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Title IX

​Dear University of the Ozarks Students:

This page is intended to provide information regarding University of the Ozarks Title IX policy and the procedures and resources available to students, faculty, and staff of University of the Ozarks. The Title IX policy applies to both on-campus conduct and off-campus conduct that affects students and employees of University of the Ozarks. Vendors, independent contractors, visitors, and others who conduct business with University of the Ozarks or on University of the Ozarks property are also expected to comply with this policy.

Thank you for your interest in promoting a community of mutual trust and respect, and an environment free from sexual misconduct.

Sincerely,

Karen Schluterman
Title IX Coordinator

What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments was passed by the U.S. Congress on June, 1972, and signed into law on July 1, 1972. It is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sex discrimination in education programs and activities such as:

  • Admissions
  • Housing and facilities
  • Courses and other educational activities
  • Career guidance and counseling activities
  • Financial aid
  • Health and insurance benefits
  • Scholastic, intercollegiate, club, or intramural athletics

Each school must designate at least one employee to evaluate current policy practices to ensure an institution’s compliance with Title IX; coordinate efforts to effectively and efficiently respond to complaints of sex discrimination, including complaints of sexual harassment; and ensure as much as possible that every U of O employee and student has an equal education and employment opportunities.


Sections


Title IX Policy

University of the Ozarks is committed to complying with all requirements of federal and state civil rights acts, including Title VI and VII of the Civil Rights Act and Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 in creating a working and learning environment free from all forms of discrimination, including harassment. Every member of the University community should be aware that unlawful discrimination and harassment, either intentional or unintentional of any student, faculty member, employee, or third party by another student, faculty member, employee, or third party is strictly prohibited by law and University policy. As such, any discrimination on the basis of sex or gender will not be tolerated in any of the University’s work, educational or activities environments. Such discrimination includes, but is not limited to: sexual harassment; sexual assault; sex or gender-based bullying; hazing; stalking; relationship violence (including domestic violence and dating violence); and failure to provide equal opportunity in admissions, activities, employment or athletics.

Members of the University of the Ozarks’ Community, guests, and visitors have the right to be in an environment free from all forms of gender/sex discrimination including sexual misconduct. Failure to comply with Title IX can result in the termination of all or part of the University’s federal funding. This includes grants, subsidies, and other program funds from the federal government. In addition to the loss of federal funds, the University may be sued by those seeking redress for violations of Title IX.

Therefore, it is essential that institutions receiving federal financial assistance operate in a nondiscriminatory manner. To ensure the university’s compliance with the law, adherence to Title IX regulations is everyone’s responsibility.

Title IX Coordinator

University of the Ozarks’ Title IX Coordinator is Karen Schluterman. her office is located in the Mabee Administration Building. She may be reached via email at kaschlut@ozarks.edu or by telephone at 479-979-1224. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for monitoring and overseeing implementation of Title IX compliance at University of the Ozarks, including coordinating training, education, communications, and initiating the grievance procedures for faculty, staff, students and other members of the University community, as well as visitors to the campus.

Consent is informed. It is an unambiguous, affirmative, and conscious decision by each person, to engage in mutually agreed upon sexual activity, under circumstances permitting mutually understandable words or actions, actively communicated both knowingly and voluntarily, that clearly convey permission. A person can only give consent where he or she is under no coercion, force, threat, or intimidation. Silence does not mean consent.

Prohibited Acts/Misconduct

Bullying

University of the Ozarks prohibits bullying, defined as a repeated and/or severe, aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally.

Dating Violence

Intentional use of physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse by a person to harm, threaten, intimidate, or control another person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature.

Discrimination

University of the Ozarks prohibits discrimination in employment or student admissions on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, or status as a protected veteran.

Domestic Violence

University of the Ozarks prohibits domestic violence; the use of force in domestic situations that causes bodily injury, threatens to cause bodily harm, or causes any kind of physical contact the other person may regard as offensive or provocative.

Non-Consensual Sexual Conduct

University of the Ozarks maintains a zero-tolerance policy for non-consensual sexual conduct, regardless of the sexual orientation or gender identity of the individuals engaging in sexual activity. Zero-tolerance means the University will remedy all unwelcome or non-consensual conduct of a sexual nature and will impose appropriate and often significant sanctions on community members who violate this policy.

Retaliation

University of the Ozarks prohibits retaliation against an individual who raises concerns under, or complains of violations of, this policy.

Sex Discrimination

Specifically, University of the Ozarks does not discriminate on the basis of sex against any person, including access to its campuses and facilities and in participation in its education  services, programs, operations and employment. Sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX and institutional policies.

Sexual Harassment

University of the Ozarks prohibits sexual harassment. Sexual harassment means any harassment based on someone’s sex or gender. It includes harassment that is not sexual in nature (for example, offensive remarks about an individual’s sex or gender), as well as any unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors or any other conduct of a sexual nature, when any of the following is true:

  • Submission to the advance, request or conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment, or which has the purpose or effect of interfering with the individual’s education;
  • Submission to or rejection of the advance, request or conduct is used as a basis for employment or educational decisions; or
  • Such advances, requests or conduct have the purpose or effect of substantially or unreasonably interfering with an employee’s work or educational performance by creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment.

Sexual Misconduct

University of the Ozarks prohibits sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct is a broadly defined term includes all forms of gender-based harassment, discrimination, and/or unwelcome behavior of a sexual nature.

Stalking

University of the Ozarks prohibits stalking and takes seriously its obligation to protect the campus community. Stalking occurs when one individual engages in conduct directed at a specific person on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class that is unwelcome, and would cause a reasonable person to feel fear. Stalking occurs when one individual’s repetitive pursuit of another, followed by, harassment and/or interference with the peace and/or safety of another.

Responsible Employees (Faculty and Staff)

Students, faculty, and staff should report their concerns to a responsible employee at the University. A responsible employee is a university employee who has the authority to take action to redress an alleged violation of this policy; who has been given the duty of reporting such allegations to the University Title IX Coordinator, or whom an individual could reasonably believe has this authority or duty. Responsible Employees include, but are not limited to:

  • Administrators;
  • Academic advisors;
  • Faculty members, including professors, adjuncts, lecturers, instructors, and teaching assistants;
  • Student services personnel;
  • Graduate research assistants;
  • Student organizations and community advisors;
  • All supervisory personnel; and
  • Human Resources personnel.

Mandatory Reporting Obligations

All members of the university community (students, faculty, staff and visitors to any University premises or University-affiliated activity) are responsible for reporting immediately any Prohibited Acts / Misconduct they experience, witness, or which are communicated to them. Responsible Employees are not confidential reporting resources.

Any member of the University community who becomes aware of possible sexual harassment perpetrated by a University employee must promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator to discuss the matter. Failure to report sexual harassment could result in disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.

Disclosures to licensed clinical and/or mental health professions (physicians, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and those performing services under their supervision) acting in their professional role are not subject to mandatory reporting requirements

Supervisors, Managers & Administrators

University of the Ozarks faculty members, supervisors, student services staff, and anyone else employed by the University who have supervisory, administrative, and instructional or advising responsibilities must notify the Title IX Coordinator immediately about matters of possible Prohibited Acts / Misconduct. Failure to report such conduct could result in immediate termination.

Abuse or Suspected Abuse of Minors

All employees are required to report abuse or suspected abuse of minors consistent with the law of the state. This generally includes reporting immediately to law enforcement and to the state’s child welfare agency.

General Reporting Obligations

All students, employees, and third parties are strongly encouraged to promptly report any incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or sexual harassment, engaged in by either students or University employees, to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or other Responsible Employee. Furthermore, all employees and students have a responsibility to:

  • Refrain from retaliation directed against any person for making a good faith report of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or for participating in any proceeding under the policy; and
  • Provide truthful information in connection with any report, investigation, or resolution of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct under the policy or these procedures.

Filing Complaints

All students, employees, and third parties are strongly encouraged to promptly report any violations of this policy to the University Title IX Coordinator. All students, employees, and third parties may also report incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct to law enforcement, including on-campus and local police (if applicable). The Title IX Coordinator will assist with contacting these authorities if the individual wishes. Individuals may also decline to notify law enforcement of incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct. An individual who experiences any form of sexual, domestic, or dating violence is encouraged to seek immediate medical care. Also, preserving DNA evidence can be key to identifying the perpetrator in a sexual violence case. Victims can undergo a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) to preserve physical evidence. If possible, this should be done immediately, or as soon as practicable. With the examinee’s consent, the physical evidence collected during this medical exam can be used in a criminal investigation. To undergo an exam go directly to the nearest emergency department that provides such services. An individual who experiences any form of Sexual Misconduct should also preserve other evidence relevant to the complained of activity, such as items of clothing, photographs, phone records, text messages, computer records, and other documents.

Complainant

An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct. Complainants and Respondents are referred to collectively as “parties” throughout this Policy.

Respondent

An individual who is alleged be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct.  Complainants and Respondents are referred to collectively as “parties” throughout this Policy.

Responsible Employees

If an employee is a Responsible Employee and receives information about violations of this policy, reporting is required. Responsible Employees have a duty to promptly report all known details of incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, Prohibited Acts / Misconduct, stalking and any other suspected violation of this policy to the University Title IX Coordinator. Responsible Employees are not confidential reporting resources.

Confidential Reporting Resources

Disclosures to pastoral counselors or licensed clinical and/or mental health professionals acting in their professional roles in the provision of services are not subject to the foregoing mandatory reporting requirements. These employees include pastors, physicians, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and those performing services under their supervision. These employees are encouraged to provide students or employees with information and guidance regarding University reporting options and available resources but will not report or otherwise refer instances of sexual harassment/misconduct to University administrators without the student or employee’s express permission.

Anonymous Reporting

Individuals wishing to remain anonymous can file a complaint in any manner, including by telephone or written communication, with the University Title IX Coordinator. However, electing to remain anonymous may greatly limit the University’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.

Other Defined Terms

Actual Knowledge

Notice of Sexual Misconduct allegations to the Title IX Coordinator or any Official with Authority.

Education Program or Activity

Locations, events, or circumstances over which University of the Ozarks exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Misconduct occurs. This includes conduct that occurs on University of the Ozarks property, during any University of the Ozarks activity, or in any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by University of the Ozarks.

Official with Authority

An individual who has the authority to institute corrective measures and is required to report Prohibited Acts / Misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator to initiate University of the Ozarks response to the Prohibited Acts / Misconduct allegations. Officials with Authority are limited to the following positions at University of the Ozarks: Title IX Coordinator and Director of Human Resources.

General Reporting Obligations

All students, employees, and third parties are strongly encouraged to promptly report any incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or sexual harassment, engaged in by either students or University employees, to the University’s Title IX Coordinator or other Responsible Employee. Furthermore, all employees and students have a responsibility to:

  • Refrain from retaliation directed against any person for making a good faith report of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or for participating in any proceeding under the policy; and
  • Provide truthful information in connection with any report, investigation, or resolution of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct under the policy or these procedures.

Filing Complaints

All students, employees, and third parties are strongly encouraged to promptly report any violations of this policy to the University Title IX Coordinator. All students, employees, and third parties may also report incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct to law enforcement, including on-campus and local police (if applicable). The Title IX Coordinator will assist with contacting these authorities if the individual wishes. Individuals may also decline to notify law enforcement of incidents of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct. An individual who experiences any form of sexual, domestic, or dating violence is encouraged to seek immediate medical care. Also, preserving DNA evidence can be key to identifying the perpetrator in a sexual violence case. Victims can undergo a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE) to preserve physical evidence. If possible, this should be done immediately, or as soon as practicable. With the examinee’s consent, the physical evidence collected during this medical exam can be used in a criminal investigation. To undergo an exam go directly to the nearest emergency department that provides such services. An individual who experiences any form of Sexual Misconduct should also preserve other evidence relevant to the complained of activity, such as items of clothing, photographs, phone records, text messages, computer records, and other documents.

Complainant

An individual who is alleged to be the victim of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct. Complainants and Respondents are referred to collectively as “parties” throughout this Policy.

 

Respondent

An individual who is alleged be the perpetrator of conduct that could constitute Sexual Misconduct.  Complainants and Respondents are referred to collectively as “parties” throughout this Policy.

 

Responsible Employees

If an employee is a Responsible Employee and receives information about violations of this policy, reporting is required. Responsible Employees have a duty to promptly report all known details of incidents of sex discrimination, sexual harassment, Prohibited Acts / Misconduct, stalking and any other suspected violation of this policy to the University Title IX Coordinator. Responsible Employees are not confidential reporting resources.

Confidential Reporting Resources

Disclosures to pastoral counselors or licensed clinical and/or mental health professionals acting in their professional roles in the provision of services are not subject to the foregoing mandatory reporting requirements. These employees include pastors, physicians, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and those performing services under their supervision. These employees are encouraged to provide students or employees with information and guidance regarding University reporting options and available resources but will not report or otherwise refer instances of sexual harassment/misconduct to University administrators without the student or employee’s express permission.

Anonymous Reporting

Individuals wishing to remain anonymous can file a complaint in any manner, including by telephone or written communication, with the University Title IX Coordinator. However, electing to remain anonymous may greatly limit the University’s ability to investigate an alleged incident, collect evidence, and/or take effective action against individuals or organizations accused of violating this policy.

Other Defined Terms

Actual Knowledge

Notice of Sexual Misconduct allegations to the Title IX Coordinator or any Official with Authority.

Education Program or Activity

Locations, events, or circumstances over which University of the Ozarks exercises substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Sexual Misconduct occurs. This includes conduct that occurs on University of the Ozarks property, during any University of the Ozarks activity, or in any building owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by University of the Ozarks.

Official with Authority

An individual who has the authority to institute corrective measures and is required to report Prohibited Acts / Misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator to initiate University of the Ozarks response to the Prohibited Acts / Misconduct allegations. Officials with Authority are limited to the following positions at University of the Ozarks: Title IX Coordinator and Director of Human Resources.

Initial Response to Reported Prohibited Acts / Misconduct

Upon receipt of a report of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant, regardless of whether the Complainant was the individual who initiated the report. During the initial contact with the Complainant, the Title IX Coordinator will:

  • Provide the Complainant with notice of their rights and options;
  • Explain the process for filing a Formal Complaint;
  • Explain the Grievance Process;
  • Discuss the availability of Supportive Measures regardless of whether a Formal Complaint is filed;
  • Consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to Supportive Measures.

Formal Complaint

University of the Ozarks will investigate all allegations of Prohibited Acts/Misconduct in a Formal Complaint.

Filing a Formal Complaint

A Formal Complaint must:

  • Contain an allegation of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct against a Respondent;
  • Request that University of the Ozarks investigate the allegation; and
  • Be signed by the Complainant or Title IX Coordinator.

In limited circumstances, if a Complainant does not sign a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator may sign a Formal Complaint. In determining whether to sign a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator will consider factors that include but are not limited to: 

  • Whether there have been other reports of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or other relevant misconduct concerning the same Respondent whether or not the incidents occurred while the Respondent was a University of the Ozarks student or employee;
  • Whether the Respondent threatened further Prohibited Acts / Misconduct or other misconduct against the Complainant or others;
  • Whether the alleged Prohibited Acts / Misconduct was committed by multiple perpetrators;
  • The nature and scope of the alleged Prohibited Acts / Misconduct including whether the Prohibited Acts / Misconduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
  • The ages and roles of the Complainant and the Respondent;
  • Whether University of the Ozarks can pursue the investigation without the participation of the Complainant (e.g., whether there are other available means to obtain relevant evidence of the alleged Prohibited Acts / Misconduct such as security cameras or physical evidence);

Whether the report reveals a pattern of perpetration (e.g., perpetration involving illicit use of drugs or alcohol) at a given location or by a particular group.

Dismissal of a Formal Complaint

Required Dismissal

The Title IX Coordinator will dismiss a Formal Complaint for purposes of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct if:

  • The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint would not constitute Prohibited Acts / Misconduct as defined in this Policy even if proved;
  • The conduct alleged did not occur in University of the Ozarks’ Education Program or Activity; or
  • The Conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint did not occur against a person in the United States.

Dismissal of a Formal Complaint does not preclude action under other provisions of the University of the Ozarks policies and procedures. If a Formal Complaint is dismissed under this section and the Respondent is a student, the matter will be sent to Karen Schluterman for review. She will decide whether the matter will be pursued under University of the Ozarks’ Student Handbook and Code of Conduct.

If a Formal Complaint is dismissed under this section and the Respondent is an employee, the matter will be sent to the Director of Human Resources for review. The Director of Human Resources will decide whether the matter will be pursued under University of the Ozarks Employee Handbook.

Permissive Dismissal

The Title IX Coordinator may dismiss a Formal Complaint or any allegations within the Formal Complaint, if at any time during the investigation or hearing:

  • A Complainant notifies the Title IX Coordinator in writing that the Complainant would like to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any allegations within the Formal Complaint,
  • The Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by University of the Ozarks, or
  • Specific circumstances prevent University of the Ozarks from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint or allegations within the Formal Complaint.

Appeal of Dismissal

Either party may appeal the dismissal of a Formal Complaint or any allegations therein.

Consolidation of Formal Complaints

The Title IX Coordinator may consolidate Formal Complaints as to allegations of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct against more than one Respondent or by more than one Complainant against one or more Respondents where the allegations arise out of the same facts or circumstances.

Grievance Process

The grievance process within this Policy is designed to treat Complainants and Respondents equitably. Remedies are provided to a Complainant where a determination of responsibility for Prohibited Acts / Misconduct has been made against the Respondent and Disciplinary Sanctions are not imposed against a Respondent prior to the completion of the grievance process.

General Grievance Process Information:      

Burden of Proof and Burden of Gathering Evidence

All investigations and proceedings, including hearings, relating to Prohibited Acts / Misconduct will be conducted using a “preponderance of the evidence” (more likely than not) standard. The burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination regarding responsibly rest on University of the Ozarks, not the parties.

Presumption of Not Responsible

The Respondent is presumed to be not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the end of the grievance process.

Time Frames for Grievance Process

While the University cannot promise a definitive timeframe for investigating a complaint, University of the Ozarks strives to complete the grievance process within one hundred and twenty (120) business days. Temporary delays and/or extensions of the time frames within this Policy may occur for good cause. Written notice will be provided to the parties of the delay and/or extension of the time frames with explanation of the reasons for such action. Examples of good cause for delay/extensions include but are not limited to considerations such as the absence of a party, a party’s advisor, or a witness; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.

Medical Records

University of the Ozarks will not access, consider, disclose, or otherwise use party’s records that are that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, unless University of the Ozarks obtains that party’s voluntary, written permission to do so for the grievance process within the Policy.

Privileged Information

University of the Ozarks will not require, allow, rely upon, or otherwise use questions or evidence that constitute, or seek disclosure of, information protected under a legally recognized privilege, unless the person holding the privilege has waived the privilege.

Notice of Meetings, Interviews, and Hearings

Parties and witnesses will be provided notice of any meeting, interview, and/or hearing with sufficient time, approximately three (3) business days, to prepare to participate. This notice will include the date, time, location, participants and purposes of the meeting, interview and/or hearing.

Notice of Allegations

Upon receipt of a Formal Complaint, the investigator will provide Notice of Allegations to the parties who are known. The Notice of Allegations will include:

  • Notice of the party’s rights and options;
  • Notice of University of the Ozarks’ grievance process;
  • Notice of University of the Ozarks’ informal resolution process and options;
  • Notice of the allegations of Prohibited Acts / Misconduct, including:
  • The identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known,
  • The conduct allegedly constituting Prohibited Acts / Misconduct, and
  • The date and location of the incident, if known.
  • Notice that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.
  • Notice that the parties may have an advisor of their choice, and that the advisor may inspect and review evidence.
  • Notice of the University of the Ozarks’ policy that prohibits knowingly making false statements or knowingly submitting false information.

The Notice of Allegations will be updated and written notice provided to the parties if at any time during the investigation University of the Ozarks decides to investigate allegations about the Complainant or Respondent that are not included in the initial Notice of Allegations.

Investigation of a Formal Complaint

University of the Ozarks will conduct an investigation following a Formal Complaint and Notice of Allegations. During all meetings and interviews, the parties may be accompanied by an advisor of their choice. During the investigation stage of the grievance process, the advisor’s role is limited to assisting, advising, and / or supporting a Complainant or Respondent. An advisor is not permitted to speak for or on behalf of a Complainant or Respondent or appear in lieu of a Complainant or Respondent during the investigation phase of the grievance process.  

Opportunity to Provide Information and Present Witnesses

Each party will be provided an equal opportunity to provide information to the investigator and present witnesses for the investigator to interview.  

Opportunity to Inspect and Review Evidence

Each party will be provided an equal opportunity to inspect and review any evidence obtained as part of the investigation that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, including evidence upon which University of the Ozarks does not intend to rely upon in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. This review includes evidence that is obtained by a party, witness, or other source. Each party and their advisor (if any) will be provided an electronic copy of the evidence for inspection and review. The parties will have ten (10) business days to review submit a written response to the investigator. The investigator will consider the written responses prior to completing an investigative report.  All evidence provided during the inspection and review phase will be available at any hearing for the parties to use during the hearing, including for purposes of cross examination.

Investigative Report

Following the opportunity to inspect and review evidence directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint, the investigator will create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence obtained during the investigation.

Review of the Investigative Report

At least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing, the investigator will provide each party and the party’s advisor (if any) an electronic copy of the investigative report for their review and written response.

Live Hearing

After the investigation, University of the Ozarks will provide for a live hearing for all Formal Complaints of

Prohibited Acts / Misconduct that have not been dismissed or resolved by informal resolution (see “Informal Resolution Process” below). At the request of either party, or at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, University of the Ozarks will provide for the live hearing to occur with the parties located in separate rooms with technology enabling the decision-maker and parties to simultaneously see and hear the other party or witness

answering questions.

Information at the Hearing

The following information/evidence will be available in electronic form at the hearing:

  • Evidence from the investigation, including the evidence directly related to the allegations that was reviewed by the parties, regardless of whether it was incorporated into the report.
  • The investigation report and any attachments/appendices.

Decision-Maker

The decision-maker will be appointed by University of the Ozarks and will not be the Title IX Coordinator or investigator. The decision-maker will be trained, impartial, and without a conflict of interest. The decision-maker will be a University of the Ozarks employee or external individual designated by University of the Ozarks.

Challenge to the decision maker

Either party may challenge the appointment of a decision-maker, based on conflict of interest or bias, in writing to the Title IX Coordinator, no less than five (5) business days prior to the scheduled hearing.

Advisor’s Role at the Hearing

Each party must have an advisor present at the hearing. The advisor’s role is limited to supporting, advising, and assisting the party during the hearing and conducting questioning (cross-examination) of participants. Advisors are required to follow rules of decorum enforced by the decision-maker. Failure to follow the rules of decorum by an advisor may result in removal of an advisor from the hearing. If a party does not have an advisor present at the live hearing, University of the Ozarks will appoint the party with an advisor without fee or charge.

Hearing Process Facilitator

University of the Ozarks may designate a hearing process facilitator to coordinate the hearing, including, but not limited to, coordination and scheduling of the hearing; the logistics of physical or virtual rooms for parties and/or witnesses, including separation of the parties; ensuring all technology is working appropriately; ensuring the parties have access to electronic documents during the hearing; distributing materials; etc.  The facilitator may also be the Title IX Coordinator. The facilitator may invite the parties and their advisors, separately, to a meeting prior to the hearing to review the hearing process for the purpose of ensuring a smooth hearing. This meeting is separate from the pre-hearing conference discussed below.

Pre-Hearing Matters

In order to streamline the hearing process, the decision-maker may request the submission of questions prior to the hearing through electronic submission and/or a pre-hearing conference.

Pre-Hearing Submission of Questions

The decision-maker may request the parties submit questions, in writing, prior to the hearing. This submission does not preclude the advisor from asking additional questions live during the hearing. The decision-maker may allow for the pre-hearing submission of questions regardless of whether a pre-hearing conference occurs.

Pre-Hearing Conference

The decision-maker may hold a pre-hearing conference to further streamline the live hearing, especially in complex cases involving multiple Complainants, Respondents and/or a significant number of witnesses. During the pre-hearing conference, parties and their Advisors will meet with the decision-maker separately to review written questions previously submitted and/or to submit, in writing, any questions they wish to ask during the live hearing so that the decision-maker can be prepared to respond to the relevancy of said questions during the live hearing. The decision-maker may discuss any preliminary relevancy determinations regarding submitted questions and/or discuss alternative ways in which to ask questions; however, the decision-maker will make any final relevancy determinations in real-time, orally, during the live hearing. This conference does not preclude the advisor from asking additional questions live during the hearing.

At the pre-hearing conference, the decision-maker may also hear arguments regarding the relevance of the evidence identified in the investigation report as relevant or not relevant, and/or directly related to the allegations.

Hearing Documents

The decision-maker or hearing facilitator will provide parties with a copy of all materials provided to the decision-maker about the matter.

Accommodation Requests

Participants in need of disability related accommodations and/or interpretation services during the hearing must contact the Title IX Coordinator with said requests five (5) days prior to the hearing.

Participants in the Hearing

Participants at the hearing include the decision-maker, the investigator(s) who conducted the investigations, the parties, advisors to the parties, witnesses and anyone providing authorized accommodations. In addition, University of the Ozarks may have a hearing facilitator present. Any witnesses scheduled to participate in the hearing must have been first interviewed by the investigator(s) or have provided a written statement or answered questions from the investigator in writing. 

The decision-maker will provide the names of all persons participating in the hearing to the parties at least seven (7) days prior to the live hearing.

Hearing Process and Phases

The live hearing will include the following phases: 

  1. Notice of Hearing: After the investigative report has been completed and at least ten (10) business days prior to the date set for the hearing, the parties and their Advisors (if any) will be provided with a Notice of the Hearing. The Notice will include the date, time, location, name of the decision-maker, names of all participants in the hearing, and the location (virtual or in person) of the hearing.
  1. Opening Statements: Each party will have the opportunity to present an opening statement to the decision-maker.
  1. Questioning of Hearing Participants: The investigator will be the first witness to provide information. The investigator will submit their investigation report and describe the evidence and information gathered in their investigation. The parties and witnesses will then be called in an order determined by the decision-maker. Questioning of parties and witnesses will occur in the following manner:
  • By the Decision-maker: The decision-maker will ask initial questions of the participants at the hearing.
  • By the Advisors: After the decision-maker asks questions of a participant, each party’s advisor will be permitted to ask relevant questions and follow-up questions orally, directly, and in real time of the participant. The parties are never permitted to ask questions of participants directly. The questioning of participants by advisors will be conducted in the following manner:
  • An advisor asks a question.
  • Before participant answers the questions, the decision-maker determines whether the question is relevant.
  • If the question is determined relevant by the decision-maker, the participant answers the question.

If the question is determined not to be relevant by the decision-maker, the decision-maker must explain the decision to exclude a question as not relevant.

4. Closing Statements: Each party will have the opportunity to present a closing statement to the decision-maker.

Evidence and Questions Excluded

  • Sexual Predisposition or Prior Sexual Behavior of the Complainant: Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior are not relevant, unless such questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the conduct alleged by the Complainant, or if the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to prove Consent.
  • Privileged Information: No person will be required to disclose information protected under a legally recognized privilege. The decision-maker must not allow into evidence or rely upon any questions or evidence that may require or seek disclosure of such information, unless the person holding the privilege has waived the privilege. This includes information protected by the attorney-client privilege.
  • Medical Records: Evidence or records that are made or maintained by a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, or other recognized professional or paraprofessional acting in the professional’s or paraprofessional’s capacity, or assisting in that capacity, and which are made and maintained in connection with the provision of treatment to the party, are not permitted to be used during a hearing unless the party provides voluntary, written permission to do so for the grievance process within this Policy.
  • Party or Witness Does Not Submit to Cross-examination: If a party or witness does not submit to cross-examination by an advisor at the live hearing, the decision-maker will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination regarding responsibility. The decision-maker, however, 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.

Determination Regarding Responsibility

After the live hearing, the decision-maker will issue a written determination regarding responsibility using the preponderance of the evidence standard. The decision-maker will provide the Complainant and the Respondent with the written determination simultaneously.  The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either on the date that University of the Ozarks provides the parties with the written determination of the result of the appeal, if an appeal is filed, or, if an appeal is not filed, the date on which an appeal would no longer be considered timely.

The written notice will include:

  • Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Prohibited Acts / Misconduct;
  • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the Formal Complaint through the determination, including any notifications to the parties, interviews with parties and witnesses, site visits, methods used to gather other evidence, and hearings held;
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • Conclusions regarding the application of this Policy to the facts;
  • A statement of, and rationale for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility, any disciplinary sanctions that University of the Ozarks imposes on the Respondent, and whether remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to University of the Ozarks’ education program or activity will be provided by University of the Ozarks to the Complainant; and
  • The procedures and permissible bases for the Complainant and Respondent to appeal.

Appeals

Either party may appeal the determination regarding responsibility, or the dismissal of a Formal Complaint, or any allegations therein, within three (3) Business Days of receipt of the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal. The appeals must be made in writing and delivered to the Title IX Coordinator.

Appeal Procedures

If an appeal is submitted, University of the Ozarks will:

  1. Notify the other party in writing when an appeal is filed and implement appeal procedures equally for both parties.
  2. Ensure that the decision-maker for the appeal is not the same person as the decision-maker that reached the determination regarding responsibility or dismissal, the investigator or the Title IX
  3. Provide the non-appealing party with five (5) business days from receipt of the notification of appeal to submit a written statement in support of the outcome of the determination or dismissal.
  4. Issue a written decision describing the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result, which can be one of the following:
  • Affirm the decision-maker’s determination regarding the Respondent’s responsibility and affirm the disciplinary sanctions and remedies, if applicable;
  • Affirm the decision-maker’s determination regarding the Respondent’s responsibility and amend the disciplinary sanctions and remedies, if applicable;
  • Remand the process back to the hearing stage for the decision-maker to remedy any procedural irregularity or consider any new evidence;
  • Reverse the decision-maker’s determination of the Respondent’s responsibility and amend the disciplinary sanctions and remedies, if applicable; or
  • Affirm or amend the sanctions and/or remedies outlined in the determination issued under this Policy.
  1. Provide the written decision simultaneously to both parties.

Appeal Timeframe

The appellate decision-maker will release the written decision within twenty (20) business days of receiving the appeal.

Informal Resolution Process

At any time after a Formal Complaint has been signed and before a determination regarding responsibility has been reached, the parties may voluntarily agree to participate in an informal resolution, facilitated by University of the Ozarks, that does not involve a full investigation and adjudication. Types of informal resolution include, but are not limited to, mediation, facilitated dialogue, conflict coaching, and resolution by agreement of the parties.

Informal Resolution Notice

Prior to entering the informal resolution process, University of the Ozarks will provide the parties a written notice disclosing:

  • The allegations;
  • The requirements of the informal resolution process, including the right of any party to withdraw from the informal resolution process and resume the grievance process, and the circumstances which preclude parties from resuming a Formal Complaint arising from the same allegations;
  • Consequences resulting from the informal resolution process, including that the records will be maintained by the University but will not be used by investigators or decision-makers if the formal grievance process resumes.

Informal Resolution Agreement

Prior to entering the informal resolution process, the parties must voluntarily agree, in writing, to the use of the informal resolution process.

Informal Resolution Availability

The informal resolution process is not permitted to resolve allegations that an employee committed Prohibited Acts / Misconduct against a student.

Informal Resolution Timeframe

Informal resolutions of a Formal Complaint will be concluded within 45 days of notice to University of the Ozarks that both parties wish to proceed with the informal resolution process. Such notice that the parties wish to proceed with an informal resolution process will “pause” the counting of the timeframe to conclude the Grievance Process of this Policy, should the informal resolution process fail and the parties continue with the Grievance Process.  

Informal Resolution Documentation

Any final resolution pursuant to the Informal Resolution process will be documented and kept by the University. However, all statements made during the informal resolution process will not be used for or against either party (and the decision-maker and/or appellate decision-maker may not consider any such statement made during informal resolution) should the parties resume the grievance process. Failure to comply with an informal resolution agreement may result in disciplinary action.

Recordkeeping

University of the Ozarks will maintain all of the documentation related to reports of Sexual Misconduct, Formal Complaints, the grievance process, and informal resolution process in accordance with state and federal records laws and requirements. The documentation of all records is private and confidential to the extent possible under law.

Additional Conduct Violations Related to This Policy

Alleged violations of the terms in this section will be sent the Director of Human Resources for investigation and adjudication under the University of the Ozarks Student Handbook or Employee Handbook.

  • Retaliation
  • False Information
  • Interference with Grievance Process
  • No Contact Directive Violations

Good-Faith Complaints

However, if after investigating any complaint of harassment or unlawful discrimination, the University determines the complaint is not bona fide and was not made in good faith or that false information has been provided regarding the complaint, disciplinary action may be taken against the individual who filed the complaint or who gave false information.

Privacy and Confidentiality

All University of the Ozarks’ resources listed in this policy are committed to preserving student, faculty and employee privacy and confidentiality. Although, under certain circumstances, information may need to be shared with other University individuals and authorities, in order to provide for the individual’s safety, effective completion of the investigation, and/or to provide for the safety of the campus community, and to the extent allowed by law.

Modification and Review of the Policy

University of the Ozarks reserves the right to modify this Policy to take into account applicable legal requirements. University of the Ozarks will regularly review this Policy to determine whether modifications should be made.

Title IX Coordinator

University of the Ozarks has a designated Title IX Coordinator to oversee its response to all reports of sexual misconduct and, conduct training, and coordinate compliance with the mandates of Title IX. Any questions about University of the Ozarks Title IX policies and any reports of sexual misconduct should be directed to the Title IX Coordinator.

Karen Schluterman

Director of Human Resources, University of the Ozarks

  • Office location: Mabee Administration Building
  • Telephone number: (479) 979-1224
  • Email address: kaschlut@ozarks.edu

University and Community Resources

If an individual has experience an act of sexual misconduct, the first priority is to get to a safe place and obtain necessary medical attention. University support services are available regardless of whether or not the victim chooses to report the incident to law enforcement. Individuals are strongly encouraged to report the incidents of sexual misconduct to one of the following University resources:

  • Public Safety Office: 479-979-2020, available 24 hours per day/7 days per week
  • Title IX Coordinator: 479-979-1224

It is important to seek prompt medical treatment after an incident of sexual assault or violence in order to receive preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and to preserve evidence.

  • Johnson Regional Medical Center
    • 1100 E Poplar St
    • Clarksville, AR 72830
    • 479-754-5454
  • Ozarks Rape Crisis Center
    • 715 W Main St
    • Clarksville, AR 72830
    • 479 – 754 – 6869