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Formal Process

In the case of formal resolution, a Hearing Panel will conduct a series of hearings in which it will interview and question the Complainant and the Respondent, and any witnesses or other third parties whose testimony the Hearing Panel deems relevant.

At any time prior to the date of his or her designated hearing, the Respondent may elect to acknowledge his or her actions and take responsibility for the alleged sexual misconduct. In such a situation, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will propose sanction(s). If the Complainant and the Respondent agree to such proposed sanction(s), then the complaint will be resolved without a hearing and without any further rights of appeal by any party. If either the Complainant or Respondent objects to such proposed sanction(s), then the Hearing Panel will convene for the exclusive purpose of determining a sanction. The decision of the Hearing Panel regarding sanctions may be subject to appeal.

 

  1. The Hearing Panel.The Title IX Coordinator or designee will appoint the members of the Hearing Panel, to include three faculty or staff, with one member serving as the Chair of the Hearing Panel. Members of the Hearing Panel must be trained to hear cases of sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will share the complaint and the investigative report with the Hearing Panel and, if only a portion of the misconduct alleged in the complaint justifies continuing to the hearing process, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will specify which part(s) of the alleged misconduct will be the subject of the hearings.
  2. Notice of the Composition of the Hearing Panel.Promptly after appointing the members of the Hearing Panel, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide concurrent written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent, setting forth the names of the individuals selected to serve on and chair the Hearing Panel. If only a portion of the alleged misconduct justifies continuing to the hearing process, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will also specify in the notice which part(s) of the alleged misconduct will be the subject of the hearings.The parties may challenge the participation of any member of the Hearing Panel by submitting a written objection to the Title IX Coordinator or designee within three days of delivery of the notice of the composition of the Hearing Panel. Such objection must state the specific reason(s) for the objection. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate the objection and determine whether to alter the composition of the Hearing Panel. Failure to submit a timely and proper objection will constitute a waiver of any right of objection to the composition of the Hearing Panel. Any changes in the composition of the Hearing Panel will be provided in writing to both parties prior to the date of the first hearing.
  3. Hearing Policies and Procedures
    1. Submission of Written Materials by the Parties. Within five days of delivery of the notice of composition of the Hearing Panel, the Complainant and the Respondent may provide the Title IX Coordinator or designee with (1) a list of witnesses, if any, that they propose that the Hearing Panel call and a brief description of each proposed witness’s connection to and/or knowledge of the issues in dispute, and (2) a written statement of position.
    2. Notice of the Hearings. Not less than five days, but not more than ten days after delivery of notice of the composition of the Hearing Panel to the parties, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide a separate notice to the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses or other third parties whose testimony the Hearing Panel deems relevant, requesting such individuals to appear before the Hearing Panel. The notice should set forth, as applicable, the date, time, and location of the relevant individual’s hearing. In its notices to the Complainant and the Respondent, the names of the witnesses or other third parties that the Hearing Panel plans to call will be provided.
    3. Failure to Appear. If the Complainant or the Respondent fails to appear before the Hearing Panel if requested to do so, and such party was provided proper notice of the hearing as set forth above, then absent extenuating circumstances, the Hearing Panel will proceed.
    4. Counsel and Support Persons. Both the Complainant and the Respondent may have an advisor present to support and assist them during their respective hearings. The Title IX Coordinator, designee, or Chair of the Hearing Panel may disallow the attendance of an advisor if they are also a witness or if, in the discretion of the Chair of the Hearing Panel, the person’s presence would be obstructive to the hearing or otherwise warrant his or her removal from the hearing. An advisor may communicate with a party privately, but he or she may not address the Hearing Panel, crossexamine witnesses, or have any other speaking role. An advisor must maintain confidentiality regarding any and all communications exchanged pursuant to this policy. Absent accommodation for disability, the parties may not be accompanied by any other individual during the hearing process.
    5. Evidentiary Matters. The Complainant and the Respondent will have an equal opportunity to present evidence during their respective hearings. Formal rules of evidence will not be observed during the hearings.Evidence of the past sexual histories of the Complainant and the Respondent will not be permitted at the hearings, unless the Complainant has been in the past formally disciplined by the College for falsely filing complaints alleging sexual misconduct; the Respondent has been in the past either convicted in a criminal proceeding or formally disciplined by the College for sexual misconduct; or the past sexual activity of the Respondent may be permitted to show that they have engaged in a pattern of behavior similar to the alleged sexual misconduct at issue before the Hearing Panel, provided the Chair of the Hearing Panel determines in writing that the evidence is reliable and trustworthy and the conduct is sufficiently and substantially similar to the conduct at issue before the Hearing Panel to suggest a pattern of behavior.
    6. Conduct of the Hearings. The hearings will be conducted in an inquisitorial manner, which means that the Hearing Panel will be responsible for asking questions of the parties and the witnesses and developing evidence through testimony. The Chair of the Hearing Panel will resolve any questions concerning procedure or the admission of evidence or testimony (including the relevancy and reliability of the evidence and testimony).The Respondent may choose not to testify or appear before the Hearing Panel; however, his or her exercise of that option will not preclude the Hearing Panel from making a determination regarding the complaint filed against the Respondent.In the interests of a fair and equitable hearing, the parties involved in sexual misconduct proceedings may not be required, or allowed, to confront one another directly if it is determined that such direct contact will impair the fairness of the hearing process or the emotional well-being of the Complainant or Respondent. If the parties are separated for any part of the hearing process, any testimony or evidence will be made available to ensure fairness and support a rebuttal.
    7. The Decision of the Hearing Panel. Following the conclusion of the hearings, the Hearing Panel will confer and by majority vote determine whether the evidence establishes that it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy.  In other words, the standard of proof will be the preponderance of the evidence standard.  Sanctions for a finding of responsibility depend upon the nature and gravity of the misconduct, any record of prior discipline for sexual misconduct, or both.  In the most serious cases, suspension or expulsion is probable.The Hearing Panel will determine sanctions, giving consideration to whether a given sanction will (1) bring an end to the violation in question, (2) reasonably prevent a recurrence of a similar violation, and (3) remedy the effects of the violation. The Hearing Panel will forward its determinations regarding sanctions to the Title IX Coordinator or designee.Sanctions imposed are not effective until the resolution of any timely appeal. However, if it is advisable in order to protect the welfare of the victim, Complainant (if not the victim) or the College community, the Hearing Panel (or other decision-making body, if applicable) may recommend and the Title IX Coordinator may determine that any sanctions be effective immediately and continue in effect until such time as the appeal process is exhausted.
    8. Final Accommodations and Corrective Action. In addition to any sanctions imposed on the Respondent, promptly following the conclusion of the hearings and the Hearing Panel’s issuance of a determination of responsibility, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will determine the final accommodations to be provided to the Complainant, if any, and the Title IX Coordinator or designee will communicate such decision to the Complainant and, to the extent that it affects him or her, to the Respondent.
    9. Final Outcome Letter. Within 6 calendar days following the conclusion of the hearings, the Hearing Panel will issue a written decision letter concurrently to the Respondent and the Complainant. The Final Outcome Letter will set forth the name of the Respondent, the violation (s) of this policy for which the Respondent was found responsible, if any, sanctions imposed on the Respondent, if any, and it may set forth names of other individuals, such as a victim or witness, provided that such other individuals provide their written consent to such inclusion.
    10. Confidentiality and Disclosure. In order to comply with FERPA and Title IX, the hearing process is not open to the general public. Accordingly, documents prepared in anticipation of the hearings and documents, testimony, or other information introduced at the hearings may not be disclosed outside of the hearing proceedings, except as may be required or authorized by law.If it is determined, however, that the Respondent is found responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy, College policy does not prohibit the further disclosure of the final outcome letter by either the Complainant or the Respondent.
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