Title IX Grievance Process
Step by Step: The Complete Process
If you are questioning whether or not something is worth reporting to our office, the likely answer is that you should report it. Our office would prefer to get reports of things that do not fall within our jursidiction instead of not receiving reports that do.
If you are a Responsible Employee you must report any sex or gender-based discrimination, regardless of who it involves(Unless you are the target of the misconduct), and regardless of the type of allegations, to the Title IX coordinator within twenty-four hours. All University of Alaska staff, faculty and residence life student employees are designated “responsible employees,” with the limited exception of licensed professional mental health counselors, clergy, other persons with a professional license requiring confidentiality who are working within that license, and those employees who work in the student health and counseling centers. Student employees, with the exception of those working for residence life, are not designated responsible employees at the University of Alaska
For everyone else, when it comes to reporting, you have several options.
If you are a Victim, Survivor, or bystander you may: speak to a responsible employee about your complaint, utilize our online reporting form, utilize our anonymous online reporting option, call 907-786-0818, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. As a Victim/Survivor, you will never be required to participate in the reporting process but it is encouraged in order to make you safer and for the betterment of our community.
Once a report is received by the university, the Office of Equity and Compliance(OEC) will reach out to the Complainant(victim/survivor) to offer supportive measures and determine what the Complainants desired outcome is. After that initial outreach, the OEC member will determine whether we have jurisdiction over the matter, if the alleged conduct falls under UAA policy, and to determine whether the matter needs to go to an investigation. Generally, an investigation will not occur without the consent of the Complainant unless OEC determines that the alleged conduct poses an ongoing threat to the UAA community and involves conduct that needs to be addressed through formal channels.
lf the Office of Equity and Compliance recieves a request by the Complainant to investigate, determines that this matter needs to be investigated, or if we feel we need more information to determine jurisdiction, an OEC investigator will be assigned to the case and they will reach out to the Complainant to conduct an inquiry interview. This interview will allow us to ask any and all questions that we deem relevant to the report of discrimination. As a general practice, we try to conduct a complete interview of the allegations with the complainant so that if the Complainant requests, or we determine its necessary to investigate, we do not have to re-interview the Complainant unless new information is uncovered during the investigation.
Requesting an Investigation
In order to request an investigation, a Complainant must submit their formal request in writing(email works). The document must physically or electronically signed, the document must allege sexual harassment comitted by a person participating or atempting to participate in a university program or activity as defined in 01.04.010, and the document must request an investigation into the harassment.
Notice of Investigation
Once a Complainant requests a formal investigation, or if OEC determines this matter must be investigated for the safety of campus, the Title IX Coordinator will send out a notice of Investigation to both parties.
This Notice of Investigation will include a summary of the allegations, the policy that was allegedly violated, and which investigator/'s that are assigned to the case.
Typically the first thing we do after sending out a notice of investigation is to schedule a time to interview the Respondent. Respondents are not required to participate in any part of this process but a decision will be reached regardless of their participation so their participation is greatly encouraged so that they may present evidence on behalf of themselves.
During our interviews we will ask both the Complainant and Respondent to provide any witnesses that they think could have relevant information to the allegations. Our office classifies Witnesses as anyone who may have background knowledge of the area or program in which the events occurred, firsthand knowledge of the allegations, or were talked to contemporeanously by one of the parties either as the events occurred or shortly after the events occurred. Our office will make a determination of who we interview based on several factors including what relevance the parties give them, whether or not there is an established timeline of events, and how much background information we need. Our office will not interview character witnesses.
After conducting all the witness interviews, the Investigators will determine whether or not they need to re-interview either party. If they do, those interviews will be scheduled and conducted. If they do not, the Investigator will notify both parties that they have completed the interviewing stage of the investigation and ask for any last evidence they wish to be considered before the report writing stage begins.
Writing the Report
Once the parties have had their final chance to submit evidence, the investigators will gather all the evidence that they have collected during the course of the investigation and begin writing the report. The report will outline who the parties are, the alleged policy violations, the burden of proof, a timeline of events, the different recounts of events from all parties and relevant witnesses, and any other relevant evidence. The report will also analyze the credibility of all those interviewed. The Investigators will try to direct quote the interviews and evidence as much as possible but will occasionally summaraize long exerpts. This part of the process is often the most time consuming part of the investigation. If either party requests to be periodically updated on the progress of the report, the Investigator will do so.
As the report nears completion, the Title IX Coordinator will send each party and their advisors all evidence directly related to the complaint, including evidence not relied upon. Each party will have 10 days to submit written responses to the evidence, which the investigators will consider prior to the completion of the report.
Reviewing the Report
At least 10 days prior to the hearing, the Investigators will complete their reports. This report will not include a finding but will fairly summarize the totality of the circumstances and analyze the crediblity of everyone involved. Each party and their advisor will receive a copy of the report for their review along with their written responses if applicable.
Scheduling the Hearing
Once the Title IX investigator distributes the investigative report to the complainant and respondent, the university’s Office of General Counsel will timely appoint a decision-maker to conduct a hearing. The decision-maker will not be the campus Title IX coordinator or investigator, but may be a Title IX coordinator or investigator from another campus or any other qualified person.
The hearing will be live and may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the university’s discretion or a party’s request, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants to simultaneously see and hear each other.
The Hearing Itself
The decision-maker may allow the university, complainant, and respondent (or their advisor) to make a brief opening statement. No party shall be compelled to make an opening statement.
The decision-maker may, at the decision-maker’s discretion, ask questions during the hearing of any party or witness and may be the first person to ask questions of any party or witness. A party has no obligation to respond to questions from the decision-maker, and no inference may be drawn from such a refusal.
The Title IX investigator will present the relevant evidence gathered during the investigation, including, but not limited to, witness testimony, photographs, video, digital or audio recordings, and physical evidence.
The decision-maker will allow each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Such cross-examination at the live hearing will be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. The complainant and respondent may each call witnesses not presented by the investigator, and each party’s advisor will have the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses called. No party shall be able to compel witness testimony.
The decision-maker may allow the university, complainant, and respondent (or their advisor) to make a brief closing statement. No party shall be compelled to make a closing statement.
The decision-maker must issue a written determination regarding responsibility using the preponderance of the evidence standard within 30 days, and this deadline may be extended for good cause with written notice to both parties. If there is a finding of responsibility, the determination must address appropriate discipline and remedies.
The written determination regarding responsibility must be provided to the parties simultaneously and must include:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting sex or genderbased discrimination as defined in this chapter;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, each party’s evidence review, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of this chapter to the facts, including a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation and a determination regarding responsibility or non-responsibility;
- Any disciplinary sanctions the university imposes on the respondent and the date sanctions take effect, absent any appeal;
- Whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to the university’s education program or activity will be provided by the university to the complainant, along with the remedies to be provided; and
- The university’s procedures and permissible bases for the complainant and respondent to appeal.
The complainant and respondent each have a right to appeal a determination regarding responsibility.
To appeal, a complainant or respondent must submit a written request to appeal, within 5 days of receipt of the determination regarding responsibility, to their campus chancellor. (Statewide employees must file their appeal with the president of the University of Alaska). Upon receipt of a request to appeal a decision under this chapter, the chancellor or president shall allow the complainant and respondent to have 15 days to submit a written statement in support of, or challenging, the outcome, but no party is obligated to submit a statement, nor shall a party’s decision not to file a statement be held against them. The chancellor or president may consider the grievance process record and take such action as the chancellor or president deems appropriate. The chancellor or president will issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result and will provide the decision to the complainant and respondent simultaneously
An appeal must be based on:
- A procedural irregularity that materially affected the outcome of the matter, including a decision-maker’s determination regarding relevance;
- New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility was made, that could materially affect the outcome of the matter; or
- The Title IX coordinator, investigator(s), or decision-maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual complainant or respondent that materially affected the outcome of the matter