College Resolution Processes
For all TCNJ students, faculty, and staff that have been impacted by sexual violence, dating/domestic violence, stalking, or sexual harassment you have the option of participating in a College and/or criminal process.
Following receipt of notice of a potential violation of the Title IX College Wide Policy, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will immediately gather as much information as possible to determine the appropriate means for addressing the report. Options for addressing reports include, but are not limited to:
- Investigating the report
- Attempting to resolve the report through an informal process, or
- Determining that the facts of the report, even if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy.
If a report proceeds to an informal resolution or an investigation, or if the reporting party requests Interim Remedial Measures that might affect the accused (such as a “no contact” directive, moving the accused on-campus housing or changing an academic schedule), the Title IX Coordinator will provide the accused with notice that a report has been filed.
Below is a breakdown of the resolution options offered by the College but you can find specific information regarding each of the processes in our Title IX Policy.
Available College Resolution Options:
Overseen by: The Office of Title IX at TCNJ
Goal: Remedy & reduction of the effects of discrimination and restoration of community safety.
The College recognizes that there is not one universal resolution process that best meets the needs of our students & campus community. To adequately address reports of Prohibited Conduct, two different resolution options are offered:
1. Formal Administrative Hearing
- Involves full, formal investigation & hearing (if Respondent is charged)
- Decision Made By: Hearing Administrator (third party) at the conclusion of a hearing
- Possible Outcome: Status Sanction (ie. warning, probation, pending suspension, suspension, or expulsion)
- *College’s default resolution process
2. Alternative Resolution
- A voluntary process that allows the Respondent to accept responsibility for their behavoir without a format investigation and through educational means.
- Possible Outcome: Educational Activities (ie. Consent workshop, Impact Statement, Alcohol Workshop, etc.)
- Does not appear on disciplinary record; Both students must agree to utilize this option.
Option 1 – Formal Administrative Hearing
Notification of Investigation
In the event that a formal investigation will be pursued, the Investigator(s) assigned to the case will send a formal notification of investigation letter to both students through TCNJ’s Advocate-Symplicity system and students will be required to enter their TCNJ credentials in order to access them. Once the notification has been sent, the investigation has officially commenced.
For all investigations there will be one or more trained investigators present. A member of the Title IX staff or designee will be the lead investigator and coordinate meetings with the Reporter and the Respondent. Both parties will be interviewed and asked to share information they have regarding the incident, as well as all relevant documentation (i.e. text messages, emails, photos, etc.), and identify witnesses who may provide direct information regarding the allegation. The investigator(s) will gather all information from each participating party and create a statement summary. Those who provide a statement will have an opportunity to review their statement summary and can make additions to or note any concerns or clarifications to ensure accuracy. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will then add the information to the Title IX Investigation Report. Investigator(s) will strive to gather all information within 35-40 calendars day. Once the report has been compiled of all information gathered up to that point, both the Reporter and Respondent have the opportunity to review it in its entirety and submit a response. After gathering all information and the investigation report has been finalized, the case will be reviewed by the Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Student Affairs (or designee), who will determine whether the application of charges is appropriate. Should charges be applied, the case will move to a formal administrative hearing for the determination of responsibility. For more information about this process please review the Title IX Policy, as well as the flowchart found below.
An Advisor of the Reporter or Respondent’s choice may be present during the initial meeting, investigation, and any additional meetings or proceedings with College staff in relation to a Title IX incident, but Advisors may not represent the party or actively participate in the meeting/proceeding. The Title IX Coordinator or designee or investigator(s) may also have an advisor present at their discretion.
Determination Of Responsibility – Formal Hearing
Once the investigation report is finalized by the Investigators, it is then forwarded to the Assistant Vice President (AVP) for Student Affairs/Dean of Students or designee. The AVP or designee will confirm that protocol was followed and the incident was fully investigated, or will ask the investigator(s) to further examine section(s) of the investigation report or seek additional information. The AVP will make that determination within 10 business days of receiving the investigation report. If the AVP confirms the investigation to be complete, but determines the information does not rise to the level of charges, the Reporter may appeal the decision by following the process outlined in the Appeal for Student Cases section of the Title IX Policy. If the AVP determines charges are appropriate, the case will then move to a formal administrative hearing for the determination of responsibility by a single hearing administrator using the preponderance standard (more likely than not).
Structure of formal hearing:
The physical structure of the hearing will be set up in the following way (see diagram below):
In the event that the student plans on being on-campus and wishes to participate in-person, the Reporter and Respondent, along with their respective advisors, will be set up in separate rooms in the Brower Student Center for the duration of the hearing. Each student will be provided with a laptop, an unredacted version of the investigation report, a notebook, and a pen. Each student’s laptop will display a video connection that streams directly to the hearing administrator – similar to that of a Skype video call.
The hearing administrator and an advisor to the hearing administrator will be set up in the Brower Student Center – Dean of Students’ (DOS) conference room along with two laptops – one connected to the Reporter (yourself) and the other to the Respondent. This setup allows the hearing administrator to hear and see both students, but the Reporter and Respondent will only be allowed to hear one another.
During the ‘witness phase’ of the hearing, relevant fact witnesses will be invited into the DOS conference room one by one to share information they have/answer questions, and will then exit the conference room once they are finished. Witnesses do not remain in the conference room for the duration of the hearing; rather they wait in the DOS lobby until they called upon individually to participate. Both students will be able to hear and see each witness as they participate in the hearing.
Outline of hearing process:
Appeal for Student Cases
If at the conclusion of a Title IX investigation, there is a finding of responsibility, both the Respondent and the Student Reporter are afforded the opportunity to appeal decisions and/or any sanctions issued within five business days of the date of the written decision. Appeals will be reviewed by the Vice President of Student Affairs or designee. All appeals must be in writing, and include any supporting documentation that the Student wishes to be considered. Deference is given to the original Investigator’s findings of fact and/or the AVP/Hearing Administrator’s decision to charge, level of responsibility, and/or any sanctions. Therefore, the burden of proof is on the Student filing an appeal to sufficiently demonstrate cause to alter procedures, the original decision or any sanctions. An appeal will generally be limited to a review of the final investigation report, verbatim record of the hearing, and supporting documents for one or more of the purposes below, provided however the administrator may request additional information or clarification from the accused Student, complaining party, witnesses, investigator(s), and/or other administrators for purposes of this review.
- Process review. To determine whether the investigation process was conducted in accordance with published procedures and without bias on the part of the Investigator(s). Deviations from designated procedures will not be a basis for sustaining an appeal unless significant prejudice results.
- Information review. To determine whether there was information presented in the investigation that, if believed by the board or administrator, was sufficient to establish that a violation of the Policy occurred.
- Sanction review. To determine whether any sanctions imposed were appropriate for the violation of the Policy which the Student was found to have committed.
- New information. To consider new information, submitted by the appealing Student within the prescribed five business day period, sufficient to alter a decision or other relevant facts not brought out in the original investigation, because such information was not known to the Student appealing at the time of the original investigation.
An administrator reviewing an appeal may make one of the following decisions.
- Affirm. The administrator may decide to affirm the decision of the AVP and/or Hearing Administrator.
- Alter sanction. The administrator may alter the sanctions issued by the Office of Student Conduct. Alteration in the sanction may include reducing or increasing the sanction or requirements.
- New investigation. The administrator may determine that a new investigation by different investigators is warranted to correct procedural irregularity or to consider new information. A Student may appeal a decision of the new investigators.
- Remand. The administrator may direct the original Investigators to review their original decision subject to any instructions from the administrator; and may affirm that decision or render a new decision consistent with those instructions. A Student may appeal a decision made by the original Investigator(s) if there are any changes after the review.
The decision of the administrator reviewing the submitted appeal is the final and conclusive decision of the College and is appealable only to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division in accordance with the New Jersey Rules of Court.
Sanctions For Student Cases
The College is required by law to disclose possible sanctioning practices for certain violations of the Title IX Policy and Student Conduct Code. The following sanctions, alone or in any combination, may be imposed upon any Student found to have violated these Policies.
1. Status Outcomes.
- Warning. A notice in writing to the Student that the Student is violating or has violated institutional regulations and that further violations may result in more severe disciplinary action.
- Probation. This status serves as a disciplinary status assigned to a Student for a specified period of time. While on this status, any further violations of College Policy will result in more severe disciplinary
action and may result in additional Administrative Directive Outcomes and/or Suspension. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct for five years after a Student separates from the College.
- Pending suspension. This status serves as the disciplinary probation status assigned to a Student for a specified period of time before he or she is suspended from the College. While on this status, any further violations of College policy may result in suspension from the College. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct for five years after a Student separates from the College.
- Suspension. Termination of course registration and residency (if applicable) from the College after a specific date and for a specified time. Through the duration of the suspension, the Student may be restricted from College property and may be required to provide prior notice and receive approval from the Director of Student Conduct for the purpose of conducting College business. Before a Student may be readmitted to the College after the designated period of time, the Student must meet with the Dean of Students to show satisfactory completion of any assigned directives or to discuss stipulated conditions for his or her return. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct indefinitely. Should a Student wish to return to the College after the suspension period, the Student must comply with any academic standards and procedures then in effect.
- Expulsion. Permanent dismissal from the College and restriction from College property. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct indefinitely. Expulsion is the most serious disciplinary action taken by the College and is generally reserved for only those cases of behavioral misconduct in which all the relevant facts and aggravating circumstances support a conclusion that the only reasonable sanction is permanent removal from the College.
- Degree Revocation. Permanent revocation of an earned degree from the College and restriction from College property. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct indefinitely. Degree revocation is reserved for only those case of behavioral misconduct that occur while an individual is a Student, but is not made known to the College until after a degree is earned, and in which all the relevant facts and aggravating circumstances support a conclusion that the only reasonable sanction is permanent revocation of an earned degree from the College.
2. Education Outcomes.
- Restorative Practices. Participate in a discussion by trained facilitators with any persons or departments harmed and development of a shared agreement of how to correct the harm. Unlike other sanctions, all participants must voluntarily agree to participate in the restorative process. Restorative practices will not be available to Students responding to or being found responsible for any physical sexual misconduct.
- Mediation. Participation in a mediated discussion with other disputants facilitated by multipartial, trained mediators with the hope of developing a negotiated agreement serving as resolution to the dispute. Unlike other sanctions, all participants must voluntarily agree to participate in mediation. Mediation will not be available to Students responding to or being found responsible for any physical sexual misconduct.
- Master education plan. Develop a master education plan with the aid of the Director of Student Conduct and mentor committee, agree to the terms of the plan, and to continuous evaluation.
- Other Discretionary sanctions. Work assignments, essays, presentations, research projects, conduct contracts, service to the College, or other discretionary assignments.
3. Administrative Directive Outcomes.
- Administrative Relocation of Housing. Administrative transfer of a Student from one campus housing location to another.
- Loss of privilege. Denial of any specified privilege for a designated period of time. Examples include but are not limited to: guest privileges, restriction from a College event or program, and/or area or building.
- Pending termination of housing. This status serves as a housing probationary status assigned to a Student for a specified period of time before his or her housing privileges are terminated. While on this status, any further violations of College policy may result in termination of housing. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct for five years after a Student separates from the College.
- Termination of housing. Removal or prohibition of a Student from College housing after a specific date and for a specified period of time. Through the duration of the termination, the Student will be restricted from entering all residential floors in College buildings. Students removed from College housing for disciplinary reasons will receive the refund available based on the time of the semester according to the Department of Residential Education and Housing policies and the housing contract. In addition, this status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Student Conduct for five years after a Student separates from the College.
- Restitution. Compensation for loss, damage, or injury to College property. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.
- Parental notification. Notification may be sent to parents or guardians of a Student who is under 18 years of age, or financially dependent on his or her parents or guardians, depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident. Parents or guardians may also be notified of alcohol and other drug incidents for Students less than 21 years of age, regardless of financial dependency or resulting sanction.
- No Contact Directive/Extension of Existing No Contact Directive. This may include a new directive (as described above), or an extension of an original directive with or without altered or additional parameters or instructions. Sanctioned no contact directives may only be removed at the discretion of the Director of Student Conduct, and at the written request of all involved parties.
Note that mitigating or aggravating factors may impact the severity of sanctions assigned.
For more specific information on these procedures please refer to the Title IX Policy on our Policy Page
For all complaints against a staff or faculty member, the investigator(s) will work with the Department to determine sanctioning. Any employee found to have violated any portion or portions of this Policy may be subject to appropriate administrative and/or disciplinary action which may include, but which shall not be limited to: referral for training, referral for counseling, written or verbal reprimand, suspension, reassignment, demotion, loss of privileges or termination of employment. Referral to another appropriate authority for review for possible violation of State and Federal statutes may also be appropriate.
Option 2 – Alternative Resolution
Overview of Alternative Resolution Process
Alternative resolution is a voluntary process within The College of New Jersey’s Title IX Policy that is grounded in Restorative Justice and allows a Respondent in a Title IX case to accept responsibility for their behavior and/or potential Harm. By fully participating in this process the Respondent will not be charged with a violation of College Policy. The alternative resolution process is designed to eliminate the Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects in a manner that meets the needs of the Reporter while still maintaining the safety of the overall campus community.
Required Elements for Participation
The alternative resolution process will only be used at the request and agreement of both the Reporter and Respondent and under the direction of the Title IX Office. In order for the Alternative Resolution Process to be appropriate both parties must have an understanding and agree on the necessary elements of the process. Both the Reporter and Respondent will have to agree to the following terms should they wish to participate in the alternative resolution process:
- Participation in this process is voluntary and either the Reporter or Respondent can choose to end the process at any time prior to signing the agreement;
- Mediation, even if voluntary, will not be used in cases involving sexual assault;
- Both the Reporter and Respondent must participate in individual conference meetings with appropriate staff to learn more about the resolution process prior to participating;
- The process can only be used once and will not be considered if requested by a repeat Respondent under the Title IX policy;
- The Reporter and Respondent must agree to all recommendations laid out in the formal agreement or the case reverts back to investigation;
- Information documented during this process can be subpoenaed if a criminal investigation is initiated;
- Participation in this process does not constitute a responsible finding of a policy violation and therefore is not reflected on a Student’s disciplinary record;
- If the Respondent is documented and found responsible for any violations in the future this agreement can be used in the sanctioning phase; and
- The Respondent may be charged with Failure to Comply with a Directive of a College Official under the Title IX Policy for failure to meet the requirements laid out in the agreement.
The College reserves the right to suspend or terminate this resolution option at any time, prior to both parties formally agreeing to the terms in the contract, and revert back to investigation.
Contents of the Resolution Agreement
Restorative Processes is a philosophical approach that embraces the reparation of Harm, healing of trauma, reconciliation of interpersonal conflict, and reintegration of people who have been marginalized through participatory learning and improved decision making skills. Rather than focusing on what policies have been violated, Restorative Processes instead identify who has been harmed and what actions are necessary to repair the harm.
The College recognizes that there is no single way to try and repair harm, and as such, the resolution agreement drafted as part of this process is tailored to be as individual as possible to try and repair in individualized harm that may have been caused/experienced. Therefore, there is no standard contract that is used for each case, rather they are unique to the needs of each individual Reporter.
While the resolution agreement is personalized and specific to each individual Reporter, some examples of possible options that Students may utilize in this process include, but are not limited to:
- Restorative Circle- Participation in a discussion by trained facilitators with any persons harmed and development of a shared agreement of how to correct the farm. The Reporter and Respondent (and possible community members) work together to develop an agreement that resolves the issue, and can help the Respondent restore their standing in their communities and repair relationships that were damaged by their actions. During the circle, both Students can have a support person present. A support person differs from an advisor as this person can have an active role during this process. A support person must be approved by the lead facilitator.Any agreements that are reached during the alternative resolution process must be documented, signed in-person or via email by the Reporter and Respondent, and approved by the Title IX Coordinator. If no agreement is reached than the matter may be referred to the Title IX Coordinator for further action.
- Informal Restorative Conference- The Title IX Coordinator will meet separately with the Reporter and the Respondent. The meetings will include discussion on the behavior, the impact on the Reporter, Respondent and the community. At the culmination of the meetings, the Title IX Coordinator will have a final meeting with the Respondent who will be required to complete exercises and/or educational activities to acknowledge the Harm their actions caused. All information discussed in this meeting will be shared with the Reporter.
- Informal Restorative Statements- This may include structured voluntary apology letters, affective questions towards the Respondent including; who was affected, how were they affected, and what was the harm caused, etc. This could be done either in-person with the Respondent or via written statements. All information discussed in this meeting will be shared with the Reporter.
- Salient Analysis of Interpersonal Dynamics (SAID) Workshop – consists of 3 individual one on one sessions (1 hour each) with the Respondent and a trained College staff member that are designed to create a space for those accused of (sexual violence and/or Violations of the Student Conduct Code) to examine their behavior and receive contextual information surrounding it with the goal of sparking behavior change, skill-building, and self-reflection.
- Submission of an Impact statement – The Reporter may choose to compose an impact statement describing their experience and resultant impact the alleged harm has had on them. The Reporter can decide in what manner they feel comfortable sharing the statement with the Respondent, such as in-person, in writing, via recording, etc. The statement would be shared with the Respondent and an opportunity to debrief about the contents of the statement. The Respondent will have an opportunity at the end of the meeting to provide any response to the Reporter’s statement and potentially provide a response impact statement of his own.
- Counseling Sessions
- Alcohol Education Classes – Consists of an individualized workshop focused on alcohol education and understanding the impact of consumption levels on a persons’ decision-making ability.
- Bi-weekly or Monthly check in meetings with the Title IX Coordinator or designee
- Restriction from participation in specific clubs and/or organization
- Restriction from participation in particular events (ie. Senior Week)
- Completion of a master education plan with regular meetings with the Director of Student Conduct
- Community Service
Sanctions For Student Cases
In contrast to the Formal Administrative Resolution Option, the Alternative Resolution Process does not involve the implementation of punitive sanctions for the Respondent. This is a non-punitive process, which rather than focusing on whether a Policy violation occurred, focuses on identifying the incident that caused the harm and to whom, the needs of the person who was harmed, and how the person who caused harm can repair it. Should a Respondent agree to participate in this process and completes the agreement in good faith, no sanctions will be applied, nor will their participation be reflected on their disciplinary history through the College. However, in the event that the Respondent signs the contract stating that they will participate in all educational items laid out in the agreement and fails to do so, the Respondent may be charged with Failure to Comply with a Directive of a College Official under the Title IX Policy and may receive punitive sanctions as a result.
Exceptions for Use of Resolution Option
Although rare, there are a few circumstances to which the College may decide that the Alternative Resolution is not an appropriate resolution option to use. When determining whether the use of the Alternative Resolution process would be appropriate to use for a particular case, the College will consider all of the known facts and circumstances, including but not limited to:
- whether an agreement to pursue an informal resolution is truly voluntary
- whether both parties are participating in good faith
- the nature of the alleged offense/violation
- whether there is an ongoing threat of harm or safety to the campus community
- the power dynamics between the parties
- whether the Respondent is a repeat offender
Decisions as to whether this resolution process is appropriate to use are made on a case by case basis, as no two cases are identical.
During any College resolution process there will be thorough communication with both students regarding each step in the procedure from the Title IX Coordinator and/or Investigator(s). Neither student is mandated to participate in any Title IX proceeding(s), however their absence may limit the Investigator(s) ability to evaluate all relevant information to the fullest extent possible. Both students may be assisted by an Advisor of their choice through all phases of the College process and can be provided with accommodations regarding concerns for their personal safety, well-being, and/or fears of confrontation during the process.
FAQs Regarding College Processes
General Process Questions
How is a Title IX investigation different from a criminal investigation?
The College and Criminal processes are two separate entities. A criminal investigation undertaken by the police seeks to determine whether an individual violated criminal law. An individual who is found guilty of such a crime following a police investigation and trial may be imprisoned. In contrast, Title IX investigations conducted by The College of New Jersey determine whether an accused party (referred to as the Respondent) has violated the College’s policy on sexual misconduct and what disciplinary actions may be appropriate. The College follows a “preponderance of the evidence” standard, which requires the evidence supporting a finding of responsibility to be more convincing than the information in opposition to it or, in other words, that it is more likely than not the alleged conduct occurred. An individual has the right to pursue a College investigation by filing a complaint with the Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, and to pursue criminal charges through the police. A reporting party may elect to file a complaint with the College, the police, or both at the same time. While TCNJ may provide information and support, College and criminal investigations are independent and distinct. The processes are not mutually exclusive. A student may be arrested and charged in the criminal justice system as well as under the Title IX Policy and/or Student Conduct Code. Alternatively, charges can occur for alleged violations of the Title IX Policy and/or Student Conduct Code, which may not be violations of the law.
How long does a College resolution process take?
The length of a resolution process depends on a variety of factors, and also differs based upon what type of resolution process is carried out. For formal investigations, whenever possible, the College will attempt to resolve every report involving a student as the Respondent within 60 calendar days of an initial report, excluding any relevant appeal period. However, the College recognizes that each case has its own unique circumstances, and time frames for each stage of the process may vary depending on the details of a case and at certain times of the academic year (for example, during breaks, study periods or final exams). The College may extend any time frame for good cause, with a written explanation to the Reporter and the Respondent. This is true for the Alternative Resolution Process as well, and the length of that overall process may also be dependent on what educational activities are included on the resolution contract as well. In any case, regardless of the process used, the College will make every effort to resolve the case in as prompt and timely a manner as possible, while still ensuring it is thorough, complete, and free of bias.
Questions Specific to Reporters
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Questions Specific to Respondents
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Questions Specific to Witnesses
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If you would like to submit information regarding an incident that occurred on behalf of yourself, a friend, a colleague, or another, click the button below to formally report it.
For more specific information please refer to the Title IX Policy on the College’s Policies Page and if you have any questions about information included in the Policy or what is included on this website please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Conduct process please visit: http://conduct.tcnj.edu/welcome/