Sexual Misconduct Policy


Executive Summary

This comprehensive policy addresses the manner in which Delaware Valley University will: prevent sexual misconduct; encourage and respond to reports of sexual misconduct; and comply with applicable laws, specifically: Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965; the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974; the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (SaVE Act) passed in March 2013 as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA).

The policy addresses:

  • Purpose and scope
  • Role of Title IX Coordinator and other key personnel
  • Definitions of prohibited conduct
  • Definition and explanation of concept of "consent"
  • Support and resource information for victims of sexual assault
  • Prevention education requirements
  • Confidentiality and private options for reporting
  • Formal reporting options for university and law enforcement response
  • Investigation and resolution procedures
  • University's reporting and record-keeping requirements
  • Resources, support and contact information
  • Related policies and guidelines

View title IX training material

Delaware Valley University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in the administration of any of its education programs or activities, including but not limited to admissions, financial aid, athletics and employment policies and practices, as required by Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, which states that:

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.

One of our University's values is to respect all people. Individuals participating in or attempting to participate in a University program or activity have the right to be free from all forms of gender and sex-based misconduct. This Title IX Policy (the “Policy”) specifically prohibits gender and sex-based misconduct in the form of sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, as described in Section V of this Policy. Conduct that does not implicate this Policy might fall under other University policies, such as the Student Code of Conduct.

The University is committed to eliminating sexual misconduct, preventing its recurrence and addressing its effects to ensure that all individuals have equal opportunity to be engaged in campus life and benefit from the University's education programs and activities.

Any individual designated by the University as a Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Hearing Officer, Appellate Decision Maker, or facilitator of an Informal Resolution Process will be free of bias or any conflicts of interest for or against Complainants and Respondents generally and specifically as to individual Complainants and Respondents.

This document sets out procedures, confidential resources, educational resources, and guidance to assist those who have experienced or been affected by Prohibited Conduct as defined in Section V of this Policy, whether as a Complainant, a Respondent, or a third party.

This Policy: (i) applies to all students (and may include prospective enrollees, applicants, and alumni), current employees (which includes all faculty, staff and administrators), independent contractors, and volunteers (collectively referred to as “Covered Individuals”); (ii) participating in, or applying to participate in, a University education program or activity, as defined in Section IV below; and (iii) is limited to allegations of Prohibited Conduct that occurs in the United States.

After reviewing this document, Covered Individuals will have the knowledge and information that will allow them to:

  • Understand what constitutes Prohibited Conduct under this Policy;
  • Find sources of support, information and resources to address Prohibited Conduct;
  • Be familiar with the roles of University personnel responsible for ensuring compliance with this Policy;
  • Know how to make a report or formal complaint, and access support services; and
  • Understand the process by which the University responds to both reports and formal complaints of Prohibited Conduct.

For allegations relating to conduct outside of the scope of this Policy, the University may seek to address such allegations through other University policies or codes of conduct.

The Title IX Coordinator is the responsible employee of the University with major responsibility for the development, implementation and monitoring of meaningful efforts to comply with Title IX. Responsibilities include:  coordinating any investigations of complaints under Title IX; insuring a coordinated and integrated response across the University through education, training, policies and support; maintaining a centralized reporting, investigatory and record-keeping process; and the administration of a prompt, fair and impartial grievance process.

When complaints involve employees, independent contractors, and/or volunteers, the Title IX Coordinator will work closely with the Director of Human Resources. Together with the Director of Public Safety, the Title IX Coordinator and the Director of Human Resources comprise the Centralized Review Team (“CRT”).

In certain matters, the Title IX Coordinator may rely on Designees, who have responsibility for managing the grievance process for complaints of Prohibited Conduct. Nothing prohibits any member of the CRT or Designees from serving as an Investigator in any particular matter, except that in order to avoid perceived or actual bias or a conflict of interest, once an individual is assigned as the Investigator in a particular matter, he/she/they will be walled off from otherwise participating in decisions with respect to the complaint, except that the Investigator may provide the CRT, Designees, and the Hearing Officer with information gathered during the investigative process.  The following identifies the CRT members and the Designees:

Title IX Coordinator
Tim Poirier
Dean of Students
timothy.poirier@delval.edu
215.489.2215

Director of Human Resources
Jennifer Brennan
jennifer.brennan@delval.edu
215.489.2346

Director of Public Safety
Cindy Transue
cynthia.transue@delval.edu
215.489.2905

Designees

Kelly Hojnacki
Assistant Dean of Student Development
kelly.hojnacki@delval.edu
215.489.2215

Robert Dearden
Coordinator of Student Development
robert.dearden@delval.edu
215.489.2215

Members of the CRT and Designees work with various campus partners, community partners, and government agencies to ensure that the University provides and supports a coordinated and systemic network of effective prevention and response.

Reports to the University result in a procedural response, described throughout this document, to ensure the safety of the reporting individual and the University community. The University will respect and safeguard the privacy of reporting individuals while meeting the University's responsibility to maintain a safe learning environment.

The following definitions are relevant to this Policy:

Complainant

A Complainant is an individual who alleges to be the victim of one or more forms of Prohibited Conduct identified in Section V of this Policy and makes a report and/or files a formal complaint. In order to trigger the requirements of the Policy, the Complainant must be a Covered Individual participating in, or attempting to participate in, a University program or activity at the time a formal complaint is filed. Individuals on hiatus from the University, or have left the University because of Prohibited Conduct and plan to re-enroll depending on the University’s response are deemed to be participating in a University program or activity for purposes of this Policy.

For purposes of this Policy, an alum is an individual who has graduated from a program at the University and intends to apply to a different program and/or remain involved with the University through alumni programs and activities.

Education Program or Activity

A program or activity includes:  (i) all of the operations of the University; (ii) locations, events, or circumstances over which the University exercised substantial control over both the Respondent and the context in which the Prohibited Conduct occurs; and (iii) any building, on or off-campus, which is owned or controlled by a student organization that is officially recognized by the University. An employee, independent contractor, or volunteer in service to the University participates in a program activity when performing his/her/their duties to the University.

The University’s operations include computer and internet networks, digital platforms, and computer hardware or software owned, operated, or used in the University’s operations. Off-campus conduct that that occurs outside of the University’s control may, in certain circumstances, fall under this Policy if, for example, the Complainant has to interact with the Respondent in the University’s operations or where the effects of the underlying events create a hostile environment in the Complainant’s workplace or educational environment.  

Formal Complaint

A document filed by a Complainant or signed by a Title IX Coordinator alleging Prohibited Conduct against a Respondent and requesting that the University investigate the allegation. Formal Complaints are not subject to any time limits, except that at the time of filing, a Complainant must be participating or attempting to participate in a University education program or activity.

Respondent

A Respondent is an individual who has been reported to be the perpetrator of alleged Prohibited Conduct as defined in Section V of this Policy. Covered Individuals can be a Respondent.

This Policy prohibits broad categories of misconduct on the basis of one’s sex, and includes the following behaviors which, if alleged, will be reviewed under this Policy. Retaliation, as defined in Section IX, as well as the forms of misconduct defined in this Section, constitute Prohibited Conduct for purposes of this Policy.

Sexual Harassment.  This Policy prohibits two separate forms of sexual harassment:

  1. Quid Pro Quo Harassment:  A University employee, independent contractor, or volunteer violates this Policy if he/she/they conditions the provision of a University aid, benefit, or service on an individual’s participation in unwelcome sexual conduct.  Specifically, a University employee, independent contractor, or volunteer violates this Policy if he/she/they engages in an unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favors, unwelcome verbal, physical, electronic or other conduct of a sexual nature, that targets a University community member because of their sex, when:  (i) submission to such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of an individual’s employment, evaluation of academic work, or participation in any aspect of a University sponsored, recognized, or approved program, visitor, or activity; or (ii) submission to or rejection of such conduct by an individual is used as the basis for academic, employment, or activity or program participation-related decisions affecting an individual.
  2. Hostile Environment Harassment:  A University employee, independent contractor, volunteer, or student violates this Policy if he/she/they engages in sexual conduct determined by a reasonable person (standing in the shoes of the Complainant) to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the University’s education program or activity. 

For purposes of this Policy, Hostile Environment Harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advance, unwelcome request for sexual favors, unwelcome verbal, physical, electronic or other conduct of a sexual nature, that targets an individual because of his/her/their sex, when such conduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or academic performance, i.e., it is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive to create a working, academic, residential, or social environment, that a reasonable person in similar circumstances would find intimidating, hostile, humiliating, demeaning, or sexually offensive.

Hostile Environment Harassment under this Policy also may include unwelcome, severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, actions, comments, or behaviors that are based on stereotypical characteristic for one’s sex or gender, regardless of the individual’s actual or perceived sex, gender, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.

In assessing the conduct based on an objective basis, the University will evaluate the conduct from the perspective of a reasonable person in the position of the Complainant. Specifically, severity and pervasiveness are determined by considering the relevant circumstances and the totality of the context, including but not limited to:  the degree to which the conduct affected one or more University community member’s education or work environment; type, frequency, and duration of the conduct; the identity of and relationship between the Respondent and the Complainant; the number of individuals involved; and other incidents that the Respondent was involved and/or found responsible, at the University.

A single or isolated incident does not amount to Hostile Environment Harassment for purposes of this Policy, but may be actionable under other University policies or codes of conduct. A single or isolated incident of sexual misconduct, as detailed below, may rise to the level of violating this Policy.

Other Forms of Prohibited Sexual Misconduct.  A University employee, independent contractor, volunteer, or student violates this Policy if he/she/they engages in the following misconduct: 

Sexual Assault.  This Policy prohibits two broad forms of sexual assault:

  • Non-consensual intercourse/penetration (Sexual Assault I)
    • Engaging in any sexual intercourse with another person without effective consent. Intercourse includes acts of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, however slight, by an object or body part.
  • Non-consensual contact (Sexual Assault II)
    • Engaging, or attempting to engage in any touching or contact, however slight, of a sexual nature without effective consent. Includes but is not limited to kissing, and other intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin or genitals or touching another with any of these body parts, or forcing another to touch you or themselves with any of these body parts. Non-consensual contact also includes attempted non-consensual sexual intercourse (Sexual Assault I).

As detailed in Section VI, which defines “consent” for the purposes of this Policy, sexual contact that involves coercion, intimidation, and/or threats of violence, fraud, or force is a form of Prohibited Conduct.

Dating Violence

For purposes of this Policy, the term “dating violence” includes, but is not limited to, sexual or physical abuse or the threat of such abuse committed by a University employee or student who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant.  In determining the existence of such a relationship, the University will consider:  (i) the length of the relationship; and/or (ii) the type of relationship; and (iii) the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence prohibited by this Policy includes felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a University employee or student who:  (i) is a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant; (ii) shares a child in common with the Complainant:  (iii) is or was cohabitating with the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner; or (iv) is similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under the domestic or family violence laws of Pennsylvania.  For purposes of this Policy, Domestic Violence also includes felonies or misdemeanor crimes of violence by University employees or students against an adult or youth Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of Pennsylvania.

Stalking

University employees or students violate this Policy if he/she/they engage in a course of conduct directed at a specific Complainant that would cause a reasonable person to:  (i) fear for his/her/their safety or the safety of others; or (ii) suffer substantial emotional distress.

Prohibited Conduct under this Policy includes cyber-stalking, which is a particular type of stalking in which electronic media (the internet, social media and networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact) is used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcome contact with another person.

Our University’s core value to respect all people relates to the concept of consent, an issue that figures prominently in complaints of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy. In a sexual context, respecting another person means understanding that we do not have the right to act upon another person sexually unless and until he/she/they give clear permission to do so.

Consent means giving permission for sexual activity to occur. Consent to engage in sexual activity must be informed, knowing and voluntary prior to and during sexual activity. Consent is active, not passive, and is demonstrated through clear and mutually understood gestures and words that signal a willingness to engage in sexual activity. Silence cannot be interpreted as consent. Obtaining consent is the responsibility of the individual who wishes to initiate sexual activity.

Consent to sexual activity can be withdrawn at any time. Further, consent to one type of sexual activity may not, in itself, be taken to imply consent to another type of sexual act. In addition, other University policies or codes of conduct may prohibit sexual activity between parties, even where consent is given. For more detail, see Section XX of this Policy.

The influence of drugs and alcohol is an important consideration in understanding the concept of consent. The use of alcohol or other drugs can have unintended consequences and can create an atmosphere of confusion and impaired judgment over whether consent is freely and effectively given. Being under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol does not diminish the responsibility of the initiator of sexual activity to obtain consent and is never an excuse for Prohibited Conduct.

There are several circumstances under which consent cannot be freely given, nor should it be assumed to have been given:

Incapacitation

A person may not engage in sexual activity with another person who the initiator knows, or should reasonably have known, is incapacitated as a result of alcohol or other drugs. Incapacitation is a state where a person lacks the capacity to appreciate the nature of giving consent to participate in sexual activity. Physical markers indicate an inability for a person to give affirmative consent which is required for sexual activity to occur. Examples may include but are not limited to vomiting, falling/inability to walk or stand; incoherent speech, unresponsive behavior.

Coercion

The use of fraud or force to compel another person to engage in sexual activity does not constitute consent. Examples of fraud or force include but are not limited to physical force, threats, or intimidation.

Current or Prior Intimate Partner Relationship

The existence of a relationship between parties does not confer consent nor should consent be presumed. Clearly understandable agreements about sexual activity are still expected within the parameters of an intimate partner or dating relationship.

The University is committed to responding to allegations of Prohibited Conduct. Covered Individuals alleged to be victims of Prohibited Conduct are strongly encouraged to share their experience(s) with the appropriate University personnel in order to receive support and, in some circumstances, allow the University to respond to the allegation(s).

Covered Individuals alleged to be victims of Prohibited Conduct and/or third parties aware of the same are encouraged to file reports so that the University is able to respond appropriately. Individuals who wish to discuss or report an incident should know that, for purposes of this Policy, members at the University have differing abilities to maintain confidentiality upon learning of an incident of Prohibited Conduct. Furthermore, the University’s obligation to respond to an allegation of Prohibited Conduct varies according to the role of the individual who receives the report of an allegation. Individuals reporting allegations of Prohibited Conduct to someone on campus are encouraged to first ask about the level of confidentiality that can be afforded to the conversation.

If you would like to report an allegation of Prohibited Conduct, you may report to any of the following persons:

Confidential Resources: With limited exceptions, Confidential Resources can offer confidentiality—providing support, advice and options without any obligation to report the allegation or otherwise put the University on notice, unless an individual requests that he/she/they do so. Exceptions where even Confidential Resources cannot guarantee complete confidentiality relate to: (i) situations where there is an imminent risk of harm to someone in the University community; and (ii) instances raising reasonable suspicion of child abuse as referenced in Section XX of this Policy and as detailed in the University’ policy relating to Reporting Child Abuse [link here]. Confidential Resources include:

Counseling Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall

Phone number:  215.489.2317

After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444

Health Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall

Phone number:  215.489.2252

After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444

Network of Victim Assistance (off-campus)

1-800-675-6900 (NOVA victim assistance hotline, available 24 hrs/day)

Limits of confidentiality and privacy:  Covered Individuals alleged to have been the victim of Prohibited Conduct who choose to speak informally with Confidential Resources must understand that an individual’s desire for confidentiality means that the University may be unable to conduct an investigation into an incident, or pursue action against the individual(s) alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct.

  • Mandatory Reporters: Mandatory Reporters are required to act on a specific report, which means he/she/they have an obligation to report the details of an incident to the Title IX Coordinator for review and potential investigation. Mandatory Reporters cannot make anonymous reports on behalf of Complainants. For purposes of this Policy, the following individuals are Mandatory Reporters:
    • Presidents and vice presidents of the University
    • Associate and assistant vice presidents, Deans (and associates and assistant deans)
    • Directors and associate or assistant directors
    • Coaches and assistant coaches of athletic teams, and athletic department personnel except for certified athletic trainers
    • Administrators with supervisory responsibilities (e.g., directors, work-study supervisors); specifically excludes faculty
    • Public Safety
    • Human Resources Personnel
    • Residence Life professional staff
    • Resident Assistants (“RA”)
    • Student Involvement professional staff

Any Mandatory Reporter who fails to report a known allegation of Prohibited Conduct to the Title IX Coordinator may be subject to disciplinary action.

  • Privacy Personnel: Privacy Personnel can provide private advice and support. While he/she/they are not required to report specific, personally identifying information (unless there is concern for the alleged victim’s safety or that of others), he/she/they do have an obligation to report that something has occurred, without specifics or names. This limited reporting keeps the University's Title IX Coordinator informed about the nature of incidents on campus for purposes of tracking patterns, evaluating campus wide procedures and providing remedies for the campus community. Examples of personnel in this category include those without supervisory responsibility or authority to address sexual misconduct, including but not limited to most personnel in the categories identified below. Please note that anyone listed as an “Official with Authority” is specifically excluded from this category:
    • Faculty
    • Advisors to student organizations
    • Admission, financial aid, bursar, registrar and finance personnel
    • Staff at the Center for Student Professional Development (“CSPD”)
    • Academic affairs/support (tutoring, learning support, student success)
    • Certified athletic trainers
    • Dining and facilities staff
    • Custodial and facilities staff
    • Administrative assistants and clerical staff
  • Officials with Authority: Officials with Authority will take steps to address allegations of Prohibited Conduct, and will work with the Title IX Coordinator to do so in accordance with this Policy. Officials with Authority also are Mandatory Reporters. In addition to the Title IX Coordinator, Officials with Authority may include:
    • Presidents and vice presidents of the University
    • Associate and assistant vice presidents, Deans (and associates and assistant deans)
    • Directors and associate or assistant directors
    • Human Resources personnel
    • Title IX Designees
    • Members of the CRT
  • Title IX Coordinator: The Title IX Coordinator, named in Section III of this Policy, is required to respond to reports of sexual misconduct. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for coordinating the University’s response to allegations and responsibilities under this Policy. If the Title IX Coordinator determines the alleged conduct constitutes Prohibited Conduct, he will contact the Complainant, even in the absence of a formal Complaint, to discuss the topics outlined in Section IX.

Methods of Reporting

On-line reporting:  Reports of Prohibited Conduct may be submitted via the University’s on-line reporting form by clicking this link.

Link for employees (including independent contractors, volunteers, and applicants)

Link for students (including prospective enrollees, alumni, and applicants)

  • Verbal reporting:  An individual alleged to be a victim of Prohibited Conduct, or a third party, is permitted to report the allegation to the Title IX Coordinator, Official(s) with Authority, or Mandatory Reporter(s) verbally. The reporting party may report verbally in person or via telephone using the contact information listed in Section III of this policy.
  • Written reporting:  An individual alleged to be a victim of Prohibited Conduct, or a third party, is permitted to report an allegation to the Title IX Coordinator, Official(s) with Authority, or Mandatory Reporter(s) in writing. The University interprets “writing” broadly, but the report must be legible, if hand-written, and clear such that the recipient can read and understand the report. The reporting party may deliver a written report in person, or mail (or email) the report to the address(es) listed in Section III of this policy.

Immediate Assistance

If a sexual assault has occurred, the University is committed to providing a variety of support and assistance to victims. Medical care following an assault is important to ensure the victim’s safety and well-being, to evaluate any injuries, to consider pregnancy prevention, for preventative treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, and other health services.

Medical Attention and Resources

Immediate medical care, a sexual assault medical exam, and the services of a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) can be accessed locally at:

Doylestown Hospital Emergency Services

595 West State Street
Doylestown, PA. 18901
215.345.2586

Prior to going to the hospital, victims are encouraged to contact the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) hotline at 1.800.675.6900.  Hotline advocates are available to provide counsel and information, and can arrange advocacy support at the hospital.

Preserving Evidence

Any victim of rape, domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and/or stalking is advised to take steps immediately to preserve any evidence he/she/they may have in their possession and/or on their person. This evidence can be important proof if the victim chooses to pursue a protective order and/or criminal charges in the future.

Seeking medical treatment is an important option to preserve evidence for the future. If evidence is to be collected, go immediately to the hospital; avoid food, drink, smoking, showering or changing clothes as much as possible.  It is okay if you have done some of these things, as there may still be evidence to collect.  Other material, such as sheets, pillow cases or other fabric, are best placed in a paper bag for transport to the hospital where it can be evaluated for evidence.

Individuals are strongly encouraged to seek medical care and are advised that the hospital will notify police that an assault has occurred and that evidence has been collected. Individuals are not obligated to speak with police or to pursue a criminal complaint.  For victims age 18 or older, a sexual assault medical exam may be completed anonymously.

Individuals who would like the support of a victim advocate to accompany them to the hospital are strongly encouraged to contact the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA). The contact information is below.

Confidential Resources for Support and Information After an Assault:

Individuals can receive confidential support and information both on and off campus without making a report to the University or law enforcement.

  • Counseling Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall
    Phone number:  215.489.2317
    After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444
  • Health Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall
    Phone number:  215.489.2252
    After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444
  • Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) – off campus
    24-Hour Phone Number:  800.675.6900
    www.novabucks.org
    A victim advocate can accompany an individual to the hospital or health provider
  • A Woman's Place – off campus
    Phone number:  800.220.8116
    www.awomansplace.org

Emergency Assistance and Response

  • Office of Public Safety – Delaware Valley University
    Phone number:  215.489.4444
  • Doylestown Hospital Emergency Services
    595 West State Street
    Doylestown, PA. 18901
    Phone number:  215.345.2280
  • Central Bucks Regional Police Department
    Non-emergency line:  215.345.4143
    Doylestown Township Police Department
    Non-emergency line:  215.348.4201

In the event of an emergency, where seconds count, dial 911.

Academic Accommodations and Other Supportive Measures

Upon determining that the alleged conduct is governed by this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will engage in a dialogue with the Complainant to determine which supportive measures may restore or preserve equal access to the University’s program or activity without unreasonably burdening the parties, including measures designed to protect the safety of the parties and/or the University’s educational environment. Supportive measures are not punitive and will not amount to sanctions against Respondents. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for implementing the supportive measures offered to the parties.

The University will take these measures regardless of whether a Complainant wishes to pursue action through local law enforcement or file a formal complaint under this Policy.

A request for supportive measures may be made by any party involved in a report.  Such measures are available at no cost or fee to the parties, and may include:

  • Mutual no-contact directives between the parties
  • Changes in class schedules
  • Extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments
  • Withdrawal from classes with no penalty
  • Changes in work or living arrangements
  • Modifications or work or class schedules
  • Counseling or other supportive services
  • Assistance with accessing/identifying medical services
  • Academic support services
  • Escort services to ensure safe movement on campus
  • Hiatus
  • Increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus

In cases where there is an imminent threat posed to any person’s physical health or safety, which might arise out of the allegations of Prohibited Conduct, the CRT may, after making an individualized safety and risk assessment, remove the Respondent from the University’s education program or activity on an emergency basis. Under such circumstances, the University will provide the Respondent with notice and an opportunity to challenge the decision immediately following the removal. Respondents subject to emergency removal may submit their written challenge by email to April Vari, Vice President for Campus Life, who may consult with CRT members and/or any other Official with Authority, as necessary, in determining whether to sustain or reverse the emergency removal. The University will issue a written response to the Respondent within 48 hours of receipt of such challenge. Such response may be transmitted via email.

Removal may take various forms, including interim separation for students and suspension with or without pay for employees.

Even in the absence of a formal Complaint, the University will evaluate and address reported incidents of Prohibited Conduct in a manner designed to end the behavior, prevent its recurrence and to ensure the safety of the reporting student and the University community.

A report occurs when an individual covered by this Policy who alleges to be the victim of Prohibited Conduct as defined in Section V of this Policy, or a third party on the individual’s behalf, makes a report to the Title IX Coordinator, an official with authority, or a mandatory reporter of the University. Once either the Title IX Coordinator or an official with authority learns of the report, and determines that the alleged conduct is Prohibited Conduct, the University will respond, including through offering supportive measures as outlined in Section VIII of this Policy. A report also results in an initial assessment of any risk of harm to individuals or to the campus community, and any steps necessary to address those risks. The initial evaluation will proceed to the point where a reasonable assessment of the safety of the individual and of the campus community can be made.

A Complainant has the discretion to determine whether or not to proceed to a formal Complaint, but must understand that the University may be required to respond to the report, even in the absence of a formal Complaint. A Complainant can report Prohibited Conduct at any time, but must be participating or attempting to participate in a University program or activity at the time of filing.

Retaliation for Reporting

No individual will be subject to retaliation for making a reasonable and good faith complaint as described above regarding:  Prohibited Conduct as defined by Section V; cooperating in the investigation of the same; or otherwise opposing such behavior. The University will not tolerate retaliatory behavior. Engaging in retaliation or abusing this Policy is a form of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy.

Third-Party and Anonymous Reporting

By encouraging reporting and responding to same, the University signals its commitment to eliminate Prohibited Conduct in the University’s programs or activities. For this reason, the University, through the Title IX Coordinator, CRT, and/or Designees will evaluate and, where necessary and appropriate, investigate reports of Prohibited Conduct that are made through third-parties or anonymous reporting. Note that anonymous reports that do not identify the Complainant may make it difficult or impossible for the University to conduct an investigation into an incident, or pursue action against the individual(s) alleged to have engaged in Prohibited Conduct. Anonymous reporters are strongly encouraged to provide as much detail as possible, including the names of individuals who may have additional information.

On-line Reporting

Reports of Prohibited Conduct also can be submitted via the University’s on-line forms:

Reporting form for students (including prospective enrollees, alumni, and applicants)

Reporting form for employees (including independent contractors, volunteers, and applicants)

In some cases, on-line reports can be made anonymously, should the reporting party desire to do so. However, Mandatory Reporters cannot make anonymous reports. Please review the form carefully for information about the reporting options.

After an Individual Reports an Allegation of Prohibited Conduct

Once the Complainant or third party reports an allegation of Prohibited Conduct, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the Complainant to:  (i) discuss the availability of supportive measures; (ii) consider the Complainant’s wishes with respect to supportive measures; (iii) inform the Complainant of the availability of such measures, even in the absence of a formal complaint; and (iv) explain the process for filing a formal complaint. A non-exhaustive list of supportive measures is found in Section VIII of this Policy.

The Complainant may choose to file a formal complaint with the Title IX Coordinator. A formal complaint is a document filed by the Complainant (or the Title IX Coordinator, as described below) alleging that a Respondent engaged in Prohibited Conduct, and requesting that the University formally investigate the allegation(s) of Prohibited Conduct and initiate grievance procedures. The formal complaint form does not require a detailed statement of facts, but rather, information that will allow the CRT to fairly and accurately determine next steps in accordance with the University’s Policy. A Complainant may file a formal complaint via the form found here. While third parties may report allegations of Prohibited Conduct to the University, with the exception of the Title IX Coordinator, third parties are not allowed to file a formal complaint on behalf of a Complainant.

Grounds for Mandatory Dismissal Under this Policy

There will be instances where the Complainant files a formal complaint, but the University must dismiss it from consideration under this Policy. The following situations require such a dismissal:  (i) the conduct in the Complaint, even if proved to be true, would not be considered Prohibited Conduct under this Policy; (ii) the alleged conduct did not occur in the University’s education program or activity; and/or (iii) the Complainant was not in the United States at the time of the alleged Prohibited Misconduct. However, even where formal dismissal is required under this Policy, such a dismissal does not preclude University action under another University policy or code of conduct. The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the CRT, will determine whether a formal complaint requires mandatory dismissal. In addition, a mandatory dismissal of a formal complaint for which there may be an alternative grounds to report will be referred to the appropriate University reporting channel.

Grounds for Discretionary Dismissal

The University may, in its own discretion, dismiss a formal complaint under this Policy, at any point, if:  (i) the Complainant expresses a desire to withdraw the complaint or any allegations therein; (ii) the Respondent is no longer enrolled at, employed by, contracting with, or volunteering with the University; or (iii) specific circumstances prevent the University from gathering evidence sufficient to reach a determination as to the formal Complaint. The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the CRT, will determine whether a discretionary dismissal is appropriate. A formal complaint subject to discretionary dismissal due to the Complainant’s request to withdraw may, nonetheless, be referred for further action if covered by another University policy or code of conduct.

When the University is either obligated or chooses to dismiss a formal complaint under this Policy, the Title IX Coordinator will send simultaneous written notice of dismissal and reasons for dismissal to both parties. Parties are entitled to an opportunity to appeal from the dismissal of a formal complaint or allegations in the written notice. For more information on Appeals, see Section XVII of this Policy. Dismissal for Title IX purposes under this Policy does not prevent the University from responding to the alleged misconduct under another University policy or code of conduct.

Formal Complaints Filed by Title IX Coordinator

After receipt of a report of Prohibited Conduct, the Title IX Coordinator also has discretion to file a formal Complaint—without the Complainant’s participation—if the Title IX Coordinator believes an investigation in necessary. The Title IX Coordinator may do so only after:  (i) promptly contacting the Complainant to discuss the availability of supportive measures; (ii) considering the Complainant’s wishes with respect to such measures; and (iii) explaining to the Complainant the process for filing a formal complaint.

In addition to the Complainant’s wishes regarding how the University should respond to the allegations, the Title IX Coordinator may consider a number of factors before filing on behalf of the Complainant, such as:  (i) the seriousness of the alleged Prohibited Conduct, including whether the Complainant’s allegations involved violence, use of weapons, or similar factors; (ii) the respective ages and positions of the Complainant and the Respondent; (iii) whether there have been other Complaints of Prohibited Conduct against the Respondent; and (iv) the Respondent's right to receive information if such information is maintained in an “education record” under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), 20 U.S.C. §1232g; 34 C.F.R. Part 99. At all times, the University will seek to respect the request of the Complainant, and where it cannot, the University will consult with the Complainant and keep him/her/them informed about the planned course of action.

Reporting to Local Law Enforcement

Complainants may choose to pursue resolution through local law enforcement as well as through the University's processes if the alleged violation is also a crime. Criminal acts under the scope of this Policy include but are not limited to:  assault, stalking, rape, domestic violence, and dating violence. Contact information for outside law enforcement is provided below:

Central Bucks Regional Police Department

Non-emergency line:  215.345.4143

Doylestown Township Police Department

Non-emergency line:  215.348.4201

Emergency assistance:  Dial 911

The University strongly encourages and supports victims and Complainants in choosing this option and will assist as requested in connecting individuals with appropriate local officials. The University's main campus straddles two local municipalities and the University operates other facilities (e.g., the Gemmill Campus, the Roth Farm). The Department of Public Safety is available for guidance in determining the appropriate jurisdiction and contact information.

Pursuing action through local law enforcement does not prevent the University from taking action as well, or from a Complainant requesting formal action by the University. The University's conduct proceedings differ in mission and purpose from the criminal justice system and represent two separate processes.  For that reason, reports made to the University will be evaluated and may proceed through University grievance procedures independent of any action being pursued through the criminal justice system.

Office of Civil Rights (OCR)

Complaints of violations under Title IX, or inquiries regarding same, may also be referred to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the following address:

Philadelphia Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education

The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Telephone:  215-656-8541
FAX:  215-656-8605
TDD:  215-656-8604
e-mail:  OCR_Philadelphia@ed.gov

The University is committed to providing members of its community a safe place to live, learn, and work.  Accordingly, University procedures provide a fair, prompt and impartial resolution to complaints of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy. Under this Policy, the University will presume that a Respondent is not responsible for the alleged Prohibited Conduct until a determination of responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process.

The University's CRT, identified in Section III of this policy, is the body primarily charged with initially evaluating whether allegations of Prohibited Conduct would fall within the purview of this Policy. For allegations that do not implicate potential Prohibited Conduct under this Policy, the University may pursue remedies under other applicable policies.

If the allegations potentially implicate Prohibited Conduct under this Policy, and either the Complainant decides to file a formal complaint to initiate the grievance process or the Title IX Coordinator signs the formal complaint where a Complainant declines to do so, the University will send the parties a written notice of allegations including the following information:

  • Explanation of the University’s grievance process;
  • Options for informal resolution of the allegations, as outlined in Section XIII;
  • The allegations of Prohibited Conduct in the formal complaint, which shall include sufficient detail, known at the time, for the Respondent to prepare a response before any initial interview;
  • A statement that the Respondent is presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the grievance process;
  • Information regarding parties’ rights during the grievance process, including, but not limited to the right to an advisor (who may be an attorney), and to inspect and review evidence from the investigation;
  • Information regarding any provision(s) in the University’s code of conduct that prohibits knowingly making false statements or submitting false information during the grievance process; and
  • The date, time, location, participants, and purpose of all hearings, investigative interviews, or other meeting, with sufficient time for the party to prepare and participate. This requirement may be included in subsequent notifications as the process proceeds, and dates/times become available. The Title IX Coordinator also will provide written notice of such schedule details to witnesses expected to participate in the process.

In most instances, the University will identify both the Complainant and the Respondent in the notice of allegations sent to each party. A Complainant who chooses to initiate the (formal or informal) grievance process cannot remain anonymous or prevent the University from disclosing his/her/their identity in the notice of allegations. Exceptions:  (i) the University may question an employee-Respondent about alleged Prohibited Conduct without disclosing the Complainant’s identity. However, in non-emergency situations, the University will, nonetheless, refrain from taking any disciplinary action against the employee-Respondent without the benefits of the grievance process; and (ii) when the Title IX Coordinator signs the formal complaint on behalf of an anonymous complainant(s), the grievance procedure may proceed, by necessity, without identifying the Complainant’s identity in the written notice.

The University will include only the information known to the University in the notice, and will, to the best of its ability, investigate formal complaints alleging Prohibited Conduct even if the Respondent’s identity is unknown. If, during the investigation, the University investigates allegations outside of the notice, the University will provide an updated notice of the new allegations to each party.

Emergency Removal

For the safety and health of both the parties and the academic community, the University may remove the Respondent from its program or activity if the Respondent poses an imminent threat, related to the allegations of Prohibited Conduct, to any person’s physical health or safety. The University will take emergency removal measures only if, after consultation with the CRT, and, where appropriate Designees, it has more than a generalized, hypothetical, or speculative belief that the Respondent may pose a risk to someone’s physical health or safety.

Emergency removal does not equate to interim suspension or expulsion, but rather ensures both that the parties and community are safe while the University investigates the allegations of Prohibited Conduct. Additionally, emergency removal does not modify the Respondent’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, or the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

During the course of the investigation, non-student, employee-Respondents may be put on interim suspension with or without pay. Student employee-Respondents also may be put on interim suspension with or without pay, so long as it does not violate other regulatory provisions in this policy.

Advisors

For purposes of this Policy, each party has a right to an advisor of his/her/their choice, including an attorney, who can support the party throughout the (formal or informal) grievance process. Each party’s advisor may be present at any formal Hearing. Each advisor is also entitled to receive the final investigative report and evidence related to the allegations, but is not entitled to receive all communications between the University and the party.

Timeline

The University generally will seek to resolve every complaint of Prohibited Conduct within sixty (60) calendar days after receiving the complaint, excluding any appeal. There may be circumstances that prevent the University from meeting the 60 calendar-day timeline. The timeframe may be extended by the University for good cause, as determined on a case-by-case basis, as necessary to ensure the integrity and completeness of an investigation, comply with a request by law enforcement, reasonably accommodate the availability of witnesses, reasonably accommodate delays by the parties, account for University closures, or address other legitimate reasons, including the complexity of the investigation (e.g., the number of witnesses and volume of information provided by the parties) and the severity and extent of the alleged Prohibited Conduct. When the University is unable to meet the 60 calendar-day timeline, the Title IX Coordinator will provide the parties with written notice regarding the extension.

In certain circumstances, the University may address a Complainant’s formal complaint of alleged Prohibited Conduct through an Informal Resolution. Informal Resolution under this Policy does not involve an Investigation or formal Hearing as described in Sections XIV and XV of this Policy, and may not be appropriate for all forms of reported Prohibited Conduct.

The Complainant or Respondent may make a request to the Title IX Coordinator to informally resolve the formal Complaint. The University reserves the right to recommend that a report of Prohibited Conduct be resolved via an informal manner. However, under no circumstances may the Informal Resolution Process be used to resolve a formal complaint where the Complainant is a student and the Respondent is either an employee, an independent contractor, or a volunteer if that volunteer is in a position of authority vis-à-vis the Complainant. The Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the CRT, will determine if Informal Resolution is an appropriate mechanism to address the Prohibited Conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects. Further, a determination will be made to assess whether utilizing an Informal Resolution is consistent with maintaining the safety and welfare of the entire University community.

Voluntary Process: The University will not compel either party to engage in an Informal Resolution Process, and a party may withdraw from the process at any point to resume the formal grievance process with respect to the formal Complaint. Prior to commencement of the Informal Resolution Process, the University will obtain the parties’ written, voluntary consent to participate.

Types of Informal Resolution Processes: Where Informal Resolution is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the CRT, will determine whether to recommend mediation, restorative justice, or another appropriate form of an informal process. Other than in instances of arbitration, where an outside arbitrator is needed, the Title IX Coordinator, the Director of Human Resources, or a Designee will facilitate the Information Resolution Process, except that any such facilitator may not then be assigned as Investigator should the informal process not result in a resolution.

Advisors: Parties may consult with their respective advisors to assess both whether to engage in an informal process and as to the proposed resolution that results from the informal process. The University will provide an advisor for any party that does not otherwise have one. Advisors may attend meetings, mediations, etc. that may be part of the Information Resolution Process. However, advisors are not participants in the Informal Resolution Process; the parties must be prepared to engage and represent their own interests during that process. The facilitator may, at his/her/their own discretion, ask that the parties participate in some or all such meetings without their advisors, so long as the University applies that request equally to both parties.

Proposed resolutions may include:  establishing Interim Supportive Measures; issuing a No Contact Order; conducting targeted or broad-based educational programming or training for relevant individuals or groups; providing increased monitoring, supervision, or security at locations or activities where the Prohibited Conduct occurred; facilitating a meeting with the Complainant and Respondent present, if desired; and/or any other remedy that can be tailored to the involved individuals to transform the environment, prevent recurrence of the issues, remedy the effects of the particular complaint, and more generally achieve the goals of this Policy. Where appropriate, informal resolutions may result in disciplinary measures designed to punish the Respondent.

Agreements: The University and the parties will treat Informal Resolution agreements as contracts, and the parties may negotiate the terms of the agreement. Once entered into, the agreement will become legally binding according to its terms. Informal Resolution agreements may not include confidentiality provisions.

Should the Informal Resolution not result in a resolution, facilitators may not serve as witnesses or investigators in subsequent formal grievance processes relating to the same allegations. Parties’ statements made during the Informal Resolution Process may not be introduced during a subsequent formal hearing, unless also made outside of the Informal Resolution Process.

During the course of the investigation, the University will gather evidence from the parties and third parties, which an investigator will use to draft an investigative report.

Gathering Evidence / Witness Interviews

The investigator performing the investigation on behalf of the institution will communicate with the parties, witnesses, and any third parties identified by the parties or the University, to retain evidence. The University is not entitled to any information protected under a legally cognizable privilege unless privilege is waived by the holder of the privilege. Additionally, the Institution cannot use a party’s medical records without the party’s voluntary, informed, written consent.

While not required, parties are permitted to gather evidence to provide to the Investigator, and may provide the Investigator with a list of suggested questions to ask the other party and/or witnesses. The parties also may identify recommended witnesses with whom the Investigator in his/her/their discretion may speak. In so doing, parties should provide:  (i) the names of any witnesses; (ii) an oral or written statement and/or description of what each witness observed; and (iii) a summary of why the information the witness has is relevant to making a determination of responsibility in the investigatory process.

The Investigator will determine if the witnesses identified for inclusion have information relevant to the finding of facts in the case. Witnesses must have direct, credible information about the specific allegation. Generally speaking, personnel who respond to and are involved with any aspect of resolving a complaint of Prohibited Conduct will not be permitted as witnesses, nor will confidential support providers (counseling/health services) for either party. Although, parties may always introduce information about their own health or counseling records into the investigation process.

During the investigation, parties are entitled to present relevant evidence, discuss the allegations under investigation with others, and communicate with witnesses. Parties may not, however, attempt to prevent or alter a witness’s testimony.

Investigative Reports

After the Investigator has collected evidence, the Investigator will draft an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence regarding the complained-of allegations. For investigations involving multiple complaints about the same Respondent, the University may consolidate the complaints and issue a single investigation report.

At least 15 calendar days prior to the hearing, the University will send each party and the party’s advisor:  (i) all of the evidence collected by the Investigator that is directly related to the allegations in the formal complaint even if not included in the final report, including both inculpatory and exculpatory evidence; and (ii) a copy of the draft investigative report. The University may provide this information in either hard copy or electronic format. Each party will have 10 calendar days to inspect and review the evidence and draft report, and submit written responses with corrections, context, challenging relevance, missing evidence, and other commentary that the party or the party’s advisor feels necessary. The Investigator will consider any such responses prior to completion of the investigative report. If relevant evidence appears to be missing and the Investigator determines the relevant evidence was destroyed by a party, the Hearing Officer can take that into account in assessing the credibility of parties, and the weight of evidence in the case.

The University has discretion to determine which evidence is directly related to the allegations in the formal complaint, and may permit the Investigator to redact information not directly related to the allegations.

The Investigative report will include:

  • Relevant evidence related to the allegation(s);
  • Interview statements/summaries from each party and, if applicable, any witnesses;
  • A credibility assessment of each party and witnesses;
  • A listing of all undisputed facts between the parties;
  • A listing of all facts in dispute between the parties; and
  • Recommended findings or conclusions from the investigator based on the evidence. The investigator will apply the “preponderance of the evidence” standard (defined below) when reaching any such conclusions.

At the conclusion of the investigation, the CRT, excluding any such CRT member who served as the Investigator, will review the undisputed facts between the parties. In the event that those undisputed facts do not, on their face, rise to the level of Prohibited Conduct under this Policy, the CRT may recommend that the matter not proceed to a hearing as outlined by this Policy. Where appropriate, the CRT may recommend that the University address the allegations in accordance with other University policies or codes of conduct.

Relevance

Based on privilege, relevance, and confidentiality, certain information may be redacted from the investigative report. Relevance is discussed in greater detail in Section XV relating to Hearings.

Standard of Proof

The University uses the standard of “preponderance of the evidence” to determine a Respondent’s responsibility under this Policy. Both the Investigator’s conclusions and the Hearing Officer’s ultimate conclusion will decide whether it is “more likely than not,” that the behavior occurred and violated this Policy, based upon the information provided through the course of the investigation and related Hearing. Where the evidence is equal or level between the parties, the Respondent will be found not responsible. Notwithstanding the Investigators’ conclusions, the Hearing Officer will make an independent and objective evaluation of the facts in reaching a determination as to responsibility.

This Policy provides for a live hearing conducted by a single hearing officer, who also will make a determination as to responsibility (“Hearing Officer”). The hearing will take place after the investigator submits a final investigative report to the Hearing Officer.

Pre-Hearing Requirements

  • At least seven calendar days before the hearing, each party will submit to the Hearing Officer a list of intended witnesses. At least three calendar days before the hearing, the Hearing Officer will share each party’s witness list with the other party, and may add additional witnesses, as necessary.
  • At least five calendar days before the hearing, each party must notify the Hearing Officer of the identity of their selected hearing advisors. If a party does not have an advisor of his/her/their choice present at the hearing, the University will appoint an advisor free of charge.
  • Neither parties nor advisors may submit questions to the Hearing Officer prior to the hearing.

Roles at the Hearing

  • Hearing Officer:  The Hearing Officer is an impartial party who will facilitate the hearing and make a final determination regarding the Respondent’s responsibility for the alleged Prohibited Conduct. During the hearing, the Hearing Officer will make determinations as to the relevance of questions on cross-examination, and may ask questions to elicit information from the parties directly. The Hearing Officer will not be the same person as the Title IX Coordinator or the Investigator, and the Hearing Officer’s final determination will be made objectively and independently of the investigative report. The Hearing Officer may be a University employee or a third-party retained for the purpose of filling this role.
  • Complainant:  The Complainant may make opening/closing statements and otherwise present relevant evidence in accordance with the format below, but may not cross examine the Respondent or any witnesses.
  • Respondent:  The Respondent may make opening/closing statements and otherwise present relevant evidence in accordance with the format below, but may not cross examine the Complainant or any witnesses.
  • Advisors:  Parties are entitled to have an advisor present during the entire live hearing. The University will not limit a party’s choice of an advisor. An advisor may be an attorney, student leader, or any other adult of the party’s choice (except for the University’s Title IX Coordinator, the Hearing Officer, or other personnel responsible for the implementation of this Policy). An advisor will conduct direct examination of their own advisee and individuals identified on their advisee’s witness list. An advisor also will cross examine the other party and the other party’s witness(es).

Format of the Hearing

Unless the Hearing Officer requests additional time, the Investigator will have 15 minutes to present the information and recommendation from the Final Investigative Report. The Investigator is limited to presenting only information contained in the Final Investigative Report. Although the Final Investigative Report and the Investigator’s presentation at the Hearing will include recommended findings or conclusions, the Hearing Officer will independently and objectively evaluate relevant evidence.

For every portion of the hearing, the Complainant will present before the Respondent. Throughout the hearing, the Hearing Officer may ask questions of any party or witness.

Opening statement:  Each party will have five minutes to present an opening statement regarding the allegations of Prohibited Conduct.

Direct examination of parties:  The advisor for each party will have an opportunity to ask their advisee (the Complainant or Respondent) questions regarding the allegations and present evidence. Advisors are entitled to 30 minutes each for direct examination of their own advisee, though the Hearing Officer may extend that time as necessary.

Direct examination of witnesses:  Each party’s advisor will have an equal opportunity to present previously-identified witnesses at the hearing. Each party is allowed t no more than five witnesses, unless the party demonstrates to the Hearing Officer the need for additional witnesses. Advisors are entitled to 20 minutes of direct examination per witness, through the Hearing Office may extend that time as necessary.

Cross-examination:  Each party may be cross-examined—asked questions by the opposing party’s advisor. Parties are entitled to 20 minutes of cross-examination for the opposing party, and 10 minutes for each witness, though the Hearing Officer may extend time as necessary.

Closing statement:  Each party will have five minutes to present a closing statement to the Hearing Office regarding the allegations of Prohibited Conduct.

The Hearing Officer will end each hearing thanking parties for their participation and outlining next steps, as outlined in Section XVI.

General Hearing Requirements

  • Hearings will take place live and in real time. The University may conduct live hearings virtually, using technology that enables participants to see and hear each other in real time, and will do so at the request of either party.
  • Witnesses will enter the live (or virtual) hearing room as necessary and will not be present during any portion of the proceeding other than his/her/their own direct and cross-examination.
  • Cross-examination:  During cross-examination, each party’s advisor will directly and orally pose questions to the opposing party or witness in real time, including questions challenging credibility. A party may not cross-examine another party.
  • Relevance:  The University defines relevance as using a layperson’s logic and common sense.
    • For purposes of this Policy not relevant information includes:  (i) statements protected by a legally-recognized privilege; (ii) any party’s medical, psychological, or counseling records, unless the person has given voluntary, written consent; (iii) party or witness statements that have not been subject to cross examination at a live hearing; (iv) questions about a Complainant’s sexual predisposition; and (v) evidence that is duplicative of other evidence.
    • Questions and evidence about the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior are not relevant unless:  (i) offered to prove that someone other than the Respondent committed the alleged conduct; or (ii) the questions and evidence concern specific incidents of the Complainant’s prior sexual behavior with respect to the Respondent and are offered to show consent. Such protections do not apply to Respondents.
    • Unless otherwise articulated in this Section, the University will not exclude relevant evidence, even if the evidence is unduly prejudicial to one party, concerns prior bad acts, and/or suggests a party acted in accordance with a particular character trait or patterned behavior.
    • When considering evidence for purposes of determining responsibility (or for purposes of the Investigative Report), the University will not use any evidence that it reasonably knows was illegally obtained under local, state or federal law. Parties are prohibited from destroying or facilitating the destruction of evidence.
  • Objections as to Relevance:  In the event of an objection from an advisor, the Hearing Officer will determine whether the cross-examination question is relevant before the party or witness answers the question. The Hearing Officer will ask each advisor to state his/her/their position as to relevance on the record. If the Hearing Officer determines the question is relevant, the party or witness will answer the question. If the question is not relevant, the Hearing Officer will explain the decision to exclude the question. The Hearing Officer’s explanations are not required to be lengthy, but should explain how the Hearing Officer made the determination. A party may raise an adverse ruling as to relevancy on appeal if he/she/they believes the relevancy determination adversely impacted the final determination as to responsibility.
  • If a party or witness does not attend the hearing or submit to cross examination, the Hearing Officer will not rely on any statement of that party or witness in reaching a determination as to responsibility. The Hearing Officer will not draw an inference about the determination as to responsibility based solely on the party or witness’s absence from the live hearing or refusal to answer questions.
  • If evidence includes statements from individuals not subject to cross-examination, the Hearing Officer will not consider such statements in the final determination. This includes, but is not limited to, such individuals’ statements contained within SANE reports, police reports, or medical records. If the grievance process was initiated by the Title IX Coordinator and the Complainant chose not to participate in the process, the Hearing Officer will not consider the Complainant’s statements. Exceptions to this rule include:
    • The Hearing Officer may consider text messages or email threads where one of the communicating individuals submits to cross examination, even if the other communicating party does not.
    • Where a party refuses to submit to cross examination, but video evidence shows the underlying incident, a Hearing Officer may consider the available evidence and make a determination. However, if the video evidence contains a statement not subject to cross-examination, that Hearing Officer may not consider that statement in reaching a determination as to responsibility.
  • The University will create an audio or audiovisual recording or transcript of the live hearing which will be available to the Complainant and Respondent to inspect and review following the hearing.

Rules of Decorum During the Hearing

  • Advisors, parties, witnesses, and other participants are not permitted to harass, badger, threaten, intentionally embarrass, or otherwise treat another individual without dignity and respect.
  • Parties are permitted to take two 15-minute breaks during the hearing to discuss matters in private. Other than these breaks, parties must avoid engaging in conversation with their advisors during the hearing. If a party must talk to his/her/their advisor during the hearing, he/she/they must do so in a quiet, non-disruptive manner.
  • Parties may not “fire” their respective advisors, nor request a different advisor, during the hearing.
  • If a participant in the grievance process violates any of the rules in this Section, the Hearing Officer will give that participant one warning only. After a warning, the University has the discretion to take disciplinary action against the offending participant.
  • If an advisor does not comport with these rules, the Hearing Officer may recommend that the University replace the advisor with a University-appointed advisor. 
  • The University is not a party to the hearing, but, through the Investigator and/or Title IX Coordinator, may present evidence to the Hearing Officer.
  • Neither the parties nor the University will require a party or witness to testify at the live hearing. However, when participating, individuals are required to answer questions truthfully. An individual who intentionally provides false information during the hearing or grievance process will have violated Acts of Dishonesty and Deception provision of the Student Code of Conduct. Parties and witnesses will not be faulted for failing to remember events or details relevant to the allegations.

Notice of Outcome

The Hearing Officer will apply the preponderance of evidence standard in reaching an outcome, and will memorialize in writing the final determination as to responsibility. Within seven days of the conclusion of the hearing, the Hearing Officer will simultaneously communicate the written determination to the Respondent and the Complainant. The determination is final only after the time to appeal has expired or, if a party does appeal, after a decision has been made. In addition, the University will maintain supportive measures through the same time period.

The Hearing Officer will independently and objectively evaluate all relevant evidence presented at the hearing and in the investigative report. Privileged information will be excluded from the Hearing Officer’s evaluation.

The written determination will contain the following:

  • Identification of the allegations potentially constituting Prohibited Conduct;
  • A description of the procedural steps taken from the receipt of the formal complaint through the determination (including notifications to parties, interviews with parties; interviews with witnesses, site visits; evidence-gathering methods, and hearing(s) held);
  • Findings of fact supporting the determination;
  • Conclusions regarding the application of Prohibited Conduct to the facts,
  • Evidentiary basis for conclusions reached in the case (in a written determination);
  • A statement of, and rational for, the result as to each allegation, including a determination regarding responsibility;
  • Disciplinary sanctions imposed on the Respondent, if any, as determined by the University;
  • Whether the University will provide the Complainant with remedies designed to restore or preserve equal access to its education program or activity. The written determination will not include a description of the remedies, if applicable; and
  • Procedures and permissible bases for appeal.

While the written determination need not address the evaluation of contradictory facts, exculpatory evidence, all evidence presented at the hearing, or how credibility assessments were reached, in reaching a determination, the Hearing Officer, nonetheless will evaluate admissible, relevant evidence for weight or credibility.

Outcomes and Sanctions for Those Found Responsible for Violations

The University may impose a full range of actions on those found responsible. Sanctions will not take effect until after the final determination of responsibility, including appeal. The University is not required to impose particular sanctions based on a particular final outcome or apply a certain standard of proportionality when it determines which sanction(s) would be appropriate for the Respondent.

The following includes a non-exhaustive list of outcomes and sanctions that the University may impose upon any individual found responsible for violations under this Policy:

Education

Educational activities, programs or interventions, but note that an educational approach may not be appropriate for employees or independent contractors.

Warning

A notice in writing that institutional regulations have been violated.

Probation

A written reprimand in place for a designated period of time and noting the probability of more severe sanctions for subsequent violations during the period of probation. Probation may impose limits on a Respondent’s participation in certain education programs and activities.

Restrictive Probation

Restrictions may include but not be limited to, for a designated period of time:  loss of ability to hold office in or advise any club, organization, board, committee, or council; restriction from participation in, including coaching or advising, University programs (varsity athletics, or other co-curricular or academic programs); loss of access to facilities or equipment; housing restrictions or limitations. A Respondent may lose privileges or be subject to more severe disciplinary sanctions and/ or suspension if found in violation of any regulations during the restrictive probationary period, no matter how minor.

No Contact Order

Respondent instructed to have no contact with the Complainant through any means, including:  verbal, telephonic, electronic/social media, written, or through third parties.

Assessment

Professional evaluation or assessment of problematic behavior and appropriate treatment by a certified professional.

Suspension

Separation of the Respondent from the University for a definite period of time, after which the Respondent is eligible to return. Conditions for readmission may be specified.

Expulsion

Permanent separation of the Respondent from the University.

The determination of sanctions may be based upon a number of factors, including:  the harm suffered by the Complainant; any ongoing risk to either the Complainant or the community posed by Respondent; the impact of the violation on the community, its members, or its property; any previous conduct violations; and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.

Remedies and Accommodations for the Victim

The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for the implementation of remedies. Remedies may be offered to the Complainant if the Hearing Officer determines the Respondent is responsible for the alleged Prohibited Conduct. Remedies are intended to restore equal access to the University’s education program or activity. Unlike supportive measures, remedies may be disciplinary or punitive and may burden the Respondent. Remedies offered to the Complainant which do not directly affect the Respondent will remain confidential. Falsely-accused Respondents may be entitled to remedies, as appropriate.

Additional Remedies for the University Community

The investigative process may result in remedies for the campus community at large, in order to address the effects of the Prohibited Conduct. Such remedies may include but not be limited to:

  • Designating an individual specifically trained in providing trauma-informed services to victims and those affected by sexual assault to be available to meet with individuals;
  • Training or retraining University personnel on University's responsibilities to report and address allegations of Prohibited Conduct;
  • Developing information and educational materials related to preventing Prohibited Conduct that can be distributed to the University community;
  • Conducting regular bystander education;
  • Conducting, in cooperation with student and employee leaders, a campus “climate check” to assess the efficacy of prevention and response efforts;
  • Training for groups of particular University community members impacted by an incident -- if for example Prohibited Conduct created a hostile environment within a workplace team, a residence hall, or a student group; and
  • Informational (prevention, safety) emails to community members after an event.

Either party has the right to appeal a determination of responsibility, as well as the University’s dismissal of a formal complaint or any allegations therein. Appeals may be made based on the following grounds:

  • One or more procedural irregularity(ies) (e.g., failure to objectively evaluate all relevant evidence, including inculpatory and exculpatory, or erroneous relevance determinations) that affected the outcome of the matter;
  • New evidence that was not reasonably available at the time the determination of responsibility or dismissal was made that could affect the outcome of the matter; and/or
  • The Title IX Coordinator, Investigator(s), or Hearing Officer had a conflict of interest or bias for or against complainants or respondents generally or the individual Complainant or Respondent that affected the outcome of the matter.

Appeals shall: (i) be made in writing; (ii) include the basis(es) for appeal and any related statement challenging the outcome; and (iii) be delivered via electronic mail within seven business days as outlined below.

Matters where the Respondent is a student

April Vari, D.Ed.
Vice President for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
april.vari@delval.edu
215.489.2413

The Vice President for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence will transmit a copy of the appeal to the non-appealing party within two days of receiving the request.  Such transmittal shall notify the non-appealing party of his/her/their right to submit a response to the appeal and any other statement in support of the Hearing outcome within seven business days of receipt of the notification.

Upon receipt of the non-appealing party’s response, or the expiration of seven business days, the Vice President for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence and the Vice President for Academic Affairs will consider the appeal, which consists of a review of written case materials and files. Results of the appeal will be communicated simultaneously, and in writing via electronic mail to both parties within ten business days from the receipt of the non-appealing party’s response (or the expiration of the period to respond). The written appellate decision will describe the result of the appeal and the rationale for the result. Appeal decisions are final.

Matters where the Respondent is an employee, independent contractor, or volunteer

The University will follow the same process as with student Respondents, except that appeals shall be delivered via electronic mail to:

Jennifer Brennan
Director of Human Resources
jennifer.brennan@delval.edu
215.489.2346

The University educates students about sexual misconduct through several means. New students are required to complete Sexual Assault Prevention© before matriculating. Sexual Assault Prevention© is an online Title IX and Campus SaVE Act education program that combines sexual assault and bystander intervention education.

Sexual Assault Prevention© is complemented by a unit in the “DelVal Experience I” course, which is the foundational component of the University’s experiential learning curriculum.  Information about the specifics of this educational experience can be obtained in the Office of Student Involvement.  

All students annually receive a copy of the Sexual Harassment Policy to continue these educational efforts. Additionally, all students receive a publication from Campus Life entitled:  Delaware Valley University Support and Resource Guide for Sexual Misconduct and Violence.

During the course of each academic year, offices within the Division of Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence sponsor or co-sponsor at least one program each semester on matters related to sexual misconduct.

The Office of Public Safety conducts annual Clery Training for all Campus Security Authorities (“CSA”). Clery Act training includes but is not limited to sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Additionally, Human Resources provides training on the University's Sexual Misconduct Policy and Title IX training annually for all employees and faculty of the University.

Additional training for the Title IX coordinator and deputy(ies), law enforcement, members of the Student Conduct Board, and advisors is designed and implemented by the CRT and the Designees, who partner with community and government agencies and campus partners who have expertise and perspective on these issues.

Training of Investigative Personnel

Members of the CRT and Designees have been identified for inclusion in their roles by virtue of their positions and training. The CRT and Designees meets regularly to continually explore current issues related to prevention and response to sexual harassment on University campuses, and to review emerging compliance mandates and guidelines.

The members of the CRT and the Designees, chaired by the Title IX Coordinator, provide training on issues of non-discrimination, Prohibited Conduct, intimate partner violence, dynamics of gender violence, and the proper resolution of allegations under this Policy. Ongoing training for the CRT and Designees also includes, but it not limited to, burden of proof, standard of proof, questioning parties and witnesses, assessing credibility and relevance of information, evaluating consent, determining incapacitation, and sanctioning.

The Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (20 USC § 1092(f)) is the landmark federal law, originally known as the Campus Security Act, that requires colleges and universities across the United States to disclose information about crime on and around their campuses.

The law was amended in 1992 to add a requirement that schools afford the victims of campus sexual assault certain basic rights, and was amended again in 1998 to expand the reporting requirements.

The Clery Act requires colleges and universities to:

  • Publish an Annual Security report (ASR);
  • Have a public crime log;
  • Disclose crime statistics for incidents that occur on campus, in unobstructed public areas immediately adjacent to or running through the campus, and at certain non-campus facilities;
  • Issue timely warnings about Clery Act crimes which pose a serious or ongoing threat to students and employees (names of victim's are withheld as confidential);
  • Devise an emergency response, notification, and testing policy;
  • Compile and report fire data to the federal government and publish an annual fire safety report; and
  • Enact policies and procedures to handle reports of missing students.

The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or Campus SaVE Act (SaVE), is a 2013 amendment to the federal Jeanne Clery Act. SaVE was designed by advocates along with victims/survivors and championed by a bi-partisan coalition in Congress as a companion to Title IX that will help bolster the response to and prevention of sexual violence in higher education. President Obama signed the measure into law as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 on March 7, 2013.

To increase transparency about the scope of sexual violence on campus, SaVE requires that colleges and universities provide for standards in institutional conduct proceedings and offer campus community-wide prevention educational programming. The University will provide both the Complainant and Respondent with equal rights throughout the process outlined in this Policy.

The University, beginning with the 2013 calendar year, collects and reports statistics for domestic violence, dating violence and stalking (as defined by the Violence Against Women Act) occurring on-campus, on public property within and adjacent to campus, and at non-campus properties like off-campus student organization housing and remote classrooms. Institutions are already required to report sexual assault statistics.

The University's Annual Security Report is available on the University's website.

In accordance with regulations, the University collects statistics from a broad range of campus officials including Resident Advisors, Deans and athletic coaches, campus police or security, and local law enforcement. The law requires disclosures to protect the confidentiality of victims in these statistical disclosures as well as any public record keeping, to the extent provided by law.

The law requires that “campus security authorities” report crime statistics for inclusion in the University's Annual Security Report. “Campus security authorities” include, but are not limited to, officials of the University with significant responsibility for students or campus activities. CSA's are trained and assessed annually.

A crime will be considered “reported” when it is brought to the attention of a campus security authority by a victim, witness, or third party.

Campus Security Authority - The following are defined by the Jeanne Clery Act as Campus Security Authorities:

  • Campus Security/Police Departments
  • Individuals with Campus Security Responsibility - Any individuals who have responsibility for campus security but who do not constitute a campus police department or a campus security department, such as an individual who is responsible for monitoring entrance into institutional property.
  • Individuals Designated by the Campus - Any individual or organization specified in an institution's statement of campus security policy as one to which students and employees should report criminal offenses.
  • Officials with Significant Responsibility for Student and Campus Activities - An official of an institution who has significant responsibility for student and campus activities, including, but not limited to, student housing, student discipline, and campus judicial proceedings. If such an official is a pastoral or professional counselor as defined below, the official is not considered a campus security authority when acting in those capacities. Examples of this category are:  Deans of Students, Student Housing Officials, Students Discipline Officials, Students Judicial Affairs Officials, Officials who oversee a student center, Officials who oversee student extracurricular activities, Director of Athletics, Team Coaches and Faculty Advisors to student groups.

Records and confidentiality

  • The Investigator’s report is maintained with the Title IX Coordinator as a Sexual Misconduct Policy case file.
  • For student-Respondents, a copy of the outcome report also will become a part of the student’s conduct file maintained in Campus Life for reviewing any subsequent behavioral violations and determining sanctions of same. For employee-Respondents, a copy of the outcome report also will become a part of the employee’s personnel file maintained with Human Resources.
  • Student records are maintained for a period of three years after a student graduates or terminates from the University with the exception of records associated with a recommendation of suspension or expulsion which are maintained indefinitely.
  • The University will maintain records relating to the procedures stated in this Policy for seven years, including records of:
    • Investigations and final determinations;
    • Sanctions imposed on the Respondent;
    • Remedies provided to the Complainant;
    • Any appeal, and result of the appeal(s);
    • Informal resolution (if any) and the result;
    • Supportive measures or other actions taken in response to a report or formal complaint of Prohibited Conduct; and
    • Training materials. 
  • Sexual Misconduct Policy case files constitute “educational records” under FERPA and are subject to its release and confidentiality provisions.
  • No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law and University policy.
  • Generally, University practice is to obtain consent from a student before releasing information from a student's education record to parents. When in the judgment of the University a release of information to parents is appropriate for health and safety, and when such release is not in violation of FERPA or other applicable privacy laws, the University reserves the right to notify parents.
  • Students have a right to request a copy of their educational records and may do so through a written request to the Dean of Students or designee.
  • In situations where a victim chooses to pursue action through local law enforcement, the University will cooperate with the sharing of all information and records.

Prohibited Relationships

A romantic or consensual sexual relationship between a faculty member and a student currently enrolled in his/her/their class is not permitted. Faculty and/or staff members may not supervise students, employees or University community members with whom he/she/they have a romantic or sexual relationship. If such a relationship exists, it is a conflict of interest and arrangements must be made to ensure a faculty/student or supervisor/employee reporting relationship does not occur.

Child Protection

While any individual may, and is encouraged to, report suspected child abuse whenever and wherever it occurs, all employees, independent contractors, students who work or volunteer with individuals under the age of 18, consultants, sub-contractors, adjunct faculty, volunteers, or those affiliated in any way with Delaware Valley University are mandatory child abuse reporters required to make a report whenever the person has reasonable suspicion that a child under the age of 18 is a victim of child abuse.

In accordance with Pennsylvania law, mandatory child abuse reporters must take the following steps in the event of suspected child abuse:

Immediately call ChildLine (1.800.932.0313; available 24 hours per day) or immediately submit a written report electronically to the Department of Public Welfare or the Child Protective Services office for the child’s county of residence.  You may choose to make the report simultaneously with your supervisor. However, a simultaneous report does not negate the immediacy with which the external report must be made.  If a Supervisor is unavailable, you must make the report alone without further hesitation or delay. 

If you report orally, you must also submit a written report within 48 hours to ChildLine or the appropriate county’s Child Protective Services. The complete policy and expectations can be found on the Human Resources site of the University portal.

Below is a comprehensive listing of all resources, offices and contact information referenced in this policy.

Emergency Assistance and Response

  • Department of Public Safety – Delaware Valley University
    Phone number: 215.489.4444
  • Doylestown Hospital Emergency Services
    595 West State Street
    Doylestown, PA. 18901
    Phone number: 215.345.2586
  • Central Bucks Regional Police Department
    Non-emergency line: 215.345.4143
  • Doylestown Township Police Department
    Non-emergency line: 215.348.4201

In the event of an emergency where seconds count, dial 911.

Confidential support – on and off campus:

  • Counseling Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall
    Phone number:  215.489.2317
    After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444
  • Health Services (on-campus) in Elson Hall
    Phone number:  215.489.2252
    After 4:30 p.m. weekdays and weekends call Public Safety 215.489.4444
  • Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA) – off campus
    24-Hour Phone Number:  800.675.6900
    A victim advocate can accompany a student to the hospital or health provider
  • A Woman's Place – off campus
    Phone number: 800.220.8116

Formal Reporting to the University

Title IX Coordinator
Tim Poirier
Dean of Students
timothy.poirier@delval.edu
215.489.2215
Student Center

  • Director of Public Safety
    Cynthia Transue
    cynthia.transue@delval.edu
    215.489.4444
    Department of Public Safety Office - Welcome Center

Reporting to Local Law Enforcement

  • Central Bucks Regional Police Department
    Non-emergency line: 215.345.4143
  • Doylestown Township Police Department
    Non-emergency line: 215.348.4201
  • Emergency assistance: Dial 911

Policy questions

General questions regarding student complaints of student-to-student misconduct may be referred to:

April Vari, D.Ed.
Vice President for Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence
(215) 489-2250
Office location: Second floor, Student Center

Student questions specifically regarding Title IX or sexual harassment or violence may be referred to the following official who has been designated by the University to serve as the Title IX Coordinator:

Tim Poirier
Dean of Students
timothy.poirier@delval.edu
215.489.2215
Student Center

Employee, independent contractor, or volunteer questions specifically regarding Title IX or sexual harassment or violence may be referred to:

Director of Human Resources
Jennifer Brennan
jennifer.brennan@delval.edu
215.489.2346

Inquiries regarding Title IX may also be referred to the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education at the following address:

Philadelphia Office
Office for Civil Rights
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323 
Telephone:  215-656-8541
FAX: 215-656-8605
TDD: 215-656-8604
e-mail: OCR_Philadelphia@ed.gov