The College will respond promptly and equitably when any incident of sexual misconduct or harassment is alleged against a student. This includes a direct complaint or if the College becomes aware of the situation by other reliable means. The College’s response may take a number of forms within its discretion. This includes offering reasonable protection and services to the complainant or others, conducting a Title IX inquiry or review, conducting an investigation contacting the respondent, imposing corrective or restrictive measures or conducting a student conduct hearing.
Student Conduct Process
If the complainant or the College seeks to proceed with a formal complaint, a report of sexual misconduct or harassment will be adjudicated under the College’s hearing process if the respondent is a student. A full description of the hearing process is included in the Charges and Hearings section of The Code of Community Standards. This policy section will highlight the elements of the student conduct process that are unique to sexual misconduct or harassment.
1) Pre-Hearing Process:
After the College’s review and/or investigation are completed, both the complainant and respondent will receive notice of the allegations and the date and time of the hearing. Each party shall have the opportunity to be heard and to respond, the opportunity to have an advisor at the hearing and during preparations for the hearing, and access to a staff person to provide guidance in navigating the student conduct system.
Before the hearing both the complainant and respondent will each meet with a designated staff member who will explain what happens during a hearing. This includes procedures for reviewing information which will be used during the hearing. Any investigative reports, other materials, or written statements provided to the hearing panel will be made available to both parties, to the extent allowed by privacy laws.
As part of this pre-hearing review, any party seeking to introduce information concerning the prior sexual history of either party must seek advance permission to do so. In general, in a case where the respondent raises consent as a defense, any prior consensual relationship between the parties may be relevant. Any other prior sexual history of the complainant is typically not relevant and will not be permitted. Prior sexual history of the respondent may be relevant where there is evidence of a pattern of misconduct that may be relevant in the determination of responsibility or assigning of a sanction. This determination will be made by the Director of Community Standards and Responsibility.
2) Hearing Process:
A sexual misconduct and harassment report will be resolved by use of an administrative hearing panel. In some cases, an alternate means of resolving the complaint may be used because of an inability to hold a timely hearing. In no case, however, will informal resolution or mediation be used in cases alleging sexual misconduct as defined in this policy.
If a hearing is held by the College, the purpose is to determine whether the respondent is responsible for a violation of the College policy. The College’s hearing process determines responsibility based on information presented at the hearing and the unique facts of the case. The level of proof necessary to support a finding of responsibility is “more likely than not”. This is the same standard used for all student conduct cases.
The complainant and respondent are entitled to the same opportunity to be present and participate in the hearing. Accommodations may be allowed for the complainant to be screened or attend via an alternative method such as videoconferencing equipment.
During the hearing, the incident is reviewed by the administrative hearing panel. The information is presented by the investigator assigned to the case. The panel listens to and speaks with the complainant, respondent, witnesses and considers other relevant information, including results from the investigation. The hearing panel will also consider any written statements provided by either party for the hearing and may ask relevant questions related to these statements.
The complainant and respondent are entitled to the same opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other information. Questions may be submitted to the hearing panel members, who will then pose any relevant and proper questions to the witness or other party. The hearing panel advisor reserves the right to determine if a question is relevant and will be allowed. There will be no direct questioning of the complainant by the respondent or the respondent by the complainant.
Each case is evaluated on its own unique circumstances. The hearing panel bases the determination of responsibility on all of the relevant information presented at the hearing. If the information presented at the hearing does not support a determination of responsibility of the Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy on the standard of more likely than not, the board or officer may still determine responsibility for a related violation of The Code of Community Standards.
The College determines sanctions based on the facts of the case, including the severity of the offense. Sanctions are recommendations to the Director of Community Standards and Responsibility, who will assign the appropriate sanctions. A student found responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct and Harassment Policy could receive sanctions ranging from suspension, probation, counseling, educational requirements or a written warning. In some cases, a student found responsible may be dismissed from the College.
Specific to this policy, both the complainant and respondent are given the opportunity to an appeal the outcome of the hearing, as outlined in the Appeals section of The Code of Community Standards. The appeal decision is the College’s final determination about the alleged offense and any sanction.
The College will inform both the complainant and respondent in writing of the outcome of any College proceedings for allegations of sexual misconduct and harassment, including appeals.
College Time Frames for Responding to Reports of Sexual Misconduct and Harassment
The time frames listed here are guides and may be extended because of extraordinary circumstances. Each case is unique and the process for handling the incident will be impacted by factors such as: the complexity of the investigation, the scope of the allegation, the parties’ schedules and availability, and the academic calendar. Generally speaking, the College will complete the investigation and resolution of all reports within 60 calendar days of receiving a report. Parties will be notified in writing of the final outcome of the hearing or other action which concludes the complaint process. The College will provide parties with periodic status updates as needed or requested. In no case will these time frames delay College provided support services, resources or other measures.