Stage 1: Receipt of Incident Reports and Engagement in Interim Remedial Actions

The Chief Diversity Officer/Title IX Coordinator will receive incident reports, conduct an intake process except in cases of sexual assault, consult with the Dean of Students in cases where conduct violations or threats to individual or campus safety are concerned, consult with the ADA Coordinator, when appropriate, and assign designated Deputy Coordinator(s). The Deputy Coordinators will be appointed on a rotating basis by the CDO.

Parties to the complaint have the right to request interim measures pending the disposition of the complaint. The University also reserves the right to take interim measures the University deems appropriate to protect the complainant, the respondent and other members of the community that may be adversely affected. Such interim measures may include but are not limited to removing a student or employee from campus; modifying course or work schedules; changing housing assignments; issuing “no contact” or appropriate contact orders providing medical, mental health, rape crisis or academic support services; and notifying area Police, when requested. Any such interim steps will be taken in a manner that minimizes the burden on the complainant and respondent to the extent possible.

Public Safety, Residence Life, the Title IX coordinator and designated Deputy Coordinator(s), will provide the complainant and respondent with a list of campus and community resources.

The CDO, the intake committee and/or Deputy Coordinator(s) will gather information to understand the circumstances of the incident and shall attempt to determine whether resolution is possible through  One Process, and/or whether mediation or other dispute resolution could be offered to the parties to resolve the dispute. If mediation is an option and both the complainant and respondent are amenable to mediation and resolution is possible, an investigation can be halted or suspended pending the outcome of the mediation. If mediation is not possible, the incident will be addressed including a full investigation.

Investigators must be trained members of the community including faculty, staff, and external investigators who are appointed and trained by the Chief Diversity Officer, when appropriate.   

Option for Mediation

Mediation is a resolution process by which both parties agree to meet with an impartial trained mediator. Mediation is a resolution process by which both parties agree to meet with an impartial trained mediator to discuss the incident and attempt to resolve it amicably. In mediation, the complainant and the respondent will not be required to deal directly with one another without the University’s involvement.

Mediation is successful when the parties have reached a consensus about the details of the incident and how it will be resolved. Mediation is about restoration and reconciliation of relationships.

Any party may request that mediation be terminated at any time, in which case an Investigation would commence or proceed. The University may also commence or proceed with an Investigation, at any time. In addition, any party can request an Investigation if he or she is dissatisfied with the mediation resolution.

In accordance with the values of Dominican University and its commitment to creating a just and humane campus, certain allegations may not be resolved through mediation. Allegations of sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, and stalking, and allegations of other kinds of violence may not be resolved using mediation. The University reserves the right to investigate any case it deems appropriate. However, other alleged violations of University policy, including some allegations of sexual misconduct, may be resolved using mediation; if all parties agree to participate.  In its discretion, the university may not commence an investigation, if it determines that its ability to determine violations of university policy is hampered by requests for confidentiality, anonymous reports or parties involved in the case are not students of the university. If such options are not appropriate or if mediation is not successful,  university will proceed to an investigation.

Stage 2: Investigation

The CDO, Title IX Coordinator, in cooperation with the assigned Deputy Coordinator(s), will assign a minimum of two trained investigators to conduct the investigation.

Investigators will be selected from a pool of faculty, staff and external investigators who have been trained to serve in this capacity. The CDO and Deputy Coordinator(s) will also determine a timeline for the investigation. In the investigation process, It is the role of the Deputy Coordinator to keep the parties to the investigation and the CDO updated on the investigation process.

The investigators will interview the complainant, respondent, any witnesses, and any other relevant persons and determine the appropriate order for the interviews. Interviews may be recorded with the consent of the interviewee. The investigators may also request for review any relevant records; including documents, electronic texts, social media, and other information relevant to understanding the facts of the case.

Although, in campus investigations, legal terms like “guilt, “innocence” and “burdens of proof” are not applicable, the University never assumes a respondent is in violation of university policy. The investigation and subsequent hearings on appeal are conducted to take into account the totality of all evidence available, from all relevant sources.

It is the responsibility of the investigators to determine the outcome of the investigation based on the preponderance of the evidence. There are three possible outcomes:

  • Finding of Responsibility—the respondent is found to have violated University policy
  • Finding of Not Responsible—the respondent individual is found to not have violated University policy

The investigators will share the outcome of the investigation (i.e., whether a violation of University policy has occurred and any proposed recommendations or other corrective actions) with the Deputy Coordinators and the CDO.  Within ten (10) business days of the conclusion of the investigation, the CDO will issue a letter of finding to the complainant and the respondent explaining the outcome of the investigation, the rationale for the findings, the sanctions or recommendations involved, and the right to appeal. If the University determines that additional time is required to complete the report, a notice of extension shall be issued contemporaneously/ simultaneously to all parties to the extent practicable.

Timeline for Investigation

The investigation and initial resolution of any alleged violation of University policy will be completed, to the extent possible, within 60 days of the filing of issuing a Notice of Investigation. If University determines in its discretion that more time is required to complete the investigation, the University will issue a notice of extension to the complainant and respondent contemporaneously/simultaneously, to the extent practicable.

Sanctioning

If there is a Finding of Responsibility, the investigators will make recommendation to the Chief Diversity Officer and the assigned Deputy Coordinator(s) on sanctions and other corrective action. In determining sanctions and other corrective actions, a history of the respondent’s conduct/policy violations may be taken into account. The range of potential sanctions or corrective actions that may be imposed against a student, faculty or staff person includes but is not limited to: written or verbal apology, discrimination or harassment education, verbal or written warning, probation, suspension, termination, or dismissal from the University. Employees are advised to consult any relevant handbooks for additional information regarding disciplinary action. Guests and other third parties who are found to have violated this policy are subject to corrective action deemed appropriate by the University, which may include removal from the University and termination of any applicable contractual or other arrangements.

If the complainant and the respondent both accept the finding of responsibility and proposed sanctions or other corrective action, the violation is referred to the Deputy Coordinator for the implementation of the sanctions or other corrective actions. If the complainant or the respondent do not accept a finding of responsibility or do not accept the sanctions and seek further review, they may request that the case be referred to a Review Board. This request must be made to the CDO or designee in writing (letter, email, etc.) within fourteen (14) business days of being notified of the outcome.

Stage 3: Review Board

The Review Board will be comprised of a minimum of three (3) trained investigators from the community who were not involved in the investigation described above in Stage 2. The Review Board will assess the validity of the request for a review by evaluating the existing evidence and the investigators’ recommendations (from Stage 2). Upon review of the evidence, the Review Board will determine by majority vote whether there is support for additional review of the outcomes. This determination will be made within seven (7) business days following evidence review unless extenuating circumstances are communicated to all parties. If there is no decision for review, the investigators’ recommendations (from Stage 2) of sanctions and other corrective action will be implemented. If there is a decision to review, the Board will schedule a hearing. During the hearing, the investigators (from Stage 2) will present their findings to the Board. The Board may call the complainant, the respondent, and any or all witnesses or other persons relevant to the investigation. The Review Board shall determine all matters of procedure, evidence, relevance and admissibility it deems helpful and fair in the total decision process. 

The Review Board will share the outcome of the hearing (i.e., whether a violation of University policy has occurred and any proposed sanctions or other corrective actions) in writing with the complainant and the respondent within seven (7) business days of the conclusion of the hearing unless the University determines that additional time is required. This notice shall be issued contemporaneously/ simultaneously to all parties. The University may also disclose to the complainant information about any sanctions or corrective actions taken that relate directly to the complainant (e.g., a “no contact” order).

Stage 4: Right to Further Review

The complainant and the respondent have the right to request further review of the Board’s finding and proposed sanctions or other corrective action, if the following conditions apply:  

  • There was a significant procedural error during the investigation,
  • That there is new information that would substantially change the outcome of the finding, or
  • The sanction is disproportionate to the violation of the policy.

This request must be made in writing within fourteen (14) business days of being notified of the outcome and must set forth the grounds upon which the request for further review is based. Further review will be conducted by the President and/or designee(s) who will review the Board’s decision.