You feel as if you are being harassed or otherwise discriminated against based on sex/gender, stalking or relationship violence. What do you do? Sometimes the best answer is to talk to that person, to try to work things out before they go too far. Sometimes simply asking someone to “stop” is enough to get them to stop. For instance, someone might not realize a certain term is offensive.
But trying to resolve the matter on your own is not always a good idea. Some problems are so serious that you need the University’s help. For instance, you are not encouraged to “talk out” a sexual assault, and no one would want you to try. If you are not sure whether it would be a good idea to try to resolve a situation on your own, contact the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students Office, or the JCU Police Department for advice.
The University is always ready to help when someone believes the Sexual Harassment/Interpersonal Violence policy has been violated. A question that you need to ask yourself is:
“What do I want the University to do?”
You might want the University to take official action to remedy the situation. If you have seen or been a victim of an incident of discrimination, you can file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator asking the University to remedy/fix the situation. Doing so triggers the Complaint Resolution Process.
You might want to talk to someone secure in the knowledge that they will not share your story with University officials. In other words, you may not want the University to take action. You may just want to talk to someone. If so, you can contact the University Counseling Center, a doctor at the Health Center or an ordained member of the clergy acting in such capacity. These individuals can keep your information confidential.
You might want to seek advice from a professor, supervisor, RA, or another University employee you trust. If that is your choice, you need to know that almost all University employees are “responsible employees” and are required to report incidents of sexual harassment and interpersonal violence to the University. So, if you talk about an incident with an employee other than a counselor, doctor or an ordained member of the clergy acting in such capacity, that employee must share part or all of what you said with the Title IX Coordinator. Responsible employees must report all relevant details of the incident to the Title IX Coordinator, including names of those involved, date, time and location of the incident (if known).
If you wish to request that no investigation be conducted, you should notify the responsible employee of such a request at the time you make your report. The responsible employee will inform the Title IX Coordinator of your request. Please keep in mind that honoring your request may limit the University’s ability to meaningfully respond.
The University always acts on a complaint or report of harassment or discrimination. But the type of action it takes depends on the facts of each case.
When a complaint or report is made the Title IX Coordinator acts as a “gatekeeper.” Their first job is to look at the facts to see if, assuming they are true, they might violate the Sexual Harassment/Interpersonal Violence Policy. Not every wrongful act is sufficient to violate the policy. If the answer is “no,” the formal investigative process ends. If the answer is “yes,” the Title IX Coordinator will inform the parties involved and determine what the next steps should be.
Where there is an alleged violation of the Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will facilitate a resolution under the Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Complaint Resolution Process & Title IX Grievance Process. Depending on the specific circumstances of each case, complaints may be resolved informally (with the consent of both parties) or through a formal investigation and hearing process.
However, actions that do not violate the Sexual Harassment and Interpersonal Violence Policy may still violate another University policy. Where another University policy is implicated, matters may be referred to other departments for resolution.
Even where there is no violation of any University policy, University administrators may still be able to connect students to any support that they may need to be academically successful and stay physically or emotionally well.
If informal resolution is not a possibility or does not work, the Title IX Coordinator will assign the case to a specially trained investigator(s) to investigate the facts. The Title IX Coordinator may serve as Investigator. The Investigator(s) will interview the parties and others with information about what happened. The Investigator(s) will also gather other materials (e.g., texts, emails, etc.) that may help show what happened.
Both parties have the option of participating as much or as little in the process as they choose, but choosing not to participate typically makes it more difficult for the University to learn about the case in greater detail.
Both parties are also permitted to have an advisor present during any meetings or interviews. The advisor may be a privately hired attorney, but does not need to be. With the exception of posing questions to witnesses during a live hearing under the Title IX Grievance Procedures, the advisor may generally not speak on the party's behalf.
The Investigator(s) will compile all of the evidence into an investigative report. Parties will be able to review and respond to a draft copy of the report before it is finalized.
The finalized report will be sent to the designated administrator (in the Dean of Students Office for a student Respondent, or in Human Resources for an employee Respondent), who will convene a Complaint Review Panel to determine responsibility and possible disciplinary actions, if appropriate. For cases subject to the Title IX Grievance Procedures, the Complaint Review Panel will include a live hearing with the opportunity to pose questions to witnesses.
The Complaint Review Panel will make its determination of “responsible” or “not responsible” based on the preponderance of the evidence standard, that is, whether it is more likely than not that the University’s Sexual Harassment/ Interpersonal Violence Policy has been violated.
Once the Complaint Review Panel has made its determination of responsibility (and sanction(s), if appropriate), it will notify the Title IX Coordinator. The Complaint Review Panel will provide all parties a "notice of outcome" letter.
The parties will also be notified of the right to appeal the determination(s).
Parties may appeal the determination(s) on the following grounds:
- A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; and/or.
- The disciplinary sanction(s) imposed are substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the University for this type of violation or the cumulative conduct record of the Respondent.
Where an appeal is accepted for review, the non-appealing party will have the opportunity to review the appeal and submit information for consideration. An Appeal Review Panel will determine whether or not to grant the appeal, and whether any remedial action is appropriate. The Appeal Review Panel may take any of the following action(s):
- Affirm the original findings;
- Remand the case to the original Investigator(s) or CRP for consideration of new evidence or to remedy a procedural error or omission, or to the CRP to assign new sanctions that are within the parameters or guidelines set by the University for this type of violation or account for the cumulative conduct record of the Respondent;
- Remand the case to a new Investigator(s) or new CRP. In a rare case where an error or omission cannot be cured by the original Investigator(s) or original CRP members (as in a case of bias), the ARP may order a new investigation with a new Investigator(s);
- Administratively alter the sanction if the sanction is substantially outside the parameters or guidelines set by the University for this type of violation or the cumulative conduct record of the Respondent; or
- Refer the assigning of sanctions or responsive actions to the CRP.
Decisions rendered by the ARP or actions taken following the ARP’s decision are final and not subject to further appeal.