ArtCenter’s Sexual Misconduct Policy defines the College’s administrative procedures designed to provide a prompt, fair, and impartial process to address alleged sexual misconduct. The formal grievance process has been designed to ensure compliance with Title IX, Title VII, and other federal and state laws. ArtCenter will avoid undue delays within its control in order to complete investigations and hearings in a prompt, fair, and impartial manner, generally within 60 to 90 days after the intake interview, unless the timeline has been reasonably extended.
Below is an overview of the formal grievance process utilized at ArtCenter to investigate and address an allegation of sexual harassment, as defined by Title IX regulations. Full details of the formal grievance process and informal resolution options are outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
When the Title IX Coordinator or another official with authority receives information about an alleged incident, the Title IX Coordinator seeks to identify and promptly contact the complainant to schedule an intake meeting.
Following initial outreach to the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator or designee will meet with the complainant to explain available options and resources as listed in the Sexual Misconduct Policy. In the meeting, they will review the availability of supportive measures with or without the filing of a formal complaint and explain the process for filing a formal complaint. In this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator or designee informs the complainant of the general principles of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and their right to seek another process outside of ArtCenter, such as filing a report with local law enforcement. The complainant will also receive written information, such as a brochure of resources and/or a copy of applicable policies. The complainant may have an advisor of their choice accompany them during this meeting. The complainant may choose if they are interested in filing a formal complaint to initiate an informal or formal grievance process.
If the complainant decides to file a formal complaint and request that ArtCenter proceed with a formal investigation, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator(s) to meet with the parties. Both the complainant and respondent will receive a written notice of the investigation and allegations and will be invited to meet with an investigator(s) to review the policy and process. The complainant and respondent will have the opportunity to participate in investigative meetings with the investigator(s) and an advisor of their choice. They each will have the opportunity to provide documentation and names of witnesses to the investigator(s). The investigator(s) proceeds to collect relevant, available information.
At the conclusion of information gathering, the investigator(s) prepares a draft investigation report that contains a timeline of the investigation and addresses all relevant evidence. The complainant and respondent receive the same fair opportunity to inspect, review, and comment on the draft report and all collected information in a period of time called information review. The complainant and respondent are provided a deadline by which they may submit a written response to the draft investigation report to the investigator(s).
Following information review, the investigator(s) incorporates relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report by including any additional relevant evidence, making necessary revisions, and documenting the rationale(s) for any change(s) made as a result of information review. The report is then completed and turned into the final investigation report.
Following the completion of a formal investigation report, the report is provided to the parties. At that stage, provided that the matter is not resolved through informal resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to a hearing if either required or appropriate due to the nature of the allegations and potential outcomes. The Title IX Coordinator will assign a hearing officer(s) to the matter. If a panel of hearing officers is assigned, one hearing officer is designated to serve as the hearing chair.
The hearing chair will provide the complainant and respondent with a detailed, written notice of the hearing date and time no less than ten days prior to a hearing so the parties can prepare to participate. The written hearing notice outlines what to expect at the hearing. Hearings are routinely completed in private through a conferencing technology that allows for the complainant, respondent, and any relevant witnesses to participate from separate rooms or remote locations. The purpose of this process is to allow all accounts and questions to be shared in front of the hearing officer(s), who fulfill the role of decision-maker(s) for the matter. The hearing officer(s) ask questions of the complainant, respondent, and relevant witnesses. The complainant and the respondent each must have an advisor present to pose questions on their behalf of the other party directly, orally, and in real time. The hearing officer(s) will facilitate the meeting to ensure that only relevant questions are asked and that the hearing follows ArtCenter procedures.
Following the conclusion of the hearing, the hearing officer(s) deliberate in closed session(s) to determine whether the respondent violated the policies outlined in the hearing notice letter. The outcome will be based on a preponderance of evidence, which means that a decision of responsibility for a policy violation will be made on whether it is more likely than not that the respondent violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy. If it is found more likely than not that the alleged misconduct took place, the hearing officer(s) will determine the appropriate sanction(s). The hearing officer(s) then prepares a written outcome detailing the determination and rationale. This outcome is provided to both the complainant and respondent.
The complainant and respondent each have one opportunity to appeal the outcome of a hearing. A written appeal request must follow the instructions provided in the hearing outcome letter and must be directed to the identified appeal officer referenced in the letter. As outlined in the Sexual Misconduct Policy, appeals must be well-reasoned and demonstrative of one of three criteria. If an appeal is requested, the assigned appeal officer will review and respond in writing to the appeal request, including a rational for the final outcome. The determination becomes final on the date that the written appeal determination is sent to the complainant and respondent.