These procedures apply to student, staff, and faculty complaints of sexual misconduct against other students, employees or third parties.
The University will respond to allegations of sexual misconduct, including taking interim measures such as a "no contact" directive between the parties, interim suspension, room reassignment, academic accommodations and/or counseling. The University prohibits retaliation against complainant/reporting parties and anyone participating in an investigation. If an allegation of sexual misconduct involves an athlete, someone outside the athletic department oversees the grievance process. Mediation cannot be used for sexual harassment or non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse cases.
Title IX Investigators
Deputy Title IX Coordinators may serve as investigators and are trained in Title IX, all aspects of the complaint process, and can serve in any of the following roles:
All persons serving as investigators have received annual training approved by the Title IX Coordinator, including a review of University policies and procedures, so that they are able to perform thorough, impartial investigations and provide accurate information to members of the University community.
Assignment to Investigation
Following receipt of a complaint/report, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly assign one or more Deputy Title IX Coordinators or other trained investigators to work with and interview the Reporting Party and coordinate the University's response. The University reserves the right to designate a different Deputy Title IX Coordinator or investigator. If the complaint does not allege a policy violation, or if other resolution options are appropriate, or if a Reporting Party does not wish to pursue further action and the University has determined it can honor the request, then the report will not proceed to a University Title IX investigation.
Time Frame and Delays
All attempts will be made to complete a Lakeland Title IX investigation within 60 calendar days after the Responding Party is notified of the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator may extend this time frame for good cause with written notice to the Reporting Party and Responding Party. Good cause for extensions includes, but is not limited to, the following: 1) the complexity of the case requires additional time; 2) there are multiple parties involved; 3) the witnesses or parties are unavailable or uncooperative; 4) University closure or academic breaks; 5) if the University investigation would compromise a law enforcement investigation.
Process Advisor/Support Person
Both the Reporting Party and Responding Party in the University Title IX investigation process may have the assistance of an advisor or support person of their choosing throughout the process. This individual may be a friend, faculty/staff member, family member, or an attorney. The University has designated staff members, that have been trained in the University's response, who may serve in this capacity and their contact information will be provided to the Reporting Party and Responding Party. The role of the process advisor/support person is limited. The Reporting Party and Responding Party are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf. The process advisor/support person may consult with the advisee quietly or in writing, or outside the meeting during breaks, but may not speak under any circumstances on behalf of the advisee to the investigator.
Attorneys may be present and may consult with the advisee quietly or in writing, or outside the meeting during breaks, but may not speak under no circumstances on behalf of the advisee to the investigator.
The Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students, the Director of Human Resources, (or appropriate designee) may enact interim measures intended to address the short or long-term effects of Prohibited Conduct and to prevent further harassment or violations. To the extent reasonable and feasible, the University will consult with the Complainant in determining appropriate interim measures. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:
Potential Actions With No Investigation
If the Complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, Lakeland University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and/or respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation. If the Complainant insists that their name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator, Lakeland University's ability to respond may be limited and the LU shall inform Complainant of this fact. Regardless of a Complainant's request for confidentiality or that an investigation not take place, the LU will still provide interim measures and resources to the Complainant.
Title IX prohibits retaliation, and the LU will not only take steps to prevent retaliation but also take strong responsive action if it occurs, even if a formal investigation is not pursued.
The University will not require a student, faculty or staff, who complains of harassment to work out the problem directly with the Respondent.
Notice of Investigation
When it is determined that a formal investigation is necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will send a Notice of Investigation and Potential Violation to the Responding Party (Reporting Party will receive a copy). The notice will include:
The written notification may be sent to the Reporting Party and Responding Party's respective residences or may be sent to them via email to their Lakeland University email account. Reporting Parties and Responding Parties are expected to check their email on a frequent and consistent basis and act in a timely manner as outlined in the official use of email to communicate with students' policy, or Employee Handbook (See Employee Handbook).
On behalf of the University, the assigned investigator(s) will conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation including, but not limited to, the following steps:
The standard of proof for determining a violation of this Policy is that of a preponderance of the evidence—meaning that it is more likely than not that a violation of the Policy occurred.
Hearing Panel Findings
The Title IX Coordinator will forward the Final Investigative Report to the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel will review the Investigative Report and make a determination of finding and accompanying sanctions.
Decision Notification Letter
The Hearing Panel will provide the finding decision to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the Reporting Party and the Responding Party of the Hearing Panel's finding by issuing a Decision Notification Letter. The Decision Notification Letter will include findings of fact and a determination of sanction(s), if applicable and any other notices as required by this policy or federal law.
Withdrawal From Investigation
If an alleged Respondent withdraws from the University before the investigation and/or complaint resolution process have been concluded or the Respondent chooses not to participate in the process, the Respondent will still be informed that he or she is alleged to have violated University policy, that an investigation will be conducted, and that the resolution process will continue.
The Respondent may respond in one of three ways: 1) participate in the investigation, 2) waive the right to be interviewed by the investigator, thereby acknowledging that the complaint resolution process may go forward in his or her absence (this also waive his or her right to appeal an outcome), or 3) waive the right to appear and send a written, signed statement to be considered on his or her behalf as part of the investigation and complaint resolution process.
For withdrawals, a letter will be sent to the Registrar and to the Dean of Students, the registrar of the school in which the student is attempting to enroll in indicating that such proceedings are pending. If the student attempts to re-enroll back into Lakeland University before the matter is resolved, the registrar will notify the Dean of Students. The matter must be fully resolved before the student may re-enroll at Lakeland University.
Lakeland University reserves the right to impose differing sanctions, depending on the severity and/or pervasiveness of the violation. In determining sanctions, the University will consider the concerns and rights of both the Complainant and the Respondent.
The following sanctions may be imposed upon any member of the community found to have violated this Policy. In determining the appropriate sanction(s), the University must examine and consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to 1) level of risk or harm to the community; 2) the nature and seriousness of the offense; 3) the use of drugs or alcohol; 4) motivation underlying the Respondent's behavior; 5) the Respondent's disciplinary history, including prior habitual violations or similar type; 6) cooperation with the investigation.
Note: sanctions will not generally be implemented until after the appeal deadline has passed or, if an appeal is filed, until after the appeal has concluded. However, Lakeland reserves the right to keep in place interim measures or to implement additional measures, on a case-by-case basis, at any time.
In the event a Responding Party is suspended or dismissed as a result of a finding of responsibility under this Policy, a notation will appear on his or her transcript.
Once a Decision Notification Letter is issued under this Policy, the Reporting Party and the Responding Party shall each have the right to submit an appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of receiving the written Decision Notification Letter from the Title IX Coordinator. The Decision Notification Letter will be provided in person and/or emailed to both parties via a university-issued email account only. Once the Decision Notification Letter is provided in person and/or sent via email, it will be deemed presumptively delivered.
Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing and submit it to the Title IX Coordinator who will determine if the appeal is timely. If the appeal is timely, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal to the appeal board which consists of three appointed Deputy Title IX Coordinators. A copy of the appeal will be promptly provided to the non-appealing party as well.
The appeal process is not a hearing or a review of the entire matter; rather, it is a review of the record and process only. Appeal decisions are to be deferential to the original investigative findings and determination, remanding only when there is clear reason to do so. Further, modification of the sanction(s) shall only occur if there is a compelling justification to do so.
The Deputy Title IX Coordinators may take one of three possible actions on appeal:
Criteria for an Appeal
The Appeal board will typically render a written decision on the appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days from receipt of the appeal. The Title IX Coordinator will forward the written decision of the Appeal board to the parties.
The Appeals board decision is final and there are no further appellate options.
Supplementary Policy Provisions
Timely Warning Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should be aware that Lakeland University officials must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees of the campus community. The University will make every effort to ensure that a victim's name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the threat or possible danger.
False Reports: Lakeland University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Conduct Code and Employee Handbook to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
All Lakeland University students and employees are responsible for knowing the information, policies, and procedures outlined in this document.
Lakeland University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and drug policy violations. The University may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under the age of 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, the University will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health or safety risk. Lakeland University reserves the right to designate which University official(s) have the need to know about individual conduct reports pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Safeguarding of Records
Lakeland University shall maintain documents and other data relating to specific complaints or other reports of sexual harassment of students, faculty, and staff, regardless of sanction, including the following:
Amendments or Termination of Policy
Lakeland University reserves the right to modify, amend, or terminate this Policy at any time. Students, faculty, and staff are encouraged to check online for the most current version of all policies and procedures. If government guidelines and legislation change in a way that impacts this policy, this policy will be construed to comply with new government guidelines and legislation in the most recent form. This policy is effective as of October 15, 2018. This policy supersedes all previous Lakeland policies with respect to Title IX and related discrimination policies.