XIII. Special Procedures for Handling Sexual Misconduct Complaints

Due to the special nature of these cases and in compliance with federal law, the COD has certain special procedures unique to the resolution of complaints alleging violation of MIT’s sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, and stalking policies. These procedures supplement and modify the general COD procedures in handling complaints of student misconduct, intimate partner violence, and stalking.  In the event that there is any inconsistency between these special procedures and the general procedures of the COD, these special procedures prevail.

A. Informal resolution methods, such as mediation, are not available for complaints alleging sexual assault or other violence.

B. The COD will usually not stay a complaint of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, or stalking if there is an external criminal investigation or other outside proceeding until the conclusion of the outside proceeding.  The COD may defer proceedings for a short period of time as necessary not to interfere with the evidence-gathering stage of a criminal investigation.

C. In cases of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, or stalking, or other gender-based misconduct, both parties have a right to appeal the decision of a COD sexual misconduct hearing panel or a COD sexual misconduct sanctioning panel, regardless of the finding of responsibility or the assigned sanction, except that a finding of responsibility cannot be appealed after a sexual misconduct sanctioning panel.

D. Notice of outcomes relating to allegations of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, or stalking will be provided to both the complainant and the respondent.

E.  In general, complaints of sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, and stalking will be only be heard by members of the sexual misconduct subcommittee of the COD (the subcommittee). The Chair has final authority to determine which process will be used to resolve any particular case.

i. The subcommittee consists of six COD members who have been specially selected for this subcommittee and received additional training.  See section XVII (D).  The subcommittee will not include any students.

F. Procedures for responding to complaints assigned to the sexual misconduct subcommittee

  1. After MIT receives notice that a student is alleged to have engaged in sexual misconduct, intimate partner violence, or stalking, and after determining that the complainant wishes to pursue a complaint and/or the initial allegations are sufficiently serious, the Title IX Office or the COD will direct a trained, professional, impartial investigator who has no conflicts of interest (“investigator”) to conduct an inquiry. The inquiry consists of information gathering to determine as a preliminary matter whether an allegation warrants further, formal review. The inquiry shall, at minimum, include meeting with the complainant or reviewing material information and providing an opportunity for the respondent to meet with the investigator.
     
  2. At the conclusion of the inquiry, the investigator makes a recommendation about the initial status of the complaint.
    1. If the investigator believes that the conduct alleged would constitute a violation of MIT policy if it were true, the investigator conducts a full investigation.
    2. If the investigator believes that the conduct alleged would not constitute a violation of MIT policy even if all allegations in the complaint were assumed to be true for the sake of this analysis, the investigator presents a written summary of the case to the Chair and recommends dismissal.
      1. If the Chair accepts the investigator’s assessment that even if all of the allegations were true, there is no policy violation, the Chair dismisses the case.  There is no further investigation.  The Chair’s decision to dismiss a case is final; there is no appeal.
      2. If the Chair does not accept the investigator’s assessment or feels that more information is needed, the Chair directs the investigator to conduct a full investigation.
         
  3. The investigator conducts a full investigation.  A full investigation is a neutral fact-finding and information gathering process that is designed to examine all of the facts and circumstances that shed light on the allegations.  An investigation includes, at minimum, the respondent receiving written notice of the situation and both the complainant and the respondent having an ability to meet with the investigator, an opportunity to submit written statements, and an opportunity to respond to the facts and statements gathered during the investigation.  The investigator will also typically meet with any relevant witnesses.

a. During the investigation, all parties are required to affirm that materials they submit to the COD are their own work.  Outside collaborators, including an advisor, must be cited.

b. Participation in the investigation is optional, but the investigation will usually proceed without the participation of a party and failing to participate in the investigation generally forecloses the possibility of participating during later COD proceedings in the same case.

  1. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator creates a written report and makes a recommended finding of responsibility based on the report.  The investigator’s recommendation is not binding.
     
  2. The written report and the investigator’s recommendation are reviewed by a faculty member from the subcommittee.  The purpose of this review is to provide an independent review of the report from someone who is trained in these issues but has not been involved in the case.  The review will evaluate the report for completeness, ensure there is no bias, and that the recommendation is supported by the facts of the case.  At the conclusion of the review, the reviewing subcommittee member will either:

a.  Agree with the investigator’s recommendation and approve the report for presentation to the complainant and the respondent without changes; or

b.  Direct the investigator to pursue additional lines of inquiry, make revisions, or other suggestions that are materially relevant to the recommendation or facts necessary to make a recommendation.

  1. When the investigator and the reviewing subcommittee member both agree with the recommendation and approve the report, it is presented to both the complainant and respondent.  The complainant and the respondent will have an opportunity to view the report by coming to the Title IX Office or the Office of Student Citizenship, but in general, copies of the report will not be distributed.
     
  2. Upon reviewing the report, the complainant and the respondent will each have the opportunity to accept the investigator’s and reviewing subcommittee member’s recommended finding of responsibility or reject it.
     
  3. The investigator will then present the report, and the acceptance or rejection of the recommendation of both the complainant and the respondent to the Chair.  The Chair will review the case and determine which COD method to use to resolve the case.

a. If the Chair determines that suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation for a student or suspension of recognition or loss or recognition for a student organization is not appropriate even if the allegations in the report are true, the Chair will adjudicate the case as an administrative resolution.  Administrative resolution may be used regardless of whether or not the parties agree with the recommendation of the investigator.  The Chair will use the normal process for administrative resolutions specified in Section VII (A), except that no students shall be involved in adjudicating the case.

b. If the Chair determines (i) that suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation for a student or suspension of recognition or loss or recognition for a student organization is possible, (ii) the investigator’s recommended finding is responsible, and (iii) both the complainant and respondent accept the finding of responsibility, the Chair will assign the case to a sexual misconduct sanctioning panel.  The procedure for the sexual misconduct sanctioning panel is described in Section XV.

c. If the COD Chair determines that (i) suspension, expulsion, or degree revocation for a student or suspension of recognition or loss or recognition for a student organization is possible and (ii) either the complainant or the respondent do not agree with the investigator’s recommended finding of responsibility, the Chair will convene a COD sexual misconduct hearing.  The procedure for the sexual misconduct hearing is described in Section XIV.

 

 

 

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