Frequently Asked Questions
What is Title IX?
Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 is a federal civil right law that prohibits sex-based discrimination.
"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." (20 U.S. C. § 1681)
Who does Title IX apply to?
Title IX applies to all educational institutions, both public and private, that receive federal funds. Pacific Union College receives federal funding through student federal financial aid programs and is therefore subject to Title IX.
Who does Title IX protect?
Title IX protects all PUC students, faculty, staff, and 3rd party campus visitors.
What conduct is covered by the Title IX Office?
The Title IX Office handles reports of sex/gender-based discrimination, sexual harassment (including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking), and/or retaliation for reporting prohibited conduct or for participating in an investigation or case as well as other conduct prohibited by the Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy such as sexual exploitation.
Where does Title IX apply?
Title IX applies to all on-campus activities and events. Title IX mandates that educational programs and activities provide sex-based equity and applies to every single aspect of education including recruitment, admissions, and counseling; financial assistance; athletics; sex-based harassment; treatment of pregnant and parenting students; discipline; single-sex education; and employment.
It also covers PUC-sponsored activities and events which take place off-campus. It may also apply to off-campus and online conduct which affects safety on campus or when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct has continuing adverse effects on or creates a hostile environment for any member of the campus community or in any college employment or education program or activity.
Who should report a situation to the Title IX Office?
Anyone can file a report to the Title IX Office. You are encouraged to file a report if you suspect that a violation of Pacific Union College's Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy has occurred, even if you are not the person allegedly affected or are not related to the person what may be affected.
If you feel you have experienced a violation of the Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy, you should contact the Title IX Office or confidential resources to discuss your options.
Confidential employees are employed in offices designated as a confidential resources and MAY NOT report to the Title IX Office any information received within the scope of their duties within the confidential resource office.
Confidential Resource Offices and Employees
Career and Counseling Center – all therapists and staff
(707) 965-6789 (after hours)
Health Services – all health providers and staff
(707) 965-6789 (after hours)
Chaplains Office – Chaplain Kent Rufo
All PUC employees are either designated as either officials with authority (OWAs), mandated reporters, or confidential employees/resources. OWAs and mandated reporters have a duty to report sexual or gender-based discrimination and harassment and sexual misconduct to the Title IX Office promptly upon becoming aware of a report or incident. With authority to address and correct harassment and discrimination under their purview, OWAs also can accept Formal Notice of complaints on behalf of PUC.
Officials with Authority
- the president, vice presidents, and associate vice presidents of the College
- the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator, and Grievance Pool Advisors
- Director of Residential Life and all residence hall deans
- Public Safety employees
- Athletic Director and all coaching staff
- all academic department chairs and directors
- all program directors, and
- all service department directors
- Faculty (including adjunct faculty)
- Staff (including temporary employees
- Resident Assistants (RAs)
- Student employees (other than RAs) when they are working
Who is the Complainant?
The Complainant is the individual reported to have experienced or been harmed by a violation of Pacific Union College's Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy.
Who is the Respondent?
The responding party is the individual reported to have allegedly violated Pacific Union College's Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy.
Can I file a report anonymously?
Yes. You can file an anonymous report on the LiveSafe app which can be downloaded from Google Play or the App Store—register the app with your phone, then search and select Pacific Union College.
Anonymous reports will be investigated to determine if supportive measures can be provided; however, the ability of the Title IX Office to respond to anonymous reports may be limited.
What is a Formal Complaint/Notice?
A Formal Complaint or Formal Notice is a formalized document submitted or signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging a policy violation by a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation(s).
A complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information in the section immediately above, or as described in this section. As used here, the phrase "document filed by a Complainant" means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online reporting tool) that contains the Complainant's physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the complaint, and requests that the College investigate the allegations.
If notice is submitted in a form that does not meet this standard, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to ensure that it is filed correctly.
A Formal Complaint is not necessary to request supportive measures from the Title IX Office.
Are there time limitations for reporting an incident?
No. There is no time limitation on providing notice/complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. However, if the Respondent is no longer subject to the College's jurisdiction and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited or impossible.
When notice/complaint is affected by significant time delay, the College will typically apply the policy in place at the time of the alleged misconduct and the procedures in place at the time of notice/complaint.
Will the report be kept confidential?
The Title IX Office takes its role to protect the privacy of individuals involved in a Title IX report seriously. In all cases, the Title IX Office will give consideration to the complainant with respect to how the reported misconduct is pursued. In cases where the complainant requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the Title IX Office to honor that request, supportive measures will be offered to the complainant (free of charge), and no formal action will be pursued.
The Title IX Coordinator has a duty to ensure the safety of the campus while complying federal law. There may be times when the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a grievance process if a violence risk assessment show a compelling risk to health and/or safety that requires PUC to pursue formal action in order to protect the community.
If the reporting party wants to remain completely confidential the Title IX Office may be able to make the necessary referrals for assistance and help. Confidentiality, however, is not a guaranteed if the reporting party chooses to proceed with an investigation as the Title IX Office will have to contact the responding party and may need to contact witnesses that may offer pertinent information.
Is it necessary to contact the Police?
A police report is not necessary to make a complaint to the Title IX Office.
If I don't want to move forward with a formal complaint, should I still file a report?
Yes. Your report may indicate a pattern of conduct if additional reports of similar alleged behavior have been reported.
Additionally, the Title IX Coordinator may offer a variety of appropriate and individualized supportive measures and accommodations, including but not limited to:
- Safety planning
- Providing campus safety escorts
- Providing transportation accommodations
- Implementing contact limitations (no contact directives) between the parties
- Academic accommodations and support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments
- No trespass directives
- Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence
- Altering campus housing assignment(s)
- Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus
- Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services
- Referral to the Employee Assistance Program
- Referral to community-based service providers
- Visa and immigration assistance
- Student financial aid counseling
- Education to the community or community subgroup(s)
- Timely warnings (as required by the Clery Act)
- Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator
What happens after a report has been submitted?
The Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the Complainant to offer assistance and resources and request a meeting. In the meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss the three options for moving forward and assess how the Complainant wishes to proceed: (Option 1) a supportive and remedial response only, (Option 2) an informal resolution option, or a (Option 3) formal investigation and grievance process. If informal resolution option is chosen, the resolution may take three different approaches:
- When the parties agree to resolve the matter through an alternate resolution mechanism such as conflict resolution or restorative resolution;
- When the Respondent accepts responsibility for violating policy, and desires to accept a sanction and end the resolution process; or
- When the Title IX Coordinator can resolve the matter informally by providing supportive measures to remedy the situation.
To initiate Informal Resolution, a Complainant needs to submit a formal complaint.
It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue a Formal Grievance Process, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and begin or resume the Formal Grievance Process.
What is the difference between an informal resolution and a formal grievance process?
An informal resolution is voluntary and designed to be flexible to meet specific needs of both the situation and the parties involved. It often includes education to address reported behavior and prevent its recurrence. An informal resolution could include a structured conversation between the involved parties or negotiated agreements facilitated by the Title IX Coordinator or more formalized, but non-investigative, processes such as conflict resolution or restorative justice. Conflict resolution focuses only on the parties, while restorative justice acknowledges the potential for community harm and focuses on rebuilding trust with the harmed community, e.g. friends of the parties.
A formal grievance process includes an investigation to consolidate and synthesize evidence and a hearing to make a determination based on a preponderance of the evidence on whether or not policy was violated.
What happens in an investigation?
If an investigation is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator appoints 1-2 investigators to commence a focused fact-finding inquiry that is thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying possible sources of expert information, as necessary. The investigator(s) gather, assess, and synthesize evidence, but render no recommendations as part of their report.
All parties have a full and fair opportunity, throughout the investigation and hearing processes, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence and expert witnesses, and to fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.
If I make a report, does that mean there will be an investigation?
Not necessarily. Several factors are considered before an investigation is initiated by the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Complainant to discuss the differences between the formal grievance procedures and informal resolutions as well as the option to simply request supportive assistance with no further action taken. The Title IX Coordinator will assess how the Complainant wishes to proceed and will determine the appropriate next steps in accordance with the Sex Nondiscrimination and Sexual Harassment policy. If a formal grievance process is determined to be the appropriate course of action, then the Title IX Coordinator will initiate an investigation upon the appointment of impartial investigator/s.
How long does an investigation take?
The Title IX Office aims to complete investigations within a thirty (30) business days, but this period can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator with notice to the parties as appropriate.
Will I have to go to court?
Proceedings conducted by the Title IX Office are not criminal. It is a campus procedural process conducted after receiving a report of a policy violation. It is a process to stop the prohibited behavior, remedy its effects, and prevent its reoccurrence for the health, safety, and success of the parties and the campus.
If a Complainant wants to file criminal charges, they may need to contact the police. Court orders in response to criminal or civil case processes may then necessitate a court appearance.
The Title IX Office, Public Safety, and any of the confidential and service resources on campus are available to assist the Complainant in contacting police.
I want to file a report, but I was at a party and I don't want to get into trouble for drinking/smoking/other drugs. Do I have any protections?
Your safety and wellbeing are our priority. The Title IX Office has an amnesty policy specifically for situations like this.
Individuals who report, in good faith, prohibited conduct that was directed at them, or another person, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for their own personal involvement for the consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk.
The amnesty policy only applies to personal use of alcohol and/or drugs and does not extend to other potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct or other College policies. For example, if the Respondent provided alcohol or drugs to the Complainant as a means of facilitating the alleged violation, the Respondent may face additional action.
To foster healing and growth, PUC may initiate educational opportunities about the use of alcohol or drugs and their impact.
Can an attorney be my Advisor?
Yes. You have the right to an Advisor of your choice, which can include an attorney.
Will my parents/guardians find out about this incident?
It depends. If you are a minor, members of the Title IX team have certain mandatory reporting obligations, which may include notifying your parents/guardians of the incident. If you are not a minor, this incident is a part of your education record, which is protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). This means that your education record cannot be shared with anyone with whom you have not given Pacific Union College permission to share.
What happens if the Respondent fails to comply with the sanctions?
Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the final Decision-maker(s). Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination.
What happens if the Respondent transfers, leaves, or resigns prior to the conclusion of the formal resolution process?
If a Respondent permanently withdraws or resigns, the resolution process ends with a dismissal, as Pacific Union College no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student or former employee. However, Pacific Union College will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues or concerns that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.
What if law enforcement is involved?
Pacific Union College action(s) or processes are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced. Pacific Union College may undertake a short delay in its investigation if circumstances require. Communication will be sent to the parties explaining the reason(s) for the delay and the anticipated duration of the delay.