Filing a Complaint
A victim or a third-party may file a formal complaint alleging a violation of this policy. A complaint of Sexual Misconduct should be filed directly with the Title IX Coordinator.
A formal complaint must be in writing and signed and dated. It should state the name of the accused (if known) and describe with reasonable specificity the incident(s) of alleged misconduct, including the date and place of such incident(s). The complaint should include a list of any sources of potential information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records, etc.) that the victim or third-party believes may be relevant to the investigation. However, a complaint should not be delayed if such sources of potential information are unknown or unavailable because sources can be discovered in the formal investigation.
The College does not limit the timeframe for filing a complaint. Nevertheless, the College encourages complaints to be filed as soon as reasonably possible following a violation, because the College’s ability to gather adequate information may be limited where a significant length of time has elapsed between an incident and the filing of a complaint.
Once a complaint is received by the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint and determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of this Policy. If necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the complainant or the third-party reporter to gather further information prior to making a determination.
This initial review will occur within 5 days.
If, after conducting the initial review of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegation, if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy, then the Title IX Coordinator will administratively close the case and notify the complainant (and the reporter, if there is one). If new information subsequently arises, the complainant or reporter of the incident may request reconsideration of the determination that no violation occurred. In cases where the Title IX Coordinator concludes that the alleged conduct, while not a violation of this Policy, might implicate other College policies, the Title IX Coordinator may refer the matter to the appropriate College officials.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegations would constitute a violation of this Policy, then a formal investigation will be initiated. The investigation will take the form of the single-investigator model recommended by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.
Once an investigation is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator may enter an interim order directing that no contact shall occur between the Victim and alleged Perpetrator and/or any other order necessary to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
The Title IX Coordinator will appoint one or two trained investigators, depending on the severity of the complained of conduct, to investigate the incident(s). The investigators will be chosen from a pool of appropriately trained individuals with specialized knowledge in the area of sexual misconduct.
The investigators will notify the respondent in writing of the allegations and will provide the respondent with a copy of the Policy and these procedures immediately upon being appointed to investigate the matter. The Respondent will have one week to submit a written response to the allegations to the investigators.
When the allegations, if true, might constitute criminal conduct, the party against whom they are brought is hereby advised to seek legal counsel before making any written or oral statements. Those facing allegations may wish to obtain legal advice about how this process could affect any criminal case in which they are or may become involved.
The investigators will request individual interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses as appropriate. Such witnesses may include those identified by the parties, those identified by relevant officers of the College, those identified by other witnesses, and any other persons who the investigators consider it proper to interview. The purpose of the interviews is to gather and assess information about the incident(s) at issue in the complaint, not to solicit general information about a party’s character.
After the collection of additional information is complete but prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the investigators will request individual follow-up interviews with the complainant and respondent to give each the opportunity to respond to the additional information.
Investigation Findings and Final Report
After the complainant and respondent have the opportunity to respond to the additional information, the investigators will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this Policy occurred.
The investigators will provide the complainant and respondent with a written draft of the findings of fact and analysis and give both parties one week to submit a written response to the draft. The investigators will consider any written responses before finalizing their factual findings.
To the extent that the final report of the investigators concludes that a violation has occurred, the report will not contain any specific recommendation as to sanctions. The report may recommend general remedial steps the College may take to eliminate any harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The investigation will be completed and the final report provided to the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator within six weeks of receipt of the complaint.
If the final report determines that a violation has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a Discipline Panel of three persons, chosen from the Title IX Disciplinary Review Board, who will determine the appropriate sanctions. The Review Board shall be constituted by members of the President’s Cabinet, the President’s Council and the president and vice-president of Faculty Council.
Upon referral of a matter to the Panel, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall direct that her office prepare a confidential report to the Panel regarding the background of the respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the respondent has been involved, and an assessment of the type of sanctions/remediation that has previously been dispensed for offenses of the nature found in the current case. This report shall also disclose to the Panel the full range of possible penalties, sanctions, and remedial measures which the Panel might consider in its determination.
The Panel may, if it wishes, request that each side submit a confidential statement to it regarding the matters of sanctions.
The Discipline Panel functions solely to determine the appropriate sanctions/remediation based on the findings made by the investigators. The Panel does not have the authority to overrule the factual determinations of the investigators.
The forms of sanctions/remediation may include expulsion, suspension for a determinate or indeterminate length of time, restrictions on contact; course-schedule or work-schedule alteration; changes in housing; leaves of absence; required counseling and/or treatment, and restitution.
The Discipline Panel will issue a written report detailing the sanctions to be imposed within 10 days after receipt of all required materials. Copies of the report will be delivered to the complainant, respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator.
Both the respondent and the complainant may appeal the decision of the investigators and/or Panel to the President of the College or his designee. Any appeal must be filed within 5 days after:
- the determination of the Disciplinary Panel is delivered to the party perfecting the appeal in the case where the investigators have determined that a violation has occurred; or,
- the date upon which the complainant receives the final report of the investigators determining that no violation has occurred.
In any event, an appeal may be based only on the following grounds:
- A violation of the procedures set forth above has occurred which, in the context of the case, may have the effect of changing the outcome; or
- The appellant has substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of investigation that may change the outcome.
If the President (or his designee) upholds the appeal on either/both of the above grounds, the matter will be remanded to the investigators and/or Panel to correct the procedural violation and/or consider the new evidence and reinstitute the process as previously outlined.
When issuing final reports to the complainant and the respondent, the College must be mindful of the following Title IX requirements:
The College must inform the complainant of the following:
- Whether the alleged conduct occurred
- Any individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant
- Any sanctions imposed on the perpetrator that directly relate to the complainant
- Other steps the College has taken to eliminate the hostile environment and prevent recurrence.
The College will not notify the perpetrator of individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant.
In addition, Clery requires, and FERPA permits, postsecondary institutions to inform the complainant of the College’s final determination and any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the perpetrator in Sexual Violence cases (as opposed to all Sexual Misconduct covered by Title IX), not just those sanctions that directly relate to the complainant.
All College officials involved in the investigation process will take reasonable steps to protect the privacy of all involved. Once a complaint is filed, the complainant, third-party reporter, the respondent, and any witnesses will be notified of the potential for compromising the integrity of the investigation by disclosing information about the case and the importance of keeping confidential any information or documents that they receive or review. They also will be notified that sharing such information could be construed as retaliatory. Retaliation of any kind is a separate violation of this Policy and may have strong punitive consequences.
The parties remain free to share their own experiences, but in order to avoid the possibility of compromising the investigation, it is generally advisable to limit the number of people in whom they confide.
Request to Withdraw Complaint
While every effort will be made to respect the complainant’s wishes to withdraw a formal complaint, the College must be mindful of its overarching commitment to provide a non-discriminatory environment. Therefore, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that investigation is appropriate despite a complainant’s request to withdraw the complaint.
Request for Informal Resolution After a Complaint has Been Filed
Once a complaint has been opened for investigation and before the final report has been provided to the parties, the complainant may request informal resolution as an alternative to formal resolution of the complaint, but such informal resolution requires the agreement of the complainant and respondent and the approval of the Title IX Coordinator.
If such a request is approved, the timeframes will be stayed, and the investigators or a designee will take such steps as he or she deems appropriate to assist in reaching a resolution. If an informal resolution cannot be reached in two weeks, then formal procedures will resume.