Pacific Lutheran University Title IX
Accusations of sexual misconduct can have severe and lasting effects on a Pacific Lutheran University student. A student determined to be responsible for a Title IX violation faces severe consequences, including expulsion. The knowledgeable Washington Title IX defense attorneys at Blair & Kim, PLLC, understand that an accused student’s education may be at risk, and we have the skill and experience to fight for our clients’ future.Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits sex-based discrimination in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance.Pacific Lutheran University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy (the “Policy”)
The Policy applies to concerns related to “Prohibited Conduct” “when both the complainant and respondent are students. “Prohibited Conduct” is defined as “Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence or Domestic Violence (“Relationship Violence”) and Stalking,” If there is a student misconduct violation that does not meet the definition and criteria for a Title IX complaint under the 2020 Final Rule, it is not handled under the Policy but is instead referred to be handled by the Dean of Students and Student Rights and Responsibilities.Formal Complaint
A formal complaint is required to initiate the Title IX grievance process. If a formal complaint does not meet the criteria for Title IX, the university may process the matter through the Student Code of Conduct. If the conduct alleged in a formal complaint is within the university’s jurisdiction and meets the Title IX criteria, then the Title IX grievance process is triggered.Title IX Investigation
According to the university’s “Title IX Prohibited Conduct Formal Process” (the “Process”), the Title IX coordinator designates an investigator when a formal complaint is received. The investigator generally interviews the parties and witnesses and gathers evidence.
The respondent has 10 days to review the formal complaint, the notice, and any initial evidence that has been submitted with the complaint before the initial interview. The parties are given equal opportunity to present witnesses and evidence. Participants may have an advisor present at meetings related to reviewing the reported conduct.
The parties are given 10 days to review the evidence and submit a response before the investigator concludes the investigation. The investigator provides a copy of the final investigative report to both parties and to the three-member panel that will act as the “Decision Makers.”
The Process provides that Title IX investigations are generally completed in 90 days, and the Title IX Coordinator will communicate with the parties if the timeline is extended.Hearing
According to the Process, the parties are given at least 10-days notice before the live hearing. The parties have an opportunity at the hearing to provide follow-up questions or cross-examine the opposing party through their advisor. The parties are not permitted to ask questions; the questions must be through their advisor. The Decision Maker chair screens all questions for relevance and appropriateness before they are answered. A party’s or witness’s decision not to submit to cross-examination does “not have any bearing on the final determination. . .”
The Decision Makers determine if any policies were violated based on a clear and convincing standard.Sanctions
The determination letter will identify the allegations that constituted sexual misconduct, describe the procedural steps taken by the university, state the findings of fact that support the determination, state the conclusions of any potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct, and provide the rationale for each determination of responsibility. If the Decision Makers find the respondent was responsible for violating the Policy, the university initiates the sanctioning process. The Process includes a non-exhaustive list of potential sanctions. Potential sanctions may include expulsion, suspension, removal from campus housing, assessment and compliance with recommendations, removal of privilege, disciplinary probation, or a letter of mutual understanding.Appeals
The parties may appeal a determination based on procedural error substantially impacting the outcome, bias that substantially impacted the outcome, new information that would substantially impact the outcome, and the severity of the sanction. The outcome letter will state the deadline for submitting an appeal, which is generally 72 hours. The Vice-President of Student Life is responsible for deciding appeals.Contact an Experienced Washington Title IX Defense Attorney
A student accused of a Pacific Lutheran University Title IX violation faces severe sanctions. A skilled Washington Title IX defense attorney can advise accused students through the Title IX investigation and disciplinary process and fight to protect their education if needed. Blair & Kim, PLLC, is experienced in both Title IX matters and Washington criminal defense. Call us at (206) 622-6562 or contact us through our online form.