Messiah College seeks to maintain an academic atmosphere free of any acts of sexual misconduct within its student body. The College upholds a Sexual Assault & Misconduct Policy that outlines what constitutes acts of sexual misconduct. The College also lists what disciplinary practices it will utilize in the event that a student faces allegations of sexual misconduct. These processes are separate from what the College uses to investigate acts of standard misconduct, and are subject to greater scrutiny.
Messiah College Sexual Misconduct Process
Once a student wishes to file a complaint of sexual misconduct, the University will begin its grievance process. A brief review of the report will be conducted to see if action is warranted under the Title IX sexual misconduct policy, and if so, whether the informal resolution process or the formal process should be used to resolve the incident. Throughout either process, the student that files the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student who faces the allegations will be known as the "respondent." Informal resolutions will involve mediation, with a philosophy focused on "working the matter out" rather than imposing disciplinary measures. Informal resolutions will not be used for incidents of sexual assault. When a formal resolution is to be used, the College will begin an investigation into the matter. Investigations will consist of meeting with both parties involved, and interviewing any witnesses.
A formal resolution will occur as necessary based on the results of the investigation. After meeting with the parties involved in the matter, and any witnesses they have suggested, the Associated Dean of Students, along with input from the Title IX Coordinator will make a decision using the standard of "a preponderance" of the evidence" that was obtained in the investigation.
Throughout the investigative process, students are entitled to the presence of an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations can carry severe consequences for students who are held responsible. The consequences of these allegations can drastically affect a student's academic and professional careers throughout their life. For this reason, it is critical for accused students to select an attorney to serve as their advisor. An attorney can ensure that a student's rights remain protected, and can help the student select valuable and convincing evidence and witnesses to present to the investigator. An attorney can also make sure that the integrity of the College's investigation and disciplinary process is upheld. In addition, should any adverse consequences arise from the initial reporting of the allegations at Messiah College, students can depend on an attorney to serve as a legal guide through these matters.
Appeals at Messiah College
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are entitled to make an appeal. Appeals are heard in private by a Review Board, however, the Review Board may elect to speak to the student as necessary. Appeals are to be submitted within five (5) business days of the written decision letter. The grounds for appeal are a procedural error, new evidence, or that the sanctions issued were too severe.