Robert Morris University resolves all instances of sexual misconduct that arise within its student body through its Title IX Procedures. The procedures are outlined, upheld, and enforced by the University's Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. The University employs a process for enforcing discipline on students that face allegations of sexual misconduct similar to the one used for standard misconduct, though some special measures and greater scrutiny may apply. This process relies on the Title IX Coordinator, as well as the Vice President of Student Life to determine outcomes for students.
Robert Morris University Sexual Misconduct Process
The process for administering disciplinary action for sexual misconduct begins when a complaint is filed with the Title IX Coordinator. Throughout the process, the student who initiates the complaint will be known throughout the process as the "complainant," while the student facing accusations will be known as the "respondent." When a complaint is filed, it will be reviewed by the Title IX Coordinator to see if it warrants further action under the Sexual Misconduct Process. During this review, the Title IX Coordinator may find it appropriate to impose certain interim measures on the accused student, if it is believed that the student poses any sort of threat of interference or harm to the complainant and the investigation process. These measures may include the rescheduling of classes, relocation, and possible suspension if deemed necessary.
Investigation and Hearing
If the incident is to be handled by the sexual misconduct process, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator to handle the gathering of facts related to the incident. Investigations will typically consist of separate interviews with the complainant, respondent, and any pertinent or suggested witnesses. Following the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator and the investigator will put together a report to decide whether a hearing will be necessary.
Sexual Misconduct hearings will be held and decided upon by a Hearing Panel. Hearings do not have a typical or outlined scheduled order for proceeding, instead, they will proceed according to the direction of the Hearing Panel. Though the Hearing panel conducts the flow of the hearing, both complainant and respondent are in theory to be given specific rights throughout the process. Both parties are entitled to the ability to indirectly question one another by way of suggesting questions to the hearing panel. In addition to this, they may do the same for questioning witnesses. Once all relevant information and testimony has been heard, the panel will close the hearing in order to deliberate. Decisions are made using the standard of "a preponderance of evidence."
At all stages of the process, students are entitled to the presence of an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations are treated with the utmost seriousness at Robert Morris University. These allegations can cause long-term harm on a student's future goals in academia or as a professional. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout this process. An attorney can ensure a student's rights are protected at investigative interviews, and provide strong defensive advice at the hearing stage. In addition, should any adverse consequences result from the initial reporting at Robert Morris University, an attorney can guide the student through these circumstances.
Appeals at Robert Morris University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal of the decision. Appeals are to be submitted within ten (10) calendar days of receiving the outcome letter. Appeals must be on the grounds of new, relevant evidence, or procedural inadequacies.