Sexual Misconduct Policy

Updated August 2020

I. Introduction

This policy addresses the responsibilities of Pacific Lutheran University (“PLU”) under Title IX and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”). Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex (gender) in education programs and activities; and, programs that receive federal assistance. VAWA requires that universities have procedures in place to respond to matters of sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. These laws are completely consistent with PLU’s Nondiscrimination Policy, its prohibition against sex discrimination (including sexual misconduct) and its philosophy of providing an environment in which students can live, work and study free from all types of gender discrimination.

This policy covers student to student-related concerns of Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence or Domestic Violence (“Relationship Violence”) and Stalking. This conduct will be referred to collectively as “Prohibited Conduct,” and PLU may assume jurisdiction of such Prohibited Conduct involving PLU students regardless of whether the alleged Prohibited Conduct occurred on or off campus. This policy should be used if both the Impacted Party (who may also be referred to as the Complainant), and the student against whom the allegations are made (the Respondent) are students. If the Impacted Party is a student and the Respondent is a member of the faculty or staff, the Impacted Party should use the PLU Human Resources Sexual Misconduct Policy. In cases where the Complainant or the Respondent are not PLU students, faculty members, or staff members, PLU will determine, in its sole discretion, the best remedies for the Impacted Party and the community.

This policy and the Student Conduct procedures set forth the procedures that PLU will follow to assess a concern, investigate allegations of Prohibited Conduct, and determine whether a Respondent has violated this policy. When a determination is made that a violation has occurred, PLU will issue sanctions and take such other actions as are commensurate with the violation and which reflect PLU’s determination to end such conduct, prevent its recurrence and redress its effects.

II. Statement of Policy

It is a violation of PLU policy for any PLU student to engage in any conduct defined in this policy as Prohibited Conduct, including without limitation Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence or Domestic Violence (“Relationship Violence”) and Stalking, whether or not it occurs on campus. This policy is intended to meet the requirements of applicable federal and state laws. If this policy is inconsistent with any applicable law, it is the University’s intent to follow applicable laws.

III. Educational Basis Policy

In addition to and co-equal with its legal responsibilities as set out in the Introduction to this policy, PLU, by its mission, is committed to providing an environment in which students can work, live, and study free from all types of prohibited conduct. Consistent with its Equal Educational Opportunity Policy, PLU prohibits any discrimination in education and employment on the basis of gender (see also PLU Human Resources Sexual Misconduct Policy). Prohibited conduct, as listed above, has a serious negative impact on the quality of the education experience. When an allegation of Prohibited Conduct is reported, and a violation is found, PLU will issue sanctions which are commensurate with the violation and which reflect PLU’s determination to prevent and correct prohibited conduct to the fullest extent possible. All members of the community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that does not infringe upon the rights of others, whether on or off campus. The Sexual Misconduct Policy has been developed to reaffirm these principles and to provide recourse for those individuals who believe they may have experienced or witnessed Prohibited Conduct. This policy and the Student Conduct Procedures also provide the standards and process for the University to determine, after the fact, if behaviors violate the PLU Student Code of Conduct. The University will work to prevent and eliminate Prohibited Conduct by providing a multi-faceted educational program to promote awareness of acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. All members of the PLU community are encouraged to play a role in making their community a safe, educational, and just community. This policy is intended to meet the requirements of applicable federal and state laws. If this policy is inconsistent with any applicable law, it is the University’s intent to follow applicable laws.

IV. Jurisdiction

Consistent with other provisions of PLU’s Student Code of Conduct, this policy and procedures apply to all students enrolled in courses at Pacific Lutheran University. Individuals involved in incidents prior to or during a break between successive terms of enrollment may be subject to action in the Student Rights and Responsibilities system.

The University reserves the right to follow the procedures outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities system if a student’s behavior violates the Student Code of Conduct, regardless of where the behavior occurs. The University will generally, but not exclusively, respond to off-campus behavior if an alleged violation occurs while a student is engaged in a PLU-sponsored or sanctioned event (i.e. study away, alternative spring break, athletics, music performance, outdoor recreation), the behavior raises concern for the safety of those on-campus, or the behavior jeopardizes the university’s interests in the community.

In addition, the university may follow the procedures outlined in the Student Rights and Responsibilities system whenever a student is accused of a criminal act, regardless of the location of its occurrence.

V. Reporting and Resources

  1. How to Report


Any PLU student who believes they have been subjected to Prohibited Conduct is an Impacted Party, and is encouraged to report such a concern. Students may report Prohibited Conduct in several ways:

  • Submit an Incident Report via the Student Rights and Responsibilities office. Students are able to electronically submit a report via the online Incident Reporting Form. Impacted Parties can remain anonymous; however, the SRR office will only be able to act on as much information as is given.
  • Contacting Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators
    • Jennifer Childress-White, Title IX Coordinator (, or 253. 535.7361)
    • Eva Frey, Deputy Title IX Coordinator ( or 253.535.7159)
  • All faculty, staff, administration, Residence Assistants and Campus Safety student employees at PLU are considered responsible employees, and considered mandatory reporters for all incidents related to prohibited conduct.
  • Students may make a report directly to local law enforcement officials by calling 911.

There is no time limit on making a complaint, but prompt reporting is encouraged in order to obtain appropriate evidence and information.

Any person with knowledge of an alleged prohibited conduct is encouraged to report concerns or information to any of the above listed individuals.

All of the above individuals are considered private sources. This means the offices will keep the information as private as possible, but certain procedures will need to be followed once reported.


  1. Confidentiality and Confidential Resources
  2. Confidentiality. The University will make reasonable and appropriate efforts to preserve an Impacted Party’s and Respondent’s privacy and to protect the confidentiality of information. Should an Impacted Party request confidentiality, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Impacted Party that the University’s ability to respond may therefore be limited – but that where feasible, the University will take reasonable steps to prevent Prohibited Conduct and limit its effects.

The Title IX Coordinator will further inform the Impacted Party that it is not possible to provide confidentiality in all cases and that the University’s decision to share information with others is subject to the balancing test described below in Section VII. In summary, although the University’s goal is to limit the number of individuals who may learn about an allegation of Prohibited Conduct or an investigation, the University cannot guarantee confidentiality in all matters.

  1. Confidential Resources

Should an individual not be prepared to make a report, but is seeking information and wanting a confidential resource, there are several options available to the student. These individuals can explore different options with the Complainant and/or the Reporter without initiating further action from the University. The University encourages pastoral counselors and professional counselors, if and when they deem it appropriate, to inform the persons they are counseling of any procedures to report crimes on a voluntary, confidential basis for inclusion in the annual disclosure of crime statistics. These individuals/offices cannot and will not report the matter further, and reporting to any of these individuals/offices does not put the University on notice that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred.

Pacific Lutheran University Victim Advocate


            Telephone: 253-538-6034

            Office: Center for Gender Equity, 801 121st Street


            Pacific Lutheran University Counseling Center


            Telephone: 253-535-7206

            Office: University Center 300


            Pacific Lutheran University Student Health Center


            Telephone: 253-535-7337

            Office: 121st and Park Avenue


            Pacific Lutheran University Campus Ministry


            Telephone: 253-535-7464

            Office: University Center 190


            Pierce County Sexual Assault Center


            Telephone: 253-474-7273 or 800-756-7273


            Pierce County Domestic Violence Helpline


            Telephone: 253-798-4166 or 800-764-2420


  1. Private Resources

A report to the University may be made to any of the following offices or individuals. These are trained individuals who will initiate the University’s responsive action to a sexual misconduct complaint. While not bound by confidentiality, these resources will maintain the privacy of an individual’s information within the confines of the Title IX resolution process.

Pacific Lutheran University Campus Safety


            Telephone: 253-535-7441, emergencies: 253-535-7911

            Office: Basement of Harstad Hall


            Pacific Lutheran University Title IX Coordinator


            Telephone: (253) 535-7361



            Pacific Lutheran University Student Rights and Responsibilities


            Telephone: 253-535-7462

            Office: Lee House 


            Pacific Lutheran University Residential Life


            Telephone: 253-535-7200

            Office: University Center 161


            Additional contacts include Resident Assistants and Resident Director


  1. Reports to Law Enforcement

The University encourages anyone who believes they have experienced a violation of this Sexual Misconduct policy to make a report through the Police Department. PLU Campus Safety is willing and able to assist with referring students to this resource. The University also encourages Impacted Parties to be aware of the importance of preserving evidence that may assist in proving that an alleged criminal offense occurred or may be helpful in obtaining a protection order. An Impacted Party may also, in their discretion, decline to notify law enforcement officials.


Impacted Parties also have the right to seek other forms of relief from civil authorities, such as no contact orders, restraining orders, or similar. As set out in Section VI: A below, the University may enter such no contact orders and take such other Interim Measures to assist the Impacted Party.


  1. Anonymous Reports

The University welcomes students to submit anonymous reports of Prohibited Conduct, however, the University may not be able to fully address anonymous reports unless sufficient information is furnished to enable the University to conduct a meaningful and fair investigation. The University takes anonymous reports seriously, and will address the concern in whatever steps it deems appropriate, in the University’s sole discretion, in the best interest of the overall University community.


The University will take steps to protect the confidentiality of the Impacted Party and others involved in the reporting process. Publicly available recordkeeping, including Clery Act reporting and disclosures will be done without personal identifying information about the Impacted Party. Additionally the University will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures provided to the Impacted Party, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the institution to provide the accommodations or protective measures.


  1. Support Persons

The above resources can be utilized by both the Complainant(s) and the Respondent(s) for cases involving allegations of Sexual Misconduct. Additionally, the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will provide a Support Person to serve as a resource during the Student Conduct process. These trained Support Persons are able to provide the following: emotional support, acts as a liaison for academic and campus services, and provides referrals to counseling and support groups.


  1. Respect for Medical Amnesty Provisions

It is in the best interest of the PLU community for students to report cases of Sexual Misconduct; because of that, an individual who reports Sexual Misconduct, either as a Complainant or a Reporter, will have the focus on the investigation on the Prohibited Conduct and no other policy violations. While other potential policy violations cannot be overlooked, the University will work to address these situations by focusing on educational resources for the individuals

VI. Response Procedures

Upon receipt of a report, PLU will take immediate steps to ensure that services have been offered to the Impacted Party, and Interim Steps have been taken for the safety and security of the Impacted Party and the PLU community. Then PLU will generally proceed as described below.  PLU, in its sole discretion, may not follow the steps listed below, and will determine appropriate measures based on each individual incident.


  1. Interim Measures and Remedies

Interim Measures as defined in this policy may be taken at any time after a report of Prohibited Conduct has been received. Interim Measures may be taken with respect to both the Impacted Party and the Respondent(s) in order to eliminate a hostile environment, protect all parties involved, and maintain the status quo. Interim Measures may include, without limitation:

  • Separation of academic and living situations
  • Imposing No Contact Orders
  • Providing reasonable alternate course completion options (with approval from faculty)
  • Interim suspension
  • Providing an escort around campus
  • Limit an individual’s access to certain University facilities or activities
  • Counseling and/or tutoring scheduling assistance
  • Any other reasonable remedy that could be tailored to the involved parties to achieve the goals of this policy

The University reserves the right to take any measures it believes, in its sole discretion, are in the best interests of the parties and the University community.


  1. Initial Title IX Assessment

Upon notice of any concern regarding Prohibited Conduct, the Title IX Coordinator or a designee will assess whether a formal Title IX investigation will be conducted under this policy; that is whether the allegation if true would rise to the level of a policy violation and, if so, whether a formal investigation is appropriate under the circumstances. The Title IX Coordinator determines whether an investigation should be commenced based on a variety of factors including but not limited to the Impacted Party’s wish to pursue disciplinary action, the risk posed to any individual or the campus community by not proceeding, and the nature of the allegation.


In circumstances in which the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is no ongoing risk of harm to the community and that Interim Measures, such as a No Contact Order from PLU, have addressed the concerns, the Title IX Coordinator may forgo a formal investigation. If the determination is that no further action is necessary or that the Interim Measures will remain in place as ongoing Accommodations, the Complainant will be provided a Formal Memo. To the extent appropriate under this Policy and if involved in the assessment, the Respondent will also be provided an Outcome Letter. To the extent that the Outcome Letter states that the University will not investigate the report of Prohibited Conduct, that determination may be appealed under Section XI.


  1. Prohibited Conduct

If the Title IX Coordinator or their designee determines that an investigation will be initiated, the Impacted Party will be contacted by a staff member in the Student Rights and Responsibilities office who will explain options and will schedule a formal report meeting with a trained investigator. If the Impacted Party is willing to participate in the Student Rights and Responsibilities process, the Impacted Party may be designated as the Complainant. (In some cases, the University may act as the Complainant, in its sole discretion.) The individual alleged to have engaged in the Prohibited Conduct and who must respond to the allegations is designated as the Respondent.


  1. Investigation

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will designate an un-biased, trained investigator to investigate each allegation of Prohibited Conduct. The investigator will conduct a thorough, fact-finding investigation, which will typically include interviews with the Complainant(s), the Respondent(s), and witnesses. The interviews will be supplemented by the gathering of any physical, documentary, or other evidence. As part of the investigation, PLU will allow all parties to provide witnesses and other evidence as appropriate. The investigation is designed to be thorough, impartial and fair, and all individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. The investigation will be conducted in a manner that is respectful of individual privacy concerns.


Throughout the process, any person participating in the process may have a Support Person present at any meeting related to the review of the reported Prohibited Conduct. However, the Complainant(s), Respondent(s) and witnesses are expected to speak for themselves and Support Persons must not be disruptive to the interview or process. The Complainant and/or the Respondent may be represented by legal counsel during the investigation process, but lawyers are subject to the same rules as other Support Persons. See the definition of Support Person for additional detail.


  1. Investigation Findings and Outcomes

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will prepare a written report synthesizing the facts and the conclusions of the investigation.  The report will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator, who will review that the report and investigation were valid and thorough. The report will be passed on to the Review Officers. The Review Officers are two faculty/staff/administrators who have been trained in conduct and Title IX procedures, and are designated by the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities. The Review Officers will make a determination if a policy (policies) have been violated, and determine sanctions, if applicable.


Both Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will be notified at or near the same time when the decision is made, in writing.


  1. Standard of Proof

The Review Officers will make a decision of the alleged violation(s) based on the Preponderance of Evidence standard. This standard requires that the information supporting a finding of responsible be more convincing than the information in opposition to it. Under this standard, individuals are presumed not to have engaged in a policy violation of sexual misconduct unless it is “more likely than not” based on the information provided, that a violation did occur.


  1. Timeline of Process

A Title IX Investigation should normally be completed within 60 calendar days after the University has notification of the complaint. If the timeline is extended for any reasonable reason, the SRR Office will communicate with all affected parties.


  1. Sanctioning

If the Respondent is found responsible for violation of this Sexual Misconduct policy, the University will initiate a sanctioning process designed to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while supporting the University’s educational mission and Title IX obligations. Sanctions or interventions may also serve to promote safety or deter students from similar future behavior. Potential sanctions can include, but are not limited to:

  • Expulsion from Pacific Lutheran University
  • Suspension from Pacific Lutheran University for a designated period of time
  • Removal from campus housing
  • Mandated assessment and compliance with all recommendations
  • Letter of Mutual Understanding
  • Removal of Privileges
  • Disciplinary Probation


  1. Appeal Process

In the case of a Sexual Misconduct investigation, the Respondent and the Complainant have the right to appeal a determination. Grounds for Appeal are:

  1. Procedural error that substantially impacted the outcome of the investigation process
  2. Bias unknown at the beginning of the investigation that substantially impacted the outcome of the investigation
  3. New Information, previously unavailable, that would substantially impact the outcome of the investigation
  4. Severity of sanction


All appeals must be received in writing by the deadline indicated in the written outcome letter, with the deadline typically 72 hours after the outcome was given. The student should complete the Appeal Form to the SRR office.


Appeals will go to the Vice President of Student Life, who will make a determination based on all materials provided, including the Investigative Report, supplemental documentation, audio interviews, and the appeal form. Appeal decisions will generally be completed within 5 business days of the Appeal Form submission, and all parties will be notified of the status of the appeal by the SRR Office.


  1. Coordination with Concurrent Legal Proceedings

Students may engage criminal prosecution procedures and/or civil litigation in connection with the same behavior that forms the basis of a sexual misconduct report under this policy. In such cases, the University will cooperate and assist with coordination with local law enforcement and may, if requested and appropriate, share information with those agencies. The University will fulfill its legal and ethical obligation to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate possible violations of this policy, even if there are external processes or procedures pending in connection with that same report of Prohibited Conduct.


Standards for criminal investigations are different than the standards for a violation of this policy, and therefore the University will not base its decisions under this policy solely on law enforcement reports and/or action. Accordingly, the University will not normally wait for the conclusion of a criminal investigation or other proceedings before implementing its review of reported sexual misconduct under this policy.


  1. Reporting Prohibited Conduct to Law Enforcement and for Statistical Disclosure

Students who believe any Prohibited Conduct they have experienced may be criminal in nature will receive support and assistance in contacting law enforcement and/or reporting the conduct for Statistical Disclosure under the Clery Act. PLU encourages accurate and prompt reporting of all crimes to Campus Safety and the appropriate police agencies.


As a part of its prevention and awareness programs for incoming students and new employees, and its ongoing prevention and awareness programs for students and employees, PLU includes the definitions of sexual misconduct, the definition of consent in reference to sexual activity, and the definitions of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking that are used by the criminal laws in applicable jurisdictions. The criminal law definitions used in Washington State are described in Appendix A for the sake of information only. However, PLU utilizes its own definitions of these prohibited behaviors for purposes of this policy that are consistent with the Clery Act, as amended effective 2014 (and expand upon the Clery Act as noted above), and determines responsibility for violations of PLU policy through its own procedures and standards of proof, not through the procedures or standards of proof employed in the criminal justice system.

VII. Immediate Help/Steps for Impacted Parties

If you believe you or someone you know has been impacted by Sexual Misconduct, you are urged to immediately notify the police and/or seek medical attention.

A. Confidential Health and Safety
Medical Treatment: Students who believe they have been sexually assaulted may seek medical attention without reporting the crime to police. The hospital emergency room will assist in treatment of injuries, prevention of sexual transmitted infections and pregnancy, and crisis intervention and emotional support services. Physical evidence can also be collected at this time.
Tacoma General Hospital
315 Martin Luther King Way, Tacoma 98405
Telephone: 253-403-1000
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County emergency hotline
Telephone: 1-800-756-7273
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

St. Clare Hospital
11315 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood, WA 98499
Telephone: 253-985-1711
Hours: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Pacific Lutheran University Student Health Center
121st. Street and Park Avenue, Tacoma
Telephone: 253-535-7337
Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm

Emotional Support: Students who believe they have been sexually assaulted may seek emotional support without reporting the crime to the police or PLU.

Sexual Assault Center of Pierce County
Location: 101 E. 26th Street, Suite 200, Tacoma, WA 98421
Telephone: 253-597-6424, or emergency hotline: 800-756-7273

Pacific Lutheran University Center for Gender Equity
801 121st Street, Tacoma WA 98447
Telephone: 253-535-8759
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00am – 5:00pm

Pacific Lutheran University Counseling Center
University Center 300
Telephone: 253-535-7206

VIII. False Reports

Pacific Lutheran University takes all allegations of Sexual Misconduct very seriously and will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statues and civil defamation laws. Any false reports will be addressed using the Student Rights and Responsibilities Procedures.

IX. Student Rights and Expectations

Federal law requires Pacific Lutheran University to afford the Complainant and the Respondent rights throughout the Sexual Misconduct Investigation process. Additionally, Pacific Lutheran University has a commitment to all students, and is committed to creating an environment that still serves the student’s educational rights during the Sexual Misconduct Investigation Process. Basic rights include:

  1. Respect for Privacy

Information regarding sexual misconduct reports, and any investigation or review of these reports, including sanctioning determinations, will be shared among University employees on a “need to know” basis only, and only under applicable law.


  1. Choice to Participate

All Complainants, Respondents, Reports, or witnesses may choose to participate or decline to participate in the Title IX Investigation process. However, even if the Complainant or Respondent decline to participate, the University, in its sole discretion, may continue to investigate the matter and make sanctioning decisions based on the incident and information gathered.


  1. Confidential Assistance and Resources

All Complainants, Respondents, Reporters, and witnesses have the right to seek additional, confidential resources if needed. Confidential services include the Health Center, Counseling Center, Victim Advocate, and Campus Ministry. All information shared with these offices and individuals will remain confidential to the extent permitted by law and University policy. Discussions with these individuals will not be considered a report to the University as it relates to the investigation.


  1. A Fair Process

The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that the Respondent and the Complainant are treated fairly throughout the process, without bias.

X. Retaliation is Prohibited

Pacific Lutheran University will take appropriate steps to ensure that a person who, in good faith, reports, complains about, or participates in a sexual misconduct investigation will not be subjected to retaliation by the Respondent or by others with knowledge of the incident and/or report. Anyone who believes they are experiencing retaliation is strongly encouraged to report that concern to SRR.

XI. Definitions - General

Pacific Lutheran University, for the purposes of this policy, defines the following terms as follows. Please note that some of these terms may also be used in other contexts, and that they may have different meanings in those contexts.


Complainant: The individual complaining of Sexual Misconduct. See also Respondent.


Respondent: The individual accused of Sexual Misconduct. See also Complainant.


Sexual Activity: Intentional contact with the breast, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making someone touch another person with or on any of these body parts; any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner. Intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object. In the context of this policy, Sexual Activity may also include the conduct preliminary to or involved in Sexual Harassment, Sexual Exploitation, and Sexual Intimidation.


Consent: Consent is permission explicitly granted by an individual who is physically and mentally capable of providing it. It is the responsibility of the person who wants to engage in Sexual Activity to insure that they have the valid Consent of the other to engage in the activity. PLU further defines Consent to include the following:

  • Consent is informed, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as Consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create clear and mutually understandable permission regarding the conditions of sexual activity.
  • Consent to one form of Sexual Activity cannot imply Consent to other forms of Sexual Activity, even within the same intimate situation. Previous relationships or Consent cannot imply Consent to future Sexual Activity.
  • Consent cannot be procured by use of force, threats, intimidating behavior, or coercion.
  • Some individuals are unable to give Consent by reason of Incapacity or Physical Helplessness (defined below). It is a violation of this policy to engage in Sexual Activity with someone you know to be, or should have known to be, Incapacitated or Physically Helpless.

Incapacity: For the purpose of this policy, Incapacity is a condition existing at the time of the incident which prevents a person from understanding the nature or consequences of the Sexual Activity whether that condition is produced by the influence of a substance, or from some other cause. Incapacity is a state where one cannot make a rational, reasonable decision because that individual lacks the ability to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of the sexual interaction.


The use of alcohol or drugs can prevent an individual from giving valid Consent, even if the person appears to agree to Sexual Activity in the moment. Incapacity may also result from the influence of substances commonly known as “date rape” drugs. Possession, use, and/or distribution of any “date rape” substances, including, without limitation, Rohypnol, Ketamine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of PLU policy. Incapacity may also result from, without limitation, developmental disability, mental disorder, chemical dependency, and/or age.


Physical Helplessness: Physical Helplessness refers to a person who is asleep, unconscious or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate, verbally or non-verbally, valid Consent.


Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure someone uses to obtain Consent from another. When someone makes it clear that they do not want to engage in Sexual Activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive if Consent is not voluntarily or freely given, or if the individual giving it is not capable of doing so.


Investigator: An appropriately trained individual, who may be a PLU employee, who reviews and investigates reports of Prohibited Conduct under this policy.


Reporter: An individual who reports to the University a concern regarding possible Prohibited Conduct. A Reporter does not need to be a Complainant.


Support Person: An individual or individuals chosen by the Complainant, Respondent, Reporter, or witness to provide support during the investigation of a report of possible Prohibited Conduct under this policy. The Support Person chosen may not already be directly involved in the investigative process (Example – cannot be a witness, or Reporter), and may not speak on behalf of the person they are supporting, but instead may be present only to provide assistance or advice to the individual they are supporting. A Support Person must be part of the PLU community.


Legal Counsel: Either or both a Complainant or Respondent may work with legal counsel at their own expense during the process. Like Support Persons, Lawyers may not speak on behalf of the person they are supporting, but instead may be present only to provide assistance or advice to the individual they are representing. A lawyer need not be a member of the PLU community.


Responsible Employee/Mandatory Reporter: An individual who is a PLU employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. A responsible employee must report any information about Prohibited Conduct, a Title IX complaint or incident to the Title IX Coordinator on-campus. Responsible Employees on the PLU campus include all faculty/staff/administrators, including Campus Safety student employees and Residential Life student employees.


Title IX: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination. This includes sexual harassment and sexual assault, and applies to all programs that receive federal financial aid.


Title IX Coordinator: The University official charged with ensuring PLU’s overall compliance with Title IX and related University Policy.


XII. Definitions – Violations of Sexual Misconduct, VAWA Informed

Violations of Sexual Misconduct under the PLU policy include, but are not limited to the following prohibited behaviors:


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; and where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.


Domestic Violence: A pattern of abusive behavior that is used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain power and control over the other intimate partner. Domestic violence can be physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This includes any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, inure, or wound someone.


Washington State additionally defines domestic violence as physical harm, bodily injury, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury or assault, between family or household members; sexual assault of one family or household member by another; or stalking of one family or household member by another family or household member.


Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse is any sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), however slight, with any object, by a person upon another regardless of gender, without consent.


Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Non-Consensual Sexual Contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any object, by a person upon another regardless of gender, without consent.


Relationship Violence: Dating Violence and/or Domestic Violence


Sexual Assault: Any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs by force or without consent of the recipient of the unwanted sexual activity. Falling under the definition of sexual assault is sexual activity such as forced sexual intercourse, sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape. It includes sexual acts against people who are unable to give consent either due to age or lack of capacity.


Sexual Harassment: Sexual Harassment is gender-based verbal or physical conduct that unreasonably interferes with or deprives someone of educational access, benefits or opportunities. There are three types of Sexual Harassment:

  1. Hostile Environment: This includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive/persistent and patently/objectively offensive that it alters the conditions of education, employment, or residence from both a subjective (the Complainant’s) and an objective (reasonable person’s) viewpoint.
  2. Quid Pro Quo Sexual Harassment: This exists when there are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature; and submission to or rejection of such conduct results in adverse educational or employment action.
  3. Retaliatory Harassment: This includes any adverse employment or educational action taken against a person because of the person’s participation in a complaint or investigation of discrimination or Sexual Misconduct.


Sexual Exploitation: A form of Sexual Harassment: Sexual Exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the other Sexual Misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:

  1. Prostituting another person
  2. Recording images (e.g. video, photography) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness without that person’s consent.
  3. Distributing images (e.g. video, photography) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, if the individual distributing the images or audio knows or should have known that the person depicted in the images or audio did not Consent to such disclosure and objects to such disclosure.
  4. Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without the person’s consent, and for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.


Sexual Intimidation: A Form of Sexual Harassment: Sexual Intimidation involves, without limitation, threating another person with a sex act against them, stalking, (including cyber-stalking), and/or engaging in indecent exposure.


Sexual Misconduct: Sexual Misconduct includes Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence or Domestic Violence (“Relationship Violence”), and Stalking.


Stalking: A pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear.

XII. Retaliation

Pacific Lutheran University prohibits retaliation against any person who reports a Sexual Misconduct violation, any witness who testifies in an investigation related to allegations of Sexual Misconduct, or anyone who engages in any similarly protected activity. Retaliation is an adverse action taken against another for reporting a complaint or supporting another’s complaint. Anyone who believes they are experiencing retaliation is strongly encouraged to report that concern to SRR.

XIII. Miscellaneous Provisions

When a report of Prohibited Conduct is received, PLU will provide written notification to Impacted students and employees that services listed in this policy, and about possible legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other services available for Impacted Parties, both within the University and in the community. While the Investigation is in progress, all students involved will be supported in continuing their educational endeavors at PLU to the best of their abilities.


The University will provide written notification to Impacted Parties about options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures. The University will make such accommodations or provide such protective measures if an Impacted Party requests them and if they are reasonably available, regardless of whether the Impacted chooses to go through the Student Conduct Process or the legal process with local law enforcement.