A Message About the Title IX Investigation Office Operations During COVID-19 Situation

The Title IX Investigation Office remains open to receive concerns and conduct intake meetings and investigations.  For the foreseeable future, however, all Title IX Investigation Office staff are working remotely.  Meetings and interviews will occur via video or phone.  We are committed to continuous service during this challenging time and we look forward to working with you.  To contact us, please email tixinv@uw.edu or call us at 206-616-2028.  Thank you.

The Title IX Investigation Office is responsible for investigating complaints that a University student engaged in conduct that violates any of the sexual misconduct provisions of the Student Conduct Code, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, sexual exploitation, indecent exposure, relationship violence, stalking, and domestic violence. The conduct process is designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation process and to equitably protect the rights of individuals participating in the investigation.

Refer to the Student Conduct Policy for Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation, which provides information about complaints that do not include allegations of the types of sexual harassment prohibited by the U.S. Department of Education’s federal Title IX regulations. More information about sexual harassment complaints to which the Department of Education regulations apply can be found here.

What follows is a summary of the student conduct process (when the Department of Education’s federal regulations do not apply). This summary does not replace or substitute for the Student Conduct Code itself.  When the Department of Education’s federal regulation do apply, please review this summary.

Initial complaint assessment

When you contact our office, we will work with you to schedule an intake meeting. At this meeting, you’ll talk with a Title IX investigator. The investigator acts as a neutral, objective fact-finder.

The meeting may be conducted in person, via Zoom, or over the phone and may last several hours depending on the complexity of the concerns raised. You are welcome to bring a support person, such as a University confidential advocate, with you to the meeting. You may also bring an attorney, if you would like. The investigator will listen to your concerns and may ask questions to clarify what happened and when. The investigator will evaluate whether the information you provide could indicate a violation of the Student Conduct Code. If so, you and the investigator will discuss next steps, which may include an investigation.

If the investigator decides not to initiate an investigation, the investigator will provide you with a brief statement of the reasons for this decision.

You need not be a student to raise a concern, but the concern raised must be about a University student.

Investigation process

If the decision is made to move forward with an investigation, you will receive a letter with a summary of your complaint, and you will be asked to verify that the allegations are factually accurate. Once the allegations are finalized and you have approved them, the investigation opens. The student who is accused of violating the Student Conduct Code (called the respondent) is notified of the complaint against them.

Fact finding

The investigator will interview the respondent(s), interview witnesses, examine relevant documents, and gather related factual information. The interview of the respondent is that student’s opportunity to learn more about the allegations, tell the investigator what they know about the situation, and review what happens during the conduct process.

Throughout the fact finding, both parties—you and the respondent—have the opportunity to identify witnesses, provide information, review information provided by others, and suggest questions for others.

In cases where the misconduct alleged is serious enough that a sanction of suspension or dismissal may be appropriate, the process may require an additional hearing. This is because the University will not suspend or dismiss a student without first conducting a full hearing. (Note: a hearing will always occur if the allegations of prohibited conduct include sexual harassment as defined by the Department of Education’s federal regulations.)

After completing fact finding, the investigator may issue a report with a determination of whether or not the Student Conduct Code has been violated. The investigator may conclude there is not enough evidence to determine the Code has been violated; the investigator may also determine there is sufficient evidence to conclude the Code has been violated and the appropriate sanction is something less than suspension or dismissal. If the investigator believes there is enough evidence that the accused student violated at least one provision of the Code and suspension or dismissal could be an appropriate sanction (or conduct defined by the Department of Education’s federal regulations was alleged), the investigator will request a hearing.

Hearing

In cases where a hearing is appropriate, the University will assign a hearing officer who will contact the students with information about the hearing, such as the time, location, and date of the hearing. A hearing typically involves the hearing office, the investigator, the parties, and some witnesses. After the hearing officer has evaluated the information presented to them, they will reach a decision and issue a decision in writing, including a sanction if there was sufficient evidence to find a respondent responsible for violating the Student Conduct Code. In other words, the investigator will not make the final decision in these cases—the decision will be made by the hearing officer, who will evaluate the evidence for themselves.

Initial order

In cases that do not proceed to a hearing because the investigator (1) finds there was not enough evidence to conclude a violation of the Code occurred, or (2) finds that enough evidence exists to conclude that a violation of the Conduct Code has occurred and the appropriate sanction is less than dismissal or probation, the investigator will issue a decision in writing, including the rationale for the decision and any sanction.

Administrative review

Parties who wish to have the decisions of either the investigator or hearing officer reviewed may request an administrative review. This request must be made within 21 days of receiving the decision from either the investigator or hearing officer. The administrative review will be done by specially-trained members of the faculty. The administrative reviewer(s) will issue a written decision explaining the outcome of the review.

Disciplinary sanctions

Possible sanctions include:

  • Disciplinary reprimand
  • Disciplinary probation
  • Restitution
  • Loss of privileges
  • Suspension
  • Dismissal

Policies and code

The information provided above is only a summary of important information contained in Student Policies Chapter 210: Student Conduct Policy for Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment, Intimate Partner Violence, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Retaliation.