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.
Prohibited Conductprohibited-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.

     

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 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 Responsibilitiesemployee-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. 

Confidentialityconfidentiality

Privacy and 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?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.

     

Trainingtraining
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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