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Frequently Asked Questions

  • What should I do if I or a friend may have been sexually assaulted?

    As soon as possible, seek medical attention. A friend or staff member can go with you. Call University Police at (814) 472-3360 to report a possible assault, and they will in turn help you or your friend get the care you need. You may call Student Counseling Services at (814) 472-3211 to speak to a counselor. If you wish to report the incident or to discuss your options, you should consult with a Title IX Team Member.

    What should I do about preserving evidence of a sexual assault?

    Physical evidence of a criminal sexual assault must be collected from the victim/survivor’s person within 72 hours, though evidence can often be obtained from towels, sheets, clothes, etc. for much longer periods of time. If you believe you have been a victim of a criminal sexual assault, you should go to the Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center Emergency Room before washing yourself or your clothing. A staff member, or another support person could accompany you to the hospital if you wish. Having the evidence collected in this manner will help keep all options available, but will not obligate you to any course of action. Collecting evidence can assist the authorities in pursuing criminal charges, should you decide later to exercise it. If you have changed clothing since the assault, bring the clothing you had on at the time of the assault with you to the hospital in a clean, sanitary container such as a clean paper grocery bag or wrapped in a clean sheet (plastic containers do not breathe, and may render evidence useless). If you have not changed clothes, bring a change of clothes with you to the hospital, if possible, as they will likely keep the clothes you are wearing as evidence.

    What should I do if I am uncertain about what I experienced constitutes sexual misconduct?

    If you believe that you have experienced a non-consensual sexual contact, but are unsure of whether it was a violation of the University’s sexual misconduct policy, you should contact  a Title IX Team Member or University Police, who can help you to define and clarify the event(s), and advise you of your options.

    Can I make a report anonymously?

    Any individual may make an anonymous report concerning an act of sexual misconduct. An individual may report the incident without disclosing his/her/name, identifying the responding party or requesting any action. Depending on the level of information available about the incident or the individuals involved, however, the University’s ability to respond to an anonymous report may be limited. EthicsPoint is a service that allows anyone to report suspected misconduct or other issues with complete confidentiality. Anonymous reports may be made by toll free telephone at (888) 297-9325 or online at EthicsPoint.  

    This service allows the person making the report and University administrators to confer about additional details, while the reporting party's identity remains confidential. All reports will go to the Title IX Coordinator.

    Do I have to name my assailant?

    No, if you choose to respond informally and do not file a formal report.

    Yes, if you want formal conduct action to be taken against the alleged assailant. You should be aware that not identifying the respondent may limit the University’s ability to respond comprehensively.

    Will the accused person know my identity?

    Yes, if you file a formal report. Sexual misconduct is a serious offense and the responding party has the right to know the identity of the reporting party. If there is an incident review, the University does provide options for questioning without confrontation.

    If I report my assailant, I am afraid that I will be subject to retaliation from him/her or his/her friends. What kinds of protection can Saint Francis provide to me?

    It is a violation of University policy to retaliate in any way against an individual or a group because the individual or group of individuals reported an allegation of sexual harassment or misconduct. The University recognizes that retaliation can take many forms, may be committed by an individual or a group against an individual or a group, and that a respondent can also be the subject of retaliation by the complainant or a third party. The University will take immediate and responsive action to any report of retaliation and may pursue conduct action as appropriate. An individual reporting sexual harassment or misconduct is entitled to protection from any form of retaliation following a report that is made in good faith, even if the report is later not proven.

    What if I have a relationship with the person who assaulted me?

    It is never okay to force, threaten, or coerce someone into having sex against his/her will, even if they are in a relationship. Just because you have been intimate with someone in the past does not automatically mean you give consent for any and all future sexual activity.

    Will my parents be told?

    In the event of major medical, conduct, or academic jeopardy, University officials will directly inform parents, or in certain instances where a health or safety emergency exist, or if the University determines such communication is necessary.

    What do I do if I am accused of sexual misconduct?

    Do not contact the alleged victim. You should contact the Associate Dean of Students, who will explain the University’s procedures for addressing sexual misconduct complaints, explain the rights and responsibilities of the complainant and respondent, explain the prohibition against retaliation, and explain the student conduct process.


    How can I change my residence hall assignment and/or receive help with my courses?

    If your (alleged) assailant lives in your residence hall or attends one of your classes, you may change residence halls or classes. In order to change residence halls, the Title IX Coordinator or his/her designee will work with staff from Residence Life to make this change on your behalf. You may be offered a temporary relocation on campus until the first suitable room becomes available. We can also work with the Registrar’s Office and faculty, respectively, to help switch your classes and assist in getting extensions on course work if necessary.

    Will a student be disciplined when reporting sexual misconduct if he/she has illegally used alcohol and/or other drugs?

    Saint Francis University’s primary concern is the health and safety of its students. When conducting an investigation of an alleged sexual misconduct, the University’s focus will be on addressing the misconduct and not the lesser policy violations that may be discovered or disclosed. The University may, however, provide referrals to counseling or require other educational options when deemed appropriate.

    Will the use of alcohol and/or other drugs affect the outcome of a sexual misconduct report?

    The use of alcohol and/or other drugs by either party will not diminish the responsibility of the respondent. However, alcohol and/or other drugs are likely to affect memories and may affect the outcome of a case.

    Will either party's prior use of drugs and/or alcohol be a factor when reporting sexual misconduct?
    Not unless there is a compelling reason to believe that prior use or abuse is relevant to the present complaint.
    If I engage in a sexual activity with someone who has been drinking, can I be accused of sexual misconduct?

    It depends. Someone who is mentally or physically incapacitated is therefore incapable of giving consent. Alcohol may cause such a state of incapacitation. However, it varies on a case by case basis. For a variety of reasons it is not advisable to engage in sexual activity while intoxicated. When one or both parties are intoxicated, people tend to misinterpret another’s sexual intentions and often proceed before the issue of consent has been clarified.

    Can I file a report with the University and also with law enforcement? Can I do one and not the other?

    Yes, you may take action through both the campus student conduct system and the criminal justice system. The University will assist a reporting party in making a criminal report and will cooperate with law enforcement agencies if a complainant decides to pursue the criminal process to the extent permitted by law. However, a reporting party may also choose not to pursue criminal action.

    How do I file a report?

    A person who has experienced an incident of sexual misconduct, may file a report against the person responsible for that conduct. “Person” may include any member of the campus community, including students, faculty, administrators, staff members, and visitors. You may contact a Title IX Team Member or complete an Incident Form


    What is the role of the investigator?

    The Title IX Team will designate an investigator to conduct a thorough, impartial and fair investigation. The investigator chosen will have specific training and experience investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. The investigator will coordinate the gathering of information from the reporting party, responding party, and other individuals or entities with relevant information regarding the report using any of the following processes. The investigator will share with the reporting party and responding party for comment or rebuttal information and documentation considered material to the findings related to the report.

    In addition to reviewing any documents submitted by the reporting party and responding party, the Investigator will try to obtain such other physical or medical evidence relevant to the investigation as the Investigator determines, in his/her judgment, to be necessary, including but not limited to documents, police records, electronic or other record of communications between the parties or witnesses, records or other relevant information. In obtaining such evidence, the investigator will comply with applicable laws and Saint Francis University policies. The Investigator may visit relevant sites or locations and record observations through written or photographic documentation. The investigator will interview the reporting party and the responding party separately and may interview one or both more than once as necessary. The reporting and responding party(s) may be accompanied by their respective advisors. The Investigator will make a good faith effort to contact and interview any witnesses identified by the parties or in the documentation, including those no longer at the University. The investigator may also interview any other individual he or she finds to be potentially relevant to the allegations of the report. The investigator will inform each witness or other individual interviewed that they are prohibited from retaliating against the complainant and respondent or other witnesses. The investigator may contact any expert the Investigator determines is necessary to ascertain the facts related to the report. An expert witness may be contacted for an informal consult or for a professional opinion regarding information learned from the investigation.

    The investigator will prepare a report summarizing and analyzing the relevant facts determined through the investigation, referencing any supporting documentation or statements. The report may include summaries of interviews with the reporting party, responding party, third-party witnesses, experts, and any other individuals with relevant information, photographs of relevant sites or physical evidence, electronic records and forensic evidence. 

    How does a resolution take place?

    The Title IX Team or his/her designee will determine if a conflict resolution is appropriate based upon the willingness of the parties and the nature of the conduct at issue. In a conflict resolution meeting, designated administrator(s) will facilitate a dialogue with the parties to an effective resolution. An incident review can be pursued at any time during the process for any behavior which falls within the University’s policy. It consists of a prompt, thorough and impartial investigation including all evidence and conduct proceedings to determine whether an accused individual is responsible for a violation in question. Once the investigation is completed the investigator(s) will meet with the parties individually to review the findings and the investigation report. The parties may bring an advisor of their choosing to the meeting(s). 


    Who will be responsible for determining the responsive action or sanctions?

    At the conclusion of an incident review, the investigator(s) in consultation as appropriate will determine appropriate sanctions or remedial actions.

    What is the time frame for resolution?

    The investigation and resolution (including appeal) of all reports will generally be completed within one to two weeks. Extenuating circumstances including the complexity and severity of a complaint may arise that require the process to extend beyond two weeks. In general, a reporting party and responding party can expect to receive periodic updates as to the status of the review or investigation. In the event that the investigation and resolution exceed this time frame, the University will notify all parties of the need for additional time and best efforts will be made to complete the process in a timely manner.