Office of Equity Formal Investigation Process

The university's formal investigation process is an administrative process that determines whether, by a preponderance of the evidence, a member of the university community (student, staff, or faculty) has violated USU Policy 339. This process is separate from the criminal process. The preponderance of the evidence standard means a policy violation is more likely than not to have occurred. 

Overview of the Formal Investigation Process

A formal investigation begins when a claimant signs a formal complaint stating they want to proceed with a formal investigation.

Then, both parties are interviewed, provide evidence, and participate in a hearing.

If the individual who is alleged to have committed the sexual misconduct is found to have violated university policy, appropriate sanctions are implemented.

Requesting a Formal Investigation

You can request a formal investigation if you have experienced sexual misconduct and meet all of the following elements:

  • You are a student, employee, or are participating in a university program and activity
  • The individual who is alleged to have committed the sexual misconduct is a student or employee
  • The incident occurred in a university program or activity

You can receive supportive measures and have access to resources throughout the formal investigation process.

Formal Complaint

Before participating in the formal investigation process, you will need to sign a formal complaint. This is a document that states you experienced sexual misconduct and are requesitng that the university investigate the allegation(s) of sexual misconduct.

You will need to schedule an intake with an Office of Equity supportive measures specialist to begin the formal investigation process.

  • If you are located at the Logan, Blanding, or Statewide campuses, you will need to schedule an intake with Rachel Bernardo.
  • If you are located at the Eastern campus, you will need to schedule an intake with Katie Freeman.

Evidence Collection

During the formal investigation process, you can participate in an interview, provide witnesses, and submit documentation with an Office of Equity investigator. The individual who allegedly committed the sexual misconduct can also participate in an interview, provide witnesses, and submit documentation.

Both parties will then be able to review all the evidence collected during the investigation and provide a written response.

After the written responses are submitted, the investigator will give both parties the investigation report. The parties can then submit a second written response to the investigation report.


A live hearing will be held where a three-person panel will hear all of the parties and witnesses' testimonies and review the evidence collected. They will also review information related to a possible sanction.

The hearing panel will issue a determination that states whether the individual violated USU policy and, if so, the appropriate sanction for the individual who committed the sexual misconduct.

There can be a range of sanctions, depending on the nature of the incident. The sanction may include mandatory training, a written warning, probation, suspension, cancellation of a scholarship(s), or expulsion.

The determination letter issued by the hearing panel will also state the remedies for the individual who experienced the sexual misconduct.


Both parties have the right to appeal, based on certain criteria.

The hearing panel's decision is final if it is not appealed. If the decision is appealed, an appeal panel will review the information and determine whether to uphold the hearing panel's decision, reverse the decision, or remand the case to the hearing panel to gather more information.

At the end of the appeal process, the decision is final and the sanctions and remedies will be implemented.