Does Title IX only deal with athletics?

No. Title IX went into effect in 1972 as a way to have equitable gender practices in higher education institutions. This covers not only athletics, but also recruitment, admission, financial aid, scholarships, course offerings and access, counseling, hiring and retention of employees, benefits and leave, and much more. Title IX encompasses pregnant and parenting students as well, in addition to prohibiting sexual harassment and sexual and gender discrimination.

Does Title IX only protect discrimination against women?

No, Title IX works to protect all genders from any discrimination.

What is the difference between the PLU Title IX Investigation and a Criminal Investigation?

There are several differences between the PLU process and a criminal process.

  1. Goals of the investigation: a criminal investigation is intended to see if an individual violated a criminal law. The goals for the PLU sexual misconduct process is to see if a student violated the PLU student code of conduct. Criminal laws and the PLU student code of conduct have differing vocabulary, language, and processes.
  2. Process: A criminal investigation will be conducted by police or law enforcement, and require evidence. The PLU sexual misconduct process will be conducted through a one-person Investigation, and will be trauma-informed.
  3. Privacy: A criminal trial is open to the public. The PLU sexual misconduct process will remain as private as possible.
  4. Standard of Evidence: Criminal investigations use “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard to determine a guilty or not guilty charge. PLU’s sexual misconduct process uses “preponderance of evidence” standard, meaning “more likely than not” to find a student responsible or not responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy.
  5. Different Mindsets: Criminal investigations will look at accusations and punishments for the individuals involved, while the PLU sexual misconduct process looks to remedy the situation, make the process equitable, and work to restore, educate, and prevent the occurrence again.

Can I file a Criminal Investigation and a PLU Investigation?

Yes, complainants are able to move forward with a legal process in addition to moving forward with a PLU process, should they be interested in doing so. While all efforts will be made to work in partnership with the criminal investigation, PLU’s process will move forward as stated in the PLU sexual misconduct policy and procedures.

What is sexual misconduct?

Pacific Lutheran University defines sexual misconduct as misconduct that falls under a sexual act perpetrated against a person’s will or where a person is incapable of giving consent. A number of acts fall into sexual misconduct, including but not limited to: stalking, sexual harassment, rape, and sexual coercion. Sexual misconduct can be carried out by employees, other students, or third parties. All acts of sexual misconduct are prohibited under Title IX and under the PLU Sexual Misconduct Policy. For more information on terms and definitions, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy page.

What is PLU’s responsibility if knowledge of sexual violence is reported?

When PLU becomes aware of a potential sexual misconduct violation, PLU will investigate the claim. Either the Title IX coordinator or the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will meet with the Complainant (person submitting the complaint). If the situation is creating a hostile environment, PLU has a responsibility to take prompt and effective steps to end the occurrence, eliminate the hostile environment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy as appropriate.

After a complaint is made, the process to move forward will be determined by the Complainant’s requests, the Title IX coordinator, and the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Does Title IX apply only for female complainants and male respondents?

No. Any student, regardless of gender, may be discriminated against. The response from PLU will be the same, regardless of the Complainant and the Respondent’s gender.

What happens if the alleged Respondent is not a student or employee at PLU?

This is dependent upon who the alleged Respondent is, and how they are affiliated with PLU. While there is a limited level of control, PLU will still work to ensure direct action and appropriate remedies are taken for the Complainant and the larger campus community, if applicable. For more information on different processes of a sexual misconduct complaint, please see the Sexual Misconduct Policy page.

What is a Title IX Coordinator?

The Title IX Coordinator at Pacific Lutheran University is Teri Phillips, who serves as the Associate Vice President of Human Resources. The role of the Title IX Coordinator is to oversee the school’s response to Title IX reports and complaints, and address any patterns or systemic problems from any reports and/or claims. The Title IX Coordinator will also verify that PLU is meeting all obligations as it relates to Title IX, including overseeing the appropriate procedures are being followed for any sexual misconduct process.

Will the campus be notified of any Title IX Complaints?

If a report of sexual misconduct is known, and if the incident/individuals involved are deemed to be a potential threat to the community, PLU may issue a Timely Warning. This Timely Warning will be sent to the campus community via email or emergency notification, whichever is applicable at the time. The Timely Warning will include demographic information of the alleged incident, but will not include any identifying information of the Complainant. The purpose of a Timely Warning is to educate the campus community about a potential threat, and alleviate that potential threat.

What is a confidential vs. responsible employee?

Responsible Employees, or mandatory reporters, are employees on the PLU campus that are obligated to report incidents of alleged sexual misconduct to appropriate parties. Responsible Employees are individuals on campus that have the authority to take action to redress sexual violence; who has been given the duty of reporting incidents of sexual violence; or anyone a student could reasonably believe has these responsibilities. At Pacific Lutheran University, all faculty, staff, Resident Assistants, and Campus Safety employees are Responsible Employees, with the exception of the confidential employees, listed below.

Confidential employees are employees that do not have a requirement to report to appropriate parties. These individuals at PLU include: Counselors at the Counseling Center, Health Services, Campus Ministry, and the Campus Advocate at the Center for Gender Equity.

Are Responsible Employees trained?

All Responsible Employees are trained within Title IX standards and procedures every year. All incoming employees receive mandatory training, with professional development opportunities each year for faculty and staff members. Responsible student Employees (Resident Assistants and Campus Safety Employees) receive training every year from the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities.

Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator, staff members in the SRR office, and the Sexual Misconduct Investigator receive training yearly to stay up-to-date on Title IX policies and best practices.

What should a faculty or staff member do if they have heard or seen a potential sexual misconduct situation?

All Responsible Employees must report any information related to sexual misconduct or Title IX to either the Title IX Coordinator, or the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Responsible Employees have an obligation to report any instance they believe could fall under Title IX or sexual misconduct.

If I am a pregnant or parenting student, do I have rights under Title IX?

Yes, students that are pregnant or parenting have the right to their educational experience. Because the experience of being pregnant or parenting is different for every individual, students should connect with the SRR office to discuss their situation, and any accommodations that might be needed for their specific situation.

If I am a trans* or non-binary student, do I have rights under Title IX?

Yes, Title IX relates to gender and gender identity discrimination. If you feel like your educational experience is hindered due to gender or gender identity discrimination, contact either the Title IX Coordinator or the SRR Office.

How does the Clery Act work with Title IX?

The Clery Act requires all higher education institutions to provide crime statistics and information about campus crime prevention to all campus and community members. When there are cases of Title IX within PLU, it will show up on PLU’s Clery statistics. PLU and higher education institutions must comply with Title IX and Clery regulations.

*If I share an incident of sexual misconduct, will I be forced to go through an investigation?

*Will my parents know if I am going through a sexual misconduct process?

*Can I have a support person throughout the process?

*What rights do I have if I am a Respondent in the process?

*Will my faculty members know if I am going through a sexual misconduct process?

*What if I am afraid of retaliation?

*I don’t want to go through a full investigation; are there other options for me?

* What if I don’t know if it was sexual misconduct or not?

Information taken from the United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights “Dear Colleague” letter Questions and Answers document from April 29, 2014.