2018-2019 Student Handbook 
    
    Feb 17, 2019  
2018-2019 Student Handbook

Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Discrimination


Updated August 2018

Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) affirms its commitment to a safe and healthy educational environment and to the principle that people have a right to be free from all forms of sexual misconduct, which includes sex- or gender-based harassment, discrimination, and/or violence.  The University will respond appropriately to notice of any form of sexual misconduct. When the University receives notice of an allegation of sexual misconduct, the University will conduct a prompt and fair investigation and will work to stop the misconduct and eliminate any hostile environment that the sexual misconduct creates; remedy the impact on the harmed party or others impacted by the conduct; redress wrongs created by the misconduct; and prevent its recurrence.  Sexual misconduct violates University policy, state and federal civil rights laws, and, in many cases, criminal law.

The policy applies to allegations of sexual misconduct on or off campus. It applies in face-to-face encounters, social media, and other forms of electronic and non-electronic communication.  Regardless of where and how it occurs, the policy applies whenever sexual misconduct creates a discriminatory and/or hostile environment that significantly affects another student’s access to education, University benefits, and/or University activities.

Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, discrimination, non-consensual sexual contact, non-consensual sexual intercourse, sexual exploitation, stalking, and intimate partner violence when these behaviors have a gender-based element.

The University policies prohibit all forms of sex and gender-based discrimination, harassment, sexual/gender-based violence, sexual exploitation, stalking, hazing, intimate partner violence (including domestic violence and dating violence), bullying/cyberbullying, and the use of physical harm/intimidation. Any acts committed due to a person’s gender identity or presentation will be investigated and processed through the Sexual Misconduct policies and procedures.

This policy applies to allegations of sexual misconduct when a student is the respondent. For the purpose of this policy, full or part-time students employed by the University are defined as students, and University employees who take classes part-time are defined as employees. If the respondent is neither a student nor employee, contact the Title IX Coordinator to receive information on support resources and options for reporting.

If the respondent is a non-student employee of the University go to http://policies.owu.edu/pdfs/HarassmentPolicy.pdf.

Non-student employees can contact the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Human Resources for information on how to bring a sexual misconduct concern forward.

This policy applies to all persons.  Complainants (those who accuse) and Respondents (those who are accused) can be of any identity.

Methods of Reporting

It is important for Complainants to understand that, with limited exceptions, all University employees (faculty, staff, administrators) are expected to immediately report actual or suspected sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence to appropriate University officials. In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidential sources and mandatory reporting requirements of non-confidential sources when consulting campus resources.

On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality – meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment or discrimination, to appropriate University officials - thereby offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an internal or external agency or individual unless a survivor has requested information to be shared. Employees designated as confidential support resources can only exercise that confidentiality when acting within the scope of that confidential role.  Other resources exist for an individual to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when an incident is reported to them.

Personnel tasked with implementing response to reports of Sexual Misconduct (e.g.: Title IX Coordinator, Investigators, Conduct Resolution Panel Members, Appeal Officers, etc.) will be trained at least annually. This training will include, but is not limited to: how to appropriately remedy, investigate, render findings and determine appropriate sanctions in reference to sexual harassment and discrimination allegations; the University’s Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Discrimination; confidentiality and privacy; and applicable laws, regulations and federal regulatory guidance.

Confidential Reporting Options

These confidential reporting options will maintain confidentiality unless required by law to report specific crimes against minors or imminent harm to self or others.  Any parties involved in a complaint may speak confidentially with:

  • University Counseling Services: 740-368-3145 (or 3145 from a campus phone)
  • Office of the University Chaplain: 740-368-3083 (or 3083 from a campus phone)
  • Student Health Services: 740-368-3160 (or 3160 from a campus phone)

Non-Confidential Reporting Options

A Complainant has the right, and can expect, to have reports of sexual misconduct taken seriously by the University when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures.  All OWU employees, excluding the confidential resources detailed above, are mandatory reporters under this policy and must share all details of the reports they receive with the University. Therefore, Complainants may want to consider carefully whether to share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees.

Reporting can help the University redress wrongs, take measures to minimize the recurrence of such misconduct, aid in the pursuit of holding members of our community accountable for their behavior.  The University can also provide with support and assistance to process experiences.  The University has protective measures and accommodations that are rigorously enforced.  These include no-contact orders, special accommodations, interim suspensions and activity restrictions. The University limits the number of people informed of your report and ensures that the report is managed with the up most privacy.

Students are encouraged to report a concern directly to a member of the Title IX Team.  There is no time limit for reporting sexual misconduct as a Complainant. However, timely reporting maximizes the University’s ability to respond and investigate in an effective manner. University response may be limited in the actions it can take when a report is filed against a former student who is accused of sexual misconduct when they were a student. 

Complainants and Respondents will receive resolution options, support resources, and appropriate accommodations that may be needed.  A discussion of the concern directly with a Title IX team member is required for the Complainant to make a formal complaint with the University. Reports to the Title IX team can be made via email, phone or in person at the contact information below:

Title IX Coordinator
Dwayne Todd, ​dktodd@owu.edu
Vice President for Student Engagement and Success/Dean of Students
HWCC 230
740-368-3135

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Doug Koyle, dmkoyle@owu.edu
Associate Dean for Student Success
HWCC 211
740-368-3135

Title IX Deputy Coordinator – Student Conduct and Community Standards
Jess Ettell Irvine, jlettell@owu.edu
Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards
HWCC Room 225
740-368-3175

OWU Public Safety
1st Floor of Smith Residence Hall
740-368-2222 (2222 from a campus phone)
(OWU Public Safety can also offer assistance by taking you to the hospital)

Students may also contact Residential Life Staff, including Residential Life Coordinators and Resident Assistants.  They will provide you with information about options and how to file a report. The person that received the initial report will notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee about your meeting, with the exception of confidential resources.

Off- Campus Resources

Delaware Police (911)
1 S. Sandusky St.
Delaware, OH  43015
740-368-1911 non-life threatening emergencies
The Delaware Police can also offer assistance by taking a person to the hospital.

Grady Memorial Hospital
Address: 561 W Central Ave, Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: (740) 615-1000

  • You can obtain this confidential, no cost, collection of medical evidence exam, through OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Room.  Call  740-615-1165 for more information. Directions to hospital.  Public Safety can provide transportation to Grady Hospital and you need not disclose the medical condition for which you are seeking care.

​Hotlines
Confidential sexual assault hotline can provide support as well as information on medical, reporting and legal options.

  • SARN (local)- 1-800-684-2324 or 740-369-3316
  • RAINN (national) 1-800-656-HOPE

Gender and/or Gender Identity Discrimination in Athletics

Persons interested in filing a complaint for gender and/or gender identity inequity within the OWU Athletics department should contact:

Title IX Deputy Coordinator - Athletics
Kirsta Cobb, ktcobb@owu.edu
Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator
Edward Gymnasium Room 109
740-368-3746

Reporting to the Office of Civil Rights

OWU’s Sexual Misconduct Policy complies with federal law. The University’s policies are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX bans sexual discrimination in schools that receive federal financial aid.  If you believe the University has failed to follow its Title IX obligations, you may contact the Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education (ocr@ed.gov).

Ohio Wesleyan University also designates other individuals to assist/support the Title IX Coordinator in their work to fulfill the compliance efforts.  Below are the names, area of support and contact information for such individuals.

Request for Anonymity

If a Complainant reports to a non-confidential resource, but does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution to be pursued, the Complainant may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators will then evaluate that request in light of the University’s duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the University will likely be unable to honor a request for anonymity.

In cases where the Complainant, having reported to a non-confidential resource, requests anonymity and the circumstances allow the University to honor that request, the University will offer interim supports and remedies to the Complainant and the community to the extent possible based on the Complainant’s limitations for privacy, but may not otherwise pursue formal action.

The University will take all reasonable and good faith steps to protect a Complainant’s privacy, though privacy cannot be guaranteed.  Following a report to a non-confidential resource, only a small group of officials who need to know will be told, including, as appropriate to address the matter, the VP for Student Engagement and Success/Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator, Director of Public Safety, Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, and Associate Dean for Student Success. Information will be shared as necessary with other administrators, investigators, witnesses and the Respondent.

Amnesty for Participants

The University community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes.  To encourage reporting, Ohio Wesleyan University does not charge Complainants with non-violent violations, such as unauthorized use of alcoholic beverages or drugs or narcotics related to the incident. It is in the best interests of this community that Complainants choose to report to University officials, and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.

Sometimes, students are hesitant to offer assistance to others or provide witness statements for fear that they may find themselves in violation of University policy (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a person that has experienced sexual misconduct to the Public Safety). The University upholds a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need or have relevant information to share in conduct proceedings.  While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the University will provide educational interventions and support to those who offer their assistance to others in need.

Consent:

  • clear, and
  • knowing, and
  • voluntary,
  • words or actions,
  • that give permission for specific sexual activity.

Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent.

Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated.

In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.

A person cannot obtain consent from someone who is incapacitated.

Incapacity

The inability of an individual to make rational, reasonable decisions because the individual lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).

Sexual activity with someone you know to be or should know to be incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy. Incapacitation can occur mentally or physically, from developmental disability, by alcohol or other drug use, or blackout. The question of what the Respondent should have known is objectively based on what a reasonable person in the place of the Respondent, sober and exercising good judgment, would have known about the condition of the Complainant.

This policy also applies to a person whose incapacity results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of drugs.  Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another student is a violation of this policy.

Definitions of Misconduct

Bullying/Cyberbullying

  • Repeated and/or severe
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally
  • That is not speech or conduct otherwise protected university policies

Bullying that is not gender-based and does not have a sexual component is still prohibited and will be investigated under Student Handbook policies and procedures.

Domestic/Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are involved or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, or domestic relationship, or other intimate encounters. Intimate partner violence may take the form of threats, assault, property damage, violence or threat of violence to oneself, one’s sexual or romantic partner, or to the family members or friends of the sexual or romantic partner. Dating violence and domestic violence are both forms of intimate partner violence.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

  • any intentional sexual touching,
  • however slight,
  • with any body part or object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

​Sexual Contact includes:

  • Intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts; or
  • Any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner (e.g. unwelcome kissing, unwelcome shoulder rubbing or other touching perceived by the recipient as sexually based).

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse

  • any sexual intercourse
  • however slight,
  • with any body part or object,
  • by a person upon another person,
  • that is without consent and/or by force.

Intercourse includes:

Vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses.  Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Invasion of sexual privacy;
  • Taking advantage of another’s sexuality; threatening to disclose an individual’s sexual orientation or gender;
  • Prostitution: defined as the exchange of sexual acts for money, drugs, or other compensation or the facilitation of prostitution of another individual;
  • Prostituting another person;
  • Non-consensual digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity;
  • Unauthorized sharing or distribution of digital, video or audio recording of nudity or sexual activity;
  • Sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaging in sexual acts without the consent of the person observed);Going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting someone hide in the closet to watch parties having consensual sex);
  • Causing the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs, or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give or deny consent to sexual activity;Knowingly exposing someone to or transmitting an STI, STD or HIV to another person;
  • Intentionally or recklessly exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; inducing another to expose their genitals;
  • Encouraging or permitting another person to engage in non-consensual sexual activity;
  • Sexually-based stalking and/or bullying may also be forms of sexual exploitation.

Sexual Harassment

  • Unwelcome,
  • sexual, sex-based and/or gender-based verbal, written, online and/or physical conduct.

Anyone experiencing sexual harassment in any University program is encouraged to report it immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator. Remedies, education and/or training will be provided in response.

Sexual harassment based conduct may be subject to disciplinary actions when it creates a hostile environment or takes the form of quid pro quo harassment.

Hostile Environment

A Hostile Environment is created when sexual harassment is:

  • sufficiently severe, or
  • persistent or pervasive,
  • and objectively offensive that it:
    • unreasonably interferes with, denies or limits someone’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational (and/or employment), social and/or residential program.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
  • Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature
  • By a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment when
  • Submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual’s educational (or employment) progress, development, or performance.

This includes when submission to such conduct would be a condition for access to receiving the benefits of any educational (or employment) program. Examples include, but are not limited to: an attempt to coerce an unwilling person into a sexual relationship; to repeatedly subject a person to egregious, unwelcome sexual attention; to punish a refusal to comply with a sexual based request; to condition a benefit on submitting to sexual advances, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, or gender-based bullying.

Sex- or Gender-Based Harassment

Unfairly treating an individual or group of individuals differently than others on the basis of sex or gender.

The following behaviors are prohibited when based on sex or gender:

  • Treating one student differently from another in determining whether the student satisfies any requirement or condition for the provision of any aid, benefit, or service.
  • Providing different aid, benefits, or services or providing aid, benefits, or services in a different manner.
  • Denying any student any such aid, benefit, or service. • Subjecting students to separate or different rules of behavior, sanctions, or other treatment.
  • Aiding or perpetuating discrimination against a student by providing significant assistance to any agency, organization, or person that discriminates on the basis of sex in providing any aid, benefit, or service to students.
  • Otherwise limiting any student in the enjoyment of any right, privilege, advantage, or opportunity.

Stalking

  • A course of conduct, including electronic, verbal, or physical action
  • That is repetitive and menacing
  • Directed at a specific person
  • On the basis of sex or gender
  • That is unwelcome, AND
  • Would cause a reasonable person to suffer substantial emotional distress.

Other Misconduct Applicable Under Policy

Other misconduct offenses that may fall under this policy when the conduct is sex- or gender-based:

  • Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of sex or gender;
  • Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person;
  • Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another;
  • Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the University community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy);

Attempted violations

In most circumstances, the University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in this policy as if those attempts had been completed.

False Reports

The University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents.  It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

Parental Notification

The University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation.  The University may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, the University will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The University also reserves the right to designate which University officials have a need to know about individual conduct reports pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

Voluntary Sexual Relationships Between Faculty/Staff and Students

Ohio Wesleyan strongly discourages any sexual relationship between a faculty/staff member and an OWU student. Relationships in which a differential of power exists between parties increase the risk of exploitation, favoritism, bias, and conflicts of interest. The following policy is intended to help protect the academic and institutional integrity of Ohio Wesleyan University by reducing the potential for these problems or the perceptions of them that might otherwise occur.

Faculty and staff members are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with OWU students with whom they have a supervisory, advisory, or evaluative role. For the purposes of this policy, a sexual relationship is defined as a relationship in which any kind of sexual physical contact occurs. All persons inhabiting the dual role of full-time student and paid staff will be treated exclusively as full-time students for the purpose of this policy. This policy sets a minimum standard for OWU employees. Non-faculty employees may be subject to different and stricter policies, in which policy statements may be promulgated by the administration to prohibit all sexual relationships between staff and students.

The fraternization policy applies to relationships between all faculty/staff members and students regardless of gender; however, it does not apply to relationships between faculty/staff members and their spouses or domestic partners (as defined by the University – see Personnel Office information).

Students who have concerns about potential violations of this policy are encouraged to share their concerns with the Dean of Students or a member of the University Harassment Advisory Panel (list available at https://www.owu.edu/about/offices-services/human-resources/handbooks-policies/employee-internal-policies/harassment-policy/).

Participation of Advisors 

All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to guide and accompany them throughout the campus resolution process.  The advisor may be a University advisor, a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them.  People who will be called as witnesses may not serve as advisors.

The parties are entitled to be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake, interviews, Conduct Resolution Meetings, and appeals.  Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.

All advisors are subject to the same campus policies and procedures, whether they are attorneys or not.  Advisors may not present on behalf of their advisee in a meeting, interview or Conduct Resolution Meetings, and should request or wait for a break in the proceeding if they wish to interact with campus officials. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees as necessary, provided they do not disrupt the process.  For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation. Advisors may be given a timely opportunity to meet in advance of any interview or Conduct Resolution Meeting with the administrative officials conducting that interview or meeting, provided their advisee is present for the meeting. This pre-meeting will allow advisors to clarify any questions they may have, and allows the University an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take.

Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the University investigation and resolution.  Any advisor who steps out of their role in any meeting under the campus resolution process will be warned once and only once.  If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present.  Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or may be replaced by a different advisor.

The University expects that the parties will wish the University to share documentation related to the allegations with their advisors. The parties are not otherwise restricted from discussing and sharing information relating to allegations with others who may support them or assist them in preparing and presenting. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them by the University. These records may not be shared with 3rd parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. The University may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the University’s privacy expectations.

The University expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend University meetings when scheduled. The University does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The University will, however, make provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.

A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout.

The parties must advise the investigators of the identity of their advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with investigators. The parties must provide subsequent timely notice to the investigators if they change advisors at any time.

Recording and/or Filming

No audio or video recording of any kind other than as required by institutional procedure is permitted during meetings with campus officials.  Additionally, when parties or their advisors are reviewing any documents or recordings in a case file, they may only make handwritten notes. No photographs, dictations, scans, or other reproductions of materials in a case file are permitted without the authorization of the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards.

Retaliation

Retaliation occurs when an individual is harassed, intimidated, bullied, or discrimination against because they have chosen to make a complaint under this policy, participate in the investigation/adjudication of a complaint under this policy, or make a complaint to the Office of Civil Rights (OCR).

For an act to be considered retaliation, it must have a discriminatory impact that limits or denies an individual’s rights to their education, or participation in campus activities or other benefits. While the University cannot control all expression, and reserves the right to assess the impact on an individual, retaliation is prohibited and is a serious violation of University policy.

Grievance Procedures: Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Discrimination

Ohio Wesleyan University provides for a prompt and effective response to all notice of a potential violation of this policy.  The University engages in a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe the policy has been violated. If so, the University will initiate an investigation that is thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt and fair. This investigation determines whether the University’s policy has been violated. If so, the University will promptly implement an effective remedy designed to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

The University’s Student Conduct Resolution Process, including this policy addressing sexual misconduct (sexual harassment or discrimination), is operated by the University, and under the requirements of Title IX must act in response to notification of possible sexual misconduct.

The Conduct Resolution Process is employed to determine whether a student has violated University policy and, if so, what outcomes and remedies should apply.  The standard for finding a student responsible for a sexual misconduct violation is “preponderance of evidence” (or “more likely than not”).

The Student Conduct Resolution Process operates under its own procedures, standards, and outcomes.  The Title IX Coordinator has final authority for all Title IX matters, including investigations, resolution methods, findings, and sanctions.  

Filing a report about sexual misconduct with the University is independent of filing a report with the police.  Complainants may file reports with the University and the police, which we encourage; with the University, only; or with the police, only.  If a Complainant files complaints with both the University and the police, the University will not wait for the criminal justice system’s process to be completed before commencing its own process, except in cases where the University temporarily delays its investigation while criminal investigators gather evidence.  Occasionally, the University and police will share information and conduct joint investigations for the sake of efficiency and convenience of the involved parties, but how they use the results will be decided independently.

Conflicts of Interest and Bias

The University is committed to ensuring that its resolution processes (e.g.: investigation, Conduct Resolution, appeal, etc.) are free from actual or perceived bias or conflicts of interest that would materially impact the outcome. Any party who feels that there is actual or perceived bias or conflict of interest that would materially impact the outcome may submit a written petition to the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards for the person’s removal from the process. The petition should include specifics as to the actual or perceived bias or conflict of interest, and why the petitioner believes the bias or conflict could materially impact the outcome. Such petitions may also be made to the Title IX Coordinator, or to the University President in the event that the potential conflict or bias involves the Title IX Coordinator.

Withdrawal Prior to Resolution

If a student withdraws from the University after being reported for sexual misconduct and prior to final resolution, the pending case will be noted in the student’s record and the student must resolve the issue before re enrolling.

Resolution Timeline

An investigation may take at least 21 business days, or more, depending upon the number and availability of witnesses, the academic calendar, and other factors. Cases where violence and/or harassment has occurred will take priority. It is a goal to resolve complaints within 60 business days from notice of complaint. The time frame will exclude the days that classes are not in session. The University may extend an investigation process for reasonable circumstances and will provide this information to the complainant and respondent in writing. The 60 days will not include appeals that may be filed.

Terms Used in the Process

  • Complainants: person(s) who makes a complaint.

  • Respondents: person(s) responding to the complaint of misconduct.

  • Appellants: those who appeal a decision.

  • Appellees: respond to an appeal.

  • Resolution Panels: comprised of three trained faculty or professional staff who make findings and decide sanctions in Title IX cases.

  • Appeal Officers: Resolution Officers who have had no previous role in a given case and review appeals to decided cases.

  • Business days: weekdays when the University is open and classes are in session.

  • A Report: information provided about possible sexual misconduct.

  • A Formal Complaint: written statement of sexual misconduct that is resolved through use of the formal resolution process.

  • Alternative Resolution: a resolution process that does not utilize Conduct Resolution Meetings and/or Panels.

  • Conduct Resolution Meeting: a conduct hearing facilitated by a Process Advisor and Resolution Officers to evaluate the Respondent’s responsibility for policy violations.

  • Outcomes: a formal action imposed on the Respondent in response to policy violation(s).

Interim Remedies/Actions

The Title IX Coordinator or designee may provide interim remedies intended to address the short-term effects of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation (i.e. to redress harm to the alleged victim and the community and to prevent further violations). The University will keep interim remedies and actions as private as possible.

These remedies for students may include, but are not limited to:

  • Referral to counseling and health services

  • Education to the community

  • Altering the housing situation of the Respondent or, if desired, the Complainant

  • Altering work arrangements for employees

  • Providing campus escorts

  • Providing transportation accommodations

  • Implementing contact limitations between the parties

  • Offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

Interim Suspension

The University may interim suspend a student or organization pending the completion of the investigation and resolution, particularly when, in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the on-campus presence of the Respondent or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question.

In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student or student organization will be given the opportunity to meet with the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, prior to such suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the suspension should not be implemented. The Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion to implement or stay an interim suspension and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim suspension under this policy is grounds for expulsion or termination.  

During an interim suspension, a student may be denied access to University housing and/or the University campus/facilities/events. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, this restriction can include classes and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or designee, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the individual.

The institution will maintain confidentiality as much as possible for any accommodations or protective measures, provided the confidentiality does not impair the institution’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.

Forms of Resolution

Concerns about sexual misconduct should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinators for the University to move forward with a resolution process.  The Title IX Coordinator is designated to formally investigate reports of sexual misconduct by students, to address inquiries and to coordinate the University’s compliance efforts regarding reports of misconduct by students, regardless of the University role of the Complainant, who may be another student, faculty, staff, guest or visitor.  Various roles and responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator may be delegated to other individuals.

Alternative Resolution Process

Students have the option to pursue an Alternative Resolution Process, in which the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, attempts to facilitate a mutually-agreeable resolution to the conflict without a formal investigation and resolution meeting.  The alternative resolution process is designed to eliminate a hostile environment without taking formal action against a Respondent.  If the initial assessment concludes that alternative resolution may be appropriate, the University will take immediate and corrective action through the imposition of individual and community remedies designed to maximize the Complainant’s access to the educational and extracurricular activities at the University and to eliminate a hostile environment.  Whenever possible and safe, the problematic behavior, conflict or misconduct should first be discussed by the impacted person and the person engaged in the problematic behavior, conflict or misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will facilitate such conversations.

Various conflict resolution mechanisms are available, including mediation. Mediation is not used when violent behavior is involved, when the Coordinator determines a situation is not eligible, or the parties are reluctant to participate in good faith. Participation in alternative resolution is voluntary and a Complainant or Respondent can request to end alternative resolution at any time. Pursuing alternative resolution does not preclude later use of formal resolution if the alternative resolution fails to achieve a resolution acceptable to the parties and to the University and/or one party violates the terms of the alternative resolution.  If alternative efforts are unsuccessful, the Formal Resolution Process may be initiated. Either party has the right to end the alternative process and begin the formal process at any time prior to resolution.

As part of the alternative resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, may:

  • Resolve the complaint through the implementation of remedies when there is sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct to support such a response.
  • Act promptly to meet with the parties involved to inform them of the corrective actions.
  • Other potential remedies include targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, supported direct confrontation of the Respondent, and/or indirect action by Conduct Resolution Administrators.

Formal Resolution Process

Notice of a formal report can be made in person, by phone, via email or in writing to the Office of Student Conduct or the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinators. Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator will confer with the Office of Student Conduct on appropriate interim action, accommodations for the Complainant or other necessary remedial short-term actions.  As necessary, the University reserves the right to initiate a report and to initiate resolution proceedings without a formal report or participation by the victim of misconduct.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will conduct a preliminary inquiry after receiving notice or a complaint in order to determine whether a more comprehensive investigation will occur. The Coordinator or designee will take preliminary statements from the Complainant and sometimes from the Respondent and certain critical witnesses in making the determination of the appropriateness of a more formal investigation.  These statements will be taken after the parties or witnesses have been informed of their right to be accompanied by an adviser of their choice.

Following the preliminary inquiry conducted by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, if the Complainant wishes to pursue a formal resolution or if the University, based on the alleged policy violation, determines the need to pursue a formal resolution, then the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a trained investigator(s) to conduct the investigation, which will begin promptly after determining that a resolution should proceed. Investigations are completed expeditiously once the Title IX Coordinator receives formal notice from the Complainant that they want to move forward with a resolution process.

The University’s investigation or resolution will not typically be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced. However, the University may undertake a short delay (several days to weeks) in its investigation or resolution process to comply with a law enforcement request for cooperation (e.g. to allow for criminal evidence collection) when criminal charges based on the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated.  If delayed, the University will promptly resume its investigation and processes once notified by law enforcement that the initial evidence collection process is complete.

All investigations will be thorough, reliable and impartial, and will entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, if necessary.

At any point during the investigation, if it is determined there is no reasonable cause to believe that University policy has been violated, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to terminate the investigation and end resolution proceedings.

Following the preliminary inquiry and referral from the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, the following procedures will be used (not necessarily in order):

Investigation
  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) and Investigator(s) will assist the Title IX Coordinator in determining what specific policy violations should be investigated as part of the report;  

  • Investigator(s) will meet with the Complainant to finalize their statement;

  • Investigator(s) will commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by identifying relevant information, developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended time frame, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the Respondent;

  • Investigator(s) will complete the investigation promptly, and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline;

  • Investigator(s) will provide regular updates to both the Complainant and Respondent, as appropriate, throughout the investigation;

  • Investigator(s) will meet with Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) to review all evidence, documentation and information gathered, allowing for the Deputies to offer recommendations for additional investigation elements and to challenge any evidence of bias in order to ensure a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation.  The Deputy Title IX Coordinators have formal authority with regard to the completion of investigative reports, which includes overseeing the investigation, reviewing draft investigative reports for thoroughness or potential bias, requiring additional investigative action, and approving the final investigative report and recommendation of findings.

  • Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) will meet with each party to review all the evidence, documentation and information gathered and provide each party the opportunity to suggest additional investigation elements or questions to be asked of the other party or witnesses;

  • Investigator(s) will engage in a comprehensive analysis of the evidence gathered; create an investigation report reflecting all the information gathered, credibility analysis, key issues and fact analysis; and develop a recommendation of findings based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred);

Following Completion of Investigative Report
  • If there is no additional information to collect , the Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s) will present the investigative report to the Respondent and Complainant.  Both parties will have the opportunity to review the information and will receive a charge letter if there is sufficient evidence that indicates policies have been violated.  

  • The Respondent will be given the opportunity to accept responsibility for the charges.  If the Respondent accepts responsibility for the charges against them, then the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, or designee, will determine an outcome and appropriate resolution.  If the Respondent rejects responsibility for the charges then , the Associate Dean for Student Success or the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards will convene a Conduct Resolution Panel and present the investigative report and relevant information to a Conduct Resolution Panel.  The Panel will make official findings based on the investigative report and the results of a Conduct Resolution Meeting

Conduct Resolution Meetings
  • Information about the resolution meeting procedures and other logistical matters will be provided to relevant parties at an appropriate time if or when the University decides to hold a Conduct Resolution Meeting.  The parties will be notified of the appointed Panel members. If a party objects to one of the appointed Panel members based upon a conflict of interest, the party must provide written notice to the case Process Advisor, typically the Associate Dean for Student Success or the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards, within two business days from the notification, explaining the conflict of interest.

  • The investigator(s) may give evidence and be subject to questioning by the Panel and the parties. Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the Panel will determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the policies forming the basis of the charge. The goal of the meeting is to provide a resolution via an equitable process, respecting the rights of all participants.

  • Following the completion of the Conduct Resolution Meeting, the Process Advisor will share the findings and outcomes determined by the Conduct Resolution Panel and update the Complainant and Respondent on the outcome of the Meeting.  The University will act to end the discrimination, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the Complainant and the University community.

  • The parties will receive written notification of the outcome, to the extent permitted or mandated by law. In cases involving non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, intimate partner violence, and/or stalking, the written notification includes the finding, any resulting sanctions, and the rationale for the decision. This written notification of final decision is delivered to the parties without undue delay between the notifications, explains appeals options and procedures, and any changes to the results that could occur before the decision is finalized.

Witness Participation

Witnesses are expected to cooperate with and participate in the University’s investigation. Any witness who declines to participate in or cooperate with an investigation will not be permitted to offer evidence or testimony during the Conduct Resolution Meeting. Witnesses may provide written statements in lieu of interviews during the investigation and may be interviewed remotely by phone or web conferencing if they cannot be interviewed in person. Parties who elect not to participate in the investigation will have the opportunity to offer evidence during the Conduct Resolution Process and/or appeal stages of the process, though failure to offer evidence prior to an appeal does not constitute grounds for appeal on the basis of new evidence. Any witness scheduled to participate in a Conduct Resolution Process must have been interviewed first by investigators (or have proffered a written statement), unless all parties consent to the participation of that witness in the Conduct Resolution Process.

Witnesses who were not named during the investigation period and who are anticipated to appear at a Conduct Resolution Meeting must be approved by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, and must be presented in writing to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards at least three (3) business days prior to the Conduct Resolution Meeting.  The University may choose to interview or call other witnesses the University believes may have relevant information to share about the allegations at any point in the resolution process as the investigation or Conduct Resolution may require.

Witnesses will not always be called for Conduct Resolution Meetings.  The Panel determines if they need to ask additional questions of a witness.  If a party believes that the Panel needs to speak with a witness, they should make a request to the Process Advisor no less than 24 business hours from the scheduled meeting.

​Alternative Testimony Options

For sexual misconduct reports, and other reports of a sensitive nature, alternative testimony options may be offered, such a placing a privacy screen in the Conduct Resolution Meeting room, or allowing the Complainant to testify outside the physical presence of the Respondent, such as by video conference or phone. While these options are intended to help make the Complainant more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the Respondent.

Past Sexual History/Character and Past Conduct Violations

The past sexual history, sexual character or conduct violations of a party will not be admissible by the other party in the investigation or Conduct Resolution Meeting unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the Process Advisor (pertaining only to past or subsequent interactions between the parties that offer context).  All such information sought to be admitted will be presumed irrelevant, and any request to overcome this presumption by the parties must be reviewed in advance of the Conduct Resolution Meeting by the Process Advisor and Investigator(s).

Outcomes

The following outcomes, a formal action imposed on the Respondent in response to policy violation(s), may be imposed upon students found to have violated the Policy on Sexual Misconduct, Including Sexual Harassment and Discrimination. While not an exhaustive list, the following are the typical sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

  • Warning

  • Probation

  • Educational Activities

  • Counseling Assessment or Therapy

  • Suspension

  • Expulsion

  • Withholding Diploma

  • Revocation of Degree

  • Transcript Notation

  • Revocation of Organizational Recognition

Notification of Outcomes

The outcome of a campus Conduct Resolution is part of the education record of the responding party, and is protected from release under a federal law, FERPA.  However, the University observes the legal exceptions as follows:

  • Parties to non-consensual sexual contact/intercourse, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and intimate partner violence incidents have an absolute right to be informed of the outcome, essential findings/rationale, and any sanctions that may result, in writing, without condition or limitation, and without substantial delay between notifications to each party.

  • The University may release publicly the name, nature of the violation and the sanction for any student who is found in violation of a University policy that is a “crime of violence,” including:  arson, burglary, robbery, criminal homicide, sex offenses, assault, destruction/damage/vandalism of property, intimate partner violence, stalking and kidnapping/abduction. In doing so, the University will not release any information that could lead to the identification of the reporting party.

Appeals

Appeal proceedings as described below apply to both parties.  The parties will receive written notification of the outcome of the Conduct Resolution Meeting.  If the Respondent accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed. Following a Panel’s findings, any party may appeal the findings and/or outcomes if: 

  • A procedural (or substantive) error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the Conduct Resolution Meeting (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.);
  • New evidence, unavailable during the original Conduct Resolution Meeting or investigation, is available that could substantially impact the original finding and/or outcome. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.

All outcomes imposed by the original Conduct Resolution Panel will be in effect during the appeal.  A request may be made to the Title IX Coordinator to hold the outcome implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal, but the presumptive stance of the institution is that the outcomes will go into effect immediately. Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, etc. do not in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal.  In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the University or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

The decision of the Conduct Resolution Panel may be appealed by petitioning the Title IX Coordinator.  Any party who files an appeal request must do so in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision.  The Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Appeal Officer to consider the appeal. The Appeal Officer will be a Conduct Resolution Officer who has not had any previous role in the case before them.  The parties will be notified of the appointed Appeal Officer. If a party objects to the appointed Appeal Officer based upon a conflict of interest, the party must provide written notice to the Title IX Coordinator within two (2) business days from the notification, explaining the conflict of interest.

The Title IX Coordinator will share the appeal request with the other party (e.g. if the Respondent files an appeal, the appeal is shared with the Complainant, who may also wish to file a response and/or bring their own appeal on separate grounds; this response or appeal will be shared with the initial appealing party). If the ground for appeal is a procedural error, the relevant University official who is alleged to have violated procedures will be asked to file a response or respond to questions from the Appeal Officer.  Appeals are not typically heard in person, but rather will be considered on the basis of written or recorded documentation relative to the appeal claim, or on additional questions the Appeal Officer may pose to relevant parties. The Appeal Officer will send a letter of outcome for the appeal to all parties involved in the original Conduct Resolution Meeting.

Appeals are not intended to be a full renewed Conduct Resolution Meeting of the allegation. Except in rare cases, appeals are not heard in-person, but instead are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original Conduct Resolution Meeting, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. Appealed decisions are to be deferential to the original Conduct Resolution Panel, making changes to the findings only where there is clear error or newly-available evidence. An appeal is not an opportunity for Appeal Officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original Conduct Resolution Panel merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanctions.

The Appeal Officer will typically render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from receipt of the appeal.  The Appeal Officer’s decision to deny an appeal request is final.

The Appeal Officer can take one of two possible actions:

  1. Dismiss an appeal request as untimely or ineligible, or
  2. Grant an appeal and refer the finding for further investigation or reconsideration at the Conduct Resolution Meeting level.

The original findings and outcomes will stand if the appeal request is not timely or substantively eligible, and that decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show clear procedural error or new relevant information that was not available at the time of the original Conduct Resolution Meeting, as the original Conduct Resolution Meeting is presumed to have been conducted in a thorough, reliable, and impartial manner.

Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original Conduct Resolution Panel for reconsideration will be pursued and appeal cases, if eligible for appeal, will be reheard by the original Conduct Resolution Panel.  The results of a reconvened Conduct Resolution Meeting with the original Conduct Resolution Panel cannot be appealed.  In rare cases where a procedural (or substantive) error cannot be cured by the original Conduct Resolution Panel (as in cases of bias), the Appeal Officer may order a new Conduct Resolution Meeting with a different Conduct Resolution Panel. The results of a new Conduct Resolution Meeting (with a new Conduct Resolution Panel) can be appealed, once, on either of the applicable grounds for appeals.