West Chester University processes Title IX and Sexual Misconduct Violations through its Sexual Misconduct Policy. The policy is upheld and enforced by the University's Title IX Coordinator/Social Equity Director. The policy prohibits all acts of sexual harassment, discrimination, and violence within the University community. When a student violates this policy, they will be subjected to the University's Sexual Harassment Complaint Procedure.
The Sexual Misconduct Complaint Procedure at WCU
The complaint process begins when a complaint is filed against an individual. Complaints are processed through the office of the Title IX Coordinator. Complaints can be resolved through a formal resolution process. When a student files a complaint they will be known as the "complainant," while the student who is the subject of the complaint is known simply as "the accused." While complaints are being resolved, the accused may be subjected to certain interim action from the University, such as having to change their class schedule or residence area; an interim suspension may also be imposed in certain instances.
Formal Complaint Process
First, either the University or the complainant will file a formal complaint through the Title IX Coordinator's office. Next, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the accused to discuss the overall process for resolving Title IX complaints. Once the formal complaint is filed, the University will appoint a "fact finder" who will investigate the complaint and all parties involved. The investigation may result in a finding of insufficient evidence to warrant a finding of sexual misconduct, however, the Title IX Coordinator may still convene a Conduct Board if it is believed that there may still be reasonable cause to believe that sexual misconduct has occurred. At hearings, the complainant will present their case first, including witnesses and evidence. Following this, both the Conduct Board and the accused will have a chance to question the complainant and their witnesses, however, the accused must submit questions to the Conduct Board for the Board to determine appropriateness. After this, the accused may respond to charges with their own evidence and witnesses. The Conduct Board and complainant will then question the accused. Following this, the complainant and accused may be given time to make brief closing statements and rebuttals. Finally, the Conduct Board will retire to deliberate. The standard of decision making will be a "preponderance of the evidence."
Student are entitled to an advisor. Sexual misconduct allegations are very serious and can carry drastic and long-term consequences for students who are held responsible under a University's Title IX policy. Because there is so much at stake, this advisor should be an attorney. An attorney can bring courtroom tactics into a University hearing, which can give a student a useful edge in front of the University Conduct Board. Skills such as cross-examination and effective argument construction can greatly affect the outcome of a hearing. In addition to this, an attorney will also be able to guide a student from any adverse consequences that may stem from the initial filing of the complaint with West Chester University.
Appeals at West Chester University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students may make an appeal. Appeals must be made within 5 business days of the outcome of the hearing. The grounds for appeal are a violation of conduct procedure, overly severe sanctions, lack of substantial evidence to support the outcome or new evidence.