The College Response

Interim Measure, Remedies and Accommodations

Upon receipt of a report, Wells College will impose reasonable and appropriate interim measures designed to eliminate the hostile environment and protect the parties involved. Wells College will make reasonable efforts to communicate with the parties to ensure that all safety, emotional, and physical well-being concerns are being addressed. Interim measures may be imposed regardless of whether formal disciplinary action is sought by the Complainant or the College.

A Complainant or Respondent may request a No-Contact Order or other protection, or the College may choose to impose interim measures at its discretion to ensure the safety of all parties, the broader Wells College and Aurora community, and/or the integrity of the process.

All individuals are encouraged to report concerns about failure of another individual to abide by any restrictions imposed by an interim measure. The College will take immediate and responsive action to enforce a previously implemented measure.

Range of Measures

Interim measures will be implemented at the discretion of the College. Potential remedies, which may be applied to the Complainant and/or the Respondent, include but are not limited to:

  • Access to counseling services and assistance in setting up an initial appointment, both on and off campus
  • Imposition of the campus No Contact Orders
  • Rescheduling of exams and assignments in conjunction with appropriate faculty
  • Providing alternative course completion options (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty)
  • Changing of class schedule, including the ability to take an "incomplete", drop a course without penalty or transfer sections (with the agreement of the appropriate faculty)
  • Change a work schedule or job assignment
  • Change housing assignments
  • Arrange to dissolve a Housing Contract and pro-rate a refund in accordance with campus housing policies
  • Assistance from College support staff in completing housing relocation
  • Limit an individual or organization's access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter
  • Voluntary withdrawal
  • Providing an escort to ensure safe movement between classes and activities
  • Providing medical services
  • Providing academic support services, such as tutoring
  • Interim suspension or College-imposed leave
  • Any other remedy that could be tailored to the involved parties to achieve the goals of this policy

Interim Suspension or Separation

When the report of sexual misconduct poses a substantial and immediate threat of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual, members of the campus and/or Aurora community, or the performance of normal College functions, the College may place a student or student organization on interim suspension or impose leave for an employee. Pending resolution of the report, the individual or organization may be denied access to campus, campus facilities, and/or all other college activities or privileges for which the student might otherwise be eligible, as the College deems appropriate. When interim suspension or leave is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and resolution within the 60 day mandated timeframe by the Office of Civil Rights.

Options for Resolution

Upon receipt of a report, the College's Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputies will conduct an initial Title IX assessment. The goal of this assessment is to provide an integrated and coordinated response to reports of sexual misconduct. The assessment will consider the nature of the report, the safety of the individual and of the campus community, and the Complainant's expressed preference for resolution.

At the conclusion of the assessment, the College may choose to pursue an informal resolution, a remedies-based approach that does not involve disciplinary action against a Respondent, or refer the matter for investigation. The goal of an investigation is to gather all relevant facts and determine if there is sufficient information to refer the report to the Dean of Students, or hir designee, for disciplinary action using Wells College's formal resolution procedures. The initial steps for resolution of a complaint against a student, an employee, or a faculty member will involve the same stages: an initial assessment, investigation, and either informal or formal resolution. Within these steps, there are specific procedures.

The Role of the Title IX Team

The Title IX team is led by the Title IX Coordinator, and includes two deputies. Their roles are to assist in the review, investigation, and resolution of reports. Composition of the team will be limited to a small circle of individuals who "need to know" in order to implement procedures under this policy.

The College directs individuals to make reports to the Title IX team to ensure consistent application of the policy to all individuals, and to allow the College to respond promptly and equitably to eliminate the harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects.

The members of the Title IX team oversee the resolution of a report under this policy. Resources are available for both students and employees, whether as Complainant or Respondents, to provide guidance throughout the investigation and resolution of the complaint. Interim Remedies are also available to provide protection and security.

The Stages of a Title IX Report:

1. Initial Title IX Assessment: In every report of sexual misconduct, Wells College will make an immediate assessment of any risk of harm to individuals or to the campus and/or Aurora community and will take steps necessary to address those risks. These steps may include interim protective measures to provide for the safety of the individual and the community. The initial review will proceed to the point where a reasonable assessment of the safety of all involved parties and the community can be made. Thereafter, the investigation may be initiated depending on a variety of factors, such as the Complainant's wish to pursue disciplinary action, the risk posed to any individual or the campus community by not proceeding, and the nature of the allegation.

2. Investigation: Where the Title IX assessment concludes that disciplinary action may be appropriate, the College will initiate an investigation. The College will designate an investigator or a team of two investigators, with specific training on investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. Trained investigators include the Student Life staff, Campus Safety staff, and the Title IX team. Any investigator chosen to conduct the investigation must be impartial and free of any conflict of interest.

The investigator(s) will conduct the investigation in a manner appropriate in light of the circumstances of the case, which will typically include interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent and any witnesses. The interviews will be supplemented by the gathering of any physical, documentary or other evidence. As part of the investigation, the College will provide an opportunity for the parties to present witnesses and other evidence. The investigation is designed to provide a fair and reliable gathering of the facts. The investigation will be thorough, impartial and fair, and all individuals will be treated with appropriate sensitivity and respect. As described in the Privacy and Confidentiality section, the investigation will be conducted in a manner that is respectful of individual privacy concerns. In situations of alleged sexual misconduct, the Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice and at their own expense, if the advisor is a paid advisor. The Complainant and Respondent are expected to speak for themselves, and advisors must not obstruct the process or otherwise be disruptive to the interview or meeting.

The College will seek to complete the investigation within 14(fourteen) days of receiving the complaint, but this time frame may be extended depending on the complexity of the circumstances of each case.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will prepare a written report synthesizing the facts and the investigators' conclusions. The investigation report will contain a recommendation as to a finding of no responsibility or responsibility for the violation, and if so, recommended sanction(s). This report will be forwarded to the Dean of Students (for student respondents), Director of Human Resources (for staff respondents), Provost (for faculty respondents) and Head of Security (for non-community member respondents).

Based on the information gathered in the initial Title IX assessment and/or full investigation, the College will take appropriate measures designed to end the misconduct, prevent its recurrence and address its effects.

The Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy will document each report or request for assistance in resolving a case involving charges of sexual misconduct, whether formal or informal, and will review and retain copies of all reports generated as a result of investigations. These records will be kept confidential to the extent permitted by law.

3. Informal Resolution: Informal resolution is a remedies-based, non-judicial approach designed to eliminate a hostile environment without taking formal disciplinary action against a Respondent. Where the Title IX assessment concludes that informal resolution may be appropriate, the College will take immediate and corrective action through the imposition of individual and community remedies designed to maximize the Complainant's access to the educational and extracurricular activities at the College and to eliminate a hostile environment. Examples of protective remedies are provided in the section titled "Interim Remedies." Other potential remedies include targeted or broad-based educational programming or training, directives for future behavior issued to the Respondent and/or indirect action by the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy or the College. Depending on the form of informal resolution used, it may be possible to maintain anonymity.

The College will not compel a Complainant to engage in mediation, to directly confront the Respondent, or to participate in any particular form of informal resolution. Mediation, even if voluntary, may not be used in cases involving sexual violence or assault. The decision to pursue an informal resolution will be made when the College has sufficient information about the nature and scope of the conduct, which may occur at any time. Participation in informal resolution is voluntary, and a Complainant can request to end informal resolution at any time.

The Title IX Coordinator will maintain records of all reports and conduct referred for informal resolution. Informal resolution will typically be completed within thirty (30) days of the initial report.

4. Formal Resolution: Disciplinary action against a Respondent may only be taken through Formal Resolution procedures. Because the relationship of students, staff, and faculty to the College differ in nature, the procedures that apply when seeking disciplinary action necessarily differ as well. Each of the procedures, however, is guided by the same principles of fundamental fairness and respect for all parties, which require notice, an equitable opportunity to be heard, and an equitable opportunity to respond to a report under this policy. Further, the College will apply a preponderance of the evidence standard (meaning "more likely than not" that a violation occurred).

The specific procedures for Formal Resolution vary based upon the role of the Respondent:

  • For a complaint against a student, disciplinary action may be taken by the Dean of Students or their designee following a finding of responsibility. Further explanation as to this procedure follows below (see "Disciplinary Procedure for Students").
  • For a complaint against a staff/administrator, disciplinary action may be taken at the conclusion of the investigation by the Director of Human Resources and Business Services, and there is no right to appeal for either party.
  • For a complaint against a faculty member, disciplinary action may be taken at the conclusion of the investigation in a manner consistent with the College's disciplinary procedures for faculty.
  • For a complaint against a non-community member (i.e., a visitor, vendor, alum, etc.), responsive action may be taken at the conclusion of the investigation by the Head of Campus Safety, which action may be a ban from the campus or other appropriate measure. There is no right of appeal.
  • In all of the above procedures, the standard to be applied in determining whether a violation occurred is "preponderance of the evidence", and the complainant and respondent will be provided an equal opportunity to offer evidence and witnesses and to be accompanied by an advisor.

Advisors, Support Persons, and Attorneys

Advisor: The Complainant and Respondent may choose to be assisted by an advisor. The Dean of Students Office maintains a list of campus community members who have undergone Title IX training and are available to act as advisors. The Complainant and/or Respondent may choose as an advisor a person not a member of the college community, including an attorney at the party's own expense. The advisor may accompany the Complainant or Respondent to any College investigative, administrative or adjudicative meeting. The advisor may not make statements, objections or arguments but may consult quietly with the party. Absent extenuating circumstances, witnesses and others involved in an investigation or hearing are not entitled to have an advisor present.

Disciplinary Procedure for Student Respondents
The Dean of Students will receive and review the investigation report. The Dean of Students may request to meet with either party or that further information be gathered, if deemed necessary in hir discretion. The Dean of Students may uphold or modify the investigator(s)'s recommendation, both as to the finding of responsibility or no responsibility, and as to sanction(s), if any. The Dean of Students' decision as to the outcome of the complaint, which will include a brief rationale for the outcome, will be communicated to both complainant and respondent in writing simultaneously. The Dean of Students may designate hir authority to another administrator.

Appeal

Either party, complainant or respondent, may appeal the Dean of Students' decision to the Provost. The parties will be given equal access to review any party of witness statements and the investigatory report, to the extent allowed or required by FERPA. The appeal must be filed in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the written outcome. The appeal shall consist of a plain, concise and complete written statement outlining the grounds for appeal and all relevant information to substantiate the basis for the appeal. The grounds for appeal are limited to:

  • A procedural irregularity occurred so substantial as to have likely altered the outcome
  • New information has come to light that could not have been known previously that is so substantial as to have likely altered the outcome
  • The finding of responsibility or the finding of no responsibility was not supported by a preponderance of the evidence
  • The sanction is grossly out of line with the violation, either because the sanction is too severe or too lenient

In the event of an appeal, the Provost may:

  • Affirm the finding of responsibility and sanction
  • Affirm the finding of responsibility but modify the sanction, either by increasing or reducing it
  • Affirm the finding of no responsibility
  • Reverse the finding of no responsibility and assign a sanction
  • Reverse the finding of responsibility and eliminate any sanction
  • Remand the decision back to the Dean of Students if warranted due to new information presented or procedural error
  • Take other action deemed appropriate

In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal, as the original determination and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The Provost shall first consider whether the appeal is timely filed and if so, whether the appeal is properly framed based on the grounds. If the Provost determines that the appeal is not properly framed, the appeal will be denied.

Appeals are not intended to be full reinvestigation of the complaint (de novo) . In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation collected in the investigation, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.

Sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students are implemented immediately unless the Provost or Dean of the College stays implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal. Pending graduation, study abroad, internships/externships, or other events do not typically constitute extraordinary circumstances. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term. The Provost will render a written decision on the appeal to the Complainant and Respondent within fifteen (15) business days from the date of the submission of all appeal documents by both parties. Appeal decisions are final.

Time Frame for Resolution

Wells College seeks to resolve all reports within 60 days of the initial report. All time frames expressed in this policy are meant to be guidelines rather than rigid requirements. Extenuating circumstances may arise that require an extension of time frames, including extension beyond 60 days. Extenuating circumstances may include the complexity and scope of the allegations, the number of witnesses involved, the availability of the parties or witnesses, the effect of a concurrent criminal investigation, any intervening school break or vacation, or other unforeseen circumstances.

In general, a Complainant and Respondent can expect that the process will proceed according to the time frames provided in this policy. In the event that the investigation and resolution exceed this time frame, Wells College will notify all parties of the reason(s) for the delay and the expected adjustment in time frames. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.

Possible Sanctions:

Possible sanctions include, but are not limited to:

  • Expulsion from Wells College (or termination, in the case of an employee)
  • Suspension from Wells College for a designated amount of time
  • Removal from college housing
  • Mandated counseling/behavioral change plans
  • No Contact Order
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Restrictions on academic, housing, co-curricular, or extracurricular participation
  • Ban from certain areas/events on campus or from the campus as a whole
  • Educational Sanctions as appropriate

Notification of Outcome

The Complainant and Respondent will be notified simultaneously and in writing of the outcome of the investigation and will be provided with a rationale for the outcome. To the extent permitted by law, the complainant will be informed of responsive/disciplinary action taken by the College, if any.

Conflict of Interest

Any person empowered by this policy to take action may designate hir authority to another due to a conflict of interest or for any other reason deemed necessary or appropriate.

 

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