REMEDIES AND SANCTIONS CONCERNING SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

This page provides an overview of the possible sanctions that may result for employees and students and the appeals process to follow.  This page focuses on students from a procedural standpoint. Please see the full title IX Policy for a list of other sanctions and remedies.

Range of Sanctions for Sexual Misconduct

Sanctioning for Sexual Misconduct

  • Any person found responsible for violating the Non-Consensual Sexual Contact section of this policy (where no intercourse has occurred) will likely receive a sanction ranging from probation to expulsion depending on the severity of the incident and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.*
  • Any person found responsible for violating the Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse section of this policy will likely face a recommended sanction of suspension or expulsion (student) or suspension or termination (employee).*
  • Any person found responsible for violating the Sexual Exploitation or Sexual Harassment section of this policy will likely receive a recommended sanction ranging from warning to expulsion or termination, depending on the severity of the incident, and taking into account any previous disciplinary violations.*

* The decision-making body reserves the right to broaden or lessen any range of recommended sanctions in the case of serious mitigating circumstances or egregiously offensive behavior. Neither the initial hearing officers nor any appeals body or officer will deviate from the range of recommended sanctions unless compelling justification exists to do so.

Appeal of Sanctions for Employees and Students

Appeals

When the Reporting Party is an Employee

The reporting party and the responding party each have the right to appeal the decision of the Executive Council member to the President of the University.  The appeal must be in writing and submitted to the President within two (2) calendar weeks of the Executive Council member’s decision.  The appeal must include all supporting materials.  The President should normally complete his/her review of the appeal and issue his/her decision in writing within 45 days unless there are documented extenuating circumstances.

The President of the University shall decide the appeal.  The President’s decision shall be in writing and shall be submitted to the reporting party and responding party with copies to the Executive Council members and the Title IX Coordinator.  The President’s written decision on the appeal shall be final.

When the Reporting Party is a Student

In the event that the responding party accepts the findings of the investigation, those findings cannot be appealed. Sanctions imposed by the Dean of Students post-investigation can be appealed by any party according to the grounds below. Post-hearing, any party may appeal the findings and/or sanctions only under the grounds described below.

Appeals Process

All sanctions imposed by the original hearing body will be in effect during the appeal. A request may be made to the Dean of Students to delay implementation of the sanctions until the appeal is decided but the presumptive stance of the institution is that the sanctions will go into effect immediately. Graduation, study abroad, internships/ externships, etc. do NOT in and of themselves constitute exigent circumstances, and students may not be able to participate in those activities during their appeal. In cases where the appeal results in reinstatement to the University or resumption of privileges, all reasonable attempts will be made to restore the student to their prior status, recognizing that some opportunities lost may be irreparable in the short term.

The decision of the Dean of Students may be appealed by petitioning the designated appeals committee. Any party who files an appeal request must do so in writing to the Dean of Students within five (5) business days of receiving the written decision, for a review of the decision or the sanctions imposed. The written decision will be provided 1) in person and/or mailed to the local mailing address of the respective party as indicated in University records and 2) emailed to the parties’ University-issued email accounts. If there is no local address on file, mail will be sent to the parties’ permanent addresses. Once received in person, mailed or emailed, the notice of decision will be deemed presumptively delivered.

Note:

If remanded to re-open the investigation, the results of a revised investigation can be subsequently forwarded for reconsideration at the hearing level at the discretion of the Dean of Students. If the appeal remands to the hearing body for review, the reconsideration of the hearing body is not appealable.

In rare cases where a procedural error cannot be cured by the original hearing officers (as in cases of bias), the appeals committee may order a new hearing with a new body of hearing officers. The results of a reconvened hearing cannot be appealed. The results of a new hearing can be appealed, once, on any of the three applicable grounds for appeals.

Appeal Procedures

 The procedures governing the hearing of appeals include the following:

  • All parties should be timely informed of the status of requests for appeal, the status of the appeal consideration and the results of the appeal decision.
  • Every opportunity to return the appeal to the original hearing body for reconsideration (remand) should be pursued.
  • Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the allegation (de novo).  In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal.
  • Appeal decisions are to be deferential to the original hearing body, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
  • An appeal is not an opportunity for appeals officers to substitute their judgment for that of the original hearing body merely because they disagree with its finding and/or sanctions.
  • Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless the Dean of Students stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
  • The appeals committee will typically render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within five (5) business days from hearing of the appeal.  The appeals committee decision to deny an appeal request is final.
Appeals Outcome and Grounds for Appeal

The Dean of Students will share the appeal request with the other party (e.g., if the responding party files an appeal, the appeal is shared with the reporting party who may also wish to file a response and/or bring their own appeal on separate grounds; this response or appeal will be shared with the initial appealing party). Based on the written requests/responses or on interviews as necessary, the appeals committee will send a letter of outcome for the appeal to all parties. The appeals committee can take one of three possible actions. The committee may dismiss an appeal request as untimely or ineligible, may grant an appeal and remand the finding and/or sanction for further investigation or reconsideration at the hearing level, or may modify a sanction.

The original finding and sanction will stand if the appeal request is not timely or substantively eligible, and that decision is final. The party requesting appeal must show clear error as the original finding and/or a compelling justification to modify a sanction as both finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately during the original hearing.

The ONLY grounds for appeal are as follows:

  1. A procedural error occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.).
  2. To consider new evidence, unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included.
  3. The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions designated for this offense and the cumulative conduct history of the responding party.

Department Information

Office of Compliance and Title IX

LaShun McGhee
Compliance and Title IX Coordinator
815-226-2842
Burpee Center, Student Life Suite 5050 E. State Street Rockford, IL 61108

LMcGhee@rockford.edu

Hours:
Mon-Fri- 8:30am to 5:00pm