Webster University takes its Title IX obligations and the safety of our students very seriously. Filing a report with the Office for Civil Rights Compliance is important because in order to address the behavior, the OCRC needs to be aware of incidents of sexual harassment in Webster’s community. Informing the Office for Civil Rights Compliance allows interim measures to be put into place to protect victims, and allows both the complainant and respondent to receive support services. Additionally, Title IX reports allow the OCR to recognize patterns and provide opportunities for additional training.
Yes. Bystander intervention is important to keep the Webster community safe from incidents of sexual harassment. Each student and employee plays an important role in helping to ensure safety. If you see something, say something.
All Webster University employees have received Title IX training and are aware of their obligation to report sexual harassment on campus to the Title IX Coordinator. Once a student discloses an incident to you, you have an obligation to notify the Office for Civil Rights Compliance. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the student who disclosed the incident of sexual or gender-based harassment and offer to meet.
Once a Title IX report had been made, the Office for Civil Rights Compliance will conduct a thorough investigation. If you are found to be responsible of a violation of the Sexual Harassment policy, sanctions may include, but are not limited to, educational counseling, no contact order (no contact of any kind between parties), removal from academic program or major, campus ban, suspension from the University for a semester, permanent dismissal or termination.
The role of the advisor is one of emotional support for the involved party. The right to an advisor is extended so that the reporting or responding party can identify someone who they want to assist them with navigating and understanding the investigation process. This includes providing support during each portion of the investigation process and any meeting or interview that is associated with that process.
It is recommended that an advisor not be someone who is a witness in the same matter. An advisor may not speak or act on behalf of a reporting or responding party, including answering questions for or on their behalf; stand in for, or represent a reporting or responding party; disseminate by any medium or form any information shared or learned throughout the investigation process with anyone other than the reporting or responding party for whom they serve as an advisor, or the Office for Civil Rights Compliance; act as or represent themselves or another as an investigator for the Title IX process during the investigation process; contact a witness or other party participating in the investigation process; or impede the investigation process or act in a manner that obstructs the investigator or disrupts the investigation process.
In addition to the emotional support role, the complainant and respondent are required to have an advisor whose purpose will be to provide cross-examination at the hearing. An advisor need not be an attorney providing legal representation to the party. No training or qualification is necessary for a person to serve as a provided advisor. Parties retain the opportunity to select their own advisor of choice. If a party does not exercise that opportunity, Webster University will provide an advisor of the University’s own choosing, to that party, for the purpose of relaying the party’s cross-examination questions to the other party and witnesses so that a party never personally conducts cross-examination.
The Office for Civil Rights Compliance encourages you to come forward with your report. The other alleged victims may choose to be witnesses in your case or may choose to come forward later with a separate report.
Both parties must agree on the desired process through voluntary, informed and written consent. The University may not require as a condition of enrollment or continuing enrollment, or employment or continuing employment, or enjoyment of any other right, waiver of the right to an investigation and adjudication of formal complaints. Webster University may not require the parties to participate in informal resolution and may not offer informal resolution unless a formal complaint is filed. At any time prior to agreeing to a resolution, any party has the right to withdraw from informal resolution and resume the grievance process with respect to the formal complaint. Webster University will not offer or facilitate an Informal Resolution Process to resolve allegations that an employee sexually harassed a student. Informal resolution may encompass a broad range of conflict resolution strategies, including, but not limited to, arbitration, mediation or restorative justice. Supportive measures will be non-disciplinary and non-punitive through this process, unless such measures are agreed to by the respondent.
The second process is the Live Hearing. If both parties do not agree to informal resolution or prefer to follow the formal process, a Live Hearing will be held. In the case of a report concerning a student and an employee, the Live Hearing is the only option. At the Live Hearing, the decision maker(s) must permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. At the request of either party, the University will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision maker(s) and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party answering questions. If a party does not have an advisor present at the Live Hearing, the University will provide without fee or charge to that party, an advisor of the school’s choice, who may be, but is not required to be, an attorney to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party if the parties agree to cross-examination.
If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the Live Hearing, the decision maker(s) may still rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The decision maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the Live Hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.
Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, 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.
The University intends to complete a typical grievance process within 90 days following receipt of the report. Due to the number of witnesses being interviewed and a choice of a Live Hearing, some cases may extend longer than 90 days. The Office for Civil Rights Compliance will remain in contact with both parties and provide continual time frame updates throughout the investigation.
The University recognizes that an individual who has been drinking or using drugs at the time of the incident may be hesitant to make a report because of potential consequences for his/her/their own conduct, which may violate other University policies and codes of conduct.
An individual who reports sexual harassment, either as a complainant or a third-party witness, will not be subject to disciplinary action by the University, for his/her/their own personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health or safety of any other person at risk. The University may, however, initiate an educational discussion or pursue other educational remedies regarding alcohol or other drugs. This amnesty policy applies to the University's student conduct process, as well as related policies applicable to students, faculty and staff.
While the University may waive disciplinary action under its policies related to use of alcohol and drugs as indicated above, it retains the responsibility to report any illegal use of these substances as required by law, and will act in compliance with those laws.