Community Accountability Procedures

Any graduate/DPS student or employee who violates nonacademic University policies, including those policies prohibiting harassment, discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, bias-related incidents and hate crimes is subject to appropriate accountability under the procedures delineated below (Note: the standard used to determine responsibility is based on the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the alleged perpetrator has violated University policy). The University reserves the right to impose differing sanctions depending on the severity of the offense, up to and including termination for an employee, and dismissal for a student. Although it is separate from the community accountability process, perpetrators may also face criminal charges.

The procedures include the following:

  1. The alleged perpetrator(s) is notified by the appropriate University official (as designated by the Title IX Coordinator) that she/he is accused of violating a University policy.
  2. University personnel (assigned by the Title IX Coordinator) conduct an investigation to collect facts regarding the alleged incident.
  3. The alleged perpetrator(s) is informed that he/she may select one of two courses of action:
    1. The individual(s) may admit the alleged violation and request that the University official investigating the situation take whatever action seems appropriate. In an investigation involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual assault, any Complainant under Title IX is informed of and may appeal the outcome. In cases of harassment, discrimination, bias-related incidents or hate crimes, any Complainant is also informed of and may appeal the outcome as per University policy for these types of incidents.
    2. The individual(s) may deny the alleged violation, in which case a hearing is held before the University official designated by the Title IX Coordinator.

The Hearing Process

The following outlines the various aspects of the hearing. Complainants are encouraged to participate in the hearing. Any Complainant under Title IX, as well as under other applicable University policies listed above, is informed of and may appeal the outcome of the hearing.

  1. The parties are entitled to an expeditious hearing of the case.
  2. The hearing is informal in nature and does not adhere to formal rules or procedures, or rules followed by courts of law.
  3. The parties are entitled to the following in regard to the hearing:
    a. Written notification of the time and place of the hearing.
    b. Information regarding the procedures as outlined here.
    c. A written or electronic statement that outlines the violations.
  4. Parties, Complainants and other witnesses are entitled to appear in person, to present his/her/their view of what took place. A party, Complainant or witness may choose not to appear at the hearing. In these instances, the hearing may be conducted based on the written evidence provided by the designated investigator.
  5. If a lawyer is consulted, such a person may give any advice she/he believes pertinent, but he/she may not enter into the community accountability procedures or attend the hearing.

Hearing Findings and Outcome

After hearing a case, the University hearing officer may decide as follows:

  1. Not responsible for a violation: No violation of the relevant policy has been proved.
  2. Responsible for a violation: A violation of the policy has been proved. In this case, the official may impose appropriate sanctions.
The outcome is presented in writing to the parties and to any Complainant as required by Title IX, or under other applicable University policies listed above. Notification of the decision is accomplished by requesting that each party and any Complainant appear separately at an appointed time with the University official. If a party or a Complainant does not appear at the appointed time, notification is made by campus mail and/or email.

Appeals Process

In cases involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, bias-related incidents, or hate crimes the Complainant/alleged survivor has the opportunity to appeal the decision outcome (in all other cases, only the parties have the opportunity to appeal the decision outcome). The appeal must be lodged within three academic days of notification of the original decision and must specify the reasons for which the appeal is made. The appropriate University official (as designated by the Title IX Coordinator) hears the appeal and renders a decision. Appeals are made to the University representative designated by Title IX Coordinator/Vice President for Student Life.

University Personnel Responsibilities:

  • Ensuring that the Complainant/alleged survivor and the alleged perpetrator are aware of the seriousness of the complaint
  • Explaining the University's relevant policy and investigation procedures
  • Making referrals to the Health and Counseling Center for counseling and referral services, if appropriate
  • Discussing with the Complainant/alleged survivor the option of notifying the police if criminal activities are alleged
  • Conducting or arranging for an investigation of the alleged prohibited conduct
  • Preparing or overseeing any reports, recommendations, or remedial action(s) that are needed or warranted to resolve any prohibited conduct
  • Assuring that each complaint is assessed and resolved individually

General Rights of Complainants and/or Alleged Survivors and Alleged Perpetrators

Complainant/Alleged Survivor's Rights:

  • An explanation of available options for redress
  • Freedom from harassment or retaliation by the alleged perpetrator (or supporters)
  • An explanation of the community accountability process
  • Notification of no contact with alleged perpetrator
  • Use of any available internal and external support services
  • Ability to speak on their own behalf during the investigation (including making a "survivor impact" statement in cases involving sexual assault)
  • The presence of an advisor from the University community and/or a support person during the hearing
  • The opportunity to present witnesses who can speak about the charges (character witnesses excluded)
  • Freedom from having irrelevant personal/sexual history discussed during the hearing
  • Information about the outcome of the hearing (in cases involving sexual assault only)
  • Opportunity to appeal the outcome of the hearing (in cases involving sexual assault only)
Alleged Perpetrator's Rights:
  • An explanation of the charge(s)
  • Freedom from harassment or retaliation by the Complainant/alleged survivor (or supporters)
  • An explanation of the community accountability process
  • Notification of no contact with the Complainant/alleged survivor
  • Use of any available internal and external support services
  • The presence of an advisor from the University community and/or a support person during the hearing
  • The opportunity to present witnesses who can speak about the charges (character witnesses excluded)
  • Freedom from having irrelevant personal/sexual history discussed during the hearing
  • Information about the outcome of the hearing
  • Opportunity to appeal the outcome of the hearing

Retaliation

Retaliation is prohibited by federal law and institutional policy. It is defined as any adverse or negative action against a person participating in any reporting, investigation or proceeding that is perceived as: intimidating, threatening, coercing, hostile, harassing, retribution, or violence that occurred in connection to the making and follow-up of the report.  This also includes actions against an individual who has (1) complained about alleged discrimination, harassment or retaliation, (2) participated as a party or witness in an investigation relating to such allegations, or (3) participated as a party or witness in a court proceeding or administrative investigation relating to such allegations.  Federal civil rights laws, including Title IX, make it unlawful to retaliate against an individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by these laws. Intimidation means to make fearful or to put into fear. Generally, proof of actual fear is not required in order to establish intimidation. It may be inferred from conduct, words, or circumstances reasonably calculated to produce fear. Any person violating this policy may be subject to appropriate community accountability, up to and including termination if they are an employee, and suspension or dismissal if they are an undergraduate or graduate/DPS student.

False Reporting

Any graduate/DPS student found to be falsely reporting and/or falsely accusing an individual of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault, harassment, discrimination, bias-related incidents, or hate crimes may face appropriate aspects of community accountability, up to and including suspension or dismissal from the University.

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