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Title IX

Sexual Harassment and Assault

In supporting our Christ-centered community, Regent strives to provide a safe and secure academic and work environment for our students and employees alike. We have a federal – and Christian – obligation to prevent and efficiently and effectively address complaints of sexual harassment and assault. The Title IX Coordinator is the staff member responsible for handling and addressing these types of issues for students. Human Resources handles sexual harassment and assault issues for staff and faculty, and the Employee Handbook provides more information to address those situations. However, when a student and employee are involved in the same incident, the Title IX Coordinator and Human Resources will work together to ensure the rights and appropriate disciplinary procedures are followed for each member of the University community. This ensures that we treat our campus population equitably. All contact information is listed below in the Title IX Coordinator tab.

Furthermore, as part of Regent’s Student Code of Conduct, students are to “fully accept the teachings of the traditional biblical view with regard to the goodness of our sexuality, the importance of chastity, and the place of heterosexual marriage as God’s intended context for complete expression to occur (Gen. 2:21-24).”

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 is a law passed requiring gender equality for males and females in every educational institution that receives federal funding. Fundamental to this goal is the prevention of sexual harassment and assault, which can hinder a positive learning environment.

Title IX regulations fall under the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) in the U.S. Department of Education, whose mission is to “ensure equal access to education and to promote educational excellence throughout the nation through vigorous enforcement of civil rights.”

Policy

It is Regent University’s policy to provide students and employees with an environment for learning and working that is free of sexual harassment whether by members of the same sex or opposite sex. University administrators and supervisors are responsible for assuring that effective measures are taken to implement this policy’s procedures. Terms used in this policy are defined below.

This policy does not affect the at-will nature of employment at Regent University. Even if an employee is found not responsible of misconduct through this process, Regent University can still make employment decisions based on the needs of the University and/or the employee’s non-compliance with the rules of the University. Likewise, even if a student is found not to have violated the University’s sexual harassment and assault policy, the student may still be disciplined for violations of other rules of the University.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX.

It is a violation of this policy for any member of the University community to seek gain, advancement or consideration in return for sexual favors, or to make an intentionally false accusation of sexual harassment. It is also a violation of this policy for any member of the University to engage in verbal, non-verbal physical, or electronic sexual harassment whether on or off campus.

Any person who has been accused of sexual harassment pursuant to the terms of this policy, who retaliates against her/his accuser in any manner, shall be charged with violating this policy. Any member of this University community who is found in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate sanctions, which may include suspension, expulsion or probation for students and disciplinary action up to and including termination for employees.

Purpose

In supporting our Christ-centered community, Regent University strives to provide a safe and secure academic and work environment for our students and employees alike. Regent University has an obligation to prevent and efficiently and effectively address complaints of sexual harassment and assault.

Regent University will respond to all reports of sexual harassment as outlined by this policy when it occurs in the school’s educational programs, activity, or workplace.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies to all students, staff, and faculty, and those members of the Regent University community involved in any University-sponsored activity. Members of the Regent University community include volunteers, alumni, and contracted workers.

This policy covers all education programs, activities, events, or circumstances over which Regent University has substantial control over the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs.

Prohibited Conduct

This policy prohibits sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, coercion, physical force, threats, intimidation, hazing, and retaliation. This includes both in-person and electronic interactions.

Definitions

Coercion is an unreasonable amount of pressure to engage in sexual activity. Coercion begins not when you make the sexual advance, but when you realize or should reasonably have realized the recipient of the advance does not want to be convinced and you continue to push.

Complainant is an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Consent is words or actions that demonstrate a knowing or voluntary willingness to engage in mutually-agreed-upon sexual activity. Consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring objections, or by taking advantage of another’s incapacitation. Consent may not be inferred from silence or any other lack of active resistance. It may not be implied by attire or inferred from an individual by spending money on that individual (e.g., buying a meal on a date). Prior consent does not imply consent to future sexual acts. In addition, consent to one type of sexual act does not automatically imply consent to another type of sexual act.

Once a person says “no,” it does not matter if or what kind of sexual behavior has occurred at an earlier date in time. For example, if individuals have previously engaged in sexual behavior, and then during another interaction individual says “no” and the other forces a sexual act, it is sexual assault.

Consent may not be given by the following persons:

  • Individuals who are mentally incapacitated at the time of the sexual contact in a manner that prevents him or her from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act involved;
  • Individuals who are unconscious or otherwise physically helpless; and
  • Minors

Incapacitation is defined as the physical and/or mental inability to make informed, rational judgments that voids an individual’s ability to give consent. Incapacitation may be caused by a permanent or temporary physical or mental impairment. Incapacitation may also result from the consumption of alcohol or the use of .

The use of alcohol or drugs does not automatically affect a person’s ability to consent to sexual contact. The consumption of alcohol or drugs may create a mental incapacity if the nature and degree of the intoxication go beyond the stage of merely reduced inhibition and reach a point in which the victim does not understand the nature and consequences of the sexual act. In such case, the person cannot consent.

A person violates the sexual misconduct policy if he or she has sexual contact with someone he or she knows or should know is mentally incapacitated or has reached the degree of intoxication that results in incapacitation. The test of whether an individual should know about another’s incapacitation is whether a reasonable, sober person would know about the incapacitation.

A person who is passed out or unconscious as a result of the consumption of alcohol or drugs is physically helpless and is not able to consent.

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

Domestic Violence is a felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim; by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common; by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner; by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred; or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.

Electronic refers to communication or activity via electronic means such as email, text, Facebook, blog posts, or any other computer or internet-based action.

Formal Complaint is a document filed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent and requesting that the school investigate the allegation of sexual harassment.

Hazing is an act that, as an explicit or implicit condition for initiation to, admission into, affiliation with, or continued membership in a group or organization, could be seen by a reasonable person as endangering the physical health of an individual or as causing mental distress to an individual through, for example, humiliating, intimidating, or demeaning treatment; destroying or removing public or private property; involving the consumption of alcohol, other drugs, or other substances; or violating any of the policies of the University. Hazing that involves sexual offenses fall under Title IX purview.

No Contact Directive is an instruction given to an individual that prohibits him/her from communicating in any manner with another individual.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any sexual contact that occurs without consent. Examples of sexual contact include, but are not limited to: the intentional touching of a person’s genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks or the clothing covering any of those areas, or using force to cause the person to touch his/her own genitalia, groin, breast, or buttocks.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is the act of sexual intercourse that occurs without consent. Sexual intercourse is defined by penetration (anal, oral, or vaginal) by a penis, tongue, finger, or inanimate object.

Physical Force is force equated with violence or the use of a weapon. No matter how slight, any intentional physical impact upon another, use of physical restraint, or the presence of a weapon constitutes the use of force.

Respondent is an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Retaliation is intimidation, threats, harassment, or any other adverse action made against a person who files a complaint or participates in an investigation.

Sexual Assault is any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent; this includes rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape.

Sexual Harassment is misconduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

(1) unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to education or employment.  It may include:

  • Making unwelcome comments about a person’s clothing, body, or personal life;
  • Offensive or abusive physical contact;
  • Use of offensive nicknames or terms of endearment;
  • Offensive jokes or unwelcome innuendoes;
  • Any suggestion that sexual activities would affect one’s job, promotion, performance evaluation, working condition, course grade, course enrollment or graduation;
  • Displaying offensive objects or pictures; or
  • Other conduct that even if not objectionable to some employees, creates a working environment that may be considered by others to be offensive or hostile;

(2) quid pro quo sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power   or authority over another, to include:

  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment or a student’s enrollment or performance;
  • Submission to or rejection of such conduct is used for the basis of an employment decision, such as promotion, demotion, termination, or pay, etc., or a student decision such as grade, nomination, graduation, etc.; or
  • Such condition interferes with an employee or student’s work performance or creates a hostile, intimidating or offensive work environment; or

(3) any instance of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.

Sexual Exploitation is taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent. This includes but is not limited to causing the incapacitation of another person for a sexual purpose; causing the prostitution of another person; electronically recording, photographing, or transmitting intimate or sexual utterances, sounds, or images of another person; allowing third parties to observe sexual acts; engaging in voyeurism; distributing intimate or sexual information about another person; and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection, including HIV, to another person.

Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.  Contact includes but is not limited to communication (in person, by phone, or by computer), following a person, and watching or remaining in the physical presence of the other person.

Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker 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.

Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, and as reasonably available, without fee or charge, to the complainant or respondent, before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.  Such measures are designed to restore or preserve access to the recipient’s education program, activity, or employment. Supportive measures may include counseling, course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, relocation of housing assignment, campus escort services, and no contact directives.

Threats cause a person to do something that he or she would not have done without the threat (forcible compulsion), e.g., “If you do not have sex with me, I will: “harm someone close to you;” “tell people you are gay;” “tell people you are a whore.”

Work for the purposes of this policy, means employment-related activities carried out by University employees (including student workers) and University-sponsored activities carried out by volunteers, contractors, or third-party vendors.

Role of Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator is the employee whose responsibilities include overseeing all Title IX complaints and investigations, identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints, and educating the University community on Title IX compliance.

Reporting Procedure

Any student, employee, or member of the Regent University community who believes that s/he has experienced sexual harassment and/or assault as defined in this policy should file a report with the Title IX Coordinator, Amber Steele, in Student Services. The report may be filed in person, by mail, email, or via the Anonymous Reporting Form found at    http://www.regent.edu/admin/stusrv/harassment/contact.cfm. The Title IX Coordinator can be reached at 757-352-4928, asteele@regent.edu, in SC 201.

If a report is made by a former member of the Regent University community and the alleged respondent is still a member of the Regent University community, the University may still elect to investigate whether the respondent is found to have violated University rules or the Code of Conduct.

If a student believes s/he is a victim of a crime, the student may additionally choose to file a report with Campus Police or the local police department where the crime allegedly occurred.

Upon receiving a report of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, inform the complainant of the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain the process for filing a formal complaint.

At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program, activity, or employment of the University.

Investigation

Regent University must investigate all allegations made in any formal complaint. Upon receipt of a formal complaint, written notice of the allegations will be sent to both parties (complainants and respondents).

During the investigation, the respondent will be given an opportunity to respond, either orally or in writing, to the complaint. Both parties will have an opportunity to produce relevant witnesses or evidence to support their statement of the facts of the claim(s). Parties may choose an advisor of their choice and if a party does not have an advisor for the hearing, the University will provide an advisor to that party.

At the conclusion of the investigation, both parties and their advisors will receive copies of the evidence and investigative report either in electronic format or hard copy and will be provided ten days to respond.

In matters where a student, employee, or member of the Regent University community requests confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate that request in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. This means that the University may not be able to promise confidentiality in all cases.

A typical investigation may take approximately 60 calendar days from the receipt of the complaint, but more time may be necessary depending on the nature of the allegations. If needed, at any point in the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may take appropriate action to assist or protect the students in the educational setting. Actions could include, but are not limited to, a “no-contact directive,” a change in housing assignment or class schedule, individual counseling, or police escorts on campus.

In some cases, the alleged conduct may constitute both sexual harassment under Title IX and criminal activity. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant of his/her right to file a criminal complaint, but the Title IX Coordinator is not a lawyer and will not provide legal advice. The providing of such information is not an indication of the Title IX Coordinator’s determination of the merits of the claim. The standards for criminal investigations are different; therefore, police investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual harassment or violence violates Title IX. Depending on context, a violation of the Sexual Harassment and Assault policy can also be a violation of the Hazing policy.

The University must dismiss allegations of conduct that do not meet the definition of sexual harassment or did not occur in the University’s educational programs, activity, or employment. The University has discretion to dismiss a formal complaint or allegation if the complainant informs the Title IX Coordinator in writing the desire to withdraw the complaint, if the or complainant is no longer enrolled or employed by the University, or if specific circumstances prevent the school from gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination. Notice of dismissal will be provided to both parties in writing.

If the Title IX investigators finds, based on probable cause, that there is good cause to proceed with a hearing, the Title IX investigators will refer the results of the investigation to the Title IX Coordinator. The complainant and the respondent will have similar and timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing as well as an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence. Mediation is not an acceptable alternative to a hearing, and the complainant and the respondent will not be permitted to directly question one another at the hearing.

Hearing

Live hearings with cross-examination will be provided for all formal complaints that are investigated and not dismissed by the University. The standard of evidence used for live hearings is Preponderance of the Evidence (more likely than not). Hearings for student matters will be led by the Title IX Coordinator. Hearings for employee matters will be led by the Director of Human Resources.

The hearing panel for student complaints consists of three faculty/staff members trained in the Title IX process. For complaints involving faculty/staff, the hearing panel consists of two Deans and one executive team member trained in the Title IX process.

Cross-examination is allowed by each party’s advisor and must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time. If a party does not have an advisor at the live hearing, one will be provided by the University. Either party can request that the live hearing be conducted virtually, with the parties located in separate rooms with technology that enables the parties to see and hear each other. Neither the complainant nor the respondent will be permitted to personally cross examine the other party. If a party decides to proceed without an advisor, questions for cross examination shall be presented by the parties in writing, and read by the Title IX coordinator or designee.

If a party or witness that does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the hearing panel must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. Questions and evidence pertaining to complainant’s prior sexual behavior is inadmissible unless offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the alleged misconduct or offered to prove consent. The standard of evidence used to determine responsibility is preponderance of the evidence, meaning a determination of whether it is more likely than not that a violation of Title IX occurred.

Within approximately one week of the hearing, both the complainant and the accused will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of the adjudication hearing, and both will have the right to appeal.

Appeal

Either party can appeal the determination regarding responsibility or the University’s dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations only on the following bases: procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter, newly discovered evidence that could affect the outcome of the matter, and/or Title IX personnel had a conflict of interest bias that affected the outcome of the matter.

All appeals must be in writing and submitted within 72 business hours from the appealing party having received the outcome of the hearing or having received notification that the complaint or any allegation was dismissed. Appeal forms will be emailed to both parties upon notification of the outcome of the hearing. For student matters, appeals will be submitted to and heard by the Associate Vice President for Student Life. For employee matters, appeals will be submitted to and heard by the Vice President for Human Resources & Administration unless either party is a Vice President of the University or higher-ranking officer. In such cases, the appeal will be submitted to and heard by the Chief Executive Officer of the University. The appellant shall provide as much detail as possible in the appeal, and the appeal officer may not consider any matter not raised on the appeal form. In addition, the appeal officer may not consider any matter of alleged error that could have been corrected if the appellant had raised the issue at the hearing. The officer hearing the appeal shall advise the parties as to the procedure for the appeal.

Informal Resolution

In its discretion, the University may offer informal resolution options, such as mediation or restorative justice. Both parties must give voluntary, written consent to attempt informal resolution and may withdraw their consent at any time.

Informal resolution options are only available if a formal complaint has been filed. The University will not offer an informal resolution process in allegations involving an employee sexually harassing a student.

Retaliation

Individuals exercising their Title IX rights may not be intimidated, threatened, coerced, or discriminated against by any person at University because a complaint was filed.

The University generally will keep the identity of complainants, respondents, and witnesses confidential, except as may be permitted by FERPA, where it is in the best interest of the University (including public safety), as required by law, or as necessary to carry out a Title IX proceeding. Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator and will follow the same procedure as a Title IX complaint.

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for intentionally making a materially false allegation does not constitute retaliation.

False Allegations

A false allegation is one the complainant brings knowing that what is alleged did not occur.  False allegations made with knowledge that they are false, are prohibited and will be treated as a conduct issue for students and as a progressive discipline issue for employees.

Transcripts

Definition of “good disciplinary standing.” For purposes of this policy, “good disciplinary standing” means that a student has completed all terms and conditions of a suspension, to the satisfaction of Regent University, and is eligible to apply for readmission. Readmission shall be at the discretion of the University, and “good disciplinary standing” status shall not be a guarantee of readmission.

Any student who has been suspended under this policy for a violation involving sexual violence shall have a prominent notation placed on his/her academic transcript, stating the following: “Suspended for a violation of Regent University’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy.”

Any student who has been permanently dismissed under this policy for a violation involving sexual violence shall have a prominent notation placed on his/her academic transcript, stating the following: “Dismissed for a violation of Regent University’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy.”

Any student who has withdrawn from Regent University while under investigation for a violation involving sexual violence shall have a prominent notation placed on his/her academic transcript, stating the following: “Withdrew while under investigation for a violation of Regent University’s Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy.” The University will continue its investigation after the withdrawal, will make a determination of responsibility, and will impose sanctions as appropriate, with or without the student’s participation. If the student is found responsible for sexual violence and is suspended or dismissed, the student’s transcript will be updated accordingly.

Any student permanently dismissed, or who has withdrawn, who is subsequently found not to have committed a violation involving sexual violence, shall have the aforementioned notation removed from his/her academic transcript.

Any student suspended, who is subsequently found not to have committed a violation involving sexual violence, shall have the aforementioned notation removed from his/her academic transcript.  Further, any student suspended, who completes the term of the suspension and any conditions thereof and has been determined by Regent University to be in good disciplinary standing, shall have the aforementioned notation removed from his/her academic transcript.

Resources

On-Campus

Regent faculty and staff are required by law to report any information they have regarding alleged harassment or assault to the Title IX coordinator. However, certain offices and occupations are exempt from mandatory reporting and are not required to inform the Title IX coordinator about incidents, under the law. These include: pastoral roles, professional counselors and trainees, and health centers. These offices are strictly confidential, to the extent permitted by law. However, they still provide aggregate data (i.e. dates and locations) on offenses, per Clery Act compliance, but they do not provide names of victims or the accused.

The Regent employees and offices below are exempt from mandatory reporting:

Off-Campus

Response Sexual Assault Support Services of the YMCA (in Norfolk, VA)

Find a Local Crisis Center

National Sexual Assault Hotline – 1.800.656.HOPE (4673)

National Center for Victims of Crime Victim Service Helpline – 1.800.FYI.CALL (394.2255)

National Center for Victims of Crimes: www.victimsofcrime.org

Get Help Bulletin for Crime Victims

How Crime Victims React to Trauma

Help a Loved One: Some of the many ways family and friends can assist a victim of a sexual offense is to listen and not be judgmental, be patient, create a safe place, and possibly encourage the individual to seek professional help. Learn more about these and additional ways to help here.

Self-Care for Survivors: The healing process for a survivor of a sexual offense can look different for each individual with special care and concern for the following areas: food, exercise, sleep, medical care, counseling, journaling, and relaxation exercises. Learn more about self-care for survivors.

Self-Care for Family/Friends: These individuals may feel a wide range of emotions when a loved one experiences a sexual offense, among them are: shock, anger, sadness, anxiety, and fear. It’s incredibly important that family and friends of survivors take healthy care of themselves as well. Learn more about ways to cope with feelings here.

Office of Civil Rights’ Sexual Harassment Resources

RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)’s website addresses topics such as, but not limited to: determining if one was sexually assaulted, effects of sexual violence, aftermath of sexual violence, federal and state policies. Also, learn more about Virginia state rights regarding rape, abuse, and incest.

Regent University Sexual Harassment and Assault Policy

Regent University Student Adjudication Process

Annual Security and Fire Safety Report: The CBN/Regent Campus Police Department prepares this report to comply with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act.

Coordinator

Each university is required to have a Title IX Coordinator — who is responsible for reporting, investigating, and educating the campus on matters related to sexual harassment and assault.

  • REPORTING: takes all reports and complaints of sexual harassment and assault; identifies and addresses any systemic patterns; works with Clery Compliance Officer
  • INVESTIGATING: promptly and thoroughly investigates each complaint and interviews all parties involved, maintaining confidentiality as requested by the victim and as appropriate in the context of campus safety
  • EDUCATING: trains students, faculty, and staff on Title IX-related issues and how to report; answers questions on subject matter

Regent University’s Title IX coordinators and investigators are listed below. Should you have any questions or concerns about any information on this website, please contact the appropriate representative.

Coordinator for Students Coordinator for Employees (including prospects)
Title IX or Age Discrimination:
Amber Steele
Title IX Coordinator
asteele@regent.edu
757-352-4928

OCR’s Assistant Secretary
Washington DC (Metro)
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475
Telephone: 202-453-6020
FAX: 202-453-6021; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR.DC@ed.gov

Title IX or Age Discrimination:
Jana Nattermann
Assistant Director of Human Resources
Title IX Investigator
jnattermann@regent.edu
757-352-4053

OCR’s Assistant Secretary
Washington DC (Metro)
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1475
Telephone: 202-453-6020
FAX: 202-453-6021; TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR.DC@ed.gov

Training

Please check back soon for more information on training.