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Title IX Resolution Procedures

 

Introduction

The following procedures apply to reports of misconduct which appear to constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment. For all other concerns, NSU reserves the right to employ other procedures such as those in the Student Code of Conduct, Employee or Faculty Policy Manuals, or other applicable NSU publication. While this is a broad overview of the resolution process, additional information about how procedures are implemented is available at www.nova.edu/title-ix. In addition, parties will receive written notice of details specific to their cases, such as specific deadlines, designation of investigator(s) and/or decision-maker, hearing agendas, and other such details.

 

  • Advisor” is a person designated by a complainant or respondent to be present with them during any proceeding, interview, or meeting occurring as part of the Title IX Resolution Procedures. During a hearing, the advisor conducts cross-examination on behalf of their party, otherwise advisors serve as non-participatory support persons for their party. NSU will provide an advisor to conduct cross examination at a hearing if a party does not have one.
  • Complainant” refers to an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment. While a parent/guardian may initiate a formal complaint on behalf of a student under age 18, or the Title IX Coordinator may sign a complaint, these individuals do not become a complainant under this process.
  • Formal Complaint” is a document filed by the complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment under Title IX by a respondent and requesting that NSU investigate the reported information.
  • Parties” refers to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) and does not include witnesses or others.
  • Respondent” refers to an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Title IX Sexual Harassment
  • Standard of Evidence” used to determine if Title IX Sexual Harassment occurred is the preponderance of the evidence, or “>50%”. A respondent is not considered responsible for committing a violation until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of this process.
  • Investigations and resolution proceedings are designed to be equitable to the parties involved, adequately thorough for an administrative campus process, and appropriately prompt to promote students’ participation in their educational programs. To these ends, NSU reserves the right to impose reasonable deadlines and extend timeframes.
  • Parties can anticipate that formal complaints that proceed through all steps (i.e. hearing and appeals) are estimated to be resolved within 120 days, although the timeline may vary depending on the complexity of the situation or other factors.
  • When circumstances warrant a temporary delay to a deadline associated with a case, NSU will inform the parties of the reason for the delay and the anticipated extension. Some examples of good cause to temporarily delay include unavailability of a party or other participant in the process, scheduling conflicts, and concurrent law enforcement activity.
  • Unless otherwise specified, any reference to “days” in these procedures refers to business days, (i.e. Monday – Friday excluding weekends and public holidays).
  • Communications regarding the Title IX Resolution Procedures will generally be by email to the individual’s NSU email address, although circumstances sometimes require delivery of information in person or by other means.
  • NSU reserves the right to use designees for any named official in the Title IX Resolution Procedures when appropriate, including contracting external parties to conduct any part of the process. In addition, throughout the proceedings, those NSU officials involved in the process may consult with the Title IX Coordinator, NSU legal counsel, or any other relevant official as permitted under federal law (including FERPA) and University policy.

Any person may report sexual harassment online, in-person, by mail, by telephone, or by email at any time to the Title IX Coordinator. NSU employees1 who observe, receive a report of, or otherwise learn about potential violations of this policy are required to inform the Title IX Coordinator. Incidents involving immediate threats and/or potential child abuse or neglect are also subject to applicable mandatory reporting laws and may need to be reported to appropriate law enforcement personnel or other officials.   

 

Footnote.
1. All NSU employees, other than those who learn about potential sexual misconduct violations from a victim while operating under the scope of legally protected privileged relationship of counselor/client or doctor/patient privilege to that victim, are required to report observations, disclosures, or reported sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.  

When NSU employees become aware of potential sexual harassment under Title IX, they may provide immediate response when necessary and appropriate to the situation and the scope of their role. Following resolution of any immediate situational, safety, or other concerns, and usually by the end of the next business day after the incident is reported, the Title IX Coordinator and/or designee will contact the affected individual(s) to offer and discuss 1) supportive measures 2)  the option for filing a formal complaint under Title IX and 3) any relevant rights and options under the Clery Act/Violence Against Women Act for those incidents which may also constitute a sex crime. During this initial response time, the Title IX Coordinator may also need to gather additional information about the reported incident(s) to determine whether or not the Title IX Resolution Procedures apply.

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services and adjustments available to the affected student, regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed. These measures are designed to ensure equal educational access, protect safety, and/or deter sexual harassment without unreasonably burdening others. Examples include counseling, extension of class deadlines, modifications to class schedule(s), no-contact orders, etc. If the incident may also constitute a crime of sexual violence, the Title IX Coordinator will provide information about rights and options for reporting to law enforcement.

A Formal Complaint is a document filed by a complainant (i.e. the person who reportedly experienced sexual harassment) which 1) describes the sexual harassment committed by another person or group of people (i.e. respondent(s)) and 2) requests that NSU investigate the incident under these procedures. A formal complaint may be filed by a parent/guardian on behalf of their minor student, and a formal complaint may also be initiated by the Title IX Coordinator. As incidents may be initially reported to NSU through a variety of means (email, postal mail, telephone, online reporting form, etc.), part of the initial response by the Title IX Coordinator will be to confirm that the complainant is requesting an investigation in accordance with the Title IX Resolution Procedures.

Emergency Removal of a student2 respondent from an NSU educational program or activity may occur when there may be a threat arising from the report of Title IX Sexual Harassment. To issue an emergency removal of a student, NSU must:
1. Conduct an individualized safety and risk analysis 
2. Determine that there is an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any individual, and
3. Provide a removed student with written notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision after the removal.

 

Footnote.
2. NSU will follow its usual procedures for employee respondents, including application of any administrative leave procedures when appropriate.

Once a complainant has filed a formal complaint, and the Title IX Coordinator has determined that the nature and context of the reported incident(s) meet the standards of Title IX Sexual Harassment, the Title IX Coordinator will provide written notice to the parties which includes information about the reported incident (including any known identities of the parties involved, the nature of the incident(s) and when/where it occurred) as well as a description of the investigation and resolution procedures.

  • Should additional reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment arise during an investigation, written notice will be provided to the relevant parties.
  • NSU reserves the right to consolidate formal complaints into one investigation when the reported conduct appears to arise from the same circumstances, such as when there is a complaint against a group of respondents or there are multiple complainants reporting harassment by the same respondent(s).

While NSU is required to investigate formal complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment, there are also conditions under which a case must be dismissed under the Title IX Resolution Procedures:

  • If, presuming everything reported is true, the behavior does not meet one of the definitions of Title IX Sexual Harassment or
  • If the behavior occurred outside of the jurisdiction of Title IX (e.g. it did not occur towards a person accessing an NSU program or activity in the United States).

NSU may also dismiss a case under the Title IX Resolution Procedures when:

  • The complainant provides written notice to withdraw the complaint,
  • The respondent is no longer enrolled or employed at NSU3, or
  • Circumstances prevent NSU from gathering enough information to reach a determination about what occurred.

A party may appeal a dismissal of a complaint in accordance with the bases for appeal in the Title IX Resolution Procedures.

 

REFERRAL OUTSIDE OF TITLE IX RESOLUTION PROCEDURES: Following any dismissal under the Title IX Resolution Procedures, NSU reserves the right to initiate any applicable procedure (e.g. Student Code of Conduct, NSU Employee or Faculty Policy Manual, NSU University School Student-Parent Handbook,etc.) for any aspect of the reported conduct that may constitute a violation of Other Prohibited Sexual Misconduct and/or any other NSU policy. When a report of sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and/or domestic violence is referred outside of the Title IX Resolution Procedures, the Title IX Coordinator will communicate that rights afforded under the Clery Act/VAWA must be upheld, such as the right to have an advisor present and the assurance that investigation or resolution will be conducted by individuals who have received specialized annual training.   

 

Footnote
3. If an individual is permitted to withdraw as a student or resign as an employee prior to the resolution of a complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment, NSU reserves the right to restrict or prohibit access to NSU facilities, programs and/or activities, including prohibition on future enrollment and/or employment.

The Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator(s) to conduct the investigation. The investigation process provides the parties with the following opportunities:

  • written notice and reasonable opportunity to prepare in advance of any meeting or interview,
  • to describe their experiences/perspectives, offer witnesses, and to share any information relevant to the allegation(s) under investigation, and
  • to review and respond to any and all evidence directly related to the reported conduct, including the allowance of at least ten calendar days to review and respond to all evidence prior to the completion of the investigation report.

Complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment by a student respondent may be resolved informally, so long as:

  • All involved parties (i.e., complainant(s), respondent(s), and NSU) provide written consent to the informal resolution process,
  • The parties are provided with written notice of the reported conduct, the requirements of an informal resolution process, any consequences from participating, and any records that will be maintained,
  • Informal resolution is reached prior to a determination of responsibility, and
  • The informal resolution does not require waiver of the right to the investigation or resolution as outlined in these Title IX Resolution Procedures.

Note: Options for informal resolution are still under development.

Hearing Procedures (for NSU Students and Employees)

Unless dismissed or resolved informally, formal complaints of Title IX Sexual Harassment involving an NSU student or employee respondent will proceed to a hearing (in-person or virtual, as determined by NSU) conducted by a trained decision-maker. Basic elements of the hearing process include the opportunity to review the investigation report in advance of the hearing, the opportunity for the parties’ respective advisors to ask questions of any other parties and witnesses during the hearing, and access to all evidence during the hearing. Procedural details will be provided in writing to the parties in advance of any hearing.

 

Administrative Adjudication of NSU University School Cases

Upon conclusion of the investigation process, a decision-maker will be assigned to adjudicate the case. This is a paper-based review, not an in-person hearing or proceeding. During this time, the parties will have a final opportunity to pose questions to be asked of the other party(s) and witnesses, before the decision-maker makes a determination about the case. 

After conclusion of the hearing or adjudication, the decision-maker will provide written notice of outcomes including:

  • what was found to have occurred,
  • a determination of responsible/not responsible for each relevant aspect of the policy,
  • rationale for any determinations,
  • any sanctions for the respondent, and
  • whether remedies should be provided to the complaint.

Sanctions which may be applied under these procedures to members of the NSU community are described in the Student Code of Conduct (for students), NSU Employee and Faculty Policy Manuals (for employees), and Student-Parent Handbook (for NSU University School students). If an appeal is received, any sanctions will be temporarily on hold until the final determination is made.

A party (complainant or respondent) may appeal a determination of responsibility and/or the dismissal of all or part of a complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment based on any of the following:

  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome,
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the decision was made that could affect the outcome, or
  • The Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that affected the outcome.

A written appeal must be submitted as described in the outcome letter from the decision-maker.  Appeals are generally due within a few days of the issuance of the outcomes, and will generally be responded to within a week. When an appeal has been received, and any other party in the case will be notified, and the opportunity for parties to provide information to be considered by the appellate decision-maker may be extended by a day. Appeals are a paper-review process and the written decision(s) of the appellate officer is the final determination of resolution of the complaint.

NSU will retain records of Title IX Sexual Harassment proceedings as required by law and in accordance with University policies. Records related to resolution of reports of Title IX Sexual Harassment are maintained for at least seven years in compliance with Title IX and the Clery Act. NSU will maintain privacy of information in compliance with FERPA and any other applicable federal or state law or University policy and will only disclose information in accordance with those procedures.

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