NOTE: The information contained in this section of the handbook is only applicable for those participating in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. For cases not alleging Sexual Misconduct, see the “Accountability Process” section within this Handbook.

Links to sections of the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process

Sexual Misconduct Case Review

Appealing a Sexual Misconduct Case Review

Sexual Misconduct Interim Suspension Process

Receipt of Title IX Report, Alleged Policy Violation(s) Notification, and Preparation for the Sexual Misconduct Case Review

James Madison University takes the issue of sexual misconduct seriously; sexual misconduct includes a broad spectrum of behavior. JMU reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, ranging from probation and educational sanctions up to and including suspension or expulsion, for any act of Sexual Misconduct. However, JMU considers acts of sexual violence to be the most serious and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions when a Responding Party is found responsible for such offenses, including suspension or expulsion.  

In cases where a Responding Party is found responsible and suspended or expelled for sexual violence, defined as physical sexual acts perpetrated against a person’s will or against a person incapable of giving consent, a notation will be placed on the Responding Party’s transcript for the duration of the suspension or expulsion. If a Responding Party withdraws while under investigation for an allegation of sexual violence, a notation will be placed on the Responding Party’s transcript until a final decision in the case is rendered. Such notations will read, as applicable:

  • Expelled for violation of Student Standards of Conduct
  • Suspended for violation of Student Standards of Conduct
  • Withdrew while under investigation for violation of Student Standards of Conduct

Students receiving a transcript notation for a suspension will have it automatically removed by the Office of the Registrar once the suspension period has ended; notations in cases of expulsion are permanent.

In order for OSARP to adjudicate a case involving student behavior that allegedly violates J34-100 Sexual Misconduct, the Title IX Office must complete the Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint and Investigation Process and provide the Final Investigation Report to OSARP. The Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint and Investigation Process conducted by Title IX is the only opportunity for the Reporting Party and Responding Party to submit evidence, information, personal statements, names of witnesses, and witness statements. During the preparation for the Sexual Misconduct Case Review in OSARP, character statements may be submitted through the party’s Advisor to be considered by Board Members only when determining sanctions in accordance with the deadlines, guidelines, and restrictions outlined in and restricted by the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process.  

The Final Investigation Report will indicate the alleged policy violation(s) to be adjudicated in the case. The Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process is initiated to adjudicate all alleged policy violations resulting from the Final Investigation Report when the Responding Party is a student as defined in the Student Handbook. The university may proceed with the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process if the Responding Party meets the definition of student as listed in the Student Handbook regardless of enrollment status, or the allegations may remain pending until a Responding Party’s request to re-enroll. OSARP reserves the right to retain information regarding alleged behavior that occurred while a person met the definition of a student and adjudicate the case should the person return to the university as a student. The decision to proceed or not proceed with the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process when the Responding Party is not enrolled in classes at JMU is at the discretion of OSARP or designee and will be based on the severity of the allegations and the availability and/or preference of relevant persons to the case, including but not limited to the Responding Party, the Reporting Party, Administrative Witnesses, and OSARP staff members. During the last three weeks of the semester, the decision to proceed or postpone the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process will be determined by OSARP. The student’s diploma and/or official transcripts may be withheld pending the conclusion of the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process and/or the completion of any outstanding sanctions as determined by the Director of OSARP or designee. If a Responding Party receives a sanction of an immediate suspension or expulsion, the immediate suspension or expulsion will be deemed effective for the most recent semester the Responding Party attended regardless of the Responding Party’s academic year, which may mean a loss of academic credits for that semester. The campus ban associated with a recommendation of immediate suspension does not go into effect until the decision in the case is finalized by the Dean of Students or designee, unless the Responding Party is under a Sexual Misconduct Interim Suspension Status that provides for this ban until the final decision in the case.

Upon receipt, OSARP will inform the Reporting Party of their ability to authorize OSARP to initiate the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. OSARP generally does not proceed with the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process without this authorization from the Reporting Party. However, in circumstances that threaten the safety of the campus and/or community, OSARP may initiate the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process without the authorization of the Reporting Party. In cases where OSARP initiates the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process without the authorization of the Reporting Party, or when multiple Reporting Parties file a Formal Complaint against a single Responding Party, a Title IX Coordinator or designee may serve as a proxy for a Reporting Party and OSARP may alter the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process and adjudication procedures as necessary to allow for a fair adjudication of the case.

Further, if the Final Investigation Report indicates alleged policy violations other than J34-100 Sexual Misconduct, OSARP reserves the right to initiate the Accountability Process to adjudicate these violations when a Reporting Party chooses not to authorize OSARP to initiate the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process.

If a Responding Party receives notice of other alleged policy violation(s) in addition to J34-100 Sexual Misconduct as a result of the Final Investigation Report and information provided during the Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint and Investigation Process, all alleged policy violations will be adjudicated through the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. This Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process is separate and distinct from the Accountability Process.

If there is evidence included in the Final Investigation Report that JMU policy J38-101 Alcohol or J38-102 Drugs may have been violated by the Reporting Party, a Reporting Party Witness, or a Responding Party Witness, OSARP will not initiate the Accountability Process and pursue alleged violations of these policies against these parties. The rights of a Responding Party and Reporting Party participating in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process are delineated in the “Responding & Reporting Party - Responsibilities and Rights – Sexual Misconduct.”

OSARP may initiate the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process in accordance with the procedures listed in the Student Handbook. Anticipated timelines, deadlines, restrictions, or procedures listed within the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process will not be altered except in necessary or extreme circumstances in order to uphold the intent of the process, as determined by the Director of OSARP or designee. If an extension is granted at the request of a party and that impacts the other party, OSARP will communicate the reason for the extension to both parties. OSARP reserves the right, for cause, to postpone the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process and return the Final Investigation Report to the Title IX Office for further investigation under the Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint and Investigation Process. 

The version of the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case will be finalized.

OSARP reserves the right to redact information from the Final Investigation Report to be used in the Case File in the adjudication of the case. 

  • OSARP will redact information from the Final Investigation Report that violates the rights of either party or bears no relevancy to the allegations.

  • OSARP will implement the necessary redactions to the Final Investigation Report related to character as outlined:

    • If a Responding Party or Reporting Party makes statements regarding their own character in the Final Investigation Report, the information will not be redacted and will be included in the version of the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case.

    • If a party other than the Responding Party provides information regarding the character of the Responding Party in the Final Investigation Report, the information will be redacted from the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case. This redacted information will not be provided to Board Members to consider in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. 

    • If a party other than the Reporting Party provides information regarding the character of the Reporting Party in the Final Investigation Report, the information will be redacted from the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case. This redacted information will not be provided to Board Members to consider in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process. 

  • Either party can submit a challenge to redactions in writing to the Director of OSARP or designee within three days of their initial opportunity to review the version of the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case. OSARP will evaluate all challenges to redactions; both parties will be informed of any changes to the redactions in the Case File resulting from a challenge submitted by either party.

The Responding Party will be notified of the beginning of the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process to adjudicate the alleged policy violations.

In accordance with JMU Policy 1209, proper notification shall consist of an email to the student’s official JMU e-mail address. The notice will be considered received the day after the notice is sent via email.

Advisors will be assigned, and an advising meeting will be set for both parties.

  • Both Reporting Parties and Responding Parties will be assigned separate Advisors by OSARP to guide them through the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process, to serve as a point of contact in OSARP, and to help them understand the rights afforded to them. An Advisor does not help either party prepare how to present their case; Advisors are employed and/or designated by OSARP. 

  • OSARP will set the time of the advising meeting around the academic schedule(s) of the Responding Party and Reporting Party if they are enrolled in classes at JMU.  If the Responding Party and/or Reporting Party are not enrolled in classes at JMU, their availability will be considered, and reasonable efforts will be made to ensure the advising appointment is at a time they can participate. At the advising meeting, the Reporting Party and Responding Party will meet individually with their Advisor to ensure that they understand the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process and the rights afforded to them. Responding Parties and Reporting Parties may have a Support Person of their choice accompany them to this advising meeting if the Support Person’s schedule permits their attendance. 

Witnesses relevant to the allegations will be determined by OSARP and/or submitted by either party.

OSARP will determine the Administrative Witnesses to be called in the case; both the Responding Party and Reporting Party will be informed of the Administrative Witnesses being called in the case. Administrative Witnesses may not also serve as a Support Person at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review or a Sexual Misconduct Appeal Review, if applicable. 

Both parties will have the ability to submit witnesses they intend to have speak at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. 

  • The Responding Party or Reporting Party may submit to their Advisor any person they intend to have speak as a witness at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review via formal submission up to seven days prior to the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. Persons are not considered a witness for either party until they are formally submitted to OSARP as a witness; only persons who directly provided information during the Sexual Misconduct Formal Complaint and Investigation Process conducted by Title IX are eligible to serve as witnesses in the Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process.

  • Upon formal submission of a witness by the Reporting Party, the Responding Party will be informed of the witness. Upon formal submission of a witness by the Responding Party, the Reporting Party will be informed of the witness. Witnesses who speak at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review can provide a verbal statement about the alleged incident or behavior. Witnesses who speak at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review may not provide their perspective on the character of either party, what they feel the appropriate decision or sanction in the case should be, or information that violates the rights of either party. Witnesses may not also serve as a Support Person at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review or a Sexual Misconduct Appeal Review, if applicable.

OSARP reserves the right to initiate the Accountability Process if it receives information regarding alleged behavior by the Responding Party, Reporting Party or other members of the university community directed at an Administrative Witness, a Reporting Party Witness, or a Responding Party Witness that may violate J18-100 Interference with or Retaliation for Exercising or Participating in the Title IX process and/or the Accountability, Honor Council, or other University Conduct Process or other policies listed in the Student Handbook.

The Responding Party and Reporting Party may submit information regarding their own character for inclusion in the Case File. 

  • The Responding Party or Reporting Party may submit statements regarding their own character up to ten days prior to the Sexual Misconduct Case Review.

  • Upon submission of a statement related to character, OSARP will redact any information not related to the character of the party submitting the item for inclusion in the Case File. The party that submitted the statement related to character that was redacted can submit a challenge to redactions in writing to the Director of OSARP or designee within two days of their initial opportunity to review the redacted statement.

  • Upon submission of a statement related to character by the Responding Party, after any necessary redactions have occurred, the Reporting Party will be informed of the statement and permitted to submit a response to it. The Reporting Party may submit a response up to three days prior to the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. Upon submission of a response, OSARP will redact any information that does not directly respond to the items related to character submitted by the Responding Party. The party that submitted the response to the statement related to character that was redacted can submit a challenge to redactions in writing to the Director of OSARP or designee within two days of their initial opportunity to review the item submitted.

  • Upon submission of a statement related to character by the Reporting Party, after any necessary redactions have occurred, the Responding Party will be informed of the item and permitted to submit a response to the item. The Responding Party may submit a response up to three days prior to the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. Upon submission of a response, OSARP will redact any information that does not directly respond to the items related to character submitted by the Reporting Party. The party that submitted the response to the statement related to character that was redacted can submit a challenge to redactions in writing to the Director of OSARP or designee within two days of their initial opportunity to review the item submitted.

  • Any statements related to character and any responses to statements related to character will be withheld from the Board Members assigned to the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. Board Members will only review these statements and responses during deliberation if they recommend finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy in order to determine their recommended sanctions, as applicable. 

    • Statements submitted by the Responding Party related to their character will be reviewed by the Board Members during deliberation if they recommend finding the Responding Party responsible for violating any policy.

    • Responses submitted by the Responding Party to statements related to the character of the Reporting Party will be reviewed by the Board Members during deliberation if they recommend finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct.

    • Statements submitted by the Reporting Party related to their character will be reviewed by the Board Members during deliberation if they recommend finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct. 

    • Responses submitted by the Reporting Party to statements related to the Responding Party will be reviewed by the Board Members during deliberation if they recommend finding the Responding Party responsible for violating policy J34-100 Sexual Misconduct.

Both parties will have access to the Case File.

  • The Case File consists of the version of the Final Investigation Report to be used in the adjudication of the case, including any redactions done in accordance with this process, the statements submitted by either party related to character, and the responses submitted by either party to statements related to character.

  • The Responding Party and the Reporting Party will be provided a version of the Case File that has the names and identifying information of all persons aside from their own redacted for review outside of OSARP.

  • The Responding Party and the Reporting Party may schedule an appointment(s) to review the complete version of the Case File without the names and identifying information redacted in OSARP during business hours. 

OSARP will schedule the Sexual Misconduct Case Review.

  • Typically, OSARP schedules the Sexual Misconduct Case Review to occur within twenty business days of the Responding Party’s advising appointment in OSARP. However, the circumstances surrounding the case may make it necessary for the university to shorten or extend that timeline.

  • OSARP schedules the Sexual Misconduct Case Review around the availability of Board Members, OSARP Staff, and the Administrative Witnesses. If the Sexual Misconduct Case Review is to occur when the Responding Party and/or Reporting Party are enrolled in classes at JMU, the Sexual Misconduct Case Review will be scheduled around their academic schedule(s) to ensure they are able to participate. If the Sexual Misconduct Case Review is to occur when the Responding Party and/or Reporting Party are not enrolled in classes at JMU, their availability will be considered, and reasonable efforts will be made to ensure they are able to participate. The availability or academic schedules of witnesses called by either party or a Support Person for either party will not be considered in scheduling the Sexual Misconduct Case Review.

  • OSARP has no mechanism to compel any party or witness of any type to attend and/or participate in the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. If a party does not attend, the Sexual Misconduct Case Review will proceed based on the information included in the Case File and information shared at the Sexual Misconduct Case Review by the parties present. It is the responsibility of the Responding Party or Reporting Party to ensure their witnesses and Support Person attend the Sexual Misconduct Case Review. 

  • The decision to postpone a Sexual Misconduct Case Review is solely at the discretion of the Director of OSARP or designee.

The Sexual Misconduct Accountability Process utilizes a preponderance of evidence standard to determine whether a student is responsible or not responsible for a violation(s).

The definition of preponderance of the evidence used is:

  • Preponderance of the evidence will be the standard of proof used to make determinations for all alleged policy violation(s), including allegations of Sexual Misconduct. Preponderance of the evidence means that there is greater than a fifty percent likelihood that the Responding Party violated the policy.

 

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