Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence Appeals Board

The Sexual Misconduct and Gender-Based Violence Appeals Board will hear appeals regarding cases investigated within this policy. Both Reporting and Responding parties will be afforded equal opportunity to submit appeals under this policy. The board is jointly appointed by the Vice President for Student Life and the Provost.  It is comprised of faculty and staff members trained in both this policy and appeal process, and the issues related to sexual misconduct and interpersonal violence.  The Dean of Student Development receives all requests for appeals, and convenes a panel to review the case. 

Appeals must be submitted through the online appeal form located at: Appeals must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the fifth business day after the initial decision is rendered.  Any exceptions are made at the discretion of the Dean of Student Development (or designee). 

Appeal requests are subject to the procedures outlined below. The written appeal must be clear, specific, and contain a detailed statement regarding the grounds for appeal. Appeals are not re-hearings. The decision will be based solely on the written appeal and the Investigative Report. 

Only appeals based on the following grounds will be considered by the Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Appeal Board.  Appeal requests that do not allege one of the following grounds will not be considered and will be summarily denied by the Appeal Board: 

New Facts

Discovery of substantial new facts that were not reasonably available at the time of the investigation and are material to the original finding or sanction.  Withholding information or declining to participate in the original investigation is not grounds for an appeal based on discovery of new facts. If the appeal is based on substantial new facts the request must outline the following:

  • Source of new information and complete explanation of that information;
  • Name(s) of who can present this information;
  • Reason(s) why this information was not presented at the original investigation; and
  • Reason(s) why this information may contribute to a decision other than that which was originally made.

Arbitrary and Capricious Sanctioning

If the assigned sanctions are substantially disproportionate to the violation of this policy, considering any mitigating and aggravating factors, including but not limited to the disciplinary history of the student found responsible.  Sanctions will be reduced or changed only if they are determined to be arbitrary or capricious.


Procedural Violation

If it is believed there was a substantial violation of the investigative procedure (outlined above) that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures that could affect the outcome of the hearing, etc.), the appeal request must outline the following:

  • Citation of specific procedural errors with appropriate reference;
  • Reason(s) why procedural error was not mentioned in the original investigation; and
  • Reason(s) why correction of error can contribute to a decision other than that which was originally made.

Appeal submissions will be shared with the opposing party and they will be given the opportunity to submit a written response for consideration. Additionally, Title IX staff may also be called upon to submit a written response to the appeal.  

All sanctions imposed remain in effect during the appeal until a final decision is made and communicated to the student(s). (Exceptions to this policy are at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, the Dean of Students, or designee). 

The panel is comprised of at least three board members with the following requirements to serve:

1) there is no conflict of interest or bias;

2) they were not involved in the initial investigation in any way; and

3) they have been properly trained on Elon’s Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence policy and investigative process, the unique nature of incidents involving interpersonal violence and sexual misconduct, and appropriate appeals procedures.

Both parties will be provided names of potential panelists to address any potential conflicts of interest or bias.  Potential panelists will also be provided name of both students to address any potential conflicts of interest or bias, and panelists who feel they cannot make an objective determination must recuse themselves. Should any party object to any panelist, that party must raise all objections, in writing, to the convener immediately.  Panelists will only be replaced if the convener concludes that they have a conflict of interest or bias that may preclude an impartial review of the appeal.

The Sexual Misconduct and Interpersonal Violence Appeals Board has the authority to:

• Uphold the original decision;

• Uphold the original decision but change the sanction (more or less severe);

• Change the not/responsible decision; or

• Remand the case back to the investigative team.

The decision of this appeal board is final and notification of their decision (related to responsibility and sanctioning) will be sent to both parties along with a rationale for their decisions.  The appeal process is typically completed within 15 business days.  When the academic calendar or a complicated incident requires going beyond this timeline, both parties will be kept apprised of the process and next steps.

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