Discrimination and harassment

Purpose

The purpose of this Discrimination and Harassment Policy ("Policy") is to ensure compliance with applicable federal and state laws prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment and to foster Lynn University's commitment to providing an educational and working environment free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.

Policy

Notice of Non-Discrimination

Lynn University is committed to a work, academic, and residential environment in which all individuals are treated with respect and dignity. Each individual has the right to work, study, and live in a professional, academic, and residential atmosphere that promotes equal employment and educational opportunities and prohibits discriminatory practices, including harassment. Therefore, Lynn University expects that all relationships among persons in the workplace, academic, and residential environment will be free of bias, prejudice, discrimination and harassment.

Lynn University’s prohibition against discriminatory conduct applies to all employees, students, and independent contractors, vendors, and others doing business with Lynn University. Furthermore, it prohibits unlawful discrimination in any form, including verbal, physical, and visual harassment. It also prohibits retaliation of any kind against individuals who file complaints or who assist in a Lynn University investigation.

Lynn University takes positive action to insure that students and employees are treated in compliance with applicable laws and regulations governing non-discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law. It is therefore a violation of Lynn University policy to discriminate in the provision of educational or employment opportunities, benefits, programs, activities, or privileges; to create discriminatory work or academic conditions; or to use discriminatory evaluative standards in employment or educational settings if the basis of that discriminatory treatment is, in whole or part, the person’s race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender related status, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other protected characteristic as established by law.

The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding the University’s non- discrimination policies:

  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination and harassment in any form may be referred to the Office of Compliance. Representatives from the Office of Compliance are trained to receive reports of discrimination and harassment and will coordinate with designated campus offices and departments to resolve complaints raised under University’s nondiscrimination policies. The Office of Compliance is located in the in the Green Center, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431.
  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity (Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct) may be referred to Lynn University’s Title IX Coordinator (or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights). Lynn University’s Title IX Coordinator is located in the Office of Compliance (in the Green Center) 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431, and may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7727 or by email at titleixcoordinator@lynn.edu.
  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination on the basis of a student’s disability may be referred to Lynn University’s ADA Coordinator, located in the Institute of Achievement and Learning, which is located in the Green Center, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431. The ADA Coordinator may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7105.

All other inquiries concerning nondiscrimination may be referred to Lynn University’s Employee Services, located in the Office of Employee Services (in the Green Center) 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431, and may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7915.

Definitions

Discrimination— the unfavorable, unfair or inequitable treatment of a person or a “class” of people based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender related status, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law (“protected characteristics”) that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it excludes an individual from participation in, denies the individual the benefits of, treats the individual differently or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in a Lynn University program or activity. Examples of unlawful discrimination include denying an individual a job or a promotion, or denying a student the opportunity to participate in an educational activity or program because of his or her protected characteristic(s).

Hostile Environment Harassment— as the unlawful harassment against an individual on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender related status, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law (“protected characteristics”) when the conduct is either:

  • Sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities; or
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or education.

Retaliation—taking adverse action against an individual making a complaint under this Policy or against any person cooperating in the investigation of a complaint under this Policy. Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action including adverse job action and adverse academic action against any such complainant or third party.

Intimidation—implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

Procedures/Guidelines

I. Introduction

Lynn University is a community dependent upon trust and respect among its members. The University is committed to maintaining a healthy and safe learning, living and working environment that promotes responsibility and respect in all matters in any University program or activity. As part of this commitment, the University prohibits discrimination and harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law. This conduct and any Retaliation or Intimidation associated with it is prohibited by the University and may also violate federal and state law.

Lynn University expects that its students and employees, as well independent contractors, consultants, volunteers or vendors doing business or providing services to the University will conduct themselves appropriately and refrain from behavior that violates these and other University policies. Accordingly, individuals who discriminate against or harass others in violation of this Policy, regardless of whether such conduct rises to the level of unlawful discrimination or harassment, may be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including immediate termination of employment, association with Lynn University, or dismissal from Lynn University.

II. Coordination with the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy

In support of its commitment to provide an educational and working environment free from discrimination and harassment, Lynn University has adopted the following policies:

Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy: Lynn University is committed to eliminating Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct, preventing its recurrence, and addressing and remedying its effects. In compliance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, the Violence Against Women Act as reauthorized by the Campus SaVE Act and other applicable federal and state laws, Lynn has adopted a Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy that specifically address incidents of Sex and Gender-Based Discrimination, Sexual Harassment, Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Exploitation, and Stalking.

The Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy identifies resources and support for all Lynn University community members impacted by sexual and gender-based misconduct; provides information about where a University community member impacted by Sexual or Gender-Based Misconduct can obtain support or access resources in a confidential manner; provides information about how a community member can make a report or complaint concerning Sexual or Gender-based Misconduct occurring on-campus or off-campus; and provides information about how a report or complaint of Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct will be investigated, evaluated and resolved. All members of the Lynn University community are expected to carefully review the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy and are responsible for complying with its terms. Violations of the Lynn University Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy may result in the imposition of sanctions up to and including termination, dismissal, or expulsion.

Discrimination and Harassment Policy: In addition, Lynn University has adopted this Discrimination and Harassment Policy to ensure a prompt and equitable resolution of all discrimination and harassment complaints not involving sex or gender-based discrimination or harassment.

There will be instances where conduct in violation of this Discrimination and Harassment Policy also constitutes a reported violation of Lynn University’s Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. In all instances in which the reported conduct may constitute a violation of both the Discrimination and Harassment Policy and the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy will be used to resolve the matter. Whenever there is a conflict between this Discrimination and Harassment Policy and the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy, the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy will govern.

III. Applicable Laws

The University complies with all applicable state and federal laws prohibiting unlawful discrimination and harassment, including, but not limited to:

The following persons have been designated to address inquiries regarding the university’s compliance with these laws:

  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination and harassment in any form may be referred to the Office of Compliance. Representatives from the Office of Compliance are trained to receive reports of discrimination and harassment and will coordinate with designated campus offices and departments to resolve complaints raised under University’s nondiscrimination policies. The Office of Compliance is located in the in the Green Center, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431.
  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination and harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity (Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct) may be referred to Lynn University’s Title IX Coordinator (or to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights). Lynn University’s Title IX Coordinator is located in the Office of Compliance (in the Green Center) 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431, and may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7727 or by email at titleixcoordinator@lynn.edu.
  • Inquiries concerning nondiscrimination on the basis of a student’s disability may be referred to Lynn University’s ADA Coordinator, located in the Institute of Achievement and Learning, which is located in the Green Center, 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431. The ADA Coordinator may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7105.
  • All other inquiries concerning nondiscrimination may be referred to Lynn University’s Employee Services, located in the Office of Employee Services (in the Green Center) 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, Florida, 33431, and may be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7915.

IV. Prohibited Conduct

The following acts are prohibited by the Lynn University Discrimination and Harassment Policy:

A. Discrimination

It is a violation of the Policy to engage in discriminatory conduct. Discriminatory conduct is defined as the unfavorable, unfair or inequitable treatment of a person or a “class” of people based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender related status, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law (“protected characteristics”) that is so severe, persistent or pervasive that it excludes an individual from participation in, denies the individual the benefits of, treats the individual differently or otherwise adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, or participation in a Lynn University program or activity. Examples of unlawful discrimination include denying an individual a job or a promotion, or denying a student the opportunity to participate in an educational activity or program because of his or her protected characteristic(s).

Listed below are examples of conduct that can constitute discrimination if based on an individual’s protected characteristic. This list is not all-inclusive; in addition, each situation will be considered in light of the specific facts and circumstances to determine if Discrimination has occurred.

  • Singling out or targeting an individual for different or adverse treatment (e.g., more severe discipline, lower salary increase) because of his or her actual or perceived protected characteristic.
  • Failing or refusing to hire or admit an individual because of his/her actual or perceived protected characteristic.
  • Terminating an individual from employment or an educational program or activity based on his/her actual or perceived protected characteristic.

B. Hostile Environment Harassment

  • It is a violation of the Policy to engage in harassing conduct that creates a hostile environment (“Hostile Environment Harassment”). Hostile Environment Harassment is defined as the unlawful harassment against an individual on the basis of his or her race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, sexual identity, gender, gender expression, or gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry, citizenship, disability, gender related status, pregnancy, genetic disposition, veteran or military status, marital status, familial status or any other legally protected characteristic in accordance with federal and applicable state law (“protected characteristics”) when the conduct is either:
  • Sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the university’s programs or activities; or
  • The conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s employment or education.
  • The determination of whether an environment is “hostile” must be based on all of the circumstances, giving consideration to whether a reasonable person in a similar situation would have perceived the conduct as objectively offensive. Also, the following factors will be considered:
  • The degree to which the conduct affected one or more students’ education or individual’s employment;
  • The nature, scope, frequency, duration, severity, and location of incident or incidents; and
  • The identity, number, and relationships of persons involved.

C. Other Forms of Discrimination Prohibited by this Policy

In addition to the above, the following acts of Discrimination are prohibited by this Policy:

  • Causing physical harm, verbally abusing, intimidating or engaging in other conduct that threatens the health or safety of any member of the university community based on his or her actual or perceived protected characteristic.
  • Hazing (defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social exclusion or humiliation) any member of the university community based on his or her actual or perceived protected characteristic.
  • Bullying (defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or degrade another person physically or mentally) any member of the University community based on his or her actual or perceived protected characteristic.

D. Retaliation

  • Retaliation is defined as taking adverse action against an individual making a complaint under this Policy or against any person cooperating in the investigation of a complaint under this Policy. Retaliation includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action including adverse job action and adverse academic action against any such complainant or third party. Intimidation is defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another.

E. Knowingly Filing a False Complaint

  • Knowingly filing a false complaint of discrimination/harassment or of retaliation is a violation of this policy. Such conduct may be pursued using the steps followed for a complaint of discrimination/harassment, and if found to have occurred, could result in disciplinary action that may include termination or expulsion.

F. Academic Freedom

  • The university’s policy relating to harassment and discrimination is not intended to inhibit or restrict free speech or the expression of ideas. Consequently, this Policy shall be interpreted in a manner that is consistent with the University's academic freedom policies.

V. Responsibilities of University Community Members

The university can take corrective action only when it becomes aware of problems. Therefore, the university encourages any member of the university community who believes they have experienced discrimination, harassment, or an incident of retaliation as prohibited by this Policy to come forward promptly with their inquiries, reports, or complaints and to seek assistance within the university by taking one or more of the following steps:

  • Ask the person to cease the offending behavior (see Direct Resolution below)1 ;
  • Seek the assistance of a University Official (e.g. a Supervisor, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the University’s General Counsel, Employee Services Staff, Student Affairs staff, or a University administrator (see Complaint Procedures); and/or
  • Contact the appropriate administrative official to file a formal Complaint (see Complaint Procedures).In addition, any member of the University community may utilize appropriate and available University resources for guidance and support (e.g., the Employee Assistance Plan, University Counseling Services, etc.).

1A member of the university who believes that they have been subject to or have observed instances of discrimination or harassment is never required to confront or complain to the discriminating/harassing party. They may instead pursue steps 2 and/or 3 above.

A. Mandatory Reporting

Any employee who receives a report or complaint of harassment, discrimination or hazing from a member of the Lynn University community, or who otherwise knows or has reason to believe that a student, faculty, staff or other University community member has been subjected to harassment, discrimination, or hazing must report the incident promptly to the Office of Compliance, which is located in the Green Center at 3601 North Military Trail, Boca Raton, FL 33431. The Office of Compliance may also be contacted by phone at +1 561-237-7727.

  • The professional counselors and health care providers in the University’s Counseling Center & Health Center who learn of a report while acting in their professional capacity are exempt from this reporting requirement. Information concerning confidential resources and support options is available in the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy.

B. Confidentiality

Discrimination and harassment reports and complaints will be handled in a confidential manner to the extent possible and consistent with principles of due process. Information will only be shared on a need-to-know basis and as provided for by University policy and applicable federal and state law.

A Complaint alleging an intentional breach of confidentiality may be pursued using the Complaint Procedures in this Policy. Such a breach may also constitute an act of Retaliation.

VI. Direct Resolution

Any member of the Lynn University community who believes that they are the subject of discrimination or harassment in violation of this Policy may attempt to resolve the issue with the Respondent directly. This attempt need not be confrontational in nature. It may involve speaking directly to the Respondent (either face-to-face or by telephone) or writing an email or letter to the Respondent.

Any attempt at direct resolution should be regarded as strictly voluntary. An individual who has been subject to an act of discrimination or harassment is never required to confront or complain to the discriminating/harassing party and a decision not to confront an individual will not be viewed negatively by the university. Moreover, an individual who has been subject to an act of discrimination or harassment always has the right to pursue other methods of resolution as described below without being required to attempt to resolve the matter directly with the Respondent. In addition, if direct resolution measures prove unsuccessful, other methods of resolution as described below may be pursued.

Note: An effort at direct resolution is not appropriate where the alleged offense involves force or threat of force.

VII. Complaint Procedures [2]

[2] All reports that may constitute a violation of the Lynn University Sexual or Gender-Based Misconduct Policy will be investigated in accordance with the processes described in the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy. Refer to the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Policy for information concerning the University’s process for reporting, investigating and resolving sexual and gender-based misconduct complaints.

A report of harassment or discrimination in violation of this Policy becomes a formal Complaint in one of the following ways:

  1. A member of the university community who believes they have experienced an incident of discrimination or harassment may file a written Complaint with the university. In addition, an individual may file a written Complaint on their behalf (“Complainant”). A Complaint form provided by the university or a written statement in the Complainant’s own words providing sufficient information for the university to investigate the allegations contained therein (including but not limited to the name of the alleged victim, the name of the alleged perpetrator, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged harassment or discrimination) may be filed with the Office of Compliance.
  2. A member of the university community may meet in person with the Office of Compliance to report alleged discrimination or harassment. Reports made to a University Official will be immediately referred to the Office of Compliance, who will ask the alleged victim to complete a Complaint form provided by the university; or
  3. The university can determine, based on the information of which it becomes aware, that it is necessary and/or appropriate for it to investigate and respond to an incident of discrimination or harassment. If the appropriate University administrator decides to proceed with a formal Complaint under these circumstances, a university administrator will serve as the “Complainant.”

Once a formal Complaint is initiated, an alleged victim will be referred to as a “Complainant” and an alleged perpetrator will be referred to as a “Respondent.”

Note: Any Complaint that, in the judgment of the Office of Compliance, may constitute Sexual or Gender-Based Misconduct will be immediately referred to the University’s Title IX Coordinator.

A. Receipt of Complaint

No more than five (5) days after a Complaint is received, the appropriate university administrator, as assigned by the Office of Compliance, will meet with the Complainant to discuss the matter and inform the Complainant about: (i) available counseling and support services as applicable to the situation; (ii) the option to avoid contact with the Respondent during the pendency of the investigation; (iii) their rights under the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, including the right to seek informal or formal resolution of the matter; and (iv) their right to pursue a legal remedy for discrimination or harassment that is prohibited by law in addition to or instead of proceeding under this policy. The assigned university administrator will also provide the Complainant with a copy of this Policy and the applicable complaint procedures identified herein.

Within five (5) days after meeting with the Complainant, the assigned university administrator will meet separately with the Respondent to discuss the matter and explain his or her rights under this Policy. The assigned university administrator will also provide the Respondent with a copy of this Policy and the applicable complaint procedures identified herein. If the Respondent chooses not to participate or refuses to answer a Complaint, such nonparticipation will not prevent the matter from proceeding.

B. Initial Assessment

After meeting with the Complainant and the Respondent, the assigned university administrator (or designee) will make a determination as to whether (a) a Formal Investigation is warranted to resolve the case; (b) the case can possibly be resolved through Informal Resolution; or (c) there are no reasonable grounds exist for believing that the conduct at issue constitutes discrimination or harassment.

In the event that the assigned university administrator determines there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the conduct at issue constitutes discrimination or harassment as defined by the Policy, the assigned University administrator will determine (in consultation, as necessary, with the Complainant, the Respondent, and other university administrators) and document the appropriate resolution of the Complaint, will promptly notify the parties of such resolution, and will close the Complaint.

VIII. Informal Resolution

The assigned university administrator will determine whether Informal Resolution is an appropriate mechanism of resolution based on information provided about the incident. If, based on the facts of the case, it is determined that an Informal Resolution may be appropriate, the assigned University administrator (or designee) will discuss this option with the Complainant during the initial meeting. If the Complainant agrees, the assigned University administrator (or designee) will discuss informal resolution with the Respondent during the initial meeting. Consent from both parties is required to proceed further in the Informal Resolution process.

It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to make a Formal Resolution Complaint. Moreover, either party may terminate the Informal Resolution process at any time and proceed with Formal Resolution. The assigned University administrator (or designee) may also terminate Informal Resolution at any time and order that the parties proceed with Formal Resolution instead. In such cases, statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the Informal Resolution process may be considered in the subsequent Formal Resolution proceedings.

If Informal Resolution is determined to be appropriate and the parties agree to proceed, the assigned University administrator or a trained designee will meet separately with both parties to present and discuss an informal resolution based on the information available. In the informal resolution process, the assigned University administrator or designee does not serve in the role of fact finder but rather identifies possible resolution(s) to the Complaint. If both Complainant and Respondent are satisfied with a proposed resolution and the assigned University administrator believes the resolution satisfies the University’s obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for the entire University community, the resolution will be implemented, and the matter will be closed. If these efforts are unsuccessful, the Formal Resolution process will commence.

The Office of Compliance and/or Employee Services will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for Informal Resolution. Informal resolution will typically be completed within thirty (30) days as is reasonable and practicable. In circumstances when it is not reasonable and practicable to complete the informal process in this time frame, both the Complainant and the Respondent will be notified in writing regarding the delay and anticipated completion.

IX. Formal Investigation and Resolution

If the assigned university administrator or designee determines that a Formal Resolution is warranted to resolve the Complaint, the assigned University administrator will refer the matter for Formal Resolution, which includes a thorough and prompt investigation and provides for a fair and impartial evaluation and resolution. The Formal Resolution process utilized by the university is determined by the role of the Respondent:

  • Complaints against Student Respondents will be investigated and resolved pursuant to the Formal Resolution Procedures for Complaints of Harassment and Discrimination Against Students outlined below, regardless of the status of the Complainant.
  • Complaints against Faculty, Staff and Third Parties will be investigated and resolved pursuant to the Formal Resolution Procedures for Complaints Harassment and Discrimination Against Faculty, Staff and Third Parties outlined below, regardless of the status of the Complainant.

A. Formal Resolution Procedures for Complaints Against Students

The university will determine whether a student is responsible for a violation of the Lynn University Discrimination and Harassment Policy and what, if any, disciplinary sanctions and/or remedial actions are appropriate, in accordance with the procedures described below:

1. Assignment of Investigator

If the Office of Compliance determines that a Formal Investigation is warranted to resolve a Complaint, the complaint will be referred to the Vice President for Student Affairs, or designee, who will appoint an investigator or an investigative team (“investigator”) who has specific training and experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment. The Vice President for Student Affairs will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent in writing of the Formal Investigation and the name of the investigator(s). The investigator(s) may be an employee(s) of the University or an external investigator(s) engaged to assist the University in its fact gathering.

The Respondent and the Complainant may protest the appointment of the investigator(s) by identifying a possible conflict of interest in writing to the Vice President for Student Affairs within twenty-four (24) hours after the appointment of the Investigator(s). The Vice President for Student Affairs will carefully consider such statements and will assign a different investigator(s) if it is determined that a material conflict of interest exists.

2. The Investigation

The formal investigation may include, but is not limited to, conducting interviews of the Complainant, the Respondent(s), and any witnesses [3] (witnesses must have observed the acts in question or have information relevant to the incident); reviewing law enforcement investigation documents, if applicable; reviewing student and personnel files; and gathering, examining, and preserving other relevant documents and physical, written, and electronic evidence (including social media, security camera footage, etc.). The parties will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and evidence to the investigator(s), as well as identify witnesses who may have relevant information. Moreover, both the Complainant and Respondent(s) may have an advisor accompany (but not actively participate) him or her through the investigation process.

In gathering the facts, prior allegations of, or findings of responsibility for, similar conduct by the Respondent may be considered to the extent such information is relevant.

The investigation will be discreet and only disclosed on a “need to know” basis. In cases where the Complainant is a student, the university will take reasonable care to protect the student’s privacy by using student ID numbers in incident report and in publicly available recordkeeping (without the inclusion of identifying information) as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1395 (a)(20).

[3] The investigator should obtain, where applicable and where possible, the written consent of any third-party witnesses to the disclosure of any personally identifiable information (as that term is defined by FERPA) contained in the Complaint, the investigative report, and/or any other documents the disclosure of which is contemplated by this Policy to further the resolution of the complaint. If the Investigator is unable to obtain the consent of such third-party witnesses, they must redact the investigative report to the extent necessary to avoid disclosure of such witness’s personally identifiable information, while ensuring that such redaction does not prevent resolution of the Complaint.

3. Investigator’s Report

The Investigator(s) will complete within 15 days after the investigation begins a written Investigative Report that includes items such as summaries of all interviews conducted, photographs, and descriptions of relevant evidence, summaries of relevant electronic records, and a detailed report of the events and findings of fact in question.

4. Evaluation of Investigator’s Report

The Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will evaluate the Investigative Report and will determine whether reasonable grounds exist to believe that the conduct at issue constitutes harassment or discrimination in violation of this Policy. If it is clear from the Investigative Report that no reasonable grounds exist for believing that the Respondent engaged in discriminatory or harassing conduct, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards will determine (in consultation, as necessary, with the Complainant, Respondent, and other University administrators) and document the appropriate resolution of the Complaint and will promptly notify the parties of that determination. Appropriate resolutions may include, but are not limited to, dismissal of the Complaint, conferences with one or more of the parties, and the introduction of remedial and community-based efforts such as educational initiatives and/or trainings.

5. Process for Formally Resolving Complaints Against Students

If, however, the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the Respondent engaged in harassing or discriminatory conduct, the Complaint will be referred for a formal hearing. At any time prior to the date of the hearing, the Respondent may elect to acknowledge his or her actions and take responsibility for the alleged conduct. In such a situation, the case will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct for the imposition of sanctions.

Note: If a student-athlete is found to have violated this policy pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct and Conduct Review procedures, campus disciplinary action will be instituted by Student Affairs. In addition, the Athletics Department may impose additional sanctions.

B. Formal Resolution Procedures for Complaints Against Faculty, Staff and Third Parties

The university will determine whether a faculty member, staff employee, or Third Party is responsible for a violation of the Lynn University Discrimination and Harassment Policy and what, if any, disciplinary sanctions and/or remedial actions are appropriate, in accordance with the procedures described below:

1. Assignment of Investigator

If Employee Services determines that a Formal Investigation is warranted to resolve a Complaint, Employee Services will appoint an investigator or an investigative team (“investigator”) who has specific training and experience investigating allegations of discrimination and harassment. Employee Services will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent in writing of the Formal Investigation and the name of the investigator(s). The investigator(s) may be an employee(s) of the university or an external investigator(s) engaged to assist the university in its fact gathering.

The Respondent and the Complainant may protest the appointment of the investigator(s) by identifying a possible conflict of interest in writing to the Employee Services within twenty four (24) hours after the appointment of the Investigator(s). Employee Services will carefully consider such statements and will assign a different investigator(s) if it is determined that a material conflict of interest exists.

2. The Investigation

The investigation will be conducted in a manner appropriate in light of the circumstances of the case. The formal investigation may include, but is not limited to, conducting interviews of the Complainant, the Respondent(s), and any witnesses [4] (witnesses must have observed the acts in question or have information relevant to the incident); reviewing law enforcement investigation documents, if applicable; reviewing student and personnel files; and gathering, examining, and preserving other relevant documents and physical, written (including medical records), and electronic evidence (including social media, security camera footage, etc.). The parties will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and evidence to the investigator, as well as identify witnesses who may have relevant information. Moreover, both the Complainant and Respondent(s) may have an advisor accompany (but not actively participate) him or her through the investigation process.

In gathering the facts and arriving at a conclusion, the investigator may consider the Respondent’s prior conduct history if:

  • The Respondent(s) was previously found to be responsible;
  • The previous incident was substantially similar to the present allegation; and/or
  • The information indicates a pattern of behavior by the Respondent(s).
  • Finally, the investigation will be discreet and only disclosed on a “need to know” basis. In cases where the Complainant is a student, the University will take reasonable care to protect the student’s privacy by using student ID numbers in incident report and in publicly available recordkeeping (without the inclusion of identifying information) as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1395 (a)(20).

[4] The investigator should obtain, where applicable and where possible, the written consent of any third-party witnesses to the disclosure of any personally identifiable information (as that term is defined by FERPA) contained in the Complaint, the investigative report, and/or any other documents the disclosure of which is contemplated by this policy in order to further the resolution of the complaint. If the Investigator is unable to obtain the consent of such third-party witnesses, he or she must redact the investigative report to the extent necessary to avoid disclosure of such witness’s personally identifiable information, while ensuring that such redaction does not prevent resolution of the Complaint

3. The Investigator’s Report and Conclusions

The Investigator will complete within 20 days after the investigation begins a written report that makes (1) findings of fact and (2) conclusions as to whether the Respondent violated any provision of the University’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy. The standard of proof shall be by a preponderance of the evidence. The Investigator will share the Investigative Report with Employee Services, the Complainant and the Respondent.

The findings of fact portion of the report will include items such as summaries of all interviews conducted and descriptions of relevant evidence, summaries of relevant electronic records, and a detailed report of the events in question. The conclusion(s) will be clearly explained and address each element necessary to establish whether the Respondent violated the university’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy so that the reader understands how the investigator(s) reached the conclusions outlined in the report in light of the available evidence and the standard of proof.

a. Determination Not to Proceed to Disciplinary Action. If the investigator(s) determines that the Respondent did not violate any provision of the University’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, the Employee Services will determine (in consultation, as necessary, with the Complainant, Respondent, and other University administrators) and document the appropriate resolution of the Complaint and will promptly notify the parties of that determination. Appropriate resolutions may include, but are not limited to, dismissal of the Complaint, conferences with one or more of the parties, and the introduction of remedial and community-based efforts such as educational initiatives and/or trainings.

b. Determination to Proceed to Disciplinary Action. If the investigator(s), in consultation with the Employee Services, determines that there is sufficient information to find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Respondent violated the University’s Discrimination and Harassment Policy, the written report to both parties will inform them that the matter will be referred for disciplinary action.

4. Disciplinary Action

If the Respondent is found responsible, disciplinary action and any applicable appeals rights will be addressed as follows:

  • For complaints against Staff, sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the Staff Discipline and Correction Action Policy.
  • For complaints against Faculty, sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the Staff Discipline and Correction Action Policy.
  • For complaints against Student Employees acting solely within the scope of their university employment at the time of the incident, sanctions will be imposed in accordance with the Staff Discipline and Correction Action Policy.
  • For complaints against Third Parties, the Vice President for Business and Finance will determine the appropriate sanction.

X. External Complaints

The availability and use of the university’s Complaint Procedure does not prevent a member of the university community from filing a complaint of discrimination or harassment with the following external agencies:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Miami Tower
100 SE 2nd Street, Suite 1500
Miami FL 33131
+1 800-669-4000

Note: The statute of limitations for most claims with the EEOC is set at 300 days from last date of discrimination.

United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Atlanta Office
61 Forsyth St. S.W., Suite 19T10
Atlanta, GA 30303-8927
Telephone: 404-974-9406
FAX: 404-974-9471
TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR.Atlanta@ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Bldg
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
Telephone: 800-421-3481
FAX: 202-453-6012
TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: OCR@ed.gov

Note: The statute of limitations for most claims filed with OCR is set at 180 days from the last date of discrimination. OCR may extend this filing deadline in a variety of circumstances. Title IX, which prohibits sex discrimination and sexual harassment (including sexual violence), is enforced by OCR and may apply to both student and employment matters. Depending on the claim filed, OCR may handle complaints filed by employees or refer them to the EEOC.

Florida Commission on Human Relations

2009 Appalachee Parkway, Suite 100
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Phone: +1 (850) 488-7082
Toll-Free: +1 (800) 342-8170
Fax: +1 (850) 488-5291

Note: The statute of limitations for most claims filed with the Florida Commission on Human Relations is set at 365 days from last date of discrimination.

For more information about this policy, contact the Office of Compliance.

Policy updated on: Aug. 23, 2018