Investigation and Hearing
What to Expect When Creating a Report
Who will be supporting you?
When creating a report with Rhode Island College, the Title IX Coordinator and committee oversee the process. When the Title IX coordinator or a sub-deputy receives a report of an act of sexualized violence on campus, an investigation is launched.
Will they contact you?
An individual from the committee will reach out to you to provide support, as well as to find out what action or resources your own individual experiences may need. They will work with you to decide the next steps in the process, including whether or not you wish to go forward with and attend a hearing in front of the Student Conduct board.
What protections can be put in place?
Following a formal report, it is required by the Clery Act that a notice go out to the campus community advising them of the assault within 24-hours. While we recognize that this may be difficult for the survivor, is it a required step. However, please know that every step possible will be taken to protect the needs and identity of the survivor. Please feel free to contact any of the on-campus or off-campus resources, such as the Counseling Center, Health Services, or Day One, to reach emotional support.
What comes next?
It’s important to note that an official report of Sexual Assault or other misconducts is an internal process, and is not an extension or stand-in for creating criminal charges with outside law enforcement. It is not necessary to press criminal charges to be able to receive support and protection here at RIC. Similarly, by taking steps to receive support her on campus, you are not excluded from also reaching out to law enforcement for further action.
Throughout the process, the Title IX representative will work with other connected organizations on campus to try to support you in the days to come. Campus Police can help in creating an order of protection as to insure your safety on campus. The Counseling Center can also help support you through any of the feelings and experiences that survivors can experience. Reactions may occur at different times after an assault—days, weeks, or months later. Counseling or emotional support can help you address these needs at any time.
What are my different options for action?
There are many ways in which you may wish to act to protect your safety and sense of control. We will work with you to try to support you through making that decision and any actions that may be required. While every situation will be treated with individual attention and respect, here are some possible paths of action. Please note that choosing one option does not eliminate the others – we will combine any and all resources to assist you.
- You can choose to pursue charges of a sexual offense criminally with local law enforcement officials in accordance with appropriate statute of limitations as outlined by the State of Rhode Island. If you are interested in this option, RIC will assist you working with RIC Campus Police to initiate this option.
- You can choose to pursue charges of sexual harassment on-campus if the experience may have continuing effects on your safety and education. You can file a complaint and the College will initiate an investigation into the matter
- You can request accommodations on-campus to limit contact with the other student, without filing a formal complaint, to assist you in pursuing your education as best as possible. Examples of accommodations may include switching out of a class with the other student to another section, changing residence hall room assignments or implementing a College-imposed “no-contact” order against the other student.
- To the extent possible, you may choose to keep this matter confidential with the Title IX office and not pursue any of the above-mentioned options at this time. Please note, however, that Rhode Island College has a duty to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. This obligation may, at some point, supersede a request for confidentiality (for example, Rhode Island College may be obligated to pursue this matter if it receives multiple complaints of sexual misconduct against the same student). The College will make efforts to inform you in the event confidentiality cannot be ensured in the future.
What if I change my mind?
Every survivor’s experience and healing is different. You may be ready for different steps at different times. The college will do everything it can to respect your own individual choices and decisions. Should you change your mind after you start the process of creating a report, you do have the choice to stop participating in any investigation or action. However, in some cases, the coordinator may need to continue an investigation due to concerns for safety of the entire community. For example, if it is believed that others are in danger if the investigation is halted, the decision may be made ton continue on, as well as potentially bringing the assailant in front of the Student Conduct Board without your participation.
Should this happen, the committee will do everything it can to continue respecting your decisions and wishes, while also upholding its responsibility to the community.
Student Conduct Hearing Process
Who will be there?
Should you choose to create a report and work with the Title IX committee to take action against the accused individual, the Board of Student Conduct will oversee the disciplinary proceedings. The Board of Student Conduct, Rhode Island College’s judicial board, addresses cases of student misconducts in private hearings. Along with the members of the board, the Dean of Students may be asked to serve as part of the hearing body for the proceedings. More information on the Board of Student Conduct Board may be found (here.)
What are my rights?
In a Student Conduct Hearing, both the complainant (survivor) and the respondent (accused) have the right to:
- Expect a timely course of action. The hearing will be scheduled at least five days after the accused is notified, but within 30 days of the initial report.
- Access pertinent information, such as evidence, names of witnesses that may be called, and possible sanctions that may be put into effect.
- Ask for a member of the Conduct Board be excused from proceedings due to a potential bias or conflict of interest.
- Have an advisor of their choosing, including legal counsel at their own expense. The advisor or counsel will not be allowed to actively participate in the proceedings, but will instead silently advise the student.
- Appeal the ultimate decision of the Conduct Board. Such an appeal must be made within 5 days of notification of the decision.
The accused student will be given a written notice of the specific accusations that have been made against him or her, as well as any other information that may be pertinent to the hearing that will follow, such as evidence, names of witnesses that may be called, and the possible sanctions that could be imposed on them.
A hearing will then be scheduled at least five days after the accused is notified, but within 30 days of the initial report in front of the Student Conduct Board. Either party may request that one or more members of the Board be excused from the proceedings due to a bias or conflict of interest.
All parties involved may have an advisor of their choosing, and may call witnesses that may assist in the Board’s understanding of the incident. Any party involved may appeal the decision of the Conduct Board within five days of being notified of the decision.
For more information, please see Code of Conduct. For any questions, please contact your Title IX Coordinator or Vice-President of Student Affairs.