The University uses investigations to resolve sexual discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, and related retaliation complaints. Investigations are used to determine: (1) whether or not the conduct occurred, and (2) if the conduct occurred, what actions the University will take, which includes imposing disciplinary consequences on the respondent and providing remedies to the complainant.
A "Complainant" is an individual who is the focus of the conduct prohibited by the University’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation or who experiences the negative effects of prohibited conduct. A Complainant may or may not be the person who initially makes a report of prohibited conduct.
A "Respondent" is an individual who is alleged to have engaged in conduct prohibited by the University’s Policy Prohibiting Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation.
All individuals leading the Title IX response from the initial investigation to the completion of the process (i.e., investigation, decision, appeal), have received relevant training on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of individuals and promotes accountability. The proceedings will be conducted by individuals who do not have an undisclosed conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or the respondent. If the complainant or respondent believes any individual in the proceeding is not suited to perform their role because of bias or conflict of interest, they must notify the Title IX Coordinator upon learning the identity of the individual and their role.
Please click the link below to view the Title IX Process
The standard of evidence used in the investigation of sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence complaints, including domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, will be the “preponderance of the evidence” standard, wherein the investigators are to determine whether it is more likely than not that the behavior in question occurred and constituted a violation of University policy.
To encourage and support the reporting of incidents of sexual misconduct, students who participate as witnesses or complainants in sexual misconduct investigations will not be held accountable (limited immunity) for violations of the Student Code of Conduct that may have occurred at the time of or as a result of the incident in question (for example, being under the influence of alcohol, marijuana or other controlled substances), unless the University determines that the violation was egregious. Egregious violations include, but are not limited to, actions that places the health or safety of another other person at risk.
The University will investigate when it receives a report of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, or retaliation, unless a request for informal action is made. In most cases, the University will assign two individuals to act as investigators. The investigators will interview the complainant, respondent, and pertinent witnesses, and review any relevant written or other documentary evidence.
Investigators prepare Investigation Report which include investigation finding and recommended sanctions. Investigators review their Investigation Report with complainants and respondents prior to finalization.
At the conclusion of the investigation the investigators will submit an Investigation Report to the Title IX Coordinator. The Investigation Report will contain the investigation findings and recommended sanctions. The Investigation Report also will contain the investigators’ rationale for their findings and recommended sanctions. Shortly after receiving the Investigation Report, the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will meet, separately, with the complainant and the respondent to review the Investigation Report. By that point, each party will have had an opportunity to review (with the investigators) investigation materials/notes/etc. In other words, the Investigation Report is unlikely to contain any surprises. After reviewing the Investigation Report, each party will be able to decide if they would like to accept the Investigation Report and the identified findings and recommended sanctions. “Accepting” the Investigation Report does not necessarily mean that the party enthusiastically agrees with everything, but typically is more of an indication and acknowledgement that the investigators have done their job and that their conclusions are fair. In any event, acceptance by both parties of the investigation findings and recommended sanctions would mean that the matter ends (and the findings and any sanctions would be implemented). The advantage of both parties accepting the Investigation Report is that it draws the matter to a close and there is finality. The disadvantage is that a decision to accept the Investigation Report means that a party is giving up a right to appeal. Because it is voluntary for both parties, no one is forced to accept the findings/sanctions and give up an appeal right.
If either (or both) of the parties does not accept the Investigation Report findings and recommended sanctions, a Hearing Panel will be appointed. Hearing Panel consist of a three-member hearing panel of faculty and staff members as well as a non-voting Hearing Chair. The Title IX Office will do its best to diversify each Panel—both in terms of social identities and affiliations within the University. Complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be provided a list of all potential panel members prior to the Hearing Panel and will be given the opportunity to express concern about any potential panel member’s ability to act impartially in hearing their case. Decisions related to panel members’ participation in their hearing will be made by the Title IX Office. The Chair may remove any individual who impedes the hearing process. The Chair will act to promote a civil and respectful proceedings.
During a hearing the complainant(s) and respondent(s) will have the following rights:
Outline of Hearing Procedures:
The parties are not allowed to personally question or cross-examine each other during the hearing. The parties may submit questions to be asked by the Hearing Panel on their behalf. The Hearing Panel will screen the questions submitted by the parties and only ask those it deems appropriate and relevant to the case. Questioning about the complainant’s sexual history with anyone other than the respondent is not permitted. The University also recognizes that the mere fact of a current or previous consensual dating or sexual relationship between the two parties does not itself imply consent or preclude a finding of sexual violence.
If the Hearing Panel determines that witnesses should be interviewed directly by the panel the witness will be notified 24 hours in advance. Both the complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be informed of any witness being called to the Hearing Panel. A witness will only be permitted to answer questions from the Hearing Panel.
Within ten (10) business days of the appointing of the Hearing Panel, the Hearing Panel will conduct a hearing. At the hearing, each party will have an opportunity to appear, make a statement, and answer questions from the Hearing Panel. Each party will have an opportunity to submit questions to the Hearing Panel that they would like asked of the other party, but it is up to the Hearing Panel to determine if a question is appropriate. In other words, one party cannot “cross-examine” the other party, but each party will have an opportunity to ask the Hearing Panel to ask particular questions on the party’s behalf. Parties are not obligated to submit a written statement to the Hearing Panel, but parties may submit a written statement either before, or at the time of, the Hearing. During the hearing audio or video accommodations will be made such that complainant and respondent do not have to be in the presence of the other.
The Hearing Panel will submit a written decision (the “Decision”) no later than seven (7) calendar days after the hearing. The decision will be based on whether it is “more likely than not” that the University’s policy was violated. The written decision will include a summary of findings and will describe any consequences or corrective action to be taken, as well as any other recommendations. Consequences for a student who is found responsible for violating this policy may include disciplinary action up to and including suspension or expulsion/dismissal from the University. Consequences for an employee who is found responsible for violating this policy may include disciplinary action up to and including termination of University employment.
The complainant and respondent each have a right to appeal the Decision. If an appeal is made, it must be in writing and it must be received by the Title IX Coordinator no later than seven (7) calendar days after the Decision is received. The Title IX Coordinator does not decide on the appeal, but will appoint a senior administrator at the University to render a decision.
Appeals are not for the purpose of having a second investigation or a second review of all facts. The only proper bases for appeal include: (1) evidence not previously available to, and not withheld by the appealing party from, the investigators (or Hearing Panel) that could influence the outcome; (2) material defects in the process leading to the decision; or (3) consideration of whether the sanction is disproportionate to the findings.
If any party submits a timely first appeal, the opposing party(ies) will be notified of the appeal and provided a copy of the written appeal. The opposing party(ies) will have five (5) calendar days to submit to the Title IX Coordinator a response to the appeal; a response to the appeal is not required. The senior administrator who hears the appeal will have seven (7) calendar days from the date that all appeal materials have been submitted to provide a written decision.
The University Policy also provides for a second appeal if a party believes that the senior administrator’s decision on an appeal is wrong/inadequate. Any second appeal is to be submitted to Dr. Ralph Kuncl, the University’s President. If a party wishes to make a second appeal, the proper bases for appeal are the same as the previous appeal (new, material evidence; material process defects; and substantial disproportionality between sanctions and findings). An appeal to President Kuncl must be received, in writing, no later than seven (7) calendar days after receipt of the senior administrator’s decision.
If any party submits a timely second appeal to Dr. Kuncl, the opposing party(ies) will be notified of the second appeal and provided a copy of the written appeal. The opposing party(ies) will have five (5) calendar days to submit to Dr. Kuncl a response to the second appeal; a response to the second appeal is not required. If a timely second appeal is made to him, Dr. Kuncl will issue a written decision on the second appeal within seven (7) calendar days of the date that the response to the second appeal is due. All decisions of the President are final.
During the investigation (and any following proceedings), a complainant and a respondent are entitled to be accompanied by a Support Person. A Support Person can be someone of their choosing including full-time member of the University faculty, administration, or staff. A Support person cannot be a person that is another complainant, respondent, or witness in the same investigation. If the report involves an allegation of sexual violence or other criminal conduct, a complainant or respondent may select, at their own expense, an attorney from outside the University to serve as a Support Person. A Support Person may attend any meeting or proceeding at which the complainant or respondent they are supporting are present. A Support Person may be present to consult with and advise the party they accompany, but a Support Person may not directly participate in the meeting or proceeding, may not serve as an advocate or spokesperson, and may not interfere with or disrupt the meeting or proceeding. Support Persons who do not abide by these restrictions, who are disruptive, or who otherwise fail to abide by reasonable directions provided by individuals authorized to conduct investigations or proceedings under the Policy, will be removed and a substitute Support Person may be selected.
Proceedings will ordinarily be completed within the time frame, as set forth in the University’s Policy. However, with good cause, reasonable extensions of the time for completion of the proceedings will be permitted. In such cases, the complainant and respondent will be provided with written notice, by the appropriate university official, of the extension and the reason for the extension.
Please click the link below to view the Title IX Process