Equitable Resolution Procedures ("ERP") for Complaints of Discrimination, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation
THE EQUITABLE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES ("ERP") IS A SET OF PROCEDURES that Loyola uses to address complaints. The ERP is intentionally broad in its scope and application, informed by the University’s mission and values, and is in compliance with applicable laws.
If an affected party files an ERP complaint, the affected party (now a "complainant") has requested that the University take action to investigate and adjudicate allegations against a respondent (a student, faculty, or staff member). Loyola employs the ERP to thoroughly, fairly, and impartially assess the available evidence and implement an appropriate response.
The ERP has up to three major phases:
- Investigation, resulting in a finding of either "Responsible" or "Not Responsible"
- Administrative Resolution, when applicable
- Appeals, when applicable
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE EQUITABLE RESOLUTION PROCEDURES CAN BE FOUND BELOW AND IN ARTICLE 2 OF THE COMPREHENSIVE POLICY.
Accommodation for Disabilities in the ERP
Loyola is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, faculty and staff employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the ERP. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should inform the Executive Director for Equity & Compliance, who may connect the individual with the Student Accessibility Center (for students) or Human Resources (for employees) to evaluate any requests and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the Executive Director for Equity & Compliance, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process.
Equitable Treatment of Complainants and Respondents
Complainants and respondents are treated equitably under the ERP. This means:
- All relevant evidence is evaluated objectively, including evidence that suggests responsibility and evidence that suggests no responsibility.
- Both complainants and respondents are expected to speak and write on their own behalf throughout the ERP, unless assistance is needed under an approved disability accommodation.
- Credibility determinations are not to be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
- Both complainants and respondents may request appropriate and reasonably available supportive measures, ranging from referrals for counseling to facilitated academic/housing/transportation/workplace modifications.
- Both parties whose participation is invited or expected are provided written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews or other meetings with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
- Complainants are provided appropriate remedies where a respondent is found responsible for an alleged violation.
- Respondents are provided a fair and impartial ERP before the imposition of any sanctions or other responsive interventions that are not supportive measures.
- Neither party is restricted from discussing the allegations under investigation or from gathering and presenting relevant evidence, so long as such action does not constitute Retaliation Based on Protected Activity as described in Article 1, subsection VIII(C) of the Comprehensive Policy.
A preponderance of the evidence is the evidentiary standard used at Loyola to determine whether a respondent is responsible for violating the Comprehensive Policy. This standard requires that the totality of the evidence, considered impartially, must indicate that it is more likely than not that the Comprehensive Policy was violated.
Determinations of responsibility are not made until the end of the ERP, when the investigator has made a finding as documented in the Final Investigation Report. Unless and until a respondent is determined to be responsible by a preponderance of the evidence for a policy violation at the conclusion of the ERP, the University operates with the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for violating the Comprehensive Policy.
Notice of Allegations
Before any investigator initiates contact with the parties, the EDEC provides a written Notice of Allegations (“NOA”) to each party. NOAs include a summary of the allegations, including (if known) the identity of the parties involved, the nature of the alleged misconduct, the date and location of the alleged incident(s) (if known), the specific policies implicated, a description of the applicable University procedures, a reminder that retaliation is prohibited, and a statement of the potential sanctions that could result.
NOAs also identify the assigned investigator and provide parties the opportunity to raise any concerns regarding a conflict of interest before the parties are contacted by the investigator. The EDEC, investigator, or other designee may inform parties of additional allegations or other material changes to the scope of the investigation by providing an updated or modified NOA.
NOAs are provided in writing and are typically delivered by email to the parties’ University-issued email accounts, but may also be delivered in person or mailed to the local or permanent addresses of the parties on file with the University. Once emailed, mailed, and/or received in-person, notice is presumptively delivered.
When the respondent is a faculty or staff employee, the employee’s department chair, dean, director, supervisor, Human Resources manager, or other necessary party may also be notified that an ERP complaint has been filed. Such information will be treated as private, but is necessary to ensure that supervisory employees are informed and prepared for any potential operational disruption.
Acceptance of Responsibility
The respondent may accept responsibility for all or some of the alleged policy violations at any point during an investigation or resolution of a complaint. If a respondent accepts responsibility for all of the alleged misconduct, such acceptance is noted in the final investigation report, a finding of responsibility is entered, and the matter is promptly referred to an appropriate Administrative Resolution Officer, who determines sanctions.
If the respondent only accepts responsibility for some of the alleged policy violations, then the investigator notes the acceptance of responsibility and focuses the remainder of the investigation on the remaining, contested, allegations. Any such acceptance is noted in the final investigation report as distinct from an investigator’s findings regarding contested allegations.
Discretion to Dismiss
If, during the preliminary review or at any point during an ERP investigation, the investigator determines that the alleged behavior, even if substantiated, would not constitute a violation of the Comprehensive Policy, the University may end the process immediately, dismiss the complaint, and notify the parties simultaneously and in writing.
Upon such a notification, either party may request that the Executive Director for Equity & Compliance ("EDEC") review the dismissal and/or re-open the investigation. The EDEC will review the decision and consider the case for reopening/resuming the investigation. The EDEC’s decision is final and not subject to appeal.