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Title IX and Sexual Harassment

Title IX Process

Title IX Process Explained

Step One

Whenever there is a complaint of gender discrimination or sexual misconduct, a report is completed. A complaint can be made to anyone on campus (faculty, staff, students, resident assistants, etc.) However the information is obtained, either the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX Coordinator for Students, or Deputy Title IX Coordinator needs to be notified of the complaint. Once the claim is made, the Title IX Coordinator will determine if the incident falls within Title IX or Student Conduct. A referral to the Office of Student Conduct may be made in some cases where the violation does not fall under Title IX, but the student wishes to pursue a code of conduct violation.

Counseling Services serves as the only confidential reporting source on campus. They are not required to report complaints of gender discrimination or sexual misconduct. If a faculty member, staff member, or students does not want to initiate the beginning steps of the Title IX process, they should only share their incident with Counseling Services personnel. If this information is shared with any other faculty member, staff member, and select students, the incident must be shared with one of the Title IX personnel.

Step Two

At least one of the Title IX Coordinators will have an intake meeting with the complainant. In this meeting, the complainant will learn about their rights, options, and resources available to them. The complainant will have the option to pursue a Title IX investigation, choose not to pursue a Title IX investigation, request accommodations, and given instructions on how to press criminal charges with the University of Montevallo Police Department. Another option the complainant will have is resolving the incident through an Informal Resolution. (please see definition of Informal Resolution on the Title IX definitions page). To move forward with an informal resolution, all parties, including the Title IX Coordinator, must agree to take this step. If the Title IX Coordinator does not want to move forward with an informal resolution, a formal investigation will ensue. If the complainant does not wish to pursue a Title IX investigation, the inquiry will end and any reasonable accommodations requested will be considered and implemented. The University reserves the right to pursue a Title IX investigation if they feel it is necessary to do so. This is a rare occurrence.

Step Three

If the complainant chooses to pursue a Title IX investigation, the Title IX investigators will share this information with the respondent. The complainant will be informed of their rights and resources available to them during this meeting. A No Contact Order will be put in place if both the complainant and respondent are students. The respondent will be notified via email of the alleged charges that will be investigated.

Step Four

Both parties will be interviewed by Title IX investigators. The investigators will also interview relevant witnesses (if applicable) provided by the complainant and respondent. Both parties will also be able to produce written statements of the incident in question. These meetings will be private and the purpose will be to collect evidence and information about the incident. Evidence and information that will be collected include, but not limited to text messages, social media posts, personal statements, and police reports (if any). Respondents and complainants are encouraged not to delete any messages or posts after the incident occurs. All meetings with Title IX personnel concerning the event will be recorded for accuracy of information and documentation. If a complainant or respondent is not comfortable being recorded, other options will be considered, but recording is imperative to this process.

Step Five

Once the investigation is complete, the Title IX investigators will compile an Investigation Summary. Each party will be allowed to review the summary and correct any information they deem the summary does not accurately reflect. The purpose of the investigation summary is to provide detailed information about the incident. The investigation summary will include information such as an executive summary of the incident, involved parties, alleged charges, interview summaries of all parties, an assessment of the credibility of each party, and other pertinent information needed to make an informed decision.

Step Six

When both parties have been given the opportunity to review and respond to the investigative summary, the summary will be passed on to the Title IX hearing board. A Title IX hearing will take place. Both parties will be notified of the hearing date. Each party is expected to attend the hearing. However, the parties will not see one another or interact in any way. Both parties will be allowed to cross-examine the other party in the form of prepared questions based on the information from the investigative summary. The questions will be asked by the Title IX hearing board chairperson. Each student has a right to have one support person present during the hearing.

Step Seven

Using the burden of proof “preponderance of the evidence,” the Title IX hearing board will determine if a violation occurred and assign the appropriate sanctions. The Title IX hearing board will notify the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX Coordinator for Students of their decision, who will notify all parties of the outcome. Both parties have the right to appeal the decision of the Title IX hearing board. The appeal will be heard by the Vice-President for Enrollment & Student Affairs (VPESA) or appointee if necessary. The decision made by the VPESA will be final.