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Grievance Process for Title IX Sexual Harassment

THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS is narrow in scope, and is only applied to allegations of misconduct that meet the definitional and jurisdictional requirements of Title IX sexual harassment.

Loyola must address all formal complaints of Title IX sexual harassment according to this Grievance Process (which reflects the prescribed procedures under the law) when...

(a) the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute Title IX sexual harassment;
(b) the alleged Title IX sexual harassment occurred in the United States;
(c) the alleged Title IX sexual harassment occurred within a University education program or activity; and
(d) at the time the formal complaint of Title IX sexual harassment was filed, the complainant was participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity.
 

If an affected party files a Grievance Process complaint, the affected party (referred to as a "complainant" following the filing of a formal complaint) has requested that the University take action to investigate and adjudicate an individual respondent (a Loyola student, faculty, or staff member). Loyola uses the Grievance Process to thoroughly, fairly, and impartially assess the available evidence and implement an appropriate response.

The Grievance Process has, at most, four major phases:

  1. Investigation of a Grievance Process Complaint
  2. Grievance Process Hearing
  3. Sanctioning, when applicable
  4. Appeals
General information about the Grievance Process can be found in the menu below and in Article 3 of the Comprehensive Policy.

Accommodation for Disabilities in the Grievance Process

Loyola is committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, faculty or staff employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the Grievance Process. Anyone needing such accommodations or support should inform the Executive Director for Equity & Compliance ("EDEC"), who may connect the individual with the Student Accessibility Center (for students) or Human Resources (for faculty or staff employees) to evaluate any requests and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the EDEC, 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 Grievance Process. This means:

  • All relevant evidence is evaluated objectively, including evidence that suggests responsibility and evidence that suggests no responsibility.
  • 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. For a full description of available supportive measures, see Article 1 of the Comprehensive Policy.
  • Neither party is restricted from discussing the allegations under investigation or from gathering and presenting relevant evidence, provided that such action does not constitute retaliation as defined in Article 1 of the Comprehensive Policy.
  • Both parties whose participation is invited or expected are provided written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, 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 Title IX sexual harassment.
  • Respondents are provided a fair and impartial Grievance Process before the imposition of any sanctions other responsive interventions that are not supportive measures.

Evidentiary Standard

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. This standard is required by Illinois law in cases of alleged student violations, and is applied to all cases under the Comprehensive Policy.

Determinations of responsibility are not made until the end of the Grievance Process, following a hearing. The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach an informed determination regarding responsibility rest with the University and not with the parties.

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 Grievance Process, the University operates with the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for violating the Comprehensive Policy.

Right of Nonparticipation

Any party has the right not to participate in the Grievance Process. Where a party chooses not to participate, the University may still proceed with the Grievance Process. In such circumstances, the University will continue to send to the nonparticipating party notices required under the Comprehensive Policy (for example, a written notice of the date, time, and location of a hearing). However, no party will be retaliated against, nor will any inferences as to a respondent’s responsibility be made based on any party’s choice not to participate in the Grievance Process.

Timely Resolution of the Grievance Process

The University strives to resolve all Grievance Process complaints in a prompt and timely manner, within six months from the receipt of a Grievance Process complaint through the delivery of the written determination. Grievance Process appeals, if applicable, may take up to an additional two months.

All timeframes referenced in the Comprehensive Policy may be extended to a limited extent for good cause and with written notice to the parties of the delay or extension and the reasons therefor. Good cause may include various considerations, including but not limited to, the absence or unavailability of a party, or a witness; extraordinary complexity or scope of the case; concurrent law enforcement activity; the need for language/translation assistance; or the need for accommodations for disabilities or health conditions.

Throughout any delay or extension, the University may implement supportive measures as deemed appropriate, and parties are periodically updated on the status of their case.

Grievance Process Advisors

A Grievance Process advisor (referred to in this subsection only as “advisor”) is a person who may accompany an individual who is an affected party, complainant, or respondent during any meeting or proceeding related to a report or Grievance Process complaint. Advisors are strictly optional, with the exception of being required to present the advisee’s proposed questions during a hearing, and the choice of whether or not to utilize an advisor throughout the rest of the Grievance Process is up to each party.

All complainants and respondents involved in the Grievance Process may be accompanied by one advisor of their choice, provided that the selection of the advisor does not cause an undue delay of the Grievance Process. It is the responsibility of each party to coordinate scheduling with their advisor for any meetings. The University will not delay meetings or proceedings to accommodate an advisor’s availability.

An advisor may not speak, write, or otherwise communicate on behalf of a party, with the limited exception of presenting the advisee’s proposed questions to other parties or witnesses during the hearing according to the procedures described in Article 3, subsection VI(B) of the Comprehensive Policy. Advisors may not engage in behavior or communications that harass, abuse, or intimidate any party, witness, or other individual involved in the matter. Advisors who do not abide by these guidelines may be removed from any meeting and excluded from serving in an advisor role, to be replaced with another advisor of choice or, if needed, an advisor assigned by the University.

An advisor may be any person of the party’s choosing, including an attorney or union representative for employees who are members of a union, as described in the applicable collective bargaining agreement. When an advisor is also an attorney, this must be disclosed to the University, and the advisor is still limited to the supportive and non-representative role described above. An attorney of the University’s choosing may also attend any proceeding whenever an attorney serving as an advisor is present.

Any complainant or respondent may request assistance from the Office for Equity & Compliance in identifying an available advisor, and an advisor will be provided who is aligned with the party’s interests. However, the University cannot ensure or guarantee the quality of any University-provided advisor.

Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of any records shared with them. Such records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University, unless required by law. Advisors will not be compelled to participate as a witness in any investigation or hearing. The University may restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the Grievance Process or who fails to abide by the University’s privacy expectations.

Note: For employees who are members of a union, a union representative may serve as the employee’s advisor where applicable; and nothing in this section will limit or abridge rights otherwise afforded under a collective bargaining agreement.