Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct Policy
(Interim Approval – 24 July 2019)
STATEMENT OF INSTITUTIONAL PHILOSOPHY
Norwich University is committed to creating and maintaining a community in which all persons who participate in University programs and activities can work and/or learn together in an atmosphere free of sexual or gender based misconduct, and the University does not tolerate such forms of misconduct and/or crime. Such forms of misconduct are also prohibited by State and/or Federal law. It is the intention of the University to take prompt and equitable action to prevent the reoccurrence of behaviors that violate this policy.
SCOPE OF POLICY
This policy applies to faculty, staff, other employees and agents, students, and organizations receiving Norwich University funding, or that use the Norwich University name.
An individual who believes that he/she has been subjected to conduct that violates this policy is encouraged to file a complaint with the University complaints will proceed independently from any additional criminal proceedings. University procedures and sanctions can be implemented regardless of when or if criminal charges are initiated or substantiated.
NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION
Norwich University, in compliance with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX of the Education amendment of 1972, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, age, sex, or physical handicap in any of its policies, practices, and procedures.
TITLE IX COORDINATOR
The Title IX Coordinator is the administrator responsible for coordinating Norwich University’s efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX, VAWA, and the Campus SaVE Act. The Title IX Coordinator’s responsibilities include overseeing the process for handling and responding to all complaints of possible sex discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct and identifying and addressing any patterns or systemic problems that arise during the review of such complaints. The University’s Title IX Coordinator also participates in the University’s handling and response to complaints of domestic and/or dating violence, and stalking, as defined in this policy. The Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Case Manager, or trained deputy is available to meet with students and employees regarding these issues as needed.
A Complainant is an individual
who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual or gender based misconduct, or who is believed by another to have been subjected to such conduct.
A Respondent is an individual alleged to have violated this policy.
A reporter is the individual that notifies the Title IX Office of a potential sexual or gender based misconduct incident. The reporting party does not have to be the affected party or involved in the incident to file a report.
For purposes of this policy, days is considered a University business day. Weekends and university holidays are not considered a business day. University holidays can be found on the academic calendar.
STATEMENT OF PROHIBITED CONDUCT
The following are the definitions of prohibited conduct under the purview of this policy; where applicable these are aligned with the Clery Act.
Sexual misconduct may include sexual assault, sexual exploitation, or both. Use of alcohol or other drugs does not minimize or excuse a person’s responsibility for conduct that violates this policy.
Sexual assault may be either non-consensual sexual intercourse or non-consensual sexual contact, and can be committed by any person against any other person. Sexual assault may occur with or without physical resistance or violence.
Non-consensual sexual intercourse is the sexual penetration, no matter how slight and with any object or body part that is without consent and/or by force or coercion. Intercourse includes vaginal, oral, or anal penetration with any body part or object.
Non-consensual sexual contact is and intentional sexual touching, however slight and with any object or body part, that is without consent and/or by threat, intimidation, coercion, duress, violence, or by causing a reasonable fear of harm.
Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, when directly impacting the individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in Norwich sponsored activities or programs.
Hostile Environment Harassment is unlawful sexual harassment against an individual that is sufficiently serious and objectively offensive so as to deny or limit the individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s programs or activities. In considering whether harassment rises to the level of hostile environment, the nature, scope, frequency, duration, severity, and location of incidents will be reviewed.
A single or isolated incident of sexual harassment may create a hostile environment if the incident is sufficiently severe.
Sexual exploitation occurs through an act or omission to act that involves a member of the Norwich University community taking non-consensual, unjust, humiliating, or abusive sexual advantage of another. Examples of behavior that could constitute sexual exploitation include but are not limited to the following:
- Prostituting another person;
- Recording or capturing through any means images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nudity without that person’s knowledge and consent;
- Distributing or sharing images (e.g., video, photograph) or audio of another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nudity without first obtaining consent;
- Viewing another person’s sexual activity, intimate body parts, or nudity in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy, without that person’s consent;
- Engaging in sexual behavior with knowledge of an illness or disease (HIV or STD) that could be transmitted by the behavior, without disclosing prior to the sexual relations; and
Intimate Partner Violence: Specifically, domestic violence and dating violence as defined below:
Domestic violence includes but is not limited to sexual, emotional, psychological, or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse, if involving individuals who are or have been in a domestic relationship as defined here.
(a) By a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the person;
(b) By a person with whom the person subjected to the violence shares a child in common;
(c) By a person who is in a marriage, civil union, common law marriage, or similarly situated to a spouse of the person; or
(d) By any other person against an adult or youth who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction in which the violence occurred.
Dating violence is committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the person subjected to the violence. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual, emotional, physical or psychological abuse or the threat of such abuse, if involving individuals who are or have been dating as defined here.
Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purposes of this definition—
(a) Course of conduct means two or more unwelcome acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the alleged 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.
(b) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the person subjected to the stalking.
(c) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Sex or Gender Based Discrimination occurs by treating someone unfavorably or different because of that person’s sex. This can include but is not limited to sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, transgender status, or sex.
Retaliation directly or indirectly against an individual for reporting in, good faith, any of the behaviors defined in this policy, or for cooperating in the resolution of a report of such conduct, violates this policy. Retaliation includes, but is not limited to, adverse actions that have a substantial adverse effect on the working or educational environment of any individual involved in the complaint or the investigation; or other actions that alter one’s ability to live, work, study, or participate in the Norwich community, such as:
- Intimidation, threats, or coercion
Any person who believes that he or she has been subjected to such retaliation should follow the complaint resolution procedures outlined in this policy. Retaliation under this policy may be found whether or not the underlying complaint is ultimately found to have merit.
Definition of Consent
Consent for sexual activity is clear indication, either through verbal or physical actions, that parties are willing and active participants in the sexual activity. Such authorization must be free of force, threat, intimidation or coercion, and must be given actively and knowingly in a state of mind that is conscious and rational and not compromised by alcohol or drug incapacitation. Only a person of legal age can consent.
Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Recognizing the dynamic nature of sexual activity, individuals choosing to engage in sexual activity must evaluate consent in an ongoing manner and communicate clearly throughout the stages of sexual activity. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately, and all parties must obtain mutually expressed or clearly stated consent before continuing further sexual activity.
Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact, nor does consent to sexual activity with one person constitute consent to activity with any other person. Each participant in a sexual encounter must consent to each form of sexual contact with each participant.
Incapacitation due to alcohol or drugs is where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because she/he lacks conscious knowledge of the nature of the act (e.g., to understand the who, what, when, where, why or how of the sexual interaction) and/or is physically helpless. An individual is incapacitated, and therefore unable to give consent, if she/he is asleep, unconscious or otherwise unaware that sexual activity is occurring.
Where alcohol or other drugs are involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person; however, warning signs that a person may be approaching incapacitation may include slurred speech, vomiting, unsteady gait, odor of alcohol, combativeness or emotional volatility.
Evaluating incapacitation also requires an assessment of whether a Respondent should have been aware of the Complainant’s incapacitation based on objectivity and reasonably apparent indications of impairment when viewed from the perspective of a sober, reasonable person in the Respondent’s position.
Consent must still be attained even if:
- the Respondent is someone known by the Complainant
- the sexual misconduct happens on a date;
- either or both individuals have engaged in consensual sexual behaviors previously;
- either or both individuals are under the influence of alcohol or other drugs;
- there was no weapon involved;
- there was no evidence of a struggle or resistance; or
- there are no other witnesses
IMMEDIATE RESPONSES TO SEXUAL OR GENDER BASED MISCONDUCT COVERED BY THIS POLICY
The University recognizes that Complainants can choose whether or not they wish to make a report of sexual or gender based misconduct. However, if a report is made by a third party or the University learns of an alleged incident under this policy, the University has an obligation to respond to the extent of the information available. The University may also have to proceed with an investigation or disciplinary action where necessary, despite the wishes of a Complainant or victim.
Once an incident or complaint of sexual or gender based misconduct is reported to the Title IX Coordinator, he or she will inform the Complainant of the options of criminal prosecution, medical assistance, and use of this policy to file a complaint or report.
The Title IX Coordinator, Public Safety and/or other University personnel will assist the Complainant with these contacts if requested. In addition, confidential counseling, support services, academic assistance, future security, and alternative housing (for students) can be coordinated as appropriate through the Title IX Coordinator.
The University recognizes that making the decision to report often takes time. Nevertheless, pending the decision to report, students are strongly encouraged to take immediate steps to preserve all evidence that might support a future report. Such evidence may include:
- A forensic sexual assault examination (before 120 hours, but as soon as possible);
- Any clothing, sheets or other materials (items containing bodily fluids should be stored in cardboard boxes or paper bags);
- Electronic exchanges (e.g., text messages, emails, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat or other social media posts, to the extent that they can be captured or preserved);
- Photographs (including photographs stored on smartphones and other devices); and
- Voice-mail messages and other physical, documentary and/or electronic data that might be helpful or relevant in an investigation.
Contact information for immediate response resources includes the following:
Norwich Public Safety: (802) 485-2525
Norwich Counseling and Wellness Center: (802) 485-2134
Title IX Coordinator: (802) 485-2144
Central Vermont Medical Center Emergency Department: (802) 371-4263
Sexual Assault Crisis Team (24-hour hotline): (802) 479-5577
Circle (24-hour hotline):
Northfield Police: (802) 485-9181
Norwich University encourages individuals to report incidents covered under this policy so that they can get the support they need, and so that the University can respond appropriately, while maintaining a safe and secure campus. Although strict confidentiality may not be guaranteed, in all cases the University will handle information 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 reports of sexual or gender based misconduct.
In order to avoid potential problems such as interference with the investigative process and the creation of a retaliatory environment, parties and witnesses involved in ongoing investigations are encouraged not to discuss ongoing investigations.
This section is intended to inform students, faculty, staff, and covered third parties of the various reporting and confidential disclosure options available to them, so that they can make informed choices about where to go for assistance.
A confidential resource is an individual who is legally and ethically bound to keep confidential all information shared with them in the course of providing counsel and support, except under the circumstances noted below. In general, the law recognizes and protects the confidentiality of
communications between a person seeking care and a medical or mental health professional, religious advisor or trained sexual assault advocate. The medical, mental health, and religious professionals (i.e., individuals acting in their religious professional capacity through the Chaplain’s Office) at Norwich, respect and protect confidential communications from students, faculty, and staff to the extent they are legally able to do so. These professionals may have to breach a confidence, however, when they perceive a serious risk of danger or threat to any person or property. In addition, medical and mental health professionals may be required by law to report certain crimes (e.g., allegations of sexual and/or physical abuse of a person under 18).
An individual who speaks to a confidential resource must understand that, if they want to maintain confidentiality, the University will be unable to conduct an investigation into the particular incident or pursue disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator. However, confidential resources may assist the individual in receiving other forms of protection and support, such as victim advocacy; academic accommodations; disability, health or mental health services; and changes to living, working, or transportation arrangements, as described below.
· Norwich Counseling- 802-485-2134
· Washington County Sexual Assault Crisis Team- 802-479-5577
· Norwich Chaplain- 802-485-2128
· Infirmary- 802-485-2552
To report a potential violation under this policy, please complete the Title IX reporting form available on the Title IX pages of either my.norwich.edu or Norwich.edu.
Non-confidential employees are deemed Responsible Employees for purposes of this policy. Responsible Employees include any administrator, supervisor, faculty member, or other person in a position of authority who does not have a statutory privilege of confidentiality by law, or who has not otherwise been designated as a Confidential Support Resource.
Non-confidential faculty or staff who learn of an incident of sexual or gender based misconduct involving a student or employee are required to report that information to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.
If a Responsible Employee fails to cooperate with, or interferes with, a University investigation, that employee will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.
Responsible Employees are also deemed Campus Security Authorities and are required to report certain sex offenses and other crimes to Public Safety for the purpose of compliance with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act. For more information about Campus Security Authorities, see Norwich University’s Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.
General inquiries to Norwich University officials about policies or procedures, and conversations in which the alleged perpetrator is not identified by name or by implication from the circumstances, does not trigger a formal institutional response. These types of inquiries can be directed to Title IX staff.
(C) Disclosure to Responsible Employees
When a Responsible Employee learns of an incident that could constitute sexual or gender based misconduct involving a student, faculty or staff member or covered third party, the Responsible Employee will report available information about the incident to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.
Information reported to a Responsible Employee will be shared with others only to the extent necessary to respond to the situation and support the parties and in accordance with state and federal law.
(D) Confidentiality Requests
If an individual discloses an incident of sexual or gender based misconduct to a responsible employee but wishes to maintain confidentiality in the reporting process, the University will make every effort to respect this request and will evaluate the request against its responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, faculty and staff, including the individual who reported the sexual assault. As noted below, there are times when the University may not be able to honor the individual’s request. Further, if the University honors the request for confidentiality, the University’s ability to appropriately investigate the incident and pursue disciplinary action against the alleged may be limited.
Confidentiality Requests can include
- No investigation to occur
- No name of the reporter being included in the report
- No disciplinary action for the Respondent
The University has designated its Title IX Coordinator as responsible for evaluating requests for confidentiality, in consultation as necessary with other University officials such as individuals at the Public Safety Office.
Factors to be considered in determining whether confidentiality should be maintained may include but are not limited to:
- The increased risk that the alleged will commit additional acts of sexual misconduct or other violence, such as:
- whether there have been other sexual misconduct complaints about the same alleged;
- whether the alleged has a history of arrests or records from a prior institution indicating a history of violence;
- whether the alleged has threatened or discussed further sexual misconduct or other violence against the individual or others;
- whether the alleged sexual misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
- circumstances that suggest there is an increased risk of future acts of sexual misconduct
- whether the alleged sexual misconduct was perpetrated or facilitated with a weapon;
- whether the alleged victim is a minor; and
- whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras, information known by University personnel, or physical evidence).
The presence of one or more of these factors or other factors as deemed appropriate may prompt an investigation and adjudication under the University’s policies and, if appropriate, result in disciplinary action. If none of these factors are present, the University will likely honor the individual’s request for confidentiality.
(E) Evaluating Requests for Confidentiality in Sexual or Gender Based Misconduct Cases
In cases involving sexual or gender based misconduct, if an individual insists that their name or other identifiable information not be revealed, or asks that the University not investigate or seek action against the alleged perpetrator, the University will evaluate the request in the context of its commitment to provide a safe environment for that individual as well as all students, staff and faculty. Thus, the University may weigh the individual’s request against a number of factors, including but not limited to the seriousness of the alleged conduct; circumstances that suggest there is a risk of repeated conduct; whether there have been other reports or complaints about the alleged perpetrator; the credibility and significance of existing relevant evidence; and the extent of any ongoing threat to the individual, the Norwich University community or any of its members.
(F) If Confidentiality is Requested but Cannot be Maintained
If the University determines that it cannot maintain an individual’s request for confidentiality, the University will inform the individual prior to conducting an investigation (unless extenuating circumstances are present) and will, to the extent possible, only share information with those individuals who are responsible for the University’s response to the incident. Norwich will not require the individual to participate in any investigation or disciplinary proceeding.
If when responding to reports of sexual or gender based misconduct the University determines it is obligated to take any action that would involve disclosing a reporting individual’s identity to the Respondent, or an action from which the reporting individual’s identity may be easily determined by the Respondent, the individual will be informed before the action is taken unless extenuating circumstances are present. If the reporting individual requests that the Respondent be informed that they requested that there be no investigation or disciplinary action, the University will endeavor to honor this request and inform the Respondent that the University made the decision to investigate the matter.
The University will take supportive measures as described below when requested and, reasonably available, that are designed to prevent and address retaliation against individuals whose requests for confidentiality have not been honored, and to respond to their needs for support, services, and accommodations.
(G) When Confidentiality Can be Maintained
If the University determines that it can respect the individual’s request for confidentiality, the University will take action to assist the individual, to the extent possible, including the measures identified below under Services and Accommodations, where such measures are requested and reasonably available.
(H) Disclosure During Internal Investigations and Adjudications
The University will handle information related to alleged violations of this policy with sensitivity and discretion. However, the University may need to disclose information relating to an incident (including the identity of parties, witnesses or others) to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough, fair, and impartial investigation and adjudication process for all involved parties.
(I) Disclosure Required by Law
The University will not include the names of Complainants, Respondents, or other identifying information in publicly available reports that are compiled as required by the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act.
(J) Disclosure to Law Enforcement
In certain circumstances, the University may need to report an incident to law enforcement authorities. Such circumstances include, but are not limited to, incidents that warrant the undertaking of safety and security measures for the protection of the individual and/or the campus community, or situations in which there is clear and imminent danger and/or a weapon may be involved. Complainants may choose to notify authorities directly with or without the University’s assistance, or may choose not to notify such authorities.
SERVICES AND ACCOMMODATIONS
Students and employees seeking services, protective measures, and/or accommodations should direct their request to a confidential resource or the Title IX Coordinator, as appropriate. The request will be evaluated and responded to by the Title IX Coordinator or designee after consultation, as needed, with other Norwich University officials. The University will maintain as confidential any services, accommodations or protective measures to the extent possible while allowing for implementation of such requests.
It is not necessary to file a complaint, participate in an adjudication process, or file a criminal complaint in order to request services or accommodations from the University. Both Complainants and Respondents are able to access accommodations throughout the Title IX resolution process. These may include but are not limited to:
- Mutual No Contact Orders restricting encounters and communications between the parties;
- Academic accommodations, including but not limited to deadline extensions, excused absences, incompletes, course changes or late drops, or other arrangements as appropriate;
- Residential accommodations, including but not limited to arranging for new housing, or providing temporary housing options, as appropriate;
- Changing transportation, working arrangements, or providing other employment accommodations, as appropriate;
- Assisting the individual in accessing support services, including, as available, victim advocacy, academic support, counseling, disability, health or mental health services, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid services, and legal assistance both on and off campus, as applicable;
- Informing the individual of the right to report a crime to local law enforcement and/or seek orders of protection, restraining orders, or relief from abuse orders from United States courts or courts outside of the United States as applicable, and providing assistance if the individual wishes to do so. Norwich University will also work with Complainants and others as appropriate to respect and implement the requirements of such orders on premises that it owns or controls, as necessary and appropriate.
PURSUING A CRIMINAL COMPLAINT
In addition to, or instead of, Norwich University’s processes, any student, employee or covered third party who wishes to report a complaint of sexual or gender based misconduct under this policy has the option to pursue criminal charges with local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. The University will offer and upon request provide assistance to students, employees, and covered third parties in contacting law enforcement agencies. These options are available regardless of whether an individual chooses to file a complaint with the University. Individuals have the option to notify such agencies with or without assistance from the University.
In addition, individuals may also have the right to pursue orders of protection, restraining orders and/or relief from abuse orders from the court system. The University will respect such orders to the extent applicable. In addition, the University can also impose mutual No Contact Orders on students, employees, and third parties over whom it has some measure of control.
MEDICAL CARE AND EVIDENCE PRESERVATION
Any individual who may be experiencing or has experienced sexual or gender based misconduct is encouraged to immediately seek any necessary medical care and to seek help from appropriate Norwich, law enforcement, and/or medical personnel, even if the individual is uncertain about whether to ultimately pursue a complaint or criminal charges, or to seek a protective order.
It is important for individuals to preserve all possible evidence in case they decide at some point to file a report of any nature. Therefore, if at all possible, as noted above, they should refrain from changing clothes, showering or otherwise changing their physical state after an incident, until after consulting with medical personnel about how to best preserve evidence. They should also preserve any available evidence.
OTHER POLICY VIOLATIONS
The University’s primary goal when responding to complaints of sexual and gender based misconduct involving students is safety, and to address the misconduct and prevent it from recurring. A student should not hesitate to report sexual misconduct due to a concern that the investigation process may indicate that he or she was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the incident. Amnesty will be provided to reporting parties and witnesses engaged in the resolution process as long as they are acting in good faith.
If the report of misconduct covered by this policy also involves a report of misconduct prohibited by other Norwich University policies, the other misconduct will be handled separately. The Title IX investigative report will be sent to the appropriate disciplinary authority for review of NUSRR violations.
UNRELATED SEXUAL HISTORY
Information about sexual activity between either party and other individuals who are not involved in a case under review is not considered relevant to whether this policy was violated in the case under review. Past sexual history is only considered relevant if it establishes a pattern of sexual or gender based misconduct.
PROVIDING FALSE INFORMATION
Intentionally making a false report or providing false information in connection with a report, investigation or adjudication of a matter covered by this policy will not be tolerated. A Complainant whose factual allegations are truthful to the best of the Complainant’s knowledge, but are not found by the University’s process to substantiate a violation of this policy, has not provided false information within the meaning of these guidelines.
Students found to have intentionally provided false information will be subject to an Honor Violation Investigation for providing false information during the complaint resolution process.
Anyone may seek advice, information, or guidance on sexual or gender based misconduct by contacting the Title IX Coordinator,Deputy Coordinator, or Title IX Case Manager.
The University will work to educate employees and students relative to the prevention of sexual and gender based misconduct. Educational programs addressing these issues will include: 1) primary prevention and awareness programs and training for all incoming students and new employees; 2) safe and positive options for upstander intervention; 3) information on risk reduction to recognize warning signs of abusive behavior; 4) ongoing prevention and awareness programs for students, faculty, and staff who have responsibility for working with students.
FILING A REPORT WITH THE UNIVERSITY
To file a formal complaint under this policy please complete the Title IX complaint form that can be found at www.norwich.edu/title-ix or report to any Responsible Employee on campus, including the Title IX staff.
Third Party Complaint
A person who has not experienced sexual or gender based misconduct and who is not a Responsible Employee but who has information regarding someone else who has experienced such misconduct, is recommended to report that information; a Responsible Employee is required to report that information. To make a third-party complaint, the individual should contact a member of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion as soon as possible, or to submit a Title IX complaint form as described above. Upon receipt of such information the Title IX staff will make preliminary inquiries, which may include contacting the alleged victim, to determine whether further action is warranted. If a concern about these forms of misconduct is reported to the Title IX Staff by someone other than the alleged victim, and the alleged victim is unwilling or unable to participate in an investigation, the Title IX Staff will make a determination of how to proceed with a resolution based upon the information that is furnished. The Title IX Staff will proceed with an investigation if it is determined that conducting an investigation is in the best interests of the University.
If the alleged victim provides an oral statement, the Title IX Staff may reduce the oral statement to writing, and such statement will serve as the complaint. If an alleged victim is unwilling or unable to assist the Title IX Staff in the investigation process, the University’s ability to respond effectively to the conduct that prompted the complaint or report may be limited. The University will investigate the complaint to the best of its ability.
RIGHT TO AN ADVISOR
All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to guide and accompany them throughout the complaint resolution process. The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them, as long as the advisor does not play any other role in the process, such as serving as a witness. The University maintains a pool of trained (non-attorney) advisors who are available to the parties that will be distributed through the intake process. The parties may choose advisors from outside of the campus community, but those advisors may not have the same level of insight and training on the campus process as do those trained by the University. Advisors employed by the University must go through the Office of DEI advisor training. Outside Advisors can request to be trained by the University.
The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake, interviews, hearings, and appeals. Advisors may help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity and in good faith. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.
All advisors are subject to the same requirements, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors are not permitted to speak for, represent, appear in lieu of anyone, address any other party other than the one they are advising, or otherwise actively participate directly in a meeting, interview, or other proceeding. Advisors may communicate with their advisee in a manner that is not disruptive to the meeting or proceeding at hand. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation. Advisors may request to meet in advance of any interview or hearing with the Title IX staff for the purpose of answering any general questions the advisor may have about the process.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the University investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role or causes a disruption during the resolution process will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor and the advisor’s absence shall not require a delay or affect the validity of the proceedings. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated, or be replaced by a different advisor.
The University provides a consent form that authorizes such sharing documentation related to the allegations with their advisor. The parties must complete this form before the University is able to share records with an advisor. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with 3rd parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. Additionally, communication regarding any resolution process will be directed towards the involved party, and will not be done through the advisor except in circumstances in which the Title IX Coordinator or designee has granted an exception for special circumstances.
The University does not change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The University will, however make provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies when appropriate and available. A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout.
COMPLAINT RESOLUTION PROCESS OPTIONS
When information about an incident of sexual or gender based misconduct is brought to the attention of the Title IX Staff, he or she will contact the Complainant to arrange an intake meeting. The Title IX Coordinator may be excused from carrying out his/ her duties under the policy in the event of a conflict of interest or other legitimate reason. In the absence of the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will serve as the Acting Title IX Coordinator for purposes of the case.
INITIAL MEETINGS WITH THE TITLE IX CASE MANAGER
Within five (5) days of receiving a complaint, the Title IX Case Manager, will contact the Complainant to schedule an intake meeting. During the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will do the following, as applicable:
· Explain his or her rights under the policy;
· Show how to access the policy;
· Provide a Title IX resource folder;
· Provide information regarding support resources on campus including but not limited to mental health services, health services, and victim advocacy;
· Inform about potential resolution processes, including informal and formal resolutions;
· Explain the steps in a formal Title IX investigation;
· Discuss confidentiality standards and concerns;
· Advise of the right to have an advisor present at each and every step of their Title IX related matter and provide a list of trained University advisors;
· Discuss the University’s policy on retaliation and how to report any retaliation;
· Determine if any interim protective measures need to be put in place, including but not limited to academic accommodations, No Contact orders, or housing accommodations;
· Discuss the importance of preserving relevant evidence or documentation; and
· Learn of the Complainant’s desire for resolution
If the University determines that any further action is required, the Title IX Case Manager will schedule an intake meeting with the Respondent within five (5) days after meeting with the Complainant. At this meeting the Title IX Case Manager will do the following, as applicable:
· Provide details of the complaint filed, including if possible, the name of the Complainant and the date, location, and nature of the alleged misconduct;
· Explain his or her rights under the policy;
· Provide a Title IX resource folder;
· Show how to access the policy;
· Provide information regarding support services including but not limited to mental health and health services;
· Explain the University’s procedures for resolution of the complaint;
· Explain the steps in a formal Title IX investigation;
· Advise of the right to have an advisor;
· Discuss confidentiality standards and concerns;
· Discuss the University policy on retaliation, and the potential consequences for retaliating against someone for filing a complaint;
· Inform the Respondent of any interim protective measures that have been put in placed with the Complainant that directly affect the Respondent and determine whether the Respondent desires any additional interim protective measures
The aim of informal complaint resolution is not to determine whether there was intent to engage in conduct in violation of this policy, but rather to ensure that the alleged offending behavior ceases and that the matter is resolved promptly at the appropriate level. The assumptions underlying this form of resolution are that both parties perceive a problem (although they may define the problem differently), that both share a common interest in solving that problem, and that together they can negotiate an agreement that will be satisfactory to everyone involved. The focus is on what will happen in the future between the parties, rather than on what has happened in the past. No formal sanctions are imposed in resolving informal complaints, however, education requirements may be assigned.
Informal resolution processes may include
- Provision of support services and resources
- Education training
- Mediation, which must be agreed to by both parties
If at any point during an informal resolution of a complaint, either the Complainant or the Respondent communicates dissatisfaction with the process or resolution and the Title IX Coordinator deems it appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator can terminate the informal resolution and begin a formal investigation and resolution process.
Informal complaint resolution will not be used in cases that involve reports of information that, if true, would constitute sexual assault or that include physical violence.
RESPONDENT ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY
If at any point during the Title IX resolution process the Respondent elects to accept responsibility for the allegations brought forth, the University can move forward with informal resolution solely to determine the appropriate sanctions for the actions that have been admitted by the Respondent.
FORMAL INVESTIGATION AND DETERMINATION
After conducting intake meetings and weighing the initial complaint and evidence provided, the Title IX Case Manager will inform the Title IX Coordinator of the appropriate resolution path. If the decision is made not to formally investigate a complaint, the Complainant has the right to appeal as described in the Appeal section below.
The Complainant has the right to withdraw the complaint in writing at any time, however, the University has the right to continue the investigation on its own.
Once a complaint has been filed and a formal investigation deemed appropriate, the following procedure will be followed:
1. The Title IX Coordinator will assign or retain an investigator. A notice of investigation letter will be sent to both the Complainant and the Respondent. In this letter the full name of the investigator will be provided to the parties. Each party will have 48 hours to appeal the investigator’s appointment. If a party elects to appeal the investigator’s appointment, they must send in writing the reason for the appeal to the Title IX Coordinator. After the appeal timeframe passes, all relevant information to the case will be transferred to the appointed investigator.
2. The investigator, upon receiving the case file from the Title IX Coordinator, will have 30 days to submit a completed investigatory report to the Title IX Coordinator that will include all relevant facts, facts in dispute, witness interviews, evidence, and credibility assessments. It is expected that the Investigator will strive to complete his or her report on the case within thirty (30) days of receipt of the formal complaint, although the investigation may take longer depending on the complexity of the case, the availability and number of witnesses, timing issues (such as intervening semester breaks), or for other good causes. If the timeframe for the investigation is extended for good cause, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties regarding the extension and the reasons for the extension. The Investigator is authorized to contact any and all individuals, without limitation. The Investigator is authorized to access relevant records, including personnel, grievance and student records, except those deemed confidential or privileged by law.
3. The Complainant and Respondent will be asked to identify all witnesses with whom they wish the Investigator to speak. The Investigator will interview those witnesses who are believed by the Investigator to have first-hand knowledge of the incident or otherwise relevant information. The Investigator is not otherwise required to interview any particular witness, even if identified by one of the parties.
4. Both parties will be provided with timely and equal access to any information that will be considered in making the final determination.
5. Both parties will be provided with timely notice of any meetings related to this process that they are invited to attend. The Title IX Case Manager will schedule all meetings in conjunction with the party’s academic course schedule to ensure that neither the Complainant nor Respondent miss classes due to a meeting for the Title IX resolution process. Meeting times will be included in notifications sent by the Title IX Coordinator, at least 24 hours prior to the scheduled meeting. If a party is unable to attend the pre-scheduled meeting they must notify the Title IX Coordinator with the reasoning for the conflict and set up a new meeting time.
6. At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will send the investigative report to the Title IX Coordinator. Upon receipt of the final investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will provide both the Complainant and Respondent with a copy of the report for review. The parties will have five (5) days to review the report and to respond in writing. Both parties may request to meet with the Title IX Coordinator to elaborate on their response or to ask any clarifying questions of the report. The additional information from these writing responses and individual meetings with the Title IX Coordinator will be added to the investigative report as an addendum to the report.
7. Using the completed investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator will review all evidence and facts to make a determination of whether or not a policy violation has occurred. The Title IX Coordinator is not bound by the investigative report; rather, the report is advisory. In determining whether a violation of the policy occurred, the Title IX Coordinator must conclude that misconduct in violation of this policy has been proven by a preponderance of evidence; i.e., that it was more likely than not that misconduct in violation of this policy occurred.
8. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether or not a violation of the policy has occurred and decide what sanctions shall be imposed. Substantiated prior complaints may not be used to substantiate the current complaint; however, substantiated prior complaints may be considered by the Investigator and/or the Title IX Coordinator to the extent relevant in assessing the credibility of the person accused, ascertaining if a pattern of conduct exists, and/or determining whether and what level of disciplinary action is appropriate.
9. The Title IX Coordinator will simultaneously notify the Complainant and the Respondent in writing of the result of the investigation within five (5) days of the final addendums being added to the report, which will include the rationale for the result and any sanctions.
10. This written notification will include: a policy analysis, a determination of a violation or not, the reasoning for the decision, procedures for the parties to appeal, and the determined sanctions.
The time periods prescribed in this document for actions by the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator are intended not as rigid rules, but rather as guidelines to which all are expected to adhere in good faith to the extent practicable. The Title IX Coordinator may exercise reasonable discretion to extend deadlines when he or she considers that action necessary or appropriate, and will provide notice to the parties if that occurs.
Parties may request investigative update any time throughout the process.
The appellate authority for this policy is the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or her designee. Both parties shall have the right to appeal as follows:
All appeals should be typed and should contain justification to support one or more of the following reasons for the appeal:
· The introduction of new evidence;
· That the evidence was/was not sufficient to support a policy violation;
· That processes outlined in the policy were not followed; and/or
· The sanctions were not appropriate to the violation.
Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within 72 hours of receipt of the notification of the decision. An appeal will not be considered if submitted after the allotted 72 hours have elapsed. The appellate authority has the ability to schedule a meeting with the parties independently, if they deem the meeting to be necessary in order to clarify information or review newly submitted evidence, if applicable. The other party will be notified of the appeal and the grounds the appeal was filed under. The appellate authority can either uphold the decision of the Title IX Coordinator or overrule that decision in whole or in part. The appellate authority will consult with individuals as deemed necessary in order to reach his/her decision. The appellate authority will communicate his/her decision to the Complainant and Respondent in writing within five (5) days of the date of the appeal with a copy to the Title IX Coordinator.
If it is determined that this policy has been violated, sanctions will be reasonably calculated to attempt to prevent reoccurrence and allow the complainant to reach full potential in the performance of his or her assigned job or educational pursuits. Prior violations of University policy and sanctions will be taken into consideration in determining appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may include, but are not limited to, any of the following:
· change of job or class assignment (e.g., removing a person from being in a position to retaliate or further affect the complainant);
· writing a letter of apology to the Complainant;
· mandatory attendance at an appropriate educational class, program, or training;
· written reprimand or other form of discipline documented in writing;
· relevant community service;
· prohibiting a student from holding office or participating in student activities, including sports, for a specified time;
· transferring a student to different housing or banning him or her from University housing facilities;
· disciplinary probation;
· suspension; or
· termination or dismissal.
In addition to the above-listed potential sanctions, a Respondent, or any other party, may at any time be referred to other University disciplinary processes because of information obtained from the complaint resolution process. Non-disciplinary measures as deemed appropriate in the discretion of the University (including but not limited to no-contact orders or housing relocation) may be implemented, even in cases where a policy violation was not found.
QUESTIONS AND SUPERSEDING OF PRIOR POLICIES
Questions or concerns about this policy should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. This policy is subject to change to comply with changes in relevant laws or University operating procedures.
This policy supersedes all previous Norwich University policies that covered some or all of the areas addressed in this policy. However, the policy version utilized for each complaint must align with the date of the alleged conduct.