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Part II – Sexual Misconduct Grievance Procedure

Section One - General Rules of Application

The following procedure describes the steps the College will take to address reported Sexual Misconduct that do not meet the definition of Title IX. Reports of conduct within the definition of Title IX will be addressed in Title IX Grievance Procedure. The Complainant has the right to withdraw the complaint and their involvement in the process at any time. This action may limit the College’s ability to respond irrespective of the withdrawal.

This policy applies to any allegation of sexual misconduct that occurs both off and on Iona College premises, at Iona College-sponsored programs or activities, and off-campus conduct that has a continuing effect on the Iona College community, or individual members of the community. This includes but is not limited to in person conduct as well as actions taken virtually, electronically and through social media.

Section Two – Intake Procedure

A. Intake Meetings

Upon notice of any allegation of Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator1 will schedule an individual intake meeting with the Complainant either in person or virtually. At the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will

  • provide the Complainant with a general understanding of the sexual misconduct Policy
  • identify forms of support or immediate assistance available to the Complainant (e.g., referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies; referrals for medical treatment at local hospitals and trauma centers).
  • provide the Complainant with a written explanation of his or her rights and options with respect to his or her report of Sexual Misconduct.
  • discuss appropriate supportive measures concerning the Complainant’s academic schedule, College housing, and/or College employment arrangements.
  • explain the College’s prohibition against Retaliation and steps the College will take in response to any act of Retaliation.
  • seek to determine how the Complainant wishes to proceed, i.e., whether the Complainant wishes to pursue Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution, or does not wish to pursue resolution of any kind.
  • ascertain the facts and evidence and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct including name of the Respondent, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct.

B. Notice of Allegations

After receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Notice of Allegations to any party to the allegations. Such notice will occur as soon as practicable after the institution receives a Formal Complaint of the allegations.

The College will provide sufficient time for the parties to review the Notice of Allegations and prepare a response before any initial interview.

1. Contents of Notice

The Notice of Allegations will include the following:

  • Notice of the institution’s Sexual Misconduct Grievance Process and a hyperlink to a copy of the process.
  • Notice of the allegations potentially constituting covered sexual harassment, and sufficient details known at the time the Notice is issued, such as the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, including the complainant; the conduct allegedly constituting covered 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 conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  • A statement that the parties may have an advisor of their choice.
  • A statement that before the conclusion of the investigation, the parties may inspect and review evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations including evidence that both tends to prove or disprove the allegations, whether obtained from a party or other source;
  • A statement that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the grievance process.

C. Informal Resolution

At any time after a Formal Complaint has been filed and before a hearing commences, the parties may seek to resolve a report of prohibited conduct through Informal Resolution, an administrative process. Participation in Informal Resolution is entirely voluntary; the College will neither pressure nor compel either party to participate in the process or to agree to any specific terms.

In every case, the Title IX Coordinator has discretion to determine whether the matter is appropriate for Informal Resolution and to determine the appropriate terms. There are two options for Informal Resolution.

1. Alternate Resolution

Alternate Resolution will not involve mediation, or any face-to-face meetings, between the complainant and the responding party.

Before the Title IX Coordinator approves the Alternate Resolution process or the terms of any Alternate Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will determine that they have sufficient information about the matter to make these decisions.

Before the Alternate Resolution process commences, both the complainant and the respondent must agree to explore Alternate Resolution as a potential means of resolution. 

The parties are strongly encouraged, although not required, to consult with their advisors and any support persons during the entire Alternate Resolution process. 

The College will allow a Complainant or Respondent to withdraw from the Informal Resolution process at any time, where appropriate. If the Complainant wishes, the matter will be resolved pursuant to the Formal Complaint resolution process under these procedures. Title IX Coordinator may also, at their discretion, terminate the process. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly notify the parties, in writing, of a termination of the informal resolution process and the formal complaint will be investigation and adjudicated pursuant to these procedures.

The Title IX Coordinator, in collaboration with the Student Conduct Administrator will consult separately with both parties and recommend to the parties the terms of a potential Alternate Resolution agreement. Such terms may include, but are not limited to, any sanctions or remedies that could be imposed by a Decision Maker after a hearing under these proceedings. 

Both parties must agree to the terms before an Alternate Resolution agreement becomes effective. 

If the respondent agrees to an Alternate Resolution that provides for a suspension, withdrawal, or dismissal (i.e. expulsion) from the College there will be a transcript notation consistent with College policy. 

If both parties are satisfied with the alternate resolution process, the matter will be resolved with a written agreement. The Title IX Coordinator will provide each party, separately, with a copy of the proposed agreement for the party to review, sign, and return.  

Once a party has returned the signed agreement to the Title IX Coordinator, the terms of the agreement will become effective and the Title IX Coordinator will promptly notify both parties in writing that the agreement is final. 

Once the agreement is effective, the parties may not appeal the agreement. The parties are expected to honor and comply with the terms of the Alternate Resolution. Noncompliance may be subject to proceedings under the Student Code of Conduct.

If the process is terminated and the matter resolved pursuant to the Formal Complaint resolution process, neither the Title IX Coordinator nor the parties will disclose to the Decision Maker or Appeal Panel either the fact that the parties had participated in the Alternate Resolution process or any information learned during the process.

Once entry of responsibility is made, Respondent may not withdraw from this informal resolution.

2. Acceptance of Responsibility

A respondent may choose to resolve a formal complaint informally by accepting responsibility for the allegations therein. Upon accepting responsibility for one or more allegations in a formal complaint, a finding of responsibility will be entered and the matter will be transferred to the Student Conduct Administrator for imposition of sanction, only. Prior to imposing sanction, the Student Conduct Administrator will review and consider all information about the allegations that are available and known to the college, impact statements of the parties, and any prior disciplinary history.

Once entry of responsibility is made, Respondent may not withdraw from this informal resolution.

D. Formal Resolution

If a matter cannot be resolved through the Informal Resolution process or if the Complainant and/or Respondent chooses not to proceed informally, the Complainant and/or Respondent may seek Formal Resolution. During all phases of the Formal Resolution process, the parties will be provided with advance written notice of any meeting they are required or eligible to attend.

1. Investigation

Upon initiation of the formal resolution process, the College will undertake a neutral fact-finding process and investigate promptly, thoroughly, and impartially. At all times, the Respondent is presumed non-responsible until the determination of a final conclusion of this matter.

Promptly after receiving a decision from the Complainant to proceed with the Formal Resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Respondent with written notification that a complaint of Sexual Misconduct has been filed, the date, time, location and factual allegations concerning the alleged violation, and a list of possible sanctions. The Title IX Coordinator will arrange an intake meeting to discuss the allegations against the Respondent and their rights under this Policy.

The Title IX Coordinator will promptly appoint a trained investigator or investigators to conduct the fact-finding. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the investigator(s) with the names of the Complainant and Respondent, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged Sexual Misconduct. Generally, the Department of Campus Safety participates in the investigations in most student-on-student Sexual Misconduct cases.

A party wishing to challenge the participation of the investigator(s) must notify the Title IX Coordinator, in writing, within twenty-four (24) hours of delivery of the written notice of investigation. The party must state the specific reason(s) for the party’s objection. The Title IX Coordinator will then review the appointment of the investigator(s) and assess whether the investigator(s) will handle complaints impartially and objectively. When appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator may appoint a different investigator.

The investigation will commence promptly after delivery of the notification. During the investigation, each party will have an equal opportunity to submit evidence, identify witnesses, and submit questions that may be directed by the investigator(s) to the other party or to any witness in the discretion of the investigators. The investigator(s) will collect and review evidence it deems necessary or helpful to the investigation of the alleged Sexual Misconduct. The investigation will include individual interviews with the parties involved and with individuals who may have observed the alleged misconduct or may have other relevant knowledge. The investigation may also include examination of medical records, surveillance video, cell phone and other electronic records, and other evidence. The investigators will write a report and provide it to the Title IX Coordinator at the conclusion of the investigation.

The Complainant and Respondent will each have an opportunity to review the investigative report and any evidence gathered in the presence of a College official or in a manner determined by the Title IX Coordinator. In response to the investigative report, both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given the opportunity to make corrections and submit a written statement no longer than five type written pages within three (3) business days of reviewing the report.

Section 3 - Hearing Procedure

A. The Sexual Misconduct Grievance Hearing

After Complainant and Respondent have reviewed the investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will notify both parties of the date, time and location of the hearing and the names of the Hearing Committee. The Hearing Committee will be comprised of one to three members. Complainant and Respondent may challenge a hearing committee member by providing a written reason to the Title IX Coordinator within twenty-four (24) hours of delivery the hearing notice. The Title IX Coordinator will review and evaluate the objection and replace the Committee member when appropriate.

The hearing is a closed proceeding; no one other than the Hearing Committee members, the Respondent and the Complainant, and their respective advisors, witnesses (when called), and necessary College personnel may be present in the hearing room or rooms during the proceeding.

1. Pre-Hearing Submissions

In addition to the written statements submitted by the parties, the parties will provide the Title IX Coordinator with a list of witnesses they wish the Hearing Committee to call, copies of documents, and a description of any other information they propose to present at the hearing at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. The Hearing Committee will determine whether such witnesses and documents are deemed relevant to the Hearing. The Title IX Coordinator will provide each party with a copy of the list of witnesses and copies of documents or other information submitted by each party. A party wishing to challenge the admittance of evidence and/or witnesses must notify the Title IX Coordinator, in writing, at least twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing date. The party must state the specific reason(s) for the party’s objection. The Hearing Committee will determine whether the challenge has merit, the relevance of any proposed evidence, and whether to include or exclude certain types of evidence.

In the absence of good cause, as determined by the Hearing Committee, the parties may not introduce witnesses, documents, or other information at the hearing that were not provided by this deadline.

2. Process of the Sexual Misconduct Hearing

The hearing will take place on the date and time specified in the notice of hearing. Any notice of postponement will be conveyed to the parties in writing. The hearing will be recorded or transcribed in the discretion of the TIX Coordinator. Both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to be present at the hearing and may request to participate virtually. The hearing is a closed proceeding not open to the public or persons with no legitimate reason to attend.

As a non-adversarial process, the hearing will not follow a courtroom model, and formal rules of evidence will not be observed. The Hearing Committee will determine the order of the witnesses and resolve any questions of procedure arising during the hearing. The Hearing Committee will ask for all necessary witnesses to be present, or to have provided written statements in lieu of attending the hearing. This may be done as necessary to accommodate a witness who cannot be present. The Hearing Committee will review in advance of the hearing all the written materials provided.

Only the Hearing Committee may question the individual parties and any witnesses unless permission is granted to modify the questioning process. The Complainant and Respondent will have the opportunity to suggest questions of the other party and/or of witness. The Complainant and Respondent must submit suggested questions to the Hearing Committing in writing. The Hearing Committee reserves the right to decline to ask questions submitted by a party where it determines that the information sought is not relevant to the Resolution process.

In general, any information or questioning about the prior sexual history of the Complainant or Respondent with individuals other than the other party is precluded and will not be admitted as evidence at the hearing. Additionally, any information or questioning about either party’s mental health history diagnosis, and/or treatment is precluded and will not be admitted into evidence at the hearing. Prior acts of sexual misconduct will not be considered in the hearing. After all witnesses have been questioned, each party may make a closing statement.

If either party fails to appear at the scheduled hearing, the Hearing Committee may, but is not required to, postpone the proceedings if there is a legitimate documented reason for the absence, or proceed and determine the complaint on the basis of the evidence available, provided the absent party was duly notified of the scheduled hearing date.

If the Hearing Committee determines that unresolved issues exist that would be clarified by the presentation of additional information, the Hearing Committee may suspend the hearing and reconvene it in a timely manner to receive such information. A delay may not be based on the failure of witnesses to appear without good cause or on the proposed introduction of documents, which were readily available at the time of the hearing.

3. Determination

In all investigations into alleged Sexual Misconduct, the College will evaluate evidence under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. A preponderance of the evidence means that the Hearing Committee, after careful consideration of the evidence has determined that it is “more likely than not” that the Respondent violated this Policy. The Hearing Committee must decide if the Respondent is responsible or not responsible. The Hearing Committee will provide a written statement of such determination the Title IX Coordinator with support for each finding.

4. Complainant and Respondent Impact Statements

Promptly after the conclusion of the hearing, both the Complainant and Respondent will be given access to the record of the hearing and offered an opportunity to provide an impact statement to the Student Conduct Administrator before determination of appropriate sanctions. The record of the hearing may not be copied.

The impact statement may be no longer than five (5) singled-spaced typed pages, using size 12 Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins. The impact statement is the student’s opportunity to discuss his or her experience and the incident in question, as well as respond to how the investigation and hearing was conducted and any areas of agreement or/disagreement with the investigation or hearing or determination of the Hearing Committee. The impact statement may not seek to introduce new evidence.

This impact statement must be provided to the Title IX Coordinator who will provide it to the opposing party as well as the Hearing Committee.

Section Four – Sanctions

Sanctions

The Hearing Committee report and impact statement if any will be given to the Student Conduct Administrator for determination of appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following that are determined to be fair and proportionate to the violation:

  • Reprimand or warning
  • Changing the Respondent’s academic schedule
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Postponement of degree conferral
  • Revocation of honors or awards
  • Restricting the Respondent’s access to College facilities or activities
  • Community service
  • Issuing a No Contact Order to the Respondent or requiring that such an order remain in place
  • Dismissal from or restricting or reassignment of College employment
  • Suspension (limited time or indefinite)
  • Expulsion

In determining appropriate sanctions, the Student Conduct Administrator will consider any record of past violations of College policies, as well as the nature and severity of such past violation(s). The Student Conduct Administrator will consider as part of the deliberations whether the Respondent poses a continuing risk to the Complainant and/or the College community. The imposition of sanctions is meant to eliminate Sexual Misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects, while ensuring a safe and non-discriminatory environment for the entire College community.

The Title IX Coordinator or Student Conduct Administrator will notify Respondent in writing of any sanctions determination and will notify Complainant at the same time as Respondent. The determination letter will contain  the following information: (i) the name of the Respondent; (ii) whether the Respondent has been found responsible or not responsible for specific violation(s) of this Policy; (iii) a list of the possible sanctions ; (iv) the sanctions actually imposed; (v) the rationale for the sanctions imposed; (vi) the College’s appeal process; (vii) any change to the results that occur prior to the time that the results become final; and (viii) when the results become final.

The College does not publicly release underlying information regarding investigations unless required by law. However, after students are provided with an outcome, a student can choose whether to disclose or discuss the outcome of the conduct process.

Section Five – Appeal

Appeal

Either party may appeal the Hearing Committee’s determination and/or the disciplinary decision. A party has three (3) grounds under which to appeal the College’s determination:

  1.  (i) the Hearing Committee committed procedural errors that had a significant impact on the outcome of the case,
  2.  (ii) there is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing before the Hearing Committee, or
  3.  (iii) the sanctions are not consistent with past practices or the severity of the alleged Sexual Misconduct.

Final sanctions are in effect until any timely appeal of the decision is resolved. The Student Conduct Administrator may suspend the determination pending exhaustion of appeal, allow the student to attend classes or other activity on a supervised or monitored basis, or make such other modifications to the determination as may be advisable. Supportive measures will remain in effect until the appeal is resolved.

A party wishing to appeal the findings of the Hearing Committee and/or sanctions imposed must file an appeal within seven (7) business days of delivery of the decision letter of the Hearing Committee’s finding and the sanctions. The appeal must contain the party’s grounds for the appeal. The party should submit copies of any and all material the party wishes to provide as evidence for the appeal. Additionally, the party can submit a written statement that is no longer than five (5) single-spaced typed pages, using size 12 Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins.

If either the Complainant or the Respondent submits an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the other party after receipt of the appeal.  The non-appealing party is given an opportunity to review the appealing party’s submissions and material and submit a written response. The response can be no longer than five (5) single-spaced typed pages, using size 12 Times New Roman font and 1-inch margins. The written response must be submitted within seven (7) business days after the appealing party submits a formal appeal.

The Title IX Coordinator will select a three-person committee (“Appeals Committee”), which shall not include members of the Hearing Committee.  The Appeal Committee will first evaluate whether the criteria for appeal as stated above is met.  If criteria are not met, the appeal will be dismissed.  Except for appeals brought under (ii) above, the Appeal Committee’s entire review process will be based on the party’s appeal, the non-appealing party’s response to the appeal, if any, and the Hearing Committee’s record of the case. Otherwise, no additional evidence is allowed, and no witnesses may be heard.

The Appeals Committee will make a final determination on the appeal and will report such determination in writing. The Appeals Committee shall review the appeal, the non-appealing party’s response to the appeal, if any, the record of the case, and, if applicable, any new evidence pursuant to (ii) above and issue a final determination letter to the Respondent and the Complainant. The Appeals Committee shall render its decision in writing promptly after review of the materials provided. Should an Appeal Committee determine that one or more of the criteria of a successful appeal has been met, that Committee shall:

  • dismiss the finding;
  • modify the finding; or
  • refer the matter to the appropriate hearing body for further review.

Once it has been determined that the appeal has been denied or modified, the matter is concluded.


Citations

1 For purposes of this Policy, the term “Title IX Coordinator” includes their designee(s).