E. Discrimination and Sexual Harassment
Academic Responsibilities and Professional Obligations
II. E. 1. Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment
Knox College does not discriminate, and will not tolerate discrimination or harassment, on the basis of sex, pregnancy, gender identity or expression, race, color, creed, national or ethnic origin, religion or religious affiliation, sexual orientation or preference, age, marital or family status, disability, veteran status, or other status protected by applicable federal, state, or local law in admission, financial aid, employment, athletics, or any other aspect of its educational programs or activities. Reasonable accommodation will be provided to persons with disabilities, consistent with state and federal law.
Harassment, whether verbal, physical or visual, that is based on any of these characteristics, is a form of discrimination. This includes harassing conduct affecting tangible educational benefits, interfering unreasonably with an individual's academic performance, or creating what a reasonable person would perceive is an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.
Harassment can include verbal or non-verbal behavior that demeans or stereotypes individuals in a harmful way. While the College is committed to the principles of free inquiry and free expression, discrimination and harassment identified in this policy are neither legally protected expression nor the proper exercise of academic freedom.
Examples of discrimination and harassment may include (but are not limited to):
- refusing to offer educational opportunities to someone because of the person's protected status;
- making a grading decision because of the person's protected status;
- jokes or epithets about another person's protected status;
- teasing or practical jokes directed at a person based on his or her protected status;
- the display or circulation of written materials or pictures that degrade a person or group based upon a protected characteristic; and
- verbal abuse or insults about, directed at, or made in the presence of an individual or group of individuals in a protected group.
Mandatory Employee Reporting of Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct Involving Students
In order to enable the College to respond effectively and to address instances of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct involving students, all College employees must, within 24 hours of receiving the information, report information they have about alleged or possible discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct involving students to the Title IX Coordinator or to a member of the Title IX team, which includes Deputy Title IX Coordinators and the Department of Campus Safety. Only those employees who are statutorily prohibited from reporting such information are exempt from these reporting requirements. Upon receiving a report of alleged or suspected discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the information received and determine what further actions should be taken. The Title IX Coordinator will also provide information about the College's Grievance Procedures, as well as available health and advocacy resources and options for criminal reporting.
Any questions or comments concerning this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator, who leads Knox College's Title IX Team. Information on the team is found below:
Title IX Coordinators
Any inquiries regarding Title IX or the School's Policy and Procedures Addressing Discrimination, Harassment and Sexual Misconduct should be directed to one or more of the Title IX Coordinators identified below. Operating as a team with the Director of Campus Safety, these Coordinators will be available to meet with or talk to students, faculty and staff regarding issues relating to Title IX and this policy.
Lead Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Lori Schroeder, Associate Dean of the College and Lead Title IX Coordinator
Old Main 105
309-341-7214 office / 309-351-4107 cell
The Lead Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX Compliance on behalf of the College. This includes coordination of training, education, communications, and administration of the complaint and grievance procedures for the handling of suspected or alleged violations of this policy.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Gina Zindt
Director of Human Resources
Administrative Services Center 109
As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Zindt is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted. Ms. Zindt has particular responsibilities for responding to alleged or suspected violations of this policy that involve employees and outside contractors of the College.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Kim Schrader
Operations Director for Budget and Compliance
Department of Athletics, Fleming Fieldhouse 129
309-341-7281 office / 309-337-6536 cell
As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Shrader is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted. In addition, Ms. Schrader has particular responsibilities for responding to alleged or suspected violations of this policy that involve student-athletes.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Catherine J. Denial
Burkhardt Distinguished Chair in History
Old Main 310
309-341-7382 office / 319-621-9193 cell
As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dr. Denial is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Associate Dean of Students
Old Main 101A
309-341-7493 office / 563-357-3141 cell
As Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Schnack is responsible for implementing and monitoring Title IX compliance at the College and for notifying the Lead Title IX Coordinator of any alleged or suspected violations of this policy and the resolution of such alleged or suspected violations, regardless of whether a grievance is submitted.
II. E. 2. Policy Against Sex Discrimination, including Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct
This policy supplements the general policy statement set forth above and addresses the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX"). Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX states as follows:
- No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
Discrimination on the basis of sex (i.e., sex discrimination) includes sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct, in turn, includes sexual assault and sexual violence.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Illinois Human Rights Act are two other laws that also prohibit sex discrimination.
As noted above, it is the policy of the College to provide an educational environment free of all forms of sex discrimination, including but not limited to unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct or communications constituting sexual harassment, as defined in this policy and as otherwise prohibited by state and federal statutes. Sexual harassment, including acts of sexual assault and sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination and is prohibited by the policies of Knox College as well as state and federal laws. Sexual harassment is contrary to the most fundamental ethical canons of the academic community. This prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex applies to all students, faculty, and staff, to other members of the College community, and to contractors, consultants, and vendors doing business or providing services to the school.
Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written or physical conduct of a sexual nature where:
- a) submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis of an academic or employment decision or is either an explicit or implicit term of employment or admission to any college program or college-related activity, or
- b) such conduct is sufficiently serious (i.e., severe, pervasive, or persistent) and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit a person's ability to participate in or benefit from the College's programs, services, opportunities, or activities; or
- c) such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual's work or academic performance.
Examples of such conduct may include repeated comments about a person's physical appearance, sexually suggestive remarks or insults; displays of sexually suggestive material, unwelcome advances such as touching, patting, caressing, kissing or sexual propositions and sexual advances accompanied by threat of punishment or promise of reward including the withholding or giving of grades and promotions.
The College has drawn the definitions of prohibited sexual misconduct below from the "Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Retaliation" of the University of Montana.
Knox College affirms its commitment to create and maintain an environment free from acts of sexual misconduct and to foster within that environment respect for the dignity of all members of the community. Accordingly, Knox College will not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct.
Sexual misconduct includes sexual assault, inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes, sexual exploitation and relationship violence.
Sexual assault means an actual or attempted sexual contact with another person without that person's consent. Sexual assault includes, but is not limited to:
- Involvement in any sexual contact when the victim is unable to consent. Intentional and unwelcome touching of, or coercing, forcing, or attempting to coerce or force another to touch a person's intimate parts (defined as genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, or breast).
- Sexual intercourse without consent, including acts commonly referred to as "rape."
Consent is informed, freely given, and mutual. If coercion, intimidation, threats, or physical force are used there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that such person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is no consent; this includes impairment or incapacitation due to alcohol or drug consumption, or being asleep or unconscious. There is no consent when there is force, expressed or implied, or use of duress or deception upon the victim. Silence does not necessarily constitute consent. Past consent to sexual activities does not imply ongoing future consent. Whether an individual has taken advantage of a position of influence over an alleged victim may be a factor in determining consent.
Inducing incapacitation for sexual purposes includes using drugs, alcohol, or other means with the intent to affect or having an actual effect on the ability of an individual to consent or refuse to consent (as "consent" is defined in this policy) to sexual contact.
Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for anyone's advantage or benefit other than the person being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of the preceding sexual misconduct offenses. Examples of behavior that could rise to the level of sexual exploitation include:
- Prostituting another person;
- Non-consensual visual (e.g., video, photograph) or audio-recording of sexual activity;
- Non-consensual distribution of photos, other images, or information of an individual's sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nakedness, with the intent to or having the effect of embarrassing an individual who is the subject of such images or information;
- Exceeding the boundaries of consent;
- Engaging in non-consensual voyeurism;
- Knowingly transmitting an STI, such as HIV, to another without disclosing your STI status;
- Exposing one's genitals in non-consensual circumstances, or inducing another to expose his or her genitals;
- Possessing, distributing, viewing or forcing others to view illegal pornography;
Relationship or dating violence (which can include but is not limited to domestic violence) is abuse or violence between partners or former partners involving one or more of the following elements:
- Battering that causes bodily injury;
- Purposely or knowingly causing reasonable apprehension of bodily injury;
- Emotional abuse creating apprehension of bodily injury or property damage;
- Repeated telephonic, electronic, or other forms of communication -- anonymously or directly -- made with the intent to intimidate, terrify, harass, or threaten;
Stalking includes repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, social media, or any other action, device or method that purposely or knowingly causes substantial emotional distress or reasonable fear of bodily injury or death.
Retaliation is action taken by an accused individual or an action taken by a third party against any person because that person has opposed any practices forbidden under this policy or because that person has filed a complaint, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation or proceeding under this policy. This includes action taken against a bystander who intervened to stop or attempt to stop discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing, or in any way discriminating against an individual because of the individual's complaint or participation. Action is generally deemed retaliatory if it would deter a reasonable person in the same circumstances from opposing practices prohibited by this policy.
II. E. 3. Complaint Procedure for Cases of Discrimination or Harassment at Knox College (including Cases Under Title IX)
The College has established a Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct ("Policy") that articulates the College's set of behavioral standards, common understandings of definitions and key concepts, and descriptions of prohibited conduct. The Policy (set forth above) and these Investigation and Grievance Procedures also outline the College's approach to addressing reports of sexual misconduct and other suspected violations of the Policy, taking into account the College's status as a private institution of higher education and its unique mission and culture. Because the College's approach to resolving alleged or suspected violations of the Policy is grounded in its mission and purpose as an educational institution, its approach to resolving alleged or suspected violations of the Policy is educational, rather than legal or judicial. As a result, the College retains the discretion to exercise its academic and educational judgment in investigating and resolving alleged or suspected violations of the Policy in a manner that is consistent with the various anti-discrimination laws that apply to its programs.
The College is committed to the prompt and equitable resolution of all alleged or suspected violations of the Policy about which the College knows or reasonably should know, regardless of whether a grievance or complaint alleging a violation of the Policy has been filed and regardless of where the conduct at issue occurred. The College's ability to investigate in a particular situation, or the extent of the investigation in any given situation, may be affected by any number of factors, including whether the complainant is willing to file a complaint or to consent to an investigation, the location where the alleged conduct occurred, and the College's access to information relevant to the alleged or suspected violation of the Policy. The College is nonetheless committed to investigating and resolving all alleged and suspected violations of the Policy to the fullest extent possible under the circumstances. In instances where an alleged or suspected victim of conduct that violates the Policy is unwilling or unable to file a complaint, the College, through a non-attorney representative selected by the College, may elect to proceed with a complaint and to seek resolution of the complaint in accordance with the Investigation and Grievance Procedures described below.
These Investigation and Grievance Procedures ("Procedures") apply to all suspected or alleged violations of the Policy and will be used in place of any Faculty Grievance, Student Conduct Code or Conduct Council policies or procedures used to address other alleged violations involving harassment, discrimination and sexual misconduct. . In addition, any sanctions or other corrective actions imposed against faculty who violate the Policy shall be imposed pursuant to these Procedures unless the College determines in its discretion that other procedures, or other policy should be used to resolve a particular matter. In addition, the College may, upon finding of good cause, modify these Procedures in the interests of promoting full and fair resolution of suspected or alleged violations of the Policy in accordance with applicable law.
As noted above, all College employees are obligated to share with the Title IX Coordinator or a member of the Title IX team any information they receive regarding an incident of sexual misconduct or of which they become aware unless they are expressly prohibited by law from disclosing such information. Anyone who feels that s/he has been the victim of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct as defined in the Policy is encouraged to bring it to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator or a member of the Title IX team for assistance. The Title IX team at Knox consists of the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of the Knox College Department of Campus Safety, and the Title IX Deputy Coordinators.
The Title IX team is responsible for the prompt and impartial review, investigation and resolution of all reports of sexual misconduct, along with the provision of interim remedies and measures to support all individuals involved and to ensure that they are treated with dignity and care. They are empowered to provide interim remedies and measures to support all individuals involved in these situations and to protect the safety of the campus community through these measures. The scope of the team's responsibilities includes addressing off-campus conduct that affects members of the Knox community as well as on-campus conduct.
The College encourages all individuals who feel they have been victims of sexual misconduct to seek immediate assistance from a medical provider for emergency services, including treatment of any injury, and to collect and preserve physical and other forms of evidence. Seeking medical attention preserves the full range of options, including the options of working through the College's grievance procedures and/or filing criminal complaints.
The Title IX team will assist students with transportation to a hospital if they so request, with making contact with appropriate law enforcement authorities upon request and with accessing all appropriate resources and support.
Any pending criminal investigation or criminal proceeding may have some impact on the timing of the College's investigation, but the College will commence its own investigation as soon as is practicable under the circumstances. The College reserves the right to commence and/or complete its own investigation prior to the completion of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding.
Knox's authority to sanction members of the College community applies only to the violation of College rules, policies and procedures. Legal action to pursue either civil or criminal proceedings may be initiated by contacting the police or the State's Attorney. Faculty members who believe they are the victims of a crime as defined by federal and state laws are encouraged to report to law enforcement authorities as the legal system of the State of Illinois offers recourse through law enforcement officials and the courts. The College's Title IX Coordinator and the Knox College Campus Safety Department are available to assist faculty with any reports they might wish to make to law enforcement authorities.
Individuals who feel they have been victims of sexual misconduct may require time and support in reaching the decision as to whether to make formal complaints. There are confidential resources on campus and in the community available to individuals who do not wish to make a formal report to the campus. These resources include:
Knox College Counseling Center
WIRC (Western Illinois Regional Council)-Community Action Agency
Victim Services 24-hour Crisis Line
National Sexual Assault Hotline
RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
Domestic Violence 24-hour Crisis Line
1188 W Main St 309-343-SAFE (7233)
Additional Reporting Information
The College also has an online mechanism for anonymous reporting of acts of sexual misconduct with complete confidentiality to the Department of Campus Safety: http://www.knox.edu/witness/silent.html. These reports will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator who will make every effort to respond, but the College's ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited.
The College encourages individuals to report as soon as practically possible, but there is no time limit on reporting. The College will undertake a Title IX investigation of past events, but it cannot typically impose disciplinary sanctions on an individual who is no longer a member of the Knox community (e.g., a student who has graduated or an individual who is no longer in the employ of the College).
In order to encourage the reporting of alleged misconduct, the College will not pursue disciplinary action against any student or faculty member (including a Complainant or third party witness) involved in the investigation of a violation under this Policy who has violated College policy regarding alcohol or other drugs provided that such violations did not/do not place the health or well-being of any person at risk. At its discretion, the College may choose to pursue educational or other interventions for such policy violations.
In matters involving incidents of sexual misconduct, requests for confidentiality will be respected to the extent allowable under federal and state law, and information pertaining to such incidents will treated with sensitivity and disseminated with care when it is necessary to do so for purposes of conducting an investigation or taking appropriate corrective action. However, the College reserves the right (as permitted or required by applicable law) to issue timely warnings and make other announcements to the College community when the College determines that there is a serious or continuing threat to members of the college community or that there is another significant emergency or dangerous situation involving an immediate threat to the health or safety of students or employees on the College's campus. Under federal law, the College must report the occurrence of certain designated crimes that occur on campus or in certain other designated areas, including forcible and non-forcible sex offenses as defined by the federal government, in an annual security report that is submitted to the U.S. Department of Education. This annual security report does not include personally identifiable information. When an incident of sexual assault or sexual violence is reported to College officials, a prompt and equitable investigation of the incident will follow.
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 the College 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 to 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.
D. Informal Resolution Procedure
Allegations of sexual misconduct, including allegations of sexual assault or sexual violence, may not be resolved using an informal resolution procedure (i.e., mediation). However, other alleged violations of the Policy, including some allegations of sexual harassment, may be resolved using an informal resolution process overseen by one or more College representatives if (i) the College determines, in its discretion, that such a process would be appropriate; and (ii) all parties agree to participate.
The parties to any such informal process will not be required to deal directly with one another without the College's involvement. Instead, after an initial investigation of the complaint carried out by the appropriate staff members, the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator or other College official selected by the College may agree to attempt to resolve the complaint informally. The Title IX Coordinator and the complainant may agree to seek an informal resolution of the complaint by meeting with the respondent, maintaining anonymity if appropriate or possible. The Title IX 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.
At that time, the relevant College official will share the investigative report with both parties if such a report has been completed as of that time. The Grievance Coordinator or other College official will discuss with the complainant the outcome of the steps taken through the informal procedures. If the complainant is satisfied, the informal procedure is completed and the resolution will be documented.
Any party may request that the informal resolution process be terminated at any time, in which case the formal resolution procedure (described below) would commence. In addition, any party can pursue formal resolution if he or she is dissatisfied with a proposed informal resolution. Finally, as described above, the College may elect to pursue a formal resolution procedure even if the complainant does not wish to bring the matter to a Hearing Panel.
E. Formal Resolution Procedure: Grievance Hearing Panel
The formal resolution procedure applies (i) when any party so requests in connection with a matter that is eligible for informal resolution; and (ii) to all matters that are not eligible for informal resolution (i.e., matters involving alleged or suspected sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and sexual violence). The College may also elect to use the formal resolution procedure in any matter when the College deems it appropriate. As part of the formal resolution procedure, the College may determine that further steps are required to complete the College's investigation.
If the complainant determines that s/he wishes to proceed with a hearing before the Hearing Panel, the complainant will prepare and submit a written complaint to the Title IX Coordinator if such a complaint has not already been submitted. The complainant may also supplement any previously submitted complaint.
The Title IX Coordinator will then provide a copy of the complaint (and any supplement to the complaint) along with a copy of the investigation report to both parties. Both parties will be again afforded an opportunity to select a Process Advisor from among those individuals designated by the College for that role. This Process Advisor will serve as a guide through the pre-hearing and hearing process. The respondent shall have the opportunity to submit a written statement in response to the complaint within 7 days of receiving the complaint.
In any written submissions, both the complainant and respondent are encouraged to include as much information as possible, including names, places, times, and events/conduct alleged.
1. Notice of Hearing
The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will provide any statements from the complainant and respondent along with the investigation report to the Chair of the Hearing Panel. Unless the Hearing Panel determines in its discretion that more time is required, any hearing will be held within 21 days of the completion of the Investigation Report and its submission to the Title IX Coordinator unless the College determines that additional time is required. Both parties will be informed in writing of the date, time, and location of the hearing and will be informed of the names of persons serving on the Hearing Panel. The parties will be given at least 14 days advance notice of the hearing unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that less time is appropriate or required in a given situation. If the alleged victim of a sexual assault elects not to request or participate in a hearing, the College reserves the right to take the matter to a hearing, in which the College will be a party to the hearing.
Either party may request that the hearing be rescheduled at any time and must specify the reasons for the request. The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee for the case will determine whether to grant the request.
Either party may ask that a member of the Hearing Panel be removed if the party believes that person has bias, conflict of interest or cannot be fair and impartial. These requests must be received in writing by the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee within 3 days of notification of the hearing.
2. Composition of the Hearing Panel
Hearings to address complaints alleging violations of the Policy by faculty will be conducted by a Hearing Panel, except that the Dean of the College may conduct a hearing in extraordinary circumstances if the Hearing Panel cannot reasonably be convened. The Hearing Panel shall consist of three persons that are drawn from the Grievance Board, a pool of no fewer than 6 individuals from the College community (i.e., faculty members, staff members, and students) who have received training in College policies, the dynamics of sexual misconduct, the determination of credibility, and the preponderance of the evidence standard. In addition to these three persons, the Hearing Panel will also have a Chair who will be selected from the Grievance Board and who will be a non-voting member of the Hearing Panel. The composition of the Hearing Panel shall be determined by the Chair of the Hearing Panel to reflect the nature of the alleged violation. If either the complainant or the respondent is a student, then at least one member of the Panel must be a student; in other cases, the Panel may be drawn from the faculty or the staff currently serving on the Grievance Board. Faculty members shall be appointed to the Grievance Board by FASCom, staff members by the Vice-President of Finance & Administration, and student members by the Student Senate. The hearing shall be chaired by a faculty member appointed by the Title IX Coordinator from among the faculty members of the Board.
3. Prior to the Hearing
The Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will offer to meet individually with the parties to answer any questions and explain the process as soon as possible after issuing the notice of hearing. In addition, at any such meeting the parties will again be given an opportunity to choose a member of the Knox Community to serve as his/her Process Advisor who can provide procedural guidance and information in preparing for the hearing and throughout the hearing process.
Each party may choose to have a non-attorney individual present outside the hearing location whose sole function is to provide personal and moral support to that party. The Support Individual does not represent a party, nor does s/he 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 throughout the hearing process. The Support Individual may be a currently employed faculty member or staff person.
4. Witnesses, Impact and Character Statements
Each party may submit a list of witnesses to the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee up to 7 days prior to the hearing date. Character witnesses called by either party may be allowed at the Hearing Panel's discretion. If a party wishes to call as a witness an individual who was not interviewed in the course of the investigation, the party must provide in writing a rationale for including that witness. The Chair of the Hearing Panel, in consultation with the other members of the Hearing Panel, will determine whether that witness may be called, or will ask that the investigator interview the witness as well. 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 Title IX Coordinator at least 3 days prior to the hearing. The final approved witness list will be shared with the parties at least 2 days prior to the Hearing.
Both parties may prepare and present impact statements and letters attesting as to character in sealed envelopes to the Chair of the Hearing Panel at the outset of the hearing. These statements will be used solely by the Dean of the College for the purposes of determining any appropriate sanctions after the Hearing Panel concludes its deliberations.
5. Grievance Hearing
Hearings will be closed to anyone who is not directly involved in the case as a party, Process Advisor, Support Individual, Investigator, witness, Hearing Panel member, or other appropriate individual. The College recognizes that both parties have the right to engage legal representation at their own expense. While attorneys are not permitted to be present during a Hearing Panel proceeding, both parties may petition the Chair of the Hearing Panel for a recess during which to consult with their attorney by phone, e-mail, or other means. The College may at its discretion designate its own attorney to be present or otherwise available during proceedings before the Hearing Panel and provide legal counsel to the Chair and the Hearing Panel members. During the hearing, each party may present only witnesses who were named in the list distributed or otherwise approved by the Chair of the Hearing Panel in advance of the hearing. Witnesses will be present only during their period of testimony and questioning.
Either the complainant or the respondent may request to participate in the hearing through a method that limits or does not require physical presence in the hearing room. For instance, either party may participate using technology or they may request the use of partitions in the hearing room. Witnesses may also participate using technology. Such requests must be reviewed in advance by the Chair of the Hearing Panel to ensure that they do not compromise fairness and equity. The complainant and respondent will have equal access to information before and during the hearing and an equal opportunity to present witnesses and information at the hearing.
The College will arrange for audio-recording the entire Hearing. The Hearing Panel's deliberations will not be recorded.
Sequence of Hearing
a. The hearing will begin with the Chair calling the hearing to order, explaining the process and providing an opportunity for all parties to ask procedural questions.
b. The Chair reminds the parties that the proceedings are confidential as required under FERPA and asks each person present to state their name and role for the record.
c. The investigator presents a summary of the information and evidence gained through the investigation process. The Hearing Panel may then ask questions of the investigator, followed by questions from the complainant and then the respondent (or their respective Process Advisors). The questioning will continue until both parties and the Hearing Panel have no further questions. The investigator then leaves the room.
d. The complainant may present his or her account of the events. The Hearing Panel may then ask questions of the complainant, followed by questions from the respondent or the respondent's Process Advisor. The respondent is not permitted to address the complainant directly, but may present written questions for the complainant to the Chair, who will determine whether the questions are relevant and appropriate and, if so, read them aloud for the complainant to respond. The Chair may, in his or her discretion, not read questions that are inflammatory or otherwise not appropriate. The complainant's witnesses then follow, with questions by the Panel and then questions from the respondent or the respondent's Process Advisor. The Chair will query the parties and the Panel as to whether they have any further questions for each witness. Once the parties and the Panel have completed their questioning for each witness, the witness is escorted from the room.
e. The respondent may present his or her account of the events, and the same process will be followed as in (d) above.
f. Both the complainant and the respondent may make brief summary statements, in that order, or their Process Advisors may read their written statements aloud. The Hearing Panel then may recall any party or witness for further questions.
g. At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will meet in closed session to make a decision on the case by majority vote. College counsel may remain in the room but will neither vote nor participate in the deliberations. The Chair may participate in the deliberations but may not vote.
h. The Hearing Panel's decision will rest on whether or not the respondent was found in violation of the Policy, based solely on the evidence presented at the hearing. The Hearing Panel will use a preponderance-of-the-evidence standard (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Policy).
i. The Panel will notify the Dean of the College and Title IX Coordinator of its decision. As noted above, both parties have been permitted to provide impact statements and letters attesting to character in sealed envelopes to the Chair of the Hearing Panel at the start of the Hearing Panel. These statements will be conveyed to the Dean of the College along with the Panel's decision.
j. To the greatest extent possible, the complainant and respondent will be notified contemporaneously/simultaneously of the outcome of the hearing by the Chair of the Hearing Panel within 24 hours of the conclusion of the Panel's deliberations - .
6. Sanctioning and Corrective Actions
Upon reviewing the Hearing Panel's decision and any impact or character statements submitted by the respondent and/or the complainant, the Dean of the College will determine what, if any, sanctions will be imposed and will notify each party of any sanctions in writing to the extent permitted or required by law and, to the greatest extent possible, contemporaneously and concurrently. Each party will be notified in writing by the Dean of the College within 4 days of the completion of the Dean's deliberations unless the Dean of the College determines that additional time is required. The Dean of the College will also provide a copy of his or her decision regarding sanctions to the Title IX Coordinator.
The College will take reasonable steps to prevent the recurrence of any violations of the Policy and to correct the discriminatory effects on the complainant (and others, if appropriate). The range of potential sanctions/corrective actions that may be imposed against a student includes but is not limited to the following: written or verbal apology, discrimination or harassment education, verbal or written warning, leave with or without pay, and dismissal from the College.
If the sanction involves termination of a faculty member for cause, the Dean of the College will invoke the Hearing Panel process described in the Faculty Bylaws, Article VI, Section 2. b. (2).
In no event will the complainant in matters involving an alleged violation of the Policy that involves sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or other sexual misconduct be required to abide by a nondisclosure agreement that would prevent disclosure of the outcome. In instances where the College is unable to take disciplinary or other corrective action in response to a violation of this policy because a complainant insists on confidentiality or for some other reason, the College will nonetheless pursue other steps to limit the effects of the conduct at issue and prevent its recurrence.
7. Appeal Process
Each party has the right to submit a written appeal to the President of the College within 10 days of being notified of the Hearing Panel's decision. Appeals may be filed on grounds of relevant, substantive and new information not available at the time of the hearing, alleged bias of the Chair or members of the Hearing Panel, or material procedural error. Within 7 days of receiving the appeal, the President of the College or his/her designee will determine whether the grounds for appeal have been met and notify the parties. The party that did not initiate the appeal will have 7 days to submit a written response. Within 14 days of receiving this written response, (a) the appeal will be reviewed by a three person panel ("the Appeal Panel") consisting of the President of the College or his/her designee and two faculty members of the Grievance Board who did not participate in the initial hearing; and (b) the Appeal Panel will notify the parties in writing of the outcome of the appeal.
The appeal is not a de novo review and will be based on the materials submitted by the parties and the record of the original hearing. The Appeal Panel can uphold the original findings, alter the findings, or alter the sanctions. If new and substantive evidence has arisen, the appeal panel can remand the case to the original hearing panel for reconsideration and a new determination. Both parties will be informed in writing of the outcome of any appeal within three days of the conclusion of the appeals review. Appeal decisions by the Appeal Panel are final.
8. Records Maintenance
The College will maintain documentation and records regarding alleged violations of the Policy and their resolution in a manner that protects the confidentiality of the parties involved, complies with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, and to the extent possible excludes personally identifiable information of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.
The hearing audio-recording and evidence presented at the hearing will be maintained by the Title IX Coordinator. If a faculty member has been found responsible for violating the Policy, this finding may remain a part of that faculty member's personnel file.
9. Changes in this Policy
The College reserves the right to make adjustments and changes in this policy at any time.
For information on procedures for other kinds of grievances, see the Faculty Handbook, "Grievance Procedures," Section III. H.
Updated March 2014