University Complaint Process
The university strongly encourages persons who experience sexual misconduct to report the misconduct, to seek assistance and to pursue university action for their own protection and that of the entire campus community.
When a complaint of alleged sexual misconduct is received, an initial inquiry is conducted by a Designated Reporting Representative, who is a neutral administrator in the process. The Designated Reporting Representative is responsible for coordinating the sexual misconduct process. The usual practice will be that the inquiry will be conducted in collaboration with the Office of Inclusion, Diversity and Equal Opportunity and the University Office of Student Affairs as appropriate and possible.
The university intends to resolve complaints of sexual misconduct in a timely manner. The University generally attempts to resolve complaints from the filing of a complaint to a determination within sixty (60) days. The University generally attempts to make a determination on appeals within ten (10) business days following the submission of an appeal. However extenuating or more complex circumstances may preclude the university from resolving a complaint within such a timeframe. The Title IX Coordinator, or his/her designee, will make a determination as to any reasonable extension of these timeframes. Complainants and respondents will be provided periodic updates as to the status of the process.
An initial inquiry is conducted by the Designated Reporting Representative/ Title IX Coordinator and will generally include interviews with the complainant and the respondent and a review of relevant documents. Following the initial inquiry, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the information gathered during the initial inquiry indicates that the complaint falls within this policy. The complainant and respondent will be informed promptly after the completion of initial inquiry.
If it is determined that the complaint falls within this policy, the Designated Reporting Representative will either: 1) proceed with the Informal Process; or 2) refer the matter to the Sexual Misconduct Investigator/Title IX Coordinator (for a determination as to whether the process should proceed to the Informal Process, the Formal Process, or another university process. See Investigator process below.) The Title IX Coordinator will make this determination by reviewing the following factors surrounding the complaint:
- The wishes of the complainant and the respondent;
- Consideration of a pattern of behavior; and
- The nature and severity of the behavior or action; and
- The sufficiency of the information.
The complainant and the respondent will be informed promptly upon a determination by the Designated Reporting Representative/Title IX Coordinator.
Interim University Actions
In addition to conducting an initial inquiry, the Designated Reporting Representative/Title IX Coordinator may need to take interim actions to protect the safety and well-being of the individuals involved in a complaint of sexual misconduct. The university will consider interim or remedial measures, as appropriate or legally supported, to protect those involved. These measures will be implemented as promptly as possible. Generally, such actions include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Notify the respondent that a complaint has been made against them;
- Provide a copy of the university sexual misconduct policy to both parties;
- Direct the parties or establish an agreement between the parties that they are not to initiate contact with the other party or parties until further notice by the university. Failure to cooperate or honor the agreement could result in restricting either party’s presence on campus;
- Institute alternative work arrangements, living arrangements, dining facilities, class schedule, or advisor/supervisor arrangements as feasible and appropriate during the pendency of the process, considering safety issues and concerns of the complainant and the respondent;
- Provide access to appropriate academic supports, such as tutoring, or permission to withdraw from or retake a class or classes;
- Have each of the parties and any witnesses acknowledge the expectation of confidentiality as outlined in this policy;
- Advise all parties and any witnesses that they may not retaliate against any party or any witness involved in a sexual misconduct complaint.
- Notify the dean, department chair or supervisor of the complaint to assist with managing the rights of the complainant and the respondent as appropriate.
Interim Separation/Suspension Action
The University has the right to impose an interim separation or suspension, as provided for under other university policies or procedures.
Role of the Designated Reporting Representative and/or Sexual Misconduct Investigator(s)
The Designated Reporting Representative/Title IX Coordinator and/or Sexual Misconduct Investigator conducts a prompt and thorough investigation of the complaint, which includes identifying and interviewing witnesses, gathering and securing relevant documentation, and identifying other relevant information. Depending on the number of ongoing investigations and/or the nature and complexity of the complaint, the Sexual Misconduct Investigator for a complaint may be a qualified investigator retained by the university from outside the university community. The Designated Reporting Representative/ Investigator provides a report of the finding of the investigation for review by the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee in consultation with the Office of General Counsel. A decision will be made as to the appropriate next steps to bring resolution to the complaint, which will include one of the following:
- Formal Process (Administrative Hearing or Board Hearing);
- Informal Process;
- Another university process;
- End the process.
In making this determination, the reviewers will consider the following factors:
- The wishes of the complainant and the respondent;
- Consideration of a pattern of behavior; and
- The nature and severity of the behavior or action.
- The sufficiency of the information to move forward.
If the Title IX Coordinator finds that the complaint does not fall within the sexual misconduct policy, the matter and other possible policy violations discovered (including any relevant information) may be referred to other university processes.
The informal process is an opportunity to bring resolution to an informal complaint through awareness, education, and/or a facilitated discussion. During an informal process, a hearing is not conducted to determine whether the sexual misconduct policy has been violated. Normally, the informal process will not be used to resolve allegations of Non-Consensual Sexual Contact/Activity, Forced Sexual Contact/Activity, Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse, Forced Sexual Intercourse and Sexual Exploitation. The complainant will be advised of the right to end the informal process and begin the formal process, if the complainant wishes to do so.
Step 1-Facilitate Resolution
The Designated Reporting Representative(s)/Title IX Coordinator utilizes the information gathered during the initial inquiry to facilitate an appropriate resolution to the informal complaint. The Designated Reporting Representative(s)/Title IX Coordinator may determine that the informal action may be facilitated by an appropriate designee (e.g. for students, a Residential Coordinator or other designee; for staff, Human Resource representative; for faculty, the Chair). The following are examples of possible options, one or more of which may be used to bring resolution to an informal complaint.
- Distribute a copy of the sexual misconduct policy to the respondent and/or the complainant and/or to the department or area whose behavior is being questioned;
- Educate the respondent or all parties regarding the university sexual misconduct policy;
- Conduct a sexual misconduct educational workshop for the designated department/school/university organization;
- Meet with the respondent to raise awareness about alleged inappropriate behavior and provide notice about possible university consequences;
- Facilitated discussion with the agreement of the complainant, respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator/Designated Reporting Representative(s) or designee;
- Institute alternative work arrangements, living arrangements, class schedule, dining facilities, or advisor/supervisor arrangements as feasible;
- Provide access to appropriate academic supports, such as tutoring, or permission to withdraw from or retake a class or classes; and/or
- Limit contact or impose no contact between respondent and complainant.
Step 2-Document Informal Resolution
At the conclusion of the informal process, a letter summarizing the outcome(s) of the process will be sent by the Designated Reporting Representative(s)/Title IX Coordinator to the complainant and respondent and other appropriate university officials to bring closure to the matter (see Retention of Documents section in this policy).
If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the complainant or the respondent utilizing the informal process, and/or the university determines the matter should be resolved through the formal process, the complainant, the respondent and/or the university may pursue the formal process. In such an instance, the complainant, the respondent and/or the university may request to utilize the formal process by submitting a written request to the Designated Reporting Representative/Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of the date of the receipt of the informal outcome letter.