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Investigation Process

BOISE STATE UNIVERSITY

1065 INVESTIGATION PROCEDURES

The Director of Title IX Compliance (“Director”), who is housed within the Office of Institutional Compliance and Ethics, has the primary responsibility for investigating reports of discrimination and harassment under Boise State Policy 1065 (Sexual Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, and Stalking, http://policy.boisestate.edu/governance-legal/sexual-harassment-dating-violence/).  The Director is positioned to appropriately respond to and investigate suspected discrimination or harassment and identify and remedy systemic problems.  The Director is also the gatekeeper for determining when complaints merit formal investigation and when it is appropriate to end a pending investigation and/or refer a complaint to Human Resource Services or the Office of the Dean of Students for resolution.

Investigations, including the implementation of disciplinary action(s) for employees or students, are generally completed within sixty (60) calendar days from the time the Director receives sufficient information regarding the complaint to begin and investigation.

RECEIPT OF COMPLAINT

When the Director becomes aware of a specific incident or course of conduct that may constitute a violation of Policy 1065, through a direct complaint or otherwise, the Director will conduct an initial inquiry and determine if the University must initiate an investigation generally within seven (7) calendar days.  When necessary to protect the parties or the broader university community, the Director may implement interim measures such as no contact orders, work or class schedule changes, exclusion, temporary employment action, etc.  The Director will work with the appropriate departments including but not limited to Campus Security & Police Services, Human Resource Services, Athletics, and departments within the Divisions of Student Affairs and Academic Affairs to implement interim measures as necessary.

When necessary, the Director, as a Campus Security Authority, will complete a crime reporting form to ensure relevant reports are included in the University’s Annual Security Report, as required by the Clery Act, as amended by section 304 of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2013.  Only non-identifying information is gathered for use in the Annual Security Report.  For more information on Campus Security Authorities, Crime Reporting Forms and the Annual Security Report, please visit the Campus Security Authority webpage located at http://security.boisestate.edu/csa/.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COMPLAINT AND ASSIGNMENT OF INVESTIGATOR

When the Director is put on notice, the following occur as part of the investigation process:

  1. The Director will acknowledge receipt of the complaint and notify the person affected by the alleged misconduct (“Reporting Party”) in writing, which may be via official university email, when a formal investigation is warranted and assigned an investigator, generally within seven (7) calendar days.
  2. The investigator will gather additional information about the incident and determine the likelihood of the allegations.
  3. If the assigned investigator has a conflict of interest with either of the parties or the subject matter of the case, the investigator may recuse himself or herself, or the party alleging a conflict of interest may request that a different investigator be assigned to the case.
  4. Although rare, the Director has the authority to obtain an independent outside investigator if the situation presented or the parties involved would create an inherent conflict of interest (i.e. any University employee would be unable to impartially investigate the case).

CONFLICT OF INTEREST OR ALLEGATION OF BIAS

A Reporting Party or Responding Party may petition for an alternative investigator based on a conflict of interest by providing notice in writing to the Director as soon as practicable (preferably within three (3) calendar days of the requestor’s discovery of the potential conflict).  The request should detail the nature of the conflict of interest and why the requesting party believes that the assigned investigator cannot conduct a fair and impartial investigation.  The decision of whether or not to assign an alternative investigator rests solely with the Director.  The Director will generally provide a written response to the request within two (2) calendar days of the Director’s receipt of the request.

CLOSING CASES

If the Director determines that no formal investigation is required, the Director will provide the reasons for this determination in writing.  For example, in some cases there is not enough information available to make a baseline determination that Policy 1065 applies (i.e. it may be unclear that the alleged harassment was on the basis of sex, gender expression or identity, or sexual orientation).  In other instances, the issue reported can be resolved informally or through other processes and will be referred to other campus departments without an investigation.  When applicable, the Director will provide a notification of referral to the Reporting Party and/or the person who must respond to the Reporting Party’s allegations (“Responding Party”).

INVESTIGATION

The Director or investigator will, within ten (10) calendar days of notice of a complaint:

  1. Provide Reporting Party with a list of rights that apply during the investigation process. A copy of this document is available from the Director.
  2. Provide Responding Party with written notice of the investigation, including any charges that apply (Policy 1065 violation, Student Code of Conduct violation, etc.).
    1. The Dean of Students or a representative from that office will be consulted when determining appropriate charges under the Student Code of Conduct, if any.
    2. In some cases, charges may be amended, dropped, or added during the investigation process. Responding Party and Reporting Party will simultaneously receive written notice of any change(s) in charge.
  3. Provide Responding Party with a list of rights that apply during the investigation process. A copy of this document is available from the Director.

At a minimum, investigations will include:

Informational interviews with Reporting Party and Responding Party (if known), to the extent they are willing to be interviewed. During these interviews, each party will have the opportunity to provide a statement regarding the incident, a list of witnesses, and any other relevant information.

  • The investigator assigned to the case will thoroughly document each informational interview; interviews may be audio recorded.
  • Informational interviews with relevant witnesses, if any.
  • Review of any physical documentation of the incident, including but not limited to, screenshots, audio and visual recordings, text message logs, emails, phone logs, social media postings, etc.
  • Generally, information gathering should be completed within thirty (30) calendar days of notice of a complaint.

Once the information gathering is complete, the investigator will prepare an information summary.  Personal identifying information will be redacted from this information summary unless it is pertinent to the investigation.  Both Reporting Party and Responding Party will be given an opportunity to review the information summary with the investigator.  At the time of review, Reporting Party and Responding Party may ask questions and provide feedback on the information summary.  Reporting Party and Responding Party will have two (2) calendar days to prepare a written response to the investigation summary.  It is within the discretion of the investigator and Director to determine if further information gathering is warranted and/or if the information summary should be modified based on the feedback of Reporting Party and Responding Party.

Once the investigation is complete, the investigator will prepare a full investigation report (“report”).  The report will include an overview of the complaint, a review of all relevant information gathered (including the information summary), Responding Party’s and Reporting Party’s written response(s) to the information summary (if any), and a finding regarding violation of any relevant university policies.  If the finding indicates a violation of university policy, the investigator will also include recommended employment and/or disciplinary action(s).

INVESTIGATION FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

The investigator will forward the report to the Director for review and approval.  Once the report has been reviewed and approved by the Director, it will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Students, the employee’s direct supervisor, Human Resource Services, and/or the department chair, college dean, or department supervisors, as appropriate, for a review of the findings and any recommended employment or disciplinary action(s).  Upon final approval of the report, a notice of findings will be sent simultaneously to both Reporting Party and Responding Party, along with information regarding the student disciplinary process or the employment action process outlined in the following paragraphs (if applicable).

If processed through the student conduct system:

If recommendations for disciplinary action(s) are processed by the Office of the Dean of Students, the Associate Dean of Students in charge of non-academic student conduct or their designee will meet with both Reporting Party and Responding Party separately to review the recommended disciplinary actions and provide information regarding the student conduct process.  Each party may provide the Associate Dean of Students or their designee with a statement articulating information not in the report, they feel is relevant to the case, including whether they agree or disagree with the proposed disciplinary action(s).

The conduct body* will review relevant documentation, including the report, and Reporting Party’s and Responding Party’s statements, if any.  The conduct body may choose to implement the recommended disciplinary action(s) or impose modified or alternative disciplinary actions.  If modified or alternative disciplinary actions are imposed, the conduct body shall thoroughly document the specific reasons for the adjustments and send a copy of the reasoning to the Director.  A letter including final sanctions shall be delivered to Responding Party (and Reporting Party as appropriate pursuant to FERPA and/or other relevant laws).  This letter may be sent via email and will include information regarding the appeals process.

Both Reporting Party and Responding Party may appeal the sanctions imposed by the conduct body under the appeals policy (which includes the grounds and timelines for appeals) contained in the Student Code of Conduct.

If processed by Department/Human Resource Services:

Once the report is finalized, written notice, including information regarding employment action, if any, shall be delivered to the Responding Party (and Reporting Party as appropriate pursuant to FERPA and relevant employment privacy laws). This letter may be sent via email and will include information on appeals, to the extent appeals are available.

In cases where employee disciplinary action is recommended, Employee Relations will begin the due process procedure, pursuant to university policy.  Due process procedures and appeal processes may be found in the following policies:

To the extent allowed by applicable employee privacy laws and university policies, the Reporting Party will be notified of any change in outcome resulting from the appeals process.

Although the University strives to complete all investigations, issue a report, and implement employee and/or student disciplinary actions within sixty (60) calendar days of receipt of notice, occasionally more time may be needed to complete an investigation and associated processes.  If additional time is necessary, Reporting Party and Responding Party will be notified in writing.

FINALITY OF PROCESS

This process is the only process the University will use for investigation of complaints of sexual harassment, discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual misconduct, domestic and dating abuse and violence, and stalking pursuant to Policy 1065.  The findings and associated employment or student disciplinary actions based on this process, including all associated appeals and statutory rights outlined in university policies and this document, are final and will not be further addressed through the student conduct process, departmental administration, or human resource processes.  Information obtained in university proceedings may be shared with local law enforcement, external governing bodies (i.e. the US Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and/or the Idaho Human Rights Commission), and/or any judicial body with a properly issued subpoena.

Dated effective March 5, 2015.  Amended April 1, 2015 and July 16, 2015. Amended on February 10, 2016.


* Throughout this document, the term conduct body means any person or persons authorized by the Vice President for Student Affairs or his/her designee to determine whether a student has violated the Student Code of Conduct and to determine appropriate sanctions for the violation.  This can be a single individual, such as a hearing officer (individual faculty or staff member), or a group of people, such as a conduct board or appellate board.

**Investigation processes involving allegations of violations of multiple policies may deviate from this process.