Sexual Misconduct Procedure
Carthage will use this procedure to take disciplinary action on every written complaint, except when the respondent is a Carthage faculty or staff member. In such circumstances, Carthage will follow the procedures in Carthage’s Faculty Handbook or Employee Handbook, which are analogous to this procedure. If the respondent is not a community member, Carthage will follow this procedure as closely as possible, being mindful that circumstances may limit its ability to investigate, conduct a hearing, and levy sanctions. In certain circumstances, Carthage may use this procedure without receiving a written complaint.
Information provided about possible sexual misconduct.
A written accusation of sexual misconduct that will be resolved through this conduct process. A person affected by an incident of sexual misconduct can file a written complaint with the Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct in the Office of Student Life, which is located in the Todd Wehr Center. Its phone number is 262-551-5800.
A person who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct and who has filed a written complaint.
A person, group, or organization accused of sexual misconduct.
Carthage faculty and staff members who serve on hearing and appeals panels. Hearing panelists will receive annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and on conducting an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of complainants and promotes accountability. Faculty members are appointed by the Office of the Provost, and staff members are appointed by the Director of Human Resources.
Three hearing panelists who conduct the hearing on and decide the outcome of a written complaint, including any sanctions against the respondent. Every hearing panel will have a chairperson who presides over the process. Every hearing panel will have at least one faculty member and one staff member. If possible, every hearing panel will have at least one male and one female member. If, because of bias or a conflict of interest, a hearing panelist cannot participate in a hearing panel, another hearing panelist will take their place.
Three hearing panelists who review appeals from a hearing panel’s decision on a written complaint. Every appeals panel will have a chairperson who presides over the process. Every appeals panel will have at least one faculty member and one staff member. If possible, every appeals panel will have at least one male and one female member. Hearing panelists who served on the hearing panel for a written complaint will not serve on the appeals panel for the same written complaint. If, because of bias or a conflict of interest, a hearing panelist cannot participate in a appeals panel, another hearing panelist will take their place.
Title IX Advisor
Both the complainant and the respondent may choose one advisor who may accompany them to any meetings, hearings, and appeals. A Title IX advisor is only for a party’s emotional support. An advisor may not communicate with the investigator, hearing panel, complainant, or respondent at any meeting, hearing, or appeal. A Title IX advisor may not speak on behalf of or act as a representative of the complainant or the respondent any meeting, hearing, or appeal.
The Carthage employee who investigates reports and written complaints of sexual misconduct; normally either the Assistant Dean of Students or the Associate Dean of Students. If, because of bias or a conflict of interest, neither the Assistant nor the Associate Deans of Students can act as investigator, another staff member from Office of Student Life will act as investigator. Contact information for the Office of Student Life is listed in the Resources section of this Policy. Anyone who acts as an investigator will receive annual training on issues related to sexual misconduct and on conducting an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of complainants and promotes accountability.
Carthage prefers to receive reports, take statements, hold meetings, and conduct hearings in person. However, extenuating circumstances, such as breaks between terms or the unavailability of certain parties, may require parties or witnesses to appear and communicate by telephone, video chat, or similar methods. At the request of the complainant or the respondent, and for good cause, meetings or hearings may be conducted with the complainant and the respondent in separate rooms.
After the conclusion of the investigation and before any hearing, either the complainant or the respondent may review any information that will be used at the hearing by making a request in writing to the Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct, who will schedule a time at which the party may inspect the information. The party may review the information and take notes, but may not make any copies or take any photographs of the information.
Carthage expects investigations, hearings, and appeals will occur promptly. Extenuating circumstances, such as breaks between terms or the unavailability of key parties, may cause delays. At any point, either the complainant or the respondent may request an extension of any dates or deadlines by writing to the hearing chair, who will notify both parties of any such extension in writing. Carthage expects a sexual misconduct proceeding to follow this time frame:
- (1) The investigator should contact the respondent within one day of the written complaint.
- (2) The investigator should conclude their inquiry within one week of the written complaint.
- (3) The hearing should occur within one week of the conclusion of the investigator’s inquiry.
- (4) The hearing panel should make a decision within one week of the hearing.
- (5) The appeal panel should make a decision within one week of the appeal.
This timeframe is flexible, not absolute.
Investigation & Hearing
(1) Upon the filing of a written complaint, the investigator will notify the respondent of the written complaint, inform them of their rights and resources, and allow inspection of the written complaint. The respondent may submit a written rebuttal as soon as possible after inspecting the written complaint.
(2) The investigator will then review the written complaint and respondent’s rebuttal and investigate the parties’ claims. The investigator may request statements from the parties or witnesses, and may meet with witnesses, the complainant, and the respondent. The investigator will periodically update the complainant and the respondent regarding the progress of the investigation.
(3) Once the investigator has completed the investigation, they will forward the file to the hearing panel for review and scheduling of a hearing with the complainant and the respondent at their earliest convenience.
(4) At that hearing, both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to present evidence about the written complaint. The hearing can include statements from the parties, questioning of the parties, questioning of witnesses, and presentation of documentary or physical evidence. The hearing panel will control the hearing and have sole discretion regarding the presentation of evidence.
(5) After the hearing, the hearing panel will determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the respondent violated the sexual misconduct policy. If the hearing panel determines that the respondent committed sexual misconduct, the hearing panel will also assess an appropriate sanction against the respondent.
(6) The hearing panel chair will notify the Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct of the hearing panel’s decision, its rationale, and any sanction in a written hearing summary. The Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will then communicate the hearing panel’s decision to the complainant and respondent and notify both parties of their rights to appeal in writing. If the parties do not appeal within three days of receiving notification, the hearing panel’s decision is final.
Either the complainant or the respondent may appeal the hearing panel’s decision within three days of receiving notification. A party may only appeal based upon one of the following grounds:
- New evidence that was not presented at the hearing.
- A determination or sanction unwarranted by the evidence.
- Other extenuating circumstances.
The appealing party must submit a written statement to the Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct that requests and sets forth the basis of the appeal. The Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will convene an appeal panel. The appeal panel may do any of the following:
- Affirm the hearing panel’s decision.
- Amend the original sanction.
- Require a new hearing and decision.
The appeals panel chair will notify the Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct of the panel’s decision and rationale in a written summary. The Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will communicate the outcome of the appeal to the complainant and respondent in writing.
The decision of an appeals panel is final.
The penalty assessed against any respondent found responsible for violating the sexual misconduct policy will include one or more of the listed sanctions:
- No Contact Order — The respondent may not contact the complainant.
- Probation — Any further violation of Carthage’s policies may result in immediate removal from the residence halls, suspension, or dismissal.
- Removal from Housing — The respondent will be removed from on-campus housing at Carthage and relocated to another or an off-campus residence.
- Ban from College Facilities — The respondent may not enter certain areas of campus or use certain campus services.
- Activity Restrictions — Restrictions may be placed on the respondent’s ability to participate in college activities (e.g. co-curricular, extra-curricular, or campus events such as athletic competitions, theater performances, speakers, or more.)
- Suspension — The respondent is dismissed as a student for a specified time (typically no less than the remainder of an academic term and could be years). Suspension can be a specific duration or indefinite and subject to later reconsideration. Unless otherwise specified, the suspension includes a ban from campus until the date the respondent is eligible for re-application.
- Expulsion — The respondent is permanently dismissed from Carthage. Unless otherwise specified, dismissal includes a ban from campus and no eligibility to return to Carthage.