Frequently Asked Questions

What is Bias? Harassment? Discrimination? Title IX? 

You may find all of Cal Lutheran policies related to bias, harassment, and discrimination as well as Title IX, which include definitions for each of these terms, on this page.

Why is it important to report incidents of bias, harassment, or discrimination? 

California Lutheran University is committed to fostering a welcoming and safe environment for all members of the university community. As such, it is important that each member of the campus community do their part to ensure we have a welcoming and safe environment for all. Reporting bias, harassment and discrimination incidents is an essential way to help maintain this environment. 

Who can report incidents of bias, harassment, or discrimination? 

This Incident Reporting System is intended for Cal Lutheran students, faculty and staff. However, if a community member would like to report a concern, they are encouraged to email incident@CalLutheran.edu

Are incident reports confidential? 

The privacy of the reporting party is important to us, and to the best extent possible, will be confidential. Therefore, information in reports will only be shared with those on a need-to-know basis. 

Student records are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Information provided within the report may become part of Cal Lutheran’s administrative record-keeping and will only be provided to those employees who have an educational need-to-know. For more information regarding FERPA, visit the following website.

What happens after I submit an incident report? 

Each report is taken seriously and will be reviewed by the Incident Response Team. If warranted, reports will be forwarded to appropriate departments for further investigation and/or resolution. 

A member of the Incident Response Team will contact the reporting party with further information upon receiving and reviewing the report. 

If the incident happened in the past, can a report still be submitted?

Yes. However, if any party involved is no longer associated with the institution, it may limit the scope of the response.

If someone is hesitant to make a report but willing to talk to someone about it, what steps are recommended?

We understand why some may be hesitant to report these types of incidents, and we are happy to answer any questions regarding the reporting process, our protocols, policies, etc. by contacting us at incident@CalLutheran.edu

What if I feel I am being retaliated against as a result of submitting an incident report?

The university does not condone any type of retaliation. A link to our policy can be found here.

Is a bias incident the same as a hate crime?

No. Under the CLERY Act, a hate crime is defined as a criminal offense that manifests evidence that the victim was intentionally selected because of the perpetrator’s bias against the victim. 

Not all bias incidents fit under the federal definition of a hate crime nor rise to the level of criminal conduct. Similarly, bias incidents that do not rise to the level of a hate crime may still carry significant negative impacts on community members and hinder our ability to provide a safe and welcoming environment for all. We strongly encourage Cal Lutheran community members to report all incidents of bias, regardless of severity. 

What about free speech and academic freedom? 

California Lutheran University deeply respects the principles and rights afforded in the freedom of speech clauses in both the state and federal constitutions, as well as faculty members’ rights to academic freedom. In alignment with the University’s values and in compliance with all applicable local, state, and federal laws, Cal Lutheran will never act in a manner that violates these rights. 

It is important to note that freedom of speech and academic freedom are not limitless and do not protect speech or expressive conduct that violates federal or State anti-discrimination laws. The Incident Response Team will apply speech concerns as outlined and consistent with the Harassment, Discrimination, Biased Conduct and Retaliation Prohibition Policy section 3.0. 

Furthermore, California Lutheran University recognizes its own right to free speech and may choose to exercise that right by challenging protected speech that conflicts with University values. This may include speaking out against it, designing and providing educational opportunities, and by supporting those negatively affected by such speech. The Incident Response Team will consult with appropriate campus offices about whether speech is protected and how to respond in cases of protected speech.