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Title IX Sexual Harassment Investigation and Grievance Procedures: Alleged Student Violations

Augustana has established a Policy Against Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment (“Policy”) that articulates the College’s behavioral standards and descriptions of prohibited conduct. 

These are the Title IX Sexual Harassment Investigation and Resolution Procedures (“Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures”). Complaints of Sexual Misconduct that do not constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment are handled under the Sexual Misconduct Investigation and Resolution Procedures (“Sexual Misconduct Procedures”). 

These Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures outline the College's approach to addressing reports of suspected Policy violations by a student.  Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures vary based on the nature of the allegations, including where the alleged conduct occurred, and the classification of the individual who is accused of violating the Policy. Allegations that a faculty member violated the Policy are governed by the Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures outlined in Section 10 of the Faculty handbook. Allegations that a staff or administrative employee violated the Policy are governed by the Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures generally outlined in the Employee Handbook. The rights and options afforded to individuals who report violations as outlined in this Policy relating to confidentiality and supportive measures will apply in all cases.  

The College is committed to promptly, fairly, impartially, and equitably resolving alleged or suspected violations of the Policy. The College’s investigation and resolution of alleged violations, including the issuance of any sanctions, will typically be completed within 90 calendar days. The College's ability to investigate in a particular situation, or the extent of the investigation in any given situation, may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the Complainant is willing to file a complaint or participate in an investigation, the location where the alleged conduct occurred, and the College's access to information relevant to the alleged or suspected violation of the Policy. The College is nonetheless committed to investigating and resolving all alleged and suspected violations of the Policy to the fullest extent possible under the circumstances. 

These Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures ("Procedures") apply to all suspected or alleged acts of Title IX Sexual Harassment by students as defined by federal law and will be used in place of the Augustana Code of Social Conduct or any other student conduct policies or procedures used to address other alleged misconduct involving students. In addition, any sanctions or other corrective actions imposed against students who violate the Policy shall be imposed pursuant to these Procedures, rather than pursuant to the Code of Social Conduct, Student Judiciary procedures, or any other set of policies and procedures governing student conduct, unless the College determines in its discretion that the Code of Social Conduct, Student Judiciary procedures, or other policy governing student conduct should be used to resolve a particular matter. In addition, the College may, upon finding of good cause, modify these Procedures in the interests of promoting full and fair resolution of suspected or alleged violations of the Policy in accordance with applicable law. The College officials responsible for investigating and resolving alleged violations of this Policy in accordance with these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures will receive a minimum of 8 hours annual training on issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic violence, and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that is fair, balanced, and equitable and promotes accountability. 

Preliminary Assessment, Initial Response, Supportive Measures, and Investigation

PRELIMINARY ASSESSMENT

Upon receipt of a report the Title IX Coordinator will conduct a Preliminary Assessment to determine:

• Whether the College has jurisdiction over the parties involved;

• Whether the conduct, as reported, falls or could fall within the scope of the Policy Against Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment; and

• Whether the conduct, as reported, constitutes or could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment.

If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct reported could not fall within the scope of the policy, and/or could not constitute Sexual Harassment, even if investigated, the Title IX Coordinator will close the matter and may notify the reporting party if doing so is consistent with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  The Title IX Coordinator may refer the report to other College offices, as appropriate.

If the Respondent is not a member of the College community or is no longer affiliated with the College at the time of the report or at the time of an investigation or resolution process is initiated (including if the Respondent has graduated or left the College), the College may be unable to take disciplinary action or conduct an investigation.

If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct reported could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, if investigated, the Title IX Coordinator will proceed to contact the Complainant as specified below.

As part of the Preliminary Assessment, the Title IX Coordinator may take investigative steps to determine the identity of the Complainant, if such identity is not apparent from the report.

INITIAL RESPONSE

If a report is not closed as a result of the Preliminary Assessment specified above and the Complainant’s identity is known, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures specified in these Procedures; to discuss and consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to such Supportive Measures; to inform the Complainant of the availability of such Supportive Measures with or without filing a Formal Complaint; and to explain the process for filing and pursuing a Formal Complaint. 

The Title IX Coordinator will also discuss with the Complainant with the following information:

• Options for filing complaints with the local police and information about resources that are available on campus and in the community

• Provide a written statement of his/her rights and options under the Policy and these Procedures

• The availability of a confidential advisor. Confidential advisors provide confidential emergency and on-going assistance to alleged victims of sexual assault upon request.  Confidential advisors are employees of Family Resources- Survivor Services of the Quad Cities.

• The right to be accompanied during any College grievance proceeding and any related meeting by an advisor of choice whose participation will be limited as outlined in this Procedures

• The hearing process

• The prohibition against retaliation

• The need to preserve any relevant evidence or documentation.

Any time after this meeting, a Complainant may choose to file a Formal Complaint, which initiates the College’s disciplinary process.

Formal Complaint

A “Formal Complaint” is a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the College investigate the allegation of Title IX Sexual Harassment in accordance with these Procedures. A “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as an email) that contains the Complainant’s physical or electronic signature or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Complaint.

A Complainant may file a Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator requesting that the College investigate and adjudicate a report of Title IX Sexual Harassment in accordance with these Procedures.  Provided, however, that at the time the Complainant submits a Formal Complaint, the Complainant must be participating in, or attempting to participate in, one or more of the College’s education programs or activities. A Complainant may file a Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by regular mail, or by email using the contact information specified above. No person may submit a Formal Complaint on the Complainant’s behalf.

In any case, including a case where a Complainant elects not to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may file a Formal Complaint on behalf of the College if doing so is not clearly unreasonable. Such action will normally be taken in limited circumstances involving serious or repeated conduct or where the alleged perpetrator may pose a continuing threat to the College Community.  Factors the Title IX Coordinator may consider in determining whether to file a Formal Complaint on behalf of the College include (but are not limited to):

• Whether the alleged Respondent is likely to commit additional acts of sexual or other violence, such as:

o Whether there have been other Title IX Sexual Harassment about the same alleged Responding Party;

o Whether the alleged Respondent has a history of arrests or records from a prior school indicating a history of violence;

o Whether the alleged Respondent threatened further sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence or other violence against the Reporting Party or others;

• Whether the Title IX Sexual Harassment was committed by multiple perpetrators

• The Title IX Sexual Harassment was perpetrated with a weapon

• The Reporting Party is a minor

• Augustana possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence of the Title IX Sexual Harassment (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence)

• The Complainant’s report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group

If the Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator files a Formal Complaint, then the College will commence an investigation and proceed to adjudicate the matter as specified in these Procedures.  In all cases where a Formal Complaint is filed, the Complainant will be treated as a party, irrespective of the party’s level of participation.   

In a case where the Title IX Coordinator files a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will not act as a Complainant or otherwise as a party for purposes of the investigation and adjudication processes.   

If neither the Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator files a Formal Complaint, the investigation and adjudication provisions of these Procedures will not be applied, but the Title IX Coordinator may assess the matter under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Investigation Procedures or refer the matter to other College offices, as appropriate.

Consolidation of Formal Complaints

The College may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.  Where the investigation and adjudication process involve more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in this Policy to the singular “party,” “Complainant,” or “Respondent” include the plural, as applicable.  A Formal Complaint of Retaliation may be consolidated with a Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment. 

Dismissal Prior to Commencement of Investigation

In a case where the Complainant files a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the Formal Complaint and must dismiss it if the Title IX Coordinator determines:

• The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint would not constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment, even if proved; or

• The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint did not occur in the College’s Education Programs and Activities and/or the alleged conduct occurred outside the geographic boundaries of the United States.

In the event the Title IX Coordinator determines the Formal Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to this Section, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of dismissal to the parties and advise them of their right to appeal as specified in these Procedures.  The Title IX Coordinator may assess the matter under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Investigation Procedures or refer the matter to other College offices, as appropriate.  A dismissal pursuant to this Section is presumptively a final determination for purposes of these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures, unless otherwise specified in writing by the Title IX Coordinator in the written notice of dismissal.

Notice of Formal Complaint 

Within five (5) days of the Title IX Coordinator receiving a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will transmit a written notice to the Complainant and Respondent that includes:

• A physical copy of this Policy or a hyperlink to this Policy;

• Sufficient details known at the time so that the parties may prepare for an initial interview with the investigator, to include the identities of the parties involved in the incident (if known), the conduct allegedly constituting Title IX Sexual Harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident (if known);

• A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged Title IX Sexual Harassment and that a determination of responsibility will not be made until the conclusion of the adjudication and any appeal;

• Notifying the Complainant and Respondent of their right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, as specified in these Procedures.

• Notifying the Complainant and Respondent of their right to inspect and review evidence as specified in these Procedures.

• Notifying the Complainant and Respondent of the College’s prohibitions on retaliation and false statements specified in the Policy.

• Information about resources that are available on campus and in the community.  

Should the College elect, at any point, to investigate allegations that are materially beyond the scope of the initial written notice, the College will provide a supplemental written notice describing the additional allegations to be investigated.

The Respondent may elect to accept responsibility for all or part of the conduct alleged by the Complainant. In that case, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may continue their investigation in order to provide additional information that may be relevant in determining any appropriate sanctions. If the Respondent does not accept responsibility, the investigation process, as described below, will begin.

SUPPORTIVE MEASURES

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered, as appropriate, and reasonably available, and without fee or charge, that are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the College’s Education Programs and Activities without unreasonably burdening another party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties implicated by a report or the College’s education environment, or to deter Title IX Sexual Harassment.  Supportive measures may include: counseling, extensions of academic or other deadlines, course-related adjustments, modifications to work or class schedules, campus escort services, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus, other changes to academic, living, dining, transportation, and working situations, honoring an order of protection or no contact order entered by a State civil or criminal court, and other similar measures.  Supportive Measures may also include mutual restrictions on contact between the parties implicated by a report.

If a report is not closed as a result of the Preliminary Assessment specified in these Procedures, the College will offer and make available Supportive Measures to the Complainant regardless of whether the Complainant elects to file a Formal Complaint.  

Contemporaneously with the Respondent being notified of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Respondent of the availability of Supportive Measures for the Respondent, and the College will offer and make available Supportive Measures to the Respondent in the same manner in which it offers and makes them available to the Complainant.  The College will also offer and make available Supportive Measures to the Respondent prior to the Respondent being notified of a Formal Complaint, if the Respondent requests such measures.

The Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and Respondent with a written document (separate from this Policy) listing the available rights, options, and resources, including Supportive Measures, and describing the Title IX Procedures in plain, concise language.

The College will maintain the confidentiality of Supportive Measures provided to either a Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality does not impair the College’s ability to provide the Supportive Measures in question.

ACCOMMODATIONS

College programs and procedures must be accessible to all students. Students who have a documented disability have the right to reasonable accommodations that are necessary to make college policies accessible, including these investigation and resolution procedures.  Students with disabilities may request accommodations by contacting with the Director of Disability Services and filling out the “request for academic accommodations” form on the link provided: https://www.augustana.edu/student-life/residential-life/accommodations. The Title IX Coordinator or their designee will work with the Director of Disability Services to provide reasonable accommodations that are necessary to make these policies and procedures accessible.  Students who have or think they may have a disability are invited to contact the Director of Disability Services for a confidential discussion. For more information, please contact disabilityservices@augustana.edu or Olin Center, room 318, during traditional business hours.

INTERIM REMOVAL

At any time after receiving a report of Title IX Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator may remove a student Respondent from the College’s Education Programs and Activities on an temporary basis if an individualized safety and risk analysis determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment justifies removal. In the event the Title IX Coordinator imposes an interim removal, the Title IX Coordinator must offer to meet with the Respondent within twenty-four hours and provide the Respondent an opportunity to challenge the interim removal.  

In the case of a Respondent who is a non-student employee (administrator, faculty, or staff), and in its discretion, the College may place the Respondent on administrative leave at any time after receiving a report of Title IX Sexual Harassment, including during the pendency of the applicable investigation and adjudication process.

For all other Respondents, including independent contractors and guests, the College retains broad discretion to prohibit such persons from entering onto its campus and other properties at any time, and for any reason, whether after receiving a report of Title IX Sexual Harassment or otherwise.

INVESTIGATION

After the written notice of Formal Complaint is transmitted to the parties, an investigator selected by the Title IX Coordinator will undertake an investigation to gather evidence relevant to the alleged misconduct, including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.  The burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination in the adjudication lies with the College and not with the parties. The investigation will culminate in a written investigation report, specified in these Procedures, that will be submitted to the hearing officer during the hearing process.  Although the length of each investigation may vary depending on the totality of the circumstances, the College strives to complete each investigation within 90 days of the transmittal of the written notice of Formal Complaint. 

The nature and extent of the investigation will vary depending upon the circumstances, including whether the parties are amenable to pursuing an informal resolution. Both parties will have equal procedural rights during the investigation and resolution of a complaint. As part of the investigation, the investigator(s) will seek to interview both the Complainant and the Respondent, as well as any other witnesses who the investigator determines can provide relevant information.  Each party will receive written notice in advance of any interview to allow for meaningful preparation. The College may audio-record interviews of any parties and witnesses, and any such recording will become part of the investigation record. 

To help ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, Complainants are asked to provide as much information as possible, including the following:

• The name, department, and position of the person or persons allegedly causing the prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

• A description of any relevant incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses.

• The alleged effect of the incident(s) on the Complainant's opportunity to participate in or benefit from the College's programs or activities.

• The names of other individuals who might have relevant information about the alleged actions and/or have been subject to the same or similar acts of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

• Although it is not required, any steps the Complainant has taken to try to stop the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

• Any other information the Complainant believes to be relevant to the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.

The Respondent is also expected to provide as much information as possible in connection with the investigation.

Equal Opportunity

During the investigation, the investigator will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to be interviewed, to present witnesses (including fact and expert witnesses), and to present other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, the investigator retains discretion to limit the number of witness interviews the investigator conducts if the investigator finds that testimony would be unreasonably cumulative, if the witnesses are offered solely as character references and do not have information relevant to the allegations at issue, or if the witnesses are offered to render testimony that is categorically inadmissible, such as testimony concerning sexual history of the Complainant, as specified in these Procedures.  The investigator will not restrict the ability of the parties to gather and present relevant evidence on their own.  

The investigation is a party’s opportunity to present testimonial and other evidence that the party believes is relevant to resolution of the allegations in the Formal Complaint.  A party that is aware of and has a reasonable opportunity to present particular evidence and/or identify particular witnesses during the investigation, and elects not to, will be prohibited from introducing any such evidence during the adjudication absent a showing of mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect.

Access to the Evidence

At the conclusion of the evidence-gathering phase of the investigation, but prior to the completion of the investigation report, the investigator will transmit to each party and their advisor, in either electronic or hard copy form, all evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including evidence the College may choose not to rely on at any hearing and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or some other source.  Thereafter, the parties will have ten (10) days in which to submit to the investigator a written response, which the investigator will consider prior to completing the investigation report.

The parties and their advisors are permitted to review the evidence solely for the purposes of this grievance process and may not duplicate or disseminate the evidence to the public. 

Investigation Report 

After the period for the parties to provide any written response as specified in these Procedures has expired, the investigator will complete a written investigation report that fairly summarizes the various steps taken during the investigation, summarizes the relevant evidence collected, lists material facts on which the parties agree, and lists material facts on which the parties do not agree.  When the investigation report is complete, the investigator will transmit a copy to the Title IX Coordinator.  The investigator will also transmit the investigation report to each party and their advisor, in either electronic or hard copy form.

Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will produce a written report that summarizes and analyzes the relevant facts and any supporting documentation (which may include statements by the parties, third-party witnesses, or others with information and any physical, written, or electronic or other evidence) and shall provide such report to the Title IX Coordinator. This investigation report will be shared with the parties and will be used in either an informal or formal resolution procedure, as appropriate and as outlined below.  Each party will have an opportunity to respond to the investigation report either in writing or before the Hearing Panel.   Written responses must be received by the College within 10 calendar days after either party has received the investigation report.  The investigation report is treated as a confidential document, and is intended to be shared only with individuals who have a “need to know” its contents.  All individuals are expected to honor the confidential nature of the report. Disciplinary action may be taken in the event the confidential nature of the report is disregarded by a party or individual in the proceeding.

Documentation of Investigation 

The investigator will take reasonable steps to ensure the investigation is documented.  Interviews of the parties and witnesses may be documented by the investigator’s notes, audio recorded, video recorded, or transcribed.  The particular method utilized to record the interviews of parties and witnesses will determined by the investigator in the investigator’s sole discretion, although whatever method is chosen shall be used consistently throughout a particular investigation.

INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCEDURE

At any time after the parties are provided written notice of the Formal Complaint as specified in and before the completion of any appeal specified in these Procedures, the parties may voluntarily consent, with the Title IX Coordinator’s approval, to engage in mediation, facilitated resolution, or other form of dispute resolution the goal of which is to enter into a final resolution resolving the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint by agreement of the parties.

The specific manner of any informal resolution process will be determined by the parties and the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation together.  Prior to commencing the informal resolution process agreed upon, the Title IX Coordinator will transmit a written notice to the parties that:

• Describes the parameters and requirements of the informal resolution process to be utilized;

• Identifies the individual responsible for facilitating the informal resolution (who may be the Title IX Coordinator, another College official, or a suitable third-party);

• Explains the effect of participating in informal resolution and/or reaching a final resolution will have on a party’s ability to resume the investigation and adjudication of the allegations at issue in the Formal Complaint; and

• Explains any other consequence resulting from participation in the informal resolution process, including a description of records that will be generated, maintained, and/or shared.

After receiving the written notice specified in this paragraph, each party must voluntarily provide written consent to the Title IX Coordinator, before the informal resolution may commence.

During the pendency of the informal resolution process, the investigation and adjudication processes that would otherwise occur are stayed and all related deadlines are suspended.

If the parties reach a resolution through the informal resolution process, and the Title IX Coordinator agrees that the resolution is not clearly unreasonable, the Title IX Coordinator will outline the terms of the agreed resolution to writing and present the resolution to the parties for their written signature.  Once both parties and the Title IX Coordinator sign the resolution, the resolution is final, and the allegations addressed by the resolution are considered resolved and will not be subject to further investigation, adjudication, remediation, or discipline by the College, except as otherwise provided in the resolution itself, absent a showing that a party induced the resolution by fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct or where required to avoid a manifest injustice to either party or to the College.  Informal resolution pursuant to this Section is not subject to appeal.

A party may withdraw their consent to participate in informal resolution at any time before a resolution has been finalized.

Absent extension by the Title IX Coordinator, any informal resolution process must be completed within twenty-one (21) days from the date the informal resolution process started.  If an informal resolution process does not result in a resolution within twenty-one (21) days, and absent an extension, abeyance, or other contrary ruling by the Title IX Coordinator, the informal resolution process will be deemed terminated, and the Formal Complaint will be resolved pursuant to the investigation and adjudication procedures.  The Title IX Coordinator may adjust any time periods or deadlines in the investigation and/or adjudication process that were suspended due to the informal resolution.

Other language in this Section notwithstanding, informal resolution will not be permitted if the Respondent is a non-student employee accused of committing Title IX Sexual Harassment against a student.

Formal Resolution Procedure

NOTICE OF HEARING

A. Hearing Officer

The Title IX Coordinator will promptly appoint a hearing officer who will oversee the hearing process and render a determination of responsibility for the allegations in the Formal Complaint, at the conclusion of the hearing process.  The Title IX Coordinator will see that the hearing officer is provided a copy of the investigation report and a copy of all evidence transmitted to the parties by the investigator as specified in these Procedures.

B. Hearing Notice and Response to the Investigation Report

After the hearing officer is appointed by the Title IX Coordinator, the hearing officer will promptly transmit written notice to the parties notifying the parties of the hearing officer’s appointment; setting a deadline for the parties to submit any written response to the investigation report; setting a date for the pre-hearing conference; setting a date and time for the hearing; and providing a copy of the College’s Hearing Procedures.   Neither the pre-hearing conference, nor the hearing itself, may be held any earlier than ten (10) days from the date of transmittal of the written notice specified in this these Procedures.  

A party’s written response to the investigation report must include: 

• To the extent the party disagrees with the investigation report, any argument or commentary regarding such disagreement;

• Any argument that evidence should be categorically excluded from consideration at the hearing based on privilege, relevancy, the prohibition on the use of sexual history specified in these Procedures, or for any other reason;

• A list of any witnesses that the party contends should be requested to attend the hearing pursuant to an attendance notice issued by the hearing officer;

• A list of any witnesses that the party intends to bring to the hearing without an attendance notice issued by the hearing officer;

• Any objection that the party has to the College’s Hearing Procedures;

• Any request that the parties be separated physically during the pre-hearing conference and/or hearing;

• Any other accommodations that the party seeks with respect to the pre-hearing conference and/or hearing;

• The name and contact information of the advisor who will accompany the party at the pre-hearing conference and hearing;

• If the party does not have an advisor who will accompany the party at the hearing, a request that the College provide an advisor for purposes of conducting questioning as specified in these Procedures.

A party’s written response to the investigation report may also include:

• Argument regarding whether any of the allegations in the Formal Complaint are supported by a preponderance of the evidence; and

• Argument regarding whether any of the allegations in the Formal Complaint constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment.

PRIOR TO THE HEARING

Pre-Hearing Conference

Prior to the hearing, the hearing officer will conduct a pre-hearing conference with the parties and their advisors.  The pre-hearing conference will be conducted live, with simultaneous and contemporaneous participation by the parties and their advisors.  By default, the pre-hearing conference will be conducted with the hearing officer, the parties, the advisors, and other necessary College personnel together in the same physical location.  However, upon request of either party, the parties will be separated into different rooms with technology enabling the parties to participate simultaneously and contemporaneously by video and audio.  

In the hearing officer’s discretion, the pre-hearing conference may be conducted virtually, by use of video and audio technology, where all participants participate simultaneously and contemporaneously by use of such technology.

During the pre-hearing conference, the hearing officer will discuss the hearing procedures with the parties; address matters raised in the parties’ written responses to the investigation report, as the hearing officer deems appropriate; discuss whether any stipulations may be made to expedite the hearing; discuss the witnesses the parties have requested be served with notices of attendance and/or witnesses the parties plan to bring to the hearing without a notice of attendance; and resolve any other matters that the hearing officer determines, in the hearing officer’s discretion, should be resolved before the hearing.  

Issuance of Notices of Attendance

After the pre-hearing conference, the hearing officer will transmit notices of attendance to any College employee (including administrator, faculty, or staff) or student whose attendance is requested at the hearing as a witness.  The notice will advise the subject of the specified date and time of the hearing and advise the subject to contact the hearing officer immediately if there is a material and unavoidable conflict.  

The subject of an attendance notice should notify any manager, faculty member, coach, or other supervisor, as necessary, if attendance at the hearing will conflict with job duties, classes, or other obligations.  All such managers, faculty members, coaches, and other supervisors are required to excuse the subject of the obligation, or provide some other accommodation, so that the subject may attend the hearing as specified in the notice.

The College will not issue a notice of attendance to any witness who is not an employee or a student.

GRIEVANCE HEARING

Attendance

After the pre-hearing conference, the hearing officer will convene and conduct a hearing pursuant to the College’s Hearing Procedures. The hearing will be audio recorded. The audio recording will be made available to the parties for inspection and review on reasonable notice, including for use in preparing any subsequent appeal.

The hearing will be conducted live, with simultaneous and contemporaneous participation by the parties and their advisors. By default, the hearing will be conducted with the hearing officer, the parties, the advisors, witnesses, and other necessary College personnel together in the same physical location. However, upon request of either party, the parties will be separated into different rooms with technology enabling the parties to participate simultaneously and contemporaneously by video and audio. Neither party will be compelled to testify in the physical presence of the other party.

In the hearing officer’s discretion, the hearing may be conducted virtually, by use of video and audio technology, where all participants participate simultaneously and contemporaneously by use of such technology.

While the Hearing Procedures and rulings from the hearing officer will govern the particulars of the hearing, each hearing will include, at a minimum:

• Opportunity for each party to address the hearing officer directly and to respond to questions posed by the hearing officer;

• Opportunity for each party’s advisor to ask directly, orally, and in real time, relevant questions, and follow up questions, of the other party and any witnesses, including questions that support or challenge credibility;

• Opportunity for each party to raise contemporaneous objections to testimonial or non-testimonial evidence and to have such objections ruled on by the hearing officer and a reason for the ruling provided;

• Opportunity for each party to submit evidence that the party did not present during the investigation due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;

• Opportunity for each party to make a brief closing argument.

Except as otherwise permitted by the hearing officer, the hearing will be closed to all persons except the parties, their advisors, the investigator, the hearing officer, the Title IX Coordinator, and other necessary College personnel. With the exception of the investigator and the parties, witnesses will be sequestered until such time as their testimony is complete. The parties will not be permitted to question the other party or any witness directly.

During the hearing, the parties and their advisors will have access to the investigation report and evidence that was transmitted to them.

While a party has the right to attend and participate in the hearing with an advisor, a party and/or advisor who materially and repeatedly violates the rules of the hearing in such a way as to be materially disruptive, may be barred from further participation and/or have their participation limited, as the case may be, in the discretion of the hearing officer.

Subject to the minimum requirements specified in this Section, the hearing officer will have sole discretion to determine the manner and particulars of any given hearing, including with respect to the length of the hearing, the order of the hearing, and questions of admissibility. The hearing officer will independently and contemporaneously screen questions for relevance in addition to resolving any contemporaneous objections raised by the parties and will explain the rational for any evidentiary rulings.

The hearing is not a formal judicial proceeding and strict rules of evidence do not apply. The hearing officer will have discretion to modify the Hearing Procedures, when good cause exists to do so, and provided the minimal requirements specified in this Section are met.

The Complainant and Respondent will have equal access to information before and during the hearing, including access to the Investigation Record as noted above. The College will arrange for audio-recording the entire Hearing; this recording will become part of the Investigation Record.

Deliberation and Determination

After the hearing is complete, the hearing officer will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence collected during the investigation, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, together with testimony and non-testimony evidence received at the hearing, and ensure that any credibility determinations made are not based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness. The hearing officer will take care to exclude from consideration any evidence that was ruled inadmissible at the pre-hearing conference or during the hearing. The hearing officer will resolve disputed facts using a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., “more likely than not”) standard and reach a determination regarding whether the facts that are supported by a preponderance of the evidence constitute one or more violations of the Policy as alleged in the Formal Complaint.

Discipline and Remedies

In the event the hearing officer determines that the Respondent is responsible for violating this Policy, the hearing officer will, prior to issuing a written decision, consult with an appropriate College official with disciplinary authority over the Respondent and such official will determine any discipline to be imposed. The hearing officer will also, prior to issuing a written decision, consult with the Title IX Coordinator who will determine whether and to what extent ongoing Supportive Measures or other remedies will be provided to the Complainant.

Written Decision

After reaching a determination and consulting with the appropriate College official and Title IX Coordinator, the hearing officer will prepare a written decision that will include:

• Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Title IX Sexual Harassment made in the Formal Complaint;

• A description of the procedural steps taken by the College upon receipt of the Formal Complaint, through issuance of the written decision, including notification to the parties, interviews with the parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather non-testimonial evidence, and the date, location, and people who were present at or presented testimony at the hearing.

• Articulate findings of fact, made under a preponderance of the evidence standard, that support the determination;

• A statement of, and rationale for, each allegation that constitutes a separate potential incident of Title IX Sexual Harassment, including a determination regarding responsibility for each separate potential incident;

• The discipline determined by the appropriate College official;

• Whether the Complainant will receive any ongoing Supportive Measures or other remedies as determined by the Title IX Coordinator; and

• A description of the College’s process and grounds for appeal.

The hearing officer’s written determination will be transmitted to the parties. Transmittal of the written determination to the parties concludes the hearing process, subject to any right of appeal as specified in these Procedures.

Although the length of each adjudication by hearing will vary depending on the totality of the circumstances, the College strives to issue the hearing officer’s written determination within seven (7) days of the decision.

Dismissal During Investigation or Adjudication

The College may dismiss a Formal Complaint at any point during the investigation or hearing process if the Title IX Coordinator determines that any one or more of the following is true:

• The Complainant provides the Title IX Coordinator written notice that the Complainant wishes to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any discrete allegations therein (in which case those discrete allegations may be dismissed);

• The Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the College, as the case may be; or

• Specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint, or any discrete allegations therein (in which case those discrete allegations may be dismissed).

In the event the Title IX Coordinator determines that a Formal Complaint should be dismissed the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of dismissal to the parties and advise them of their right to appeal. The Title IX Coordinator may assess the subject matter of the Formal Complaint under the College’s Sexual Misconduct Procedures or refer the subject matter of the Formal Complaint to other College offices, as appropriate. A dismissal pursuant to this Section is presumptively a final determination as it pertains to the Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures, unless otherwise specified in writing by the Title IX Coordinator in the written notice of dismissal.

Sanctions & Corrective Action/Remedies

When a determination is made that an individual is responsible for an act or acts of Title IX Sexual Harassment, the appropriate sanctions are determined based on several factors, including the severity of the conduct and any prior policy violations. The potential disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed along with other corrective actions for a finding of a Policy violation are set forth below. One or more of these sanctions may be imposed at the discretion of the College. Any sanctions imposed will be proportionate with the violation. In imposing disciplinary sanctions, the College will consider the impact of separating a student from their education.

The College will take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of any violations of the Policy and to correct the discriminatory effects on the Complainant (and others, if appropriate). The range of potential sanctions and corrective actions that may be imposed for any violation of this Policy includes but is not limited to the following:

• Verbal warning

• Written warning

• Mandatory discrimination or harassment training or education

• Mandatory counseling

• Disciplinary hold on academic and/or financial records

• College campus access restrictions

• Housing restrictions on campus, class enrollment restrictions, other campus restrictions such as dining hours, library hours, etc.

• Ineligibility to participate in extra-curricular activities such as athletics

• Probation, suspension, and dismissal from the College

Corrective actions taken by the College might also include, but are not limited to: providing and/or requiring appropriate forms of counseling and training, developing educational materials and programming, implementation of revised policies and procedures, undertaking climate surveys and other mechanisms to identify and address patterns of violations. Additional corrective actions for a Complainant may include, but are not limited to, support services and accommodations such as escorts, counseling and medical services, academic or residential accommodations and

When a student is found responsible for sexual assault, which is one form of prohibited sexual misconduct under this Policy, the following sanctions that are common in addition to any of the sanctions listed above. In all cases, however, the sanctions assigned to a student found responsible will depend on the full context in which the offense takes place. For instance, repeat offenders can expect to be assigned more severe sanctions than if they did not have prior offenses. Offenders who commit multiple offenses in a single episode can expect to be assigned more severe sanctions than they would have been assigned had they committed fewer offenses. The presence of aggravating factors such as the use of force, the use of a weapon, the involvement of multiple perpetrators, intimidation or intentional incapacitation will also lead to more severe sanctions.

Sexual Assault: Non-consensual Sexual Intercourse
Sanctions for non-consensual sexual intercourse may result in suspension to expulsion from the College.

Sexual Assault: Attempted Sexual Intercourse
Sanctions for attempted sexual intercourse may result in probation up to expulsion.

Sexual Assault: Touching
Sanctions for non-consensual sexual touching may result in probation up to expulsion.

In instances where the College is unable to take disciplinary or other corrective action in response to a reported violation, the College will consider other steps available to limit the effects of the conduct at issue and prevent its recurrence, such as training and education.

Remedies

When a determination is made that an individual is responsible for an act or acts of Title IX Sexual Harassment, the College may also offer additional measures, and/or take other action, to eliminate any hostile environment caused by the Title IX Sexual Harassment, prevent the recurrence of any Title IX Sexual Harassment, and remedy the effects of the Title IX Sexual Harassment on the Complainant and the College community. Remedies that may be offered or provided to a Complainant may include the same individualized services described as Supportive Measures; however, remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the Respondent.

Additional corrective actions may include but are not limited to support services and accommodations such as escorts, counseling and medical services, academic or residential accommodations and support for one or both parties. Corrective actions and remedies at the level of the institution may include but are not limited to providing and/or requiring appropriate forms of counseling and training, developing educational materials and programming, implementation of revised policies and procedures, undertaking climate surveys and other mechanisms to identify and address patterns of violations.

In no event will a party in matters involving an alleged violation of the Policy be required to abide by a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent disclosure of the outcome.

APPEAL PROCESS

Either party may appeal the determination of a hearing or a dismissal of a Formal Complaint, on one or more of the following grounds:

• A procedural irregularity affected the outcome;

• There is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination or dismissal was made, that could have affected the outcome;

• The Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing officer, or administrative officer, as the case may be, had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally, or against the individual Complainant or Respondent, that affected the outcome.

• The sanction is disproportionate with the violation.

No other grounds for appeal are permitted.

A party must file an appeal within ten (10) days of the date they receive notice of dismissal or the determination appealed from. The appeal must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator. The appeal must specifically identify the determination and/or dismissal appealed from, articulate which one or more of the grounds for appeal are being asserted, explain in detail why the appealing party believes the appeal should be granted, and articulate what specific relief the appealing party seeks.

The Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial evaluation to confirm that the appeal is timely filed and that it invokes at least one of the permitted grounds for appeal. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the appeal is not timely, or that it fails to invoke a permitted ground for appeal, the appeal will be dismissed and written notice of the dismissal will be provided to the parties.

If the Title IX Coordinator confirms that the appeal is timely and invokes at least one permitted ground for appeal, they will provide written notice to the other party that an appeal has been filed and that the other party may submit a written opposition to the appeal within seven (7) days. Upon receipt of any opposition, or after the time period for submission of an opposition has passed without one being filed, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal to the Appeal Officer. The Appeal Officer shall also receive from the Title IX Coordinator any records from the investigation and adjudication necessary to resolve the grounds raised in the appeal. The Appeal Officer will promptly decide the appeal and transmit a written decision to the parties within seven (7) days of their decision that explains the outcome of the appeal and the rationale.

The determination of a Formal Complaint, including any discipline, becomes final when the time for appeal has passed with no party filing an appeal or, if any appeal is filed, at the point when the Appeal Officer has resolved all appeals, either by dismissal or by transmittal of a written decision.

No further review beyond the appeal is permitted.

Although the length of each appeal will vary depending on the totality of the circumstances, the College strives to issue the Appeal Officer’s written decision within (21) days of an appeal being filed.

OTHER PROVISIONS

Advisors of Choice

From the point a Formal Complaint is made, and until an investigation, hearing, and appeal are complete, both parties are entitled to bring an advisor of their choice to any meetings, interviews, and hearings that are part of the investigation, resolution, and appeal process, provided that the involvement of the advisor does not result in undue delay of the meeting or interview. The advisor may be, but is not required to be, an attorney.

Except for the questioning of witnesses during the hearing specified in these Procedures, the role of the advisor of choice is limited to consulting privately with the party they accompany. The advisor will play a passive role and is not permitted to communicate on behalf of a party, insist that communication flow through the advisor, or communicate with the College about the matter without the party being included in the communication. In the event a party’s advisor of choice engages in material violation of the parameters specified in writing by the Hearing Officer, or as outlined in these Procedures, including engaging in behavior or advocacy that harasses, abuses, or intimidates either party, a witness, or an individual investigating or resolving the complaint, the College may preclude the advisor from further participation, in which case the party may select a new advisor of their choice.

In the event a party is not able to secure an advisor to attend the hearing specified in these Procedures, the College will provide the party an advisor, without fee or charge, who will conduct questioning on behalf of the party at the hearing. The College will have sole discretion to select the advisor it provides. The advisor the College provides may be, but is not required to be, an attorney or any individual with specialized legal training.

The College is not required to provide a party with an advisor in any circumstance except where the party does not have an advisor present at the hearing specified in these Procedures.

Treatment Records and Other Privileged Information

During the investigation and hearing processes, the investigator and adjudicator, as the case may be, are not permitted to access, consider, disclose, permit questioning concerning, or otherwise use:

• A party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party; or

• Information or records protected from disclosure by any other legally-recognized privilege, such as the attorney client privilege;

unless the College has obtained the party’s voluntary, written consent to do so for the purposes of the investigation and adjudication process.

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the investigator and/or adjudicator, as the case may be, may consider any such records or information otherwise covered by this Section if the party holding the privilege affirmatively discloses the records or information to support their allegation or defense, as the case may be.

Sexual History

During the investigation and hearing processes, questioning regarding a Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, a Complainant who affirmatively uses information otherwise considered irrelevant by this Section for the purpose of supporting the Complainant’s allegations, may be deemed to have waived the protections of this Section.

Presumption of Non-Responsibility

From the time a report or Formal Complaint is made, a Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged misconduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made final.

Conflicts of Interest, Bias, and Procedural Complaints

The Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, appeals officer, and informal resolution facilitator will be free of any material conflicts of interest or material bias.  The parties will be notified of the identities of the decision maker and appeal reviewer for their proceeding before those individual(s) initiate contact with either party.  Any party who believes one or more of these individuals has a material conflict of interest or material bias must raise the concern promptly so that the College may evaluate the concern and find a substitute, if appropriate. If a party believes that the investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, appeals officer, or informal resolution facilitator has a conflict of interest, the party should raise the concern to the Title IX Coordinator. If a party believes a Title IX Coordinator has a conflict of interest, the party should raise the concern to the Dean of Students (when requesting party is a student) or the Vice President of the College (when requesting party is an employee). The failure of a party to timely raise a concern of a conflict of interest or bias may result in a waiver of the issue for purposes of any appeal specified in these Procedures or otherwise.

Objections Generally

Parties are expected to raise any objections, concerns, or complaints about the investigation, adjudication, and appeals process in a prompt and timely manner so that the College may evaluate the matter and address it, if appropriate.  

Recordings

Wherever this Policy specifies that an audio or video recording will be made, the recording will be made only by the College and is considered property of the College, subject to any right of access that a party may have under this Policy, FERPA, and other applicable federal, state, or local laws.  Only the College is permitted to make audio or video recordings under this Policy.  The surreptitious recording of any meeting, interview, hearing, or other interaction contemplated under this Policy is strictly prohibited.  Any party who wishes to transcribe a hearing by use of a transcriptionist must seek pre-approval from the hearing officer.

Vendors, Contractors and Third Parties

The College does business with various vendors, contractors, and other third-parties who are not students or employees of the College.  Notwithstanding any rights that a given vendor, contractor, or third-party Respondent may have under the Policy or these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures, the College retains its right to limit any vendor, contractor, or third-party’s access to campus for any reason.  And the College retains all rights it enjoys by contract or law to terminate its relationship with any vendor, contractor, or third-party irrespective of any process or outcome under these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures.

Confidentiality

The College will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment or Retaliation, including any Complainant, the identity of any individual who has been reported to be a perpetrator of Title IX Sexual Harassment or Retaliation, including any Respondent, and the identity of any witness.  The College will also maintain the confidentiality of its various records generated in response to reports and Formal Complaints, including, but not limited to, information concerning Supportive Measures, notices, investigation materials, adjudication records, and appeal records.  

Notwithstanding the foregoing, the College may reveal the identity of any person or the contents of any record if permitted by FERPA, if necessary to carry out the College’s obligations under Title IX and its implementing regulations including the conduct of any investigation, adjudication, or appeal under this Policy or any subsequent judicial proceeding, or as otherwise required by law.  Further, notwithstanding the College’s general obligation to maintain confidentiality as specified herein, the parties to a report or Formal Complaint will be given access to investigation and adjudication materials in the circumstances specified in this Policy. In all interviews and meetings held in connection with these Title IX Sexual Harassment procedures, the College will protect the privacy of the participating parties and witnesses as required by FERPA and other applicable law.

While the College will maintain confidentiality specified in this these Procedures, the College will not limit the ability of the parties to discuss the allegations at issue in a particular case. Parties are advised, however, that the manner in which they communicate about, or discuss a particular case, may constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment or Retaliation in certain circumstances and be subject to discipline pursuant to the processes specified in this Policy. 

Note that certain types of Title IX Sexual Harassment are considered crimes for which the College must disclose crime statistics in its Annual Security Report that is provided to the campus community and available to the public. These disclosures will be made without including personally identifying information.

Other Violations of this Policy

Alleged violations of the Policy, other than violations of the prohibitions on Title IX Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation, such failing to abide by a supportive measure or emergency removal, will be subject to review under the Student Code of Conduct for students, the Faculty Handbook for faculty, or other College policies and standards for employees.

Signatures and Form of Consent

For purposes of this Policy, either a physical signature or digital signature will be sufficient to satisfy any obligation that a document be signed.  Where these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures provide that written consent must be provided, consent in either physical or electronic form, containing a physical or digital signature, as the case may be, will suffice.

Deadlines, Time, Notices, and Method of Transmittal

Where these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures specify a period of days by which some act must be performed, the following method of calculation applies:

• Exclude the day of the event that triggers the period;

• Count every day, including intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays recognized by the federal government;

• Include the last day of the period until 5:00 p.m. central time, but if the last day is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday recognized by the federal government, the period continues to run until 5:00 p.m. central time on the next day that is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday recognized by the federal government.

All deadlines and other time periods specified in this Policy are subject to modification by the College where, in the College’s sole discretion, good cause exists.  Good cause may include, but is not limited to, the unavailability of parties or witnesses; the complexities of a given case; extended holidays or closures; sickness of the investigator, adjudicator, or the parties; the need to consult with the College’s legal counsel; unforeseen weather events; and the like.  

Any party who wishes to seek an extension of any deadline or other time period may do so by filing a request with the investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, appeal officer, or Title IX Coordinator, as the case may be, depending on the phase of the process.  Such request must state the extension sought and explain what good cause exists for the requested extension.  The College officer resolving the request for extension may, but is not required to, give the other party an opportunity to object.  Whether to grant such a requested extension will be in the sole discretion of the College.

The parties will be provided written notice of the modification of any deadline or time period specified in this Policy, along with the reasons for the modification.

Where these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures refer to notice being given to parties “simultaneously,” notice will be deemed simultaneous if it is provided in relative proximity on the same day.  It is not necessary that notice be provided at exactly the same hour and minute.  

Unless otherwise specified in these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures, the default method of transmission for all notices, reports, responses, and other forms of communication specified in this Policy will be email using College email addresses.  

A party is deemed to have received notice upon transmittal of an email to their College email address.  In the event notice is provided by mail, a party will be deemed to have received notice three (3) days after the notice in question is postmarked. 
 
Any notice inviting or requiring a party or witness to attend a meeting, interview, or hearing will be provided with sufficient time for the party to prepare for the meeting, interview, or hearing as the case may be, and will include relevant details such as the date, time, location, purpose, and participants.  Unless a specific number of days is specified elsewhere in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures, the sufficient time to be provided will be determined in the sole discretion of the College, considering all the facts and circumstances, including, but not limited to, the nature of the meeting, interview, or hearing; the nature and complexity of the allegations at issue; the schedules of relevant College officials; approaching holidays or closures; and the number and length of extensions already granted.

Other Forms of Discrimination

These Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures apply only to (1) complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment or (2) complaints that include acts of both Title IX Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct, where the allegations involve the same parties or are otherwise materially related.  Complaints of Sexual Misconduct, as defined in the Policy, are governed by the College’s Sexual Misconduct Procedures.

Outside Appointments, Dual Appointments, and Delegations

The College retains discretion to retain and appoint suitably qualified persons who are not College employees to fulfill any function of the College under this Policy, including, but not limited to, the investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, informal resolution officer, and/or appeals officer.  

The College also retains discretion to appoint two or more persons to jointly fulfill the role of investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, informal resolution officer, and/or appeals officer.

The functions assigned to a given College official under this Policy, including but not limited to the functions assigned to the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, hearing officer, administrative officer, informal resolution officer, and appeals officer, may, in the College’s discretion, be delegated by such College official to any suitably qualified individual and such delegation may be recalled by the College at any time.

RECORDS MAINTENANCE

The College will retain those records specified in 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(10) for a period of seven years after which point in time they may be destroyed, or continue to be retained, in the College’s sole discretion.  The records specified in 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(10) will be made available for inspection, and/or published, to the extent required by 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(10) and consistent with any other applicable federal or state law, including FERPA.

For a period of 7 years, the College will maintain documentation and records regarding alleged violations of the Policy and their resolution in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties involved, complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and to the extent possible excludes personally identifiable information of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.

If a student has been found responsible for violating the Policy, this finding remains a part of that student's conduct record. The finding is not referenced on a student's transcript.

Discretion in Application

The College retains discretion to interpret and apply this Policy in a manner that is not clearly unreasonable, even if the College’s interpretation or application differs from the interpretation of the parties.  

Despite the College’s reasonable efforts to anticipate all eventualities in drafting this Policy, it is possible unanticipated or extraordinary circumstances may not be specifically or reasonably addressed by the express policy language, in which case the College retains discretion to respond to the unanticipated or extraordinary circumstance in a way that is not clearly unreasonable. 

The provisions of this Policy and the Hearing Procedures referenced in these Procedures are not contractual in nature, whether in their own right, or as part of any other express or implied contract.  Accordingly, the College retains discretion to revise this Policy and the Hearing Procedures at any time, and for any reason.  The College may apply policy revisions to an active case provided that doing so is not clearly unreasonable.

Training and Educational Programming

The College will ensure that College officials acting under this Policy, including but not limited to the Title IX Coordinator, investigators, hearing officers, informal resolution facilitators, College provided advisors, and appeals officers, receive training in compliance with 34 C.F.R. § 106.45(b)(1)(iii), the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act, and any other applicable federal or state law.

The College officials responsible for investigating and resolving alleged violations of this Policy in accordance with these Title IX Sexual Harassment Procedures will receive a minimum of 8 hours annual training on issues related to sexual assault, dating violence, and domestic violence, and how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that is fair, balanced, and equitable and promotes accountability.

The College will also provide education to students and employees on issues relating to Title IX Sexual Harassment and the College’s policies and procedures that complies with the Illinois Preventing Sexual Violence in Higher Education Act and any other applicable federal or state law. 

The College will provide the following education programming designed to promote the awareness of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking.

Employees with Responsibility for Receiving Reports of Violations of this Policy; Providing or Referring Services to Victims; and/or Adjudicating Alleged Violations of this Policy

• Training on at least an annual basis on the issues related to sexual assault, sexual violence, dating violence and stalking; and

• Training on at least an annual basis on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

PRIMARY PREVENTION AND AWARENESS PROGRAMS

The College will provide primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees that includes the following:

• a statement that the College prohibits the offenses of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, and a description of the College's policies that prohibit this conduct;

• the definition of consent and inability to consent, in reference to sexual activity, as defined in this Policy and under Illinois law;

• the definition of discrimination, harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking (or similar offenses) in this Policy and under Illinois law;

• safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking against a person other than such individual;

• information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and how to avoid potential attacks;

• the procedures that a Complainant/victim should follow if discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking has occurred, as described in this Policy, including options for a Complainant/victim to report such incidents to a confidential advisor or other confidential resource;

• the possible sanctions and protective measures that the College may impose following a final determination of a violation of College policy regarding discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking;

• the procedures for College disciplinary action in cases of alleged discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, as described in this Policy, including the standard of proof that is used;

• information about how the College will protect the confidentiality of Reporting Parties, including how publicly-available recordkeeping will be accomplished without the inclusion of identifying information about the Reporting Party, to the extent permissible by law;

• information about existing counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, and other services available for student and employee accusers and victims both on-campus and in the community; and

• information about options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations, if requested by a Complainant and if such accommodations are reasonably available, regardless of whether the Complainant chooses to report the crime to campus security or local law enforcement.

ONGOING PREVENTION AND AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS

The College will also provide ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns for students and employees that include the information covered in the primary prevention and awareness programs.

CHANGES IN THIS POLICY

The College reserves the right to make adjustments and changes in this policy at any time.

Policy updated: August 26, 2021