TITLE-IX

Saint Vincent College is deeply committed to its strong tradition of respecting, preserving, protecting and enhancing the dignity of every member of its community and all whom we welcome as guests. This tradition embraces the notion that no member of the College community is, or should be, excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination in, any College program or activity on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Gender-based and sexual harassment, including sexual violence, are forms of discrimination that deny or limit an individual’s ability to participate in and benefit from the programs and activities of the College. Accordingly, the College expressly prohibits them.

As a recipient of Federal funds, the College complies with Title IX of the Higher Education Amendments of 1972 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities. Sexual Misconduct, as defined in this Policy, is a form of sex discrimination prohibited by Title IX. Saint Vincent College is committed to providing programs, activities, and an educational environment free from sex discrimination.


Prohibited Conductprohibited-conduct
  • Sexual Assault

    Sexual Assault consists of (1) Sexual Contact and/or (2) Sexual Intercourse that occurs without (3) Consent.

    1. Sexual Contact is:
      • Any intentional sexual touching, however slight
      • With any object or body part
      • Performed by a person upon another person
    2. Sexual Intercourse is:
      • Any penetration, however slight
      • With any object or body part
      • Performed by a person upon another person
    3. Consent is:
      • Informed (knowing)
      • Voluntary (freely given)
      • Active (not passive), meaning that, through the demonstration of clear words or actions, a person has indicated permission to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity
  • Sexual Exploitation

    Sexual exploitation is an act or acts committed through nonconsensual abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality for the purpose of sexual gratification, financial gain, person benefit or advantage, or any other non-legitimate purpose. Examples of sexual exploitation, include, but are not limited to, purposely or knowingly doing any of the following:

    • Causing the incapacitation of another person (through alcohol, drugs or any other means) for the purpose of compromising that person’s ability to give consent to sexual activity
    • Observing another individual’s nudity or sexual activity or allowing another to observe consensual sexual activity without the knowledge and consent of all parties involved
    • Allowing third parties to observe private sexual activity from a hidden location (e.g., closet) or through electronic means (e.g., Skype or livestreaming of images)
    • Engaging in voyeurism (e.g., watching private sexual activity without the consent of the participants or viewing another person’s intimate parts in a place where that person would have a reasonable expectation of privacy)
    • Recording or photographing private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts without consent
    • Exposing, disseminating or posting images of private sexual activity and/or a person’s intimate parts without consent
    • Prostituting another person
    • Exposing another person to a sexually-transmitted infection or virus without the other’s knowledge
  • Intimate Partner Violence

    Intimate Partner Violence (dating/domestic violence)

    • any act of violence or threatened act of violence that occurs between individuals who are involved or have been involved in a sexual, dating, spousal, domestic or other intimate relationship.
    • Includes any form of prohibited conduct under this policy, including sexual assault, stalking and physical assault.
    • Includes “dating violence” and “domestic violence,” as defined by the federal Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”).

    Consistent with VAWA, the College will evaluate the existence of an intimate relationship based upon the complainant’s statement and taking into consideration the length of the relationship, the type of relationship and the frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.

     

    Examples of behavior that may constitute Intimate Partner Violence include the following:

    • Taking away a person’s cell phone during an argument so the person cannot call a friend or the police for help
    • Threatening to commit self-harm if another does not do what is asked
    • Threatening to physically assault someone the individual is dating if the person does not do what is asked
    • Hitting, punching, pinching, slapping or choking someone with whom the person is intimately involved
    • Violating a protective order issued by a court or a no-contact order put in place by the College

     

  • Stalking

    Stalking occurs

    • when a person engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person under circumstances that would cause a reasonable person to fear bodily injury or to experience substantial emotional distress.

    Course of conduct means two or more acts, including but not limited to acts in which a person directly, indirectly or through third parties, by any action, method, device or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens or communicates to or about another person, or interferes with another person’s property.

    Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

    Stalking includes

    • “cyber-stalking,” which is a particular form of stalking where a person uses electronic media, such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts or other similar devices or forms of contact.


  • Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

    Sexual or Gender-Based Harassment

    • Sexual Harassment is any unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favors or other unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, whether verbal, non-verbal, graphic, physical or otherwise, when the conditions outlined in (1) and/or (2), below, are present.
    • Gender-Based Harassment includes harassment based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, which may include acts of aggression, intimidation or hostility, whether verbal or non-verbal, graphic, physical or otherwise, even if the acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, when the conditions outlined in (1) and/or (2), below, are present.
      1. Submission to or rejection of such conduct is made, either explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a person’s employment, academic standing or participation in any College programs and/or activities or is used as the basis for College decisions affecting the individual (often referred to as “quid pro quo” harassment)
      2. Such conduct creates a hostile environment. A “hostile environment” exists when the conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive that it unreasonably interferes with, limits or deprives an individual from participating in or benefitting from the College’s education or employment programs and/or activities. Conduct must be deemed severe, persistent or pervasive from both a subjective and an objective perspective. In evaluating whether a hostile environment exists, the College will consider the totality of known circumstances, including, but not limited to:
        • The frequency, nature and severity of the conduct
        • Whether the conduct was physically threatening
        • The effect of the conduct on the complainant’s mental or emotional state
        • Whether the conduct was directed at more than one person
        • Whether the conduct arose in the context of other discriminatory conduct
        • Whether the conduct unreasonably interfered with the complainant’s educational or work performance and/or College programs or activities
        • Whether the conduct implicates concerns related to academic freedom or protected speech


    A hostile environment can be created by persistent or pervasive conduct or by a single or isolated incident, if sufficiently severe. The more severe the conduct, the less need there is to show a repetitive series of incidents to prove a hostile environment, particularly if the conduct is physical. A single incident of Sexual Assault, for example, may be sufficiently severe to constitute a hostile environment. In contrast, the perceived offensiveness of a single verbal or written expression, standing alone, is typically not sufficient to constitute a hostile environment.

    Examples of behavior that may constitute sexual gender-based harassment, if sufficiently severe, persistent or pervasive, include the following:

    • Calling someone by a sexually-oriented or demeaning name
    • Giving someone unwanted gifts of a sexual nature
    • Displaying sexually-suggestive materials or sending notes, email, or jokes to a person that are sexually explicit
    • Touching someone sexually without their consent
    • Massaging someone without permission
    • Brushing up against someone repeatedly
    • Continuing to ask out a person who already has said he or she is not interested
    • Exposing your private parts to another person


  • Retaliation

    Retaliation

    • Any adverse action taken against a person for making a good faith report of prohibited conduct or participating in any proceeding under this policy.
    • Includes threatening, intimidating, harassing, coercing or any other conduct that would discourage a reasonable person from engaging in activity protected under this policy.
    • May be present even where there is a finding of “no responsibility” on the allegations of prohibited conduct.
    • Does not include good faith actions lawfully pursued in response to a report of prohibited conduct.

    The College prohibits any form of retaliation. Saint Vincent will take steps to prevent it and will also take strong responsive actions if retaliation occurs. No faculty, administrator or staff, applicant for employment, student or member of the public may be subject to restraint, interference, coercion or any other form of retaliation for, in good faith, seeking advice concerning a prohibited conduct matter, filing a prohibited conduct report or complaint, or participating as a witness in the investigation of a complaint.

    NOTE: Adverse actions do not include petty slights and annoyances, such as stray negative comments in an otherwise positive or neutral evaluation, “snubbing” a colleague, not talking to a student or negative comments that are justified by a student or employee’s poor academic or work performance or history.

Reportingreporting
  • Why should I report?

    Choosing to make a report and deciding how to proceed after making the report can be a process that unfolds over time. Some members of the community are required to report any suspected or known instance of prohibited conduct. Even in such cases, the College will – to the extent possible – respect an individual’s autonomy in making these important decisions and provide support that will assist each individual in determining the best next steps.

    Saint Vincent has a number of resources available to those who have experienced prohibited conduct. Getting information about the policies, procedures, and your rights and options can help you to make an informed decision about reporting.

  • How do I make a report?
    • Contact the Title IX coordinator, Eileen K. Flinn, Esq. Her office is located on the Second Floor, Alfred Hall. Office hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday) and by appointment. The Title IX coordinator is also available by phone at 724-805-2897 during office hours, or 724-672-0033 outside of office hours.
    • Email the Title IX coordinator at titleix@stvincent.edu.
    • Make a report by submitting a Personal or Third-Party Title IX report:
      • Personal - those who have experienced sexual misconduct; can be anonymous
      • Third-Party - those who have observed, learned of or been informed of sexual misconduct.

      Students can even report anonymously. Please note: faculty, staff, coaches and other Saint Vincent employees are considered responsible employees under the law and cannot make anonymous reports to the Title IX Coordinator.

    • Victims of sexual violence are encouraged to file a criminal complaint with the Pennsylvania State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police can generally be on the scene responding to an emergency situation at the College within 15 minutes. To contact the Pennsylvania State Police, dial 911 or 724-832-3288 (Greensburg Barracks).
  • How long do I have to make a report?
    • Saint Vincent does not limit the timeframe for filing a report. Nevertheless, the College encourages filing as soon as reasonably possible following a violation, because the ability to gather adequate information may be limited where a significant length of time has elapsed between an incident and the filing of a report. 
    • Your information will be kept private and only shared with those who “need to know.” In some cases, this will include law enforcement, but the decision on whether to contact law enforcement remains with you. Saint Vincent, if requested, will assist you in contacting law enforcement.
    • You do not have to make any decisions immediately, but if there is any chance you might pursue a criminal investigation, it is important to preserve evidence. In cases of sexual assault: Please do not shower, but do not stress if you have. If you do remove items of clothing, place them in a paper (not plastic) bag. If oral contact took place, try not to smoke, eat, drink or brush your teeth.
    • Consider seeing a health care provider who will be able to check you for injuries, talk to you about possible pregnancy concerns and/or sexually transmitted infections and collect evidence by completing a Forensic Rape Exam (FRE). Forensic rape exams can be collected anonymously – meaning you do not have to report the assault to the police right away (or at all if you choose not to do so). FREs can be collected up to nine (9) days after an assault, even if someone has bathed or showered, and can be collected at most hospitals. The closest hospital to Saint Vincent that can collect a FRE is Excela Latrobe Hospital.
    • An exam can be billed directly to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, free of charge to you and it will not appear on your personal health insurance. In addition, advocates from the Blackburn Center are available 24/7 to meet you at any hospital in Westmoreland County.  The Blackburn Center can provide you with information on your options and provide support throughout the process. Advocates can be sought by calling the Blackburn Center any time, day or night at 1-888-832-2272. This is a 24- hour, 7-days-a-week number answered by trained staff and volunteers, ready to provide free and confidential support. Information relayed to an advocate is confidential and not reported to Saint Vincent or law enforcement.
    • Again, deciding on whether to report to law enforcement is your decision.  Please keep in mind, that you are limited as to when you can make such a report.  Victims of sexual assault over the age of 18 have 12 years to report sexual assault in Pennsylvania. Victims under the age of 18 who were born before August 27, 2002 have 12 years after their 18th birthday to file criminal charges. Sexual assault victims under the age of 18 who were born after August 27, 2002 have 32 years after their 18th birthday to file criminal charges.
  • What happens once a report is made?
    Flow Chart for Filing a Report Title IX
  • What is the difference between a report and a complaint?

    One common misconception about the reporting process is that making a report will automatically lead to disciplinary action or notification to law enforcement. Saint Vincent will not call the law enforcement upon receiving a report.  With one notable exception, the decision to report to the police rests with the person who experienced the misconduct. Saint Vincent must and will contact the proper authorities in all cases involving minors (those under the age of eighteen) as required under Pennsylvania law.

    While a report to the College can become a formal complaint – initiated either by the complainant or the College – not every report becomes a complaint.

    Making a Report: Making a report is the act of notifying the Title IX coordinator of an incident of prohibited conduct. A report may be accompanied by a request for resources, no further action, remedies-based resolution and/or to initiate a formal complaint process by filing a complaint.

    Filing a Complaint: Filing a complaint is making a request to initiate the College’s formal disciplinary process. A report may become a formal complaint, either initiated by the complainant or the College, depending on the outcome of the initial inquiry and assessment of the report, coupled with the complainant’s wishes.

  • Why don't people report?

    There are many reasons why students do not report experiencing prohibited conduct.  The most common reasons given are: (1) not having proof that the incident occurred, (2) fear of retaliation by the perpetrator, (3) fear of hostile treatment by the authorities, (4) uncertainty that the authorities would consider the incident serious enough, (5) not knowing how to report the incident, and (6) the desire to prevent family and friends from learning about the incident.

    In addition, a primary reason students do not report an incident rests with the fear of being punished for violating the school’s policies on drug and alcohol use. Saint Vincent provides amnesty in such cases.

    • Alcohol and other drugs amnesty is intended to encourage students to seek assistance for themselves or someone else by reducing fear of facing disciplinary action for violating the College’s policy on alcohol and other drugs. It is an attempt to remove barriers that prevent students from seeking the medical attention or other assistance that they need when prohibited conduct has occurred.
    • The College does not have the authority to grant amnesty for criminal, civil or legal consequences for violations of federal, state or local laws. However, the health and safety of the College community is a primary concern and this policy may provide amnesty for students from violations of the College’s policy on alcohol and other drug use.


    The Title IX Coordinator may grant immunity (or substantial mitigation of sanctions) to any person subjected to prohibited conduct, respondents to a complaint of prohibited conduct, third-party reporter of prohibited conduct, or any necessary witness regarding any matter of prohibited conduct,  from College sanctions arising from violations of the policy on alcohol and other drugs use to the extent that such individual provides information in good faith regarding an investigation of  prohibited conduct under this policy.

Employee Responsibilitiesemployee-responsibilities

All faculty and staff are either designated as Confidential Employees, Responsible Employees or Confidential Support Persons for purposes of Title IX.

All incidents involving a minor (under the age of 18) must be reported in accordance with Pennsylvania’s mandated reporter laws. There are no exceptions to this requirement.

  • Confidential Employees
    Confidential Employees –
    • Professional, licensed counselors and staff under their direct supervision
    • Pastoral counselors
    • Professional, licensed medical professionals and staff under their direct supervision
    • Any other staff in roles that have been granted confidential privilege under the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

    What needs to be reported by Confidential Employees: Nothing

  • Responsible Employees
    Responsible Employees –
    • ALL Saint Vincent faculty, including adjunct professors
    • ALL deans and department chairs
    • ALL coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and graduate assistant coaches
    • ALL Residence Life staff, including student prefects
    • ALL Saint Vincent employees who supervise or work with students employed by offices at Saint Vincent.

    What needs to be reported: All information the Responsible Employee has learned about the incident, including identifying (name, location of incident, date of incident, type of prohibited conduct, etc…)

  • Confidential Support Persons

    Confidential Support Persons –

    • This is a small group (four) of Saint Vincent employees who serve as a resource for individuals not yet ready to report an incident involving prohibited conduct who also need someone to talk to about the incident.  Confidential Support Persons have flexibility about what they need to report to the Title IX Coordinator.

    What needs to be reported: Information regarding the incident, including the date, location and type of prohibited conduct, but not any personally identifying information (name, class year or any information that could easily lead the Title IX coordinator to determine the identity of the person), unless explicit written permission is given to report identifying information to the Title IX coordinator.

    John Bell
    Director, Carey Fitness Center
    Strength & Conditioning Coach
    Alcuin Hall, Basement
    724-805-2666
    john.bell@stvincent.edu
    Barbara A. Joyce
    Administrator, Human Resources Benefits
    Office of Human Resources
    1st Floor Alfred Hall
    724-805-2267
    barb.joyce@stvincent.edu
    Jody Marsh
    Coordinator of Office and Service
    Campus Ministry, Carey Center
    724-805-2350
    jody.marsh@stvincent.edu
    Kim Woodley
    Assistant Director/Career Consultant
    Career Center, Carey Center
    724-805-2070
    kimberly.woodley@stvincent.edu
Confidentialityconfidentiality

Privacy, Confidentiality & Anonymity

The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report under Title IX. Saint Vincent will make reasonable efforts to protect the privacy of participants, in accordance with applicable state and federal laws, while balancing the need to gather information to assess the report and to take steps to eliminate prohibited conduct, prevent its recurrence and remedy its effects.

  • Privacy
    • Information related to a report of prohibited conduct will be shared with a limited circle of College employees who “need to know” in order to assist in the assessment, investigation and resolution of the report.
    • Any accommodations or protective measures provided to the complainant will remain private to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the College’s ability to provide the accommodations or protective measures.
    • Student education records will be protected in accordance with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”). All documentation related to a student’s report, investigation and resolution are protected by FERPA and will not be released, except as required by law.
    • Non-identifying information about a report may be shared with the Office of Public Safety or a designee to comply with the Clery Act.
    • No information will be reported to or shared with law enforcement or to parents without the student’s explicit written permission, and even when such written permission is given, no information can be shared with parents without the student being present.
    • Saint Vincent College does not publish identifying information regarding the parties involved in a report in the College’s Daily Crime Log or online. 
  • Confidentiality

    Confidentiality exists in the context of laws that protect certain relationships, including with medical and clinical care providers (and those who provide administrative services related to the provision of medical and clinical care), mental health providers, counselors and ordained clergy, all of whom may engage in confidential communications under Pennsylvania law.

    At Saint Vincent College, information shared with and reported to confidential employees is not required to be reported to the Title IX coordinator. Confidential employees should encourage individuals to report incidents of prohibited conduct to the Title IX coordinator and offer to assist with such reporting.

    Information shared with, reported to or learned by Saint Vincent employees designated as Responsible Employees about incidents of prohibited conduct MUST be reported to the Title IX coordinator and cannot be kept completely confidential between the employee and the person making the disclosure.

  • Anonymity
    • There is a small group (four) of Saint Vincent employees who serve as a resource for individuals not yet ready to report an incident involving prohibited conduct who also need someone to talk to about the incident.  Confidential Support Persons have flexibility about what they need to report to the Title IX Coordinator, and can provide a greater level of anonymity to an individual.
    • A Confidential Support Person only needs to report to the Title IX Coordinator that information regarding the incident, including the date, location and type of prohibited conduct, but not any personally identifying information.
    • Once a report has been made to the Title IX Coordinator, and it does not involve a report by a Confidential Support Person, the complainant may make a request to remain anonymous. Where the complainant requests that his or her identity not be shared with the respondent or that the College not pursue an investigation, the College must balance this request with the College’s responsibility to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all College community members.
    • The College, through the Title IX coordinator, will take all reasonable steps to investigate and respond to the report consistent with the request not to share identifying information or pursue an investigation, but its ability to do so may be limited by the request.
    • All requests for complete anonymity will take into account:
      • The seriousness of the conduct;
      • The respective ages and roles of the complainant and respondent;
      • Whether there have been other reports of prohibited conduct involving the respondent;
      • Whether the circumstances suggest there is a risk of the respondent committing additional acts of prohibited conduct;
      • Whether the respondent has a history of arrests or records indicating a history of violence;
      • Whether the report indicates the respondent threatened further sexual violence or other violence against the complainant and other individuals involved;
      • Whether the reported conduct was committed by multiple individuals;
      • Whether the circumstances suggest there is risk of future acts of prohibited conduct under similar circumstances;
      • Whether the reported conduct was perpetrated with a weapon;
      • Whether the College possesses other means to obtain relevant evidence (e.g., security cameras or personnel, physical evidence); and,
      • The respondent’s right to receive information if such information is maintained in an “education record” under FERPA. 
  • Responsibilities relating to privacy and confidentiality 

    All College officials involved in the investigation process will take reasonable steps to protect the privacy of all involved. Once a complaint is filed, the complainant, third-party reporter, the respondent, personal advisors, and any witnesses will be notified of the potential for compromising the integrity of the investigation by disclosing information about the case and the importance of keeping confidential any information or documents that they receive or review. They also will be notified that sharing such information could be construed as retaliatory. Retaliation of any kind is a separate violation of this Policy and may have strong punitive consequences.

    The parties remain free to share their own experiences, but in order to avoid the possibility of compromising an investigation, it is generally advisable to limit the number of people in whom they confide. If it is determined that anyone involved in a report or complaint either as a complainant, respondent or witness, colluded or shared information with another, consequences may be imposed by Saint Vincent.  Such consequences may include suspension or dismissal from Saint Vincent, being barred from residing on campus, or being prohibited from participating in extracurricular activities, including varsity athletics.

What Is Consent?what-is-content

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. There are many ways to give consent.  Consent may be withdrawn at any time. An individual who seeks to withdraw consent must communicate, through clear words or actions, a decision to cease the sexual activity. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must cease immediately.

  • Clear, Coherent, Willing and Ongoing
    Consent - Title IX
  • Physical Violence

    Consent cannot be given by the use of physical violence.  This means that a person is exerting control over another person through the use of physical force. Examples of physical violence include hitting, punching, slapping, kicking, restraining, choking, and brandishing or using any weapon. 

  • Threats

    Consent cannot be granted by the use of threats.  Threats are words or actions that would compel a reasonable person to engage in unwanted sexual activities.  Examples include threats to harm a person physically, to reveal private information to harm a person’s reputation, or to cause a person academic or economic harm.

  • Intimidation

    Consent cannot be obtained through intimidation.  Intimidation is an implied threat that menaces or causes reasonable fear in another person. A person’s size, alone, does not constitute intimidation; however, a person’s size may be used in a way that constitutes intimidation (e.g., blocking access to an exit.)

  • Coercion

    Consent cannot be acquired through coercion.  Coercion is the use of an unreasonable amount of pressure to gain sexual access.  Coercion is more than an effort to persuade, entice, or attract another person to have sex.  When a person makes a clear decision not to participate in a particular form of sexual contact or sexual intercourse, a decision to stop, or a decision not to go beyond a certain sexual interaction, continued pressure can be coercive. 

  • Incapacitation

    Consent cannot be gained by taking advantage of the incapacitation of another. Incapacitation means that a person lacks the ability to make informed, rational judgments about whether or not to engage in sexual activity.

    A person who is incapacitated is unable, temporarily or permanently, to give consent because of mental or physical helplessness, sleep, unconsciousness or lack of awareness that sexual activity is taking place.  A person may be incapacitated as a result of the consumption of alcohol or other drugs, or due to a temporary or permanent physical or mental health condition.

    Incapacitation is a state beyond drunkenness or intoxication. A person is not necessarily incapacitated merely as a result of drinking or using drugs. The impact of alcohol and other drugs varies from person to person. 

  • Examples

    Examples of behavior that may constitute sexual assault due to lack of consent include:

    • Engaging in sexual activity with an unconscious or semi-conscious person;
    • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is asleep or passed out;
    • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who has said “no”;
    • Engaging in sexual activity with someone who is vomiting, unable to stand without assistance, or has to be carried to bed;
    • Allowing another person to engage in sexual activity with your partner without his or her consent;
    • Requiring any person to perform any sexual activity as a condition of acceptance into a club, athletic program or any other organization affiliated with the College;
    • Telling someone you will “out” them if they don’t engage in sexual activity (e.g., threatening to disclose the person’s sexual orientation without their consent);
    • Telling someone you will fail them or give them a grade different from what they deserve if they don’t agree to engage in sexual activity; or
    • Facilitating or assisting in a sexual assault including purchasing or providing alcohol or drugs to further a sexual assault.