Policy: Section XII
XII. Procedures for Resolving Non-Sexual Harassment Complaints (Process B)
Bates College has established the Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Harassment Policy that articulates the college’s community standards and includes definitions of prohibited conduct and key concepts. This policy also outlines the resources and reporting options available to the college community and methods of addressing cases involving all forms of bias, harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. Detailed below are procedures may be used to resolve formal complaints that involve allegations of prohibited conduct other than Sexual Harassment, as defined by this policy (Process B).
When resolving complaints under this policy using Formal Resolution, the college vests the authority to determine which resolution process to follow in the Director of Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator (Title IX Coordinator). This determination is based upon the nature of the allegations. Process A applies to all complaints containing allegations of Sexual Harassment, including Sexual Assault, Stalking, Domestic Violence, and Dating Violence, as defined in the policy. Whenever other policy violations are alleged, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the matter will be resolved using Process B (typically for all student complaints) or, in cases where the Respondent is an employee, the provisions included in the Employee or Faculty Handbooks. The college reserves the right to use Process A for complaints that include allegations of Sexual Harassment but are required to be dismissed under the 2020 federal Title IX regulations. In all instances, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate with the parties which process will be used.
These procedures may also be used to address potential violations of the Student Code of Conduct or the Employee Handbook arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with harassing or discriminatory conduct.
Below are the detailed procedures for Process B. Process A procedures are detailed in Section XI.
 The Title IX Coordinator may designate another trained individual to fulfill any of the duties assigned to them by these procedures.
A. Preliminary Concerns
The Complainant and Respondent have the right to be assisted by an advisor of their choosing throughout the resolution process. An Advisor serves as a resource and support to the party through all phases of the process. Advisors may accompany their advisee to any meeting the advisee attends throughout the process. The parties may select whoever they wish to serve as their Advisor as long as the Advisor is willing and available to serve in this capacity and is not someone who will serve as a witness in the resolution process.
The college trains a pool of individuals who are willing to serve as Advisors to students. If a party chooses an Advisor from this pool, the Advisor will be familiar with the Bates resolution process. Any advisor who is not trained by the college is encouraged to schedule a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, or their designee, prior to attending any resolution meeting in order to discuss the college’s processes and the advisor’s role.
A party may elect to change Advisors during the process and is not obligated to use the same Advisor throughout. However, the parties are expected to provide timely notice to the Title IX Coordinator if they change Advisors at any time.
Any person who serves as an Advisor should plan to make themselves available for meetings throughout the process. Scheduling of interviews and meetings will not be significantly delayed due to the lack of availability of the Advisor. The Title IX Coordinator will make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend a scheduled in-person meeting to attend that meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.
- The Role of the Advisor
Students may be accompanied by their Advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including any intake meeting or interviews. Advisors should help their advisee prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.
Generally, the role of the Advisor is one of support, but not active participation. The advisor may not make arguments, ask questions, or speak for a Complainant, Respondent, or third party. Although the Advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the Advisor may consult with their advisee in a manner that does not disrupt the proceedings. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their Advisors may ask for breaks to allow for private consultation.
Any Advisor who oversteps their role as defined by this policy will be warned only once. If the Advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the Advisor role, the meeting will be ended, or other appropriate measures implemented. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine how to address the Advisor’s non-compliance and future role.
- Sharing Information with the Advisor
Parties may share information related to a complaint directly with their Advisor so they may support or assist them in navigating the resolution process and presenting their case. In addition, the Complainant or Respondent may request that the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s), and/or the Hearing Officer(s) share documentation and evidence related to resolution of the complaint with their Advisors. In order to accommodate this request, the party will be asked to provide the Title IX Coordinator with a signed consent form indicating the parameters for this release of information to the Advisor. Typically, this consent will allow the Advisor to be copied on all written communication sent directly to the party.
Should a party change Advisors, consent to share information with the previous Advisor is terminated, and a release for the new Advisor must be secured. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by Bates College. The college may ask Advisors to sign a non-disclosure agreement regarding the information they learn during the resolution of a complaint. The college may seek to restrict the role of any Advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the college’s privacy expectations.
When participation of the Complainant, the Respondent, or a Witness is expected, that party will receive written notice of the date, time, and location of the meeting, as well as a list of the other expected participants and the purpose of the meeting. Every effort will be made to schedule meetings in a manner that minimizes the impact on a student’s academic commitments.
If a student Respondent elects to take a leave from the college after an investigation has commenced but prior to a final resolution, college reserves the right to complete the resolution process remotely. If the student is found responsible for a policy violation, they will not be permitted to return to the college until all sanctions have been satisified.
If a student Respondent elects to withdraw from the college prior to the resolution of a complaint, they shall have no right to apply for readmission nor will they be considered for future employment. The Admission and Human Resources Offices will be notified accordingly.
In exceptional circumstances, the Vice President for Campus Life may grant permission to apply for readmission to a withdrawing or withdrawn student. If such special permission is granted, readmission will not be automatic and may be subject to such terms and conditions as the Vice President for Campus Life, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator may deem to be appropriate.
Any employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for admission or rehire with the college and the records retained by the Title IX Coordinator and Human Resources Office will reflect that status.
The resolution process relies on both college employees and external consultants to serve in a variety of roles, including as Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Investigators, Facilitators for Informal Resolution, Hearing Officers and Hearing Facilitators, and Appellate Officers. These individuals are appointed by the Title IX Coordinator and act with independence and impartiality.
Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process, including the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), Hearing Officer(s), and Appellate Officer(s), may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for a party generally, or for a specific Complainant or Respondent.
The Title IX Coordinator will vet all assigned individuals to ensure impartiality by confirming there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases. The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another individual will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the source of the conflict of interest or bias is the Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with a Deputy Title IX Coordinator or the President.
To assist them in performing their responsibilities and in compliance with federal regulations, all individuals involved in the resolution of reports receive ongoing training on an annual basis. This training includes, but is not limited to:
- the scope of the Bates Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Harassment Policy and procedures;
- applicable laws, regulations, and federal regulatory guidance;
- the definitions of all offenses;
- reporting, confidentiality, and privacy requirements;
- how to implement appropriate and situation-specific remedies;
- how to uphold fairness, equity, and due process;
- how to serve impartially by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias;
- implicit bias, disparate treatment, and impartiality and objectivity;
- how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes;
- how to conduct investigations and hearings that protect the safety of Complainants and Respondents, and promote accountability;
- how to investigate in a thorough, timely, reliable, and impartial manner;
- how to weigh evidence, conduct questioning, and assess credibility;
- issues of relevance to create an investigation report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence;
- how to use any technology to be used at a live hearing;
- issues of relevance of questions and evidence;
- how to apply definitions used by the recipient with respect to consent (or the absence or negation of consent) consistently, impartially, and in accordance with policy;
- how to render findings and generate clear, concise, evidence-based rationales;
- how to determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation allegations; and
The materials used to train all members of the Pool are publicly posted here: www.bates.edu/heretohelp.
Other than a judicial order, the college will not recognize agreements between the Complainant and the Respondent in which the college did not participate unless reviewed and approved by the Title IX Coordinator.
The College seeks to resolve all reports in a prompt and timely manner (60-90 business days). All time frames expressed in this policy are meant to be guidelines rather than rigid requirements. Extenuating circumstances may arise that require the extension of time frames. Extenuating circumstances may include the complexity and scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening school break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances.
In general, the Complainant and the Respondent can expect that the process will proceed according to the time frames provided in this policy. In the event that the investigation and resolution time frame needs to be extended for good cause, the college will provide written notice to all parties of the reason(s) for the delay and the expected adjustment in time frames. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.
Reasonable supportive measures will be implemented or continued during any delay. Where the Respondent is a second semester senior, the college may withhold that student’s Bates College degree pending conclusion of any proceedings under this policy.
All communications and notices required by these procedures may be made electronically, in hard copy, or in person.
The Hearing Officer(s) will determine whether the Respondent is responsible for a policy violation by the preponderance of the evidence standard which is whether the information provided supports a finding that it is “more likely than not” that the Respondent is responsible for the alleged violation.
If the Respondent Party fails to meet and cooperate with the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s), the Hearing Officer(s), or any other person during this process, the resolution of the complaint will proceed without input from the Respondent.
The Complainant retains all rights of the Complainant under this policy irrespective of their level of participation.
Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are Bates employees are expected to cooperate with and participate in the college’s investigation and resolution process. Failure of such witnesses to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of policy and may warrant discipline.
Although in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are preferred, circumstances may require individuals to be interviewed via telephone and/or video conferencing. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WebEx, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigator(s) determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. The college will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.
 See the Student Code of Conduct or the Employee Handbook.
In formal complaints involving more than one Respondent or in which two (2) or more Complainants have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the default procedure will be to resolve the allegations jointly.
However, the Title IX Coordinator may instruct that the investigation and/or hearings pertinent to each Respondent to be conducted separately if there is a compelling reason to do so. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Respondent with respect to each alleged policy violation.
Individuals may request Informal Resolution with any or all of the individuals involved, following the procedures described in Section X.E. Formal Resolution can be pursued with any of the remaining individuals.
B. Initiating a Report
Any person who has experienced an incident of bias, harassment, discrimination, or retaliation, as defined in the Equal Opportunity, Non-Discrimination, and Anti-Harassment Policy, may file a report with the college. Upon receiving notice of that report, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to provide information regarding resolution options and how to file a formal complaint and to offer supportive and safety measures. Individuals filing reports may request that the college initiate its Formal Resolution process, an Informal Resolution option, or request administrative assistance. Individuals may also request that the college take no action beyond providing supportive measures. Whenever possible the Title IX Coordinator will defer to the wishes of the Complainant. In the rare situations where the college must act to provide for the safety of the community and/or take action to fulfill its obligation to foster a harassment-free working and learning environment, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate this decision with the Complainant.
At the time a report is made, a Complainant does not have to decide whether or not to request disciplinary action. Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that occurs over time. To the extent possible, the college will respect an individual’s autonomy in making these decisions and provide support that will assist each individual in making that determination.
C. Initial Review
Upon receipt of notice or a complaint of an alleged violation of this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an initial review as described in Section X.C. As part of the Initial Review, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the Complainant to offer supportive measures and provide information about the resolution process. As part of an initial assessment, which is typically one to five business days in duration, the Title IX Coordinator, or their designee, will attempt to reach a determination on:
- whether the Complainant prefers a supportive response, an Informal Resolution option, or a Formal Administrative Resolution;
- whether a strictly supportive response is appropriate, given the nature of the allegations and the college’s obligation to provide for the safety and welfare of the Bates community;
- whether Informal Resolution is appropriate and, if so, what method would be most appropriate, and whether the Respondent is also willing to engage in Informal Resolution;
- if initiating a Formal Administrative Resolution, whether the scope of the investigation will address: a single incident; and/or a potential pattern of misconduct; and/or a climate issue;
- whether there is a compelling reason for the Title IX Coordinator to initiate Formal Administrative Resolution if the Complainant does not wish to do so;
- in conjunction with the Directory of Campus Safety, whether a Clery Act timely warning is needed; and
- whether any protective measures need to be implemented to ensure the safety of the Complainant and/or the community.
In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that a Violence Risk Assessment (VRA) should be conducted by the Behavioral Intervention Team as part of the initial assessment to assist with these determinations. (See Section X.C.a for more information regarding Violence Risk Assessment.)
Based on the initial assessment, the college will initiate one of three responses:
- Supportive measures only: typically used for allegations of low level prohibitted behavior that pose no risk to others in the community. This approach could include educational interventions to stop any offending behavior and prevent it from recurring;
- Informal Resolution: typically used for allegations of less serious offenses and only when all parties agree to Alternative Resolution, or when the Respondent is willing to accept responsibility for violating policy;
- Formal Administrative Resolution: an investigation of the alleged policy violation(s) and recommended finding of whether a policy violation has occurred, subject to a determination by one or more Hearing Officer(s), with the opportunity to appeal to one or more Appellate Officer(s).
The process followed considers the preference of the parties but is ultimately determined at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. At any point during the initial assessment or formal investigation, if the Title IX Coordinator determines that reasonable cause does not support the conclusion that the policy has been violated, the process will end, and the parties will be notified. The Complainant may request that the Title IX Coordinator review the reasonable cause determination and/or re-open the investigation. This decision lies in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, but the request is usually only granted in extraordinary circumstances.
D. Informal Resolution
Informal Resolution provides the parties with an opportunity to reach a mutually agreeable resolution of a complaint without a full formal grievance process. Informal resolution may be requested by either party at any time after notice of a report. Informal Resolution may take three different forms — resolution through an Alternative Resolution method, acceptance of responsibility by the Respondent, and when the Title IX Coordinator can resolve the matter informally by providing remedies that resolve the situation. When Informal Resolution is requested, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate the appropriateness of using Informal Resolution based upon the criteria outlined in Section X.E.
Participation in Informal Resolution is strictly voluntary, and the Complainant or the Respondent can end Informal Resolution at any time. If the parties are not able to reach a successful resolution via Informal Resolution, a Formal Administrative Resolution process may be requested or resumed, if paused to explore Informal Resolution.
Parties are not required to attempt Informal Resolution prior to initiating the Formal Resolution process. (See Section X.E. for more detailed information regarding Informal Resolution.)
E. Formal Administrative Resolution
Formal Administrative Resolution is the formal grievance process that includes a fact-gathering investigation into the complaint, a determination hearing, and opportunities for appeal. The goal of Formal Administrative Resolution is to determine whether the Respondent is responsible for a violation of this policy. If the Respondent is found responsible for a policy violation, disciplinary sanctions and/or remedial actions will also be determined. Below are the detailed procedures used to resolve allegations using Formal Administrative Resolution under Process B.
The Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations (“the Notice”) to the Respondent upon commencement of the Formal Administrative Resolution process. Typically, notice will be given at least 48 hours prior in advance of an interview. Advanced notice facilitates the parties’ ability to prepare for the meeting and to identify and choose an Advisor, if any, to accompany them.
The Notice will include:.
- a meaningful summary of all of the allegations;
- the policies implicated;
- a description of the applicable procedures;
- information on:
- availability of support resources and supportive measures; and
- the process for requesting disability accommodations during the resolution process;
- a statement regarding each of the following items:
- the college’s policy on retaliation;
- the college’s policy prohibition on knowingly making false statements, including knowingly submitting false information during the resolution process; and
- the name(s) of the Investigator(s), along with a process to identify any conflict of interest that the Investigator(s) may have.
Amendments and updates to the Notice may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various allegations.
Notice will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, emailed to the parties’ Bates-issued email, delivered electronically via a secure Bates-issued account on a web-based portal, or, in rare circumstance, mailed to a physical address. Once mailed, emailed, posted, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Team, will designate one or more Investigator(s) of their choosing, who has specific training and experience investigating allegations of bias, harassment, and discrimination, to conduct a timely, thorough, impartial, and fair investigation. These trained Investigator(s) may be employees of the college, external consultants engaged to assist the college in its fact gathering, or a combination thereof. Any Investigator(s) chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest.
The investigation is intended to provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. All individuals in the investigation, including the Complainant, the Respondent, and any third-party witnesses, will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. Consistent with the need for a full assessment of the facts, the Investigator(s) will safeguard the privacy of the individuals involved.
The parties will be given the names of the Investigator(s) as part of the Notice of Investigation. All objections to any Investigator must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible and prior to the start of the investigation. An Investigator will only be removed if the Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial investigation of the allegation(s). Should a concern regarding whether an Investigator is impartial arise after the investigation has begun, the party should bring it to the attention of the Title IX Coordinator immediately.
- Investigation Process
The Investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the Complainant, the Respondent, and other individuals or entities with relevant information regarding the complaint.
All parties will have a full and fair opportunity to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence and expert witnesses, and to fully review and respond to relevant evidence, on the record. All available evidence should be presented to the Investigator(s) prior to the conclusion of the investigation.
The investigation phase will typically be completed within thirty (30) calendar days. Given the availability of witnesses or complexity of the circumstances, this time frame may be extended as necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of the investigation.
The Investigator(s) will provide periodic updates to the Title IX Coordinator, particularly regarding any emerging needs that would require additional protective or supportive measures for the Complainant or Respondent and regarding any adjustments to estimated timelines.
The Investigator(s) will also work with the Title IX Coordinator if in the course of the investigation new allegations emerge and the Notice needs to be amended or if new information suggests the certain allegations or the entire complaint should be dropped.
The Investigator(s) will gather information using any combination of the following:
2.1 Document/Records Review
In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the Complainant and Respondent, the Investigator(s) will try to obtain such other physical or medical evidence relevant to the investigation as the Investigator(s) determine, in their judgment, to be necessary, including but not limited to documents, police records, electronic or other records of communications between the parties or witnesses, video or audio recordings, records or other relevant information. In obtaining such evidence, the Investigator(s) will comply with applicable laws and college policies.
The Investigator(s) may consider past disciplinary history if it provides evidence of a pattern of misconduct.
Unless the Title IX Coordinator determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding do not consider incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; nor does it consider the sexual history of the parties.
2.2 Site Visits
The Investigator(s) may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written or photographic documentation.
2.3 Complainant and Respondent Interviews
The Investigator(s) will interview the Complainant and the Respondent separately and may interview one or both more than once as necessary. The Complainant and the Respondent may be accompanied by their respective advisors. Parties will have the opportunity to review and verify the Investigator(s)’ summary of the relevant evidence/testimony from their respective interviews.
2.4 Witness Interviews
The Investigator(s) will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties or in the documentation, including those no longer at the college. The Investigator(s) may also interview any other individual they find to be potentially relevant to the allegations of the report. Parties will have the opportunity to review and verify the Investigator(s)’ summary of the relevant evidence/testimony from their respective interviews.
The Investigator(s) will inform each witness or other individual interviewed that they are prohibited from retaliating against the Complainant and the Respondent or other witnesses.
Prior to the completion of the investigation the Investigator(s) will provide the Complainant and Respondent with a list of Witnesses who were interviewed.
The Investigator(s) may contact any expert the Investigator(s) determine is necessary to ascertain the facts related to the report. An expert witness may be contacted for an informal consultation or for a professional opinion regarding information learned from the investigation.
- Investigation Report
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator(s) will prepare a written investigation report fully summarizing the relevant facts determined through the investigation, addressing all relevant evidence and referencing any supporting documentation or statements. In preparing the report, the Investigator(s) will review all facts gathered to determine whether the information is relevant and material to the determination of responsibility given the nature of the allegation. The report will provide analysis of the evidence and assessments of credibility.
The Investigator(s) will include in the report a recommendation to the Hearing Officer(s) whether, based on a preponderance of evidence, the Respondent is responsible for a policy violation.
3.1 Review and Comment Period
Before the report is finalized, the Complainant and the Respondent will be given the opportunity to review a copy of the draft of the investigation report, as well as an opportunity to inspect and review all of the relevant evidence obtained as part of the investigation.
The Complainant and the Respondent will have a five (5) business day review and comment period to respond in writing to the report and evidence. Upon receipt of any additional information by the Complainant or Respondent, or after the five (5) day comment period has lapsed without comment, the Investigator(s) will attempt to resolve any remaining questions or concerns.
The Investigator(s) may elect to share the responses between the parties for additional comment or conduct limited follow-up interviews. The Investigator(s) will incorporate relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report, include any additional relevant evidence, make any necessary revisions, and finalize the report.
The Investigator(s) should document all rationales for any changes made after the review and comment period. Similarly, they should include written responses to comments that do not result in changes to the report.
The finalized report will be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will certify that the report is complete and meets the requirements under this policy. Reports that are not complete or do not meet the requirements under this policy will be returned to the Investigator(s) so they may incorporate any relevant feedback. The certified, finalized reports will be distributed to the Parties.
After the investigative report has been finalized, and provided the complaint has not been resolved successfully through Informal Resolution, the resolution process will proceed to an Administrative Hearing. The goal of this hearing is to make a determination whether the Respondent is responsible for a violation of this policy based upon a preponderance of evidence and, if so, appropriate sanctions and/or remedies.
- Hearing Officer(s)
At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the college will designate one or more Hearing Officer(s) to make the final determination of responsibility. The Hearing Officer(s) may be employees of the college, external consultants engaged to assist the college in its resolution of the complaint, or any combination thereof. The Title IX Coordinator will also designate one of these individuals as the Chair who oversees the administrative hearing. Any Hearing Officer chosen to participate in the hearing must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest. In all cases, these individuals will have received specific training related to the resolution of allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation.
The Title IX Coordinator may not serve as a Hearing Officer but may serve as an administrative facilitator of the hearing, if one is needed. If the Title IX Coordinator is unavailable to serve as an administrative facilitator, a designee may fulfill this role.
The hearing is designed to provide the Complainant and the Respondent a fair and reliable opportunity to be heard and to present and challenge evidence and its credibility. All individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. Consistent with the need for a full assessment of the facts, the Hearing Officer(s) will safeguard the privacy of the individuals involved.
The parties will be given the names of the Hearing Officer(s). All objections to any Hearing Officer must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. Hearing Officers will only be removed if the Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial hearing of the allegation(s).
- Evidentiary Considerations in the Hearing
Any evidence that the Hearing Officer(s) determine is relevant and credible may be considered. With the exception that, unless the Title IX Coordinator determines it is appropriate, the investigation and the finding do not consider the sexual history of the parties or incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern.
The Hearing Officer(s) may consider past disciplinary history if it provides evidence of a pattern of misconduct. Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a finding of responsibility. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process, and is not shared until then.
The parties may each submit a written impact statement prior to the hearing for the consideration of the Hearing Officer(s) at the sanction stage of the process when a determination of responsibility has been reached.
After deliberation, the Hearing Officer(s) renders a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.
- Review of Investigation Report, Response, and Evidence
The Title IX Coordinator will provide the Hearing Officer(s) with the final investigation report and the parties’ responses to the report. All relevant evidence as determined by the Investigator(s) will also be provided. Within three (3) days of receiving the report, the Hearing Officer(s) will determine whether they have sufficient information to make a determination of responsibility. If the information is sufficient, the Hearing Officer(s) will commence final deliberations. If the information is insufficient, they will conduct additional inquiry to address the needed information, including informally meeting with the Investigator(s), the Complaint and the Respondent, and/or any Witnesses, as necessary.
- Deliberation and Decision-making
The Hearing Officer(s) will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question by a preponderance of evidence. If a panel is used, a simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The hearing facilitator may be invited to attend the deliberation by the Chair, but is there only to facilitate procedurally, not to address the substance of the allegations.
The recommendation of the investigation should be strongly considered, but is not binding on the Hearing Officer(s).
When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the Hearing Officer(s) may then consider the previously submitted party impact statements in determining appropriate sanction(s).
The Hearing Officer(s) will also review any pertinent conduct history provided by Title IX Coordinator and/or the Student Affairs, Human Resources, and/or Dean of Faculty’s Offices as appropriate. After this review, the Hearing Officer(s), in consultation with other administrators as needed, will determine the appropriate sanction(s).
Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:
- the nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s);
- the Respondent’s disciplinary history;
- previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct;
- the need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation;
- the need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation;
- the need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation on the Complainant and the community;
- the impact on the parties; and
- any other information deemed relevant by the Title IX Coordinator.
The Chair will then provide the Title IX Coordinator with a written deliberation statement detailing the determination, rationale for that determination, and any sanctions or remedies and the rationale for those sanctions.
- Notice of Outcome
Using the deliberation statement provided by the Hearing Chair, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a Notice of Outcome which will include the final determination, rationale, and any applicable sanction(s) and/or remedies. The finalized Notice of Outcome will be distributed to the Complainant and Respondent within three (3) business days of receiving the Hearing Officer(s)’ deliberation statement.
The Notice of Outcome will be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official college records, or emailed to the parties’ college-issued email or otherwise approved account, or posted on a secure web-based portal. Once mailed, emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The Notice of Outcome will also include information on the relevant procedures and grounds for any available appeal options and when the results are considered by the Recipient to be final. The Complainant and Respondent will be notified of any changes that occur prior to finalization.
Students found responsible for a violation of this policy violation are subject a range of disciplinary actions including any combination of the following:
- Loss or Restriction of Privileges
- Loss of the privilege of participating in any public function (e.g., literary, dramatic, forensic, radio, television, musical, or athletic) wherein the participant will be thought of as a representative of Bates College;
- Loss of on campus housing and/or dining privileges;
- Loss of the privilege of participating in social and/or ceremonial events on campus;
- Loss of the privilege of maintaining a motor vehicle on campus;
- A requirement that a student resign membership in or any offices, elected or appointed, held in campus organizations;
- Loss of access to certain campus locations; and
- Loss of use of certain campus resources.
- Required Action
- Required counseling or educational sessions;
- Required community service or restitution hours; or
- Required restorative action.
- Disciplinary Probation
- Probation for a specified or indefinite period of time, with or without conditions relating to the termination of probation.
- Suspension for a specified or indefinite period of time, with or without conditions relating to readmission to the college.
- Dismissal or Expulsion
- Withholding or Revocation of Degree
- Any other sanction deemed appropriate
Sanctions or responsive actions for employees who have been found responsible for a violation of this policy could include any combination of the following:
- Warning – verbal or written;
- Loss of access to certain campus facilities or functions;
- Initiation of the Performance Improvement Process;
- Enhanced supervision, observation, or review;
- Disciplinary Probation for a specified or indefinite period of time, with or without conditions relating to the termination of probation;
- Required counseling or educational sessions;
- Required restitution or restorative action;
- Loss of annual pay increase;
- Loss of supervisory or leadership responsibilities;
- Loss of specific duties;
- Demotion, reassignment of duties, or transfer;
- Suspension with or without pay, for a specified or indefinite period of time, with or without conditions relating to return to the college;
- Delay in tenure track progress;
- Termination; and
- Any other sanction deemed appropriate.
In most circumstances, all sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.
The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities.
The Complainant or Respondent may file a request for appeal in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) days of the delivery of the Notice of Outcome. Appeals are on limited grounds and are not intended to be a full re-hearing of the allegations or evidence. If an appeal meets the limited grounds, the non-appealing party will be notified of the appeal and have an opportunity to respond to it.
- Appellate Officer(s)
The Title IX Coordinator, the college will designate either one or more Appellate Officer(s), including a voting Chair, to review and rule on the appeal. The Appellate Officers may be employees of the college, external consultants engaged to assist the college in its resolution of the complaint, or any combination thereof. Any Appellate Officer chosen to hear the appeal must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest. No Appellate Officer will have been involved in the investigation or hearing.
- Grounds for Appeal
The Request for Appeal will be forwarded to the Appeal Chair to determine if the request is proper for consideration. This review is not a review of the merits of the appeal, but solely a determination as to whether the request is timely and is based on one or more permissible grounds.
Appeals are limited to the following grounds:
- a procedural error that may have had a prejudicial effect upon the outcome of the matter;
- new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter;
- the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s), or the Hearing Officer(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally or the specific Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter; or
- the sanction imposed on the Responding Party is grossly inappropriate.
If none of the grounds in the Request for Appeal meet the grounds in this policy, the request will be denied by the Appeal Chair and the parties will be notified in writing of the denial and the rationale.
If any of the grounds in the Request for Appeal meet the grounds in this policy, then the Appeal Chair will initiate a review of the appeal based on those grounds. They will notify the other party, the Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the Investigator(s) and/or the Hearing Officer(s).
The other party, the Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the Investigator(s) and/or the Hearing Officer(s) will be provided a copy of the appeal request with the approved grounds and be given three (3) business days to submit a response to the portion of the appeal that was approved and involves them. The Chair will forward all responses to the parties for review and comment.
The non-appealing party (if any) may also choose to raise a new ground for appeal at this time. If so, that will be reviewed to determine if it meets the grounds in this policy by the Appeal Chair and either denied or approved. If approved, it will be forwarded to the party who initially requested an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s) and/or Hearing Officer(s), as necessary, who will submit their responses in three (3) business days. The responses will also be circulated for review and comment by all parties.
- Review of Appeal and Notice of Appeal Outcome
Neither party may submit any new requests for appeal after this time period. The Appeal Chair will collect any additional information needed and all documentation regarding the approved grounds and the subsequent responses will be shared with other Appeal Officers (if any). The Appeal Chair may permit the parties an opportunity to be heard by the Appeal Officer(s) and answer questions from them.
The Appellate Officer(s) will render a decision on appeal in no more than three (3) business days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions are by majority vote.
A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously. The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration, any sanctions that may result which the college is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent the college is permitted to share under state or federal law.
Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, mailed to the local or permanent address of the parties as indicated in official institutional records, or emailed to the parties’ Bates-issued email or posted on a secure web-based portal. Once mailed, emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
- Sanctions Status During the Appeal
Sanctions imposed as a result of Formal Administrative Resolution are implemented immediately upon the issuance of the Notice of Outcome, unless the Title IX Coordinator stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
The college may place holds on official transcripts, diplomas, graduations, and course registration pending the outcome of an appeal when the original sanctions included separation from the college.
- Appeal Considerations
Appeals may be granted with regard to the responsibility finding only on the basis of clear error, and to the sanction(s)/responsive action(s) only if there is a compelling justification to do so. Appeals are not intended to provide for a full re-hearing (de novo) of the allegation(s). An appeal is not an opportunity for the Appellate Officer(s) to substitute their judgment for that of the Hearing Officer(s) merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).
In most cases, appeals are typically confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal. However, as noted, the Chair has the discretion to allow for brief oral argument.
The Appellate Officer(s) may consult with the Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed. Documentation of all such consultation will be maintained.
Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded (or partially remanded) to the original Investigator(s) and/or Hearing Officer(s) for reconsideration. Appeals granted based on grossly inappropriate sanctions should normally be remanded to the original Hearing Officer(s) for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, decided on appeal. In rare cases where a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original Hearing Officer(s) (as in cases of bias), the appeal may order a new investigation and/or hearing with new Investigator(s) and/or Hearing Officer(s).
When an appeal is denied, that decision is final. If an appeal results in a new hearing, the outcome of that hearing can be appealed on the grounds listed above and in accordance with these procedures.
In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to the college or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.
Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with other appropriate administrators, may implement additional long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community that are intended to stop the harassment, discrimination, and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.
These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:
- Referral to counseling and health services;
- Referral to the Employee Assistance Program;
- Education to the individual and/or the community;
- Permanent alteration of housing assignments;
- Permanent alteration of work arrangements for employees;
- Provision of campus safety escorts;
- Climate surveys;
- Policy modification and/or training;
- Provision of transportation accommodations;
- Implementation of long-term contact limitations between the parties; and
- Implementation of adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.
At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, certain long-term support or measures may also be provided to the parties even if no policy violation is found. When no policy violation is found, the Title IX Coordinator will address any remedies owed by the college to the Respondent to ensure no effective denial of educational access.
The college will maintain the confidentiality of any long-term remedies and actions, provided confidentiality does not impair the college’s ability to provide these services.
All Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the time frame specified by in the Notice of Outcome.
Failure to abide by the sanction(s) or remedies imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s) or disciplinary action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from the college.
ATIXA 202 ONE POLICY, TWO PROCEDURES MODEL.
USE AND ADAPTION OF THIS MODEL WITH CITATION TO ATIXA IS PERMITTED THROUGH A LIMITED LICENSE TO BATES COLLEGE. ALL OTHER RIGHTS RESERVED. ©2020 ATIXA