Procedures for Responding to Incidents Involving Allegations of Student Sexual Misconduct
The University will promptly respond to all reports of sexual misconduct alleged against a University student following the procedures outlined in this policy. Allegations of sexual misconduct by students will be addressed by the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Conduct (“Student Code”). Students may be charged according to specific code violations under the Student Code, which will reference the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
Any individual reporting they have been a victim of sexual violence will be informed of how to, and provided assistance in, making a criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency. The pursuit of criminal charges may be in addition to, or instead of, pursuing cases through the University process. Individuals who identify as victims/survivors and all members of the Indiana University community are also encouraged to visit the Stop Sexual Violence website at http://stopsexualviolence.iu.edu for more information on reporting, campus resources and services available on their campus.
Throughout the process, the parties will have equal opportunities to present information, have advisors present, and pursue an appeal, if applicable. The University will have as a priority, the interests of all parties involved, in regard to fairness, dignity, privacy, and due process.
The investigation and determination of responsibility will generally be concluded within 60 days of the report, absent special circumstances.
- Investigation: Upon receipt of a report of sexual misconduct by a victim/survivor (hereinafter referred to as “complainant”) or third party, and following an initial assessment to determine whether it falls within the scope of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and rises to the level of an allegation of sexual misconduct, the University will take immediate and appropriate steps to investigate the incident. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the incident consistent with those requests, keeping in mind that the University must weigh such requests against its obligation to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all students, including the complainant.
- If sexual misconduct proceedings are initiated, the Investigator(s) will notify the complainant and the student alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct (hereinafter referred to as "respondent"). The respondent will be provided a date by which an appointment must be made to discuss the matter. The respondent shall be informed of the allegations made against them and shall be provided the opportunity to respond.
- The investigation may include, but is not limited to, interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses identified as having information relevant to the allegations made, as well as the examination of written statements by the parties, relevant documents, and other relevant information. Information for the investigation may be provided by complainants, respondents, witnesses identified by any party, or the University. Any person believed to have information relevant to an investigation may be contacted and requested to make an appointment to discuss the matter. The University shall determine what information and evidence will be included in the Investigation File.
- Failure to comply with a request to make and/or keep an appointment related to an investigation may result in a disciplinary hold being placed on a student’s account and/or the initiation of student conduct charges for failure to comply.
- All members of the University are expected to cooperate with the investigative process. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary measures pursuant to applicable University policy and procedure.
- Following their investigation, the Investigator will provide their Preliminary Investigation Report to the parties. At that time, the parties will be provided access to the Investigation File. The parties will be provided 10 calendar days to review the Preliminary Investigation Report and the Investigation File and provide any clarifying information to the Investigator. This period of 10 days will be the final opportunity for parties to submit any additional information to the Investigator.
- At the conclusion of the 10-day period, the Investigator will review the information submitted by either party and determine whether and to what extent to incorporate such information into a Final Investigation Report.
- At that time, the Investigator will determine the appropriate charge(s), if any, under the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Code to be placed on respondent, and include the charge(s) in their Final Investigation Report. If the Investigator places a charge(s), the Final Investigation Report will be submitted to the hearing panel for the determination of responsibility, and the parties will be provided the Final Investigation Report and notified of next steps of the sexual misconduct process. If the Investigator determines that there is insufficient evidence to support placing a charge, the parties will be provided the Final Investigation Report and notified that no charges will be placed and the case has been closed.
- Acceptance of Responsibility:
- In cases where the respondent expresses a willingness to accept responsibility for any or all charges in a case, the respondent will be offered the opportunity to waive the right to a formal hearing as to the specific charge(s) and all related procedural guarantees, and agree to receive a sanction from a designated student affairs conduct officer or by the hearing panel. In such situations, the parties will each be provided the opportunity to submit a written statement to the conduct officer or hearing panel for consideration in determining appropriate sanctions.
- The conduct officer or hearing panel shall consider only the parties’ written statements regarding sanctions, the relevant facts from the investigation, and past conduct history of the respondent (if applicable). In such cases, the right to appeal will be limited to an appeal on the grounds that the sanction is grossly disproportionate to the violation(s) committed, in light of all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, and in consideration of applicable university guidelines.
- Alternative Resolution Options:
- In appropriate cases, the University may pursue alternative resolution with the consent of all parties at any point in the investigation process. Alternative resolution options may include, but are not limited to, mediation, development action plans, voluntary resolutions, and/or appropriate sanctions.
- Under any alternative resolution, the complainant will not be required to resolve the problem directly with the respondent, unless desired by the complainant. All parties must be notified of the right to end the alternative resolution process at any time, and begin the formal process. Mediation may not be used in cases involving any sexual violence. The Investigator shall document the outcome of any alternative resolution and share with the parties.
- Sexual Misconduct Hearing: The respondent is required to attend the sexual misconduct hearing. The complainant has an equal right to attend the sexual misconduct hearing and participate to the same extent as the respondent, if they choose. If either respondent or complainant is unavailable to participate in person based on significant travel or schedule restrictions, participation by other means may be made available.
- Sexual Misconduct Hearing
- A hearing panel will be assembled for the sexual misconduct hearing to make a determination of respondent’s responsibility as to the specific charge(s) set forth in the Final Investigation Report.
- The hearing panel will be composed of three staff or faculty members of the University. Hearing panel members will be drawn from the pool of staff and faculty members who have completed the University’s required annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and University policies and procedures. At a minimum, at least one panel member shall be a student affairs administrator.
- The sexual misconduct hearing is closed. However, the complainant and respondent may each select one advisor of their choice and at their expense to accompany them at any point in the disciplinary process. Advisors are limited to an advisory role and may not participate or speak for the parties.
- Upon review of the Final Investigation Report, the hearing panel will determine witnesses who may be called, if any, to participate in the hearing.
- Procedures for a Sexual Misconduct Hearing
- The Chair of the hearing panel shall review the charge(s) placed against the respondent and the specific facts alleged. The respondent may, but need not, respond to allegations.
- Both the complainant and the respondent will have equal opportunity to provide a statement to the hearing panel.
- No one other than the hearing panel members, the complainant, and the respondent may pose questions during the hearing. The complainant and respondent may not directly question each other, but may submit questions to the Chair, to be asked of the other party. The Chair or other panel members will review questions prior to posing to the other party to prevent questioning that is not permitted under these proceedings.
- The sexual misconduct hearing is recorded. Deliberations by the panel, following the hearing, are not recorded.
- If the respondent fails to appear at the sexual misconduct hearing, the hearing may proceed without their participation. The respondent may explain the failure to appear in writing to the University within two business days of the scheduled hearing. Written documentation supporting the cause of absence must be included. Within three business days after receiving the respondent's letter, the University will notify the respondent and the complainant whether the failure to appear was excused, and if so the hearing may be rescheduled. The failure to appear will only be excused due to extraordinary circumstances.
- If the respondent failed to appear and such failure was not excused, the respondent's right to appeal the finding and any sanction(s) imposed will be automatically forfeited, and the outcome reached in absentia will go into effect. The respondent shall not lose their right to appeal in the event the hearing panel’s finding includes a sanction of expulsion from University housing, suspension from the University, or expulsion from the University.
- Decision & Sanctions
- At the conclusion of a hearing, the panel shall deliberate without the parties present to determine responsibility for the specific charge(s) based on the evidence, and sanctions if applicable.
- If, after deliberations, the hearing panel determines that the information contained in the Final Investigative Report and gathered during the hearing, does not support by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the respondent is responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Code, the hearing panel will notify both the respondent and the complainant by means of a written notice. The complainant and/or respondent may request an appeal (see section 5a.).
- If, after deliberations, the hearing panel determines that the information contained in the Final Investigative Report and gathered during the hearing, does support by a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) that the respondent is responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Code, the hearing panel will notify both the respondent and the complainant and will assign appropriate sanctions by means of a written notice. The respondent and/or the complainant may request an appeal (see section 5a.).
- Possible sanctions for cases in which students are found in violation of Sexual Misconduct Policy and the Student Code for acts of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to formal warnings, behavioral assessment and/or counseling, required educational training, disciplinary probation, suspension, and/or permanent expulsion.
- Sexual Misconduct Hearing
- Appeal: The respondent or the complainant may appeal the decision of the sexual misconduct hearing panel to the Senior Student Affairs Administrator on the respective campus, or their designee. To initiate an appeal, respondent/complainant must send written notice of appeal to the designated official. The written notice must include the basis for seeking the appeal and include information to support such basis (See Section 5b.)
- Timing: The notice of appeal must be filed no later than five calendar days after the date the written decision of the sexual misconduct hearing panel is sent. If an appeal is submitted by either party, the underlying decision and any corresponding sanction will be held in abeyance until final notice of the appeal outcome. During this time, any interim measures in place will remain in effect (e.g., no contact order, no trespass). If no written request for an appeal is received by the University within the time specified, the decision of the hearing panel and any sanction(s) imposed will be final and in effect.
- Basis for Appeal: The Senior Student Affairs Administrator will have the sole discretion in determining whether the basis for appeal has been met and whether the appeal can move forward. An appeal must be based on one of the following criteria:
- Significant procedural error that reasonably would have affected the outcome of the student’s case.
- The sanction imposed is grossly disproportionate to the violation(s) committed, in light of all relevant aggravating and mitigating factors, and in consideration of applicable University guidelines.
- Decision and Sanction: If the basis for appeal has been met, the Senior Student Affairs Administrator will review the written appeal and the pertinent part of the sexual misconduct hearing panel record only. The Senior Student Affairs Administrator will not consider new evidence or information that is not a part of that record. The Senior Student Affairs Administrator must render a decision within 10 calendar days of receipt of the appeal and may take any of the following actions:
- Affirm the original decision regarding responsibility.
- Affirm the original decision concerning the disciplinary sanction/s to be imposed.
- Set aside the original decision regarding responsibility and impose a new decision.
- Set aside the original decision regarding responsibility and order that a new sexual misconduct hearing be held before a new hearing panel.
- Set aside the original decision concerning the disciplinary sanction/s to be imposed and impose a different sanction or set of sanctions.
- The Senior Student Affairs Administrator will notify the respondent and the complainant, in writing, of their decision and will initiate the necessary procedures to effectuate the decision.
- The decision of the Senior Student Affairs Administrator or their designee is final and there will be no further appeals.
- Notice: The complainant and the respondent will be provided written notice of the outcome of the sexual misconduct hearing, the appeals process, and the appeal decision, if applicable. Written notice may be provided electronically through Indiana University email accounts.
- NOTE: Just as students with disabilities may be eligible for accommodations in their classes, accommodations may be available for these procedures as well. Students with disabilities requesting accommodations and services under these procedures will need to present a current accommodation verification letter from their campus disability services office before accommodations can be considered and provided.
Further information and definitions of key terms can be found in the University Sexual Misconduct Policy.