Title IX Policies & Procedures

Complaint Resolution Procedures

SEXUAL MISCONDUCT:  COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCEDURES

I.  General Principle

A. Applicability

These Complaint Resolution Procedures apply to the resolution of all reports under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.  They apply to the resolution of complaints against students, faculty, administrators, staff, and third parties, and they are the exclusive means of resolving complaints of sexual misconduct.

 B.  Administration

For purposes of these complaint resolution procedures, “Investigating Officer” means the person appointed by the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will appoint the Investigating Officer from the pool of trained investigators. When an employee, faculty member, or other third party is the respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint the Investigating Officer from a pool of Grievance Team members appointed by the President. The Investigating Officer shall have responsibility for administering these complaint resolution procedures.  At their discretion, the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator may appoint multiple Investigating Officers to work together in administering these complaint resolution procedures.

C.  Promptness, Fairness and Impartiality

These procedures provide for prompt, fair, and impartial investigations and resolutions. The Investigating Officer shall discharge his or her obligations under these complaint resolution procedures fairly and impartially. If the Investigating Officer determines that he or she cannot apply these procedures fairly and impartially because of the identity of a complainant, respondent, or witness, or due to any other conflict of interest, the Investigating Officer shall inform the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator so that another appropriate individual can be designated to administer these procedures.

 D.  Training

These procedures will be implemented by officials who receive annual training on the issues related to sexual misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, etc. In addition, training includes investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. The safety and rights of all involved shall always be considered.

II. Investigation and Resolution of the Complaint

A.  Preliminary Matters

1. Timing Of the Investigation

The University will endeavor to conclude its investigation and resolution of the complaint within sixty (60) calendar days of receiving it.  Both the complainant and the respondent will be given periodic updates regarding the status of the investigation. If either the complainant or respondent needs additional time to prepare or to gather their witnesses or information, they shall make a request to the Investigating Officer in writing explaining how much additional time is needed and why it is needed. The Investigating Officer shall respond to any such request within three (3) days.

2. Informal Resolution

Informal means of resolution, such as mediation, may be used in lieu of the formal investigation and determination procedure. However, informal means may only be used with the complainant’s voluntary cooperation and the involvement of the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The complainant, however, will not be required to work out the problem directly with the respondent. Moreover, the complainant may terminate any such informal means at any time. The Respondent must agree to an informal resolution of the complaint. In any event, informal means, even on a voluntary basis, will not be used to resolve complaints alleging any form of sexual violence.

3.  Interim Measures

At any time during the investigation, the Investigating Officer, in coordination with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, may determine that interim remedies or protections for the parties involved or witnesses are appropriate. These interim remedies may include separating the parties, placing limitations on contact between the parties, suspension, or making alternative class-placement or workplace arrangements.  Failure to comply with the terms of these interim remedies or protections may constitute a separate violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

4. Support Person

During the investigation process, both a complainant and a respondent may ask a support person to accompany him or her at all stages of the process. In cases involving multiple complainants or respondents, the support person cannot be another complainant or respondent.  The support person does not serve as an advocate on behalf of the complainant or respondent and may not be actively involved in any proceedings, and must agree to maintain the confidentiality of the process.

5. Pending Criminal Investigation

Some instances of sexual misconduct may also constitute criminal conduct. In such instances, the complainant is encouraged to file a report with the appropriate law enforcement authorities and, if requested, the University will assist the complainant in doing so. The pending status of a criminal investigation, however, does not relieve the University of its responsibilities under Title IX.  Therefore, to the extent that doing so does not interfere with any criminal investigation, the University will proceed with its own investigation and resolution of the complaint.

6. Rights of the Parties

During the investigation and resolution of a complaint, the complainant and respondent shall have equal rights.  They include:

  • To be treated with respect by University officials
  • To be free of retaliation
  • To have access to campus support resources (counseling and mental health services and University health services)
  • To have a support person of his/her choice accompany him/her to all interviews, meetings and proceedings
  • To have equal opportunity to identify and have considered witnesses and other relevant evidence
  • To have similar and timely access to all information considered by the Investigating Officer;
  • To have equal opportunity to review any statements or evidence provided by the other party
  • To have equal access to review and comment upon any information independently developed by the Investigating Officer

B.  Commencement of the Investigation

Once a complaint is made, the Investigating Officer will commence an investigation of it as soon as practicable, but not later than seven (7) days after the complaint is made. The purpose of the investigation is to determinate whether it is more likely than not that the alleged behavior occurred and, if so, whether it constitutes sexual misconduct. During the course of the investigation, the Investigating Officer may receive counsel from University administrators, the University’s attorneys, or other parties as needed.

In certain narrow circumstances, the Investigating Officer may commence an investigation even if the complainant requests that the matter not be pursued. In such a circumstance, the Investigating Officer will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the matter in a manner that is informed by the complainant’s articulated concerns.

C.  Content of the Investigation

During the investigation, the complainant will have the opportunity to describe his or her allegations and present supporting witnesses or other evidence.  The respondent will have an opportunity to respond to the allegations and present supporting witnesses or other evidence.  The Investigating Officer will review the statements and evidence presented and may, depending on the circumstances, interview others with relevant knowledge, review documentary materials, and take any other appropriate action to gather and consider information relevant to the complaint.  All parties and witnesses involved in the investigation are expected to cooperate and provide complete and truthful information.

D.  Resolution of Complaints Against Student Respondents

During the course of the investigation of complaints involving student respondents, the Investigating Officer will determine if there are disputed material facts.  If there are disputed material facts, a hearing will be convened before a panel of three (3) Student Conduct Officers (not including the Investigating Officer) appointed by the Deputy Title IX Coordinator to resolve the disputed material facts.  The hearing panel will appoint a Chair who will oversee the hearing and ensure it is carried out according to the following guidelines:

  • The resolution of disputed material facts will be based on a majority vote of the hearing panel using a preponderance of the evidence standard.
  • Members of the hearing panel must recuse themselves if they have a conflict of interest in the matter. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will appoint another Student Conduct Officer to replace a hearing panel member with a conflict of interest.
  • The complainant and the respondent must have similar and timely access to any information that will be used at the hearing.
  • When requested by the complainant, the University will make arrangements so that the complainant and respondent do not have to be present in the same room at the same time during the hearing.
  • The parties will generally not be allowed to personally question each other, though they may submit questions to the hearing panel to ask the other party on their behalf. The hearing panel may choose not to ask the question if it is inappropriate or irrelevant to disputed material facts being resolved.
  • Questioning about the complainant’s sexual history with anyone other than the respondent will not typically be permitted, especially when the purpose is purely to show the complainant’s sexual predisposition. However, in certain circumstances it may be permissible, such as if the complainant raises the issue or if it is of particular relevance to the current complaint.

The Chair is responsible for drafting a written statement that contains the factual findings of the hearing panel. The members of the panel will sign the written statement, and the Chair will provide it to the Investigating Officer.

Upon receipt of the hearing panel’s statement, or at the conclusion of the investigation when there has been a determination that there are no disputed material facts, the Investigating Officer will prepare a draft written report. This document will explain the scope of the investigation, identify findings of fact, incorporate the hearing panel’s findings (if any), and state whether any allegations in the complaint were found to be substantiated by a preponderance of the evidence resulting in a policy violation.

If it has been determined that sexual misconduct occurred, the Investigating Officer shall set forth in an addendum to the draft written report those steps necessary to maintain an environment free from discrimination and harassment and to protect the safety and well-being of the complainant and other members of the University Community. Such actions will also include reasonable steps to correct the effects of such conduct on the complainant and others and to prevent the recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Examples of such action include:  no-contact orders, classroom reassignment, the provision of counseling or other support services, training, and discipline for the perpetrator, including up to expulsion, or other appropriate institutional sanctions.

The Investigating Officer will then present the draft written report and addendum to the Title IX Coordinator of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for review.  The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will review the documents, revise as necessary, and finalize them. They will notify the parties of the outcome in writing as described in Section II.F, below.

The final written determination of the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator shall be final subject only to the right of appeal set forth in Section III, below.

E.  Resolution of Complaints Against Employee Respondents, Faculty Respondents, and Third-Party Respondents

During the resolution of complaints involving a respondent who is not a student, a hearing panel will not be utilized. At the conclusion of the Investigating Officer’s investigation, the Investigating Officer will prepare a draft written report. The report will explain the scope of the investigation and identify findings of fact.  The Investigating Officer will present the report to the Title IX Coordinator, and the Title IX Coordinator will review the draft, revise as necessary, and finalize it.

If the final written report finds that any allegations in the complaint were found to be substantiated by a preponderance of the evidence resulting in a policy violation, the Title IX Coordinator will consult with the University administrator with jurisdiction over the complainant and respondent to determine discipline and remedial measures. The Title IX Coordinator will prepare an addendum setting forth the discipline and remedial measures.

Examples of such measures include:  no-contact orders, classroom reassignment, the provision of counseling or other support services, training, and discipline for the perpetrator, including up to termination, or other appropriate institutional sanctions. Discipline may be directly imposed or, in cases with faculty member respondents, a referral may be made for further discipline proceedings in accordance with faculty discipline proceedings.

The Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties of the outcome in writing as described in Section II.F, below.

F.  Notification of Outcome

The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will provide written notification of the outcome of the investigation and any addendum to the complainant and the respondent within three (3) days of its completion. If necessary, the version of the addendum provided to the complainant and/or respondent will be redacted to ensure that information concerning any remedial and/or disciplinary measures is disclosed in a manner consistent with Title IX, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), and the Clery Act, as explained by the April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education, available at http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/letters/colleague-201104.pdf.

G.  Special Procedure for Complaints Against the President, the Title IX Coordinator, or Other Administrators Ranked Higher than the Title IX Coordinator

If a complaint involves alleged conduct on the part of the University’s President, Title IX Coordinator shall obtain a written statement from the Complainant and the Respondent and submit those statements to the Chairperson of the University’s Board of Governors. If the Chairperson of the University’s Board of Governors finds sufficient evidence that a violation of policy occurred, he/she will designate the Investigating Officer. Based on the information gathered by the investigation, the Board of Governors will prepare and issue the written report determining the complaint. The determination of the Board of Trustees is final and not subject to appeal.

If a complaint involves alleged conduct on the part of the Title IX Coordinator or any administrator ranked higher than the Title IX Coordinator, the University’s President will designate the Investigating Officer.  Based on the information gathered by the investigation, the University’s President will prepare and issue the written report determining the complaint.  The determination of the President is final and not subject to appeal.

III.  Appeals

A.  Grounds of Appeal

The complainant or respondent may appeal the determination of a complaint only on the following grounds:

  • There is a substantial likelihood that newly discovered information, not available at the time evidence was presented to the Investigating Officer or hearing panel, would result in a different decision
  • There was a procedural error significant enough to call the outcome into question
  • There was a clear error in factual findings
  • Bias or prejudice on the part of the Investigating Officer and/or hearing panel
  • The punishment or the corrective action imposed is disproportionate to the offense

B.  Method of Appeal

In cases where there is a student respondent, appeals must be filed with the Vice-President for Student Affairs. In cases where there is a faculty respondent, appeals must be filed with the Provost. In cases where there is an employee respondent or third-party respondent, appeals must be filed with the Vice-President for Finance and Administration. In this capacity, the Vice-President for Student Affairs, Provost, and Vice-President for Finance and Administration will be referred to as “Appeal Officials.”  The appeal must be filed within ten (10) days of receipt of the written report determining the outcome of the complaint.  The appeal must be in writing and contain the following:

  • Name of the complainant
  • Name of the respondent
  • A statement of the determination of the complaint, including corrective action if any
  • A detailed statement of the basis for the appeal including the specific facts, circumstances, and argument in support of it
  • Requested action, if any

The appellant may request a meeting with the appropriate Appeal Official, but the decision to grant a meeting is within the Appeal Official’s discretion. However, if a meeting is granted, then the other party will be granted a similar opportunity.

IV.  Resolution of the Appeal

The Appeal Official will resolve the appeal within fifteen (15) days of receiving it and may take any and all actions that he/she determines to be in the interest of a fair and just decision. The decision of the Appeal Official is final. The Appeal Official shall issue a short and plain, written statement of the resolution of the appeal, including any changes made to the Title IX Coordinator’s previous written determination. The written statement shall be provided to the complainant, respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) days of the resolution.

In some cases involving faculty member respondents, the discipline imposed may result in additional process following the appeal.

V.  Documentation

Throughout all stages of the investigation, resolution, and appeal, the Investigating Officer, the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and the Appeal Officials as the case may be, are responsible for maintaining documentation of the investigation and appeal, including documentation of all proceedings conducted under these complaint resolution procedures, which may include written findings of fact, transcripts, and audio recordings.

VI.  Intersection With Other Procedures

These complaint resolution procedures are the exclusive means of resolving complaints alleging violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. To the extent there are any inconsistencies between these complaint resolution procedures and other University grievance, complaint, or discipline procedures, these complaint resolution procedures will control the resolution of complaints alleging violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.