(For complaints involving a faculty or staff member or any other individual such as contractors, visitors or guests of the College, see the Faculty Handbook and the Employee Handbook.)
Sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual violence are forms of sexual harassment and discrimination and represent an acute risk to the safety, health and well-being of members of the Knox community. Accordingly, Knox College affirms its commitment to create and maintain an environment free from acts of sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual violence and to foster with that environment respect for the dignity of all members of the Knox community.
To that end, Knox College strives to provide prompt and equitable resolution of complaints alleging actions prohibited by the Knox College policy on sexual harassment and discrimination, including sexual misconduct, sexual assault and sexual violence. The Grievance Panel, which includes faculty, staff, and student members of our campus community, hears complaints of such allegations.
Anyone who feels that s/he has been the victim of discrimination, harassment, or sexual assault as defined in the Knox College Student Handbook, Faculty Handbook, and the Knox College Policies and Procedures may bring it to the attention of the Grievance Coordinator for assistance. The Coordinator will provide the individual with an explanation of the options available to him or her under College policy. The individual has at all times the option of contacting the Galesburg Police Department for the purpose of filing charges there.
The College will treat every complaint with care and discretion and will investigate each complaint promptly, impartially and thoroughly to determine what steps are appropriate to address the complaint. These steps will include support for any students connected to the complaint, measures to prevent retaliation against those involved in the complaint, and a process that leads to an equitable and prompt resolution. In cases where charges are filed with the Galesburg Police Department, the College still has an obligation to determine whether a violation of College policies has occurred and to take appropriate measures.
(only in cases that do not involve sexual violence or assault)
After an initial investigation of the complaint carried out by the appropriate staff members, the complainant and the Grievance Coordinator may agree to attempt to resolve the grievance directly and privately with the respondent, However, informal procedures such as mediation are not appropriate and will not be utilized in any complaint involving sexual violence or assault.
In cases not involving sexual violence or assault, the Grievance Coordinator and the complainant may agree to seek an informal resolution of the grievance by meeting separately or together with the respondent, maintaining anonymity if appropriate or possible. The Grievance Coordinator can also arrange for any current member of the college faculty, staff or student community to be asked to assist with the informal process by meeting with both parties separately or together.
The Grievance Coordinator or college official will discuss with the complainant the outcome of the steps taken through the informal procedures. If the complainant is satisfied, the procedure is completed and a formal document regarding actions taken will be filed. If the complainant is not satisfied, s/he may decide to file a formal complaint
*Under Federal law, the college must report any incident of gender-based discrimination, including assault or harassment to the U.S. Department of Education. Reports do not name individuals.
If the complainant determines that s/he wish to proceed with a hearing, the Coordinator will assist them in selecting a Process Advocate. The Process Advocate will work with the complainant on preparing a formal written complaint, which will be presented to the Chair of the Grievance Panel. Upon receiving this written complaint, the Chair will contact the other members of the panel and provide them with copies of the complaint. The panel has five class days to review the complaint and determine whether the information presented warrants a formal hearing.
Once an individual has made the decision to file a formal complaint, the respondent is contacted by the Grievance Coordinator and given a copy of the complaint. The Grievance Coordinator will assist the respondent in selecting and working with their Process Advocate in order to prepare his/her own written statement, which is presented to and reviewed by the Grievance Panel.
Formal written statements presented by both parties should contain as many facts as possible, including names, places, and times. Also the exact charges (i.e., Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct, which includes sexual assault or rape) should be stated explicitly.
Once it has been determined by the Grievance Panel that the information presented warrants holding a formal hearing, each party is given five class days to prepare their case. Each party will make their preparation with the advice of their respective Process Advocate. During the preparation time period either party may wish to identify potential witnesses and choose to include in the hearing process a Support Individual. An explanation of the key members involved in the hearing process follows.
The Grievance Panel shall consist of 2 faculty members, 2 staff members, and 2 students. Faculty members shall be appointed by FASCom, staff members by the Vice-President of Finance & Administration, and student members by the Student Senate. The term for each member shall be two years, with staggered appointments, so there will be one new faculty member, one new staff member, and one new student member each year. The role of the Grievance Panel will be to decide whether, based on information presented, a formal hearing is warranted and, in the event that it is warranted, to hear the case. The hearing shall be chaired by the faculty member in his/her second year of service on the Panel.
Each party will choose a member of the Knox Community to serve as his/her Process Advocate. The Grievance Coordinator will provide a list of available Process Advocates to each party of a grievance. The Process Advocate's role is to provide procedural guidance and information in preparing for the hearing and throughout the hearing process.
Each party may choose to have an individual present during the proceedings whose sole function is to provide personal and moral support to that party. The Support Individual does not represent a party, nor do they have an active voice during the proceedings. The individual who provides optional personal support will not be allowed in the hearing room during the hearing but may remain in a nearby room designated by the Grievance Coordinator throughout the hearing process. The Support Individual may be a currently enrolled Knox College student or a currently employed faculty member or staff person.
Each party may submit a list of witnesses to the Grievance Coordinator who will notify each witness of the pending hearing. If a witness cannot or feels that s/he should not appear during the hearing s/he must submit a short written explanation to the Coordinator at least 48 hours prior to the hearing.
At least one hour before the hearing is scheduled to begin, the Grievance Panel members will gather to review written statements.
While the panel members are meeting, each party (including the Process Advocate, the complainant and respondent, and all witnesses) will meet for a pre-hearing preparation session. At this time, the Grievance Coordinator will deliver to each party a final list of all witnesses. Parties may write questions that they would like to have asked in the hearing and may confer with their own witnesses during this session.
All hearings will be closed to those not directly involved in the case. Only the members of the Grievance Panel, each party's Process Advocate, the complainant and the accused will be present during the entire hearing. During the hearing, each party may present only witnesses who were named in the list given out during the pre-hearing preparation period. Witnesses will be present only during their period of testimony and questioning and will be escorted into and out of the hearing in order to give their statements.
During the hearing only members of the Grievance Panel, and Process Advocates may ask questions. The complainant and respondent may not address each other directly. They are allowed to present questions in writing, to be read aloud by their Process Advocate. Questions may be asked or submitted at any time during the hearing until the closing statements are delivered.
At the end of the hearing, each party may make one closing statement. This statement may be made by either the complainant or respondent or, at the request of either party, read by their respective Process Advocates.
After the hearing the Grievance Panel will meet in closed session to make a decision on the case. Findings rest on whether or not the accused was found in violation of the Knox College Policy on Sexual Harassment or Sexual Misconduct, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The Grievance Panel will use a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (i.e., it is more likely than not that sexual harassment or violence occurred). Findings will then be presented to the Dean of Students, who will determine appropriate sanctions, if necessary.
Each party will be notified by phone by their Process Advocate of the Grievance Panel's findings within 24 hours of the hearing's conclusion. Each party will also receive an official letter from the Grievance Panel Chair containing the Grievance Panel's findings.
A respondent determined to be responsible by the Grievance Panel may provide letters that address his or her personal character to the Dean of Students, prior to the determination of sanctions. Upon reviewing the panel findings the Dean of Students will determine what sanctions will be imposed, and will notify each party of those sanctions by letter.
Each party has the right to submit a written appeal to the President of the College. Appeals may be filed on grounds of new information that has become available, alleged bias of members of the Grievance Panel, or procedural error.
The College reserves the right to make adjustments and changes in this policy at any time.
Updated October 2013