The ESU Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process
The federal Title IX regulations mandate that the University provides a fair and equitable process to resolve allegations of sexual misconduct promptly and accurately that also provides due process protections to both parties involved. The process can be "formal" and entail an investigation and formal hearing, or "informal" using methods such as mediation or restorative justice. The ESU Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process begins when a formal complaint is filed with the Title IX Office. The process is explained in detail in the ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy.
Please note that filing a report is different than filing a formal complaint.
Report- A notification of an incident of sex-based discrimination or sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or designee by any person. A report may be accompanied by:
- A request for supportive measures
- A request for the Title IX Office to take no further action
- Filing a formal complaint, which initiates the University’s sexual misconduct resolution process. The complainant decides whether to request the formal (investigation & hearing) or informal (mediation or restorative justice) process.
Note: When the Title IX Office receives a report, the Title IX Coordinator contacts the affected party, offers supportive measures, explains the process, discusses their rights and options, and answers any questions they may have. The affected party decides if and how they would like to proceed.
Formal Complaint - A document, including an electronic submission, filed by a complainant with a signature or other indication that the complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. The sexual misconduct resolution process is initiated when a complainant delivers a written, signed formal complaint describing the facts of the specific ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy violation another person is alleged to have committed.
The ESU Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process begins when the Title IX Office receives a formal complaint.
The entire process is explained in detail in the ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy. However, a general overview of the process is depicted below.
- Title IX Office Receives a Formal Complaint
The Title IX Coordinator will determine if the alleged conduct in the complaint would be a violation of the ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy, if proven true. If so, the affected party assumes the role of "Complainant" and the accused party assumes the role of "Respondent". Then the Title IX Office delviers a Notice of Allegations to the Respondent.
If the alleged conduct in the complaint would not be a violation of the ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy, if proven true; the Title IX Office will find the appropriate office or agency to address the issue.
- Notice of Allegations Delivered
The Title IX Coordinator will provide a written Notice of Allegations to the Respondent. Such notice will occur as soon as practicable, but no more than 10 days after the University receives a formal complaint of the allegations if there are no extenuating circumstances.
The Notice of Allegations includes the information contained in the formal complaint, the Respondent's due process rights and options under the policy, and other procedural information.
- If the Complainant Selects the Informal Resolution Process ...
Parties who do not wish to proceed with an investigation and live hearing, and instead seek the University’s assistance to resolve allegations of Title IX covered misconduct, may elect to enter the informal resolution process. This option tends to be less time intensive than an investigation and live hearing, while still affording students an opportunity to actively participate in a process led by the University for resolution of their complaints. Note: a formal complaint must still be filed before the informal resolution process can begin.
Both parties must agree for the informal resolution process to be used. Note: the informal process may not be used in a case where the Respondent is an employee.
Both parties have the right to an advisor to support them throughout the process. Advisors may accompany a party to any meeting or hearing they are required or eligible to attend, but may not speak for the party.
- Informal Process: Methods
Mediation: The purpose of mediation is for the parties who are in conflict to identify the implications of a student’s actions and, with the assistance of a trained facilitator, identify points of agreement and appropriate remedies to address them.
Restorative Justice: A restorative justice conference is a dialogue enabled by a facilitator (with requisite training) intended to restore relationships and repair harm after a conflict has occurred. Both the responsible party and the individuals affected by the conflict come together to identify what harm was caused and collaboratively determine how conflict may be resolved and trust might be repaired.
- Informal Process: Resolution
Either party may elect to leave the informal resolution process at any point until the process is concluded. If a party elects to leave the informal resolution process, the formal resolution process (investigation and hearing) resumes.
If the informal resolution process results in an agreement between the two parties, the disciplinary process will conclude. The Title IX Office will monitor adherence to the agreement and close the matter when compliance is satisfactory. Once a final resolution has been reached, documented and signed by all parties, the resolution cannot be appealed.
- If the Complainant Selects the Formal Resolution Process ...
The Title IX Coordinator and/or an Investigator(s) designated by the Title IX Coordinator will perform an investigation of the alleged conduct under a reasonably prompt timeframe following issuance of the Notice of Allegations.
Both parties have the right to an advisor to support them throughout the process. Advisors may accompany a party to any meeting or hearing they are required or eligible to attend, but may not speak for the party, except for the purposes of cross-examination during the formal hearing.
- Formal Process: Investigation
Investigators conduct investigative interviews and collect evidence. They share all relevant evidence and interview summaries with both parties during the investigation via investigative reports. The parties may respond to the reports if they wish and the investigators will consider the responses when compiling the final investigative report. Prior to the hearing, the Investigators deliver the final investigative report to both parties and the Decision Makers who comprise the hearing board.
- Formal Process: Hearing
Each party and their advisor will meet with the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards no less than 10 days prior to the hearing. They will discuss hearing procedures, rules of decorum, and answer any questions the party may have about the hearing.
After the start of the hearing, both parties will be given the opportunity to provide opening statements. During the hearing the Decision Makers will ask questions of the parties and witnesses. The parties' advisors will be given the opportunity to cross-examine the other party and the witnesses.
If there are no extenuating circumstances, the determination regarding responsibility will be issued by the University within 10 days of the completion of the hearing.
- Formal Process: Appeal Process
A party may appeal the dismissal of a formal complaint or any included allegations or a determination of responsibility on certain grounds identified in the ESU Sexual Misconduct (Title IX) Policy.
The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.