Walla Walla University Title IX
A student subject to a Walla Walla University Title IX investigation may face a range of disciplinary sanctions, including potential dismissal from the university, if found responsible for the alleged misconduct. Investigative and disciplinary procedures can be intimidating to students, and failure to fully understand their rights and responsibilities can have severe consequences. An experienced Washington Title IX defense attorney can guide students through the process. At Blair & Kim, PLLC, we understand what is at risk for our clients.Title IX
Sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment, is prohibited in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance by Title IX of the Education Amendment Act of 1972 (“Title IX”).Initiation of Title IX Resolution Process
Walla Walla University’s Title IX grievance procedure is set forth in its “Equal Opportunity, Harassment and Nondiscrimination Policy” (“Policy”). The Title IX grievance process is initiated when a complainant reports Title IX sexual harassment. The Title IX Coordinator sends notice of the investigation and allegations to the complainant and the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator will also appoint an investigator or investigators. According to the Policy, investigations normally are completed within 30 business days, but may take longer depending on the circumstances.Title IX Investigation
Investigators will interview the parties and witnesses and obtain evidence. They will generally give each person interviewed a chance to review their summary notes from their respective interviews. Investigators generally allow the parties to suggest witnesses and questions to be asked. The investigators will typically write a comprehensive investigation report that summarizes the investigation and addresses the relevant evidence. Pursuant to the Policy, the investigators do not make conclusions, analyze policy, or make recommendations in their report. The investigators will provide a copy of the draft investigation report to the parties. The parties 10 business days to review and inspect the evidence related to the misconduct and respond. The final report will include any needed changes, additional relevant evidence, and relevant parts of the written responses of the parties.
The Policy prohibits unauthorized recording of any aspect of the process. If the investigators want to record interviews or meetings, they must inform and obtain consent from the parties participating in the interview or meeting. The Policy allows investigators to conduct interviews remotely.
The Policy allows the consideration of any relevant, credible evidence, specifically including prior misconduct and evidence of a patter of misconduct. Unrelated incidents that do not show a pattern, the parties’ sexual history, and the parties’ character are not considered unless the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Specialist determines it is appropriate. The parties may provide up to two character letters before the investigation report is completed.
If the complaint is not informally resolved, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to the hearing. The hearing must be scheduled at least 10 business days after the final investigation report is provided to the parties and decision-maker, unless they all agree to hold it earlier.Hearing
The university designates a decision-maker or a panel of up to three decision-makers.
The hearing may be held after the end of the term if the matter cannot be resolved during the term. The University has a stated goal of resolving complaints within 60-90 business days. The university may place a hold on graduation or official transcripts until final resolution of the complaint.
The names of the people who will participate in the hearing, pertinent evidence, and the final report will be provided to the parties at least 10 business days before the hearing.
The parties are informed of the identify of the decision-makers at least 5 business days before the hearing and must make any written objection to the decision-makers at least one day before the hearing.
Decision-makers may consider relevant and credible evidence. They do not consider unrelated incidents unless they show a pattern, the parties’ character, or the complainant’s sexual history or predisposition, except if offered to show the alleged conduct was committed by someone else or if they relate to prior sexual behavior between the parties and are offered to show consent. The respondent’s disciplinary history may be considered only to determine appropriate sanctions.
The parties question witnesses through their advisors.
If new witnesses or evidence are offered for the hearing, the parties and the hearing chair must agree to their inclusion. If they do not all agree, the chair may postpone the hearing and have the investigation re-opened.
The decision is based on a preponderance of the evidence standard. Deliberations occur in a closed panel. A simple majority is required when there is a panel. If the decision-maker finds the respondent is responsible on any allegation, they may consider the parties’ impact statement. The chair provides a written deliberation statement to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator then provides a Notice of Outcome letter to the parties and advisors within 7 business days after receiving the deliberation statement. The Notice of Outcome states the final determination, rationale, sanctions, when the results are considered final, and information regarding appeals.Sanctions
The parties may submit written impact statements before the hearing to be considered at the sanction stage.
The Policy provides that student sanctions include: written warnings, mandatory educational program participation, restitution, suspended conduct probation, conduct probation, suspension, or dismissal. The Policy also provides that sanctions may include “other actions appropriate to the offense,” so the list is non-exhaustive.Appeals
Appeals must be submitted within 3 business days of delivery of the Notice of Outcome. Grounds for appeal are procedural errors or bias that denied a fair process or new material or evidence that was not reasonably available during the hearing and could affect the outcome. If an appeal is granted on new evidence, it should generally be sent back to the investigators for reconsideration. An appeal that upholds the original finding or sanction is final. A new finding or sanction may be appealed one time according to the same procedures as the original appeal.Call a Skilled Washington Title IX Defense Lawyer
A student involved in a Walla Walla University Title IX investigation should understand the procedures and the timeframes involved. A knowledgeable Washington Title IX defense attorney can help an accused student understand the process and be prepared to take timely action when needed. Blair & Kim, PLLC, can help with the Title IX investigation and disciplinary process and our years of Washington criminal defense experience mean we can also help with any related criminal case. Contact us via our online form or call (206) 622-6562 to schedule a consultation.