University Investigation Process
The University's investigation is intended to be fair, unbiased, and prompt. The investigator will gather as much evidence as possible before making a determination about whether there was a policy violation.
A university investigation is started when a person files a report of a potential policy violation such as sexual misconduct and states that they would like an investigation into the misconduct to occur. In some instances, the University may be required to move forward with an investigation without a willing complainant; this would occur if, for example, the University received a third-party report indicating that someone may be perpetrating misconduct on multiple victims and that there is a danger to the campus community.
Both parties will have the opportunity to respond to questions and present their side of the story. The reporting party and the party responding will meet with the Title IX Investigator separately. At the initial meeting, each party will be asked to provide a description of events. If the responding party is banned from campus as an interim measure or due to a court ruling, a statement may be provided in writing.
The responding party is not required to participate in the investigation; if the responding party chooses not to participate, the investigation will continue and a finding will be made based on the information available.
The University process is an administrative process and is not the same as a criminal process. A criminal process looks into whether a crime has been committed; the University process looks into whether a University policy has been violated. The University process uses the "preponderance of the evidence" standard, which weighs whether it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. This is a much lower standard than the criminal standard, "beyond a reasonable doubt." A University process may result in a different finding than a criminal process because of the different burdens of proof, among other factors.
Rights of Complainant and Respondent
- Both complainant and respondent have the right to present their sides of the story and present witnesses and evidence.
- Both complainant and respondent have the right to have someone accompany them at meetings with the investigator, such as a supportive friend, a trusted faculty member, or an attorney.
- Both complainant and respondent will be notified in writing of the outcome of the investigation.
- Both complainant and respondent have the right to appeal the finding.
Find out more about your Title IX rights.