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Employee Title IX Policy - Overview of Title IX Process

IX. Overview of Title IX Process 

The Title IX Process is an administrative process that is informed by Title IX and the relevant provisions of VAWA.  The Title IX Coordinator provides oversight of a prompt, fair, and equitable process in both cases. While the parties involved have certain procedural rights, the procedures described are not intended to constitute legal proceedings.

The Title IX Process is described in greater detail in Section XI below.  The University utilizes this decision model in which the Title IX Coordinator, or their designee, investigates and the Decision Panel resolves Formal Complaints of prohibited conduct and any other related violations.  The Decision Panel shall use the designated process described in the subsequent section to determine facts and responsibility for the disclosed conduct and any applicable sanctions. 

Initial Assessment

Upon receiving notice of prohibited conduct, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial assessment by promptly contacting the Complainant to address any immediate physical safety and emotional support needs, discuss the availability of Supportive Measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures, inform the Complainant of the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint, provide a copy of the Policy, and explain to the Complainant their rights under the Policy (see Section VI) and their options for addressing the prohibited conduct, including both formal and informal resolution and the process for making and resolving a Formal Complaint.  The Complainant may request Supportive Measures only, or may make a Formal Complaint.  Alternatively, as described below, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that it is appropriate to file a Formal Complaint even in the absence of a Formal Complaint filed by a Complainant.  After the filing of a Formal Complaint, the Complainant may decide to seek either formal or informal resolution.  A Complainant is always entitled to reasonably available Supportive Measures, regardless of whether a formal or informal resolution process is initiated.  As part of the initial assessment, the Title IX Coordinator will be responsible for determining whether the disclosed conduct falls within the scope of the Policy and which resolution options are appropriate.  If the disclosed conduct falls within the scope of the Policy, the University may move forward with an informal resolution, Title IX Process, or University Process, as appropriate.  If not, the University may be required to dismiss any Formal Complaint received.  If the disclosed conduct does not fall within the scope of the Policy, the Title IX Coordinator may forward information regarding the disclosed conduct to other appropriate individuals within the University for appropriate handling as outlined below.

Required and optional dismissals and commencement of a formal Title IX Process or University Process are described in Section XI below. 

The University will seek to complete the Initial Assessment as promptly as possible, typically within ten (10) business days.  There may be circumstances, however, where the Initial Assessment takes longer based on the availability of the Complainant or other necessary information, the need to gather additional information, or other factors outside of the University’s control.  The University also understands that a Complainant may need additional time to make decisions regarding their options, which may impact the timing of the conclusion of the Initial Assessment.

The Title IX Office will document each report or request for assistance, including requests for supportive measures, as well as the response to any such report or request; and will review and retain copies of all reports generated as a result of any investigation.  The University will maintain the records in accordance with the provisions of Section XV below.

Requests for Anonymity and Process Options: 

Even when choosing to disclose prohibited conduct, a Complainant may request that their name or other personally-identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent, that no Formal Complaint or investigation be pursued, or that no disciplinary action be taken. In these instances, before taking any further investigative steps, the Title IX Coordinator will discuss the Complainant’s concerns and seek to address and remedy barriers to disclosing or participation in a process to address the prohibited conduct. The University will balance any request for anonymity with its obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all members of the DePauw community. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the risk to public or individual safety, will provide Supportive Measures and timely warnings to address those issues, and may choose to file a Formal Complaint in the Title IX Coordinator’s name and proceed with the Title IX Process with or without the participation of the Complainant. The Title IX Coordinator will balance the Complainant’s request for anonymity and/or that no Formal Complaint or investigation be pursued against the following factors in reaching a determination whether the request can be honored:

  • The totality of the known circumstances; 

  • The nature and scope of the alleged conduct, including whether the disclosed behavior involves the use of a weapon; 

  • The respective ages and roles of the Complainant and Respondent; 

  • The risk posed to any individual or to the campus community by not proceeding, including the risk of additional violence; 

  • Whether there have been other disclosed incidents of prohibited conduct or other misconduct by the Respondent; 

  • Whether the disclosed incident reveals a pattern of misconduct related to prohibited conduct (e.g., via illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group; 

  • The Complainant’s interest in the University’s not pursuing an investigation or disciplinary action and the impact of such actions on the Complainant; 

  • Whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence; 

  • Fairness considerations for both the Complainant and the Respondent; 

  • The University’s obligation to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment; and 

  • Any other available and relevant information.

The Title IX Coordinator will consider what other steps may be possible or appropriate when the Respondent is unknown or the Complainant requests anonymity, and what other measures or remedies might be considered to address any effects of the disclosed behavior on the campus community. The Title IX Coordinator will make a determination regarding the appropriate manner of resolution under the Policy. The University will seek resolution consistent with the Complainant’s request, if it is possible to do so, based upon the facts and circumstances, while also protecting the health and safety of the Complainant and the University community.

Where the Title IX Coordinator determines that a Complainant’s request(s) can be honored, including a request for Supportive Measures only, the University may nevertheless take other appropriate steps to respond to the disclosed conduct and seek to prevent recurrence or remedy its effects on the Complainant and the University community. In addition to Supportive Measures for the Complainant, those steps may include providing targeted training and prevention programs, and/or providing or imposing other remedies. The Title IX Coordinator may later reconsider disclosed conduct and institute action under this Policy if any new or additional information becomes available, and/or if the Complainant subsequently decides that they would like to make a Formal Complaint.

In those instances when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the University must proceed with an investigation despite the Complainant’s request that it not occur, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant that the University intends to initiate a Formal Complaint and investigation, but that the Complainant is not required to participate in the investigation or in any of the proceedings or actions taken by the University.

The University’s ability to fully investigate and respond to alleged prohibited conduct may be limited if the Complainant requests anonymity or declines to participate in an investigation. The University will, however, pursue other steps to limit the effects of the potential prohibited conduct and prevent its recurrence. In all cases, the final decision on whether, how, and to what extent the University will make a Formal Complaint and conduct an investigation, and whether other measures will be taken in connection with disclosed prohibited conduct, rests solely with the Title IX Coordinator.

Obligation to Provide Truthful Information

DePauw takes disclosures of sexual harassment, including sexual assault and interpersonal violence, seriously.  Disclosures that are made in good faith, whether the outcome results in a finding of responsibility or not, are not considered to be false reports.  However, if a Complainant, Respondent, Witness, or third party who discloses a violation of this Policy is later found to have intentionally misled or made false claims of prohibited conduct under this Policy, they may be subject to disciplinary action under the Employee Guide.

Standard of Proof: 

The standard for determining responsibility is a preponderance of evidence (more likely than not that the disclosed conduct happened). If a Respondent is found responsible by the Decision panel for a violation of the Employee Title IX Policy, the Decision Panel will determine disciplinary action for the University to issue.

Timeframes: 

The University will proceed with the Title IX Process in a timely manner, and will seek to complete the process (from initial assessment through disciplinary action, not including any appeal that is filed by a party) in approximately seventy-five (75) calendar days following the notice of allegations provided after receipt of the Formal Complaint. This Policy designates reasonably prompt time frames for the major stages of the Title IX Process, but the University may extend any time frame in this Policy for good cause, including extension beyond 75 calendar days. An extension may be required for good cause to ensure the integrity and thoroughness of the investigation; to comply with a request by law enforcement; in response to accommodate the unavailability of the parties or Witnesses; accommodate delays by the parties; or for other legitimate reasons, including but not limited to the complexity of the investigation, the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities, and the severity and extent of the alleged misconduct. While requests for delays by the parties may be considered, the University cannot unduly or unreasonably delay the prompt resolution of a Formal Complaint under this policy. The University will notify the parties in writing of any extension of the timeframes for good cause and the reason for the extension.

Although cooperation with law enforcement may require the University to temporarily suspend the fact-finding portion of an investigation under this Policy, the University will promptly resume its investigation as soon as it is notified by the law enforcement agency that the agency has completed the evidence gathering process. The University will not, however, wait for the conclusion of a criminal proceeding to begin its own investigation and, if needed, will take immediate steps to provide appropriate Supportive Measures.

ADA Accommodations:

It is the policy and practice of the University to provide reasonable accommodations related to the Title IX Process for Employees with officially documented restrictions as a result of a disability.  It is the responsibility of the Employee to inform the Title IX Coordinator of their need for an accommodation, provide documentation of their restrictions as a result of a disability from Human Resources, and request the accommodation that they need. Employees may be required to sign a waiver of confidentiality to allow the Title IX Coordinator to communicate with Human Resources regarding the reasonableness of the requested accommodations and other potential alternatives to the requested accommodation.  Accommodations are not retroactive.