Wilkes University

Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures

Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures

Wilkes University prohibits all forms of sexual misconduct. The University conducts programs to educate the campus community about preventing sexual misconduct and assisting alleged victims. In addition, the University has established policies and procedures to adjudicate cases involving alleged sexual misconduct and support systems for victims.

For the purposes of this policy, sexual misconduct, which can occur between people of the opposite sex or people of the same sex, includes but is not limited to:

  • Non-consensual sexual contact and/or intercourse.
  • Any form of sexual assault as defined by 42 U.S. Code § 13925 as any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.
  • Any form of domestic violence as defined by 42 U.S. Code § 13925 to include felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or former spouse or intimate partner of the victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabitated with the victim as a spouse or intimate partner, by a person similarly situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction receiving grant monies, or by any other person against an adult or youth victim who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction.
  • Any form of dating violence defined by 42 U.S. Code § 13925 as violence committed by a person:
  • who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim; and
  • where the existence of such a relationship shall be determined based on a consideration of the following factors:
    • The length of the relationship.
    • The type of relationship.
    • The frequency of interaction between the persons involved in the relationship.
  • Stalking: The Pennsylvania Stalking Law (18 Pa.C.S. § 2709.1) defines stalking as a serious crime. A person commits the crime of stalking when the person either:
  • engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly commits acts toward another person, including following the person without proper authority, under circumstances which demonstrate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person; or
  • engages in a course of conduct or repeatedly communicates to another person under circumstances which demonstrate or communicate either an intent to place such other person in reasonable fear of bodily injury or to cause substantial emotional distress to such other person.
  • Any visual or auditory recording of sexual activity that is made without explicit consent or sharing such without explicit consent is also sexual misconduct.
  • Requests for sexual favors.
  • Any other behavior of a sexual nature that is non-consensual and used for the purpose of coercing, intimidating or threatening another person.

Sexual harassment is also a form of sexual misconduct. However, specific information related to sexual harassment (which is generally defined as unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and/or any other visual, verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature) can be found in the Human Resources Anti-Harassment (including Sexual Harassment) Policy.

For the purposes of this policy, consent to a sexual act is a clear expression of permission and agreement. Consenting persons must act freely, voluntarily, and have knowledge of the act or transaction involved. Consent will not be implied by silence or mere passivity from a state of intoxication or unconsciousness. Lack of consent is implied if there is a threat of violence, if violence is in fact used, or if the accused has taken advantage of a position of influence which that person has over the accuser. Non-consent to a sexual act is a lack of clear expression of consent to a sexual act.

If you believe you are a victim of any form of sexual misconduct, or witness to any form of sexual misconduct:

  • Get yourself or the alleged victim to a safe place as soon as possible
  • Seek immediate medical attention
  • Call 911
  • Notify the Public Safety Office at 570-408-4999 or Human Resources at : (570) 408-4631
  • Preserve any evidence
  • File a report with the Public Safety office or Human Resources Department

Support Services

Wilkes University offers support services victims which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Accompaniment to the hospital (if desired).
  • Access to ongoing information including criminal and University policy options as well as support and advice from campus and/or off campus counselors. Please note that information shared with campus and off campus counselors is confidential; however, alleged sexual misconduct cases brought to the attention of the University through non-confidential sources must be investigated. Efforts will be made to honor confidentiality but cannot be guaranteed.
  • Access to the Employee Assistance Program
  • Accommodations to minimize contact with the alleged assailant
  • Protection from retaliation. Retaliation against a person who files a complaint or participates in an investigation is prohibited by University policy, and by state and federal law.
  • A full explanation of the investigation adjudication process (including timelines, hearing procedures, and the appeals process)
  • Access to a Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator will serve as an impartial observer to assist with any questions or concerns that they may have beginning from the time immediately following the alleged misconduct, through the investigation and to the outcome of hearings and appeals.

Staff Responsibilities and Contact Information

Staff and Faculty: Any member of the University’s staff or faculty becoming directly or indirectly aware that a co-worker, contracted employee, student or other member of the University community is/has been subjected to sexual misconduct should first ensure that the victim seeks care by contacting 911. The staff/faculty member must then ensure that the incident is reported to the Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) or the Public Safety office. The University recognizes that circumstances related to alleged violations may cause employees to feel uncomfortable making a report in person and has established a confidential reporting mechanism to address this issue (see Confidential Reporting Mechanism).

The Chief Human Resources Officer, in conjunction and cooperation with legal authorities will investigate the case; inform the victim and accused of rights and processes; prepare all documents relative to the case; and notify involved parties of the outcome of the investigation. A designee will serve in this role in the Chief Human Resources Officer’s absence.


Deputy Coordinator

Deputy Coordinator

Samantha Phillips

Joseph Housenick

Phillip Ruthkosky, Ph.D.

Title IX Coordinator

Chief Human Resources Officer

Associate Dean, Student Development

10 East South Street, Suite A

10 East South Street, Suite A

2nd Floor, Passan Hall

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766

Phone: (570) 408-3842

Phone: (570) 408-4631

Phone: (570) 408-4108

While the Title IX Coordinator has ultimate oversight responsibility for all Title IX complaints, the Deputy Coordinator(s) will provide direct guidance and supervision in allegations of sexual misconduct involving employees. When an allegation of sexual harassment or violence occurs that involves a student and a member of the University’s staff/faculty or contracted worker, the Title IX Coordinator and Deputy Coordinator(s) will work collaboratively with the appropriate department supervisors.

Reporting an Incident of Sexual Misconduct

Allegations of sexual misconduct are to be reported to the Chief Human Resources Officer. There is no time limit with regard to reporting; however, complainants are encouraged to proceed as quickly as possible. Evidence, witnesses, and even the accused may not be available after a period of time.

The Chief Human Resources Officer (or designee) will work in conjunction with other University offices to accommodate any necessary workplace changes. Once the immediate necessities have been addressed, options available to the complainant with regard to University adjudication and criminal procedures will be explained.

The Investigation

The Human Resources Department, in conjunction with legal authorities, appropriate division head(s) and Legal Counsel will investigate all alleged sexual misconduct and take appropriate actions at conclusion. Any Wilkes University employee that has violated this policy will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.

The University reserves the right to proceed with the sexual misconduct investigation and adjudication independent of any criminal proceeding. Verdicts in criminal court are not determinative of the proceedings held by the University.

The University will make every reasonable effort to protect the confidentiality of the complainant; however, confidentiality may be compromised if it is determined that an investigation will move forward based on several factors including: the seriousness of the infraction; the complainant’s age; whether there have been previous complaints about the accused. The Chief Human Resources Officer will inform the complainant if the University’s ability to respond will be limited when there is a confidentiality request. If the complainant does not wish to move forward with a formal investigation and/or requests confidentiality, Title IX requires the University to investigate and take reasonable action in response to the information.

During the process of investigating the alleged sexual misconduct, additional policy violations may evolve. The University reserves the right to question and sanction those involved in other violations (including the accused and the complainant) following the outcome of the sexual misconduct investigation. The use of alcohol and drugs is not considered a defense against violations of the sexual misconduct policies.

Following the investigation, the accused and the complainant will be notified of the determination in writing. The Human Resources department will maintain all investigatory records.

Effective: 12/17/2012 Revised: 08/2016