Health & Safety Alert: The City of Westfield’s risk level for the mosquito-borne Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) illness has been elevated to high. In addition to sharing and encouraging individual precautions with the campus community, the University has rescheduled outdoor campus activities to avoid the hours between dusk and dawn, until further notice. More Information×
Informal Resolution Procedure
Formal Investigation Procedure
Submission of Complaint and Initial Review
Notice of Outcome
Possible Sanctions And Additional Remedies
Investigations of complaints are necessary to determine:
These Procedures have been designed to provide prompt, thorough, fair and impartial processes from investigation to final result. The proceedings pursuant to these Procedures will be conducted transparently and consistently with the University's policies. The formal rules of process or evidence, such as those applied in criminal or civil courts, are not used under these Procedures.
Each victim, complainant or respondent to an investigation initiated under the Investigation and Resolution Procedures is entitled to have an advisor present during any meetings regarding the process (other than meetings between victims and University officials regarding accommodations or protective interim measures) and disciplinary proceedings. Except as otherwise required by law, the advisor may observe, but may not participate in any way whatsoever, including, without limitation, by asking questions or speaking during the meeting or proceeding. The advisor’s role is to provide support and/or advice to the party. During meetings and proceedings, the advisor may speak with the party or pass notes in a non-disruptive manner. The Universities reserve the right to remove from the meeting or proceeding any advisor who disrupts the process, or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation. In addition, please note that the University does not need to cancel or delay a meeting or proceeding simply because an advisor cannot be present. Further, the advisor is not permitted to attend a meeting or proceeding without the advisee.
The personal advisor for a complainant, a student respondent or a non-unit employee respondent can be any person, including an attorney. For respondents who are unit members, the personal advisor shall be a union representative or other University employee pursuant to the respondent’s Weingarten rights. A respondent who is a unit member may choose as an advisor a person who is not a union representative or other University employee, but the unit member will not be allowed two advisors. If the advisor is an attorney, the University’s legal counsel may also attend the meeting or proceeding.
The Informal Resolution Procedure may not be used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking. If you seek to make such a complaint, the Formal Investigation Procedure in Section B will apply.
Where appropriate, the parties to a dispute may attempt to reach an informal resolution of the potential violation. The University encourages involved parties to request the intervention of the University to assist in an informal resolution by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
Mediation may not be requested or used in an effort to resolve allegations of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking.
During a formal investigation, at any time prior to the issuance of the Notice of Outcome, either party may request mediation of the complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator. All parties must agree to mediation for this option to be used.
Submission of Complaint and Initial Review
When a person believes that s/he has been harassed, discriminated or retaliated against, stalked or subjected to violence in violation of the Sexual Violence Plan, s/he may file a written complaint, preferably using the Complaint Form attached to these Procedures. Individuals are encouraged to file complaints directly with the Title IX Coordinator, but complaints may also be filed with other offices, such as Student Conduct, Human Resources, Residence Life or Campus Police. Any complaint that is initially filed with other offices will be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
A complaint must be filed by the complainant or a University official, and the complaint must be in the words of the complainant or the University official. Complaints should contain all known facts pertaining to the alleged violation, the names of any known witnesses and others with knowledge of the allegations, and an identification of any documents or other evidence.
If a complaint has been properly filed, or the University otherwise determines that an investigation is necessary, the University will assign the matter to an Administrative Investigator. The University may also designate other trained and knowledgeable University officials to assist with the investigation. Under circumstances where the University deems it necessary or appropriate, the University may also appoint an external investigator.
The Administrative Investigator will notify the respondent of the complaint, provide him or her with a copy of the complaint, and invite the respondent to submit a written response. If the respondent does not respond, or otherwise fails to participate in the investigation, the Administrative Investigator will complete the investigation on the basis of the other information obtained. Where a complaint is brought by a third party reporter, the Administrative Investigator shall attempt to meet with the potential complainant to discuss his/her participation in the investigation, and to gain additional information.
The investigation shall include, but is not limited to: an analysis of the allegations and defenses presented using the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) standard; consideration of all relevant documents, including written statements and other materials presented by the parties; interviews of the parties and other individuals and/or witnesses; and/or reviewing certain documents or materials in the possession of either party that the Administrative Investigator has deemed relevant. The Administrative Investigator may also review any available campus police investigation reports or the investigation reports of local law enforcement authorities.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Administrative Investigator shall prepare an Investigation Report for an administrative review. The Investigation Report shall: outline the investigatory steps undertaken; summarize the factual findings; state whether a policy violation has occurred based on the preponderance of the evidence; explain the rationale for the violation determination; and, if applicable, recommend a sanction(s). The Investigation Report will not be shared with the parties except upon request following the issuance of the Notice of Outcome, and then only in accordance with applicable law.
The Title IX Coordinator or other designated University official(s) (the “reviewing body”) will conduct an administrative review of the Investigation Report.
If the reviewing body determines that the investigation is prompt, fair, impartial and thorough, the reviewing body will then consider whether the recommended discipline or sanction is consistent with University policy and practice. In determining discipline, the Administrative Investigator and the reviewing body may consider the respondent’s disciplinary history, if one exists. The Administrative Investigator and/or reviewing body may discuss sanctions with other University personnel as necessary, such as Human Resources, Student Conduct or upper-level administrators.
Notice of Outcome
At the completion of the administrative review, the University will notify the respondent of all sanctions imposed. If the sanctions imposed on the respondent include a separation from the residence halls or the University, and, in the opinion of the Administrative Investigator and/or reviewing body, the respondent poses a continued threat to the safety of the campus community, the sanctions may take effect immediately, and while an appeal is pending.
At the completion of the administrative review, the University will also contemporaneously issue a written Notice of Outcome to the complainant and the respondent. The Notice of Outcome shall include the following:
If no appeal is filed by either party within five (5) days of their receipt of the Notice of Outcome, the results will become final and the University will proceed with the imposition of the recommended sanction(s).
A person making a complaint of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking may submit a victim impact statement. A respondent to such a complaint may submit a statement of mitigation or extenuation.
For Employee Respondents. Disciplinary action taken against an employee shall be regarded as an administrative action, up to and including termination, subject to all provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements or personnel policies.
For Student Respondents. A student who has been found to have violated the Sexual Violence Policy may be subject to sanctions including, but not limited to:
Either party may appeal the results of an investigation under these Procedures by submitting a written letter of appeal to the Title IX Coordinator or designee within five (5) business days of the party’s receipt of the Notice of Outcome. An appeal may be transmitted electronically to the Title IX Coordinator or designee. Appeals may be submitted on the following grounds:
Appeals will not be considered on any other basis.
Upon timely receipt of the appeal letter, the Title IX Coordinator shall transmit the Investigation Report and the appeal letter to the appropriate appellate officer or body for review. If the appealing party has presented an appeal on the basis of the grounds set forth above, the appellate officer or body, who shall not have participated in the investigation or administrative review, will review the appeal and make a determination to uphold, reverse or modify the decision. When necessary, the appellate officer or body may seek additional information and/or refer the matter back to the Administrative Investigator, prior to making an appellate determination.
Where practicable, within (30) days of receiving the appeal, the appellate officer or body shall contemporaneously issue a written decision to the parties in which it may uphold, reverse or modify the decision. All appellate decisions are final, provided that any corrective action and/or discipline imposed upon a unit member is subject to applicable collective bargaining agreements.