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Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure

Introduction and Scope

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMass Lowell or the university) is firmly committed to ensure that all applicants for admission or employment, employees, students and persons who are authorized to conduct business with and/or perform other services on behalf of the university are not subject to sexual harassment.

UMass Lowell prohibits sexual harassment, in accordance with the UMass Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines (“Nondiscrimination Guidelines”) and Title IX as published in Part 106 of title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

This Grievance Procedure applies to formal complaints for sexual harassment, as the term "sexual harassment" is defined in the university’s Nondiscrimination Guidelines, and provides for the prompt and equitable resolution of such complaints in compliance with the Title IX regulations. UMass Lowell also prohibits other forms of sexual misconduct, discrimination and harassment as defined in the Nondiscrimination Guidelines and other applicable policies and as required by federal and state law. Procedures for addressing such forms of discrimination and harassment may be found in the Student Code of Conduct and the UMass Lowell’s Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure.

Questions about this Grievance Procedure, the Nondiscrimination Guidelines, and other related UMass Lowell policies and procedures may be referred to UMass Lowell’s Title IX Coordinator, Clara I. Reynolds, or to the Office of Equal Opportunity and Outreach. See the contact information in Section II of this document.

For additional information and a list of support resources on campus and off campus, please see the Guidelines, Procedures & Information webpage and Sexual Harassment Prevention & Education website.

The following sections are included here:

Section I: Definitions definitions

Advisor means an individual chosen by a party (the Complainant or the Respondent), who may provide support to that party, and may inspect and review evidence gathered during the investigation. Both parties are highly encouraged to have an advisor of choice with them throughout the entire Grievance Process. (For employees, the advisor may be, but is not required to be, their union representative.) If a party needs assistance identifying an advisor, they are encouraged to contact the Title IX Coordinator. The advisor’s participation is limited during the investigation and other proceedings, during which they may not speak on behalf of the party. During the live hearings, the advisor is responsible for conducting cross-examination. The university will provide an advisor for the live hearing if a party does not select one for the limited purpose of conducting cross-examination.

Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment. (A parent or legal guardian may file a complaint on behalf of a minor.)

Confidential Employee means an employee who, because of their position, may not reveal an individual’s identity or other information without permission, even to the Title IX Coordinator or designee. The following categories of employees are confidential employees:

  • Licensed sexual assault counselors, psychologists, psychotherapists, social workers, clergy, and attorneys, and those persons working under the supervision of such individuals, when acting in their professional role providing services to a patient or client;
  • University employees bound by statutory privilege obligations under Massachusetts law; and
  • University employees providing administrative, operational and / or related support for a confidential employee in the performance of such services.
  • Confidential resource providers
Confidential Resource Provider means an employee or other individual designated by the university to provide information on: 
  1. reporting options and the effects of each option;
  2. counseling services available on and off campus;
  3. medical and health services available on and off campus;
  4. available supportive measures;
  5. disciplinary process of the university; and
  6. the legal process carried out through local law enforcement agencies.

Confidential Resource Provider services are available to assist parties in a Sexual Misconduct or Sexual Harassment matter. Their services are confidential unless otherwise required by state or federal law. If requested by the Complainant and/or Respondent in an alleged sexual assault matter, the Confidential Resource Provider may coordinate with the Associate Vice Chancellor-Equal Opportunity and Outreach and Diversity and Inclusion / Title IX Coordinator to arrange supportive measures. The Confidential Resource Provider shall notify the parties of their rights and the university’s responsibilities regarding a protection order, no contact order, and any other lawful orders issued by the university or a civil, criminal and tribal court. For additional information regarding supportive measures please see this EOO Complaint Procedure and the university’s Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure. The party is not required to file a formal complaint to receive assistance from a Confidential Resource Provider. For a list of Confidential Resource Providers, please contact the Vice Chancellor-Equal Opportunity and Outreach and Diversity and Inclusion / Title IX Coordinator.

Dating Violence is abusive behavior (including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, and/or sexual acts or conduct) committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship will be determined by factors such as the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved.

Domestic Violence is any abusive behavior (including, but not limited to, physical, emotional, and/or sexual acts or conduct) committed:

  • against a person who is a current or former spouse;
  • against a person with whom the abuser shares a child in common;
  • against a person who is or has cohabitated with the abuser as a spouse;
  • against a person similarly situated to a spouse;
  • between a parent and child;
  • between members of the same household in an intimate relationship; or
  • against any other person similarly situated.

Formal complaint means a document filed and signed by a complainant or by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a respondent requesting that UMass Lowell initiate the grievance process. When the Title IX Coordinator executes the complaint to begin the grievance process, the Title IX Coordinator does not become a party.

Nondiscrimination Guidelines/Policy: The University of Massachusetts Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines. These guidelines describe the UMass Lowell’s application of the university of Massachusetts system-wide policy against sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination and retaliation. The Nondiscrimination Guidelines are available at www.uml.edu/equal or in alternate formats upon request, and are incorporated into this procedure by reference.

Official with Authority means an employee who has the authority to institute corrective measures for sexual harassment on behalf of the university. Officials with Authority include the Title IX Coordinator, the Chancellor, the Provost, Vice Chancellors, Vice Provosts, Deans, Associate Vice Chancellors, and Assistant Vice Chancellors. Officials with Authority must report notices or allegations of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator.

Respondent means an individual who has been reported to have engaged in conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.

Retaliation is the interference through intimidation, threats, coercion, or unlawful discrimination, with an individual’s right or privilege secured under the law [Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Massachusetts anti-discrimination laws, or other laws] to report or make a complaint, testify, assist or participate or refuse to participate in any manner in an investigation or grievance proceeding, or hearing, or to intervene to prevent a violation of this policy.

Sexual Assault is broadly defined as an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense including rape, fondling, and statutory rape, without the consent of the victim (including where the victim is incapable of giving consent), as those crimes are defined in the FBI’s UCR program. 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v).

Read the definition of sexual assault by the FBI uniform crime reporting system.

Sexual harassment under the Title IX regulations means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that effectively denies a person equal access to the University's education program or activity; or
  • "Sexual assault" as defined in 20 U.S.C. 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), "dating violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (10), "domestic violence" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 1229(a)(8), or "stalking" as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a) (30), as amended. The definition of these terms are listed separately in this section.

Sexual Misconduct is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when:

  1. submission to or rejection of such conduct by a person or persons is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions affecting such person or persons, or participation in university programs or activities; or
  2. such conduct unreasonably:
    • (a) interferes with a person or person's work or academic performance;
    • (b) interferes with or limits a person or person's ability to participate in or benefit from a work or academic program or activity; or
    • (c) creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working or academic environment.

Please note: that sexual misconduct would be reviewed and addressed in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct, UMass Lowell’s Equal Opportunity Complaint Procedure or other university policies as applicable.

Stalking is any course of conduct (more than one act) directed at a specific person (directly, indirectly, through a third party or other means) that would cause a reasonable person to:

  • fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or
  • suffer substantial emotional distress.

II. Jurisdiction

This Grievance Procedure applies to allegations of sexual harassment as defined in the Nondiscrimination Guidelines, when the allegations of sexual harassment occur in the university's education program or activity, against a person in the United States. This includes allegations of sexual harassment that occurred:

  • On property owned or controlled by the university or property owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the university; or
  • locations, events or circumstances over which the university exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurred.

This grievance procedure applies to allegations of sexual harassment under Title IX that occurred on or after August 14, 2020.

III. Filing a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment is prohibited by the university’s Non-Discrimination and Harassment Policy. Sexually harassing behavior should be reported in accordance with these procedures in order to provide immediate supportive measures to both parties, grievance options for the complainant, and whenever possible, to prevent any recurrence.

The complainant is encouraged, but not required, to report sexually harassing behavior to the Title IX Coordinator, to a University Officials with Authority, or by completing the Report a Concern Online form.

university Officials with Authority are required to report possible sexual harassment of which they have knowledge to the Title IX Coordinator.

Following is information to determine to whom you may wish to report, or to whom you must report, based on your role and needs.

Confidential Reporting Options

You may file a report of a concern anonymously using UMass Lowell’s Report a Concern Online form, which does not require you to input your name. Please note that anonymous reporting limits the university’s ability to respond or pursue appropriate action against the Respondent. Filing an anonymous report online is not considered filing a formal complaint under this Grievance Procedure.

Please note, Officials with Authority cannot guarantee confidentiality and are required to report potential concerns of sexual harassment to the Title IX Coordinator. An anonymous online report submitted by an Official with Authority does not fulfill their requirement to notify the Title IX Coordinator of potential concerns of sexual harassment.

Filing a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment

Complainants who are participating in or attempting to participate in an education or employment program or activity at the university as employees and/or students, may file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. Formal complaints must be in writing and signed by the complainant, either physically or electronically. Formal complaints may be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, by email, or by use of the following online reporting form. A formal complaint is not completed until an individual meets with a Title IX investigator.

To the extent possible, formal complaints should include the conduct that forms the basis for the allegations of sexual harassment, the identity of the respondent, and the date and location of the alleged conduct, if known.

Upon the Title IX Coordinator being informed of allegations of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss with the complainant supportive measures as appropriate for the complainant. In order to initiate the university's Grievance Procedures, outlined in Section VIII, the complainant or the Title IX Coordinator must execute a formal complaint.

For information about how to file a formal complaint or to learn more about the Grievance Procedure you can contact the Title IX Coordinator. Contact information for the Title IX Coordinator is listed below and at the EOO Contact Page and the Prevent Contact Page.

University of Massachusetts Lowell Title IX Coordinator

Clara I. Reynolds, Associate Vice Chancellor of Equal Opportunity and Diversity & Inclusion, Office of Equal Opportunity & Outreach
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Wannalancit Building, 3rd Floor
600 Suffolk Street, Lowell, MA 01854
Office hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: 978-934-3565
Email: Clara_Reynolds@uml.edu

Please note that if a complainant files a formal complaint, the university is required to provide relevant information to the responding party, in writing, prior to an interview.

Complainants may, but are not required to, notify law enforcement authorities of alleged sexually harassing conduct. The university encourages complainants to notify both the Title IX Coordinator and law enforcement when sexually harassing conduct occurs that may also be criminal. However, the choice of whether and where to report conduct belongs to each individual, and complainants may decline to file a report with law enforcement or with the Title IX Coordinator. On-campus law enforcement’s contact information is below:

  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Police Department
    Emergencies, 24 hours a day, every day: 978-934-4911 (or 44911 on campus), or use any of the "Blue Light" Emergency Radio Phones.
    Dispatch or non-emergencies: 978-934-2398 (24 hours a day, every day).
    To speak in person to staff at the dispatch window: University Crossing, Building B
    220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
    Email: Police@uml.edu

    NOTE: UMass Lowell complies with Massachusetts General Law in recognizing Abuse Prevention Orders (209A) and Harassment Prevention Orders (258E) and directs any person who obtains an order of protection from domestic or dating abuse, harassment, stalking or sexual assault from any state in the country to provide a copy to the UMass Lowell Police Department and to the Title IX Coordinator. A complainant may then meet with an officer from the UMass Lowell Police Department to develop a Safety Action Plan, which is a plan for University Police and the victim to reduce risk of harm while on campus or coming and going from campus. This plan may include, but is not limited to the temporary measures listed in this document. To apply for a legal Abuse Prevention Order, no contact order or restraining order, the person seeking it must apply directly must apply with the appropriate governmental office.

  • City of Lowell Police Department
    Emergencies: 911; non-emergencies 978-937-3200

If a complainant has filed a Title IX formal complaint with UMass Lowell, the complainant has the option to:

  1. withdraw their formal complaint from the UMass Lowell process at any time and to file a complaint with an external agency such as those listed below, or other antidiscrimination agency; or
  2. the complainant may continue with their formal complaint at UMass Lowell while simultaneously filing a complaint with an outside agency.
Depending on the circumstances, UMass Lowell may determine to continue with its review of the initially alleged incidents if the complainant decides to withdraw their formal complaint.

External enforcement agencies:

  • The United States Department of Education Office for Civil Rights, Boston Area Office, 8th Floor, 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109-3921, voice phone 617-289-0111, Facsimile: 617-289-0150.
  • The United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Boston Area Office, JFK Federal Building, 15 New Sudbury Street, Room 475, Boston MA 02203-0506, voice phone: 800-669-4000, TTY: 800-669-6820.
  • The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, Boston Office, One Ashburton Place, Suite 601, Boston, MA 02108, voice phone: 617-994-6000, TTY: 617-994-6196.

Any individual with a concern of sexual harassment in connection with any program or activity receiving assistance from the Department of Energy may submit a complaint in writing to Field Civil Rights Officers located in the Department of Energy’s field offices or to the Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20585.

IV. Reporting Requirements for Officials with Authority

If you are an Official with Authority, you are required to report all sexual harassment concerns to the Title IX Coordinator (see contact information above).
Officials with Authority
  • Are required to report possible sexual harassment.
    Officials with Authority must promptly report the incident directly to the Title IX Coordinator. Officials with Authority must report all relevant details including the names of all persons involved, and relevant facts regarding the alleged incident (including the date, time, and location of the event related to the concern). Officials with Authority must make these reports even if the reporting person requests confidentiality, and regardless of whether a police report has been filed. Officials with Authority are required to report to the UMass Lowell Police Department, the local police department, or the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families any abuse of a minor, per M.G.L. 119, section 51A.
  • Cannot guarantee confidentiality.
    The university has a responsibility to respond to formal complaints to the extent possible. A decision to keep a concern confidential would prevent the university from fully investigating and responding to the complaint. The university may review the complaint for the purpose of ending sexual harassment, preventing its recurrence, and remedying its effects. For these reasons, confidentiality cannot be assured. Only Confidential Employees can provide confidentiality. However, privacy will be maintained to the extent possible while complying with the requirements of university policies, state and federal law.

V. Rights and Expectations for the Parties and Witnesses

Rights

Accommodations: Any party, witness, or other participant involved in any process related to this procedure may request a reasonable accommodation based on a medical reason under the American's with Disabilities Act, by contacting the ADA/Section 504 Coordinator, Clara I. Reynolds, J.D., Associate Vice Chancellor of Equal Opportunity and Diversity & Inclusion, 9780934-3565, email: Clara_Reynolds@uml.edu.

Confidential Resource Providers: Complainants and Respondents both have the right to confidential discussions with a Confidential Resource Provider to receive assistance and information, whether or not they choose to file a complaint.

Advisors: Both parties are welcome to have an advisor of their choice, during all stages of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure. The advisor may only act in an advisory capacity for the party and may not speak on behalf of the person or otherwise participate during the investigation. The advisor may review evidence gathered during the investigation, and may review the investigator’s report and other communications. The advisor is prohibited from disseminating the evidence and/or investigator’s report without both parties’ consent.

During the Live Hearings, the advisor will be responsible for posing questions to both parties and witnesses including during cross-examination. Because the advisor will review personally identifiable information from the complainant's and respondent's education records, the parties may need consent to the disclosure of this information to the advisor in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99. The consent would specify that the information may only be used for purposes of the grievance process and cannot be further disclosed. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.

Scheduling: Both parties will be provided with written notice of the date, time, location, and participants of all hearings, investigative interviews or other meetings with sufficient time to prepare to participate.

Information Provided: Upon receipt of a formal complaint, both parties will receive copies of the UMass Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines, the UMass Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure, the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment, and a list of support resources. (The notice of allegations includes the identity of the parties, a description of the alleged conduct constituting sexual harassment, including the date and location of the incident, if known.) At the conclusion of the investigation, each party will be provided with all information gathered during the investigation, including all information directly related to the allegations (including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence) and the Investigator’s report.

Confidentiality and gathering of information: The Investigator(s), Title IX Coordinator, Hearing Officer(s), Appeal Officer(s), or other decision-makers, will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation and gather and present relevant evidence, except as is provided by the UMass Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure, the Nondiscrimination Guidelines, and other university policies. For example, a party may not discuss the allegations in a manner that is retaliatory, or knowingly present false evidence.

Neutrality: All UMass Lowell Investigators, Hearing Officers and Appeal Officers involved in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure will conduct a neutral review of the formal complaint, and give equal consideration to the accounts and documentation provided by both parties. The respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the Grievance proceeding.

Parties with concerns regarding potential bias or conflict of interest may report that concern to the Title IX Coordinator. Such a concern regarding the Title IX Coordinator may be reported to Lauren Turner, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Organizational Strategy & Effectiveness.

Nondiscrimination Guidelines/Policy: The University of Massachusetts Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines. These guidelines describe the UMass Lowell’s application of the University of Massachusetts system-wide policy against sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination and retaliation. The Nondiscrimination Guidelines are available on the Guidelines, Procedures & Information webpage or in alternate formats upon request, and are incorporated into the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure by reference.

Privacy: The Investigator(s), Title IX Coordinator, and other employees involved in the grievance process will maintain the privacy of both parties to the extent possible. While information is only divulged on a need-to-know basis, confidentiality cannot be ensured.

Retaliation Protections: Retaliation against any person including the parties and witnesses, based on their participation in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure is prohibited by the university’s Non-Discrimination Guidelines and state and federal laws. UMass Lowell will take steps to prevent retaliation, and will take strong responsive action if it occurs. A concern of retaliation should be immediately reported to the Title IX Coordinator, which may initiate an investigation. This includes concerns of retaliatory actions taken by the university or its officials.

Right to file a criminal report: Anyone who may have been subjected to sexual harassment which may also constitute a crime has the right to file a complaint with law enforcement authorities, and will not be dissuaded from doing so.

Appeal rights: Please see information about the Appeal request process at the end of Section IX of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure. See a visual display of the Appeal Process (pdf).

Expectations

Both parties and witnesses are obligated not to retaliate; to update the Investigator(s) if their contact information changes; to be truthful in presenting information; to provide information or participate within the timeframe provided by the Investigator(s); to promptly notify the Investigator(s) if someone has attempted to improperly learn of or change their account with the purpose of disrupting the outcome of the review; and to notify the Investigator(s) if they believe they have faced retaliation as a result of their participation in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure.

The university expects Advisors to make themselves available to participate during Live Hearings, to conduct themselves with decorum and according to the requirements of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure in all proceedings including Live Hearings, and to abide by the rulings of the Hearing Officer(s).

False information or complaint: Knowingly filing a false complaint, providing false information or unduly influencing witnesses in a proceeding under the the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure.

VI. Supportive Measures

When the Title IX Coordinator is made aware of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss supportive measures with that individual. The individual need not have filed a formal complaint to receive supportive measures. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. 
Supportive measures shall be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the university’s education or employment program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the university’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to:
  • Counseling 
  • Course-related adjustments, including extensions of deadlines or section transfers
  • Modifications of work or class schedules
  • Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties
  • Changes in work or housing locations
  • Leaves of absences
In addition to providing supportive measures, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss the university's Grievance Procedure.
The university will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the university to provide the supportive measures. The university will maintain records of supportive measures for seven years.
Violations of the Title IX Coordinator’s directives and/or supportive measures will constitute related violations that may lead to additional disciplinary action. Supportive measures imposed may become permanent depending upon the results of this Grievance Procedure as determined by UMass Lowell.

Emergency Removal

In addition to supportive measures, university may implement emergency removal, which may include removal of a party from the university or a university program or activity on an emergency basis when the university has determined through an individualized safety and risk analysis that the party poses an immediate threat to any person's physical health or safety arising out of the sexual harassment allegations.  
The individual being removed will be given a written description of the emergency removal. The individual being removed has the right to be heard regarding the application or scope of the emergency removal immediately by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.

VII. Informal Resolution

The parties may; but, are not required to participate in an Informal Resolution process. At any time after a formal complaint has been filed, but prior to a decision maker reaching a determination regarding responsibility, either the complainant or the respondent may request that the university facilitate informal resolution of a formal complaint. The university will not facilitate informal resolution in cases involving allegations that a university employee sexually harassed a student. The university may facilitate informal resolution when:
  • All parties have been informed in writing of the allegations of the formal complaint and this Grievance Procedure as it applies to both the adjudication of a formal complaint and informal resolution;
  • All parties have consented in writing to participate in the informal resolution process; and
  • The Title IX Coordinator has determined that informal resolution is appropriate
Upon determining that informal resolution is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will assign the informal resolution to a facilitator who has been trained in the impartial informal resolution of sexual harassment complaints. The facilitator will attempt to aid the parties to find a mutually acceptable resolution.
A matter will be deemed satisfactorily resolved when both parties expressly agree to an outcome that is also acceptable to the university. At any point prior to such an express agreement, either party may withdraw from the informal resolution process, and the grievance of the formal complaint will proceed.
If an informal resolution agreement is reached and the matter is deemed satisfactorily resolved, a written informal resolution agreement will be signed by and provided to the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator, and the formal complaint will be dismissed. The Title IX Coordinator will maintain the informal resolution agreement for seven years, and will share it only to the extent necessary to carry out the purposes of the informal resolution agreement.  
Ordinarily, the parties will have ten (10) calendar days from the date that a facilitator is assigned to reach an informal resolution agreement. This timeframe may be extended for good cause by the facilitator or Title IX Coordinator, and written notice of such extensions shall be provided to each party.
Participation in informal resolution is voluntary, and will not a condition of either party’s enrollment or employment.

VIII. Grievance Procedure (Investigation & Live Hearing)

Investigation

A neutral, trained Investigator(s) will conduct a timely and impartial review to assess the reported facts and may conduct preliminary interviews to determine whether the allegations, if true, could constitute a finding that sexual harassment occurred. If the allegations, if true, could not constitute a finding that sexual harassment occurred, the formal complaint will be dismissed from this Grievance Procedure, and may be referred to either the Office of Human Resources and Equal Opportunity and Outreach or the Office of Student Conduct for their review under other applicable university guidelines or policies. A formal complaint or any allegations therein may also be dismissed if at any time during the grievance process, the complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations; if the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the university; or if specific circumstances prevent the university from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein. When a formal complaint is dismissed, referrals to other resources will be provided as appropriate.

Where allegations of a formal complaint are dismissed or the complaint is dismissed as described in the preceding sentence, the complainant has the right to inquire as to the reason for the dismissal and the university shall provide the complainant with written explanation and reasons for such dismissal. The parties may appeal a dismissal as described in Section IX.

The Investigator(s) will conduct a thorough and fair investigation of formal complaints in a timely manner, and based on the preponderance of the evidence standard. (In order to find that conduct occurred under the preponderance of the evidence standard, the Investigator must find that the evidence gathered indicates that it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred.) Prior to interviewing either party, the Investigator will provide each party with the UMass Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines, this Grievance Procedure, and written notice of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment. The written notice will also inform both parties of their right to an advisor of their choice, the prohibition on providing false information, and the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process. The Investigator(s) must send to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the evidence gathered during the investigation for their inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy. After receiving the evidence, the parties will have at least ten calendar days to submit a written response.

After the parties have an opportunity to response to the evidence, the Investigator(s) will prepare an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, ten calendar days prior to a hearing of determination regarding responsibility. The Investigator(s) will send the report to each party and the party’s advisor, if any, the investigative report in an electronic format or a hard copy, for their review and written response. After receiving the written responses, the investigator will provide the report and the parties written responses to the Hearing Officer(s) and the parties.

After the conclusion of ten (10) calendar days, the matter will be referred to the Hearing Officer(s) for a live hearing. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will assist in scheduling the Live Hearing.

Live Hearing

After reviewing the investigative report and all the evidence, the Hearing Officer(s) will facilitate a live hearing, which will be presided over by the Hearing Officer or a panel of Hearing Officers, each of whom has received relevant training and does not have bias or conflict of interest related to the particular case.

At the live hearing, both parties would have the opportunity to present their position to the Hearing Officer(s). The Hearing Officer(s) will ask any relevant questions to the parties and witnesses. During the hearing, the Hearing Officer(s) must permit each party’s advisor to ask both parties and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Such examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor and never by a party personally. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the Hearing Officer(s) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. 

Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and are offered to prove consent. The Hearing Officer(s) may not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the Live Hearing or refusal to participate in cross-examination. Neither the Hearing Officer(s) nor the advisor may request or demand that either party provide evidence that is subject to a legal privilege, unless the party has waived the privilege.

At the request of either party, the university will provide for the Live Hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the Hearing Officer(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or the witness answering questions. During the Live Hearing, both parties and their advisors will have access to all the evidence gathered during investigative process for their reference. During the Live Hearing, either party may request a break at any time to confer with their advisor, and/or to examine the evidence. The Live Hearing will be recorded or transcribed, and such recording or transcription will be made available to both parties.

After the Live Hearing, the Hearing Officer(s) will draft a written report, which they will provide to the parties simultaneously. The written report must include the following: the identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment; a description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination; findings of fact supporting the determination, conclusions regarding the application of the Nondiscrimination Guidelines to the facts; and a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation. The results will include a determination regarding responsibility, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the university’s program or activity will be provided to the complainant. For employee-related matters, the Hearing Officer will share the draft of the report with the relevant administrators or supervisors for them to determine the applicable disciplinary sanctions, if any. The final report, including disciplinary sanctions, will be provided to the parties. The final report will also include procedures and permissible bases for appeal of the Hearing Officer(s)’ determination.

The Hearing Officer(s)' findings of fact, conclusion, and determinations must be based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, and should be the result of an evaluation of all evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. Determinations regarding credibility may not be based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.

Disciplinary sanctions that the Decision Maker(s) (administrators and supervisors) determine for employees may include, but are not limited to: a verbal or written warning; placing a letter in the employee’s personnel file; increased supervision; unpaid leave; suspension; or termination from university employment.

Disciplinary sanctions that the Hearing Officer(s) may determine for students may include, but are not limited to: exclusion from participation in specified university programs or activities, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university.

Remedies that the university may impose for either students or employees should be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the university’s programs and activities, and may include, but are not limited to: the extension of support measures for a specified period of time, or imposition of additional support measures; training for the parties or a specified group of university community members; and/or dissemination of materials related to sexual harassment awareness in specified areas of the university. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies.

Any timeframe referenced in this section can be extended for good cause, and with written notice to the parties, by the Investigator(s) or the Hearing Officer(s).

IX. Appeal

Both parties have the right to appeal the Hearing Officer(s)’ determination within ten calendar days (which can be extended for good cause, and with written notice to both parties) of receiving the decision. (Employees have the right to appeal the Hearing Officer(s) determination of responsibility only. Concerns regarding sanctions are reviewed pursuant to the employees’ collective bargaining agreement and for non-unit employees through Human Resources.) The parties can appeal the Hearing Officer(s)’ determination on the following bases:
  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination was made, and that could affect the outcome of the matter; or
  • The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or Hearing Officer(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
The parties must submit the appeal, which must be in writing and signed, within ten calendar days of the determination to the Title IX Coordinator.  (If the grounds for appeal include conflict of interest or bias by the Title IX Coordinator, the appeal may be submitted to the Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Organizational Strategy and Effectiveness.) The Title IX Coordinator will assign the appeal to a trained Appeal Officer who will then review and make a determination. The Appeal Officer must provide both parties a copy of the appeal. The party who did not file the appeal will then have 10 calendar days to submit any written responses to the appeal. The Appeal Officer will then issue a written decision, including the rationale for their findings on appeal to both parties simultaneously. The decision of the Appeal Officer is final.

X. Resources of Assistance, Counseling, and Support

Support services are available to UMass Lowell community members who have experienced sexual harassment, regardless of whether they report the incident or file a Title IX complaint.

Below are on-campus and off-campus resources which may be available to respond, assist, and/or provide support. Inclusion in this list is not an endorsement. This information is subject to change.

On-Campus Confidential Sources

For Students:

Type of ResourceResourceLocationContact Information
CounselingCounseling Services at the Wellness CenterUniversity Crossing, Suite 300,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-6800
Counseling Website

Email: Counseling@uml.edu
HealthHealth Services at the Wellness Center (including Health Wellness)University Crossing, Suite 300,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-6800
Health Services Website

Email: Health_Services@uml.edu
Emergency Medical Service (EMS)University EMSDonahue Hall, EMS Office, First Floor,
91 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Emergency Phone: 978-934-4911
Non-emergency phone: 978-934-4785
Emergency Medical Service Website

Email: UMass_EMS@uml.edu

For Employees:

ComPsych Guidance Resources Employee Assistance Program
Phone: 844-393-4983
ComPsych Guidance Resources website (Web ID: UMASS)
24 hours a day, every day

On-Campus Non-Confidential Resources for All Community Members

Type of ResourceResourceLocationContact Information
Equal Opportunity & Outreach / Title IX CoordinatorClara I. Reynolds, Associate Vice Chancellor, Equal Opportunity & Outreach, Diversity & Inclusion, UMass Lowell Title IX CoordinatorWannalancit, Suite 301,
600 Suffolk St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-3565
Email: Clara_Reynolds@uml.edu

Equal Opportunity & Outreach Website

Sexual Harassment Prevention & Education website
Office of Student ConductKate Legee, Director, Student Conduct - Compliance & Violence Prevention
University Crossing, Suite 200,
220 Pawtucket Blvd., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-2100
Email: Kate_Legee@uml.edu

Student Conduct Website
Michael Coughlin, Associate Director, Student ConductPhone: 978-934-2100
Email: Michael_Coughlin@uml.edu

Student Conduct Website
Deputy Title IX CoordinatorsDeputy Title IX CoordinatorsStudent Affairs, Athletics and
Equal Opportunity and Outreach
Names and contact information
are listed on the Prevent website
University Police DepartmentUMass Lowell Campus Police
University Crossing, Suite 170,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Emergency Phone: 978-934-4911
Rape Line: 978-934-4213
Non-emergency Phone: 978-934-2398
UMass Lowell Police Website

Email: Police@uml.edu
Northern Essex Community College’s Campus Safety
(Haverhill Campus)
40 Bailey Blvd.
Haverhill, MA 01830
Emergency Phone: 911
Non-emergency Phone: 978-373-1212
Haverhill Police website
Student Financial AidFinancial Aid OfficeUniversity Crossing, Suite 280,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-4220
Email: TheSolutionCenter@uml.edu

Financial Aid Website
Multicultural Student Affairs (for students)Office of Multicultural Student AffairsUniversity Crossing, Suite 366,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-4336
Email: Multicultural_Affairs@uml.edu

Multicultural Affairs Website
Student Affairs (for students)Division of Student AffairsUniversity Crossing, Suite 200,
220 Pawtucket St., Lowell, MA 01854
Phone: 978-934-2100
Email: Ann_Ciaraldi@uml.edu

Website: Student Affairs Website

Off-Campus Resources

Type of ResourceResourceLocationContact Information
PoliceLowell Police Department50 Arcand Dr., Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-937-3200
Lowell Police website
Haverhill Police Department40 Bailey Blvd., Haverhill, MA 01830Phone: 978-373-1212
Haverhill Police website
CourtsLowell District Courthouse41 Hurd St., Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-459-4101
Lowell District Court website
Haverhill District CourthouseJames P. Ginty Blvd. Haverhill, MA 01830Phone: 978-374-0380
Haverhill District Court website
SANE Certified Health / Hospitals
SANE Certified Sites receive forensic evidence collection
Lowell General Hospital Main Campus295 Varnum Ave., Lowell, MA 01854Phone: 978-937-6000
Lowell General Hospital website
Lowell General Hospital Saints Campus, Emergency Room1 Hospital Dr., Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-934-6000
Lowell General Hospital website
Lawrence General Hospital1 General St., Lawrence, MA 01841Phone: 978-683-4000 ext. 2500
Lawrence General Hospital website
CounselingCenter for Hope and Healing (Rape Crisis Center)21 George St. Suite 400 Lowell, MA 0185224-hour Hotline: 800-542-5212
Phone: 978-452-7721
Center for Hope and Healing website
MaleSurvivor.orgn/aMaleSurvivor.org website
YWCA of Greater Lawrence - Fina House
(Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Services)
203 Haverhill St., Lawrence, MA 01840YWCA Domestic Violence Website
Phone: 978-682-3039
Rape Crisis 24-Hour Hotline: 877-509-YWCA [9922], Spanish: 800-223-5001
YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts
[formerly YWCA Haverhill]
(Rape Crisis Services)
107 Winter St., Haverhill, MA 01830YWCA Northeastern Mass. website
Rape Crisis 24-Hour Hotline: 877-509-YWCA [9922], Spanish: 800-223-5001
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday – Friday
Phone: 978-374-6121
YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts
[formerly YWCA North Shore Rape Crisis Center]
20 Central Avenue, Suite 510, Lynn, MA 01901YWCA Northeastern Mass. website
Rape Crisis 24-Hour Hotline: 877-509-YWCA [9922], Spanish: 800-223-5001
Hours: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday
Phone: 978-687-0331
Mental HealthVinfen Behavioral Health Lowell99 Church St., Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-458-6282
Vinfen Behavioral Health Website
Victim AdvocacyMiddlesex District Attorney’s Office Victim/ Witness Advocacy151 Warren St., Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 781-897-8900
Middlesex District Attorney - Victim Services website
Essex District Attorney’s Office Victim & Witness Advocacy10 Federal St., 5th Floor, Salem, MA 01970Phone: 978-745-6610
TTY: (867) 741-3163
Essex County Victim & Witness Services website
Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance (MOVA)1 Ashburton Place, Suite 1101, Boston, MA 02108Phone: 617-586-1340
AskMOVA: 844-878-MOVA (6682)
Massachusetts Office for Victim Assistance website

Email: MOVA@mass.gov

AskMOVA website
Legal AssistanceVictim Rights Law Center115 Broad St., 3rd Floor Boston, MA 02110Phone: 617-399-6720
Victim Rights Law Center website
Northeast Legal Aid (Lowell office)35 John St. Suite 302 Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-458-1465
Toll Free: 800-336-2262
Hotline: 978-458-1465
Northeast Legal Aid website
Northeast Legal Aid (Lawrence office)50 Island Street, Suite 203A, Lawrence, MA 01840Phone: 978-458-1465
Toll Free: 800-336-2262
Hotline: 978-458-1465
Northeast Legal Aid website
Visa and Immigration AssistanceUnited States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)2 Mill St., Lawrence, MA 01840Phone: 800-375-5283 (National Customer Service Center)
USCIS website
OtherYWCA Northeastern Massachusetts
[formerly YWCA Haverhill]
107 Winter St. Haverhill, MA 01830YWCA Northeastern Mass. website
Phone: 978-374-6121
YWCA Advocacy Group - Lowell97 Central St., #302, Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-454-5405
Lowell YWCA website
Alternative HousePO Box 2100 Lowell, MA 01851Phone: 617-338-2355
24-hour Hotline: 888-291-6228
Alternative House website
Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence (ATASK) Lowell InitiativePO Box 7259 Lowell, MA 01853Phone: 978-454-3651
Hotline: 617-338-2355
ATASK website
Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS)11 Mill St. Lowell, MA 01852Phone: 978-970-1250
TTY: 978-970-1250
MAPS website
The Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) of Greater Lowell, Inc.465 School St., Lowell, MA 01851Phone: 978-454-6200
Email: info@cmmalowell.org

CMAA website

Other resources available to persons who report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, include:

XI. Required Training

Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Hearing Officer(s), Appeal Officer(s), Officials with Authority, and any other employees involved in the Grievance Procedure are required to participate annually in Title IX training. Training will be posted on Equal Opportunity and Outreach’s website, or will be made available for inspection during regular business hours.

Additional Title IX training will be provided periodically to all students and employees.

July 30, 2021