Title IX Procedure
Title IX Procedure
Carthage will use this procedure to investigate every formal complaint. If the formal complaint identifies an employee as the respondent, Carthage will follow the procedures in Carthage’s Faculty Handbook or Employee Handbook, which are analogous to this procedure. 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.
Information provided about possible sexual harassment.
A written accusation of sexual harassment provided to the Title IX Coordinator or deputy that will trigger a formal investigation in this process. A formal complaint must be signed by the complainant or Title IX representative.
An individual who has experienced sexual harassment.
An individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute sexual harassment.
Preponderance of Evidence
Under the preponderance standard, the burden of proof is met when the party with the burden convinces the decision-makers that there is a greater than 50 percent chance that the claim is true.
Carthage faculty and staff members who serve on hearing and appeals panels. Hearing panelists will receive annual training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope of Carthage’s educational programs and activities, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process, how to serve impartially, and on technology used during hearings. 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 formal 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 formal 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 an 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 in the process. A Title IX advisor is only for a party’s emotional support when filing a formal complaint and through the investigation process. An advisor may not communicate with or speak on behalf of the complainant or respondent with the Title IX representative or the investigators. At the hearing, the party’s advisor will ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow up questions, including those challenging credibility. If a party does not have an advisor, one will be assigned with no fee for the live hearing.
Carthage employees who investigate formal complaints of sexual harassment. If, because of bias or a conflict of interest, a party can request a different investigator at the notice of formal complaint. Contact information for the Dean of Students Office/Student Affairs is listed in the Resources section of this Policy. Anyone who acts as an investigator will receive annual training on the definition of sexual harassment, the scope of Carthage’s educational programs and activities, conducting an investigation that protects the safety of complainant(s) and assumes the innocence of the respondent(s).
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. Complainants and respondents are treated equitably through the process.
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, including any information gathered during the investigation that will not be used at the hearing. The investigators will notify parties in writing when the investigative summary is available and students will have 10 days to review prior to a live hearing.
Carthage expects investigations, hearings, and appeals will occur in a reasonably prompt time frame. 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 investigators or hearing chair, who will notify both parties of any such extension in writing.
Investigation and Hearing
- Upon the filing of a formal complaint, the investigator will notify the respondent of the formal complaint, inform them of their rights and resources, and allow inspection of the formal complaint. The respondent may submit a written rebuttal as soon as possible after inspecting the formal complaint. Respondent(s) are presumed innocent until a determination by the hearing panel.
- The investigator will then review the written complaint and the 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.
- Once the investigator has completed the investigation summary, they will inform the complainant and respondent so they may review and submit a response. After both parties have reviewed or 10 days have elapsed, the investigation summary will be sent to the hearing panel and a hearing will be scheduled.
- At that hearing, both the complainant and the respondent will have the opportunity to present evidence about the formal 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.
- During the hearing, each party’s advisor will be permitted to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow up questions, including those challenging credibility. If a party does not have an advisor at the hearing, the institution will provide one, specifically for the purposes of conducting cross-examination on behalf of that party. Before any party or witness answers a question, the panel chair must first determine if the question is relevant. If the question is determined irrelevant, the panel chair must explain the decision at that time.
- After the hearing, the hearing panel will determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether the respondent violated the sexual harassment policy. If the hearing panel determines that the respondent committed sexual harassment, the hearing panel will also assess an appropriate sanction against the respondent.
- The hearing panel chair will notify the Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct of the hearing panel’s decision, its rationale, and any sanction in a written hearing summary. The Associate 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.
An audio, audiovisual recording or transcript of the hearing will be created and is available for the parties to review.
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 reasonably available at the time and that could affect the outcome of the matter.
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter.
- Bias or conflict of interest for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent, and that bias or conflict-affected the outcome.
The appealing party must submit a written statement to the Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct that requests and sets forth the basis of the appeal. The non-appealing party will be notified in writing when an appeal is filed. The Associate 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 Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct of the panel’s decision and rationale in a written summary. The Associate Dean of Students/Director of Student Conduct will communicate the outcome of the appeal and the rationale to the complainant and respondent in writing simultaneously.
The decision of an appeals panel is final.
The penalty assessed against any respondent found responsible for violating the sexual harassment 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.