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1. Title IX Sex-Based Misconduct & Civil Rights Adjudication Process

Title IX, Sex-Based Misconduct and Civil Rights Adjudication Process

Upon receipt of a complaint and if deemed to be a Title IX Discrimination complaint, the Civil Rights & Title IX Compliance Director (CRTIXCD) will assign the complaint for investigation. Upon conclusion of the civil rights investigation, the investigative report and exhibits will be submitted to the Director for adjudication and sanctioning considerations. The Director will then assign the case to a hearing body consisting of (1-3) members, also referred to as Designated Administrators (DAs). A DA is a decision-making entity who determines whether or not allegations of misconduct rise to the level of a violation based on the evidence provided.

The Director will provide the final investigative report and exhibits, which may be redacted, to the parties. The Director will also provide written notice to the complainant(s) and respondent(s) which will include an acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint along with a description of the adjudication process.

The case will then be submitted to the selected hearing body for adjudication and resolution. Hearings will be conducted in accordance with the Formal Hearing Procedures set forth in this document as well as in accordance with TAMUS Policy 08.01.01 and University Rule 08.01.01 W1.

The complainant(s) and respondent(s) will be informed in writing of the date, time, and place of the hearing. This information will be sent to the student’s WTAMU email address. For University-related correspondence, it is the student’s responsibility to check their University email account, check it regularly, and to provide an accurate local mailing address.

A complainant and a respondent must have an advisor with them at a hearing. In cases in which a party does not have an advisor, the university will provide a trained advisor to assist them in the hearing process.

The burden of proof for the formal hearing will be based on a preponderance of the evidence, which means proof that leads a reasonable person to find that the facts in issue are more likely to have occurred than not. A determination of the facts will be based only on the evidence as presented. The technical rules of evidence applicable to civil and criminal cases shall not apply.

Cross-examination of the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses may not be conducted by the opposing party but must be conducted by their advisor. Questions are to be directed to the hearing officer or hearing panel chair, who will determine whether or not each question will be admitted into the hearing. If a question is deemed repetitious or not relevant, the decision-maker(s) must explain the decision to exclude it. When parties are being subject to cross-examination, the advisor may not answer on behalf of the party.

In the event that a complainant or respondent is late to the hearing, the hearing body reserves the right to make the determination on participation in the hearing, and the hearing body is not responsible for beginning the hearing over, recalling witnesses or re-entering any evidence into the record. If no parties participate in the hearing, a decision will be reached based on evidence gathered prior to the hearing.

Disorderly or disruptive behavior by any individual during the hearing process may result in removal of that individual from the hearing process, at the discretion of the hearing body and the hearing process may continue.

Attendance at a hearing may be in person or may be conducted through remote means, provided that all parties and the hearing officer or hearing panel can see and hear one another in real time during the course of the hearing.

If a complainant, respondent, or witness is not in attendance at a live hearing, the hearing officer or hearing panel cannot rely on the previously submitted statements of the absent party in reaching a determination, but may utilize all other evidence, including witnesses who interacted with the absent party, but not hearsay testimony of what the absent party told that individual. A complainant, respondent, or witness statement can also not be utilized in a determination if that person refuses to submit to cross-examination at a live hearing.

The hearing body will record the hearing and that recording remains the property of the institution. Deliberations will not be recorded. FERPA provides that when information on more than one student is contained in a single education record, each student may inspect only the information specifically related to him/her. If the recording pertains to only the requesting student, arrangements may be made to review the recording. An appointment will be required to review the recording, if applicable. Suspension/expulsion sanctions result in records being maintained permanently in the VPSEES office.

Upon conclusion of the hearing, a written statement of the findings, the formal action to be taken by the University, the rationale for those actions, and a description of the appeals process will be forwarded (delivered or postmarked) to both the complainant(s) and respondent(s) within ten (10) business days, as defined by the University.

Formal hearings will be closed with the exception of those directly involved in the hearing. Proceedings will not be open to the media, social media or any form of live streaming (outside of the online hearing platform).

All cases involving sex-based misconduct that are not Title IX are to be investigated and adjudicated under the Title IX procedures previously stated noting that; the process is to determine whether or not the allegations are substantiated and, if substantiated, created a hostile environment.