Sexual Misconduct and the Judicial Process
Boston University is committed to fostering a safe learning environment for members of the University community. As required by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the University undertakes to investigate any allegation of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behavior including sexual harassment, sexual violence, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is nonconsensual, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed. The University will make reasonable efforts to eliminate and prevent sexual misconduct.
The Office of the Dean of Students has jurisdiction over all allegations of sexual misconduct brought against University students. This jurisdiction extends to allegations of sexual misconduct that occur anywhere, including off-campus, and to allegations of sexual misconduct brought against any student, including graduate students and student athletes.
The University recommends that all allegations of sexual misconduct be reported to the Boston University Police Department or other law enforcement officials so that law enforcement can conduct a thorough and timely investigation. Even if a student has reported an allegation to the Dean of Students, he or she may still make a report to law enforcement. Similarly, a student who has made a report of sexual misconduct to law enforcement may still bring a complaint to the attention of the Dean of Students. Even if law enforcement is notified, the Dean of Students will continue his or her efforts to reach a prompt and fair resolution of the issue.
Retaliatory harassment, occurring either during or after the filing of a sexual misconduct complaint, is unlawful and in violation of University policy. If a complainant (or his or her family members or others, as appropriate) believes that the complainant is being harassed or retaliated against in any way as a result of alleging sexual misconduct, he or she should immediately notify the Dean of Students (George Sherman Union, Third Floor; 617-353-4126; email@example.com).
All members of the University community are encouraged to report any concerns about the University’s handling of sexual misconduct investigations to the University’s Title IX Coordinator, who is the Director of the University’s Equal Opportunity Office (www.bu.edu/eoo). The Office is located at 25 Buick Street and you may contact the Director at 617-353-9286. Individuals may also report concerns about the University’s handling of sexual misconduct investigations to the regional Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, 5 Post Office Square, 8th floor, Boston, MA, 02110, tel. 617-289-0111.
II. Allegations of Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct violates the University’s Code of Student Responsibilities, and the University employs the judicial processes outlined in Sections III, IV, and V of the Code, supplemented by the procedures below, to address allegations of sexual misconduct.
Upon receipt of an allegation of sexual misconduct by a University student, the Dean of Students or his or her designee will attempt to resolve the allegation as set forth in Section III.B of the Code. The Dean of Students will also determine whether law enforcement should be notified. If, as a result of the investigation, the Dean of Students has made a preliminary determination that a student has violated the Code, the Dean of Students will notify the complainant and the accused student in writing that the Dean intends to proceed. If the complainant requests confidentiality or asks that the complaint not be pursued, the Dean of Students will take reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the complaint consistent with the request for confidentiality or not to pursue an investigation. The Dean of Students will weigh the request for confidentiality against several important factors, including the seriousness of the alleged harassment and the accused student’s right to receive information about the allegation. The University may redact the complainant’s name and other identifying information from any information provided to the accused, including the specific charge and the complaint or related materials.
The University will take appropriate steps to protect an individual who complains of sexual misconduct as necessary, including taking interim steps before the final outcome of the investigation. For example, the Dean of Students may relocate a student’s residence or issue a “stay away” order. In instances in which the allegations are made anonymously or the complainant does not wish to pursue recourse through the disciplinary process, the University will make reasonable efforts to address the allegations.
In addition to the procedures set forth in the Code, the University will adhere to the following procedures in addressing allegations of sexual misconduct:
- The Dean of Students will give both the complainant and the accused student an opportunity to meet with him or her, accompanied by a representative from the University community or a family member. The students will receive proper notice of a disciplinary meeting sufficiently in advance of the meeting to afford both the complainant and the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare a response.
- If the Dean of Students conducts a pre-hearing meeting with the accused student at which the accused student is given an opportunity to present his or her side of the story, a similar meeting will take place with the complainant.
- In all matters involving allegations of sexual misconduct, the University will use a preponderance of the evidence standard to determine whether a violation occurred. In other words, the accused will be found to be responsible if it is more likely than not that sexual misconduct occurred. The University will not use the higher “clear and convincing standard,” under which the accused would be found to be responsible only if it is highly probable or reasonably certain that sexual misconduct occurred.
- Both the accused and the complainant will be afforded the same and timely access to any information that the University is aware will be used at any meeting or hearing.
- In the event of a hearing before a panel of the Board of Student Conduct, both the complainant and the accused shall each have the same rights to receive notice concerning such a hearing; to present evidence, testimony, and witnesses at the hearing; to provide any written statement on his or her behalf; to know the nature and source of the evidence and testimony presented against him or her; to rebut such evidence and testimony; and to be accompanied by an advisor, as set forth in the Code.
- No form of mediation will be used to address allegations of sexual misconduct.
- Both the accused and the complainant will receive contemporaneously, in writing, the outcome of any University disciplinary proceeding relating to sexual misconduct, including any appeal(s).
- Either the accused or the complainant may request a hearing before a panel of the University Board on Student Conduct as set forth in the Code.
- In any instance in which the accused is allowed an appeal under the Code, the complainant will have the same appeal rights.
- Following a determination that sexual misconduct has occurred, the University will take immediate remedial action to prevent misconduct from recurring and to restore a positive environment. The University may take any action consistent with the Code of Student Responsibilities, including but not limited to disciplinary probation, residential separation, suspension from the University or expulsion from the University.
- As a general rule, the University will not delay its investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct due to other criminal investigations or proceedings related to the allegations. The Dean of Students may, at the request of law enforcement, temporarily delay the University’s investigation while the police gather evidence, but after such a temporary delay the Dean of Students will resume his or her investigation of the allegations. Although the Code provides that the Dean of Students will endeavor to complete an investigation within 45 days, procedural complexities in investigations of allegations of sexual misconduct may require additional time and the Dean of Students will endeavor to complete such investigation within 60 days.