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Non-Discrimination Policy

I. Introduction

Biola University is committed to the biblical truth that all persons are created in the image of God and should, therefore, be treated with dignity and respect. Biola seeks to emphasize the importance of being an authentically diverse community in pursuit of growth, awareness, and appreciation of our own diversity as well as that which exists in the broader world. As such, Biola does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, gender, age, disability, marital status, or military or veteran status in administration of its educational policies, admissions, financial aid, employment, educational programs, or activities.*

This Policy applies to conduct by all University community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, and third parties such as volunteers, vendors, independent contractors, and visitors, whether on campus or off campus, when engaged in activities sponsored by Biola or otherwise related to Biola or its business. Such activities include, but are not limited to classes, seminars, meetings, and study abroad programs. In addition, visitors, volunteers, vendors, consultants, third parties, or any person who provides services to Biola are expected to comply with the provisions of this Policy. This Policy does not apply to sex discrimination or harassment that constitutes sexual misconduct as Biola’s policy relating to sexual misconduct is found in its Sexual Misconduct Policy.

This Policy contains the Complaint Resolution Processes for all Biola community members, although the process is different depending on who is involved in the conduct and the severity of the conduct/potential consequences. Additionally, sanctions or consequences of a finding of a violation of this Policy by a non-student may be governed by another University Policy depending on the role of the person who violated the Policy.

*Note: As a religious institution, Biola exercises its right to make and implement policies and employ only those persons who believe in and seek to support Biola’s mission and theological positions, including but not limited to its Statement of Biblical Principles. Students should be aware that conduct that violates Biola’s Sexuality & Relationships Policy shall be handled as part of the Student Care process. While Biola opposes discrimination, harassment and retaliation as stated in this Policy, it is exempt from certain state and federal anti-discrimination laws due to its status as a religious non-profit corporation and its constitutional right to act in accordance with its religious beliefs. Nothing herein is intended, nor should it be construed to constitute a waiver of those exemptions or legal defenses, or of Biola’s right to make and enforce policies in furtherance of its religious beliefs.

II. Definitions

The following terms, as used in this Policy, are defined as follows:

Complainant: The Complainant, as referred to in this Policy, is an individual or group of individuals who is alleged to have been subject to discrimination or harassment or other conduct that violates this Policy, whether or not the individual makes a report or seeks disciplinary action.

Respondent: The Respondent, as referred to in this Policy, is an individual or group of individuals against whom an allegation of discrimination or harassment or other conduct that violates this Policy is made.

Report: A report is an account of conduct that allegedly violates this Policy made to the University by the Complainant, a third party, or an anonymous source.

Complaint: A Complaint is an alleged Policy violation that begins a complaint resolution procedure as set forth in the Complaint Resolution Process section below.

Preponderance of the Evidence: The preponderance of the evidence standard is the standard used by University-appointed adjudicators to determine the outcome of a Complaint. The preponderance of the evidence standard is met if it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated this Policy.

III. Prohibited Conduct

The following conduct is prohibited under this Policy and will be handled in accordance with the procedures in this Policy.

“Discrimination” prohibited by this Policy occurs when an individual is treated less favorably with respect to Biola’s educational programs, activities, admissions, financial aid, on-campus housing or employment, because of that individual’s membership in a class protected by applicable law.

“Harassment” prohibited by this Policy is conduct that is so severe and/or pervasive, and objectively offensive, that its effect, regardless of intent, impairs a person’s ability to participate in the University’s educational programs, activities, living environment or employment. “Objectively offensive” means that it must be offensive not only to the person receiving the conduct but also to a “reasonable person” in the recipient’s circumstances. The harassment must be directed to or based on that individual’s membership in a class protected by applicable law. Examples of harassment include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal assaults or comments that demean the color, culture, or ancestry of a person or which perpetuate stereotypical beliefs about and attitudes toward ethnic groups. Such behaviors may include name-calling, racial slurs, slang references, derogatory comments and jokes.
  • Hanging a noose from the ceiling of an African-American student’s room
  • Displaying a swastika to suggest white supremacy over the race or ethnicity of the student who occupies the room or owns the property where the swastika was displayed
  • A student who struggles with same-sex attraction is repeatedly called names like “fag” and “homo” either directly or on social media
  • A student who has requested accommodations for a learning disability is called “retard”

“Retaliation” includes any form of intimidation, threats, coercion, reprisal, or harassment. Retaliatory actions may include, but are not limited to: acts or comments that are intended to discourage a person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy or that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this Policy; violation of a No Contact Order; acts or comments intended to embarrass an individual; seeking to influence the participation or statements of parties or witnesses or taking adverse action against them; adverse changes in employment status or opportunities; adverse academic action; and adverse changes to academic, educational and extra-curricular opportunities. Retaliation may be present against a person even when the person’s allegations of prohibited conduct are not substantiated.

Bad Faith Complaint of Discrimination or Harassment: Knowingly reporting a false allegation of any violation of this Policy, including one made as a counter-complaint, is prohibited. The fact that there has been a University determination that there was no violation of this Policy does not, by itself, mean that the complaint was made in bad faith.

Note: Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation may be in person, through postings on social media, email, text, or other forms of communication, and it may be committed by parties to the complaint resolution procedure, their friends or representatives, or any other person.

IV. Reporting Discrimination, Harassment and Retaliation

A. Reports to the University

  1. Responsible Officers
    1. Biola encourages any member of the Biola community who has a concern or has become aware of an instance of possible discrimination, harassment, or retaliation described in this Policy, which involves a student, faculty or staff member, to immediately report the situation to one of the following Responsible Officers:
      1. Anti-Discrimination Officer
        Sandy Hough 
        Student Services Building, Student Development
        13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5807
        Email: titleix.coordinator@biola.edu
      2. Chief Diversity Officer
        Tamra Malone
        Biola University; Metzger Hall, Upper Level, West Wing
        13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 903-4703
        Email: tamra.j.malone@biola.edu
      3. For undergraduate students (or applicants):
        Nallely López 
        Student Services Building, Student Development
        13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5839
        Email: nallely.lopez@biola.edu
      4. For graduate students (or applicants):
        Dr. Yvana Uranga-Hernandez, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinic Director
        Biola University; Dorothy English Hall, Room 64
        13800 Biola Ave.,La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 777-4072
        Email: yvana.hernandez@biola.edu
      5. For Employees:
        Dave Grant, Chief Human Resources Officer
        Biola University; Metzger Hall, Human Resources
        13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5205
        Email: dave.grant@biola.edu
      6. For Inter-Collegiate Athletic Programs:
        Nathanael Cook, Athletics Administrator for Facilities and Events
        Biola University; Gymnasium
        13800 Biola Ave., La Mirada, CA 90639
        Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 3140
        Email: nathanael.d.cook@biola.edu
  2.  

    Reports can be made by telephone, email, or in person to any of the individuals listed above. To enable the University to respond appropriately, reports to the University should include as much information as possible, including (1) the name of the individual alleged to have experienced the discrimination, harassment or retaliation, (2) the name of the person(s) who allegedly engaged in discrimination, harassment or retaliation, and (3) the date, time, place, and circumstances of the incident(s).

  3. Anonymous Reports
    1. The University will accept anonymous reports of Discrimination and Harassment. However, the individual making the report is encouraged to provide as much detailed information as possible to allow the University to investigate the report and respond appropriately. The University may be limited in its ability to investigate an anonymous report unless sufficient information is furnished to enable the University to conduct a meaningful and fair investigation.
  4. Confidential Resources
    1. The University recognizes that some individuals may wish to keep their concerns confidential. Confidential communications are those communications which cannot be disclosed to another person without the reporter’s consent, except under limited circumstances. The following are confidential resources who can provide advice and support to individuals who believe they are experiencing discrimination or harassment:
      1. Counselors in the Biola Counseling Center (562-903-4800)
      2. Todd Pickett, Dean of Spiritual Development & Campus Pastor and members of the Pastoral Care team in Spiritual Development (562-777-4041, spiritual.development@biola.edu, Student Services Building (south wing)).
      3. Employees may seek confidential services from the Employee Assistance Program through Cigna (800-538-3543; www.cignalap.com).
    2. Prior to or concurrent with lodging a discrimination or harassment complaint, individuals may find it helpful to consult with these designted confidential resources who are not obligated to report information that is provided to them. The confidential resources will not share communications or the fact that communication occurred without consent from the complainant except in rare circumstances (e.g., compelled testimony from a court of law, cases of child or elder abuse, or where there is a reasonable threat of harm to self or a third person).
    3. Confidential resources are especially valuable for someone who is unsure about whether a formal complaint should be filed or how to label or process what happened. A person who speaks to a confidential resource should understand, however, that if the person does not report the concern to a non-confidential person at the University, such as one of the Responsible Officers designated in section A.1. of “Reports to the University” above, the University will be unable to provide certain interim actions or protective measures that would require involvement from the University (such as issuing a no-contact directive), to conduct an investigation into the particular incident, or pursue disciplinary action.

B. Support Services/No Contact Order

It is strongly recommended that any individual involved in the resolution of a discrimination or harassment incident as described in this Policy seek personal support through relationships with trusted family members, pastors or friends. Additional support is available through the Biola Counseling Center (562) 903-4800 or Student Development (562) 903-4874. The University may take reasonable steps to provide appropriate accommodations during or following the investigation process to create a safe and productive environment.

A no-contact directive is a University-issued directive that prohibits one or both parties from communication or contact with another. In appropriate circumstances, the University may issue an institutional no-contact directive on its own initiative or at the request of the complainant or the respondent. To request a no-contact directive from the University, individuals should contact the Anti-Discrimination Officer at (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5807 or titleix.coordinator@biola.edu.

If the University receives a report that an institutional no-contact directive has been violated, the University may initiate disciplinary proceedings against the person who allegedly violated the no-contact directive and will impose sanctions if the person is found responsible for violating the directive.

V. Complaint Resolution Process

A. Initial Intake and Notice to the Parties 

Upon receiving a Complaint or a report of potential/alleged Discrimination or Harassment under this Policy, the Anti-Discrimination Officer (“ADO”) will be notified (if the report went to a different Responsible Officer) and will then meet with the Complainant. During the initial meeting with the Complainant, the ADO will discuss the availability of supportive measures and explain that they are available regardless of whether a formal Complaint is filed. The Complainant shall also be informed of: the right to have a support person or advisor (“Advisor”) present during this meeting and will be told the role such a person may play in the process; the process to file a formal Complaint; and the option to pursue the Informal Resolution Process (if both the Complainant and Respondent agree) or the Formal Adjudication Process, as well as a description of what each entails.

If, after this initial meeting, the ADO determines that there could not have been a violation of this Policy, even assuming the facts as presented by the Complainant are true, the ADO will inform the Complainant of this fact and the matter will be closed unless the Complainant wishes to file an appeal (see below).

After meeting with the Complainant, and assuming further investigation is needed, the ADO will meet with the Respondent to: review the allegations; discuss supportive measures available to the Respondent; inform the Respondent of the right to have an Advisor present during this meeting and the role such a person may play in the process; and explain the option to pursue the Informal Resolution Process (if both the Complainant and Respondent agree) or the Formal Adjudication Process, as well as a description of what each entails.

B. Rights, Obligations and General Principles

1. Right to an Advisor

The parties will be entitled to an Advisor during the complaint resolution process. The role and restrictions relating to Advisors are:

  • The Advisor may not appear in lieu of the Complainant or the Respondent or speak on their behalf in either in-person or written communications to the University.
  • The Advisor may not communicate directly with the investigator(s), decision makers, hearing officer(s), appeal officer(s), the ADO or any other school official involved in the Complaint Resolution process and may not interrupt or otherwise delay the process.
  • Advisors may have access to information concerning a case when a party has given permission for the Advisor to be copied on emails or other correspondence (for access to written communications). An Advisor’s access to such information is subject to the same limitations as those placed upon the Parties and conditioned upon the Advisor’s agreement to maintain the confidentiality of any student educational records or other confidential information.
  • Parties must provide the name of the person they have selected as their Advisor to the ADO. Advisors will be required to sign an Advisor Agreement acknowledging receipt and understanding of the requirements described herein. Failure to comply with these requirements, including violations of confidentiality or other forms of interference with the complaint resolution procedure by the Advisor, may result in the disqualification of an Advisor.
  • Choosing an Advisor who is also a witness may create a potential for bias and conflict of interest, issues that the party should anticipate being raised and explored at any hearing or other adjudication proceeding.
  • The Parties are required to inform the investigators at least two business days before their first meeting with the investigators of the identity of their Advisor. The ADO should be promptly notified of any change in Advisor. As for the hearing or other adjudication proceeding, notice of the Advisor’s identity must be provided no later than two business days prior to the hearing and the University expects the Advisors will clear their calendars to accommodate the hearing date and time. The University has the discretion to change the date so long as it does not result in an unreasonable delay in the process.
  • Communications between the Parties and his/her Advisor will remain confidential throughout the Complaint Resolution process even if the Advisor is not an attorney.

2. Non-Participation and Silence

Either party may decline, at any time, to provide information or participate further in the Complaint Resolution process. If, at any time during the process, a party decides not to participate, the University will proceed with the process and make a determination based upon the information available. A Respondent’s silence in response to a Complainant’s allegation will not necessarily be viewed as an admission of the allegation, but may leave the Complainant’s allegations undisputed. Similarly, a Complainant’s silence in response to a Respondent’s denials or defenses will not necessarily be viewed as an admission of the denials or defenses, but may leave the Respondent’s denials or defenses undisputed. Even if a party decides not to participate or chooses to stop participating during a particular phase of the process, the party will still be given the option to participate during later phases of the process.

3. Obligation to Act in Good Faith

Reports and Complaints of alleged Discrimination and Harassment should be made only in good faith. Complaints that are not made in good faith may be a form of retaliation under this Policy and/or may violate other University policies. All parties and witnesses have an obligation to be truthful in the Complaint Resolution process.

4. Conflicts of Interest

If a Complainant or Respondent has any concern that any individual acting for the University under this Policy has a conflict of interest or bias, such concern should be reported in writing to the ADO. When evaluating the possibility of a conflict of interest or bias, the parties should also consider whether there may be a conflict of interest or bias in connection with the witnesses they may need to support their allegations or defenses. Any concern regarding a conflict of interest or bias must be submitted within two (2) calendar days after receiving notice of the person’s involvement in the Complaint Resolution process. The ADO or designee(s) will review the concern(s) and take appropriate steps to ensure that no conflicts of interest exist on the part of anyone investigating or resolving a complaint under this Policy.

5. Disability Accommodations

The University is committed to full access and inclusion of students with disabilities in its processes and services, including investigations, hearings and other student conduct processes. Students with documented disabilities involved in an investigative or hearing process should notify the ADO if he/she needs assistance during the process.

6. Time Frames for Resolution

The University is committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of allegations of Discrimination and Harassment, and generally seeks to conclude its process under this Policy within 60 calendar days and its appeal process within 20 days. Circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames based on: the complexity of the allegations; the number of witnesses involved; the availability of the parties involved; witnesses being absent from campus; the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation; unsuccessful attempts at informal resolution; any intervening school break or vacation; or other unforeseen circumstances. When these circumstances warrant additional time, the ADO will notify the parties in writing of the anticipated extended time frame.

Complainants are encouraged to begin the Complaint Resolution process as soon as possible following an alleged incident of discrimination or harassment. There is no deadline for reporting prohibited conduct to the University under this Policy. The University’s ability to respond, however, may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade, and the Respondent may no longer be affiliated with the University. If a Complaint is brought forward more than four (4) calendar years after an alleged incident or if the Complainant and Respondent are no longer students or employees of the University community, the University, in its discretion, may decline to process the Complaint under this Policy.

7. Applicable Policy

When the University receives a Report or a Complaint of a violation of this Policy, the University will generally apply the Complaint Resolution process from the Policy that is in effect at the time that the Report or Complaint is made and generally will apply the definitions from the policy that were in effect at the time the alleged conduct occurred. 

8. Reservation of Flexibility

The procedures set forth in this Policy reflect the University’s desire to respond to Complaints in good faith and in a manner that promotes fairness to all parties. The University recognizes that each case is unique and that circumstances may arise which require that it reserve some flexibility in responding to the particular circumstances of the matter. Where it is not possible or practical to follow the process outlined in this Policy, the University reserves the right to modify the process or to take other administrative action as appropriate under the circumstances.

C. Informal Resolution

Informal resolution is a voluntary process for timely and corrective action through the imposition of individual and/or community-focused remedies designed to maintain the Complainant's access to the educational, extracurricular, and employment activities at the University and to eliminate a potential hostile environment. The option to pursue informal resolution will be presented to the parties only after the University has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct at issue.

If the Complainant, the Respondent, and the ADO all agree to pursue an informal resolution, the ADO will attempt to facilitate a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. The role of the ADO is not to be an advocate for either party, but rather, to aid in the resolution of issues in a non-adversarial manner. Under the Informal Resolution process, the University will only conduct such fact-finding as is useful to resolve the conflict and as is necessary to protect the interests of the parties, the University, and the University community.

The University will not compel a Complainant or Respondent to engage in mediation, to directly confront the other party, or to participate in any particular form of informal resolution. If at any point during the Informal Resolution process, the Complainant, the Respondent, or the University wishes to cease the process and to proceed with the formal process, the Informal Resolution process will stop and the Formal Adjudication process described below will begin. The student may be encouraged to return to an informal resolution at any time during the Formal Adjudication process.

Any informal resolution must adequately address the concerns of the Complainant, the rights of the Respondent, and the overall intent of the University to stop, remedy, and prevent Policy violations. The University will take appropriate actions as necessary and use its best efforts to remedy any harm that occurred and to prevent any further incidents of Discrimination or Harassment.

There is no right to appeal a resolution agreement once all Parties agree in writing to the resolution. Once there is an agreement in writing, the Formal Adjudication process is unavailable to resolve the allegations raised in the initial report or Complaint. The ADO will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal resolution.

D. Formal Adjudication Process

1. Administrative Determination or Adjudication Committee

When the Informal Resolution process is not deemed to be appropriate or the parties do not agree to the process, a formal process will be used to adjudicate the matter. Upon review of the Complaint that initiates the formal process, the ADO may choose one of the following processes to adjudicate the matter: (1) Administrative Determination; or (2) Adjudication Hearing (only in cases where the Respondent is a student and when the alleged conduct, if proved, is likely to result in suspension or expulsion). The decision as to which option to choose shall be at the sole discretion of the ADO.

2. Procedure Applicable to Both Formal Processes

Regardless of which formal process is used, the following procedures will be used to begin the process:

  1. A Complaint shall be submitted by the Complainant. This Complaint should specify the conduct that the Complainant believes constitutes Discrimination or Harassment, who was involved in the conduct, when it occurred, any other details the Complainant thinks are relevant, and the desired resolution. Supporting documentation and a list of witnesses with contact information is also helpful. Although the Complaint may be withdrawn at any time, the University reserves the right to investigate all complaints where necessary to protect the interests of the University community. The Complaint must be signed, dated and submitted to the ADO as soon as possible after the conduct occurs. While the University will do its best to investigate all allegations of a violation under this Policy, the more time that passes from when the alleged conduct occurred to the time of submission of the Complaint could make it harder for accurate information to be obtained and to impose corrective action on the Respondent if appropriate.
  2. The ADO will perform the Initial Intake and give the notice and information to the parties as stated in section V.A. above. The Respondent will be provided with a copy of the Complaint (or a summary if deemed appropriate by the ADO) during the initial meeting with the Respondent.
  3. The Respondent will prepare a response to the Complaint within seven (7) calendar days after the initial meeting with the ADO unless the ADO grants a request for additional time.
  4. After receiving the Respondent’s response and assuming there is a need for an investigation, the ADO will appoint a trained investigator(s) to gather all necessary information and notify the parties of the investigator(s) assigned.
  5. The assigned investigator(s) shall thoroughly investigate the Complaint and prepare a written report. The ADO will review the report and decide if any additional information is needed before the matter gets submitted for adjudication.

    3. Administrative Determination Process

    Once the steps outlined above are completed, and if the Administrative Determination option was selected by the ADO, the following shall occur:

    1. The investigative report (with redactions if appropriate to protect privacy rights) and any supporting documents will be provided to the parties via a secured file to the involved parties' Biola email accounts. The documents provided shall not be shared with anyone other than the approved Advisor, if any.
    2. The parties shall have seven (7) calendar days to submit any further information to the ADO.
    3. The ADO will appoint at least two trained adjudication officers to adjudicate the matter.
    4. The ADO will notify the parties of the identities of the adjudication officers. The parties will have three (3) calendar days to ask that an adjudicator be disqualified due to a demonstrated conflict of interest or bias. Being of the same race or ethnicity as one of the parties, in and of itself, is not a sufficient basis for disqualification.
    5. The ADO will share the investigation report with the adjudication officers who, within 14 calendar days of receiving it, will meet and reach a decision as to whether there has been a violation of this Policy and if so, what sanctions, corrective action or consequences should be imposed. If the Respondent is an employee, when determining the corrective action or consequences, the adjudicators may consult with the employee’s direct supervisor, or, in the case of faculty, with the Dean of the School in which the faculty member is assigned.
    6. Once a decision has been reached, The ADO shall forward to the Complainant and Respondent a notice that contains the decision reached, a summary of the rationale for the decision, and a description of the Complainant’s and Respondent’s right to appeal the decision. In cases where both the Complainant and the Respondent are students, any sanctions imposed will also be stated. In cases where the Respondent is an employee, unless necessary to insure implementation or completion of corrective action, only a general statement that corrective action or consequences will be imposed, and not the specific action taken, will be provided to the Complainant.

    4. Adjudication Hearing

    In those cases where a student is a Respondent and the conduct is so severe that, if a Policy violation is found, the sanctions could result in suspension or expulsion, the ADO can determine that an Adjudication Hearing is the proper formal process to be used. The following is the process that will be followed for the adjudication hearing:

    The matter will be heard by a committee typically composed of three trained faculty and/or staff members (“Adjudication Committee”). The Dean of Community Life or designee will chair the committee (“Chairperson”) but is not a voting member unless there is a tie vote.

    Prior to the adjudication hearing, the parties will receive a written notice stating the hearing date and will include a description of the behavior that allegedly violates this Policy, the investigative materials, and any other information the ADO deems necessary to provide to the involved parties. The notice and related materials will be sent via a secured file to the involved students' Biola email accounts.

    The notice shall also identify the Adjudication Committee members. If the involved parties believe that any of the Adjudication Committee members is biased or cannot be impartial, objection to a committee member must be made to the ADO within 48 hours of receipt of the notice identifying the committee members.

    The date set for the adjudication hearing shall be at least ten calendar days after the date of the written notice to the involved parties unless both parties and the Adjudication Committee agree to a shorter time.

    Other than as outlined below, hearings need not adhere to formal rules of procedure or technical rules of evidence followed by courts of law. Hearings will be conducted according to the following guidelines:

    1. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the Chairperson.
    2. The hearing will normally be conducted in private via video conferencing unless the ADO and both parties agree to an in-person hearing. Admission of any person to the hearing will be at the discretion of the Chairperson or ADO. The Chairperson may accommodate concerns for the personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation of the Complainant, Respondent, and/or other witness during the hearing (if conducted in-person) by providing separate facilities, and/or by permitting participation by telephone, written statement, or other means, as deemed appropriate by the Chairperson.
    3. Involved parties may be assisted at hearings and pre-hearing meetings by an Advisor of their choice. The Advisor cannot speak for the involved parties. The role of the Advisor is to accompany the involved parties and advise them privately during the pre-hearing and hearing process.
    4. Hearings will be chaired by the Dean, Student Wellness, or designee, and will proceed in the following manner:
      1. Reading of the alleged violation(s).
      2. The Respondent's denial or admission of the alleged violations(s). If the Respondent admits to the alleged violation(s), the committee shall dismiss the parties to deliberate on the appropriate sanctions unless it desires to obtain information from either or both parties that it believes will assist with determining the appropriate sanctions.
      3. Presentation of information and/or witnesses supporting the alleged violation(s) and questions by the committee; and, when necessary and appropriate, cross-examination of the Complainant and/or relevant witnesses. The procedures for cross examination by the parties are explained in steps 6) and 7) below.
      4. Presentation of information and/or witnesses that rebuts the alleged violation(s) and questions by the committee; and, when necessary and appropriate, cross-examination of the Respondent and/or relevant witnesses. The procedures for cross examination by the parties are explained in steps 6) and 7) below.
      5. Each involved party has the option of presenting a closing statement to the committee.
    5. The Chairperson or ADO will call witnesses who have relevant testimony about the alleged violations. The involved parties will receive a list of these witnesses at least 72 hours before the hearing. At the hearing, the involved parties may, when necessary and appropriate, indirectly cross-examine the witnesses by submitting written questions. Initial questions should be submitted to the ADO at least 48 hours before the hearing. During the hearing, additional follow-up questions may be submitted in writing to the committee (as set forth more fully in paragraph 7, below). The University will make reasonable efforts to make available these witnesses at the hearing; however, written statements may be used if a witness is unable to attend.
    6. Involved parties may also call witnesses to appear in person at the hearing, or to submit a written statement. If parties wish to call witnesses, they must submit a list of intended witnesses and what information the party believes the witness will offer that is relevant to the issues to be adjudicated (or full written statements if witnesses will not appear in person) to the ADO at least 48 hours in advance of the hearing. Names of witnesses provided by the Complainant/Respondent and allowed by the Chairperson or ADO to appear at the hearing will be shared with the other party at least 24 hours prior to the hearing. When the credibility of a witness is relevant, the Chairperson or ADO may require that witness to attend the hearing in person rather than submit a written statement. It is the responsibility of the party who calls the witness to request and confirm the witness' participation in the hearing. If the witness attends the hearing, the committee may ask him or her questions and the other party may indirectly cross-examine the witness, when necessary and appropriate, by submitting written questions to the committee. Witnesses may only be present while giving testimony. The ADO and Chairperson reserve the right to limit witnesses to those who have relevant testimony about the alleged violations. Character witnesses are not allowed.
    7. Both parties may indirectly cross-examine each other about the events giving rise to the complaint, when necessary and appropriate. Under no circumstances, however, will a party be compelled to answer questions under cross-examination that may lead to criminal prosecution. At the conclusion of each party's or witness's testimony before the committee, there will be a break in the hearing so that the parties may propose questions in writing to the committee. The Chairperson, in consultation with the committee members if necessary, has the discretion to determine which questions are appropriate and relevant to the proceedings. The Chairperson will explain to the parties any decision to exclude proposed questions.
    8. Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration by the committee at the discretion of the Chairperson or ADO so long as this information is submitted to the ADO at least 72 hours before the hearing. The committee may or may not consider any documents received after the 72-hour deadline subject to the discretion of the Chairperson or ADO. Involved parties will receive a copy of all relevant materials submitted that the Chairperson intends to allow for consideration at the time of the hearing no later than 24 hours prior to the hearing.
    9. If, during the course of the hearing, additional policy violations are discovered, the Respondent will be notified of the new alleged violation(s) and will be granted additional time, if needed, to prepare a defense of the new alleged violation(s). The Respondent may waive the additional time and the hearing can proceed with the new alleged violation(s) taken under consideration by the committee. A record will be made in the hearing notes of additional alleged violation(s) and whether or not the Respondent desires additional preparation time.
    10. Information about the misconduct of other students shared at the hearing may be used as a basis for disciplinary action unless immunity has been granted to the affected student(s) by the ADO.
    11. The committee's determination will be made by a majority vote based on the preponderance of the evidence standard (whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated this Policy).
    12. If the Respondent is found to have violated this Policy, the committee will then make a recommendation to the Chairperson on the appropriate sanction(s) and the Chairperson shall decide what sanctions to impose and notify the ADO of the decision and sanctions.
    13. The ADO will notify the involved parties in writing regarding the decision and sanctions (if issued) to their Biola email accounts. There will be a single written record of the hearing, which normally consists of the statement of alleged misconduct, a summary of the information presented in the hearing, a summary of the statement of the involved parties, statement of the decision, and the sanctions issued, if any. The hearing will not be transcribed or otherwise recorded unless the ADO gives notice to the parties at least 48 hours prior to the hearing of the intent to record the hearing.
    14. If either of the involved parties fails to appear at the hearing or participate, the committee may make a decision based on the available information. If the Chairperson or ADO determines that good cause exists for either of the involved parties not appearing at the hearing, a new date may be set.
    15. The committee will normally render a decision within 60 days of the complaint being first presented. However, there may be extenuating circumstances that render this time-frame impractical. In such cases, decisions will be rendered as promptly as possible.

    5. Corrective Action

    Any corrective action that is needed will vary depending on circumstances and the severity of the conduct. Resolution steps could include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following for students: training, advising or coaching from Student Development, reflection paper, behavioral probation, mandatory corrective action, revocation of privileges, suspension, or dismissal. For employees, resolution steps could include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following: training, advising or coaching from Human Resources or other appropriate professional, verbal or written warning, probation, reassignment, suspension with or without pay, or termination. Depending on the circumstances and the impact on the Biola community, and considering the privacy issues that may be involved, resolution steps could include a campus-wide email, public announcement/statement, or developmental/educational programming.

    Sanctions may also be imposed on an individual who knowingly provided false information or initiated in bad faith a claim of discrimination or harassment.

    E. Appeal

    The parties have an opportunity to appeal the decision as to whether there has been a violation of this Policy and, if the Complainant and Respondent are both students, the decision to impose certain sanctions. To do so, a written appeal must be submitted to the ADO who will refer the appeal to the Appellate Officer(s) as follows:

    • If both parties are students, the Vice President of Student Development
    • If both parties are employees, Tammy Anderson, Associate Provost of Academic Effectiveness and Administration or her designee. (If one or both parties reports to this individual, then the Vice President of Student Development)
    • In all other cases, the appeal will be considered jointly by the Vice President of Student Development and the Associate Provost of Academic Effectiveness and Administration or her designee. If there is no agreement on the outcome of the appeal, the ADO shall appoint another Vice President (with approval of the President) to serve as the deciding vote.
    • Faculty: In the case where the Respondent is a full time faculty member, and the discipline imposed is included with those employment actions stated as within the “Scope” of Section 8.6 of the Employee Handbook, he or she may choose to forego the process below and proceed under the Grievance Process described in Section 8.6. This election by the faculty member must be made to the ADO within three (3) business days of being notified of the decision by the ADO. If this option is chosen, this is only right to appeal and no further appeals may be filed.

      The length of appeal must not exceed 7 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt. font) unless prior approval is sought from and obtained by the Appellate Officer(s). The appeal must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the notice of decision to the Complainant and Respondent. The written appeal must be based on one or more of the five grounds specified below. General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for an appeal. The written appeal must specify on which of the following grounds the appeal is based:

      • New relevant information, sufficient to alter the decision reached, but only if that information and/or facts were not known to the appellant at the time of the original adjudication proceeding.
      • Procedural irregularity in the process that undermined the appellant's ability to present relevant supporting information.
      • Bias or conflict of interest by any of those involved in the investigation or decision-making process.
      • Inappropriateness of the sanction for the conduct involved (only where the Complainant and Respondent are both students).

      The non-appealing party will be notified within two (2) business days after the time for filing an appeal has lapsed of the fact that the other party has filed an appeal. The non-appealing party may request to review the written appeal and may submit a written response within five (5) business days after being notified. The length of the response must not exceed seven (7) pages (double-spaced, 12-pt. font) unless prior approval is sought from and obtained by the Appellate Officer(s).

      Generally, the appellate process does not require a hearing, nor does it require the Appellate Officer to make personal contact with the parties. The Appellate Officer(s) may, however, request that one or both of the parties meet with him/her/them, and may consult with others (e.g., an investigator(s), the adjudicators, an employee’s supervisor, a student development employees, etc.) if he/she/they deem such a meeting or consultation is needed to determine the issues raised in the appeal.

      Within twenty (20) business days from the date of receipt of the written appeal, the Appellate Officer(s) will notify the parties of the decision. The Appellate Officer(s) may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction. The Appellate Officer(s) may also return the case to the decision makers for further consideration. The Appellate Officers’ decision shall be final and effective immediately unless otherwise specified. The notification to the parties will be by e-mail to the parties’ Biola accounts.

      F. Retention of Disciplinary Records

      Other than University dismissal or permanent withholding of a degree, disciplinary sanctions will not be made part of the student's permanent academic record, but will become part of the student's disciplinary record. Cases involving the imposition of sanctions other than University expulsion or dismissal or withholding of a degree will be expunged from the student's disciplinary record seven years after graduation.

      VI. Complaints of Retaliation, Violation of Interim Measures, and Violation of Sanctions

      Any complaint relating to retaliation in violation of this Policy, violations of interim measures imposed during the resolution process, or violations of sanctions should be reported promptly to the ADO. The University will take appropriate action against any individual who retaliates against another person in violation of this Policy or who violates interim measures or sanctions.

      When the University receives a complaint of retaliation or of violations of interim measures or sanctions, the ADO may exercise discretion to determine an appropriate responsive process based on the facts and circumstances. Options for resolution include but are not limited to: informal discussions and resolution facilitated by the ADO or designee, or assignment of a designated individual to investigate the complaint and determine an appropriate response. This process will be separate and distinct from the complaint resolution procedures outlined above for addressing Discrimination or Harassment Complaints. For a complaint of retaliation or of violations of interim measures or sanctions, the ADO or designee will document the complaint received, the process used, and the outcome. In instances where the outcome of the process results in a suspension longer than one year, expulsion, or termination of employment, the impacted individual may appeal the decision in accordance with the appeal rights as set forth in this Policy. The University will notify the parties of the outcome of the complaint. Any party with concerns about the process or outcome should consult with the ADO.

      VII. Alternative Complaint Procedures

      Individuals are encouraged to use the complaint resolution process in this Policy to resolve a Complaint of Discrimination or Harassment. However, nothing in this Policy is intended to interfere with the right of any individual to pursue other avenues of recourse which may include, but are not limited to, filing a complaint (at the beginning, during, or after use of the complaint resolution procedure) with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) or with the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

      U.S. Department of Education
      Office for Civil Rights
      San Francisco Office
      50 United Nations Plaza
      San Francisco, CA 94102
      Telephone: (415) 486-5555
      Fax: (415) 486-5570
      Email: OCR.SanFrancisco@ed.gov

      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
      Los Angeles District Office
      Roybal Federal Building
      255 East Temple St., 4th Floor
      Los Angeles, CA 90012
      Telephone: (800) 669-4000
      Fax: (213) 894-1118

      In addition, for complaints regarding the University, including complaints related to institutional policies or procedures, an individual may contact the California Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education for review of a complaint:

      Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
      2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400
      Sacramento, CA 95833
      www.bppe.ca.gov
      Telephone: (916) 431-6959
      Fax: (916) 263-1897