The College of the Atlantic Sexual Misconduct Policy (PDF) includes definitions, policy information, process information, and on and off-campus resources. Individuals do not need to determine whether or not an incident constitutes an act of sexual misconduct to report it.

The Policy for Addressing Formal Complaints Under the Title IX Regulations (PDF) describes COA’s process for addressing formal complaints made under the 2020 updates to the Title IX regulations.

The Decorum Policy for Title IX Grievance Process Hearings Policy (PDF) describes COA’s reasonable rules of order and decorum for formal hearings.

The adjudication process

There are five basic steps in a process. The individual reporting would be the complainant and the accused party the respondent. The goal is to determine whether the respondent is or is not “responsible” for a policy violation.

1. Report/intake/notice to the respondent

During intake, you give the Coordinator information about what happened. If a case moves forward, the Coordinator will give the respondent formal written notice of the claims. During the intake phase, the Coordinator will assess whether “interim measures” such as a no-contact order need to be put in place to protect the safety of the parties.

2. Investigation

The parties have a right to a fair and reasonable investigation. In this step, two investigators work together to gather the facts. Because every case is different, every investigation is different. But an investigation almost always involves at least one, and often more than one, interview with the parties. The parties have a right to identify other witnesses they think the investigators should interview. If applicable, the investigators also collect documentary evidence such as texts, emails, and Facebook messages. The investigators write a report. Depending on what policy applies, the report may contain a recommendation about whether the respondent is or is not responsible. Both parties get to see the final report.

3. Decision

After the investigation is over, there is a decision-making step. Depending on the matter and the applicable policy, there may be one person making the decision or a panel of people making the decision. In many situations, there will be a hearing where the parties and witnesses present evidence and are questioned. The decision-making standard is “preponderance of the evidence” or whether it is more likely than not that the respondent’s conduct constitutes a policy violation.

4. Sanction (if applicable)

If the respondent is found responsible, a sanction will be imposed. Available sanctions include educational conditions, counseling or other behavioral requirements, probation, suspension, expulsion and/or termination of employment.

5. Appeal

The non-prevailing party in the matter has a right to appeal the result on narrow grounds, such as significant procedural error, new evidence that was not reasonably available during the case, or investigator or decision-maker bias.

Alternative resolution
Sometimes a complainant wants to take formal action against the respondent but does not want to go through all of the steps listed here. If an “alternative resolution” is of interest to you, please let the Coordinator know. The Coordinator will assess whether the case could be resolved this way and talk to you about your goals. Note that this option is only available if both parties agree to participate.