Title IX

“No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subject to discrimination under any educational program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

– Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 to the 1964 Civil Rights Act

Title IX is commonly thought of as pertaining to varsity sports. However, the law is actually much broader. Title IX prohibits gender discrimination in all programs and activities of an institution of higher education. It also requires that institutions be proactive in preventing discrimination and in responding to concerns or allegations of discrimination including, but not limited to, harassment and assault. Title IX applies to all programs and activities available to students at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC); these include but are not limited to academic programs, admission procedures, financial aid, and student services.  Although LSTC’s policies and procedures relating to Title IX are founded on the laws of the United States and of the State of Illinois, they are also guided by the mission and values of the seminary.

Title IX 

Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 et seq., prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities operated by recipients of federal financial assistance. Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment (which encompasses sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct). LSTC complies with Title IX and does not discriminate on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, admissions, or employment. It complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and equal opportunity.


“Consent” means voluntary, active and clear agreement, communicated by words or actions, to participate in specific sexual activity and includes the following understandings:

  • consent is a freely given agreement to sexual activity
  • a person’s lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission resulting from the use or threat of force does not constitute consent
  • a person’s manner of dress does not constitute consent
  • a person’s consent to past sexual activity does not constitute consent to future sexual activity
  • a person’s consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not constitute consent to engage in sexual activity with another
  • a person can withdraw consent at any time
  • a person cannot consent to sexual activity if that person is unable to understand the nature of the activity or give knowing consent due to circumstances, including without limitation the following:
  • the person is incapacitated due to the use or influence of alcohol or drugs
  • the person is asleep or unconscious
  • the person is under age
  • the person is incapacitated due to a mental disability

“Dating violence” is physical or sexual violence between current or former romantic partners to maintain control over the other. Dating violence also includes mental and emotional abuse.

Domestic violence” refers to harassment, interference with personal liberty, intimidation of a dependent, physical abuse, or willful deprivation by a person who is or was a family or household member of the victim. A family or household member includes: a spouse, former spouse, parent, child, stepchild, or other person related by blood or by present or prior marriage; a person who shares or formerly shared a common dwelling; a person who has allegedly has a child in common or shares a blood relationship through a child; a person who as a dating or engagement relationship; a personal assistant to a person with a disability; and a caregiver.

“Harassment” as a form of unlawful discrimination means verbal, physical or online conduct that is based on a protected class and that is so severe or pervasive that it has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work performance or educational program participation. Harassment creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or educational environment.

“Interim measures” are steps taken to ensure the safety of the complainant and/or seminary community before the final outcome of any investigation. Such measures may include changes to academic or paracurricular activities; adjustments to living, transportation, dining, and work arrangements; issuing and enforcing no-contact orders; and honoring an order of protection or no-contact order entered by a State civil or criminal court. Depending of the circumstances, interim measures may be modified, supplemented or withdrawn before, during or after the final outcome of any investigation.

“Retaliation” refers to any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, supporting a party bringing a complaint, or assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of seminary policy and will be treated as another instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated.

“Sexual abuse” means an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force. Sexual abuse also includes the following:

  • When the accused knew the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent.
  • Where the accused in under 17 years of age and the victim was at least 9 years of age but under 17 years of age when the act was committed.
  • Where the accused delivered any controlled substance to the victim without their consent, or by threat or deception, and for other than medical purposes.

“Sexual assault” refers to an act of sexual penetration by the use of force or threat of force. Sexual assault also includes the following:

  • Where the accused knew that the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent.
  • With a victim who was under the age 17 when the act was committed, or with a victim who was under age 18 when the act was committed and the accused was age 17 or more and held a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim.
  • Where the accused delivered any controlled substance to the victim without their consent, or by threat or deception, and for other than medical purposes.

“Sexual misconduct” is any intentional or knowing touching or fondling by the victim or the accused, either directly or through clothing, of the sex organs, anus, or breast of the victim or the accused, or any part of the body of a child under 13 years of age, or any transfer or transmission of semen by the accused upon any part of the clothed or unclothed body of the victim, for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal of the victim or accused.

“Stalking” means a course of conduct (two or more acts) directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of a third person, or to suffer emotional distress. Stalking behaviors include, but are not limited to:

  • Following a person.
  • Appearing at a person’s home, work, or school.
  • Making unwanted phone calls or sending unwanted communications.
  • Leaving objects for a person.
  • Vandalizing a person’s property.
  • Injuring a person’s pet.
  • Monitoring or placing a person under surveillance.

Clery and Campus SaVE Acts

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f), as amended by the Campus SaVE Act, part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, S. 47, 113th Cong. (2013), requires, among other things, annual reporting of statistics for various criminal offenses, including sex offenses, timely warnings and emergency notifications to the seminary community, prevention education, and the adoption of sexual assault policies with certain procedural requirements.

The seminary’s annual report can be found here: Annual Security and Fire Report for 2023 [PDF]

It is the goal of the seminary to provide students, faculty, staff, and guests with an environment free from sexual discrimination, which includes sexual harassment, sexual violence, and relationship violence. The university’s policies concerning harassment and discrimination including its policy on sexual harassment and misconduct can be found in the All Students Handbook. The policies outline the definition of sexual harassment, sexual offenses, relationship violence, relationships, reporting procedures, procedures for the resolution, provisions for students who have been subjected to sex offenses, sexual assault prevention and education programs, and resources to victims and survivors of sexual assault.

In order to take prompt and equitable corrective action, the seminary must be aware of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or related retaliation. Therefore, members of the LSTC community who believe that they have been victim of such incidents or know someone who may be a victim by a student, faculty, staff, or vendor/supplier are advised to bring the matter to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator listed below. Additionally, members of the community may contact the University of Chicago Police (24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any location) to report such allegations.

A copy of the university’s policies concerning harassment and discrimination policies including its policy on sexual harassment and misconduct can be found in the All Students Handbook [PDF].


To file a complaint regarding sexual assault (either an assault in which you are a victim or a witness or, if not directly involved, you have reason to believe such has occurred), please contact the Title IX Coordinator as noted below. Please note that reporting an incident to the Title IX Coordinator is private, and it does not mean the complainant loses control of the process. To the contrary, the Title IX Coordinator is here to advise members of our community on their options regarding remaining anonymous, confidentiality, the process for investigating complaints, and the student conduct process. In some cases, individuals choose not to move forward with the investigation but still request support services. When LSTC receives a report that someone in our community experienced sexual misconduct as defined in this policy, LSTC will provide that person with a written summary of their rights and options, including information on contacting local law enforcement and community-based resources.

Title IX Coordinator 
Aaron Copley-Spivey
Director of Human Resources and Housing, Title IX Coordinator
Office 327

Duties: Responsible for overseeing all reports of sexual misconduct and relationship violence and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during review of such reports. Allegations of sexual misconduct and relationship violence may be reported directly to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator may issue no-contact orders. The Title IX Coordinator may arrange other accommodations. The Title IX Coordinator can answer questions and provide information concerning the University’s policies and procedures, available resources and support services, and external criminal and legal options.

To file a criminal complaint regarding sexual assault, contact the University of Chicago Police: Emergency/Non-Emergency: 773.702.8181

To file an anonymous complaint, contact the Campus Conduct Hotline: 866.943.5787. After filing a report through Campus Conduct Hotline, a summary report will be sent to LSTC, so the seminary can work to address the complaint. Campus Conduct Hotline is a service of LSTC’s institutional insurance provider. More information can be found at https://www.campusconduct.com/incident.aspx.


The Title IX Coordinator will seek to protect the privacy and confidentiality of the individuals involved in any report of alleged sexual misconduct or relationship violence to the extent possible and allowed by law. The Title IX Coordinator cannot guarantee confidentiality, however, and must evaluate any request for confidentiality in the context of the seminary’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment.

The following resources and support services offer confidential support:

Pastor to the Community: 773.256.0696
Pastor Erik Christensen: erik.christensen@lstc.edu

Rape Victim Advocates
Chicago Rape Crisis Hotline: 1-888-293-2080

For LGBTQIAA Individuals: 
LGBTQ Crisis Hotline: 773-871-2273

Chicago Women’s Health Center: 773-935-6126


University of Chicago Medicine Emergency Medical & Counseling Services: 773-702-6250
901 East 58th St., Chicago (24-hours)

The Mitchell Emergency Room is the nearest medical facility and follows specific policies and procedures, approved by the State, in treating an individual who has been sexually assaulted. The State will pay for emergency room care for victims who have been sexually assaulted and do not have health insurance; if a victim provides health insurance information to the emergency room, the emergency room will bill the insurance company and the policy holder will be notified as usual.

  • The victim is placed in a private room.
  • Medical care is given as soon as possible.
  • A Sexual Assault Survivor Advocate may be called based on a victim’s preferences.
  • By law, city police are notified, and the victim may choose to file a report.
  • The victim may have a medical forensic examination completed at no cost, pursuant to the Sexual Assault Survivors Emergency Treatment Act.


The seminary’s procedures for responding to incidents greatly depends on the nature of the incident, the relationship of the respondent to the seminary, and, to the extent possible, the wishes of the person bringing forward the complaint. Allegations may be resolved informally, when appropriate. Under Title IX and VAWA, the seminary has an obligation to respond to all allegations of sexual misconduct about which a responsible employee knows or reasonably should have known. With such a tight knit community, LSTC sees all of its full-time employees as responsible employees with the exception of the Pastor to the Community who remains a resource for confidential support. Responsible employees are trained to inform the Title IX Coordinator of any instance of sexual misconduct or gender discrimination.

Whenever LSTC receives a report of an alleged incident of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, the following will take place:

  • The Title IX Coordinator or a designee will provide any immediate assistance for the well-being of the person bringing forward the complaint based on the wishes of the complainant. The complainant will also receive an outline of the options available for the complainant.
  • The Title IX Coordinator will investigate and determine if any immediate interventions need to be initiated for the safety of the seminary community and will take appropriate actions to ensure the community’s safety.
  • If the complainant wishes to go no further with the resolution process, their participation in the process will conclude. The Title IX Coordinator may need to continue to gather evidence to determine if the complaint was founded and may pursue further remedies to ensure that the complainant has access to all educational opportunities.
  • If the complainant wishes to seek resolution, they can pursue an informal or formal process as outlined in the All Students Handbook. The informal process can include proxy intervention, mediation, or restorative practices with the assistance of a faculty or staff advocate. The formal process involves a hearing panel consisting of faculty, staff, and student panelist who will hear the details of the case and offer a recommended outcome to the president of the seminary. The complainant and the alleged offender(s) will have the opportunity to speak before the panel. Additional witnesses might also be called before the panel.


LSTC is committed to providing immunity to any student who reports, in good faith, an alleged violation of the harassment policy to a responsible employee, so that the reporting student does not receive disciplinary sanction from the seminary for a violation of the All Students Handbook that is revealed in the course of such report. There would be exception to this if LSTC determines that the violation was egregious, especially for actions that would have placed the health or safety of any other person at risk.

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