Wofford College is committed to providing an educational and work environment, including programs and activities, free from discrimination, harassment and retaliation. The college has adopted a Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy that affirms its commitment not to tolerate “discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, sex, age, national origin, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation or any legally protected class (Section 2.01).” The policy presents the procedures by which alleged violations may be reported and delineates the definitions and procedures that the college uses in its investigations to guarantee prompt, fair and impartial proceedings that comply with applicable federal and state laws and regulations. This web-based guide is offered only as a quick reference. For all questions about discrimination and harassment investigations, please refer to the policy or contact the Title IX coordinator.
Wofford College prohibits all forms of discrimination and harassment as defined in Article III of the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy (see the Definitions tab below).
The policy applies to students, student organizations, faculty, administrators, staff and third parties such as guests, visitors, volunteers and invitees. The college can investigate individual incidents, patterns of discrimination and/or incidents that negatively impact the campus climate. (Section 1.03)
The college investigates discriminatory harassment that “applies to [its] education program and activities,” “conduct that takes place on the campus or on property owned or controlled by Wofford, at Wofford-sponsored events, [and] in buildings owned or controlled by Wofford’s recognized student organizations.” The college may also apply the policy to “the effects of off-campus misconduct that effectively deprive someone of access to Wofford’s educational program,” “any action that constitutes a criminal offense as defined by law,” a situation in which a person “poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual,” an action that “significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder,” and an incident “that is detrimental to the educational interests of mission of the college.” (Section 1.03)
The college may also apply the policy to “[a]lleged misconduct that is related to conduct prohibited by [the] policy, even if such related misconduct is not, when standing alone, governed by [the] policy,” according to Section 2.04.
Section 2.05 establishes that “[t]his Policy is not intended to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. When speech or conduct is protected by academic freedom, it will not be considered a violation of this Policy, though remedies may be offered to those impacted.”
Title IX regulates cases involving sexual or gender-based misconduct. Current Title IX regulations prohibit institutions from investigating alleged sexual or gender-based misconduct that occurred abroad under Title IX. An institution may, however, initiate an investigation for a violation of its student code of conduct.
According to Section 2.06, “[t]he college reserves the right to address reported conduct that does not or would not rise to the level of a violation of this policy. Addressing such reports will not result in the imposition of discipline under this policy, but the college may conduct educational conversations, implement remedial actions, organize mediated conversations, and/or effectuate other informal resolution mechanisms. Steps may be taken by the Title IX coordinator solely or in collaboration with other offices or referred to other administrators to be addressed.”
According to Section 1.04, “[a] report of discrimination or harassment may be filed at any time, regardless of the length of time since the conduct was alleged to have occurred. However, the college strongly encourages individuals to file reports promptly in order to preserve evidence for a potential legal or disciplinary proceeding. A delay in filing a report may compromise the subsequent investigation, particularly if neither the complainant nor the respondent is employed by the college or enrolled as a student at the time. When reports are significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy), actions to address the report are at the discretion of the Title IX coordinator, who may document allegations for future reference, offer supportive measures and/or remedies, and/or engage in informal or formal action as appropriate. The Title IX coordinator has the discretion to re-open a case at any time should germane new evidence become available that the Title IX coordinator determines would significantly impact the outcome of the case.”
Complaints may be initiated using the Discrimination and Harassment Reporting Form. Once submitted, this form is routed to the Title IX coordinator for review and follow-up. See the Complaint Procedures tab below for more information.
Complaints may also be reported in-person. Individuals who would like to submit a formal complaint or a report of an alleged violation should contact Wofford’s Title IX coordinator or an institutional equity case coordinator:
Director for Civil Rights, Title IX Compliance and Student Risk Assessment
429 N. Church St.
Snyder House Annex
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Institutional Equity Case Coordinator (for non-sexual and gender-based cases)
429 N. Church St.
Michael S. Brown Village Center, First Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29303
The college has determined that the following administrators are officials with authority to address and correct harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation. The officials with authority listed below may accept a report, which will then be forwarded to the Title IX coordinator.
Vice President of Campus Life and Student Development
429 N. Church St.
Campus Life Building, Second Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Director of Athletics
429 N. Church St.
Richardson Physical Activities Building
Director of Human Resources
429 N. Church St.
Joe E. Turner Athletic Center, First Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Chief Equity Officer
429 N. Church St.
Snyder House Annex
Spartanburg, SC 29303
429 N. Church St.
DuPre Administration Building, Second Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29303
429 N. Church St.
DuPre Administration Building, Second Floor
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Wofford College has additionally classified all employees, with the exception of confidential resources, as responsible employees who are required to report to the Title IX coordinator reports, information or knowledge related to sexual harassment. Additional information related to the duties of responsible employees can be found in Section 4.02.
The college retains external investigators when, for example, an investigator would be required to investigate a peer or direct supervisor or if an allegation were to be made against the Title IX coordinator.
Quoting from Section 1.05: “To raise any concern involving bias or conflicts of interest by the Title IX coordinator, contact the college’s president at email@example.com.” Section 5.01 also establishes that a concern about the Title IX coordinator may also be reported to an institutional equity coordinator or an official with authority.
Section 1.05: “Concerns related to the implementation of this policy or regarding bias or a potential conflict of interest by any other institutional equity team member should be raised with the Title IX coordinator or the assigned institutional equity case coordinator, as indicated during the resolution processes.”
The policy strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for filing, supporting or providing information in good faith in connection with a complaint of sexual misconduct. Retaliation is any adverse action threatened or taken against a person for filing, supporting or providing information in connection with a complaint of sexual misconduct. This includes direct and indirect intimidation, threats, harassment and other behavior. Any person who feels threatened with or harmed by retaliation should make a report to the assigned institutional equity case coordinator or to the Title IX coordinator.
Title IX refers to Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972, which amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and provides the following: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” (20 USC 1681).
Matthew Hammett serves as the Title IX coordinator and oversees implementation of the college’s Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. Inquires or complaints concerning the application of Title IX should be referred to him. His contact information is as follows:
Director for Civil Rights, Title IX Compliance, and Student Risk Assessment
429 N. Church St.
Snyder House Annex
Spartanburg, SC 29303
Individuals may also make external inquiries and complaints to the Office for Civil Rights:
These definitions are taken from Exhibit A of the Nondiscrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy unless otherwise indicated.
Advisor means a person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution to accompany the party to meetings related to the resolution process, to advise the party on that process and to conduct cross-examination for the party at the hearing, if any.
Bullying, defined as: Repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior that is likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person physically and/or mentally. See Section 3.04 F.
Coercion: Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity. Coercive conduct differs from seductive conduct based on factors such as the type and/or extent of the pressure used to obtain consent. When someone makes clear that they do not want to engage in certain sexual activity, that they want to stop or that they do not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction, continued pressure beyond that point can be coercive. See Section 3.03, G, item ii.
Complainant means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute harassment or discrimination based on a protected class; or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
Complaint (or Formal Complaint) means a document filed/signed by a complainant or signed by the Title IX coordinator alleging harassment or discrimination based on a protected class or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity against a respondent and requesting that the college investigate the allegation.
Confidential resource means an employee who is not a responsible employee required to report sexual harassment (irrespective of Clery Act Campus Security Authority status). According to Section 4.03, confidential resources are counselors and medical professionals in the Wellness Center, the chaplain, athletic trainers and the ombudsperson.
“Individuals in the above positions will maintain confidentiality when acting under the scope of their licensure, professional ethics, and/or professional credentials, except in extreme cases of immediacy of threat or danger or abuse of a minor/elder/individual with a disability, or when required to disclose by law or a court order.”
“Note that people who serve more than one role at the college (e.g. chaplain and faculty member) will be a confidential resource when serving in the role designated as confidential (e.g. chaplain) but will be a responsible employee when serving in a role designated as a responsible employee role (e.g. faculty member). Confidential resources may report non-identifying statistical information to the college.”
Consent is knowing, voluntary and clear permission by word or action to engage in sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to determine that the other has consented before engaging in the activity.
If consent is not clearly provided prior to engaging in the activity, consent may be ratified by word or action at some point during the interaction or thereafter, but clear communication from the outset is strongly encouraged.
For consent to be valid, there must be a clear expression in words or actions that the other individual consented to that specific sexual conduct. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. For example, if someone kisses you, you can kiss them back (if you want to) without the need to explicitly obtain their consent to being kissed back.
Consent can also be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. If consent is withdrawn, that sexual activity should cease. Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). A current or previous intimate relationship is not sufficient to constitute consent.
Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on the college to determine whether this policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced. See Section 3.03, G, iii.
Discriminatory harassment: Discriminatory harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by college policy. Discriminatory harassment is defined as unwelcome conduct by any member or group of the community on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a class protected by policy or law. When discriminatory harassment rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, the college may also impose sanctions on the respondent through application of the resolution procedures within this policy[.]” See Section 3.02.
Facilitated resolution: A facilitated resolution is one in which a third party works with both the complainant and the respondent to resolve a complaint. According to Section 9.01, “[f]acilitated resolution is only appropriate if (i) the complainant and respondent voluntarily agree to such resolution after receiving full disclosure of the allegations and their options for formal resolution, (ii) the assigned institutional equity case coordinator determines that the facilitated resolution is an appropriate mechanism for resolving the complaint, and (iii) the allegations do not include sexual harassment when the complainant is a student and the respondent is an employee.”
Force: Force is the use of physical violence and/or physical imposition to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats) and coercion that is intended to overcome resistance or produce consent (e.g., “Have sex with me or I’ll hit you,” “Okay, don’t hit me, I’ll do what you want.”).
Sexual activity that is forced is, by definition, non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not necessarily forced. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. Consent is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. While resistance is not required or necessary, it is a clear demonstration of non-consent. See Section 3.03, G, i.
Formal resolution process means a method of formal resolution designated by the college to address conduct that falls within the policies included within this policy, and which complies with the requirements of 34 CFR Part 106.45.
Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the Wofford community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, Article IV(H)).
Hearing decision-maker or panel refers to those who have decision-making authority within the college’s formal resolution process.
Hostile environment: A hostile environment is one that unreasonably interferes with, limits or effectively denies an individual’s educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities. This discriminatory effect results from harassing verbal, written, graphic or physical conduct that is severe or pervasive and objectively offensive. See Section 3.02.
Incapacitation: A person cannot consent if they are unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious, for any reason, including by alcohol or other drugs. As stated above, a respondent violates this policy if they engage in sexual activity with someone who is incapable of giving consent.
It is a defense to a sexual assault policy violation that the respondent neither knew nor should have known the complainant to be physically or mentally incapacitated. “Should have known” is an objective, reasonable person standard which assumes that a reasonable person is both sober and exercising sound judgment.
Incapacitation occurs when someone cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing/informed consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction).
Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout and/or being drunk.
This policy also covers a person whose incapacity results from a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition, involuntary physical restraint and/or the consumption of incapacitating drugs. See Section 3.03, G, iv.
Initial inquiry refers to the initial investigation into whether an alleged act of misconduct rises to the level of a policy violation. If it does, the matter will proceed to a formal investigation. If it does not, the complainant will be informed and possible next steps will be discussed. Initial inquiry is conducted by the Title IX coordinator, an institutional equity case coordinator or by an external investigator, if warranted.
Institutional equity team refers to the Title IX coordinator, institutional equity case coordinators and members of the resolution process pool.
Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another. See Section 3.04 D.
Investigator means the person or persons charged by the college with gathering facts about an alleged violation of this policy, synthesizing the evidence and compiling this information into an investigation report and file of directly related evidence.
Official with authority (OWA) means an employee of the college explicitly vested with the responsibility to implement corrective measures for harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation on behalf of Wofford College.
Parties include the complainant(s) and respondent(s), collectively.
Preponderance of the evidence is the standard of proof used to make determinations under this policy. A preponderance of the evidence means that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.
Prohibited conduct, or “conduct prohibited by this policy,” refers to conduct that falls within any of the definitions in Article III of this policy.
Protected class: The following are protected classes under relevant federal and state law. Discrimination against any employee, applicant for employment, student or applicant for admission using one of these categories is illegal: race, color, national origin, ethnicity, citizenship/immigration status, creed (system of religious belief), disability, religion, age, sex (including, but not limited to, sex assigned at birth, gender expression [the means by which an individual chooses to express gender identity, such appearance and behavior], gender identity [an individual’s sense of having or not having a particular gender], and pregnant or parenting status), sexual orientation, veteran or military status (including disabled veteran, recently separated veteran, active duty wartime or campaign badge veteran, and Armed Forces Service Medal veteran), predisposing genetic characteristics [genetic predisposition to certain diseases or conditions] or “any other protected category under applicable local, state, or federal law, including protections for those opposing discrimination or participating in any resolution process on campus, with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or other human rights agencies.” See Section 2.01.
Resolution means the result of a facilitated or formal resolution process.
Resolution process pool includes any investigators, hearing decision-makers and advisors who may perform any or all of these roles (though not at the same time or with respect to the same case).
Respondent means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute harassment or discrimination based on a protected class; or retaliation for engaging in a protected activity.
Responsible employees are college employees who are required to disclose information related to sexual harassment (using the umbrella term as defined below) to the college. A report to a responsible employee “constitutes a report to the college and obligates the college to provide appropriate supportive measures and information about filing a formal complaint.” “All college employees, with the exception of those designated as confidential resources, are responsible employees.” See Section 4.02.
Retaliation means to take materially adverse action by intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or hearing under [college] policy and procedure. See Section 3.05.
Sanction means a consequence imposed by the college on a respondent who is found to have violated this policy.
Sexual exploitation, defined as taking non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for their own benefit or for the benefit of anyone other than the person being exploited, and that conduct does not otherwise constitute sexual harassment under this policy. For examples, see Section 3.04, A.
Domestic violence, defined as violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the complainant, by a person with whom the complainant shares a child in common, or by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of South Carolina, or by any other person against an adult or youth complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of South Carolina.
Stalking, defined as engaging in a course of conduct, on the basis of sex, directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (1) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others or (2) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Supportive measures are measures taken by the Title IX coordinator or the assigned institutional equity case coordinator when warranted to ensure the safety and well-being of the parties. See Section 7.03.
This section outlines the college’s investigative process beginning with the complainant’s initial report through a complaint’s formal resolution. What follows summarizes information covered in Articles V-IX of the policy. For specific guidance, please consult the policy.
Because conduct prohibited by this policy may in some instances constitute both a violation of college policy and criminal activity, and because the college processes are not a substitute for instituting legal action, the college encourages individuals to report to college officials and to law enforcement authorities, where appropriate.
The college is put on notice when it receives what is described as “actual knowledge” of an alleged violation. “Actual knowledge” may be established in several ways. The complainant may submit a complaint to the Title IX coordinator either in person, via e-mail or via the Discrimination and Harassment Reporting Form. A responsible employee may share disclosed information with the Title IX office. A bystander who witnessed a violation may also report it to the Title IX coordinator.
Title IX coordinator will contact the complainant to discuss supportive measures that can be implemented and any options that may be available under Wofford’s policy and/or through law enforcement reporting. During this conversation, the Title IX coordinator will apprise the complainant of college policies and give the complainant time to consider whether to pursue a formal complaint. If the complainant only wishes to report the incident to college officials for informational purposes, the matter will be closed unless the Title IX coordinator discovers extenuating circumstances. If the complainant wishes to pursue a formal investigation, a signed written statement must be submitted to the Title IX coordinator. For Title IX purposes, a message sent by the complainant from an official Wofford College e-mail account is signed. This signed statement is a formal complaint.
Quoting from Section 4.04: “If a complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place or does not want a formal complaint to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.
“The Title IX coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the college proceeds when the complainant does not wish to do so, and the Title IX coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a resolution process upon completion of an appropriate risk assessment.
“The Title IX coordinator may consult with the behavioral intervention team or other appropriate administrators prior to making a decision. The Title IX coordinator’s decision should be based on results of a risk assessment that show a compelling risk to health and/or safety that requires the college to pursue formal action to protect the community. “A compelling risk to health and/or safety may result from evidence of patterns of misconduct, predatory conduct, threats, abuse of minors, use of weapons and/or violence. The college may be compelled to act on alleged employee misconduct irrespective of a complainant’s wishes.
“The Title IX coordinator must also consider the effect that non-participation by the complainant may have on the availability of evidence and the college[‘]s ability to pursue a resolution fairly and effectively.
“When the Title IX coordinator executes the written complaint, they do not become the complainant. The complainant is the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy.
“When the college proceeds, the complainant (or their advisor) may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The complainant retains all rights of a complainant under this policy irrespective of their level of participation. Sometimes, when the complainant chooses not to participate, the advisor may be appointed as proxy for the complainant throughout the process, acting to ensure and protect the rights of the complainant.
“Note that the college’s ability to remedy and respond to a report may be limited if the complainant does not want the college to proceed with an investigation and/or resolution process. The goal is to provide the complainant with as much control over the process as possible, while balancing the college’s obligation to protect its community.”
When a formal complaint is received, it is assigned to an institutional equity case coordinator for review. The assigned institutional equity case coordinator will review the information available to determine whether the complaint will move forward for resolution under the policy. To make their determination, the assigned institutional equity case coordinator may perform an initial inquiry, if the Title IX coordinator did not already do so, which may include, but is not limited to, preliminary conversations with witnesses and information gathering.
The complaint will move forward to either formal resolution or facilitated resolution pursuant to the policy unless it is clear on its face and/or based on the assigned institutional equity case coordinator’s initial meetings with the parties that no reasonable grounds exist for believing that the conduct at issue is a violation of the policy.
The assigned institutional equity case coordinator will assign investigators and they will gather information from the complainant and the respondent, the person alleged to have committed the policy violation. Both parties are allowed to submit written statements and inculpatory and exculpatory evidence for review. Parties may also request that witnesses be interviewed through the investigation. The investigators will compile a final investigative report as they conclude their work.
The assigned institutional equity case coordinator will evaluate the final investigative report and will direct that the complaint proceed to a hearing for a finding of “responsible” or “not responsible” unless it is clear from the final investigative report that no reasonable grounds exist for believing that the conduct at issue constitutes a violation of the policy.
If the assigned institutional equity case coordinator finds that it is clear from the final investigative report that no reasonable grounds exist to believe that the conduct at issue is a violation of this policy, they will close the complaint, document the closure and promptly notify the complainant and the respondent of the closure and the rationale for the closure. Both parties will be notified of the recommendation in writing and given three (3) business days to appeal the finding. If an appeal is not received within the allotted time frame, the matter is closed.
An item that is not actionable under Title IX may be actionable under Title VI, Title VII or under another campus policy. The Title IX coordinator or the institutional equity case coordinator will review the complainant’s options should the complaint be dismissed.
If the initial inquiry determines that reasonable grounds exist to believe that a policy violation occurred, the complaint will move forward to facilitated or formal resolution. A facilitated resolution is one in which both parties agree to third-party mediation. This option, discussed in Section 9.01, is only available if both parties agree, if the institutional equity case coordinator agrees, and the case does not involve allegations of sexual assault or sexual harassment involving a student complainant and a college employee as the respondent.
The parties have the right to timely proceedings. Quoting from Section 6.03: “The college will make every reasonable effort to ensure that the resolution of a complaint occurs in as timely and efficient a manner as possible. The timelines set forth in this policy are intended as guidelines and may be altered for good cause. The college will strive to complete the resolution of a complaint (not including an appeal, if applicable) within 90 calendar days of the receipt of the complaint, absent extenuating circumstances. If circumstances, such as complexity of the case, non-availability of parties or witnesses, college breaks or other circumstances require the resolution to extend past 90 calendar days, the college will notify the parties of that fact.”
The parties have the right to privacy unless disclosure is required by law. Quoting from Section 6.05: “In order to comply with FERPA, Title IX and other applicable laws, and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, the resolution processes are not open to the general public. Accordingly, documents prepared in anticipation of the facilitated and/or the formal resolution processes (including the complaint, the investigative report, and notices and communications to or from the complainant or the respondent); documents, statements or other information introduced in the interviews and meetings; and outcome letters may not be disclosed outside of those processes except as may be required or authorized by law. The college reserves the right to notify parent(s) or guardian(s) of a student respondent of the outcome of any investigation involving that respondent, redacting names of any other students who do not consent to the disclosure of their information.
“College policy does not prohibit the further disclosure of outcome letters by either the complainant or the respondent. However, the college strongly encourages parties to maintain privacy in proceedings pursuant to this policy.”
The parties have the right to have an advisor present. Quoting from Section 6.10: “The parties may each have an advisor of their choice present with them for all meetings and interviews within the resolution process, if they so choose. The parties may select whoever they wish to serve as their advisor, as long as the advisor is eligible and available.”
“The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may choose advisors from inside or outside of the college community.
“The Title IX coordinator or the assigned institutional equity case coordinator will also offer to assign a trained advisor for any party if the party so chooses. If the parties choose an advisor from the pool available from the college, the advisor will be trained by the college and be familiar with the college’s resolution process.
“If the parties choose an advisor from outside the pool of those identified by the college, the advisor may not have been trained by the college and may not be familiar with college’s policies and procedures.
“The college cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not or cannot afford an attorney, the college is not obligated to provide an attorney.”
The parties have the right to review all evidence and investigative findings and to appeal a finding to the Title IX coordinator or the Title IX coordinator’s designee within three business days of receipt of the notice of closure.
The following summarizes the Sections 8.01, 8.02, 8.03 and 8.04 of the policy. Please consult the policy or the Title IX coordinator with specific questions.
Notice of allegations and investigation. Quoting from Section 8.01: “When a formal complaint moves forward to the formal resolution process, the respondent will be notified in writing (and the complainant will be copied). When the notice includes allegations of sexual harassment, parties will be provided the following: the name of both parties, if known; a meaningful summary of all of the allegations; the precise misconduct being alleged; the date and location of the alleged incident(s), if known; the specific policies implicated; a description of the applicable procedures; a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result; a statement that the college presumes the respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the evidence supports a different determination; a statement that determinations of responsibility are made at the conclusion of the process and that parties will be given an opportunity to inspect and review all directly related and/or relevant evidence obtained during the review and comment period; a statement about the college’s policy on retaliation; information about the privacy of the process; information on the need for each party to have an advisor of their choosing and suggestions for ways to identify an advisor; a statement informing the parties that the college’s policy prohibits knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process; detail on how the party may request disability accommodations during the interview process; a link to or attachment with information required by [the Violence Against Women Act], if applicable; the name(s) of the investigator(s), if they have been identified, and a process to identify, in advance of the interview process, to the assigned institutional equity case coordinator any conflict of interest that the investigator(s) may have; and an instruction to preserve any evidence directly related to the allegations. When the notice does not include allegations of sexual harassment, notice will include information listed above that the assigned institutional equity case coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX coordinator, determines is required by law and/or is relevant and necessary for appropriate resolution of the complaint.”
Appointment of investigators. The assigned institutional equity case coordinator selects one or more investigators from the resolution process pool or retains one or more external investigators. A party may appeal for a new investigator to be assigned should either believe that the investigator has a conflict of interest.
The investigation. All investigations are to be conducted impartially. Quoting from Section 8.03D, “Unless the assigned institutional equity case coordinator determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding of responsibility does not consider: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern, (2) the sexual history of the parties, though there may be a limited exception made in regard to the sexual history between the parties or when evidence regarding the complainant’s sexual history is offered to prove that someone other than the responding party engaged in the reported misconduct 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, or (3) the character of the parties.”
Draft investigative report. The investigator(s) submit their draft investigative report to the assigned institutional equity case coordinator. The institutional equity case coordinator submits it to both parties at the same time. Each party has 10 days to review and respond to the draft investigative report. During this 10-day period, either party may meet with the investigator(s) to provide additional information or evidence or to submit any additional questions for the investigator(s) to pose to the other party. Neither party may duplicate all or part of the draft investigative report.
Final investigative report. The assigned institutional equity case coordinator receives the investigator’s or investigators’ final investigative report. The complaint then advances to a hearing for a finding of “responsible” or “not responsible” unless the institutional equity case coordinator finds that the final investigative report presents no reasonable grounds for being that prohibited conduct occurred. If the complaint advances, each party will receive a notice of charges in writing that describes the alleged violation(s) and provides detailed information about how the formal hearing will be conducted. The institutional equity case coordinator will send the final investigative report to both parties at least 10 business days before the scheduled hearing. For details on the notice of charges and hearing conduct, please see Section 8.03 of the policy.
The hearing. The college will designate a single decision-maker or appoint a three-person panel from the resolution process pool to hear the case. Parties may object to any decision-maker or panel member who may have a conflict of interest within three days of receiving that person’s name. Hearings are conducted according to hearing script described in Section 8.03 B.
Quoting from Section 8.03A: “All individuals participating in the hearing are expected, unless an exception was provided by the chair or the assigned institutional equity case coordinator beforehand, to be physically present for the hearing. The college will use technology to facilitate the participation of parties and witnesses, who will be located in separate rooms, while providing the speaking party the opportunity to be in the same room as the decision-maker/panel.
“Participants at the hearing will include the chair, any additional hearing panelists, a hearing facilitator (if appointed), the investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the parties (or two (2) organizational representatives when an organization is the respondent, advisors to the parties, any called witnesses, the Title IX coordinator or assigned institutional equity case coordinator (if requested by the chair), the college’s legal counsel (if requested by the chair), and anyone providing authorized accommodations or assistive services.
“At the hearing, the decision-maker/panel has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation, even though the related alleged conduct may not specifically fall within this policy.
“The chair will answer all questions of procedure. Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will respond to questions on their own behalf. The chair will allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the decision-maker/panelists and the parties and will then be excused.
“Hearings (but not deliberations) are recorded by the college for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.
“The decision-maker/panel, the parties, their advisors, and appropriate administrators of the college will be permitted to listen to the recording in a controlled environment determined by the Title IX coordinator. No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Title IX coordinator.”
The outcome. Quoting from Section 8.04 (A): “The decision-maker/panel will deliberate in a closed session to determine whether the respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. If a panel is used, a simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used. The hearing facilitator may be invited to attend the deliberation by the chair but, if so, is there only to facilitate procedurally, not to address the substance of the allegations.
“When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the decision-maker/panel will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party(ies). The decision-maker/panel may, at their discretion, consider the statements when determining sanctioning recommendations, but impact statements are not binding. In making their recommendations, the decision-maker/panel will consider the factors outlined in Section 8.04(C).
“The chair will then prepare a written deliberation statement and deliver it to the assigned institutional equity case coordinator, detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, the evidence disregarded, credibility assessments, and sanctioning recommendations.
“The chair’s report typically should not exceed three (3) to five (5) pages in length and must be submitted to the assigned institutional equity case coordinator within two (2) business days of the end of deliberations, unless the assigned institutional equity case coordinator grants an extension. If an extension is granted, the assigned institutional equity case coordinator will notify the parties.
“The assigned institutional equity case coordinator will share the chair’s report and any other relevant information with the designated sanctioning administrator.
|If the Respondent is a…||The sanctioning administrator is:|
|Student||An assistant dean of students or the assistant dean’s designee|
|Faculty member||The provost or the provost’s designee|
|Staff member||The staff member’s supervisor or appropriate vice president or that person’s designee|
“The sanctioning administrator will submit a statement with the final sanction(s) and rationale for the sanction(s) in writing to the institutional equity case coordinator.
Sanctioned individuals have the right to appeal within three days of receipt of the notice of outcome.
|If the Respondent is a…||The Appeal Decision-Maker is:|
|Student||The vice president of campus life and student development or the VP’s designee|
|Faculty member||A vice president, director of human resources, or that person’s designee|
|Staff member||The director of human resources or the director’s designee|
Notice of outcome. Quoting Section 8.04(B): “Using the dhair’s deliberation statement and, if applicable, the sanctioning administrator’s statement on sanctioning and rationale, the assigned institutional equity case coordinator will work with the chair and administrator to prepare a notice of outcome. The assigned institutional equity case coordinator will then share the letter with the parties and their advisors within five (5) business days of receiving the chair’s report, when the finding is not responsible, or the administrator’s statement, when the finding is responsible.
“The notice of outcome will be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the parties’ college-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
In cases with findings related to sexual harassment, the notice of outcome will identify the specific policy(ies) reported to have been violated, including the relevant policy section, and will contain a description of the procedural steps taken by the college from the receipt of the misconduct report to the determination, including any and all notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to obtain evidence, and hearings held. The notice of outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; a statement of, and rationale for, the result of each allegation to the extent the college is required to share such information under state or federal law; any sanctions issued which the college is required to share according to state or federal law; and any remedies provided to the complainant designed to ensure access to the college’s educational or employment program or activity, to the extent the college is required to share such information under state or federal law (this detail is not typically shared with the respondent unless the remedy directly relates to the respondent).
In cases with findings related to discriminatory harassment or other civil rights offenses, the notice of outcome will include information listed above that the assigned institutional equity case coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX coordinator, determines is required by law and/or is relevant and necessary for appropriate resolution of the complaint.
In all cases, the notice of outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by the college to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.
Possible sanctions. Sanctions are determined based on a number of factors and vary from written warnings to expulsion and termination from the college. Please consult Section 8.04 (C) for examples of possible sanctions. The list is not exhaustive.