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We know the decision to share information about your experience or the experience of somebody else is a difficult one. Our office wants to honor that difficult decision by first thanking you for trusting Title IX with your information so that we can provide outreach and supportive resources that aid in the healing process.

Receive and Review

Title IX receives reports regarding sexual misconduct in many different ways. Sometimes the reports come in the form of written documents from law enforcement or Residence Life, and sometimes we receive reports by phone, email, or in personal conversations. Every report is different and contains different amounts of information, so the first thing our office does is review the information we have received to determine if the physical or verbal misconduct is the type of misconduct that constitutes as a Title IX violation. Examples may include:

  • If the report is about harassment but the harassment is not sexual in nature nor is it harassment focused on gender or sexual identity and expression, then we reach out to the person experiencing the harassment and connect them to the appropriate JMU authority.

  • If the report we receive describes sexual violence, that would constitute as a felony in the Commonwealth of Virginia. State law requires the Title IX Coordinator to first confer with a member of JMU Police and a member of the Student Affairs administration to determine if the local Commonwealth’s Attorney should be informed of the report in order to take legal action.

Make Initial Contact with the Reporter Promptly

The most important thing we do upon receiving a report is introduce our office and provide those involved in an incident of sexual misconduct with their rights, supportive resources, and options for moving forward. This introduction is usually handled through email. We want to make sure that the reporter has all the information about resources that we have so they know what is available to them; however, the reporter is not obligated to respond back to our outreach. We understand that it can be overwhelming receiving so much information at one time, and we invite the reporter to come in and speak with us to review the information when they are ready.

We send out check-in emails to the reporter from time to time if we haven’t heard back from them, but the reporter is never obligated to respond back. If the reporter continually chooses not to respond, the Title IX Coordinator may consider the case inactive. But the reporter can contact our Title IX Office to reactivate their case at any time. Our door is always open to serve and support those in our JMU community.

If they do respond back and are interested in learning more, we schedule an appointment with them to review all of their resources and options. They have the option of coming in and just learning more, to request that no further action be taken, to request the coordination of interim measures, or request to pursue a formal complaint. It is their decision.

Formal Complaint Process and Incident Statements

If the reporter decides that they would like to pursue a formal campus conduct process, then our office schedules another time to meet with the reporter so we can have the reporter sign a formal report form so that we can begin to collect incident statements from the reporter, respondent, and incident witnesses.

After the formal report form is signed by the reporter, we then contact the respondent and provide them with their resources and rights. We also schedule times to meet with them so we can take their incident statement along with other possible witness incident statements.

Once all statements are collected, the information is turned over to the appropriate University conduct body for further action.

Our JMU Title IX Office does not make any decisions about whether a university policy has been violated, nor does the JMU Title IX Office determine sanctions if a university policy has been violated. The role of the Title IX Office at JMU is to receive and respond to incidents of sexual misconduct that impact our community members by connecting all the involved parties with resources and providing all parties an opportunity to make a statement about an incident.

A Word About Respondents

Before Title IX begins the process of taking incident statements, we reach out to the respondent to schedule a time for the respondent to meet with a Title IX Officer who will provide the respondent’s their rights, information about the formal complaint process, and supporting resources available to them. After this initial meeting, our office will log that both the reporter and respondent have access to Title IX resources, and then a Title IX Officer is assigned to collect incident statements.

Please note that this applies to respondents who are members of the university community as faculty, staff, students, or affiliates, or who in some way could be subject to a campus conduct process. We are not able to provide resources to or adjudicate cases through campus conduct processes when the individual has no affiliation to JMU in any way or would not be eligible for the appropriate conduct process.

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