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Respond to Notice

What are my options if I've been named in a report?

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Notice of investigation

If you receive a notice of investigation or a piece of paper or email that states that someone has made a report about conduct you may be responsible for, you are considered the “respondent party.”

A person's report can't be about any behavior in general but must be about conduct that is specifically prohibited by Linfield's Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy.

A notice of investigation does not mean that the university has determined that you are responsible for the conduct or that you will be disciplined for the conduct. A notice simply means that the conduct has been reported and that the university will be looking into whether the conduct occurred.

Potential sanctions  Read policy

What happens next?

Regardless if you are the responding party or the reporting party, you have options in how you participate in the response process and can access support services and safety measures that you might be in need of.

  • What does it mean that an investigation is happening?

    A notice of investigation means that a report has been made and that the university has determined that the conduct reported may be prohibited by Linfield's Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy and that the conduct will be investigated.


    The investigation will be conducted by a university investigator who will work with you to identify findings of fact. You can participate in the investigation by discussing the reported conduct through an “interview” with the investigator, as well as providing any documents, materials, texts messages or other evidence you would like to be taken into consideration. There will be other ways that you can participate in the fact-finding process, such as providing names of witnesses that you'd like the investigator to talk to as well as participating in a hearing that happens once the investigation portion has ended.

    Review a flow chart of the response process
  • Will other people be notified that a report has been made?

    A notice of investigation goes to the person who made the report as well as the person who is named as the responding party in the report. If there is more than one person who may have been impacted by the conduct, or if there are more than one person who was the named actor of the conduct, those additional individuals will receive a notice of investigation as well. Parties can also choose to include parties outside of the case as witnesses who may have information to share with the investigator.

    University staff will offer as much privacy as possible regarding the report and subsequent investigation and hearing. Some instances may arise where faculty or staff outside the sexual misconduct and relationship violence support team may need to assist with support measures or academic services, but those individuals will only be told the limited information they need to execute those measures. No person is assumed responsible of reported conduct at the onset of an investigation just because they are the responding party.

  • Can somebody assist me? Do I have to get a lawyer?

    Yes. There will be an individual assigned to you called a “process navigator.” Your process navigator can answer questions related to the process as well as explain to you next steps and options you have available to you. The process navigator is a staff person at the university who is well trained and versed on the Sexual Misconduct and Relationship Violence Policy and can be a support person for you throughout the process. Your process navigator is assigned to you and no other party to the case.

    In addition to the process navigator assigned to you by the university, you may also choose to have a different support person of your choice. Note: although you can ask questions of and receive support from any number of individuals throughout the investigation, you can only have one person who accompanies you in meetings, investigative interviews as well as the hearing.

    A person is not required to access an attorney to be able to receive a fair and equitable outcome. The university will work to ensure that you have access to someone who can answer process questions for you. You always have the option to seek guidance from an attorney. The university does not provide parties with legal counsel. To ensure equity across parties, no one type of support person gets additional or special opportunities to support you through the investigation and hearing process compared to another type of support person.

  • Do I get an opportunity to explain what happened?

    Yes. An investigation does not mean that the university has identified that you are responsible for the conduct or that the conduct reported is prohibited by the university's policy. You will have the same opportunities as the reporting party to share information with the investigator and participate in the hearing. No one person is given more credibility than another because of their status as a reporting or responding party. All parties have an equitable opportunity to participate in the investigation process as well as to access their education throughout an investigation.

    You will not be disciplined or sanctioned because a report has been made or because an investigation is being conducted. Only after a fair and equitable process will the university determine whether reported conduct occurred, and if so, what appropriate action should be taken.

  • Does a report get made to law enforcement?

    The university does not make reports of prohibited behavior to law enforcement unless the report includes types of behavior that must be reported, such as abuse of a minor. A person who makes a report always has the option to report to law enforcement. If a reporting party would like to make a report to law enforcement, the university will assist the person in ensuring they understand how to make the report.

    Any report to law enforcement or investigation by law enforcement is independent of the university investigation and will not have an impact on the outcome of the university process.

Meet your Coordinator

An investigator conducts interviews and collects information throughout the investigation. Linfield University uses Jess Irvine, a trained, experienced coordinator from Grand River Solutions who is committed to creating a trauma-informed and student-centered space where parties can share their experiences. She will assist in connecting an investigator to a report. 

Have questions about what an investigation looks like and how it might differ from other types of investigations? Contact anyone on the support team or the coordinator to find out more.

portrait of Jess Irvine.
Jess Irvine
Title IX Coordinator
Grand River Solutions