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FAQs - Students/Sexual Misconduct

Frequently Asked Questions - Sexual Misconduct

- What is Title IX?
- What type of behavior does Title IX Cover?
- What is a Title IX Coordinator?
- Who is the Title IX Coordinator at Lehigh?
- What steps does Lehigh take to eliminate sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct?
- Sometimes you use the phrase "gender violence" and sometimes "sexual misconduct."  Do those phrases refer to the same thing, or are they different?
- What do I do if I, or a friend, has been sexually assaulted?
- If I don't know whether I want to report what happened, is there someone confidential that I can talk with?
- Who can I call for support?
- What services does an Advocate provide?
- What are my reporting options if I decide that I want to file a complaint?
- If I fill out the Gender Violence Reporting Form, who will be looking at it and contacting me about it?
- Can I file a complaint with the University and with the police, or do I have to pick one?
- If I file a complaint with the University, how long does the process take?
- If the University and the police are both investigating, do the investigations happen at the same time?
- What if I want to make a report or file a complaint, but I don't want anyone to know who I am?  Can I make a report anonymously with the University?
- If I make a report or file a complaint, what kind of protection do I have against the offender or third parties who retaliate against me?
- How does Lehigh determine whether a student has violated the University's policies regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct?
- What are the possible sanctions and/or remedies?
- Does Lehigh have a mechanism for identifying repeat offenders?
- Where can I find more information?

1.    What is Title IX?

Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 ("Title IX") is a federal law that protects people from discrimination on the basis of sex in educational programs and activities that receive federal funds.

2.    What type of behavior does Title IX cover?

Title IX prohibits sexual harassment, which includes sexual violence.  Sexual violence includes such sexual activity as rape, sexual assault, voyeurism, stalking, intimate partner violence, dating violence, and domestic abuse.

Gender discrimination is prohibited in any educational program or activity, which includes but is not limited to, admissions and recruitment, financial aid and scholarships, athletics, and course offerings.  Title IX also prohibits discrimination against pregnant and parenting students.

Sex and/or gender discrimination can be perpetrated by men or women and can occur between people of the same or different sex.

Title IX also prohibits retaliation against any person because the individual files a complaint or participates in a Title IX investigation.

3.    What is a Title IX Coordinator?

Any educational institution subject to Title IX must designate at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out its responsibilities under Title IX.  The Title IX Coordinator, as the designated employee is referred to, oversees all complaints of sex discrimination by tracking and monitoring incidents involving sexual misconduct and investigating and responding to reports or complaints of sex discrimination.  The Title IX Coordinator also educates and trains on Lehigh's policies regarding sexual misconduct and the prevention of sex discrimination.

4.    Who is the Title IX Coordinator at Lehigh?

Karen A. Salvemini, the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, has been designated as the Title IX Coordinator for Lehigh University.  If you have questions regarding Title IX or Lehigh's policies or procedures as they relate to sexual misconduct, or would like to file a complaint involving sex discrimination, sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct, please contact Ms. Salvemini at:

Karen A. Salvemini, Esq.
Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator
Alumni Memorial Building - Room 105
27 Memorial Drive West
Bethlehem, PA  18015
(610) 758-3535
eocc@lehigh.edu

In the event that the conduct involves the Title IX Coordinator/Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator, reports by students should be made to:

Katherine Lavinder
Dean of Students
Williams Hall Suite 380
31 Williams Drive
Bethlehem, PA  18015
(610) 758-4156
indost@lehigh.edu

5.    What steps does Lehigh take to eliminate sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct?

Lehigh University is committed to the elimination and prevention of sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct, on our campus.  As such, Lehigh has developed policies and procedures addressing incidents of harassment and sexual misconduct, and takes steps to respond promptly and effectively to allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct.  Lehigh promptly investigates such incidents and takes appropriate action, including disciplinary action, against individuals found to have engaged in such behavior.

In addition, Lehigh's commitment to eliminating sexual harassment and sexual misconduct is evident in its ongoing support of its Office of Gender Violence Education and Support ("GVES").  GVES works to change campus climate and culture around sexual assault, rape, intimate partner abuse, and stalking from a healthy relationship approach through both education and support.  GVES provides year-round educational programs in the form of campus-wide events, interactive workshops, awareness campaigns, and speakers.  Break the Silence, the peer educator gender violence prevention education group, aids in these educational efforts.  Gender Violence Support Advocates, specially trained staff members, are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to provide assistance and support to survivors of sexual misconduct.  The office also offers students support by providing information about campus and community resources, interim measures, and information about university policies and procedures.

6.    Sometimes you use the phrase "gender violence" and sometimes "sexual misconduct."  Do those phrases refer to the same thing, or are they different?

The phrase "gender violence" covers a broad range of behaviors that often include conduct beyond behavior that constitutes sexual misconduct under the University's definition of sexual misconduct.  University policy generally defines "sexual misconduct" as sexual assault, which includes rape, fondling, incest, and statutory rape.  "Sexual misconduct" also includes stalking, exploitation, exposure of one's body in an indecent or lewd manner, sexual activity in public or semi-public spaces, and dating and domestic violence.

When you see the phrase gender violence used instead of sexual misconduct or sexual assault, the intention is to indicate that any harm or injury suffered because of your gender, including sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, is being addressed and referenced.  Other times, when specifically referring to sexual harassment and sexual misconduct, those behaviors specifically are being addressed and referenced.

7.    What do I do if I, or a friend, has been sexually assaulted?

First, if you experience or witness sexual misconduct or harassment, and you do not feel safe, you should immediately contact the Lehigh University Police Department ("LUPD"), located at 321 E. Packer Avenue, at 601-758-4200.  LUPD operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Second, if you or your friend need medical attention, or to properly preserve evidence, medical services are available at the following local hospitals:

Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg
2545 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA 18017
(484) 884-2200

St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem
801 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA 18015
(484) 526-4000

Medical attention may be necessary to treat the full extent of any injury or physical trauma, and to discuss and address the possibility of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.  In addition, the hospitals listed above are equipped with S.A.F.E. and S.A.N.E. nurses who are specially trained to properly preserve evidence through forensic evidence exams.  A forensic evidence exam should be completed within 96 hours of an assault to preserve evidence in the event you decide you would like to prosecute.  In order to preserve evidence, you should not bathe, brush your teeth, or change your clothing prior to the completion of the forensic evidence exam.

Limited medical services are also available on campus at the Health and Wellness Center, located at Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor, and reachable at (610) 758-3870.  The Health and Wellness Center cannot perform forensic evidence exams, but can provide medical attention and address the possibility of STIs and pregnancy.

Third, there are numerous resources, both on and off campus, available for support.  These resources are addressed in more detail below.

Finally, there are also several reporting options available to you.  These reporting options are described in more detail below.

8.    If I don't know whether I want to report what happened, is there someone confidential that I can talk with?

Yes.  Lehigh University has two confidential resources on campus:

Chaplain's Office
The Dialogue Center, 661 Taylor Street
(610) 758-3877

Counseling & Psychological Services
Johnson Hall, 4th Floor
(610) 758-3800

9.    Who can I call for support?

There are numerous on and off campus resources available to support you.  In addition to the confidential resources identified above, the following campus resources can provide information and support following an incident of sexual misconduct:

Lehigh University Police Department
321 E. Packer Avenue
610-758-4200

Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator / Title IX Coordinator
Alumni Memorial Building, Room 105
610-758-3535
eocc@lehigh.edu

Office of Gender Violence Education & Support
University Center, C109
610-758-1303
ingves@lehigh.edu

Advocates*
610-758-4763

Office for Gender Equity
University Center, C207
610-758-6484
inwnc@lehigh.edu

Office of Multicultural Affairs
University Center, C203
610-758-5973
inmca@lehigh.edu

The Pride Center
University Center, B202
610-758-4126
rainbowroom@lehigh.edu

Dean of Students Office
Williams Hall, Suite 380
610-758-4156
indost@lehigh.edu

Office of Student Conduct & Community Expectations
Williams Hall, Suite 320
610-758-4632
cjm9@lehigh.edu
hat214@lehigh.edu

Office of Academic Support
Williams Hall, Suite 390
610-758-4159
inacsup@lehigh.edu

Health and Wellness Center
Johnson Hall, 3rd Floor
610-758-3870
inluhc@lehigh.edu

Ombuds Office
Robert Thornton             Susan Szczepanski
610-758-3460                     610-758-3727
rjt1@lehigh.edu              ss08@lehigh.edu

*Advocates are staff members trained to assist survivors of gender violence by providing survivors with initial support and referrals.  Advocates are available 24/7 throughout the year.

Community:

Bethlehem Police Department
610-865-7187 (non-emergencies)

From University Phone:  9-911 (emergencies)
From Non-University Phone:  911 (emergencies)

Lehigh Valley Hospital - Muhlenberg
2545 Schoenersville Road
Bethlehem, PA  18017
484-884-2200 (General)
484-884-2521 (Emergency Department)

St. Luke's University Hospital - Bethlehem
810 Ostrum Street
Bethlehem, PA  18015
484-526-4000

Crime Victims Council of the Lehigh Valley
801 Hamilton Street, Suite 300
Allentown, PA  18101
610-437-6610
610-437-6611 (24 hour hotline)

Turning Point of the Lehigh Valley
444 E. Susquehanna Street
Allentown, PA  18103
1-877-438-4957
TTY:  610-882-2465
610-437-3369 (24 hour hotline)

State:

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
1-888-772-7227

Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence
1-800-932-4632
TTY:  1-800-553-2508

National:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center
1-877-739-3895
TTY:  1-717-909-0715

National Resource Center on Domestic Violence
1-800-799-7233
TTY:  1-800-787-3224

Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network
1-888-656-HOPE

10.  What services does an Advocate provide?

The Gender Violence Support Advocates Program ("Advocates") is a network of dedicated and compassionate staff and faculty members who are trained to assist survivors of gender violence.  In their role, Advocates provide initial support and referrals to survivors 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.  Advocates may accompany students to campus resources if the student desires to take advantage of them.  Advocates can be reached at (610) 758-4763.

11.  What are my reporting options if I decide that I want to file a complaint?

There are several reporting options available to you if you are a survivor of sexual misconduct, or have witnessed sexual misconduct.

If an individual who has experienced sexual misconduct would like to file a report with the police you should contact LUPD by calling (610) 758-4200.  The police will take appropriate steps in response to your report.  Filing a report with the police is separate from pursuing a complaint through the University's policies and procedures.

If you'd like to file a complaint against a student, faculty, or staff member for violation of the University's policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct, or would like to request an informal meeting to discuss a complaint, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini at (610) 758-3535 or eocc@lehigh.edu.

You may also file a complaint about sexual misconduct by completing the online Gender Violence Reporting Form at lehigh.edu/go/genderviolencereport.  The submission of an anonymous complaint may limit the University's ability to investigate and respond to the complaint.

12.  If I fill out the Gender Violence Reporting Form, who will be looking at it and contacting me about it?

When a Gender Violence Reporting Form is completed and submitted, the Form is received by two offices:  Lehigh University Police Department and the Equal Opportunity Compliance Coordinator.  After reviewing the information on the completed Form, these two offices will consult and determine the appropriate next steps, including which office will contact the individual responsible for completing and submitting the Form.

13.  Can I file a complaint with the University and with the police, or do I have to pick one?

Yes, you may file a complaint simultaneously with both the University and LUPD, or you can decide to only pursue action through the legal system or only through the University process.  A criminal investigation may be pursued concurrently with the University's investigation.

14.  If I file a complaint with the University, how long does the process take?

The University process generally takes no longer than 60 days to complete.  However, complex cases, the availability of witnesses and other exceptional circumstances may require additional time and/or the modification of the timeframes described in the University's Code of Conduct.

15.  If the University and the police are both investigating, do the investigations happen at the same time?

It depends.  The University will not wait for a criminal investigation to conclude to begin its own investigation and to resolve complaints under the University process.  But, if law enforcement makes a valid request that the University temporarily delay in its investigation while the police gather evidence, the University will comply with this request for a brief time.  Once the police have gathered its evidence, the University will resume its investigation.

16.  What if I want to make a report or file a complaint, but I don't want anyone to know who I am?  Can I make a report anonymously with the University?

You may choose to submit an anonymous report or complaint, but the submission of such an anonymous report or complaint may limit the University's ability to investigate and respond to the report or complaint.  If submitting a report or complaint anonymously, please provide as much information as possible, even if you think it may not be important, so that the University can investigate and respond to the best of its ability based on the information provided.

17.  If I make a report or file a complaint, what kind of protection do I have against the offender or third parties who retaliate against me?

Lehigh specifically prohibits retaliation in any way against an individual who files a report or complaint of sexual misconduct in good faith.  Lehigh also prohibits retaliation against any individual who participates in the investigation of a report or complaint.  In the event that retaliation occurs, Lehigh will respond quickly and pursue disciplinary action if appropriate.  If you believe that you have been retaliated against, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini to report the incident.

18.  How does Lehigh determine whether a student has violated the University's polices regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct?

Initially, the Title IX Coordinator will evaluate whether the situation as described could constitute a violation of University policy.  If it is determined that there may have been a violation of University policy, two investigators will conduct a thorough investigation by speaking with the parties, interviewing witnesses, and reviewing documentation, such as emails, text messages, pictures, etc.  The complainant and the respondent will have an opportunity to review witness notes and provide comments, additional questions, etc.  At the conclusion of the investigation, a report will be drafted and a panel will review the report and determine whether a violation of University policy occurred.  In the event that the panel determines that a University policy was violated, the panel will recommend possible sanctions to the Office of Student Conduct, who will make the ultimate decision regarding the appropriate sanction.

19.  What are the possible sanctions and/or remedies?

Possible sanctions range from expulsion to suspension, with other lesser sanctions available depending on the specific violation of University policy and the facts and circumstances of the case.  Any prior disciplinary history will also be considered in determining the appropriate sanction.

20.  Does Lehigh have a mechanism for identifying repeat offenders?

The Title IX Coordinator tracks all reports and complaints of sexual harassment and sexual misconduct in order to identify any patterns of behavior, at risk populations, and/or repeat offenders.

21.  Where can I find more information?

If you have questions regarding Title IX or Lehigh's policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct, or would like to file a report or complaint, please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Karen A. Salvemini at (610) 758-3535 or eocc@lehigh.edu.