Student Handbook

The Luther College Student Handbook is a collection of student conduct standards, policies, and procedures that define community expectations for students at Luther. It also serves as an important resource for students, highlighting a wide variety of topics related to life on the Luther campus.

It is the responsibility of each student to become familiar with the Student Handbook. Students must also become familiar with other official publications including, but not limited to, the Academic Catalog, Emergency Procedure Guide, and other important documents pertaining to student rights and responsibilities.

The Campus Life Committee, a campus-wide body comprised of students, faculty, and staff. Faculty delegate this group to plan and define college policies about student engagement and welfare on campus. The Campus Life Committee works in conjunction with members of the Student Engagement Office to ensure an effective implementation of college policies and procedures.

The policies and statements included in the Student Handbook are not a contract and the college reserves the right to deviate from the policies and statements as deemed necessary from time to time. 

Questions regarding the Luther College Student Handbook and related policies and procedures should be directed to: Student Engagement Office, Dahl Centennial Union 2nd floor, 563-387-1020, [email protected].

Student Sexual Misconduct Policies and Procedures

POLICY: Sexual Misconduct (non-TIX) Policy Statement

Luther College is committed to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy environment where all members of the community—students, faculty, staff, and visitors—are treated with respect and dignity. Therefore, the College will not tolerate sexual misconduct in any form. Sexual misconduct is not only an act against an individual; it is also an act that affects the entire College community. Acts of sexual misconduct are inconsistent with our educational mission.

This policy covers incidents that occur in locations not covered or dismissed under Title IX and incidents of sexual misconduct that are not included in the Department of Education’s Title IX definitions. While cases addressed under this policy will closely mirror those that are determined to be alleged violations of Title IX, there are some differences related to the process.

1. Glossary

  • Advisor means a person chosen by a party, to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to support the party at the hearing, if any. Advisors may be present to consult with during a Hearing, but may not ask questions or make comments during the hearing. Advisors can not view case materials independently from the party.
  • Campus Appeals Board is comprised of three members including one faculty member–typically the chairperson of the Faculty Interest Committee, one student–typically the President of the Student Senate, and the Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement. The appeals board will consider party appeals in regard to a decision reached by the Hearing Board.
  • Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct. At the time of filing the complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the College.
  • Complaint (formal) means a document filed/signed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging harassment against a Respondent.
  • Hearing Board (“Board”) refers to those who have decision-making and sanctioning authority within the College’s Formal Grievance process. The Board is comprised of faculty, staff and students.
  • Investigator means a person or persons charged by the College with gathering facts about an alleged violation of this Policy, assessing relevance, synthesizing the evidence, and compiling this information into a final investigation report and file of directly related evidence.
  • Privacy means that information related to a complaint will be shared with a limited number of Luther College employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, and resolution of the report. Privacy is distinct from confidentiality (see above).
  • Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual misconduct or retaliation.
  • Student includes all persons taking courses at Luther College, either full-time or part-time. Persons who withdraw or are suspended after allegedly violating the Code of Conduct, who are not officially enrolled for a particular term but who have a continuing relationship with Luther College or who have accepted offers of admission are considered students, as are persons who are living in Luther College residence halls, although not enrolled in this institution.

2. Rationale for Policy

The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of all forms of sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, dating, and domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation. Maintaining a safe environment requires that any sexual behavior be consensual. Special emphasis is placed on violence prevention, providing support to those who may have been victimized, fair and equitable report/complaint resolution process, and ensuring enforcement of institutional policy and law. The College seeks to balance the rights, needs, and privacy of those students who may have been victimized, as well as those students who have been accused, while maintaining the health and safety of the campus community.

This policy describes prohibited conduct; identifies resources and support provided to survivors; establishes procedures for reporting alleged incidents; and articulates the College’s commitment to preventing violations and responding appropriately when incidents do occur.

3. Applicable Scope

To establish a procedure for preventing and remediating reports and complaints of sexual misconduct, which includes sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation as defined herein, as well as retaliation against an individual for exercising rights under this policy. It is intended to ensure that the College’s policies and procedures related to sexual misconduct are interpreted and applied consistently with the Code of Conduct, Title IX, the Clery Act, and other applicable law.

Conduct that occurs off-campus and not in connection with College programs may violate this policy if the conduct creates a threatening or hostile environment on campus or within a College program, or if the incident causes concern for safety or security of the College’s campus. This policy applies to the individual behavior of students and the collective behavior of student organizations.

The College’s scope under Title IX is limited to its educational programs or activities, as well as any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the College, such as a fraternity or sorority. The College’s scope under Title IX is also limited to conduct against a person that occurs in the United States. This policy covers locations that are not controlled by Luther College and that involve a Luther College student(s). For example, an incident that is reported to have occurred off campus such as a local apartment/house or international study away program.

Any person may file a complaint alleging sexual misconduct against a student under this policy. If a report or complaint does not fall under the College’s scope under Title IX, the College will utilize this policy and the related procedures to respond to claims of sexual misconduct. The College may still take action for such alleged conduct based on the nature of the alleged conduct, including under the College’s Bias Incident, Hate Act, Hate Crime, Discrimination, and Harassment Policy and Procedures. Additionally, if the Respondent is unknown or is not a member of the College’s community, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator will assist the Complainant in identifying appropriate campus and local resources and support options and/or, when criminal conduct is alleged, in contacting local or campus law enforcement if the individual would like to file a police report. Further, even when the Respondent is not a member of the College’s community, supportive measures, remedies, and resources may be accessible to the Complainant by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. In addition, the College may take other actions as appropriate to protect the Complainant against third parties, such as barring individuals from College property and/or events by issuing a No Trespass Order. When the Respondent is enrolled in or employed by another institution, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator can assist the Complainant in coordinating with the appropriate individual at that institution, as it may be possible to allege violations through that institution’s policies. Similarly, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator may be able to coordinate for a student or employee Complainant who experiences discrimination in an externship, study abroad program, or other environment external to the College where sexual misconduct or nondiscrimination policies and procedures of the facilitating or host organization may give recourse to the Complainant.

4. Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator, along with the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, oversees implementation of the College’s policy on sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating the College’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution, and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent sexual harassment, and retaliation prohibited under the Title IX policy and implements this sexual misconduct policy as well.

5. Steps to Take Immediately Following Sexual and/or Physical Violence

If a person experiences sexual and/or physical violence, many do not know where to turn for help or what steps to take. Although the choices about which options to explore rest with the victim, those who experience sexual or physical violence should consider the following steps:

    1. Contact local law enforcement (911).The Title IX Coordinator, Deans of Student Engagement, or other member of the Title IX Team can assist with contacting law enforcement, but no victim/supervisor is required to contact law enforcement. You can also file a report with Safety and Security by calling 563.387.2111 (available 24X7).

    2. Seek immediate medical attention. Those who experience sexual and/or physical violence are strongly encouraged to seek immediate medical attention at an area hospital or medical clinic, such as:

      Winneshiek Medical Center 563.382.2911
      (SANE exams covered free of charge within 5 days)
      Riverview Center (sexual assault advocacy) 563.380.3332
      Helping Service (domestic and partner violence advocacy) 563.387.1720

    Please be aware that hospital personnel may be obligated to contact proper authorities regarding reported violence. Although you are not obligated to do so, those who experience sexual and/or physical violence are highly encouraged to take advantage of victim’s services to help understand options for off-campus proceedings and receive counseling.

    3. Preserve Evidence. In the event of a sexual assault, if at all possible, do not change clothes, shower, bathe, douche, defecate, or urinate prior to seeking medical attention. Emergency room personnel are trained to check for injuries, as well as collect physical evidence. It is important to preserve evidence for the proof of a violation of this Policy or of a crime should you decide to pursue charges through law enforcement. If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence. Do not disturb the scene-leave all sheets, towels, etc. that may bear information for the police to collect. You should also consider preserving texts, emails, social media posts, or other documentation as evidence for either a College resolution process or law enforcement action.

    4. Confidential Resources. If a Complainant would support from confidential resources, the Complainant may speak with:

      On-Campus Confidential Resources:
      Health Service, X1045 located in Larsen Hall
      Luther College Counseling Service, X1375 located in Larsen Hall
      Campus Ministries, X1040 located in CFL

      Off-Campus Confidential Resources:
      Winneshiek Medical Center 563.382.2911
      (SANE exams covered free of charge within 72 hours)
      Riverview Center (sexual assault advocacy) 563.380.3332
      Helping Service (domestic and partner violence advocacy)563.387.1720

      National Confidential Helplines:
      National Sexual Assault Helpline 800.656.HOPE
      National Resource Center for Domestic Violence 800.799.SAFE

      Legal Resources:
      Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault & Domestic Violence 515.244.7424
      Iowa Public Defender: 515.242.6158

    Iowa, through the office of the Crime Victims Assistance Division, recognizes how culture, language, race, trauma, and healing can intersect with victimization. Below you will find a list of cultural specific centers available in our state:

      Amani Community Services
      Services for African American Survivors
      Crisis Line: 888-983-2533
      Office: 319-232-5660

      Deaf Iowans Against Abuse (DIAA)
      Services for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf-Blind Survivors
      Crisis Line - V/VP: 319-531-7719
      Crisis Line - Text ONLY: 515-661-4015
      Email: [email protected]

      Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer (LUNA)
      Bilingual services for Latina/o/x/e survivors.
      Office 515-271-5060
      Crisis Line: 866-256-7668
      Website: Latinas Unidas por un Nuevo Amanecer

      Resources for Indigenous Survivors (RISE)
      Services for Native women, children, and families
      Crisis Line - Toll-Free: 855-840-7362
      Crisis Line - Call or Text: 641-481-0334

      Monsoon Asians & Pacific Islanders in Solidarity
      Services for Asian and Pacific Islander survivors
      Crisis Line: 866-881-4641
      Iowa City Office: 319-466-9000

      Nisaa African Women's Project
      Services for African Immigrants and Refugee communities
      Crisis Line: 844-269-6203
      Iowa City Office: 319-338-7617

    All of the above-listed individuals will maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics, and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or when required to disclose by law or court order. Luther College Counseling Service is available to help free of charge and may be consulted on an emergency basis during normal business hours.

6. Reports/Complaints of Sexual Misconduct and/or Retaliation to the College

Individuals making a Report or Complaint of sexual misconduct and/or retaliation may be made using any of the following options:

    (1) Report, or give verbal notice to, the Title IX Coordinator or Student Engagement Deans. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone number or email address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator.

    (2) Report online, using the Sexual Violence reporting form. Anonymous reports are accepted but can give rise to a need to investigate. The College tries to provide supportive measures to all Complainants, which is impossible with an anonymous report. Because Reporting carries no obligation to file a formal complaint, and as the College respects Complainant requests not to pursue formal complaints unless clearly unreasonable, a Complainant is encouraged to make a report that allows the College to discuss and/or provide supportive measures.

    (3) File a Report with Safety and Security by calling 563.387.2111 (available 24X7).

    (4) File a Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. A Formal Complaint means a document filed/signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging a policy violation by a Respondent. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information in the section immediately above, or as described in this section. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the College) that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the complaint. If a Formal Complaint is submitted in a form that does not meet this standard, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to ensure that it is filed correctly.

7. Interim Supportive Measures

Luther College will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged sexual misconduct and/or retaliation. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to the College’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the College’s educational environment, and/or deter sexual misconduct, and/or retaliation.

The Title IX Coordinator promptly makes reasonable non-punitive supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented.

The College will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the College’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The College will act to ensure as minimal an academic impact on the parties as possible. The College will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party. These actions may include, but are not limited to:

    Students Interim Supportive Measures:

    • Mutual No Contact Directive
    • Campus Escorts
    • Assistance in reporting to law enforcement
    • Non-disclosure of campus directory information
    Housing-protective housing measures after individualized analysis
    • Assistance in finding alternative on-campus housing
    • In an unusual circumstance permission to reside off campus
    • Encourage medical attention
      • Sexual Assault Nurses Exam is free within 5 days of the incident and does not process through insurance; available at Winneshiek Medical Center
      • Health Service offers free STI testing and prophylactics
    • Referral to on-campus confidential resources: Health Service, Counseling Service, and College Ministries
    • Referral to advocacy services: Riverview Center or Helping Services
    • Referral to the Director of Case Management
    • Modifications to work schedule, ensemble or practice schedule
    • Personal leave of absence or voluntary withdrawal from campus
    Academic (Partnered with CAE)
    • Faculty notification (not disclosing the nature of the incident)
    • Coordination of change in class schedule or section
    • Excused absences for circumstances directly related to the harassment such as medical care or meeting with an investigator
    • Extended deadlines for assignments or rescheduling exams
    • Accessing academic support (e.g., tutoring)
    • Arranging for course withdrawals or incomplete(s)
    • Assistance or referral to Financial Aid for the preservation of academic scholarships, music scholarships, financial aid awards, or study abroad programs
    • Referral to CIES for matters involving student visas

    No Contact Directives are enforced after an agreement is signed; violations for non-compliance can be processed as disciplinary. For more information see the College policy on No Contact Directives.

    In addition, a party may seek an order of protection, “no-contact” order, restraining order, or similar order issued by a criminal or civil process. Individuals interested in seeking a court-issued Order of Protection should contact the Winneshiek County Clerk of Court (Winneshiek County Courthouse, 201 W. Main St., Decorah, IA, 563-382-0603). If an individual obtains an order of protection from a court in Iowa, the Title IX Coordinator should receive a copy to be aware of any limitations or restrictions and to develop a plan to abide by the court order. The College cannot enforce a violation of a court order, but can assist an individual in contacting law enforcement to report a violation. If any terms of a court order are unclear in their application to the campus environment, it is up to the parties to seek clarification through the court – the College cannot render a legal opinion or give advice other than to develop a plan to reasonably prevent violations of the order.

8. Emergency Removal

The Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator, or their designee may issue an emergency removal of a student Respondent upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct and prior to the resolution of a Formal Complaint process as a temporary measure, if a Respondent is reasonably believed to pose an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other member of the Luther Community.

College personnel requested to review and assess risk and provide an individualized analysis of the emergency removal may include but not be limited to: Dean for Student Engagement, Title IX Coordinator, Associate Dean of Students, Director of Campus Safety and Security, Director of Counseling Service, and/or other Title IX Team Members.

Notice of Emergency Removal

The Student Engagement Office or Title IX Office will notify the Respondent in writing as soon as possible after being notified of the alleged misconduct. The notice will include:

  • The basis for the temporary emergency removal
  • The process to challenge the decision
  • Appropriate contact information for questions about the terms and conditions of removal such as retrieving property from residential housing, room and board, etc.

Appropriate College personnel may be informed when deemed necessary. Personnel may include but not be limited to, student’s faculty, advisor, campus safety and security personnel, residential life, and/or coaches.

Continued Academic Progress

At times and at the discretion of the Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement or Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator, the student may not be able to access academic or social buildings of the College, during those times the respondent may explore opportunities for alternative coursework. It is the responsibility of the student to contact their faculty members for the consideration and to work at a continued academic success plan.

Challenge of the Emergency Removal

Respondents receiving notice of emergency removal may challenge the decision by meeting with the Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement or designee and presenting reasons against the emergency removal. Unless otherwise noted, the emergency removal will remain in effect until resolution of the case.

Student Presence on Campus While Separated from the College

Students who have been separated from the College through emergency removal, academic dismissal, suspension for disciplinary reasons, or for medical reasons do not have the rights and privileges accorded to full-time enrolled Luther students. Such students are expected to absent themselves from campus and to visit only with permission, given in advance, by the Student Engagement Office. Failure to abide by this expectation may adversely affect the decision to readmit a student.

9. Promptness

All reports of sexual misconduct are acted upon promptly by the College once it has received actual knowledge or a formal complaint. Typically, complaints can take 60-90 business days from receipt of a formal complaint to resolve. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances that can cause a resolution to take longer, but the College will avoid all undue delays within its control.

Any time the general timeframes for resolution outlined in the College’s procedures will be delayed, the College will provide notice to the parties of the delay, the cause of the delay, and an estimate of the anticipated additional time that will be needed as a result of the delay.

10. Privacy, Parental Notification and FERPA

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law protecting the privacy of student education records.

As a college, it is our philosophy that student record management is consistent with FERPA guidelines, so we treat the student as the person who is primarily privileged to authorize the release of their student record information. Consistent with FERPA, there are certain circumstances (see below) when with or without consent of the student the College may connect with parents or guardians. In most cases, the college will only share information when the student has signed a release form specifying circumstances related to Title IX be shared. Circumstances under FERPA in which a situation may be disclosed with or without consent:

  • Threat to the safety of self or others, or
  • Significant concern for health requiring further medical evaluation
  • Instances involving alcohol or other drugs when under the age of 21

For circumstances involving notification, parents/guardians may be notified by phone or in writing. Students who are financially independent (confirmed with the Financial Aid Office) may be considered exempt from parent/guardian notification.

Overall, the College will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sexual misconduct, or has been identified as the perpetrator or respondent to any such report or complaint, or is a witness to any complaint or investigation, except as required to carry out the purposes of this policy (including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding), applicable law, or as permitted by FERPA. The college believes incidents relating to sexual misconduct are of a private nature and will generally not disclose information to individuals not directly involved with or without a responsibility finding. At times, may share with other appropriate officials on a need to know basis or legitimate educational interest, consistent with FERPA and/or to carry out the provisions of this policy. This typically includes the Student Engagement office, Title IX office, Student Academic Support Center (academic supportive measures only) Director and Assistant Director of Campus Safety and Security, and, if necessary, the Threat Assessment Team. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve the parties’ privacy.

11. Time Limits on Reporting

There is no time limitation on providing notice/complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. However, if the Respondent is no longer subject to the College’s jurisdiction and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited or impossible.

Acting on reports/complaints significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy) is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, who may document allegations for future reference, offer supportive measures and/or remedies, and/or engage in informal or formal action, as appropriate.

When a report/complaint is affected by significant time delay, the College will typically apply the policy expectations in place at the time of the alleged misconduct and the procedures in place at the time of report/complaint.

12. Online Harassment and Misconduct

The policies of Luther College are written and interpreted broadly to include online and cyber manifestations of any of the behaviors prohibited below, when those behaviors occur in an educational program or activity, for instance in using the College’s networks, technology, or equipment.

While the College may not control websites, social media, and other venues in which harassing communications are made, when such communications are reported to the College, it will engage in a variety of means to attempt to address and mitigate the effects, whether under this policy or otherwise.

Members of the community are encouraged to be good digital citizens and to refrain from online misconduct, such as feeding anonymous gossip sites, sharing inappropriate content via social or online media, unwelcome sexting, revenge porn, breaches of privacy, or otherwise using the ease of transmission and/or anonymity of the Internet or other technology to harm another member of the College’s community. For more information please review the Social Media Policy.

13. Definition of Prohibited Sexual Misconduct

    a. Sexual Harassment Defined

    Consistent with Title IX, Luther College has adopted the following definition of Sexual Harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community, which consists not only of employer and employees, but of students as well.

    Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.

    Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the offenses below:

    1) Quid Pro Quo:

    • an employee of the College
    • conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the College,
    • on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; and/or

    2) Hostile Environment:

    • unwelcome conduct,
    • on the basis of sex,
    • determined to be so severe, and
    • pervasive, and,
    • objectively offensive,
    • that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s educational program or activity.

    Unwelcomeness is subjective and determined by the Complainant (except when the Complainant is below the age of consent). Severity, pervasiveness, and objective offensiveness are evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

    3) Sexual assault, defined as:

      a) Rape:

      • Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person,
      • without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent, whether due to incapacity or due to being below the statutory age of consent.

      b) Fondling:

      • The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts),
      • for the purpose of sexual gratification,
      • without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.

      c) Incest:

      • Sexual intercourse,
      • between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.

    4) Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person who has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with another. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant's statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Violence can occur in relationships regardless of gender. Dating violence may manifest as one act or an ongoing pattern of behavior. It can encompass a broad range of coercive, abusive, threatening, and/or violent behaviors, including threats, assault, property damage, economic abuse, violence or threat of violence to one's self, one's sexual or romantic partner, and/or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner.

    5) Domestic Violence: Felony or misdemeanor crime of violence committed by:

    • A current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim;
    • A person with whom the victim shares a child in common;
    • A person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the victim as a spouse or intimate partner;
    • Person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the laws of the State of Iowa or the jurisdiction in which the incident reported occurred; and
    • Any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s act under the laws of the State of Iowa.

    6) Stalking, defined as:

    • engaging in a course of conduct,
    • towards another person, that would cause a reasonable person to
      • fear bodily injury to themselves or another; or
      • Suffer substantial emotional distress.

      For the purposes of this definition—

    • A course of conduct means two or more acts,
    • Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances, and
    • Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.

    b. Sexual Exploitation, Mistreatment, and Abuse

    Sexual exploitation is defined as harassing, non-consensual, or abusive sexual behaviors that do not fall within the definitions of sexual harassment, fondling, rape, stalking, domestic violence, and dating violence. Sexual Exploitation includes, but is not limited to:

      1) Harassing sexual or gender-based behaviors that become so severe or pervasive as to interfere with an individual’s ability to work, learn or participate in the College’s programs; these behaviors can be verbal, physical, visual, communication-based, or any combination thereof, and will be assessed using the totality of the circumstances

      2) Voyeurism and invasion of sexual privacy:

      • Observing or allowing others to observe a person undressing, using the bathroom, engaging in sexual activity, or in other private situations in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent
      • Taking pictures, video recording, or audio recording of a person undressing, using the bathroom, engaging in sexual activity, or in other private situations in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent
      • Disseminating or threatening to disseminate pictures, video, or audio recording of a person undressing, using the bathroom, engaging in sexual activity, or in other private situations in which there is a reasonable expectation of privacy, without consent (revenge porn)

      3) Disrobing of another or unwelcome exposure from one person to another without consent
      4) Misappropriation of another person’s identity on apps, websites, or other venues designed for dating or sexual benefit (catfishing)
      5) Intentional unwanted disclosure or threats to disclose an individual's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression
      6) Engaging in sexual activity with another person while knowingly infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or a sexually-transmitted disease (STD) or infection (STI), without informing the other person of the infection
      7) Causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity, or for the purpose of making that person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity
      8) Prostituting another person or engaging in sex trafficking
      9) Knowingly soliciting a minor for sexual activity
      10) Creation, possession, or dissemination or child pornography

    c. Consent, Incapacitation, Coercion, and Force

    As used in the offenses above, the following definitions and understandings apply:

    Consent is:

    • knowing, and
    • voluntary, and
    • clear permission
    • by word or action
    • to engage in each specific sexual activity.

    For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction, but a display of clear communication (word or action) is necessary. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.

    Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that they no longer want the act to continue, and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.

    Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). Past consent to engage in sexual activity cannot be presumed to be consent to engage in sexual activity in the future. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns that may be evidenced. A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.

    Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on the College to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.

    Consent in relationships must also be considered in context. When parties consent to BDSM (bondage, discipline/dominance, submission/sadism, masochism) or other forms of kink, non-consent may be shown by the use of a safe word. Resistance, force, violence, or even saying “no” may be part of the kink and thus consensual, so the College’s evaluation of communication in kink situations should be guided by reasonableness, rather than strict adherence to the policy that assumes non-kink relationships as a default.

    Consent is not effective if a party is incapacitated, or it results from the use of fraud, force, threats, intimidation, or coercion.

    Incapacitation: Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation can result from the use of alcohol or other controlled substances, disoriented, helpless, asleep, unconscious or from mental or physical incapacity. Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk.

    It is a defense to a sexual misconduct policy violation that the Respondent neither knew nor should have known the Complainant to be incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment. It is not an excuse that the individual respondent of sexual misconduct was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the other.

    Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop, or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive.

    Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone does not constitute consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent.

14. Definition of Prohibited Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when an individual harasses or intimidates another person because that other person filed a complaint, participated in the resolution process of a violation of this Policy, supported a Complainant or Respondent, and/or acted in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy. Harassment or intimidation includes but is not limited to threats or actual violence against the person or the person’s property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, taunting, bullying, or ostracism. Retaliation is prohibited under this policy and is expressly prohibited by Title VII, Title IX and other state and federal laws.

Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a resolution proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.

Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. Luther College is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

15. When a Complainant Does Not Wish to Proceed

If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, is unresponsive to outreach from Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator or does not want a formal Complaint to be pursued, they may make a request for confidentiality or not to proceed under a formal complaint to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.

The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the College proceeds when the Complainant does not wish to do so, and the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal Complaint to initiate a grievance process when it is not clearly unreasonable to do so. In making this decision, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator must consider the effect that non-participation by the Complainant may have on the availability of evidence and the College’s ability to pursue a Formal Grievance Process fairly and effectively.

When the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator executes the written Complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant is the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy. The Complainant retains all rights of a Complainant under this Policy irrespective of their level of participation.

In cases in which the Complainant requests confidentiality/no formal action and the circumstances allow the College to honor that request, the College will offer supportive measures, and remedies to the Complainant and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action. If the Complainant elects to take no action, they can change that decision if they decide to pursue a formal complaint at a later date. Upon making a complaint, a Complainant has the right and can expect, to have allegations taken seriously by the College, and to have the incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.

16. Federal Timely Warning Obligations

Parties reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking should be aware that under the Clery Act, the College must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a serious or continuing threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community.

The College will ensure that a Complainant’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger.

17. False Allegations and Evidence

Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence after being directed to preserve such evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under College policy.

18. Amnesty for Parties and Witnesses

Luther College encourages the reporting of misconduct by Complainants and witnesses. Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to College officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be in violation of certain policies, such as underage drinking or use of illicit drugs. Respondents may hesitate to be forthcoming during the process for the same reasons.

It is in the best interests of the College community that Complainants choose to report misconduct to College officials, that witnesses come forward to share what they know, and that all parties be forthcoming during the process.

To encourage reporting and participation in the process, the College maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations – such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs – related to the incident.

Amnesty may not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution. The decision not to offer amnesty is based on neither sex nor gender, but on the fact that collateral misconduct is typically addressed for all students within a progressive discipline system, and the rationale for amnesty – the incentive to report serious misconduct.

Sometimes, students are hesitant to assist others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves (for example, an underage student who has been drinking or using marijuana might hesitate to help take an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct to College officials.)

The College maintains a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the College may provide the student with referrals for assessments and/or treatment recommendations with no official disciplinary finding, rather than punitive sanctions, to those who offer their assistance to students to support their wellbeing.

20. Federal Statistical Reporting Obligations

Reports may be required to document this report for general Clery Act statistics depending on type of incident and general location (on or off-campus or in the surrounding area). The personally identifiable information of parties would remain anonymous for these statistical purposes for the Annual Security Report and daily campus crime log.

  1. Procedures for Violations of Sexual Misconduct Policy (non-TIX)

    Procedures for Violations of Sexual Misconduct Policy (non-TIX)

    1. Overview

    Luther College will act on any formal Complaint of a violation of the policy on Sexual Misconduct received by the Title IX Coordinator or any other Official with Authority that fall within the scope of this policy by applying these procedures

    The procedures below apply only to qualifying allegations of sexual misconduct (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and sexual exploitation as defined above) involving students.

    For details relating to disability accommodations in the College’s resolution process please contact the Title IX Coordinator. At times, the Title IX Coordinator will need to consult with the Coordinator of Disability Services.

    2. Report or Complaint

    When the College receives a report of potential sexual misconduct, in most cases outreach will be done by the Title IX Coordinator with the Complainant to identify reporting options (discussed in another section) within and outside the College and to offer supportive measures.

    Upon receipt of a formal complaint of a violation of this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly conduct an initial assessment to determine the next steps the College needs to take. The College will initiate at least one of two responses:

      1) Provide the Complainant with assistance and support only, based on the Complainant’s request that the College not take action, where that request is not clearly unreasonable;
      2) Determine the circumstances do not satisfy the jurisdictional requirements of Title IX at 34 CFR 106.45 and resolve the complaint under this Policy’s informal or formal resolution procedures;

    The investigation and grievance process will determine whether or not the Policy has been violated. If so, the College will promptly implement effective remedies designed to ensure that it is not deliberately indifferent to sexual misconduct, its potential recurrence, or effects.

    3. Dismissal (Discretionary)

    The College may dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations therein if, at any time during the investigation or hearing:

      1) A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal Complaint or any allegations therein; or
      2) The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the College; or
      3) Specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal Complaint or allegations therein.

    Upon dismissing the Complaint, the College will promptly notify the parties. This dismissal decision is appealable by any party. A Complainant who decides to withdraw a Complaint may later request to reinstate or refile it.

    4. Counterclaims

    The College permits the filing of counterclaims but uses an initial assessment, described above, to assess whether the allegations in the counterclaim are made in good faith. The College is obligated to ensure that the grievance process is not abused for retaliatory purposes. Counterclaims by the Respondent may be made in good faith, but are, on occasion, also made for purposes of retaliation. Counterclaims made with retaliatory intent will not be permitted.

    Counterclaims determined to have been reported in good faith will be processed using the grievance procedures below. Investigation of such claims may take place after resolution of the underlying initial allegation, in which case a delay may occur.

    Counterclaims, in most circumstances, will be resolved through the same investigation and the same hearing, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory and may constitute a violation of this policy.

    5. Right to an Advisor

    The parties may each have an Advisor of their choice, at their expense, present with them for all meetings and interviews within the resolution process, if they so choose. The parties may select whoever they wish to serve as their Advisor. The party should choose an Advisor who can be consistently available to attend meetings during business hours. The College will attempt to schedule meetings at mutually convenient times, but cannot unduly delay the process to accommodate an Advisor with limited availability.

    The College may permit parties to have one additional support Advisor in the waiting room for a hearing, such as an advocate, upon special request to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator 5 business days in advance of the hearing. The decision to grant this request is at the sole discretion of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator and will be granted equitably to all parties should each party request it.

      a. Who Can Serve as an Advisor

      The Advisor may be a friend, faculty or staff member, family member, attorney (at the party’s own cost), or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support, and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. For cases of sexual misconduct, the parties may choose Advisors from inside or outside of the College community.

      b. Advisor’s Role

      The parties may be accompanied by their Advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors do not have the right to view the Hearing folder alone or independently from the Respondent. Advisors may be present to consult with during the Hearing, but may not ask questions or make comments during the hearing.

      c. Pre-Interview Meetings

      All Advisors must sign a Luther College Advisor Agreement Form prior to serving for a case as to understand the role and the College’s policies and procedures. Advisors are not able to speak for the parties during the investigative process.

      d. Advisor Violations of College Policy

      All Advisors are subject to the same College policies and procedures, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors are expected to advise their party without disrupting proceedings. Advisors should not address College officials in a meeting or interview. The Advisor may not make a presentation or represent their party during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the party to the Investigator(s) or Luther College Hearing Board members.

      The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf throughout the investigation and hearing. Although the Advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their party, the Advisor may consult with their party, either privately as needed, or by conferring or passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview, or during a hearing. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their Advisors should ask for breaks to allow for private consultation.

      If an Advisor disrupts or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the Advisor role, the meeting will be ended or other appropriate measures implemented. Subsequently, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator will determine how to address the Advisor’s non-compliance and future role.

      e. Expectations of an Advisor

      The College generally expects an Advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend the College meetings when planned, but may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend, if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay and is still completed with typical business hours. The College may also make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.

      f. Sharing Information with the Advisor

      The College expects that the parties may wish to have the College share documentation and evidence related to the allegations with their Advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their Advisor, but the advisor will be under the same expectations of privacy as the party. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process.

      These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the College. The College may seek to restrict the role of any Advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the College’s privacy expectations. The College may require both parties and their Advisors to enter into a written agreement prohibiting the use or dissemination of evidence for any purpose other than those directly related to the parties’ participation in the resolution process.

    6. Resolution Processes

    Resolution proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accordance with the College policy. The College asks for discretion in minimizing the sharing of information so as to respect the sensitivity of this matter for all parties.

    7. Alternative Resolution

    Situations involving sexual misconduct are unique and present myriad difficulties for the students involved. Although Luther College believes that the formal grievance process is best equipped to address sexual misconduct within our community, the college recognizes that in some cases the parties’ needs may be best met by more flexible processes. Accordingly, the college has established a structured Alternative Resolution model that focuses on remedies, support, and accountability outside of the traditional grievance process as an additional option for Complainants.

    It is not necessary to pursue Alternative Resolution first in order to pursue a Formal Grievance Process, and any party participating in Alternative Resolution can stop the process at any time and begin or resume the Formal Grievance Process.

    The College will obtain voluntary, written confirmation of the Alternative Resolution Agreement Form that all parties wish to resolve the matter through Alternative Resolution before proceeding and will not pressure the parties to participate. For more information please see the Title IX Policy.

    8. Formal Grievance Process: Notice of Investigation and Allegations

    Once the decision to commence a formal investigation is made, the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities appoints two investigators to conduct the investigation, usually within two (2) business days of determining that an investigation should proceed.

    The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations (the “NOIA”) to the Respondent upon commencement of the Formal Grievance Process. This facilitates the Respondent’s ability to prepare for the interview and to identify and choose an Advisor to accompany them if desired. The NOIA is also copied to the Complainant, who is to be given advance notice of when the NOIA will be delivered to the Respondent.

    The NOIA will include:

    • The identity of the involved parties (if known),
    • The misconduct being alleged,
    • The date and location of the alleged incident(s) (if known),
    • The policies implicated,
    • A statement that the College presumes the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a different determination,
    • Information on the right to an Advisor of their choosing,
    • A statement informing the parties that the College’s Policy prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process,
    • Detail on how the party may request disability accommodations during the interview process and formal grievance process,
    • The name(s) of the Investigator(s), along with a process to identify, in advance of the interview process, to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator any conflict of interest that the Investigator(s) may have, and the parties’ rights to review and comment on investigative evidence.

    Amendments and updates to the NOIA may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various charges.

    9. Resolution Timeline

    The College will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process within sixty-to-ninety (60-90) business days, including appeal. This timeline can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, who will provide notice and rationale for any extensions or delays to the parties and an estimate of how much additional time will be needed to complete the process.

    The investigation phase of the process is completed expeditiously in a timely manner. Though some investigations may take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability, and volume of witnesses, law enforcement involvement, etc.

    The College may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to a few weeks) if circumstances require. Such circumstances include but are not limited to: a request from law enforcement to temporarily delay the investigation, the need for language assistance, the absence of parties and/or witnesses, and/or accommodations for disabilities, special circumstances or health conditions.

    The College action(s) are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.

    10. Criminal Process

    The College Formal Grievance Process and the criminal process are not mutually exclusive. This means that an individual may pursue both complaint avenues at the same time, and students and employees are encouraged to do so for any act of sexual misconduct that may constitute a crime. If appropriate, the College may postpone temporarily its proceedings so as not to interfere with law enforcement.

    The College will produce records in response to a lawfully issued subpoena or court order without the student or employee’s consent. When student records are requested the College will notify students of its intent to comply with as required by the FERPA regulations at 34 CFR § 99.31(a)(9). The purpose of this advance notification requirement is to afford the student an opportunity to contest the subpoena in court.

    11. Ensuring Impartiality

    Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process including the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), and Hearing Board Chair and members may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for a party generally, or for a specific Complainant or Respondent.

    The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will review the assigned Investigators to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases. The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, alternate personnel will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the source of the conflict of interest or bias is the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, concerns should be raised with the Director of Human Resources.

    The Formal Grievance Process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, including evidence which supports that the Respondent engaged in a policy violation and evidence which supports that the Respondent did not engage in a policy violation. Credibility determinations may not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.

    The College operates with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the Respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation by the applicable standard of proof.

    12. Steps in the Investigation Process

    All investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, and obtaining available relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory.

    All parties have a full and fair opportunity, through the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence, and to fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.

    The Investigator(s) typically take(s) the following steps (not necessarily in this order):

    • Interview the Complainant and Respondents separately. Each party will be asked to participate in an initial interview and may be asked to participate in a follow-up interview(s) as needed.
    • When participation of a party is expected, provide that party with notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting
    • Interview all available, deemed relevant witnesses and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary
    • Allow each party the opportunity to suggest relevant witnesses
    • Allow each party the opportunity to request an expert witness at the party’s personal expense
    • Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
    • Provide regular status updates to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities throughout the investigation

    Neither party will be restricted in their ability to discuss the allegations or to gather and present relevant evidence; provided, however, that such communications shall not constitute harassment of or retaliation against any party.

    The Complainant and Respondent will be provided the opportunity to inspect all evidence directly related to the allegations of the formal complaint The College may require both parties and their advisors to enter into a written agreement prohibiting the use or dissemination of evidence for any purpose other than those directly related to the parties’ participation in the resolution process.

    Complainant and Respondent will be given the opportunity to inspect and review the evidence collected during the College’s investigation. The parties can waive all or part of this inspection period. The parties can waive all or part of this inspection period.

    13. Role and Participation of Witnesses in the Investigation

    Luther College encourages all individuals with relevant information to participate in the resolution process, and will support their participation. However, the College does not compel students to participate.

    While in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g., study abroad, summer break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Zoom, Google Hangout, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigator(s) determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. The College will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.

    14. Recording of Interviews

    No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of audio and/or video recording.

    15. Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation and Hearing

    The investigation does not consider questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior unless such questions and evidence are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent. At the hearing, the Board will not consider information or questions raised concerning: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation(s), 2) previous sexual history not related to the case, 3) personal mental health, or 4) defamation of character in regard to either party.

    The Investigator(s) will only access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s treatment records made or maintained by a health care provider, or other records protected under a legally recognized privilege if the party provides the Investigator(s) with voluntary, written consent to do so.

    16. Referral for Hearing

    If the allegations do appear to have merit, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may resolve the charges administratively by mutual consent of the parties involved on a basis acceptable to the Title IX Coordinator. Such disposition shall be final, and there shall be no subsequent proceedings.

    Provided that the Complaint is not resolved through Alternative Resolution, once the final investigation report is shared with the parties, the matter will be referred for a hearing. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities or designee will serve as Chair (non-voting member) for the Luther College Hearing Board. The Title IX Coordinator will be present, but is not a member of the Board.

    17. Hearing Board Composition

    A quorum for the hearing board consists of five voting members with at least one student, one faculty member, and the Chair. The Chair will appoint the board members, considering factors such as availability, conflict of interest, and demographic balance. Hearings at or near the end of term may instead use a quorum of three, described below.

    18. Disciplinary History

    Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a determination of responsibility. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process.

    19. Evidentiary Standard

    After post-hearing deliberation, the Hearing Board renders a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.

    20. Notice of Hearing and Charges

    No less than seven (7) days prior to the hearing, the Chair of the Hearing Board will send notice of the hearing and charges to the parties.

    The notice will contain:

    • The time, date, and location of the hearing;
    • Information about the option for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms using technology that enables the Hearing Board and parties to see and hear a party or witness answering questions. Such a request must be raised with the Chair or Title IX Coordinator at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.
    • A list of all those who will attend the hearing, along with an invitation to object to any Hearing Board Members on the basis of demonstrated bias. This must be raised with the Title IX Coordinator prior to the hearing.
    • Information on how the hearing will be recorded and on access to the recording for the parties after the hearing.
    • Notification that the parties may have the assistance of an Advisor of their choosing at the hearing. An invitation to contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities to arrange any disability accommodations, language assistance, and/or interpretation services that may be needed at the hearing, at least five (5) days prior to the hearing.
    • Parties may not bring mobile phones or electronic/recording devices into the hearing.

    Hearings for possible violations that occur near or after the end of an academic term (for example, during finals, break periods, January Term, or over the summer) and are unable to be resolved prior to the end of term will typically be held immediately after the end of the term or during the summer, as needed, to meet the resolution timeline and goal for resolution. A quorum of three (one faculty, one staff, and one student) rather than five will be required for these hearings.

    21. Alternative Hearing Participation Options

    If a party or parties prefer not to attend or cannot attend the hearing in person, the party should request alternative arrangements from the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. The hearing will proceed with or without the participation of parties and/or witnesses.

    The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities can arrange to use technology to allow remote testimony without compromising the fairness of the hearing. Remote options may also be needed for witnesses who cannot appear in person. Any witness who cannot attend in person should let the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities know at least five (5) days prior to the hearing or in ideal situations during the investigation so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

    22. Pre-Hearing Preparation

    The Chair, after any necessary consultation with the parties, Investigator(s), and/or Title IX Coordinator, will provide the names of persons who will be participating in the hearing and all pertinent documentary evidence to the parties prior to the hearing.

    The Chair or designee will notify witnesses of the hearing date and time and that their presence has been requested. Any witness called by the Chair will also be expected to answer questions from the parties.

    Any witness (including expert witnesses) scheduled to participate in the hearing must have been first interviewed by the Investigator(s) or have proffered a written statement or answered written questions, unless all parties and the Chair assent to the witness’s participation in the hearing. The same holds for any evidence that is first offered at the hearing.

    The parties will be given a list of the Hearing Board members at least seven (7) business days in advance of the hearing unless recusals occur. All objections to any hearing board members must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible and no later than five (5) days prior to the hearing. Hearing Board members will only be removed if the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial hearing of the allegation(s).

    Any hearing board member who cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties and witnesses in advance of the hearing. If a hearing board member is unsure of whether a bias or conflict of interest exists, they must raise the concern to the Title IX Coordinator and Chair as soon as possible.

    During the seven (7) day period prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity for continued review on the final investigation report and available evidence.

    23. Hearing Procedures

    At the hearing, the Hearing Board has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of sexual misconduct and/or retaliation. Participants at the hearing may include the Chair, hearing board members, the Investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the Complainant and Respondent, Advisors to the parties, any called witnesses, the Title IX Coordinator, legal counsel retained by the College, and anyone providing authorized accommodations or assistive services.

    The Chair or Title IX Coordinator will answer all questions of procedure. Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information (such as a witness, expert witness or investigator) will respond to questions on their own behalf.

    The Chair will allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the hearing board and the parties will then be excused.

    24. Joint Hearings

    In hearings involving more than one Respondent or in which two (2) or more Complainants have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the default procedure will be to hear the allegations jointly.

    However, the Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may permit the investigation and/or hearings pertinent to each Respondent to be conducted separately if there is a compelling reason to do so. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Respondent with respect to each alleged policy violation.

    25. The Order of the Hearing – Introductions and Explanation of Procedure

    The Chair explains the procedures and introduces the participants.

    The Chair conducts the hearing according to a hearing script. The Chair facilitates the recording, witness logistics, party logistics, curation of documents, separation of the parties, and other administrative elements of the hearing process with assistance provided by the Title IX Coordinator. The hearing typically begins with opening statements from the parties sharing vital content, series of questioning, questioning of witnesses, questions submitted for cross-examination, final questioning and closing statements.

    26. Testimony and Questioning

    At times, the Investigator(s) may be present at hearings and questioned, the parties and witnesses may provide relevant information in turn, beginning with the Complainant and then in the order determined by the Chair. The parties/witnesses will submit to questioning by the Hearing Board and then by the parties through the Chair.

    All questions are subject to a relevance determination by the Chair. The Chair will determine whether the question will be disallowed as irrelevant and pose the proposed question orally, electronically, or in writing (orally is the default, but other means of submission may be permitted by the Chair upon request or agreed to by the parties and the Chair).

    27. Recording Hearings

    Hearings (but not deliberations) are recorded by the College for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.

    The Chair, the parties, their Advisors, and appropriate administrators of the College will be permitted to listen to the recording in a controlled environment determined by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator. No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator.

    28. Deliberation, Decision-making, and Standard of Proof

    The Hearing Board will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. A simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used. The Title IX Coordinator may be invited to attend the deliberation by the Chair, but is there only to facilitate procedurally and take notes, not to address the substance of the allegations.

    The Hearing Board will review any pertinent conduct history provided by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Then the Board will determine the appropriate sanction(s).

    29. Notice of Outcome

    The Chair, in collaboration with the Title IX Coordinator, will prepare a written Notice of Outcome detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, and any sanctions.

    At the discretion of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator, the Notice of Outcome may be reviewed by legal counsel. The Chair will then share the Notice of Outcome simultaneously with the parties.

    The Notice of Outcome will be in writing and specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; any sanctions issued; and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to ensure access to the College’s educational program or activity.

    The Notice of Outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by the College to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.

    30. Sanctions

    Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:

    • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s)
    • The Respondent’s disciplinary history
    • Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation
    • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the Complainant and the community
    • The impact on the parties
    • Institutional precedent for how similar infractions have been addressed
    • Any other information deemed relevant by the Hearing Board

    The sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.

    The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities.

      a. Sanctions

      The following are the range of sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

      • Unilateral No Contact Directive: A mandate to have no avoidable contact with one or more individuals. May include restrictions from being present in another student’s classes, residence hall, or student organizations.
      • Educational Sanctions: A directive to complete specified educational programs or projects to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
      • Mental Health or Substance Abuse Evaluation: A mandate to meet with and engage in either College-sponsored or external counseling to better comprehend the behavior and its effects or contributing factors thereto, such as substance abuse, anger management, or other mental health issues.
      • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of institutional policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any institutional policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, exclusion from designated areas of campus, no-contact directives, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
      • Residence Hall Suspension: Termination of a student’s right to live or be present in College-owned housing for a definite period of time.
      • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed three years and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at Luther College.
      • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or to attend College-sponsored events.
      • Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges (including College registration) for a specified period of time.
      • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

    In all cases, the Hearing Board and Campus Appeals Board reserve the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions to address mitigating circumstances or repeated or egregious behavior.

    31. Withdrawal While Charges Pending

    Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process may proceed absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student Respondent permanently withdraw from the College, the resolution process may end, as the College no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to Luther College. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. They may also be barred from College property and/or events.

    However, the College will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation.

    If the student Respondent takes a temporary leave for a specified period of time (e.g., one semester or term), the resolution process will continue remotely and that student is not permitted to return to the College unless and until all resolution terms have been satisfied.

    During the resolution process, the College may put a hold on a responding student’s record or dean’s disciplinary certification that a disciplinary matter is pending.

    32. Appeals

    1. A decision reached by the Hearing Board may be appealed by either party to the Campus Appeals Board within seven days of the decision. Such appeals shall be in writing, stating the basis for the appeal, and shall be delivered to Corey Landstrom, Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement, at Dahl Centennial Union 266 or via email at [email protected].

    2. Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the verbatim record of the hearing and supporting documents for one or more of the following purposes:

      a. Deviations from designated procedures within the investigation or adjudication processes, which could have affected the outcome;
      b. A conflict of interest or the bias of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator, investigator or member of the Hearing Board sufficient to have affected the outcome;
      c. To consider new information or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, sufficient to alter a decision, because such information and/or facts were not known or available to the person appealing at the time of the original hearing. If any of the grounds in the Request for Appeal do not meet the grounds in this Policy, that request will be denied by the Appeals Board Chair and the parties will be notified in writing of the denial and the rationale.

    4. The Campus Appeals Board is comprised of three members including one faculty member, typically the Chair of the Faculty Interest Committee; one student, typically the President of the Luther College Student Senate; and the Vice President and Dean for Student Engagement.

    5. The non-appealing party (if any) must be notified in writing of the appeal, and given an opportunity to provide a written statement challenging or supporting the appeal.

    The Appeals Board Chair will collect any additional information needed and all documentation regarding the approved grounds and the subsequent responses to be shared with the Appeals Board, and the Appeals Board will render a decision in no more than 10 days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions are by majority vote and apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.

    A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously including the decision on each approved ground and rationale for each decision. The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration and any sanctions. If an appeal is upheld by the Campus Appeals Board, the matter may be returned to the original Hearing Board for re-opening of the case to allow reconsideration of the original determination. If an appeal is upheld with respect to sanctions, the Campus Appeals Board may adjust sanctions or choose to refer the case back to the Hearing Board for consideration of sanctions. If an appeal is not upheld, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.

      a. Sanctions Status During the Appeal

      The sanctions will be implemented upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested. Supportive measures may be reinstated, subject to the same supportive measure procedures above.

      b. Appeal Considerations

      • Appeals are not intended to provide for a full re-hearing (de novo) of the allegation(s). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation, recording of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal.
      • An appeal is not an opportunity for the Campus Appeals Board to substitute their judgment for that of the original Hearing Board merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).
      • The Campus Appeals Board may consult with the Chair and/or Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed. Documentation of all such consultation will be maintained.
      • Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the original Investigator(s) and/or Hearing Board for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded at the discretion of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, decided on appeal.
      • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand (except in the case of a new hearing). When appeals result in no change to the finding or sanction, that decision is final.
      • In rare cases where a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original Hearing Board (as in cases of bias), the appeal may order a new hearing with a new Hearing Board.
      • The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on any of the available appeal grounds.
      • In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to the College or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

    33. Long-Term Remedies/Other Actions

    Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Title IX Coordinator and/or Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities may implement additional long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community that are intended to stop the sexual misconduct and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.

    These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:

    • Referral to counseling, college ministries, and health services
    • Education to the individual and/or the community
    • Permanent alteration of housing assignments
    • Permanent priority on classroom registration
    • Permanent alteration of work arrangements for student employee
    • Provision of campus safety escorts
    • Climate surveys
    • Policy modification and/or training
    • Implementation of long-term contact limitations between the parties
    • mplementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

    For long-term support or measures parties may be referred to other campus resources such as Case Management or Disability Services. When no policy violation is found, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator will address any remedies owed by the College to the Respondent to ensure no effective denial of educational access.

    34. Failure to Comply with Sanctions and/or Interim and Long-term Remedies and/or Responsive Actions

    All Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the Hearing Board and Campus Appeals Board.

    Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from the College.

    A Respondent will only be eligible for readmission from suspension when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator.

    35. Recordkeeping

    Luther College will maintain for a period of at least seven years records of:

      1) Each sexual misconduct investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording;
      2) Any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent;
      3) Any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s education program or activity;
      4) Any appeal and the result therefrom;
      5)Any Alternative or Informal Resolution and the result therefrom;
      6) All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Hearing Board members, Campus Appeals Board members, and any person who facilitates an Informal Resolution process. The College will make these training materials publicly available on the College’s Title IX website; and
      7. Any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual misconduct, including:
        a. The basis for all conclusions that the response was not deliberately indifferent;
        b. Any measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s education program or activity; and
        c. If no supportive measures were provided to the Complainant, document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

    Title IX Team, Investigators, Chairs, Hearing Board Members and Appeal Board Members:

    These individuals receive annual training based on their respective roles on the topics of 1) impartiality, 2) avoiding prejudgment of facts at issue, 3) conflicts of interest and bias, 4) the College’s resolution processes, 5) issues of relevance and evidence, 6) the scope of the College’s educational programs and activities, 7) types of harassment and discrimination; and (8) how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the rights, well-being, and safety of the parties, provides an equitable process for all parties involved, and promotes accountability. The materials used to train these individuals are publicly posted here:

    36. Revision of this Policy and Procedures

    This Policy and procedures supersede any previous policy(ies) will be reviewed and updated annually by the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. The College reserves the right to make changes to this document as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.

    During the resolution process, the Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures in order to preserve the fairness owed the parties. The Director of Student Rights and Responsibilities and/or Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the institutional website, with the appropriate effective date identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Policy and procedures.

    If government laws or regulations change – or court decisions alter – the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations or holdings.

    This policy is not a contract and does not create legally enforceable protections based on contract, quasi-contract, or third-party beneficiary status.

    This interim policy and procedures are effective August 14, 2020.



Last revised October 28, 2020

Last Reviewed: Jul 1st, 2021