Prior to the initiation of the appropriate grievance process or at any time prior to conclusion of a grievance process, a report of Prohibited Conduct (including Sex-Based Misconduct and Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaints) may be resolved by an informal resolution process under the following circumstances:
- Responsible Administrator, in consultation with the Department of Student Development (for student participants) and the Office of Human Resources (for employee participants), chooses to offer an informal resolution process;
- In matters of Title IX Sexual Harassment, a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint has been filed, or a Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint has been filed and then dismissed;
- The respondent is a student, who is not also an employee, and the student is willing to accept the Preventative and Corrective Measures resulting from the informal process;
- All parties have received a written notice disclosing the allegations, the requirements of the informal process, a statement that during the informal process either party has a right to withdraw and resume the applicable grievance process, and any consequences resulting from participating in the informal process including what records will be maintained or shared from the informal process (“Notice of Informal Resolution Procedures”);
- The parties wish to resolve the matter without completion of an investigation or adjudication, or where the respondent desires to admit responsibility for the alleged Prohibited Conduct; and
- The complainant and respondent both voluntarily provide written consent to participate in the informal process (“Participation Agreement”).
The Responsible Administrator has authority to: (1) require the University to be included as a party to an informal process; and/or (2) terminate the informal process at any time prior to its completion and re-initiate the applicable grievance process if facts or circumstances emerge that indicate the matter is not appropriate for an informal process. The Responsible Administrator’s decision whether to offer an informal resolution process and whether to terminate such process prior to completion is final and not subject to appeal.
Informal resolution processes should generally be completed within thirty (30) business days from the initiation of the process. The documented agreement resulting from the informal resolution process is final and not subject to appeal. Following completion of an informal resolution process, the Responsible Administrator (or designee) shall ensure the parties adhere to the outcome.
Information shared with a facilitator or mediator during the informal resolution process will not be used in a separate student conduct or grievance process if the informal process is not completed and the facilitator or mediator shall not become a witness to any subsequent grievance process. However, facts disclosed to a facilitator may otherwise be uncovered in the normal course of investigation if the applicable grievance process is re-initiated. Information shared between a complainant and respondent during an informal resolution process may be used in the applicable grievance process if the informal resolution process is not completed, in accordance with law and University policy.
Options which the Responsible Administrator may offer for informal resolution of Prohibited Conduct include: (1) a facilitated restorative justice process (“RJ Process”); and (2) a facilitated mediation (“Mediation”), as described below.
A. Restorative Justice Process.
A facilitated restorative justice process is philosophy of justice as well as a set of practices and seeks to: (a) eliminate Prohibited Conduct; (b) prevent recurrence of Prohibited Conduct; and (c) address harm caused by Prohibited Conduct through active accountability in a manner that meets the needs of both complainant and the campus community. A RJ Process is facilitated by someone trained in trauma-informed restorative justice practices who is impartial, and free from conflicts of interest or bias (“Facilitator”).
Disputes of fact are permitted in a RJ Process; however, in all cases the student respondent must be willing to admit and take responsibility for the Prohibited Conduct as generally described in the report of Prohibited Conduct.
At the end of a RJ Process, an agreement is required to document the outcome that must be in writing signed by the parties. The Facilitator shall deliver the agreement to the Responsible Administrator.
Aside from the requirements described above, the restorative justice facilitator has discretion in how best to conduct the process, including, but not limited to, whether face-to-face interaction between the parties occurs.
Mediation is a process that seeks to help the parties resolve a dispute. Mediation is facilitated by an impartial facilitator who is free from conflicts of interest or bias (“Mediator”). The Mediator must be familiar with negotiation and dispute resolution protocols and may be, but is not required to be, an attorney. The Mediator does not have the authority to unilaterally impose Preventative and Corrective Measures – the parties must agree to Preventative and Corrective Measures to resolve the matter.
Disputes of fact are permitted in a mediation process; however, in all cases the student respondent must be willing to negotiate regarding the appropriate imposition of Preventative and Corrective Measures to resolve the allegations generally set forth in the Formal Title IX Sexual Harassment Complaint.
At the end of a Mediation, the negotiated agreement must be in writing signed by the parties, and the Mediator shall forward a copy of the agreement to the Responsible Administrator.
Aside from the requirements described above, the Mediator has discretion in how best to conduct the process, including, but not limited to, whether face-to-face interaction between the parties occurs.