Title IX - Sexual Harassment, Including Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking and Retaliation

PNWU has jurisdiction of all sexual misconduct/Title IX complaints occurring at PNWU or within the educational programs and activities that PNWU offers. The University is obligated to address acts of sexual misconduct of which a responsible employee knew or should have known occurred.
Responsible Unit:  Human Resources
Created:  2008 Executive Lead: CHRO
Revised: 3/2018, 6/4/2019, 7/31/20 Effective: 08/26/2019
Compliance: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title IX 2020, Clery Act, Violence Against Women Act
Classification:  Institution-wide
Approving Body:  PAC

PNWU is committed to providing a workplace and educational environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities that are free from sexual harassment and retaliation. To ensure compliance with federal and state civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity.           

The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of sexual harassment and retaliation. When an alleged violation of this policy is reported, the allegations are subject to resolution using PNWU’s Grievance Procedures and Process as determined by the Title IX Coordinator.

PNWU has jurisdiction of all Sexual Harassment Title IX complaints occurring at PNWU or within the educational programs and activities that PNWU sponsors.

The University is obligated to address acts of sexual harassment of which a responsible employee had actual knowledge.

This policy applies to all students, employees, faculty and third parties, regardless of race, color, national origin, ancestry, sex, religion, age, physical and mental disability, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, political affiliation or any other factor unrelated to professional or educational qualifications.

Erin Murphy, Chief Human Resources Officer serves as the Title IX Coordinator and oversees implementation of this policy. The Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating PNWU’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution, and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent sexual harassment, and retaliation prohibited under this policy.

PNWU Title IX Team

  • Erin Murphy, CHRO – Title IX Coordinators
  • Dr. Ed Bilsky – Provost – Hearing Officer
  • Frank Alvarez, COO = Hearing Officer
  • Dean O’Driscoll – CMO – Hearing Officer
  • Dr. Stephen Laird – Associate Dean for Medical Student Affairs – Hearing Officer
  • Rosa Solorzano – Asst. Director of Human Resources – Investigator
  • Earl McGhee – Director of Security – Investigator
  • Deputy Title IX Officer – Vacant
  • Advisory Pool – TBD



Academic and employment decisions based upon sex or gender and/or acts of sexual harassment are forms of unlawful  sex  discrimination  under  Title  IX  and additional  federal  and  state  laws. Such decisions are prohibited under this and other policies of PNWU. The University does not discriminate on the basis of sex, gender, or gender identity in any phase of its educational or employment programs; the University is required by Title IX and other applicable laws to not so discriminate.

The University will not tolerate sexual harassment. If the University has actual knowledge of sexual harassment, at the direction of the Title IX Coordinator a thorough, impartial and confidential investigation will be conducted in as prompt a manner as possible to determine if there has been a violation of this policy. .

Retaliation Prohibited

Retaliation against any individual who opposes what they believe to be discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, gender identity, or in the form of sexual harassment is prohibited by this policy. Any person who is found to have retaliated against another for making a complaint of sexual harassment under Title IX, being a witness for purposes of any such investigation, or being otherwise involved in the complaint or investigative process (including the respondent), will be subject to discipline up to and including termination or expulsion, depending on the circumstances, even if no responsibility is found for the underlying basis of complaint or investigation. Retaliation should be reported immediately to Erin Murphy, chief human resources officer and Title IX coordinator, 509.249.7714, emurphy@pnwu.edu.

Sexual Harassment

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the State of Washington regard Sexual Harassment as an unlawful discriminatory practice.

PNWU has adopted the following definition of Sexual Harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community.

Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.

Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the actual or attempted offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as:

Conduct on the basis of sex or that is sexual that satisfies one or more of the following:

  • Quid Pro Quo:
    1. an employee of the recipient,
    2. conditions[1] the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient,
    3. on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
  • Sexual Harassment:
    1. unwelcome conduct,
    2. determined by a reasonable person,
    3. to be so severe, and
    4. pervasive, and,
    5. objectively offensive,
    6. that it effectively denies a person equal access to the PNWU’s education program or activity.
  •  Sexual assault, defined as:
  • Sex Offenses, Forcible
    • any sexual act directed against another person
    • without the consent of the Complainant
    • including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent.
    • Sex Offenses, Non-forcible:
      • Incest
      • Statutory Rape
  • Dating Violence, defined as:
    1. violence,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. committed by a person,
    4. who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.
      • The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the Complainant’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For the purposes of this definition—
      • Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
      • Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.

 Domestic Violence, defined as:

    1. violence,
    2. on the basis of sex,
    3. committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant,
    4. by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or
    5. by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or
    6. by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Washington State], or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Washington State.


  • Advisor means a person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process, and to conduct cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if any.
  • Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could sexual harassment based on a protected class; or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
  • Complaint (formal) means a document submitted or signed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity against a Respondent and requesting that the PNWU investigate the allegation.
  • Confidential Resource means an employee who is not a Mandated Reporter of notice of harassment and/or retaliation (irrespective of Clery Act Campus Security Authority status).
  • Day means a business day when the PNWU is in normal operation.
  • Education program or activity means locations, events, or circumstances where PNWU exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the PNWU.
  • Final Determination: A conclusion by the standard of proof that the alleged conduct did or did not violate policy.
  • Finding: A conclusion by the standard of proof that the conduct did or did not occur as alleged (as in a “finding of fact”).
  • Formal Grievance Process means “Process A,” a method of formal resolution designated by the PNWU to address conduct that falls within the policies included below, and which complies with the requirements of the Title IX regulations (34 CFR 106.45).
  • Grievance Process Pool includes any investigators, hearing officers, appeal officers, and Advisors who may perform any or all of these roles (though not at the same time or with respect to the same case).
  • Hearing Decision-maker or Panel refers to those who have decision-making and sanctioning authority within the PNWU’s Formal Grievance process.
  • Investigator means the person or persons charged by a PNWU with gathering facts about an alleged violation of this Policy, assessing relevance and credibility, synthesizing the evidence, and compiling this information into an investigation report and file of directly related evidence.
  • Mandated Reporter means an employee of PNWU who is obligated by policy to share knowledge, notice, and/or reports of harassment and/or retaliation with the Title IX Coordinator [and/or their supervisor].
  • Notice means that an employee, student, or third-party informs the Title IX Coordinator or other Official with Authority of the alleged occurrence of harassing, discriminatory, and/or retaliatory conduct.
  • Official with Authority (OWA) means an employee of the PNWU explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures for sexual harassment and/or retaliation on behalf of the PNWU.
  • Parties include the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s), collectively.
  • Process A means the Formal Grievance Process detailed below and defined above.
  • PNWU means a postsecondary education program that receives federal funding.
  • Remedies are post-finding actions directed to the Complainant and/or the community as mechanisms to address safety, prevent recurrence, and restore access to the PNWU’s educational program.
  • Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
  • Resolution means the result of an informal or Formal Grievance Process.
  • Sanction means a consequence imposed by the PNWU on a Respondent who is found to have violated this policy.
  • Sexual Harassment is the umbrella category including the offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence and domestic violence for greater detail.
  • Title IX Coordinator is at least one official designated by the PNWU to ensure compliance with Title IX and the PNWU’s Title IX program. References to the Coordinator throughout this policy may also encompass a designee of the Coordinator for specific tasks.
  • Title IX Team refers to the Title IX Coordinator, any deputy coordinators, and any member of the Grievance Process. 


PNWU Grievance Process
Reporting Violations
Annual Title IX Training