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SECTION A.1: INTRODUCTION

The care and welfare of students is of utmost importance. While policies and procedures can often feel cold and impersonal, we understand the stress and emotional trauma involved in such situations. Procedures are carried out by people who care about and are committed to work with all involved.

The following procedures function in conjunction with the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy, and will be activated when a report of an alleged occurrence of relationship violence and/or sexual misconduct is received. The intent of these procedures is to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process from the initial contact to the final result. This process is not designed to take the place of making a criminal report to law enforcement, or of a criminal investigation. The procedure as outlined below may take place whether or not a criminal report is made, and is a separate and independent process.

SECTION A.2: REPORTING

A.2.1. MAKING A REPORT

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

All Campus Safety Incident Reports are received by the Title IX coordinator, the coordinator of campus safety and security, the vice president of student life and enrollment, the associate dean of student engagement, and the associate dean of residence life, student accountability, and restorative justice. When a Campus Safety Incident Report that alleges an instance of relationship violence, sexual misconduct, or any other form of conduct prohibited under the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy is received, the Title IX coordinator will take the lead on responding to the report. Parties other than those listed above may be informed if deemed necessary for the student’s well being and educational needs. The Title IX coordinator will inform the reporting party(s) beforehand, if other parties are being informed.

A record of the report is automatically recorded in Maxient, EMU’s online reporting software, with an identifying case number. All additional information collected regarding the specific incident will be kept under the assigned case number. If the Title IX coordinator receives a report in another manner outside of an incident form, the Title IX coordinator will ensure that the appropriate persons are notified and that the report is properly accounted for in Maxient.

A.2.2. SAFETY ASSESSMENT

The Title IX coordinator, the coordinator of campus safety and security, the associate dean of student engagement, and the associate dean of residence life, student accountability, and restorative justice (The Title IX Assessment Team) will determine the need for a timely warning. A timely warning is a warning required by the Clery Act that 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.

The Title IX assessment team will also assess whether there is an immediate threat of danger to the reporting party(s), based on the content of the report. If the safety of the reporting party(s) and/or the safety of the responding party(s) are determined to be in danger, interim safety measures may be implemented to maintain the safety. Interim safety measures may include removal from campus housing, the issuance of a no contact order (see Section 8.2.5.1 of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy), or adjustment of class schedule.

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

After receiving a report, the Title IX coordinator will make contact with the reporting party(s) by phone call or email to ensure that the reporting party(s) has access to available resources and that the reporting party’s safety needs are met and will also set up an in-person meeting.

During the initial meeting with the reporting party(s), the Title IX coordinator will provide and review copies of the rights of the reporting party(s), this procedure document, and a list of on- and off-campus resources.

During this initial meeting, the Title IX coordinator will provide the reporting party(s) with the following options for moving forward:

  1. No further inquiry or investigation: the reporting party(s) can specify that the Title IX coordinator and the deputy Title IX investigator(s) 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 and the deputy Title IX investigator(s) proceed with an investigation of the reported incident.

  3. Assist in making a Police Report if requested.


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 rises to the level of a criminal offense or if the campus may be negatively impacted, the university may still undertake an investigation even if the reporting party(s) have requested that no further inquiry or investigation be made into the incident (for example, if the reported 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 investigation.

A.2.4. UNIVERSITY OUTREACH TO RESPONDING PARTY(S)

After receiving a report and speaking with the reporting party(s), the Title IX coordinator will make contact with the responding party(s) by phone call or email to ensure that the responding party(s) has access to available resources and that the responding party’s safety needs are met. During this initial contact, the Title IX coordinator will set up an in-person meeting.

During the initial meeting with the responding party(s), the Title IX coordinator will provide and review copies of the rights of the responding party(s), this procedure document, and a list of on- and off-campus resources.


SECTION A.3: INVESTIGATION

A.3.1. INTERVIEWS WITH INVOLVED PARTIES

The first step of an investigation is to interview all involved parties, including the reporting party(s), the responding party(s), and any witnesses. The reporting party(s) will always be the first party interviewed and will not come into contact with the responding party(s) during the interview process.

Deputy Title IX investigator(s), who are trained in trauma-informed interview techniques, will conduct the interviews.

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 adjudicating process.

All interviews will be audio recorded. The only person outside of the deputy Title IX investigator(s) and 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.

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 school break, the time of the school break will not be included within those sixty days.

A.3.1.1. INTERVIEW WITH THE REPORTING PARTY

If a reporting party has chosen, during the initial meeting with the Title IX coordinator and the deputy Title IX investigator(s), 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.

If the reporting party has chosen to pursue further action, the reporting party(s) will sit for an interview with the deputy Title IX investigator(s). This interview can take place immediately following the initial meeting between the reporting party, the Title IX coordinator, and the deputy Title IX investigator in order to limit the number of times a reporting party has to recount the incident, or can be scheduled for a separate date and time, according to the wishes of the reporting party.

The reporting party may also choose whether or not they would like to file a report with the local police department. If the reporting party chooses this course of action, they have the option to have a local Harrisonburg Police Department officer present during the interview with the deputy Title IX investigator(s). They may also choose to make a separate report to the Harrisonburg Police Department at a later time, or to not make a report to the Harrisonburg Police Department.

A.3.1.2. INTERVIEW WITH THE RESPONDING PARTY

If a reporting party has chosen, during the initial meeting with the Title IX coordinator not to pursue any further action related to the reported incident, no interview will be required.

If the reporting party has chosen to pursue further action, the responding party(s) will sit for an interview with the deputy Title IX investigator(s). This interview can take place immediately following the initial meeting between the responding party and the Title IX coordinator.

A.3.2. INFORMAL RESOLUTION

Following the interviews with all reporting parties, responding parties, and named witnesses, the deputy Title IX investigator will write an investigative report. The investigative report will be reviewed with all parties and if all parties agree with the investigative report that there are no disputed facts, the case will move to an informal resolution process, described below.

If, following the interviews with the reporting and the responding parties, there are discrepancies or disagreements between the incidents recounted by the reporting and the responding party, the investigation will continue with the formal resolution process, described in Section A.3.4 and following.

A.3.2.1. DETERMINATION OF RESPONSIBILITY

In an informal resolution process, the Title IX coordinator will make the final determination, based on the investigative report and in consultation with the deputy Title IX investigator, as to whether or not a violation of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy has risen to the level of a Title IX infraction. This finding will be based on the standard of proof known as the preponderance of evidence (see Section 2 of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct policy for a definition). The finding will also be based on the rubrics created by ATIXA in the ATIXA Playbook issued in 2017.

If  the Title IX coordinator determines 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.

A.3.2.2. STAFF REVIEW TO DETERMINE OUTCOMES

The staff review will be conducted by the Title IX assessment team, which includes the Title IX coordinator, the coordinator of campus safety and security, the associate dean of student engagement, and the associate dean of residence life, student accountability, and restorative justice. 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. prior misconduct by the responding party, including the responding party’s relevant prior disciplinary history, at the university or elsewhere, and any criminal convictions;

  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


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.

A.3.2.3. INFORMING REPORTING & RESPONDING PARTIES OF OUTCOMES

The Title IX Assessment Team will meet first with the reporting party(s) and then with the responding party(s), at separate times but as close in time as feasible, to share the outcomes determination. This will allow opportunity for clarification, if desired, as the outcomes determination in an informal process is final.

A.3.3. INVESTIGATIVE REPORTS

A.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 deputy Title IX investigator(s) 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 deputy Title IX investigator(s) will provide a copy of the preliminary report to the Title IX coordinator.

The deputy Title IX investigator(s) and the Title IX coordinator will meet with the reporting party(s) to review the preliminary report. Following this meeting, the deputy Title IX investigator(s) 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 deputy Title IX investigator(s) 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 deputy 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 deputy Title IX investigator(s) will provide the final report to the Title IX coordinator, who then convenes the Title IX Review Panel.

SECTION A.4: REVIEW PANEL

Following the submission of the final investigative report, the Title IX coordinator will convene the Title IX Review Panel. The review panel consists of the review panel chair and two additional EMU employees (one faculty member and one staff member) who have received Title IX training and training specifically related to the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy and its procedures. The Title IX coordinator and the deputy Title IX investigator(s) will also attend the review panel meeting in order to answer questions and provide clarifications.

The reporting party(s) and the responding party(s) will be separately notified of the composition of the review panel by the Title IX coordinator and have the right to raise any conflicts of interest.

A.4.1. REVIEW PANEL PROCEEDINGS

The review panel will meet separately with the reporting and the responding parties. An advocate may attend the review panel but may not participate in the panel process. Either the reporting and/or the responding parties may choose not to attend the review panel. The review panel will proceed regardless.

The review panel proceedings will be recorded. The chair of the review panel will inform all persons present that the proceedings are being recorded for reference purposes only. The recording will be destroyed at the conclusion of the case, after the deadline for and/or completion of an appeal process.

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.

The review panel will make a finding to determine whether or not a violation of the Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Policy has occurred. 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.

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).

At the conclusion of the review panel, the review panel chair will prepare a summary of the proceedings. Included in this panel summary will be documentation of determination by of preponderance of evidence, documentation of outcomes determined, and a description of the appeal process.

The review panel chair will deliver the panel summary to the Title IX coordinator, who will prepare a letter reflecting the panel’s findings and outcomes as well as appeal process information. The Title IX coordinator will then meet separately with the reporting and the responding parties (as close in time to proximity as possible) to share the determination of the review panel.

In the case of dismissal, suspension or withdrawal while under investigation, notification will be sent to the parent/legal guardian(s) (per FERPA release), to the Director of Retention, and to any other departments on campus that will be impacted by the consequences.

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.

A.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. prior misconduct by the responding party, including the responding party’s relevant prior disciplinary history, at the university or elsewhere, and known criminal convictions;

  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


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.

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 A.5: APPEALS PROCESS

The Title IX appeals board is a standing board consisting of three EMU employees appointed by EMU’s president. The EMU president will name one of the three designated EMU employees to be the appeals board chair. Both the reporting and the responding parties may appeal the outcomes of the review panel by submitting an appeal in writing within three business days following notification of the review panel findings to the chair of the appeals board. The appeal form is located at https://files.acrobat.com/a/preview/322cf35d-c215-4e4b-a868-96894038ce94. The appeals board meeting will usually be scheduled within five calendar days from the date of the request for an appeal, subject to extension for good cause.

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; or

  3. the outcome is substantially disproportionate to the findings.

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.

The appeals board chair will also supply the responding and the reporting parties with the grounds for the appeal request, including any new evidence provided. The reporting and the responding parties have 48 hours to respond to this disclosure of information by contacting the appeals board chair. The parties will be informed how and who to respond to when they receive the grounds for the appeal request and any new evidence provided.

Following this 48 hour response period, the appeals board will review the appeal and make a decision to either uphold or modify the outcome of the review panel. The appeals board will have access to the final investigative report and any new evidence from the reporting and/or responding parties. The appeals board will also have access to the written summary of the review panel as well as the appeal letter.

The findings will be communicated to the Title IX coordinator by the appeals board chair, who will prepare a letter reflecting the appeals board’s findings and outcomes. The Title IX coordinator will provide the reporting and responding parties a copy of the letter of appeals board determination. The decision of the appeals board is final.

SECTION A.6: CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

At any time during the reporting, investigation, review, or appeals process, the reporting party(s), responding party(s), witness(es), Title IX coordinator, deputy Title IX investigator(s), review panel members, or appeals board members may raise conflict of interest concerns.

In cases where the reporting party(s), responding party(s), and/or witness(es) are related to or in close relationship with faculty, staff, or other employees of the university, or in cases where there is reason to believe that the investigation may not be impartial if completed internally, and outside investigator will always be brought in.

If there is a conflict of interest between the reporting and/or reporting parties and the deputy Title IX investigator(s), an outside investigator will be brought in to conduct the investigation. The process will run the same as that listed in Section A.3, with the external investigator taking on the role of the deputy Title IX investigator(s).