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:
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:
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:
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:
Sexual Misconduct is unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature when:
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:
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:
This grievance procedure applies to allegations of sexual harassment under Title IX that occurred on or after August 14, 2020.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
If a complainant has filed a Title IX formal complaint with UMass Lowell, the complainant has the option to:
External enforcement agencies:
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.
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).
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.
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.
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).
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.
ComPsych Guidance Resources Employee Assistance Program
ComPsych Guidance Resources website (Web ID: UMASS)
24 hours a day, every day
Other resources available to persons who report sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking, include:
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