If, following a preliminary inquiry, the EO & Title IX Coordinator or designee determines an investigation should proceed, the University generally conducts a fair, impartial and prompt investigation. Fair means that the investigation is conducted in a manner that is consistent with this policy and transparent to the complainant and respondent. Impartial means the investigation is conducted by an individual who does not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party, and who is trained annually on issues related to the alleged forms of discrimination or sexual misconduct and in conducting an investigation that protects the safety of the parties and promotes accountability. Prompt means that the investigation is completed within reasonably prompt timeframes, with a goal of within seventy-five to ninety (75-90) days, without jeopardizing the rights of a complainant or respondent. The timeframe to complete an investigation can vary and the EO & Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties regarding the status of the investigation, extensions to the timeframe and the reason for the extension for good cause. Items that might impact the length of an investigation include but are not limited to:
- the complexity of the case requires it;
- there are several parties involved;
- the witnesses or the parties are unavailable or uncooperative; and
- if a University investigation would compromise a law enforcement investigation.
An investigation is generally conducted as follows:
a) Determine the identity and contact information of the complainant, any witnesses and the respondent, if they can be identified;
b) Identify the policies allegedly violated. A copy of this policy will be provided to the parties;
c) Send notice of investigation to the complainant and respondent. The notice will contain the following if available at the time notice is given:
- a summary of the alleged policy violation(s);
- the nature of the conduct upon which the complaint is based; and
- the location and date(s) or approximate date(s) when the violation allegedly occurred.
d) Written notice may be provided to the parties if the EO & Title IX Coordinator determines that additional alleged policy violations are discovered during the course of the investigation.
e) A respondent must advise the investigator or the EO & Title IX Coordinator of all counterclaims within 5 days of the respondent’s initial interview with the assigned investigator. The EO & Title IX Coordinator has discretion to determine whether or not counterclaims will be investigated.
f) The investigator will commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation which entails obtaining available evidence and may entail identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.
g) The investigator seeks to interview both the complainant, respondent and relevant witnesses. The complainant and respondent may identify potential witnesses for the investigator to interview. The investigator has the discretion to determine if a witness has relevant information. The investigator has discretion on whether or not to meet with character witnesses as part of this process if they have no relevant factual information.
h) Each party will have the opportunity to review and finalize their statement for accuracy. Statements must be reviewed and finalized by the witness or party within 48 hours of receiving the statement from the investigator and if not modified by the witness or party, the statement will be presumed to be accurate.
i) Each party may submit questions to the investigator within 48 hours of receiving their statement from the investigator, which the investigator can elect to use and consideration in its sole and absolute discretion.
j) No audio or video recording of any kind may be used during an interview unless specifically authorized by the investigator.
k) Often complaints made under this policy, include other potential University policy violations. At the discretion of the University, any report that includes a discrimination or sexual misconduct allegation and another policy violation will follow this policy for the investigation of all alleged policy violations. Any report that includes a discrimination or sexual misconduct allegation and another policy violation will follow this policy for the investigation of all alleged policy violations. In some circumstances, during or after an inquiry or investigation under this policy has been conducted, another University policy may need to be followed with respect to decision makers and factors for deciding if there is another policy violation. For example, if a discrimination complaint involves a grade dispute, the party deciding the grade dispute may use the investigation conclusions related to the grade dispute to determine whether to uphold or deny the disputed grade.
l) The investigator prepares an investigation report with any supporting materials (“Report”) and will make initial factual finding(s).
m) The factual finding is based on the “preponderance of evidence” standard of proof. This standard is described as whether a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred.
n) In cases involving sexual misconduct, the parties will be provided timely and equal access to the materials provided to the deciding party; and will have the opportunity to submit comments for the deciding party to consider.
o) The deciding party for student respondents (including student employees) is the Asst. Dean for Community Standards and Care, or designee. The deciding party for employee respondents is the Associate Vice President of Human Resources or designee. When the respondent is both a student and employee the sanctions will be imposed by the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, or designee;
- p) The Report and any comments collected under section n above, will be sent to a deciding party.
q) The deciding party shall review the Report and may take the following action:
- Request that the investigator reopen the investigation to consider additional information and resubmit the report to the deciding party;
- Overturn all or a portion of the investigator’s findings; or
- Accept the investigator’s findings.
- Impose sanctions.
r) The University strives to provide the parties with concurrent written notice of the deciding party’s decision. Due to privacy laws, the written notice’s content is based upon the nature of the charge(s) against the respondent and whether both parties are students. Generally and as appropriate under the circumstances, the content for the notice includes:
- Relationship Violence, Stalking, Nonconsensual Sexual Penetration and Nonconsensual Contact: The deciding party’s decision, the rationale for the result, and the sanctions, if applicable.
- All other claims of discrimination and harassment: The deciding party’s decision, any individual remedies offered, and any sanctions, if applicable, that have been imposed on the respondent. The complainant shall only receive notice of any sanctions imposed on the respondent that directly relate to the complainant.
s) The result is final unless a party appeals.
s) The University reserves the right to modify the investigation procedures, if in its discretion, such modification is appropriate in particular circumstances.