Sexual Misconduct Policy

Notice of Non Discrimination – Title IX

In accordance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits a college from discrimination based on sex, Lycoming College does not discriminate on the basis of sex or gender in its education programs and activities. Inquiries concerning application of this policy should be directed to the Jackie Bilger, Director of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, Lycoming College, 700 College Place, Williamsport, PA 17701, (570) 321-4309 or bilger@lycoming.edu

Inquiries or complaints may also be directed to:  The Office for Civil Rights Philadelphia Office, U.S. Department of Education, 100 Penn Square East, Suite 515 Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323. Telephone number: (215) 656-8541; fax (215) 656-8605 or e-mail OCR.philadelphia@ed.gov

Sexual misconduct and sexual harassment will not be tolerated at Lycoming College. The nature of these types of incidents causes immense difficulty to the individuals directly involved and offends the educational mission of the institution. Those identified as being responsible for such acts may expect to be held accountable under the sexual misconduct grievance procedure or the sexual harassment adjudication process. The College also conducts numerous educational programs throughout the academic year to advance the understanding of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment. This is accomplished through a variety of educational programming coordinated by the offices of Residential Life, Counseling Services, Safety and Security, Campus Ministry, and the Assistant Dean for Freshmen (New Student Orientation and 1st Weekend).

Definition

Sexual Misconduct is defined as deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature (or threats or attempts thereof) which is against the person's will or without their consent or cognizance. Sexual misconduct may involve various forms of coercion or force and can occur when a victim is incapable of giving consent due to the influence of drugs, alcohol, emotional trauma or other factors. Examples of sexual misconduct include, but are not limited to: (1) unwanted sexual contact such as fondling; (2) deliberate or reckless threats, actual or implied, of physical contact of a sexual nature that result in reasonable apprehension of a sexual misconduct or physical harm, or (3) coerced sexual activity which, in its most severe form, is manifested by any form of sexual penetration when consent was not freely given.

Reporting an Incident

A student who believes that s/he has been subjected to sexual misconduct or raped by another student has several reporting options which s/he can pursue regardless of whether or not s/he chooses to invoke the disciplinary process on campus. The alleged victim can choose to report the incident to the Williamsport Police Department, Wise Options and/or to the appropriate College officials, including the Department of Safety and Security. These options are not mutually exclusive. If these actions are taken simultaneously, the adjudication processes will be separate and distinct from each other. A student who decides to pursue an incident through College procedures, must contact the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students or Director of Residential Life. Once a student chooses to file a report of sexual misconduct, the College will conduct an investigation of the incident. After interviewing all of the principal parties with knowledge of the incident, the matter may be brought before the Sexual Misconduct Board for a hearing to determine responsibility and possible
sanction(s).

Filing a Complaint

A student may file a formal complaint with the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students or the Title IX Coordinator. The complaint must be a written statement outlining the time, place, and nature of the alleged sexual misconduct and contain the name of the accused. Under exceptional circumstances information from an anonymous source may be accepted and investigated after which charges may be brought by College authorities. The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will determine the course of action to follow in adjudicating the complaint. The complainant's preferences, including but not limited to the option of filing a confidential report without a formal charge, will be given full consideration by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students. A students reporting an incident of sexual misconduct will be offered a personal advisor (faculty or staff); however, the student is not required to use an advisor.

 In cases where it is determined by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students, in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator, that there is no merit to a complaint and that the matter will not be adjudicated, the Complainant will be notified and advised that s/he has the right to consult with the Title IX Coordinator regarding the decision.

Sexual Misconduct Board — In most cases, except cases where the alleged accused accepts responsibility, sexual misconduct complaints will be referred by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students to the Sexual Misconduct Board. The board shall be composed of three (3) members: two (2) faculty and one (1) staff member. Each appointed member of the board will have participated in special training programs on sexual misconduct and related student conduct procedures. The board will be responsible for determining an accused’s responsibility for the violation and, if found responsible, for assessing sanctions which may include but are not limited to probation, suspension or expulsion.

Complainant — The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will meet with the complainant to discuss the occurrence and to apprise the student of his/her rights under the Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Accused — The accused will meet with the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students to discuss the complaint and to be apprised of his/her rights under this policy. At the meeting, the accused will receive written notification of the charge(s) as well as a copy of the complaint. The  accused will have 48 hours from receipt of written notification to submit to the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students a written response to the allegations. The complainant will be provided a copy of the accused's response to the charges.

Interim Measures

During the investigation and prior to a final determination, the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students will take appropriate interim measures to protect the parties and witnesses. These measures may include but are not limited to the imposition of a no-contact order and/or, residence, academic, on-campus employment accommodations, or removal from campus. The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students may also limit a student’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter.

The Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students may issue a temporary suspension in response to a report of sexual misconduct or relationship violence if he/she determines that the conduct alleged constitutes a threat to the welfare of the College community or is an act of violence which endangers the life or well-being of another.

Students' Rights

The complainant and the accused will have the following rights:

Both Parties:

  • to an advisor who may accompany the student to the hearing. An advisor must be a member of the Lycoming College community or Wise Options, and may be the same or a different individual than the person who assisted the student in understanding this policy.  The advisor may not be an attorney.  The advisors may make opening and/or closing statements at the hearing but may not question witnesses or object to questions.
  • to utilize trained College faculty and staff who are familiar with this policy as resources for understanding these procedures and preparing for the hearing;
  • to medical and emotional support from the Departments of Counseling Services and Health Services and/or a sexual misconduct advisor;
  • to designate witnesses who may be called before the board to testify or to be interviewed;
  • to obtain a copy of all written material submitted to the board;
  • to decline to answer any questions;
  • to offer a closing statement;
  • to contest the membership of individual hearing board members thought to be unable to serve objectively;
  • to cross-examine witnesses but not the other party to the complaint;
  • to appeal the findings of the board (see Appeal Process).

Complainant:

  • Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students.

Accused:

  • to waive one's right to a hearing and to accept responsibility of the charges as well as the administrative sanctions imposed by the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students.

Hearing Procedures

If the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students determines that there is sufficient basis to believe that sexual misconduct may have occurred, a Sexual Misconduct Board will be convened. The board’s role shall be to determine if a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy occurred as alleged by the complainant and, if so, to recommend a sanction(s). It is the responsibility of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students to ensure that members of the Sexual Misconduct Board have access to all hearing materials to review at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the hearing.

At the opening of the hearing, the presiding officer, will introduce all participants and provide guidelines relative to the proceedings. Specifically, the complainant and accused or their advisers will be given the opportunity to make opening statements. The board has the responsibility to question the complainant, accused and witnesses to determine the merit of the complaint. The complaint and accused will be afforded the opportunity to present evidence, challenge testimony, and clarify issues. The complainant and accused may question witnesses; however, the complainant and the accused will not be allowed to question each other. The complainant and the accused may be present for all testimony. Either party may request a physical barrier to prohibit visible contact between complainant and accused. Witnesses will only be present for their testimony. The complainant and the accused or their advisors may offer concluding statements.

The board’s decision will be made based upon the information generated during the course of the investigation and introduced at the hearing as well as evidence and testimony offered throughout the hearing. If it is determined that a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy has occurred, the accused student's disciplinary record will be reviewed by the board and considered in determining an appropriate sanction(s). The hearing proceedings are confidential and only open to those members of the college community and Wise Options recognized by the College. The Dean will notify the accused and complainant as well as the Title IX Coordinator in writing of the decision and of any related disciplinary sanctions. The Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Student Affairs and/or Residential Life Office will maintain, in confidence, the records of the case in accordance with the College's Disciplinary Records Retention Policy. A summary record of the proceedings will be maintained by the Office of the Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students Office.

The Appeal Process

Following a decision, the accused student or the complainant may file an appeal of the final decision to the Provost  The request for an appeal must be submitted in writing by the student, not an attorney, within two (2) days of the date of receipt of the decision. Failure to file a request for appeal in a timely manner constitutes a waiver of any right to an appeal. The bases for an appeal are limited to the following grounds:

  1. The evidence presented at the hearing does not support the verdict;
  2. The sanction is excessively severe;
  3. New or newly discovered evidence is of a character which may substantially affect the outcome of the hearing;
  4. There was a procedural error that substantially affected the outcome of the hearing.

The Provost has the authority to change a finding of responsibility, to increase or decrease a sanction, or to require a new hearing.

Appeals should not be requested frivolously. An appeal of the board’s decision is not a re-hearing; it represents a procedural safeguard for the student. In an appeal process, the burden of proof is shifted to the student making the appeal. Appeal letters will be reviewed and, if there is adequate reason to believe that one or more of the grounds for appeal have merit, the Provost may rule on the appeal based on one or more of the grounds set forth above or schedule a meeting with the party filing the appeal.