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The Grievance Process

Brief Overview of the Grievance Process

If a Complainant chooses to address the complaint via Grievance process, they must submit a Formal Complaint. Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the University shall provide an Initial Notice to Parties, which will include sufficient details known at that time and inform the parties of the Prehearing Investigation.

The prehearing investigation is utilized to gather information regarding the allegations made in the Formal Complaint. The Complainant (person alleging harm) and the Respondent (person accused of perpetrating the harm) are provided with an equal opportunity to share their accounts of the alleged incident(s), provide the names of witnesses, and offer evidence in support of their accounts. The Respondent is not presumed responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination is made at the end of the investigation and hearing process.

Upon completion of the investigation, the university shall create an Investigative Report, which fairly summarizes the relevant evidence.Both the Complainant and the Respondent are provided with an equal opportunity to inspect the Investigative Report.An advisor (a support person) may assist either party throughout the process.The Complainant and Respondent are responsible for selecting an advisor, although upon request, the University is able to provide an advisor during the Grievance Process.It should be noted that parents are welcome to serve as an advisor.However, the student must make the decision to appoint a parent as an advisor and communicate that decision with the Office of Title IX Compliance.

Provided the Formal Complaint is not dismissed or resolved by Informal Resolution (see the Informal Resolution section for more information), the Formal Complaint shall proceed to a live hearing.A live hearing will be conducted to determine the outcome and resolution of the Formal Complaint.The parties and their advisors will be notified of the date, time, and location of the hearing.

A four-member panel, known as the Hearing Panel, will objectively and thoroughly evaluate all relevant evidence and reach an independent decision concerning whether a policy violation has occurred using a standard of proof known as “preponderance of the evidence.” Stated another way, this means a reasonable person would likely conclude that it is more likely than not that a policy violation occurred based upon the available evidence and known facts that were gathered in the prehearing investigation.

Once the hearing panel reaches a determination regarding responsibility, they will produce a Written Determination Regarding Responsibility, which will include information about the Formal Complaint, current procedures, a rationale for their decision and disciplinary sanctions and remedies (if any).Both parties will receive concurrent notification of the decision and either party may appeal within three days of receipt of the decision.

Appeals are reviewed by an appeal officer. The appeal officer will make a determination based on the information provided. The appeal officer’s decision is final, and no further appeals are offered under the policy.

It is recommended that you review the Title IX Policy in its entirety for a full overview and explanation of the investigation and adjudication process. You may find our policy here: https://www.angelo.edu/live/files/22689-op-1603-sexual-harassment-sexual-assault-sexual.