Title IX | Student Grievance Process if Student Respondent

Title IX Grievance Process, Montreat College (if student respondent)

  • A Complaint Form submitted to the Title IX Coordinator or Dean of Students starts the process. (The form is available on the college’s Sexual Harassment Response and Prevention webpage.)
  • Staff ensures care of complainant needs and implementation of any interim safety measures (to eliminate the hostile environment for him/her). Requests should be made to the Dean of Students.
    • Such measures include, but are not limited to, modification of living arrangements, no contact orders, change of academic schedule without penalty, change in work schedule, escort between classes and activities, delay in test or assignment deadlines
  • The Dean of Students determines whether there are any violations of college policy with which respondent could be charged and which should be investigated.
  • The initial charge(s) are sent to respondent by the Dean of Students.
    • The grievance process will be explained to the respondent, with instructions not to interfere with the investigation process in any way. The respondent must not retaliate against anyone in the investigation; doing so will be another violation of policy. The respondent should know that he/she will have the opportunity to tell his/her story as the complaint is investigated. Any interim measures for the care of the complainant that may affect him/her (“no contact” order, etc.) will be explained.
    • The respondent should also know that he/she will not be assumed by the college to be in violation of college policy before an investigation and conduct hearing has taken into account the totality of all evidence available, from relevant sources.
  • Respondent is given 24 hours to accept or not accept responsibility to the Dean of Students.

I. If the respondent accepts responsibility, the Dean of Students makes a disciplinary decision and informs the respondent and complainant in writing concerning the sanction, within 24 hours of receipt of the respondent’s statement.

  • The Dean of Students submits a summary report of findings and sanction(s), as well as measures requested to address complainant needs, to the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator determines, with the Dean of Students, whether any additional measures to prevent similar incidents should be taken.

II. If respondent does not accept responsibility and withdraws from the college, the Dean of Students will inform the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator will make sure that sufficient measures have been taken to address complainant needs resulting from the incident(s) and invite the complainant to let the Coordinator know if other needs arise (retaliation, academic accommodations, etc.). The Coordinator will also investigate to determine whether any measures need to be taken to lessen the likelihood of such incidents taking place again.

  • The Title IX Coordinator assigns an investigator to continue the investigation and file a summary report of findings based on testimony of witnesses and other evidence.
  • The respondent will not be allowed to apply for re-admission to the college without the completion of the disciplinary process and the approval of the Dean of Students.

III. If respondent does not accept responsibility and desires to stay at the college, the Dean of Students will inform the complainant and the Title IX Coordinator. The Coordinator will, in a timely manner, assign an investigator, internal or external to the college with no conflict of interest and trained to conduct thorough, impartial, and reliable Title IX investigations.

  • A full investigation of the complaint will be conducted, including interviews with the complainant, respondent, and witnesses whose names are provided by the complainant and respondent. Generally, this policy will provide for a timeframe of approximately 45 days for the investigator to submit a written report of findings to a conduct board, consisting of three members from the faculty and staff not affiliated with the case, appointed by the Dean of Students.
    • If circumstances, such as semester break or study abroad, warrant an extension of time, the complainant and respondent will be notified.
    • The investigation will be kept as confidential as possible; information will only be disclosed on a “need to know” basis for the purpose of taking steps to provide a healthy campus environment for students and employees.
    • All parties and witnesses will be advised that the matter is to be kept confidential and that retaliation of any kind is prohibited.
    • In cases of alleged sexual misconduct, both parties are permitted to have an advisor of their choice present at all meetings/proceedings in strictly a support role.
  • Within 7 days of receiving the report, a hearing will be scheduled with the conduct board.
    • Both parties will have access to any information that will be used at the hearing, including names of conduct board members, witness list, and documentary evidence.
    • During the hearing the “preponderance of the evidence” standard (i.e. “more likely than not”) will be used rather than the criminal standard (i.e. “beyond a reasonable doubt”).
    • Any conflict of interest between a party and any member of the conduct board must be disclosed.
    • Both parties will be allowed to present relevant evidence and witnesses and to question witnesses, but not each other.
    • Both parties will be prohibited from personally questioning each other at the hearing. The complainant will not be required to appear in the same room with the respondent during the hearing.
    • Both parties have the right not to have irrelevant prior sexual history admitted in the hearing.
    • Each party may have a supporter/advisor of their choice present; these advisors may provide whispered advice but are not permitted to participate in or interfere with the hearing.
    • Disciplinary hearings are not recorded.
  • The conduct board will submit a recommendation to the Dean of Students regarding the responsibility of the respondent and appropriate sanctions. The Dean of Students makes the final decision regarding disciplinary action based on these recommendations.
  • Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the hearing, including any sanction imposed on the perpetrator that relates directly to the complainant.
  • Both parties have the right to appeal the decision within 7 days to the Title IX Coordinator, if new information is discovered or if either party has evidence that college policies and procedures were not followed in the case or that the sanction was inconsistently or capriciously applied to the violation. The appeal must be submitted in writing.
    • The Dean of Students will review the appeal.
    • A decision will be communicated within 2 weeks of receipt of the appeal.
    • Both parties will receive simultaneous written notice of the outcome of the appeal.
  • Both parties will be advised to contact the Title IX Coordinator if they experience retaliation or any further incidents.