Investigation & Hearing Process
Kent State University strongly encourages individuals who experience sexual harassment to submit a report to receive guidance.
Timeline. The Office of Gender Equity and Title IX endeavors to complete the investigation and complaint process within reasonably prompt time frames, typically within ninety (90) calendar days of the time the formal complaint was filed. If the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX has good cause to extend the timeline, written notice to the Complainant and Respondent will be provided explaining the reasons for the delay and the needed extension.
Investigation Process. Investigations will be conducted in a timely, thorough, and impartial manner. The Investigator will interview the Complainant, relevant witnesses, and Respondent in a discrete and confidential manner. Disclosure of facts and allegations by the Investigator to persons interviewed will be limited to what is reasonably necessary to complete a fair and thorough investigation. You may bring an advisor of your choice to your interview or related meetings.
Informal Resolution Process. At any time prior to reaching a determination regarding responsibility, the university may facilitate an informal resolution process, such as mediation, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. Both parties mutually agree to the proposed informal resolution strategy in writing. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the formal complaint process.
Collecting Information Relevant to the Case. The Investigator will also review any documents and other information relevant to the allegations. If you have any materials that you believe may be relevant to this investigation that you have not already submitted to the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX please prepare to give copies to the Investigator during your upcoming interview, (e.g., emails, texts, instant messages, photos, social media postings, videos, notes or other documents).
Prior to completing the investigation report, the Investigator will send to the Complainant and Respondent (and their respective advisors) the evidence that has been gathered, in the form of a confidential Draft Case File. You and your adviser may inspect and review the Draft Case File and will have at least 10 calendar days to submit a written response.
After reviewing any written responses, the Investigator will prepare a final Investigative Report that summarizes the relevant evidence, and the Investigative Report will be forwarded to the Complainant and Respondent (and their respective advisors). Complainant and Respondent will both have at least 10 calendar days to submit another written response regarding the final Investigative Report.
Hearings. After the parties’ review and comment period, a trained, Decision-Maker, who is not the Title IX Coordinator, or the Investigator will be assigned. Formal complaints that are not resolved informally or dismissed will result in a live hearing. When the respondent is a student, the hearing will be convened by the office of student conduct in accordance with that office’s procedures. When the respondent is an employee the hearing will be convened by human resources or the office of the provost.
Determination of Responsibility. After considering the Investigative Report and the answers during the live hearing, the Decision-Maker will issue a written determination regarding responsibility based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e. “whether it is more likely than not the alleged conduct occurred”). The written decision will provide notice of determination and explain how to file an appeal.
Confidentiality. The Office of Gender Equity and Title IX will keep the identity of the Complainant, Respondent and witness(es) confidential unless required by law or as necessary to carry out this complaint process. As such, to the extent possible, the Office of Gender Equity and Title IX will maintain the privacy and/or confidentiality during the complaint process. However, the Complainant and Respondent are not restricted from discussing the allegations under investigation or from gathering and presenting relevant evidence during the investigation process needed to support their case.
Retaliation Prohibited. No person may intimidate, threaten, coerce, or discriminate against any individual because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy. If you believe you have been retaliated against, please contact this office immediately.