Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU) affirms its commitment to promote the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational enterprise [Note: As used in this document, the term ‘reporting party’ refers to the person impacted by alleged discrimination. The term ‘responding party’ refers to the person who has allegedly engaged in discrimination.] All polices below are subject to resolution using the PLNU Equity Resolution Process (hereafter ERP) when the responding party is a PLNU student. When the responding party is a PLNU employee, a similar process is followed under the administration of the Office of Human Resources. The ERP is applicable regardless of the status of the reporting party who may be a member or non-member of the campus community, including a student, student organization, faculty, administrator, staff, guest, visitor, etc.
Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, ADA/504 Coordinator
Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Caye Smith
Vice President for Student Development and Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Development
Caye Smith serves as the Title IX Coordinator and oversees implementation of PLNU’s policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination related to sex.
Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Jeffrey Carr, Associate Vice President for Student Development and Chief Diversity Officer
Office of Student Development
Jeffrey Carr serves as the Chief Diversity Officer and oversees implementation of PLNU’s policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination related to race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, and/or veteran status.
Americans with Disabilities Act/504 Coordinator
Dr. Kim Bogan, Associate Dean for Student Success and Wellness
Kim Bogan serves as the ADA/504 Coordinator and oversees implementation of PLNU’s policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination related to disability.
The Title IX Coordinator heads the Title IX Committee and acts with independence and authority free of conflicts of interest. To raise any concern involving a conflict of interest by the Title IX Coordinator, contact the University President, Dr. Bob Brower at 619-849-2388. To raise concerns regarding a potential conflict of interest with any other administrator involved in the ERP, please contact Caye Smith, the Title IX Coordinator.
PLNU’s Title IX Website
Inquiries about and reports regarding this policy and procedure may be made internally to:
Dr. Caye Smith
Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Development
PLNU Main Campus. 3900 Lomaland Drive. San Diego, California. 92106
Title IX Committee
Caye Barton Smith
Vice President for Student Development
Title IX Coordinator
Assistant to Title IX Coordinator
Dean of the College of Extended Learning
Representative for Extended Learning
Associate Vice President for Graduate and Professional Services
Alternative Representative for Extended Learning
Director for Athletics
Representative for Intercollegiate Athletics
Associate Athletic Director for Compliance and Senior Woman Administrator
Alternate Representative for Intercollegiate Athletics
Jamie M. Ressler
Associate Dean of Graduate Business Education
Representative for Graduate Programs
Dean of Students
Representative for Main Campus & Administration of Title IX Investigative Team
Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Representative for Faculty and Staff
Associate Dean of Teacher Education & Bakersfield Regional Center/Associate Professor of Education
Representative for Bakersfield Campus
Inquiries may be made externally to:
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
Facsimile: (202) 453-6012
TDD#: (877) 521-2172
Pacific Region Office of Civil Rights
Michael Leoz, Regional Manager
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
90 7th Street, Suite 4-100
San Francisco, CA 94103
Customer Response Center: (800) 368-1019
Fax: (202) 619-3818
TDD: (800) 537-7697 Email: email@example.com
Reports of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation may be made using any of the following options. There is no time limitation on the filing of allegations. However, if the responding party is no longer subject to the PLNU’s jurisdiction, the ability to investigate, respond and provide remedies may be more limited:
1. Report sex/gender related harassment or discrimination directly to the Title IX Coordinator or
Title IX Committee member (see above)
Dr. Caye Smith
Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Development
PLNU Main Campus. 3900 Lomaland Drive. San Diego, California. 92106
2. Report race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, and/or veteran status related harassment or discrimination to the Chief Diversity Officer
Dr. Jeffrey Carr
Chief Diversity Officer
PLNU Main Campus
3900 Lomaland Dr., San Diego CA 92106
3. Report disability related harassment or discrimination to the ADA/504 Coordinator
Dr. Kim Bogan
Associate Dean of Student Success and Wellness
PLNU Main Campus
3900 Lomaland Dr., San Diego CA 92106
4. Report an anonymous report of any incident of discrimination: Anonymous Incident Report Form
5. Office of Student Development: 619-849-2256
6. PLNU Department of Public Safety: (PLNU main campus and Mission Valley): 619-849-2525
7. PLNU Residential Life: (619) 849-2482
All reports are acted upon promptly and while every effort is made by PLNU to preserve the privacy of reports. Such reports may also be anonymous. Anonymous reports will be investigated to determine if remedies can be provided. Additionally, all employees of PLNU (except as noted) are designated as mandated reporters and will share a report with the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator promptly. Confidentiality and mandated reporting is addressed more specifically below.
Reports of misconduct or discrimination committed by the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator should be reported to Dr. Bob Brower, the University President at 619-849-2388.
This policy applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at University-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus and to actions online when the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include:
- Any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law. This includes, but is not limited to, single or repeat violations of any local, state or federal law;
- Any situation where it appears that the responding party may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of self or others;
- Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or
- Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the University.
Any online postings or other electronic communication by students, including cyber-bullying, cyber-stalking, cyber-harassment, etc. occurring completely outside of the PLNU’s control (e.g. not on PLNU networks, websites or between PLNU email accounts) will only be subject to this policy when those online behaviors can be shown to cause a substantial to PLNU student life disruption.
1. PLNU Policy on Nondiscrimination
PLNU adheres to all federal and state civil rights laws prohibiting discrimination in private institutions of higher education. PLNU will not discriminate against any employee, applicant for employment, student or applicant for admission on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, ancestry, age, disability and/or veteran status. Such actions are prohibited not only by university policy, but also by federal law, including Title XII, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972. Under Title IX, discrimination on the basis of sex can include sexual harassment or sexual violence. Any type of harassment or discrimination may subject individuals or groups to disciplinary action, and may also have legal consequences.
This policy covers nondiscrimination in employment and in access to educational opportunities. Therefore, any member of the campus community who acts to deny, deprive or limit the educational, employment, residential and/or social access, benefits and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community, guest or visitor on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in the protected classes listed above is in violation of the PLNU policy on nondiscrimination. When brought to the attention of the University, any such discrimination will be appropriately addressed and remedied by the University according to the Equity Resolution Process described below. Non-members of the campus community who engage in discriminatory actions within PLNU programs or on PLNU property are not under the jurisdiction of this policy, but can be subject to actions that limit their access and/or involvement with PLNU programs as the result of their misconduct.
2. PLNU Policy on Accommodation of Disabilities
PLNU is committed to full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA and ADAAA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities, as well as other federal and state laws pertaining to individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA and its amendments, a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects individuals who have a record of a substantially limiting impairment or who are regarded as disabled by the institution whether qualified or not. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as hearing, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking or caring for oneself.
The Associate Dean for Student Success and Wellness has been designated as the ADA/504 Coordinator responsible for coordinating efforts to comply with these disability laws, including investigation of any allegation of noncompliance.
a. Students with Disabilities
PLNU is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the academic programs and activities of the PLNU.
All accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. A student requesting any accommodation should first contact the Director of the Disability Resource Center who coordinates services for students with disabilities. The Director of the Disability Resource Center reviews documentation provided by the student and, in consultation with the student, determines which accommodations are appropriate to the student’s particular needs and academic programs.
3. PLNU Policy on Discriminatory Harassment
Students, staff, administrators, and faculty are entitled to a working environment and educational environment free of discriminatory harassment. PLNU’s harassment policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane, but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. The sections below describe the specific forms of legally prohibited harassment that are also prohibited under PLNU policy.
a. Discriminatory and Bias-Related Harassment
Harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by PLNU policy as well as the law. PLNU condemns and will not tolerate discriminatory harassment against any employee, student, visitor or guest on the basis of any status protected by policy or law. PLNU will remedy all forms of harassment when reported, whether or not the harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment. When harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, PLNU may also impose sanctions on the harasser through application of the Equity Resolution Process. PLNU’s harassment policy explicitly prohibits any form of harassment, defined as unwelcome conduct on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the community.
A hostile environment may be created by harassing verbal, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is any combination of severe, persistent, pervasive or objectively offensive such that it interferes with, limits or denies the ability of a student to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities.
PLNU reserves the right to address offensive conduct and/or harassment that 1) does not rise to the level of creating a hostile environment, or 2) that is of a generic nature not on the basis of a protected status. Addressing such behaviors may not result in the imposition of discipline under PLNU’s policy, but will be addressed through respectful confrontation, remedial actions, education and/or effective conflict resolution mechanisms. For assistance with conflict resolution techniques students should contact the Dean of Students at 619-849-2482.
b. Sexual Harassment
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the State of California regard sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and, therefore, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. PLNU has adopted the following definition of sexual harassment, in order to address the special environment of an academic community, which consists not only of students, but faculty, staff and administrators as well.
Sexual harassment is:
- sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based,
- verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.
Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any PLNU program is encouraged to report it immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX Committee member. Remedies, education and/or training will be provided in response.
Sexual harassment may be disciplined when it takes the form of quid pro quo harassment, retaliatory harassment and/or creates a hostile environment.
A hostile environment is created when sexual harassment is:
- Severe, or
- persistent or pervasive, and
- objectively offensive, such that it unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the PLNU’s educational, social and/or residential program.
Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment:
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 constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational development or performance.
POLICY EXPECTATIONS WITH RESPECT TO CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS
There are inherent risks in any intimate relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as faculty and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of this policy. PLNU does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of PLNU. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) are discouraged.
Romantic relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift a party out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility. While no relationships are prohibited by this policy, failure to timely self-report such relationships to a supervisor as required can result in disciplinary action for an employee.
c. Sexual Misconduct
State law defines various violent and/or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. While some of these acts may have parallels in criminal law, PLNU has defined categories of sex/gender discrimination as sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which action under this policy may be imposed. Generally speaking, PLNU considers Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse violations to be the most serious of these offenses, and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees. However, PLNU reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from a reprimand up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any act of sexual misconduct or other sex/gender-based offenses, including intimate partner (dating and/or domestic) violence, non-consensual sexual contact and/or stalking based on the facts and circumstances of the particular allegation. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those involved. Violations include:
- Sexual Harassment (as defined in section b above)
- Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
Sexual intercourse includes:
- Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation (mouth to genital contact) no matter how slight the penetration or contact.
- Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
- any intentional sexual touching
- however slight
- with any object
- by a person upon another person
- that is without consent and/or by force
Sexual touching includes:
- Intentional contact with the breasts, groin, or genitals, mouth or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or
- Any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.
- Sexual Exploitation
Sexual Exploitation refers to a situation in which a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another, and that behavior does not otherwise fall within the definitions of Sexual Harassment, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse or Non-Consensual Sexual Contact. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed).
- Invasion of sexual privacy.
- Taking pictures or video or audio recording another in a sexual act, or in any other private activity without the consent of all involved in the activity, or exceeding the boundaries of consent (such as allowing another person to hide in a closet and observe sexual activity, or disseminating sexual pictures without the photographed person’s consent).
- Sexual exploitation also includes engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI) without informing the other person of the infection.
- Administering alcohol or drugs (such as “date rape” drugs) to another person without his or her knowledge or consent (assuming the act is not completed).
- Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances.
- Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.
- Force and Consent
Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that overcome resistance or produce consent (“Have sex with me or I’ll hit you.” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).
Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to get consent from another. When someone makes clear to you that they do not want sex, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.
NOTE: Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. There is no requirement on a party to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced.
Consent: Consent is knowing, voluntary, and clear permission by word or action to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain 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. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is clearly communicated.
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 dating relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced.
Incapacitation: A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has violated this policy.
It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the reporting party.
Incapacitation is defined as a state where someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, involuntary physical restraint and/or from the taking of incapacitating drugs.
In California, a minor (meaning a person under the age of 18 years) cannot consent to sexual activity. This means that sexual contact by an adult with a person younger than 18 years old may be a crime, and a potential violation of this policy, even if the minor wanted to engage in the act.
4. Other Civil Rights Offenses
In addition to the forms of sexual misconduct described above, the following behaviors are also prohibited as forms of discrimination when the act is based upon the reporting party’s actual or perceived membership in a protected class.
- Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
- Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive, limit or deny other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities;
- 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 university community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing );
- Bullying, defined as
- Repeated and/or severe
- Aggressive behavior
- Likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally
- That is not speech or conduct otherwise protected by the 1st Amendment.
- Intimate Partner Violence, defined as violence or abuse between those in an intimate interaction and/or relationship to each other;
- A boyfriend shoves his girlfriend into a wall upon seeing her talking to a male friend. This physical assault based in jealousy is a violation of the Intimate Partner Violence policy.
- Stalking 1:
- A course of conduct
- Directed at a specific person
- On the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class
- That is unwelcome, AND
- Would cause a reasonable person to feel fear
- Stalking 2:
- Repetitive and Menacing
- Pursuit, following, harassing and/or interfering with the peace and/or safety of another
- Any other University policies may fall within this section when a violation is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the reporting party’s sex or gender.
Consequences for the above-listed “Other Civil Rights Behaviors” behaviors range from reprimand through expulsion.
Retaliation is defined as 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 an allegation or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of PLNU policy and will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. PLNU is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.
6. Remedial Action
Upon notice of alleged discrimination, PLNU will implement initial remedial, responsive and/or protective actions upon notice of alleged harassment, retaliation and/or discrimination. Such actions could include but are not limited to: no contact orders, providing counseling and/or remedial services, academic support, living arrangement adjustments, transportation accommodations, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid counseling, providing a campus escort, academic or work schedule and assignment accommodations, safety planning, referral to campus and community support resources.
PLNU will take additional prompt remedial and/or disciplinary action with respect to any member of the community, guest or visitor upon a finding that they have engaged in harassing or discriminatory behavior or retaliation.
PLNU will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures, provided confidentiality does not impair PLNU’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.
Procedures for handling reported incidents are fully described below.
7. Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses Under This Policy
All PLNU employees (faculty, staff, and administrators) are expected to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate officials immediately, though there are some limited exceptions. In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality - meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate university officials - thereby offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or campus official unless a reporting party has requested information to be shared. Other resources exist for reporting parties to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when an incident is reported to them. The following describes the reporting options at PLNU:
a. Confidential Reporting
If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with:
- PLNU Main Campus Undergraduates: Wellness Center licensed professional counselors, licensed medical professionals and staff: (619) 849-2574
- Victim/Advocate. (Note: the Advocate is housed on Main Campus, but may be accessed in person or electronically by all PLNU students. Contact information: (619) 849-2574 or (619) 849-2481
- Campus Pastors or Chaplains: Office of Spiritual Development, contact information: (619) 849-2655
All of the above-listed individuals will maintain confidentiality except: immediate threat to self or others; danger or abuse of a minor; danger or abuse of an elderly person. Campus counselors and Campus Pastors and Chaplains are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours. PLNU employees listed above will submit anonymous statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to their client, patient or parishioner.
b. Formal Reporting Options
All PLNU employees have a duty to report, unless they fall under the “Confidential Reporting” section above. Reporting parties may want to consider carefully whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees, as those details must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator. Employees must promptly share all details of the reports they receive. Generally, climate surveys, classroom writing assignments or discussions, human subjects’ research, or outreach-type events do not provide notice that must be reported to the Coordinator by employees, unless the reporting party clearly indicates that they wish a report to be made. Remedial actions may result from such disclosures without formal PLNU action.
If a reporting party does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the reporting party may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. Note that PLNU’s ability to remedy and respond to a reported incident may be limited if the reporting party does not want the institution to proceed with an investigation and/or the Equity Resolution Process.
In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, PLNU will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. In cases where the reporting party requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow PLNU to honor that request, PLNU will offer interim supports and remedies to the reporting party and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. A reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by PLNU when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.
Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told, including but not limited to: Office of Student Development, Chief Diversity Officer, Department of Public Safety, Student Care Group and the Office of Academic Affairs. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve a reporting party’s rights and privacy.
Additionally, anonymous reports can be made by victims and/or third parties using the online Anonymous Incident Report Form.
Note that these anonymous reports may prompt a need for the institution to investigate.
Failure of a non-confidential employee, as described in this section, to report an incident or incidents of sex/gender harassment or discrimination of which they become aware is a violation of PLNU policy and can be subject to disciplinary action for failure to comply.
8. Federal Timely Warning Obligations
Parties reporting sexual misconduct should be aware that under the Clery Act, PLNU administrators must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. PLNU will ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.
9. False Allegations
Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.
10. Amnesty for Reporting Party and Witnesses
The PLNU community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by reporting parties and witnesses. Sometimes, reporting parties or witnesses are hesitant to report to PLNU officials or participate in resolution processes because they fear that they themselves may be accused of policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that reporting parties choose to report to university officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know. To encourage reporting, PLNU pursues a policy of offering reporting parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations related to the incident.
Students: Sometimes students are hesitant to offer assistance to others for fear that they may get themselves in trouble (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a sexual misconduct victim to the Department of Public Safety). PLNU pursues a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the university will provide educational options, rather than punishment, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
11. Parental Notification (allegations involving students)
PLNU reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The university may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, PLNU will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. PLNU also reserves the right to designate which university officials have a need to know about incidents that fall within this policy, pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
12. Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations
Certain campus officials - those deemed Campus Security Authorities - have a duty to report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act). All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to the PLNU Department of Public Safety regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the Annual Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. Mandated federal reporters include: student affairs/student conduct, [campus law enforcement], local police, coaches, athletic directors, residence life staff, student activities staff, human resources staff, advisors to student organizations and any other official with significant responsibility for student and campus activities. The information to be shared includes the date, the location of the incident (using Clery location categories) and the Clery crime category. This reporting protects the identity of the victim and may be done anonymously.
EQUITY RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR ALLEGATIONS OF HARASSMENT, SEXUAL MISCONDUCT AND OTHER FORMS OF DISCRIMINATION
PLNU will act on any formal or informal allegation or notice of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination, that is received by the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, ADA/504 Coordinator or a member of the administration, faculty, or other employee.
The procedures described below apply to all allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of protected class involving students, staff or faculty members. These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct (e.g.: vandalism, physical abuse of another, etc.). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by this policy will be addressed through the procedures elaborated in the respective student, faculty and staff handbooks.
Upon notice to the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator, this resolution process involves a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, PLNU will initiate a confidential investigation that is thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair. The investigation and the subsequent resolution process determines whether the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, PLNU will promptly implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.
1. Equity Resolution Process (ERP)
Allegations under the policy on nondiscrimination are resolved using the ERP. Members of the Title IX committee and ERP pool are trained in all aspects of the resolution process, and can serve in any of the following roles, at the direction of the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator:
- To provide sensitive intake for and initial advice pertaining to allegations
- To serve in a mediation or restorative justice role in conflict resolution
- To investigate allegations
- To act as process advisors/advocates to those involved in the Equity Resolution Process
Title IX Committee members and ERP pool members also recommend proactive policies, and serve in an educative role for the community. The President, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, and ADA/504 Coordinator appoints the pool, which reports to the aforementioned administrators. ERP pool members receive annual training, including a review of PLNU policies and procedures as well as applicable federal and state laws and regulations so that they are able to appropriately address allegations, provide accurate information to members of the community, protect safety and promote accountability. This training will include, but is not limited to: how to appropriately remedy, investigate, render findings and determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment and discrimination allegations; PLNU’s Discrimination and Harassment Policies and Procedures (including Sexual Misconduct); confidentiality and privacy; and applicable laws, regulations and federal regulatory guidance. All ERP pool members are required to attend this annual training to be eligible to serve.
2. Reporting Misconduct
Any member of the community, guest or visitor who believes that the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination has been violated should contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator.
It is also possible for employees to notify a supervisor, or for students to notify an administrative advisor or faculty member. Any member of the community, including visitors, may contact Campus Police/Public Safety to make a report. These individuals will in turn notify the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator. The Anonymous Incident Reporting Form may initiate the resolution process.
All employees receiving reports of a potential violation of PLNU policy are expected to promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator within 24 hours of becoming aware of a report or incident; all initial contacts will be treated with privacy. Subject to PLNU’s obligation to redress violations, every effort will be made to maintain the privacy of those initiating an allegation. In all cases, PLNU will give consideration to the reporting party with respect to how the reported misconduct is pursued, but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the community, to investigate and pursue a resolution even when a reporting party chooses not to initiate or participate in the resolution process.
3. Preliminary Inquiry
Following receipt of notice or a report of misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator engages in a preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. This inquiry may also serve to help the administrator to determine if the allegations evidence violence, threat, pattern of behavior, predation and/or weapon, in the event that the reporting party has asked for no action to be taken. In any case where violence, threat, pattern of behavior, predation, and/or weapon is evidenced, the administrator has the right to conduct an investigation with respect to the reported allegations, even though a reporting party has requested that no action be taken, in order to protect the interests of the PLNU community. As necessary, PLNU reserves the right to initiate resolution proceedings without a formal report or participation by the reporting party.
In cases where the reporting party wishes to proceed or where PLNU determines it should proceed, and the preliminary inquiry shows that reasonable cause exists, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, ADA/504 Coordinator will ask the reporting party whether they wish to proceed by way of Conflict Resolution or by a formal investigation through Administrative Resolution, as briefly described here and further explained in the following pages:
- Conflict Resolution - typically used for less serious offenses and only when both the reporting and responding parties agree to conflict resolution
- Administrative Resolution - investigation and resolution by a trained administrator
The process followed considers the preference of the parties, but is ultimately determined at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator. Conflict Resolution may only occur if selected by all parties, otherwise the Administrative Resolution Process applies.
If Conflict Resolution is desired by the reporting party, and the responding party agrees to proceed with Conflict Resolution, and such process appears appropriate given the nature of the alleged behavior, then the report does not proceed to investigation, unless a pattern of misconduct is suspected or there is an actual or perceived threat of further harm to the community or any of its members.
Once a formal investigation is commenced under the Administrative Resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will provide written notification of the investigation to the reporting party, and to the responding party at an appropriate time during the investigation. PLNU aims to complete all investigations within a sixty (60) calendar day time period, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the administrator with notice to the parties as appropriate.
If, during the preliminary inquiry or at any point during the formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator determines that there is no reasonable cause to believe that PLNU policy has been violated, the process will end unless the reporting party requests that the administrator makes an extraordinary determination to re-open the investigation. This decision lies in the sole discretion of the administrator.
4. Interim Responsive Measures
The Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator may provide interim responsive measures intended to address the short-term effects of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation, i.e., in order to endeavor to redress harm to the reporting party and the community and to prevent further violations.
These responsive measures may include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to counseling and health services
- Education to the community
- Altering the housing situation of the responding party (resident student or resident employee (or the reporting party, if desired))
- Altering work arrangements for student employees
- Providing Public Safety approved escorts
- Providing transportation accommodations
- Implementing contact limitations between the parties
- Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
PLNU may interim suspend a student, organization, or athletic team pending the completion of the ERP investigation and procedures, particularly when in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence on-campus of the responding party or the ongoing activity of a student organization or athletic team whose behavior is in question. In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student, or student leadership or athletic team leadership will be given the option to meet with the administrator or designee prior to such suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the suspension should not be implemented or continued. The administrator has sole discretion to implement, continue or stay an interim suspension and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim suspension under this policy will be grounds for expulsion.
During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to PLNU housing and/or the PLNU campus/facilities/events. As determined by the administrator, this restriction can include classes and/or all other PLNU activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the administrator, in consultation with Academic Affairs, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding party.
PLNU will use reasonable efforts to maintain as confidential any interim responsive measures, as appropriate under the circumstance, provided confidentiality does not impair PLNU’s ability to provide the interim responsive measures.
Once the decision is made to commence a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will promptly select one (1) of the ERP pool members to conduct the investigation as the sole investigator of the case. Investigations will be completed in a prompt manner, although some investigations may take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.
PLNU may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to weeks, as appropriate, to allow evidence collection) when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. PLNU will promptly resume its investigation and resolution processes once notified by law enforcement that the initial evidence collection process is complete. PLNU’s investigation and Administrative Resolution process will continue to proceed even though civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed and/or even if those charges have been dismissed or reduced.
All investigations will be thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair. Investigations entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.
The investigator will typically take the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in order):
- Determine the identity and contact information of the reporting party;
- Identify all policies allegedly violated;
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding party, who may be given notice prior to or at the time of the interview;
- Prepare the notice of allegation [charges] on the basis of the preliminary inquiry;
- Meet with the reporting party to finalize their statement, if necessary;
- If feasible under the circumstances, provide written notification to the parties prior to their interviews that they may have the assistance of an ERP pool member or other advisor/advocate of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the advisee;
- Provide reporting party and responding party with a written description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, and a description of the applicable procedures for the investigation;
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the reporting party and the responding party with a list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding;
- Allow each party the opportunity to suggest questions they wish the investigators to ask of the other party and witnesses.
- Provide parties with all relevant evidence to be used in rendering a determination and provide each with a full and fair opportunity to address that evidence prior to a finding being rendered;
- Complete the investigation promptly, except as otherwise noted above in certain circumstances;
- Provide regular updates to the reporting party throughout the investigation, and to the responding party, as appropriate; and
- Deliver in a written report to the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator a finding or findings, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether or not a PLNU policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred.
As further described in Section 7b below, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator or designee will review the investigator’s findings and report, will determine the appropriate remedies, sanctions or other responsive measures if the findings conclude that a PLNU policy is more likely than not to have occurred, and thereafter will deliver their final determination to the reporting and responding parties.
Witnesses may provide written statements in lieu of interviews during the investigation and may be interviewed remotely by phone, Skype (or similar technology), if they cannot be interviewed in person or if the investigators determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. Parties who elect not to participate in the investigation or to withhold information from the investigation do not have the ability to offer evidence later during the appeal if it could have been offered during the investigation. Failure to offer evidence prior to an appeal does not constitute grounds for appeal on the basis of new evidence.
No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings or other Equity Resolution Process proceedings.
Each party is allowed to have an advisor of their choice present with them for all ERP meetings and proceedings, from intake through to final determination. The parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their advisor as long as the advisor is eligible and available, and usually otherwise not involved in the resolution process, such as serving as a witness. The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them who is available and eligible. Witnesses cannot also serve as advisors. The parties may choose advisors from inside or outside the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator, will also offer to assign a trained ERP pool member to work as an advisor/advocate for any party, upon request. The parties may choose their advisor from the ERP pool, choose a non-trained advisor from outside the pool, if preferred, or proceed without an advisor.
The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity and in good faith. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.
All advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not address campus officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to speak. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the reporting party or the responding party during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the investigators or hearing panelists. The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf, without representation by their advisor. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees or in writing as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will determine, based on the relevant circumstances, whether the advisor may be reinstated or may be replaced by a different advisor.
The University expects that the parties will wish to share documentation related to the allegations with their advisors. The University provides a consent form that authorizes such sharing. The parties must complete this form before the University is able to share records with an advisor, though parties may share the information directly with their advisor if they wish. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. The University may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the University’s privacy expectations.
The University expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend University meetings when scheduled. The University does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The University will, however, make reasonable provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.
A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout.
The parties must advise the investigators of the identity of their advisor at least one (1) day before the date of their first meeting with investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The parties must provide timely notice to investigators if they change advisors at any time.
The investigation processwill be conducted in private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the process in accord with PLNU policy. While the contents of the investigation are private, the parties have discretion to share their own experiences if they so choose, and should discuss doing so with their advisors/advocates, keeping in mind the ramifications of publicly sharing such experiences.
a. Conflict Resolution
Conflict Resolution is often used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to the formal investigation process to resolve conflicts. The Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will finally determine if Conflict Resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue and the susceptibility of the conduct to Conflict Resolution. In a Conflict Resolution process, a trained administrator will facilitate a dialogue with the parties, either individually and/or together, to an effective resolution, if possible. Sanctions are not possible as the result of a Conflict Resolution process, though the parties may agree to appropriate remedies. The Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will keep records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the accord can result in appropriate responsive actions.
Conflict Resolution will not be the primary resolution mechanism used to address reports of violent behavior of any kind or in other cases of serious violations of PLNU policy, though it may be made available after a formal investigation is completed should the parties and the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator believe that it could be beneficial. Conflict Resolution will not be used in cases of sexual violence. It is not necessary to pursue Conflict Resolution first in order to pursue Administrative Resolution, and any party participating in Conflict Resolution can stop that process at any time and request a shift to Administrative Resolution.
b. Administrative Resolution
Administrative Resolution can be pursued for any behavior that falls within PLNU’s policies on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination, at any time during the process.
In Administrative Resolution, the Resolution Administrator (Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator, or designee) and the investigator have the authority to address all collateral misconduct, meaning that they will address all allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but also may address any additional alleged policy violations that may have occurred in relation to the reported discrimination, harassment or retaliation, even though those collateral issues may not specifically fall within PLNU’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination policies. Accordingly, investigations should be conducted with as wide a scope as necessary.
Administrative Resolution relies on the evidence, information and findings within the investigation report to render a determination. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will provide the Resolution Administrator with a written report summarizing the evidence gathered and examined, including an assessment of credibility of the parties and witnesses, an analysis of the information and the finding or findings of whether or not a PLNU policy is more likely than not to have occurred.. The Resolution Administrator will review the investigator’s findings and report, and based thereon, will determine the appropriate consequences, remedies or other responsive measures to be imposed, depending upon whether the investigator has found that a PLNU policy has more likely than not to have been violated. The Resolution Administrator will promptly thereafter deliver its final determination to the reporting and responding parties.
The responding party may choose to admit responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the investigation or Administrative Resolution process. If the responding party admits responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator will render a determination that the individual is in violation of PLNU policy.
Notification of the Resolution Administrator’s final determination will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person; mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official PLNU records; or emailed to the parties’ PLNU-issued email account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered. The final determination will specify the findings on each alleged policy violation, any consequences that may result which PLNU is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent that PLNU is permitted to share under state or federal law.
c. Factors and Consequences
Factors considered when determining a consequence/responsive action may include:
- The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
- An individual’s disciplinary history
- Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
- Any other information deemed relevant by the investigator and/or Resolution Administrator
- The need for consequences/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
- The need for consequences/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation
- The need to ameliorate the effects of the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation on the reporting party and the community
i. Student Consequences
The following are the usual consequences that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:
- Warning: A formal statement that the behavior was unacceptable and a warning that further infractions of any PLNU policy, procedure or directive will result in more severe consequences/responsive actions.
- Probation: A written reprimand for violation of the Code of Student Conduct, providing for more severe disciplinary consequences in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any PLNU policy, procedure or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be specified and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, non-contact orders and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
- Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years, and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure at PLNU.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status, revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or attend PLNU-sponsored events.
- Withholding Diploma: PLNU may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending, or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
- Organizational Consequences: Deactivation, derecognition, loss of some or all privileges (including University registration), for a specified period of time.
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above consequences, PLNU may assign any other consequences as deemed appropriate.
d. Withdrawal While Charges Pending
PLNU does not permit a student to withdraw from the university if that student has an allegation pending for violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination. Should a student decide to leave and/or not participate in the ERP, the process will nonetheless proceed in the student’s absence to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to PLNU unless all consequences/responsive measures have been satisfied. The student will not have access to an academic transcript until the allegations have been resolved.
All requests for appeal of the Resolution Administrator’s final determination must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator within three (3) days of the delivery of the final determination. Any party may appeal the final determination only under the limited grounds set forth below.
A two-member appeals panel chosen from the ERP pool will be designated by the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator from those who have not been involved in the process previously. Any party may appeal, but appeals are limited to the following grounds:
- A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
- To consider new evidence, which is demonstrated to have been unknown or unavailable during the original investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or consequence. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
- The consequences imposed fall outside the range of consequences PLNU has designated for this offense and the cumulative record of the responding party.
The appeals panel will review the appeal request(s). The original determination (finding(s) and consequence/responsive actions) will stand if the appeal is not timely or is not based on the grounds listed above. All appeals are conducted without a hearing and the decision on appeal is final.
The party requesting appeal must show that the grounds for an appeal request have been met, and the other party or parties may show the grounds have not been met, or that additional grounds are met. The original determination (finding(s) and consequences/responsive actions) are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. When any party requests an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 will share the appeal request with the other party(ies), who may file a response within three (3) days and/or bring their own appeal on separate grounds. If new grounds are raised, the original appealing party will be permitted to submit a written response to these new grounds within three (3) days. These response or appeal requests will be shared with each party.
Where the appeals panel finds that at least one of the grounds is met by at least one party, additional principles governing the appeal process will include the following:
- Decisions by the appeals panel are to be deferential to the original final determination, making changes to the final determination only where there is clear procedural error and/or to the consequences/responsive actions only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
- Appeals are not intended to be reconsiderations (de novo) of the underlying facts or allegations. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the investigation, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. An appeal is not an opportunity for appeals panelists to substitute their judgment for that of the original investigator or Resolution Administrator merely because they disagree with the findings and/or consequences/responsive actions in the final determination.
- Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the investigator for reconsideration. The investigator should then consider and evaluate the new evidence, and issue a revised report confirming the original findings or issuing new findings, both based on the investigator’s evaluation of the new evidence. The Resolution Administrator will thereafter review the investigator’s revised report and issue and deliver to the parties a revised final determination based on the investigator’s revised report. The results of a remand, including the Resolution Administrator’s revised final determination, cannot be further appealed.
- Consequences/responsive measures imposed as the result of Administrative Resolution are implemented immediately unless the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator or designee stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
- Note: Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, athletic competition, LoveWorks etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal.
- Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or consequence/responsive action is changed on appeal.
- In rare cases where a procedural error cannot be cured by the original investigator and/or Resolution Administrator (as in cases of bias), the appeals panel may recommend a new investigation and/or Administrative Resolution process, including a new Resolution Administrator. The results of a new Administrative Resolution process can be appealed, once, on any of the three applicable grounds for appeals.
- In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to PLNU or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the responding party to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may not be able to be recovered in the short term.
f. Long-Term Responsive Measures
Following the conclusion of the Equity Resolution Process and in addition to any consequences implemented, the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator may utilize long-term remedies or actions stop the harassment or discrimination, remedy its effects and prevent their reoccurrence. These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to counseling and health services
- Education to the community
- Permanently altering the housing situation of an the responding party (resident student or resident employee (or the reporting party, if desired))
- Permanently altering work arrangements for student employees
- Providing Department of Public Safety approved campus escorts
- Climate surveys
- Policy modification
- Providing transportation accommodations
- Implementing long-term contact limitations between the parties
- Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator long-term responsive measures may also be provided even when the responding party is found not to have violated PLNU policy.
PLNU will use reasonable efforts to maintain as confidential any long-term responsive measures, as appropriate under the circumstances, provided confidentiality does not impair PLNU’s ability to provide the long-term responsive measures.
g. Failure to Complete Consequences/Comply with Interim and Long-term Responsive Measures
All responding parties are expected to comply with conduct consequences and all responsive measures within the timeframe specified by the administrator. Failure to abide by these conduct consequences and responsive measures by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional consequences/responsive measures/corrective actions, suspension, and/or expulsion from PLNU and may be noted on a student’s official transcript. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator.
In implementing this policy, records of all allegations, investigations and resolutions will be kept by PLNU indefinitely.
9. Disabilities Accommodation in the Equity Resolution Process
PLNU is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the Equity Resolution Process at the PLNU. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Director of Disability Services, who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation, and the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation.
PLNU reserves the right to make changes to these policies and procedures as necessary and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. An administrator may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules, etc. The Title IX Coordinator, Chief Diversity Officer, or ADA/504 Coordinator may also vary procedures with notice (on the PLNU web site, with appropriate date of effect identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in these policies and procedures. Procedures in effect at the time of the resolution will apply to resolution of incidents, regardless of when the incident occurred. Policies in effect at the time of the offense will apply even if the policy is changed subsequently but prior to resolution, unless the parties consent to be bound by the current policy.
These policies and procedures were implemented in Fall 2017.
 The use of force in non-consensual sexual intercourse and contact-based incidents is not “worse” than the subjective experience of violation of someone who is a victim of sexual intercourse or sexual contact without consent. However, the use of physical force constitutes a stand-alone non-sexual offense as well. Meaning those who use physical force (restrict, battery, etc.) would potentially face not just the sexual misconduct allegation, but allegations under the code for the additional assaultive behavior.
 The California state definition of consent is (261.6) stating that In prosecutions under Section 261, 262, 286, 288a, or 289, in which consent is at issue, “consent” shall be defined to mean positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved. A current or previous dating or marital relationship shall not be
sufficient to constitute consent where consent is at issue in a prosecution under Section 261, 262, 286, 288a, or 289. Nothing in this section shall affect the admissibility of evidence or the burden of proof on the issue of consent., which is applicable to criminal prosecutions for sex offenses in California], but may differ from the definition used on campus to address policy violations. [Included for Clery/VAWA Sec. 304 compliance purposes]