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Procedure

Initial Assessment

  1. Upon receiving a report, the Title IX Coordinator will provide information to the Claimant on the availability of supportive measures, the right to file a Formal Complaint, and how to file a Formal Complaint if not having already done so.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator reviews all reports of Sexual Harassment under this policy for an initial assessment of the reported information. Available resolution options will be guided by the availability of information and evidence suggesting that a policy violation may have occurred; the University’s obligation to investigate and provide appropriate remedies to eliminate, prevent, and address the effects of the prohibited conduct; and the availability or desire of the Claimant to participate in an investigation or other
  3. Upon completion of an initial assessment, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will determine the available options for resolution and will communicate these options to the
  4. If the Claimant or the University elects to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the Respondent within ten days including:
    1. The actual allegations of facts that constitute Sexual Harassment and any evidence that supports this
    2. If the claimant has indicated the preference of an formal resolution (investigation) or an informal resolution
    3. That there is a presumption of innocence in their favor
    4. That all parties are entitled to an advisor of their choice and what the advisor’s role will be during interviews versus during a hearing
    5. That all parties can inspect and review evidence
    6. Information regarding any code of conduct provisions that prohibit false statements made in bad faith
    7. Information regarding the policy covering Retaliatory Actions.

Dismissal of a Complaint

  1. In the event that prior to, or in the course of, an investigation, the University determines that the allegations fail to meet the definition of Sexual Harassment or did not occur while in the United States and under the University’s educational program or activity, the investigation and Formal Complaint will be dismissed. Formal Complaints may still be resolved through an informal resolution process as outlined above or according to procedures set forth in the Student Code of Conduct.
  2. The University reserves the right to dismiss the Formal Complaint and stop the investigation if:
    1. The Claimant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that they wish to withdraw their Formal Complaint
    2. The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the University at which point a registration hold would be placed on the Respondent for potential resolution prior to re-enrollment if still needed
    3. Specific circumstances prevent the school from gathering sufficient evidence to reach a determination about allegations (e.g. lack of participation in the investigative process by parties or witnesses).
  3. If the University dismisses the Formal Complaint for any reason, either party may appeal the decision as outlined in this policy’s appeals process.

Informal Resolution

  1. Informal resolution may be utilized in some circumstances if a Formal Complaint is filed.
  2. The usage of an informal resolution process is only permitted if the following conditions are met:
    1. The Respondent is not an employee of the school.
    2. All parties in the case agree to the informal resolution process.
  3. In all cases, the University will inform the parties of the right to end the informal resolution process at any time until such time that the informal resolution is completed with both parties approving and signing the agreement. If a party chooses to end the informal resolution process, the University will inform the Claimant of options, including the option to begin the investigative resolution
  4. Informal resolution can take any form that the parties agree upon. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will work with the parties to develop a form of resolution that adequately resolves the needs of the parties. This may include:
    1. Facilitated Dialogue: A structured and facilitated conversation between two or more individuals, including, but not limited to the Claimant and the Respondent, which allows for voices to be heard and perspectives to be shared. Depending on stated interests, participants may work towards the development of a shared agreement.
    2. Shuttle Mediation: An indirect version of the facilitated dialogue.
    3. Circle of Accountability: A facilitated interaction between the Respondent and University faculty and/or staff designed to provide accountability, structured support, and the creation of an educational plan.
  5. Depending on the form chosen, it may be possible for a Claimant to maintain anonymity throughout the informal resolution process.
  6. As part of the resolution process, additional measures (including, but not limited to educational programming, training, regular meetings with an appropriate university individual or resource, extensions of no contact orders, or counseling sessions) may be agreed upon.

Formal Resolution & Hearings

  1. The Title IX Coordinator may resolve a report of Sexual Harassment through its formal resolution process when the alleged Sexual Harassment, if true, would be prohibited under applicable University policy. In instances when informal resolution is inappropriate, when any party requests, or when the University requires formal investigation, the University will consider the concerns and rights of all parties and provide a prompt, fair, impartial, and equitable process.
  2.  Investigation
    1. Following the filing of a Formal Complaint, two Investigators will be assigned to the case by the Title IX Coordinator. During the investigation, the Investigators will seek to meet separately with the Claimant, Respondent, and any relevant witnesses who may have information relevant to the incident. The Investigators may also gather or request other relevant information or evidence when available and appropriate. Both the Claimant and Respondent will be asked to identify witnesses and provide other relevant information in a timely manner to facilitate prompt resolution of the case. All investigations are done by a dedicated member of Indiana Tech after undergoing Investigator training.
    2. Although both the Claimant and Respondent are advised to participate in the investigation process to enable a fair and equitable resolution to any case, neither the Claimant nor the Respondent are required to participate.
    3. Formal Complaints of sexual harassment may be consolidated where the allegations arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
    4. During the investigation process, parties have an equitable right to:
      1. Receive notice of the allegations before participating in an interview with sufficient time to prepare for meaningful participation
      2. A process with reasonably prompt timeframes, with extensions for good cause, as described in the Procedure section below
      3. Present relevant information to the Investigator, including evidence and witnesses
      4. Receive timely and equal access to any relevant information, documentation, and evidence gathered during the investigation
      5. Have an advisor of their choosing, or through appointment by the University, including an attorney, advocate, or other support person who is not a potential witness in the investigation or could otherwise compromise the investigation, who provides support throughout the formal resolution process, including being present for any meetings or hearings
      6. Investigators who are adequately trained to resolve cases of alleged Sexual Harassment, are familiar with applicable policies and procedures, and who do not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against either party.
    5. The University must provide a written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings to all parties whose participation is invited or expected with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
    6. The University will not restrict the ability of a Claimant or Respondent to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence.
    7. Credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a Claimant, Respondent, or witness.
    8. Following the completion of the investigation, the Investigator will complete an investigative report on the allegations contained in the Formal Complaint. Before the report is finalized, the Investigator will send to each party and their advisors an electronic or hard copy of all evidence that is directly related to the allegations. The University must include all evidence directly related to the allegations, even if the investigator does not believe that evidence will be relevant to the hearing officers decision outcome. The parties then have five days to provide a written response on accuracy of the information gathered, which the Investigator will consider before finalizing the investigative report. The finalized report is then provided to the Hearing Officer, Title IX Coordinator, and both parties for no less than ten days before a hearing is held.
    9. Both parties should provide a preliminary list of questions they intend to ask including who they wish to ask. The Hearing Officer will then evaluate the questions for relevancy and redundancy and return the list to the party at the start of the hearing for use. Questions that are ruled not relevant or that have already been answered by the investigation report may not be asked. Questions not submitted in advance will be evaluated at the time of asking before an answer is provided.
  3.  Hearings
    1. All hearings are overseen by a lead Hearing Officer (Decision Makers) and two Hearing Officer panelists. All Hearing Officers have received special training on how to be impartial and are assigned to cases by the Title IX Coordinator to avoid any bias and present an objective analysis of the evidence. In no circumstance is an Investigator for a given case also a Hearing Officer for the same case.
    2. The Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the end of the investigation and hearings.
    3. The Hearing Officers 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 the privilege has waived it.
    4. Credibility determinations may not be based on a person’s status as a Claimant, Respondent, or witness.
    5. Hearings are not legal proceedings and do not follow courtroom procedure or the formal rules of evidence. During any hearings, each party must have an advisor present to ask questions to the other party. This advisor does not need to be licensed to practice law and may be a person of the party’s choice or, if they do not have an advisor, the University will provide an advisor for them.
    6.  Procedure
      1. Open Hearing
      2. Summary of Investigative Report by Investigators
      3. Questions for Investigators by Hearing Officers, Claimant Advisor, then Respondent Advisor
      4. Questions and Cross of Claimant by Hearing Officers, Claimant Advisor, then Respondent Advisor
      5. Questions and Cross of any Claimant Witnesses if requested by Hearing Officers, Claimant Advisor, then Respondent Advisor
      6. Questions and Cross of Respondent by Hearing Officers, Respondent Advisor, then Claimant Advisor
      7. Questions and Cross of Respondent Witnesses if requested by Hearing Officers, Respondent Advisor, then Claimant Advisor
      8. Closing Statement by Claimant
      9. Closing Statement by Respondent
      10. Close Hearing
    7. Questioning & Cross-Examinations
      1. The Hearing Officers may question individual parties and witnesses including asking questions submitted by either party’s advisors.
      2. Parties will have the opportunity to cross-examine the party or witness. Parties may never ask questions directly, and questions must be asked to the other party through the use of a party’s advisor. All questions asked must be relevant. Any questions determined not to be relevant by the Hearing Officers are not required to be answered.
      3. If a party or witness is absent from the live hearing or refuses to answer cross-examination or other questions, the Hearing Officers may not rely on any statement of that person in reaching a determination of responsibility. The Hearing Officers may not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’ absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
    8. If, at any point during the hearing, the Hearing Officers determine that unresolved issues exist that could be clarified through additional investigation time, the Hearing Officers may suspend the hearing and reconvene it in a timely manner that accommodates further investigation.
    9. Hearings may be conducted virtually through the use of technology at the University’s discretion. However, if either the Claimant or Respondent asks to be in separate rooms, the University must grant this request and provide appropriate technology to allow for simultaneous participation.
    10. All hearings will be memorialized through an audio or audiovisual record or transcript of the live hearing. The recording or transcript will be made available for parties to inspect and review following their completion.
  4.  Resolution
    1. If the Respondent is found responsible for violating this policy, the Hearing Officers will consult with the designated Adjudicator (Associate Vice President Student Services when the respondent is a student, Human Resources when respondent is an employee, or any appropriate individuals in other situations) in order to determine the corrective actions and/or sanctions to resolve the case. Any such corrective actions and/or sanctions will be outlined in the Hearing Officers’ written decision.
    2. The Hearing Officers will then provide their report of the hearing and any recommended sanctions to the Coordinator and Adjudicator.
    3. The Adjudicator will notify both parties, concurrently. The Adjudicator will communicate the decision in writing and orally as soon as possible after the hearing. In all cases, the Adjudicator will send the parties a final outcome letter within ten days of the conclusion of the hearing.
    4. The Hearing Officers base all conclusions by examining all evidence from the investigation and the hearing. Their conclusion is based on the Preponderance of Evidence standard: If the evidence indicates that it is more likely than not that the Respondent committed the alleged act(s), then the Respondent will be found responsible for violating this policy.
    5. The Hearing Officers’ written decision must include the following information:
      1. Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Sexual Harassment
      2. A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held
      3. Findings of fact supporting the determination
      4. Conclusions regarding the application of the University’s code of conduct to the fact
      5. A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctioned imposed upon the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided
      6. The procedures and permissible bases for either party to appeal.

Appeals Process

  1. If either party disagrees with the outcome of the Hearing Officers’ determination, they may file a written appeal with the Title IX Coordinator within three business days of receiving the Hearing Officers’ written decision.
  2. Appeals may be filed due to:
    1. A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome
    2. New evidence being discovered that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination or dismissal
    3. A conflict of interest or bias for or against Claimants or respondents generally or the individual Claimant or respondent that affected the outcome of the matter of the Investigators or Hearing Officers
    4. Sanctions that were overly harsh and inconsistent with precedent.
  3. The Appellate Officer (Vice President of Student Affairs when Respondent is an employee or Vice President of Finance and Administration when Respondent is a student) will examine all evidence in order to determine if the appeal has merit. The Appellate Officer will make an unbiased objective conclusion as to the appeal’s merit and issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result; and will provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties and the Title IX Coordinator.
  4. Each case is limited to one appeal in total which may be submitted by either party.

Recordkeeping

  1. The University shall maintain all records relating to Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment, as well as all training materials used under this Policy, for seven years.