Section 7: Formal Conduct Procedures
Notice and Investigations
D. Notice of Alleged Violation
Any member of the University community, visitor or guest may allege a policy violation(s) by any student for misconduct under this Code [by the following process and/or via the following URL: https://my.marianuniversity.edu/forms/Pages/Student-Complaint-Form.aspx].
Notice may also be given to the Office of Student Community Standards, the Office of Residence Life (or designee) and/or to the Title IX Coordinator, when appropriate. Additionally, administrators may act on notice of a potential violation whether a formal allegation is made or not. All allegations can be submitted by a victim or a third party, and should be submitted as soon as possible after the offending event occurs. The University has the right to pursue an allegation or notice of misconduct on its own behalf and to serve as convener of the subsequent campus conduct process.
The Director of Student Community Standards will assume responsibility for the investigation of the alleged violation as described in the sub-section below.
E. Investigations and the Investigator Process.
Investigations are either formal or informal. An informal investigation occurs during an administrative conference between a hearing officer and the responding student.
Formal investigations are most often, but not always, conducted when there is a significant ambiguity and multiple points of view included in the report. The Dean of Students or Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator(s) for allegations under this Code. The investigator(s) will take the following steps, if not already completed by the Coordinator or designee:
- Initiate any necessary remedial actions on behalf of the victim (if any);
- Determine the identity and contact information of the party bringing the complaint, whether that person is the initiator of the complaint, the alleged victim, or a University proxy or representative;
- Conduct an immediate preliminary investigation to identify an initial list of all policies that may have been violated, to review the history of the parties, the context of the incident(s), any potential patterns and the nature of the complaint;
- If the victim is reluctant to pursue the complaint, determine whether the complaint should still be pursued and whether sufficient independent evidence could support the complaint without the participation of the victim;
- Notify the victim of whether the University intends to pursue the complaint regardless of their involvement, and inform the victim of their rights in the process and option to become involved if they so choose;
- Preliminary investigation usually takes between 1-7 business days to complete;
- If indicated by the preliminary investigation and authorized by the Title IX Coordinator or Director of Student Community Standards, conduct a comprehensive investigation to determine if there is reasonable cause to believe that the responding student violated University policy, and to determine what specific policy violations should serve as the basis for the complaint. If there is insufficient evidence through the investigation to support reasonable cause, the allegations will be closed with no further action;
- Meet with the party bringing the complaint to finalize the Party bringing the complaint's Statement, which will be drawn up by the investigator or designee as a result of this meeting;
- Commence a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation by developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the responding student, who may be given notice of the interview prior to or at the time of the interview. Prepare the notice of alleged policy violation(s) on the basis of the reasonable cause determination, which may be delivered prior to, during or after the responding student is interviewed, at the discretion of the investigator(s);
- Interview all relevant witnesses, summarize the information they are able to share and have each witness sign the summary to verify its accuracy;
- Obtain all documentary evidence and information that is available;
- Obtain all physical evidence that is available;
- Complete the investigation promptly by analyzing all available evidence
- Make a finding, based on a preponderance of the evidence (whether a policy violation is more likely than not);
- Present the investigation report and findings to the responding student, who may:
- accept the findings,
- accept the findings in part and reject them in part,
- or may reject all findings;
- Share the findings and update the party bringing the complaint on the status of the investigation and the outcome.
This process, called the Investigator Process formally, may be used to provide safe, due process to both parties. Specifically, the Title IX Coordinator may choose this process to be used to investigate and determine sexual misconduct code of conduct violations.