Title IX Proceedings
The WBU Sexual Misconduct, Title IX & Discrimination Policy governs students and employees and additional information regarding the investigation and adjudication process may be accessed online at https://www.wbu.edu/about/title-ix/rights-and-confidentiality.htm Of note, the intake and investigation of complaints involving students and employee as the respondent are the same. The process bifurcates when it comes to how the case is resolved. The procedures for the major timeframes of the process are explained below.
How to File a Complaint Under this Policy
The University can receive notice of an allegation of sexual misconduct in numerous ways. A person may visit http://www2.wbu.edu/reportcrime/defaultIX.aspx and file a report online. A person may also tell any Responsible Employee (faculty member, member of residence staff, a member of Human Resources, a member of the Executive Director of Student Services’ office, etc.) who has an obligation to report information reported to them to the institution’s Title IX Administrator. A person may also complain to the WBU Police Department, who has an obligation to report certain information reported to them to the institution’s Title IX Administrator. A person may also report directly to the Title IX Administrator. Once an allegation or complaint is received by the Title IX Administrator, they or their designee will communicate with the person alleging the harm to determine what course of action they would like pursued and to make them aware of their rights, resources and interim measures, if applicable. The University could conclude based on the report received that a formal investigation will be initiated by the University.
How the University Determines Whether This Policy will be Used
WBU only has one sexual misconduct policy that governs students and employees as respondents in cases involving sexual assault, stalking, dating violence, and domestic violence. Therefore, this is the policy and procedure that the intuition will utilize. Employees who are alleged to have engaged in sexual harassment of a verbal or non-verbal nature (no physical contact) should refer to WBU Policy 2.76-Sexual Harassment.
Steps in the Title IX Process
Once notice is received as described in number one above, the Title IX Administrator or their designee will conduct “intake” with the victim/complainant if the victim/complainant is an employee or student of the University (third parties who are not students or employees may have intake conducted in person or intake may occur remotely or via third party if needed.) During intake for employee and student victim/complainant, the person’s rights and options will be provided, the Title IX Administrator will collect basic information regarding what is being reported, and the Title IX Administrator will determine if the University has jurisdiction to act. The victim/complainant will also be asked if they would like access to law enforcement to file a criminal report, told that the university can assist in this process and also given the right to decline notification to law enforcement The victim/complainant will also be asked if they would like to formally pursue an administrative investigation pursuant to the university’s policy and resolution procedures and will be provided information on how to obtain medical attention, including access to a forensic examination, if applicable.
If the victim/complainant wants to proceed with a formal investigation or if the university determines it must proceed to protect the safety of campus, then a Title IX investigator will be assigned to investigate any complaint of sexual misconduct. As part of the investigation process, the victim/complainant and the respondent will be provided notice of the complaint and allowed a reasonable time to respond. The victim/complainant and the respondent may present any document or information that is believed to be relevant to the complaint. Persons thought to have information relevant to the complaint will be interviewed, and those interviews will be appropriately documented. Both the respondent and the victim/complainant may recommend witnesses for interview and suggest questions that should be asked. Neither the victim/complainant nor the respondent typically attend these interviews or the gathering of evidence; however, if either one is permitted to attend, the other will have the same right. After the investigation is complete, a written report will be issued to the Title IX Administrator.
The report will include factual findings and the victim/complainant and respondent will be allowed to inspect the report or, at WBU’s discretion, be provided letters summarizing the findings in the report in keeping with FERPA and Texas Education Code, Section 51.971 (for student respondents.) If a letter is provided, it will contain enough detail to allow the victim/complainant and respondent to comment on the adequacy of the investigation.
In employee as the respondent cases, the Director of HR may serve as the investigator or if a conflict of interest exists, the Title IX Administrator will assign an annually trained investigator. Once the investigation is complete, the report will be generated and forwarded to the Title IX Administrator, who will render the decision as to whether or not the employee is responsible for a policy violation. Following the finding, the Title IX Administrator, in concert with the appropriate VP of the area in which the respondent employee reports, will determines what sanctions shall be employed, if applicable.
For students as the respondent, the Title IX Administrator will assign an annually trained investigator. Just like in employee cases, the investigator will interview the parties, collect relevant evidence and interview witnesses. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will construct a report and forward that report to the Executive Director of Student Services for adjudication through the Code of Student Conduct to determine if the policy was violated. The Executive Director of Student Services will impose disciplinary action or sanction(s) in accordance with the applicable policies and procedures.
The victim/complainant and the respondent, no matter their status as students or employees, will be informed concurrently in writing of the decision and whenever a change to the finding occurs.
Barring any unforeseen and reasonable delays, WBU will endeavor to resolve complaints under this policy no later than 60 calendar days after the initial report was received by the Title IX Administrator or other Responsible Employee. If the investigation and resolution exceeds 60 calendar days, the Title IX office will notify all parties in writing of the reason for the delay and the expected time frame adjustment. Best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner by balancing principles of thoroughness and fundamental fairness with promptness.
At the request of law enforcement, WBU may defer its fact-gathering until after the initial stages of a criminal investigation. WBU will nevertheless communicate with the victim/complainant and respondent regarding his/her Title IX rights, procedural options, the status of the investigation, and the implementation of interim measures to ensure his/her safety and well-being. The University will promptly resume its fact-gathering as soon as law enforcement has completed its initial investigation, or if the fact gathering is not completed in a reasonable time. The filing of a complaint under this policy does not excuse the victim/complainant from meeting time limits imposed by outside agencies. Likewise, the applicable civil or criminal statute of limitations will not affect the University's investigation of the complaint.
The Title IX Administrator will determine whether or not a policy violation occurred in employee and
student complaints. Title IX Investigators gather and fact-find to provide assessment of credibility,
triangulation of witness/evidence, and corroboration assessment. Title IX Investigators will provide the Title IX Administrator with and investigative report, statements from the victim/complainant and respondent and their respective witnesses should they have any, and all evidence provided them by the victim/complainant and respondent or uncovered by the Title IX Investigators. A subsequent determination is by the Title IX Administrator who informed by the investigation. If the Title IX Administrator determines that the policy was violated, a determination letter along with instructions and procedures regarding the right to appeal with be issued to both the victim/complainant and respondent.
Standard of Evidence
WBU utilizes the preponderance of the evidence standard which means that to find a person responsible for a policy violation, the Title IX Administrator must believe that it is more likely than not that the misconduct occurred. (This equates to a more than 50% belief that the act occurred)
Loss of Privileges
Entails any or all of the following sanctions:
- Removal from preferred university housing.
- Restriction from attending designated university events.
- Restriction from the lobbies of residence halls and/or other public gathering places on campus such as Pete’s Place or the Laney Center.
- Loss of dorm visitation privileges.
- Restriction from eating meals in the cafeteria.
Eviction entails the following: immediate removal from university housing. Removal from housing due to disciplinary sanction will not remove in any way the student’s responsibility to pay housing charges for the semester in which this sanction is administered.
Community Service may be required of a student as a sanction for violating the student conduct policy. Community Service would entail participation in for the designated number of hours for a designated community service organization in Plainview or the surrounding area, or for the university on a designated Wayland campus.
Restitution entails reimbursement for the university or other affected parties for damages to property, or for the replacement of lost or stolen articles.
Formal Reprimand entails the following sanctions: a stern warning that any further violation of university rules and regulations during the probationary period could result in disciplinary probation, suspension or expulsion.
Disciplinary Probation may entail any or all the following sanctions:
- Restriction from representing the university in any fashion. This sanction includes all public performances or appearances under the auspices of the University.
- Restriction from any university-sponsored travel.
- Restriction from holding offices in any university organizations.
- Restriction from receipt of any university scholarship assistance and/or institutional aid (federal financial aid, state aid, or gifts directly to students from outside entities are not affected by this sanction).
Disciplinary Suspension entails the following sanctions:
- The student will be restricted from enrollment during the period of suspension.
- Re-enrollment after disciplinary suspension will be contingent upon the approval of the Executive Director of Student Services or the Vice President of Enrollment Management and acceptance through the Admissions Committee process.
Disciplinary Expulsion permanently restricts the student from enrollment in the University.
Range of Protective Measures Available to a Victim/complainant Alleging Misconduct
There are a range of protective measures that a victim/complainant can request of WBU upon alleging sexual misconduct. This includes no contact directives between the parties, changes in work locations, housing, academic course sections or location, changes to where a person parks, or social restrictions.
University-Initiated Protective Measures
In addition to those protective measures previously described, the Title IX Administrator or their designee will determine whether interim interventions and protective measure should be implemented, and, if so, take steps to implement those protective measures as soon as possible.
Examples of interim protective measures include, but are not limited to:
- a University no contact order,
- residence hall relocation,
- adjustment of course schedules,
- a leave of absence,
- or reassignment to a different supervisor or position.
These remedies may be applied to one, both, or multiple parties involved. Violations of the Title IX Administrator’s directives and/or protective measures will constitute related violations that may lead to additional disciplinary action. Protective measures imposed may be temporary pending the results of an investigation or may become permanent as determined by Wayland Baptist Universty.
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION
The Federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, enacted on October 28, 2000, requires institutions of higher education to issue a statement advising the campus community where law enforcement agency information provided by a State concerning registered sex offenders may be obtained. Wayland Baptist University issues this statement to the campus community on an annual basis in the Annual Security Report. https://www.wbu.edu/university-police/campus-safety-reports.htm
It also requires sex offenders already required to register in a State to provide notice, as required under State law, of each institution of higher education in that State at which the person is employed, carries on a vocation, volunteers services or is a student.
TITLE IX RIGHTS OF APPEAL
Both parties, the victim/complainant and the respondent, have equal rights to an impartial appeal. The request for an appeal, including the grounds upon which the request is based, should be submitted in writing to the Title IX Administrator within five (5) business days following the date on the Title IX Incident/Case Notification of Findings. If either party files an appeal, the Title IX Administrator will notify the other party in writing. The Title IX Administrator will coordinate the appeal and will have primary responsibility for interactions with the parties, gathering information needed for the appeal, and notifying both parties in writing of the outcome of the appeal. The Appeal review should be completed within 20 business days.
All appeals will be referred from the Title IX Administrator to the University President or designee. The University President, or designee, may decide the appeal themselves or may convene a panel to decide the appeal. If an appeal panel is convened, the panel will consist of three members of the Title IX investigation team who were not involved in the case being appealed. Any individual hearing an appeal will be impartial and unbiased. The decision rendered by the President/designee/committee is considered final and will complete the appeal process.
A victim/complainant or respondent may file a written appeal on the grounds that the appealing party believes:
- there is substantial, relevant information that was not presented, and reasonably could not have been presented during the investigation, which may change or affect the outcome of the decision;
- that the severity of the sanction in relation to the details of the case is substantially disproportionate; or
- there was a procedural error(s) during the disciplinary
The adjudicating officer/committee’s findings of fact, findings of responsibility, the rationale, and any sanctions will only be reviewed under one of the three grounds listed above. The President/Designee/committee hearing the appeal may decide:
- to uphold the original decision of the adjudicating officer/committee,
- to alter the imposed sanction, or
- to remand the case to the adjudicating officer/committee for additional proceedings or other action
TITLE IX APPEAL OF SANCTIONS
Sanctions imposed by the Title IX Office or the Office of the President can be appealed by any party according to the grounds below. Post-hearing, any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.
All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the University President for special consideration in exigent circumstances, but the presumptive stance of the institution is that the sanctions will stand. Graduation, study abroad, internships/externships, etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students or employees may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the institution or of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student or employee to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irretrievable in the short term.
The decision of the Title IX Office may be appealed by petitioning a Title IX Administrator. Accused students or victim/complainant’s must petition within 5 business days of receiving the written decision for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed. Any party who files an appeal must do so in writing to the Title IX Office. The Title IX Office will share the appeal with the other party (e.g., if the accused appeals, the appeal is shared with the victim/complainant, who may also wish to file a response), and then the Title IX Office will draft a response memorandum (also shared with all parties). All appeals and responses are then forwarded to the appeals officer/committee for initial review to determine if the appeal meets the limited grounds and is timely. The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal is not timely or substantively eligible, and the decision is final. If the appeal has standing, the documentation is forwarded for consideration. The party requesting appeal must show error as the original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately. The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:
- A procedural or substantive error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, );
- To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included;
- The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the
If the appeals officer or committee determines that new evidence should be considered, it will return the complaint to the original investigative body to reconsider in light of the new evidence, only. The reconsideration of the investigative body is not appealable.
If the appeals officer or committee determines that a material procedural [or substantive] error occurred, it may return the complaint to the original investigative body with instructions to reconvene to cure the error. In rare cases, where the procedural [or substantive] error cannot be cured by the original investigative officers (as in cases of bias), the appeals officers or committee may order a new investigation on the complaint with a new body of investigative officers. The results of a reopened investigation cannot be appealed. The results of a new investigation can be appealed once, on the three applicable grounds for appeals.
If the appeals officer or committee determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the appeals officer or committee will return the complaint to the Title IX Office, which may then increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions. This decision is final.
The procedures governing the hearing of appeals include the following:
- All parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration, and the results of the appeal decision;
- Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original hearing body for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued;
- Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the complaint (de novo). In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original investigation, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal;
- This is not an opportunity for appeals officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original hearing body merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions. Appeals decisions are to be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so;
- Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the University President stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal;
- The appeals committee or officer will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within seven (7) business days from hearing of the appeal. The committee’s decision to deny appeal requests is final.