Responding to a Formal Complaint

Note:  Parties to a proceeding before the University-Wide Committee on Sexual Misconduct must be familar with the UWC’s Procedures, and the information below is not intended as a substitute for the Procedures.

How will I know if a formal complaint is brought against me?
A Secretary of the UWC will notify you in writing if you are the subject of a formal UWC complaint. The Secretary’s  letter will include a copy of the complaint and information about the UWC’s procedures and formal hearing process.  When you receive the complaint or soon thereafter, the Secretary will offer to meet with you in person to review the steps of the formal hearing process and to explain broadly what you can expect at each stage.  The Secretary can speak with you about choosing an adviser, expectations of confidentiality, the timeline and nature of fact finding, the composition and role of the hearing panel, the identity and role of the decision maker, and the steps involved in the appeal process.  The Secretary will be available to you throughout the formal complaint process to answer any questions you might have.  

Should I have an adviser?

We encourage you to have an adviser for support.  The adviser may offer personal and moral support and help you prepare for meetings related to the complaint.  The adviser may not submit documents on your behalf nor speak for you during an interview with a fact-finder or during a hearing.  When you choose an adviser, please make sure they are available to you during the time periods set forth in section 7.8 of the procedures.  If you should need assistance in choosing an adviser, please contact a UWC Secretary.  The UWC has trained advisers who are available to parties.  You may consult with an attorney at any stage of the formal UWC process, and an attorney can act as your adviser, but the UWC is not able to recommend an attorney to you.  

Who else can I turn to for support?
In addition to your adviser, you may wish to contact your family, the Title IX Office, SHARE CenterYale Mental Health and Counseling, your Residential College Dean, the University Chaplains, an attorney, or a close friend.

How long does the process usually take?
The review of a formal complaint can typically take 60 - 90 days.  The UWC chair may extend a time period for good cause such as illness, holidays, the absence of witnesses from campus, the complexity of the allegations, or competing demands on UWC members or decision makers.  The parties will be informed by the UWC Secretary or Chair if a time period is extended, and the UWC Chair’s decision regarding extensions will be final.
 
Will the parties be instructed not to contact each other?
Yes.  A UWC no-contact order requires that there be no direct or indirect contact between the parties for the duration of the UWC process.  Once the complaint has been initiated, a Title IX Coordinator will contact both parties to review the requirements of the no-contact order and to address any specific concerns.  In some cases, a no-contact arrangement may be continued even after the conclusion of a case.  A violation of the no-contact order may result in further disciplinary action, and retaliation against any person who brings a complaint or participates in the UWC process is a violation of university policy.  
 
If you have any questions about the nature and extent of the no-contact order in your case, you may contact the cognizant Title IX Coordinator.  If the individual who brought the complaint should reach out to you after you have received a copy of the complaint, please do not respond and please notify the Title IX Coordinator and the UWC Secretary immediately.  
 

What penalties might be imposed?
Should there be a finding of a violation of Yale’s sexual misconduct policy, penalties available to the decisionmaker include expulsion or termination of university employment, suspension, probation, reprimand and mandatory supplemental training.