INTERIM SEXUAL MISCONDUCT POLICY

XII. PROCEDURES FOR RESOLUTION OF COMPLAINTS AGAINST STUDENTS

As outlined in the Reporting section of this Policy, an individual who wishes to make a report of sex discrimination or harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence, or sex- or gender-based harassment that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature is encouraged to make a report directly to the Title IX Coordinator or any member of the Title IX Team. The Colleges will respond to every report through the coordinated efforts of the Title IX Team, which will conduct an initial Title IX assessment. At the conclusion of the Title IX assessment, the report will be referred for remedies-based response or investigation to determine if there is sufficient information to proceed with the complaint resolution process. The Complaint Resolution Process is a sanctions-based approach that may involve discipline up to and including expulsion, as described in Section XII. Remedies-based response does not involve disciplinary action against a respondent, as described in XI (B) below.

Title IX Assessment

Upon receipt of a report, the Colleges, through the coordinated efforts of the Title IX Team, will conduct an initial Title IX assessment. The first step of the assessment will usually be a preliminary meeting between the Complainant and Title IX Coordinator or a member of the Title IX Team. The purpose of the preliminary meeting is to gain a basic understanding of the nature and circumstances of the report; it is not intended to be a full forensic interview. At this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator and the Complainant will discuss resources, procedural options, and interim measures.

This initial review will proceed to the point where a reasonable assessment of the safety of the individual and of the campus community can be made. Thereafter, an investigation may continue depending on a variety of factors, such as the Complainant’s wish to pursue disciplinary action, the risk posed to any individual or the campus community by not proceeding, and the nature of the allegation. The need for interim measures to protect or support the parties to the process and any involved third parties will be evaluated on an ongoing basis.

In the course of this assessment, the Colleges will consider the interest of the Complainant and the Complainant’s expressed preference for the manner of resolution. Where possible and as warranted by an assessment of the facts and circumstances, the Colleges will seek action consistent with the Complainant’s request.

As part of the initial assessment of the facts, the Title IX Team will:

  • assess the nature and circumstances of the allegation;
  • address immediate physical safety and emotional well-being of the complainant;
  • notify the complainant of the right to contact law enforcement and seek medical treatment;
  • notify the complainant of the importance of preservation of evidence;
  • enter the report into the Colleges’ daily crime log;
  • assess the reported conduct for the need for a timely warning under the Clery Act;
  • provide the complainant with information about on- and off-campus resources;
  • notify the complainant of the range of interim accommodations and responses;
  • provide the complainant with an explanation of the procedural options, including remedies-based responses and the complaint resolution process;
  • assess for pattern evidence or other similar conduct by Respondent;
  • discuss the Complainant’s expressed preference for the manner of resolution and any barriers to proceeding; and
  • explain the Colleges’ policy prohibiting retaliation.

Where a Complainant requests that a name or other identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent or that no formal action be taken, the Colleges will balance this request with its dual obligations to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all Colleges’ community members and to afford a Respondent fundamental fairness by providing notice and an opportunity to respond before action is taken against a Respondent.


In the event that a Complainant does not wish to proceed with an investigation or the complaint resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Team, will determine, based on the available information, including any investigative report, whether the investigation or complaint resolution process should nonetheless go forward. In making this determination, the Colleges will consider, among other factors, whether the Complainant has requested confidentiality; whether the Complainant wants to participate in an investigation or hearing; the severity and impact of the sexual misconduct; the respective ages of the parties; whether the Complainant is under the age of 18; whether the Respondent has admitted to the sexual assault or harassment; whether the Respondent has a pattern of committing sexual misconduct; the existence of independent evidence; and the extent of prior remedial methods taken with the Respondent.

The Colleges will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or request not to pursue an investigation, but its ability to do so may be limited based on the nature of the request by the Complainant. The Colleges will assess any barriers to proceeding, including retaliation, and will inform the Complainant that Title IX prohibits retaliation and the Colleges will take strong responsive action to protect the Complainant. Where the Colleges are unable to take action consistent with the request of the Complainant, a member of the Title IX Team will communicate with the complainant about the Colleges’ chosen course of action.

At the conclusion of the Title IX assessment, the Title IX Team will determine the appropriate manner of resolution and, if appropriate, refer the report for a remedies-based response or investigation to determine if there is sufficient information to invoke the complaint resolution process.

The determination as to how to proceed will be communicated to the Complainant in writing. Depending on the circumstances and requested resolution, the Respondent may or may not be notified of the report or resolution. A Respondent will be notified when the Colleges seek action that would impact a Respondent, such as protective measures that restrict the Respondent’s movement on campus, the initiation of an investigation, or the decision to involve the Respondent in a remedies-based response.

Even if the complaint resolution process is not pursued, the Colleges will have the discretion to require the Respondent to participate in remedial measures that ensure sufficient education and counseling related to the Colleges’ policies.

Remedies-based Responses

A remedies-based response is a non-hearing approach designed to eliminate a hostile environment without taking disciplinary action against a Respondent. Where the Title IX assessment concludes that a remedies-based response may be appropriate, the Colleges, in consultation with the Complainant, 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 Colleges.

Examples of potential remedies for individuals are provided in the interim measures section of this Policy, Section IX. Potential remedies for the community include targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, direct communication with the Respondent by the Complainant, communication with the Respondent by the Title IX Coordinator or a Colleges’ administrator, or other forms of restorative justice. Depending on the form of the remedies-based response used, it may be possible for a Complainant to maintain anonymity.

The Colleges will not compel a Complainant to engage in mediation, to directly communicate with the Respondent, or to participate in any particular form of a remedies-based response. Mediation, even if voluntary, will not be used in cases involving sexual violence or assault.

The decision to pursue a remedies-based response, which may occur at any time, will be made when the Colleges have sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct. Participation in remedies-based response is voluntary, and a Complainant can request to end remedies-based response at any time. At all times, the Colleges’ administrator or team working to address the report will stay in close contact with the Complainant regarding options and possible remedies.

The Title IX Coordinator will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for a remedies-based response. Because remedies-based responses are tailored to each situation and can be implemented while a complaint is pending, they may be implemented at any time during the process.

Investigation

The Colleges will initiate an investigation when the Title IX Team determines that an investigation is necessary. The Colleges may designate an investigator or investigators of its choosing, provided that the investigator has specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. Any investigator chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest. The Colleges may choose to engage an external investigator at their discretion, either to work independently or in conjunction with an internal Colleges’ employee.

The investigator will conduct the investigation in a manner appropriate to the circumstances of the case. The investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the Complainant, the Respondent, and any other individuals who may have information relevant to the determination. The investigator will also gather any available physical or medical evidence, including documents, communications between the parties, and other electronic records as appropriate. The investigator may consider prior allegations of, or findings of responsibility for, similar conduct by the Respondent. The Complainant and Respondent will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit evidence, and to identify witnesses who may have relevant information.

The investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. The investigation will be thorough, impartial, and fair, and all individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. As described in the privacy section of this Policy (see Section IV), the investigation will be conducted in a manner that is respectful of individual privacy concerns. To be clear, however, confidentiality cannot be promised during an investigation because, for example, it may be necessary for members of the Title IX Team to participate in discussions regarding accommodations and interim measures, and for the investigator to speak with witnesses.

The investigation will usually be completed within thirty (30) business days of receiving the complaint, but this time frame may be extended depending on the complexity of the circumstances of each case. The investigator will prepare a report setting forth the facts gathered. The report will be factual in nature and will not make a finding of responsibility or an assessment of credibility. The Colleges will share the investigator’s report with the Complainant and Respondent, and each party will have the opportunity to prepare and submit a written response. The investigator may follow up on information provided in a written response submitted by any party and supplement her or his prior report accordingly. All of these written submissions and all information gathered by the investigator will collectively be considered the investigative report.

Determination of Next Steps Following an Investigation

Following the investigation, the Title IX Team will review the investigative report to determine whether the allegations, if proven, would result in a decision-maker finding a violation of this Policy. If the Title IX Team determines that this standard has been met, the Colleges will issue a notice of charge to begin the complaint resolution process.

If the Title IX Team determines that this standard has not been met, the Colleges will notify the Complainant and Respondent in writing. The Complainant may seek review of this decision by filing a written request for review with the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days. The Title IX Coordinator will present the request to a panel of three (3) faculty members (to be elected to this role by the faculty). The panel will review the request with the assistance of the Title IX Coordinator, but the Title IX Coordinator will not participate in the decision. The faculty panel may affirm the threshold finding of the Title IX Team, reverse the finding of the Title IX Team, or recommend that the investigator conduct additional investigation. The faculty panel will render a decision in writing, to both parties, within five (5) business days of receipt of the request for review. The decision of the faculty panel is final.

Preparing Students to Lead Lives of Consequence.