Information for Complainants
Under the College’s Title IX Policy, you are referred to as a complainant because you have submitted a formal complaint alleging an individual, referred to as the respondent, engaged in prohibited conduct against you, specifically, sexual harassment or sexual assault.
An investigation is part of the administrative process the College uses to determine whether College policy has been violated. The investigation is not a legal proceeding, and as a result, a Title IX investigation does not determine guilt or innocence relative to any local, state, or federal law.
Notice of Allegation
The respondent has the right to receive a written notice of any and all allegations known at the time of the complaint with sufficient time to prepare a response before any initial interview. This notice will disclose:
- A description of the Policy and Procedures, including the informal resolution process.
- The conduct allegedly constituting a policy violation.
- Notice of the College’s Code of Conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information.
- The requirements of the resolution process.
- The identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known.
- The date and location of the alleged incident, if known.
- The consequences resulting from participating in the resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.
You and the respondent will be simultaneously notified upon issuance of the notice of allegation.
Presumption of Innocence
The respondent is not presumed responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
Right to an Advisor of Choice
You have a right to have one advisor of your choice, who may be an attorney, to assist you throughout the process. This advisor is not permitted to be present in the case of a cross-examination during an investigation. The College cannot guarantee the equality of an advisor’s representation.
An advisor who disrupts or otherwise fails to follow the procedure of the investigation will be asked to leave a meeting/interview, and the meeting/interview may continue without the advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or replaced.
Confidentiality and Privacy
Your privacy is respected, and we keep information gathered during the interview process confidential, limiting disclosure to those College employees with a legitimate “need to know” in order to carry out their responsibilities to review, investigate and/or resolve these matters.
There is no option for confidentiality in the case of suspected child abuse, child sexual abuse and/or child neglect.
You have a right to an impartial investigation that is conducted in a prompt, thorough, and fair manner, focusing on the available information.
You have a right to participate in the investigation process free from retaliation.
The College prohibits all forms of retaliation against an individual who has engaged in a protected activity such as filing a discrimination or harassment complaint, making a verbal statement of discrimination or harassment, or being a witness in a discrimination or harassment complaint. Retaliation should be promptly reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
You have a right to receive supportive measures based upon the facts and circumstances of the situation including, but not limited to:
- Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments
- Modifications of work or class schedules
- Campus escort services
- Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties
- Changes in working or housing locations
- Leaves of absence
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas on the campus.
In cases where the Respondent is a student or student organization and considered a threat to persons or property, the Dean of Students may impose interim measures such as suspension and/or loss/cancellation of other privileges prior to or during the resolution of Title IX Sexual Harassment allegations.
These measures will be maintained as confidential to the extent that the College’s ability to effectively provide the measures is not impaired.
Provided that you and the respondent give your voluntary, written consent, the College may facilitate a resolution without a full investigation and adjudication. This option is not available if the complaint involves quid pro quo harassment or sexual assault.
If a resolution of the allegation is not resolved through an informal process, a comprehensive investigation will take place. Both parties will be notified of the investigator’s contact information and each party will have the opportunity to identify any real or perceived conflicts of interest by notifying the Title IX Coordinator in writing. The Title IX Coordinator will consider stated concerns and if they determine that a material conflict of interest exists, will assign a different investigator.
Interviewing the Parties
Typically, the investigator’s first step will be to meet with you to fully understand the allegations. You may be accompanied by an advisor of your choice during this meeting. You are strongly encouraged to share all information, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any, with the Investigator. After the investigator understands the nature and scope of the allegations, the respondent will be notified of the allegation(s) and given a full and fair opportunity to respond. They are also strongly encouraged to share all information, including documentation and names of witnesses, if any with the investigator. The parties are not present during each other’s interviews.
Notes and Recordings
The investigator will take notes during the interview. However, interviews with the investigator are not recorded, and no recording is permitted by anyone participating in the investigation process, including complainants, respondents, witnesses, and advisors.
Gathering Other Information
After meeting with the complainant and the respondent, the investigator interviews witnesses and reviews all documentation deemed relevant to the situation. The investigator will also visit, inspect, and take photographs at relevant sites; collect and preserve relevant evidence, and obtain relevant medical records pertaining to treatment of the complainant provided they voluntarily authorize the release of these records. The investigator may also contact the parties with additional questions or to request additional relevant information.
Inspection and Access to Evidence
You will have an 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 the conclusion of the investigation.
The investigator will consider all information gathered during an investigation and prepare a report, which will be shared with both parties. Each party will have the opportunity to submit a written response to the evidence which will be considered by the Investigator before the report is submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. The report is not shared with any other parties, including witnesses.
The Title IX Coordinator will provide a final copy of the report to both parties concurrently and at least 10 calendar days prior to the determination hearing. The parties may provide a written response to the final investigation report five calendar days after receiving it.
A hearing will be conducted to determine the outcome and resolution of the complaint. The Chancellor/designee will appoint a neutral hearing officer to conduct the hearing, make findings regarding responsibility, and if applicable, any necessary sanctions.
Credibility determinations will not be based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
If the respondent is found responsible for sexual harassment or assault, the hearing officer will notify both parties of the decision, any imposed sanctions, and remedies provided to you to the extent the Respondent is affected.
Both you and the respondent may appeal the hearing officer’s decision within five days of receipt of the decision. A three-member panel composed of at least two faculty or staff members will review the appeal. The panel’s decision is final, and no further appeals may be submitted under the Title IX Policy.
Grounds for Appeal
The appeal of the hearing officer’s decision must be for one of the following reasons:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the decision
- New evidence, not reasonably available at the time of the hearing, that could affect the outcome of the decision
- The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or hearing officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party that could affect the outcome of the decision
- The sanctions imposed are not appropriate for the nature and severity of the conduct
Mere disagreement with the decision is not grounds for appeal.
Dismissal of Complaint
Prohibited conduct that does not meet the definition of sexual harassment or sexual assault under the Title IX Policy, will be dismissed and referred to the Office of Student Standards and Conduct, or other appropriate campus authority, for further review and adjudication
Either party may appeal the dismissal by submitting a written appeal within five days of the Title IX Coordinator’s decision. You will be kept informed throughout the process and have access to appropriate resources and support.
LaShun McGhee, CAAP
Title IX Coordinator