Navigating the Title IX Process
Below is a description of the Tite IX process and the people involved. If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Equity (Title IX) at 435-797-1266.
Title IX Coordinator's Role
The Title IX Coordinator ensures that the campus community can work and learn in an environment free from any form of harassment, intimidation or violence. This is an administrative process, not a criminal process.
Standard of Evidence
The standard of evidence used in USU's Title IX process is a "preponderance of evidence," meaning the incident is more likely than not to have happened. Criminal procedures use "beyond a reasonable doubt" as their standard of evidence.
Expectations and Rights
USU’s policy on sexual harassment applies to all students, staff and faculty. The resolution process for complaints is managed by the Title IX Coordinator in the Office of Equity. If you become a part of this process – as a complainant or respondent – you can expect:
- Respectful treatment by university officials.
- Notification of available services both on and off campus.
- Necessary supportive measures, including academic accommodations and changes in living arrangements and work schedules on campus.
- To be free of any form of retaliation. Retaliation is against USU policy and should be reported.
- To have an advisor or support person of your choosing accompany you through the process.
- An equal opportunity to present evidence and access to evidence used in determining the finding.
- An equal opportunity to be heard and identify witnesses.
- A reliable, impartial and prompt investigation of the allegations, conducted within a reasonable timeframe.
- Updates on the investigation and process.
- To receive a copy of the finding at the end of the investigation (only the complainant and respondent).
If a complaint of sexual misconduct is filed with the Title IX Coordinator, the university has an obligation to review the matter to determine if there is a preponderance of evidence to demonstrate whether a violation of USU's sexual misconduct policy has occurred. If a violation is found, the findings are turned over to the appropriate administrator to move forward with disciplinary action. The findings are turned over to the Student Conduct Office if both parties are students, the direct supervisor if the violating party is a staff member, and the department head or dean if the violating party is a faculty member.
When a report is made, the Title IX Coordinator reaches out to the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct (complainant) to offer information about filing a formal complaint, seeking advocacy or counseling, obtaining supportive measures, receiving medical care, preserving evidence, and reporting to police. The Office of Equity (Title IX) may also gather information from the reporting party to determine the nature of the incident, identify the individuals involved, and assess whether the university has authority to address the report.
The Coordinator assesses the safety of the individual and the university community and reviews the complainant's requests for anonymity, no action, or requests that no disciplinary action is taken against the respondent (the individual whom allegations are being brought against).
If the complainant requests privacy, that no investigation into a particular incident be conducted, or disciplinary action taken, that request is evaluated in the context of the university's responsibility to provide a safe, non-discriminatory environment for all individuals, including for the individual who experienced the initial sexual misconduct. There are several resources available, both on and off campus, where complainants can be sure that the information they share will remain confidential. Learn about more resources.
If the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct does not want to participate in the Title IX process, the university will assess the person's safety and threats to the campus community's safety. Though the university will gather facts, without the involvement of the person who experienced the sexual misconduct, the university's ability to pursue sanctions may be limited, including removing a respondent from campus. The university will also consider the need for other interventions such as targeted training and education.
An investigator will be assigned to the case in order to gather evidence and facts. The complainant and respondent have the opportunity to identify witnesses, participate in an interview, and have an advisor present during interviews (though the advisor does not participate). The investigation typically takes approximately 60 days.
Once the investigation is complete, the Title IX Coordinator sends a draft report compiling the known facts to the complainant and the respondent for review. This report also includes a finding on whether the respondent violated university policy based on a “preponderance of evidence,” the standard of evidence used for all conduct investigations at USU. This standard means it is more likely than not that the evidence points to one side.
Both parties have 10 days to review and provide their written responses to the draft report. After the response period, the Title IX Coordinator reviews the responses and finalizes the finding.
Whether the Title IX Coordinator determines there was a preponderance of evidence that a policy violation occurred or that a policy violation did not occur, both parties have 10 days to appeal the finding.
Appeal of Finding
Appeals of findings are reviewed by the Office of Equity Appeals Committee, which is made up of three staff and faculty members. This committee may or may not modify the finding. They then send the decision to the university president for a final review who may accept or modify it. At that point, the decision is final.
If a final finding shows the respondent violated university policy, the appropriate administrator receives the report and determines sanctioning. In the case of a student respondent, the USU Student Conduct office determines a sanction. Both parties have 10 days to appeal the sanction.
Appeal of Sanction
Appeals of sanctions for students are heard by the Student Conduct Hearing Board, which is comprised of six staff and faculty members. The board may modify a sanction, and then send their decision to the university president for review. The president may accept or modify it. At that point, the decision is final.
For limited reasons, a complainant or respondent may appeal a sanction to the Appeals Board, which makes a recommendation to the university president.
Once the sanction is final, the university president provides a review and may modify or accept it. At that point, the decision is final.
People in the Title IX Process
Those involved in the Title IX process are referred to by specific terms for clarity and to differentiate USU's administrative process from the court's criminal process.
The complainant is the person bringing forth a formal complaint to Title IX about a potential violation of university policy.
The respondent is the person accused of having violated university policy.
The complainant and respondent have the opportunity to bring one person of their choosing to support and accompany them during any meeting related to the Title IX process. This advisor may be a friend, parent, faculty mentor, attorney or any person. The advisor will not be permitted to act on behalf of the student in the process or have any role other than to advise and assist the student.
A witness can be anyone with information relevant to the investigation of the policy violation. Witnesses do not need to be affiliated with USU and both the complainant and respondent may identify witnesses with relevant information.