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Investigation & Resolution Process

Trigger Warning! This web page, and/or the web pages linked within, contains information relating acts of violence - including sexual and domestic violence - that may represent triggers for survivors and/or family members.

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When the University receives information alleging gender-based discrimination and sexual misconduct, an investigation will be conducted by a professional staff member or independent investigator (herein referred to as “investigator”) who has received annual training in these types of cases. The role of the investigator is to be a neutral fact-finder, and the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX oversees the investigation.

Ordinarily, an administrative investigation will include a review of statements obtained from either party, interviews with both parties, interviews with witnesses as appropriate, and a review of relevant documentary evidence. The complainant and respondent have the same opportunity to present witnesses for the investigator to interview. The investigator has the right to forgo interviewing a witness if the investigator determines that the person does not have information that is relevant to the proceedings.

The investigator will also determine whether there is good cause to grant a hearing. If a hearing is recommended, the investigator will list which sexual and gender-based misconduct or student conduct policies may allegedly have been violated.

If the investigator determines that there are no reasonable grounds to believe that a violation occurred, the matter under this policy is closed, but the investigator may refer the complaint to another University office for resolution.

 

After reviewing the investigative report, the complainant may opt for an informal resolution to the case by informing the investigator, the Office of Student Life, or the Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX. Participation in the informal process does not require face-to-face interaction between the complainant and respondent. At any time prior to a hearing, the respondent may claim responsibility for the alleged sexual and gender-based misconduct. In either situation, the Vice Provost for Student Life & Dean of Students, appropriate administrator, or designee, will propose a resolution and sanctions to the complainant and respondent.

For formal complaint resolutions involving an accused student, the investigator prepares a report for a hearing officer or the Sexual and Gender-Based Misconduct Board, with or without the cooperation of the complainant, to determine if the student respondent committed a violation. Participation in the informal process does not require face-to-face interaction between the complainant and respondent.

Each case is evaluated on its own unique circumstances. The hearing officer or Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Board base their determination of responsibility on all of the relevant information presented at the hearing. Whether consent was given or obtained is a key factor in determining responsibility for a violation of the Gender-Based Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct Policy. 

If the information presented at the hearing does not support a determination of responsibility for a violation of the Sexual and Gender Based Misconduct Policy based on the standard of more likely than not (preponderance of evidence), the hearing office or board may still determine responsibility for a related violation of the Student Conduct Code, Staff Handbook, or Faculty Handbook, as appropriate. Complainants who have engaged in alcohol or other drug use at the time of the assault will not be subject to disciplinary action for such use.

Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include:

  • the nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation
  • an individual’s disciplinary history
  • previous grievances or allegations involving similar conduct
  • the need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment, or retaliation
  • the need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation
  • the need to remedy the effects of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the victim and the community

The time frames listed here are guides and may be extended because of circumstances. Each case is unique and the process for handling the incident will be impacted by factors such as the complexity of the investigation and situation, the parties’ schedules and availability, and the academic calendar. Generally speaking, the University will complete the investigative stage within 30 calendar days of receiving a report. If a judicial hearing or other student conduct process is used, that will occur within 30 calendar days of the end of the investigation. Parties will be notified of the final outcome within seven calendar days of the hearing or other action, which concludes the complaint process. The University will attempt to provide parties with periodic status updates. In no case will these time frames delay the University from providing services or enacting other measures to assist the reporting party.

The Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX operations, including the majority of work will be done remotely for the health and safety of our community.  Anyone impacted by discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct is encouraged to contact the Office of Equal Opportunity and Title IX office immediately to make a report [https://www.scu.edu/title-ix/reporting/] and/or to inquire about resources that remain available both on- and off-campus. Staff are available to provide information, guidance, and other resources to address concerns during normal business hours for remote or telephone meetings and consultations. 
 
Investigations and hearings will be conducted remotely, and remedies provided, to assure that any discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, retaliation, or other sexually discriminatory behaviors are addressed promptly.  Please note:  University policies (www.scu.edu/title-ix/policies-reports/) on discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct apply to behaviors that occur in person between members of the university community, but also apply to online and virtual misconduct.  Any behavior that is prohibited by policy is also likely prohibited in cyber-forms, including cyber-harassment, cyber-bullying that is sex-based, and cyber-stalking. Members of the community are expected to maintain a tone of civility and respect under remote conditions just as they would if they were at work or in class physically.
 
For more information please go to: https://www.scu.edu/title-ix/
For information about remote support services, please see www.scu.edu/title-ix/resources/covid-19/covid-19

SCU recognizes that choosing to report an incident and deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that unfolds over time. Reports should be made promptly, but there is no time limitation on reporting. Reports of harassment or discrimination will be investigated in a manner that is prompt, adequate, and impartial. A person does not have to decide whether or not to request disciplinary action at the time a report is made.

If you have witnessed or experienced discrimination, harassment, or sexual violence including sexual assault, you should contact one of the listed persons or offices for assistance in resolving a complaint.

There are confidential and non-confidential reporting options available. Confidential resources include on- and off-campus mental counselors, health service providers, local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, and members of the clergy and chaplains. Confidential means that what you share will not be communicated with anyone else.

You can choose to report to SCU, file a police report, both or neither. To file a police report and move forward with the criminal justice process, please contact Santa Clara Police Department (SCPD) directly or any staff or faculty member at SCU who has been designated as a mandatory reporter.

SCU has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with SCPD which means that if you report an incident of sexual assault or domestic/relationship violence to Campus Safety Services, they will be required to contact SCPD. You are not required to file a report with SCPD but be prepared for them to show up and ask if you would like to give a statement. To protect victim’s privacy, the law requires that no identifying information about the alleged victim can be included in the report to police unless the victim consents.

To report an incident, please go to www.scu.edu/osl/report  or click the 'REPORT AN INCIDENT' button at the bottom of this page.

20%

of female student victims, age 18-24, report to law enforcement, nationally