Steps in the Investigation Process
All investigations are thorough, reliable, impartial, prompt, and fair. Investigations involve:
- interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses;
- obtaining available, relevant evidence; and
- identifying sources of expert information, as necessary.
Through the investigative process, all parties have a full and fair opportunity to
- suggest witnesses and questions,
- provide evidence and expert witnesses, and
- fully review and respond to all evidence on the record.
The Title IX Coordinator typically takes the following steps (not necessarily in this order):
- Identify all policies implicated by the alleged misconduct and notify the Complainant and Respondent of all of the specific policies implicated.
- Conduct a prompt preliminary inquiry to determine if the allegations indicate a potential policy violation.
- If an allegation meets Title IX Jurisdiction requirements, the Coordinator will prepare the initial Notice of Allegation (NOA). The NOA may be amended with any additional or dismissed allegations.
- Notice should inform the parties of their right to have the assistance of an Advisor. The Advisor can be a member of the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) pool of Advisors or anyone from outside the MCCCD. Advisors can be present for all meetings attended by their attendees.
- Assign two trained investigators to conduct the investigation process.
- Monitor the investigation and provide updates to parties as needed throughout the process.
- Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, provide the parties and their respective Advisors (if so desired by the parties) a secured electronic or hard copy of the draft investigation report and the opportunity to inspect and review all of the evidence obtained as part of the investigation. This evidence review and comment period will last for ten (10) days. The parties may elect to waive the full ten days.
- Share any of the optional comments or responses received between the parties and with the Investigators.
- Receive the final investigative report from the Investigators and forward the case for a hearing.
- Share the final investigative report with both parties and their Advisors through secure electronic transmission at least ten (10) business days prior to a hearing. Hearings are generally scheduled for two (2) hours, but can be extended, as needed at the discretion of the Decision-maker, to ensure that both parties are able to present the information relevant to their position. (e.g., complicated fact pattern, numerous witnesses, etc.).
The Investigators typically take the following steps (not necessarily in this order):
- Contact the parties (and Advisors if desired) and witnesses to schedule interviews. The Investigators will send an email confirmation to each individual with the date, time, and location of each interview.
- In coordination with the Title IX Coordinator, initiate or assist with any necessary supportive measures
- Commence a thorough, reliable, and impartial investigation by identifying issues and developing a strategic investigation plan, including a witness list, evidence list, intended investigation timeframe, and order of interviews for all witnesses and the parties
- Provide each interviewed party and witness an opportunity to review and verify the Investigators' summary notes of the relevant evidence/testimony from their respective interviews and meetings
- Interview all available, relevant witnesses and conduct follow-up interviews, as necessary
- Allow each party the opportunity to suggest witnesses.
- Complete the investigation promptly and without unreasonable deviation from the intended timeline
- Write a comprehensive investigation report fully summarizing the investigation, all witness interviews, and addressing all relevant evidence. Appendices including relevant physical or documentary evidence will be included
- After the evidence review period, the Investigators may incorporate relevant elements of the parties’ written responses into the final investigation report, include any additional relevant evidence, make any necessary revisions, and then finalize the report.
- Document all rationales for any changes made to the investigative report after the review period.
- Share the final investigative report with the Title IX Coordinator.
Witnesses in the Investigation
Witnesses (as distinguished from the parties) who are employees of the MCCCD are expected to cooperate with and participate in the MCCCDs investigation and resolution process. Failure of such witnesses to cooperate with and/or participate in the investigation or resolution process constitutes a violation of policy and may warrant discipline.
While in-person interviews for parties and all potential witnesses are ideal, circumstances (e.g., study abroad, winter break) may require individuals to be interviewed remotely. Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WebEx, or similar technologies may be used for interviews if the Investigators determine that timeliness or efficiency dictate a need for remote interviewing. The MCCCD will take appropriate steps to reasonably ensure the security/privacy of remote interviews.
Evidentiary Considerations in the Investigation
The investigation does not consider:
1) incidents not directly related to the possible violation, unless they evidence a pattern;
2) the character of the parties; or
3) questions and evidence about the Complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior, 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.
Filing an External Discrimination Complaint
MCCCD encourages individuals to use the due process under the Title IX Sexual Harassment policy to resolve concerns. Individuals also have the right to file complaints with appropriate external agencies. No retaliation will be taken against any individual for filing a complaint with an external agency. The following agency accepts complaints related to Title IX.
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
Cesar E. Chavez Memorial Building
1244 Speer Boulevard, Suite 310
Denver, Colorado 80204-3582