Inside Linfield - Community Updates

Facts About Linfield and Harassment, Discrimination and Intolerance

Linfield is dedicated to ensuring that all of our campus communities – including students, faculty, staff and trustees – understand Linfield’s policies and abide by them. Employees who become aware of potential harassment of others that may be in violation of the Title IX and/or Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence policies must report such conduct to the Title IX Coordinator. Employees are considered Responsible Employees or Mandatory Reporters. This policy is to ensure that we can provide students with support, options and connection to resources so that they are empowered to make a decision that is best for them of how or if they would like to proceed. University employees are provided with annual training on their role as a responsible employee and how to best support student survivors. The Board of Trustees decided by a resolution adopted in February 2020 that this reporting requirement would apply to individual trustees as well, regardless of their status as non-employees.

Here are the facts about some allegations you may have seen in the media or on social media.

  • In 2018, an alumna reported that a trustee had made an inappropriate verbal sexual proposition following a senior celebration dinner a year earlier, in the spring of 2017. At the alumna’s request, no investigation was initiated and the trustee was instructed not to attend future student/trustee events.
  • In February 2019, a student reported an allegation of sexual harassment/assault from a then-trustee. After reporting the allegation, the student requested that Linfield not investigate the incident. All supportive measures were provided. She later retained counsel and asked that the university conduct an investigation, and it commenced one. The student reported the February 2019 incident to criminal authorities, as the university had told her was her right. A trial is pending. The trustee resigned from the board in June 2019.
  • In February 2020, a faculty member alleged to the university that she had been sexually harassed by President Miles Davis and trustee Norm Nixon. She said she was the victim of inappropriate touching. The incident with President Davis occurred 15 months earlier, in November 2018; the incident with Mr. Nixon occurred in November 2019 in a very public venue. The university hired an outside investigator to examine both allegations. The investigator found that the incidents did not constitute sexual harassment or assault. Both trustees are Black men and both denied engaging in any inappropriate behavior.
  • Also in February 2020, Professor Daniel Pollack-Pelzner alleged that President Davis and Board of Trustee Chair Dave Baca had made antisemitic remarks. The university hired an outside law firm that was approved by Pollack-Pelzner to investigate the charges. The law firm found no way to prove that any such remarks were made. Both President Davis and Chair Baca denied making antisemitic remarks.

These incidents are the only complaints involving trustees in the past five years. As noted above, the last complaint occurred more than a year ago. All complaints were formally investigated and adjudicated unless the complainant requested otherwise.

It is worth noting that the allegations against President Davis and Chairman Baca occurred against the backdrop of significant change in the university’s operations – including the change from college to university, the addition of graduate programs, the creation of a School of Business, the hiring of deans to lead each of the three academic units and the purchase of a new Portland campus for the School of Nursing. This many changes over such a short time create a lot of tension within an institution.

Any suggestion that Linfield does not take harassment, discrimination and intolerance seriously ignores the significant ongoing efforts by Linfield, such as:

  • Requiring sexual harassment training for the entire campus community, including the Board of Trustees, beginning in February 2019.
  • In 2020, President Davis empowered two campus-wide task forces to investigate policies related to students and employees. Participants included faculty, students and staff.
  • A Title IX expert delivered direct training to the Board of Trustees in 2020.
  • Faculty staff and students have received bystander intervention training to help them respond in situations where they see harassment or assault taking place.
  • Title IX policies have been revised in compliance with new 2020 Department of Education guidance.
  • In 2018 and 2019, Linfield participated in a Department of Justice national study to examine environmental risk factors for sexual assault.
  • At least once a year, and often twice, the Student Affairs and Enrollment Committee of the Board receives an update on Title IX and sexual misconduct with discussion on how educate students and reduce risk.
  • Several staff members during the past five years have participated in the three-day training conducted by the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force.
  • The Director of Health, Wellness and Counseling is a member of Yamhill County District Attorney’s Sexual Assault Task force and is a member of the Oregon Governer’s Sexual Assault Task Force.
  • Every Fall since 2011, except 2019 when changes to law and procedures were pending, the Faculty Assembly, LEA and Administrative Assembly received reminders and updates about Title IX requirements.
  • Staff and faculty who volunteer to serve as sexual misconduct advisers receive annual training on policies and how to support students.
  • Every year for more than 20 years, first-year students have participated in mandated training by CATS (Consent Awareness Training Squad).
  • Linfield’s Title IX website was completely revamped last summer with new materials/policies.
  • Training was provided this year to all student leadership groups – ASLU, fraternities and sororities, RHA, etc., on new Title IX policies.
  • All athletic teams and coaches are required by NCAA to participate in sexual misconduct training.
  • Linfield joined a consortium with other Alliance schools to retain independent hearing officers so that the new model utilizing impartial hearing officers is free from institutional bias.
  • You can learn more at the Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence section of our website.

Linfield annually publishes a report on the incidence of crime on its campuses, as required by federal law – as well as weekly campus incident reports. 

This is a time of significant positive change at Linfield, although we recognize that change can be seen as threatening. One thing that has not – and will not – change is Linfield’s commitment to creating an environment of intellectual freedom and academic curiosity where everyone feels valued and included.