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PDFWAC 172-121-100

Complaints.

(1) Filing of complaints.
(a) Any person or the university may file a complaint against a student or student organization for violation of the student conduct code.
(b) A person wishing to file a complaint under the student conduct code must submit the complaint, in writing, to one of the following:
(i) Student rights and responsibilities;
(ii) Title IX coordinator; or
(iii) The office of the dean of students.
(c) Filing a complaint under the student conduct code does not prohibit or limit a person's right to file complaints or charges with other civil and/or criminal authorities for violations of local, county, state, or federal law.
(d) All student conduct code complaints will be forwarded to the director of SRR for further review and action.
(e) In cases where the university is pursuing a student conduct case on its own behalf, an EWU employee shall initiate the complaint. For Title IX complaints, a complaint must either be filed by the person subject to the alleged misconduct or by the Title IX coordinator. If a complaint is filed by the Title IX coordinator, the Title IX coordinator will not be considered a complainant for the purposes of participating in the investigation and hearing process.
(2) Complaint review. Upon receipt of a complaint, the director of SRR shall review the complaint to determine whether it includes allegations of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, may lead to suspension or expulsion and/or felony level criminal conduct to determine which student conduct process applies and if appropriate law enforcement or other authorities should be notified. If a complaint falls within such categories, it shall be referred to a hearing under WAC 172-121-122.
(3) Sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence proceedings. Except where specifically stated, this section applies to all allegations the university receives of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence regardless of the possible level of sanction or whether there is a formal Title IX complaint.
(a) Report to Title IX coordinator. The director of SRR shall report all complaints which may constitute any form of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence to the university Title IX coordinator within twenty-four hours.
(b) Title IX complaints. The Title IX coordinator will determine whether or not the allegation of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence constitutes a Title IX complaint under this code. Solely in cases of Title IX complaints, the university will not move forward with initiating a Title IX investigation or student conduct hearing unless SRR has received a formal complaint from the person alleged to have been subjected to sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence or a complaint from the Title IX coordinator requesting initiation of the student conduct process.
The Title IX coordinator is responsible for determining whether or not the allegations constitute a formal Title IX complaint. If allegations do not meet the definition of a Title IX complaint, the Title IX coordinator will inform the complainant and the respondent that the complaint is not considered a Title IX complaint and the reasons it does not fit within the required elements of a formal Title IX complaint. If the complainant or respondent disagrees with the Title IX coordinator's decision, the party may file an appeal with the dean of students within three calendar days of the Title IX coordinator's decision. The dean of students can affirm, reverse, or remand the Title IX coordinator's decision and such decision must be communicated in writing simultaneously to the parties.
SRR may proceed, however, with pursuing a student conduct case against the respondent for misconduct outside of Title IX including, but not limited to, sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence that does not fit the definition of a Title IX complaint.
(c) Prompt resolution. The university shall investigate any complaint alleging sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence when it is legally required to do so. The university's goal is to have complaints of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence resolved within ninety days. If the university needs additional time, the investigator or director of SRR should provide written notice to the complainant and respondent of the delay and the reasons for the delay. Delays and extensions beyond the ninety days must be based on good cause.
(d) Investigations. The university will investigate all sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence allegations, including Title IX complaints, and may, at its discretion, ask for an investigation of other alleged misconduct. During the investigation, the investigator is responsible for gathering evidence relating to the complaint. The investigator will contact the complainant, respondent, and other witnesses to ask questions and gather relevant evidence. Parties may be assisted by an advisor during the investigative process. During the investigation, parties will be provided with an equal opportunity to identify witnesses and other evidence that supports their position. Prior to any investigatory interview regarding a Title IX complaint, the investigator will provide written notice of the meeting with the date, time, location, participants, and purpose with sufficient time for the person to prepare to participate in the interview.
Prior to the completion of the investigative report for a Title IX complaint, the investigator will send to each party the evidence obtained during the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised, including the evidence upon which the university does not intend to rely in reaching a determination regarding responsibility and inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. Each party will then have at least ten calendar days to submit a written response for a Title IX complaint. The investigator will consider the written response prior to the completion of the investigative report. At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will prepare a final written report that fairly summarizes the relevant evidence. The investigative report, along with any evidence collected during the investigation, shall then be transmitted to the director of SRR at least ten days prior to any hearing or other determination of responsibility. In cases of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, a copy of the report must also be provided to the parties for their review and written response.
(e) Confidentiality. To facilitate the investigative process and protect the privacy of those involved, all information will be maintained in a confidential manner to the fullest extent permissible by law. During an investigation, complaint information will be disseminated on a need-to-know basis. If the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the university will take all reasonable steps to investigate the allegation without disclosing the name of the complainant to the extent allowed by state and federal law. If the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, the university shall inform them that its ability to investigate and respond to the allegation will be limited. The university cannot ensure confidentiality, as its legal obligations under federal or state law may require investigation of the allegation and possible disclosure of the complainant's name. Reports of crimes to the campus community shall not include the names of the complainants. Files subject to public disclosure will be released to the extent required by law.
(f) Right to file a criminal report. Once the university is notified of an allegation of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, it will notify the potential complainant of their right to file a criminal complaint with campus or local law enforcement. If the complainant in such circumstances wishes to report the conduct to local law enforcement, the university will assist them in doing so. The university will also notify the complainant that he or she is not required to file a report with local law enforcement. The university will report allegations of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence to law enforcement or other authorities when it is required to do so under federal, state, and local law.
(4) Supportive measures and interim restrictions. During the complaint review, the director of SRR or Title IX coordinator will review whether any supportive measures or interim restrictions are needed. Supportive measures and interim restrictions are addressed in WAC 172-121-140.
(5) SRR will follow up with the parties as described below.
(a) The director of SRR will contact the respondent, and the complainant in cases of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, and provide them with the following information:
(i) The respondent's and complainant's rights under the student conduct code;
(ii) A summary of the allegations the complainant has against the respondent;
(iii) The potential conduct code violations related to the allegations; and
(iv) How to report any subsequent problems or retaliation, including intimidation, threats, coercion, or discrimination.
(b) In all cases alleging sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence, the director of SRR will, in addition to the information specified under (a) of this subsection, provide both parties with written information that will include, at a minimum:
(i) The student's rights and options, including options to avoid contact with the other party; a list of available university and community resources for counseling, health, mental health, victim advocacy, legal assistance, visa and immigration assistance, student financial aid, and other academic and housing services at the university and in the community; and options for, available assistance in, and how to request changes to academic, living, transportation, and working situations or protective measures;
(ii) The importance of preserving evidence of the alleged incident and procedures to follow to preserve evidence of the alleged incident;
(iii) Who will receive a report of the allegation;
(iv) Their right to file or not file a criminal complaint as detailed above and the ability to be assisted by campus authorities in notifying law enforcement authorities if the complainant wishes to do so;
(v) A list of resources for obtaining protective, no contact, restraining, or similar orders, if applicable;
(vi) The procedures the university will follow when determining if discipline is appropriate;
(vii) Steps the university will take to ensure confidentiality of complainants and other necessary parties and the limits this may place on the university's ability to investigate and respond, as set forth above; and
(viii) Information regarding the university's policy against retaliation, steps the university will take to prevent and respond to any retaliation, and how the student should report retaliation or new incidents.
(6) Following the complaint review, the director of SRR will either dismiss the matter or arrange a prehearing conference.
(a) Dismiss the matter. If the director of SRR determines the allegations, even if true, would not rise to the level of a conduct violation, he/she may dismiss the matter. In such cases, the director of SRR will prepare a written record of the dismissal. The director of SRR will also notify the complainant of their decision, if such notification is permissible under FERPA. The dismissal letter, along with the original complaint and any other related documents, will be maintained as described in WAC 172-121-080. In cases of sexual misconduct or interpersonal violence or for a Title IX complaint, the complainant may request a review of the dismissal by the dean of students by filing a request for review with the director of SRR within seven business days of receiving notice of the dismissal.
(b) Prehearing conference. If the director of SRR does not dismiss the matter he/she will arrange a prehearing conference as described in WAC 172-121-110.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.35.120(12). WSR 21-01-102, § 172-121-100, filed 12/11/20, effective 1/11/21; WSR 20-19-046, § 172-121-100, filed 9/10/20, effective 10/11/20; WSR 20-01-032, § 172-121-100, filed 12/6/19, effective 1/6/20. Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.35.120(12) and 42.56.070. WSR 19-01-047, § 172-121-100, filed 12/13/18, effective 1/13/19. Statutory Authority: RCW 28B.35.120(12). WSR 17-17-031, § 172-121-100, filed 8/9/17, effective 9/9/17; WSR 15-24-050, § 172-121-100, filed 11/23/15, effective 12/24/15; WSR 13-24-123, § 172-121-100, filed 12/4/13, effective 1/4/14; WSR 09-12-001, § 172-121-100, filed 5/20/09, effective 6/20/09.]
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