N-3-10 Formal Investigation, Decision, and Appeal
The College will utilize the following process should the reporting party wish to pursue a formal investigation and resolution process. The timelines listed below are estimates only and the College reserves the right for additional time should complex situations arise.
Initial Notification and Determination of Process
- If a College employee (see “responsible party,” G-28-3.1) is notified of a potential sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking incident(s), they must notify the College’s VPSA/Title IX Officer. Alternatively, an individual may file their own report via the College’s incident reporting system and/or speak with any staff member listed in section G-28-0.1.
- The Title IX Officer will meet with the reporting party to explain reporting options, requirements, and processes; discuss the role of supporting parties; discuss options to report to law enforcement; review the informal and formal investigation process; review confidentiality options; provide information on available support resources; and determine reporting party’s wishes for next steps.
- If the reporting party wishes, the College will implement interim measures designed to ensure the reporting party’s right to access their education, develop safety plans for potential future interactions, and provide academic accommodations reasonable and appropriate to the nature of the alleged incident(s).
- If the report appears to violate the College’s sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking policy, and if the reporting party so desires, the College will initiate an investigation. The reporting party may withdraw their request for the investigation at any point of the process.
- The College will appoint an investigator(s) free from conflict of interest (see G-28-6) for both the reporting party and responding party.
- The investigator will contact the reporting and responding parties for individual interviews. In the case of the responding party, the investigator will provide information about the nature of the allegations and names of reporting parties in line with the reporting party’s wishes for confidentiality. This information will be delivered in two or more of the following ways: Delivered in person, mailed to permanent or temporary address, or emailed to the parties’ COCC email. Once delivered, mailed or emailed, the College presume the letter was received.
- Upon receipt of the notice of investigation, the investigator(s) will typically take
the following steps, although not necessarily in the order listed:
- Individually interview the reporting party(s) and responding party(s), noting that the College will provide a college-appointed advisor should the reporting or responding party not have someone serving in this role. The investigator will schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed-upon date and time no more than ten days after being appointed as an Investigator.
- Interview potential, relevant witnesses, noting that any witness may have a supporting party in attendance (see section N-1-2).
- Collect and document relevant evidence.
- Upon conclusion of the interviews with reporting party, responding party, and relevant
witnesses, the investigator(s) will write a report to include, at a minimum, the following:
- Background (e.g., date of report and incident(s), alleged policy violation, names of reporting party(s) and responding party(s) and their advisors, interim measures);
- List of all parties interviewed, dates, and times;
- Summary of interviews;
- Description of evidence collected;
- Other information which may assist the hearings officer in making their determination.
The report will not include information not directly related to the alleged violation unless it is evidence of a pattern of behavior on behalf of the responding party, investigator judgment about the character of the reporting party or responding party, or the either party’s past sexual activity unless offered to prove that someone else conducted the alleged violation.
- The investigatory report will be sent to the VPSA/Title IX Coordinator.
- The Title IX Coordinator will assign a hearings officer to review the report. The hearings officer will be the Director of Student and Campus Life if the incident(s) only involve students or the Director of Human Resources if the incident(s) involve an employee.
- Upon review of the final investigator report, the hearing officer shall determine if a hearing is warranted. If no, the report will be dismissed and reporting party and responding parties notified.
- If the hearing is warranted, the responding party will be notified of the hearing date, time, and location/modality.
- Record of Hearing: All hearings will be recorded either by an audio or video transcript.
- The hearings officer will ask additional questions as needed.
- The hearing will conclude.
- The hearings officer will provide written notification of their decision to the reporting party, responding party, and advisors/supporting parties within ten business days of the hearing. This notice will include the finding of responsible or not responsible, rationale for the decision, any sanctions or remedies, options for appealing the decision, and a statement of non-retaliation (G-28-5).
Nothing in the policy precludes any person from filing a formal grievance in accordance with applicable collective bargaining agreements or with the Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
The reporting party or responding party may appeal the decision under the following circumstances:
Violation of the process detailed in this section;
In light of new evidence not reasonably available at time of investigation;
Evidence of bias on part of the hearings officer; or
Evidence of conflict of interest of the hearings officer (see G-28-6 for “Conflict of Interest” definition)
- The appeal must be filed within five business days of the hearings to the hearings
Request for appeal involving only students will be reviewed by the Chief Information and Human Resources Officer (CIHRO); in the absence of the CIHRO, the CIHRO will designate an alternate. The request for an appeal will be denied if any one of the above conditions are not met or if it not filed within five business days. If an appeal is warranted, the VPSA will review the decision, investigator report, and evidence. The VPSA will notify all parties of their decision within ten business days unless extenuating circumstances exist. The VPSA’s decision is final.
Request for an appeal involving employees will be reviewed by the Chief Information and Human Resources Officer (CIHRO); in the absence of the CIHRO, the Title IX Coordinator will designate an alternate. The request for an appeal will be denied if any one of the above conditions are not met or if it not filed within five business days. If an appeal is warranted, the CIHRO will review the decision, investigative report, and any evidence. The CIHRO will notify all parties of their decision within ten business days unless extenuating circumstances exist. The CIHRO’s decision is final.