Villanova University enforces a Sexual Misconduct Policy that prohibits all acts of sexual misconduct within its student body. The policy is upheld and enforced by the University's Title IX Coordinator. Sexual misconduct violations are of a much higher degree of seriousness than standard misconduct violations; because of this, when a violation occurs, the University will handle its disciplinary process with greater scrutiny.
Villanova University Disciplinary Process
When a complaint is filed against a student for sexual misconduct, the University will launch an investigation. Investigations are done by the University's Department of Public Safety. Throughout the process, the student that initiated the complaint will be known as "complainant," while the student facing allegations will be known as "respondent." If the investigation gives the University cause to believe that the student poses a threat to the community, an interim suspension of the respondent is possible. Additional interim measures can also be imposed upon a respondent pending the outcome of the investigation.
Incidents will be resolved by one of the following methods: Administrative Action, an Administrative Review, or a Conduct Review Board hearing. Administrative Action is a resolution brought about by the respondent accepting responsibility for the charges against them. An Administrative Review is a brief hearing process where both parties meet with a designated Conduct Review Officer separately to present their supporting evidence, witnesses, and arguments. At any point, the officer may direct the matter to a review board, or after enough information has been heard, the officer will make a decision.
If the matter is directed to the review board, it will follow a much more formal process. Hearings are led by the Chair of the Review Board. The Chair will be an active participant in hearings, and direct the manner in which the hearing will proceed. There is no set schedule as to how hearings should proceed, however, both complainant and respondent will in theory be guaranteed certain rights at hearings, and ample time for presenting their own respective cases. Prior to hearings, both parties will have the ability to review the investigation summary, which will include witnesses and information to be presented. At hearings, both parties will have the opportunity to present support witnesses, who will be subject to the independent questioning of the Chair and other board members. In addition to this, complainant and respondent may suggest their own questions to the Chair, who will pose these questions to the witnesses. Once all pertinent information has been heard out, the board will close the hearing for deliberation. Decisions will be made by majority vote, with discussions using the standard of "more likely than not."
Students at hearings and throughout the investigative process are entitled to the assistance of an advisor of their own choosing. The University will regard allegations of sexual misconduct with the utmost severity if a student is found responsible. In addition to this, the mere reporting of sexual misconduct allegations can have a very serious and long-term negative effect on a student's professional and academic success. For this reason an attorney should be selected as an advisor to a student throughout these proceedings. Attorneys can offer helpful insight into courtroom strategies that can make a valuable impact on the outcome of the hearing. On top of this, should any adverse consequences follow the initial reporting or the hearing at Villanova University, an attorney will be able to guide a student through them.
Villanova University Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are offered two types of appeals. The first of which is an appeal for a new disciplinary proceeding. The grounds for appeal are a claim of procedural error, or new evidence to be considered. The second type of appeal is an appeal of the severity of sanction, which does not affect the outcome, but affects what sanction is justified.