Title IX Administrative Resolution
If reasonable suspicion exists to move to the administrative resolution phase of the process, this phase of the process will typically begin within ten (10) business days following the completion of the investigative report. The respondent and complainant will each have the opportunity to review the investigative report and the documentation from the investigation. Given the sensitive nature of the information provided in the investigative report, the review of the report must occur in person with the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX investigator. Ample time will be afforded to the complainant and respondent, within reason, to review the report prior to responding to the allegations.
Following the review of the investigative report, the respondent will be given the opportunity to respond to the alleged violation of policy in the following ways: 1) No response; 2) Not Responsible; or 3) Responsible.
If the respondent accepts responsibility, the Dean of the respondent’s school will be notified and will determine the sanction based on the evidence provided in the investigative report and documentation. The complainant and respondent will be made aware of the sanctioning decision within five (5) business days whenever possible and will be provided an opportunity to meet with the Dean to review the sanctioning decision. The respondent and complainant will then have the opportunity to appeal the sanctioning decision. The acceptance of responsibility however, is not appealable (see Appeals Process).
If the respondent declines responsibility, or chooses not to respond, a hearing panel may be convened.
Title IX Hearing Panel
A Title IX Hearing Panel is conducted in the spirit of the values affirmed in the Bryn Mawr Honor Code: a belief in the integrity of each individual, a concern for others, and a commitment to dialogue. A Title IX Hearing Panel may be convened to resolve concerns related to the College’s Policy on Sexual Assault. All members of the community should realize that being called before a Title IX Hearing Panel in no way implies a presumption of guilt.
In general, a Title IX Hearing Panel will be convened to deal with alleged violations of the College’s Policy on Sexual Assault by a Bryn Mawr student. In determining whether or not a Title IX Hearing Panel is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will consult with the complainant and such members of the professional staff of the College as circumstances indicate. The Panel will be convened in a timely manner, soon after a Title IX complaint has been investigated.
Composition of the Title IX Hearing Panel
TheTitle IX Hearing Panel shall be appointed by the Dean or Title IX Coordinator and will be composed of at least three members. Generally the panel will include three members of the Dean’s staff and/or other College administrators who have been trained to serve on Title IX Panels. Neither the Dean of the Undergraduate College nor the Title IX Coordinator shall serve as a hearing panel member, but rather, serve as advisers to the process. The Dean will appoint one of the Associate or Assistant Deans as chair of the panel.
Each student being brought before a Title IX Hearing Panel will be notified by letter or email from the chair that a Title IX Hearing Panel is being convened. This letter will specify the behavior or issue that gave rise to the concern and direct the student to schedule a meeting prior to the hearing with the chair or Title IX Coordinator. This meeting shall be for the purpose of (a) reviewing the Title IX Hearing Panel procedures for the student; (b) obtaining from the student the name of a support person from the Bryn Mawr community to be present at the hearing; and (c) obtaining from the student the names of witnesses to consider including for the Title IX Hearing Panel.
The hearing will be convened as soon as practicable after the student’s initial meeting with the chair or Title IX Coordinator. In the event that the student does not schedule such a meeting, the Title IX Hearing Panel process will be obliged to go forward without the student. Any student notified of a Title IX Hearing is required to appear when instructed. The Title IX Hearing will make reasonable efforts to take into consideration the scheduling preferences of any student being brought before it; however, if these preferences cannot reasonably be honored, the student or students will nevertheless be expected to appear for the hearing. Should a student fail to appear, the Panel will be convened as announced and proceed without the student, and the student will be bound by any of its resolutions.
The Hearing Procedure
The hearing panel will have the opportunity to thoroughly review the investigative report and documentation submitted by the investigator(s) prior to the hearing.
The general course of the hearing procedure will be as follows, whenever possible:
- Complainant statement
- Respondent statement
- Questions to the complainant
- Questions to the respondent
- Witness testimony and questioning (if the hearing panel determines it is necessary)
- Clarification from the investigator (if the hearing panel determines it is necessary)
- Closing statement by complainant
- Closing statement by respondent
The panel may determine the relevance of and may place restrictions on any witnesses or information presented. When the complainant and respondent are not able to be present for the hearing panel, arrangements will be made for the parties to participate via alternate means (e.g. phone).
Procedures Regarding Witnesses
Any student brought before the Panel will have access to any written statements submitted by witnesses. The support person of any student called before a Title IX Hearing Panel will not ordinarily be allowed to address the Panel or to serve as a witness.
Only the panel may ask questions of the parties and of any witnesses. Both parties have the opportunity to put forth questions of the other party and of witnesses. This is done by submitting questions to the panel in written format. The panel may determine which questions are relevant and which are duplicative in nature. The panel reserves the right to revise or remove submitted questions.
Title IX Hearing Panel Deliberations
After taking statements and gathering information, the Panel will deliberate in private first to determine if there is a finding of responsibility of a violation of the College’s Policy on Sexual Assault. The panel will use “preponderance of evidence” as the standard of proof to determine whether a policy violation occurred. Preponderance of evidence means that a panel must be convinced based on the information provided that a policy violation was more likely to have occurred than to not have occurred in order to find a student responsible for violating a policy. Based on this standard, the panel may find a student responsible for an alleged violation of policy based on a majority vote. The panel may also vote by majority to dismiss the charge based on the same evidentiary standard.
If there is a finding of responsibility, the Panel will determine sanctions or resolutions for the respondent. Both the complainant and respondent will be informed of the Title IX Hearing Panel’s finding of responsibility and resolutions orally at the first opportunity. In addition, the chair will send the complainant and respondent a written summary of the Panel’s finding and resolutions within five (5) business days following the conclusion of the hearing.
The respondent and complainant may appeal: 1) the decision made by the hearing panel, and/or 2) the sanctions determined by the hearing panel.
The resolution of the Dean’s Panel is final and binding on the student brought before the Panel unless (1) the student submits a valid written appeal to the President within ten days after having received the formal letter setting forth the Panel’s finding and resolutions; or (2) the Panel’s resolution was that the respondent brought before the Panel is to be separated or excluded from the College, in which case the Panel itself shall automatically submit the matter to the President of the College for review. The decision of the President on appeal is final and binding.
Grounds for Appeal
The grounds upon which a complainant or respondent may appeal the decision and/or sanctions are (a)the student believes a procedural error occurred, which the student feels may change or affect the outcome of the decision; (b)the student has substantive new evidence that was not available at the time of the hearing and that may change the outcome of the decision; or (c)the student feels that the severity of the sanction is inappropriate given the details of the case. The student’s appeal shall identify the procedural error(s) if applicable or the new evidence and its relevancy as well as explain when it became available. In making a decision on a student’s written appeal, the President will review all materials from the hearing, the Panel’s resolution, and the written appeal submitted by the student. The President may uphold the Panel’s determination, reverse its determination, or require a new Title IX Panel hearing.
A report by the Chair of the Title IX Hearing Panel will be provided to the Dean of the College and the Title IX Coordinator, to include the names of the parties, the alleged charge(s), the names of witnesses, the names of Panel members, the timeline for the proceedings, the finding of violation or non-violation and the resolutions, if any. The Title IX Coordinator retains records of Title IX Hearing Panels.
Disciplinary proceedings conducted by the College are subject to the Family Educational Records and Privacy Act (FERPA), a federal law governing the privacy of student information. FERPA generally limits disclosure of student information outside the College without the student’s consent, but it does provide for release of student disciplinary information without a student’s consent in certain circumstances. Any information gathered in the course of an investigation may be subpoenaed by law enforcement authorities as part of a parallel investigation into the same conduct, or required to be produced through other compulsory legal process.