Northwestern College students

Title IX Equal Opportunity, Harassment & Nondiscrimination Policy & Procedures*

Northwestern College is committed to providing a working, learning and living environment that promotes personal integrity, civility and mutual respect in an environment free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. This policy refers to all forms of discrimination and harassment, including but not limited to: unfair treatment based on protected class, sexual and other harassment (including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking), hazing and bullying, by other students, employees or third parties.

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

* This policy and procedures will be reviewed at regular intervals by the Title IX coordinator. The college reserves the right to make changes to this policy as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.

Policy on nondiscrimination

Northwestern College adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination in private institutions of higher education on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex (including pregnancy), age, disability, or other characteristics protected by law, in admission, access to, or employment in its programs and activities except as modified by the protections of Northwestern’s religious identity, beliefs and practices found in the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Title IX Religious Colleges Exemption, the Title VII Religious Employers Exemption, and other federal and state legal protections for religious freedom. 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, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), as amended, 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 discrimination in all of its forms.


What to do if you experience sexual harassment or violence

If you are sexually assaulted or experience other violence, 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.

Local Area Hospital: Orange City Area Hospital | 712-737-2000

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, can be obtained from the Wellness Center (located in the Rowenhorst Student Center,) or the Student Life Office (Ramaker Center, 2nd floor).

Complainants may also contact the following:

  • Family Crisis Center | 800-382-5603
  • CAASA (Centers Against Abuse & Sexual Assault) |
  • Iowa Victim Service Call Center | 800-770-1650 | | text "IowaHelp" to 20121

Who do I tell?

Northwestern College encourages persons who have experienced any form of discrimination, harassment or retaliation to report the incident promptly, to seek all available assistance, and where appropriate, to report the incident to local law enforcement.

If you have experienced discrimination, harassment, sexual violence and/or retaliation, 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, deputy 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. You can also make a report online through the  Raider Reporting Center (you must be logged in to MyNWC to access the form).

TITLE IX COORDINATOR Mindy Stichka Associate Director of Human Resources
712-707-7223 (o) |  515-783-4176 (m)
(in the event the coordinator
as an investigator)
Andy Van OmmerenDirector of Campus Safety & Security  
712-707-7475 (o) |  712-395-1077 (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)

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 Jenna Visser, director of counseling services
On-campus therapists
NWC CAMPUS MINISTRIES  Rev. Kristin Brouwer, Director of Discipleship
Mark DeYounge, Dean of Christian Formation
Patrick Hummel, Director of Missions

All of the above-listed individuals will maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor or individual with a disability, or when required to disclose by law or court order.

What will happen?

If you report an alleged Title IX violation, Northwestern College initiates a prompt initial assessment to determine the next steps the college needs to take.

Northwestern College will initiate at least one of three responses:

  1. Provide the complainant with assistance and support only, based on the complainant's request that the college not take action, where that request is not clearly unreasonable and/or consistent with the college's obligations under law;
  2. Determine the circumstances satisfy the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX at 34 CFR 106.45 and resolve the complaint under informal or formal "Process A" resolution procedures;
  3. Determine the circumstances do not satisfy the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX at 34 CFR 106.45 and dismiss the complaint under Title IX, but resolve the complaint under informal or formal "Process B" resolution procedures, or other policies and procedures, as applicable.

Specifically, Process No. 1 procedures apply only to qualifying allegations of sexual harassment under Title IX (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, as defined below and in the policy) involving students, staff, administrators or faculty members. If they do not, they must or may be “dismissed” per the Title IX policy (found at the link above).

Jurisdiction/scope of Title IX is limited to:

  • Complainants engaged in a college educational program or activity (i.e., students, employees or applicants),
  • Alleged conduct that happened in the United States,
  • Alleged conduct that happened in a context that the college has substantial control over, and
  • Alleged conduct involving a respondent that the college has substantial control over, such as a student, employee or applicant.

Title IX definitions & examples

Discriminatory harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by Northwestern College’s policy. Discriminatory harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a class protected by policy or law, and which creates a "hostile environment."

Northwestern College does not tolerate discriminatory harassment of any employee, student, visitor, or guest, but will act to remedy harassment, whether or not it rises to the level of creating a “hostile environment.”

A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, limits, or effectively denies an individual’s educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities. This discriminatory effect results from harassing verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is severe or pervasive and objectively offensive.

Prohibited acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.

Sexual harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses below:

Conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

Quid Pro Quo

An employee of Northwestern College conditions the provision of an aid, benefit or service upon an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.

Hostile Environment

Unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to a college education program or activity, including work.

One of the following offenses in which one has or attempts to have sexual contact or sexual penetration with another individual without their consent:


Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part of object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person without the consent of the victim.


The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification without the consent of the victim.


Sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Iowa law.

Statutory rape

Sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

Violence committed by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with another. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

  • Current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
  • Person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
  • Person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the laws of the State of Iowa or the jurisdiction in which the incident reported occurred; and
  • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s act under the laws of the State of Iowa.

To categorize an incident as domestic violence, the relationship between the respondent and the complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.

Engaging in a course of conduct toward another person under circumstances that would reasonably cause a person to fear bodily injury to themselves or others or to experience substantial emotional distress.

For the purpose of this definition—

  • Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the respondent directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
  • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the complainant.
  • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.

For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease within a reasonable time.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.

Consent is not effective if a party is incapacitated, or it results from the use of force.

Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent. Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced.

Incapacitation: Incapacitation is defined as 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. Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation that the respondent neither knew nor should have known the complainant to be incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment.

In addition to the forms of discriminatory and sexual harassment described above, Northwestern College additionally prohibits the following offenses as forms of discrimination/harassment when the act is based upon the complainant’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class. In this section, the definition of “consent” is the same as defined above.

Sexual exploitation

Defined as taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that conduct does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this policy. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Sexual voyeurism (such as viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent);
  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Recording images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent;
  • Distributing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, fi the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure, including the making or posting of revenge pornography;
  • Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to another individual without informing the other person of the infection;
  • Exposing one’s genitals to another when the exposing individual knows or should have known that the other person did not consent to such exposure and objects to such exposure; causing another to expose genitals without that person’s effective consent;
  • Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity;
  • Misappropriation of another person’s identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual connections;
  • Forcing a person to take an action against that person’s will by threatening to show, post, or share information, video, audio, or an image that depicts the person’s nudity or sexual activity;
  • Knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity;
  • Engaging in sex trafficking;
  • Creation, possession, or dissemination of child pornography.

Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal, emotional, or psychological abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person.

Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the Northwestern College community, when related to the admissions, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity;

Bullying, defined as: Repeated and/or severe unwelcome aggressive behavior that is likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control, or diminish another person, physically and/or mentally.

Violation of any other College policies may constitute prohibited conduct herein when a violation is motivated by actual or perceived membership in a protected class, and the result is a discriminatory limitation or denial of employment or educational access, benefits, or opportunities.

Retaliation occurs when an individual harasses or intimidates another person because of that other person filed a complaint, participated in the resolution process of a violation of this policy, supported a complainant or respondent, and/or acted in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this policy. Harassment or intimidation includes but is not limited to threats or actual violence against the person or the person’s property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, taunting, bullying or ostracism. Retaliation is prohibited under this policy and is expressly prohibited by Title VII, Title IX and other state and federal laws.

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a resolution proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.

Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX coordinator and will be promptly investigated. Northwestern College is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

Title IX Training

Section 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(10)(i)(D) of Title IX requires institutions to make publicly available on their website materials used to train Title IX coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process. Links to materials for training sessions those individuals have attended are below. (Note that the materials may not be viewable while using Internet Explorer. We recommend viewing with a different browser.)