Policy Against Discriminatory and Sexual Harassment: Including Sexual Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, and Stalking Policy

Summary of Policy

Office of Primary Responsibility

View Title IX Deputies

Allegheny College expressly prohibits discrimination, harassment, and violence on the basis of race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, disability and other criteria protected by applicable law. Allegheny prohibits sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, and stalking regardless of the gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual orientation of the individuals involved.

Reason for Policy

All members of the Allegheny Community have a right to learn and work in an environment free from unlawful discriminatory, harassing, and violent conduct. Promoting a diverse environment free of discrimination, discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, and sexual violence while supporting freedom of speech is not to be viewed as mutually exclusive; these values are to be considered in tandem when addressing incidents of alleged discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or sexual violence. As affirmed in the Statement of Community, members of the College community will respectfully confront and proactively seek to prevent all forms of discriminatory and sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking in the Allegheny College community, when it is safe to do so. In establishing this policy, the College’s purposes include:

  1. to make clear that no member of our College community should be subject to any harassment, abuse, or violence based on the individual’s race, color, national origin, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, religion, or disability;
  2. to set forth the processes available for reporting, investigating and resolving alleged instances of discriminatory harassment and sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence and stalking. The College will respond promptly and appropriately to any form of alleged misconduct under this policy occurring in the College community; and
  3. to provide a means by which the entire College community can be made aware of the deep-seated, corrosive and sometimes hidden nature of racism, sexism, sexual prejudice, religious bigotry, and other forms of group hatred 

Policy Statement

Reporting & Resolutions

Options for Reporting

Any student, prospective student, employee, applicant for employment, or campus visitor who believes that they have been subjected to conduct in violation of this policy or who has observed, knows of, or suspects an occurrence of discriminatory harassment or sexual harassment, sexual violence, intimate partner violence, or stalking has the following reporting options:

  1. Report to Allegheny’s Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator(s)
  2. Report to Allegheny’s on-campus confidential resources
  3. Report to Law Enforcement
  4. Report to off-campus community resources and/or
  5. File a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

Responsible employees are obligated by this policy to immediately report such conduct to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.

Statute of Limitations on Reporting

Although the College does not impose a limitation period for reviewing internal complaints of alleged violations of this policy, prompt reporting of such incidents makes investigation of the incident more effective and enhances the ability of the College to take appropriate action regarding a complaint or report, including the ability to undertake appropriate interim measures.

Requests for Anonymity

Individuals reporting incidents of alleged misconduct sometimes ask that their names not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrators or that no investigation or disciplinary action be pursued to address the alleged misconduct.

In such cases, the Title IX Coordinator will inform the complainant that honoring the request may limit the College’s ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary action against the alleged perpetrator, and will explain that this policy and the law include protections against retaliation.

If the complainant still requests that their name not be disclosed to the alleged perpetrator or that the College not investigate or seek action against the alleged perpetrator, the Title IX Coordinator will determine whether or not the College can honor such a request while still providing a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all community members, including the complainant who reported the incident of alleged misconduct.

Criminal Conduct

Certain forms of misconduct under this policy may constitute criminal conduct. Whether or not someone who has been subjected to such conduct chooses to pursue criminal charges externally, they have the right to pursue an internal complaint under this policy, regardless of the status of any external proceedings. Further, the College may have an obligation to pursue an investigation, make a complaint, and take corrective action directly even if a complainant chooses not to pursue the matter internally at the College.

False Allegations

Making an allegation that is known to be untrue or knowingly providing false information during the course of an investigation or other proceedings under this policy is prohibited. Committing either of these is prohibited actions is a violation of this policy and may be a basis for discipline.

Resolution Options

Individuals who believe they have been subjected to alleged violations of this policy will be informed about options for resolving potential violations. Those options include:

  • Informal resolution
  • Formal resolution

Investigation and Resolution Procedures

Initiation of the Complaint Process

The Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will initiate the process under this policy by notifying the accused party (“respondent”) that a complaint has been filed against them and inform the respondent of the nature of the complaint, providing a written copy of the complaint to the respondent. The Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Coordinator, shall explain to both parties the avenues for informal and formal action, including a description of the process and the relevant avenues of redress, and provide each with a copy of this policy.

Interim Measures: During the pendency of an investigation or other proceedings under this policy, the College may be required to take reasonable and prudent interim measures to ensure equal access to its education programs and activities, to protect the parties, and/ or to safeguard the College community, including interim disciplinary measures if necessary and appropriate. In cases of alleged misconduct under this policy, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will notify the complainant and respondent of their options to avoid contact with the other party and allow them to change academic and extracurricular activities or their living, transportation, dining, and working situation as appropriate. In such cases, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will also notify the parties of available resources (such as counseling services, medical and mental health services, victim advocacy services) and of the right to report a crime to local law enforcement

Confidentiality: The College will maintain confidentiality to the greatest degree possible consistent with the College’s legal obligations to take all reasonable steps to protect the welfare of the campus community and to otherwise comply with applicable law.

Informal Resolution Process

The College provides an informal resolution process when the parties desire to resolve the situation cooperatively. Informal resolution may include inquiries into the facts, but does not typically rise to the level of a formal investigation unless required by applicable law. The informal process, which is overseen by the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, is designed to resolve complaints quickly, efficiently, and to the mutual satisfaction of all parties involved. Where circumstances allow, the informal process will be initiated as soon as possible after the filing of the complaint or receipt of a report of an alleged violation, absent any unusual circumstances. Informal resolution may include, but is not limited to, options such as meeting informally with the complainant and the respondent (individual or group representative) with the intent of bringing about resolution; meeting privately with the respondent and acting as intercessor; separation of the parties; referral of the parties to counseling programs, conducting educational and/or training programs, mediation, restorative justice, or other remedial measures. In cases where groups are involved, the Title IX Coordinator may require that one or two members of the group be authorized in writing to act on behalf of the group in the informal process; all members of the group would be bound by the terms of the informal process.

Situations that are resolved through the informal process are usually subject to follow-up after a period of time. Steps taken by the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator to help the parties achieve informal resolution will be documented. Some reports of alleged violations of this policy may not be appropriate for informal resolution but may require a formal investigation at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Dean of Institutional Diversity and/or other appropriate offices. Both the complainant and the respondent have the right to bypass or end the informal complaint process at any time in order to begin the formal complaint process.

Formal Resolution Process

If the allegation of a violation of this policy has not been resolved as a result of the informal process or is not suited for informal efforts, or if either the complainant or the respondent request to invoke the formal complaint process, the following process will be initiated. (The lodging and processing of a formal complaint does not preclude, however, the possibility of an informal resolution of the matter, if desired by the parties.)

The first step generally includes the complainant providing a statement containing the name(s) and relevant allegations against a person(s).

When a student is the respondent, the general principles described below in numbered paragraphs 1 through 12 will apply, including the “preponderance of evidence” standard. Where the respondent is a faculty or staff member, cases are also handled through the process described below. Where the respondent has dual status or where there are multiple respondents with varying statuses, College officials have discretion to determine whether to pursue the matter under the Code of Student Conduct or under the process described below. Where the respondent is a vendor/contractor or visitor, the College is not required to follow either the process described below or in the Code of Student Conduct. In such cases, the College reserves the right to take summary action.

The following general principles and procedures will govern this process, to the extent consistent with the College’s legal obligations:

  1. All persons concerned are to be treated with respect and impartiality.
  2. Procedures are to be fair, both in substance and in perception, to all persons concerned and to the College community.
  3. The Title IX Coordinator, or Deputy Coordinator, will provide the respondent with a description of the primary facts of the allegation at the first meeting set to discuss the investigation.
  4. The investigation of formal complaints generally includes interviews of (a) the complainant, (b) the respondent, and/or (c) any witnesses as needed; and (d) the review of relevant documents as appropriate. Disclosure of facts to non-party witnesses will be limited to what is reasonably necessary to conduct a fair and thorough investigation.
  5. Both the complainant and respondent will be given an equal opportunity to be heard, to provide a statement, documentation and other evidence, and to suggest the names of other persons who they believe might have relevant information. The complainant and respondent will be provided access (equally) to relevant information and documents once the investigative file is complete.
  6. At any time during the investigation, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, may recommend interim protections or remedies be provided by College officials. These protections and remedies may include (but are not limited to) separating the parties; placing limitations on contact between the parties; or making alternative workplace, housing, extracurricular, or academic arrangements where reasonable and feasible. Failure to comply with the terms of interim protections or remedies may be considered a separate violation of this policy.
  7. The investigation shall be completed as promptly as possible and in most cases in less than 60 working days from receipt of the original complaint. However, some investigations may not be completed in this timeframe due to the nature and extent of the allegations or other extenuating circumstances. In the event the investigation cannot be completed within 60 days, the parties will be notified in writing.
  8. After concluding the investigation, the investigator will record the facts gathered during the investigation in a written report. The complainant and respondent will be informed that the investigation has been completed and will be given the opportunity to review the statements and any relevant evidence collected as part of the investigation.
  9. Following completion of the review described in paragraph 8, in student conduct cases, the Title IX Coordinator, or designee, will provide the full investigative report to the Community Standards Board. After the completion of the Community Standards Board hearing, the Committee will prepare a written decision, including any necessary sanctions, using the preponderance of evidence standard and stating the rationale for its decision.
  10. In the case of a staff respondent, the written report of findings, using the preponderance of evidence standard, and the Title IX Coordinator’s recommendations shall be submitted to the appropriate Administrative Executive Committee (AEC) member(s) for the department or unit where the complainant and respondent are located. Final decisions in cases where a staff employee is the respondent shall be made by the Executive Vice President.In cases where a faculty member or other instructional employee is the respondent, final decisions shall be made by the Provost and Dean of the College. If the proposed action by the Provost and Dean of the College includes dismissal of a faculty member, the matter will be referred to the process described in the Faculty Handbook under Termination for Cause.The decisions and recommended actions of the Executive Vice President and the Provost and Dean of the College will be communicated in writing to the Title IX Coordinator and to the complainant and the respondent.
  11. Sanctions and corrective actions will be determined and implemented on a case-by-case basis for violations of this policy, and they will be appropriate to the circumstances and gravity of the violation, and may range from personal coaching/counseling to an official warning, suspension, termination or expulsion. The College will take appropriate steps to prevent recurrence of any violations of this policy and to remediate the effects on the complainant and the campus community, if appropriate.
  12. To the extent that appeals are provided in connection with findings or the imposition of a recommended disciplinary sanction under this policy, both the complainant and the respondent would have the right to appeal.

Retaliation is Prohibited

It is a violation of this policy for anyone (individual or group) to retaliate against anyone who makes a report or brings a complaint under this policy or who cooperates with or otherwise participates in the investigation or resolution of a complaint under this policy. This includes, but is not limited to, bullying and harassment through electronic media as well as in person. Allegheny College will take steps to prevent retaliation and will also take strong responsive action if the College finds that retaliation has occurred.

Definitions

Complainant:

The person alleging, and who experienced, behavior alleged to constitute discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or any other forms of misconduct defined in this policy.

Consent:

Clear, unambiguous, and voluntary agreement between the participants to engage in specific sexual activity. Consent cannot be inferred from the absence of a “no”; a clear “yes,” verbal or otherwise, is necessary. Although consent does not need to be verbal, verbal communication is the most reliable form of asking for and gauging consent, thus, individuals are urged to seek consent in verbal form. Talking with sexual partners about desires and limits may seem awkward, but serves as the basis for positive sexual experiences shaped by mutual willingness and respect. Consent cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep or otherwise mentally or physically incapacitated, whether due to alcohol, drugs, or some other condition. Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, or force. Agreement given under such conditions does not constitute consent. Consent must be clear and unambiguous for each participant throughout any sexual encounter. Consent to some sexual acts does not imply consent to others, nor does past consent to a given act imply ongoing or future consent. Consent can be revoked at any time. For all of these reasons, sexual partners must evaluate consent in an ongoing fashion and should communicate clearly with each other throughout any sexual encounter.

Dating Violence:

Dating violence is violence committed by a person who is or has been in a romantic or intimate relationship with the victim. Whether there was such a relationship will be gauged by its length, type, and frequency of interaction.

Discrimination:

Treating a person or group of people different or less favorably because of – or because of one’s perception of – their race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, marital status, citizenship, national origin, genetics, or any other characteristic protected by law (together, “protected characteristics”).  This includes any decision, act, or failure to act that adversely affects a person or group, when that decision, act, or failure to act is based on a protected characteristic or a perception that the person or group has a protected characteristic.

Discriminatory Harassment:

Any verbal, physical, written or symbolic behavior that is 1) directed at an individual or group and/or their property, 2) is based on that individual’s or group’s membership (or perceived membership) in a particular demographic group, including race, color, religion, age, gender, gender identity, gender expression, national origin or ethnicity, mental or physical disability, or sexual orientation, and 3) interferes with a reasonable person’s academic or work performance, creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive situation or environment for a person or that subjects a person to unwanted and unsolicited attention. Such behaviors include, but are not limited to, the use of slurs, epithets, name-calling, hate-speech, gestures, demeaning jokes, derogatory stereotypes, vandalism, bullying, or conduct that may be physically threatening, harmful or humiliating or cause a person to feel unsafe.

Domestic Violence:

Pennsylvania law defines domestic violence as knowingly, intentionally or recklessly causing bodily injury of any kind, causing fear of bodily injury of any kind, assault (sexual or not sexual), rape, sexually abusing minor children, or knowingly engaging in repetitive conduct toward a certain person (i.e. stalking) that puts them in fear of bodily injury. These acts can take place between family or household members, current or former spouses, sexual partners or those who share biological parenthood in order to qualify as domestic violence or abuse.

Force:

Use of physical violence or physical imposition, as well as, the use of threat, intimidation, or coercion to overcome a person’s free will or resistance. Threat, intimidation and coercion include:

  1. Actual or implied declarations to inflict physical or psychological harm, to cause damages or to commit other hostile actions to obtain sexual activity from an unwilling participant
  2. Applying unreasonable pressure to obtain sexual activity from and unwilling participant. Unreasonable pressure will be assessed by factors such as the frequency, intensity, degree of isolation and/or duration of the pressure and must include a real or perceived attack on safety, character, values or morals.

Harassment:

Conduct that is severe or pervasive enough to create a residence, classroom, work, or other campus environment that a reasonable person would consider intimidating, hostile, endangering, or abusive. Offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with a person’s residence or on-campus environment, or work or school performance, regardless of medium (e.g., in person, telephone, text message, electronic mail, social media or any other method).

Incapacitation:

Inability, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because someone is asleep, mentally and/or physically helpless, unconscious, or unaware due to drug or alcohol consumption (voluntarily or involuntarily), or for some other reason. Incapacitation means a person does not have the ability to give consent. Participating in sexual activity with whom the party knows or should reasonably know is incapacitated constitutes a violation of this policy.

Intimate Partner Violence:

Any intentional act, or threat, of physical, sexual, or psychological violence or abuse, including acts of intimidation and coercion, by a current or former partner in an intimate relationship upon the other partner. Intimate Partner Violence may include a pattern of abusive behavior by one partner to consistently maintain power and control over the other partner. This type of violence can occur regardless of the sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation of the other person.

The existence of an intimate relationship will be evaluated considering the length of the relationship, the type of relationship, and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Dating and domestic violence are forms of Intimate Partner Violence and all are prohibited by this policy.

Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse:

Any actual or attempted sexual intercourse, however slight, with any body part or object by a person upon a person:

  • Without Consent
  • When the person is incapacitated, or
  • By Force

Intercourse includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, finger, tongue or object, and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact), no matter how slight.

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact:

Any actual or attempted intentional sexual touching, however slight, with a body part or object, by a person upon a person:

  • Without Consent
  • When the person is incapacitated, or
  • By Force

Sexual contact includes contact, directly or over clothing, with genitals, groin, breasts, or buttocks; or touching another person with any of these body parts, or making another person touch themselves, or another person with or on any of these body parts, or any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.

Respondent:

The person whose conduct is alleged to constitute discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment, or other forms of misconduct described in this policy.

Responsible Employee:

A “responsible employee” for purposes of this policy includes all Allegheny College employees except the professional counselors in the College Counseling and Personal Development Center, professional staff in the Winslow Health Center, and the College Chaplain or any other individual employed by the College with a primary role as clergy. Responsible employees must promptly report incidents of discriminatory harassment, sexual harassment or other types of misconduct prohibited by this policy to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.

Retaliation:

Harassing, intimidating or taking adverse action(s) against a person because they in good faith:

  1. Made a report under this Policy
  2. Participated in/cooperated with an investigation of a complaint under this Policy including but not limited to the complainant, respondent, witnesses, or advisors
  3. Opposed conduct or practices prohibited by this Policy

Retaliation includes but is not limited to ostracizing the person, pressuring the person to drop or not support the complaint or to provide false or misleading information, or engaging in conduct that may reasonably be perceived to affect adversely that person’s educational, living, or work environment, threatening, intimidating, or coercing the person, or otherwise harassing or discriminating against any person for exercising their rights or responsibilities under this policy. Retaliation under this policy may be found whether or not the complaint is ultimately found to have merit.

Sexual Assault:

Sexual assault is also a form of sexual harassment, and it includes any type of sexual activity perpetrated against a person’s will, where that person does not give clear and voluntary consent or where the person is incapable of giving consent due to drug or alcohol use or due to intellectual or other disabilities.

Sexual Exploitation:

Sexual Exploitation occurs when one person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another. Examples include but are not limited to: invasion of sexual privacy; recording or attempting to record nude, partial nude or sexual media without the consent of the person or person depicted in the media; streaming, sharing or distributing nude, partial nude or sexual media without the consent of the person depicted in the media; non-consensual sexual voyeurism; inducing incapacitation for the purpose of making another person vulnerable to non-consensual sexual activity; administering sexual assault facilitating drugs including, but not limited to, alcohol, sleeping pills, sedatives, tranquilizers, anesthetics, depressants, and psychotropics without a person’s knowledge and permission; going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as knowingly allowing another to surreptitiously watch otherwise consensual sexual activity); exposing one’s genitals inn non-consensual circumstance; inducing another to expose their genitals; prostituting another person; and knowingly transmitting or exposing another person to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without the knowledge of the person.

Sexual Harassment:

Any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other unwelcome verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment may be found in a single episode as well as in persistent behavior. Sexual harassment also includes unwelcome sexual conduct when:

  1. Such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s academic and/or work performance or of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive living, learning or working environment
  2. Submission to such conduct is made (explicitly or implicitly) a term or condition of an individual’s employment or education; or submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic or employment decisions affecting that individual

Sexual Violence:

Refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment and includes sexual assault, non-consensual sexual intercourse, non-consensual sexual contact, sexual exploitation, and interpersonal violence.

Stalking:

A course of conduct, or pattern of behavior, directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others; or to suffer substantial emotional distress. Cyber-stalking, or the repeated use of electronic communications to harass or cause fear, is also included in this definition.