The Title IX Office conducts prompt, fair, and impartial investigations of sexual misconduct ,Title IX sexual harassment, other gender/sex based discrimination, allegations of pregnancy and pregnancy related condition discrimination experienced by students, that avoid pre-judgement of facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. The presumption is that no policy violation has occurred unless proven otherwise by a preponderance of the evidence in an adjudication process. The formal complaint investigation is the time identified for the complainant, respondent, and incident witnesses to participate in interviews, submit statements, and submit evidence before a hearing. Though participation in any phase of the process is voluntary for all parties, witnesses who do not participate in the investigation process may not be able to participate in the hearing process.

Printable version of Title IX Formal Complaint Investigation Procedures for Allegations of Sexual Misconduct or Title IX Sexual Harassment

Formal Complaints of pregnancy or pregnancy related conditions discrimination and some formal complaints of other gender/sex based discrimination may be investigated under procedures laid out in Policy 1324.

Procedures for how the university addresses complaints of retaliation may be found in applicable Policy 1340, Policy 1346, Policy 1324.

Sexual Misconduct and Title IX Sexual Harassment Formal Complaint Investigation Steps

The assigned investigator interviews complainant, respondent, and incident witnesses, and collects evidence.  Though the investigator will generally have 20 business days for this stage of the process, the actual length of time may vary due to amount and availability of evidence, number of witnesses and availability of witnesses, university closures, and extensions granted. 

Before drafting an investigative report and upon completion of evidence collection, all evidence, statements, and information collected by and submitted to the investigator are made available to the complaint, respondent, and their respective advisor of choice for 10 calendar days for inspection, review, and response.  Responses to the evidence must be submitted by the complainant and respondent by the end of the 10 calendar day period. 

Upon receipt of written responses from the complainant and respondent, the Investigator will generally have 10 days to write the investigative report which will fairly summarize all relevant evidence. The investigative report will not contain any findings or recommendations. The investigative report will also contain a summary of all steps taken during the investigative process. The investigator will make the investigative report available to the complainant, respondent, and their respective advisors of choice.  The complainant and respondent will have 48 hours to review the investigative report and to submit to the investigator a final response to the investigator

Upon receipt of the complainant and respondent’s final statements, the investigator transfers all information collected and submitted during the investigation, the investigative report, and all responses submitted to the investigator to the university authority responsible for conducting the adjudication process to determine an outcome.  At this point the investigation portion is considered completed.

General Formal Complaint Investigation Information

Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures detailed here will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances, for good cause, in order to uphold the intent of the process, as determined by the Title IX office. If an extension is granted, the complainant and respondent in a formal complaint will be informed of the reason for the extension. Complainants and respondents may request extensions for good cause under these procedures. The determination regarding whether or not an extension will be granted rests with the Title IX Coordinator.

The Title IX office communicates with university students and employees using the university student or employee’s assigned JMU email address. As laid out in Policy 1209, university community members are responsible for regularly checking and maintaining their assigned email accounts.

Email correspondence including notifications sent by the Title IX office are considered received 24 hours after the date and time the correspondence was sent.

Meetings under these procedures will generally be scheduled during regular university business hours, which are Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM, unless the university is closed. If the Title IX office assigns a meeting time and date to a party participating in these procedures, such meetings for students will be set around the student’s academic schedule. Such meetings for employees will be scheduled to take place during regular university business hours.

The university generally will not pursue alleged policy violations of personal consumption of alcohol or drugs for complainants, respondents, and witnesses in procedures under Policy 1346 or Policy 1340.

Participation in the formal complaint investigation and hearing process is voluntary for the complainant, respondent, and witnesses and the university has no mechanism for compelling individuals to participate. 

The Title IX office does not have a mechanism for compelling individuals or agencies to share documents, video, and audio that may be relevant to the investigation of a formal complaint including but not limited to medical reports, educational records, correspondence (either electronic or mailed) that may have taken place between parties involved, surveillance video, police reports, personal text messages, phone records, other electronic communication, pictures, video, maps, room layouts, etc. If the university is unable to obtain such information, parties who wish to include any such information, may submit it directly to the investigator.

The Title IX office cannot access, accept, 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 or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made or maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless the party voluntarily, provides written consent to the Title IX office to include the information in the investigation.

The role of the advisor of choice is to serve as a support person to the party they are serving as advisor for. The advisor of choice may speak directly with the party they are providing support for and may ask clarifying questions about policy and procedure of the Title IX office and the investigator. However, an advisor of choice may not speak for the party they are supporting during the investigation of the formal complaint. The complainant and respondent may need to provide written permission for their respective advisor of choice to directly receive the investigative report.

For the purpose of these procedures, a witness is an individual who has information about the alleged incident(s) that is (are) the focus of the formal complaint investigation.

Generally, the investigator will identify witnesses to contact for the investigation of the formal complaint. The complainant and respondent may also identify witnesses.

The complainant and respondent may also elect to submit statements they have gathered independently from witnesses for the investigation. Though, any such statements will be accepted for the investigation, the investigator will still attempt to make contact with the witness for the purpose of conducting an interview.

While the investigator will make reasonable attempts to reach out to all potential witnesses, there is no mechanism for Title IX office to compel witnesses to be interviewed.

The Title IX office will exclude from the investigative report any information that pertains to the sexual predisposition of the complainant and respondent. The Title IX office will also exclude from the investigative report any information about the complainant or respondent’s prior sexual behavior unless such information is offered to prove that someone other than the respondent committed the conduct alleged by the complainant, or if it concerns specific incidents of the complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the respondent and is offered to prove consent.

The Title IX office will retain a copy of the investigative report for a period of at least seven years.

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