Albright College takes instances of sexual misconduct that arise within its student body very seriously. The College outlines the process used for administering discipline in these cases in the Compass, the College's student handbook. The College will utilize a process that mirrors the one used for instances of standard misconduct, however, special measures will apply for sexual misconduct cases. In addition, the sanctions and related consequences faced by students in sexual misconduct cases are often much more severe.
Albright College Sexual Misconduct Process
When a student makes a claim of a sexual misconduct violation, the College will begin the Student Conduct Process. During the process, the student who files the complaint will be known as "complainant," while the student who faces allegations will be known as the "respondent." The College's Office of Community Standards will first consider whether or not the respondent poses any potential threat to either the complainant or the College community, and may consider implementing certain measures to protect the investigation or the College community; such measures can include, for example, housing relocation, a change of class schedule, and/or an interim suspension.
An informational meeting is a brief, mandatory meeting with the respondent that is meant to inform them of the charges they face and the community standards process overall. Respondents will also be given access to the information that will be presented against them regarding the Title IX charges themselves.
Hearings will be held in front of a specific Conduct Board chosen to handle allegations of Title IX sexual misconduct. At hearings, the chairperson will begin by calling the hearing to order and reading the complaint. The respondent will then accept or deny responsibility as a form of entering a plea. First, the complainant will present their case, evidence and witnesses. The respondent will then have an opportunity to question witnesses, but not the complainant. Next the chair and the board will question the complainant and witnesses. Following this stage, the respondent may present their case in a similar fashion with questioning done as before. Next, both parties will summarize their cases, and the chair will close the hearing for deliberation. Decisions will be made using the standard of "a preponderance of evidence."
At hearings, students are entitled to an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations are of a particularly serious nature, and as such can carry penalties and related consequences much more severe than what a student would face otherwise. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout these matters. An attorney will be able to to provide students with specialized courtroom knowledge that can be critical to achieving a favorable outcome at a hearing, such as methods of questioning witnesses or formulating closing arguments. An attorney will also be able to ensure that a student's rights remain protected throughout the Title IX investigation and disciplinary process. Lastly, if any adverse related consequences result from the initial allegations being reported at Albright College, an attorney can guide a student through such circumstances.
Appeals at Albright College
If the hearing results in an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) business days. The grounds for appeal are a procedural violation or new evidence.