Section 13. The Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process

13.1. Introduction

Amherst College has established the College Sexual Misconduct Policy that articulates the College’s set of behavioral standards, common understandings of definitions and key concepts and descriptions of prohibited conduct. The Policy also outlines the College’s approach to addressing reports of sexual misconduct. This section, the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process (SMAP) details the College’s procedures for adjudicating sexual misconduct complaints against students.

13.2. Preliminary Matters

13.2.1. Timing of Complaints

So long as the Respondent is a student at the College, as defined in Section 12.2, Jurisdiction, there is no time limit to filing a complaint to initiate the SMAP. Where the Respondent is a second semester senior, the College will, in most instances, withhold that student’s Amherst College degree pending conclusion and outcome of the SMAP.

13.2.2. Jurisdiction

See Section 12.2, Jurisdiction of this code.

13.2.3. Effect of Criminal Proceedings

The adjudication of a complaint of sexual misconduct under this process is independent of any criminal investigation or criminal proceeding. The College will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceeding to commence its own review, investigation, and, when applicable, proceedings outlined herein. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to indict and/ or prosecute a Respondent nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution are de terminative of whether the Respondent is responsible for violating College policy.

13.2.4. Effect of Pending Complaint on Respondent

If the Respondent is a current student, no notation will be placed on the Respondent’s transcript of a complaint or pending disciplinary action during the SMAP. If the Respondent withdraws from the College while a sexual misconduct complaint is pending, the Respondent’s transcript will reflect a withdrawal and a notation of pending disciplinary action subject to modification to reflect the outcome of the disciplinary action.

13.2.5. Amnesty

An individual who files a sexual misconduct complaint or serves as a third party witness during the SMAP will not be subject to disciplinary action by the College for their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the alleged sexual misconduct, provided that such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The College may initiate educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding the use of alcohol or other drugs.

13.2.6. Advisor

Parties to a sexual misconduct complaint have the right to be assisted by an Advisor of their choice during the SMAP. When choosing an Advisor, parties should be mindful of the Advisor’s availability. While the College will make reasonable efforts to take into the account the Advisor’s availability, the College will not allow the Advisor’s unavailability to unreasonably delay the SMAP. An Advisor serves to guide the student through the process and may accompany the party to any meeting with a College employee, any meeting with an investigator, and to the hearing. The Advisor is not an advocate for the student. The Advisor may not disrupt an investigatory meeting. At a Sexual Misconduct hearing, an Advisor may not direct questions to or otherwise address the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board, a party, or any witness or make verbal objections or other statements ofadvocacy. The Advisor may consult with the party that they are assisting.

13.2.7. Agreements Not Recognized by the College

Other than a judicial order, the College will not recognize agreements between the Complainant and Respondent in which the College did not participate.

13.2.8. Communications

All communications and notices required by these procedures may be made electronically, in hard copy, or in person.

13.3. Initiating a Complaint

13.3.1. Individual

A person who believes they have experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, as defined in Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, may file a complaint against the Amherst College student responsible for that conduct. “Person” may include, but is not limited to, members of Amherst College, including students, faculty, administrators and staff members, visitors, alumni, or members of one of the constituent institutions of the Five Colleges.

13.3.2. Administrative

When the College receives a report of sexual misconduct that, following the Title IX Review described in Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, is determined to be exceptional, the College may initiate a complaint against a student of the College.

13.4. Filing Requirements

The person bringing the allegation is called the Complainant. To initiate the SMAP, the Complainant must submit a Complaint Form (paper or electronic format) to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee. The Complaint Form must contain sufficient information regarding the allegations of instances of sexual misconduct to permit the Respondent to understand the allegations being brought and to be able to adequately respond. Towards that end, the Complaint Form should indicate, to the best of the Complainant’s ability, the forms of Sexual Misconduct, as detailed in the College Sexual Misconduct Policy, that the Complainant alleges the Respondent committed. It is not required that the Complaint Form reflect every detail related to the allegations in the complaint as additional information may be discovered during the investigation.

13.4.1.

If the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee determines that a Complaint Form does not include sufficient information of the allegations of instances of sexual misconduct to permit the Respondent to understand the allegations being brought and to adequately respond, the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will request that the Complainant re-submit the Complaint Form. Where the Complaint Form contains information that could not constitute conduct prohibited by Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the Complainant that the SMAP will not apply to the Complaint and will refer the Complaint to the Director of Community Standards

13.4.2.

If the investigation reveals other related allegations of instances of sexual misconduct not otherwise detailed in the Complaint, the Complainant will have the opportunity to amend the Complaint Form to include allegations of these additional related instances.

13.5. Information for Complainant

After receipt of the Complaint Form, if not sooner, Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will request a meeting with the Complainant in order to discuss the nature of the complaint, explain the Complainant’s right to choose an Advisor of their choice, explain the rights and responsibilities of the Complainant and Respondent  explain the prohibition against retaliation; explain the Hearing Board process, instruct the Complainant not to destroy any potentially relevant documentation in any format, and give the Complainant a copy of the relevant policies.

13.6. Interim Measures

Upon the filing of a Complaint Form, if not sooner, the Title IX Coordinator or  designee will review the allegations and determine the sufficiency of any previously- implemented interim measures, as well as the necessity and scope of any additional interim measures to prevent further acts of harassment, misconduct, or retaliation and to provide a safe environment. The range of interim measures may include, but is not limited to:

  • No-Communication and Restricted Proximity Order
  • Academic, Employment, or Residence Modifications
  • Emotional Support
  • Interim Suspension

13.7. Withdrawal of Complaint

Prior to a hearing, the Complainant may withdraw the sexual misconduct complaint. Withdrawal of the complaint will, in most circumstances, end the SMAP. The College may move forward with the investigation and complaint, even after the Complainant withdraws it, in order to protect the interests and safety of the College community.

13.8. Responding to Complaint

13.8.1. Notification of Respondent

The person against whom the Complaint Form is filed is called the Respondent. After the Complaint Form is filed, the Respondent will be notified that a complaint alleging sexual misconduct has been filed against them.

13.8.2. Information for Respondent

After receiving the Complaint Form, the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will request a meeting with the Respondent in order to: provide the Respondent with a copy of the Complaint Form; discuss the Respondent’s opportunity to submit a written response to the Complaint Form; discuss the nature of the complaint, explain the Respondent’s right to choose an Advisor of their choice, explain the rights and responsibilities of the Complainant and Respondent; explain the prohibition against retaliation; explain the Hearing Board process; instruct the Respondent not to destroy any potentially relevant documentation in any format, and give the Respondent a copy of the relevant policies. If the Respondent refuses or otherwise cannot meet with the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee within a reasonable period of time from the filing of the Complaint Form, as determined by the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee, then the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will provide the Respondent, via electronic mail to the Respondent’s official Amherst College electronic mail address, a copy of the Complaint Form. The Respondent has the opportunity to submit a written response, which must be submitted no later than 3 business days from the date Respondent was provided the Complaint Form. The Respondent’s written response will be shared with the Complainant. If Respondent fails to meet and cooperate with the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee or Investigator, the adjudication of the complaint will nonetheless proceed.

13.8.3. Acceptance of Responsibility

At any point in the process the Respondent may choose to accept responsibility  for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form. If the Respondent accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form, the process may, but will not necessarily, proceed to the Investigation Phase. If an investigation has already commenced, it may, but will not necessarily, continue to its conclusion. If a Respondent accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint Form, the Title IX Coordinator will convene a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board to determine the outcome.

13.9. Investigation Phase

13.9.1. Investigator

The Title IX Coordinator will designate an Investigator to conduct a thorough, impartial, and fair investigation. The Investigator chosen will have specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will oversee the Investigation Process.

13.9.2. Investigation Process

The Investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the Complainant, Respondent, and other individuals or entities with relevant information regarding the complaint using any of the methods listed below. The Investigator will share with the Complainant and Respondent for comment or rebuttal information and documentation considered relevant to the allegations in the complaint.

13.9.2.1. Document/Records Review

In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the Complainant and Respondent, the Investigator will determine whether to seek to obtain records relevant to the investigation, including, but not limited to documents, police records, electronic or other record of communications between the parties or witnesses or records or other relevant information. In seeking to obtain such evidence, the Investigator will comply with applicable laws and Amherst College policies.

13.9.2.2. Site Visits

The Investigator may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written or photographic documentation.

13.9.2.3. Complainant and Respondent Interviews

The Investigator will interview the Complainant and the Respondent separately and may interview one or both more than once as necessary.

13.9.2.4. Witness Interviews

The Investigator will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties or in the documentation, including those no longer at the College. The Investigator may also interview any other individual they believe may have information relevant to the allegations of the complaint. The Investigator will inform each witness or other individuals interviewed that they are prohibited from retaliating against the Complainant and Respondent  or other witnesses. The Investigator may decide, in their judgment, to decline to interview witnesses who are identified for the sole purpose of providing character evidence or those whom the Investigator believes, after discussion with the requesting party, have no relevant information.

13.9.2.5. Experts

The Investigator may contact any expert the Investigator determines is necessary to ascertain the facts related to the complaint or other information the Investigator determines in necessary to assist a Hearing Board in determining whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for the allegations in the Complaint.

13.9.2.6. Notice of Charges

Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will provide to the parties a Notice of Charge for their review. The Notice of Charge will list the policy violation(s) alleged by the Complainant that will be considered by the Hearing Board.

13.9.3. Report

13.9.3.1. Contents

The Investigator will prepare an Investigative Report summarizing and analyzingthe relevant facts determined through the Investigation and referencing any supporting documentation or statements. The Investigative Report may include: summaries of interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, third-party witnesses, experts and any other individuals with relevant information; photographs of relevant sites or physical evidence; and electronic records and forensic evidence. The Investigator may provide a summary of their impressions including context for the information, but will not make a determination as to whether a violation occurred, as that decision is reserved for the Hearing Board.

13.9.3.2. Distribution to Parties

The Complainant and the Respondent will receive a copy of the final Investigative Report before the Hearing.

13.10. Resolution

13.10.1. Voluntary Resolution

In certain instances, a Complainant and a Respondent may mutually agree to resolve a complaint through voluntary resolution. Voluntary resolution may include conflict mediation or a restorative conference with a College community member. However, voluntary resolution may only be used:

  • Prior to a Notice of Hearing being issued
  • When the Dean of Students or designee determines this is a suitable option for resolving the concern, and both the Complainant and Respondent agree to use the process
  • When the complaint does not involve sexual violence, as defined in Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Because the outcomes of voluntary resolution conversations are mutually developed and agreed upon by the parties involved, an appeal of the process and its result is not permitted. If the parties are unable to agree on a voluntary resolution, the matter will be referred to the Hearing Board by the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee. No statements made during the voluntary resolution process may be introduced before the Hearing Board.

13.10.2. Sexual Misconduct Hearing Process

13.10.2.1. Composition of Hearing Board

Hearings to decide complaints of sexual misconduct shall be conducted by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. The Hearing Board for a particular hearing is composed of three persons that are drawn from a pool of individuals from the community. The Dean of the Faculty may determine an alternate Hearing Board composition if a full Hearing Board cannot reasonably be convened. All Hearing Board members will annually receive training regarding: the dynamics of sexual misconduct; the factors relevant to a determination of credibility; the appropriate manner in which to receive and evaluate sensitive information; the manner of deliberation and the application of the preponderance of the evidence standard; and the College’s policies and procedures. The Dean of Students or designee will serve as the non-voting Chairperson (“Chair”) and as an advisor to the Hearing Board. Hearing Board members shall not consist of faculty, staff, or students at Amherst College.

13.10.2.2. Notice of Hearing

The Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will issue a Notice of Hearing to the Complainant and the Respondent. The Notice of Hearing will identify the date, time, and place of the hearing and provide the names of the persons serving on the Hearing Board for the case. The Notice of Hearing will be sent at least 7 days prior to the hearing date.

13.10.2.3. Pre-Hearing Procedures

13.10.2.3.1. Meeting with Complainant and Respondent
As soon as possible after issuing the Notice of Hearing, the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee may meet individually with Complainant and Respondent and their respective Advisors to discuss the hearing process and answer any questions.

13.10.2.3.2. Deadlines

13.10.2.3.2.1. Request to Reschedule Hearing
Either party may request to reschedule the hearing. Requests to reschedule must come directly from the Complainant or Respondent, must be submitted to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee at least 2 days prior to hearing, whenever possible, and must specify the reasons for the request. The Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will decide whether to grant such request. The Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee retains the discretion to reschedule the hearing at any time for good cause.

13.10.2.3.2.2. Request to Remove Board Member
The Complainant and Respondent may submit written requests to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee asking that a member of the Hearing Board be removed for reasonable articulable grounds of bias, conflict of interest, or an inability to be fair and impartial. The written request must identify the grounds for the removal and be received by the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee within 3 days following delivery of the Notice of Hearing. The Dean of Students or designee will decide whether to grant such request. Removal of a Hearing Board member may require that the hearing be rescheduled.

13.10.2.3.2.3. Witnesses
The Complainant or Respondent may call witnesses at the hearing only upon satisfaction of the conditions below being met. A party wishing to call any witness at hearing, including those witnesses that have been previously identified and/or interviewed by the Investigator, must submit a list of witnesses to the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards or designee serving as Chair of the Hearing Board no later than 3 days prior to the hearing date. For any witness not interviewed by the Investigator, the following information is required at the time the witness list is submitted:

        • Names of witnesses the party intends to call
        • A written statement and/or description of the information the witness is expected to provide at the hearing
        • A summary of why the witness’ presence is relevant to making a decision on the complaint
        • The reason why the witness was not interviewed by the Investigator

The Dean of Students or designee will determine if there is sufficient justification for permitting a witness who was not interviewed by the Investigator. Generally, neither party will be permitted to call character witnesses. The Dean of Students or designee may also require that the Investigator interview the newly suggested witness. The approved witness list will be shared with the parties and the Hearing Board prior to the hearing.

Parties are responsible for communicating with their witnesses regarding the time and location of the hearing.

13.10.2.3.2.3.1. The Hearing Board may call any witness it deems to have relevant information.

13.10.2.3.2.3.2. Amherst College students called to participate as a witness in a Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process are expected to participate.

13.10.2.3.2.4. Documentation and Evidence

13.10.2.3.2.4.1. Not Provided to Investigator
In rare circumstances, the Complainant or Respondent may wish to present documentation or other evidence at the hearing that was not provided to the Investigator. No later than 3 days prior to the hearing date, the requesting party must submit to the Dean of Students or designee serving as Chair of the Hearing Board the list of documents or other evidence. The list of documents must contain the following information:

          • Identification and description of the document or other evidence the party intends to present
          • A summary of why the document or other evidence is relevant to making a decision on the complaint, and
          • The reason why the document or other evidence was not provided to the Investigator

The Dean of Students or designee will determine if the additional documentation or other evidence is relevant and if there is sufficient justification for permitting its use at the hearing. The Dean of Students or designee may also require that the Investigator review the additional documentation or other evidence. If the additional documentation or evidence is approved, it will be shared with the parties and the Hearing Board prior to the hearing.

13.10.2.3.2.4.2. Prior Sexual History, Prior Findings of Similar Acts of Sexual Misconduct, or Pattern Evidence
In general, in a case where the Respondent raises consent as a defense, questions or information regarding a prior consensual relationship between the parties may be deemed relevant but not necessarily determinative.

Generally, questions or information about the Complainant’s prior sexual history with anyone other than the Respondent will not be allowed. Generally, questions or evidence about the Respondent’s prior sexual history will not be allowed. In limited circumstances, such as when there is evidence of a pattern of behavior that is factually similar, information about that pattern of behavior may be relevant to the determination of responsibility or assigning of a sanction.

A prior finding (post appeal rights) of responsibility for a similar act of sexual misconduct (“prior bad act”) will always be deemed relevant and may be considered in making a determination as to responsibility and/or assigning of a sanction.

If either party wishes to bring forth information concerning the other party’s sexual history, evidence of a pattern of behavior, or prior bad acts, such requests must be made to the Dean of Students, regardless of whether the information was brought forward during the investigation. The Dean of Students or designee serving as the Chair of the Hearing Board will judge the admissibility of such information. The following must be submitted no later than 3 days before the hearing to the Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee:

          • A written statement and/or description of the proposed information, if not already provided during investigation, and
          • A summary of why this information is relevant to making a decision of responsibility at the hearing

The Dean of Students or designee will determine if the information concerning prior sexual history, prior bad acts, or pattern evidence is appropriate for inclusion at the hearing.

13.10.2.3.2.5. Impact Statement
The Complainant and the Respondent may prepare an Impact Statement to be considered by the Hearing Board while determining sanctions. Both parties may prepare a written Impact Statement and provide it in a sealed envelope to the Chair on the day of the hearing. The statements will be opened only if the Respondent is found responsible. Otherwise, they will be destroyed by the Chair. The Chair retains discretion to instruct the Hearing Board to disregard information contained in the Impact Statement that would not otherwise be permissible under this process.

13.10.2.4. Hearing Requirements

13.10.2.4.1. Participants
Those who may be present at the hearing are: the Complainant; the Respondent; their respective Advisors; Investigator; witnesses; and other College officials. The Investigator and witnesses may only be present in the hearing room during the Call to Order and Confidentiality portions of the hearing and when they are providing information to the Hearing Board. The Complainant and Respondent will be present in the hearing room, unless as prescribed under Alternative Attendance.

13.10.2.4.2. Attendance

13.10.2.4.2.1. Failure to Attend
If a party fails to attend a hearing for any reason other than an emergency, the hearing may be held in their absence.

13.10.2.4.2.2. Alternate Attendance
A Complainant or Respondent may request participation in the hearing by suitable means that would not require physical proximity to the other. This can include, but is not limited to, partitioning a hearing room or using technology to facilitate participation. All requests by a party to participate in the hearing other than in person must be submitted in advance of the hearing to the Dean of Students or designee as Chair. The Title IX Coordinator will review the request to ensure compliance with a fair and equitable process. The Chair may allow for witnesses to appear through technological means rather than in-person attendance.

13.10.2.4.2.3. Standard of Proof
The Hearing Board will determine the Respondent’s responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence standard, which is whether the information provided at the hearing supports a finding that it is “more likely than not” that the Respondent is responsible for the alleged violation(s).

13.10.2.4.2.4. Recording Proceedings
Hearings before the Hearing Board are audio-recorded for the purpose of: (1) reference by the Hearing Board or Chair during deliberations; (2) review by the Dean of the Faculty or appeals panel during an appeal; (3) the official record of the hearing; and (4) availability to the Complainant or Respondent should either wish to file an appeal. The Hearing Board’s deliberations are not audio-recorded.

13.10.2.5. Conducting the Hearing

13.10.2.5.1. Call to Order
The Chair of the Hearing Board will call the hearing to order. The Chair will explain the hearing process and provide an opportunity for all parties to ask procedural questions prior to initial statements and the presentation of information. The Chair will ask each individual present to state their name and identify their role during the hearing.

13.10.2.5.2. Confidentiality
The Chair will inform parties that the proceedings are confidential as required under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and that information received at the hearing should not be shared outside thehearing room except as allowed by FERPA or other applicable law.

13.10.2.5.3. Investigator Presentation
The Investigator will present a brief summary of the Investigative Report to the Hearing Board. The Hearing Board may first ask questions of the Investigator, followed by the Complainant and then the Respondent.

13.10.2.5.4. Complainant’s Presentation
The Complainant may present their own account of the events. The Hearing Board may ask Complainant questions, followed by the Respondent. The Respondent’s questions must be directed through the Chair. The Chair will ask the Complainant those questions that are deemed relevant and permissible. The Complainant may then offer witnesses who may be questioned directly by the Complainant, the Hearing Board, and the Respondent. Once a witness other than a party is done presenting information and answering questions, they will be asked to leave the hearing room.

13.10.2.5.5. Respondent’s Presentation
The Respondent may present their own account of the events. The Hearing Board may ask the Respondent questions, followed by the Complainant. The Complainant’s questions must be directed through the Chair. The Chair will ask the Respondent those questions that are deemed relevant and permissible. The Respondent may then offer witnesses who may be questioned directly by the Respondent, the Hearing Board, and the Complainant. Once a witness other than a party is done presenting information and answering questions, they will be asked to leave the hearing room.

13.10.2.5.6. Recall of Witnesses
The Hearing Board reserves the right to recall any party or witness during the hearing process for further questions and to seek additional information necessary to make a decision.

13.10.2.5.7. Summary Statements
Upon conclusion of the presentation of information by the Investigator, parties and witnesses, the Complainant and the Respondent may make brief summary statements to the Hearing Board. The Complainant will present their summary statement first, followed by the Respondent.

13.10.2.5.8. Deliberation
At the conclusion of the hearing, everyone other than the Chair, the College’s legal counsel and the Hearing Board members will be dismissed from the hearing room to allow the Hearing Board to deliberate in private. The Chair and the College’s legal counsel may remain for deliberations but may not vote. The Hearing Board’s decision will be determined by majority vote. The Senior Associate Dean of Students or designee will provide the Board with violation precedence and a student conduct history (if applicable). If the Hearing Board finds responsibility, it will deliberate regarding the appropriate sanction(s) and reach a decision by majority vote. The votes themselves will not be shared with the parties and only the decision on responsibility and any applicable sanction will be announced. The Hearing Board may schedule additional meetings to complete deliberations if necessary.

13.10.2.5.9. Sanctions 
If the Hearing Board finds the Respondent responsible for violations of Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, the Hearing Board will impose appropriate sanctions and may be guided by the sanctions outlined in Section 14, College Sanctions. Sanctions may be issued individually or in combination with other sanctions. In determining the appropriate sanction(s), the Hearing Board may consider a number of factors including: the harm suffered by the Complainant; any ongoing risk to either the Complainant or the community posed by the Respondent; the impact of the violation(s) on the community, its members or its property; any previous conduct violations; any mitigating or aggravating circumstances; and the information contained in any impact statements submitted by the parties.

13.10.2.5.10. Notice of Outcome
The Chair will communicate, via contemporaneous written notice, the result of the hearing and any sanction(s) to the Respondent and the Complainant. Generally, the notice will occur within 48 hours of the conclusion of the Hearing Board’s deliberations. Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent is prohibited from disclosing the outcome of the hearing.

13.10.2.6. Appeal Process

13.10.2.6.1. Eligibility and Timeline
Either party may appeal the outcome of the hearing by filing a written Appeal Request, which must be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator within 6 calendar days of the Notice of Outcome. The Title IX Coordinator will inform the non-filing party that an Appeal Request has been filed.

13.10.2.6.2. Grounds for Appeal
The appeal may be based on one or more of the following grounds only:

      • Material procedural error (i.e. a procedural error of such significance that, but for the error’s occurrence, the hearing could have resulted in a different outcome)
      • Bias, by the chair or a member of the Hearing Board (i.e. the chair or a member of the Hearing Board demonstrated through specific words or actions that they were predisposed for or against one of the parties)
      • Inappropriateness of the Sanction (i.e. the sanction is disproportionate to the gravity of the violation(s) for which the Respondent has been found responsible), or
      • New Information (i.e. relevant, substantive, and new information – not available at the time of the hearing – has been discovered).

13.10.2.6.3. Content
The Appeal Request must identify the grounds for appeal and must identify with specificity the moments during the process that gave rise to the stated grounds for appeal.

13.10.2.6.4. Standard of Review
The appeal is based on the record and is limited to the four possible bases for appeal. The appeal is not a de novo review.

13.10.2.6.5. Threshold Review
The Title IX Coordinator will forward the Appeal Request to the Dean of the Faculty. Within 7 business days of the timely submission of the Appeal Request, the Dean of the Faculty will review the Appeal Request to determine, as a threshold matter, whether one or more of the Grounds for Appeal has been sufficiently alleged to warrant Review of the Merits—based on the following:

13.10.2.6.5.1. New Information: The Dean of the Faculty will determine whether the “new information” identified in the Appeal Request is:

        • Relevant
        • Substantive, and
        • New (i.e. not available at the time of the hearing)

13.10.2.6.5.2. Inappropriateness of the Sanction: The Dean of the Faculty will determine whether the sanction is disproportionate to the gravity of the violation(s) for which the Respondent has been found responsible. In making this determination, the Dean of the Faculty will defer to the hearing board’s decision unless it has no rational basis.

13.10.2.6.5.3. Material Procedural Error: The Dean of the Faculty will determine whether the procedural error identified in the Appeal Request:

        • Constitutes a procedural error, and
        • Is corroborated by the record

13.10.2.6.5.4. Bias by the Chair or a Member of the Hearing Board: The Dean of the Faculty will determine whether the specific words and/or actions identified in the Appeal Request

        • Are corroborated by the record, and
        • Could indicate that the chair or a member of the Hearing Board was predisposed for or against one of the parties

If the Dean of the Faculty determines that Review of the Merits is not warranted, the Appeal Request will be denied and the Dean of the Faculty will inform the Title IX Coordinator, who will notify both parties (normally within 48 hours).

If the Dean of the Faculty determines that Review of the Merits is warranted, each party will be notified. The party who did not submit the Appeal Request will be provided a copy of the Appeal Request and given 6 calendar days to submit a written Response to Appeal Request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will forward it to the Dean of the Faculty and the party who filed the Appeal Request. The Response to Appeal Request is optional – the absence of a Response to Appeal Request will not be taken into consideration in determining the merits of the Appeal Request.

13.10.2.6.6. Review of the Merits

13.10.2.6.6.1. Review by Appeals Panel
If Review of the Merits was granted on the basis of Material Procedural Error and/or Bias by the Chair or a Member of the Hearing Board, the Dean of the Faculty will convene a three-person panel (Appeals Panel), consisting of the Dean of the Faculty and two members from the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board pool who were not involved in the original hearing. The Appeals Panel will meet within 14 calendar days of the decision to grant Review of the Merits. If an Appeals Panel cannot reasonably be convened within 14 calendar days, the Dean of the Faculty will determine whether to extend the deadline or to conduct the Review of the Merits themselves.

The Appeals Panel will consider the merits of the appeal solely on the basis of the Appeal Request, the Response to Appeal Request (if any) and the record of the original hearing, as follows: 

Material Procedural Error: The Appeals Panel will determine whether it is substantially more likely than not that, if the identified procedural error(s) had not occurred, the hearing could have resulted in a different outcome.

Bias by the Chair or a Member of the Hearing Board: The Appeals Panel will determine whether it is substantially more likely than not that the specific words and/or actions identified in the Appeal Request indicate that the chair or a member of the hearing board was predisposed foror against one of the parties.

 If the Appeals Panel finds merit to the appeal, it will remand the matter to a new hearing conducted by a Hearing Board comprised of members who did not serve on either the original Hearing Board or the Appeals Panel.

The Appeals Panel will communicate its decision to the Title IX Coordinator, who will inform the parties. The Appeals Panel’s decision is final.

13.10.2.6.6.2. Review by Original Hearing Board
If the Review of the Merits was granted on the basis of New Information and/or Inappropriateness of the Sanction, the Dean of the Faculty will remand the matter to the original Hearing Board, which will be convened within 14 calendar days of the decision to grant Review of the Merits. If the original hearing board cannot be convened within 14 calendar days, the Dean of the Faculty may determine whether to extend the deadline or remand the matter to a new hearing board for a new hearing.

Once convened, the original hearing board will conduct the Review of the Merits solely on the basis of the Appeal Request, the Response to Appeal Request (if any) and the record of the original hearing, as follows:

New Information: The original Hearing Board will assess the weight and effect of the new information in light of all other evidence from the original hearing and will determine whether to:

        • Affirm the original finding(s) and sanction(s)
        • Affirm the original finding(s), and issue a new sanction(s), or
        • Issue a new finding(s) and sanction(s)

Inappropriateness of the Sanction: The original hearing board will reconsider the factors relevant to determining sanctions as identified above and will issue a new sanction. 

After conducting the Review of the Merits, the original hearing board will communicate its decision to the Title IX Coordinator, who will inform the parties. The decision is final.

13.10.2.6.6.3. Order of Precedence
In the event that the Dean of the Faculty grants Review of the Merits on multiple Grounds for Appeal, such that reviews by both an Appeals Panel and the original hearing board are warranted, the process will begin with Appeals Panel review. If the Appeals Panel finds merit in the appeal and therefore remands the matter to a new hearing board, any other basis for appeal will be moot. If the Appeals Panel does not find merit on the basis of Material Procedural Error or Bias by the Chair or a Member of the Hearing Board, then the process will continue with Review of the Merits on the basis of New Information and/or Inappropriateness of the Sanction.

13.10.2.6.7. Communication During the Appeals Process
In order to preserve the integrity of the Appeal Process, the parties, as well as their respective advisors and witnesses, should direct questions, comments or concerns to the Title IX Coordinator and refrain from initiating communication directly or indirectly with the Dean of the Faculty or any other person involved in reviewing the Appeal throughout the duration of the Appeal Process.

13.10.2.6.8. Designees
The Dean of the Faculty may designate someone to fulfill any or all of the responsibilities identified in the Appeal Process. In the absence of the Dean of the Faculty, the President will designate another individual to serve the role of the Dean of the Faculty.

13.10.2.6.9. Records Maintained
The hearing’s audio-recording, together with the documents, information and other evidence presented at the hearing, will serve as the record of the hearing proceedings and will be maintained by the Director of Student Conduct and Community Standards as part of the Respondent’s conduct record.

If a student has been found responsible by the Hearing Board for violating Section 3, College Sexual Misconduct Policy, such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct issues or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a student’s conduct record.

Generally suspension, expulsion and withdrawal pending disciplinary action are permanently noted on a student’s transcript. The conduct files of students who have been suspended or expelled from the College are maintained in the Office of Student Affairs for no fewer than 5 years after their departure from the College.