Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Title IX Harassment
Implemented August 14, 2020
Purdue University is committed to maintaining an environment that recognizes the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding and mutual respect; and encourages individuals to strive to reach their potential. Title IX Harassment in the workplace or the educational environment is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
Any employee, student, campus visitor or person participating in a University activity, who has experienced or witnessed discrimination and/or harassment is encouraged to report the incident(s) promptly. Prompt reporting of complaints is vital to the University's ability to resolve the matter.
Once the University has received a report of Title IX Harassment, the University will take any and all necessary and immediate steps to protect the Complainant. Such actions may include taking interim steps and/or providing Supportive Measures before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed.
There are both formal and informal processes for resolving complaints of Title IX Harassment; however, the informal process is not available unless a Formal Complaint has been filed.
The University has an obligation to respond to information of which it becomes aware, whether received directly or indirectly. That is, the University’s obligation may be triggered by a direct disclosure by those who have experienced potential discrimination or harassment or by gaining indirect knowledge of such information. For this reason, the University may initiate an investigation of circumstances that involve potential discrimination and/or harassment even where no complaint, formal or informal, has been filed. In those circumstances, the University may elect to investigate and, if warranted, impose disciplinary sanctions pursuant to these or other established University procedures.
In matters involving alleged criminal conduct, the Complainant may notify, or decline to notify, local law enforcement at any time. The University may also make an independent determination to notify law enforcement and/or other authorities based on the nature of the complaint.
These Title IX Procedures outline the resolution processes that will be used to investigate and/or resolve a report of Title IX Harassment committed against a student, employee, or a person participating in or attempting to participate in a program or activity of Purdue University under the University’s policy on Title IX Harassment (III.C.4) (the “Title IX Harassment Policy”). These Title IX Procedures apply to allegations of conduct on the basis of sex addressed by the University in accordance with its obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”). These Title IX Procedures incorporate the regulations governing educational institutions’ Title IX obligations, as promulgated by the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Other harassment and discrimination not covered by Title IX are addressed under the University’s policies on Anti-Harassment (III.C.1) and on Equal Opportunity, Equal Access and Affirmative Action (III.C.2) and the Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment. If a Formal Complaint is dismissed under these Title IX Procedures, the Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment may be implemented.
C. RESOURCES FOR RESOLVING COMPLAINTS OF TITLE IX HARASSMENT
Inquiries and complaints about Title IX Harassment, including, but not limited to, inquiries and complaints about Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking may be brought to the Title IX Coordinator. Information about the Title IX Coordinator for each campus is available in the Title IX Harassment Policy.
The management of all complaints of Title IX Harassment, regardless of where they are initially received, and the implementation of these Title IX Procedures is the responsibility of the Title IX Coordinator.
Any question of interpretation regarding these Title IX Procedures shall be referred to the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance for final determination.
All defined terms are capitalized throughout the document. Additional defined terms may be found in the Title IX Harassment Policy (III.C.4) and the central Policy Glossary.
An individual selected by the Complainant or the Respondent to accompany the Party to any interview or meeting under these Title IX Procedures. The individual may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The same individual may also serve as the Hearing Advisor.
A person or persons (1) employed by University or (2) participating in or attempting to participate in a Purdue University program or activity, who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Title IX Harassment whether or not a Formal Complaint has been filed.
Campus Equity Office
The following University offices: (1) on the West Lafayette campus, the Office of Institutional Equity; (2) on the Fort Wayne campus, Human Resources and Institutional Equity; and (3) on the Purdue Northwest Hammond and Westville campuses, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.
The Director of the Office of Institutional Equity of the West Lafayette campus.
An individual to whom the Title IX Coordinator delegates their authority under these Title IX Procedures. All Eligible Designees must receive appropriate annual training and be approved to serve in this role by the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance.
A document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Title IX Harassment against a named Respondent(s) that requests the University investigate the allegations. See Section I of these Title IX Procedures.
Formal Resolution Process
The process for resolving complaints of Title IX Harassment set forth in Section I of these Title IX Procedures. The Formal Resolution Process involves the filing of a Formal Complaint, an investigation, a Hearing, a determination as to whether the Title IX Harassment Policy has been violated and, as appropriate, the imposition of sanctions and remedial measures.
The formal live meeting during which the Parties, witnesses and other participants appear virtually with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. Evidence is presented and witnesses are heard.
An individual selected by the Complainant or the Respondent to accompany the Party to the Hearing and conduct cross examination of witnesses under these Title IX Procedures. The individual may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The same individual may also serve as the Advisor. If a Party does not have a Hearing Advisor, the University will provide someone who is not an attorney to serve in this role.
The individual responsible for administering the Hearing and issuing decisions concerning responsibility and sanctions, if applicable, in Title IX Harassment matters. The Hearing Officer cannot be a University Investigator in a matter or the University’s Title IX Coordinator.
Informal Resolution Process
The process for resolving complaints of Title IX Harassment set forth in Section H of these Title IX Procedures. The Informal Resolution Process is designed to empower the Parties to reach a mutually satisfactory agreement.
A written report prepared by the University Investigator(s) that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.
Party or Parties
The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) in a Title IX Harassment matter.
The person or persons who has been reported to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Title IX Harassment.
Non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity without unreasonably burdening the other Party, including measures designed to protect the safety of all Parties or the University’s educational environment, or deter sexual harassment. Supportive Measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the Parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of campus, and other similar measures. The University will maintain as confidential any Supportive Measures provided to the Complainant or Respondent, to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the ability of the University to provide Supportive Measures. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the effective implementation of Supportive Measures.
Title IX Coordinator
A University employee who is responsible for the implementation of the University’s Title IX Harassment Policy.
Title IX Harassment Policy
The University’s policy on Title IX Harassment (III.C.4).
Title IX Procedures
The procedures set forth in this document.
A person appointed by the Director to investigate a Formal Complaint pursuant to Section I of these Title IX Procedures. Any individual designated to conduct an investigation must receive appropriate annual training and be approved to serve in this role by the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance. A University Investigator may be a University employee or an external professional.
E. GENERAL PROVISIONS
Presumption of Innocence and Burden of ProofThe University administers these Title IX Procedures with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the alleged Title IX Harassment unless and until the Respondent is determined to be responsible for a violation of the Title IX Harassment Policy by a preponderance of the evidence. The University has the burden of proof to establish each element of any alleged Title IX Harassment Policy violation by the Respondent.
DelegationThe Title IX Coordinator may delegate their authority under these Title IX Procedures to an Eligible Designee.
Requests for Anonymity or No ActionTo protect both the Complainant and the Respondent, every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of the persons involved in a manner consistent with the need for a thorough review of a report or Formal Complaint.
If the Complainant requests that their name or other identifiable information not be shared with the Respondent, or requests that the University take no formal action in response to a report, the Title IX Coordinator shall evaluate such request and notify the individual of the University’s response to their request.
The University will honor the Complainant’s request to the extent possible based on a careful balancing of the request with any legal reporting requirements, the risk of harm to any individual, and the University's duty to maintain a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all.
If the University honors the request for anonymity, federal law prohibits the University from pursuing disciplinary action against a Respondent. The University will, however, take other appropriate steps to eliminate any such Title IX Harassment, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects on the Complainant and the University community. Those steps may include offering appropriate Supportive Measures and/or providing targeted training and prevention programs.
If the University is unable to honor the request for anonymity or the request to take no formal action in response to a report, the University may be obligated to move forward with a Formal Complaint signed by the Title IX Coordinator if there is an individual or public safety concern and sufficient independent information exists to establish that the Title IX Harassment Policy has been violated.
The Title IX Coordinator will assess requests for the University to take no formal action by examining the seriousness of the reported conduct, whether the reported misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon, the respective ages and roles of the Complainant and Respondent, whether there have been other reports of harassment or discrimination by the Respondent, whether the University possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence, whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration at a given location or by a particular group, and the rights of the Respondent to receive notice and relevant information before disciplinary action is initiated.
AdvisorBoth a Complainant and a Respondent are entitled to an Advisor of their choice, and the Advisor may accompany the Party to any meeting or proceeding under these Title IX Procedures. A Complainant may have an Advisor present when reporting Title IX Harassment or at any point. An Advisor may be an attorney, but an advisor or support person may not speak for or stand in place of either the Complainant or the Respondent, act as legal counsel for a Party in the Informal Resolution Process or the Formal Resolution Process, or otherwise participate in the Informal Resolution Process or the Formal Resolution Process, except as a Party’s Hearing Advisor. In the event that an attorney is retained to serve as a Hearing Advisor, the attorney may participate in, speak for, or stand in the place of the Complainant or the Respondent and may act as legal counsel for a Party during the Hearing.
The University has the discretion to impose reasonable conditions upon the participation of an Advisor or support person and Hearing Advisor.
Any fees and/or expenses charged by an Advisor or Hearing Advisor for services under these Title IX Procedures are the responsibility of the Party who retained the Advisor or Hearing Advisor.
Time FramesThe University encourages prompt reporting. Persons who have experienced or witnessed harassment are encouraged to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible. Unreasonable filing delays could result in the dulling of memories and a loss of relevant evidence and witness testimony. Delays in filing shall not affect the Complainant’s eligibility for Supportive Measures from the University.
When extenuating circumstances warrant, the Title IX Coordinator has the authority and discretion to extend any of the time limits contained in these Title IX Procedures for good cause except those relating to the filing of appeals.
In general, a Complainant and Respondent can expect that the process will proceed according to the time frames provided in these Title IX Procedures. In the event that good cause exists for the investigation and resolution to exceed these time frames, the University will notify all Parties of the reason(s) for the delay and the expected adjustment in time frames. Good cause may exist if additional time is necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of the investigation, to comply with a request by external law enforcement for temporary delay to gather evidence for a criminal investigation, to accommodate the availability of witnesses, to account for University breaks or vacations, to account for complexities of a case, including the number of witnesses and volume of information provided by the Parties, or for other legitimate reasons. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness, due process and fairness with promptness.
Expectations Regarding ParticipationAll University community members are expected to provide truthful information in any report or proceeding under these Title IX Procedures. Any person who, in bad faith, makes a false statement or submits false information in connection with the initiation or resolution of a Formal Complaint under these Title IX Procedures may be subject to appropriate discipline. Making a good faith report of Title IX Harassment that is not later substantiated is not considered a false statement. Similarly, a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any individual made a materially false statement in bad faith.
Formal Complaints involving University Officers and/or Administrators with Responsibilities under these Title IX ProceduresIn the event that a complaint concerns the conduct of the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Officer (or the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Officer has a conflict of interest), the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance shall designate an individual to be responsible for implementing the responsibilities of the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Officer pursuant to these Title IX Procedures. In the event that a complaint concerns the conduct of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance (or the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance has a conflict of interest), the President shall designate an individual to be responsible for implementing the responsibilities of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance pursuant to these Title IX Procedures. In the event that a complaint concerns the President (or the President has a conflict of interest), the Chairman of the Board of Trustees shall be responsible for implementing the responsibilities of the President pursuant to these Title IX Procedures. In the event that the President or other member of senior administration is a Respondent under these Title IX Procedures, the University may, in its sole discretion, modify these Title IX Procedures to provide for an investigation by an independent University Investigator to be selected by the Board of Trustees and for final decision making by the Board of Trustees or a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees.
Conflicts of Interest and Bias ConcernsAdministrators of these Title IX Procedures may not have a conflict of interest or bias for or against a Party generally or for or against a specific Complainant or Respondent.
In the event that a Party has concerns that a University Investigator or decision maker under these Title IX Procedures cannot conduct an unbiased review or render a determination free from bias, the Party may report their concerns to the Title IX Coordinator who will assess the circumstances and determine whether a different University Investigator or decision maker ought to be assigned to the matter. Concerns should be reported promptly. In reaching such decision, the Title IX Coordinator will consider whether a reasonable person would believe bias exists.
Coordination with Law EnforcementA Complainant may seek recourse under these Title IX Procedures and/or pursue criminal action. Neither law enforcement’s determination whether or not to prosecute a Respondent, nor the outcome of any criminal prosecution, is determinative of whether a violation of the University’s Title IX Harassment Policy has occurred. Proceedings under these Title IX Procedures may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off campus.
At the request of law enforcement, the University may agree to defer its fact gathering for a brief period during the evidence gathering stage of a criminal investigation. The University will nevertheless communicate with the Complainant and Respondent regarding Supportive Measures, options for resolution, and concerns regarding safety and well-being. The University may also take immediate and prompt steps that it deems necessary to protect the University community. The University will promptly resume its fact gathering as soon as it is informed that law enforcement has completed its initial investigation.
Requests by Individuals with DisabilitiesPurdue is committed to providing equal access under these Title IX Procedures to individuals with disabilities. Individuals who require academic adjustments, auxiliary aids and services and/or reasonable accommodations to participate in any part of the resolution process should contact the Title IX Coordinator.
F. REPORTING OPTIONS AND RESOURCES FOR TITLE IX HARASSMENT
The University is committed to treating all members of the community with dignity, care and respect. Any individual affected by Title IX Harassment whether as a Complainant or a Respondent will have equal access to Supportive Measures.
A first step for any Complainant may be choosing how to proceed following an incident of Title IX Harassment. The University recognizes that deciding whether to make a report and choosing how to proceed can be difficult decisions. The University encourages any individual who has questions or concerns to seek the support of campus and community resources. These professionals can provide information about available resources and procedural options and assistance to either Party in the event that a report and/or resolution under the Title IX Harassment Policy or these Title IX Procedures are pursued. Individuals are encouraged to use all available resources, regardless of when or where the incident occurred.
Confidential ResourcesConfidentiality means that information shared by an individual with designated campus or community professionals cannot be revealed to any other individual without express permission of the individual. Those campus and community professionals include medical providers, mental health providers, ordained clergy and rape crisis counselors, all of whom have privileged confidentiality that has been recognized by the law. These individuals are prohibited from breaking confidentiality unless there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others, or the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18. A list of on-campus confidential resources is listed in Appendix A to these Title IX Procedures.
It is important to understand that other University employees involved in the University’s sexual misconduct response do not have the same level of privileged confidentiality as the designated campus or community professionals described above. In fact, any other University employee who is not one of these confidential reporting resources may be required to share a report of Title IX Harassment with the Title IX Coordinator.
Non-Confidential Campus Reporting Resources and Mandatory ReportersThe University is committed to providing a variety of welcoming and accessible means to encourage the reporting of all instances of Title IX Harassment. All University community members are encouraged to report all incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation directly to the Title IX Coordinator.
In contrast to the designated campus or community professionals described above under “Confidential Resources,” who are obligated to refrain from revealing confidential information shared within the scope of their privilege, some University employees are required to report all incidents of discrimination, harassment or retaliation directly to the Title IX Coordinator. Mandatory reporters receive annual required training to ensure that they understand their obligations and the resources available to University community members who report such incidents. University employees who are mandatory reporters include administrators, supervisors, and other staff who have authority to initiate corrective measures on behalf of the University. Mandatory reporters are required to share with the Title IX Coordinator all information they receive or of which they become aware, including the identities of the Parties, if known. A list of campus reporting options, by campus, to whom individuals are encouraged to report any incidents, is available in Appendix A.
PrivacyThe privacy of the Parties will be respected and safeguarded at all times. All University employees who are involved in the University’s Title IX response receive specific training and guidance about safeguarding private information. Privacy generally means that information related to a report of misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals. The use of this information is limited to those University employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the active review, 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.
Release of InformationIf a report of misconduct discloses a serious and immediate threat to the campus community, the University will issue a timely notification to the community to protect the health or safety of the community. The University also may share non-identifying information about reports received in aggregate form, including data about outcomes and sanctions. At no time will the University release the name of the Complainant to the general public without the express consent of the Complainant or as otherwise permitted or required by law.
Pursuant to the Clery Act, anonymous statistical information must be shared with the campus police department where required by the Clery Act. Annual Clery Act reporting to the U.S. Department of Education is required by educational institutions for certain offenses that have been reported at campus locations. The information contained in the Clery report tracks the number of Clery reportable offenses occurring at campus locations and does not include the names or any other identifying information about the persons involved in the incident.
All University proceedings are conducted in compliance with the requirements of Title IX, the Clery Act, VAWA, FERPA, state and local law, and University policy. No information shall be released from proceedings under the Title IX Harassment Policy or the Title IX Procedures except as required or permitted by law and University policy. The University reserves the right to notify the parents/guardians of dependent students regarding any conduct situation, particularly probation, loss of housing, suspension and expulsion.
Reporting to Law EnforcementIn matters involving alleged criminal conduct, the Complainant may notify, or decline to notify, local law enforcement at any time. The University encourages Complainants to pursue criminal action for Title IX Harassment that also may be crimes under state criminal statutes (see legal definitions on the Title IX website at www.purdue.edu/titleix/index.php). The University will assist a Complainant, at the Complainant’s request, in contacting local law enforcement and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a Complainant decides to pursue the criminal process. A list of law enforcement resources for each campus is available in Appendix A.
Anonymous ReportingAny individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of Title IX Harassment. A report can be made without disclosing one’s own name, identifying the Respondent or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, anonymous reporting may impact the University’s ability to respond or take further action.
Anonymous reports can be made through the Purdue Hotline, an online reporting service that allows direct interaction with the Title IX Coordinator without providing identifying information. Access the Purdue Hotline at www.purdue.edu/hotline or by calling 1-866-818-2620.
As with all other reports, all anonymous reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator for review and appropriate response and action. Where there is sufficient information, the University will ensure that anonymous reports are reviewed and included for compliance with the Clery Act.
G. COUNSELING, ADVOCACY AND SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS
The University is committed to providing a number of support services to University community members. Resources available to University community members include a variety of campus and community-based service providers and professionals.
Additionally, Purdue provides its students with professional staff who can assist students who have been involved in a Title IX Harassment incident or participated in a resolution process under these Title IX Procedures with academic and advocacy/support services. The professional staff within the Office of the Dean of Students are available to assist students with Supportive Measures, including the following:
- Coordination of services.
- Academic adjustments, including processing absence notifications.
- Assistance with emergency housing needs.
- Support during the campus disciplinary process, including in-person attendance at all meetings and ongoing in-person support.
- Support during the law enforcement process, including in-person attendance at meetings with law enforcement and/or the prosecutor’s office.
- Assistance in obtaining a protective order through the local court system.
H. INFORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS
After the filing of a Formal Complaint and at any time before there is a determination of responsibility, either Party may submit a written request to the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator may offer an Informal Resolution Process. Participation in the Informal Resolution Process is voluntary. In order to participate in the Informal Resolution Process, the Parties must provide their voluntary written consent to the Informal Resolution Process, including the confidential nature of the Informal Resolution Process. A Complainant or Respondent has the right to withdraw from the Informal Resolution Process at any time and resume the process with respect to the Formal Complaint.
The Informal Resolution Process does not require an investigation or Hearing. Possible resolutions by agreement of the parties may include, but are not limited to: an apology to the Complainant; assisting the Respondent to better understand the effects of their conduct and ways in which this behavior could be changed; participation in educational programs about Title IX Harassment; verbal or written reprimands; or other interventions or actions aimed at ending the Title IX Harassment, preventing its recurrence, and addressing its effects.
The Informal Resolution Process is not available in matters in which a student is a Complainant and a faculty or staff member is a Respondent.
I. FORMAL RESOLUTION PROCESS
Filing a Formal ComplaintA Formal Complaint may be filed by a Complainant by completing the Complaint Information Form online, in person or via electronic mail. A document alleging a violation of the Title IX Harassment Policy against a Respondent and seeking an investigation may be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, by electronic mail, and the document will be considered a Formal Complaint. Any Complainant who does not initiate this Formal Resolution Process by filing a Complaint Information Form will be asked to do so.
The University also may initiate an investigation in the absence of a Formal Complaint by a Complainant, in which case the Title IX Coordinator will sign a document alleging a violation of the Title IX Harassment Policy against a Respondent and initiate an investigation.
The Formal Complaint should contain the following:
- The identities of the Parties involved, if known;
- The date of the alleged incident, if known;
- The location of the alleged incident, if known; and
- A description of the conduct that is alleged to violate the Title IX Harassment Policy.
Notification of Formal Complaint and ResponseUpon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must provide the following written notice to the Complainant and Respondent. The notice shall include:
- An electronic copy of the Title IX Harassment Policy and these Title IX Procedures and/or a link to the Title IX Harassment Policy and these Title IX Procedures;
- A copy of the Formal Complaint;
- The identities of the Parties involved, if known;
- The date of the alleged incident, if known;
- The location of the alleged incident, if known;
- The conduct that is alleged to violate the Title IX Harassment Policy;
- A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility will not be made until an investigation is completed and a Hearing is held subject to any determination on appeal as provided under these Title IX Procedures;
- The Parties may have an Advisor of their choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney;
- The Parties will be provided, for their inspection and review, with an electronic copy or hard copy of any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint, including the evidence upon which the University does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory or exculpatory whether obtained from a Party or other source;
- The Title IX Harassment Policy prohibits bringing knowingly false or malicious charges and prohibits knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation. The University’s Regulations Governing Student Conduct, Disciplinary Proceedings, and Appeals provide that “dishonesty in connection with any University activity” constitutes conduct for which students may be subject to informal action or disciplinary sanctions; and
- A statement explaining that the Title IX Coordinator will review the Formal Complaint to determine if it is subject to mandatory dismissal or discretionary dismissal as described in Sections I.3 and I.4.
In cases where the Respondent is a faculty or staff member, the Title IX Coordinator will also provide prompt notification, including the items listed above, to the department head or supervisor and to the appropriate Vice President, Dean or head of another major unit.
The Formal Complaint or notice of allegations will be delivered through certified or express mail, electronic mail or hand delivery.
Mandatory DismissalThe Title IX Coordinator shall dismiss a Formal Complaint if, at any time during the investigation or Hearing, it is determined that the factual allegations of the Formal Complaint, if taken as true:
- Fail to constitute Title IX Harassment, or
- Occur outside the University’s jurisdiction as stated in the Title IX Harassment Policy.
The Title IX Coordinator shall review a Formal Complaint filed by a Complainant to determine if the Formal Complaint is subject to mandatory dismissal as provided in this section and notify the Parties of the dismissal in writing within 14 days of the receipt of the Formal Complaint.
If the Title IX Coordinator determines that a Formal Complaint is subject to mandatory dismissal at any other point during the investigation or Hearing, the Title IX Coordinator shall notify the Parties of the dismissal in writing as soon as reasonably practicable. A mandatory dismissal does not preclude action under the University’s policies on Anti-Harassment (III.C.1) or on Equal Opportunity, Equal Access and Affirmative Action (III.C.2) or the Regulations Governing Student Conduct.
A mandatory dismissal may be appealed in accordance with Section M of these Title IX Procedures.
Discretionary DismissalThe Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint or any allegations contained in the Formal Complaint if, at any time during the investigation or Hearing:
- A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations therein; or
- The Respondent is no longer enrolled in or employed by the University; or
- Specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal complaint or allegations therein.
The Title IX Coordinator shall provide the Complainant and Respondent(s) with written notice of the dismissal. Such a dismissal does not preclude action under the University’s policies on Anti-Harassment (III.C.1) or on Equal Opportunity, Equal Access and Affirmative Action (III.C.2) or the Regulations Governing Student Conduct.
A discretionary dismissal may be appealed in accordance with Section M of these Title IX Procedures.
Investigation of Formal ComplaintsIn the event that, following an initial assessment, the Title IX Coordinator decides that the Formal Complaint is not subject to mandatory dismissal, the Title IX Coordinator will assign a University Investigator and notify the Parties:
- The Respondent(s) will be requested to respond in writing to the Formal Complaint within a reasonable time, not to exceed 10 days from the date of certified or express mailing, electronic mailing or hand delivery of the notification. Any extension of time must be approved by the Title IX Coordinator. A copy of the Respondent(s) written response will be provided to the Complainant.
- A statement that the Title IX Coordinator (or Eligible Designee) will contact the Complainant and Respondent separately to arrange individual meetings to discuss the allegation and any Informal Resolution Process for immediately resolving the dispute in a way Parties might agree upon, precluding the need for further action. The Title IX Coordinator (or Eligible Designee) shall also explain the Formal Resolution Process and answer any questions the Parties may have.
- A statement that the initial interview of the Respondent will not be scheduled until the time for the Respondent to provide a response to the Formal Complaint has expired;
- The name of the University Investigator(s) assigned to the matter;
- A statement regarding the opportunity to have an Advisor for all meetings during the investigation. Contact information for all campus student defenders groups;
- Guidance regarding Supportive Measures, if applicable; and
- A statement of the rights and resources to which Parties are entitled.
The University Investigator will conduct a thorough fact-finding investigation and will meet separately with both the Complainant and the Respondent(s), interview pertinent witnesses and review relevant documents regarding the Formal Complaint. The University Investigator may consider all relevant information. Both Parties will be provided the opportunity to provide information and names of witnesses to the University Investigator.
The University Investigator shall preserve all evidence. All interviews must be recorded.
While investigating a Formal Complaint, the University must:
- Ensure that both the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rest on the University and not on the Parties;
- Provide equal opportunity for Parties to present witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence;
- Not restrict the ability of either Party to discuss the allegations under investigation or to gather and present relevant evidence; and
- Provide to the Party whose participation is invited or expected written notice of the date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all investigative interviews or other meetings with a Party, with sufficient time for the Party to prepare to participate.
The investigation shall be completed within 60 days following the assignment of the Formal Complaint to the University Investigator, unless an extension of time for good cause is approved by the Title IX Coordinator.
Investigation Report and EvidenceAt least 20 days before a Hearing, the Title IX Coordinator shall ensure that Parties and their Hearing Advisor are provided with an electronic copy or hard copy of any and all evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, regardless of whether any Party or the University intends to present such evidence in the Hearing. This shall include the identities of Parties and any witnesses.
Parties shall have at least 10 days to submit to the University Investigator a written response, which the University Investigator will consider prior to completing the Investigation Report. At least 10 days prior to the Hearing, the University Investigator will prepare and complete an Investigation Report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence and submit it to the Parties and their Hearing Advisors, if any, the Title IX Coordinator, and the Hearing Officer in an electronic format or a hard copy for their review. Parties may submit a written response to the Hearing Officer at or before the Hearing.
Parties have the right to a Hearing Advisor of their choosing. The Hearing Advisor may actively participate in the Hearing.
If a Party does not have a Hearing Advisor present at the Hearing, the University will provide, without fee or charge to that Party, a Hearing Advisor of the University’s choice to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that Party. The University-provided Hearing Advisors will not be attorneys.
At least 10 days after the Investigation Report is provided, the Hearing Officer shall convene a live Hearing. The Hearing Officer will provide to the Parties and any witnesses whose participation is invited or expected written notice of the date, time and manner of the Hearing. All Parties, witnesses and other participants will appear at the live Hearing virtually, with technology enabling the Hearing Officer and participants to simultaneously see and hear the Party and witnesses answering questions. The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording or a transcript of the Hearing and make it available to Parties for inspection and review upon request.
At the hearing, each Party’s Hearing Advisor will conduct cross-examination of the other Party and any adverse witnesses. Such cross-examination must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the Party’s Hearing Advisor and never by a Party personally.
Before a Party or witness answers a cross-examination question, the Hearing Officer must determine whether the question is relevant and, if the Hearing Officer refuses to allow a particular question, the Hearing Officer must explain their decision to the Parties and document the reasons for refusal on the record.
Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or 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.
If a Party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the Hearing, the Hearing Officer must not rely on any statement of that Party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The Hearing Officer cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a Party’s or witness’s absence from the live Hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
K. DETERMINATION, SANCTIONS AND REMEDIES
Within 14 days following the Hearing, the Hearing Officer shall make a written determination whether a violation of the Title IX Harassment Policy has occurred and shall simultaneously send the Complainant and the Respondent the written determination and final outcome of the matter, including sanctions, if any, by certified or express mail, electronic mail or hand delivery. That written determination shall include:
- An identification of the section(s) of the Title IX Harassment Policy alleged to have been violated;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the complaint through the determination, including any notifications to Parties, interviews with Parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and Hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the Title IX Harassment Policy to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility;
- Any sanctions the University imposes on the Respondent;
- Any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to restore or preserve access to the University’s education program or activity;
- A determination of whether the Formal Complaint was knowingly false or malicious; and
- The University’s procedures and permissible bases for Parties to appeal.
The appropriate Vice President, Vice Chancellor, Vice Provost or Dean is responsible for imposing the sanction. In the case of a student as the Respondent, the appropriate Dean is the Dean of Students.
Sanctions will be decided on a case-by-case basis, must be reasonable and proportionate to the seriousness of the violation, and will be in accordance with University policy. Possible sanctions for employees include, but are not limited to, the following: a letter of reprimand, suspension or leave of absence without pay, reassignment of teaching or other responsibilities, removal of graduate faculty certification, denial of a merit pay increase, demotion, probation or termination. Sanctions for students are listed in the Regulations Governing Student Conduct and include, without limitation, verbal or written warnings, restrictions, probation, probated suspension, suspension, degree deferral or expulsion as well as restrictions on employment and/or access to University property and related organizations.
Except as provided herein, sanctions imposed pursuant to these Title IX Procedures may not be appealed or made the subject of a grievance under any other University policy.
If the accused is a faculty member and the sanction is to recommend termination of employment, the procedures for termination of a faculty member (as outlined in Executive Memorandum No. B-48 or its successor) will be followed; provided, however, that the report of the University Investigator and the written determination of the Hearing Officer shall be accepted into evidence at the faculty member’s termination hearing without the necessity of the Complainant testifying as a witness.
Remedial measures for students, faculty and staff will be decided on a case-by-case basis. Such measures may include providing an escort to ensure safe movement on campus; ensuring that the Complainant and Respondent do not share classes or extracurricular activities; reassignment of residence halls; tutoring or other academic support; arranging for extra time to complete or re-take a class or withdraw from a class without academic or financial penalty; job reassignment; targeted training for a group of students, faculty or staff; and other remedies that can be tailored to the needs of the Parties. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the effective implementation of any remedies.
In the event the charge of Title IX Harassment is not substantiated following the written determination of the Hearing Officer, reasonable efforts may be taken to restore the Respondent(s) to their prior status.
L. RETALIATION PROHIBITED
Retaliation against any person for reporting or complaining of discrimination and/or harassment, assisting or participating in the investigation of a complaint of discrimination and/or harassment, refusing to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding or Hearing under these Title IX Procedures or enforcing University Policies with respect to discrimination and/or harassment is strictly prohibited. Overt or covert acts of reprisal, interference, restraint, penalty, discrimination, intimidation or harassment against an individual or group for exercising rights or performing duties under these Title IX Procedures will be subject to appropriate and prompt disciplinary or remedial action.
The Complainant and the Respondent each have the right to appeal any mandatory or discretionary dismissal as well as the decision of the Hearing Officer and imposition of any sanction to the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance. The appeal must be in writing with all supporting materials attached and filed in person, via courier, or via postal or electronic mail within ten days of the issuance of notification of the decision. Decisions not appealed within such time are deemed final. The Vice President for Ethics and Compliance will notify the other Party in writing when an appeal is filed and furnish a copy of the appeal. Each Party may provide a response to the appeal. The response to the appeal must be in writing with all supporting materials attached and received in person, via courier, or via postal or electronic mail within ten days of the issuance of notification of the appeal.
The grounds for appeals are limited to the following:
- Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and
- The Title IX Coordinator, University Investigator(s), Hearing Officer, or the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.
The Vice President for Ethics and Compliance will issue a decision on the appeal to all Parties involved. Normally this decision will be made within 30 days from the date the appeal was received. The Vice President for Ethics and Compliance may (1) uphold or reverse the finding, (2) decrease or increase the sanction(s), and/or (3) take other action as deemed appropriate by the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance. The written decision of the Vice President for Ethics and Compliance on the appeal shall constitute the University’s final action.
N. FILING WITH EXTERNAL AGENCIES
Any person may file a complaint with the Indiana Civil Rights Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Information regarding filing charges with any of these agencies may be obtained from the Office of Institutional Equity on the West Lafayette campus.
O. RELATED DOCUMENTS, FORMS AND TOOLS
Title IX Harassment Policy (III.C.4): www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiic4.html
Equal Opportunity, Equal Access and Affirmative Action Policy (III.C.2): www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiic2.html
Anti-Harassment Policy (III.C.1): www.purdue.edu/policies/ethics/iiic1.html
Procedures for Resolving Complaints of Discrimination and Harassment: www.purdue.edu/ethics/resources/resolving-complaints.php
P. VERSION HISTORY
The initial effective date of these procedures is August 14, 2020.