Introduction

Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center, hereinafter referred to as “the Institution” are committed to providing a workplace and environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, free from sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and retaliation. To the extent that alleged misconduct falls outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy , or misconduct falling outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy is discovered in the course of investigating covered Title IX misconduct, the Institution has developed a separate Sexual Misconduct Policy that addresses the types of sex-based incidents constituting a violation of Institution policy, and the procedures for investigating and adjudicating those sex-based incidents. The Institution values and upholds the equal dignity of all members of its community and strives to respect the rights of the parties in the grievance process during what is often a difficult time for all those involved.

This policy is intended to guide Institution community members that may have observed, become aware of, or experienced sexual misconduct. The Institution strictly prohibits retaliatory discrimination or harassment against any person(s) for reporting an incident of sexual misconduct or for participating, or refusing to participate, in any manner, in procedures to redress complaints related to a report of sexual misconduct.

This policy pertains to acts of prohibited conduct committed by or against Institution community members on University property (i.e., on campus) or other property owned by the University, or at Institution sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus or occurring in the context of a University employment or education program or activity, including, but not limited to, University-sponsored study abroad, research, or internship programs; and/or online and social media conduct that may affect the educational experience.

All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights of others. Creating a safe and non-discriminatory educational environment is the responsibility of all members of the campus community. Every member of the campus community also has a responsibility to become familiar with the Institution’s Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Scope of Policy

The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of sexual misconduct and discrimination, and ensuring that sexual misconduct and discrimination does not interfere with the ability of members of the Gallaudet University community to participate in Gallaudet’s educational program and activities. Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy is a separate policy that addresses Title IX misconduct . The policy and procedures described here cannot be substituted to address violations that meet the scope of Title IX misconduct, and must be covered under the Title IX Policy. Only the Title IX Coordinator or designee* can make the determination that the alleged misconduct falls outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.

When an alleged violation of this policy is reported, the allegations are subject to resolution using one of Gallaudet’s grievance processes, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator, designated administrator, or designee, and as detailed in the links below.

This policy applies to all members of the Institution community – students, employees and individuals having any official capacity at the Institution – as well as third parties (volunteers, independent contractors, vendors, alumni, interns, and visitors), and any individuals studying, living, or conducting business at Gallaudet or the Clerc Center. The Clerc Center has applicable procedures for Clerc Center students that take precedence over some elements of this policy; please refer to the applicable Clerc Center school handbook for further guidance.

The procedures below may be applied to incidents, to patterns, and/or to the campus climate, all of which may be addressed and investigated in accordance with this policy.

Policy

This policy is intended to guide University community members that may have observed, become aware of, or experienced sexual misconduct. This policy pertains to acts of Prohibited Conduct committed by or against Institution community members on University property (i.e., on campus) or other property owned by the University, or at University sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus or occurring in the context of a University employment or education program or activity, including, but not limited to, University-sponsored study abroad, research, or internship programs; and/or online and social media conduct that may affect the educational experience. The University may concern itself with conduct off University property (i.e., off campus) or outside the University’s educational programs and activities when such conduct may have a substantial and/or continuing adverse effect or could create a hostile environment for any member of the Institution community or the University. All actions by a member of the University community that involve the use of the University computing and network resources from a remote location, including but not limited to accessing email accounts, are under the scope of this policy.

The Institution has an obligation to maintain a safe and non-discriminatory educational environment and may also address the behavior of non-members of the University community who have been accused of violation(s) of this policy. The University typically will not conduct an investigation for non-members of the University community (including where the respondent has graduated or left the University) but may address the situation and provide appropriate resources to impacted individuals and, where appropriate, the broader University community. A non-member of the University community’s role in the University’s investigatory and disciplinary procedures may be limited. The University may also take appropriate action against non-members of the University community that may include, but is not limited to, barring the non-community member from University property or other property owned by the University, or at University sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus, and reporting the incident to another school or community law enforcement agency that has jurisdiction over the individual’s behavior.

Notice of Non-Discrimination

It is the policy of the Gallaudet and the Clerc Center to provide an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. Any Gallaudet or Clerc Center employee, student, applicant for admission or employment, or other participant in Gallaudet University and Clerc Center programs or activities, who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, age, disability, veteran status or other items listed in the D.C. Human Rights Act may direct complaints of discrimination and harassment to the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP).

In accordance with Federal and District of Columbia law, the University policy prohibits retaliation of any kind against any individual who has filed a complaint regarding discrimination or has participated in procedures to redress complaints of discrimination. The Institution is committed to taking appropriate action against those who violate its policy of non-discrimination.

Policy #2.28 (Anti-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure) can be found in the Administration and Operations Manual. Complaints of discrimination should be directed to:

Director of Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP)
Sharrell McCaskill
Director, Equal Opportunity Programs
College Hall 322
Gallaudet University
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 651-5462 (v)
(202) 559-5683 (vp)
Email: sharrell.mccaskill@gallaudet.edu

Individuals seeking further information or guidance may contact the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education. Individuals experiencing harassment or discrimination also have the right to file a formal grievance with OCR:

U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
Lyndon Baines Johnson Department of Education Building
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202-1100
1-800-421-3481
TDD: 800-877-8339
Email: ocr@ed.gov

Prohibited Conduct

The following describes prohibited conduct that falls outside the narrow scope of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy. The Title IX Coordinator and/or designee will make that determination of whether the prohibited conduct meets the scope of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and cannot be resolved using this policy and its procedures. It is a violation of this policy to commit these acts or attempt to commit them; attempts to commit acts prohibited by the Sexual Misconduct Policy may be disciplined to the same extent as completed violations. Prohibited conduct may be committed by individuals of any sex or gender, including same sex/gender individuals. It can occur between strangers or acquaintances as well as individuals involved in intimate or sexual relationships. In determining whether the alleged conduct violates University policy, the University will consider the totality of the facts and circumstances involved in the incident, including the nature of the alleged conduct and the context in which it occurred. In most circumstances, the University will treat attempts to commit any of the prohibited conduct as if those attempts had been completed.

The prohibited conduct covered under this policy is as follows:

  1. Bullying - a pattern of repeated behavior that is sex and/or gender-based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the University's legitimate business interests, that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity.)
  2. Cyberbullying - bullying that is sex and/or gender-based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship, that takes place online or is perpetrated using electronic means of communication even when aimed indirectly at an individual or a group, that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity)
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact - any intentional sexual touching, however slight, by a person upon another person that occurs without consent and/or by force that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity).
  4. Sexual Exploitation - taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent, and includes, without limitation, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over the other person; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing, or transmitting identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts (including penis, vagina, vulva, buttocks, anus, groin, and/or breasts) of another person; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting others watch you have consensual sex or consensual sexual contact with another person); engaging in voyeurism; and/or knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV; or exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals, if each does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity)
  5. Sexual Harassment – includes the actual or attempted offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking that do not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity.)

Consent

Consent represents the basis of respectful and healthy intimate relationships. Consent is effective when it is clear, knowing, and voluntary by using mutually understandable words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity or contact. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. Consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the accused individual knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk. There should not be unreasonable pressure for sexual activity, which is coercive conduct. Passivity is not permission; consent is not the absence of resistance, and silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent to one form of sexual contact or activity does not imply consent to another form of sexual activity. Consent also has time boundaries; consent given at one time does not imply future consent or consent at any other time. The existence of a prior or current relationship does not, in itself, constitute consent. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. Once consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop immediately.

Age of Consent

Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center follow the laws of the District of Columbia concerning sexual activity, including regulations regarding age of consent and the age differences between participants in consensual sexual activities.

Specifically, in the District of Columbia, the age of consent for sex is 16 years old. The exception to the age of consent law is if the individuals involved in sexual activity are both minors (younger than 18 years old) and close in age (less than four years apart). While the Clerc Center is in session or while Clerc Center students are under the care of the Clerc Center, all types of sexual activity, on or off campus, are prohibited. Clerc Center students who engage in sexual activity receive consequences outlined in their school Parent-Student Handbook. Consequences differ for sexual activity determined to be consensual than for sexual activity determined to be nonconsensual. A student who engages in sexual activity that violates the District of Columbia age of consent law and/or without the effective consent of the other individual is committing a crime and may be prosecuted.

The Impact of Alcohol or Other Drugs on Consent

The use of alcohol or other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol or other drugs complicate the situation further and can place the capacity to consent into question when compared with sober sexual activity. The University considers sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol and other drugs to be risky behavior. Alcohol and drugs impair a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. An individual who is physically incapacitated as a result of alcohol or drug consumption (voluntary or involuntary), or who is unconscious or otherwise physically helpless, is incapable of giving consent.

Individuals who consent to any form of sexual activity must be able to understand what they are doing. “No” always means “No”, but “Yes” may not always mean “Yes”. Anything but effective consent to any sexual activity is equivalent to a “No”.

Consensual Relationships

The University's educational mission is promoted by professionalism in University employee relationships with other employees and students. University employees may be in positions of authority; trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their power. There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals of inherently unequal power. Such relationships have the potential for conflict of interest, favoritism, exploitation, and bias, and may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. There is the potential for sexual harassment when inappropriate personal attention occurs between individuals of inherently unequal power. Such relationships seriously undermine the atmosphere of professionalism, trust and respect essential to the University and hinder fulfillment of the University's educational mission. For these reasons, sexual or romantic relationships or encounters - whether regarded as consensual or otherwise - between individuals of inherently unequal power are strongly discouraged, and in some circumstances, are strictly prohibited by this policy. The fact that a relationship was initially consensual does not insulate the person with greater power from a sexual harassment or sexual misconduct complaint.

Consensual Relationships between Faculty and Undergraduate Students*

No Gallaudet University faculty member shall initiate or accept offers for sexual or romantic encounters or relationships with any undergraduate student.

Consensual Relationships between Faculty and Graduate Students*

Sexual or romantic encounters or relationships between faculty and graduate students in the instructional context, or under their academic supervision is prohibited. Sexual encounters or romantic relationships outside of the instructional context or academic supervision can lead to difficulties. Instructors or other officers should be sensitive to the possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for a graduate student's instruction or evaluation, including mentoring, advising, serving on an admissions or selection committee or being called upon to write a letter of recommendation. Even in consensual relationships there are certain conditions where a faculty member, by virtue of their special responsibilities and the core educational mission of the University, could be held accountable should a problem arise.

*The Handbook of the University Faculty, #3.2, contains a more detailed policy governing faculty/student relationships.

Consensual Relationships in Other Contexts between Staff and Students

Relationships between staff with direct or indirect authority over the other (deans and directors of any rank, coaches, academic advisors, residence hall professional staff, security personnel, and other similar employees who advise, mentor or evaluate students) and students can be potentially problematic and is prohibited. Other consensual sexual or romantic relationships between staff and students is not prohibited but should generally be avoided; one needs to be mindful that one may unexpectedly be placed in a position of power over the student in the future.

Consensual Relationships between Student Paraprofessionals and Students

Sexual or romantic encounters or relationships between students and student paraprofessionals in a teaching, evaluating, advising, mentoring, disciplinary or other position of inherently unequal power is prohibited. Existing relationships that existed prior to obtaining such paraprofessional relationships must be disclosed.

Consensual Relationships between Employees

Consensual relationships between employees is not prohibited by this policy. However, relationships between employees who have direct or indirect authority over the other are potentially problematic and must be disclosed. This includes relationships between supervisors and their employees.

Consensual Relationships between Clerc Center Employees and Students

The Clerc Center prohibits relationships between all employees and Clerc Center students. Refer to Administration and Operations Policy 1.13: Code of Conduct With Clerc Center Students .

Notification and Recusal for Prior Relationships

The University is a small community, where there exist many opportunities for faculty, staff and students to form relationships prior to a situation that creates a potential power imbalance. In such instances, employees and student paraprofessionals are required to disclose to their supervisor(s) in writing of the relationship prior to or immediately when there will be inherently unequal power. It may require recusal from certain supervision, evaluation, or oversight over individuals with whom they have a prior relationship. This ensures that alternate supervisory or evaluative arrangements are put in place. Such notification is always required where recusal is required. This obligation to notify and recuse is required, and the failure to disclose a prior relationship in a timely fashion will itself be considered a violation of the consensual relationship policy.

Review, Investigation, and Resolution Procedures

All University personnel involved in the resolution of sexual misconduct allegations receive annual Title IX and other appropriate training, including but not limited to, training on the University Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures and how to handle and resolve allegations of sexual misconduct; training on the dynamics of sexual and/or gender-based harassment, discrimination and violence; and trauma-informed training

Institution community members and third parties who believe they are directly affected by conduct of students or employees in violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy may request information or advice, including whether certain conduct may violate this policy, seek informal resolution (remedies-based resolution), or make a formal complaint (discipline-based resolution). These options are described below. The Institution will also provide the complainant information and additional resources of the complainant’s options when addressing conduct that falls within the purview of this policy.

Individuals affected are encouraged to bring their concerns and report the conduct in violation of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator. Upon receipt of a report, the University will generally proceed as described below. The procedures for handling allegations of sexual misconduct are generally similar for faculty, staff and students, and differ slightly in the panel membership composition and the routing of the appeal, to reflect the differing nature of each respondent’s relationship to the University.

Immediate Response

As part of the initial assessment of facts, the University will:

● address immediate physical safety and emotional well-being;

● notify the complainant of the right to contact law enforcement;

● notify the complainant of the right to seek medical treatment at the Washington Hospital Center (WHC);

● notify the complainant about resources available at the University and elsewhere that provide counseling and support;

● notify the complainant about the steps involved in pursuing informal, remedies-based resolution or formal, discipline- based resolution; and

● conduct an Initial Review (described below)

Initial Review

The Title IX Deputy Coordinator(s) and/or designee(s), hereinafter referred to as the Investigative Team, will consult further with the complainant to gather information and to discuss their interest in participating in an investigation. Ordinarily, the initial review will be concluded within one week of the date the allegation was received. Based on the information gathered from the initial review the Investigative Team will determine:

● whether the allegation(s), if true, would rise to the level of Prohibited Conduct and would constitute a violation of this policy such that an investigation is warranted, or

● whether the information warrants an administrative closure and/or referral (i.e. dismissal of the allegation or referral for adjudication in a different department, i.e. Human Resources, Equal Employment Officer, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices, Student Life, Academic Dean, etc.) if the alleged violation(s) or additional violations identified during the initial review are a Student Code of Conduct, Administrations and Operations Policy or other University violation not covered by this policy.

Upon approval by the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigative Team’s determination will be shared with the complainant

The complainant may request reconsideration of the decision to close a case administratively to the Title IX Coordinator within seven business days on the grounds that there is substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of the decision, or a significant procedural error occurred that may change the outcome of the decision. The Title IX Coordinator will consider requests for reconsideration and inform the complainant of the outcome in writing, ordinarily within one week of the date of the request.

Supportive Measures

The Institution will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged sexual harassment and/or retaliation. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to the Institution’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the Institution’s educational environment, and/or deter sexual harassment and/or retaliation.

The Title IX Coordinator promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. At the time that supportive measures are offered, Gallaudet or the Clerc Center will inform the Complainant, in writing, that they may file a complaint with the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center either at that time or in the future, if they have not done so already.

The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented.

The Institution will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the Institution’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The Institution will act to ensure as minimal an academic/occupational impact on the parties as possible.

Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party. These actions may include, but are not limited to:

● Referral to counseling, medical, and/or other healthcare services

● Referral to the Employee Assistance Program

● Referral to community-based service providers

● Visa and immigration assistance

● Student financial aid counseling

● Education to the institutional community or community subgroup(s)

● Altering campus housing assignment(s)

● Altering work arrangements for employees or student-employees

● Safety planning

● Providing campus safety escorts

● Providing transportation accommodations

● Implementing contact limitations (no contact orders) between the parties

● Academic support, extensions of deadlines, or other course/program-related adjustments

● Trespass, Persona Non Grata (PNG), or access restriction orders

● Timely Warnings

● Class schedule modifications, withdrawals, or leaves of absence

● Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus

● Any other actions deemed appropriate by the Title IX Coordinator

Violations of no contact orders will be referred to appropriate student or employee conduct processes for enforcement.

The University will seek action consistent with the complainant’s request when possible. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the report of sexual misconduct not be pursued, the University will generally respect and follow the request. The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Investigative Team will still provide the complainant with supportive resources and remedies, if reasonably available, in such instances. It should be noted that University has a dual obligation to provide a safe environment on campus and address and remedy discrimination under Title IX.

The Investigative Team, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will weigh the request for confidentiality against the need to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment and determine whether the request for confidentiality will be followed or the investigation should nonetheless go forward. In some circumstances a request for confidentiality may mean an investigation cannot go forward or can be appropriately resolved without further investigation and without revealing the complainant’s identity. In other circumstances the decision may be to go forward without the complainant

If the Investigative Team determines that the allegation or report would, if substantiated, constitute a violation of this policy, the University may proceed with a remedies-based resolution that does not involve disciplinary action against a respondent, or may proceed with a discipline-based resolution by initiating an investigation to determine if disciplinary action is warranted. The Investigative Team may also determine that the allegation, even if substantiated, would not rise to the level of a policy violation, that there will be insufficient information to investigate the matter, or, after consultation with the complainant about the complainant’s preferences regarding participation, may administratively close or dismiss the complaint. The Investigative Team may also determine that the allegation is outside the scope of this policy and refer the allegation to another office for review. The Investigative Team also reserves the authority to pursue any additional potential violations of University policy that have been identified through the investigation and will determine whether such allegations are within the scope of this policy or will be considered in another University process.

Each resolution process is guided by the same principles of fairness and respect for all parties, through a process that protects the rights of both the complainant and the respondent. Each party will have similar, timely access to information, and equal opportunity to identify relevant witnesses and relevant information.

Emergency Removal

The Institution can act to remove a student respondent entirely or partially from its education program or activities on an emergency basis when an individualized safety and risk analysis has determined that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual justifies removal.

In all cases in which an emergency removal is imposed, the student will be given notice of the action and the option to request to meet with the Title IX Coordinator prior to such action/removal being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the action/removal should not be implemented or should be modified.

This meeting is not a hearing on the merits of the allegation(s), but rather is an administrative process intended to determine solely whether the emergency removal is appropriate

When this meeting is not requested in a timely manner, objections to the emergency removal will be deemed waived. A Complainant and their Advisor may be permitted to participate in this meeting if the Title IX Coordinator determines it is equitable to do so

This section also applies to any interim restrictions that a coach or athletic administrator may place on a student-athlete arising from allegations related to Title IX. There is no appeal process for emergency removal decisions.

A respondent may be accompanied by an Advisor of their choice when meeting with the Title IX Coordinator for the show cause meeting. The respondent will be given access to a written summary of the basis for the emergency removal prior to the meeting to allow for adequate preparation.

The Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion under this policy to implement or stay an emergency removal and to determine the conditions and duration. Violation of an emergency removal under this policy will be grounds for discipline, which may include expulsion.

The Institution will implement the least restrictive emergency actions possible in light of the circumstances and safety concerns. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator, these actions could include, but are not limited to: removing a student from a residence hall, temporarily re-assigning an employee, restricting a student’s or employee’s access to or use of facilities or equipment, allowing a student to withdraw or take grades of incomplete without financial penalty, authorizing an administrative leave, and suspending a student’s participation in extracurricular activities, student employment, student organizational leadership, or intercollegiate/intramural athletics.

At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an academic impact as possible on the parties.

Where the respondent is an employee, existing provisions for interim action are applicable.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION

Remedies-Based Resolution

The remedies-based resolution is designed to eliminate a hostile environment without taking disciplinary action against the respondent. The University recognizes that in some limited circumstances remedies-based resolution may be an appropriate means of addressing some behaviors reported under this policy. A remedies-based resolution may also be an option for complainants or third parties who are seeking confidentiality or for those whom pursuing formal disciplinary action may be a barrier to reporting or moving forward. Complainants may make a request, either verbally or in writing, for informal resolution to the Investigative Team. Participation by the complainant and respondent in informal, remedies-based resolution is voluntary and either party can withdraw from participating at any time and initiate the formal process. The request should identify the alleged harasser (if known) and describe the allegation with specificity. The Investigative Team will assess the severity of the alleged harassment or misconduct and the potential risk of a hostile environment for others in the community in order to determine whether informal resolution may be appropriate.

Upon determining that informal resolution is appropriate, the Investigative Team will consult further with the complainant, inform the respondent, and gather additional relevant information as necessary from the parties and others to the extent necessary. Interim measures may be put in place at any time. The Investigative Team will attempt to aid the parties in finding a mutually acceptable resolution. The complainant is not required to resolve the problem directly with the respondent. The University may offer mediation or other restorative justice approaches for appropriate cases. In every instance the University will not compel a complainant to engage in such mediation or any particular form of informal resolution/remedies-based resolution. Participating parties must have voluntarily elected to pursue an informal resolution process without pressure or compulsion from others and will be advised that they can withdraw from the process at any time. In addition, the respondent must acknowledge the substance of the underlying events and that the complainant and/or other affected parties have reported experiencing harm as a result

The resolution will be deemed satisfactorily resolved when both parties expressly agree to an outcome that is also acceptable to the Investigative Team. At any point prior to such an expressed agreement in writing the parties may request to end the informal resolution.

The informal, remedies-based resolution will ordinarily be concluded within three weeks of the date of the request. Circumstances that may extend this timeline are further described under “Time Frames” in this policy.

Once the informal, remedies-based resolution is concluded the matter will be considered closed nor can a formal resolution be requested. The agreed upon outcome between the parties is not appealable. The Investigative Team will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal, remedies-based resolution. The University will take immediate and corrective action through the imposition of individual and community remedies designed to address the parties’ access to the educational, extracurricular and employment activities at the University and to eliminate a hostile environment. Non-compliance of the agreed upon outcome may result in an allegation of non-compliance with a University decision.

FORMAL RESOLUTION

Initiating a Discipline-Based Resolution Complaint

A complainant may request a complaint of an alleged violation of this policy by a member of the University community through a formal, discipline-based resolution process, to the Investigative Team. The complaint should be in writing, signed and dated (video statements are also acceptable). It should state the name of the responding party, if known, and describe with reasonable specificity the incident(s) of alleged violation(s) of this policy, including the date and place of such incident(s). The statement should provide as much information as possible about the facts surrounding the alleged sexual misconduct incident(s). The complaint must be in the complainant’s own words, and may not be authored by others, including family members, advisors, attorneys, or other students, except in instances where assistance is needed for a disabilities-related reason. In lieu of a written complaint the complainant may make a signed statement to the Investigative Team. The signed statement will be summarized and the complainant will have the opportunity to review the complaint document before signing and dating the complaint. The complaint should also include sources of information (witnesses, correspondence, text messages or other written records, etc.), if available, that the complainant believes may be relevant to the investigation.

The University may not investigate a new complaint if it has already adjudicated a complaint based on the same circumstances or if the parties and the University have already agreed to an informal, remedies-based resolution based on the same circumstances.

Investigation

When the initial review concludes that an investigation is warranted and disciplinary action may be appropriate, the Investigative Team will notify the respondent in writing of the allegations and identify the complainant*. The letter will include sufficient details of the allegation(s) constituting the specific policy violation(s) that are alleged to have taken place. The Investigative Team will implement supportive measures or accommodations, which may be applied to the complainant and/or the respondent to the extent reasonably available and warranted by the circumstances, as outlined in the “Initial Review” section. The respondent will have five (5) business days to submit a written statement, signed and dated (video signed statements are also acceptable), in response to the allegations. The respondent will not be allowed to see the complainant’s statement until after the respondent has already made a statement in response. The statement must be in the respondent’s own words, and may not be authored by others, including family members, advisors, attorneys, or other students, except in instances where assistance is needed for a disabilities-related reason. In lieu of a written statement in response to the allegation the respondent may make a verbal and/or signed statement to the Investigative Team. The verbal and/or signed statement will be summarized and the respondent will have the opportunity to review the document before signing and dating it. Attached to the statement should be a list of all sources of information (witnesses, correspondence, text messages or other written records, etc.), if available, that the respondent believes may be relevant to the investigation.

The University has the discretion to consolidate multiple reports against a respondent into one investigation if the information related to each incident would be relevant and probative in reaching a determination on the other incident.

The Investigative Team will request individual interviews with the complainant and the respondent, and, as appropriate, with relevant witnesses, which may include those identified by the parties, by the University, or others. When identifying potential witnesses, the parties should understand that the purpose of interviews is to gather and assess information about the alleged incident(s) at issue. Witnesses must have observed the acts in question or have information relevant to the incident and cannot participate solely to speak about an individual’s character. The Investigative Team will also gather any available and relevant information, as appropriate. The complainant and the respondent will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information including questions to ask the other party, and to identify witnesses who may have relevant information. The Investigative Team may request individual follow-up interviews with the complainant and respondent to give each an opportunity to respond to the additional information gathered during the investigation. The Investigative Team will determine whether the issues raised and/or documents presented are relevant to the alleged conduct. The Investigative Team has the right to deny questions from either party that are not relevant or inappropriate, such as a question about the prior sexual history with individuals other than the complainant or respondent, or either party’s character or reputation, for example.

*If the decision is made to begin an investigation in a case where the complainant is unwilling or unable to participate but the University has assessed the severity of the harassment and potential risk for a hostile environment for others in the community and has determined to proceed, then, for the purpose of these procedures, the University will be considered the complainant.

Preliminary Investigation Report, Investigation Conclusion, and Final Investigation Report

At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigative Team will prepare a preliminary investigation report that summarizes the information gathered and synthesizes the areas of agreement and disagreement between the parties, and any relevant supporting information or accounts. The Investigative Team will not assess or offer an opinion on the credibility of any individual in the preliminary investigation report. Before the preliminary investigation report is finalized, the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to inspect and review the report, including their own statements, statements of the other party and any witnesses, and a summary of other relevant information collected during the investigation. The complainant and respondent may submit any additional comment or information to the Investigative Team within five (5) business days of the opportunity to review the relevant portions of the report. An individual inspecting and reviewing information or documents through this process has the responsibility of maintaining the privacy of this information.

Upon receipt of any additional information by the complainant and respondent, or after the five (5) business day comment period has lapsed without comment, the Investigative Team will consider any additional comment or information, and submit their final investigation report to the designated administrator. The final investigation report will include the complainant and respondent’s statement(s), statements of the other party and any witnesses, and a summary of other relevant information collected during the investigation; the report will not contain the Investigative Team’s opinions regarding the respondent’s responsibility for any violation of the prohibited conduct, and any conclusions regarding the credibility of any individual participating in the process. The final investigation report, including any response, objections, or comments provided by the complainant or respondent, will serve as the primary information for the panel to review.

Panel Review for Outcome Determination

The designated administrator will share the final investigation report with a panel that will make the outcome determination. The designated administrator will appoint a three-person panel from the pool of panelists, and will ensure that the panel members should not be from departments in which either party is employed or enrolled in a course of study, or has a mentoring relationship or other personal relationship with either of the parties. The panel membership composition that reviews the final investigative report will vary based upon the responding party’s role/relationship with the University. No member of the pool may be a practicing attorney.

The identities of the panel members will be communicated to the complainant and respondent. Either party has the right to raise any concerns they may have regarding the panel membership composition and submit a written request to the designated administrator that contains the grounds to support a claim of a panel member’s bias, conflict of interest, or an inability to be fair and impartial, within three (3) business days after being informed of the panel membership composition. The designated administrator may choose another trained panel member in place of the original panelist. Decisions regarding the composition of the panel are made at the sole discretion of the designated administrator.

If the respondent is a member of the University faculty, the panel membership composition will include two faculty and one staff. If the respondent is a member of the University staff, the panel membership composition will include two staff and one faculty. If the respondent is a University student, the panel membership composition will include a mixture of faculty and staff. If the respondent is a Clerc Center employee, the panel membership composition will include a mixture of administrators, teachers and/or staff. In every panel every effort will be made to ensure that panels are diverse in terms of race, gender, and hearing status.

Panel Review Process

The panel’s review will be limited to the final report submitted by the Investigative Team. The purpose of the review is not to re-investigate the case and re-interview all parties involved, as persons involved in the case should have already provided all relevant information to the Investigative Team. The panel, at its discretion, will determine what information is relevant to the alleged conduct and to the determination of responsibility. The panel may contact the designated administrator and/or the Investigative Team for clarification of any issue or procedure at any time during the review process.

Panel Outcome Determination

The panel will make a determination, by a majority decision, on whether the respondent violated University policy. The outcome determination will be one of the following findings:

● the respondent is responsible for violating this policy;

● the respondent is not responsible for violating this policy; or

● there is insufficient information to determine whether the respondent is responsible for violating this policy.

All outcome determinations will be based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, meaning it is more likely than not that this policy was violated. The panel’s outcome determination, which is shared with the designated administrator, will include the panel’s rationale for the decision. If the respondent is not responsible for violating this policy the designated administrator will inform the complainant and respondent of the panel’s decision simultaneously, usually within five business days after receipt of the outcome determination. The letter to each party will include the rationale for the outcome determination. The letter will also set forth each party’s appeal rights, including the time frame for submitting an appeal. More information about the appeal procedures are described below.

Sanction Decision

If the respondent is responsible for violating this policy the designated administrator will make the determination of the most appropriate sanction(s) and remedies. Sanction(s) imposed are designed to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Sanctions may also serve to promote safety or deter individuals from similar future behavior.

In certain circumstances the designated administrator may need to consider suspending or expelling a student, or terminating the employment of any employee found responsible for sexual misconduct. The designated administrator will be guided by a number of considerations, including the nature of the conduct as issue; the impact of the conduct on the complainant and the University community; whether the respondent has accepted or not accepted responsibility for the conduct; the maintenance of a safe and respectful environment conducive to learning; the necessity for specific action in order to eliminate the prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the complainant and the University community, and other appropriate considerations. A respondent's disciplinary history and prior record may be considered a factor for more severe sanctions, if appropriate. If, in the past, a respondent was found to have violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the information related to the past violation may be considered by the designated administrator if:

● the previous violation was substantially similar to the present allegation; and

● the previous violation indicates a pattern of behavior and substantial conformity with that pattern by the respondent.

The designated administrator will inform the complainant and respondent of the outcome determination and the sanction decision simultaneously, usually within five business days after receipt of the outcome determination from the panel. The letter to each party will include the rationale for the outcome determination. It will also set forth each party’s appeal rights, including the time frame for submitting an appeal. The Deputy Title IX Coordinators in consultation with the designated administrator will be responsible for ensuring that any sanctions imposed in the final decision are implemented and completed.

The University neither encourages nor discourages the subsequent disclosure or sharing of the written notification by either person. The imposition of sanctions, if issued, will take effect immediately and will not be stayed pending the resolution of the appeal unless the appeal officer delays implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Appeal

Both parties have equal rights to an impartial appeal and to participate equally in the appeal process, even if the party is not the appealing party. Either party may appeal the outcome determination and/or the sanctions imposed to an appeal officer identified by the designated administrator. Appeal officers are specially trained in their roles related to the adjudication of sexual misconduct allegations, and receive annual training on the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures as well as on topics relevant to the adjudication of sexual misconduct allegations. The appeal officer selected to review an appeal will vary based upon the respondent’s role/relationship with the University. The Provost (or their designee) will handle faculty appeals; the appropriate staff divisional Vice President or Provost (or their designee) will handle staff appeals; the Dean of Student Affairs (or their designee) will handle student appeals; and an appropriate senior administrator will handle Clerc Center staff appeals. The appeal officer must be impartial and free from bias or conflict of interest; otherwise they must rescue themselves from the appeal process. In such instances the designated administrator will identify an alternate appeal officer.

The purpose of the appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact, or a new determination of whether a violation of University rules has occurred. Dissatisfaction with the outcome determination is not grounds for appeal. In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal. The appeal to the appeals officer (or their designee) must be in writing or video, and submitted within seven business days of the date of the letter based on the following grounds:

● Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;

● New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and

● The sanction was clearly inappropriate and/or disproportionate to the conduct for which the person was found responsible.

The review of the appeal will be narrowly tailored to the above stated appeal grounds. The appeal must provide a rationale for the appeal and adequate information, including documentation, in support of the grounds for appeal. The appeals officer will provide a copy of the written appeal and any supporting documentation to the other party, and the other party may submit a written response on the appeal within seven business days of the date the appeal information was received. A copy of the other party’s response will be sent to the appealing party as well.

The appeal officer will consider the merits of an appeal only on the basis of the three available grounds of appeal. The appeals officer will first consider whether an appeal was timely filed and if so, whether the appeal is properly framed on the three appeal grounds. If the appeal officer determines that the appeal does not properly fit within one of the three grounds, the appeal will be denied.

Except as required to explain the basis of new or newly discovered information that was unavailable during the investigation or the sanction was clearly inappropriate and/or disproportionate to the conduct for which the person was found responsible, the review of the appeal will be limited to the written investigation report and all supporting documents. The appeals officer may consult with the designated administrator, the Investigative Team, and/or the panel in making the appeal determination. The appeal officer has the authority to determine the relevance, strength, and value of the information provided, and/or the appropriateness of the sanction(s) issued.

Ordinarily the appeals officer will strive to complete review of the appeal within seven (7) business days from the date of the submission of all appeal documents by either or both parties, and the parties will simultaneously be informed of the outcome in writing. All outcomes apply the preponderance of the evidence standard. In the event the appeals process exceeds the seven (7) business day time frame, the appeals officer will advise the parties in writing of the delay and provide additional information regarding the revised timeline. The decision of the appeals officer is final; no administrative process otherwise available to faculty, staff or students may be used to further appeal the appeal decision.

Appeal Considerations

● An appeal is not an opportunity for the Appeals Officer to substitute their judgment for that of the panel or designated administrator merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).

● The Appeal Officer may consult with the designated administrator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed.

● In rare cases where a procedural error cannot be cured by the panel, the Appeal Officer may order a new hearing with a new Decision-maker(s).

● The results of a remand to a Decision-maker(s) cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on any of the three available appeal grounds.

● In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center, or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

Disciplinary Sanctions

Not all forms of sexual misconduct will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. The University will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the respondent. The disciplinary action should be consistent with the severity of the offense. Sanctions may include educational, restorative, rehabilitative and/or punitive components. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by the Sexual Misconduct Policy may be disciplined to the same extent as completed violations.

Sanctions Status During the Appeal

Any sanctions imposed as a result of the hearing are stayed during the appeal process. Supportive measures may be reinstated, subject to the same supportive measure procedures above. Gallaudet or the Clerc Center may still place holds on official transcripts, diplomas, graduations, and course registration pending the outcome of an appeal when the original sanctions included separation

Sanctions Applicable to Gallaudet Students

The following sanctions may be imposed for violations of the sexual misconduct policy. The panel may recommend other sanctions instead of or in addition to those specified below, as deemed appropriate.

  1. Disciplinary Reprimand – written notification to respondents that they have violated a University rule or policy and that subsequent wrongful conduct will not be tolerated and may result in severe disciplinary action.
  2. Rehabilitative Probation – a period of time, not to exceed one year, during which respondents are required to control questionable behavior. Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the respondents are found to be violating any institutional regulation(s) during the probationary period.
  3. Discretionary Sanctions – work assignments, essays, educational projects, attendance at sexual assault, intimate relationship violence, and/or stalking awareness or related workshops or training, participation in online sexual assault modules, intimate relationship violence, and/or stalking awareness or related courses, service to Gallaudet University, prohibition from hosting an event including alcohol on- or off-campus, or other discretionary assignments.
  4. Restitution – reimbursement for damages to or misappropriation of property and/or compensation for injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
  5. Disciplinary Probation – a specified period during which respondents have the opportunity to prove that they can uphold University rules and policies. It may exclude respondents from participation in privileged and/or extracurricular activities, or paraprofessional employment at the University, as set forth in the notice for the specified period of time. Respondents found responsible for violations involving alcohol and other drugs will be referred to the alcohol and other drugs educational programs and counseling offered by the University. Failure to attend will lead to an allegation of non-compliance with a University decision. The terms imply that violation of any provision in the Student Code of Conduct would be viewed not only as a violation of the regulation itself, but also as a violation of the probation and would most likely result in their suspension from the University.
  6. Residence Hall Suspension – a separation from the residence halls for a definite period of time after which respondents are eligible to return. The respondents will be required to depart the residence halls within 72 hours or otherwise as specified by University administration. As part of the sanction, suspension does not result in a prorated room refund according to University policy. A ban from access to the residence halls may also be imposed.
  7. Deferred Residence Hall Suspension – a suspension that becomes effective after a specified date. This action may be appropriate near the end of the semester to avoid financial and housing hardships that an immediate suspension often entails. A ban from access to the residence halls may also be imposed.
  8. Residence Hall Expulsion – permanent separation from residing in the residence halls. A ban from access to the residence halls will also be imposed.
  9. Loss of Off-Campus Housing Privileges – the loss of the privilege to live off-campus for a specific period of time. The sanction stipulates that the respondent must have a housing assignment on campus in order to maintain student status.
  10. Access Restriction – prohibition from entering certain buildings or the residence halls for any reason. Failure to comply with the terms would result in the person being removed from the premises and an allegation for violating this regulation will be made.
  11. University Suspension – the immediate removal of the privilege to attend Gallaudet University for a defined minimum period of time. The suspended respondent will be placed on persona non grata status indefinitely (see definition below). In cases adjudicated prior to the last day of classes, if the final decision is a suspension (or expulsion) from the University the respondents will not earn credit for the semester in which the infraction occurred in most instances. University suspensions may include conditions for readmission. At the end of the suspension, respondents may apply for readmission as long as certain conditions imposed for readmission, if any, have been satisfied. Respondents is expected to inform the vocational rehabilitation counselor or other agencies through which financial assistance is received. As part of the sanction, a suspension does not result in a prorated room refund according to University policy. The respondent’s access to email, Blackboard, BISON, and/or other technological resources and access privileges previously issued by the University will be removed. A denial of service notation will be placed in the student’s record that would limit the suspended respondent’s ability to obtain a transcript and/or other privileges available for students (Counseling and Psychological Services, Career Center services, etc.)
  12. Expulsion – permanent dismissal from Gallaudet University. As part of the sanction, expulsion does not result in a prorated room refund according to University policy. The sanction of expulsion includes the same conditions and limitations as defined under the University Suspension sanction.
  13. Persona Non Grata – prohibition from entering campus premises and attending all University-sponsored activities on- and off-campus for any reason. Failure to comply with the terms would result in the respondent being removed from the premises by the Department of Public Safety and/or being charged in D.C. with criminal trespass.
  14. Community Service – work assignments may be a part of a disciplinary probation or may be imposed as an independent sanction. Community service hours completed will not count towards fulfilling the respondent's community service requirements for graduation or student organizations (including fraternities and sororities). If the respondents do not complete the community service assignment by the assigned completion date, an allegation of non-compliance of a University decision will result.
  15. Organizational Sanctions – sanctions imposed to a student organization that may range from a disciplinary reprimand to the permanent revocation of organizational registration. A complete list of organizational sanctions can be found under the “disciplinary sanctions” section of the Hearing Procedures for Student Organizations.

Sanctions Applicable to Faculty and Staff

The following sanctions may be imposed for violations of the sexual misconduct policy. The panel may recommend other sanctions instead of or in addition to those specified below, as deemed appropriate.

  1. Disciplinary Reprimand – written notification to employees that they have violated a University rule or policy and that subsequent wrongful conduct will not be tolerated and may result in severe disciplinary action.
  2. Censure – a written reprimand for violating employee standards or other University policy. It may specify that an employee’s good standing with the University may be in jeopardy. The individual is officially warned that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional conduct action including probation, suspension or termination from the University
  3. Training and Education – a requirement that the employee receive specific training within a designated time period and at their own expense to prevent further misconduct, discrimination or harassment. Failure to submit documentation of completion of training within the specific time period may lead to further disciplinary action.
  4. Disciplinary Probation – an exclusion from participation in specified or voluntary activities that are not related to core job responsibilities for a specific period of time. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other University policy may result in further disciplinary action.
  5. Loss of Oversight, Teaching, or Supervisory Responsibility – removal of an employee from specific job responsibilities with or without a job title change.
  6. Demotion – a reduction in rank, status or job title within the University.
  7. Access Restriction – prohibition from entering certain buildings or the residence halls for any reason. Failure to comply with the terms would result in the person being removed from the premises and an allegation for violating this regulation will be made.
  8. Restitution - reimbursement for damages to or misappropriation of property and/or compensation for injury. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
  9. Suspension – removal from some or all duties, with or without pay, for a specific period of time, with or without pay. Notice of this action will remain in the employment record. Conditions for return to work may be specified in the suspension notice.
  10. Termination – permanent separation of the employee from the University (termination of contract for contractors).

Sanctions or corrective actions may also be imposed in accordance with relevant policies and/or procedures and other requirements set forth in the Administrations and Operations Manual, Faculty Handbook, Supervisor’s Handbook, and other policies or handbooks that may be developed over time, or contracts.

Long-Term Remedies/Other Actions

Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the designated administrator may implement additional long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community that are intended to stop the sexual misconduct and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.

These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:

● Referral to counseling and health services

● Referral to the Employee Assistance Program

● Education to the individual and/or the community

● Permanent alteration of housing assignments

● Permanent alteration of work arrangements for employees

● Provision of campus safety escorts

● Climate surveys

● Policy modification and/or training

● Provision of transportation accommodations

● Implementation of long-term contact limitations between the parties

● Implementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

At the discretion of the designated administrator, certain long-term support or measures may also be provided to the parties even if no policy violation is found. When no policy violation is found, the designated administrator will address any remedies owed by the Institution to either party to ensure no effective denial of educational access. The Institution will maintain the privacy of any long-term remedies/actions/measures, provided privacy does not impair the Institution’s ability to provide these services.

Failure to Comply with Sanctions and/or Interim and Long-term Remedies and/or Responsive Actions

All Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the final Decision-maker(s) (including the Appeal Officer).

Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/action(s), up to and including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center .

A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the designated administrator.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OR PROCEDURES APPLICABLE TO INFORMAL OR FORMAL RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

Integrity of Procedures

These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not legal proceedings. Neither party (the complainant or respondent) may audio or video record the proceedings, nor are attorneys allowed to participate except as outlined in the “Advisors” section of this policy. The complainant and respondent will be allowed to review documentary information that is part of the case file but will not be provided with copies of such information in order to preserve the integrity and confidentiality of the process. At the Investigative Team’s discretion, any person other than the complainant or respondent that disrupts the process may be dismissed from further participation in the proceedings.

Advisors

The complainant and respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice or may choose to proceed without an advisor during the entirety of this process. Advisors may not be persons involved in the matter or process (for example, as a complainant, respondent, or witness) and cannot speak on behalf of the advisee. The University prohibits outside attorneys, or family members acting as attorneys, from participating in proceedings under this policy in any manner other than the role of advisor.

Advisors may assist a complainant or respondent with understanding the University procedures for handling sexual misconduct allegations and preparing for interviews and meetings, attend interviews and meetings, and otherwise assist and support the complainant or respondent as they move through the process. Advisors may view a redacted version of the allegations or other documents shown to their advisee, once the appropriate consent form that authorizes such sharing is received. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. Information from these records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. The University reserves the right to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the University’s privacy expectations.

The complainant and respondent are expected to present their own information, ask and/or respond to questions on their own behalf, without representation by their advisor. The advisor may not make a presentation or represent the complainant or respondent at any time or otherwise delay, disrupt, or interfere with any meeting or proceeding during the resolution process. The advisor may consult with their advisee quietly or in writing, or outside during breaks, but may not speak on behalf of the advisee.

A student, faculty or staff should select an advisor whose schedule allows attendance at scheduled meetings, as the University must resolve the complaint within the stated time frames of the process. Delays will not be considered due to the scheduling conflicts of an advisor. The University has the right at all times to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of the advisor. Any advisor who steps outside of this defined role for advisors will be given a warning, and a subsequent violation will result in the advisor being removed from further participation by the University official directly involved in the process at that time.

The University will, at all times, communicate and correspond directly with the complainant and respondent. If a complainant or respondent has an advisor it is their responsibility to communicate and share information with their advisor. Advisors may be copied on email or written correspondence sent to the complainant and/or respondent, once consent is obtained in writing permitting the release of such information.

Support Persons

The complainant and respondent may also be accompanied by a support person of their choice or may choose to proceed without a support person during the entirety of this process. Support persons may not be persons involved in the matter or process (for example, as a complainant, respondent or witness) and cannot speak on behalf of the advisee. A support person is one who can provide emotional, logistical or other kinds of assistance.

Like advisors, a support person is a silent and non-participating presence, but unlike advisors, a support person is there solely to observe and provide moral support at any time during the entirety of this process. While the support person may be present to hear testimony from the individual receiving the moral support, no written materials, including redacted versions of the allegations or other documents, will be shared with the support person.

Support persons are expected to maintain the privacy of the information shared during the process. The complainant or respondent should select a support person whose schedule allows attendance at scheduled meetings, as the University must resolve the complaint within the stated time frames of the process. Delays will not be considered due to the scheduling conflicts of a support person. The University has the right at all times to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of the support person. Any support person who steps outside of this defined role for support persons will be given a warning, and a subsequent violation will result in the support person being removed from further participation by the University official directly involved in the process at that time.

Prior or Subsequent Conduct of the Respondent

A respondent’s prior or subsequent conduct may be considered for other purposes, such as determining pattern, knowledge, intent, or the respondent’s rationale for taking certain actions either before or after the incident in question. A determination of relevance of whether of a pattern of previous or subsequent conduct from a different incident is substantially similar to the conduct under investigation or indicates a pattern of similar prohibitive conduct may be considered as well. The Investigative Team will determine the relevance of the information and both parties will be informed if the information of prior or subsequent conduct is deemed relevant.

Withdrawal of Complaint

If a complainant wishes to withdraw a complaint prior to the conclusion of the investigation, they may provide the Investigative Team a letter of their desire to do so. Except for extenuating circumstances, a complaint that has been withdrawn cannot be filed again by the complainant within this process. The University, however, reserves the right to move forward with a disciplinary complaint even if the complainant has withdrawn the complaint, in order to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment. In such instances, the University will become the complainant, and all relevant information gathered prior to the withdrawal of the complaint will still be available to the Investigative Team. Other circumstances may also result in the University declining a request to withdraw the complaint where, for example, a request to withdraw is made after a significant portion of the investigation has been completed, and terminating the investigation would be inequitable.

If the University chooses to move forward with the investigation without the original complainant’s participation, the original complainant will still be informed of the outcome determination (and any sanctions, if applicable) by the designated administrator. However, since the University is the complainant in this instance the original complainant has no right to appeal. If the University does not choose to move forward, the withdrawal of the complaint will end the formal resolution process for that complaint.

Withdrawal or Resignation of the Respondent from the University

If a respondent withdraws from the University or submits a letter of resignation from a faculty, teacher or staff position at any time during the investigation prior to the outcome determination or declines to participate in the proceedings, the matter will be resolved with or without the respondent’s input. The University may impose interim measures, such as a prohibition from entering campus premises and attending University events or activities on and off-campus, prior to the outcome determination and sanction decision.

Standard of Proof

The standard of proof used to make an outcome determination about facts that are in dispute in all cases and appeals under the purview of this policy is a preponderance of the evidence, which is based upon whether it is more likely than not a violation occurred.

Time Frames

The University’s overall goal is to resolve complaints (not including appeals) under this policy within 60 business days from receipt of a report, and to resolve appeals within 7 business days from receipt of all appeal documents. Circumstances may require extensions of the complaint and/or appeal time frames, or any individual time frame. The University reserves the right to extend these time frames for good cause, which may exist if additional time is necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of the investigation or to comply with a request from law enforcement to temporarily delay to gather evidence. Other examples of good causes of why time frames may need to be extended include the complexity of the case, the volume of information provided by the parties, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, arranging reasonable accommodations (e.g., interpreters), the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, delays due to University semester and holiday breaks, inclement weather, and other unforeseen circumstances or legitimate reasons. Exceptions to these time frames will be communicated to the complainant and respondent. The parties will receive periodic updates regarding the status of the investigation.

Timing of Complaints and Availability of Procedures

As long as there is jurisdiction (as defined in the scope of this policy) over the accused University community member, there is no time limit to invoking this policy in response to allegations of sexual misconduct. The policy at the time of the alleged incident will be implemented as appropriate. University community members and third parties are strongly encouraged to report any alleged sexual misconduct as early as possible in order to maximize the University’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. Timely reporting also enables the University to provide greater options for support, investigation and adjudication. Delays in reporting an alleged sexual misconduct incident may result in the loss of relevant information, including information from witnesses, and may impair the University’s ability to enforce this policy.

If a respondent is no longer a student or employee at the time of the allegation or report, the University’s ability to complete its process or take disciplinary action may be limited, but the University will still be able to provide supportive measures for the complainant and take steps to end the prohibited behavior, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The University may be able to assist the complainant in identifying external reporting options and may take other actions as appropriate.

Related Criminal Proceedings

Because the standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards of finding a violation of this policy, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct, for purposes of this policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under this policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and therefore decline to prosecute. The filing of a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding. University community members retain the right to file a criminal complaint and a Title IX complaint simultaneously. The University will fulfill its legal and ethical obligation to take immediate and appropriate action to investigate sexual misconduct allegations even if there are other external processes or procedures pending in connection with that same sexual misconduct report. In other words, the University will not necessarily wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation and will take interim measures to protect the complainant and the community, as is appropriate. The University may delay temporarily the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation and impose interim measures while the police are gathering evidence.

Retaliation

The Institution strictly prohibits retaliatory discrimination or harassment against any person(s) for reporting, filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any manner in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of sexual misconduct. The Campus SaVE Act also prohibits retaliation. Retaliatory discrimination or harassment may include, but is not limited to, intimidation, threats, harassment, violations of no-contact orders, and other intentional, adverse action threatened or taken by any individual or group of individuals, including a complainant, respondent, or third party. The University will take appropriate steps to ensure that a person who, in good faith, reports, or participates in a sexual misconduct investigation will not be subject to retaliation. A retaliation concern will be reviewed as a separate violation under this policy; that is, a person can be found responsible for retaliation even if not found to be responsible for the underlying reported sexual misconduct.

False Reports

Gallaudet University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and the Standards of Conduct and/or Workplace Violence Policy (A&O Manual, 1.01) to furnish false or misleading information to any University official, of any policy violation including sexual misconduct. University community members are expected to cooperate fully with any investigation. A University community member who makes a report that is later found to have been intentionally false or made maliciously without regard for truth may be subject to disciplinary action. This does not apply to reports made in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are not substantiated by the investigation. Similarly, a respondent or witness who is later proven to have intentionally given false information may be subject to disciplinary action.

University as the Complainant

As necessary, the Institution reserves the right to initiate a complaint, to serve as complainant, and to initiate remedies-based resolutions without a complaint from an individual. In certain instances, such as where there exists a risk of imminent harm to an individual or others or a threat to the health and safety of the campus the Institution reserves the right to take immediate and interim actions, as is appropriate or necessary.

Anonymous Reports

The Institution recognizes that deciding whether to make a report alleging a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy are personal decisions. Anonymous reports without personally identifiable information from the sender are not considered to be official reports that would trigger an investigation by the Institution. The University will, however, follow up on anonymous reports for pattern tracking purposes, and will respond with community and/or targeted remedies, depending on what information is shared.

Off-Campus Incidents

Individuals who wish to report off-campus incidents should report to the local police in the jurisdiction where the incident occurred. The individual may also choose to report a sexual misconduct, intimate relationship violence, or stalking incident to the on-campus resources listed below. The University reserves the right to review and make a decision on whether to adjudicate any occurrence of off-campus conduct by University community members in violation of this policy, the Administrations and Operations Manual, and/or the Student Code of Conduct that may have a continuing adverse effect upon the University or members of the University community or could create a hostile environment on campus.

Academic, Intellectual and Expressive Freedom

This policy recognizes the importance of academic freedom at Gallaudet and embraces respect for intellectual and expressive freedom and upholds these values by prohibiting all forms of sexual misconduct. This policy recognizes that effective learning may include classroom discussions and engagement with difficult, offensive, and historically charged materials. Such pedagogical experiences related to the course do not constitute violations of this policy and are not considered to be reporting events or notice for the purpose of triggering an obligation to investigate or take action with respect to the information shared, unless an individual initiates a complaint.

Other Information That Does Not Trigger Investigations

In addition to anonymous reports without any personally identifiable information of the complainant, public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night”, candlelight vigils, protests, survivor speak outs or other forums at which individuals disclose experiences with sexual misconduct are not considered to be reporting events or notice for the purpose of triggering an obligation to investigate or take action with respect to the information shared, unless an individual initiates a complaint. Community members should feel free to participate in preventive education programs and access resources on campus.

Group Infractions

The Sexual Misconduct Policy also applies to recognized student organizations; a student organization or its officers and membership may be held collectively and individually responsible when violations of this policy by the organization or its members take place at organization sponsored events, have received the consent or encouragement of the organization or of the organization’s officers, or was known or reasonably should have been known to the membership or its officers.

In any such action, organization and individual determinations as to responsibility will be made, and where appropriate, sanctions may be assigned collectively and individually, in a manner proportionate to the involvement of each individual.

Records

The Title IX Coordinator and designees will retain records of all reports, allegations and complaints, regardless of whether the matter is resolved by the initial review, remedies-based resolution, or discipline-based resolution. Complaints resolved by interim or remedies-based resolutions are not part of a student’s disciplinary file maintained by Student Accountability and Restorative Practices or the employee’s Human Resources or Faculty file maintained by the Provost’s Office. Complaints resolved with a responsible finding through discipline-based resolution will be maintained by the Office of Student Conduct (students) or the employee’s Human Resources or faculty file. Such records will be used in reviewing any further conduct or in determining appropriate sanctions. Each office has its own record retention policy; it should be noted that the Clery Act requires institutions to maintain all supporting records of incidents that were included in the annual security report (ASR) for seven years.

Terminology

The following definitions clarify some terminology as used throughout the Sexual Misconduct policy.

Advisor – an individual chosen by a party who provides support, guidance, and/or advice to the complainant or respondent.

Bullying - a pattern of repeated behavior that is sex and/or gender-based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship, that a reasonable person would find hostile, offensive, and unrelated to the University's legitimate business interests, that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity)

Complainant – any member of the University community who provides information alleging that a member of the University community violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The complainant may be the individual who reportedly experienced any form of sexual misconduct, or the University.

Official compliant – means a document submitted or signed by the complainant alleging sexual misconduct against a respondent and requests that the Institution investigate the allegations.

Cyberbullying – bullying that is sex and/or gender-based, or in the context of an intimate partner relationship, that takes place online or is perpetrated using electronic means of communication even when aimed indirectly at an individual or a group, that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity)

Designated administrator – an University or Clerc Center administrator typically within the department that oversees the implementation of the Sexual Misconduct policy and procedures.

Force – direct or indirect use of physical abuse and/or imposing physically on someone to gain sexual access. Force, unless part of a mutually permissible kink (bondage and domination or similar sexual practice), is a clear demonstration of a lack of effective consent.

Investigative Team - the team that consists of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) and/or designee(s) that usually works jointly on a case assigned to them by the Title IX Coordinator. In some instances, only one member of the team will conduct the investigation. Any person conducting an investigation must be impartial, unbiased, and free of any conflicts of interest. In some instances, an external investigator may be brought in to assist the University in its fact gathering.

No-Contact Order – a directive that mandates an individual not to contact another person or persons in any way, including in person, via e-mail, social media, text messaging, written communication, or any other method of electronic or direct communication. The no-contact order also includes communications via third parties acting on the person’s behalf.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact – any intentional sexual touching, however slight, by a person upon another person that occurs without consent and/or by force that does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity).

Preponderance of the Evidence – characterizes the burden of proof standard used in adjudicating all cases adjudicated by this process. The preponderance of evidence means a greater weight of evidence/information, or “more likely than not”.

Respondent – the person against whom the allegation is brought.

Sexual Exploitation – taking sexual advantage of another person without effective consent, and includes, without limitation, causing or attempting to cause the incapacitation of another person in order to gain a sexual advantage over the other person; causing the prostitution of another person; recording, photographing, or transmitting identifiable images of private sexual activity and/or the intimate parts (including penis, vagina, vulva, buttocks, anus, groin, and/or breasts) of another person; allowing third parties to observe private sexual acts; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting others watch you have consensual sex or consensual sexual contact with another person); engaging in voyeurism; and/or knowingly or recklessly exposing another person to a significant risk of sexually transmitted infection, including HIV; or exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals, if each does not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity)

Sexual Harassment - includes the actual or attempted offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking that do not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University or Clerc Center’s education program or activity.

Sexual Misconduct – violations of the Code of Conduct or University policy encompassing any non-consensual act of a sexual nature which may or may not involve physical conduct, that do not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive). Sexual misconduct can occur between strangers or acquaintances, including people involved in an intimate or sexual relationship. Sexual misconduct can be committed by men or by women and it can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Sexual Misconduct Process - means any process designated by the Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center to apply only when the alleged misconduct falls outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator.

Sexual Misconduct Violations – non-consensual acts of a sexual nature that do not rise to the Title IX level of sexual harassment (being so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive), that vary in severity and consists of a range of behavior or attempted behavior that includes, but is not limited to:

● Bullying,

● Cyber-bullying,

● Non-consensual sexual contact,

● Sexual exploitation, and

● Sexual harassment

Support Person – an individual that may be chosen by the complainant or respondent to provide moral support in a silent and non-participating way during any phase of the adjudication process.

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) – a Federal law that states “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Title IX Coordinator - the official designated by the Institution to ensure compliance with Title IX and the Institution’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/or any member of the Grievance Process Pool.

Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center reserve the right to amend any information or statement in this policy as deemed necessary. The online version of the policy is considered the most updated version and should be referred to at all times.

Effective August 21, 2020

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