On May 6, 2020 the Department of Education released new federal Title IX guidelines that detail procedures universities must follow in cases of sexual harassment and assault on campuses. The rules become effective August 14, 2020. While the new regulations mean modifications in some aspects of UA’s conduct process, they will only apply to a subset of all sexual misconduct matters.
The new guidelines mandate a formal grievance process that includes the opportunity
for cross-examination by a party’s advisor during a live hearing.
While the University of Alaska expressed concerns over required cross-examination
to the Department of Education, it will still be required by the new regulations beginning
Aug. 14. If a party does not have an advisor for cross-examination during the live
hearing, the university will provide a representative at no cost. The guidelines also
offer options for alternative processes that would allow parties to come to an informal
resolution that does not require a live hearing in some types of cases.
- THE GRIEVANCE PROCESS: The university will use the preponderance of the evidence standard during the grievance process. The respondent shall have the presumption of non-responsibility during the grievance process, meaning that they shall be presumed to not be responsible for any alleged sex or gender-based discrimination until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
- Investigation: As part of the formal resolution process, a Title IX investigator will conduct an investigation that provides an objective evaluation of all relevant evidence, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, and does not make credibility assessments based on a person’s status as a complainant, respondent, or witness.
- Hearing: After the investigation is complete, the university will commence a hearing as part of the grievance process to determine, based on the facts developed by the investigation, whether the respondent is responsible for sex or gender-based discrimination.
- APPEALS: The complainant and respondent have the right to appeal a decision-maker’s determination regarding responsibility.
For more information on the process please refer to the new Policy and Regulation.