Title IX Coordinator

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (”the university”) is committed to fostering a climate free from sexual discrimination, harassment and violence, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking through clear and effective policies, a coordinated education and prevention program, and prompt and equitable procedures for resolution of reports of conduct prohibited under this policy.

As a Lasallian Catholic institution of higher education, the university believes in the inherent dignity and worth of every student and employee. As such, the university strives to create an environment where the dignity of each person is respected and honored. Sexual discrimination, harassment and violence violate the dignity of the person and are inconsistent with the mission and values of the university.

Title IX is intended to insure that no person is discriminated against on the basis of sex in an educational setting

Sexual assault statistics for college campuses:

  • 1 in 4 college women will be the victim of sexual assault during her academic career.
  • 3 percent of college men report surviving rape or attempted rape as a child or an adult.
  • Survivors of rape or sexual assault are 4 times more likely to be victimized by someone they know than by a stranger.
  • Every 21 hours there is a rape on an American college campus.
  • College women are most vulnerable to rape during the first few weeks of their freshman and sophomore years.
  • 75 percent of the men and 55 percent of the women involved in acquaintance rapes were drinking or taking drugs just before the attack.

Domestic/dating violence statistics:

  • On average, nearly 20 people per minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner in the United States.
  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner within their lifetime.
  • 1 in 7 women and 1 in 18 men have experienced stalking victimization during their lifetime in which they felt very fearful or believed that they or someone close to them would be harmed or killed.
  • Intimate partner violence is most common among women between the ages of 18-24

Sexual Harassment Statstics

  • 40 to 60 percent of working women and similar proportions of female students in colleges and universities experience sexual harassment.

Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a promiscuous manner.

Fact: Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behaviors are invitations for unwanted sexual activity. Forcing someone to engage in non-consensual sexual activity is sexual assault, regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.

Myth: Sexual Assault is often falsely reported by people who want attention or regret a consensual sexual encounter.

Fact: The U.S. Department of Justice estimates that only 39% of sexual assaults are reported to the police each year. This makes sexual assault one of the most underreported crimes. Of the sexual assault reports that are filed with the police, only 2-8% turn out to be false. This rate of false reporting is consistent with the rate of false reporting for other violent crimes.

Myth: Sexual Assault always involves extreme physical force that leaves scrapes, bruises, etc.

Fact: Sexual assault does not always involve overt physical force, and therefore does not necessarily leave physical traces. Non-consensual sexual contact can include sexual contact initiated through emotional or verbal coercion, rather than (or in addition to) physical coercion. Moreover, only 8% of sexual assaults involve the use of a weapon.

Myth: Rape is most often perpetrated by someone unknown to the victim (“stranger rape”)

Fact: Nearly two-thirds of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. This includes intimate partners, relatives, friends, and acquaintances. Correspondingly, nearly 6 out of 10 sexual assault incidents occur in the home of the victim, the home of a friend, or the home of a neighbor.

Myth: Men are not victims of sexual violence.

Fact: 1.5% of all men have been raped and 47% of bisexual men have experienced some form of unwanted sexual contact in their lifetime.

Myth: Victims provoke sexual assaults when they dress provocatively or act in a promiscuous manner.

Fact: Rape and sexual assault are crimes of violence and control that stem from a person’s determination to exercise power over another. Neither provocative dress nor promiscuous behaviors are invitations for unwanted sexual activity. Forcing someone to engage in non-consensual sexual activity is sexual assault, regardless of the way that person dresses or acts.

Myth: Sexual harassment only happens to women and is perpetrated only by men.

Fact: Both men and women can be victims or perpetrators of sexual harassment. In addition, sexual harassment may occur between members of the same sex.

Myth: The seriousness of sexual harassment has been exaggerated; most so-called harassment is really trivial and harmless flirtation.

Fact: Sexual harassment can be devastating. Studies indicate that most harassment has nothing to do with "flirtation" or sincere sexual or social interest. Rather, it is offensive, often frightening and insulting. Research shows that survivors are often forced to leave school or jobs to avoid harassment; may experience serious psychological and health-related problems.

Myth: Many victims make up and report stories of sexual harassment to get back at their employers or others who have angered them.

Fact: Research shows that less than one percent of complaints are false. In fact, survivors rarely file complaints even when they are justified in doing so.

Myth: It was a compliment, so it's not harassment.

Fact: Even if a person intends their conduct to be flattering, it may still be offensive to others.

Myth: It can't be sexual harassment - it was only a joke.

Fact: Even though a person intends their conduct to be funny, it may still be offensive to others.

Myth: Sexual harassment occurs only when there is a power difference between the parties.

Fact: Sexual harassment can occur between peers, as well as between individuals in a hierarchical relationship.

Myth: The behavior must be repeated to be sexual harassment.

Fact: Sexual harassment could consist of repeated actions, or may arise from a single incident, if it is sufficiently egregious.

Report refers to the providing of any information regarding conduct that may violate this policy to the following individuals:

  • Title IX Coordinator
  • Mandatory reporter
    • Vice Presidents
    • Provost
    • Vice Provosts
    • Assistant Vice President for Human Resources
    • Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs

A report is intended to provide a verbal account of the sexual misconduct that took place. A report is only documentation of the events that took place. Making a report to the university does not mean that the complainant is required to file a report with local law enforcement or initiate or participate in the disciplinary process.

A formal complaint is a document filed by and signed by 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 allegation(s). Formal complaints must be filed in order to pursue either an Informal Resolution Process or a Formal Resolution.

In any report, complaint, investigation or resolution under this policy, both a complainant and a respondent can expect:

  • a prompt and equitable response to reports of Prohibited Conduct;
  • supportive measures that may be reasonably available and necessary for protection and support;
  • information about how to access confidential resources on and off campus and other forms of support available through the university and in the community;
  • written notice of the alleged conduct, potential policy violations at issue, and details about the process;
  • an adequate, reliable, thorough and impartial process conducted by individuals free from conflict of interest and bias;
  • a process that includes the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for a policy violation unless and until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the process;
  • the opportunity for an advisor of choice who may attend all meetings and proceedings related to the report and/or complaint;
  • timely notice of any meeting at which the party’s presence is required, with sufficient time to prepare for the meeting;
  • agency and autonomy to decline to participate in an investigation or resolution under the policy, although the university may choose to continue the process even if the complainant and/or respondent does not participate;
  • the ability to identify witnesses, submit suggested questions in writing during the investigation, and provide evidence during the investigation and resolution;
  • timely and equal access to any information that is used in the investigation and resolution;
  • prompt remedial action if Prohibited Conduct is determined to have occurred;
  • regular communication about the progress of the process and of the resolution;
  • timely written notice of the outcome, required remedies, and issued sanctions and rationale;
  • the opportunity to appeal the outcome (determination as to responsibility) and sanction;
  • freedom from retaliation;
  • interpreters and/or translators which will be selected and provided by the university;
  • reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities . Any requests for accommodation should be made through established university protocol as provided by the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and,
  • freedom from university-imposed orders restricting parties from discussing the case with others. This does not prohibit the university from issuing no-contact orders or requiring employees to abide by confidentiality laws.

Members of the university community who believe they have been subject to criminal sexual misconduct by a stranger or by someone they know (or who believe that another crime has occurred) are strongly encouraged to notify Campus Safety on the Winona campus, Campus Security on the Twin Cities campus and/or local law enforcement authorities immediately so that the alleged assailant can be apprehended if still in the area and so that law enforcement is able to gather evidence.  Time is a critical factor for evidence collection and preservation.  

If Sexually Assaulted, You Should Get Care at a Hospital Emergency Room

Why should a victim of sexual assault get emergency care?

  • to treat physical injuries,
  • to obtain preventive treatment for sexually transmitted diseases,
  • to get emotional support,
  • to gather evidence,

Reports of criminal sexual misconduct may be filed with the appropriate police department. A report is a record of the sexual assault. The report may lead to an investigation by the police and contact with the offender.

Campus Safety on the Winona Campus and Campus Security on the Twin Cities Campus are available to assist a complainant who wants to make a report to law enforcement. If a student or employee wishes to make a report of sexual misconduct to the local police, the student or employee should contact Campus Safety (Winona Campus) or Campus Security (Twin Cities Campus).  Personnel in those offices will assist the student or employee in making contact with the local police.  Staff members are available to accompany the student or employee to meetings with the local police if the student or employee so desires.  In addition, Campus Safety on the Winona Campus, Campus Security on the Twin Cities Campus, or local law enforcement can ensure that the individual has access to appropriate medical treatment and tests, crisis counseling, information, and other support services.

Once a report is made, the authorities will immediately commence an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the sexual assault. The matter may be referred to the County Attorney’s Office for a determination on whether criminal charges should be filed. A statue of l imitations exists for the criminal prosecution of most sexual assaults. Realistically, however, if too much of a delay occurs between the sexual assault and the report to the law enforcement authorities, information from the witnesses may be difficult to obtain and evidence may be destroyed.

The university is a member of the Winona County Sexual Assault Interagency Council.  As such, it follows the Winona County Adult Sexual Assault Response Protocol. Visit the Winona County Sexual Assault Interagency Council's website for more information.

Law Enforcement Contact Information

Winona Law Enforcement Center
Non-emergency: 507-457-6302
TDD/voice: 452-2382
Emergency: 911
612-335-4040

City of Minneapolis Police Department
Non-emergency: 311
TDD/voice: 612-673-3383
Emergency: 911

City of Rochester Police Department:
Non-emergency: 507-328-6800
Emergency: 911

Bystander Intervention is a social science model that predicts that most people are unlikely to help others in certain situations. A bystander is anyone who observes an emergency or a situation that looks like someone could use some help. They must then decide if they are comfortable stepping in and offering assistance.

Research has found that people tend to struggle with whether helping out is their responsibility and one of the major obstacles to intervention is something called diffusion of responsibility—which means that if several people are present, an individual is much less likely to step up and help out because he/she believes someone else will. Other major reasons that bystanders fail to intervene are that the situation is too ambiguous, that the bystander is worried about misjudging the situation and thus will be embarrassed by intervening, or that the bystander believes the victim is in some way responsible for the situation and is thus, getting what they deserve.

Saint Mary's University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee "It's On Us" video

"It's On Us" website

Bystander pledge

Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. Only those who commit sexual violence are responsible for those actions. The university offers the tips below with no intention to victim-blame, with recognition that these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk of experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. Below, suggestions to avoid committing a non-consensual sexual act are also offered:

  • If you have limits, make them known as early as possible.
  • Tell a sexual aggressor “NO” clearly and firmly.
  • Try to remove yourself from the physical presence of a sexual aggressor.
  • Find someone nearby and ask for help.
  • Take affirmative responsibility for your alcohol intake/drug use and acknowledge that alcohol/drugs lower your inhibitions and may make you vulnerable to someone who views a drunk or high person as a sexual opportunity.
  • Take care of your friends and ask that they take care of you. A real friend will challenge you if you are about to make a mistake. Respect them when they do.

If you find yourself in the position of being the initiator of sexual behavior, you owe sexual respect to your potential partner. These suggestions may help you to reduce your risk for being accused of sexual misconduct:

  • Understand and respect personal boundaries.
  • DON’T MAKE ASSUMPTIONS about consent.
  • Don’t take advantage of someone’s drunkenness or altered state, even if they willingly consumed alcohol or substances.
  • Realize that your potential partner could feel intimidated or coerced by you. 
  • Silence, passivity, or non-responsiveness cannot be interpreted as an indication of consent.
  • Approach everyone as a friend
  • Do not be antagonistic
  • Avoid using violence
  • Be honest and direct whenever possible
  • Recruit help if necessary
  • Keep yourself safe
  • If things get out of hand or become too serious, contact the police

Possible bystander interventions in a situation potentially involving sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or cyberstalking

  • Step in and separate the two people. Let them know your concerns and reasons for intervening. Be a friend and let them know you are acting in their best interest. Make sure each person makes it home safely.
  • Use a distraction to redirect the focus somewhere else: “Hey, I need to talk to you.” or “Hey, this party is lame. Let’s go somewhere else.”
  • Evaluate the situation and people involved to determine your best move. You could directly intervene yourself, or alert friends of each person to come in and help. If the person reacts badly, try a different approach.
  • Recruit the help of friends of both people to step in as a group.
  • Divert the attention of one person away from the other person. Have someone standing by to redirect the other person’s focus. Commit a party foul (i.e. spilling your drink) if you need to.

Extreme jealousy
Jealousy is a sign of insecurity and lack of trust, but the abuser will say that it is a sign of love. The abuser will question the victim about who they talk to, accuse them of flirting, or be jealous of time spent with their friends, family, or children. The abuser may refuse to let the victim work or go to school for fear of meeting someone else. The abuser may call the victim frequently or drop by unexpectedly. The abuser may accuse the victim of flirting with someone else or having an affair.

Controlling behavior
One partner completely rules the relationship and makes the decisions. This includes “checking up” on the victim, timing a victim when they leave the house, checking the odometer on the car, questioning the victim about where they go. They may also check the victim’s cell phone for call history, their email or website history. The abuser may control the finances and tries to tell the victim how to dress, who to talk to, and where to go.

Quick involvement
The abuser comes on strong at the beginning of the relationship, pressuring for a commitment and claims “Love at first sight” or “You’re the only person I could ever talk to,” or “I never met anyone like you before.” Often, in the beginning of a relationship, the abuser is very charming and romantic and the love is intense.

Unrealistic expectations
Abusers expect their partners to meet all their needs and be “perfect." They may say things like “If you love me, then I’m all you need.”

Isolation
The abuser tries to keep the victim from friends and family by putting down everyone the victim knows, including their family and friends. They may keep the victim from going to work or school.

Blames others for their problems and feelings
The abuser does not take responsibility for their problems, blaming others (usually the victim) for almost everything (“you made me mad”).

Hypersensitivity
An abuser is easily insulted and takes everything as a personal attack and blows things out of proportion.

Cruelty to animals or children
The abuser may punish animals brutally or be insensitive to their pain. They may have unfair expectations of children or tease them until they cry.

Verbal abuse
The abuser says cruel and harmful things to their victim, degrades them, curses at them, calls them names, or puts down their accomplishments. The abuser tells their victims they are stupid, and unable to function without them. They embarrass and put down the victim in front of others as well.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
The abuser experiences severe mood swings and the victim may think the abuser has a mental health problem. One minute they can be charming and sweet and the next minute they become angry and explosive. Explosiveness and moodiness are typical of people who beat their partners.

Past battering
The abuser has a history of past battering of partners and although they may admit to that, they say their previous partner provoked them to do it. A batterer will beat any partner they are with if the person is with them long enough for the violence to begin; situational circumstances do not cause a person to have an abusive relationship.

Threats of violence
This includes any threat or physical force meant to control the victim: “I’ll kill you,” “I’ll break your neck,” “If you ever leave, I’ll kill you.”

Breaking or striking objects
This behavior is used as a punishment (breaking treasured possessions), but is mostly used to terrorize the victim into submission. The abuser may break or strike objects near the victim to frighten them.

Any force during an argument
The abuser may hold the victim down, restrain them from leaving the room, may push, shove, or hold them against a wall.

Emergency Response

Campus Safety (Winona)
507-457-1703

Campus Safety (Twin Cities)
612-720-0417

City of Winona Police Department
911 or 507-457-6302

City of Minneapolis Police Department
11 or 311

City of Rochester Police Department
911 or 507-328-6800

Emergency Law Enforcement Response: 911 (from anywhere)

Medical Treatment 

Winona Community Memorial Hospital
855 Mankato Avenue, Winona, MN 55987
507-454-3650 - Provides medical treatment and sexual assault forensic exams

Hennepin County Medical Center
730 South 8th Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415
612- 873-3000 - Provides medical treatment and sexual assault forensic exam

Mayo Clinic – St. Mary’s Hospital
1216 2nd Street SW, Rochester, MN 55902
507-255-5385 - Provides medical treatment and sexual assault forensic exam

Counseling

Hiawatha Valley Mental Health Center
420 E. Sarnia Street, Winona, MN 55987
507-454-4341

First Call for Help 211 - Provides referral to local mental health agencies in times of crisis

Other Resources

The Advocacy Center of Winona
100 Latsch Square #201, Winona, MN 55987
507-452-4440, 507-452-4453 (24-hour hotline) – Provides information, referrals, and advocates for victims of sexual assault

Sexual Violence Center
2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Suite 418, Minneapolis, MN 55413
612-871-5111 - Provides information, referrals, and advocates for victims of sexual assault

Dodge, Filmore & Olmsted Counties Victim Services
151 4th St SE, Rochester MN 55904
507-328-7270 - Provides information, referrals, and advocates for victims of sexual assault

National Domestic Violence Hotline (NDV). 800-799-7233

(SAFE) Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). 800-656-4673

Minnesota Coalition against Sexual Assault. 651-209-9993

https://www.nsvrc.org/
Information for students, schools, and anyone interested in finding resources on how to respond to and prevent sexual assault

https://www.justice.gov/ovw/protecting-students-sexual-assault
Resources from the U.S. Department of Justice on sexual assault

https://rainn.org/get-information/links
Resources for rape, abuse, and incest survivors

http://www.nrcdv.org/
Resources of domestic violence

http://stepupprogram.org/
Bystander intervention resources

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGoWLWS4-kU
Consent.  It’s as simple as tea

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/early-lead/wp/2016/06/04/you-took-away-my-worth-a-rape-victim-delivers-powerful-message-to-a-former-stanford-swimmer/?wpisrc=nl_az_most
A sexual assault victim's message to her attacker.

http://www.mncasa.org/
Resources for victims/survivors of sexual violence.

Materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process:

http://www.trainedsolutions.com/portfolio-item/072820-tix-invsttrng/

http://www.trainedsolutions.com/portfolio-item/ohe-title-ix-trng/

When you click the link, you will be taken to a landing page where you will be asked to provide your name and email and to agree to an acknowledgement regarding the purpose of access to the materials.

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Title IX Coordinator

Ann E. Merchlewitz
Heffron Hall Executive Office
TitleIX@smumn.edu
507-457-1587

The Title IX Coordinator is the official from the university who has been appointed by the university to address issues of gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for general oversight of issues related to sexual misconduct and sex discrimination, helps to process complaints of sexual misconduct and sex discrimination, and assists with general education and compliance efforts.

Senior Women's Administrator

Jennifer Miller
jmmiller@smumn.edu
507-457-6923

The Senior Woman Administrator (SWA) is the highest ranking female in each NCAA athletic department. The designation of SWA is intended to encourage and promote the involvement of female administrators in meaningful ways in the decision-making process in intercollegiate athletics. The designation is intended to enhance representation of female experience and perspective at the institutional, conference and national levels and support women’s interests. Her daily responsibilities can include any department tasks and must include senior management team responsibilities.

Connect With Us

Ann Merchlewitz, J.D.

Senior Vice President and General Counsel

Heffron Hall, HEEXEC OFF

Campus Box: # 30

(507) 457-1587

amerchle@smumn.edu

Ann Merchlewitz J.D.
Marisa Naryka, Ed.D.

Assistant Vice President for Student Life

Vlazny Hall, VL105A

Campus Box: # 50

(507) 457-1781

mquinn@smumn.edu

Marisa Naryka Ed.D.