The Title IX Team/Pool Members receive annual training [jointly OR based on their respective roles]. This training includes, but is not limited to:
● The scope of the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Procedures
● How to conduct investigations and hearings that protect the safety of Complainants and Respondents, and promote accountability
● Implicit bias
● Disparate treatment and impact
● Reporting, confidentiality, and privacy requirements
● Applicable laws, regulations, and federal regulatory guidance
● How to implement appropriate and situation-specific remedies
● How to investigate in a thorough, reliable, and impartial manner
● How to uphold fairness, equity, and due process
● How to weigh evidence
● How to conduct questioning
● How to assess credibility
● Impartiality and objectivity
● How to render findings and generate clear, concise, evidence-based rationales
● The definitions of all offenses
● How to apply definitions used by the University with respect to consent (or the absence or negation of consent) consistently, impartially, and in accordance with policy
● How to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes
● How to serve impartially by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias
● Any technology to be used at a live hearing
● Issues of relevance of questions and evidence
● Issues of relevance to create an investigation report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence
● How to determine appropriate sanctions in reference to all forms of harassment and/or retaliation allegations
All Pool members are required to attend these trainings annually. The materials used to train all members of the Pool are publicly posted.
The Title IX Coordinator oversees implementation of the University's Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure. The Title IX Coordinator has the primary responsibility for coordinating the University’s efforts related to the intake, investigation, resolution, and implementation of supportive measures to stop, remediate, and prevent sexual harassment and retaliation.
The Title IX Coordinator reviews each report and: (1) respond to any immediate health or safety concerns raised by the report, including determining any initial support measures for all parties; (2) offer the institution’s immediate support and assistance; and (3) assess the nature and circumstances of the report to determine whether the reported conduct rises a potential policy violation.
The Deputy Coordinator assist the Title IX Coordinator in implementation of the University's Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy and Grievance Procedure. They assist with implementation of supportive measures. The Deputy Coordinator can also act as the Hearing Facilitator during the formal grievance process.
The hearing facilitator during a formal hearing attends to: logistics of rooms for various parties/witnesses as they wait; flow of parties/witnesses in and out of the hearing space; ensuring recording and/or virtual conferencing technology is working as intended.
Campus Mediators are available to serve as facilitators in those situations where an informal option has been selected as the method of complaint resolution.
These persons are trained for generalized mediation scenarios and specifically trained for mediations involving allegations of sexual harassment, stalking, domestic violence, dating violence or sexual assault.
The Sexual Harassment Investigative Panel (SHIP) consists of employees of the University who represent the various segments of the University, including staff, faculty and campuses.
SHIP Investigators are designated by the Title IX Coordinator to conduct reliable, prompt, fair, and impartial investigations of sex- and gender-based discrimination and misconduct reports, including identifying and interviewing parties and witnesses; identifying, organizing, and compiling relevant information; maintaining accurate and thorough investigation records and notes; and writing clear, concise, and comprehensive investigation reports.
The Title IX Coordinator ensures that the assigned SHIP Investigators for any specific case have the appropriate knowledge and training (consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR §106.45 b(1)(iii)) and are free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against any party involved in the reported incident(s) prior to case assignment or as soon as a conflict is apparent.
The University of Southern Mississippi will designate a single Hearing Officer/Decision-Maker for each formal grievance hearing. The Hearing Officer/Decision-Maker will not have had any previous involvement with the investigation.
The Hearing Officer/Decision-Maker are individuals who have the authority to determine whether or not institutional policy was violated in accordance with the specified standard of proof and to determine appropriate remedies and corrective action/sanctions. The Hearing Officer/Decision-Maker will facilitate a live hearing process, including permitting the parties to ask the other part(ies) and any witnesses all relevant questions and follow-up questions, including those challenging credibility.
Hearing Officers/Decision-Makers are appropriately trained (consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR §106.45 b(1)(iii)) and must be free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against any party involved in the reported incident(s).
An Advisor is an individual selected by any party to assist them throughout the institution’s resolution process. The parties may each have an Advisor of their choice present with them for all meetings, interviews, and hearings within the resolution process, if they so choose. The parties may select whomever they wish to serve as their Advisor as long as the Advisor is eligible and available.
The Advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney, or any other individual a party chooses to advise, support, and/or consult with them throughout the resolution process. The parties may choose Advisors from inside or outside of the University’s community.
The Title IX Coordinator will also offer to assign a trained Advisor for any party if the party so chooses. If the parties choose to accept the Advisor from the University, the Advisor will be trained by the University and be familiar with the University’s resolution process.
In accordance with U.S. Department of Education regulations under Title IX, a form of indirect questioning is required during the hearing, but must be conducted by the parties’ Advisors. The parties are not permitted to directly question each other or any witnesses. If a party does not have an Advisor for a hearing, the University will appoint a trained Advisor for the limited purpose of conducting any questioning of the other party and witnesses.
A single Appeal Officer will review appeal requests. All parties have an equal opportunity to appeal. The Request for Appeal will be forwarded to the Appeal Officer for consideration to determine if the request meets the grounds for appeal.
No appeal panelists will have been involved in the process previously, including any dismissal appeal that may have been heard earlier in the process.
Appeal Officers will be appropriately trained (consistent with the requirements of 34 CFR §106.45 b(1)(iii)) and be free from conflicts of interest or bias for or against any party involved in the reported incident(s).
The Office of Compliance and Ethics oversees campus-wide compliance training of university employees (faculty, staff, adjuncts and affiliates) and students. This includes training for Title IX.
For additional information, see Compliance Ethics Training. If you have questions about the training, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Title IX Office provides training on critical issues of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, sexual harassment, and more - among students, faculty, and staff. For more information about trainings, call the Title IX Office at 601.266.6804 or email our Title IX Coordinator, Ms. Cristin Reynolds, at email@example.com.