A flowchart depicting the investigative resolution process, including an investigation; a hearing; the imposition of sanctions and other appropriate remedies if there has been a finding; and the opportunity to challenge the hearing outcome or the sanction through an appeal, can be found online.
Investigative resolution typically begins when:
- A Claimant has reported one or more instances of Prohibited Conduct and requests, at any time, an investigation of the concern; or
- After receiving a report of Prohibited Conduct, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the review panel, has determined that an investigative resolution process is required to ensure the health and safety of the Claimant or University community members.
The Title IX Coordinator will identify the most effective means to address a report.
The investigative resolution, including a hearing where warranted, incorporate the following core principles and rights and responsibilities.
- Presumption of Good Faith Reporting. The University presumes that reports of Prohibited Conduct are made in good faith. A finding that the behavior at issue does not constitute a violation of this Policy or that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that the incident occurred as reported does not mean that the report was made in bad faith.
- Presumption of Non-Responsibility. The Respondent is presumed to be not responsible until a preponderance of the evidence supports a finding that the Respondent violated the Policy.
- Participation by the Parties and Witnesses Is Voluntary. Claimants, Respondents, or witnesses may choose to participate or decline to participate in the investigative resolution process. However, even if a Claimant or a Respondent declines to participate, the University may deem it necessary to continue to investigate the report.
- Expectation of Claimant, Respondent, and Witnesses. The Claimant, Respondent, witnesses and others sharing information with the investigator or the hearing officer are expected to provide all relevant and truthful information and to do so at their earliest opportunity to facilitate prompt resolution.
- Acceptance of Responsibility. The Respondent may, at any time in the investigation or hearing process, elect to resolve the resolution process by accepting responsibility for the Prohibited Conduct, in which case the Title IX Coordinator will issue a brief investigation report or the hearing officer will issue a brief outcome determination summarizing the allegations and stating the Respondent has accepted responsibility and refer the matter to OSCR to determine the appropriate sanctions.
- Advisers. Throughout the investigative resolution and hearing process, a Claimant, a Respondent or witness may have an adviser of their choice. An adviser is an individual chosen by a Claimant, a Respondent, or a witness to provide support and guidance during the review of a report of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy. An adviser may not be a witness or otherwise have any conflicting role in the process. An adviser may be an advocate and/or an attorney.
Any person who serves as an adviser should plan to make themselves available for meetings throughout the investigation process, as well as the hearing. The adviser may assist with all written submissions made by a Claimant or a Respondent, may assist with preparing questions or other information for the Claimant or the Respondent to be used at the hearing, and may facilitate scheduling and other processes. During any meeting or proceeding, the adviser is present to observe and provide support and counsel to the participant. The adviser may not present evidence on a party’s behalf, present argument, examine witnesses, testify, disrupt, or otherwise obstruct the meeting or proceedings.
The University (including any official acting on behalf of the University such as the hearing officer or external reviewer) has the right at all times to determine what constitutes appropriate behavior on the part of an adviser and to take appropriate steps to ensure compliance with the Policy.
- Prior or Subsequent Conduct of the Respondent. Prior or subsequent conduct of the Respondent will never be used to prove character, but may be considered for other purposes, such as determining pattern, knowledge, intent, or the Respondent’s reasons for taking the action. For example, evidence of a pattern of Prohibited Conduct by the Respondent, either before or after the incident in question, regardless of whether there has been a prior finding of a Policy violation, may be deemed relevant to the determination of responsibility for the Prohibited Conduct under investigation.
The determination of relevance of pattern evidence will be based on an assessment of whether the previous or subsequent conduct was substantially similar to the conduct under investigation or indicates a pattern of similar Prohibited Conduct. The investigator or hearing officer will determine the relevance of this information and both persons will be informed via inclusion of such information in the preliminary report or outcome determination if evidence of prior or subsequent conduct is deemed relevant.
- Prior Sexual Contact Between Claimant and Respondent. Prior sexual contact between a Claimant and a Respondent will never be used to prove character or reputation. Moreover, evidence related to the prior sexual history between the parties is generally not relevant to the determination of a Policy violation and will be considered only in limited circumstances. For example, if the question being determined is whether consent was given through mutually understandable actions (rather than words), information about prior sexual contact, in the totality of the evidence considered, may help the investigator understand the manner and nature of sexual communication between the two persons. This information may therefore be relevant in determining whether consent was sought and given during the incident in question.
However, and as noted above, even in the context of a relationship, consent to one sexual act does not, by itself, constitute consent to another sexual act. Consent on one occasion does not, by itself, constitute consent on a subsequent occasion. The investigator or hearing officer will determine the relevance of this information and both parties will be informed via inclusion of such information in the preliminary report or outcome determination if evidence of prior sexual contact is deemed relevant.
In addition, and as required by applicable state and federal law, other prior sexual activity of the Claimant or the Respondent may be relevant only in certain, very limited circumstances.
- Witnesses. Witnesses must have observed the acts in question or have information relevant to the incident and cannot be participating solely to speak about an individual’s character.
Witnesses will have the opportunity to discuss the investigation process and participate in an interview. Following the interview, a witness 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.
Where witnesses are interviewed as part of the investigation, the investigator will produce to the Claimant and the Respondent for their review and comment a written summary of the witness’ interviews, which will identify the witness by name and relationship to each person and the University. This information will be provided in or with the preliminary investigation report.