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Investigation Procedures for Student Matters

Title IX

» Investigation Procedures for Student Matters

General Information

The University will complete investigations in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner, generally within 60 calendar days, as described in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. University holidays and breaks will likely impact the time that it may take to conclude an investigation. During the course of the investigation, the investigator(s) will provide monthly timeline updates to the parties. Cases that are particularly complex or involve unusual circumstances may require more than 60 days for the investigation process. If the Title IX Coordinator and/or investigator(s) determine that an extension of the 60-day investigation timeline is warranted or necessary, they will notify the parties in writing, including the reason for the delay and the anticipated date of completion. The timeline for any appeals process is 30 business days. If the Title IX Coordinator and/or appeals board determine that an extension of the 30-day appeals timeline is warranted or necessary, they will notify the parties in writing, including the reason for the delay and the anticipated date of completion.

The following information applies to student(s)-to-student(s) matters and cases in which a student is the individual alleged to have violated policy (hereafter referred to as the respondent).

Gender- or sex-based discrimination and harassment are umbrella terms that reference several types of prohibited behaviors including sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence and abuse, stalking, or other forms of sex-based or gender-based harassment or discrimination. These prohibited behaviors are defined in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

All University employees (faculty, staff, administrators, and student employees) are required to report any gender- or sex-based discrimination or harassment (this is inclusive of all alleged incidents of sexual violence) to a Title IX Coordinator. The only exceptions to this requirement are those individuals who are designated as privileged and confidential resources. Privileged and confidential resources are listed below:

Dani Smith, Ed.D., Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Counselor

Students Psychological Counseling Services

Rev. Nancy Brink, Director of Church Relations

Rev. Gail Sterns, Ph.D., Dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel

Frances A. Smith Community Clinic

*While the individuals listed above 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 proceedings.

Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Resources Information

Please see a full list of Title IX resources here.

Investigations

Allegations of harassment and discrimination involving student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent will be investigated and reviewed by University officials who have appropriate training and experience in reviewing these kinds of cases. See the sections below for more information about investigation procedures.

+ - Investigation and Adjudication Procedures for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct Governed by the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

The investigative and adjudicative process is described in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy (which does not apply to cases in which a staff or faculty member is the respondent).

+ - Participating in an Investigation

During an investigation, the individual who reports an allegation of sexual misconduct is referred to as the complainant, and the individual who is accused of the alleged sexual misconduct is referred to as the respondent.

During an investigation's fact-gathering phase, the investigator(s) will ask the parties for all information related to the allegations, including names of witnesses and documentation related to the incident, which may include documented communications between parties, receipts, photos and video. While the investigator(s) will attempt to gather information from all relevant parties, the University does not compel the participation of complainants, respondents, or witnesses, with the exception of University employees who have been identified as witnesses.

+ - Preserving Information

Complainants, respondents, and witnesses should consider whether there is information to gather that might be helpful to investigator(s) and should preserve relevant items. For example, receipts, text messages, pictures, videos, emails, Facebook posts or messages, Snapchats, or other social media posts may be helpful during an investigation or hearing. It may be helpful not to delete this information and to preserve it for later. If a complainant, respondent, or witness has already deleted text messages or other materials, they may wish to contact their phone carrier to find out if they can be recovered. Also, complainants, respondents, and witnesses are encouraged to write down a list of possible witnesses to submit to investigator(s).

+ - Options and Resources during an Investigation

Support Person

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent, complainants and respondents may have a support person of their choosing at any meetings or proceedings with University officials that may occur as result of the reporting of the incident in question. A student may only have one support person with them during a meeting or other proceeding; however, that person does not need to be the same individual throughout an entire investigative process. A support person may not simultaneously be a complainant, respondent, or witness in the process in which they are also serving as a support person. A support person may not speak on behalf of the individual they are supporting in the investigation, response hearing or other part of the process, including answering or asking questions for them. A support person’s participation in the process must not interfere with the investigation. For more information about the role of a support person, please review the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Disability Accommodations

Chapman University is committed to the full access and inclusion of students with disabilities in its processes and services, including investigations and other student conduct processes. Disability Services assists with the coordination of reasonable and appropriate accommodations for students with documented disabilities. If students have questions or need assistance with this as it relates to the investigative process, they are asked to inform the Title IX Coordinator, the investigator(s), or the director of Disability Services.

+ - Law Enforcement

Reporting to Law Enforcement

University officials will inform a complainant, respondent, or witness of their option to notify appropriate law enforcement authorities, including the Department of Public Safety and local police (Orange Police Department, Irvine Police Department, or other appropriate agencies). Individuals may determine to file a complaint with the University and also report an incident to law enforcement. Please note that if an individual files a criminal complaint with a police department, the University is still obligated to investigate any allegation of harassment and discrimination (which is inclusive of sexual harassment, sexual assault, and other sexual misconduct) in a timely, equitable manner. At the request of a law enforcement agency, the University may temporarily delay the fact-finding portion of a Title IX investigation while the police are gathering evidence.

Forensic Exams (Rape Kits)

In Orange County, forensic exams (rape kits) are only conducted at Anaheim Regional Medical Center located at 1111 W. La Palma Ave, Anaheim, CA 92801. Other Orange County hospitals (including St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hoag Hospital, Chapman Medical Center, and Western Medical Center) or urgent care facilities do not conduct forensic exams. More information can be gathered from these exams the sooner the exam is performed following the alleged incident. Individuals are encouraged to not bathe, shower, douche, or brush their teeth before the exam, if possible. Additionally, individuals are encouraged to maintain any physical objects such as clothing worn during an alleged incident or other relevant materials. If clothing is changed, each garment should be placed in a separate paper (not plastic) bag. For more information, please visit the Chapman C.A.R.E.S. page.

+ - Interim and Supportive Measures

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent, requests for interim and supportive measures may be made to the appropriate Title IX Coordinator. They will be provided, as reasonably available, for complainants, respondents and witnesses either outside of an investigation, pending the outcome of an investigation, or following the conclusion of an investigation process.

No Contact Orders

No Contact Orders are one common type of interim and supportive measures that can be put into place by the University upon request. Complainants, respondents and witnesses may request a No Contact Order at any time to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity to another party, when reasonably available. 

Individuals may request supportive measures completely outside of any investigative process as well as any time during or following an investigation to aid in their continued academic success at the University. 

+ - Confidentiality and Anonymity

As described in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, a complainant may request their name not be shared with a respondent, no investigation be pursued, and/or no student conduct action be taken. In these instances, the Title IX Coordinator and/or investigator(s) will discuss the complainant’s concerns and seek to address and remedy concerns that they may have, such as concerns about retaliation or lack of clarity about procedural options or potential outcomes.

The Title IX Coordinator will assess possible, appropriate action when a complainant requests anonymity or when a respondent is unknown, such as what actions may address the effects of the reported behavior.

If a complainant requests anonymity or that the University not pursue an investigation or take any other action, the University will balance this request with its obligation to protect the complainant and provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all University community members. The University will take reasonable steps to protect the privacy of the individuals who participate in the process. The University will take all requests for anonymity and non-investigation seriously, but neither can be guaranteed.

When a complainant has requested anonymity, the University will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the report consistent with the request for anonymity or request not to pursue an investigation, but its ability to respond may be limited by these requests. The University will weigh the request against various factors, including but not necessarily limited to the following:
  • The severity of the alleged conduct
  • Any potential threats to community safety
  • The respective positions of the complainant and respondent
  • Whether there have been other complaints against the respondent
  • Whether the respondent has a record of any prior acts of violence
  • Whether the circumstances suggest there is an increased risk of future acts of sexual violence under similar circumstances

The University will seek to respect the request of the complainant, and where it cannot do so, Chapman will keep the complainant informed about the University’s chosen course of action. The Title IX Coordinators are responsible for evaluating confidentiality requests.

The University will treat all investigations as private and confidential matters. We highly encourage discretion in what individuals involved in an investigation choose to share, and with whom; and encourage them to respect the private and sensitive nature of the investigation and adjudication process. The University understands that being a part of an investigation can be stressful and individuals may need to consult with and rely on those they are close to during an investigation.  As such, it is important to note that complainants, respondents, and witnesses who communicate with their advisors, family members, or friends about an investigation in order to seek support and assistance are not violating University policy.

+ - Amnesty Policy

To encourage and support the reporting of incidents of sexual misconduct, students who participate as witnesses or complainants in sexual misconduct investigations will not be held accountable for violations of the Code that may have occurred at the time of or as a result of the incident in question (for example, being under the influence of alcohol or other drugs), unless the University determines that the violation was egregious. Egregious violations include, but are not limited to, actions that place the health or safety of another other person at risk or that involve academic dishonesty.

+ - Timely Warnings

When an incident of sexual misconduct that is reported to the University involves an alleged crime that constitutes a possible ongoing or continuing threat to the campus community, the University will evaluate each incident on a case-by-case basis to determine if a timely warning notice will be distributed to the community in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Clery Act. The University shall not publish the name or other identifiable information about the victim of a crime in the daily crime log or other statistics that are disclosed as a requirement of the Clery Act. If a timely warning is issued to the campus community due to a report of intimate partner violence and abuse, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation or stalking, the University will not release the name or identifying information about the complainant.

The Chief of Public Safety will determine when to issue a timely warning. See also the University’s Annual Security Report.

+ - Investigation Process Overview

The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines the full investigation process for student(s)-to-student(s) matters and cases in which a student is the respondent.

Generally, once an allegation of sexual misconduct is reported to the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will determine the next steps. If the determination is that the University will proceed to a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will assign investigator(s) to the case. The investigator(s) will notify the complainant and the respondent of the investigation and then meet separately with each party, including identified witnesses, to gather information that the parties want to share as part of the investigation.

At the conclusion of their fact-gathering, the investigator(s) will provide the complainant and respondent each with an opportunity to review the information collected. The information review is an opportunity for the parties to access all information gathered to date, such as the investigator(s)’ typed interview notes and documentation collected. At that time, the investigators will then schedule separate response hearings with the complainant and respondent. The response hearing is a chance for one party to meet with the investigators and the Title IX Coordinator and share their response to the information collected during the investigation. The complainant and respondent can bring a written statement to this meeting, may share their perspective verbally, or both. The investigator(s) and Title IX Coordinator will ask the complainant and respondent questions at their respective response hearings.

After all response hearings have concluded, the investigator(s) will prepare the investigation report. The investigator(s) will prepare the report promptly, generally making it available to the parties within 7 business days of the completion of the response hearings. The report will include all information collected, an analysis of the information and University policies, the findings, and assigned sanctions, if appropriate. The complainant and respondent then receive the report and are given a timeframe in which they may appeal the outcome of the investigation, if they choose to do so.

Please review the full investigation process overview in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy.

+ - Standard of Proof

A “preponderance of the evidence” standard of proof will be used in evaluating the incident(s) under review.  This means that the investigator(s) will determine whether it is more likely than not that a University policy was violated.  This standard is required under California’s affirmative consent law and by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for campus Title IX related matters.  It differs from the standard used in criminal courts which is “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

+ - Retaliation

The University prohibits retaliation against anyone for reporting, supporting, or assisting in the reporting and/or adjudication of gender or sex-based harassment or discrimination. The University will not only take steps to prevent retaliation, but also take responsive action if retaliation occurs.

According to the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, retaliation is defined as "adverse action or treatment taken against anyone for reporting, supporting, or assisting in the reporting and/or adjudication of any of the behaviors prohibited in the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, or against anyone perceived to be involved in any of these actions. This includes intimidation, violation of a No Contact order, harassment, efforts to impede an investigation, or filing a false or bad faith cross-complaint. Retaliation under this policy is prohibited by University policy, state, and federal law. Retaliation is a violation of policy whether or not the underlying complaint of sexual misconduct is found for be a violation of policy."

+ - Freedom of Expression

Expression, civility, and freedom of speech are especially important values within an academic community and Chapman’s desire to offer a personalized education. Please see the portion of the Harassment & Discrimination Policy about academic freedom for more information about freedom of expression and harassment.