Title IX

 

Title ix procedures

Reports may be made at any time (including during non-business hours) by contacting MCLA’s Title IX Coordinator. If you make a report during non-business hours, the Title IX Coordinator will follow up with you when the office reopens.

title ix coordinator

Nicole Comstock
Director of Equal Opportunity and Title IX
Office Location: 309C Venable Hall
Phone: 413-662-5571
Email: Nicole.comstock@mcla.edu
Mailing Address: 375 Church Street, North Adams, MA 01247

*This information is for incident reporting only. In the case of an emergency, please call 911.

what happens when a report is made?

When the Title IX Coordinator receives notice of an incident, they will contact the individuals involved to provide information about support resources, interim measures, and options for further action. The Title IX Coordinator can also help facilitate contact with law enforcement if the individual involved wishes to pursue a criminal complaint.

It is always the complainant’s choice whether they wish to file a formal complaint or not. Support services are available to the complainant whether or not they decide to file a formal complaint, and whether or not such a complaint results in a finding of responsibility.

what happens when a formal complaint is filed?

When the Title IX Coordinator received a formal complaint under the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy, there are 3 options for resolution:

  1. Formal Investigation and Resolution Procedure
  2. Informal Resolution (both parties must agree to this option)
  3. Mediation (both parties must agree to this option)

the title ix investigation, hearing, and resolution process

This process is only for complaints that fall under Title IX. For more information about the Complaint Investigation and Resolution process under other EO Plan polices please refer to the Equal Opportunity page.

Complaint Received

Notification to Respondent

Respondent will receive a copy of the complaint and has 10 days to respond

Investigation

Every effort will be made to complete the investigation within 60 days

Parties Review All Evidence

Parties will have 10 days to review and provide

Investigation Report Provided to Parties

Parties have 5 days to provide comments to investigator
Hearing to be scheduled within 10 days

Live Hearing with Cross-Examination

Every effort will be made to conclude the Hearing within 15 days

Determination Issued

Every effort will be made to issue the determination within 10 days of conclusion of hearing

Appellate Review (if applicable)

The parties will have 10 days to file an appeal
Every effort will be made to complete the Appellate Review within 30 days

live hearing

  • At the live hearing, the Decision Maker(s) will permit each party’s advisor to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility.
  • Cross-examination at the live hearing must be conducted directly, orally, and in real time by the party’s advisor and never by a party personally.
  • Before a Complainant, Respondent, or witness answers a question, the Decision Maker(s) must first determine whether the question is relevant and explain any decision to exclude a question as not relevant.
  • Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless: such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove consent.
  • If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, MCLA will provide that party an advisor of MCLA’s choice to conduct cross-examination on the party’s behalf.
  • If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the Decision Maker(s) must not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The Decision Maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.

standard of review

Preponderance of evidence is a standard of review. Under this standard, conclusions by the Decision Maker must be based on what “more likely than not” occurred, based on available information and evidence. Accordingly, the Decision Maker must determine whether it is more likely than not that the Respondent violated the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy.

determination

Once the determination is made, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the written determination to the parties simultaneously.

The written determination will include:

  • identification of the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment;
  • a description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
  • findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • conclusions regarding the application of the Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy to the facts;
  • a statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to an education program or activity will be provided to the Complainant; and
  • the procedures and permissible bases for appeal.

possible sanctions and remedies

For Faculty and Staff (employee) Respondents:

Disciplinary action taken against an employee shall be regarded as an administrative action, up to and including termination, subject to all provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements and employee handbooks.

Additional disciplinary action, subject to all provisions of applicable collective bargaining agreements or personnel policies, shall also be taken against an employee who violates a sanction or sanctions imposed pursuant to this Policy.

For Student Respondents

A student who has been found to have violated the Sexual Harassment Policy may be subject to sanctions including, but not limited to:

  • reprimand
  • fines and/or restitution
  • warning
  • disciplinary hold
  • disciplinary probation
  • assessment
  • loss of privileges
  • educational program or project
  • relocation of residence
  • revocation of admission or degree
  • restriction from facilities or activities
  • withholding of degree
  • temporary or permanent residence hall suspension
  • suspension
  • expulsion

In general, the sanction typically imposed for students for rape is expulsion. The sanction typically imposed for students for other forms of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking is suspension or expulsion. All student sanctions, however, are determined on a case-by-case basis in consideration of: the seriousness of the violation; sanctions typically imposed for similar violations; prior disciplinary history; and any other circumstances indicating that the sanction should be more or less severe.

appeals

Either party may appeal a determination regarding responsibility, a dismissal of a formal complaint, or any allegations therein, on the following bases:

  • procedural irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter;
  • new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter; and/or
  • the Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or Decision Maker(s) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

links

Help for Complainants

Help for Respondents

Support & Interim Measures

File a Formal Complaint

Title IX Procedure

Consent

Information for Managers and Supervisors

Equal Opportunity

Title IX Personnel Training Information

MCLA Equal Opportunity, Diversity, and Affirmative Action Plan

Questions? Contact Us

Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.

MCLA
375 Church Street,
North Adams, MA 01247
800.969.MCLA or 413.662.5596
hr@mcla.edu