Formal Resolution

The University will endeavor to resolve every complaint in a fair, impartial, and timely manner.   

Burden of Proof 

Rutgers, and not the Parties, has the burden of proof and burden of gathering evidence.  This means that Rutgers is responsible for proving a violation of this Policy has occurred.  Rutgers uses the preponderance of the evidence standard for investigations of Formal Complaints under this Policy.  This means that the investigation determines whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Policy occurred.  

Investigation Process 

A specially trained investigator (or team of investigators) will be assigned to investigate the alleged conduct.  The investigation will include interviewing the Complainant (person filing the Formal Complaint), Respondent (person being accused), and witnesses, as well as gathering relevant evidence directly related to the complaint.  The Title IX Coordinator will communicate with the investigators regularly to ensure that the investigation is thorough, impartial, and fair.  The Title IX Coordinator will also ensure that the Parties are updated throughout the investigative process, including with timely notice of meetings where either or both Parties may be present.  

At the conclusion of the investigation, the investigator(s) will prepare an Investigation Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. The investigator(s) will send the report to the Complainant, Respondent, and their advisors, and allow them an equal opportunity to review and respond to the report within ten (10) days.  If parties do not provide the investigator with a response within ten (10) days, it will be assumed they reviewed the investigation report and chose not to respond.  Upon receipt of a response to the report from either Party, the investigator may, but is not required to, amend the investigation report, if deemed necessary.  The investigator will then provide the complete investigation report, including each party’s responses, to the Complainant, Respondent, their advisors, and the case decision-maker(s), at least ten (10) days prior to the scheduled hearing.  

  • See flowchart for steps of the investigation process

Hearing Process  

The University will not issue a disciplinary sanction arising from an allegation of Covered Sexual Harassment without holding a live hearing unless otherwise resolved through an Informal Resolution process.  Neither party can waive the right to a live hearing. The Title IX Coordinator will provide simultaneous written notice of the hearing to the Parties no less than ten (10) days prior to the hearing.    

Participation in the hearing is voluntary.  The University will proceed with the live hearing in the absence of any party and may reach a determination of responsibility in their absence. However, the Decision-maker(s) cannot draw an inference about the determination regarding responsibility based solely on a party’s (or witness’s) absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer cross-examination or other questions.  Evidence involving a “statement” that is not subjected to cross-examination cannot be considered by the Decision-maker(s). As a general rule, in order to include anyone's statements (including verbal, written, text messages, emails, etc.) as evidence, that person must be subjected to live cross-examination during the hearing.

All participants at the hearing, including the Parties, witnesses, Support Persons, and Advisors are expected to behave in a civil and appropriate manner.  All participants are required to comply with the Hearing Decorum Guidelines.  A participant’s failure to abide by the Guidelines may result in their removal from the hearing.   

In cases in which the Respondent is a student, the Decision-maker(s) will make a determination regarding responsibility and sanctions.  

Appeals Process  

Each party may appeal a determination regarding responsibility.  To appeal, a party must submit their written appeal within five (5) days of being notified of the decision, indicating the grounds for the appeal.  

The appeal form can be found here.

The grounds for appeal are:  

  1. Procedural Irregularity that affected the outcome of the matter (i.e. The University failed to follow its prescribed procedures).   
  2. New Information that was not reasonably available at the time the determination regarding responsibility or sanction was made, that could affect the outcome of the matter. 
  3. A Conflict of Interest or Bias held by the Title IX Coordinator, investigator(s), or Decision-maker(s) for or against an individual party, or for or against Complainants or Respondents in general, that affected the outcome of the matter. 
  4. Disproportionate Sanction: In matters involving students, the sanction imposed against the Respondent was not appropriate for the offense committed.  This ground for appeal is only available in cases involving student Respondents. 

Disagreement with the finding or sanctions is not, by itself, grounds for appeal.  The fact that any criminal charges based on the same conduct were dismissed, reduced, or resolved in favor of the Respondent does not require, and will not necessarily result in, a change in the disciplinary decisions and/or sanctions.  

The submission of an appeal stays any sanctions for the pendency of an appeal. Supportive measures remain available during the pendency of the appeal.  

Following the Appeals Officer’s review of all information, in cases involving student Respondents, they will:   

  1. Affirm the finding and sanction originally determined; or  
  2. Affirm the finding and modify the sanction; or  
  3. Remand the case for a new hearing.   

Appeal decisions will be rendered within ten (10) days after the receipt of the written appeal.  All appeal decisions are final and not subject to further review.