Policy on Discrimination, Harassment, and Sexual Misconduct

Approved: June 16, 2014
Revised: August 14, 2020

I. INTRODUCTION, STATEMENT OF POLICY, AND JURISDICTION

As a Catholic and Franciscan institution of higher education, Franciscan University of Steubenville (“Franciscan” or “University”) stands with the Catholic Church in seeing “in men and women, in every person, the living image of God himself. This image finds, and must always find anew, an even deeper and fuller unfolding of itself in the mystery of Christ…and [the Church] invites all people to recognize in everyone…a brother or sister for whom Christ died.” (Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church # 105). This understanding is the basis for the University’s commitment to promote and to defend the human dignity of all persons as Franciscan University strives to provide a learning, working, and living environment free from all forms of unlawful discrimination, discriminatory or sexual harassment, and all forms of sexual misconduct. Unlawful discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct subvert the mission of our University, strike against the University’s Catholic and Franciscan values, and threaten the careers, educational experience, and well-being of students, faculty, and staff. The University is committed to this policy based upon its values and as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act), Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA), Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans With Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act, as well as all other applicable laws, regulations and University policies.

All students, faculty and staff at the University have the right to expect an environment that allows them to enjoy the full benefits of their work or learning experience. It is, therefore, the policy of Franciscan that no member of the University community may engage in conduct which discriminates against or harasses another individual or group on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status or any other criteria protected by applicable law. Likewise, Franciscan prohibits conduct which constitutes sexual misconduct (i.e., sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking as those terms are defined below).

This policy shall apply equally to all members of the University community including students, employees (faculty and staff), appointees, Board of Trustee members, volunteers, vendors, contractors, visitors, third parties, and any other affiliated persons or entities of the University and to all programs, activities and functions of the University. Under this policy, individuals are deemed to be “students” from the time they accept the University’s offer of admission until the end of the term in which they graduate, withdraw, or are dismissed. High school students enrolled for classes through the University are considered students under this policy only during the time in which they are actually taking a class(es) through the University. Under this policy, individuals are deemed to be “employees” of the University from the time they accept the University’s offer of employment until the last official day of their employment with the University.

All members of the University community are responsible for knowing the information and procedures outlined in this policy. The University reserves the right to make changes to this policy as necessary and once the changes are posted online, they are in effect. Therefore, all members of the University community are responsible and strongly encouraged to regularly check online for the updated version of this policy. The University will ensure that the “revised date” is updated at the top of the policy to provide notice that a revised version of the policy has been approved.

All members of the University community have an obligation to promote an environment free from conduct which conflicts with this policy. Members of the University community who are aware of conduct that violates this policy, whether they observe the conduct directly or otherwise learn about it, are expected to report it to one of the individuals listed under Section III below. All “responsible employees” (as defined in Section VI below) are obligated by this policy to report such conduct to one of the individuals listed under Section III below to assure that the matter is handled promptly and appropriately by trained personnel and that appropriate actions are taken, including supportive measures.

Any student, employee (faculty and staff), appointee, Board of Trustee member, volunteer, vendor, contractor, visitor, third party, and any other affiliated person or entity of the University found to have violated this policy will be subject to appropriate remedial action as outlined herein. The remedial action will depend on the circumstances and the gravity of the violation, and may range from reprimand to dismissal, or termination. The University will also take appropriate steps to end the misconduct, and to remedy the effects of the violation for the complainant and the University community, and to prevent recurrence of the violation.

The intent of this policy is to prohibit unlawful discrimination, discriminatory harassment and  sexual misconduct (i.e.,  sexual harassment, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking), and to promote the full realization of equal opportunity while preserving the religious nature of Franciscan University as Catholic and Franciscan as prescribed in the University’s By-Laws and Mission Statement. It is understood that nothing in this policy will undermine the integrity of Franciscan University as a Catholic University. Therefore, no oral or written statement that is in conformity with the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church shall be deemed as violating this policy, and no absence of a statement, oral or written, when such silence is again in accord with Catholic teaching, shall be deemed a violation of this policy. Finally, the approved policies of academic freedom shall be respected and are understood to be consistent with the implementation of this policy.

The University engages in an interactive process to consider requests for accommodations related to a disability. Individuals who believe that they are being denied equal access because of a denied accommodation or because of a failure to provide an approved accommodation should utilize the grievance procedure provided through the Student Academic Support Services for Students and the Policy and Procedures on Reasonable Disability Accommodations for Employees and Applicants. All other complaints regarding disability discrimination and/or harassment will be handled through this policy and process.

University’s Jurisdiction Under This Policy:

The University has jurisdiction to investigate any alleged violations of this policy regardless of whether the conduct happened on-campus or off-campus, so long as the conduct could interfere with or limit a person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs and activities. (Note: See below for the specific jurisdiction requirements for alleged violations of sexual misconduct as defined in Section IV below). The University reserves the right to take any action it deems appropriate to address a situation of misconduct under this policy and provide the necessary supportive measures, services and resources to those individuals impacted, including the broader University community, when necessary, even where one or more of the parties involved are not members of the University community.

Where discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct are involved, this policy shall supersede all other policies and procedures set forth in all other University policies and handbooks. Additionally, the Department of Education has stated that if there is a direct conflict between the requirements of Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX), such that enforcement of FERPA would interfere with the Title IX’s purpose of eliminating sex-based discrimination in higher education, the requirements of Title IX override any conflicting FERPA provisions.

Any alleged violation of this policy that does not meet these criteria to initiate an investigation under this policy may be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Student Life, Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the allegation in accordance with the applicable student, employee and/or faculty handbooks.

Under this policy, if the accused individual has dual status, or in cases where there are multiple accused individuals with varying statuses, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will determine the appropriate grievance resolution process under this policy. Where the accused individual is not a member of the University community (such as a vendor, contractor, third party or visitor), the University is not required to follow the entire process described in this policy or in the above specified handbooks. In such cases, the University reserves the right to take summary action (e.g., issuing a no trespass order, prohibition to attend University programs or activities, no contact order, etc.) against the accused individual.

The University reserves the right to take any action it deems appropriate to address a situation of misconduct under this policy and provide the necessary supportive measures, services and resources to those individuals impacted, including the broader University community, when necessary, even where one or more of the parties involved are not members of the University community.

University’s Jurisdiction Relating Specifically to Sexual Misconduct (as defined in Section IV below):

Upon receiving actual knowledge (as defined in Section VI below) of an alleged violation of sexual misconduct, the University has jurisdiction to investigate such allegation that occurred in a University education program or activity against a person in the United States. A University education program or activity includes locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual misconduct occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.

If the alleged violation for sexual misconduct does not meet the jurisdictional requirements set forth in the above paragraph, the matter may be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Student Life, Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the sexual misconduct allegation in accordance with the applicable student, employee or faculty handbook; however, the Grievance Resolution Process set forth in this policy will be utilized in determining responsibility.

Note: The version of this policy that is in effect at the time a report or formal complaint for an alleged violation of this policy is (or was) made to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator, or a University employee will be utilized to address said allegation(s).

II. NON-DISCRIMINATION STATEMENT

In compliance with state and federal laws, including (but not limited to) Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination Act, and Titles VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Franciscan University of Steubenville does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status (or any other criteria protected by applicable law) in its access to educational programs and activities, treatment of University Community members, admissions, or with regard to employment. Inquiries may be directed to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Franciscan University of Steubenville, 1410 Assisi Heights, Steubenville, OH 43952; [email protected]; 740-283-4338, who has been designated by Franciscan University to coordinate its compliance efforts and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX as well as those under Section 504 and the Age Discrimination Act and other applicable non-discrimination laws. Inquiries may also be directed to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20202-1100, Telephone number: 800-421-3481, Fax: 202-453-6012, TDD: 800-877-8339, Email: [email protected].

III. TITLE IX/EEO COORDINATOR AND DEPUTY TITLE IX/EEO COORDINATORS

The Title IX/EEO Coordinator oversees compliance with all aspects of this policy. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) is responsible for, among other things: overseeing complaints brought forward under this policy to assure that these matters are being investigated and handled appropriately and effectively; identifying and addressing patterns of misconduct and systemic problems; and providing training to students, faculty and staff. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) also serves as an available resource to anyone seeking additional information about the processes under this policy, about other resources that may be available to alleged victims of misconduct covered by this policy, or who wish to file a complaint of an alleged violation of this policy. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator or Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator may confidentially consult with other University administrators or personnel, as needed, to resolve a complaint or report made under this policy in the most effective manner. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator will also serve as a full-time investigator under this policy.

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee). Anyone wishing to make a report relating to discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct may do so by reporting their concern to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or any of the Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators listed below:

Title IX/EEO Coordinator:

Ann F. Booth, M.S., J.D.
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (740) 283-4338
Address: 1235 University Boulevard, Steubenville, Ohio
Office Location:  1410 Parkview Circle (Assisi Heights)

Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators: 

Alexis Basil, Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator
Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance and Operations
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (740) 284-5810
Address: 1235 University Boulevard, Steubenville, OH 43952
Office Location: Finnegan Fieldhouse

Dr. Joanne Storm, Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator
Professor of Psychology
Email: [email protected]
Phone: (740) 284-5359
Address: 1235 University Boulevard, Steubenville, OH 43952
Office Location: Egan Hall

IV. PROHIBITED CONDUCT UNDER THIS POLICY

Discrimination

Discrimination means material, adverse treatment of a person or group on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status or any other criteria protected by applicable law. Discrimination occurs when persons are excluded from participation in, or denied the benefits of, any University program or activity on the basis of a protected status. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this definition of discrimination does not include differential treatment explicitly permitted by law (such as the law’s allowance for sex-segregated dormitories). Furthermore, this definition shall not, in any way, limit the University’s right to maintain its Catholic character and to implement programs, policies, and practices in furtherance of its religious identity and objectives as specifically allowed by federal law, including the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Any complaint of alleged discrimination will be handled through this policy, regardless of whether other issues are implicated. For example, if in making a complaint of an academic nature, a student alleges different treatment as a result of the student’s status in a protected class, the different treatment will be investigated using this policy, rather than handling the issue through another University academic appeal process.

Discriminatory Harassment

Discriminatory Harassment means conduct which creates an intimidating or hostile living, learning or working environment at Franciscan on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status or any other criteria protected by applicable law. It includes oral, written, physical, or graphic conduct that substantially interferes with an individual’s work, education, or participation in University programs or activities. Discriminatory harassment means unwelcome advances, requests for favors, and other oral, written, physical, or graphic conduct or communication based on race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status or any other criteria protected by applicable law. Harassment rises to the level of discriminatory harassment when:

  1. Submission to the conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, to obtain or continue employment,
  2. Submission to or rejection of the conduct or communication by a person is used as a factor in decisions affecting the person’s employment, education, or housing, or
  3. The conduct or communication has a purpose or effect of:
    1. Substantially interfering with the person’s living, learning, or working environment, or
    2. Creating what a reasonable person would perceive as an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, learning, or working environment.

Some examples of conduct that might constitute discriminatory harassment include any of the following acts or behaviors related to an individual’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, or veteran’s status (or any other criteria protected by applicable law):

  • Epithets, “jokes,” offensive or derogatory comments, or other verbal or physical conduct
  • Ethnic slurs, workplace graffiti, or other offensive conduct
  • Making, posting, e-mailing, or circulating demeaning or offensive pictures, cartoons or other materials in the workplace or using University equipment to circulate such materials.

In determining whether conduct rises to the level of creating a hostile environment, the University will consider the totality of the circumstances, including, but not limited to, the nature and severity of the conduct, the duration of the conduct and whether the conduct is a part of a pattern.

Bullying

Bullying constitutes discriminatory harassment when it is motivated by an individual or group’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status, or any other criteria protected by applicable law. Bullying is verbal, physical, social, or psychological behavior that is harmful, and involves the misuse of power by an individual or group towards one or more persons. Bullying consists of abusive conduct relative to acts, omissions, or both, that a reasonable person would find hostile, based on the severity, nature, and frequency of the conduct and without regard to the method of delivery, such as verbal, written, graphic, electronic, or physical act. Bullying that falls outside this policy (i.e., is not based on membership to a protected class) may nonetheless violate other University policies or handbooks.

Hazing

Hazing is defined broadly in the Student Handbook as “any activity expected of someone joining a group (or to maintain full status in a group) that humiliates, degrades, or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of the person’s willingness to participate, or that destroys or removes public or private property, or that otherwise conflicts with the academic or religious mission of the University.” Hazing is covered by this policy only when it is motivated by a person’s race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, disability, veteran’s statues, or any other status protected by applicable law.

Sexual Misconduct

As used as in this policy, the term “sexual misconduct” means sexual harassment (as defined below), dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking. The term “sexual misconduct” is used throughout the remainder of this policy when referring collectively to these types of prohibited conduct.

It is a violation of this policy to commit or to attempt to commit these acts of sexual misconduct. Additionally, it is a violation of this policy to aid and abet another person in the commission of any sexual misconduct. The phrase “to aid and abet” is defined as any action or course of action that assists or encourages the commission of a violation under this policy.

The following are definitions of prohibited sexual misconduct under this policy:

  • Sexual Harassment: For purposes of this policy, sexual harassment means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
    1. An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
    2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity; or
    3. Sexual assault. The term “sexual assault” means an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense (see definitions below) under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
      • Sex Offenses – Forcible
        Any sexual act directed against another person, forcibly and/or against that persons will; or not forcibly or against the persons will where the victim is incapable of giving consent.

        1. Forcible Rape The carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly or against that persons will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of his/her youth (i.e., the  use of a body part to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, without the consent of that person).
        2. Forcible Sodomy– Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly against that persons will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
        3. Sexual Assault With An Object – The use of an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will; or not forcibly against the person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary or permanent mental or physical in capacity.
        4. Forcible Fondling – The touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that persons will; or not forcibly or against that person’s will where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her youth or because of his/her temporary mental incapacity.
    4. Sex Offenses – Non forcible Unlawful, non-forcible sexual intercourse.
      1. Incest– Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
      2. Statutory Rape – Non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.
  • Dating Violence: Dating violence also constitutes sexual misconduct. The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person—who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with an individual and where the existence of the relationship shall be determined based upon the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the following factors: length of relationship; type of relationship; and frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. For purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical violence or the threat of such violence.
  • Domestic Violence: Domestic violence also constitutes sexual misconduct. The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of an individual, by a person with whom an individual shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with an individual as a spouse or a partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the individual under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction where the incident occurred, or by any other person against an adult or youth individual who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the crime of violence occurred.Note: According to Ohio law, no person shall knowingly or recklessly threaten, attempt, or cause physical harm to a family or household member (full text of Ohio Revised Code §2919.25 “Domestic Violence” is available at: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2919.25).
  • Stalking: Stalking also constitutes sexual misconduct. The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or to suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition:
    • “Course of conduct” means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person’s property.
    • “Substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
    • “Reasonable person” for purposes of the definition of stalking means a reasonable person under similar circumstances.

    Note: According to Ohio law, no person shall engage in conduct, including conduct through electronic methods of communication and interaction, which causes emotional distress or causes a person to believe that the offender will physically harm them. The full text of Ohio Revised Code §2902.211 “Menacing by Stalking” is at: http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/2903.211.Note: If an alleged victim has obtained an order of protection or restraining order or other no contact order against the alleged perpetrator, the alleged victim must provide such information to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) so that the University can take all reasonable and legal action to implement the order in the University’s jurisdiction.

    For purposes of this policy, the following are the definitions of “consent” and “incapacitation”:

    • Definition of Consent:
      While all sexual contact outside the covenant of marriage is inconsistent with Catholic teaching and the University’s values, for purposes of determining whether sexual misconduct has occurred, “consent” is defined as a clear, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each participant. All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a person gave consent.The following information is critical to understanding consent to sexual activity:

      • Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply present or future consent.
      • Consent cannot be inferred from silence or an absence of resistance.
      • Coercion, force, use of fraud, or intimidation, or the threat or any of these, invalidates consent.
      • A current or previous romantic, social or sexual relationship with someone, or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused individual in the conduct at issue, does not imply present or future consent to any form of sexual activity.
      • Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter.
      • Consent can be withdrawn at any time by verbal or physical conduct that a reasonable person would understand to indicate a desire to stop or not engage in the sexual conduct at issue.
      • Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another.
      • Effective consent may not exist when there is a disparity of power between the parties (e.g., faculty/student, supervisor/employee).
      • A person who is incapacitated cannot consent. (See definition of incapacitation below).

      Note: Although not necessarily a violation of this policy, certain consensual sexual activity that is lewd, indecent, obscene or immoral conduct or expression that violates Catholic moral teaching on sexuality, or the promotion or advocacy of such conduct or expression, may be considered a violation of the Student Handbook or other University policies.

    • Definition of Incapacitation:Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition, including an intellectual or other disability. A person is mentally or physically incapacitated when that person lacks the ability to make or act on considered decisions to engage in sexual activity. Engaging in sexual contact with a person whom you know – or reasonably should know – to be incapacitated constitutes sexual misconduct. Warning signs of when a person may be incapacitated due to drug and/or alcohol use include, but not limited to, slurred or incomprehensible speech, falling down, unsteady gait, passing out, and vomiting.

V. STATEMENT ON CONSENSUAL RELATIONSHIPS

There are inherent risks in any romantic and/or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions, such as teacher and student or supervisor and employee. These relationships may be perceived as less consensual by the individual in the inferior power position. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Moreover, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Such relationships present the potential for exploitation. Employees must be mindful that the authority which they exercise in their interactions with students and subordinates may affect the decision of a student or a subordinate to enter into or end a romantic or sexual relationship. Even when both parties initially have consented, the development of a romantic or sexual relationship renders both the employee and the institution vulnerable to possible later allegations of sexual harassment or other forms of sexual misconduct in light of the significant power differential that exists between faculty members and students and supervisors and subordinates. Accordingly, the following consensual romantic and/or sexual relationships are prohibited at Franciscan University and can result in disciplinary action for an employee:

  • Between an employee (including faculty and staff) and a student whenever there are supervisory, teaching, evaluation, advising, coaching, or counseling responsibilities for the student.
  • Between a supervisor and employee whenever the supervisor has the direct responsibility for evaluating the performance or for making decisions regarding the hiring, promotion, tenure, compensation, or termination of the employee.
  • Between a Resident Director and students over whom they have direct responsibility.

Any alleged violation regarding the statement on consensual relationships will be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the allegation in accordance with the applicable employee or faculty handbook.

VI. REPORTING OPTIONS AND PRIVACY

All University employees (faculty and staff) are expected to promptly report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to the appropriate designated University officials set forth in this policy. Moreover, students and other campus community affiliates and visitors are encouraged to report such incidents. There is no stated timeframe (i.e., statute of limitations) for reporting, but prompt reporting will better enable the University to provide an appropriate response.

  • Failure of responsible employee to report incident: Failure of a “responsible employee” (unless they fall under “Confidential Reporting”) as described in this section, to report an incident or incidents of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct of which they become aware, is a violation of University policy and can be subject to disciplinary action in accordance with the applicable Employee Handbook or Faculty Handbook for failure to comply with this policy.
  • Privacy: In all cases, the University will handle reports in a sensitive manner and will endeavor to protect the privacy of individuals to the extent it can do so consistent with its obligations to respond to complaints. Information will be shared with others only to the extent necessary to respond to the situation and in accordance with state and federal law. As such, strict confidentiality may not be guaranteed. While discretion remains important, parties are not restricted from discussing and sharing information related to their complaints with others that may support or assist them in presenting their case, subject to limitations imposed by this policy, University policies governing freedom of speech and expression, and/or Academic Freedom to the extent necessary to safeguard the integrity of the investigation and grievance resolution processes set forth in this policy.
  • Actual knowledge: The term “actual knowledge” as used in this policy means notice of sexual misconduct or allegations of sexual misconduct provided to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator, or a University employee. If the University receives actual knowledge of sexual misconduct in an education program or activity of the University against a person in the United States, the University will respond promptly in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent. (Note: “Deliberately indifferent” means that the University’s response to sexual misconduct is clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.)
  • Good Faith Reports: The University encourages the good faith reporting of misconduct under this policy. However, the University will not allow this policy or the grievance resolution procedures to be abused for improper means. The University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents or to knowingly providing false information with reckless disregard for the truth during an investigation or grievance resolution process under this policy. Such conduct is a violation of this policy which will be addressed in accordance with the applicable student, employee, or faculty handbook and subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment or dismissal from school. Moreover, depending on the circumstances, such conduct may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
  • Reporting Options: In order to make informed choices, those individuals who have experienced violations of this policy should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality-meaning they are not required to report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to appropriate University officials (i.e., Title IX/EEO Coordinators)-thereby offering options and advise without any obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless the complainant (i.e., an individual who is alleged to be the victim/survivor of conduct that could constitute discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct as defined in this policy) has requested the information to be shared. Supportive measures, services and resources exist for a complainant to report policy violations and crimes and these supportive measures will take action when an incident is reported to the University. The University is required to initiate a preliminary review (described below under Section X of this policy) and offer supportive measures for a complainant once it receives a report regarding an incident that may have violated this policy.Note: Parents and guardians who have a legal right to act on behalf of a complainant (i.e., the complainant is a minor) may do so, including by filing formal complaints.

    The following describes the available reporting options at the University:

    1. Confidential Reporting: If an individual wishes the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the individual can speak with the following confidential resources:
      • Confidential Advocates at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
      • Ordained priests, ordained deacons, ordained ministers, and religious sisters and brothers who are operating in that role (or in their role at Franciscan University as a chaplain, pastoral minister or pastoral associate) and are recognized by a religious order or denomination as someone who provides confidential pastoral counseling or spiritual direction.
      • Certified spiritual directors located at Franciscan University who are operating in that role and are recognized by the University as someone who provides confidential spiritual direction.
      • Licensed professional counselors at the Franciscan University Counseling Center and counseling interns working under the supervision of a licensed professional counselor.
      • Health service providers at the Franciscan University Health Center.
      • Off-campus licensed professional counselors.
      • Off-campus sexual assault and domestic violence counselors, sexual assault centers, victim advocacy offices, women’s centers, and health centers.

      These confidential resources will honor confidentiality unless: (a) there is an extreme case of clear and imminent danger to the individual or to others; (b) suspected abuse of a minor; or (c) there is another basis for disclosure permitted or required by law. In such cases, the confidential resource must contact the necessary authorities. However, an individual’s disclosure during the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) will not be revealed by the priest for any reason, which is a protected obligation upheld by law.

      Additionally, these confidential resources (except for pastoral counselors and professional counselors as defined under the Clery Act) will submit annual, anonymous, aggregate statistical information only for federal statistical reporting purposes consistent with the Clery Act without disclosing any personal information or breaching any confidentiality, unless they believe it would be harmful to a specific individual. The only information to be submitted includes the date, the general location of the incident (using the Clery Act defined location categories such as “on or off-campus” or “adjacent public property” but no specific addresses are given or reported) and the Clery Act crime category. This information will be used for publication in the University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crimes, to ensure greater community safety.

    2. Reporting to the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator and Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators: Alleged violations of this policy are encouraged to be reported directly to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or to one of the Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators listed under Section III above. Individuals may use the online Formal Complaint Form, or schedule an appointment with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or to one of the Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators to report an incident. In the event a complainant requests that his or her name or other identifiable information not be shared with the respondent, or requests that the University take no formal action in response to a report, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) shall evaluate such request and notify such individual of the University’s response to such request. If the University honors the request for confidentiality, the University’s ability to meaningfully investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against a respondent may be limited. The University will consider the complainant’s request to the extent possible based on a careful evaluation of a range of factors, which include but are not limited to, any legal reporting requirements, the risk of harm to any individual and the University’s duty to maintain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all. In cases where the complainant requests confidentiality and the circumstances allow the University to honor that request, the University will offer supportive measures (as described below in Section X of this policy) to the complainant and the campus community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action.Complainants are advised, however, even if a Complainant has made such a request or requests that the University take no formal action in response to a report, the University may be obligated to move forward with a University-Initiated Investigation and potential disciplinary action if there is an individual or public safety concern and sufficient independent information exists to establish that this policy has been violated. Examples of situations in which the University may initiate or continue proceedings under the policy include when a report involves serious or repeated conduct or where the alleged perpetrator may pose a continuing threat to the University Community. If the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) determines that the University cannot maintain complainant confidentiality, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will attempt to inform the complainant and will limit the information shared to those with a need to know in order to handle the University’s response.
    3. Reporting to Law Enforcement Authorities: Because sexual misconduct may constitute both a violation of this policy and criminal laws, the University encourages individuals to report alleged criminal sexual misconduct to law enforcement agencies. Any individual who believes that he or she is in immediate danger should dial 740-283-6911 for campus security or 911 for local law enforcement. On-campus incidents may be reported to any of the local law enforcement agencies listed under Section XI of this policy. For off-campus incidents, reports may be filed with the local law enforcement agency where the incident occurred. Although individuals are encouraged to notify law enforcement agencies, they are not required to do so. Whether or not an individual who has been subjected to sexual misconduct chooses to pursue criminal charges externally, they have the right to pursue an internal complaint under this policy, regardless of the status of any external proceedings. As such, a complainant may seek recourse under this policy and/or pursue criminal action. In certain circumstances, the University may have an obligation to pursue an investigation, make a complaint, and/or take remedial action directly, even if a complainant chooses not to pursue the matter internally at the University and/or requests that their name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator. Law enforcement’s determination of whether or not to prosecute a respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, is determinative of whether a violation of University policy has occurred.The University will assist a complainant, at the complainant’s request, in contacting local law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a complainant decides to pursue the criminal process. In addition, the University will assist an alleged victim of sexual misconduct, who is interested, in obtaining a protection/restraining order from a court of law. If a complainant obtains such a court order, Campus Security will enforce the court order on campus. The investigation and proceedings under this policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following any external civil or criminal proceedings occurring off-campus. At the request of law enforcement, the University may agree to defer its fact gathering for a brief period during the initial evidence-gathering stage of a criminal investigation. The University will nevertheless communicate with the complainant regarding support, options for resolution and the implementation of supportive measures to address concerns regarding their safety and well-being. The University may also take immediate and prompt steps that it deems necessary to protect the University community. The University will promptly resume its investigation as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation.
    4. Reporting to University Employees: All Franciscan University employees (which include all faculty, staff, administrators and certain designated University student-employees (i.e., those students employed in Admissions/Enrollment Services; as a receptionist in the Office of Student Life; Resident Directors; and Resident Assistants) are considered “responsible employees” and are obligated to promptly report actual or suspected discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to one of the appropriate University officials designated in Section III of this policy. Anonymous reporting does not satisfy this mandatory reporting obligation. Prompt reporting is necessary to assure that the matter is handled promptly and appropriately by trained personnel and that appropriate corrective and remedial actions may be taken as warranted, including interim measures. Prompt reporting of such incidents enhances the ability of the University to promptly remedy violations of this policy and to prevent their recurrence. The information reported should include all relevant details about the alleged incident that a student or another person has shared with the responsible employee, including the names of the alleged perpetrator (if known), the student or other member of the campus community who experienced the alleged misconduct, others involved in the incident as well as the date, time and location of the incident.Before a person reveals this type of information to a responsible employee, the responsible employee should make every effort to ensure that the person understands the employee’s reporting obligation and the person’s option to request that the University maintain his or her confidentiality (which request would be considered by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator or designee), and the person’s ability to share the information confidentially with the confidential resources listed above.
    5. Reporting Sexual Misconduct Involving a Child/Minor: Sexual misconduct involving a child/minor (anyone under 18 years of age) must be reported. Ohio state law requires that all University employees who have reason to believe that a child/minor is a victim of child abuse or neglect (including sexual misconduct) have an affirmative duty to make an oral report to Child Protective Services (CPS) 1-855-OH-CHILD (1-855-642-4453) or to local law enforcement (See Section XI for a list of local law enforcement agencies). Failure to report may result in criminal charges. As such, the University will report known sexual misconduct involving a child/minor to the appropriate agency.
    6. Anonymous Reporting: If someone other than a University responsible employee wants to make a report of discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct on his or her behalf or on behalf of another person, but wishes to remain anonymous, you may do so by completing a secure Anonymous Online Form. This information will then be sent to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) for review and appropriate response and action. It is important to understand that if you choose to file an anonymous report, the University’s ability to investigate, respond or take further action may be limited by the level of information available about the incident or individuals involved. Nonetheless, if the identity of the complainant is revealed in the anonymous report, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will reach out to the complainant to discuss his/her rights and options under the policy and offer supportive measures.

VII. AMNESTY FOR SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVOLVING STUDENT COMPLAINANTS AND STUDENT WITNESSES

The University encourages reporting of sexual misconduct and seeks to remove barriers to making a report. At times, students may be hesitant to report sexual misconduct to University officials because they are concerned that they may be subject to student disciplinary action for policy/student handbook violations that occurred during the incident. These behaviors are not condoned by the University, but the importance of addressing alleged sexual misconduct is the paramount consideration of the University. Consequently, students who initiate contact with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinator, or a University responsible employee to report sexual misconduct in good faith, as a complainant or witness, will not be subject to student disciplinary action for other policy or student handbook violations that occurred during the incident. as long as such violations did not place the health and safety of any other person at risk. The University may, however, require students to participate in educational activities or other interventions as deemed appropriate by the Office of Student Life. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) shall determine if amnesty is granted, which will be determined on a case-by-case basis considering the totality of the circumstances involved in the incident. Moreover, amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by law enforcement or other legal authorities.

VIII. RETALIATION PROHIBITED

No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy or Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy or Title IX. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for policy/handbook violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual misconduct, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or formal complaint of sexual misconduct, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by this policy or Title IX, constitutes retaliation. The University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of retaliation (as well as discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct) pursuant to this policy, except as may be permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) statute or regulations, as required by law, or to carry out the purposes of this policy.

Any retaliation as described above is prohibited and is a separate violation of this policy. An individual who is threatened in any way should immediately report these concerns to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) or one of the designated Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators. All complaints, allegations, or reports of retaliation under this policy will be processed by the same procedures set forth in this policy. Individuals who engage in such retaliatory actions are subject to disciplinary sanctions as set forth in the grievance resolution process (See Section X below).

Some examples of retaliation include, but are not limited to:

  • Suspending or limiting a person’s involvement in an activity because of their participation in an investigation under this policy.
  • Taking adverse academic action against a student following a report of misconduct under this policy.
  • Communicating threats to an individual to encourage an individual not to pursue a complaint or to withdraw a complaint under this policy.

Note: The exercise of rights protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution do not constitute retaliation, subject to limitations imposed by the First Amendment and the Non-Disclosure Agreement described in Section X below. As such, the exercise of these rights could constitute retaliation in certain, limited circumstances depending on the nature of the conduct in question.

PRESERVATION OF EVIDENCE

Individuals are strongly encouraged to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible in cases of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct. Preservation of evidence may assist with the investigation and may be necessary for proof of the crime or in obtaining a protection order, if applicable. Nonetheless, the University will investigate complaints of misconduct even in the absence of physical evidence.

General Suggestions

  • Do not alter, dispose of, or destroy any physical evidence.
  • If there is suspicion that a drink may have been drugged, inform a medical assistance provider, Campus Security and/or law enforcement as soon as possible so they can attempt to collect possible evidence (e.g., from the drink, through urine or blood sample).
  • Preserve evidence of electronic communications by saving them and/or by taking screen shots of text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, or other electronic communications, and by keeping pictures, logs, or copies of documents that relate to the incident and/or perpetrator.
  • Even if individuals choose not to make a complaint regarding sexual misconduct, they should nevertheless consider speaking with Campus Security or other law enforcement to preserve evidence in the event that they change their mind at a later date.

Suggestions Specific to Sexual Assault/Rape

  • When physical violence of a sexual nature has been perpetrated against you, the University recommends that you immediately go to the emergency room of a local hospital, contact local law enforcement or campus security, and report the incident to the appropriate designated University officials set forth in this policy. If you are a student and need assistance or are uncomfortable contacting any of these entities or officials directly, please contact your resident assistant or resident director.
  • Because some evidence, particularly evidence that may be located on the body, dissipates quickly (within 48-96 hours), individuals who have been sexually assaulted and wish to preserve evidence should go to a local hospital immediately to seek a medical examination and/or evidence collection.
  • An individual who has been sexually assaulted should not shower, bathe, douche, smoke, brush teeth, eat, drink, or change clothes or bedding before going to the hospital or seeking medical attention. When seeking medical attention at a hospital, you should, if possible, take a full change of clothing, including shoes, for use after a medical examination.
  • If the individual who has been sexually assaulted decides to change clothes or bedding, they should not wash the clothes worn or bedding used during the assault, and should bring them to a hospital or the police in a non-plastic bag (e.g., paper bag).

X. GRIEVANCE RESOLUTION PROCESS

Overview of the Grievance Resolution Process

Upon receiving a report of a violation of this policy, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will begin a preliminary review (described below). Upon completion of the preliminary review, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will determine whether there is reasonable cause to initiate the grievance resolution process outlined below.

Definitions and Important Information

  1. Parties: Under this policy, the “complainant” means an individual who is alleged to be the victim/survivor of conduct that could constitute discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct as defined in this policy.  “Respondent” means an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct as defined in this policy.Note: Parents and guardians who have a legal right to act on behalf of parties (i.e., the party is a minor) may do so, including by filing formal complaints.
  2. Privacy: In the handling of inquiries and complaints under this policy, the University will protect confidentiality to the extent consistent with the University’s legal obligations to take all reasonable steps to protect the welfare of the parties and the University community. See also Section VI above regarding privacy.
  3. Presumption of non-responsibility:  The respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  4. Formal complaint: Under this policy, “formal complaint” means a document filed by a complainant or by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) alleging a violation of this policy against a respondent and requesting the University to investigate the allegation of a policy violation. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in the education program or activity of the University with which the formal complaint is filed. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) in person, by mail, by telephone, by electronic mail, by using the contact information listed for the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), or by any other means that results in the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) receiving the person’s verbal or written report. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the University) that contains the complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Where the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) signs a formal complaint, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) is not a complainant or otherwise a party.Note: The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will promptly contact a known complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures, consider the complainant’s wishes with respect to these measures,  inform the complainant of the availability of these measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint, and explain to the complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.
  5. Method of communication with University community: Under this policy, the University email system shall be the University’s official means of communication with all University students, employees and faculty unless an alternative means of communication is approved by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee). These University members are responsible for all information and notifications communicated from the University via their University email accounts. To comply with this policy, students, employees, and faculty are encouraged to check their University email accounts on a regular basis.
  6. Advisors: Each party has the right to choose and consult with an advisor of their choice throughout the reporting, investigation, and grievance resolution process.  The parties may be accompanied by their respective advisors at any interview, meeting or proceeding related to the investigation and grievance resolution process. While the advisors may provide support and advice to the parties at any meeting and/or proceeding, their role is passive and they may not speak on behalf of the parties or otherwise participate in such interviews, meetings or proceedings, except to conduct cross-examination at a hearing as described herein below. An advisor shall keep all information acquired during the process confidential. In the event a party does not have an advisor of choice, the University will provide a party, upon request, with an advisor without fee or charge to the party. Moreover, if a party does not have an advisor present at a hearing, the University will provide an advisor for the party for the purpose to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party without fee or charge to that party.The University reserves the right to dismiss an advisor who fails to follow this policy and the guidelines promulgated for advisors by the University. Advisors will be provided written guidelines which they will be required to acknowledge and adhere to throughout the process.

    Note: A Confidential Advocate employed through the University may not serve as an advisor but may appear as a support person at any interview, meeting or proceeding related to the investigation and grievance resolution process.  Their role is also passive, and they may not speak on behalf of the parties or otherwise participate in such interviews, meetings, or proceedings.

  7. Supportive Measures:Supportive measures means non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the complainant and/or the respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’ education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter discrimination or sexual misconduct. The University will maintain as confidential any supportive measures provided to the complainant or respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide the supportive measures.The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will notify the complainant and respondent of his/her options for supportive measures. Additionally, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) has sole discretion to implement or stay a supportive measure imposed under this policy and to determine its conditions and duration. The measures that the University implements will vary depending on the facts of each case. Factors that might be considered during this process include, but are not limited to the following: the specific need expressed by the complainant or respondent; the age of the students involved; the severity or pervasiveness of the allegations; any continuing effects on the complainant and respondent; whether the complainant and respondent share the same residence hall, dining hall, class, transportation or job location; whether other judicial measures have been taken to protect the complainant (e.g., civil protection orders); and other similar concerns. The University will keep interim measures as confidential as possible, provided the confidentiality does not impair the University’s ability to provide the supportive measures.

    These supportive measures may include, but are not limited to:

    • Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties (e.g., Imposition of a “no-contact order”).
    • Full or partial suspension of a student during the pendency of the case.
    • Full or partial paid or unpaid administrative leave of a non-student employee during the pendency of the case. A leave of absence may occur, but only to the extent that such removal conforms with the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Referral to counseling and health services.
    • Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments (e.g., Rescheduling of exams and assignments).
    • Rescheduling of dining times.
    • Modification of class schedule, including the ability to transfer course sections or withdraw from a course.
    • Modification of work schedule or job assignment.
    • Modification of campus housing as available and extracurricular activities.
    • Providing campus escorts and transportation accommodations.
    • Denying access to campus housing, facilities, events and/or activities.
    • Any other similar measures that can be used to achieve the goals of this policy.

    Emergency Removal:

    The University may remove a respondent from an education program or activity on an emergency basis under this policy, provided that: (1) the University undertakes an individualized safety and risk analysis; (2) determines that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of sexual misconduct justifies removal; and (3) provides the respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal. Removal of a student on an emergency basis may occur, but only to the extent that such removal conforms with the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504), or the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

    Accordingly, when necessary to protect the safety of the complainant and/or other University community members, the University may issue a full or partial suspension to the student respondent on an interim basis until the matter is resolved. Likewise, the University may issue a paid or unpaid leave of absence to an employee/faculty respondent on an interim basis until the matter is resolved.

    Moreover, in the event any cleric or religious, for whom there is reasonable cause to suspect unwelcome sexual contact against a student, will be immediately suspended from private interactions with students until such time as the matter is resolved. So too, in the event any non-cleric employee for whom there is reasonable cause to suspect unwelcome sexual contact against a student, will be immediately suspended from private interaction with students until the matter is resolved or the Title IX Coordinator (or designee) determines such restrictions are no longer needed. A respondent will have the opportunity to meet with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) and be heard prior to a full or partial suspension or leave of absence being imposed.

    Nothing in this policy shall be construed as restricting the University’s ability to remove a respondent under other applicable University policies, should the provisions of such policies be implicated by the respondent’s conduct.

    All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about the failure of another to abide by any restrictions imposed by a supportive measure. The University will take immediate action to enforce a previously implemented measure and disciplinary sanctions can be imposed for failing to abide by a University-imposed supportive measure. Upon a preliminary finding by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) that an individual failed to abide by an imposed supportive measure, the matter will be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Student Life, Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the alleged violation in accordance with the applicable student, employee and/or faculty handbooks and impose the appropriate disciplinary sanctions as outlined in the respective handbook.

  8. Notice to Parties: The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will contact the complainant if someone other than the complainant made the report. In cases in which someone other than the complainant made the report, the reporting party may have no further involvement in the process, except for a parent or guardian who has a legal right to act on behalf of a party. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will notify the complainant of available supportive measures  (such as counseling services, medical and mental health services, victim advocacy services), the right to report/file a criminal complaint with local law enforcement, and the option to seek a protection/restraining order from a court of law.If the grievance resolution process is initiated, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will notify  the respondent that a formal complaint has been filed against him or her; inform the respondent of the nature of the complaint (which includes sufficient details such as identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known; the conduct allegedly constituting a violation of this policy; and the date and location of the alleged incident if known).  The respondent will be provided a written copy a of the formal complaint and be provided sufficient time to prepare a response before an initial interview.

    The notice to the parties must also include the following:

    1. A statement that the respondent is presumed not responsible until a determination is made and that such determination is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
    2. A statement that the parties may have an advisor of their choice, who may, but is not required to be, an attorney. In the event a party does not have an advisor of choice, the University will provide a party, upon request, with an advisor without cost or fee. Nonetheless, if a party does not have an advisor present at a live hearing, the University must and will provide an advisor for the party to conduct cross- examination at the hearing without cost or fee.
    3. A statement that the parties may inspect and review evidence.
    4. A statement that the student, employee, and faculty handbooks prohibit making false statements or knowingly submitting false information.
    5. A statement that if the University later decides to investigate allegations not included in the initial notice, it will provide notice of the additional allegations to the parties.
    6. A statement that there are no restrictions for either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence. However, the parties and their respective advisors will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement that is in compliance with all applicable laws only to the extent necessary to safeguard the integrity of the grievance process. The Non-Disclosure Agreement will be provided to the parties along with the notice and must be acknowledged by the parties.

    The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) shall explain to both parties the avenues for informal and formal grievance resolution process action, including a description of the process and the relevant avenues to the complainant and respondent and provide each of them with a copy of this policy. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will provide the parties with written notice of the date, time, location, participants involved, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meetings with sufficient time for the party to prepare and participate.

  9. General Rights of Complainants and Respondents:
    • The right to be treated equitably with dignity and respect.
    • The right to receive information about this policy.
    • The right to a prompt and equitable investigation and resolution of allegations of prohibited conduct.
    • The right to be notified of available supportive measures, resources, and services.
    • The right to be informed of options to notify law enforcement authorities and the option to be assisted by the University in notifying such authorities if the individual so chooses. Filing a report with law enforcement does not prevent the University from proceeding under this policy.
    • The right to be informed of the option to seek a protection/restraining order from a court of law.
    • The right to have this policy and the procedures set forth herein followed.
    • The right to protect confidentiality to the extent possible as allowed by the law and this policy.
    • The right to reasonably available supportive measures, as described in these procedures.
    • The right to freedom from retaliation for making a good faith report of prohibited conduct or participating in any proceeding under the policy.
    • The responsibility to refrain from retaliation directed against any person for making a good faith report of prohibited conduct or participating in any proceeding under the policy.
    • The responsibility to provide truthful information in connection with any report investigation, or resolution of prohibited conduct under the policy or these procedures.
    • The opportunity to articulate concerns or issues about proceedings under the policy and these procedures.
    • The right to timely notice of any meeting or proceeding at which the party’s presence is contemplated by these procedures.
    • The opportunity to choose an advisor, including the right to have that advisor attend any meeting or proceeding at which the party’s presence is contemplated by these procedures.
    • The right to written notice of an investigation, including notice of potential policy violations, allegations of the prohibited conduct, and grievance procedures.
    • The opportunity to challenge the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), assigned investigator, person designated to facilitate an informal resolution, or any member of the Hearing Panel or Appeals Officer for conflict of interest or bias.
    • The opportunity to offer information, present evidence, and identify witnesses during an investigation.
    • The opportunity to be heard, orally and/or in writing, as to the determination of a policy violation and the imposition of any disciplinary sanction(s).
    • The right to progress of the investigation and anticipated time to resolution.
    • The right to an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory.
    • The right for credibility determinations that are not based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
    • The right that the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), Deputy Title IX/EOO Coordinators, investigators, persons who facilitate an informal resolution, any member of the Hearing Panel or Appeals Officers are trained on discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct; definition of sexual harassment; the scope of the University’s education program or activity; and how to conduct an investigation and grievance process that includes how to serve impartially, including avoiding prejudgment, conflicts of interest and bias.
    • The right that members of the Hearing Panel and Appeals Officer receive training on technology to be used at a live hearing, and training on issues of relevance, conflict of interest, bias, and evidence.
    • The right that investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
    • The right that training materials do not rely on sex stereotypes and promote impartial investigations and adjudications.
    • The right to review investigative documents, specifically witness interview summaries, papers submitted by either party or a witness, and the investigative report.
    • The right to equal access to any information that will be used during Informal and/or Formal Resolution proceedings and related meetings.
    • The right to reasonable time to prepare any response contemplated by these procedures.
    • The right to written notice of any extension of timeframes for good cause.
    • The right to prohibit questions seeking information and use of evidence that is protected under a legally or University recognized privilege, absent waiver of the privilege.
    • The right to present witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence.
    • The right that the burden of proof and the gathering of evidence sufficient to reach a determination is not placed on the parties. However, the University will inquire of the parties those witnesses and evidence a party seeks to be considered in the grievance resolution process thereby allowing the investigator to follow up accordingly.
    • The right for both parties to pose all relevant questions to the other party and to witnesses and an explanation of any decision to exclude questions as not relevant.
    • The right to appeal a finding and/or disciplinary sanction.
    • The right to written notice of the outcome of any Investigation, Informal and Formal Grievance Resolution Processes, and/or Request for Appeal.
  10. Completion of Investigation Process:The University aims to bring all allegations to a prompt resolution within a reasonable period of time not to exceed ninety  (90) calendar days from receipt of the original complaint through the grievance resolution process up to and including appeal, which can be extended as necessary for good cause by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) with written notice to the parties with an explanation for the delay or extension.
  11. Standard of Review:Decisions regarding whether or not a respondent is responsible for violating  this policy will be based upon careful consideration of all available evidence presented and evaluated using a “preponderance of the evidence standard” (i.e., if it is “more likely than not” that the policy was violated).
  12. Acceptance of Responsibility:The respondent may, at any time, elect to resolve the formal complaint by accepting responsibility for the prohibited conduct, in which case the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will refer the matter to either: (i) the Vice President of Student Life (or designee) for students; (ii) the Vice President of Human Resources (or designee) for employees and all other individuals; or (iii) the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee) for faculty, to determine the appropriate disciplinary sanctions. As to respondent faculty members, if the proposed disciplinary sanction by the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee) includes suspension or dismissal of a tenured faculty member, the matter will be referred to the University’s President, who will decide whether to initiate the process set forth in the Faculty Handbook for imposition of such a disciplinary sanction.
  13. Hearing Panel and Appeals:
    • Hearing Panel. A hearing panel is appointed when necessary according to the process described below. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will appoint a standing pool of trained members from the University faculty and staff and, in the discretion of the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), externally trained professionals with experience adjudicating cases of prohibited conduct under this policy. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will select at least three (3) members from this pool to serve on the Hearing Panel. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), Deputy Title IX/EEO Coordinators, or the investigator(s) are prohibited from serving on the Hearing Panel. The Vice President of Student Life (or designee) will serve as the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel involving a complaint against a student. The Vice President of Human Resources (or designee) will serve as the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel involving a complaint against any employee or person who is not a student.
    • Appeals: Appeals will be reviewed by the Vice President of Finance (or designee).
  14. Conflict of Interest/Bias:A complainant and/or respondent may challenge the participation of an investigator or panelist selected on the Hearing Panel and/or the person designated to review an appeal because of perceived conflict of interest or bias. Such challenges, including rationale, must be made in writing to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) within 48 hours after receiving notification as to the identity of the investigator, panelist member and/or the person designated to review an appeal. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will have the sole discretion to determine whether such a conflict of interest or bias  exists and whether an investigator, panelist member and/or the person designated to review an appeal should be replaced. If an involved University employee determines that he or she cannot apply these procedures fairly and impartially because of the identity of a complainant, respondent, or witness, or due to any other conflict of interest or bias, another suitable person will be assigned.The decision of  the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) relating to a conflict of interest/bias challenge may be appealed by filing a written appeal explaining the bases of the appeal with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the decision. The appeal can be submitted to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) via email, hand, or mail delivery. If the appeal request is not timely filed with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), the appeal will be dismissed, and the decision will stand. If an appeal is timely filed, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will review the appeal and issue a decision within ten (10) calendar days from when the appeal was received; if the decision will take longer, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will let the party/parties know. The decision of the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will be final.
  15. Consolidation of Cases – Complaints Involving Multiple Parties: The University may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations for violations of this policy against more than one respondent, or by more than one complainant against one or more respondents, or by one party against another party, where the allegations of a policy violation arise out of the same facts or circumstances. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) has the authority to consolidate the cases into a single complaint for investigation and resolution purposes.
  16. Special Procedure for Complaints against University President or Title IX/EEO Coordinator: If a complaint involves alleged conduct on the part of the University’s President, the University’s Board of Trustees will designate an Investigating Officer. Based on the information gathered by the investigation, the Board of Trustees will conduct a hearing and render a determination. The determination of the Board of Trustees is final and not subject to appeal.If a complaint involves alleged conduct on the part of the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), the University’s President will designate an Investigating Officer. Based on the information gathered by the investigation, the President will conduct a hearing and render a determination. The determination of the President is final and not subject to appeal.

Investigation Process:

Preliminary Review

Upon receiving notice of a report for a violation of this policy, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will begin a preliminary review. Upon completing the preliminary review, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will determine whether or not there is reasonable cause to initiate a formal investigation (see below) and whether or not there is reasonable cause to move toward adjudication through either the Informal Grievance Resolution Process or Formal Grievance Resolution Process as described below. At any point in the investigation, if it is determined that there is no reasonable cause to believe that this policy may have been violated, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) has authority to terminate the investigation and end further proceedings under this policy; however, the case could be referred to other University offices where appropriate to address the alleged misconduct in accordance with the respective student, employee or faculty handbook.

Dismissal of a formal complaint

The University is required by law to dismiss a formal complaint under certain circumstances. If the conduct alleged in the formal complaint would not constitute a violation of sexual misconduct as defined in this policy even if proved, did not occur in the University’s education program or activity, or did not occur against a person in the United States, then the University must dismiss the formal complaint with regard to that conduct for purposes of sexual misconduct under Title IX.  Nonetheless, the case could be referred to other University offices where appropriate to address the alleged misconduct in accordance with the respective student, employee, or faculty handbook.

Moreover, the University may dismiss the formal complaint or any allegations therein, if at any time during the investigation or hearing: a complainant notifies the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) in writing that the complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein; the respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University; or specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.

Upon a dismissal required or permitted pursuant to this section, the University will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and reason(s) therefor simultaneously to the parties.

A dismissal of a formal complaint by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee)may be appealed by filing a written appeal, explaining the bases of the appeal, with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the dismissal decision. The appeal can be submitted to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) via email, hand, or mail delivery. If the appeal request is not timely filed with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), the appeal will be dismissed, and dismissal decision will stand. If an appeal is timely filed, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will review the appeal and issue a decision within ten (10) calendar days from when the appeal was received; if the decision will take longer, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will let the party/parties know. The decision of the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will be final.

Note: At the discretion of the University, a respondent may not be permitted to withdraw or take a leave of absence from the University after the University receives a report of an alleged violation of this policy. The University reserves the right to proceed with an investigation regardless of a respondent’s request for a withdrawal or for a leave of absence from the University. Additionally, the University is not permitted to require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints.

Informal and Formal Grievance Resolution Processes:

Informal Grievance Resolution Process 

After a formal complaint has been filed and at any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the University may facilitate an informal grievance resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication, provided that the University provides to the parties a written notice disclosing:

  1. the allegations;
  2. the requirements of the informal grievance resolution process (including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations, provided that at any time prior to agreeing to the resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint); and
  3. any consequences resulting from participating in the informal grievance resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared.

Each party must provide the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) with voluntary, written consent to participate in the Informal Grievance Resolution Process. The Informal Grievance Resolution Process is not permitted to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.

The University encourages informal resolution when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively. Informal resolution may include inquiries into the facts but does not rise to the level of a formal investigation. The informal resolution process is designed to resolve complaints quickly, efficiently, and to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved. Where circumstances allow, the informal process will be initiated as soon as possible after the filing of a formal complaint. With the concurrence of the complainant and the respondent, an investigator assigned by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) and/or the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) may facilitate an outcome through informal resolution and with the assistance of an appropriate University official or other outside trained person designated by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) if needed. Any resolution through this informal grievance resolution procedure must be mutually agreed upon by the parties involved. As stated above, both the complainant and the respondent have the right to bypass or end the informal grievance resolution process at any time and initiate a formal grievance resolution investigation and hearing. Any failure to comply with the terms of an informal grievance resolution agreement may result in disciplinary sanctions and/or, if warranted, a further allegation of misconduct. Upon a preliminary finding by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) that an individual failed to abide by the informal grievance resolution agreement, the matter will be referred to the respective University Vice President (for Student Life, Human Resources and/or Academic Affairs) to address the alleged violation in accordance with the applicable student, employee and/or faculty handbooks and impose the appropriate disciplinary sanctions.

Informal grievance resolution includes, but is not limited to, options such as referral to another campus office or program, mediation, separation of the parties, referral of the parties to counseling programs, conducting educational and/or training programs, or other supportive  measures. If necessary, certain cases that are resolved through informal grievance resolution may be subject to follow up after a period of time. Steps taken by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) to help the parties achieve informal grievance resolution will be documented.  The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will review the informal grievance resolution and may approve it, reject it, or require modification. If the informal grievance resolution is approved, the investigator or Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will prepare a written memorandum defining the terms of the informal grievance resolution agreement resolving the formal complaint and will present the memorandum to the parties simultaneously for their review and approval. Typically, an Informal Grievance Resolution Process will be completed within 60 days of the receipt of the complaint. If additional time is needed, both parties will be notified.

Formal Grievance Resolution Process 

If the allegation of alleged violation of this policy has not been resolved as a result of the informal grievance process or is not suited for informal efforts, or if either the complainant or the respondent requests to invoke the formal grievance resolution process, a formal investigation will be initiated. The formal grievance resolution process will involve an investigation and, depending on the circumstances, a hearing panel determination. An investigation by the University and a decision by the hearing panel will, in most cases, be rendered within a reasonable period of time not to exceed ninety (90) calendar days of the filing of a formal complaint. This time period can be modified for good cause at the discretion of the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), if deemed necessary under the circumstances (e.g., to conduct a thorough investigation or to protect the rights of all parties). If the formal investigation and resolution for the alleged violation will not be completed within ninety (90) calendar days from the filing of the formal complaint, the complainant and the respondent will be notified in writing with an explanation for the delay or extension.

  • Formal Investigation: This policy provides for a thorough, prompt, fair and impartial investigation. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) or a trained investigator appointed by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will conduct the formal investigation. The University reserves the right to utilize outside trained investigators as needed. During an investigation, the complainant will have the opportunity to describe his or her allegations and present supporting witnesses or other evidence. The respondent will have the opportunity to respond to the allegations and present supporting witnesses or other evidence. The investigator will review evidence presented and will meet with additional witnesses identified by the complainant, the respondent, or third parties, as determined appropriate by the investigator. All parties and witnesses involved in the investigation are expected to cooperate and provide complete and truthful information throughout the investigation process. In some cases, the investigator may interview the parties on more than one occasion. The investigator may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written, photographic, or other means. Additionally, the investigator may consult medical, forensic, technological, or other experts when expertise on a topic is needed in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the issues under investigation. Evidence that is irrelevant may be excluded from consideration by the investigator or the Hearing Panel.
  • Investigation Report: Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will provide both the complainant and the respondent and their respective advisors, if any, the opportunity to review the preliminary written report and appended evidence at least fourteen (14) days prior to the hearing (or other time of determination regarding responsibility) and they must submit any written responses to the report to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) within ten (10) days from receipt of the written report. The written report and appended evidence will be provided to the parties and their respective advisors, if any, in an electronic format (using a file sharing platform or other electronic means) or by providing a hard copy upon request. The investigator will consider all written responses prior to completion of the investigative report.The investigation report will fairly summarize the relevant evidence, including but not limited to:  details of the allegations made by the complainant; statements and/or responses of the complainant, respondent and witnesses; and a description of all procedural steps taken, including any notifications to the parties, interviews, site visits, and evidence gathering.
  • Procedure for Hearings that Proceed to a Hearing Panel:
    When, following an investigation, if the complainant or respondent disputes the recommended findings from the investigator, the case will proceed to a Hearing Panel. The University utilizes a Hearing Panel (as described above) specially trained to handle cases of prohibited misconduct pursuant to this policy. All Panel members receive periodic training on hearing practices.

    • Notice: Both the complainant and the respondent will be notified at least seven (7) days (168 hours) in advance of the date and time of the hearing and the names of the hearing panelists.
    • Prehearing Conference: The parties will meet individually (either in person, virtually or by telephone) with the respective hearing panel chairperson in advance of the hearing to establish effective case management of the case. Matters to be discussed at the prehearing conference include but are not limited to: scheduling issues, identification of witnesses and documents, possible stipulations, requests for accommodations, anticipated questions and objections at the hearing, attendance of the parties and their respective advisors, and such other matters that may aid in the efficient management of the case at the hearing.
    • Attendance/Participation: Should the respondent or complainant fail to attend the scheduled hearing; the hearing will proceed, and a decision will be made in his or her absence as neither party is required to participate in the hearing. Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present at the same geographic location, or, at the University’s discretion, participants may appear virtually with technology enabling participants to simultaneously see and hear each other.If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing (with or without the presence of the party), the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the University’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party. However, a Confidential Advocate employed through the University may not serve as an advisor at a hearing but may appear as a support person upon request by a party.  An advisor is permitted to give a statement as a witness and any perceived “conflict of interest or bias” created under that situation would be taken into account by the Hearing Panel in weighing the credibility and persuasiveness of the advisor-witness’s testimony.

      Hearings are closed to all but the respondent, complainant, witnesses, advisors, and the Hearing Panel. The University reserves the right to permit other individuals to participate as an observer, support person for a party, or necessary personnel to effectuate recording of the hearing or to assist in the management of the hearing. Postponement: The hearing may be postponed until a later date for good cause (e.g., absence of a party, an advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; need for accommodations, etc.)at the sole discretion of the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel  (or designee). Any requests by the complainant or respondent for a postponement of the hearing must be communicated to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel (or designee) at least 48 hours before the hearing unless there is a compelling emergency.

    • Accommodations: Upon request, accommodations may be made for complainants and respondents who do not wish to be in the hearing room at the same time. This accommodation will consist of holding the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling the participants to simultaneously see and hear each other. All requests must be made to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel (or designee) at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the hearing.
    • Voluntary Agreement: At any time during the course of this process, the parties may voluntarily agree to resolve any allegations of prohibited behavior in lieu of findings and disciplinary sanctions under this policy.
    • Witnesses, Exhibits, and Proposed Questions for Hearing: The complainant and respondent may testify on their own behalf and may suggest other relevant material witnesses to provide information. Absent exceptional circumstances for good cause, the complainant and respondent must provide the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel  (or designee) in writing at least seventy-two (72) hours in advance of the hearing a final witness and exhibit list indicating the names of any proposed witnesses and a summary of  the information they will provide at the hearing; and a list of the exhibits (e.g., physical or documentary evidence) to be introduced at the hearing. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel (or designee) will request that such witnesses appear at the hearing. Additionally, absent exceptional circumstances for good cause, the complainant and respondent must provide to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) in writing at least 72 hours in advance of the hearing suggested questions to be asked of the witnesses testifying before the panel. The parties will be permitted to ask additional follow-up questions at the hearing provided the Chairperson determines such questions to be relevant and not duplicative. The names of proposed witnesses, list of exhibits, and suggested questions submitted to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel (or designee) by the complainant or respondent will be shared with the other party in advance of the hearing.
    • Duty of Candor: All members of the University community and other individuals, who appear before the Hearing Panel, whether as parties to the proceedings or as witnesses, are expected to provide truthful testimony. A student, employee or faculty member may not knowingly provide a false statement during a hearing. Such conduct is a violation of this policy and will be addressed in accordance with the applicable student, employee, or faculty Handbook and subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination from employment or dismissal from school.
    • Basic Hearing and Prehearing Etiquette: All participants are to be respectful and courteous; abide by the rulings, guidelines and directives imposed by the Hearing Panel; and not engage in distracting behavior.
    • Hearing Packet: In advance of the hearing, the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) prepares a packet with information it deems relevant to the case to be shared with the Hearing Panel. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) will provide both the complainant and the respondent with the opportunity to review the hearing packet in advance of the hearing. If a complainant or respondent wishes to share additional evidence not contained in the hearing packet for consideration at  the hearing, it must be submitted to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel  (or designee) at least 24 hours before the hearing for review. Absent exceptional circumstances for good cause, additional evidence submitted by a party past the deadlines set forth above will not be considered by the Hearing Panel. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel will provide the parties with a written explanation as to his/her decision to permit or not permit the additional evidence to be included in the hearing packet. If good cause is found, the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel (or designee) will share the additional evidence with the complainant/respondent and the Hearing Panel. The packet will include a copy of the investigation report and the written responses from the complainant and the respondent regarding the report.
    • Recordings: A respondent, complainant, advisor, and/or witness may not bring electronic devices that capture or facilitate communication (e.g., computer, cell phone, audio/video recorder, etc.) into a hearing room. The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript of any live hearing and make it available to the parties upon request which will kept on file for seven (7) years. Reasonable care will be taken to create a quality audio or audiovisual recording to minimize technical problems; however, technical problems that result in no recording or an inaudible one will not be a valid argument for appeal.
    • Hearing Format: The Hearing Panel has general authority over the conduct of the hearing (e.g., it may set time frames for witness testimony and it may limit opening/closing statements or their length, etc.). The general course of procedure for a panel hearing is as follows:
      1. Introductions and discussion of hearing procedures and decorum.
      2. Opening statement from the complainant
      3. Opening statement from the respondent
      4. Presentation of statements from the complainant and complainant’s witnesses. Upon completion of each statement, the other party’s advisor will be permitted to ask relevant cross-examination questions followed by questions from the Hearing Panel, if any.
      5. Presentation of statements from the respondent and respondent’s witnesses. Upon completion of each statement, the other party’s advisor will be permitted to ask relevant cross-examination questions followed by questions from the Hearing Panel, if any.
      6. Complainant’s closing statement.
      7. Respondent’s closing statement.
      8. Complainant’s brief rebuttal statement.

      A complainant or respondent may not question each other or other witnesses directly. Only a party’s advisor is permitted to ask cross examination questions of the other party or witnesses and follow-up questions, including that challenging credibility. Such cross-examination questions must be conducted directly, orally, and in real-time by the party’s advisor and never by a party personally, notwithstanding the discretion of the Hearing Panel to otherwise restrict the extent of the advisor’s participation. Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a complainant, respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. A question appears to be relevant if it tends to prove or disprove the issue of responsibility. If any additional questions (other than those questions previously submitted in writing prior to the hearing) are desired to be asked by either party during the hearing, the party must make that request to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel, who will determine whether to ask them. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel determines the relevancy of any information presented at the hearing and can exclude any irrelevant or duplicitous information.

    • Evidence: Issues regarding admission of evidence or testimony, including relevancy and the reliability of the evidence and testimony will be determined by the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel during the hearing. The Chairperson of the Hearing Panel must explain any decision to exclude admission of evidence or testimony as not relevant.If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the hearing, the Hearing Panel must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination on responsibility. The Hearing Panel cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination questions.

      Sexual history of either party may not be considered during the hearing unless such information is determined to be highly relevant by the Chairperson. However, all cross-examination must exclude evidence of the complainant’s sexual behavior or predisposition, unless such evidence about the complainant’s sexual behavior is offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if the evidence concerns specific incidents of the complainant’s sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and is offered to prove consent.

    • Decision on responsibility: At the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Panel will deliberate in private regarding whether the respondent is “In violation” or “Not in violation” of this policy. The Chairperson and Hearing Panel may confer with the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) or legal counsel, as needed. Evidence will be evaluated under a “preponderance of the evidence standard,” meaning that the respondent will be found “In violation” of the policy if, based upon the entirety of the evidence presented during the hearing, it is determined that the respondent “more likely than not” violated the policy in question. A majority vote is required. If there is a finding that the respondent is “In violation” of this policy, disciplinary sanctions will be imposed as described below. The parties will be advised simultaneously in writing of the decision and the imposed disciplinary sanctions, if applicable. The written decision will summarize the hearing panel’s decision which must include:
      1. Identification of the allegations potentially constituting a violation of this policy;
      2. A description of all procedural steps taken, including any notifications to the parties, interviews, site visits, evidence gathering, and hearings;
      3. Findings of fact supporting the decision;
      4. Conclusions regarding the application of the University’s code of conduct (i.e., student, employee, or faculty handbooks) to the facts;
      5. A statement of and rationale for each allegation, including the determination of responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided to the complainant; and
      6. Procedures and permissible bases for appeal.

      The Hearing Panel will generally issue a written decision within ten (10) calendar days from the completion of the hearing; if the decision will take longer, the parties will be notified.

    • Disciplinary sanctions:
      • If there is a finding that the respondent is “In violation” of this policy, a disciplinary sanction will be imposed.
      • Disciplinary sanctions for students will be determined by the Vice President of Student Life (or designee) and may include, but are not limited to: warning, restitution, disciplinary probation, suspension for a definite period of time after which the student is eligible to return (Note: Conditions for readmission may be specified), permanent dismissal, specialized treatment off-campus, no-contact orders, trespass from campus, housing restrictions, adjustments to course schedules, revocation of admission, transcript notation, restrictions on participation in graduation and/or other University programs or activities, and/or other educational disciplinary sanctions deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
      • Disciplinary sanctions for University employees (other than faculty) will be determined by the Vice President of Human Resources (or designee) and may include, but not limited to: warning, restitution, suspension for a definite period of time after which the employee is eligible to return (Note: Conditions for reemployment may be specified), permanent termination from employment, required counseling, educational measures, and/or other disciplinary sanctions deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
      • Disciplinary sanctions for University faculty will be determined by the Vice President for Academic Affairs (or designee) and may include, but not limited to: warning, restitution, suspension for a definite period of time after which the faculty member is eligible to return (Note: Conditions for reemployment may be specified), permanent termination from employment, required counseling, educational measures, termination of an appointment with tenure or of a non-tenured appointment (for faculty) and/or other disciplinary sanctions deemed appropriate under the circumstances.
      • Imposed disciplinary sanctions will remain in effect pending the outcome of any appeal process; although a request may be made to the Chairperson of the Hearing Panel to delay implementation of the disciplinary sanctions until the appeal is decided. However, as to respondent faculty members, if the proposed disciplinary sanction includes suspension or dismissal of a tenured faculty member and the case is not appealed, the matter will be referred to the University’s President, who will decide whether to initiate the process set forth in the Faculty Handbook for imposition of such a disciplinary sanction.
      • Both parties will be notified in writing simultaneously of the panel’s decision. The parties will also be informed of the disciplinary sanctions imposed, if applicable, and the University appeal procedures. The Chairperson will also promptly notify the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) in writing of the decision and the disciplinary sanctions imposed, if applicable. Regardless of the outcome of the formal hearing, interim measures may be provided to the complainant or respondent by the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee). Such interim measures (as described hereinabove) include any appropriate remedy warranted by the circumstances.

Appeals

Complainants and respondents may file a written appeal with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) within seven (7) calendar days from the date of the decision. To file an appeal, please use the University’s Request for Appeal or contact the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) to obtain a paper version of the Request for Appeal Form. The non-appealing party will be notified that an appeal has been filed and have an opportunity to provide a written response to the request for appeal via the University’s Response Statement or contact the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) to obtain a paper version of the Response Statement. This Response Statement must be submitted within seven (7) calendar days of receipt of Request for Appeal. These documents can be submitted to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee) via email, hand, or mail delivery. If an appeal is timely filed, the decision and imposed sanctions, if any, rendered by the Hearing Panel will be stayed until a final decision on the appeal is issued by the Vice President of Finance (or designee).

If the appeal request is not timely filed with the University’s Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), the appeal will be dismissed and the Hearing Panel’s decision and imposed disciplinary sanctions (if applicable) will stand. However, as to respondent faculty members, if the proposed disciplinary sanction includes suspension or dismissal of a tenured faculty member and the appeal is dismissed, the matter will be referred to the University’s President, who will decide whether to initiate the process set forth in the Faculty Handbook for imposition of such a disciplinary sanction.

The only grounds for appeal are as follows:

  • The appropriateness of the disciplinary sanction(s) relative to the violation(s);
  • To consider new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome;
  • The Title IX/EEO Coordinator, investigator, or Hearing Panel had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome;
  • A procedural irregularity or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing; and/or
  • The decision of the Hearing Panel was unsupported by substantial evidence. Substantial evidence refers to evidence that a reasonable person could accept as adequate to support the decision.

If an appeal is timely filed, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will review the case and may issue the following outcomes:

  • Affirm the decision and imposed disciplinary sanction(s) rendered.
  • Affirm the decision and change the disciplinary sanction(s) imposed to a lesser or more severe disciplinary sanction.
  • If the Vice President of Finance (or designee) determines that a procedural irregularity or substantive error(s) occurred that affected the outcome in the Formal Grievance Resolution Process, the case may be remanded to the Hearing Panel with specific instructions to correct the error(s) and reconsider the case.
  • If the Vice President of Finance (or designee) determines that the appeal request contains new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome, the case shall be remanded to the Hearing Panel to reconsider the case in light of the new information.
  • If the Vice President of Finance (or designee) determines that the Title IX/EEO Coordinator, investigator, or a member of the presiding Hearing Panel had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome, the case shall be remanded to the Hearing Panel with specific instructions to reconsider the case.
  • Reverse the decision (and imposed disciplinary sanctions if applicable) rendered if\ the decision was unsupported by substantial evidence.

The decision of the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will be final. However, as to respondent tenured faculty members, if the proposed disciplinary sanction is upheld by the Vice President of Finance (or designee) and includes suspension or dismissal of a tenured faculty member, the matter will be referred to the University’s President, who will decide whether to initiate the process set forth in the Faculty Handbook for imposition of such a disciplinary sanction. The Title IX/EEO Coordinator (or designee), the investigator(s), or a member of the presiding Hearing Panel are prohibited from serving on Appeals.

The Vice President of Finance (or designee) will generally decide an appeal within twenty (20) calendar days from when the appeal was received; if the decision will take longer, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will let the parties know. Upon reaching a determination, the Vice President of Finance (or designee) will simultaneously provide the complainant and respondent with a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result.

XI. AVAILABLE RESOURCES

The following resources are available to the University community:

Law Enforcement:

Steubenville Police Department
123 South 3rd Street
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-283-6090

Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department
16001 Ohio Route 7
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-283-8600

Polizeiinspektion (for Gaming, Austria Campus)
Im Markt #3
3292 Gaming
Tel. 05 9133 3151

Medical Care:

Franciscan University Health Center
Lower Level of Finnegan Fieldhouse
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-284-7223

Trinity West Medical Center
4000 Johnson Rd.
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-264-8000

Weirton Medical Center
601 Colliers Way
Weirton, WV 26062
Tel. 304-797-6000

Landesklinikum Scheibbs Hospital (for Gaming, Austria Campus)
Eisenwurzenstraße 26
3270 Scheibbs
Tel. +43 (0)7482 9004-0

Dr. Claudia Reiter (for Gaming, Austria Campus)
Im Markt 7
3292, Gaming, Austria
+43 (0)7485 98400

Confidential Advocacy, Counseling and Pastoral Care:

Confidential Advocates at Franciscan University
1412 Parkview Circle (Assisi Heights)
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Tel. 740-283-4339 (Eileen Spencer)
Tel. 740.283.4337 (Cynthia Welker)

Franciscan University Counseling Center
Lower Level of Finnegan Fieldhouse
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-284-7217

Franciscan University Chaplain’s Office
Christ the King Chapel
1235 University Boulevard
Steubenville, OH 43952
Tel. 740-283-6276

ALIVE, Inc. (Sexual Violence Advocacy)
P.O. Box 866
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Tel. 740-512-6092 (24-Hour Hotline)

CHANGE, Inc.
Tel. 304.797.7233

Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Assault
Tel. 888-886-8388

National Sexual Assault Hotline
Tel. 800-656-HOPE (4673)
866-331-8453 (TTY)

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
Tel. 800-799-SAFE
800-787-3224 (TTY)

Franciscan University Pastoral Ministry (for Gaming, Austria Campus)
Tel. +43-748598678-14

Dr. Mark Shats, Licensed Clinical Psychologist (for Gaming, Austria Campus)
Im Markt 7
3292 Gaming, Austria
Tel. +43 (0)660 575 3062

Legal and Immigration Assistance:

Jefferson County Prosecuting Attorney
Jefferson County Justice Center
16001 State Route 7
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Tel. 740-283-1966

Southeastern Ohio Legal Services
100 North Third Street
Steubenville, Ohio 43952
Tel. 740-283-4781

Catholic Charities Legal Immigration Services
206 W. Main Street
Ravenna, Ohio 44266
Tel. 330-297-7257

U.S. Consulate Vienna: KONSULARABTEILUNG (CONSULAR SECTION)
Parkring 12A-1010 Wien
Fax: (+43-1) 512 58 35
Email: [email protected]

US Embassy Vienna: BOTSCHAFT DER VEREINIGTEN STAATEN
Boltzmanngasse 16A-1090 Wien
Tel.: (+43-1) 31339-0 Fax: (+43-1) 310 06 82
Email: [email protected]

XII. EDUCATION, AWARENESS AND PREVENTION

Educational efforts are essential to maintaining a campus environment that is free of the forms of prohibited misconduct addressed by this policy. There are multiple goals to be achieved through education, awareness and prevention programs: (i) ensuring that all employees and students are aware of and understand their rights and responsibilities under this policy, (ii) notifying members of the University community of the types of conduct forbidden by this policy and how to reduce the risk of exposure to such conduct; (iii) informing administrators, faculty and staff about their obligations when they receive a report and/or observe conduct that may be in violation of this policy. The University requires all students, employees and faculty to complete discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct training and receive periodic refresher training as needed.

The Office of Risk Management and Compliance, Office of Student Life, the Office of Human Resources, , and the University Wellness Center offer   a variety of programs on prohibited misconduct addressed by this policy as well as awareness and prevention with respect to such misconduct. For more information about those programs, see www.franciscan.edu/Security/.

XIII. FEDERAL STATISTICAL REPORTING AND TIMELY WARNING OBLIGATIONS

Certain campus officials – those deemed Campus Security Authorities (i.e., Vice President of Student Life, Dean of Students, Director of Athletics, Assistant Athletics Director for Compliance & Operations, Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Director of Risk Management and Compliance, Director of Campus Security, Campus Security Personnel, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Wellness Center Health Services Staff, Resident Directors, Resident Assistants, Director of Austrian Program, Director of Student Life (Austrian Program), and Office Manager (Austrian Program) have a duty to report a crime when it is brought to their attention for statistical reporting purposes under the Clery Act. However, all personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to the appropriate University official regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the University’s Annual Security Report. This report helps to provide the community a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime and to ensure greater community safety.

The University will issue a timely warning when it receives a report of a crime that represents a serious or ongoing threat to the safety of members of the campus community. The university may also issue a warning to the campus community when other instances pose a safety concern.

XIV. POLICY DISSEMINATION

The Title IX /EEO Coordinator is responsible for distributing this policy to all students, employees, and faculty of the University. In addition, this policy will be placed and updated on the University website.

RECORDKEEPING

The Title IX/EEO Coordinator is responsible for maintaining records for seven (7) years relating to: reports; formal complaints; investigations; responsibility determinations; any required recording or transcript; any sanctions imposed on the respondent; any remedies provided to the complainant; any appeal and its result; any informal resolutions and its result; supportive measures taken in response to a report or formal complaint; documentation explaining the University’s conclusions and that it has taken measures designed to preserve access to the University’s program or activity; and materials used to train investigators, adjudicators, and Title IX/EEO Coordinators regarding this policy. Personally identifiable information regarding incidents or complaints of sexual misconduct will not be publicly released, except where required by law or court order. Personally identifiable student information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Statistical crime reporting required by the Clery Act does not include personally identifiable information. Requests for information about this policy should be directed to the Title IX/EEO Coordinator.

XVI. LAY STATUS

The Title IX/EEO Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinators, investigators, hearing panel members, appeals officers, and any University advocates shall all be lay persons.

XVII. OUTSIDE APPOINTMENTS AND DELEGATIONS

The University retains discretion to retain and appoint suitably qualified persons who are not University employees to fulfill any function of the University under this policy, including, but not limited to, the investigator, hearing panel members, informal resolution officer, and/or appeals officer.

The functions assigned to a given University official under this policy, including but not limited to the functions assigned to the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, resolution officer, and appeals officer, may, in the University’s discretion, be delegated by such University official to any suitably qualified individual and such delegation may be recalled by the University at any time.

XVIII.  Discretion in Application

The University retains discretion to interpret and apply this policy in a manner that is not clearly unreasonable, even if the University’s interpretation or application differs from the interpretation of the parties.

Despite the University’s reasonable efforts to anticipate all eventualities in drafting this policy, it is possible unanticipated or extraordinary circumstances may not be specifically or reasonably addressed by the express policy language, in which case the University retains discretion to respond to the unanticipated or extraordinary circumstance in a way that is not clearly unreasonable.

The provisions of this policy are not contractual in nature, whether in their own right, or as part of any other express or implied contract.  Accordingly, the University retains discretion to revise this policy at any time, and for any reason. The University may apply policy revisions to an active case provided that doing so is not clearly unreasonable.

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