Information for Respondents
The Title IX investigation is intended to be fair, unbiased, and prompt, and the investigator will gather as much evidence as possible before making a determination about whether there was a policy violation.
If you have been named as the respondent in a sexual misconduct complaint, you will have the opportunity to respond to the allegation and present your side of the story. A Title IX investigator will contact you to schedule a meeting. At that meeting, you will be asked to provide your version of events. If you have been banned from campus as an interim measure or due to a court ruling, you may provide a statement in writing.
You have the right to have someone accompany you for your meeting with the investigator, such as a supportive friend, a trusted faculty member, or an attorney.
You are not required to participate in the investigation; if you choose not to participate, the investigation will continue and a finding will be made based on the information available.
Keep in mind that 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.
During the investigation, the investigator will gather evidence and interview other people involved, including any potential witnesses. We try to keep the investigation as confidential as possible and ask all participants to keep to themselves any information they learn through the investigation, although no one is under a gag order and everyone is free to talk about their own experiences.
We try to conduct the investigation in as timely a manner as possible, but there may be delays in coordinating meetings and gathering evidence. We will try to keep you apprised of what is going on, but you are welcome to get in touch with us if you are wondering where the investigation is.
The investigator will determine whether there is a violation of University policy based on a preponderance of the evidence—that is, whether it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred. Both you and the complainant will receive a copy of a comprehensive report detailing the investigation and the evidence found and explaining the reasons for whether there is a finding or not. If there is a finding of policy violation, the investigative report will be sent to the authority responsible for your discipline.
The investigator does not determine disciplinary sanctions but can make recommendations for sanctions. If there is a finding of policy violation, the authority responsible for your discipline will determine the sanctions; this will be the Dean of Students, if you are a student, or your supervisor or Dean, if you are an employee. Sanctions for students found in violation of policy may include mandated training, suspension, or expulsion. Sanctions for employees found in violation of policy may include mandated training, work reassignments, leave without pay, or termination of employment.
Right of Appeal
If the investigator finds that a policy violation did occur, you as the respondent will have the right to appeal. If there is no finding of policy violation, the complainant will have the right to appeal. Procedures for appeal are found in the Discrimination Grievance Procedures and will also be explained in the investigative report.
If you have been accused of sexual misconduct, you may wish to seek advice and assistance from a competent legal representative. The Montana Legal Services Association can help you find legal assisstance, and the Montana State Bar Association's Lawyer Information and Referral Service can help you locate a lawyer. If you are an employee and union member, your union may be able to provide a representative who will ensure that your rights are upheld during the investigation process.
You may also wish to seek support from a counselor. Students may use Counseling Services at Curry Health Center. UM employees covered by University insurance may visit an in-network counselor up to four times at no cost; go to the Choices site for more details.