Mercyhurst University handles all instances of alleged sexual misconduct with utmost seriousness. The University utilizes its Title IX Policies And Procedures to resolve all reported incidents. The process for resolving these incidents is separate and distinct from the one used for incidents of standard misconduct and is administered with greater seriousness.
Mercyhurst University Title IX Procedures
The process for resolving complaints of sexual misconduct will begin once a report is received by the Title IX Coordinator. Once the complaint is reviewed, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator to handle the case. Throughout the investigation and resolution processes, the student that files the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student facing allegations will be known as "respondent." If the University finds it appropriate, at any time during the investigation the respondent may be met with interim measures to prevent interference with the investigation or to ensure the safety of the complainant. This can include changes in classes, residence, or even a temporary suspension while the investigation proceeds. Once the investigation phase is complete, a report will be forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator that summarizes the investigation. The Title IX Coordinator will use this report to determine an appropriate course of action.
If the Title IX Coordinator decides that the matter will be directed to a hearing, it will take place in front of a lone Administrator, or in front of a Hearing Panel. Complainants may make the request to elevate the matter to the decision of a Hearing Panel. Hearings will flow with a general agenda. First, the complainant will make a statement, followed by a brief period of questioning of the complainant by the board panel or administrator. The complainant will then make a final statement. The respondent will undergo a similar process. Next, witnesses will be presented and questioned, and the investigator will clarify any outstanding questions. After this, the board panel or administrator will close the hearing, unless any further clarification is needed from the complainant or respondent. The hearing authority will then deliberate and make a decision. Decisions are made using the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
Students are allowed an advocate at their side throughout a hearing. Sexual misconduct allegations are treated very seriously and can result in long-term negative consequences for students. The mere reporting can impact their future goals. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advocate throughout proceedings. An attorney can ensure a student's rights remain protected throughout the process. In addition, if any adverse consequences arise after the reporting of the allegations at Mercyhurst University, an attorney will be able to walk students through this process.
Appeals at Mercyhurst University
If the hearing results in an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals must be made on the grounds of a procedural error, new evidence, or disproportionate sanctioning. Written appeals must be submitted within seven (7) days of the hearing decision.