TAP 61 Informal Resolution Information

TAP 61 Informal Resolution

After a Formal Complaint of Title IX Sexual Harassment is filed, and at any time prior to reaching a determination regarding Respondent's responsibility, the University offers mediation as an alternative to a full investigation and adjudication of the Formal Complaint. Mediation is facilitated by a Deputy Title IX Coordinator who is not involved in the Formal Grievance Process (the "Mediator.")

Mediation is a process by which a Mediator helps the parties discuss and try to resolve the Formal Complaint. Each party will separately meet with the Mediator to share information and feelings; discuss his/her understanding of the facts in dispute; describe his/her desired outcome; and explore mutually acceptable ideas for the resolution of the Formal Complaint.

Parties are not required to participate in mediation.

Mediation is not permissible in matters involving allegations that an employee engaged in Title IX Sexual Harassment against a student.

Parties may be accompanied by Advisors during all meetings with the Mediator. Advisors are expected to comply with the rules for Advisors developed by the University.

Requirements of Participating in Informal Resolution

Mediation will proceed only upon the voluntary, informed, and written consent of both the Complainant and the Respondent.

Notice and Consent to Proceed

If one or both parties indicates to the Title IX Coordinator a desire to resolve the Formal Complaint through mediation, the Title IX Coordinator will provide both parties with a written notice disclosing: the allegations; the requirements and consequences of participating in mediation (by providing the information contained on this page); a reminder that both parties have the right to withdraw from mediation at any time prior to agreeing to a resolution and resume the Formal Grievance Process; and information regarding confidentiality and records retention.

After receipt of this notice, the parties will be given 5 business days to review the information, after which a signed Consent to Proceed with Mediation form is required to be returned to the Title IX Coordinator.

If the Title IX Coordinator receives a signed Consent to Proceed with Mediation form from both parties by the date that it's due to be returned, the Title IX Coordinator will refer the matter to a Mediator.

If one or both parties doesn't sign the Consent to Proceed with Mediation form, mediation will not proceed and the matter will be returned to the Formal Grievance Process. Both parties will be notified in writing.

Mediation Information

The Mediator may request to meet with each party more than once. Mediation does not involve meeting with any witnesses, although a Mediator may find it necessary to consult with one or more University officials during the course of mediation to ensure possible resolutions are feasible.

Timeframes

The timeframe for mediation is approximately 30 business days. This timeframe may be extended by the Mediator with notice to the Title IX Coordinator and both parties.

Resolution

Mediation will resolve as follows: after a sufficient number of meetings with the parties, as determined by the Mediator, the Mediator will develop a draft Mediation Agreement. The draft will be shared with both parties. If the terms are agreeable, both parties will sign the agreement. Once signed, the Mediation Agreement becomes binding on its terms and both parties are obligated to comply with the terms of the Mediation Agreement.

Right to Withdraw/Failure of Mediation

Either party can withdraw from mediation at any time prior to signing the Mediation Agreement by notifying the Title IX Coordinator.

Neither party is obligated to sign the Mediation Agreement.

At any point during mediation, the Mediator may determine that the Formal Complaint is unlikely to be resolved through mediation.

If one or both parties withdraw from mediation; if the Mediation Agreement is not signed by one or both parties; or if the Mediator refers the matter back to the Formal Grievance Process because it is unlikely to resolve through mediation, mediation will have failed.

The Mediator will notify both parties and the Title IX Coordinator of the failure of mediation, which will refer the matter back to the Formal Grievance Process. Notice of a failure of mediation will simply note that mediation failed.

Records Retention & Confidentiality

Mediation is confidential, and the Mediator will not disclose what the parties say during mediation. There are a few exceptions that include: 1) when disclosure is required by law, 2) when a party share threats or thoughts of self-harm or harm to others, and/or 3) when a party discloses serious criminal conduct.

The Mediator may take notes or make draft Mediation Agreements throughout the mediation. Such notes and drafts are not retained after the parties sign the Mediation Agreement or mediation fails.

The only records maintained related to mediation are 1) the Mediation Agreement or 2) the written notice that mediation has failed. Such records are maintained by the Title IX Coordinator. To the extent one is created, the Mediation Agreement will be maintained for the purposes of ensuring compliance with its terms, and may be shared with University officials who have a need to know.

If mediation fails, the Mediator cannot be called as a witness during the Formal Grievance Procedure, and, as Mediator notes are not maintained, such notes cannot be used as evidence during the Formal Grievance Procedure.

If mediation is successful and a Mediation Agreement is created, such Mediation Agreement cannot be used as evidence in any future Title IX matters or matters reported under TAP 31. However, the Title IX Coordinator may consider the fact that a Formal Complaint was filed, even if it resolves through mediation, as evidence of a Respondent's pattern of behavior in the event there are future reports or complaints about the Respondent.

Consequences and Possible Outcomes

Mediation may result in many possible outcomes, as long as such outcomes are mutually agreeable to both parties. In some cases, mutual no contact orders and/or mutual confidentiality agreements may be a piece of the Mediation Agreement. Additionally, although a Mediation Agreement may be reached without a Respondent admitting responsibility, sanctions or other adverse consequences may still be assigned as part of the resolution.

Parties are obligated to comply with the terms of the Mediation Agreement. Failure to comply will subject a party to sanctions up to an including expulsion or termination of employment without the right to a Formal Grievance Process.