Samford University

Student Handbook: Students' Rights and Responsibilities

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Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy: Values Council Procedures

Values Council Procedures

The following procedures guide the Values Council’s review of sexual misconduct and relationship violence allegations.  While the procedures are a guide, the procedures may be abbreviated or modified due to the nature of the allegations, calendar conflicts related to council members availability or the security of the campus environment. 

In all cases a preponderance of the evidence standard will be used to determine whether there has been a violation of this policy (i.e. it is more likely than not that the sexual misconduct occurred). 

  1. Any member of the Samford community can file a complaint, as needed, of sexual misconduct against a Samford student by filing an incident report in the office of the Assistant Dean for Student Services. While it is best that the victim files the report, based on the circumstance of the case a report may be filed by a third party.
  2. The accused student will receive written notification (Value Violation response form) of the alleged violation along with written evidence supporting the alleged value violation.
  3. Within 48 hours of receiving the Value Violation form, the student must return the response form to the office of the Assistant Dean for Student Services. The accused student will have an opportunity to admit or deny responsibility and offer an initial description of his/her perception of the events in question. Failure to return the form could result in additional sanctions.
  4. The Assistant Dean for Student Services will conduct an incident review and prepare a written report which will be distributed, concurrently, to both parties as well as the Values Council.
  5. The Assistant Dean for Student Services will schedule a Values Council hearing to review the incident in question. The accused and complainant will be informed of the date, time, and location of the hearing. The complainant and the accused will both be afforded similar and timely access to information that will be used at the hearing.  Access to information will be provided consistent with FERPA guidelines.  At the hearing the following procedures are to be used:
    1. The faculty chair will call the hearing to order at which time the audio or video recorder will  be turned on.
    2. The faculty chair or the University Values Advocate will provide an understanding to the nature of the allegation and the principle parties involved in the alleged act.
    3. The Values Advocate will provide council members and principle parties a report outlining the alleged violation and any subsequent information obtained during the investigation of the alleged violation.
    4. The complainant and the accused will be provided an opportunity to respond and ask any questions related to the report given by the Values Advocate.
    5. Based on the nature of the incident, the complainant may be given an opportunity to provide testimony apart from the accused.
    6. All questions will be asked by members of the council. The accused will not be able to directly question the complainant and vice versa. Participants' questions will be written on note cards and submitted to the Chair (note cards will be provided). The appropriateness of questions and submission of questions for answers will be at the sole discretion of the Chair. All questions posed by either party must be asked through the Values Council’s Chair or his designate.
    7. Testimony will be given by witnesses, the complainant, the person filing the report, and the accused. Character witnesses may not attend the hearing unless cleared by the Assistant Dean for Student Services. The complainant and the accused will both have an equal opportunity to present relevant witnesses and other evidence.
    8. After all testimony is heard and evidence received, the Council will hold deliberations and have up to 10 days to render a decision related any responsibility and sanctions.  Within ten (10) calendar days from the date the decision is made, the Assistant Dean for Student Services will provide to both parties, concurrently, a copy of the Values Council’s written decision.
    9. Imposed sanctions will be communicated to both the accused and the complainant, the University’s Assistant Dean of Student Services, and the Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment. The accused or the complainant may appeal the hearing’s outcome based on permitted grounds for an appeal.