Title IX Compliance Office

If you are in immediate danger, CALL 911. You may also call campus public safety if you have security concerns (570)-408-4999. You can report an incident here.


"No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance..."

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 ("Title IX") protects people from discrimination based on sex in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. Programs and activities include: admissions, recruitment, financial aid, academic programs, athletics, housing and employment.

Wilkes University is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination on the basis of sex. Wilkes provides many resources to students, faculty and staff to address concerns relating to discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual misconduct.

SUPPORT SERVICES
University Public Safety
TRAINING RESOURCES & MATERIALS
FEDERAL LAWS

How to Report

If you believe you or anyone else is in imminent danger, call 911 or the University's Police Department at 570-408-4999.

“Students, faculty or staff who believe they are victims of, or witnesses to harassment should report the incident to the Interim Title IX Coordinator  (philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu; 570-408-4108) for students or Deputy Title IX Coordinator (kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu; 570-408-2034) for employees.  The Title IX Coordinator, or designated Deputy Title IX Coordinator will assist in navigating through Wilkes University’s grievance procedures and explain all resources available to the reporter.

A note about confidentiality:  You may report an incident to any Wilkes University employee, however please know that each employee, except those who work in the Health and Wellness Services Office, are mandatory reporters and therefore obligated to pass the information they receive to the Title IX Coordinator.

Once the Title IX Coordinator receives a report, they will address the complaint and share information with other administrators on a need-to-know basis only.  Confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, however these requests will be seriously considered against a number of other factors, such as overall risk to the complainant and the campus community.

For confidential reporting, contact the Health and Wellness Services Center at Passan Hall; 570-408-4730 during hours: Moday. - Friday,  8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

You can call the after-hours hotline at 570-408-CHAT (2428).

Anonymous reports of gender-based discrimination may be submitted via the online reporting form.

Submit a Report

Students may also contact the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights (800-421-3481) to complain of sex discrimination or sexual harassment including sexual violence.

Policies and Procedures

All student and employee reports of sexual misconduct at Wilkes University are resolved through the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy.

The University's Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy prohibits all forms of discrimination within the campus community.

Sometimes, discrimination involves exclusion from or different treatment in activities, such as admission, athletics, or employment. Other times, discrimination takes the form of harassment or, in the case of sex-based discrimination, can encompass sexual harassment, sexual assault, stalking, sexual exploitation, dating violence or domestic violence.

The Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Coordinator will assist the Complainant in identifying the appropriate University grievance procedure to resolve the complaint in a prompt and equitable manner. The Policy and appropriate Procedures that will typically apply, based on the nature of the complaint, are listed below:

In addition to the grievance procedures offered through the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy, Wilkes University offers support systems; educational and training programs; and other important resources to ensure our students enjoy a community that is safe and free of gender discrimination. Please see the Sexual Misconduct and Harassment webpage for more information on our student prevention programs, support services and resources.

Wilkes University does not tolerate gender-based discrimination in the workplace. In addition to the grievance procedures offered through the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy, employees have training programs and resources in place to assist with reports of sexual harassment or sexual violence. Please see the Employee Policies Manual for more information on employee support services and resources.

Bias Incidents are defined as: conduct or behavior (verbal, nonverbal, or written) that is threatening, harassing, bullying, discriminatory, and is based on a person’s identity or affiliation such as race, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sex, sexual orientation, disability, age, status as a veteran, or any other characteristics prohibited by law (i.e., marital status, citizenship status, etc.).

Examples of Bias Incidents may include defacement of posters or signs, intimidating, or harassing comments or messages, vandalism to personal or University property, or similar acts, if there is evidence that the target or victim was chosen because of one of the factor’s listed above.  To be considered a bias incident, the act is not required to be a crime under any federal, state or local statutes.

Bias incidents are handled through the University’s Equal Opportunity, Harassment, and Nondiscrimination Policy. To report an incident of bias, Wilkes University campus community members and visitors may contact the University’s Title IX Coordinator or file an online and/or anonymous report.

This Policy is not meant to inhibit or prohibit educational content or discussions inside or outside of the classroom that include germane but controversial or sensitive subject matters protected by academic freedom. As a campus community, we value the open exchange of ideas. The Policy is not intended to undermine or weaken these principles; rather it is meant to address those incidents that fall beyond professional and academic discourse.

Hate Crimes are generally defined in federal and state statutes as a criminal offense committed against a person or property that is motivated, in whole or in part, by the offender's bias against the victim’s identity or group affiliation. See Ethnic Intimidation Act (Act 154 of 1982, 18 Pa. C.S. §2710).

The Wilkes University Police Department determines whether a campus incident rises to the level of a hate crime. Such incidents can be reported directly to the University Police Department at (570) 408-4999.

Wilkes University does not tolerate discriminatory conduct including sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct or violence such as sexual assault, intimate partner violence, stalking, sexual exploitation and coercion. Additionally, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) prohibits discrimination based on sex in any educational programs, which includes sexual harassment and sexual violence.  Title IX requires the University, upon becoming aware of any incident of sexual misconduct to respond appropriately to protect and maintain the safety of the University community, including students, faculty and staff. 

Title IX is applicable to Wilkes University students (and employees) studying abroad or on a University sponsored international (or national) trip. If you have experienced or wish to report sexual misconduct, including sexual assault, sexual harassment, intimate partner violence, or stalking, please contact the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator who can assist in arranging resources, support, academic and protective measures, and discuss reporting options. 

While our response may vary depending on the travel program/location, we will endeavor to do everything we can to support students and employees while they are away – including, but not limited to:

  • Assistance in obtaining medical attention.
  • Assistance in reporting an incident (if desired) to the local law enforcement agency.
  • Assistance in filing a formal complaint under the University’s Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures. If the respondent is a member of the Wilkes community, we can hold that person accountable through our Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures. If the respondent is not a member of the Wilkes community, we will still provide support and resources to the reporting party.
  • Assistance in arranging to leave the travel program early (if desired).
  • Academic and personal support.

Reporting for Students

If you are sexually assaulted while abroad:

  • Get to a safe place as soon as possible
  • Contact your Program Director/on-site staff or faculty member to assist in determining where and how to get medical attention
  • Seek medical attention
  • Preserve any evidence (paper bags are best)
  • Once a feeling of safety is achieved, make every effort to save anything that might contain the offender’s DNA, therefore a victim should not:
    • Bathe or shower
    • Use the restroom
    • Change clothes
    • Comb hair
    • Clean up the crime scene
    • Move anything the offender may have touched
  • After immediate concerns are alleviated, the program director will connect you to the Title IX Coordinator for the institution who will work with you to obtain additional resources.

If something occurs that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, talk to the program director who can assist in getting help. You may also reach out to the Title IX Coordinator and/or Deputy Title IX Coordinator directly.

The program director (faculty or staff) is designated as a “responsible employee” and therefore must report all incidents of sexual misconduct to the Title IX Coordinator.

If you would like to speak to a confidential campus counselor, you may call (570) 408-4730 during daytime hours or the confidential support line: (570) 408-CHAT [2428] anytime. 

In addition, Sexual Assault Support and Help for Americans Abroad (SASHAA) can provide support and resources. 

Reporting for Program Directors

When a student in your study abroad program or international (or national) trip reports sexual harassment and/or sexual assault, responding promptly, compassionately, and supportively is imperative.  It is required by Title IX and the Campus SaVE Act -- but also aligns with Wilkes Universities core values of diversity, inclusion and safety.

Wilkes University strives to effectively manage victim needs and promote student safety – and therefore requires Program Directors assistance in doing so. To quickly provide support to a victim, Program Directors should:

  • Designate at least one staff or faculty member on-site to assist in responding to a report of sexual misconduct, especially when a victim will need to navigate medical care and police response where language may be a barrier.
  • Maintain a list of local resources, including sexual assault support resources and counseling/mental health providers to give to victims (consult with insurance carrier providing coverage prior to going abroad).
  • Consider technological access while abroad so that you can assist a victim in contacting University resources (Title IX Coordinator(s), Public Safety, Counseling Center). It will be beneficial to know if there will be technical obstacles such as lack of phone or internet that may impede providing support.
  • Ensure the Program Director has contact information for the following:
    • Local Hospital
    • English-speaking physician if possible
    • Local Police
    • Local Victim Resource Center
    • Local Attorney if necessary

Conduct that violates the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures will not be tolerated on study abroad trips.  Furthermore, employees still maintain their “responsible employee” status and therefore must report any incidents to the Title IX Coordinator as soon as possible.

Should something occur, your first step as the Program Director is to get the victim to a safe place and medical attention if necessary or requested. 

You should get in contact with the Title IX Coordinator as soon as you can thereafter so that the University can work on providing resources for the student.  A report abroad, will trigger the Sexual Misconduct Policy and Procedures and the Title IX Coordinator will work with others to provide a prompt, thorough, and fair response to stop the harassment, remedy it, and prevent recurrence.    

Tips - Be Aware

Every community has different societal expectations. What is appropriate in one community may not be appropriate or expected in another community.  Learn about the location where you are traveling.  Some questions you might find answers to prior to traveling are as follows:

  • What is it like in the host community?
  • How are students assimilated into the host community?
  • What are the safety concerns and how does the organization mitigate those risks?
  • What are the stereotypes of Americans in my host community?
  • How do gender roles differ in the host community?
  • What are the cultural/expected norms for gender?
  • Are there expected ways for an individual to talk with, approach, or act towards each other based upon gender, race, or other characteristic?
  • What are the living, learning, and transportation arrangements?
  • What are the local laws I should be aware of?
  • What are the rules of the host institution?

Travel.state.gov is a great resource to help you get a better understanding of the culture of your destination.

Safety Tips

Wilkes values providing a safe, inclusive, and respectful study abroad experience for our students. Your personal safety is as important while studying abroad as it is at home or on campus.  The following is a short list of tips regarding safety while abroad:
  • Your personal safety is paramount.
  • Maintain a key awareness of your surroundings.
  • Dress in a culturally appropriate way.
  • Travel in groups.
  • Don’t walk home alone.
  • Know local emergency phone numbers.
  • Know your program’s emergencies numbers.
  • Locate the nearest US embassies and/or consulates before you reach your host community.
  • Be aware of local customs (e.g. where and when eye contact is acceptable).
  • Tell someone where you are going, when you plan to return, and what to do if you do not return on time.

Wilkes University Resources

Additional Resources- (Non-Affiliated)

The following information provides resources not affiliated with Wilkes University.

Program Directors

All faculty and staff (except those working in the Health and Wellness Service Center) are “responsible employees” and must report incidents of sexual misconduct they become aware of at home and while abroad.

Grievance Process Pool Training

Title IX staff at Wilkes are listed below, along with the most recent training materials each individual has completed.

Completed Trainings

Note: Completed training materials will be posted in an ongoing basis.

Erica Acosta

Katy Betnar

Sharon Castano

Raymond FeDora

Joseph Housenick

Justin Kraynack

Addy Malatesta

Megan Pitts

Jeanne Rabel

Chad Stanley

Megan Boone Valkenburg

Gretchen Yeninas

LGBTQ Resources

Wilkes University aims to create a safe, inclusive environment for everyone regardless of gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and/or expression.  Accordingly, Wilkes offers support, educational resources and advocacy for the members of our LGBTQA community.

Support Services and Resources Guide (.pdf)

The Safe Space program helps those students of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Questioning community on the Wilkes Campus to identify a supportive faculty/staff member or student group. The visibility of the safe space sticker allows the campus community to identify faculty/staff members and know that they can speak freely with these individuals about LGBTQ issues.

Learn More

As part of Wilkes University’s commitment to provide an inclusive campus environment that is responsive to the needs of our community, single occupancy restrooms are designated in the following on-campus locations.

Building Location of All Gender Restroom(s) Total Number of All Gender Restroom(s)
Alumni House One on first floor and two on the second floor. 3
Library 033 in the basement. 1
Facilities Two on the first floor. 2
UCOM First floor by ROTC and Starbuck. 2
Passan One on each floor. 3
Minor Moat One on each floor. 2
Kirby Hall One on the 1st and 3rd floor and two on the 2nd floor. 4
Bedford 2 on the 1st floor and 1 on the 2nd floor 3
Chase One on the 1st and 3rd floor. 2
Weckesser One on each floor. 3
Weckesser Anex One on the 1st floor. 1
APK One on each floor. 2
Max Roth 109, 205, and 307. 3
32 W. South St. 108, 205, 305. 3
University Towers Suite A HR. 2
University Towers Suite B Institutional research. 1
University Towers Suite C Shine/Grants. 2
Conyngham 204, 210, 315 and one more on the 3rd floor. 4
SLC Two in the basement by nursing and four 1st floor by 101, N239, 310, 419 6

In support of Wilkes University's commitment to provide an equitable and safe experience for students whose birth name and/or legal name does not reflect their gender identity or expression, Wilkes accepts requests from such students to use a preferred first and/or middle name on certain University records. A student's preferred name will be used where feasible in all University systems unless the student's birth name and/or legal name is required by law, deemed necessary by University policy or the student's requested name is determined to be for intent of misrepresentation.

Name Change Form (.pdf)

Awareness Campaigns

Awareness Campaigns are sponsored throughout the year. Information tables, posters, ads, table tents and educational programs are used to bring sexual violence prevention information and awareness to the campus community.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Learn more and help raise awareness during our awareness events throughout the month .

April 2021 Calendar of Events

Red Flag Initiative

April 1

Flags will be displayed across campus to encourage you to #BeColonel and say something when you see a red flag in a friend's relationship.

Wear Teal Day

April 6

Show your support for survivors of sexual harassment and abuse by wearing teal — the color of sexual violence prevention —and post a selfie to Twitter or Instagram using #SAAM2021.

Wilkes Wears Red Day

April 15

Help us demonstrate that we are united in our effort to #BeColonel by standing up against discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct and #BeClear by knowing where to report incidents and find information on support services and resources.

Wear Denim Day

April 28

Support the worldwide event that began after an Italian court case overturned a rape charge because the victim was wearing jeans. Stand in solidarity to show there is no justification when it comes to sexual assault.

Learn More

Be Clear Be Colonel

April 29

Let’s continue to support one another and #BeClear on where to go to report discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct and how to seek support services and resources.  Visit the Henry Student Center between 11am - 1pm to pickup your free "Be Clear, Be Colonel" T-shirt.

The goal of the Be Clear, Be Colonel initiative is to reduce barriers in reporting incidents of discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct. The “Be Clear, Be Colonel” campaign will encourage our entire campus community to:
  • BE CLEAR on recognizing signs of discrimination, harassment, and sexual misconduct.
  • BE COLONEL by continuing to utilize bystander intervention strategies.
  • And BE CLEAR on where and how to report such incidents.

Remember, Your Experience Counts

Let’s #BeClear on where to report, how to report and how to get connected with resources and support services.

Confidential Support Services

Additional Resources

Anonymous Reporting Online Form

Reporting an Incident

Students, faculty or staff who believe they are victims of, or witnesses to harassment can report the incident to:
Philip J. Ruthkosky Ph.D.
Associate Dean Student Affairs
Interim Title IX Coordinator
2nd Floor Passan Hall
570-408-4108
philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu

Deputy Coordinator for Students

Dr. Philip J. Ruthkosky, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Office of Student Affairs
2nd Floor Passan Hall
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
(570) 408-4108
philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu

Deputy Coordinator for Faculty and Staff

Mrs. Kristin Pitarra
Human Resources Director
Human Resources Office
10 East South Street, Suite A
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
(570) 408-2034
kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu

The Title IX Coordinator or designated Deputy Title IX Coordinator will assist in navigating through Wilkes University’s grievance procedures and explain all resources available to the reporter.

Red Flag Campaign banner

The Red Flag Campaign uses a bystander intervention strategy to address and prevent sexual assault, dating violence and stalking on college campuses.

Learn More

The Clothesline Project display

The Clothesline Project is a powerful visual display which creates awareness of the experiences of victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Learn More

Questions? Contact us.

Students, employees or visitors who have questions about policies, grievance procedures, and individual rights or would like to report an alleged incident of gender-based misconduct, can contact the following for support:

Interim Title IX Coordinator

Dr. Philip J. Ruthkosky, Ph.D.
Associate Dean of Student Affairs
Interim Title IX Coordinator
Office of Student Affairs
2nd Floor Passan Hall
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
(570) 408-4108
philip.ruthkosky@wilkes.edu

Deputy Title IX Coordinator

For Faculty, Staff, and Visitors

Mrs. Kristin Pitarra
Human Resources Director
Human Resources Office
10 East South Street, Suite A
Wilkes-Barre, PA 18766
(570) 408-2034
kristin.pitarra@wilkes.edu


Statement on Discrimination Policy

Wilkes University is committed to providing a welcoming environment for all members of our community and to ensuring that all educational and employment decisions are based on individuals' abilities and qualifications.

Wilkes University prohibits discrimination in its educational programs, employment, admissions or any activities on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, age, religion , disability, pregnancy, gender, gender identity and/or expression , sexual orientation, marital or family status, military or veteran status, genetic information, or any other characteristic protected under applicable federal, state or local laws. Discriminatory conduct including sexual harassment and other sexual misconduct or violence such as rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and coercion will not be tolerated.

Consistent with this principle, Wilkes University will comply with state and federal laws such as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act or other applicable state law, Title IX, Title VI and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, the Ethnic Intimidation Act of 1982 (P.L. 537-154) and other laws that prohibit discrimination.

Any member of the Wilkes University community has the right to raise concerns or make a complaint regarding discrimination under this policy without fear of retaliation. Inquiries about this policy statement may be addressed to the University's Title IX coordinator. Anonymous complaints may also be made via the following online form.

Filing A Complaint with the Office of Civil Rights

The Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) enforces Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits sex discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Individuals who believe they were discriminated against on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability, or age can file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights at the information provided below:

Mail or Facsimile:
Office for Civil Rights,
Philadelphia Office
U.S. Department of Education
The Wanamaker Building
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
Telephone: (215) 656-8541
Facsimile: (215) 656-8605
Email: OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov