Interim Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct Procedures

Procedural Summary

Effective September 3, 2013, all allegations of sexual and/or relationship misconduct against a student that become known to Campus Security Authorities of the University will be subject to review and investigation by the Office of Academic and Community Conduct in coordination with the University’s Title IX Coordinator. If the review and investigation concludes, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that a student is responsible for sexual and/or relationship misconduct, appropriate sanctions and interventions will be applied. 

This document outlines the procedures that will be utilized at each stage of the process from initial review to final appeal.

Initial Action and Review

Once the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator is put on notice of any allegation of sexual and/or relationship misconduct (hereinafter, “Misconduct”) as defined in the Sexual and/or Relationship Policy, the individual who allegedly experienced Misconduct (“Complainant”) will be offered appropriate support services and notified of applicable institutional policies.   The student or group that is alleged to have engaged in Misconduct (“Respondent”) will also be offered appropriate information and support services.  The Office of Academic and Community Conduct may also implement interim action (as described in the Interim Action procedures in the Student Code of Community Conduct) as needed to protect the community and students involved, pending the culmination of any review, investigation or appeal process.

If the Complainant is willing to participate in the review and investigation process, the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator will proceed as described in the Investigation section below.

If the Complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, before taking any further steps the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator will forward that information, along with all available information about the incident or allegation, to the Allegation Review Panel, which consists of the Title IX Coordinator and representatives from the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, Public Safety and Police Services, and other offices as deemed necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.

Specifically, the Allegation Review Panel will evaluate 1) whether, and to what extent, Michigan Tech should further investigate an allegation of Misconduct when the Complainant does not wish for an investigation to be conducted, and/or when the Complainant wishes their information to remain confidential; and 2) what other protective measures or remedies might be considered to address any effects of the alleged Misconduct in the campus community. In all cases, the final decision on whether and to what extent an investigation will be conducted rests solely with the Title IX Coordinator.

Investigation

If after reviewing the allegations the Title IX Coordinator deems further investigation is warranted, the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator will use the following guidelines to ensure that allegations of Misconduct are handled promptly and effectively in a manner that is procedurally fair to all parties.

The Office of Academic and Community Conduct, in discussion with the Title IX Coordinator, may modify these guidelines as necessary to achieve the goals of prompt, thorough and effective complaint resolution in a procedurally fair manner. The development of informal resolution processes and means other than disciplinary measures, that allow the Title IX Coordinator and other administrators the requisite discretion to deal with the procedural challenges created by the new broadened definition of sexual misconduct  (which is not limited to severe and pervasive), is strongly encouraged.

Preliminary Issues

Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, domestic violence and dating violence.  These terms are further defined in the Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct Policy.

Campus Security Authorities are University employees designated under the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act of 1998 to report certain crimes including sex offenses (forcible and non-forcible). These employees (including student employees) comprise of Public Safety and Police Services staff; Human Resources Department staff; Athletic Department staff and coaches; Student Affairs staff; Intramural Department staff; Advisors to student organizations; and/or Deans/Department Chairs/Directors.

All references to Complainant and Respondent are meant to include one or more individuals in those categories.

Complainant is an individual who allegedly experienced sexual and/or relationship misconduct, regardless of whether the Complainant participates in this process.

Respondent is a student(s) or student organization(s) alleged to have violated the sexual and/or relationship misconduct policy. Student-employees alleged to have engaged in sexual and/or relationship misconduct in their employment capacity will be investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity. A student-employee may be subject to sanctions both in connection with their employment and in connection with their student status, under applicable procedures.

Investigator is an individual who investigates complaints.  Investigators do not function as advocates for Complainants or Respondents, but can refer Complainants or Respondents to advocacy and support resources.

Student Organization means any group of students officially recognized by the University at the time of the alleged violation.

Support Person is a faculty, staff, or student member of the University who may be present during the investigative process for either the Complainant or Respondent.  The support person may not participate directly in the investigative process.  Witnesses and/or relatives of the either the Complainant or Respondent may not be support persons.

University Conduct Board is a hearing panel comprised of a faculty, staff, and student member of the University who has been trained in basic procedural due process.

Precedence in Multiple Charges is followed in cases of multiple charges where more than one University student conduct policy is implicated. The Interim Procedures for Sexual and/or Relationship Misconduct will take precedence over those governing Academic Integrity charges and Student Code of Community Conduct charges.

Group Infractions may occur when members of groups, individuals acting collusively, or members of a student organization act in concert to violate the sexual and/or relationship misconduct policy, they will be charged individually and the group may be charged as an organization.

False Reporting will not be tolerated by The Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator. It is a violation of the Student Code of Community Conduct to make an intentionally false report of sexual and/or relationship misconduct, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.

Limitations of Confidentiality

Sexual and/or relationship misconduct complaints will be handled in a confidential manner to the extent possible and consistent with principles of due process, FERPA,1 and the Campus Security Act. 

The Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator may not be able to fully address allegations received from anonymous sources unless sufficient information is furnished to enable a meaningful and fair investigation to be conducted.

  1. Complete Confidentiality: If a student desires details of the sexual and/or relationship misconduct incident to be kept confidential, the student should speak with counselors (on or off-campus), who will maintain confidentiality. Counselors will explain the details of confidentiality rules. Campus counselors are available free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis by calling Counseling Services at 487-2538.  Confidential counselors are also available at Dial Help (906-482-HELP).  In addition, students may speak with members of the clergy and chaplains, who will also keep reports made to them confidential.
  2. Duty to Investigate: Students are highly recommended to speak to Campus Security Authorities of the institution for purposes of seeking information or reporting incidents. The Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator recognize that many students desire confidentiality and many students might not want the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator to investigate and attempt to resolve the sexual and/or relationship misconduct incident. However, depending on the facts and circumstances, it may be necessary for University officials to follow up on allegations of sexual and/or relationship misconduct.
  3. Federal Reporting Statistical Requirements: The Department of Public Safety and Police Services must fulfill federal crime reporting requirements. All personally identifiable information is kept confidential, but statistical information must be passed along to Public Safety and Police Services regarding the type of incident and its general location (on or off campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given), for publication in the Campus Security Act Annual Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety.
  4. Federal Timely Warning Requirements: University officials must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that continue to pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community.
  5. Open Department of Public Safety and Police Services Logs: When incidents are reported to law enforcement officials, federal law requires that the police note incidents in a police log that is made public within two business days of the report of an incident. No names or other information that could reveal the identity of the student who may be the victim of sexual and/or relationship misconduct will be made public. Arrest records, however, are not confidential and are not protected by FERPA. Any adult student who is arrested can expect that records relating to an arrest will be made public.
  6. Confidentiality of Medical Services: If a student seeks medical attention, medical providers are required to alert law enforcement of potential sex crimes. If police are called to the hospital, the student has the right to not talk to them. The decision to prosecute an alleged assailant rests with the local prosecuting attorney. This decision can be made without the consent of the person who was assaulted.

1 The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.  For additional information, please review: http://www.mtu.edu/registrar/faculty-staff/ferpa/

Support Guidelines for Both Complainant and Respondent

The Complainant or Respondent may request a campus "No Contact" condition against each other or against any other student who has engaged in or threatens to engage in any threatening, harassing or other improper behavior. 

The Complainant or Respondent may request a change in academic and living situations. If such changes are requested and are reasonably available, Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator will support the request. Neither a criminal conviction nor an investigation need be completed before a student requests that this interim action be put in place.

The Complainant or Respondent may have a support person, who is a faculty, staff, or student member of Michigan Tech, to accompany and assist them. The support person may advise and provide support to the participant but may not take part directly in the investigation or a hearing on sanctions/interventions.   When criminal charges have been filed against the Respondent and the Respondent will have an attorney present during the investigation, the Complainant may also have an attorney present. The attorney may advise the participant but may not take part directly in any procedures. 

Academic and Community Conduct may put a privacy screen in place, or other separation of the parties, if there are joint meetings of the Complainant and Respondent before the hearing.  

Basic rules of evidence (relevance and credibility) will be observed in any hearing on sanctions/interventions.  Irrelevant prior sexual history will not be considered in any investigation or other procedures. 

The Complainant and Respondent may make a written or verbal impact statement during the investigation and have that statement considered in determining potential sanctions.

The Complainant and Respondent will be informed of the outcome of the Interim Procedures. 

The Complainant and Respondent may appeal the hearing decision in accordance with the standards for appeal established in Interim Procedures.

Additional Support Guidelines for the Complainant

It is the goal of the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator to ensure that individuals alleging sexual and/or relationship misconduct have access to needed resources, services, and information. Complaints of sexual and/or relationship misconduct will be responded to quickly and with sensitivity.  

The Complainant will be referred to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for resources and information.  The Complainant will be provided with information regarding available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual and/or relationship misconduct, both on campus and in the community.

University officials will not discourage the Complainant from reporting a sexual and/or relationship misconduct offense. The Complainant may cooperate in an investigation under the Interim Procedures, seek criminal charges with campus or local law enforcement, seek civil action with a civil trial, choose multiple options, or choose not to take any action.

The Complainant may question witnesses at any meeting and/or hearing.  The Complainant may not question the Respondent directly.   Questions will be submitted to the hearing officer and/or panel, and they will ask questions of the Respondent.

Additional Support Guidelines for the Respondent

It is the goal of the Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator to ensure that students responding to charges of sexual and/or relationship misconduct have access to needed resources, services and information. The Office of Academic and Community Conduct and/or the Title IX Coordinator strives to offer a reasonable parity of resources, services and information, to the extent possible, to all parties to the incident, including, but not limited to:

The Respondent will be referred to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for resources and information.  The respondent will be provided with information regarding available counseling, mental health or student services for victims of sexual and/or relationship misconduct, both on campus and in the community.

The Respondent may refuse to answer some or all questions to avoid self-implication. This silence may not be used against the Respondent.

The Respondent may question witnesses at any meeting and/or hearing.  The Respondent may not question the Complainant directly. Questions will be submitted to the hearing officer and/or panel, and they will ask questions of the Respondent.

Procedure

The Office of Academic and Community Conduct, in discussion with the Title IX Coordinator, will determine the most effective method of reviewing the concerns raised by the Complainant.  In some cases, this will involve conducting a thorough fact-finding investigation, which includes meeting separately with the Complainant, Respondent, pertinent witnesses, and reviewing and analyzing relevant documents. The investigation process may first start with Public Safety and Police Services, outside law enforcement and/or Housing and Residence Life.  If additional information is necessary to satisfy the requirements of Title IX, the complaint will be referred to the Title IX Investigator.  The Title IX Investigator will seek to complete their investigation promptly. 

In other cases, a different or less formal response to the complaint may be warranted.  Although the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, may modify these guidelines, it will still respond to the complaint in a prompt, thorough and effective manner that is procedurally fair.  At any stage of the process, based on review of available information, the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, may terminate any further response to a complaint.

Investigative Report

When an investigation is concluded, an investigative report will be prepared by Public Safety and Police Services, outside law enforcement, Housing and Residence Life, or the Title IX Investigator, as circumstances warrant.  To the extent permitted by FERPA, the Complainant and Respondent will be given an opportunity to review a draft summary of the evidence gathered during the investigation and will be given five (5) business days to submit comments on that draft summary to the to the Title IX Coordinator.

Following receipt of any comments submitted, or after the five (5) business day comment period has elapsed, the Office of Academic and Community Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, will make a determination regarding the merits of the allegations based upon a preponderance of the evidence.  The final written report will contain (1) a summary of the Complainant’s relevant allegations; (2) a summary of the Respondent’s relevant statements in response to the allegations; (3) a description of the relevant information provided by witnesses or obtained from documents, including comments submitted in response to the draft report and (4) the analysis and findings of the Office of Academic and Community Conduct.

After the investigation has been concluded and has been approved by the Title IX Coordinator, the final report will be made available for review to the Complainant and the Respondent. If the final report concludes, based on a preponderance of the evidence, that sexual and/or relationship misconduct has occurred, appropriate sanctions/interventions will be applied, as described below.

Sanctions/Interventions

The sanctions/interventions applied to students found responsible for sexual and/or relationship misconduct are designed to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects, while honoring the University’s educational mission.  Sanctions/interventions may also serve to promote safety or to deter students from behavior that harms or threatens people or property or is motivated by bias. 

Some behavior is so harmful to the University community or so deleterious to the educational process that it may require sanctions/interventions such as removal from housing, removal from specific courses or activities, suspension from the University, or expulsion.

Sanction/Intervention options may include but are not limited to the following. 

  1. Disciplinary Warning
  2. Disciplinary Probation.
  3. Restitution
  4. Restriction from Employment at the University
  5. Educational Conditions such as class/workshop attendance, service or service learning.
  6. No contact orders, removal or restriction from university housing, removal from specific courses or activities, campus ban.
  7. Suspension for a period of time.
  8. Expulsion, i.e., permanent removal from the University.

Resolution Options

The Respondent may choose either of the following two options for resolving the complaint and determining the sanctions/interventions that will result:

  1. Enter into an Agreement.   The respondent accepts responsibility for the final report findings and agrees to fulfill the sanctions/interventions developed with the input of the Respondent, the Complainant (if agrees to participate), and a Resolution Coordinator assigned by the Office of Academic and Community Conduct. The Respondent has the right to discuss potential sanctions/interventions with others before entering into an agreement.  An agreement, once reached, may not be appealed.
  2. Request a Sanctioning/Intervention Decision.   If the Respondent is unable/unwilling to enter into an agreement, the Respondent may request a University Conduct Board (“Board”) be appointed to decide which sanctions/interventions will be applied.  The Board will not modify the findings of the final report and will address only what sanctions/interventions are appropriate based on the final report.  The following procedures will be utilized to inform the Board’s sanctioning/intervention decision:
    1. Each party may elect to present information to the Board in writing, in person or both.
    2. Written information, including the names and anticipated statements of any individuals who will be presenting information to the Board in person, must be provided to Office of Academic and Community Conduct for distribution to the panel at least five (5) business days in advance of the scheduled date of decision. All parties may review any written documentation the panel will use for consideration.  The Office of Academic and Community Conduct will prepare and make the information available to each party at least two (2) business days prior to the date of decision.
    3. Each party may also choose to present information to the Board in person on the scheduled decision date.  Each party who elects to present information in person will meet separately with the panel.   A joint meeting is permitted if it is requested by both parties and is deemed appropriate.  There is no right of the parties to question each other, however.  A personal advisor, who may be an attorney but may not be a relative of either party, may accompany the party.   The advisor, however, may not participate directly in the meeting but may only advise the party.
    4. During the meeting, the Board may question the party or other individuals who present information.  The panel may, at any time, exclude information or individuals that would, in the panel’s view, be irrelevant, redundant or otherwise not helpful in determining the appropriate sanction/intervention.  At any time during the meeting, the party may request a recess to consult with their advisor.
    5. An audio recording will be made of each meeting with the Board and will be available for review in the Office of Academic and Community Conduct by the Complainant or Respondent upon request during the period in which an appeal may be filed or is pending.

To ensure fairness and consistency, the Board must consult with the Office of Academic and Community Conduct prior to making a written decision.  The written decision will contain rationales for all recommended sanctions/interventions.  The panel’s decision will be delivered to the Office of Academic and Community Conduct who in consultation with others, including the Title IX Coordinator, may accept or modify the recommendations.

Appeals

The Respondent and Complainant may appeal the Board’s sanction/intervention decision. The basis for an appeal is limited to questions of fact, questions of procedure and severity of sanction.

  1. Question of Fact—Students may appeal on “questions of fact” by introducing new information that would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Information introduced that was not known or could not be reasonably known by the student as the time of the meeting with the Board shall be considered new information. Information that was known but withheld by the student shall not constitute a question of fact and will not be considered upon appeal.
  2. Question of Procedure—Appeals will be considered on the basis of “questions of procedure” by demonstrating that the procedural guidelines established in this document were breached, and that such departure from established procedure significantly affected the outcome of the case.
  3. Severity of Sanction/Intervention—Students may appeal the “severity of sanction/intervention” by presenting a statement that explains why they believe the sanction imposed should be reconsidered.

Appeals must be in writing and submitted within ten (10) business days of the Board’s sanction/intervention decision to the Office of Academic and Community Conduct at studentconduct@mtu.edu .  The Dean of Students will review the appeal and if a basis for appeal is stated, the Dean of Students will appoint an Appellate Board to review the appeal.

The Appellate Board consists of one university employee, one member of the faculty and one student. The Appellate Board will review the record and render a decision on the appeal. The Dean of Students or designee will notify the appellant and other party (Respondent or Complainant) in writing of the decision of the Appellate Board within ten (10) business days of the appellate decision. This action shall be final and is not subject to further appeal.

Students who have been sanctioned with suspension or expulsion may have access to the hearing recording under the supervision of the Office of Academic and Community Conduct staff prior to submitting an appeal letter. The imposition of sanctions will be deferred while an appeal is pending unless, at the discretion of the Dean of Students or designee, the Interim Action provisions of the Student Code of Community Conduct are invoked or for other good cause. The Dean of Students or designee, or Appellant Board, may (a) deny the appeal; (b) remand the case to the original RO, or (c) change (increase) the sanctions/interventions.

Please direct all questions or comments about these procedures to studentconduct@mtu.edu.