Keystone College takes a serious stance against instances of sexual misconduct that may arise within its student body. The College outlines a sexual misconduct policy within the pages of its student handbook. The policy sets forth what acts are considered sexual misconduct, and what actions the College will take against any students who are reported to have violated the sexual misconduct policy. These policies are separate from those used for resolving instances of standard misconduct, and are generally handled with much greater scrutiny.
Keystone College Sexual Misconduct Processes
Once a report is filed with a College official regarding a potential act of sexual misconduct, the College begins its process for resolving the incident. Throughout the process, the student who files the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student facing the allegations will be known as "the respondent," or "the accused," depending on what stage of resolution the matter stands. Following any initial reporting, the College will begin a brief review to determine whether action is warranted under the College's Title IX policy. The Title IX Coordinator will conduct separate interviews with the complainant and the accused to explain the process and also offer the complainant a chance to sign a declaration of intent to pursue Title IX charges. If a formal investigation is to be held, or if the initial complaint warrants such action, the College may impose interim measures on the respondent to ensure the safety of the complainant, or the integrity of the investigation. These measures can include a no contact order or a temporary suspension for example.
Formal Investigation and Hearings
If the charges are to move forward, then the College will initiate its formal investigation and resolution process. For investigations, the Title IX Coordinator or an appropriate designee will begin interviewing both parties and any suggested witnesses. Investigations will also include written statements from both parties, and both parties will be given time to review one another's statements prior to the conclusion of the investigation. Once the investigation has concluded, the Title IX Coordinator will assemble a student conduct board consisting of representatives to preside over a sexual misconduct hearing.
Hearings will begin with an opening statement from the Title IX Coordinator regarding the violations. Next, the complainant will make a statement. Following the complainant's statement, the phase for presentation of evidence and witnesses that support the complainant will begin. Any party, including members of the hearing board, may directly question the witnesses. The respondent will then make their statement, and present their own supporting evidence and witnesses, who may be questioned similarly by the board. After this, both parties will make closing statements, and the hearing will close for deliberations. Decisions are voted on, and will use the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
At hearings and throughout the investigation, students are entitled to the presence of an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations are taken very seriously by the College, and can carry with them harsh consequences that can greatly affect a student's academic goals, and can also affect a student later on in their careers. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor. An attorney can protect a student's rights throughout the investigation and disciplinary process, and can also provide advice and support during a hearing. In addition, an attorney can serve as a student's legal guide if any adverse consequences follow the reporting of the allegations at Keystone College.
Appeals at Keystone College
In the event of an unfavorable outcome students may make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) business days of the outcome. The grounds for appeal are errors in the hearing process, new evidence, or inappropriate sanctions.