Procedural Response to Sexual Misconduct

Student Conduct Procedures

I. Preponderance of the Evidence

Just enough testimony and information to make it more likely than not that the fact sought to be proven is true. This preponderance is based on the more convincing information and its probable truth or accuracy, and not on the amount of information. 

II. Conduct/Investigation Process

Any person may file a complaint against a student for violations of the Standards of Conduct, including violations of the Sexual Harassment Policy. This procedure applies to any allegation of sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, and/or sexual exposure by a student, regardless of where the alleged violation occurred. For the purpose of this procedure, the Respondent must have been registered or enrolled at the University at the time of the alleged violation (including during an academic recess), and at the time that the complaint is made to the University. 

  1. Where to File a Complaint
  • Complaints about Student Conduct: All complaints alleging sexual harassment or retaliation committed by students should be submitted to the Title IX Administrator at tixadministrator@western.edu, 970.943.2616.

  • Complaints about Employee or Third Party Conduct: All complaints alleging sexual harassment or retaliation committed by employees and/or third parties should be submitted to the Director of Human Resources/Deputy Title IX Administrator, Taylor Hall 321. 

III. Title IX Administrator

Whenever a complaint is received, the Title IX Administrator will be advised of the complaint and may assist in the investigation or resolution of the complaint as directed by the School. The Title IX Administrator is: 

Chris Luekenga
Associate VP for Student Affairs
Title IX Administrator tixadministrator@western.edu
970.943.2616

Office of Student Affairs
970.943.2011

  1. Deputy Title IX Administrators
  • Human Resources Director – Kim Gailey, 970.943.2412
  • Director of Student Health and Wellness – Scott Cantril, 970.943.2891
  • Assistant Athletic Director – Jordan Jones, 970.943.2021
  • Student Affairs Designee(s) – Sara Phillips, 970.943.2176
  1. Responsibilities: Compliance of sexual harassment policies for matters involving students, including training, education, communication, may assist in the investigation and administration of grievance procedure for all complaints of sexual misconduct. 

IV. Effect of Criminal Proceedings

Because certain acts of sexual harassment may constitute both a violation of School Standards of Conduct policy and a criminal offense, the University encourages, but does not require students to report alleged criminal acts (e.g., sexual assault and sexual violence) promptly to appropriate law enforcement authorities. The standards for findings violations of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of the University’s. 

V. Standard of Proof

The standard of proof is the amount of information needed to establish a violation of policy has occurred. In the adjudication of student conduct issues, the University uses a “preponderance of evidence” standard, which means that the information demonstrates that it is more likely than not the alleged conduct or policy violation has occurred. 

VI. Immediate Response

Depending on the nature of the complaint, the University reserves the right to take any and all interim steps it deems necessary to protect the Complainant, witnesses, or the Respondent.

Examples of these interim measures may include, but are not limited to the following: 

  • Issuing “no contact” directives;

  • Issuing temporary “PNG” or “no trespassing” directives; 

  • Temporarily suspending a student’s enrollment; and 

  • Obtaining restraining or similar protective orders through appropriate law enforcement and conduct mechanisms. 

VII. Initial Inquiry Meetings with Complainant and Respondent

The Title IX Administrator or deputy will schedule an intake meeting with the Complainant in order to provide the Complainant a general understanding of the policy, and to identify forms of support available and appropriate for the Complainant. The Title IX Administrator or Deputy will also seek to determine whether the Complainant wishes to pursue adjudication through the University’s Standards of Conduct.  

Title IX Administrator or Deputy will schedule an intake meeting with the Respondent following the meeting with the Complainant in order to provide the Respondent a general understanding of the policy, and identify forms of support available to the Respondent. Following these initial meetings with the Complainant and Respondent, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy may conduct additional investigation by meeting with other individuals involved and witnesses or assign an investigator(s) to conduct an investigation. 

If the Complainant does not wish to pursue the formal conduct process or requests confidentiality, Title IX nevertheless requires the University to investigate and take reasonable and appropriate action in response to the complaint.

When confidentiality is requested or the Complainant does not wish to pursue adjudication, the University’s ability to respond and resolve the matter of concern may be more limited. Further, Title IX requires the University to consider the Complainant’s request for confidentiality in the context of its commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment for all community members. Although full confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, the Title IX Administrator will advise the Complainant regarding the degree of confidentiality that may be possible, and the measures that will be taken to try to ensure this confidentiality.

VIII. Informal Conduct Process

A Complainant who wishes to file a complaint with the Title IX Administrator, but who does not wish to pursue Formal Conduct, may request a less formal proceeding known as “Informal Conduct,” as described below. Although informal, this is an official conduct process; it is not mediation. 

  • Purpose and Timing: Informal Conduct provides an opportunity for the Complainant to provide the Title IX Administrator or Deputy with information about the subject incident, the impact of the incident, his/her wishes and expectations regarding future interactions with the

    Respondent, and needed support and protective measures. If approved by the complainant, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy will communicate this information to the Respondent and allow the Respondent an opportunity to respond. The Informal Conduct Process is expected to be completed in a reasonably brief period of time of the date the complaint is received by the Title IX Administrator or Deputy. If additional time is needed for this informal process, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy will communicate this to the Complainant and Respondent in writing, citing the reasons for the additional time and providing an estimated date of completion. 

  • Outcome of Informal Conduct: Informal Conduct cannot result in a formal sanction involving suspension or expulsion of the Respondent. Informal Conduct resolution may, however, result in the imposition by the Office of Student Affairs protective measures and other appropriate actions based on the information derived from the proceedings, and any other relevant information known to the School at the time of the Informal Adjudication. 

  • Election of Formal Conduct Process: The University, the Complainant, or the Respondent may, at any time prior to the conclusion of the Informal Conduct Process, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Conduct instead. 

IX. Formal Conduct Procedures

The Formal Conduct Process is utilized when a Complainant wishes to file a formal complaint with the University regarding the conduct of a student. The Formal Adjudication process, including the issuance of a written decision, should normally be completed within 60 calendar days of the Title IX Administrator or Deputies receipt of the formal complaint. If additional time is needed for this process, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy will communicate this to the Complainant and Respondent in writing, citing the reasons for the additional time and providing an estimated date of completion. 

  1. Investigation and Conduct Meeting: If the Complainant notifies the University that he/she wishes to pursue Formal Adjudication during the Intake meeting, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy will conduct an investigation to determine if the complaints have merit. If the complaints have merit, the Title IX Administrator will assign the case to an investigator. 

    1. The assigned investigator(s) will conduct a thorough, reliable and impartial investigation. This investigation will include interviews with the Complainant, Respondent and any identified witnesses. The investigators will also examine any evidence that might be available during the investigation. The Title IX Administrator or Deputy will notify the Respondent in writing that an official investigation will take place. The notification will provide the Respondent with the charge(s) against him/her. Notice will also be given to the Complainant.

      1. When appropriate, the Respondent, whether living on or off campus, may be temporarily suspended by the Vice President for Student Affairs or a designated member of the administrative staff, pending disposition of the case by the Title IX Administrator or Deputy.

      2. With the approval of the Title IX Administrator or Deputy, an advisor or support person of his/her choosing may accompany the Respondent and/or the Complainant during any interview or conduct meeting. Such advisor may be an attorney. Since direct interaction with the Respondent and the Complainant involved is essential to this student’s educational relationship with the School, the advisor’s roles is limited to an advising role only. The advisor may not act as a representative of the Respondent or Complainant, speak on the Respondent’s or Complainants behalf, or participate directly in any meeting. Additionally, the advisor may not serve in a dual role in the meeting. For example, the advisor may not also serve as a witness. The Title IX Administrator, Deputy, or investigator holding the meeting may consult with or choose to have the University’s Legal Counsel present at the meeting in a similar advisory capacity.

      3. The Complainant and Respondent may each submit a list of relevant witnesses to the Title IX Administrator, Deputy, or investigator. The investigator, or Title IX Administrator or Deputy will make a determination as to whether a particular witness will be permitted to provide information related to the matter. If permitted, the investigator, Title IX Administrator or Deputy will arrange for witnesses to meet with them independently. 

      4. Adjudication meetings associated with a complaint of sexual harassment are considered private, educational interactions between the Respondent and the University. All meetings are considered closed to anyone not directly involved in the proceedings. Admission of any other persons to the meeting shall be at the sole discretion of the conduct meeting educator. 

      5. Pertinent records, exhibits and written statements may be accepted as information for consideration. The Respondent will be allowed to review and respond to any such records the conduct meeting educator (s) considers as the basis for the complaints. 

      6. The Respondent will be afforded the opportunity to present his/her own version of the incident or events by personal statement, as well as through written statements of witnesses to the incident. 

      7. At the Conduct Educators sole discretion, any interview, conduct meeting or hearing may be recorded. This recording is the property of the University. If such a recording exists and the Respondent or Complainant wishes to obtain a copy of the recording, a request must be submitted in writing to the Vice President of Student Affairs. Once such request has been received, the Vice President of Student Affairs will follow the applicable provisions of the Colorado Open Records Act, C.R.S. §§ 24-72-200.1, et seq., to respond to the request.

      8. If information presented in the investigation or any conduct meeting creates the need for clarification or additional investigation, or to accommodate scheduling conflicts with witnesses, the investigator, Title IX Administrator or Deputy may schedule additional meetings and/or continue the meeting at a later time and date.

      9. If the investigation involves more than one student offender or multiple Respondents, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy may permit the meeting concerning each student to be conducted either jointly or separately.

      10. The Title IX Administrator or Deputy may make special accommodations to address concerns regarding the personal safety, well-being, or fears of confrontation or retaliation on the part of the Respondent(s), Complainant(s), and/or other witnesses during any meetings.

      11. Formal rules of process, procedure, or information as established and applied in the civil or criminal justice system do not apply to the Conduct Meeting.

      12. If the Respondent does not appear for any scheduled Conduct Meeting, a decision may be reached taking into consideration the totality of the information related to the complaints available at the time of the meeting.

      13. Unless otherwise directed in this policy and procedure, all materials and documents prepared or compiled by the investigator, Title IX Administrator or Deputy during the course of investigation and conduct process of a sexual harassment complaint hereunder shall be kept confidential to the fullest extent of the law in order to protect participants and promote candor.

      14. After meeting with the Respondent, Complainant, witnesses and having thoroughly looked at the evidence available, considered all pertinent information, the investigator, will issue a written finding of the facts to the Title IX Administrator or Deputy. The Title IX Administrator or Deputy will determine if the case should be heard by a Conduct Panel. If a recommendation for a conduct panel is determined, the Title IX Administrator or Deputy will assign trained members to the Conduct Panel and set a date for the Panel to hear the case. The Conduct Panel will deliberate the investigation and make a determination of responsible or not responsible. If a determination of responsible is mad, the hearing panel will then deliberate on the appropriate sanction(s). Findings, including conduct sanctions, if any, for the Respondent, will be provided concurrently to the Respondent and Complainant. If additional time is needed, the investigator, Title IX Administrator or Deputy will notify the Respondent and Complainant in writing, citing the reasons for the additional time and providing an estimated date of completion.

      15. Both the Respondent and the Complainant have the right to appeal the Conduct Panels decision. All requests for an appeal must be submitted in writing to the Office of the Student Affairs within seven (3) class days of the date of the hearing, Title IX Administrator or Deputy’s written decision. The Student Appeal Process will govern any appeals (SECTION FIVE. III). 

Employee/Third Party Conduct Procedures

Sexual Misconduct Complaint, Investigation and Resolution Procedure for Complaints Involving Employees or Third Parties

This procedure is promulgated under the Western Colorado University Board of Trustees Policy Prohibiting Sexual Misconduct and is intended as the means for implementing the policy.

1.0     General Complaint Information

1.1     Who May File a Complaint

Any employee, student, or third party not affiliated with Western who is present on campus or who has interactions with students and employees through University-sponsored activities (“Third Party”) who believes he or she has been the recipient of sexually harassing behavior, including retaliation, may file a complaint.  Complaints may be filed against employees, students, or Third Parties.

1.2     Choice of Remedies

Complainants are not permitted to simultaneously file an unlawful discrimination claim under the University’s Anti-Discrimination Policy or the State of Colorado Personnel Board Rules, and a sexual misconduct claim under the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and this associated Complaint Procedure against the same individual arising out of an identical set of facts.

1.3     Promptness in Filing Complaint

A complaint may be filed at any time, but individuals who feel they have been victims of sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to come forward as soon as possible after the occurrence of the incident, event, or other action alleged to constitute sexual misconduct or retaliation.

1.4     Timing

The University will address and resolve sexual misconduct matters promptly and effectively.  It is the University’s intent that the entire process for investigating and resolving complaints be concluded within 60 calendar days following receipt of a formal complaint.  However, the length of time will vary depending on the complexity of the investigation, the severity and extent of the misconduct, the quantity and availability of witnesses, and other factors of significance that may affect the length of the investigation.  If the formal complaint process cannot be completed within 60 calendar days from the receipt of the formal complaint by the University, the Complainant and the Respondent will be informed in writing of the reasons for the delay and provided an estimated date of completion.

1.5     Where to File a Complaint

1.5.1     Complaints about Employee or Third Party Behaviors.  All Complaints alleging sexual misconduct or retaliation committed by employees and/or Third Parties, whether informal or formal, should be submitted to the Deputy Title IX Administrator/Director of Human Resources, Human Resources Office (970.943.3142).

1.5.2     Complaints about Student Misconduct.  All Complaints alleging sexual misconduct or retaliation committed by students against Employees or Third Parties should be submitted to the Title IX Administrator/Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Office of Student Affairs, Taylor Hall 301, (970.943.2616).

1.6     Employee Obligation to Report

Any employee, including any faculty member, who is aware of sexually harassing or retaliatory behavior, must promptly report the sexually harassing behavior or retaliatory action to the Title IX Administrator, Chris Luekenga; or to the Deputy Title IX Administrator/Director of Human Resources.

1.7     Types of Complaints

Complaints may be made informally or formally.  Informal complaints may be made orally or in written form; formal complaints must be in writing.

1.8      Confidentiality

1.8.1     Confidential Reporting

a)     On-Campus Confidential Resources

Should a complainant wish to speak with an individual in confidence, they should speak with someone at the University’s Counseling Center. Counselors generally will only report to the University that an incident occurred without revealing any personally identifying information. Disclosures to these individuals will not trigger a University investigation into an incident against the victim’s wishes.

Individuals may report confidentially to the following campus resources that provide support and guidance:

Campus Counseling Center
Crystal Hall 104
970.642.4615
After Hours Emergency: 970.252.6220

OR

Campus Health Clinic
Tomichi Hall 104
970.943.2707

b)     Gunnison Community Confidential Resources

Individuals may report confidentially to the following off-campus resources that provide support and guidance:

Center for Mental Health
710 N. Taylor Street
970.641.0229

Project Hope-Victims Support Services
24/7 Helpline: 970.275.1193
www.hope4gv.org

1.9      Local Law Enforcement Reporting

Individuals may report any complaint of sexual assault, violence, stalking or other sexual misconduct to the Police.   

Gunnison Police Department
Emergency 911
970.641.8200

1.10    Title IX Administrator

Whenever a complaint is received, the Title IX Administrator will be advised of the complaint and may assist in the investigation or resolution of the complaint.  The University Title IX Administrator may be contacted as follows:

Chris Luekenga
Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Taylor Hall 301
Gunnison, CO  81231 Telephone: 970.943.2616
email: tixadministrator@western.edu

2.0     Informal Complaint Procedure

2.1      Purpose and Timing

Under certain circumstances, an informal sexual misconduct complaint and resolution process may be appropriate, effective and desirable for a variety of reasons.  Further, it may provide a more expedient path to resolution than the formal process entails. The informal resolution efforts will be focused on bringing the Complainant’s concerns to the attention of the Respondent and, if the concerns are valid, obtaining the voluntary cooperation of the parties to address and resolve the matter. 

If a complaint is filed informally, the process is expected to be completed in a relatively brief period of time, usually within 10 calendar days of the date the complaint is received by Human Resources. If additional time is needed for the informal process, Human Resources will communicate this to the Complainant and Respondent in writing, citing the reasons for the additional time and providing an estimated date of completion.

2.2     Process

As a general matter, the Human Resources Office will try to resolve informal complaints expeditiously and to the satisfaction of all concerned. If the Complainant desires to informally resolve the complaint, a variety of possible means to resolve the complaint may be used at the discretion of the Human Resources Office. Examples of the method and means used to try and achieve resolution may include, but are not limited to:

  • Negotiating an agreement whereby the Respondent agrees to cease the behavior;

  • Assisting the Respondent to better understand the effects of his or her conduct and ways in which this behavior might be changed;

  • Participation in educational programs about equal opportunity, discrimination and/or harassment; 

  • Verbal or written reprimands; 

  • Withdrawal of University-conferred privileges; 

  • Providing advice to the Complainant regarding how to handle a situation;

  • Working with faculty, department heads or other employees in whom Complainant has trust and with whom the Complainant is comfortable to address the concerns;

  • Providing assistance to supervisory personnel to address the matter with the Respondent; and

  • Engaging an external investigator; or

  • Termination of employment. 

The resolution sought depends upon the circumstances of the complaint as well as the wishes of the parties involved. There is no requirement that, once the informal resolution process is started, it must be completed prior to filing a formal complaint. The Complainant or Respondent may choose, at any time before the informal resolution process is completed, to stop the informal resolution process and ask for a formal resolution process to begin.

3.0     Formal Complaint Procedure

3.1     Purpose and Timing

The purpose of this procedure is to provide a formal, structured mechanism for the prompt and fair internal resolution of complaints alleging sexual misconduct. The steps outlined below are the exclusive forum for the internal resolution of sexual misconduct complaints regarding the actions of an employee or non-student Third Party at Western. The investigation and issuance of a final decision related to a formal complaint should be completed within 60 calendar days of the University’s receipt of the formal complaint, except in circumstances out of the ordinary.

3.2     Contents of Formal Complaints

A formal complaint must be in writing and contain at least these four elements:

  • A description of the behaviors or actions upon which the complaint is based;
  • Identification of the alleged perpetrator(s) of Sexual Misconduct (Respondent(s));
  • A statement of the Complainant’s desired outcome and resolution; and
  • The signature of the Complainant.
3.3     Immediate Institutional Response

The University reserves the right to take any and all interim steps it deems necessary to protect the Complainant, witnesses, or the Respondent.  Examples of these interim steps may include, but are not limited to:

  • Issuing “no contact” directives;
  • Issuing temporary “no trespassing” directives;
  • Placing an employee on administrative leave with pay; and
  • Obtaining restraining or similar protective orders through appropriate law enforcement and judicial mechanisms.
3.4     Notification of Legal Counsel, Title IX Administrator and Management

Promptly after receipt of the complaint, Human Resources will provide the complaint to the University’s legal counsel, the Western Title IX Administrator, and appropriate University management personnel. For the purpose of this procedure, the University management personnel to be notified typically include the President, the Vice President in whose area the Respondent is employed or enrolled, the Respondent’s supervisor and the next level supervisor, if appropriate.

3.5     Acknowledgment of Complaint and Notification of Respondent

Western will send the Complainant written acknowledgement of the complaint, notify the Respondent of the complaint in writing, and provide the Respondent with a copy of the complaint. The acknowledgement and notification process from the point of accepting the complaint through the issuance of letters to the Complainant and the Respondent will normally not exceed five (5) calendar days. Western will make best efforts to notify the Complainant by phone or email prior to the delivery of the complaint to the Respondent.

3.6     Investigation Authorization Form

Unless the complaint is initiated by the President, the Complainant will be required to execute a Sexual Misconduct Complaint Investigation Authorization Form prior to any investigation of the complaint.

3.7     Investigation of Complaint

3.7.1     Timing

The investigation phase will normally be concluded within 30 calendar days of its initiation.

3.7.2     Process

The complaint will be investigated as discreetly and expeditiously as possible with due regard to thoroughness and fairness to all parties. The investigator(s) will examine relevant documents and interview witnesses, and may interview other individuals with material information who are identified by the parties. The investigator(s) reserve the right to assess the relevance and evaluate the credibility of witnesses to be interviewed who are offered by the Complainant and the Respondent. The University, in its sole discretion, reserves the right to assign any part or all of the investigation to an external investigator in lieu of having the complaint internally investigated.

3.7.3     Confidentiality of Investigative Materials

All materials and documents prepared or compiled by the investigators during the course of investigating a sexual misconduct complaint hereunder will be kept confidential to the fullest extent of the law.

3.8     Report of Investigation Findings

After the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will prepare and submit a joint written report of findings to the President. The report of findings will be provided to the Complainant and Respondent within a reasonable time following the issuance of the University’s decision.

3.9     Decision and Resolution of the Complaint

The President will issue a final written decision regarding the complaint to both the Complainant and the Respondent. The decision will be addressed to the Complainant and will contain a statement of whether or not sexual misconduct was found to have occurred, the remedies to be provided to the Complainant, if any, and the sanctions to be imposed upon the Respondent, if any. The decision, including any sanctions, will also be communicated to the Responded in writing. The completion of the written report of findings and the issuance of the University’s decision will normally be completed within 20 calendar days from the end of the investigation.

 *If the President is the Respondent, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees will be the decision-maker.

3.10   Appeal of Final Decision

There shall be no internal appeal of a decision that sexual misconduct has occurred that is issued pursuant to subsection 3.9 above. However, certified classified staff and tenured faculty members who receive corrective or disciplinary action as a result of such a determination under this procedure may avail themselves of appeal processes provided through the State Personnel Rules or the Handbook for Professional Personnel, as appropriate.

4.0     Complainant and Victim Support

The University will provide support to the Complainant, any other victims it identifies during the course of its investigation, and the Western campus community as reasonable and appropriate under the circumstances. Such support may take many forms, including, but not limited to the following:

Providing counseling and victim’s support services;

  • Providing medical services;
  • Arranging for the Complainant to re-take a course or withdraw from a class without penalty, including ensuring that any changes do not adversely affect the Complainant’s academic record;
  • Ensuring that the Complainant and the Respondent do not attend the same classes or that the Complainant is not enrolled in a class taught by the Respondent;
  • Providing an escort to the Complainant so that he/she can move safely between classes and activities;
  • Moving the Complainant or Respondent to a different residence hall;
  • Providing academic support services, such as tutoring;
  • Reviewing any disciplinary actions taken against the Complainant to see if there is a causal connection between the misconduct and the misconduct that may have resulted in the Complainant being disciplined;
  • Additional campus-wide office or department specific training or access to assistance; and 
  • Any other steps the University determines are appropriate given the nature and circumstances of the misconduct.