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Sep 24, 2022
Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures
College Hall B18
Last Revised: September 24, 2021
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center, hereinafter referred to as “the Institution” are committed to providing a workplace and environment, as well as other benefits, programs, and activities, free from sexual harassment and retaliation. To ensure compliance with federal and D.C. civil rights laws and regulations, and to affirm its commitment to promoting the goals of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational program or activity, the Institution has developed internal policies and procedures that provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process for those involved in an allegation of sexual harassment or retaliation. Gallaudet values and upholds the equal dignity of all members of its community and strives to respect the rights of the parties in the grievance process during what is often a difficult time for all those involved.
This policy is intended to guide University and the Clerc Center community members that may have observed, become aware of, or experienced sexual harassment. Gallaudet strictly prohibits retaliatory discrimination or harassment against any person(s) for reporting an incident of sexual harassment or for participating, or refusing to participate, in any manner, in procedures to redress complaints related to a report of sexual harassment.
This policy pertains to acts of prohibited conduct committed by or against Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community members on University property (i.e., on campus) or other property owned by the University, or at Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center sanctioned events or programs that take place off campus or occurring in the context of a University employment or education program or activity, including, but not limited to, University-sponsored study abroad, research, or internship programs; when Clerc Center students are under the care of the Clerc Center; and/or online and social media conduct that may affect the educational experience.
All members of the campus community are expected to conduct themselves in a manner that demonstrates respect for the rights of others. Creating a safe and non-discriminatory educational environment is the responsibility of all members of the campus community. Every member of the campus community also has a responsibility to become familiar with the Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center Sexual Harassment Policy.
The core purpose of this policy is the prohibition of sexual harassment and discrimination, and ensuring that sexual harassment and discrimination does not interfere with the ability of members of the Gallaudet University community to participate in Gallaudet’s educational program and activities. When an alleged violation of policy is reported, the allegations are subject to resolution using one of Gallaudet’s grievance processes, as determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee*, and as detailed in the links below.
When the respondent is a member of the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community, a grievance process may be available regardless of the status of the Complainant, who may or may not be a member of the Gallaudet community. The Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center community includes individuals having an official capacity and includes, but is not limited to, students, student organizations, faculty, teachers, administrators, staff, and third parties such as guests, visitors, volunteers, independent contractors, vendors, alumni, interns, invitees, and campers, and any individual studying, living, or conducting business at/or for the Institution.
The procedures below may be applied to incidents, to patterns, and/or to the campus climate, all of which may be addressed and investigated in accordance with this policy.
The Title IX Coordinator* oversees implementation of this policy. The Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating the Institution’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, and resolution of notices and complaints of sexual harassment and retaliation prohibited under this policy and for the implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent sexual harassment and retaliation.
* Anywhere this procedure indicates “Title IX Coordinator,” Gallaudet or the Clerc Center may substitute a trained designee.
The Title IX Coordinator manages the Title IX Team and acts with independence and authority free from bias and conflicts of interest. The Title IX Coordinator oversees all resolutions under this policy and these procedures.
The members of the Title IX Team are vetted and trained to ensure they are not biased for or against any party in a specific case, or for or against Complainants and/or Respondents, generally.
To raise any concern involving bias or conflict of interest by the Title IX Coordinator, contact the Executive Director, Human Resources at https://gallaudet.edu/the-redirector/?christina.shen-austin. For the Clerc Center, contact the Chief Administrative Officer Nicole Sutliffe at Contact here. Concerns of bias or a potential conflict of interest by any other Title IX Team member should be raised with the Title IX Coordinator.
Reports of misconduct committed by the Title IX Coordinator should be reported to the Executive Director, Human Resources (https://gallaudet.edu/the-redirector/?christina.shen-austin) or designee; for the Clerc Center, Chief Administrative Officer ( Contact). Reports of misconduct committed by any other Title IX Team member should be reported to the Title IX Coordinator.
Questions regarding Title IX, including its application and/or concerns about noncompliance, should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator. For a complete copy of the policy or for more information, please visit https://www.gallaudet.edu/title-ix or contact the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals who believe they have experienced sex discrimination, harassment, and/or retaliation in violation of Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s policy should contact the following:
Individual with Oversight for Sex Discrimination
Director, Equal Opportunity Programs
College Hall 322
800 Florida Avenue, NE
Washington, DC 20002
(202) 651-5462 (voice)
(202) 559-5683 (vp)
Gallaudet University Title IX Coordinator Office
Title IX Coordinator
(202) 759-1734 (videophone/voice)
Email: Contact here
Gallaudet University Deputy Title IX Coordinator (students)
Director, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices
Student Center Programs and Services
Ely Center 103
(202) 759-5598 (videophone)
Email: Contact here
Clerc Center Title IX Team members:
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Clerc Center
KDES, Room 3202
(202) 651-5788 (voice)
(202) 250-2960 (videophone)
Bobby (Bo) Acton
Title IX Investigator for Clerc Center
MSSD, Room 214F
(202) 250-2798 (videophone/voice)
The above individuals are Officials with Authority (OWA). The Institution has also classified most employees as Mandated Reporters of any knowledge they have that a member of the community is experiencing sexual harassment and/or retaliation.
The section below on Mandated Reporting details which employees have this responsibility and their duties, accordingly.
External Contact Information
A person may also file a complaint with the appropriate federal, state, or local agency within the time frame required by law. Depending upon the nature of the complaint, the appropriate agency may be the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Office for Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Justice, and/or the Washington, D.C. Office of Human Rights.
Washington, D.C.’s Office of Human Rights
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Washington Field Office
131 M Street, NE
Fourth Floor, Suite 4NWO2F
Washington, DC 20507-0100
Videophone: (844) 234-5122
Phone: (800) 669-4000
Facsimile: (202) 419-0739
TDD#: (800) 669-6820
OCR District/Field Office
Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20202-1100
Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
Facsimile: (202) 453-6012
TDD#: (877) 521-2172
Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
Office for Civil Rights, National Headquarters
Lyndon Baines Johnson Dept. of Education Building
Washington, DC 20202-1100
For complaints involving employees: Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
Washington Field Office
131 M Street, NE
Fourth Floor, Suite 4NW02F
Washington, DC. 20407-0100
ASL Video Phone: 844-234-5122
Notice or complaints of sexual harassment and/or retaliation may be made by filing a complaint with, or giving verbal notice to, the Title IX Coordinator or any other internal administrative official as listed above. Such a report may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by using the telephone/VP number or email address, or by mail to the office address, listed for the Title IX Coordinator or any other official listed.
A Formal Complaint, for purposes of the Title IX Procedures, means a document submitted or signed by the Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging sexual harassment as defined in this by a Respondent and requesting that Gallaudet or the Clerc Center investigate the allegation(s).
A Formal Complaint may be filed with the Title IX Coordinator in person, by mail, or by electronic mail, by using the contact information in the section immediately above, or as described in this section. As used in this paragraph, the phrase “document filed by a Complainant” means a document or electronic submission (such as by electronic mail or through an online portal provided for this purpose by the Institution) that contains the Complainant’s physical or digital signature, or otherwise indicates that the Complainant is the person filing the complaint, and requests that Gallaudet or the Clerc Center investigate the allegations.
If notice is submitted in a form that does not meet this standard, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to ensure that it is filed correctly.
The Institution will offer and implement appropriate and reasonable supportive measures to the parties upon notice of alleged sexual harassment and/or retaliation. Supportive measures are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to the parties to restore or preserve access to the Institution’s education program or activity, including measures designed to protect the safety of all parties or the Institution’s educational environment, and/or deter sexual harassment and/or retaliation.
The Title IX Coordinator promptly makes supportive measures available to the parties upon receiving notice or a complaint. At the time that supportive measures are offered, Gallaudet or the Clerc Center will inform the Complainant, in writing, that they may file a formal complaint with the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center either at that time or in the future, if they have not done so already.
The Title IX Coordinator works with the Complainant to ensure that their wishes are taken into account with respect to the supportive measures that are planned and implemented.
The Institution will maintain the privacy of the supportive measures, provided that privacy does not impair the Institution’s ability to provide the supportive measures. The Institution will act to ensure as minimal an academic/occupational impact on the parties as possible.
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center will implement measures in a way that does not unreasonably burden the other party. These actions may include, but are not limited to:
Violations of no contact orders will be referred to appropriate student or employee conduct processes for enforcement.
The Institution can act to remove a student Respondent entirely or partially from its education program or activities on an emergency basis when an individualized safety and risk analysis has determined that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual justifies removal.
In all cases in which an emergency removal is imposed, the student will be given notice of the action and the option to request to meet with the Title IX Coordinator prior to such action/removal being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the action/removal should not be implemented or should be modified.
This meeting is not a hearing on the merits of the allegation(s), but rather is an administrative process intended to determine solely whether the emergency removal is appropriate.
When this meeting is not requested in a timely manner, objections to the emergency removal will be deemed waived. A Complainant and their Advisor may be permitted to participate in this meeting if the Title IX Coordinator determines it is equitable to do so.
This section also applies to any interim restrictions that a coach or athletic administrator may place on a student-athlete arising from allegations related to Title IX. There is no appeal process for emergency removal decisions.
A Respondent may be accompanied by an Advisor of their choice when meeting with the Title IX Coordinator for the show cause meeting. The Respondent will be given access to a written summary of the basis for the emergency removal prior to the meeting to allow for adequate preparation.
The Title IX Coordinator has sole discretion under this policy to implement or stay an emergency removal and to determine the conditions and duration. Violation of an emergency removal under this policy will be grounds for discipline, which may include expulsion.
The Institution will implement the least restrictive emergency actions possible in light of the circumstances and safety concerns. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator, these actions could include, but are not limited to: removing a student from a residence hall, temporarily re-assigning an employee, restricting a student’s or employee’s access to or use of facilities or equipment, allowing a student to withdraw or take grades of incomplete without financial penalty, authorizing an administrative leave, and suspending a student’s participation in extracurricular activities, student employment, student organizational leadership, or intercollegiate/intramural athletics.
At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, alternative coursework options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an academic impact as possible on the parties.
Where the Respondent is an employee, existing provisions for interim action are applicable. Refer to expected employee conduct A&O 1.01 for Gallaudet Employee and A&O 1.13 for Clerc Center Employee.
All allegations are acted upon promptly by the Institution once it has received notice or a formal complaint. Complaints can take 60-90 business days to resolve, typically. There are always exceptions and extenuating circumstances that can cause a resolution to take longer, but the Institution will avoid all undue delays within its control.
Any time the general timeframes for resolution outlined in the Institution’s procedures will be delayed, the Institution will provide written notice to the parties of the delay, the cause of the delay, and an estimate of the anticipated additional time that will be needed as a result of the delay.
Every effort is made by the Institution to preserve the privacy of reports. The Institution will not share the identity of any individual who has made a report or complaint of harassment or retaliation; any Complainant, any individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of sexual harassment or retaliation, any Respondent, or any witness, except as permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 U.S.C. 1232g; FERPA regulations, 34 CFR part 99; or as required by law; or to carry out the purposes of 34 CFR Part 106, including the conducting of any investigation, hearing, or grievance proceeding arising under these policies and procedures.
The Institution reserves the right to determine which Gallaudet or the Clerc Center officials have a legitimate educational interest in being informed about incidents that fall within this policy, pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Only a small group of officials who need to know will typically be told about the complaint, including but not limited to: Student Affairs, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices, Human Resources, Department of Public Safety and/or the Behavioral Intervention Team. The Clerc Center officials may include the Clerc Instructional Leadership Team members, Multi-Tiered Support Team and Student Support Specialists.
Information will be shared as necessary with Investigators, Hearing Panel members/decision-makers, witnesses, and the parties. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve the parties’ rights and privacy.
Gallaudet may contact parents/guardians to inform them of situations in which there is a significant and articulable health and/or safety risk but will usually consult with the student first before doing so. Clerc Center will communicate with students’ parents/guardians in the same manner and follow the age requirement in releasing information to parents.
Confidentiality and mandated reporting are addressed more specifically below.
This policy applies to the education program and activities of the the Institution, to conduct that takes place on the campus or on property owned or controlled by Gallaudet University, and at Institution -sponsored events. The Respondent must be a member of Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community in order for its policies to apply.
This policy can also be applicable to the effects of off-campus misconduct that effectively deprive someone of access to Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s educational program. The Institution may also extend jurisdiction to off-campus and/or to online conduct when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the conduct affects a substantial Gallaudet or the Clerc Center interest.
Regardless of where the conduct occurred, the Institution will address notice/complaints to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of its employment or educational program or activity and/or has continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus sponsored program or activity. A substantial Gallaudet or the Clerc Center interest includes:
If the Respondent is unknown or is not a member of the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community, the Title IX Coordinator will assist the Complainant in identifying appropriate campus and local resources and support options and/or, when criminal conduct is alleged, in contacting local or campus law enforcement if the individual would like to file a police report.
Further, even when the Respondent is not a member of Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s community, supportive measures, remedies, and resources may be accessible to the Complainant by contacting the Title IX Coordinator.
In addition, the Institution may take other actions as appropriate to protect the Complainant against third parties, such as barring individuals from Gallaudet and/or the Clerc Center property and/or events.
When the Respondent is enrolled in or employed by another institution, the Title IX Coordinator can assist the Complainant in liaising with the appropriate individual at that institution, as it may be possible to allege violations through that institution’s policies.
Similarly, the Title IX Coordinator may be able to assist and support a student or employee Complainant who experiences sexual harassment or retaliation in an externship, study abroad program, or other environment external to the Institution where sexual harassment policies and procedures of the facilitating or host organization may give recourse to the Complainant.
There is no time limitation on providing notice/complaints to the Title IX Coordinator. However, if the Respondent is no longer subject to Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s jurisdiction and/or significant time has passed, the ability to investigate, respond, and provide remedies may be more limited or impossible.
Acting on notice/complaints significantly impacted by the passage of time (including, but not limited to, the rescission or revision of policy) is at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, who may document allegations for future reference, offer supportive measures and/or remedies, and/or engage in informal or formal action, as appropriate.
When notice/complaint is affected by significant time delay, the Institution will typically apply the policy and procedures in place at the time of the alleged misconduct.
The policies of the Institution are written and interpreted broadly to include online manifestations of any of the behaviors prohibited below, when those behaviors occur in or have an effect on the Institution’s education program and activities or use the Institution’s networks, technology, or equipment.
Although the Institution may not control websites, social media, and other venues in which harassing communications are made, when such communications are reported to Gallaudet or the Clerc Center, it will engage in a variety of means to address and mitigate the effects.
Members of the community are encouraged to be good digital citizens and to refrain from online misconduct, such as sharing inappropriate content via social media, unwelcome sexual or sex-based messaging, distributing or threatening to distribute revenge pornography, breaches of privacy, or otherwise using the ease of transmission and/or anonymity of the Internet or other technology to harm another member of the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community.
It is the policy of Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center to provide an educational and working environment that provides equal opportunity to all members of the University community. Any Gallaudet or Clerc Center employee, student, applicant for admission or employment, or other participant in Gallaudet University and Clerc Center programs or activities, who believes that they have been discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex (including sexual harassment), religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or gender expression, age, disability, veteran status or other items listed in the D.C. Human Rights Act may direct complaints of discrimination and harassment to the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP).
The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), and the District of Columbia regard sexual harassment, a specific form of discriminatory harassment, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. As a result of the U.S. Department of Education’s Final Rule under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 issued on May 19, 2020, the Institution must narrow both the geographic scope of its authority to act under Title IX and the types of “sexual harassment” that it must subject to its Title IX investigation and adjudication process. Onlyincidents falling within the Final Rule’s definition of sexual harassment will be investigated and, if appropriate, brought to a live hearing through the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy defined below.
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center remains committed to addressing any violations of its policies, even those not meeting the narrow standards defined under the Title IX Final Rule.
Specifically, the Institution has a Code of Conduct that defines certain behavior as a violation of campus policy, and a separate Sexual Misconduct Policy that addresses the types of sex-based offenses constituting a violation of campus policy, and the procedures for investigating and adjudicating those sex-based offenses.
To the extent that alleged misconduct falls outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, or misconduct falling outside the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy is discovered in the course of investigating covered Title IX misconduct, the institution retains authority to investigate and adjudicate the allegations under the policies and procedures defined within the Sexual Misconduct Policy through a separate grievance proceeding.
The elements established in the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy under the Final Rule have no effect and are not transferable to any other policy of the College for any violation of the Code of Conduct, employment policies, or any civil rights violation except as narrowly defined in this Policy. This Policy does not set a precedent for other policies or processes of Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center and may not be cited for or against any right or aspect of any other policy or process.
Gallaudet has adopted the following definition of sexual harassment in order to address the unique environment of an academic community. Any conduct on the basis of sex that meets the following definition may be considered a Title IX violation, and will be addressed using the appropriate Title IX procedures.
Acts of sexual harassment may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, sexual orientation, and/or gender identity of those involved.
Sexual Harassment, as an umbrella category, includes the actual or attempted offenses of sexual harassment, sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking, and is defined as conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:
Sex discrimination is defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits, or opportunities on the basis of sex or gender. Sex discrimination includes discrimination based on pregnancy or discrimination in athletics. Such discrimination is addressed by Policy #2.28 (Anti-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure) in the Administrations and Operations Manual. Complaints should be directed to the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP).
Where there is an indication that reported harassment may be based on both gender (including sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression) and another protected class basis (e.g., race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status), the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of EOP will assess the available information in order to determine whether the matter is most appropriately addressed under this Policy, under Policy #2.28, or for different aspects of the matter to be addressed separately under each.
The University’s educational mission is promoted by professionalism in University employee relationships with other employees and students. University employees may be in positions of authority; trust and respect are diminished when those in positions of authority abuse or appear to abuse their power. There are special risks in any sexual or romantic relationship between individuals of inherently unequal power. Such relationships have the potential for conflict of interest, favoritism, exploitation, and bias, and may undermine the real or perceived integrity of the supervision and evaluation provided. There is the potential for sexual harassment when inappropriate personal attention occurs between individuals of inherently unequal power. Such relationships seriously undermine the atmosphere of professionalism, trust and respect essential to the University and hinder fulfillment of the University’s educational mission. For these reasons, sexual or romantic relationships or encounters – whether regarded as consensual or otherwise – between individuals of inherently unequal power are strongly discouraged, and in some circumstances, are strictly prohibited by this policy. The fact that a relationship was initially consensual does not insulate the person with greater power from a sexual harassment or sexual misconduct complaint.
No Gallaudet University faculty member shall initiate or accept offers for sexual or romantic encounters or relationships with any undergraduate student.
Sexual or romantic encounters or relationships between faculty and graduate students in the instructional context, or under their academic supervision is prohibited. Sexual encounters or romantic relationships outside of the instructional context or academic supervision can lead to difficulties. Instructors or other officers should be sensitive to the possibility that he or she may unexpectedly be placed in a position of responsibility for a graduate student’s instruction or evaluation, including mentoring, advising, serving on an admissions or selection committee or being called upon to write a letter of recommendation. Even in consensual relationships there are certain conditions where a faculty member, by virtue of their special responsibilities and the core educational mission of the University, could be held accountable should a problem arise.
* The Handbook of the University Faculty, #3.2, contains a more detailed policy governing faculty/student relationships.
Relationships between staff with direct or indirect authority over the other (deans and directors of any rank, coaches, academic advisors, residence hall professional staff, security personnel, and other similar employees who advise, mentor or evaluate students) and students can be potentially problematic and is prohibited. Other consensual sexual or romantic relationships between staff and students is not prohibited but should generally be avoided; one needs to be mindful that one may unexpectedly be placed in a position of power over the student in the future.
Sexual or romantic encounters or relationships between students and student paraprofessionals in a teaching, evaluating, advising, mentoring, disciplinary or other position of inherently unequal power is prohibited. Existing relationships that existed prior to obtaining such paraprofessional relationships must be disclosed.
Consensual relationships between employees is not prohibited by this policy. However, relationships between employees who have direct or indirect authority over the other are potentially problematic and must be disclosed. This includes relationships between supervisors and their employees.
The Clerc Center prohibits relationships between all employees and Clerc Center students. Refer to Administration and Operations Policy 1.13: Code of Conduct With Clerc Center Students.
The University is a small community, where there exist many opportunities for faculty, staff and students to form relationships prior to a situation that creates a potential power imbalance. In such instances, employees and student paraprofessionals are required to disclose to their supervisor(s) in writing of the relationship prior to or immediately when there will be inherently unequal power. It may require recusal from certain supervision, evaluation, or oversight over individuals with whom they have a prior relationship. This ensures that alternate supervisory or evaluative arrangements are put in place. Such notification is always required where recusal is required. This obligation to notify and recuse is required, and the failure to disclose a prior relationship in a timely fashion will itself be considered a violation of the consensual relationship policy.
Consent represents the basis of respectful and healthy intimate relationships. Consent is effective when it is clear, knowing, and voluntary by using mutually understandable words or actions that give permission for specific sexual activity or contact. Reasonable reciprocation can be implied. Consent cannot be gained by force, by ignoring or acting in spite of the objections of another, or by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another, where the accused individual knows or reasonably should have known of such incapacitation. Incapacitation is determined through consideration of all relevant indicators of an individual’s state and is not synonymous with intoxication, impairment, blackout, and/or being drunk. There should not be unreasonable pressure for sexual activity, which is coercive conduct. Passivity is not permission; consent is not the absence of resistance, and silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent to one form of sexual contact or activity does not imply consent to another form of sexual activity. Consent also has time boundaries; consent given at one time does not imply future consent or consent at any other time. The existence of a prior or current relationship does not, in itself, constitute consent. Consent can be withdrawn once given, as long as the withdrawal is reasonably and clearly communicated. Once consent is withdrawn, sexual activity must stop immediately.
Proof of consent or non-consent is not a burden placed on either party involved in an incident. Instead, the burden remains on Gallaudet or the Clerc Center to determine whether its policy has been violated. The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances evaluated from the perspective of a reasonable person in the same or similar circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar, previous patterns that may be evidenced.
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center follow the laws of the District of Columbia concerning sexual activity, including regulations regarding age of consent and the age differences between participants in consensual sexual activities.
Specifically, in the District of Columbia, the age of consent for sex is 16 years old. The exception to the age of consent law is if the individuals involved in sexual activity are both minors (younger than 18 years old) and close in age (less than four years apart). While the Clerc Center is in session or while Clerc Center students are under the care of the Clerc Center, all types of sexual activity, on or off campus, are prohibited. Clerc Center students who engage in sexual activity receive consequences outlined in their school Parent-Student Handbook. Consequences differ for sexual activity determined to be consensual than for sexual activity determined to be nonconsensual. A student who engages in sexual activity that violates the District of Columbia age of consent law and/or without the effective consent of the other individual is committing a crime and may be prosecuted.
The standard of proof used to make an outcome determination about facts that are in dispute in all cases and appeals under the purview of this policy is a preponderance of the evidence, which is based upon whether it is more likely than not a violation occurred.
Protected activity under this policy includes reporting an incident that may implicate this policy, participating in the grievance process, supporting a Complainant or Respondent, assisting in providing information relevant to an investigation, and/or acting in good faith to oppose conduct that constitutes a violation of this Policy.
Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator and will be promptly investigated. The Institution will take all appropriate and available steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.
The Institution and any member of the Institution’s community are prohibited from taking materially adverse action by intimidating, threatening, coercing, harassing, or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by law or policy, or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy and procedure.
Filing a complaint within the Sexual Harassment process could be considered retaliatory if those charges could be applicable under the Title IX process, when the Sexual Misconduct Process charges are made for the purpose of interfering with or circumventing any right or privilege provided afforded within Title IX Process that is not provided by the Sexual Misconduct process. Therefore, the Institution vets all complaints carefully to ensure this does not happen, and to assure that complaints are tracked to the appropriate process.
Charging an individual with a code of conduct violation for making a materially false statement in bad faith in the course of a grievance proceeding under this policy and procedure does not constitute retaliation, provided that a determination regarding responsibility, alone, is not sufficient to conclude that any party has made a materially false statement in bad faith.
All Gallaudet and Clerc Center employees (faculty, teachers, staff, administrators) are required to report actual or suspected sexual harassment or retaliation to appropriate officials immediately, though there are some limited exceptions.
In order to make informed choices, it is important to be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources.
Different employees, including student employees on campus have different reporting responsibilities, and varying requirements to maintain your confidentiality or privacy, depending on their roles at the University. When consulting campus resources, University community members should be aware of the expectations concerning confidentiality and privacy, and that many employees and some student employees are mandatory reporters, in order to make an informed decision.
Privacy and confidentiality have distinctive meanings; privacy generally means that the information will be shared with a limited number of individuals with the “need to know” in order to perform their assigned responsibilities, while confidentiality means that the information cannot be revealed to any other individual without the expressed permission of the individual. Gallaudet is committed to protecting the confidentiality and privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual harassment. On campus, some resources may maintain your confidentiality completely, offering you options and advice without any obligation to tell anyone, unless you want them to. Other resources are expressly there for you to privately report crimes and code of conduct violations, and they will take action when you report to them.
When information is shared with a confidential resource identified in this policy, it does not have to be reported further, and will not result in an investigation by the University. Exceptions where a confidential resource will not honor confidentiality are when there is an imminent danger to oneself or to others, or when there is reasonable cause to suspect abuse of a minor. If you desire that details of the incident be kept confidential, you should speak to the following on-campus confidential resources:
Office of the Ombuds, Ely Center 113, (202) 559-5079 (VP), Contact. The Office of the Ombuds is where students can go to get confidential, impartial, independent, and informal assistance and conflict resolution.
Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University, 3rd Floor, (202) 250-2300 (VP), Contact. Counselors are available during the day and may be contacted for emergency situations after office hours by the Department of Public Safety. CAPS provides confidential crisis management, short-term therapy, and group therapy (depending on the number of students with similar concerns/issues). CAPS also provides a referral list of area agencies and private practitioners.
Office of Campus Ministries, Ely Center 114-118, (202) 651-5102 (V), Contact. The Office of Campus Ministries (OCM) provides a variety of confidential counseling services to students, including personal counseling and crisis management in either individual or group settings. Members of the clergy acting in their official capacity of providing spiritual counsel, support, or ministry (and including those who act in that role under the supervision of a licensed counselor) are not required to report sexual harassment or sexual misconduct. The OCM also makes referrals and works with other on-campus and off-campus offices and agencies to meet the needs of individuals in crisis.
Student Health Service, Peter J. Fine Health Center, (202) 651-5090 (V), Contact. During hours of operation, Student Health Service (SHS) provides confidential first aid and referral services for students who experienced sexual harassment. SHS also screens and treats sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and provides appropriate follow-up care.
Employee Assistance Program, (800) 607-1552 (V) The Employee Assistance Program provides assistance to employees who may be experiencing personal difficulties. The program, under APS Healthcare, is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is provided to employees at no cost.
Employees who are confidential and who receive reports within the scope of their confidential roles will timely submit anonymous statistical information for Clery Act purposes unless they believe it would be harmful to their client, patient, or parishioner.
Additionally, all of the off-campus resources listed in the Off-Campus Confidential Resource section are confidential resources.
University community members or third parties who wish to directly report a concern or complaint relating to sexual harassment or sexual misconduct may do so by reporting the concern or complaint to the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals may also report a concern or a complaint to any of the non-confidential resources listed on the On-Campus Resources section with their contact information as well as to “mandatory reporters” on campus. Reports or disclosures made to any other non-confidential University employee will be directed to the Title IX Coordinator for further review. If personally identifiable information must be shared, it will be shared with as few people as possible (on a need-to-know basis), and reasonable efforts will be made to protect privacy.
University employees, with the exception of confidential resources as identified in this policy, are mandatory reporters, which means that they are required to share the known details of a report with the Title IX Coordinator, including the names of the victim and alleged perpetrator(s), any witnesses, and any other relevant facts, including the date, time, specific location, and nature of the alleged incident. To the extent possible, information reported to a responsible employee will be shared only with people responsible for handling Gallaudet’s response to the report.
The following offices and individuals will provide privacy, but not confidentiality, upon receiving a report of conduct prohibited under this policy:
Title IX Coordinator, College Hall B18, (202) 759-1734 (videophone), Contact.
Director, Student Accountability and Restorative Practices, Ely Center 103, (202) 759-5598 (videophone), Contact.
Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Clerc Center, KDES, Room 3202, (202) 651-5788 (voice), (202) 250-2960 (videophone), Contact
Title IX Investigator for Clerc Center, MSSD, Room 214F , (202) 250-2798 (videophone) , Contact
Department of Public Safety, Carlin Hall Basement, (202) 651-5555, Contact.
The University considers complaints and investigations conducted under this policy to be private matters for the parties involved. When a complaint is made the University will take reasonable steps to protect the privacy of all involved. Only the people who need to know as part of their professional responsibilities will be told, and information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, the Complainant and the Respondent.
The Complainant, Respondent and any witnesses will be notified of the potential for compromising the integrity of the investigation by disclosing information about the case and the expectation that they keep such information, including documents they may review, confidential. They are encouraged to exercise discretion in sharing information in order to safeguard the integrity of the process and to avoid the appearance of retaliation. The Complainant and Respondent should understand that the failure to maintain discretion and privacy may result in negative consequences impacting the adjudication of the complaint, and that over-sharing can result in unintended consequences such as retaliation, the creation and exacerbation of a hostile environment, and may damage the credibility and integrity of witnesses or information relevant to the resolution of the complaint.
While discretion regarding the process is important, complainants and respondents are not restricted from discussing and sharing information, such as with others who may support or assist them as advisors or support persons or with their families or guardians.
All individuals involved in the process should understand that any and all documents provided to and maintained by the University – including complaints, responses, statements, investigative reports, documents, and other information in a case file may be subject to disclosure by subpoena or court order at any time. The University will inform the appropriate party of such a request unless otherwise prohibited by law.
When a Complainant Does Not Wish to Proceed
If a Complainant does not wish for their name to be shared, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not want a formal complaint to be pursued, they may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator, who will evaluate that request in light of the duty to ensure the safety of the campus and to comply with state or federal law.
The Title IX Coordinator has ultimate discretion over whether the Institution proceeds when the Complainant does not wish to do so, and the Title IX Coordinator may sign a formal complaint to initiate a grievance process upon completion of an appropriate violence risk assessment.
The Title IX Coordinator must also consider the effect that non-participation by the Complainant may have on the availability of evidence and Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s ability to pursue a Formal Grievance Process fairly and effectively.
When the Title IX Coordinator executes the written complaint, they do not become the Complainant. The Complainant is the individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute a violation of this policy.
When the Institution proceeds, the Complainant (or their Advisor) may have as much or as little involvement in the process as they wish. The Complainant retains all rights of a Complainant under this Policy irrespective of their level of participation.
Note that the Institution’s ability to remedy and respond to notice may be limited if the Complainant does not want the Institution to proceed with an investigation and/or grievance process. The goal is to provide the Complainant with as much control over the process as possible, while balancing the Institution’s obligation to protect its community.
In cases in which the Complainant requests confidentiality/no formal action and the circumstances allow the Institution to honor that request, the Institution will offer informal resolution options (see below), supportive measures, and remedies to the Complainant and the community, but will not otherwise pursue formal action.
If the Complainant elects to not to request an investigation, they can change that decision if they decide to pursue a formal complaint at a later date. Upon making a formal complaint, a Complainant has the right, and can expect, to be treated with respect by the Institution, and to have the incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures. Please consider that delays in pursuing a Formal Complaint may cause limitations on access to evidence, or present issues with respect to the status of the parties.
The Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about campus crime. Gallaudet files a report of campus crime statistics annually with the Department of Education. The report includes crime statistics for the past three calendar years, and does not include any identifiable information (e.g. names, addresses, etc.). For more information, visit the DPS website at http://www.gallaudet.edu/public-safety.
Certain campus officials have a duty to report the following for federal statistical reporting purposes (Clery Act):
All personally identifiable information is kept private. Statistical information must be passed along to campus law enforcement regarding the type of incident and its general location (on- or off-campus, in the surrounding area, but no addresses are given) for publication in the annual Campus Security Report. This report helps to provide the community with a clear picture of the extent and nature of campus crime, to ensure greater community safety. The information shared includes the date, the location of the incident and the crime (using Clery location categories). This reporting protects the identity of the student and may be done anonymously.
University community members reporting sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking should also be aware that University administrators may issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them, especially those that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the University community. The Department of Public Safety makes such determinations. The University will make every effort to ensure that an individual’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the danger. In instances where an alleged incident occurs between two individuals and no ongoing threat to other Gallaudet community members is present, a timely warning notice would not be distributed.
False Allegations and Evidence
Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations under this policy are a serious offense and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action. This does not include allegations that are made in good faith even where those allegations are ultimately shown to be erroneous or do not result in a policy violation determination
Additionally, witnesses and parties knowingly providing false evidence, tampering with or destroying evidence, or deliberately misleading an official conducting an investigation can be subject to discipline under the Institution’s policies. A determination regarding responsibility, standing alone, is not sufficient to find that a party has violated this requirement
Amnesty for Complainants and Witnesses
The Institution community encourages the reporting of misconduct and crimes by Complainants and witnesses. Sometimes, Complainants or witnesses are hesitant to report to Gallaudet or Clerc Center officials or participate in grievance processes because they fear that they themselves may be in violation of certain policies, such as underage drinking or use of illicit drugs at the time of the incident. Respondents may hesitate to be forthcoming during the process for the same reasons.
It is in the best interests of the Institution community that Complainants choose to report misconduct to Institution officials, that witnesses come forward to share what they know, and that all parties be forthcoming during the process.
To encourage reporting and participation in the process, Gallaudet maintains a policy of offering parties and witnesses amnesty from minor policy violations – such as underage consumption of alcohol or the use of illicit drugs – related to the incident.
Amnesty does not apply to more serious allegations such as physical abuse of another or illicit drug distribution. The decision not to offer amnesty is based on neither sex nor gender, but on the fact that collateral misconduct is typically addressed for all students within a progressive discipline system, and the rationale for amnesty – the incentive to report serious misconduct – is rarely applicable to a Respondent with respect to a Complainant.
Sometimes, students are hesitant to assist others for fear that they may get in trouble themselves (for example, an underage student who has been drinking or using marijuana might hesitate to help take an individual who has experienced sexual assault to the Department of Public Safety)
Gallaudet maintains a policy of amnesty for students who offer help to others in need. Although policy violations cannot be overlooked, Gallaudet may provide purely educational options with no official disciplinary finding, rather than punitive sanctions, to those who offer their assistance to others in need.
INTERIM RESOLUTION PROCESS FOR ALLEGED VIOLATIONS OF THE POLICY ON SEXUAL HARASSMENT
The Institution will act on any formal or informal notice/complaint of violation of the Policy that is received by the Title IX Coordinator or any other Official with Authority.
The procedures below, known as the Title IX Procedures apply only to qualifying allegations of sexual harassment (including sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, and stalking, as defined above) involving students, staff, teachers, administrators, or faculty members.
The procedures below may be used to address collateral misconduct arising from the investigation of or occurring in conjunction with alleged sexual harassment (e.g., vandalism, physical abuse of another). All other allegations of misconduct unrelated to allegations of sexual harassment as defined under the Policy will be addressed through procedures described in other applicable University and Clerc Center policies and procedures.
Upon receipt of a complaint or notice to the Title IX Coordinator of an alleged incident of sexual harassment under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator initiates a prompt initial assessment to determine the next steps the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center needs to take.
The Title IX Coordinator will initiate at least one of three responses:
1) Offering only supportive measures because the Complainant does not want to file a formal complaint; and/or
2) An informal resolution (upon submission of a formal complaint); and/or
3) A Formal Grievance Process including an investigation and a hearing (upon submission of a formal complaint).
The Institution uses the Formal Grievance Process to determine whether or not the Policy has been violated. If so, the Institution will promptly implement effective remedies designed to ensure that it is not deliberately indifferent to sexual harassment or retaliation, their potential recurrence, or their effects.
Following receipt of notice or a complaint of an alleged incident of sexual harassment under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator engages in an initial assessment, typically within one to five business days. The steps in an initial assessment can include:
Dismissal (Mandatory and Discretionary)
Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center must dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations therein if, at any time during the investigation or hearing, it is determined that:
Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center may dismiss a formal complaint or any allegations therein if, at any time during the investigation or hearing:
Upon any dismissal, Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will promptly send written notice of the dismissal and the rationale for doing so simultaneously to the parties.
This dismissal decision is appealable by any party under the procedures for appeal below. A Complainant who asks to withdraw a complaint may later request to reinstate it or refile it.
Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center are obligated to ensure that the grievance process is not abused for retaliatory purposes. Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center permit the filing of counterclaims but uses an initial assessment, described above, to assess whether the allegations in the counterclaim are made in good faith. Counterclaims by a Respondent may be made in good faith, but are, on occasion, also made for purposes of retaliation. Counterclaims made with retaliatory intent will not be permitted.
Counterclaims determined to have been reported in good faith will be processed using the grievance procedures below. Investigation of such claims may take place after resolution of the underlying initial allegation, in which case a delay may occur.
Counterclaims may also be resolved through the same investigation as the underlying allegation, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. When counterclaims are not made in good faith, they will be considered retaliatory and may constitute a violation of this policy.
Right to an Advisor
The parties may each have an Advisor of their choice present with them for all meetings, interviews, and hearings within the resolution process, if they so choose. The parties may select whoever they wish to serve as their Advisor as long as the Advisor is eligible and available.
Choosing an Advisor who is also a witness in the process creates potential for bias and conflict-of-interest. A party who chooses an Advisor who is also a witness can anticipate that issues of potential bias will be explored by the hearing Decision-maker(s).
a. Who Can Serve as an Advisor
The Advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support, and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may choose Advisors from inside or outside of the Gallaudet University/Clerc Center community.
The Title IX Coordinator will also offer to assign an Advisor from a pool of available Institution employees for any party if the party so chooses.
If the parties choose an Advisor from outside the pool of those identified by the Institution, the Advisor may not have been trained by the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center and may not be familiar with the Institution’s policies and procedures
Parties also have the right to choose not to have an Advisor in the initial stages of the resolution process, prior to a hearing.
b. Advisor’s Role in Meetings and Interviews
The parties may be accompanied by their Advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help the parties prepare for each meeting and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity, and in good faith.
The Institution cannot guarantee equal Advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an Advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not or cannot afford an attorney, the Institution is not obligated to provide an attorney.
c. Advisors in Hearings/University or Clerc Center-Appointed Advisor
Under U.S. Department of Education regulations under Title IX, a form of indirect questioning is required during the hearing, but must be conducted by the parties’ Advisors. The parties are not permitted to directly question each other or any witnesses. If a party does not have an Advisor for a hearing, the Institution will appoint a trained Advisor for the limited purpose of conducting any questioning of the other party and witnesses.
A party may reject this appointment and choose their own Advisor, but they may not proceed without an Advisor. If the party’s Advisor will not conduct questioning, Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will appoint an Advisor who will do so thoroughly, regardless of the participation or non-participation of the advised party in the hearing itself. Extensive questioning of the parties and witnesses will also be conducted by the Decision-maker(s) during the hearing.
d. Advisor Violations of Gallaudet or the Clerc Center Policies
All Advisors are subject to the same Gallaudet or the Clerc Center policies and procedures, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors are expected to advise their advisees without disrupting proceedings. Advisors should not address Gallaudet or the Clerc Center officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to (e.g., asking procedural questions). The Advisor may not make a presentation or represent their advisee during any meeting or proceeding and may not speak on behalf of the advisee to the Investigator(s) or other Decision-maker(s) except during a hearing proceeding, during cross-examination.
The parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf throughout the investigation phase of the resolution process. Although the Advisor generally may not speak on behalf of their advisee, the Advisor may consult with their advisee, either privately as needed, or by conferring or passing notes during any resolution process meeting or interview. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their Advisors should ask for breaks to allow for private consultation.
Any Advisor who oversteps their role as defined by this policy will be warned only once. If the Advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the Advisor role, the meeting will be ended, or other appropriate measures implemented. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine how to address the Advisor’s non-compliance and future role.
e. Sharing Information with the Advisor
The Institution expects that the parties may wish to have the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center share documentation and evidence related to the allegations with their Advisors. Parties may share this information directly with their Advisor or other individuals if they wish. Doing so may help the parties participate more meaningfully in the resolution process.
The Institution also provides a consent form that authorizes the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center to share such information directly with their Advisor. The parties must either complete and submit this form to the Title IX Coordinator or provide similar documentation demonstrating consent to a release of information to the Advisor before Gallaudet or the Clerc Center is able to share records with an Advisor.
f. Privacy of Records Shared with Advisor
Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with third parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center. Gallaudet or the Clerc Center may seek to restrict the role of any Advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s privacy expectations.
g. Expectations of an Advisor
The Institution generally expects an Advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend Gallaudet or the Clerc Center meetings when planned, but may change scheduled meetings to accommodate an Advisor’s inability to attend, if doing so does not cause an unreasonable delay.
The Institution may also make reasonable provisions to allow an Advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video conferencing, or other similar technologies as may be convenient and available.
h. Expectations of the Parties with Respect to Advisors
A party may elect to change Advisors during the process and is not obligated to use the same Advisor throughout. The parties are expected to inform the Investigator(s) of the identity of their Advisor at least two (2) business days before the date of their first meeting with Investigators (or as soon as possible if a more expeditious meeting is necessary or desired).
The parties are expected to provide timely notice to the Title IX Coordinator if they change Advisors at any time. It is assumed that if a party changes Advisors, consent to share information with the previous Advisor is terminated, and a release for the new Advisor must be secured. Parties are expected to inform the Title IX Coordinator of the identity of their hearing Advisor at least two (2) business days before the hearing.
Resolution proceedings are private. All persons present at any time during the resolution process are expected to maintain the privacy of the proceedings in accordance with Gallaudet University or Clerc Center policy. Although there is an expectation of privacy around what Investigators share with parties during interviews, the parties have discretion to discuss the allegations under investigation with others if they so choose, with the exception of information the parties agree not to disclose related to Informal Resolution, discussed below. Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center encourage parties to discuss any sharing of information with their Advisors before doing so.
a. Informal Resolution
Informal Resolution can include two different approaches:
To initiate Informal Resolution, a Complainant needs to submit a formal complaint, as defined above. A Respondent who wishes to initiate Informal Resolution should contact the Title IX Coordinator.
It is not necessary to pursue Informal Resolution first in order to pursue a Formal Grievance Process, and any party participating in Informal Resolution can stop the process at any time and begin or resume the Formal Grievance Process.
Prior to implementing Informal Resolution, Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will provide the parties with written notice of the reported misconduct and any sanctions or measures that may result from participating in such a process, including information regarding any records that will be maintained or shared by Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center.
Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will obtain voluntary, written confirmation that all parties wish to resolve the matter through Informal Resolution before proceeding and will not pressure the parties to participate in Informal Resolution.
b. Alternate Resolution Mechanism
Alternate Resolution is an informal mechanism, including mediation, restorative practices, or other appropriate practices by which the parties reach a mutually agreed upon resolution of an allegation. All parties must consent to the use of an Alternate Resolution mechanism.
The Title IX Coordinator may look to the following factors to assess whether Alternate Resolution is appropriate, or which form of Alternate Resolution may be most successful for the parties:
The ultimate determination of whether Alternate Resolution is available or successful is to be made by the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator maintains records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution agreement may result in appropriate responsive/disciplinary actions. Results of complaints resolved by Informal Resolution or Alternate Resolution are not appealable.
c. Respondent Accepts Responsibility for Alleged Violations
The Respondent may accept responsibility for all or part of the alleged policy violations at any point during the resolution process. If the Respondent indicates an intent to accept responsibility for all of the alleged misconduct, the formal process will be paused, and the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether Informal Resolution can be used according to the criteria above.
If Informal Resolution is applicable, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether all parties and Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center are able to agree on responsibility, sanctions, and/or remedies. If so, the Title IX Coordinator implements the accepted finding that the Respondent is in violation of Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center policy and implements agreed-upon sanctions and/or remedies, in coordination with other appropriate administrator(s), as necessary.
This result is not subject to appeal once all parties indicate their written assent to all agreed upon terms of resolution. When the parties cannot agree on all terms of resolution, the Formal Grievance Process will resume at the same point where it was paused.
When a resolution is accomplished, the appropriate sanction or responsive actions are promptly implemented in order to effectively stop the sexual harassment or retaliation, prevent its recurrence, and remedy the effects of the discriminatory conduct, both on the Complainant and the community.
Grievance Process Pool
The Formal Grievance Process relies on a pool of administrators, faculty, teachers and/or staff (“the Pool”) to carry out the process. Members of the Pool are announced in an annual distribution of this policy to all students, parents/guardians of students, employees, prospective students, and prospective employees.
The list of Pool members and a description of the Pool will be listed on the Title IX website at a later date.
1. Pool Member Roles
Members of the Pool are trained annually, and can serve in in the following roles, at the direction of the Title IX Coordinator:
2. Pool Member Appointment
The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Title IX Team, appoints the Pool , which acts with independence and impartiality. Although members of the Pool are typically trained in a variety of skill sets and can rotate amongst the different roles listed above in different cases, the Institution can also designate permanent roles for individuals in the Pool, using others as substitutes or to provide greater depth of experience when necessary. This process of role assignment may be the result of particular skills, aptitudes, or talents identified in members of the Pool that make them best suited to particular roles.
3. Pool Member Training
The Pool members receive annual training. This training includes, but is not limited to:
Specific training is also provided for Appeal Decision-makers and Chairs. All Pool members are required to attend these trainings annually. The materials used to train all members of the Pool are publicly posted on the Title IX website.
Formal Grievance Process: Notice of Investigation and Allegations
The Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide written notice of the investigation and allegations (the “NOIA”) to the Respondent upon commencement of the Formal Grievance Process. This facilitates the Respondent’s ability to prepare for the interview and to identify and choose an Advisor to accompany them. The NOIA is also copied to the Complainant, who is to be given advance notice of when the NOIA will be delivered to the Respondent.
The NOIA will include:
Amendments and updates to the NOIA may be made as the investigation progresses and more information becomes available regarding the addition or dismissal of various charges
Notice will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person or emailed to the parties’ Gallaudet-issued email or designated accounts. Once emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered
The Institution will make a good faith effort to complete the resolution process, whether informal resolution or through the formal grievance process, within a sixty-to-ninety (60-90) business day time period, including appeal, which can be extended as necessary for appropriate cause by the Title IX Coordinator, who will provide notice and rationale for any extensions or delays to the parties as appropriate, as well as an estimate of how much additional time will be needed to complete the process.
Appointment of Investigators
Once the decision to commence a formal investigation is made, the Title IX Coordinator appoints one or more individuals to conduct the investigation within two (2) business days of determining that an investigation should proceed.
Any individual materially involved in the administration of the resolution process [including the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), and Decision-maker(s)] may neither have nor demonstrate a conflict of interest or bias for a party generally, or for a specific Complainant or Respondent.
The Title IX Coordinator will vet the assigned Investigator(s) to ensure impartiality by ensuring there are no actual or apparent conflicts of interest or disqualifying biases. The parties may, at any time during the resolution process, raise a concern regarding bias or conflict of interest, and the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the concern is reasonable and supportable. If so, another Investigator will be assigned and the impact of the bias or conflict, if any, will be remedied. If the source of the conflict of interest or bias is the Title IX Coordinator, concerns should be raised with the Executive Director, Human Resources.
The Formal Grievance Process involves an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence obtained, including evidence that supports that the Respondent engaged in a policy violation and evidence that supports that the Respondent did not engage in a policy violation. Credibility determinations may not be based solely on an individual’s status or participation as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
The Institution operates with the presumption that the Respondent is not responsible for the reported misconduct unless and until the Respondent is determined to be responsible for a policy violation by the applicable standard of proof.
Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within thirty (30) business days, though some investigations may take weeks or even months, depending on the nature, extent, and complexity of the allegations, availability of witnesses, police involvement, etc.
The Institution will make a good faith effort to complete investigations as promptly as circumstances permit and will communicate regularly with the parties to update them on the progress and timing of the investigation.
Delays in the Investigation Process and Interactions with Law Enforcement
The Institution may undertake a short delay in its investigation (several days to a few weeks) if circumstances require. Such circumstances include but are not limited to: a request from law enforcement to temporarily delay the investigation, the need for language assistance, the absence of parties and/or witnesses, and/or accommodations for disabilities or health conditions.
The Institution will communicate in writing the anticipated duration of the delay and reason to the parties and provide the parties with status updates if necessary. The Institution will promptly resume its investigation and resolution process as soon as feasible. During such a delay, the Institution will implement supportive measures as deemed appropriate.
The Institution’s action(s) or processes are not typically altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the underlying incident(s) have been filed or that criminal charges have been dismissed or reduced.
Steps in the Investigation Process
All investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve interviews with all available, relevant parties and witnesses; obtaining available, relevant evidence; and identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.
All parties have a full and fair opportunity, through the investigation process, to suggest witnesses and questions, to provide evidence and expert witnesses, and to fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.
The Investigator(s) typically take(s) the following steps, if not already completed (not necessarily in this order):
Role and Participation of Witnesses in the Investigation
Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are employees of the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center are expected to cooperate with and participate in the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s investigation and resolution process. Student witnesses and witnesses from outside the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center community are encouraged to cooperate with Gallaudet or the Clerc Center investigations and to share what they know about a complaint.
Although in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g., study abroad, summer break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WebEx, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigator(s) determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. The Institution will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.
Witnesses may also provide written or video statements in lieu of interviews or choose to respond to written questions, if deemed appropriate by the Investigator(s), though not preferred. If a witness submits a written or video statement but does not intend to be and is not present for cross examination at a hearing, their written statement may not be used as evidence.
Recording of Interviews
No unauthorized audio or video recording of any kind is permitted during investigation meetings. If Investigator(s) elect to audio and/or video record interviews, all involved parties must be made aware of audio and/or video recording.
In an investigation process where there is a need to protect all parties in bilingualism translation errors, video recording may support the investigator’s ability to transcribe parties’ statements with more accuracy. Parties must review the transcript of the translations and approve the final interpretations.
Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation
The investigation does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
Referral for Hearing
Provided that the complaint is not resolved through Informal Resolution, once the final investigation report is shared with the parties, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter for a hearing.
The hearing cannot be less than ten (10) business days from the conclusion of the investigation –when the final investigation report is transmitted to the parties and the Decision-maker–unless all parties and the Decision-maker agree to an expedited timeline.
The Title IX Coordinator will select an appropriate Decision-maker(s) from the Pool depending on whether the Respondent is an employee or a student.
Hearing Decision-maker Composition
The Institution will designate a single Decision-maker or a three-member panel from the Pool, at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. The single Decision-maker will also Chair the hearing. With a panel, one of the three members will be appointed Chair by the Title IX Coordinator.
The Decision-maker(s) will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator may elect to have an alternate from the Pool sit in throughout the hearing process in the event that a substitute is needed for any reason.
Those who have served as Investigators will be witnesses in the hearing and therefore may not serve as Decision-makers. Those who are serving as Advisors for any party may not serve as Decision-makers in that matter.
The Title IX Coordinator will not serve as a Decision-maker or Chair in the matter but may serve as an administrative facilitator of the hearing if necessary, and if their previous role(s) in the matter do not create a conflict of interest. Otherwise, a designee may fulfill this role. The hearing will convene at a time determined by the Chair or designee.
Evidentiary Considerations in the Hearing
Any evidence that the Decision-maker(s) determine(s) is relevant and credible may be considered. The hearing does not consider: 1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern; 2) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
Previous disciplinary action of any kind involving the Respondent may be considered in determining an appropriate sanction upon a determination of responsibility. This information is only considered at the sanction stage of the process and is not shared with the Decision-maker(s) until then.
The parties may each submit a written impact statement prior to the hearing for the consideration of the Decision-maker(s) at the sanction stage of the process when a determination of responsibility is reached.
After post-hearing deliberation, the Decision-maker(s) renders a determination based on the preponderance of the evidence; whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Policy as alleged.
Notice of Hearing
No less than ten (10) business days prior to the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator or the Chair will send notice of the hearing to the parties. Once emailed, and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The notice will contain:
Hearings for possible violations that occur near or after the end of an academic term (assuming the Respondent is still subject to this Policy) and are unable to be resolved prior to the end of term will typically be held immediately after the end of the term or during the summer/winter break, as needed, to meet the resolution timeline followed by Gallaudet or the Clerc Center and remain within the 60-90 business day goal for resolution.
In these cases, if the Respondent is a graduating student, a hold may be placed on graduation and/or official transcripts until the matter is fully resolved (including any appeal). A student facing charges under this Policy is not in good standing to graduate.
Alternative Hearing Participation Options
If a party or parties cannot attend the hearing in person, the party should request alternative arrangements from the Title IX Coordinator or the Chair at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing. The Title IX Coordinator or Chair has the sole discretion to grant or deny the request.
The Title IX Coordinator or the Chair can arrange to use technology to allow remote testimony without compromising the fairness of the hearing. Remote options may also be needed for witnesses who cannot appear in person. Any witness who cannot attend in person should let the Title IX Coordinator or the Chair know at least five (5) business days prior to the hearing so that the request for remote testimony may be considered and appropriate arrangements can be made.
The Title IX Coordinator can make arrangements to use technology to allow remote testimony in such instances where the University campus is not open for normal business (such as when the University is open for online learning only) or during the summer/winter break.
The Title IX Coordinator will provide to the Parties the names of persons who will be participating in the hearing, and ensure that the Parties have received a copy of all evidence directly related to the allegations, and the final investigation report at least ten (10) business days prior to the hearing.
Any witness scheduled to participate in the hearing must have been first interviewed by the Investigator(s) or have proffered a written or video statement or answered written questions unless all parties and the Chair assent to the witness’s participation in the hearing. The same holds for any evidence that is first offered at the hearing. If the parties and Chair do not assent to the admission of evidence newly offered at the hearing, the Chair may delay the hearing and instruct that the investigation needs to be re-opened to consider that evidence.
The parties will be given a list of the names of the Decision-maker(s) at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. All objections to any Decision-maker must be raised in writing, detailing the rationale for the objection, and must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible and no later than two (2) days prior to the hearing. Decision-makers will only be removed if the Title IX Coordinator concludes that their bias or conflict of interest precludes an impartial hearing of the allegation(s).
The Title IX Coordinator will give the Decision-maker(s) a list of the names of all parties, witnesses, and Advisors at least five (5) business days in advance of the hearing. Any Decision-maker who cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves from the proceedings when notified of the identity of the parties, witnesses, and Advisors in advance of the hearing. If a Decision-maker is unsure of whether they have a bias or conflict of interest, they must raise the concern to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.
During the ten (10) business day period prior to the hearing, the parties have the opportunity for continued review and comment on the final investigation report. That review and comment can be shared with the Chair at the pre-hearing meeting or at the hearing and will be exchanged between each party by the Chair.
The Chair may convene a pre-hearing meeting(s) with the parties and/or their Advisors to invite them to submit the questions or topics they (the parties and/or their Advisors) wish to ask or discuss at the hearing, so that the Chair can rule on their relevance ahead of time to avoid any improper evidentiary introduction in the hearing or provide recommendations for more appropriate phrasing. However, this advance review opportunity does not preclude the Advisors from asking a question for the first time at the hearing or from asking for a reconsideration based on any new information or testimony offered at the hearing. The Chair must document and share with each party their rationale for any exclusion at a pre-hearing meeting.
At each pre-hearing meeting with a party and their Advisor, the Chair will consider arguments that evidence identified in the final investigation report as relevant is, in fact, not relevant. Similarly, evidence identified as directly related but not relevant by the Investigator(s) may be argued to be relevant.
The Chair may rule on these arguments pre-hearing and will exchange those rulings between the parties prior to the hearing to assist in preparation for the hearing. The Chair may consult with legal counsel and/or the Title IX Coordinator or ask either or both to attend pre-hearing meetings.
The pre-hearing meeting(s) may be recorded. In investigation process where there is a need to protect all parties in bilingualism translation errors, video recording may support the investigator’s ability to transcribe parties’ statements with more accuracy. Parties must review the transcript of the translations and approve the final interpretations.
At the hearing, the Decision-maker(s) has the authority to hear and make determinations on all allegations of sexual harassment and/or retaliation and may also hear and make determinations on any additional alleged policy violations that have occurred in concert with the sexual harassment and/or retaliation, even though those collateral allegations may not specifically fall within the Policy.
Participants at the hearing will include the Chair, any additional Decision-makers, the Investigator(s) who conducted the investigation, the parties, Advisors to the parties, any called witnesses and anyone providing authorized accommodations or assistive services.
The Chair will answer all questions of procedure. Anyone appearing at the hearing to provide information will respond to questions on their own behalf.
The Chair will allow witnesses who have relevant information to appear at a portion of the hearing in order to respond to specific questions from the Decision-maker(s) and the parties and will then be excused.
In hearings involving more than one Respondent or in which two (2) or more Complainants have accused the same individual of substantially similar conduct, the default procedure will be to hear the allegations jointly.
However, the Title IX Coordinator may permit the investigation and/or hearings pertinent to each Respondent to be conducted separately if there is a compelling reason to do so. In joint hearings, separate determinations of responsibility will be made for each Respondent with respect to each alleged policy violation.
The Order of the Hearing – Introductions and Explanation of Procedure
The Chair explains the procedures and introduces the participants. This may include a final opportunity for challenge or recusal of the Decision-maker(s) on the basis of bias or conflict of interest. The Chair will rule on any such challenge unless the Chair is the individual who is the subject of the challenge, in which case the Title IX Coordinator will review and decide the challenge.
At the hearing, recording, witness logistics, party logistics, curation of documents, separation of the parties, and other administrative elements of the hearing process are managed by the hearing Chair. The hearing Chair may attend to: logistics of rooms for various parties/witnesses as they wait; flow of parties/witnesses in and out of the hearing space; ensuring recording and/or virtual conferencing technology is working as intended; copying and distributing materials to participants, as appropriate, etc.
Investigator Presents the Final Investigation Report
The Investigator(s) will then present a summary of the final investigation report, including items that are contested and those that are not, and will be subject to questioning by the Decision-maker(s) and the parties (through their Advisors). The Investigator(s) will be present during the entire hearing process, but not during deliberations.
Neither the parties nor the Decision-maker(s) should ask the Investigator(s) their opinions on credibility, recommended findings, or determinations, and the Investigators, Advisors, and parties will refrain from discussion of or questions about these assessments. If such information is introduced, the Chair will direct that it be disregarded.
Testimony and Questioning
Once the Investigator(s) present their report and are questioned, the parties and witnesses may provide relevant information in turn, beginning with the Complainant, and then in the order determined by the Chair. The parties/witnesses will submit to questioning by the Decision-maker(s) and then by the parties through their Advisors (“cross-examination”).
All questions are subject to a relevance determination by the Chair. The Advisor, who will remain seated during questioning, will pose the proposed question orally, electronically, or in writing (orally is the default, but other means of submission may be permitted by the Chair upon request if agreed to by all parties and the Chair), the proceeding will pause to allow the Chair to consider it (and state it if it has not been stated aloud), and the Chair will determine whether the question will be permitted, disallowed, or rephrased.
The Chair may invite explanations or persuasive statements regarding relevance with the Advisors, if the Chair so chooses. The Chair will then state their decision on the question for the record and advise the party/witness to whom the question was directed, accordingly. The Chair will explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant, or to reframe it for relevance.
The Chair will limit or disallow questions on the basis that they are irrelevant, unduly repetitious (and thus irrelevant), or abusive. The Chair has final say on all questions and determinations of relevance. The Chair may consult with legal counsel on any questions of admissibility. The Chair may ask Advisors to frame why a question is or is not relevant from their perspective but will not entertain argument from the Advisors on relevance once the Chair has ruled on a question.
If the parties raise an issue of bias or conflict of interest of an Investigator or Decision-maker at the hearing, the Chair may elect to address those issues, consult with legal counsel, and/or refer them to the Title IX Coordinator, and/or preserve them for appeal. If bias by an Investigator or the Title IX Coordinator has not been raised as an issue by the parties, the Chair should not permit irrelevant questions that probe for bias on the part of an Investigator or the Title IX Coordinator.
Refusal to Submit to Cross-Examination and Inferences
If a party or witness chooses not to submit to cross-examination at the hearing, either because they do not attend the hearing, or because they attend but refuse to participate in some or all questioning, then the Decision-maker(s) may rely on any relevant information available through the investigation and hearing in making the ultimate determination of responsibility. Evidence provided that is something other than a statement by the party or witness may also be considered.
The Decision-maker(s) may not draw any inference solely from a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Hearings (but not deliberations) are recorded by the Institution for purposes of review in the event of an appeal. The parties may not record the proceedings and no other unauthorized recordings are permitted.
The Decision-maker(s), the parties, their Advisors, and appropriate administrators of the Institution will be permitted to watch/listen to the recording in a controlled environment determined by the Title IX Coordinator. No person will be given or be allowed to make a copy of the recording without permission of the Title IX Coordinator.
Deliberation, Decision-making, and Standard of Proof
The Decision-maker(s) will deliberate in closed session to determine whether the Respondent is responsible or not responsible for the policy violation(s) in question. If a panel is used, a simple majority vote is required to determine the finding. The preponderance of the evidence standard of proof is used.
When there is a finding of responsibility on one or more of the allegations, the Decision-maker(s) may then consider the previously submitted party impact statements in determining appropriate sanction(s).
The Chair will ensure that each of the parties has an opportunity to review any impact statement submitted by the other party(ies). The Decision-maker(s) may – at their discretion – consider the statements, but they are not binding.
The Decision-maker(s) will review the statements and any pertinent conduct history provided by the appropriate administrator and will determine the appropriate sanction(s) in consultation with other appropriate administrators, as required.
The Chair will then prepare a written deliberation statement and deliver it to the Title IX Coordinator, detailing the determination, rationale, the evidence used in support of its determination, the evidence not relied upon in its determination, credibility assessments, and any sanctions.
This report must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within five (5) business days of the end of deliberations, unless the Title IX Coordinator grants an extension. If an extension is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties.
Notice of Outcome
Using the deliberation statement, the Title IX Coordinator will work with the Chair to prepare a Notice of Outcome. The Title IX Coordinator will then share the letter, including the final determination, rationale, and any applicable sanction(s) with the parties and their Advisors within 7 business days of receiving the Decision-maker(s)’ deliberation statement.
The Notice of Outcome will then be shared with the parties simultaneously. Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person, or emailed to the parties’ University-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
The Notice of Outcome will articulate the specific policy(ies) reported to have been violated, including the relevant policy section, and will contain a description of the procedural steps taken by Gallaudet or the Clerc Center from the receipt of the misconduct report to the determination, including any and all notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to obtain evidence, and hearings held.
The Notice of Outcome will specify the finding on each alleged policy violation; the findings of fact that support the determination; conclusions regarding the application of the relevant policy to the facts at issue; a statement of, and rationale for, the result of each allegation; any sanctions issued; and any remedies provided to the Complainant designed to ensure access to the Gallaudet or the Clerc Center’s educational or employment program or activity, to the extent Gallaudet or the Clerc Center is permitted to share such information under state or federal law (this detail is not typically shared with the Respondent unless the remedy directly relates to the Respondent).
The Notice of Outcome will also include information on when the results are considered by Gallaudet or the Clerc Center to be final, any changes that occur prior to finalization, and the relevant procedures and bases for any available appeal options.
Sanctions and Remedies
Not all forms of sexual harassment will be deemed to be equally serious offenses, and the University reserves the right to impose different sanctions, ranging from verbal warning to expulsion, depending on the severity of the offense. The Institution will consider the concerns and rights of both the complainant and the respondent. The disciplinary action should be consistent with the severity of the offense. Sanctions may include educational, restorative, rehabilitative and/or punitive components. Attempts to commit acts prohibited by the Sexual Harassment Policy may be disciplined to the same extent as completed violations.
The following sanctions may be imposed for violations of the Sexual Harassment Policy. The panel may impose other sanctions instead of or in addition to those specified below, as deemed appropriate.
The following sanctions may be imposed for violations of the Sexual Harassment Policy. The panel may impose other sanctions instead of or in addition to those specified below, as deemed appropriate. Faculty may have additional processes available to them before sanctions become effective.
Sanctions or corrective actions may also be imposed in accordance with relevant policies and/or procedures and other requirements set forth in the Administrations and Operations Manual, Faculty Handbook, Supervisor’s Handbook, and other policies or handbooks that may be developed over time, or contracts.
It should be noted that compliance with the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) or the Clery Act does not violate the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The University can disclose to student complainants the final determination of any investigation or disciplinary process involving a “sex offense”, including any sanction that is imposed against the respondent.
Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending
Students: If a student has an allegation pending for violation of the Policy, the Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center may place a hold on a student’s ability to graduate and/or to receive an official transcript/diploma.
Should a student decide to not participate in the resolution process, the process proceeds absent their participation to a reasonable resolution. Should a student Respondent permanently withdraw from Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center, the resolution process ends, as the Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the withdrawn student.
However, Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that may have contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged sexual harassment and/or retaliation. The student who withdraws or leaves while the process is pending may not return to the Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center. Such exclusion applies to all campuses of Gallaudet University and/or the Clerc Center. A hold will be placed on their ability to be readmitted. They may also be barred from the Institution’s property and/or events.
If the student Respondent only withdraws or takes a leave for a specified period of time (e.g., one semester or term), the resolution process may continue remotely and that student is not permitted to return to Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center unless and until all sanctions have been satisfied.
Employees: Should an employee Respondent resign with unresolved allegations pending, the resolution process ends, as Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center no longer has disciplinary jurisdiction over the resigned employee.
However, Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center will continue to address and remedy any systemic issues, variables that contributed to the alleged violation(s), and any ongoing effects of the alleged harassment or retaliation.
The employee who resigns with unresolved allegations pending is not eligible for rehire with Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center, and the records retained by the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status.
All Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center responses to future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual will include that the former employee resigned during a pending disciplinary matter.
Both parties have equal rights to an impartial appeal and to participate equally in the appeal process, even if the party is not the appealing party. Either party may appeal the outcome determination and/or the sanctions imposed to an appeal officer identified by the Title IX Coordinator. Appeal officers are specially trained in their roles related to the adjudication of sexual harassment allegations, and receive annual training on the Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures as well as on topics relevant to the adjudication of sexual harassment allegations. The appeal officer selected to review an appeal will vary based upon the respondent’s role/relationship with the University. The Provost (and the FAC Committee, if applicable – refer to the Title IX Faculty Procedures for Severe Sanctions in the Faculty Handbook) will handle faculty appeals; the appropriate staff divisional senior administrator or Provost (or their designee) will handle staff appeals; and the Dean of Student Affairs (or their designee) will handle student appeals. The appeal officer must be impartial and free from bias or conflict of interest; otherwise they must rescue themselves from the appeal process. In such instances the Title IX Coordinator will identify an alternate appeal officer.
The purpose of the appeal is not to initiate a review of substantive issues of fact, or a new determination of whether a violation of University rules has occurred. Dissatisfaction with the outcome determination is not grounds for appeal. In any request for an appeal, the burden of proof lies with the party requesting the appeal. The appeal to the appeals officer (or their designee) must be in writing or video, and submitted within seven (7) business days of the date of the Notice of Outcome based on the following grounds listed below. This review is not a review of the merits of the appeal, but solely a determination as to whether the request meets the grounds and is timely filed.
Appeals are limited to the following grounds:
The review of the appeal will be narrowly tailored to the above stated appeal grounds. The appeal must provide a rationale for the appeal and adequate information, including documentation, in support of the grounds for appeal. The appeals officer will provide a copy of the written appeal and any supporting documentation to the other party, and the other party may submit a written response on the appeal within seven business days of the date the appeal information was received. A copy of other party’s response will be sent to the appealing party as well.
The appeals officer will consider the merits of an appeal only on the basis of the four available grounds of appeal. The appeals officer will first consider whether an appeal was timely filed and if so, whether the appeal is properly framed on the three appeal grounds. If the appeal officer determines that the appeal does not properly fit within one of the four grounds, the appeal will be denied.
Except as required to explain the basis of new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made or the sanction was clearly inappropriate and/or disproportionate to the conduct for which the person was found responsible, the review of the appeal will be limited to the written investigation report with all supporting documents and the recording from the hearing. The appeals officer may consult with the Title IX Coordinator, investigator, and/or Hearing Chair in making the appeal determination. The appeal officer has the authority to determine the relevance, strength, and value of the information provided, and/or the appropriateness of the sanction(s) issued. The Appeal Officer will render a decision in no more than 7 business days, barring exigent circumstances. All decisions apply the preponderance of the evidence standard.
A Notice of Appeal Outcome will be sent to all parties simultaneously including the decision on each approved ground and rationale for each decision. The Notice of Appeal Outcome will specify the finding on each ground for appeal, any specific instructions for remand or reconsideration, any sanctions that may result which the Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center is permitted to share according to state or federal law, and the rationale supporting the essential findings to the extent Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center is permitted to share under D.C. or federal law.
Notification will be made in writing and may be delivered by one or more of the following methods: in person or emailed to the parties’ Gallaudet-issued email or otherwise approved account. Once emailed and/or received in-person, notice will be presumptively delivered.
Sanctions Status During the Appeal
Any sanctions imposed as a result of the hearing are stayed during the appeal process. Supportive measures may be reinstated, subject to the same supportive measure procedures above. If any of the sanctions are to be implemented immediately post-hearing, but pre-appeal, then emergency removal procedures (detailed above) for a hearing on the justification for doing so must be permitted within 48 hours of implementation.
Gallaudet or the Clerc Center may still place holds on official transcripts, diplomas, graduations, and course registration pending the outcome of an appeal when the original sanctions included separation.
Long-Term Remedies/Other Actions
Following the conclusion of the resolution process, and in addition to any sanctions implemented, the Title IX Coordinator may implement additional long-term remedies or actions with respect to the parties and/or the campus community that are intended to stop the sexual harassment and/or retaliation, remedy the effects, and prevent reoccurrence.
These remedies/actions may include, but are not limited to:
At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, certain long-term support or measures may also be provided to the parties even if no policy violation is found. When no policy violation is found, the Title IX Coordinator will address any remedies owed by the Institution to the Respondent to ensure no effective denial of educational access. The Institution will maintain the privacy of any long-term remedies/actions/measures, provided privacy does not impair the Institution’s ability to provide these services.
Failure to Comply with Sanctions and/or Interim and Long-term Remedies and/or Responsive Actions
All Respondents are expected to comply with the assigned sanctions, responsive actions, and/or corrective actions within the timeframe specified by the final Decision-maker(s) (including the Appeal Officer).
Failure to abide by the sanction(s)/action(s) imposed by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect, or any other reason, may result in additional sanction(s)/action(s), including suspension, expulsion, and/or termination from Gallaudet University or the Clerc Center.
A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Title IX Coordinator.
The Institution will maintain for a period of at least seven years records of:
The Institution will also maintain any and all records in accordance with D.C. and federal laws.
Disabilities Accommodations in the Resolution Process
The Institution are committed to providing reasonable accommodations and support to qualified students, employees, or others with disabilities to ensure equal access to the Institution’s resolution process.
Anyone needing such accommodations or support should contact the Office of Students with Disabilities (OSWD) or the Equal Opportunity Programs (EOP) Office who will review the request and, in consultation with the person requesting the accommodation and the Title IX Coordinator, determine which accommodations are appropriate and necessary for full participation in the process.
Revision of this Policy and Procedures
This Policy and procedures supersede any previous policy(ies) addressing harassment, sexual misconduct and/or retaliation under Title IX and will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator. Gallaudet University and the Clerc Center reserve the right to make changes to this document as necessary, and once those changes are posted online, they are in effect.
During the resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedures that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party, such as to accommodate summer schedules. The Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the institutional website, with the appropriate effective date identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this Policy and procedures.
If government laws or regulations change – or court decisions alter – the requirements in a way that impacts this document, this document will be construed to comply with the most recent government regulations or holdings.
This document does not create legally enforceable protections beyond the protection of the background state and federal laws which frame such policies and codes, generally.
This Policy and procedures are effective August 14, 2020.
Approved by: Gallaudet University Administration
THE SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICY WAS DEVELOPED IN PART FROM THE USE AND ADAPTATION OF THE ATIXA 2020 INTERIM MODEL SEXUAL HARASSMENT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES WITH CITATION TO ATIXA IS PERMITTED THROUGH A LIMITED LICENSE TO GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY AND THE CLERC CENTER. ALL OTHER RIGHTS RESERVED. ©2020. ATIXA.
SOME MATERIAL WAS ALSO DEVELOPED IN PART FROM THE USE AND ADAPTION OF THE SUNY STUDENT CONDUCT INSTITUTE MODEL TITLE IX POLICY FOR MEMBERS OF THE STUDENT CONDUCT INSTITUTE, WHICH GALLAUDET UNIVERSITY IS A MEMBER. ©2020 THE STATE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
Administrations and Operations Policy #1.13 (Clerc Center)
Administrations and Operations Policy #1.27: Bullying in the Workplace
Administrations and Operations Policy #2.28: Anti-Discrimination Policy and Complaint Procedure Title IX Office
Administration and Operations Policy #3.01: Equal Employment Opportunity
The Handbook of the University Faculty
B. Resources and Support
Gallaudet is committed to treating all members of the community with dignity, care and respect. Any individual who experiences or is affected by sexual harassment or sexual misconduct, whether a reporting party, responding party, or third party, will have equal access to support and/or counseling services through the University. Gallaudet takes the necessary steps to reduce the need for reactive intervention by providing preventive and risk education and training and by preparing and disseminating educational print material, videos, workshops, training seminars and academic course offerings related to sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Gallaudet encourages reporting of incidents and also attempts to eliminate pressure that might lead University community members to choose to not report a sexual harassment or sexual misconduct incident or to minimize its seriousness by providing a process whereby the parties involved are treated with dignity; privacy and confidentiality are maintained to the fullest extent possible; allegations of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct are investigated promptly and thoroughly; and that all members of the Gallaudet University community are provided with full support and assistance.
Your health, safety, and well-being are the University’s primary concern. If you or someone you know may be the victim of any form of sexual harassment or sexual assault including intimate relationship violence, you are strongly urged to seek immediate assistance. Individuals who may be victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault (the term used in the District of Columbia Criminal Code) should first go to a safe place where you or the victim is in no immediate danger. Any individual in a medical or other emergency situation should consider going immediately to the Washington Hospital Center for a sexual assault exam or an intimate partner violence (IPV) examination. On-campus contacts identified in the On-Campus Resource listing can provide guidance and support in such instances.
Medical Attention and Preserving the Evidence
Immediately following a sexual assault incident, medical attention and preserving the evidence is first and foremost, as the evidence will be helpful if one decides to pursue criminal action. Many sexual assault violations are also crimes in D.C. or the locality in which the incident occurred; for that reason, individuals experiencing sexual assault often have legal options that they can pursue. Regardless of whether an incident of sexual assault is reported to the police or the University, Gallaudet encourages individuals who have experienced sexual assault to preserve evidence to the greatest extent possible, as this will best maintain all legal options for them in the future. While the University does not conduct forensic tests for parties involved in a complaint of sexual assault, the results of such tests that have been conducted by law enforcement agencies and/or medical assistance providers may be submitted as information to be considered in a University investigation or proceeding, provided that such information is readily available at the time of the investigation or proceeding.
Following a sexual assault incident, one should not douche, bathe, shower, urinate, or change clothes before seeking medical attention, if possible. The location of the incident should not be disturbed, if possible, also to collect evidence for reporting purposes. If there is suspicion that a drink may have been drugged, an individual should inform a medical assistance provider (SANE nurse, for example) and/or law enforcement so that they can attempt to collect possible evidence (e.g. from the drink, through urine or blood sample). Screen shots should be taken of information from electronic communications (text messages, instant messages, social networking pages, or other electronic communications) and photos should be retained. These steps will help to preserve the evidence, if one should choose to report the incident.
Washington Hospital Center is the only local hospital that has a survivor-advocate program and sexual assault nurse examiners (SANE) in the District of Columbia. Washington Hospital Center also offers intimate partner violence (IPV) examinations. Other hospitals or health centers may be visited, but SANE at Washington Hospital Center are specifically trained to work with sexual assault survivors. It is recommended to have a sexual assault nurse examine you within 96 hours of the incident, but even if 96 hours has passed since the incident, a medical examination should be conducted as soon as possible. The sexual assault nurse examination may include STI, HIV, and pregnancy testing and medical treatment. The victim has the right to decline any medical services.
DAWN and the Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC) offer a survivor-advocate program, if one wishes to have someone with them during the medical exam. The authorities will be contacted to take a report of the incident at the hospital, if requested. An interpreter will be provided by the Washington Hospital Center.
Regardless of whether or not a student chooses to formally report sexual harassment including sexual assault, it is important that he or she get appropriate medical attention and emotional support. University community members can contact any of the listed confidential resources for confidential help in deciding what to do next or for assistance in accessing other resources. Individuals who choose not to formally report an incident can still receive services from the offices listed under On-Campus Resources and Off-Campus Resources.
C. Educational and Prevention Programs
Gallaudet is committed to the prevention of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct through educational and awareness programs. Gallaudet takes the necessary steps to reduce the need for reactive intervention by providing preventive and risk education and training and by preparing and disseminating educational print material, videos, workshops, training seminars and academic course offerings related to sexual harassment, misconduct, intimate relationship violence, and stalking throughout the year. Prevention program topics include an overview of the Universities’ policies and procedures, relevant definitions, including prohibited conduct, effective consent, the impact of alcohol and illegal drug use, safe and positive options for bystander intervention (including “Green Dot” training), awareness campaigns such as “Take Back the Night” and “Dare to Utter”, and information about risk reduction. Incoming first year students are required to take an online course, “Haven” that addresses sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, and receive primary prevention and awareness programming as part of their orientation. An online training module provided by EverFi is also offered to all students and employees on an annual basis. A majority of educational programs and materials include a review of resources and reporting options available for students.
D. Sexual Misconduct – Risk Reduction Tips (from the Association of Title IX Administrators (ATIXA)
Risk reduction tips can often take a victim-blaming tone, even unintentionally. With no intention to victim-blame, and with recognition that only those who commit sexual misconduct are responsible for those actions, these suggestions may nevertheless help you to reduce your risk experiencing a non-consensual sexual act. The following are suggestions to help individuals reduce their risk of being victimized and their risk of committing acts of sexual misconduct.
Reducing the risk of victimization:
Reducing the risk of being accused of sexual misconduct:
E. Safe and Positive Options for Bystander Intervention
Bystander intervention is an act of standing up against power-based personal violence. It can be any behavior, choice, word, or attitude that promotes safety for all our community members and communicates intolerance for violence. We want to have the best college experience and should be able to feel safe on campus. One way to do that is for peers to watch out for each other. The following strategies of bystander intervention (from the Green Dot program) are options to try when you see something that concerns you.
F. On and Off Campus Resources
The on-campus resources listed below are able to assist those who come to them with a concern related to sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, intimate relationship violence, or stalking.
University community members have the right to file a report with the District of Columbia Police and are provided information on how to access them. Individuals are advised of options, as provided by District and Federal laws and regulations, with regard to testing sexual assault suspects for communicable diseases and the concomitant (accompanying) right to be notified of the results of such testing.
A variety of external resources are available for victims, including the D.C. Rape Crisis Center, which provides counseling sessions and referrals to legal, medical, and counseling facilities and resources.
Washington Hospital Center
Emergency and Trauma
110 Irving Street NW
Washington, DC 20010
Provides a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program (professional rape exam), medical attention, follow-up care and referrals, screening and STI treatment.
5321 First Place NE
Washington, DC 20011
firstname.lastname@example.org (Mon – Fri, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM)
Focuses on deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf-blind survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault; DAWN provides an e-mail hotline Mondays through Fridays between 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM; DAWN also provides individual professional counseling, support groups, and serves as advocates.
D.C. Rape Crisis Center
202-333-RAPE (7273) 24-hour Hotline
Provides individual counseling and companion service.
District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department
Deaf and Hard of Hearing Liaison Unit (DHHU)
801 Shepherd Street NW
Hours: 24 hours, daily
For immediate police service, always call 911Provides the following services: sign language interpretation to aid deaf and hard of hearing citizens in their interaction with MPD, making official reports off-campus, assisting in contacting outside organizations, and leading investigations.
Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN)
2000 L Street NW, Suite 406
Washington, DC 20036
http://www.rainn.org http://online.rainn.org (online hotline)
National Center for Victims of Crime
Stalking Resource Center
2000 M Street NW, Suite 480
The mission of the National Center for Victims of Crime is to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives. They are dedicated to serving individuals, families, and communities harmed by crime. One of their programs is the Stalking Resource Center.
Network for Victim Recovery of DC (NVRDC)
Network for Victim Recovery of DC aims to change the impact of victimization by providing holistic, comprehensive services to all crime victims in DC. By meeting a victim where they are at, NVRDC staff provides civil and criminal legal services, advocacy, and case management.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
UASK DC”U ASK DC” phone app
U ASK is a project of Men Can Stop Rape and the District of Columbia Executive Office of the Mayor Office of Victim Services. It provides secure and confidential services on sexual assault in the District of Columbia and specifically on DC college campuses.
DeafLead Videophone Crisis Line
321-800-3323Text HAND to 839863
DeafLEAD has a 24/7/365 nationwide crisis videophone hotline service to Deaf individuals who are victims of crime. Deaf individuals are now able to access immediate assistance and resources that are both culturally and linguistically accessible using a trauma-informed approach.
Licensed Professional Counselors Inquire with the Counseling and Psychological Services for a list of licensed professional counselors serving the deaf and hard of hearing locally and, if available, in your hometown.
G. DC Code Definitions and Statutes
The District of Columbia criminal law does not define the term “sexual assault”, as such. However, the District of Columbia has defined crimes known as sexual abuse. The crimes distinguish between sexual acts and sexual contacts. The specified meaning of those terms is set forth below.
Sexual act means:
Sexual contact means the touching with any clothed or unclothed body part or any object, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
Sexual Abuse in the First Degree (D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3002)
A person commits First Degree Sexual Abuse if that person engages in or causes another person to engage in or submit to a sexual act in the following manner:
Sexual Abuse in the Second Degree (D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3003)
A person commits Second Degree Sexual Abuse if that person engages in or causes another person to engage in or submit to a sexual act in the following manner:
Sexual Abuse in the Third Degree (D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3004)
A person commits sexual abuse in the third degree if that person engages in or causes sexual contact with or by another person in the following manner:
Sexual Abuse in the Fourth Degree (D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3005)
A person commits the crime of sexual abuse in the fourth degree, if that person engages in or causes sexual contact with or by another person in the following manner:
Misdemeanor Sexual Abuse (D.C. Code Ann. § 22-3006)
Whoever engages in a sexual act or sexual contact with another person and who should have knowledge or reason to know that the act was committed without that other person’s permission, is guilty of misdemeanor sexual abuse.
Consent means words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual act or contact in question. Lack of verbal or physical resistance or submission by the victim, resulting from the use of force, threats or coercion by the defendant shall not constitute consent. Consent is a defense to sexual abuse (in the 1st through the 4th degree) and misdemeanor sexual abuse.
In the District of Columbia, domestic violence can be defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner, dating partner, or family member.
The term “domestic violence” includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic, or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This consists of any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.
The District of Columbia also defines domestic violence by reference to the terms intimate partner violence and IntraFamily Violence.
The term intimate partner violence means “an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person:
The term intrafamily violence means “an act punishable as a criminal offense that is committed or threatened to be committed by an offender upon a person to whom the offender is related by blood, adoption, legal custody, marriage, or domestic partnership or with whom the offender has a child in common.”
The District of Columbia does not define the term dating violence, as such. However, reference is made to dating relationships and other intimate relationships in the definition of domestic violence. Accordingly, dating violence is a form of domestic violence.
Dating violence can be properly defined as a pattern of abusive behavior in any romantic, dating, intimate or sexual relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner or dating partner. The term “dating violence” includes physical, sexual, emotional, economic or psychological actions or threats of actions that influence another person. This consists of any behaviors that intimidate, manipulate, humiliate, isolate, frighten, terrorize, coerce, threaten, blame, hurt, injure or wound someone.
The act of stalking occurs when a person purposefully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific individual with the intent to cause that individual to:
Such conduct constitutes the crime of stalking if that the person knows the conduct would cause that individual reasonably to:
“To engage in a course of conduct” means directly or indirectly, or through one or more third persons, in person or by any means, on 2 or more occasions, to:
H. Definitions and Terms: Violence Against Women Act (from 42 USC § 13925) and The Clery Center for Security on Campus
Domestic violence: The term “domestic violence” includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed:
Dating violence: The term “dating violence” means violence committed by a person:
For the purposes of this definition, dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. Dating violence does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
Stalking: The term “stalking” means engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to:
For the purposes of this definition, course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
Sexual Assault: The term “sexual assault” is an offense classified as a forcible or non-forcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that meets the definition of rape, fondling, incest or statutory rape
Sex Offenses: The term “sex offenses” means any sexual act directed against another person, without the consent of the victim, including instances where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
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