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Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, EOAA takes one of the following three actions:
1. Take no further action beyond offering supportive measures.
2. Initiate an informal problem-solving process.
EOAA may initiate an informal problem-solving process in cases where no formal complaint is filed or signed. In an informal problem-solving process, EOAA does not determine whether a respondent violated University policy. However, EOAA may provide resources to help address the concerns raised and make recommendations for responsive action, including actions aimed at preventing misconduct from occurring. For example, informal problem-solving processes may include:
- gathering additional information about the reported sexual misconduct to determine how to most effectively respond and to provide relevant information to the individuals involved;
- notifying a respondent about the concerns raised, and about any reported impact to a complainant or community;
- providing education or coaching to a respondent or complainant;
- providing recommendations that are aimed at preventing further concerns from arising to an appropriate individual who oversees a respondent or complainant; and/or
- establishing a plan to monitor for future misconduct.
3. Initiate a grievance process.
EOAA will initiate a grievance process when the complainant has filed a formal complaint requesting that the University investigate alleged sexual misconduct or when the Title IX Coordinator has signed a formal complaint. The grievance process includes an investigation, opportunity for a live hearing, and opportunity for an appeal. In certain cases, the parties may also be offered an informal resolution option and/or an administrative resolution option after the investigation is complete.
The University is committed to providing all parties with robust procedural fairness protections in the grievance process, including notice of the report and investigation, the opportunity to present evidence and identify witnesses, and an impartial and unbiased investigation and adjudication process.
The University’s grievance process applies the preponderance of the evidence standard when determining whether sexual misconduct occurred in violation of University policy. “Preponderance of the evidence” means that it is more likely than not that a policy violation has occurred.
Complainants and respondents may be accompanied to meetings and hearings in the grievance process by: 1) an advisor of their choice; and/or 2) a support person, who cannot be a fact witness in the case. When a party does not have an advisor at a live hearing, the University provides an advisor at no cost to make opening and closing statements, and to conduct direct and cross-examination on behalf of that party.
EOAA investigates reports of sexual misconduct. The investigation process typically consists of interviews of the complainant, respondent, and witnesses and the gathering of other relevant evidence. Before the conclusion of the investigation, the parties are provided with all evidence directly related to the allegations, and offered an opportunity
to respond in writing. EOAA produces a written investigation report that includes factual findings and a recommended decision on whether the respondent is responsible for violating University policy.
Post-Investigation Informal Resolution Option
After the investigation has concluded, the parties may be provided with a proposed informal resolution. If both parties accept an informal resolution, the grievance process ends. Under federal law, this option is not available to resolve allegations that an employee respondent engaged in sexual misconduct toward a student complainant.
Administrative Resolution Process
After the investigation has concluded, the parties are offered the opportunity to agree to resolve the case through an administrative resolution process in all cases except those involving a student complainant and an employee respondent. In an administrative resolution process, there is not a live hearing. Instead, a hearing chair makes the decision on responsibility based on the investigative report, the parties’ written responses to the investigative report (if any), and the evidence gathered by EOAA in the investigation of the formal complaint.
Hearing and Sanctioning
If there is no informal resolution or administrative resolution, the parties are provided a live hearing before a five-member decision-making panel. The hearing panel makes the decision on responsibility. In cases with student respondents, the hearing panel also makes the decision on disciplinary sanctions. In cases with non-student respondents, the applicable University Authority (as defined in University policy) makes the decision on disciplinary sanctions and other responsive actions, as appropriate.
Possible disciplinary sanctions for students may include: an oral or written warning, probation, required compliance with work assignments, community service assignments, or other discretionary assignments, restitution, restriction of privileges,
University housing suspension or expulsion, suspension or expulsion from the University, withholding of a diploma or degree; and revocation of admission or a degree.
Possible disciplinary sanctions and other responsive actions in cases with employee respondents (including student employees who engaged in sexual misconduct in their employee roles) may include: coaching or education, mentoring, changes to work duties or locations, monitoring to ensure that sexual misconduct is not occurring, probation, transfer of position, removal of administrative appointment, salary reduction, demotion, oral or written reprimand, suspension, and termination of employment.
Possible disciplinary sanctions and other responsive actions in cases with third-party respondents may include restrictions on a third-party respondent’s: 1) participation in University programs or activities; 2) attendance at University events; or 3) ability to enter campus spaces, among other things.
Any party may appeal the decision on responsibility and disciplinary sanctions. If a party appeals, the decision of the Appellate Officer is the final University decision.