14.3. Grievance Process

This section outlines steps in the grievance process to be carried out by the University when a formal complaint is filed for violation of this policy. The formal complaint may be initiated when someone reports their own experience of sexual misconduct directly to the University and seeks to file a complaint, or when someone is advised of their right to file a complaint after a report has been made by a third party. The University may also elect to move forward with a complaint independently and act as a University Complainant.

By reporting an incident to a University official, the Title IX Coordinator will be notified and, with appropriate University officials, take immediate action to ensure safety and minimize recurrence of any sexual harassment. All reports of sexual harassment will be treated seriously. The Title IX Coordinator will immediately offer supportive measures and respond meaningfully to all reports of sexual harassment regardless of whether a Party wants to move forward with the grievance process.

The grievance process provides for a prompt and equitable resolution to complaints of sexual harassment and prohibited conduct under this policy. The time period from the filing of a formal complaint, until the issuance of a written determination by a Hearing Panel, is up to one hundred twenty (120) calendar days. All Parties are expected to fully participate and adhere to proscribed timeframes. Proceedings may continue without a Party’s participation in the case of untimely participation, untimely response, or refusal to participate. Temporary delay of the grievance process or the limited extension of time frames will be allowed for good cause at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Officer. In the instance of a delay or extension, written notice and the reasons for the action will be provided to the Parties. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a Party, a Party’s Advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.

The University is committed to a fair and equal process for all Parties. An individual responding to a complaint is presumed not responsible, throughout the grievance process until otherwise determined by the appropriate decision makers at the conclusion of this process, or the Respondent admits responsibility. The burden of proof for a violation of the Title IX policy is a preponderance of the evidence, and such burden rests on the University. The Title IX Coordinator, assigned Investigator, mediators, and decision makers must not have any conflicts of interest or bias against the Complainant and Respondent. All Parties are expected to be truthful in statements and participation in the reporting, complaint, and grievance process. Dishonesty or false statements will not be tolerated and may impact and individual’s rights or standing in the process in addition to consequences in the Student Code of Conduct, Faculty Handbook, or Employee Handbook. The grievance process will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.