The University of Pittsburgh, or as it is locally known, "Pitt," has a specific set of guidelines for Sexual Misconduct offenses. The process for reporting and administering sexual misconduct charges is located within the University's Code of Conduct.
Sexual Misconduct Process and Procedures at Pitt
Complaints are reported to the University's Title IX coordinator. Complaints may also be reported anonymously as well. When a student alleges violations against another individual, they will be known as a complainant. The person facing allegations will be known as the respondent in all Code of Conduct Procedures. When a report is issued against a respondent, the respondent may be subjected to certain interim measures from the University, such as a "no contact order" or changes in classes or residence to prevent interaction with the complainant. In some instances, a respondent can be subject to an interim suspension pending further action.
Complainants may sometimes seek an informal resolution process that allows resolution without invoking the University's disciplinary policy. Instead, a Title IX Specialist assigned by the University will be in contact with both parties, separately, and propose solutions. However, it is important to remember that just because the situation begins with informal resolution, the complainant may instead to decide to pursue resolution through the formal disciplinary measures available from the University.
Formal resolutions will be initiated when the complainant initiates a formal complaint against the respondent. The first step in the process is an investigation. The University will appoint an Investigator for the case, who is dedicated to instances of Sexual Misconduct. After the investigation has concluded, both parties will be invited separately to the Title IX Office to review the summary of the investigation. Both parties may then present any objections, supporting evidence or witness testimony to help their own respective cases. These must be submitted within 5 business days after the first meeting. After 5 business days have passed without comment, or after all possible relevant information has been heard, the Investigator will then conclude and report the findings to the Title IX Coordinator, who will make the decision of whether or not a violation has occurred, and if so, what sanctions are appropriate.
Both parties are entitled to an advisor or a supporting individual throughout the process. Having an attorney serving as advisor is not only incredibly beneficial, but it is of critical importance. An attorney's counsel can be invaluable at all stages of this process. Students who have received an attorney's counsel and advice will carry courtroom techniques and strategies into their hearings. Knowledge of methods of evidence presentation and argument can be immensely effective at a student's hearing. This can mean the difference between a successful resolution to Title IX charges, or a finding of responsibility with attendant sanctions and consequences. An attorney will also be able to advise and counsel regarding any related issues that may result from the allegations made in the University setting.
University of Pittsburgh Appeal
In the event of an unfavorable outcome from the University, students are offered a chance to make an appeal. Appeals must be submitted within five business days of the date of the decision letter. There are no specific grounds for appeal, but the issues regarding a student's desire for an appellate review must be outlined, addressed and cited in clear language.