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Sexual Misconduct And 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, and its current regulations, which were most recently promulgated by the United States Department of Education on May 6, 2020, with an effective date of August 14, 2020.

In addition Title IX, other laws – notably the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (“Clery”), the Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”); the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (“Campus SaVE”); Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”); and Pennsylvania Act 16 of 2019 (“Act 16”) – place responsibilities and requirements upon Saint Vincent relating to its efforts in responding to, reporting, preventing and educating  Saint Vincent students, faculty and staff concerning sexual harassment and sexual misconduct (“Prohibited Conduct”). Prohibited Conduct includes two classifications -- Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Title IX Prohibited Conduct,

The College’s Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy sets forth the College’s commitment to:

  • Identifying the forms of Prohibited Conduct;
  • Outlining the College’s response  and procedures for reports of to Prohibited Conduct;
  • Delivering prevention and awareness programs and ongoing training and education campaigns to students, faculty and staff;
  • Engaging in investigative inquiry, grievance processes and resolution of reports and complaints that are adequate, reliable, impartial, prompt, fair, and equitable;
  • Supporting complainants and respondents and holding persons accountable for established violations of this policy; and
  • Providing a written explanation of the rights and options available to every student or employee who are parties to a report or complaint of Prohibited Conduct, regardless of when or where the conduct occurred.

In addition, this policy:

  • Delineates the College’s responsibilities and actions with regards to reports of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct that are covered under state and federal law;
  • Identifies the College’s designated Title IX Coordinator and describes the Coordinator’s role in compliance with Title IX, the Clery Act and VAWA, and Act 16.
  • Identifies how students and employees can report Prohibited Conduct to the College confidentially and what resources are available both on and off campus to aid them, including employees’ and students’ rights to notify local law enforcement and their right also to decline to notify such authorities.
  • Provides information about how reports are assessed, investigated, and resolved.
  • Provides the College with a means to take all reasonable steps to identify Prohibited Conduct, prevent recurrence, and to remedy its effects.

Tools

Making a Report

If you are ready to file a complaint, you have three options: filing a criminal complaint, or filing either an informal or formal complaint through the College. The steps and contact persons for each are explained on the tabs below.
  • Filing a Criminal Report

    Victims of sexual violence are highly encouraged to file a criminal complaint with the Pennsylvania State Police. The College will fully cooperate with any criminal investigation. The nearest Pennsylvania State Police Barracks is located in Greensburg, PA. 

    Pennsylvania State Police, Greensburg Barracks 
    100 N. Westmoreland Ave. 
    Greensburg, PA 15601 
    724-832-3288 

  • Informal Mediation

    Information and Resolution Options
    College students, faculty, staff, and other third parties who believe they have been a victim of sexual misconduct are strongly encouraged to report incidents of Sexual Misconduct to the College. The options and procedures for redressing incidents of Sexual Misconduct are described in this section. 

    Legal Counsel
    Legal counsel may be present at any point during the formal investigation or informal mediation for either party. Such counsel may privately consult with and advise the parties during the proceeding but may not examine witnesses or otherwise directly participate on behalf of either party.

    Personal Advisors 
    At any point during the formal investigation or informal mediation, all parties involved may have a Personal Advisor present to support them during the process. Personal Advisors may privately consult with their parties during the proceedings, but Personal Advisors may not directly participate on behalf of either party in any way whatsoever. A Personal Advisor must be a full time employee of the College who is not related to anyone involved in the matter or have any other involvement in the formal investigation or the informal mediation. 

    Intake Meeting 
    Upon receipt of a complaint of sexual misconduct, the Title IX Coordinator will arrange to meet with the complainant as soon as possible and no later than within 5 days. For compelling reasons, this meeting may be delayed for a period that should not exceed 5 additional days. At this meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will explain this Policy and explain the processes available to the complainant. The Title IX Coordinator will also identify forms of support or immediate interim measures available to the complainant. The intake meeting may also involve a discussion of any interim measures that may be appropriate concerning the complainant’s academic, College housing, College employment arrangements, and any other matter that the Title IX Coordinator considers appropriate to discuss at that time. 

    Determining How to Proceed 
    At the initial intake meeting, the Title IX Coordinator will seek to determine how the complainant wishes to proceed, i.e., whether the complainant wishes to pursue a formal hearing, informal mediation, or does not wish to pursue anything at all. 

    Informal Mediation 
    If the complainant desires to pursue informal mediation to resolve his/her complaint, the Title IX Coordinator must certify that informal mediation is appropriate for resolution of the complaint at issue. Mediation is never appropriate for resolution of cases involving alleged Sexual Assault. To determine whether informal mediation is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator shall take the totality of circumstances into account, including but not limited to:

    1. The nature and severity of the conduct; 
    2. The possibility of mediation resolving the complaint; 
    3. Whether informal mediation would satisfy the College’s Title IX obligations in the case at hand.

    If the Title IX Coordinator determines that mediation is appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will promptly assign an appropriately trained mediator, notify the accused, and implement informal procedures within five working days, absent any unusual circumstances. Mediation should encourage each person to be honest, direct, and respectful, and to accept personal responsibility where appropriate. Both parties must consent to mediation. The Title IX Coordinator or any other appropriately trained employee may serve as the mediator. A matter will be deemed satisfactorily resolved when both parties expressly agree in writing to an outcome that is also acceptable to the Title IX Coordinator.

    When the allegations, if true, might constitute criminal conduct, the party against whom they are brought is hereby advised to seek legal counsel before making any written or oral statements. Those facing allegations may wish to obtain legal advice about how this process could affect any criminal case in which they are or may become involved.

    At any stage during the mediation process, the complainant may terminate the mediation and elect to begin formal complaint procedures. Further, at any point during the mediation, if the mediator suspects that mediation is no longer appropriate, the mediator will confer with the Title IX Coordinator on this matter. The Title IX Coordinator will then determine whether mediation is still appropriate and instruct the relevant parties accordingly. A finding of inappropriateness must be made, for example, in the event that the mediation exposes an occurrence of sexual assault with respect to the parties engaged in the mediation.

    Ordinarily, the informal resolution process will be concluded within four weeks of the date of the request for mediation.

    Because entry into mediation and into a Mediation Agreement is voluntary, neither party shall have the right to appeal the terms of a Mediation Agreement absent a showing of duress or undue influence caused by any person, even a person not involved in the mediation. The Title IX Coordinator shall have sole discretion to determine whether a proper showing of duress or undue influence has been made. If the Title IX Coordinator makes a finding of duress or undue influence, then formal procedures will be initiated. 

  • Formal Complaint Procedures

    Filing a Complaint 
    A victim or a third-party may file a formal complaint alleging a violation of this policy. A complaint of Sexual Misconduct should be filed directly with the Title IX Coordinator. 

    A formal complaint must be in writing and signed and dated. It should state the name of the accused (if known) and describe with reasonable specificity the incident(s) of alleged misconduct, including the date and place of such incident(s). The complaint should include a list of any sources of potential information (e.g., witnesses, correspondence, records, etc.) that the victim or third-party believes may be relevant to the investigation. However, a complaint should not be delayed if such sources of potential information are unknown or unavailable because sources can be discovered in the formal investigation. 

    The College does not limit the timeframe for filing a complaint. Nevertheless, the College encourages complaints to be filed as soon as reasonably possible following a violation, because the College’s ability to gather adequate information may be limited where a significant length of time has elapsed between an incident and the filing of a complaint. 

    Initial Review
    Once a complaint is received by the Title IX Coordinator, the Title IX Coordinator will review the complaint and determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of this Policy. If necessary, the Title IX Coordinator will meet with the complainant or the third-party reporter to gather further information prior to making a determination. 

    This initial review will occur within 5 days. 

    If, after conducting the initial review of a formal complaint, the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegation, if true, would not constitute a violation of this Policy, then the Title IX Coordinator will administratively close the case and notify the complainant (and the reporter, if there is one). If new information subsequently arises, the complainant or reporter of the incident may request reconsideration of the determination that no violation occurred. In cases where the Title IX Coordinator concludes that the alleged conduct, while not a violation of this Policy, might implicate other College policies, the Title IX Coordinator may refer the matter to the appropriate College officials.

    Investigation 
    If the Title IX Coordinator determines that the allegations would constitute a violation of this Policy, then a formal investigation will be initiated. The investigation will take the form of the single-investigator model recommended by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault.

    Once an investigation is initiated, the Title IX Coordinator may enter an interim order directing that no contact shall occur between the Victim and alleged Perpetrator and/or any other order necessary to preserve the integrity of the investigation. 

    The Title IX Coordinator will appoint one or two trained investigators, depending on the severity of the complained of conduct, to investigate the incident(s). The investigators will be chosen from a pool of appropriately trained individuals with specialized knowledge in the area of sexual misconduct.

    The investigators will notify the respondent in writing of the allegations and will provide the respondent with a copy of the Policy and these procedures immediately upon being appointed to investigate the matter. The Respondent will have one week to submit a written response to the allegations to the investigators.

    When the allegations, if true, might constitute criminal conduct, the party against whom they are brought is hereby advised to seek legal counsel before making any written or oral statements. Those facing allegations may wish to obtain legal advice about how this process could affect any criminal case in which they are or may become involved.

    The investigators will request individual interviews with the complainant, the respondent, and other witnesses as appropriate. Such witnesses may include those identified by the parties, those identified by relevant officers of the College, those identified by other witnesses, and any other persons who the investigators consider it proper to interview. The purpose of the interviews is to gather and assess information about the incident(s) at issue in the complaint, not to solicit general information about a party’s character.

    After the collection of additional information is complete but prior to the conclusion of the investigation, the investigators will request individual follow-up interviews with the complainant and respondent to give each the opportunity to respond to the additional information. 

    Investigation Findings and Final Report
    After the complainant and respondent have the opportunity to respond to the additional information, the investigators will make findings of fact, applying a preponderance of the evidence standard (i.e., more likely than not), and determine based on those findings of fact whether a violation of this Policy occurred. 

    The investigators will provide the complainant and respondent with a written draft of the findings of fact and analysis and give both parties one week to submit a written response to the draft. The investigators will consider any written responses before finalizing their factual findings. 

    To the extent that the final report of the investigators concludes that a violation has occurred, the report will not contain any specific recommendation as to sanctions. The report may recommend general remedial steps the College may take to eliminate any harassment, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. The investigation will be completed and the final report provided to the complainant, the respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator within six weeks of receipt of the complaint. 

    If the final report determines that a violation has occurred, the Title IX Coordinator will appoint a Discipline Panel of three persons, chosen from the Title IX Disciplinary Review Board, who will determine the appropriate sanctions. The Review Board shall be constituted by members of the President’s Cabinet, the President’s Council and the president and vice-president of Faculty Council. 

    Upon referral of a matter to the Panel, the Vice President of Student Affairs shall direct that her office prepare a confidential report to the Panel regarding the background of the respondent, any prior incidents of misconduct in which the respondent has been involved, and an assessment of the type of sanctions/remediation that has previously been dispensed for offenses of the nature found in the current case. This report shall also disclose to the Panel the full range of possible penalties, sanctions, and remedial measures which the Panel might consider in its determination. 

    The Panel may, if it wishes, request that each side submit a confidential statement to it regarding the matters of sanctions. 

    The Discipline Panel functions solely to determine the appropriate sanctions/remediation based on the findings made by the investigators. The Panel does not have the authority to overrule the factual determinations of the investigators. 

    The forms of sanctions/remediation may include expulsion, suspension for a determinate or indeterminate length of time, restrictions on contact; course-schedule or work-schedule alteration; changes in housing; leaves of absence; required counseling and/or treatment, and restitution.

    The Discipline Panel will issue a written report detailing the sanctions to be imposed within 10 days after receipt of all required materials. Copies of the report will be delivered to the complainant, respondent, and the Title IX Coordinator. 

    Appeal 
    Both the respondent and the complainant may appeal the decision of the investigators and/or Panel to the President of the College or his designee. Any appeal must be filed within 5 days after:

    • the determination of the Disciplinary Panel is delivered to the party perfecting the appeal in the case where the investigators have determined that a violation has occurred; or, 
    • the date upon which the complainant receives the final report of the investigators determining that no violation has occurred.

    In any event, an appeal may be based only on the following grounds:

    • A violation of the procedures set forth above has occurred which, in the context of the case, may have the effect of changing the outcome; or 
    • The appellant has substantive and relevant new information that was not available at the time of investigation that may change the outcome.

    If the President (or his designee) upholds the appeal on either/both of the above grounds, the matter will be remanded to the investigators and/or Panel to correct the procedural violation and/or consider the new evidence and reinstitute the process as previously outlined. 

    Final Reports
    When issuing final reports to the complainant and the respondent, the College must be mindful of the following Title IX requirements: 

    The College must inform the complainant of the following:

    • Whether the alleged conduct occurred 
    • Any individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant 
    • Any sanctions imposed on the perpetrator that directly relate to the complainant 
    • Other steps the College has taken to eliminate the hostile environment and prevent recurrence.

    The College will not notify the perpetrator of individual remedies offered or provided to the complainant. 

    In addition, Clery requires, and FERPA permits, postsecondary institutions to inform the complainant of the College’s final determination and any disciplinary sanctions imposed on the perpetrator in Sexual Violence cases (as opposed to all Sexual Misconduct covered by Title IX), not just those sanctions that directly relate to the complainant. 

    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, 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 the investigation, it is generally advisable to limit the number of people in whom they confide. 

    Request to Withdraw Complaint 
    While every effort will be made to respect the complainant’s wishes to withdraw a formal complaint, the College must be mindful of its overarching commitment to provide a non-discriminatory environment. Therefore, the Title IX Coordinator may determine that investigation is appropriate despite a complainant’s request to withdraw the complaint. 

    Request for Informal Resolution After a Complaint has Been Filed 
    Once a complaint has been opened for investigation and before the final report has been provided to the parties, the complainant may request informal resolution as an alternative to formal resolution of the complaint, but such informal resolution requires the agreement of the complainant and respondent and the approval of the Title IX Coordinator. 

    If such a request is approved, the timeframes will be stayed, and the investigators or a designee will take such steps as he or she deems appropriate to assist in reaching a resolution. If an informal resolution cannot be reached in two weeks, then formal procedures will resume. 

Submit a Personal Report

  • To Submit a Personal Report

Submit a Third-Party Report

  • To Submit a Third-Party Report

Prohibited Conduct

  • Title IX Sexual Harassment

    Title IX requires the College to respond promptly and reasonably when it has notice of potential sexual harassment in an education program or activity committed against a person in the United States.

    The term “education program or activity” includes:

    • any on-campus premises;
    • any off-campus premises that the College has substantial control over;
    • activity occurring within computer and internet networks, digital platforms, and computer hardware or software owned or operated by, or used in the operations of Saint Vincent’s programs and activities over which the College has substantial control.


    Title IX Sexual Harassment
     is conduct on the basis of sex that satisfies one or more of the following:

    • A Saint Vincent employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Saint Vincent on an individual’s participating in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
    • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity;
    • Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation, as defined in the policy and outlined below.
  • Non-Title IX Prohibited Conduct

    Non-Title IX Prohibited Conduct is conduct that satisfies one or more of the following:

    • A Saint Vincent employee conditions the provision of an aid, benefit, or service of Saint Vincent on an individual’s participating in unwelcome sexual conduct; or
    • Unwelcome conduct determined by a reasonable person to be so severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the College’s education program or activity;
    • Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking, and Retaliation, as defined in the policy and outlined below.
  • Sexual Assault

    Sexual assault is having or attempting to have sexual contact with another individual without consent or where the individual cannot consent because of age or temporary or permanent mental incapacity. Sexual contact includes:

    • sexual intercourse (anal, oral, or vaginal), including penetration with a body part (e.g., penis, finger, hand, or tongue) or an object, or requiring another to penetrate themselves with a body part or an object, however slight; or
    • sexual touching of the private body parts, including, but not limited to, intentional contact with the breasts, buttocks, groin, genitals, or other intimate part of an individual’s body for the purpose of sexual gratification.
    • attempts to commit sexual assault.
    • having or attempting to have sexual contact between persons who are related to each other within the degrees where marriage is prohibited by law.
  • 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 for their own safety or the safety of others or suffer substantial emotional distress. It is irrelevant whether the person at whom the conduct was directed was aware of the conduct, was in fear for their own safety or the safety of others or suffered substantial emotional distress.

    Course of conduct means two or more instances including but not limited to unwelcome acts in which an individual directly, indirectly, or through third parties, by any action, method, device, or means, follows, monitors, observes, surveils, threatens, or communicates to or about a person, or interferes with a person’s property. Substantial emotional distress means significant mental suffering or anguish.

    Stalking includes cyber-stalking, a form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used.

  • Domestic or Dating Violence

    Domestic or Dating Violence includes any act of violence against a Complainant who is or has been involved in a sexual, dating, domestic, or other intimate relationship with the Respondent, or against a person with whom the Respondent has sought to have such a relationship.  Domestic or Dating Violence may also include forms of Prohibited Conduct under this policy, including Sexual Assault, Sexual Exploitation, and Stalking.

    1. Domestic Violence includes any act of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the Complainant, by a person with whom the Complainant shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with, or has cohabitated with, the Complainant as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the Complainant under Pennsylvania law, or by any other person against an adult or minor Complainant who is protected from that person’s acts under Pennsylvania law;
    2. Dating Violence includes any act of violence committed by a person:
      • who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the Complainant; and
      • where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
        1. The length of the relationship;
        2. The type of relationship; and
        3. The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Sexual Exploitation

    Sexual Exploitation is intentionally taking sexual advantage of another person without consent. It may involve use of one’s own or another individual’s nudity or sexuality. Examples of Sexual Exploitation include, but are not limited to:

    1. voyeurism (such as watching or taking pictures, videos, or audio recordings of another person in a state of undress without their consent or of another person engaging in a sexual act without the consent of all parties);
    2. disseminating, streaming, or posting images, pictures or video of another in a state of undress or of a sexual nature without the person’s consent;
    3. knowingly exposing one’s genitals to another person without consent;
    4. prostituting another individual; or
    5. knowingly exposing another individual to a sexually transmitted infection or virus without the other individual’s knowledge and consent.

Reporting

  • 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 Eileen K. Flinn, Esq., the College's designated Title IX coordinator. 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. 
    • Email the Title IX office at titleix@stvincent.edu 
    • Make a report on-line by submitting a Personal or Third-Party report buttons found on the top right hand corner of this page:
      • Personal - those who have experienced sexual misconduct; can be anonymous
      • Third-Party - those who have observed, learned of or been informed of sexual misconduct.

      Reports made through the online system can be made anonymously. Please note: faculty, staff, coaches and other Saint Vincent employees are considered responsible employees under the law and cannot make anonymous reports regarding Prohibited Conduct, except when making a report where they are the person who experienced the Prohibited Conduct.

      The College will respond promptly and equitably to anonymous reports, but the response may be limited if the report does not include sufficient information and/or a description of the facts and circumstances. Anonymous reports that provide enough information to constitute a criminal offense will be reported to the Office of Public Safety for purposes of inclusion in the College’s Annual Security Report.

    • 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).
    • Making a report to Saint Vincent does not require the filing of a formal complaint, nor is the filing of a formal complaint, which involves an investigation and determination of responsibility of a policy violation, required for a Complainant to receive supportive measures or assistance.

    • Disclosures made at public awareness events such as “Take Back the Night,” “Many Voices,” protests, or other forums in which community members disclose experiences with sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and/or relationship and dating and domestic violence, or through participation in academic research studies are not considered to be reportable events or notice to Saint Vincent of Prohibited Conduct and will not trigger the College’s obligation to investigate or take action with respect to such information.

  • 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.
    • Remember, the College's policy is not a replacement or substitution for the criminal justice system, nor is it intended to be. Nothing in the College's policy prevents or prohibits a person from reporting an incident of sexual harassment or sexual misconduct that may also be a crime to law enforcement. The College strongly encourages those who may be the victim of criminal conduct to contact 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.  
    • 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. (Note:  this is the statute of limitations for reports to law enforcement, only.)
  • What is the difference between a making report and filing a formal complaint?

    One common misconception about the reporting process is that making a report will automatically lead to disciplinary action. While a report can become a formal complaint -- initiated either by the complainant or the College -- not every report becomes a formal complaint.

    Making a Report: Making a report is the act of notifying the Saint Vincent of an incident of Prohibited Conduct.  A report may be accompanied by a request for resources, no further action, informal resolution, and/or to initiate a formal complaint process by the filing of a written complaint. An assessment of every report will be made, as well as a determination of how best to proceed, in conjunction with the Complainant.

    Filing a Formal Complaint: Filing a formal complaint is making a request to initiate the College’s formal investigative and grievance processes. 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. Formal complaints must be in writing.

    At the time a report is made, a complainant does not have to decide whether to file a formal complaint. The College recognizes that not every individual will be prepared to file a formal complaint with the College or to law enforcement, and individuals are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action.  Supportive Measures are always available to a Complainant regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed.

  • Why don't people report? Amnesty

    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.

    Amnesty
    A primary reason students do not report an incident is because they are afraid 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 College may grant immunity to any Complainant, Respondents, third-party reporters, 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.

Employee Responsibilities

All faculty and staff (including all Athletic Department coaches, assistant coaches, graduate assistant coaches and volunteer coaches) are either designated as Confidential Employees, Responsible Employees or Confidential Support Persons.

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

    Campus or community professionals with the statutorily granted ability to maintain information as privileged are designated as Confidential Employees. This includes the Benedictine Monks, the health care providers and counselors at the Saint Vincent Wellness Center, and the mental health professionals in the Saint Vincent Wellness Center and any programs that contract with Saint Vincent to provide mental health professional services.  These individuals provide considerable support for those who have been subjected to prohibited conduct and who are not yet ready to officially make a report to the College or, where the conduct may also be criminal, law enforcement. 

    These individuals are not permitted to share any information about Prohibited Conduct disclosed to them unless:

    • given permission to do so by the person who disclosed the information;
    • there is an imminent threat of harm to self or others;
    • the conduct involves suspected abuse of a minor under the age of 18; or
    • as otherwise required or permitted by law or court order.
  • Responsible Employees

    Saint Vincent employees who are not designated as Confidential Employees or Confidential Support Persons are designated as Responsible Employees. As contrasted with the Complainant’s personal decision whether to make a report of Prohibited Conduct, once information is disclosed to a Responsible Employee, the Responsible Employee is required to convey all known details of incidents of Prohibited Conduct involving Students, Faculty and Staff, Third Parties and Invitees to the Title IX Coordinator.

    All prefects, residence hall advisors and directors are also designated as Responsible Employees.

    All Athletic Department staff, including coaches, assistant coaches, graduate assistant coaches and volunteer coaches, as well as the Training staff, are designated as Responsible Employees.

    Before a person reveals any information to a Responsible Employee, the Responsible Employee should ensure that the individual understands the reporting obligations of the Responsible Employee.

  • Confidential Support Persons

    Confidential Support Persons are a small group of Saint Vincent employees who serve as a resource for individuals seeking support and assistance regarding an incident involving Prohibited Conduct who also need someone to talk to about the incident.  Confidential Support Persons cannot provide complete confidentiality, however, they can provide some level of anonymity without revealing any personally identifying information about an incident to the College.

    Because Confidential Support Persons are also Campus Security Authorities under the Clery Act, they are obligated to report the nature, date, time, and general location of an incident (if known) to the College while keeping confidential any information that would directly or indirectly identify the individual or others involved in an incident. 

Confidentiality

The College is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in the investigation and resolution of a report. 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 supportive measure, accommodations or protective measures provided will remain private to the extent that maintaining such confidentiality would not impair the College’s ability to provide the supportive measure, 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.

  • Responsibilities relating to privacy and confidentiality

    The College encourages all parties involved in a report of Prohibited Conduct, whether as a Complainant, Respondent, reporting party or witness to respect the confidential nature of any information provided, obtained and/or learned throughout the matter. 

    This does not mean that the parties are prohibited from discussing or sharing information or documentation with those they deem necessary, such as an advisor, support person, legal representative or someone serving in a similar capacity. The parties should, however, keep in mind the impact discussing the investigation or sharing information about meetings or interviews with those who may be called as witnesses may have.

    If, during the course of this investigation it is determined that anyone involved in the investigation, colluded or shared information with another in a way that subsequently may lead to harassment or conduct that could be construed as retaliatory, Saint Vincent may take disciplinary action to address such conduct.

What Is Consent?

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

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  • 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.

Training

  • Training

    Prevention and Education
    Saint Vincent provides prevention and awareness programs and ongoing training and education information to students and employees so they may identify what behavior constitutes Prohibited Conduct; understand how to report Prohibited Conduct; recognize warning signs of potentially abusive behavior and ways to reduce risks; and learn about safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct against a person other than such individual.

    Specialized Training
    Saint Vincent also provides additional training to those College officials with responsibilities under the Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy, including the Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Title IX Coordinator, investigators, hearing officers, sanction panel members, appeals officers, and any individual who facilitates the informal resolution process.

    Such training covers the definition of Title IX Sexual Harassment and Non-Title IX Prohibited Conduct, the scope of the College’s education program or activity, how to conduct an investigation and grievance process including hearings, appeals, and informal resolution processes under this policy, as applicable, and how to serve impartially, including by avoiding prejudgment of the facts at issue, conflicts of interest, and bias.

    Hearing officers receive training on any technology to be used at a hearing and on issues of relevance of questions and evidence, including questions and evidence about the irrelevancy of complainant’s sexual predisposition or prior sexual behavior. Investigators receive training on issues of relevance to create an investigative report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence. 

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Contact Us

Eileen K. Flinn, Esq.

Title IX Coordinator
Second Floor, Alfred Hall
Phone: 724-805-2897

Stephanie Fago

Assistant Title IX Coordinator
Ground Floor, Alfred Hall
Phone: 724-805-2923

titleix@stvincent.edu