Page tree

Versions Compared

Key

  • This line was added.
  • This line was removed.
  • Formatting was changed.


Table of Contents


Return to Table of Contents

SECTION B.1: INTRODUCTION

The following procedure functions in conjunction with the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and will be activated when a mandated reporter or reporting party reports an alleged occurrence of relationship violence and/or sexual misconduct involving a faculty or staff member of EMU to Human Resources or the Title IX office. This process is not designed to take the place of making a criminal report to law enforcement. The procedure as outlined below may take place whether or not a criminal report is made. It is a separate and independent process. These procedures will include a prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial investigation to the final result.

These procedures are carried out by people who care about and are committed to walk with all involved and understand that individuals can experience stress and emotional trauma with such situations. The care and welfare of EMU faculty, staff, and students is of utmost importance.

SECTION B.2: REPORTING

B.2.1. MAKING A REPORT

Reports can be made by filling out a Campus Safety Incident Form (https://emu.edu/safecampus/) or by contacting the Title IX Coordinator in person or via phone at 540-432-4302.

  1. If the case involves a student and an employee, a copy of the report will go to the Dean of Students and the Director of Human Resources. Additional personnel may be notified on a need-to-know basis. The reporter and/or the reporting party will be advised of additional personnel who are notified.
  2. If the case involves only employees, a copy of the report will go to the Director of Human Resources. Additional personnel may be notified on a need-to-know basis. The reporter and/or the reporting party will be advised of additional personnel who are notified.

B.2.2. SAFETY ASSESSMENT

After a report is received, the Safety Team will determine the need for a timely warning. A timely warning is a warning required by the Clery Act and alerts the campus community to potentially dangerous circumstances. The need for a timely warning is determined by considering the nature of the act reported and the likelihood that continuing danger exists for the campus community. If warranted, a timely warning will be issued by the Coordinator of Campus Safety and Security, who has the final authority to make the determination according to Virginia law.

  1. The Safety Team will be comprised of the following people or their designees:
    1. Situations involving a student and an employee: Title IX Coordinator, Coordinator of Campus Safety and Security, Dean of Students.
    2. Situations involving only employees: Title IX Coordinator, Coordinator of Campus Safety and Security, and the Director of Human Resources. 
  2. The Safety Team will confer to determine next steps within the 72 hour notice requirement of notifying the Commonwealth’s Attorney and local law enforcement, and will, if deemed necessary make those notifications. Note: safety officer has final authority on making the assessment as to whether to make a notification.1
  3. The safety officer will notify the reporting and/or the responding party(s) as necessary.
  4. Concurrently, any possible threats to the reporting party and campus safety will be addressed (see Section 8.2.5.1 of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy): 
    1. Interim measures may be implemented to maintain safety for all involved. Interim measures may include, but are not limited to: removal from campus facilities, no contact orders, adjustment of class, work or teaching schedule depending on the parties involved in the case.
    2. The Title IX Coordinator or Director of Human Resources(or their designees) will follow up with the author of the report if not completed by reporting party to confirm that a process has been initiated, while maintaining confidentiality for all parties.

B.2.3. UNIVERSITY RESPONSE TO REPORTING PARTY(S)

Initial Inquiry & Investigation, Basic Guidelines:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Director of Human Resources to coordinate the process for initial inquiry and investigation.
  2. The reporting party will always be contacted/responded to and coordinated with first. 
  3. The Director of Human Resources will review the case under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act during the Title IX process. Additional investigation and response may occur to respond to Title VII obligations.

Initial Inquiry with Reporting Party:

  1. The reporting party is contacted to set up an initial inquiry meeting and they are informed that they may bring an advocate with them. The reporting party has the right to decline this meeting. If the meeting is declined, the process may continue without the reporting party if the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is a safety concern based on Virginia statute.2
  2. Initial inquiry with reporting party involves:
    1. No further inquiry or investigation: the reporting party(s) can specify that the Title IX Coordinator and/or the deputy Title IX Coordinator take no further action to pursue an investigation into the reported incident.
    2. Further investigation: the reporting party(s) can specify that the Title IX Coordinator proceed with an investigation of the reported incident.
    3. Assist in making a Police Report: this option can be pursued regardless of whether or not option one (1) or two (2) has been selected. Reporting parties may also choose to make a separate report to the local police department at a later time if they decide not to file a police report immediately.
    1. Title IX Coordinator provides general support and listens to the reporting party.
    2. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Human Resources may be present.
    3. Review Rights of the Reporting Party​ document, including the right to report to local law enforcement. The reporting party is encouraged to report to local law enforcement for criminal matters, and will be supported through this process if they choose to make a report.
    4. Reporting party will determine how they wish to proceed in regards to their own personal process:
  3. It is the reporting party’s right to choose which of the above options they want the university to take. However, in certain cases, if the conduct reported constitutes a criminal offense under Virginia law or endangers the immediate safety of the broader campus community, the university may still undertake a further process even if the reporting party(s) have requested that no further action be taken in regards to the incident (for example, if the responding party has previously been reported for violating the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy). In these instances, the reporting party(s) does not have to be involved in the ongoing process.
  4. If a reporting party chooses not to participate in a further process, even in circumstances where investigation is required due to safety issues, the reporting party will sign a statement of release, indicating they do not wish to be involved in the investigation at the time. The reporting party is informed of their right to participate or decline to participate in any investigation to the extent permitted under state or federal law. 3
  5. Based on the severity of the alleged misconduct and with respect to the wishes of the reporting party, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Assessment Team, may determine that no further investigation is required. This decision is based on the fact that the harm has not constituted a hostile environment and there are no disputed facts between the parties.

B.2.4. UNIVERSITY RESPONSE TO RESPONDING PARTY(S)

  1. After receiving a report and speaking with the reporting party(s), depending on the wishes of the reporting party(s), the Title IX Coordinator will make contact with the responding party(s).
  2. Initial Inquiry with Responding Party:
    1. The responding party is contacted to set up an initial inquiry meeting and they are informed that they may bring an advocate with them. The responding party has the right to decline this meeting. If the meeting is declined, the process may continue without the responding party if the Title IX Coordinator determines that there is a safety concern based on Virginia statute.4
    2. Initial inquiry with responding party involves:
      1. Title IX Coordinator provides general support and listens to the reporting party.
      2. Review Rights of the Responding Party​ document.

SECTION B.3: INTERVIEWS

B.3.1. INTERVIEWS WITH INVOLVED PARTIES

  1. If the reporting party wishes to pursue further process or if the university has determined that further process is required, iInterviews will be conducted with all involved parties, beginning with the reporting party(s) and including witnesses. The reporting and the responding parties will not come into contact with one another during the interview process.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator, a deputy Title IX Coordinator, or a Title IX Investigator will conduct the interviews. An external Title IX Investigator would be used if there is a conflict of interest or there are other extenuating circumstances exist.
  3. The reporting party(s) and the responding party(s) always have the right to have an advocate of their choosing present during all stages of the reporting, investigating, and adjudication of the process. The interviewer may also choose to have a confidential unbiased third party included in the interview; typically this would be a deputy Title IX Coordinator.
  4. All interviews may be audio recorded. The only person outside of the Title IX Coordinator who may listen to the recording is the party that has been recorded. The recording must be listened to in the presence of the investigator. Verbal permission to record the interview will be obtained at the start of the interview process. Recordings will be stored by the Title IX Coordinator in a secure location and will be destroyed upon completion of the case, after the deadline for and/or completion of an appeals process has passed.
  5. The completion of the investigation process will be within sixty days from the initial receipt of the report or as soon thereafter as feasible. If the report is made just prior to a scheduled university break, the time of the break will not be included within those sixty days.

If a reporting party has chosen, during the intake meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, not to pursue any further action related to the reported incident, no interview will be required. The reporting party will be asked to sign a statement noting this choice, with the option of opening the case at any time by notifying the Title IX Coordinator.

B.3.2. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

When the preliminary investigative report has been reviewed with all parties and if there are no disputed facts by any party, the case moves to an informal resolution process, described below.

B.3.2.1. STAFF REVIEW TO DETERMINE OUTCOMES

  1. In an informal resolution process, if it is determined that there is sufficient evidence, based on the preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding of responsibility under the policy, any one or more outcomes may be imposed. A staff review will be conducted by the Title IX Assessment Team to determine the appropriate outcome(s) to impose.
  2. The staff review will be conducted by the Title IX Assessment Team, which includes the Title IX Coordinator and deputy Title IX Coordinator(s), selected by the Title IX Coordinator for their assistance in a particular case with an aim of mitigating any possibility of conflict of interest due to their primary role within the university. The Title IX Assessment Team will review the case and determine outcomes for the responding party(s) guided by a number of considerations, including:
    1. The severity, persistence or pervasiveness of the prohibited conduct;
    2. The nature or violence (if applicable) of the prohibited conduct;
    3. The impact of the prohibited conduct on the reporting party;
    4. The impact or implications of the prohibited conduct within the university community;
    5. Relevant prior disciplinary history at the university involving the responding party;
    6. Whether the responding party has accepted responsibility for the prohibited conduct;
    7. The maintenance of a safe, nondiscriminatory and respectful environment conducive to learning; and
    8. Any other mitigating, aggravating, or compelling factors.
  3. A case may result in the following possible outcomes, based on the facts of the case and the considerations listed above. The following outcomes are effective immediately, unless otherwise specified:
    1. In-school, temporary, or indefinite suspension/disciplinary withdrawal
    2. Dismissal
    3. Probation, with specific lengths being determined during the staff review
    4. Loss of university employment or volunteer position
    5. Loss of university resources or services
    6. No contact orders
    7. Removal from dorm or other campus buildings
    8. Community services
    9. Application of a behavioral contract
    10. Alcohol and/or drug assessment and recommendations
    11. Exclusion from co-curricular or leadership activities
    12. Completion of issue-relevant education activities
    13. Fines
    14. Monetary or other restitution
    15. Referral to counseling
    16. Transcript notation 5

B.3.2.2. INFORMING REPORTING & RESPONDING PARTIES OF OUTCOMES

In an informal process, the reporting party(s) and the responding party(s) will be notified simultaneously in writing of the outcome of the staff review. The Title IX Assessment Team will also meet with each party, if desired, to allow opportunity for clarification. The outcomes determination in an informal process cannot be appealed.

B.3.3. FORMAL RESOLUTION

If, following reporting (Section B.2) and investigation (Section B.3), discrepancies exist between the accounts of the reporting party(s) and the responding party(s), a formal resolution process will be conducted. The formal resolution process includes a preliminary and final investigative report, review panel proceedings, and the determination of outcomes (described below). Either party may appeal the decision of the review panel as described in Section B.5.

B.3.3.1. PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

After the interviews with the reporting party(s), responding party(s), and witnesses are completed and other information gathered, the Title IX Investigator will complete a preliminary investigative report that sets out all the known facts of the case, the disputed facts of the case, and a list of all parties interviewed. The Title IX Investigator will provide a copy of the preliminary report to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Human Resources.

The Title IX Investigator and the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the reporting party(s) to review the preliminary report. Following this meeting, the Title IX Investigator and the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the responding party(s) to review the report.

The reporting party(s) and the responding party(s) may suggest additional witnesses and provide additional information after they review the preliminary investigative report. If additional witnesses or additional information is provided at this time, the Title IX Investigator will interview the additional witnesses and review the additional information.

If changes are made to the preliminary report based on the additional witnesses or information provided, these changes will be reviewed with both the reporting and the responding parties. If no additional witnesses or additional information is provided by the reporting and/or the responding parties, the Title IX Investigator(s) will prepare the final investigative report.

A.3.3.2. FINAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT

The final investigative report includes all known facts of the case, disputed facts of the case, and a list of all parties interviewed. The Title IX Investigator will provide the final report to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Human Resources.

SECTION B.4: REVIEW PANEL

Following the submission of the final investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will convene the Title IX Review Panel. 

B.4.1. REVIEW PANEL PROCEEDINGS

  1. The Title IX review panel consists of a standing the Title IX review panel chair and two additional employees who serve on an ad hoc basis when a case arises, to avoid possible conflicts of interest or negative bias. In addition to the chair, the panel will consist of one faculty member and one staff member who have received training in Title IX and the EMU RVSM. 
  2. The Title IX Coordinator, Director of Human Resources, and Title IX Investigator will be available for questions and clarifications throughout the process. 
  3. The reporting party and responding party will be separately notified of the composition of the review panel, and have the right to raise any conflicts of interest.
  4. The review panel meets separately with the reporting party and the responding party. An advisor or advocate may attend the review panel but may not participate in the panel process.
  5. If the chair of the review panel determines that clarifying questions are required, the panel may ask questions of the reporting and/or the responding party(s) during their separate review panel proceedings. The reporting and/or the responding party(s) may also request to give a testimony to the review panel during their separate review panel hearings.
  6. The reporting party or respondent may choose not to attend the review panel. The review panel process will proceed regardless.
    1. The chair of the panel will inform all persons present that the proceedings are being recorded for reference purposes only;
    2. The recording will be destroyed at the conclusion of the case, after the deadline for and/or completion of an appeal process.
    1. The review panel proceedings will be recorded by EMU
  7. The review panel will make a finding to determine whether or not a violation of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy has occurred based on the factual findings outlined in the final investigative report and the testimony heard. This finding will be based on the standard of proof known as the preponderance of evidence, in accordance with Title IX regulations (see Section 2 for definition). The review panel will make this determination based on the factual findings outlined in the final investigative report and the testimony heard.
  8. If the review panel has determined that there is sufficient evidence, by a preponderance of the evidence, to support a finding of responsibility under the policy, the review panel will decide between a number of different outcomes for the responding party(s).
  9. At the conclusion of the review panel, the review panel chair will prepare a summary of the proceedings to deliver to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Human Resources. The panel summary will include:
    1. documentation of determination of preponderance of evidence;
    2. documentation of outcomes proposed;
    3. a description of the appeal process.
  10. The Title IX Coordinator will prepare a letter reflecting the panel’s findings and outcomes as well as appeal process information.
  11. The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Human Resources will meet with the reporting party and the responding party and shares the letter:
    1. For employees, the Director of Human Resources will ensure that the employee’s file is properly updated 
    2. The Title IX Coordinator may nevertheless ensure that remedial measures remain in effect to support the parties. 
  12. If the reporting or responding party does not agree with the findings and/or the outcomes, they may appeal the result to the appeal board.

B.4.2. REVIEW PANEL OUTCOMES

The review panel has jurisdiction to determine outcomes for responding parties. In determining the appropriate outcome(s), the review panel will be guided by a number of considerations, including:

  1. The severity, persistence or pervasiveness of the prohibited conduct;
  2. The nature or violence (if applicable) of the prohibited conduct;
  3. The impact of the prohibited conduct on the reporting party;
  4. The impact or implications of the prohibited conduct within the university community;
  5. Relevant prior disciplinary history at the university involving the responding party;
  6. Whether the responding party has accepted responsibility for the prohibited conduct;
  7. The maintenance of a safe, nondiscriminatory and respectful environment conducive to learning, and
  8. Any other mitigating, aggravating, or compelling factors.

A case may result in the following possible outcomes, based on the facts of the case and the considerations listed above. The following outcomes are effective immediately, unless otherwise specified:

  1. In-school, temporary, or indefinite suspension/disciplinary withdrawal
  2. Dismissal
  3. Probation, with specific lengths being determined during the staff review
  4. Loss of university employment or volunteer position
  5. Loss of university resources or services
  6. No contact orders
  7. Removal from dorm or other campus buildings
  8. Community services
  9. Application of a behavioral contract
  10. Alcohol and/or drug assessment and recommendations
  11. Exclusion from co-curricular or leadership activities
  12. Completion of issue-relevant education activities
  13. Fines
  14. Monetary or other restitution
  15. Referral to counseling
  16. Transcript notation

If the reporting or responding party does not agree with the findings and/or the outcomes, they may appeal the result to the appeal board.

SECTION B.5: APPEALS PROCESS

  1. The Title IX appeal board consists of a standing appeal board chair and two additional employees who serve on an ad hoc basis when a case arises, to avoid possible conflicts of interest or negative bias. In addition to the chair, the panel will consist of one faculty member and one staff member who have received Title IX training. 
  2. Either the reporting party or the responding party may appeal the determined outcomes. The appeal must be submitted in writing within three (3) business days following notification and should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Human Resources who will direct the appeal to the appeal board chair. Reasons for an appeal must be clearly stated and based on one of the following:
    1. Relevant new evidence that was previously unavailable and could significantly affect the outcome;
    2. Alleged procedural error, which may have materially affected the outcome;
    3. Outcome is substantially disproportionate to the findings.
  3. The appeals board chair will review the reason for appeal to determine if it meets the above criteria. If the determination is made that it does not meet one of the above criteria, the request for appeal will be rejected and the chair of the appeals board will notify the requesting party that no appeal may be made. If the request for appeal does meet one of the above criteria, the appeals board chair will notify the parties in writing of the date, time, and location of the appeals board meeting, the names of the appeals board members, and how to challenge participation by any member of the appeals board for bias or conflict of interest.
  4. The appeal board chair will notify both parties that an appeal has been requested, as well as the grounds for the appeal. Disclosure of the grounds for appeal will include provision of new evidence to the reporting party and/or respondent with two (2) business days allowed for response.
  5. The appeal board meeting will be scheduled within five (5) business days from the date of the request for an appeal, subject to extension for good cause. 
  6. The appeal board will have access to the final investigative report and any new information or evidence from the reporting party and/or respondent. The appeal board will also have access to the written summary of the review panel as well as the appeal letter.
  7. The appeal board may choose to uphold, modify, or dismiss the findings and/or outcomes of the review panel. 
  8. The appeal board chair prepares a letter reflecting the appeal board’s findings and outcomes. The findings are communicated to the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Human Resources by the appeal board chair.
  9. The Title IX Coordinator and/or the Director of Human Resources provides the reporting party and respondent a copy of the letter of appeal board determination and a copy of the outcome letter will also become part of the respondent’s (employee or student) file.
  10. The decision of the appeal board is final.
  11. In addition to bringing a case under EMU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, employees may also file a complaint directly with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Complaints must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days of the discriminatory act in order to preserve the rights of the reporting party in a court of law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. Particularly of relevance to EMU’s Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy are the prohibitions that Title VII establishes towards sex-based discrimination, including discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, related medical conditions, or sexual harassment in the workplace carried out by either the institution or other coworkers.

1.http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title23.1/chapter8/section23.1-806/

2.http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title23.1/chapter8/section23.1-806/

3. http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title23.1/chapter8/section23.1-806/

4. http://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/title23.1/chapter8/section23.1-806/

5. A prominent notation will be placed on the responding party’s academic transcript if the responding party is suspended from, permanently dismissed from, or withdraws from the university while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence, as required by Virginia state law

At all times during the Title IX process, the Complainant has the following rights:

  1. The right to investigation and appropriate resolution of all credible complaints of Prohibited Conduct made in good faith to University administrators;
  2. The right to have all personally identifiable information kept private and only revealed as required by the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct (RSVM) policy and law;
  3. The right to be treated with respect by University officials;
  4. The right not to be discouraged by University officials from reporting an incident of Prohibited Conduct to both on-campus and off-campus authorities;
  5. The right to be informed by University officials of options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, including local police, and the option to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying such authorities, if the Complainant chooses. This also includes the right not to report, if this is the Complainant’s desire, unless required by law;
  6. The right to seek medical intervention and care;
  7. The right to have reports of Prohibited Conduct responded to quickly, and with sensitivity, by all parties;
  8. The right to preservation of privacy, to the extent possible and allowed by law;
  9. The right to be informed of, and have, University policies and procedures followed without material deviation;
  10. The right to notification of options for changing academic and living situations after an incident of Prohibited Conduct, if the accommodations are reasonably available.  No formal report or investigation, either campus or criminal, need occur before this option is available. For a list of available accommodations, see section 8.2;
  11. The right to a no contact order against another student who has engaged in or threatens to engage in stalking, threatening, harassing or other retaliatory behavior that presents a danger to the welfare of the Complainant or others;
  12. The right to bring an Advisor to all phases of the Title IX process and related policy process;
  13. The right to be informed of available counseling, mental health, or student services both on-campus and in the community;
  14. The right to be fully informed of the nature, rules, and procedures of the process and to a timely written notice of all alleged violations within the report, including the nature of the violation and possible outcomes;
  15. The right to review the preliminary investigative report and offer additional relevant materials and relevant witnesses to be interviewed and considered before the final investigative report is created;
  16. The right to review the final investigative report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least two working days prior to a review panel;
  17. The right to be informed of the names of all witnesses, except in cases where a witness’ identity will not be revealed for compelling safety reasons;
  18. The right to have reports heard by persons who have received annual Title IX and trauma informed training;
  19. The right to identify and petition that any party be removed on the basis of bias and/or conflict of interest;
  20. The right to a finding based on the preponderance of the evidence presented during the investigation process. Such evidence should be credible, relevant, based on fact, and without prejudice. For a definition of preponderance of evidence, see Section 2;
  21. The right to be informed in writing of the findings and outcomes, usually within five working days of the determination; and
  22. The right to appeal the findings and/or outcomes, in accordance with the standards for appeal established in Section A.5 of the RVSM policy.