Sexual Misconduct Policy

Introduction

Seattle Pacific University is committed to maintaining an environment free of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other forms of sexual misconduct. This Sexual Misconduct Policy is intended to educate students and provide an equitable means of recourse for those who believe they have been a victim of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a violation of University policy and may also be illegal. The University will promptly investigate and pursue the resolution of any complaint of sexual misconduct. The University reserves the right to respond with whatever measures it deems appropriate to prevent sexual misconduct and preserve the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.

For purposes of this Sexual Misconduct Policy, the term “sexual misconduct” means any unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature that is committed without consent or by force, intimidation, coercion, or manipulation. Sexual misconduct includes, but is not limited to, sexual harassment, gender-based harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking (for definitions of these terms that will be used in applying this policy, see Additional Definitions of Relevant Terms). Sexual misconduct can occur among persons of the same or different genders. Complaints of sex-based discrimination that do not involve sexual misconduct as defined above will be handled pursuant to the Nondiscrimination Complaint Procedures. Additional information about the University's compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which is a federal law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities, can be found on the University's Title IX website.

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What to Do if You Are a Victim of Sexual Misconduct

If you are a victim of sexual misconduct, then depending on the severity of the misconduct you should take some or all of the following actions:

  • Do not assume it is your fault: No one deserves to be mistreated. It is not your fault if someone else has abused or assaulted you. You have choices, and you can get help.
  • Seek safety: If you may still be in danger, get to a safe place as soon as you can and seek assistance (e.g., from campus security, local law enforcement, or your personal support network). Consider developing a personal safety plan, obtaining a campus protective order, and/or obtaining a court-issued protective order. The University’s Office of Safety and Security can assist with each of these items (call 206-281-2922). A campus protective order is a no-contact order that is issued and enforced by the University (e.g., through SPU disciplinary processes). A no-contact order, restraining order, or similar order that would be enforceable by the police and/or courts would need to be obtained from a court of law.
  • Obtain medical treatment: Get medical attention as soon as possible to treat any injuries, and document relevant evidence.
    • You can receive a sexual assault exam at the Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress: 206-744-1600. The Washington State Crime Victims Compensation Program (CVCP) will pay for the initial sexual assault exam by a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).
    • SPU Health Services is available Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. and 1–4:30 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 206-281-2231. Health Services can assist with most medical concerns, including pregnancy and STD testing following an assault.
  • Preserve evidence: Try to preserve all physical evidence.
    • In general, "evidence" is anything that can help prove that an incident of sexual misconduct occurred. Evidence can vary depending on the incident. For example, evidence of stalking may include emails, texts, or other examples of unwanted communications - in this case, be sure to keep copies of all such messages. For sexual assault, evidence may include blood, semen, hair, clothing, or other items that can help identify the perpetrator. A SANE exam (described above) can help you collect and preserve evidence.
    • It is important to preserve evidence to prove a criminal offense, press civil charges, or obtain a protective order. It is also important to preserve evidence for use in any formal sexual misconduct proceeding at the University.
    • The manner of preserving evidence will depend on the type of evidence. For example, it may take the form of saving copies of emails, taking screen shots of texts, taking photographs of bruises, or receiving a sexual assault exam.
    • Evidence is best collected right away, and at least within 120 hours of the incident. In the case of a sexual assault, it is best to collect evidence before you shower or bathe, wash your hands or clothing, change your clothing or bedding, use the toilet, or even eat or drink. Even if you do not think you would like to pursue a criminal case now, you can have the evidence collected anonymously so you can decide later whether filing a report with police is right for you.
  • Report the incident to the University: Any student, employee, or visitor who believes he or she has been the victim of sexual misconduct is encouraged to report the behavior immediately to one of these Sexual Misconduct Report Receivers:
    • Susan Okamoto Lane, Dean of Multi-ethnic and Wellness Programs, 206-281-2598.
    • Charles Strawn, Dean of Students for Community Life, 206-281-2845
    • Gabriel Jacobsen, Director of Residence Life, 206-281-2067.
    • Gary Womelsduff, Title IX Coordinator / Director of Human Resources, 206-281-2678.
    • Cheryl Michaels, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students/Associate Director of Safety and Security, 206-281-2625.
    • Nicole Custer, Associate Director of Human Resources, 206-281-2676
    • Residence Life Coordinators and Area Coordinators.

However, no one is required to disclose to University officials if he or she has been a victim of sexual misconduct. 

While University officials will seek to protect the privacy of victims as far as reasonably possible in the circumstances, individuals wishing to report an incident of sexual misconduct should note that complete confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. Pursuant to federal law, all University employees (other than pastoral counselors, professional counselors, Health Center staff, and student employees) are required to report information disclosed to them about sexual misconduct to University administrators. If you would like to learn about confidential resources on and off campus, you can ask a Sexual Misconduct Report Receiver but do not share specific information about any incident you wish to keep private. You can also speak with on-campus mental health counselors at the Student Counseling Center, or off-campus rape crisis resources (together, "Confidential Reporters"). However, if there is an imminent concern for a person's health or safety, even these individuals may be required to disclose information. If the University provides accommodations or protective measures to a victim, the University will seek to keep such accommodations and measures confidential to the extent reasonably possible and to the extent such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the accommodations or measures.

Reported incidents of sexual misconduct will generally be reflected in aggregate statistics prepared and published for purposes of the University's compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. However, these statistics do not contain personally identifying information. Aside from Clery Act disclosure requirements, University data about sexual misconduct generally is not subject to public recordkeeping requirements because the University is a private organization.

Students who are victims of sexual misconduct and report such incidents to the University will not be disciplined by the University for any violation of the University’s drug or alcohol possession or consumption policies in which they have engaged in connection with the reported incident, or for any violation of the University’s Student Standards of Conduct prohibiting consensual sexual activity by unmarried students. The University may require educational options, rather than disciplinary sanctions, in such cases.

  • Notify law enforcement: You have the option to notify law enforcement authorities. The phone number for the Seattle Police Department (SPD) is 911, and the emergency number for the University’s Office of Safety and Security is 206-281-2911. If you decide to make a report with SPD, the Office of Safety and Security can assist you through that process if you so choose. You may also decline to notify law enforcement authorities.
  • If you think someone may be stalking you:
    • Look for signs that indicate stalking behavior.
    • Most stalking does not end on its own. Early intervention is critical, and recognizing stalking behavior is the first step.
    • Clearly state to the stalker that you are not interested in the attention of the stalker and that you want the behavior to stop.
    • Create a log of stalking incidents, including date, time, location, and description of each event.
    • Seek support from the University’s Office of Safety and Security in doing some or all of the actions listed above.

Seek support on-campus and off-campus: Find someone you can safely talk to about the situation. Develop a network of support, such as friends and family. Also, utilize on-campus and off-campus resources, such as the following:

  • On-campus resources:
    • Office of Safety and Security: 206-281-2911 (for safety, security, and transportation).
    • Student Counseling Center: 206-281-2657 (for counseling and mental health).
    • Student Health Services: 206-281-2231 (for medical and health care). 
    • Office of Student Life: 206-281-2481 (for guidance about academics and on-campus housing).
    • Human Resources: 206-281-3809 (for faculty/staff employment).
    • Student Financial Services: 206-281-2061 (for financial aid and student employment).
    • Office of International Student Records: 206-281-2550 (for visa/immigration)
  • Off-campus resources:
    • King County Sexual Assault 24-Hour Resource Center: 888-998-6423, www.kcsarc.org. KCSARC can assist with crisis response, advocacy, legal advocacy, and other support.
    • Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 800-656-HOPE, rainn.org.
    • Harborview Center for Sexual Assault & Traumatic Stress: 206-744-1600, depts.washington.edu/hcsats.
    • YWCA Sexual Violence Legal Services: 206-832-3632, www.svlawcenter.org. SVLS provides free legal representation for survivors who live in Washington State, as well as consulting for survivors, attorneys, and rape crisis center advocates. Sexual assault survivors can call the anonymous, confidential hotline for legal information and referrals. 
    • Dove House: Dove House Advocacy Services offers a variety of services to those who are currently experiencing or have ever experienced domestic violence, sexual assault or general crime. 360-385-5292. See the website for details: www.dovehousejc.org.

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What to Do if You Observe or Suspect Sexual Misconduct

All students are encouraged to participate in helping the University be free from sexual misconduct. If you are a student and another student tells you that he or she was the victim of sexual misconduct while at the University, you should strongly encourage the victim to speak with one of the Sexual Misconduct Report Receivers (listed above) or consider personally reporting the incident to a sexual misconduct report receiver if the victim is reluctant to do so.

As noted above, most University employees have an obligation to report incidents of sexual misconduct to University administrators. University employees who have questions about these reporting responsibilities should consult the University's Title IX website.

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The University’s Procedures for Responding to Sexual Misconduct

Purpose, Scope, and Timing

Purpose:

  • The University’s procedures for responding to notification of sexual misconduct are intended to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The University's procedures for institutional disciplinary action in cases of sexual misconduct are intended to include a prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial investigation to the final result.
  • Generally, the University will need to investigate reports of sexual misconduct to determine what occurred and take appropriate steps to resolve the situation, even if a victim does not wish to make a formal complaint, and even if there is an investigation by the police and/or by the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights.

Scope:

  • If an incident involves both an alleged incident of sexual misconduct and other alleged violations that would normally be handled through the Student Accountability Process, then the Title IX Coordinator, the director of Residence Life, and the dean of students for community life will decide which of the two processes will apply to each of the violations, in order that the purposes of both procedures may be fulfilled. Generally, the Student Accountability Process will not be used if both the accused and the victim are SPU students and are participating in the process.
  • This procedure applies to incidents of sexual misconduct alleged to have been committed by SPU students. Visitors to the University’s campus may also report incidents that occur on campus and involve University students or employees. Reports may be made by students for events occurring off-campus as well as on-campus. For incidents of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence, or dating violence alleged to have been committed by SPU employees, see the Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure in the Employee Handbook. The existence of this procedure is not a guarantee of ongoing employment, and the University reserves the right to take any permitted employment action it deems appropriate. For purposes of this policy, a student employee will be treated as a student and not an employee, unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that there are compelling reasons for different treatment.

Timing:

  • If a particular stage of a procedure in this policy is required to be completed within a prescribed number of days, then the day that includes the event that starts the time period will not be counted, but the last day of the time period will be counted. Any action required by the end of any time period must be completed by the close of business on the last day of the period.
  • Time periods prescribed in this policy may be lengthened in a particular case by the Title IX Coordinator if he or she determines that there is adequate cause for allowing additional time and that an extension will not have a material negative effect on the purposes of this policy. A request for an extension from a party that is received after the applicable deadline has passed generally will not be granted. 
  • The timing of initiating any formal action will be determined by balancing sensitivity to requests for confidentiality from victims with concern for campus safety, as required by Title IX.

Parties Involved in the Procedure

Discloser/Accused, Complainant/Respondent:

  • The term “discloser” means a person who discloses that he or she has been a victim of sexual misconduct, and the term “accused” means the person(s) identified by the discloser as having committed sexual misconduct.
  • The term “complainant” means a person who has made a formal, written complaint to the University alleging sexual misconduct, and the term “respondent” means a person identified by the complainant as having committed sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students may also be a complainant (even if not a victim) if he or she believes in good faith that an incident of sexual misconduct may have occurred, and the procedures below will be interpreted and applied accordingly.

Title IX Coordinator and Investigators:

  • The Title IX Coordinator may delegate certain of his or her responsibilities under this policy to other University officials if the Title IX Coordinator determines that it is reasonable and consistent with the purposes of this policy. The Title IX Coordinator has the authority to interpret any ambiguity in this policy. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that a person who has responsibilities under this policy has a conflict of interest in a particular matter, then the Title IX Coordinator has the authority to replace such person with another University official for such matter (if the Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest, then the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students may substitute for the Title IX Coordinator).
  • Investigators will be selected from University officials who have been trained to perform the responsibilities described in this policy.
  • The University's proceedings will be conducted by officials who, at a minimum, receive annual training on the issues related to sexual misconduct and on how to conduct an investigation and process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

Advisors and Attorneys:

  • Complainants and respondents may each have an advisor of their choosing as they go through the formal complaint process. The advisor’s role is to provide support and to give advice. An advisor may accompany the party that he or she advises to such party's proceedings. This policy does not limit the choice of advisor or their presence for the accuser or accused in any meeting or institutional proceedings. However, during a proceeding the advisor may only speak to the party he or she advises and may not interrupt or interfere with the process. If an advisor does not follow the restrictions in this paragraph, the advisor may be required to leave the proceeding (in which case the applicable party may select a different advisor). The restrictions on advisors apply equally to both parties.
  • The University recognizes that the parties may consult with legal counsel concerning their situations. However, written statements (including any appeal) must be submitted by the student who is a party to the complaint procedure. 

Principles and Protections

FERPA: FERPA generally prohibits nonconsensual disclosure of personally identifiable information from a student's education record. However, FERPA permits the University to disclose certain information in connection with sexual misconduct proceedings, and the University may make use of such exceptions.

Confidentiality: University officials will seek to protect (as reasonably possible in the circumstances) the privacy of the discloser and the accused. However, the University cannot guarantee the anonymity of an individual making an informal report or a formal complaint. The University may disclose information provided by a discloser, an accused, or others in order to comply with legal requirements, promote the safety of students and employees, or perform a process described in this policy. The University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond consistent with any request for confidentiality from an accused, including when implementing any accommodation or protective measure. As noted above, most regular University employees are obligated to report incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or another Sexual Misconduct Report Receiver, and a victim should speak with a Confidential Reporter (as defined above) if he or she wants the details of an incident to be kept private.

Retaliation: The University strictly prohibits any retaliation against any person who files a complaint or otherwise participates in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. This includes retaliation against anyone who makes a report or files a complaint about a violation of the sexual misconduct policy, who expresses an intent to make such a report or complaint, or who testifies as a witness or otherwise provides information as part of an investigation or proceeding (whether formal or informal). Retaliation can be any type of adverse or negative action taken toward a person who filed a complaint or otherwise participated in an investigation or proceeding (however, an adverse action would not be retaliatory if it was taken for some other justifiable reason). Examples of retaliation can include intimidation, coercion, harassment, threats, acts of violence, acts intended to embarrass another person, unjustified negative grades, or taking any other action that is likely to dissuade a person from making a complaint in the future. Any student who commits retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from the University. Any person who believes he or she has been retaliated against should contact one of the Sexual Misconduct Report Receivers or investigators. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, in their discretion, will either (a) arrange for an investigation into the alleged retaliation, after which the applicable decision-maker will make a determination applying a preponderance of the evidence standard, or (b) coordinate with the Dean of Students for Community Life to have the alleged retaliation addressed through the Student Accountability Process (assuming the person accused of retaliation is a student).

False Statements: The University may take disciplinary action in cases where individuals knowingly provide false information.

Initial Response: Notification, Support, and Safety

Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct, the University’s initial response will consist of notifying the appropriate University officials, providing information and support to alleged victims of sexual misconduct, and taking steps to promote the safety of the campus.

Notifying University Officials:

  • The University employee who received the report of sexual misconduct should notify the Title IX Coordinator or a Sexual Misconduct Report Receiver of the incident if the employee is a Title IX mandatory reporter.
  • Other University officials may also be notified by the Title IX Coordinator or other officials administering this policy as needed to accomplish the purposes of this policy.
  • Reports of sexual misconduct will also be shared with the Office of Safety and Security, which will evaluate the risk presented to campus safety, determine whether local law enforcement needs to be notified, and incorporate the information into federally required campus crime records and aggregate statistics (i.e., without personal information).  

Providing Disclosers with Information and Support:

A University official (either one of the Sexual Misconduct Report Receivers or another person designated by the Title IX Coordinator) will meet with the discloser to discuss and/or provide written information about the following processes and possible protective measures:

  • Resources: The University official will provide the discloser with written notification of existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa/immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services for victims on and off campus.
  • Interim measures: The University official will provide written notification to victims about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures, if such accommodations are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus security or local law enforcement. Accommodations and measures can help support the victim and provide separation from the accused. Victims may also contact on-campus resources directly (see list above). 
  • University complaint process: The University official will interview the discloser and obtain a written statement. The University official will explain to the discloser the options to pursue informal or formal action under the University Sexual Misconduct Policy. If the discloser decides to pursue a formal complaint process, the discloser will be asked to submit a written complaint. The University may need to pursue an investigation even if the discloser does not want an investigation. The discloser will be notified if the University decides to make its own investigation.
  • Reporting to law enforcement: The University official will notify the discloser of the right to file a criminal complaint and that the Office of Safety and Security is available to assist in such process.
  • Confidentiality: The University official will tell the discloser that the ability to maintain confidentiality and not disclose identifying information may be limited, the University will protect the discloser's confidentiality as much as reasonably possible but can't ensure complete confidentiality, and restrictions to promote confidentiality may limit the investigation.
  • Retaliation: The University official will tell the discloser that federal law and school policy prohibit retaliation, that school officials will take steps to prevent retaliation and take strong responsive action if it occurs, and that the discloser should report any incidents of retaliation.

The University official will provide a disclosing victim with written explanation of the rights and options described above (whether the offense occurred on or off campus), as well as the information listed above under "What to do if you are a victim of Sexual Misconduct," which may involve directing the discloser to the website where such rights and options are described.

 Promoting Campus Safety:

University officials will determine whether the information provided about alleged sexual misconduct presents an ongoing threat. The University may determine it is necessary to issue a warning to the campus community about potential dangers, but will protect the confidentiality of the discloser as far as reasonably possible. If there is evidence that an accused’s continued presence may constitute a threat to others or to the continuance of normal University operations, interim suspension, eviction, and/or other restrictions may be imposed immediately and without prior notice.

Preliminary Screening of Information

Upon notification of alleged sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students will initiate a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is reasonable cause to support an investigation of the accused and, if so, what policy violations should be investigated.

If the preliminary inquiry does not yield enough evidence to require an investigation, the discloser will be notified and the matter will be closed. If there is evidence to support the allegation, the Title IX Coordinator will assign one or more investigators to conduct a formal investigation or, if requested by the discloser and agreed to by the Title IX Coordinator, an informal process.

Option of Informal Process

If a discloser has requested an informal process and the Title IX Coordinator agrees, then the accused will be notified of the invitation to participate in an informal process. Informal processes (such as mediation) are permissible in certain cases, but not for severe cases of sexual misconduct. For example, mediation, even on a voluntary basis, is not appropriate in cases of allegations of sexual assault. At any point during the informal process, the discloser, the accused, an investigator or the Title IX Coordinator may terminate the informal process, and a formal process may be initiated.

Formal Process

Formal Complaint Procedure: Investigation

  • If at any time a decision is made to initiate a formal complaint procedure, then the investigator(s) and Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students will develop the formal investigation strategy and outline a proposed timeline not to exceed 60 days.
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, or assigned investigator(s) will obtain a written complaint (if one has not yet been obtained) from the complainant and present it to the respondent. The investigator(s) may interview the respondent both before and after providing the respondent with a copy of the written complaint. The respondent must provide a written response to the investigators within five business days of receipt of the written complaint. Respondents may choose not to participate in the investigation; however, the investigation will proceed and the finding will be based on the available evidence.
  • If appropriate, additional investigation will be conducted by the investigator(s), and may include personal interviews and research. The complainant and the respondent are entitled to an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence, to have others present during any institutional disciplinary proceeding (which typically will only mean the opportunity to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice), and to receive periodic status updates. However, the results of any polygraph or similar test will not be allowed as evidence from either party in the formal complaint process.
  • If the complainant or respondent believes that someone should be interviewed by the investigators, then the complainant or respondent should identify the name and contact information of such person in writing to the investigators. However, the individual(s) identified may choose not to be interviewed, and the investigators may determine it is not necessary to interview all persons identified by the complainant and respondent.
  • If additional complaints are obtained during a formal investigation, the original complaint may be supplemented and the new information may be evaluated by the investigator(s), provided that the respondent will be presented with a copy or summary of such written complaints and allowed one week to provide the investigator(s) with a written response.

Formal Complaint Procedure: Decision

  • The investigator(s) will prepare a report for the decision-maker that describes relevant information obtained during the investigation. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the complainant and respondent may be provided with a copy of the report and an opportunity to respond to it prior to the decision-maker making a decision.
  • The decision-maker will make a decision using a preponderance of the evidence standard (that is, whether a finding is more likely than not).
  • Unless otherwise determined by the Title IX Coordinator: (1) if the respondent is a residential student, then the report will be evaluated by the director of residence life, who will then make a decision; and (2) if the respondent is not a residential student, then the report will be evaluated by the dean of students for community life, who will then make a decision. The Title IX Coordinator may appoint a decision-maker that is different from the decision-maker listed in the preceding sentence if the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate and consistent with the purposes of this policy. For purposes of this policy, the Provost will be considered an area vice president for any employee not supervised by any other area vice president. The decision-maker is not bound by any recommendation contained in the report. The decision-maker may also require additional investigation by the investigators before making a decision. The Title IX Coordinator should be consulted before a decision is made, and should be promptly notified of the decision. The decision-maker may, at his or her sole discretion, ask to meet with the complainant and respondent prior to making a decision, so long as each party is given the same opportunity (if any) to meet with the decision-maker and the meetings are held separately.
  • The type and degree of any corrective action will depend on the circumstances of each situation. Conduct history may be taken into account. Failure to fulfill the terms of corrective action may result in additional and more severe corrective action. The types of corrective action that may be implemented include, but are not limited to: (1) a warning, (2) a written reprimand, (3) disciplinary probation, (4) suspension (termination of housing and/or student status for a specified period of time and with specific conditions), (5) dismissal (termination of housing and/or student status), (6) termination of employment, (7) attending counseling, (8) paying restitution or fines, (9) performing community service, (10) transferring to a different residence hall or housing unit, (11) being excluded from areas on campus, (12) being restrained from contact with specific individuals or organizations; and/or (13) participation in an educational activity.
  • Both parties will be notified of the decision separately. Both the complainant and the respondent will be simultaneously informed, in writing, of: (A) the outcome of any proceeding that arises from an allegation of sexual misconduct; (B) the University’s procedures for the complainant and respondent to appeal the results of the proceeding, if available; (C) any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that such results become final; and (D) when such results become final. A written decision should include a statement of rationale for the decision and sanctions, if applicable.
  • In the case where the respondent is a student or the complainant is a student, the dean of students for community life, the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the director of Residence Life, the director of Student Programs, or an investigator will be available to meet with the respondent and/or complainant (whichever was a student) separately to go over the decision.

Formal Complaint Procedure: Appeals

  • Either party may appeal the decision by filing a written notice of intent to appeal with the Title IX Coordinator. Unless otherwise stated in the written decision, the notice of intent to appeal must be received by the Title IX Coordinator within two calendar days after the earliest of when the party is sent the decision by mail, email, or hand-delivery. The notice of intent to appeal must include a description of the reason for appeal. 
  • The reasons for appeal may only be
    • new evidence not available at the time of the investigation that would likely alter the outcome,
    • procedural error(s) or unfairness that would likely alter the outcome, or
    • the sanctions imposed are not appropriate to the violation(s).
  • An appealing party may also request access to an "appeal file" in the notice of intent to appeal. If requested, the appeal file will be made available to both parties.
  • The appeal file includes the following documents, if they directly relate to the issue being appealed: (1) the complaint; (2) the response; (3) copies of witness statements; (4) the notice of investigation; (5) the no-contact directive; and (6) the decision. Provision of any other documents or records is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. 
  • The deadline for the written appeal is (a) within seven calendar days of the date that the appeal file is made available to the appealing party (e.g., by mail, email, or hand-delivery), or (b) within seven calendar days of the date of the decision, if the appeal file is not made available to the appealing party.
  • The investigator(s) or Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the appeal to the other party (i.e., the complainant or respondent), and the other party may file a written response to the appeal by the earliest of seven calendar days after the appeal is sent by mail, email, or hand delivery to the other party.
  • Corrective action will begin to take effect two calendar days after a decision has been sent to the parties (i.e., after the opportunity to file a notice of intent to appeal has passed), unless a different time is stated in the decision. If a party files a notice of intent to appeal, the party may request in the notice of intent to appeal that the corrective action not begin to take effect until the appeal has concluded, and the Title IX Coordinator will decide whether to allow some or all of the corrective action to be suspended pending the resolution of the appeal.
  • Unless otherwise determined by the Title IX Coordinator, in cases where the respondent is not an employee: (1) if the decision-maker was the director of residence life, then the reviewer of the appeal will be the dean of students for community life; and (2) if the decision-maker was someone other than the director of residence life, then the reviewer of the appeal will be the vice president for student life. The Title IX Coordinator may appoint a reviewer of the appeal that is different from the reviewer of the appeal listed in the preceding sentence if the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate and consistent with the purposes of this policy. The reviewer of the appeal will make a decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal (or, if later, within one week of receiving the other party’s response to the appeal). The reviewer of the appeal may, at his or her sole discretion, ask to meet with the complainant and respondent prior to making a decision, so long as each party is given the same opportunity (if any) to meet with the reviewer of the appeal and the meetings are held separately.
  • The reviewer of the appeal may either affirm the decision completely, affirm a finding as to the existence of a policy violation but modify the prescribed corrective action, remand the case for additional fact-finding and consideration by the investigator, require a new formal investigation with new investigator(s), or reverse the decision. If the reviewer does not call for further action by the investigator(s), then the decision of the reviewer will be final, and no more appeals will be permitted. A written decision should include a statement of rationale for the decision and sanctions, if applicable.

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Additional Definitions of Relevant Terms

For purposes of this Sexual Misconduct Policy, the following terms have the definitions stated below.

Consent: Consent means freely and affirmatively communicated willingness to participate in sexual activity, expressed by clear, unambiguous words or actions. It is the responsibility of the initiator of the sexual activity to ensure that she or he has the other person’s consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be present throughout the sexual activity by all parties involved. At any time, a participant can communicate that she or he no longer consents to continuing the activity. Consent may never be obtained through the use of force, coercion, or intimidation or if the victim is mentally or physically disabled or incapacitated, including through the use of drugs or alcohol. Individuals cannot assume consent because of the existence of a previous dating or sexual relationship. The use of alcohol or drugs does not diminish a person’s responsibility to obtain consent for sexual activity. (This definition of consent is not meant to condone sexual activity that is in violation of the University’s Student Standards of Conduct, but is included in order to define other terms in this policy).

Dating violence: 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. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, acts that constitute dating violence for purposes of Clery Act crime statistics (see the section title "Definitions of Reportable Crimes" in the University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report).

Domestic violence: Domestic violence means violence committed within a domestic relationship (e.g., between current or former spouses, or between cohabitants). Domestic violence includes, but is not limited to, acts that constitute domestic violence under Washington state criminal law or for purposes of Clery Act crime statistics (see section titled "Definitions of Reportable Crimes" in the University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report).

Gender-based harassment: Gender-based harassment is harassment based on notions of what is female/feminine versus male/masculine but that does not constitute sexual harassment.

Sex-based discrimination: Sex-based discrimination means excluding a person from participation in, denying a person the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting a person to discrimination under any University education program or activity, in each case on the basis of sex.

Sexual assault: Sexual assault means an actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:

  • Sexual intercourse without consent;
  • Intentional and unwelcome touching of a person's intimate parts (defined as genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast), or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force someone to touch another person’s intimate parts;
  • Acts that constitute rape, rape of a child, or indecent liberties under Washington State law;
  • Acts that constitute sexual assault for the purposes of Clery Act crime statistics (see the section titled "Definitions of Reportable Crimes" in the University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report); and
  • Non-stranger rape (also known as "acquaintance rape," i.e., rape by a person known to the victim), statutory rape, or any other kind of rape. 

Sexual exploitation: Sexual exploitation means abusing (or attempting to abuse) a position of vulnerability or trust for sexual purposes. Examples include, but are not limited to, non-consensual recording (video, audio, or otherwise) and/or distribution of sexual activity or of another person’s intimate body parts, or engaging in or facilitating voyeurism.

Sexual harassment: Sexual harassment is any unwelcome verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive such that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives someone of the ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs or employment opportunities.

Stalking: Stalking means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (a) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others, or (b) suffer substantial emotional distress. Stalking behavior can include: (i) persistent, unwanted communications to the victim by phone, email, and/or other social media; (ii) repeatedly sending the victim unwanted gifts; (iii) following or waiting for the victim at home, school, work, or elsewhere; and (iv) direct or indirect threat(s) by the stalker to harm herself or himself, the victim, or the victim’s friends and family, or to damage the victim’s property. Stalking includes, but is not limited to, acts that constitute stalking under Washington state law or for purposes of Clery Act  (see the section titled "definitions of Reportable Crimes" in the University's Annual Security and Fire Safety Report).

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Last published on 10/1/2018