Handling Incidents of Sexual Misconduct at the University of Scranton
The University of Scranton takes all incidents of sexual misconduct seriously and handles them through its Office of Equity and Diversity. The Title IX Coordinator heads the Office, and they are responsible for ensuring that proper processes for investigating and resolving such incidents are followed.
Initiation and Investigation
If a complaint of sexual misconduct is filed, the University commences with a Title IX inquiry. Throughout the investigation process, the person who initiated the complaint is known as the “complainant,” while the person who is subject to the complaint is called “respondent.” The investigation consists of an in-depth inquiry into the matter conducted by an investigator appointed by the Office of Equity and Diversity. During this process, interviews with relevant witnesses, respondents, and complainants are carried out.
Following conclusion of investigations, several resolutions may arise depending on evidence gathered by investigative teams. If sufficient evidence is obtained through investigations or after mediation via voluntary resolution process if necessary, investigators may present resolutions directly to respondents themselves. A determination panel may also review information provided during investigations to come up with resolutions based on “a preponderance of evidence.”
Support Persons during Process
During this entire process, affected students have rights to presence in meetings with investigators for support from individuals. Punishments for perpetrators can include expulsion from school which can cause long-term academic or professional impact on accused parties. These facts make it paramount for students to choose attorneys as support persons when facing such circumstances as lawyers will protect student’s rights while advising them concerning what steps they must take next.
In case students find outcome unfavorable during any stage, appeals options remain available within five (5) business days or when new information comes up concerning decisions made against them.
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Table 1: University of Scranton’s Investigation and Resolution Procedure
| **Procedure** | **Description** |
| — | — |
| Step 1 | A complaint of sexual misconduct is filed. |
| Step 2 | Commencement of Title IX inquiry. |
| Step 3 | Identification of Complainant and Respondent. |
| Step 4 | Conducting series of interviews with respondent, complainant, and witnesses by investigator appointed by Equity and Diversity Office. |
Table 2: Resolutions of Sexual Misconduct
| **Resolutions Types** | **Descriptions** |
| — | — |
| Direct Resolution via Investigators/ Voluntary Resolution Process (VRP) or Mediation | Investigator concludes findings from evidence obtained within the course of the investigation process with resolution being organised for accused offenders. In VRP situations, both respondent and complainant agree to mediate towards an understanding in lieu a Determination Panel without any compulsion to agree on anything they do not like. |
| Formal Resolution Process through a Determination Panel (DP) | Matters go to a formal resolution process if it deemed necessary after DP analyses all available information from investigators’ reports before coming up with decisions based on standard levels derived from “preponderance.”|
Table 3: Sex Misconduct Claims Appeals
| **Appeal Basis Classification Groupings** | **Explanations in Detail**|
| — | — |
| New findings/ Information provided late during initial trial or hearing stage which could impact personal determinations negatively.| Affected students can immediately recourse to appeal procedures within five (5) business days when new data is found that could lessen harsh verdicts pronounced against them for this reason.|
|(i)Procedure errors noticed within trials or hearings that affect personal determinations unfairly; (ii)Sanctions given by adjudicators were excessive; or(iii)Decisions made are not sound with respect to evidence provided within trial or hearing’s scope.| Students can also protest verdicts through appeal procedures when issues noticed in classifying them improperly or giving inadequate punishments even after following the prescribed system diligently.|