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Sexual Misconduct Policy - Title IX

I. Introduction

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”) outlines the University’s commitment to ensuring that its campus is free from Sexual Misconduct, the steps for recourse for those individuals whose rights may have been violated, and the procedures for determining a violation of this Policy. This Policy applies to the following forms of sex discrimination, which are referred to collectively as “Sexual Misconduct:” sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. For the University’s policy against other forms of discrimination, please see Discrimination and 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.

The goal of this Policy is to create a community free of Sexual Misconduct. The University will take steps to end Sexual Misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. It is the intent of these procedures to allow for the prompt and equitable resolution of all complaints of Sexual Misconduct.

B. Notice of Non-Discrimination/Applicable Laws

Sexual Misconduct is a form of sex discrimination under certain provisions of federal and state law. For example, sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal law that provides that: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” Sex discrimination in employment is also prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Furthermore, the California Equity in Higher Education Act (California Education Code section 66250, et. seq.) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, gender, gender identity, gender expression, nationality, race or ethnicity, religion, and sexual orientation.

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 Sexuality and Relationships Policy.) At the same time, an individual’s engagement in intimate or sexual activities outside of marriage between a man and a woman 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.

C. 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 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, resolve complaints, serve as appellate officers, and/or facilitate informal resolutions of conflicts or complaints.

D. Scope of Policy

This Policy applies to conduct by all University community members, including students, faculty, administrators, staff, trustees, and third parties such as volunteers, vendors, independent contractors, and visitors. All University community members 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 conduct that occurs on campus or University property, conduct that occurs at University-sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus, such as study abroad and internships, and off campus conduct that causes or threatens to cause an unacceptable disruption at the University or which may interfere with an individual’s right to a non-discriminatory educational or work environment.

II. Definitions

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

Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Misconduct as used in this Policy means the following forms of sex discrimination and other misconduct, each of which are defined below under “Prohibited Conduct”: Sexual Assault, Sexual Battery, Sexual Coercion, Sexual Harassment, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Stalking and Sexual Exploitation, as each of those terms are defined below.  Sexual Misconduct can be committed by men or women, and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Complainant: The Complainant, as referred to in this Policy, is an individual or group of individuals who is alleged to have been subject to Sexual Misconduct or other conduct that violates this Policy whether the individual makes a report or seeks disciplinary action.  

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

Report: A report is an account of Sexual Misconduct that has allegedly occurred made to the University by the Complainant, a third party, or an anonymous source.

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

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

Consent:  Consent means affirmative, conscious, and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Under the law, a person under the age of 18 (a minor) is incapable of giving consent. 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.

The following, while not an exhaustive list, are important factors to consider when determining if 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.  

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. 

Coercion: Coercion generally (sexual coercion is defined below) 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.

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 any non-consensual act of penetration, however slight, of a peron’s vaginal or anal openings with any body part and/or object (including a finger) or non-consensual oral-genital contact.

Sexual Battery is any intentional non-consensual sexual contact, however slight, with any object (including any body part). Sexual contact includes contact with intimate body parts (breasts, buttocks, genitals, or areas directly adjacent to the genitals (e.g., inner thigh)), whether directly or over or under clothing; forcing a person to touch another’s intimate body parts; or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Sexual Coercion is the act of using pressure (including physical, verbal, or emotional pressure), alcohol, medications, drugs, or force to have sexual contact against someone's will or with someone who has already refused. 

Sexual Harassment: Sexual harassment is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent, and objectively offensive that it substantially and unreasonably interferes with a student’s ability to participate in, or benefit from, the University’s educational programs and activities or their living environment. 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 professor makes several comments to a student suggesting that if they have a sexual relationship, the professor will give the student a better grade. (This is an example of quid pro quo 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.

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.

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.  

Sexual Contact with a Minor:  Engaging in sexual contact with a person under 18 is prohibited as that person is legally incapable of giving consent.

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.

IV. Assistance Immediately 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, 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 may take appropriate action:
    • Senior Title IX Coordinator
      Dawn White
      Student Services Building, Student Development
      13800 Biola Ave.
      La Mirada, CA 90639
      Telephone: (562) 903-6000, Ext. 5887
      Email: titleix.coordinator@biola.edu 
    • 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
Victim Advocacy Victim 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

(562) 698-0811

V. Privacy and Confidentiality

A. Privacy

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.

B. 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.

On-campus and off-campus confidential resources include the following:

  • Biola Counseling Center: (562) 903-4800
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE or via their live chat service.

Some confidential resources serve in multiple roles on campus. If an individual is seeking assistance from a confidential resource in their role as a confidential resource, the individual should contact them and make clear prior to disclosing any information that their assistance is sought in their role as a confidential resource. 

An individual’s pastor may be able to serve as a confidential resource for that individual if the pastor is serving in the role as the individual’s pastoral counselor. The University does not have pastors or pastoral counselors on campus who are confidential resources, but encourages individuals to reach out to their own pastors for support.

A person who speaks to a confidential resource should understand 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.

C. Non-Confidential Communications

Non-confidential communications are those communications with any University employee who is not a confidential resource as identified above. Only confidential resources can promise confidentiality. University employees designated as “responsible employees” who become aware of incidents or allegations of Sexual Misconduct have a responsibility to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator.  

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.

D. 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.

VI. Reporting Sexual Misconduct

A. 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
    Dawn White
    Student Services Building, Student Development
    13800 Biola Ave.
    La Mirada, CA 90639
    Telephone: (562) 903-6000, Ext. 5887
    Email: titleix.coordinator@biola.edu
  • 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
      Biola University
      Student Union Building
      13800 Biola Ave.
      La Mirada, CA 90639
      Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5840
      Email: laura.igram@biola.edu
    • For graduate students (or applicants):
      Dr. Tamara Anderson, Interim Dean of Rosemead School of Psychology
      Biola University
      Rose Hall, Rosemead School of Psychology
      13800 Biola Ave.
      La Mirada, CA 90639
      Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 5761
      Email: tamara.anderson@biola.edu
    • For Employees:
      Susan Kaneshiro, Associate Director, Human Resources Business Partner
      or
      Traci Hart, Human Resources Business Partner
      Biola University
      Metzger Hall, Human Resources
      13800 Biola Ave.
      La Mirada, CA 90639
      Telephone: (562) 903-4757
      Email: susan@biola.edu or traci.hart@biola.edu
    • For pre-college youth programs:
      Mike Brimmage, Director of Ministry Outreach
      Biola University
      Rancho Campus, Ministry Outreach
      14540 San Cristobal Dr., Building 10
      La Mirada, CA 90638
      Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 4056
      Email: mike.brimmage@biola.edu
    • For Inter-Collegiate Athletic Programs:
      Nathanael Cook, Athletics Administrator for Facilities and Events
      Biola University
      Gymnasium
      13800 Biola Ave.
      La Mirada, CA 90639
      Telephone: (562) 944-0351, Ext. 3140
      Email: nathanael.d.cook@biola.edu

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).

B. Employee (and Student Employee) Reporting Obligations

Certain individuals employed by the University are considered “responsible employees.” These responsible employees are obligated to report incidents of alleged Sexual Misconduct when they become aware of them to a Title IX Coordinator or Campus Safety. 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); 
  • Student Enrichment and Intercultural Development staff, including student staff;
  • Student Success staff, including Peer Academic Advisors and Peer Internship Ambassadors;
  • All staff personnel in director level and above positions; 
  • Any employee who is supervising student employees.

All other employees and all students 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.

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. Restraining Orders, Criminal No-Contact Orders, and University No-Contact Directives

Individuals who would like to avoid contact with another individual 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 or at the request of the victim or the accused. To request a no-contact directive from the University, individuals should contact the Senior Title IX Coordinator at (562) 903-6000, Ext. 5887 or titleix.coordinator@biola.edu.

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

F. 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.

G. 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.

VII. Interim Measures

Upon receipt of a report of Sexual Misconduct, the University may impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures designed to eliminate the reported hostile environment or alleged violation and protect the parties involved. The University will maintain consistent contact with the parties to ensure that all safety and emotional and physical well-being concerns are being addressed. Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether a complaint has been filed. 

The Complainant or Respondent may request separation or other protection, or the University may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all parties, the broader University community, and/or the integrity of the investigative and/or disciplinary process. 

All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure. The University will take immediate and responsive action to enforce a previously implemented measure.

A. Available Interim Measures

The Title IX Coordinator or designee, at his or her discretion, may implement interim measures with potential remedies which may be applied to the Complainant and/or the Respondent including: 

  • Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment, on and off campus; 
  • Imposition of an 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;
  • 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.

B. Interim University or Housing Restriction

The Vice President of Student Development (“VPSD”) or designee may impose an interim University-wide restriction or University housing restriction on a student Respondent prior to an Informal Resolution process or Formal Adjudication Process. Such measures may be imposed: 1) to ensure the safety and well-being of members of the University community or preservation of University property; or 2) if the Respondent poses a definite threat of disruption of, or interference with, the normal operations of the University. During the interim restriction, the student may be denied access to the residence halls and/or to the campus (including classes). The interim restriction does not replace the regular disciplinary process, which will proceed on the normal schedule, up to and through an appeal, if required.

VIII. Complaint Resolution Process

A. Initial Intake and Notice to the Parties

If the initial Report of Sexual Misconduct is to Campus Safety, if practical and considering the safety of all involved, Campus Safety will notify the Title IX Coordinator before interviewing the person(s) accused of Sexual Misconduct so that Campus Safety and the Title IX Coordinator can decide the best course of action. Since, however, the University must comply with the Clery Act, including assessing whether a timely notice must be provided to the community, it may not be possible to delay this initial interview. Prior to doing so, Campus Safety will notify the person of the act he or she is alleged to have committed. 

As soon as practical following the Title IX Coordinator’s receipt of notice of alleged Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will schedule a meeting with the Complainant to discuss resources available, reporting options on and off campus, any applicable interim measures, and will refer the Complainant to appropriate resources.  During this initial meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will also gather enough information to determine if there is sufficient information to warrant an investigation and the extent of that investigation, and also determine if the case may be one suited for Informal Resolution (see below).

If the Title IX Coordinator determines a formal investigation is needed, the Title IX Coordinator will assign investigator(s) to the case and will notify the parties by e-mail to their Biola.edu addresses that an investigation will commence. The notice will state the names of the Complainant and Respondent, the alleged conduct that may constitute a violation of this Policy, including when and where the conduct allegedly occurred, the investigation process, support resources, and appropriate referrals.

B. Rights, Obligations and General Principles

1. Right to an Advisor

The Complainant and the Respondent in a complaint resolution procedure (both the informal and adjudication processes described below) have the right to be assisted by an advisor of their choice so long as that person is free of conflicts of interest and bias. The purpose of the advisor is to support an individual during the complaint resolution procedure, including accompanying the individual to in-person interviews or other meetings during the process.

  • The advisor may not appear in lieu of the Complainant or the Respondent or speak on their behalf in either in-person or written communications to the University. The advisor may not communicate directly with the investigator(s), adjudicators, appeal officer(s), the Title IX Coordinator or any other school official involved in the complaint resolution procedure and may not interrupt or otherwise delay the complaint resolution procedure. 
  • Advisors may have access to information concerning a case only when accompanying a party (for in-person access to information) or 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.  
  • If a party selects an attorney as an advisor, the advisor’s participation in the complaint resolution process is in the role of an advisor and not as an attorney representing a party. The advisor will have access to highly confidential information and is prohibited from sharing information obtained as an advisor during the complaint resolution process with anyone, including other individuals who may be part of an attorney-client relationship with the party.
  • Parties must provide the name of the person they have selected as their advisor to the Senior 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.
  • The University will notify a party to a complaint resolution procedure if another party involved in the complaint resolution procedure has obtained an advisor, and if so, whether the other party’s advisor is an attorney.

2. Non-Participation and Silence

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

3. Obligation to Act in Good Faith

Reports and complaints of alleged 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 in the complaint resolution process.

4. Conflicts of Interest

If a Complainant or Respondent has any concern that any individual acting for the University under this Policy has a conflict of interest or bias, such concern should be reported in writing to the Title IX Coordinator.  When evaluating the possibility of a conflict of interest or bias, the parties should also consider whether there may be a conflict of interest or bias in connection with the witnesses they may need to support their allegations or defenses.  Any concern regarding a conflict of interest or bias must be submitted within two (2) calendar days after receiving notice of the person’s involvement in the complaint resolution process. The 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 resolving a complaint under this Policy.  

If the Senior Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest with respect to a Complaint, the VPSD shall appoint an alternative person to oversee the complaint resolution 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.

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 60 calendar days and its appeal process within 20 days. Circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames based on: the complexity of the allegations; the number of witnesses involved; the availability of the parties involved; witnesses being absent from campus; the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation; unsuccessful attempts at informal resolution; any intervening school break or vacation; or other unforeseen circumstances. When these circumstances warrant additional time, the 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 complaint resolution procedure as soon as possible following an alleged Sexual Misconduct incident. There is no deadline for reporting prohibited conduct to the University under this Policy. The University’s ability to respond, however, may diminish over time, as evidence may erode, memories may fade, and the Respondent may no longer be affiliated with the University. If a Complaint is brought forward more than four (4) calendar years after an alleged incident or if the Complainant and Respondent are no longer students or employees of the University Community, the University, in its discretion, may decline to process the Complaint under these procedures.

7. Applicable Policy

When the University receives a Report or a Complaint of a violation of this Policy, the University will generally apply the complaint resolution processes and procedures from the Policy that is in effect at the time that the Report or Complaint is made 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.

C. Informal Resolution

Informal resolution is a voluntary process for timely and corrective action through the imposition of individual and/or community-focused remedies designed to maintain the Complainant's access to the educational, extracurricular, and employment activities at the University and to eliminate a potential hostile environment. The option to pursue informal resolution will be presented to the parties only after the University has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct at issue.  In cases involving allegations of Sexual Assault, informal resolution is generally not appropriate.

If the Complainant, the Respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator or designee all agree to pursue an informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will attempt to facilitate a resolution that is agreeable to all parties. The role of the Title IX Coordinator or designee 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 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 adjudication hearing process, the informal resolution process will stop and the formal adjudication process described below will proceed.

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. Examples of potential remedies are provided in the “Interim Actions” section of this Policy. The recommended resolution may also include other institutional responses or requirements imposed on the Respondent.

The Title IX Coordinator will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal resolution.

D. Formal Adjudication Process

1. Authority and Responsibility for Student Sexual Misconduct Discipline

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the overall coordination of rules and regulations regarding the adjudication of violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The procedures in this section relate to the allegations of Sexual Misconduct by students.

The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) receives and reviews Reports and any related investigative materials. The Title IX Coordinator may conduct further investigation of the report if he or she deems necessary. The scope of any investigation shall be in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, meeting with the parties, talking with witnesses, and reviewing any supporting documents.

If the Title IX Coordinator considers the report and investigative materials to indicate a probable violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the matter will be adjudicated through a hearing as described below. During such hearings, the reporting party will be referred to as the "Complainant" and the accused party as the "Respondent." The University's VPSD serves as the final appeal for disciplinary decisions in Sexual Misconduct cases brought against students.

The University's actions are not dependent on the initiation or outcome of criminal charges. Disciplinary proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.

2. Adjudication Hearings

If, after reviewing a Sexual Misconduct report and related investigative materials, the Title IX Coordinator believes that there is a probable violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, and informal resolution was not pursued or no resolution could be reached, the matter will be submitted for hearing by a committee typically comprised of three trained faculty and/or staff members, with a mix of both male and female members (“Adjudication Committee”). The Dean of Community Life or designee will chair the committee (“Chairperson”) but is not a voting member unless there is a tie vote.  

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

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

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

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

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

3. Sanctions

Violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy may result in the imposition of one or more of the sanctions listed below. Sanctions that may be imposed are not limited to those listed. In certain limited situations, the Chairperson may impose a sanction but suspend or postpone its actual implementation. Failure to comply with the sanction(s) imposed by the Chairperson may result in further disciplinary action, including but not limited to, a registration hold, placement on, or extension of, University probation, suspension, or permanent dismissal.

Sanctions are based on general principles of fair treatment. While attempting to be consistent in its disciplinary decisions, the University also seeks to be fair and sensitive to the facts and circumstances of each individual case. The following are the potential sanctions that may be imposed but the University reserves the right to impose others depending on the circumstances presented.

  • Warning: Oral or written notice to the student that the student is violating or has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy and that continuation or repetition of misconduct may result in a more severe sanction.
  • University Probation: A status which indicates that a student's relationship with the University is tenuous. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy or other policy violations. Probation may also result in the loss of privileges, depending on the policies of various University departments and organizations.
  • Loss of Privileges: Such loss may include, but is not limited to, financial assistance, eligibility to represent the University officially on athletic teams or performing groups, or use of specific University facilities, or services.
  • Restitution: Compensation for loss, damage or injury. Failure to pay such charges may result in additional sanctions (including, but not limited to, denial of re-enrollment or refusal to release official transcripts and records).
  • Educational Sanctions: Reading/writing assignment, drug or alcohol assessment/treatment, seminar attendance, or other discretionary sanctions as deemed appropriate.
  • Dismissal from University Housing: Loss of privilege to live in University housing.
In accordance with University housing policy, students required to live on campus who are dismissed from University housing may be dismissed from Biola University. Any student dismissed from University housing prior to the end of the contractual period may be responsible for any remaining monetary charges, as well as ineligible for reimbursement for any charges already paid. 
  • Suspension: Temporary separation of the student from Biola University for a definite period of time, after which the student is eligible to return without reapplying through the office of admissions.  Conditions for readmission may be specified.
  • Expulsion: The student is permanently separated from the University with a notation of the reasons for the termination in his/her file. No refunds are made and the student will suffer the academic consequences of his/her actions.

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.

4. Appeal Process

The parties have an opportunity to appeal the decision of the Adjudication Committee and/or the Chairperson’s decision regarding sanctions. To do so, they must submit a written appeal to the University's Vice President of Student Development (“VPSD”) or designee.  The length of appeal must not exceed 10 pages (double-spaced, 12-pt. font) unless prior approval is sought from and obtained by the VPSD or designee. The appeal must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of the date of the notice of decision to the Complainant and Respondent. The written appeal must be based on one or more of the five grounds specified below. General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for an appeal.  The written appeal must specify on which of the following grounds the appeal is based:

  • Insufficient information to support the decision.
  • New information, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the appealing student at the time of the original hearing.
  • Procedural irregularity in the Adjudication Committee proceedings that undermined the appealing student's ability to present relevant supporting information.
  • Bias or conflict of interest by an Adjudication Committee member or investigator 
  • Inappropriateness of the sanction for the conduct involved.

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 VPSD or designee.

Generally, the appellate process does not require a hearing, nor does it require the VPSD to make personal contact with the sanctioned student or the Adjudication Committee. The VPSD may, but is not required to, convene an advisory committee to assist in making a recommendation regarding the appeal. The VPSD shall not be bound by the committee's recommendation.

Within twenty (20) business days from the date of receipt of the written appeal, the VPSD will notify the parties of the decision. The VPSD may affirm, reverse, or modify the sanction. The VPSD may also return the case to the Adjudication Committee for further consideration. The VPSD'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.

5. 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.

C. Sexual Misconduct by Faculty, Staff, or Third Parties

1. Applicability

This section is applicable to Sexual Misconduct reports filed by a student against faculty, staff, or third parties (e.g., vendors, alumni/ae, or visitors). In cases where a faculty or staff member is accused of other forms of serious misconduct in addition to Sexual Misconduct, Human Resources and/or the dean of the respective school may take immediate action following other policies governing misconduct, thereby making this policy inapplicable (e.g., in cases where a faculty/staff member is immediately terminated).

The Title IX Coordinator may determine that a Sexual Misconduct report filed by a student against a faculty, staff, or third party can be resolved through the informal resolution process described in section B. above instead of the grievance officer review process described below.

2. Review by the Grievance Officer

A grievance officer shall be designated by the Title IX coordinator. The grievance officer will review formal Reports and/or the Complaint and any related investigative materials. The grievance officer may conduct further investigation if she or he deems necessary. The investigation may include, but is not limited to, meeting with the parties, talking with witnesses, and reviewing any supporting documents. If the grievance officer considers the report and investigative materials to indicate a probable violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the matter will be reviewed as described below. The University's actions are not dependent on the initiation or outcome of criminal charges. Review proceedings may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings.

If the grievance officer desires, he or she may appoint an advisory committee to assist in further investigation of the Complaint and/or advise the grievance officer on whether the Sexual Misconduct Policy was violated and, if so, recommended corrective actions. The grievance officer shall not be bound by the committee's recommendation(s).

If the grievance officer determines that the allegations in the student's ("Complainant") report warrant further consideration, then the grievance officer shall email a notice describing the behavior that allegedly violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy and investigative materials to the person against whom the complaint is made ("Respondent"). All materials will be sent via a secure file to the parties' Biola email addresses or other appropriate contact.

The faculty or staff member Respondent shall be given fourteen (14) calendar days from receipt of the notice and investigative materials to return a written response and any supporting materials to the grievance officer. Necessary extensions may be granted at the discretion of the grievance officer. A copy of the Respondent's response, investigative materials, and any supporting materials submitted by Respondent will be emailed to the Complainant.

Within twenty (20) business days of receipt of the written response, the grievance officer shall make a decision, by a preponderance of the evidence, based on the report, the response, and any other information the grievance officer deems relevant, as to whether Respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. A copy of the decision will be emailed to both parties. If a sanction is recommended against a staff member, the decision will be forwarded to the supervisor and Human Resources for further action. If a sanction is recommended against a faculty member, the decision will be forwarded to the dean of the faculty member's school and Human Resources for further action. Once a decision has been made regarding violation(s) and any sanction(s), the Title IX Coordinator shall be notified who shall then notify the parties of the outcome within five (5) calendar days of the date of the decision.

3. Appeal Process

Faculty: In the case where the Respondent is a full time faculty member, he or she may choose to forego the process below and proceed under the “Formal Level” Grievance Process described in Section 8.6, paragraphs 2. - 4. of the Employee/Faculty Handbook [insert link].  This election by the faculty member must be made to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) business days of being notified of the decision by the Title IX Coordinator. If this option is chosen, this is only right to appeal and no further appeals may be filed.

Staff or Full-time Faculty Choosing this Policy’s Appeal Process:  Either the staff member's senior leader within the staff member's unit (for misconduct by a staff member) or the Provost or designee (for misconduct by a faculty member) shall serve as the "reviewing officer" for appeal decisions in Sexual Misconduct cases. The Respondent must submit a written request for appeal to the reviewing officer within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the sanction being issued. The request for appeal must specifically set forth all grounds for appeal. General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision or an appeal for mercy is not an appropriate basis for an appeal.

The written appeal must specifically address at least one (1) of the following criteria:

  • Insufficiency of the information to support the decision by the grievance officer.
  • New information, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not submitted to the grievance officer, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of submission to the grievance officer.
  • Procedural irregularity in the proceedings that undermined the Respondent's ability to present a defense.
  • Bias or conflict of interest by the grievance officer and/or the supervisor/dean.
  • Inappropriateness of the sanction for the violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Generally, the appellate process does not require a hearing, nor does it require the reviewing officer to make personal contact with the Respondent or the grievance officer. The reviewing officer may, but is not required to, convene an advisory committee to assist in making a recommendation regarding the appeal. The reviewing officer shall not be bound by the committee's recommendation.

Within twenty (20) business days from the date of receipt of the written request for appeal, the reviewing officer shall make a final decision based on the submitted materials and any other information the grievance officer deems relevant. The reviewing officer may affirm, reverse, or modify the grievance officer's recommendation. The reviewing officer may also return the case to the grievance officer for further consideration. The reviewing officer's decision shall be final and effective immediately. A copy of the decision letter will be emailed to the Respondent's Biola account or other appropriate contact.

All written decisions made and materials produced in connection with a grievance conducted under this Policy shall be retained by the grievance officer for seven years (7) from the date of the student's graduation.

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

Any complaint relating to retaliation in violation of this Policy, violations of interim measures, 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 interim measures or sanctions.

When the University receives a complaint of retaliation or of violations of interim 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 interim 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.

X. 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
Email: OCR.SanFrancisco@ed.gov

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Los Angeles District Office
Roybal Federal Building
255 East Temple St., 4th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90012
Telephone: (800) 669-4000
Fax: (213) 894-1118

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

Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education
2535 Capitol Oaks Drive, Suite 400

Sacramento, CA 95833
www.bppe.ca.gov
Telephone: (916) 431-6959
Fax: (916) 263-1897