The Investigative Process

During the investigation process, and in accordance with existing policies and laws, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine will make every reasonable effort to protect the privacy of all parties involved in the investigation, and to keep the information confidential to the extent required by law. However, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine cannot guarantee that any or all of the information will remain confidential.

During the investigation process, West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine is required to:

  • Provide an adequate, reliable, and impartial investigation, including the opportunity for both parties to present witnesses and other evidence;
  • Designate reasonably prompt timeframes for the major stages of the complaint process;
  • Provide notice to the parties of the outcome of the complaint investigation and disposition and the opportunity for the parties to appeal the findings; and
  • Assure that the appeal will be conducted in an impartial manner by an impartial decision-maker.

The individual filing the complaint is referred to as the "Complainant". The accused is referred to as the "Respondent".

Anyone accused of discrimination or harassment is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct.

Generally, an investigation will result in a written report that, at a minimum, includes a statement of the allegations and issues, a summary of the information considered, findings of fact, and a determination by the investigator as to whether the institution's policy has been violated. For allegations of discrimination or harassing behavior, there are three possible findings:

  1. Substantiated: It is more likely than not that the allegation is true. (preponderance of the evidence standard)
  2. Unsubstantiated: It is not possible to determine whether the allegation is true or untrue. There is insufficient evidence to prove or disprove that the allegation is true.
  3. Unfounded: It is more likely than not that the allegation, while made in good faith, is untrue. A finding that the allegations are unfounded does not indicate that the complaint was improper or knowingly false.

The report, the complaint, the response and any other evidence obtained during the investigation of the complaint may be used as evidence in other related procedures, such as subsequent complaints, grievances and/or disciplinary actions.

The report also may contain recommendation for actions to resolve the complaint, including but not limited to educational programs, counseling/coaching, mediation, remedies for the complainant, and a referral to institutional disciplinary procedures, as appropriate.

The complainant and the respondent shall be concurrently informed in writing of the completion of the investigation and the outcome of the investigation. The complainant shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint, if any, that are directly related to the complainant, such as a recommendation that the accused not contact the complainant.

The complainant shall not be informed of the details of any recommended disciplinary action without the consent of the respondent. The respondent shall be informed of the findings and of actions taken or recommended to resolve the complaint and shall be notified generally of referrals for disciplinary action and recommended action.

You are permitted to have a representative of your choice, including legal counsel (paid for at your own expense), at any stage of the investigation process.