Information about the Rutgers Title IX process

If you have been retained by a Rutgers student to provide assistance in a Title IX matter, this guide will provide you with important information about the Student Policy Prohibiting Sexual Harassment, Sexual Violence, Relationship Violence, Stalking and Related Misconduct (the Sexual Misconduct Policy) and your role in the Rutgers Title IX process. Please keep in mind that the University disciplinary process is very different from the civil or criminal judicial system. The University’s process is not adversarial; its purpose is to educate the student and contribute to their ethical growth.

The General Order on Judicial Standards of Procedures and Substance of Student Discipline in Tax Supported Institutions of Education (44F.R.D. (142) (W.D. Mo.) states: “ … The attempted analogy of student discipline to criminal proceedings against juveniles and adults is not sound. The nature and proceedings of the (campus) disciplinary process … should not be required to conform to federal processes of criminal law, which are far from perfect, and designed for circumstances and ends unrelated to the academic community.”

Students are expected to act as their own advocates throughout the student disciplinary process. Some students may choose to hire an attorney, but the attorney’s role is limited to consultation. The attorney may be present during all proceedings as an advisor, but cannot address Title IX investigators, or Hearing Officers, speak in hearings, or question witnesses.

Both the complaint party and the accused student are entitled to the assistance of a Campus Advisor, a member of the University community who can help the student prepare their case and navigate the Title IX process. The Office of Student Affairs Compliance & Title IX (Title IX Office) maintains a list of advisors who have been trained in the Rutgers process.

Questions You Might Have

The standard of proof in Title IX cases is “a preponderance of evidence.”

The Code of Student Conduct and the Sexual Misconduct Policy permits attorneys to be present at all disciplinary proceedings as an advisor. An advisor may not actively represent the student, question witnesses, or address the Investigators or Hearing Officers. You may discreetly advise your client, provided your interaction does not disrupt the process.

The student must notify the Title IX Office and provide written authorization for you to have access to information about the case. A FERPA release form is available here (PDF). If the student intends to have you attend a proceeding as an advisor, they must notify the Title IX Office in writing.

The Title IX Office will correspond at all times directly with the student, and not through any third party. You may receive copies of correspondence with the student’s authorization.

There is no formal discovery during a Title IX process. Both the complaint party and the accused student are accorded reasonable access to the case file. If you and your client would like to review the case file, the student should call 848-932-8200 or email a Title IX staff member directly to make an appointment.

Both the complaint party and the accused student will have the opportunity to add information and/or a witness list to the case file. Both the complaint party and the accused student will be notified if the other party submits information or a witness list.

The accused student and the complaint party may also request in writing that the Title IX Investigator summon additional witnesses or request additional information.

There are no depositions in a Title IX process. Neither the complaint party nor the accused student (or their representatives) should approach the other party’s witnesses. All questioning of witnesses takes place within the disciplinary process.

The student may submit a written request for postponement for good cause. The Title IX Investigator or the Hearing Officer will determine whether the request will be granted. The availability of a support person or an advisor is not sufficient grounds for postponement.

The University reserves the right to take necessary and appropriate action to protect the safety and well-being of the campus community, including taking disciplinary action against students for behavior that occurred off-campus. See the Sexual Misconduct Policy, Part I (“Scope of the Policy”), for more information.

The student may request a postponement, but pending criminal charges will not ordinarily serve as a basis to postpone a University disciplinary proceeding. The purpose of the University’s process is not to determine whether a student has violated the law; it is to determine whether a student violated University policy.

A University disciplinary proceeding need not be postponed in order to preserve a student’s Fifth Amendment rights in a subsequent criminal case—the student may exercise their right to remain silent throughout the University process.

Federal law, including Title IX and the Jeanne Clery Act, require a “prompt investigation” of allegations of sexual harassment , sexual assault, relationship violence and other related misconduct.

The courts have long recognized that the interests of the University community differ from those of the criminal justice system. A significant body of case law has been established that outlines basic expectations of fairness in any student disciplinary process. See below for a list of relevant publications and case law.

The process will continue with or without the student’s involvement. A student who fails to appear at a proceeding after proper notice has been given will be deemed to have answered “not responsible” to all charges. The student may not use their refusal to participate as grounds for appeal.

Visual and/or audio recording is prohibited during all meetings and interviews. The Title IX Office makes an audio recording of each University Hearing. No other party may record the proceedings. The student can submit a written request for a copy of the audio recording. The Title IX Office does not provide transcripts.

Both the Respondent and Complainant are afforded one (1) appeal of the final decision of the Hearing Officer, including the sanction imposed. Appeals are decided by the appropriate Senior Student Affairs officer of the appealing party’s school and/or division, or such person’s designee. If both the Complainant and Respondent appeal, the appeals will be considered concurrently.

Consistent with the Code of Student Conduct, the four grounds for appeal are:

  1. Unsupported Conclusion: The decision made by the Hearing Officer is not supported by the facts of the case.
  2. Procedural Error: The hearing was conducted unfairly and not in conformance with prescribed procedures. The error committed must be determined to have substantially impacted the fairness of the disciplinary process.
  3. New Information: There is new information available that was not available at the time of the hearing and that is sufficient to alter the original decision.
  4. Disproportionate Sanction: The sanction imposed against the Respondent was not appropriate for the offense committed.

Publications

The Rights and Responsibilities of the Modern University: Who Assumes the Risks of College Life? by Robert Bickel and Peter Lake, Carolina Academic Press (1999)

The Law of Higher Education (5th edition) by William Kaplin and Barbara Lee, Jossey–Bass Publications (2014)

2009 Cumulative Supplement to the Law of Higher Education (4th Edition) by William Kaplin and Barbara Lee, National Association of  College and University Attorneys (NACUA) (2009)

Case Law

Dixon v. Alabama State Board of Education (1961, 5th Circuit)

Esteban v. Central Missouri State College (1969, 8th Circuit)

Ewing v. Regents of University of Michigan (1985, 6th Circuit)

Goss v. Lopez (1975, U.S. Supreme Court)

Hart v. Ferris State 557 F. Supp. 1379, 1386-88 (W.D. Mich, 1983)

Krasnow v. Virginia Polytechnic Institute (1977, 4th Circuit)

Osteen v. Henley (1993, 7th Circuit)

Paine v. Board of Regents of the University of Texas System (1973, 5th Circuit)

Soglin v. Kauffman (1969, 7th Circuit)

Campus Advisors

Role of Advisors

The Complainant and Respondent, respectively, may be accompanied to any meeting or hearing under the Student Policy by an advisor of their choice. An advisor may be a friend, family member, lawyer or other individual of the student’s choosing. The University has a list of trained advisors for Respondents. These professional staff members have received specific training on this Policy, processes, and student rights.

Advisors may support the student and provide advice about the investigation and disciplinary process. During meetings and hearings, the advisor may talk quietly with the student or pass notes in a non-disruptive manner. The advisor may not intervene in a meeting or hearing or address the investigator or Hearing Officer, including by questioning witnesses or making objections. Failure to comply with these mandates may result in the advisor being removed from, or prohibited from attending, any investigatory meetings and/or the hearing.

It is the responsibility of the student to make sure their advisor is present at meetings and hearings. Advisor availability shall not be sufficient grounds for postponing meetings or hearings.

Title IX Investigation Process Flowchart

Title IX Investigation Process

This flowchart is a visual representation of the Title IX investigation process. To read more about the details throughout, go to http://nbtitleix.rutgers.edu/title-ix/reporting/how-to-report/

A campus advisor provided in the list above can explain these steps to you. Additionally, the Office of Student Affairs Compliance & Title IX can also explain the investigation process.

Hearing Flowchart

Title IX Hearing Flowchart

This flowchart provides insight to the steps of a Title IX hearing. The hearing officer will move the process through these steps.

A campus advisor provided in the list above can explain these steps to you. Additionally, the Office of Student Affairs Compliance & Title IX can also explain the investigation process.

Hearing Checklist

Title IX Hearing Checklist

It can be challenging to remember everything you need to do to prepare for a Title IX hearing. This checklist is available for you to use to help guide you through what is needed and when to complete everything.

Contact Us

115 College Avenue
Bishop House
New Brunswick, NJ 08901

Phone: (848) 932-8200
Fax:(732) 932-4154

Email: NBTitleIX@rutgers.edu

nbtitleix.rutgers.edu

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