At Chatham University, incidents of sexual misconduct within the student body are handled with severity. The University's Title IX Policy contains information on what constitutes sexual misconduct, as well as what the University's responsibilities and actions will be when an act of sexual misconduct is reported. The University's processes for resolving these incident is separate to what is used for resolving standard incidents of misconduct.
Chatham University Sexual Misconduct
The process for resolving sexual misconduct incidents begins when a student files a complaint with the Department of Public Safety, or when a complaint reaches the department's office. Throughout this process, the student facing allegations is known as the "respondent," while the student who initiates the complaint will be known as the "complainant." The University will launch an investigation into the matters pertaining to the complaint. Depending on the circumstances, the University may deem it necessary to impose certain interim measures on the respondent, such as relocation of housing, rescheduling of classes, or even temporary suspension from the University. The University will utilize an investigative resolution procedure to determine whether acts of sexual misconduct have occurred.
Investigation and Resolution
At the start of an investigation, both parties will be given information regarding the process and a disclosure of their rights throughout the investigative process, as well as the University's projected time frame for resolving the incident and concluding the investigation. Investigations will primarily consist of separate meetings with the complainant and respondent. Both parties may suggest witnesses and other evidence to the investigator for consideration. Parties will also be given the opportunity to respond to one another's information before the investigator makes a decision. After the time frame for the investigation has concluded, the investigator will make a finding and select the appropriate sanctions. Investigators will make a decision based on the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
Throughout the investigative process, students are entitled to have an advisor of their own choosing present at any meetings. Sexual misconduct allegations are of an extremely serious nature, and carry with them the potential for serious and long-term consequences that will impact students through nearly ever stage of their life; potentially jeopardizing academic and professional goals. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout the process. An attorney can offer students specialized knowledge regarding evidence and argument that can greatly assist them in the investigation, and can also make sure that a student's procedural rights are not violated throughout the investigation. In addition, should any adverse consequences arise from the reporting of the allegations at Chatham University, an attorney can serve as a guide.
Chatham University Appeals
If the investigation results in an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals are to be submitted within five (5) business days of the receipt of the written outcome. In addition, the grounds for appeal are procedural error, new evidence, or disproportionate sanctions.