Investigations of Sexual Violence Lack Due Process, Put Purdue Students at Risk for Expulsion
When a Purdue student is accused of sexual violence, the University does not provide the student with a copy of the accuser’s statement or the Investigator’s Report. The student is also prohibited from cross-examining or questioning the accuser. How can students effectively respond to or refute an allegation when they are not even notified of the specific details of the accusation? It’s not easy! This is why it is extremely important to consult with a criminal defense attorney who has experience serving as an advisor in Purdue Anti-Harassment Policy investigations.
What Happens When a Purdue Student is Accused of Sexual Violence?
In a criminal case, the defendant is entitled to receive all information about the allegations against him or her. In contrast, Purdue provides a student accused of sexual violence with a charges letter that generally includes a short paragraph summarizing the allegation and demanding a written response within 10 days. This places students in the difficult position of defending themselves from the unknown. The process clearly lacks transparency. As a result, it is critical for a student to draft an effective response that is concise and discredits the limited details provided by Purdue.
The student is then notified to meet with an investigator assigned by the Office of Institutional Equity. The investigator’s meeting is a critical step in the process because the student can provide information and evidence that refutes the allegation. However, because the student remains in the dark regarding specific details of the accusation, he or she must be prepared to respond to a wide range of questions that may be difficult to anticipate.
Once University investigators complete a preliminary report, the student and his or her advisor may review a hard copy of the report at the Office of Institutional Equity. However, Purdue prohibits any electronic devices in the room and only allows the student and advisor to take written notes. There are cases in which the preliminary report is more than 100 pages! By denying the student a copy of the report, the ability to fairly prepare for the final hearing is compromised. This is another reason that it's important to retain a skilled and experienced attorney who can effectively analyze the report and record relevant notes. The student may then file a response to the preliminary report, which may include a request for additional investigation.
After Purdue’s investigator completes a report, the student will be notified of a panel meeting with the Advisory Committee on Equity. The student may attend the hearing, address the panel, and respond to questions. However, prior to the hearing, Purdue does not provide the accused student with a copy of the Final Investigator’s Report that is distributed to panel members and the Dean. If the goal is to ascertain the truth and allow the student to address the allegations, why would the student be denied a copy of the Final Investigator’s Report? The student is also not given the opportunity to question the accuser and will likely never know what steps, if any, were taken to challenge or corroborate the accuser’s version of what happened.
Gibson Law Office Attorneys Serve as Advisor to Students Accused of Sexual Violence
Students accused of sexual violence face an uphill battle due to a lack of transparency and due process in Purdue’s Anti-Harassment policy. Gibson Law Office attorneys can help by advising students on how to protect their rights, prepare for the investigator’s meeting, and effectively present evidence and testimony at the panel hearing. Our attorneys can also make sure your rights in any criminal investigation are not compromised by responding to the Purdue proceedings. If you are accused of violating Purdue’s Anti-Harassment policy, call Gibson Law Office. Experience matters.