Title IX/Sex Discrimination Reporting and Complaint Process

Title IX –Sex Discrimination Reporting and Complaint Process

I.       DEFINITIONS

For purposes of the Sections that follow, the following definitions apply:

Allegation(s) – the one or more alleged incidents of Sex Discrimination  

Coordinator – the applicable Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator or Institutional Title IX Coordinator who has received the Complaint.

Grievance –- a formal, written complaint about an Allegation(s) that asks EVMS to take a formal course of action against a Responding Party.

Guilty Party – the individual who, after investigation, a preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that such individual has committed one or more acts of Sex Discrimination  

Institutional Title IX Coordinator – as listed here

Report- the documented written notice to EVMS about an Allegation  

Reporting Party – the person making a Grievance or Report about the Allegation

Responding Party – the person who has allegedly committed the Allegation

Responsible Employees – any member of one of the following departments:  EVMS Police and Public Safety, Student Affairs, Human Resources, Legal and Compliance, Student Housing

Senior Deputy Coordinator – a Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator as listed here

Sex Discrimination – as defined in Sex Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct

Sexual Misconduct – as defined here Sex Discrimination and/or Sexual Misconduct

II.       INFORMAL RESOLUTION

In keeping with our core value of collegiality, every effort should be made to address Allegations by using the Informal Resolution Options before making a Report or Grievance.  Note, however, that  informal resolution is not requirement and you always have the right to make a formal complaint as outlined in Section III below.  In addition, informal resolution is not  appropriate in instances that involve domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, or other threat of imminent harm and, in such instances, you should talk to a Coordinator and/or consider filing a formal complaint.

III. COMPLAINT PROCESS  

A.    Confidentiality.  All reports/complaints involving Sex Discrimination or will be handled in such a manner as to always strive to protect the privacy of all parties involved and information will only be shared with individuals who have a need to know.  Please note, however, that making certain types of complaints (like a Grievance) is not a  confidential process and confidentiality/anonymity cannot be guaranteed.  Before making a Report or Grievance, please review our detailed  information on Confidentiality and Confidential Resources.

B.     Filing a Grievance. A Grievance may be made the following ways:

i.        If you are an employee, by following the procedure outlined in the Human Resources Grievance Policy found on  MyPortal (login required).    

ii.      If you are a student, by following the procedure outlined in the Institutional Student Handbook.   

iii.    By sending your name and contact information, name and contact information of the Responding Party, and details of the Allegation(s) to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator or a Senior Deputy Coordinator.   

C.     Making a Report.  If you want EVMS to know about a matter of Sex Discrimination, but you do not want to file a Grievance, or you do not want to be identified as a reporter, you can make an anonymous report by using the EVMS Ethics and Compliance Hotline or call  1-800-461-9330.  This hotline is staffed by a 3rd party vendor and is not staffed by anyone from EVMS.  In such event, EVMS  still has a duty to investigate (to the fullest extent possible based on the information provided) and take appropriate action.  You can still  file a Complaint at any time during the allotted timeframe as outlined below.

D.    Criminal Matters.  In some cases, such as with sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and/or stalking,  the Allegation may also be  criminal acts and, whether or not a Grievance or Report is filed, the Reporting Party or victim has the option to pursue  a Report, Grievance, and a criminal action under law.  These are separate avenues to pursue an action and timeframes for criminal actions have no bearing on EVMS’ investigation or vice versa.  If a Reporting Party chooses not to pursue a criminal action, EVMS has a duty to investigate every Report or Grievance and take action accordingly.  Conversely, if you file a law enforcement action, you can still file a Report or Grievance at any time during the allotted timeframe as outlined below.

E.      Timeframes.  In order for EVMS to quickly address Sex Discrimination, it is essential that individuals make Grievances and Reports in a timely manner. Grievances and Reports about Sex Discrimination should be filed as soon as possible in accordance with the applicable policy or handbook and no later than 365 days of the last occurrence of the Sex Discrimination.  Any Report or Grievance received outside of a specified timeframe may be reviewed, at the discretion of the Institutional Title IX Coordinator.

F.      Anti-Retaliation.  Individuals who make a formal complaint or who participate in an ensuing investigation are protected from retaliation in accordance with the Compliance Reporting/Anti-Retaliation Policy.  Reports or concerns about retaliation should be reported to Office of Compliance at 446-6008. 

G.     Complaint Withdrawal.  The Reporting Party may withdraw a Report or Grievance at any time.  EVMS may, however,  still have a duty to investigate matters (to the extent possible without the Reporting Party’s cooperation) and take appropriate action.  In such event, the  appropriate Title IX Coordinator will advise the Reporting Party accordingly. 

H.    Student Sexual Violence – Sexual Violence Review Committee

1.      Whenever the Institutional Title IX Coordinator receives a report by a Responsible Employee, or a Reporting Party, of an actual or alleged act of sexual violence against an EVMS student (regardless of whether it occurs on or off the EVMS campus), the Institutional Title IX Coordinator will convene the Sexual Violence Review Committee, which consists of the EVMS Institutional Title IX Coordinator the  EVMS Chief of Police or designee, and the Associate Dean for Student Affairs or designee.  (Note that a Responsible Employee does not need to make a report to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator if the alleged incident occurred off the EVMS campus, and not as part of an EVMS activity, and the Responsible Employee has actual knowledge that that incident has already been reported to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator, or to the Commonwealth's Attorney or to the law-enforcement agency responsible for investigating the allegations.  Actual knowledge may be obtained by providing the Responsible Employee with a copy of the police report, email to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator or Commonwealth's Attorney, etc.).

2.      The Sexual Violence Review Committee will, within 72 hours of notice by the Institutional Title IX Coordinator, meet, discuss the particulars of the sexual violence report, and assess the risk to the victim (and/or others on the EVMS Campus).  The Sexual Violence Review Committee shall be part and have all the powers of, the EVMS threat assessment team (known as SMART) as set forth in the Code of Virginia, and may obtain criminal history and health record information as necessary in order to make determination about risk to the EVMS Community.

3.      If the risk rises to the level of being a health or safety emergency, as defined by the Family Educational Rights and privacy Act (FERPA), or if the Sexual Violence Review Committee, cannot reach an agreement about the level of risk, the allegations will be disclosed to the law enforcement agency that would be responsible for investigation of the allegations (unless such agency is located outside of the United States). Upon such disclosure, the Institutional Title IX Coordinator, or designee, shall notify the victim that the disclosure was made.   

4.      In cases in which the alleged act of sexual violence would constitute a felony violation of Article 7 (§ 18.2-61 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of Title 18.2, the EVMS Chief of Police or designee shall inform the other members of the review committee and shall within 24 hours consult with the attorney for the Commonwealth or other prosecutor responsible for prosecuting the alleged act of sexual violence and provide to such person the information received by the review committee without disclosing personally identifiable information, unless such information was disclosed to law enforcement as above. In the event that personally identifiable information is disclosed to the Commonwealth’s Attorney or other prosecutor, the Institutional Title IX Coordinator, or designee, shall notify the victim that the disclosure was made.

5.      In addition to the procedures listed above, SMART, EVMS Police and Public Safety and the Institutional Title IX Coordinator will continue to investigate to take action on the matter as it relates to their responsibilities under this or other EVMS Policy, Title IX, and/or any other state or federal law.

IV.  INTERIM MEASURES

Upon receipt of any Grievance or Report, and without further investigation or inquiry, the Coordinator may take whatever immediate interim measures are deemed necessary by the Coordinator to provide the Reporting Party with equal access to a program, to protect the Reporting Party from harm and/or to prevent retaliation. Interim measures will be decided on a case-by-case basis and may include, but are not limited to: providing support services, changing academic, employment, or living situations, directing the Reporting Party and Responding Party to avoid contact with one another, increasing EVMS Police presence, or any other measures that the Coordinator deems appropriate for the circumstances

V.    PRELIMINARY INQUIRY

A.     Preliminary InquiryWithin 5 days of a Report or Grievance, the Coordinator shall begin a preliminary inquiry into the Allegations and determine what actions need to be taken. Such inquiry shall include, but not be limited to: 

1.      Reviewing the Allegation(s) and supporting evidence;

2.      Meeting with the Reporting Party (or victim if different than the Reporting Party), if necessary/desired by the Reporting Party and if such meeting, in the opinion of the Coordinator,  would not re-victimize the Reporting Party/victim. 

3.      Notifying the Responding Party, if such party is not already aware of the Allegations.

4.      Reviewing similar incidences, behavior, recent reports, and/or similar information gathered by the EVMS Safety Management and Risk Assessment Team (SMART).

5.      Determining whether a pattern or trend exists.

B.     Preliminary Inquiry Determination.   At the conclusion of the preliminary inquiry, the Coordinator shall  make one of the following determinations:   

1.      A comprehensive Formal Investigation, as further outlined in Section V is warranted in order to determine the facts of the matter, whether a violation of policy exists what corrective action is necessary and/or to take formal disciplinary action against a Responding Party.

2.      There was sufficient evidence to determine and require corrective action or Administrative Communication, as outlined in informal resolution options.  

3.      No further action is warranted because:

i.        Corrective action is already in progress.

ii.      The matter is currently under investigation in another department.

iii.    The Reporting Party made an anonymous Report and there is not enough information to conduct a Formal Investigation, take Corrective Action, conduct Informal Resolution or otherwise resolved the Report.  

iv.    The behavior alleged, even if proven, would not be a violation of any EVMS policy or the  EVMS Code of  Conduct (in such instance the matter may still be referred to another area or department for interpersonal resolution)

VI. FORMAL INVESTIGATION

A.    Meeting.    

1.      Meeting with Reporting Party.  Within 5 business days of the  completion of a preliminary inquiry, and if a determination is not able to be made based on the preliminary inquiry, Coordinator shall reach out to the Reporting Party and schedule a meeting to discuss the Allegations and/or any findings from the preliminary inquiry and next steps, including any opportunity for informal resolution in accordance with Section VI(B) below.  The Reporting Party shall have the right to bring an advocate or advisor to all meetings in accordance with EVMS HR Grievance Policy, Student Handbook Policy, and/or Institutional Compliance Policy as applicable. 

2.      Meeting with Responding Party.  Within 7 business days of the meeting with the Reporting Party, the Coordinator shall reach out to the Responding Party and schedule a meeting to discuss the Allegations and/or any findings from the preliminary inquiry and next steps including any opportunity for informal resolution in accordance with Section VI(B) below. The Responding Party shall have the right to bring an advocate or advisor to all meetings in accordance with EVMS HR Grievance Policy, Student Handbook Policy, and/or Institutional Compliance Policy as applicable. 

B.      Post-Complaint Informal Resolution. After a Report or Grievance is made Administrative Communication is the only option for informal resolution unless the Coordinator agrees otherwise and both the Reporting Party and Responding Party agree to participate.  Informal resolution is never appropriate for Grievances that involve domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, threat of imminent harm or if the Responding Party has been the subject of prior Grievances and, in such instances a formal investigation must be conducted.   If Coordinator determines that informal resolution is an appropriate resolution, the following shall apply: 

1.      The Coordinator shall notify the Reporting Party at, or within 5 business days after, the  Initial Meeting and the Reporting Party shall have 5 business days to exercise the informal resolution option. 

2.      If the Reporting Party opts for informal resolution, the Coordinator shall notify the Responding Party of the Allegation, request an in-person meeting within 5 business days of such notification and shall advise the Responding Party at the meeting of his/her option for informal resolution.  The Responding Party shall have 5 business days to exercise this option.

3.      If the parties agree to the informal resolution, the informal resolution process must be completed within 30 days of when the Responding Party agreed to enter into the process, barring any extenuating circumstances.  The Institutional Title IX Coordinator must be notified if any delay beyond the 30 day should occur and the reasons for such delay. 

4.      Either party may terminate the informal resolution process at any time.

5.      If the Coordinator deems the matter unsuitable for informal resolution, if either party declines to participate or fails to cooperate in the scheduling of any informal resolution meeting, or if either party elects to terminate the informal resolution process, the Coordinator shall move forward with the investigation in accordance with the procedures outlined in Section B outlined.  Note, however, that the Coordinator reserves the right not to proceed with a formal investigation if, during informal resolution, the Reporting Party was offered and refused all of the relief to which he or she would be entitled even if a full investigation was conducted.

6.      The outcome of the informal resolution shall be documented by the Coordinator and a copy sent to the Reporting Party and Responding Party. 

C.     Investigation.

1.      Investigative Plan. The Coordinator and/or Investigator shall conduct an impartial investigation into the Allegations to determine the facts of what occurred.   The specific method of investigation will vary based on the nature of the Allegations and the Coordinator or Investigator shall make the Institutional Title IX Coordinator aware of the investigative plan.    The Coordinator may delegate, or jointly conduct,  the interview of the Responding Party or witnesses to/with the following individuals: 

If  the Responding Party or witness is a:

The interview may be conducted by:

Student

Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students or designee*

*Note that, in accordance with the Code of Virginia, any student who withdraws while under investigation for sexual violence will have a prominent notation indicating same placed on their transcript.

Faculty, Resident, or Staff

Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator for  Human Resources or designee

 

Patient

EVMS Medical Group

Visitors, Vendors, others not   listed above, or when a Senior Deputy Title IX Coordinator has a  conflict or is otherwise unavailable.   

 

 Institutional Title IX Coordinator or designee

2.      Cooperation with EVMS Police or Administrative Area. If EVMS Police or an administrative are (i.e. Human Resources, Graduate Medical Education, Student Affairs) is or will be conducting an investigation, the Coordinator shall work cooperatively with such area with the goal of conducting a thorough investigation while reducing repetitive trauma for all parties.  Note that the outcome of any criminal investigation with the EVMS Police, including the determination that not enough evidence exists to pursue a criminal action, shall in no way alleviate responsibility of the Coordinator to complete his or her investigation.  However, at the request of the EVMS Police, the investigation may be temporarily delayed while evidence is being gathered and the investigator shall resume the investigation as soon as such evidence gathering is complete.  

3.      Anti-Retaliation.  The Reporting Party, Responding Party, and all individuals interviewed shall be provided with a copy of the EVMS Compliance Reporting Anti-Retaliation in advance of, or at the interview. 

D.    Investigative ReportAt the conclusion of the Investigation, the Coordinator shall prepare a written summary that describes the Allegations, the facts of the case, and the determination of finding(s).  Findings shall be determined on a preponderance of the evidence (just over 50%) as to whether reasonable cause exists to believe that a violation as it relates to Sex Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct has occurred.  The report may also include any ancillary findings.   A copy of the report shall be provided to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator.

E.     Timeframes.  The Coordinator shall ensure that, unless extenuating circumstances exist, the formal investigation is completed, and the Investigative Report issued within 45 days of the deadline to submit witness/supporting documentation information.  Any delay of the investigation beyond such period shall be reported to the Institutional Title IX Coordinator.

VII.          FINDINGS AND DISCIPLINARY ACTION

A.    Finding of "No Violation".  If the report indicates that there was no evidence, or insufficient evidence,  that a Sex Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct violation has occurred, the Reporting Party and Responding Party shall be notified of the finding of "no violation".  Note that a determination of no violation as it relates to Sex Discrimination or Sexual Misconduct does not prohibit the appropriate administrative area from investigating and/or addressing matters discovered in the course of the investigation (i.e. violation of a different policy, professionalism, etc.).  In such event, the parties shall be notified of such determination in accordance with the policies of that area. 

B.     Finding of "Violation".  When an investigative report indicates that there is a preponderance of evidence that a violation has occurred, the Coordinator will notify the Reporting Party and Guilty Party of such outcome in writing.  Remedies provided to the Reporting Party shall be determined on a case-by-case basis and may be provided in addition to any interim measures initially provided. The Institutional Title IX Coordinator shall also ensure that appropriate disciplinary action is imposed on the Guilty Party by sending the investigative report (redacted as necessary for confidentiality purposes) to the following individuals, based on the status of the Guilty Party: 

1.      Students:   The Associate Dean of Students shall receive the report and, based on the nature and severity of the violation, take disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Handbook. Note that, in accordance with the Code of Virginia, any student who is suspended or dismissed as a result of a Violation with regard to sexual violence will have a prominent notation indicating same placed on their transcript

2.      Faculty:   The Director of Human Resources and the Vice Dean for Faculty Affairs and Professional Development shall receive the report and take disciplinary action in accordance with the EVMS Faculty handbook and/or Human Resources Policies.

3.      Residents:   The Director of Human Resources and  the Vice Dean for Graduate Medical Education shall receive the report and take disciplinary action in accordance with the EVMS Graduate Medical Education polices and/or Human Resources Policies.

4.      Staff:   The Director of Human shall receive the report and take disciplinary action in accordance with EVMS Human Resources Policies.

5.      Patients: EVMS Medical Group shall receive the report and take action in accordance with EVMS Medical Group Policies.

6.      Visitors/Vendors:  The Institutional Title IX Coordinator shall work with the applicable department to take appropriate action.

The Institutional Title IX Coordinator shall be responsible for following up and receiving updates on the status of the disciplinary action.

C.     Sanctions.  In addition to any disciplinary action that may be taken, the Institutional Title IX Coordinator may  impose the following sanctions on the Guilty Party:

1.      Completion of mandatory harassment or other trainings deemed appropriate by the Institutional Title IX Coordinator;

2.       No-contact notices, trespass notices, or other protective measures; and/or 

3.       Other sanctions as may be appropriate based on the nature and severity of the violation. 

D.     Other Notifications. 

1.      If the violation involved domestic violence, dating violence, sexual violence, stalking or other threat or act of harm, the report and name of the Guilty Party shall be filed with the SMART.

2.      The name of the Guilty Party and the facts surrounding the case may also be reported to other institutional officials such as the Chief of the EVMS Police, EVMS General Counsel, the Office of the President and EVMS Board of Visitors. 

VII.   NON-COMPLIANCE

Non-Compliance with any part of the investigation*, disciplinary action, sanctions, or training by the Responding Party or Guilty Party shall be deemed an egregious violation of EVMS Policy and shall be grounds for immediate termination from employment or program. *Note that, in accordance with the Code of Virginia, any student who withdraws while under investigation for sexual violence will have a prominent notation indicating same placed on their transcript.