Sexual Misconduct Process
What Is the Process?
There are four major stages to the Sexual Misconduct process: Complaint intake, informal resolution (before or after the investigation), the investigation, and the hearing.
When a report is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the Complainant (the person who experienced the reported conduct) to go over their options on how to resolve the report. The Complainant is provided several options on what to do with their report. Depending on the nature of the report, the Complainant may request:
- Accommodations and support measures
- To keep the report on file and not move forward with an investigation
- To have the Title IX Coordinator speak directly with the Respondent (the person who is alleged to have committed the conduct) through an educational, non-disciplinary, non-punitive conversation
- Resolution through informal resolution before an investigation (Note: all parties must agree and this typically would not result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent)
- Resolution through informal resolution after an investigation (Note: all parties must agree and this may result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent)
- Formal resolution after an investigation through the hearing process
For cases that follow the Title IX procedures under the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Complainant must indicate in writing to the Title IX Coordinator if they wish for the report to move into the investigation phase of the Sexual Misconduct process.
Informal resolution is an agreement the Complainant, Respondent, and institution come to in closing a complaint. There are two points in the Sexual Misconduct process where a report can be resolved through informal resolution: before an investigation begins or after an investigation has taken place. Informal resolution prior to an investigation does not typically result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent; however, informal resolution after an investigation may result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent. The Complainant and Respondent have the option to end informal resolution and request a formal process at any time before a resolution is reached. Once informal resolution is reached, it is not appealable.
Examples of informal resolution include: A no contact agreement, educational workshops, a reflection paper, etc. For informal resolution after an investigation, examples may also include disciplinary probation, suspension, or other sanctions as outlined in the student Code of Conduct.
Once an investigation has been requested, or alternatively the Title IX Coordinator has signed a formal complaint, an investigator will be assigned. This is a neutral individual whose role is to collect as much information as possible from the Complainant, Respondent, and any other parties who have relevant information to share related to the complaint. The investigator will also collect any evidence the Complainant, Respondent, or other parties have such as text messages, videos, screenshots from social media, pictures, etc.
The investigator will start by reaching out to the Complainant to schedule an interview. This is the Complainant’s opportunity to share their story with the investigator. Once the investigator has met with the Complainant, a Notice of Investigation will be sent to the Complainant and Respondent, which includes the identities of both parties, the alleged conduct, and the date and location of the incident (if known). This is also the Respondent’s opportunity to respond to the allegations and share their story through written statement and/or through a meeting with the investigator.
All parties have the opportunity to have a support person or advisor with them during the investigation process. Additionally, the Complainant and Respondent in student Sexual Misconduct cases can be involved as much, or as little, as they choose.
After interviews have been conducted and information has been collected, the investigator will draft an investigation report which summarizes the relevant information and evidence, including whether there is sufficient information to warrant further consideration and adjudication of t he alleged policy violation(s). This report will be shared with the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors, if applicable. Both parties will have the opportunity to respond to the report, if they choose.
If a case is not resolved through informal resolution after the investigation, the report will be finalized and sent to the Office of Student Conduct for adjudication. A copy of the final investigation report will also be shared with the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors, if applicable. The Office of Student Conduct will assign a conduct officer who will communicate with both parties to discuss the details of the hearing process. The Complainant and Respondent will also be given the opportunity to provide witnesses they would like called at the hearing. For cases that follow the Title IX procedures under the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Complainant and Respondent must have an advisor at the hearing who will conduct cross examination. If either party does not have an advisor, the institution will provide one for them.
The hearing panel will be made up of three trained faculty or staff members. The Complainant and Respondent may request to provide testimony in a separate room from the other party, so long as no party is unfairly disadvantaged, and they have the opportunity to view the testimony remotely and submit follow-up questions.
Once a decision has been made by the hearing panel, the Complainant and Respondent have the opportunity to submit an appeal based on limited grounds.
For a visual representation of the Sexual Misconduct process, see the Student Sexual Misconduct Investigation Flow Chart and Student Sexual Misconduct Hearing Flow Chart.
Last updated: 10/1/2021