Navigating the Title IX Process
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 procedure, not a criminal procedure.
Standard of Evidence
The standard of evidence used in in the 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 Title IX/Affirmative Action office. If you become a part of this process – as a complainant, respondent or as a witness – 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.
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 a violation of USU's sexual misconduct policy has occurred, and, if so, the findings are turned over to another office to move forward with disciplinary proceedings. 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 to the Title IX office, the coordinator reaches out to the student 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. The coordinator assesses the safety of the student and the university community and ascertains the student’s reporting preferences.
If the student does not want to file a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will assess if there is an ongoing threat to the campus community. If there is, the coordinator may begin an investigation with the information already given. If there is no ongoing threat, the coordinator will preserve the information already given in case the student decides to file a complaint at a later date.
If the student files a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to gather evidence. Both the reporting student (complainant) and the responding student (respondent) will receive notice and details of the complaint and information about the investigative process and their rights. The investigation typically takes 60 days.
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. This standard means more than 50 percent of the evidence points to one side or the other.
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.
Once the finding is final, it is sent to the USU Student Conduct office for sanctioning if the respondent is a student. Both parties have 10 days to appeal the sanction.
Appeal of Sanction
Appeal 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 they 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.
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.
Download the Title IX process flowchart for incidents that involve student respondents