Employee Disciplinary Proceedings for Reports of Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence and Stalking Against an Employee


Preliminary Assessment

When a report of a potential incident of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking is received, the Title IX Coordinator will conduct a preliminary assessment of the available information. The preliminary assessment may include the following:

1. Evaluating whether the report provides identifying information for the Complainant, Respondent, and/or witnesses to the reported incident

2. Conducting a Preliminary Investigation by gathering additional information from the Complainant, Respondent, and/or witnesses to the reported incident in order to assess the need for additional action by the University

3. Contacting the Complainant, if identified, in order to provide written information regarding the following:

  • The University's commitment to providing support and resources to survivors of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking
  • The Complainant's right to seek medical treatment, as well as an explanation of the importance of preserving forensic and other evidence
  • The Complainant's option to make a report - or to refuse to make a report - to law enforcement, as well as the potential of obtaining a Protection from Abuse or Sexual Violence Protection Order
  • The Complainant's right to invoke formal or informal University disciplinary/resolution processes in connection with their experience, as well as an explanation of what the formal and informal procedural options entail and the Complainant's rights under each
  • The Complainant's right to request appropriate remedial and protective measures, and an explanation of how to request those measures, including:

    1. "No Contact" Directives or Agreements

    2. Academic accommodations, if applicable

    3. Transportation assistance

    4. Modifications to employment situations

  • The University's policy prohibiting retaliation, and its commitment to take prompt action in response to reports of retaliation
  • The Complainant's right to meet with the Title IX Coordinator to discuss their situation, including the procedural options, resources, and support services that may be available in connection with the Complainant's experience
  • The Complainant's right to be accompanied by an advisor of their choosing to any meeting or interview conducted in connection with the reported incident

4. Contacting the Respondent or other witnesses to obtain additional information regarding the reported incident

5. Communicating with University Police & Public Safety and/or or other University administrators in order to determine whether the reported incident triggers obligations under the Clery Act or child abuse reporting laws.

If the Complainant is willing, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will meet with the Complainant for an initial discussion of the Complainant's need for support and/or accommodations, as well as their preference for pursuing formal or informal University disciplinary/resolution processes. Possible outcomes of an initial discussion with a Complainant can include the following:

1. The Complainant may wish/agree for the University to proceed with a Preliminary Investigation or informal process only, which may include contacting the Respondent or other witnesses in order to gather additional information or discuss the reported incident and to assess appropriate next steps. The Complainant will be eligible for appropriate accommodations, and appropriate protective/remedial measures may be provided. The Complainant will also be informed that they may request that the University take formal action in response to the reported incident at a later date. It will also be explained that, while there is no deadline for requesting to invoke the University's formal processes in response to an incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking, the passage of time may impact the University's ability to gather information related to the incident. A timeline for next steps will be reviewed. The Complainant will be advised that there may be occasions where the University determines that additional formal or informal resolution processes are required, even if the Complainant does not express a desire to engage in additional process. The Complainant will be informed of the process by which the University makes such determinations, and will be kept apprised of any decision-making processes as they take place.

2. The Complainant may request that the University proceed with the formal process. The Complainant will be eligible for appropriate accommodations, and appropriate protective/remedial measures may be provided. Additional information necessary to proceed with the formal process will be obtained. A timeline for next steps will be reviewed and when appropriate, additional meetings scheduled.

3. The Complainant may express uncertainty as to what protective/ remedial measures or procedural options they want or need. In such cases, whenever possible, the Complainant will be provided some reasonable period of time to consider their options and communicate whatever needs/preferences they may have. A timeline for next steps will be reviewed and when appropriate, additional meetings scheduled.

4. The Complainant may request that the University keep their identity confidential, which may include a request that the University decline to proceed with any additional fact-gathering, or formal or informal resolution processes with respect to the reported incident. In such instances, the Complainant will be advised of the "Requests for Confidentiality" procedures set forth below, and the University will follow these procedures in evaluating the Complainant's request and in taking appropriate action.

If a decision is reached to institute formal or informal University resolution processes, or to impose remedial or protective measures that will affect the Respondent, the Respondent will be notified of the proposed action by the Title IX Coordinator or their designee, and will receive written notification of the available procedural options and resources available to them through the University and relevant community agencies, as well as the opportunity to meet with the Title IX Coordinator or their designee to discuss the same.

Complainant Requests for Confidentiality/No ActionTitle IX Evaluation Panel

A Complainant may request that the University not share personallyidentifying information with the Respondent, or that the University not pursue an investigation or disciplinary action related to the reported incident. The University will seek to honor Complainant requests for confidentiality/no action whenever they are made, but must do so after balancing the Complainant's wishes with the University's obligation to provide for a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all University community members.

In evaluating a Complainant request for confidentiality/no action, the Title IX Coordinator will submit the Complainant's request to a Title IX Evaluation Panel, which will consider the totality of the circumstances in evaluating the Complainant's request. The composition of the Title IX Evaluation Panel may vary based upon the circumstances of the individual case, but will always include the Title IX Coordinator, a representative from University Police and Public Safety, and a representative from either the University's Office of Student Conduct or Employee Relations/Human Resources. Absent extenuating circumstances, decisions of the Title IX Evaluation Panel will be documented on a Title IX Evaluation Form within one week of a Complainant's request being made.

Factors considered by the Title IX Evaluation Panel may include:

1. The presence of aggravating risk factors, such as;

  • Whether the reported incident suggests a possible pattern of misconduct by the Respondent, by a particular group or organization, or at a particular location;
  • Whether the reported incident involved multiple Respondents;
  • Whether the reported incident involved the use of a weapon, physical violence, or threats of physical violence;
  • Whether the reported incident was facilitated through the use of "date-rape" or similar drugs;
  • Whether the reported incident occurred while the Complainant was unconscious, physically helpless, or otherwise incapacitated at the time that the incident took place;
  • Whether the Complainant is a minor; and/or
  • Whether any signs of planning behavior are present.

2. The potential impact on the Complainant of honoring - or declining to honor - their request;

3. Evidence showing that the Respondent made statements of admission or otherwise accepted responsibility for the reported incident;

4. The existence of any independent information or evidence regarding the reported incident; and

5. Any other available and relevant information.

Depending on the specific circumstances, the presence of one or more of these factors could lead the University to decline the Complainant's request and pursue an investigation or other resolution process.

If a determination is made to honor a request from a Complainant 

The Title IX Coordinator will communicate the decision to the Complainant in a prompt and sensitive manner. The Complainant will be advised that the University's ability to investigate and/or respond to a reported incident while also honoring their request may be severely limited. The University may nevertheless take other appropriate steps designed to eliminate the reported conduct, prevent its recurrence, and remedy its effects on the Complainant and the University community. Those steps may include offering appropriate remedial measures to the Complainant, providing targeted training or prevention programs, and/or providing or imposing other remedies tailored to the circumstances. The Complainant will be advised of any additional steps, and will also be informed of their right to request that the University pursue formal or informal resolution processes at a later date.

If a determination is made not to honor a request from a Complainant

The Title IX Coordinator will communicate the decision to the Complainant in a prompt and sensitive manner. The Complainant will be provided with an opportunity to discuss the determination and to provide feedback regarding the University's proposed course of action in response to the reported incident. The Complainant will also be advised that they may participate in any formal or informal resolution processes with respect to the reported incident, but that they will not be required to do so.

Formal Resolution Process (Employee Disciplinary Proceeding)

If a report of alleged sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence or stalking is made against an employee, a disciplinary proceeding shall be conducted. The proceeding will include a prompt, thorough, fair, and impartial investigation and resolution process. Both the Respondent and Complainant will have the right to be assisted by an advisor of their choosing during any meeting conducted as part of the disciplinary proceeding.

How to File a Complaint

Complaints of alleged incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking committed by a University employee may issue a formal complaint with respect to an in person, electronically, or via phone, by contacting the University's Title IX Coordinator:

Danny Shaha
Office of Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response
222 Boucke Building,
University Park, PA 16801
Phone: 814-867-0099
Email: pua26@psu.edu

Formal Investigations

If a complaint of alleged dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking is filed against an employee, the Title IX Coordinator or their designee will commence the disciplinary proceeding by conducting a formal investigation of the reported misconduct. Investigators will be trained annually on issues related to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking, and victimization, and on how to conduct an investigation and hearing process that protects the safety of victims and promotes accountability.

The University will strive to complete the formal investigation within 60 business days of its initiation. If circumstances require that the proposed 60-day timeline be extended in any particular case, both parties will be notified of the extension and the reason it is being sought.

Determination Report

Upon completion of the formal investigation, a written Determination Report will be provided simultaneously to the Complainant, Respondent, and the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer with authority to impose disciplinary sanctions on the Respondent, or their designee, in accordance with applicable employment policies and procedures. In consultation with the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer, the Title IX Coordinator shall schedule a disciplinary meeting(s) within thirty (30) business days of the date of the Determination Report. The disciplinary meeting(s) shall afford the Complainant and the Respondent separate opportunities to comment on the conclusion and recommendations of the Determination Report. Comments may be in writing or in-person (or both) at the independent discretion of the Complainant or Respondent.

Disciplinary Report

Upon consideration of the Determination Report, along with any additional comments, the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer and the Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the Human Resources Representative and Employee Relations, shall render a decision. If the Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer concludes, by a preponderance of the evidence, that a policy violation occurred, s/he/they will decide on appropriate sanctions and prepare a Disciplinary Report. The Disciplinary Report will include the disciplinary sanctions as well as remedial measures and recommendations for prevention of retaliation.

If the Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer concludes, by a preponderance of evidence, that no policy violation occurred, s/he/they will prepare a Disciplinary Report and the complaint will be documented and closed. Remedial measures, accommodations for the Complainant, and recommendations for the prevention of retaliation may be considered when no policy violation is found. Please refer to AD67 - Disclosure of Wrongful Conduct and Protection from Retaliation and/or AD85 - Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Harassment and Related Inappropriate Conduct for additional information on the prevention of retaliation.

A copy of the Disciplinary Report shall be provided simultaneously to the Complainant, the Respondent, the Human Resources Representative(s) of the employee(s), and the Employee Relations Division of the Office of Human Resources within fifteen (15) business days of the conclusion of the disciplinary meeting. The Title IX Coordinator will maintain a copy of both the Determination Report and Disciplinary Report.

Appeal of Disciplinary Proceeding

In cases of reports of sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence, or stalking against an employee, both the Complainant and the Respondent shall be given simultaneous written notice of their right to appeal from the Disciplinary Report as to findings of policy violation and appropriateness of disciplinary action and recommendations for prevention of retaliation. In cases where the Respondent is a faculty member, academic administrator or other academic employees, appeal shall be to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs. In cases where the Respondent is any other (non-academic) employee, appeal shall be to the Senior Director of Employee Relations. Appeal shall be in writing within fifteen (15) business days of receipt of the Disciplinary Report, and shall list the specific matters to be appealed. Appropriate grounds for appeal are instances where procedural error or previously unavailable relevant evidence could significantly impact the outcome of a case or where a sanction is substantially disproportionate to the findings. Within fifteen (15) business days of the written appeal, the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs or Senior Director of Employee Relations shall issue a Final Determination in writing simultaneously to the Complainant, Respondent, the Human Resources Representative, Title IX Coordinator and the appropriate Dean or Administrative Officer.

Throughout the process outlined above, the Complainant shall be offered appropriate remedial measures and protection from retaliation. The Complainant shall also be informed by the Title IX Coordinator on how to make a criminal report and how to file a complaint with the appropriate state or federal agency along with a copy of AD85.

Burden of Proof

As noted, the standard of evidence for determining whether a violation occurred, specifically when investigating alleged domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, is "preponderance of evidence."

Possible sanctions or protective measures Penn State may impose following a final determination of an institutional procedure

Following a final determination of an institutional procedure regarding domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking, the University may impose the following sanctions or protective measures:

Students

Sanctions up to and including expulsion from the University The following sanctions may be imposed upon any student found to have been responsible for an incident of dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, or stalking. More than one of the sanctions listed below may be imposed for any single violation.

Primary Administrative Sanctions:

  • CONDUCT CONVERSATION: A conduct conversation is used in limited circumstances in very minor level cases. It is formal documentation that the student's misconduct has been discussed and future violations may result in further discipline action.
  • CONDUCT WARNING: A conduct warning is an indication to a student that his/her conduct violated the Code of Conduct and that further misconduct will result in more severe disciplinary action.
  • CONDUCT PROBATION: Conduct probation is assigned for a specified period of time and is intended to foster reflection, responsibility, and improved decision-making. Additional conditions and/or educational programs may be assigned as a component of the probation. Future established misconduct, failure to comply with any conditions or to complete any assignments may lead to a more severe disciplinary action, including suspension or expulsion. Conduct probation may be recorded on the official University transcript when, either due to the serious nature of the offense or when a student's disciplinary history is significant, the Office of Student Conduct determines a notation is merited.
  • CONDUCT SUSPENSION: Disciplinary suspension from the University is assigned for a specified period of time. A suspended student is precluded from registration, participation in any class, activity or program of the University, and residence on campus. In addition, the student is prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Senior Director or designee. During the period of the suspension, a notation will appear on the student's official University transcript.
  • INDEFINITE EXPULSION: Indefinite expulsion from the University is for a period of not less than one calendar year, and re-enrollment must be approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs or designee at University Park or by the Chancellor or designee at other campus locations. During a period of indefinite expulsion, a student is precluded from registration, participation in any class, activity or program of the University, and residence on campus. In addition, the student is prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Senior Director or designee. If a student wishes to return to the University after the period of his or her indefinite expulsion, he/she must request re-enrollment (in writing) from the Senior Director or designee. During the period of the expulsion, a notation will appear on the student's official University transcript.
  • EXPULSION: Expulsion of a student from the University is permanent. A student is precluded from registration, participation in any class, activity or program of the University, and residence on campus. In addition, the student is prohibited from using or visiting University facilities unless special permission is obtained from the Senior Director or designee. Expulsion requires administrative review and approval by the President. The sanction of expulsion is permanently noted on a student's official University transcript.

Secondary Administrative Sanctions:

  • HOUSING REVIEW: Housing Review is implemented when an on-campus student has either breached the terms and conditions of his/her housing contract/lease agreement or has engaged in inappropriate behavior in or near the residence halls. This review is for a specified period of time with the understanding that any further breach of the conditions of their housing contract/ lease agreement, during the time specified, may result in an extension of review of housing contract or a termination of a student's housing contract, or a notice of non-renewal of a lease agreement. A housing review will typically be assigned in conjunction with other administrative sanctions.
  • ROOM REASSIGNMENT: A student is relocated from one housing assignment to another residence hall assignment. This may be a temporary or permanent change of assignment. This sanction should be made after consultation with the residence life staff member. This sanction can be assigned independently or in conjunction with other administrative and active sanctions.
  • LOSS OF HOUSING: Loss of housing permanently separates a student from the University housing program. This separation is typically immediate.
  • LOSS OF PRIVILEGE: Loss of Privilege involves the withdrawal of the use of service, participation in an activity, or withdrawal of privileges consistent with offense(s). Loss of privilege may be imposed separately or in addition to other sanctions.

Active Sanctions:

  • Active sanctions are sanctions that the University reserves the right to assign to students in addition to administrative sanctions. These include, but are not limited to the following: administrative directives, alcohol or drug education, counseling, reflection papers, projects, decision-making workshops/modules, meetings with staff or others, restitution, and sanctioned service.

Other Sanctions:

  • The University reserves the right to impose other sanctions in addition to those listed above in response to specific circumstances of a case.
  • Administrative Directives for No Contact: (Students may request a Directive for No Contact through the Senior Director of Office of Student Conduct or the Director of Residence Life)
  • Restriction from portions of Campus
  • Change in housing assignment
  • Change in course assignment
  • Mandated Psychological Evaluation and/or Counseling
  • Mandated Education

Faculty/Staff

  • Employee termination from the University
  • Unpaid suspension
  • Restrictions from all or portions of campus
  • Change in working facility
  • Mandated education
  • Written reprimand in personnel file
  • Removal from classroom teaching
  • Tenure revocation
  • Withhold salary increase (from one to several years)
  • Removal of endowed chair
  • Removal of emeritus status
  • Removal of graduate school status
  • Termination of research project funding
  • Removal from administrative position

Protecting the Confidentiality of Victims

 All members of the University Conduct Board, Title IX Decision Panel, case managers and investigators have been trained in confidentiality of student records and the provisions of the Family Educational Rights to Privacy Act. Personally identifiable information about the victim, and other necessary parties where appropriate, will be treated as confidential and only shared with persons with a specific need to know who are investigating/adjudicating the complaint or delivering accommodations or protective measures or support services to the complainant. The University does not publish the personally identifiable information of the crime victims in its Annual Security Report or other publicly available disclosures nor does it house identifiable information regarding victims in the campus police department's Daily Crime Log or online. Victims may request that directory information on file be removed from public sources by completing a Request to Withhold Directory Information from posted on the Office of the University Registrar's website.

Education and Prevention Programs

The University engages in comprehensive educational programming to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Educational programming consists of primary prevention and awareness programs for all incoming students and new employees and ongoing awareness and prevention campaigns for the campus community that:

a. Identifies domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking as prohibited conduct;

b. Defines domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking including how those terms are defined in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;

c. Defines what behavior and actions constitute consent to sexual activity in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania;

d. Provides safe and positive options for bystander intervention that may be carried out by an individual to prevent harm or intervene when there is a risk of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, or stalking against a person other than the bystander;

e. Provides information on risk reduction so that students and employees may recognize warning signs of abusive behavior and how to minimize the risk of potential attacks;

f. Provides an overview of information contained in the Annual Security Report in compliance with the Clery Act.

The University has developed an annual educational campaign consisting of presentations that include distribution of educational materials to new students; participating in and presenting information and materials during new employee orientation; presenting programs throughout the year on at least a quarterly basis, including sessions such as:

  • Rape Aggression Defense System (RAD) - in collaboration with University Police. A free 12-hour course for enrolled women students through CWS' Giardini Endowment.
  • Sexual Assault Familiarization Exchange System (SAFE) - in collaboration with University Police. A free 2-hour course by request.
  • Welcome Week/New to Campus Initiative - events with invited speakers to address issues of sexual and gender violence.
  • Student Affairs Development Day.
  • Student affairs campus training and inclusion of campus resources from the CWS website. 
  • Men Against Violence (MAV) and Peers Helping Reaffirm, Educate and Empower (PHREE) - training to fraternities, sororities, residence life, academic classes, and various events to include community involvement.

Sex Offender Registration - Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act 

Megan's Law

Members of the general public may request community notification fliers for information concerning sexually violent predators in a particular community by visiting the chief law enforcement officer in that community. In jurisdictions where the Pennsylvania State Police is the primary law enforcement agency, members of the general public may make such requests at the local Pennsylvania State Police Station in that community. This information is also available on the Pennsylvania State Police "Megan's Law" website (http://www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us).

Affirmative Action Office

Affirmative Action Office
328 Boucke, University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814) 863-0471
Fax: (814) 863-7799

Questions regarding web issues, please contact Tanya Pasko, tvp2@psu.edu


Web page last modified July 14, 2017