Grievance/Adjudication ProceduresJump to related links
After the Formal Complaint is filed and an the Investigation is complete, a Hearing Officer will be appointed by the Title IX Coordinator to oversee the hearing process and render a determination of responsibility for the allegations in the Formal Complaint, at the conclusion of the hearing process. The Title IX Coordinator will see that the hearing officer is provided a copy of the investigation report and a copy of all evidence transmitted to the parties by the investigator.
Please note, this page gives an overview of the Sexual Harassment Grievance/Adjudication Procedures. The complete Sexual Harassment Policy is available here and includes the content of a party's written response, details of the Pre-Hearing Conference, Notices of Attendance, Hearing procedures and regulations, the Written Decision, Appeal Procedures, etc
Hearing Notice and Response to the Investigation Report
After the hearing officer is appointed by the Title IX Coordinator, the hearing officer will promptly transmit written notice to the parties notifying the parties of the hearing officer’s appointment; setting a deadline for the parties to submit any written response to the investigation report; setting a date for the pre-hearing conference; setting a date and time for the hearing; and providing a copy of the College’s Hearing Procedures. Neither the pre-hearing conference, nor the hearing itself, may be held any earlier than ten (10) business days from the date of transmittal of the written hearing notice.
Prior to the hearing, the hearing officer will conduct a pre-hearing conference with the parties and their advisors. The pre-hearing conference will be conducted live, with simultaneous and contemporaneous participation by the parties and their advisors.
During the pre-hearing conference, the hearing officer will discuss the hearing procedures with the parties; address matters raised in the parties’ written responses to the investigation report, as the hearing officer deems appropriate; discuss whether any stipulations may be made to expedite the hearing; discuss the witnesses the parties have requested be served with notices of attendance and/or witnesses the parties plan to bring to the hearing without a notice of attendance; and resolve any other matters that the hearing officer determines, in the hearing officer’s discretion, should be resolved before the hearing
While the Hearing Procedures and rulings from the hearing officer will govern the particulars of the hearing, each hearing will include, at a minimum:
- Opportunity for each party to address the hearing officer directly and to respond to questions posed by the hearing officer;
- Opportunity for each party’s advisor to ask directly, orally, and in real time, relevant questions, and follow up questions, of the other party and any witnesses, including questions that support or challenge credibility;
- Opportunity for each party to raise contemporaneous objections to testimonial or non-testimonial evidence and to have such objections ruled on by the hearing officer and a reason for the ruling provided;
- Opportunity for each party to submit evidence that the party did not present during the investigation due to mistake, inadvertence, surprise, or excusable neglect;
- Opportunity for each party to make a brief closing argument.
Deliberation and Determination
After the hearing is complete, the hearing officer will objectively evaluate all relevant evidence collected during the investigation, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, together with testimony and non-testimony evidence received at the hearing, and ensure that any credibility determinations made are not based on a person’s status as a Complainant, Respondent, or witness.
Discipline and Remedies
In the event the hearing officer determines that the Respondent is responsible for violating this policy, the hearing officer will, prior to issuing a written decision, consult with an appropriate College official with disciplinary authority over the Respondent and such official will determine any discipline to be imposed. The hearing officer will also, prior to issuing a written decision, consult with the Title IX Coordinator who will determine whether and to what extent ongoing support measures or other remedies will be provided to the Complainant.
If it is determined that the College’s Sexual Harassment Policy was violated, the Respondent will be subject to discipline, up to and including dismissal from College employment (employee) or expulsion from the College (student). In cases of Sexual Assault, the minimum sanction will consist of suspension.
According to the Bon Secours Mercy Health Corrective Action policy, the following are possible sanctions that may be imposed upon employees:
- Written warning
- Final written warning
- Performance Improvement Plan (PIP)
- Administrative Leave
- Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, Mercy College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
The following are possible sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:
Verbal Warning: Students will be counseled privately by faculty, staff, or administration regarding inappropriate behavior or misconduct, and a report will be completed documenting the verbal discussion.
Written Warning: Students will receive a written warning and a corrective action plan will be developed, including present and future consequences of inappropriate behaviors or misconduct.
Temporary Suspension: Students are suspended from all college classes and activities and not permitted to be on college property or assigned clinical sites for the period of time during which an investigation is being conducted or the discipline is occurring.
Suspension: A student can be suspended from all college classes and activities and not permitted to be on college property or assigned clinical sites for a specified period of time.
Dismissal: A student dismissed from a program or the college may be permitted to return to the college through the readmission policy to the College.
Expulsion: A student expelled from the college is not permitted to return to the college through the readmission process. Disciplinary action may continue for events that occurred prior to a student’s expulsion from the college.
Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, the Mercy College may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.
Although the length of each adjudication by hearing will vary depending on the totality of the circumstances, the College strives to issue the hearing officer’s written determination within fifteen (15) business days of the conclusion of the hearing.
Dismissal During Investigation or Adjudication
Dismissal During Investigation or Adjudication
The College shall dismiss a Formal Complaint at any point during the investigation or adjudication process if the Title IX Coordinator determines that one or more of the following is true:
- The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint would not constitute Sexual Harassment, even if proved; or
- The conduct alleged in the Formal Complaint falls outside the scope of the policy.
The College may dismiss a Formal Complaint at any point during the investigation or adjudication process if the Title IX Coordinator determines that any one or more of the following is true:
- The Complainant provides the Title IX Coordinator written notice that the Complainant wishes to withdraw the Formal Complaint or any discrete allegations therein (in which case those discrete allegations may be dismissed);
- The Respondent is no longer enrolled or employed by the College, as the case may be; or
- Specific circumstances prevent the College from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the Formal Complaint, or any discrete allegations therein (in which case those discrete allegations may be dismissed).
At any time after the parties are provided written notice of the Formal Complaint, and before the completion of any appeal, the parties may voluntarily consent, with the Title IX Coordinator’s approval, to engage in mediation, facilitated resolution, or other form of dispute resolution the goal of which is to enter into a final resolution resolving the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint by agreement of the parties.
The specific manner of any informal resolution process will be determined by the parties and the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation together.
Presumption of Non-Responsibility
From the time a report or Formal Complaint is made, a Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged misconduct until a determination regarding responsibility is made final.