Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, also known as PCOM, takes all instances of sexual misconduct that arise within its student body very seriously. The College upholds a Title IX policy to address and discipline instances of sexual misconduct that are reported to College officials. The process used for instances of sexual misconduct is different than that used for instances of standard misconduct, and greater scrutiny will be applied.
PCOM Title IX Procedures
The process for resolving sexual misconduct begins when a report is submitted to a PCOM official. Complaints of this nature will always make their way to the Title IX Office for a full review. Throughout the process, the student that initiated the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student who is facing the allegations will be known as the "respondent." The College has a policy prohibiting any form of retaliation against complainants and may impose interim measures to ensure that this does not take place. This can include rescheduling of classes, or a temporary suspension from College participation. Once a complaint is processed, the Title IX office opens an investigation to determine if formal resolutions are necessary, and to also obtain facts pertaining to the incident. An Alternative Dispute Resolution process is available in certain situations, and will normally feature guided mediation, and restorative measures. This is not available for allegations of sexual assault.
In a Formal Resolution process, the respondent will first be asked to attend a preliminary meeting to discuss the process and review the complaint. After the meeting, a sexual misconduct board hearing will take place. The hearing agenda is set by the board, however, the complainant and respondent will, in theory, be guaranteed certain rights. Both sides may bring supporting witnesses. In addition, respondents may respond to all claims against them to an appropriate degree. The board will determine whether or not a violation has taken place using the standard of a "preponderance of evidence."
At hearings, students are permitted to be accompanied by an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations are particularly serious circumstances. The mere reporting of these allegations can cause very long-term negative consequences on a student's academic and professional goals. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout the investigative and hearing process. An attorney can provide students with specialized courtroom knowledge and tactics that can make a major impact in a hearing and can protect a student's interests throughout the Title IX disciplinary process. In addition, if any adverse consequences follow the initial reporting of the allegations at Philadelphia College of Medicine, an attorney can serve as a guide to students through these potential resulting consequences.
Appeals at PCOM
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students can make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) business days of the outcome. The grounds for appeal are procedural error, new evidence, a claim of a lack of substantial information for the decision, or a claim of an overly severe sanction.