Commonwealth University Sexual Misconduct Policy
1. Purpose of Policy
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits any person in the United States from being
discriminated against on the basis of sex in seeking access to any educational program or activity receiving
federal financial assistance. The U.S. Department of Education, which enforces Title IX, has long defined the
meaning of Title IX’s prohibition on sex discrimination broadly to include various forms of sexual harassment
and sexual violence that interfere with a student’s ability to equally access educational programs and
On May 19, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Final Rule under Title IX of the Education
Amendments of 19721 that:
- Defines the meaning of “sexual harassment” (including forms of sex-based violence) that are reflectedin the definitions of Regulatory Quid Pro Quo, Regulatory Hostile Environment Sexual Harassment, Regulatory Dating Violence, Regulatory Domestic Violence, Regulatory Sexual Assault and Regulatory Stalking included as Regulatory Prohibited Conduct under this Policy
- Addresses how the University must respond to reports of misconduct falling within the definitions of Regulatory Prohibited Conduct under this Policy, and Mandates a grievance (or resolution) process the University must follow before issuing disciplinary sanctions against a person accused of Regulatory Prohibited Conduct under this Policy.
- In addition to federal legislative requirements, Act 16 of 20192 of the General Assembly of Pennsylvania requires all postsecondary institutions in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to adopt a clear, understandable written policy on sexual harassment and sexual violence that informs victims of their rights under federal and state law, including the crime victims bill of rights.
2. Prohibited Behaviors
The University prohibits all Sexual Misconduct Violations, as defined in this Policy. This prohibited conduct can
affect all genders, gender identities and sexual orientations. Some of these prohibited forms of conduct may alsobe crimes under Pennsylvania or federal law. The University will promptly and equitably respond to all reports of sexual misconduct in order to eliminate the misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and redress its effects on any individual or the community.
3. Title IX, VAWA and Nondiscrimination
The University prohibits any form of discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, race, color, age, religion,
national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, marital or family status,
medical condition, genetic information, veteran status, or disability in any decision regarding admissions,
employment, or participation in a University program or activity in accordance with the letter and spirit of
federal, state, and local non-discrimination and equal opportunity laws, such as Titles VI and VII of the Civil RightsAct of 1964, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, theAmericans with Disabilities Act and ADA Amendments Act, the Equal Pay Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The University also complies with the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crimes
Statistics Act, as amended by the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Title IX prohibits retaliation for asserting or otherwise participating in claims of sex discrimination. VAWA imposes additional duties on universities and colleges to investigate and respond to reports of sexual assault, stalking, and dating or domestic violence, and to publish policies and procedures related to the way these reports are handled. The University has designated the Title IX Coordinator, to coordinate the University’s compliance with Title IX and VAWA and to respond to reportsof violations. The University has directed the University Police Department (or Public Safety) to coordinate theUniversity’s compliance with the VAWA-related Clery reporting requirements.
1 The full text of the Final Rule and its extensive Preamble is available here: http://bit.ly/TitleIXReg
2 The text of Act 16 of 2019 is available here: https://bit.ly/3f7DAr6