» Title IX Reporting & Investigation FAQs for Student Respondents

The following is a list of frequently asked questions that may be helpful for a student who is or may be a respondent in a student(s)-to-student(s) Title IX investigation at Chapman University. Please also see the specific FAQs for complainants, witnesses, and general audiences as well as FAQs about the hearings and appeals processes.

+ - What is considered sexual misconduct at Chapman?

Any sexual behavior, attempted or completed, that goes beyond the boundaries of consent (as defined in Appendix 5, Sexual Misconduct Policies). These include domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, stalking, and retaliation for reporting any of these behaviors. Intoxication of the respondent does not diminish their responsibility for an act of sexual misconduct. For more information, please see Appendix 5 of the Student Conduct Code about Sexual Misconduct Policies.

+ - What happens after a complainant makes a report to the University and names me as the respondent?

The Title IX Coordinator or Title IX investigator(s) will request a meeting with you to explain the investigative process as well as your rights within the process. In this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator or Title IX investigator(s) will review relevant University policies, procedures, and support resources. They will also discuss any adjustments that need to be made, such as the implementation of a no-contact order or changes to classes or housing accommodations. These are called interim and supportive measures. The Title IX Coordinator or Title IX investigator(s) will share information with you about the nature of the allegation(s) so you have enough information to respond to the allegations if you choose to do so.

You have a right to have an advisor of your choice present during this meeting and any meeting thereafter that takes place as part of the investigation or hearing process. You will have the opportunity to discuss your perspective of the incident(s) in the first meeting, set up a second meeting to discuss, or decline to participate in an interview with the investigator(s).

For more information about the investigation process, please see Investigation Procedures for Student(s)-to-Student(s) Complaints.

+ - What information will I receive about a report of alleged sexual misconduct if I am named as the respondent?

In order for you to have enough information to fully respond to the allegations, the University will provide you with the name of the complainant, the date(s) and time(s) of the alleged incident(s), the location(s) of the alleged incident(s), a brief summary of the allegations, and the specific policy or policies that are alleged to have been violated.

+ - I have been notified that I am a respondent in a current Title IX investigation. What resources are available to me?

Privileged and confidential support resources on campus provide an opportunity for you to discuss your experiences without reporting any of the information you share. Privileged and confidential support individuals have a professional requirement to maintain the confidentiality* of your conversation. The following privileged and confidential resources can let you know what your options are and provide confidential support:

  • Student Psychological Counseling Services
    • During business hours: (714) 997-6778
    • After hours, emergency support may be reached through Public Safety or Residence Life staff
  • Dani Smith, Ed.D., Chapman University Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Counselor
  • Chapman Sexual Assault Information Line
    • (714) 744-7000
  • Reverend Gail Stearns, Ph.D., Dean of Chapel
    • (714) 628-7289
  • Reverend Nancy Brink, Director of Church Relations
    • (714) 997-6760
  • Frances Smith Center for Individual & Family Therapy
    • (714) 997-6746


*While the individuals listed above to have professionally required confidentiality, there are certain, specific situations in which they are not able to maintain information confidentially. Those situations are: (1) if you may be a danger to yourself or others, (2) you have knowledge about any minor or elder currently being subjected to abuse or neglect – including intentional access to unlawful sexual images, or (3) if the information is subpoenaed for court records.

There are also off-campus resources that can assist you. Please see the full list of available resources.

+ - Who is involved in Chapman’s Title IX investigative process?

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which there is a student respondent, the Lead Title IX Coordinator and Title IX investigators are responsible for the initial assessment and formal investigation. If requested, an administrative student conduct hearing may be convened to adjudicate the matter following an investigation, and trained hearing officers would oversee that process. Finally, administrators experienced in hearing Title IX appeals may be involved if either the complainant or respondent exercises their right to an appeal. All staff and administrators who are involved in the investigation, hearing process, and appeals process participate in annual, specialized training specific to their roles in order to be involved in the Title IX process at Chapman University.

+ - Do I need to bring anything with me to meet with the Title IX Coordinator or investigators?

You do not need to bring anything with you to meet with the Title IX Coordinator or investigators unless you have information that you would like to share with them, such as text messages, photos, or other digital or physical documentation. You may bring a list of witnesses with whom you would like the investigators to meet. You are welcome to bring an advisor or support person of your choice with you.

+ - What will my meeting with the investigators be like?

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which there is a student respondent, two investigators will likely participate in the meeting(s) that you have with them as part of the investigation. Both investigators will take handwritten notes and ask you questions, but you may decline to answer. The investigators will ask you about what happened and allow you the opportunity to share however much or as little as you like. The investigators will ask follow-up questions to better understand your account, and they will ask you if there are any potential witnesses with whom you would like the investigators to meet as part of their investigation. The investigators will also ask for any potential information or documentation that you might have (texts, screenshots, emails, photos, or other documentation) that could help them better understand the incident(s) in question. The investigators will end the meeting with you by asking you if there is anything you would like to share. If there is information you want the investigators to have that they did not ask about specifically, you are encouraged to share that information.

You have the right to have an advisor of your choice with you during all meetings you participate in during the investigation and possible hearing process.  

+ - What happens after I meet with investigators?

Once you finish meeting with the investigators, they will meet with other potential witnesses to continue their investigation. For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which there is a student respondent, the investigators will compile all of their notes from meetings with you, the complainant, and witnesses into interview summaries, which are attached to the final investigation report that the investigators prepare once they have concluded all of their interviews and fact-finding.

+ - Who will be informed about the investigation that I am involved in? Will my professors know about the investigation?

The Title IX Coordinator and investigators recognize the sensitivity and personal nature of these types of incidents and will ask anyone sharing information during an investigation to respect the privacy of those involved. In accordance with federal law and University policy, the Title IX Coordinator and investigators only share information on a need-to-know basis to those with a legitimate need to know. This means that the individuals usually informed about investigations are those involved in the investigation and possible adjudication processes. These individuals generally include the Title IX Coordinator, Title IX investigators, Title IX administrative assistant, and any potential hearing officers, hearing coordinator, and appeals body, if requested.

Therefore, if your professors do not have a legitimate need to know about the investigation to perform in their roles as faculty, they will not be informed of it. At times, respondents may find that an investigation divides their attention away from their academics, and they therefore request interim and supportive measures such as a general notification to their faculty that they are experiencing personal difficulties. This notification does not specify anything about the respondent’s involvement in an investigation, but it does request for faculty to offer reasonable flexibility with coursework, deadlines, or exams. Other interim and supportive measures can be discussed based on your specific needs, including any adjustments that may aid in your success at the University after the conclusion of the investigation and/or hearing.

+ - Will you tell my parents about the report and/or investigation?

In accordance with federal law and University policy, the University does not contact students’ parents regarding the details of a Title IX report or possible investigation unless the student is under the age of 18 or there is a health and safety emergency. If you want your parents to know what is going on, it is best that you share this information directly with them or speak to the Dean of Students Office about a FERPA release.

+ - I am concerned about other students possibly treating me differently because I am the respondent in a Title IX investigation. What can I do?

Retaliation is strictly prohibited, and Chapman takes any allegations of retaliation against anyone involved in the investigation or conduct process very seriously. If you believe you have been mistreated or otherwise retaliated against because of your participation in this investigation, please inform the University immediately.

The Chapman University Student Conduct Code prohibits “retaliating against anyone for exercising the right to report or make a complaint for any of the behaviors prohibited in the Sexual Misconduct policy. This includes attempts or threats of retaliation, violation of a no-contact order harassment, or efforts to impede an investigation. Retaliation is a violation of policy whether or not the underlying complaint of harassment, discrimination, or any type of sexual misconduct is proven.”

Retaliation exists when an individual harasses, intimidates, or takes other adverse actions against a person because of that person’s participation in an investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct or their support of someone involved in an investigation of discrimination or sexual misconduct. Retaliatory actions may include, but are not limited to, threats or actual violence against the person or that person’s property, adverse educational or employment consequences, ridicule, intimidation, or bullying. The University will impose sanctions on any faculty, student, or staff member found to be engaging in retaliation, or individuals who encourage third parties to retaliate on their behalf. It is important to note that these expectations are in effect for everyone. If you retaliate against anyone involved in this investigation or conduct process, in any way, you will be subject to further conduct review.

+ - Will there be a hearing?

If you are a student respondent, you will receive, in writing, the findings (if any) and any sanctions (if recommended) of an investigation in which it is alleged that you may have violated University policies. At that time, you and the complainant will each have an opportunity to review the findings and recommendations (if any) and determine whether you a) accept the findings and recommendations, or b) reject the findings and/or recommendations and request that the matter be referred to a formal administrative hearing for adjudication. At that time, the University will contact you to schedule a hearing. You can learn more about the hearing process on our website here.

+ - Do I have a right to appeal the decision of a hearing?

Yes, you do have a right to appeal a decision determined in a formal student conduct hearing related to a sexual misconduct matter. You can learn more about the appeals process on our website here.

+ - How long will this process take?

The University strives to ensure a prompt investigation process for all complaints of sexual misconduct. Generally, an investigation process, from initial intake to completion of the investigation report, takes several weeks. The University strives to complete the process generally within 60 days. University holidays and breaks will likely impact the time that it may take to conclude an investigation. Cases that are particularly complex or involve unusual circumstances may require more than 60 days for the investigation, student conduct process, and appeal.