Saint Francis University takes incidents of sexual misconduct that arise on its campus or within its student body with a high degree of seriousness. The University upholds a Sexual Misconduct Policy that states what is considered an act of sexual misconduct, as well as what steps the University will take to resolve incidents of alleged sexual misconduct. These processes are separate from the processes used to resolve instances of standard misconduct and are subject to a higher level of scrutiny.
Saint Francis University Sexual Misconduct Policy
The University will begin its investigation process for sexual misconduct allegations once a report is made to a University official. Reports are initially reviewed by the University Title IX Coordinator to see if action is warranted under the Title IX sexual misconduct policy. Throughout the disciplinary process, the student that files a complaint will be known as the "referring party," while the student who is the subject of the allegations will be known as the "referred party." Once it is determined that action under the sexual misconduct policy is warranted, the Title IX Coordinator will select an investigator to handle the case, and determine which path of resolution is best fit for the situation. The University offers a mediative "conflict resolution" process which does not administer disciplinary sanctions, but instead allows both parties to come to an agreeable solution, however, this process will not be used for incidents involving sexual assault or sexual violence. The other, formal, process is known as an "Incident Review," and will invoke a formal investigation and resolution process. If it is believed that an accused student presents a threat to the University community or the referring party, the University may impose certain interim measures on the accused student, such as temporary suspension for the duration of the resolution process.
The Incident Review process will be used for more serious violation, and will entail a formal investigation and administration of sanctions on a student found to be in violation. Investigations will consist of separate interview-oriented meetings with both parties. The parties may suggest their own supporting evidence and witnesses to provide to the investigator for consideration. After the investigation has concluded the investigators will meet once more with the parties before finalizing the report and making a decision. Decisions are made using the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
At meetings and throughout the investigation, students may be accompanied and assisted by an advisor of their own choosing. Sexual misconduct allegations are taken very seriously, and if an accused student is found responsible, will result in consequences that can have long-term negative effects on a student's academic and professional career. An additional consideration is that allegations alone can also greatly jeopardize an accused student's interests. For this reason, among others, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor during the investigative process. An attorney can ensure that a student's rights are protected throughout the process, and can also contribute indispensable insight on evidence for investigations and how sexual misconduct investigations must be approached. An attorney can also ensure that the integrity of the Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceedings is upheld. In addition, should any adverse consequences follow the initial reporting of the allegations at Saint Francis University, an attorney can serve as a legal guide.
Appeals at Saint Francis University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are offered a chance to make an appeal. Appeals are to be made within three (3) business days of the written outcome notification. The grounds for appeal are procedural error, new evidence, or a disproportionate sanction.