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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 Title IX at 435-797-1266.

Download the Title IX process flowchart for a step-by-step description.

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 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 Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity office. 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 interim 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).

Investigative Process

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.

Initial Assessment

When a report is made, the Title IX Coordinator reaches out to the individual who experienced the misconduct to offer information about filing a formal complaint, seeking advocacy or counseling, obtaining academic accommodations or other interim measures, receiving medical care, preserving evidence, and reporting to police. Title IX also gathers information from the reporting party, other individuals, and possibly other sources to determine the nature of the incident and to identify the individuals involved.

The coordinator assesses the safety of the student 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. 

If the student requests confidentiality or 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 students, including for the student who experienced the initial misconduct. There are several resources available, both on and off campus, where students can be sure to maintain confidentiality. Learn about more resources.

If the student who experienced the misconduct declines involvement in the process, the university will asses the student'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 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.

Investigation

An investigator will be assigned to gather evidence and facts. The complainant and respondent have the opportunity to identify witnesses, tell their story, and have an advisor present during interviews (though the advisor does not participate). The investigation typically takes approximately 60 days.

Finding

Once the investigation is complete, 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 student 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 Affirmative Action 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. This decision is final.

Sanctioning

If a final finding shows the respondent violated the 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. This 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 if final, the university president provides a review and may modify or accept it. This 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. 

Complainant

The complainant is the person bringing forth a formal complaint to Title IX about a potential violation of university policy. 

Respondent

The respondent is the person accused of having violated university policy.

Advisors/Support Person

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.

Witnesses

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.