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Title IX

Upon receipt of a complaint, report, or information about sexual misconduct, the University will respond in an effort to stop such misconduct, eliminate any hostile environment, take reasonable steps to prevent a recurrence of such misconduct, and address any effect that such misconduct may have on the larger University community.

What should I expect when I report an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator?

When a report of sexual misconduct is received, the first concern is the safety and well-being of the student involved.

The Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the Complainant (individual that is the subject of the alleged allegation) and inform them of their options and rights as well as support resources and accommodations. The Title IX Coordinator can assist the student in connecting with medical and mental health resources, connecting with sexual assault support and advocacy services, such as Safe Harbor; implementing a No Contact Order; and assessing the need for interim accommodations, such as changes to class schedule or living arrangement of either the student reporting or the student accused of misconduct.

The second step in the response is to ensure that the student understands their rights and options for filing a report with the police and commencing an investigation by the Title IX Coordinator. Complainants can share as much or as little information as they want with the Title IX Coordinator.  The Complainant has an option to file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator.

Some students do not want an investigation to move forward.  The Title IX Coordinator engages with the student regarding that request and considers it in light of potential risks to other campus members.  We seek to honor that student’s request whenever possible, and when doing so does not place other students at risk. If a student chooses to not move forward, all supportive measures and accommodations will remain in place.

If the student chooses to move forward, the Title IX Coordinator begins the formal investigation.  When an incident is reported to both the University Police and the Title IX Coordinator, they will collaborate on the investigation to the extent possible and, as appropriate, will seek to avoid unnecessary burdens on the student.

 

You have decided to move forward with a Title IX investigation. What does that mean?

After meeting with the Complainant about their option to move forward (see above), the Title IX Coordinator then meets with the student accused of sexual misconduct, following the same process, including advising the student of their rights and the University’s obligations.

The Title will then commence an investigation. The nature and extent of the investigation will vary based on the specific circumstances of the incident, but, in all cases, the investigation will be prompt, fair, and impartial. The Title IX investigator is external to the University and is the finder of fact.

As part of that investigation, the Complainant, Respondent and any relevant witnesses will be interviewed by the Title IX investigator. The Title IX Investigator then prepares an investigative report that includes a summary of statements from the complainant, respondent and witnesses and relevant findings of fact. The Title IX Coordinator, in collaboration with the Conduct Officer, makes a determination as to whether there is sufficient evidence, using a preponderance of the evidence standard, to refer the case to the Conduct Officer to begin the conduct process.

Would the Title IX Coordinator investigate even if I did not want them to move forward?

In most situations, the University will be able to respect your choice and will not proceed with an investigation. Know, though, that you can come back at any time to begin an investigation; as long as the person you are naming as a respondent is a student or employee at The University of Richmond, the University can begin an investigation at any time.

However, there are times where you might choose not to participate in an investigation, but the University will still move forward. These are limited circumstances, for example if the accused student had been alleged to have committed sexual violence previously, your report stated that a weapon was used or that there were threats of future sexual violence against you or others. If the University needs to move forward, you will be notified about that choice. From there, you can choose not to participate at all, or you can choose to participate at a later point in the investigation.

What happens during the Conduct Proceedings?

After consultation with Title IX Coordinator and receipt of any additional information requested from the Investigator, the Conduct Officer (or other University officials if the Respondent is not a student) shall determine whether to initiate a conduct proceeding against the Respondent. If the Respondent is a student, the Conduct Officer shall determine whether to charge the Respondent in accordance with the Standards of Student Conduct.

In making this determination, the Conduct Officer (or other University officials if the Respondent is not a student) will consider whether the investigative report contains sufficient facts and evidence upon which a reasonable decision-maker could find, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Respondent violated this Policy.

If a determination has been made that there is insufficient evidence to refer the report to the conduct process, the conduct file is closed. The file may be reopened if new evidence becomes available. 

If a determination is made that there is enough evidence to refer the report to the conduct process, the Conduct Officer will review the findings of the Title IX investigation to assess disciplinary charges under the Standards of Student Conduct. 

The Conduct Officer will issue a charge letter to the student advising the student of the specific violations of the Standards of Student Conduct and Sexual Misconduct Policy with which the student is charged.  The student then meets with the Conduct Officer and has the option to accept responsibility for the violations charged and the recommended sanctions.

If the student accepts responsibility and sanctions, the case ends and the sanctions are implemented. 

If the student denies responsibility or contests the sanction, the case goes to a hearing before the University Hearing Board.

What is the role of the University Hearing Board (UHB)?

The University Hearing Board is comprised of three University staff members chosen from a pool of hearing board members who have received training, including trauma-informed training on sexual assault, Title IX policies and the University’s student conduct process, including how to weigh evidence under the applicable standard and how to properly conduct a fair hearing.

A Hearing Officer is responsible for managing the hearing process, but is not a voting member of the University Hearing Board. 

The University Hearing Board hears oral testimony from the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses, including the Title IX investigator. The University Hearing Board will also ask questions of the parties involved and will consider all evidence presented at the hearing.

The members of the University Hearing Board, using a preponderance of evidence standard, will determine first whether the respondent is responsible for the violations charged and, if so, what the appropriate sanction should be.

What are supportive measures?

The Title IX Coordinator will work with students who experience sexual misconduct to coordinate protective and interim measures (housing, academic, work, etc.), provide information about available resources, and explain the University policies on sexual misconduct and the University's complaint process.

Sometimes the University may impose temporary measures to stabilize the situation and support the individuals involved in the reports.  Interim remedial measures may be put in place on behalf of the complainant, the respondent, and/or witnesses in the investigation.  Remedial measures may also be implemented to prevent retaliation.  Requests for interim measures can be made whether or not you decide to file a complaint with the University or with the police. 

Some examples of interim measures are:  

  • No-contact orders (NCO) 
  • Modification of class schedules
  • Alternate housing arrangements
  • Academic modifications (such as paper extensions and alternative test dates)
  • Changing work schedules or job assignments
  • Restricting access to extra-curricular activities such as student clubs and organizations, if both complainant and respondent are members

Students seeking such assistance should speak to Tracy Cassalia, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students. 

What is a No Contact Order?

A No Contact Order (NCO) is an administrative directive that the University can initiate, usually at the request of a reporting student. It instructs a student not to have any contact, either direct or indirect, with another student. “Contact” includes, but is not necessarily limited to, in-person contact, telephone calls, email, texts and other forms of electronic communication, social media-based messages or postings, and third party communications including through proxies.

A No Contact Order is not intended to be punitive. It is intended to keep all involved students safe and to prevent escalation of a situation. The NCO will remain in place as long as necessary. 

If a student is found responsible for violating a NCO, that student will be sanctioned through the University conduct process.

The University uses NCO in any conduct investigation where they are appropriate. The use is not limited to cases of sexual violence. 

Will a Title IX investigation be part of my academic record?

The University considers the records of a sexual misconduct investigation to be confidential and the University uses reasonable methods to protect the confidentiality of those records.  Information gathered in the course of a sexual misconduct investigation will be disclosed to University officials only to the extent such officials require such information to perform their responsibilities to the University.  Information gathered during an investigation may be shared with other involved students (for example the complainant or respondent) to the extent necessary to conduct a thorough and equitable investigation, in the course of a student conduct or other disciplinary proceeding and as permitted or required by applicable law or court order. Information gathered in the course of a sexual misconduct investigation will not be disclosed to third parties except as required by law, court order or with appropriate written consent.

The records of an investigation involving University students are considered to be education records subject to the Federal Rights to Privacy Act (“FERPA”) and the University’s FERPA policy

Virginia law requires that a prominent notation be added to the academic transcript of any student who is suspended for, permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from the University while under investigation for an offense involving sexual violence.  This transcript notation will be removed if a student is subsequently found not to have committed an offense involving sexual violence or if the student completes their term of suspension and is determined to be in good standing according to applicable University policy. 

Health care and counseling records are confidential and will only be disclosed with appropriate written consent or as required by applicable law or court order.