Keystone College Policies


Student Sexual Misconduct Policy

Preamble:

Keystone College is a community where the values of integrity, curiosity, civility and learning are embraced. Each member of our community is equally valuable; equally valued as an individual and ultimately responsible for each other and the entire campus community. 

All sexual misconduct is a unique threat to the individual members of the community and to the community itself. Keystone College defines sexual misconduct as a spectrum of conduct and responds accordingly, considering both the severity of the offense and the threat it poses to our campus community.

The purpose of Keystone College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy is to define the forms of sexual misconduct that violate the standards of our campus community; to identify resources and to outline the College’s student conduct process, including the outcomes imposed for violations of the policy. Keystone College complies with Title IX and does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and activities. Sexual harassment, including sexual misconduct as defined in this policy, is a form of sexual discrimination prohibited by Title IX, 20 U.S.C. §§ 1581 et seq. In addition, the College does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender presentation in its educational programs and activities. 

The College will promptly investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct and will take the appropriate actions to protect the safety of the community and individuals involved. The College encourages anyone who has witnessed or who has information pertaining to a potential violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy to take an active role in reporting this behavior. All students of Keystone College are responsible for their actions and behavior, whether the conduct in question occurs on campus or in another location. Off-campus behaviors that do, or have the potential to, adversely affect any member of the Keystone College community or Keystone College fall under this policy.

It is not a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy for someone to stand by without attempting to intervene when they have knowledge about an act of sexual misconduct that is about to take place or is taking place. At the same time, the college community makes the following clear: Bystanders have a positive, moral obligation to take any reasonable and prudent action they can to prevent or stop an act of sexual misconduct from taking place.

I.  Privacy Statement

In any report, investigation, or resolution of an allegation of sexual misconduct, Keystone College will preserve the privacy and confidentiality interests of the individuals’ involved in a manner that is consistent with applicable law, and with principles of thorough investigation, and the safety of the campus community.  

Information regarding any incident of sexual misconduct should be reported to the Dean of Students, Department of Campus Safety and/or the Office of Student Conduct, who will assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the situation. All reports of sexual misconduct will be handled in confidence to the extent allowed by law. The information reported will be shared only with those College employees who assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the complaint, unless the student is under the age of 18. For students under the age of 18, Keystone College employees are obligated by state law to contact ChildLine (PA Department of Public Welfare) and notify them of the report of sexual misconduct. 

If a report of sexual misconduct discloses an immediate threat to the College campus community, where timely notice must be given to protect the health or safety of the community, the College may not be able to maintain the same level of confidentiality. Immediately threatening circumstances include, but are not limited to, reported incidents of sexual misconduct that include the use of force, a weapon, or other circumstances that represent a serious and ongoing threat to Keystone College students, faculty, administrators, staff or visitors. 

Despite Keystone College’s strong interest in having victims of sexual misconduct come forward, the College realizes not every student is prepared to report. If you are a victim of sexual misconduct but are not ready to inform the College, you are encouraged to speak with one of the college counselors in the Student Success Center or Health Services. As health professionals, the counselors of the Student Success Center and Health Services staff are bound by separate laws of confidentiality and will not inform other members of the College under most circumstances, unless there is an imminent safety concern or as otherwise required by law.

II.  Resources and Support Services

Keystone College offers to any party involved in an incident of sexual misconduct assistance and non-judgmental support. Victims of sexual misconduct can expect to be treated with care and respect from the time the institution becomes aware of an incident, through the entire conduct process, and thereafter. The College understands that any party involved in an incident of sexual misconduct will have questions and may need the support of on and off campus services. Any party is encouraged to contact the Student Success Center, Health Services, the Dean of Students, or a S.O.A.R (Sexual Offense Advocate Response) team member for assistance, in addition, to access the resources below.

 24-Hour Resources

*** Campus Safety will file an official report for Keystone College use only and will make the victim aware of their right to report to law enforcement and aid them in this process if they choose. 

*** Overfield and the State Police MUST investigate and file an official police report of the sexual misconduct incident.

ChildLine should be used to report incidents for students under the age of 18

Daytime On-Campus Resources (9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.)

Additional Information for Victims

Reporting: Victims of sexual misconduct can be assured that all reports will be taken seriously and that they will be treated with dignity, respect and in a non-judgmental manner. The College provides resources to victims of sexual misconduct in making decisions, obtaining information about available resources, and assisting if she/he decides to make an official report and/or request resolution. Victims are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action. All victims are afforded the following:

Preserving Evidence: Following an act of sexual misconduct, victims should make every attempt to try to preserve any evidence of an act of sexual misconduct, even if they are unsure if they want to report it. Victims should take the following steps to preserve evidence:

If you have done any of these things, evidence can still be collected and remains important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Investigation and resolution of sexual misconduct: The College is dedicated to upholding its Title IX obligation to assist victims of sexual misconduct by recovering and restoring their sense of self and wholeness. Victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged, but never pressured, to participate in the College’s investigation and hearing process so that the facts of each situation can be explored and responsible parties held accountable for their misconduct, if warranted. Where an allegation of sexual misconduct also appears to raise the possibility of criminal behavior, such as sexual assault, victims are also encouraged to pursue criminal charges against an alleged offender.

When a victim requests that a hearing not occur, the College will make every reasonable effort to comply with that request. There may be exceptional circumstances when the College determines that the continued threat of a situation warrants a hearing despite the request of a victim. The victim will never be required to participate in such a hearing process. Prior to the hearing, the victim will be contacted by the Title IX Officer to discuss the reasoning for the decision.

III. Policy Definitions and Violations

Sexual Misconduct is the overarching term used by the College to identify the conduct that constitutes sexual offenses or behaviors by individuals or organizations that is prohibited by Title IX. For all individuals who are part of the Keystone College community, sexual misconduct that is sufficiently severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive as to substantially disrupt or undermine a person’s ability to participate in or to receive benefits, services, or opportunities of the college is prohibited when such conduct substantially interferes with an individuals’ education performance, or equal access to the college’s resources and opportunities; or such conduct creates an intimidating, hostile, abusive educational environment. The College recognizes that anyone can be a victim or offender regardless of national origin, sexual orientation or gender identity. This policy is utilized by Keystone College to comply with Title IX and to respond promptly to reports of potential sexual misconduct violations, including sexual violence. Violations of the College’s definition of sexual misconduct as set forth about include:

Violation Definitions

  1. Sexual Assault: Having or attempting to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person. Sexual intercourse includes an act of oral, vaginal, or anal penetration, however slight, with an object or body part by any individual upon another person.
  2. Non-Consensual Sexual Contact: Having or attempting to have non-consensual, non- accidental contact of a sexual nature with another person. Sexual contact can include, but is not limited to, touching or kissing another individual. 
  3. Non-Consensual Sexual Intercourse: Any sexual intercourse by a person upon a person, that is without consent and/or by force. Intercourse includes, but is not limited to, vaginal penetration by a penis, object, tongue or finger; anal penetration by a penis, object, tongue, or finger; and oral copulation (mouth to genital contact or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact. 
  4. Sexual Coercion: The use of, or attempt to use, pressure and/or oppressive behavior, such that the application of such pressure or behavior causes the person who is the object of the pressure or behavior to engage in unwelcomed sexual activity. Coercion can take the form of pressure, threats, intimidation, or the use of physical force, either expressed or implied, which places a person in fear of immediate harm or physical injury. Coercion can also take the form of pressure to consume alcohol or other drugs prior to engaging in a sexual act.
  5. Sexual Exploitation: An act or acts attempted or committed by a person for sexual gratification, financial gain, advancement through the abuse or exploitation of another person’s sexuality. This occurs when a student takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited, and that behavior does not otherwise constitute one of other sexual misconduct offenses. Examples include observing individuals without consent, non-consensual audio or videotaping of sexual activity, unauthorized presentation of recordings of a sexual nature, prostituting another person, allowing others to observe a personal consensual sexual act without the knowledge or consent of all involved parties, and knowingly exposing an individual to a sexually transmittable infection or virus without his or her knowledge.
  6. Stalking: A course (more than once) of non-consensual conduct directed toward another person that could be reasonably regarded as likely to alarm, harass, or cause reasonable fear of harm or injury in that person, or in a third party, such as a roommate or friend. The feared harm or injury may be physical, emotional, or psychological to personal safety, to property, to education, or to employment. Stalking may include, but is not limited to, unwelcomed and repeated visual or physical proximity to a person, repeatedly conveying oral or written threats, extorting money or valuables, implicitly threatening physical conduct, or any combination of these behaviors directed at or toward a person.
  7. Cyber-Stalking: A particular form of stalking in which electronic media such as the internet, social networks, blogs, cell phones, texts, or other similar devices or forms of contact are used to pursue, harass, or to make unwelcomed contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion. Some examples of cyber-stalking include, but are not limited to, unwelcomed/unsolicited emails, instant messages, and messages on on-line bulletin boards. It also includes, but is not limited to, unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends, co-workers, or sending/posting unwelcomed and unsolicited messages with another username.
  8. Harassing Conduct: Intentionally targeting an individual or group with conduct that (1) is unrelated to any legitimate purpose, (2) could reasonably be regarded as so severe, persistent, or pervasive as to interfere with or limit the victim’s ability to participate in or benefit from the experience of being a student at Keystone College, and (3) is related to the targeted individual or group’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender presentation. Harassing conduct may occur in a single egregious instance or may be the cumulative result of a series of incidents and may include, but is not limited to, acts of verbal, nonverbal, or physical aggression, intimidation, or hostility based on sex, sexual orientation, or gender presentation, even if those acts do not involve conduct of a sexual nature, as prohibited by Title IX. 

    Keystone College recognizes that Harassing conduct related to an individual’s sex, sexual orientation, or gender presentation can occur in conjunction with conduct related to an individual’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age or disability. Targeting individuals on the basis of these characteristics is a violation of the College’s Student Code of Conduct and Student Code of Ethics. In these situations, the College will address, at the investigation and resolution stages, the harassing conduct related to the targeted individual’s sexual orientation, or gender presentation together with the conduct related to the targeted individual’s race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age or disability. 
  9. Domestic Violence: A pattern of abusive or violent behavior in any intimate relationship (marriage, cohabitation, dating or within the family) that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner. Domestic violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability sexual orientation, gender or gender identification. Domestic violence can take many forms including, but not limited to, physical aggression, physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, and psychological abuse.
  10. Dating Violence: A pattern of abusive or coercive behaviors used to maintain power and control over a former or current intimate partner. Dating violence can happen to anyone regardless of race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, age, disability sexual orientation, gender or gender identification. Dating violence  can take many forms including, but not limited to, sexual abuse, threats, physical violence, verbal, mental, or emotional abuse / blackmail, social sabotage, psychological manipulation and stalking.
  11. Hate Crimes based on Gender or Sexuality: A crime, usually violent, motivated by prejudice or intolerance toward an individual based upon that individual’s gender or sexual orientation.
  12.  Retaliation: Acts or attempts to retaliate or seek retribution against anyone involved or connected to an allegation and/or resolution of sexual misconduct.
  13.  Complicity: Assisting, facilitating, or encouraging the commission of a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy.
  14. Force: The use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access.  Force also includes threats, intimidation (implied threats), and coercion that overcomes resistance or produces consent.  There is no requirement that a person has to resist the sexual advance or request, but resistance is a clear demonstration of non-consent. The presence of force is not demonstrated by the absence of resistance. Sexual activity that is forced is by definition non-consensual, but non-consensual sexual activity is not by definition forced. 
  15. Intimate Partner Violence (IPV):  Physical, sexual, or psychological harm by a current or former partner or spouse. This type of violence can occur among heterosexual or same-sex couples, whether cohabitating or not, and does not require sexual intimacy. IPV can vary in frequency and severity, can occur on a continuum, and can include acts of physical violence, sexual violence, threats of physical or sexual violence, or psychological or emotional violence. Psychological or emotional violence is a broad term that results in trauma to a victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics, and can include acts of humiliation, intimidation, isolation, stalking, and harassment.
  16. Intimidation: An act that coerces or inhibits an individual by threats or by instilling fear.
  17.  Responsible Employee: A “responsible employee” is a College employee who has the authority to redress sexual violence, who has the duty to report incidents of sexual violence or other student misconduct, or who a student could reasonably believe has this authority or duty.

Other Definitions 

IV.  Reporting Options

Keystone College’s response to sexual misconduct allegations is pursued in three stages:   report, investigation, and resolution. At each of these stages, the College is committed to maintaining fairness for all parties and to balancing the needs and interests of the individuals involved with the safety of the community as a whole.

Victims of sexual misconduct are encouraged to report. When reporting an allegation of sexual misconduct, victims have four options: (1) informing the College without pursuing any further resolution, including the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy hearing process or the criminal justice system; (2) invoking the College’s Sexual Misconduct Policy hearing process but not the criminal justice system; (3) invoking the criminal justice system but not the College’s Sexual Misconduct hearing process; (4) invoking both the College’s Sexual Misconduct hearing process and the criminal justice system. If a victim under the age of 18 reports to the College, the College is obligated to contact ChildLine. (Note: Invoking the criminal justice system is an option only if the conduct may have violated the law).

Conduct may constitute a violation under this policy even if law enforcement agencies decline to prosecute or if a respondent has been found not guilty in the legal system.

Statement on Amnesty: The College encourages reporting and seeks to make the procedures for reporting transparent and straightforward. The College will generally not seek to hold any student reporting sexual misconduct accountable for his/her own violations of the Student Code of Conduct in which the reporting party may have been involved at or near the time of the event, provided that any such violations did not and do not place the health and safety of any person at risk. This means that students reporting sexual misconduct will generally not face disciplinary action due to those violations (e.g. underage drinking). However, if a reporter is to be held accountable for his/her own misconduct, such violations will be reviewed in conduct proceedings separate from the sexual misconduct proceedings.

Individuals are encouraged to report alleged sexual misconduct immediately in order to

maximize the College’s ability to respond promptly and effectively. Keystone College does not limit the timeframe for reporting. If any party involved in a complaint is no longer a student, the College will still take steps to meet its Title IX obligation by taking steps to end the behavior, prevent its recurrence, and address its effects. If the accused individual is no longer a student, that step cannot involve a hearing. Reports can be made in the following manner:

Option 1: Informing a Keystone College employee: The Dean of Students of Campus Safety are the primary administrators at the College charged with ensuring reports are investigated and resolved. Students may file a complaint directly with either the Dean of Students or the Director of Campus Safety.

If information regarding an incident of sexual misconduct is shared with an employee of

Keystone College, the employee is required to report this information to the Dean of Students or the Director of Campus Safety, who will assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the situation. Victims have the option to share as much or as little information as they are comfortable disclosing, and the College will keep the information private, unless under the age of 18. Once it is disclosed, the employee will share the details, including any individuals identified, with the Dean of Students or the Director of Campus Safety. The information will be shared only with those College employees necessary to assist in the investigation and/or resolution of the complaint. All reports of sexual misconduct will be handled in confidence, to the extent allowed by law. Generally, the Title IX Coordinator will contact the victim as the first step in their investigation. Trained Title IX Deputy Officers who can also offer assistance are available in the following offices:

In every situation reported, the College, with the assistance of the Department of Campus Safety and the Dean of Students, will make an immediate assessment of any risk of harm to individuals or to the campus community and will take measures necessary to address those risks.

Option 2: Reporting to Department of Campus Safety and other law enforcement

agencies: Victims can choose to make a report directly to the Department of Campus Safety. Campus Safety will notify the Dean of Students and the Title IX Coordinator. Campus Safety in conjunction with the Dean of Students, Title IX Coordinator, and the Coordinator of Student Conduct will then investigate the incident in a manner that ensures fairness to all parties involved, and take those measures necessary to provide for the safety of the individual and of the College community.

Victims also have the option of reporting directly to an outside law enforcement agency. To the extent permitted by applicable law, Keystone College will cooperate with outside investigators. However, outside law enforcement agencies do not respond to Title IX violations, and will only respond to allegations of criminal behavior. As a result, the College encourages reporting to both the College itself – through the Department of Campus Safety, the Title IX Coordinator or any other offices listed in option 1 – and to an outside law enforcement agency, if the alleged sexual misconduct may also be a crime.

Because the goals and objectives of the College's Sexual Misconduct Policy differ from those of the civil and criminal justice systems, in situations which give rise both to violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and to violations of local, state or federal law, student conduct proceedings generally move forward without regard to pending civil or criminal proceedings.

Proceedings under the College's Sexual Misconduct Policy may be carried out prior to, simultaneously with, or following civil or criminal proceedings off-campus. On-campus resolution does not preclude or limit a student's access to the state and federal justice systems.

If a victim reports sexual misconduct committed by an individual who is not a member of the College community, the victim can speak with the Title IX Coordinator and the Department of Campus Safety to discuss options such as contacting other law enforcement authorities and/or removing the individual(s) from campus. If an individual accused of violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy is a guest, the host may be held accountable for his or her guest’s behavior.

Option 3: Students can file a report by contacting any member of the S.O.A.R (Sexual Offense Advocate Response) Team. Brochures detailing the S.O.A.R. team members and services are available in the Student Success Center, Health Services, Campus Safety, Residence Life, Commuter Life and the Office of Student Conduct. A member of the S.O.A.R team can be reached after hours by calling the Department of Campus Safety. When contacting Campus Safety just state that you wish to speak to a S.O.A.R team member and name a specific member you wish to speak with. If you do not know anyone on the S.O.A.R. Team, Campus Safety can tell you the names of the team members who are on the S.O.A.R. team and then pick a member. The Campus Safety Officer will contact the S.O.A.R. team member for you and will not ask any specific information other than a phone number where you can be reached. After the Campus Safety Officer has called the S.O.A.R. team member, the member will contact you at the number you gave to Campus Safety.

No retaliation: An individual reporting sexual misconduct is entitled to protection from retaliation for a report that is made in good faith, even if it is determined that the information was wrong or cannot be proven.

False accusation: A good-faith complaint that results in a finding of a person not responsible is not a false or fabricated accusation of sexual misconduct. The College takes the validity of information very seriously. A fabricated accusation of sexual misconduct is an especially serious violation of the Acts of Dishonesty provision of the Student Code of Conduct.

V. PROCESS FOR INVESTIGATING REPORTS OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT

The College’s responsibility to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct exists regardless of whether that investigation culminates in a hearing and exists independently of the criminal justice process. The investigation process will be thorough, prompt, and impartial.

The first step of an investigation will usually be a preliminary interview by the Department of Campus Safety, the Dean of Students and/or the Title IX Coordinator with the reporter of sexual misconduct. If a student does not wish to pursue resolution of any potential violations of the Sexual Misconduct Policy through the hearing process, the College will use the information gathered to evaluate, and if necessary, provide for the safety of the College campus community. All College investigations will take place in compliance with applicable laws and college policies, including laws and policies pertaining to student privacy and confidentiality. If a hearing has been requested, the investigator will collect all relevant information for the hearing panel for its consideration and evaluation.

The College will also take appropriate interim measures to protect the parties involved. This can include, but is not limited to, the imposition of No Contact Directives or interim suspension. The Dean of Students, or his/her designee, may limit a student or organization’s access to certain College facilities or activities pending resolution of the matter. In other cases, the Dean of Students, or his/her designee, may place a student or organization on interim suspension in response to a report of sexual misconduct where that misconduct poses an ongoing risk of harm to the safety or well-being of an individual or members of the campus community. Pending resolution of the situation, the student or organization may be denied access to campus. During interim suspension, a student may continue his/her coursework as outlined in the interim suspension letter. When interim suspension is imposed, the College will make reasonable efforts to complete the investigation and hearing (but not appeal), when a hearing is required, within two weeks of the interim suspension implementation.

VI. PROCESS FOR RESOLUTION

The resolution of sexual misconduct allegations takes three forms, which correlate to the type of process pursued.

No Hearing

When a hearing will not take place, the College will inform, in writing, the student and the alleged offender (if s/he is aware of the allegation and investigation) when the investigation has concluded.

Voluntary Resolution

Voluntary resolution will be utilized only when the Title IX Coordinator and/or Dean of Students or his/her designee has determined this is a suitable option for resolving the concern, and both the complainant and respondent agree to use the process. Sexual assault allegations cannot be resolved using this process; they must go to a panel hearing. Voluntary resolution is used in situations where, based upon the conduct at issue, the likely outcome in a panel hearing would not alter a student’s or an organization’s status with the College. Amicable and respectful discussion must be honored by all parties throughout the process.

One or more of the following remediation options may be utilized as part of the voluntary resolution process: restorative conferences with a college community member or conflict mediation. Regardless of which option is used, the success of voluntary resolution requires that the meeting(s) include honest and candid dialogue, input from the parties involved, an acknowledgement and understanding of responsibility by the parties involved, and a resolution that is agreed upon by all participants. The resolution achieved in each situation will be based upon the specific incident under consideration.

Because the outcomes of voluntary resolution process are mutually developed and agreed upon by parties involved, an appeal of the process and its result is not permitted. If the parties are unable to agree on the outcomes of the voluntary resolution proceeding, any party may request that the matter be resolved through the panel hearing process. No statements made during the voluntary resolution process may be used during the hearing panel proceedings. However, if information is shared that clearly suggests that this Policy’s definition of sexual assault has been violated, then the voluntary resolution process must end immediately and the hearing panel process initiated.

Panel Hearing Process

For all other allegations of sexual misconduct, a panel hearing is utilized. The Coordinator of Student Conduct or his/her designee makes a preliminary determination, in conjunction with the Dean of Students, whether a student and/or organization may have violated the Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or any other College policies based upon the investigative report and materials submitted by the investigator (usually the Department of Campus Safety, the Department of Residence Life, or the Office of Student Conduct).

A sexual misconduct hearing panel is also empowered to hear allegations of, and to impose sanctions for, any violations of the Keystone College Student Code of Conduct directly related to the alleged incident of sexual misconduct.

In any hearing the complainant and respondent have the right to be assisted by an advisor.

When a hearing is deemed necessary, the Coordinator of Student Conduct or his/her designee will contact the complainant and respondent and ask each party, together with his/her advisor, to meet individually to receive an explanation of the panel hearing process and to ask any questions before the hearing occurs. If the respondent and/or complainant have elected to have advisors throughout the hearing process, they are encouraged to accompany them to this initial meeting. At that meeting, each party will have an opportunity to strike up to two members from the hearing panel pool. Parties may petition to have additional panelists removed provided they can demonstrate that a potential for bias exists.

Once both parties have met with the Coordinator of Student Conduct or his/her designee, and the investigation is completed, a notice letter is sent to the complainant and the respondent. The letter provides both parties with a statement of the policy violation(s) that are alleged to have taken place and a summary of the facts underlying the allegations. In addition, the letter also provides a student or organization with the date, time, and place of the hearing, as well as the name(s) of the person(s) hearing the case.

All parties will be notified to pick up copies of hearing documents from the Office of Student Conduct no later than forty-eight (48) hours before the hearing is to begin. If either party wishes to call witnesses, the following must be submitted no later than thirty-six (36) hours before the hearing to the Coordinator of Student Conduct via e-mail or in hardcopy format:

The Coordinator of Student Conduct will determine if the witnesses have relevant information. If witnesses are approved to be present, the respondent and complainant are provided with a list of witnesses and any relevant documents related to their appearance at the hearing no later than twenty-four (24) hours before the hearing. All parties have the opportunity to ask questions of witnesses, regardless of who called them to the hearing.

Panel Composition: Sexual misconduct violations will be reviewed by a hearing panel. The hearing panel consists of three members of the College community: a student, a faculty member, and an administrator / staff member. The individuals who serve as panelists are chosen from a pool of eligible panel members. For more information regarding panel composition, see Student Code of Conduct, Article VI: Student Conduct Policies and Procedures, Section D: Student Conduct Board Hearing Overview.

All hearing panelists, individuals managing a voluntary resolution process, and appellate officers must participate in training on non-discrimination, harassment, and the proper adjudication of sexual misconduct allegations. The training will be coordinated by the Office of Student Conduct in conjunction with campus and external partners. The training includes, but it not limited to, burden of proof, standard of proof, questioning parties and witnesses, assessing credibility and relevance of information, determining consent, determining incapacitation, victim/offender behavior, and sanctioning.

Participants in Hearing Procedures: The individuals from our community who may appear before a hearing panel are: the complainant, the respondent, any individuals serving as advisors, and any individuals who appear as witnesses. The complainant, respondent, and panel all reserve the right to call witnesses. Witnesses must have observed the acts in question or have information relevant to the incident and cannot be participating solely to speak about an individual’s character.  The Coordinator of Student Conduct will facilitate the hearing board.

Hearing Procedures: Presentation of Evidence – The following order of presentation will be followed in formal hearings:

  1. Opening statement by Coordinator of Student Conduct. This must include presentation of alleged violation(s).
  2. Statement of complaint by complainant or Coordinator of Student Conduct.
  3. Presentation of witnesses and/or evidence supporting the alleged violations(s), including questions directed to the witnesses.
  4. Statement of the respondent student.
  5. Presentation of witnesses and/or evidence by the respondent student, including questions directed to the witnesses and follow-up questions directed to the respondent student.
  6. Closing statement by complainant.
  7. Closing statement by respondent student.
  8. The Coordinator of Student Conduct brings hearing to closure.
  9. The Coordinator of Student Conduct shall have the final decision on what evidence may be presented and the tone of the questioning, and may place limits on length of testimony at any time.

Deliberation

  1. The All-College Student Conduct Board shall decide in closed deliberations if a preponderance of the evidence exists that the respondent student violated the stated provision(s) of the Student of Code of Conduct.
  2. Deliberation is not part of the hearing; no verbatim record will be kept.
  3. The hearing body’s determination of “in violation” or “not in violation” shall be based solely on the information presented at the hearing using the standard of “preponderance of evidence.”
  4. Prior records of disciplinary action and victim impact statements are considered by the hearing body only in the sanctioning phase of deliberations.
  5. A formal decision email and letter will be sent to the student within ten (10) calendar days of the conclusion of the hearing body’s deliberation.

Attendance at Hearings & Special Provisions: If a party does not attend a hearing, for any reason other than an emergency, the hearing may be held in his/her absence. Either party can request to have a hearing rescheduled. Requests to reschedule must be submitted to the Coordinator of Student Conduct at least two business days prior to the hearing. Requests must come directly from the individual receiving a notice letter.  If a hearing must be held at or after the end of the semester and a full hearing panel cannot reasonably be convened, those cases may be heard by three trained sexual misconduct panelists from the pool of trained sexual misconduct hearing officers.

Complainants Rights:

Respondents Rights:

VII.  RESOLUTION OUTCOMES

Consistent with the U.S. Office of Civil Rights requirements, the hearing panel will determine a respondent’s responsibility by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the panel will decide whether it is “more likely than not,” based upon the information provided at the hearing, that the respondent is responsible for the alleged violation(s). If it is determined that a violation has occurred for which the respondent is responsible, the panel will determine sanctions taking into account past disciplinary action for which the respondent has been found responsible.

Hearing panels that find a student or organization responsible for a violation of the Sexual Misconduct Policy and/or Community Standards will impose appropriate sanctions. Sanctions may be issued individually, or a combination of sanctions may be imposed. The determination of sanctions is based upon a number of factors, including: the harm suffered by the victim; any ongoing risk to either the victim or the community posed by respondent; the impact of the violation on the community, its members, or its property; any previous conduct violations; and any mitigating or aggravating circumstances.           

In appropriate cases, a panel may determine that student misconduct was motivated by bias, insofar as a victim was selected on the basis of his or her race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender expression, age or disability. Where the panel determines that student misconduct (such as stalking, property damage, trespass, etc.) was motivated by bias, the panel may elect to increase the sanction imposed as a result of this motivation. See Table 1, below, for a list of violations and the range of possible sanctions.

Possible Sanctions

Any of the following sanctions may be imposed on a student, a group of students, or a student organization. Violations of the Student Code of Conduct may result in one or more of the following sanctions:

  1. Warning - A notice in writing to the student that the student is violating or has violated the Student Code of Conduct or other College policies or regulations.
  2. Probation – Probation is for a designated period of time and includes the deferment of more severe disciplinary sanctions.  If the student is found to be violating any College policies or regulations during the probationary period, more severe disciplinary sanctions will be automatically applied by the Coordinator of Student Conduct.
  3. Loss of Privilege – Denial of specified privileges for a designated period of time.
  4. Restitution – Full payment for the cost of material(s) and labor for repair or replacement of damaged, destroyed, stolen property, etc.
  5. Fines – Monetary sanction for violations. 
  6. Educational Sanction – An assignment such as a public presentation and/or researched paper on a designated topic.
  7. Formal Apology - A written and/or verbal expression of one’s regret, remorse or sorrow for having insulted, failed, or injured or wronged another.
  8. Behavioral Contract – A document signed by the respondent student or others involved in a particular incident or situation which outlines certain restrictions or requirements which must be followed over a designated period of time.

 

The College identifies the following as standard sanctions for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy when a formal hearing is utilized. These standard sanctions are specific to the student’s status at the institution. Students found responsible for sexual misconduct via the formal hearing process can expect to have additional sanctions to assist in his/her learning and/or the safety of the campus and victim. In cases where the Voluntary Resolution Process is used, lesser sanctions may be appropriate but must be agreed upon by all parties. 

Notice of Hearing Panel

The hearing panel will communicate the result of the hearing and any sanction(s) to the respondent and the victim. Generally, the outcome of the hearing will be final and communicated to the parties within five (5) business days from the date the hearing concluded and will be provided in writing. 

Table 1: Violations and standard range of sanctions 

Violation

Standard Sanction Range

Sexual Assault

One-Year Suspension to Expulsion

Non-Consensual Sexual Contact

Probation to Expulsion

Sexual Coercion

Probation to Expulsion

Harassing Conduct

Warning to Suspension

Sexual Exploitation

Probation to Expulsion

Stalking

Probation to Expulsion

Cyber-Stalking

Probation to Expulsion

Domestic Violence

Probation to Expulsion

Dating Violence

Probation to Expulsion

Retaliation

Probation to Expulsion

Complicity

Warning to Suspension


VIII. 
APPEALS PROCESS

Hearing panel decisions can be appealed by either party within three (3) business days from the time of notification of the decision by the Office of Student Conduct. The appeal may be based only on one or more of the following grounds:

*If an appeal is based on excessive harshness or leniency, the outcome of the appeal outcome must still be within the outlined range for the violation

Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Dean of Students. The appeal shallc  onsist of a plain, concise, and complete written statement expounding on the grounds for the appeal. The Dean of Students or his/her designee shall determine whether grounds for appeal have been met. If they have, the appeal will be heard by a panel of three new hearing panelists comprised of a student, administrator, and faculty member. When an appeal has been submitted, the Dean of Students will notify both parties. All parties will be notified by the Dean of Students in writing if the appeal is scheduled. The non-voting Coordinator of Student Conduct may or may not be the same as on the original panel.

The appeals panel shall consider the merits of an appeal only on the basis of the information provided in the written request for appeal and the record of the original hearing. Appellate panels or officers can affirm the original findings, alter the findings, and/or alter the sanctions, depending on the basis of the requested appeal. If new and relevant information is presented and the appeal panel deems this information so significant that the hearing needs to be reopened, the appeal panel will ask the original panel to reconvene to consider the information and render a determination after considering the new facts. If the appeal is based on procedures not having been followed, and the appeal panel deems that information to be clear and convincing, the appeal panel can ask that a new hearing occur comprised of a new panel of hearing officers.

In cases where the sanction alters the status of the student or organization, the panel may request to meet with the hearing officers, respondent, and/or the complainant to seek clarification of the hearing record only. Any decision of the appeals panel shall be made by majority vote. The vote itself shall not be shared with the parties. The parties will be advised only of the decision on responsibility. The appeals panel must be persuaded to act by clear and convincing reasons. 

The appeal panel will communicate the result of the appeal to the respondent and the victim within five (5) business days from the date the hearing concluded and will do so in writing. All appeals panel decisions are final. 

The appeal may be based only on the grounds that (1) procedures set forth in the Sexual

Misconduct Policy were not followed by the appeals board, (2) the sanctions imposed by the appeals board were excessive for the violation, or (3) new or relevant information, not available at the time of the hearing, has arisen.

If an appeal must be held at or after the end of the semester and/or a full appeal panel cannot reasonably be convened, those cases may be heard by two or more trained sexual misconduct hearing panelists.

IX. STUDENT RECORDS & CONFIDENTIALITY

All resolution proceedings are conducted in compliance with the requirements of FERPA, the Clery Act, Title IX, Campus SaVE Act. and College policy. No information shall be released from such proceedings except as required or permitted by law and College policy.

It is generally the policy of Keystone College to obtain consent from a student before releasing to parents information from a student’s education record, including the disciplinary proceedings of the College. However, where in the judgment of the College the release of such information to parents is appropriate and is not otherwise prohibited by FERPA or other applicable laws, the College reserves the right to release information without student consent. The College’s complete FERPA policy may be found on the College website.

Voluntary resolution is an administrative proceeding, and matters resolved through this method of informal resolution are not part of a student’s conduct file, subject to the exception noted in the Student Code of Conduct. 

Affirmative findings of responsibility in matters resolved by the panel hearing process are part of a student’s conduct record. If a student has been found responsible for violating the Sexual Misconduct Policy by the panel hearing process, all records of matters addressed by informal or voluntary resolution shall be transferred to and become a part of a student’s conduct record. Such records shall be used in reviewing any further conduct, or developing sanctions, and shall remain a part of a student’s conduct record. 

Generally suspension, expulsion, and withdrawal pending disciplinary action are permanently noted on a student’s transcript. The conduct files of students who have been suspended or expelled from the College are maintained in the Office of Student Conduct for no fewer than five years after their departure from Keystone College. Further questions should be directed to the Coordinator of Student Conduct. Records of disciplinary action involving organizations (other than suspension or expulsion) are destroyed after five (5) years. 

Students who declare an interest in studying abroad through the Center for Global Learning Committee are subject to a conduct record check. Information that will be shared with the Office of Global Learning Committee includes, but is not limited to, determination of sexual misconduct violations. It is within the sole discretion of the College, through the Center for Global Learning Committee, to determine whether a student who has violated College policy is eligible to study abroad. Students with disciplinary issues may not be able to go if it is a Keystone College faculty-led trip. If the trip is with an outside company, Keystone College may not accept their credits or coursework.  Consideration and qualification for study abroad may be affected by a student’s disciplinary record. 

Reporting to the College Community

Information regarding incidents of sexual misconduct is published annually in the Campus Crime Report by the Office of Campus Safety and placed on the Keystone College website.  For additional information or concerns, individuals may also contact the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Human Resource’s office. 

EDUCATION AND PREVENTION

Keystone College takes sexual misconduct seriously and makes every effort to educate the entire campus population.  Through the Office of Student Conduct, students are made familiar with the College’s policy.  This occurs on several occasions, a general meeting with freshman residents the night of move-in, where all major campus policy is discussed.  The Coordinator of Student Conduct will visit First Year Seminar classes and explain the policy in the classroom.  The Coordinator of Student Conduct, in conjunction with the Student Success Center, will also plan and coordinate events where this information is broadcast to its student population.  The Student Success Center offers a wide variety of programs through various initiatives that educate and empower students on this issue. 

TRAINING

Members of campus are invited to attend S.O.A.R. (Sexual Offense Advocate Response) Training once a year.  This training is conducted by the Victims Resource Center in Scranton, PA.  The training covers advocacy, the College’s policy, and federal, state, and local mandates.  The Title IX Coordinator, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean of Students, advocates, Campus Safety, Coordinator of Student Conduct and Residence Life are required to attend this training.  Each department is responsible for educating its staff on this issue and College policy in regards to sexual misconduct.  

9/15/2014

Contact Information

Student Affairs

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