Part III – Title IX Grievance Procedure
Section One - General Rules of Application
A. Title IX Grievance Procedure
The following procedure describes the steps the College will take to address reported Sexual Misconduct that meet the definition of Title IX. Reports of conduct that do not meet the definition of Title IX will be addressed in Sexual Misconduct 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.
B. Effective Date
This Title IX Grievance Policy is effective as of August 14, 2020, and will only apply to formal complaints of sexual harassment brought on or after August 14, 2020.1
Section Two – Jurisdiction
The Title IX Coordinator2 will determine if the Title IX Grievance Process should apply to the Formal Complaint. The Process will apply when all of the following elements are met, in the reasonable determination of the Title IX Coordinator:
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred in Iona College’s education program or activity. This includes but is not limited to in-person conduct as well as actions taken virtually, electronically and through social media.
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020;
- The conduct is alleged to have occurred in the United States;
- The alleged conduct, if true, would constitute covered sexual harassment as defined in the Title IX Grievance Procedure; and
- Complainant is currently participating in, or attempting to participate in, the education programs or activities of Iona College.
- Respondent is any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute covered sexual harassment.
If all of the elements are met, the College will investigate the allegations according to this Grievance Process.
B. Definitions of Title IX per the Final Rule
Covered Sexual Harassment:
For the purposes of this Title IX Grievance Policy, “covered sexual harassment” includes any conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee conditioning educational benefits on participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (i.e., quid pro quo)3
- Unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would determine is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the educational institution’s education program or activity;
- Sexual assault (as defined in the Clery Act), which includes any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent;
- Dating violence (as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) amendments to the Clery Act), which includes any violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship; (ii) The type of relationship; (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- Domestic violence (as defined in the VAWA amendments to the Clery Act), which includes any felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under New York State’s domestic or family violence laws or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of New York State.
- Stalking (as defined in the VAWA amendments to the Clery Act), meaning engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to-- (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Note: Conduct that does not meet one or more of these criteria may still be prohibited under the Code of Conduct or Sexual Misconduct Grievance Procedure and will be addressed thereunder.
C. Mandatory Dismissal
If any of the elements of jurisdiction and definition of sexual harassment as stated above are not met, the College will dismiss the Title IX matter per the Mandatory Dismissal directive of the Final Rule, and will utilize existing policy in the Code of Conduct and/or Sexual Misconduct Procedure or Discrimination and Harassment Policy. This dismissal may be appealed per the Appeal procedure below.
D. Discretionary Dismissal
The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint brought under the Title IX Grievance Policy, or any specific allegations raised within that Formal Complaint, at any time during the investigation or hearing, if:
- A complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint, or any allegations raised in the Formal Complaint;
- The respondent is no longer enrolled at Iona College; or,
- If specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding the Formal Complaint or allegations within the Formal Complaint.
The following examples of situations that may present “special circumstances” supporting dismissal:
- When no complainant is identified during the investigation.
- When a formal complaint contains allegations that are precisely the same as allegations the recipient has already investigated and adjudicated.
- When the length of time elapsed between an incident of alleged sexual harassment, and the filing of a formal complaint, prevent a recipient from collecting enough evidence to reach a determination.
- When the complainant has stopped participating in the investigation but has not sent a written withdrawal request and the only inculpatory evidence available is the complainant’s statement in the formal complaint or as recorded in an interview by the investigator.
E. Notice of Dismissal
Upon reaching a decision that the Formal Complaint will be dismissed, the College will promptly send written notice of the dismissal of the Formal Complaint or any specific allegation within the Formal Complaint, and the reason for the dismissal, simultaneously to the parties through their institutional email accounts. Any party may appeal a dismissal determination using the process set forth in “Appeals”.
Section Three – Intake Procedure
A. Filing a Formal Complaint
The Title IX Grievance Procedure begins with the filing of a Formal Complaint. The Grievance Procedure will be concluded within a reasonably prompt manner , and no longer than one hundred and twenty (120) business days after the filing of the Formal Complaint, provided that the process may be extended for a good reason, including but not limited to administrative delay, the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities. The procedure for applying for extensions is described in Part I of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
To file a Formal Complaint, a Complainant must provide the Title IX Coordinator a written (including email), signed complaint describing the facts alleged. Complainants are only able to file a Formal Complaint under this Policy if they are currently participating in, or attempting to participate in, the education programs or activities Iona College.
If a Complainant does not wish to make a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may determine a Formal Complaint is necessary if it is determined in good faith that failure to investigate does not adequately mitigate a potential risk of harm to the reporting individual or other members of the community. The College will use the Risk Assessment/Threat Analysis of an Individual as explained in Part 1, section XX of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. The College will inform the complainant of this decision in writing, and take immediate interim action if necessary, to protect and assist the Complainant. The College will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint while maintaining the Complainant’s Privacy to the greatest extent possible.
Nothing in the Title IX Grievance Policy prevents a Complainant from seeking the assistance of state or local law enforcement alongside the appropriate on-campus process.
B. 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.
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.
C. Notice of Allegations
The Title IX Coordinator will draft and provide the Notice of Allegations to both parties to the misconduct allegations in the Formal Complaint. Such notice will occur as soon as practicable after the institution receives a Formal Complaint of the allegations, if there are no extenuating circumstances.
A) Contents of Notice
The Notice of Allegations will include the following:
- Notice of the institution’s Title IX 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, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney.
- 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 raised in the Formal Complaint, including the evidence upon which the institution does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, and 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.
B) Ongoing Notice
If, in the course of an investigation, the institution decides to investigate allegations about the complainant or respondent that are not included in the Notice of Allegations and are otherwise covered "sexual harassment” falling within the Title IX Grievance Policy, the institution will notify the parties whose identities are known of the additional allegations by their institutional email accounts or other reasonable means.
Written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings with a party, with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate will be provided to a party whose participation is invited or expected.
D. Advisor of Choice and Participation of Advisor of Choice
The parties will be provided with equal access to advisors and support persons; any restrictions on advisor participation will be applied equally.
The College has a long-standing practice of requiring students to participate in the process directly and not through an advocate or representative. Students participating as Complainant or Respondent in this process may be accompanied by an Advisor of choice to any meeting or hearing to which they are required or are eligible to attend. The Advisor of choice is not an advocate. Except where explicitly stated by this Policy, as consistent with the Final Rule, Advisors of choice shall not participate directly in the process.
Meetings and hearings will not be intentionally scheduled on dates where the Advisors of choice for all parties are not available, provided that the Advisors act reasonably in providing available dates and work collegially to find dates and times that meet all schedules.
The College’s obligations to investigate and adjudicate in a prompt timeframe under Title IX and other college policies apply to matters governed under this Policy, and the College cannot agree to extensive delays solely to accommodate the schedule of an Advisor. The determination of what is reasonable shall be made by the Title IX Coordinator or designee who will not be obligated to delay a meeting or hearing under this process more than five (5) days due to the unavailability of an Advisor, and may offer the party the opportunity to obtain a different Advisor or utilize one provided by the College.
Section Four – Investigation
The Title IX Coordinator will 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 misconduct. Generally, the Department of Campus Safety participates in the investigations involving Title IX matters.
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.
A. General Rules of Investigations
The Investigator(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator will perform an investigation under a reasonably prompt timeframe of the conduct alleged to constitute covered sexual harassment after issuing the Notice of Allegations.
The College and not the parties, has the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence, i.e. the responsibility of showing a violation of this Policy has occurred.
The College cannot access, consider, or disclose medical records without a waiver from the party (or parent, if applicable) to whom the records belong or of whom the records include information the College will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, (i.e. evidence that tends to prove and disprove the allegations) as described below.
B. Inspection and Review of Evidence
Prior to the completion of the investigation, the parties will have an equal opportunity to inspect and review the evidence obtained through the investigation. The purpose of the inspection and review process is to allow each party the equal opportunity to meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation.
Evidence that will be available for inspection and review by the parties will be any evidence that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint. It will include any:
- Evidence that is relevant, even if that evidence does not end up being relied upon by the institution in making a determination regarding responsibility;
- Inculpatory or exculpatory evidence (i.e. evidence that tends to prove or disprove the allegations) that is directly related to the allegations, whether obtained from a party or other source.
All parties must submit any evidence they would like the investigator to consider prior to when the parties’ time to inspect and review evidence begins.
The institution will send the evidence made available for each party and each party’s advisor, if any, to inspect and review through an electronic format or other designated format. The Institution is not under an obligation to use any specific process or technology to provide the evidence and shall have the sole discretion in terms of determining format and any restrictions or limitations on access.
The parties will have ten (10) business days to inspect and review the evidence and submit a written response by email to the investigator. The investigator will consider the parties’ written responses before completing the Investigative Report.
The institution will provide copies of the parties’ written responses to the investigator to all parties and their advisors, if any.
Any evidence subject to inspection and review will be available at any hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
C. Inclusion of Evidence Not Directly Related to the Allegations
Evidence obtained in the investigation that is determined in the reasoned judgment of the investigator not to be directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint will be included in the appendices to the investigative report.
D. Investigative Report
The Investigator will create an Investigative Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, will provide that Report to the parties at least ten (10) calendar days prior the hearing in an electronic or hard copy format for each party’s review and written response.
The Investigative Report is not intended to catalog all evidence obtained by the investigator, but only to provide a fair summary of that evidence.
Only relevant evidence (including both inculpatory and exculpatory – i.e. tending to prove and disprove the allegations - relevant evidence) will be referenced in the Investigative Report.
The investigator may redact irrelevant information from the Investigative Report when that information is contained in documents or evidence that is/are otherwise relevant.
Section Five – Hearing Procedure
A. The Title IX 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 Administrative Hearing Officers . No member of the hearing body will have a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against complainants or respondents generally, or in favor or against the parties to the particular case. 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.
A) GENERAL RULES OF HEARINGS
The College will not issue a disciplinary sanction arising from an allegation of covered sexual harassment without holding a live hearing conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location, or, at the College’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually through a video conferencing option such as Zoom. This technology will enable participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. The College may determine to conduct all elements of investigations, meetings, and hearings in a completely virtual format. At its discretion, the College may delay or adjourn a hearing based on technological errors not within a party’s control.
All proceedings will be recorded using Zoom record features or other method determined by the Title IX Coordinator. That recording or transcript will be made available to the parties for inspection and review.
B) HEARING PROCEDURES
For all live hearings conducted under this Title IX Grievance Process, the procedure will be as follows:
- Administrative Hearing Officer will open and establish rules and expectations for the hearing;
- The Parties will each be given the opportunity to provide opening statements;
- Administrative Hearing Officer will ask questions of the Parties and Witnesses;
- Parties will be given the opportunity for live cross-examination after Administrative Hearing Officer conducts its initial round of questioning; During the Parties’ cross-examination, Administrative Hearing Officer will have the authority to pause cross-examination at any time for the purposes of asking the Administrative Hearing Officer’s own follow up questions; and any time necessary in order to enforce the established rules of decorum.
- Should a Party or the Party’s Advisor choose not to cross-examine a Party or Witness, the Party shall affirmatively waive cross-examination through a written or oral statement to the Administrative Hearing Officer. A Party’s waiver of cross-examination does not eliminate the ability of the Administrative Hearing Officer to use statements made by party or witness that was not cross examined.
C) PARTICIPANTS IN THE LIVE HEARING
Live hearings are not public, and the only individuals permitted to participate in the hearing are as follows:
Complainant and Respondent
- The parties cannot waive the right to a live hearing.
- The College will not threaten, coerce, intimidate or discriminate against the party in an attempt to secure the party’s participation.
- If a party does not submit to cross-examination, the decision-maker cannot rely on any prior statements made by that party in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, but may reach a determination regarding responsibility based on evidence that does not constitute a “statement” by that party.
- The decision-maker cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross examination or other questions.
- The parties and advisors and witnesses will maintain appropriate decorum and may be asked to leave the hearing if they fail to do so after being asked.
Advisor of Choice
- The parties have the right to select an advisor of their choice, who may be, but does not have to be, an attorney.
- The advisor of choice may accompany the parties to any meeting or hearing they are permitted to attend, but may not speak for the party, except for the purpose of cross-examination.
- The parties are not permitted to conduct cross-examination; it must be conducted by the advisor. As a result, if a party does not select an advisor, the College will select an advisor to serve in this role for the limited purpose of conducting the cross-examination at no fee or charge to the party.
- The advisor is not prohibited from having a conflict of interest or bias in favor of or against complainants or respondents generally, or in favor or against the parties to the particular case.
- The advisor is not prohibited from being a witness in the matter.
- If a party does not attend the live hearing, the party’s advisor may appear and conduct cross-examination on their behalf.
- Witnesses cannot be compelled to participate in the live hearing, and have the right not to participate in the hearing free from retaliation.
- If a witness does not submit to cross-examination, as described below, the decision-maker cannot rely on any statements made by that witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, including any statement relayed by the absent witness to a witness or party who testifies at the live hearing.
- A witness’s identity cannot remain anonymous. In most cases, the identity of the person who provided certain information is a necessary component and others will need to be able to fully understand what was provided.
- Parties may be allowed to call character witnesses and “expert witnesses”. Both will be subject to cross examination.
D) LIVE CROSS-EXAMINATION PROCEDURE/RELEVANCE
- CROSS EXAMINATION: Each party’s advisor will conduct live cross-examination of the other party or parties and witnesses. During this live-cross examination the advisor will ask the other party or parties and witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility directly, orally, and in real time.
- RELEVANCE: Before any cross-examination question is answered, the Administrative Hearing Officer will determine if the question is relevant.
The following may be deemed irrelevant:
- questions regarding privileged information.
- undisclosed medical records, including about a parties’ mental health.
- duplicative questions if they have been asked and answered.
Questions and evidence about the 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 by the complainant, 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.
If a question is relevant but offered in an abusive or argumentative manner, the decision-maker has the discretion to ask the advisor to rephrase the question in an appropriate manner, consistent with the institution’s decorum policy for hearings. (For additional guidance on relevance see Part IV, Definitions and Hearing Considerations.)
E) Review of Transcript/Recording
The recording of the hearing will be available for review by the parties within five (5) business days unless there are any extenuating circumstances. The recording of the hearing will not be provided to parties or advisors of choice.
F) 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.
G) Determination Regarding Responsibility
A hearing panel will reach a decision, based on majority vote, on whether the respondent has violated the College policy and provide the decision to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the decision maker/hearing panel decision to the Student Conduct Officer for the disciplinary sanction.
- Standard of Proof
Iona College uses the preponderance of the evidence standard for investigations and determinations regarding responsibility of formal complaints covered under this Policy. This means that the investigation and hearing determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Policy occurred.
- Components of the Determination Regarding Responsibility
The written Determination Regarding Responsibility and disciplinary sanction will be issued simultaneously to all parties through their institution email account, or other reasonable means as necessary. The Determination will include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting covered sexual harassment;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding which section of the Code of Conduct, if any, the respondent has or has not violated.
- For each allegation:
- A statement of, and rationale for, a determination regarding responsibility;
- A statement of, and rationale for, any disciplinary sanctions the recipient imposes on the respondent; and
- A statement of, and rationale for, whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the recipient’s education program or activity will be provided by the recipient to the complainant; and
- The recipient’s procedures and the permitted reasons for the complainant and respondent to appeal (described in “Appeal”).
Section Six - 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)
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 Seven - Appeal
Either party may appeal the Hearing Committee’s determination and/or the disciplinary decision. A party has four (4) grounds under which to appeal the College’s determination:
- procedural irregularity affected the outcome;
- new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome; and/or
- the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome
- 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.
Section Eight - Revocation by Operation of Law
Should any portion of the Title IX Final Rule, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026 (May 19, 2020), be stayed or held invalid by a court of law, or should the Title IX Final Rule be withdrawn or modified to not require the elements of this policy, this policy, or the invalidated elements of this policy, will be deemed revoked as of the publication date of the opinion or order and for all reports after that date, as well as any elements of the process that occur after that date if a case is not complete by that date of opinion or order publication. Should the Title IX Grievance Policy be revoked in this manner, any conduct covered under the Title IX Grievance Policy shall be investigated and adjudicated under the existing Code of Conduct/ Sexual Misconduct Policy and Sexual Misconduct Grievance Procedure.
1 On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 that:
- Defines the meaning of “sexual harassment” (including forms of sex-based violence)
- Addresses how this institution must respond to reports of misconduct falling within that definition of sexual harassment, and
- Mandates a grievance process that this institution must follow to comply with the law in these specific covered cases before issuing a disciplinary sanction against a person accused of sexual harassment.
See, 85 Fed. Reg. 30026 (May 19, 2020). The full text of the Final Rule and its extensive Preamble are available here: http://bit.ly/TitleIXReg
2 For purposes of the policy, the term “Title IX Coordinator” includes their designees.
3 Employee complaints should be brought under the Harassment and Discrimination Policy