The following procedures apply to cases involving or including complaints of sexual misconduct brought under RISD’s Code of Student Conduct, in place of Section V of the Code of Student Conduct. Sections I-IV and VI-VII of the Code of Student Conduct, including without limitation the prohibition against retaliation for filing or participating in the administration of a sexual misconduct complaint and the “Good Samaritan” provisions, continue to apply to such cases.
A. Initiation: Complaints alleging sexual misconduct, as defined in the Code of Student Conduct, may be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, the Office of Student Affairs, Office of Residence Life, and the Public Safety Department. The Office of Student Affairs, Office of Residence Life or Public Safety Department will forward the Title IX Coordinator any complaint involving or including a charge of sexual misconduct. Upon receipt of a complaint involving or including sexual misconduct, including without limitation intimate partner violence or stalking, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will promptly conduct a preliminary review to determine whether the complaint alleges sexual misconduct cognizable under the Code of Student Conduct, whether there is reasonable cause to proceed, and, if so, what charges should be brought against the respondent.
If the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator determines either that the complaint does not allege sexual misconduct cognizable under the Code of Student Conduct or that there is no reasonable cause to charge the respondent named in the complaint, the case will be closed and the complainant will be notified. (If there is reason to proceed with charges under other areas of the Code of Student Conduct, however, the case will be referred to the Coordinator of Student Conduct.)
B. Investigation: If it is determined that there is reasonable cause to proceed, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will notify both the complainant and the respondent and will conduct a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation. The investigation may be completed by the Title IX Coordinator, the Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or one or more trained investigators and may include but is not limited to meeting with the complainant, the respondent, and/or others who may have relevant information; obtaining written statements from relevant persons; and/or seeking other potentially relevant records or information. Investigations normally will be completed, and determinations made, within 60 days of the initiation of a complaint.
All members of the RISD community are expected to cooperate with a sexual misconduct investigation. Complainants and/or respondents may choose not to participate in the investigation, but the investigation will proceed regardless.
C. Determination: At the conclusion of the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or Sexual Misconduct Panel will hold a hearing to determine whether the respondent violated the Code of Student Conduct, based on a preponderance of the evidence standard. The Sexual Misconduct Panel is comprised of a trained group of faculty, staff, and/or students, typically including 3-5 members, with the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator serving as an additional, nonvoting member and Chair. As part of the preparation for the hearing, the complainant and respondent will have an equal opportunity to review the case file. Provisions will be made, as needed, to separate the parties during the hearing. Once a determination has been made, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will promptly inform both the respondent and (to the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act) the complainant of the determination.
D. Sanction: If the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or Sexual Misconduct Panel find the respondent responsible, they then decide on a sanction. A list of potential sanctions may be found in Section VI of the Code of Student Conduct. Notification of the sanction will be either in person from the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or sent to the respondent’s RISD email account. The complainant will also be notified to the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act either in person or by RISD email account.
E. Interim/Protective Measures: As detailed in Sections VI and VII of the Code of Student Conduct, RISD may take interim measures at any stage of the process to protect a complainant, the respondent, and/or the safety of the RISD community. These measures may include but are not limited to imposing a “no-contact” order, which typically will instruct the parties to refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through intermediaries, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the investigation and determination. RISD may also take any further protective action when appropriate pending resolution of the matter, including, without limitation, changing a complainant’s or respondent’s academic and/or living situation if appropriate and reasonably available. Failure to comply with any interim measures is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and may lead to additional measures.
As also detailed in Sections VI and VII of the Code of Student Conduct, if, during any stage of the investigation, RISD reasonably suspects that a respondent poses a threat of harm to self, harm to others, or disruption to the campus community, RISD may take immediate action, including removing a respondent from housing, restricting the respondent’s movement on campus, and/or temporarily suspending the respondent from RISD.
F. Advisors: Both the complainant and the respondent are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to guide and accompany them throughout the process. The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them. If the student wishes, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with a list of RISD faculty, staff, and student advisors who have training and/or experience in such matters. The role of the advisor is to support and accompany the student throughout the investigation, determination, and appeal processes. The role of advisors in these processes is passive in nature; the students in the case speak on their own behalf, and active participation is limited solely to them. All communication regarding the case is made directly with the students.
G. Right of and Grounds for Appeal: Either the complainant or the respondent or both may appeal a final determination to the Dean of Student Affairs. Any such appeal may be made on only one or more of the following grounds:
1. There was significant procedural error of a nature sufficient to have materially and detrimentally affected the outcome.
2. There is significant new evidence of which the appellant was not previously aware, that the appellant could not have discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence, and the absence of which was sufficient to have materially and detrimentally affected the outcome.
3. The consequences imposed are grossly disproportionate to the violations found to have occurred.
H. Appeal Process: Any appeal must be submitted to the Dean of Student Affairs within seven calendar days of being notified of the outcome. In the absence of a timely appeal, the determination will be final and conclusive. A statement of appeal must be in writing, must specify the grounds on which the appeal is based, and must set forth and explain in detail any relevant information and arguments.
Upon receipt of an appeal that complies with these requirements, the Dean of Student Affairs will notify the other party of the appeal. The Dean of Student Affairs may at his or her discretion decide the appeal on the basis of the investigative report, statement, any response, and the record; consult with the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Sexual Misconduct Panel, or other persons he or she deems appropriate; and/or grant the parties a conference to explain their positions in person. The Dean of Student Affairs may affirm, modify, or overturn the determination and/or may refer the case back to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator for further or new proceedings.
Notification of the resolution of the appeal will be sent to the appellant’s RISD e-mail account. The non-appealing party will also be notified of the resolution of the appeal to the extent permitted by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
I. Deferral of Sanctions Pending Appeal: The submission of an appeal does not by itself prevent or defer implementation of interim measures and/or sanctions imposed by the Title IX Coordinator, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, or Sexual Misconduct Panel. However, at the request of the appellant, the Dean of Student Affairs may, in his or her discretion and for good cause, defer implementation of some or all of those consequences during the pendency of the appeal.