FAQs – Policy Basics

Click on the below questions for more information.

(1) What types of Prohibited Conduct does the Policy address?

The Policy applies to all forms of Discrimination and Harassment based on Protected Status: age, color, disability, gender, gender expression, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation and veteran status. The Policy also prohibits Stalking and Interpersonal (relationship) Violence, which are not required to be based on an individual’s Protected Status. Additionally, the Policy prohibits Complicity for knowingly assisting in an act that violates the Policy and Retaliation for an individual’s good faith participation in the reporting, investigation and/or adjudication of violations of the Policy.

(2) Who does the Policy apply to at the University?

The Policy and associated procedures apply to the conduct of, and protect, all University students and employees, including faculty members, EPA non-faculty employees, SPA employees, graduate, professional and doctoral students, post-doctoral scholars and student employees. The non-discrimination provisions also apply to contractors and other third parties under circumstances within the University’s control.

(3) Is Sexual Assault or Sexual Violence prohibited by the Policy?

The Policy does prohibit Sexual Assault, Sexual Violence and Sexual Exploitation.   Sexual Assault and Sexual Violence are forms of Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment that involve having or attempting to have Sexual Contact with another individual without Consent.

(4) What happens when I report conduct prohibited by the Policy to the University?

When you make a report to the University, the Student Complaint/Deputy Title IX Coordinator (for students) or Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office (for employees) will contact you to schedule a meeting to talk with you about any safety concerns, discuss the availability of interim protective measures if needed, notify you of the resources available to you, and describe paths of resolution. Possible paths of resolution include taking no formal action, commencing an investigation followed by adjudication of the matter and pursuing voluntary resolution. At the time the report is made, you do not have to decide whether to request any particular course of action. Choosing to make a report, and deciding how to proceed after making the report, is a process that unfolds over time. The University will make every effort to respect your autonomy in making the determination as to how to proceed. Click here for more information about what happens when you make a report to the University >>

(5) Do I have to choose between a criminal investigation and the University's process?

No.  Individuals may choose either option or both.  Each option offers a different type of support and means of resolution. For example, making a report with law enforcement may allow for a criminal investigation to be conducted and criminal charges to follow.  Reporting incidents to the University may provide for disciplinary action against students when a Policy violation is found, available protective measures (e.g., no-contact order) and other assistance such as academic and housing accommodations. The University may be able to provide protective measures regardless of whether adjudication is pursued.  Additionally, an individual may choose to pursue civil legal action to obtain a civil no-contact order or other remedies.

(6) Why not just allow law enforcement to address incidents involving criminal activity?

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 requires universities that receive federal financial assistance to have grievance procedures providing for a prompt and equitable response to reports of sexual violence.  Section 304 of the Violence Against Women Act requires universities to have procedures to be followed for reports of sexual violence, interpersonal violence and stalking.  Thus, universities have an obligation to respond to reports of sexual violence independent of any criminal investigation.  In addition, the University can offer  protections and remedies such as academic and safe housing accommodations.

(7) Is there a geographic limitation on the conduct prohibited by the Policy?

The Policy applies to all Prohibited Conduct that occurs on campus. It also applies to Prohibited Conduct that occurs off campus, including online or electronic conduct, if: the conduct occurred in the context of an employment or education program or activity of the University; had continuing adverse effects on campus, or had continuing adverse effects in an off-campus employment or education program or activity. Examples of covered off campus conduct include University-sponsored study abroad, research, or internship programs. In determining whether the University has jurisdiction over off campus conduct that is not part of an educational program or activity of the University, the Equal Opportunity and Compliance Office or the Title IX Compliance Coordinator will consider the seriousness of the alleged conduct, the risk of harm involved, whether both parties are members of the campus community, and whether the off campus conduct is part of a series of actions that occurred both on and off campus. Regardless of where the conduct occurred and with whom, the University will offer resources and assistance to community members who are subject to Prohibited Conduct.  The University will also inform the Reporting Party of the option to contact external law enforcement and community resources and can assist the Reporting Party in making such contact if desired.

(8) When does the Policy take effect?

The Policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment and Related Misconduct Including Sexual and Gender-Based Harassment, Sexual Violence, Interpersonal Violence and Stalking is effective as of August 28, 2014. All reports filed on or after this date will proceed under the Policy. Reports filed prior to August 28, 2014, will proceed under the 2012 Policy.

(9) Can my attorney or non-attorney advocate participate?

Yes. A Reporting Party and a Responding Party may, at their own initiative and expense, be assisted by an attorney or non-attorney advocate. The attorney or non-attorney advocate may accompany the party to any investigative, administrative, or adjudicative meeting or proceeding under the Policy, including a hearing before a hearing panel.

(10) How does participation of attorneys or non-attorney advocates affect proceedings?

The adjudication process for addressing violations of the Policy prioritizes student safety, well-being, development, and education. While these proceedings may result in the imposition of sanctions in appropriate cases, this emphasis upon student safety, well-being, development, and education distinguishes these campus-based processes from criminal or civil legal proceedings. Proceedings pursuant to the Policy do not result in a determination of whether a crime has occurred; such determinations can be made only by the criminal justice system. Consistent with these student-focused concerns, proceedings held in accordance with the Policy remain non-adversarial; reflect community values, University policies, and Board of Governors standards; and provide for the respect and consideration of all participants. More specifically, this means that when scheduling meetings and hearing dates, the University will make reasonable efforts to accommodate an attorney or non-attorney advocate; however, the availability of students, witnesses, the hearing coordinator, panel members, and other necessary participants, as well as the need to promptly complete the meeting or the hearing may, in the University’s discretion, take priority when determining the date and time for a meeting or hearing. Additionally, an attorney or non-attorney advocate may not delay, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with a meeting or hearing. Finally, the University may at all times correspond directly with the student. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate and share information with the attorney or non-attorney advocate.

(11) How must I notify the University that I have an attorney or non-attorney advocate?

In order for an attorney or non-attorney advocate to participate in a hearing, the student and the attorney or non-attorney advocate must complete and submit an informational form and a Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act release to the hearing coordinator no later than five (5) business days prior to the hearing. These forms are available here. The attorney or non-attorney advocate must also meet with the hearing coordinator in advance of any participation in the proceedings to understand the expectations of the role, privacy, and appropriate decorum.If these steps are not completed in the timeframes required by the University, the University may, in its discretion, determine an appropriate remedy, up to and including denying the participation of the attorney or non-attorney advocate.

(12) How can my attorney or non-attorney advocate participate?

An attorney or non-attorney advocate may fully participate in the proceedings to the same extent and in the same manner afforded to the student represented by the attorney or non-attorney. See UNC Policy Manual Regulation 700.4.1.1[R]. In particular, a student may request that the student’s attorney or non-attorney advocate do any or all of the following at a hearing:
  • Provide legal advice to the student during the hearing;
  • Make opening and closing statements;
  • Submit questions to the Hearing Chair to pose to the other party;
  • Question the University Investigator; and
  • Question witnesses, however, the Hearing Chair has the discretion to determine that the questions will be submitted to the Hearing Chair in cases where the Hearing Chair determines that questioning by the parties will be unduly intimidating or burdensome to a witness.

(13) Why is my attorney or non-attorney advocate not allowed to directly question?

The University does not permit either party to question the other during hearings to adjudicate harassment or discrimination matters because the University recognizes that it may be traumatic for one party to have to interact directly with the other. Additionally, the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) stated in its April 4, 2011 Dear Colleague Letter that “OCR strongly discourages schools from allowing the parties personally to question or cross-examine each other during the hearing. Allowing an alleged perpetrator to question an alleged victim directly may be traumatic or intimidating, thereby possibly escalating or perpetuating a hostile environment.”As previously noted, an attorney or non-attorney advocate may participate in a hearing to the same extent and in the same manner afforded to the student the attorney or non-attorney advocate represents. Because students may not directly question one another, their attorneys also may not question the other party.

(14) Where can I find more information on attorneys and non-attorney advocates?