What if I have been accused of sexual violence?

Information for Respondents

If you have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual assault, relationship violence, stalking, or any other conduct prohibited by the UC Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy, there are campus services available to help you understand your rights and the investigation and adjudication processes.  Respondent Services Coordinators have been appointed to assist any students, staff members, or faculty who have been accused of sexual violence.  They can:

  • Help you understand your rights
  • Explain and help you navigate the investigation and adjudication processes, including formal hearings
  • Refer you to campus and community resources, such as for psychological counseling, legal services (including help understanding and complying with protection orders), alternative housing, academic changes and other needs

It is important to note that the Respondent Services Coordinators are not legally required to maintain confidentiality. However, as a general practice, they will request signed consent from you before disclosing personally identifiable information.

Respondent Services Coordinators

Additional Information for Students

All reports of sexual misconduct received by the University are reviewed to determine appropriate next steps.  When the report alleges an act of prohibited conduct covered by the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment policy and, there is sufficient information to carry out a resolution process, the University will offer the Complainant the option of resolving the complaint through either Alternative Resolution or Formal Investigation (see below).

If the conditions for an Alternative Resolution or Formal Investigation are not met, the University will, when appropriate, take steps to stop the reported conduct, prevent its escalation or recurrence, and address its effects.  If necessary to resolve the complaint, the Respondent will be informed of the allegations.

Alternative Resolution

Alternative Resolution is a structured yet flexible, voluntary, binding, and remedies-focused process for resolving complaints of sexual violence or sexual harassment as an alternative to a Formal Investigation.  Alternative Resolution seeks to stop potential prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence, and meet the needs of the complainant, without a determination of whether a Respondent violated the SVSH Policy.

If the University determines that an Alternative Resolution is appropriate, you will be contacted by a staff member from the Harassment & Discrimination Assistance and Prevention Program (HDAPP) with an offer to participate in an Alternative Resolution with the Complainant.  The offer will also will include a summary of the allegations, what you can expect during the process, and your rights as the Respondent.  If you elect to participate in the Alternative Resolution, the HDAPP staff member will work with you and the Complainant to create a set of mutually agreeable terms, which may include but not be limited to: separation of the Complainant and Respondent; providing for safety; referring the parties to counseling; referral for disciplinary action; an agreement between the parties; and conducting targeted preventive education and training programs.  It is your right to be accompanied by an advisor and support person throughout the process.  If you decide not to participate in the Alternative Resolution or it is not successful in resolving the matter, the University will determine the next steps, which may include initiating a Formal Investigation.

Participation in the Alternative Resolution process is voluntary, meaning both the Complainant and you must agree to participate.  The Alternative Resolution process is typically completed within 30 to 60 business days, or 1.5 to 3 months. Once you and the Complainant have agreed to the terms of an Alternative Resolution, the University will not conduct an investigation unless the University determines that you failed to satisfy the terms of the Alternative Resolution, or that the Alternative Resolution was unsuccessful in stopping the prohibited conduct or preventing its recurrence.

For more information about the Alternative Resolution process, please contact the Respondent Services Coordinator or HDAPP, or review the Procedures section of the University of California Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy.

Formal Investigation

The Formal Investigation and subsequent adjudication process will follow the procedures listed in either Appendix E or Interim Appendix F of the UC’s Policies Applying to Campus Activities, Organizations and Students (PACAOS).  You can find a timeline and other tools to help you understand the Formal Investigation process for students at the University of California Systemwide Title IX Office resource page.  Many Respondents also find it helpful to contact the Respondent Services Coordinator to review the process together.

At the start of the process, you will receive a notification letter that includes information on the allegations being investigated, a summary of the investigation and adjudication process, and your rights during the investigation.  The letter will also specify whether the process will be conducted via PACAOS Appendix E or Interim Appendix F.  You will also be contacted by the Respondent Services Coordinator, who will offer to meet with you to discuss the process and answer any questions you might have.

During the investigation, the University investigator will separately meet with you, the Complainant, and other potential witnesses to gather information. You will have the opportunity to submit information, identify witnesses who may have relevant information, and propose questions at the outset for the investigators to ask the Complainant and witnesses.  The investigation is the opportunity to provide all relevant information, respond to information submitted by the other party, identify potential witnesses, and submit questions for the investigator to ask the complainant or others.

You have the right not to participate in this process and to not have that decision held against you.  If you choose not to participate in the investigation, for example, the investigation will proceed and the investigators will reach findings and conclusions based on the information available to them without the benefit of your participation.  You also have the right to have an advisor and a support person with you if you are interviewed, at any meeting, and, if applicable, during the hearing process. 

Investigations typically take 60 to 90 business days, or 3-4 months, to complete.  When the fact-gathering portion of the investigation is complete, the investigator will submit an investigation report addressing whether the allegations are substantiated and make a preliminary determination on whether University policy was violated.  You will receive a copy of the report as well as a summary of the investigator’s findings and preliminary determination. 

The investigation report will also be forwarded to the Director of the Office of Student Support and Judicial Affairs (OSSJA), who will review the report and, if there was a preliminary finding of a policy violation, propose an appropriate sanction. Information about sanctioning guidelines and potential sanctions can be found in Section III.IX of Appendix E and Interim Appendix F.  Both you and the complainant will have an opportunity to contest the investigator’s findings and, if there was a preliminary finding of a violation of policy, provide input to the Director of OSSJA on potential sanctions. If either you or the Complainant contests the preliminary findings, a Hearing Officer will be appointed and a fact-finding hearing will be held.

The fact-finding hearing will decide issues that are disputed and relevant to the determination of whether policy violations occurred.  At the hearing, each party will have the opportunity to present evidence and propose questions for the other party and witnesses.  More information about what to expect in the fact-finding hearing can be found in Appendix E and Interim Appendix F, as applicable, as well as the Rules of Conduct for Participants in the University of California’s Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Resolution Process.  All hearing participants, including advisors and support people, are expected to be familiar with and follow the Rules of Conduct.

After the completion of the fact-finding hearing, the Hearing Officer will issue their decision on whether the Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy was violated and, if so, the Director of OSSJA will determine an appropriate sanction.  You will have the opportunity to appeal the Hearing Officer’s decision and, if applicable, the sanction assigned by OSSJA.  The Appeal Officer will issue a decision to uphold the findings and sanctions; overturn the findings or sanctions; or modify the findings or sanctions. The Appeal Officer’s decision is final and there will be no opportunity for further appeal.