- Seattle Pacific University (the “University”) is committed to maintaining an environment that is free from Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment.
- This grievance procedure provides an opportunity for University employees, University students, and persons who apply to be employees or students at the University (“University Applicants”) to seek appropriate action in response to Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment committed by University employees, or Discrimination resulting from University policies, practices, or systems. The procedure is intended to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial report to the final result. It is also intended to help the University identify and eliminate misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.
- Although this grievance procedure is centered on unlawful Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment, the University may take any action it deems appropriate to address workplace-related conduct that is inappropriate, unprofessional, or otherwise in violation of University policy, regardless of whether the conduct meets the definition of Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment.
Scope and Limitations
- This procedure applies to alleged incidents of Discrimination, and Discriminatory Harassment where the Respondent is an employee of the University; provided, however, that if allegations fell under the jurisdiction of the Title IX Sexual Harassment and Related Conduct Policy (TIX+ Policy), then the TIX+ Policy will be implicated. Concerns about possible Discrimination, and Discriminatory Harassment where the Respondent is a student will be addressed using the applicable policy in the Undergraduate Student Handbook or Graduate Student Handbook. This procedure can also be used to evaluate complaints of Discrimination that are allegedly attributable to SPU policies, practices, or systems, but are not tied to a single Respondent. In such cases, this procedure will be interpreted, modified, and applied as determined by the Process Facilitator in a manner intended to fulfill the objectives of this procedure, and such interpretations and modifications will be explained to the Complainant.
- Any person may make a report about a concern that a University employee has engaged in Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment. However, only University applicants, University students, and University employees may initiate a formal complaint under this grievance procedure. The University will investigate other reports as it deems appropriate, and may choose to use this grievance procedure for complaints filed by other individuals at the University's sole discretion, but is not required to follow processes described in this grievance procedure for any of the following types of complaints:
- A complaint by an individual who is not a University applicant, University student, or University employee;
- A complaint by an individual on behalf of another person;
- A complaint against a person who used to be but is no longer a University employee; or
- A complaint against a visitor, guest, vendor, or other person on campus who is not a University employee.
- For purposes of this policy, a student employee will be treated as a student and not an employee, unless the Process Facilitator determines that there are compelling reasons for different treatment.
- Off-campus conduct and electronic communications (including, without limitation, emails, website posts, and social media messages) may be considered when evaluating whether Discrimination and Discriminatory Harassment has occurred, and SPU reserves the right to apply this Procedure when off-campus conduct or electronic communications impact SPU personnel or operations.
- A formal complaint under this procedure must allege one or more specific factual incidents. This procedure is not intended to prohibit or limit the free exchange of ideas presented or debated in a respectful manner.
For purposes of this grievance procedure, the capitalized terms listed below have the meanings identified below:
- Discrimination: The term “Discrimination” means unlawfully excluding a person from participation in, denying a person the benefits of, or otherwise subjecting a person to unlawful discrimination under any University education program or activity (including academic services, employment opportunities, and academic opportunities), in each case on the basis of one or more protected categories listed in the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy.
- Discriminatory Harassment: The term “Discriminatory Harassment” means any unwelcome conduct that relates to one or more of the protected categories in the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy where (i) enduring the offensive conduct becomes a condition of continued employment, or (ii) the conduct is severe or pervasive enough to create a work or academic environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, or abusive. Petty slights, annoyances, and isolated incidents (unless extremely serious) do not constitute Discriminatory Harassment. Discriminatory Harassment has both a subjective and an objective component, meaning that the Complainant subjectively found the conduct to be offensive or unwelcome, and a reasonable person in the same position as the Complainant would also (objectively) find the conduct to be offensive or unwelcome.
- Complainant: The term "Complainant" means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment.
- Respondent: The term "Respondent" means an individual who is alleged to be responsible for Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment.
- Process Facilitator: The “Process Facilitator” is a University official who is charged with overseeing and facilitating this grievance procedure. The Process Facilitator is assigned according to the allegations described in a report or Formal Complaint and the status of the Respondent.
The Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator or designee will oversee allegations of Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination that are based on sex or disability.
The Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee will oversee allegations of Discriminatory Harassment and Discrimination that are based on any protected characteristic other than sex or disability.
The Process Facilitator may delegate certain of his or her responsibilities under this procedure to other University officials if the Process Facilitator determines that it is reasonable and consistent with the purposes of this procedure. The Process Facilitator has the authority to interpret any ambiguity in this procedure.
If a Complainant makes allegations that would result in both the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator and the AVP of Human Resources being the Process Facilitator, then the Title IX/Section 504 Coordinator (or designee) will be the Process Facilitator. The Process Facilitator may delegate certain of his or her responsibilities under this procedure to other University officials if the Process Facilitator determines that it is reasonable and consistent with the purposes of this procedure. The Process Facilitator has the authority to interpret any ambiguity in this procedure.
Decision Maker: The "Decision Maker" is the University official who is charged with determining whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment as alleged in the Formal Complaint.
If the Respondent is a faculty member, then the Decision Maker will be the Provost (or the Provost’s designee).
If the Respondent is an employee that is not a faculty member, an Area Vice President, or the President, then the Decision Maker will be the Area Vice President that supervises the Respondent's area (or the Area Vice President’s designee).
If the Respondent is an Area Vice President, then the Decision Maker will be the President (or the President’s designee), and no appeal will be available to either party.
If the Respondent is the President, then the Decision Maker will be the Chair of the Board of Trustees (or the Chair’s designee), and no appeal will be available to either party.
Area Vice President: The term “Area Vice President” means a vice president of the University with supervisory authority for a particular area. For purposes of this policy: (i) a vice provost will be considered an Area Vice President; and (ii) the Provost will be considered an Area Vice President for faculty members and other employees not supervised by any other Area Vice President.
- Appeal Reviewer: The "Appeal Reviewer" will be the President (or the President’s designee).
Business Day: The term “Business Day” means any day other than a Saturday, Sunday, or University holiday. For this purpose, “University holiday” means those holidays scheduled on the University’s master calendar when the University’s administrative offices are closed for business.
- Complaints alleging Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment may be made at any time. However, the ability of the University to investigate and gather evidence may be constrained if a complaint is made a long time after an alleged incident. Also, if a complaint is made more than three years after an alleged incident, the University reserves the right not to follow all of steps in this procedure if the Process Facilitator believes a different response would be more appropriate. Other time periods prescribed in this policy may be lengthened in a particular case by the Process Facilitator if they determine that there is adequate cause for allowing additional time and that an extension will not have a material negative effect on the purposes of this procedure; however, a request for an extension from a party that is received after the applicable deadline has passed generally will not be granted.
- While the length of time necessary to address a complaint will vary depending on the circumstances, in general, the University will attempt to issue a decision within 75 Business Days of receiving a formal written complaint. The Process Facilitator may permit temporary delays of grievance processes or the limited extension of time frames for good cause and with written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent (as applicable) for the delay or extension and the reasons for the action.
- If a particular stage of a procedure in this policy is required to be completed within a prescribed number of days, then the day that includes the event that starts the time period will not be counted, but the last day of the time period will be counted. Any action required by the end of any time period must be completed by 5 pm on the last day of the period.
Principles and Protections
- Employment: Neither the existence of this procedure, nor filing a complaint or being named as a Respondent in a complaint, is a guarantee of ongoing employment. The University reserves the right to take any permitted employment action it deems appropriate, including but not limited to placing an employee on leave.
- Safety: The University reserves the right to respond with whatever measures it deems appropriate to prevent misconduct and preserve the safety and well-being of its students, faculty, staff, and visitors.
- University officials will seek to protect (as reasonably possible in the circumstances) the privacy of Complainants and Respondents. However, the University cannot guarantee the anonymity of an individual making a report or a filing a formal complaint. The University may share information provided by a Complainant, Respondent, or others to comply with legal requirements, promote the safety of students and employees, carry out this procedure, or address operational or administrative needs of the University. The University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond consistent with any request for confidentiality by a Complainant, including when implementing any interim or supportive measures. If a Complainant requests that the University not take action due to confidentiality or similar concerns, the University will consider whether it should grant the request in light of the circumstances and other applicable policies, objectives, and obligations.
- All persons who are involved in an alternative resolution process or formal complaint process under this procedure should respect the sensitive nature of the proceeding and follow any confidentiality instructions issued by the Process Facilitator or Decision Maker. This includes but is not limited to all Complainants, Respondents, witnesses, and investigators.
- The University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person who files a complaint in good faith or otherwise participates in this procedure. This includes retaliation against anyone who makes a report or files a complaint about a violation of the University’s Nondiscrimination Policy; who expresses an intent to make a report or complaint; or who testifies as a witness or otherwise provides information as part of an investigation or proceeding. Retaliation can be any type of adverse or negative action taken toward a person who has filed a complaint or otherwise participated in an investigation or proceeding (however, an adverse action is not retaliatory if it was taken for some other justifiable reason). Examples of retaliation include intimidation, coercion, harassment, threats, acts of violence, acts intended to embarrass another person, unjustified demotion or reduction in pay, unjustified denial of a promotion, unjustified termination of employment, or any other action that is likely to dissuade a reasonable person from making a complaint in the future. Any employee who commits retaliation may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment. Any person who believes he or she has been retaliated against should contact one of the Response Team. The Process Facilitator, in their discretion, will either (a) arrange for an investigation into the alleged retaliation, after which the applicable Decision Maker will make a determination applying a preponderance of the evidence standard, or (b) coordinate with the Dean of Students for Community Life to have the alleged retaliation addressed through the Student Accountability Process (if the person accused of retaliation is a student).
- No False Statements: The University recognizes that false statements can have serious effects. If, at the conclusion of an investigation, it is determined that a Complainant, Respondent, or witness knowingly gave false or misleading information, it may be recommended that the individual be subjected to disciplinary action which may include, but is not limited to, written warning, demotion, transfer, suspension, dismissal, expulsion, or termination. A determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not a sufficient basis on which to conclude that any party made a materially false statement. A formal complaint by a party is not required for the University to charge an individual with making a materially false statement. Charging an individual with a violation of University policy for knowingly making a false or misleading statement in the course of this proceeding does not constitute retaliation.
- Legal Counsel: If a party engages legal counsel, the legal counsel may not participate in the University’s internal proceedings. This procedure does not interfere with the right of an individual to seek legal counsel or representation at such party’s own expense.
- Interim and Supportive Measures: The Process Facilitator will discuss with the Complainant and the Respondent at an early stage options regarding interim and supportive measures.
- Conflict of Interest:
- The Process Overseer should determine if a Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer has a conflict of interest, in which case the Process Overseer may identify a different person to fulfill the assigned role. Conflicts of interest for this purpose are limited to situations where the Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer is the Respondent or is directly related (by blood, adoption, or marriage) to one of the parties, or where there are other circumstances present that make it likely that the Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer cannot be objective in the process (for example, where the Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer has an outside business or financial arrangement with one of the parties). Prior adverse decisions made by a Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer against one of the parties does not constitute a conflict of interest.
- If the Process Facilitator believes a designee or investigator has a conflict of interest, the Process Facilitator will instruct the Decision Maker or Appeal Reviewer (as applicable) to select another individual.
- If the Process Facilitator’s Area Vice President believes that the Process Facilitator has a conflict of interest, then such Area Vice President will designate a different Process Facilitator for the proceeding.
- Gathering Information: The burden is on the University to gather information necessary in order to make a determination under this procedure.
- Concerns of Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment may be submitted to members of the Response Team or appropriate Process Facilitator in person, by phone, email or through the online Report a Concern form. Upon initial evaluation of the report submitted, members of the Response Team or Process Facilitator will reach out to the affected individual(s) to discuss any applicable policies and procedures, confidentiality and its limitations, and available resources and support. If necessary, the Response Team may refer the affected individual(s) to the office most capable of responding to the issue. If more information is needed, the affected individual may be contacted with an invitation to schedule an intake interview.
- During an intake, the interviewer will gather enough facts to determine whether the allegation, if true, would support a finding that Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment has been committed. If so, the Complainant may be offered supportive measures, and options for resolution, including how to file a Formal Complaint.
- The interviewer will gather sufficient facts to determine whether the allegation would prompt an evaluation of the University’s reporting obligations (e.g., Clery Act, Washington state Mandatory Reporter laws, NSF notification requirements) and, if so, the necessary information will be forwarded to the appropriate reporting official.
- When proceeding under this Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure, the appropriate Process Facilitator will be assigned to oversee and coordinate compliance with the procedural protections outlined above.
Dismissal of Allegations
- Allegations may be dismissed during the evaluation stage or after the filing of a Formal Complaint. As appropriate, in the evaluation stage, the Process Facilitator will assist the Complainant in understanding the information required to file a Formal Complaint and proceed to investigation. This will include explaining the investigation procedures and the rights of the parties. The Process Facilitator will coordinate appropriate assistance to Complainants who are persons with disabilities, individuals of limited English proficiency, or persons whose communication skills are otherwise limited.
- The Process Facilitator will dismiss an allegation, or, if appropriate, the Formal Complaint in its entirety, for the following reasons:
- The allegation, on its face or as clarified, fails to state Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment.
- The allegation, on its face or as clarified, lacks sufficient factual detail (e.g., who, what, where, when, how) for the Process Facilitator to infer that Discrimination, Discriminatory Harassment may have occurred or may be occurring.
- The Process Facilitator cannot reasonably conclude that the Respondent committed Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment based on the facts/information provided by the Complainant or publicly available information.
- The Process Facilitator determines that it lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter of the allegation. Where appropriate, the Process Facilitator will refer the allegations to the office who can best address the issue.
- The Process Facilitator determines that it lacks jurisdiction over the entity alleged to have discriminated (i.e., the Respondent is no longer an employee of the University).
- A Complainant notifies the Process Facilitator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein.
- Specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.
- A dismissal under this procedure does not preclude action under another University policy or procedure. A Formal Complaint that is dismissed may be referred to a separate grievance procedure for further investigation or action. In such a case, the Process Facilitator may transfer all communications and information gathered to any other Process Facilitator who will be handling the referred Formal Complaint.
- Before dismissing an allegation(s) the Process Facilitator will contact the Complainant to provide appropriate assistance by explaining by phone, letter, or e-mail the information necessary for the Process Facilitator to initiate an investigation of the allegation(s), ask the Complainant to provide this information to the Process Facilitator within 20 calendar days of the date of the request, and advise the Complainant that the Process Facilitator will dismiss the allegation(s) if the information is not received by that date. The Process Facilitator will dismiss the allegation(s) if the requested information is not received within 20 calendar days of the date of the request.
When the Process Facilitator dismisses an allegation(s), they will issue a dismissal letter to the Complainant explaining the reason(s) for the dismissal.
Filing a Formal Complaint
- An individual may initiate the Formal Complaint process by presenting the Process Facilitator with a written complaint. The written complaint should contain at least the following information:
- The name of the person filing the complaint (i.e., the Complainant).
- A description of the alleged discriminatory action or actions.
- The date or dates of the alleged discriminatory actions; and
- The name of each person alleged to have engaged in the discriminatory conduct (i.e., the Respondent(s) if known.)
- The Process Facilitator is responsible for labeling each complaint and drafting the list (but not the narrative) of the allegations to be investigated. Complaint Forms and other written statements submitted by the Complainant must be written and/or signed by the Complainant.
- Upon receiving the Formal Complaint, the Process Facilitator will mark the Complaint Form with the date received and that date will be referred to as the Filing Date. The Complainant will be provided with a copy of the Complaint Form, with any attached allegations, along with a copy of this procedure and any other relevant policies.
Steps Taken to Inform the Respondent and Proceed with the Complaint
- If the Process Facilitator determines that the written Formal Complaint falls within the scope of this procedure, then the Process Facilitator will provide written Notice of the Allegations (NOA) to both the Respondent and Complainant within ten (10) Business Days of the filing date. The NOA will include:
- The identities of the parties (if known).
- A statement identifying the specific policy violations alleged.
- A brief description of the allegations.
- A copy of the Formal Complaint, this Discrimination and Harassment Grievance Procedure, and any other policies or procedures the Process Facilitator believes should be highlighted.
- A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged policy violations until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance procedure.
- If applicable, a statement that each party is entitled to have an advisor of their choosing.
- Information regarding the parties’ right to offer witnesses and evidence.
- Information regarding the availability of resources and supportive measures for the parties.
- The Respondent may provide a written response to the Process Facilitator within five (5) Business Days of receipt of the NOA. A Respondent may choose not to provide a written response or participate in the proceeding, but the proceeding may continue even if a Respondent chooses not to provide a response or participate, and a decision may be based on the available evidence. If a Respondent provides the Process Facilitator with a copy of a written response, then the Process Facilitator will provide a copy of the written response to the Complainant. Responses and other written statements submitted by the Respondent must be written and/or signed by the Respondent.
Formal Complaint Process: Investigation
- The Process Facilitator may appoint one or more investigators to assist with the investigating the Complaint. An investigator may be a University employee, or a third party engaged by the University to investigate the Complaint. Investigations may include personal interviews, research, and review of relevant evidence. The investigation will be impartial and as thorough as appropriate under the circumstances, as determined by the investigator based on factors such as the nature and seriousness of the allegations, availability of witnesses and other evidence, schedules, and available resources. The university retains the right to record investigative interviews.
- Both the Complainant and the Respondent are entitled to an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence, and to receive periodic status updates. The results of any polygraph or similar test will not be allowed as evidence from either party in the formal complaint process.
- If the Complainant or Respondent believes that someone should be interviewed as part of the investigation, then the Complainant or Respondent should provide the Process Facilitator and the appointed Investigator the name and contact information for that individual. However, the Investigator may determine it is not necessary to interview all persons identified by the Complainant or Respondent.
- Each person interviewed shall have the opportunity to review the summary notes prepared by the investigator for the interview
- The investigators shall prepare a written report of the facts, which includes:
- A list of witnesses interviewed.
- A list of witnesses suggested by the Complainant or Respondent whom the investigator declined to interview.
- list of individuals the investigator requested to interview but who declined to be interviewed.
- Summaries of relevant portions of witness interviews.
- Specific fact-finding for each element of each allegation.
- At the discretion of the Decision Maker, the Complainant and Respondent may be provided with a copy of the report or other written materials prepared by investigators and given an opportunity to respond.
Formal Complaint Process: Decision
- After receiving the, the Decision Maker will make a determination as to whether the facts gathered would support a finding that university policy was violated by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., whether a finding is more likely than not). The Decision Maker will consider each act of alleged misconduct and will also look at the totality of the conduct when making a decision..
- If the Respondent is a faculty member, and the Decision Maker is considering dismissal of the faculty member for cause, then the process by which the Decision Maker makes a determination regarding the complaint will include the procedure described in Section 11.6.4 of the Faculty Employment Handbook.
- The Decision Maker may adopt some, all, or none of any recommended findings from any appointed investigators. The Decision Maker may also require additional investigation before reaching a determination.
- The Decision Maker may, at their sole discretion, ask to meet with the Complainant and Respondent prior to making a determination, so long as each party is given the same opportunity (if any) to meet with the Decision Maker and the meetings are held separately.
- In cases of alleged sex Discrimination, the Title IX Coordinator will be consulted and will be promptly notified of the decision.
- When appropriate, corrective action will be taken up to and including termination of employment. The goal of sanctions in a Discrimination or Discriminatory Harassment complaint proceeding is to end the Discrimination or Harassment (as applicable), prevent its recurrence, and remedy the harm, and sanctions should be crafted with the aim of achieving those goals. The type and degree of any corrective action will depend on the circumstances of each situation. Conduct history may be considered. Failure to fulfill the terms of corrective action may result in additional and more severe corrective action, including termination of employment. The types of corrective action that may be implemented include, but are not limited to:
- a warning
- a written reprimand
- disciplinary probation
- unpaid leave
- attending counseling
- paying restitution or fines
- performing community service
- being excluded from areas on campus
- being restrained from contact with specific individuals or organizations
- participation in an educational activity
- reduction in pay
- loss or deferral of opportunity for promotion or increase in pay; and/or
- termination of employment.
Informing the Parties of the Decision
- Both parties will be notified of the decision separately. Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be simultaneously informed, in writing, of:
- the outcome of any proceeding that arises from an allegation of misconduct;
- the University's procedures for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal the results of the proceeding, if available;
- any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that such results become final; and
- when such results become final.
- A written decision should include a statement of rationale for the decision and sanctions, if applicable. Witnesses would not receive any information regarding the outcome of any case. A department chair or other appropriate supervisor or administrator might also be informed (e.g., if there is a need for monitoring of the work environment, or if any discipline were meted out).
- Unless otherwise stated in a decision letter, corrective action will begin to take effect at the expiration of the appeal period if no appeal is made. If an appeal is made, then the Decision Maker will determine whether some or all of the corrective action should be implemented pending the outcome of the appeal and will notify the Complainant and Respondent in writing of the decision.
Formal Complaint Process: Appeal
- If the Respondent is an Area Vice President or the President, then neither party may appeal a decision. In other cases, either party may appeal a decision by filing a written appeal with the Process Facilitator. Unless otherwise stated in the written decision, the appeal must be received by the Process Facilitator within five (5) Business Days after the earliest of when the party is sent the decision by mail, email, or hand-delivery. The appeal must describe the reason for appeal. The reasons for appeal may only be:
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that would likely affect the outcome of the matter.
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter.
- The Process Facilitator, Investigator(s), or Decision Maker had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
- The sanctions imposed are not appropriate to the violation(s).
- The Process Facilitator will provide a copy of the appeal to the other party (i.e., the Complainant or Respondent), and the other party may file a written response to the appeal within five (5) Business Days after the earliest of the date the appeal is sent by mail, email, or hand delivery to such party.
- The Appeal Reviewer may, at their sole discretion, ask to meet with the Complainant and Respondent prior to making an appeal determination, so long as each party is given the same opportunity (if any) to meet with the Appeal Reviewer and the meetings are held separately.
- The Appeal Reviewer will make a determination regarding the appeal based on the four permitted reasons for appeal described above. The Appeal Reviewer’s decision may affirm the original decision completely, affirm a finding but modify the prescribed corrective action, remand the matter for additional investigation, require a new investigation, or reverse the decision. If the Appeal Reviewer does not call for further investigation, then the decision of the Appeal Reviewer will be final, and no more appeals will be permitted.
- Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be simultaneously informed, in writing, of the Appeal Reviewer’s determination. A written determination should include a statement of rationale for the decision and sanctions, if applicable. Unless otherwise stated in an appeal decision letter, corrective action will begin to take effect the following Business Day after the appeal decision letter has been issued. Any interim measures may remain in place. If the employee is employed “at-will,” nothing in this section prohibits the University from terminating an employee at any time, with or without cause.
- Parties to a formal complaint under this procedure may be able to voluntarily pursue an Alternative Resolution to address the situation. Alternative resolution is a voluntary and remedies-based resolution option.
- Potential remedies may include the implementation or continuation of supportive measures, targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, supported direct conversation or interaction with the Respondent, and/or indirect action by the Title IX Coordinator. An Alternative Resolution may also include mediation, negotiation, or other approaches necessary to reach a mutual agreement. Depending on the form of Alternative Resolution, agreements may involve disciplinary action against a Respondent. Disciplinary action will only be imposed against a Respondent where there is a sufficient factual foundation and both the Complainant and the Respondent have agreed to forego the Formal Resolution procedures set forth in this Policy and accept an agreed upon sanction.
- A Complainant can seek an Alternative Resolution by notifying the Process Facilitator of their interest. The Process Facilitator, in consultation with the Decision Maker, will determine if an Alternative Resolution process is appropriate for the situation, and will determine the appropriate structure and timeline for that process. In deciding as to whether the Alternative Resolution is appropriate, the Process Facilitator will consider factors, including, but not limited to, the following:
- The outcome of an individualized safety and risk analysis.
- The nature of the alleged conduct, whether allegations involve multiple victims and/or a pattern of conduct, or other evidence-informed factors indicative of increased risk to campus safety.
- At any point during the Alternative Resolution process, up until the signing of an Alternative Resolution Agreement, the parties, the Process Facilitator, or the Decision Maker may terminate the Alternative Resolution process. In that case, the Formal Complaint will revert to the Formal Investigation process.