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PRP 4790 - Student Sexual Misconduct Policy
PRP 4790 - Student Sexual Misconduct Policy
Spring 2014 - Created in collaboration with legal Counsel, Schnader Attorneys at Law, in accordance with legal and PASSHE mandates regarding Jeanne Clery Act, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Title IX, and Campus Save Act. Organization: Dean of Students Office, Vice President for Student Affairs, Schnader Attorneys.
June 2014 - Presented and approved by Council of Trustees. Organization: Presented by Dr. Somerville to Council of Trustees.
Rationale for Policy: It is the policy of Bloomsburg University to provide students with a safe learning environment and ensure opportunities for participation in its education programs and activities are free from discrimination on the basis of sex. The University has established this policy to promote an academic and work environment that is free from all forms of sexual harassment, including sexual violence. Sexual harassment in any context is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The University has established this policy in compliance with Title IX, the Jeanne Clery Act, the Violence Against Women Act, the Campus SaVE Act, and related laws and regulatory guidance. The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy is intended to meet these requirements, ensure victims are fully informed of all available options and resources, and to set forth the University’s fair and equitable disciplinary process.
Keywords: rape, sexual assault, survivor, sexual misconduct, consent, harassment, stalking, dating violence, assault resources, advocate, date rape, anonymous reporting, Title IX
Bloomsburg University is committed to creating and maintaining a campus environment where safety, health, and well-being are priorities for all. Sexual misconduct includes a range of acts that are perpetrated against an individual without consent or when an individual is unable to freely give consent. Anyone can be a victim regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The University will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct. All forms of sexual misconduct are serious offenses with serious consequences that violate the Student Code of Conduct.
The Student Sexual Misconduct Policy has been developed to:
- Educate the University community about shared values and expectations regarding sexual behavior
- Define sexual misconduct as a range of behaviors prohibited by the Student Code of Conduct
- Clarify the difference between the criminal process that might be pursued through district attorneys and police, over which the University has no control, and the procedures for addressing reports of sexual misconduct violations under the Bloomsburg University Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Process
- Provide guidance on what an individual should do if he or she has been sexually assaulted or otherwise victimized
- Communicate University procedures regarding the rights of victims and the accused
- Ensure compliance with appropriate state and federal regulations, including Title IX, Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Campus SaVE Act, and Jeanne Clery Act
- Identify campus and community resources for individuals who wish to report sexual misconduct and for students who have been accused of sexual misconduct
This policy addresses sexual assault and misconduct as a violation of the Bloomsburg University Student Code of Conduct and therefore only applies to situations involving students who are accused of sexual misconduct. Sexual misconduct complaints against students may be processed by The Dean of Students Office via the Student Code of Conduct and Judicial Process (Kehr Union Building, Room 101; 570-389-4064). Sexual misconduct complaints against employees and third parties will be processed by the Office of Social Equity via the Harassment and Discrimination Policy (PRP 6814) (Student Services Building, 054; 570-389-4529).
The policy and procedures addressed here are in addition to, and not a replacement for, any legal options that may be available. Any criminal process is separate from proceedings at the University level. Those interested in pursuing a criminal investigation should contact the Bloomsburg University Police Department (570-389-4168) or the Town of Bloomsburg Police Department (570-784-4155) or dial 911.
Sexual misconduct violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. This means that a victim may file a complaint with the University Title IX Coordinator in The Office of Social Equity, Student Services Building, 054; 570-389-4529.
1. CONSENT: “Consent” means words or actions that demonstrate an affirmative, knowing and voluntary agreement to engage in a mutually agreed-upon sexual act. Consent must be informed and freely given. Consent is invalidated when it is forced, coerced, or when a person is physically and/or mentally incapable of giving consent. For example, a person who is substantially impaired by drugs or alcohol may not be able to consent. Some signs of substantial impairment may include, but are not limited to, loss of balance/inability to walk without stumbling, slurred speech, inability to focus their vision, vomiting, erratic or extreme behavior, knowledge of person’s significant use of drugs or alcohol, or passing out.
Consent is an active, on-going process. It can be withdrawn at any time, and consent for one sexual act does not imply consent for another subsequent sexual act. Consent, a lack of consent or a withdrawal of consent can be expressed by words or actions or both. For example, verbal silence or the absence of physical resistance does not automatically mean someone has consented to a sexual act; nor is physical resistance required for a person to verbally communicate a lack of consent or to withdraw consent.
In reviewing an allegation of sexual misconduct, consent is a critical factor in determining whether there is a violation of this policy. Although all parties must give their consent to any sexual act and it is the best practice for both partners to be responsible for confirming that they have obtained the other’s consent, it is the responsibility of the person initiating the sexual act to obtain consent from the other.
During a Formal Hearing Process, the Hearing Chairperson or hearing board may examine the issue of consent from a variety of perspectives, including whether the accused believed he or she had obtained consent and whether a reasonable person would have believed that he or she had obtained consent. Although neither perspective is outcome-determinative for every case, students are strongly advised to be mindful of and conduct themselves according to the reasonable person standard and to avoid any ambiguity in obtaining and giving consent.
The following are clarifying points:
- Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity;
- Consent to some levels of sexual activity does not imply consent to all levels of sexual activity. Each new level of sexual activity requires consent;
- A current or previous dating or sexual relationship with the initiator (or anyone else) does not constitute consent;
- Being intoxicated does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent;
- Silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance is not consent;
- Intentional use of alcohol/drugs does not imply consent to sexual activity;
- Seductive dancing or sexy/revealing clothing does not imply consent to sexual activity;
- Anyone under the age of 16 cannot give consent;
2. INCAPACITATION: An incapacitated individual cannot give consent. Incapacitation can result from a psychological health condition, voluntary or involuntary intoxication, or use of any drug, intoxicant or controlled substance.
An individual must not engage in sexual activity with another person if the individual knows or should have reasonably known that the other person is incapacitated. An individual is considered incapable of giving effective consent when s/he lacks the ability to appreciate the fact that the situation is sexual, and/or cannot rationally and reasonably appreciate the nature and extent of that situation. One who is unconscious, unaware, asleep, or otherwise helpless, is incapable of giving consent.
3. SEXUAL HARASSMENT: Sexual harassment is defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other harassing conduct of a sexual nature whether intentional or not.
Sexual harassment occurs when:
- Submission to the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of an individual’s employment or status in a course, program, or activity; or
- Submission to or rejection of the unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature by an individual is used as the basis for an academic or employment-related decision affecting such an individual; or
- The unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive as to substantially limit or interfere with an individual’s work, educational performance, participation in extra-curricular activities, or equal access to the University’s resources and opportunities; or
- Sexual violence is a form of sexual harassment. Sexual violence refers to physical acts perpetrated without a person’s consent or where a person is incapable of giving consent due to the victim’s use of drugs, alcohol, or disability. Physical sexual acts include rape, sexual assault, and sexual exploitation. Such contact creates an intimidating, hostile, or abusive living, working, or educational environment.
4. SEXUAL ASSAULT/RAPE: Sexual assault, including rape, is any type of sexual act directed against another person that occurs without the consent of the victim, including where the victim is incapable of giving consent.
Rape is any penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any object or body part, or oral penetration by a sex organ by a person of any gender or sexual orientation that is without consent.
5. SEXUAL EXPLOITATION: Sexual exploitation occurs when a person takes non-consensual or unjust sexual advantage of another for their own advantage or benefit, or to benefit another other than the one being exploited.
Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to,
- non-consensual video, photographing, or audio-taping of sexual activity;
- non-consensual distribution of a video, photograph, or sound recording of sexual activity;
- non-consensual photographing of nudity;
- non-consensual distribution of a nude photograph;
- going beyond the boundaries of consent (such as letting your friends hide in the closet to watch you having consensual sex);
- engaging in peeping or indecent exposure;
- inducing incapacitation through alcohol or drugs in order to sexually assault another person (whether or not sexual contact actually takes place); an example could include spiking someone’s drink.
6. STALKING: Stalking is defined as engaging in a course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to – (A) fear for the person’s safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress. For the purpose of this definition:
a. “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.
b. “substantial emotional distress” means significant mental suffering or anguish that may, but does not necessarily require medical or other professional treatment or counseling.
c. “reasonable person” means a reasonable person under similar circumstances and with similar identity to the victim
Cyberstalking is another form of stalking where a person engages in a course of conduct using the Internet, e-mail, or other electronic communications devices to pursue or track another person that would cause a reasonable person to – (A) fear for his or her safety or the safety of others; or (B) suffer substantial emotional distress.
Stalking can include, but is not limited to:
- unwanted telephone calls
- unwanted letters, e-mails, or other forms of communication/messaging
- unwanted or threatening gifts
- pursuing or following a person without his or her consent
- unwanted appearances at a person’s place of residence, school, or work surveillance or other types of observation
- use of electronic devices or software to track or obtain private information
7. DATING VIOLENCE: Dating violence is defined as violence committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. The existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on the reporting party’s statement and with consideration of the following factors: the length of the relationship; the type of relationship; the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship. Dating violence includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse. It does not include acts covered under the definition of domestic violence.
8. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Domestic violence is defined as violence committed by a current or former spouse of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse or someone similarly situated to a spouse, or by any other person from whom the victim is protected under the domestic or family violence laws in the jurisdiction in which the act occurred.
Medical Care and Preserving Evidence
An individual who has been the victim of sexual violence is urged to seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if a victim doesn’t want to report the assault, medical attention is highly recommended to check for injuries, sexually transmitted infections, or pregnancy.
Victims of sexual assault are strongly encouraged to undergo a forensic examination within 72 hours by a trained professional. Forensic examinations are not available at the Student Health Center (SHC) and require police involvement. Victims should use a local hospital such as Geisinger-Bloomsburg Hospital located in Bloomsburg or at the Geisinger Medical Center located in Danville for comprehensive medical care and a forensic examination after an assault. The Student Health Center and/or University Police will assist with transportation to the hospital if needed. In cases requiring urgent care, contact local emergency services by calling 911.
In addition to receiving proper medical attention, consider the following:
- Time is a factor in the collection of evidence. Post-assault forensic evidence (commonly referred to as a “rape kit”) is best collected as soon as possible or within 72 hours after the assault. Victims should go to the hospital as soon as possible after the assault.
- A Victim Advocate from the Bloomsburg Town Women’s Center Inc. or a University Advocate can accompany the victim to the hospital to provide support and answer questions on what to expect. To obtain an advocate, call 1-800-544-8293 for a town Women’s Center Advocate or 570-336-4994 for a University Advocate. The Hospital Emergency room will contact a Victim Advocate, if desired.
- Victims should not bathe or douche as this will destroy evidence that supports a legal case against the accused.
- The hospital will keep the clothes worn during the assault as evidence. Victims should bring a change of clothes to the hospital, or take the clothes he/she was wearing during the assault in a brown paper bag to the hospital.
- If the use of a “date rape drug” is suspected, a urine sample can sometimes detect it.
- For more information about evidence collection go to: www.rainn.org/get-information/sexual-assault-recovery/rape-kit.
The Student Health Center will provide prompt medical and psychological support for all victims of sexual assault. The SHC will initiate and coordinate care between other Bloomsburg University departments and area hospital emergency departments for follow-up care. The Student Health Center is located next to the Husky Lounge in Kehr Union Building and is open Monday through Friday, from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, during fall and spring semesters. Contact SHC by calling 570-389-4451.
The victim may also receive care at Columbia Montour Family Health located in Bloomsburg (see Resources Section), Planned Parenthood in Wilkes Barre, or from a private physician or gynecologist.
Reporting and Filing Complaints
Covered in this section:
- Facts about reporting
- How to report to the police
- How to report to University Administration
- How to file a judicial complaint
Bloomsburg University strongly encourages prompt reporting of sexual misconduct to the police. Bloomsburg University also recognizes that individuals who experience sexual misconduct have the right to decide whether to file a criminal report with the police, and whether to file a report with the University (via the Title IX Coordinator, Dean of Students Office or the Office of Social Equity), an anonymous report, or no report at all.
Here are a few things to know about reporting misconduct:
- Anyone can file a report whether they are a victim, witness, or concerned third party.
- Victims have the option to:
o file both a criminal report with the police and a report with the University at either the Dean of Students Office and/or The Office of Social Equity (Title IX Coordinator);
o file only a report with the University;
o file only a criminal report with the police;
o file an anonymous report online or by calling the Title IX Coordinator (570-389-4529);
o file no report at all
- Filing a report with the Title IX Coordinator, The Dean of Students Office and/or The Office of Social Equity does not mean that you have to be involved in a police investigation, go to court, or talk to the accused
- A victim has the right to request a University Advocate to go with him or her when filing a report with the police or with the University. Call 570-336-4994 to speak to a University Advocate.
- The intentional filing of a false report is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct and may also violate state criminal and civil laws.
A victim or witness who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a sexual misconduct incident generally will not face disciplinary charges from the University or from the University Police for underage drinking or drug use.
If you have any questions or need help, the offices or staff members listed in the On-Campus Resources section of the policy below can offer information and support. Choose any office with whom you feel most comfortable.
To File a Report with the University Police or Local Police:
Those who want to initiate a criminal investigation by the police and seek to press criminal charges against the accused should contact the University Police (570-389-4168), dial 911, or contact the police in the area where the assault took place. Criminal charges can be filed against any individual, including non-Bloomsburg University members. Criminal charges of sexual assault are entirely separate from violations of the Student Code of Conduct, which only applies to Bloomsburg University students. Filing a formal report with the police is necessary when a victim would like to initiate a criminal investigation by the police. Anyone who has been sexually assaulted may choose to pursue both criminal prosecution and the university disciplinary/judicial processes. If the incident occurred off-campus, the University Police can assist the victim in filing the complaint in the appropriate jurisdiction.
To File a Report with the University Administration:
Sexual misconduct, which includes acts of sexual violence, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. A Title IX investigation is separate from a criminal investigation by the police and courts. Individuals with knowledge of any form of sex discrimination, sexual violence, sexual misconduct or gender-based harassment are encouraged to report the incident to the Title IX Coordinator in The Office of Social Equity, Student Services Building, 054; 570-389-4529.
Additionally, University employees, with few exceptions discussed below under Confidentiality and Reporting, are required to report any incident of sexual misconduct that they witness or that is reported to them and provide the name of the victim to the Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator will speak with the victim to: ensure that she or he is aware of available resources, services, and interim safety measures to assist with the physical and emotional aftermath of the incident; advise the victim of the complaint filing options; and take any necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Bloomsburg University community.
To File an Anonymous Report With University Administration:
The University strongly encourages reporters to identify themselves by name to ensure that victims are provided with access to all available resources and to better ensure the safety of the campus community. However, to encourage all reporting, anonymous reports will be accepted by anyone with knowledge of a sexual misconduct violation. An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her name, identifying the victim or requesting any action. The University’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited depending on the extent of information available about the incident or the individuals involved.
To file an anonymous report, you may (1) go online at bloomu.edu/sexual-assault-defined to fill out and submit an anonymous report; or (2) call the University Title IX Coordinator, 570-389-4529.
To File a Complaint with University Administration Against a Student:
Sexual misconduct (as defined in this policy) is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct, and as such a victim may make a judicial complaint under the Student Code of Conduct against a Bloomsburg University student(s). The judicial process and hearing is separate from a criminal investigation by the police. The accused can receive punishment up to and including expulsion from the University. Formal judicial reports can be made by contacting The Dean of Students Office at 570-389-4064.
To File a Complaint With University Administration Against an Employee or Vendor:
A student who is a victim of sexual misconduct (as defined in this policy) by a University employee or vendor may file a complaint with the Office of Social Equity under the Harassment and Discrimination Policy. The Office of Social Equity will investigate the complaint. This process is separate from a criminal investigation by the police. The accused may receive punishment up to and including termination of employment from the University. Formal judicial reports can be made by contacting the Director of Social Equity at (570-389-4529).
Confidentiality and Reporting
Bloomsburg University understands the amount of strength and courage that is required to come forward and disclose sexual misconduct. Be it harassment, assault, sexual exploitation, stalking or dating violence, Bloomsburg takes your right to privacy seriously. Bloomsburg will, to the extent possible, do our best to protect your privacy while meeting the University’s legal obligations. Because the safety of our students, faculty and staff is of our utmost concern, we are not always able to grant complete confidentiality in a sexual misconduct case.
There are some resources that provide complete confidentiality on- and off-campus. They are as follows:
a. Bloomsburg University Counseling Center: 570-389-4255
b. Rape, Abuse, and Incest, National Network (RAINN) hotline: 1-800-656-4673
c. Religious pastoral counselor providing confidential counseling, such as Catholic Campus Ministry (Newman House, 353 East 2nd St., Bloomsburg, 570-784-2123) or the Protestant Campus Ministry (KUB 240, 570-389-4950).
Under Title IX, the University has an obligation to investigate all incidents of sexual misconduct, and make victims aware of the resources available to them, while striving to respect the privacy and confidentiality of the victim. Confidentiality and privacy offer two different levels of protection for information a student shares. The University's obligation to protect the safety of its students and to record statistics may not permit complete confidentiality, but the University shall take the necessary measures to ensure that the information shared is kept private by limiting the information to those individuals required to know pursuant to law, regulation or University policy. Complete confidential resources listed above generally will share information only if there is an imminent risk to self or others. In life-threatening situations, confidentiality is not legally possible and University employees will contact emergency personnel immediately.
The University will not inform students' parents or guardians of their involvement in a situation involving sexual misconduct unless necessary to protect the student’s health and safety or the student requests the University to make such contact. However, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents or guardians.
All reported instances of sexual misconduct will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and equitably with appropriate response taken to ensure a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students, faculty, and staff. A victim may request that no investigation take place or that his or her name not be disclosed to the accused during an investigation. Honoring such a request may limit the University’s ability to respond fully to the incident, including pursuing disciplinary actions. These requests will be evaluated according to the severity of the situation and the threat that the accused poses to the overall safety of the campus community. The University will notify the victim if and when confidentiality and/or compliance with their wishes cannot be guaranteed.
Federal Reporting Obligations
Victims of sexual misconduct should be aware that university administrators must issue timely warnings, called “Campus Alerts,” for incidents reported that pose a substantial threat of bodily harm or danger to members of the campus community. The University will 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 for themselves.
The University is also obligated to maintain records of crimes reported on campus to Campus Security Authorities, make a reasonable good faith effort to obtain certain crime statistics from appropriate law enforcement agencies to include in the Annual Security Report, and keep a daily crime log open for public inspection. Crime reports made to campus security authorities may include personally identifiable information to aid in crime investigation. However, personally identifiable information will not be included in the disclosure of crime statistics or the daily log.
Interim Accommodations for Victims
Bloomsburg University will assist victims, upon request, with changes in academic, living, transportation and working situations if the changes are reasonably available, regardless of whether the victim chooses to report the incident to campus police of local law enforcement. These accommodations include, but are not limited to:
- housing reassignment to ensure that victim and accused are not in close proximity;
- limitations on contact between parties (referred to as a “No Contact Letter”);
- an escort to ensure the victim’s safety;
- reassignment of classes to ensure that the victim and accused are not attending the same class;
- counseling services;
- medical services;
- academic support such as tutoring;
- permission to withdraw from a class without penalty
University Disciplinary Procedure
Covered in this section:
- Disciplinary/Judicial Process
Specific violations of the Student Sexual Misconduct Policy, consistent with the Policy’s defined terms, are outlined below:
- Violation 1. A student may not sexually harass or attempt to sexually harass another individual.
- Violation 2. A student may not sexually assault, including but not limited to rape, or attempt to sexually assault another individual.
- Violation 3. A student may not sexually exploit or attempt to sexually exploit another individual.
- Violation 4. A student may not stalk or attempt to stalk another individual.
- Violation 6. A student may not engage in dating violence against another individual.
- Violation 7. A student may not engage in domestic violence against another individual.
Any student or employee of Bloomsburg University can file a complaint against a student or student organization for violations of the Student Code of Conduct on the basis of sexual misconduct. Student Code of Conduct charges are entirely separate from any criminal charges or criminal investigation by the police. Any victim may file a criminal complaint with police in addition to a Student Code of Conduct violation.
Bloomsburg University prohibits retaliation against any person for using this reporting procedure, or for filing, testifying, assisting or participating in any investigation or proceeding involving allegations of sexual misconduct. Any retaliatory behavior should be reported immediately to the Dean of Students Office (570-389-4064) or the Title IX Coordinator. Any person, including third parties, who are found responsible for retaliating against any participant, including a witness, complainant or accused, will be subject to separate disciplinary charges and sanctions.
The accused and the complainant involved in the case are entitled to a prompt, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution within sixty days of a report being filed with The Office of Social Equity or The Dean of Students Office.
Informal Complaint Process: The purpose of the informal resolution process is to encourage the reporting of complaints concerning non-violent sexual misconduct and to facilitate satisfactory resolution of the complaint as quickly as possible. Informal resolution is not available for complaints of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking, and may not be appropriate depending on the factual circumstances. A complainant may directly file an informal complaint with the Dean of Students Office who will screen the complaint and make an initial determination of whether the allegations are appropriate for informal resolution.
If the allegations are not appropriate for informal resolution, the Dean of Students will inform the complainant that a formal complaint must be filed. If the allegations are appropriate for informal resolution, the Dean of Students or designee will meet with the complainant and the accused, along with their advisors, to resolve the complaint. This meeting may be held separately or with all parties. Informal resolution is voluntary and either party has the opportunity to withdraw at any time and the complainant may proceed with a formal complaint.
If an agreement is reached, the Dean of Students or designee will provide a written statement of the resolution to the Title IX Coordinator and to both parties. If agreement is not reached, the Dean of Students or designee will inform the complainant of his/her right to file a formal complaint and will inform the Title IX Coordinator of the outcome.
Formal Complaint Process
Once a complainant files a formal sexual misconduct report an initial fact-finding investigation will be conducted by a trained investigator designated by the Office of Social Equity or The Dean of Students Office. The investigator will speak with the complainant, the accused, and additional individuals with knowledge related to the alleged misconduct. The investigator will also review related evidence such as text messages, phone records, emails, photographs or videos. The investigator will draft a factual summary of each person’s statement and a list of evidence, noting the source of that evidence. To the extent possible, a copy of all evidence to be included in the report will be attached to the report. The investigator’s report will then be provided to both the complainant and the accused. Within 5 business days of receiving the report, either party may submit a written response to the report noting any discrepancies or additional information.
In some instances, after the accused is presented with a formal charge he or she may wish to accept responsibility without a hearing. The Dean of Students or designee will then determine an appropriate sanction and will inform the complainant and the accused of the proposed sanction. Where the complainant and accused agree with the sanction, both will be required to sign a statement of agreement and waiver of any right to appeal. Where either the complainant or the accused do not agree with the proposed sanction, either may insist on a formal hearing and both parties will then retain the right to appeal the outcome of the hearing.
For all other complaints, a formal hearing will be held before the formal hearing board. All hearings are closed and information will be shared only with the necessary decision makers. The purpose of a hearing is to hear the facts and circumstances of the alleged incident and to accept all evidence offered by the complainant and the accused. In determining whether a sexual misconduct violation has occurred, the judicial board applies a preponderance of the evidence standard. That is, the judicial board must determine if the testimony and evidence presented suggests that it is more likely than not that sexual misconduct has occurred.
The University reserves the right to hold a hearing even where the accused or the complainant do not attend (“in absentia”) whenever necessary and appropriate. If the hearing is held in absentia, the accused will not have the opportunity to respond to the alleged violation(s). If the initial complainant or victim is unable or unwilling to participate, the University may proceed as the complainant where necessary to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students.
The Hearing Chairperson (non-voting member) shall be responsible for maintaining order and room decorum during hearings. Anyone who displays disorderly or disruptive behavior and refuses to comply with the request of the Hearing Chairperson during a hearing will be asked to leave the hearing and could be subject to disciplinary action. Hearing Chairpersons, the University formal hearing board, the appeals board, and special interim boards have full delegated authority from the President of the University to hear student disciplinary cases.
Formal Complaint Procedural Guidelines
The following procedural guidelines are established for the direction of all sexual misconduct formal disciplinary hearings:
a. The accused and the complainant shall be notified in writing by an appropriate university official that of the alleged violation(s) of a university policy(s) and of how the alleged violation(s) came to The Dean of Students Office’s attention.
b. The complainant and accused shall receive written notification of the time and place of the hearing at least 3 business days prior to the hearing.
c. The complainant and accused shall receive written statement of charges, with sufficient particularity to enable the accused to prepare for the hearing, at least 3 business days prior to a hearing.
d. The complainant and accused shall receive notification of all hearing rights, procedures, and responsibilities regarding the disciplinary process.
e. The complainant and accused shall receive written notification of the hearing results within 10 business days of the conclusion of the hearing.
f. The complainant and accused shall receive written notification of an appeal decision within 20 business days after filing the appeal.
a. The complainant and accused have the right to appear in person and to present information regarding the allegations in the complaint and to call witnesses on their behalf.
b. If witnesses are appearing, the complainant and accused must present in writing the names of the witnesses at least 2 business days prior to the hearing to The Dean of Students Office.
c. No hearing participant, including the complainant, accused, and any witnesses, will be required to answer any question posed.
a. The complainant and accused have the right to be accompanied by one advisor of their choice during any part of the disciplinary proceedings. The University reserves the right to utilize legal counsel.
b. An advisor may be a faculty, staff or student of the university, legal counsel, parent/guardian, or advisor of record for an organization. The University discourages using an advisor who will also be serving as a witness.
c. If the complainant and/or accused wishes to have an advisor, formal written notification must be received by the Dean of Students at least 2 business days prior to the hearing.
d. The advisor may provide individual consultation to the accused or complainant being represented and may suggest questions to that individual. However, the advisor may not directly question any participant, including the complainant, the accused, witnesses, board members, or the hearing officer.
d. In consideration of the limited role of an advisor and of the compelling interest of the University to expeditiously conclude the matter, the work of the hearing board will not - as a general practice - be delayed due to the unavailability of an advisor.
4. Formal Hearing Board
a. The formal hearing board is responsible for adjudicating all formal hearings regarding alleged violations of the Student Code of Conduct, which could result in suspension or expulsion.
b. The composition of the formal hearing board will include:
i. a Chairperson and
ii. a five member combination of Bloomsburg University students, faculty, and/or staff, selected by The Dean of Students or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
1. Students are selected to serve on the board from a pool of interested students who:
a. have completed at least 24 credits
b. maintain a 2.00 GPA
c. maintain good conduct standing
d. complete required training
2. Faculty and staff will be selected from volunteers, and will have completed required training.
iii. The Chairperson: The role of the Chairperson is to maintain control over the hearing by ensuring orderly and efficient administration of the hearing. Any procedural or process issues are the sole responsibility of the Chairperson. The Chairperson controls all questioning, informing the parties and board members when they may ask questions and determining what questions are allowed.
iv. The Board Members: board members are responsible for objectively listening to information provided and discussing evidence and statements presented during the hearing process. Upon the conclusion of the hearing process, the board discusses first whether or not the accused is responsible. If the accused is found responsible, then the board recommends appropriate sanctions, which are then forwarded to The Dean of Students.
c. The complainant and accused will be notified of the members of the respective board at least 3 business days in advance of the scheduled hearing. A request to disqualify a board member whom the complainant or accuser feels is biased or otherwise involved in the case must be submitted in writing to the Chairperson and must state the reason for seeking disqualification. A challenge to the Chairperson should be submitted to the Vice President for Student Affairs or other designee. The Chairperson or The Vice President for Student Affairs or other designee will determine the final composition of the board.
5. Formal Hearing Process: Outlined below is an example of the standard formal hearing process.
a. Chairperson informs all that the proceedings will be recorded.
b. Chairperson states date/time/location/purpose of the hearing for the record.
c. Chairperson asks members of the board to introduce themselves for the record. The complainant and the accused are asked if they object to any members of the board.
d. Chairperson has complainant and accused introduce themselves for the record. Advisors, if any, introduce themselves at this time.
e. The complainant or accused may elect not to appear for the hearing. The failure to appear must be noted without prejudice. The decision in such cases will be made after considering the evidence available.
b. Charges and Statement of the Case
a. Chairperson reads the charges of policy violations brought against the accused.
b. Chairperson asks the accused to respond to each charge by saying that s/he is “responsible” or “not responsible”.
c. The Chairperson then asks the complainant or individual presenting charges to state his/her case. The complainant may speak from memory or read a written statement, whichever s/he prefers.
a. The Chairperson will then instruct the board that they may now ask questions regarding the information presented by the accuser. Once the board is finished with their questions, the Chairperson will ask the accused if s/he has any questions regarding the information presented. All questions from the accused must be presented to the Chairperson and will be asked by the Chairperson at his/her discretion. Questions regarding the complainant’s sexual history with anyone other than the accused will not be permitted. The board then has a final opportunity to ask questions of the complainant.
b. The complainant then has an opportunity to call witnesses. The witness may make a statement and the complainant then has an opportunity to ask questions of his/her witness. Once the complainant’s questions are complete, the board may ask questions and the accused may submit questions to the Chairperson who will ask the questions at his/her discretion. The same process is repeated until all witnesses for the complainant are called and have presented their information.
c. The accused then has the exact same opportunity to present evidence as set forth in (a) and (b) above and the complainant may submit questions to the Chairperson.
d. Final Statement
a. The complainant and the accused are each permitted, if they wish, to make a final statement.
b. Once final statements are finished, the Chairperson dismisses the parties involved and ends the recording.
a. The board immediately convenes following a formal hearing to discuss and reach a decision by majority vote.
b. The board applies a preponderance of the evidence standard. That is, the judicial board must determine if the testimony and evidence presented is sufficient to make a reasonable person believe that it is more likely true than not that sexual misconduct has occurred.
c. After a hearing the board may render one of the decisions listed below:
i. Not a Violation - No violation of policy occurred.
ii. Violation - A violation of policy occurred and was proven by a preponderance of the evidence. In this case, the board may select from the sanctions noted below which can be imposed upon an accused for a stated specific period of time.
d. The decision is then forwarded to the Dean of Students in the form of a recommendation. The recommendation will be checked for appropriateness and severity.
e. Generally within 10 business days, the Dean of Students will write a formal letter to the complainant and the accused regarding the decision, setting forth the facts and reasoning with reasonable specificity. The Dean of Students or designee then arranges to separately meet with the complainant and the accused to deliver and discuss the decision.
f. Sanctions: Where a violation is found by a preponderance of the evidence, the board may impose any one or more of the following sanctions:
a. Written Warning - An official written reprimand noting that a policy violation occurred, which remains in the accused’s disciplinary record.
b. Disciplinary Warning - An official university sanction indicating that further violation of university policies shall result in more severe disciplinary action. This warning is imposed for a specific period of time. The accused will automatically be removed from this status when the imposed period expires. Various requirements may be added to this status including, but not limited to community service and educational programs.
c. Disciplinary Probation - An official university sanction indicating that further violation of university policies may result in the suspension of an individual student. Various requirements may be added to this status including, but not limited to community service, educational programs, and loss of on campus housing privileges.
d. Disciplinary Probation/Suspension in Abeyance – An official university sanction indicating that further violation of university policies will result in the suspension of the accused. Various requirements may be added to this status including, but not limited to community service, educational programs, and loss of on campus housing privileges.
e. Suspension – An accused will be suspended from the university for a specific period of time, not to be less than the remainder of the current semester. Suspension requires that the accused remove himself/herself from the university premises (including residential facilities). The accused shall not attend classes, social activities or be present on university property during the period of suspension.
f. Expulsion - Expulsion implies permanent dismissal from the university with no promise the accused may return at any time. The accused individual being expelled may not be present on University property for any reason.
g. Interim Status:
a. Pending action of the charges, the status of the accused should not be altered or the accused’s right to be present on campus and to attend classes except where the student’s continued presence constitutes an immediate threat of harm to the student, other students, university personnel or university property.
b. The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs, upon appropriate evidence and/or professional advice, will determine if an interim suspension and/or limitations to an accused’s access to university-owned and/or operated property is warranted.
a. The complainant and the accused are permitted one appeal. The appeal must be filed in writing to The Dean of Students Office within 3 business days after receiving an official written notice of sanction.
b. The Appeals Board: The appeals board is responsible for adjudicating all formal hearing appeal requests. The composition of the appeals board will include a three-member combination of Bloomsburg University students, faculty, and/or staff, selected by the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
c. Any sanction(s) assessed shall be held in abeyance until acted upon by the appeals board or reviewing body.
d. Appeals may only be heard for the following reasons:
i. New evidence (not available during the initial hearing).
ii. Disciplinary action disproportionate to Code of Conduct violation.
iii. Denial of due process.
e. The appeal must indicate in detail what new evidence exists that was not available in the initial hearing, details describing why the disciplinary action is disproportionate to Code of Conduct violation, and/or specific area where due process was denied.
f. For any form of disciplinary probation or disciplinary warnings:
i. The Dean of Students or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs will determine whether the requirements for an appeal have been met.
ii. If it is determined that none of the requirements have been met, then the Dean of Students or designee will deny the appeal and inform the complainant and the accuser in writing within 10 business days.
iii. If it is determined that any one of the requirements has been met, then the Dean of Students or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs will inform the complainant and the accused in writing within 10 business days that the appeal will be considered by the appeals board.
iv. If it is determined that any one of the requirements has been met, the appeals board will review the written appeal and may review the hearing record. The appeals board has the option to:
1. Deny the appeal
2. Uphold decision(s)/sanction(s)
3. Amend decision(s)/sanction(s)
g. For appeals of suspension or expulsion:
i. The Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs or other designee of the Vice President for Student Affairs will determine if the appeal requirements have been met.
ii. If it is determined that none of the requirements have been met, the Assistant Vice President or designee will deny the appeal and inform the accused and/or complainant in writing within 10 business days.
iii. If it is determined that any one of the requirements has been met, the appeals board will review the written appeal and all documentation contained within the accused’s disciplinary file. At that time, the appeals board has the option to:
1. Deny the appeal
2. Uphold decision(s)/sanction(s)
3. Amend decision(s)/sanction(s)
iv. All meetings of the appeals board are closed.
h. Where the requirements for an appeal have been met, decisions of the appeals board will be rendered in most cases within 20 business days of receipt of the appeal and the complainant and the accused will be notified in writing of the results.
a. All formal hearings shall be recorded by The Dean of Students Office. Board deliberations will not be recorded. The Dean of Students Office shall assume custody of recordings as a part of a complainant /accused’s educational/disciplinary record.
b. Anyone involved in a hearing is not permitted to use any type of recording device to record the formal hearing proceedings. Anyone found recording the proceedings will have the device automatically confiscated, may be removed from the proceedings, and may face additional charges/sanctions.
c. Access to recordings:
i. Access to recordings shall be limited to those individuals conducting the hearing, the complainant, the accused, and those University personnel approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs.
ii. To gain access, a complainant or accused must submit, in writing, a request to The Dean of Students.
1. If access is granted an accused/complainant may listen to the recording under the supervision of The Dean of Students Office.
iii. No third party requests for access to recordings or records will be honored.
iv. No written transcripts or audio copies of the recording will be provided unless subpoenaed by law.
To assist a sexual assault victim in navigating the campus and community support resources available, an individual may want to consider enlisting the support of an advocate. Advocates are available 24/7 both on campus at Bloomsburg University (570) 336-4994 and through the local community at Women's Center, Inc. (570) 784-6631. An individual may even find it beneficial to work with advocates from both resources.
Please Note: The Center for Counseling & Human Development is a completely confidential resource. Other resources listed include Campus Security Authorities, who are required to report non-identifying information to the police for statistical reporting, and employees who are required to report identifying information to the Title IX Coordinator to ensure resources and information are provided to the victim and to assess campus safety. In all cases the highest confidentiality will be respected within those professional parameters. If you are unsure of the confidentiality level of a resource, please ask.
(Phone: 570-336-4994, Hours: 24/7)
Bloomsburg University strives to support survivors of sexual offenses, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and/or stalking and offers non-judgmental support, empowerment, and a safe place to express/explore all options available to a survivor, friends, and/or family. The University has an advocate on call 24/7 during traditional class sessions. Anyone can call the advocate directly for assistance such as a hospital escort, discuss campus judicial options, safety plan, or answer any other questions/concerns. Additionally they can work with sexual assault victims to alter their academic schedules and housing arrangements.
Women’s Resource Center
(Location: Schuylkill Hall, entrance on right across from Old Science, Phone: 570-389-5283, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This center is dedicated to supporting the educational mission of Bloomsburg University through the implementation of programs and activities aimed at improving the status of women on this college campus. Some of the services and activities include leadership development (in coordination with other BU programs), support/mentor groups, educational seminars and presentations, advocacy and networking. During office hours, walk-ins are welcome! The Center encourages victims to utilize the University Advocate on call at 570-336-4994 when the center staff is not available.
Student Health Center
(Location: Kehr Union Building, #324, Phone: 570-389-3417, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 6:00 pm)
The SHC mission is to provide high quality, basic health care services to Bloomsburg University students. Our strong emphasis on health promotion and preventative health education is designed to ensure our students reach their educational goals. The SHC adheres to the general principles and standards of ethical conduct endorsed by the American College Health Association: to do no harm, provide service in a caring manner, respect autonomy, protect privacy, maintain competence, promote justice and respect diversity. Victims of assaults may seek a variety of services and referrals from the Student Health Center. The Health Center Staff will review a victims’ options and available resources, and may need to refer students to a hospital for more specific services such as a rape kit exam.
Dean of Students Office>
(Location: Kehr Union Building, #101, Phone: 570-389-4734, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office is a resource for students both on and off campus, providing student mentorship, advocacy, counseling and student engagement. The Dean of Students Office processes all charges of violations of the Student Code of Conduct. In a situation regarding rape or physical assault, this office will assist a victim in understanding the reporting options and resources available.
Center for Counseling & Human Development
(Location: Warren Student Services Center, #240, Phone: 570-389-4255, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office helps students develop human relations skills and personal growth. Typical counseling concerns may include study skills, depression, relationship issues, stress management, assertiveness and effective communications, racism, sexism, homophobia, human sexuality, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, survivors of rape, incest, and sexual assault, depression, ACOA and family issues, self-esteem. Discussions with counselors are confidential (within the parameters of Pennsylvania law, which your counselor can explain).
Residence Life Office
(Location: Elwell Hall, Phone: (800) 287-7543, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office serves students both academically and personally. Residence Life Staff are knowledgeable about University and local resources and can help you connect with various agencies and offices, receive medical help, attend meetings as an ally, and be a support person. If you wish to contact a staff person after 4:30pm please use our on-call number (570)336-8550 and speak with our on-call staff member.
Office of Social Equity
(Location: Waller Administration Building, #103, Phone: 570-389-4553, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
This office promotes diversity, inclusion, and the acceptance of individual rights for all members of the University community, while creating a climate of respect and trust for the dignity and self-worth of all human beings. Social Equity addresses acts of discrimination and harassment and conducts investigations and disciplinary hearings. Students may file harassment charges through Social Equity (via Title IX) if they are sexually harassed or assaulted by faculty, staff or vendors.
Title IX Coordinator
(Location: Student Services Building, 054, Phone: 570-389-4529, Hours: M-F 8:00 am to 4:30 pm)
The Title IX Coordinator oversees the University’s response to Title IX reports and complaints, identify and address any systemic problems, and will take any necessary steps to ensure the safety of the Bloomsburg University community. The Title IX Coordinator is advised of all reports and complaints raising Title IX issues. The Title IX Coordinator or designee will evaluate requests for confidentiality in light of the University’s responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment for all students. In addition, he will ensure that victims of sexual misconduct are aware of available resources, services, and interim safety measures to assist with the physical and emotional aftermath of the incident, as well as all complaint filing options.
(Location: University Bookstore Building, Phone: 570-389-4168, Hours: 24/7)
The Bloomsburg University Police Department employs commissioned police officers who enforce Pennsylvania Crime and Vehicle Codes and University Policies. Developing a safe and secure environment in an academic institution is the responsibility of the entire community. Within our community, the University Police Department is assigned the responsibility to identify programs, methods, and approaches to assist the institution toward achieving a safe and secure environment.
The Women's Center, Inc.
(111 North Market Street, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, 570-784-6631, 24 Hour Hotline 800-544-8293 or 570-784-6631)
The philosophy of the Women's Center is that all individuals are equal to one another and have the right to live in a non-violent environment. Services include emergency shelter for battered women and children, individual and group counseling, medical advocacy, support groups, safety planning, advocacy and accompaniment. Emergency services are also available to men. All services are free and confidential. Information shared with an advocate from a Rape Crisis Center, such as The Women's Center, Inc., is confidential.
Town of Bloomsburg Police Department
(Location: 301 East Second St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-784-4155, Emergency Phone: 911, Hours: 24/7)
The Bloomsburg Police Department’s mission is to protect life and property, to serve the public with integrity and professionalism, and to achieve an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation with all citizens. The Bloomsburg Police are responsible for investigating all sexual assaults that occur off campus and can assist a victim with transportation to a hospital for a forensic examination (rape kit).
(Location: 549 Fair St, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, Phone: 570-387-2111, Hours: 24/7)
The hospital employs trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who use a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, often referred to as a Rape Kit, to preserve forensic evidence. Hospital staff may also provide health services such as STD testing, morning after pill, HIV/AIDS testing, etc.
Geisinger Medical Center, Danville
(100 North Academy Ave., Danville PA 17822, Phone 570-271-6211)
The hospital employs trained Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who use a Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kit, often referred to as a Rape Kit, to preserve forensic evidence. Hospital staff may also provide health services such as STD testing, morning after pill, HIV/AIDS testing, etc.
Columbia Montour Family Health
2201 5th Street Hollow Road, Bloomsburg, PA 17815, 570-387-0236
Columbia Montour Family Heath provides: birth control information & supplies, gynecological exams, emergency contraceptive pills, pregnancy testing and counseling, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, counseling/education and cancer screening. Fees are based on ability to pay. All services are by appointment only.
Planned Parenthood Wilkes Barre Medical Center
(Location: 63 North Franklin Street, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701. Phone: 570-824-8921)
Planned Parenthood provides services on a walk-in basis, with or without insurance, that include pregnancy testing, the Morning-After Pill, STD testing and treatment, HIV testing, abortion referrals, and general women’s and men’s health care.
Victims Compensation Assistance Program
(Location: PO Box 1167, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1167, Phone: 800-233-2339 or 717-783-5153)
This Program covers the cost of the forensic examination if the victim presses charges and cooperates in the criminal prosecution. All of your medical information will remain confidential. Remember, you must request this once you are in the hospital emergency room.
State Employee Assistance Program (for BU employees only)
(SEAP Hotline: 800-692-7459, TTY Hotline 800-824-4306)
The State Employee Assistance Program (SEAP) is a free assessment and referral service that is designed to assist commonwealth employees and their family members in resolving a wide variety of personal problems that may lead to deteriorating employee job performance. SEAP offers services related to substance abuse, mental health issues, family issues, financial issues, legal services, and mediation.
Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
(Sexual Assault Hotline: 888-772-7227, Hours: 24/7)
The mission of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) is to work to eliminate all forms of sexual violence and to advocate for the rights and needs of victims of sexual assault. PCAR works at the state and national levels to prevent sexual violence. Incepted in 1975, PCAR continues to use its voice to challenge public attitudes, raise public awareness, and effect critical changes in public policy, protocols, and responses to sexual violence.
Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN)
(Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673, Hours: 24/7)
RAINN is the nation's largest anti-sexual violence organization and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline in partnership with more than 1,100 local rape crisis centers across the country. RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice. Services are confidential and note if they are free.