Anti-Discrimination and Complaint Procedures Policy
Marywood University (the “University”) “honors the uniqueness and dignity of each human person” (Core Values of Marywood University, Respect). The University declares and affirms a policy of equal educational and employment opportunity and non-discrimination in its educational programs and all other activities that it operates both on and off University property. Marywood is committed to maintaining a comfortable, healthy and safe learning, living and working environment for all members of the Marywood community. Marywood University does not condone and will not tolerate discrimination, harassment, or assault regardless of whether the action is based on race, sex (including sexual harassment, sexual violence and pregnancy), color, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, creed, ancestry, religion, disability, marital status, military/veteran status, genetic information, whether an individual has a GED, use of a guide or support animal, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local law.
Marywood University does not discriminate on the basis of sex in its educational programs and in other activities operated by the University and is required by Title IX, and specifically 34 C.F.R. Part 106.9, not to discriminate in such a manner. This extends to employees of and applicants for admission to Marywood University. Inquiries concerning the application of Title IX may be directed to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator for the University, or to the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Education, Philadelphia, PA (see below for contact information).
Any individual who believes s/he has been subject to discrimination on the basis of sex is encouraged to file a grievance consistent with the University’s Sexual Misconduct and Complaint Procedures Policy.
Marywood University is committed to taking all necessary steps to comply with any obligations it may have under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, Title IX of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, and the Campus SaVE Act of 2013. These are explicit civil and legal applications of the formulation of beliefs already cherished in Marywood’s religious commitment, objectives, and practices.
Marywood University will make reasonable accommodations to known physical or mental limitations of otherwise qualified individuals with disabilities unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the University. Any person who believes he or she may require such accommodation should contact the Associate Vice President for Human Resources and Affirmative Action Officer.
The Marywood University Anti-Discrimination Policy applies to all faculty, staff, administration, employees, students, volunteers and visitors on campus property. Additionally, the Policy applies to the conduct of all faculty, staff, administration, employees, students, volunteers and visitors at off-campus University-sponsored events, including, but not limited to, academic and educational programming, internships, study abroad programs, athletic events, and all other University programming, as well as to the conduct of all faculty, staff, administration, employees, students, volunteers and visitors occurring off-campus but having an effect on the University’s educational environment.
Marywood will process all complaints reported under this Policy regardless of where the conduct occurred to determine whether the conduct occurred in the context of its educational program or has continuing effects on campus or in an off-campus program or activity.
Anyone believing s/he has been the victim of, or a witness to, or otherwise has reason to believe or become aware of conduct that may be in violation of this Policy by, or involving, any member of the University community, guests, or visitors on University property, any property controlled by the University, including off-campus University sponsored events, or off-campus should report the incident as soon as possible to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators.
Marywood University will take the steps to stop any and all misconduct, prevent its recurrence, and correct its discriminatory effects on the complainant and others.
Individuals reporting an incident under this Policy should contact one of the individuals below:
Dr. Patricia E. Dunleavy, Associate Vice President for Human Resources
Title IX Coordinator– for complaints against a member of the faculty, staff or administration
86 Liberal Arts Center
Mr. Ross Novak, Dean of Students
Deputy Title IX Coordinator – for complaints against students
101 Liberal Arts Center
Ms. Meghan Cruciani, Assistant Vice President for Student Success
Deputy Title IX Coordinator – for complaints against a member of the staff or administration
227 Liberal Arts Center
Any member of the Marywood community may call the University Whistleblower Hot Line at 855-278-2074 and/or use the Internet-based reporting system at http://marywood.ethicspoint.com. See the University Whistleblower Policy for details.
Individuals may also direct inquiries or file complaints with:
Office for Civil Rights,
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
Responsible Employees and Confidential Reports
The University encourages the reporting of incidents that may be in violation of this Policy. Furthermore, all employees of Marywood University (i.e., staff, administrators, and faculty) have an obligation to report all incidents that may be in violation of this Policy. The University understands many people who are the recipient of conduct that may be in violation of this Policy may wish to keep the incident confidential. As such, it is important that complainants, and potential complainants, be aware of confidentiality and mandatory reporting requirements in order to make an informed decision regarding reporting the incident.
Complainants who wish to make a report but do not want the University to take any action are encouraged to consult with a professional counselor, medical professional, or ordained member of the clergy. In general, this includes the following individuals on the Marywood campus: licensed counselors in the Counseling/Student Development Center; and licensed counselors in the Psychological Services Center.
Professional staff in the Student Health Services Center and the University chaplain have an obligation to report, but may withhold personally identifiable information upon request.
As stated above, all Marywood University employees are obligated to report to the Title IX Coordinator or one of the Deputy Title IX Coordinators any information that they receive relating to incidents that may be in violation of this Policy. Therefore, if a complainant does not want the University to take any action, the complainant should consider reporting to one of the truly confidential resources outlined above, as opposed to another employee of the University.
University faculty, staff, and administrators who know, or in the exercise of reasonable care should have known, of conduct that may be in violation of this Policy and who fail to appropriately handle the report of the incident may be subject to disciplinary action.
Marywood University will fully investigate every report. The University will not allow any form of retaliation against individuals who report an incident or who cooperate in the investigation of such reports in accordance with this Policy. Individuals who knowingly make false reports may be subject to sanctions depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular incident.
Cases involving alleged conduct that may violate this Policy demand special attention to issues of privacy. Dissemination of information relating to these cases is limited so as to ensure, as fully as possible, the privacy of the individuals involved, in accordance with applicable law.
Additionally, if the complainant wishes to remain anonymous, does not wish for an investigation to take place, or does not wish to pursue a formal complaint, the complainant may make such a request to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Coordinator. However, the complainant should be advised that the University’s response may be limited, including pursuing discipline. Furthermore, because of the University’s obligation to maintain a safe environment for all members of the University community, the University may not be able to fully honor a complainant’s request and may have an obligation to pursue an investigation without the complainant’s cooperation. When evaluating a request, the Title IX Coordinator will examine certain factors, including whether violence, weapons or alcohol were involved; one of the parties is a minor; there is a pattern; or a continuing threat to the community exists.
In all cases, the University will take preventative measures to preserve confidentiality and privacy to the extent permissible by applicable law.
Complainants have the right to review options and available assistance for interim changes to academic, living, transportation, and working conditions. If the complainant requests such an accommodation, and the accommodation is reasonably available, the University will take prompt action to implement the requested accommodation. The University will endeavor to not inconvenience the complainant in taking interim remedial measures.
Examples of interim accommodations include, but are not limited to, no contact orders, changes in academic or living situations as appropriate with minimum burden on the complainant, counseling, escort services, academic support, as well as the option to retake a course or withdraw from a course without penalty.
Marywood University encourages complainants to pursue criminal charges against the person(s) believed to have committed the act in violation of this Policy. The University has personnel on staff who can explain criminal complaint procedures and assist complainants in beginning the process of filing a criminal complaint. Additionally, if necessary, University administrators will notify the appropriate law enforcement officials in accordance with any obligations under federal, state, and local laws. Police investigation and legal prosecution are conducted outside of and in addition to University procedures. Criminal charges and a disciplinary charge may be pursued at the same time. However, the complainant need not pursue criminal charges in order to file a complaint with the University. Should the complainant elect to proceed with both, however, the University will comply with and help to enforce any applicable judicial no-contact, restraining, and protective order.
Marywood will cooperate with law enforcement agencies, including any request that the University temporarily suspend the fact-finding aspect of a Title IX investigation while the law enforcement agency gathers evidence. This suspension is generally 10 days in length; however, specific circumstances may dictate a longer delay. During this time, the University will continue to implement interim accommodations and update the parties of the status of the investigation. The University will promptly resume its Title IX investigation as soon as notified by the law enforcement agency that it has completed the evidence gathering process and will notify the parties that the investigation is being resumed.
Complainants are encouraged to seek assistance both on-and off-campus, as needed, to address issues stemming from the incident. A list of services both on-and off-campus is included below.
Harassment based on one’s race, sex (including sexual harassment, sexual violence and pregnancy), color, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, creed, ancestry, religion, disability, marital status, military/veteran status, genetic information, whether an individual has a GED, use of a guide or support animal, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law is also in violation of this policy and should be reported immediately. Examples of harassment include verbal (including improper joking or teasing) or physical conduct that denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards an individual because of any protected characteristic, and that: (1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment as defined by law; or (2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an individual’s work or educational performance; or (3) otherwise adversely affects an individual’s employment or educational opportunities. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, slurs, epithets, threats, derogatory comments, unwelcome jokes, teasing, and similar conduct whether written, verbal or physical.
Individuals are encouraged to file complaints with the Title IX Coordinator or the appropriate Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Once a report of an incident is made to the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator by a witness to an incident or an individual comes forward to report an incident, the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will meet with the alleged victim to discuss the importance of preserving evidence, the right to file a criminal complaint, interim accommodations, and the right to file a complaint with the University.
If the complainant chooses to file a complaint with the University, the individual may proceed formally or informally. The Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator will acknowledge receipt of the complaint to the complainant and simultaneously notify the alleged offender of the complaint, in writing. Both notices will include the specific alleged offenses, the name of the investigator assigned to the complaint, and a copy of the Policy (or link). Generally, the University will notify the respondent/alleged offender of the name of the complainant.
Although neither party can be required to participate in the process, all parties are encouraged to participate to ensure an accurate and objective process and outcome. If a respondent/alleged offender chooses not to participate, the University will proceed with the complaint without the respondent/alleged offender’s participation.
In situations when the complainant elects to proceed informally, in which case the parties do not proceed through the University’s formal resolution process, the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will determine the steps to take to resolve the issue. The parties may elect to resolve the matter through mediation UNLESS the situation involves sexual assault and/or sexual violence. Should the complainant elect to proceed informally, s/he may elect to stop the informal process at any time and proceed through the formal process.
If the complainant decides to proceed formally, either initially or after opting out of the informal process, the complainant should submit within ten (10) working days a formal complaint, preferably in writing, to the Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator who originally fielded the complaint. The complaint must include detailed factual information concerning the incident(s) and should include what the complainant feels will correct the situation. The Title IX Coordinator or Deputy Title IX Coordinator will appoint an investigator from a pool of trained faculty, administrators and professional staff. All Marywood investigators are trained on the handling of complaints of sexual harassment, the University’s Sexual Misconduct and Complaint Procedures Policy, and applicable confidentiality requirements.
Marywood is committed to ensuring that real or perceived conflicts of interest by those handling the investigation are eliminated. For example, co-workers in the same department, advisors to students, and club advisors will not be used in investigations involving their areas. Individuals who believe that bias or a conflict of interest has occurred should contact the Title IX Coordinator or a Deputy Title IX Coordinator, who will address the concern.
The Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator, in consultation with the President, will decide the appropriate course of action in cases where a conflict of interest is evident or possible.
Within five (5) working days after receipt of a formal complaint, the investigator will commence a thorough investigation. Investigations will be conducted as expeditiously as possible. The entire process, as outlined below, should be completed within sixty (60) calendar days after the complaint, either formal or informal, is filed. This timeframe may vary, however, depending on confidentiality requests, availability of witnesses, the scope of the investigation, and any unforeseen circumstances.
Generally, within ten (10) working days after the initiation of the investigation, and every ten (10) working days thereafter until receipt of the final outcome, the investigator must provide, simultaneously, a written summary of the complaint and the proceedings to date to both the complainant and the alleged offender.
The investigation will include, where possible, interviews with the complainant, the alleged offender, and witnesses identified by either party or during the course of the investigation. The investigator will send a copy of the interview notes to each interviewee with a request to review for accuracy and confirm in writing. The investigation will also include the examination of documentation, both submitted by the parties and uncovered during the course of the investigation. Both parties are encouraged to present potential witnesses and relevant documentation.
Requests to review documentation should be addressed to the Title IX Coordinator. Individuals may request to review documents included within the investigatory file. Due to privacy issues, some of the documentation may be redacted prior to the request being honored.
Also during the course of the investigation, the prior conduct of the complainant and the accused may be reviewed, but the prior relationships of the complainant with anyone other than the alleged offender may not be relevant and, therefore, generally will not be reviewed.
Should the investigation include meetings with the complainant and/or the alleged offender, the complainant and the alleged offender are permitted to be accompanied by the advisor of their choice, including an attorney. Advisors may attend proceedings with their advisee, but may only speak to their advisee. Advisors may not interrupt or otherwise disrupt proceedings. All communication throughout the entire investigatory process will be directed to the advisee.
The University cannot guarantee equal advisors. The University has counselors and other employees who may be able to assist in the proceedings, and upon request, the University will provide such assistance to either party. The University is not responsible for paying any attorney or other outside advisor.
Both parties are allowed to discuss and share information relating to their complaint with others that may support or assist them in presenting their case. It is expected that advisors will keep all information shared private.
Upon conclusion of the investigation, the investigator will provide a written document that includes the facts uncovered during the investigation and all witness statements (with redactions as noted above) to the Title IX Coordinator (in conjunction with the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for cases involving student complaints against students). The Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will provide, simultaneously, a copy of this investigator’s report to both the complainant and the alleged offender. The complainant and alleged offender will have 5 working days to review and provide feedback to address any perceived inaccuracies in the report.
The investigator will provide, separately, an addendum to the investigator’s report that will include his or her findings, based on a preponderance of the evidence, along with recommendations to the Title IX Coordinator (in conjunction with the Deputy Title IX Coordinator for cases involving student complaints against students).
If the alleged offender admits to the charges, or in instances where it is obviously clear that no violation of the Policy occurred, the investigator and the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will determine sanctions and other recommendations, and conclude the investigation.
In all other cases the Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will then appoint a review panel composed ideally of three (3) members, at a minimum two (2) members, from the pool of trained investigators.
The review panel will meet with the investigator, who will present his/her findings to the review panel in person. The review panel may interview witnesses, including the complainant and/or alleged offender, or alternately may direct the initial investigator to interview additional persons. Both the complainant and the alleged offender may submit questions to the review panel for the review panel to ask of the other side.
The review panel will determine, based on a preponderance of the evidence, whether the alleged offender violated the Policy. The review panel will then provide conclusions and disciplinary recommendations to the Title IX Coordinator (and the Deputy Title IX Coordinator as appropriate). After a decision is made concerning resolution of the complaint and any disciplinary actions to be imposed, the Title IX Coordinator (or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator as appropriate) will notify simultaneously the complainant and the alleged offender in writing of the outcome of the investigation. Such notification will include the allegations, findings based on a preponderance of the evidence, rationale, and sanctions in accordance with policy and applicable laws. The Title IX Coordinator or the Deputy Title IX Coordinator will notify any other parties of any recommendations assigned to them.
If the alleged offender is found to have violated the Policy, action will be taken to eliminate the discriminatory or harassing conduct, including, but not limited to, extending the interim remedial actions, as well as issuing a warning, no contact order, suspension, transfer, discharge, or dismissal of the offender or anyone making a knowingly false complaint. The University reserves the right to modify sanctions depending on the facts and circumstances of the particular incident.
Either party, if not satisfied with the final of the hearing panel and the Title IX Coordinator/Deputy Title IX Coordinator will have ten (10) working days after receipt of the outcome to file an appeal for one of the following reasons:
1. The presentation of new evidence;
2. Allegation that relevant evidence was not considered;
3. Allegation of procedural error;
4. Disproportionate sanctions.
Appeals must be in writing and submitted to the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator, who will determine, within 3 days, whether the appeal has merit based on one of the above-stated reasons. The Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator will then forward the written appeal to the President of the University. Within five (5) working days the President will direct the appeal to the appropriate University body, described below. The appeals committee will have thirty (30) working days to review and make a recommendation to the President of the University. The appeals committee may review the initial investigation as well as independently investigate the claim. Within ten (10) working days after receipt of the recommendation from the appeals committee the President of the University will provide a written response to both parties in the original complaint. The decision of the President of the University is final and binding.
Claims against Faculty Members including Librarians, Administrators, Professional Staff, and Support Staff
The President of the University will appoint and convene a committee of five (5) employees comprised of professional staff, administrators and/or faculty who are independent of the claim.
Claims against Students
The President of the University will refer the appeal to the Vice President for Enrollment Services and Student Success who will convene an Appeal Board. The Appeal Board will review the complaint and make a recommendation to the Vice President for Enrollment Services and Student Success who will notify the President of the recommendation.
Retaliation of any kind is prohibited. Anyone who reports an actual or suspected incident, or who participates in an investigation of an incident under this Policy, will not be subjected to retaliation. If a complainant or witness believes s/he has been subjected to retaliation, s/he should contact the Associate Vice President for Human Resources, Title IX Coordinator or the Senior Director of Student Conduct and Residence Life, Deputy Title IX Coordinator. Anyone found to be in violation of this retaliation provision may be subject to disciplinary action.
A list of Marywood University and community resources is available at the Human Resources Office and the Senior Director of Student Conduct and Residence Life Office, the Student Health Services Office, the Office of Disabilities Services, and the Counseling and Student Development Center.
Students are encouraged to use the services of the Counseling and Student Development Center, the Student Health Services Office, and the Office of Disabilities Services on campus. Employees are encouraged to contact the University’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or the Associate Vice President for Human Resources for a list of providers.