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I've heard that all cases alleging sexual misconduct are required to have a hearing is that true?

Yes. University policy, consistent with the Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations require that all sexual misconduct cases require a hearing in order for a Hearing Committee to determine whether a violation of policy has occurred.

Am I required to have an advisor at the hearing?

In discrimination and retaliation cases, either party can have an advisor or legal representation on their choosing. In Sexual misconduct cases, all parties must have an advisor for the hearing to conduct cross-examination. This can be an advisor or legal representative of their own choosing. If a party doesn’t have an advisor of their choosing a University appointed advisor will be provided free of charge.

What is the role of a University appointed advisor?

A University appointed advisor has the sole purpose of conducting questioning of the other party, any witnesses, and any others who have provided information as part of the hearing process. University-appointed advisor may educate the party they are advising about University processes related to sexual misconduct. However, a University appointed advisor cannot provide advice, including legal advice, to a party.

Is a hearing required in discrimination cases?

In discrimination and retaliation cases, either party can request a hearing. This is often done when a party disagrees with the investigative findings or sanctions.  If the OEO/AA has found ‘insufficient evidence in a discrimination case, the Hearing Committee will hold a preliminary review to determine whether to hold a hearing. If the OEO/AA has found ‘cause’ to believe discrimination or retaliation has occurred, a hearing will be held.

I think the OEO's investigation was faulty or incomplete and they did not speak to all the witnesses or have all of the evidence.

If you disagree with the OEO’s recommended finding or any portion of its written decision, you may raise those issues to the Hearing Committee.If you have additional documentary evidence, not included in the materials listed above, you may submit that to the Hearing Coordinator, who will provide it to the Committee for their consideration. This evidence is provided to the parties at least 5 days prior to the hearing. Any evidence submitted after this date will be sent by the Hearing Coordinator to the Committee Chair for review who in their discretion, may allow the evidence to be considered by the Committee.


Hearing Committee

What is a Hearing Committee?

A hearing is held before a 3-person hearing committee. The Committee consists of a Chair and one committee member of the same status as the Complainant (student, staff, or faculty), and one Committee member of the same status as the Respondent (student, staff, or faculty). However, no more than one student can serve on a committee and a committee can be convened without student representation during breaks or other time periods that students may have limited availability. In addition, two other individuals are designated as alternates in the event that a hearing committee member is unable to participate. Hearing Committee members are trained on the University’s nondiscrimination policies.

Are hearings in-person or remote?

All hearings are remote and held via Zoom. During a hearing, the parties must be able to simultaneously see hear, and interact with the Committee, witnesses, and each other in real time as if physical present in the same location.

How quickly will the hearing be held after the investigation is concluded?

Hearings should take place as soon as possible but should be no less than 15 days and no more than 40 days from the issuance of the OEO report.

How long is the hearing?

Hearings typically last 3 hours with each party being given up to 45 minutes to present their case. The Committee Chair has the discretion to grant extensions of time when necessary and will be equally applied to all parties. In other words, if an additional 15 minutes is given to one party, all parties will be given an additional 15 minutes.

What should I prepare for prior to the hearing?

  • Plan for the opening statement. The Complainant and Respondent may each make their own Personal Statement. A party may have their University-appointed advisor make an opening statement on their behalf. 
  • Plan for testimony. Generally, the Complainant will testify first, and then the Respondent will be able to cross-examine (ask questions of the Complainant). The Respondent will then testify, and then the Complainant will be able to cross-examine (ask questions of the Respondent). 
  • Plan for questions of others: Sanctioning, remedies, etc. After the presentation of evidence, the Committee will then ask the appropriate administrator to speak to any sanctions or remedies. 
  • Parties may make concluding remarks. At the conclusion of the hearing, the party and/or their advisor may make concluding remarks. This is an opportunity to summarize for the hearing committee what the party believes the evidence shows and any other information the party wishes to share with the hearing committee.

Can the other party speak to me directly?

All questions will be directed to the Hearing Chair. The Chair will determine whether such question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. Only the person to whom a question is directed may answer (advisors are not permitted to answer the questions on behalf of the party).

What happens if one party doesn't show up?

If either party fails to attend the hearing without prior notice to the Hearing Coordinator and good cause, the Committee may proceed with the hearing. Neither party is required to participate in a hearing. However, if either party fails to attend, the Hearing Committee will proceed with the hearing and take testimony and evidence and reach a decision on the basis of that testimony and evidence.

Can I object to a particular hearing committee member?

The parties will receive a letter informing the parties of the committee membership. You have the right to disqualify members of the committee due to conflict of interest, bias or other good cause.  Please pay attention to the deadlines set in the notices to ensure that parties raise any objections to the membership of the hearing committee.

Will the Hearing Committee call any witnesses that I want to show up for the hearing?

The parties must identify both: 1) witnesses that they want to speak on their behalf and 2) those witnesses they want to cross-examine during the hearing. No testimony from witnesses who have been identified for cross-examination will be considered by the committee unless that witness is available at the hearing and available for cross-examination. It is your responsibility to encourage your witnesses to be available and participate as necessary to present your case.

What happens after the Hearing is concluded?

At the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing will be adjourned and the Committee will begin deliberations. Within ten (10) calendar days after the conclusion of the hearing the Committee shall provide its written determination. The written determination will also explain appeal rights.

What happens if I disagree with the decision of the Hearing Committee?

In discrimination and retaliation cases, the OEO/AA makes the determination whether a violation of the University’s nondiscrimination policy has occurred. Either party can request a hearing before a hearing committee. If the OEO/AA has issued ‘insufficient evidence’ finding, then the Hearing Committee will hold a preliminary review to determine whether to hold a hearing.



What is a sanction?

A sanction is a penalty when a Respondent has been found responsible  for violating the University’s nondiscrimination policy.

In sexual misconduct cases, the Hearing Committee is responsible for deciding whether a violation has occurred, and if so, any appropriate sanctions. The Committee shall consider the severity, persistence or pervasiveness of the misconduct; the egregiousness of the misconduct, including the use of weapons, drugs, or alcohol, if applicable; the impact of the misconduct on the Complainant; the impact or implications of the misconduct on the University community, prior misconduct by the Respondent, including the Respondent's relevant prior disciplinary history; whether the Respondent has accepted responsibility for the misconduct; the maintenance of a safe, nondiscriminatory and respectful working and learning environment; and any other mitigating, aggravating or compelling factors.

What goes on my record if I am reported to OEO?

OEO maintains records of all reports received by OEO, but depending on the nature of the report and whether any formal action has been taken, there may be limited information that may appear in your personnel or student record. If a Respondent is found to be in violation of University Policy 1-012 and a sanction is issued, that sanction will be noted on student and or employee records. For students, dismissals from the institution will be notated on the Respondent’s transcript.

Last Updated: 4/20/23