Involved in Title IX

  • Title IX Process

    There are four major stages to the Title IX process: Complaint intake, informal resolution (before or after the investigation), the investigation, and the hearing.

    Complaint Intake

    When a report is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the Complainant (the person who experienced the reported conduct) to go over their options on how to resolve the report. The Complainant is provided several options on what to do with their report. Depending on the nature of the report, the Complainant may request:

    • Accommodations and support measures
    • To keep the report on file and not move forward with an investigation
    • To have the Title IX Coordinator speak directly with the Respondent (the person who is alleged to have committed the conduct) through an educational, non-disciplinary, non-punitive conversation
    • Informal resolution before an investigation (Note: all parties must agree and this typically would not result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent)
    • Informal resolution after an investigation (Note: all parties must agree and this may result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent)
    • Formal resolution after an investigation through the hearing process

    For cases that follow the Title IX, the Complainant must indicate in writing to the Title IX Coordinator if they wish for the report to move into the investigation phase.

    Informal Resolution

    Informal resolution is an agreement the Complainant, Respondent, and Institution come to in closing a complaint. There are two points in the process where a report can be resolved through informal resolution: before an investigation begins or after an investigation has taken place. Informal resolution prior to an investigation does not typically result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent; however, informal resolution after an investigation may result in a finding of misconduct for the Respondent. The Complainant and Respondent have the option to end informal resolution and request a formal process at any time before a resolution is reached. Once informal resolution is reached, it is not appealable.

    Examples of informal resolution include: A no contact agreement, educational workshops, a reflection paper, etc. For informal resolution after an investigation, examples may also include disciplinary probation, suspension, or other sanctions consistent with the conduct process.

    Investigation

    Once an investigation has been requested, or alternatively the Title IX Coordinator has signed a formal complaint, an investigator will be assigned. This is an impartial individual whose role is to collect as much information as possible from the Complainant, Respondent, and any other parties who have relevant information to share related to the complaint. The investigator will also collect any evidence the Complainant, Respondent, or other parties have such as text messages, videos, screenshots from social media, pictures, etc.

    The investigator will start by reaching out to the Complainant to schedule an interview. This is the Complainant’s opportunity to share their story with the investigator. Once the investigator has met with the Complainant, a Notice of Investigation will be sent to the Complainant and Respondent, which includes the identities of both parties, the alleged conduct, and the date and location of the incident (if known). This is also the Respondent’s opportunity to respond to the allegations and share their story through written statement and/or through a meeting with the investigator.

    All parties have the opportunity to have a support person or advisor with them during the investigation process. Additionally, the Complainant and Respondent in student Sexual Misconduct cases can be involved as much, or as little, as they choose.

    After interviews have been conducted and information has been collected, the investigator will draft an investigation report which summarizes the relevant information and evidence, including whether there is sufficient information to warrant further consideration and adjudication of the alleged policy violation(s). This report will be shared with the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors, if applicable. Both parties will have the opportunity to respond to the report, if they choose.

    Hearing

    If a case is not resolved through informal resolution after the investigation, the report will be finalized and sent to the Office of Student Conduct (students) or Human Resources (employees) for adjudication. A copy of the final investigation report will also be shared with the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors, if applicable. The appropriate office will assign a hearing officer who will communicate with both parties to discuss the details of the hearing process. The Complainant and Respondent will also be given the opportunity to provide witnesses they would like called at the hearing. For cases that follow the Title IX procedures, the Complainant and Respondent must have an advisor at the hearing who will conduct cross examination. If either party does not have an advisor, the institution will provide one for them.

    The hearing panel will be made up of three trained faculty or staff members. The Complainant and Respondent may request to provide testimony in a separate room from the other party, so long as no party is unfairly disadvantaged, and they have the opportunity to view the testimony remotely and submit follow-up questions.

    Once a decision has been made by the hearing panel, the Complainant and Respondent have the opportunity to submit an appeal based on limited grounds.

  • Accommodations and Interim Measures

    Accomodations and interim measures are implemented to address the impact of a reported incident of sex-based discrimination or sexual misconduct. Accommodations are those actions provided to the individual who is requesting them for themselves, such as adjustments to an individual’s academic, working, or living arrangements. Parties may speak with the Title IX Coordinator to determine what may be appropriate for them.

    Examples of accommodations include:

    • No contact agreements
    • Room changes
    • Faculty notifications
    • Parking adjustments
    • Course adjustments
    • Reporting supervisor changes
    • Work schedule or location changes
    • Other adjustments to address the individual needs

    Interim measures may be implemented by the institution at any point after the institution becomes aware of the alleged sexual misconduct and should be designed to protect any student or other individual in the USG community. To the extent interim measures are imposed, they should minimize the burden on both the Complainant and the Respondent, where feasible.

    Interim measures include, but are not limited to:

    • Change of housing assignment
    • Issuance of a “no contact” directive
    • Restrictions or bans to entering certain institution property
    • Changes to academic or employment arrangements, schedules, or supervision
    • Interim suspensions
    • Other measures designed to promote the safety and well-being of the parties and the institution’s community.

    The issuing of an accommodation or interim measure does not mean a decision has been made regarding the investigation, only that an accommodation or interim measure is supported by the available information.

  • Complainant (person who experienced the reported conduct)

    Helpful Resources

    VSU Counseling Center 229-333-5940
    The Haven Rape Crisis Center 229-244-4477 
    Have Georgia Crisis Line  800-334-2836
    VSU Campus Police 229-259-5555
    National Domestic Violence Hotline 800-799-7233
    National Sexual Violence Resource Center https://www.nsvrc.org/

    Victim Bill of Rights

    Valdosta State University is committed to providing options, support and assistance to victims/survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and/or stalking to ensure that they can continue to participate in campus programs, activities, and employment. All victims/survivors of these crimes and violations, regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, creed, age, disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, familial status, pregnancy, predisposing genetic characteristics, military status, domestic violence victim status, or criminal conviction, have the following rights, regardless of whether the crime or violation occurs on campus, off campus, or while studying abroad:

    All students have the right to:

    1. Make a report to local law enforcement and/or state police.
    2. Have disclosures of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, and sexual assault treated seriously.
    3. Make a decision about whether or not to disclose a crime or violation and participate in the judicial or conduct process and/or criminal justice process free from pressure from the institution.
    4. Participate in a process that is fair, impartial, and provides adequate notice and a meaningful opportunity to be heard.
    5. Be treated with dignity and to receive from the institution courteous, fair, and respectful health care and counseling services, where available.
    6. Be free from any suggestion that the reporting individual is at fault when these crimes and violations are committed, or should have acted in a different manner to avoid such crimes or violations.
    7. Describe the incident to as few institutional representatives as practicable and not to be required to unnecessarily repeat a description of the incident.
    8. Be free from retaliation by the institution, the accused and/or the respondent, and/or their friends, family and acquaintances within the jurisdiction of the institution.
    9. Access to at least one level of appeal of a determination.
    10. Be accompanied by an advisor of choice who may assist and advise a reporting individual, accused, or respondent throughout the judicial or conduct process including during all meetings and hearings related to such process.
    11. Exercise civil rights and practice of religion without interference by the investigative, criminal justice, or judicial or conduct process of the College.
  • Respondent (person accused of sexual misconduct)

    If you have been accused of a Title IX violation (respondent), the Title IX Coordinator can inform you of the resources available on and off campus as well as provide you with more information about the process. 

    All reports of Title IX violations are taken seriously. Interim measures may be undertaken at any point after the institution becomes aware of an allegation of sex-based discrimination or sexual misconduct.

    Both the Complainant and the Respondent, as parties to the matter, shall have the opportunity to use an advisor (who may or may not be an attorney) of the party’s choosing at the party’s own expense. The advisor may accompany the party to all meetings and may provide advice and counsel to their respective party throughout the process, including providing questions, suggestions and guidance to the party, but may not actively participate in the process except as outlined in BOR 6.7.4 (D). All communication during the process will be between the institution and the party and not the advisor. With the party’s permission, the advisor may be copied on all communications.

    Efforts will be made to complete the investigation within a reasonable time-frame, which will be determined based upon the allegations, availability of witnesses and/or evidence, etc. in a particular case. Findings are determined using a preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not that a violation occurred).

    All involved parties have the right to be free from retaliation and must not engage in any retaliation against another individual.