Rutgers University takes a firm stance against any and all infractions against its Prohibited Sexual Misconduct policy. The policy itself prohibits a number of sexual-based hostilities and all forms of gender-based discrimination. Prohibited conduct can occur in several forms, and when it is reported, students face very serious consequences. Reports are sent to one of the University's Title IX coordinators.
When a person wishes to make a report of a Title IX violation, they may do so confidentially, or through a number of reporting services provided by the University. There is no time limit for a report of prohibited conduct to be made, so older allegations may come to surface.
Responding to Reports of Prohibited Conduct at Rutgers University
When students become involved in Rutgers' Title IX process, the student who initiated the complaint will be known as the complainant, while the student who is the subject of the violation report will be known as the respondent. The respondent will be notified in writing of the charges presented against them through their University email. Once a report is made, the Title IX Coordinator assigned to the case will begin an investigative process. The respondent may also have certain interim measure imposed upon them while the investigation is taking place, such as being asked not to contact the complainant and even changes to their class schedule or residence hall. An interim suspension may also be imposed. Investigations will conclude within 30 days of the report.
Title IX Hearings
Both complainant and respondent will in theory be guaranteed certain rights through the hearing process. First, either side may dispute the impartiality of those overseeing the hearing, if they have sufficient belief that the hearing is not being conducted fairly. Evidence considered at the hearings is limited to the facts that pertain to this particular incident. Prior violations, prior sexual or dating history, and character witnesses will not play a role in determining the outcome.
Prior to a hearing, respondents may be offered an opportunity through informal resolution, but only if both parties deem it necessary and appropriate. If the case is to go to a hearing, it will proceed in a set order and will be overseen by a Hearing Officer. First, the investigator will present the investigation report and will be questioned by the officer. Next, the complainant will make a statement, which is subject to questioning from the respondent and Hearing Officer. Following this, the respondent can present their version, subject to questioning from the complainant and Hearing Officer. Next, witnesses will be presented and questioned by the Hearing Officer. Finally, both complainant and respondent will make closing statements, with the respondent presenting last. The Hearing Officer will then use the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence" to make a decision, which is rendered within 2 days following the hearing. The decision will also include any imposed sanctions if the student is determined to be "responsible."
Students may have an advisor of their choice present at all hearing and meetings. With so much at stake, this advisor should be an attorney. Title IX charges can put a student's education and professional future in jeopardy, not to mention the fact that other adverse consequences may accompany or follow the Title IX proceedings. An attorney can advise and guide a student through the process, and provide valuable insight into how to properly negotiate and cross-examine in a hearing setting. This can greatly affect the outcome of a hearing. An attorney can also ensure the integrity of the Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceedings, and can protect an accused student's rights throughout the process. Should any additional consequences result from the initial reporting at Rutgers University, an attorney can also serve as a student's guide.
Appeals at Rutgers University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Both decisions and the imposed sanctions can be appealed. The appeal must be made within 5 days of the hearing decision. Appeals must be made on the grounds of an unsupported conclusion, procedural error, new information, or a disproportionate sanction.