The UNC Asheville student disciplinary system responds to all violations of the Student Code of Conduct at the referral of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Title IX Coordinator; therefore, the disciplinary system will respond to all violations of sexual offenses, forcible or non-forcible, that are campus inclusive. Any UNC Asheville student, staff, or faculty member may file a report against a student of the university community based on violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Complaints should include specific details of the incident, time, date, location, people and addresses involved, and witnesses’ names and addresses. This report should be given to the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students Office or Citizen Education Office.
The Title IX Coordinator or designee will be responsible for ensuring the report is adjudicated in line with procedures related to sexual misconduct violations in an impartial manner, protecting the rights of all individuals involved.
a. When an incident of sexual misconduct is reported, the Title IX Coordinator ensures that the reporting party and the responding party are offered, have access to, and is provided continued remedies to address the effects of the behavior without interruption to the educational attainment of either party. (Examples include the provision of a confidential counselor, a support advocate, academic schedule change, an advisor, retake a course or withdraw (without penalty), a no contact order, or housing accommodations when/where applicable) at no additional cost to the student. Remedies should also include strategies and tools to stop the alleged behavior when appropriate and necessary and ensure the well-being, health, and due process rights of all parties.
b. The Title IX Coordinator may endorse interim measures such as interim suspension during the course of an investigation if the behavioral intervention assessment team indicates a larger threat to the community based on the alleged behavior. Such prompt measures are enacted to protect the safety and security of the campus. Interim measures differ than sanctions.
c. Interim measures or protective measures may be implemented to protect the reporting and responding parties. Interim measures consist of no contact orders (NCO), safety plans, security escorts, academic accommodations, housing reassignments, parking accommodations, changes in work schedules, or interim suspension.
d. No student is permitted to withdraw from enrollment after an allegation of a serious violation of the code prior to imposition of a sanction(s) or a finding of not responsible.
e. Upon receiving a formal complaint in writing, the Title IX Coordinator will perform a Dismissal Analysis (this is also referred to as a Jurisdictional Analysis). The Dismissal Analysis reviews the complaint and determines if the alleged behavior falls within the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment listed in the policy. The definition requires that the following items be applicable: a.) the conduct occurred toward a person in the United States; b.) the conduct occurred in the auspices of the University’s program or activity; and c.) the conduct was severe, persistent, AND pervasive, AND the behavior was objectively offensive enough to create a discriminatory effect in a person’s ability to access University programs and activities. Students can appeal the Dismissal Analysis once it is issued. If the complaint is dismissed under this process, the behavior will not be addressed through Title IX, though it could be addressed by another applicable University Policy.
- After the Dismissal Analysis, if the conduct meets the requirements established for Title IX, the reporting party has two options for pursuing a resolution to the complaint.
- Option A: The informal Process
- Option B: The Formal Process
Option A: The Informal Process to resolve Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaints
f. If the reporting party chooses to address the complaint through the informal process, the responding party must agree. In this way the informal process requires mutual agreement for resolution by both parties.
g. If both parties mutually agree to resolve the complaint through the informal process, the Title IX Coordinator assigns the case to a Resolution Facilitator. There is no investigation in an informal process.
h. The facilitators provide an agreed upon venue (including individual meetings that occur seperately) so that both parties can detail their experiences related to the complaint. The parties can have a support person and advocate with them during the meetings.
i. The resolution facilitator will ask questions of the parties based on the information shared.
j. The resolution facilitator will make a decision regarding the determination of responsibility. The resolutoin facilitator will offer sanctions based on that determination. In an informal process, only educational sanctions will be issued. Both parties must agree to the outcome of the informal process.
k. The reporting party can choose to move to a formal process at any time during the informal proceedings; they can also choose to withdrawal the complaint at any time.
l. The resolution facilitator will provide an outcome letter to both parties, simultaneously, identifying the determination that includes a rationale and the agreed upon sanctions. The facilitator will ensure that the sanctions are followed through on for each party.
m. There is no appeal process for the informal proceedings.
Option B: The Formal Process to resolve Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaints
f. The Title IX Coordinator assigns reports of sexual misconduct to trained Title IX investigators to examine each report and ensure the integrity of the investigation process. The Title IX Coordinator provides oversight to ensure that all information and leads are being thoroughly examined by the investigators. Title IX investigators will investigate the reports and submit a comprehensive report to the Title IX Coordinator and the Citizenship Education Office.
g. The Title IX Coordinator assigns unbiased investigators in an attempt to eliminate a conflict of interest. If either party believes there will be a bias or a conflict of interest with any of the investigators, they may request the Title IX Coordinator remove and replace an investigator. If either party believes a conflict of interest or bias exists with the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will assign the oversight of the case to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator.
h. All investigators are certified annually and must complete ongoing annual training. Training topics include but are not limited to, analyzing and evaluating conduct which meets the Title IX Sexual Harassment Definition as indicated in the policy. Training also includes the evaluation of conduct that constitutes unwelcome behavior, determinants of a hostile environment, trauma, asking appropriate questions, due process rights, and comprehensive analysis of information.
i. Both parties involved in sexual misconduct cases will be offered, by the Title IX Coordinator, an advisor (an attorney or non-attorney advisor of their choosing), a support advocate of their choosing at any time during the process for resolving alleged violations of sexual misconduct.
j. All investigations will be adequate, prompt, fair and impartial. Both parties may be interviewed in the presence of an attorney (of their choosing), a support person and process advocate. Both parties will have the opportunity to have witnesses interviewed and evidence presented in the investigation.
k. Neither parties are restricted from discussing nor sharing information related to the complaint with others that may support them or assist them in presenting their case. However, in doing so, those communications should not violate a No Contact Order (if established by the university) or constitute retaliation under the University’s Retaliation Policy.
l. The Citizenship Education Office determines, based on the Investigative Report, what violations outlined in the report will result in formal charges, if any, related to Title IX Sexual Harassment. Other types of behavior that do not meet the criteria for Title IX Sexual Harassment will be categorized as “Other Sexual Harassment”, and these behaviors will be addressed by other applicable University Policies. For example, a sexual harassment complaint that does not meet the definition of Title IX, will still be addressed by the University through the Citizenship Education Process (student conduct) or Human Resources (faculty/staff conduct).
m. The Reporting and Responding Party will be notified of each step in an investigation. All parties will have access to the information collected through the course of the investigation and will have opportunities to respond to all information in accordance with the policy.
n. Upon completion of the Investigative Report if a violation of the policy is charged, both parties will be afforded equal and timely access to information and documents to be used for a live hearing board which includes the opportunity for parties to submit questions of the other party through the use of their advisors. In an informal process, the live hearing procedure occurs with a Hearing Officer. In a formal process, the live hearing occurs in with the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (SMHB).
o. The Title IX Coordinator will assign unbiased board members to each SMHB proceeding and remove any conflict of interests that may exist. When a SMHB is scheduled, the reporting and responding parties will be informed of the date, time and location of the proceeding. Both parties will be informed of the names of the SMHB members and if there is a conflict of interest, both parties involved will have the opportunity to challenge the composition of the SMHB assigned to their case prior to the hearing.
p. The SMHB is comprised of 3 faculty and staff campus community members that are trained continuously throughout the academic year to develop competencies required of SMHB members in order to effectively, impartially, and adequately resolve sexual misconduct cases for which they are charged. No students serve on these boards.
q. Both the reporting and responding parties are afforded equal opportunity to have a an advisor, legal counsel, support person, and expert testimony of their choice at the hearing. Equal restrictions apply in forbidding process advisers, legal counsel, and support persons for addressing the board inappropriately, responding on behalf of their student, or being disruptive to the process. In addition, direct cross examination of one another or of a witness by the parties are forbade. However, cross examination thru the Advisor representing each party is permissible. The hearing officer and or SMHB will determine if the questions posed are allowable in accordance with rape shield rules, in respect to repetitive or already answered questions, and in accordance to relevancy.
r. All parties are encouraged to be present throughout the hearing. Any party choosing not to attend the hearing, cannot be questioned by the hearing officers or by the parties. As such, their initial statements will be removed from consideration. Every attempt to attend live hearings should be made and accommodations to support a parties’ desire not to be in the same room with the opposing party will be made. Opening and summary remarks are permissible for each party, and the Title IX Investigators will attend the hearing to respond to any questions from the parties or the hearing officers.
s. Both parties have a right not to have their unrelated past sexual histories discussed in the hearing. The past sexual relationship between the reporting party and any others aside from the respondent will be presumed as inadmissible evidence. The SMHB, in consultation with the hearing officer, will determine whether proposed testimony regarding past sexual history between the parties is related to the case at issue and may be introduced during the hearing.
t. The reporting party may choose to be physically separated from the responding party during hearing proceedings. Similarly, the responding party may choose to be physically separated from the reporting party during hearing proceedings. This choice should be made at least two working days prior to the hearing, so that accommodations can be made that do not unnecessarily delay the hearing.
u. The SMHB will hear the case and determine the appropriate sanctions based on the information provided and in line with the Community Code of Standards enforced by the Citizenship Education Office and in accordance with Title IX. The sanctions must include provisions for preventing the behavior from reoccurring, including dismissal from the University.
v. All SMHB cases are audio/video recorded. Only the University recording of the hearing is permissible and becomes the Official record of the hearing. Parties’ are prohibited from making their own recordings of the hearing. The Official recording will be made available to parties as needed. Recordings become part of the student’s educational record protected by FERPA. Access to such recordings are restricted to the appropriate University Officials and can only be released if subpoenaed by a court order. For the purpose of the appeal process, the recording will be made available to the appellate officers.
w. Notification of the outcome of the hearing and any sanction(s) imposed will be provided in writing to both parties, at approximately the same time, by the Citizenship Education Office through the auspices of the hearing officers. The outcome will include a detailed account of all the steps the university has taken to process the complaint, the results of the process, the justification for the decision made, and all information required to successfully file an appeal.
x. Following the outcome of a SMHB, both parties have a right to appeal the outcome/determination of the investigation, on the bases of procedural irregularity, new evidence that was not reasonably available during the hearing, or due to a charge of bias/conflict of interest. These are the only factors considered in the appellate process, and the party that filed the appeal will need to make a case based on one of these factors that includes how the identified factor may have affected the outcome. Both parties will be informed of the pursuit of an appeal, the appeal status, and have an opportunity to participate and respond to the appeal. Students have 5 business days to file an appeal. The Title IX Coordinator is also notified of the outcome and sanctions, and any appeal requests.
y. Appeals to sexual misconduct cases regarding a ruling determination of the hearing officers at a live hearing will be appealed to the Dean of Students, with a secondary appeal opportunity with the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. All notification and procedures regarding the appeal of sexual misconduct cases will follow the policy outlined in the Citizenship Education Process related to appeals, in addition to the aforementioned requirements specific to Title IX Sexual Harassment appeals.
The Division of Student Affairs is structured on the premise of student development; therefore, it is important that the result of any disciplinary sanctions applied is positive and growth-oriented. In an effort to help students take responsibility for their actions with regard to sex offenses, any of the following sanctions may be applied: judicial or administrative reprimand, general or specific probation, suspension, expulsion, work/educational assignment, area relocation, and exclusion from on-campus residency. These sanctions are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, which is in the UNC Asheville Student Handbook.
The Title IX Coordinator ensures that the report is addressed through the identified resolution procedures and policies, and that the incident is resolved in a timely, fair, and impartial manner. Reports are examined based on the policies and procedures of the university where care for the student is our primary concern and compliance with Title IX is imperative.
Reporting to Law Enforcement
If, at any time, a student wishes to report the case to law enforcement in addition to pursuing the University’s procedures for sexual misconduct cases, students are encouraged to contact Campus Police to start that process and to receive support in navigating the criminal process. 828.251.6710 | Family Justice Center