Title IX Procedures at Indiana University for Sexual Assault
Title IX is a civil rights law prohibiting sex-based discrimination in any school or other education program that receives federal financial assistance. Title IX law also applies to violations of the Indiana University Sexual Assault and Misconduct policy committed by students, employees, or anyone currently affiliated with the university, so long as the violation occurs on U.S. soil within a university program or activity.
When reviewing the Indiana University sexual assault policies, the ensuing Title IX process may seem straightforward and clear. However, that apparent simplicity is precisely why Title IX investigations can prove to be incredibly damaging to the accused. Defendants accused of violating Indiana University sexual assault policies are not always granted the same rights as they would be granted in a court of law. They may not be given the right to counsel, review evidence, or question witnesses as they would in court. Therefore, retaining the services of an experienced, skilled Indiana Title IX defense attorney is key to mounting an effective defense and, ultimately, protecting your future.
At Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we have attorneys who are trained Title IX investigators, certified by the Association of Title IX Administrators. Our clear understanding of Title IX investigations provides much-needed guidance and a forceful defense for both students and employees who face Title IX allegations. To begin working on your defense, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP at (317) 751-7186 or use our online contact form to set up a free Title IX defense consultation.
Reporting an Indiana University Sexual Assault
Indiana University sexual assault allegations are taken very seriously. When a sexual assault at Indiana University has been reported a Title IX coordinator, a responsible employee*, IUPD, or the Student Affairs office, the university must respond promptly and assess all information available to them. The Title IX office shall then offer the potential complainant** any relevant and available resources, such as counseling, and inform them of their options regarding reporting and applicable complaint resolution procedures. When a formal complaint is filed or initiated, the university will begin a purportedly fair and impartial investigation and resolution.
*Responsible Employee: “All employees with teaching responsibilities, including academic appointees, student academic appointees, and any others who offer instruction (in-person or online) or office hours to students; all advisors; all coaches or athletic staff who interact directly with students; all student affairs administrators; all residential hall staff; all employees who work in offices that interface with students; and all supervisors and university officials.”
**Complainant: “An individual who may have experienced discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct. A Complainant may choose whether to file a formal complaint. The university may serve as the Complainant when an individual(s) who has experienced the alleged discrimination, harassment and/or sexual misconduct does not wish to fully participate, and the university has determined it is necessary to move forward under the applicable procedures.”
Investigating an Indiana University Sexual Assault
Once a formal Title IX complaint is made, the first step the Title IX office will take is to notify the respondent* that an Indiana University sexual assault investigation has been initiated. As part of this notification, the respondent will be given a date by which an appointment must be made to discuss the matter. During this appointment, the respondent will be informed of the allegations made against them and be given the opportunity to respond.
After meeting with the respondent, the Title IX office will begin an investigation. This could include interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and any other witnesses identified as possessing relevant information. This may also include a review of written statements, documents, or any information deemed relevant to the Indiana Title IX investigation
During this time, the respondent can retain a hearing advisor**, a requirement of Indiana University’s Sexual Misconduct policy. Ideally, the respondent would hire an Indiana Title IX defense attorney, like those at Keffer Hirschauer LLP. However, if the respondent does not identify a hearing advisor, the university will appoint one on their behalf. Often, this is a university employee or staff member.
*Respondent: “Any member of the university community alleged to have engaged in conduct that could constitute discrimination, harassment, and/or sexual misconduct; or retaliation for engaging in protected activity under this policy.”
**Hearing Advisor: “Hearing Advisor: A person chosen by a party or appointed by the institution if the party does not identify one, to accompany the party to their Title IX hearing for the purpose of conducting questioning of the other party(ies) and witness(es).”
The Final Investigation Report
Following the completion of the investigation, the investigator shall provide a “preliminary investigation report and investigation file” to each party and their advisor. From there, the two parties will have 10 calendar days to review the documents and provide any additional information to the investigator. After 10 days, the investigator will begin preparing the “final investigation report and investigation file,” which must be given to each party and their advisor at least 10 days prior to the scheduled hearing on the matter.
Contained within the final investigation report will be a recommendation on whether charges should be placed on the respondent, and if so, which charges should be placed. If the investigator does place charges on the respondent, the final investigation report will be submitted to a three-person hearing panel for the determination of responsibility.
Indiana University Sexual Assault Hearing
When an Indiana University sexual assault or misconduct hearing is required, the three panel members will be drawn from a pool of staff, faculty, graduate students and/or hearing officers who have been retained by the university to adjudicate sexual misconduct hearings.
The hearing, which may be in-person or conducted remotely, is closed except to the two parties, their advisors, the hearing panelists, and any university officials who are required to facilitate the proceedings. Witnesses who are relevant to the specific allegations may be called to the hearing, but only for the portion that is relevant to their statement.
When the hearing begins, the chair of the hearing panel will review the charges placed upon the respondent, along with the specific facts alleged. Then, the complainant and respondent will both have an equal opportunity to provide a statement to the hearing panel. Following the statements, the hearing panel members, as well as the advisors to both parties, can pose questions to witnesses, the respondent, or the complainant. At the conclusion of the panel hearing, both the complainant and the respondent will be given an opportunity to make closing remarks or arguments.
Final Decisions and Sanctions
When the Indiana University sexual assault hearing has concluded, the panel will deliberate without the parties present and determine responsibility for the specific charges. If the panel concludes that the respondent did, in fact, violate the Indiana University Sexual Misconduct policy, they will propose sanctions. These proposed sanctions will be reviewed by a sanctioning official** and will be proportional to the severity of the violation and consistent with university standards. The hearing panel will then notify each party of the decision and sanctions in a written note.
Sanctioning Official: “An individual with extensive knowledge of the applicability and implementation of the proceedings conducted pursuant to this policy who is authorized by the university to confer with a hearing panel about the range of available sanctions in a particular case, to make sanctioning determinations, and to ensure that the sanctions imposed are proportional to the severity of the violation and consistent with university standards. A Sanctioning Official is designated on each campus by the campus’s Senior Student Affairs Administrator in consultation with the University Title IX Coordinator. Subject to the approval of the campus’s Senior Student Affairs Administrator and University Title IX Coordinator, a Sanctioning Official is authorized to appoint a designee who will perform the Sanctioning Official’s duties in the event of the absence or unavailability of the Sanctioning Official.”
Appealing the Final Decision
If either the respondent or complainant does not agree with the final decision made by the hearing panel, they have ten days from the date the written decision was sent to appeal the decision. To initiate the appeal, the party must send a written notice of appeal to the campus Student Affairs official (or whomever has been designated). This notice must include the basis for seeking the appeal and include any information to support such a basis. As required by the Indiana University Sexual Misconduct policy, an appeal must be based on at least one of these following criteria:
- Procedural irregularity affected the outcome
- New evidence has come to light that could have affected the outcome
- The Title IX coordinator, investigator or hearing panelist had a conflict of interest or bias that affected the outcome
- The sanctions imposed on the respondent are disproportionate to the violations committed
If the basis for an appeal has been met, the designated official will review the appeal and the relevant part of the hearing panel record. They must make a decision within 15 calendar days of receiving the appeal and may affirm the original decision(s) and sanctions or set them aside. If set aside, the official can impose a new decision, order a new hearing with a new panel, or impose a different sanction(s).
Facing Indiana University Sexual Assault Allegations?
If you’re facing Indiana University sexual assault allegations or any allegations of violating the Indiana University Sexual Misconduct policy, you will need a team of experienced Indiana Title IX defense attorneys on your side. The attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP are renowned Indianapolis criminal defense attorneys who also possess in-depth knowledge of Indiana University Title IX procedures and other legislation that affects Title IX cases. Our team will do everything in their power to protect your future by aggressively fighting the Title IX allegations you face and any related penalties, such as suspension, expulsion, or termination. To begin formulating your defense, call Keffer Hirschauer LLP today at (317) 751-7186, use our online contact form to set up a free Indiana University Title IX consultation, or download our Title IX e-book.