Effective August, 2022


  1. Jurisdictional Requirements
    1. Within Title IX Definition
    2. Timing
    3. Jurisdictional Requirements
      1. United States
      2. College Program or Activity
      3. Complainant Participating or Attempting to Participate
  2. Prior to the Grievance Process Hearing
    1. Scheduling
    2. Hearing Coordinator
    3. Decision-Making Panel
    4. Notice of Grievance Process Hearing
    5. Support Person/Advisor
    6. Accommodations
    7. Findings of Relevance
    8. Witnesses
    9. Pre-Hearing Conference
  3. Grievance Process Hearing
    1. Conducted Over Technology
    2. New Information
    3. Access to Report and Information from Investigative Procedure
    4. Presence at Hearing
    5. Recording
    6. Questions by Decision-Making Panel
    7. Questions by Party at the Hearing
    8. Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum
  4. Panel Finding
    1. Student Respondent Notice of Outcome
    2. Employee Respondent Notice of Outcome
  5. Appeal
  6. Other Considerations

The Title IX Grievance Process (Process) is applicable to student or employee (staff or faculty) conduct that falls under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment or Title IX Sexual Violence under the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence (Policy) and which also meets the jurisdictional and timing requirements noted herein. To access this Process, the Formal Complaint Process must first be initiated. This Process will only be used after a determination has been made, through the Formal Complaint Process, that the alleged conduct has met all of the requirements necessary to access this Process (as discussed below). If the requirements for this Process are not met, then the allegations of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence will be dismissed and both parties will be notified of that dismissal in writing. If the alleged conduct in the Formal Complaint could violate of another section of the Policy, the matter may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX). A determination of which process will be used will be made by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access & Equal Opportunity (AVP) (or their designee), as the Title IX Coordinator for the College. For more information about the determination process, please see the Formal Complaint Process.

I. Jurisdictional Requirements

For the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint to be subject to the Title IX Grievance Process (Process), several requirements must be met, as outlined below.

A. Within Title IX Definition

Alleged conduct that will be addressed under this Process must fall under the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and/or Title IX Sexual Violence under the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence (Policy). If the conduct does not fall within one of those definitions, it will not be adjudicated under this Process. If the alleged conduct falls under another definition under the Policy, the matter may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee). For more information about the determination of which process applies to the alleged conduct, please see the Formal Complaint Process.

B. Timing

Alleged conduct that will be addressed under this Process must have occurred after August 13, 2020. If the conduct occurred prior to August 13, 2020, it will not be adjudicated under this Process. If the alleged conduct still falls under the Policy, the matter may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee). For more information about the process for determining which process applies to the alleged conduct, please see the Formal Complaint Process.

C. Jurisdictional Requirements

Alleged conduct that will be addressed under this Process must also meet the three jurisdictional requirements outlined in the Title IX Regulations.1 If the alleged conduct does not meet all three jurisdictional requirements discussed below, it will not be adjudicated under this Process. If the alleged conduct still falls under the Policy, the matter may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee). For more information about the determination of which process applies to the alleged conduct, please see the Formal Complaint Process.

1. United States

Alleged conduct that will be addressed under this Process must have happened against a community member (student, staff, faculty) while in the United States. If the conduct happened outside of the U.S., it does not meet this jurisdictional requirement and will not be adjudicated under this Process.2

2. College Program or Activity

Alleged conduct that will be addressed under this Process must have occurred in an Emerson College program or activity. This means the alleged conduct occurred in a location, event, or circumstance over which Emerson exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the alleged conduct occurred. Examples of an Emerson location, program or activity would include, but are not limited to, inside an Emerson residence hall or at an off-campus trip managed and sponsored by the College. If the conduct happened outside of a College program or activity (i.e. off-campus or in a non-Emerson program or activity), it does not meet this jurisdictional requirement and will not be adjudicated under this Process. The determination regarding whether the conduct occurred in an Emerson College program or activity will be made during the process determination under the Formal Complaint Process.3

3. Complainant Participating or Attempting to Participate

At the time that the Formal Complaint was filed, the Complainant must be participating in or attempting to participate in an educational program or activity of Emerson College. A student who has been admitted but is not yet attending Emerson is attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity. A person who is actively employed by the College is participating in an activity of Emerson. If the Complainant is not participating or attempting to participate in a College educational program or activity, their claim does not meet this jurisdictional requirement and will not be adjudicated under this Process. The determination regarding whether the Complainant was participating or attempting to participate in an Emerson College program or activity will be made during the process determination under the Formal Complaint Process.4

II. Prior to the Grievance Process Hearing

The Title IX Grievance Process (Process) involves a live Grievance Process Hearing (Hearing) for the resolution of a Formal Complaint. After the Investigative Procedure has closed under the Formal Complaint Process and a determination has been made that the alleged conduct in the Formal Complaint meets the requirements for this Process, preparations for the Hearing will begin.

A. Scheduling

Once a matter is deemed eligible for this Process, the Hearing will be scheduled in a reasonably prompt timeframe. If the Process is started near or after the end of an academic semester or the Hearing cannot be completed prior to the end of the academic year, the Hearing will be held as soon as practical. This will typically be immediately after the end of the term, during a break or over the summer, depending on the availability of the parties, witnesses, and College officials. If the Respondent is scheduled to graduate prior to the resolution of a Formal Complaint under this Process, a hold may be placed on their graduation and/or official transcripts until the complaint is fully resolved (including any appeal).

B. Hearing Coordinator

The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will act as the coordinator for the Hearing under the Process. OEO will be responsible for scheduling the Hearing, providing notifications to parties and witnesses, supporting the Hearing Chair, distributing any information from the Investigative Procedure, recording the Hearing, and any other administrative tasks necessary for the implementation of this Process. The Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access & Equal Opportunity (AVP) (or their designee), as the Title IX Coordinator, will attend all meetings, conferences and hearings in this Process.

C. Decision-Making Panel

The decision of whether the Respondent is Responsible or Not Responsible for violating the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence (Policy) based on the conduct alleged in the Notice of Formal Complaint (as amended) will be made by the Decision-Making Panel. The Decision-Making Panel will consist of three individuals who have been trained on the Process, issues of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence, how to conduct a hearing, issues of relevance, impartiality and any technology that will be used during the Hearing. The three panel members may be College employees (staff or faculty) or someone from outside of the College, or a combination thereof. The members of the Decision-Making Panel will be selected at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee). The names of the members of the Decision-Making Panel will be communicated to the Complainant and Respondent prior to the Pre-Hearing Conference. If either the Complainant or Respondent believes there is a possible conflict of interest with any of the members of the Decision-Making Panel, it must be communicated to the Title IX Coordinator within three (3) business days after notice of the names of the Panel members. The Title IX Coordinator then has the discretion to assign a different member to that panel. Once three (3) business days have passed since the Complainant/Respondent was notified of the names of the members of the Decision-Making Panel, the Panel will become final, and there will be no further opportunity to raise potential conflicts of interest. One member of the Decision-Making Panel will be named as the Hearing Chair, at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. Throughout this Process, the Decision-Making Panel and/or the Chair will have the ability to consult with the Title IX Coordinator as necessary.

The Decision-Making Panel will be given access to the Final Investigative Report and the supporting materials for consideration when making their finding. The Panel will not be given access to the gathered information from the Investigative Procedure that were not used in the Final Investigative Report for consideration.5 If a party feels that something in the gathered information was improperly excluded from the Final Investigative Report and should be considered at the Hearing, they will need to present that information to the Hearing Chair for a review as to relevance during the Pre-Hearing Conference (as discussed below).6

D. Notice of Grievance Process Hearing

After the Investigative Procedure has closed under the Formal Complaint Process and a determination has been made that this Process applies to the Formal Complaint, the parties will receive a Notice of Hearing from the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee). This Notice will be provided at least ten (10) business days prior to the proposed date for the Hearing. The Notice will include names of the members of the Decision-Making Panel, will identify the Hearing Chair, and will propose a date for the Pre-Hearing Conference and Hearing. With the Notice, the parties will again be given access to the Final Investigative Report, supporting documentation, and the gathered information, all of which was previously shared with the parties in the Investigative Procedure, under the Formal Complaint Process, for review and written response. Upon written request from the Complainant/Respondent, these materials can also be shared with their respective Support Person/Advisor.

E. Support Person/Advisor

To fully participate in the Hearing, the Respondent and Complainant must each have a support person/advisor. During the Hearing, through their support person/advisor, the parties each have the right to submit questions to another party or to witnesses regarding information relevant to the resolution of the Formal Complaint, as determined by the Hearing Chair. A party cannot question another party or witness directly during the Hearing. 

If a party does not have a support person/advisor, the College will provide the party with a support person/advisor, of the College’s choice, at no expense to the party. The College-provided support person/advisor may be an employee (staff or faculty) who is trained to act in this capacity or may be someone from outside the College. The Title IX Coordinator (or their designee), at their sole discretion, will make the decision regarding who the College-assigned support person/advisor will be. The expectation is that any support person/advisor will be reasonably available for all meetings, the Pre-Hearing Conference and the Hearing, and will not cause a delay in the Process based on their lack of availability.

At least two (2) business days prior to any meeting in the Process, the Pre-Hearing Conference or the Hearing, a Complainant/Respondent must provide the Title IX Coordinator with the identity and contact information (e-mail and telephone) of the individual who will be serving as their support person/advisor (if not previously disclosed). A party is not required to use the same support person/advisor at any stage in the Formal Complaint Process or in this Process so long as they provide the Title IX Coordinator with timely notice of the change.

A support person/advisor does not make any presentations, advocate for or otherwise represent the party during the Process. The support person/advisor’s primary role in the Process is only to provide support to the party. The support person/advisor only actively participates in the Hearing when they are asking questions, on behalf of the party, to the other party and witnesses. The support person/advisor can only ask questions of the other party or witnesses subject to the Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum (as discussed below). If at any point a support person/advisor becomes disruptive or is otherwise unable to abide by the requirements of the support person/advisor role or the Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum, they will be asked to leave the Process. 

F. Accommodations

A party or witness (student or employee) who has a disability that may require an accommodation in the Process should work with the appropriate office to determine what reasonable accommodations may be available. Students should work with Student Accessibility Services (SAS) (sas [at] emerson.edutitle="Email sas [at] emerson.edu" or 617-824-8592) to request an accommodation for the Process. Employees (staff and faculty) needing an accommodation during the Process should work with Human Resources (HR) (617-824-8580 or hr [at] emerson.edutitle="Email hr [at] emerson.edu"). All approved disability accommodations must be communicated to the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu" and 617-824-8999) in writing at least two (2) business days in advance of any meetings, conference, or hearing where the accommodations will be needed. Only accommodations approved by SAS or HR will be implemented during the Process.

G. Findings of Relevance

The final decision regarding whether information is relevant to a Formal Complaint will be made by the Hearing Chair, at their discretion. Only information that is considered relevant to making the finding, from the perspective of the Hearing Chair and/or the Decision-Making Panel, will be admissible in the Grievance Process Hearing. The Chair may consult with the other members of the Decision-Making Panel and the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) prior to making a decision as to relevance. The Chair will document and share their rationale for any finding of non-relevance throughout the Process, and/or in the Hearing.

The following information is not considered relevant during the Process or Hearing (except as noted):

  1. Information about incidents not directly related to alleged conduct in the Formal Complaint, unless it may show a pattern of behavior, as determined by the Chair.

  2. Character witnesses.

  3. Information about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, except where information about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior is offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged conduct, or the information concerns specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent. 

H. Witnesses

During the Pre-Hearing Conference, the Chair will confirm the names of those individuals that the Parties and/or the Decision-Making Panel plan to invite to appear at the Hearing. Any witnesses will be limited to only those individuals who were interviewed as part of the Investigative Procedure. If any party has an objection to the inclusion or exclusion of any witness at the Hearing, they should present that objection in writing at the Pre-Hearing Conference. These submissions will be addressed by the Chair during the Pre-Hearing Conference. Please note that a party cannot present new witnesses or information that was previously available for the first time at the Hearing (see below regarding New Information).

I. Pre-Hearing Conference

Prior to the Hearing, the Hearing Chair will schedule a time to meet with the Respondent and Complainant separately, with their respective support person/advisor, for a Pre-Hearing Conference. The Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) will also attend the Pre-Hearing Conference, as the Hearing Coordinator and to answer any procedural questions that may arise. This conference may be conducted in person or virtually, at the discretion of the Chair. 

During the Pre-Hearing Conference, the Chair will review the information that will be reviewed at the Hearing, which generally will be the information contained in the Final Investigative Report. The Chair will also review any submissions by the parties regarding any witnesses they want to have at the Hearing, as discussed above. At this time, a party should share with the Chair any concerns they have about whether certain information is relevant or not relevant, and any information they believe should be included or excluded from the Hearing. If a party believes that something in the gathered materials was improperly excluded from the Final Investigative Report, they should present that information to the Chair at the Pre-Hearing Conference for a finding as to relevance. The Chair has the option to confer with the other Decision-Making Panel members and the Title IX Coordinator before making a decision as to relevance. The final decision regarding relevance will be made by the Chair, at their discretion. That decision can be made in the Pre-Hearing Conference or at the Hearing, at the discretion of the Chair.

If there is additional information a party wishes to include at the Hearing, beyond what has been included in the Final Investigative Report, the party must present that information to the Chair for consideration during the Pre-Hearing Conference. However, as discussed below, this information will be limited only to the information gathered during the Investigative Procedure (see New Information below). The Chair will make a finding as to whether the information raised by the party is relevant to the resolution of the Formal Complaint. The Chair has the discretion to confer with the other Decision-Making Panel members and the Title IX Coordinator, but the final decision regarding relevance will be made by the Chair, at their discretion. The Chair also has the discretion to delay the decision on relevance until the Hearing. During the Hearing, a party may ask the Chair to reconsider their finding of non-relevance from the Pre-Hearing Conference based on the information offered at the Hearing. Again, the final decision regarding relevance at the Hearing will be made by the Chair, at their discretion. The Chair will document and share their rationale for their finding of non-relevance during the Pre-Hearing Conference and/or at the Hearing. 

During the Pre-Hearing Conference, the parties will have the option to submit questions they would like to pose to a party or witness during the Hearing (See Questions by Party at the Hearing below). The Chair will then make a finding as to the relevance of any submitted questions and will approve questions in advance of the Hearing that a party will be allowed to ask. If a party chooses not to submit questions in advance of the Hearing or has additional questions that arise during the Hearing beyond those presented in the Pre-Hearing Conference, the Chair will make a finding on the relevance of each of those questions at the Hearing pursuant to the Process.

III. Grievance Process Hearing

The Title IX Grievance Process involves a live hearing which includes a review of the Final Investigative Report and any supporting materials, and questioning of the parties and witnesses. All relevant information presented in the Hearing will be considered by the Decision-Making Panel in determining if the Respondent is Responsible or Not Responsible for violating the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence (Policy) based on the conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint. The final determination regarding what is relevant to the resolution of the Formal Complaint will be made by the Hearing Chair, at their discretion. The Chair has the discretion to confer with the other Decision-Making Panel members and the Title IX Coordinator before making a final decision regarding relevance. Any questions regarding the Process during the Hearing will be addressed by the Hearing Chair or the Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee), as the Title IX Coordinator.

A. Conducted Over Technology

The Hearing will be conducted over video conferencing technology (i.e. Zoom). Every participant in the Hearing is expected to participate from a private location, with no one else present who can hear or see the Hearing. The only exception is that a party may participate in the Hearing with their support person/advisor present in the same location. The Decision-Making Panel also will have the option to conduct the Hearing with all the Panel members in the same location. Any witnesses participating in the Hearing can either appear on their own (in a private location with no one else able to hear or see the Hearing) or in the same location as the Decision-Making Panel. All participants in the Hearing, must identify themselves on the recording and appear at the Hearing over video (barring any technical complications). The presence of anyone not authorized to participate in the Hearing or who has not identified themselves at the Hearing is expressly prohibited at all times and would be in violation of College policy. If any of the hearing participants do not have access to a suitably private location, they must inform the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) at least two (2) business days in advance of the scheduled hearing, who will then make arrangements to provide access to a private location on-campus for the Hearing, as appropriate. As discussed below, the recording of the Hearing or any part of the Process by anyone outside of the official recording by the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) is expressly prohibited. A party has the option to request, in writing, that the Hearing be conducted in person. A Hearing may be conducted in person at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator and only if both parties agree to an in-person hearing.

B. New Information

The expectation is that all of the information relevant to the Formal Complaint and that a party intends to present at the Hearing will have been shared and considered in the Investigative Procedure under the Formal Complaint Process. The parties will have been given ample opportunity to share all available information with the Investigator during the Investigative Procedure. The Hearing Chair has the discretion to exclude from the Hearing any information that was available, but not previously shared in the Investigative Procedure. The Hearing Chair also has the discretion to confer with the Investigator and/or Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) about the scope of the Investigative Procedure and whether the information was available during the Investigative Procedure. Under rare circumstances, and typically when it appears that the information may not have been available earlier, the Hearing Chair has the discretion, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, to either allow the information at the Hearing or to delay the Hearing to re-open the Investigative Procedure so that the Investigator may fully review and consider the new information. If the Investigation is re-opened, the Investigator has the option, at their discretion, to create a new Investigative Report and to again offer the parties the opportunity to review and comment on the new report as outlined in the Investigative Procedure.

C. Access to Report and Information from Investigative Procedure

At least ten (10) business days before the Hearing, the parties will again be given access to the Final Investigative Report, supporting documentation and the gathered materials previously shared with the parties during the Investigative Procedure under the Formal Complaint Process. That same information will be shared with the Decision-Making Panel for review prior to the Hearing, except for the gathered materials not included in the Report or otherwise deemed relevant during the Pre-Hearing Conference. Upon written request from a party to the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee), that information can also be shared with their support person/advisor.

D. Presence at Hearing

All parties and witnesses will be given notice of the Hearing and an opportunity to participate in the Hearing. All parties and witnesses in the Hearing should appear for questioning by both the Decision-Making Panel and/or the support person/advisor for one or both parties. If a party or witness does not appear at the Hearing or does not agree to be questioned by both the Panel and/or the support person/advisor of a party, the Hearing may still be held in their absence. Any statements given by a party or witness prior to the Hearing, who then does not participate in questioning at the Hearing, may be considered by the Decision-Making Panel, at its discretion. During the Pre-Hearing Conference, the parties can agree to use a witness or party statement without asking them to appear at the Hearing. The Decision-Making Panel will draw no inferences from a party’s decision not to participate in the Hearing or questioning. If the statements of a party who does not participate in questioning at the Hearing are the subject of the alleged conduct in the Formal Complaint (for example – verbal harassment), then those statements would still be included at the Hearing and will be fully considered by the Decision-Making Panel when making their finding.

E. Recording

The Hearing will be recorded, either as an audio or video recording (or both) at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee). The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) will be responsible for recording the Hearing. Any audio or video recording of the Hearing by anyone other than OEO (party, witness, support person/advisor, other individual) is expressly prohibited at all times during the Pre-Hearing Conference, the Hearing, and any other meetings under the Process, and would be a violation of College policy. The Pre-Hearing Conference, the deliberations of the Decision-Making Panel and any other meetings held under the Process will not be recorded. After the Hearing, OEO will be responsible for maintaining the recording in accordance with the maintenance of records provisions of the Formal Complaint Process. A party seeking access to the recording after the Hearing or a transcript of the Hearing (if created at OEO’s discretion) should submit a written request to OEO.

F. Questions by Decision-Making Panel

Prior to the Hearing, the Decision-Making Panel (Panel) will have had the opportunity to review and consider the Final Investigative Report and Supporting Materials.7 Based on that information, the Panel will have the first opportunity to question any party or witness regarding the information they deem relevant to the resolution of the Formal Complaint. All questions from the Panel will be asked only by the Hearing Chair.

G. Questions by Party at the Hearing

The parties each have the right to question, through their support person/advisor, the other party(s) and any witnesses who appear at the Hearing. A party cannot question another party or witness directly. The questioning by the support person/advisor will not involve direct examination, but rather will be limited to those questions that are deemed relevant to the issue of credibility by the Chair, at their discretion.8 A party has the option to submit questions in advance at the Pre-Hearing Conference for a finding of relevance by the Chair. Any pre-approved questions may be asked by the support person/advisor for that party at the Hearing in compliance with the Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum. If a party has questions that have not been pre-approved by the Chair or if a party has additional questions at the Hearing beyond those that have been pre-approved, a finding of relevance must be made for each question by the Chair before the question may be asked at the Hearing.

For questions that have not been pre-approved by the Chair during the Pre-Hearing Conference, a party’s support person/advisor will have to indicate to the Chair that they have a question for a party or witness. The Chair will then have the option to remove the party or witness to be questioned from the Hearing at their discretion. If a party is removed from the Hearing while a question is being considered by the Chair, that party’s support person/advisor has the option to stay in the Hearing to hear the discussion regarding relevance, at a party’s discretion. The support person/advisor will then present the question they wish to ask to the Chair who will make a finding as to whether the proposed question is relevant to the Formal Complaint. Questions that are repetitive of information already presented to the Panel (in the Hearing or through the Final Investigative Report) or that are abusive or badgering of a party or witness will be deemed irrelevant. The Chair will note on the recording their rationale for their finding of non-relevance for any specific question.

If a question is deemed to be relevant by the Chair, the party or witness will be brought back into the Hearing, (if they were removed) and the support person/advisor can ask the approved question. This process will be repeated for each question that has not been pre-approved but that a party wishes to ask of a party or witness during the Hearing. The questioning process can be expedited by a party submitting questions to the Chair for pre-approval during the Pre-Hearing Conference or prior to the Hearing. Pre-approved questions can be asked by a party’s support person/advisor without disruption, subject to the Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum (see below). At no time may a party’s support person/advisor ask a question that has been deemed irrelevant and/or that has not been approved by the Chair.

H. Hearing Rules/Rules of Decorum

The Hearing is meant to be a forum for presenting relevant, factual information to the Decision-Making Panel that will be helpful in making a finding of whether the Respondent is Responsible or Not Responsible for violating the Policy. The Hearing is an administrative proceeding and is not meant to replicate a courtroom environment. As such, there is no room for what might be considered “courtroom theatrics” in the Hearing. The expectation is that all participants in the Hearing, including the parties and their support person/advisor, will remain seated during the Hearing and will maintain a respectful and civilized tone towards all participants in the Process, including the Panel, Title IX Coordinator, other parties, and witnesses. There is no place in the Hearing for argument, badgering, abusive language, raised voices, or disrespectful treatment of any Hearing participant. There will be no opening or closing statements by the parties in the Hearing and no direct examination. The Chair will be responsible for letting a party, support person/advisor, or witness know when it is their turn to speak during the Hearing. The parties and their support person/advisor are expected not to speak or comment during the Hearing unless they are told by the Chair that it is their turn to speak. Any participant, including parties and their support person/advisor, who cannot comport themselves in a respectful manner and follow these Hearing Rules throughout the Hearing, as determined by the Chair and/or the Title IX Coordinator, at their discretion, may be removed from the Hearing or their participation the Hearing may be limited (i.e. controlling when they can un-mute). If a support person/advisor is removed from the Hearing for violating these terms, the Hearing will be suspended until the party in question can be provided a new support person/advisor.

IV. Panel Finding

After the Hearing has been concluded, the Decision-Making Panel (Panel) will review the information submitted through the Formal Complaint Process and the Hearing to make a finding as to whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for violating the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment & Sexual Violence (Policy). The decision of the Panel will be made based on the preponderance of the evidence standard -- that is, whether the facts presented in the Formal Complaint Process and Hearing support a finding that it is more likely than not that the Policy was violated. The Decision-Making Panel will base their findings solely on the information presented through the Final Investigative Report and supporting materials and at the Hearing, pursuant to this Process. There is no presumption of responsibility for the Respondent. Instead, the question of whether the Respondent has violated the Policy will be made at the conclusion of the Hearing by the Panel based on the information noted. The finding of the Panel will be made by a majority, with each Panel member having an equal vote (including the Hearing Chair).

The Associate Vice-President of Equity, Access & Equal Opportunity (or their designee), as the Title IX Coordinator, will consult with the Decision-Making Panel on questions about the Policy, the Formal Complaint Process, the Title IX Grievance Process and/or the Hearing as they consider the information to make their finding. However, the decision regarding whether the Policy was violated will be made only by the Decision-Making Panel.

The Panel will issue their written findings on the Formal Complaint to the Title IX Coordinator. The written findings by the Panel will outline any factual determinations made, any credibility assessments from the Hearing, and the rationale used to reach the finding.

A. Student Respondent Notice of Outcome

If a student Respondent is found Not Responsible by the Panel for violating the Policy, the Complainant and Respondent will both be notified by the Director of Community Standards reasonably simultaneously in writing of the outcome, the option to appeal, an explanation of when that outcome becomes final, and the findings from the Decision-Making Panel. The Notice of Outcome will be issued to the parties within seven (7) business days after the findings have been made by the Decision-Making Panel.

If a student Respondent is found Responsible for a violation of the Policy, the matter will be referred to the Director of Community Standards who will determine and assign the appropriate sanctions or remedies, in consultation with other offices as appropriate, based on the findings of the Decision-Making Panel. The determination regarding sanctions will include a consideration of any other disciplinary history the Respondent may have with the College as outlined in the Code of Community Standards. Sanctions for a Responsible finding may include, but are not limited to, loss of privileges, formal warning, disciplinary probation, educational sanctions, suspension, removal from the College and any other sanction noted in the Code of Community Standards. Both the Complainant and Respondent will be notified in writing of the Notice of Outcome which includes the assigned sanction, the option to appeal, an explanation of when that outcome becomes final and the findings from the Decision-Making Panel. 

The Notice of Outcome will be issued to the parties within seven (7) business days of the assignment of the sanction. Upon written request, the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) has the discretion to again give the Respondent/Complainant access to the Final Investigative Report, any supporting documentation, gathered information or information from the Hearing after the Notice of Outcome has been issued.

B. Employee Respondent Notice of Outcome

If an employee Respondent is found Not Responsible for violating the Policy, the Complainant and Respondent will be notified by Human Resources, and the Respondent’s supervisor or the Provost (or designee), as appropriate, in writing of the outcome, the option to appeal and an explanation of when that outcome becomes final. The written outcome will include the findings from the Decision-Making Panel. The Notice of Outcome will be issued to the parties within seven (7) business days after the findings have been made by the Decision-Making Panel.

If an employee Respondent is found Responsible for a violation of the Policy, the matter will be referred to Human Resources who, with the Respondent’s supervisor or the Provost (or their designee), will decide the appropriate sanctions or remedies based on that finding. The determination regarding sanctions will include a consideration of any other disciplinary history the Respondent may have with the College. Sanctions for a Responsible finding may include, but are not limited to, warnings (verbal or written), censures, training or other educational responses, final warnings, performance improvement plans, reassignment, demotions, suspensions, and termination. The Respondent will be notified by Human Resources and their supervisor or the Provost (or their designee), in writing, of the Notice of Outcome which includes the assigned sanction, the option to appeal, an explanation of when that outcome becomes final and the findings from the Decision-Making Panel.

The written Notice of Outcome will be issued to the Respondent (and Complainant as discussed below) within seven (7) business days of the assignment of the sanction. Upon written request, the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) has the discretion to again give the Respondent/Complainant access to the Final Investigative Report, any supporting documentation, gathered information or information from the Hearing after the Notice of Outcome has been issued. The Complainant will also be notified by Human Resources of the outcome in writing, the option to appeal, an explanation of when the outcome becomes final and the findings from the Decision-Making Panel. Due to privacy consideration, the Complainant will not be notified of the assigned sanctions, unless they relate to the Complainant (such as a No Contact Order as the sanction).

For employees (faculty and staff), the College reserves the right to issue disciplinary action with respect to conduct that it deems inappropriate regardless of whether it is a violation of the Policy or the law.

V. Appeal

Both the Complainant and Respondent (student, staff or faculty) are entitled to one appeal of the outcome to the Formal Complaint. Any appeal must be submitted in writing to the Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) (oeo [at] emerson.edutitle="Email oeo [at] emerson.edu") within five (5) business days of the receipt of the written Notice of Outcome. The individual who files an appeal is known as the appellant. The appellant must submit an Appeal Form with their appeal which is available from OEO. If an appeal is not received within five (5) business days, the parties will be notified that the outcome is considered final, and the Title IX Grievance Process will be closed. 

An appeal can only be submitted by the Complainant or Respondent in writing. Appeals submitted by third parties (e.g. friends, family, attorneys) will not be considered.

There are only three grounds on which an appeal can be filed – procedural error, the availability of new information, and bias. The written appeal must specifically state under which of these three grounds the appeal is being filed and how the requirements for that basis of appeal (noted below) are met by the appeal. 

The appeal is not a new fact-finding process. Although a Complainant/Respondent may disagree with the finding or the sanction, that alone is not a basis for appeal. Factual disputes are not a basis for appeal. Instead, the appeal must set forth under which of the three grounds the appeal is filed. Appeals that do not comply with these requirements, including failing to state proper grounds for appeal or being untimely, will not be considered, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee), at their discretion. If an appeal will not be considered, and the five (5) days to appeal has passed, the parties will be notified in writing that the outcome is considered final and the Title IX Grievance Process will be closed.

If the appeal will be heard, the non-appealing party will be given a copy of the appeal and will have an opportunity to respond to the assertions made by the appellant, in writing, within seven (7) business days after receipt. The non-appealing party may also request, in writing, access again to the Final Investigative Report, supporting documentation, gathered information, and/or Hearing information for purposes of responding to the appeal. Submissions after the seven (7) business day period may not be considered, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator.

The three grounds for appeal are:

  1. Procedural Error: The appellant alleges that (i) the procedural requirements of the Formal Complaint Process and/or the Title IX Grievance Process were not followed, and (ii) that deviation from the process had an adverse impact on the outcome of the Formal Complaint against the appellant. 
  2. Availability of New Information: The appellant alleges that, subsequent to the issuing of the outcome, new information became available which could have impacted the outcome of the Formal Complaint. The appellant must: (i) present the new information; (ii) show why it was unavailable prior to the outcome; and (iii) show that the new information could have altered the outcome of the complaint. If new information is presented, the Appeals Panel has the option to ask the Investigator to reopen the Investigative Procedure regarding that information.
  3. Bias: The appellant alleges that the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or a member of the Decision-Making Panel had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or against the specific Complainant or Respondent to the Formal Complaint. The appellant must (i) specifically identify who is alleged to have the conflict of interest or bias; (ii) present specific information regarding the nature of the conflict of interest or bias for each individual identified; and (iii) show how the conflict of interest or bias had an adverse impact on the outcome of the Formal Complaint against the appellant.

Appeals that are timely and state proper grounds for appeal, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee), will be decided by an Appeals Panel of three employees (staff or faculty) who have been trained in the Formal Complaint Process, the Title IX Grievance Process and the resolution of issues of discrimination, harassment, and sexual violence. The members of the Appeals Panel will include different individuals from those who served as the Decision-Making Panel. The three Appeals Panel members will be chosen at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee), who will communicate those names to the Complainant and Respondent. If there is an allegation of bias against the Title IX Coordinator, they will recuse themselves from the appeal process and the Appeals Panel members will be chosen by a Deputy Title IX Coordinator (or their designee). If either the Complainant or Respondent believes there is a possible conflict of interest with any of the Appeal Panel members, it must be communicated to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator immediately, and no later than three (3) business days after notice. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator then has the discretion to assign a different member to the Appeals Panel. Once the appeal has been submitted to the Appeals Panel for consideration, there will be no further opportunity to raise potential conflicts of interest. 

In reviewing an appeal, the Appeals Panel will be given the Final Investigative Report and any supporting documentation, the written Notice of Outcome, the appeal submission and any response, and the results of any additional investigation. The Appeals Panel may also be given access to the recording of the Hearing and/or the gathered materials from the Investigative Procedure in the Formal Complaint Process if the Panel decides such access is necessary to make a finding on the appeal.

The Appeals Panel will make its finding based on their review of these documents. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator (or their designee) will consult with the Appeals Panel on questions about the Policy Against Discrimination, Harassment, & Sexual Violence, the Formal Complaint Process, the Title IX Grievance Process, and/or the Appeal process as they consider the appeal. The Appeals Panel may also submit questions to or request information from the Investigator or the parties if needed to make their determination on the appeal. 

The Appeal Panel has the option to Dismiss the appeal as: (1) untimely, (2) failing to state a proper ground for appeal, or (3) by finding that the requirements for the appeal grounds have not been met. The Appeal Panel also has the option to Grant the appeal.

If the Appeals Panel grants the appeal in a matter involving a student Respondent, the matter will be referred to the Director of Community Standards who will decide whether to uphold or modify the final outcome on the complaint based on the findings of the Appeals Panel, and in consultation with the original Decision-Making Panel, as appropriate. The Director of Community Standard will then issue a Notice of Outcome of Appeal with the Appeals Panel’s finding and the decision on whether to uphold or modify the outcome. If the Appeals Panel dismisses the appeal for a matter involving a student Respondent, the Director of Community Standard will issue a Notice of Outcome of Appeal with the Appeals Panel’s finding. The parties will be notified in writing of the Notice of Outcome of Appeal. 

If the Appeals Panel grants the appeal in a matter involving an employee Respondent, the matter will be referred to the Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) and/or the Provost (or their designee) who will decide whether to uphold or modify the final outcome on the complaint based on the findings of the Appeals Panel, and in consultation with the Decision-Making Panel, as appropriate. The Chief Human Resources Officer and/or Provost may also consult with the Respondent’s supervisor or other representatives from Human Resources, as necessary. The Chief Human Resources Officer and/or the Provost will then issue a Notice of Outcome of Appeal with the Appeals Panel’s finding and the decision on whether to uphold or modify the outcome. If the Appeals Panel dismisses the appeal for an employee appellant, the Chief Human Resources Officer and/or Provost will issue a Notice of Outcome of Appeal with the Appeals Panel’s finding. The parties will be notified in writing of the Notice of Outcome of Appeal. Certain employees may have additional appeal rights outside the Formal Complaint Process.

VI. Other Considerations

Parties should refer to the Formal Complaint Process for information regarding the Amnesty/Seeking Help Policy, the College’s right to investigate and decide other conduct violations that may arise during the Process, how criminal conduct may factor into any process, whether there will be any family notification or communication about the Process, transcript notations and the maintenance of records at the conclusion of this Process. All of those sections are incorporated into this Process by reference


Footnotes

(1) See 34 CFR Part 106.30 and 106.44

(2) If the alleged conduct happened outside the United States but still falls under the Policy, the matter may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), under the Formal Complaint Process, as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee).

(3) If the alleged conduct happened outside a College program or activity, but still falls under the Policy, the matter may be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), under the Formal Complaint Process, as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee).

(4) Alleged conduct reported by a Complainant found not to be participating/attempting to participate, but that falls under the Policy, may still be adjudicated through the Formal Resolution Process (Non-Title IX), under the Formal Complaint Process, as determined by the Associate Vice-President for Equity, Access and Equal Opportunity (or their designee).

(5) See the Formal Complaint Process for more information about what constitutes “gathered information.”

(6) Under the Formal Complaint Process, the parties were previously given the opportunity to request that something in the gathered information be included in the Final Investigative Report, during the Investigative Report and Review stage in that process.

(7) The Panel may also have reviewed information from the gathered material that was deemed relevant or any new information that was allowed by the Chair during the Pre-Hearing Conference.

(8) This type of questioning is sometimes referred to as cross-examination.