William Paterson University takes a firm stance on incidents of sexual misconduct that arise within its student body. These incidents are prohibited under the University's Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Policy. The policy sets forth specific examples of prohibited conduct that will be pursued under the University's Disciplinary Procedures in the Student Code Of Conduct. Greater scrutiny and oftentimes harsher punishments are often applied in cases of sexual misconduct.
William Paterson University Disciplinary Procedures
When a complaint regarding sexual misconduct is generated, the University will begin an investigative process. The student who initiated the report will be known as the "reporting student," while the student facing allegations will be known as the "responding student." A brief initial investigation will be held to gather facts and information, as well as establish who are the eye-witnesses for the case. At times, if a student is believed to present a "clear and present danger" to the University community, the University may impose certain restrictions on that student. These can include relocation from housing, or removal from campus altogether.
Following the investigation, the University will decide what level of hearing is appropriate for the incident. The University Hearing Board will be convened for serious violations, while lesser violations will constitute a hearing with a lone Hearing Officer. Due to the nature of sexual misconduct allegations, many times a hearing board will be convened. Both the reporting student and the responding student will be given information prior to the hearing regarding the full formal charges and names of witnesses. At hearings, the process will move forward according to the direction of the board or officer. Both parties will be given time to speak to defend themselves of the charges, and time to present their own supporting witnesses and evidence. Special accommodations may be made for sexual misconduct cases.
Students are permitted to have the presence of an advisor at all hearings. Allegations of sexual misconduct are treated with a high degree of seriousness by the University. On top of this, these allegations can have long lasting negative consequences on a student's academic and professional goals. Because of this, students should select an attorney to serve as their advisor. An attorney can offer a student insight into courtroom tactics, such as cross-examination and proper argument. These methods can make a very serious impact on the outcome of a hearing. Attorneys can also ensure that a student's rights are protected through the disciplinary process. In addition, should any adverse consequences stem from the initial reporting at William Paterson University, an attorney will be able to guide students through these issues.
William Paterson University Appeals
In the event of an unfavorable outcome, students are given the chance to make an appeal. Appeals must be made within five business days of receiving the outcome. The grounds for appeal are disproportionate sanctions, a procedural error, or new information to be considered.