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TITLE IX COMPLAINT/GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE POLICY

The purpose of this policy is to outline the duties and responsibilities of UEI College/United Education Institute (“UEI”) in accordance with UEI’s Statement of Nondiscrimination and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”).  UEI is committed to providing a work and educational environment free of unlawful harassment and discrimination.

UEI is also committed to providing a prompt response to reports of Sexual Harassment and ensuring every Complainant receives appropriate support, Respondents are treated as responsible only after receiving due process and fundamental fairness, and UEI officials serve impartially without bias for or against any party.

DEFINITIONS

Sexual Harassment: conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • A school employee conditioning an educational benefit or service upon a person’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (often called “quid pro quo” harassment);
  • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the school’s education program or activity; or
  • Sexual Assault (as defined in the Clery Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)), or Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, or Stalking (as those offenses are defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)*, 34 U.S.C. § 12291(a)).
    • Sexual Assault: As defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), means an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
    • Dating Violence: As defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), means violence committed by a person (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; and, the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
    • Domestic Violence: As defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
    • Stalking: As defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30), means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to: (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

*In accordance with VAWA, state definitions for Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Consent are contained in the school’s Annual Safety and Security Report (“ASR”). VAWA crimes are reported in the ASR based on the definitions above.

Complainant: An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment, regardless of whether a Formal Complaint has been filed. A Complainant must be the alleged victim unless a parent or legal guardian has a legal right to act on the alleged victim’s behalf.

Respondent: An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment.

Actual knowledge: When UEI’s Title IX Coordinator or the applicable Campus President/Executive Director becomes aware of a Sexual Harassment report.

Education program or activity: On or off campus locations, events or circumstances over which the school exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Harassment occurred.

POLICIES AND PROCEDURES

1. Title IX Policy Statement

UEI strictly prohibits Sexual Harassment and retaliation against any person who reports Sexual Harassment or participates (or refuses to participate) in any Title IX grievance process under this policy.

UEI will respond to a report of Sexual Harassment when it (1) has actual knowledge of Sexual Harassment; (2) that occurred within an applicable school’s education program or activity; (3) against a person in the United States.

If the alleged conduct does not constitute Sexual Harassment, the school may investigate the concern as required by the Student Complaint/Grievance Procedure Policy outlined in the school catalog and/or the Complaint Procedure Policy outlined in the Team Member Handbook.

2. Title IX Coordinator

UEI’s Title IX Coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of this policy and is designated by UEI to intake reports and Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment, provide supportive measures, and investigate alleged Sexual Harassment.  The contact information for UEI’s Title IX Coordinator is as follows:

Title IX Coordinator                 
Senior Director of Human Resources
International Education Corporation
16485 Laguna Canyon Rd Ste. 300
Irvine, CA 92618
(949) 812-7706
[email protected]

Any person can report sex discrimination, including Sexual Harassment (whether or not the person reporting is the alleged victim) in person, by mail, telephone, or e-mail, using the contact information listed above for the Title IX Coordinator. A report can be made at any time, including during non-business hours. However, responses to reports made outside of business hours, including during weekends and holidays, may be delayed.

3. Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are individualized services reasonably available to ensure equal educational access, protect safety or deter Sexual Harassment.  Supportive Measures are available, as appropriate, to the Complainant and Respondent and are non-punitive, non-disciplinary and not unreasonably burdensome to the other party.

Upon receiving a report of Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the Complainant confidentially to discuss the availability of supportive measures.  The Title IX Coordinator shall notify the Complainant that supportive measures are available regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is filed and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

Supportive Measures are individualized and appropriate based on the information gathered by the Title IX Coordinator.  The Supportive Measures needed by the Complainant and/or Respondent may change over time, and the Title IX Coordinator will communicate with each party to ensure that any Supportive Measures are necessary and effective based on evolving needs.

Supportive measures will be provided without fee or charge and may include:

  • Counseling;
  • Extending deadlines;
  • Modifying class or work schedules;
  • Placing mutual restrictions on contact between the parties;
  • Providing campus escort services;
  • Changing work locations; and
  • Providing leaves of absence.

4. Formal Complaint

UEI utilizes a prompt, equitable and impartial grievance process to evaluate Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment, which may be filed by a Complainant or by UEI’s Title IX Coordinator.  A Formal Complaint is a document (hardcopy or electronic) filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the school investigate.  A Formal Complaint must be signed (physical or digital) by the Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator or otherwise indicate that that Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint. When filing a Formal Complaint, the Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the school at which the Formal Complaint is filed.

The Title IX Coordinator will respect the Complainant’s wishes as to whether the Title IX Coordinator investigates an allegation of Sexual Harassment, unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that not investigating would be deliberately indifferent or harmful to the school community.  The Title IX Coordinator may consolidate Formal Complaints where the allegations arise out of the same facts.

Formal Complaints involving employees will also be referred to the Human Resources Department and simultaneously evaluated under applicable employee conduct policies and procedures outlined in the Team Member Handbook.

5. Dismissal of Formal Complaints in Certain Circumstances

The Title IX Coordinator will dismiss a Formal Complaint if the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint:

  • Does not meet the definition of Sexual Harassment;
  • Did not occur in the school’s education program or activity; or
  • Did not occur against a person in the United States.

The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint where:

  • Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant wishes to withdraw the Formal Complaint or allegations;
  • Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the school; or
  • Specific circumstances prevent the school from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility.

UEI shall provide the parties with written notice of a dismissal, whether mandatory or discretionary, and the reason for the dismissal.  Dismissal of the Formal Complaint under this policy does not preclude the institution from investigating the allegations under a different policy such as the Student Complaint/Grievance Procedure Policy outlined in the school catalog and/or the Complaint Procedure Policy outlined in the Team Member Handbook.

6. Written Notice of Allegations

Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator shall provide written notice of the allegations to the parties.  The written notice shall:

  • Include sufficient details of the allegations, including the identities of the parties involved, policy alleged to have been violated, the conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident in order to allow the parties to prepare for an initial interview.
  • Inform the parties that they may have an advisor of their choice.
  • Inform the parties they will have an opportunity to review evidence obtained during the investigation.
  • Include a statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the entire grievance process.
  • Inform the parties that they are prohibited from knowingly making any false statement or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.

The parties will also be provided with separate written notice of any investigative interview, meeting or hearing.  Interview/meeting notices will include the date, time, location, participants and purpose of the investigative interview or meeting.

7. Informal Resolution

After a Formal Complaint is filed, the school may offer the parties the opportunity to engage in an informal resolution process such as a mediation or informal settlement conference.  The school, however, will not offer or facilitate an informal resolution process where the allegations in the Formal Complaint allege that an employee sexually harassed a student.

Before proceeding with an informal resolution process, both parties must give voluntary, informed, written consent.  UEI will provide written notice to the parties disclosing the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process, and any consequences of participating in the informal resolution process.  Any party may withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the Formal Complaint at any point prior to agreeing to a resolution.

8. Emergency Removal of Respondents from Campus

UEI may temporarily remove an individual from campus on an interim basis during the pendency of a Formal Complaint in limited emergency circumstances where there is an immediate threat to physical health or safety. Before taking this emergency measure, the school will:

  • Undertake an individualized safety and risk analysis to determine whether there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any person arising from the allegations of Sexual Harassment;
  • Make an affirmative determination that such an immediate threat exists based on its individualized safety and risk analysis; and
  • Provide the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the emergency decision immediately following the Respondent’s removal.

School administrators will issue timely warnings for incidents reported that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to other members of the campus community.  UEI will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information are not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger.  UEI reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, or a change in student status.

Personally identifiable information for victims of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking will not be included in any publicly available recordkeeping, including Clery Act Reporting and disclosures.

9. Grievance Process

UEI shall investigate all Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment using its grievance process, which is designed to ensure due process and fairness to all parties.  Title IX personnel (Title IX Coordinator, investigators, decision-makers, and individuals who facilitate informal resolution) will be free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents. Title IX personnel will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence and avoid credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent or witness. UEI shall not impose discipline on a Respondent without going through the required grievance process.

A. Standard of Evidence

For all Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment (including where employees are Respondents), UEI applies the preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning that it is “more likely than not” that something did or did not occur.

B. Presumption of Non-Responsibility

A Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged Sexual Harassment until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.

C. Advisor

As outlined in the written notice of allegations, the parties may have an advisor of their choice present at any stage of the process.  The advisor is allowed to be present at any meeting, but is required to be at the live hearing for the purpose of conducting cross-examinations.  If the party does not have an advisor for the live hearing, UEI shall provide, without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of UEI’s choice. The Complainant and Respondent may not conduct cross-examination.

D. Investigation Process

A Formal Complaint shall be investigated by the Title IX Coordinator or other trained designee (“investigator”), who will conduct interviews and gather evidence. The investigator will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence and avoid credibility determinations based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.  The investigator shall be free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against the Complainant or Respondent.

Both parties shall have an equal opportunity to submit and review evidence throughout the investigation process, including the opportunity to present fact and expert witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.  UEI shall not restrict the parties’ ability to discuss the allegations or gather or present evidence.

The scope of an investigation will vary depending on the allegations and circumstances of each individual Formal Complaint.  Each Formal Complaint will be assessed on an individualized basis.  For purposes of illustration, an investigation may include the following steps, as appropriate:

    • Reviewing the Formal Complaint;
    • Gathering additional information or statements from Complainant;
    • Gathering information from any witnesses (for example faculty, staff or other students with potentially relevant information);
    • Reviewing relevant documentation and policies;
    • Obtaining a response, written statement and other information from Respondent.

The investigator shall provide written notice to the parties in advance of any meeting, interview, or hearing conducted as part of the investigation in which they are expected or invited to participate.

E. Review of Evidence

Before concluding the investigation, UEI shall provide the parties and their advisors, if any, the opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained during the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including all inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.  The evidence will be provided to the parties in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will be given 10 days to submit a written response.  The investigator will consider the written responses before the completion of the investigative report.

F. Investigative Report

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will create an investigative report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence.  The investigative report shall be provided to the parties (and their advisors) in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will be given 10 days to submit a written response.  The final investigative report will be provided at least 10 days before the live hearing so the parties have the opportunity to review and provide written responses.

G. Live Hearing

If a Formal Complaint is not or cannot be resolved through informal resolution, UEI shall hold a live hearing (“hearing”).  The hearing will be overseen by the applicable Campus President/Executive Director or other trained designee (“decision-maker”), separate from the Title IX Coordinator or investigator.  The decision-maker shall be free from conflicts of interest or bias and shall be trained on how to serve impartially, issues of relevance and any technology to be used at the hearing.

The hearing may be conducted with all parties present physically or virtually, so long as all participants are able to see and hear one another in real time.  A party is prohibited from solely participating in the hearing by telephone.  At the request of either party, the school will permit the parties to be in separate rooms during the entirety of the hearing.  The school will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript of the hearing.

1. Cross-Examination

During the hearing, every witness may be subjected to cross-examination by the party’s advisor.  The school will allow a party’s advisor to directly and in real time present all relevant questions and follow up questions to another party or witness, including the advisor challenging the credibility of a party.  Cross-examination must come from a party’s advisor and may not come directly from a party.

If a party or witness does not submit to live cross-examination, the decision-maker will not rely on any statement made by that party or witness when making the decision about the Respondent’s responsibility.  Only statements that have been tested for credibility through cross-examination at the hearing may be considered by the decision-maker in reaching a responsibility determination.  This includes statements against interest.

By way of example, if a party makes a statement against interest to the investigator during the investigation, but subsequently declines to participate in the hearing or otherwise be subject to cross-examination, the statement made to the investigator will not be relied upon in making a determination regarding responsibility.  The decision-maker will also not draw any inference regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’ absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.

2. Questions Must Be Relevant

Questions posed to parties and witnesses at the hearing must be relevant. Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the decision-maker must determine whether the question being asked is relevant and provide an explanation as to any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.  Questions relating to a Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are irrelevant unless the questions are offered to prove someone else was responsible for the alleged conduct or offered to prove consent.

3. Evidence Limitations

UEI will not rely on or seek disclosure of information protected under a legally recognized privilege unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.  UEI will not access or use a party’s medical, psychological, or similar treatment records unless the party provides voluntary, written consent.

H. Written Determination

Based on all relevant evidence obtained during the investigation and hearing, the decision-maker shall issue a written determination. The written determination will include a determination of responsibility as well as a written finding of facts.  The determination will include a description of the procedure from Formal Complaint through hearing and clearly state a conclusion regarding whether the alleged conduct occurred as alleged or at all and support each conclusion with the rationale relied upon.  The written determination will also indicate the sanctions imposed on the Respondent and whether remedies will be provided to the Complainant.

Following a determination of responsibility, appropriate corrective action will be taken, and UEI will take steps to prevent recurrence.  Sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Possible sanctions may include, but are not limited to:

    • Warning: Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of the misconduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.
    • Disciplinary Probation: Exclusion from participation in privileged activities for a specified period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other UEI policy violations may result in further disciplinary action.
    • Restriction on Contact: Restricting the Respondent from contacting the Complainant.
    • Suspension: Exclusion from UEI premises, attending classes, and other privileges or activities for a specified period of time.
    • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and exclusion from UEI premises, privileges, and activities.
    • Termination: Termination of employment*.
    • Other: Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified here.
    • Multiple Sanctions: More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation.

*Employees are also subject to processes and discipline determined by the campus under the applicable policies outlined in the Team Member Handbook, which are separate and apart from the Title IX process and not constrained by the outcome of the Title IX process.

The determination will be sent simultaneously to the parties along with information to both parties regarding the process of filing an appeal.

I. Appeals

Either party is permitted to file a written appeal of a determination regarding responsibility within ten (10) calendar days after receiving the written determination.  The written appeal must be limited to 10 pages, double spaced, 12 point font.  A party is permitted to appeal only based on the following grounds:

    • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome;
    • New evidence that was not reasonably available when the determination of responsibility was made that could affect the outcome; or
    • The Title IX personnel had a general or specific conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome.

The appeal will be ruled on by the applicable Regional Vice President of Operations or other trained designee.  The parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of any appeal within thirty (30) days of receipt of the appeal.  The appeal decision is final.

J. Time Frame for Completion of Entire Grievance Process

Generally, the grievance process consists of filing a Formal Complaint, investigation, hearing, determination (including sanctions and remedies as applicable) and appeal. The grievance process, barring extenuating circumstances, will conclude within ninety (90) days from the date a Formal Complaint is filed. However, the length of time will vary, making the grievance process shorter or longer depending on the complexity of the investigation, the severity and extent of the alleged Sexual Harassment, the quantity and availability of witnesses, and other factors of significance that may affect the length of the investigation. Any delay or extension of the grievance process will be temporary, limited and for good cause and UEI shall notify the parties of the reason for any short-term delay or extension.

K. Retaliation

UEI will not retaliate against any individual for exercising rights under Title IX, including the participating in or refusing to participate in the filing of a Formal Complaint, the investigation, or any proceeding or hearing.  Examples of prohibited retaliation include intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, and specifically include bringing charges against an individual for student code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or Sexual Harassment, but arise out of the same fact or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination or Sexual Harassment.

Exercising rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.  In addition, charging an individual for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of an investigation does not constitute retaliation.

If you believe you have been retaliated against, you should contact the Title IX Coordinator or utilize any of the mechanisms outlined in the school catalog or Team Member Handbook.

L. Recordkeeping

UEI shall maintain records of Title IX activities as required by law, including records of:

    • Sexual Harassment investigations, including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the school’s education program or activity;
    • Any appeal and the result therefrom;
    • Any informal resolution; and
    • All materials used to train Title IX coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process.

UEI shall create, and maintain for seven years, records of any actions (including any supportive measures) taken in response to a report or Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment.  In each instance, UEI shall document the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, and document that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the school’s education program or activity.  If a school does not provide a Complainant with supportive measures, the school will document the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

M. Training

The Title IX Coordinator and all personnel involved in the Title IX process outlined in this policy shall be trained on:

    • The definition of Sexual Harassment;
    • The scope of the school’s education program or activity;
    • How to conduct an investigation and grievance process, including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution process, as applicable; and
    • How to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, bias and sex stereotypes.

Investigators and decision-makers will receive training on issues of relevance, including how to apply the rape shield protections provided only for Complainants. Decision-makers will also receive training on any technology used at a hearing.

UEI shall publish all training materials on the applicable school website on the Student Consumer Information page.

N. Additional Information

Students and employees may contact the Title IX Coordinator with any questions related to this policy.  In addition, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) investigates complaints of unlawful harassment of students in educational programs or activities.  This agency may serve as a neutral fact finder and will attempt to facilitate the voluntary resolution of disputes with the parties. For more information, visit the OCR website at http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/.  To the extent that an employee or contract worker is not satisfied with UEI’s handling of a complaint, he or she may also contact the appropriate state or federal enforcement agency for legal relief.

O. Sexual Violence

In accordance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Crime Statistics Act (“Clery Act”) and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (“VAWA”), UEI will provide primary prevention and awareness programs to prevent Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking (collectively referred to as “Sexual Violence”) to students and employees. Additional policies and procedures regarding Sexual Violence are contained in the school’s Annual Safety and Security Report (“ASR”) distributed by October 1st of each year. The school’s most recent ASR is located on the applicable school website on the Student Consumer Information page.

 

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