Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy
The Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits sexual harassment, sexual
violence, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence against Lawrence University
community members of any gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual
orientation. This policy also prohibits gender-based harassment that does not involve
conduct of a sexual nature. Discrimination and sexual harassment on any of the bases
covered by federal anti discrimination statutes is unlawful and a violation of Lawrence
Lawrence University takes all violations of Title IX seriously, and therefore, encourages any
member of the community who has experienced sexual misconduct to report the incident
to the Title IX Coordinator. The university, through the Title IX Coordinator, will respond
to all reports and complaints of sexual misconduct.
Behavior and Discrimination Covered by Title IX
Title IX covers sexual discrimination in a variety of forms, including sexual harassment in any area of college life, which encompasses, but is not limited to sports, as well as discrimination and different treatment based on sex.
Reporting Sexual Misconduct
Anyone may report sexual misconduct to the university by:
- Contacting the Title IX Coordinator: Kimberly Jones, J.D. (phone: 920-832-7496; office: Mursell House 205), email: Kimberly.R.Jones@lawrence.edu.
- Completing a Report or Complaint Form
- Contacting Campus Safety: 920-832-6999 (x6999).
- Making a report to other college employees (e.g., Responsible Employees or Campus Securities Authority designees: staff, faculty, Residence Life, campus security, or a student).
All University employees (with the exception of Confidential Resources) who become aware of incidents or allegations of sexual misconduct are Responsible Employees. University employees include Resident Life Advisors (RLAs). Responsible Employees have a responsibility to report the matter to the Title IX Coordinator. All Lawrence University employees are encouraged to completed yearly Title IX training, as well as Bystander Intervention.
If the complainant would prefer to remain confidential, a report can be made to one of the University’s Confidential Resources, Counselors in the Wellness Center or the Campus Advocate, or the Dean of Spiritual and Religious Life: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/share/about-share.
The Title IX Coordinator is NOT a Confidential Resource.
Any Lawrence University community member who believes that she/he/they have been subjected to discrimination prohibited by Title IX, or to whom the University has failed to meet its Title IX obligations, may bring the concern to the attention of the University Title IX Coordinator.
The Lawrence University Title IX Coordinator has the authority to initiate an investigation based on allegations of discrimination, prohibited by Title IX, even absent the filing of a formal grievance, or after its subsequent withdrawal. In such a circumstance, the University Title IX Coordinator will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the matter in a manner that is informed by the complainant’s articulated concerns.
In addition, on some occasions, the University may need to move forward with a response regardless of the complainant’s preference. A request for confidentiality or no action will be considered in the dual contexts of:
- The University’s commitment to providing a safe living and learning environment free from sexual misconduct; and
- The right of a respondent to be informed of the allegations against them.
If a complaint is made, or a report is escalated to the level of a complaint, and therefore requires investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant and the respondent, and then provide a summary of information and any supporting documents to the Title IX investigator. Lawrence University has an outside investigator who completes all formal investigations, with the assistance of the Title IX Coordinator.
Some level of disclosure may be necessary to ensure a complete and fair investigation, although the University will comply with requests for confidentiality, to the extent possible.
The Title IX Coordinator will consider various factors, including the following, in deciding the extent to which disclosure of information may be necessary:
- The seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct;
- The complainant’s age;
- The respondent’s age;
- Whether there have been other complaints of sexual misconduct against the same respondent;
- The ability to conduct an investigation without revealing identifiable information; and
- The extent of any threat to the University community.
In most situations, the Title IX Coordinator will coordinate his/her activities with other University offices charged with responsibilities for student, faculty, and staff conduct and discipline, and for enforcing the University’s policies and procedures, generally.
Preponderance of the Evidence Standard
The Lawrence University Title IX Coordinator and those authorized to address issues and violations under Title IX (e.g., the Title IX Formal Sanction Counsel and Appeals Board), shall review allegations of discrimination and misconduct, prohibited by Title IX, by applying a “by a preponderance of the evidence” standard.
In many instances, counseling, advice, or informal discussion may be useful in resolving concerns about allegations of discrimination prohibited by Title IX. A complainant wishing to informally resolve an issue shall bring the concerns to the Title IX Coordinator, for informal and/or mediated resolution.
If an informal resolution is pursued, the Title IX Coordinator will attempt to facilitate a resolution that is agreeable to the complainant and the respondent. Any informal resolution must adequately address the concerns of the complainant, as well as the rights of the respondent, and the overall intent of the University to stop, remedy, and prevent policy violations.
Participation in informal resolution is voluntary, and the complainant and respondent have the option to discontinue the informal process at any time, and request a formal investigation. The Title IX Coordinator also always has the discretion to initiate a formal investigation. If at any point during the informal resolution process, the complainant or respondent, or the University, wishes to cease the informal resolution process and to proceed to the formal resolution process, the informal resolution process will stop and the formal resolution process outlined below will be invoked.
In cases involving sexual assault, informal resolutions are not appropriate and are never permissible.
Filing a Report or Formal Complaint
- At any time, contact and/or meet with the Title IX Coordinator, who will listen and discuss the matter with the Complainant, and provide the details of the reporting and formal complaint process.
- Alternatively provide a written account of the incident, either via the online formal complaint process, via email, or some other written format, provided to the Title IX Coordinator.
- Speak to a Confidential Resource: https://www.lawrence.edu/students/share/about-share.
Response to a Formal Complaint
Lawrence is obligated to follow up on, and resolve all reports of sexual misconduct in a timely, fair, and impartial manner. The resolution process will proceed regardless of whether either party chooses to withdraw from the University, or goes on leave after a report has been made to the University.
Furthermore, silence, in response to an allegation, will not be viewed as an admission of the allegations in dispute. At any time, a party may decline to provide information or participate further in the Process. When this occurs, the University will review the matter based on all of the other information gathered.
Notice of Allegations
When the Title IX Coordinator receives a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, The Coordinator will meet with the respondent to provide notice of the complaint and the alleged policy violation being investigated.
Accommodations are actions taken by the University to ensure equal access to its education programs and activities, and to foster a more stable and safe environment during the process of reporting, investigation, (“interim accommodations”) and/or after adjudication. These measures may be extended or made permanent as remedies, at the conclusion of the investigation.
Sample accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up initial appointments, both on and off campus.
- Imposition of a campus “No-Contact Order.”
- Rescheduling of exams and assignments.
- Providing alternative course completion options.
- Change in class schedule, including the ability to drop a course without penalty or to transfer sections.
- Change in work schedule or job assignment.
- Change in student’s campus housing.
- Assistance from University support staff in completing housing relocation.
- Limiting access to certain University facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter.
- Voluntary leave of absence.
- Options for changing campus transportation arrangements.
The role of the University Title IX Council is to review the information presented in the investigation report, and to determine if an individual or individuals violated the University policy. If the answer is yes, the Council is also responsible for determining an appropriate sanction or sanctions. A hearing panel of 4 (four) members from the Council will be formed for each case, including the Chair of the Council. Members of the Title IX Council may be human resources professionals, designated faculty, residence life personnel, and/or other responsible employees.
The Role of the Chair
The Chair of the Council will preside over the Hearing Panel as a non-voting member. The Chair is responsible for the administration of the hearing process, including ensuring the integrity of the procedure and process. The Vice President of Student Life, or his/her designee shall serve as the Chair of the Council.
Prior to convening the Hearing Panel, the Vice President of Student Life will provide a list of potential Title IX Council members to serve on the Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel shall consist of faculty and staff members of the Lawrence University Community, to include the Dean of Students or designee, the Director of Human Resources or designee, the Dean of the Conservatory or designee, the Director of Athletics or designee, and Faculty members nominated by the Faculty Governance Committee. The complainant and respondent will then have 48 hours to submit a written objection to any of the prospective panelists, due to potential conflict of interest or concerns related to a lack of objectivity. After the panel is selected, the Title IX Coordinator will then provide the names of the parties to the Chair, to ensure that similar conflicts or concerns do not exist. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate any written objections by all parties and panel members, and then, determine which members of the Council will serve on the panel. The Title IX Coordinator will then submit the finalized panel list to the Hearing Panel Chair.
The Hearing Panel will convene with the investigator (although the Chair has discretion to determine if the Investigator’s presence is necessary). The complainant and respondent will not be present in the hearing room. The Hearing Panel may ask the investigator questions related to the investigative report. The panel may also request to hear from one or more of the witnesses. The Chair has discretion to approve or deny the request to summon witnesses. The presumption is that the Investigator has provided all necessary information for the Hearing Panel, to render its decision, and determine sanctions. However, if any additional relevant information is gathered after the investigative report is finalized, the information will be shared with both parties, and each will have an opportunity to respond within three (3) business days of the date the information is received.
Again, the presumption is that the Investigator has provided all necessary information for the Hearing Panel, to render its decision, and determine sanctions. However, the complainant and respondent shall be granted the opportunity, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and the Panel Chair, to appear before the Hearing Panel, if either the complainant or respondent wishes to make an oral statement related to the facts. This is not an opportunity to restate information already provided to the investigator. Further, the complainant and respondent will not be in the hearing room together, unless both agree to do so in writing. If necessary, the Hearing Panel may ask direct and follow up questions.
Sanction and Decision
The Hearing Panel will convene to deliberate and render a decision, by a majority vote, regarding whether or not the respondent had violated the Lawrence University Sexual Misconduct Policy, by the preponderance of the evidence. No member may abstain.
If the Hearing Panel determines that a violation has occurred, the panel shall consider one or more sanctions. Sample sanctions include, but are not limited to:
- Dismissal from the University
- Suspension for one or more terms, with or without conditions for return
- Disciplinary Probation
- No Contact or Limited Contact Agreement
- No Contact or Order
- Chemical Health Assessment
- Restricted Campus Access
- Restricted Course Enrollment
- Change of Housing
- Required education or training
Sanctions may be combined. A majority vote of the Hearing Panel is required for all sanctions.
Both the respondent and complainant may appeal the decision of the Hearing Panel. However, the following threshold must be met to qualify for appeal:
- The request must be timely; and
- The appeal is on the basis of any of the following three articulated grounds:
- A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the informal or formal resolution (e.g., substantial bias, material deviation from established procedure, etc.); and/or
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing, informal or formal resolution, or investigation, that could substantially impact the finding or sanction; and/or
- The sanctions fall outside the range typically imposed for this offense, or for the cumulative conduct record of the respondent;
- When viewed in the light most favorable to the appealing party, the appeal states grounds that could result in an adjusted finding or sanction.
The Appeals Board
The Title IX Coordinator shall issue a written acknowledgement of the Appeal to the complainant and respondent, within 48 hours of the appeal. The Title IX Coordinator will then convene the Appeals Board, and it shall review any legitimate appeal within five (5) business days of the submitted appeal.
The Appeals Board will consist of three (3) members of the Title IX Council, including the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion. The Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion shall act as the Chair of the Appeals Board. No member of the Appeals Board may be the same as the members of the Hearing Panel who heard the original complaint. The decision on appeal must be unanimous among all members. No member of the Appeals Board may abstain.
The Appeals Board will render a decision applying the following principles:
- Decisions by the Appeals Board are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error, and to the sanction/remedial action only if there is a compelling justification for review.
- Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearing of the complaint. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the formal or informal resolution, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. Appeals granted based on new evidence shall be remanded to the original Hearing Panel or to the Title IX Coordinator for reconsideration.
- Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Hearing Panel or Title IX Coordinator (or designee) stays the implementation, pending outcome of the appeal.
- The Title IX Coordinator shall render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from accepting the request for appeal.
- All parties shall be informed of whether the grounds for appeal are accepted and the results of the appeal decision.
- After an appeal is decided, the outcome is final; further appeal is impermissible.