This policy is effective August 14, 2020. The University has established this interim policy to ensure compliance with federal requirements and will utilize the 2020-2021 academic year holding focus groups and discussions soliciting feedback to revise the policy.
Ohio Wesleyan University (OWU) is committed to a safe and healthy educational environment and to the principle that people have a right to be free from all forms of sexual harassment. For the purpose of this policy, sexual harassment includes harassment based on sex, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking.
The University will respond to notice of any form of sexual harassment in its educational programs or activities of which it has “actual knowledge,” as defined below. Responses will be prompt and in a manner that is not deliberately indifferent to actual knowledge of the sexual harassment in an educational program or activity of the University against a person in the United States. Educational programs or activities are defined as locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University. Title IX applies to all of the University’s education programs or activities, whether such programs or activities occur on-campus or off-campus.
The University will consistently conduct an evaluative process to ensure that the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, decision-maker, or any person designated by the University to facilitate an informal resolution process does not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or an individual complainant or respondent. Additionally, the University will ensure Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates any formal or informal resolution process, as respective to their assigned role(s), will be trained on:
- The definition of sexual harassment.
- The scope of the University’s education program or activities.
- How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, as applicable.
- How to serve impartially by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.
- Any technology to be used at a live hearing, as applicable.
- Issues of relevance of questions and evidence.
- Issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence, as applicable.
- How to determine appropriate sanctions and remedies, as applicable.
- Confidentiality and privacy.
- Applicable laws and federal regulations.
Materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, investigators, decision-makers, and any person who facilitates any resolution process, will not rely on sex stereotypes and will promote impartial investigations and adjudications of formal complaints of sexual harassment. These materials are made available on the University’s website.
Any person may report sex discrimination, including sexual harassment, in person, by mail, by telephone, or by electronic mail, using the contact information listed for the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinators, or by any other means that results in the Title IX staff receiving the person’s verbal or written report. Such a report may be made at any time, including during non-business hours, by using the telephone or electronic mail address, or by mail to the office address.
- Statement of Non-Discrimination
- Title IX
- Terms Used in the Process
- Scope of Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy
- Methods of Reporting
- Reporting and Disclosure Mandates
- Reporting to Law Enforcement
- Confidential Resources
- On-Campus Non-Confidential Reporting Options
- Off-Campus Non-Confidential Resources
- Reporting to the Office of Civil Rights
- Amnesty for Participants for Minor Policy Violations
- Attempted Violations
- Sufficiently Severe Misconduct
- False Reports
- Parental/Guardian Notification
- Voluntary Sexual Relationships Between Faculty/Staff and Students
- Request for Anonymity
- Recording and/or Filming
- Participation by Parties and/or Witnesses
- Participation of Advisors
- Supportive Measures
- Reporting Procedures
- Counter Complaints/Multiple Complainants and/or Respondents
- Notice of Interview and Hearings
- Access to Material
- Resolution Timeline
- Withdrawal and/or Resignation Prior to Resolution
- Investigators, Decision Makers, and Appeal Decision Makers
- Past Sexual History/Character
- Types of Resolution
- Record Retention
Ohio Wesleyan University does not discriminate against any person in employment or educational opportunities because of race, color, religion, age, ethnicity, national origin, national ancestry, sex, pregnancy, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, military service or veteran status, mental or physical disability, or genetic information.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces, among other statutes, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance. Title IX states that:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
This policy is written to achieve compliance with the requirements of Title IX and with regulations established by the U.S. Department of Education in 2020, which have the force of law.
Title IX applies to institutions that receive federal financial assistance from the Education Department, including state and local educational agencies. Educational programs and activities must operate in a nondiscriminatory manner.
Title IX Administrators monitor overall compliance with Title IX and ensure appropriate action is taken to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Title IX Administrators are available to provide information regarding policies, process, procedure, and support resources.
Title IX Coordinator
HWCC 210, (740) 368-3138
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Jess Ettell Irvine
HWCC 225, (740) 368-3175
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
HWCC 206, (740) 368-3139
Persons interested in filing a complaint for gender and/or gender identity inequity within the OWU Athletics department should contact:
Kirsta Cobb, Associate Athletics Director/Senior Woman Administrator
Edward Gymnasium Room 109
- Actual knowledge: notice of sexual harassment or allegations of sexual harassment to a member of the Title IX staff or any official of the University who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University. These officials include the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX Deputy Coordinator, the Provost, the President, or the Chief Human Resources Officer.
- Complainant: an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
- Respondent: an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
- Employees: a part-time or full-time faculty member, instructor, administrative staff member, or hourly staff member. For purposes of this policy, full-time or part-time students also working in a student employment job at the University are defined as students rather than employees.
- Formal complaint: a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation. In circumstances where the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the staff person is not the complainant or otherwise a party and must otherwise comply with their regulatory duties.
- Document filed by Complainant: a document or electronic submission that contains the Complainant's physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint.
- Supportive measures: non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.
- Informal resolution: a resolution process that may occur without a full investigation and adjudication initiated any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility.
- Decision Maker: a trained staff person who will evaluate the information and determine responsibility and issue appropriate sanctions and remedies. The Decision Maker will not be the same person as the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator(s).
- Appeal Officers: Resolution Officers who have had no previous role in a given case and review appeals to decided cases.
- Business days: weekdays when the University is open and classes are in session.
- Resolution Hearing: a conduct hearing facilitated by a Process Advisor and Decision Maker(s) to evaluate the Respondent's responsibility for alleged policy violations.
The policy applies to allegations of sexual harassment that create a discriminatory and/or hostile environment that significantly affect another person’s access to education, University benefits, and/or University activities. The allegations must be/have occurred on Ohio Wesleyan University property or through University sponsored programs, including locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the sexual harassment occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by OWU.
Full or part-time students also working in a student employment job at the University are defined as students, and full-time University employees who take classes part-time are defined as employees. If the Respondent is neither a student nor employee, contact the Title IX Coordinator to receive information on support resources and options for reporting.
The University must dismiss complaints under this policy if:
- The persons were not in the United States when the incident(s) occurred.
- The incident(s) occurred at/on a property or at an event not affiliated with Ohio Wesleyan University.
- If the complaint does not reach the definitions of sexual harassment under Title IX.
- If the Complainant is not attempting to access and/or participate in an educational program or activity.
The University may, in its discretion, dismiss complaints under this policy if:
- The University receives a written request from the Complainant to withdraw the formal complaint or allegations therein.
- The Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed at the University and/or participating in University sponsored programs.
- There are specific circumstances preventing the gathering of evidence necessary to make a determination.
In circumstances in which a complaint does not fall under the scope of Title IX policies and procedures and if a Complainant is interested in pursuing a resolution, such complaints will be processed under the applicable handbook (i.e.: faculty, staff, student) based on the Respondent’s status at the University (i.e.: faculty, staff, student).
Individuals are encouraged to report a concern directly to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinators. University responses may be limited if a designated staff member does not receive the complaint from the reporting individual.
Timely reporting maximizes the University's ability to respond and investigate in an effective manner. The University may be limited in the actions it can take when a report is filed against a former student or employee who is accused of sexual harassment. If the Respondent is a current student or employee, there is no time limit for filing a complaint to initiate the process.
With limited exceptions, all University employees (faculty, staff, administrators) are expected to immediately report actual or suspected sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence to designated University officials (the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX Deputy Coordinator, the Provost, the President, or the Chief Human Resources Officer). However, only actual knowledge, as defined above, triggers the University’s response obligations. In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidential resources and mandatory reporting requirements of non-confidential resources when consulting campus resources.
Some resources may maintain confidentiality on-campus. These resources are not required to report actual or suspected sexual harassment or discrimination to appropriate University officials, thereby offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an internal or external agency. Employees designated as confidential support resources can only exercise that confidentiality when acting within the scope of that confidential role.
Personnel tasked with implementing responses to reports of Sexual Harassment (e.g.: Title IX Coordinator, Investigators, Decision-Maker(s), Appeal Officers, etc.) will be trained at least annually. This training will be provided based on the personnel’s role and is set out in the first page of this Policy.
All Ohio Wesleyan University employees, including confidential resources, are required to immediately report any knowledge or reasonable suspicion that a minor (someone under 18 years old or under the age of 21 with a developmental disability or physical impairment) is experiencing abuse or neglect based on information shared by the minor, any other individual, or one's own observations or knowledge.
Any employee suspecting abuse or neglect is required to bring all suspicions to the immediate attention of the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
OWU community members who are not employees are strongly encouraged to report any knowledge or reasonable suspicion of child abuse to the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator and/or law enforcement.
Under Ohio law, most individuals must report felonies, including sexual violence. This legal requirement means that the Title IX Coordinator, Student Integrity and Community Standards staff members, and/or Public Safety staff members must report knowledge of any felony to the Delaware Police Department.
When the University makes a report to law enforcement under this section, the University will communicate with the Complainant what information is being/has been reported to law enforcement. To the extent reasonably possible, the University will communicate with the Complainant in advance of any report to law enforcement. The Complainant may choose whether and how to participate in any subsequent criminal investigation if one occurs.
In some cases, the University is able to report the complaint anonymously to local law enforcement. The Complainant has a right to request this, but may identify themselves at any time to law enforcement.
In Ohio, medical professionals have distinct legally mandated reporting responsibilities. Where a medical professional knows or has reasonable cause to believe that serious physical harm resulted from an offense of violence, the medical professional is required to make a report to law enforcement. Medical professionals must deem a patient medically stable before reporting and must communicate to the patient that the patient does not have to report and/or speak to the police.
If the patient chooses not to speak to police at the time of the medical examination, the medical professional does not need to report the patient's name - only the date, general time, and general location of the experience.
All higher education institutions that receive federal funding, including the University, are obligated to issue publicly an Annual Security Report (“ASR”) which identifies the number of federally specified crimes on University property, in University programs, or adjacent to campus.
The ASR does not include identifying information about the persons involved in such incidents. The report provides anonymous statistical information for certain offenses that have been reported at campus locations.
A “timely warning” is a campus-wide notification to alert the campus community of a serious or continuing threat on campus. A timely warning issued in response to a report of sexual harassment does not include identifying information about the Complainant. However, it may include identifying information about a Respondent if appropriate.
Complainants may file reports with the University and local law enforcement. The University will not require an individual to speak with law enforcement officials, but strongly recommends that all Complainants who have experienced a criminal offense report to local law enforcement agencies.
The filing and process for addressing sexual harassment with a law enforcement entity is a separate process than the University’s process. In most cases, the University will not wait for a conclusion from local law enforcement for any criminal investigation or impending court proceedings, except in cases where the University temporarily delays its investigation while criminal investigators gather evidence. Law enforcement’s determination of whether or not to initiate prosecution will hold no weight on the University’s decision to charge a Respondent through the University’s resolution process.
A Complainant always has the right to seek a restraining order or similar no-contact/protective order from the police. The University will make reasonable efforts to enforce all protective and restraining orders regardless of who issues them. Enforcement of these orders by the University will begin upon notification and receipt of documentation of their existence.
Should either party wish to cooperate with local law enforcement in a criminal investigation pertaining to a matter of sexual harassment, they may do so under the guidance of the appropriate legal authority(ies) without fear of penalty by Ohio Wesleyan University for violating a no contact order issued by the University.
The hospital closest to OWU’s campus:
Grady Memorial Hospital
Address: 561 W Central Ave, Delaware, OH 43015
Phone: (740) 615-1000
Individuals can obtain a confidential, no cost, collection of medical evidence exam through OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital's Emergency Room. Call (740) 615-1165 for more information or for directions to the hospital. Public Safety can provide transportation to Grady Hospital and you need not disclose the medical condition for which you are seeking care.
Confidential sexual assault hotlines can provide support as well as information on medical care, reporting, and legal options.
- SARN (local)- (800) 684-2324 or (740) 369-3316
- RAINN (national) (800) 656-HOPE
These reporting options will maintain confidentiality unless required by law to break confidentiality. Any parties involved in a complaint may speak with:
- Counseling Services: (740) 368-3145 (or 3145 from a campus phone)
- Office of the Chaplain: (740) 368-3083 (or 3083 from a campus phone)
- Student Health Services: (740) 368-3160 (or 3160 from a campus phone)
- Office of the Chaplain: (740) 368-3083 (or 3083 from a campus phone)
- Employee Assistance Program
Call Your ComPsych® GuidanceResources program anytime for confidential assistance.
Call: (855) 387-9727 // TDD: (800) 697-0353
Go online: guidanceresources.com // Your company Web ID: ONEAMERICA3
Risk of Harm to Self or Others
Mental health professionals are required to disclose information where there is an imminent threat of the person harming themselves or others.
All OWU employees, excluding the confidential resources detailed above, are mandatory reporters under this policy and must share all the details of the reports they receive with designated University officials (the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX Deputy Coordinator, the Provost, the President, or the Chief Human Resources Officer). Therefore, Complainants may want to consider carefully whether to share personally identifiable details with non-confidential employees.
University officials aware of sexual harassment complaints must limit the number of people informed of the report and ensure that the report is managed with privacy. The Title IX Coordinator must be informed by other University officials of sexual harassment complaints brought to their attention.
Complainants will receive resolution options, support resources, and appropriate supportive measures that may be needed when a complaint is received by one of the designated University officials.
To make a formal complaint, a Complainant must discuss their concern directly with a Title IX Administrator. A Complainant must understand that they must participate through all aspects of the grievance process if they want a resolution to occur.
Matters of concern can be shared with the designated Title IX Administrator below via mail, email, phone or in person:
Title IX Coordinator
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Jess Ettell Irvine
Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Additional Reporting Options
OWU Public Safety
(740) 368-2222 (2222 from a campus phone)
OWU Public Safety can also offer assistance by taking the reporting person to the local hospital. The reporter does not need to disclose their need for care when requesting transportation.
Office of Human Resources
003 University Hall
Scott Simon, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
email@example.com, (740) 368-3394
Office of the Provost
107 University Hall
firstname.lastname@example.org, (740) 368-3101
Students may also contact Residential Life Staff, including Residential Life Coordinators and Resident Assistants. They will provide the reporting person with information about options and how to file a report. The person who received the initial report will notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee about the meeting, with the exception of confidential resources.
Delaware Police (911)
1 S. Sandusky St., Delaware, OH 43015
(740) 368-1911 non-life threatening emergencies
The Delaware Police can also offer assistance by taking a person to the hospital.
OWU's Title IX and Sexual Harassment Policy complies with federal law. The University's policies are subject to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX bans sexual discrimination in schools that receive federal financial aid. If you believe the University has failed to follow its Title IX obligations, you may contact the Office of Civil Rights in the US Department of Education (email@example.com).
Ohio Wesleyan University also designates other individuals to assist/support the Title IX Coordinator in their work to fulfill the compliance efforts.
Ohio Wesleyan University does not charge Complainants with non-violent violations related to a Title IX incident, such as unauthorized use of alcoholic beverages or drugs. It is in the best interests of the community that Complainants choose to report to University officials (the Title IX Coordinator, a Title IX Deputy Coordinator, the Provost, the President, or the Chief Human Resources Officer), and that witnesses come forward to share what they know.
Participants may be hesitant to offer assistance to others or provide witness statements for fear that they may find themselves in violation of University policy (for example, a student who has been drinking underage might hesitate to help take a person who has experienced sexual misconduct to Public Safety). The University upholds a policy of amnesty for participants who offer help to others in need or have relevant information to share in conduct proceedings. While policy violations cannot be overlooked, the University will provide educational interventions and support to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
Defined as clear, knowing, voluntary words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.
Consent to any one form of sexual activity cannot automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or prior consent cannot imply consent to future sexual acts. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as that withdrawal is clearly communicated. In order to give consent, one must be of legal age.
Consent may not be given if there is coercion. Coercion is unreasonable and persistent pressure to compel another individual to initiate or continue sexual activity against an individual's will. Examples of coercion include using words or actions that stigmatize, threaten, or cause a person an articulable and reasonable fear for safety. This can include compelling someone to act in a way that they would not typically engage in due to fear for physical safety of self or another person. Examples of this may include, but are not limited to, threatening physical, emotional, financial, or reputational harm to self or another person should an individual not comply with demands.
Consent cannot be obtained through force, defined as: use or threat of physical violence or intimidation to overcome an individual's freedom to choose whether or not they will participate in a sexual activity.
A person cannot obtain consent from someone who is substantially impaired, defined as the inability of an individual to make rational, reasonable decisions because the individual lacks the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the "who, what, when, where, why or how" of their sexual interaction).
Sexual activity with someone you know to be or should know to be substantially impaired constitutes a violation of this policy. Impairment can occur mentally or physically, from developmental disability, and by alcohol or other drug use.. The question of what the Respondent should have known is objectively based on what a reasonable person in the place of the Respondent, sober and exercising good judgment, would have known about the condition of the Complainant.
This policy also applies to a person whose impairment results from mental disability, sleep, unconsciousness, involuntary physical restraint, or from the taking of drugs. Possession, use and/or distribution of any of these substances, including Rohypnol, Ketomine, GHB, Burundanga, etc. is prohibited, and administering one of these drugs to another person is a violation of this policy.
Sexual harassment a form of sex discrimination and means conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
- An employee conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.
- Quid Pro Quo Harassment: Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature by a person having power or authority over another constitutes sexual harassment when submission to such sexual conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly as a term or condition of rating or evaluating an individual's educational or employment progress, development, or performance.
- Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity.
- Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking.
Sexual assault is defined under the Clery Act as an offense classified as a forcible or non forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (“UCR”).
UCR defines a forcible sex offense as a sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent and includes the following:
Forcible rape – the carnal knowledge of a person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her/their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Forcible sodomy – oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her/their youth or because of his/her/their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Sexual assault with an object – to use an object or instrument to unlawfully penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her/their youth or because of his/her/their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
Forcible fondling – the touching of the private body parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly and/or against that person’s will or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his/her/their youth or because of his/her/their temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
UCR defines a non forcible sex offense as unlawful, non forcible sexual intercourse and includes the following:
Incest – non forcible sexual intercourse between two persons who are related to each other within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by law.
Statutory rape – non forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is under the statutory age of consent. The legal age of consent in Ohio is 16. Minors under the age of 16 cannot engage in sexual conduct with an adult over the age of 18.
Defined under the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) as:
- Violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim/survivor; and
- Where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on consideration of the following factors:
- the length of the relationship;
- the type of relationship; and
- the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual, psychological, or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse.
Defined under VAWA as:
- Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed:
- by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim/survivor;
- by a person with whom the victim/survivor shares a child in common;
- by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim/survivor as a spouse or intimate partner;
- by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim/survivor;
- by any other person against an adult or youth victim/survivor who is protected from that person’s acts under the state’s domestic or family violence laws.
- To categorize an incident as Domestic violence, the relationship between the respondent and the complainant must be more than just two people living together as roommates. The people cohabitating must be current or former spouses or have an intimate relationship.
Defined under VAWA as:
- Engaging in a course of conduct,
- Directed at a specific person,
- That would cause a reasonable person to
- fear for their safety or the safety of others, or
- to suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking includes the concept of cyber-stalking, a particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion.
Sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking are inherently serious sex-based offenses. However, stalking may not always be “on the basis of sex”—e.g., when a person stalks an athlete due to celebrity worship rather than sex. When stalking is “on the basis of sex”—e.g., when the stalker desires to date the victim—stalking constitutes sexual harassment. Stalking that does not constitute sexual harassment may still be prohibited under other University policies.
Substantial Emotional Distress
Under VAWA regulations, substantial emotional distress is defined as significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
In most circumstances, the University will treat attempts to commit any of the violations listed in this policy as if those attempts had been completed.
Quid pro quo harassment, Clery Act offenses, and VAWA offenses are not evaluated for severity, pervasiveness, offensiveness, or denial of equal educational access, because such misconduct is sufficiently serious to deprive a person of equal access.
The University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of University policies to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statutes and civil defamation laws.
While most student conduct matters do not involve communication with a student’s parents/guardians, the University reserves the right to notify parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any health or safety risk, change in student status, or conduct situation. The University may also notify parents/guardians of non-dependent students who are under age 21 of alcohol and/or drug policy violations. Where a student is non-dependent, the University may contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk. The University also reserves the right to designate which University employees have a need to know about individual conduct reports pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).
The University strongly discourages any sexual relationship between a faculty/staff member and a University student. Student refers to an individual who is enrolled at and attending credit-bearing courses with the University and thereafter as long as the individual has a continuing educational interest in the University. Incoming first year students or other individuals who have not enrolled at and attended credit-bearing courses with the University are not students. Furthermore, individuals attending pre-matriculation programs or events are not students, though they are expected to meet University standards and comply with University policies and procedures during their time on campus.
Relationships in which a differential of power exists between parties increase the risk of exploitation, favoritism, bias, and conflicts of interest. The following policy is intended to help protect the academic and institutional integrity of the University by reducing the potential for these problems or the perceptions of them that might otherwise occur.
Faculty members are prohibited from engaging in sexual relationships with University students with whom they have a supervisory, advisory, or evaluative role. The University prohibits sexual relationships between a staff member and a University student, excluding relationships that began prior to employment. For the purposes of this policy, a sexual relationship is defined as a relationship in which any kind of sexual physical contact occurs. All persons inhabiting the dual role of full-time student and paid staff will be treated exclusively as full-time students for the purpose of this policy. This policy sets a minimum standard for University employees.
The fraternization policy applies to relationships between all faculty/staff members and students regardless of gender; however, it does not apply to relationships between faculty/staff members and their spouses or domestic partners (as defined by the University – see Personnel Office information).
Confidentiality will be maintained throughout the response and resolution processes. The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all parties involved in complaints, to the extent possible. It will limit the number of University members who are informed of the case to those who are involved in resolving sexual harassment allegations. The University will maintain the record of the case in a secure manner and limit access to it, accessible only on a need to know basis.
All comments made about another party during meetings or hearings must pertain only to the incident being reviewed.
In the interest of fairness and confidentiality, all interviews, meetings, and resolution hearings are closed. The resolution proceedings will be conducted in an impartial and unbiased manner and will meet the basic standards of impartiality without becoming indifferent or unduly legalistic.
Parties are not restricted from discussing and sharing information relating to allegations with others who may support them or assist them in preparing and presenting; however, discretion must be used and confidentiality should be respected.
If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal resolution hearing to be pursued, the Complainant may make such a request. The Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Coordinators will then evaluate that request in light of the University's duty to ensure the safety of the campus and comply with federal law. In cases indicating pattern, predation, threat, weapons and/or violence, the University will likely be unable to honor a request for anonymity.
In cases where the Complainant requests anonymity and the circumstances allow the University to honor that request, the University will offer support measures to the Complainant and the community. It must be understood that this will be done to the extent possible based on the Complainant's limitations for privacy.
The University will take all reasonable and good faith steps to protect the privacy of individuals involved in a sexual harassment complaint, though privacy cannot be guaranteed. Only a small group of University employees who need to know will be told as appropriate to address the matter and offer support measures.
No audio or video recording of any kind, other than as required by institutional procedures, is permitted during meetings or hearings with campus officials. No photographs, dictations, scans, or other reproductions of materials in a case file are permitted without the authorization of the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
Any person involved in a sexual harassment complaint has the right to decline participation in the investigation or resolution process. Lack of participation at any point in the resolution process will result in an outcome that precludes a Complainant’s, Respondent’s, and/or Witness’s submitted material from being considered.
All participants who have been named in the process are responsible for the communications they receive. All communication will be sent via “owu.edu” emails unless other plans for communication have been established. Title IX Administrators will make good faith efforts to communicate with participants before moving forward, but will ultimately proceed without a participant if there is no response.
In the interest of fairness and efficient resolution, information should not be intentionally withheld during any part of the process. The University expects participants to be honest and act with integrity and provide information as they have it available; this includes submitting known witnesses and/or relevant materials such as emails, texts, or pictures as their existence becomes known. Failure to submit information in a timely manner may result in the material being excluded from the investigative packet and may not be used later as “newly discovered and relevant information” during an appeals process.
The University may choose to interview or call other witnesses the University believes may have relevant information to share about the allegations at any point in the resolution process. Witness statements must pertain to the specific incident and/or complaint. In some cases, witnesses may provide a statement to discuss a pattern of behavior from a party. The Investigator and Process Advisor will determine if this is relevant to the complaint.
Any Witness scheduled to participate in a resolution process must have been interviewed first by investigators. Any Witness who declines to participate in or cooperate with an investigation will not be permitted to offer evidence or testimony during the resolution hearing unless all parties consent to the participation of that witness in the resolution hearing.
Parties in need of supportive measures and/or accommodations due to a documented disability must complete an accommodations request with the Accessibility Services Coordinator. Accommodations requests must be documented by a medical provider and approved by the Accessibility Services Coordinator.
All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to guide and accompany them throughout the resolution process. If a party does not choose an advisor, the University will assign one, at no cost, to the party. The advisor may be a University employee, friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other person a party chooses to advise them.
The parties are entitled to be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings, interviews, and hearings at which the party is entitled to be present. In some circumstances, the University may need to meet with a party before they may have established an advisor; this is typically in cases when a party is being put on notice that a complaint has been made. The staff person meeting with the party will not require the party to answer questions and/or give a statement unless they choose to do so.
All advisors are subject to the same campus policies and procedures. Except as permitted during hearings, as described below, an advisor is not permitted to engage in the grievance process on a party’s behalf or participate directly in any related meeting or proceeding. Advisors may quietly consult with their advisees during a related meeting or proceeding in a manner that does not disrupt or interfere with the meeting or proceeding. Advisors should request or wait for a break in the proceeding if they want to have a longer or more involved discussion with their advisee or wish to interact with campus administrators.
All parties are expected to be the main source of communication with campus administrators. Advisors may not initiate communication with campus administrators on behalf of their advisee in person or via technology (i.e.: phone and/or email). Campus administrators will not be expected to communicate to the advisor whenever a communication is made to the party, and expect each party to take responsibility to share communications with their advisor as appropriate.
Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.
Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the University investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role in any meeting under the campus resolution process will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically end unless the party agrees to participate without their advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated or will need to be replaced by a different advisor.
Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them by the University. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. The University may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the University's privacy expectations.
The University expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend University meetings when scheduled. The University does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor's inability to attend. The University will, however, make provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.
A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout. The parties must advise the University of the identity of their advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting. If the party has not identified an advisor by this time, the University will appoint an advisor for the party, at no cost to them, to allow time for the advisor to prepare. The parties must provide subsequent timely notice to the University if they change advisors at any time.
Advisors may participate in the resolution hearing to ask questions of the other party or witnesses. This part of the process is not to embarrass, blame, humiliate, or emotionally berate a party, but rather to ask questions that probe a party’s narrative in order to give the Decision Maker the fullest view possible of the evidence relevant to the allegations.
During the resolution hearing, the Process Advisor will notify the Advisor when they have the opportunity to ask questions. Questions should pertain specifically to the complaint being reviewed and may not be asked repeatedly throughout the process. Decision Makers have the right to stop a question from being answered and will provide rationale for why the question is not permitted.
Advisors may not ask questions that rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding such privilege has waived the privilege.
Advisors must remember that the University process is not a legal process and hearings are not intended to be adversarial in nature and/or unduly legalistic. Intimidation or contentious behaviors will not be tolerated. In circumstances where the substance of a question is relevant, but the manner in which an advisor attempts to ask the question is harassing, intimidating, or abusive (for example, the advisor yells, screams, or physically ‘leans in’ to an individual’s personal space), the University may appropriately enforce rules of decorum that require relevant questions to be asked in a respectful, non-abusive manner.
The Process Advisor reserves the right to stop the hearing and warn an advisor if their behavior is problematic. If the behavior persists, the hearing may be stopped and rescheduled allowing the respondent the opportunity to select a new advisor. If this occurs, the party will be afforded three (3) business days to prepare and select a new advisor. If they cannot obtain a new advisor, the University will provide one.
The University or other person may not intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under Title IX. Charging an individual with code of conduct violations that do not involve sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX constitutes retaliation.
A determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party made a materially false statement in bad faith. Furthermore, charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a Title IX grievance proceeding does not constitute retaliation.
The University will keep confidential the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of sex discrimination, including any individual who has made a report or filed a formal complaint of sexual harassment, any Complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sex discrimination, any Respondent, and any Witness, except as may be permitted by FERPA, as required by law, or as required to carry out the purposes of Title IX, including the conduct of any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising thereunder. Complaints alleging retaliation may be filed according to the grievance procedures in this policy. Any person who is found to have retaliated in violation of this policy will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination if they are an employee, and/or expulsion if they are a student.
The University cannot control all expression and reserves the right to weigh an individual’s exercise of academic freedom relative to the impact on another individual when considering claims of retaliation.
Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services are offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.
Supportive measures are meant to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment.
Supportive measures include, but are not limited to:
- Counseling and/or medical referrals
- Extensions of deadlines or other course related adjustments
- Modifications to work or class schedules
- Campus escort services
- No Contact Orders
- Modifications to work or housing locations
- Leaves of absence
- Increased monitoring of areas of campus
The University will provide other accommodations when they are reasonably available.
The University’s Title IX staff are responsible for coordinating supportive measures. The University will maintain confidentiality of supportive measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent to the extent that maintaining confidentiality would not impair the University’s ability to provide the support.
The grievance process treats Complainants and Respondents equitably by following the grievance process before the imposition of any disciplinary sanctions or other actions that are not supportive measures and by providing remedies to a Complainant where a determination of responsibility for sexual harassment has been made against the Respondent.
The University provides for a prompt and effective response to all notices of a potential violation of this policy. A Complainant or any third party may make reports. Notice means a report of sexual harassment has been made directly to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinators by the Complainant.
Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a formal complaint. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an education program or activity of the University.
Upon receipt of a formal complaint, the parties will receive written notice of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment, including sufficient details known at the time. Sufficient details include the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known, the conduct allegedly constituting sexual harassment, and the date and location of the alleged incident, if known. The University will provide written notice of additional allegations to the parties as received. If University staff meet with a Respondent to put the Respondent on notice, and prior to the Respondent establishing an advisor, the staff person meeting with the party will not require the party to answer substantive questions and/or give a statement until they have established an advisor.
The Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and determinations regarding responsibility are made at the conclusion of the grievance process. However, the University reserves the right to invoke an emergency removal and/or activity restriction if the allegations are egregious enough for risk to the campus community.
The standard for finding a person responsible for a policy violation is "preponderance of evidence" (or "more likely than not").
Some circumstances may occur in which allegations of sexual harassment are made against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party with the same factors or circumstances. If this occurs, the University will assess the information and decide the appropriateness of consolidating the complaints into one process.
The University will provide written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purposes of all investigative interviews, hearings, or other meetings, to a party whose participation is invited or expected. Such notice will be provided with sufficient time for the party to prepare to participate.
The University will provide both parties an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in a complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a party or other source, so that each party can meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to conclusion of the investigation.
An investigation may take up to 30 business days, depending upon the number and availability of witnesses, the academic calendar, and other factors. An investigative report will be prepared within 60 business days of the complaint being made. A hearing will be held within 90 business days of the complaint being made. A written determination regarding responsibility will be issued within 10 business days of the hearing. It is a goal to resolve complaints within 100 business days from notice of complaint, not counting any appeal period. The University may extend an investigation process for reasonable circumstances and will provide this information to the Complainant and Respondent in writing. The timeframe will not include appeals that may be filed.
Parties should also note the following timelines that are mandatory in the University process. A party may waive their right to these review days in writing to Title IX staff person overseeing their case:
- At least ten (10) calendar days for parties and their advisors to review the initial information available about the complaint.
- At least ten (10) calendar days for parties and their advisors to review the initial investigation packet (including the evidence) and submit a meaningful written response, which the Investigator will consider prior to completion of the investigative report.
- At least ten (10) calendar days for parties and their advisors to review the final investigative report, submit a written response, and prepare for a hearing.
There may be circumstances that allow for the temporary delay of the grievance process or the limited extension of time frames for good cause with written notice to the Complainant and the Respondent of the delay or extension and the reasons for the action. Good cause may include considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
If a party withdraws and/or resigns from the University after being reported for sexual harassment and prior to final resolution, the University reserves the right to proceed with the resolution process. The responding party will have the opportunity to participate in the resolution process. If charges are issued, then the resolution body will make a determination of responsibility based on the information they have available. In some specific cases, the University may choose to place the case on hold pending the party’s impending return to campus, in which case a notation will be placed on the party’s University record and the party must resolve the issue before returning to the University in any capacity (i.e.: student, employee, volunteer, visitor, etc).
The University will notify the Respondent, and Complainant when applicable, if it will proceed with resolving the case or leave it open pending the Respondent's return. In circumstances when the University holds the case open pending the return of the Respondent, the University will attempt to resolve the case as promptly as possible upon the Respondent's return to campus. The University will attempt to follow the normal timeline established above. Any violations of University policies while the Respondent is separated from the University may result in the opening of additional conduct cases.
If there is a consideration to remove a Respondent from the University’s education program or activity on an emergency basis, this will occur only after the University has:
- Engaged in an individualized safety and risk analysis; and
- Determined if an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of other individuals arising from the allegations of sexual harassment justifies removal; and
- Provided the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal.
In circumstances where the Respondent is a non-student employee, the University may consider administrative leave during the pendency of the grievance process.
Violation of an emergency removal is grounds for expulsion or termination.
During an emergency removal period, a party may be denied access to University housing and/or the University campus/facilities/events, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy. This restriction can include attendance to classes and/or all other University activities. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy, alternative coursework options or employment accommodations may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the individual.
The table below indicates who will be involved in a grievance process related to allegations of sexual harassment depending on the role of the respondent. The University reserves the right to use an External Agent in any role in the grievance process should circumstances warrant.
Appeal Decision Maker
Trained University employees will facilitate each part of the process.
Title IX Deputy
Provost or designee
Title IX Deputy
Assistant Vice President for Human Resources or designee
University President or Title IX Coordinator
The University will contract with an external agency to conduct the investigation, the hearing, and appeal process.
Note: An External Agent would be a trained individual outside of the OWU community who is trained to adjudicate Title IX conduct processes.
The University is committed to ensuring that the resolution processes (e.g.: investigation, conduct resolution, appeal, etc.) are free from actual or perceived bias and/or conflicts of interest for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or an individual Complainant or Respondent.
Any party who feels that there is actual or perceived bias and/or conflict of interest may submit a written petition to the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, to seek the person's removal from the process.
The petition should include specifics as to the actual or perceived bias and/or conflicts of interest. Such petitions may be made to the University President in the event that the potential conflict or bias involves the Title IX Coordinator. The recipient of the petition will review the information and make a final determination if a conflict of interest and/or bias exists.
The Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy will appoint a trained investigator(s) to conduct the investigation into any formal complaint. The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility is the responsibility of the University.
The University cannot access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use a party’s records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the University obtains that party’s voluntary, written consent to do so.
Parties will receive notice of investigation by OWU email and may meet with a staff person to discuss the University process and answer questions the individual may have prior to meeting with the investigator. The notice will also include information about providing witnesses and other information relevant to the investigation.
Upon receipt of the notice, the parties will be given ten (10) calendar days to inspect the preliminary evidence directly related to the allegations. A party may waive their right to the ten-day review period in writing to the investigator.
The investigator will schedule a meeting with parties and named witnesses to allow for an opportunity to respond to the complaint. When the participant meets with the investigator, the investigator will ask them to share their experience or knowledge of the complaint. Following the interview, the participant will receive a summary of their statement electronically via OWU email. The participant will have the opportunity to review the statement and provide clarifications, as appropriate.
Following the completion of the initial investigation, the Complainant and Respondent will be invited to review their statement, the other party’s statement, the witness statement(s), and other evidence. Both parties will be given ten (10) calendar days to review the content and submit a meaningful written response that may include additional questions, relevant information/evidence, and/or clarifications. If additional information is submitted, the investigator will conduct follow up interviews with relevant participants.
After the preliminary investigative packet has been reviewed and responses have been explored, the investigator will finalize an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. The investigator will submit the final report to the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinators, who will conduct a policy analysis. The review will determine if there is sufficient evidence that rises to the level of a policy violation. If there is sufficient information, then charges will be issued or, if there is not sufficient information, then no charges will be issued.
The Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will issue an Investigation Outcome letter to both parties. Charges and notice of a resolution hearing will be included in the letter, if applicable. The letter will also include the final investigative report and will allow the parties the opportunity for their review and written response at least ten (10) calendar days prior to the hearing. The Respondent will be given the opportunity to:
- Accept responsibility for the charges. If the Respondent accepts responsibility for the charges then a designated Decision-Maker will be appointed by the Title IX Coordinator or designee to determine a sanction and any remedies.
- Reject responsibility for the charges. If rejected, then the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will appoint a Decision-Maker. The Decision-Maker will make official findings based on the investigative report and the results of a hearing.
Failure to reply by the specified deadline will result in the process moving forward and the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will appoint a Decision-Maker to determine responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions, and any remedies.
Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
During the resolution process, the University will apply any provisions, rules, or practices equally to all parties. Remedies are required to be provided to a Complainant when a Respondent is found responsible. Post determination remedies are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education programs or activities; this may include the same individualized services described as “supportive measures”, and can be disciplinary and/or a burden for the Respondent if found in violation of policy.
Both parties will be provided with an equal opportunity to present fact and expert witnesses. The University will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and determine credibility without respect to a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness.
The informal resolution process is designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education programs or activities without a full investigation and adjudication; and to reach a mutually agreeable resolution to the complaint. An informal resolution may not occur unless a formal complaint is filed. Both parties have the option to pursue an informal resolution process and it may be initiated any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility. Both parties must agree to participate in the informal resolution process. Both parties have a right to an advisor through the informal resolution process.
The informal resolution process will take up to five (5) calendar days. The University may extend an informal resolution process for reasonable circumstances and will provide this information to the Complainant and Respondent in writing.
The parties will receive a written notice disclosing:
- the allegations
- the requirements of the informal resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a formal complaint arising from the same allegations that at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint
- any consequences resulting from participating in the informal resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared
If parties agree to an informal resolution process, the University must have voluntary, written consent to the informal resolution process via email to the designated University administrator facilitating the resolution.
The informal resolution process may not:
- Require informal resolution participation as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right (i.e. any University sponsored educational program or activity).
- Require a waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints of sexual harassment.
- Be utilized to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student.
If alternative efforts are unsuccessful, the formal resolution process may be initiated. Either party has the right to end the information resolution process and begin the formal process at any time prior to an agreed-upon resolution. The University reserves the right to determine a situation is not eligible for an informal resolution process and eliminate this grievance process option.
As part of the informal resolution process, the University administrator facilitating the informal resolution process may:
- Resolve the complaint through the implementation of remedies when there is sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct to support such a response.
- Act promptly to meet with the parties involved to inform them of the corrective actions.
- Institute other potential remedies including targeted or broad-based educational programming or training.
- Conduct facilitated conversations with the parties.
Notice of a formal report can be made in person, by phone, via email or in writing to the Office of Student Integrity and Community Standards, the Title IX Coordinator, and/or Deputy Coordinators.
If made in person, the Complainant must submit a follow-up written formal complaint reporting sexual harassment by a Respondent and requesting that the school investigate the complaint. The Title IX Coordinator also has the authority to sign a written complaint on behalf of a Complainant. Complainant’s wishes with respect to whether the University investigates should be respected unless the Title IX Coordinator determines that signing a formal complaint to initiate an investigation over the wishes of the Complainant is not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances. The University is required to investigate sexual harassment allegations in any formal complaint.
Following the preliminary inquiry and referral from the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, the following procedures will be used, not necessarily in order.
The University may, in its discretion, dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations if, at any time during the investigation or hearing, a Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the formal complaint or any allegations therein, the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the University, or specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination to the formal complaint.
In addition, if the allegations in a formal complaint do not meet the definition of sexual harassment, or did not occur in the University’s education program or activity against a person in the United States, the University must dismiss such allegations for purposes of Title IX but may still address the allegations in any manner the University deems appropriate under the University’s code of conduct.
The dismissal and any reasons for the dismissal will be sent in written notice to both parties through OWU.edu email.
The University may consolidate formal complaints as to allegations of sexual harassment against more than one Respondent, or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents, or by one party against the other party, where the allegations of sexual harassment arise out of the same facts or circumstances.
Where a grievance process involves more than one Complainant or more than one Respondent, references in this policy to the singular “party,” “Complainant,” or “Respondent” include the plural, as applicable.
If the process moves forward to a hearing, parties will receive notice of the meeting date, time, and location in writing. The notification will also provide logistical matters, hearing procedures, and the appointed Decision-Maker.
If a party objects to the Decision-Maker based upon a conflict of interest, the party must provide written notice to the Title IX Coordinator, identified in the notice letter within two business days from the hearing notification, explaining the conflict of interest. The Title IX Coordinator will make a determination regarding the merits of the alleged conflict of interest.
Parties will have a minimum of ten (10) calendar days to prepare for the hearing from the date that they receive notice of the hearing date and the final investigative report. Parties may waive their right to ten (10) calendar days’ notice in writing to the Process Advisor, if they choose.
The Process Advisor will offer a pre-hearing meeting opportunity to the parties during the ten (10) calendar day review period. This meeting is to answer any final questions that a party might have, explain the procedures, and review the expectations for cross-examination with the advisor. The purpose of this meeting does not include the discussion of details and/or issues with the complaint.
The party and advisor should prepare preliminary cross-examination questions they may wish to review with the Process Advisor.
The live hearing will occur in a virtual format with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. The hearing will be recorded to create an audio and/or audiovisual recording of the hearing and it will be made available to the parties for inspection and review within two (2) business days of the resolution hearing ending.
At the start of the hearing, the Process Advisor will open the hearing and provide information to both parties about the procedures. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, the University will provide an advisor of the University’s choice to that party to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party. A University-appointed advisor may or may not be an attorney and will be provided at no charge to the party.
During the hearing, the advisor will be notified when it is their opportunity to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. Advisors should be well-versed in appropriate decorum and expectations for interactions with participants and adhere to all procedural expectations put in place.
Before a Complainant, Respondent, or Witness answers a cross-examination question, the Decision-Maker must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the hearing, the Decision-Maker(s) will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The Decision-Maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Cross-examination that may reveal faulty memory, mistaken beliefs, or inaccurate facts about allegations does not mean that the party answering questions is necessarily lying or making intentionally false statements. The degree to which any inaccuracy, inconsistency, or implausibility in a narrative provided by a party or witness should affect a determination regarding responsibility is a matter to be decided by the Decision-Maker, after having the opportunity to ask questions of parties and witnesses, and to observe how parties and witnesses answer the questions posed by the other party’s advisor.
Following the closing of the hearing, the Decision-Maker will determine responsibility, disciplinary sanctions, and remedies. The Decision-Maker may consult with the Process Advisor to obtain information about University precedent for sexual harassment complaints.
Written Determination Regarding Responsibility
The Decision-Maker will issue a written determination regarding responsibility simultaneously to the parties that will include the following:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the University’s code of conduct to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions to be imposed on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity will be provided to the Complainant; and
- The University’s procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal.
The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for effective implementation of any remedies herein.
The Decision-Maker will issue the written determination regarding responsibility within ten (10) business days of the hearing. The Complainant will be informed of any specific sanctions imposed on Respondent directly relating to the Complainant in a manner consistent with the requirements of FERPA. The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the University provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.
The following disciplinary sanctions are a formal action imposed on the Respondent in response to policy violation(s), and may be imposed upon individuals found to have violated any sexual harassment policies. While not an exhaustive list, the following are the typical sanctions that may be imposed upon individuals or organizations singly or in combination:
- Warnings: An official letter of warning that is placed on a student record and/or in an employee file that the Respondent has been found responsible for a policy violation.
- Learning-Based Intervention: Outcomes that encourage self-reflection and enable the individual and/or organization to evaluate decision making and impact on their community.
- Educational/Health Interventions: Requirement for a Respondent to engage in conversations with healthcare professionals to address concerns about behavior.
- Probation: A specified period of time during which the Respondent’s conduct must be exemplary.
- Loss of Housing Privileges: This includes the opportunity to select and/or live in specific housing on-campus or the ability to reside in residential spaces.
- Loss of Privileges: For organizations, it is typically a denial of the right to host social gatherings and engage in other activities for a specified period. For individuals, it might include residence hall relocation, restrictions on being in designated areas of campus, and loss of other privileges.
- Suspension: Removal from the University for a stated period of time and/or until a stated condition(s) is met. Students under suspension are not permitted on campus without written permission from the Dean of Students, or designee, or to participate in any University activity. Readmission to the University following the end of the period of suspension is contingent upon demonstrating to the Dean of Students that measures have been taken to correct the conflicts that resulted in the suspension. The Dean may impose restrictions as condition(s) reinstatement. Parents/Guardians of students who have been suspended may be notified.
- Expulsion: Permanent separation from the University. Parents/Guardians of students who have been expelled may be notified.
- Loss of pay during administrative leave period.
- Changes in employment terms and/or responsibilities.
- Restrictions on activities or behaviors.
- Recommendation for loss of tenure or termination of employment.
If the Respondent accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed.
Any party who files an appeal request must do so in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision. Appeals may be filed by either party once a determination is made regarding responsibility, or if the University dismisses a formal complaint or any of its allegations, on the following bases:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- Newly discovered evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy, Investigator(s), Process Advisor, or Decision-Maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter;
- Sanctions/remedies that are inconsistent or grossly disproportionate to the violation(s).
The written appeal must include the bases for the appeal, and all relevant information and arguments in support. The Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy will promptly notify the other party in writing that an appeal has been filed and appoint an Appeal Officer to consider the appeal. The Appeal Officer will be a trained employee who has not had any previous role in the case before them. The parties will be notified of the appointed Appeal Officer. If a party objects to the appointed Appeal Officer based upon a conflict of interest or bias, the party must provide written notice to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy who appointed the Appeal Officer within two (2) business days from the notification, explaining the conflict of interest.
The Appeal Officer will have five (5) business days from their appointment to review the written appeal for timeliness and scope and determine permissibility of the appeal, which will be limited to the bases set forth above, and will notify the parties regarding whether the appeal is permitted to proceed or denied. If an appeal is untimely or ineligible, it will be denied.
If an appeal is permitted to proceed:
- The other party will be promptly notified in writing of the bases for the appeal and the information and arguments submitted in support, and will be given five (5) business days from notification to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the appeal.
- If the ground for appeal is a procedural error, the relevant University administrator who is alleged to have violated procedures will be asked to file a response or respond to questions from the Appeal Officer within five (5) business days from notification.
- Appeals are not typically heard in person, but rather will be considered on the basis of written or recorded documentation contained in the full case file, including investigation notes and reports, all evidence, all statements, the live hearing recording, and the Decision-Maker’s findings and sanctions, or on additional questions the Appeal Officer may pose to relevant parties.
- Appeals are not intended to be a full renewed re-hearing of the allegation. An appeal is not an opportunity for Appeal Officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original decision-maker merely because they disagree with the finding and/or outcomes.
The original findings and outcomes will stand if the appeal request is not timely or substantively eligible, and that decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show clear evidence that one of the appeal criterion was met, as the original resolution hearing is presumed to have been conducted in a thorough, reliable, and impartial manner.
The Appeal Officer will send a letter of outcome for the appeal simultaneously to all parties involved in the original resolution hearing. The Appeal Officer will typically render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within ten (10) business days after determining the appeal is permitted to proceed. The Appeal Officer's decision to deny an appeal request is final.
The Appeal Officer can take one of two possible actions for an appeal that is permitted to proceed:
- Dismiss an appeal request as insufficient.
- Grant an appeal and refer the finding for further investigation or reconsideration at the resolution hearing level.
The University will maintain for a period of seven years records of:
- Each sexual harassment investigation including any determination regarding responsibility and any audio or audiovisual recording or transcript.
- Any disciplinary sanctions/outcomes imposed on the Respondent, and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve equal access to the education program or activity.
- Any appeal and the result.
- Any informal resolution and the result.
- All materials used to train Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Decision-Makers, and any person who facilitates an informal resolution process.
- Records of any actions, including any supportive measures, taken in response to a report or formal complaint of sexual harassment.
- In circumstances in which a response did not occur, the University will maintain documentation on the basis for its conclusion that its response was not deliberately indifferent, meaning a response that is not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
- In circumstances in which a complaint is made, the University will maintain documentation that it has taken measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the education program or activity.
- If the University did not provide a party supportive measures, the University will maintain documentation outlining the reasons why such a response was not clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.
Please contact the Title IX Coordinator and/or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for access to this material.