These procedures apply to all grievances regarding conduct that may constitute sexual harassment as defined in this policy (including sexual assault) and that falls within the University’s Title IX jurisdiction. All other grievances by students, employees, or third parties shall be addressed through other procedures. The University’s Title IX grievance process includes formal and informal procedures that encourage prompt resolution of complaints. In most cases, the complainant’s submission of a formal, written complaint to the Title IX Coordinator will initiate the formal grievance process. However, the Title IX Coordinator may also submit a formal complaint under the circumstances described below. The University will respond promptly to all formal complaints of sexual harassment.
The University’s grievance process shall adhere to the following principles:
- All relevant evidence—including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence—will beevaluated.
- Credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a complainant,respondent, or witness.
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing officers or panel members, decision-makers on appeal, persons involved with the informal resolution, and any other persons that play a significant role in the Title IX grievance process shall not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or for or against an individual complainant or respondent.
- The respondent is presumed to not be responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
- The time frames for concluding the grievance process shall be reasonably prompt, as set forth in more detail in the proceduresbelow.
- Thegrievanceprocessmaybetemporarilydelayed,andlimitedextensionsoftimeframesmaybe granted,forgoodcause.Insuchinstances,writtennoticetothecomplainantandtherespondent ofthedelayorextensionandthereasonsfortheactionwillbeprovided.Goodcausemayinclude considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurring law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodations ofdisabilities.
- Questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege will not be required, allowed, relied upon, or other wise used.The University shall not consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in the capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that person’s voluntary, written consent to do so for a grievance under this section.
- No party shall be restricted from discussing the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.
- A party whose participation in a hearing, investigative interview, or other meeting shall be provided with a written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings,investigative interviews, or other meetings,with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
INITIAL REPORT/INTAKE PROCESS
Initial Meeting with Complainant: Promptly upon receiving a report of conduct that could potentially be a violation of Title IX, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will contact the complainant to schedule an initial meeting to, as applicable:
- Provide a copy of this policy
- Explain the process for filing a formal complaint and provide a copy of the Sexual Harassment Complaint Form on which the complainant may, if he or she agrees to disclose the information, provide details regarding the allegation, including the name of the accused individual and the date, location, and general nature of the alleged violation ofpolicy
- Explain avenues for resolution, including informal andformal
- Explain the steps involved in an investigation and hearing under this policy
- Discuss confidentiality standards andconcerns
- Refer to law enforcement, counseling, medical, academic or other resources, asappropriate
- Discuss,as appropriate, possiblesupportivemeasures, which are available withorwithout the filing of a formal complaint
If the complainant requests that no further action be taken and/or that no formal complaint be pursued, the Title IX Coordinator (and/or his or her designee) will inform the complainant that retaliation is prohibited and that honoring the complainant's request may limit the University’s ability to fully respond to the incident. In the event the complainant stands firm on his or her request that no further action be taken, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate whether to file a complaint under the criteria set forth below.
FORMAL COMPLAINT PROCESS
Form and Filing of Complaint: The filing of a formal, written complaint initiates the formal grievance process and is available to any person who is participating in (or attempting to participate in) a University educational program or activity. The Title IX Coordinator (or an investigator designated by the Title IX Coordinator) will investigate the allegations in the formal complaint. Formal complaints can be filed in several ways. The complainant may utilize the form provided or may submit the complainant’s own document that contains the complainant’s signature (either physical or digital) and is filed with the University’s Title IX Office by U.S. mail, in person, through the Title IX portal provided for this purpose, or by email. The formal complaint should set forth the allegations and request that the Title IX Office investigate the matter.
Filing by Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator may initiate the grievance process, even where the complainant declines to file a formal complaint, if the Coordinator determines that the particular circumstances require the University to formally respond to and address the allegations. Circumstances to be considered include, among others, a pattern of alleged misconduct by a respondent and whether the complaint has alleged use of violence, weapons, or other similar conduct. The Title IX Coordinator will also consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures and desired response by the University. Where a report is made anonymously and the Title IX Coordinator files the complaint, both the complainant and respondent will receive notice of the allegations with written details and identities of the parties if known.
Consolidation of Formal Complaints: The Title IX Coordinator may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
Dismissal of Complaint Prior to Resolution: A formal complaint must be dismissed by the Title IX Coordinator if the alleged conduct (1) does not constitute sexual harassment, as defined in this policy, even if proved; (2) did not occur in the University’s education program or activity; or (3) did not occur against a person in the United States. In addition, a complaint may be dismissed if, at any time during the investigation or hearing, a complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the recipient; or specific circumstances prevent the gathering of evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or any allegations therein.
Upon dismissal of a formal complaint, for any reason, the Title IX Coordinator will send simultaneous, written notice of and reason(s) for the dismissal to the parties. The dismissal decision may be appealed pursuant to the procedure for appeals set forth in this policy. Dismissal of a complaint under this Title IX policy does not preclude a complainant from pursuing a grievance through other appropriate campus procedures.
Notice of Formal Complaint: Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will send simultaneous notifications of the filing of the complaint to the complainant and the respondent (if known). If, in the course of an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent that are not included in the initial notice, the Title IX Coordinator will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties whose identities are known. The initial notice will contain the following:
- The allegations of the complaint that potentially constitute sexual harassment, including sufficient details known at the time and with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview (including the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conductallegedlyconstitutingsexualharassmentunderthispolicy,andthedateandlocationof the alleged incident, ifknown)
- A copy of the Title IXpolicy
- A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process
- A statement informing the parties that they have a right to have one advisor of their choice to assist them throughout the proceedings who may be (but is not required to be) an attorney
- A statement that the parties have the right to inspect and review all evidence collectedduring the complaint process
- A statement that any party who knowingly makes false statements or submits falseinformation during the grievance process will be subject to disciplinaryprocedures
Initial Meeting with Respondent: If a formal complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly schedule an initial meeting with the respondent after the written notice of the formal complaint is sent as described above. Prior to the initial meeting, the Title IX Coordinator shall provide a written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of the meeting, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate. During the initial meeting with the respondent, the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) will, as applicable:
- Provide a copy of this policy (if not previouslyprovided)
- Explain avenues for resolution, including informal andformal
- Explain the steps involved in an investigation and hearing under thispolicy
- Discuss confidentiality standards andconcerns
- Discuss non-retaliationrequirements
- Informofanysupportivemeasuresalreadydeterminedandbeingprovidedtothecomplainant that would directly affect therespondent
- Refer to law enforcement, counseling, medical, academic or other resources, asappropriate
- Discuss, as appropriate, possible supportive measures that can be provided to therespondent
Right to Advisor: Both parties will be advised that they may be accompanied by one advisor/support person to assist them throughout the Title IX process, which can be (but is not required to be) an attorney. The advisor is not allowed to speak or otherwise actively participate during the pre-hearing interviews or meetings. It is the party’s responsibility to obtain the services of an advisor, except that the University will make an advisor available to the parties during the hearing to determine responsibility upon request. A party who wants the University to provide an advisor for the determination hearing should make a request within 15 days after the party’s filing or receipt of the formal complaint. The advisor’s role at the hearing is further explained below.
Emergency Removal: If, after the UAFS Behavioral Intervention Team undertakes a safety and risk analysis, the University determines that the respondent poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual harassment, it may remove the respondent from the University’s programs or activities. In such instances, the respondent will be provided with a written notice of the reasons for the removal. Within 5 days of receiving the notice, the respondent may challenge the decision by requesting a meeting with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs (or designee, as currently the VC for Student Affairs is the Title IX Coordinator).
Administrative leave: Nothing in this policy precludes the University from placing a non-student employee respondent on administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process.
Supportive Measures: Supportive measures, as defined in this policy, will be based on the facts and circumstances of each situation. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures. They may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Extensions of deadlines or other course-relatedadjustments
- Modifications of work or classschedules
- Campus escortservices
- Mutual restrictions on contact between theparties
- Changes in working or housinglocations
- Leaves ofabsence
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of thecampus
The University will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures.
Informal Resolution: At any time after a formal written complaint is filed but prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the University may facilitate a resolution without a full investigation and adjudication. The complainant and respondent must give their voluntary, written consent to the informal resolution process. The informal resolution process will not be utilized to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.
Prior to commencing the informal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator or designee must provide the parties a written notice that includes the following information:
- Noticeoftheallegationscontainedintheformalcomplaint,includingdates,location(s),and identities of theparties
- Any agreed upon resolution reached at the conclusion of the informal complaint processwill preclude the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the sameallegations
- Atanytimepriortoagreeing toaresolution,anypartyhastherighttowithdrawfromthe informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint
- Any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, includingthe records that will be maintained or could beshared
If resolution of the allegations does not proceed through the informal process, the matter will proceed with a comprehensive investigation and resolution through the formal complaint processes. The Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for overseeing the prompt, equitable, and impartial investigation during the formal complaint process. The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility shall rest on the University and not the parties.
Assignment of Investigator: If the Title IX Coordinator’s designee is to conduct the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the complaint to the investigator and share the investigator’s name and contact information with the complainant and the respondent.
Conflicts of Interest and Bias: Immediately after the identity of the person who will conduct the investigation is determined and communicated to the parties, the investigator, the complainant, or the respondent may identify to the Title IX Coordinator in writing any real or perceived conflicts of interest or bias that the person charged with conducting the investigation (including the Title IX coordinator, where applicable) may have. The Title IX Coordinator will carefully consider such statements and will assign a different individual as investigator if it is determined that a material conflict of interest or bias exists.
Overview of Investigation: Upon receipt of the formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator/Investigator (hereinafter “Investigator”) will promptly begin the investigation, which shall include but is not limited to the following:
- Conductinginterviewswiththecomplainant,therespondent,andanywitnesses(including expert witnesses, where applicable) and summarizing such interviews in writtenform
- Visiting, inspecting, and taking photographs at relevantsites
- Where applicable, collecting and preserving relevant evidence (in cases ofcorresponding criminal reports, this step may be coordinated with law enforcementagencies)
- Obtaininganyrelevantmedicalrecordspertainingtotreatmentofthecomplainant,provided that the complainant has voluntarily authorized release of the records in writing to the investigator
Inspection and Access to Evidence: The parties may identify to the Investigator any evidence or witnesses they wish to be included as part of the investigation. Both parties will also have equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained during the investigation. The Investigator will complete the gathering of evidence as soon as practicable, which will ordinarily occur within approximately 30 days after the filing of the formal complaint.
After the gathering of evidence has been completed but prior to completion of the investigative report, the Investigator will provide to each party and party’s advisor, if any, any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the formal complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence (whether obtained from a party or other source), so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to the conclusion of the investigation. The evidence will be provided in an electronic format or a hard copy. The parties will have 10 calendar days to submit a written response to the evidence, which will be considered by the Investigator prior to completion of the investigative report. The evidence will be made available for the parties to use at the hearing to determine responsibility.
Investigative Report: The investigative report shall fairly summarize the relevant evidence and must include the following items and information that is relevant to the allegations in the formal complaint:
- The dates of the Title IX Coordinator’s initial receipt of a report of alleged sexual harassment against the complainant, intake meeting, and the filing of the formalcomplaint
- Astatementoftheallegation(s),adescriptionoftheincident(s),thedate(s)andtime(s)(ifknown), and location of the allegedincident(s)
- The names of all known witnesses to the allegedincident(s)
- The dates that the complainant, respondent, and other witnesses were interviewed, along with summaries of theinterviews
- Descriptionsorsummariesofanyphysicalordocumentaryevidencethatwasobtained(e.g.,text messages, emails, surveillance video footage,photographs)
- Any written statements of the complainant, respondent, or otherwitnesses
- The response of University personnel and, if applicable, University-level officials, including any supportive measures taken with respect to the complainant andrespondent
The Investigator shall provide a draft of the investigative report to the Title IX Coordinator for review before the report becomes final. An electronic or hard-copy version of the final investigative report will be provided to each party (and each party’s advisor) concurrently. The investigative report shall be provided as soon as practicable after the parties have submitted their written responses to the evidence (if any) and at least 10 calendar days prior to the determination hearing. The parties may provide a written response to the investigative report within 5 calendar days after receiving it.
Following the conclusion and distribution of the investigative report, a hearing will be conducted to determine the outcome and resolution of the complaint. The parties and their advisors, if any, will be notified by the Hearing Officer, Hearing Panel chairperson, or Title IX Coordinator of the date, time and location of the hearing, as set forth in the notice provisions below.
Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel: Within 3 days of the release of the investigative report to the parties, the Chancellor or his/her designee, typically the Title IX Coordinator, will appoint (1) a three-member Hearing Panel, which shall be composed of at least 2 faculty and/or staff members and may include (but is not required to include) one outside person who is not permanently employed by the University. If a Hearing Panel will be used, the Chancellor or his/her designee will select one member of the Hearing Panel to act as the Chair. The Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the formal complaint and the investigative report, along with the parties’ written responses to the investigative report, to the Hearing Officer or each member of the Hearing Panel.
Promptly after the appointment of the members of the Hearing Panel, the Title IX Coordinator will provide concurrent written notice to the complainant and the respondent, setting forth the names of the individuals selected to serve as members of the Hearing Panel. The parties may challenge the participation of any decision-maker based on bias or a conflict of interest by submitting a written objection to the Chancellor or his/her designee within 3 calendar days of receipt of the notice. Any objection must state the specific reason(s) for the objection. The Chancellor or his/her designee will evaluate the objection and determine whether to select a new Hearing Officer or alter the composition of the Hearing Panel. Failure to submit a timely and proper objection will constitute a waiver of the objection. Any changes in the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will be provided in writing to both parties prior to the date of the hearing.
Submission of Witnesses Lists: Within 5 calendar days of receipt of the notice of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel, both parties may provide to the Hearing Officer or Chair of the Hearing Panel a list of witnesses, if any, that they propose be called to testify and a brief description of each proposed witness’s connection to and/or knowledge of the issues in dispute. Absent good cause, a party cannot include a witness on the party’s pre-hearing witness list unless the witness was identified during the investigation. The Hearing Officer of Hearing Panel reserves the right to call relevant witnesses who may not have been included on a party’s witness list.
Notice of the Hearing: Not less than 5 days but not more than 10 days after delivery of the notice of the Hearing Officer’s identity or initial composition of the Hearing Panel, the Hearing Officer or Chair of the Hearing Panel will provide a separate notice to the complainant, respondent, and any other witnesses whose testimony the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel deems relevant, requesting such individuals to appear at the hearing to determine responsibility. The notice should set forth the date, time, and location for the individual’s requested presence. The Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel shall provide, in its notice to the parties, the names of the witnesses that the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel plans to call. The hearing shall be conducted promptly but no sooner than 10 calendar days after release of the investigative report.
Failure to Appear: If any party fails to appear at the hearing if requested to do so, and such party was provided notice of the hearing as set forth above, then absent extenuating circumstances, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will proceed to determine the resolution of the complaint. As explained below, if a party fails to appear, it is unlikely that the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will consider the non- appearing party’s version of events based on another source, such as the formal complaint or a prior statement.
Option for Virtual or Separate Presence: Live hearings may be conducted with either all parties present in the same geographic location or, at the University’s discretion, any or all parties and witnesses may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. Either party may request not to be in the same room as the other party. If any party makes such a request, then both parties will be required to attend the hearing from a location or room different from where the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel is sitting. If the hearing is virtual, or there is a request for separate rooms at a physical location, the University will ensure that all participants are able to simultaneously see and hear the party or witness answering questions. Instructions will be provided for accessibility prior to the hearing date.
Recordings: An audio or audio-visual recording will be created of the live hearing and will be made available for inspection and review at any party’s request.
Advisor’s Role at Hearing: The complainant and respondent may be accompanied by an advisor during the hearing to determine responsibility. A party must identify his or her advisor (if any) at least 5 days prior to the hearing. The advisor’s role at the hearing shall consist of (1) providing private advice to the party he/she is supporting and (2) questioning the opposing party and other witnesses. The advisor can be anyone, including an attorney. A party may arrange for the party’s advisor of choice to attend the hearing at the party’s own expense. Alternatively, the University will select and provide an advisor to assist a party at the hearing to determine responsibility, without fee or charge, upon request. In either scenario, the advisor may only participate in the hearing to the extent allowed under this policy. A party who wants an advisor to be provided by the University should notify the Title IX Coordinator within 15 days after the filing or receipt of the formal complaint.
Evidentiary Matters and Procedure: The parties, through their advisors, shall have an equal opportunity to question the opposing party and other witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and present other inculpatory or exculpatory evidence. Formal rules of evidence will not be observed during the hearing. The Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will conduct the initial questioning of witnesses prior to the questioning by an advisor. The Hearing Officer or Chair of the Hearing Panel (acting alone or in consultation with other panelists) will make all determinations regarding the order of witnesses, relevancy of questions, and the evidence to be considered or excluded during the hearing and decision-making process. The Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel may, in its discretion, choose to call the Investigator for the purpose of providing an overview of the investigation and findings.
Witness Examinations by the Parties: Each party’s advisor is permitted to question the opposing party and the other witnesses, so long as the questions are relevant and not duplicative of the questions posed by the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel. The questions may include challenges to credibility. No other questioning or speaking participation by an advisor will be allowed. A party may not examine a party or witness directly; rather, a party must utilize the services of an advisor for the purpose of posing questions to another party or witness. A party not represented by an advisor may, however, submit a list of proposed questions to the Hearing Officer or Chair of the Hearing Panel and ask that the questions be posed to the opposing party or witness.
The Hearing Officer or Chair of the Hearing Panel will make determinations regarding relevancy of questions before a party or witness answers. If a determination is made to exclude the question based on relevancy, the Hearing Officer or Panel Chair will provide an explanation of why the question was deemed irrelevant and excluded.
The Hearing Officer or Panel Chair may disallow the attendance of any advisor if, in the discretion of the Hearing Officer or Panel Chair, such person’s presence becomes disruptive or obstructive to the hearing or otherwise warrants removal. Advisors will be not be permitted to badger or question the opposing party or any witness in an abusive or threatening manner. Absent accommodation for a disability, the parties may not be accompanied by any other individual during the hearing process except as set forth in this policy. University officials may seek advice from the University’s Office of General Counsel on questions of law, policy, and procedure at any time during the process.
Prior Sexual Conduct: Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or 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.
Refusal to submit to cross examination: If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the decision-maker(s) must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility; provided, however, that the decision-maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination of responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Confidentiality and Disclosure. To comply with FERPA and Title IX and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, the grievance process is not open to the general public. Accordingly, documents prepared in anticipation of the hearing (including the formal complaint, investigative report, evidentiary materials, notices, and prehearing submissions), recordings of the hearing, and documents, testimony, or other information used at the hearing may not be disclosed outside of the hearing proceedings, except as may be required or authorized by law.
Decision of the Hearing Officer or Panel and Standard of Evidence: Following the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will confer and determine whether the evidence establishes that it is more likely than not that the respondent committed a violation of this policy. In other words, the standard of proof will be the preponderance of the evidence. This standard applies to complaints against both students and employees. In reaching the determination, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will objectively and thoroughly evaluate all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory, and reach an independent decision, without deference to the investigative report. If a Hearing Panel is utilized, the determination of responsibility shall be made by majority vote.
Written Determination of Responsibility: As soon as practicable following the hearing (and ordinarily within 10 days thereafter), the Hearing Officer or Panel Chair shall complete a report of the decision- maker's findings. The Hearing Officer or Panel Chair will send simultaneous notification of the decision to both parties and their advisors, where applicable, with the following information:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment under thepolicy
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaintthrough the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence and the hearingheld
- Findings of fact that support the determination
- Conclusions regarding the application of the University’s conduct standards to thefacts
- Astatementandrationalefortheresultastoeachallegation,includingadeterminationasto responsibility using the preponderance of the evidencestandard
- Any disciplinary sanctions imposed onrespondent
- Whether any remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided to the complainant (description of remediesis not included)
- Procedures and permissible bases for the parties to appeal
Sanctions: If the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel determines that more likely than not the respondent committed a violation of this policy, then the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will determine sanctions and give consideration to whether a given sanction will (a) bring an end to the violation in question, (b) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (c) remedy the effects of the violation. Sanctions for a finding of responsibility will depend upon the nature and gravity of the misconduct, any record of prior discipline for a violation of this policy, or both. The range of potential sanctions is set forth in the definitions section of this policy.
Ordinarily, sanctions will not be imposed until the resolution of any timely appeal under this policy. However, if it is deemed necessary to protect the welfare of the victim or the University community, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel may recommend to the decision-maker on appeal that any sanctions be imposed immediately and continue in effect until such time as the appeal process is exhausted.
Remedies: Where a determination is made that the respondent was responsible for sexual harassment, the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel will determine any final remedies to be provided to the complainant, if any, and the Title IX Coordinator will communicate such decision to the complainant and the respondent to the extent that it affects him/her. Remedies must be provided in all instances in which a determination of responsibility for sexual harassment has been made against the respondent. Remedies must be designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Such remedies may include the same individualized services described above as “supportive measures”; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the respondent.
No Retaliation: The Title IX Coordinator will take steps to prevent any harassment of or retaliation against the complainant, the respondent, or third parties, such as informing them about how to report subsequent problems, following up with them to ensure that there are no subsequent problems, and providing training for the campus community.
Procedure for Appeals: Both the complainant and the respondent may appeal from (1) the Title IX Coordinator’s dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein or (2) the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel’s determination. The appeal should be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within 5 days of receipt of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel’s decision. The Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal to the Chancellor. The appeal will be decided based on the written record and without deference to the decision of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel.
If the respondent is an employee, the Chancellor or his/her designee will decide the appeal. If the respondent is a student, the Chancellor will designate an Appeal Panel comprised of three faculty and/or staff members. One of the members of the Appeal Panel can be (but need not be) an outside person who is not an employee. If an Appeal Panel is utilized, the Chancellor shall designate one of the panelists as the Chair of the Appeal Panel. The Chair of the Appeal Panel (in cases where the respondent is a student and a panel is utilized) or the Chancellor or designee (in other cases) shall make any decisions concerning appellate jurisdiction under the permissible grounds for appeal described below.
The party appealing may use the Appeal Form or the party may submit his/her own written and signed document. Acceptable means of notification include email, facsimile, hand-delivered notification, or postal delivery. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform the other party of the appeal.
Grounds for Appeal: The appeal from the decision of the Hearing Officer or Hearing Panel must be for one of the following reasons, which must be specified in the appeal notice: (1) a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the decision; (2) there is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made and that could affect the outcome of the matter; or (3) the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), Hearing Officer, or Panel Member(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents in general or against an individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome.
Responses: Within 5 days of receipt of the appeal, the other party may submit a written statement in response to the appeal and which supports or challenges the dismissal or determination. The response should be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, who shall provide a copy to the decision-maker and the appealing party.
Decision on Appeal: As soon as practicable after receiving the parties’ written submissions (and ordinarily within approximately 10 days), the Chancellor (or designee) or Appeal Panel will issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result. The decision on appeal may uphold the decision, modify it, or remand for further factual development. The decision-maker on appeal will concurrently notify the complainant and the respondent of the decision, with a written copy provided to the Title IX Coordinator.
Employees: All non-tenure track faculty and staff members of the University without term contracts are at-will employees who may be terminated at any time, with or without cause. With regard to such faculty and staff, nothing in this Policy shall create an expectation of continued employment with the University or be construed to prevent or delay the University from taking any disciplinary action deemed appropriate (including suspension and immediate termination of employment) for any violation of state law, federal law or University policy.
The University will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the investigation and resolution of a complaint occurs in as timely and efficient a manner as possible.
Any party may request an extension of any deadline by providing the Title IX Coordinator or his or her respective deputies with a written request for an extension that includes reference to the duration of the proposed extension and the basis for the request.
The Title IX Coordinator may also modify timelines in cases where information is not clear, judged to be incomplete, relevant parties are not available for interview, absence of an advisor, concurrent law enforcement activity, the need for language assistance or disability accommodation and/or other circumstances that may arise.
No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, 34 C.F.R. Part 106, or this policy, or because an individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this part. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including changes against an individual for code of conduct violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sex discrimination of harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, 34 C.F.R. Part 106, or this policy, constitutes retaliation. However, the exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment does not constitute retaliation.
Willfully making a false report of sexual harassment or submitting false information during these proceedings is a violation of University policy and is a serious offense. However, a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith. Any person who willfully makes or participates in making a false or frivolous report of discrimination, harassment, retaliation or sexual misconduct will be subject to disciplinary action. False reporting may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
EXTERNAL REPORTING AGENCIES
Although complainants are encouraged to resolve their grievances related to discrimination by utilizing this Complaint/Grievance Procedure, they may have the right to file a complaint directly with the following agencies. Individuals who wish to file complaints with these external agencies should make contact as soon as possible and verify any applicable time limits and deadlines.
Office of Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education 1999 Bryan St., Suite 1620 Dallas, TX 75201-6810
Toll Free: 1-800-421-3481
NSF Grantees Only
National Science Foundation Office of Diversity and Inclusion 2415 Eisenhower Ave.
Alexandria, VA 22314
The University reserves the right to make changes and amendments to this Policy as needed, with appropriate notice to the campus community. However, the Policy in force at the time that a Complaint is filed will be the Policy used throughout the investigation, hearing, and any appeals.
RETENTION OF RECORDS
For a period of at least seven years, the University will maintain the records of:
- Each sexual harassment investigation, including any determination regarding responsibility, any recordings or transcripts, disciplinary sanctions, and remedies provided to the complainant
- Any appeal and the result there from
- Any informal resolution and the result there from
- All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and anyperson who facilitates an informal resolution process. These materials will be made publicly available on the University’s website.
- Records of any actions, including supportive measures, taken in response to a report orformal complaint of sexual harassment, along with documentation of the University’s bases for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent.
Documentation pertaining to terminations, expulsions or educational sanctions may be retained indefinitely.