Nondiscrimination & No Harassment

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    Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking and Relationship Violence 


    Policy Statement:

    Saint Francis University, inspired by its Franciscan and Catholic identity, values equality of opportunity, human dignity, racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity, both as an educational institution and as an employer. Accordingly, the University prohibits and does not engage in discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender, gender identity, age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, pregnancy status, veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristic or any protected classification. Saint Francis University will not tolerate sexual violence, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, or sexually inappropriate conduct in any form. The University is committed to this policy based upon its values and as required by Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable statutes and University policies. This policy applies to all programs and activities of the University, including, but not limited to, admission and employment practices, educational policies, scholarship and loan programs and athletic or other University sponsored programs.
    Saint Francis University affirms its commitment to promote the goals of fairness and equity. All policies contained herein are subject to resolution using the University’s Equity Grievance Process, as detailed below. The Equity Grievance Process applies regardless of the status of the parties involved, who may be members or non-members of the campus community, students, student organizations, faculty, administrators and/or staff. The University reserves the right to act on incidents occurring on campus or off-campus, when the off-campus conduct could have an on-campus impact or impact on the mission of the University.
    The Associate Vice President and Title IX Coordinator is the Title IX/Equity/Affirmative Action and ADA/504 Coordinator and oversees implementation of the University’s Affirmative Action and Equal Opportunity plan, disability compliance, and the University’s policy on equal opportunity, discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, and relationship violence. Reports of discrimination, harassment, sexual misconduct, relationship violence, and/or retaliation should be made to the Title IX Coordinator promptly, but there is no time limitation on the filing of allegations, as long as the accused individual remains subject to the University’s jurisdiction. Reporting is addressed more specifically below.
    This policy applies to behaviors that take place on the campus, at university-sponsored events and may also apply off-campus and to actions online when the Title IX Coordinator determines that the off-campus conduct affects a substantial University interest. A substantial University interest is defined to include:

    a) Any situation where it appears that the accused individual may present a danger or threat to the health or safety of him/herself or others;

    b) Any situation that significantly impinges upon the rights, property or achievements of self or others or significantly breaches the peace and/or causes social disorder; and/or

    c) Any situation that is detrimental to the educational interests of the University.

    Inquiries about this policy and procedure may be made internally to:
    Ms. Heather Meck, Associate Vice President
    Title IX Coordinator
    102A Raymond Hall
    (814) 472-3213

    OR a Title IX team member:

    Ms. Lynne Banks, Associate Dean of Students
    Padua Hall 232B,, 814.472.3352

    Mr. Donald Miles, Director of Residence Life
    Padua Hall 227,, 814.472.3380

    Dr. Peter Skoner, Associate Provost
    Scotus Hall 313,, 814.472.3085

    Robert Fatula, Director of Campus Safety and Police
    Small Business Development Center,, 814.472.3361

    Marian Bender, Director of Human Resources
    Raymond Hall 101,, 814.472.3931

    Erika Renwick, Senior Associate Director of Athletics
    Stokes Athletics Center 153,, 814.472.3294

    Inquiries may be made externally to:

    Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC 20202-1100
    Customer Service Hotline #: (800) 421-3481
    Facsimile: (202) 453-6012
    TDD#: (877) 521-2172

    Table of Contents 

    Policies and Procedures:
    1. Nondiscrimination
    2. Accommodation of Disabilities
    3. Discriminatory Harassment
    4. Consensual Relationships
    5. Other Misconduct Offenses
    6. Retaliation
    7. Remedial Action
    8. Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses
    9. Federal Timely Warning Obligations
    10. Resolution Process for Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Other Forms of Discrimination
    11. Revision 

    1. University Policy on Nondiscrimination

    Saint Francis University fully subscribes to all federal and state civil rights laws banning discrimination in private institutions of higher education. Therefore, any member of the campus community, guest or visitor who acts to deny, deprive or limit the educational, employment, [residential] and/or social access, benefits and/or opportunities of any member of the campus community on the basis of a protected class is in violation of the University policy on nondiscrimination. When brought to the attention of the University, any such discrimination will be appropriately remedied by the University according to the procedures below. 

    2. University Policy on Accommodation of Disabilities

    The University is committed to full compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibit discrimination against qualified persons with disabilities, as well as other federal and state laws pertaining to individuals with disabilities. Under the ADA and its amendments, a person has a disability if he or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. The ADA also protects individuals who have a record of a substantially limiting impairment or who are regarded as disabled by the institution whether qualified or not. A substantial impairment is one that significantly limits or restricts a major life activity such as incident review, seeing, speaking, breathing, performing manual tasks, walking, or caring for oneself. 

    a. Students with Disabilities
    The University is committed to providing qualified students with disabilities with reasonable accommodations and support needed to ensure equal access to the programs and activities of the University. All accommodations are made on a case-by-case basis. A student requesting any accommodation should first contact the Accessibility Services Coordinator who coordinates services for students with disabilities. The Coordinator reviews documentation provided by the student and in consultation with the student, determines which accommodations are appropriate to the student’s particular needs and programs. It is then the student’s responsibility to make direct requests for accommodations to individual faculty or staff.

    b. Employees with Disabilities
    Pursuant to the ADA, University will provide reasonable accommodation(s) to all qualified employees with known disabilities, where their disability affects the performance of their essential job functions, except where doing so would be unduly disruptive or would result in undue hardship.
    An employee with a disability is responsible for requesting an accommodation in writing from the Director of Human Resources, who will consult with the individual and his/her supervisor to identify which essential functions are affected by the employee’s disability and what reasonable accommodation(s) could enable the employee to perform those duties.
    Employees requesting accommodation may be required to provide medical certification from the employee’s health care provider that includes: (1) identification of the health care provider; (2) the health care provider’s diagnosis of the disabling condition; (3) specific limitations and/or suggested restrictions and their relation to the disability; and (4) suggested accommodations. 

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    3. University Policy on Discriminatory Harassment

    Students, faculty, administrators, and staff are entitled to a professional working and educational environment, and University is committed to providing a work and educational environment free of discriminatory harassment. Consistent with the University’s policy on academic freedom (Article XII, Section 1, of the Faculty Handbook), the University’s harassment policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include relevant, but controversial or sensitive subject matters. The sections below describe the specific forms of legally prohibited harassment that are also prohibited under University policy.

    a. Discriminatory and Bias-Related Harassment
    Harassment constitutes a form of discrimination that is prohibited by law. The University’s harassment policy explicitly prohibits any form of harassment on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class, by any member or group of the community, which creates a hostile environment, both objectively and subjectively.
    A hostile environment may be created by oral, written, graphic, or physical conduct that is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive so as to interfere with, limit or deny the ability of an individual to participate in or benefit from educational programs or activities or employment access, benefits or opportunities. The University condemns and will not tolerate discriminatory harassment against any employee, student, visitor or guest on the basis of gender, gender identity, age, race, color, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, disability, pregnancy status, veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristic or any protected classification.

    b. Sexual Harassment 
    Both the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania regard sexual harassment as a form of sex/gender discrimination and, therefore, as an unlawful discriminatory practice. Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual/gendered nature constitutes sexual harassment when (1) submission to such conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or academic status, (2) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis of employment or academic decisions affecting such individual, or (3) such conduct is sufficiently severe, pervasive or persistent that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance by creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working, educational, [residential] and/or social environment. 

    c. Sexual Misconduct
    Pennsylvania state law defines various violent and/or non-consensual sexual acts as crimes. Additionally, Saint Francis University has defined categories of sexual misconduct, as stated below, for which action under this policy may be imposed. Generally speaking, the University considers Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse violations to be the most serious, and therefore typically imposes the most severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion for students and termination for employees. However, the University reserves the right to impose any level of sanction, up to and including suspension or expulsion/termination for any act of sexual misconduct or other gender-based offenses based on the facts and circumstances of the particular allegation. Acts of sexual misconduct may be committed by any person upon any other person, regardless of the sex, gender, sexual orientation and/or gender identity of those involved. Violations include:

    I. Sexual Harassment (as defined above)

    II. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse
    Defined as:

    •  any sexual penetration or intercourse (anal, oral or vaginal), 
    • however slight, 
    • with any object, 
    • by a person upon another person, 
    • that is without consent and/or by force. 
    • Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, or oral copulation by mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact.
    III. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact
    Defined as:
    • any intentional sexual touching, 
    • however slight, 
    • with any object,
    • by a person upon another person 
    • that is without consent and/or by force. 
    • Sexual touching includes any bodily contact with the breasts, groin, genitals, mouth or other bodily orifice of another individual, or any other bodily contact in a sexual manner. 
    IV. Sexual Exploitation
    An act or acts committed through non-consensual abuse or exploitation of another person's sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, personal benefit or advantage or any other non-legitimate purpose. The act or acts of sexual exploitation are prohibited even though the behavior does not constitute one of the other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include, but are not limited to: Observing another individual's nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; Non-consensual streaming of images, photography, video or audio recording of sexual activity or nudity, or distribution of such without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved; Prostituting another individual; Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances; Knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted disease or virus without his/her knowledge; and/or inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity.

    V. Consent
    Consent Defined: Consent is informed, freely given and mutually understood. Consent requires an affirmative act or statement by each participant. If coercion, intimidation, threats and or physical force are used, there is no consent. If a person is mentally or physically incapacitated or impaired so that the person cannot understand the fact, nature or extent of the sexual situation, there is not consent; this includes conditions due to alcohol or drug consumption or being asleep or unconscious. Whether one has taken advantage of a position of influence over another may be a factor in determining consent.
    Sexual Activity Requires Consent: Consent consists of an outward demonstration indicating that an individual has freely chosen to engage in sexual activity. Consent is demonstrated through mutually understandable words and/or actions that clearly indicate a willingness to engage freely in sexual activity. Relying on non-verbal communication can lead to misunderstandings. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, lack of resistance or lack of active response alone. A person who does not physically resist or verbally refuse sexual activity is not necessarily giving consent. In the absence of an outward demonstration, consent does not exist. If at any time it is reasonably apparent that either party is hesitant, confused or uncertain, both parties should stop and obtain mutual verbal consent before continuing sexual activity. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be knowing and voluntary. Consent to engage in sexual activity must exist from the beginning to end of each instance of sexual activity, and for each form of sexual contact. Consent to one form of sexual contact does not constitute consent to all forms of sexual contact. For example, an individual may agree to kiss but choose not to engage in touching of the intimate parts or sexual intercourse. An individual should obtain consent before moving from one act to another.
    A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutually understandable communication that clearly indicates willingness to engage in sexual activity each time such activity occurs. Consent may be withdrawn by either party at any time. Withdrawal of consent must also be outwardly demonstrated by words or actions that clearly indicate a desire to end sexual activity. Once withdrawal of consent has been expressed, sexual activity must cease.
    In the state of Pennsylvania, consent can never be given by minors under the age of 16.
    Consent is not effective if it results from the use or threat of physical force, intimidation, or coercion, or any other factor that would eliminate an individual’s ability to exercise his or her own free will to choose whether or not to have sexual contact. Coercion includes the use of pressure and/or oppressive behavior, including express or implied threats of harm, severe and/or pervasive emotional intimidation, which places an individual in fear of immediate or future harm or physical injury or causes a person to engage in unwelcome sexual activity. A person’s words or conduct amount to coercion if they wrongfully impair the other’s freedom of will and ability to choose whether or not to engage in sexual activity.
    An individual who is incapacitated is not able to make rational, reasonable judgments and therefore is incapable of giving consent. Incapacitation is the inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent, because the individual is mentally and/or physically helpless due to drug or alcohol consumption, either voluntarily or involuntarily, or the individual is unconscious, asleep or otherwise unaware that the sexual activity is occurring. In addition, an individual is incapacitated if he/she/they demonstrate that they are unaware of where they are, how they got there, or why or how they became engaged in a sexual interaction. Where alcohol is involved, incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. Some indicators of incapacitation may include, but are not limited to, lack of control over physical movements, lack of awareness of circumstances or surroundings, or the inability to communicate for any reason. An individual may experience a blackout state in which he/she/they appear to be giving consent, but do not actually have conscious awareness or the ability to consent. It is especially important, therefore, that anyone engaging in sexual activity be aware of the other person’s level of intoxication. The relevant standard that will be applied is whether the Respondent knew, or a sober reasonable person in the same position should have known, that the other party was incapacitated and therefore could not consent to the sexual activity.
    The University considers sexual contact while under the influence of alcohol to be risky behavior. Alcohol impairs a person’s decision-making capacity, awareness of the consequences, and ability to make informed judgments. Being intoxicated or impaired by drugs or alcohol is never an excuse for sexual misconduct and does not excuse one from the responsibility to obtain consent. Verbal communication that is honest, and sober is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experience shaped by mutual willingness and respect. 

    4. Policy on Consensual Relationships

    There are inherent risks in any romantic or sexual relationship between individuals in unequal positions (such as teacher and student, supervisor and employee). These relationships may be less consensual than perceived by the individual whose position confers power. The relationship also may be viewed in different ways by each of the parties, particularly in retrospect. Furthermore, circumstances may change, and conduct that was previously welcome may become unwelcome. Even when both parties have consented at the outset to a romantic or sexual involvement, this past consent may not remove grounds for a later charge of a violation of applicable sections of this policy. The University does not wish to interfere with private choices regarding personal relationships when these relationships do not interfere with the goals and policies of the University. For the personal protection of members of this community, relationships in which power differentials are inherent (faculty-student, staff-student, administrator-student) will not be tolerated.
    Consensual romantic or sexual relationships in which one party maintains a direct supervisory or evaluative role over the other party are unethical. Therefore, persons with direct supervisory or evaluative responsibilities who are involved in such relationships must bring those relationships to the timely attention of their supervisor, and will likely result in the necessity to remove the employee from the supervisory or evaluative responsibilities, or shift a party out of being supervised or evaluated by someone with whom they have established a consensual relationship. This includes RAs and students over whom they have direct responsibility.

    5. Other Misconduct Offenses

    a. Threatening or causing physical harm, extreme verbal abuse, or other conduct which threatens or endangers the health or safety of any person on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in a protected class;
    b. Discrimination, defined as actions that deprive other members of the community of educational or employment access, benefits or opportunities on the basis of their actual or perceived membership in a protected class;
    c. Intimidation, defined as implied threats or acts that cause an unreasonable fear of harm in another on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class;
    d. Hazing, defined as acts likely to cause physical or psychological harm or social ostracism to any person within the University community, when related to the admission, initiation, pledging, joining, or any other group-affiliation activity (as defined further in the Hazing Policy) on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class; Hazing is also illegal under Pennsylvania state law and prohibited by University policy.
    e. Bullying, defined as repeated and/or severe aggressive behavior likely to intimidate or intentionally hurt, control or diminish another person, physically or mentally on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class; 
    f. Violence between those in an intimate relationship to each other on the basis of actual or perceived membership in a protected class (this includes romantic relationships, domestic and/or relationship violence); 
    g. Stalking, defined as (1) Engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to-
(i) Fear for the person's safety or the safety of others; or
(ii) Suffer substantial emotional distress
(2) For the purposes of this definition-
(i) Course of conduct means two or more acts, including, but not limited to, acts in which the stalker directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about, a person, or interferes with a person's property.
(ii) Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily, require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
(iii) Reasonable person means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identities to the victim.
    h. Any other University rules, when a violation is motivated by the actual or perceived membership of the victim in a protected class, may be pursued using this policy and process. 

    6. Retaliation

    Retaliation is defined as any adverse action taken against a person participating in a protected activity because of their participation in that protected activity. Retaliation against an individual for alleging harassment, supporting an accusing party or for assisting in providing information relevant to a claim of harassment is a serious violation of University policy and will be treated as another possible instance of harassment or discrimination. Acts of alleged retaliation should be reported immediately to the Title IX Coordinator or to a Title IX Process Advisor or Investigator and will be promptly investigated. Saint Francis University is prepared to take appropriate steps to protect individuals who fear that they may be subjected to retaliation.

    7. Remedial Action

    Saint Francis University will implement initial remedial and responsive actions upon notice of alleged harassment, retaliation, and/or discrimination, and will take additional prompt remedial and/or disciplinary action with respect to any member of the community, guest, or visitor who has been found to engage in harassing or discriminatory behavior or retaliation. Procedures for handling reported incidents are fully described below. Deliberately false and/or malicious accusations of harassment, as opposed to allegations which, even if erroneous, are made in good faith, are just as serious an offense as harassment and will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action.

    8. Confidentiality and Reporting of Offenses Under This Policy

    University officials, depending on their roles at the University, have varying reporting responsibilities and abilities to maintain confidentiality. In order to make informed choices, one should be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements when consulting campus resources. On campus, some resources may maintain confidentiality, offering options and advice without any obligation to inform an outside agency or individual unless you have requested information to be shared. Other resources exist for you to report crimes and policy violations and these resources will take action when you report victimization to them. Most resources on campus fall in the middle of these two extremes; neither the University nor the law requires them to divulge private information that is shared with them, except in rare circumstances. The following describes the two reporting options at University:
    a. Confidential Reporting: If a reporting party would like the details of an incident to be kept confidential, the reporting party may speak with on-campus counselors, campus health service providers, off-campus local rape crisis counselors, domestic violence resources, state assistance agencies, or on or off-campus members of the clergy/chaplains who will maintain confidentiality. Campus counselors are available to help free of charge and can be seen on an emergency basis during normal business hours. The Ethics Point hotline and online reporting is also available to members of the campus community to confidentially report incidents.

    b. Formal Reporting Options: Formal reports of incidents of discrimination, harassment, or sexual misconduct, inappropriate sexual behavior, and/or criminal activity are to be made to the Title IX/Equity/AA and ADA Coordinator or to a Title IX Process Advisor. Reporters can expect to have allegations taken seriously by the University when formally reported, and to have those incidents investigated and properly resolved through these procedures. Formal reporting still affords privacy to the reporter, and only a small group of officials who need to know will be told. Information will be shared as necessary with investigators, witnesses, and the accused student/accused individual. The circle of people with this knowledge will be kept as tight as possible to preserve an accusing party’s rights and privacy.

    9. Federal Timely Warning Obligations

    Victims of sexual misconduct should be aware that University administrators must issue timely warnings for incidents reported to them that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The University will make every effort to ensure that a victim’s name and other identifying information is not disclosed, while still providing enough information for community members to make safety decisions in light of the potential danger. 

    10. Resolution Process for Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Other forms of Discrimination

    Saint Francis University will act on any formal or informal report or notice of violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence received by the University.

    The procedures described below will apply to all resolutions involving students, staff or faculty members. Redress and requests for responsive actions for reports made about non-members of the community are also covered by these procedures.

    a. Filing a Report
    Any member of the community, guest or visitor who believes that the policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence has been violated should contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX team member. Because all non-confidential employees are mandated reporters, it is also possible to notify a supervisor, any administrator, faculty member, or University Police. These individuals will in turn notify the Title IX Coordinator. The University website also includes a reporting form at which may serve to initiate a resolution.

    All employees receiving reports of a potential violation of University policy are expected to promptly contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Title IX team member, within 24 hours of becoming aware of a report or incident. All initial contacts will be treated with the maximum possible privacy. In all cases, the University will give consideration to the reporting party with respect to how the resolution is pursued, but reserves the right, when necessary to protect the community, to investigate and pursue a resolution when the reporting party chooses not to initiate or participate in a formal resolution.

    b. Resolution Intake
    Normally within two business days of receipt of notice or a report, the Title IX Coordinator will make an initial determination as to whether a policy violation may have occurred and/or whether conflict resolution might be appropriate. If the report does not appear to allege a policy violation or if conflict resolution is desired by the reporting party, and appears appropriate given the nature of the alleged behavior, then the report does not proceed to investigation.
    A full investigation will necessarily be pursued if a victim wishes and/or there is evidence of a pattern of misconduct or a perceived threat of further harm to the community or any of its members. The University aims to complete all investigations within a 60 calendar day time period, which can be extended as necessary for cause by the Title IX Coordinator with notice to the parties, as appropriate.

    c. Advisors
    All parties are entitled to an advisor of their choosing to guide and accompany them throughout the resolution process. The advisor may be a friend, mentor, family member, attorney or any other supporter a party chooses to advise them. The parties may choose advisors from inside or outside the campus community.
    The parties may be accompanied by their advisor in all meetings and interviews at which the party is entitled to be present, including intake and interviews. Advisors should help their advisees prepare for each meeting, and are expected to advise ethically, with integrity and in good faith. The University cannot guarantee equal advisory rights, meaning that if one party selects an advisor who is an attorney, but the other party does not, or cannot afford an attorney, the University is not obligated to provide one.
    All advisors are subject to the same campus rules, whether they are attorneys or not. Advisors may not address campus officials in a meeting or interview unless invited to. Advisors may confer quietly with their advisees as necessary, as long as they do not disrupt the process. For longer or more involved discussions, the parties and their advisors should ask for breaks or step out of meetings to allow for private conversation. Advisors will typically be given an opportunity to meet in advance of any interview or meeting with the administrative officials conducting that interview or meeting. This pre-meeting will allow advisors to clarify any questions they may have, and allows the University an opportunity to clarify the role the advisor is expected to take.
    Advisors are expected to refrain from interference with the University investigation and resolution. Any advisor who steps out of their role in any meeting under the campus resolution process will be warned once and only once. If the advisor continues to disrupt or otherwise fails to respect the limits of the advisor role, the advisor will be asked to leave the meeting. When an advisor is removed from a meeting, that meeting will typically continue without the advisor present. Subsequently, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether the advisor may be reinstated, may be replaced by a different advisor, or whether the party will forfeit the right to an advisor for the remainder of the process.
    The University expects that the parties will wish to share documentation related to the allegations with their advisors. The University provides a consent form that authorizes such sharing. The parties must complete this form before the University is able to share records with an advisor. Advisors are expected to maintain the privacy of the records shared with them. These records may not be shared with 3rd parties, disclosed publicly, or used for purposes not explicitly authorized by the University. The University may seek to restrict the role of any advisor who does not respect the sensitive nature of the process or who fails to abide by the University’s privacy expectations.
    The University expects an advisor to adjust their schedule to allow them to attend University meetings when scheduled. The University does not typically change scheduled meetings to accommodate an advisor’s inability to attend. The University will, however, make provisions to allow an advisor who cannot attend in person to attend a meeting by telephone, video and/or virtual meeting technologies as may be convenient and available.
    A party may elect to change advisors during the process, and is not locked into using the same advisor throughout. 
    d. Investigation
    If a reporting party wishes to pursue a formal resolution or if University, based on the alleged policy violation, wishes to pursue a formal resolution, then the Title IX Coordinator appoints trained investigators to conduct the investigation, usually within two business days of determining that a resolution should proceed. Investigations are completed expeditiously, normally within 10 business days of notice to the Title IX Coordinator. Investigations may take longer when initial reports fail to provide direct first-hand information. University may undertake a short delay (to allow evidence collection) when criminal charges on the basis of the same behaviors that invoke this process are being investigated. The University’s resolution will not be altered or precluded on the grounds that civil or criminal charges involving the same incident have been filed or that charges have been dismissed or reduced. All investigations will be thorough, reliable and impartial, and will entail interviews with all relevant parties and witnesses, obtaining available evidence and identifying sources of expert information, if necessary. At any point during the investigation, if it is determined there is no reasonable cause to believe that University policy has been violated, the Title IX Coordinator has authority to terminate the investigation and end resolution proceedings. During the investigation interview(s), the responding party will be given a full and complete opportunity to know and respond to all allegations, including the details of evidence other witnesses have given. The investigator(s) will render a written report that details the findings of the investigation on each alleged policy violation, using the “more likely than not” standard of evidence. Investigators typically share the preliminary findings of this report, or a summary, with the parties before finalizing the findings.

    e. Interim Remedies
    If, in the judgment of the Title IX Coordinator, the safety or well-being of any member(s) of the campus community may be jeopardized by the presence on-campus of the responding party or the ongoing activity of a student organization whose behavior is in question, the Title IX Coordinator may provide interim remedies intended to address the short-term effects of harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation, i.e., to redress harm to the reporting party and the community and to prevent further violations. These remedies may include referral to counseling and health services or to the Employee Assistance Program, education to the community, altering the housing situation of the responding party or resident employee (or the reporting party, if desired), altering work arrangements for employees, providing campus escorts, transportation assistance, implementing contact limitations between the parties, offering adjustments to academic deadlines, course schedules, etc.

    The University may interim suspend a student, employee or organization pending the completion of the investigation and resolution. In all cases in which an interim suspension is imposed, the student, employee or student organization will be given the opportunity to meet with the Title IX Coordinator prior to such suspension being imposed, or as soon thereafter as reasonably possible, to show cause why the suspension should not be implemented. The Title IX Coordinator or designee has sole discretion to implement or stay an interim suspension under the policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence, and to determine its conditions and duration. Violation of an interim suspension under this policy will be grounds for expulsion or termination.

    During an interim suspension or administrative leave, a student or employee may be denied access to University housing and/or the University campus/facilities/events. As determined by the Title IX Coordinator or designee, this restriction includes classes and/or all other University activities or privileges for which the student or employee might otherwise be eligible. At the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator or designee, alternative coursework or work options may be pursued to ensure as minimal an impact as possible on the responding party.

    f. Resolution Procedures
    1) Conflict Resolution
    Conflict resolution is often used for less serious, yet inappropriate, behaviors and is encouraged as an alternative to the formal investigation process to resolve conflicts. The Title IX Coordinator will determine if conflict resolution is appropriate, based on the willingness of the parties, the nature of the conduct at issue and the susceptibility of the conduct to conflict resolution. In a conflict resolution meeting, designated administrator(s) will facilitate a dialogue with the parties to an effective resolution, if possible. Sanctions are not possible as the result of a conflict resolution process, though the parties may agree to appropriate remedies. The Title IX Coordinator will keep records of any resolution that is reached, and failure to abide by the resolution can result in appropriate responsive actions.

    Conflict resolution will not be the primary resolution mechanism used to address reports of sexual misconduct or violent behavior of any kind or in other cases of serious violations of policy, though it may be made available after the formal process is completed should the parties and the Title IX Coordinator believe that it could be beneficial. It is not necessary to pursue conflict resolution first in order to make a formal report and anyone participating in conflict resolution can stop that process at any time and request an Incident Review.

    2) Incident Review
    Incident Review can be pursued for any behavior that falls within the policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence at any time during the process. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will provide written notification of investigation to any member of University community who is the responding party to an allegation of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation. Prior to meeting with University investigators, the parties will be provided with a written description of the alleged violation(s), a description of the applicable procedures and a statement of the potential sanctions/responsive actions that could result. This notice will include the time, date and location of the interview and a reminder that attendance is mandatory, superseding all other campus activities. If the responding party does not appear at the scheduled meeting, the meeting will be held in their absence. Any of these notice provisions may be waived by a party, if an expedited process is preferred.

    The Incident Review process consists of a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation, a finding on each of the alleged policy violations, and sanctions for any findings of responsibility. Once the investigation described above is complete, the investigator(s) will meet with the parties individually to review the findings and the investigation report. The parties may bring an advisor of their choosing to the meeting. The parties may elect not to participate, but the Incident Review will proceed regardless.

    After meeting with the parties to review the investigation report, the investigator(s) may re-open the investigation for further inquiry, or close the investigation and render a finding utilizing the preponderance of the evidence (more likely than not) standard, based on the information provided during the investigation. The investigator(s) in consultation as appropriate will also determine appropriate sanctions or remedial actions.

    The investigator(s) will prepare and the Title IX Coordinator will issue a written summary report detailing the finding, the information supporting that finding and any information excluded from consideration and why. It will include any sanctions and remedial actions implemented, as well as the rationale for the finding and sanctions. This report typically does not exceed two pages in length. The letter will detail when and how the outcome is finalized, any options for appeal, and the procedures for appealing.

    The appropriate administrator will inform the responding party and the reporting party of the final determination in writing within 3 business days of the close of the Incident Review, without significant time delay between notifications. The final determination letter, incorporating the summary report described above, will be made in writing and will be delivered either:
    i. In person, or
    ii. Mailed to the local address of the respective party as indicated in official University records. If there is no local address on file, mail will be sent to the party’s permanent address.

    g. Appeals
    All requests for appeal considerations must be submitted in writing to the administrator designated in the letter of finding within three (3) business days of the delivery of the written finding of the Incident Review. The administrator will determine if any of the criteria below for appeal are met. If so, the administrator will forward the appeal to the appropriate appeals officer for consideration. If not, the administrator will deny the appeal and inform the parties accordingly in writing within two business days of that decision.
    Any party may appeal, but appeals are limited to the following:
    • A procedural error or omission occurred that significantly impacted the outcome of the hearing (e.g. substantiated bias, material deviation from established procedures, etc.). 
    • To consider new evidence, unknown or unavailable during the original hearing or investigation, that could substantially impact the original finding or sanction. A summary of this new evidence and its potential impact must be included. 
    • The sanctions imposed fall outside the range of sanctions the University has designated for this offense and/or the cumulative conduct record of the responding party. 

    In cases involving a student as responding party, appeals are heard by the Vice President for Student Development, in consultation as appropriate. Appeals involving an employee as the responding party are heard by the Vice President for Finance and Administration, in consultation as appropriate. Appeals where the responding party is a faculty member are heard by the Provost, in consultation as appropriate.
    The original finding and sanction/responsive actions will stand if the appeal is not timely or is not based on the grounds listed above, and such a decision is final. When any party requests an appeal, the other party (parties) will be notified and joined in the appeal. The party requesting appeal must show that the grounds for an appeal request have been met, and the other party or parties may show the grounds have not been met, or that additional grounds are met. The original finding and sanction are presumed to have been decided reasonably and appropriately.
    Where the appeals officer finds that at least one of the grounds is met, and proceeds, additional principles governing the hearing of appeals include the following:
    • Decisions by the appeals officer are to be deferential to the original decision, making changes to the finding only where there is clear error and to the sanction/responsive action only if there is a compelling justification to do so.
    • Appeals are not intended to be full re-hearings of the grievance. In most cases, appeals are confined to a review of the written documentation or record of the original hearing, and pertinent documentation regarding the grounds for appeal. Appeals granted based on new evidence should normally be remanded to the original investigator(s). Other appeals may be remanded or decided at the discretion of the appeals officer.
    • Sanctions imposed are implemented immediately unless an appropriate administrator stays their implementation in extraordinary circumstances, pending the outcome of the appeal.
    • An appropriate administrator will normally, after conferring with appeals officer, render a written decision on the appeal to all parties within three (3) business days from hearing of the appeal.
    • All parties should be informed of whether the grounds for an appeal are accepted and the results of the appeal decision.
    • Once an appeal is decided, the outcome is final: further appeals are not permitted.
    • All parties will be informed in writing within three (3) business days of the outcome of the appeal, without significant time delay between notifications.

    h. Sanctions
    Factors considered when determining a sanction/responsive action may include:
    • The nature, severity of, and circumstances surrounding the violation. 
    • An individual’s disciplinary history. 
    • Previous reports or allegations involving similar conduct. 
    • Any other information deemed relevant in the Incident Review. 
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to bring an end to the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.
    • The need for sanctions/responsive actions to prevent the future recurrence of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation.
    • The need to remedy the effects of the discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation on the reporting party and the community.
    1) Student Sanctions 

    The following are the usual sanctions that may be imposed upon students or organizations singly or in combination:

    • Warning: A formal statement that the behavior was unacceptable and a warning that further infractions of any University policy, procedure or directive will result in more severe sanctions/responsive actions. 
    • Probation: A written reprimand for violation of the Code of Student Conduct, providing for more severe disciplinary sanctions in the event that the student or organization is found in viola¬tion of any University policy, procedure or directive within a specified period of time. Terms of the probation will be specified and may include denial of specified social privileges, exclusion from co-¬curricular activities, non-contact orders and/or other measures deemed appropriate. 
    • Suspension: Termination of student status for a definite period of time not to exceed two years, and/or until specific criteria are met. Students who return from suspension are automatically placed on probation through the remainder of their tenure at University. 
    • Expulsion: Permanent termination of student status, revocation of rights to be on campus for any reason or attend University-sponsored events. 
    • Withholding Diploma. University may withhold a student's diploma for a specified period of time and/or deny a student participation in commencement activities if the student has a complaint pending, or as a sanction if the student is found responsible for an alleged violation. 
    • Revocation of Degree. University reserves the right to revoke a degree awarded from University for fraud, misrepresentation or other violation of University policies, procedures or directives in obtaining the degree, or for other serious violations committed by a student prior to graduation. 
    • Organizational Sanctions. Deactivation, de-recognition, loss of all privileges (including University registration), for a specified period of time.
    • Other Actions: In addition to or in place of the above sanctions, University may assign any other sanctions as deemed appropriate.

    2) Employee Discipline

    Responsive actions for an employee who has engaged in harassment, discrimination and/or retaliation include warning, required counseling, demotion, suspension with pay, suspension without pay and termination.

    i. Withdrawal or Resignation While Charges Pending
    Students: Saint Francis University does not permit a student to withdraw if that student has a complaint pending for violation of the policy on Equal Opportunity, Nondiscrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct, Stalking, and Relationship Violence, or for charges under the Code of Student Conduct. Should a student decide to leave and not participate in the investigation and/or hearing, the process will nonetheless proceed in the student’s absence to a reasonable resolution and that student will not be permitted to return to the University unless all sanctions have been satisfied.

    Employees: Should an employee resign while charges are pending, the records of the Title IX Coordinator will reflect that status, as will University responses to any future inquiries regarding employment references for that individual. The Title IX Coordinator will act to promptly and effectively remedy the effects of the conduct upon the reporting party and the community.

    j. Failure to Complete Sanctions/Comply with Discipline
    All responding parties are expected to comply with conduct sanctions/discipline/corrective actions within the time frame specified by the Title IX Coordinator. Failure to follow through on conduct sanctions/discipline/corrective actions by the date specified, whether by refusal, neglect or any other reason, may result in additional sanctions/discipline/corrective actions and/or suspension, expulsion and/or termination from University and may be noted on a student’s official transcript. A suspension will only be lifted when compliance is achieved to the satisfaction of the Title IX Coordinator.

    k. Records
    In implementing this policy, records of all reports, resolutions, and hearings will be kept by the Title IX Coordinator indefinitely in the Title IX Coordinator database.

    l. Statement of the Rights of the Reporting Party
    • To be treated with respect by University officials.
    • To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Counseling, Health Services for students, or EAP services for employees).
    • To experience a safe living, educational and work environment. 
    • To have an advisor during this process.
    • To refuse to have an allegation resolved through conflict resolution procedures.
    • To receive amnesty for minor student misconduct (such as alcohol or drug violations) that is ancillary to the incident.
    • To be free from retaliation.
    • To have reported misconduct resolved in substantial accordance with these procedures.
    • To be informed in writing of the outcome/resolution, sanctions where permissible and the rationale for the outcome where permissible. 
    • Refer to law enforcement and have assistance.
    • Housing and living accommodations. 
    • No contact orders or restrictions.

    m. Statement of the Rights of the Responding Party
    • To be treated with respect by University officials.
    • To take advantage of campus support resources (such as Counseling, Health Services for students, or EAP services for employees).
    • To have an advisor during this process.
    • To refuse to have an allegation resolved through conflict resolution procedures.
    • To have reported misconduct resolved in substantial accordance with these procedures.
    • To be informed of the outcome/resolution and the rationale for the outcome, in writing. 

    11. Revision

    These policies and procedures will be reviewed and updated annually by the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator may make minor modifications to procedure that do not materially jeopardize the fairness owed to any party. However, the Title IX Coordinator may also vary procedures materially with notice (on the institutional web site, with appropriate date of effect identified) upon determining that changes to law or regulation require policy or procedural alterations not reflected in this policy and procedure. Procedures in effect at the time of its implementation will apply. Policy in effect at the time of the offense will apply even if the policy is changed subsequently, unless the parties consent to be bound by the current policy.

    This policy and procedure was implemented on March 18, 2015. 

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