Reports of sexual misconduct at Northwest College are directed to the Title IX Coordinator, who then determines if the report falls under the scope of the Sexual Misconduct Policy. If it does, the Title IX Coordinator initiates an investigation.
Only for sexual harassment or sex discrimination reports, the Title IX Coordinator may facilitate resolution through mediation prior to a full investigation if both parties are willing to mediate.
The Title IX Coordinator appoints an investigator(s) to initiate a fact-finding investigation of the alleged actions. The investigator(s) are specifically trained in sexual misconduct investigations and will conduct investigations in a prompt, impartial, and thorough manner. The initiation of an investigation does not mean there are findings yet. The investigation process provides a basis for determining:
An investigation may include, but is not limited to:
Parties are notified in writing (via secure College email, hand-delivered mail, or by postal service mail) of the alleged sexual misconduct and the investigation. Parties have the right to be notified of the time frames of each stage of the investigation.
Throughout the investigation process, both parties have equal opportunity to present relative witnesses and evidence.
If possible, the reporting party is asked to document the date, place, approximate time, and any pertinent descriptive details regarding the alleged sexual misconduct.
During an investigative interview or discipline hearing, both parties may have a person (other than an individual who may be called to provide a witness testimony) to provide support and guidance to the student. The Supporter is not allowed to participate in the questioning or present information. During student discipline proceedings, there is no right to legal representation.
The College uses a preponderance of evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not) to determine responsibility for and resolution of the act.
During the investigation, the College may need to provide additional services to ensure the safety, physical and/or emotional health, and academic freedom to one or more parties. These services may include, but are not limited to:
After the investigation is complete, the investigator(s) write findings in a report to be presented to the Title IX Coordinator, who then files the report in his/her office. The following resolutions may occur:
If the respondent is found to be responsible (according to the standard of the preponderance of evidence) for an act of sexual misconduct, sanctions may include, but are not limited to, any one or a combination of the following:
Upon review of the findings of the investigative report, the Title IX Coordinator or designee is responsible for determining the sanctions to be administered in resolution of the case.
The Title IX Coordinator or designee may consult with the Vice President for Student Affairs and/or with other personnel knowledgeable of the specific case or who have professional expertise subject to the decision-making process involved in the case.
Either party or parties may appeal the outcome or sanctions in writing no more than three (3) college business days after the receipt of the written notice of the outcome. Appeals are to be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. Appeal paperwork needs to be completed and submitted by the party or parties making the appeal; an attorney cannot submit an appeal for the appellant.
The grounds for appeals are:
All sanctions imposed by the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee shall be in effect during the appeal process.
A request may be made to the Title IX Coordinator or designee for special consideration, but the presumptive stance of the College is that the sanctions stand.
Graduation, study abroad, participation in competitive activities (athletics, forensics, etc.), internships, etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances and students may not be allowed to participate in those activities during the time of their appeal.
In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the College or of privileges, all reasonable attempts shall be made to restore the student to his/her prior status. However, some opportunities lost may be irretrievable.
Upon receipt of the written appeal, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will share the petition for appeal with the other party(s), along with information detailing each party’s rights and the appeals process.
Parties wishing to file a response to the appeals petition must do so in writing to the Title IX Coordinator or designee within three (3) regular College business days from the date they receive notification of the pending appeal. This response will be shared with the other party(s).
After applicable documentation is submitted according to the time frames indicated, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will write a response indicating receipt of the materials within three (3) business days and will send that response to the involved parties.
The appeal petition, responses, and applicable documentation will be forwarded to the Chairperson of the Student Appeals Board (for students) or the Dispute Resolution Officer (for employees) for review to determine if the appeal request meets the limited grounds and time considerations. The following situations may happen:
The primary focus of the Appeals Hearing is to review the written documentation regarding the grounds for the appeal. All parties are notified of the date, place, and time for the Appeals Hearing and are provided with the appeals petition, responses, and documentation pertinent to the appeal.
An appeal hearing is confidential. Legal counsel cannot represent the Respondent or the Appellant at the hearing.
The Student Appeals Board or the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board makes decisions regarding the sanctions/previous deliberations only if there is clear error in previous deliberations, presentation of new evidence, or justification for adjustment in the sanctions.
The Board cannot interview or talk to any of the parties involved concerning the appeal or the documentation presented. If the Board has questions or needs clarification about any of the documentation, they shall:
If the Sexual Misconduct Appeals Hearing Board determines that new evidence shall be considered, it shall return the report to the Title IX Coordinator for reconsideration in light of the new evidence. This reconsideration decision of the Appeals Board is not appealable.
If the Appeals Board determines that there was a procedural or substantive error in the deliberations involved in determining sanctions, it shall return the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator who shall determine necessary action to correct the error.
If the Appeals Board determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the Board shall return the complaint to the Title IX Coordinator or designee who many increase, decrease, or otherwise modify the sanctions. This action by the Board and the Title IX Coordinator is final.
For more information about the investigation or appeals process, see the NWC Sexual Misconduct Policy.