Appendix C: Sexual Harassment /Discrimination

THEOLOGICAL STATEMENT

All that we do must be rooted in our theological claims.  Our understanding of sexuality is in significant ways shaped by the cultures in which we live, by the families from which we come, the experiences which we have had, and the religious communities of which we are a part.  But while sensitivity to these differences is important, it is also necessary and possible for us as Christians to make normative theological statements about sexuality and its abuse.  These statements must always be demonstrably rooted in the gospel and are always subject to the dialogue of the community.  However, at the Seminary we believe the following statements to be normative for Christian community and a foundational basis for this policy on sexual harassment/ discrimination.

  • We affirm that sexuality is a gift from God.  We are created as embodied relational sexual beings.  Sexuality, maleness and femaleness, is part of our personal identity and part of our relationships with one another in the world God has fashioned.
  • Relationships between and among embodied sexual persons are to be marked at all times by mutual respect, honor and support.  Love your neighbor as yourself.  Love does no wrong to the neighbor, therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.  We are to treat one another as we would be treated, protecting one another’s dignity as a child of God for whom Christ died.  In Jesus Christ we have both a model of our relations with one another and a witness that God has loved us relationally even to the point of assuming human flesh and suffering for us on the cross.  In the triune nature of God we have an assurance that reciprocity, mutuality, and communion are constitutive of reality itself.
  • As Christians we know ourselves to be people of two worlds.  While we live in the new age of God’s reign begun in Jesus Christ, we are still gripped by the old reign of sin.  Sexuality, while not sinful per se, can be and frequently is distorted and used in ways that violate persons and disrupt communities.  Failure to trust the good news of God’s love means that we seek to justify ourselves by seeking control or power over others, by demeaning others, by using others for personal gratification without concern for the quality of relationships, and by treating others as means rather than ends.  Whenever our relationships with one another as sexual beings are marked by coercion, intimidation, or violation of the other’s dignity and integrity, it is sin and it demands repentance.
  • Since we are fundamentally relational beings, the way we live out our sexuality is not simply a private matter.  Seeing sexuality in terms of individualistic fulfillment may be a dominant cultural conception but it is not consistent with the gospel.  As Christians, we recognize that we are members of the human family, and, more intimately of the body of Christ in which when one part suffers, all suffer, and when one part is honored, we are all honored.  The church is thus to be a counter-cultural community, both in what is says and how it lives.  Because of the persistence of sin, the church, like all communities, needs boundaries to protect its members from exploitation, abuse, discrimination, and harassment.  The church is called by the gospel it proclaims to challenge uses of sexuality that demean and abuse.  The church is called by the gospel it proclaims to be a place of support and healing for those who have been demeaned and abused.  The church is also called by the gospel it proclaims to be a community which recognizes that repentance and amendment of life are possible.  The Seminary is an integral part of the church.

DEFINITIONS:

  • For the purposes of this policy, sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome or unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when: (a) submission to or rejection of this conduct is used explicitly or implicitly as a factor in decisions affecting hiring, evaluation, promotion, other aspects of employment or academic advancement; or (b) such conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially interfere with an individual’s employment or studies or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
  • Examples of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to, unwanted sexual advances, demands or requests for sexual favors in exchange for favorable treatment; repeated sexual jokes or propositions, verbal abuse of a sexual nature; graphic, verbal commentary about an individual’s body, sexual prowess or sexual deficiencies; leering, whistling, touching, pinching, assault, coerced sexual acts or insulting, obscene or demeaning comments or gestures; display in the workplace or common areas of sexually suggestive objects or pictures.
  • Sexual discrimination is the practice of using a person’s gender as the basis for hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, acceptance, expulsion, evaluation or other employment or academic activities.
  • Persons to whom this policy applies include the administration, faculty, staff, on-site mentors, trustees and students of Lexington Theological Seminary, as well as to contractors and others who may be on campus.  LTS will not tolerate sexual harassment/discrimination on its campus or in any off-campus setting related to the Seminary including, but not limited to, business trips, meetings, and school-related social events.

PROCEDURES

1.   The Seminary shall not promote, accept, or tolerate sexual harassment or discrimination.

  • Persons who believe they are being harassed or experiencing discrimination may seek to resolve their complaints informally.  Informal resolution may include clearly and promptly notifying the alleged offender that the behavior is unwelcome.  However, this is not a required first step for pursuing either an informal or a formal complaint.
  • Matters involving suspected sexual harassment/discrimination shall be handled according to the grievance procedures found in Appendix
  • Copies of this policy and Appendix B shall be provided to all non-Seminary persons living on campus

DISCIPLINARY ACTIONS

Penalties may include, but not limited to those listed in the policy.  Penalties for students found guilty of sexual harassment/discrimination may include expulsion or suspension from the Seminary.  Staff and faculty found guilty of sexual harassment/discrimination may be dismissed, suspended without pay, or removed from their positions.  At a minimum, the offender will be reprimanded and a written record shall be placed in the individual’s academic/personnel file.  Additional action may include referral to counseling, clinical supervision by a licensed psychotherapist to reflect on one’s ministry, additional curricular or extra-curricular requirements, withholding of promotion, reassignment, or reduction in duties.