Sexual Misconduct Policy - Title IX
On This Page
- I. Introduction
- II. Definitions
- III. Prohibited Conduct
- IV. Assistance Following Sexual Misconduct
- V. Reporting Sexual Misconduct
- VI. Actions Taken Upon Notification to Title IX Coordinator
- VII. Grievance Process
- VIII. Complaints of Retaliation, Violation of Interim Measures, and Violation of Sanctions
- IX. Alternative Complaint Procedures
A. Policy Statement
Biola University (the “University”) is committed to maintaining a university environment consistent with its Christian beliefs that all people are created in the image of God and should be treated with dignity and respect. As such, Biola should be a place for spiritual growth, work, and study free of all forms of prohibited discrimination and harassment, including Sexual Misconduct.
This Sexual Misconduct Policy (“Policy”) describes the University’s commitment to ensuring that its campus and its programs are free from Sexual Misconduct. The University will take steps to end Sexual Misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. It also outlines the steps for recourse for those individuals whose rights may have been violated and the procedures for determining a violation of this Policy so that there is a prompt and equitable resolution of all complaints of Sexual Misconduct.
B. Scope of the Policy
The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other laws, Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), which protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. Unless inconsistent with its religious beliefs, and because Biola receives federal financial assistance (primarily in the form of loans for its students and occasional emergency relief aid such as the CARES Act), Biola abides by Title IX and applicable regulations.
Title IX regulations define “education program or activity” as including locations, events, or circumstances over which the educational institution exercised substantial control over both the person accused of sexual harassment and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, whether on campus or off as long as the misconduct occurred against an individual within the United States. All University community members as well as volunteers, vendors, independent contractors and visitors are required to follow University policies and applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations. Sanctions or consequences of a finding of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy may be governed by another University Policy depending on the role of the person who violated this Policy.
This Policy applies to the following forms of “sexual harassment” as defined by Title IX and applicable regulations: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment (quid pro quo), Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, and Stalking. It also applies to Sexual Exploitation. Title IX Sexual Harassment and Sexual Exploitation shall be collectively referred to as Sexual Misconduct and are explained more fully in the Definitions section below. For the University’s policy against other forms of discrimination, please see https://studenthub.biola.edu/undergraduate-student-handbook-discrimination-harassment. Allegations of misconduct based on grounds other than Sexual Misconduct should be pursued under the grievance and appeal procedures contained in the appropriate student handbook or employee handbook.
C. Notice of Non-Discrimination/Applicable Laws
Sexual Misconduct is a form of sex discrimination under certain provisions of federal and state law. In addition to Title IX, sex discrimination in employment is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Another important law related to this Policy is the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Safety Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC §1092(f)) (“Clery Act”) which requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses. This includes recent amendments to the Clery Act under the Campus SaVE Act and Violence Against Women Act, which deal with incidents of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
While Biola prohibits all forms of Sexual Misconduct as defined in this Policy, it is exempt from certain state and federal anti-discrimination laws based on its status as a religious non-profit corporation and 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.
The University maintains the right, with regard to admissions, enrollment, its curricular and co-curricular programs, employment, and other matters, to uphold and apply its religious beliefs related to, among other issues, marriage, sex (gender), gender identity, sexual orientation, and sexual activity. While some portions of this Policy may address intimate or sexual activities outside of marriage between a man and a woman, such discussions should not be seen as condoning these actions (See the University’s Sexual Relationships Policy). At the same time, an individual’s engagement in intimate or sexual activities outside of marriage does not excuse Sexual Misconduct carried out against that individual. The University is committed to protecting the members of its community against Sexual Misconduct, regardless of the context in which it arises.
D. Senior Title IX Coordinator and Title IX Team
The Senior Title IX Coordinator (“Title IX Coordinator”) is the designated staff member of the University with primary responsibility for coordinating the University’s Title IX compliance efforts, including the University’s efforts to end Sexual Misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
The University has also established a Title IX Team. The team consists of properly trained designated staff and faculty member(s) from various campus constituencies who have a shared responsibility for consulting with and supporting the Title IX Coordinator and may serve as the Title IX Coordinator’s designee related to various matters. Members of the team may also be called upon to investigate or adjudicate complaints of Sexual Misconduct, serve as hearing officers or appellate officers, and/or facilitate informal resolutions of conflicts or complaints. For the University's Title IX Team training, please see https://system.suny.edu/sci/postedtraining.
The following terms, as used in this Policy, are defined as follows:
Advisor: Advisor refers to a person chosen by a party or appointed by the University to accompany a party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to conduct cross-examination for a party when required at a hearing.
Coercion: Coercion is conduct or intimidation that would compel an individual to do something against his or her will by the use of unreasonable psychological pressure, physical force, or threats of severely damaging consequences that would reasonably place an individual in fear of immediate or future harm. Coercion is more than an effort to persuade or attract another person to engage in sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the degree and type of pressure someone uses to obtain consent from another. For example, simply asking someone repeatedly to have sex generally is not considered coercion but seduction. However, if threats were made alongside the repeated requests, it may be considered coercion. If someone is coerced into engaging in sexual activity, there cannot be affirmative consent.
Complainant: Complainant means any individual who has reported being or is alleged to be the victim of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy. In cases where a Formal Complaint (described below) is filed, at the time of filing the formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the University.
Consent: Consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It is the responsibility of each person involved in the sexual activity to ensure that he or she has the affirmative consent of the other or others to engage in sexual activity. Lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, nor does silence mean consent. Affirmative consent must be ongoing throughout sexual activity and can be revoked at any time. The existence of a dating relationship between the persons involved, or the fact of past sexual relations between them, should never, by itself, be assumed to be an indicator of consent. In cases of prior relationships, however, the manner and nature of prior communications between the parties and the context of the relationship may be factors in determining whether there was consent.
In evaluating whether affirmative consent has been freely sought and given, the University will consider whether the Complainant had the capacity to give affirmative consent and whether the communication (through words and/or actions) between the parties would be interpreted by a reasonable person (under similar circumstances and with similar identities) as a willingness to engage in a particular sexual act.
The following, while not an exhaustive list, are important factors to consider when determining if affirmative consent was obtained:
- Whether the Respondent took reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the Respondent at the time, to ascertain whether the Complainant affirmatively consented.
- An individual cannot provide consent to engage in sexual activity when the individual: 1) is a minor (age 17 or under); 2) has a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability that renders her or him incapable of giving knowing consent; 3) is asleep or unconscious; or 4) is incapacitated from alcohol or other drugs, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known or recognized by the Respondent.
- Whether an individual actively and willingly participated in conduct.
- Consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity.
- Consent can be withdrawn at any time. When consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity for which consent was initially provided must stop.
- Consent cannot be procured, expressly or implicitly, by use of force, intimidation, threats or coercion or by overcoming the physical limitations of another person.
Formal Complaint: Formal complaint means a document – including an electronic submission - filed by a Complainant with a signature or other indication that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint, or signed by the Title IX Coordinator, alleging Sexual Misconduct against a Respondent about conduct within the University’s education program or activity and requesting initiation of the procedures consistent with the resolution process outlined in this Policy.
Incapacitation: Incapacitation is the physical and/or mental inability, temporarily or permanently, to understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual situation. Incapacitation may result from mental or physical disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the influence of drugs or alcohol. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if they demonstrate that they are unaware at the time of the incident of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction.
When alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. When drug use is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond being under the influence or impaired by use of the drug. Alcohol and other drugs impact each individual differently, and determining whether an individual is incapacitated requires an individualized determination.
Some of the factors used to determine incapacitation include:
- Stumbling or otherwise exhibited loss of equilibrium
- Bloodshot, glassy or unfocused eyes
- Slurred speech or word confusion
- Vomiting, especially repeatedly
- Outrageous or unusual behavior
- Being disoriented, or confused as to time, place, etc.
- Loss of consciousness
None of these factors, except for the last, may constitute, in and of itself, incapacitation. Nonetheless, the process of finding someone responsible for a violation of the Policy related to incapacity involves careful examination of all evidence, amounting to a sufficient or insufficient meeting of the preponderance of the evidence standard. This standard may be met with some combination of factors.
Some counter-indicators of incapacity may include:
- Stops to do things to prepare for sexual activity
- Stops to use or request birth control
- Brushes teeth after vomiting
- Goes to restroom
- Carefully removes clothes
- Carries on relatively normal conversations
- Motor abilities are not impaired
The use of alcohol or other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion about whether consent is effectively sought and freely given. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of one's own or the other individual's intoxication or incapacitation, the safest course of action is to forgo or cease any sexual contact. A Respondent's voluntary intoxication is never an excuse for, or a defense to, prohibited conduct, and it does not diminish the responsibility to determine that the other person has given consent.
In evaluating consent in cases of reported incapacitation due to alcohol or other drugs, the University considers all of the above factors in determining two issues: 1) Is there a preponderance of evidence that the Complainant was incapacitated; and 2) Did the Respondent know that the Complainant was incapacitated and, if not, should a sober, reasonable person in a similar set of circumstances as the Respondent have known that the Complainant was incapacitated? If the answer to both of these questions is "yes," there was no consent.
Parties: The Parties are the Complainant and the Respondent, collectively.
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.
Respondent: The Respondent is a person against whom an allegation of Sexual Misconduct under this Policy has been made.
Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Misconduct as used in this Policy means the following forms of Title IX sexual harassment: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Harassment (quid pro quo), Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence and Stalking. It also includes Sexual Exploitation. Each of these types of misconduct are defined in Section III. Prohibited Conduct. Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.
Student: Student refers to a University student, including a student who has been admitted to the University but who has not yet begun classes; any matriculated undergraduate or graduate student who is enrolled in classes or who may not be presently enrolled but is eligible for re-enrollment; is on an approved leave; is currently serving a suspension, expulsion, or interim restriction; or is awaiting a degree. This Policy applies even if the student withdraws from school while a disciplinary matter is pending.
Witness: Witness refers to an individual who may have information relevant to a report of Sexual Misconduct. A Witness may be a student, an employee, or a third party.
III. Prohibited Conduct
The following conduct is prohibited under this Policy and will be handled in accordance with the procedures in this Policy.
Sexual Assault: Sexual Assault is an offense that meets the definition of the following sex offenses as used in the FBl's Uniform Crime Reporting system:
- Rape: The actual or attempted penetration, however slightly, of a person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sodomy: Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Sexual Assault With An Object: To use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Fondling: The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person's will or not forcibly or against the person's will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of their youth or because of their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
- Incest: Nonforcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
- Statutory Rape: Nonforcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent of 18 years old.
Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive and objectively offensively that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive comments or other conduct based on sex, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature. This definition will be interpreted and applied in a manner consistent with the accepted standards of mature behavior, academic freedom, and the mission of the University.
Examples of sexual harassment may, depending on the circumstances, include, but are not limited to:
- A student repeatedly contacts another student to go out on a date after the student has made it clear that he or she is not interested. (This is an example of hostile environment harassment)
- A student is called a “dyke” or “fag” by a classmate, who also makes sexually explicit remarks.
- A male staff assistant in a science lab repeatedly makes disparaging comments about women not being suited for science such as “science is a man’s field.”
- A student worker tells his supervisor that he is not comfortable with her massaging his shoulders, but she continues to do so and also makes comments about how she finds him attractive.
Sexual Harassment (Quid Pro Quo): Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment occurs when a University employee conditions educational benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
Domestic Violence: Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of California, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of California. Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Domestic violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior.
Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s characterization of that relationship, and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence can be a single event or a pattern of behavior. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Stalking: The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: 1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or 2) suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purpose of this definition: 1) “course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property;
2) “reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim; 3) “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Examples of Stalking behavior are:
- Repeated, unwanted and intrusive communications by phone, mail, text message, email and/or other electronic communications, including social media;
- Repeatedly leaving or sending the victim unwanted items, presents or flowers;
- Following or lying in wait for the victim at places such as the victim’s home, school, work or recreational facilities;
- Making direct or indirect threats to harm the victim or the victim’s children, relatives, friends or pets;
- Damaging or threatening to damage the victim’s property; or
- Repeated posting of information or spreading rumors about the victim on the internet, in a public place, or by word of mouth that would cause a person to feel threatened or intimidated.
Sexual Exploitation: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone’s advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other Sexual Misconduct offenses. Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:
- Invasion of sexual privacy;
- Prostituting another person;
- Non-consensual taking of photographs/images, video recording, and/or audio recording of a sexual activity;
- Non-consensual distribution of photographs/images, video recording, audio recording, or live-streaming of a sexual activity;
- Intentional removal or attempted removal of clothing that exposes an individual’s bra, underwear or an intimate body part or is otherwise sexual in nature without consent;
- Allowing third parties to observe sexual activities or view another’s intimate body parts, in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent;
- Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
- Knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection to another person;
- Exposing one’s intimate body parts in non-consensual circumstances;
- Inducing another to expose his/her intimate body parts in non-consensual circumstances; or
- Possessing, distributing, viewing, or forcing others to view pornography.
Note: Sexual Exploitation is not considered Title IX Sexual Harassment. Nonetheless, if the alleged conduct that supports an allegation of Sexual Exploitation involves Students as both the Complainant and the Respondent, or the Student as a Respondent in an allegation by an employee, it will be decided using the process set forth in this Policy. If it involves allegations by a Student against an employee or an employee against another employee, the matter will be investigated and handled for determination by the Senior Director of Human Resources in consultation with the employee’s supervisor or, if a faculty member, the Dean of the School in which the faculty member teaches.
Bad Faith Complaint of Sexual Misconduct: Knowingly reporting a false allegation of Sexual Misconduct, including one made as a counter-complaint, is prohibited. The fact that there has been a University determination that there was no Sexual Misconduct does not, by itself, mean that the complaint was made in bad faith.
Retaliation: 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 in person, through 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. Retaliation may be present against a person even when the person’s allegations of prohibited conduct are not substantiated.
The Title IX Coordinator or designee, with the assistance of member(s) of the Title IX team where appropriate, will investigate claims of Bad Faith Complaint of Sexual Misconduct and Retaliation. After notice to the parties involved and an opportunity to address in writing or in person (at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator) the facts supporting or in opposition to the allegations, The Title IX Coordinator or designee will make an administrative decision as to whether there has been a violation of these forms of Prohibited Conduct.
IV. Assistance Following Sexual Misconduct
The University will seek to support any person adversely impacted by Sexual Misconduct, regardless of whether a victim elects to pursue a criminal complaint or whether the offense is alleged to have occurred in connection with the University’s campus, programs or activities and/or constituents.
Both the University and the community provide a variety of resources to assist and support individuals who have experienced Sexual Misconduct or are affected by allegations of Sexual Misconduct. These resources, both immediate and ongoing, are available to all persons irrespective of their decision to report the incident to the University or to law enforcement.
What to do if you experience sexual violence:
- Get to a safe place.
- Call 911 if in immediate danger, if you are injured, or if the community is in possible danger.
- If on Biola’s La Mirada campus, call Biola’s Emergency Line at (562) 777-4000 instead of 911. Biola’s dispatch will call 911, which will facilitate emergency services to the needed location more quickly than calling 911 directly.
- If on Biola’s New York campus, call 911 directly.
- Consider seeking immediate professional support on or off campus to assist you in the crisis.
- In cases of sexual assault, for your safety and well-being, immediate medical attention is encouraged to evaluate for physical injury and sexually transmitted diseases. Further, being examined as soon as possible, ideally within 72 hours, is important for evidence collection, which may be used to support prosecution should you decide immediately or later to pursue criminal charges. To preserve evidence, it is best that you do not bathe, shower, douche, or change clothes before that exam. Even if you have already bathed, you are still encouraged to have prompt medical care. Additionally, you are encouraged to gather bedding, linens, or unlaundered clothing and any other pertinent articles that may be used for evidence.
- Talk to a counselor. Even after the immediate crisis has passed, contact confidential on-campus and/or off-campus resources for emotional support, information, and/or advocacy.
- Report the conduct to the Title IX Coordinator or the Campus Safety Response Team, so that the University can advise you of your options and take appropriate action:
Senior Title IX Coordinator:
Student Services Building, Student Development13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5807
Campus Safety Response Team:
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 903-6000
On-Campus Resources and Support:
- Biola Counseling Center: 562-903-4800
- Biola Student Health Center: 562-903-4841
Off-Campus Places to Report Sexual Misconduct:
- 911 (for emergencies)
- La Mirada Sheriff’s Department
13716 La Mirada Blvd.
La Mirada, CA 90638
Telephone: (562) 902-2960
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Hall of Justice
211 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone: (213) 229-1700
Off-Campus Confidential Resources and Support:
- Clergy (e.g., pastoral staff)
- National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE or via their live chat service.
- Sexual Assault Crisis 24-Hour Hotline: (714) 957-2737
A person experiencing Sexual Misconduct may need a variety of resources. The resources provided by the University are:
|ON CAMPUS||Type of Services Available||Service Provider||Contact Information|
|Counseling||Counseling services||Biola Counseling Center||(562) 903-4800|
|Health||Basic medical services||Biola Student Health Center||(562) 903-4841|
|Mental Health||Psychiatric services||Biola Student Health Center||(562) 903-4841|
|Visa and Immigration Assistance||Visa and Immigration assistance||Registrar’s Office||(562) 777-4007|
|Student Financial Aid||Assistance with student finances||Financial Aid Department||(562) 903-4742|
|Law Enforcement Assistance||Assistance in notifying law enforcement||Campus Safety||(562) 903-6000|
Some off-campus resources available are as follows:
|OFF CAMPUS||Type of Services Available||Service Provider||Contact Information|
|Counseling||Counseling services||Contact the Biola Counseling Center for a referral||(562) 903-4800|
|Health||Forensic examination and medical services||PIH Health Hospital||(562) 698-0811|
|Mental Health||Mental health services||PIH Health Hospital||(562) 698-0811|
|Survivor Advocacy||Survivor assistance||Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)||(800) 656-4673|
|Visa and Immigration Assistance||Visa and Immigration assistance||USCIS Immigration Service Center||(800) 375-5283|
Other resources available to victims of Sexual Misconduct:
http://www.rainn.org – Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network
https://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault – Department of Justice
http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/index.html – Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
https://waymakersoc.org - Waymakers Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline 24-hour: (714) 957-2737
https://ywcagla.org/ - YWCA Greater Los Angeles 24-hour Sexual Assault Crisis Line: (877) 943-5778
Local hospitals that have a SART (Sexual Assault Response Team):
PIH Health Hospital
12401 Washington Blvd. Whittier, CA 90602
Restraining Orders, Criminal No-Contact Orders, and University No-Contact Directives
Individuals who would like to avoid contact with another individual as a result of alleged Sexual Misconduct have several options available to them, including seeking a restraining order (also called a “protective order”) from a civil court, a criminal no-contact order from a criminal court, or requesting a no-contact directive from the University.
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 or at the request of the Complainant or the Respondent. To request a no-contact directive from the University, individuals should contact the Senior Title IX Coordinator at (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5807 or email@example.com.
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. Reporting Sexual Misconduct
The University encourages all individuals to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct or suspected Sexual Misconduct, whether they are Complainants or Witnesses. Individuals subjected to Sexual Misconduct have several reporting options. At the University, individuals can report anonymously, can file a confidential report or institute a Formal Complaint. Resources outside the University are available to survivors of Sexual Misconduct to file a criminal charge with local law enforcement or file civil litigation against the Respondent.
Under California law, the University is required to immediately, or as soon as practicably possible, disclose to local law enforcement any report of sexual assault, whether committed on or off campus. If the individual communicates to the University that they would like their identity withheld, the University will not disclose the individual's or the alleged Respondent's identity in its report to law enforcement.
A. Privacy and Confidentiality
The University encourages individuals who believe they have experienced Sexual Misconduct to talk to someone about what happened. The University will make every reasonable effort to preserve an individual’s privacy and protect the confidentiality of information provided. The degree to which confidentiality can be protected, however, depends upon the professional role of the person being consulted and the circumstances surrounding the misconduct. Different people on campus have different reporting responsibilities and different abilities to maintain privacy or confidentiality.
The University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or Formal Complaint to a Title IX Coordinator, including any Complainant, Respondent, or Witness, except as may be permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as required by law, or to carry out the procedures in this Policy. This means that the University will protect the individual's privacy but may disclose information to those who have a legitimate need to know.
2. Confidential Communications and Resources
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. Exceptions to maintaining confidentiality are set by law. For example, physicians and nurses who treat a physical injury sustained during a sexual assault are required to report to law enforcement. Also, physicians, nurses, psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers must report a sexual assault committed against a person under 18 years of age or a vulnerable adult. An imminent threat to the life of any person must also be reported.
An individual can speak confidentially with certain persons in legally protected roles. They include counselors, clergy, and sexual assault counselors. Information shared with other individuals is not legally protected from being disclosed.
The University has designated confidential resources who are not obligated to report information that is provided to them. These resources are the counselors in the Biola Counseling Center (562-903-4800) and Todd Pickett, Dean of Spiritual Development & Campus Pastor and members of the Pastoral Care team in Spiritual Development (562-777-4041; firstname.lastname@example.org; Student Services Building (south wing)). 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. Additionally, employees may seek confidential services from the Employee Assistance Program through Cigna (800-538-3543; www.cignalap.com).
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 University officials designated in the “Reports to the University” section below, 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), conduct an investigation into the particular incident, or pursue disciplinary action.
3. Non-Confidential Communications/Responsible Employees
Non-confidential communications are those communications with any University employee who is not a confidential resource as identified above. The University has designated certain categories of employees as “responsible employees” who have certain reporting obligations. “Responsible employees” who become aware of incidents or allegations of Sexual Misconduct have a responsibility to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator and must report all known information such as the identities of the Parties, date, time and location and any other details about the incident. At the University, responsible employees are defined as follows:
- All regular and adjunct faculty members;
- Academic department administration personnel;
- Athletics personnel;
- Human Resources employees;
- Student Development officers and their administrative assistants;
- Residence Life staff, including Resident Advisors;
- All student employees of Student Development (e.g. SGA, SPA, GSPD, Commuter Life);
- Any employee who is supervising student employees.
- Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development staff, including student staff;
- Student Success staff, including Peer Academic Advisors and Peer Internship Ambassadors;
- Members of the President’s Administrative Council;
- The President and members of his Cabinet
A responsible employee who fails to timely report suspected misconduct may be subjected to disciplinary action, the severity of which will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
All other employees and all students, even if not “responsible employees,” are also strongly encouraged to share any incidents of alleged Sexual Misconduct of which they become aware to a Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety.
The University will protect the privacy of the individuals involved in a report of Sexual Misconduct by only sharing information with other University employees on a need-to-know basis. The allegations will not be shared with outside law enforcement without the consent of the individual who has alleged the Sexual Misconduct, unless the allegations relate to physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect of a child under the age of 18 (see the “Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse” section below for more information) or unless the University is compelled to do so by a subpoena or court order.
4. Statistical Reporting and Crime Alert
As required by federal law, the University includes statistics about certain offenses in its annual security reports and provides those statistics to the U.S. Department of Education in a manner that does not include any personally identifying information about individuals involved in an incident. In addition, the Clery Act requires the University to issue a crime alert (also referred to as a “timely warning”) to the campus community about certain reported offenses which may represent a serious or continuing threat to students and employees. The crime alert may include information such as the fact that an incident has been reported, general information surrounding the incident, and how incidents of a similar nature might be prevented in the future. The crime alert will not include any identifying information about the individual who has alleged the Sexual Misconduct.
B. Reports to the University
The University urges anyone who experiences or becomes aware of an incident involving Sexual Misconduct to report the incident to the University by contacting any of the following:
- Senior Title IX Coordinator:
Student Services Building, Student Development
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5807
- Campus Safety Response Team:
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 903-6000
- A Title IX Deputy Coordinator:
For undergraduate students (or applicants):
Laura Igram-Edwards, Assistant Dean of Community Life
Student Union Building
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5840
For graduate students (or applicants):
Dr. Yvana Uranga-Hernandez, Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders Clinic Director
Dorothy English Hall, Room 64
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 777-4072
Susan Kaneshiro, Associate Director, Human Resources Business Partner or Traci Hart, Human Resources Business Partner
Metzger Hall, Human Resources
13800 Biola Ave.
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 903-4757
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
For Inter-Collegiate Athletic Programs:
Nathanael Cook, Athletics Administrator for Facilities and Events
13800 Biola Ave,
La Mirada, CA 90639
Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 3140
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 the name of the individual alleged to have experienced Sexual Misconduct, the name of the accused(s), and the date, time, place, and circumstances of the incident(s).
C. Anonymous Reports
The University will accept anonymous reports of Sexual Misconduct. 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 as appropriate. 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.
D. Reports to Law Enforcement
Some types of Sexual Misconduct prohibited by this Policy are crimes. Individuals who believe they may have been the victim of a crime are strongly encouraged to report it to the Campus Safety Response Team by calling (562) 777-4000 and/or by contacting local law enforcement. If the individual chooses, a member of the Campus Safety Response Team will assist in notifying law enforcement authorities and/or will help facilitate filing a report with the appropriate police agency. Actions by the police agency may include conducting an interview, facilitating with medical follow-up, and assisting with protective orders. Individuals also have the option to decline to notify such authorities. Campus Safety personnel will assist and give advice regarding the importance of preserving evidence for the proof of a criminal offense and to whom the alleged offense should be reported. However, it is the individual’s decision whether or not to file a police report and/or to pursue civil action against the Respondent. Individuals may file a criminal complaint and a report of Sexual Misconduct to the University simultaneously. Reporting to law enforcement is not necessary for the University to proceed with an investigation and the complaint resolution procedure under this Policy.
Individuals who would like to report criminal sexual misconduct to law enforcement should contact the following:
- 911 (for emergencies)
- La Mirada Sheriff’s Department
13716 La Mirada Blvd.
La Mirada, CA 90638
Telephone: (562) 902-2960
- Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department
Hall of Justice
211 W. Temple St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone: (213) 229-1700
E. Immunity for Related Violations of Community Standards and University Policies
Sometimes an individual may be reluctant to report an instance of Sexual Misconduct because of the fear of being charged with a violation of the University’s Community Standards and Policies by virtue of having had some involvement in the circumstances that may have led to the Sexual Misconduct (e.g., a person was at a party where the alleged Sexual Misconduct occurred, and has knowledge of it, but does not want to report because she/he had been drinking). The University’s primary concern is for the safety of its students and employees and, accordingly, the University encourages individuals to report instances of Sexual Misconduct and will take into consideration the importance of reporting such instances in addressing violations of the University’s Community Standards and Policies.
In accordance with California law, an individual who participates as a Complainant, reporting party, or Witness in an investigation of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking will not be subject to disciplinary sanctions for a violation of the University’s Community Standards or Policies at or near the time of the incident, unless the University determines that the violation was egregious, including but not limited to, an action that places the health or safety of any other person at risk, or involves plagiarism, cheating, or academic dishonesty. Examples of egregious violations include, but are not limited to:
- Not seeking help when an individual is aware of a known medical concern or condition of another individual (e.g., alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, etc.) at the time of the violation(s);
- Dealing, providing, or encouraging the use of drugs during the time of the violation(s); or
- Threatening or causing physical harm to another individual, including instances where an individual is harmed by the conduct constituting a violation of the University’s Community Standards or Policies.
F. Requests for Non-Action or Anonymity
When the University receives a report of Sexual Misconduct, it has an obligation to respond in a timely and appropriate manner. Filing a report with the University does not require an individual to begin or participate in the complaint resolution procedure or to file a report with local law enforcement. However, based on the information gathered and the totality of the circumstances involved, the University may determine that it has a responsibility to move forward with the complaint resolution procedure, even without the participation of the individual who has alleged the Sexual Misconduct.
If an individual requests that the University not investigate or seek action against the Respondent or that their name or other identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent, the University will need to determine whether or not it can honor such a request while continuing to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all individuals, including the individual who reported the incident.
VI. Actions Taken Upon Notification to Title IX Coordinator
Upon receipt of a report of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will determine the best course of action based on the information presented. At least one of three of the following options may be pursued: (1) offer supportive measures, (2) initiate an informal resolution process, or (3) initiate a formal grievance process. Options 2 and 3 require the filing of a Formal Complaint.
A. Emergency Removal
At any time prior to or during implementation of the options identified above, the University may remove a Student Respondent from the education program or activity on an emergency basis when an individualized safety and risk analysis has determined that removal is justified due to an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any individual. This risk assessment is performed by the Assistant Dean of Student Care or designee who may consult with other University or non-University officials or persons in order to objectively evaluate the risk. The Assistant Dean has sole discretion to determine the conditions related to an emergency removal such as how long it should be, whether it should be limited to certain activities (e.g., housing restriction only or a complete ban from all programs and activities, and whether a removal already implemented should be stayed. Should Respondent violate an emergency removal, the Respondent may be subject to discipline which could include permanent dismissal.
If the Assistant Dean determines to implement an emergency removal, the Respondent shall be given written notice that contains the basis for the decision and the details of the restrictions, conditions and duration. The Respondent will have 72 hours to challenge the decision by submitting in writing his or her statement and any other information that supports Respondent’s contention that the removal or any of its conditions are not warranted. The writing shall be submitted to the Office of the Provost (email@example.com) who will make a decision as to whether the emergency removal decision shall be upheld. This process is in addition to and does not replace the investigation and hearing process which will continue in accordance with the procedures in this Policy.
The emergency removal is also applicable to Employee Respondents who may be placed on paid administrative leave during the grievance process. The decision relating to employees will be made by the Senior Director of Human Resources or designee, which decision is final and not subject to further review.
B. Initial Meeting with Title IX Coordinator
Upon receiving a report of potential Sexual Misconduct under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator shall meet with a Student Complainant. A Deputy Title IX Coordinator for employees shall meet with an Employee Complainant. The Complainant may bring a support person to this initial meeting. During the initial meeting with the Complainant, the appropriate Title IX Coordinator 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 process to file a Formal Complaint and the options to pursue an informal resolution process or to initiate a formal grievance process, as well as a description of what each entails. The Complainant will also be notified during this meeting of the right to have an Advisor present and the role the Advisor may play in the process.
C. Supportive Measures
Complainants and Respondents shall be informed of supportive measures which are non-disciplinary, non-punitive services or options designed to preserve or restore access to the University’s programs or activities which could include measures designed to protect the safety of the Parties or the educational environment as well as deter Sexual Misconduct. Appropriate, reasonably available supportive services are available regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is filed and shall not unreasonably burden the other Party. During the initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, the Complainant will be able to express a preference with regard to what supportive measures are desired and this preference will be considered by the Title IX Coordinator in deciding what measures to implement or offer. The supportive measures available to both the Complainant and Respondent may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment, on and off campus;
- Imposition of a mutual or one-way on-campus "no-contact directive";
- Rescheduling of exams and assignments;
- Providing alternative course completion options;
- Changing class schedules, including the ability to transfer course sections or withdrawal from a course without penalty;
- Changing work schedules or job assignments;
- Changing a student's University-owned housing whether voluntary or not;
- Assistance from University support staff in completing University housing relocation;
- Limiting an individual's or organization's access to certain University facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter;
- Voluntary leave of absence;
- Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities;
- Providing medical services;
- Providing academic support services, such as tutoring; and/or
- Any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to achieve the goals of this Policy.
VII. Grievance Process
A. Filing a Formal Complaint
The Grievance Process begins with the filing of a Formal Complaint. To file a Formal Complaint, a Complainant must provide the Title IX Coordinator a written, signed complaint describing the facts alleged. Complainants are only able to file a Formal Complaint under this Policy if they are currently participating in, or attempting to participate in, the education programs or activities of the University, including as an employee. For Complainants who do not meet this criteria, the University will direct the Complainant to any other applicable existing policy.
If a Complainant does not wish to make a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may determine if a Formal Complaint is necessary. The University will inform the Complainant of this decision in writing, and the Complainant need not participate in the process further but will receive all notices issued under this Policy as part of the grievance process.
Nothing in the Grievance Policy prevents a Complainant from seeking the assistance of state or local law enforcement concurrent with the University’s grievance process.
B. Initial Assessment/Dismissal of Complaint
Once a Formal Complaint has been filed, the appropriate Title IX Coordinator is required to conduct an initial assessment to determine if the complaint falls within the scope of Title IX. The Title IX regulations require the University to dismiss a complaint if, at any time during the process, it is determined that one or more of the following is true:
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred before August 14, 2020;
- The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint, even if proved, would not constitute Sexual Harassment until Title IX;
- The alleged conduct occurred against a person outside of the United States;
- The alleged conduct did not occur in the University’s educational programs or activities as defined in section I.B. (Scope) of this Policy;
- At the time of filing the Formal Complaint, the Complainant is not participating in or attempting to participate in the education programs or activities of the University.
There are also circumstances when the University may dismiss a complaint. At any time during the investigation, informal resolution process if applicable, or the hearing, the complaint may be dismissed if:
- The Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that he or she wants to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any of the allegations stated therein; or
- The Respondent is no longer affiliated with the University due to not being enrolled if a Student or no longer being employed if an employee; or
- The University is unable to gather the evidence needed in order for a determination to be made.
In the event of a dismissal of a Formal Complaint, the University will promptly send written notice of the dismissal that also contains the reasons for the dismissal. Dismissal of the Formal Complaint under the Title IX regulations does not necessarily mean that the complaint cannot proceed under other provisions of the University’s code of conduct. If the University decides to pursue the complaint under other policies or codes of conduct, the Parties will be so notified and any changes to the process stated herein will be explained to the Parties at the time of that notice.
The decision to dismiss the Formal Complaint is appealable to the Office of the Provost (email firstname.lastname@example.org). The appeal must be filed within ten (10) calendar days of being notified of the dismissal and must be based on one of the following:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the dismissal was made which could affect the outcome of the matter; or
- The Title IX Coordinator had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
The University will notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and the timeframe in which both Parties will have an opportunity to submit a written statement in support of or against the decision to dismiss the Formal Complaint. The University will endeavor to reach a decision on the appeal within 21 calendar days of the initial filing of the appeal but will notify the Parties in the event of a delay.
C. Notice of Allegations
Once a Formal Complaint has been filed, the appropriate Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and the Respondent, if known, written notice to either the Parties’ Biola-issued email address, in person, or mailed to a physical address on file with the University. The notice shall contain the following:
- Notice of the University’s formal grievance process and informal resolution process;
- Notice of the allegations supporting the claim of Sexual Misconduct with sufficient details (the nature of the conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Misconduct, and the date and location of conduct, if known at the time) and with sufficient notice (normally between 3 and 5 calendar days) to prepare for the initial interview;
- A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
- A statement that the Parties may have an Advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney;
- A statement that before the conclusion of the investigation, the Parties may inspect and review evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, and evidence that tends to both prove or disprove the allegations, whether obtained from a party or other source, and that the Parties’ Adviser may inspect and review such evidence;
- A statement notifying the Parties of the University’s policy against Retaliation and that knowingly making false statements or submitting false information during the grievance process is prohibited; and
- Information regarding disability accommodations available throughout the process.
If, in the course of an investigation, the University decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the Notice of Allegations, the University will notify the Parties of the additional allegations to the Parties if known.
D. Rights, Obligations and General Principles
1. Right to an Advisor
The Complainant and the Respondent have the right to be assisted by an Advisor of their choice. The purpose of the Advisor is to support an individual during the grievance process, including accompanying the individual to in-person interviews, other meetings, at the hearing and appeal meetings, as well as at informal resolution meetings.
- 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 only exception to this relates to the Advisor’s role in conducting cross-examination as explained in the hearing procedures below.
- The Advisor may not communicate directly with the investigator(s), decision makers, hearing officer(s), appeal officer(s), the Title IX Coordinator or any other school official involved in the grievance 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 Title IX Coordinator. 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 the hearing by the other party or the decision makers.
- 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 Title IX Coordinator should be promptly notified of any change in Advisor. As for the hearing, notice of the Advisor’s identity must be provided no later than two business days prior to the hearing and the University expects the Advisers 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.
2. Non-Participation and Silence
Either party may decline, at any time, to provide information or participate further in the grievance 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. For more information pertaining to a party’s participation at a hearing, see Hearing Procedures in section G.2. below.
3. Obligation to Act in Good Faith
Reports and complaints of alleged Sexual Misconduct 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 throughout the grievance 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 Title IX Coordinator within three (3) business days of learning of the potential bias or conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator 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 participating in any other decision-making aspect of the grievance process.
If the Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest with respect to a Complaint, the Vice President of Student Development shall appoint an alternative person to oversee the grievance process and adherence to this Policy with respect to the Complaint.
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 Title IX Coordinator if he/she needs assistance during the process in sufficient time before any interviews, meetings or hearings so that appropriate accommodations can be made.
6. Time Frames for Resolution
The University is committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of allegations of Sexual Misconduct, and generally seeks to conclude its process within 90 calendar days of the filing of the Formal Complaint and its appeal process within 21 calendar days thereafter. When an Informal Resolution is pursued, the University seeks to conclude that process within 30 days of the Formal Complaint having been filed. 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 Title IX Coordinator will notify the Parties in writing of the anticipated extended time frame.
In cases where an incident has also been reported to law enforcement, the University will not delay its investigation and adjudication processes to wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or proceeding. The University will, however, comply with valid requests by law enforcement for information and/or cooperation in a criminal investigation. As such, the University may need to temporarily delay an investigation under this Policy while law enforcement is in the process of gathering evidence.
Complainants are encouraged to begin the grievance process as soon as possible following an alleged Sexual Misconduct incident. There is, however, 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.
7. Applicable Policy
When the University receives a Report or a Complaint of a violation of this Policy, the University will generally apply the grievance processes and procedures from the Policy that is in effect at the time that the Report or Complaint is made (so long as the conduct giving rise to the Complaint was on or after August 14, 2020) and generally will apply the Sexual Misconduct definitions from the policy that was in effect at the time the alleged misconduct 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 these procedures, the University reserves the right to modify the procedures or to take other administrative action as appropriate under the circumstances.
E. 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. An informal resolution process will not be offered to resolve allegations of Sexual Misconduct against a Student by an employee but may be appropriate to resolve allegations between two employees and may be appropriate when the Parties to a given conflict are a Student Complainant and a Student Respondent.
Although both Parties may voluntarily consent to the informal resolution process, the ultimate decision as to whether such a process is appropriate is left to the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
Prior to implementing an informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Parties with written notice of the alleged Sexual Misconduct and any sanctions or measures that may result from participating in an informal resolution process, including information regarding any records that will be maintained or shared by the University. The University will obtain voluntary, written confirmation that all Parties wish to resolve the matter through informal resolution before proceeding and will not pressure the Parties to participate in an informal resolution.
If the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator or designee all agree to pursue an informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator or appointed facilitator will attempt to reach a resolution that is agreeable to the Parties. The role of the Title IX Coordinator or facilitator 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 process, the University will not necessarily need to complete the entire investigative process. Rather, it is acceptable to 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 informal resolution process and to proceed with the formal hearing process, the informal resolution process will stop and the formal hearing process described below will proceed. The informal resolution process can also proceed should there be the voluntary agreement to do so and the Title IX Coordinator agrees.
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 Sexual Misconduct.
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 hearing process is unavailable to resolve the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint.
The Title IX Coordinator will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal resolution.
When the Parties cannot agree on all terms necessary to resolve the dispute, the formal grievance process will be resumed wherever it left off before the informal process was attempted. Information developed during the informal resolution process, if not already part of the record through the investigation already conducted or as stated in the Formal Complaint, will be treated as confidential and not available to be used in the formal grievance process.
F. Informal Resolution
Sexual Misconduct investigations are typically investigated by Campus Safety personnel who are trained professional investigators or, in some instances where Clery crimes are not implicated, by other properly trained investigators. The University also reserves the right to hire an outside investigator to conduct a Sexual Misconduct investigation.
2. Burden of Proof
The University, not the Parties, has the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence, i.e. the responsibility of showing a violation of this Policy has occurred. This burden does not rest with either party, and either party may decide not to share their account of what occurred or may decide not to participate in an investigation or hearing. This does not shift the burden of proof away from the University and does not indicate responsibility.
3. Access to Medical Records
The University cannot access, consider, or disclose medical records without a waiver from the party (or parent, if applicable) to whom the records belong or of whom the records include information.
4. Recording of Interviews
No unauthorized audio or video recording or transcription of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. The investigator(s) will record by audio and/or video interviews with notice to the Parties of the fact of the recording. Although the recordings or transcriptions of interviews or investigation meetings will not be shared with the Parties, Witnesses or Advisors, a summary of relevant evidence obtained during the process that is directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint will be shared with the Parties and their Advisors as described below.
5. Witness Participation
When feasible, Witness interviews should be conducted in person. If, due to the location of the witness, possible school breaks, etc., it is impractical to do so, a remote interview is acceptable. An investigator may also allow a Witness to submit a written statement instead of being interviewed but if that Witness is not available at the time of the hearing for cross-examination, absent agreement by both Parties, the statement cannot be used as evidence at the hearing.
6. Investigative Procedures
When investigating the allegations in a Formal Complaint, the University agrees to do the following:
- The University will provide an equal opportunity for the Parties to present Witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, (i.e. evidence that tends to prove and disprove the allegations) as described below.
- Not restrict the ability of either Party to discuss the allegations or to gather and present relevant evidence.
- Allow both Parties to have an Advisor present during the investigation meetings although the Advisors may not speak for the Parties.
- Provide to the Parties written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews with sufficient time (normally two or three calendar days) for the party to prepare to participate in the interview.
- Provide the Parties with an equal opportunity to inspect and review the evidence obtained through the investigation, including any evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination and any inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. The purpose of the inspection and review process is to allow each party the equal opportunity to meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation.
- The University will send the evidence made available for each party to inspect and review through the Parties’ Biola issued e-mail account and to the advisors, if any, to the email provided by the Parties. The Parties and the Advisors must adhere to any restrictions or limitations on access that are provided to them at the time of transmission.
- The Parties will be allowed ten calendar days to respond in writing to the evidence presented and may submit additional evidence as part of the response. This response and any additional evidence will be considered by the investigator prior to completion of the final investigative report and will be shared with the other Party. The investigator will then incorporate any additional relevant evidence in, and prepare, the final investigation report.
- Evidence obtained in the investigation that is determined in the reasoned judgment of the investigator not to be directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint will be included in the appendices to the investigation report.
- The final investigation report shall contain a statement of the steps taken to obtain evidence during the investigation and a summary of all relevant evidence. The report will be sent to each Party and the party's Advisor, if any, in an electronic format for their review through the Parties’ Biola issued e-mail account and to the advisors, if any, to the email provided by the Parties. The Parties and the Advisors must adhere to any restrictions or limitations on access that are provided to them at the time of transmission.. The Parties will have at least seven (7) calendar days to submit a written response, including any additional evidence, prior to the hearing, which response and evidence, if any, will be shared with the other Party. The Parties will have the opportunity to respond to any new evidence at the hearing.
7. Relevant Investigation Evidence
There are certain types of evidence that the investigators will not consider. Other incidents not directly related to potential Sexual Misconduct will not be considered unless they are relevant for some other purpose such as showing a pattern of behavior. Likewise, evidence pertaining to the Complaint’s prior sexual history will not be considered unless it is relevant to determine that someone other than the Respondent committed the misconduct or if it is used to demonstrate consent because of a history of behavior with the Respondent.
1. Live Hearings
The University will not issue a disciplinary sanction arising from an allegation of Sexual Harassment as defined in this Policy without holding a live hearing. The live hearing may be conducted with all Parties physically present in the same room but only if the Parties agree and if the Title IX Coordinator determines it is in the best interests of the Parties and the University. Otherwise, and in most situations, the hearing will be conducted virtually through video conferencing which allows all Parties, Witnesses and other participants to see and hear each other simultaneously.
2. Hearing Officers/Hearing Participants
A hearing officer is the chair of the 3-person hearing panel (hearing officers) who will decide a case assigned to it. The panel is typically comprised of trained faculty and/or staff members, with a mix of both male and female members. The hearing officer is not a voting member of the panel unless his/her vote is needed to resolve a tie. In cases involving an employee as a Respondent and a Complainant, a one-person decision maker, who will also be the Hearing Officer, may be appropriate at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
The hearing officer may designate a staff member to serve as a hearing facilitator to perform such functions as scheduling the hearing, distributing materials to participants, managing the technology for the hearings, coordinating the presentation of evidence through the Parties and Witnesses.
Live hearings are not public, and the only individuals permitted to participate in the hearing are the Parties, their Advisors, the hearing officer and decision makers, a facilitator, and scheduled Witnesses.
Decision Makers/Hearing Panel - The following are factors to be considered when determining the hearing officer and decision makers/hearing panel on a particular case:
- No member of the hearing panel will also have served as the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX investigator, or Advisor to any Party in the case, nor may any member of the hearing panel serve as an appellate officer in the case.
- No member of the hearing panel will have a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against Complainants or Respondents generally, or in favor or against the Parties to the particular case.
- Members of the hearing panel will be trained on topics including how to serve impartially, issues of relevance, including how to apply the rape shield protections provided for complainants, and any technology to be used at the hearing.
Regarding the Parties’ attendance/participation at the hearing -
- The Parties cannot waive the right to a live hearing;
- The University may still proceed with the live hearing in the absence of a Party, and may reach a determination of responsibility in their absence, including through any evidence gathered. However, a statement provided by the absent Party given during the investigation process may not be used;
- The University will not threaten, coerce, intimidate or discriminate against a Party in an attempt to secure the Party’s attendance;
- If a Party does not submit to cross-examination, the decision makers cannot rely on any prior statements made by that Party in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, but may reach a determination regarding responsibility based on evidence that does not constitute a “statement” by that Party.
- The decision makers cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a Party’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross examination or other questions.
- The Parties, Advisors and Witnesses are expected to conduct themselves in accordance with accepted rules of decorum and consistent with University standards of conduct and ethics.
Witnesses - Witnesses cannot be compelled to participate in live hearings and have the right to be free of retaliation should they choose not to appear. If a Witness does not submit to cross-examination, as described below, the decision makers cannot rely on any statements made by that Witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, including any statement relayed by the absent Witness to a Witness or Party who testifies at the live hearing.
3. Notice of Hearing
At least ten calendar days prior to the date set for the live hearing, the Parties will receive a written notice by email stating the hearing date and will include the following information:
- a description of the behavior that allegedly violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy;
- a copy of all investigative materials provided to the decision makers unless that has already been provided to the Parties (e.g., final investigation report, Parties response to the report, and other relevant information approved by the Hearing Officer);
- a reminder that attendance is mandatory but that if the Party nor the advisor appear, the University will provide an advisor to appear on the Party’s behalf;
- a description of how the hearing will be conducted including the technology to be used;
- a list of all participants with an invitation to the Parties to object to any decision maker based on proof of bias no later than five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
- an opportunity for the Parties to agree that Witness testimony within the investigation report is sufficient so that live testimony is not needed. If there is agreement by the Parties, the Hearing Officer will make the decision as to whether the Witness needs to be present in person at the hearing;
- an opportunity to arrange for any disability accommodations that will be needed at the hearing - this must be requested no later than five (5) calendar days before the hearing;
- an opportunity for each Party to submit cross-examination questions that their Advisor intends to ask the other Party and Witnesses at the hearing. If this is done ahead of time, the Hearing Officer can make rulings relating to the relevance prior to the hearing which would assist in avoiding delays during the hearing. The Parties will be told this is not mandatory as they may still submit cross-examination questions at the time of the hearing;
- an opportunity for each party to present to the Hearing Officer an impact statement for the decision makers to consider when and if sanctions need to be determined.
4. Timing of Hearing and Determination
The hearing shall be held no more than ten calendar days after the final investigation report is sent to the Parties. Hearings may be conducted prior to, simultaneously with, or following criminal or civil proceedings. After the hearing is concluded, the written decision letter will typically be sent to the Parties within three (3) business days. These timeframes may be altered when an employee is a Respondent due to required approval of sanctions by supervisors or others. While the University will use all reasonable efforts to adhere to these timelines, flexibility may be needed depending on the circumstances of a given case. The Parties will be notified of any delays.
5. Conduct of Hearings
For all live hearings conducted under this Title IX Grievance Process, the order of the hearing will be as follows:
- Hearing Officer will open and establish rules and expectations for the hearing including an agenda and a list of Witnesses in the order they are expected to participate;
- Parties (not Advisors) will each be given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their Advisors and provide opening statements of not more than ten minutes;
- The Complainant is asked to provide relevant information through materials provided to the Parties prior to the hearing, as well as through testimony. Decision makers will ask questions directly of the Party and Witnesses about their testimony or evidence in the materials and then they will be subject to cross-examination by the Advisor of the other Party once the Hearing Officer determines the questions are relevant. This same procedure is then used for the Respondent to present testimony and evidence, respond to questions and cross-examination.
- Parties (not Advisors) are given the opportunity to make a brief closing statement of not more than five minutes.
Other considerations relating to the conduct of live hearings are as follows:
- Parties will be given the opportunity for live cross-examination after the decision makers conduct their initial round of questioning. During the Parties’ cross-examination, the Hearing Officer will have the authority to pause cross-examination at any time for the purposes of allowing decision makers to ask their own follow up questions and as necessary to enforce established rules of decorum;
- Each Party’s Advisor will conduct live cross-examination of the other Party and Witnesses. During this live-cross examination the Advisor will ask the other Party or Witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility directly, orally, and in real time;
- Before any cross-examination question is answered, the Hearing Officer will determine if the question is relevant. Cross-examination questions that are duplicative of those already asked, including by the decision makers, may be deemed irrelevant if they have been asked and answered;
- Cross-examination by Advisors must follow the hearing procedures and the standard rules of decorum, which prohibit questioning in an abusive, badgering, intimidating, or disrespectful manner. If a Party's Advisor of choice refuses to comply with these rules of decorum for the hearing, the Hearing Officer may require the party to use a different Advisor. If a University-provided Advisor refuses to comply with these rules of decorum, the Hearing Officer may provide that Party with a different Advisor to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that Party.
- Should a Party or the Party’s Advisor choose not to cross-examine a Party or Witness, the Party shall affirmatively waive cross-examination through a written or oral statement to the Hearing Officer. A Party’s waiver of cross-examination does not eliminate the ability of the decision makers to use statements made by the Party;
- The Hearing Officer will answer all questions of procedure presented before or during a hearing;
- Parties may confer with their Advisor during the hearing in such a way so the hearing is not disturbed and they are not overheard by other participants. The Parties will be cautioned against, however, excessive conferences, with a note that such conduct may be considered when weighing the Party’s credibility. The Hearing Officer also has the discretion to limit the timing and length of breaks requested by the Parties to confer with Advisors.
- 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 decision makers. A record will be made in the hearing notes of additional alleged violation(s) and whether or not the Respondent desires additional preparation time.
6. Determination of Responsibility/Sanctions
Following the hearing, the decision makers will deliberate in order to determine whether there was a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. They will use the preponderance of the evidence standard (whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred) and a majority vote is all that is required to determine the outcome.
If the decision makers determine there was a violation of the Policy, the decision makers will then deliberate to determine what sanctions are appropriate under the circumstances. The decision makers will review and consider any impact statements previously presented by the Parties.
If the Respondent who is found responsible is a Student, the decision makers will make a recommendation to the Hearing Officer/Chairperson as to the appropriate sanction(s) who will decide what sanctions to impose. The Chairperson will then notify the Title IX Coordinator of the decision and sanctions.
If the Respondent who is found responsible is a staff employee or adjunct faculty member, the decision makers will recommend sanctions to the Senior Director of Human Resources who will make the final decision. If the Respondent who is found responsible is a full-time faculty member, the recommended sanctions will be sent to the Dean of the School where the faculty member teaches who will determine the appropriate sanction and who will notify the Title IX Coordinator of the decision.
The Title IX Coordinator will be consulted for the purpose of determining any appropriate remedies for the Complainant.
7. Letter of Determination
Within three (3) business days after the determination of responsibility and sanctions has been made, the Hearing Officer will write a letter of determination and email it to the Parties simultaneously. The determination letter shall include:
- A description of the allegations potentially constituting Sexual Misconduct;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the Parties, interviews with Parties and Witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding which provisions of the Policy the Respondent did or did not violate;
- For each allegation:
- A statement of, and rationale for, a determination regarding responsibility;
- A statement of, and rationale for, any disciplinary sanctions the University imposes on the Respondent; and
- A statement of, and rationale for, whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to theUniversity’s education program or activity will be provided by the University to the Complainant; and
- The availability for and procedures relating to the right to an appeal (described below in “Appeal”).
H. Appeal Process
Each Party may appeal a determination regarding responsibility to the appropriate Appellate Officer. If the Respondent is a Student, the appeal is to be made to the Vice President of Student Development. If the Respondent is a staff employee, the appeal is to be made to the appellate officer designated by the Senior Director of Human Resources. If the Respondent is a faculty employee, the appeal is to be governed by the process set forth in section 8.6 of the Employee Handbook if the sanctions imposed fall within the type of decision which supports the filing of a grievance. If the sanctions imposed do not support such a grievance, the appeal is to be made to the appellate officer designated by the Provost.
The length of appeal must not exceed 10 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt. font) unless prior approval is sought from and obtained by the Appellate Officer. The appeal must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the notice of decision to the Complainant and Respondent. General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for an appeal. Instead, the written appeal must be based on and state one or more of the four grounds specified below:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the dismissal was made which could affect the outcome of the matter;
- Bias or conflict of interest by the Title IX coordinator, investigator(s) or decision maker(s) for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; or
- The severity of the sanction is not appropriate in light of the conduct supporting a violation of the Policy.
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 10 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt. font) unless prior approval is sought from and obtained by the Appellate Officer.
Generally, the appellate process does not require a hearing, nor does it require the Appellate Officer to make personal contact with the sanctioned student or the decision makers. The Appellate Officer has the discretion, however, to contact any of the Parties or participants in the grievance process should it be determined doing so could aid in rendering a decision.
Within fifteen (15) business days from the date of receipt of the written appeal, the Appellate Officer will notify the Parties of the decision and the rationale for it. The Appellate Officer may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction and may also return the case to the decision makers for further consideration. The Appellate Officer’s decision shall be final and effective immediately unless otherwise specified. The notification to the Parties will be by email to the parties’ Biola accounts.
I. Effects of Sanctions
When students are suspended or expelled for disciplinary reasons, there will be no refund of tuition or room charges for the semester and financial aid may be canceled. Absences from classes and chapels are not excused and academic work that is missed may not be made up. Upon permanent separation from University housing, students may apply to Auxiliary Services for unused board charges.
If a violation occurs just prior to a student's scheduled graduation, sanctions may be imposed even if all academic requirements are completed. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, community service, research or reflective paper, restitution, loss of privilege to participate in the graduation ceremony, deferment of degree, and a transcript hold. The University may withhold issuing a degree until all sanctions are fulfilled. In the case of a serious violation, the University may permanently withhold a degree.
J. 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.
VIII. Complaints of Retaliation, Violation of Interim Measures, and Violation of Sanctions
Any complaint relating to retaliation in violation of this Policy, violations of supportive measures, or violations of sanctions should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator. The University will take appropriate action against any individual who retaliates against another person in violation of this Policy or who violates supportive measures or sanctions.
When the University receives a complaint of retaliation or of violations of supportive measures or sanctions, the Title IX Coordinator 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 Sexual Misconduct Complaints. For a complaint of retaliation or of violations of supportive measures or sanctions, the Title IX Coordinator 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 Title IX Coordinator.
IX. Alternative Complaint Procedures
Individuals are encouraged to use the complaint resolution procedure in this Policy to resolve a Complaint of Sexual Misconduct. 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
- 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
Telephone: (916) 431-6959
Fax: (916) 263-1897