Jump over the site's section navigation.

1.2.2 Hostile Educational Environment Sexual Harassment-Student Procedures

Illinois State University strives to foster an academic and living environment that is free from all forms of harassment and discrimination in accordance with law and University Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy 1.2. To achieve this goal, Illinois State University has a responsibility to respond to complaints of harassment and discrimination quickly and fairly. Acts of harassment and discrimination are inconsistent with the University's values and will not be tolerated. Illinois State University maintains a proactive stance in the prevention of harassment and discrimination and imposes strict sanctions against those found responsible for committing such acts.

Sexual harassment is defined by federal law as the following:

  1. An employee 1 of the University Laboratory School or Illinois State University conditions the provision of aid, benefit, or service of the school on an individual's participation in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
  2. Any unwelcome conduct that a reasonable person would find so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal educational access; or
  3. Any instance of sexual assault as defined in the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act), and dating violence, domestic violence or stalking as defined in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) 2

Reporting and Complaint Procedures

Reporting

Students, employees, and third parties can report instances of gender-based harassment including, sexual harassment, sexual assault/misconduct, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking in the following ways:

Title IX Coordinator

The University's Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the University's Title IX compliance program, which includes oversight and implementation of the University's Title IX policies and grievance procedures. The Title IX Coordinator coordinates related education, training, and prevention programming and monitors the campus climate.

The Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Title IX Coordinator can be contacted by telephone, e-mail, or in person during regular office hours: 

Title IX Coordinator
EqualOpportunity@IllinoisState.edu
TitleIX@IllinoisState.edu

Office of Equal Opportunity and Access
Hovey Hall, Room 310
Campus Box 1280
Normal, IL 61761
(309) 438-3383
Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Campus or Local Law Enforcement

For emergencies dial 9-1-1, and your call will be answered by a 9-1-1 dispatcher at the Illinois State University Police Department or other local emergency agency. In a non-emergency situation, please dial 309-438-8631 to be connected to the Illinois State University Police Department. For more information on reporting please go to http://policy.illinoisstate.edu/health-safety/5-2-1.shtml

Electronically

In non-emergency situations, the University's online Public Incident Report form is available for anyone to submit a report by accessing the following link: https://ilstu-advocate.symplicity.com/public_report

Anonymously

If a reporting party wishes to remain anonymous, please call (309) 438-0268 and leave a detailed message.

Confidentially

To access a Confidential Advisor 24-hours a day, please dial (309) 438-3655. Please note the Confidential Advisors are required to the extent provided by law to keep the report confidential.

For more information, please go to titleix.illinoisstate.edu/report/.

II. Resources

Supportive Measures

Supportive measures are designed to restore or preserve access to the University's education program or activity, without unreasonably burdening the other party, while also protecting the safety of all parties and the University's educational environment, and deterring further sexual harassment.

The Title IX Coordinator is charged with coordinating the effective implementation of supportive measures. For purposes of this policy, supportive measures are defined as measures that are non- disciplinary and non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate and when reasonably available. Supportive measures are implemented without a fee or charge, to either party, and can be implemented before or after the filing of a formal complaint. When appropriate, supportive measures may be implemented in instances where no formal complaint has been filed.

If a complainant desires supportive measures, the University will keep the Complainant's identity confidential, unless disclosing the Complainant's identity is necessary to provide supportive measures for the Complainant (e.g., where a no-contact order is appropriate and the Respondent would need to know the identity of the Complainant in order to comply with a University contact restriction, or campus security is informed about the no-contact order in order to help enforce its terms).

The Title IX Coordinator will consider what reasonable measures to provide to individual students to ensure continued equal access to educational programs, activities, opportunities, and benefits. The Title IX Coordinator will serve as the primary point of contact and is responsible for communicating with other offices within the school or department as needed to ensure the supportive measures are applied accordingly. At the conclusion of the University process, any supportive measures will be reviewed and removed if necessary.

Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to:

  1. On-campus counseling and/or assistance in connecting to community-based counseling servicesExtensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments
  2. Modifications of work or class schedules
  3. Campus safety services e.g. Redbird Safe Walk, Redbird Express, etc.
  4. Mutual restrictions on contact between the parties
  5. Changes in work or housing locations
  6. Leaves of absence
  7. Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus

III. Procedures for Filing an OEOA Complaint Against a Student Based on Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault/Misconduct, Domestic Violence, Dating Violence or Stalking

A. Formal Complaint

Any student who feels they have experienced harassment and/or discrimination on the basis of sex (including sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking) can report the alleged conduct to the University.

Once the University has received information related to a potential policy violation, written notice will be sent promptly to the Complainant outlining the availability of supportive measures along with information on how to file a formal complaint. Supportive measures are available to the Complainant with or without the filing of a formal complaint.

The University reserves the right to have the Title IX Coordinator sign a formal complaint in the absence of a participating Complainant. A determination by the Title IX Coordinator to file a formal complaint will be made on a case-by-case basis. For the purposes of this policy, if the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not considered a party to the case.

For the purposes of this policy, a formal complaint is defined as a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment, as defined in the University's

1.2 policy, against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation of sexual harassment. At the time of filing a formal complaint, a Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity. A formal complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail. For the purposes of this policy, a “document filed by a complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an electronic incident report (see Reporting section) that contains the Complainant's physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the formal complaint. Additionally, there is no time limit on a Complainant's decision to file a formal complaint.

The Complainant always has the option to pursue a criminal complaint with the appropriate law enforcement agency or pursue both the OEOA and criminal complaint processes simultaneously.

The University will strive to complete the investigation, meaning the period from commencement of an investigation through to completion of an investigative report, within a reasonably prompt timeframe. The commencement of an investigation begins with the receipt of a formal complaint from the Complainant or when the Title IX Coordinator signs a formal complaint on behalf of the University. The University will strive to gather evidence and conduct interviews within sixty (60) University business days, with the understanding that additional time beyond sixty (60) University business days may be necessary. OEOA reserves the right to extend this time frame by a reasonable period according to the scope of the investigation, the availability of witnesses, any concurrent police investigations, and the cooperation of the parties. If additional time is necessary, both the Complainant and Respondent will be notified of the OEOA's need to extend the investigation beyond the allotted sixty (60) University business days limit.

Emergency Removal

The Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) or designee shall be responsible for the determination of emergency removals. During an emergency removal, the removed student shall be denied access to all campus facilities, including residence halls and classes, and to all University-related activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the Vice President or designee may determine to be appropriate. All emergency removals will include an opportunity to submit information to challenge the final interim removal decision.

Whenever an interim action is taken, a proceeding to resolve alleged violations of the Policy shall be convened at the earliest possible time. The interim actions may remain in effect until a final decision has been reached, including any appropriate appeals process, at the discretion of the VPSA or designee. In cases where a student is allowed to return to campus if removal or a suspension is not a sanction following the OEOA complaint process, efforts will be made to restore the student formerly on interim suspension to academic wholeness. Steps can include, but not be limited to, communicating with professors, assisting in obtaining course materials, and assisting in identifying academic assistance resources

Investigation of Formal Complaint

When OEOA investigates allegations of sexual harassment, it reviews the information collected using the preponderance of the evidence standard. "Preponderance of the evidence" means there is more credible information supporting the position of one party, in comparison to the other, so that the facts in question were more likely than not to have occurred.

It is the responsibility of the University to gather relevant evidence to the extent reasonably available and not the responsibility of the parties. The University's review will be thorough, reliable, and impartial.

Advisors

The parties can have others present during the complaint procedure, including the opportunity to be accompanied to any related meeting or proceeding by an advisor of their choice.

OEOA Investigator

Whenever a formal complaint is received and reviewed, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an Investigator. The Investigator will be an OEOA staff member that must be impartial, free of any actual conflict of interest, and have specific and relevant training and experience. A Complainant or a Respondent who has concerns that the assigned OEOA Investigator cannot conduct an impartial and fair review (e.g., has personal connections to any involved parties) may report those concerns directly to the Title IX Coordinator. Any concerns of perceived bias reported to the Title IX Coordinator will be assessed to determine whether a different Investigator should be assigned to the investigation.

Any requests for supportive measures expressed to the OEOA Investigator will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator for decision and implementation.

1. Notice to the Complainant and Respondent

Once a formal complaint has been filed, the Complainant and the Respondent will be informed in writing of the initiation of the OEOA investigation into alleged violations of the Policy 1.2, and when applicable, alleged violations of the Code of Student Conduct. The notice of the investigation will include the identities of the parties, a summary of the conduct at issue (including when and where it allegedly occurred, if known), and the potential specific violations. In this initial notification to the parties, they will be informed that they may have an advisor of their choice, at their own cost, attend all meetings and hearings. Further, both parties will be notified of the process to request supportive measures and the prohibition against knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information during the investigation process. The Complainant and Respondent will be notified prior to the meeting of their right to review and inspect all evidence during the investigation.

The Respondent, in specific, will be informed that they are presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is not made until the conclusion of the complaint process. Through the course of the investigation, if any evidence is obtained or disclosed that may establish additional potential violations, the Respondent will be informed in writing at that time.

2. Investigative Interview

During an investigation, the Investigator will meet separately with the Complainant, the Respondent, and pertinent witnesses. At the time of the meeting, the Complainant, the Respondent, and pertinent witnesses will be given the opportunity to participate in an interview with the Investigator.

As noted above, the Complainant and the Respondent may bring an advisor of their choice to an interview, with the understanding that the advisor's role is to provide guidance, advice, and assistance.

Following the interview, each party will be provided with a draft summary of their statement for their review and feedback to ensure its accuracy and completeness.

3. Evidence

An investigation will allow both the Complainant and the Respondent an equal opportunity to submit information, additional evidence (including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence), and to identify witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, with relevant and appropriate information. The Investigator will also gather other relevant information or evidence reasonably available to the Investigator and University. Evidence that may be reasonably available to the University includes but is not limited to, documents, photographs, social media, communications between the parties, and other electronic records as appropriate.

Attorney-client privileged material is not accessible to the Investigator. In addition, in general, a person's medical and counseling records are confidential and not accessible to the Investigator unless the person voluntarily chooses to share those records with the Investigator. Should the parties involved submit medical records as evidence, any information that is deemed confidential and/or irrelevant to the investigation must be redacted by that party. In those instances, if relevant and appropriate, the relevant portions of the medical records will be summarized in the preliminary report, which will be made available for the other party's review.

The University cannot restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present evidence during the investigation process.

All evidence (inculpatory and exculpatory) obtained as part of the investigation will be shared with the parties, and their advisors, if any, for their review and comment. The parties will have ten (10) University business days to review all evidence and submit any feedback to the evidence.

The Investigator will objectively review all information identified or provided by the parties as well as any additional evidence obtained and will determine the appropriate relevance and probative value of the information developed or received during the investigation.

4. Draft Investigation Report

After each party has had the opportunity to comment on their own statement and evidence, the Investigator will prepare a draft investigation report. The draft investigation report will include a description of the procedural steps taken, the evidence gathered, including statements obtained during the investigation, any feedback to statements and any other information and evidence gathered. The Investigator will provide the Complainant and the Respondent, and their advisors, if any, with the draft investigation report in an electronic or hard copy format.

The Complainant and the Respondent will have one opportunity to concurrently review the draft investigation report and provide feedback. The Complainant and the Respondent must submit any comments, feedback, additional documents, evidence, requests for additional investigation, names of additional witnesses, or any other information they deem relevant to the Investigator, within ten (10) University business days. The ten-day period begins on the date of delivery of the draft investigation report via email. The parties' feedback may be attached to the final investigation report, if it is determined to be relevant and appropriate.

5. Final Investigation Report

After receiving any feedback submitted by either party, or after the ten (10) University business days review period has lapsed without response, the Investigator will address any relevant and appropriate issues identified by the Complainant and/or the Respondent, and as appropriate, pursue any additional investigative steps as needed and will issue a final investigation report for purposes of a hearing referral.

The OEOA Investigator will provide a copy of the final investigation report simultaneously to the Complainant and the Respondent, and their advisors, if any, in an electronic or hard copy format. In addition to the investigation report, the OEOA Investigator will also provide written information about next steps in the process.

Informal Resolution Conference

At the request of the parties, and when deemed appropriate, an investigation may be referred to an informal resolution conference in lieu of a University hearing to resolve the complaint. The Complainant and Respondent must give voluntary, informed, written consent to attempt an informal resolution. The OEOA Investigator and a member of Student Conduct and Community Responsibilities (SCCR) will meet with the Respondent to review the final investigation report and determine the University policies that may have been violated, as well as any sanctions that would be imposed as a result of the behavior. The OEOA Investigator will meet with the Complainant to notify of the outcome of the meeting with the Respondent. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, either party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and proceed to a University hearing.

The following outcomes may result from an informal resolution conference:

  1. The Respondent and the OEOA Investigator/SCCR may agree on the University violations for which the student is responsible and the sanctions to be imposed. In this case, a decision letter is generated within five (5) University business days, and the case is resolved. There is no right to appeal.
  2. The Respondent and the OEOA Investigator/SCCR may not agree on the University violations and/or sanctions to be imposed. The case will then be forwarded to a hearing before a panel of decision-makers.
  3. If after receiving written consent from both parties to enter into an informal resolution, either the Respondent and/or the Complainant fail to attend an informal resolution conference, the case may be referred to a live hearing.
  4. In cases where an informal resolution can be reached between the Respondent and the OEOA Investigator, the OEOA Investigator will consult with the Complainant to review the proposed outcome. If the outcome is satisfactory to all involved parties, a decision letter will be generated, and the case will be resolved. If the Complainant does not support the proposed outcome, the case will be referred to a live hearing.

6. Referral to Hearing

The OEOA Investigator will provide the investigation report to the parties simultaneously, along with information regarding the hearing process. The hearing will be scheduled no earlier than ten (10) University business days of receiving the final investigation report.

A member of the panel of decision-makers will conduct a pre-hearing meeting within five

(5) University business days of the notice of hearing. The purpose of this meeting is not to discuss the substance of the investigation, but rather to provide information related to the hearing procedures.

If the Complainant and/or the Respondent do not intend to have an advisor present during the hearing, the University must provide an advisor of the University's choice to the parties. Advisors provided by the University are faculty and staff volunteers who have been specifically trained to serve as advisors at Title IX hearings.

Prior to the hearing, if OEOA or the panel of decision-makers learns that the Complainant, the Respondent, or a material witness will not attend the hearing, any evidence provided by that individual during the course of the investigation must not be considered at the hearing, nor while determining the outcome of the matter.

Hearing Procedures

At the conclusion of the OEOA investigation, the information contained in the investigation report will be forwarded to a panel of decision-makers for a determination, by a preponderance of the evidence, of whether a violation of the Policy 1.2 has occurred. The following rules apply to this proceeding:

  1. Hearings will be closed to the public and are audio recorded.
  2. The panel shall consist of three members.  One member will be a staff member from OEOA who was not the investigator. Another member will be from SCCR and will chair the hearing.  The final member will be from faculty and staff volunteers who are specifically trained as a panel member for Title IX hearings. A fourth panel member shall be assigned from the trained hearing panel volunteers as an alternate in each case.
  3. The Complainant and Respondent have the right to have an advisor of their choosing present at the hearing.
  4. If a party does not have an advisor present at the hearing, the University will provide that party an advisor, without fee or charge, to conduct cross-examination. Such cross-examination must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party's advisor and never by a party personally. All questions, including those that challenge credibility, must be relevant and appropriate.
  5. Hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the University's discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
  6. All cross-examination must exclude evidence of the Complainant's previous sexual behavior or predisposition, unless such evidence about the Complainant's sexual behavior is offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the evidence concerns specific incidents of the Complainant's sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and is offered to prove consent.
  7. The panel of decision-makers will hear information and witnesses presented on behalf of both parties. All people appearing at a hearing are subject to questioning by the advisors and decision-makers. Only witnesses who can speak to the substance of the allegations will be considered by the panel.
  8. If either party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the hearing, the decision-maker must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility.
  9. Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the decision-makers must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. In the event that a question is deemed irrelevant, the party's advisor may challenge the decision to exclude the questions based on relevance.
  10. At the request of either party, an audio recording of the hearing will be made available to them for their inspection and review.

At the conclusion of the hearing, the panel of decision-makers will deliberate to reach a decision, by majority, for the alleged violations. The decision will be on the basis of whether there is a preponderance of evidence that the Respondent violated each cited University regulation. A member of the panel of decision-makers must issue a written determination regarding responsibility with findings of fact, conclusions about whether the alleged conduct occurred, rationale for the result as to each allegation, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, and whether remedies will be provided to the Complainant.

The written determination will be emailed simultaneously to the parties no later than seven (7) University business days after the hearing. This may be delayed if the panel needs additional time to review the information provided at the hearing. Notifications of any delay will be sent to the parties by email to their Illinois State University email account.

C. Sanctions

As noted above, a member of the panel of decision-makers will prepare a written determination and then the panel will impose sanctions for any violations found. Sanctions shall generally be comprised of two components: a) an “inactive sanction” or written sanction (Censure, Disciplinary Probation,

Restrictive Disciplinary Probation, Disciplinary Suspension, or Disciplinary Dismissal), as well as; b) an “active sanction” or educational sanction, requiring the student to complete some form of assignment requiring the student's active participation and reflection. For further information, please refer to the Code of Student Conduct Section IX (A-E).

D. Appeals

The Respondent and the Complainant can both appeal outcomes of cases, except in cases where the appeal right has been waived as a result of a voluntary agreement. Only one appeal is collectively afforded to all parties involved in a student conduct case.

1. Appeal Board. The Dean of Students or designee shall convene a Dean's Appeal Board, which shall hear appeals of cases involving allegations of Policy 1.2. The following rules apply to the Dean's Appeal Board:

  1. The members of the Dean of Students' Appeal Board (Board) shall be faculty and staff members recruited and selected by the Assistant Vice President/Dean of Students. Members of the University Appeals Board are eligible to serve. Board members are subject to annual review and renewal at the discretion of the Dean of Students.
  2. The Dean of Students will identify at least four faculty and staff members to serve on the Board. All members of the Board are required to complete training specific to the subject matter of the appeals over which the Board holds jurisdiction.
  3. Three members of the Board shall serve on each appeal hearing. The Dean of Students shall chair the hearing unless this role is designated to another Board member by the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is a voting member of the Board.
  4. All members of the Board may be removed from membership at the discretion of the Dean of Students for any of the following reasons: failure to participate in training activities, failure to attend scheduled hearings, termination or expiration of employment, violation of University regulations, failure to uphold confidentiality requirements, or other issues as specified by the Dean of Students.
  5. The Dean of Student's Appeal Board makes a recommendation to the President or designee who makes the final decision on all appeals of this policy.

2. The following conditions apply to the appeals process:

Appeals are not re-hearings of student conduct cases, but only serve to review the conditions within which a case was resolved. Because this a not a new hearing of the case, the burden rests

with the appealing party to establish that the original hearing and/or the decision reached are improper. The Dean's Appeals Board shall give deference to the original decision unless it is established by a preponderance of evidence that the appellant was deprived of a fair process; they shall not supplant their judgment over the decision of the original hearing body without cause.

3.  The criteria for filing an appeal are:

  1. Procedural Irregularity– the appellant is contending that a substantive error was committed as a part of the student conduct process that affected the outcome of the case.
  2. Newly Discovered Information – the appellant is contending that there is newly discovered information that was unavailable to the appellant at the time of the original proceeding, and that this information could affect the outcome of the proceeding. The student must include the new information with the appeal. Note that these criteria may not be utilized by students who choose or fail to attend or participate in the original proceeding they are appealing.
  3. Disproportionate Sanction – the appellant is contending that the sanction is not appropriate to the finding of the case.
  4. Conflict of Interest or Bias – the appellant is contending that Title IX personnel and/or decision makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the proceedings.

4. The process for the review of appeals is as follows:

  1. Students have ten (10) University business days to request an appeal to a determination made by the panel of decision-makers under this Procedure. The ten-day period begins on the date of delivery of the decision letter via email.
  2. The Dean of Students or designee will review the request for appeal submitted by the appellant, as well as all case information, to ensure that the appeal meets the criteria for appeal. In some cases, the Dean of Students or designee may invite the appellant to provide additional information in person or by telephone. The Dean of Students or designee will respond to all requests for appeals within ten (10) University business days of receipt.
  3. If the Dean of Students or designee determines that the appeal does not meet any of the criteria the appeal hearing is denied, the case is closed, subject to no further route of appeal.
  4. If the Dean of Students or designee grants the appeal hearing, the hearing will be convened based on the appeal criteria within ten (10) University business days of this decision to grant the hearing to review the case.
  5. The Dean of Students or designee will allow the Investigator and/or panel of decision-makers the opportunity to respond to the appeal criteria in writing and this response is provided to both the Respondent and the Complainant five University business days prior to the appeal hearing.
  6. Both the Respondent and the Complainant shall be given the opportunity to appeal at the same appeals hearing. Whether or not both the Respondent and the Complainant appeal, both shall be provided the opportunity to attend a hearing. Information not presented by the appellant in the written appeal will not be considered in the appeal hearing.  

5. Proceedings of all appeal hearings shall abide by the following protocol:

  1. All hearings are closed to the public.
  2. The appellant offers a summary of their cause for appeal, providing any relevant information based on the appeal criteria.
  3. The Dean's Appeal Board and all parties have the opportunity to ask questions and share additional information as appropriate.
  4. Optional final statements can be made by both parties, beginning with the appellant.
  5. Upon conclusion of the appeal hearing, deliberations will take place in closed session to reach a recommendation, by majority.
  6. At the conclusion of the appeal board deliberations, the Dean's Appeal Board will submit a recommendation on the appeal to the President or designee for final decision. The recommendation to the President shall be one of the following:
    1. Affirm the original finding and sanction.
    2. Affirm the finding but modify the sanction. In cases where the Respondent is the appealing party, the sanction may not be increased. The cases where the Complainant is the appellant, the sanction may be increased or reduced as deemed appropriate.
    3. Modify the finding and/or sanctions.

Written findings of the appeal proceeding decision shall be communicated to all parties within ten (10) business days of the decision.

Footer

1. Complaints under this definition will be reviewed pursuant to University Procedure 1.2.1. or 1.2.4.

2. For the purposes of this policy, alleged instances of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking are not evaluated for severity, offensiveness or denial of equal education or activity access as a one-time occurrence can be sufficiently serious to deprive a person of equal education access.

Initiating body: Office of Equal Opportunity and Access

Contact: Director of Equal Opportunity and Access (309-438-3383)

Revised on: 08/2020


2020-09-02T14:37:51.042-05:00 2020
©