Frequently Asked Questions

Does Title IX only address equity in athletics?

No.  Athletic programs are only a small part of Title IX.  The other components of Title IX include:
•    Recruitment, Admissions, Financial Aid and Scholarships
•    Course Offerings and Access
•    Pregnancy and Parenting
•    Hiring and Retention of Employees
•    Benefits and Leave
Title IX also strictly prohibits any and all sexual misconduct, as well as the prevention of and response to.

Are Title IX, Clery Act, and VAWA all the same thing?

No. The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities that participate in the federal student financial aid programs to provide current and prospective students and employees, the public, and the Department with crime statistics and information about campus crime prevention programs and policies. VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) is a federal law administered by the U.S. Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS) that support comprehensive responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.

What are the key differences between a school’s Title IX investigation into allegations of sexual violence and a criminal investigation?

A criminal investigation is intended to determine whether an individual violated criminal law; and, if at the conclusion of the investigation, the individual is tried and found guilty, the individual may be imprisoned or subject to criminal penalties. The U.S. Constitution affords criminal defendants who face the risk of incarceration numerous protections, including, but not limited to, the right to counsel, the right to a speedy trial, the right to a jury trial, the right against self-incrimination, and the right to confrontation. In addition, government officials responsible for criminal investigations (including police and prosecutors) normally have discretion as to which complaints from the public they will investigate.

By contrast, a Title IX investigation will never result in incarceration of an individual and, therefore, the same procedural protections and legal standards are not required. Further, while a criminal investigation is initiated at the discretion of law enforcement authorities, a Title IX investigation is not discretionary; a school has a duty under Title IX to resolve complaints promptly and equitably and to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, free from sexual harassment and sexual violence. Because the standards for pursuing and completing criminal investigations are different from those used for Title IX investigations, the termination of a criminal investigation without an arrest or conviction does not affect the school’s Title IX obligations.

Of course, criminal investigations conducted by local or campus law enforcement may be useful for fact gathering if the criminal investigation occurs within the recommended timeframe for Title IX investigations; but, even if a criminal investigation is ongoing, a school must still conduct its own Title IX investigation.

A school should notify complainants of the right to file a criminal complaint and should not dissuade a complainant from doing so either during or after the school’s internal Title IX investigation. Title IX does not require a school to report alleged incidents of sexual violence to law enforcement, but a school may have reporting obligations under state, local, or other federal laws.


Taken from Department of Education/Office of Civil Rights,”Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence.” April,2014.

What if I do not want my experience reported to PLU?

Utilize the confidential resources on campus, who are not required to report incidents to University authorities:

  • Confidential Advocate Magdalena Stickel in the Center for DJS
  • Pastor Jen Rude in Campus Ministry
  • Counseling Services
  • Health Services
  • TimelyCare Wellness Providers

What if I do not want the University to proceed with a formal investigation?

PLU follows a trauma informed response method. The Title IX Coordinator process counsels the impacted party, and ultimately allows them to decide how they want the University to move forward. The only exception is if the Title IX Coordinator files a Formal Complaint on behalf of the University, in cases where individual safety or the campus community are at risk.

I am worried about retaliation, what can the University do to protect me?

Title IX prohibits retaliation for reporting parties and any individuals participating in an investigation. PLU will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but will also take strong responsive action if it occurs. If you believe you are experiencing retaliation for filing a report, please contact the Title IX Coordinator immediately.

What if someone choses to make a false report against me?

Pacific Lutheran University takes all allegations of Prohibited Conduct 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 statutes and civil defamation laws. Any false reports will be addressed using the Student Code of Conduct Procedures.