An investigation will afford both the Claimant and the Respondent an opportunity to submit information and other evidence and to identify witnesses. During an investigation, the investigator typically will meet separately with the Claimant, the Respondent, and pertinent witnesses; offer the parties the equal opportunity to submit and/or identify related and relevant information or evidence; and gather other relevant information or evidence reasonably available to the investigator and University, including documents, photographs, disciplinary history, social media, communications between the parties, medical records (subject to the consent of the applicable person) and other electronic records as appropriate. Following the interview, each person will be provided with a draft summary of their statement so that they have the opportunity to comment on the summary and ensure its accuracy and completeness.
The Claimant or the Respondent may, under limited and extenuating circumstances, make a request to the investigator to submit a written statement instead of participating in an interview. The Claimant or the Respondent also may provide other supporting materials relevant to the matter. However, it is the responsibility of the University, not the Claimant or the Respondent, to gather relevant evidence to the extent reasonably available. The University’s review will be thorough, reliable, and impartial.
- Role of Investigator. Whenever an investigative resolution is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator will designate an investigator. The investigator will typically be an OIE staff member, although the investigator may be any appropriately trained individual. The investigator must be impartial, free of any actual conflict of interest, and have specific and relevant training and experience.
A Claimant or a Respondent who has concerns that the assigned investigator cannot conduct a fair and unbiased review (e.g., has a personal connection with one of the parties or witnesses, etc.) may report those concerns to the Title IX Coordinator who will assess the circumstances and determine whether a different investigator should be assigned to the matter.
Investigators do not function as advocates for Claimants or Respondents. Investigators can, however, identify campus support and other resources for Claimants and Respondents and refer them to DOS, SAPAC, or Respondent Support Program to coordinate services for students upon request.
- Notice of the Investigation. Before any interview by an investigator of the Respondent, the Respondent will be informed in writing of the initiation of the investigation. The written information will include the identities of the parties, if known, a concise summary of the conduct at issue (including when and where it occurred, if known), and potential Policy violations. The Respondent will be informed in writing if, during the investigation, additional information is disclosed that may also constitute Prohibited Conduct under the Policy.
- Evidence. The investigator, not the Claimant or the Respondent, is responsible for gathering relevant evidence to the extent reasonably possible. However, each person will be given the opportunity to identify witnesses, provide other relevant information, such as documents, communications, photographs, and other evidence, and suggest questions to be posed to the other party or witness. Although the investigator need not do so, the investigator may draw a negative inference from a refusal to provide information that the investigator knows exists.
The investigator will review all information identified or provided by the parties as well as any other evidence they obtain and will determine the appropriate relevance, and probative value of the information developed or received during the investigation. All evidence obtained as part of the investigation will be shared with the parties for their review and comment, as described below.
In general, a person’s medical and counseling records are confidential and not accessible to the investigator unless the person voluntarily chooses to share those records with the investigator. In those instances, the information, if relevant, will be summarized in the preliminary report for both parties’ review, and the relevant portions of the medical records made available for the non-sharing party’s review.
The investigator may consult experts who have no connection to the reported incident when expertise on a specific topic or submitted evidence is needed to gain a fuller understanding of the relevance or value of the evidence or the issue at hand. In instances where an expert is consulted, OIE will determine whether the expert has any conflicts of interested or bias. The expert’s identity will be shared with both parties so that they may also have the opportunity to identify any risk of such conflicts or bias for assessment by OIE.
- Consolidation of Investigation. The Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to consolidate multiple reports into a single investigation if evidence relevant to one incident might be relevant to the others. Consolidation might involve a single or multiple Claimants, a single or multiple Respondents, and conduct that is temporally or logically connected. If investigations involving multiple Claimants and/or multiple Respondents are consolidated, each party will have access to all of the information being considered; including as provided by all involved Claimants, all involved Respondents, and all involved witnesses.
- Coordination with Law Enforcement. Where the University is made aware that there is a concurrent criminal investigation, the investigator will inform any law enforcement agency that is conducting its own investigation that a University investigation is also in progress; ascertain the status of the criminal investigation; and determine the extent to which any evidence collected by law enforcement may be available to the University in its investigation.
At the request of law enforcement, the University may agree to temporarily defer part or all of the investigation/hearing until after the initial evidence-gathering phase of the law enforcement investigation is complete. The investigator will communicate with the parties, consistent with the law enforcement request and the University’s obligations, about resources and support, procedural options, anticipated timing, and the implementation of any necessary interim measures for the safety and well-being of all affected individuals.
Standards for criminal investigations are different than the standards for a violation of this Policy, and therefore, the University will not base its decisions under this Policy solely on law enforcement determinations and/or the outcomes of any criminal proceedings. The University will fulfill its legal and ethical obligation to take immediate and appropriate action in response to a report of Prohibited Conduct, even if there are other external processes or procedures pending in connection with that same report. Similarly, if the University finds Prohibited Conduct has occurred, the University will take appropriate action, regardless of external proceedings that may also be pending.
- Time Frame for Completion of Investigation. The University will strive to complete the investigation, meaning the period from commencement of an investigation, through to completion of an investigative report, within fifty-five (55) calendar days. The commencement of an investigation begins with the determination that an investigation will be opened, typically either the date of the Claimant’s interview or such other time as the Claimant provides sufficient information for the investigator to proceed with an investigation, and requests that an investigation be opened, or such time as the Title IX Coordinator determines, following consultation with the review panel, that an investigation/hearing will be opened. Additional time beyond fifty-five (55) days may be necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of the investigation, to comply with a request by law enforcement for temporary delay to gather evidence, to accommodate the availability of parties and/or witnesses, to account for University breaks or vacations, to account for case complexities including the number of witnesses and volume of information provided by the parties, or for other legitimate reasons.
With reasonable frequency throughout the investigation, except where a party requests otherwise, the investigator or OSCR case manager will update the Claimant and the Respondent as to the status of the investigation.
- Preliminary Investigation Report. After each person has had the opportunity to comment on their own statement and to identify witnesses and other potential information, and the investigator has completed witness interviews and the gathering of evidence, the investigator will prepare a preliminary report.
The investigator will provide the parties with the preliminary report, which will include, as applicable, the Claimant’s statement, the Respondent’s statement, each witness’ statement and either a copy or written summary of any other information the investigator in their discretion deems relevant. At the same time, the investigator will also provide each party the evidence obtained as part of the investigation. The evidence will be provided in an electronic format that restricts the parties from downloading or copying the evidence.
The Claimant and the Respondent will have one opportunity to concurrently review the preliminary report and provide feedback in response. The Claimant and the Respondent must submit any comments, feedback, additional documents, evidence, requests for additional investigation, names of additional witnesses, or any other information they deem relevant to the investigator, up to fifteen (15) pages of comments, additional documents or other evidence, within ten (10) calendar days after it is sent to them for review. The Title IX Coordinator may, in their discretion, waive the page limit on the feedback the parties can provide the investigator, for good cause. The parties’ feedback will be attached to the final investigative report.
Only information that is provided to the OIE investigator or otherwise uncovered by the OIE investigator during the course of the investigation may be considered in the determination of whether a Policy violation occurred. Any and all information for consideration by the hearing officer should be provided to the investigator prior to the hearing and will not be allowed during the hearing itself, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such information was not reasonably available to the parties at the time of the investigation.
- Final Investigation Report. After receiving any comments submitted by either party, or after the ten (10) calendar day comment period has lapsed without comment, the investigator will address any relevant issues identified by the Claimant and/or the Respondent, and as appropriate, pursue any additional investigative steps as needed and issue a final investigative report.
The investigator’s final written report will contain all information from the preliminary report, as supplemented by the relevant feedback submitted, as determined by the investigator; and any additional information gathered. If the Respondent admits responsibility, the investigator’s final written report will contain a short summary of the allegations and the Respondent’s admission of responsibility.
The investigator’s report must be reviewed and approved by the Title IX Coordinator before it is issued. The case manager will provide a copy of the final investigation report to the Claimant and the Respondent simultaneously. In addition to the final investigation report, the case manager will also provide written information about next steps.
If a Claimant has chosen not to participate in the investigation but requests to be notified of the outcome, the University will notify the Claimant. If a Claimant has requested not to be notified of the outcome, the University will honor that decision. In such cases, the University will not send the notification to the Claimant, but may proceed with any necessary follow-up, as appropriate, if the case proceeds to a hearing, sanctioning, or appeals phase of the process.
- Referral to Hearing. The OSCR case manager will provide the final investigation report to the parties, along with information regarding the hearing process. If a hearing is required, the parties will have ten (10) days to review the final investigative report and provide a response to the hearing officer.
If the University learns that the Claimant, the Respondent, or a material witness will not attend the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will determine in their discretion whether the University will proceed with the hearing.