaint is made?
If you file a formal complaint, the accused student(s) will know the identity of the person filing the report. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the respondent has the right to know the identity of the complainant/victim and respond to the allegations.
After a formal complaint is filed, the Investigator will follow Minnesota State 1B.3 Policy and Minnesota State 1B.3.1. Procedures. A formal hearing would be held before any disciplinary action would be decided.
- Policies and Definitions
According to The Center for Changing Our Campus Culture, one in five women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college.
Things we wish everybody knew*:
- Sexual assault happens
- Offenders are often “regular people”
- Most rape or sexual assault victims (78%) knew the offender
- False reports are not common (between 2 and 7 percent)
- Alcohol will more likely than not be involved
- Victims may not call it rape
- Trauma responses vary
- There is no typical victim
*Adapted from Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MnCASA), Sexual Violence Justice Institute, Understanding the Dynamics of Sexual Assault on Campus, and The Center for Changing Our Campus Culture.
Ridgewater College Sexual Violence Policy
Ridgewater is committed to maintaining a campus community free from sexual violence. The College acknowledges and adheres to the definitions and processes described in Minnesota State Policy 1B.3 Sexual Violence Policy. The related Minnesota State Procedure 1B.3.1 Response to Sexual Violence applies to all Ridgewater students and employees and to others, as appropriate, where alleged incidents of sexual violence have occurred on Ridgewater College property.
Allegations of discrimination or harassment are governed by Minnesota State Policy 1B.1.
What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence is, as defined by Ridgewater College and Minnesota State, “a continuum of conduct that includes sexual assault, non-forcible sex acts, dating and relationship violence, stalking, as well as aiding acts of sexual violence.”
What is sexual assault?
An actual, attempted, or threatened sexual act with another person without that person’s affirmative consent. Sexual assault is often a criminal act that can be prosecuted under Minnesota law, as well as form the basis for discipline under Minnesota State student codes of conduct and employee disciplinary standards. Sexual assault includes but is not limited to:
- Involvement without consent in any sexual act in which there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the victim. Forced sexual intercourse is included in this definition, as are the acts commonly referred to as date rape or acquaintance rape. This definition also includes the coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force sexual intercourse or a sexual act on another.
- Involvement in any sexual act when the victim is unable to give consent.
- Intentional and unwelcome touching of a person’s intimate parts (defined as primary genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast); or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person’s intimate parts.
- Offensive sexual behavior directed at another, such as indecent exposure or voyeurism.
What is consent? (see short consent video)
Consent is informed, freely given, and mutually understood willingness to participate in sexual activity that is expressed by clear, unambiguous, and affirmative words or actions. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in sexual activity to ensure that the other person has consented to engage in the sexual activity. Consent must be present throughout the entire sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. If coercion, intimidation, threats, and/or physical force are used, there is no consent. If the complainant is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the complainant cannot understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. A lack of protest, absence of resistance, or silence alone does not constitute consent, and past consent to sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. The existence of a dating relationship between the people involved or the existence of a past sexual relationship does not prove the presence of, or otherwise provide the basis for, an assumption of consent. Whether the respondent has taken advantage of a position of influence over the complainant may be a factor in determining consent. The full policy is available here.
Sexual Harassment is covered in the college’s non-discrimination policy. Read the full policy.
Ridgewater College Policy Statement
Ridgewater College is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination in employment and education opportunity. No person shall be discriminated against in the terms and conditions of employment, personnel practices, or access to and participation in, programs, services, and activities with regard to race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. In addition, discrimination in employment based on membership or activity in a local commission as defined by law is prohibited.
Harassment on the basis of race, sex, color, creed, religion, age, national origin, disability, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression is prohibited. Harassment may occur in a variety of relationships, including faculty and student, supervisor and employee, student and student, staff and student, employee and employee, and other relationships with persons having business at, or visiting the educational or working environment.
What kind of conduct is covered by the policy?
This policy is directed at verbal or physical conduct that constitutes discrimination/harassment under state and federal law and is not directed at the content of speech. In cases in which verbal statements and other forms of expression are involved Ridgewater College will give due consideration to an individual’s constitutionally protected right to free speech and academic freedom. However, discrimination and harassment are not within the protections of academic freedom or free speech.
Ridgewater College shall maintain and encourage full freedom, within the law, of expression, inquiry, teaching and research. Academic freedom comes with a responsibility that all members of our education community benefit from it without intimidation, exploitation, or coercion.
Actions by a student or employee intended as retaliation, reprisal, or intimidation against an individual for making a complaint or participating in any way in a report or investigation under this policy are prohibited and are subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
To whom do the policies apply?
All individuals affiliated with Ridgewater College, including but not limited to:
- Board of Trustees
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, you may contact counseling and schedule a confidential appointment at 320-222-5971.
Additionally, you may contact the resources listed below. Please note, this is not an exhaustive list and appearance on the list does not indicate a recommendation by Ridgewater College.
Hutchinson Community Hospital
1095 Highway 15 South
Hutchinson, MN 55350
Hutchinson Police Department,
320-587-2242 (non-emergency calls), 911 for emergencies
Carris Health – Rice Memorial Hospital
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner 301 Becker Avenue SW
Willmar, MN 56201
Willmar Police Department, 320-235-2244 (non-emergency calls), 911 for emergencies
Carris Health – Rice Institute
301 Becker Ave. SW
Willmar, MN 56201
- Employee Trainings
Sexual Violence Awareness Training
Ridgewater College, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (Minnesota State), and the U.S. Government take the issues of sexual violence and sexual harassment very seriously. All Ridgewater students and employees are strongly encouraged to take the Sexual Violence Awareness Training. This training is available on the Ridgewater Desire to Learn page.
Ridgewater also uses the It’s On Us campaign to promote awareness and stop sexual violence. It’s On Us is a cultural movement aimed at fundamentally shifting the way we think and talk about sexual assault.
June 1, 2022, Minnesota State: Employment Investigation Process: Finding the Facts from Start to Finish
Attendees: Jay Morrison
June 2, 2022 Minnesota State: Writing an Investigation Report that Makes the Grade
Attendees: Jay Morrison
October 26, 2021, Minnesota State – The Employment Investigation Process: Finding the Facts from Start to Finish
Attendees: Heidi Olson, Kari Kuhlman
October 27, 2021, Minnesota State – Writing an Investigation Report that Makes the Grade
Attendees: Heidi Olson, Kari Kuhlman
October 27, 2020, Minnesota State – Compliance and Title IX updates
Attendees: Jay Morrison, Kari Kuhlman, Keith Balaski
Aug. 27, 2020, Minnesota State – Training for new Board Procedure 1B.3.1 Response to Sexual Violence (New Title IX Regulations)
Attendees: Jay Morrison, Kari Kuhlman
March 29, 2019, Minnesota State – 1b.1 Investigator Training and 1b.3 Sexual Violence Investigator Training
Attendees: Jay Morrison
July 28, 2016, Minnesota State – 1b.1 Investigator Training
Attendees: Keith Balaski