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Investigation Procedures and Protocols

Note: This language is part of Point Park University's Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking.

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INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS

A.    Assessment and Timeline

The University strives to investigate and resolve all reports of possible violations of the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking within sixty (60) days.

Receipt of an Incident Report which includes allegations of sex or gender discrimination, including sexual misconduct, will trigger an initial Title IX/VAWA assessment. This assessment will be conducted by the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with one or more of the following:  , Deputy Title IX Coordinators, Director of Student Development, Dean of Student Life, and/or Assistant Vice-President of Public Safety.  The assessment will determine if any immediate risk of harm to an individual or the community exists, and will implement any necessary interim measures to address those risks, as well as whether the conduct as reported, if true, would constitute a violation of this policy.

If the initial assessment finds that it is plausible that a violation of this Policy may have occurred, and the complainant wants to pursue an investigation, the University will appoint an investigator of its choosing and initiate an investigation. The extent and depth of the investigation will depend upon such factors as the Complainant’s desire to pursue disciplinary action, the risk posed to the community, and the nature of the alleged behavior. If the Complainant chooses to pursue criminal charges, the University Police Department will work with the Complainant to connect him/her with the appropriate local police department (if the reported incident occurred off campus) or community resource.

If a Complainant refuses to participate in the process, the University may determine that even so, it is appropriate to move forward with an investigation and the protocols set forth in this Policy.

B.  Measures & Remedies

The University’s primary goal is to ensure that any victim of sexual misconduct is safe. Regardless of whether a Complainant chooses to pursue disciplinary action, the University will take interim measures to protect the party(ies) involved and ensure that all safety, emotional, and physical well-being concerns are met.

Upon receiving a report of sexual misconduct, the University will provide the victim and all relevant parties written notification of services available to them. These services include, but are not limited to counseling, medical care, mental health care, legal assistance, victim advocacy, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, including information about current scholarships. Additionally, the University will notify victims of and make available to victims assistance with academic, living, transportation, working situations and on-campus protective measures. Some examples of these situations are changing class schedules, providing alternate housing arrangements, allowing withdrawal from a course without financial penalty, and/or changing a supervisor at a work study position.

These resources remain available to complainants regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to campus police or law enforcement.

Interim measures to protect the safety of the Complainant will be determined on a case-by-case basis. In making the determination, the University will consider, at a minimum, the Complainant’s expressed need, the severity or pervasiveness of the allegations, the continuing effects on the Complainant, the likelihood that the Complainant will come into contact with the Respondent through daily activities, and whether any legal steps have been taken to protect the Complainant.

The University will also consider, as appropriate, whether and what interim measures and remedies should be provided or offered to the Respondent.

Student Remedies:

Some examples of immediate remedies the University may provide to a student include modifying class schedules, workplace schedules, and/or extracurricular activities; changing housing arrangements; providing counseling and academic support services; providing a Support Advocate; offering extra time to complete, re-take or withdraw from a class without academic or financial penalty; and providing escort services on campus from the campus police.  If an investigation against a named Respondent occurs, the University may also initiate a no contact order, alter the housing accommodations of the Respondent; and alter the class, work or extracurricular schedule of the Respondent. Where it is deemed appropriate, the University may issue an interim suspension for a student-Respondent.

Staff Remedies :

Some examples of immediate remedies the University may provide to a staff member include: modifying work schedule or shift, workplace department or location, supervisor or direct reports if Complainant is a supervisor; providing a Support Advocate; assisting in obtaining counseling services through the Employee Assistance Plan or otherwise; providing escort services on campus and increasing security around Complainant.  If an investigation against a named Respondent occurs, the University may initiate a no-contact order, issue a persona non grata order to prevent a person from coming on campus, and/or alter the assigned department, work schedule or work location, or the supervisory reporting structure of the Respondent.

Faculty Remedies:

Some examples of immediate remedies the University may provide to a faculty member include: modifying teaching schedule, workplace schedule, and/or extracurricular schedule; providing a Support Advocate; assisting in obtaining counseling services through the Employee Assistance Plan or otherwise; providing escort services on campus and increasing security around the Complainant.  If an investigation against a named Respondent occurs, the University may initiate a no-contact order, issue a persona non grata order to prevent a person from coming on campus, and/or alter the class or work schedule of the Respondent.

C.        Investigation Process

Investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct will usually include interviews with the Complainant, Respondent, and all relevant witnesses. A thorough review of pertinent physical and documentary evidence, such as, photographs, security videos, electronic messages, including text messages, social media postings, and any other relevant resource will also occur. Complainants and Respondents will have the opportunity to present additional evidence to the investigator, and to suggest other fact witnesses that the investigator may wish to interview. Character witnesses will not be heard.

  1. Advisors

In addition to the Support Advocates offered to the Complainant and Respondent, individuals may choose an advisor of their choice to accompany them during the investigative process or any related meeting that is part of the Title IX proceedings.  An advisor is any individual who provides the Complainant or Respondent support, guidance, or advice. This advisor may be a parent, a community advocate, or any other person (including an attorney). The advisor’s role is purely supportive; the advisor may not speak on behalf of the Complainant or Respondent or otherwise directly participate in the investigation process.

  1. Time Line of Investigation

The University aims to complete investigations under this Policy within thirty (30) days.  In some circumstances, an extension of this timeframe may be required. Possible conditions that would extend the time needed to complete an investigation include, but are not limited to, the complexity of the reported incident, the number of witnesses involved, related and on-going criminal investigations, school breaks and vacations or unforeseen circumstances. If a delay is necessary, the University will notify all parties of the reasons for the delay and the expected adjustment in timeframes. In all cases, the University will employ a process which balances principles of thoroughness and equity with promptness.

  1. Findings of Fact Report and Opportunity to Respond

Upon completion of the investigation, the appointed investigators will submit a Findings of Fact Report to the Title IX Coordinator. The Findings of Fact Report will include the nature of the allegations reported, a summary of the information gathered from interviews, including statements by all parties, and any physical or documentary evidence reviewed.  The Complainant(s) and Respondent(s) will have the opportunity to review a redacted version (to preserve the confidentiality of witnesses) of the Findings of Fact Report. Each party may provide a written response to the report within five (5) days to the Title IX Coordinator.

The Title IX Coordinator will forward the Findings of Fact Report, any response provided by the Complainant or Respondent, and all other materials to the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator.  All parties will be notified that the investigation is complete and provided information about next steps in the resolution process.