Summer II 2021 Recommended Syllabi Statements

Statements have been updated for inclusion in your Summer I and II 2021 syllabi. Additionaly, general syllabi statements and resources have also been updated and are included below

As previously suggested, consider reading “A Syllabus Worth Reading” from Radical Hope: A Teaching Manifesto by Kevin M. Gannon for a perspective on creating a syllabus that is student-centered. As Gannon notes, you can take the syllabus and policy statements as an opportunity to share with students why you consider such issues to be important and how they might reflect your philosophy of teaching, learning, and research — rather than as standard boilerplate language. You can apply this approach as you describe to students what learning will look like in your course specifically, discuss expectations for participation, and share strategies that can help students succeed in your course, framing these topics in light of your teaching philosophy and values. Doing so can engage students as co-learners in the course as well as build trust.

Please see the statements below as basic templates that you should personalize to best connect with your students. Commentary has been included in brackets for some statements as well as several options.

If you would like to share examples of syllabi statements that work well for your course and communicate an inclusive philosophy — or have suggestions for how to make the policies below even more student-centered — please contact Jen Smith, Dean of Inclusive Excellence (jennifer.smith@plu.edu).

Scroll down to review all suggested syllabi statements or use the menu below to select a specific section.

Statements for In-Person or Blended Courses

Health Directives

All students and campus employees must follow university, county, and state health directives. If those directives change during the term, I will be sure to share them with the class.

Right now, these health directives are straightforward:

  • Unvaccinated community members (students, employees, visitors) must wear face masks in all indoor spaces and in outdoor spaces if physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.

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Cleaning Learning Spaces

Note: While all rooms have cleaning kits, faculty members can ask students to use them to clean equipment, desks, etc. before/after class at their discretion; they can make it a class requirement if they choose, but they aren’t required to do so. Facilities will disinfect each classroom once per day.

Together, we will clean our learning space/lab/rehearsal room/etc., including any equipment we may have used, at the beginning and end of each class session (using supplies provided by the university). Your assistance in creating a safe learning environment for everyone is appreciated.

I know that you want to experience a safe learning environment along with your peers. So, if masks are not being worn the way they should be, be an active bystander and speak up to remind each other to keep doing the things we need to do to be safe. (If you refuse to participate in these measures to create a safe learning environment, it will be a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and I will need to take steps accordingly.)

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Attendance & Participation

Please do not come to an in-person class/lab/lesson if you are feeling ill, particularly if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Nothing we do in our class is worth risking your health, my health, or the health of your peers. If it helps to relieve pressure, I’ll remind you that PLU’s policy this term is that not attending class will not, in itself, cause your grade to be reduced.

I will, however, take attendance for each of our in-person meetings (which may be reported to the COVID-19 Site Director) should contact tracing be needed.

Should your health or other circumstances change, negatively impacting your ability to succeed in our class, please notify me as soon as possible so that we can work together to connect you to support resources and work through possible options.

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Guidelines For Synchronous Online Class Sessions

I have outlined a few guidelines below that will enable us to co-create a supportive community and learning environment during our synchronous class sessions:

  • I expect your cameras to be turned on during our synchronous sessions. Being able to see each other is helpful to creating connections, a sense of mutuality, engaging in discussions, and building trust — all of which contribute to an effective and engaging teaching and learning experience for everyone.
  • If you would be more comfortable using a virtual background, you can follow these simple instructions to do so. There are already several PLU-themed backgrounds loaded into PLU Zoom accounts. Simply go to Preferences (after you’ve logged into Zoom via PLU), select Backgrounds and filters, and then choose from a number of preloaded backgrounds. (Please note that not all computers or devices are able to run virtual backgrounds.)
  • Of course, if you have limited internet bandwidth, no camera, or you’re unable to find an environment without a lot of visual distractions, I understand that you cannot use video. If this is the case, please send me a private message to let me know the situation.
  • Your Zoom profile should include a photo and name so that we can connect more effectively should you need to turn off your camera. You can learn how to customize your Zoom profile here.
  • As during our class sessions on campus, I look forward to your full attention during our synchronous sessions. We all should be prepared to respond to discussions, chat, surveys, or to engage in activities because each of us plays an important and necessary role in contributing to a robust learning environment.
  • Finally, I welcome suggestions and ideas for additional guidelines that will help us collectively create an engaging learning experience for everyone this term.

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Statements for Online Courses

Health Directives

All students and campus employees must follow university, county, and state health directives.

If you come to campus for any reason, please comply with the current health directives. As of July 1, 2021, these health directives are straightforward:

  • Unvaccinated community members (students, employees, visitors) must wear face masks in all indoor spaces and in outdoor spaces if physical distancing of at least 6 feet cannot be maintained.

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Attendance & Participation

PLU’s policy this term is that not attending class will not, in itself, cause your grade to be reduced. This includes, of course, any synchronous components of our course. However, to succeed in this course, you will need to understand the work that was done in a synchronous online experience that you missed and complete any work that is assigned during or in lieu of a  class session.

Should your health or other circumstances change, negatively impacting your ability to succeed in our class, please notify me as soon as possible so that we can work together to connect you to support resources and work through possible options.

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Guidelines For Synchronous Class Sessions

I have outlined a few guidelines below that will enable us to co-create a supportive community and learning environment during our synchronous class sessions:

  • I expect your cameras to be turned on during our synchronous sessions. Being able to see each other is helpful to creating connections, a sense of mutuality, engaging in discussions, and building trust — all of which contribute to an effective and engaging teaching and learning experience for everyone.
  • If you would be more comfortable using a virtual background, you can follow these simple instructions to do so. There are already several PLU-themed backgrounds loaded into PLU Zoom accounts. Simply go to Preferences (after you’ve logged into Zoom via PLU), select Backgrounds and filters, and then choose from a number of preloaded backgrounds. (Please note that not all computers or devices are able to run virtual backgrounds.)
  • Of course, if you have limited internet bandwidth, no camera, or you’re unable to find an environment without a lot of visual distractions, I understand that you cannot use video. If this is the case, please send me a private message to let me know the situation.
  • Your Zoom profile should include a photo and name so that we can connect more effectively should you need to turn off your camera. You can learn how to customize your Zoom profile here.
  • As during our class sessions on campus, I look forward to your full attention during our synchronous sessions. We all should be prepared to respond to discussions, chat, surveys, or to engage in activities because each of us plays an important and necessary role in contributing to a robust learning environment.
  • Finally, I welcome suggestions and ideas for additional guidelines that will help us collectively create an engaging learning experience for everyone this term.

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Course Recordings & Privacy

Note: For use if you have chosen to record synchronous sessions.

I have chosen to record online synchronous class sessions. The purpose of this is to provide access to material for students who are unable to be present. In addition, these recordings can be a resource for all students who would like to review the material we covered during the session. Recordings will be stored within our Sakai site [or Google folder] and will only be available to view only by me and your classmates. I will delete them at the end of the end of the semester. If you have any concerns about being recorded, please share them with me, and we’ll work something out. [You might also include a question in a pre-semester survey about students’ comfort with being recorded. Adapted from Lynch School of Education and Human Development, Boston College]

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General Syllabus Statement Recommendations

Academic Integrity

Example #1

Intellectual development requires honesty, responsibility, and doing your own work. Taking ideas or words from others without citation is a breach of trust and will result in a failing grade on the paper or assignment and possibly other disciplinary actions. If you are unsure about what plagiarism is, please feel free to ask me. You may also consult the section on Academic Integrity in the Student Code of Conduct.

Example #2

An essential dimension of Pacific Lutheran University’s mission is to provide for the intellectual, social, physical, emotional, and spiritual development of students. Faculty, students, and administrators share responsibility for accomplishing these goals. Academic integrity is honesty concerning all aspects of academic performance. In this class, what this means is [X].

Example #3

PLU’s expectation is that students will not cheat or plagiarize and that they will not condone these behaviors or assist others who plagiarize. Academic misconduct not only jeopardizes the career of the individual student involved but also undermines the scholastic achievements of all PLU students and fails to reflect the mission of this institution. Students are responsible to do their own work, thereby ensuring the integrity of their academic records. The most common forms of dishonesty are cheating and plagiarism. Cheating includes, but is not limited to submitting material that is not yours as part of your course performance, such as copying from another student’s exam, allowing another student to copy from your exam. Plagiarism includes, but is not limited to directly quoting the words of others without using quotation marks or indented format to identify them. Because plagiarism involves a misrepresentation of principles and processes fundamental to the integrity of the university, matters of plagiarism are taken very seriously. If you are unsure about something that you want to do or the proper use of materials, please ask me for clarification.

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Respectful Learning Environment

The University holds as basic the integrity and well-being of every person in the community. I am committed to providing a living, learning and working environment that is fair, consistent, caring, and supportive of intellectual and personal growth. Further, PLU is committed to protecting the rights of its community members to engage in dialogue and express ideas in an environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, and exploitation. This freedom of expression does not, however, entail the freedom to threaten, stalk, intimidate, harass, or abuse.

Students are therefore expected to treat every individual with respect. The University prohibits any activities that cause or threaten physical or mental harm, suffering or exhaustion, that demean the dignity of any individual, and/or that interfere with one’s academic progress, living environment, or employment responsibilities.

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Combo of Respectful Learning Environment & Accessibility (couched as a general statement about successful learning in the course)

Above all, I care about your success and want to do all I can to help you learn. I believe in universal learning, which means I am committed to all of our learning spaces — course material, the Sakai forum [or other online tool], and other places we engage with one another — being inclusive and equitable. This means I expect that we do our work together with mutual respect, collegiality, and the willingness to consider others’ perspectives fairly and generously. If there is anything I can do to help you in your learning, please let me know; if appropriate, you may also contact contact the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation at 253-538-6392 or oaa@plu.edu, and we can collaborate on any arrangements to assist you in successful learning. [Adapted from Kevin Gannon’s HIST 104 Syllabus]

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Commitment to Inclusion

It is my intent that students from all backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students’ learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength, and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity across all dimensions, including gender, sexuality, disability, age, socio-economic status, ethnicity, race, and culture. Your suggestions are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students. In addition, if any of our class meetings conflict with your religious events, please let me know so that I can make arrangements for you. [Adapted from the University of Iowa College of Education]

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Weather Conditions

For face-to-face meetings, you may want to confirm whether class is meeting if you have any concerns about weather conditions that would make travel to campus unsafe. You can call the University’s hotline after 6 a.m. (253-535-7100) or access the PLU website (www.plu.edu) to see if campus has been closed. As soon as I know if campus has been closed due to weather, I will communicate this to the class as well. Please do not risk your health or safety if weather conditions make traveling dangerous.

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Resources for Students* (in alphabetical order):

Below, you will find information about various resources that can be helpful in ensuring that students not only persist but thrive while attending PLU. Some resources provide language that faculty can insert into syllabi, or you may consider sharing this information with students via an email at the beginning of the term or on your Sakai site. 

*Note: The Center for Student Success (described in more detail below) is intended to be a hub for student resources. Providing students with information about how to find and access this office is highly encouraged.

Office of Accessibility and Accommodation

Example #1

If you need academic accommodations because of a documented disability, have emergency medical information to share with me, or need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible. If you have questions concerning the services available for students who need reasonable accommodations, contact the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation at 253-538-6392 or oaa@plu.edu.

Example #2

I am committed to supporting the learning of all students in my class. If you have already registered with the Office of Accessibility and Accommodation (OAA), please meet with me early in the course to discuss, plan, and implement your accommodations in the course. If you have a documented disability that requires reasonable accommodations, please contact the OAA at  253-538-6392 or oaa@plu.edu. [Adapted from St. Olaf College] ​

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Bias Incident Response Team

While we strive to create an inclusive and welcoming community, unfortunately, bias remains a part of our everyday reality. The purpose of the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) is to collect data regarding instances of bias within our community and monitor the type and frequency of such occurrences. Doing so will help us better understand our campus climate, create community-based educational opportunities to address trends, and foster an environment where everyone feels welcome. BIRT can be utilized by anyone within the PLU community.

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Campus Ministry

Campus Ministry is a community that welcomes, celebrates and engages the diverse spiritual and faith traditions of PLU students, staff and faculty members. Currently, the Campus Ministry suite will not be open for hanging out and studying. However, Campus Ministry staff are available for appointment based online and in person. Also, PLU’s Food Pantry is located in the Campus Ministry office (AUC 190). Campus Safety can let you into the suite and your Lute Card will open the pantry. We look forward to more on-campus presence in soon!

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Center for Gender Equity

The Center for Gender Equity supports, challenges, and empowers our community to combat gender-based oppression and enact positive social change. Currently, the new CGE space in Anderson University Center is closed, and our professional staff is off until August (because they are on 10-month contracts). Advocacy services can still be accessed through the resources listed here.

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Center for Military Support

The Center for Military Support is a resource for military-affiliated students who want to achieve higher scores/grades, learn about veteran benefits, and connect with other PLU, State, Federal, or private resource providers. Students can learn more HERE, and schedule virtual meetings or connect with the Vet Corps Navigator (Vetcorps@plu.edu, 253-535-7212).

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Center for Student Success

The Center for Student Success (CSS) is a campus-wide network of units dedicated to helping you succeed at PLU. They provide individualized academic and personal support and resources through a collaborative, student-centered approach. By visiting the CSS, you can access Academic Advising, Tutoring & Assignments, Career & Vocational Planning, Financial Services, Personal Health & Wellness, and the Office of Accessibility and Accommodations as well as learn about resources for affinity groups such as students of color, LGBTQ students, international students, veteran & military students, and transfer students, among other groups.

The main hub of the CSS is located on the first floor of the Mortvedt Library building; additional partner offices can be located using the CSS services map. Advisors are available through gchat or Zoom currently. If you are unsure or would like help navigating the resources, you can contact the CSS directly at success@plu.edu and 253-535-7459.

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The Diversity Center

The Diversity Center is committed to empowering the PLU community to engage in dialogue, programs, and initiatives that promote and enhance equity, agency, and action. Currently, The Diversity Center AUC spaces (dCenter, The CAVE, and our new space) will not be open for hanging out and studying. Yet, Diversity Center Staff are available for appointments online and in person. We look forward to welcoming you back soon!

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Land Acknowledgment

PLU is on the traditional lands of the Nisqually, Puyallup, Squaxin Island and Steilacoom peoples; we acknowledge and respect the traditional caretakers of this land. [If you would like to have a conversation about how to connect this acknowledgement to your course so as to help deepen its significance and meaning, feel free to contact Jen Smith (jennifer.smith@plu.edu). Additional resources include Honor Native Land: A Guide and Call to Acknowledgement and this video What Good is a Land Acknowledgment? with Dr. Cutcha Risling Baldy.]

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Lute Library & Course Reserves

[The Lute Library and Course Reserves will be returning Fall 2021. For additional information and options for providing students with access to materials, please see the May 25th Faculty Newsletter or the library’s Course Reserves page.]

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Mental Health & Wellness Resources

Example #1

We all may experience a range of mental health issues that can impact our life in all variety of ways. These might include anxiety, high levels of stress, alcohol/drug problems, strained relationships, feeling down, or loss of motivation. PLU’s Counseling Center is here to help you with these or other issues you may experience. You can learn about the free, confidential mental health services available on campus by calling 253-535-7838, visiting https://www.plu.edu/chws/ or emailing counseling@plu.edu. For urgent mental health support after business hours, including weekends and holidays, contact the Counseling Center Crisis Line at 253-535-7075. Help is always available.

Additionally, Lute Telehealth is a resource for you that expands access to mental health and medical care by providing on-line or phone-based services 24/7/365 from licensed mental health providers and nurse practitioners.

Finally, the Couple and Family Therapy Center (part of PLU’s Marriage and Family Therapy program) offers affordable, high-quality care to individuals, couples, and families — including PLU students — using the latest advances in the field.

Example #2

If you find yourself struggling with your mental or physical health this semester, please feel free to approach me. I will try to be flexible and accommodating. You can also find free, confidential mental health services at PLU’s Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services, Lute Telehealth, or Couple and Family Therapy Center. [Adapted from Northwestern University]

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PLU Pantry

The PLU Pantry exists as an emergency resource to serve you, should you be experiencing food insecurity in any way. It is located on the first floor of the AUC inside of the Campus Ministry office. While the Campus Ministry office is closed due to COVID-19, access to the Pantry is still available 24/7 by contacting PLU Campus Safety by phone at 253-535-7441 or by email at csin@plu.edu to request entry. Please note that you will need to have a valid PLU ID on hand when requesting access. Procedures outlining physical distancing and other COVID-19 protocols are posted on the Pantry door. Thank you in advance for following them. If you have any questions regarding the Pantry, you can connect with Melannie Denise Cunningham at 253-682-9264 or by email at cunningham@plu.edu

The PLU Pantry is located on the first floor of the Anderson University Center between the Scandinavian Center and Campus Ministry. It is open Mon-Fri from 9am to 5pm. or help outside of regular hours, students can contact either their community director or commuter director, both of whom have access to the pantry. Any member of the community with a valid PLU ID can access the pantry.

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Religious Accommodations

[Note: Washington state passed a law last year requiring that syllabi include a religious accommodations statement. Also, this Diversity Calendar 2020-2021 created by Cultures Connecting may also be helpful.]

I will make every effort to provide reasonable accommodations for all students who, because of religious observances, may have conflicts with scheduled exams, assignments, or required attendance in courses. Please review the course schedule at the beginning of the semester to determine any such potential conflicts and let me know about the need for a religious accommodation. If you could do so at least three weeks in advance of the date when the conflict occurs, that would be ideal. While I am happy to provide such accommodations, I understand that asking a faculty member for assistance can be intimidating; if that’s the case, you can contact PLU’s University Pastor Jen Rude (rudejl@plu.edu or 253-535-7465) for support in making this request.

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Resources for Students of Color

For students of color, especially Black and indigenous students, attending a predominantly white institution (PWI) can present particular stressors and obstacles. While I will do everything I can to mitigate the impact of these stressors and eliminate such obstacles, I wanted to point out other resources on campus where you can find support:

  • The Diversity Center

The Diversity Center is committed to empowering the PLU community to engage in dialogue, programs, and initiatives that promote and enhance equity, agency, and action. Currently, The Diversity Center AUC spaces (dCenter, The CAVE, and our new space) are not open for hanging out and studying. Yet, Diversity Center Staff are available for appointment-based online and in person meetings too.

  • Student Clubs & Organizations [Note: Most student clubs are not active during the summer.]
    • Black Student Union: Black Student Union provides the PLU community the opportunity to engage in elements of Black culture & conversation. Email: bsu@plu.edu. Advisor: Pamela Rice
    • Sista Circle: Sista Circle strives to be a safe space for womxn, nonbinary, femme, and trans people of color by providing opportunities to discuss self-love, colorism, growth, and the challenges and joys of being us. Join us for #Community #Healing #Connection. If you are interested, contact Nicole Jordan at nicole.jordan@plu.edu.
    • Asian Pacific Islanders Student Association: The Asian Pacific Islander Association strives to celebrate the culture and identity of Asian-American and Pacific Islander students through food, music, activities, and conversation. Our goal is to provide a welcoming place for those who identify as API or those who want to be more educated on a culture different from their own. Email: api@plu.edu. Advisors Brandon Bruan & Julian Franco
    • Indigenous People’s Club: Indigenous Peoples Club aims to connect indigenous and non-indigenous students and indigenous cultures at PLU. We have events based on indigenous cultures around the world and advocate and educate the community about indigenous cultures. We are a group of students who feel it’s important to feel connected to our cultures and our heritage. Email: ipc@plu.edu. (Not yet active for the 2020-21 school year.) No advisor listed. For information, contact Nicole Juliano, Director of the Diversity Center (juliannh@plu.edu).
    • Latinx Unidos: Latinx Unidos, former Amigos Unidos, seeks to empower the Hispanic/Latinx student population for the purpose of providing scholarly support, cultural awareness, social enrichment, and community outreach. It provides a space on campus that allows Hispanic / Latinx students to feel like home, build a community together, and have some fun in the process. Stay connected by following us on Instagram: pluamigosu, like us on Facebook: PLU Amigos Unidos. Email: amigosu@plu.edu. Advisor: Luke Ruiz.
    • Na Hoaloha O Hawaii: Our club promotes the Hawaiian and Asian Pacific Islander cultures and educates ourselves, our peers, and the community in order to obtain unity through diversity and create a warm and welcoming environment for all students of Pacific Lutheran University. Email: hawaii@plu.edu. Advisor: Brandon Bruan
  • Bias Incident Response Team

While we strive to create an inclusive and welcoming community, unfortunately, bias remains a part of our everyday reality. The purpose of the Bias Incident Response Team (BIRT) is to collect data regarding instances of bias within our community and monitor the type and frequency of such occurrences. Doing so will help us better understand our campus climate, create community-based educational opportunities to address trends, and foster an environment where everyone feels welcome. BIRT can be utilized by anyone within the PLU community.

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Student Care Network

The Student Care Network (SCN) works with the PLU community to proactively connect with you and those who are invested in your wellbeing for a successful academic, social, and emotional experience at PLU.

  • SCN will provide one outlet for faculty, staff, students, and parents/guardians to report any concern (academic, emotional, physical, social) related to the well-being of a PLU student.
  • SCN will connect with the student of concern and provide resources, support, and assistance as appropriate.

If you would like additional information about the SCN or to submit a form, please go to https://www.plu.edu/srr/student-care-network/.

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Supporting DACA and Undocumented Students

Our mission of care, rooted deeply in our Lutheran heritage, requires action and an unequivocal commitment to fight for social justice. This page listing various resources for DACA and undocumented students – including those related to housing, legal issues, financial aid, and study away – is just one aspect of PLU’s ongoing commitment to supporting our undocumented students. 

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Title IX

Example #1

As an instructor, one of my responsibilities is to help create a safe learning environment on our campus. I also have a mandatory reporting responsibility related to my role as a faculty member. It is my goal that you feel able to share information related to your life experiences in classroom discussions, in your written work, and in our one-on-one meetings. I will seek to keep information you share private to the greatest extent possible. However, I am required to share information regarding sexual misconduct or information about a crime that may have occurred on PLU’s campus with the University. Students may speak to someone confidentially by contacting PLU’s Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services, the Campus Pastor in Campus Ministry, and the Gender-Based Violence Advocate in the Center for Gender Equity. [Adapted from Purdue University]

Example #2

As an institution of higher learning that receives federal funds, PLU is required to abide by Title IX, which states: “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.” I take discrimination seriously and am required to report known or suspected acts of sexual harassment including sexual violence as defined by Title IX. While privacy can often, but not always, be maintained, college officials are required to report the following when incidents of sexual harassment or sexual violence occur: The (1) nature of the harassment or discrimination, (2) the date (when the incident occurred and when it was reported), (3) the time of the incident, and (4) generally location of the incident; as well (5) the disposition of the complaint, if known. Other information may need to be reported on a case-by-case basis.

Students have access to confidential services through PLU’s Counseling, Health, and Wellness Services, Campus Ministry, and the Center for Gender Equity.

For more information on Title IX, including contact information, go to www.plu.edu/title-ix.

If you feel that our classroom environment in anyway impedes your ability to participate or subjects you to discrimination, or you are experiencing harassment outside of class that disrupts your educational opportunities, please do not hesitate to contact me or the Equal Opportunity/ADA Office/Title IX coordinator.

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Resources for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students

Example #1

I strive to affirm people of all gender expressions and gender identities. If you use a name other than what is on the class roster, please let me know. (You can also designate your name with the Registrar’s Office via the link below.) Whether you are seeking answers to support your transition or working to create an inclusive environment, the Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Resources page serves to connect you to community members, resources on and off campus, and opportunities for engagement and advocacy.

Example #2

Knowing and using the names and pronouns that students use is a crucial part of developing a productive learning environment that fosters safety, inclusion, personal dignity, and a sense of belonging across campus. Please let me know the name and pronouns you use anytime throughout the semester, should they differ from those included in my roster. Additionally, PLU has created a repository of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Resources that you may find helpful. [Adapted from the University of the Pacific]

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updated July 2021

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