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Formal Grievance Process


During any College resolution process there will be thorough communication with both parties regarding each step in the procedure from the Title IX Coordinator and/or Investigator(s). Neither party (or witness) is mandated to participate in any meeting or proceeding as part of the Formal Grievance Process, however their absence may limit the Investigator(s) ability to carry out a thorough & complete investigation, and the Hearing Administrator’s ability to evaluate all relevant information to the fullest extent possible when making a determination regarding responsibility. Both parties may be assisted by an Advisor of their choice and can be provided with supportive measures and/or accommodations through all phases of the College process.

 


Overview of the Formal Grievance Process


 Notification of Allegations/Investigation

In the event that a Formal Complaint is signed and the Formal Grievance Process is to be used, the Investigator(s) assigned to the case will send a formal notification of investigation letter detailing the allegations set forth in the Formal Complaint 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 grievance process has officially commenced.


Investigation

For all investigations there will be one or more trained Investigator(s) designated to gather evidence who must be free from any conflict of interest and bias. A staff member from the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct or designee will be the lead Investigator and coordinate meetings with the Reporter, Respondent, and any other relevant individuals, including fact and expert witnesses, in a reasonably prompt timeframe. Both parties will be interviewed and asked to share any information they have regarding the alleged incident, as well as all relevant documentation (i.e. text messages, emails, photographs, other documents, etc.), and identify any witnesses who may provide information pertinent to the allegations in the Formal Complaint. Investigator(s) will also interview relevant witnesses identified by the parties and/or the College. Both parties and the Investigator(s) may also identify as experts of a particular subject matter and request their participation in the process.

After the Reporter and Respondent have had the opportunity to comment on their own statement and to identify witnesses and other potential information, and the Investigator(s) has completed interviews and the gathering of evidence, all evidence directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint obtained as part of the investigation will be shared with the parties for their review and comment through a preliminary investigation report. Evidence obtained in the investigation that is determined in the reasoned judgment of the Investigator(s) to be directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint, rather than relevant, will be separated out from the investigation report and organized in a separate “directly related evidence” document.

Through an electronic format, the Investigator(s) will provide the parties and their respective Advisors, if any, with (1) the preliminary report along with any supplemental media, (such as video recordings to the extent possible), and (2) all evidence directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint that was obtained as part of the investigation. The parties and their respective Advisor will have ten (10) calendar days to inspect and review the evidence and submit a written response via email to the Investigator(s).

Following the ten-day (10) review period, Investigator(s) will then shift evidence between the investigation report and directly related evidence document at their discretion based on party feedback, undertake any additional investigative steps as needed (as determined by the Investigator(s)) and issue a final investigation report. The final investigation report will fairly summarize all relevant information received throughout the investigation, such as interview summaries, witness statements, supplemental media, and include both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence. The parties will have another ten (10) calendar days to inspect and review the final investigation report and submit a written response to the Investigator(s). The Investigator(s) will consider the submitted information and may revise the investigation report and/or directly related evidence document based on the responses received. Any information provided in the parties’ responses that are not included in the finalized investigation report due to not being deemed relevant by Investigator(s), can be raised during the live hearing. A copy of the finalized investigation report and the directly related evidence document will be shared with both parties, their respective Advisors (if applicable), and the Hearing Administrator (if applicable). Any evidence subject to inspection and review will be available at any formal administrative hearing, including for purposes of cross-examination.

This process is summarized in the flowchart below, but for more detailed information about this process please review the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy.

 

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 the Formal Grievance Process, but Advisors may not represent the party or actively participate in the meetings/proceedings outside of the cross-examination portion of a formal hearing. The Title IX Coordinator or designee or investigator(s) may also have an Advisor present at their discretion. For more information about Advisors, please refer to the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy and our Use of Advisors page.


Determination of Responsibility – Formal Administrative Hearing

Once the investigation has concluded the case will move to a formal administrative hearing. A formal hearing is an administrative process that reflects the College’s obligation to provide a positive and healthy living/learning environment for all members of our academic community. The hearing is not intended to be a repeat of the investigation, rather it is an opportunity to gather and evaluate relevant information to determine whether the Respondent’s action(s) violated provision(s) of the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy, and afford all parties due process protections, including the right to present evidence and witnesses at a live hearing before an impartial decision maker. The result of the hearing will be 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 Zoom 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 and the other to the Respondent. This setup allows all parties and the hearing administrator to hear and see one another (and witnesses while they participate) in real time.

During the ‘witness phase’ of the hearing, relevant fact and expert 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 parties will be able to hear and see each witness as they participate in the hearing.

In the event that the formal hearing is conducted remotely (such as through Zoom) all parties and witnesses will receive specific and detailed instructions from the lead Title IX Investigator about what to expect and how to participate.

Outline of hearing process:


Sanctions

Sanctions for Student Respondents

The following sanctions, alone or in any combination, may be imposed upon any Student found to have violated these Policies.

1. Status Outcomes (Status Sanctions).

The following outcomes, commonly referred to as sanctions, directly impact the status of a Student with the College:

  • 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. This status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct for seven years after a Student separates from the College.
  • Pending suspension. The pending suspension status is assigned to a Student for a specified period of time before that person is suspended from the College. While on this status, any further violations of College Policy may result in suspension from the College. This status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & Off-campus Services for seven 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 Title IX Coordinator 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 their return. This status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & Off-campus Services 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. This status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & Off-campus Services 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. This status constitutes a disciplinary record that will remain on file with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct indefinitely. Degree revocation is reserved for only those cases 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.

Examples of available educational outcomes include but are not limited to:

  • Mediation. Participation in a mediated discussion with other disputants facilitated by multi-partial, 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.
  • Other discretionary sanctions. Work assignments, essays, presentations, research projects, service to the College, or other discretionary assignments.

3. Administrative Directives.

  • Pending termination of housing. This status serves as a housing probationary status assigned to a Student for a specified period of time before their 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 Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & Off-campus Services 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 Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & OffCampus Services for seven years after a Student separates from the College.
  • 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.
  • Restitution. Compensation for loss, damage, or injury to College property. This may take the form of appropriate service and/or monetary or material replacement.

Note that mitigating or aggravating factors may impact the severity of sanctions assigned.

For more specific information on sanction ranges for particular forms of Prohibited Conduct, please refer to the Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy.

 

Sanctions for Employee Respondents

Any employee found in violation of Title IX Sexual Harassment under Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination 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;
  • Formal written reprimand;
  • Suspension;
  • Reassignment;
  • Demotion;
  • Loss of privileges for supervising Students;
  • Loss of privileges for travel;
  • De-tenuring; or
  • Termination of employment.

Referral to another appropriate authority for review for possible violation of State and/or Federal statutes may also be appropriate.


Process & Grounds for Appeal

All appeals must be submitted in writing within five (5) business days of receiving the written notice (of dismissal or hearing outcome), and include any supporting documentation that the party wishes to be considered. Deference is given to the Title IX Coordinator’s rationale for dismissal of the Formal Complaint or the Hearing Administrator’s findings of fact and decision regarding responsibility and/or any sanctions. Therefore, the burden of proof is on the party 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 investigation report and supporting documents for one or more of the purposes below, provided however the Appeal Officer may request additional information or clarification from the Respondent, Reporter, witnesses, Investigator(s), Title IX Coordinator, and/or other relevant administrators for purposes of this review

The dismissal of a Formal Complaint or the determination of responsibility (hearing decision) may be appealed on the following grounds as applicable:

  • Process Review. Procedural irregularity that materially affected the outcome of the matter;
  • New Information. New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the dismissal or determination regarding responsibility was made, that could materially affect the outcome of the matter;
  • Conflict of Interest or Bias. The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), Hearing Administrator, and/or other associated decision-maker(s) (as applicable) had a conflict of interest or bias for or against Reporters or Respondents generally or the individual Reporter or Respondent that materially affected the outcome of the matter; and/or
  • Information Review. To determine whether there was information presented in the Formal Complaint, investigation process, and/or formal administrative hearing (as applicable) that, if believed by the administrator, was sufficient to warrant the continuation of a College resolution process or establish that a violation(s) of the Policy occurred.

Either party may also appeal the assigned sanction(s) on the following ground:

  • Sanction Review. The sanction(s) designated by the formal Hearing Administrator was clearly inappropriate and/or disproportionate to the Prohibited Conduct for which the Respondent was found in violation.

 

In the event that either or both parties submit an appeal, the Title IX Coordinator will notify the parties that an appeal was received and forward the appeal and any supporting documentation to the non-appealing party for reference and the applicable Appeal Officer. Appeals on the dismissal of a Formal Complaint will be reviewed by either the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs (AVP) or a Human Resources representative depending on whether the Respondent is a Student or Employee. Appeals relating to decisions and sanction(s) rendered following a formal administrative hearing will be reviewed by the Vice President for Student Affairs (VPSA) for cases involving a student Respondent, or the Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, or designee, for employee Respondents.


Appeal Decision

The Appeal Officer responsible for reviewing the appeal may make one of the following decisions:

  • Affirm. The Appeal Officer may decide to affirm the decision of the Title IX Coordinator (to dismiss the Formal Complaint, all or in part) or the Hearing Administrator.
  • Alter sanction. The Appeal Officer may alter the sanctions issued by the Hearing Administrator. Alteration of a sanction may include reducing or increasing the sanction or requirements.
  • New hearing. The Appeal Officer may determine that a new hearing by a different Hearing Administrator is warranted to correct procedural irregularity or to consider new information. Both parties may also appeal the decision rendered by the new Hearing Administrator.
  • Remand. The Appeal Officer may direct the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Administrator (as applicable) to review their original decision subject to any instruction from the Appeal Officer. The Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Administrator (as applicable) may then affirm their original decision or render a new decision consistent with the instructions provided by the Appeal Officer. Both parties may appeal a decision made by the Title IX Coordinator or Hearing Administrator if there are any changes after the review.

Once an outcome has been rendered, both the Reporter and the Respondent will be notified simultaneously via their institutional email of the result of the Appeal Officer’s written decision. The decision of the Appeal Officer 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.


Employee Investigations

Where the facts set forth in the report are made against a non-student employee, the Title IX Coordinator will assess whether the allegations fall within the jurisdiction of the Title IX Final Rule. Where the allegations do fall within the jurisdiction of the Title IX Final Rule and a Formal Complaint is filed, the College will follow the procedures outlined with the Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy. Where the allegations do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Title IX Final Rule, the College will dismiss the allegations in the Formal Complaint related to Sexual Harassment as defined in the Title IX Final Rule. If there are multiple allegations, the College will evaluate each violation individually to determine whether the procedures in the Policy are followed or the allegation(s) are dismissed. Any dismissal shall be for purposes of Title IX only and would not preclude the College from addressing the allegations of Prohibited Conduct under the College Discrimination Policy.

Any employee found to have violated any portion(s) or portions of the Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination 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.


 


Common FAQs regarding the Formal Grievance Process:


How is the Formal Grievance Process initiated? 

To initiate a College resolution process a Formal Complaint must be signed. A “Formal Complaint” means a document – including an electronic submission – filed by a Reporter alleging Prohibited Conduct against a Respondent and requesting initiation of a resolution process through the College under the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy. A Formal Complaint may be filed by a Reporter during the initial intake process when meeting with the Title IX Coordinator, or at another time thereafter either in person or electronically.

The Title IX Coordinator also has the discretion to file a Formal Complaint on behalf of the College where the College may be obligated to investigate and adjudicate serious incidents even when the Reporter would prefer otherwise. The College endeavors to respect the wishes of a Complainant to not pursue a Formal Complaint, to not be identified and/or to not participate in the process. Where possible, the College attempts to address complaints in accordance with the Reporter’s wishes. However, the College may not always be able to do so, and may also be limited in its ability to address incidents of Prohibited Conduct without full participation by a Reporter. In circumstances where the Title IX Coordinator signs a Formal Complaint, the Title IX Coordinator is not signing on behalf of the Reporter, but rather on behalf of the College and does not assume the role of Reporter or otherwise a party, and must still comply with their regulatory duties.

Once a Formal Complaint has been signed, both parties will receive written Notice of Allegations/Investigation letters sent to their TCNJ email addresses notifying them of their rights and information regarding the grievance process.


Is it possible for the Reporter to withdraw a Formal Complaint? 

The Reporter reserves the right to withdraw a Formal Complaint at any time by submitting the request to the Title IX Coordinator in writing. The Title IX Coordinator will consider that request, while also weighing the necessity to maintain safety of the campus community. Depending on the facts and nature of the allegations, the College may still be compelled to continue the associated investigation and/or Student Conduct or EEO process.


What should I expect when meeting with the Investigator(s) as part of the formal investigation?

Here are some general details regarding the process that may help you better understand what to expect when attending a meeting with the Investigator(s):

  • You should plan to be available for the interview for around 2 hours.
    • We recognize that it may seem like a long time to meet, but these meetings are an essential part to conducting a thorough and complete investigation.
    • Breaks will be permitted throughout the meeting as needed, upon request.
  • Two investigators will likely participate in the meeting(s) that take place throughout the investigation. The Investigator(s) will ask you about what happened and allow you the opportunity to share your personal narrative regarding the allegations. The Investigator(s) will ask follow-up questions to better understand your account, and they will ask you if there are any potential witnesses with whom you would like the Investigator(s) to meet with as part of their investigation. 
  • The Investigator(s) will ask for any potential information or documentation that you might have that could help them better understand the incident(s) in question. As such, you are expected to preserve any evidence in your possession related to the allegations. Examples include, but are not limited to, screenshots of social media posts or electronic conversations (e.g., Snapchat, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, TikToks, text messages, etc.), written communication, audio or video recordings, photos, receipts, call logs, or any other relevant information.
  • The Investigator(s) will typically end the interview by asking you if there is anything else you would like to share regarding the allegations. If there is information you want the Investigator(s) to have that they did not ask about specifically, you are encouraged to share that information at that time.
  • While the Investigator(s) will likely be asking you a variety of questions, know that you’re also permitted to ask questions of the Investigator(s). So should a question or concern arise, be sure to vocalize it. 
  • Throughout the interview, the Investigator(s) will be taking detailed notes regarding the information being shared. Following the interview you will be provided with an opportunity to review the statement the Investigator(s) has compiled to ensure its accuracy and request edits/provide additional information you see fit.
  • You are expected to maintain decorum during the interview and to respect the serious nature of the proceedings. Overall, your honesty and cooperation are expected.
  • The Reporter & Respondent each have a right to have an Advisor of their choice with them during all meetings they participate in during the process. More information about the Use of an Advisor can be found through the link.

What should I bring with me when I meet with the College Investigator(s)?

Please plan to bring with you to the interview any/all evidence, documents, and items that you believe will be helpful to the Investigator(s) to your interview – or provide them beforehand. Originals are preferred to copies, and all materials should be in unaltered form. Expect that you will be asked to verify the accuracy and authenticity of evidence you provide. If information is stored on an electronic device (e.g., cell phone) it is recommended that you be able to show the device itself to the Investigator(s) during the interview.

You may also bring a list of witnesses with whom you would like the Investigator(s) to speak with (their names and individual contact information is recommended). You are welcome to bring an Advisor or support person of your choice with you. More information about the Use of an Advisor can be found through the link.


Does TCNJ require Reporters, Respondents, and/or witnesses to participate in an investigation?

While the investigators will attempt to gather information from all relevant parties, the College does not compel the participation of any involved party. However, it’s important to understand that answering questions in the investigation and a hearing (if applicable) is almost always a crucial component of the College’s ability to gather necessary information to make a decision on a more likely than not standard.


Does TCNJ require Reporters, Respondents, and/or witnesses to participate in a formal hearing?

No, but it is important to know that, per federal law, in cases where the allegations have not been dismissed under Title IX, if any party or witness refuses to submit to cross-examination at the hearing, none of their prior statements to the Investigator(s) or at the hearing will be relied upon by the hearing administrator when making a determination of responsibility.


How does TCNJ determine whether or not a violation of the Policy occurred? Is it through a formal hearing? 

At the conclusion of the investigation, the case will proceed to a formal administrative hearing, which is held before an impartial decision-maker known as the Hearing Administrator.

A formal administrative hearing = an administrative process that reflects the College’s obligation to provide a positive and healthy living/learning environment for all members of our academic community. The hearing is not intended to be a repeat of the investigation, rather it is an opportunity to gather and evaluate relevant information to determine whether the Respondent’s actions violated provisions of College Policy, and afford all parties due process protections, including the right to present evidence and witnesses at a live hearing.

The Hearing Administrator = is any person hired and/or trained by the College who is designated by the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct to conduct a formal administrative hearing. The Hearing Administrator will have the authority and responsibility of overseeing the formal administrative hearing and objectively evaluating all relevant evidence (both inculpatory and exculpatory) to make an independent determination of responsibility.

The Hearing Administrator’s determination shall be made on the preponderance of evidence standard, which uses the basis of whether it is “more likely than not” that the Respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct, and therefore violated terms outlined within the Policy.


Can I be assisted by an Advisor at the hearing? 

Yes, the Reporter and the Respondent can be assisted by their Advisor throughout the duration of a formal administrative hearing. The Advisor is also expected to conduct any cross-examination of the parties or witnesses at the hearing. If a party does not have an Advisor to do so, and wishes to conduct cross-examination at the hearing, they must notify the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct prior to the hearing, and the staff will assist them in selecting an Advisor or the Office will appoint a College trained Advisor for the party.


Will each party be expected to ask questions of one another during the cross-examination phase of the formal hearing? 

No, the parties do not directly communicate with each other during the hearing, intentionally. All questions are either posed by the Decision-maker or proposed by a party’s Advisor as part of cross-examination. Once a question is suggested by an Advisor, the Decision-maker determines whether the question is relevant and will tell the person being questioned whether to answer it or not. Of course, anyone can refuse to answer a question, but choosing not to answer the question could (if the allegations fall under Title IX) impact the extent to which the hearing administrator can consider/rely upon any statement(s) that person has previously provided when making their determination of responsibility.


What rights do I have in a Prohibited Conduct proceeding?

  • To have access to applicable College policies and procedures and to be informed of the nature of all charges connected with the allegations of the Reporter.
  • To be treated with due respect by College officials.
  • To have an Advisor present during any proceeding, investigation meeting, or related meeting. The role of the Advisor will be limited to being present only; see Use of Advisor page for more information.
  • Adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation and appropriate resolution of all reports of sexual harassment/misconduct.
  • To be informed by the College of options to notify Campus Police Services and/or local law enforcement, and the option to be assisted by Campus Police Services in notifying other law enforcement, if the individual chooses.
  • To be notified of available counseling, mental health, academic, and other support services, both at the College and in the community.
  • To have allegations investigated by individuals who are properly trained to investigate and resolve allegations of sexual harassment/misconduct.
  • Equitable participation in the investigation process, including the opportunity to identify witnesses and other appropriate evidence.
  • The right to appeal as set forth in the procedures outlined in the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy

How long does a Formal Grievance 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. Whenever possible, the College will attempt to complete a Formal Grievance Process involving a student as the Respondent within 90 business days. 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.


How is a College 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/Sexual Misconduct (otherwise known as “Prohibited Conduct”) investigations conducted by The College of New Jersey determine whether an accused party (referred to as the Respondent) has violated the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy, and what disciplinary actions and remedies 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 Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator 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 party may be arrested and charged in the criminal justice system as well as under the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy, and/or Student Conduct Code (or other applicable College policy/ies). Alternatively, charges can occur for alleged violations of the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy, and/or Student Conduct Code, which may not be violations of the law.


Who should I contact if I need an accommodation during College resolution process?

Should you believe you may require and/or benefit from any Reasonable Accommodation(s) to effectively meet with Title IX & Sexual Misconduct staff and/or participate in the College’s resolution options, you are encouraged to contact the Accessibility Resource Center (“ARC”) directly at 609-771-3199. Reasonable Accommodation(s) are individualized and accord with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992 (as amended). All requests must be made in advance and the Title IX & Sexual Misconduct staff will consider any Reasonable Accommodation(s) recommended by the ARC for persons who are both registered with the ARC and are participating in any meeting or proceeding through the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct.


 

 

Downloadable Resources:

 

Flowchart of Formal Grievance Process (Appendix from Policy)

Download

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overview of Investigation Process 

Download

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Formal Hearing Procedure

       Download

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

If you would like to submit information regarding an incident that occurred on behalf of yourself, a friend, a colleague, or another, you are encouraged to File A Report Here and the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct will respond accordingly.

For more specific information please refer to the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy on the College’s Policies Page.

For any questions or concerns, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Chelsea Jacoby, directly at jacobyc@tcnj.edu or (609) 771-3112.

ATTENTION: For questions/concerns or if you or someone you know has experienced any form of sexual violence, be sure toContact Us
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