Resources for Respondents
If a complaint of sexual misconduct has been filed against you, support and resources are available. The complaint will be investigated and adjudicated pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Policy. It will be handled as promptly and equitably as possible, with ample opportunity for you to respond, and you will be considered “not responsible” unless a finding of responsibility is made pursuant to the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
If a complaint of sexual misconduct has been filed against you, consider the following:
- Talk to someone you can trust such as a friend, family member, counselor, or clergy member.
- An advisor of your choice can be present at meetings related to the process, though they cannot speak on your behalf.
- Do not contact the other party by any means. Efforts to do so may appear retaliatory, even if that is not your intent.
- Consider whether there is information to gather for the investigation such as relevant text messages, emails, and social media posts and messages.
- Write down potential witnesses to provide to the investigator.
- All on-campus resources identified on this website are also available to you during this process.
You may also find it helpful to review the HWS Sexual Misconduct Policy which offers official definitions of sexual misconduct.
Frequently Asked Questions
With whom may I consult?
For on campus confidential support, you may contact the HWS Counseling Center at 315-781-3388 and/or the Office for Spiritual Engagement at 315-781-3671.
You also have the right to an advisor of your choice. The advisor may be any person, including an attorney, who is not otherwise a party or witness involved in the investigation or adjudication. Your advisor may accompany you to meetings and interviews; however, your advisor may not answer questions for you, make objections, or pose questions to you or others.
To learn more about the investigation process and the Sexual Misconduct Policy, contact the Title IX Coordinator at 315-781-3922 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who will notify me if a formal complaint has been filed against me?
The Title IX Coordinator receives complaints concerning alleged sexual misconduct. The Title IX Office will conduct an initial review to ensure that the Complainant’s allegations fall under the Sexual Misconduct Policy. When a decision is reached that impacts a Respondent, the Title IX Coordinator will ensure that the Respondent is notified, receives a written explanation of all available resources and options, and is offered the opportunity to meet to discuss those resources and options. In addition, you may be separately notified by Campus Safety or by other local police if there is also a criminal investigation.
What does the formal resolution process require?
An investigation: The Title IX Coordinator will designate one or more investigators from the Colleges and/or an experienced external investigator(s) to conduct a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation. You and the Complainant will be interviewed separately and will not appear in the same room during the investigation. The parties will have an equal opportunity to be heard, to submit information and corroborating evidence, to recommend witnesses who may have relevant information, and to submit questions that they believe should be directed by the investigator to each other or to any witness.
Adjudication: The Colleges have two adjudication options:
- Administrative conference: Either party may request an administrative conference or the Title IX Coordinator may determine that such a conference is appropriate. The Title IX Coordinator will designate someone to meet with the parties to determine responsibility and sanction. The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion to determine whether resolution by an administrative conference is appropriate.
- Hearing: The hearing is an opportunity for the parties to address an external adjudicator(s) about issues relevant to the finding of responsibility. The adjudicator(s) will determine the finding of responsibility and sanctions.
What can happen to me while the complaint is pending and before it is decided?
While the complaint is pending you may be subject to interim measures, which may include a no contact order with the Complainant and/or a change to your housing, classes, or work schedules to ensure that both individuals have a safe and comfortable educational environment. The Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform you of any action(s) including interim protective measures that directly impact you, and you will have an opportunity to respond to such action(s).
When can a formal complaint be filed?
A complaint can be filed against you at any time while you are still a student, staff member or faculty member at HWS.
In addition to participating in the investigation, are there any expectations of me?
The HWS Sexual Misconduct Policy prohibits acts of retaliation by any involved party. Retaliation should be promptly reported to the Title IX Coordinator and will be investigated and resolved under the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures.
How private will the complaint be?
The complaint process is private and all involved persons will be expected to respect that privacy. Further, students are prohibited from distributing documents obtained during the process. However, the Complainant and/or Respondent may disclose the final outcome of a complaint once it has been determined. The Title IX Office protects the privacy of all parties involved in the resolution of reported sexual misconduct to the greatest extent possible. Other college officials (e.g. faculty, coaches) will be contacted on a need-to-know basis only, and are also required to maintain privacy. If you are 18 years or older, the Title IX Office will not contact your parents or guardians.
What are the possible outcomes of a formal complaint?
Where a student is found responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, the adjudicator, in consultation with the Associate Dean of Students or other appropriate administrator (designated by the Title IX Coordinator prior to the hearing) will determine appropriate sanction(s). The Colleges may impose any of the following sanctions: probation, conduct warning, suspension, expulsion/permanent separation, organizational sanctions including probation and rescinding recognition, and/or any other educational and/or remedial measures to eliminate, prevent or address the sexual misconduct. Both parties will simultaneously receive the final outcome letter notifying them of the finding of responsibility and sanctions, if applicable.
What if I want to appeal the final outcome of the hearing?
Both the Complainant and Respondent may appeal the final outcome. Parties may file an appeal based on the following grounds: previously unavailable relevant evidence that could significantly impact the final outcome; procedural error(s) that had a material impact on the final outcome; the sanction is grossly disproportionate to the conduct committed. An appeal must be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in writing within 7 calendar days of receiving the final outcome letter. The appeal panel can dismiss the appeal for failing to state a grounds for appeal, affirm the original findings, or send the case back to the adjudicator for reconsideration. Appeal decisions are final and are not subject to further appeal.
Can someone pursue a criminal complaint against me in addition to, or in place of, a complaint through the Title IX Office?
A criminal complaint is always an option whether or not the Complainant decides to file a complaint with the Colleges. Individuals also have the right to pursue both criminal charges and an investigation of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.