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Witnesses FAQs

As a witness in a Title IX/sexual misconduct (Prohibited Conduct) proceeding, we recognize that you may have some questions about the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct, your rights/resources, your participation in associated resolution processes, and available options.

Below are some answers to questions you may have, but should you have a question that isn’t listed below, please reach out to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and we’d be happy to help however we can.

Common FAQs:


A College Investigator from the Office of Title & Sexual Misconduct emailed me requesting to meet as part of a Prohibited Conduct investigation. Do I have to meet with them?

Your name was likely shared by someone involved in an ongoing Formal Grievance Process (think – formal investigation and hearing) that feels you have pertinent information about the alleged incident(s) to share with the investigators. Or you may have been identified by College investigators as someone who may be able to provide relevant information regarding the allegations in question. Although it is the expectation that all individuals cooperate and provide truthful/accurate information (should they choose to participate), you are not obligated to meet with anyone or participate in a process.


What will meeting(s) with College Investigators, as part of the formal investigation, be like?

Two investigators will likely participate in the meeting(s) that you have with them as part of the investigation. Both investigators will take notes and ask you questions, but you may decline to answer. The investigators will ask you about what happened and allow you the opportunity to share however much or as little as you like. The investigators will ask follow-up questions to better understand your account. The investigators will also ask for any potential information or documentation that you might have (texts, screenshots, emails, photos, or other relevant documentation) that could help them better understand the incident(s) in question. The investigators will typically end the meeting with you by asking you if there is anything you would like to share. If there is information you want the investigators to have that they did not ask about specifically, you are encouraged to share that information. You will then have an opportunity to review the statement Investigators have compiled to ensure its accuracy and request edits/provide additional information you see fit.


Do I need to bring anything with me to meet with the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct?

You do not need to bring anything with you to meet with the Title IX & Sexual Misconduct Staff unless there is specific information that you would like to share with them, such as text messages, photos, etc.

The FAQ section of the Formal Grievance Process page also has some further suggestions that might be helpful to review.


If I provide information to the College, can I remain anonymous?

The College, including the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct and the Office of Student Conduct & Off-Campus Services, does not accept anonymous reports. This is because the party(ies) involved have the right to know where information is coming from so they can defend, confirm, and/or question the relevance and credibility of the information if need be. This helps ensure adequate due process. 

With that said, the College will protect the privacy of the information received and it will only be shared with those on a ‘need to know’ capacity. Additionally, the College’s Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy (“Policy”) prohibits retaliation against persons who are cooperating with the investigatory process in any way, including yourself. See FAQ below for more details on Retaliation.


What will the College investigators do with the information I share?

The investigators will use your information along with all other evidence and information collected to compile an overall Investigation report that fairly summarizes all relevant evidence. The finalized report will be reviewed by the Reporter and Respondent, their associated Advisors, and the Formal Hearing Administrator, if the case proceeds to a formal administrative hearing.


I received outreach from the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct inviting me to participate in a Formal Administrative Hearing. What does this mean and what should I expect?

In the event that the Respondent is formally charged with violations under the Sexual Harassment, Misconduct, & Discrimination Policy (“Policy”), a formal administrative hearing will take place to make a determination of responsibility. All relevant fact witnesses who had been identified during a formal investigation will be invited by the lead Investigator from the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct to attend and participate in the formal hearing.

See the ‘Determination of Responsibility – Formal Administrative Hearing’ tab on the Formal Grievance Process page for further details.

While participation in this hearing as a witness is voluntary, the presence/participation of witnesses at a hearing is important to the outcome of the matter. This is particularly true if the allegations in the case fall under the jurisdiction of Title IX. If the allegations in the case fall under Title IX, in order for any statements previously provided by any party or witness to be considered by the hearing administrator when making a determination of responsibility, the party or witness must submit to cross-examination during the live hearing by the parties’ Advisors. If the party/witness does not submit to cross-examination, any statement they previously provided during the investigation and/or hearing cannot be relied upon when making a decision.

In the event that the formal hearing is conducted remotely (such as through Zoom) you’ll receive specific and detailed instructions from the lead College Investigator about what to expect and how to participate.


What is the approximate duration of a formal administrative hearing?

Unfortunately, there really is no exact way of knowing how long a formal hearings will take. Witnesses are typically asked to be present at the start of the hearing (usually 9:00 AM) so that they may introduce themselves and their role in the hearing. After the brief introductions, witnesses leave the room and typically wait in the lobby of the DOS office until the witness phase of the hearing. The witness phase of the hearing will begin after the Reporter and Respondent have each had a chance to share information regarding their experiences and ask questions of one another through their Advisors. Sometimes not a lot of information is shared and therefore the witness phase can start pretty quickly, but other times the parties may share information for an extended amount of time, so there is no definite time we can tell witnesses to be prepared to participate. In the event that you are unable to attend the full hearing or have a scheduling conflict for portions of it, be sure to inform the investigator(s) who invited you to the hearing. The lead investigator can work with you and do what they can to try and coordinate your participation around your availability/the start of the witness phase as best as possible. After you share your information during the witness phase, you don’t have any additional involvement in the hearing so you are welcome to leave, or you can wait in the DOS lobby until the conclusion of the hearing, whichever you prefer. 

In the event that the formal hearing is conducted remotely (such as through Zoom) you’ll receive specific and detailed instructions from the lead College Investigator about what to expect and how to participate.


Who should I contact if I need an accommodation during an investigation and/or hearing 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.


The College Policy prohibits retaliation – what does that mean?

The College Policy defines Retaliation as:

Any adverse action, intimidation, threat, coercion or discrimination against an individual (including Students, employees, and Third Parties) for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Title IX or its Final Rule, or because the individual has made a report or Formal Complaint of Prohibited Conduct, been accused of Prohibited Conduct, testified, assisted, or participated or refused to participate in any manner in any investigation, proceeding, hearing, or other resolution process under this Policy. Retaliation also includes such conduct through associates or agents of a Reporter, Respondent, Third Party, or participant in any investigation, proceeding, or resolution process related to this Policy.

Retaliation can take many forms, including the dissemination of information in a manner intended to pressure or shame participants and witnesses in connection with the College’s resolution process (such as, through social media) or to discourage participants or witnesses from assisting with that process. Should you believe you or someone else participating in the process is experiencing retaliation, we strongly encourage you report it to the Office of Title IX & Sexual Misconduct immediately so the matter can be addressed appropriately and in a timely manner.


 

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

ATTENTION: Due to COVID-19 our staff are working remotely. We are still continuously monitoring incoming reports, processing cases as usual, and providing our services to the community. For questions and concerns, be sure toContact Us
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