- Title IX and VAWA reports (Title IX: sexual harassment, sexual violence, sexual discrimination
& VAWA: domestic/dating violence and stalking) may be made to the Department of Public
Safety or Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie C. Reynolds, Vice President for Student
Affairs, and in the absence of the Coordinator, Deputy Coordinator Dennis Gibbons,
Dean of Student Life.
Whether you report to the Department of Public Safety or one of the Title IX Coordinators, the first initial meeting will be to understand the nature of the complaint and to provide an overview of the options that are available so that the reporter may make an informed decision about how she/he would like to proceed.
- Reports of harassment and discrimination (not Title IX or VAWA as outlined in the first bullet) are to be made to either the Executive Director of Human Resources for cases involving employees or to the Vice President for Students Affairs, for cases involving students, and the case will be assigned to the appropriate investigator. Either may disqualify her or himself from serving, in which case another member of the staff will be appointed as an alternate.
- This is a Title IX, not a legal investigation. A respondent does have the right not to speak to the Title IX Investigator regarding the incident, however, failure to do so may have a negative impact as the Investigator will be unable to take the Respondent's perspective into account in the rendering of an outcome.
- Retaliation for filing a report or for answering questions during the investigation of a report will not be tolerated and will result in appropriate disciplinary action. The College will make every possible attempt to insure confidentiality and to limit access to information about the report to those with a need to know. All reports will be investigated, and appropriate action will be taken if an individual has violated these policies.
- All timetables in these procedures are intended as guidelines. Reports will be investigated and resolved expeditiously, but since each case is different, each will require its own unique timetable.
- Extensions may be granted for up to 10 business days upon request by one party and communicated to both if approved by the Title IX Investigator. In extenuating circumstances, law enforcement may specifically request and justify a longer delay.
- The Investigator to whom the report is referred will listen to the report as soon as possible. The Investigator will discuss report procedures, the report itself, informal remedies such as mediation and formal investigations as appropriate for the individual case. Serious allegations may be investigated even if the report is verbal and the Reporter does not wish to have the case initiated. The Reporter and the Respondent may have an advisor of their choice. Such advisor shall not ask questions, speak on the individual’s behalf or otherwise participate in the investigation beyond providing advice/support to the individual.
- If during the initial investigative meeting, the student admits to the substantive fact(s), appropriate sanctions can be levied at the meeting. The finding may be appealed within five business days of the meeting.
- Informal Resolution: This is an optional process and is only available for reports of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination or stalking. If the Reporter chooses an informal resolution, the investigator will meet with the Respondent to attempt to work out an informal resolution acceptable to both parties. The Respondent will be provided with information describing the procedures (online version of the Student Handbook, #Office of Human Resources#), an oral statement of the report, and may have an advisor present. If a solution is reached, the Investigator will recommend to the Title IX Coordinator that the solution be adopted. The case will be considered resolved if the recommended solution is accepted by the Title IX Coordinator. The approved solutions to the informal resolution will then be communicated to both parties in writing and documented accordingly. Individual meetings to communicate the solutions are not necessary in informal cases. Appeals are not permitted with an informal process. Records of the process will be retained in accordance with College policy and procedure.
- Formal Resolution: This is a required process for all complaints involving sexual violence, domestic or dating violence. A written report shall be provided by the Reporter to the Department of Public Safety or the Title IX Coordinator. The report shall indicate the nature of the violation, name(s) of people involved, an explanation of what took place, why the Reporter believes the event was a violation, and shall be signed by the Reporter. The College shall assign an Investigator and a Recorder who will conduct the initial investigation of the Reporter. The Investigator and Recorder will also conduct the initial investigation of the Respondent. A formal investigation involves interviews of the Reporter and Respondent and potentially any relevant witnesses. As with the informal investigation, both parties are permitted to have an advisor present. The advisor does not speak for the parties but may provide support.
- The Investigator may re-interview the Reporter and Respondent, who may have an advisor present. The Investigator may interview additional members of the college community and shall have access to any files and documents necessary for investigating the report. If any party refuses to participate, that party will be notified by the Investigator that the investigation will continue without the benefit of his/her/their testimony.
- Once the Investigator has concluded the fact finding, the Investigator will notify the Title IX Coordinator and the Title IX Coordinator’s office will arrange for a hearing panel. Both the Reporter and Respondent will be notified of the date, time and location of the hearing. Note regarding employee based cases: any formal case that involves an employee will not have a panel. Instead, the College will follow the single investigator model which is defined as an investigator conducting interviews with the Reporter and Respondent and coming to the conclusion of responsible or not responsible based on the preponderance of evidence standard.
- At the hearing, the Chair will open the hearing and provide instructions. The case will be presented to the panel by the Investigator. The Chair will request opening statements from the Reporter, Reporter Witnesses, Respondent and Respondent Witnesses respectively. Cross examination of these parties by the panel will be invited by the Chair.
- At the conclusion of the panel, the Chair will provide closing instructions.
- After the hearing has concluded, the panel will deliberate, based on the preponderance of evidence standard, to determine an outcome of responsible or not responsible and the Chair will communicate the finding to the Investigator in writing.
- Within five business days after the conclusion of the hearing, the Investigator will communicate the recommendation to the Title IX Coordinator. If the Respondent has been found responsible, it is the Investigator’s responsibility to assign the appropriate sanction and include this in the communication to the Coordinator.
- In the case of sexual violence, if a Respondent is a student and is found responsible, the automatic sanction is expulsion and a permanent notation will be placed on the transcript noting the same. If the Respondent withdraws prior to the conclusion of an investigation that involves sexual violence, a permanent notation will be placed on the transcript and will indicate that the student withdrew pending the outcome of a Title IX investigation.
- If the Respondent is an employee and is found responsible, the College will address any findings in accordance with College policy and procedures as well as the applicable collective bargaining agreement, if any.
- The Title IX Coordinator shall review the recommendation within three (3) business
days of receipt of the report and respond to the Investigator. The Title IX Coordinator
- Agree with the recommendation;
- Request more information of the Investigator;
- Modify the recommendation or
- Dismiss the recommendation.
- The Investigator will communicate with the Reporter and Respondent separately to relay the decision within three (3) business days following the response of the Title IX Coordinator. Individual meetings may be scheduled but are at the discretion of the Investigator.
- The Respondent and Reporter may file a written request for appeal with the Investigator within five (5) business days following the meeting in which the written decision was received. The Investigator will provide the appeal request to the Title IX Coordinator who will determine if one or more of the following criteria has been met in order for the appeal to be considered. The Title IX Coordinator is not determining the validity of the appeal. He or she is determining whether the request meets the criteria:
- A procedural error was made that unfairly and materially affected the outcome of the Title IX investigation;
- “After acquired” information that is relevant to the alleged violation [information that was discovered only after the conclusion of the Title IX investigation, could not reasonably have been discovered prior to or during the investigation, and which, if previously known, would have had a significant bearing on the outcome of the Title IX investigation];
- Clear abuse of discretion on the part of the Title IX investigator;
- A sanction that is unreasonably severe in light of the offenses committed.
The following flowchart outlines the appeal process. The appeal process below is for students only. If the Respondent is an employee and is found responsible, the College will address any findings in accordance with College policy and procedures as well as the applicable collective bargaining agreement, if any.
(Days noted below are business days)
|5 days||Respondent and Reporter must request the appeal within five (5) business days following the meeting with the Investigator where the written decision is communicated.|
(Days from Investigator’s Receipt of Appeal)
|Days||Action To Be Taken|
|2||Investigator notifies Title IX Coordinator of Request for Appeal|
|4||The Disciplinary Appeals Committee or the Title IX Appeals Committee will render the decision regarding an appeal.|
|6||Appeal is scheduled|
|Date, time, and location of appeal is communicated in writing to the appealing individual|
|Appeal hearing held by three (3)-person panel. The three (3)-person panel applies to students. For employees, the President will appoint a neutral Cabinet member to conduct an independent review|
|Decision of appeal panel or independent reviewer is communicated to the Investigator and Title IX Coordinator|
|Decision of the appeal hearing or independent review is communicated to appealing Respondent/Reporter by the Title IX Investigator in writing|
If disciplinary action is necessary, it will be taken according to Board of Trustees Policies, collective bargaining agreements, Civil Service Law, the Student Disciplinary or Title IX procedures as appropriate.
- Requests for transcription of the formal hearing may be made and the College will hire a professional transcription service (at the student's expense) with transcription accomplished at the College. Upon completion, the transcript service will provide two copies to the College. The College will review for accuracy before release to the student who requested and paid for the transcription. Note: This recording applies only to the hearing and not the preliminary investigative steps