Report flow

In general, there are seven (7) steps to any formal investigation. There may be times when they do not fall in the same order as below or times when the investigation bounces back and forth between different sections of the process.

  1. Report
  2. Formal Complaint In Writing
  3. Initial Assessment, Jurisdiction Review, and Optional Informal Resolution
  4. Investigation (with possibility of optional informal resolution)
  5. Formal review of evidence and investigative report
  6. Live Hearing and Determination
  7. Appeal

7 Steps of Investigation Process (click to expand)

1. Report

A concern related to sexual misconduct can come to the college through several different methods:

  • Title IX Coordinator;
  • Investigators;
  • Student Life;
  • Faculty;
  • Staff
  • Support resource details

Our goal is to keep you safe on campus and to ensure you are able to continue your education. To aid in this we can discuss supportive measures to ensure your safety and peace of mind. Options may include:

  • Medical services
  • Mutual no contact order or contact restrictions
  • Academic support services
  • Dorm or housing relocation
  • Class schedule changes
  • Assistance in rescheduling academic assignments
  • Escorts to and from specific campus location
  • Alternative course completion options
  • On or off-campus counseling assistance
  • Work schedule changes
  • Adjustments to meal schedule and/or location
  • Alternative course completion options
  • Referral to Safehope
  • Assistance in contacting local law enforcement
  • Other adjustments for safety as necessary

Please contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss your options further.

If a report is made to anyone other than the Title IX Coordinator, it needs to be relayed to the Title IX Coordinator – Whitney Douglas

2. Formal Complaint in Writing

If a complainant (i.e., the alleged victim of the sexual misconduct) decides to pursue an investigation or an information resolution, or the Title IX Coordinator determines that an investigation is needed, a formal complaint is submitted in writing. This formal complaint provides details as it relates to the allegation, including the name(s) of the respondent(s), dates and times of each incident, a description of what occurred, and any documents in support of the concern. A formal complaint can only be filed by the alleged victim or the Title IX Coordinator.

3. Initial Assessment, Jurisdiction Review and Optional Informal Resolution

After a formal complaint is filed, it will be assessed to ensure it falls within the scope of the policy and does not trigger one or more of the grounds for dismissal.At any time during this assessment or an investigation, a formal complaint must be dismissed for the following reasons:

  1. If the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute sexual harassment as defined in this policy, even if proved, and/or
  2. If the conduct did not occur in the recipient’s education program or activity, or
  3. If the conduct did not occur against a person in the United States, or
  4. If at the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant is not participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the recipient.

At any time during this assessment or formal investigation, a formal complaint may be dismissed, in the college’s discretion, for the following reasons:

  1. A complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein;
  2. The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the recipient; or
  3. Specific circumstances prevent the college from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

If a formal complaint is dismissed under this policy, it may be referred to Student Life for investigation under the student code of conduct policies or for investigation under other college policies and procedures in the case of a formal complaint against an employee.

An initial assessment may include the investigator meeting with the complainant for the purpose purpose of clarifying any information in the formal complaint or obtaining additional information needed to assess whether the formal complaint falls within the scope of this policy.

Assuming a formal complaint is not dismissed, the default process will result in an investigation and hearing under this policy, as specified below.

In lieu of proceeding with an investigation and hearing, a complainant may request that a formal complaint be resolved through informal resolution. Informal resolutions may include discussions, mutually agreed upon plans of action, or mediation. Informal resolutions are only available if the Title IX Coordinator agrees that it provides a reasonable outcome for the situation, there are no additional safety concerns, and both the complainant and respondent confirm in writing that they are voluntarily entering into the informal resolution process. In cases where the respondent admits to the action, and it was a violation of policy, informal resolution may involve moving directly to sanctioning.

4. Investigation

With an investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or an authorized designee will conduct an investigation, to include gathering evidence, conducting witness interviews, and will write an investigation report summarizing the procedure of the investigation and the evidence collected. With an investigation:

  • The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to make a determination is on the college.
  • The complainant and respondent have equal opportunity to provide witnesses, and other evidence in support of their claims.
  • The complainant and respondent have the right to an advisor of choice to join them during this investigation and hearing process. The advisor may be a friend, faculty or staff member, family member, or an attorney, but cannot be someone that is a direct witness or party in the investigation.
  • Prior to their interview, the parties will be given sufficient notice, in writing, so that they can prepare and meaningfully participate.

5. Formal Review of Evidence and Investigation Report

When an investigation is completed, a report is written by the investigator that summarizes the procedure of the investigation and the evidence collected. The college will provide the complainant, respondent, and their advisors an opportunity to review the evidence as well as the draft investigative report prior to finalizing it for the panel review and give them an opportunity to provide additional relevant materials and witnesses to be interviewed and considered before the investigative report is finalized.

6. Live Hearing and Determination

The final investigation report is provided to a 3-member panel made up of faculty and staff. The hearing panel will be responsible for determining if this policy was violated and to recommend appropriate action based on the facts presented. A live hearing will be scheduled and recorded. The parties will be required to have their advisor present for the live hearing. If the parties do not have an advisor available for the live hearing, they must notify the college in advance, which will result in the party being provided an advisor for the purpose of conducting questioning of the other party and witnesses at the hearing. The evidentiary standard used during a formal investigation is whether a violation of policy more likely than not occurred. A written determination of the investigation will be simultaneously provided to the complainant and respondent. Each party will have the option of appealing the decision and will be provided the specifics of that process in the determination letter.

7. Appeal

The complainant or respondent may appeal a dismissal or a determination after hearing. The appeal process will be included in the dismissal or determination letter. The appeal can only be based on one or more of the following grounds:

  1. Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  2. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; or
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against the complainants or respondents generally or the individual complaint or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

The appeal must be made in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within 5 business days of the date of the dismissal or determination letter. If an appeal fails to assert one or more of the grounds specified above, it will be dismissed. If the appeal falls under one of these circumstances, two Vice Presidents from the Administrative Council will notify the other party of the appeal and provide the other party 5 business days to provide a written response. Thereafter, the Vice Presidents will review the submissions and the evidentiary record, as appropriate, and decide the appeal and provide the parties simultaneous written notice of the outcome. If an employee is the reporter or responding party in the investigation, the Vice President for whom they report to is not allowed to participate in the appeal process. The decision made on appeal is final and there will be no further appeals.