V. Rights and Expectations for the Parties and Witnesses
Accommodations: Any party, witness, or other participant involved in any process related to this procedure may request a reasonable accommodation based on a medical reason under the American's with Disabilities Act, by contacting Equal Opportunity and Outreach, firstname.lastname@example.org, phone: 978-934-3565.
Confidential Resource Providers: Complainants and Respondents both have the right to confidential discussions with a Confidential Resource Provider to receive assistance and information, whether or not they choose to file a complaint.
Advisors: Both parties are welcome to have an advisor of their choice, during all stages of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure. The advisor may only act in an advisory capacity for the party and may not speak on behalf of the person or otherwise participate during the investigation. The advisor may review evidence gathered during the investigation, and may review the investigator’s report and other communications. The advisor is prohibited from disseminating the evidence and/or investigator’s report without both parties’ consent.
During the Live Hearings, the advisor will be responsible for posing questions to both parties and witnesses including during cross-examination. Because the advisor will review personally identifiable information from the complainant's and respondent's education records, the parties may need consent to the disclosure of this information to the advisor in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), 20 USC § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99. The consent would specify that the information may only be used for purposes of the grievance process and cannot be further disclosed. FERPA is a federal law that protects the privacy of student education records.
Scheduling: Both parties will be provided with written notice of the date, time, location, and participants of all hearings, investigative interviews or other meetings with sufficient time to prepare to participate.
Information Provided: Upon receipt of a formal complaint, both parties will receive copies of the UMass Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines, the UMass Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure, the allegations potentially constituting sexual harassment, and a list of support resources. (The notice of allegations includes the identity of the parties, a description of the alleged conduct constituting sexual harassment, including the date and location of the incident, if known.) At the conclusion of the investigation, each party will be provided with all information gathered during the investigation, including all information directly related to the allegations (including inculpatory and exculpatory evidence) and the Investigator’s report.
Confidentiality and gathering of information: The Investigator(s), Title IX Coordinator, Hearing Officer(s), Appeal Officer(s), or other decision-makers, will not restrict the ability of either party to discuss the allegations under investigation and gather and present relevant evidence, except as is provided by the UMass Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure, the Nondiscrimination Guidelines, and other university policies. For example, a party may not discuss the allegations in a manner that is retaliatory, or knowingly present false evidence.
Neutrality: All UMass Lowell Investigators, Hearing Officers and Appeal Officers involved in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure will conduct a neutral review of the formal complaint, and give equal consideration to the accounts and documentation provided by both parties. The respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the Grievance proceeding.
Parties with concerns regarding potential bias or conflict of interest may report that concern to the Title IX Coordinator. Such a concern regarding the Title IX Coordinator may be reported to Lauren Turner, Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources and Organizational Strategy & Effectiveness.
Nondiscrimination Guidelines/Policy: The University of Massachusetts Lowell Nondiscrimination Guidelines. These guidelines describe the UMass Lowell’s application of the University of Massachusetts system-wide policy against sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination and retaliation. The Nondiscrimination Guidelines are available on the Guidelines, Procedures & Information webpage or in alternate formats upon request, and are incorporated into the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure by reference.
Privacy: The Investigator(s), Title IX Coordinator, and other employees involved in the grievance process will maintain the privacy of both parties to the extent possible. While information is only divulged on a need-to-know basis, confidentiality cannot be ensured.
Retaliation Protections: Retaliation against any person including the parties and witnesses, based on their participation in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure is prohibited by the university’s Non-Discrimination Guidelines and state and federal laws. UMass Lowell will take steps to prevent retaliation, and will take strong responsive action if it occurs. A concern of retaliation should be immediately reported to the Title IX Coordinator, which may initiate an investigation. This includes concerns of retaliatory actions taken by the university or its officials.
Right to file a criminal report: Anyone who may have been subjected to sexual harassment which may also constitute a crime has the right to file a complaint with law enforcement authorities, and will not be dissuaded from doing so.
Both parties and witnesses are obligated not to retaliate; to update the Investigator(s) if their contact information changes; to be truthful in presenting information; to provide information or participate within the timeframe provided by the Investigator(s); to promptly notify the Investigator(s) if someone has attempted to improperly learn of or change their account with the purpose of disrupting the outcome of the review; and to notify the Investigator(s) if they believe they have faced retaliation as a result of their participation in the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure.
The university expects Advisors to make themselves available to participate during Live Hearings, to conduct themselves with decorum and according to the requirements of the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure in all proceedings including Live Hearings, and to abide by the rulings of the Hearing Officer(s).
False information or complaint: Knowingly filing a false complaint, providing false information or unduly influencing witnesses in a proceeding under the the Sexual Harassment Grievance Procedure.