Sexual Misconduct Policy - Pre-Hearing Procedures
Notice of Charges
The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will send a copy of a written Notification Letter to both the complainant and the respondent. The Notification Letter provides each party with a brief summary of the conduct at issue and the specific provisions of the policy that are alleged to have been violated.
Pre-Hearing Meeting with Complainant and Respondent
Following the Notification Letter, the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will contact the complainant and respondent to schedule separate meetings with each party. At this pre-hearing meeting, each party will receive an explanation of the hearing process, be provided a list of potential Judicial Board members, and have the opportunity to ask any questions.
The complainant and the respondent may submit a written request to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct that a member of the hearing panel be removed. The request must clearly state the grounds to support a claim of bias, conflict of interest or an inability to be fair and impartial. This challenge must be raised within two (2) business days of pre-hearing meeting. All objections must be raised prior to the commencement of the hearing. Failure to object within two (2) business days of the Pre-Hearing Meeting or prior to the hearing will forfeit one's ability to appeal the outcome based on perceived or actual bias.
If the complainant and/or respondent have elected to have advisors throughout the hearing process, the advisor is encouraged to accompany the complainant/respondent to this initial meeting.
Notice of Hearing
Once each party has met with the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct, a Notice of Hearing is sent to the complainant and the respondent. In addition, the Notice provides the parties with the date, time, and place of the hearing, as well as the name(s) of the person(s) hearing the case.
In general, the hearing will be scheduled within ten (10) business days of the date of the Notice of Hearing. Under extenuating circumstances, this time frame may be extended.
Pre-Hearing Review of Documents
The complainant and the respondent will each have the opportunity to review Investigation Report, subject to the privacy limitations imposed by state and federal law, at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The Investigation Report will include any witness statements or interviews, statements or interviews by both parties, and any other documentary information that will be presented to the hearing panel.
The complainant, respondent, and the hearing panel all have the right to call witnesses to testify at a hearing before the Judicial Hearing Board. Witnesses must have observed the conduct in question or have information relevant to the incident and cannot be called solely to speak about an individual’s character.
In general, witnesses for both parties will be interviewed by the Investigator as part of the College’s investigation. If either party wishes to call witnesses, whether or not they were previously interviewed as part of the College’s investigation, the following must be submitted no later than five (5) business days before the hearing to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct via email or in hardcopy format:
- The names of any witnesses that either party intends to call;
- A written statement and/or description of what each witness observed, if not already provided during investigation;
- A summary of why the presence of any witness is relevant to making a decision about responsibility at the hearing; and
- The reason why the witness was not interviewed by the investigator, if applicable.
The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will determine if the proffered witness(es) has relevant information and if there is sufficient justification for permitting a witness who was not interviewed by the investigator. The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct may also require the investigator to interview the newly proffered witness.
If witnesses are approved to be present, the respondent and complainant are provided with a list of witnesses and any relevant documents related to their appearance at the hearing no later than five (5) business days before the hearing. All parties have the opportunity to ask questions of witnesses (through the panel), regardless of who called them to the hearing.
The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will review the investigative report, any witness statements and any other documentary evidence to determine whether the proffered information contained therein is relevant and material to the determination of responsibility given the nature of the allegation. In general, the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct may redact information that is irrelevant, more prejudicial than probative, or immaterial. The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct may also redact statements of personal opinion, rather than direct observations or reasonable inferences from the facts, and statements as to general reputation for any character trait, including honesty. Neither the complainant nor the respondent shall have the right to review redactions from the Investigative Report.
Prior Sexual History
In general, a complainant’s prior sexual history is not relevant and will not be admitted as evidence at a hearing. Where there is a current or ongoing relationship between the complainant and the respondent, and the respondent alleges consent, the prior sexual history between the parties may be relevant to assess the manner and nature of communications between the parties. As noted in other sections of this Policy, however, the mere fact of a current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Any prior sexual history of the complainant with other individuals is typically not relevant and will not be permitted.
Request to Reschedule Hearing
Either party can request to have a hearing rescheduled. Absent extenuating circumstances, requests to reschedule must be submitted to the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct with an explanation for his or her request at least three (3) business days prior to the hearing. The Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will have sole discretion to grant or deny any request to reschedule a hearing.
Consolidation of Hearings
At the discretion of the Senior Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, multiple reports may be consolidated against a respondent in one hearing, if the evidence related to each incident would be relevant and probative in reaching a determination on the other incident. Matters that include related conduct that would regularly have been heard under the Code of Student Conduct may be consolidated even if they involve multiple complainants and/or multiple respondents.