Information for Respondent/the Accused
As written in the Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures, it is the policy of Lock Haven University to prohibit sexual harassment. Lock Haven University is committed to providing a learning and working environment that enhances the dignity and worth of every member of our community. To this end, the community must be free of sexual harassment.
All employees, students, contractors and vendors are to comply with federal laws, state laws, regulations, and policies that relate to sexual harassment.
It must be understood that the University will take action to prevent sexual harassment. Any employee or student of the University found to be in violation of this policy will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action up to and including discharge. Students will be referred to the Office of Student and Residence Life for appropriate disposition up to and including dismissal from the University.
If you are a student at Lock Haven University and you have been accused of sexual harassment, sexual violence or other gender-based harassment, it is important that you read the following information. Although not intended to be a comprehensive explanation of your options and rights, this information may be useful to you.
Sexual harassment, sexual violence and other gender-based harassment occurring in the college setting implicates a federal law called Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities and which triggers certain responsibilities on the part of the University. The University's Title IX Coordinator is the Associate Vice President of Human Resources, Deana Hill, who can be contacted at (570) 484-2014 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University is committed to maintaining a positive learning and working environment. The University will not tolerate acts of sexual harassment, or sexual violence, or related retaliation against or by any employee or student. When sexual harassment or sexual violence has occurred and is brought to the attention of a responsible administrator, steps will be taken to end the harassment or violence, prevent its reoccurrence, and address its effects.
Within the University processes, the person making the allegations is referred to as the Complainant. The person who the allegations have been made against is referred to as the Respondent. A complainant who wishes to report sexual harassment, sexual violence or other gender-based harassment may report their complaint directly to the Title IX Coordinator, or other campus officials. A complainant may also report directly to law enforcement. A complainant may pursue both the administrative complaint process through the Title IX Coordinator and the criminal process simultaneously. In addition, students may file a Title IX complaint with the Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education. The Title IX Coordinator has authority to address complaints of sexual harassment and sexual violence in a non-criminal context. This campus process is an administrative process and completely separate from the police and courts.
The campus Title IX Coordinator will review the allegations and determine an appropriate course of action. Some cases can be handled informally and outside of the formal investigative process. For cases that result in an investigation, those investigations are conducted by individuals who have received specialized training in those types of investigations. All investigations will be conducted in a thorough and neutral manner. The University may not handle a sexual assault case informally.
When the University becomes aware of sexual misconduct, the University may have an obligation to proceed with an investigation, regardless of a complainant’s wishes, in order to ensure campus safety.
In the University’s student judicial process, the complainant and respondent will not be permitted to directly question each other and are not required to be present together at any point. Both a complainant and a respondent have the right to identify witnesses and provide other information relevant to the investigation. The University will decide the case based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (whether or not it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred).
Because the University’s primary concern is student safety, minor alcohol and drug violations by a complainant may be handled informally. If a complainant is under the age of 21 and reports a sexual assault incident where alcohol and/or other drugs were used, the complainant will receive consideration for amnesty for alcohol and/or other drug conduct violations related to the same incident in question. The use of alcohol or other drugs never makes the victim at fault for sexual violence. An individual accused of sexual misconduct does not avoid or mitigate responsibility because he/she was under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
The University will take interim steps to provide accommodations to a complainant and respondent while the case is pending. Depending on the case and the complainant’s wishes, these steps may include class accommodations, on-campus work accommodations, issuing no contact orders to both complainant and respondent, or providing an escort to accompany the complainant on campus. Any accommodations will be designed to minimize the burden on the complainant’s educational program. Some of these actions may also be remedies in those cases resulting in a finding of a policy violation.
The complainant and any other individual who participated in an investigation shall not be subjected to any form of retaliation from the Respondent or any other individual as a result of filing a complaint, providing witness testimony, reporting an occurrence of sexual harassment to which he/she was a witness, or protesting an act forbidden by the University’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Complaint Procedures.
A separate investigation will be conducted concerning the retaliation. Any individual who has been found to have retaliated against any individual involved in the investigation will be subject to discipline up to and including discharge from University employment or dismissal from the University. Be mindful of your actions and behavior and avoid all direct and indirect contact with the complainant until the matter is resolved.
What do I do if I am accused of sexual violence and/or sexual misconduct?
DO NOT contact the victim (complainant). You may want to speak with someone in the campus community who can act as your support person. Your Title IX Coordinator can explain the University’s grievance procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints. You may also want to seek confidential counseling through the University’s Counseling Center or seek support through off-campus services in the community.
What about legal advice?
Respondents may want to retain legal counsel given the potential for criminal and/or civil action.
What if, anything will my parents be told?
The University’s primary relationship is to you, the student, and not to your parent/guardian. University officials will only speak with your parents/guardians at your request or when there is a significant threat to your health or safety.
Can I be charged with something on campus and off campus?
Yes, complainants have the right to pursue both a University resolution of a complaint as well as civil and/or criminal resolution. It is up to the complainant to decide how they want to proceed. The University’s processes will move forward regardless if there is criminal or civil legal action taken regarding the same incident.