Swarthmore College handles incidents of sexual misconduct within its student body with swiftness and potential severity. The College upholds a Sexual Assault & Harassment Policy that outlines what is deemed sexual misconduct, as well has how incidents of sexual misconduct will be disciplined by the College. The process used for disciplining acts of sexual misconduct is separate from what the College uses for incidents of standard misconduct. The process will be overseen by the College's Title IX Coordinator.
Swarthmore College Sexual Misconduct Process
When a complaint about sexual misconduct is filed with a College official, it will be referred to and assessed by the Title IX Coordinator. Throughout the process, the student who files the complaint will be known as the "complainant," while the student who faces allegations will be known as the "respondent." A brief assessment meeting will be held with the complainant to determine how to proceed and whether the complaint falls under Title IX sexual misconduct. The respondent may face certain interim measures if the College deems that they pose a potential threat to the investigative process, the College community, or directly to the complainant. These measures can include contact restrictions, PFA orders (through the Delaware County Court of Common Pleas), changes in scheduling or housing, or even a temporary leave from the College. The College will also launch an investigation into the matters. Investigators will be appointed by the Title IX Coordinator. Investigations will include interviews with both parties, and any witnesses suggested by them. After the investigation has concluded, a final report will be created and forwarded to the Title IX Coordinator, who will determine what method for resolution is appropriate.
Title IX Resolutions
There are two types of resolutions that the Title IX Coordinator may suggest, depending on the circumstances. The first type is an Administrative Hearing. These hearings are held by the College's student conduct administrator, and both parties must agree to resolution in this manner. These hearings are typically utilized when a respondent has already admitted to the misconduct. The other type of hearing is a hearing resolved by an external adjudicator. These hearings are decided upon by a neutral person outside of the College who will decide the hearing.
Respondents are entitled to the presence of an adviser at their hearings. Prior to hearings, both parties will be given access to the investigative report to prepare. At hearings, the adjudicator will lead the process. All questioning at the hearing is to be done indirectly, through the adjudicator. Hearings will begin with the investigator summarizing the investigation. Next, the complainant will present their opening statement, followed by questions from the adjudicator and respondent. Following this stage, the respondent will present their opening statement, and face questioning from the adjudicator and complainant. Following this stage, the phase for witness and evidence presentation will begin. All witnesses and evidence are subject to questioning from the adjudicator and both parties. The adjudicator will then pose any additional questions. After this, both parties will present their closing statement and the hearing will conclude. The adjudicator will make a decision based on the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
At hearings, students are entitled to the presence of an advisor. Due to the very serious consequences that can follow sexual misconduct allegations, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor. An attorney will have specialized courtroom knowledge that can great assist students in their hearings. Attorneys will also be able to ensure that a student's rights are protected throughout the Title IX investigation and disciplinary process, as well as guide students through any additional consequences that may follow the reporting of the allegations at Swarthmore College.
Swarthmore College Appeals
If the hearing results in an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within three (3) business days of the outcome. The grounds for appeal are procedural error, new evidence or disproportionate sanctions.