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Procedures- Reporting and Next Steps

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Promptly seeking information can be very helpful to anyone who may want to report sexual misconduct.  Reporting incidents is important to addressing sexual misconduct on campus.  There are a number of options available to students. 

Identification of parties as used in this policy:
Complainant: an individual who brings forth a concern of sexual misconduct
Respondent: an individual who is accused of sexual misconduct
Title IX Coordinator: University employee responsible for overseeing all investigations related to sexual misconduct, to ensure prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution.  He/she will coordinate the in-take, investigation, and review of all complaints that fall within this policy.  Presently, the Title IX Coordinator is the University’s Director of Human Resources. 

The University will not tolerate retaliation in any form against any student, faculty or staff  who files a complaint (Complainant), against whom a complaint has been filed (Respondent), serves as a witness, assists the Complainant or Respondent, or participates in an investigation of discrimination or harassment. The University will take steps to prevent retaliation or recurrence of any sexual misconduct on the Complainant or others.

To Discuss Confidentially
Students who wish to confidentially discuss a concern may speak with on-campus mental health counselors, Student Health Center providers, the University Chaplain, or student advocates in the Women's, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.  Off-campus resources are also available to students.

Campus Confidential Resources
Otterbein Counseling Services 614.823.1250
Student Health Center 614.823.1345
University Chaplain 614.823.1409
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center 614.823.1028

Off-Campus Confidential Resources
SARNCO (Sexual Assault Response Network of Central Ohio) 614.267.7020
CHOICES 24 Hour Domestic Violence Hotline 614.224.4663
Mt. Carmel Crime & Trauma Assistance Program 614.234.5900
Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) 614.294-7867
Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network (RAINN)
National hotline that connects callers to their nearest rape crisis line.

Anonymous Reporting
Campus Conduct Hotline 866.943.5878
Otterbein Police Silent Witness online form
Anonymous reporting may limit the University’s ability to fully investigate and resolve the complaint.

Other Reporting Options

The following options for reporting are not confidential in that other University employees with a need to know so as to stop the conduct, conduct an investigation and resolve the matter will know of the complaint.

Sexual Misconduct, which includes sexual harassment, involves a variety of inappropriate behavior, the most serious being non-consensual sexual intercourse (sexual assault).

  • Complaints concerning sexual harassment: students are encouraged to report complaints against students to the Associate Dean of Students.  To report complaints against faculty or employees, students are encouraged to contact either the Associate Dean of Students or the University Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources.)  The Associate Dean of Students will share complaints with the Title IX Coordinator, who will coordinate the next steps outlined below under “Next Steps.”

    When a student reports a possible sexual harassment, the Association Dean of Students and/or Title IX Coordinator will meet with the student to provide support and obtain detailed information about the student concern.  Charges of sexual misconduct, including sexual harassment, will follow the steps and procedures listed below.
  • Reporting of sexual assaults and other sexual violence:  Students are encouraged to report sexual assaults and other sexual violence to the Otterbein Police Department or the Westerville Police Department immediately following the incident if possible.  An officer from the Otterbein Police Department will meet with the student to take a report. The Complainant can make decisions about his/her level of involvement in an investigation and potential criminal or campus student conduct action.  Otterbein Police will provide assistance in preserving relevant materials and will obtain, secure, and maintain evidence needed for criminal and student conduct proceedings.

Following an incident, Complainant and/or her/his friends may contact the Associate Dean of Students who can explain all aspects of the reporting process, support measures, and possible next steps.  If the Respondent (accused person) is an Otterbein employee, the Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources) may join the Associate Dean of Students for investigative meetings if a complaint is filed.  

Contact Information

Otterbein Police 614.823.1222
Westerville Police 614. 882.7444 or 9.1.1
Associate Dean of Students 614.823.1554
Title IX Coordinator 614.823.1130 (Director of Human Resources)

Because of the sensitive nature of sexual misconduct, a Complainant may also turn to Residence Life staff or another staff/faculty member with whom she/he is comfortable.  Information disclosed by a student to any University faculty or staff or Residence Life employee will need to be shared with the Associate Dean of Students and the Otterbein Police Department (OPD) and possibly others, as explained above.  However, every attempt will be made to review the information and address the concern as confidentially as possible.

Any false report of behavior or incidents alleging sexual misconduct, with an intent to mislead, is a violation of this policy.

Next Steps

A support person will be provided for each Complainant and the Respondent. The role of the support person is to provide assistance and serve as a resource of information. A Student Conduct Hearing Officer and support persons will inform the Complainant and the Respondent of her/his rights, options of criminal prosecution, medical assistance, and the University’s complaint process. Confidential counseling, support resources, academic assistance, changes in class or campus employment schedules, and alternative housing assignments will be discussed as appropriate.  Appropriate measures will be taken to avoid retaliatory action.  Students may be required to sign a “No Contact Order” to restrict any form of contact between the Complainant and the Respondent.

Both the Complainant and the Respondent may choose to have an advisor other than the University provided support person to provide assistance during the investigation and resolution process.  Either party may also choose to proceed without an advisor.  Both parties are expected to ask and respond to questions on their own behalf, without representation by their advisor.  The adviser may consult with the advisee quietly or in writing or outside during breaks, but may not speak on behalf of the advisee.  Any advisor who steps outside of this defined role will be given one warning and then be asked to leave the meeting.  (A substitute advisor will not be permitted at this meeting.)   The advisor or a substitute advisor may be allowed to attend additional meetings at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.

If aware of a possible sexual misconduct violation, the University may initiate a student conduct investigation and impose sanctions for the protection of the campus community. The University reserves this right even if a Complainant decides not to pursue charges, either criminally or through the campus student conduct process.

Investigation and Resolution

During the investigatory period, the University will take steps to assure that the alleged conduct does not continue and that the Complainant is safe from further improper conduct or retaliation.  

The Associate Dean of Students and/or Student Affairs Hearing Officer or other assigned by the Title IX coordinator  will serve as investigator(s) for complaints.  The investigator(s) will meet with the Complainant to gather information about the allegation. Should the Complainant choose, a friend (but not a parent or legal counsel) may be present at any investigative meeting.

Before proceeding further, the Title IX Coordinator, with the advice and input of  the investigator(s), will determine  whether the conduct or language complained of would, if true, constitute a violation of this policy. If the conclusion is that the conduct or language complained of, even if true, would not constitute a violation of this policy, there will be no further investigation. The University will take any steps needed to remedy inappropriate conduct that does not constitute a violation of this policy.

If the conclusion is that the conduct would, if true, constitute a violation of this policy, the investigation will proceed as follows:

  • The investigator(s) will contact the Respondent and witnesses, gathering other pertinent information and following up with the Complainant, Respondent, and witnesses as needed.
  • While the allegation is under investigation, the investigator will encourage all parties and witnesses to provide any additional information (including statements, e-mails, documents, or other facts that may assist the investigation.  The investigator will continue to receive and review this information until the investigation is closed.  

Findings, Conclusions, and Recommendations

Upon completion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will submit a report to that will include factual findings as well as the investigator’s conclusion of whether or not it is more likely than not (a preponderance of the evidence in legal terms) that there has been a violation of this policy. The report may also include recommendations for resolution, sanctions, or other appropriate action.

The report will be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator for final review. As Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Human Resources shall forward the final report, with recommendations for resolution, sanctions, or other appropriate action, to the respective Vice President or Provost for disposition.

If the Vice President’s or Provost’s conclusion is that it is more likely than not that a violation of this policy has occurred, the Respondent will be advised in writing of the finding of a violation, the sanction, and the procedure for appeal. The Complainant will simultaneously be advised in writing that the investigation is complete, that a violation was found, that there will be sanctions against the Respondent, and the procedure for appeal.

If the investigation does not support a violation of any University policy, both the Complainant and the Respondent will be advised in writing of this outcome.

If either the Complainant or Respondent disagrees with the outcome of the investigation, or if the Complainant or Respondent disagrees with the recommended sanction, they may submit an appeal. An appeal must be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator (Director of Human Resources) within seven (7) days of receipt of the final report. If no appeal is submitted within that time, the conclusion and the recommendations of the report become final and the sanctions/recommendations shall be implemented.

If an appeal is submitted, the Title IX Coordinator will forward the report, the file, and the request for appeal to the President's Designee (Designee).

Grounds for Appeals
The grounds for an appeal are as follows:

A procedural (or substantive error) occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the investigation (e.g. substantial bias, material deviation from established procedures).

New evidence unavailable during the original hearing or investigation that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. The appealing party must submit a summary of the new evidence and its potential impact must be included.

The sanctions imposed are substantially disproportionate to the severity of the violation.

The Designee shall review the appeal and determine if it satisfies on the grounds for appeal. If the appeal does not meet the grounds for an appeal, the Designee will issue both parties a written decision that the appeal did not meet the grounds for the appeal and that the underlying decision was decided reasonably and appropriately. The Designee's decision to deny the appeal is final.

If the Designee determines that a material procedural (or substantive) error occurred, the Designee may return the complaint to the investigator and appropriate Vice President or Provost with instructions to cure the error. The results of the decision of the investigator and the appropriate Vice President or Provost are not appealable.

If the Designee determines that new evidence should be considered, the Designee may review the new evidence or refer the case to the investigator to reconsider in light of the new evidence only. The investigator will review the new evidence and submit an addendum to the original report for review by the appropriate Vice President or Provost. The reconsideration of the investigator and appropriate Vice President or Provost is not appealable.

If the Designee determines that the sanctions imposed are disproportionate to the severity of the violation, the Designee may increase, decrease or otherwise modify the sanctions. The decision is final.

The Designee will render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within fourteen days from receiving the written appeal.

Student Sanctions
Sexual Misconduct is a Level IV Judicial violation. Sanctions may include Monetary Fine; Restitution; Restricted Access; Living Unit Probation; Living Unit Dismissal; Disciplinary Probation; Disciplinary Probation with Restrictions; Alcohol/Drug/Anger Assessment; Suspension; or Dismissal. (Definitions of these sanctions can be found in the Campus Life Handbook under Section 10 – Judicial Sanction Defined.)

A student found to be responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse will be dismissed from the University or suspended for a minimum of one semester, and additional sanctions as described above may be imposed.

First time offenders who are found responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse will receive a sanction to include at minimum the following:

  • The offender will be suspended from the university for a minimum of one semester or up to dismissal;
  • He or she will not be allowed on campus during the period of suspension;
  • Contact with the victim/survivor is strictly forbidden;
  • The offender must submit documentation of counseling received off-campus prior to return. The documentation must include an assessment of the student’s ability to return to campus without threatening the safety of others, and the counselor must be licensed by the State of Ohio and approved by the Associate Dean of Students.

Second time offenders found responsible for nonconsensual sexual intercourse will receive a minimum of the following sanction:

  • Dismissal from the University.
  • Permanent exclusion from campus.

Student-Athletes who are found in violation of the sexual misconduct policy may receive additional sanctions from the Athletic Department, including but not limited to, suspension from athletics practices, contests, or other activities. Student-Athletes may also be suspended from the team for a designated period of time.

Criminal liability can be incurred in a sexual misconduct violation in penalties established in the Ohio Revised Code for all offenses deemed criminal.

Student conduct records/hearing reports are confidential as they are protected under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

As required by federal law, Otterbein Police Department (OPD) maintains a daily crime log that is published on the OPD website. The crime log includes all the incident reported to OPD. These records include the date/time of the incident, date of the report, general location, charges, and current status of the investigation/resolution. Student names and personally identifiable information is not included in the crime log.

/ Title IX

Scott Fitzgerald
Director of Human Resources
Title IX Coordinator
p/ 614.823.1130
e/ Sfitzgerald@otterbein.edu

Julie Saker
Associate Dean of Students
Title IX Deputy Coordinator
p/ 614.823.1554
e/ Jsaker@otterbein.edu

Colette Masterson
Director, Center for Student Involvement
Title IX Investigator
p/ 614.823.3205
e/ Cmasterson@otterbein.edu