SU Policy on Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct is a form of sexual harassment and is defined as any incident where an individual is forced into sexual contact against his or her will or without his or her consent including sexual assault, abuse, or other form of sexual contact. (Please also see Susquehanna University‘s Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination policy and procedures outlined in the Student Handbook which includes policies and procedures covering complaints of other forms of sexual harassment.) It is important to note that it is illegal to administer alcohol and/or any other drug for the purpose of preventing resistance and/or inducing a mental state where the individual is incapable of appraising the nature of his or her conduct. Consent is not effective if it results from the use of physical or perceived physical force, if there is intimidation or coercion, or if the individual is incapacitated. Silence or non-communication should never be interpreted as effective consent. Moreover, consent for some sexual contact is not consent for all sexual contact.
Individuals who have been the target of sexual misconduct may seek assistance from various departments including in the Health Center, the Counseling Center, Residence Life and Public Safety. All are accessible 24 hours a day.
Off-campus referrals will be given upon request. Students may also contact the Sexual Assault Student Support (SASS) advocates, a group of faculty and staff who are trained to provide support and referrals for additional resources to members of the university community who have been targets of sexual misconduct. Finally, a student may also contact the University Title IX Coordinator (see contact information below). In addition to counseling and medical assistance, depending on the circumstances, individuals subjected to sexual misconduct may be offered remedial measures to ensure that their access to educational opportunities is preserved. Note that only privileged professionals functioning within the scope of their profession (licensed mental health practitioners, medical practitioners, and clergy) can guarantee confidentiality.
Any member of the Susquehanna community who believes that he or she has been subjected to sexual misconduct is encouraged to:
[a] Seek medical attention and counseling;
[b] File criminal charges under the law of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
[c] Institute a formal disciplinary complaint; this would include a full investigation by the
Department of Public Safety. The University‘s goal is to complete the investigation and adjudication within 60 days. In most instances, the process will be quicker. However, there will be times where the process may take longer and the University will communicate on an on-going basis with the parties a realistic timeline, and the circumstances regarding the same. Note that mediation is not an appropriate means of addressing a complaint of sexual misconduct.
If a formal disciplinary complaint is instituted (see the outline of procedures in the Code of Student Conduct), both the complainant and the respondent can expect the following:
i. To have a person of his or her choice accompany him or her throughout the process. Note: the person accompanying the student may not be an attorney; his or her role is that of an advocate or advisor.
ii. To be present for the entire hearing;
iii. To be informed of the board's decision as soon as it has been made;
iv. To have no past sexual history discussed in a hearing, beyond history of relations with the accused deemed relevant by the board.
v. To be treated with discretion and dignity, including a respect for each party‘s privacy.
vi. To be able to respond to the decision of the Hearing Board, which is a recommendation to the Dean of Students. He or she will make a final decision on the outcome of the hearing.
vii. Not to be subjected to retaliation or intimidation for lodging a complaint of sexual misconduct or otherwise participating in the investigation or adjudication of such a complaint. Such behavior may also violate the Anti-Harassment and Non-Discrimination Policy and will be adjudicated.
As a result of Act 104 from November 17, 2010 from the Department of Education, which added Article XX-G, ―Sexual Violence Education at Institutions for Higher Education‖ to the Public School Code, the university will offer an educational program for full-time students on Sexual violence sponsored by the Division of Student Life. The program will include:
- A discussion of sexual violence
- A discussion of consent, including an explanation that the victim is not at fault
- A discussion of drug and alcohol-facilitated sexual violence
- Information relating to risk education and personal protection
- Information on where and how to get assistance, including the importance of medical treatment and evidence collection, and how to report sexual violence to campus authorities and local law enforcement
- The possibility of pregnancy and transmission of sexual diseases
- Introduction of members of the educational community from:
Public Safety and the Selinsgrove Borough Police Department
The Health Center, Women‘s Resource Center, and Transitions (Susquehanna Valley Women in Transition)
The Counseling Center
The Department of Residence Life & Civic Engagement
[e] The University has certain legal obligations under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to address sexual harassment, including sexual violence. As a result, the university must investigate complaints of sexual misconduct involving a member of the University community.
For more information on sexual assault education, please see The Counseling Center on MySU under ―Self Help‖ and ―Sexual Assault.
To file a complaint, contact:
Office of Community Standards & Student Conduct – (570) 372 – 4517
Assistant Vice President for Student Life & Director of Public Safety – (570) 372 – 4134
Chief Diversity Officer & Assistant Provost & Special Assistant to the President & Title IX Coordinator – (570) 372 – 4415
Revised: August 2012, LS, ABP, JA