A. Violation Notification and Hearings
- Any person may file a complaint against a student or organization for misconduct. The complaint must be prepared in writing, signed, and directed to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. All complaints should be submitted as soon as possible after the event takes place.
- Upon receipt of a complaint, the complaint will be reviewed to determine if there is enough information present to proceed with the process. If, based on the review, there is not sufficient information to substantiate the complaint, the complaint will be dismissed.
B. Conference and Hearing Processes
- In cases where the complaint suggests that a category “A” violation may have occurred, a conduct officer will schedule a meeting with the responding party (or organization’s representative) to obtain additional information about the incident. Upon discussing the situation with those involved and reviewing all information available, the conduct officer will either provide the student with a notice of alleged violation or dismiss the case. If issued, all alleged violations will be presented to the accused student in written form and a conduct conference scheduled. In most cases, the student shall be entitled to receive written notice of a conference at least three calendar days in advance. However, if the incident involves alleged behavior that causes concern for the safety and/or security of the campus community, verbal or written notice to meet immediately with a conduct officer or hearing panel may be given. Furthermore, the student has the ability to waive their right to advanced notice if a meeting can be scheduled earlier at a mutually agreeable time. Minimum and maximum time limits for scheduling conferences may be reduced or extended at the discretion of the conduct officer.
Students and organizations may call others to a conference to provide information on their behalf. If the student or a representative of a student organization fails to attend the initial meeting with the conduct officer, a determination as to whether to proceed or dismiss the complaint will be made in their absence. In the event that the conduct officer determines there is enough information to proceed with the disciplinary process, notice of the alleged violation(s) and the time, date, and location of the conduct conference will be given to the student.
- If the student, during the investigation or conduct conference, admits responsibility for violation(s), the conduct officer will determine an appropriate sanction and the incident shall be considered resolved. If the student denies that a violation took place, the conduct officer, based upon a preponderance of the evidence, will either dismiss the case, or hold the student responsible and assign an appropriate sanction(s).
- In cases where the complaint suggests that a category “B” violation may have occurred, the case will be processed by the Director or designee. The Director or designee will investigate the incident and schedule a meeting with the responding party or organization's representative. After discussing the situation with the student and reviewing all relevant information, the Director or designee will either provide the student with a notice of alleged violation or dismiss the case. If issued, all violations will be presented to the accused student in written form. Once notified, the student may request a hearing, or alternatively, waive their right to a hearing and ask the Director or designee to adjudicate the case adjudicate the case based upon the information already available. The Director or designee has the right to refer any case and all materials to the appropriate panel to be resolved.
If the student fails to attend the initial meeting with the Director or designee, a determination as to whether to proceed or dismiss the complaint will be made in the student’s absence. In the event that the Director or designee determines there is enough information to proceed with the disciplinary process, the Director or designee will determine if the matter should move to a conduct conference or hearing. Notice of the alleged violation(s) and the time, date, and location of the conduct conference or hearing will be provided to the student.
- In the event that the student requests a hearing, the Director or designee will schedule a hearing with the appropriate panel. In most cases, the student shall be entitled to receive written notice of the hearing at least three days in advance. However, if the incident involves alleged behavior that causes concern for the safety and/or security of the campus community, verbal or written notice to meet immediately with a conduct officer or hearing panel may be given. Furthermore, the student has the ability to waive their right to advanced notice if a meeting can be scheduled earlier at a mutually agreeable time. Minimum and maximum time limits for scheduling conferences may be reduced or extended at the discretion of the conduct officer.
When a student or organization is directed to participate in a hearing or conduct conference, a date and time will be set as soon as possible. Minimum and maximum time limits for scheduling of conferences or hearings may be reduced or extended at the discretion of the Director or designee. If a student or organization fails to respond to directions from a conduct officer, the Director or designee or hearing panel relative to participating in an investigation, conference, or hearing, a $35 non-appearance fine will be imposed, and the Director or designee may case adjudicate a case without the involvement of the student. Furthermore, no student may be eligible to graduate, receive grades, or have transcripts released until all pending conduct matter(s) are resolved.
If a student is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct and fails to respond to directions from the conduct officer, Director or designee, or hearing panel relative to completing a conduct sanction(s), a $35 non-compliance fine will be imposed, a hold will be placed upon the student’s University record and the student may face additional disciplinary action.
If an organization is found responsible for violating the Code of Student Conduct and fails to respond to directions from the conduct officer, Director or designee, or hearing panel relative to completing a conduct sanction(s), a $35 non-compliance fine will be imposed, the organization shall lose its recognition until all sanctions are complete and may face additional disciplinary action.
- Hearings and conduct conferences will be conducted in a fair and reasonable manner. Legal rules regarding evidence and procedure shall not apply. However, personnel involved in the hearing should limit their attention to evidence and information that is relevant. The University may amend or modify the procedures in the Code when the particular facts and circumstances are such that a modified procedure would help ensure a fair and effective process.
- Hearings and conferences will be conducted in private. At the request of the request of the responding party, along with the agreement of any other student participants and subject to the discretion of the conduct officer or chairperson of the hearing panel, the proceedings may be open to the public.
- Admission of any person (other than a student who is a responding party or complaining party where allowed) to the hearing will be at the discretion of the conduct officer or hearing body chair. In hearings involving more than one responding party student, the conduct officer, at their discretion, will determine if hearings or conferences concerning each student will be conducted jointly or separately.
- Any student involved in the conduct process has the right to consult an advisor of their choice. Advisors are not permitted to speak or to participate directly in any hearing, conference, or appeal.
- The reporting party, the accused, and the conduct officer or conduct bodies have the opportunity to question witnesses. Any witness who is questioned by one party may be questioned by other parties. The reporting party and responding party will direct their questions to the conduct officer or chair of the conduct body.
- Pertinent records, exhibits, and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration.
- While other means may be used, email is the official method of notice for the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. In hearings and/or conferences it shall be presumed that the notice of a hearing/conference has been received if the notice is furnished in any of the following ways: An email sent to the student's Wright State email address, notice sent by regular, registered or electronic mail to the local address provided by the student to the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct or that is on record in the Registrar’s Office, or delivery to the student’s campus residence by a staff member.
- All questions regarding the interpretation of a procedure pertaining to a conference or hearing are subject to the final decision of the conduct officer or chair. Questions of interpretation of University policy which may arise during a conference or hearing will be subject to the final decision of the Director or designee.
- At the conclusion of a conference or hearing, the conduct officer or hearing panel will determine by a preponderance of evidence whether the student has violated each section of the Code of Student Conduct for which the student was given notice. Decisions of any hearing panel will be determined by a majority vote.
- If it is determined that a student has violated the Code, the conduct officer or discipline body will proceed to determine the appropriate sanction. In doing so, the student’s past disciplinary history will be considered.
- No student may be found to have violated the Code solely because the student failed to appear before a conduct body. In all cases, the information in support of the alleged violations shall be presented and considered.
- A single record, such as a recording or written record of all conferences or hearings may be created by the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. The record shall be the property of the University and will be maintained in accordance with University records retention policies. Students are not permitted to record any conference, hearing or disciplinary meeting without the consent of the presiding conduct officer or hearing chair.
- The Director or designee is the liaison to students who have been placed on probation or separated from the University and is responsible for informing the student of the procedure for reinstatement. The Director or designee has the authority to place holds on registration and transcripts of students as a result of disciplinary action.
- The responding party in any conduct hearing shall not be required to make any statement or give any testimony.
- Hearings and conferences will be conducted in private. At the request of the request of the responding party, along with the agreement of any other student participants and subject to the discretion of the conduct officer or chairperson of the hearing panel, the proceedings may be open to the public.
C. Title IX Hearing Procedures
At the conclusion of the investigative process outlined in Wright State University’s Sex/Gender-Based Harassment, Discrimination, and Sexual Misconduct Policy (Policy Number 1270), for matters that fall within the scope of Section 1270.4, the final investigation report will be forwarded to the appropriate adjudicating office. For students, the appropriate adjudicating office is the Office of Community Standards and Student Conduct. For faculty, the appropriate adjudicating office is the Provost’s Office. For staff, the appropriate adjudicating office is the Office of Human Resources. Regardless of the adjudicating office for a particular matter, the following procedures will be followed.
The purpose of the Title IX hearing is to provide both parties the opportunity to cross-examine or otherwise question, through an advisor, the other parties and any witnesses in front of the decision-maker. Advisors will be permitted to ask parties and witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including questions that challenge credibility.
The Title IX Coordinator will appoint an individual or hearing panel to serve as decision-maker, and the appropriate adjudicating office will facilitate a live hearing. The decision-maker for all cases that fall within the scope of Section 1270.4, may be a single hearing officer or a hearing panel. If a hearing panel is appointed to serve as the decision-maker, the number of members and their composition (e.g. students, faculty, staff, non-voting chairpersons, etc.) will be determined in the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
The decision-maker(s) will oversee the hearing process, permit relevant questioning of the parties and witnesses, and issue a written determination regarding responsibility in accordance with these procedures. The University maintains the right to use an external hearing officer or hearing panel when appropriate.
Decision-makers are trained to serve as individual hearing officers and/or members of a hearing panel in accordance with Title IX. Decision-maker(s) will not be the Title IX Coordinator, the investigator(s) who investigated the allegations, or the informal resolution officer for the particular case at issue. The decision-maker(s) will evaluate all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory.
B. Pre-Hearing Process
Written Responses to the Final Investigation Report
At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will provide the parties with the Final Investigation Report and the relevant evidence. The parties and advisors will have ten calendar days to respond to the Final Investigation Report and relevant evidence in writing. All written responses from the parties will be reviewed by the investigator(s) and the Title IX Coordinator, and then be forwarded to the decision-maker(s) for the case. These written responses may also be shared with the parties prior to pre-hearing conferences.
Each party will have a separate pre-hearing conference at least five (5) days prior to the scheduled hearing. The Title IX Coordinator or decision-maker will communicate to the parties and their advisors the date, time, and format for their Pre-Hearing Conference. The decision-maker and the advisor must be in attendance. While the parties are strongly encouraged to attend, they are not required to do so.
Evidence and witnesses may only be presented at the hearing if they were submitted to the investigators and made available to the parties for review, unless they were unavailable at the time of the investigation or the relevance was unknown until the investigation report was submitted. The decision-maker will address any requests to present new evidence and new witnesses at the Pre-Hearing Conference.
At the pre-hearing conference, the decision-maker will discuss the expectations and guidelines for appropriate behavior and decorum during the hearing. The advisor is strongly encouraged to discuss the following topics with the parties and advisors at their respective Pre-Hearing Conferences:
- Identification of the party’s advisor of choice for the hearing, including the advisors’ contact information;
- The procedures to be followed at the hearing;
- The date and time of the hearing;
- The witnesses each party wants to question at the hearing (if a party wants to challenge the credibility of a party or witness, they must request to question the party or witness during the hearing);
- Scheduling conflicts that may affect the order of testimony and witness availability at the hearing; and
- All questions related to the relevance of particular pieces of evidence and/or lines of questioning.
Because the hearing process is not a legal proceeding, decision-makers will not require, allow, or accept briefings, memos, or motions from the parties or their advisors, other than the written materials submitted in response to the investigation report.
The Title IX Coordinator will schedule a hearing no less than ten calendar days from the day the Final Investigation Report is shared with the parties and their advisors. The parties will receive written notice of the hearing date, along with the time and location, including any instructions regarding the use of technology (Zoom link, schedule for arrival and departure, etc.).
Witnesses who have been requested to appear at the hearing will receive written notification of the hearing via email from the Title IX Coordinator.
Hearings will be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at the discretion of Wright State University, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other. At the request of either party, the University will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or the witness answering questions.
All evidence subject to the parties’ inspection and review will be available at any hearing to give each party equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.
Hearing witnesses will only participate in the Hearing when they are answering questions. They will not be permitted to observe or otherwise participate in the Hearing unless they are serving as an Advisor, at outlined below.
Wright State University will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.
The University will seek to complete the hearing within 15 business days once the investigatory report is submitted to the adjudicating office. However, context and complexity may require that the process extend beyond 15 days.
The decision-maker(s) will have discretion to determine the structure of the hearing, including the order of questioning. Parties may request a break at any time during the hearing, however they may be required to answer a pending question before taking a break.
Typically, hearings will begin with questioning of the Complainant by either the decision-maker(s) or the Respondent’s advisor. If questioning begins with the decision-maker(s), the next round of questions would come from the Respondent’s advisor, followed by the Complainant’s advisor. The Complainant’s advisor does not need to lay a foundation for evidence or repeat information that was previously provided in the investigation report; instead, the Complainant’s advisor may choose to ask questions that will help to clarify the issues and testimony already given by the Complainant. The decision-maker(s) may choose to ask questions of the Complainant after the party advisors have completed their questioning.
After questioning of the Complainant has been completed, the Respondent may be questioned by either the decision-maker(s) or the Complainant’s advisor. If questioning begins with the decision-maker(s), the next round of questions would come from the Complainant’s advisor, followed by the Respondent’s advisor. The Respondent’s advisor does not need to lay a foundation for evidence or repeat information that was previously provided in the investigation report; instead, the Respondent’s advisor may choose to ask questions that will help to clarify the issues and testimony already given by the Respondent. The decision-maker(s) may choose to ask questions of the Respondent after the party advisors have completed their questioning.
After the parties have answered questions, each advisor will have an opportunity to question each witness, in the order determined by the decision-maker(s). The decision-maker(s) may choose to ask questions of each witness first, prior to questioning by the advisors, or choose to ask questions of the witness after the party advisors have completed their questioning.
The hearing is limited to questioning of parties and witnesses. Parties and advisors will not give opening or closing statements. Advisors will only be permitted to question a party once, unless the decision-maker(s) permits additional questioning.
Advisors at Hearings
In order to question a party or witness at a hearing, a party must be accompanied by an advisor. Parties will not be permitted to conduct cross-examination on their own. The University will not limit the choice or presence of any advisor for a complainant or respondent, and the advisor of their choice may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, the University will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the University’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney, to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party.
Each party’s advisor is invited to ask relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility, of each party as well as each witness. Cross-examination at the live hearing will be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor of choice and never by a party personally. All questioning at the live hearing must be relevant, respectful, and non-abusive. No party will be “yelled” at or asked questions in an abusive or intimidating manner. If a party’s advisor refuses to comply with restrictions set by the University, the University may require that the party use a different Advisor.
Before a party or witness answers a cross-examination or other question, the decision-maker will first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
Relevant evidence is evidence that tends to make a fact that is important to the case either more probable or less probable. Relevant questions are those questions that are designed to elicit relevant evidence.
The following may be considered irrelevant:
- Repetitive or duplicative questions or evidence;
- Information that is protected by a legally recognized privilege, such as attorney-client privilege;
- Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless:
- Such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant; or
- The questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent;
- Any party’s medical, psychological, and similar records, unless the party has given voluntary, written consent for their use in the process.
The University will not exclude relevant evidence because such relevant evidence may be unduly prejudicial, concern prior bad acts (unless excluded above), or constitute character evidence. However, the decision-makers may objectively evaluate such evidence.
If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, evidence attributable to that party or witness will be identified as such in the record of proceedings, but the decision-maker will weigh any relevant statements of the party or witness appropriately in reaching a determination of responsibility. The decision-maker will not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a question asked by an advisor, the decision-maker1 must first determine whether the question is relevant. The decision-maker must then explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant. A decision-maker may choose to ask a party or advisor to explain why a question is relevant. If the decision-maker asks for this type of explanation, the decision-maker will give the opposing party’s advisor an opportunity to respond. Decision-makers are not required to give a lengthy or complicated explanation of a relevancy determination during the hearing. Once the decision-maker has made a determination regarding the relevance of a question, the parties and advisors may not challenge the decision further during the hearing, but may choose to challenge the decision on appeal. The decision-maker may expand on their determination in the written decision.
The decision-maker will evaluate all admissible, relevant evidence for weight or credibility. The decision-maker has the right and responsibility to ask questions and elicit information from parties and witnesses on the decision-maker’s own initiative to aid the decision-maker in obtaining relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory. The parties will have equal rights to present evidence in from of the decision-maker so the decision-maker has the benefit of perceiving each party’s unique perspectives about the evidence.
The degree to which any inaccuracy, inconsistency, or implausibility in a narrative provided by a party or witness should affect a determination regarding responsibility is a matter to be decided by the decision-makers, after having the opportunity to ask questions of parties and
- When the case is heard by a hearing panel, and not a single decision-maker, the hearing panel chair will determine whether each question is relevant.
- Witnesses, and to observe how parties and witnesses answer the questions posed by the other party. Corroborating evidence is not required.
Credibility determinations are not based solely on observing demeanor, but also are based on other factors (e.g., specific details, inherent plausibility, internal consistency, corroborative evidence). Credibility determinations will not be based on an individual’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
A party’s answers to questions can and should be evaluated by decision-makers in context, including taking into account that a party may experience stress while trying to answer questions. Parties will not be unfairly judged due to inability to recount each specific detail of an incident in sequence, whether such inability is due to trauma, the effects of drugs or alcohol, or simple fallibility of human memory.
Additional Hearing Procedures
Good Faith Participation: All parties, witnesses, and advisors who participate in the hearing process must participate in good faith. The decision-maker(s) may address any and all conduct that is abusive or otherwise interferes with the hearing process, including but not limited to the following: unnecessary delay in any part of the hearing process; engaging in harassing or intimidating conduct during the hearing process; and/or attempting to influence anyone in relation to the hearing process. Such conduct may result in the exclusion on individuals from the hearing and/or referral of the conduct to other University offices for resolution.
No Contact Orders: All parties are expected to abide by University-issued No Contact Order. No direct contact between parties will occur during the hearing or immediately before or after the hearing. Merely participating in the hearing with the opportunity to hear the other party answer questions will not constitute a violation of a University-issued No Contact Order. Parties who have additional no contact restrictions or personal protection orders are encouraged to review those restrictions and obtain any modifications as necessary.
Recordings and Use of Technology: The hearing will be video recorded and will serve as the official documentation of the hearing. The recording will be maintained as part of the case materials with the Resolution Office. The recording will remain the property of the University. No other audio, video, or digital recordings may be made. Parties may review the recording upon request to the appropriate adjudicating office when they have appealed a decision. Hearings are closed proceedings and are not open to the public. Parties and witnesses must participate from a private location and may not record or share access to the hearing (live stream, share screen, screenshot, or otherwise allow other individuals access to the hearing.
D. The Decisions
At the conclusion of the hearing, the decision-maker will make a determination of responsibility using the “preponderance of the evidence” standard. A preponderance of the evidence is a determination based on facts that are more likely true than not. In the preponderance of the evidence standard, where the evidence in a case is “equal” or “level,” the preponderance of the evidence standard results in a finding that the respondent is not responsible. The University will apply the same standard of evidence for formal complaints against students as for formal complaints against employees, including faculty, and apply the same standard of evidence to all formal complaints.
In reaching this determination, the decision-maker must objectively evaluate all relevant evidence, both inculpatory and exculpatory, and must independently reach a determination regarding responsibility without giving deference to the investigative report.
The decision-maker’s written determination will include the following:
- Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Title IX – Sexual Harassment;
- A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
- Findings of fact supporting the determination;
- Conclusions regarding the application of the Policy to the facts;
- A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including:
- A determination regarding responsibility,
- any disciplinary sanctions the University imposes on the Respondent (see Section VII(G)7), and
- whether remedies will be provided by the University to the Complainant (see Section VII(G)8),
- The University’s procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal (see Section VII(G)9).
The determination will lay out the evidentiary basis for conclusions reached in the case. The nature of remedies, if any, will not be included within the determination. The written determination will be provided to the parties simultaneously within 15 business days of the hearing.
The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that the University provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.
The sanctions issued in a particular matter will depend on the nature of the violation, the applicable disciplinary history, and University precedent in similar cases. The range of sanctions includes the following:
- Educational Sanction
- Alcohol Violation Sanctioning
- Drug Violation Sanctioning
- Fine/Administrative Fee
- Loss of Privilege
- Termination of Recognition
- Summary Suspension
- Residential Summary Suspension
- Deterred Suspension
- No Contact Orders issued to a particular party
Note that mutual No Contact orders are a supportive measure available to parties under the applicable policy, and are not considered to be disciplinary if issued prior to the completion of the formal resolution process and determination.