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Survivors of Violence

  • Responses apply to university student conduct proceedings only. Questions regarding charges in civil or criminal court should be addressed to the district judge, borough police, or student legal services.

    Do I have to attend the hearing?

    As a survivor of a violent incident, you have the right to decide whether to appear as a witness at a student conduct hearing. Please understand that if you choose not to attend the hearing, the charge(s) against the accused student(s) may be dismissed because of insufficient evidence. The hearing outcome will be affected by the presence (or absence) of other witnesses and the strength of the case without your involvement.

    What will the hearing be like?

    At the start of the hearing, the accused student and the survivor will be introduced to the chairperson and the board members. The chairperson will then explain the purpose and procedures of the hearing. Next, the board members will introduce themselves. The accused student, referring party, and survivor of violence (you) will then be asked if he/she objects to any of the board members serving on the case.

    Survivors of violence have the right to observe the entire hearing proceeding(s) except the deliberation of the case, or can choose to wait outside the hearing until asked to speak as a witness. The hearing officer/student conduct board chairperson will ask for your preference at the start of the hearing. Remember that the accused student has the right to “face” you. Both you and the accused student will need to be respectful as you give statements and respond to questions.

    Next, the accused student will be asked to plead either “in violation,” “not in violation,” or “no plea” to the charge(s) against him/her. The referring party will provide his/her knowledge of the incident. Board members, the chairperson, the referring party, the accused student(s), and you will have the opportunity to ask questions. Witnesses, other than the alleged victim(s) of violence, will be asked to leave at the conclusion of their statement.

    The accused student will then be given the opportunity to provide a statement. The board members, referring party, and you may then ask the student questions. It is not mandatory that the accused student provide a statement or answer the questions, but s/he is encouraged to do so. To conclude the hearing, the referring party, the accused student, and you will be given an opportunity to make a final statement to the conduct board. When the hearing is over, the chairperson will give the accused student a time and place to meet with him/her to learn the results of the hearing. The chairperson will also arrange to inform you of the hearing outcome.

    Everyone except the board members and chairperson will leave the room. Board members will then review all information and make a decision. If it is determined that the accused student has violated a university policy, the student conduct board will decide on the sanction(s). All materials in a student’s conduct file shall be used in determining the appropriate sanction(s). Both you and the accused student will be informed of the board’s decision, the rationale for the decision, and any sanction(s) imposed by the chairperson within thirty calendar days.

    Can I have an advisor with me throughout the hearing?

    Yes. An advisor may be present at a hearing to provide support for an alleged survivor of violence, a witness, and the accused student. An advisor may be any individual you choose (including, but not limited to) a friend, student, IUP administrator, family member, or attorney. S/he may consult and interact privately with you during the student conduct proceedings. The advisor is not permitted to represent you. If the advisor does not act within the limitations as outlined, the hearing officer/student conduct board chairperson will request that s/he comply or remove herself/himself from the hearing. Only one advisor is permitted per accused student, witness, and alleged victim of violence.

    Will I be told the outcome of the hearing?

    Yes. You will be notified of the hearing outcome at the same time as the accused student is notified.

    Do I have the right to appeal the hearing decision?

    Yes. You, the referring party, and the accused student may appeal a hearing outcome in writing citing one or more of the following reasons: procedural error that likely impacted the hearing outcome; new information which was not available at the time of the hearing; and/or inappropriate sanctions that resulted in loss of eligibility to live in and/or visit university-owned/operated housing, stayed suspension, and/or expulsion. Appeals must be in writing, must specify reason(s) for the appeal, and must be received by the vice president for Student Affairs, within ten (10) calendar days following notification of the hearing decision. The vice president for Student Affairs may deny the appeal, accept the appeal and amend the hearing outcome, or reduce or increase the severity of the sanction, reopen the case with the original conduct board, or require that the case be reheard by a new conduct board. In the event an appeal is filed, the referring party, the accused student, and you will be informed of the appeal decision.

    What should I do if the accused student or witnesses threaten me before or after the hearing?

    If you are harassed or threatened at any time, contact the University Police at 724-357-2141, immediately for assistance.

    Can I file criminal charges against the accused student?

    Yes. Contact University Police or Borough Police immediately for assistance.

    What campus/community resources exist to provide support to me?

    You can contact the Counseling Center at 724-357-2621 or, in the Indiana community, the Alice Paul House at
    724-349-4444 (hotline answers twenty-four hours a day). Survivors of violence are also encouraged to contact the HAVEN Project at 724-357-4799.