Whittier College's response to COVID-19 and plans for Fall 2020
Contribute to the Student Emergency Fund and help students cover unprecedented expenses
All students, staff, and faculty have the right to submit inquiries or allegations concerning the application of Title IX to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights:
50 Beale Street, Suite 7200
San Francisco, CA 94105
Customer Service Hotline #: 415.486.5555
Facsimile: 415.486.5570 TDD#: 877.521.2172OCR.SanFrancisco@ed.govWebsite
Whittier College encourages reporting of Sexual Misconduct. All allegations of alleged Sexual Misconduct will be investigated and addressed by a trained Title IX Investigator(s) and may include, depending on the circumstances, an investigation conducted by an external investigator not employed by the College. The investigation procedures described below will apply to all allegations involving students as the Complainant and the Complainant/Responding Party.
When the Complainant is a student and the Responding Party is faculty, administrator or staff, procedures described in the Faculty (in the case of a faculty-Responding Party) and Employee (in the case of a staff or administrator-Responding Party) Handbooks shall take precedence over this Policy.
As necessary, the College reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as Complainant, and to initiate conduct proceedings without a formal complaint by the Complainant of Sexual Misconduct.
Upon receipt of a complaint of conduct that could be considered Sexual Misconduct under this Policy, or the initiation of such a complaint by the College, the Title IX Coordinator shall open a formal case file and assign Title IX Investigators who will conduct the investigation and confer with the Title IX Coordinator on any interim action or other matters as needed.
The College aims to complete the complaint process within 60 business days, unless circumstances warrant additional time. If there is an appeal, the timeline can be extended as a result.
When a complaint of alleged Sexual Misconduct is reported to a Title IX Coordinator or the Lead Title IX Investigator, interim actions may be provided to meet the needs of all involved. The Title IX Coordinator or Lead Title IX Investigator (or designee) may provide interim remedies intended to achieve their purpose while at the same time limiting, to the extent practical, any adverse effect on the Complainant and Responding Party’s educational program.
Interim actions may include, but are not limited to, referral to counseling and health services or the Employee Assistance Program, education to the community, altering housing class or work arrangements, providing campus escorts, implementing contact limitations between parties, offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
The College may impose an interim suspension on a student or organization pending the completion of the investigation, issuance of findings or appeal. During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to College housing and/or campus facilities, privileges and events, and may be denied the ability to attend classes. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will use best efforts to determine if alternative coursework options are available for a student not allowed to attend classes. In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student or student organization will be given the opportunity to meet with the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) prior to the suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the suspension should not be implemented. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) has sole discretion to implement or stay an interim suspension under this Policy. Violation of an interim suspension may result in expulsion or termination.
Interim Actions, depending on the nature of the request and the circumstances involved, are available to and may be requested by a Complainant and a Responding Party. All Interim Actions must be approved by the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee.
Informal resolution is rarely appropriate for sexual assault, but may be used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is allowed as an alternative to the formal resolution process when requested by the Complainant, which request may be withdrawn during the informal resolution process. When Sexual Assault is the misconduct complained of, the Complainant must request in writing that informal resolution is desired. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will determine if informal resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue and the susceptibility of the conduct to resolution. Even if an informal resolution is pursued, the College will make the ultimate decision as to the appropriateness of such a process and of the sanctions imposed.
Informal resolution will involve a dialogue with the parties to determine if a mutual agreement can be reached. Sanctions may be imposed and records will be kept of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the accord can result in appropriate responsive actions. It is not necessary to pursue informal resolution first in order to pursue a complaint and anyone participating in an informal resolution can stop that process at any time and request that the formal process proceed.
If the case is not appropriate for informal resolution or if that process fails, upon receipt of a complaint that involves alleged Sexual Misconduct, the following steps will be taken:
The purpose of sanctioning is to ensure safety as well as to provide educational opportunities that will result in positive behavior change for the betterment of self and community.
As the result of a responsible finding, a formal sanction must be issued. The options for formal sanctions are below:
As a result of a responsible finding, action-based sanctions may be issued. These sanctions all involve a specific action item and most involve direct attention from the responsible party. Action-based sanctions include, but are not limited to:
The College considers Sexual Assaults involving the use of force or threats of intimidation to be serious violations, and therefore may decide to impose the most severe sanctions, including but not limited to suspension or expulsion. However, the College reserves the right to impose ANY level of sanction, ranging from a warning up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination, for any act of Sexual Misconduct based on the totality of the facts and circumstances and the cumulative conduct record of the student. In cases involving Student Organizations as the Responding Party, deactivation, de-recognition, and loss of privileges for a period of time are some of the sanctions that may be imposed.
The College does not permit a student to formally withdraw if that student has a complaint pending for violation of this Policy, the Policy on Nondiscrimination, or for charges under the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Should a student decide to leave the College and not participate in the investigation and findings phase of this process, the process will nonetheless proceed in the student’s absence to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to the College unless all sanctions have been satisfied.
Persons complaining of sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, and domestic/dating violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome of the investigation and sanctions, in writing, without condition or limitation;
The College may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a College policy that is a “crime of violence,” including: arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property and kidnapping/abduction.
The Complainant and the Responding Party may appeal a finding. The Appeal must be filed within five (5) business days after receipt of the Notice of Outcome regarding the decision. Responding Party’s request for additional time to appeal may be submitted to the Appeals Officer so long as it is requested within two (2) business days of receipt of the applicable Notice of Outcome letter. The Appeals Officer will determine if reasonable cause exists for granting additional time and will send notice simultaneously to the parties if an extension is granted.
At the close of the period of time in which to file an appeal, the Appeals Officer will notify the other party that an appeal has been filed, give them a copy of the appeal request, and permit them to respond in writing. If there has been a request by the Responding Party and decision made to stay any sanctions pending appeal, the Appeals Officer will notify the Complainant of that decision as well.
General dissatisfaction with the outcome of the decision made is not grounds for appeal. Appeals are limited to the following four reasons:
Typically, appeals are paper-based, but before making a decision on the appeal, the Appeals Officer may request a meeting with the parties involved and will consider requests for such a meeting by the parties. Any such requests should be made within 48 hours of receiving notice that an appeal has been filed. The Appeals Officer is not required to meet with either party. A non-appealing party may submit a written statement for consideration by the Appeals Officer so long as it is submitted within 72 hours of being notified of the fact that an appeal has been filed and which of the four bases for appeal are being pursued.
The Appeals Officer will use best efforts to decide the appeal within seven (7) calendar days of its submission or meeting with the parties, if any. This timeframe may be longer depending on the totality of the circumstances.
Where the Appeals Officer finds that at least one of the four grounds for appeal have been met, the following options are available:
Deference shall be given to the original decision, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error, and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so. Once an outcome is appealed and the appeal decided, the outcome is final; further appeals are not permitted.
All Responding Parties are expected to comply with sanctions within the time frame specified. Failure to do so by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions including, but not limited to suspension, expulsion and/or termination from the College and may be noted on a student’s official transcript. A suspension can only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Title IX Coordinator or designee.
If the investigation following any complaint does not result in a finding of a violation of this Policy, the records relating to the complaint and the investigation will become a part of any individual’s student record.
If the Responding Party is found to have violated this Policy, those records of the case will become part of the permanent student or personnel file of the Responding Party. Access to personnel and student files and the records maintained by the Title IX Coordinator is limited by Title IX, FERPA and various state statutes and common law. These restrictions on the disclosure are designed to protect students, employees, and the College. Questions regarding access to records may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. In implementing this Policy, a record of all allegations and the final resolution, will be kept by the Title IX Coordinator indefinitely in the Title IX Coordinator database.
Subject to other provisions in this Policy, Complainants of Sexual Misconduct have the following rights:
Subject to other provisions in this Policy, persons Complainant of Sexual Misconduct have the following rights:
This Policy will be reviewed on an annual basis and updated or modified as needed. The provisions of the Policy pertaining to what constitutes sexual misconduct in effect at the time of any alleged misconduct shall apply. The investigation and adjudication of any complaint of sexual misconduct shall be addressed in accordance with those procedures in effect at the time a person is notified of their alleged misconduct.
These policies and procedures supersede any previous policy(ies) addressing harassment, sexual misconduct, and discrimination. The College reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect. During the resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules.
All updates or edits to this Policy shall be published on the College’s website with a date of the last revision. The Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the College’s web site, with appropriate date of effect identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this policy and procedure. If government laws or regulations change, or court decisions alter, the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations.
This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such policies and codes, generally.
This policy was updated on February 5, 2020