Mansfield University of Pennsylvania takes instances of sexual misconduct very seriously. When an incident of sexual misconduct arises within the University's student body, it will be pursued for disciplinary action under the University's Student Code of Conduct. There are special procedures utilized for sexual misconduct that do not apply for standard behavioral misconduct violations.
Title IX Violations at Mansfield University of Pennsylvania
The University begins the process for investigating Title IX violations when a report is filed against a student for an incident of sexual misconduct. Throughout the process, the student who initiated the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student who is facing allegations will be known as the "respondent." When a complaint is filed, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct an immediate assessment of the situation to see if any interim measures should be taken against the respondent. These measures can include relocation of housing, change in class schedules, or even a suspension. The investigation will be conducted by University officials and will consist of a series of separate interviews with the complainant, respondent and any witnesses suggested.
After the investigative process has concluded, the University will hold a hearing for a student as outlined within the Student Code of Conduct. Hearings will be led by the Chief Conduct Officer, who will act similarly to a prosecutor, while simultaneously conducting the order of the hearing. Hearings are decided upon by a Student Conduct Board. There is no specific agenda for the hearing, however, both complainant and respondent will, in theory, be guaranteed certain rights throughout the process. Both parties are welcome to present their own supporting witnesses and evidence for the hearing. Both parties may cross-examine witnesses unless the opposing party is acting as a witness. If this is the case, then questioning must be done indirectly through the Conduct Officer or Chair of the board. Members of the hearing board may also question witnesses, as well as the opposing parties. The report from the Title IX investigation will be presented to the board as well for consideration. The Chief Conduct Officer, along with both parties, will be permitted to make closing statements. Following the closing statements, the hearing will be closed and the board will deliberate. Decisions will be made using the standard of a preponderance of the evidence.
At hearings, students are permitted the assistance and presence of an advisor. Sexual misconduct allegations have far reaching consequences that can severely and negatively impact a student's academic and professional goals. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout the hearing process. Attorneys can provide students with specialized defensive courtroom knowledge that can impact the outcome of a hearing. In addition, students may face additional consequences from the initial reporting of the sexual misconduct at Mansfield University; should anything arise, an attorney will be able to help them through these potential consequences.
Appeals at Mansfield University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students will be entitled to an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within ten (10) days following the decision. The grounds for appeal are whether the decision is in accordance with the facts, procedural errors, inappropriate sanctions, or new information.