The Sexual Misconduct Grievance Process is applicable when the Title IX Coordinator determines the Sexual Harassment Grievance Process is inapplicable, or offenses subject to the Sexual Harassment Grievance Process have been dismissed.  If the Sexual Harassment Grievance Process is applicable, it must be applied in lieu of the Sexual Misconduct Grievance Process.

LLU will act on any formal or informal allegation or notice of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Non-discrimination that is received by the Title IX Coordinator or an Official with Authority. The procedures described below apply to all allegations of harassment or discrimination on the basis of sex involving students, staff, faculty members, or third parties.

These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct.  All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by this policy will be addressed through the procedures elaborated in the respective student and faculty handbooks.

 

A. Initial Assessment

Following intake, receipt of notice, or a complaint of an alleged violation of LLU’s non-discrimination Policy, the Title IX Coordinator engages in an initial assessment, which is typically one to five business days in duration. The steps in an initial assessment can include:

  • The Title IX Coordinator reaches out to the Complainant to offer supportive measures.
  • The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure they have an Advisor.
  • The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to determine whether the Complainant prefers a supportive response or an Administrative Resolution.
    • If a supportive and remedial response is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to identify their wishes and then seeks to facilitate implementation. The Administrative Resolution process is not initiated, though the Complainant can elect to initiate it later, if desired.
    • If an Informal Resolution option is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator assesses whether the complaint is suitable for informal resolution and may seek to determine if the Respondent is also willing to engage in Informal Resolution.
    • If Administrative Resolution is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator initiates the investigation process.

Based on the initial assessment, the University will initiate one of two responses:

  • Informal Resolution – typically used for less serious offenses and only when all parties agree to Alternate Resolution, or when the Respondent is willing to accept responsibility for violating policy.
  • Administrative Resolution – investigation of policy violation(s) and recommended finding, subject to a finding by the Title IX Coordinator and sanctions by the Dean of the applicable school, with an opportunity to appeal.

The investigation and the subsequent Administrative Resolution determine whether the nondiscrimination policy has been violated. If so, LLU will promptly implement effective remedies designed to end the discrimination, prevent recurrence, and address the effects.

The process followed considers the preference of the parties but is ultimately determined at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. At any point during the initial assessment or formal investigation, if the Title IX Coordinator determines that reasonable cause does not support the conclusion that policy has been violated, the process will end, and the parties will be notified.

The Complainant may request that the Title IX Coordinator review the reasonable cause determination and/or re-open the investigation but the decision lies in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

B. Resolution Process Pool

The resolution processes rely on a pool of officials (“Pool”) to carry out the process.

  • To act as optional process Advisors to the parties
  • To facilitate Informal Resolution
  • To serve on an Appeal Panel

Pool members receive annual training organized by the Title IX Coordinator, including a review of LLU’s 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. 

The Pool members receive annual training. This training includes, but is not limited to:

  • The scope of LLU’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures
  • How to conduct hearings that protect the safety of Complainants and Respondents, and promote accountability
  • Implicit bias
  • Disparate treatment and impact
  • Reporting, confidentiality, and privacy requirements
  • Applicable laws, regulations, and federal regulatory guidance
  • How to uphold fairness, equity, and due process
  • How to weigh evidence
  • How to conduct questioning
  • How to assess credibility
  • Impartiality and objectivity
  • How to render findings and generate clear, concise, evidence-based rationales
  • The definitions of all offenses
  • How to apply definitions used by the University with respect to consent (or the absence or negation of consent) consistently, impartially, and in accordance with policy
  • How to conduct the grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes
  • How to serve impartially by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
  • Any technology to be used at a live hearing
  • Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
  • How to determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment and/or retaliation allegations
  • Recordkeeping

Specific training is also provided to the investigators and Title IX Coordinator. The materials used to train all members of the Pool are publicly posted.

C. Counterclaims

Counterclaims by the Respondent may be made in good faith but are also sometimes made for purposes of retaliation. LLU is obligated to ensure that any process is not abused for retaliatory purposes.

LLU permits the filing of counterclaims, but uses the initial assessment, described above in the Policy section, to assess whether the allegations are made in good faith. If they are, the allegations will be processed using the resolution procedures below, typically after resolution of the underlying allegation.

A delay in the processing of counterclaims is permitted, accordingly. Occasionally, allegations and counterclaims can be resolved through the same investigation, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory, and may constitute a violation of this Policy.

D. Advisors

Each party may choose an Advisor[1] who is eligible and available[2] to accompany them throughout the process. The Advisor should not be someone who is also a witness in the process. A party may elect to change Advisors during the process and is not obligated to use the same Advisor throughout.

LLU generally expects an Advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend University meetings when planned, but may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend, if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay.  LLU may also make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.

Parties whose Advisors are disruptive or who do not abide by LLU policies and procedures may face the loss of that Advisor and/or possible Policy violations. Advisors are expected to consult with their advisees without disrupting meetings or interviews. Advisors do not represent parties in the process; their role is only to advise.

The parties are expected to inform the Investigators of the identity of their Advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with the Investigator(s) (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired). The parties are expected to provide timely notice to the Investigator(s) and/or the Title IX Coordinator if they change Advisors at any time.


[1] This could include an attorney, advocate, or support person. Witnesses are not entitled to Advisors within the process, though they can be advised externally.

[2] “Available” means the party cannot insist on an Advisor who simply doesn’t have inclination, time, or availability. Also, the Advisor cannot have institutionally conflicting roles, such as being a Title IX administrator who has an active role in the matter, or a supervisor who must monitor and implement sanctions.

E. Confidentiality

Grievance proceedings are private. All persons participating in the grievance process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accordance with LLU policy. Although there is an expectation of privacy around what Investigators share with parties during interviews, the parties have discretion to share their own knowledge and evidence with others if they so choose, with the exception of information the parties agree not to disclose related to Informal Resolution, discussed below. LLU encourages parties to discuss any sharing of information with their Advisors before doing so.

G. Informal Resolution

Informal Resolution is applicable when the parties voluntarily agree to resolve the matter through Alternate Resolution or when the Respondent accepts responsibility for violating Policy.

It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue Administrative Resolution, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and request the Administrative Resolution process. Further, if an Informal Resolution fails after the fact, Administrative Resolution may be pursued.

a. Alternate Resolution

Alternate Resolution is an informal process, such as mediation or restorative practices, by which a mutually agreed upon resolution of an allegation is reached. It may be used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to the Administrative Resolution process (described below) to resolve conflicts. The parties must consent to the use of Alternate Resolution.

The Title IX Coordinator determines if Alternate Resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue, and the susceptibility of the conduct to Alternate Resolution. The Title IX Coordinator maintains records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution can result in appropriate enforcement actions.

Alternate Resolution is not typically the primary resolution mechanism used to address reports of violent behavior of any kind or in other cases of serious violations of policy. The results of Alternate Resolution are not appealable.

b. Respondent Accepts Responsibility for Alleged Violations

The Respondent may accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the Respondent accepts responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator makes a determination that the individual is in violation of LLU Policy.

The Title IX Coordinator, with the applicable Dean, then determines appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; prevent its recurrence; and remedy the effects of the conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.

If the Respondent accepts responsibility for all of the alleged policy violations and the Title IX Coordinator or designee has determined appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented, the process is over. The Complainant will be informed of this outcome.

If the Respondent accepts responsibility for some of the alleged policy violations and the Title IX Coordinator has determined appropriate sanction(s) or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented, for those violations, then the remaining allegations will continue to be investigated and resolved. The Complainant will be informed of this outcome. The parties are still able to seek Alternate Resolution on the remaining allegations, subject to the stipulations above.

H. Administrative Resolution

Administrative Resolution can be pursued for any behavior for which the Respondent has not accepted responsibility that constitutes conduct covered by this Policy at any time during the process. Administrative Resolution starts with a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation.

If Administrative Resolution is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notification of the investigation to the parties at an appropriate time during the investigation. Advanced notice facilitates the parties’ ability to identify and choose an Advisor, if any, to accompany them to the interview.

Notification will include a meaningful summary of the allegations, 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 LLU records, or emailed to the parties’ LLU-issued or designated email account. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered. The notification should include the policies allegedly violated, if known at the time. Alternatively, the policies allegedly violated can be provided at a later date, in writing, as the investigation progresses, and details become clearer.

LLU aims to complete all investigations within a sixty (60) business day time period, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator, with notice to the parties as appropriate.

Once the decision is made to commence an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator may appoint an investigator to conduct the investigation, usually within two (2) days of determining that an investigation should proceed. The Title IX Coordinator will vet the assigned Investigator(s) to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no conflicts of interest or disqualifying bias. The Title IX Coordinator may also conduct the investigation

The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another Investigator will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the bias or conflict relates to the Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with the Title IX Officer.

Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within 20-25 business days, though some investigations take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.

LLU will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.

LLU’s action(s) are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.

Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available, relevant evidence, and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary. All parties have a full and fair opportunity, though the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence, and to fully review and respond to all evidence, on the record.

I. Investigation

The Investigators typically take the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in this order):

  • Determine the identity and contact information of the Complainant
  • In coordination with campus partners (e.g., the Title IX Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary supportive measures
  • Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct
  • Assist the Title IX Coordinator with conducting an initial assessment to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the Respondent has violated policy
  • If there is insufficient evidence to support reasonable cause, the process is closed with no further action
  • Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all parties and witnesses
  • Meet with the Complainant to finalize their statement, if necessary
  • Prepare the initial Notice of Investigation and Allegation (NOIA) on the basis of the initial assessment. Notice may be one step or multiple steps, depending on how the investigation unfolds, and potential policy violations may be added or dropped as more is learned. Investigators will update the NOIA accordingly and provide it to the parties.
  • Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of a Pool member as a member as a process Advisor appointed by the University or other Advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the advisee
  • When formal notice is being given, it should provide the parties with a written description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result
  • Give an instruction to the parties to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations
  • Provide the parties and witnesses with an opportunity to review and verify the Investigator’s summary notes from interviews and meetings with that specific party or witness
  • Make good faith efforts to notify the parties of any meeting or interview involving the other party, in advance when possible
  • Interview all relevant individuals and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary
  • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest questions they wish the Investigator(s) to ask of the other party and witnesses
  • Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
  • Provide regular status updates to the parties throughout the investigation
  • Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation and all evidence
  • Provide parties with a copy of the draft investigation report when it is completed, including all relevant evidence, analysis, credibility assessments, and recommended finding(s)
  • Provide each party with a full and fair opportunity to respond to the report in writing within five (5) business days and incorporate that response into the report
  • Investigators may choose to respond in writing in the report to the responses of the parties, and/or to share the responses between the parties for their responses, while also ensuring that they do not create a never-ending feedback loop
  • Share the report with the Title IX Coordinator or legal counsel for review and feedback.

Provide the final report to the Title IX Coordinator. The report will gather, assess, and synthesize evidence without making a finding, conclusion, determination or recommendation.

J. Additional Details of the Investigation Process

a. Witness responsibilities

Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are faculty or staff of LLU are expected to cooperate with and participate in the University’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of a witness to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of Policy and may be subject to discipline.

b. Remote processes

Parties and witnesses may be interviewed remotely by phone, video conferencing, or similar technologies if the Investigator(s) or Decision-maker determine that timeliness or efficiency dictates a need for remote interviewing. Where remote technologies are used, LLU makes reasonable efforts to ensure privacy, and that any technology does not work to the detriment of any party or subject them to unfairness.

c. Recording

No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during the resolution process. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of and consent to audio and/or video recording.

d. Evidence

Any evidence that is relevant and credible may be considered, including an individual’s prior misconduct history as well as evidence indicating a pattern of misconduct. The process should exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence and may disregard evidence lacking in credibility or that is improperly prejudicial.

e. Sexual history/patterns

Unless the Title IX Coordinator determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding do not consider: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; (2) the sexual history of the parties (though there may be a limited exception made with regard to the sexual history between the parties); or (3) the character of the parties.

f. Previous allegations/violations

While previous conduct violations by the Respondent are not generally admissible as information supporting the current allegation, the Investigator(s) may supply the Title IX Coordinator with information about previous good faith allegations and/or findings, when that information suggests potential pattern and/or predatory conduct.

Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining the appropriate sanction(s).

K. Determination

Within two to three days of receiving the Investigator’s recommendation, the Title IX Coordinator or a trained, designated Decision-maker from the Pool[1] reviews the report and all responses, and then makes the final determination on the basis of the preponderance of the evidence.

If the record is incomplete, the Title IX Coordinator/Decision-maker may direct a re-opening of the investigation, or may direct or conduct any additional inquiry necessary, including informally meeting with the parties or any witnesses, if needed.

The Title IX Coordinator then timely provides the parties with a written Notice of Outcome to include findings, any sanction(s), and a detailed rationale, delivered simultaneously (without undue delay) to the parties


[1] When the Title IX Coordinator is the Investigator or has been heavily involved in the process prior to determination, a Decision-maker will be designated from the Pool to ensure there is no conflict of interest.

L. Notification of outcome

If the Respondent admits to the violation(s), or is found in violation, the Title IX Coordinator, along with the applicable Dean, determines sanction(s) and/or responsive actions, which are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation; prevent its recurrence; and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.

The Title IX Coordinator informs the parties of the determination within two to three business days of the resolution, ideally simultaneously, but without significant time delay between notifications. Notifications are 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 LLU records; or emailed to the parties’ LLU-issued or designated email account. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice is presumptively delivered.

The Notification of Outcome specifies the finding for each alleged policy violation, any sanction(s) that may result which the University is permitted to share pursuant to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent the University is permitted to share under state or federal law. The notice will detail when the determination is considered final and will detail any changes that are made prior to finalization.

Unless based on an acceptance of violation by the Respondent, the determination may be appealed by either party. The Notification of Outcome also includes the grounds on which the parties may appeal and the steps the parties may take to request an appeal of the findings. More information about the appeal procedures can be found below.

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