Lehigh University takes instances of sexual misconduct from its students very seriously. The University's Title IX Coordinator is responsible for overseeing the pursuit of disciplinary action against students who are alleged to have violated the University's sexual misconduct policy. Lehigh University engages in a disciplinary process similar to standard behavioral misconduct violations, however, the process relies on greater scrutiny and holds more severe consequences.
The University will begin a formal investigation once a complaint is received by the Office of the Title IX Coordinator. Throughout the disciplinary process the student who initiated the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student facing charges will be known as the "respondent." The University may take action to enforce interim measures to prevent interaction between complainant and respondent. This can include rescheduling of classes, or it may include the imposition of a no contact order against the respondent, or an interim suspension in certain instances.
Investigation and Adjudication
The Office of the Title IX Coordinator will select an investigator appropriate for the process. An additional investigator may be appointed to assist the initial investigator as well. The investigative process will involve the investigative team speaking with witnesses and both complainant and respondent in separate interviews. The complainant and respondent will be able to present the investigative team with questions for the witnesses and the opposing parties involved. The investigative team will gather as much information as is deemed necessary, and once all relevant parties have been involved and all evidence has been collected, a decision will be made based upon the results of the inquiry. Typically, an investigation may last up to 60 days before a decision is made. The standard for decision making will be "a preponderance of the evidence."
Students are entitled to the presence of an advisor at their meetings with the investigative team. When a student faces allegations of sexual misconduct, the stakes are incredibly high. The mere reporting of these allegations can have long term implications on a student's professional and academic career. Because of this, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor through this process. An attorney can ensure that a student's rights are protected, and also see to it that a student suggests investigative questions that can aid them in their case. In addition to this, an attorney will be able to assist students in any adverse matters that may follow Lehigh University's investigation once it has concluded.
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are offered a chance to make an appeal of the decision. Appeals must be made within 72 business hours, or three (3) business days, of the decision. The grounds for appeal are new information, procedural error, or inappropriate sanctions.