Hearing Procedures

ERP Hearings will be convened, usually within one to two weeks of the completion of the investigation, and will be conducted in private. The ERP has the authority to hear all collateral misconduct, meaning that it hears all allegations of discrimination, harassment and retaliation, but also may hear any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred along with  the discrimination, harassment or retaliation, or sexual misconduct even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within ERP jurisdiction.  Accordingly, investigations should be conducted with as wide a scope as necessary. 

Participants will include the non-voting Chair, the three members of the panel, the investigator(s) who conducted the investigation on the grievance, the reporting party and responding party(ies) (or three organizational representatives in a case where an organization is charged), advisors/advocates to the parties and any called witnesses.  All institutional officials will be impartial and free of conflicts of interest throughout the resolution process. The Chair will exchange the names of witnesses the College intends to call, all pertinent documentary evidence and any written findings from the investigators between the parties at least two business days prior to the hearing.  In addition, the parties will be given a list of the names of each of the ERP panel members at least two business days in advance of the hearing. Should either party object to any panelist, he/she must raise all objections, in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator or designee immediately. Panel members will only be unseated if the Chair concludes that their bias precludes an impartial hearing of the grievance. Additionally, any panelist or Chair who feels he/she cannot make an objective determination must recuse himself or herself from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties and all witnesses in advance of the hearing. 

All parties will have ample opportunity to present facts and arguments in full and question all present witnesses during the hearing, though formal cross-examination is not used between the parties. If alternative questioning mechanisms are desired (screens, Skype, questions directed through the Chair, etc.), the parties should request them from the Title IX Coordinator or designee at least two business days prior to the hearing. 

Once the procedures are explained and the participants are introduced, the investigator will present the report of the investigation first, and be subject to questioning by the parties and the ERP. The investigator(s) will be present during the entire hearing process, but will only be present during deliberations at the request of the Chair.  The findings of the investigation are not binding on the panel, though any undisputed conclusions of the investigation report will not be revisited, except as necessary to determine sanctions/responsive actions.  Once the investigator(s) is/are questioned, the ERP will permit questioning of and by the parties, and of any present witness.  Questions may be directed through the panel at the discretion of the Chair. 

Formal rules of evidence will not apply. Any evidence that the panel believes is relevant and credible may be considered, including history and pattern evidence.  The Chair will address any evidentiary concerns prior to and/or during the hearing, may exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence and may ask the panel to disregard evidence lacking in credibility. The Chair will determine all questions of procedure and evidence.Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will respond to questions on his/her own behalf.

Unless the Chair determines it is appropriate, no one will present information or raise questions concerning: (1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they show a pattern, or (2) the sexual history of or the character of the victim/reporting party.  

There will be no observers in the hearing.  The Chair may allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the panel or the parties involved. The panel does not hear from character witnesses, but will accept up to two letters supporting the character of the individuals involved.

In hearings involving more than one accused individual or in which two reporting parties have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the standard procedure will be to hear the grievances jointly; however, the Title IX Coordinator or designee may permit the hearing pertinent to each responding party to be conducted separately. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each responding party.

Proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the hearing are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings, subject to College consequences for failure to do so. While the contents of the hearing are private, the parties have discretion to share their own experiences if they so choose, and should discuss doing so with their advocates. 

Hearings are recorded for purposes of review in the event of an appeal.  ERP members, the parties and/or the persons who initiated the action, and appropriate administrative officers of the College will be allowed to listen to the recording in a location determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee.  No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Title IX Coordinator or designee.  Hearings are recorded for purposes of review in the event of an appeal.  The parties and/or the persons who initiated the action, and appropriate administrative officers of the College will be allowed to listen to the recording in a location determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee.  The parties and/or the persons who initiated the action confirm that they will protect the privacy of the information contained in the recording.

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