Policy 1436 – Process B – Power-Based Violence Grievance Process
This process is to be used to investigate and resolve Reports of power-based violence after the Title IX Coordinator makes an initial determination that the incident does not fall within the definition or jurisdiction of Title IX Sexual Harassment. Reports that fall within the scope of Title IX jurisdiction shall be investigated and resolved through the Title IX Grievance Process (Process A).
Initial Contact with Potential Complainant.
After receiving a Report of power-based violence, the University’s Title IX Office should notify the individual who is the alleged victim in the Report of the option to have an Advisor accompany them to any meeting or interview related to the power-based violence process.
In initial contact with a potential Complainant, the Title IX Office should also:
- Give the potential Complainant a copy of the relevant policies;
- Explain the process for filing a Formal Complaint with the Title IX Office;
- Provide the potential Complainant with information regarding the rights/responsibilities as a party in this matter (See Statement of Parties’ Rights);
- Explain the process for investigating and resolving a power-based violence Formal Complaint (including the available appeal procedures);
- Explain the procedural differences based on Title IX vs power-based violence conduct;
- Instruct the potential Complainant not to destroy any potentially relevant documentation in any format;
- Inform the individual of the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint;
- Discuss the potential Complainant’s expressed preference for manner of resolution and any barriers to proceeding (e.g., confidentiality concerns);
- Explain the prohibition against retaliation; and
- Communicate necessary details of the report to the campus police department for entry into the Institution’s daily crime log.
The University should address all Reports of power-based violence reported to the Title IX Coordinator regardless of whether the Report becomes a Formal Complaint. The investigation and adjudication procedures (if needed) will be prompt, fair, and impartial.
If the Title IX Coordinator receives notice of alleged power-based violence, whether through online reporting or other reporting methods, the Title IX Coordinator or designee should contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint and consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures. Supportive Measures should also be made available to the Respondent.
Supportive Measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the Complainant or the Respondent regardless of whether a Formal Complaint has been filed. Such measures may include counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, and increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.
Supportive Measures should be designed to restore or preserve access to the University’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties and the University’s educational environment.
Filing a Formal Complaint
If a potential Complainant wishes to pursue an incident of power-based violence beyond simply reporting it, they may file a Formal Complaint. The filing of a Formal Complaint means that the individual is asking the University to take further steps, such as a full investigation and possibly an adjudication to resolve the alleged issue. Any Complainant (i.e., an alleged victim or survivor or someone who has otherwise been directly affected by power-based violence) may file a Formal Complaint, and the University will treat it as such.
An individual who is alleged to have been subjected to an incident of power-based violence (i.e., a victim or a person who has been directly affected by power-based violence) and subsequently files a Formal Complaint will be referred to as a Complainant.
Any Third-Party Reporter (i.e., someone who has knowledge of or witnessed power-based violence) may request the University to treat their Report as a Formal Complaint, but that request would not make the Third-Party Reporter into a Complainant.
Similarly, the fact that the Title IX Coordinator converts a Report to a Formal Complaint does not make the Title IX Coordinator a Complainant. However, the Title IX Coordinator reserves the right to initiate a Formal Complaint in order to meet the University’s Title IX obligations to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment and if the University determines that it must take additional steps to protect the campus community. Depending on the conduct alleged and the location of the incident, a Formal Complaint and subsequent investigation will be governed by either this Process B or the Title IX Grievance Process (Process A).
How to file a Formal Complaint
Following the filing of a Report (which may be submitted on paper, electronically, or verbally in person), individuals seeking to file a Formal Complaint may do so by meeting with the Title IX Coordinator. To initiate the Formal Complaint, the reporting individual will meet with the Title IX Coordinator to provide a verbal description of the power-based violence which the Title IX Office will use to draft a written document that the individual will review, verify, and sign to constitute a Formal Complaint. Formal Complaints should be in writing, signed and include all information the individual believes to be relevant (e.g., time, location, and nature of incident, names of individuals involved, witnesses to the incident, names of other persons affected by the incident, etc.).
Note: If the Formal Complaint filed satisfies the requirements of a Title IX Formal Complaint as defined by 34 CFR §106.30, the Title IX Office should proceed under the Title IX Grievance Process (Process A).
Withdrawal of a Formal Complaint
The University should allow for a Complainant to withdraw their Formal Complaint. If a Formal Complaint is withdrawn, the Title IX Office should assess the information provided and proceed accordingly. Withdrawal of the Formal Complaint should ordinarily end the Formal Complaint and resolution process. However, the Title IX Office should reserve the right to proceed with the Formal Complaint, even after the Complainant withdraws it, in order to protect the interests and safety of the University’s community. In such cases, the Complainant shall be notified immediately of the University’s decision to proceed.
Notice to Respondent
The person alleged to have committed power-based violence is called the Respondent. The Respondent should be notified in writing that a Formal Complaint alleging power-based violence has been filed against them. The Respondent should be advised that they may have an Adviser accompany them to any meeting or interview related to the investigation and resolution process.
Within seven (7) business days of receiving notice of the Formal Complaint, the Respondent should arrange to meet with the Title IX Office. The Title IX Office is required to provide the same information that was presented to the Complainant during their initial contact including the Statement of Parties’ Rights.
After reviewing the Formal Complaint and meeting with the Title IX Office and appropriate decision makers, the Respondent may choose to end the resolution process by accepting responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint. If the Respondent accepts responsibility for the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint, the appropriate decision makers should determine the appropriate sanction for the Respondent. If the Respondent disputes the allegations in the Formal Complaint, the matter will proceed to an investigation.
The Title IX Office should designate Investigators specifically trained in power-based violence investigations to conduct a prompt, thorough, and fair investigation. Assigned Investigators should not be the Title IX Coordinator or the Decision Makers.
The process should begin with intake meetings conducted by the Title IX Coordinator. The investigation phase should include interviewing the Complainant or Reporter, the Respondent, and any witnesses; reviewing law enforcement investigation documents if applicable; reviewing relevant student or employment files; and gathering and examining other relevant documents and evidence.
As a part of the investigation, the University should provide an opportunity for all parties to present written statements, identify witnesses, and submit other evidence.
Both Complainants and Respondents should be advised of the utilization of Advisors throughout the investigation process. Parties should be advised that Advisors are not permitted to participate directly in Resolution Hearings or Informal Resolution Conferences, except to the extent an Advisor’s participation is required during Title IX grievance hearings; they may be present solely to advise or support the party and are prohibited from speaking directly to the Investigator, the power-based violence Adjudicator, other parties, or witnesses.
Findings and Investigative Report
At the conclusion of the investigation, Investigators should prepare a report (the “Investigative Report”) summarizing and analyzing the relevant facts determined through the investigation, with reference to any supporting documentation or statements. The report should be delivered to the Title IX Coordinator, who should analyze the report to ensure that the investigation was prompt, impartial, thorough, and consistent with this Policy. Before the Investigative Report is finalized, the Complainant and Respondent should be given the opportunity to review one another’s statements and may also be provided with a written summary of other information collected during the investigation if the information is requested and the Title IX Office deems it appropriate to disclose.
A Complainant or Respondent should submit any comments about their own statement, or on any investigation summary that might be provided, to the Investigators within five (5) calendar days after the statement or summary was provided. Following the receipt of any comments submitted, or after the five-day comment period has lapsed without comment, the Investigators should address any identified factual inaccuracies or misunderstandings, as appropriate.
The final Investigative Report should provide a summary of the Investigators’ impressions, including context for the evidence collected, but should not make a final determination as to whether a violation of the Power-Based Violence Policy occurred, reserving that decision (and any sanctions) for the appropriate decision maker(s). The parties should be provided with a copy of the final Investigative Report simultaneously.
Investigations should be completed within thirty (30) days or sooner where feasible.
For Formal Complaints with a student Respondent, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the parties should be advised of their option to pursue an Informal Resolution as an alternative to a Formal Resolution. An Informal Resolution should involve a remedies-based, non-judicial process designed to eliminate or address potential power-based violence. This process should aim to assure fairness, to facilitate communication, and to maintain an equitable balance of power between the parties. Institutions should not compel face-to-face confrontation between the parties or participation in any particular form of Informal Resolution.
The Title IX Coordinator should make an initial decision about whether a case qualifies for an Informal Resolution. If both parties then agree to pursue that path, the University will halt any investigation or scheduled Resolution Hearing so that the parties can explore the possibility of Informal Resolution. Participation in an Informal Resolution is voluntary, and either party can request to end the Informal Resolution process at any time and commence or resume the investigation process. If the parties agree to a resolution during an Informal Resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator should oversee its implementation, the Formal Complaint should be deemed withdrawn, and the matter should be terminated. An appeal of the process and its result should not be permitted. The resolution should be considered binding, and its breach would give rise to a new Formal Complaint.
The Informal Resolution process is not available where the Complainant is a student and the Respondent is an employee of the University.
Provided that the Formal Complaint is not resolved through Informal Resolution, once the final Investigative Report is shared with the parties, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to a Decision-maker Panel for deliberation and determination.
The parties will be given a list of the names of the Decision-maker Panel members and the parties will have three (3) business days to respond with an objection to any panel member. All objections to any Decision-maker must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within the three-day time limit. Decision-makers will only be removed if the Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial deliberation of the allegation(s).
The Title IX Coordinator will give the Decision-maker(s) a list of the names of the parties. Any Decision-maker who cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties. If a Decision-maker is unsure of whether a bias or conflict of interest exists, they must raise the concern to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.
1. Decision-maker Panel Composition
The University will designate a panel with no less than three members from the University’s Pool of trained Decision-makers, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. With a panel, one of the members will be appointed as Chair by the Title IX Coordinator.
The Decision-maker(s) will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator may elect to have an alternate from the Pool sit in throughout the resolution process in the event that a substitute is needed for any reason.
Those who have served as Investigators will be witnesses in the hearing and therefore may not serve as Decision-makers. Those who are serving as Advisors for any party may not serve as Decision-makers in that matter.
2. Evidentiary Considerations by the Decision-maker Panel
The Title IX Coordinator will provide the members of the Decision-maker panel with a copy of the Investigation Report and all relevant evidence collected during the investigation. Any evidence that the Decision-maker(s) determine(s) is relevant and credible may be considered. The Decision-maker Panel does not consider:
- incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern;
- the character of the parties; or
- evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless such evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior is offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the evidence concerns specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and is offered to prove consent.
Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a determination of responsibility, assuming the University uses a progressive discipline system. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process.
The parties may each submit a written impact statement for the consideration of the Decision-maker(s) at the sanction stage of the process if a determination of responsibility is reached.
The Decision-maker Panel renders a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.
Determinations for possible violations that occur near or after the end of an academic term (assuming the Respondent is still subject to this Policy) and are unable to be resolved prior to the end of term will typically be held immediately after the end of the term or during the summer, as needed, to meet the resolution timeline followed by the University and remain within the 60-90 business day goal for resolution.
In these cases, if the Respondent is a graduating student, a hold may be placed on graduation and/or official transcripts until the matter is fully resolved (including any appeal). A student facing charges under this Policy is not in good standing to graduate.
3. Hearing Procedures
At the hearing, the Decision-maker Panel has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of power-based violence and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the power-based violence, even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within power-based violence.
4. Deliberation, Decision-making, and Standard of Proof
The Decision-maker Panel will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. The Decision-maker Panel has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of power-based violence and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the power-based violence.
A simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used.
When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the Decision-maker(s) may then consider the previously submitted party impact statements in determining appropriate sanction(s).
The Chair will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party. The Decision-maker Panel may – at their discretion – consider the statements, but they are not binding.
The Decision-maker Panel will review the statements and any pertinent conduct history provided by the Title IX Coordinator or Human Resources Director and will determine/recommend the appropriate sanction(s) in consultation with appropriate administrators, as required.
The Chair will then prepare a written deliberation statement and deliver it to the Title IX Coordinator, detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, the evidence disregarded, credibility assessments, and any sanctions/ or recommendations.
This report typically should not exceed three (3) to five (5) pages in length and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within two (2) business days of the end of deliberations, unless the Title IX Coordinator grants an extension. If an extension is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties.
5. Notice of Outcome
Using the deliberation statement, the Title IX Coordinator will work with the Chair to prepare a Notice of Outcome. The Title IX Coordinator will then share the letter, including the final determination, rationale, and any applicable sanction(s) with the parties within three (3) business days of receiving the Decision-maker(s)’ deliberation statement.
The Notice of Outcome will then be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person or emailed to the parties’ University- issued email or otherwise approved account. Once emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The Notice of Outcome will identify the specific policy(ies) reported to have been violated, including the relevant policy section, and will contain a description of the procedural steps taken by the University from the receipt of the Report to the determination, including any and all notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to obtain evidence, and hearings held.
The Notice of Outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; a statement of, and rationale for, the result of each allegation to the extent the University is permitted to share such information under state or federal law; any sanctions issued which the University is permitted to share according to state or federal law; and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to ensure access to the University’s educational or employment program or activity, to the extent the University is permitted to share such information under state or federal law (this detail is not typically shared with the Respondent unless the remedy directly relates to the Respondent).
The Notice of Outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by the University to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.
Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include, but are not limited to:
- The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation(s)
- The Respondent’s disciplinary history
- Previous allegations or allegations involving similar conduct
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the power-based violence
- The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of power-based violence
- The need to remedy the effects of the power-based violence on the Complainant and the community
- The impact on the parties
- Any other information deemed relevant by the Decision-maker(s)
The sanctions will be implemented as soon as is feasible, either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested.
The sanctions described in this policy are not exclusive of, and may be in addition to, other actions taken or sanctions imposed by external authorities.
a. Student Sanctions
The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students. See the Louisiana Tech Student Handbook for a complete listing of all possible sanctions.
- Reprimand: A written letter/expression or oral expression statement that the conduct was unacceptable and a warning that further violation of any University policy, procedure, or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions.
- Discretionary Censures: Censures that may include but are not limited to parental notification, letter of apology, conflict resolution sessions and university programming.
- Required Education Counseling: A mandate to meet with and engage in either University-sponsored or external counseling to better comprehend the misconduct and its effects.
- Suspension: This suspension is for a specified period of time, and the student or the student organization may apply for readmission to the University subsequent to expiration of the specified period. During this period of suspension, the student is banned from the University. A notation will be placed on the student’s transcript “Student is eligible to return (quarter) (year)” when a student is “suspended for disciplinary reasons” for a specified period of time. The transcript indicates which quarter the student will be eligible to return.
- Permanent Dismissal from the University and Banned from the University. A notation will be placed on a student’s transcript “Student is ineligible to enroll,” when the student is permanently dismissed from the university for disciplinary reasons.
The University will follow Policy 1437 – Transcript Withholding, Notation & Communication in all respects with regard to the Power-Based Violence Grievance Process.
b. Employee Sanctions
Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in power-based violence include:
- Warning – Verbal or Written
- Performance Improvement/Management Process
- Required Counseling
- Required Training or Education
- Loss of Annual Pay Increase
- Loss of Oversight or Supervisory Responsibility
- Suspension with pay
- Suspension without pay
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
In no event may the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator(s) serve as decision-makers for a Formal Complaint.
7. Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending
Students: Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student Respondent permanently withdraw from the University, the resolution process ends, as the University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student.
However, the University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged power-based violence. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to the University. Such exclusion applies to all campuses of University. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. They may also be barred from University property and/or events.
If the student Respondent only withdraws or takes a leave for a specified period of time (e.g., one quarter), the resolution process may continue remotely and that student is not permitted to return to University unless and until all sanctions have been satisfied.
Employees: Should an employee Respondent resign with unresolved allegations pending, the resolution process ends, as the University no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the resigned employee.
However, the University will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged power-based violence.
The employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for rehire with the University or any campus of the University, and the records retained by the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status.
All University responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include that the former employee resigned during a pending disciplinary matter.
Grievance Procedure Appeals
Any party may file a request for appeal (“Request for Appeal”), but it must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) business days of the delivery of the Notice of Outcome.
An appeal decision maker from the Pool may be designated by the Title IX Coordinator. No appeal decision-maker will have been involved in the process previously, including any dismissal appeal that may have been heard earlier in the process. If a panel of appeal decision-makers is used, which is at the Title IX Coordinator’s discretion, the panel may have no less than three (3) members and a voting Chair of the Appeal panel will be designated.
The Request for Appeal will be forwarded to the Appeal decision-maker for consideration to determine if the request meets the grounds for appeal.
Appeals may only be raised on one or more of the following grounds:
- a procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
- to consider new facts or information that were not known or knowable to the appealing party before or during the time of the resolution and that are sufficient to alter the decision;
- the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or decision-makers had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome of the matter;
- the decision reached was not supported by a preponderance of evidence; or
- the sanctions were disproportionate to the
If the grounds listed in the Request for Appeal do not meet the grounds described above, the request will be denied in writing. If any of the grounds in the Request for Appeal meet the grounds in this Policy, then the Appeal decision-maker will notify the other party, the Title IX Coordinator, the Investigator(s), and the original decision-makers.
The other party, the Title IX Coordinator, and, when appropriate, the Investigators and/or the original Decision-maker(s) will be, emailed, and/or provided a hard copy of the request with the approved grounds and then be given three (3) business days to submit a response to the portion of the appeal that was approved and involves them. All responses will be forwarded by the appeal decision-maker to all parties for review and comment.
The non-appealing party (if any) may also choose to raise a new ground for appeal at this time. If so, that will be reviewed for standing by the Appeal decision-maker and either denied or approved. If approved, it will be forwarded to the party who initially requested an appeal, the Investigator(s) and/or original Decision-maker(s), as necessary, who will submit their responses in three (3) business days, which will be circulated for review and comment by all parties.
Neither party may submit any new requests for appeal after this time period. The Appeal decision-maker will collect any additional information needed and all documentation regarding the approved grounds and the subsequent responses and the Appeal decision-maker will render a decision in no more than ten (10) business days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions are by majority vote when a panel is used and apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.
A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously including the decision on each approved ground and rationale for each decision.
The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration, any sanctions that may result which the University is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent the University is permitted to share under state or federal law.
Notification will be made in writing and will be emailed to the parties’ University-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
Sanctions from the initial hearing will be stayed while an appeal is pending.
- Decisions on appeal are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only when there is clear error and to the sanction(s)/responsive action(s) only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
- Appeals are not intended to provide for a full review (de novo) of the allegation(s). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation and pertinent documentation regarding the specific grounds for appeal.
- An appeal is not an opportunity for Appeal Decision-makers to substitute their judgment for that of the original Decision-maker(s) merely because they disagree with the finding and/or sanction(s).
- The Appeal Decision-maker may consult with the Title IX Coordinator on questions of procedure or rationale, for clarification, if needed. Documentation of all such consultation will be maintained.
- Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the original Investigator(s) and/or Decision-maker(s) for reconsideration. Other appeals may be remanded at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or, in limited circumstances, decided on appeal.
- Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted, even if a decision or sanction is changed on remand (except in the case of a new hearing).
- In rare cases where a procedural or substantive error cannot be cured by the original Decision-maker(s) (as in cases of bias), the appeal may order a new determination from a new Decision-maker(s).
- The results of a remand to a Decision-maker(s) cannot be appealed. The results of a new determination can be appealed, once, on any of the available appeal grounds.
- In cases in which the appeal results in reinstatement to the University or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the Respondent to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.