All university employees (faculty, staff, and administrators) are expected to immediately report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to an appropriate official, though there are some limited exceptions. These exceptions include licensed professional counselors and staff, on-campus health service providers and staff, and the campus pastor working within the scope of their licensure or ordination.
In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, only the above listed resources may maintain confidentiality – meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination or harassment to appropriate university officials – thereby offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless an accuser has requested information to be shared.
In the context of these policies, Fresno Pacific University has “notice” if a responsible employee knew, or in the exercise of reasonable care, should have known about the sexual harassment or violence. Pervasiveness of the policy violation may be enough to conclude that the school should have known of the hostile environment. Pervasiveness meaning if the violation is widespread, openly visible or well known to students and/or staff or the institution should have known of incidents of harassment from a report to an employee who had a reporting duty to a supervisor, but failed to do so.
Reporting parties may want to consider carefully whether they share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees, as those details may be shared by the employee with the Title IX Coordinator, Compliance Officer and/or Investigator.
If a accuser does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the accuser may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the University will likely be unable to honor a request for confidentiality. In cases where the accuser requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the University to honor that request, the University will offer interim supports and remedies to the accuser and the community, but will not otherwise purse formal action. A reporting party has the right, and can expect, to have reports taken seriously by the University when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.
Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told, including but not limited to Student Life, Campus Safety and the Behavioral Intervention Team. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses and the responding party. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve a reporting party’s rights and privacy.
Upon receiving a report of a reportable offence, the mandated reporter’s initial response will be to notify the appropriate Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer. The university will then provide information and support to the accuser, and to take steps to promote the safety of the campus.
1. Notifying University Officials:
a. The University employee or mandated reporter who received the report of discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct will immediately notify a Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer of the incident and if appropriate, they will assign a Title IX Investigator.
b. If the accused or accuser is an employee, the director of Human Resources will be notified. If the accused or accuser is a student, the Dean of Student Life will be notified. Other University officials may also be notified as needed to accomplish the purposes of this policy.
*for the appropriate person to contact please refer to the list of compliance officers listed previously.
2. Providing Accusers and Alleged Offenders with Support and Rights:
The Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer or their designee will inform students of the following resources and rights.
a. Fresno Pacific University commits to the following regarding transparency and assistance:
i. Accuser will be assisted by campus authorities in reporting a crime to law enforcement.
ii. Accuser will be able to change academic, living, transportation, or working situations to avoid a hostile environment.
iii. Accuser will be able to obtain and FPU will help enforce a no contact directive or restraining order.
iv. Accuser will receive a clear description of their institution’s disciplinary process and know the range of possible sanctions.
v. Accuser will receive contact information about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available both on-campus and in the community.
b. Fresno Pacific University commits to the following regarding accountability:
i. Proceedings shall provide a thorough, prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution and are to be conducted by officials receiving regular training on domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
ii. Both parties may have others present during an institutional disciplinary proceeding and any related meeting, including an advisor or advocate of their choice.
iii. Both parties will simultaneously receive written results, findings and sanctions (if any), of all disciplinary proceedings.
iv. Both parties will be able to appeal the finding.
c. Confidentiality: The University official will inform the accuser that the ability to maintain confidentiality and not disclose identifying information may be limited, the University can’t ensure confidentiality, and restrictions to promote confidentiality may limit the investigation. However, confidentiality will be maintained when possible.
d. Complaint Process: The Title IX investigator will interview the accuser and explain to the accuser the options to pursue informal or formal action. If the accuser decides to pursue the complaint process, the accuser will be asked to submit a written statement. The University official will inform and seek consent from the accuser before beginning an investigation. However, the official may need to pursue an investigation even without the consent of the accuser. The accuser will be notified if the University determines to pursue its own investigation.
e. Interim measures: The Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer may suspend a student, employee or organization pending the completion of the investigation and resolution, particularly when, in the judgement of the coordinator, the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence of the alleged party. Violation of an interim suspension under this policy is grounds for immediate suspension, expulsion or in the case of an employee, termination. Fresno Pacific University will maintain as confidential any accommodations or protective measures, provided confidentiality does not impair the institution’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.
f. Retaliation: The University official will tell the accuser that federal law and school policy prohibit retaliation, that school officials will take steps to prevent retaliation and take strong responsive action if it occurs, and that the accuser should report any incidents of retaliation to the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer or Investigator.
3. Preliminary Screening of Information
Upon notification of a compliance violation, the Title IX Coordinator will initiate a preliminary investigation to determine whether there is reasonable cause to support an investigation of the accused and, if so, what policy violations should be investigated. If the preliminary inquiry does not yield enough evidence to require an investigation, the accuser will be notified and the matter will be closed. If there is evidence to support the allegation, the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer will assign one or more investigators to conduct a formal investigation or, if requested by the accuser and agreed to by the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer, an informal process.
4. Notice of Investigation
When appropriate the investigator will send via e-mail or written hard copy, a notice of investigation to the alleged offender.
5. Notice of Allegation
If the accused is a student, a written notice of allegation will be sent or provided to the accused and the accuser via e-mail or hard copy. It will contain the following:
a. Statement of allegation(s)
b. Policy the alleged offender has violated
c. Options for proceeding – Informal or Formal
d. Notice of hearing date and times (if appropriate)
e. Appeal criteria
f. Notice of Retaliation
g. Notice of Incomplete Sanctions
6. Informal or Formal Process
a. Informal Community Justice Conference (CJC) Option
If an accuser has requested an informal process and the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer agrees, then the accused will be notified of the invitation to participate in a Community Justice Conference (CJC). A CJC is permissible in certain cases, but not for severe cases of Title IX violations. For example, even on a voluntary basis, it is not appropriate to conduct a CJC in cases of allegations of sexual assault. In the case of a sexual assault a CJC may take place after the formal process of a Student Judicial Board or Administrative Review Hearing at the discretion of the accuser and for the purpose of reconciliation. If a CJC is approved as the primary means of resolving the complaint the accuser, the accused, an investigator/coordinator may terminate the CJC process at any point during the process, and initiate a formal process.
b. Formal Complaint Process –Student Judicial Board (SJB) or Administrative Review (AR) Option
a) If at any time a decision is made to initiate a formal complaint procedure, then the investigator(s) and Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer will develop the formal investigation strategy and outline a proposed timeline not to exceed 60 days.
b) The Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer or assigned investigator(s) will obtain a written complaint (if one has not yet been obtained) from the accuser and present a written summary of it to the alleged offender. The alleged offender must provide a written response to the investigator within five business days of receipt of the written complaint. The alleged offender may choose not to participate in the investigation; however, the investigation will proceed and the outcome will be based on all the available evidence.
c) If appropriate, additional investigation will be conducted by the investigator(s), and may include personal interviews and research. The investigators may also obtain assistance from Student Life and Campus Safety in interviewing the accused or other parties. The accuser and the accused are entitled to an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence, to have an advisor present when interviewed, and to receive periodic status updates.
d) If additional written statements or complaints are obtained during a formal investigation, the original complaint may be supplemented and the new information may be evaluated by the investigator(s), provided that the accused shall be presented with a copy or summary of such written statements or complaints and allowed one week to provide the investigator(s) with a written response.
ii. Hearing & Decision
Based on information from the investigation, the investigator(s) will present the information gathered from the investigation to the Student Judicial Board or for Administrative Review. The SJB or AR will determine a finding using a preponderance of the evidence standard (that is, whether a finding is more likely than not). If the finding is that the accused has violated any of these policies the SJB or AR will determine a restorative discipline plan which could include any of the listed sanctions in the Student Handbook.
iii. Restorative Plan & Sanctions
A restorative plan will be determined for the student based on the list of possible sanctions listed in the student handbook. The type and degree of any plan will depend on the circumstances of each situation. Prior conduct history may be taken into account after the decision is made. Failure to fulfill the terms of corrective action may result in additional and more severe corrective action.
7. Notification of Decision
The accused and the accuser will both be notified of the decision separately and simultaneously within three weekdays of the decision in writing. The notice will include:
a. The outcome/finding of any hearing that arises from an allegation
b. The University’s procedures for the alleged offender and/or accuser to appeal the results of the proceeding
c. Any change to the decision that occurs prior to the time that such a decision becomes final
d. When such decision becomes final
In the case where the accused or the accuser is a student, the Dean of Student Life, a Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer or their designee will provide the option to meet with the accused and/or accuser (whichever is a student) in person to go over the decision.
In the case where the accused or the accuser is an employee a Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer or the Director of Human Resources, or their designee will separately meet with the alleged offender and/or accuser (whichever is an employee) to go over the decision.
8. Appeal Procedure:
a. Student/Employee Appeal Rights:
i. If the accused or accuser is an FPU employee, then their appeal process may be outlined in either the staff or faculty handbook. If no specific appeals process is outlined, then the appeal will be processed as outlined below. Student appeals will be addressed as stated below and/or as outlined in the Student Handbook.
ii. If the accused or accuser is a student then either party may appeal the decision by filing a written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer for students. Unless otherwise stated in the written decision, the appeal must be received by the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer for students within seventy-two hours after the decision (the initial Student Judicial Board or Administrative Review hearing decision will have been communicated by mail, email, or hand-delivery or a hard copy). The appeal must include a copy of the written decision and a description of the reason for appeal (see below criteria). The case will then be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer and upon meeting the appeals criteria, will be forwarded to be heard and adjudicated by the Harassment/Discrimination Appeals Committee. Decisions of the Harassment/Discrimination Appeals Committee are final.
b. Appeal Criteria:
i. New evidence has come to light that was not available at the time of the investigation and that which may alter the outcome
ii. Procedural error(s) or unfairness that may alter the outcome
iii. The sanctions imposed are not appropriate to the violation(s).
c. The Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer will provide a copy of the appeal to the other party. The other party may file a written response to the appeal within seventy-two hours after the appeal was sent to them by mail, email, or hand delivered hard copy.
d. Corrective action will generally be imposed with reasonable promptness following a decision and will not be postponed on account of any appeal, unless the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer determines that there are compelling reasons for postponing some or all of the corrective action until the resolution of an appeal.
e. The reviewer of the appeal shall make a decision within two weeks of receiving the appeal (or, within one week of receiving the opposite party’s response to the appeal).
f. The Harassment/Discrimination Appeals Committee may either affirm the decision completely, affirm a finding as to the existence of a policy violation but modify the prescribed corrective action, remand the case for additional fact-finding and consideration by the investigator, or require a new formal investigation with new investigator(s). If the reviewer does not call for further action by the investigator, then the decision of the Harassment/Discrimination Appeals Committee shall be final, and no more appeals will be permitted.
9. Timeline Outline:
Fresno Pacific University aims to bring all allegations to a resolution within a sixty (60) business day time period, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer with notice to the parties.
The process shall generally follow the timeline listed below:
a. Notice to the coordinator by a mandated reporter.
b. Coordinator engages in a preliminary inquiry 1-3 days at which time they will either:
i. Dismiss the case for lack of evidence
ii. Initiate the informal process at the request of the accuser and approval of the Coordinator
iii. Initiate the formal process by assigning the case to the Title IX Investigator
c. Investigation – maximum of 14 days
d. Hearing – maximum of 14 days
e. Appeal and appeal response – 7 days
f. Final resolution and notification – 7-10 days
Time periods prescribed in this policy may be lengthened in a particular case by the Title IX Coordinator/Compliance Officer if he or she determines 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 policy.