Title IX, Sexual Harassment and Sexual Violence Reporting Procedure
- Title IX and VAWA report (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, Associate Dean of Student and Residence 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, Dean of Students 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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 to the Department of Public Safety by the Reporter. 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 document the investigation. The Respondent shall also be initially interviewed by the Department of Public Safety or by the Investigator directly.
- 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. The Reporter, Respondent, witnesses, supervisors and others are expected to cooperate with the investigation. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action and/or may have adverse consequences.
- Within five (5) business days of the conclusion of the investigation, which shall not exceed 60 calendar days unless extenuating circumstances exist, the Investigator shall send a written report of the formal investigation to the Title IX Coordinator. The report shall include a statement from the Reporter, a statement from the Respondent, Investigator’s determinations and recommendations for outcome which shall be a finding of either responsible or not responsible based on the preponderance of evidence (is it more likely than not) standard.
- If a Respondent is found responsible, the recommendation will also include appropriate sanctions. 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 that they agree with the recommendation, or that they request more information of the Investigator, or that they wish to modify the recommendation, that they wish to 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:
(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||Title IX Coordinator or designee renders decision on 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.