After the Report
A student or employee who reports to the institution that he or she has been the victim of intimate partner violence shall have the opportunity to request that prompt disciplinary proceedings be initiated against the accused. The proceedings shall be conducted by officials trained to understand the issues of sex offenses and other intimate partner violence. In addition, the accused shall receive notification of options for, and available assistance in, changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations, if such assistance is requested by the student or employee and if such accommodations are reasonably available.
The University will make reasonable efforts to maintain confidentiality throughout the entire investigation. The degree, to which confidentiality can be protected, however, depending upon the professional role of the person being consulted. The professional being consulted should make these limits clear before any disclosure of facts by the alleged victim.
Standard of Responsibility
According to the Office of Civil Rights, the standard used to determine responsibility in classes of intimate partner violence will be Preponderance of the Evidence Standard whether it is more likely than not that the accused violated the Policy on Intimate Partner Violence. The Clear and Convincing Standard, whether it is highly probable or reasonable certain that the accused violated the Policy on Intimate Partner Violence, is a higher standard of proof and is not used under Title IX. Students found to have violated this policy will be disciplined up to dismissal.
Following Intimate Partner Violence
A member of the University community who has experienced intimate partner violence is urged to make an official report to the local police and/or the University’s Public Safety Department. Whether or not the individual makes an official report, he or she is also urged to seek appropriate help, which may include medical evaluation, obtaining information, support, and counseling, either on or off campus. The Office of Student Affairs and Health Services and Counseling have staff who are trained to provide support to students who have been assaulted.
Orders of Protection
An individual who has experienced intimate partner violence may wish to obtain an order of protection, no contact order, restraining order, or similar lawful order issued by a criminal or civil court. A copy of any order of protection should be given to the Office of Public Safety. To honor the order of protection, the Office of Public Safety will forward a copy to the Office of Student Affairs if the order involves a student or to the Human Resources Office if the order involves an employee. Directions for obtaining orders of protection will be provided to the complainant.
The Illinois Legal Aid website may assist with understanding and obtaining orders of protection and legal services.
Investigations of the allegations of intimate partner violence will use the following responsive grievance procedures:
Informal Resolution Procedures
Some complaints may be resolved through informal mediation between the parties. Informal Resolution Procedures are optional and may be used when the institution determines that it is appropriate. Informal procedures are never applied in cases involving violence or non-consensual sexual intercourse.
1. The Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator and the Vice President for Student Affairs/Title IX Deputy Coordinator may arrange for or facilitate mediation between the involved parties and coordinate other informal problem resolution measures.
2. Once a report of intimate partner violence has been made, informal resolution procedures shall be pursued within seven calendar days from the initial report.
Formal Resolution Procedures
1. Any member of the University community who believes that he/she has been the victim (the complainant) of intimate partner violence may bring the matter to the attention of one of the following individuals: the Director of Human Resources/Title IX Coordinator; Vice President for Student Affairs/Title IX Deputy Coordinator; Provost; Director of Health Services; and the Executive Dean of the Kentucky Center (complaints emanating from Kentucky campuses).
2. The complainant must submit to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator (for students) a written statement detailing the alleged offensive conduct. The contents of the written statement should include a complete statement of the facts of the incident including dates, times, locations, witnesses, any relevant background facts or circumstances, and the signature of the complainant. Cases involving intimate partner violence are particularly sensitive and demand special attention to the issues of confidentiality.
3. Upon receipt of the written complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will inform the alleged offender of the complaint, the identity of the complainant, and will provide the written statement of the complaint within seven calendar days. Every reasonable effort will be made to protect the complainant from retaliatory action by those named in the complaint. Once the resolution process has been initiated, it will be followed to completion. The approximate time for resolution will be 60 days. Both parties will be notified if additional time is needed to complete the case.
4. The alleged offender may respond to the complaint with a written statement detailing the alleged offensive conduct. The contents of the written statement should include a complete statement of the facts of the incident including dates, times, locations, witnesses, any relevant background facts or circumstances, and the signature of the alleged offender. Cases involving intimate partner violence are particularly sensitive and demand special attention to the issues of confidentiality.
Promptly after the written complaints are submitted, the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will convene a three-person hearing panel comprised of one or two full-time faculty members, one person from the University staff, either contract or hourly, and one student representative when the complainant and the alleged offender are both students. Members of the hearing panel are trained to understand the issues of sex offenses and other intimate partner violence.
Members of the hearing panel will meet to discuss the complaint. The parties to the dispute will be invited to appear, separately, before the panel, present testimony and witnesses.
The hearing panel may conduct its own formal inquiry, call witnesses, and gather whatever information it deems necessary to assist it in reaching a decision and recommendations for subsequent action. The hearing panel will maintain confidentiality throughout the entire process.
The hearing panel will keep a verbatim record of the hearings by means of a single audio tape.
During the proceedings, each party will be permitted to have counsel of his/her own choice. Such persons are present as advisors, but may not act as spokespersons for the parties. The University must be informed five days in advance if either party chooses to have legal counsel present. When either party invites legal counsel to be present, the institution may also invite legal counsel to the hearing
Notice of the Outcome
Once the hearing panel has determined whether intimate partner violence was found to have occurred, the notice of the outcome will be communicated in writing to the President and to the Title IX Coordinator or to the Title IX Deputy Coordinator (in situations involving students). The Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Deputy Coordinator will forward the findings to both parties through certified mail within one business day of such outcome being reached.
The notice of the outcome will include “only the name of the accused, the violation alleged (including any institutional rules or code sections that were allegedly violated), essential findings supporting such final result, and any sanction imposed by the institution against the accused (including a description of any disciplinary action taken by the institution, the date of the imposition of such action, and the duration of such action).” The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act
Penalties for Misconduct
The following schedule of penalties applies to all violations of the Policy on Intimate Partner Violence. Where progressive discipline is provided for, each instance of conduct violating the Policy moves the offending person through the steps for disciplinary action. In other words, it is not necessary for an offender to repeat the same precise conduct in order to move up. A written record of each action taken pursuant to the Policy will be placed in the offending person’s file. The record will reflect the conduct, or alleged conduct, and the warning given, or other discipline imposed.
Intimate Partner Violence: Any person’s first proven offense of intimate partner violence may result in discharge/dismissal.
Other Acts of Intimate Partner Violence: A person’s commission of acts of intimate partner violence (other than sexual assault and violence) will result in non-disciplinary oral counseling upon alleged first offense, depending upon the nature or severity of the misconduct; and suspension or discharge upon the second proven offense, depending on the nature or severity of the misconduct.
Retaliation: Alleged retaliation against intimate partner violence complainant will result in non-disciplinary oral counseling. Proven retaliation will result in suspension or discharge upon the first proven offense, depending upon the nature and severity of the retaliatory acts, and discharge upon the second proven offense.
Either party may appeal the hearing panel’s recommendations. The appeal must be filed with the Student Judicial Committee within 72 hours after the student has received formal notification of recommendations for action and must state specific grounds for the appeal. The grounds for an appeal are listed below:
Question of Fact—A party may appeal on questions of fact by introducing new evidence which would significantly affect the outcome of the case. Evidence which was known to the appellant at the time of the original hearing, but was withheld, shall not constitute a question of fact nor is it to be considered upon appeal.
Question of Procedure—The appellant must demonstrate that procedural guidelines established in this document were breached, and that the errors affected the outcome of the case.
Severity of Sanction—Appeals based on the severity of the sanction shall be considered only when the penalty imposed exceed the recommended range of sanctions for the specific violation. The accused can request leniency in cases where it is clearly demonstrable that the imposition of a sanction is inconsistent with previous judicial practice, even though it may be within the range of acceptable action. Mere dissatisfaction with the sanction is not grounds for appeal.
After the student has filed an appropriate request for an appeal he/she will be notified within 72 hours of the outcome of the appeal request. The Student Judicial Committee may deny hearing an appeal. However, if the Committee chooses to hear the appeal, it is authorized to take the following actions: it may change a finding of guilt to a finding of innocence, it may modify the penalty, or it may order a new hearing wherein new evidence or testimony not available at the previous hearing is regarded as being of sufficient importance will be presented. The appeal outcome from the Student Judicial Committee is final. Appeal hearings must be recorded.
The University will not tolerate intentional false reporting of incidents. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct (McKendree University Student Handbook, 12.00) to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal statues and civil defamation laws.