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Resolution Process

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

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RESOLUTION PROCESS

 

Members of the Point Park community may choose an Informal or Formal Resolution process for resolving complaints. The Informal Resolution process is available only for reports of incidents where the reported behavior could not constitute a crime. Reports that could include crimes such as, sexual assault, dating or domestic violence, or stalking cannot be resolved informally.

 

A Formal Resolution process may be used for any report of behavior that may violate this policy, including reports that may involve behavior that could constitute a crime. A Formal Resolution involves a full investigation and will be adjudicated by the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator. The relationship of the Respondent to the University (i.e., student, faculty or staff) will determine which Deputy Title IX Coordinator reviews the case and applies sanctions and/or remedies.

 

Regardless of the resolution process chosen by the complainant, the University commits to providing all parties with a prompt, fair and impartial process from the initial investigation to the final result. This includes receiving timely notice, equal opportunities to be heard, and equal opportunities to respond to the reported behavior.

A.          Informal Resolution

An informal resolution is a mechanism for achieving resolution between parties without a formal investigation. This process may not be used in incidents where the reported behavior could constitute a crime, such as sexual assault, relationship violence or stalking. Complainants choosing this path of resolution do not forego access to remedies needed to continue their education. Either the party may choose to end an informal resolution and begin a formal investigation at any time prior to final determination.   

Through the informal resolution process, Complainants are choosing to have their report of misconduct shared with the Respondent(s). The Title IX Coordinator will meet with the Respondent(s) to inform him or her of the reported misconduct. The Respondent(s) will have the opportunity to accept or deny responsibility for the accused misconduct. If the Respondent(s) accepts responsibility for their action, appropriate disciplinary actions will be imposed by the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator.

The Complainant will be notified of the Respondents’ acceptance of responsibility and that the case has been resolved. Neither the Complainant nor the Respondent may appeal from an informal resolution.

B.     Formal Resolution

Once an investigation is conducted and a Findings of Fact Report of the investigation is submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, the resolution process will begin. The University aims to complete the resolution process, including notifying all parties of the outcome of the investigation, within 30 days.

A Deputy Title IX Coordinator is responsible for reviewing the Findings of Fact Report and determining whether a violation of the University’s Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking has occurred. This determination will include a full review of all relevant information and be based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., whether it is more likely than not that a violation occurred).

Upon making a decision on whether a violation has occurred, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will issue an Outcome Letter outlining the decision made, and will also explain the imposed sanctions and remedies. This information will be provided in writing to the Complainant and the Respondent, taking into account any applicable privacy issues.

Possible sanctions that may be imposed upon a Respondent found in violation of the University’s policy may include the following:

  • a warning letter,
  • required prevention education,
  • removal from a student program,
  • restrictions on access to certain University facilities, such as a residence hall,
  • No Contact Order,
  • restrictions on future class scheduling to avoid classes with a complainant,
  • limits on employment at the University,
  • suspension for one to four semesters,
  • suspension for the remainder of an academic year,  
  • or expulsion.

 

The Deputy Title IX Coordinator will review the Outcome Letter with the Complainant and Respondent separately to ensure the reasoning of the decision is fully understood and to inform the Complainant and Respondent of the right to appeal. Upon request, the University will disclose results of the investigation and resolution to the next of kin, if the complainant is deceased.  Note, however, that a Complainant or Respondent who has refused to participate in the investigation process has no right to appeal.

If it is determined that a violation of the Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence and Stalking did not occur, but the reported behavior would violate a different University policy, such as the Student Code of Conduct, the case may be referred to the appropriate office for resolution.

C.          Right to Appeal

Except as noted above, both the Complainant and the Respondent have the right to appeal the decision of the Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Parties to the case are informed of their right to appeal through the University’s Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct, Relationship Violence, and Stalking in writing and electronically. Further, the Complainant and Respondent receive written notice of their right to appeal in their Outcome Letters which provides the determination whether the University’s policy has been violated.

 

An appeal must be filed within ten (10) business days of the date of the Outcome Letter. An appeal may only be filed on two bases:  1) the appealing party has new information that was not included in the investigation Findings of Fact Report and could not have been provided earlier; or 2) the sanction was not proportionate to the offense.

The appeal should be submitted in writing to the University Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will forward the appeal and all materials from the investigation to a Deputy Title IX Coordinator not involved in the original investigation or the Provost (“Appeal Officer”).   The choice of the Appeal Officer is at the sole discretion of the University.

The Appeal Officer will review the Findings of Fact Report and related evidence, the decision by the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, and the information provided in the appeal documents in making a determination whether a violation occurred. Using a preponderance of the evidence standard, the Appeal Officer will issue an Outcome Letter to the appealing party detailing the decision and any applicable sanctions or remedies. If any changes occur to the original decision, the non-appealing party will be made aware of the change. The decision is final with no further appeal process.