The University's Grievance Process for Resolving Complaints of Prohibited Conduct
If Prohibited Conduct is reported to the University through a non-confidential resource, the Title IX Coordinator will attempt to contact the reporter to review this Policy and discuss the privacy of the process, amnesty (if appropriate), accommodations, supportive measures, options for informal resolution (if appropriate), and the investigation and adjudication process for formal complaints.
For purposes of the University's process, the subject of the Prohibited Conduct is referred to as the Complainant, and the alleged perpetrator of the Prohibited Conduct is referred to as the Respondent. The Complainant may or may not be the reporter of the Prohibited Conduct. Both the Complainant and the Respondent are referred to as the parties for purposes of this process. In certain circumstances, the University may serve as the Complainant in a formal complaint.
There is a presumption that a Respondent is not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
Each party has the right to bring an advisor of their choosing to any meetings or discussions relating to the formal resolution process. The advisor may advise the party directly and provide support to the party, but may not speak for the party or disrupt the meetings or proceedings. Advisors play a more active role if and when a case is submitted to a Hearing Panel, as detailed further below.
Under this process, any of the Title IX Coordinator's duties may be performed by and discretion may be exercised by a designee.
A. Privacy of the Process
The University recognizes that Prohibited Conduct is a sensitive subject for all individuals involved in the underlying incident(s) as well as the process to resolve such incidents. The University is committed to maintaining the privacy of the parties involved to the fullest extent possible, and information regarding Prohibited Conduct is maintained in a secure manner and is only shared with individuals who have a need to know. Student education records are protected in compliance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Medical records are protected by similar state and federal laws. Access to employee personnel records is restricted in accordance with University policies and state and federal law.
Complainants sometimes ask that their name not be disclosed to the Respondent or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address the Prohibited Conduct. In such situations, honoring the request may limit the University's ability to respond fully to the incident, including investigating and pursuing disciplinary action against the Respondent as appropriate. Complainants worried about such disclosure should remember that the University strongly prohibits retaliation against those reporting Prohibited Conduct and that it will work with the Complainant to take steps to prevent retaliation.
Although the University tries to honor such requests, there are situations in which the University must override such requests for confidentiality in order to meet its obligations under Title IX to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. To determine whether it is necessary to pursue action despite a Complainant's request for anonymity or no action, the University will consider relevant factors such as the following: whether there are circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of the Respondent committing additional acts of sexual violence or other violence; whether there have been other sexual violence complaints about the same Respondent; whether the Respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior institution indicating a history of violence; whether the Respondent threatened further sexual violence or other violence against others; whether the sexual violence was committed by multiple Respondents; whether there are circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of future acts of sexual violence under similar circumstances such as where a report reveals a pattern of perpetration; whether sexual violence was perpetrated with a weapon; the age of the Complainant subjected to the sexual violence; and whether the University possess other means to obtain relevant evidence.
If the University determines that it must disclose a Complainant's identity to a Respondent despite a request for confidentiality, it will strive to inform the reporter prior to making this disclosure and consider whether any supportive measures are necessary to protect the Complainant. The University will also inform the Respondent that it was the University's decision, and not the Complainant's, to address the report.
Making an initial request for anonymity or no discipline does not preclude a Complainant from choosing to proceed with the process at a later date.
If a report discloses an immediate threat to the campus community, the University may issue a Timely Warning of the conduct in the interest of the safety and well-being of the campus community. This warning will not contain personally identifying information about the Complainant.
B. Filing a Formal Complaint
A formal complaint is defined as a written document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information required to be listed for the Title IX Coordinator. Additionally, a “document filed by a Complainant" can be in the form of an electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the University) that contains the Complainant's physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. In situations, where the Title IX Coordinator initiates or signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not a Complainant and must comply with the guidelines outlined in this section.
The University may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances. The same facts and circumstances means that the multiple Complainants' allegations are so intertwined that their allegations directly relate to all parties.
C. Initial Assessment
Upon receiving a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct an initial assessment to evaluate whether the complaint alleges sufficient information to suggest that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred. This determination may be based on information submitted by the Complainant, as well as information gathered by the Title IX Coordinator during a preliminary investigation.
As part of the initial assessment, the Title IX Coordinator will determine what Prohibited Conduct is properly alleged, whether informal resolution would be appropriate in the case given the allegations, and whether any of the allegations constitute “Sexual Harassment – Title IX" under this Policy.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is insufficient information to suggest that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred, they will notify the Complainant. The Complainant may submit additional information if desired. The process cannot move forward unless and until the Title IX Coordinator receives information sufficient to suggest that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred.
In cases where a Respondent is unable to be identified after the initial assessment, the process will be suspended unless and until there is sufficient information to charge a Respondent.
D. Notice to the Parties
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the formal complaint alleges sufficient information to suggest that Prohibited Conduct may have occurred, they will provide written notice to all parties of the charges that will be investigated. The charges may include violations of other University policies where such charges are related to the Prohibited Conduct under investigation. In such cases, these policy violations will be addressed pursuant to this Policy and not any other disciplinary process, such as the student conduct process.
The written notice shall include:
- Notice of this Policy;
- Allegations of Prohibited Conduct and any other violations of University policy that will be considered in the same case, including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview;
- The University's position that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
- The right of each party to have an advisor of their choice, who may be an attorney;
- The right of each party to inspect and review evidence;
- The University's prohibition on knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process;
- The date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings currently scheduled, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate;
- The right to suggest witnesses and provide statements and evidence;
- A reminder of the prohibition against retaliation;
- A reminder that each party is eligible to request supportive measures through the Title IX Coordinator;
- The identity of the investigators and a short timeline to object due to any concerns about bias or conflict;
- Whether informal resolution is an option in this case and, if so, how to indicate an interest in informal resolution.
If additional allegations are determined to be appropriate to add to the investigation at a later time, the Title IX Coordinator shall provide notice of such allegations in writing to all parties.
E. Emergency Removal
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall conduct an individualized safety and risk assessment to determine whether the Respondent's presence in the University's education programs and activities poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment. If so, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether such risk assessment justifies the removal of the Respondent from campus on an emergency basis pending the outcome of the investigation. Threats must pose more than a generalized, hypothetical, or speculative risk to health and safety for emergency removal to be appropriate.
A removed Respondent will receive written notice from the Title IX Coordinator of the emergency removal and will be provided with an opportunity to appeal the decision within writing to the designated Appeal Officer within two (2) calendar days of the removal. The Appeal Officer's decision must be rendered within two (2) calendar days of receiving the appeal. The decision-makers for this appeal will not be otherwise assigned to this case as an investigator, a member of the Hearing Panel, the Title IX Coordinator, or a member of the Appeals Panel.
The Title IX Coordinator, at their discretion, will designate the Appeal Officer.
Non-student employees may be placed on administrative leave during the grievance process without receiving any appeal of such administrative leave.
F. Informal Resolution
The University does not require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, the waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment under the University's grievance process. Similarly, the University will never require the parties in a sexual harassment allegation to participate in an informal resolution process, as described below.
After the initiation of a formal complaint of sexual harassment, if all parties voluntarily consent in writing, the University will assist the parties in an informal resolution process. An informal resolution process is available at any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility in the grievance process, except in the cases of reports of sexual harassment of a student by a University employee.
Before initiating an informal process, the University will: (1) provide the parties a written notice that an informal resolution process is available to them; and (2) obtain the parties' voluntary, written consent to the informal resolution process. The written notice to the parties will disclose the allegations, the requirements of the informal resolution process (described below), and any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.
The University's informal process enables that, at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has a right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint.
When sexual harassment allegations can be resolved through informal resolution by mutual consent of the parties and on a basis that is acceptable to the Title IX Coordinator, the resolution process shall be considered finally decided and there will be no subsequent process or appeal.
G. Formal Resolution
Complainants may choose to pursue a formal resolution, or as discussed above, the University may choose to move forward with the formal resolution process. The formal resolution process has three phases: investigation, live hearing with cross-examination, and appeal.
The University will attempt to complete most investigations within ninety (90) days to one hundred and eighty (180) days. The timeframe for formal investigations will begin upon filing of a complaint and will conclude upon submittal for hearing. Investigations may be delayed and timeframes for investigations may be extended for good cause and with written notice provided by the Title IX Coordinator to Complainants and Respondents including the reason for the delay or extension. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party's advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
The University will attempt to accommodate the schedules of parties and witnesses, however, grievance resolution must be completed in a reasonably prompt timeframe, and must proceed to conclusion even in the absence of a party or witness.
Any individual acting as a Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated by a University to facilitate an informal resolution process must not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent. The following will not be considered evidence of bias:
- The Title IX Coordinator's initiation of a formal complaint, or;
- An individual's decision that allegations warrant an investigation.
Complainants and Respondents are provided the opportunity to raise conflict of interest or bias throughout each step of the Formal Resolution Process. Concerns may be submitted, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator.
The University will apply an objective (whether a reasonable person would believe bias exists), common sense approach to evaluating whether a particular person serving in a Title IX role is biased, and will exercise caution not to apply generalizations that might unreasonably conclude that bias exists. An individual's current job title, professional qualifications, past experience, identity, or sex will not alone indicate bias.
Use of trauma-informed practices will not be considered evidence of bias when such practices do not:
- Rely on sex stereotypes;
- Apply generalizations to allegations in specific cases;
- Cause loss of impartiality, and;
- Prejudge of the facts at issue.
The University conducts a prompt, impartial, adequate, reliable, and thorough investigation of charges regarding Prohibited Conduct. Investigations will be carried out by two trained investigators who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party. The two investigators are assigned by the Title IX Coordinator and are required to keep information obtained in the investigation private except to the extent necessary to conduct the investigation or to protect the health or safety of the parties or others. In cases involving a large number of witnesses or other complex situations, additional trained, impartial investigators may be used to support the investigative team. The Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to assign external investigators who are not employed by the University but otherwise meet the training requirements. The external investigators will not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party.
Investigators are charged with conducting interviews of the parties and relevant witnesses who may have information relevant to the investigation (as determined by the investigators), reviewing relevant University records, gathering other relevant information, and keeping the Title IX Coordinator updated on the progress of the investigation. Both parties will be provided the opportunity to suggest witnesses and present information to the investigators. Neither party is required to participate in the investigation, but failure to participate may deprive the investigators of potentially helpful information.
During the course of the investigation, the investigators may propose additional charges for the investigation as they deem appropriate. Both parties must be provided with written notice and an opportunity to respond to such additional charges.
The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on the University and not on the parties.
The University will not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party's records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional's or paraprofessional's capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that party's voluntary, written consent.
The University will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
The University will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence. A party's communication with a witness or potential witness is considered part of a party's right to meaningfully participate in furthering the party's interests in the case, and not an “interference" with the investigation. However, where a party's conduct toward a witness might constitute “tampering" (for instance, by attempting to alter or prevent a witness's testimony), such conduct also is prohibited as retaliation.
The parties will have an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a formal complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source. The University will not consider or provide for inspection and review evidence which the University knows was illegally or unlawfully created or obtained. The University may impose on the parties and party advisors restrictions or require a non-disclosure agreement not to disseminate any of the evidence subject to inspection and review.
When the investigators believe they are ready to prepare the Investigative Report, the Title IX Coordinator will send to each party and the party's advisor, if any, the evidence subject to inspection and review in an electronic format or a hard copy, and the parties will have ten (10) calendar days to submit a written response.
The investigators will review the parties' written responses, conduct any follow-up investigation they deem appropriate, and prepare an investigative report, known as the Investigative Report, that summarizes relevant evidence. The Investigative Report will not include a summary of evidence not considered to be relevant. If the complaint involves multiple Complainants, multiple Respondents, or both, the University may issue a single investigative report.
The Investigative Report will include an assessment as to whether the conduct, if proven, would constitute “Sexual Harassment – Title IX" as defined within this Policy. The Title IX Coordinator will review the assessment and shall notify the parties within two (2) calendar days of receiving the Investigative Report whether the Title IX Coordinator concurs with the assessment of the investigators. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that none of the conduct, if proven, would constitute “Sexual Harassment – Title IX," the case shall proceed to an Investigative Resolution pursuant to Section VII(G)3. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that at least some of the conduct, if proven, would constitute “Sexual Harassment – Title IX," the case shall proceed to a Hearing pursuant to Section VII(G)2."
Discretionary Dismissal may be exercised by the Title IX Coordinator to dismiss a formal complaint or allegations therein if:
- A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
- The Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University, or;
- Specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.
The Title IX Coordinator's decision regarding dismissal may be appealed in writing to a trained, unbiased, impartial Appeal Officer designed by the Title IX Coordinator within one (1) calendar day of receipt of the decision. The Appeal Officer's decision regarding dismissal is final. The decision-maker for this appeal will not be otherwise assigned to this case as an investigator, a member of the Hearing Panel, the Title IX Coordinator, or a member of the Appeals Panel.
Each party and their advisor shall receive a copy of the Investigative Report for their review and written response, at least ten (10) calendar days prior to a hearing or other time of determination regarding responsibility. If a party disagrees with an investigator's determination about relevance, the party may argue relevance in their written response.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, where it is determined that there are allegations of “Sexual Harassment– Title IX," the University will conduct a live hearing.
The Title IX Coordinator will appoint three-person Panel to serve as decision-maker during the hearing, with one panel member being appointed as the Chair to oversee the hearing. The Panel will be comprised of a total of three University faculty and/or staff members, and may include external parties if so designated by the Title IX Coordinator. The Panel will not include the Title IX Coordinator, the investigators who investigated the allegations, or the informal resolution officer. The Panel is under an obligation to objectively evaluate all relevant evidence both inculpatory and exculpatory.The Panel has the right to ask questions and elicit information from parties and witnesses on the Panel's own initiative.
At least five (5) calendar days prior to the hearing, a pre-hearing conference will be held with each party, the party's advisor, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Chair. At the pre-hearing conference, the party and advisor must disclose the witnesses that will be requested and the evidence that will be submitted for consideration. Evidence and witnesses may only be considered at hearing if they were submitted to the investigators, unless they were previously unknown or unavailable to the party during the investigation. The Chair will address any requests for new evidence and new witnesses at the pre-hearing conference. The Chair will also discuss guidelines for appropriate behavior and decorum during the hearing. The party and advisor are encouraged to ask questions.
Hearings will be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the University's discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.
At the live hearing, the Panel will permit each party's advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the Chair will first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
The Chair makes relevancy determinations. The Chair is not required to give a lengthy or complicated explanation of a relevancy determination during the hearing, and may send to the parties after the hearing any revisions to the Chair's explanation that was provided during the hearing.
Cross-examination at the live hearing will be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party's advisor of choice and never by a party personally. All questioning will be relevant, respectful, and non-abusive. No party will be “yelled" at or asked questions in an abusive or intimidating manner.
Decision-makers may consider statements made by the parties and witnesses during the investigation, emails or text exchanges between the parties leading up to the alleged sexual harassment, and statements about the alleged sexual harassment that satisfy the relevance rules, regardless of whether the parties or witnesses submit to cross-examination at the live hearing. A decision-maker may also consider police reports, Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner documents, medical reports, and other documents even if those documents contain statements of a party or witness who is not cross-examined at the live hearing, as long as they are relevant. The Panel will not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party's or witness's absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Parties will have equal opportunities to have others present during the hearing, including the opportunity to be accompanied by the advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The University will not limit the choice or presence of an advisor for Complainant or Respondent in any meeting or grievance proceeding. Advisors are required to abide by University restrictions regarding the extent to which they may participate in proceedings, and any restrictions will apply equally to both parties. If a party's advisor refuses to comply with restrictions set by the University, the University may require the party to use a different advisor.
If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the University will provide without fee or charge to that party, a trained advisor of the University's choice to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.
Relevancy determinations will be made pursuant to Section VII(G)4. Credibility will be considered pursuant to Section VII(G)5. Decisions will be prepared pursuant to Section VII(G)6. Sanctions, if any, will be determined pursuant to Section VII(G)7. Additional remedies, if any, will be determined pursuant to Section VII(G)8.
3. Investigative Resolution
Upon conclusion of the investigation, where it is determined that there are no allegations of “Sexual Harassment – Title IX," an investigative team will decide whether any policy violations have occurred. The investigative team will consist of the two investigators who investigated the case, as well as a third trained, unbiased investigator.
The investigative team shall act as the decision-makers and will review the responses to the Investigative Report and revise it as appropriate.
Relevancy determinations will be made pursuant to Section VII(G)4. Credibility will be considered pursuant to Section VII(G)5. Decisions will be prepared pursuant to Section VII(G)6. Sanctions, if any, will be determined pursuant to Section VII(G)7. Additional remedies, if any, will be determined pursuant to Section VII(G)8.
Relevant evidence is evidence that tends to make a fact that is important to the case either more probable or less probable. Relevant questions are those questions that are designed to elicit relevant evidence.
The following may be considered irrelevant:
Repetitive or duplicative questions or evidence;
Information that is protected by a legally recognized privilege, such as attorney-client privilege;
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
- 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;
- Any party's medical, psychological, and similar records, unless the party has given voluntary, written consent for their use in the process.
The University will not exclude relevant evidence because such relevant evidence may be unduly prejudicial, concern prior bad acts (unless excluded above), or constitute character evidence. However, the decision-makers may objectively evaluate such evidence by analyzing whether that evidence warrants a high or low level of weight or credibility.
Credibility is applied the same way for both a hearing panel and investigators.
The decision-makers will evaluate all admissible, relevant evidence for weight or credibility. The degree to which any inaccuracy, inconsistency, or implausibility in a narrative provided by a party or witness should affect a determination regarding responsibility is a matter to be decided by the decision-makers, after having the opportunity to ask questions of parties and witnesses, and to observe how parties and witnesses answer the questions posed by the other party.Corroborating evidence is not required.
Credibility determinations are not based solely on observing demeanor, but also are based on other factors (e.g., specific details, inherent plausibility, internal consistency, corroborative evidence).
A party's answers to questions can and should be evaluated by decision-makers in context, including taking into account that a party may experience stress while trying to answer questions. Parties will not be unfairly judged due to inability to recount each specific detail of an incident in sequence, whether such inability is due to trauma, the effects of drugs or alcohol, or simple fallibility of human memory.
The decision-makers will issue a written determination of responsibility using a “preponderance of the evidence" standard. A preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely true than not that a policy violation occurred. The determination of responsibility will include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the Policy to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions the University imposes on the Respondent (see Section VII(G)7), and whether remedies will be provided by the University to the Complainant (see Section VII(G)8), and;
- The University's procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal (see Section VII(G)9).
The determination will lay out the evidentiary basis for conclusions reached in the case. The nature of remedies, if any, will not be included within the determination. The determination will be provided to the parties simultaneously. The determination becomes final only after the time period for appeal has expired or, if a party does file an appeal, after the appeal decision has been sent to the parties.
If any of the charges are substantiated, the written determination of responsibility will also include sanctions against the Respondent. All sanctions are determined fairly and impartially and on a case-by-case basis. In determining the sanctions, the decision-makers may consult with the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Human Resources, the Vice President for Student Affairs, the President, or other University administrators or supervisors as they deem appropriate in the situation.
Sanctions may include, as appropriate:
- Educational training;
- Drug/alcohol assessment;
- Mandatory counseling;
- Community/campus service;
- Revocation of scholarships, honors, or awards;
- Housing reassignment/restrictions;
- Schedule changes or restrictions;
- Job/duty reassignment;
- No contact orders;
- No trespass orders;
- Suspension (for employees, this may be with or without pay);
- Behavioral restrictions;
- Restrictions on access to certain facilities or activities;
- For student organizations, revocation of recognition by the University, loss of funding, and/or loss of other privileges;
- Written warning;
- Disciplinary probation;
The decision-maker's written determination of responsibility will go into effect immediately unless the Title IX Coordinator determines, in their discretion, that a temporary stay of sanctions is appropriate pending an appeal due to extraordinary circumstances. The Title IX Coordinator may add, remove, or change the supportive measures that apply after a decision is rendered.
Where a determination of responsibility for Prohibited Conduct is made, the University will provide remedies to a Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University's education program or activity. Such remedies may include the same individualized services provided as supportive measures; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the Respondent. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of remedies.
Where the final determination has indicated that remedies will be provided, the Complainant can then communicate separately with the Title IX Coordinator or their designee to discuss what remedies are appropriately designed to preserve or restore the Complainant's equal access to education. Remedies for a Complainant which do not affect the Respondent must not be disclosed to the Respondent.
Any party may appeal the decision-makers' determination regarding responsibility, or the University's dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein. A party must submit a written appeal to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) calendar days of receipt of the determination of responsibility. The University will notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties. Both parties will have a reasonable, equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome. The Title IX Coordinator will appoint a three-person Panel to serve as the decision-maker for purposes of the appeal. Members of the Appeals Panel will be trained, unbiased, and impartial. The Appeals Panel will be comprised of a total of three University faculty and/or staff members, and may include external parties if so designated by the Title IX Coordinator.
The Appeals Panel will issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result and provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.
Members of the Appeals Panel will not be the same person(s) as the decision-maker(s) that reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, the investigators, or the Title IX Coordinator.
Grounds for appeal include:
- 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 Title IX Coordinator, investigators, or Panel members had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
- Evidence that the sanction received was grossly disproportionate to the conduct for which the party was found responsible; or
- Evidence that the decision of the investigative team was clearly erroneous based on the evidentiary record.
All grounds for appeal will be available to all parties.
If the appeal is not based on one of the above factors, the Title IX Coordinator may reject the appeal with written notice to the appealing party. The appealing party may then submit a revised written request for appeal within five (5) calendar days of the initial rejection notification. If the second request for appeal is rejected, no further appeal requests are permitted.
Upon receipt of the appeal letter, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal letter, along
with the written determination of responsibility, to the non-appealing party, who will be provided with five (5) calendar days within which to respond to the appeal in writing. No further reply will be permitted. The Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal, the response, the Investigative Report, the written determination of responsibility, and any other relevant information to a trained and impartial Appeals Panel.
The Appeals Panel will be permitted to review all materials associated with the case and may ask questions of the Title IX Coordinator, investigator/s, and decision-makers. The Appeals Panel is not permitted to speak with parties, advisors, or other witnesses about the case. Within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the appeal from the Title IX Coordinator, the Appeals Panel may:
- Affirm the decision;
- Reverse the determination as to charge(s) and remove or add sanctions as appropriate;
- Affirm the determination as to charge(s) but revise the sanctions; or
- Request that additional steps to be taken.
The Appeals Panel will issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result and provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.The decision of the Appeals Panel shall be final.