V. A-E. Investigation/Determination Processes

V. A-E. Investigation/Determination Processes

V. Investigation/Determination Processes.  Upon receipt of a complaint or report of a violation of this Policy, an investigation will be conducted and, where appropriate, sanctions and corrective measures will be taken in accordance with applicable college disciplinary policies and procedures. 

A.    Former Students/Employees  An investigation will be conducted, to the extent reasonably possible, even if the respondent is a former student/employee or a third party.  In these situations, the College will attempt to put the respondent on notice and invite their participation in the investigation, but all of the investigatory steps noted below may not be strictly followed.  If a finding of misconduct is made, the College will impose sanctions appropriate for the situation, such as a no readmission sanction, and no-rehire sanction, or a no trespass/no-contact order. 

B.    Title IX Coordinator  The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy and all related processes.  The Title IX Coordinator will not personally investigate any complaints or play any decision-making role with respect to responsibility findings or sanction decisions.  The Title IX Coordinator should be considered a resource for all parties involved in the processes. Central College’s Title IX Coordinator is Peggy Fitch, Vice President for Student Development (TitleIX@central.edu or 641-628-5249).

C.    Process Advocates   For both the complainant and the respondent, process advocates may be utilized throughout this process. These college employees, who are knowledgeable about the conduct process and investigation, are available to provide information on the process. They may be present during the investigation, and any pre-investigation and post-investigation meetings. The Title IX Coordinator can recommend individuals who are qualified to serve as process advocates. 

D.   Investigators   All cases* of alleged discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation will be investigated jointly by the Dean of Students and Director of Human Resources.  If, prior to the initiation of the investigation, either the complainant or the respondent alleges that an investigator has a conflict of interest, after hearing from both parties on the topic, the Title IX Coordinator will decide whether to excuse the investigator and announce his/her decision in writing to both parties.  If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the investigator should be excused, or if an investigator is unavailable to conduct the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a replacement investigator. 

* The College reserves the right, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, to utilize an external investigator(s) to conduct an investigation under this Policy, in lieu of the internal investigators identified herein. 

E.    Investigation Process

1. Upon receipt of a complaint or report of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation in violation of this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a notice of complaint / investigation document that identifies:

(a)    The respondent;

(b)   The complainant (unless the Title IX Coordinator has decided to honor a request by the complainant to remain confidential);

(c)    The date(s) of the allege misconduct;

(d)   A brief description of the allegation;

(e)    The specific provisions of this Policy that were allegedly violated; and

(f)    The investigatory process that will follow.

 2. This notice of complaint / investigation document will be provided to both parties.  If reasonably possible, the Title IX Coordinator should deliver the notice of complaint document to both individuals personally, so that he/she can explain the nature of the complaint(s) and the investigatory process.

3.  During the investigation, both the complainant and respondent:

(a)  Will be allowed to present their version of events to the investigators and to provide any supporting evidence.

(b)  May be accompanied in their interviews by a silent representative or support person.  The silent representative or support person will not be allowed to provide information to the investigators or ask questions of the party during the interview process.  The investigators will have the right to end the interview or ask the representative to leave the interview if the representative is violating these restrictions or otherwise interfering in the investigation process.

(c)  May utilize a Central College process advocate through the investigatory process.

(d)  Will be allowed to identify witnesses, all of whom will be interviewed by the investigators absent a compelling reason why such an interview cannot take place.  If the investigators determine that an identified witness cannot or should not be interviewed, both parties will be informed in writing of this decision, unless safety considerations prevent such disclosure.

(e)  Will be given an opportunity to review all tangible evidence submitted or identified by the other party and given an opportunity to comment on that evidence, unless safety considerations prevent such disclosure.

(f) Will be notified of the witnesses identified by the other party and be given an opportunity to comment on those witnesses and identify rebuttal witnesses, unless safety considerations prevent such disclosure

All investigations will be conducted as discreetly as is practicable.  All witness interviews will be audio recorded, and all such recordings shall at all times remain the property of the College.  Investigators are encouraged to confer with the Title IX Coordinator throughout the process in an effort to ensure compliance with the outlined processes. Individuals making good faith allegations of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation and those participating in such investigations will not be subjected to Retaliation.

4.  At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigators will determine whether a Preponderance of the Evidence supports a finding that this Policy was violated.  A Preponderance of the Evidence is evidence from which the Investigators can determine that it is more likely than not that a violation occurred.  The Investigators will prepare a written Investigation Report that includes a Notice of Decision (as described in Section G below) describing their decision and rationale. If the Investigators determine that a violation occurred, the Notice of Decision will identify the specific policy violation(s) and any sanction/remedial efforts. The Investigators will present their Investigation Report to the Title IX Coordinator who will review the Report for completeness and compliance with the above processes before the Investigators sign the Report. Once signed by the Investigators, the Title IX Coordinator will deliver the signed Investigation Report to both parties.

5. The Investigators’ compilation of evidentiary materials collected during the investigation (including interview recordings, notes, statements, research, and tangible evidence) comprises the Investigation Materials. Within five (5) calendar days of the date of the Notice of Decision, either party may request to see the Investigation Materials. The Title IX Coordinator will provide access to the Materials during a meeting with the requesting party, but the party will not be allowed to make or retain copies of the Materials.

6.  If neither party appeals the decision of the Investigators within five (5) calendar days of the date of the decision, the Investigators’ decision will become final.

7.  If the Investigators cannot reach a unanimous decision as to responsibility (i.e.,one investigator would find the respondent responsible for a policy violation by applying the preponderance of the evidence standard and one investigator would reach an opposite conclusion), they will provide a Notice of Decision to that effect in their Investigation Report.  Upon receipt of such a Notice of Decision, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Appeal Panel (described below) with the investigatory materials (including all interview recordings and tangible evidence). Each party will have five calendar days from date of the Investigators’ Notice of Decision to submit a written position statement to the Title IX Coordinator which will be provided to the Appeal Panel for its consideration.   Applying the same preponderance of the evidence standard as the Investigators, the Appeal Panel will review the Investigation Report, the Investigation Materials, and the parties’ position statements and make a final determination of responsibility (and sanction(s) if appropriate).  Upon making a determination, the Appeal Panel will issue a final of Notice of Decision to the parties and the Title IX Coordinator. Under these circumstances, the Decision of the Appeal Panel is final and the  Appeal Process discussed in Section F below is not available to either party.