Formal resolution of a report under the Sexual Misconduct Policy will occur either through a Conduct Conference or through adjudication before a Hearing Panel, which typically consists of a three specifically trained administrators.
If resolution involves a Conduct Conference, the Hearing Coordinator will meet with the Reporting Party and Responding Party to determine responsibility and render a decision as to what sanctions, if applicable, should be implemented. If resolution involves a Hearing Panel, the Hearing Coordinator will be responsible for facilitating the formal resolution process, including the appointment of three trained administrators to serve on each panel. These appointments will take into account the need for a timely process and any conflicts of interest.
The Hearing Coordinator and all Hearing Panelists must participate in annual training on non-discrimination; the dynamics of sexual- and or gender-based harassment, discrimination and violence, including sexual violence, stalking, and intimate partner violence; the factors relevant to a determination of credibility; the appropriate manner in which to receive and evaluate sensitive information; the manner of deliberation; evaluation of consent and incapacitation; the application of the preponderance of the evidence standard; sanctioning and the college’s policies and procedures. The training will be coordinated by the Title IX Coordinator in conjunction with campus and external partners.
The Hearing Panel is supported by the Hearing Coordinator, who is present at Hearing Panel meetings, but is not be a voting member of the panel. The Hearing Coordinator will meet with all involved parties prior to the hearing, be present during the hearing to serve as a resource for the Hearing Panel and the parties on issues of policy and procedure, and to ensure that policy and procedure are appropriately followed throughout the hearing.
In most cases, it should be possible to convene a Hearing Panel; however if the hearing must be heard at or after the end of the semester or academic year or during winter term and or a full Hearing Panel cannot reasonably be convened, those cases may be heard by the Dean of Students (or designee) or the college may substitute an alternate method of adjudication at its discretion.
A Reporting Party or Responding Party may request resolution through an administrative Conduct Conference, in which the Hearing Coordinator will meet with the Reporting Party and Responding Party to determine responsibility and, if applicable, render a decision as to what sanctions should be implemented. Both parties and the Hearing Coordinator must agree that the matter is appropriate for resolution by a Conduct Conference. Depending upon the nature and severity of the allegations, the Hearing Coordinator may decline to handle the matter administratively and refer the case to a Hearing Panel.
A Conduct Conference is appropriate when the Responding Party has admitted to the misconduct and there is no discernible dispute in the relevant facts of the investigation report; however, at the discretion of the Hearing Coordinator, it may also be used when the facts are in dispute. The investigative report will serve as the primary evidence in making a determination of responsibility. All parties must have notice, the opportunity to review the investigative report in advance, and the opportunity to present any additional relevant information to the Hearing Coordinator. In reaching a determination as to whether this policy has been violated, the Hearing Coordinator will reach a determination by a preponderance of the evidence (whether the conduct was more likely than not to have occurred). Based on the outcome of the Conduct Conference, the Hearing Coordinator will issue an appropriate sanction. The Hearing Coordinator may also recommend remedies for the Reporting Party and remedies for the Oberlin community. On the conclusion of the Conduct Conference, the Title IX Coordinator is responsible for reviewing, adjusting, and implementing these remedies in order to eliminate the hostile environment and prevent its recurrence.
Both a Reporting Party and Responding Party may appeal the determination of the Hearing Coordinator as provided in the Appeal section below.
The pre-hearing process, described below, is crucial to ensuring a fair and equitable process. The Hearing Coordinator is responsible for managing the pre-hearing process. The timelines described below are designed to ensure that the parties have adequate notice to review information and submit related requests to the Hearing Coordinator, as well as to allow the Hearing Coordinator sufficient notice to arrange witnesses or address related concerns. In consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, the Hearing Coordinator may make appropriate adjustments to the timeframes provided to achieve these goals as well as ensure a timely and equitable process. The Hearing Coordinator will have the authority to designate reasonable time frames with respect to the notice provisions regarding witnesses, prior sexual history and or pattern evidence.
1. Notice of Charges
Following the threshold determination that there is sufficient information to move forward with a hearing, the Hearing Coordinator will send a Notification Letter to both the Reporting Party and the Responding Party. The Notification Letter provides each party with a brief summary of the conduct at issue and the specific policy violation(s) that are alleged to have taken place.
2. Acceptance of Responsibility
If a Responding Party wishes to accept responsibility for the charges, they may request an administrative conference with the Hearing Coordinator. In this instance, the Responding Party will provide a written acceptance of the facts of the allegation. The Hearing Coordinator will then convene a Hearing Panel. The Hearing Panel's role will be solely to determine appropriate sanctions. The investigative report will serve as the primary evidence in making this determination. The Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and the Hearing Panel retain the right to call witnesses in order to assess sanctions and will follow the time frames and procedures described in this description of pre-hearing procedures.
3. Pre-Hearing Meeting with Reporting Party and Responding Party
Following the Notification Letter, the Hearing Coordinator will contact the Reporting Party and Responding Party to schedule separate meetings with each party. At this pre-hearing meeting, each party will receive an explanation of the hearing process and have the opportunity to ask any questions. If the Reporting Party and or Responding Party have elected to have advisors throughout the hearing process, the advisor is encouraged to accompany the Reporting Party or Responding Party to this initial meeting.
4. Notice of Hearing
Once each party has met with the Hearing Coordinator, a Notice of Hearing is sent to the Reporting Party and the Responding Party. The Notice provides the parties with the date, time, and place of the hearing, as well as the names of the individual panelists on the Hearing Panel. In general, the hearing will be scheduled within 10 business days of the date of the Notice of Hearing. This time frame may be extended for good cause, with written notice to the parties of the extension and the reason for the extension.
5. Composition of the Hearing Panel
The Reporting Party and the Responding Party may each submit a written request to the Hearing Coordinator that a member of the Hearing Panel be removed. The request must clearly state the grounds to support a claim of bias, conflict of interest or an inability to be fair and impartial. This challenge must be raised within 2 business days of receipt of the Notice of Hearing.
6. Pre-Hearing Review of Documents.
Both parties will be afforded similar and timely access to any documents and information used at a hearing. The Reporting Party and the Responding Party will each have the opportunity to review all investigative documents, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least 5 business days prior to the hearing. The investigative documents will include the investigation report, any witness statements or interviews, statements from or interviews with both parties, and any other documentary information that will be presented to the Hearing Panel.Review of these documents will take place at a secure and private location on campus, with access facilitated by the Hearing Coordinator or Campus Safety.
The Hearing Panel must review all pertinent information regarding the incident in question prior to the date of the Hearing Panel.
Information and or witnesses not provided as part of the investigation may not be introduced at the Hearing Panel without permission of the Hearing Coordinator.
The Hearing Coordinator will review the investigative report, any witness statements and any other documentary evidence to determine whether the proffered information contained therein is relevant and material to the determination of responsibility given the nature of the allegation. In general, the Hearing Coordinator may redact information that is irrelevant, more prejudicial than probative, or immaterial. The Hearing Coordinator may also redact statements of personal opinion, rather than direct observations or reasonable inferences from the facts, and statements as to general reputation for any character trait, including honesty.
The Reporting Party, Responding Party, and the Hearing Panel all have the right to present witnesses. Witnesses must have observed the conduct in question or have information relevant to the incident and cannot be called solely to speak about an individual's character. In general, neither party will be permitted to call as a witness anyone who was not interviewed by the investigator as part of the college’s investigation. If either party wishes to call witnesses, whether or not they were previously interviewed as part of the college’s investigation, the following must be submitted to the Hearing Coordinator via e-mail or in hardcopy format:
- The names of any witnesses that either party intends to call;
- A written statement and or description of what each witness observed, if not already provided during investigation;
- A summary of why the witness' presence is relevant to making a decision about responsibility at the hearing; and,
- The reason why the witness was not interviewed by the investigator, if applicable.
The Hearing Coordinator will determine if any proffered witness has relevant information and if there is sufficient justification for permitting a witness who was not interviewed by the investigator. The Hearing Coordinator may also require the investigator to interview the newly proffered witness.
If witnesses are approved to be present, the Reporting Party and the Responding Party are provided with a list of witnesses and any relevant documents related to their appearance at the hearing in advance of the hearing date, with the understanding that the Reporting Party and Responding Party will have the opportunity to submit additional witness information to the Hearing Coordinator in advance of the hearing date after reviewing any additional investigative documents.
9. Prior Sexual History and or Pattern Evidence
Prior Sexual History of a Reporting Party: In general, a Reporting Party's prior sexual history, character or reputation is not relevant and will not be admitted as evidence at a hearing. Where there is a current or ongoing relationship between the Reporting Party and the Responding Party, and the Responding Party alleges consent, the prior sexual history between the parties may be relevant to assess the manner and nature of communications between the parties. As noted in other sections of this policy, however, the mere fact of a current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Any prior sexual history of the Reporting Party with other individuals is not relevant and will not be permitted. In addition, prior sexual history may be considered under very limited circumstances to explain injury or demonstrate motive or intent.
Pattern Evidence by a Responding Party: Where there is evidence of a pattern of conduct similar in nature by the Responding Party, either prior to or subsequent to the conduct in question, regardless of whether there has been a finding of responsibility, this information may be deemed relevant and probative to the panel's determination of responsibility and or assigning of a sanction. The determination of relevance will be based on an assessment of whether the previous incident was substantially similar to the conduct cited in the report and indicates a pattern of behavior and substantial conformity with that pattern by the Responding Party.
Pattern evidence may also be relevant to prove intent, state of mind, absence of mistake or identity. Where there is a prior finding of responsibility for a similar act of sexual misconduct, the finding may be considered in making a determination as to responsibility and or assigning of a sanction. The Hearing Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, may choose to introduce this information, with appropriate notice to the parties. Alternatively, a party may request in writing that information under this section be admitted. A request to admit such information must be submitted to the Hearing Coordinator. The Hearing Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will assess the relevance of this information and determine if it is appropriate for inclusion at the hearing. To aid in an advance determination of relevance of prior sexual history and or pattern evidence, the following must be submitted before the hearing to the Hearing Coordinator via e-mail or in hardcopy format:
- A written statement and or description of the proposed information, if not already provided during investigation; and
- A summary of why this information is relevant to making a decision of responsibility at the hearing.
If this information is approved as appropriate for presentation at the hearing, the Reporting Party and Responding Party will be provided with a brief description of the approved information before the hearing.
10. Request to Reschedule Hearing
Either party can request to have a hearing rescheduled. Absent extenuating circumstances, requests to reschedule must be submitted to the Hearing Coordinator with an explanation for the request at least 3 business days prior to the hearing.
11. Consolidation of Hearings
At the discretion of the Hearing Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, multiple reports may be consolidated against a Responding Party in one hearing, if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant and probative in reaching a determination on the other incident. Matters may be consolidated where they involve multiple Reporting Parties, multiple Responding Parties, or related conduct that would regularly have been heard under the Code of Student Conduct.
The Hearing Coordinator is responsible for the administration of all procedures related to the panel hearing.
1. Attendance at Hearing
If a party does not attend a hearing for any non-emergency or non-compelling reason, the hearing may be held in their absence at the discretion of the Hearing Coordinator. The college will not require a Reporting Party to participate in or attend a hearing, although the college’s ability to present evidence may be limited in the instance that a Reporting Party chooses not to participate in the hearing.
If a Responding Party who is a student withdraws from the college prior to the conclusion of an investigation or formal resolution under this policy, the Responding Party's academic transcript will be marked Withdrawal Pending Disciplinary Action. If a Responding Party who is a student chooses not to participate, the college will move forward with the hearing and imposition of sanction, if any, in absentia. If the report is finally resolved while the Responding Party is absent, the Responding Party's academic transcript will be marked with the final outcome in accordance with regular practice under this policy.
A Reporting Party or Responding Party may also request alternative testimony options that would not require physical proximity to the other party. Options include placing a privacy screen in the hearing room or allowing the Reporting Party or Responding Party to speak outside the physical presence of the other by using appropriate technology to facilitate participation. The Hearing Coordinator must review any proposed alternative in advance of the hearing to ensure that it is consistent with the goals of a fair and equitable process. While these options are intended to help make the Reporting Party or Responding Party more comfortable, they are not intended to work to the disadvantage of the other party. Thus, when one party requests alternative testimony options, the other party may participate in a similar manner.
2. Participants in Hearing Procedures
The Hearing Panel is a closed hearing and is not open to the public. The individuals who may appear before the Hearing Panel are: the Reporting Party; the Responding Party; any individuals serving as an approved advisor or support person; any individuals appearing as witnesses; and any relevant administrators necessary to facilitate the hearing.
3. Safeguarding of Privacy
All parties involved in a hearing are required to keep the information learned in preparation for the hearing and at the hearing private. No copies of documents provided are to be made or shared with any third parties. All copies provided must be returned to the college at the conclusion of the hearing and any appeals. Any breach of this duty is subject to further disciplinary action by the college. The college expectation of privacy during the hearing process should not be understood to limit any legal rights of the parties during or after resolution. The college may not, by federal law, prohibit the Reporting Party from disclosing the final outcome of a formal process (after any appeals are concluded). All other conditions for disclosure of hearing records and outcomes are governed by FERPA and any other applicable privacy laws.
4. Hearing Panel Protocol
The hearing is intended to provide a fair and ample opportunity for each party to present relevant information and witnesses. The Hearing Panel will make factual findings, determine whether college policy was violated, and recommend appropriate sanctions and remedies. The hearing is not comparable to a criminal trial; it is not designed to be adversarial in nature. The Hearing Panel is the mechanism by which the college assesses whether college policy has been violated, and as appropriate, takes formal disciplinary action regarding a violation of college policy.
Relevant information supporting the violation(s) alleged may be offered in the form of written statements, documents, items, or oral information from the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and witnesses.
The Hearing Panel will choose one member of the panel to serve as chair. A hearing will be called to order by the panel chair. The Hearing Coordinator serves as a non-voting advisor to the Hearing Panel and the parties on issues of policy and procedure. The chair will explain the hearing process and will provide an opportunity to all parties to ask procedural questions prior to initial statements and the presentation of information.
The investigator will provide a brief statement summarizing the investigation. The statement should focus on the areas of agreement and disagreement in order to assist the Hearing Panel in prioritizing areas of inquiry. The Hearing Panel, Reporting Party, or Responding Party may make brief inquiries of the investigator at this juncture, as there will be additional opportunity to ask questions of the investigator after the Hearing Panel has heard from the Reporting Party, the Responding Party, and any witnesses.
The Reporting Party has the option to supplement the information provided to the panel with a brief statement. This is not intended to be a retelling of the event. The Hearing Panel may pose questions to the Reporting Party, including questions submitted in writing to the Hearing Panel by the Responding Party. The Responding Party will not be permitted to question the Reporting Party directly. In the event that the college serves as the Reporting Party, the designated institutional representative will have the same opportunity to make a statement.
After the Reporting Party is finished, the Responding Party has the option to make a brief statement. The Hearing Panel may pose questions to the Responding Party, including questions submitted in writing to the Hearing Panel by the Reporting Party. The Reporting Party will not be permitted to question the Responding Party directly.
The panel may hear from witnesses on behalf of the Reporting Party and the Responding Party. Each witness will be questioned by the Hearing Panel, and, as appropriate, the Reporting Party and the Responding Party. Under some circumstances, the Reporting Party or the Responding Party may be asked to present a list of written questions to the panel, which will determine the relevance of the questions and pose any questions deemed relevant.
The Hearing Panel, the Reporting Party, and Responding Party may then question the investigator. The investigator is not permitted to offer an opinion on the credibility of any individual or as to the ultimate issue.
At the conclusion of the presentation of all witnesses, the Reporting Party and Responding Party will have the option to address briefly any outstanding issues of fact.
5. Questioning of Witnesses
It is the responsibility of the Hearing Panel to assure that the information necessary to make an informed decision is presented. The panel members may play an active role in questioning both parties and witnesses involved in the case. At times, the panel members may need to ask difficult or sensitive questions in order to understand areas of factual dispute or gain a full understanding of the context.
At no time will the Reporting Party or the Responding Party be permitted to directly question one another.As outlined above, the parties may submit questions directed at the other party to the Hearing Panel in writing, which may be posed at the discretion of the Hearing Panel.Similarly, the panel members are under no obligation to allow either party to directly question witnesses, and the panel may require that questions to witnesses be submitted in writing.
Both parties are encouraged to prepare a written list of questions in advance. The parties may also submit questions in writing to the chair throughout the course of the hearing. The chair, in consultation with the panel, will determine the appropriateness and relevance of the questions.
Parties and other individuals who offer information at a hearing are expected to respond honestly, and to the best of their knowledge. The Hearing Panel reserves the right to recall any party or witness for further questions and to seek additional information necessary to make a decision.
After all of the information has been presented, all parties will be dismissed and the hearing will be formally concluded.
The panel members will conduct their deliberations in private. The panel must complete their deliberations within 2 business days, but every attempt will be made to complete the deliberations promptly. The Hearing Coordinator can remain for deliberations, but cannot participate in the deliberations or vote.
The Hearing Panel will determine a Responding Party's responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the Hearing Panel will decide whether it is more likely than not, based upon all of the relevant information, that the Responding Party is responsible for the alleged violation. The Hearing Panel must reach a decision on responsibility by majority vote. The votes of individual panel members will not be shared with the parties.
If the panel finds the Responding Party responsible, the panel will then recommend appropriate sanctions to the Hearing Coordinator. The Hearing Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will review the recommendations for fairness and consistency and impose an appropriate sanction.
The findings of the Hearing Panel will be documented in writing by the Hearing Panel chair. The findings will detail the findings of fact and the basis/rationale for the decision of the Hearing Panel, making reference to the evidence that led to the finding. This report will be submitted by the Hearing Panel chair to the Hearing Coordinator at the time of the decision.
A Hearing Panel that finds a Responding Party responsible for a violation of this policy will recommend appropriate sanctions that may include, but are not limited to, those set forth below. Sanctions may be issued individually, or a combination of sanctions may be imposed. The Reporting Party and Responding Party will each have the opportunity to present a written statement about impact and or request sanctions to the Hearing Coordinator in advance of the hearing.The Hearing Panel will review these statements only if the Responding Party has been found responsible for one or more violation.
- Any student who is determined to have committed sexual assault may receive a sanction ranging from suspension to expulsion. As a general expectation, suspensions should last at least until the Reporting Party has graduated (or otherwise separated) from the college.
- Any student who is determined to have committed non-consensual sexual contact or any other prohibited form of conduct may receive a sanction ranging from a conduct warning to expulsion.
The Hearing Panel may deviate from the range of recommended sanctions, based upon a full consideration of the following factors:
- the impact of the conduct on the Reporting Party;
- the impact of the conduct on the community, its members, or college property;
- the nature and violence of the conduct at issue;
- prior misconduct by the Responding Party, including the Responding Party's prior discipline or criminal history, both at the college or elsewhere, if known
- whether the Responding Party has accepted responsibility for their actions;
- how the college has sanctioned similar incidents in the past, based upon information about such similar incidents that the Hearing Coordinator will provide upon request;
- maintenance of a safe and respectful environment conducive to learning;
- protection of the college community; and,
- any other mitigating, aggravating or compelling circumstances in order to reach a just and appropriate resolution in each case.
The Hearing Panel may also consider educational strategies that, taking into account the impact on the Reporting Party and the safety of the community as a whole, allows a Responding Party to learn about the origins of their behavior, their responsibility for this behavior, and how they can change this behavior. Such strategies may be suggested in addition to, but not in place of, the recommended sanctions. The Hearing Panel will make a recommendation about the appropriate sanction. The Hearing Coordinator and Title IX Coordinator will review the panel's recommendations and take reasonable steps to foster consistency for similar violations and circumstances. The Hearing Coordinator will then affirm or modify the recommended sanction.
Sanctions that may be imposed under this policy include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Warning: Notice, in writing, that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct may be cause for additional disciplinary action.
- Censure: A written reprimand for violating student conduct standards or other college policy. This conduct status specifies a period of time during which the party's or organization's good standing with the college may be in jeopardy. The party is officially warned that continuation or repetition of prohibited conduct during this period may be cause for additional conduct action including probation, suspension, or expulsion from the college.
- Training: A requirement that the student receive specific training within a designated time period and at their own expense to prevent further misconduct or discrimination or harassment. Failure to submit documentation of completion of the training within the specified time period may lead to further disciplinary action.
- Disciplinary Probation: Exclusion from participation in privileged activities for a specified period of time. For students, privileged activities may include, but are not limited to, elected or appointed student offices, student research, athletics, some student employment, and study abroad. Additional restrictions or conditions may also be imposed. Violations of the terms of disciplinary probation or any other cllege policy violations may result in further disciplinary action.
- Restitution: Repayment to an affected party, including the college, for damages resulting from a violation of this policy. To enforce this sanction, the college reserves the right to withhold its transcripts and degrees or to deny a student participation in graduation ceremonies and privileged events.
- Removal from Campus Housing: Students may be removed from college housing and or barred from applying for campus housing due to disciplinary violations of this policy.
- Suspension: Exclusion from college premises, attending classes, and other privileges or activities for a specified period of time, as set forth in the suspension notice. Notice of this action will remain in the student conduct file and will be permanently recorded on the student's academic transcript unless specified otherwise in the suspension notice.
- Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status and exclusion from college premises, privileges, and activities. This action will remain in the student conduct file and will be permanently recorded on the student's academic transcript.
- Withholding Degree: The college may withhold awarding a degree otherwise earned until the completion of the process set forth in this policy, including the completion of all sanctions imposed, if any.
- Revocation of Admission and or Degree: Admission to, or a degree awarded by, the college may be revoked for fraud, misrepresentation in obtaining the degree or violation of College policies, the Student Code of Conduct or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to enrollment or graduation. Other sanctions may be imposed instead of, or in addition to, those specified here. Service, education or research projects may also be assigned. More than one of the sanctions listed above may be imposed for any single violation. The Hearing Panel may also recommend remedies for the Reporting Party and remedies for the Oberlin community. On the conclusion of the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator is responsible for reviewing, adjusting, and implementing these remedies in order to eliminate the hostile environment and prevent its recurrence.
The outcome of the Hearing Panel will be communicated to the Reporting Party and Responding Party simultaneously and in writing, usually within 4 business days from the date the hearing is concluded. The notification of each party should occur at or near the same time.
The letter to each party will include the outcome and the rationale for the outcome. It will also set forth each party's appeal rights, including the time frame for submitting an appeal. Any change in the outcome before it becomes final will also be communicated to the parties in writing.
In addition, the Responding Party will be fully informed of any sanctions.
For reports involving sexual violence, the Reporting Party will be fully informed of any sanctions. For all other reports under this policy, the Reporting Party will be informed of only those sanctions that directly relate to the Reporting Party, consistent with FERPA and other applicable law.
Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Dean of Students (or their designee) stays implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal. For students, pending graduation, study abroad, internships/externships, or other events do not typically constitute extraordinary circumstances
The college reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status or conduct situation, particularly alcohol and other drug violations. The college may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and or drug policy violations. Where a student is not dependent, the college will contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and or safety risk. The college also reserves the right to designate which college officials have a need to know about individual conduct reports pursuant to FERPA requirements.
Either party may appeal the final outcome in writing to the Dean of Students (or their designee), who will serve as the Appeals Officer. The appeal must be filed in writing within five business days of receiving the written outcome. The appeal shall consist of a plain, concise and complete written statement outlining the grounds for appeal and all relevant information to substantiate the basis for the appeal.
The Reporting Party and or Responding Party may appeal only the parts of final outcome directly relating to themselves. Dissatisfaction with the outcome of the hearing is not grounds for appeal. The only grounds for appeal are:
- A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly affected the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
- New evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation despite the reasonable efforts of the party, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction (a summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included).
- Sanctions were significantly disproportionate to the violation.
The receipt of the appeal will be acknowledged in writing (which can include email). The written appeal document will be shared with the other party, and the other party will be given the opportunity to respond in writing should they choose to do so. Any response must be submitted to the Appeals Officer within three business days from receipt of the appeal. The appeals documents from each party will be considered together in one appeal review process.
In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal, as the original determination and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The Appeals Officer shall first consider whether the appeal is timely filed and if so, whether the appeal is properly framed based on the three grounds. If the Appeals Officer determines that the appeal does not properly fit within one of the three grounds, the appeal will be denied.
If the appeal is based on procedural or substantive error, the Appeals Officer may return the report to the original Hearing Panel with instructions to reconvene to cure the error, or in rare cases where the error cannot be cured, the Appeals Officer can ask that a new hearing occur before a newly constituted Hearing Panel. In the instance that a new hearing occurs, the parties would have the right to appeal that finding.
In the case of new and relevant information, the Appeals Officer can recommend that the case be returned to the original Hearing Panel to assess the weight and effect of the new information and render a determination after considering the new facts. The reconsideration of the Hearing Panel is final.
Appeals are not intended to be full rehearing of the report. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. This is not an opportunity for the Appeals Officer to substitute their judgment for that of the original hearing body merely because they disagree with its finding and or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where at least one of the three specified grounds for appeal is established. The Appeals Officer can affirm or alter the original findings, depending on the basis of the requested appeal.
Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Dean of Students (or their designee) stays implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal. For students, pending graduation, study abroad, internships/externships, or other events do not typically constitute extraordinary circumstances. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the party to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.
The Appeals Officer will render a written decision on the appeal simultaneously to the Reporting Party and Responding Party within 15 business days from the date of the submission of all appeal documents by both parties. Appeal decisions are final.
These procedures are entirely administrative in nature and are not considered legal proceedings. Neither party may audio or video record the proceedings, nor are attorneys allowed to participate except as outlined in the section on Advisors, Support Persons, and Attorneys. The Hearing Coordinator will audio tape the proceedings for college records. At the Hearing Coordinator's discretion, anyone disrupting the hearing may be removed.
The Title IX Coordinator will retain records of all reports, regardless of whether the matter is resolved by means of Title IX assessment, informal resolution or formal resolution. Reports resolved by means of Title IX assessment or informal resolution are not part of a student's conduct file or academic transcript.
Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved through formal resolution are part of a student's conduct file. Such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct, or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a student's conduct file.
In addition to the records described above, suspension, expulsion, and withdrawal pending disciplinary action are, in general, permanently recorded on a student's academic transcript. The conduct files of students who have been suspended or expelled from the college are maintained in the Dean of Students Office indefinitely. Conduct files of students who have not been suspended or expelled are maintained in the Dean of Students Office for no fewer than seven years from the date of the incident. Further questions about record retention should be directed to the Dean of Students Office.