Sexual Harassment Policy

F.1

I. INTRODUCTION

The University of Southern Indiana (“University” or “USI”) embraces and celebrates the many differences that exist among the members of a dynamic, intellectual, and inclusive community, and strives to maintain an environment that respects differences and provides a sense of belonging and inclusion for everyone. In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 and its implementing regulations, the University prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, including Sexual Harassment (as defined below), in its education programs or activities. This prohibition on sex discrimination includes, but is not limited to, admission and employment.

II. SCOPE

The focus of this policy is the protection of educational and employment opportunity regardless of sex for students, faculty, administrators, and support staff at the University. For students, compliance with this policy is a term and condition of enrollment at the University. For faculty, administrators and support staff, compliance with this policy is a term and condition of employment with the University.

III. JURISDICTION

This policy applies to all USI faculty, staff, students, and visitors. This policy applies in connection with any USI education program or activity, whether on or off campus, including academic, educational, extra-curricular, athletic, residential, employment (including work-study), and other College programs and activities. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for determining whether matters fall under the jurisdiction of this policy and may consult with others, as appropriate, in making this determination. Alleged conduct that does not fall within the definition of Sexual Harassment set forth in this policy may be addressed under other applicable policies.

IV. Title IX Coordinator

The Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s compliance with Title IX and other applicable federal and state laws, including review, investigation, and resolution of reports of violations of this policy, as well as the coordination of primary and ongoing training programs and education regarding the definition of Sexual Harassment, the scope of the University’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process, including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. The Title IX Coordinator may designate other University personnel or external consultants to assist and support compliance efforts or to act as a designee in cases of conflict of interest or in other situations where a designee is deemed necessary to maintain the University’s compliance under this policy and applicable state and federal laws.

USI has designated Carrie Lynn to serve as its Title IX Coordinator. Her contact information is:

Ms. Carrie Lynn
Title IX Coordinator
Wright Administration Building, Forum Wing, Room FA171
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1703
cnlynn@usi.edu

Dameion Doss is USI’s full-time Deputy Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator. His contact information is:

Mr. Dameion Doss
Deputy Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator
Wright Administration Building, Forum Wing, Room 171
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1835
ddoss@usi.edu

USI has designated Dr. Shelly Blunt and Laurie Berry to serve as its Deputy Title IX Coordinators. Their contact information is:

Dr. Shelly Blunt
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Wright Administration Building, Room 103A
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-465-1617
sblunt@usi.edu

Ms. Laurie Berry
Assistant Dean of Students
University Center East, Room 1229
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1862
lberry@usi.edu

V. Definitions

Capitalized terms used in this policy have the following meanings:

“Actual Knowledge” means notice of Sexual Harassment or allegations of Sexual Harassment to USI’s Title IX Coordinator or any USI official who has authority to institute corrective measures on behalf of the University. This standard is not met when the only official of the recipient with actual knowledge is the Respondent.

“Advisor” means a person selected by the Complainant or Respondent, or appointed by USI, who may be present during the Formal Complaint Resolution Process and related meetings. An Advisor may be an attorney.

“Appellate Officer” means the individual designated by the University to decide Appeals in accordance with Section VI, below. The Appellate Officer is the Vice President for Finance and Administration or designee.

“Business Days”means Monday through Fridays when the University’s administrative offices are operational for business.

“Complainant” means an individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment.

“Consent” means a clear, knowing, and voluntary agreement to participate in a given activity. To give consent, individuals must be awake, of legal age, and have the capacity to reasonably understand the nature of their actions. Individuals who are Incapacitated cannot give consent. Consent can be given by words, conduct, or actions, as long as those words, conduct, or actions create mutually understandable, clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Individuals may not use Force or Coercion as a method of obtaining consent. Consent may be withdrawn by either person at any time, and once withdrawal of consent is expressed, the sexual activity must stop. Consent to any one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to engage in any other forms of sexual activity. Previous relationships or prior consent to engage in sexual activity with any individual does not automatically imply consent to engage in future sexual acts with the same or other individuals.

“Incapacitated” means a state in which one cannot make rational or reasonable decisions because one lacks the capacity to give knowing and voluntary consent (i.e., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why, or how” of one’s sexual interaction). Sexual activity with someone whom one should know to be, or based on the circumstances, should reasonably have known to be, Incapacitated (e.g., by alcohol or other drug use, by a state of unconsciousness or by an apparent or known mental or cognitive disability) constitutes a violation of this policy.

“Force” means physical violence and or physically imposing one’s self on another to gain sexual access. Force also includes threats or implied threats, or other forms of intimidation that overcome resistance or produce consent.

“Coercion” means unreasonable and continued pressure for sexual activity. Coercive behavior differs from seductive behavior based on the type of pressure one uses to get consent from another. Pressure that continues beyond the following points can be considered coercive: (i) when one makes it clear to another that one does not want sexual activity, (ii) when one makes it clear to another that one wishes to stop sexual behavior that already has begun, (iii) when one makes it clear to another that one does not want to go past a certain point of sexual interaction.

“Cross Examination” means a party’s advisor asking the other party and any witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility, at the Live Hearing, directly, verbally, and in real time, and never by a party personally.

“Concurrent Student Conduct Charges” means student conduct charges that do not involve sex discrimination or Sexual Harassment, but arise out of the same facts or circumstances as a report or compliant of sex discrimination, or a report or Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment.

“Decision-Makers” means members of the three-person panel of trained faculty, staff, and/or administrative officials who are assigned by the Title IX Coordinator or designee and who hear and reach a determination regarding a Formal Complaint alleging Sexual Harassment in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section VI, below. One of the three Decision-Makers in any hearing shall be the Hearing Officer.

“Deliberate Indifference” means when a response to Sexual Harassment is clearly unreasonable in light of the known circumstances.

“Emergency Removal” means removal of the Respondent from the University’s education program or activity on an emergency basis following the University’s individualized assessment and determination that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of a student or individual arising from the allegations of Sexual Harassment justifies removal.

“Employee Who Can Take Corrective Action” means the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students, Executive Director of Human Resources, Director of Public Safety, and Assistant Director of Public Safety

“Formal Complaint” means a document filed by a Complainant or signed by the Title IX Coordinator alleging Sexual Harassment against a Respondent and requesting investigation of the allegations.

“Formal Notice” means the written notice the University provides to the parties who are known following receipt of a Formal Complaint.

“Formal Complaint Resolution Process” is the process outlined in Section VI, below.

“Hearing Officer” means the individual designated by USI who is responsible for managing the conduct of a hearing on a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section VI, below. The Hearing Officer is also a Decision-Maker.

“Informal Resolution” means the process outlined herein for resolving a Formal Complaint with the voluntary written consent of both the Complainant and Respondent and consistent with the other conditions and procedures set out in Section VI, below.

“Investigative Report” is a written report prepared by the Investigator that summarizes relevant evidence gathered in an investigation and relating to a Formal Complaint.

“Investigator” means the trained individual designated by USI to gather information in response to a Formal Complaint.

“Live Hearing” means the live hearing before the Decision-Makers, one of which is the Hearing Officer, where each party’s advisor may ask – directly, verbally, and in real time – the other party and any witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. A Live Hearing may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same location or, at the University’s discretion, with all parties, witnesses, and other participants appearing virtually, with technology enabling them simultaneously to see and hear each other.

“Parties” means the Complainant(s) and Respondent(s).

“Preponderance of the Evidence” means more likely than not.

“Presumption of Not Responsible” means that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged Sexual Harassment until a determination of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.

“Program or Activity” means locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Harassment allegedly occurs, and also includes any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University.

“Relevancy” means having some reasonable connection to and having some value or tendency to prove or disprove a matter of factual significance. Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless 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.

“Remedies” means measures designed to restore or preserve equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Remedies may include supportive measures; however, Remedies need not be non-disciplinary or non-punitive and need not avoid burdening the Respondent.

“Respondent” means an individual who has been alleged to be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Harassment.

“Responsible Employees” means all faculty, all administrators, and certain designated support staff and student workers, including Resident Assistants, Public Safety Staff (specifically, Public Safety Officers, Sergeants, Staff Sergeants, Dispatchers, Senior Administrative Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Student Workers), and Dean of Student’s Office (specifically, Senior Administrative Assistants, Administrative Assistants, Graduate Assistants, and Case Workers). Responsible Employees who witness or otherwise know or should have known of any incidents of alleged Sexual Harassment must report it to the Title IX Coordinator.

“Sexual Harassment” is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

  1. An employee of the University conditioning the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of the University on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct;
  2. Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education programs or activities;
  3. Sexual assault, meaning an offense classified as a forcible or nonforcible sex offense under the uniform crime reporting system of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (https://ucr.fbi.gov/nibrs/2012/resources/nibrs-offense-definitions);
  4. Dating violence, meaning violence committed by a person: (A) who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and (B) where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on (i) the length of the relationship; (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship;
  5. Domestic violence, meaning felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Indiana, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the State of Indiana; or
  6. Stalking, meaning engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to (A) fear for their safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.

“Standard of Evidence” means the standard of evidence used to determine responsibility. The standard of evidence USI applies to resolve all Formal Complaints of Sexual Harassment, whether against students or employees, is preponderance of evidence.

“Supportive Measures” means non-disciplinary, non-punitive, individualized services designed to restore or preserve equal access to USI’s educational programs or activities. Supportive Measures may be offered to a Complainant or Respondent before or after the filing of a Formal Complaint or where no Formal Complaint has been filed. Supportive Measures may include, but are not limited to:

  • Counseling
  • Coursework adjustments
  • Modifications of schedules
  • Campus escort services
  • Mutual restrictions on contact
  • Changes in work or housing locations
  • Leaves of absence
  • Increased security or monitoring

Supportive Measures provided to a Complainant or Respondent will be kept confidential to the extent feasible.

“Title IX Coordinator” means the individual identified in Section I, above.

Reporting

A. Reporting to the University

1. Confidential Reporting

Individuals who believe that they have experienced behaviors that violate this policy may report confidentially to a University employee acting in an official capacity as a professional mental health counselor (and those acting in that role under the supervision of a professional mental health counselor), a University Health Center employee or a pastoral counselor. Subject to certain limited exceptions under applicable law designed to protect a student or others from harm, these individuals are statutorily required not to report the information to University officers.

2. Non-Confidential Reporting

In the interest of maintaining a safe and inclusive environment for all members of the University community, the University encourages all faculty, administrators, support staff, and students to promptly report known or suspected violations of this policy to the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, or Public Safety. Reports also may be made to University Responsible Employees.

Affirmative Action Officer and Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Carrie Lynn
Wright Administration Building, Forum Wing, Room FA171
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1703
cnlynn@usi.edu

Deputy Civil Rights & Title IX Coordinator
Mr. Dameion Doss
Wright Administration Building, Forum Wing, Room 171
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1835
ddoss@usi.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Dr. Shelly Blunt
Associate Provost for Academic Affairs
Wright Administration Building, Room 103A
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-465-1617
sblunt@usi.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator
Ms. Laurie Berry
Assistant Dean of Students
University Center East, Room 1229
8600 University Boulevard
Evansville, Indiana 47712
812-464-1862
lberry@usi.edu

Public Safety

From your cell phone or outside line: 812-492-7777

From campus phones: ext. 7777

(Available for Emergency or After Hours Reporting)

An individual is not required to report alleged violations of this policy to the person who is engaging in the alleged behavior. Anyone may report Sexual Harassment, regardless of whether the person making the report is the person alleged to be the victim of alleged Sexual Harassment. Reports may be made in person, by mail, by telephone, by email, or online at https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofSouthernIndiana&layout_id=1. Reports may be made at any time.

Any report made to the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Affirmative Action Officer, Public Safety, or a Responsible Employee must be shared with the Title IX Coordinator.Upon receipt of a report, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will contact the Complainant to discuss the availability of Supportive Measures (with or without the filing of a Formal Complaint), consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures, and explain the process for filing a Formal Complaint.

If the Complainant chooses not to file a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may choose to do so. The Title IX Coordinator also may advise the Complainant about other available procedures and Supportive Measures.

If the Complainant or the Title IX Coordinator chooses to file a Formal Complaint, such Formal Complaint will be handled in accordance with the Formal Complaint Resolution Process described below.

Additionally, individuals who believe they have experienced Sexual Harassment in violation of this policy may report confidentially to a University employee acting in an official capacity as a professional mental health counselor (and those acting in that role under the supervision of a professional mental health counselor), a University Health Center employee, or pastoral counselor. Subject to certain limited exceptions under applicable law designated to protect a student or others from harm, these individuals are statutorily required not to report the information to others, including the Title IX Coordinator.

B. Reporting to Law Enforcement

Individuals are also encouraged to report criminal misconduct to law enforcement. Please note that reporting options are not mutually exclusive; both internal (University) and external (Law Enforcement) reporting options may be pursued at the same time. The local law enforcement office with jurisdiction over the University’s geographic location is the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office. Allegations of criminal misconduct occurring within the Evansville city limits can be reported to the Evansville Police Department. Additionally, the Indiana State Police (ISP) has state-wide jurisdiction.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office Operation Center
5607 Highway 41 North
Evansville, IN 47711
Non-emergency telephone: 812-421-6201
Emergency telephone: 911

Evansville Police Department
15 Northwest Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard Evansville, IN 47708
Non-emergency telephone: 812- 436-7896
Emergency telephone: 911

Indiana State Police (ISP) District 35 Police Post
19411 Highway 41 North
Evansville, IN 47725
Telephone: 812-867-2079 or 800-852-3970

While not required, the University strongly encourages anyone who becomes aware of behavior that may constitute a crime to report the incident to local law enforcement. The University can provide support, resources, and assistance to those who do so. Regarding the involvement of law enforcement in matters involving Sexual Harassment, the Complainant has several options, including to: (1) notify law enforcement authorities; (2) be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the Complainant chooses; or (3) decline to notify such authorities. The University will comply with the Complainant’s request for assistance in notifying law enforcement in these matters to the extent legally permitted. The Complainant’s choice to report to law enforcement will not impact the implementation of supportive measures if applicable.

Regardless of whether a Complainant chooses to notify law enforcement, it is important for a Complainant who has experienced sexual assault, dating violence, or domestic violence to seek medical attention and to preserve evidence potentially by obtaining a forensic medical exam. Preserving evidence may assist in proving that an alleged criminal offense occurred or may be helpful in obtaining a protective order. The University will provide written information on where to obtain forensic examinations. Obtaining a forensic examination does not require the Complainant to file a police report, but a forensic examination can help preserve evidence in cases where the Complainant decides to file a police report at a later date.

In certain instances, the University may need to report potential criminal misconduct to law enforcement authorities even when the Complainant has decided not to do so. Such circumstances include those in which there is clear and imminent danger or risk to the Complainant and/or the University community, in which a weapon was involved with the incident, child abuse, or in which the allegations involve sexual misconduct and the Complainant is under the age of consent. The necessity to report an incident to law enforcement will be shared with the Complainant.

The University’s Formal Complaint Resolution Process and the legal system work independently from one another, and the University will proceed with its process as applicable, regardless of action or inaction taken by outside authorities. If a law enforcement investigation is initiated, the University may pause its procedures briefly at the request of law enforcement to facilitate their initial evidence gathering. Decisions made or sanctions imposed through the Formal Complaint Resolution Process are not subject to change if criminal or civil charges arising from the same misconduct are dismissed, reduced, or rejected in favor of or against the Respondent.

VII. Amnesty

Reporting suspected Sexual Harassment is important. The University recognizes that an individual who reports Sexual Harassment may be engaged in under-age drinking or drug use or other prohibited conduct at or near the time of the incident reported. To encourage reporting under these circumstances, the University will not take disciplinary action against a student reporter, student witness, student Complainant, or student Respondent for their personal use of alcohol or drugs or for other prohibited conduct at or near the time of the incident reported if such violations do not or did not subject other people to harm. Depending on the circumstances, similar consideration may be given to employee reporters, employee witnesses, employee Complainants, and employee Respondents.

VIII. Emergency Removal

During and before the investigation, emergency measures may be taken to protect the safety or well-being of members of the University community. The University may remove a Respondent from its education program or activity on an emergency basis. No Respondent will be removed until the University has undertaken an individual safety and risk analysis and determined that an immediate threat to the physical health or safety of any student or other individual arising from the allegations of Sexual Harassment justifies removal. Any Respondent who is removed will be provided notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following removal.

A non-student employee Respondent may be placed on administrative leave during the pendency of the resolution process described by this Policy.

IX. Formal Complaint Resolution Process

The University’s response to a Formal Complaint of Sexual Harassment will treat Complainants and Respondents equitably and provide a process in which the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Decision-Makers, Hearing Officer, Appellate Officer, and any facilitator of an Informal Resolution are free from conflicts of interest or bias against the Complainant or Respondent (or against complainants and respondents generally).

These individuals will receive training on the definition of Sexual Harassment, the scope of Title IX, and how to serve impartially including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias. These individuals will also receive training regarding their specific roles in the process.

The University will strive to complete the Formal Complaint Resolution Process within 60 days of the filing of a Formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator may allow for the temporary delay of all or part of the Formal Complaint Resolution Process for good cause and will provide written notice to the Complainant and Respondent of the delay and the reasons therefor.

A. Presumption

A Respondent in a Formal Complaint is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination is made regarding responsibility at the conclusion of the Formal Complaint Resolution Process.

B. Written Notice

Within a reasonable period following receipt of a Formal Complaint, the University will provide Formal Notice to known parties of:

  • The Formal Complaint Resolution Process and Informal Resolution Process
  • The allegations potentially constituting Sexual Harassment, including details then-known regarding the:
    • Identities of the parties involved in the incident
    • Conduct allegedly constituting Sexual Harassment
    • Date and location of the alleged incident(s)
  • The presumption that the Respondent is not responsible and that a finding of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the Formal Complaint Resolution Process
  • The right to an Advisor who may, but is not required to, be an attorney (with agreed upon notice)
  • The ability to inspect and review evidence in connection with the Formal Complaint
  • The obligation to promptly notify the Title IX Coordinator if they believe the Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Hearing Officer, facilitator of any Informal Resolution, Decision-Maker, or Appellate Officer has a conflict of interest or bias

If, during the course of an investigation, the University decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that were not included in a previous Formal Notice, it will provide notice of the additional allegations to known parties.

C. Grounds for Dismissal

The University will dismiss a Formal Complaint for Title IX purposes if it determines at any time after its filing that the conduct alleged (1) would not constitute Sexual Harassment even if proved, (2) did not occur in the University’s education program or activity, or (3) did not occur against a person in the United States. Such a dismissal does not preclude disciplinary action under other provisions of the University’s policies, nor does it preclude the University from using the Formal Complaint Resolution Process outlined in this policy to resolve such allegations.

The University may dismiss all or part of a Formal Complaint any time after its filing if: (1) Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator that they wish to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations in it; (2) the Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed; or (3) specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination.

If the University dismisses all or part of a Formal Complaint under this section, it will promptly notify the Complainant and Respondent in writing.

D. Informal Resolution

A Formal Complaint that does not involve allegations of an employee engaging in Sexual Harassment of a student may be resolved by Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution may occur any time between the filing of a Formal Complaint and a determination of responsibility. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will determine whether to offer Informal Resolution.

Informal Resolution is intended to create an opportunity for individuals to resolve complaints quickly, efficiently, and to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved in a safe, non-threatening, and non-confrontational environment. It is an entirely voluntary process intended to allow the parties involved in an alleged violation of this policy to discuss their respective understandings of the incident with each other through the assistance of a facilitator. Informal Resolution is designed to encourage each person to be honest and direct with the other and to accept personal responsibility where appropriate.

Before any Informal Resolution, both the Complainant and Respondent will be given written notice of: (1) the allegations; (2) the circumstances under which Informal Resolution precludes them from resuming the Formal Complaint Resolution Process, such as voluntarily agreeing to resolution of the Formal Complaint through Informal Resolution; (3) their right to withdraw from the Informal Resolution process and resume the Formal Complaint Resolution Process at any time before agreeing to a resolution; and (4) that Informal Resolution could result in an agreed-upon sanction, which may appear in certain records pertaining to that individual.

The University will facilitate an Informal Resolution only after the Complainant and Respondent have received such written notice and provided voluntary, written consent to participate in Informal Resolution.

Upon the voluntary, written consent of all parties to the Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will identify an appropriate University official or external professional who may be engaged by the University for purposes of facilitating a session or series of sessions between the parties. Any resolution developed through Informal Resolution must be mutually agreed upon by all parties to the Formal Complaint, and any such resolution will be documented as deemed appropriate to the circumstances. All parties to the Formal Complaint will be asked to provide signatures signifying their understanding of an agreement to abide by any such resolution. If an agreement has not been reached within 10 days, a Formal Complaint will automatically move to the Formal Complaint Resolution Process.

E. Investigation

Following the filing of a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator shall designate an Investigator to conduct a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation and prepare a written Investigative Report. The Investigator will typically meet individually with the Complainant and Respondent at least once during an investigation. The Complainant and Respondent will receive written notice of the date, time, location, and individuals who will be present for any investigative interview or meeting and will be given sufficient time to prepare. The Complainant and Respondent may be accompanied by one Advisor at any investigative interview or meeting.

The Complainant and Respondent may advise the Investigator of any witnesses they believe should be interviewed and any inculpatory or exculpatory evidence including, for example, e-mails, text messages, photographs, video surveillance, and/or other physical, documentary or other evidence.

The burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibility rests on the University. After the Investigator has gathered evidence, both the Complainant and Respondent (and any Advisor) will be given the opportunity to inspect and review evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint. Within 10 days, the Complainant and Respondent may submit a written response to such evidence. Any written responses will be considered by the Investigator before completing the Investigative Report.

F. Investigative Report

The Investigative Report will summarize the relevant evidence. If a Formal Complaint proceeds to a hearing, the Investigative Report will be sent to both the Complainant and Respondent (and any Advisor) at least 10 days before the hearing. The Complainant and Respondent will be permitted to review the Investigative Report and provide a written response to the Investigator within 5 days of the date of the Investigative Report.

G. Live Hearing

The Decision-Makers, one of whom is the Hearing Officer, hears a Formal Complaint that proceeds to a hearing. The purpose of the hearing is for the Decision-Makers to evaluate relevant evidence to determine whether or not the Respondent is responsible for engaging in Sexual Harassment. If the Decision-Makers determine that the Respondent is responsible for Sexual Harassment, they also will determine appropriate sanctions.

1. Preparation for the Hearing

The Title IX Coordinator or a designee will arrange the administrative details for the hearing, including: (1) selecting the Decision-Makers; (2) arranging a time and place for the hearing; (3) making the Investigative Report and evidence directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint available at the hearing so that both Complainant and Respondent will have equal opportunity to refer to such evidence during the hearing; and (4) arranging for a Complainant or Respondent who does not have an Advisor to be appointed an Advisor to conduct cross-examination on behalf of that party at the hearing.

At the request of either Complainant or Respondent, the hearing will occur with the Complainant and the Respondent located in separate rooms with technology enabling the Decision-Makers, Complainant, Respondent, Advisors, and any witness(es) to simultaneously see and hear any party or witness answering questions.

2. Conduct of the Hearing

The Hearing Officer is responsible for managing the conduct of the hearing and ensuring that procedures are followed. The Hearing Officer facilitates all phases of the hearing and resolves all questions that arise during the hearing, including but not limited to procedural issues and issues regarding the propriety or relevance of specific questions, arguments, and information presented. The Hearing Officer also will seek to ensure an orderly and fair exchange of information during the hearing, and in the Hearing Officer’s or other Decision-Makers’ discretion, may ask questions of any party or witness. If anyone attending the hearing acts without appropriate respect or decorum, including failure to comply with the Hearing Officer’s instructions, the Hearing Officer may take appropriate action, including requiring that person to leave the hearing.

At the hearing, both Complainant’s Advisor and Respondent’s Advisor will have the opportunity to ask the other party and any witnesses relevant questions and follow-up questions. Only relevant cross-examination and other questions may be asked of a party or witness. Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a question, the Hearing Officer will determine whether the question is relevant. If the Hearing Officer excludes a question as not relevant, they verbally will explain their decision.

Questions and evidence about a Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant unless: (1) they are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant; or (2) they concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.

If a Complainant, Respondent, or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the hearing, the Decision-Makers will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility, nor will the Decision-Makers draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.

An audio recording, audiovisual recording, or a transcript of the hearing will be made and provided to the Complainant and Respondent for review subsequent to the conclusion of the hearing.

H. Determination Sanctions, and Remedies

Following the presentation of information at the hearing, the Decision-Makers will determine whether the Respondent is responsible for Sexual Harassment. The Decision-Makers will deliberate privately. In deciding, the Decision-Makers will apply a preponderance of the evidence standard and conclude that Respondent is responsible for Sexual Harassment if it is “more likely than not.” The Decision-Makers will reach a decision by majority vote.

If the Decision-Makers determine that Respondent is responsible for Sexual Harassment, they will deliberate further to determine appropriate sanctions. The University may implement any of the Supportive Measures outlined above at any time before or after any finding of responsibility. However, disciplinary sanctions and remedies may only be implemented after a finding of responsibility. Such sanctions and remedies may range from verbal warnings or mandatory trainings to employment termination for faculty, administrators, and support staff, and from verbal warnings or mandatory trainings to expulsion for students.

I. Written Determination

The Decision-Makers will issue a written determination regarding responsibility. The written determination will include:

  • The allegations potentially constituting Sexual Harassment
  • The procedural steps from receipt of the Formal Complaint through the written determination
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination
  • Conclusions regarding the application of the policy to the facts
  • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including any finding of responsibility and sanctions or remedies
  • The procedures and permissible grounds for appeal

The written determination will be provided to the parties simultaneously.

J. Appeals

A Complainant, Respondent, or Title IX Coordinator may appeal: (1) a determination regarding responsibility; or (2) any dismissal of all or part of a Formal Complaint. Appeals are limited to the following grounds:

  • Procedural irregularity that affected the outcome
  • New evidence that could affect the outcome but was not reasonably available at the time the determination or dismissal was made
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, or Decision-Maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent and that conflict of interest or bias affected the outcome

Appeals must be submitted in writing to the Title IX Coordinator or designee within 5 business days of receipt of the written determination or dismissal. When an appeal is filed by a party, the University will provide notice to the other party and an opportunity to respond to the appeal in writing within 5 days.

The Appellate Officer will issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for it, which will be provided to both parties simultaneously. If the appeal is denied, the matter will be closed, and the findings will become final and not subject to further appeal. If the appeal is granted, the Appellate Officer may (1) affirm the written determination (which is final and not subject to further appeal) or (2) remand the case for a new and/or additional investigation and hearing (the results of which will be final and not subject to further appeal).

X. Retaliation Prohibited

The University prohibits retaliation against any individual who makes a report, testifies, assists, participates, or refuses to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this policy. Those found to have violated this policy’s prohibition on retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment for employees and expulsion for students. Any person who believes that someone has been subjected to retaliation should promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator.

XI. Care and Support Resources

The University is committed to treating all members of the University community with dignity, care, and respect. Any individual who experiences or is affected by discrimination or harassment, whether as a Complainant or a Respondent, may benefit from access to care and support resources through the University and the local community.

The University encourages all individuals to seek the support of and use all available internal and external resources, regardless of when or where any alleged incident occurred. The following is a non-exhaustive list of such resources available to the members of the University community.

Resources Specifically for USI Students

  • USI Counseling Center
    Orr Center 1051
    Telephone: 812-464-1867
  • USI Religious Life Residence Life Resource Center
    Telephone: 812-464-1871
  • USI Housing & Residence Life
    Your Resident Assistant or Area Coordinator
    Telephone: 812-468-2000
  • USI Dean of Students
    Office University Center East 1229
    Telephone: 812-464-1862

Resources Specifically for Benefits-Eligible Faculty and Staff

  • Deaconess Concern Employee Assistance Program
    445 Cross Pointe Boulevard, Suite 330
    Evansville, IN 47715
    Telephone: 812-471-4611 or 800-874-7104

Resources for all Members of the University Community

  • USI Health Center
    Health Professions 0091
    Telephone: 812-465-1250
  • Albion Fellows Bacon Center
    P.O. Box 3164
    Evansville, IN 47731
    Telephone for Domestic Violence: 812-422-5622
    Telephone for Sexual Assault: 812-424-7273
    Toll-free: 800-339-7752
  • YWCA Evansville
    118 Vine Street
    Evansville, IN 47708
    Telephone: 812-422-1191 or 866-367-9922
  • Holly's House
    750 North Park Drive
    Evansville, IN 47710
    Telephone: 812-437-7233
  • Lampion Center
    655 South Hebron Avenue
    Evansville, IN 47714
    Telephone: 812-471-1776
  • Southwestern (Behavioral Health)
    415 Mulberry Street
    Evansville, IN 47713
    Telephone: 812-423-7791
    24 Hour Suicide Hotline: 812-422-1100

I. Miscellaneous

This policy is not a contract. The University reserves the right to modify the application of these procedures consistent with applicable law to provide, in its discretion, equitable treatment of Complainant and Respondent.

Inquiries about the application of Title IX and its implementing regulations may be referred to USI’s Title IX Coordinator and/or the Assistant Secretary for the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights.