Determination and Outcome

Determination of Responsibility

  • Following the hearing, the Decision-Maker Panel will deliberate in a closed (unrecorded) session using the “preponderance of evidence standard” to determine by majority vote whether “more likely than not” the respondent is responsible or not responsible for committing Sexual Harassment as outlined in this policy. Note: This is a lesser standard of evidence than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in the criminal justice system. The “preponderance of evidence standard” will be applied to all Title IX cases, including those involving a respondent who is a University faculty or staff member.
  • If and after there has been a determination of responsibility and before imposing corrective disciplinary action, the Panel may consider any impact statement submitted by the complainant and mitigation statement submitted by the respondent.
  • Following a determination of responsibility, in determining the appropriate outcome the Panel may also consider any relevant conduct history provided by the Title IX Coordinator. The Panel may choose to further consult with the Title IX Coordinator regarding the range of appropriate disciplinary actions.
  • The chair of the Panel, in consultation with the members, will prepare and submit to the Title IX Coordinator a written deliberation statement, detailing the final determination and rationale.
  • A determination by the Panel that the respondent is “not responsible” does not necessarily mean the alleged incident did not happen or that the conduct was appropriate. Rather, it may mean that there was insufficient evidence to reach a determination of responsibility for a violation of the alleged Title IX Sexual Harassment. It may also mean that the conduct was inappropriate, and a violation of the general codes of student, faculty or staff conduct.
  • Even when there is a determination that the respondent is “not responsible,” the Title IX Coordinator and/or Panel may, nevertheless, refer the case to the Student Life Deans Council to be reviewed for a potential response for inappropriate conduct or a general violation of the Code of Student Conduct. If the respondent is a faculty, staff or student employee, the case may be referred to Human Resources to be reviewed for a potential response for inappropriate conduct or a general violation of the “Working Policy” or “Employee Handbook.”
  • Once a respondent is found responsible, the Panel’s imposed response may be disciplinary, punitive and burdensome to the respondent.

Corrective Disciplinary Action and Outcome

  • Any student, faculty or staff member who is found responsible for Sexual Harassment defined in this policy will be subject to a range of corrective disciplinary action that includes, but is not limited to, verbal counsel, written warning, probation, suspension, dismissal, mandatory education and other remedies the University deems appropriate.
  • The Decision-Maker Panel reserves the right to determine what type of disciplinary response is appropriate for the level of Sexual Harassment as well as to broaden or lessen the responses relative to the nature of the behavior. Mitigating or aggravating circumstances, if they exist, may also be considered.
  • The Title IX Coordinator will work with the chair of the Panel to prepare a written outcome letter for both parties that includes: allegation(s), procedural steps taken, determination of responsibility, rationale supporting the determination, corrective disciplinary actions and appeal processes.
  • The outcome letter will be provided to both parties as simultaneously as possible.
  • If a request for an appeal is filed, the determination of responsibility and any corrective disciplinary actions will become final on the date the results of the appeal are sent to the parties. If no appeal is filed, the determination of responsibility will become final the day after the deadline for filing an appeal.
  • When the University makes a finding of responsibility or a policy violation, it will take steps, whether individual or systemic, to stop the alleged Sexual Harassment, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects on the complainant and others, as appropriate.

Appeal Process

Both the complainant and the respondent have the same right to appeal from a determination regarding responsibility and from the dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein on the grounds below. The limited bases to activate an appeal process are one or more of the following:

  • Procedural Irregularity: The original processes had a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter.
  • New Evidence: New and relevant evidence that (a) was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made and (b) such new evidence could affect the outcome of the matter. A summary of such new information should be included in the request.
  • Conflict of Interest: The Title IX Coordinator, investigators or decision-makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter.

A formal request for an appeal should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator within three business days of receiving written notice of the decision. The appeal must contain a concise written statement outlining the grounds for the appeal as described above. The Title IX officer will provide a copy of the written appeal to the other party. Both parties will be given a reasonable and equal opportunity to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome.

The determination as to if there are grounds for an appeal will not be decided by the (1) Decision-Maker Panel that reached the determination for the dismissal of the formal complaint or regarding responsibility for the allegations, (2) the investigator(s) or (3) by the Title IX Coordinator. Rather, the appeal will generally be directed to a new panel of three members. An additional, nonvoting person will be appointed to chair the panel. The Conduct Appeals Panel will be selected from a trained pool of panel members.

Given that in most cases the complainant and the respondent have already had a face-to-face hearing with the investigative processes and/or the judicial body, the appeal process does not provide a second opportunity for a face-to-face hearing nor does it provide a rehearing of the facts or a repeat of the investigative processes. The appeal is generally limited to the review of a written appeal or other relevant documents in the context of the stated grounds.

The Conduct Appeals Panel will issue a determination and rationale as to if the appeal identified one or more valid grounds (described above) to facilitate the appeal process. The chair of the Appeals Panel will issue a written determination and rationale regarding if the appeals process will be granted or denied, as simultaneously as possible to both parties.

If grounds for an appeal is granted, the case will be returned for further proceedings to the original Decision-Maker Panel; provided, however, that if there has been a finding of bias on the part of an original member of the Panel, the case will be given to a newly constituted Decision-Maker Panel. Following the granting of the appeal, the original or new Decision-Maker Panel can uphold the original decision, alter the original decision and/or alter the Panel’s response or disciplinary action.

The decision of the Appeals Panel will be final; provided, however, that in cases involving a faculty or staff, or a student’s permanent dismissal from the University, both the complainant and the respondent will have an equal opportunity to request an additional review with the Office of the President.


Duration of University Processes