» Investigation Procedures for Student(s)-to-Student(s) Complaints

General Information

The University will conduct investigations in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner, 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. The following information applies to student(s)-to-student(s) cases or cases in which a student is the respondent.

Gender- or sex-based discrimination and harassment are umbrella terms that reference several types of prohibited behaviors including discrimination, harassment, sexual assault, sexual battery, sexual exploitation, dating and domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation.

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.


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. Please also see the general FAQs for investigations of these cases as well as FAQs for the hearing and appeals processes related to these cases (note: this information does not apply to cases involving faculty, employees, or third-party vendors). See the sections below for more information about investigation and adjudication procedures.

Investigation and Adjudication Procedures for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct Governed by the Student Conduct Code

The investigative and adjudicative processes governed by the Student Conduct Code (which does not apply to cases in which a staff or faculty member is the respondent) will be carried out consistent with the Student Conduct Code. Specifically, the portions on “Reports and Charges for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct” and “Hearings for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct” from the Student Conduct Code provide an overview of the process, and these sections among other relevant information are listed below.

+ - 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 sexual misconduct is referred to as the respondent. Complainants, respondents, and witnesses are expected to cooperate with a Title IX investigation.  University employees are each responsible for cooperating with University officials who investigate allegations of policy violations. However, no student except in their capacity as University employees will be compelled to participate in a hearing or to answer questions unless they wish to do so.

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 with them at any meeting or proceeding related to the investigative or adjudicative process. Complainants and respondents will receive periodic updates from the appropriate investigator(s) or administrator(s) regarding the progress of the process. Please see specific FAQs for complainants and FAQs for respondents for more information.

+ - 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.

Police and 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.

+ - 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 any investigation or hearing, or following an investigation or hearing. Supportive measures are available regardless of whether the complainant chooses to report the crime to law enforcement. Supportive measures shall be confidential, to the extent that maintaining confidentiality does not impair the University’s ability to provide such measures.

Interim and supportive measures for students include, but are not limited to, the following options:

  • Academic accommodations
    • Transferring to another section of a lecture or laboratory
    • Rescheduling an academic assignment or test
    • Accessing academic support (e.g., tutoring)
    • Arranging for incompletes, a leave of absence, or withdrawal from course(s)
    • Preserving eligibility for academic, athletic, or other scholarships, financial aid, internships, study abroad, or international student visas
  • Medical and mental health services, including counseling
  • Change in campus housing and/or dining locations
  • Assistance in finding alternative housing
  • Assistance in arranging for alternative University employment arrangements and/or changing work schedules
  • Providing an escort to ensure that the student can move safely between school programs and activities
  • Transportation and parking accommodations
  • Assistance identifying an additional resources including off-campus support and services

Please note: The above interim and supportive measures are for student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent. Interim and supportive measures may differ for cases that involve faculty and staff. For more information, please contact Human Resources.

No Contact Orders

Complainants, respondents and witnesses may request a No Contact Order at any time to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity to the other party, when reasonably available. 

Individuals may request supportive measures (such as those listed above) both outside of any investigative process as well as any time following an investigation or hearing to aid in their continued academic success at the University. 

+ - Confidentiality and Anonymity

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 seriously, but anonymity cannot 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 seriousness 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 the investigation as a private and confidential matter. 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, marijuana or other controlled substances), unless the University determines that the violation was egregious.  Egregious violations includes, but are not limited to, actions that places the health or safety of another other person at risk or involve academic dishonesty.

Please view the Amnesty Policy in the Student Conduct Code here.

+ - Timely Warnings

When an incident of sexual misconduct that is reported to the University discloses 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. 

+ - 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.”

+ - Preservation of Evidence and Information

Any individual who has experienced an act of sexual misconduct is encouraged to take steps to preserve evidence, as doing so may be necessary to the proof of a criminal act or to obtain a protection order from the court, and may be helpful during a University investigation.

Individuals who experience an act of sexual misconduct may want to resist the urge to remove or discard items so that evidence may be preserved.  If clothing is changed, each garment should be placed in a separate paper (not plastic) bag.

Complainants, respondents, and witnesses should consider whether there is information to gather that might be helpful to investigators or hearing officers 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 investigators or hearing officers. Investigators do not have access to police reports and have not been able to obtain them upon request. 

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 (rape kits). For additional information, please refer to the Chapman C.A.R.E.S. website. For more information about off-campus resources, please visit the Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Resources page.

+ - 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.

+ - Reports and Charges for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent, the following procedures are in place for making a report and handling a report of sexual misconduct. This information is contained within the Student Conduct Code.

  1. Any member of the University community or outside party may report an alleged incident of sexual misconduct by student(s) or student group(s). Complaints against faculty and/or staff are addressed by the Harassment and Discrimination Policy. For more information regarding filing a report, contact the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students Office, Public Safety Office, or Residence Life and First Year Experience. Upon receipt of a complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator’s designee shall conduct an initial inquiry into the complaint to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the sexual misconduct policy has been violated.
  2. If it is determined that there is reasonable cause to believe that the sexual misconduct policy has been violated, the Title IX Coordinator or the Title IX Coordinator’s designee will conduct an investigation and make recommended findings, based upon a preponderance of evidence standard, as to whether the sexual misconduct policy was violated as a result of the reported incident.
    1. If the investigation concludes that a policy is violated, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may recommend sanctions.
    2. The recommended findings and sanction(s) (as applicable) will be provided to the complainant and respondent. The respondent and complainant shall then have 3 business days to accept or reject the recommended outcome (findings and/or sanctions, as applicable). Should the complainant and respondent accept or otherwise fail to reject the recommended outcome in writing, the decision of the Title IX Coordinator or designee is considered final. Should the respondent or complainant reject the recommended outcome, either or both parties may request a formal hearing.
  3. Respondents and complainants will be notified of the policies alleged to have been violated and any resulting hearing proceedings at least 4 business days prior to the hearing (or a shorter time by mutual consent). At this time, respondents and complainants will also be notified of the identity of the hearing officer(s). (See also Section F for information regarding the hearing process.)
  4. In the event of documented extenuating circumstances, a student may request to reschedule a hearing. This request must be made no later than 2business days prior to the originally scheduled hearing, and is at the discretion of the Presiding Officer.
  5. In order to better prepare for their hearing, the respondent or complainant may inspect and/or request the reports that pertain to the charges of the particular case. The names of other individuals involved in the incident may be omitted from the reports to protect their privacy if the omission will not have an impact on the complainant or respondent’s ability to prepare for the hearing and/or submit questions for witnesses at the hearing. Any information presented (e.g. pictures, videos, voice recordings, etc.) may be reviewed in person and under the supervision of the Title IX Coordinator or designee, a Conduct Officer, Hearing Coordinator or Conduct Advisor (if applicable).
  6. The respondent and complainant shall receive the investigative report supporting the charges from the Title IX Coordinator or designee. Related witness statements and any other pertinent materials shall be made available to the respondent and complainant for review at least 1 business day prior to the hearing date (when applicable).
  7. Should either party believe that additional materials and/or information that is under the control of the University is necessary to prepare for the hearing, the party may request that the assigned Hearing Coordinator (if applicable) or Presiding Officer seek such information/materials.  In addition, should any party believe that the appearance of any witnesses who are employed by or under the control of the University is necessary at the hearing, the party may submit a request to the Hearing Coordinator (if applicable) or Presiding Officers that said party appear as a witness as the hearing. Requests for witnesses, information and materials will be reviewed by the Presiding Officer and may be denied if unfairly prejudicial, cumulative, or not probative of the disputed facts or to the determination of the case. Should such documents or information be provided, they shall be provided to both parties. Such requests must be made at least 2 business days prior to the hearing.
  8. At no point may conduct proceedings or meetings be recorded by the participants or their Support Persons, other than with written permission from the Vice President/Dean of Students or designee.
  9. If a respondent and/or a complainant has concerns about a hearing officer’s ability to render a fair, impartial, and objective decision, a request for the removal of that hearing officer must be made in writing to the Conduct Advisor (if applicable) or Hearing Coordinator and submitted at least 2 business days prior to the hearing. The request must explain why it is believed that hearing officer should be removed. The Vice President/Dean of Students or designee will determine whether the hearing officer in question can render a fair, impartial and objective decision. Should a hearing officer be removed, another hearing officer may take the place of the removed hearing officer.

+ - Hearings for Incidents Related to Sexual Misconduct

For student(s)-to-student(s) matters and matters in which a student is the respondent, the following procedures are in place for student conduct hearings related to sexual misconduct. This information is contained within the Student Conduct Code. These hearings shall be conducted by a conduct body according to the following guidelines:

  1. Hearings shall be conducted in private.
  2. Admission of any person to the hearing shall be at the discretion of the Hearing Body in consultation with the Conduct Advisor (if applicable) or Presiding Officer for that hearing (when applicable).
  3. In hearings involving more than one respondent, the Hearing Officer, at their discretion, may permit the hearings concerning each student to be conducted together with the consent of all respondents and complainants.
  4. Both the respondent and the complainant have the right to have a Support Person of their choice, which may include an attorney, subject to the terms of this Section E. This person may not also be serving as a witness. 
  5. An attorney must conform to the same requirements as applied to a Support Person.
  6. The Conduct Body may accommodate the concerns for personal safety, well-being, and/or fear of confrontation by the respondent, complainant and/or other witness by permitting participation by telephone, video-conference, closed circuit television, videotape, audiotape, written statement or other means, as determined in the sole judgment of the Conduct Board, Conduct Officer or Conduct Advisor.
  7. The complainant and/or the respondent each are responsible for speaking on their own behalf. Support Persons are not permitted to speak to the members of the Conduct Body unless directly questioned by the Conduct Body. Support Persons may not participate directly in the hearing other than quiet communication with the student they are accompanying. This communication must not interfere with the conduct process. Failure to comply will result in the removal of the Support Person. One 5-minute recess may be requested during the course of a hearing if the complainant and/or the respondent wish to consult with their Support Persons. Additional requests may be granted at the discretion of the hearing board/officer.
  8. With written notification to the Conduct Body, the complainant and the respondent shall have the opportunity of presenting witness statements and/or other pertinent materials. Any pertinent materials and written statements must be submitted for consideration to the conduct body at least 2 business days prior to the hearing. Admission of any pertinent materials, written statements or witnesses is at the discretion of the conduct advisor (if applicable) and/or hearing officer(s).
    1. There shall be a limit of 5 pages (12 point font, double spaced, 1 inch margins) for witness statements. For good cause, shown by either party, the Conduct Advisor (if applicable) or Presiding Officer may extend the length at their discretion.
    2. In the event that witnesses are permitted or requested by the complainant or respondent to attend a hearing, the conduct body and the other party shall have the right to submit suggested questions for the witness(es) to the board. The Board retains the authority to determine which questions would be helpful in its deliberation, and may exclude questions are that are not necessary for the hearing officer/board to render a decision, including but not limited to questions that are unfairly prejudicial, cumulative, confusing, compound, argumentative, misleading, regarding past instances of the complainant’s sexual conduct other than with respondent, or not probative of the disputed facts or to the determination of the case.
    3. Witnesses not identified or materials not provided prior to the hearing will be disallowed unless it is shown by the party providing the witness or material that the witness or materials were unknown to the party prior to the hearing and could not have been disclosed prior to the hearing.
    4. This provision shall not prevent either party from offering witnesses or materials at the hearing that is strictly in rebuttal to witnesses or materials from the other party.
    5. For good cause shown by either party, the Presiding Officer may extend the times and deadlines at their discretion.
  9. All procedural questions are subject to the final decision of the conduct body or Conduct Officer in consultation with the Conduct Advisor (when applicable).
  10. A complainant, respondent, witness or Support Person may be removed from a hearing for reasons including, but not limited to, disruption, waste of time, sharing irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitive information, or failing to adhere to requests by the hearing administrators. The Board may have the individual leave the hearing and proceed with the hearing in the person’s absence.
  11. After the hearing, the Conduct Body shall excuse all parties, engage in deliberation, and determine (by consensus, or if necessary, by majority vote) which portion of the Code, if any, the respondent has violated.
  12. The conduct body’s determination shall be made on the basis of whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Code.
  13. The conduct body or Conduct Officer shall make determinations regarding the respondent’s responsibility for violations of the Code based solely upon material presented at the hearing, including any investigation reports and attachments, with the exception of prior violations of the sexual misconduct code which may be considered when determining responsibility for the alleged violations. Additionally, if through a community conversation or a conduct hearing, a student has been found responsible for violating the dishonesty policy, then that may be considered in terms of an individual’s credibility. All sanctioning determinations will consider the finding(s) of responsibility and a student’s cumulative conduct history.
  14. Should new charges surface as a result of, or during, a conduct process, and no additional investigation is needed, the charges will be verbally introduced and heard during the current hearing with the approval of the respondent. If additional investigation is needed or if the respondent does not give their permission to have the new charge heard during the hearing, the conduct body will refer the matter to the Title IX Coordinator or Vice President and Dean of Students as appropriate for review.
  15. Hearings shall ordinarily be recorded, with the exception of the Conduct Body’s deliberation phase, although written notes may serve as a substitute. This record shall be the property of the University. Respondents, complainants, Support Persons, or witnesses at the hearing are free to take their own written notes, but they may not use an electronic recording device for digital, video or audio recording. Respondents or complainants may request the opportunity to review the recording of the hearing under the supervision of the Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee. Hearing records are confidential.
  16. Formal rules of process, procedure and/or technical rules of evidence, such as applied in criminal or civil court, are not used in conduct proceedings.

+ - 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.