C. Initial Response, Interim Measures and Investigation
Whatever the source of a report, the College will make every effort to bring reports as quickly as possible to the Title IX team led by the Title IX Coordinator for review. The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will meet with the complainant and discuss fully the options afforded to him/her, the rights and responsibilities of both parties (including the right to select a Process Advisor from a list of individuals so designated by the College), the Hearing Panel process, the prohibition against retaliation, the need to preserve any relevant evidence or documentation in the case, and the availability of interim measures and remedies. At that time, a written complaint may be filed by the complainant.
If a complainant at that time requests that his/her identity remain confidential or that the College not pursue an investigation, the College must still discharge its responsibility to take steps to foster an educational environment that is free of discrimination and harassment for all members of the campus community. As a result, the College will seek to respect the complainant's request, but it must also take into account the seriousness of the alleged misconduct and threats to community safety, along with the respondent's rights for notification under federal and state law. If the College cannot abide by the complainant's requests, it will consult with the complainant and provide information about its chosen course of action.
As soon as practicable after the initial meeting with the complainant, the respondent will also be notified that a complaint alleging sexual misconduct has been made unless the College determines that notifying the respondent is not necessary or appropriate under the circumstances The respondent will also receive parallel discussion of the options afforded to him/her, the rights and responsibilities of both parties (including the right to select a Process Advisor from a list of individuals so designated by the College), the Hearing Panel process, the prohibition against retaliation, the need to preserve any relevant evidence or documentation in the case, and the availability of interim measures and remedies.
The respondent may elect to accept responsibility for all or part of the conduct alleged by the complainant. In that case, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may initiate an investigation in order to provide additional information that may be relevant to the Hearing Panel and/or Dean of Students in determining appropriate sanctions. If the respondent does not accept responsibility, the investigation process described below will begin.
Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator and his/her designee will work with all parties involved in an alleged incident to undertake any appropriate interim measures to protect the safety of the campus community and will seek to provide remedies for the parties that address their safety and well-being. Remedies may include counseling services, no contact orders, provision of escorts and residence modifications, along with academic and campus work accommodations. In addition, the College may, at its discretion, impose an interim suspension or leave of absence in cases where the College believes there is risk of harm to others. Any such interim steps will be taken in a manner that minimizes the burden on the complainant to the extent possible. All parties will be informed that the College prohibits any retaliation against parties involved in reporting or witnessing allegations of sexual misconduct and that retaliation of that nature is grounds for disciplinary action.
Depending upon the nature of the alleged or suspected Policy violation and the willingness of the respondent to accept responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator will initiate and coordinate a Title IX investigation of a reported violation of the Policy as soon as practical, appointing one or more campus officials who have been trained to conduct investigations.
The College is committed to undertaking prompt, thorough, impartial and fair investigations and to treating all individuals with respect and with sensitivity. The investigation of any suspected or alleged violation of the Policy will be completed and a resolution arrived at within 60 days of the filing of a complaint or the date on which the College becomes aware of a suspected or alleged violation of the Policy unless the College determines that additional time is required. The College will provide the parties with periodic updates as it deems appropriate regarding the status of the process. Extenuating circumstances could require the process to extend beyond that time frame and the College will determine in its discretion if such circumstances exist.
The nature and extent of the investigation will vary depending upon the circumstances, including whether the parties are amenable to pursuing an informal resolution and the matter is eligible for informal resolution, as discussed below. As part of the investigation, the investigator(s) will seek to interview both the complainant and the respondent. To help ensure a prompt and thorough investigation, complainants are asked to provide as much information as possible, including the following:
- The name, department, and position of the person or persons allegedly causing the prohibited discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- A description of any relevant incident(s), including the date(s), location(s), and the presence of any witnesses.
- The alleged effect of the incident(s) on the complainant's opportunity to benefit from the College's programs or activities.
- The names of other individuals who might have been subject to the same or similar acts of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- Although it is not required, any steps the complainant has taken to try to stop the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
- Any other information the complainant believes to be relevant to the alleged discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
The respondent is also expected to provide as much information as possible in connection with the investigation.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will produce a report that summarizes and analyzes the relevant facts and any supporting documentation (which may include statements by the parties, third-party witnesses, or others with information and any physical, written, or electronic or other evidence) and shall provide such report to the Title IX Coordinator. This investigation report will be shared with the parties and will be used in either an informal or formal resolution procedure, as appropriate and as outlined below.