A criminal investigation undertaken by the police seeks to determine whether an individual violated criminal law and if so, the extent to which they should be removed from society. An individual who is found guilty of such a crime following a police investigation and trial my be imprisoned.
Overseen by: Law enforcement & the Prosecutor’s Office in the municipality that the crime occurred
Goal: Community safety & maintenance of norms, punishment, & retribution
College Resolution Options
Overseen by: The Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct 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:
Formal Grievance Process
- Involves full, formal investigation & hearing
- Decision Made By: Hearing Administrator (third party) at the conclusion of a hearing
- Possible Outcome: Status Sanctions (ie. warning, probation, pending suspension, suspension, or expulsion), educational sanctions, & other remedies as appropriate
- *College’s default resolution process
Alternative Resolution Option
- A voluntary process that allows the Respondent to accept responsibility for their behavior and/or harm without a formal investigation and through restorative/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.
Above is a general overview of the resolution options offered by the College but you can find specific information regarding each of the processes through the individual “Learn More” buttons and in our Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy,
Following receipt of notice of a potential violation of the College’s Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination 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.
When the College receives a report of behavior that could violate the College’s Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy as well as other College policies, the College will determine which policy/ies and procedures apply and whether action will be taken under this Policy exclusively, or under multiple policies and/or procedures. In the event that at the time of a report or the conclusion of an investigation it becomes apparent that the alleged conduct, if true, would not constitute Prohibited Conduct, the matter may be adjudicated under another applicable policy or procedure.
Further, the Title IX Coordinator will make an initial assessment of the reported information and respond to any immediate health or safety concerns raised by the report. In this initial assessment, the Title IX Coordinator will assess the nature and circumstances of the report and allegations to identify/determine:
- If any personally identifiable information exists;
- Any immediate physical safety and emotional well-being of the Reporter or other campus community members, and address as appropriate;
- Whether the information may constitute Prohibited Conduct outlined in this Policy;
- Assess for evidence of a pattern or other similar conduct by the Respondent;
- Possible resolution options that may be available, if any;
- Whether the report triggers any Clery Act obligations, including entry of the report in the daily crime log and/or issuance of a timely warning, and take steps to meet those obligations; and
- The ages of the Reporter and the Respondent, if known, and, if either party is a minor (under 18 years old), take all necessary actions based upon the facts and circumstances of the case, including contacting the appropriate child protective service agency, if required by law
If a report results in a College resolution process being used, or if the reporting party requests Supportive Measures that might affect the accused (referred to as the “Respondent”) (such as implementing a “no contact” directive), the Title IX Coordinator will provide the accused with notice that a report has been filed.
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 is mandated to participate in any Title IX/sexual misconduct proceeding(s), however their absence may limit the Investigator(s) ability to evaluate all relevant information to the fullest extent possible. Both parties may be assisted by an Advisor of their choice through all phases of the College process and can be provided with supportive measures/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 the College’s Formal Grievance Process different from a criminal investigation/process?
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 Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy, 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 Formal Complaint with the Title IX Coordinator, Dr. 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 party may be arrested and charged in the criminal justice system as well as under the Interim 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 Interim Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination 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. 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.
For the Alternative Resolution Process, the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct will make every effort to develop an agreement, in consultation with the Reporter, which is both thorough and prompt. To determine the due dates for each educational, administrative, or restorative activity outlined in the agreement, the Title IX & Sexual Misconduct staff will consider aspects including, but not limited to:
- Number of activities included on the contract
- Type of activities included on the contract
- Timing of the semester
- Graduation date(s) of the Reporter and Respondent
In consideration of the information above, the Office will attempt to have all deadlines for components of the agreement completed within 60 business days of the agreement being signed provided that the process may be extended for good cause, including but not limited to the absence of a party, a party’s Advisor or support person (applicable only for the participation in a restorative circle) for a meeting or activity; concurrent law enforcement activity; or the need for language assistance or accommodation of disabilities.
In both processes, the College may extend any time frame for good cause, with a written explanation to the Reporter and the Respondent. 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.
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.