Title IX Policy and Procedures

Table of Contents

  1. Policy Statement
  2. Effective Date of Title IX Procedures
  3. Title IX Jurisdiction
  4. Scope: Definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment (Prohibited Conduct)
  5. General Definitions
  6. Seeking Support or Assistance (Supportive Measures, Confidential, Anonymous)
  7. Reporting Prohibited Conduct
  8. Outreach and Initial Assessment
  9. Filing a Formal Complaint
  10. Title IX Resolution Methods
    1. Title IX Alternative Resolution
    2. Title IX Investigation and Live Hearing Process
    3. Title IX Mandatory and Discretionary Dismissal
  11. Sanctions and Remedies
  12. Appeals
  13. Rights, Expectations and Responsibilities
  14. Resources and Support
  15. Training of Investigations, Hearing Administrator, Hearing Panel, Appeals Officers and Title IX Coordinator
  16. Record Retention
  17. Review of Policy

I. Policy Statement

Under the Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations, published May 19, 2020, the following policy will apply only to a narrow category of cases. Those cases meeting the definitions and jurisdictional elements below will follow the procedures in this policy. Those cases that do not fit within this policy will be handled through the University’s Sexual Misconduct Resolution Procedures for Students or Discriminatory Misconduct Policy for Employees.

This is not to suggest that any case is more or less important, but instead a reflection of federal regulations that apply only to a specifically-identified set of cases. 

If you are unclear about any of the provisions below and would like to get more information, you may speak on a non-confidential basis with the Title IX Coordinator.

If you would like to have more information about this policy and procedures, but prefer to speak with someone confidentially, you may speak with a Confidential Advocate.

Throughout this policy, various University officials are assigned responsibility for performing specific functions. Named officials are authorized to delegate responsibility to other appropriate University officials and non-university consultants except where such delegation contravenes University policy. Additionally, named officials and their designees may consult with appropriate University officials, the Office of General Counsel, non-university consultants and subject matter experts in making a determination if the incident meets the definitions and jurisdictional elements outlined in the Title IX federal policy or the University Sexual Misconduct policy.

Terms specific to this policy are defined in the Definitions section below. This includes defining ‘days’ as business days unless otherwise specified.

If there is a conflict between any definition in this procedure and the definition- assigned terms in other University policies, the specific definitions in this policy control.

II. Effective Date of the Title IX Policy

The effective date of this policy is August 14, 2020. This policy will apply to prohibited conduct that occurred after August 14, 2020, and where a Formal Complaint is made after August 14, 2020.

III. Title IX Jurisdiction

The University is committed to fostering a fair and equitable environment for individuals to study, learn and work and a prompt and equitable process for investigation and resolution of complaints covered by Title IX.  This Policy applies to students, faculty, staff who are (1) employed by, attending, or affiliated with the University; (2) participating in, or attempting to participate in, any University education program or activity in the United States; or (3) visiting the University’s campus(es) or any property owned or leased by the University, or any building owned or controlled by an officially recognized student organization in the United States.  This Policy also covers acts of Prohibited Conduct occurring in the United States and committed by third parties, including visitors, guests, vendors, and contractors who are affiliated with the University, or accessing, or attempting to access, a University program or activity; complaints against such third-parties may be handled in accordance with existing contracts and agreements, and third parties may not be eligible for the procedural protections provided within this Policy.

The procedures in this policy are in accordance with the Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations, published May 19, 2020.  They apply only to complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking on the basis of sex as defined by this Policy.

The University will have the discretion to refer complaints of misconduct not covered by this Policy to any other appropriate office for handling or resolve other complaints of misconduct under any other applicable University policy or code.

IV. Scope: Definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment (Prohibited Conduct)

  1. Prohibited Conduct will be defined as:

    Conduct on the basis of sex committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of those involved which is one of the following:

    1. When a University employee conditions the provision of an aid, educational benefit or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct (quid pro quo); or
    2. Unwelcome conduct[1] determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, and pervasive, and objectively offensive, that it effectively denies a person equal access to an educational program or activity of the University;
    3. “Sexual assault” as defined in 20 U.S.C. § 1092(f)(6)(A)(v), “dating violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(10), “domestic violence” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(8), or “stalking” as defined in 34 U.S.C. 12291(a)(30). See below.

  2. Sexual Assault:

    1. Sexual Offenses, Forcible: Any sexual act directed against another person/Complainant without the consent of the Complainant, including instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent:
      1. Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the Complainant.
      2. Oral or anal sexual intercourse with another person, forcibly, or against that person’s will (non-consensual), or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
      3. The use of an object or instrument to penetrate, however slightly, the genital or anal opening of the body of another person, forcibly, or against that person’s will (non-consensually) or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.
      4. The touching of the private body parts of another person (buttocks, groin, breasts), for the purpose of sexual gratification, forcibly, or against that person’s will (non-consensually), or not forcibly or against the person’s will in instances in which the Complainant is incapable of giving consent because of age or because of temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity.

    2. Sex Offenses, Non-forcible, Includes Any of the Following:
      1. Incest: Non-forcible sexual intercourse between persons who are related to each other, within the degrees wherein marriage is prohibited by Oregon Law.
      2. Statutory Rape: Non-forcible sexual intercourse, with a person who is under the statutory age of consent.

  3. Dating Violence: Violence committed by a person, who is in or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant. The existence of such a relationship will be determined based on a consideration of the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

  4. Domestic Violence:  Violence, on the basis of sex, committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, or by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, or by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Oregon, or by any other person against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence law of Oregon.

  5. Sex-Based Stalking: Engaging in a course of conduct on the basis of sex directed at a specific person, that would cause a reasonable person to fear for the person’s safety, or the safety of others, or suffer substantial emotional distress. This policy covers instances of stalking based on sex, including stalking that occurs online or through messaging platforms, commonly known as cyber-stalking, when it occurs in the school’s education program or activity.

V. General Definitions

All terms not defined here will continue to have their meaning derived from the Sexual Misconduct Resolution Procedures for Students and Discriminatory Misconduct Procedures for Employees.   

Advisor:  All persons who are a Complainant or a Respondent are permitted to bring an advisor of their own choosing to any meeting or interview to provide support.  The advisor may be any person, including a family member or an attorney.  The Advisor may accompany the Party to any and all portions of the grievance process. Other than asking questions of the other Party, or of witnesses, at the hearing, the Advisor may not participate directly in, or interfere with, the proceedings. Although reasonable attempts will be made to schedule proceedings consistent with an Advisor’s availability, the process will not be delayed to schedule the proceedings at the convenience of the Advisor. The Title IX Coordinator has the discretion to remove the Advisor from the proceedings if the Advisor interferes with the proceedings. For any Complainant or Respondent who does not have an advisor at the hearing, a Hearing Advisor will be provided, at no charge, for purposes of cross-examination of the other Party or witnesses.  

Hearing Advisor:  Each party is entitled to one Hearing Advisor at the hearing.  The Hearing Advisor may be the same person who serves as the Advisor during the investigation process. The role of the Hearing Advisor is to ask questions  of the other Party and of witnesses, but not to advocate for, or otherwise speak on behalf of, the advisee during the hearing.  No party will be permitted to ask questions of the other Party, or of a witness.  An advisor of the University’s choosing will be provided for any party who does not have an advisor for the purpose of asking questions of the other party and witnesses at the hearing. The advisor will still attend the hearing even if the party chooses not to be present at the hearing. 

Alternative Resolution: An informal resolution of the complaint that does not necessitate a full investigation or adjudication, where both parties wish to resolve the case without a completed investigation or adjudication, and where the Respondent has admitted or wishes to admit responsibility.

Complainant: An individual (enrolled student, University employee, applicant or alum) who files a complaint to report a violation of this policy. It also includes any person who is reported to have experienced a violation of this policy in cases where some other person has made a report on that person’s behalf.

Consent : The University defines consent as an informed agreement between participants to willingly and actively engage in sexual activity established through continuous communication using mutually understandable words or actions, with the understanding that consent is revocable and must be given free of force or coercion.

For More Information About How Consent is Analyzed See the Sexual Misconduct Policy for Students.

Days:  Any reference to days within this Policy will be counted as the University business days unless otherwise specified. 

Formal Complaint: The term “Formal Complaint” has a very specific definition within this Policy, as further defined below at Section H. Whether one is filed does not depend on the label applied, but instead on whether the specific elements listed are met.  A Formal Complaint is the act that initiates an investigation or resolution. Individuals who would like more information about filing a Formal Complaint are invited to contact the Title IX Coordinator for additional information.

Hearing Administrator: A trained and impartial person or persons designated by the University to conduct the Live Hearing or Panel Review, make a decision regarding the alleged violations based upon a preponderance of the evidence, and impose sanctions, if applicable. Also called a Decision-maker.

Investigator: A trained and impartial person designated by the University to investigate allegations of Prohibited Conduct.

Incapacitation: A state where an individual cannot make an informed and rational decision to engage in sexual activity because of a lack of conscious understanding of the fact, nature, or extent of the act (e.g., to understand the who, what, when, where, why, or how of the sexual interaction) or is physically helpless. An individual asleep or unconscious is considered to be incapacitated and unable to consent to sexual activity. An individual will also be considered incapacitated if the person cannot understand the nature of the activity or communicate due to a mental or physical condition. Incapacitation may result from the use of alcohol, drugs, or other medication. Consumption of alcohol or other drugs alone is insufficient to establish incapacitation.

The impact of alcohol and drugs varies from person to person, and evaluating incapacitation requires an assessment of how the consumption of alcohol or drugs impacts an individual’s: (a) decision-making ability; (b) awareness of consequences; (c) ability to make informed judgments; or (d) capacity to appreciate the nature and the quality of the act.

It will not be a valid excuse that the Respondent believed that the Complainant consented to the sexual activity if the Respondent knew or reasonably should have known that the Complainant was unable to consent to the sexual activity under any of the following circumstances: (a) the Complainant was asleep or unconscious; (b) the Complainant was incapacitated due to the influence of alcohol or drugs, including medication, so that the Complainant could not understand the fact, nature, or extent of the sexual activity; or (c) the Complainant was unable to communicate due to a mental or physical condition.

Whether the Respondent reasonably should have known that the Complainant was incapacitated will be evaluated using an objective reasonable person standard. The fact that the Respondent was actually unaware of the Complainant’s incapacity is irrelevant to this analysis, particularly where the Respondent’s failure to appreciate the Complainant’s incapacitation resulted from the Respondent’s failure to take reasonable steps to determine the Complainant’s capacity or where the Respondent’s own capacity was impaired (from alcohol or drugs) and caused the Respondent to misjudge the Complainant’s capacity.

It is the responsibility of the individual initiating the sexual activity to be aware of the intoxication level of the other party before engaging in sexual activity. In general, sexual activity while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs poses a risk to all parties. If there is any doubt as to the level or extent of the other individual’s intoxication, it is safest to forgo or cease any sexual contact or activity. 

Party: A Complainant or Respondent in a case.

Preponderance of Evidence: The standard of evidence used during the investigation to determine whether the alleged conduct occurred and whether this Policy was violated. It means “more likely than not.”

Protected Activity: Exercising any right or privilege under this policy. Examples of protected activities include reporting (internally or externally) a complaint of Prohibited Conduct in good faith, assisting others in making such a report, participating in a grievance process, acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy, honestly participating as an investigator, witness, decision maker, or otherwise assisting in, an investigation or proceeding related to an alleged violation of this Policy.

Respondent: An individual against whom a complaint is filed.

Responsible Employee: An employee who has been designated by the University as required to report all information relating to reports of Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Coordinator.

Standard of Evidence: The decision regarding a Respondent’s responsibility will be determined by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning “more likely than not.”

Third-Party Reporter: A person other than the Complainant who reports an incident or allegation of Prohibited Conduct. 

Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator: The University officials or designees charged with ensuring the University’s overall compliance with Title IX and related University policies and procedures.

VI. Seeking Support or Assistance

The University supports an individual’s decision not to pursue Formal Complaints under these or any other procedures, or a desire for anonymity. Prior to reporting, individuals may first seek support and information from a confidential staff or community member in considering whether to file a formal or informal report. 

Supportive Measures

To receive supportive measures a person must disclose a concern to a Willamette University confidential or non-confidential resource. This means that in order to receive any supportive measures, the Complainant’s name and some additional details will need to be disclosed, and the Title IX Coordinator must be informed so as to approve whether or not the supportive measures are sufficient to ensure that they are appropriate designed to provide or restore equal access to Willamette’s educational programs or activities. For individuals seeking supportive measures or confidential assistance who have not yet decided to report to the University, please seek assistance from a Willamette University confidential resource.

Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive, free of charge individualized services offered to a Complainant or a Respondent by the University as appropriate and reasonably available. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other party.  Supportive measures are also available whether or not a Formal Complaint has been filed.

Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to:

  • Mutual No contact/Restricted contact order.
  • Dorm room changes.
  • Assistance with arrangements with faculty for academic work (extended deadlines, rescheduled exams, etc.).
  • Taking an “incomplete” in a course.
  • Increased safety or escorts on campus.
  • Work schedule changes.
  • Other measures on a case-by-case basis.

Note:  Any Supportive Measures put in place will be kept confidential, except to the extent that doing so impairs the ability of the University to provide the Supportive Measures.

Confidential Resources

Confidential Resources for Students:

Students who are considering or wanting to report prohibited conduct are encouraged to meet with a Confidential Advocate to review options, discuss the processes available and advocate for students who need supportive resources or measures on campus.

Information shared with any of the confidential resources listed below will be kept confidential, and will not be disclosed to other campus offices or individuals without the written consent of the individual.

Confidential Advocates for Students:

University Confidential Advocate 503-375-5361
Sexual Assault Response Advocates (SARAs)
-specially-trained student volunteers
503-851-4245


Confidential Health & Counseling for Students:

University Chaplain 503-370-6213
Bishop Wellness Center (Health & Counseling) 503-370-6062
WUTalk/ProtoCall 24-Hour phone crisis support 503-375-5353


Confidential Counseling for Employees:

Employees may seek out confidential resources through the Employee Assistance Program or other local health and counseling resources.

Confidentiality, Privilege and Privacy:
Confidentiality, Privilege and Privacy have distinct meanings under this Policy.

Confidentiality” generally means that information shared with a campus designated confidential resource will not be revealed to any other person or office, including during an investigation, unless written permission is granted by the individual to share their information. However, not all confidential resources have a legal privilege that protects information from disclosure in other settings.

“Privilege” generally refers to licensed professionals including mental health and health care providers, ordained clergy and personal attorneys all of whom must keep information confidential as required by their professions and licenses. These individuals are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others, or if a report involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18. Confidential Advocates do have a legal privilege but are, however, required by state law to notify Child Protective Services or local law enforcement in cases of suspected child abuse. This is a 24/7 responsibility. In addition, the legal privilege they have protects communications made between the professional and the student, and records created or maintained in the course of providing services to the student from disclosure in court.

Privacy” generally means that information related to a report of Prohibited Conduct will only be shared with a limited circle of trained individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation, or resolution of the report. While not bound by confidentiality, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

The privacy of student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), as outlined in the University’s FERPA Policy. The privacy of an individual’s medical and related records may be protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”), excepting health records protected by FERPA. Access to an employee’s personnel records may be restricted by applicable state and federal law.

While there are certain limitations on privacy, the University generally will not release the names of the Complainant or Respondent to the general public without express written consent or absent another exception consistent with the law. The release of names will be guided by applicable law, including the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Clery Act.

In addition, no information will be released from a proceeding to enforce this Policy except as required or permitted by law and The University Policy.

Anonymous Reports: Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of Prohibited Conduct. The Title IX Coordinator will receive the anonymous report and will determine any appropriate steps, including individual or community remedies as may be appropriate, and in compliance with all Clery Act obligations.

Depending on the extent of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, however, the University’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited. This means that unless identifiable information is shared with the Title IX Coordinator or a responsible employee, the University may not be able to take any action to stop the discrimination or harassment, remedy its effects, or prevent future instances of discrimination and harassment, because it will not be able to engage in the appropriate procedures under this policy.

Please note that a Formal Complaint cannot be filed anonymously, and is only considered to have been filed when the complaint contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint.

Amnesty for Students: A student Complainant or Third Party who reports a violation of this policy, or any student participant in an investigation or hearing under this policy will not be subject to the University’s policy concerning alcohol or other drug use for personal consumption at or near the time of Prohibited Conduct, unless the violation placed the health or safety of another at risk.

VII. Reporting Prohibited Conduct

The University encourages individuals who believe they are experiencing sexual harassment to report the harassment. Those who are aware or reasonably believe that another person is being sexually harassed, may also make a report through this process, or seek support from confidential resources.  Please note that a report is not the same as a Formal Complaint, and therefore a report alone, does not start the formal resolution process (investigation and hearing).

Reports of potential violations of this policy will be kept private to the extent possible for the University to respond to the report, but reports made to those listed below are not confidential.

Reports of potential violations of this Policy may be made to the Title IX Coordinator, the VP of Student Affairs’ designee or to the AVP of Human Resources or designee, and via the Sexual Misconduct Report Form.

In addition to, or instead of, filling out the Sexual Misconduct Report Form, individuals may choose to speak with any non-confidential Willamette University employee to initiate a report of sexual misconduct, or may submit a written statement by email or regular mail (see information below on filing a Formal Complaint).

Upon being notified of a report the Title IX Coordinator or designee will reach out to the individual who experienced the alleged misconduct to schedule an Intake Interview and will also provide the individual information regarding resources, rights, Supportive Measures and reporting options, and will explain that Supportive Measures are available without filing a Formal Complaint (defined below).  The Title IX Coordinator will also explain the process for filing a Formal Complaint, which is needed in order to start either the investigation or Informal Resolution processes.

Individuals may also notify the University if they believe someone else may have experienced conduct that would be a violation of this Policy.  

Duty to Report Allegations of Sexual Harassment (Responsible Employees).

Any University employee (other than the Confidential Advocates, Student Health and Counseling Centers staff and Chaplains working within the scope of their employment) who observes sexual harassment or who knows of, or is informed of alleged sexual harassment, must promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator or designee of the allegation.

University employees should not attempt to resolve a complaint of sexual harassment without assistance from the Title IX Coordinator. Employees must also comply with their obligations to report any child abuse or neglect consistent with state law, as well as Campus Security Authority reporting obligations.

Timely Warning.

If a report of sexual misconduct presents a serious and continuing threat to the community, Willamette University may issue a campus-wide timely warning to protect the health and safety of community members. The timely warning will not include any identifying information about the person who experienced the unwanted behavior as defined by the Policy.

Timeline for Reporting.

The University does not limit the timeframe for reporting an incident regardless of when the incident occurred. However, individuals are encouraged to report as soon as practical, as memories may fade and evidence may be lost over time. 

Retaliation Prohibited.

Retaliation is prohibited by University policy. The University will not tolerate any materially adverse action against a person who reports, complains about, or who otherwise participates in good faith in any manner related to this policy. Retaliation includes but is not limited to, confirmed or implied behaviors or actions (including electronic or on-line activity) which intimidate, threaten, or harass, or result in other adverse actions threatened or taken. Retaliation does not include petty slights or trivial annoyances.

An individual reporting sexual misconduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not substantiated based on the available evidence. Retaliation does not include good faith actions pursued in response to a report of prohibited conduct. Any person who believes they have experienced retaliation under this policy should contact the Title IX Coordinator who forward any complaint of retaliation to the appropriate office for handling. Retaliation may subject the person who retaliates to disciplinary action up to and including expulsion or termination.

It is critical that a person responding to a claim of harassment or discrimination (the Respondent), and those who may be supportive of the Respondent, recognize that many behaviors may be perceived as retaliatory. When in doubt about whether a certain action, communication, or behavior might be viewed as retaliatory, please consult with the Title IX Coordinator.

No Conflict of Interest or Bias.

Any individual carrying out this Policy will be free from any actual conflict of interest or demonstrated bias that would impact the handling of this matter. Should the Title IX Coordinator have a conflict of interest, the Title IX Coordinator is to immediately notify the VP for Student Affairs or the VP for Human Resources who will designate the role of Acting Title IX Coordinator for purposes of carrying out the handling and finalization of the matter at issue. Should any investigator, Hearing Administrator or Appeals Officer have a conflict of interest, the individual is to notify the Title IX Coordinator upon discovery of the conflict. 

Provision of False Information.

It is a violation of University policies for anyone to intentionally provide false information to the University. Any employee or student who is found to have done so as part of this process may be subject to appropriate disciplinary or corrective action.

VIII. Outreach and Initial Assessment

Outreach and Intake Interview

Upon receipt of information or a report alleging a potential violation of this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will reach out to the individual who experienced the misconduct to schedule an Intake or Informational Interview and provide a copy of this policy and the following information:

  • Availability of supportive measures with or without filing a Formal Complaint;
  • How to file a Formal Complaint;
  • Right to notify law enforcement and the right not to notify law enforcement, their right to decline to do so, and, when applicable, information about seeking a personal protection order from the local courts;
  • Importance of preserving evidence;
  • Resources for counseling, health care, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid and other available services; and,
  • Right to an advisor of their choice.

That individual may choose to receive Supportive Measures only and not proceed with the filing of a Formal Complaint. They may also request an Alternative Rresolution or an Investigation and Hearing.  For any resolution other than supportive measures, a Formal Complaint is required.

The Title IX Coordinator or designee will discuss the individual’s rights and options, and will also assess for, and provide, appropriate supportive measures, which are available with, or without, the filing of a Formal Complaint. If a Formal Complaint has not already been filed, the Title IX Coordinator will explain to the individual the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

For those who wish to proceed with any resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator will assess the facts as presented to determine whether the information provided suggests a potential violation of this Policy. If the report does not meet the required definitions of this Policy, then the Title IX Coordinator will not initiate the Formal Process 

Student Emergency Removal Provisions/Interim Safety Measures

If at any time the University determines that the conduct, as alleged, poses a risk of immediate physical harm arising from the sexual harassment, to one or more members of the University community or to the University’s educational environment, the University may instruct that a Respondent be removed or placed on leave, on an interim basis, from specific programs or activities. 

Any such risk assessment will be made on a case-by-case basis, based on an individualized safety and risk analysis including consideration of applicable disability procedures, less restrictive alternatives and supportive measures, and will be determined by the Title IX Coordinator in consultation with appropriate University officials. 

The decision to do so will be provided to the Respondent in writing. 

Opportunity to Respond 

Students should contact the Vice President of Student Affairs/Dean of Students within 3 business days of the interim suspension, who will explain the University’s process for challenging the emergency removal.

Employee Administrative Leave: The University will have the authority to place any employee Respondent on an administrative leave of absence pending the outcome of an investigation and hearing.

Employees may contact the AVP for Human Resources if they wish to discuss the emergency removal.

The decision to place any Respondent on an interim suspension or administrative leave will not be considered as evidence that any determination has been made regarding potential responsibility for violating this Policy. 

IX. Filing a Formal Complaint

In order to proceed to a resolution process, a Formal Complaint must be filed and signed by either a Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator.  A Formal Complaint has a very specific definition under this policy and differs from solely making a report to the Title IX Coordinator. 

Complainant Status: At the time of filing a Formal Complaint, the Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in a University program or activity. A Formal Complaint may not be filed anonymously. 

A Formal Complaint must include:

  1. The Complainant’s digital or physical signature, or an indication that the Complainant is the person filing the Formal Complaint

  2. An allegation of prohibited conduct as defined under this Policy. This may include the following, if known:
    1. Where the incident(s) occurred
    2. What incident(s) occurred
    3. When the incident(s) occurred
  3. Identity of Respondent, if known

  4. A request for an investigation

Formal Complaints may be made to the Title IX Coordinator by US Mail, email, or in person:

Darci Heroy
University Center, Office of Student Affairs
Willamette University
900 State St.
Salem, OR 97301
503-370-6447
dheroy@willamette.edu

If a complaint is submitted in a form that does not meet this standard, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to confirm a Complainant’s intent to file a Formal Complaint. Further, if the Formal Complaint does not have sufficient information to determine whether the conduct as alleged will fall under this policy, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to schedule an Intake Interview.

Non-participating Complainant

In the event that the individual declines to participate in an Intake Interview, and if the complaint contains an allegation meeting all of the jurisdictional elements of this Policy, the complaint is signed or includes an electronic submission from the Complainant, and requests an investigation, that will constitute a Formal Complaint. If a Complainant chooses not to participate, they will still receive updates regarding the resolution process, unless the Complainant chooses in writing not to receive them.

Title IX Coordinator- Initiated Complaint

The Title IX Coordinator will have the discretion to sign a Formal Complaint and initiate an investigation and will be evaluated in the context of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for its employees and students. The factors that the University may consider in this regard include the seriousness of the alleged harassment, whether there have been other complaints or reports of harassment against the alleged harasser, and the nature of the allegations such as use of weapons, drugs or intoxicants, serial violations or other threats to the Complainant or the community. When the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator does not become the “Complainant” for purposes of this Policy. 

Consolidation of Cases:  In the event that the allegations under this policy also involve allegations of a violation of a separate policy, the Title IX Coordinator in consultation with the VP of Student Affairs or AVP of Human Resources will have discretion to consolidate those other allegations within one investigation or hearing.  Allegations of a violation of a separate policy are not required to be handled using the procedural requirements set forth in this policy. 

If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the report does not meet the standards of the Formal Complaint, the Complainant will be notified. The Complainant may appeal this determination within five (5) business days as described in the Appeals section below.

If the Formal Complaint meets the above standards, it will result in written notification to the Respondent and the commencement of a Resolution Process, as described below.

X. Title IX Resolution Methods

After a Formal Complaint is filed, the University will issue Notice to the Complainant and the Respondent which will include information on the below methods of resolution. The University may then determine one of these three methods to resolve a potential violation of this policy: 

1) alternative resolution;
2) investigation and hearing; or
3) dismissal.

  1. Title IX Alternative Resolution

    The Title IX Coordinator may offer to the parties the option of Alternative Resolution at any time during the Resolution Process. Either party may also request, in writing, to proceed with an Alternative Resolution. Participation in the Alternative Resolution process is voluntary for both Complainant and Respondent. Both parties and the Title IX Coordinator must agree to the use of Alternative Resolution to resolve the complaint. If an Alternative Resolution option is preferred, the Title IX Coordinator will assess whether the complaint is suitable for Alternative Resolution and will then take steps to determine if the other party is also willing to engage in Alternative Resolution. Both parties must agree, in writing, to an Alternative Resolution.

    The Title IX Coordinator may determine that Alternative Resolution is not appropriate, for example, where other formal action may be reasonably necessary to prevent continuing or future Prohibited Conduct, where there is a threat to the safety of the complainant or campus community, or where multiple reports have occurred against the same respondent.

    Note: Allegations that an employee has engaged in Prohibited Conduct toward a student will not be handled through the Alternative Resolution process, and instead be resolved only through the Investigation and Hearing process. 

    When either party requests an Alternative Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Complainant and Respondent written notice that includes: 

    • The specific allegation and the specific conduct that is alleged to have occurred;
    • The requirements of the Alternative Resolution process including the circumstances under which it precludes the parties from resuming a Formal Complaint arising from the same allegations;
    • The right of either party to end the Alternative Resolution process at any time and instead choose to pursue a formal investigation process;
    • Any consequences resulting from participating in the Alternative Resolution process, including the records that will be maintained or could be shared;
    • A statement indicating that the decision to accept a complaint does not presume that the conduct at issue has occurred, and that the Respondent is presumed not responsible, unless and until, at the conclusion of the formal investigation and adjudication processes, there is a determination of responsibility;
    • An explanation that each party may be accompanied by an Advisor and a support person) of their choice, who may be a parent, friend, or attorney;
    • The date and time of the initial meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, with a minimum of 2 days’ notice;
    • Information regarding Supportive Measures, which are available equally to the Respondent and to the Complainant.

    If either party does not voluntarily agree in writing to pursue an Alternative Resolution, or if the Complainant, Respondent, or Title IX Coordinator, at any time, determines that Alternative Resolution is no longer appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform the Complainant and Respondent in writing that the complaint will proceed through the Investigation and Hearing Process.

    For employees (i.e., an employee allegation against another employee), the terms of Alternative Resolution may lead to non-disciplinary outcomes such as additional training for a unit or area, agreements for how to continue working together, ongoing no-contact directives or meetings with the Respondent to discuss the conduct at issue.

    Once the final terms of an Alternative Resolution have been agreed upon by both parties, in writing, the matter will be considered closed, and no further action will be taken. Voluntary agreements under the Alternative Resolution process are not subject to appeal.

    The Alternative Resolution process is generally expected to be completed within thirty (30) days and may be extended for good cause by the Title IX Coordinator. Both parties will be notified, in writing, of any extension and the reason for the extension.

    Records of any Alternative Resolution will be maintained and may be shared with other offices as appropriate.

  2. Title IX Investigation and Hearing Process

    The University expects that all individuals who participate in the investigation process do so truthfully and that all who have a responsibility for carrying out one or more aspects of the investigation and hearing process do so fairly and without prejudice or bias.

    1. Prohibition on False Evidence Provided During Process

      Each party and every witness is expected to provide truthful information to the investigator, Hearing Administrator, and the Appeals Officer. Providing intentionally false or misleading information may result in charges for possible violations of the Code of Conduct or University policy.

    2. Notice of Investigation, and Investigation Process

      Within a reasonable period of time from the filing of a Formal Complaint and prior to the start of an investigation, the Respondent and Complainant will be provided, in writing, with a Notice of Investigation. Such notice will include:

      • The specific allegation and the specific conduct that is alleged to have occurred;
      • The identities of the Complainant and Respondent;
      • The date and location (if known) of the conduct that is alleged to have occurred;
      • A copy of this Policy, which contains the process that will be followed, including an explanation that each party will have the right to inspect and review all evidence prior to the completion of the investigation;
      • A statement indicating that the decision to accept a complaint does not presume that the conduct at issue has occurred, and that the Respondent is presumed not responsible, unless and until, at the conclusion of the process below, there is a determination of responsibility;
      • An explanation that each party may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice, who may be a parent, friend, attorney;
      • The date and time of the initial interview with the investigator, with a minimum of five (5) days notice;
      • Information regarding amnesty granted during this process;
      • The name and contact information for the assigned investigator;
      • Information regarding supportive measures.

      Should additional allegations be brought forward, a revised Notice of Investigation will be provided to both parties, in writing. 

      If an investigation is initiated, the university will appoint a trained Investigator(s). The Investigator(s) may be an employee or third-party hired by Willamette University. Any Investigator(s) chosen to conduct an Investigation must be impartial and free from any conflict of interest.

      Challenging for Conflict of Interest or Bias

      After a Formal Notice of Investigation is issued to Complainant and Respondent, each party may object to the Title IX Coordinator or designated investigator on the grounds of a demonstrated bias or actual conflict of interest. Both parties will have three (3) business days from the date of the Notice of Investigation to object to the selection of the investigator or the Title IX Coordinator on those grounds.  Objections to the Title IX Coordinator will be made, in writing, to either the Vice President for Student Affairs or the AVP for Human Resources. Objections to the appointment of the investigator will be made, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator. If the objection is substantiated as to either the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator, that individual will be replaced. 

      A conflict of interest may include, for example, situations where an assigned official is a party’s family member, close friend, current or former faculty member, advisor or has other similar relationships with a party. The fact that an individual is the same or different gender, race, etc., of a party or individual involved in the process, or regarding someone’s professional experience (e.g. former prosecutor or defense attorney) is not considered a conflict or bias and requests for changes in staffing on these bases will not be considered.

      Evidentiary Standard

      The preponderance of the evidence standard is used in determining whether or not a Respondent charged with an allegation of sexual misconduct is responsible for a violation. The Respondent is presumed not responsible for any violation unless responsibility is established by a conscientious and rational judgment on the whole record indicating it is more likely than not the alleged behavior occurred.

      Timeline

      The University strives to complete the investigation process, up to evidence review, within 40 days, which may be extended for good cause by the Title IX Coordinator. Both parties will be notified, in writing, of any extension granted, the reason for the extension and the new anticipated date of conclusion of the investigation.

      Interviews

      The Investigator will interview all parties and relevant witnesses and gather relevant documentary evidence provided by the parties and any identified witnesses.  Interviews may be conducted in person, or via video conference.  The investigator will prepare a summary of each interview.

      Each party will be provided with an opportunity to offer relevant witnesses and evidence. Information or evidence that is not provided to the investigator will not generally be allowed during the hearing, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such information was not reasonably known to or available to the parties at the time of the investigation.

      Site Visit(s): The Investigator(s) may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written, photographic, or other means.

      Expert Consultation(s): The Investigator(s) may consult medical, forensic, technological or other experts when expertise on a topic is needed in order to achieve a fuller understanding of the issues under Investigation.

      Coordination with Law Enforcement: The Investigator will contact any law enforcement agency that is conducting its own investigation to inform that agency that a university Investigation is also in progress; to ascertain the status of the criminal investigation; or to determine the extent to which any evidence collected by law enforcement may be available to the university in its investigation.

    3. Evidence Review and Investigation Report

      Evidence Review: At the conclusion of all interviews and fact gathering, and when the evidence has been gathered, the investigator will provide each party, and their Advisor, the opportunity to review all of the evidence gathered that is directly related to the allegation(s).  This will include both incubatory and exculpatory evidence, meaning evidence both supporting or not supporting the allegations at issue. 

      Given the sensitive nature of the information provided, the information will be provided in a secure manner (for example, by providing digital copies of the materials through a protected, “read-only” web portal or utilizing other safeguards). Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent (nor their Advisors) may copy, remove, photograph, print, image, videotape, record, or in any manner otherwise duplicate or remove the information provided. Any student or employee who fails to abide by this Policy may be subject to discipline. Any Advisor who fails to abide by this Policy may be subject to discipline and/or may be excluded from further participation in the process.

      Response to Evidence: Each party will have ten (10) days in which to respond to the evidence, in writing, and submit it to the investigator. The written response may not be longer than ten (10) pages, unless an exception is provided for good cause. The investigator will incorporate any response provided by the parties into the Final Investigation Report. Along with their response to the evidence, each party may also submit a written request for additional investigation, such as a request for a follow-up interview(s) with existing witnesses to clarify or provide additional information, including offering questions to the investigator to pose to witnesses or to the other party. This response may include written, relevant questions that a party would like the investigator to ask of any party or witness. If any of the questions posed will be excluded as not relevant, or not likely to lead to relevant information, the investigator will explain to the party who proposed the questions any decision to exclude a question as not relevant and those questions will still be included in the final report as an appendix.

      Additional Submissions After Evidence Review: Upon receipt of each party’s response to the evidence reviewed, the investigator will determine if any additional investigation is needed. In addition, either party may offer new witnesses or other new evidence. This is the final opportunity for parties to offer evidence. The investigator will consider the responses provided, may pose questions to parties or witnesses as appropriate, and may interview new relevant witnesses, or accept new, relevant, evidence.

      If new relevant evidence is provided by either party, or gathered by the investigator, the newly-gathered evidence (including answers to clarifying questions) will be made available for review by each party. Each party will have ten (10) days in which to respond to the new evidence. Each may provide a response in writing to the investigator, and the investigator will incorporate any written response provided by the parties into the Final Investigation Report.

      Any evidence to be considered by the Hearing Administrator must be provided to the Investigator.  Information that was not provided to the Investigator will not be allowed during the hearing itself, unless it can be clearly demonstrated that such information was not reasonably known to, or available to, the parties at the time of the investigation. Should new evidence be presented at the hearing, the Hearing Administrator will have the authority to delay the hearing and send the matter back for further, limited investigation.

      Exclusion of Questions Regarding Complainant’s Past Sexual Behavior, or Predisposition

      Questions and evidence about a Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant and will not be permitted, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered: (a) to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or (b) if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.  

      Final Investigation Report

      The investigator will prepare a written report summarizing all of the relevant evidence gathered and all investigative steps taken to date. For those cases in which there are also allegations of non-Title IX policies, the investigator will also make preliminary factual findings as to those policies if requested to do so by the Title IX Coordinator. 

      The investigator will not make any findings regarding credibility or determination of policy violations for any Title IX Policy allegations. The investigator may suggest preliminary factual findings based on relevant evidence.

      The investigator will attach to the Final Investigation Report any responses received in writing from the parties, and will include as an attachment all relevant evidence gathered during the investigation, as well as all interview transcripts and interview summaries.

    4. Conclusion of Investigation, Threshold Review of Report


      Threshold Review of the Report
      Prior to issuing the Final Investigative Report to the Parties, the VPSA/Dean of Students or AVP of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Investigator, will review the draft Final Investigation Report and make a threshold determination either to dismiss the Formal Complaint or certain allegations within the Formal Complaint, or to proceed to adjudication. Dismissal is appropriate only when required (as described in the Dismissal Section below). A dismissal decision under this provision may not be based on an assessment of the credibility of a Party or Witness and may be appealed within 5 business days , using one of the permissible grounds for appeal.

      The Hearing phase of the Formal Process begins when the Title IX Coordinator or designee sends the Notice of Administrative Hearing and concludes when the Hearing Administrator issues a written Final Determination. Specific deadlines and dates calculated according to these procedures will be outlined in communications from the University.

    5. Post-Investigation Resolution Options

      Within five (5) business days of receiving the Final Investigation Report, the Parties will receive a Notice of Resolution Options from the Title IX Coordinator, and either AVP of Human Resources or VP/Dean of Student Affairs or their designee. The parties will then determine their preferred manner of resolution.

      Alternative Resolution

      Within five (5) business days of the Notice of Resolution Options, the parties may choose to not proceed to a Live Hearing, and instead proceed with an Alternative Resolution, as described above in Section X(1) . Both parties must voluntarily agree in writing to the Alternative Resolution, and if so, the Formal Complaint will be resolved by the Alternative Resolution agreement. An Alternative Resolution agreement is final and not subject to appeal.

      Unless both parties agree to Alternative Resolution, the Formal Complaint will proceed to a Violation Agreement or Administrative Hearing.

      Violation Agreement

      If the Respondent agrees to acknowledge the violation(s) occurred, and neither party chooses to proceed to a Live Hearing, both parties will be sent a Violation Agreement, which includes the Final Investigation Report and the written determination of the appropriate discipline/sanction. Only the sanction may be appealed, and there is not right to appeal on other grounds. This Notice will also describe any right to appeal the sanction.

      Unless resolved through an Alternative Resolution or Violation Agreement, then an Administrative Hearing will proceed as outlined below.

      Live Administrative Hearing

      Each party will be provided with a Notice of Hearing, which will include information regarding the date of the hearing, the names of the assigned Hearing Administrator, and any deadlines for submission of evidence, names of witnesses, or questions to be reviewed by the Hearing Administrator to ensure relevance.  The hearing will be scheduled no less than ten (10) business days from the date of the Notice of Hearing.

      Within three (3) days of receipt of the Notice of Hearing, either party may object to a Hearing Administrator on the basis of a demonstrated bias or actual conflict of interest. Any objection is to be in writing and sent to Title IX Coordinator. Should the Title IX Coordinator determine that there is an actual bias or conflict of interest, the Title IX Coordinator will remove the Hearing Administrator and appoint another. 

    6. Administrative Hearing Procedures and Hearing, Final Determination


      Hearing Advisor
      Each party is entitled to one Advisor at the hearing which will be referred to as the Hearing Advisor.  The role of the Hearing Advisor is to ask questions of the other party and of witnesses, but not to advocate for, or otherwise speak on behalf of, the advisee during the hearing. No party will be permitted to ask questions of the other party, or of a witness.  A Hearing Advisor of the University’s choosing will be provided for any party who does not have a Hearing Advisor.  If the party does not appear, the Hearing Advisor will still appear to ask questions of the other party and any witnesses.

      There will be a pre-hearing meeting with each party and Hearing Advisor at which time, should the Complainant or Respondent not have a Hearing Advisor, one will be assigned.

      Administrative Hearing

      Hearings will be scheduled as far in advance as possible. The Hearing Administrator will provide three possible hearing dates to the Parties and their Advisors; one of those dates must be chosen. Exceptions may be granted for good cause.

      Pre-Hearing Conference: There will be a pre-hearing meeting with each party at which time, should the Complainant or Respondent not have an Advisor, one shall be assigned for the purpose of cross-examination at the Hearing. At the meeting, each party may submit to the Decision-maker a preliminary list of witnesses, and questions they wish to pose to the other party, or to a witness. 

      General Structure of the Hearing: Hearings may be conducted in person or via videoconferencing. If by videoconferencing, prior to the hearing, the Hearing Administrator will have received instruction regarding the operation of any audio-visual equipment for the hearing. The Hearing Administrator will also provide the participants instructions on how to participate in the video-conference hearing. No Complainant or Respondent or witness will be compelled to participate in the hearing. However, the Title IX Coordinator may choose to continue with the hearing in the absence of the Complainant, Respondent or any witness. The general structure of the Hearing will be as follows:

      1. The Hearing Administrator provides information about the process and addresses any issues that need to be resolved prior to the Hearing (such as evidentiary questions or requests for exceptions to the rules that may be asked by the parties).
      2. The Hearing Administrator will ask questions of the Complainant.
      3. The Respondent’s Advisor may ask relevant follow-up questions of the Complainant.
      4. The Hearing Administrator will ask questions of the Respondent.
      5. The Complainant’s Advisor may ask relevant follow-up questions of the Respondent.
      6. This same process is then repeated for each witness, with an opportunity for each party’s Hearing Advisor to ask relevant follow-up questions of (cross-examine) the witnesses.
      7. The Hearing Administrator may follow up with further questioning for either parties or any witness based on any statements at the Hearing.
      8. The Hearing Administrator will ensure that each party is provided with equitable opportunities to respond and question during the Hearing.
         

      Rules of the Hearing: The Advisors and Parties will be provided with additional rules of decorum for the Hearing at the Pre-Hearing Conference.  In addition to the rules that specifically apply during the Hearing listed below, parties and advisors will be expected to continue to adhere to all other expectations outlined in these procedures. 

      • Recordings: Each hearing will be recorded by the Hearing Administrator and this recording will be considered the only official recording of the hearing. No other individual is permitted to record while the hearing is taking place. The recording is the property of the University but will be made available for listening by contacting Title IX Coordinator.
      • Witnesses: The Complainant, Respondent, and the Hearing Administrator all have the right to call witnesses. No Party will be permitted to call as a witness anyone who was not interviewed by the investigator as part of the University’s investigation, unless good cause can be demonstrated. Each Party will submit to the Hearing Administrator the names of witnesses they would like to call no less than five (5) days in advance.
      • Question Submission: The Hearing Administrator will strongly encourage Parties to submit to them a preliminary list of questions for the other Party and witnesses three days prior to the hearing. This is not required, but it leads to far greater efficiency and a smoother hearing experience. If the Hearing Administrator determines that any submitted questions are not relevant, the Hearing Administrator will explain the reason for the exclusion of the question at the hearing. Each Party, through their Advisor, will also be permitted to ask additional questions at the hearing. In the event that a Party does not appear for the Hearing, the Advisor for that Party will appear and question the other Party, and witnesses.
      • Questioning Parties and Witnesses: Each party’s Advisor may ask the other Party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including questions challenging credibility. Such cross-examination will be conducted after the Hearing Administrator asks introductory questions of the Witness. The Parties themselves may not ask questions of the other Party or Witness.
      • Before a Party or Witness answers a cross-examination question, the Hearing Administrator must determine whether the question is relevant and, if the Hearing Administrator refuses to allow a given question, they must explain the decision to the Parties. Parties and witnesses will only answer questions allowed by the Hearing Administrator.  Questions may be limited by the Hearing Administrator only if they are irrelevant, including if they are repetitive, harassing or abusive. Questions proposed by the Parties but not asked will become part of the file available during an appeal.
      • Time for Hearing: The Hearing Administrator will have the authority to limit the time allotted to any phase of the hearing, or to limit the time allotted to the full hearing. Any such limitation will be communicated to the parties no later than three (3) days before the hearing, and exceptions can be made for good cause.
      • Evidence at the Hearing: The Hearing Administrator will determine which evidence is admitted, including information from witnesses and documentary evidence. Evidence is relevant if it has any tendency to make a fact that is of consequence more or less probable than it would be without the evidence.
      • Non-Title IX Allegations: Where there are non-Title IX allegations addressed at the same Hearing, the Hearing Administrator may consider all information they deem relevant for the non-Title IX allegations, however, in all other regards, when Title IX and non-Title IX allegations are addressed together at a Hearing, the procedures applicable to Title IX allegations will be used for all allegations.
      • Further Investigation: If the Hearing Administrator determines that unresolved issues exist that would be clarified by the presentation of additional information, they may, at their discretion, suspend the Administrative Hearing in order to obtain such information. The Hearing Administrator may ask the Investigator to conduct further investigation. The Hearing Administrator will reconvene the Hearing in a timely manner. 

      Non-Participation: The Hearing Administrator will not draw any inference regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s non-appearance at the hearing or refusal to answer questions.

      Final Determination

      Following the hearing, the Hearing Administrator will then prepare a Final Determination. To the extent credibility determination needs to be made, it will not be based on a person’s status as Complainant, Respondent, or witness. 

      The Hearing Administrator’s Final Determination will include: 

      • The allegations;
      • Description of all procedural steps;
      • Findings of fact;
      • Conclusion of application of facts to the Policy; and
      • Rationale for each allegation.


      The Hearing Administrator’s Final Determination will be provided to the Title IX Coordinator, and as appropriate to the AVP for Human Resources and Respondent’s supervisor, or Vice President for Student Affairs. If there is no finding of responsibility, the Hearing Administrator will communicate the findings, along with a copy of the Final Determination, to the parties, together with procedures for appeal.

      If there is a finding of responsibility, the Hearing Administrator will contact the appropriate sanctioning officer (AVP of Human Resources and Respondent’s supervisor, or VP of Student Affairs) who will determine the sanction and notify the Hearing Administrator of the sanctioning determination. The Hearing Administrator will then provide each party with the Final Determination, including the determination of the appropriate sanction, will inform the Complainant of any appropriate remedies, and will inform both parties of the procedure for appeals.

  3. Title IX Dismissal


    The University also has the discretion to dismiss a Formal Complaint, and in some cases an obligation to dismiss, as follows: 

    Mandatory Dismissal

    At any time prior to the commencement of a hearing, any case proceeding under this policy will be dismissed if it is determined that the conduct at issue does not meet the definitional or jurisdictional requirements of this policy. If the alleged conduct would, if true, support a finding that another University policy or code has been violated, the University may, in its sole authority, transfer the case for further handling under the appropriate policy or code. The University may use evidence already gathered during the Title IX process for the further handling of the complaint. Upon dismissal, both parties will be notified in writing of the decision and the rationale for the decision.  The decision to dismiss is subject to appeal. Both parties will be notified in writing of any determination made following the appeal.

    Discretionary Dismissal

    At any time during an investigation or prior to the commencement of a hearing, any case when: a) Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations within the Formal Complaint; b) the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed at the University; or c) circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination. If the alleged conduct would, if true, support a finding that another University policy or code has been violated, the University may, in its sole authority, transfer the case for further handling under the appropriate policy or code. The University may use evidence already gathered during the Title IX process for the further handling of the complaint. Upon dismissal, both parties will be notified in writing of the decision and the rationale for the decision. The decision to dismiss is subject to appeal. Both parties will be notified in writing of any determination made following the appeal.

XI. Sanctions and Remedies

Upon conclusion of the hearing process, when there is a finding of responsibility, the Complainant will be offered such remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the institution’s education program or activity. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for ensuring overall implementation of remedies.

Sanctions for students will follow the Sanctioning Process outlined in Section XIV of the Resolution Procedures for Sexual Misconduct for Students.  Sanctions will be determined on a case-by-case basis, intended to preserve equal access for the Complainant and in the best interest of the University’s educational environment.

Discipline for employees will follow the relevant university policies and procedures for employees.

XII. Appeals

A written request for an appeal may be filed by either party:

  • within five (5) days of a decision that the investigation does not meet requirements of a Formal Complaint; OR
  • within five (5) days of the Violation Agreement; OR
  • within five (5) days of receipt of the Final Determination; OR
  • within five (5) days of Dismissal

Appeals will be sent to the Title IX Coordinator, who will then send the appeal to the designated Appeals Officer. When an appeal is filed, the other Party will be notified, in writing, within one business day, and will then have five (5) business days to respond to the appeal. Any Party’s decision not to submit a reply to an appeal is not evidence that the non-appealing party agreed with the appeal.

The Appeals Officer will not have any actual conflict of interest or bias. Within three (3) days of assigning the Appeals Officer, either party may object to the Appeals Officer on the basis of an actual bias or conflict of interest. Any objection is to be in writing and sent to the Title IX Coordinator. Should the Title IX Coordinator determine that there is an actual bias or conflict of interest, the Title IX Coordinator will remove the Appeals Officer and appoint another.

While an appeal process is pending, a student or employee found responsible for violating the Policy or other Standards of Conduct must comply with the sanctions previously imposed and deemed necessary. A party may request a stay of the sanction during the appeal process, and should direct that request to the Title IX Coordinator.

If either party submits an appeal request, that appeal request will be shared with the other party who will then have five (5) business days to submit a response if they so choose. Appeal requests and responses to appeal requests will be shared with the Complainant and the Respondent.

The hearing record, which includes all hearing documents, the Investigation Report, the hearing recording, and appeal materials from both parties, will be submitted by the Title IX Coordinator to the Appeals Officer for review.

The appeal process is a closed process, limited to the review of the hearing record and appeal materials. There are no additional meetings with the involved parties unless there are exceptional circumstances as determined by the VP of Student Affairs or the VP of Human Resources, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.

Appeals May be Filed Only on the Following Grounds:

  1. Procedural Error: A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation or hearing. A description of the error and its impact on the outcome of the case must be included in the written appeal; or
  2. New Evidence: New evidence or information has arisen that was not available or known to the party during the investigation or hearing, and that could significantly impact the findings. Information that was known to the Appellant during the investigation or hearing but which they chose not to present is not new information. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact on the investigation findings must be included in the written appeal; or
  3. Actual Conflict of Interest or Demonstrated Bias: The Title IX Coordinator, investigator, or decision-maker had an actual conflict of interest or demonstrated bias for or against Complainants or Respondents generally, or the individual Complainant or Respondent, that affected the outcome of the matter; or
  4. Disproportionate to the Violation or previous disciplinary measures. That the sanction or discipline should be either increased or decreased in light of all the information available including prior sanctions or discipline assigned for comparable violations.

If a party appeals the discipline or sanction, both parties may provide to the Appeals Officer a mitigation or impact statement to explain the appeal of the discipline or sanction. Anything submitted to the Appeals Officer will be shared with the other party.

The written appeals decision will be sent simultaneously to both Parties and will describe the result of the appeal including the rationale.

XIII. Rights, Expectations & Responsibilities

Individuals making a complaint to the Title IX Coordinator (“Complainant”) and individuals responding to a complaint (“Respondent”) each have rights throughout the complaint, resolution, and adjudication process, and may expect a fair, neutral process that will follow this policy.  

Complainant and Respondent Rights

  • Be treated with respect by all University officials throughout this process;
  • Be informed of the available support resources or measures available;
  • Be free of any form of retaliation and free to report such retaliation for disciplinary action;
  • Obtain a mutual no contact or restricted contact directive with the other party upon request;
  • Be accompanied by one Advisor throughout the process, including at any interviews or hearing;
  • An adequate, reliable, impartial and prompt investigation of the allegations conducted within a reasonable period of time after a Formal Complaint is filed;
  • Receive written notice of the date, time and location of any interview scheduled with the investigator;
  • Be informed of the status of the investigation, to the extent possible;
  • Review all evidence which is directly related to the allegations prior to the conclusion of the investigation;
  • Meet with the investigator and present information on their own behalf, identify witnesses or other third parties who might have relevant information and identify or provide relevant documents or other information that may be helpful to the investigation;
  • Have past unrelated behavior excluded from the investigation process as specified above;
  • Question the selection of the investigator or Hearing Administrator on the basis of an actual conflict of interest or demonstrated bias;
  • Have a Hearing Advisor of the University’s choosing provided, at no charge, for purposes of asking questions of the other party or witnesses during the hearing proceeding;
  • Be notified of the hearing outcome and any sanctions applied, if applicable;
  • Initiate and participate in an appeal process;
  • Waive any of the rights contained herein.

Respecting Privacy

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of reports under this Policy. With respect to any report under this Policy, the University will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal law, while balancing the need to gather information to take steps to eliminate Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. All University employees who are involved in the University’s Title IX response receive specific instruction about respecting and safeguarding private information. 

Presumption of Non-Responsibility

The decision to proceed with an investigation is not in and of itself a determination that the Respondent has engaged in the conduct as alleged. Any Respondent is presumed not responsible for the conduct that is the subject of the investigation, unless and until a decision of responsibility has been made upon the completion of the adjudication process.

Requests for Delays, and Extensions of Time

The Title IX Coordinator may extend any deadlines within this Policy, for good cause. The Complainant and Respondent will be notified in writing of any extension, the reasons for it, and projected new timelines. 

XIV. Resources

On-campus

Confidential Advocates for Students:

University Confidential Advocate 503-375-5361
Sexual Assault Response Advocates (SARAs)
-specially-trained student volunteers
503-851-4245


Confidential Health & Counseling for Students:

University Chaplain 503-370-6213
Bishop Wellness Center (Health & Counseling) 503-370-6062
WUTalk/ProtoCall 24-Hour phone crisis support 503-375-5353


Confidential Counseling for Employees:

Employees may seek out confidential resources through the Employee Assistance Program or other local health and counseling resources.

Information shared with a confidential resource is not considered a report to the University.

 

Private Resources for Students (Non-confidential)

Title IX Coordinator 503-370-6195
Student Care and Conduct Manager, Student Affairs 503-370-6447
Housing Staff 503-370-6212
Willamette Emergency Medical Services (WEMS) 503-370-6911
Campus Safety 503-370-6911

 

Off-campus resources

Center for Hope and Safety

503-378-1572

Salem Hospital Emergency Department

  • Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE Program)
  • Medical exam for injury and forensic evidence collection post assault
  • Free Medications for possible STI exposure and pregnancy prevention offered to survivors
  • A trained advocate offered to support survivors during visit
  • Reporting to law enforcement is NOT REQUIRED to access care

Psychiatric Crisis Center 24/7

503-585-4949

Oregon Coalition Against Domestic &  Sexual Assault

Marion County District Attorney’s Office

  • 24- hour response for victims regardless of survivors intention to report to law enforcement
  • Ongoing support and advocacy throughout the investigation and prosecution of cases brought to the District Attorney’s Office

503-588-5253

Below are several additional resources available

  1. A Resource Handbook for Campus Sexual Assault Survivors, Friends, and Family: https://www.Oregon.gov/documents/campussexualassault/Campus_Sexual_Assault_Book_613695_7.pdf

XV. Training for Investigators, Hearing Administrator, Hearing Panel, Appeals Officers, Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator, Hearing Administrator, Sanctioning Official, and Appeals Officer must have had the following training prior to commencing any role in any case under this policy:

  • the definition of sexual harassment under § 106.30(a) and Oregon HB 3415
  • the scope of the University’s education program or activity as defined by the same regulations
  • how to conduct investigations (not required for Hearings Administrators or Appeals Officers), hearings, appeals, and Alternative resolution processes
  • how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

Hearing Administrator must have training on the following:

  • the definition of sexual harassment under Oregon HB 3415 and § 34 C.F.R. § 106.30(a), and the scope of the University’s education program or activity as defined by the same regulations
  • how to conduct investigations (not required for hearings or Appeals Officers), hearings, appeals, and Alternative resolution processes
  • how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
  • issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including when questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant per the regulations

Any individual who will be coordinating any hearing under this process must also have training on how to use any technology that will be used at a live hearing, such as recording equipment, or platforms designed to permit virtual attendance at a live hearing.

Investigators will receive the following training:

  • the regulations’ and Oregon’s definition of sexual harassment
  • the scope of the University’s “education program or activity” as defined by the regulations
  • how to conduct investigations, hearings, appeals, and Alternative resolution processes
  • how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
  • issues of relevance
  • how to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence

All individuals involved in assisting with the University’s obligations under Title IX and State law, also receive annual training in relevant prevalence information, best practices in trauma-informed, anti-oppression and student-centered frameworks, due process, principles related to culturally responsive,  procedures and services, gender responsive but non-stereotypical,  and accounting for the unique needs of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, nonconforming and nonbinary. The University also partners with its student-government on defining terms for its training purposes related to “anti-oppression,” “culturally responsive,” “gender-responsive,” and “trauma-informed.”

XVI. Record Retention

The Office of the Title IX Coordinator will maintain all records relating to complaints and resolutions under this Policy for a period of a minimum of seven (7) years.

XVII. Review of Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy

The Title IX Coordinator will initiate a review of the policy every two years seeking comment and suggestions from relevant campus stakeholders.
[1] Unwelcome is subjective and determined by the Complainant (except when the Complainant is below the age of consent). Severity, pervasiveness, and offensiveness are evaluated objectively based on the totality of the circumstances by a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances (“in the shoes of the Complainant”), including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.
Willamette University

Division of Student Affairs

Address
University Center 3rd Floor
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
Phone
503-370-6447

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