As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many Title IX investigations are being conducted remotely or virtually. Depending upon the institution and the case, the investigation may be conducted entirely remotely, or portions of the investigation may be conducted virtually while other steps will occur in person.
Whether you are the complainant or the respondent in a Title IX investigation, or you are anticipating that you will be called as a witness in a Title IX investigation, it is important to know what you should expect during a virtual Title IX investigation.
Generally speaking, virtual Title IX investigations will work similarly to in-person investigations. The national Title IX attorneys at Duffy Law can provide you with more information.
Filing a Title IX Claim Virtually
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, most Title IX claims at colleges and universities were submitted electronically. Accordingly, this process has not changed during the pandemic.
However, many initial reports of Title IX violations, or discussions with the Title IX coordinator or investigator, did occur in person. Many institutions have shifted to Zoom or other virtual video conferencing platforms for these conversations that previously occurred in person.
To begin the process of filing a Title IX complaint by speaking with a Title IX coordinator or investigator, you should find out about making a virtual appointment to meet remotely.
Notice of Investigation and Contact from the Title IX Investigator
The notice of a Title IX investigation, and contact from the Title IX investigator, tended to occur electronically prior to the pandemic. To be sure, notice of the investigation and other related details are typically provided over email.
Further, contact from the investigator about setting up an interview has also tended to occur through electronic communication regardless of the pandemic.
As such, you should expect to receive communications from the Title IX investigator via email regardless of whether other aspects of the Title IX investigation will be virtual.
Interviews with the Title IX Investigator
One primary change in Title IX investigations that are virtual is the interview process. Rather than meeting in person, such as in the Title IX investigator’s office or in a neutral meeting area for an in-person interview.
Virtual interviews are conducted remotely through video conferencing. Many Title IX investigators will use Zoom to conduct investigations, and you should plan to meet with the investigator for your interview (or interviews) over Zoom or another video conferencing platform.
If you are not accustomed to using Zoom or other video conferencing tools, the shift may seem jarring at first.
Yet this virtual interview will still provide a face-to-face connection with the Title IX investigator and will allow you to share any documents or materials that you want to submit as evidence.
Rather than handing over hard copies of evidence, you may be asked to make digital or electronic copies to submit through the chat space during the interview, or via email once the interview has ended.
If you have questions about virtual participation in a Title IX investigation, you should seek advice from a national Title IX attorney who can help.