Main Content

Investigation of a Complaint

If the Complainant or the OIE submits a Complaint, the OIE will assign an investigator(s) to conduct the Investigation, and the investigator may be a TCU employee or an independent contractor retained by the OIE to conduct the Investigation. The investigator may be the same person who conducted the Initial Inquiry. In the Investigation and formal resolution of any Complaint, the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the conduct alleged in the Complaint, with any determination concerning responsibility made at the conclusion of the Formal Resolution process, including any hearing or other process afforded to student respondents under the Code of Student Conduct or afforded to any employee respondents under applicable TCU policies.

Notice of Investigation

Within five (5) business days of receiving a Complaint, the OIE will provide the Complainant and Respondent a written Notice of Investigation that includes:

  • the identities of the parties involved in the incident, if known;
  • he behavior and/or actions allegedly constituting the misconduct and the specific potential policy violation(s);
  • the date and location of the alleged incident(s), if known;
  • a description of any Interim Measures in place that may impact the parties;
  • the availability of Interim Measures;
  • notice to the parties that each may have an advisor of their choice present at any and all meetings or proceedings;
  • notice that providing false statements or submitting false information is prohibited by TCU policies;
  • notice that the parties may request to review information gathered during the Formal Resolution process;
  • notice that retaliatory behavior will not be tolerated;
  • notice that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for any conduct alleged in the Complaint, and that no determination of responsibility will be made until the conclusion of the Formal Resolution and related processes; and
  • an electronic copy of this policy as it provides an explanation of the Investigation and Formal Resolution process.

If in the course of an Investigation the OIE discovers additional conduct that may violate TCU’s policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation, relevant parties will be notified of any additional allegations to be included in the Investigation. If in the course of the Investigation the OIE discovers possible violations of other TCU policies, the OIE will notify the appropriate office for possible additional actions.

Dismissal of Complaint

During the Investigation, the OIE may dismiss the Complaint if the Investigator determines that the facts alleged in the Complaint, even if true, would not violate TCU’s policy on Prohibited Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, and Retaliation or if the Investigator determines that even if the facts alleged in the Complaint are true, the alleged Respondent is not a TCU community member over whom TCU can exercise authority. This dismissal does not preclude the OIE taking other steps to address information in a Complaint or preclude TCU from taking action under another university policy. The Complaint may be referred to another department for resolution under a separate provision of the University’s code of conduct for employees or students (e.g., Dean of Students, Human Resources). Upon dismissal of a Complaint, the OIE will send written notice of dismissal and reason(s) for dismissal to the parties. A Complainant may appeal a dismissal as set forth under Section IV.C.1. below.

Investigation Process

As a part of the Investigation, the investigator(s) will attempt to meet or communicate separately with the Complainant, Respondent, and relevant witnesses. The investigator(s) may also consult with other University other TCU units that may have relevant information (e.g., TCU’s Threat Assessment Team, the TCU Police Department, the Dean of Students, and/or Human Resources, etc…). The parties may each consult with a collegial or professional support person/advisor (see below) who may accompany them to the interview with the investigator(s). In general, a person’s medical and counseling records are confidential and not accessible to the investigator(s) unless the person voluntarily chooses to share those records with the investigator(s). In those instances, the relevant information from the records will be shared with the other party. The investigator(s) may also consider information publicly available from social media or other online sources that comes to the attention of the investigator(s). The investigator(s) may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written, photographic, or other means. In some cases, the investigator may consult medical, forensic, technological, or other experts when expertise on a topic is needed.

The investigator(s) will also provide an equal opportunity for all parties to identify witnesses for the investigator(s) to interview, to provide the investigator(s) information from such witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and to provide other relevant information to the investigator(s). The investigator(s) may consider any evidence determined to be relevant and credible by the investigator(s), including history and pattern evidence.  Generally, information considered relevant by the investigator(s) will be provided to the parties for their review and comment, as described in this policy. The investigator(s) may address any evidentiary concerns of the parties, may exclude irrelevant or immaterial evidence, and may disregard evidence lacking in credibility or that is more prejudicial than probative (the probative value is outweighed by a danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the factfinder, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence). The investigator(s) will not consider polygraph test results.

Investigation Timeline

Ordinarily, within forty-five (45) calendar days of the submission of a Complaint, the investigator(s) will prepare a summary of the information gathered and considered by the investigator(s), including a summary of the information provided by the witnesses and a list of any documents or other any materials considered. This summary will not include any preliminary investigative finding (i.e., determination of responsibility). The investigator will provide access to the Complainant, if any, and to the Respondent and their respective advisors to the summary and any documents or other relevant materials considered by the investigator(s). For cases of Sexual Harassment, such access will be provided to the parties and advisors in electronic format or they will be provided hard copies. In all cases, the parties will have ten (10) calendar days to submit a written response which the investigator(s) will consider prior to the completion of the Investigative Report.

Conclusion of Investigation

The investigator(s) will complete the Investigative Report within seven (7) calendar days after receipt of the parties’ comments or additional information following their review of the summary. This time period may be extended if significant additional investigative steps are required based on the comments or additional information provided by the parties.