Education and programs

The university provides educational programming to prevent dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking, which would also include promoting the awareness of rape, acquaintance rape, other forcible and non-forcible sex offenses and procedures to follow when a sex offense occurs. This programming involves primary prevention programs, awareness programs and ongoing prevention programs.

The primary prevention programs offered by the university include programming, initiatives and strategies informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness or outcome that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking before they occur through the promotion of positive behaviors that foster healthy, mutually, respectful relationships and sexuality; encourage safe bystander intervention; and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions.

The university will also offer ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns, which include programming, initiatives and strategies that are sustained and focused on increasing understanding of topics relevant to and skill for addressing dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking.

This information delivered in these programs, as well as the programs offered regarding bystander intervention, is designed to assist in reducing the risk of violence in the campus community. Risk reduction information is designed to decrease perpetration and bystander inaction, and to increase empowerment for victims in order to promote safety and to help individuals and communities address conditions that facilitate violence.

All new full-time students and employees complete an online training module which addresses the issues surrounding sex discrimination and behaviors that may be associated with violations of university policy. Incoming students are required to prove they have completed the online training module prior to attending classes.

Employees must complete the module within the first month of their employment start date.

Additional programming is offered to both new and upper-class students, faculty and staff, including passive and active programs.

The Title IX team and investigators receive yearly training focused on adjudicating cases of sex discrimination.


Bystander Intervention

The university offers programs regarding bystander intervention. The bystander intervention programs are designed to provide safe and positive options that may be carried out by an individual or individuals to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault or stalking. Bystander intervention includes recognizing situations of potential harm, understanding institutional structures and cultural conditions that facilitate violence, overcoming barriers to intervening, identifying safe and effective intervention options and taking action to intervene.

The university expects all community members to take reasonable and prudent actions to prevent or stop an act of sexual misconduct. Taking action may include direct intervention, calling law enforcement or seeking assistance from a person in authority. The university will support its members who choose to intervene in this fashion.

Access to Policy

The policy is published online on the Bluffton University website. A print version is available yearly to all students, faculty and staff. The most up-to-date version of the policy is available online and can be updated any time throughout the academic year.

Revisions of this policy and procedures

This policy and procedures supersede any previous policy addressing sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct under Title IX and will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator. Bluffton University reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary. Changes are considered in effect once they are posted online. 

During the Complaint Resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any one party. The Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Policy. If government laws or regulations change or court decisions alter the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government laws, regulations or court holdings.

Definition of Terms

Advisor - Any one person who is invited by the Complainant or Respondent or appointed by the institution to attend any meetings, interviews and/or the hearing with the intent to advise and/or support the Complainant or Respondent. The Advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other individual a part chooses to advise, support and/or consult with them throughout the process. If a Formal Complaint is filed, both the Complainant and Respondent must have an Advisor for the purposes of conducting the cross-examination at the live Review Panel Hearing. Advisors are required to meet with the Hearing Panel Chair for an orientation on policies, procedures, expectations and their specific role in the live hearing. If either party does not have an advisor for the live hearing phase of a Formal Resolution, an advisor of the university’s choosing will be assigned at no cost to the party. The Advisor is not permitted to make public comments during any meetings or interviews. At the live hearing, the Advisor is responsible for asking relevant questions to the other party and any witness. 

Complainant – An individual who is alleged to have experienced conduct prohibited by this policy.

Formal complaint – A document filed by and signed a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment and/or other forms of sexual misconduct against a Respondent and requesting that the university investigate the allegations.

Formal resolution – The grievance process initiated when a Formal Complaint is filed alleging prohibited sexual misconduct. The process includes the investigation, review panel live hearing, decision and appeal.

Investigator - Any person formally trained and employed by the university to gather information and present a report of the information gathered related to the report.

Preponderance of the evidence – This is the standard of evidence that is used in determining responsibility of a violation of prohibited conduct. Preponderance is based on more convincing evidence and its probable truth or accuracy. Based upon the evidence what is more likely than not to have occurred.

Respondent - An individual who has been reported to have committed sexual harassment and/or other forms of prohibited sexual misconduct.

Review panel - The group of three trained faculty, staff and administrators employed by the university to review the report from the investigators and make final determinations as to whether the Respondent is in violation of the policy and determine possible sanctions.

Supportive measures - Non-disciplinary, non-punitive, reasonable available, not unreasonably burdensome to either party, and without fee or charge, individualized services offered to both the Complainant and Respondent as appropriate, to ensure equal educational access, protect safety or deter harassment.

Support Information

  • Assistance finding confidential counseling and support are available through The Virtual Care Group or by contacting Crime Victim Services at 877‑867‑7273.
  • Confidential medical services are available either through the on-campus Student Health Center or through referrals to an outside agency.
  • Assistance making a police report is available by calling the Bluffton Police Department at 419‑358-2961 or Allen County Sheriff’s office at 419‑227‑3535.
  • Access a trained victim’s advocate from Crime Victim Services at 877‑867-7273.
  • Bluffton University campus security is on duty and can provide escorts from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. by calling 567-395-2830.