What You Should Know
Informal Resolution Process. Informal Resolution is an alternative to a Formal Investigation that may be used to address allegations of gender equity policy violation(s). The objective of Informal Resolution is to empower the individual parties to successfully navigate through a resolution on their terms, communicate healthily and effectively, and learn the importance of healthy relationships.
Informal Resolution may be chosen when the Complainant does not desire a Formal Investigation and determines that Informal Resolution would satisfactorily address the alleged behavior(s). If the Complainant requests an Informal Resolution, they will identify how they would like the matter to be resolved (mediation, specific interim measure, no-contact order, apology, etc.). If the suggested resolution is appropriate and, if the Respondent agrees to move forward with an Informal Resolution, then both parties will work through this process. In the event that the Complainant wishes to remain anonymous, it may be possible for the Coordinator to address the issue with the Respondent in general terms, thereby putting them on notice that the behavior must stop. If the Complainant chooses to defer their decision about moving forward, this will be documented, and further action will be discontinued unless they subsequently decide to move forward.
Can a Respondent request Informal Resolution? Although Informal Resolution is typically initiated by the Complainant, a Respondent may also make a request to resolve the matter informally. Furthermore, a Respondent may present a type of Informal Resolution to the Complainant. Again, both sides must agree to participate in an Informal Resolution.
Examples of Informal Resolution. In addition to the above, examples of Informal Resolution may be an apology (i.e. in-person, remotely, or in writing), research assignment, training, or an agreement to cease communication/interaction, etc. The terms of Informal Resolution are specific to each situation and the parties involved. There are no set parameters of Informal Resolution and the examples provided are only a guide.
Will the Parties have to communicate directly? The Title IX Coordinator will act as a third neutral party to mediate the communication throughout the process.
Does Informal Resolution have to be attempted first? There is no requirement that a Complainant first proceeds with the Informal Resolution Process before pursuing a Formal Investigation. It is merely an option. However, there is not an option to formally investigate and then adjudicate alleged sexual-based misconduct or relationship violence policy violation(s), once both parties agree to an informal resolution process.
If Informal Resolution is used, is the alleged behavior still documented? Any information received involving alleged gender equity policy violation(s) is documented. An Informal Resolution is an option in place of a Formal Investigation. If an Informal Resolution agreement is achieved, it will be documented by the Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity as a closed case; however, and will not be forwarded for further review. It should be noted, that any future misbehavior will be independently addressed; regardless of previous Informal Resolution agreements.
If Informal Resolution is pursued, can the parties still obtain support? Yes. Supportive measures are provided to all parties regardless of the direction taken (i.e. Formal Investigation, Informal Resolution, or No/Deferred Action Requested).
Prohibition against Retaliatory Conduct. Retaliation is strictly prohibited against any parties involved in the grievance process. Allegations of retaliation or intimidation of anyone involved in any gender equity policy violation(s) processes are taken very seriously by the University and should be reported to the Office for Accessibility and Gender Equity. It is entirely possible that retaliation can result in more severe discipline than the underlying alleged misconduct.