Evergreen State College Title IX
A student accused of an Evergreen State College Title IX violation faces substantial consequences, which can include suspension, expulsion, and even revocation of a degree. Accused students are entitled to certain rights but may not be aware of what those rights are or how to protect themselves. A student who has been accused of a Title IX violation should consult with an experienced Washington Title IX defense lawyer. The attorneys at Blair & Kim, PLLC, understand student rights and what is at stake in a Title IX investigation.Title IX
Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance. Sexual harassment is considered a form of harassment based on sex and is defined broadly for purposes of Title IX.Evergreen State College Student Conduct Code
Evergreen’s Student Conduct Code includes a separate section on “Supplemental Title IX Student Conduct Procedures and Prohibited Conduct.” The supplemental procedures apply to sexual harassment allegations subject to Title IX and take precedence over Evergreen’s standard disciplinary procedures when there is a conflict. WAC 174-123-355. Proceedings under the supplemental procedure must be dismissed if the Title IX coordinator determines the requirements for application of the supplemental procedure have not been met, but Evergreen may pursue disciplinary action under other provisions of the code of student rights and responsibilities. WAC 174-123-380.Complaints
Evergreen’s Title IX complaint and investigation procedures are not included in the codified supplemental procedures, but are instead included in Evergreen’s Title IX Policy and Procedures. According to that policy, employees, students, applicants, and visitors can report to the Title IX Coordinator if they believe they have been the subject of Sexual Harassment. Either the complainant or the Title IX Coordinator on the complainant’s behalf may file a formal complaint and initiate the Title IX process.
In some circumstances, the complainant and respondent may agree to pursue informal resolution. Informal resolution procedures may include guided conversations or communications through a third party, structured resolutions, or agreed upon changes to schedules, activities, or housing arrangements. Either party may withdraw from the process and the formal process will resume.Title IX Investigation
According to Evergreen’s Title IX Policy and Procedures, Evergreen will give the parties notice of formal and informal resolution processes after receiving a Formal Complaint and determining the allegations are subject to Title IX. The Title IX Coordinator also provides the parties Notice of Investigation before the first interview with the respondent. This notice includes the identities of the parties, a description of the alleged conduct, and the time and location where it occurred. The notice also provides that the respondent is presumed not responsible. It informs the parties of their right to an advisor of their own choosing and the right to review and inspect evidence. It also informs them of prohibitions on knowingly submitting false information. The investigator must also give a party notice of any interview or meeting at least five business days before the interview or meeting to give the party time to prepare, unless there is good cause for a reasonable delay.
Title IX allegations must be dismissed if the investigator determines they do not meet the requirements to be subject to Title IX. The Title IX allegations may be dismissed if the complainant provides written notice they want to withdraw all or part of the Formal Complaint, if the respondent is not enrolled in or employed by the college anymore, or if there are specific circumstances that prevent gathering evidence to complete the investigation.
Evergreen may consolidate the investigation of multiple Formal Complaints if they arise from the same facts or circumstances and consolidation would not be prohibited by confidentiality requirements.
The investigator must give the parties equal opportunity to present relevant statements and evidence. The investigator will record the audio of interviews if the party consents. The investigator will not restrict either party’s ability to discuss the allegations, gather evidence, or present evidence, unless there is a No Contact Order. Evergreen may impose a No Contact Order that is no broader than necessary to protect the person and that provides an alternative means for the impacted party to gather and present the evidence.
Each party may choose and be accompanied by an advisor to any grievance-related meeting. An attorney must enter a notice of appearance with the Title IX Coordinator and investigator at least five days before the first interview or meeting they are going to attend.
Evergreen provides an advisor to the complainant and the respondent, but the party may choose their own advisor instead. Students may also have someone with them during the investigation and disciplinary proceedings for emotional support. The parties and their advisors are given equal opportunity to review the draft investigation report and the evidence. Each party has ten days to submit a written response. The Title IX Coordinator distributes the report and evidence to the parties and the disciplinary authority.Disciplinary Proceedings
If the Student Conduct Official determines there are grounds to pursue a Title IX disciplinary action, they will file a written disciplinary notice with the Hearing Panel Chair. The Hearing Panel Chair services notice on the parties and their advisors. The notice must include certain information, including the range of possible sanctions, the parties’ right to an advisor and their role at the hearing, and the parties’ right to have someone present for emotional support. The notice must also explain that a decision may be made in a party’s absence if they fail to appear. WAC 174-123-400.Pre-Hearing
The hearing date must be set at least ten days after the Title IX Coordinator provides the parties with the Final Investigation Report.
Advisors conduct cross-examination of the parties and witnesses at the hearing. The parties must submit the names and contact information of their advisor at least five days before the hearing. An attorney acting as an advisor must file a notice of appearance with the Hearing Panel Chair and provides copies to all parties and the Student Conduct Official at least five days before the hearing. WAC 174-123-410.Initial Order
The Hearing Panel drafts an Initial order identifying the allegations, describing the grievance and disciplinary procedures, making findings of fact, reaching conclusions regarding the respondent’s responsibility, stating the determination of responsibility for each allegation along with the rationale, describing any sanctions or disciplinary conditions imposed, describing the complainant’s right to any remedies to restore or preserve their equal access to education programs or activities, and describing the appeals process. WAC 174-123-440.Appeals
The parties only have ten days to appeal a decision by the Student Conduct Official or the Hearing Panel. Parties may appeal based on procedural irregularities affecting the outcome, new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the determination, a conflict of interest by a Title IX Administrator, and inconsistency between the violation and the severity of the sanction. WAC 174-123-450.Sanctions
According to Evergreen’s Title IX Policy and Procedures, a student found responsible for sexual harassment may be disciplined up to and including dismissal from Evergreen. They are also subject to the sanctions set forth in WAC 174-123-240, which ranges from written warning to expulsion. Potential sanctions include no contact orders, loss of privileges, housing suspension or eviction, and withholding or revocation of admission or degree.Call a Skilled Washington Title IX Defense Attorney
The processes and procedures for an Evergreen State College Title IX investigation can be intimidating to a student. A knowledgeable Washington Title IX defense attorney can guide an accused student through the process and work to protect the rights afforded to accused students under the law. Blair & Kim, PLLC, also have a thorough understanding of Title IX as well as significant criminal defense experience.