Investigation, as used in this procedure, refers to the process the university uses to resolve sexual harassment, stalking, and sexual violence complaints. This includes the fact-finding investigation and any hearing and decision-making process the two assigned investigators use 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 any person who alleges to be the victim of sex discrimination, including but not limited to any act of sexual violence.
A respondent is any individual who is alleged to have discriminated on the basis of sex as defined in this policy. The status of the respondent will determine which office will be assigned to investigate and adjudicate the complaint.
All university officials involved from the initial investigation to the completion of the process (i.e., investigators, adjudicators, appeals committee, etc.), have received, at minimum, an annual training on the issues related to dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability. The proceedings will be conducted by officials who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainant or the respondent. If the complainant or respondent believes any university official in the proceeding is not suited to perform their role because of bias or conflict of interest, he or she must notify the Title IX Coordinator within five calendar days of learning the identity of the official and his/her role.
Where the respondent is a student, the Title IX Coordinator or the coordinator’s designee will assign two trained student affairs professionals to investigate and adjudicate. Students found to have engaged in sexual harassment, stalking, or sexual violence will be subject to judicial process in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct (undergraduate students) or the Student Standards of Conduct (graduate and professional students).
Upon conclusion of the investigation, if the assigned officers find that the respondent has committed a violation of the Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Sexual Violence Policy, appropriate sanctions will be determined and administered in accordance with the student judicial process.
For any incident involving employee(s) as a respondent(s), the assigned investigators will gather all information necessary for the adjudicators to use to determine whether or not the conduct occurred.
Staff and Academic Administrator
Where the respondent is a staff member, the Title IX Coordinator or the coordinator’s designee will assign two individuals to investigate: one trained HR representative and one additional trained staff member.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigation panel will submit its findings and recommend appropriate disciplinary action, if any, to the Vice President of Human Resources and the Dean or Vice President over the respondent who will then either accept, reject, or modify the recommended action, and implement them appropriately.
Where the respondent is a faculty member, the Title IX Coordinator or the coordinator’s designee, in consultation with the Provost, will assign one trained Human Resources representative and two trained faculty to investigate.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigators will submit their findings and recommend appropriate disciplinary action to the Title IX Coordinator, dean of the respondent’s school, and the dean of another school, which will vote to either accept, reject, or modify the recommended disciplinary actions. The dean of the respondent’s school will communicate any disciplinary action to the respondent.
For any incident involving administrators (i.e., members of the Office of the President (OP), the President's Council (PC), the Academic Cabinet (AC), and the Administrative Cabinet (TAC)) as a respondent(s), the Title IX Coordinator may hire an external investigator(s) to conduct the investigation.
For All Incidents
The investigators shall interview the complainant, respondent, and pertinent witnesses, and review any relevant written or other documentary evidence to determine whether the preponderance of the evidence supports the allegations, and, where misconduct is found, recommend or implement, as set forth above, appropriate disciplinary action.
The complainant and the respondent are granted the same opportunities to have others present during an adjudication process. Both parties will have the opportunity to be accompanied to any meeting by a support person/advisor of their choice for incidents related to sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking. A support person/advisor means any individual who is not involved in the alleged incident (i.e., witness), who can provide the complainant or respondent support, guidance, or advice.
- For incidents related to Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) crimes, both parties will have the opportunity to be accompanied to any meeting by any advisor of their choice.
- For incidents related to non Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) crimes, (e.g., sexual harassment), both parties will have the opportunity to be accompanied to any meeting by a support person/advisor who is pre-approved by the investigators, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. In cases of alleged sexual harassment, the advisor of choice may not be an attorney.
The support person/advisor may not question witnesses, make statements before the conduct committee, or otherwise participate in proceedings. The support person/advisor who acts contrary to these standards may jeopardize the fact-finding process and will be required to leave the meeting.
Communication During the Investigation Process
In incidents related to sexual violence, domestic or dating violence, or stalking, both complainant and respondent will be given timely notification related to when investigators are meeting with the complainant or respondent, and timely access to the information used during any formal or informal disciplinary meetings (such information includes relevant university policies and procedures, and any documents that will be reviewed during the meetings).
Although the proceedings will ordinarily be completed within 60 days, as set forth in the university’s current Sexual Harassment, Stalking, and Sexual Violence 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.
Standard of Evidence
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.
Conclusion of the Adjudicating Process
At the conclusion of the investigation process, both complainant and respondent will be concurrently notified in writing of the determination and appeal procedures within 5 (five) business days from the date of completion of the investigation process. If the determination is that the respondent has engaged in the alleged sexual violence and/or other violations of university policy, the disciplinary consequences shall also be included in the written notice of the determination.