Peirce College does not tolerate acts of sexual misconduct within its student body. The College upholds a Sexual Violence Policy within its College Catalog that addresses what constitutes sexual misconduct, and what actions the College will take against students who are found to be in violation of the policy. The policies used for taking action against sexual misconduct mirror those used for standard acts of misconduct, however, certain special conditions may apply due to the nature of these allegations.
Sexual Misconduct Policy at Peirce College
When a report is filed for sexual misconduct, the College will begin its process under the Student Disciplinary System. The first step in the process is a written notification sent to the student regarding their alleged misconduct. The Assistant Dean will also meet with the student to provide an opportunity to discuss these charges, as well as the Student Disciplinary System as a whole. The College will use an investigative resolution process to make decisions on a students "guilt" for the allegations. The investigation process will consist of separate interviews with all affected parties, and any witnesses suggested. The student facing these allegations will be given an opportunity to respond and present their own supporting information, witnesses, and evidence at any meetings or interviews with the investigator. Prior to any decisions being made, the student will have a chance to review the investigation and offer a response to the investigation, which will be taken into account in the final investigation. The College also reserves the authority to impose certain interim measures on students who are deemed to pose a threat to the College community and activities. The most common measure to be taken is a suspension from participating in College activity and appearing on campus.
Sexual misconduct allegations can carry very serious penalties. The mere reporting of these allegations can have a severe impact on a student's academic and professional goals, and a finding of responsibility can have life-altering consequences. Despite this unfortunate reality, Peirce College only allows the accused student to have one person who has had no formal legal training to accompany them throughout the disciplinary process. Peirce College is one of the few Pennsylvania schools that limit an accused student's right to be directly advised by an attorney during campus sexual misconduct disciplinary proceedings (in the sense of being able to accompany and advise an accused student in person at any administrative or investigative meetings or hearings regarding the allegations).
Most colleges and universities, not just in Pennsylvania, but nationwide, recognize what is at stake for a student accused of sexual misconduct. Because of this unfortunate reality for the accused student, and despite the limited rights afforded to the accused student by the nature of a campus disciplinary proceeding itself, most colleges and universities allow a student to be directly advised by an attorney when, for example, allegations of sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or sexual violence are made against a student. For Peirce College to charge a student with extremely serious sexual offenses to be adjudicated in a campus disciplinary setting and to limit a student to receive advice and counsel from someone who has had "no formal legal training" is contrary to reason; despite any arguable policy considerations that may be suggested to the contrary.
In light of Peirce College's policy, however, accused students must obtain counsel from an attorney who protects a student's interests from behind the scenes, at an absolute minimum. Even from behind the scenes, an attorney will be able to make sure that a student's rights are being protected throughout the investigation, and can help students select valuable and convincing evidence to present to the investigators. An attorney will also be able to make sure that the integrity of the Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceedings is upheld. In addition, should any adverse consequences arise from the reporting of these allegations at Peirce College, an attorney can serve as a legal guide to a student through these matters.
Appeals at Peirce College
In the event of an unfavorable outcome from an investigation, students may make an appeal. Appeals are to be submitted within seven (7) days. The grounds for appeal are new information, evidence that the disciplinary system violated, or an argument regarding an overly harsh sanction.