Title IX

Title IX is a law that protects against gender discrimination and provides for equal opportunity for students to pursue education and have equal and safe access to all of a schoolís programs and facilities and protects these environments from becoming hostile environments. It is mandated through the Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education that institutions receiving federal funds or providing federal financial aid to students must adhere to Title IXís rules and provisions. 

Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators

DigiPen Institute of Technology officer(s) charged with investigating all complaints of violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Anti-Harassment Policy, and the Anti-Discrimination Policy

Title IX Coordinator

Angela Kugler
akugler[at]digipen[dot]edu
(425) 895-4438

Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Marshall Traverse
mtraverse[at]digipen[dot]edu
(425) 629-5034

Deputy Title IX Coordinator - Employee Cases

Meighan McKelvey
smeighan[at]digipen[dot]edu

Statement of Policy

DigiPen is committed to maintaining a positive emotional and physical environment in which all students have an equal opportunity to achieve success. DigiPen will not tolerate any acts of harassment or non-consensual sexual activity. Intimidation, harassment, and sexual misconduct violate the standards of acceptable behavior and academic freedom of all students on campus and in the DigiPen community.

Anti-Harassment Policy

DigiPen prohibits harassment of any kind between faculty/staff and students, between students and students, between faculty/staff/students and others, on the basis of race, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, physical or mental disability, veteran status, age or any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law. DigiPen policy prohibits inappropriate conduct and reserves the right to sanction students for behaviors that it deems inappropriate, even though the instance of harassment may not reach the legal standard for harassment.

Anti-Discrimination Policy

DigiPen Institute of Technology is committed to maintaining a diverse community in an atmosphere of mutual respect for and appreciation of differences.

DigiPen Institute of Technology does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national/ethnic origin, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, age, or with regard to the basis outlined in the Veteransí Readjustment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Resources

These resources are available for students following an incident of harassment or discrimination:

On-Campus Resources

Confidential Resources

Confidential resources are DigiPen employees with whom an individual can have a privileged communication. Privileged communications cannot legally be disclosed to another person without the consent of the individual who originally provided the information, except under very limited circumstances such as allegations involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult or an imminent threat to the life of any person. DigiPenís confidential resources are listed as follows:

Non-Confidential Resources

Responsible Employees (ďMandated ReportersĒ)

DigiPenís responsible employees are required to report all details of an incident (including the identities of both the reporting party and respondent) to DigiPenís Title IX Coordinator. To file a report of an incident of sexual misconduct, please contact a responsible employee.

Most members of the DigiPen community are considered responsible employees and are therefore obligated to report to DigiPen any information they receive about sexual misconduct. Employees who are categorized as responsible employees include (but are not limited to):

  • DigiPenís Title IX Coordinator
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators
  • Student Affairs staff
  • All faculty members
  • Members of DigiPenís general Administration staff
  • Resident Assistants
  • Students employed in their work-related positions

Talking with any of these individuals constitutes a report to DigiPen. DigiPen commences the Title IX investigative procedures, described later in this chapter, in response to all reports of sexual misconduct.

Off-Campus Resources

DigiPen provides this directory as a resource for students in crisis. DigiPen is not officially partnered with any of the following off campus resources.

Redmond Police

8701 160th Avenue NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Main Phone: 425-556-2500

Redmond Hospital

8980 161st Avenue NE
Redmond, WA 98052
Main Phone: 425-899-2273

King County Sexual Assault Resource Center

24 Hour Resource Line: 888-998-6423

National Sexual Assault Hotline

800-656-HOPE (4673)

Reporting An Instance Of Sexual Misconduct

To report an instance of sexual misconduct, students should contact any responsible employee of DigiPen.

DigiPen encourages the reporting party of sexual misconduct to talk to a responsible employee so that the reporting party can get the support they need and so DigiPen can begin the Title IX investigation procedures.

Individuals can also report an incident directly to the Title IX Coordinator by completing the online Incident Report.

Reporting To Responsible Employees

The following employees (or categories of employees) are DigiPenís responsible employees:

  • DigiPen's Title IX Coordinator
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinators
  • Student Affairs staff
  • All faculty members
  • Members of DigiPen's general Administration staff
  • Resident Assistants
  • Students employed in their work-related positions

A responsible employee must report to a Title IX Coordinator all relevant details about the alleged sexual misconduct shared by the reporting party. Responsible employees are required to report any potential violation of the sexual misconduct policy to a Title IX Coordinator. If the reporting party wants to tell the responsible employee what happened but also maintain confidentiality, DigiPen will consider the request, but cannot guarantee that it will be honored. While reporting the details of the incident to a Title IX Coordinator, the responsible employee will also inform the Title IX Coordinator of the reporting partyís request for confidentiality. To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling DigiPenís response to the report. A responsible employee should not share information with law enforcement without the reporting partyís consent or unless the reporting party has also reported the incident to law enforcement. When a reporting party tells a responsible employee about an incident of sexual misconduct, the reporting party has the right to expect DigiPen to take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate what happened and to resolve the matter promptly and equitably.

The responsible employee takes the report of sexual misconduct, fills out an Incident Report, and then submits that Incident Report to the Title IX Coordinator.

Confidentiality

Different employees on campus have different abilities to maintain a reporting partyís confidentiality.

  1. Confidential resources are required to maintain near complete confidentiality; talking to a confidential resource is sometimes called a privileged communication (e.g. counselor).
  2. All other employees (excluding those with privileged communication) are considered responsible employees (sometimes also called mandated reporters) and are required to report all the details of an incident (including the identities of both the reporting party and respondent) to the Title IX Coordinator. A report from these employees constitutes a report to DigiPen and obligates DigiPen to commence the Title IX investigative procedures.

Definition of Terms

Advisor of Choice

A student or employee has the right to have an Advisor of Choice present during any meeting conducted under this policy. This Advisor can be any person who the student or employee chooses but may not have personal involvement regarding any facts or circumstances of the alleged misconduct. This Advisorís only function shall be to assist and/or consult with the student or employee. This Advisor may not act as a spokesperson. This Advisor may be an attorney but participation shall be limited as stated above.

Consent

Consent is a voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity; someone who is incapacitated cannot consent; past consent does not imply future consent; silence or an absence of resistance does not imply consent; consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.

Confidential Resources

Confidential resources are DigiPen employees who are required to maintain near-complete confidentiality. Speaking with these employees is referred to as a privileged communication. Privileged communications cannot legally be disclosed to another person without the consent of the individual who originally provided the information, except under very limited circumstances such as allegations involving the physical or sexual abuse of a child or vulnerable adult or an imminent threat to the life of any person.

Incapacitation

Incapacitation exists (but is not limited to) when a person is unaware, blacked out, unconscious, unable to make rational/reasonable decisions, and/or otherwise physically or mentally helpless to give effective consent.

Incapacitation does not excuse the accused party.

Responsible Employee (Or Mandated Reporter)

A responsible employee is a DigiPen employee who has the authority to address sexual misconduct, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual misconduct or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when a student takes non-consensual, unjust, and/ or abusive sexual advantage of another individual for advantage or benefit of anyone other than the individual being exploited. The behavior may also constitute as rape, sexual assault, and/or sexual harassment. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • inducing incapacitation with the intent to rape or sexually violate another person,
  • knowingly transmitting an STD,
  • prostituting another student,
  • taking non-consensual video, audio taping, or still photography of sexual activity and/or full or partial nudity,
  • or allowing others to observe an act of consensual sex without the knowledge or consent of the consenting partner.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, non-consensual touching, bribery, demands for sexual favors, threats of physical and/or emotional harm, exposing oneís self, undue attention, unwanted embraces or bodily contact, sexual gestures, and verbal abuse. Sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when:

  • such advances or requests are made under circumstances implying that oneís response might affect educational or personnel decisions that are subject to the influence of the person making the proposal; and/or
  • such speech or conduct is directed against another and is either abusive or severely humiliating, or persists despite the objection of the person targeted by the speech or conduct; and/or
  • such speech or conduct is reasonably regarded as offensive and substantially impairs the academic or work opportunity of students, colleagues, or co-workers; and/or
  • such behavior may be an unwanted series of events or an unwanted single encounter that causes a reasonable individual worry, trouble, or concern.

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes all instances of sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, and non-consensual sexual intercourse (also sometimes referred to as rape and/or sexual assault).

Hostile Environment

A hostile environment includes any situation in which there is harassing conduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying, or limiting someoneís ability to participate in or benefit from DigiPenís educational programs or activities.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse (Or Rape/Sexual Assault)

Non-consensual sexual intercourse consists of any sexual intercourse (including, but not limited to anal, oral, urethral, or vaginal), however slight, with any body part or any object, by a person upon another person, without consent. Non-consensual sexual activity occurs if a person is forced to have sexual intercourse, or if sexual intercourse occurs under circumstances in which a person is unable to consent to such activities.

Sexual intercourse may include but is not limited to vaginal, oral, urethral, or anal penetration by any body part or any object. The perpetrator may be known or unknown to the victim. The force necessary can be any amount (or threat) of force which places the victim in fear of injury or in fear of their life. The perpetrator need not use a weapon nor must they physically abuse the victim to make the victim fearful of injury or in fear of their life. The terms "acquaintance rape" and "date rape" refer to the above-described behavior perpetrated by someone known to the reporting party. Non-consensual sexual intercourse also includes knowingly transmitting a Sexually Transmitted Infection to another person.

Retaliatory Harassment

Retaliatory harassment is intentional action taken by an accused individual or allied third party that harms an individual as reprisal for reporting sexual misconduct or for participating in an investigation of sexual misconduct.

DigiPen prohibits retaliation against those who le a complaint or third-party report, or otherwise participate in the investigative and/or disciplinary process (e.g., as a witness). Retaliation will not be tolerated by DigiPen.

The Title IX Investigation Process

The Title IX officers (Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinators, and Title IX investigators) are charged by Title IX with investigating all complaints of violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

1. Reporting party contacts a responsible employee of the DigiPen community to report the incident.

  • Any student in the DigiPen community who believes they have been the victim of sexual misconduct as defined by the Sexual Misconduct Policy is encouraged to bring the matter to the attention of a Responsible Employee.

2. The Responsible Employee reports the incident to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator who reports it to the Title IX Coordinator.

  • The Title IX Coordinator oversees DigiPenís review, investigation, and resolution of reports of sexual assault and harassment.

3. The Title IX Coordinator determines whether the conduct in question is a violation of the Instituteís Sexual Misconduct Policy or regulations under Title IX.

4. If the conduct is found to be a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) initiates a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation by trained Title IX Investigators. The Title IX investigation occurs independently of any criminal investigation initiated by the reporting party.

  • DigiPen may designate an investigator of its choosing, provided that the investigator has specific training and experience investigating allegations of misconduct. DigiPen will provide ongoing training for all investigators. Any investigator chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest.

5. Investigation can last 30-60 days of receiving the complaint. This timeframe may be extended depending on the complexity of circumstances of each case.

  • The investigator(s) conduct the investigation in an appropriate manner considering the circumstances of the case. The investigation typically includes interviews with the reporting party, the respondent, and any witnesses. As part of the investigation, the investigator(s) provide an opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence. A reporting party or respondent has the right to an Advisor of Choice at any stage of this process. The interviews are supplemented by the gathering of any physical, documentary, or other evidence, as appropriate and available. The investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. The investigation is thorough, impartial, fair, and all individuals are treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. The investigation is conducted in a manner that is respectful of individual privacy concerns. The parties involved are notified when the investigation has commenced.
  • Information gathered during the review or investigation is used to evaluate the responsibility of the respondent, provide for the safety of the reporting party and the DigiPen campus community, and impose sanctions as necessary to address the effects of the alleged conduct. Where there is sufficient information alleged, if proven, that would constitute a violation of policy, DigiPen has the discretion to institute on campus judicial resolution proceedings against the respondent. At its sole discretion, DigiPen may remove a member of the community temporarily until the investigation is completed.

6. Title IX Investigators report the investigation findings to the Title IX Coordinator (or designee).

  • At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) and the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will prepare a report setting forth the facts gathered. The investigation report is presented to the Title IX Coordinator. Upon receipt of the investigation report, DigiPen will notify all parties that the investigation is complete and provide information about next steps in the process.

7. The Title IX Coordinator (or designee) determines the sanctions and decides on appropriate measures to resolve allegations.

  • Based on the information gathered in the initial Title IX assessment and/or investigation, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) acting on the behalf of DigiPen will take appropriate measures designed to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The decision is made using preponderance-of-the-evidence (i.e. more likely than not). The Title IX Coordinator (or designee), acting on behalf of DigiPen, makes a determination based on the present facts about the safety of the reporting party and the potential risk to other students.

Potential Outcomes Include (but are not limited to):

  • Judicial Charge: The Chief Operating OfficeróInternational (or designee), acting on behalf of DigiPen, is the administrator who determines whether or not the incident warrants a judicial charge. A student does not initiate a charge against another student, but may press charges using local, state, or federal procedures.
  • Imposing Sanctions: If deemed necessary, DigiPen may contact the respondent and may impose sanctions which include, but are not limited to: interim suspension from DigiPen and/or DigiPen Housing LLC; permanent expulsion from DigiPen, and/or a No Contact Order.
  • Insufficient Evidence: A Title IX Coordinator determines there is not enough information to justify filing a formal Sexual Misconduct charge and the disciplinary matter is dropped or other charges are assigned, as appropriate.
  • False Report: A Title IX Coordinator determines that the reporting party made a false statement and sanctions may be imposed.

9. Reporting party and respondent are notified of the decision via a simultaneous written notice.

  • A Title IX Coordinator (or designee) documents each report or request for assistance in resolving a case involving charges of sexual assault or harassment, whether made by the reporting party, a third party, or anonymously, and reviews and retains copies of all reports generated as a result of investigations. These records will be kept confidential to the extent possible. However, each report will be documented via an incident report and reported annually in adherence to the Clery Act (names will not be used).

Title IX Decision Appeals

Either party may submit a petition for an appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of the date of the decision. Once an appeal is received, the other party will be notified and provided with an opportunity to review the submitted appeal and submit a written response within three (3) business days of the notification being sent. Deadlines may be extended at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator under exceptional circumstances. Appeals are sent to the Title IX Appeals Board for review and consideration, normally within ten (10) business days but may be extended due to extenuating circumstances. The Title IX Appeals Board is comprised of the COO-International (or designee) and may include a combination of trained faculty and staff.

Appeals may be filed on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly affected the outcome of the case. 
  2. There is new, relevant information that was not available at the time of the investigation that, if available, could have significantly affected the outcome of the case. This does not include statements from a Reporting Party or Respondent who chose not to participate in the investigation.

The presumption is that the investigation and decision processes were appropriately conducted and the burden is on the individual requesting the appeal to prove that the appeal has merit. Disagreement with the investigation findings or determination is not, by itself, a ground for appeal. All sanctions imposed by the Institute will be in effect during the appeal process. Title IX Appeals Board reviews are reviews of record only.

Upon review of the record, the Title IX Appeals Board may respond as follows:

  1. Determine the appeal lacks standing and is dismissed, in which case the original decision stands; 
  2. Determine that the appeal has standing and remand the case back to the original investigator/team to consider new information or reevaluate previous information; or 
  3. Determine that the appeal has standing and remand the case to a new investigator with specific corrective instructions.

If an appeal is granted by the Title IX Appeals Board, as noted above, the appeal officer will notify the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators of the decision to take appropriate next steps. The outcome of the appealed decision is considered the final decision, and no further appeals are permitted. The decision of the appeal and any remanded decisions will be communicated simultaneously in writing by the Title IX Coordinator to both the Reporting Party and Respondent.

Provisions For Reporting Parties In Cases Of Sexual Misconduct

Individuals whose complaints of sexual misconduct are being investigated by DigiPen can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect, and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators, and adjudicators.
    They will have the option to choose non-participation in the Title IX investigation process.
  • They will be informed in writing that their complaint of sexual misconduct is being investigated and of any other policy violations that may emerge through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of DigiPenís Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Title IX investigation process.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the respondent throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may access DigiPen and/or external resources for medical and counseling services.
  • They may choose to pursue a formal complaint with external law enforcement authorities or other federal or state agencies at any time.
  • They may invite a DigiPen student, faculty member, or staff member to accompany them at meetings regarding the investigation process.
  • They may meet with the Chief Operating OfficeróInternational (or designee) in person prior to the official determination of a finding.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the respondent, of the finding issued by the Chief Operating OfficeróInternational (or designee), as well as the outcome of any appeal.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome based on the grounds designated in this policy, provided they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to represent a student in a DigiPen investigation nor ask questions on a studentsí behalf. Attorneys are only permitted to advise a student.
  • Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact DigiPenís legal representation directly.

Provisions For Respondents In Cases Of Sexual Misconduct

Students responding to complaints of sexual misconduct can anticipate that:

  • They will be treated with sensitivity, dignity, respect, and in an unbiased manner by all involved administrators, investigators, and adjudicators.
    They will have the option to choose non-participation in the Title IX investigation process.
  • They will be informed in writing that a complaint of sexual misconduct against them is being investigated, and of any other policy violations that may emerge through this investigation.
  • They will be advised of DigiPenís Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Title IX investigation process.
  • They will be afforded the same rights and opportunities as the reporting party throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They will be given periodic status updates throughout the investigation and adjudication process.
  • They may access DigiPen and/or external resources for medical and counseling services.
  • They may invite a DigiPen student, faculty member, or staff member to accompany them at meetings regarding the investigation process.
  • They may meet with the Chief Operating OfficeróInternational (or designee) in person prior to the official determination of a finding.
  • They will be informed in writing, concurrently with the reporting party, of the finding issued by the Chief Operating Officer Ė International (or designee), as well as the outcome of any appeal.
  • They will have the right to appeal the outcome based on the grounds designated in this policy, provided that they have participated in the investigation process.
  • They may retain legal counsel at any time, although legal counsel is not permitted to represent a student in a DigiPen investigation nor ask questions on a studentsí behalf. Attorneys are only permitted to advise a student. Attorneys who wish to communicate about a case may contact DigiPenís legal representation directly.

External Authorities And Incidents Of Sexual Misconduct

DigiPenís process will proceed as stated in the Title IX Investigation Process section of this Sexual Misconduct Policy independent of the reporting party's filing of a police report. Responsibility lies with the individual student, not DigiPen, to take such action with external authorities. DigiPen may consult with and review information provided by municipal authorities, but DigiPen makes its independent determination about whether or not the Code of Student Conduct has been violated. DigiPenís investigation and ultimate decision regarding the complaint proceed independently of decisions made or not made by law enforcement authorities and/or by a court of law.