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 26, Glossary, 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.
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 determinative 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 before the final resolution of a sexual misconduct complaint, the Respondent’s transcript will be notated to reflect pending disciplinary action, subject to modification to reflect the outcome of the disciplinary action.
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.
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 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 of advocacy. 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.
All communications and notices required by these procedures may be made electronically, in hard copy, or in person.
13.3. Initiating a Complaint
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 they believe is 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.
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.
13.4. Filing Requirements
The person filing the complaint is called the Complainant. To initiate the SMAP, the Complainant must submit a written document, called the “Complaint,” in paper or electronic format, to the Title IX Coordinator. The Complaint 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. At a minimum, the Complaint must indicate the name of the accused student (“the Respondent”); the date or approximate date of the complained of conduct; a description of the conduct about which the Complainant is complaining; and the location of the alleged conduct, if known. Further, the Complaint must indicate, to the best of the Complainant’s ability, the alleged form(s) of Sexual Misconduct, as detailed in the College Sexual Misconduct Policy, that the Complainant alleges the Respondent committed. The Complaint should make it clear that the Complainant is seeking for the alleged conduct violations to be resolved using the SMAP. It is not required that the Complaint reflect every detail related to the allegations in the complaint; additional information may be discovered during the investigation.
Below is a sample template that provides one way to think about constructing a complaint. The following is a suggestion; it is not a required format.
Date of Complaint (Today’s date):
Complainant’s Name: (For the purpose of this process you are the Complainant.)
Complainant’s Email Address:
Complainant’s Telephone #:
Provide a description of the concerning behavior:
A complaint needs to include a description of the behavior that is the subject of your complaint. Your description should include the relevant details of the incident(s) in a way that the person reading your complaint (e.g., the Title IX Coordinator; the Respondent) is able to understand the behaviors about which you complain.
It will be helpful to start with a sentence that indicates the purpose of this document, such as:
This is a complaint to initiate the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process.
Next, describe what happened in your own words using enough detail so that the responding party can understand the particulars of your concerns and respond to them.
Include, if you can, information about where and when the conduct took place.
In addition, you may include as much or as little contextual information as you like. The investigator will be asking for more detailed information as part of the investigation. What you choose to write is a personal decision. You might consider working with an advisor to consider what to include here.
Then, identify the specific section(s) of the Student Code of Conduct that you believe the Respondent violated and the form(s) of sexual misconduct that you believe occurred.
The section(s) of the Code and the form(s) of sexual misconduct you list should relate to the conduct you describe above.
Optional: If you wish, please provide the name(s) of person(s) who may have information related to the complaint. Please also provide contact information, if you know it. You will also be provided with an opportunity to provide names to the investigator.
13.4.1. If the Title IX Coordinator or designee determines that a Complaint does not include sufficient information regarding the allegations of instances of sexual misconduct to permit the Respondent to understand the allegations being brought and to adequately respond, the Title IX Coordinator will request that the Complainant re-submit the Complaint. Where the Complaint 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 to include allegations of these additional related instances.
13.5. Information for Complainant
After receipt of the Complaint, if not sooner, the Title IX Coordinator 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 SMAP; instruct the Complainant not to destroy any potentially relevant documentation in any format; and provide the Complainant a copy of the relevant policies.
13.6. Interim Measures
Upon the filing of a Complaint, if not sooner, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will review the allegations and determine the necessity and scope of any interim measures to prevent further acts of harassment, misconduct, or retaliation and to enhance safety. This review will include an analysis of the sufficiency of any previously-implemented interim measures.
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. Information Sharing
College personnel will take reasonable steps to protect the privacy of persons and information. Process participants, including parties and witnesses, should understand that disclosing information learned during the investigation may compromise the integrity of the investigation and could also be construed as retaliation. For these reasons, the College expects that persons will not disclose or re-disclose information learned during the course of the investigation. Persons are, of course, free to discuss their own personal experiences.
13.8. Withdrawal of Complaint
Prior to a hearing, the Complainant may withdraw the 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. The College will inform both parties in a timely manner of its decisions.
13.9. Responding to Complaint
13.9.1. Notification of Respondent
The person against whom the Complaint is filed is called the Respondent. The Respondent will be notified in a timely manner that a complaint alleging sexual misconduct has been filed against them.
13.9.2. Information for Respondent
After receiving the Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will request a meeting with the Respondent in order to: provide the Respondent with a copy of the Complaint; discuss the Respondent’s opportunity to submit a written response to the Complaint; 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 SMAP; 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 Title IX Coordinator or designee within a reasonable period of time from the filing of the Complaint, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, then the Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide the Respondent, via electronic mail to the Respondent’s official Amherst College electronic mail address, a copy of the Complaint. The Respondent has the opportunity to submit a written response, which must be submitted no later than 72 hours from the date and time the Respondent was provided the Complaint. The Respondent’s written response will be shared with the Complainant. If Respondent fails to meet and cooperate with the Title IX Coordinator or designee or Investigator, the adjudication of the Complaint will nonetheless proceed.
If you choose to submit a written response, you may decide to consider the following sample template. The following is a suggestion; it is not a required format:
Response - Sample Template:
Date of Response: (Today’s Date)
Respondent’s Name: (For the purpose of this process, you are the Respondent.)
Respondent’s Email Address:
Respondent’s Telephone #:
Response to Complaint:
It is helpful to start with a sentence that indicates the purpose of this document, such as:
This is my Response to the Complaint filed on (date on Complaint).
In this Response, you may choose to provide your thoughts on the information that is contained in the Complaint. What you choose to write and how you choose to respond is a personal decision. You might consider working with an advisor to consider what to include here. The investigator will be asking for more detailed information as part of the investigation.
Optional: If you wish, please provide the name(s) of person(s) who may have information related to the complaint or response. Please also provide contact information, if you know it. You will also be provided with an opportunity to provide names to the investigator.
13.9.3. Acceptance of Responsibility
At any point in the process the Respondent may choose to accept responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint. If the Respondent accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Complaint, 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, the Title IX Coordinator will convene a Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board to determine the outcome.
13.10. Notice of Alleged Violations
Before the investigation is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator will provide to the parties a Notice of Alleged Violations for their review. The Notice of Alleged Violations will list the policy violation(s) alleged by the Complainant that will be investigated.
13.11. Investigation Phase
The Title IX Coordinator will designate an Investigator to conduct an investigation of the alleged conduct. The designated Investigator will have specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will oversee the Investigation Process.
13.11.2. Investigation Process
The Investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the Complainant, Respondent, and other individuals or entities that may have relevant information regarding the allegations 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. Relevant information is information that may assist a hearing board in determining whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for the behaviors alleged in the Complaint.
220.127.116.11. Document/Records Review
In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the Complainant and Respondent, the Investigator will determine whether to seek to obtain other records which may be 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 potentially relevant information. In seeking to obtain such evidence, the Investigator will comply with applicable laws and Amherst College policies.
18.104.22.168. Site Visits
The Investigator may visit sites or locations of potential relevance to the allegations in the Complaint and record observations through written or photographic documentation.
22.214.171.124. Complainant and Respondent Interviews
The Complainant and the Respondent will have the opportunity to be interviewed (separately) by the Investigator. The Investigator may offer the parties the opportunity to participate in more than one interview.
126.96.36.199. Witness Interviews
The Investigator will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any identified witnesses, including those persons no longer at the College or who may not have any affiliation with the College. The parties will have the opportunity to provide witness names to the Investigator. The Investigator may also interview any other individual believed to have relevant information. 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 has discretion to decline to interview witnesses who are identified for the sole purpose of providing character evidence, to provide expert opinions, or those whom the Investigator believes, after discussion with the requesting party, have no relevant information.
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 is 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.
188.8.131.52 Mental Health Records
The College will not require that students disclose medical and counseling records, which are privileged and confidential documents; such records cannot be shared with anyone other than the treating professional unless the patient agrees to disclosure. Therefore, individuals should be aware that there are legal implications to agreeing to share and produce privilege records in whole or in part. The production of partial records may lead to the waiver of privilege and the production of additional records. Individuals are encouraged to seek advice from a knowledgeable source about the possible consequences of releasing this type of information. A party who, after due consideration, believes that their own medical or counseling records would be helpful in determining whether sexual misconduct occurred may voluntarily decide to present their own medical or counseling records to the Investigator. The Investigator will review the records and will use discretion to determine what information, if any, is relevant to the adjudication of the complaint. Only the records deemed to be relevant to the resolution of the complaint will be shared with the other party and included in the Investigation Report. Please note that if a party decides to produce such records, the records must be produced in their entirety. The production of excerpts or selected documents is unacceptable and will not be considered. A party who does not wish to provide substantive medical records may decide to voluntarily provide a verification of therapeutic or medical services to the investigator, confirming simply that such treatment occurred, but not providing any details regarding the treatment.
The Investigator will prepare an Investigative Report summarizing and analyzing the relevant information 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. The Investigatorwill not make a determination as to whether or not an alleged violation occurred; that decision is reserved for the Hearing Board.
184.108.40.206. Distribution to Parties
The Complainant and the Respondent will receive a copy of the final Investigative Report before the Hearing.
13.12.1. 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; and
- 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.
13.12.2. Sexual Misconduct Hearing Process
220.127.116.11. 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 higher education professionals who have been recruited from the area community and trained by the College to serve on the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. . 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. The Dean of the Faculty may determine an alternate Hearing Board composition if a full Hearing Board cannot reasonably be convened.
18.104.22.168. Notice of Hearing
The Title IX Coordinator 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 Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board members who have been chosen to serve on the Board for that particular matter. The Notice of Hearing will be sent at least 7 days prior to the hearing date.
22.214.171.124. Pre-Hearing Procedures
126.96.36.199.1. Meeting with Complainant and Respondent
As soon as possible after issuing the Notice of Hearing, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may meet individually with Complainant and Respondent and their respective Advisors to discuss the hearing process and answer any questions.
188.8.131.52.2. Pre-Hearing Opportunities
184.108.40.206.2.1. Request to Reschedule Hearing
Either party may request to reschedule the hearing. Requests to re-schedule must come directly from the Complainant or Respondent, must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator or designee at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled start of the hearing, whenever possible, and must specify the reasons for the request. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will decide whether to grant such request. The Title IX Coordinator or designee retains the discretion to reschedule the hearing at any time for good cause.
220.127.116.11.2.2. Request to Remove Board Member
The Complainant and Respondent may submit written requests to the Title IX Coordinator 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 Title IX Coordinator or designee within 72 hours following delivery of the Notice of Hearing. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will decide whether to grant such request. Removal of a Hearing Board member may require that the hearing be rescheduled.
18.104.22.168.2.3. Request to Present 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 Title IX Coordinator or designee serving as Chair of the Hearing Board no later than 72 hours prior to the scheduled start of the hearing. Parties should provide contact information (e-mail address; telephone number, if known) for any witness who is not a member of the Amherst College community.
For proposed witnesses who were not interviewed by the Investigator, the following information must be 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; and
- 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 require that the Investigator interview newly suggested witnesses.
Both parties and the hearing board will learn, prior to hearing, whether any witnesses have been approved to appear.
The Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will notify all approved witnesses of the date, time, and location of the hearing and offer each witness an opportunity to meet to discuss the Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process.
22.214.171.124.2.3.1. The Hearing Board may call any person it deems to have relevant information.
126.96.36.199.2.3.2. Amherst College students called to participate as a witness in a Sexual Misconduct Adjudication Process are expected to participate.
188.8.131.52.2.4. Information for Consideration at Hearing
184.108.40.206.2.4.1. Information Not Provided to Investigator
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 72 hours prior to the scheduled start of the hearing, 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:
220.127.116.11.18.104.22.168. Identification and description of the document or other evidence the party intends to present
22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. A summary of why the document or other evidence is relevant to making a decision on the complaint, and
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206. 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.
220.127.116.11.2.4.2. Prior Sexual History, Prior Findings of Similar Acts of Sexual Misconduct, or Pattern Evidence
When the Respondent raises consent as a defense, questions or information regarding prior consensual sexual contact between the parties may be deemed relevant, but is not necessarily determinative of whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent is responsible for the allegations in the Complaint.
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 with anyone other than the Complainant 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 opportunities) 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.
18.104.22.168.2.4.3. Request to Present Information Related to Prior Sexual History, Prior Findings of Similar Acts of Sexual Misconduct, or Pattern Evidence
Subject to the considerations above, if either party wishes at hearing to bring forth information – in any form - 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 to the Title IX Coordinator or designee no later than 72 hours prior to the scheduled start of the hearing 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.
22.214.171.124.2.4.4. Mental Health Information
Any information regarding any person’s mental health - that has not previously been determined to be relevant - may not be introduced at hearing.
126.96.36.199.2.5. Impact Statement
The Complainant and the Respondent may prepare an Impact Statement. An Impact Statement is a written document to be considered by the Hearing Board while determining sanctions. Both parties may, but are not required to, prepare an 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. Impact Statements will be reviewed by the Hearing Board prior to its determination on sanctions. Impact Statements should not contain information that has already been excluded from consideration or which is otherwise irrelevant. 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.
188.8.131.52. Hearing Requirements
Those who may be present at the hearing are: the Complainant; the Respondent; each party’s Advisor; the 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.
184.108.40.206.2.1. 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.
220.127.116.11.2.2. Alternate Attendance
A Complainant or Respondent may request to participate 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 from a remote location. 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.
18.104.22.168.3. Standard of Evidence
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).
22.214.171.124.4. 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.
126.96.36.199. Conducting the Hearing
188.8.131.52.1. Call to Order
The Chair of the Hearing Board will call the hearing to order. All parties, the Investigator, and available witnesses will be present to hear the Call to Order. The Chair will describe the hearing process and provide an opportunity for all parties to ask procedural questions prior to opening remarks and the presentation of information. The Chair will ask each individual present to state their name and identify their role during the hearing.
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 the hearing room except as allowed by FERPA or other applicable law.
184.108.40.206.3. Investigator Presentation
The Investigator will present a brief summary of the Investigative Report. The Hearing Board may first ask questions of the Investigator, followed by the Complainant and then the Respondent. Once the Investigator’s Presentation is completed, the Investigator will leave the room.
220.127.116.11.4. Complainant’s Opening Remarks
The Complainant may present their own account of the events.
18.104.22.168.5. Respondent’s Opening Remarks
The Respondent may present their own account of the events.
22.214.171.124.6. Complainant’s Presentation
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 Hearing Board will then have an opportunity to ask additional questions of the Complainant. The Complainant may then offer witnesses who may be questioned directly first by the Complainant, then the Hearing Board, and then the Respondent. There will then be additional opportunities for the Hearing Board and the parties to question the witness. Once a witness other than a party is done presenting information and answering questions, they will be asked to leave the hearing room.
126.96.36.199.7. Respondent’s Presentation
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 Hearing Board will then have an opportunity to ask additional questions of the Respondent. The Respondent may then offer witnesses who may be questioned directly first by the Respondent, then the Hearing Board, and then the Complainant. There will then be additional opportunities for the Hearing Board and the parties to question the witness. Once a witness other than a party is done presenting information and answering questions, they will be asked to leave the hearing room.
188.8.131.52.8. 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.
184.108.40.206.9. Final Questions
The Chair will offer a final opportunity for any additional questions.
220.127.116.11.10. Discretion of the Chair
The Chair retains discretion to alter, at any time, the order of the hearing process, as needed.
18.104.22.168.11. 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.
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.
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 and Corrective Actions. 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.
22.214.171.124.14. Notice of Outcome
The Chair will communicate, via contemporaneously distributed written notice, the outcome 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.
126.96.36.199. Appeal Process
188.8.131.52.1. 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.
184.108.40.206.2. 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., information has been discovered that: 1) is relevant; 2) is substantive; 3) was not previously known by the appellant; and 4) was not previously available to the appellant).
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.
220.127.116.11.4. 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.
18.104.22.168.5. 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 Re- quest, 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:
22.214.171.124.5.1. New Information: The Dean of the Faculty will determine whether the “new information” identified in the Appeal Request is:
- Substantive, and
- New (i.e. not available at the time of the hearing)
126.96.36.199.5.2. 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.
188.8.131.52.5.3. 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
184.108.40.206.5.4. 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 war- ranted, 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.
220.127.116.11.6. Review of the Merits
18.104.22.168.6.1. 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 for or 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.
22.214.171.124.6.2. 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.
126.96.36.199.6.3. 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.
188.8.131.52.7. 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.
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.
184.108.40.206.9. Records Maintained
The College will maintain an official record of the hearing.
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.