Title IX Investigation Overview
Purpose of the Investigation
The purpose of a Title IX Investigation is to gather information and impartially review the alleged incident by interviewing involved parties and witnesses and reviewing any relevant documentation in order to provide a comprehensive review of the alleged incident. Title IX Investigations are designed to be equitable, fair, and neutral. Further, all parties are presumed not responsible for any violations of Policy until determined otherwise through administrative processes.
Title IX Investigator
To facilitate this process, a Title IX Investigator is assigned to conduct a thorough, prompt, impartial, and fair review of information, details, and persons associated with any compliant. Title IX Investigators complete annual and ongoing training to ensure their expertise in conducting investigations.
At Appalachian State University, Dr. Tim Koch and Ms. Liz Mason serve as Title IX Investigators.
Preparing for the Investigation Process
To prepare for the interview, we encourage you to bring along any relevant information and evidence (such as photos, text messages, emails, documents, etc.) you want to share with the Investigator. You will be asked to provide a list of witnesses to be interviewed.
It is beneficial for you to come prepared with the list along with the contact information for each of your witnesses.
Students engaged in a Title IX Investigation have a right to be accompanied by up to two (2) Support Individuals and one (1) Advocate, as explained in the Code of Student Conduct. Please review Information for Witnesses, Support Individuals, and Advocates for more information.
Faculty engaged in a Title IX Investigation have a right to be accompanied by an Observer as detailed in the Faculty Handbook. Please review Information for Witnesses, Support Individuals, and Advocates for more information.
Overview of the Investigation Interview
The following information is supplied to provide important information to those involved in any Title IX interview processes.
Interviews are scheduled based upon mutual availability and in being cognizant for the need for 90-120 minutes of time to host these involved conversations. Individuals may request to reschedule interviews by being in contact with the Title IX Investigator.
The Title IX Investigator will request to audio record the interview for purposes of transcription. This process allows for an accurate record of the conversation to be formally documented. Following interviews, the Investigator will supply any individual who participates in an interview the opportunity to review their Summary Statement. The Summary Statement includes transcribed quotes from the individual's interview(s). Individuals are also provided the opportunity to review their Summary Statement to confirm its accuracy.
In Title IX interviews, individuals as are asked to share your account of the alleged incident in detail. The Investigator may ask follow-up questions if relevant about: force/coercion; intoxication; and consent. It is not uncommon for an Investigator to ask clarification questions as well. Understandably, some of the questions may be difficult to answer. Individuals are encouraged to take breaks if necessary during you interview with the Investigator.
Interviews provide the opportunity for individuals to provide relevant information regarding the alleged incident, including material evidence. Material evidence may include photographs, videos, emails, text messages, social media messages or posts, or other items which may help to provide additional detail. Further, individuals are encouraged to provide the names and contact information of any individuals who may serve as relevant witnesses. For more information on witnesses, please review Information for Witnesses, Support Individuals, and Advocates.
At the conclusion of the interview, the Investigator will ask if you have any questions about the investigation process. We encourage you to ask as many questions as necessary as we want to ensure you fully understand this process.
The Investigator may determine they need to schedule a follow-up interview with you if they have any additional questions or need clarification.
Concluding the Investigative Process
At the conclusion of the investigation, the Investigator will prepare the Preliminary Investigative Report, which details the relevant content from the interviews conducted and evidence gathered. The Investigative Report may include written statements, audio or video recordings, pictures, social media information, text messages, email exchanges, and other relevant information.
The Reporting Party/Complainant, the individual who alleges to have experienced harms, and the Responding Party/Respondent, the individual responding to allegations of causing harm, are provided the opportunity to review the report prior to its final submission. The Involved Parties are provided equal opportunity to review the Preliminary Investigation Report, submit additional comments and information to the Investigator, identify any additional witnesses or evidence for the Investigator to assess, and to submit any further questions that they believe should be directed by the Investigator to the other party or any witness.
Involved Parties will be provided notice should there be substantive changes to the Preliminary Investigative Report.
At this juncture, the Investigator may continue the investigation or may conclude the investigation. The Investigator will update involved parties as appropriate during the investigative process.
Upon conclusion of all investigative processes, the Title IX Investigator completes the Final Investigative Report.
Matters of Student Conduct
Absent extenuating circumstances, the Final Investigative Report will normally be submitted to the Office of Student Conduct within 60 days of the case being referred to the Title IX Investigator. If additional time is needed, involved parties will be notified of the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completion of the investigation process.
The Office of Student Conduct will contact the involved parties to set up individual and seperate meetings to discuss forms of resolution.
Matters of Employee Conduct
Absent extenuating circumstances, the Final Investigative Report will normally be submitted to the Title IX Coordinator within 60 days of the case being referred to the Title IX Investigator. If additional time is needed, involved parties will be notified of the reason for the delay and a projected timeline for completion of the investigation process.
The Title IX Coordinator will determine, via the preponderance of the evidence standard, if a violation of policy has occurred. Determinations regarding sanctions and necessary corrective actions, if any, shall be made by the employee's supervisor, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, and other appropriate University administrators, subject to applicable grievance policies.