Summary of Title IX Complaint Process

The University's Title IX complaint process is an administrative process separate and apart from the student conduct process.  The processes differ because the Title IX process employs an investigatory model as opposed to a hearing model.  When an individual requests a formal investigation under the University’s Title IX Policy, the Title IX Coordinator assigns the complaint to an investigator.  The university has four highly trained Deputy Title IX Coordinators and a select number of staff members who conduct the investigations.  Investigators conduct a thorough, neutral fact-finding investigation into the alleged incident.  The investigator collects evidence, analyzes the evidence and then makes a determination of whether it is more likely than not the Policy has been violated.  If there is a violation under the Policy, the investigator issues an appropriate sanction against the responding party.  The entire investigatory process occurs without the complaining/reporting party (i.e. the "complainant") and responding party (i.e. the "respondent") having to confront one another or go before a hearing board.

In some instances, the University may be required to move forward with an investigation even if a complainant does not want a formal investigation in cases indicating a pattern, predation, threat weapons and/or violence.  The University’s top priority is to ensure the safety of its students, faculty and staff.

The University process is not the same as a criminal process. A criminal process looks into whether a crime defined under state or federal law has been committed; the University process looks into whether the University’s Title IX Policy has been violated. The University process uses the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, which weighs whether it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. This is a much lower standard than the criminal burden of proof, "beyond a reasonable doubt."  A complainant does not have to report to the police in order to file a report to the University, and a complainant does not have to report to the University in order to report to the police.

When a formal investigation is requested or the University begins an investigation on its own behalf, the responding party will be notified in writing through Maxient about the investigation and will have an opportunity to meet with the investigator.

Both parties may have the assistance of an advisor or support person of their choosing throughout the process, including to accompany them to any meetings with the investigator or to discuss and answer questions about the complaint process. This individual may be a friend, faculty/staff member, family member, or an attorney. The University has designated staff members who may serve in this capacity.

Initial Meeting

The investigator will meet with the complainant and respondent separately.

At the initial meeting, the investigator will review the Title IX complaint process and answer any questions the individuals have about the process.

The investigator will ask each party to provide an explanation of what occurred just prior to, during and after the alleged offense. Each party may provide a list of witnesses he or she wishes the investigator to interview and to suggest questions to be asked of them and to the other party. The parties may also provide any information that may be relevant to the investigation, including documents and other items or evidence the party believes will be helpful. 

Additional interviews may be requested with both parties in order to gather as much information as possible and to keep the parties informed of information received in the case.

In the event a respondent does not want to participate in an investigation and/or withdraws from the university before resolution of the complaint, the investigation and resolution process will continue absent the respondent’s involvement. If the respondent waives his or her right to participate, the respondent also waives the right to appeal the outcome.

Investigation

During the investigation, the investigator will interview witnesses and gather evidence such as text messages, video surveillance, university card swipe records, medical reports and other information relating to the alleged incident.

Once the investigator gathers all the evidence, each party will receive a summary of the evidence collected and have an opportunity to respond to the evidence before a determination is made.

Finding

The investigator will determine whether there is a violation of University's Title IX policy based on a preponderance of the evidence—that is, whether it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. The investigator will complete and provide an investigative report to the Title IX Coordinator summarizing the evidence collected, an analysis of the evidence and the determination (and sanction if warranted). Once the Title IX Coordinator signs off on the investigative report, the parties will receive a Decision Notification Letter setting forth the reasoning for the determination. The parties may request a copy of the investigative report upon receiving the Decision Notification Letter.

Sanctions

Sanctions for students found in violation of the policy may include a warning, probation, suspension, expulsion, withholding diploma, withholding degree, transcript notation, organizational sanctions or other actions.

Sanctions for employees found in violation of the policy may include corrective counseling including but not limited to warning through termination, performance improvement plan, referral to the EAP, required training or education, suspension without pay, suspension with pay, termination.

Right of Appeal

Both parties have a right to appeal the decision of the investigator within 5 business days after receiving the Decision Notification Letter. Procedures and criteria for appeal are found in Section IV of the Title IX Sexual Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy.