Do I have enough information/evidence to constitute proof of a Title IX policy violation?
Webster University uses the preponderance of evidence standard when determining findings of responsibility. Since the finding is based on evidence showing that it is more likely than not that the sexual misconduct occurred, it is important to have as much evidence as possible to support your case. However, if you believe that you are a victim of sexual harassment, the Title IX Office encourages you to file a report regardless of how much evidence you have acquired.
Will I have to interact with the Respondent on campus after I file a Title IX report?
No. The Title IX Office will put a mutual “no contact order” in place. Communication between the parties, in any way, on or off campus, may be viewed as a violation of University policy and may result in disciplinary action.
I witnessed something happening on campus, but it does not directly concern me. Should I contact the Title IX Office?
Yes. Bystander intervention is important to keep the Webster community safe from incidents of sexual harassment. Each student and employee play an important role in helping to ensure safety. If you see something, say something.
A student disclosed some concerning information to me. I have heard about “responsible employees,” but I am not sure if I am one or not. What should I do?
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 Title IX Office. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the student who disclosed the incident of sexual or gender-based harassment and offer to meet.
A Title IX case has been filed against me. Does this mean that I am going to lose my job/get expelled from school?
Once a Title IX report had been made, the Title IX Office 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/major, campus ban, suspension from the University for a semester, permanent dismissal/termination.
What is an “advisor”? Should I have one?
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 that they want to assist them with navigating and understanding the investigation process, including providing support during each portion of the investigation process and any meeting or interview that is associated with the investigation 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 his/her 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 Title IX Officer; 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 then Webster University will provide an advisor of the University’s own choosing, to that party, merely 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.
My friends and I are all victims of sexual harassment by one Respondent. However, I am the only one who will contact the Title IX Office. The others refuse to come forward. What can I do?
The Title IX Office 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.
What is the difference between an Informal Resolution Process and a Live Hearing Process?
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. Cross examination will be allowed at the live hearing by an advisor chosen by each party. 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 a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the decision-maker(s) must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility; provided, however, that 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.
How much time will my Title IX case take from beginning to end?
The University intends to complete a typical grievance process within ninety (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 ninety days. The Title IX Office will remain in contact with both parties and provide continual timeframe updates throughout the investigation.
If I have been drinking or using drugs and was a witness and/or the victim of sexual harassment, will I receive conduct sanctions if I report to Title IX?
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.