D036 Amend Canon IV.6.4: Of Intake and Referral of Information Concerning Offenses [Initial Inquiry]

Clarity as to the expectation of the initial inquiry of a Title IV complaint is needed.  Without clearly noting what information is to be included in an initial inquiry, as distinct from an Investigation under Canon IV.11, the initial inquiry can be incomplete or extended to an investigation by those untrained to carry out an investigation according to Canon IV.11. 

 The Intake Officer determines only that the information, if true, would constitute an Offense.  The Intake Officer then determines whether to dismiss the complaint because the information, if true, does not rise to the level of a Title IV Offense.  The Intake Officer does not at this stage determine if they think the allegation is true or plausible or that there is substantial evidence to forward the Intake Report to the Reference Panel for next steps according to Canon IV.6.8.  Any of these determinations would be premature until the Respondent has the opportunity to provide evidence.  Recall at this point, the Respondent knows very little about the accusation being made against them.

 The Investigator will require certain information that can be obtained by the Intake Officer, such as a summary of the alleged facts, names and contact information of involved parties or witnesses to the alleged complaint, and the location of evidence that will assist the Investigator upon referral from the Reference Panel (Canon IV.6.8).  This list of information is drawn from the TEC Title IV Website under Resources, Form 2.1 “The Intake Officer’s Report.”  Clarity of expectation will provide the Intake Officer with the guidelines to listen to the Complainant and pass on information that will inform the referral for investigation. 

 A cautionary statement is also needed so that Intake Officers do not forward the Intake Report to others not mentioned in this section of the canon. When an Intake Report is sent to the Respondent or the Complainant, or others, the canonical process does not provide for next steps in addressing the anxiety of or the injustice to those involved when only one side of the story has been told and the Respondent does not have the opportunity to hear the formal charges or address the matter until it is referred to a Conference Panel.