PROCESS SUPPORT SERVICES
Process Support Services at the University of Georgia provides information and support to student respondents, as part of a system of fair and equitable service within university conduct investigations. These services are available to any student who has been accused of violating the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ Student Sexual Misconduct Policy. We hope that student respondents feel informed and empowered to navigate the conduct process by connecting them with a Process Support Person who will review the student’s rights and responsibilities, explain the conduct and hearing process, and provide information about resources on campus and in the community.
Case Manager: Rachelle Ellis
Please leave a brief message with your name and phone number when calling the Process Support Services phone number. The Process Support Services case manager will contact you within 24 hours during weekdays or the following Monday morning for calls after 5pm on Fridays and over the weekend.
A Process Support Person provides the following services:
- Explanation of the hearing and resolution process
- Explanation of students’ rights
- Referrals for campus and community resources, including mental health services, alternative housing, academic assistance, and legal counsel
- *A confidential space to discuss needs related to the conduct process
A Process Support Person does not provide legal counsel or advice.
*While a Process Support Person is a confidential resource, the PSP is not a resource to discuss case details. Confidentiality is meant to provide a safe space in which to discuss concerns related to needs and the process itself, but a PSP is not expected to discuss case details with students. If students wish to discuss their case in a therapeutic setting, counseling services are available through the Health Promotion Department.
- Be free from retaliation
- Be notified of the investigation in writing
- Remain silent or otherwise not participate in or during the investigation and resolution process without an adverse inference resulting
- Admit or to deny the allegations
- Be informed of support resources, to have an advisor, to have an investigation, to receive updates from the investigator, to have a hearing within a reasonable timeframe, and to appeal the decision of any formal resolution.
- Present witnesses and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence
- Inspect and review directly related information gathered during the investigation
- Confront any witness, including the other party, by having their advisor ask relevant questions directly to the witness
- Appeal the outcome on grounds as defined in the USG Board of Regent’s policy manual section 188.8.131.52
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Any student officially accused of violating the University System of Georgia Board of Regents’ policy on Sexual Misconduct is referred to as a respondent.
The incident is first reported via complaint, police report, or referral. The incident is then reviewed by an administrative officer, specifically examining the actions which are alleged to violate the Code of Conduct. If the administrative officer finds that the alleged incident did not violate the Code of Conduct, or that there is not sufficient information in a report to determine if the Code of Conduct was violated, then no action will be taken. If the administrative officer finds that the UGA COC has been violated, then the conduct process will be initiated1.
The respondent will be notified of the alleged violation in writing, and a meeting will be requested. This meeting provides an opportunity for the respondent to meet with the administrative officer to receive information about the conduct process, and to provide information about the alleged incident. If administrative officer finds enough information to move forward with the alleged violations, case is resolved informally or formally2.
An informal resolution requires that the student accept responsibility for violation(s) of the Code of Conduct and agrees with the sanctions assigned for the violation(s). The student must waive their right to an appeal and the Violation of Code is noted in the resolution agreement. The student’s file, including the resolution, is maintained per the Board of Regents records retention policy2.
Student can request to have the case resolved formally, rather than informally if they wish. In an informal resolution, notice of Investigation is given to the student respondent, and they are given 3 business days to respond in writing to the allegations. The investigation ensues and an investigator can interview the respondent as well as the alleged victim and named witnesses, review other documents or evidence, and will summarize the investigation in writing. This initial investigation report is provided to the student respondent.
If the student respondent is ultimately charged with any violations, he/she will have 3 business days to respond in writing and the investigation report will be updated if necessary, and a final investigative report will be submitted. Afterwards, a Notice of Hearing will be delivered to the student respondent, who is responsible for presenting his/her case at the hearing. An advisor may assist the student but may not speak directly to the panel or witnesses during the hearing. An advisor from University Judiciary or Process Support person are available to the student, though the student may instead choose another advisor at his/her expense.
The outcome of the hearing is decided by a hearing panel composed of two University Judiciary members and one faculty/staff hearing administrator. The hearing panel decides an outcome based on a preponderance of the evidence standard, and if applicable, assigns sanctions. If applicable, violation of the Code is noted on student’s conduct record, which is maintained per the Board of Regents records retention policy2.
Sanctions following a formal resolution can include expulsion, suspension, probation, restitution, community service, restriction, housing restriction, and other education sanctions. This list is neither exhaustive nor in order of severity and may be enlarged upon or modified to meet the particular circumstances of any given situation2.
If the Respondent chooses to remain silent without providing a verbal or written response to the allegations, the investigator will consider the absence of a response as a general denial of the alleged misconduct. The investigation will proceed and a Policy violation may be found against the Respondent if supported by a preponderance of the evidence3.
As a student respondent, you have the rights to be free from retaliation, informed of support resources, to have an advisor, to have an investigation, to receive updates from the investigator, to have a hearing within a reasonable timeframe, and to appeal the decision of any formal resolution2.
No information about the incident or investigation is shared with parents of students, or third parties unrelated to the investigation, absent written permission from the subject student. This is pursuant to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)4.
There is no standard length of time for the conduct process.
Anyone who believes he or she has been the target of retaliation for reporting, participating or cooperating in, or otherwise being associated with an investigation should immediately contact the Director for Student Conduct or Title IX Coordinator. Any student or organization alleged to have engaged in retaliation will be subject to the conduct process5.
While a Process Support Person cannot provide legal counsel or advice, the PSP can explain the conduct and resolution processes, outline the student respondent’s rights, and aid in identifying student needs during the conduct and resolution processes. The Process Support Person can also connect the student respondent with campus and community resources including mental health services, alternative housing, academic assistance, and legal counsel, and provide the student with a confidential* space to discuss needs related to the conduct process.
* While a Process Support Person is a confidential resource, the PSP is not a resource to discuss case details. Confidentiality is meant to provide a safe space in which to discuss concerns related to needs and the process itself, but a PSP is not expected to discuss case details with students. If students wish to discuss their case in a therapeutic setting, counseling services are available through the Health Promotion Department 6.
Process support services are available and at no cost for UGA students. While a PSP can connect the student respondent to additional resources within the university and local communities, it is the responsibility of the respondent to pay for any services that are neither free of charge nor included in UGA student fees.
- UGA Office of Student Conduct. Conduct Process Flowchart. https://conduct.uga.edu/conduct-process-flowchart/
- UGA Office of Student Conduct. (2018, September 18). Student Code of Conduct. https://conduct.uga.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/11/2020/09/Code_of_Conduct_revised_2018.09.07.pdf
- UGA Equal Opportunity Office. (2021, March 15). University of Georgia Non-Discrimination and Anti-Harassment Policy. https://eoo.uga.edu/_resources/documents/NDAH-Policy_3-15-2021.pdf
- UGA Equal Opportunity Office. Things to Know: Caveats about EOO/Title IX Investigations. https://eoo.uga.edu/things-to-know/
- UGA Equal Opportunity Office. Sexual Misconduct Policy. https://eoo.uga.edu/_resources/documents/Sexual_Misconduct_Policy_8-11-2020.pdf
- UGA Student Affairs. Process Support Services. https://eoo.uga.edu/_resources/documents/Sexual_Misconduct_Policy_8-11-2020.pdf