Sexual Misconduct Policy

Article I.            Preamble

Section 1.01        Philadelphia University is committed to fostering a safe living and learning environment for all students.  This includes freedom from any form of discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual assault.  We expect community members to engage in relationships that are characterized by mutual respect and affirmative consent.

            The University’s response to sexual misconduct seeks to balance the rights, needs and privacy of victims and those of the accused, while maintaining the health and safety of the campus community.  Special emphasis is placed on violence prevention, providing support for those who may have been victimized, and ensuring a vigorous enforcement of institutional policy and law.

Section 1.02        If you or someone you know may be a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault, or any other behaviors prohibited under this policy, you are strongly encouraged to seek immediate assistance from The Dean of Students Office, Safety and Security, or The Counseling Center.  Students will be provided counseling and medical referrals; assistance with safe housing and academic concerns related to the sexual misconduct; and information concerning victim’s rights. Individuals will also be provided information concerning University, civil and criminal complaints, including how to file such complaints. 

Article II.         Goals of the Sexual Misconduct Policy

Section 2.01        To provide a safe campus environment where students can live and study free of fear, intimidation and coercion.

Section 2.02        To provide clear guidelines for students about how to file complaints and to respond to allegations of sexual misconduct.

Section 2.03        To provide prompt and appropriate action to investigate or otherwise determine what occurred.

Section 2.04        To provide support to both parties –the complainant and respondent—during the investigative and adjudication processes.

Section 2.05        To insure fairness and equal right to both parties, including the right to present witnesses and other evidence, and to have the same rights to appeal.

Section 2.06        To protect complainants as necessary, including interim steps prior to the final outcome of an investigation.

Section 2.07        To notify both parties of the outcomes of the complaint.

Article III.      Confidential v. Non-confidential Campus Resources

A.  Confidential Campus Resources

          As required under Title IX, a federal law that applies to all colleges and universities, most University employees are required to report instances of sexual misconduct that they have been made them aware of.

          Some University employees enjoy confidential status.  Students may wish to seek these confidential resources to discuss filing a complaint and/or access support services.

          The following Philadelphia University student health and counseling staff, and the Coordinator of Spirituality programs, are confidential resources.

  • Director of Health Services
  • The Nurse Practitioners in Health Services
  • Director of Counseling
  • All counselors
  • Coordinator of Spiritual programs

          In most circumstances these confidential resources have a professional and legal obligation not to reveal information shared in the course and scope of performing their duties. 

          When students talk to a confidential resource about a possible violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy, that support person will not reveal or report this conversation in any identifying manner. The confidential resource will however report the incident in a non-identifying manner to be part of University reports required by state and federal laws.

          Confidential support people do have a duty to report to someone when they have reasonable cause to believe that the person sharing information with them is dangerous to themselves or others. Confidential resources will review their confidentiality obligations with you when you meet with them.

          Talking to a confidential resource is not a complaint under the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and consequently does not activate investigation and adjudication processes.

B.  Non-Confidential Campus Resources

          Faculty and staff, i.e. all employees, at the University who are not “confidential resources,” must report allegations of sexual misconduct to the Dean of Students Office.  This includes all professors, advisors, coaches, professional and support staff, and peer counselors (e.g. resident assistants).  The Dean of Student serves as the Title IX Coordinator for the University, and in that capacity, is obligated to insure that any and all reports of sexual misconduct against students receive prompt and appropriate action.  Allegations of sexual misconduct against employees are referred to the Assistant Vice President for Human Resources.

Off-Campus resources

(a)      Philadelphia Police department (911)

(b)      Special Victims Unit (215-685-3251)

(c)      Women Organized Against Rape (WOAR) 24 Hour Hotline            (215-985-3333)

(d)     Philadelphia Office of Civil Rights (215-861-4441)

Article IV.       Definition of Sexual Harassment

         Sexual harassment under this policy includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, sexually motivated physical contact, or other verbal or physical conduct or communication of a sexual nature when:

(a)      Submission to that conduct or communication is made a term or condition, either explicitly or implicitly, of obtaining employment or education; or

(b)      Submission to or rejection of that conduct or communication by an individual is used as a factor in decisions affecting that individual’s employment or education; or

(c)      That conduct or communication has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual’s employment or education, or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive employment or educational environment.

          For purposes of this definition, communication may be oral, written, or electronically transmitted. Without limiting the foregoing, use of audio or visual equipment in violation of the University’s policy on such use may constitute sexual harassment.  See the Community Standards (Section 9, The Student Handbook).

          Stalking may include persistent attempts to contact the person by phone, electronic communication, or regular mail; vandalizing the person’s property or leaving unwanted items for the person; and/or constantly appearing at the person’s classroom, residence, or workplace without permission.

          Sexual harassment can be committed by a man, a woman, or a group of people against a person or persons of the same or opposite sex. Sexual harassment can be committed by friends, acquaintances, classmates, supervisors, co-workers, faculty members, and/or any other person. Acts of sexual harassment may or may not be directed at a specific person.

Article V.          Definition of Sexual Violence

         In general, sexual violence is any sexual physical contact (intercourse, penetration of the genitals or indecent contact) by a person, without the consent of the complainant (the individual to whom the contact is directed).  It includes sexual physical contact that involves any of the following:

(a)      Forcible compulsion

(b)      Threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a complainant of reasonable resolution;

(c)      The complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the intercourse, penetration or indecent contact is occurring.

(d)     The person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;

(e)      The complainant is unable to consent due to temporary or permanent incapacity or impairment, mental or physical.  “Incapacity” or “impairment” may include, but is not limited to, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs to a degree which renders the person incapable of consent.

Article VI.       Title IX Notice

         Sexual violence constitutes sex discrimination and sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  Complaints of sexual violence may be filed as set forth below.

Article VII.    Filing a Sexual Misconduct Complaint

         Any complaints alleging that a student has been the victim of sexual misconduct, perpetrated by an employee, a student or a third party on campus, are reported to the Dean of Students, who is the Title IX Coordinator for the University.  As such, he is designated coordinator for compliance with this Policy.

         Students should be advised that the Title IX Coordinator is obligated to act on any report of alleged misconduct. The University does not limit the timeframe for filing a report of misconduct. Reports can be submitted at any time following an incident, although the University’s ability to take any action may be negatively affected by the length of time between the alleged incident and the report.

         The Title IX Coordinator will either act as the complaint coordinator or appoint a complaint coordinator. The complaint process begins when a student meets with the complaint coordinator.  Together, this student and the coordinator will review information and expectations of the complaint process and select an advisor from the University staff to assist the complainant during the complaint process.

         When a complaint has been filed against a student, that student becomes the respondent. The respondent will be contacted by the complaint coordinator and informed of the complaint. The respondent, together with the coordinator, will review the same information and expectations that were shared with the complainant, and will select an adviser from the University staff to assist the respondent during the complaint process.

         Both the complainant and respondent will be asked to write a statement about their participation and perspective on the incident in question. The parties will be provided with information about how to prepare a written statement and a list of questions and prompts to which they may respond as they write their statements.

         The complaint coordinator will remain available to answer questions by the complainant and respondent about the complaint process.

Article VIII. Investigation of a Sexual Misconduct Complaint

         After both parties have submitted their statements, the Title IX Coordinator or appointed complaint coordinator will appoint an investigator to initiate the investigation. All investigations will be conducted as thoroughly and expeditiously as possible and normally shall be completed within 60 days from the initiation of the complaint, except where the appropriate or circumstances require a longer period. The scope of the investigation will not be limited to information provided by the parties or to the violations alleged in the complaint. In all cases, the investigator will conduct an adequate and impartial investigation into the allegations of the complaint.  Refusal by any party or witness to cooperate with the investigator in the investigation may result in action against the person refusing to cooperate. Once the investigative report is complete, the investigator will prepare and submit a written report to the complaint coordinator and the Title IX Coordinator. The complaint coordinator will then review the report with both the complainant and respondent, and will determine how to proceed with resolution of the complaint.

Article IX.       Complaint Resolution

Section 9.01        Mediation Under Certain Circumstances

                        Mediation is a voluntary process intended to allow the parties involved in an alleged complaint of discrimination or harassment to discuss their respective understandings of the incident with each other through the assistance of the complaint coordinator (or his/her designee) and the students’ advisors. Mediation is not appropriate for certain cases, such as alleged sexual violence, even on a voluntary basis. Mediation is designed to encourage each person to be honest and direct with the other and to accept personal responsibility where appropriate. Mediation is only offered as an option if recommended by the complaint coordinator, both the complainant and the respondent are students at the University and they both agree. (If either student is less than 18 years of age, the University may require that the minor student’s parent consent in writing to the student’s participation in the Mediation).

                        The mediation process is conducted by a mediator assigned to the case by the Title IX Coordinator.  The mediator is responsible for managing the process of resolution.  The complainant, respondent or the mediator can terminate the mediation process at any time and begin the judicial process.

                        Any statement of resolution by mediation shall be incorporated into an agreement, which shall be signed by both parties, the complaint coordinator, and shall be approved by the Title IX Coordinator (or his/her designee) before it takes effect. Any activity or behavior, or prohibition thereof, to which either party has agreed in the mediation shall be included in the agreement. 

          B.        The Judicial Process

          In the event that mediation is not appropriate (e.g. in all cases of sexual violence) or one of the parties does not want to pursue mediation, in most cases, the matter will be referred by the complaint coordinator to the University’s judicial process.  All cases of sexual misconduct are heard by the Sexual Misconduct Board. The actual hearing procedures will follow the procedures applicable to hearings before the all judicial boards to the extent practicable.  The hearing officer of the Student Conduct Committee will have discretion to alter those procedures if the hearing officer believes it will be in the bests interests of the parties involved.  The judicial procedures are described in The Community Standards and The University Judicial System.  

Article X.          Prohibition Against Retaliation

         Any retaliation or attempted retaliation by any person directed at a student filing a complaint of sexual misconduct, or otherwise seeking to influence the process, is strictly prohibited. Retaliation can be in the form of direct or indirect harassment, interference or intimidation of anyone involved in the process.  The respondent may be held responsible for retaliation against the complainant by friends or associates acting on the respondent’s behalf.