Reporting Title IX Concerns
Reports involving students
Mike Strong is the University’s Deputy Title IX Coordinator (“Coordinator”) for matters related to student sex-based offenses or Title IX concerns. Mike can be reached at:
Students with concerns at regional sites should contact Mike at 330-972-6593; Wayne College students may also contact Gordon Holly at 330-972-8740.
The Coordinator (or designee) will investigate and assist students with:
- access to medical and mental health treatment;
- reporting the offense to law enforcement;
- reporting the offense to the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards and/or the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Office for investigation; and
- providing victim support and resources.
The Coordinator will seek the victim’s consent to investigate the report. If the student consents to the investigation, the Coordinator (or designee) will meet with the complainant to discuss the investigation and review the details of the allegation and to explain the subsequent steps involved in the investigation of a sex-based offense.
An investigation by the Coordinator (or designee) generally will not begin without the consent of the student unless the Coordinator determines circumstances warrant investigation. The Coordinator will evaluate the request for confidentiality in the context of the University’s obligation to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. The Coordinator will weigh the request for confidentiality against the nature of the alleged assault (e.g., use of force or threat of force, alleged use of “date rape” drugs); whether there have been other complaints against the same person; and the accused’s right to access the complaint. If the victim insists that his or her privacy be protected and that his or her name or other identifiable information not be disclosed to the accused, the Coordinator will advise the victim of the University’s limited ability to respond to the complaint and that disciplinary action cannot be instituted without a written signed complaint and disclosing the victim’s identity. The Coordinator (or designee) may take other steps to limit the effects of the alleged assault and prevent its recurrence.
The Coordinator (or designee) will review the victim’s report. If the report alleges potential criminal conduct and the police have not been notified the Coordinator will notify UAPD.
The Coordinator (or designee) will inform both parties of the respective time and place of the interviews of the parties and any witnesses. Contact between the parties will be limited to necessity. During this stage of investigation, both the accuser and the accused have the right to be accompanied by an advocate. The purpose of the preliminary investigations is to ascertain to a reasonable suspicion if there may have been a sex-based offense and what immediate responses need to occur. At the conclusion of the interviews, the Coordinator (or designee) will prepare a preliminary report of the findings of the investigation.
During any stage of the investigation, if the Coordinator (or designee) reasonably suspects that the accused poses an imminent threat of harm or disruption to the campus community, the Coordinator may initiate disciplinary charges through Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards and/or an interim suspension.
In the event the Coordinator (or designee) finds by a preponderance of the evidence that sex-based offenses did occur, the University will take immediate steps to end the sex-based offenses, eliminate any hostile environment that has been created, prevent any further sex-based offenses and prevent retaliation. Additional remedial action including victim counseling, tutoring, no-contact orders, and/or permitting a student to retake a course may be applied. In addition, the accused may be required to participate in educational intervention.
Students who have been sexually assaulted have access to support services such as changing academic and living situations under the purview of the University after an alleged incident, if so requested and if such changes are reasonably available (no police report, disciplinary charge or investigation need occur before this option is available). Support may include but not be limited to:
- Moving the victim or alleged perpetrator so the victim and alleged perpetrator do not share the same University residence hall.
- Changing class assignments so that the victim and alleged perpetrator do not share the same classes.
- Providing academic support, including tutoring.
The student has the right not to file a written report with police or with the Department of Student Conduct and Community Standards. However, absent egregious and compelling circumstances, the University will not initiate disciplinary action against the accused in the absence of a written signed complaint from the victim.
Retaliation against a person who: reports a crime; brings a complaint; pursues legal action; participates in an investigation; or, is a witness in any proceeding is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Students who retaliate will face University discipline.
Rights and responsibilities of victims and witnesses
The University of Akron urges people who have been the victim of sex-based offenses to pursue criminal charges against the person or persons they believe to have committed the crime. A criminal charge and a disciplinary charge may be pursued at the same time; however, students may pursue a disciplinary complaint without pursuing criminal charges. Victim support and resources are available even if a student elects not to pursue criminal charges or University disciplinary action.
Individuals having knowledge of a sex-based offense (including dating violence, domestic violence and stalking) also are strongly encouraged to timely report that crime to the police.
In fact, under Ohio law, persons who have knowledge of a felony - a victim of or witness to the crime - are required to report the crime to the police and failure to report a crime may itself be a crime. (Ohio Revised Code §2921.22.)
These individuals also are encouraged to contact the deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students, Denine Rocco to discuss options for safe and positive intervention.