More Information Regarding the Formal Complaint Process

Reporting and confidentiality

You have choices about how you want to make a formal complaint of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking to the college, and you have four years from the time the incident occurred to make this report.  

If you are unsure whether to report, or whether you are ready to report, we encourage you to seek guidance and support from an on-campus confidential support person. Please note that college employees without confidentiality privileges are expected to inform the college if a student discloses an incident, even if that is not the intention of the disclosure. In that case, the college will do what it can to respect the wishes of the reporting student while also doing what is deemed necessary to protect you and other members of the campus community—this may mean conducting a formal investigation.

Amnesty

Alcohol and/or drug use sometimes occurs during the time of the incident, which makes some students hesitant to come forward or fully cooperate in an investigation.

However, Goucher provides amnesty for students regarding alcohol and drug consumption during informal or formal complaint procedures.

Any complainant, accused person, or witness will not be subject to disciplinary action under the college’s Code of Conduct for personal consumption of alcohol or drugs at or near the time of the incident, provided that any such violations did not place the health or safety of any other person at risk.

Informal Complaint Procedures

Goucher also has several informal options to address the misconduct being reported. At any point throughout an informal process, the victim or the accused can choose to pursue the formal complaint procedure. A formal procedure may also begin if the informal procedure is exhausted and the resolution is not satisfactory to the victim.

Examples of informal procedures available for sexual misconduct, relationship violence, or stalking are:

  • The person subject to the misconduct may choose to confront the accused in an effort to stop the behavior.
  • The person may seek the help of a Goucher administrator in an effort to confront the accused.
  • The Goucher administration may offer mediation (except in cases of sexual assault). The accused student may accept responsibility, in which case sanctions and other remedial action may be imposed.

Advisors

Both complaining and accused parties are encouraged to seek an advisor of their choice for support throughout the process. The advisor serves in a supporting role and can help answer questions about the process, provide emotional support, and help either party remain both informed and supported through this process.

There is a pool of trained faculty and staff members who have agreed to serve as advisors. For a complete list of these people, please contact Lucia Perfetti Clark, our Title IX coordinator, at 410-337-6570.

Investigation

Once a formal complaint has been filed, the Title IX coordinator will appoint two faculty or staff members to investigate this complaint. These investigators have been trained specifically in investigating sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking. Usually one male and one female investigator will be chosen.

Investigators will meet with the complainant, the accused, and any relevant witnesses. They will gather and record any evidence and write a report at the end of their investigation. This report report describes all relevant information and evidence obtained in the investigation, and concludes with a recommendation as to whether the accused student is responsible or not responsible for violating the policy, or whether there is insufficient information to determine responsibility.

Both the complainant and the accused will be able to view, but not copy, the full report and will be given a summary.

Decision Process

Once the investigators have written their report, it is submitted to a two-person decision panel. This decision panel is also made up of faculty or staff members who have been trained in the dynamics of sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and stalking. In addition to reviewing the report, the decision panel may also choose to meet with any party involved, including the complainant, accused, any witnesses, and the investigators. The purpose of these meetings is to ask any unanswered questions, not to begin a second investigation. Both students can choose to respond to the investigative report in writing or in person with the decision panel, even if the decision panel does not request to meet with the students.

The decision panel will then review the report and any evidence gathered from further meetings, and will make a decision of responsibility and of sanctions if the accused student is found responsible. They will provide a written decision, which will be shared with both students.

Appeal

Both parties can appeal, in person or in writing, to a three-person appeals panel. Appeals can be made on the following grounds:

  • Goucher’s policy procedures were not followed, and that may have affected the outcome of the final decision;
  • The sanction(s) imposed are disproportionate for the facts of the case and/or the violation of the policy that was found;
  • Substantive new information that was not reasonably available at the time of the investigation has now become available and may change the outcome of the final decision.

Complaints against faculty or staff

If the accused party is a faculty or staff member, the same process described above applies through the investigation stage. After that, the investigative report will be submitted to the appropriate administrator. For staff members, the report would be submitted to the human resources director of employee engagement. For faculty members, the report would be submitted to the provost.

Title IX Coordinator

Every institution of higher education that receives federal funding is required by federal law to appoint a Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator is responsible for ensuring that the college is compliant in regards to Title IX. Title IX prohibits sex discrimination in education, which includes gender discrimination in athletics as well as sexual misconduct on campus or between community members.

Goucher’s Title IX coordinator is Lucia Perfetti Clark. She is available by phone, 410-337-6570, or email. If you have questions at any point throughout the formal complaint process, you are encouraged to contact her or your advisor.

Anticipated Timeline for Formal Complaint Process

Barring special circumstances, the entire complaint process (not including the appeal stage) will take no longer than 60 days. Below is a table of expected timelines for each stage of the process. 

Anticipated Timeline of Formal Complaint Process

Phase of Process

When

Reporting

Within four years of incident, unless adequate explanation for reason of delay

Notice to Accused and complainant

Immediately

(Optional): Advisors

Complainant and accused can choose an advisor at any point throughout the process

Investigation

 

Report and Recommendations

 

Distribution of Report

 

Decision

Parties are provided a summary of the written decision within 60 days of submitted complaint

Appeal

Appeal period is 10 days from date written decision is received