The Institute is committed to providing a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution to all allegations of sexual misconduct. Incidents of sexual misconduct should be reported to the Institute’s Title IX Coordinator. If an incident of sexual misconduct is reported to another Institute employee, with the exception of those employees designated above as confidential, such employee will report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator.
Intake Meeting with Complainant
If the complaint falls under the jurisdiction of Title IX it will be addressed by the Title IX Policy. If a complaint falls outside of Title IX jurisdiction it will be addressed as follows:
Upon notice of any allegation of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will schedule an individual intake meeting with the complainant within one business day of receiving notice. At the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the complainant with a general understanding of this policy, and identify forms of support or immediate assistance available to the complainant (e.g., referrals to appropriate law enforcement agencies; referrals for medical treatment at local hospitals and trauma centers). The Title IX Coordinator will also provide the complainant with a written explanation of his or her rights and options with respect to his or her report of sexual misconduct. The intake meeting may also involve a discussion of any accommodations that may be appropriate concerning the complainant’s academic schedule, Institute housing, and/or Institute employment arrangements. Additional information regarding interim accommodations is set forth in the Interim Measures section below.
At the initial intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the complainant wishes to proceed, i.e., whether the complainant wishes to pursue Formal Resolution, Informal Resolution (not available for complaints of sexual violence), or does not wish to pursue resolution of any kind. Regardless of how the complainant chooses to proceed, the Institute seeks to resolve every report of sexual misconduct within 60 calendar days of the initial report, excluding any appeal. The time frames included in this policy may vary depending on the details of the complaint and, in some cases, the time of the academic year (e.g., during Institute breaks or final exams). The Institute may extend any time frame for good cause, provided the complainant and respondent are given a written explanation as to the reason for such extension.
If the complainant wishes to proceed with either Formal Resolution or Informal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will ascertain the name of the respondent, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will ask the complainant to submit a written statement to the appointed Investigator of her/his narrative of the incident within one business day and to schedule a meeting with the Investigator.
If the complainant does not wish to pursue Formal Resolution or Informal Resolution, and either requests that his or her complaint remain confidential, or refuses to participate in the initial intake meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant that the Institute’s ability to respond may be limited. In such scenarios, Title IX nevertheless requires the Institute to evaluate the complainant’s request(s) for no action in the context of the Institute’s commitment to provide a reasonably safe and non-discriminatory environment for the entire Institute community. The Institute will make every effort to honor a complainant’s request for anonymity, and the Title IX Coordinator will explain the potential for conclusions to be drawn about the complainant’s identity should a Formal Resolution process be determined to be necessary to protect the campus community. The complainant may withdraw his/her their complaint or other involvement in the resolution process at any time.
In all complaints of alleged sexual misconduct, on behalf of the Institute, the Title IX Coordinator will initiate an appropriate inquiry and take immediate protective measures to support and protect the complainant, including taking appropriate interim steps before the final outcome of the investigation and hearing, if any. Accordingly, after the intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator may impose a “no-contact” order, which typically will include a directive that the parties refrain from having contact with one another, directly or through proxies, whether in person or via electronic means, pending the fact-finding and, if applicable, the adjudication.
Any student who has been the victim of sexual misconduct may request assistance in changing academic, living, transportation, and working situations after a report of sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator will evaluate and ensure such accommodations are made, provided they are reasonable and available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the crime to law enforcement. When taking such steps to separate the complainant and the respondent, the Institute will, to the extent practical, minimize the burden on the complainant.
The complainant and respondent can seek review of the need for and terms of no-contact order, interim measures, and other accommodations granted.
To ensure the safety and well-being of the complainant, the Title IX Coordinator may also take any further protective action that he or she deems appropriate concerning the interaction of the parties pending the hearing, which may include directing appropriate officials to alter the students’ academic, transportation, Institute housing, and/or Institute employment arrangements, or other appropriate protections. In addition, if the respondent is a student determined to pose a continuing threat to the health and safety of the Pratt community, the respondent may be subject to an interim suspension from the Institute.
Violation(s) of the Title IX Coordinator’s directives and/or protective actions will constitute related offenses that may lead to additional disciplinary action.
Effect of Criminal Proceedings
Sexual misconduct may constitute a violation of both law and Institute policy. The Institute encourages students to report alleged sexual misconduct promptly to local law enforcement agencies. Criminal investigations may be useful in the gathering of relevant evidence, particularly forensic evidence. The standards for finding a violation of criminal law are different from the standards for finding a violation of this policy. Therefore, criminal investigations or reports are not determinative of whether sexual misconduct, for purposes of the policy, has occurred. In other words, conduct may constitute sexual misconduct under this policy even if law enforcement agencies lack sufficient evidence of a crime and decline to prosecute.
The filing of a complaint of sexual misconduct under this policy is independent of any criminal investigation or proceeding. The Institute will not wait for the conclusion of any criminal investigation or proceedings to commence its own investigation or take any necessary interim measures to protect the complainant and the Institute community. However, the Institute may temporarily delay its investigation to enable law enforcement to gather evidence and to engage in a preliminary investigation of sexual misconduct matters that may also violate the state criminal code. Such delay should not last longer than 10 days except when law enforcement requests and justifies a longer delay.
The Formal Resolution process includes three phases: 1) fact-finding, 2) adjudication, and 3) determination. In most cases, all three phases will occur. However, in cases in which no respondent is identified or where a victim wishes to remain confidential or does not wish to pursue corrective action, and the Title IX Coordinator has determined, after reviewing the incident and/or complainant’s request against the factors listed in the Confidentiality section above, that the respondent does not pose a risk to the community, only the fact-finding phase may occur.
If the complainant wishes to proceed with Formal Resolution, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly initiate an official investigation and will immediately appoint an Investigator to conduct the fact-finding for the complaint and provide the Investigator with the names of the complainant and respondent and the date, location, and nature of the alleged sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the appointed Investigator, will send letters directing the respondent and any complainant-identified witnesses to schedule meetings with the Investigator.
Fact-finding will commence within one business day of the Title IX Coordinator’s appointment of the Investigator. In most cases, the investigation will be conducted by a trained Investigator appointed by the Title IX Coordinator. In some cases, the Title IX Coordinator may conduct the fact-finding phase.
Fact-finding is separate and distinct from the adjudication phase. During the fact-finding phase, no documents or statements will be given to any individual questioned in order to provide for more objective testimonies; a key aspect to the adjudication phase.The purpose of fact-finding is to gather any and all information related to a report of sexual misconduct.
The Investigator will meet individually with parties involved, and may interview witnesses and collect and review such evidence as the Investigator deems necessary or helpful to the investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct, including written statements from the parties involved.
Once the investigation is complete, the Investigator will provide a written report of the findings of the investigation to the Title IX Coordinator, including a recommendation regarding applicable charges. The Title IX Coordinator will review the Investigator’s report and will determine, based on the above-mentioned criteria, whether the case will be adjudicated and make a final determination regarding charges. The Title IX Coordinator will contact the complainant with the final charges and confirm a desire to move forward before proceeding to adjudication as permissible within the constraints of ensuring campus safety.
If there is a decision to adjudicate, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint and notify a trained Adjudicator to conduct the hearing and provide all documentation related to the complaint.
Advocates for the Complainant and Respondent
Upon the decision to adjudicate, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an Advocate to each complainant and respondent. The complainant and respondent will meet separately with their respective advocates to review their rights and responsibilities and the hearing procedures. The complainant and respondent will also receive this information in writing. The parties may decline to meet with the appointed advocate or request the appointment of a different person if a prior conflict exists.
In addition, the Title IX Coordinator will send the complainant and respondent an official letter that outlines the allegations of the complaint, which will include the date, time, location, and factual allegations about the violation, sections of the code of conduct violated, and possible sanctions; identifies the Adjudicator; and states the date, time, and location of the hearing with the Adjudicator at least 5 business days in advance of the hearing date. A party wishing to challenge the participation of the Adjudicator must notify the Title IX Coordinator, in writing, within three business days of receipt of the notice of the Adjudicator, stating the specific reason(s) for the party’s objection. The Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the challenge has merit and, if so, will assign a new Adjudicator. Complainant and respondent will be given the choice to be present at the hearing or submit official written statements should they wish to remain anonymous, however, all parties will have access to all written statements, so anonymity cannot be guaranteed.
At least three business days prior to the hearing, the parties will provide the Adjudicator with a list of witnesses they wish to be called, copies of documents, and a description of any other information they propose to present at the hearing. The Adjudicator will provide each party with a copy of the list of witnesses and identification or copies of documents or other information submitted by each party prior to the hearing.
In the absence of good cause, as determined by the Adjudicator, the parties may not introduce witnesses, documents, or other information at the hearing that were not provided at least three business days prior to the hearing.
Prior to the hearing, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the Adjudicator all information gathered during the fact-finding phase.
Conduct of the Hearing
The hearing will take place on the date and time specified in the notice of hearing. If circumstances arise that require a change in the hearing date or time, the Title IX Coordinator will provide both parties with written notice explaining the reason for such change. The Institute may arrange for the hearing to be recorded, and may arrange for the preparation of any transcript of the recording that the Institute deems appropriate.
The hearing will be conducted as follows:
- As a non-adversarial process, the hearing will not follow a courtroom model, and formal rules of evidence will not be observed. The format of the hearing follows that of a student conduct administrative hearing except the ‘board’ consists of only one trained faculty or staff member acting as Adjudicator.
- A record of the hearing will be kept by transcripts, recording, or other appropriate record. Such record shall be preserved and maintained for at least five years from the date of the hearing
- Consideration will be given to witnesses who may wish to submit or verify previously submitted statements in lieu of being present for the hearing.
- The complainant and respondent will be instructed to report for the hearing at a specific day and time. All contact between them will be limited/eliminated.
- If either party fails to attend the hearing, the Adjudicator may proceed and determine the complaint on the basis of the evidence available, provided the absent party was duly notified of the scheduled hearing date.
- Both the complainant and the respondent may have an advisor, of their own choosing, present to support and assist them during the pre-hearing, hearing, and appeal stages of the Formal Resolution process. The advisor may be, but does not have to be the advocate appointed earlier in the process. An advisor may not direct questions to the Adjudicator or witnesses at the hearing, but may consult with the party that he or she is assisting. The Adjudicator will not allow an advisor’s presence to inhibit the parties’ sharing of information or the conduct of the hearing.
- After reviewing all documents pertaining to the case, the Adjudicator will interview the complainant, respondent, and any witnesses in an order that makes sense to the Adjudicator. As necessary, the Adjudicator may recall hearing participants for additional questioning.
- At no time will the complainant and respondent be questioned at the same time or be permitted to question each other; however, at the discretion of the Adjudicator, the complainant or respondent may be permitted to question his/her witnesses.
- At any time during the adjudication phase, the Adjudicator may interview witnesses and collect and review such evidence as the Adjudicator deems necessary or helpful to his or her investigation into the alleged sexual misconduct.
- At the conclusion of the Adjudicator’s questioning of all parties and witnesses, both the complainant and respondent will be given the opportunity to present to the Adjudicator any statements or information not previously covered at the hearing.
- If the Adjudicator determines that unresolved issues exist that would be clarified by the presentation of additional information, the Adjudicator may suspend the hearing and reconvene it in a timely manner to receive such information. A delay may not be based on the failure of witnesses to appear without good cause or on the proposed introduction of documents or other information that should have been presented at the pre-hearing meeting.
In order to comply with the Family Education Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99), and to provide an orderly process for the presentation and consideration of relevant information without undue intimidation or pressure, the hearing process is not open to the general public. Accordingly, documents prepared in anticipation of the hearing, documents, testimony, or other information introduced at the hearing, and any transcript of the hearing itself may not be disclosed outside of the hearing proceedings, except as may be required or authorized by law and/or Institute policy.
In all investigations into alleged sexual misconduct, the Institute will evaluate evidence under a “preponderance of the evidence” standard. A preponderance of the evidence means that information shows it is “more likely than not” that the respondent violated this policy and that sexual conduct occurred without affirmative consent.
The respondent will be found to be responsible for the alleged sexual misconduct if the Adjudicator concludes, based upon careful review of all information presented, that it is more likely than not that such sexual misconduct occurred. The Adjudicator shall determine whether the respondent is responsible for sexual misconduct, and will recommend the corrective measures and/or sanctions necessary for ensuring the protection of the complainant and the community to the Vice President for Student Affairs. The Adjudicator will provide a written statement of these determinations, which will include factual findings that support the determination and rationale for the decision and sanctioning recommendation, to the Title IX Coordinator and the Vice President for Student Affairs. After reviewing the Adjudicator’s written statement, the Vice President for Student Affairs will determine the sanction.
The Vice President for Student Affairs may consider suspension or expulsion for any student found responsible for sexual misconduct; however, he or she may impose any of the following sanction(s) that are determined to be fair and proportionate to the violation:
- Reprimand or warning
- Changing the respondent’s academic schedule
- Disciplinary probation
- Revocation of honors or awards
- Restricting the respondent’s access to Institute facilities or activities
- Community service
- Issuing a “no-contact” order to the respondent or requiring that such an order remain in place
- Changing the respondent’s housing assignment
- Dismissal from or restricting or reassignment of Institute employment
- Removing the responding from student housing
- Suspension (limited time or indefinite)
- Revocation of degree
In determining an appropriate sanction(s), the Vice President for Student Affairs will consider any existing record of past violations of Institute policies, as well as the nature and severity of such past violation(s). The Vice President for Student Affairs will consider as part of the deliberations whether the respondent poses a continuing risk to the complainant and/or the Institute community. Either party may make or submit an impact statement to the Vice President during the sanctioning phase. The rationale for any sanction imposed will be explained and supported in the written decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Within five business days from the conclusion of the hearing, the Vice President for Student Affairs will issue a determination letter to the respondent and the complainant. Both parties, concurrently, will receive a copy of this determination letter.
The determination letter will contain only the following information: (i) the name of the respondent; (ii) whether the respondent has been found responsible or not responsible for specific violation(s) of the sexual misconduct policy; (iii) the sanction imposed, if any; (iv) the Institute’s appeal process; (v) any change to the results that occurs prior to the time that the results become final; and (vi) when the results become final. Both the respondent and the complainant have a right to this information. The determination letter may not be disclosed except where disclosure is authorized or required by law.
For crimes of violence, including sexual violence, Pratt will make a notation on the transcript of a student found responsible through the hearing process in cases where the sanction includes suspension or expulsion that the student was “suspended after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation” or “expelled after a finding of responsibility for a code of conduct violation.” For the respondent who withdraws from the institution while such conduct charges are pending, and declines to complete the disciplinary process, Pratt will make a notation of the transcript that the student “withdrew with conduct charges pending”. For information on how to appeal such a notation, please consult the … If a finding of responsibility is vacated for any reason, any such transcript notation will be removed.
Either party may appeal the determination of the Adjudicator and/or the disciplinary decision of the Vice President for Student Affairs. A party has three grounds under which to appeal the Institute’s determination: (i) the Adjudicator committed procedural errors that had an impact on the decision, (ii) there is new evidence that was not reasonably available at the time of the hearing before the Adjudicator, or (iii) the sanctions are not consistent with past practices or the severity of the alleged sexual misconduct.
Final sanctions are in effect until any timely appeal of the decision is resolved. The Vice President for Student Affairs may suspend the determination pending exhaustion of appeal, allow the student to attend classes or other activity on a supervised or monitored basis, or make such other modifications to the determination as may be advisable. Interim measures will remain in effect until the appeal is resolved.
The procedure to file an appeal is as follows:
- A party wishing to appeal the determination of responsibility and/or the sanction must file a notice of intent to appeal within five business days of the date the party is notified of the Adjudicator’s findings and the sanctions of the Vice President for Student Affairs. The intention to file an appeal must be submitted in writing (either email or hard-copy) to the Title IX Coordinator. This notice of intent to appeal must contain the party’s grounds for the appeal.
- Within two weeks of filing a notice of intent to appeal, the party’s formal appeal must be filed. The party should submit copies of any and all material the party wishes to provide as evidence for his/her appeal.
- An Appeal Panel of 3 trained members will be appointed by the Title IX Coordinator to review the appeal. All members of the Appeal Panel will be free of conflicts of interest in the case. Except for appeals brought under (ii) above, the Appeal Panel’s entire review process will be based on the party’s appeal and the Adjudicator’s record of the case. Otherwise, no additional evidence is allowed and no witnesses may be heard.
- The Appeal Panel will make a final determination on the appeal. The Appeal Panel shall render its decision regarding the appeal within 20 calendar days, and will provide written notice of such determination to the Vice President for Student Affairs, and issue a final determination letter to the respondent and the complainant. Both parties, concurrently, will receive a copy of this final determination letter.
A complainant who wishes to file a formal complaint but who does not wish to pursue Formal Resolution may request a less formal proceeding, known as “Informal Resolution.” The Informal Resolution procedure is only available for complaints of sexual harassment.
If the complainant wishes to proceed with Informal Resolution the Title IX Coordinator will ascertain the name of the respondent, and the date, location, and nature of the alleged sexual misconduct, and, within two business days, will schedule an individual intake meeting with the respondent in order to provide to him or her with a general understanding of the policy.
Informal Resolution provides an opportunity for the complainant to confront the respondent in the presence of, and facilitated by, a presiding officer, and to communicate his or her feelings and perceptions regarding the incident, the impact of the incident, and his or her wishes and expectations regarding protection in the future. The respondent will have an opportunity to respond. The respondent is expected to attend this meeting and participate in the Institute’s investigation.
The complainant and the respondent each may bring an advisor to the Informal Resolution. Advisors are subject to the same restrictions set forth for advisors in Formal Resolution, outlined above. The Vice President for Student Affairs will preside over the Informal Resolution and may elect to be assisted by another staff member.
If, in the course of the Informal Resolution, the respondent admits to violating the Institute’s Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, that admission will serve as a finding of responsibility that is final and cannot be appealed. The Vice President for Student Affairs will recommend a sanction, which the respondent can accept or reject. The sanctions that may be imposed as the result of the Informal Resolution process are the same as those outlined in the Formal Resolution process above. If the recommended sanction of Vice President for Student Affairs is accepted, the process is concluded. If the recommended sanction is rejected, the complaint will proceed to the Formal Resolution sanctioning process. In such case, all information gathered during the Informal Resolution process will be made available to the Adjudicator in the Formal Resolution sanctioning process.
Informal Resolution may result in the imposition of protective actions agreed upon by the parties, or (with or without such agreement) based on information derived from the Informal Resolution taken together with any other relevant information known to the Institute at the time of the Informal Resolution.
The Institute may, at any time, elect to end such proceedings and initiate Formal Resolution instead. Statements or disclosures made by the parties in the course of the Informal Resolution may be considered in the Formal Resolution.
In order to promote honest, direct communication, information disclosed during Informal Resolution must remain private, except where disclosure may be required by law or authorized in connection with duties on behalf of the Institute.