8. Formal Grievance Process: Notice of Investigation and Allegations
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations (the “NOIA”) to the Respondent upon commencement of the Formal Grievance Process. This facilitates the Respondent’s ability to prepare for the interview and to identify and choose an Advisor to accompany them. The NOIA is also copied to the Complainant, who is to be given advance notice of when the NOIA will be delivered to the Respondent.
The NOIA will include:
- A meaningful summary of all of allegations,
- The identity of the involved parties (if known),
- The precise misconduct being alleged,
- The date and location of the alleged incident(s) (if known),
- The specific policies implicated,
- A description of the applicable procedures,
- A statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result,
- A statement that the University presumes the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a different determination,
- A statement that determinations of responsibility are made at the conclusion of the process and that the parties will be given an opportunity to inspect and review all directly related and/or relevant evidence obtained during the review and comment period,
- A statement about the University’s policy on retaliation,
- Information about the privacy of the process,
- Information on the need for each party to have an Advisor of their choosing and suggestions for ways to identify an Advisor,
- A statement informing the parties that the University’s Policy prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process,
- Detail on how the party may request disability accommodations during the interview process,
- A link to the University’s VAWA Brochure,
- The name(s) of the Investigator(s), along with a process to identify, in advance of the interview process, to the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, any conflict of interest that the Investigator(s) may have, and
- An instruction to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations.
Amendments and updates to the NOIA may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various charges.
Notice will be made in writing and will emailed to the parties’ University-issued email account. Once emailed notice will be presumptively delivered.
9. Resolution Timeline
The University will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process within a sixty-to-ninety (60-90) business day time period, including appeal, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, who will provide notice and rationale for any extensions or delays to the parties as appropriate, as well as a estimate of how much additional time will be needed to complete the process.
10. APPOINTMENT OF INVESTIGATORS
Once the decision to commence a formal investigation is made, the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, appoints Pool members to conduct the investigation (typically using a team of two Investigators), usually within two (2) business days of determining that an investigation should proceed.
The University retains the authority and has the sole discretion in determining when to assign an internal and or external (third party) Investigator. The assigned Investigator will have the requisite training and relevant experience.
The Title IX Coordinator or designee will assign an internal and/or external (third-party) investigator to conduct a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation. The University retains the authority and has the sole discretion in determining when to assign an internal and/or external (third-party) Investigator. The assigned Investigator will have training and experience investigation allegations of prohibited conduct.
11. ENSURING IMPARTIALITY
Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process [including the Title IX Coordinator, designated Deputy Coordinator, Investigator(s), and Decision-maker(s)] may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for a party generally, or for a specific Complainant or Respondent.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will vet the assigned Investigator(s) to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases. The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another Pool member will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the source of the conflict of interest or bias is the Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with the President of the University. If the source of the conflict is a designated Deputy Coordinator concerns should be raised with the appropriate Vice President.
The Formal Grievance Process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, including evidence that supports that the Respondent engaged in a policy violation and evidence that supports that the Respondent did not engage in a policy violation. Credibility determinations may not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
The University operates with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the Respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation by the applicable standard of proof.
12. INVESTIGATION TIMELINE
Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within thirty (30) business days, though some investigations may take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.
The University will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.
13. DELAYS IN THE INVESTIGATION PROCESS AND INTERACTIONS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT
The University may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to a few weeks) if circumstances require. Such circumstances include but are not limited to: a request from law enforcement to temporarily delay the investigation, the need for language assistance, the absence of parties and/or witnesses, and/or accommodations for disabilities or health conditions.
The University will communicate in writing the anticipated duration of the delay and reason to the parties and provide the parties with status updates if necessary. The University will promptly resume its investigation and resolution process as soon as feasible. During such a delay, the University will implement supportive measures as deemed appropriate.
University action(s) or processes are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.
14. STEPS IN THE INVESTIGATION PROCESS
All investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses; obtaining available, relevant evidence; and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.
All parties have a full and fair opportunity, through the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence and expert witnesses, and to fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.
The Investigator(s) typically take(s) the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in this order):
- Determine the identity and contact information of the Complainant
- In coordination with campus partners (e.g., the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator), initiate or assist with any necessary supportive measures
- Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct and notify the Complainant and Respondent of all of the specific policies implicated
- Assist the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator with conducting a prompt initial assessment to determine if the allegations indicate a potential policy violation
- Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by identifying issues and developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the parties
- Meet with the Complainant to finalize their interview/statement, if necessary
- Prepare the initial Notice of Investigation and Allegation (NOIA). The NOIA may be amended with any additional or dismissed allegations
- Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of an Advisor, who could be a member of the Pool or an Advisor of their choosing present for all meetings attended by the party
- Provide each interviewed party and witness an opportunity to review and verify the Investigator’s summary notes (or transcript) of the relevant evidence/testimony from their respective interviews and meetings
- Make good faith efforts to notify the parties of any meeting or interview involving the other party, in advance when possible
- When participation of a party is expected, provide that party with written notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as the expected participants and purpose
- Interview all available, relevant witnesses and conduct follow-up interviews as necessary
- Allow each party the opportunity to suggest witnesses and questions they wish the Investigator(s) to ask of the other party and witnesses, and document in the report which questions were asked, with a rationale for any changes or omissions
- Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
- Provide regular status updates to the parties throughout the investigation
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective Advisors(if so desired by the parties) with a list of witnesses whose information will be used to render a finding
- Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation, all witness interviews, and addressing all relevant evidence. Appendices including relevant physical or documentary evidence will be included.
- The Investigator(s) gather, assess, and synthesize evidence, but make no conclusions, engage in no policy analysis, and render no recommendations as part of their report.
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective Advisors(if so desired by the parties) a secured electronic or hard copy of the draft investigation report as well as an opportunity to inspect and review all of the evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the reported misconduct, including evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination, for a ten (10) business day review and comment period so that each party may meaningfully respond to the evidence. The parties may elect to waive the full ten days. Each copy of the materials shared will be watermarked on each page with the role of the person receiving it (e.g., Complainant, Respondent, Complainant’s Advisor, Respondent’s Advisor).
- The Investigator(s) may elect to respond in writing in the investigation report to the parties’ submitted responses and/or to share the responses between the parties for additional responses
- The Investigator(s) will incorporate relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report, include any additional relevant evidence, make any necessary revisions, and finalize the report. The Investigator(s) should document all rationales for any changes made after the review and comment period
- The Investigator(s) shares the report with the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, and/or legal counsel.
- The Investigator will incorporate any relevant feedback, and the final report is then shared with all parties and their Advisors through secure electronic transmission or hard copy at least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing. The parties are also provided with a file of any directly related evidence that was not included in the report
15. ROLE AND PARTICIPATION OF WITNESSES IN THE INVESTIGATION
Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are employees of the University are expected to cooperate with and participate in the University’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of such witnesses to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of policy and may warrant discipline.
Although in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g., study abroad, summer break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WebEx, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigator(s) determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. The University will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.
Witnesses may also provide written statements in lieu of interviews or choose to respond to written questions, if deemed appropriate by the Investigator(s), though not preferred. If a witness submits a written statement but does not intend to be and is not present for cross examination at a hearing, their written statement may not be used as evidence.
16. RECORDING OF INTERVIEWS
No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of, and consent to, audio and/or video recording.
17. EVIDENTIARY CONSIDERATIONS IN THE INVESTIGATION
The investigation does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) the character of the parties; or 3) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
18. REFERRAL FOR HEARING
Provided that the complaint is not resolved through Informal Resolution, once the final investigation report is shared with the parties, the Title IX Coordinator or designated Deputy Coordinator, will refer the matter for a hearing.
The hearing cannot be less than ten (10) business days from the conclusion of the investigation –when the final investigation report is transmitted to the parties and the Decision-maker–unless all parties and the Decision-maker agree to an expedited timeline.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will select an appropriate Decision-maker or Decision makers from the Pool depending on whether the Respondent is an employee or a student. Allegations involving student-employees in the context of their employment will be directed to the appropriate Decision-maker depending on the context and nature of the alleged misconduct.
19. HEARING DECISION-MAKER COMPOSITION
The University will utilize a Board of Review or a Sole External Hearing officer/adjudicator to adjudicate Hearings under the procedures. The University retains the sole discretion in determining if a Board of Review or Sole External Hearing Officer/Adjudicator will be utilized. The University will ensure that members of the board or the Sole External Reviewer has the requisite training and relevant experience.
The Decision-maker(s) will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, may elect to have an alternate from the Pool sit in throughout the hearing process in the event that a substitute is needed for any reason.
Those who have served as Investigators will be witnesses in the hearing and therefore may not serve as Decision-makers. Those who are serving as Advisors for any party may not serve as Decision-makers in that matter.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, may not serve as a Decision-maker or Chair in the matter but may serve as an administrative facilitator of the hearing if their previous role(s) in the matter do not create a conflict of interest. Otherwise, a designee may fulfill this role. The hearing will convene at a time determined by the Chair or designee.
The University retains the right to utilize an external Board of Review or a Sole Hearing Officer/Adjudicator. The University will ensure that the external members of the Board of Review or Sole Hearing Officer had had the requisite training and relevant experience.
20. EVIDENTIARY CONSIDERATIONS IN THE HEARING
Any evidence that the Decision-maker(s) determine(s) is relevant and credible may be considered. The hearing does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) the character of the parties; or 3) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a determination of responsibility, assuming the University uses a progressive discipline system. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process and is not shared until then.
The parties may each submit a written impact statement prior to the hearing for the consideration of the Decision-maker(s) at the sanction stage of the process when a determination of responsibility is reached.
After post-hearing deliberation, the Decision-maker renders a determination based on [the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.
21. NOTICE OF HEARING
No less than ten (10) business days prior to the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, or the Chair will send notice of the hearing to the parties. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The notice will contain
- A description of the alleged violation(s), a list of all policies allegedly violated, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result.
- The time, date, and location of the hearing and a reminder that attendance is mandatory, superseding all other campus activities.
- Any technology that will be used to facilitate the hearing.
- Information about the option for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms using technology that enables the Decision-maker(s) and parties to see and hear a party or witness answering questions. Such a request must be raised with the Title IX Coordinator at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
- A list of all those who will attend the hearing, along with an invitation to object to any Decision-maker on the basis of demonstrated bias. This must be raised with the Title IX Coordinator at least two (2) business days prior to the hearing.
- Information on how the hearing will be recorded and on access to the recording for the parties after the hearing.
- A statement that if any party or witness does not appear at the scheduled hearing, the hearing may be held in their absence, and the party’s or witness’s testimony and any statements given prior to the hearing will not be considered by the Decision-maker(s). For compelling reasons, the Chair may reschedule the hearing.
- Notification that the parties may have the assistance of an Advisor of their choosing at the hearing and will be required to have one present for any questions they may desire to ask. The party must notify the Title IX Coordinator if they do not have an Advisor, and the Recipient will appoint one. Each party must have an Advisor present. There are no exceptions.
- A copy of all the materials provided to the Decision-maker(s) about the matter, unless they have been provided already.
- An invitation to each party to submit to the Chair an impact statement pre-hearing that the Decision-maker will review during any sanction determination.
- An invitation to contact the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, to arrange any disability accommodations, language assistance, and/or interpretation services that may be needed at the hearing, at least seven (7) business days prior to the hearing.
- Whether parties can/cannot bring mobile phones/devices into the hearing.
Hearings for possible violations that occur near or after the end of an academic term (assuming the Respondent is still subject to this Policy) and are unable to be resolved prior to the end of term will typically be held immediately after the end of the term or during the summer, as needed, to meet the resolution timeline followed by the University and remain within the 60-90 business day goal for resolution.
In these cases, if the Respondent is a graduating student, a hold may be placed on graduation and/or official transcripts until the matter is fully resolved (including any appeal). A student facing charges under this Policy is not in good standing to graduate.
22. ALTERNATIVE HEARING PARTICIPATION OPTIONS
If a party or parties prefer not to attend or cannot attend the hearing in person, the party should request alternative arrangements from the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, or the Chair at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, or the Chair can arrange to use technology to allow remote testimony without compromising the fairness of the hearing. Remote options may also be needed for witnesses who cannot appear in person. Any witness who cannot attend in person should let the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, or the Chair know at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing so that appropriate arrangements can be made.
23. PRE-HEARING PREPARATION
The Chair or hearing facilitator after any necessary consultation with the parties, Investigator(s) and/or Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will provide the names of persons who will be participating in the hearing, all pertinent documentary evidence, and the final investigation report to the parties at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing.
Any witness scheduled to participate in the hearing must have been first interviewed by the Investigator(s), or have proffered a written statement or answered written questions, unless all parties and the Chair assent to the witness’s participation in the hearing. The same holds for any evidence that is first offered at the hearing. If the parties and Chair do not assent to the admission of evidence newly offered at the hearing, the Chair may delay the hearing and instruct that the investigation needs to be re-opened to consider that evidence.
The parties will be given a list of the names of the Decision-maker(s) at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. All objections to any Decision-maker must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, as soon as possible and no later than two days prior to the hearing. Decision-makers will only be removed if the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial hearing of the allegation(s).
The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will give the Decision-maker(s) a list of the names of all parties, witnesses, and Advisors at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. Any Decision-maker who cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties, witnesses, and Advisors in advance of the hearing. If a Decision-maker is unsure of whether a bias or conflict of interest exists, they must raise the concern to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.
During the ten (10) business day period prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity for continued review and comment on the final investigation report and available evidence. That review and comment can be shared with the Chair at the pre-hearing meeting or at the hearing and will be exchanged between each party by the Chair.
24. PRE-HEARING MEETINGS
The Chair may convene a pre-hearing meeting(s) with the parties and their Advisors to invite them to submit the questions or topics they (the parties and their Advisors) wish to ask or discuss at the hearing, so that the Chair can rule on their relevance ahead of time to avoid any improper evidentiary introduction in the hearing or provide recommendations for more appropriate phrasing. However, this advance review opportunity does not preclude the Advisors from asking a question for the first time at the hearing or from asking for a reconsideration based on any new information or testimony offered at the hearing. The Chair must document and share with each party their rationale for any exclusion or inclusion at a pre-hearing meeting.
The Chair, only with full agreement of the parties, may decide in advance of the hearing that certain witnesses do not need to be present if their testimony can be adequately summarized by the Investigator(s) in the investigation report or during the hearing.
At each pre-hearing meeting with a party and their Advisor, the Chair will consider arguments that evidence identified in the final investigation report as relevant is, in fact, not relevant. Similarly, evidence identified as directly related but not relevant by the Investigator(s) may be argued to be relevant.
The Chair may rule on these arguments pre-hearing and will exchange those rulings between the parties prior to the hearing to assist in preparation for the hearing. The Chair may consult with legal counsel and/or the Title IX Coordinator or ask either or both to attend pre-hearing meetings.
The pre-hearing meeting(s) will be recorded.
25. HEARING PROCEDURES
At the hearing, the Decision-maker(s) has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of sexual harassment and/or retaliation and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the sexual harassment and/or retaliation, even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within the Policy.
Participants at the hearing will include the Chair, any additional panelists, the hearing facilitator (if there is one), the Investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the parties (or three (3) organizational representatives when an organization is the Respondent), Advisors to the parties, any called witnesses, the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator and ,anyone providing authorized accommodations or assistive services.
The Chair will answer all questions of procedure.Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will respond to questions on their own behalf.
The Chair will allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the Decision-maker(s) and the parties and will then be excused.
26. JOINT HEARINGS
In hearings involving more than one Respondent or in which two (2) or more Complainants have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the default procedure will be to hear the allegations jointly.
However, the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, may permit the investigation and/or hearings pertinent to each Respondent to be conducted separately if there is a compelling reason to do so. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Respondent with respect to each alleged policy violation.
27. THE ORDER OF THE HEARING – INTRODUCTIONS AND EXPLANATION OF PROCEDURE
The Chair explains the procedures and introduces the participants. This may include a final opportunity for challenge or recusal of the Decision-maker(s) on the basis of bias or conflict of interest. The Chair will rule on any such challenge unless the Chair is the individual who is the subject of the challenge, in which case the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will review and decide the challenge.
The Chair then conducts the hearing according to the hearing script. At the hearing, recording, witness logistics, party logistics, curation of documents, separation of the parties, and other administrative elements of the hearing process are managed by a non-voting hearing facilitator appointed by the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator. The hearing facilitator may attend to: logistics of rooms for various parties/witnesses as they wait; flow of parties/witnesses in and out of the hearing space; ensuring recording and/or virtual conferencing technology is working as intended; copying and distributing materials to participants, as appropriate, etc.
28. INVESTIGATOR PRESENTS THE FINAL INVESTIGATION REPORT
The Investigator(s) will then present a summary of the final investigation report, including items that are contested and those that are not, and will be subject to questioning by the Decision-maker(s) and the parties (through their Advisors). The Investigator(s) will be present during the entire hearing process, but not during deliberations.
Neither the parties nor the Decision-maker(s) should ask the Investigator(s) their opinions on credibility, recommended findings, or determinations, and the Investigators, Advisors, and parties will refrain from discussion of or questions about these assessments. If such information is introduced, the Chair will direct that it be disregarded.
29. TESTIMONY AND QUESTIONING
Once the Investigator(s) present their report and are questioned, the parties and witnesses may provide relevant information in turn, beginning with the Complainant, and then in the order determined by the Chair. The parties/witnesses will submit to questioning by the Decision-maker(s) and then by the parties through their Advisors (“cross-examination”).
All questions are subject to a relevance determination by the Chair. The Advisor, who will remain seated during questioning, will pose the proposed question orally, electronically, or in writing (orally is the default, but other means of submission may be permitted by the Chair upon request if agreed to by all parties and the Chair), the proceeding will pause to allow the Chair to consider it (and state it if it has not been stated aloud), and the Chair will determine whether the question will be permitted, disallowed, or rephrased.
The Chair may invite explanations or persuasive statements regarding relevance with the Advisors, if the Chair so chooses. The Chair will then state their decision on the question for the record and advise the party/witness to whom the question was directed, accordingly. The Chair will explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant, or to reframe it for relevance.
The Chair will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), or abusive. The Chair has final say on all questions and determinations of relevance. The Chair may consult with legal counsel on any questions of admissibility. The Chair may ask Advisors to frame why a question is or is not relevant from their perspective but will not entertain argument from the Advisors on relevance once the Chair has ruled on a question.
If the parties raise an issue of bias or conflict of interest of an Investigator or Decision-maker at the hearing, the Chair may elect to address those issues, consult with legal counsel, and/or refer them to the Title IX Coordinator, and/or preserve them for appeal. If bias is not in issue at the hearing, the Chair should not permit irrelevant questions that probe for bias.
30. REFUSAL TO SUBMIT TO CROSS-EXAMINATION AND INFERENCES
If a party or witness chooses not to submit to cross-examination at the hearing, either because they do not attend the meeting, or they attend but refuse to participate in questioning, then the Decision-maker(s) may not rely on any prior statement made by that party or witness at the hearing (including those contained in the investigation report) in the ultimate determination of responsibility. The Decision-maker(s) must disregard that statement. Evidence provided that is something other than a statement by the party or witness may be considered.
If the party or witness attends the hearing and answers some cross-examination questions, only statements related to the cross-examination questions they refuse to answer cannot be relied upon. However, if the statements of the party who is refusing to submit to cross-examination or refuses to attend the hearing are the subject of the allegation itself (e.g., the case is about verbal harassment or a quid pro quo offer), then those statements are not precluded from admission. [Similarly, statements can be relied upon when questions are posed by the Decision-maker(s), as distinguished from questions posed by Advisors through cross-examination].
The Decision-maker(s) may not draw any inference solely from a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
If charges of policy violations other than sexual harassment are considered at the same hearing, the Decision-maker(s) may consider all evidence it deems relevant, may rely on any relevant statement as long as the opportunity for cross-examination is afforded to all parties through their Advisors, and may draw reasonable inferences from any decision by any party or witness not to participate or respond to questions.
If a party’s Advisor of choice refuses to comply with the University’s established rules of decorum for the hearing, the Recipient may require the party to use a different Advisor. If a recipient-provided Advisor refuses to comply with the rules of decorum, the University may provide that party with a different Advisor to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.
31. RECORDING HEARINGS
Hearings (but not deliberations) are recorded by the Universities for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.
The Decision-maker(s), the parties, their Advisors, and appropriate administrators of the University will be permitted to listen to the recording in a controlled environment determined by the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator. No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Title IX Coordinator or the designated Deputy Coordinator. .
32. DELIBERATION, DECISION-MAKING, AND STANDARD OF PROOF
The Decision-maker(s) will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. If a panel is used, a simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The preponderance of the evidence is the standard of proof is used. The hearing facilitator may be invited to attend the deliberation by the Chair, but is there only to facilitate procedurally, not to address the substance of the allegations.
When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the Decision-maker(s) may then consider the previously submitted party impact statements in determining appropriate sanction(s).
The Chair will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party(ies). The Decision-maker(s) may – at their discretion – consider the statements, but they are not binding.
The Decision-maker(s) will review the statements and any pertinent conduct history provided by the appropriate University administrator and will determine the appropriate sanction(s) in consultation with other appropriate administrators, as required.
The Chair will then prepare a written deliberation statement and deliver it to the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, the evidence not relied upon in its determination, credibility assessments, and any sanctions.
This report is typically three (3) to five (5) pages in length and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within two (2) business days of the end of deliberations, unless the Title IX Coordinator grants an extension. If an extension is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties.
33. NOTICE OF OUTCOME
Using the deliberation statement, the Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will work with the Chair to prepare a Notice of Outcome. The University may have the Notice of Outcome reviewed by legal counsel. The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Coordinator, will then share the letter, including the final determination, rationale, and any applicable sanction(s) with the parties and their Advisors within five (5) business days of receiving the Decision-maker(s)’ deliberation statement.
The Notice of Outcome will then be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and will be delivered via emailed to the parties’ University-issued email account. Once emailed the notice will be presumptively delivered.
The Notice of Outcome will articulate the specific policy(ies) reported to have been violated, including the relevant policy section, and will contain a description of the procedural steps taken by the University from the receipt of the misconduct report to the determination, including any and all notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to obtain evidence, and hearings held.
The Notice of Outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; a statement of, and rationale for, the result of each allegation to the extent the Recipient is permitted to share such information under state or federal law; any sanctions issued which the University is permitted to share according to state or federal law; and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to ensure access to the University’s educational or employment program or activity, to the extent the University is permitted to share such information under state or federal law (this detail is not typically shared with the Respondent unless the remedy directly relates to the Respondent).
The Notice of Outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by the University to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.
34. STATEMENT OF THE RIGHTS OF THE PARTIES (SEE APPENDIX C)
Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:
- The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s)
- The Respondent’s disciplinary history
- Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the sexual
- Harassment and/or retaliation
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of
- sexual harassment and/or retaliation
- The need to remedy the effects of the sexual harassment and/or
- retaliation on the Complainant and the community
- The impact on the parties
- Any other information deemed relevant by the Decision-maker(s)
The sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.
The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken, or sanctions imposed by external authorities.
a. Student Sanctions
The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:
- Warning: A formal statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any University policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
- Required Counseling: A mandate to meet with and engage in either University-sponsored or external counseling to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
- Probation: A written reprimand for violation of institutional policy, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in violation of any institutional policy, procedure, or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be articulated and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-curricular activities, exclusion from designated areas of campus, no-contact orders, and/or other measures deemed appropriate.
- Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure as a student at the University.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or to attend University-sponsored events. This sanction will be noted permanently as a Conduct Expulsion on the student’s official transcript.
- Withholding Diploma: The University may withhold a student’s diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has an allegation pending or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation.
- Revocation of Degree: The University reserves the right to revoke a degree previously awarded from the University for fraud, misrepresentation, and/or other violation of University policies, procedures, or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation.
- Organizational Sanctions: Deactivation, loss of recognition, loss of some or all privileges Univfor a specified period of time.
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
b. Employee Sanctions/Responsive Actions
Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment and/or retaliation include:
- Warning – Verbal or Written
- Performance Improvement Plan/Management Process
- Enhanced supervision, observation, or review
- Required Counseling
- Required Training or Education
- Denial of Pay Increase/Pay Grade
- Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
- Assignment to new supervisor
- Restriction of stipends, research, and/or professional development resources
- Suspension with pay
- Suspension without pay
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions/responsive actions, the University may assign any other responsive actions as deemed appropriate.
36. WITHDRAWAL OR RESIGNATION WHILE CHARGES PENDING
a. Students: If a student has an allegation pending for violation of the Policy, the University may place a hold on a student’s ability to graduate and/or to receive an official transcript/diploma.
Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student Respondent permanently withdraw from the University, the resolution process ends, as the University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student.
However, the University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged sexual harassment and/or retaliation. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to the University. Such exclusion applies to all campuses of Recipient. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. They may also be barred from Recipient property and/or events.
If the student Respondent only withdraws or takes a leave for a specified period of time (e.g., one semester or term), the resolution process may continue remotely and that student is not permitted to return to the University unless and until all sanctions have been satisfied.
b. Employees: Should an employee Respondent resign with unresolved allegations pending, the resolution process ends, as the University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the resigned employee.
However, the University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment or retaliation.
The employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for rehire with the University or any campus of the University, and the records retained by the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status.
All University responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include that the former employee resigned during a pending disciplinary matter.