Thomas Jefferson University upholds a policy prohibiting acts of sexual misconduct within its student body. The University's Student Sexual Misconduct Policy outlines what is considered a violation of the policy, as well as what measures the University takes as far as prevention and discipline are concerned. Instances of sexual misconduct have their own process for resolution, that is similar in nature to standard misconduct, however, greater scrutiny is applied.
Sexual Misconduct at Thomas Jefferson University
The process for resolving instances of sexual misconduct at Thomas Jefferson University begins with the initiation of a report against a student when it is claimed by another student that sexual misconduct has occurred. The student who initiated the report will be known throughout the procedures as the "accuser," while the student facing allegations will be known as the "accused." The University may take certain steps to ensure that the accuser is protected if the accused exhibits any conduct that can be construed as threatening or interfering with the Title IX investigation. This can include rescheduling of classes, suspension of the accused, or even assistance with filing a PFA or a"no contact" order with the state of Pennsylvania. The University will also launch an investigation into the matter at hand. Investigations usually begin with a series of interviews with the parties involved and grow to include any witnesses suggested or uncovered as the process moves forward. At the applicable time, the University will determine if a hearing is necessary, or if action should be taken at all.
Sexual Misconduct Hearings
Hearings will either be held by an Administrator or the University's Judicial Board, depending on the situation. Hearings will proceed with the Administrator or Board leading and adjudicating the hearing. At hearings, the accused is permitted the right to present witnesses on their behalf to support their case. Questions of relevance for evidence and witnesses will be left at the discretion of the hearing authority for the case. Certain measures for the hearing may apply to sexual misconduct cases, should the accuser desire, however, final decisions on the matter are up to the University. Once it has been decided that enough information has been heard, the hearing authority will close the hearing and begin a deliberations phase. Decisions in sexual misconduct cases will be made using the standard of "a preponderance of evidence."
Students who face sexual misconduct allegations are permitted the presence of an advisor at their hearings. Sexual misconduct allegations are particularly serious in nature and will be handled with a higher degree of care by the University. The mere allegations themselves are enough to cause significant negative impacts on a student's life. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor throughout these hearings. An attorney will be able to provide a student with support and counsel throughout the process and through any further consequences that may arise after the allegations are reported to Thomas Jefferson University.
Appeals at Thomas Jefferson University
In the event of an unfavorable hearing outcome, students are offered a chance to make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within ten (10) business days of the outcome letter. The grounds for appeal are a denial of due process or new evidence for consideration