Being accused of sexual assault, sexual harassment, rape, or any other form of sexual misconduct at the University of Rochester is a Title IX violation that your school must resolve. If you are found “responsible” for this conduct, you could be exposed to pretty serious repercussions that could jeopardize your plans to graduate.
For the purposes of this article, we'll provide details about the University of Rochester's disciplinary process and why you need an attorney-advisor if you find yourself in this predicament.
The University of Rochester's Disciplinary Process
Under Title IX, the University of Rochester is required to adjudicate any cases of sexual misconduct brought to the institution's attention. The Department of Education urges compliant higher education institutions like the University of Rochester to respond to these accusations in a manner that is prompt and effective. If the school fails to do so, its federal funding is at stake. Complainants (the reporter of the complaint) and especially respondents (the person accused of sexual misconduct) should understand that their school will approach their case with the utmost seriousness, and each party should follow suit.
The Initial Meeting
When a complaint alleging sexual misconduct is filed, a judicial officer will reach out to a respondent and schedule an initial meeting. During this meeting, the student will be able to share his or her account of the incident and determine whether or not they will accept responsibility for the possible policy violation.
Pre-Hearing Conference Meeting
If a student denies the responsibility of the alleged misconduct, a pre-hearing conference meeting will be held. At this conference, a respondent will be informed of the date, time, and location of the hearing, which is usually set no less than two weeks from the initial meeting. A judicial officer will also explain the hearing process in detail and answer any question parties have during the pre-hearing conference meeting.
A hearing can be conducted in several different fashions: by video conference, in a private room, or by phone. Regardless of how a hearing is conducted, complainants and respondents are prohibited from communicating directly to each other or seeing each other. Hearings are typically headed by the judicial officer and a University administrator.
Ultimately, the goal of a hearing is to determine - based on the preponderance of evidence - whether a violation occurred and the appropriate sanction(s) for a finding of responsibility.
After a hearing, a decision will be made. The judicial officer will communicate the decision to the complainant and respondent in a post-hearing meeting so that both sides thoroughly understand what is going on. The officer will then share information about how to submit an appeal.
Complainants and respondents are given an opportunity to appeal to bring light to overlooked, exceptional, or unfair circumstances pertinent to the case. A student has seven calendar days to file an appeal. Appeals are heard by a panel comprised of three staff members. The only grounds on which an appeal can be made are:
- The sanction was not appropriate
- New information now exists that wasn't previously available at the time of the hearing and this information is sufficient enough to change the outcome of a decision
- A procedural error occurred during the Title IX process that was substantive enough to alter the decision
Both parties will receive a written decision from the appeal panel. The panel may uphold or modify the decision and/or the sanction (if applicable), or the case may be referred back to the original hearing board or a new hearing board for a new or further hearing.
New York Title IX Attorney
If you've been accused of sexual misconduct at the University of Rochester, you can choose anyone to be your advisor in the Title IX process. It would be in your best interest to choose an attorney who can help you effectively navigate the process and build a solid defense for you. Contact attorney Joseph D. Lento today for help.