Investigations

Complaint investigation and resolution

ISU is committed to providing a prompt, fair, and impartial response to reports of Prohibited Title IX Sexual Harassment. In all cases, the university will take prompt steps to investigate reports and stop, prevent, and remedy the impact of any Prohibited Sexual Harassment.

A university Formal Complaint may be initiated by filing a document with the Title IX Coordinator, or by meeting in person with the Title IX Coordinator or other designated staff member in the Office of Equal Opportunity to report Prohibited Sexual Harassment. When the university receives a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator (or their designee) will request an initial meeting with the complainant in order to gain a basic understanding of the nature and circumstances of the allegations. At this meeting, the complainant will be provided with information regarding university policies, information about the process for filing a Formal Complaint and the investigation and hearing process, and information about available supportive measures. Information about Formal Complaints, complaint assessment, and resolution options can be found at: https://www.policy.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/resources/223/PAG%20-Title%20IX%202020-08-14.pdf.

If an investigation is initiated, it will be conducted by an investigator who has received appropriate training on university policy, conducting investigations, impartiality, and relevancy. All parties in an investigation have corresponding rights, including the right to participate equitably in any investigation or hearing process, the right to be accompanied and assisted by an adviser/support person, equal opportunity to identify witnesses and provide evidence, the right to review investigative reports, the right to provide an impact statement, and the right to appeal final determinations and sanctions.

At the conclusion of the investigation process, a Final Investigative Report and all directly related evidence will be delivered to the parties, their advisers, the Title IX Coordinator, and the relevant hearing administrator(s). The Title IX Coordinator or appropriate hearing administrator will then contact the complainant and respondent individually to review the Final Report, explain available informal resolution options, explain the formal resolution and hearing process, and address any questions.

A live hearing process will be used to determine responsibility/non-responsibility for alleged violations of ISU’s Title IX Policy. The live hearing will be presided over by a decision-maker who will review, assess, weight, and objectively evaluate all relevant evidence and will reach a determination regarding responsibility based upon a preponderance of the evidence standard. Complete investigation and hearing procedures can be found at: https://www.policy.iastate.edu/sites/default/files/resources/223/PAG%20-Title%20IX%202020-08-14.pdf.

Timeline

In all cases, the university will take prompt steps to investigate reports and stop, prevent, and remedy the impact of any Prohibited Title IX Sexual Harassment. The university cannot guarantee a definite timeframe for this process, but in all matters the university will make a good-faith effort to complete a fair and impartial investigation in a timely manner based on the totality of the circumstances present. Factors that may impede the timing of the process include the complexity and severity of the matter, the number and availability of parties and witnesses, concurrent law enforcement activity, or the need to identify and acquire physical or other evidence.

Advisers

All parties to an investigation, including the Complainant, the Respondent, and any witnesses, are entitled to be accompanied and assisted by an adviser of their own choosing and at their own expense at all related meetings, including formal and informal meetings, investigation interviews, and any necessary hearings. An adviser may be disallowed if they are identified as a witness related to the matter or another conflict of interest is present. A chosen adviser may be a friend, parent, attorney, support person, or other appropriate person. During all related meetings, advisers are not permitted to speak for the party, but parties may confer with their adviser during meetings.

Interference with an investigation

Any person who knowingly and intentionally interferes with an investigation or adjudication is subject to disciplinary action. Interference with an investigation/adjudication may include, but is not limited to: attempting to coerce, compel, or prevent an individual from providing testimony; removing, destroying, or altering documentation relevant to the investigation; and/or knowingly providing false or misleading information to an investigator, or encouraging others to do so.

Retaliation is prohibited

ISU does not tolerate retaliation against persons who report misconduct. The university is committed to creating an environment wherein members of the university community are encouraged to report misconduct without fear of retaliation.

Retaliation against a person who makes a good faith effort of activity believed to be unlawful, unethical, or in violation of university policy is prohibited. Retaliation is also prohibited against persons who participate in an investigation of such activity or who otherwise take steps to object to or resists such activity.

“Retaliation” is a materially (not trivial) adverse action taken against a person because of the person’s report of misconduct, participation in the investigation of a report of misconduct, or objecting to or resisting such misconduct. Retaliation includes intimidating, threatening, coercing or discriminating against any individual for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or because the individual has made a report or complaint, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing.

Examples of retaliation may include: spreading false rumors, transfer to a less desirable position, engaging in verbal or physical abuse, increased scrutiny, or purposefully making work more difficult. Concerns related to retaliation should be made to the Office of Equal Opportunity as soon as possible.