Frequently Ask Questions- Title IX and Sexual Misconduct

General PolicyReporting InfoSupportive MeasuresRightsInvestigationsDue Process

 

General Policy and Title IX Information

What is Title IX?

Put simply, Title IX prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender (sex), including sexual harassment.  More specifically, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a Federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs and activities that receive Federal funds.  It states: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”

Who is the Title IX Coordinator and what do they do?

Jennifer Raup is Bloomsburg University’s Title IX Coordinator and can be reach via phone or email at 570-389-4808, jraup@bloomu.edu, or titleixcoord@bloomu.edu. The Title IX Coordinator is the university official responsible for ensuring Bloomsburg University complies with Title IX, including responding to and investigating complaints of gender discrimination (including sexual harassment and sexual violence) at Bloomsburg University.

What is the difference between Title IX and Sexual Misconduct?

Title IX refers to Federal Regulations that have specific parameters regarding the definitions of sexual harassment.  Bloomsburg University uses the term sexual misconduct because Bloomsburg University’s policies are broader than what is required under the Federal Regulations.

Does Bloomsburg University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy apply to incidents that occur off campus?

Yes, the policy applies to all on and off campus conduct that is likely to have a substantial adverse effect on any member of the University community. 

What are Bloomsburg University’s obligations when it has notice of a sexual misconduct related event?

In most cases the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to a reporting party or complainant to offer the option to discuss supportive measures, rights, and next steps.  The Title IX Coordinator will make every effort to respect the wishes of the reporting party or complainant.  If a report of misconduct discloses a serious or immediate threat to the campus community, the University will issue a timely warning to the community to protect the health or safety of the community. The timely warning will not include any identifying information about the complainant.

What is the difference between a report and a complaint?

Making a report is different from filing a formal complaint. A report is defined as notification of an incident of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator or designee by any person. A report may be accompanied by a request for (1) Supportive Measures; (2) no further action; (3) filing a Formal Complaint (a request to initiate an informal resolution process); and/or (4) a request to initiate an informal resolution process after filing a Formal Complaint. Filing a Formal Complaint initiates some form of formal action. (See Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process).

What do University employees have to report in relation to Title IX or sexual misconduct?

All University Officials, Volunteers and Employees (including student employees) are obligated to report incidents of sexual misconduct of which they become aware to the Title IX Coordinator/designee, unless: 1) they serve in a role that makes such reports privileged or are recognized as providing a confidential resource (see Statement on Privacy and Confidentiality); or 2) they are a faculty member and learn of the report from a student during a classroom discussion, in a writing assignment for a class, or as part of a University-approved research project.

PLEASE NOTE: These reporting exceptions do not apply to reports of sexual misconduct involving an individual who was, or is, a child (a person under 18 years of age) when the abuse allegedly occurred. When a report involves suspected abuse of a child (an individual under the age of 18 at the time of the incident(s) as reported), all the University Employees, Officials and Volunteers are required to notify the University police and the ChildLine run by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (1-800-932-0313). All other members of the University community are strongly encouraged to report suspected child abuse to law enforcement or the ChildLine.

University Employees designated as Campus Security Authorities (CSAs) under the Clery Act are required to report certain crimes for federal statistical reporting purposes.

What if a complainant was a minor at the time of an assault?

When a report involves suspected abuse of a child (an individual under the age of 18 at the time of the incident(s) as reported), all the University Employees, Officials, and Volunteers are required to notify the University police and the ChildLine run by the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (1-800-932-0313).

 

Reporting Information

How does an individual report a Title IX or sexual misconduct incident?

Individuals may make a report: online; email the Title IX Coordinator; set up a meeting with the Title IX Coordinator; contact or meet with a staff person in the Office of the Dean of Students or in the Women’s Resource Center. Individuals may also always report or contact the police.

Title IX Coordinator, Jennifer Raup

Elwell Hall, Office of Residence Life

570-389-4808, jraup@bloomu.edu or titleixcoord@bloomu.edu

The Office of the Dean of Students

Kehr Union Building, Room 101; 570-389-4734

The Women’s Resource Center

Schuylkill Hall; 570-389-5283

Online: https://intranet.bloomu.edu/Title_IX

Individuals may also file a report electronically by email to jraup@bloomu.edu or titleixcoord@bloomu.edu.

Is there a time limit for reporting?

No, there is no time limit for reporting allegations of sexual misconduct, however, the University strongly encourages the prompt reporting of sexual misconduct to allow the University to respond promptly and effectively.  

Can a third party, such as a friend, file a report?

Yes, a third party may file a report. The Title IX Coordinator will then attempt to reach out to the complainant to offer supportive measures, discuss rights, and review options. 

Can I file criminal charges as well  as file a report at the University?

Yes, a complainant may also seek to initiate a criminal complaint, independent of or parallel with any report made to the University.

Is there a way to file an anonymous report?

You may also file a report about sexual misconduct using the appropriate links below.  While anonymous reports are accepted, the University’s ability to address misconduct reported anonymously is significantly limited.

Individuals may use the link below to electronically file a report of sexual misconduct with the University. 

https://bloomu.guardianconduct.com/incident-reporting?incident_type=Title%20IX%20Conduct [bloomu.guardianconduct.com].  Individuals may also file a report electronically by email to jraup@bloomu.edu or titleixcoord@bloomu.edu.

Can my report be confidential?

The University is committed to protecting the privacy of all individuals involved in a report of sexual misconduct. Every effort will be made to protect the privacy interests of all individuals involved.  Privacy, confidentiality and privilege have distinct meanings under this Policy.

Privacy generally means that information related to a report of sexual misconduct will only be shared with a limited circle of individuals, including individuals who “need to know” in order to assist in the review, investigation, or resolution of the report or to deliver resources or support services.  While not bound by confidentiality or privilege, these individuals will be discreet and respect the privacy of all individuals involved in the process.

Certain individuals are designated as having confidentiality.  For full confidentiality a Title IX or sexual misconduct incident should be discussed with a Counselor in the Counseling Center or an individual of the clergy. 

What happens after a report is filed? 

When the Title IX Office receives a report, typically, the Title IX Coordinator will reach out to the complainant to conduct an intake to determine next steps or supportive measures.  The goal is for the complainant to decide what resources, support, or process they would like to utilize.  In most sexual misconduct cases, some form of power had been taken away from a complainant; Bloomsburg University is committed to giving power back and in most cases will not take any action without the consent of the complainant. 

I had an uncomfortable sexual experience and I am confused about what I experienced and I’m not sure I want to make a complaint.  What should I do?

If you are not sure about how to describe your experience, you can still speak with the Title IX Coordinator.  The Title IX Coordinator will talk about options, resources, and rights.  Or the Title IX Coordinator can simply help connect you to counseling.  No matter what, the Title IX Coordinator wants to help you and respect your wishes for next steps.  Do not ever hesitate to reach out for help!

What if I was drinking when I was assaulted (and I’m underage)?

The University recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs (whether such use is voluntary or involuntary) at the time a  sexual misconduct occurs may be hesitant to report such incidents due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct.  The University strongly encourages students to report incidents of sexual misconduct.  A witness to or individual who experiences sexual misconduct, acting in good faith, who discloses any incident of sexual misconduct to University officials or law enforcement will not be sanctioned under the University’s Student Code of Conduct for violations of alcohol and/or drug use policies occurring at or near the time of the incident(s) of sexual misconduct.  The University may require the individual attend an approved alcohol or drug education program, without assessing any charges for such program. Amnesty does not preclude or prevent action by police or other legal authorities pursuant to relevant state or federal criminal statutes.

 

Supportive Measures

What are supportive measures? 

Supportive measures are non-disciplinary and non-punitive individualized services designed to restore or preserve access to the University’s education programs or activities without unduly burdening the other party.  Supportive measures will be offered, as appropriate, to the complainant or the respondent, regardless of whether a formal complaint is filed.  Supportive measures may include, but are not limited to, counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, restrictions on contact between the parties (no contact orders), changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, and increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus.

Who qualifies for Supportive Measures?

A complainant and respondent involved in a case both have equal access and opportunity to supportive measures.

Do I have to file an official complaint or have a formal hearing in order to ask for Supportive Measures?

No, a formal or official complaint does not need to be filed in order to receive supportive measures.  Supportive measures are offered to any party that has been affected by sexual misconduct; regardless of whether they chose to file a complaint.

 

Rights

What rights do I have if I am a respondent?

The rights of a respondent and complainant are the same.  Both parties have a right to supportive measures, an expeditious process, and a right to due process.  Rights in due process include: notice of process, notice of allegations, and the right to an advisor.  In addition, and more specifically, a respondent has the right to be presumed not responsible for the alleged conduct and that a determination regarding responsibility is made at the conclusion of the hearing.

Below is a detailed list of rights:

Withdraw a Complaint: Prior to the conclusion of a sexual misconduct investigation, the Complainant may request to withdraw the Formal Complaint by contacting the Title IX Coordinator/designee in writing.  The Title IX Coordinator/designee will determine whether to close the case or conclude the investigation without the Complainant’s continued participation.

Law Enforcement: An individual also has the right to report sexual misconduct to law enforcement, separate and apart from any report or Formal Complaint made to the University. 

- Victims and witnesses of sexual misconduct have the right to be assisted by the University in notifying law enforcement authorities of sexual misconduct or they can decline to notify such authorities. 

- At the time a report is made, the reporting party does not have to decide whether to file a Formal Complaint or make a report of sexual misconduct to law enforcement.

- Parties may also have options to file civil actions in court or with administrative agencies.

Judicious Process: Each Party who is charged with a violation of this Policy where jurisdiction is appropriate has a right to a hearing and for an Advisor to cross-examine Parties and Witnesses.

-Witnesses and Parties cannot be compelled to participate in the hearing, and have the right not to participate in the hearing free from retaliation.

Supportive Measures: An affected party has the right to request Supportive Measures from the University, which may include interim contact restrictions.

 Medical Attention: The reporting party has the right to seek medical treatment to address physical and mental health and to preserve evidence.

 

Investigations

Who conducts an investigation

The Title IX Coordinator and/or an Investigator designated by the Title IX Coordinator, will perform an investigation of the conduct alleged under a reasonably prompt timeframe, following issuance of the Notice of Allegations.

Bloomsburg University and not the Parties, has the burden of proof and the burden of gathering evidence, i.e., the responsibility of showing a violation of this Policy has occurred.  Either party may decide not to share their account of what occurred or may decide not to participate in an investigation or hearing.  This does not shift the burden of proof away from the University and does not indicate responsibility.

What happens upon the conclusion of the investigation?

The Investigator will create an Investigative Report that fairly summarizes relevant evidence.  The Investigative Report is not intended to catalog all evidence obtained by the Investigator, but only to provide a fair summary of that evidence.  Only relevant evidence (including both inculpatory and exculpatory – i.e., tending to prove and disprove the allegations - relevant evidence) will be referenced in the Investigative Report.  Evidence obtained in the investigation that is determined in the reasoned judgment of the Investigator not to be directly related to the allegations in the Formal Complaint will be included in the appendices to the investigative report.

What information will a complainant and respondent receive in relation to the investigation?

Prior to the completion of the investigation, the parties will have an equal opportunity to inspect and review the evidence obtained through the investigation.  The purpose of the inspection and review process is to allow each party the equal opportunity to meaningfully respond to the evidence prior to issuance of the investigation report.

Evidence that will be available for inspection and review by the parties will be any evidence that is directly related to the allegations raised in the Formal Complaint.  It will include any:

  1. Evidence that is relevant, even if that evidence does not end up being relied upon by the Decision Maker(s) in making a determination regarding responsibility;
  2. inculpatory or exculpatory evidence (i.e., evidence that tends to prove or disprove the allegations) that is directly related to the allegations, whether obtained from a Party or other source.

The University will send the evidence to each Party and each Party’s Advisor, if any, to inspect and review.  The University is not under an obligation to use any specific process or technology to provide the evidence and shall have the sole discretion in terms of determining format and any restrictions or limitations on access.

The Parties will have 10 days to inspect and review the evidence and submit a written response by email to the Investigator.  This response should include any new or additional evidence the Party would like the Investigator to consider.  The University will provide copies of the Parties’ written responses, and any new or additional evidence provided, to the other Party and their Advisor.  The other Party will have 5 days to inspect, review, and respond to the new or additional evidence through a written response to the Investigator.  The University will provide copies of the Party’s supplemental written response to the other Party and their Advisor.

The Investigator will consider the parties’ written responses before completing the Investigative Report. Parties may request a reasonable extension of the time to submit a written response, which may be denied in the sole discretion of the Investigator, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator.

The Investigator has 10 days to generate a report after the responses to additional evidence are due or, alternatively, may provide the Parties and their Advisors with written notice extending the investigation and explaining the reason for the extension.

Who else will have access to the investigation report?

The parties, advisors, and board members of a formal hearing will have access to the investigation report.  The parties and their Advisors are encouraged not to disseminate the Investigative Report or photograph or otherwise copy any of the evidence subject to inspection and review or use such evidence for any purpose unrelated to the Sexual Misconduct Resolution Process.

Can an investigation include medical information?

Bloomsburg University cannot access, consider, or disclose medical records without a waiver from the party (or parent, if applicable) to whom the records belong or of whom the records include information.  The University will provide an equal opportunity for the parties to present witnesses, including fact and expert witnesses, and other inculpatory and exculpatory evidence, (i.e., evidence that tends to prove and disprove the allegations).  See Inspection and Review of Evidence section below.

What if a witness does not want to participate?

Bloomsburg University cannot require a witness to participate in an investigation or hearing.  BU does not have subpoena authority like the legal system.  BU can only ask a witness to participate, and their participation is voluntary.  It is important to note that if a witness participates in an investigation, but will not submit themselves to cross examination in a hearing, the information they presented in the investigation can no longer be used in the case.

 

Due Process

How long does a complaint process take?

If a complainant chooses to go through a resolution process either through a formal resolution or an informal resolution, the timeline will vary.  An informal resolution will likely not take as long as a formal resolution.  An informal resolution is a process that the parties work to an agreed outcome.  A formal resolution includes a University investigation and subsequent formal hearing.  The formal resolution process has more steps and requirements than the informal resolution process, and thus will take longer.  The University will make every attempt to conclude a process within a reasonably prompt manner, and usually no longer than 90 days after the filing of the formal complaint, provided that the process may be extended for good reason.

What is the difference between the University process and the legal process?

The University process is meant to be educational in nature.  It is an administrative process based on policy and procedure.  The legal process is through law enforcement and based on laws.  The processes are completely independent of one another.  While University policies are sometimes governed by laws, such as Title IX, the two processes are different processes and have different standards.  Someone does not have to file a legal complaint and a University complaint, but can file both if they choose to do so. 

What is the standard of proof used in a formal resolution (formal hearing)?

Consistent with requirements set forth in the Pennsylvania Code pertaining to student disciplinary due process requirements, the University will use the preponderance of the evidence standard in investigations of formal complaints alleging sexual misconduct violations.  This means that the individual(s) charged with making a finding must determine whether it is more likely than not that a violation of the Policy occurred.

What could happen at the end of a formal hearing (formal resolution process)?

If there are no extenuating circumstances, the determination regarding responsibility will be issued by the University within 10 days of the completion of the hearing.  The determination regarding responsibility becomes final either upon the outcome of any appeal or the expiration of the window to appeal without an appeal being requested as set forth in the Appeals section of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Disciplinary Sanctions Against Students could be:  Disciplinary Warning Level One, Disciplinary Warning Level Two, Disciplinary Probation, Suspension, Expulsion, Counseling Referral, Educational Sanctions- Sexual Misconduct, Consent, or Bystander workshop, Housing Probation, Loss of Campus Housing Privileges, Loss of Privilege(s), No Contact Orders.

Do I have to attend a formal hearing (formal resolution process)?

Bloomsburg University cannot require anyone to participate in an investigation or hearing.  BU does not have subpoena authority like the legal system.  Participation is voluntary.  It is important to note that if an individual participates in an investigation, but will not submit themselves to cross examination in a hearing, the information they presented in the investigation can no longer be used in the case.

What if a witness does not want to participate?

Bloomsburg University cannot require a witness to participate in an investigation or hearing.  BU does not have subpoena authority like the legal system.  BU can only ask a witness to participate, and their participation is voluntary.  It is important to note that if a witness participates in an investigation, but will not submit themselves to cross examination in a hearing, the information they presented in the investigation can no longer be used in the case.