Sexual Misconduct Policy Grievance Process
The Role of the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator/Investigators
The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee which may be a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or an Investigator (hereinafter referred to as the "Title IX Coordinator") investigates all allegations of sexual misconduct to the extent necessary to make a determination as to whether the allegations contained in the complaint constitute a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The investigation generally will involve interviews with the parties and other witnesses, and a review of relevant documents or information as appropriate. Disclosure of facts to parties and witnesses is limited to what is reasonable to conduct a fair and thorough investigation. Participants in an investigation are advised that maintaining confidentiality is essential to protect the integrity of the investigation and the privacy of all parties involved.
The Title IX Coordinator will conduct the investigation within 7 days of receipt of a report of sexual misconduct. Upon receipt of notice of any allegation of sexual misconduct the Title IX Coordinator will first schedule a meeting with the complainant in order to provide a general understanding of the Sexual Misconduct policy and to identify forms of support and interim interventions available for the complainant.
At any time during the investigation the Title IX Coordinator or University officials may issue interim interventions or measures for the complainant and/or witnesses prior to the final outcome of the investigation and hearing, if any, regardless of whether the complainant wishes to pursue formal adjudication, informal adjudication, or no adjudication of any kind. These protections or remedies may include housing reassignments, a "no-contact" order, or making alternative working or academic arrangements. The Title IX Coordinator also may take any further protective action that he or she deems appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties pending a hearing. Title IX requires that, when taking such steps to separate the complainant and the accused student, a school must minimize the burden on the complainant and thus, should not, as a matter of course, remove the complainant from his or her classes or housing while allowing the accused student to remain. Failure to comply with the terms of the interim protections or remedies may be considered a separate violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may lead to additional disciplinary action.
At the initial meeting the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the complainant wishes to proceed. The complainant may wish to pursue informal or formal resolution, or may not wish to pursue any kind of resolution.
Complainant Wishes to Pursue Formal or Informal Resolution
If the complainant wishes to pursue formal or informal resolution the Title IX Coordinator will clarify the difference between both options for resolution (described below) and gather relevant information, including the name of the respondent (if known), the date, location, nature of the alleged sexual misconduct, and the names of witnesses that may have relevant information to assist with this investigation. The Title IX Coordinator will then contact the respondent to in order to provide a general understanding of the Sexual Misconduct policy and to identify forms of support or immediate interventions or measures available for the respondent.
Informal resolution is an option for complainants who do not wish to pursue formal resolution, and/or prefers an alternative form of resolution. Although a less formal process, informal resolution is an appropriate resolution process. Informal resolution is not mediation, and the Title IX Coordinator participates in the process by presiding over the informal resolution meetings involving the complainant and the respondent that are held either separately or with both parties present, depending on the preferences of the complainant. The informal resolution process provides the opportunity for the complainant to confront the respondent and communicate his/her feeling and perceptions regarding the incident, the impact of the incident, and his/her wishes and/or expectations regarding protections for the future - all in the presence of the Title IX Coordinator. The complainant also has the option of sharing his/her feelings, perceptions and wishes to the Title IX Coordinator who will then share those with the respondent in a separate meeting. If the respondent elects to acknowledge responsibility for his/her actions and take responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct, the informal resolution will be concluded, and the Title IX Coordinator will propose sanctions appropriate for the violation. If the complainant and respondent agree to the proposed sanctions the complaint will be resolved without any further rights of appeal from either party. If either the complainant or the respondent object to the proposed sanctions a hearing before the Sexual Misconduct Board will be convened for the sole purpose of determining sanction(s), in accordance to the hearing procedures described in this policy.
The University or the complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the informal resolution, elect to end such proceedings and initiate formal resolution instead. In such cases, information made by the parties in the course of the investigation and informal resolution may be considered in the subsequent formal resolution.
Formal resolution involves an investigation by the Title IX Coordinator and a determination of whether there is sufficient information based on the preponderance of the evidence standard to determine that the respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is insufficient information, based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, to conclude that the respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct policy, the formal resolution process will be concluded. The complainant retains the right to appeal the decision of the Title IX Coordinator to the Sexual Misconduct Board.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is sufficient information, based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, to conclude that the respondent has violated the Sexual Misconduct policy, the parties will be informed of this decision. If the respondent elects to acknowledge responsibility for his/her actions and take responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct, the formal resolution will be concluded, and the Title IX Coordinator will propose sanctions appropriate for the violation and the formal resolution will be concluded. If the complainant and respondent agree to the proposed sanctions the complaint will be resolved without any further rights of appeal from either party. If either the complainant or the respondent object to the proposed sanctions a hearing before the Sexual Misconduct Board will be convened for the sole purpose of determining sanction(s), in accordance to the hearing procedures described in this policy. Finally, if the respondent does not accept responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct, the case will be referred to the Sexual Misconduct Board.
The University or the complainant may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the formal resolution, elect to end such proceedings and initiate informal resolution instead. In such cases, information provided by the parties in the course of the investigation and formal resolution will be considered in the subsequent informal resolution.
The Title IX Coordinator will refer any violations other than Sexual Misconduct violations that were identified during the investigation to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication, and the Student Conduct disciplinary procedures as listed on pages 72-81 of the 2012-13 Student Handbook will apply.
Complainant Does Not Wish to Pursue Resolution or Requests Confidentiality
In event a student does not wish to pursue a complaint, requests confidentiality, or does not want the University to continue the investigation and conduct informal or formal resolution in response to an allegation of sexual misconduct, the student will be informed that the University is still required to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the complainant's information, but the University's ability to respond may be limited. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct and will weigh the complainant's request(s) against the following factors: the seriousness of the alleged sexual misconduct; whether there have been other complaints against the same accused student; and the accused student's right to receive information about the allegation if the information is maintained by the University as an "education record" under FERPA. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant if the University cannot ensure confidentiality or if the University will pursue a complaint despite the complainant's preferences. Even if the University does not take disciplinary action against the accused student because the complainant insists on confidentiality or that the complaint not be resolved, the Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to issue a "no contact" order and impose other reasonably necessary interim measures.