Section E: The Formal Process

Presumption: The Administrator will always begin the Formal Process with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible.

Timing: Due to variances in the complexity and severity of allegations, the amount of time spent conducting the Formal Process will vary. Administrators will strive to complete the Formal Process within 90 business days from the issuance of the Notice of Allegations. Complainant and Respondent will receive updates at each phase of the Formal Process. Complainant and Respondent may also request updates from the Administrator as to the status of the Formal Process by contacting the Administrator.

End of Term/Academic Year: In the event that any portion of the Formal Process takes place after the end of the term/semester or academic year, there may be a need to extend the timelines of the process to take into account the limited availability of students and witnesses.

Standard of Review: The decision as to whether the Respondent’s behavior, as set forth in the Notice of Allegations, violated the student conduct code will be based on whether the relevant information demonstrates by a preponderance (more likely than not; greater than 50% likelihood) that the conduct occurred.

Responsibility for Gathering Information: At all stages of the Formal Process, the responsibility is on the University to gather the relevant information to the extent reasonably possible to investigate a complaint. The University, not the parties, is tasked with resolving credibility issues and making the final determination as to whether Respondent’s behavior violated the Student Code of Conduct and University policies.

Exceptions Initiated by Participants:  Participants may request exceptions to these procedures by submitting a request to the Administrator. In order to be considered, requests must provide a brief written statement regarding the reason for the exception and be received by a date that gives the Administrator a reasonable amount of time to consider the request.

In consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, Administrators have the discretion to grant a participant’s request if they determine good cause exists, or to deny the request if they determine that good cause does not exists to grant the request.

Requests for exceptions should be directed to the Administrator unless the specific process indicates otherwise.

Exceptions Initiated by the Administrator:  For good cause and in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, an Administrator may also make an exception to these procedures. If an exception is made by the Administrator, the Administrator will send out notice of the exception within a reasonable time.

Steps in the Formal Process

Initial meeting with Respondent:  When the Respondent initially responds to the the Administrator as required (within seven (7) business days of receipt of the Notice of Allegations), the Administrator will ask Respondent to schedule a meeting with the Administrator as soon as possible to learn about the Formal Process and discuss a possible resolution.

At this initial meeting Respondent will:

  1. Receive information about the process and be able to ask questions about the process;
  2. Have the opportunity to review a summary of the Complainant’s intake interview;   
  3. Be provided with information about the witnesses Complainant has suggested;
  4. Be given the opportunity to provide information about the allegations.

At this initial meeting or within five (5) business days of the initial meeting, Respondent will have the opportunity to provide:

  1. a list of witnesses that Respondent would like the Administrator to interview;
  2. contact information for the witnesses;
  3. a brief description of the relevant information Respondent anticipates the witnesses will provide;
  4. suggested questions for the Administrator to ask of those witnesses;
  5. proposed questions for the Administrator to ask of Complainant;
  6. proposed questions for the Administrator to ask Complainant’s witnesses;
  7. all other information that will assist the Administrator in fully investigating the allegations – documentation, records, email, photos, texts, voicemails etc.

Follow up with Complainant: The Administrator will then provide a summary of Respondent’s statement (if provided), witness information and questions to the Complainant. Complainant then has five (5) business days to provide the Administrator with proposed questions for Respondent, Respondent’s witnesses and Complainant’s witnesses.

Iterative Fact-Gathering Investigation: The Administrator will conduct a prompt, thorough and equitable investigation into the allegations including interviews with witnesses, gathering information, following up with Complainant and Respondent as needed, and reviewing any other material that the Administrator considers relevant to the allegations.

Close of Fact-Gathering: The Administrator will close this phase of the fact-gathering investigation once the Administrator concludes that they have gathered the reasonably available relevant information. The Administrator will notify Complainant and Respondent before closing the fact-gathering investigation.

The Preliminary Report and Review of the Preliminary Report: The Administrator will create a preliminary report which contains summaries of the relevant information the Administrator has gathered up to the close of the first stage of fact-gathering - (“Preliminary Report”).  

The Administrator will make the Preliminary Report available to both Complainant and Respondent to review.

  1. Content of Report: Body language, facial expressions or other physical impressions/expressions exhibited by Complainant, Respondent, or any witnesses are not generally part of the information the Administrator will consider in reaching a decision unless the Administrator specifically identifies a particular impression/expression as relevant.
  2. New Allegations: If the information gathered or provided as part of the investigation supports additional conduct charges against either participant, and those allegations arise from the same underlying incident, the Administrator has the discretion to consider those allegations as a part of the underlying matter or to initiate a new case. Under either scenario, appropriate notice of the new allegations will be provided to the Complainant and Respondent and timelines will be adjusted as necessary to ensure a full opportunity to respond.
  3. Health Information: The Preliminary Report/Revised Preliminary Report and Notice of Findings will typically include redacted medical or psychological information, treatment records or other protected health information only where the information is directly at issue in the allegations.

Administrative Conference with Respondent:  The Administrator will schedule an administrative conference with Respondent to be held at least ten (10) business days after the release of the Preliminary Report.  

The conference is Respondent’s final opportunity to provide information about the allegations, to provide the Administrator with a list of witnesses that Respondent requests the Administrator to interview (along with contact information for the witnesses and a brief description of the relevant information Respondent anticipates the witnesses will provide), and to submit proposed questions for Complainant, Complainant’s suggested witnesses and Respondent’s suggested witnesses.

The administrative conference is also Respondent’s final opportunity to:

  1. provide a response to the Preliminary Report,
  2. propose additional witnesses based on information in the Preliminary Report,
  3. propose additional questions for Complainant based on the information in the Preliminary Report, and
  4. propose additional questions for any of the witnesses.  

The Administrator will ask Respondent the questions that Complainant proposed to be asked of Respondent, and which the Administrator determined appropriate to ask.  The Administrator may also ask their own questions of Respondent. 

Audio Recording: Administrative Conferences will be recorded by the Administrator pursuant to the Student Code of Conduct requirements. Any audio, visual or electronic recording of the proceedings by the Complainant, the Respondent, witnesses, advisors or any other person is not permitted.

The unintentional failure by the University to record all or part of the hearing, such as due to a malfunctioning device, will not be grounds for invalidating the Administrative Conference or grounds for appeal. The recording made by the Administrator is the sole property of the University.

Administrator’s meeting with Complainant: Following the administrative conference with Respondent, Complainant will be given the opportunity to meet with the Administrator in order to:

  1. provide Complainant’s response to the Preliminary Report,
  2. propose additional witnesses based on information in the Preliminary Report,
  3. propose additional questions for Respondent based on the information in the Preliminary Report, and
  4. propose additional questions for any of the witnesses.

The Administrator will ask Complainant the questions Respondent proposed to be asked of Complainant, and which the Administrator determined appropriate to ask.  The Administrator may also ask their own questions of Complainant.

This meeting will also be recorded by the Administrator. See above restrictions.

Additional Fact-Gathering and Revised Preliminary Report: The Administrator will conduct additional fact-gathering as needed. When the additional fact-gathering is complete, the Administrator will provide Complainant and Respondent with a Revised Preliminary Report. Any additional information that the parties wish to present to the Administrator must be submitted during this fact-gathering period, if not previously submitted.

No new information will be received after the Revised Preliminary Report is presented to the parties, unless the information could not reasonably and with due diligence have been previously provided.

Final Meeting with Administrator: The Administrator will schedule a final meeting with both parties to review the Revised Preliminary Report.  

If both parties wish to be present simultaneously at a single final meeting, the Administrator will accommodate that request.

  1. At the final meeting(s), first Respondent and then Complainant will have the opportunity to respond to the Revised Preliminary Report. No new information will be received at this meeting that could not reasonably and with due diligence have been previously provided.
  2. At the final meeting(s), only Complainant and Respondent and their advisors may attend. Only Complainant and Respondent will be given the opportunity to respond to questions or respond to the Revised Preliminary Report.   
  3. Complainant and/or Respondent are each able to waive their appearance at a final meeting with the Administrator, and no adverse inference will be made based on a decision to waive appearance at a final meeting.

Notice of Findings: After the Revised Preliminary Report is issued, and after the final meeting with the Complainant and Respondent (if held), the Administrator will issue a written Notice of Findings to both parties.  

The decision as to whether the Respondent’s behavior, as set forth in the Notice of Allegations, violated the Student Conduct Code will be based on whether information in the Preliminary Report and Revised Preliminary Report demonstrates by a preponderance (more likely than not; greater than 50% likelihood) that the conduct occurred.

The Notice of Findings will include a summary of the information and an analysis of the underlying information and rationale. The Notice of Findings will include information regarding the procedures to appeal.

Impact or Mitigation Statements for Sanctioning:

No later than three (3) business days after the Notice of Findings is issued, if there is a finding of responsibility, the Complainant and Respondent may both submit statements to the Director for consideration during sanctioning.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent may submit a brief written statement. The impact and mitigation statements may be taken into consideration by the Director in issuing sanctions.

  • An impact statement is a written statement from the Complainant describing the impact of the incident on the Complainant and expressing the Complainant’s preferences regarding appropriate sanctions or aggravating circumstances the Complainant wishes the Director to consider.
  • A mitigation statement is a written statement from the Respondent explaining any factors that the Respondent believes should mitigate or otherwise be considered in determining the sanctions imposed.

Impact and mitigation statements will be made available to both students upon request, should they wish to view them.