The Title IX Team (Coordinator and/or Deputy) will coordinate resolution of all allegations of Prohibited Conduct defined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy using the procedures in this section. Prohibited Conduct (e.g., discrimination, harassment, retaliation) based on protected status other than sex (e.g., race, color, age, disability, other classification protected by federal or state law) is prohibited by other University policies. In the event of such complaints, the University will identify, based upon the allegation, the appropriate office to coordinate resolution of the report.
The Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
All investigations will be conducted in a timely and impartial manner. The Parties will be informed of the projected timeline for conclusion of the process. There may be temporary delays of the process and limited extensions of time frame for good cause. The Parties will be provided written notice of the delay and reasons for such delay.
If the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined in this Policy even if proved, did not occur in the University’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the University must dismiss the Formal Complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual harassment under this Policy. However, such a dismissal does not preclude action under another provision of the University’s Student or Employee Code.
The University may dismiss the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing: A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University; or specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations therein.
Upon dismissal of the Formal Complaint either required or permitted, the University will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reasons for the dismissal simultaneously to each Party.
The University may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one Party against another Party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
With or without a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures, and explain the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Team will conduct an Intake Meeting with the Complainant as soon as possible. At that meeting, the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will address the following topics, as appropriate:
- Address immediate physical safety and emotional well-being needs.
- Notify the Complainant of the right to contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment (and the right to decline to do so), and the importance of preservation of evidence.
- Notify the Complainant of confidential and non-confidential reporting options on and off campus.
- Provide the Complainant with information about:
- On and off campus resources, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, and legal assistance.
- The range of supportive measures, including changes to academic, living, transportation, and/or working situations, or other protective measures, which are available to the Complainant regardless of whether the Complainant files a formal complaint with the University, Campus Security or local law enforcement.
- Provide an overview of the procedural options and process, including Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution. This overview should include explanation that the Complainant will receive written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the Complainant to prepare to participate.
- Explain the right to object to the assignment of the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator or Investigators based on bias or conflict of interest within 2 business days of a decision to proceed through the process.
- Explain the right to a timely investigation and resolution.
- Explain the right to inspect and review evidence.
- Explain the University’s policy on retaliation.
- Provide notice of any provision in the University’s Code of Conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.
- Explain that the Complainant has a right to an Advisor of their choice during the process.
- Explain the right to appeal.
- Provide statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
At the Intake Meeting, the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will provide the Complainant with the above-listed information in writing. If the initial Intake Meeting is conducted by a Deputy Coordinator, the meeting report will be submitted to the Coordinator for consideration. As described in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Complainant has the right to request that the Title IX office not share the Complainant’s name (or other identifiable information) with the Respondent, or that the Title IX office take no formal action in response to the report.
If the Complainant makes such a request, the Coordinator will balance the request with the dual obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all University’s community members, and to remain true to principles of fundamental fairness that require the University to provide the Respondent with notice of the allegations and an opportunity to respond before action is taken against the Respondent.
The Coordinator will make this determination consistent with the following considerations, namely:
- The seriousness of the conduct;
- The respective ages and roles of the Complainant and the Respondent;
- Whether there have been other complaints or reports of Prohibited Conduct against the Respondent;
- The right of the Respondent to receive notice and relevant information before disciplinary action is sought.
Should the Coordinator determine that, in response to the Complainant’s request, the University can satisfy its obligations to the Complainant, the University community members, and the Respondent without proceeding through the Process described herein, the Coordinator has the discretion to do so.
Absent a request for confidentiality as described above, the Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will ask the Complainant questions to get a basic understanding of the reported Prohibited Conduct. The interview will include, but is not limited to, questions to understand the key facts upon which the Complainant bases the report (i.e., the who, what, where, and when) to appropriately assess how to proceed. At the conclusion of the Intake Meeting, and if the individual wishes to move forward with a formal complaint, the Coordinator and Deputy will decide:
- Does the Complainant’s report state facts that, if true, could constitute a violation of the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy?
- If yes, an initial investigation will be conducted to determine if the University should proceed through Formal or Informal Resolution
The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy will select a trained internal or external investigator or a two-person investigative team to conduct a reasonable, impartial, and prompt investigation of the complaint (“Investigation”). The Coordinator will select an Investigator based on several factors, including the Parties involved, the complexity of the complaint, the need to avoid any potential conflict of interest, and who may best conduct a fair and equitable investigation for all Parties involved. The Coordinator will notify the Complainant and Respondent, in writing, of the name of the designated Investigator(s). The Complainant will have 2 business days to object to the Investigator’s selection on the basis of bias or conflict of interest. If the Complainant or Respondent objects, the Coordinator will evaluate whether the objection is substantiated. The Coordinator will remove and replace any Investigator the Coordinator finds to have a bias or conflict of interest against either party.
The Complainant and the Respondent are each permitted to select an Advisor to accompany his/her during any investigative meeting, pre-hearing conference and/or at any time following the filing of a formal complaint. The Advisor may be a mentor, family member, friend, attorney or any other supporter so long as they are not in any way involved in the resolution process, such as serving as a witness. Their role is to support the Complainant or the Respondent and, as such, are not permitted to speak in investigative meetings. However, during a live hearing, Advisors are permitted to cross examine the parties and witnesses. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.
Role of the Advisor of Choice
Both the Respondent and Complainant have the right to have an Advisor of Choice. It is the responsibility of the Complainant and Respondent to communicate with the Advisor regarding allegations, times and dates of meetings, hearings, outcomes and any other information regarding the case. The Investigators, Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator will not discuss the case with any Advisor. The Advisor may:
- Attend any meeting or hearing with the respective Complainant or Respondent regarding the case, if invited by the respective Complainant Respondent;
- May provide advice to the Complainant or Respondent he/she is advising through quiet conversation or written notes in any meeting or hearing related to the case;
- May be a member of the University community, but is not required to be. May be an attorney, but, is not required to be;
- During meetings with Investigators and the Title IX Team, Advisors may not represent the Complainant or Respondent; Parties are expected to respond to questions from investigators and the Title IX team directly;
- During a live hearing, advisors may cross-examine the Parties and the Parties witnesses.
Prior to meeting with the Respondent, the University will provide written notice to the Respondent of the allegations of sexual harassment including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview. Additionally, the following must be provided in writing to the Respondent:
- Notify the Respondent of the right to contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment (and the right to decline to do so), and the importance of preservation of evidence
- Notify the Respondent of confidential and non-confidential reporting options on and off campus;
- Provide the Respondent with information about:
- On and off campus resources, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, and legal assistance;
- The range of supportive measures, including changes to academic, living, transportation, and/or working situations, or other protective measures;
- Provide an overview of the procedural options and process, including Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution. This overview should include explanation that the Respondent will receive written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings, with sufficient time for the Respondent to prepare to participate.
- Explain the right to object to the assignment of the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator or Investigators based on bias or conflict of interest within 2 business days of a decision to proceed through the process
- Explain the right to a timely investigation and resolution
- Explain the right to inspect and review evidence
- Explain that the Respondent has a right to an Advisor of their choice during the process
- Explain the University’s policy on retaliation
- Provide notice of any provision in the University’s Code of Conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process
- Explain the right to appeal
- Provide statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
The Investigator will interview both Parties and relevant witnesses and gather documentary evidence provided by the Parties and any identified witnesses. The Investigator will prepare a summary of each interview (“Interview Summary”). The University does not restrict the ability of either the Complainant or Respondent to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.
Using the findings from this preliminary investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, and Deputy Coordinator will determine and notify the Complainant in writing as to whether the University should proceed through Formal or Informal Resolution using the following guidelines:
- Any Formal Complaint that alleges sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and non-consensual sexual contact, or other forms of physical violence can proceed through the informal resolution process.
- Complaints involving allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student are not permitted to proceed through an Informal Resolution process.
- Some complaints that allege harassment may be appropriate for informal resolution. If the Coordinator determines that the complaint may appropriately be resolved through Informal Resolution, the Coordinator will ask the Complainant and Respondent, separately, whether they would agree to pursue resolution of the complaint informally. Any resolution reached through Informal Resolution will be confirmed in writing and provided to the Parties as soon as possible after reaching a resolution.
If the Coordinator determines that it is appropriate, the Parties may choose to resolve complaints through Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution must be mutually agreed upon, in writing, by both parties in case. Additionally, an Informal Resolution process cannot begin unless a formal written complaint is filed. The Informal Resolution process may recommend the following types of outcomes, where appropriate: facilitating an agreement between the Parties, separating the Parties, referring the Parties to counseling programs, conducting targeted educational and training programs, and mediation.
To proceed with Informal Resolution, the University must provide the Parties with written notice disclosing the allegations, the requirements of the Informal Resolution process including the circumstances under which the Parties could be precluded from resuming a Formal Resolution process arising from the same allegations. No party can be required as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, to waive their right to an investigation and adjudication of a Formal Complaint.
If the parties involved in the Informal Resolution process fail to reach a mutually agreeable outcome for the alleged conduct, the allegation will be resolved via the formal investigation process. In that event, the Title IX Coordinator will so notify the Parties in writing and will describe next steps and time frames for the Formal Resolution.
Agreements reached via the informal resolution process shall be final following three (3) business days and cannot be appealed absent the discovery of new and material information or other similar circumstances, in which case a new investigation may be initiated.
Any Party (including the Title IX Coordinator) may terminate the Informal Resolution process at any time.
If the Coordinator determines that the Complainant’s report must proceed through Formal Resolution, the Coordinator will make every attempt to notify both Parties, in writing, of the decision as soon as possible following the initial investigation. The Coordinator’s written notification to the Respondent will state facts sufficient to apprise the Respondent of the nature of the allegations, including, specifically:
- Complainant’s name;
- Nature of the report;
- Specific policy violation(s) alleged (e.g., sexual assault, sexual harassment, retaliation)
- Date(s) of alleged policy violation(s)
- Location(s) of alleged policy violation(s)
- Brief description of allegation(s)
The notice of the complaint shall be accompanied with a request for a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator within 3 business days. If the Respondent does not respond to the meeting request or is unable to meet within 3 business days, the Coordinator shall provide the following information in writing:
- On and off campus resources, including counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy and legal assistance;
- The range of Supportive Measures including changes to academic, living, transportation, and/or working situations, or other protective measures.
- An overview of the procedural options and process, including Informal Resolution and Formal Resolution
- Explain that the Respondent has a right to an Advisor of their choice during the process;
- The University’s stance on alcohol and drug amnesty
- The University’s policy prohibiting retaliation
The Investigator will continue the investigation once the 3 business days has expired, or sooner if both Parties respond. The Investigator, in consultation with the Coordinator, will establish an expected, reasonable timeframe for the Formal Investigation process and notify the Parties of any delays.
The Investigator will review the documentation from the preliminary investigation and will prepare a Preliminary Report. The Preliminary Report is a written summary of the evidence gathered in the course of the Preliminary Investigation. This evidence will include both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. The burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rests on the University and not on the Parties. The Investigator will state specific factual findings in the Preliminary Report (e.g., “Complainant was incapacitated” or “Respondent believed that Complainant was not incapacitated”). The standard for determining each factual finding is the “preponderance of the evidence,” (i.e., that it is more likely than not that the factual finding is true). The Investigator will not state ultimate findings as to whether the Respondent has, or has not, violated one or more of the University’s policies. The Investigator will attach as exhibits to the Preliminary Report all Interview Summaries and any documentary evidence gathered and relied upon in the Preliminary Investigation that is directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint, including any evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and any inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a Party or other source. The University cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a Party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the Party, unless the University obtains that Party’s voluntary, written consent to this evidence. When the Investigator determines that the Preliminary Investigation is complete, the Investigator will submit the Preliminary Report to the Coordinator. The Coordinator may require the Investigator to conduct additional investigation; if so, the Investigator will conduct additional investigation consistent with the following procedures:
The Investigator may conduct follow-up interviews with both Parties and witnesses based upon testimonial and documentary evidence gathered during the Preliminary Investigation. The Parties and witnesses can expect that, in these follow-up interviews, the Investigator will seek responses to specific allegations or evidence. To the extent additional material, witnesses or evidence are identified during Rebuttal Fact-Gathering, the Investigator will conduct additional interviews and gather additional evidence. Rebuttal Fact-Gathering may be repeated as necessary to ensure a complete gathering of evidence.
Notice of Findings and Response
Once the Coordinator has agreed that the Investigation is complete, the Coordinator will provide the Preliminary Report to the Parties for review, as soon as possible after receipt of the Preliminary Report from the Investigator. Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent (or their Advisors, including but not limited to family members and/or legal counsel) may copy, remove, photograph, print, image, videotape, record, or in any manner otherwise duplicate or remove the information provided.
The Parties may respond to the Preliminary Report; the Parties will submit any response within 10 calendar days of being notified of their opportunity to review the report. The Parties may respond in one or both of the following ways:
- The Parties may provide a written response to the Preliminary Report, or any portion of it, including each Interview Summary. The Investigator will consider any written response provided by the Parties in preparing the Final Report.
- The Parties may submit a written request for additional investigation. Such requests may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Request(s) for follow-up interview(s) with existing witnesses to clarify or provide additional information, including offering questions to the Investigator to pose to witnesses.
- Request(s) to consider new evidence. Any request for additional investigation shall explain the reason for the request (e.g., new witnesses).
If neither of the Parties requests additional investigation, the Investigator will prepare the Final Report. If either (or both) Parties request additional investigation, the Investigator will review the request(s) in consultation with the Coordinator. The Investigator will conduct the requested additional investigation if the Coordinator determines that the request(s) will assist the Investigator in completing the investigation.
If the Investigator conducts additional investigation, the Investigator will prepare an Addendum to the Preliminary Report (“Addendum”). The Investigator will submit the Addendum to the Coordinator. The Coordinator may require the Investigator to conduct additional investigation before the Addendum is complete. Once the Coordinator has agreed that the Addendum is complete, the Coordinator will provide the Addendum to the Parties.
Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator will prepare a Final Report. The Final Report, if different from the Preliminary Report, will have attached as exhibits the testimonial and documentary evidence from the Preliminary Investigation, the Preliminary Report, the Addendum (if applicable), and all of the Parties’ responses throughout the Formal Resolution proceeding. Once the Investigator is satisfied that the Final Report is complete, the Investigator will submit the Final Report to the Coordinator. The Coordinator will send to each Party and the Party’s Advisor, if any, a copy of the Final Report in an electronic format or hard copy, for their review and response.
No earlier than 10 calendar days after sending the Final Report, the Coordinator will meet with the Complainant and Respondent individually. At the meeting the Coordinator will communicate the decision of the Coordinator on the findings and the sanctions (if any). The standard of proof will be preponderance of the evidence. If there is no objection by either Party to the findings and/or sanctions, the case is concluded. Parties will have 3 business days to submit to the Title IX Coordinator an objection regarding the findings and/or sanctions and request a live hearing on the matter. If no objections are submitted in writing within the 3 business days, the finding and/or sanctions are final.