Wilkes University handles all instances of sexual misconduct that arise within its student body through its Sexual Misconduct Policy. The University will take great scrutiny in handling investigations into sexual misconduct allegations. The instances are disciplined through a process that mirrors the University's process for standard misconduct violations, however, certain specific measures are taken due to the nature of the situation.
Wilkes University Sexual Misconduct Process
When a student reports sexual misconduct at Wilkes University, the University will begin its investigative and resolution process. Throughout the process, the student that initiates the report will be known as the "complainant," while the student that faces the allegations will be referred to as the "respondent." The University has a number of investigators that are assigned to sexual misconduct cases, and the University will launch an investigation into the matter after a Title IX complain is made. The investigation will typically consist of meetings with the complainant, respondent, and any relevant parties suggested. Both complainant and respondent are also required to give a written version of the events. The investigative team will assemble a final report, which will be used at the hearing. The report will be given to both parties in preparation for the hearing.
Hearings will be held and decided upon by the Administrative Committee on Sexual Misconduct. The Committee will be led by a Hearing Officer, who does not participate in the final vote and directs the order of the hearing. Both complainant and respondent will, in theory, have certain rights guaranteed. Both parties will be able to bring forward their own supporting witnesses. In addition, prior to the hearing, both parties are able to submit questions for the Hearing Officer to ask of the witnesses at the hearing, however, they are not to directly question one another. Hearings begin with both parties offering statements as to the allegations and investigation. Next, the committee with question both parties. Following this, witnesses will give testimony and will be questioned by the committee. Finally, both parties will give closing statements and the hearing will end for a period of deliberation. Decisions are made using the standard of "a preponderance of the evidence."
At hearings, students are permitted to be accompanied by an advisor. Sexual misconduct allegations will be taken very seriously by the University, and can seriously impact a student's academic and professional careers. For this reason, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor. In addition to protecting a student's interests throughout the Title IX investigation and disciplinary proceedings, an attorney can provide a wealth of knowledge regarding courtroom-tested methods of questioning witnesses that can strongly influence an outcome of a hearing. In addition to this, should any adverse consequences follow the initial allegations at Wilkes University, an attorney will be able to guide a student through these processes.
Appeals at Wilkes University
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students will be offered a chance to make an appeal of the hearing. Appeals must be submitted within five (5) academic days of the written notification of the outcome. The grounds for appeal are new evidence, procedural error, or an inappropriate sanction.