West Virginia University
Title IX Compliance
Interim guidelines & procedures for reports of sexual misconduct against students for the campuses of West Virginia University
Revised September 18, 2012
NOTE: These interim Guidelines and Procedures for Reports of Sexual Misconduct against students of West Virginia University, effective September 18,2012 supersede any existing procedures and implement related policies related for Title IX compliance, specifically Policy 31, University Student Conduct Code and Policy 44, Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct.
Section 1: General
Purpose: To establish written guidelines and procedures concerning reports of sexual misconduct against students on the campuses of West Virginia University (the “University”).
Authority: Board of Governors Policy 44; Board of Governors Policy 31.
Scope: These guidelines and procedures apply to all students of West Virginia University under the authority of the West Virginia University Board of Governors.
Section 2: Definitions
The definitions set forth in Section 3 of West Virginia University Board of Governors Policy 44, Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct are incorporated by reference as if fully set forth herein.
Section 3: Procedure
In matters or situations involving reports of sexual misconduct, as defined in West Virginia University Board of Governors Policy 44, Policy Regarding Sexual Misconduct, the interests of the victim and the accused must be protected. Therefore, reports of sexual misconduct against students are to be handled in such a manner so as to achieve a prompt and equitable resolution. This process should complement Policy 44 and any procedure implemented in support of the same.
Importantly, the process for determining responsibility and any potential sanctions will be done in a manner that protects the rights of both the victim and the accused.
Reports of a student’s alleged sexual misconduct, from any credible source, will be thoroughly investigated by the Student Code Administrator under the direction of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.
To ensure a thorough investigation, the Student Code Administrator shall have the authority to summon by written or electronic request any member of the University community for a meeting for the purposes of investigating and/or discussing allegations of prohibited conduct.
At a minimum, the Student Code Administrator must make sufficient inquiry to determine if there is basis for further investigation. A recommendation based on this information will be made to the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Based on their concurrence, if there are not reasonable grounds to conclude that sexual misconduct occurred, the Student Code Administrator will notify in writing both the accused student and victim and the matter will be closed. This notification will be filed with the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. If there is not concurrence, an investigation will proceed.
3.3. Notice of Allegations for Reports of Sexual Misconduct against Students
3.3.1. If the resolution of the report is not closed in accord with Section 3.2, the Office of Student Conduct, under direction of the Title IX coordinator or designee, will apprise the accused student and the appropriate University departments, offices, units, or employees of the allegation by providing a written notice of the allegations. This notice of allegation(s) shall include a brief, but detailed, statement of facts that support the allegation(s) and put the accused student on notice of the alleged misconduct and the potential sanction(s) which may result if the accused student is found responsible for the alleged prohibited conduct. The notice of allegations must also clearly anticipate whether past conduct will be considered in determining a sanction for the alleged current conduct. Following this notification, the investigatory process will proceed.
3.3.2. In the notice of allegations, the Office of Student Conduct, under the direction of the Title IX coordinator or designee, shall notify the accused student and all other applicable University departments, offices, units, students, and/or employees that retaliation is prohibited and that it should be reported if it occurs.
3.3.3.The written notice of allegations will also be provided to the complainant.
3.4. Interim Remedial Measures for Reports of Sexual Misconduct against Students
If a report of sexual misconduct against a student is received and it is apparent that immediate action must be taken to stop the sexual misconduct or alleviate any issues that arise as a result of the report, then, following the issuance of the notice of allegations or as soon as necessary, the appropriate WVU departments, offices, units, or employees shall implement interim remedial measures immediately. Such measures shall continue until the sexual misconduct investigation is complete or until the measures taken are deemed no longer necessary. Such measures may include, but are not limited to, interim suspension from the institution; temporary removal from residence halls or other University sponsored events and activities; altering academic, housing, or other employment arrangements; issuance of a temporary trespass warning; and “no contact” orders whereby the parties may be directed to refrain from contact with one another.
3.5. Agreed Resolution
In non-violent sexual misconduct allegations, there will be an opportunity for an agreed resolution in situations where an accused student elects not to dispute facts upon which the charge of sexual misconduct is based and both the accused student and victim agree to the sanctions which are assessed, subject to the approval of the Division of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. An agreed resolution shall be final and not subject to any subsequent proceedings regarding the charge.
3.6. Hearing Process
For all matters not resolved through an administrative disposition, a hearing process will occur to determine whether an accused student is responsible for sexual misconduct, and the sanction, if any, that will be imposed.
The hearing will be conducted in accordance with Board of Governors Policy 31, except as set forth below:
3.6.1. Hearing Procedure and Notice of Outcome
For hearings, the accused student and the victim will have an opportunity to confront any accusers or witnesses and to present any relevant evidence.
At the conclusion of the hearing, the accused student is entitled to written notification of the outcome of the hearing (“Outcome Letter”). Each Outcome Letter shall plainly state the decision and the rationale for the decision.
For hearings, a preponderance of the evidence standard will be used. “Preponderance of the evidence” means evidence which is of greater weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the fact sought to be proved is more probable than not.
In the event that the student is found responsible for any part of the notice of allegations, the Outcome Letter should include a brief statement of the facts relied upon by the decision maker, the assigned sanction(s), the impact that the student’s past conduct may have had on the decision, and an explanation of any appeal rights and procedures.
The victim will also be provided with a notice of outcome that specifies whether the accused student is found responsible for sexual misconduct and, if so, the sanctions imposed on the student found responsible that is relevant to the victim.
3.6.2. Right to Counsel
In all situations where the accused student has the right to legal counsel at any hearing, the victim shall also have the right to legal counsel.
Any attorney appearing on behalf of an accused student or a victim shall be licensed to practice law in the State of West Virginia.
Both the accused student and victim may file an appeal as set forth in Board of Governors Policy 31, Article IV, Section D.
3.7 Safety Measures
As appropriate, the University may accommodate concerns for the personal safety and/or well-being of a hearing participant by providing for separate facilities, use of a visual screen, and/or by permitting participation by videophone, closed circuit television, video conferencing, videotape, or other means. The determination for these arrangements is at the sole discretion of the Office of Student Conduct.
An accused student is not permitted to question a victim directly.
NOTE: Nichelle Perkins currently serves as the Title IX Coordinator for West Virginia University. She may be contacted at Nichelle.Perkins@mail.wvu.edu or telephone at 304.293.5496