Resolution processes

When a report or a formal complaint is received by the Title IX Office, the coordinator will review the matter and determine whether the allegations constitute Tier I prohibited conduct, Tier II prohibited conduct, or a combination of Tier I and Tier II. The Title IX Coordinator will then identify the appropriate resolution process and next steps.

Tier I resolution process

Evidentiary considerations

The formal grievance process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, which may support or refute whether the respondent engaged in a policy violation.

All times during the resolution process, credibility determinations will not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a complainant, respondent, or witness.

All school assigned participants, Title IX Coordinator, investigators, and hearing officers will operate with the presumption that the respondent is not responsible for the alleged prohibited conduct unless and until the respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation by clear and convincing evidence.

Neither the investigators nor the hearing officer will consider the following:

  • Incidents not directly related to the possible violation unless there is evidence of a pattern.
  • The character of the parties when irrelevant to an assessment of whether the alleged prohibited conduct occurred.
  • Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior (with limited exceptions noted below).

The investigator and the hearing officer can consider questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior if such questions and evidence are offered for the following reasons:

  • To prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant.
  • To establish consent.

Notice

The Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations to the respondent upon commencement of the formal grievance process. The Title IX Coordinator will tell the complainant in advance when the notice will be delivered to the respondent.

The notice will include the following:

  • A meaningful summary of all allegations.
  • The identity of the involved parties, if known.
  • The precise prohibited conduct 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 or responsive actions that could result.
  • A statement that the school 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 allowed to inspect and review all directly related and/or relevant evidence obtained during the grievance process.
  • A statement about the school’s policy on retaliation.
  • Information about the privacy of the process.
  • A statement that each party may have an advisor of their choosing and suggestions for ways to identify an advisor.
  • A statement informing the parties that the school’s policy prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process.
  • Information on how the parties may request disability accommodations during the interview process.
  • The school’s Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) information details.
  • The names of the investigators, along with a process to identify, in advance of the interview process, any conflict of interest that the investigators may have.
  • An instruction to preserve any evidence that is directly related to the allegations.

Amendments and updates to the notice may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various charges.


Referral for hearing

Once the final investigation report is shared with the parties, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter for a hearing.

The hearing date will not be less than 10 nor more than 30 days from when the final investigation report is transmitted to the parties and the decision-maker, unless all parties and the hearing officer agree to an expedited timeline.


Notice of hearing

The hearing officer will send notice of the hearing to the parties. The notice will contain the following:

  • A description of the alleged violations, a list of all associated policies regarding the alleged violations, a description of the applicable procedures, and a statement of the potential sanctions or responsive actions that could result.
  • The time, date, and location of the hearing and a reminder that attendance is mandatory and overrides all other campus activities for the participants.
  • 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 hearing officer(s) and parties to see and hear a party or witness answering questions. The notice will identify that such a request must be raised with the hearing officer at least five days before the hearing.
  • A list of all those who will attend the hearing, along with an invitation to object to any assigned hearing officer on a demonstrated bias. The notice will identify that such a request must be raised with the Title IX Coordinator at least five days before 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 hearing officer.
  • Based on a request of a hearing postponement in order to attend, at the sole discretion of the hearing officer, the hearing officer may reschedule the hearing.
  • Notification that the parties will be required to have an advisor present to ask any questions they may desire to ask. The party must notify the Title IX Coordinator if they do not have an advisor, and the school will appoint one. Each party must have an advisor present.
  • A copy of any materials provided to the decision-maker(s) about the matter, which have not been previously distributed to the parties.
  • An invitation to each party to submit to the hearing officer an impact statement before the hearing. The hearing officer will forward the impact statements to the appropriate disciplinary body along with the hearing findings to be considered during any sanction determination.
  • A requirement to contact the Title IX Coordinator at least seven days before the hearing to arrange any disability accommodations, language assistance, and/or interpretation services that may be needed at the hearing,
  • A statement that the Hearing will be recorded by the school with the following retention obligations:
    • This recording will be the only official record of the hearing.
    • This recording will be maintained in compliance with federal and state law and the school records retention policy.
    •  After the hearing, any party wishing to review this recording may submit a written request to the Title IX Coordinator.

Both the complainant and respondent will receive the above information unless they submit a written request not to receive further information.

The school may modify these notification standards to accommodate a criminal investigation.


Standard of proof and impact statements

The hearing officer will determine whether the respondent is responsible for the reported policy violations. The investigation and grievance process will determine, by “clear and convincing evidence,” whether the policy has been violated.

The hearing officer will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party or parties. When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the hearing officer will provide the impact statements to the appropriate disciplinary body. An impact statement, although permitted, is not dispositive for determining the appropriate sanction.

Impact statements are voluntary and are limited to five pages in length. All impact statements must be received before the start of the hearing. The Title IX Coordinator, at their sole discretion, may grant an extension. If an extension is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties.

Based on the findings, the relevant disciplinary body will determine the sanction in accordance with the current conduct policies within five days from receipt of the decision and provide it to the hearing officer for inclusion in the notice.


Outcome

Notice of determination and sanctions: Within 15 days after the hearing, the hearing officer will send a simultaneous written notice to the complainant and respondent (with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate disciplinary body) setting forth the determination on whether the policy and/or other student conduct policies have been violated, and, if so, determination of any sanctions to be imposed.

The written notice will include the following:

  • A summary of the allegations that would constitute prohibited conduct violations under the policy and any other related violations, as applicable.
  • For each allegation, the determinations of whether the policy and other policies have been violated.
  • A description of the imposed sanctions, if any, and the associated rationale regarding each allegation.
  • That the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether complainant will be provided additional remedies, and will inform complainant of that determination.
  • A description of the procedural history of the complaint.
  • A summary of the facts found by the investigator that the parties did not dispute.
  • The findings on each disputed material fact and an analysis of the evidence supporting the findings.
  • The rationale for the determination of each charge.
  • A statement of the right to appeal, grounds and time frame for appeal, the office to which an appeal must be submitted, and the procedure that the school will follow in deciding the appeal.
  • An explanation that both the parties will receive a copy of any appeal submitted in accordance with these procedures.

Sanctions

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.


Withdrawal

Should a respondent decide not to participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation. Should a student respondent permanently withdraw or resign from the school, the resolution process ends, as the school no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the respondent. However, the school may place a notation on the student respondent’s transcript if a withdrawal occurs while an investigation is under way.

The school 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 prohibited conduct.

Tier II resolution process

Overview

The procedures described below apply to all Tier II allegations. Tier II procedures may also cover other school policy violations when jurisdiction does not fall within Tier I.

These procedures may also be used to address collateral misconduct arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with the prohibited conduct (e.g., vandalism, physical abuse of another person). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to incidents covered by the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Sex Discrimination, and Retaliation will be addressed through the procedures in the respective Academic Catalog or Faculty Handbook.


Informal resolution

The Title IX Coordinator, the complainant, or the respondent may propose an informal resolution of the complaint at any time. When feasible and permitted, informal resolution may include an agreement to stay away from persons, alter behavior, or change schedules.

If a party proposes an informal resolution and the Title IX Coordinator finds the informal resolution proposal acceptable, the Title IX Coordinator will propose the informal resolution to the other party. If both parties agree to the proposed informal resolution, and the outcome is acceptable, the matter will be considered resolved and closed. If either party disagrees with the proposed informal resolution, the complaint resolution process will continue. In situations involving faculty, the Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs must be notified. In situations involving a staff member, the Senior Director of Human Resources must be notified.


Mediation

In some situations, mediation may be used to resolve a complaint, but only with the consent of both the complainant and respondent. Mediation, which typically involves an attempt to resolve a dispute through the help of an objective party, is not available in cases of sexual assault.

At no time will mediation be required, and participants may end their participation at any time. If mediation concludes without a successful resolution, the resolution process will continue. If mediation successfully resolves the complaint, the matter shall be considered resolved.


Administrative resolution

An administrative resolution involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, including evidence that may support or refute whether the respondent engaged in a policy violation.

At all times during the resolution process, credibility determinations will not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a complainant, respondent, or witness.

Notification of formal grievance process

If the Title IX Coordinator determines there is reason to move forward with a formal investigation, the complainant and respondent will be provided with written information regarding the Tier II grievance process. This notification will include a link to the following:

  • Policies and procedures related to the Tier II Grievance Process.
  • Resources available both on and off campus.

The primary method for notice and communication will be school email. All persons involved in the Tier II resolution process have an obligation to read all school emails promptly.

Complainants and respondents will simultaneously receive notice of the following:

  • The complaint, including alleged policy violations and the process for review and investigation of the complaint.
  • The option for informal resolution, where applicable.
  • The opportunity to review the investigation report and all documents/evidence gathered during the investigation (subject to limitations within the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act [FERPA]).
  • The date, time, and location of the review hearing.
  • The name of the hearing officer, the process to challenge the hearing officer, and any conflict-of-interest challenges.
  • The process for appealing either the finding or recommended sanctions.

Both the complainant and respondent will receive the above information unless they submit a written request not to receive further information.

The school may modify these notification standards to accommodate a criminal investigation.


Advisor

The complainant and respondent may choose anyone (including legal counsel or a union representative) to voluntarily serve as an advisor. The complainant and respondent may be accompanied to any meeting or hearing by their advisor.

Upon request, the school will assign a school-provided advisor to each complainant and respondent. The school-provided advisor will not otherwise be involved in the investigation. The school-provided advisor may help explain the steps involved in the resolution process and be available to answer questions regarding the process. The school-provided advisor may not speak on behalf of the complainant or respondent or otherwise engage with the investigators, hearing officer, or witnesses.

If a party requests that all communication be made through their attorney advisor, the school will comply with that request at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

The complainant and respondent must notify the Title IX Coordinator at least three days before the hearing date if they wish to bring an advisor to a hearing. The notification must include the name of the advisor.


Investigation report

Under the direction and oversight of the Title IX Coordinator, a formal investigation will commence. The investigation team will review all the facts and present a written report to the Title IX Coordinator or their designee.

The investigation report will provide the following:

  • A summary of the information gathered.
  • A description of the alleged incident.
  • Any factual agreements and disputes and supporting information.

In cases involving a faculty respondent, the final report is shared with the chair of the Faculty Advisory Committee.


Hearing

If the informal resolution or mediation process is inappropriate or unsuccessful, and/or the school or one of the parties requests a hearing, the school will conduct a review hearing.

The complainant and respondent will be provided with the hearing officer’s name in advance of the hearing process.

The hearing officer will consider all information presented, including the investigation report, and conclude one of the following:

  • A policy violation has occurred based on a preponderance of the evidence.
  • There is insufficient evidence to conclude that a policy violation has occurred by applying the preponderance of the evidence standard.

If the hearing officer decides that any policy violation has occurred, they will send their determination and findings to the appropriate disciplinary body within 10 days of the hearing.

Based on the findings, the relevant disciplinary body will determine the sanction in accordance with the current conduct policies within five days from receipt of the decision and provide it to the hearing officer for inclusion in the notice.

Notification of hearing outcome

Notice of determination and sanctions: Within 30 days of the hearing, the hearing officer will send a simultaneous written notice to the complainant and respondent (with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate disciplinary body) setting forth the determination on whether the policy and/or other student conduct policies have been violated, and, if so the sanctions to be imposed.

The notice will include the following:

  • The Hearing Officer finding and reason for each finding
  • The sanction(s) promulgated by the appropriate disciplinary body.
  • The process for appealing either the finding or recommended sanction(s)

The complainant and respondent will receive the above information unless one or both request in writing not to receive further information.

The school may modify these notification standards to accommodate a criminal investigation.


Sanctions

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.