Process for the Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy

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Under the Department of Education’s Title IX Regulations, effective August 14, 2020, the following procedures will apply only to a narrow category of cases falling under New England Conservatory’s Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy (“Title IX Policy”).  Those cases meeting the definitions and jurisdictional elements below, as well as in the Definitions section of this Title IX Policy, will follow this process.  Those cases that do not fit within these new guidelines will be handled through the Conservatory’s other sexual misconduct and non-discrimination processes.  This distinction is not to suggest that any case is more or less important, but instead a reflection of federal regulations that apply to only a specifically-identified set of cases.  If you are unclear about any of the provisions below and would like to get more information, you may speak on a non-confidential basis with a Title IX Officer.

1.    Initial Steps

After receiving a report of conduct that could fall under the Title IX Policy, the Title IX Officer will take a number of initial steps; these initial steps are not an investigation.  Rather, these initial steps will enable the Conservatory to assess the need to take any immediate action to address the safety and health needs of the parties involved in a matter, to help the parties determine the next appropriate steps, whether under this Title IX Policy or a referral to another Conservatory policy.

These initial steps may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • A.    The Title IX Officer will contact the party making the initial allegation (the “Reporting Party”) and encourage them to meet virtually or in person to discuss the nature and circumstances of the reported conduct, review relevant documentation that is available, and describe the various options available to them.
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  • B.    Regardless of whether a Reporting Party decides to participate in an adjudication process, they may be entitled to supportive measures.  Supportive measures, as defined in the Definitions section of this Policy, are non-disciplinary, non-punitive individualized services, offered as appropriate, as reasonably available, and without fee or charge to either the Reporting Party or the Responding Party before or after the filing of a formal complaint or where no formal complaint has been filed.  Supportive measures are designed to restore or preserve equal access to Conservatory’s educational programs or activities, and they will be designed so as not to unreasonably burden the other party.  Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to, the following:  counseling; academic accommodations, such as extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments; course changes or drops; modifications of work or class schedules; campus escort services; mutual restrictions on contact between the parties; residential accommodations, including but not limited to arranging for new housing, or providing temporary housing options, as appropriate; changes in work locations; leaves of absence; increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus; and no trespass notices, among others.   Factors to be considered in determining reasonable supportive measure may include the following:
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  • o    the specific need expressed by the requesting party;
  • o    the burden of the measure, if any, on the other party;
  • o    the severity and/or pervasiveness of the allegations;
  • o    whether the parties share the same residence hall, dining hall, class, performing or practice spaces, extracurricular activities, transportation and/or job location; and
  • o    whether other judicial measures have been taken to protect a party or the parties.
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  • The decision to impose supportive measures or any interim restrictions will be communicated by the Title IX Officer in writing.  The Conservatory will seek to be transparent with regard to the supportive measures provided to the parties and which impact both parties.  The Conservatory may be limited in certain situations when student or employee privacy issues prevent disclosures.  
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  • C.    The Title IX Officer will explain the Title IX Policy and the different options and protections available to the parties.  The Title IX Officer will also explain the right to report and the right to delay or decline to report the matter to the Conservatory.  The parties may choose to report to such conduct to local law enforcement if the conduct is potentially criminal in nature.  Such a report will not change the Conservatory’s obligation to potentially investigate the matter, but it may briefly delay the timing of the investigation if a law enforcement agency requests that the Conservatory delay its process for a reasonable amount of time to allow it to gather evidence of criminal conduct.  The Conservatory will typically not consider a criminal proceeding on the same facts in its process because the Conservatory does not use the same process or standard of proof as a criminal process.  Typically, the Conservatory will only inquire about criminal processes if they impact an individual’s ability to access or utilize the Conservatory’s process.  In no instance will a concurrent criminal proceeding, by itself, lead to an adverse inference against the Responding Party. 
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  • D.    The Title IX Officer will also discuss the next steps in terms of formally reporting allegations of sexual misconduct.  If the Reporting Party wishes to move forward with a formal complaint under this Policy, the Reporting Party must provide a statement of allegations in writing.  If, at this time, the Reporting Party requests that the process not move forward or move forward under a different policy, the Conservatory will weigh that request against the obligation to address any risk of harm to the Reporting Party or other individuals in the community given the nature of the incident.  The Conservatory reserves the right to move forward with a formal complaint process unilaterally by signing a complaint or statement of allegations against another party.  This will be utilized in limited situations in which the Conservatory has a concern related to the safety of the broader community.  In such situations, the Conservatory is not a party and will provide notice, as set forth below, to both the Reporting and Responding Party
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  • E.    Upon reviewing any written complaint materials, if the Title IX Officer determines that the conduct would, if proven, be prohibited by this Policy, it will move to the next phase of this process.  If the conduct, if proven, would not implicate this Policy, the Title IX Officer may dismiss the matter without limiting the individual’s ability to provide additional information, or the Title IX Officer may refer the matter directly to the staff that is charged with executing any other relevant policy that may be implicated.  For example, a claim of harassment that is based on race or disability status, even if proven, may not violate the Title IX Policy.  The Conservatory could, in that circumstance, refer the matter directly to the process prohibiting general discrimination and harassment.  The Title IX Officer also has sole discretion to include behavior that may fall outside of the range of behavior prohibited in this Policy, however, any behavior that is included within the formal complaint process must have certain factual overlap and will be entitled to the process set forth below even if the behavior would be subject to a lower review process through another policy.  If, lesser conduct is included and then the Title IX prohibited conduct is dismissed for any reason, the Title IX Officer has the discretion to refer any remaining matters back to the original process that they would have fallen under if not for the consolidation with the Title IX matter. 
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2.    The Investigation Phase

  • A.    Notice of an Investigation.  If it is determined that an investigation will begin, the Title IX Officer will prepare a written notice to both parties that will include a description of the allegations as they are understood at the time and including the name(s) of the parties, the date and location of the conduct in question, the allegations and the portions of the policy that are alleged to have been violated, any interim measures in place that either party must be made aware, and a statement that the Responding Party is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct.  This written notice does not constitute a finding or a determination of responsibility.  Further, the written notice will be updated or amended if new allegations are raised by either party and accepted for investigation.   
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  • B.    Information about Advisors in Connection with this Policy.  In connection with an allegation of sexual misconduct, as defined in the Definitions section of this Policy, each party may have a single advisor of their choice present during any formal disciplinary proceeding, including any related meeting, interview, or hearing, held pursuant to the Title IX Policy.  Except to the extent expressly permitted in the hearing process outlined below, the advisor may advise their respective party privately, but cannot act as a speaking advocate at a meeting.  Conservatory staff and internal/external investigators may delay or terminate meetings, remove or dismiss advisors, and/or proceed with the investigation if an advisor is disruptive or otherwise refuses to comply with the requirements of this policy.  An advisor is subject to the same confidentiality expectations applicable to others in attendance as outlined in the Student Handbook.  Accommodations, including scheduling of interviews or reviews, generally will not be made for any advisors if they unduly delay the process.  The advisor is not permitted to attend a meeting or proceeding without the party they are advising being present without the prior approval of the Title IX Officer.  The Conservatory reserves the right to take appropriate action regarding any advisor who disrupts the process or who does not abide by the rules regarding their participation.  
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  • C.    Designation of Investigator.  The Title IX Officer will designate at least one investigator to conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation of the reported conduct and prepare a report of investigative findings (the “Investigative Report”).  All investigators will be selected from a group of qualified and trained individuals employed by or engaged by the Conservatory for the purpose of conducting investigations under the Title IX Policy.  The Title IX Officer will provide the parties with the name of the person(s) assigned to investigate the reported conduct.  As soon as possible, but no later than three (3) calendar days after delivery of the identity of the Investigator(s), the parties shall inform the Title IX Officer (in writing) of any conflicts of interest with regard to the selected Investigator(s).  The Title IX Officer will consider the nature of the conflict and determine if different individuals should be assigned as Investigator(s).  The Title IX Officer’s decision regarding any conflicts is final.  The Title IX Officer may consult with other Conservatory personnel to discuss any conflicts of interest.
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  • D.    Nature of the Investigation.  The investigation provides an opportunity for fact-finding and will include separate interviews with the reporting party, the responding party, and any relevant witnesses.  The Investigator(s) will provide the parties with advance notice of meetings at which their presence is required.   
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  • E.    The Parties’ Identification of Potential Witness and Documentation. The parties have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) with the identification of potential witnesses who have specific information about the reported conduct and with whom they would like the Investigator(s) to speak.  The parties also have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) any documentation or other items or questions they would like to be considered.  All information described in this section must be presented to the Investigator(s) in writing and include a brief description as to how the persons, documents, and/or items are relevant to the reported conduct.  This information must be provided to the Investigator(s) during the Investigation Phase and without delay upon becoming aware of it.  The Investigator(s) will exercise discretion in their determination of what information to consider and which potential witnesses can provide relevant information to the investigation.  The Conservatory reserves the right to limit the submission of evidence and information that was within the party’s possession or knowledge during the investigative phase if the Conservatory determines that the information was withheld for strategic advantage, e.g., a surprise witness at the hearing.  Furthermore, the Conservatory reserves the right to interview any member of the Conservatory community that may have specific information about the incident that has been reported.
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  • F.    Investigation Prohibitions.  At no point will the investigation require both parties to be in the same room.  At no point will either party be permitted to question or cross-examine the other party or any witness directly during the investigation, determination or appeal process.  The parties may ask questions of the other party and/or witnesses at the Determination Hearing, described below, but all such questions must be asked through the party’s advisor.  Additionally, the Investigator(s) will not consider information related to either party’s sexual history unless deemed relevant to the incident in question.    
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  • G.    Other Informal Processes.  At any time prior to convening a Determination Hearing, either party may request an informal resolution of a complaint rather than an investigation and/or hearing by contacting the Title IX Officer.  The Title IX Officer will assess the request for informal resolution against the severity of the alleged violation and the potential risks to campus community members.  All parties and the Title IX Officer must agree in writing to informal resolution for this option to be used.  The Title IX Officer will designate a Conservatory representative or outside service provider to facilitate a dialogue with the parties in an attempt to reach a resolution.  The Title IX Officer can end such a process if it becomes unproductive and/or abusive.  The allegation will only be deemed resolved when the parties expressly agree to an outcome that is acceptable to them and which is approved by the Title IX Officer in consultation with other appropriate Conservatory administrators.  Either party may withdraw from the informal resolution process at any time.  The informal resolution process will be conducted in accordance with procedures specified by the Title IX Officer, as determined in his/her sole discretion.

3.    Investigative Report and Determination of Responsibility by Determination Hearing 

  • A.    Content of the Investigative Report.  At the conclusion of the Investigation Phase, the Investigator(s) will prepare an Investigative Report, which should include a summary of the factual information presented during the Investigation Phase, a separate section where the Investigator(s) point out relevant consistencies or inconsistencies (if any) between all sources of information.  Attached to the Investigative Report or made available with the Investigative Report, the Investigator will provide any relevant evidence gathered, whether inculpatory (i.e., proving the responsibility of a party) or exculpatory (i.e., proving that a party did not commit the conduct alleged).  The Investigative Report will not include a determination as to whether a party has violated the Title IX Policy or what sanctions may be appropriate.  These determinations will be made by the Determination Officer, as described below.
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  • B.    Review by the Parties.  Both parties will be informed of their opportunity to review the entire Investigative Report and that they may submit written comments and/or questions about the content of the Investigative Report to the Investigator(s) within ten (10) calendar days of the date they are notified that the Investigative Report is available for review.  This review will take place at a secure location and in a secure manner determined by the Conservatory.  The time to submit written comments can be extended for a brief period if the Title IX Officer concludes, in their sole discretion, that the additional time is warranted.  In circumstances where an extension is provided to one party, it will be provided to the other party, as well.  Likewise, the secure location and manner of reviewing the Investigative Report can be modified if the Title IX Officer deems it necessary and appropriate.  Each party may have their advisor present as they review the Investigative Report, but the Conservatory reserves the right to monitor the review or create appropriate procedures to protect the privacy and sensitivity of the materials in question.  
    • 1.    Photographs or any other copies of the Investigative Report are not allowed by either party or advisor.  The comments submitted by the parties may not exceed ten (10) double spaced pages unless a higher page limit is otherwise determined to be necessary and appropriate in the sole discretion of the Title IX Officer.  After reviewing the submissions, if any, from the parties, the Investigator(s) may determine that either additional investigation is required or no further investigation is needed.  The investigator has the sole discretion to determine if any information submitted is irrelevant and therefore not to be considered and/or will be redacted.  If further investigation is conducted, the Investigator(s) will include any additional relevant information in the Investigative Report.  
    • 2.    If, at any point in this review process or the prior investigation, it becomes apparent that a witness will not take part and subject themselves to examination in the Determination Hearing described in Section II(E), below, the Investigator may revise the Investigative Report to remove that information so as not to impact the Determination Hearing.  If this decision is made prior to the parties’ review, it will be noted in a cover memo to the Investigative Report.  If the decision is made following the parties’ review, it will be communicated to the parties and they will be informed in writing of any information that will be removed prior to the Determination Hearing. 
    • 3.    The Investigative Report will then be submitted to the Title IX Officer.  Any submissions made by either party pursuant to this section, as well as any other documentation deemed relevant by the Investigator(s), will be attached to the Investigative Report.  
  • C.    The Determination Hearing: Conflicts and Provision of Investigative Report.  The Title IX Office will inform the parties of the identity of the Determination Officer(s), who may be an internal member of the Conservatory or an external actor retained to be impartial.  No later than three (3) calendar days after delivery of the identity of the assigned Determination Officer(s), the Parties should inform the Title IX Officer (in writing) of any conflicts of interest in regard to the selected Determination Officer(s).  If a conflict of interest is raised regarding the individual(s) assigned, the Title IX Officer will consider the nature of the conflict and determine if different individual(s) should be assigned to hear the matter.  This decision regarding any conflicts is final.  The Title IX Officer will then provide the Determination Officer(s) with the Investigative Report and set a subsequent date for the Determination Hearing to meet to determine responsibility.  
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  • D.    Review and Determination by the Determination Officer. The Determination Officer will make a determination as to whether or not the Responding Party is responsible for violating the Title IX Policy by having engaged in some or all of the reported conduct.  The Determination Officer has the authority to accept the Investigative Report without seeking additional investigation, or to ask the Investigator(s) to conduct additional investigation on specific points prior to the hearing.  If further investigation is required, the information learned will be conveyed to the parties at least five (5) days prior to the hearing. 
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  • E.    Hearing Process.  Any formal complaints filed under this Policy are adjudicated through live hearings that can be conducted in person or virtually, as required by federal mandate.  The following are the roles and processes to be followed during the hearing.
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    • 1.    The Determination Officer(s) will preside over the hearings and make the decision by a preponderance of the evidence as to whether or not the Responding Party violated the policy provisions at issue.  The Determination Officer(s) have broad authority to determine the process, timing, and conduct of a hearing.  For example, the Determination Officer(s) will determine the order of presentation, timing and overall duration of the hearing, what information and evidence will be heard, what information and questions are relevant to the determination of the matter, and what cross-examination questions will or will not be permitted.  If an additional professional is specified to assist with these decisions, the parties will be informed and the feedback will be considered a recommendation to be approved by the decision maker.   
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    • 2.    Each party may have an advisor of their choice present at a hearing for the limited purpose of conducting cross-examination on behalf of that party.  Advisors may be, but are not required to be, attorneys.  If a party does not have an advisor of their choice present at a hearing, the Conservatory will, without fee or charge to the party, provide an advisor, who may or may not be an attorney.  No later than five (5) business days before the hearing, parties should inform the Title IX Officer of the identity of any advisor who will accompany them to the hearing, so that the Conservatory will know whether or not it needs to arrange for a Conservatory-provided advisor. 
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    • 3.    At a time and manner deemed appropriate by the Determination Officer(s), the advisor for each party will be permitted to ask the other party and any witnesses all relevant cross-examination questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility. Except for that limited role, advisors may not participate actively in the hearing and may not speak or otherwise communicate on the part of the party that the advisor is advising.  However, the advisor may consult privately in a non-disruptive manner with their advisee during and/or at a recess in the hearing.  Scheduling accommodations generally will not be made for advisors if they delay the process.  The Conservatory reserves the right to take appropriate action regarding any advisor who disrupts the process, or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation as determined in the sole discretion of the hearing officer, which may include exclusion of the advisor from the hearing and the appointment of an alternate Conservatory-provided advisor. 
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    • 4.    Questions and evidence about the complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Reporting Party’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Responding Party committed the conduct alleged by the Reporting Party, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Reporting Party’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Responding Party and are offered to prove consent.
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    • 5.    Information protected under a legally recognized privilege (e.g., privileged communications between a party and their physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in a treatment capacity, or privileged communications between a party and their attorney), are not relevant unless the person holding the privilege has waived the privilege.
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    • 6.    At the request of either party, the Conservatory will provide for the hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the hearing officer and parties to simultaneously see and hear the party or the witness answering questions. Live hearings may be conducted with all parties physically present in the same geographic location or, at Conservatory’s discretion, any or all parties, witnesses, and other participants may appear at the live hearing virtually, with technology enabling participants simultaneously to see and hear each other.
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    • 7.    If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination at the live hearing, the Determination Officer will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility.  The Determination Officer will not draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions. 
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    • 8.    If the Determination Officer determines that a party is responsible for violating this Policy, he or she may request from the Conservatory information on prior sanctioning decisions so that the Determination Officer can apply a consistent sanction in the matter at hand.  
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    • 9.    Conservatory will create an audio or audiovisual recording, or transcript, of any live hearing and make it available to the parties for inspection and review.  It will not be provided for distribution and Conservatory will provide the same protective measures as used in Section 3(B) regarding review of investigative reports.
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  • F.    Notification of Investigation Outcome.  The Title IX Officer will inform the parties simultaneously and in writing of (i) the outcome of the disciplinary proceeding; and (ii) the procedures for either party to appeal the result of the disciplinary proceeding.  
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4.    Appeals

  • A.    The following process applies to all appeals. Within five (5) calendar days of the delivery of the decision, either party may appeal the decision by submitting to the Title IX Officer a letter stating why they believe the decision was inappropriate.  A party may only appeal on the following grounds:
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    • Procedural error that materially prejudiced the findings/outcome.
    • Newly discovered material information that was not known/available and which likely could have changed the finding of responsibility or the sanction imposed had it been available.
    • Bias or a conflict of interest with regard to the Title IX Officer, Investigator(s), or Determination Officer(s) that materially impacted the outcome or the sanction. 
  • B.    The party submitting the appeal must set forth in detail the grounds for review and must attach all materials that they wish to have considered in the appeal process.  The Title IX Officer will provide a copy of the appeal to the other party, at which time they may provide a written response if they choose.
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  • C.    The Appellate Officer(s): The Title IX Officer will provide both parties with the names of the Appellate Officer(s) for their case.   As soon as possible, but no later than three (3) calendar days after delivery of the identity of the Appellate Officer(s), the parties should inform the Title IX Officer in writing of any conflicts of interest in regard to the assigned. The Title IX Officer will consider the nature of the conflict and determine if different individual(s) should be assigned to review the appeal.
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  • D.    Sanctions of all types may be imposed while an appeal is pending at the sole discretion of the Conservatory.  
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5.    Additional Issues

  • A.    Disability Accommodations.  The Conservatory is committed to ensuring that all community members, and applicants, have an equal opportunity to participate in all of its programs and activities.  If any person requires an accommodation because of disability to access any part of this process, they may make that request to the Dean of Students.  Any accommodations will be provided in consult with the Title IX Officer to ensure it does not impact the rights or protections of any party or witness. 
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  • B.    Duty of Honesty.  All parties and witnesses are obligated to be completely honest during the course of the entire process set forth in this Policy.  Any person who knowingly makes a false statement – either explicitly or by omission – in connection with any part of the process may be subject to separate disciplinary action.  A report made in good faith, however, is not considered false merely because the evidence does not ultimately support the allegation of violation of the Policy.
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  • C.    Duty of Cooperation.  All parties and witnesses are obligated to cooperate with the Title IX Officer and any persons charged with implementing the Policy.  Any person who knowingly interferes with the actions taken to implement the reporting, investigation, or resolution of matters under the Policy may be subject to separate and/or additional disciplinary action.  Please note that the Duty of Cooperation will not be utilized to undermine an individual’s decision not to take part in this process if it would force them to forfeit any constitutional rights in a criminal investigation involving the same or similar facts and circumstances.
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  • D.    Special Situations.  The Conservatory retains the right to determine, in its sole discretion, if it will address a report of conduct under this Policy administratively and outside of the process described herein when the safety of the Conservatory community is at risk, if there are extenuating circumstances involving either of the parties, or if the Title IX Officer, in consultation with appropriate administrators, determines it is in the best interest of the Conservatory and/or the Conservatory community to do so.  If the Conservatory utilizes this provision to alter the process set forth in this Policy, it will clearly communicate changes to the parties in a reasonable and timely manner. 
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  • E.    Delegation.  Where the Title IX Officer or any other Conservatory official or employee is listed as the designated point of contact for any role in the Policy, the Title IX Officer may designate another qualified member of the Conservatory community or an external actor to assume the role at issue, as necessary and appropriate.

After receiving a report of conduct that could implicate the Policy, the Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee will take a number of initial steps. These initial steps are not an investigation. Rather, these initial steps will enable NEC to assess the need to take any immediate action to address the safety of the Complainant and/or NEC community, and to determine the next steps for investigating the reported conduct and the need for any interim measures.

These initial steps may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. The Title IX Coordinator or his or her designee will notify both the Complainant and the Respondent of the available resources for seeking medical treatment, counseling, spiritual guidance, or other interim measures. These resources can be found at https://necmusic.edu/title-ix/resources.
  2. The Title IX Coordinator will notify the Complainant about:
    • the availability of the Policy;
    • the right to report (or decline to report) the matter to Public Safety and/or to local law enforcement if the conduct is potentially criminal in nature; and
    • that a report to law enforcement will not change NEC’s obligation to potentially investigate the matter but it may briefly delay the timing of the investigation if a law enforcement agency requests that NEC delay its process for a reasonable amount of time to allow it to gather evidence of criminal conduct.
    • The Title IX Coordinator will assess the reported conduct to determine whether the circumstances pose a threat to the health or safety of NEC community that warrants issuance of a timely warning, a stay-away order for any persons, or any other interim protections. The Title IX Coordinator will consult with senior administrators re: same.
  3. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant and encourage the Complainant to meet to discuss the nature and circumstances of the reported conduct, review relevant documentation that is available, and address the Complainant’s immediate physical safety needs, including the need for any interim measures. Examples of interim measures may include no-contact orders, requests for academic adjustments or other accommodations, access to additional support services, changes to living, transportation and working situations, and other actions to address the situations and concerns raised on an interim basis.
  4. If the Title IX Coordinator determines the reported conduct could implicate the sexual misconduct policy, he or she will contact the Complainant to discuss that determination. If, at this time, the Complainant requests that the process not move forward, NEC will weigh that request and the reasons for it against NEC’s obligation to address any risk of harm to the Complainant or other individuals in the community and the nature of the incident or conduct at issue. Except in limited circumstances in which a Complainant’s request not to proceed to investigation is granted, the Title IX Coordinator will proceed to initiate the investigation.
  5. If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the reported conduct would not implicate the Policy, he or she will advise the Complainant of such in writing and refer the reported conduct to the appropriate administrator for handling consistent with any other appropriate Conservatory policy. (If new information is subsequently provided, the decision whether or not to investigate under the Policy may be reevaluated.)
  6. Notice of an Investigation
    If, during the initial assessment, it is determined that the reported conduct could trigger the Policy and an investigation is required, the Title IX Coordinator will prepare a written notice to the Complainant and Respondent that will include a brief description of the allegations, the portion(s) of the Policy that are alleged to have been violated, and any interim measures in place about which either Party must be made aware. This written notice does not constitute a finding or a determination of responsibility.
  7. The Role of Advisors in the Process
    In connection with an allegation of sexual misconduct involving sexual violence, other inappropriate sexual contact, relationship violence or stalking, each Party, including any Reporting Party, may have a single advisor of such Party’s choice present during the disciplinary proceeding, including any related meeting, interview, or hearing, held pursuant to the Policy. Advisors may not participate actively while present at any disciplinary proceeding and may not speak or otherwise communicate on the part of the Party that the advisor is advising. However, the advisor may ask to suspend any meetings, interviews, or hearings briefly to provide private consultation related to the disciplinary proceeding in progress. An advisor is subject to the same confidentiality expectations applicable to others in attendance. Accommodations, including scheduling of interviews or reviews, generally will not be made for any advisers if they unduly delay the process. The advisor is not permitted to attend a meeting or proceeding without the Party (as a proxy or otherwise) without the prior approval of the Title IX Coordinator, as determined in his/her sole discretion. The Conservatory reserves the right to take appropriate action regarding any advisor who disrupts the process, or who does not abide by the restrictions on their participation as determined in the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator.
  8. Designation of Investigator
    The Title IX Coordinator will designate at least one investigator to conduct a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation of the reported conduct and prepare a report of investigative findings (the “Investigative Report”). At NEC’s discretion, more than one investigator may be assigned. NEC may also exercise discretion in assigning an external investigator to conduct the investigation with NEC’s internal investigator. (In addition, NEC may assign an external investigator, without assigning an internal investigator.) All investigators – internal or external – will be selected from a group of qualified and trained individuals employed by NEC or engaged by NEC for the purpose of conducting investigations under the Policy. The Title IX Coordinator will provide the Parties with the name of the person(s) assigned to investigate the reported conduct (the “Investigator(s)”). As soon as possible, but no later than three (3) calendar days after receiving notice of the identity of the Investigator(s), the Parties should inform the Title IX Coordinator (in writing) of any conflicts or potential conflicts of interest with regard to the selected Investigator(s). The Title IX Coordinator will consider the nature of the conflict and determine if different individuals should be assigned as Investigator(s). The Title IX Coordinator’s decision regarding any conflicts is final.
  9. Nature of the Investigation
    The investigation will include separate interviews with the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses whom the Investigator(s) believe will provide necessary and relevant information. The investigation may include the review of documentation or other items relevant to the reported conduct. The Investigator(s) will provide the Parties with written (letter or email) notice of meetings at which their presence is required.
  10. The Parties’ Identification of Potential Witness and Documentation
    The Parties have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) with the identification of potential witnesses who have specific information about the reported conduct and with whom they would like the Investigator(s) to speak. The Parties also have the opportunity (and are expected) to provide the Investigator(s) any documentation or other items they would like to be considered. All information described in this section must be presented to the Investigator(s) in writing and include a brief description as to how the persons, documents, and/or items are relevant to the reported conduct. This information must be provided to the Investigator(s) during the investigation phase and without delay upon becoming aware of it. The Investigator(s) will exercise discretion in their determination of what information to consider and which potential witnesses identified by the Parties can provide relevant information to the investigation.
  11. Investigation Prohibitions
    Neither Party will be permitted to question or cross-examine the other Party during the investigation or disciplinary proceedings. Moreover, the Investigator(s) generally will not consider information related to either Party’s sexual history outside of the conduct in question.
  12. Content of the Investigative Report
    At the conclusion of the investigation phase, the Investigator(s) will prepare an Investigative Report, which should include a summary of the factual information presented during the investigation phase, including inconsistencies (if any) between different sources of information. The Investigative Report will not include a determination by the Investigator(s) as to whether a Party has violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy, or what sanctions may be appropriate.
  13. Review by the Parties
    The Parties will have an opportunity to review the Investigative Report and may submit written comments about the content of the Investigative Report to the Investigator(s) within five (5) calendar days of the date they are notified that the Investigative Report is available for review. This review will take place at a secure location and in a secure manner determined by NEC. The time to submit written comments can be extended for a brief period if the Title IX Coordinator concludes, in his/her sole discretion, that the additional time is warranted, and upon written request of the Party seeking the extension that explains the reason the additional time is necessary. Likewise, the secure location and manner of reviewing the Investigative Report can be modified if the Title IX Coordinator deems it necessary and appropriate. The Parties may have the advisors review the Investigative Report with them. Photographs or any other copies of the Investigative Report are not allowed by either Party or the advisors. The comments submitted by the Parties may not exceed ten (10) double spaced pages. After reviewing the submissions, if any, from the Parties, the Investigator(s) may determine that either additional investigation is required or no further investigation is needed. If further investigation is conducted, the Investigator(s) will include any additional relevant information in the Investigative Report. The Investigative Report will then be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator. Any submissions made by either Party pursuant to this section, as well as any other documentation deemed relevant by the Investigator(s), will be attached to the Investigative Report.
  14. Adjudication
    1. The respondent and the complainant will receive written notification of the Title IX Coordinator’s findings and sanctions. Sanctions may range from exoneration to expulsion or termination of employment.
    2. The Title IX Coordinator will review the report submitted by the designated investigator(s) and make a determination, based on a preponderance of the evidence, as to whether there was a violation(s) of the sexual misconduct policy.
  15. Appeals
    1. Upon receiving notice of the final outcome, either party may file an appeal.  Within five (5) business days of receiving written notice of NEC’s determination on responsibility and sanctions, either the Complainant or the Respondent may appeal the decision by submitting to the Title IX Coordinator a letter stating why the party requesting the appeal believes the determination of responsibility and/or the sanctions were inappropriate.
    2. A party may appeal only on the following grounds: (i) newly discovered material information that was not known to the appellant party during the investigation and which likely would have changed the finding of responsibility or the sanction imposed had it been available; or (ii) substantial procedural error that materially prejudiced the appellant party. The party submitting the appeal must set forth in detail the grounds for review and must attach all materials that the party wishes to have considered in the appeal process. The Title IX Coordinator will provide a copy of the appeal submitted by one party to the other party and provide them five (5) business days to provide a written response.
    3. Following the receipt of the appealing party’s review and expiration of the time period for the other party to respond, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Appellate Officer who will decide the merits of any appeal and in so doing, may consult with the investigator(s), the Title IX Coordinator, and any other individual that the Appellate Officer deems appropriate. The purpose of the appeal is not to rehear the case; rather, it is to determine if there is sufficient information presented to allow a reconsideration of the original decision.
    4. Any action assessed or recommended by NEC may be enforced, in whole or in part, pending the outcome of the appeal at the sole discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, including a removal or suspension.