University of the Arts in Philadelphia takes issues of sexual misconduct within its student body very seriously. The University's Title IX Office upholds and enforces the University's policy against acts of sexual misconduct. The process used for disciplining acts of sexual misconduct mirrors the process the University uses for standard incidents of misconduct, however, certain measures apply due to the nature of these allegations.
University of the Arts Sexual Misconduct Process
The process for resolving instances of sexual misconduct begins when a complaint is filed with a University Official. The student who initiates the process will be known as the "complainant," while the student who faces the allegations will be known as the "respondent" throughout all proceedings. Once the complaint is reviewed, an investigation will be conducted to try to determine the facts of the incident. Investigations consist of meetings with the parties involved, and any witnesses. Both parties may also suggest witnesses or evidence to the investigator. During the investigation, the respondent may be imposed with certain interim actions from the University, if it is believed that the respondent poses a threat to the University community or may interfere with the investigation. These can include a rescheduling of classes, changes to residence, or even a temporary suspension during the investigation.
Hearings will be held and decided upon by the Campus Standards Board. The hearing will begin with all parties introducing themselves for the hearing. Next, the chair of the board will present the charges to the respondent. The complainant will then present their opening statement and basis for the case. The board will then question the complainant and respondent, and any witnesses. The respondent will also have the right to question witnesses that support the complainant. Next, the respondent will also have an opportunity to present their opening statement and supporting witnesses. The board and the complainant can question the respondent's witnesses. The board will then call any witnesses back for clarification, and then give both parties time for closing statements. Following this, the hearing will be close for deliberation. Decisions will be made using the standard of a preponderance of the evidence. Special considerations may be made for the complainant in sexual misconduct cases.
At hearings, students are permitted the help of an advisor, however, the advisor must be from the University community, unless criminal charges are involved. Incidents of sexual misconduct can very seriously affect a students future goals, with or without criminal charges being involved. For this reason, students should have an attorney working with them from behind the scenes at a minimum. An attorney's specialized knowledge of courtroom techniques for argument and questioning can be incredibly useful in a hearing and can greatly affect the outcome. In addition, an accused student's exposure to potential criminal and/or civil liability cannot be ignored. Because of this, an accused student should make sure their interests are protected throughout the University's Title IX investigation and disciplinary process, and this can be achieved through the advice, counsel, and as appropriate, advocacy, of an attorney experienced in such matters. In addition, if any adverse consequences follow the initial reporting of the allegations at University of the Arts, an attorney will be able to serve as a guide through these circumstances.
Appeals at University of the Arts
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals are to be submitted within two (2) business days of the decision. The grounds for appeal are improper procedures, misinterpretations of the violation, new evidence, excessive sanctions, or a decision unsupported by evidence.