These FAQs are intended to respond to questions about the University’s policies and procedures regarding the University’s anti-discrimination policies, as they pertain to matters involving conduct alleged to have occurred on or after August 14, 2020. For additional information, please visit your University’s Equity and Title IX website.
What is the University of Missouri’s anti-discrimination policy?
The University of Missouri does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, and any other status protected by applicable state or federal law. As used in this policy, the word “sex” is also inclusive of the term “gender.”
What is the University of Missouri’s equal employment/educational opportunity policy?
Equal opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment and for all students and applicants for admission on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, protected veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law.
The University’s anti-discrimination policies apply to any phase of its employment process, any phase of its admission or financial aid programs, other aspects of its educational programs or activities, and instances occurring in other settings, including off-campus, if there are effects of the conduct that interfere with or limit any person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs, activities or employment.
What is sex discrimination?
Sex discrimination is conduct that is based upon an individual’s sex, pregnancy, gender identity, or gender expression that adversely affects a term or condition of an individual’s employment, education, living environment, or participation in a University program or activity.
Sex discrimination under the University’s equity policy (CRR 600.010) is defined as the following: (1) Sexual harassment that does not rise to the level of sexual harassment as it is defined under Title IX or conduct that does meet the Title IX definition but occurs outside the University’s education programs, activities, or employment, or occurs outside the United States, but nonetheless has an effect that interferes with or limits any person’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s education programs, activities, or employment; (2) workplace sexual harassment; or (3) sex discrimination that does not involve conduct of a sexual nature.
What is sexual harassment under Title IX?
Sexual harassment, as it is defined under Title IX, means conduct on the basis of sex, that falls within one of the following categories:
- “Quid Pro Quo” - An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
- “Hostile Environment” - 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” - Any sexual act that constitutes rape, sodomy, sexual assault with an object, fondling, incest, and statutory rape.
- “Dating Violence” - The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person-- (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors: (i) The length of the relationship, (ii) The type of relationship, and (iii) The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
- “Domestic violence” - The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of Missouri, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person's acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Missouri.
- “Stalking” - The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to--(A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
What does it mean to consent to sexual activity?
Consent to sexual activity is knowing and voluntary. Consent to sexual activity requires of all involved persons a conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. Each person engaged in the sexual activity must have met the legal age of consent. It is the responsibility of each person to ensure they have the consent of all others engaged in the sexual activity. Consent must be obtained at the time of the specific activity and can be withdrawn at any time. Consent, lack of consent or withdrawal of consent may be communicated by words or non-verbal acts.
Someone who is incapacitated cannot consent. Silence or absence of resistance does not establish consent. The existence of a dating relationship or past sexual relations between the Parties involved should never by itself be assumed to be an indicator of consent. Further, consent to one form of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity with one person does not imply consent to engage in sexual activity with another. Coercion and force, or threat of either, invalidates consent.
Why does consent matter?
In certain situations, a person does not have the capacity to agree to participate in consensual sex. Examples include individuals who are under the age of consent, unable to consent due to incapacitation brought on by voluntary or involuntary alcohol or drug consumption, developmentally disabled, or are mentally/physically unable to consent.
Why does incapacitation matter?
Sexual contact with someone who was known to be or reasonably should have been known to be incapacitated is a violation of policy.
A person is incapacitated if they are in a state or condition in which rational decision-making or the ability to consent is rendered impossible because of a person’s temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment, including but not limited to physical or mental impairment resulting from drugs or alcohol, disability, sleep, unconsciousness or illness. Consent does not exist when one knew or should have known of the other individual’s incapacitation. Incapacitation is determined based on the totality of the circumstances. Incapacitation is more than intoxication but intoxication can cause incapacitation.
Factors to consider in determining incapacity include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings (e.g., an inability to understand, either temporarily or permanently, the who, what, where, how and/or why of the circumstances; blackout state)
- Inability to physically or verbally communicate coherently, particularly with regard to consent (e.g., slurred or incoherent speech)
- Lack of full control over physical movements (e.g., difficulty walking or standing without stumbling or assistance)
- Physical symptoms (e.g., vomiting or incontinence).
Who is a Complainant?
The Complainant is the individual who is alleged to have been subjected to discrimination, or harassment, including sexual harassment, in violation of the University's anti-discrimination policies.
In Equity matters, the University may serve as the Complainant when the person alleged to have been subjected to discrimination or harassment chooses not to act as the Complainant in the resolution process or requests that a report not be pursued.
Who is a Respondent?
The Respondent is the individual or entity (i.e., student(s), student organization, faculty member, staff member, or the University of Missouri, one of the Universities within the University of Missouri System, or one of its or their academic programs, departments, or other institutional entities) alleged to have committed an act of discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, in violation of the University’s anti-discrimination policies.
Protections and Procedures
What are the rights of a Party in an Equity Proceeding?
All parties involved will be treated equitably. During the Equity process, a Party has a right:
- To be treated with respect by University officials.
- To be free from retaliation.
- To have access to University support resources (such as counseling and mental health services and University health services).
- To request a no contact directive between the Parties.
- To have an Equity Support Person of the Party’s choice accompany the Party to all interviews, meetings, and proceedings throughout the Equity Resolution Process.
- To refuse to have an allegation resolved through Conflict or Administrative Resolution Processes.
- To receive prior to a hearing or other time of determination regarding responsibility, an investigative report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence in an electronic format or hard copy for their review and written response.
- To have an opportunity to present a list of potential witnesses and provide evidence to the Investigator.
- To have Complaints heard in substantial accordance with these procedures.
- To receive written notice of any delay of the process or limited extension of time frames.
- To be informed of the finding, rationale, sanctions and remedial actions.
- To report the matter to law enforcement (if applicable) and to have assistance in making that report.
- To have an opportunity to request reconsideration of the summary determination ending the process, and appeal the determination of a hearing panel or decision-maker.
- When the Complainant is not the reporting Party, the Complainant has full rights to participate in any Equity Resolution Process.
Additional Rights for Students as a Party:
- To request reasonable housing, living and other accommodations and remedies consistent with Section 600.040.H.
- To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct that is ancillary to the incident, at the discretion of the Equity Officer.
Additional Rights for Hearing Panel Resolution:
- To receive notice of a hearing.
- To have the names of witnesses that may participate in the hearing and copies of all documentary evidence gathered in the course of the investigation and any investigative report prior to the hearing.
- To be present at the hearing, which right may be waived by either written notification to the Hearing Panel Chair or by failure to appear.
- To have present an Equity Support Person during the hearing and to consult with such Equity Support Person during the hearing.
- To request to have an Equity Support Person of the University’s selection appointed for a Student Party where the Student Party does not have an Equity Support Person of their own choice at a hearing.
- To testify at the hearing or refuse to testify at the hearing.
- To have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and documents deemed relevant by the Hearing Panel Chair, and to question witnesses present and testifying at the hearing.
- To request that the hearing be held virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
What are supportive measures?
Supportive measures are 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 Complaint or where no Complaint has been filed. These measures are designed 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 education environment, or deter discrimination or harassment.
What supportive measures are available to a Party when they report an incident of discrimination or harassment under the Equity policies?
Supportive Measures may include:
- Referral and facilitating contact for the Complainant or Respondent for counseling or other support services.
- Mutual restrictions on contact between the Parties.
- Providing campus escort services to the Parties.
- Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus.
- Adjusting the extracurricular activities, work schedules, work assignments, supervisory responsibilities, or work arrangements of the Complainant and/or the Respondent, as appropriate.
- If either Party is a student:
- Referral of that Party to academic support services and any other services that may be beneficial to the Party.
- Adjusting the courses, assignments, and/or exam schedules of the Party.
- Altering the on-campus housing assignments, dining arrangements, or other campus services for the Party.
- Providing limited transportation accommodations for the Parties.
- Informing the Parties of the right to notify law enforcement authorities of the alleged incident and offering to help facilitate such a report.
Can a Respondent be removed from the University after a report is made?
- A Respondent may be removed from a University education program or activity if the Equity Officer, after conducting an individualized safety and risk analysis, determines that the Respondent poses an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of discrimination or harassment justifying removal.
- In all cases in which an Emergency Removal is imposed, the Respondent will immediately be given notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision of the Equity Officer either prior to such Removal being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible but no later than five (5) business days following the Removal. Any challenge by Respondent shall be made in writing and directed to the Equity Officer and must show cause why the removal should not be implemented. The Equity Officer will forward the challenge to the Emergency Removal Appeal Individual/Committee, which will make a final decision on Removal within three (3) business days.
- Violation of an Emergency Removal under this policy may be grounds for discipline under applicable University conduct policy.
Can a Student Organization be suspended after a report is made?
- If the Equity Officer finds and believes from available information that the presence of the student organization on campus would seriously disrupt the University or constitute a danger to the health, safety, or welfare of members of the University community, a Respondent Student Organization’s operations, University recognition, access to and use of the University campus/facilities/events and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the Respondent Student Organization might otherwise be eligible may be suspended on an interim basis pending the completion of the Equity Process.
- The appropriate procedure to determine the future status of the student organization will be initiated within seven (7) business days.
Can an employee be placed on administrative leave?
Administrative leave for an employee may be implemented in accordance with University Human Resources Policies. Administrative leave for an employee is not considered an Emergency Removal.
What constitutes retaliation under the Equity Process?
Retaliation is any adverse action taken against a person because of that person’s participation in protected activity. Specifically, the University strictly prohibits retaliation against any person for making any good faith report of discrimination or harassment, or for filing, testifying, assisting, or participating in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of discrimination or harassment. For matters involving discrimination or harassment other than sex discrimination under this policy, employees have an obligation to cooperate with University officials including the Investigator, Equity Officer, Provost (or Designee), Hearing Panel, and/or the Equity Resolution Appellate Officer.
For matters involving sex discrimination under this policy, no person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law, 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. Intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination, including charges against an individual for policy violations that do not involve sex discrimination or sexual harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or complaint of sex discrimination, or a report or Complaint of sexual harassment, for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law, constitutes retaliation.
Examples of prohibited retaliation include, but are not limited to, giving a lesser grade than the student’s academic work warrants because the student filed a report or Complaint of discrimination or harassment; giving lower than justified performance appraisals because a person was a witness in an investigation of alleged discrimination or harassment; and threatening to spread false information about a person for filing a report or Complaint of discrimination or harassment.
Any person who believes they have been subjected to retaliation is encouraged to notify the Equity Officer. The University will promptly respond to all claims of retaliation. Any person who engages in such retaliation shall be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including expulsion or termination, in accordance with applicable procedures.
What if a Party and/or witness requests confidentiality?
Although discretion will be used and disclosures will be made only on a need-to-know basis, it will be necessary to disclose to a Party the names of the opposing Party and/or any known witnesses in a case. The Equity policies require that the Parties be permitted to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching any determination regarding responsibility, and inculpatory or exculpatory evidence whether obtained from a Party or other source.
The University shall 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 Complaint or 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 necessary to carry out the purposes of Title IX, including to conduct any investigation, hearing, or judicial proceeding arising under Title IX, or as may be permitted or as required by law.
If there is a sexual history between the Complainant and the Respondent, can it still be sexual assault?
A previous sexual history does not equate to consent during the time of the alleged event.
What is the difference between an Equity investigation and a criminal investigation?
These investigations are very different. Criminal investigations are intended to determine whether or not a law has been broken, while an Equity investigation determines whether or not university policies have been violated. This is an important distinction as a criminal investigation can result in incarceration depending on the verdict, while an Equity investigation will not result in incarceration but can result in disciplinary action by the school. An Equity investigation will proceed regardless of whether a criminal investigation is pursued or ongoing. The University does not conduct criminal investigations.
If an incident occurs off campus, will the University have jurisdiction under the University Equity policies?
The University may take appropriate action, including, but not limited to, the imposition of sanctions under Section 600.040 for faculty or students or student organizations; and Section 600.050 for staff and the University of Missouri, of the UM System Collected Rules and Regulations, for conduct occurring in off-campus settings in order to protect the physical safety of students, faculty, staff, and visitors, or if there are effects of the conduct that interfere with or limit an individual’s ability to participate in or benefit from the University’s educational programs, activities or employment.
If an incident occurred at a party and I was drinking or taking drugs, will I get in trouble?
In order to foster reporting and participation, the University may provide amnesty from disciplinary action to the Parties and witnesses for minor student conduct violations ancillary to the incident.
If a staff member is accused of discrimination, and the direct supervisor has a relationship with at least one of the parties (Complainant or Respondent), how is this potential bias addressed?
If a supervisor has a conflict as determined by the Equity HR Officer, the Equity HR Officer will choose another appropriate manager to act as supervisor for the purpose of carrying out any determined action.
Why are Equity cases adjudicated with the standard of proof of preponderance of the evidence?
The preponderance of the evidence standard used for Equity cases at the University is the same standard utilized in other University disciplinary and student conduct matters, including Title IX matters. This standard of proof means that the appropriate decision-maker must determine whether a complaint of discrimination or harassment is "more likely than not" to have occurred.
How long are records of an investigation kept? What if the report of a violation was unsubstantiated?
Files will be kept for a minimum of seven (7) years following final resolution. Even if the report was unsubstantiated, files must be kept in order to maintain records of any supportive measures that were provided, and to monitor progress in creating a safer campus by conducting assessments of the campus climate. In addition, files must be kept in order to identify and resolve harassment-related issues, patterns and problems.
Responsibilities and Personnel
Who can the Complainant contact if they have experienced discrimination or harassment?
If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.
All members of the University community as well as visitors and third parties can report incidents to the University Equity Officer. Find your University's Equity Officer’s contact information here. You can also file a report online through your University's Title IX and Equity Office website. Your University Equity Officer will help guide you to other contacts, including the police if you wish to file a police report. If you wish to contact someone confidential, you can find a list of confidential reporting sources at your University here. Besides reporting, we encourage you to seek any resources you might need, including counseling and health services. Visit your University's Title IX and Equity Office website for a list of resources to help, or click here. In addition, if you find other reporting methods unsuitable or uncomfortable, or if you wish to report anonymously, the UM System Integrity and Accountability Hotline is available 24/7 by dialing 1-866-447-9821 or by making a report here. In addition, the Bias Hotline is available 24/7 by dialing 1-844-946-1837 or by making a report.
Who can the Respondent contact when accused of committing an Equity violation?
After the filing of a Complaint, a Notice of Allegations will be sent to any known Party, including the Respondent. An Investigator from the Equity Office will reach out to the Respondent to set up a time to interview the Respondent regarding the alleged violations, to explain the Equity process, and to discuss supportive measures that are available.
As a Party in an Equity matter, a Respondent has the right to have an Equity Support Person of their choosing to accompany them to all meetings, interviews, and the hearing to provide support. If they are a student-party, they can request to be assigned a University Trained Support Person. A University Trained Support Person is an administrator, faculty or staff member at the University trained on the Equity process who cannot be called upon as a witness by a Party in a hearing to testify about matters learned while that individual was acting in their capacity as a Trained Support Person.
We also encourage a Respondent to seek any resources needed, including counseling and health services. Visit your University's Title IX and Equity Office website for a list of resources to help.
What are the responsibilities of an Equity Officer?
The Equity Officer is a point of contact for those who wish to report a discrimination or harassment policy violation. Duties and responsibilities of the University’s Equity Officers include monitoring and oversight of overall implementation and compliance with the University’s Equal Employment/Educational Opportunity and Nondiscrimination Policy, including coordination of training, education, communications and coordination with the equity resolution processes for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community and investigation of complaints of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.
Who are the Equity Officers at each University?
The name and contact information for the Equity Officers at each Title IX and Equity Office can be found here.
Who can an individual contact if they want information to remain confidential?
If confidential support, help or information regarding discrimination or harassment, including sexual harassment, is needed, an employee may contact with a legal privilege of confidentiality or a confidential designee on campus can be contacted. Employees with a legal privilege of confidentiality include health care providers, counselors, and their associated staff. Confidential resources at each University can be located under the “Confidential Reporting” tab found here.
Who protects me if an Equity Officer has harassed or assaulted me?
There are always three options you have when reporting an offense: 1) Your University Equity Officer, 2) The University of Missouri System Equity Officer, and 3) The University of Missouri System President or Chancellor. If your complaint includes any of the above mentioned, please do not hesitate to contact one of the other parties.
I am a student employee (working for the University). Which Equity Resolution Process will I go through if I am accused of an equity violation in my role as a student?
Section 600.040 is the Equity Resolution Process for students and faculty members as Respondents. Section 600.050 is the Equity Resolution Process for staff members or the University of Missouri as a Respondent. If the Complaint alleged that the student employee engaged in discrimination or harassment while working in their capacity as an employee for the University, the Complaint would most likely be processed under Section 600.050; however, the process used would ultimately be chosen by the Equity Officer on a case-by-case basis depending on the facts of the particular Compliant.
I am a student employee and I am aware of an incident of discrimination. When I became aware of the incident, I was not acting in the capacity of my employment. Do I have to report?
If you were not acting in the role of your employment at the time you became aware of the incident, you are not mandated to report it. However, as a university community member, you are strongly encouraged to report any incident of discrimination or harassment of which you become aware.
Am I a Mandated Reporter? What does it mean to be a Mandated Reporter?
Any employee of the University, except as noted below*, who becomes aware of discrimination or harassment as defined by CRR 600.010 (or any form of sexual harassment as defined by CRR 600.020) is a Mandated Reporter, regardless of whether the recipient of the behavior is a student, employee, volunteer or visitor of the University.
A Mandated Reporter is required to promptly report the information to the appropriate Equity Officer. The Mandated Report must be made regardless of whether the person reporting the information to the Mandated Reporter requests confidentiality and regardless of how the Mandated Reporter becomes aware of the offensive behavior (personal observation, direct information from the subject of the behavior, indirect information from a third party, etc.). If the Complainant requests confidentiality or that the report not be pursued, the Mandated Reporter should warn the Complainant that, at this stage in the process, the Mandated Reporter must report all known information to the Equity Officer.
Mandated Reporters must report all details that they possess. This includes names of the parties, if known, and all other information in the Mandated Reporter’s possession.
*NOTE: Employees with a legal obligation or privilege of confidentiality (including health care providers, counselors, journalists, lawyers, and their associated staff) are not considered Mandated Reporters and are not required to report when the information is learned in the course of a confidential communication. This also means that the employee seeking the exemption is employed by the University for that specific purpose and was acting in that capacity when the confidential disclosure was made. If the information is not learned in the course of a confidential communication (for example, behavior is observed in class) then the employee has the same obligation as a Mandated Reporter.
Consistent with the law and upon approval from the Office of the General Counsel, Universities may also designate non-professional counselors or advocates as confidential for purposes of its mandated reporting policy and, therefore, excluded from the definition of Mandated Reporters.
What happens after a report is made to the Equity Office?
Upon receiving a report, the Equity Officer will promptly contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures, consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures, inform the Complainant of the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Complaint, and explain to the Complainant the process for filing a Complaint. In addition to the right to file a Complaint, a Complainant always has the right to file a report with local law enforcement if they believe a crime has occurred.
In addition to the preliminary contact, the Equity Officer will conduct a preliminary inquiry to gather enough information to make a threshold decision regarding whether the report describes a possible violation of the University’s anti-discrimination policies. If it does, the Equity Officer will refer the matter to the appropriate procedural process. If it does not, the Equity Officer will refer the matter to the appropriate non-Equity process.
Upon receipt of a Complaint which formally documents the report of alleged discrimination or harassment, a Notice of Allegations – which is a written document that contains, among other things, the known identities of the Parties involved in the incident, the conduct alleged to have occurred that constitutes the discrimination or harassment and the date and location of the alleged incident – will be sent to any known Parties. An Investigator will be appointed by the Equity Officer to investigate the allegation(s) of discrimination or harassment.
How do I file a report?
There are several ways you can make a report at each University. Your options include but are not limited to:
- Contacting your University's Equity Officer to file a report
- Using your University’s online portal – the University's Title IX and Equity Office pages can provide more information
- Reporting the incident to local law enforcement if you believe a crime has occurred
What if I hear of something but I’m not sure it’s a policy violation?
Contact your University Equity Office with the information that you have. This person will get the necessary information to proceed accordingly.
Does speaking at a public awareness event, such as Take Back the Night, count as “reporting”?
Generally, no. In an effort to encourage preventive education and access to resources for survivors, such events usually receive an exemption from the mandated reporting policy to promote open communication. If you have questions, contact your Title IX and Equity Office to learn more.
Can International students report?
Yes. These individuals will go through the same reporting process as a domestic student and have the same rights.
What if I am participating in a Study Abroad program and I believe I was sexually harassed while abroad (i.e., not in the United States); should I make a report to Title IX and Equity Office?
Yes. Although the conduct might not fall within the scope of Title IX if it did not occur against you within the United States, it still might fall within the jurisdiction of the University under a different University policy. In addition, the University may need to take action to investigate whether to institute disciplinary actions or take other corrective steps on behalf of or against a student or employee, depending on the circumstances.
What are the reporting obligations of residential staff when they have notice of an Equity-related incident?
All University of Missouri employees, including student staff employed in campus residences, must report all discrimination or harassment concerns to the Equity Officer.
What if a Mandated Reporter fails to report?
Failure to comply with this policy can result in disciplinary action. Employees also are cautioned that non-compliance with this policy may increase their risk of personal liability. Further, an individual who fails to report as required under this policy may be determined to be ineligible for defense or protection under Section 490.010 of the UM System Collected Rules and Regulations for any associated claims, causes of action, liabilities or damages.
Are there penalties for making false accusations?
False reporting is a serious offense subject to appropriate disciplinary action ranging from probation up to and including expulsion or termination.
The Equity Resolution Process
Who are Equity Support Persons and what is their role?
Each Complainant and Respondent is allowed to have one Equity Support Person of their choice present with them for all Equity Resolution Process interviews, meetings and proceedings. The Parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their Equity Support Person, including an attorney or parent.
If requested by a Student Party, the Equity Officer may assign an Equity Support Person to explain the Equity Resolution process and attend interviews, meetings and proceedings with a Student Party. University Equity Support Persons are administrators, faculty, or staff at the University trained on the Equity Resolution Process. The Parties may not require that the assigned Equity Support Person have specific qualifications such as being an attorney. An Equity Support Person cannot be called upon as a witness by a Party in a hearing to testify about matters learned while that individual was acting in their capacity as an Equity Support Person.
The Equity Support Person may not make a presentation or represent the Complainant or Respondent during the hearing. At the hearing, the Parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf, without representation by the Equity Support Person. The Equity Support Person may consult with the Party quietly or in writing, or outside the hearing during breaks, but may not speak on behalf of the Party to the hearing panelists. If the Equity Support Person fails to follow these guidelines, they will be warned or dismissed from the hearing at the discretion of the Hearing Panel Chair.
Who serves on the Equity Resolution Hearing Panels?
An Equity Resolution hearing panel is comprised of three (3) members from the University community. Each University will create and annually train a pool of not less than five (5) faculty and five (5) administrators and/or staff. Selection of the hearing panel pool members should be made with an attempt to recognize the diversity of the University community. Hearing Panel members from one University may be asked to serve on a hearing panel involving another University.
Will parties be given the names of individuals on their Equity Resolution Hearing Panel?
Both the Complainant and the Respondent will be given a list of the names of each of the Equity Resolution Hearing Panel members at least twenty (20) business days in advance of the hearing.
If a Complainant or Respondent is uncomfortable with a particular member on their Equity Resolution Hearing Panel (e.g., due to familiarity with the member), will the member be removed from the Hearing Panel?
Both Parties will be given a list of names of each of the Equity Resolution Hearing Panel members at least twenty (20) business days in advance of the hearing. Should either Complainant or Respondent object to any panelist, they must raise all objections, in writing, to the Equity Officer at least fifteen (15) days prior to the hearing. Hearing Panel members will only be unseated if the Equity Officer concludes that good cause exists for their removal. Good cause may include, but is not limited to, bias that would preclude an impartial hearing or learning environment due to the current or potential interactions with the panel member (e.g., a panel member being in the same department as either Party). Additionally, any panelist of the Hearing Panel who feels they cannot make an objective determination must recuse himself or herself from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties and all witnesses in advance of the hearing.
Is a Party allowed to appeal a decision of the Hearing Panel?
Either party may appeal a determination regarding responsibility, or any allegations therein, on the following limited bases:
- A procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- To consider new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility was made that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- The Equity Officer, Investigator(s), 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; or
- The sanctions fall outside the range typically imposed for the offense, or for the cumulative conduct record of the Respondent.