Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”), 20 U.S.C. Sec. 1681, et seq., and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity. In compliance with this federal policy, Warner Pacific University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its education programs and activities and has designated the following individuals as Title IX compliance officers:
Title IX Coordinator
Ashlee Spearman, Vice President for Student Success and Engagement
Office location: Smith Hall 219
Office phone number: 503-517-1056
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Vanessa Guerrero, Director of Residence Life and Student Engagement
Office location: Smith Hall 216
Office phone number: 503-517-1098
Title IX Officers:
Rachel Lea, Vice President of Human Resources
Araceli Cruz, Assistant Vice President for Student Success and Engagement
Cathy Lara, Assistant Director of Campus Safety
Nancy Drummond, Assistant Director of Financial Aid
Dean Long, Assistant Professor of Education
Ed Gall, Associate Professor for Physical Science and Mathematics
All inquiries concerning the application of Title IX including inquires about the University’s sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault policies may be referred to the appropriate Title IX officer.
Named or confidential reports may also be filed via the campus’ online reporting form.
Title IX Training
In compliance with Title IX regulations, the following materials used for training the above personnel are available for public viewing:
Title IX Responsible Employee Training conducted by Grand River Solutions. Attended by Holly Yoo, Vanessa Guerrero, Ashlee Spearman, Cathy Lara, Araceli Cruz, Ed Gall, Dean Long.
Title IX Investigative Report Writing Training conducted by Grand River Solutions. Attended by Holly Yoo, Vanessa Guerrero, Araceli Cruz, Nancy Drummond.
Director of the University Counseling Center, 503-517-1119
The University Counseling Center staff
Vice President for Student Success and Engagement, Dr. Ashlee Spearman 503-517-1056
Knights Care health care consultations, TalkNow counseling appointments, and Scheduled Counseling available through Knights Care.
Title IX Officers (As listed above)
Residence Life Staff
Campus Safety: 503-250-1730
Portland Women’s Crisis Line
24-hour crisis line 503-235-5333
Sexual Assault Resource Center
24-hour crisis line 503-640-5311
Multnomah County Crisis Line 503-988-4888
Rape Victim Advocates 503-988-3222
Portland Pregnancy Resource Center 503-256-0808, firstname.lastname@example.org and prcofportland.com
Online Educational Resources
Best Colleges – Preventing Sexual Assault
End Rape on Campus
Know Your IX
Resource Guide for Male Survivors of Abuse, Sexual Assault, and Trauma
Ride-Sharing Sexual Assault Safety Guide
Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Process
The following process is considered interim until final Board of Trustees review and approval in February 2021. Because of changes to Title IX regulations, the process outlined on this page supersedes any current process outlined in existing handbooks, including the Squire and the PGS Bulletin. Any questions may be directed to a member of the Title IX team as outlined above.
The Warner Pacific University student conduct processes exist to respond to alleged violations of the community agreement and/or campus policies by individuals or student organizations. Although not a formal court of law, each process provides students with rights that reflect the importance of due process in order to assure fundamental fairness in resolving allegations of behavioral misconduct. Students who are found responsible for violating a campus policy or standards may be required to complete a sanction. Sanctions are designed to both discourage further violations of campus policy and to instruct the student as to their role in the community. The preponderance of the evidence standard is applied throughout the conduct processes.
The applicable Campus Life Standards and policies will be those that were published at the time an alleged violation occurred even if a case is being processed after the Campus Life Standards and policies have been updated. The applicable procedures for resolution, appeal, and sanctioning will be those that are currently published at the time the process is occurring. Typically, once a student conduct process has started, the procedures published at that time will be used to the conclusion of the process even if the procedures are updated before the process is concluded.
Throughout these procedures, various University officials, such as the Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator, are assigned responsibility for performing specific functions. Named officials are authorized to delegate responsibility to other appropriate University officials and non-university consultants, except where such delegation contravenes University policy. Additionally, named officials and their designees may consult with appropriate University officials, , University counsel and subject-matter experts.
Individuals making a complaint (“Complainant”) and individuals responding to a complaint (“Respondent”) each have rights throughout the complaint resolution and adjudication process, and may expect a fair, equitable and neutral process that will follow this policy.
Complainant and Respondent Rights
Be treated with respect by all University officials throughout this process;
Be informed of the available support resources or measures available;
Be free of any form of retaliation and free to report such retaliation;
Request a mutual no contact directive with the other party;
Be accompanied by an advisor throughout the process, including at any interviews or hearing;
An impartial and prompt investigation of the allegations conducted within a reasonable period of time after a formal complaint is filed;
Receive written notice of the date, time and location of any interview scheduled with themself and the Investigator;
Be informed of the status of the investigation, to the extent possible;
Meet with the Investigator and present information on their own behalf, identify witnesses or other third parties who might have relevant information and identify or provide relevant documents or other information that may be helpful to the investigation;
Question the selection of the Investigator or Decision-maker on the basis of an actual conflict of interest or demonstrated bias;
Be notified of the hearing outcome and any sanctions applied, if applicable;
Initiate and participate in an appeal process.
Procedural Requirements Specific to Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Processes
Right to review all evidence which is directly related to the allegations prior to the conclusion of the investigation;
Have past unrelated behavior excluded from the investigation process, in particular past sexual behavior;
Have a hearing Advisor of the University’s choosing provided, at no charge, for purposes of asking questions of the other party or witnesses during the live hearing proceeding;
The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of reports under this policy. With respect to any report under this policy, the University will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable federal and state law, while balancing the need to gather information to take steps to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. All University employees who are involved in the University’s response to misconduct receive specific instruction about respecting and safeguarding private information.
Retaliation is prohibited under this policy. Retaliation is defined as any materially adverse action against a person who reports, complains about, or who otherwise participates in good faith in any manner related to this policy. Materially adverse action includes conduct that threatens, coerces, harasses or in any other way seeks to discourage participation in or activity under this policy. Retaliation does not include good-faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of prohibited conduct. Any person who believes they have experienced retaliation under this policy should contact the Investigator, Conduct Officer, or Title IX Coordinator who forwards any complaint of retaliation to the appropriate office for handling.
Amnesty for Other Conduct Violations
The welfare of students, staff and faculty is of paramount importance. Sometimes, students are hesitant to report to University officials or offer assistance to other students because they fear that they themselves may be charged with policy violations, such as underage drinking at the time of the incident or violation of safety protocols related to COVID-19 or other communicable diseases. However, it is in the best interest of our community for individuals to report allegations of misconduct.
In cases of physical assault, discriminatory harassment or sexual misconduct, the student coming forward with a complaint will not typically face campus conduct charges related to other violations, unless their conduct put other individuals at significant risk.
When a student experiences a physical or psychological crisis while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs, neither the student in crisis nor the student(s) calling for help will be subject to punitive disciplinary action. Educational measures to prevent future incidents may still apply.
For further information, please refer to the Non-Disciplinary and Communicable Disease policies below.
No Conflict of Interest or Bias
Any individual carrying out student conduct processes should be free from any actual conflict of interest or demonstrated bias that would impact the handling of the matter at issue. Should the Conduct Officer or Title IX Coordinator have a potential conflict of interest, they will immediately notify a Deputy Coordinator, who will take the role of Acting Conduct Officer or Acting Title IX Coordinator for purposes of carrying out the handling and finalization of the matter at issue. Should any Investigator have a conflict of interest, the Investigator is to notify the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator upon discovery of the conflict. Should a student believe that the Investigator, Conduct Officer or any other participant in the Student Conduct process has a conflict of interest or is potentially biased, the student may contact the Title IX Coordinator for more information.
Presumption of Non-Responsibility and of Good Faith Reporting
The decision to proceed with an investigation is not in and of itself a determination that the Respondent has engaged in the conduct as alleged. Any Respondent is presumed not responsible for the conduct that is the subject of the investigation, unless and until a decision of responsibility has been made upon the completion of the adjudication process. Reports are also presumed to have been made in good faith, unless and until it is demonstrated to be otherwise.
Requests for Delays, and Extensions of Time
The Conduct Officer or Title IX Coordinator may extend any deadlines within this Student Conduct Policy, for good cause. The Complainant and Respondent will be notified in writing of any extension, the reasons for it, and projected new timelines.
Prohibition on False Evidence or Statements
Students are expected to provide truthful information as part of the Student Conduct Process. Should any student knowingly provide false information as part of this process, this may be considered a violation of Campus Life Standards and the Community Agreement and will be referred to the appropriate office for further handling. This provision does not apply to reports made or information provided in good faith, even if the facts alleged in the report are not later substantiated or no policy violation is found to have occurred.
Failure to Comply
Students who refuse to make themselves available for investigations in a timely fashion or students who fail to complete assigned sanctions may be charged with “Failure to Comply.” Failing to participate in the Administrative Resolution or Conduct Committee Resolution process is a serious limitation to continued membership in the WPU community and could result in sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion.
Complainants and Respondents in Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct cases will not face charges for failure to comply if they choose not to participate in the Student Conduct Process. However, the investigation and adjudication process may move forward and will not have the benefit of any information that the students may have been able to offer.
Expectation of Advisors
All persons who are a Complainant or a Respondent are permitted to bring an Advisor of their own choosing to any meeting or interview to provide support. Complainants and Respondents are free to choose their own advisors. The advisor may be any person, including a family member or an attorney. The Advisor may accompany the student Party to any and all portions of the conduct process. The Advisor may not participate directly in, or interfere with, the proceedings, except as outlined in the Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Process section below. Although reasonable attempts will be made to schedule proceedings consistent with an Advisor’s availability, the process will not be delayed to schedule the proceedings at the convenience of the Advisor. Advisors are expected to comply with Rules of Decorum, which will be provided to Advisors, and the University has the discretion to remove the Advisor from the proceedings if the Advisor interferes with the proceedings or failure to comply with Rules of Decorum. For any Complainant or Respondent who does not have an advisor at the Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Process live hearing, one shall be provided, at no charge, for purposes of performing cross-examination of the other Party or witnesses.
Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Process (DHM)
Warner Pacific University seeks to provide students with an environment free from the negative effects of prohibited discrimination and harassment against any person because of age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, race, color, national or ethnic origin, or any other status protected by applicable nondiscrimination law. This includes prohibiting sexual assault, and other forms of sexual violence such as dating and domestic violence and stalking. In recognition of this commitment, the University has established these procedures to implement the student conduct process as it relates to allegations of Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct (DHM) consistent with the Campus Life Standards and Community Agreement. In cases where allegations are related to both Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct and other forms of Prohibited Conduct under the University’s policies, these procedures may be utilized to resolve all potential violations associated with the alleged misconduct.
Making a Report or Filing a Complaint
View Title IX Policy & Process Decision Tree on Making a Report or Filing a Complaint
Students wanting to file a complaint of discriminatory harassment and/or misconduct should contact the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators. The Title IX Coordinator will coordinate the University’s response to reports of all discriminatory misconduct. This response includes:
Informing students of available supportive measures, including medical and emotional support options.
Assisting all parties involved in understanding their rights and responsibilities.
Developing remedial actions to facilitate support and safety for the students involved. Considerations include housing accommodations, no contact requirements, no trespass restrictions, and academic accommodations. In Title IX cases, remedial actions will be non-punitive of the respondent prior to a finding of responsibility.
Providing information to students about making reports to local law enforcement. Overseeing the Discriminatory Harassment and Misconduct Process and any appeal.
Outreach and Initial Assessment
Reports of alleged violations of this policy may be made by filing an Incident Report, or may be made directly to the Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator, or other appropriate designee including Deputy Coordinators. In the process described below, the term Title IX Coordinator will refer to that individual or other appropriate designee.
Individuals may make a report at any time by using the form provided at http://wpulife.com/report or by picking up a hard copy of the reporting form in the Student Life & Multicultural Center or with the Director of Human Resources. The form may be returned by dropping it off at the Title IX office, by email, or by mail. Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator or appropriate designee will reach out to the Complainant to conduct an intake interview (see below).
Please Note: Any reference to days within this policy shall be counted as University business days unless otherwise specified.
Upon receipt of information alleging a potential violation of the DHM policy, or where due to the exercise of reasonable care the University has learned of a potential violation of the DHM policy, the Title IX Coordinator or designee shall reach out to the Complainant to schedule an intake or informational interview and provide a copy of this policy and the following information:
Availability of supportive measures with or without filing a Formal Complaint (see below);
How to file a Formal Complaint;
Right to notify law enforcement and the right not to notify law enforcement;
Importance of preserving evidence;
Resources for counseling, health care, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other available services; and,
Right to an advisor of choice.
The Title IX Coordinator or designee will discuss the Complainant’s rights and options, and will also assess, and provide, appropriate supportive measures, which are available with, or without, the filing of a Formal Complaint. If a Formal Complaint has not already been filed, the Title IX Coordinator will explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Formal Complaint.
In the event the allegation involves potential criminal conduct including sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking, Complainants will also be provided with information about their right to file with law enforcement, their right to decline to do so, and, when applicable, information about seeking a personal protection order from the local courts.
Emergency Action/Removal Provisions
If at any time the University determines that the conduct, as alleged, poses a risk of physical harm to one or more members of the community or to the University’s educational environment, the University may instruct that a student Respondent be suspended or restricted, on an interim basis, from specific programs or activities.
Any such assessment will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on an individualized safety and risk analysis as determined by the Title IX Coordinator in consultation with appropriate University officials. If the University determines that an immediate physical threat to the health or safety of students or others justifies emergency actions including removal from campus, then a Respondent may be suspended or restricted on an interim basis. The decision to do so will be provided to Respondent in writing.
Opportunity to Respond: An explanation of the reasons for the emergency action/removal will be provided to Respondent, and Respondent will have an opportunity to discuss the decision of restriction, suspension or removal.
For Student Respondents: Students should contact Dean of Students within three (3) business days of the emergency action/removal, who will explain the University’s process for challenging the emergency action/removal.
For Employee Respondents: Employees may contact the Director of Human Resources if they wish to discuss the emergency removal.
Administrative Leave: The University will have the authority to place any employee Respondent, including student employees, on an administrative leave of absence pending the outcome of an investigation and hearing.
The decision to place any Respondent on an interim suspension or administrative leave will not be considered as evidence that any determination has been made regarding potential responsibility for violating this policy.
Students who have experienced, witnessed or been accused of Discriminatory Harassment or Misconduct may be provided with individualized supportive measures, including but not limited to academic arrangements (such as class withdrawals, incomplete grades and alternative course completion, extension of deadlines), leaves of absence, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual no-contact directives, assistance with housing and other support services. These supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive and free of charge to students.
These will be offered on a case-by-case basis by the University as appropriate and reasonably available. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party.
Students may also seek confidential resources such as counseling and health services, ombudsperson services, legal advice, confidential support persons, and referrals to community agencies.
Students may access these supportive measures and confidential resources regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is made to the University.
Note: Any Supportive Measures put in place will be kept confidential, except to extent that doing so impairs the ability of the institution to provide the Supportive Measures.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Confidentiality and Privacy have distinct meanings under this Policy.
“Confidentiality” generally means that information shared with a licensed confidential resource cannot be revealed to any other person or office, unless written permission is granted by the individual to share their information.
“Privacy” generally means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation or resolution of the report. Although here may be some circumstances where individuals must disclose Prohibited Conduct pursuant to state or federal law, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process to the extent possible.
The privacy of student education records is protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the University’s FERPA Policy. The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records may be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA. Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted by applicable state and federal law.
While there are certain limitations on privacy, the University generally will not release the names of the Complainant or Respondent to the general public without express written consent or absent another exception consistent with the law. The release of names will be guided by applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act.
In addition, no information shall be released from a proceeding to enforce this policy except as required or permitted by law and University policy.
Formal Complaint to Initiate the DHM Resolution Processes
The term “Formal Complaint” has a very specific definition within this DHM policy, and whether one is filed does not depend on the label applied, but instead on whether certain specific elements are met. A Formal Complaint is the act that initiates one of three specific resolution processes for DHM reports.
A Formal Complaint must include:
The Complainant’s digital or physical signature, or an indication that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint
An allegation of prohibited conduct which would constitute a violation of this policy. This may include:
Where the incident(s) occurred
What incident(s) occurred
When the incident(s) occurred
Identity of Respondent, if known
A request that the University conduct an investigation of the allegations.
Formal Complaints may be made to the Title IX Coordinator by US Mail, email, or in person:
Title IX Coordinator
Holly Yoo, Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion/Title IX
Office location: Smith Hall 211
Office phone number: 503-517-1097
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Vanessa Guerrero, Director of Residence Life and Student Engagement
Office location: Smith Hall 216
Office phone number: 503-517-1098
2219 SE 68th Avenue
Portland, OR 97215
Complainant Status – Title IX Allegations Only:
At the time of filing a Formal Complaint involving allegations of sexual harassment covered by the Title IX rulemaking, the Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a University program or activity.
Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is not a Formal Complaint of Discriminatory Harassment or Misconduct, the University may take other appropriate steps, including other formal or informal processes, designed to eliminate the alleged conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its impact on Complainant and University community. This determination will be communicated to the Complainant in writing and is subject to reevaluation if new information becomes available and the Complainant requests reconsideration in light of the new information.
Request by Complainant that the University Not File a Formal Complaint
The University supports a Complainant’s decision not to pursue a Formal Complaint under this process and desire for anonymity. Prior to the issuing of a Formal Complaint signed by the Title IX Coordinator, a Complainant may request confidentiality (i.e., that their personal identifying information not be shared), that the Respondent not be informed of the complaint, or that the University not file a Formal Complaint and subsequently pursue an investigation. The University will seek to honor the Complainant’s request(s) to the extent possible while also protecting the health and safety of the Complainant and the University community. Formal Complaints may not be filed anonymously.
Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that the University can honor Complainant’s request not to file a Formal Complaint and subsequently pursue an investigation, the University may take other appropriate steps designed to eliminate the alleged conduct, prevent its reoccurrence and address its impact on Complainant and the University community.
In the event that the Complainant declines to participate in an Intake Interview, but the report contains an allegation meeting all of the jurisdictional elements of this policy, and the complaint is signed or includes an electronic submission from the Complainant, and it requests an investigation, that will constitute a Formal Complaint.
Title IX Coordinator-Initiated Complaint
The Title IX Coordinator will have the discretion to sign a Formal Complaint and initiate an investigation and the circumstances will be evaluated in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for its employees and students. The factors that the University may consider in this regard include the seriousness of the alleged harassment, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment against the alleged harasser, and the nature of the allegations such as use of weapons, drugs or intoxicants, serial violations or other threats to the Complainant or the community. When the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator does not become the “Complainant” for purposes of this policy.
If the Formal Complaint meets the above standards, it will result in written notification to the Respondent and the commencement of a Resolution Process, as described below.
Consolidation of Cases: In the event that the allegations under this policy also involve allegations of a violation of a separate policy, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with appropriate University officials, shall have the discretion to consolidate those other allegations within one investigation and/or hearing. However, allegations of a violation of a separate policy are not required to be handled using the procedural requirements set forth in this policy.
If the Title IX Coordinator receives or initiates a Formal Complaint as described above, the University will issue Notice to the Complainant and the Respondent as set forth below. The University may then determine one of the three methods to resolve a potential violation of this policy: 1) mandatory or discretionary dismissal; 2) alternative resolution; 3) investigation and hearing.
MANDATORY AND DISCRETIONARY DISMISSAL
The University has the discretion to dismiss a Formal Complaint and in some cases an obligation to dismiss a Formal Complaint as follows. Decisions to dismiss are subject to appeal as described in Section 5 Appeals:
At any time prior to the commencement of a hearing, any case proceeding under this process will be dismissed if it is determined that the conduct at issue does not meet the definitional or jurisdictional requirements of the DHM policy. If the alleged conduct would, if true, support a finding that another University policy has been violated, the University may, in its sole authority, transfer the case for further handling under the appropriate policy or code. The University may use evidence already gathered during this process for the further handling of the underlying allegations contained in the Formal Complaint. Upon dismissal, both parties shall be notified in writing of the decision and the rationale for the decision.
The decision to dismiss is subject to appeal consistent with Section 5 Appeals. Both parties will be notified in writing of any determination made following the appeal.
At any time during an investigation or hearing, any case may be dismissed when: a) Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations within the Formal Complaint; b) the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed at the University; or c) circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination. If the alleged conduct would, if true, support a finding that another University policy has been violated, the University may, in its sole authority, transfer the case for further handling under the appropriate policy. The University may use evidence already gathered during this process for the further handling of the underlying allegations contained in the Formal Complaint. Upon dismissal, both parties shall be notified in writing of the decision and the rationale for the decision.
The decision to dismiss is subject to appeal consistent with Section 5 Appeals. Both parties will be notified in writing of any determination made following the appeal.
Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that dismissal is appropriate, the University may still take other appropriate steps, including other formal or informal processes, designed to eliminate the alleged conduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its impact on Complainant and University community.
The Complainant or Respondent may request, in writing, to proceed with an Informal Resolution. Participation in the Informal Resolution process is voluntary for both Complainant and Respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator must agree to the use of Informal Resolution to resolve the complaint. If an Informal Resolution option is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator will assess whether the complaint is suitable for Informal Resolution and will then take steps to determine if the other party is also willing to engage in Informal Resolution. Both parties must agree, in writing, to an Informal Resolution. (Exception: Allegations that an employee has engaged in Prohibited Conduct toward a student shall not be handled through an Informal Resolution process, and instead be resolved only through an Investigation and Hearing process.)
When the Complainant requests an Informal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and Respondent written notice that includes:
The specific allegation and the specific conduct that is alleged to have the occurred;
The requirements of the Informal Resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a Formal Complaint arising from the same allegations;
The right of either party to end the Informal Process at any time and resume the formal Investigation process;
Any consequences resulting from participating in the Informal Resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or information that could be shared;
A statement indicating that the decision to accept a complaint does not presume that the conduct at issue has the occurred, and that the Respondent is presumed not responsible, unless and until, at the conclusion of the formal investigation and adjudication processes, there is a determination of responsibility;
An explanation that each party may be accompanied by an Advisor and a support person) of their choice, who may be a parent, friend, or attorney;
The date and time of the initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, with a minimum of two (2) business days’ notice;
Information regarding supportive measures, which are available equally to the Respondent and to the Complainant.
If either party does not voluntarily agree in writing to pursue an Informal Resolution, or if the Complainant, Respondent, or Title IX Coordinator, at any time, determines that Informal Resolution is no longer appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform the Complainant and Respondent in writing that the complaint will proceed through the Investigation and Hearing Process.
Once the final terms of an Informal Resolution have been agreed upon by both parties, in writing, the matter shall be considered closed, and no further action shall be taken. This agreement is not subject to appeal.
The Informal Resolution process is generally expected to be completed within thirty (30) business days and may be extended for good cause by the Title IX Coordinator. Both parties will be notified, in writing, of any extension and the reason for the extension.
Records of any Informal Resolution will be maintained and may be shared with other offices as appropriate.
Formal Investigation Process and Hearing
The University expects that all individuals who participate in the investigation process to do so truthfully and that all who have a responsibility for carrying out one or more aspects of the investigation and hearing process do so fairly and without prejudice or bias.
Notice of Investigation, and Investigation Process
Within a reasonable period of time from the filing of a formal complaint and prior to the start of an investigation, the Respondent and Complainant shall be provided, in writing, with a Notice of Investigation. Such notice shall include:
The specific allegation and the specific conduct that is alleged to have the occurred;
The identity of the Complainant;
The date and location (if known) of the conduct that is alleged to have the occurred;
A copy of this policy, which contains the process that will be followed, including an explanation that each party shall have the right to inspect and review all evidence prior to the completion of the investigation;
A statement indicating that the decision to accept a complaint does not presume that the conduct at issue has the occurred, and that the Respondent is presumed not responsible, unless and until, at the conclusion of the process below, there is a determination of responsibility;
An explanation that each party may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, who may be a parent, friend, attorney;
The date and time of the initial interview with the Investigator, with a minimum of three (3) business days’ notice;
Information regarding amnesty granted during this process;
The name and contact information for the assigned Investigator;
Information regarding supportive measures.
Should additional allegations be brought forward, a revised Notice of Investigation shall be provided to both parties, in writing.
Challenging for Conflict of Interest or Bias
After a Formal Notice of Investigation is issued to Complainant and Respondent, each party may object to the Title IX Coordinator or designated Investigator on the grounds of a demonstrated bias or actual conflict of interest. Both parties will have three (3) business days from the date of the Notice of Investigation to object to the selection of the Investigator or the Title IX Coordinator. Objections to the Title IX Coordinator shall be made, in writing, to the Dean of Students. Objections to the appointment of the Investigator shall be made, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator. If the objection is substantiated as to either the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator, that individual shall be replaced.
A conflict of interest may include, for example, situations where an assigned official is a Party’s family member, close friend, current or former faculty member, advisor or has other similar relationships with a Party. The fact that an individual is the same or different gender, race, etc., of a Party or individual involved in the process is not a conflict or bias and requests for changes in staffing on this basis will not be considered.
The University strives to complete the investigation process, up to evidence review, within thirty (30) business days, which may be extended for good cause by the Title IX Coordinator. Both parties shall be notified, in writing, of any extension granted, the reason for the extension and the new anticipated date of conclusion of the investigation.
The Investigator will interview all parties and relevant witnesses and gather relevant documentary evidence provided by the parties and any identified witnesses. Interviews may be conducted in person, or via video conference.
The Investigator shall prepare an Interview Summary of each interview. The Investigator will share the Interview Summary with the interviewee. The interviewee will have three (3) business days to comment on any statements made in the Interview Summary. The deadline may be extended for good cause, upon request to the Investigator. If the interviewee has comments to the Interview Summary, the interviewee may submit a written response within three (3) business days reflecting any additions or changes which the interviewee believes are necessary to ensure the accuracy of the interviewee’s statement. If no response is received from the interviewee by the deadline, their Interview Summary will be presumed to be accurate.
Each party shall be provided with an opportunity to offer relevant witnesses and evidence. The Investigator will gather all directly related evidence. Information or evidence that is not provided to the Investigator will not be allowed during the hearing, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such information was not reasonably known to or available to the parties at the time of the investigation. In the event that new evidence is provided at the hearing, either the Decision-maker or Title IX Coordinator may send the case back to the Investigator.
At the conclusion of all interviews and fact gathering, and when the evidence has been gathered, the Investigator will provide each party, and their Advisor, the opportunity to review all of the evidence gathered that is directly related to the allegation(s). This shall include both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
Given the sensitive nature of the information provided, the information will be provided in a secure manner. Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent (nor their Advisors) may copy, remove, photograph, print, image, videotape, record, or in any manner otherwise duplicate or remove the information provided. Any student or employee who fails to abide by this policy may be subject to discipline. Any Advisor who fails to abide by this policy may be subject to discipline and/or may be excluded from further participation in the process.
Response to Evidence: Each party may respond to the evidence gathered. Each party shall have ten (10) business days in which to respond to the evidence. Each party may provide a response in writing to the Investigator of no more than ten (10) pages. Exceptions may be made for good cause. The Investigator will incorporate any response provided by the parties into the Summary of Evidence Report. Along with their response to the evidence, each party may also submit a written request for additional investigation, such as a requests for a follow-up interview(s) with existing witnesses to clarify or provide additional information, including offering questions to the Investigator to pose to witnesses or to the other party. The investigator has discretion to decide whether additional investigation is warranted. This response may include written, relevant questions that a party would like the Investigator to ask of any party or witness. If any of the questions posed will be excluded as not relevant, or not likely to lead to relevant information, the Investigator shall explain to the party who proposed the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
Additional Submissions after Evidence Review: Upon receipt of each party’s response to the evidence reviewed, the Investigator will determine if any additional investigation is needed. In addition, either party may offer new witnesses or other new evidence. The Investigator will take into account the responses provided, shall pose questions to parties or witnesses as appropriate, and interview new relevant witnesses, and accept new, relevant evidence.
If new, relevant evidence is provided by either party, or gathered by the Investigator, the newly-gathered evidence (including answers to clarifying questions) will be made available for review by each party. Each party shall have reasonable time as determined by the University in which to respond to the new evidence. Each may provide a response in writing to the Investigator. The Investigator will incorporate any written response provided by the parties into the Investigation Report.
Any evidence to be considered by the Decision-maker must be provided to the Investigator. Information that was not provided to the Investigator will not be allowed during the hearing itself, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such information was not reasonably known to, or available to, the parties at the time of the investigation. Should new evidence be presented at the hearing, the Decision-maker shall have the authority to either exclude the evidence, or to send the matter back for further, limited investigation.
Exclusion of Questions Regarding a Parties’ Past Sexual Behavior, or Predisposition
Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant and will not be permitted, unless such questions and evidence about the Parties’ prior sexual behavior are offered for one of two reasons: (a) to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or (b) if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
Medical Records: In general, a person’s medical and counseling records are confidential and not accessible to the University unless the person voluntarily chooses to share those records with the University. In those instances, only the relevant information from the records will be shared with the other party.
Privileged Information: The University will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use evidence or questions that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has given voluntary, written consent to waive the privilege.
The Investigator shall then prepare a written report summarizing all of the relevant evidence gathered and all investigative steps taken to date. For those cases in which there are allegations of other University policies, the Investigator shall also make preliminary factual findings if requested to do so by the Title IX Coordinator. The Investigation Report shall include as an attachment all relevant and directly related evidence gathered during the investigation, as well as all interview notes, showing the original (as sent to each interviewee for review) and the revised version, after additions by each interviewee.
Once the Investigation Report is final, it will be provided through a protected in a secure format, together with all attachments, to each party and to their Advisor.
Conclusion of Investigation and Notice of Hearing
Threshold Review of the Report
The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Investigator and appropriate University officials, will review the Investigation Report and make a threshold determination either to dismiss the Formal Complaint or certain allegations within the Formal Complaint, or to proceed to adjudication through a Hearing. Dismissal is appropriate only when required as described in Section C(1) above. A dismissal decision under this provision may not be based on an assessment of the credibility of a party or Witness and may be appealed within five (5) business days.
The Hearing phase of the Investigation and Hearing Process begins when the Title IX Coordinator or Designee sends the Notice of Hearing and concludes when the Hearing Officer issues a written Final Determination. Specific deadlines and dates calculated according to these procedures will be outlined in communications from the University.
Post-Investigation Resolution Options
Within five (5) business days of receiving the Final Investigation Report, the Parties will receive a Notice of Hearing with an attached proposed violation agreement from the Title IX Coordinator, and either Director Human Resources or VP of Student Life.
Alternative Resolution by Violation Agreement
Each party has the right to request an Alternative Resolution within five (5) business days of the Notice of Administrative Hearing. If both parties agree in writing to an Alternative Resolution, the Formal Complaint will be resolved by a violation agreement (as described below). If either party objects to the Alternative Resolution, then the Formal Complaint will proceed to the Live Hearing. Alternative Resolution by Violation Agreement is not available to employee Respondents.
If the Respondent agrees to acknowledge the violation(s) occurred, and neither party chooses to proceed to a Live Hearing, the Director will send a Notice of Alternative Resolution by Violation Agreement to both Parties, which includes the Final Investigation Report and the discipline/sanction information as appropriate. This Notice will also describe any right to appeal the discipline/sanction only.
If either Party chooses to proceed to a Live Hearing, or if either party does not respond to the Notice of Administrative Hearing, then an Administrative Hearing will proceed as outlined below.
Live Hearing and Final Determination
Notice of Hearing
As stated above, each party shall be provided with a Notice of Hearing, which shall include information regarding the pre-hearing conference, the date of the hearing, the identity of the Decision-maker, and any deadlines for submission of evidence, names of witnesses, or proposed questions to be reviewed by the Decision-maker. The hearing shall be scheduled no less than ten (10) business days from the date of the Notice of Hearing, absent extraordinary circumstances.
Within three (3) days of receipt of the Notice of Hearing, either party may object to the Decision-maker on the basis of a demonstrated bias or actual conflict of interest. Any objection is to be in writing and sent to Title IX Coordinator. Should the Title IX Coordinator determine that there is an actual bias or conflict of interest, the Title IX Coordinator shall remove the Decision-maker and appoint another.
Scheduling: Hearings will be scheduled as far in advance as possible. The Decision-maker will provide three possible hearing dates to the parties and their advisors; one of those dates must be chosen. Exceptions may be granted for good cause.
Pre-Hearing Conference: There will be a pre-hearing meeting with each party at which time, should the Complainant or Respondent not have an Advisor, one shall be assigned. At the meeting, each party may submit to the Decision-maker a preliminary list of witnesses, and questions they wish to pose to the other party, or to a witness.
General Hearing Procedures: Hearings may be conducted in person or via videoconferencing. If by videoconference, prior to the hearing, the Decision-maker shall have received instruction regarding the operation of any audio-visual equipment for the hearing. The Decision-maker will also provide the participants instructions on how to participate in the video-conference hearing.
No Complainant or Respondent or witness will be compelled to participate in the hearing. However, the Title IX Coordinator may choose to continue with the hearing in the absence of the Complainant, Respondent or any witness.
Each party is entitled to one Advisor at the hearing. The Advisor during the live hearing can be the same as the advisor that has already been assisting the party, and may, but is not required to be an attorney.
Each hearing shall be recorded by the Decision-maker and a transcript will be prepared from the recording. This transcript will be considered the only official record of the hearing, and the recording will be destroyed after the transcript is prepared. No other individual is permitted to record while the hearing is taking place.
The Complainant, Respondent, and the Decision-maker all have the right to call witnesses. Witnesses must have information relevant to the incident. No party will be permitted to call as a witness anyone who was not interviewed by the Investigator as part of the University’s investigation. Each party shall submit to the Decision-maker the names of witnesses they would like to call no less than five (5) business days in advance of the Hearing.
Three (3) business days prior to the hearing, each party may submit to the Decision-maker a preliminary list of questions they wish to pose to the other party, or to a Witness. If the Decision-maker determines that any are not relevant, the Decision-maker will explain the reason for the exclusion of the question at the hearing. Each party, through their Advisor, will also be permitted to ask other questions at the hearing of the other party or witnesses.
The Decision-maker has the authority to limit the time allotted to any phase of the hearing, and/or to limit the time allotted to the full hearing. Any such limitation shall be communicated to the parties no later than three (3) business days before the hearing.
If the Decision-maker determines that unresolved issues exist that would be clarified by the presentation of additional information, they may, at their discretion, suspend the Hearing in order to obtain such information. The Decision-maker may ask the Investigator to conduct further investigation, and will then reschedule the Hearing in a timely manner.
Procedures Specific to Title IX Allegations:
The role of the Advisor is to ask questions of the other party and of witnesses, but not to advocate for, or otherwise speak on behalf of, the advisee during the hearing.
In the event that a party does not appear for the Hearing, the Advisor for that party shall still appear and be permitted to question the other party, and witnesses.
In the event that an Advisor does not appear for the Hearing, the University shall provide and Advisor to the party for the purpose of asking questions on behalf of the party.
The Decision-maker may not take into consideration in either the hearing or in their final determination the statements made during the investigation of any individual who does not participate in the hearing and submit to questioning.
The Decision-maker will not draw any inference regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s non-appearance at the hearing or refusal to answer questions.
Rules of Decorum: The Decision-maker has the authority to maintain order and decorum at the hearing. These Rules of Decorum will be shared with the parties and their advisors with the Notice of Hearing and discussed during the Pre-Hearing conference. In addition to the rules that specifically apply during the Hearing listed in these procedures, parties and advisors will be expected to adhere to all other expectations outlined in the Rules of Decorum. The Decision-maker also has the authority to determine whether any questions are not relevant, abusive, intimidating, or disrespectful, and will not permit such questions. Any party or Witness who is disruptive may, in the discretion of the Decision-maker, be removed and directed to continue their participation via video conferencing. Any Advisor who is disruptive may be removed, and the Decision-maker will allow another Advisor for the remainder of the hearing.
Notice of Final Determination
Following the hearing, the Decision-maker will then prepare a report. To the extent a credibility determination needs to be made, the determinations will not be based on a person’s status as Complainant, Respondent, or Witness.
The Decision-maker’s report will include:
Description of all procedural steps;
Findings of fact;
Conclusions based on application of facts to the policy; and
Rationale for each finding.
If Not Responsible: The Decision-maker’s report shall be provided to the Title IX Coordinator. If there is no finding of responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate the findings, along with a copy of the Decision-maker’s report, to the parties, together with procedures for appeal. This document is considered the Notice of Final Determination.
If Responsible: If there is a finding of responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator shall contact the appropriate sanctioning officer who will determine the sanction and notify the Title IX Coordinator of the sanctioning determination. The Title IX Coordinator will then provide each party with the Decision-maker’s report, the determination of the appropriate sanction, will inform the Complainant of any appropriate remedies, and will inform both parties of the procedure for appeals. This document is considered the Notice of Final Determination.
Record Retention: The Decision-maker’s report is are considered student education records in the name of the Respondent and Complainant, if applicable. These records will be maintained for a minimum of 7 years in accordance with Federal and State obligations.
Sanctions and Remedies
Upon conclusion of the Hearing phase, when there is a finding of responsibility, the Complainant will be offered such remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the institution’s education program or activity. Some examples are tutoring and counseling. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring the implementation of these remedies.
Any one or more of the sanctions listed in the Sanctions section below may be imposed on a Respondent who is found responsible for a violation of the University’s policies. Sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, intended to preserve equal access for the Complainant and in the best interest of the University’s educational environment.
Glossary of Important Terms and Definitions
The University acknowledges the importance of vibrant and robust expression of ideas, including those that may be controversial or unpopular. Nothing in this policy is intended to conflict with those ideals.
Discriminatory Harassment: Unwelcome conduct directed at individual(s) on the basis of protected characteristic(s) as defined in this policy, state and federal law, that is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it interferes with work, academics, or participation in any university program or activity, because it creates a hostile working or university environment for the individual who is the subject of such conduct, and the conduct would have such an effect on a reasonable person who is similarly situated.
Non-Title IX Sexual Harassment: Conduct on the basis of sex committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved which is one of the following:
When a University employee conditions the provision of an educational benefit or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); and/or
Unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can include unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal, nonverbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where such conduct is sufficiently severe or pervasive that it has the effect, intended or unintended, of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance or it has created an intimidating, hostile of offensive environment and would have such an effect on a reasonable person.
Title IX Sexual Harassment: In order to constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, the conduct must have occurred in an education program or activity of the University and must have occurred against a person in the United States.
Sexual harassment under Section 106.30 of the new Title IX Rule (found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 34 C.F.R. Part 106) means conduct on the basis of sex in an education setting that satisfies one or more of the following:
An employee of the recipient conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the recipient on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity; or
“Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30).
Sexual Assault, Includes any of the Following:
Sexual Offenses, Forcible: Any sexual act directed against another person without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent:
Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the Complainant.
Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly, and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually) or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts), for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly, and/or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Sex Offenses, Non-forcible, Includes Any of the Following:
Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other, within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory Rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person, who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following facts: the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
Domestic Violence: Violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
Stalking Based on Sex: Engaging in a course of conduct on the basis of sex directed at a specific person, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. This policy covers instances of stalking based on sex, including stalking that occurs online or through messaging platforms, commonly known as cyber-stalking, when it occurs in the school’s education program or activity.
Advisor: All persons who are a Complainant or a Respondent are permitted to bring an Advisor of their own choosing to any meeting or interview to provide support. The Advisor may be any person, including a family member or an attorney. The Advisor may accompany the student party to any and all portions of the student conduct process. The Advisor may not participate directly in, represent, or interfere with the investigation. Although reasonable attempts will be made to schedule proceedings consistent with an Advisor’s availability, the process will not be delayed to schedule the proceedings at the convenience of the Advisor. The Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to remove the Advisor from investigation and hearing proceedings if the Advisor interferes with the proceedings.
Appeals Officer: A trained and impartial person or persons designated by the University to carry out the Student Conduct Appeals Process.
Complainant: An individual who is the victim of, or alleged to be the victim of, conduct that may constitute Prohibited Conduct as defined in this policy.
Conduct Officer: A trained and impartial person or persons designated by the University to oversee and carry out the Student Conduct Process.
Conduct Committee: A trained and impartial group convened to carry out the Student Conduct process when the Conduct Officer determines the nature and circumstances of the alleged violation are best resolved by a committee. The committee consists of up to five current faculty, staff, and students and includes at least one representative from each group.
Explicit Consent: A free and willing agreement to engage in a sexual act, provided without force or coercion, between individuals who are of sufficient age and are not mentally incapable, mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless, or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. Consent is a clear and unambiguous agreement, expressed outwardly through mutually understandable words or actions, to engage in a particular activity. The person initiating a specific sexual activity is responsible for obtaining consent for that activity. Consent is not to be inferred from silence, or a lack of resistance. Consent is not to be inferred from an existing or previous dating or sexual relationship. Consent to engage in one sexual activity at one time is not consent to engage in a different sexual activity or to engage in the same sexual activity on a later the occasion. Consent can be withdrawn by any party at any point. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately. For purposes of this Policy, in evaluating whether consent was freely sought and given, the issue is whether the Respondent knew, or reasonably should have known, that the activity in question was not consensual or that the Complainant was unable to consent due to incapacitation.
Days: Any reference to days within this Policy shall be counted as University business days unless otherwise specified.
Decision-maker: A trained and impartial person or persons designated by the University to conduct the Live Hearing, make a decision regarding the alleged violations based upon a preponderance of the evidence, and impose sanctions, if applicable.
Incapacitation: A state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because of a lack of conscious understanding of the fact, nature, or extent of the act (e.g., to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of the sexual interaction) and/or is physically helpless. An individual asleep or unconscious is considered to be incapacitated and unable to consent to sexual activity. An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol, drugs, or other medication. Consumption of alcohol or other drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation.
The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs impacts an individual’s: (A) decision-making ability; (B) awareness of consequences; (C) ability to make informed judgments; or (D) capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.
It shall not be a valid excuse that the Respondent believed that the Complainant consented to the sexual activity if the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (a) the Complainant was asleep or unconscious; (b) the Complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, or medication, so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; (c) the Complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.
Whether the Respondent reasonably should have known that the Reporting Party was incapacitated will be evaluated using an objective reasonable person standard. The fact that the Respondent was actually unaware of the Complainant’s incapacity is irrelevant to this analysis, particularly where the Respondent’s failure to appreciate the Complainant’s incapacitation resulted from the Respondent’s failure to take reasonable steps to determine the Complainant’s incapacitation or where the Respondent’s own incapacitation (from alcohol or drugs) caused the Respondent to misjudge the Complainant’s incapacity.
It is the responsibility of the individual initiating the sexual activity to be aware of the intoxication level of the other party before engaging in sexual activity. In general, sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all parties. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication, it is safest to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity.
Investigator: A trained and impartial person designated by the University to investigate allegations of student conduct code violations (e.g. gather relevant information and conduct interviews).
Live Hearing: A live hearing, held in person or virtually, that provides each party with the opportunity in real time to respond to the Investigation Report, ask questions of the other party, witnesses and the Decision-maker.
Party: A Complainant or Respondent in a case.
Preponderance of Evidence: Means “more likely than not.” It is the standard of evidence used during the investigation to determine whether the alleged conduct the occurred and/or this policy was violated.
Protected Activity: Exercising any right or privilege under this policy. Examples of protected activities include reporting (internally or externally) a complaint of Prohibited Conduct in good faith, assisting others in making such a report, participating in a grievance process, acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy, honestly participating as an Investigator, witness, decision maker, or otherwise assisting in, an investigation or proceeding related to an alleged violation of this Policy.
Relevance: Evidence that tends to prove or disprove a fact at issue or an element of the policy at issue in the investigation. Questions asked during the Hearing phase must be determined to be relevant before answered by a party or Witness, that is the question must relate to proving or disproving a facts related to the allegation(s).
Respondent: An individual who is reported to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct.
Standard of Evidence: The decision regarding a Respondent’s responsibility will be determined by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning “more likely than not.”
Third-Party Reporter: A person other than the Complainant who reports an incident or allegation of Prohibited Conduct.
There are no set formulas or automatic sanctions for most violations. Students who violate University policy submit themselves to the full range of disciplinary sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion from the University. In reviewing each violation, the following variables will be considered: attitude, truthfulness, prior discipline, impact of the violation on the community when the misconduct occurred, and whether or not the student came forward to assume responsibility. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
Formal apology. A written and/or verbal apology to the offended party/parties.
Student Life Probation. A written reprimand for violation of specified regulations or policies. Probation is established for a designated period of time and includes the probability of more severe disciplinary sanctions if the student is found to be violating any specific conditions of the probation or any institutional regulation(s) or policy during the probationary period. Students on Student Life Probation may be suspended from participation in University functions and activities and may be required to meet regularly with a staff or faculty mentor.
Loss of privileges. Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time (such as co-curricular programs, campus housing, or athletic practice and/or contests).
Fines. Previously established and published fines may be imposed.
Restitution. Compensation for loss, damages, or injury. This may take the form of completing appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
Discretionary sanctions. This could include work assignments, service to the University, or other related discretionary assignments.
Required educational programs. Programs designed to give students the opportunity to learn more about a particular topic and give them the tools to make better choices in the future, e.g. anger management, alcohol education, or drug education courses. These programs could also include a participation fee.
Regular or random drug testing. Students may be asked to participate in regular drug testing for accountability to school policy and personal well-being.
Residence hall suspension. Separation of the student from campus housing for a specified period of time, after which the student may be eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.
Residence hall expulsion. Permanent separation of the student from campus housing.
University suspension. Separation of the student from the campus for a specified period of time, after which the student may be eligible to return. While suspended, students may not be on campus or participate in any University-related event. Length of suspensions may vary from one or more days to one or more semesters. The timing of the suspension will not occur at the convenience of the student. The Academic Policies and Procedures state, “Faculty are not permitted to provide make-up opportunities or alter established class schedules for suspended students. Where this creates a hardship for students, they are to be referred to the dean of students.” Conditions for the student’s return to campus may be specified.
University expulsion. Permanent separation of the student from the University, without possibility of readmission.
Sanctions are effective immediately but can be temporarily suspended at the sole discretion of the Dean of Students if a student notifies the Dean of Students in writing of the student’s intent to appeal.
The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (within Campus Life) will verify that all sanctions are completed within the given timeline. Students that fail to complete their sanctions will be charged with failure to comply and will reenter the student conduct process. Additional sanctions may be imposed by either the Title IX Coordinator, Conduct Officer or the Conduct Committee.
Appeals of Discriminatory Misconduct Cases
Appeals may be filed by either party. Appeals shall be sent to the Title IX Coordinator who will designate the Appeals Officer. When an appeal is filed, the other party shall be notified, in writing, within one (1) business day, and shall then have five (5) business days to respond to the appeal. Any party’s decision not to submit a reply to an appeal is not evidence that the non-appealing party agreed with the appeal.
The appeals process is documentary only, and no hearing is held.
The Appeals Officer shall not have any actual conflict of interest or bias. Within three (3) days of receipt of the Notice of Appeal, either party may object to the Appeals Officer on the basis of an actual bias or conflict of interest. Any objection is to be in writing, and sent to the Title IX Coordinator. Should the Title IX Coordinator determine that there is an actual bias or conflict of interest, the Title IX Coordinator shall remove the appeals officer and appoint another.
Appeals may be filed on the following grounds:
Procedural Error/Conflict of Interest or Bias: A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation or hearing, including allegations of bias or conflict of interest on the part of the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator or Decision-maker. A description of the error and its impact on the outcome of the case must be included in the written appeal; or
New Evidence: New evidence or information has arisen that was not available or known to the party during the investigation or hearing, and that could significantly impact the findings. Information that was known to the Appellant during the investigation or hearing but which they chose not to present is not new information. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact on the investigation findings must be included in the written report.
Sanction: To determine whether the sanction imposed was commensurate with the violation.
Sufficiency of Evidence: Whether the finding was supported by a preponderance of the evidence. This is not a de novo review, but rather whether a reasonable factfinder could have come to the same determination based on a review of the overall evidence.
The written appeals decision shall be sent simultaneously to both parties.
Students struggling with difficult issues in their personal lives are encouraged to seek out a Student Life staff member for help at any time. Except in situations where the University is required by law to take appropriate disciplinary action, students who come to a student life professional staff member for help related to lifestyle behaviors (e.g., alcohol, drug use, tobacco dependency, etc.), prior to staff becoming aware of a violation of University policy, will be offered support and help outside of the regular student conduct process. If continued offenses occur beyond or outside of these conversations, or if additional risk factors necessitate more formal intervention by the University, it may become necessary to address related or hidden violations through the conduct process.
 Unwelcomeness is subjective and determined by the Complainant (except when the Complainant is below the age of consent). Severity, pervasiveness, and objective offensiveness are evaluated based on the totality of the circumstances from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances (“in the shoes of the Complainant”), including the context in which the alleged incident the occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.