The University of West Georgia is committed to providing a prompt and equitable resolution of any complaint involving sexual misconduct, which includes dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment and stalking.

  • Initiating the Complaint
    A formal complaint is initiated when a reporting individual notifies a responsible employee or privileged employee that an incident of sexual misconduct has occurred. The Title IX Coordinator/Social Equity Officer will review every complaint to assess whether the issue is covered under Title IX. If the complaint is covered by a different university policy, the alleged victim will be notified, information will be forwarded to the appropriate individual, and no further action will be taken by the Title IX Coordinator/Social Equity Officer.
  • Advisors
    Both the alleged victim and respondent, as parties to the matter, shall have the opportunity to use an advisor (including an attorney) of his/her choosing for the express purpose of providing advice and counsel at his/her own expense. The selected advisor shall not otherwise be a party or witness involved in the investigation. The advisor may be present during any meetings and proceedings involved in the investigatory or resolution process in which the advisee is also eligible to be present. The advisor may advise the advisee, including providing questions, suggestions, advice on the proceedings, and guidance on responses to any questions of the participant, but shall not participate directly. The institution shall not prohibit family members of any party from attending if the party requests such attendance, but may limit the number to two family members
  • Timeframe
     

    Reasonable efforts will be made to complete the investigation and resolution within 60 calendar days of the initial complaint, though a longer period of time may be needed in some cases. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the respondent and the alleged victim, in writing, of any extension of this timeframe.

  • Investigation Procedure
    1.  The Office of the Title IX Coordinator is primarily responsible for directly overseeing the investigation and resolution of complaints, and coordinating possible remedial actions or other responses reasonably designed to minimize the recurrence of the alleged conduct as well as mitigate the effects of any misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure prompt, fair, and impartial investigations and resolutions of complaints alleging violations of the sexual misconduct policy. The Title IX Coordinator shall be responsible for ensuring any individual participating in the investigation, resolution, or appeal of any sexual misconduct case has received regular training on issues pertaining to sexual misconduct.

    2. The Title IX Coordinator shall designate an investigator to conduct a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into each complaint received. The investigation shall consist of interviews of the complainant, alleged victim, respondent, and witnesses, and the collection and review of documents or other physical or electronic information, as well as other steps, as appropriate.

    3. Unrelated charges and cases shall be investigated separately, unless the respondent consents to having them aggregated.

    4. The respondent shall be provided with written notice of the complaint, pending investigation, possible charges, possible sanctions, and available support services. The notice should also include the identity of the Title IX Coordinator and any investigator(s) involved. Notice shall be provided via institution email. If confirmation of receipt is not received by the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator, the Title IX Coordinator or the investigator shall engage in other measures to ensure notice is received by the respondent. A copy shall also be provided to the alleged victim via the same means.

    5. The investigator will timely begin the investigation and will schedule an initial interview with the complainant, alleged victim, respondent and any known relevant witnesses. The investigator should retain written notes and/or obtain written or recorded statements from each interview. The investigator shall also keep a record of any proffered witnesses not interviewed, along with a brief, written explanation.

    6. Each party shall have three (3) business days to submit a written statement to supplement the notice of complaint and the verbal interview. In that response, the respondent shall have the right to admit or to deny the allegations, and to set forth a defense with facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support. If respondent has not otherwise responded, a non-written response will be considered a general denial of the alleged misconduct.

    7. Based on this response and other relevant information, the investigator shall continue to interview witnesses for both sides, to re-interview parties where necessary, and to collect and review documents or other physical or electronic information, as well as other steps, as appropriate.

    8. Where the respondent is a student, the respondent has the right to remain silent during the investigation and resolution process, without an automatic adverse inference resulting. If the respondent chooses to remain silent, the investigation may ultimately still proceed and policy violation charges may still result, which may be resolved against the respondent.

    9. The respondent and/or alleged victim may challenge the participation of the investigator on the grounds of personal bias by submitting a written statement to the Title IX Coordinator setting forth the basis for the challenge no later than three (3) business days after the party reasonably should have known of the bias. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether to sustain or deny the challenge, and if sustained, to appoint a replacement.

    10. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will issue to the parties a written report setting forth charges and possible sanctions, as well as an explanation of the evidence against the respondent.

    11. The parties shall have at least three (3) business days to respond to the report in writing. The respondent’s written response should outline his or her plea in response to the charge(s), and where applicable, his or her defense(s), and the facts, witnesses, and documents – whether written or electronic – in support.

    12. The investigator shall, as necessary, conduct further investigation and update the report as warranted by the response(s), and will update the report as necessary.

    13. Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator will review the evidence with the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will ensure policies have been followed.

    14. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the alleged victim(s) and the respondent(s) and schedule an opportunity to meet with each party individually. During these meetings, the Title IX Coordinator shall review the report with the parties (individually). Should the report be acceptable to all parties, an informal resolution may be made, which would not require the parties to move to the hearing phase of these procedures. If, however, the parties agree on the conduct, but not on the sanctions, then the sanctions shall be addressed by the hearing panel.

    15. Allegations of sexual misconduct involving a student that are brought against an further addressed and/or resolved through the institution’s applicable employment policies, and in accordance with the procedures for dismissal outlined in the Board of Regents Policy including procedures for appealing such decisions.

    16. Where the respondent(s) is a student, a hearing, as well as corresponding procedures/rights to appeal, shall be set and administered as set forth below, and a final report shall be provided to all parties, which will also provide a date, time, and location for a hearing on the matter.

    17. The final report should also be provided to the panel for their consideration in adjudicating the charges brought against the respondent. The investigator may testify as a witness before the panel regarding the investigation and findings, but shall otherwise have no part in the hearing process and shall not attempt to otherwise influence the panel outside of providing testimony during the hearing.

  • Hearing Procedure
    1. The hearing will be conducted by the Title IX Coordinator and/or his/her designee(s). The Panel must be composed of at least three (3) members.
    2. The investigator shall not serve on the Panel.
    3. No student shall serve on the Panel.
    4. Both the alleged victim and respondent shall have the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence to the Panel. Both parties shall have the right to confront any witnesses, including the other party, by submitting written questions to the Title IX Coordinator and/or his or her designee for consideration. Witness testimony, if provided, shall pertain to knowledge and facts directly associated with the case being heard. Advisors may actively assist in drafting questions. The Panel shall ask the questions as written, and will limit questions only if they are unrelated to determining the veracity of the charge leveled against the respondent(s). In any event, the Panel shall err on the side of asking all submitted questions, and must document the reason for not asking any particular questions.
    5. The Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to allow a party to testify in a separate room, when determined to be necessary. Where such a determination is made, special measures must be put in place to ensure no party is unfairly disadvantaged by this procedure. A party must still give testimony in the presence of the Panel, and the opposing party must have the opportunity to view the testimony remotely and to submit follow-up questions.
    6. Similarly, where the Title IX Coordinator determines that a witness or party necessary to the proceedings is unavailable and unable to be present due to exigent circumstances (e.g., on a study abroad program, medical restrictions on travel, etc.), he or she may establish special procedures for providing testimony from a separate location. In doing so, the Title IX Coordinator must determine there is a valid basis for the unavailability, ensure proper sequestration in a manner that ensures the testimony has not been tainted, and make a determination that such an arrangement will not unfairly disadvantage any parties. Should it be reasonably believed that a party or witness who is not physically present has presented tainted testimony to the Panel, the Panel will disregard the testimony of that witness.
    7. The standard of review shall be a preponderance of the evidence; however, any decision to suspend or to expel a student must also be supported by substantial evidence at the hearing.
    8. The civil rules of evidence do not apply to the investigatory or resolution process.
    9. Both the respondent and alleged victim shall be provided a written report via institution email of the outcome and any resulting sanctions. The written report must summarize the evidence in support of the sanction. The report should include details on how to appeal, as outlined below.
  • Appeals Procedure

    Parties shall have the right to appeal the outcome on any of the following grounds: (1) to consider new information, sufficient to alter the decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information was not known or knowable to the person appealing during the time of the hearing; (2) to allege a procedural error within the hearing process that may have substantially impacted the fairness of the hearing, including but not limited to whether any hearing questions were improperly excluded or whether the decision was tainted by bias; or (3) to allege that the finding was inconsistent with the weight of the information. Appeals may be made by the alleged offender for the above reasons in any case where sanctions are issued – even those in which such sanctions are held “in abeyance,” such as probationary suspension or expulsion.

    The appeal must be made in writing, and must set forth one or more of the bases outlined above, and must be submitted within five (5) business days of the date of the final report. Where the respondent or alleged victim appealing the outcome is a student, the appeal should be made to the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee. The appeal shall be a review of the record only, and no new meeting with the respondent or alleged victim will be held. The non-appealing party shall be given the opportunity to respond to the appellant’s submission. The applicable Vice President, or his/her designee, may affirm the original finding and sanction; affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of greater or lesser severity; remand the case back to the Title IX Coordinator to correct a procedural or factual defect; or reverse or dismiss the case if there was a procedural or factual defect that cannot be remedied by remand. The Vice President or his/her designee shall then issue a decision in writing to both the respondent and alleged victim simultaneously within a reasonable time period. The decision of the Vice President or his/her designee may be appealed in writing within five (5) business days (as determined by the date of the decision letter) to the President of the institution solely on the three grounds set forth above.

    The President may affirm the original finding and sanction; affirm the original finding but issue a new sanction of greater or lesser severity; remand the case back to the Title IX Coordinator to correct a procedural or factual defect; or reverse or dismiss the case if there was a procedural or factual defect that cannot be remedied by remand. The President’s decision shall be issued in writing to both the respondent and alleged victim and shall be issued within a reasonable amount of time. The President’s decision shall be the final decision of the institution. Should the respondent or alleged victim wish to appeal the President’s decision, he or she may appeal to the Board of Regents in accordance with the Board of Regents Policy 8.6.