Q. What happens if I choose to pursue the matter through the University's judicial system. How does that work?
A. The process begins with a report being filed with the Campus Police Department. They will meet with you to file your report, conduct a thorough investigation, interview anyone involved, collect statements, and ultimately provide the Dean of Students with a final report. Once a report is given to the Dean of Students a determination is made if enough information is available to hold a hearing.
Q. A hearing? Who will be part of the hearing?
A. The hearing will be conducted by the University's Sexual Misconduct Board and chaired by the Dean of Students (unless you choose another Chair, which is your right). The Sexual Misconduct Board is specifically trained to handle matters such as these in a sensitive, professional manner consistent with all laws and University policies pertaining to sexual misconduct. Although we have trained as many as 10-12 faculty and staff members only five will serve on your hearing panel.
Q. Are there any students on the Sexual Misconduct Board?
A. No. Although sexual misconduct cases have been adjudicated with student participation in the past that is no longer our practice, which is consistent with federal regulations and current best practices. Only trained faculty and staff members serve on the Sexual Misconduct Board.
Q. What options do I have available if I want to do this anonymously?
A. There are three options for handling the matter on campus through our disciplinary process.
- Have the case go through the Sexual Misconduct Board with your cooperation and participation
- Have the case go through the Sexual Misconduct Board with your cooperation but handled anonymously
- Have the case go through the Sexual Misconduct Board without your cooperation and handled anonymously
Q. How will I be anonymous?
A. You would be anonymous to the Board members but obviously not to the accused student.
Q. What does option number 3 mean? How can you go to the board without my cooperation and anonymously?
A. Although rare, the university reserves the right to choose option 3, when appropriate, and pursue the case against another student without your participation if the alleged violation is considered particularly egregious and/or if the other student is believed to be a potential threat to the University community. However, without your cooperation, our ability to pursue an appropriate disciplinary process will be limited. Any decision to proceed without your cooperation would be made by a committee including the AVP for Campus Safety & Security, Dean of Students, and our Lead Title IX Coordinator.
Q. Can I choose who participates in my hearing?
A. Not exactly. You can ask for witnesses to be present and they will be called, at the discretion of the Hearing Board, if their testimony is germane and relevant to the case. Also, although you can ask for a faculty or staff member to NOT participate in your hearing because you perceive the potential for some bias, you may NOT determine who does serve.
Q. Will I have to face the student who I am charging?
A. No. The Queens judicial system is a non-adversarial system and students enter and exit the room alone. The only persons in the room will be the Chair, five board members, yourself and one other person of your choosing to support you.
Q. So I can bring someone in with me for support?
A. Yes. You can bring one individual to serve as a support person but this individual may not participate or address the Board in any manner. This individual can be from the campus community or from the community. But again the person may not participate in any manner.
Q. Will the Board have read the case file prior to the hearing?
Q. Do I get to read the entire file, including other witness statements and the campus Police report?
Q. Can I make copies of the file and read it in my room?
A. No. Nobody may leave the Dean of Students Office with your file, including you. The file is confidential and may not be removed for your protection and rights to privacy as well as those of others involved in the case.
Q. What happens during the hearing?
A. You will be issued an oath to confirm you will tell the truth to the best of your ability and then everyone will introduce themselves. You will have an opportunity for an opening statement and then questions will be asked by board members. When questioning is completed you will have an opportunity for a closing statement.
Q. Is this the same process for the accused?
Q. What happens after the Board has heard from everyone?
A. Once the Board has heard from everyone they will deliberate on whether the accused student is responsible or not.
Q. What criteria does the board use for determining whether or not the other student is responsible or not?
A. The criteria used is "More likely than not." This criteria is consistent with all other judicial matters on campus and with federal regulations and best practices.
Q. So it is different than a court of law?
A. Yes. We are not a court of law.
Q. What happens if the student is found responsible?
A. If the Board determines the student is responsible they will then deliberate on an appropriate sanction.
Q. Is it possible the student could be suspended, dismissed, or expelled?
A. Each case is unique and the sanction will be determined based on the facts. With that said, cases involving findings of responsibility for sexual assault and rape often times end in suspension, dismissal, or expulsion. Cases involving harassment or creating a hostile or intimidating environment can also end in such a sanction depending upon the severity, pervasiveness, and substance of the behavior. Queens is committed to ending sexual violence on campus and takes such accusations seriously.
Q. May I specifically ask for a sanction?
A. Yes. However, the ultimate decision is made by the Sexual Misconduct Hearing Board. They are trained and experienced in such matters and while your opinion will be taken seriously and into account it is their obligation to enforce policies on campus.
Q. Does the other student have a right to appeal?
Q. Do I have the right to appeal?
Q. What are the grounds for appeal?
A. The grounds for appeal are located in the Honor Code booklet. However, there are three potential grounds for appeal: error in procedural process; new evidence that has come to light that could not have been known previously; any sanction of suspension, dismissal, or expulsion.
Q. What if I am just not satisfied with the outcome or the other student is found not responsible. Can I appeal then?
A. No. The only grounds for appeal are listed above.
Q. What happens if the case goes to an Appeal Board?
A. Any case meeting the criteria for an appeal will be sent to the University's Appeals Board. The decision concerning the scope of the appeal will be determined by the Appeals Board Chair in consultation with the Dean of Students. This decision will be based on the grounds for appeal and may, at the discretion of the Appeals Board Chair and Dean of Students, be limited to the verdict, sanction, or both and may or may not necessitate the entire case being reheard by the Appeals Board.
Q. Who will help me through this process?
A. The Dean of Students is available at any time to help navigate the judicial process. If you would like, the Dean of Students can appoint someone to help you prepare for the hearing. And as always there are numerous faculty and staff members available to support you emotionally through every step of your healing.