You have the right to…
- A notice of investigation with the list of allegation(s). You will also be provided the opportunity to review and respond to any evidence or statements made against you.
- Review the investigative report at the conclusion of the investigation. You may be provided a copy of the investigative report or you may request a copy of the investigative report if it was not provided to you.
- You will have the right to select one advisor to support you throughout the entire process. The support person can be a friend, family member, attorney or advocate. If you do not have an advisor, the university will provide you with one for purposes of conducting questioning during the hearing.
- Receive support from the University in obtaining counseling or other support, including access to Eastern Washington University Counseling and Wellness Services (CWS) who provides free confidential counseling for students
- Be aided by the University, with supportive measures as appropriate, in obtaining a learning and working environment that is safe and secure
- Be informed of the nature, rules and procedures of the University’s investigatory and disciplinary processes and to be provided copies of applicable university policies and procedures
- Be treated with respect by University officials throughout the process
- Request removal of any investigator or hearings examiner to be removed on the basis of bias and/or conflict of interest
- Have the opportunity to participate in the process
- Be informed of the outcome/resolution of the complaint, any sanctions imposed, and the rationale for outcome, when permissible
- Appeal the findings and/or outcomes of any disciplinary proceedings pursuant to the Student Conduct Code when respondent is a student, and pursuant to applicable CBA provisions or EWU Policy 402-05 (Title IX Investigations & Hearings) when the respondent is an employee
Once you receive a notice of investigation alleging sexual misconduct, you have the right to receive immediate supportive measures. The supportive measures can include academic modifications (request a class change, request a make-up assignment, request an excused absence) or a housing modifications (request dorm change).
Right to a Fair, Impartial and Prompt Investigation
You have the right to have a fair and impartial investigation free from bias. An investigator / conduct officer will be assigned to investigate / manage your complaint. The investigator / conduct officer will ensure you are provided equal and unbias treatment throughout the process. The investigation should be prompt and conducted in compliance with policy.
• After a complaint is filed, it is referred to a university investigator for investigation. The investigator will follow the complaint and investigative procedures to ensure all parties are treated respectfully and the investigation is executed as thoroughly, fairly and as efficiently as possible. The investigator will prepare an investigative report that summarizes the evidence gathered from the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses. This is then sent to Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR).
• After the investigative report is sent to SRR, the director will review the report and assess whether or not the allegations, if true, rise to a level of a student conduct code violation.
• If SRR initiates the student conduct review process, you will be asked to participate in a prehearing conference. During the prehearing conference, staff will explain the hearing process to you, answer questions, and schedule a date for a hearing with the Student Disciplinary Council.
• The hearing is conducted by a hearing council consisting of three people (staff and/or faculty) and a presiding officer. During the hearing, you will have the opportunity to testify and present witnesses and evidence on your behalf. Your advisor will have the opportunity to question witnesses, including the complainant.
• After the hearing, the council will decide if you are responsible for the alleged misconduct based on a preponderance of the evidence. If you are found responsible, the presiding officer for the council will decide sanctions.
• Council members receive annual training on issues related to sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, interpersonal violence, as well as training on how investigations are conducted.
• All parties involved in any investigation can be accompanied to any meeting or hearing as part of these processes by an advisor, or support person, of their choice to provide support. More information about this process is contained in the Student Conduct Code, WAC 172-121.
• A student found “more likely than not” to have committed a violation of the EWU Conduct Code may be subject to a range of sanctions, even if they are a first-time offender, including, but not limited to; restricted access buildings and/or activities on campus, no contact orders, mental health assessments, community service, educational workshops, probation, suspension, or expulsion from the university.
• Each complaint is handled on an individual basis. A complainant may also choose to file and pursue a criminal complaint.
• As permitted by federal law, Student Rights and Responsibilities will notify both parties of the final outcome with respect to proceedings, including sanctions imposed against the respondent (if said sanctions pertain to the complainant). Both parties will have the opportunity to appeal as set forth in the EWU Policy 402-01 and WAC 172-171-130.
Retaliation Is Not Tolerated
• EWU prohibits retaliation, including by third parties. The university will not tolerate retaliation or discrimination against persons who, in good faith, report or make a complaint of sexual discrimination or harassment, sexual violence, interpersonal violence, or stalking. Nor does the university tolerate retaliation or discrimination against those who testify, assist, participate in, or are a party to, any investigation, proceeding, or hearing involving such complaints.
• If you believe that you were falsely accused, you may also report this to the Title IX Coordinator and it will be addressed as a separate complaint.
• If you experience retaliation in any form, please contact Title IX Coordinator Annika Scharosch at 509.359.6724 or visit Title IX / Sexual Misconduct Complaints as soon as possible so that the retaliatory behavior can be addressed, and disciplinary action can be taken if possible.
• If you feel you are in immediate danger of harm by another person or yourself, call 911. It is important that physical and emotional needs are met first. For mental health crisis support, call the Regional Behavioral Health Crisis Line 24/7 at 1.877.266.1818
Respondents identified in an allegation of sexual misconduct are required to receive a notice of investigation (NOI), offered the opportunity to respond to the allegation, provided resources, offered supportive measures if needed, allowed to have one advisor present with them throughout the investigative and resolution process, provided all information used in the investigation including a copy of the investigative report and provided a notice of the outcome (closure letter). Union covered employees (UFE, PSE, WFSE) have additional rights as part of their collective bargaining agreements (CBA) regarding any proposed discipline.
Information about employee rights and the employee process is available in EWU Policy 402-05 (Title IX Investigations & Hearings).
Notice of Investigation
Most respondents first learn of a complaint against them when they receive a notice of investigation. The notice will contain a list of the allegations against the respondent based on the information EWU currently has, including, if known, the date, time, and alleged conduct, as well as the specific policies allegedly violated; how to seek supportive measures and resources available to respondents; the right to have an advisor of choice during the investigative and disciplinary process; the right to request an accommodation or interpreter; and information about EWU’s prohibition on retaliation and how to report act of retaliation.
The notice of investigation will also provide the employee with information about their rights to union representation, if applicable, and the process EWU will follow to investigate the complaint. The notice may be accompanied by a letter placing an employee on paid administrative leave for the duration of the investigation.
EWU has two separate processes to investigate complaints of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, or stalking. The first process is for “formal Title IX complaints.” Formal Title IX complaints must meet the criteria identified in EWU Policy 402-01 (Sexual Harassment, Interpersonal Violence & Title IX Responsibilities). If a complaint meets this criteria, the investigative and hearing process are outlined in EWU Policy 402-05 (Title IX Investigations & Hearings).
If a complaint does not fall within the definition of a formal Title IX complaint, the investigative and hearing process are outlined in EWU Policy 402-01 (Sexual Harassment, Interpersonal Violence & Title IX Responsibilities).
Supportive Measures & Advisors
As a respondent, you may request supportive measures by contacting the Title IX Coordinator, Annika Scharosch, at email@example.com or (509)359-6724. You have the right to have a union representative or advisor of your choice during interviews and meetings regarding the allegations against you. If the complaint is a formal Title IX complaint, you also have the right to request that the university provide you with an advisor. You may request a university advisor by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
If you have been identified as a respondent for allegations of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, you can request supportive measures from EWU. Requests for supportive measures should be made to the Student Care Team or Title IX Coordinator. Supportive measures may be in place before a complaint is filed, during the investigation and decision-making process, and/or after the final determination of responsibility.
Supportive measures are provided by EWU free of charge and may include, but are not limited to, safety planning with EWU, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, academic or workplace modifications, leaves of absence, increased security, counseling options on campus or through the Employee Assistance Program, campus housing modifications, and interim restrictions. The purpose of a supportive measure is to provide an equitable process for both the complainant and respondent that minimizes the possibility of a hostile environment on campus. Supportive measures are confidential and will only be shared with those people who need to know such information to enable EWU to provide the supportive measures.
Whenever an individual is accused of a policy violation, emotional responses will differ from person to person, especially if the policy violation in question is associated with sexual misconduct. Being accused of sexual misconduct can be a painful and challenging experience. It is important to remember that your responses to these accusations are normal reactions to a difficult situation. If you are accused of sexual misconduct, you may deal with some unanticipated emotions. Below are examples of feelings you may experience:
Anger is a common emotion whenever someone has been accused of sexual misconduct. This is an appropriate response; however, the important factor to consider when dealing with anger is how you process through the anger. There are several ways you can vent any anger you are experiencing (visit CAPS or EAP for professional and nonprofessional counseling options). Internalizing your anger could lead you to become irritable, anxious or even depressed. When dealing with anger, it is important not to resort to unhealthy manners of coping including the consumption of alcohol, the use of drugs, causing harm to yourself or others, or destructive behavior.
Fear can take many forms. You may be experiencing fear of the unknown as the outcome of the investigation can impact your status at the university. You may also fear how those closest to you perceive you along with other members of the university community. Also, it is common to have fear of someone retaliating against you. If you feel as though you are being retaliated against, please contact Title IX Coordinator Annika Scharosch at 509.359.6724 or visit Title IX / Sexual Misconduct Complaints as soon as possible so that the retaliatory behavior can be addressed and disciplinary action can be taken if possible.
Impact on Your Daily Life:
With the emotions listed, you may feel like your daily life has been impacted. While participating in an investigation, it may become challenging to pay attention in class and follow through with your coursework. Other areas of your life that may be impacted include: sleep routine, change in appetite, and increase in anxiety and depression. Supportive Measures may be available. If you have questions regarding available Supportive Measures, please contact the Student Care Team by submitting a Student Intake Form or ICare Form.
Being accused of sexual misconduct may cause you to feel alone since the allegation is against you. Taking on the burden of the allegation may cause you to withdraw from your support networks because you may feel like it is “your problem.” It is common for individuals who are accused to prefer not to discuss the situation with anyone for fear of embarrassment or how it may be perceived by others. However, talking with a counselor or adviser may offer assistance with processing your experiences and feelings.
All these emotions can be overwhelming and it is important to remember there are resources both on and off-campus to assist you.
- Listen from their point of view and be supportive
- Accept them as a person, even if you have questions about their behavior
- Provide an atmosphere where they can express honest feelings
- Be honest with them about how much support you can provide
- Help them generate alternatives and options for dealing with emotions and the situation
- Let them make the ultimate decision about how to respond
- Realize you may also be affected and seek counseling if necessary
- Do not offer insincere help or support
- Do not pre-judge the situation
- Remain open minded about all parties involved
- Do not assume you know how they want to be treated
- Do not break their trust by telling others what might have happened in conversation or on social media
- Recognize your own limitations No one expects you to be an expert in counseling or sexual assault; therefore, avoid making strong recommendations
- Remember that sharing details of their experience online or in person with other students could be upsetting to the accused and the one who brought the complaint, so please refrain from discussing the process with anyone other than them or the confidential resources you seek