Resolving a Concern

Rights of the Complainant and the Respondent

The Complainant and a Respondent can expect the College to respect the rights of all involved by following the appropriate stated College sexual misconduct resolution process.

• To options outlined as the informal process or formal process if applicable.
• To have the allegations investigated in a thorough and timely manner
• To refrain from making self-incriminating statements (However, the College will make a determination of whether a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy occurred based on the information presented)
• To be informed of the outcome of the sexual misconduct resolution process

Although a reported concern may come in through many sources, the College is committed to ensuring that all reports are referred to the Title IX Team which ensures consistent application of this Policy to all individuals and allows the College to respond promptly and equitably to resolving the concern.

Availability of Formal and Informal Resolution Options

When a Complainant or the College chooses to move forward with a complaint, there are two avenues for resolution of an alleged policy violation; formal and informal resolution. The Complainant or the College has the option to proceed informally when permissible. If a complaint is processed informally, the Complainant, Respondent, or College has the option to move the complaint to the formal process at any time. The Informal Process and/or mediation are never permissible in cases involving sexual violence.

Each resolution process is guided by the same principles of fairness and respect for all parties. Resources are available for both students and employees, whether as Complainants or Respondents, to provide guidance throughout the investigation and resolution of the complaint. These resources are maintained by the Title IX Team and available through the Student Life, Human Resources, and Academic Affairs offices.

While the resolution processes for students, faculty, and staff might differ from one another, each process will include the following, essential attributes:
• The parties will have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence;
• In any resolution process involving a burden of proof, the College will use the preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (that is, more likely than not that sexual misconduct occurred);
• If either party is allowed to introduce third-party expert testimony, both parties will be allowed to do so on the same basis;
• Where appeals are allowed, each party will have the same opportunity to appeal as the other; and
• Both parties will be notified, in writing at the same time, of the outcome of both the complaint and any appeal.

Informal Resolution Process

Purpose

The informal process is an opportunity to bring resolution to an informal complaint through awareness, education, and/or a facilitated discussion. During an informal process, written statements are not taken from the Complainant or the Respondent, and no hearing is conducted. *Note: The Informal Process will not be utilized in the case of sexual violence.

Step 1: Facilitate Resolution

This process utilizes the information gathered during the initial inquiry to facilitate an appropriate resolution to the informal complaint. The following are examples of possible options, one or more of which may be used to bring resolution to an informal complaint.

Potential Informal Actions:

1. Distribute a copy of the Sexual Misconduct Policy as a reminder to the person, group, or area where behavior is being questioned;
2. Educate all parties regarding the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy;
3. Advise the person(s) how to communicate the unwelcome nature of the behavior to the alleged harasser;
4. Conduct a sexual misconduct educational workshop for the designated group or department;
5. Meet with the accused to raise awareness about alleged inappropriate behavior and provide notice about possible College consequences;
6. Facilitate discussion with the agreement of the accuser, accused, and the designated reporting office representative(s);
7. Institute alternative work/ living arrangements, class schedule, advisor/supervisor arrangements; or
8. Limit contact or impose a no-contact order between accused and accuser.

Step 2: Document Informal Resolution

At the conclusion of the informal process, a letter summarizing the outcome(s) of the process will be sent by the College official leading the process to the accuser and accused and other appropriate College officials to bring closure to the matter (see Retention of Documents section in this Policy).

If the matter is not resolved to the satisfaction of the accuser or the accused utilizing the informal process, and/or the College determines the matter should be resolved through the formal process, the accuser, the accused and/or the College may pursue the formal process. In such an instance, the accuser, the accused and/or the College may pursue the formal process within 5 business days of the date on the informal outcome letter.

Formal Resolution Process

The College offers a formal process leading to resolution of a complaint if: the complaint involves sexual violence; the informal resolution is not agreed upon or fails to satisfactorily resolve a concern; and/or the College determines the formal process is appropriate or necessary.

The investigator will require the Complainant or College representative making the complaint to complete Step 1. Steps 2-4 will follow.

Step 1-Accuser’s Written Statement

1. Complete a written statement of the sexual misconduct complaint. The statement should be as specific as possible, including dates, times, locations, a description of the alleged misconduct and the name(s) of the Respondent(s).
2. Provide a list of any person(s) who may have information that would be helpful to the hearing process.
3. Submit the above information to the designated investigator.

Step 2: College’s Response

The investigator will contact the Respondent, provide him/her with a copy of the written statement, and ask that a written response to the complaint be submitted by a specified date within a reasonable period of time necessary to keep the process moving forward. The investigator will meet with the Respondent to ask questions and to hear his or her version of the incident.

The investigator will also meet with the Complainant to hear his or her complaint and to ask any clarifying questions from the written report. The investigator will make sure that the Complainant has been adequately advised of available immediate measures (such as housing reassignments, security escorts, or class schedule changes) that are appropriate prior to a hearing on the complaint.

Step 3: Respondent’s Response

1. Submit a written response to the complaint to the investigator. The response will be forwarded to the Complainant or the College representative bringing the complaint, as the case may be; and
2. Provide a list of any person(s) who may have information that would be helpful to the hearing process.

Witness Statements

The investigator will collect any witness statements he or she deems important to help assess whether sexual misconduct has occurred.

Administrative Hearing

The function of this hearing is to hear from the Complainant, the Respondent, and/or any other witness the investigator deems necessary to determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for the misconduct alleged, whether the conduct violated the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy, and, if so, to determine an appropriate sanction.
All administrative hearings will be conducted by the following College hearing officers:
• Complaints against Students will be heard by the Vice President and Dean of Student Life (or a designee). Please see below for the Hearing Procedure;
• Complaints against Staff will be heard by the Director of Human Resources and Administrative Services (or a designee). Please see the Staff Handbook for the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedure;
• Complaints against Faculty will be heard by the Vice-President for Academic Affairs (or a designee). Please see the Faculty Handbook for the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Procedure.

Hearing Procedure (Students)

1. The Complainant and Respondent will be notified of the date, time and location of the hearing.
2. The hearing is closed and generally includes only the Complainant, the Respondent, and the College Hearing Officer and one College selected observer. (The Complainant is permitted to attend the hearing although attendance is not required.)
3. Both parties are allowed to have an advisor for the hearing. The advisor (for either party) may be an attorney, but the attorney is not allowed to participate in the hearing in any manner. They may attend and consult with their client (the Complainant or the Respondent) but may not ask questions and/or otherwise engage in the process. If a party’s attorney is present, then the College may also have an attorney present.
4. The Complainant and Respondent may each submit a written statement concerning the alleged misconduct, the effect of the misconduct, and the appropriate sanction. The College Hearing Office may, in his or her discretion, limit the testimony or information offered if it is cumulative, irrelevant, or otherwise not helpful to the determination of responsibility or sanction.
5. The College Hearing Officer may ask questions of the Complainant, the Respondent and any other witnesses and will consider the statements and any relevant information received during the investigation.
6. The College Hearing Officer will determine whether the Respondent has violated the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy. If there is a determination of violation, then the College Hearing Officer will also determine, after consultation with appropriate College personnel, appropriate sanction(s) against the Respondent. The College Hearing Officer will also determine if any remedies are appropriate to provide to the Complainant following the hearing process.
7. After the hearing is concluded, the Respondent and Complainant will be informed in writing at the same time of the outcome and the rationale for the same. The sanction(s) will be communicated in writing to the Respondent, and any sanction(s) that directly relate to the Complainant will be communicated in writing to the Complainant. Also, any College administrators, faculty, or staff who require the information to carry out the sanction(s), will receive the appropriate information. The Complainant will also receive information on any remedies that are available to him or her.

Appeal Process (Students)

The Respondent or the Complainant each may appeal the decision and/or sanction to the President. Appeals are only available on the bases for appeal set out below. Appeals must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within (5) five business days of receipt of the written decision and must specify the grounds for the appeal.
The grounds on which an appeal may be filed with the President are limited to the following:
1. New information not available to the hearing officer which, if available at the time of the hearing, may have affected the decision;
2. Evidence that established procedures were not followed in a manner that may have affected the decision, and/or;
3. The sanction was disproportionate for the violation.
Any appeal filed pursuant to this Policy shall be shared with the other party(ies) within 2 business days of the receipt of the appeal. The other party will have 3 business days to respond in writing, sending the response to the Title IX Coordinator.
The President shall review the report and sanctions to be imposed, and may review any documents, materials, or statements obtained during the investigation or presented during the hearing. In addition, the President shall review the appeal document and any response received from the non-appealing party(ies).
The President may accept, reject, or modify the finding and/or sanctions based on one of the three, above-listed grounds for appeal.
The President will, under normal circumstances, make a final decision on the appeal within 10 business days of receiving the timely-filed appeal and timely-filed responses. The President will communicate his/her decision, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator, who will forward the decision to the Respondent, the Complainant, and the College Hearing Officer who conducted the underlying hearing in the case.
The Title IX Coordinator shall forward the President’s decision to the Respondent’s department chair, dean/supervisor, and appropriate vice president(s).
The President’s decision shall be final.

Disciplinary Action

Should disciplinary action be required, it will be taken by the following College officials, after consultation with appropriate Centre personnel:
• Students: Disciplinary action will be taken by the Vice President and Dean of Student Life.
• Staff: Disciplinary action will be taken by the supervisor and Director of Human Resources and Administrative Services.
• Faculty: Disciplinary action will be taken by the Vice President for Academic Affairs.
Sanctions

The sanctions available under these processes are intended to reflect the facts and circumstances of a particular case as best they can be determined. Sanctions also are premised on the College’s role as an educational institution. Sanctions may be issued individually, or a combination of sanctions may be imposed. The determination of sanctions is based upon a number of factors, including: the harm suffered by the Complainant; any ongoing risk to either the Complainant or the community posed by Respondent; the impact of the violation on the community, its members, or its property; any previous conduct violations; and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances

Depending upon the severity of the misconduct and other factors pertinent to the situation and the parties involved, for a student, the sanctions range from a warning to expulsion, and could include a requirement of counseling or education. For faculty and staff, the sanctions range from a warning to termination of appointment/employment, and could include a requirement of counseling or education.

Final Report

Upon completion of a sexual misconduct investigation, the file containing all documentation relating to the complaint will be maintained in the Human Resources Department in a separate confidential file.

A copy of the final outcome or determination letter from any formal disciplinary action will be maintained in accordance to the following guidelines:
• Students: In the Student’s file, maintained by the Vice President and Dean of Student Life.
• Staff: In the Staff member’s personnel file, maintained in the Human Resources Department.
• Faculty: In the Faculty member’s personnel file, maintained in the Human Resources Department, and within the office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

As required by law, Centre College Department of Public Safety collects and annually reports statistical information concerning sexual misconduct that occurs within its jurisdiction.

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