Filing A Title IX Complaint

Filing A Title IX Complaint

The University strongly encourages prompt reporting of sexual offenses to law enforcement but we recognize that people who experience sexual misconduct have the right to decide whether to file a criminal report with the police, a judicial report with the Office of Judicial Affairs (717) 871-5841, or a sexual discrimination/harassment complaint with the Title IX Coordinator (717) 871-4100.  A complainant may also report directly to law enforcement.  If the incident happened on campus, you may contact University Police through an off-campus dispatcher at (717) 664-1180 or through a campus dispatcher at (717) 871-4357. 

Here are a few things to know about filing a report:

  • Anyone can file a report whether they are a victim, witness, or concerned third party.
  • Victims have the option to file both a criminal report with the police and a report with the University at either the Office of Judicial Affairs or the Title IX Coordinator (717) 871-4100.
  • Filing a report does not mean that you have to be involved in a police investigation, go to court, or talk to the perpetrator.
  • A victim or witness who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of a sexual misconduct incident generally will not face disciplinary charges from the University or from the University Police for underage drinking or drug use.
  • Advocacy services to navigate the Title IX process are available through Judicial Affairs.  Victim advocacy services are available through the YWCA 
  • The intentional filing of a false report will not be tolerated. It is a violation of the Student Code of Conduct to make an intentionally false report of any policy violation, and it may also violate state criminal laws and civil defamation laws.

Choose any office with whom you feel most comfortable.

Timeliness

The University's fact-finding investigation may be delayed for a short period of time upon a request from a police investigator or district attorney, but we will promptly investigate the report when it does not interfere with a criminal investigation.  In addition, if a University official has a reasonable belief that a crime has been committed, she or he may be obligated to report that to law enforcement if police have not already been notified.  In cases where a police investigation has been conducted or is being conducted for sexual assaults, MUPD may be able to provide reports to the Offices of Judicial Affairs and/or Title IX Coordinator with the complainant's consent. The University uses good faith efforts to resolve sexual misconduct within 30 days, but depending on the complexity of the case more time may be necessary.  The University will keep a complainant advised as to the status of the case and as is reasonable. Complainants and respondents will be informed of the outcome of the case in writing. 

The University will take interim steps to protect a complainant while the case is pending. Depending on the case and the complainant's wishes, these steps may include class and on-campus housing moves, ordering a respondent to not have contact with you, excluding a respondent from parts of campus, or providing you with an escort to accompany you on campus. Any adjustments made will be designed to minimize the burden on the complainant's educational program and/or workplace conditions.  Some of these actions may also be remedies in those cases resulting in a finding of a policy violation.

Confidentiality

Students who would like to discuss their situations in a private environment, and share or seek information about a sexual misconduct issue without making a formal complaint have a number of options.  At various offices on campus and off campus, students can speak to individuals who have professional or legal obligations to keep communications with the student confidential.  When seeking advice and support, students who are concerned about confidentiality should always discuss that concern with the person to whom they are speaking, and should inquire about any limits on that confidentiality.  In life-threatening situations, confidentiality is not legally possible and University employees will contact emergency personnel immediately.

Generally, under Pennsylvania law, confidentiality applies when a student seeks services from the following persons:

When we become aware of an alleged sexual assault, the University will make every effort to provide confidentiality to you.  In some circumstances, such as a report indicating a repeat offender, the University may have an obligation to proceed with an investigation, regardless of a complainant's wishes, in order to ensure campus safety.  You are not required to participate if you choose not to; however, this may limit the University's ability to respond to the incident.  If you request that your name or other identifying information not be used in an investigation, the University will consider your request in light of the context of its responsibility to provide a safe and nondiscriminatory environment. In most cases, information including your name may be shared with the respondent, witnesses and with University officials who have a legitimate need to know.  Beyond that, the University will take steps to protect your identity and the identity of all individuals involved. 

A complainant may be accompanied by an advisor during any meeting.  The advisor may be an attorney, union steward, judicial advocate, or any support person (including YWCA representative or another student).  In the University's process, the complainant and respondent will not be permitted to directly question each other and are not required to be present together at any point.  Both a complainant and a respondent have the right to identify witnesses and provide other information relevant to the investigation.  The University will decide the case based on a preponderance of the evidence standard (whether or not it is more likely than not that the conduct occurred).

The University will not inform students' parents or guardians of their involvement in a situation involving sexual misconduct unless they are in major medical jeopardy. However, students are strongly encouraged to inform their parents or guardians. University officials will directly inform a student's parents or guardians only when requested to do so by the student.