To initiate the process, a Complainant must file a formal complaint online, with the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX. A Complainant may also submit a formal complaint in person in our office located in Suite 250 within the Kent Student Center.
If you are a party or a witness, the Office will contact you to schedule an investigation interview with a neutral, impartial Investigator. The parties can prepare for the interview with their Advisor in advance, if they wish. There is no need to prepare a written statement in advance. The Investigator(s) will take a statement from each interviewee during the interview. Interviewees should bring any evidence they have (texts, snaps, physical evidence, video, etc.) with them to the interview. Parties and witnesses may also be accompanied by an Advisor for their interview. Parties and witnesses may be interviewed more than once. Interviews may take place in person or may be conducted remotely. Most interviews last approximately one hour, though some can be longer, and some can be shorter.
The Investigator will compile their notes and transcribe the notes from the interview into a statement for the interviewee to review and verify, to ensure accuracy. Each interviewee will receive a message inviting them to do so and will be provided instructions to make edits or changes. After confirming the statement is accurate and returning it to the Investigator, the statement will be included in the investigation report.
A copy of the investigation report will be provided to each party and their Advisor. The parties will have ten (10) days to review and comment on the draft investigation report and any evidence gathered. Next, the investigator will then complete a final report (and include any newly provided evidence), and provide copies to the parties and Advisors to review and comment. Parties have the option to request an informal resolution in writing during the investigation. If the parties do not voluntarily agree in writing to informally resolve the matter, the final investigation report is referred to schedule a live hearing.
It depends on schedules, but the hearing is scheduled typically within 2 – 3 weeks after the final investigation report is shared with the parties. This provides adequate time to prepare for the hearing. The hearing Decision-maker will facilitate a pre-hearing conference opportunity specifically for this purpose.
Parties must notify the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX prior to the hearing that they need an Advisor for the live hearing. The Title IX staff will assist with assigning a University Appointed Advisor at no cost for either party.
The parties will be permitted to introduce themselves, and the Investigator will also usually do the same. The parties, Investigator(s), and witnesses are all questioned by the Advisors and the Decision-maker. The Decision-maker then privately deliberates, evaluates the relevant evidence, assesses credibility, and determines by a preponderance of the evidence (whether it is more likely than not) whether policy was violated. The parties are then informed simultaneously, in writing, of the outcome and the rationale for the decision.
No, the parties do not directly communicate with each other during the hearing. All questions are either posed by the Decision-maker or proposed by a party’s Advisor. Once a question is stated by an Advisor, the Decision-maker determines whether the question is relevant and will tell the person being questioned whether to answer it or not.
Hearings are usually at least several hours long and may take much longer if a complaint is complex. If it looks like more time is needed, a hearing may take place over more than one day. Breaks are also taken during the hearing, as needed. Parties and Advisors may want to have a snack and drinks available during breaks.
After the parties are notified of the outcome, any assigned sanctions become effective unless any or all parties elect to request an appeal. All parties have the right to request an appeal. The outcome letter from the hearing Decision-maker will detail the procedures for appeal.
Either party may appeal the outcome letter issued by the Decision-maker. All appeals must be submitted in writing based on the circumstances outlined in Policy 5-16.2 in Paragraph (E). The Appeal Officer will then decide whether the appeal is granted and will notify the parties in writing of the decision and rationale.