UNC Asheville faculty and staff who operate as investigators are trained and certified by the Association for Title IX Administrators (ATIXA). These investigators are assigned by the Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator to lead investigations to determine the facts in any sexual misconduct case and protect the rights of all those involved. Investigators are trained to conduct fair, impartial fact finding investigations and determine if any complaint and the facts surrounding the complaint meet the preponderance of evidence standard required by Title IX.
Title IX Investigators
- Dr. Jill Moffitt, Title IX Administrator
- Melanie Fox, Citizenship Education
- Blair Jenkins, Citizenship Education
- Phillip German, Campus Recreation
- Regine Criser, Faculty, Languages and Literature
- Kim Fisher, Human Resources
Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board
Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (SMHB) members include faculty and staff members from across the university that are responsible for adjudicating cases of sexual misconduct which go before the board, including recommending sanctions. Students involved in a hearing board will be notified of the individuals serving in this capacity and may choose to have individuals removed on the grounds of bias and/or conflicts of interest. The board is specifically trained to hear these type of cases through the comprehension of competencies which include (but are not limited to) familiarity with basic rules of evidence regarding relevance, rights of the complainant, rights of the respondent, credibility and rape shield rules, they are thoroughly versed in an analytical approach in determining if a policy was violated, comprehension on questioning and deliberation techniques, understand Rape Trauma Syndrome and common rape myths, and sensitization to what the complainant and respondent are experiencing. These are all general competencies the board is expected to have in order to hear sexual misconduct cases.
The UNC Asheville student disciplinary system responds to all violations of the Student Code of Conduct at the referral of the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs/Title IX Administrator; therefore, the disciplinary system will respond to all violations of sexual offenses, forcible or non-forcible, that are campus inclusive. Any UNC Asheville student, staff, or faculty member may file a report against a student of the university community based on violations of the Student Code of Conduct. Complaints should include specific details of the incident, time, date, location, people and addresses involved, and witnesses’ names and addresses. This report should be given to the Title IX Office, Dean of Students Office or Citizen Education Office.
The Title IX Administrator or designee will be responsible for ensuring the report is adjudicated in line with procedures related to sexual misconduct violations and in impartial manner, protecting the rights of all individuals involved.
a. When an incident of sexual misconduct is reported, the Title IX Administrator or Assistant Title IX Coordinator or designee (Title IX Investigators) ensures that the reporting party is offered, has access to, and is provided continued remedies to address the effects of the behavior without interruption to the educational attainment of the reporting party. (Examples include the provision of a confidential counselor, a complainant advocate, academic schedule change, retake a course or withdraw (without penalty), no contact order, or housing accommodations when/where applicable) at no additional cost to the student. Remedies should also include strategies and tools to stop the behavior of the accused when appropriate and necessary. Additionally, those accused of sexual misconduct will be provided with tools, resources, and remedies such as process advisers and counseling.
b. The Title IX Administrator or Assistant Title IX Coordinator may endorse interim measures such as interim suspension during the course of an investigation. Such prompt measures are enacted to protect the safety and security of the campus. Interim measures differ than sanctions.
c. Interim measures or protective measures may be implemented to protect complainants and respondents. Interim measures consist of no contact orders (NCO), safety plans, security escorts, academic accommodations, housing reassignments, parking accommodations, changes in work schedules, or interim suspension.
d. No student is permitted to withdraw from enrollment after being charged with a serious violation of the code prior to imposition of a sanction(s) or a finding of not responsible.
e. The Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator assigns reports of sexual misconduct to trained Title IX investigators to examine each report and ensure the integrity of the investigation process. The Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator strategizes with the investigators to ensure that all information and leads are being thoroughly examined. Title IX investigators will investigate the reports and submit a comprehensive report to the Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator and the Citizenship Education Office.
f. The Title IX Office assigns unbiased investigators in an attempt to eliminate a conflict of interest. If either party believes there will be a bias or a conflict of interest with any of the investigators, they may request the Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator remove and replace an investigator.
g. All investigators are certified annually and must complete ongoing annual training through the Title IX Office. Training topics include but are not limited to, analyzing and evaluating conduct which constitutes unwelcomed behavior, determinants of a hostile environment, victim trauma, asking appropriate questions, due process rights, and analysis of information.
h. Both parties involved in sexual misconduct cases will be offered, by the Title IX Administrator, a process adviser, an advocate (complainant advocate; support advocate) of their choosing, and/or an attorney at any time during the process for resolving alleged violations of sexual misconduct.
i. All investigations will be adequate, prompt, fair and impartial. Both parties may be interviewed in the presence of an attorney (of their choosing), a support person and process advocate. Both parties will have the opportunity to have witnesses interviewed and evidence presented in the investigation.
j. Neither parties are restricted from discussing nor sharing information related to the complaint with others that may support them or assist them in presenting their case. However, in doing so, those communications should not violate a No Contact Order (if established by the university) or constitute retaliation under the University’s Retaliation Policy.
k. The Citizenship Education Office determines, based on the Investigative Report, what violations outlined in the report will result in formal charges, if any.
l. Complainants and Respondents will each be notified of each step in an investigation.
m. If an investigative report deems a policy violation occurred, both the complainant and respondent will be afforded equal and timely access to information and documents to be used for an administrative resolution or sexual misconduct hearing board, including the university’s investigative report.
n. For sexual misconduct cases, the university’s investigation of the report (including the preparation of formal charges, if any) will be completed promptly and thoroughly. If a case of alleged sexual misconduct is not resolved through the administrative resolution (a.k.a. “informal resolution”) process – a process that the responding party has the right to choose – the matter will be scheduled for a hearing before the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board (SMHB).
o. The Title IX Office will assign unbiased board members to each SMHB proceeding to remove a conflict of interest. When a SMHB is scheduled, the complainant and the respondent will be informed of the date, time and location of the proceeding. Both parties will be informed of the names of the SMHB members and if there is a conflict of interest, both parties involved will have the opportunity to challenge the composition of the SMHB assigned to their case prior to the hearing.
p. The SMHB is comprised of 3-5 faculty and staff campus community members that are trained continuously throughout the academic year to develop competencies required of SMHB members in order effectively, impartially, and adequately resolve sexual misconduct cases for which they are charged. (See section J for details on SMHB training, purpose, and competencies.) No students serve on these boards.
q. Both the complainant and the respondent are afforded equal opportunity to have a process advisor, legal counsel, support person, and expert testimony of their choice at the hearing. Equal restrictions apply in forbidding process advisors, legal counsel, and support persons for addressing the board. In addition, cross examination of one another or witness by the complaint and respondent are forbade. However, cross examination thru the Hearing Chair can occur.
r. The reporting party is encouraged, but not required, to be present throughout the hearing. The reporting party, the charged party, attorneys, advocates, advisers, or the SMHB may not ask repetitive questions of any witness. Upon prior conclusion, either party or the Title IX Investigator assigned to the case may make summary comments in the hearing.
s. Both parties have a right not to have their unrelated past sexual histories discussed in the hearing. The past sexual relationship between the complainant and any others aside from the respondent will be presumed as inadmissible evidence. The Chair of the SMHB, in consultation with the Director of Citizenship Education or designee, will determine whether proposed testimony regarding past sexual history between the parties is related to the case at issue and may be introduced during the hearing.
t. The reporting party may choose to be physically separated from the responding party during hearing proceedings. Similarly, the responding party may choose to be physically separated from the reporting party during hearing proceedings. This choice should be made at least two working days prior to the hearing.
u. The SMHB will hear the case and determine the appropriate sanctions based on the information provided and in line with the Community Code of Standards enforced by the Citizenship Education Office. The sanctions must include provisions for preventing the behavior from reoccurring, including dismissal from the university.
v. All SMHB cases are audio recorded and transcribed. Recordings become part of the student’s educational record protected by FERPA. Access to such recordings are restricted to the Title IX Office and can only be released if subpoenaed by a court order. For the purpose of the appeal process, only the written transcript of the hearing will be provided for the appellate to consider.
w. Notification of the outcome of the hearing and any sanction(s) imposed will be provided in writing to both parties, at approximately the same time, by the Citizenship Education Office. The Title IX Administrator or the Assistant Title IX Coordinator is also notified of the outcome and sanctions.
x. Following the outcome of a SMHB, both parties have a right to appeal the outcome/determination of the investigation, the findings of the hearing and the sanctions and remedies. Both parties will be informed of the pursuit of an appeal, the appeal status, and have an opportunity to participate.
y. Appeals to sexual misconduct cases will follow the same appeal policy and procedures as outlined in the Community Code of Standards through the Dean of Students.
The Division of Student Affairs is structured on the premise of student development; therefore, it is important that the result of any disciplinary sanctions applied is positive and growth-oriented. In an effort to help students take responsibility for their actions with regard to sex offenses, any of the following sanctions may be applied: judicial or administrative reprimand, general or specific probation, suspension, expulsion, work/educational assignment, area relocation, and exclusion from on-campus residency. These sanctions are outlined in the Student Code of Conduct, which is in the UNC Asheville Student Handbook.
The Title IX Coordinator ensures that the report is addressed through the identified resolution procedures and policies, and that the incident is resolved in a timely, fair, and impartial manner. Reports are examined based on the policies and procedures of the university where care for the student is our primary concern and compliance with Title IX is imperative. Learn more about our process for all individuals (faculty/staff, students, and guests) reporting a violation of Title IX.