Skip to main content
Moravian College
Institutional Policies

Sexual Misconduct

Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence, and stalking as defined in this policy. Moravian College considers all forms of sexual misconduct to be serious offenses, unacceptable within the College or any community. Offenders may be prosecuted under the Pennsylvania Crimes Code and also held accountable to the College's Student Code of Conduct, Employee Handbook, and Faculty Handbook.

Survivors are strongly encouraged to seek medical attention and utilize support resources available both on campus and through local and national agencies. All persons are encouraged to report any instance of sexual misconduct to the ADVOCATES for Survivors of Sexual Violence at 484 764-9242 (24 hours), or to a primary support provider such as a representative of the Counseling Center, the Health Center, the Chaplain's Office, Campus Police, the Office of Student Affairs, or directly to the Title IX Coordinator. Information about varying levels of privacy and confidentiality provided by these and other resources is included in the Reporting section of this policy.  

Definitions

Consent

Consent is clear, knowing, voluntary and expressed permission prior to engaging in and during any sexual activity. Consent can be given by words or actions as long as they establish mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity. Since individuals may experience the same interaction in different ways, it is the responsibility of each party to make certain that the other has consented before engaging in the activity. Consent is active, not passive.

A person cannot consent if unable to understand what is happening or is disoriented, helpless, asleep or unconscious for any reason, including due to alcohol or other drugs. An individual who engages in sexual activity when the individual knows, or reasonably should know, that the other person is physically or mentally incapacitated has acted without consent. It is not an excuse that the responding party was intoxicated and, therefore, did not realize the incapacity of the complainant.

Incapacitation is a state when an individual cannot make rational, reasonable decisions because they lack the capacity to give knowing consent (e.g., to understand the “who, what, when, where, why or how” of their sexual interaction). Incapacitation may result from physical or mental conditions including mental disability, sleep, involuntary physical restraint and/or from the consumption of alcohol and/or other drugs and may, but not always, manifest as unconsciousness or a state of blackout.

Consent cannot be given by an individual who has been coerced, including being compelled by force, threat of force, or deception. Force is the use of physical violence and/or imposing on someone physically to gain sexual access. Coercion is unreasonable pressure for sexual activity.

Consent to some sexual contact (such as kissing or fondling) cannot be presumed to be consent for other sexual activity (such as intercourse). Previous relationships or prior consent to a sexual act does not imply consent to future sexual acts, including “blanket” consent (i.e. permission in advance for any/all actions at a later time/place).

The existence of consent is based on the totality of the circumstances, including the context in which the alleged incident occurred and any similar previous patterns. Silence or the absence of resistance alone is not consent. A person can withdraw consent at any time during sexual activity by expressing in words or actions that the act should no longer continue and, if that happens, the other person must stop immediately.

Sexual contact by an adult with a person who is of an age that they cannot legally consent to sexual activity in the State of Pennsylvania will be considered a violation of this policy. According to Pennsylvania law, a person under the age of 13 years cannot consent to sexual activity. Individuals between the ages of 13 and 15 can only consent to sexual activity with a person within a four-year age range.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is a form of sexual misconduct, prohibited in the context of employment under Title VII and in education under Title IX.  Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual or gender-based verbal, written, visual, online and/or physical conduct.

Sexual harassment occurs in two forms: power differentials (quid pro quo) and hostile environment.  

Quid pro quo sexual harassment exists when:There are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, visual, online and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature; 

  • There are unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, written, visual, online and/or physical conduct of a sexual nature; AND
    • When submission to such conduct is made, explicitly or implicitly, a term or condition of a community member's employment, education, or other participation in the community; OR
    • When submission to or rejection of such conduct is used as the basis for decisions affecting employment, education, or other participation in the community.

Hostile environment sexual harassment exists when unwelcome sexual or gender-based verbal, written, visual, online and/or physical conduct is sufficiently severe, persistent, or pervasive and objectively offensive that it has the effect of unreasonably interfering with, denying, or limiting an individual’s employment opportunities or ability to participate in or benefit from the College’s educational, social and/or residential programs and activities.

It is not possible to list all circumstances that may constitute sexual harassment; however, the following are examples of conduct that, if unwelcome, may constitute sexual harassment depending upon the totality of the circumstances.

  • Unwelcome sexual advances or propositions (whether or not they involve unwelcome physical touching)
  • Explicitly or implicitly conditioning any terms of employment or education (e.g., continued employment, wages, evaluation, advancement, assigned duties, on-call assignments, grades) on provision of sexual favors
  • Inquiries into another's sexual experience, discussions of one's sexual activities, comments on an individual's body or about the individual's sexual activity, deficiencies, or prowess
  • Stalking, cyber-stalking, or general intimidation of a sexual nature
  • Sexual innuendo, sexually suggestive comments, or use of sexually explicit or vulgar language
  • Sexually oriented teasing or practical jokes; 'humor' about gender-specific traits
  • Suggestive body language or gestures
  • Display or transmission of sexually suggestive objects, pictures, posters, illustrations, or other printed or visual material
  • Leering, whistling, or physical contact such as unwelcome touching, patting, pinching, or brushing against another's body
  • Continued requests to socialize, on or off duty, on or off campus, when a community member has indicated rejection or lack of interest
  • Continued writing/sending of sexually suggestive messages when it is known or should be known to be unwelcome
  • Derogatory or provocative remarks relating to an employee's sex, sexual orientation, gender, or gender identity

Additionally, employees of the College may be charged with sexual harassment when romantic/intimate relationships occur between students and College faculty or other members of the administration and staff who teach or exercise authority over students, who provide counseling, advising, and mentoring to students, or who assess and evaluate student academic, artistic, or athletic performance. The College prohibits these relationships, whether consensual or nonconsensual, due to the existing power differential and possibility of abuse and favoritism.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence. There are two categories of sexual assault that are violations of College policy:

  • Non-consensual sexual contact is any intentional sexual touching, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another, that is without consent and/or by force or coercion. Sexual contact includes any intentional contact with the breasts, buttock, groin, or genitals, or touching another with any of these body parts or object, or making another touch you or themselves with or on any of these body parts. Sexual contact also includes any other intentional bodily contact in a sexual manner.
  • Non-consensual sexual penetration is any sexual penetration, however slight, with any body part or object, by any individual upon another, that is without consent and/or by force. Sexual penetration includes vaginal or anal penetration by a penis, tongue, finger or object, and oral copulation (mouth to genital or genital to mouth contact), no matter how slight the penetration or contact.

Sexual Exploitation

Sexual exploitation occurs when an individual takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another in a way that does not otherwise constitute one of the other sexual violence definitions outlined in this policy.

Examples of sexual exploitation include, but are not limited to:

  • Exposing one’s genitals in non-consensual circumstances or inducing another to expose their genitals
  • Engaging in sexual voyeurism (such as watching a person undressing, using the bathroom, or engaged in sexual acts without the consent of the person being observed)
  • Permitting others to observe you engaging in an act of consensual sex without the consent of all involved parties
  • Taking pictures, video or audio recordings of a sexual nature without the consent of all involved parties
  • Disseminating pictures, video, or audio recordings of a sexual nature without the consent of all involved parties
  • Possession, use, and/or distribution of alcohol or other drugs for the purpose of engaging in or facilitating any act of sexual violence
  • Knowingly engaging in sexual activity with another while knowingly infected with  a sexually transmitted infection (STI) without informing the other person in advance of the sexual activity
  • Prostituting another

Intimate Partner Violence

Intimate partner violence is any instance of violence or abuse (verbal, physical, or psychological) that occurs between those who are in or have been in an intimate relationship with each other.

Stalking

Stalking is repetitive and menacing pursuit, following, or harassment of another that would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others, or to experience substantial emotional distress. Stalking may include repeatedly following, harassing, threatening, or intimidating another by telephone, mail, electronic communication, or any other action, device, or method.

Reporting Options and Responsibilities

Any individual who has information about an alleged violation of this policy is encouraged to report that information to any or all of the resources listed in this section. Offenses to be reported include those allegedly committed by students, faculty, staff, other members of the College community, or non-members. Both men and women may be complainants of sexual offenses.

Reporting, for the purpose of this policy, is simply the act of disclosing information to someone. Reporting is the first step in accessing resources and support services and exploring the various options for resolution described in this policy. All reports will be met with the highest possible degree of respect and privacy for all involved parties.

Depending on how a report is made, the person or office receiving the report may have an obligation to inform the Title IX Coordinator, whose purpose is to ensure the wellbeing of the survivor and the campus community. Complainants will, as much as possible, retain the right to determine if and when certain resolution options are implemented.

Reports can be made online at any time using the Title IX Reporting Form or directly to the Title IX Coordinator in person, by phone, or by email:
Leah M. Naso Breisch
210 Colonial Hall
(610) 861-1529
TitleIX@moravian.edu

Confidential Reporting

Confidential resources are able to receive disclosures without an obligation to tell anyone. Only three specific groups of campus professionals are licensed as confidential resources.

Confidential campus resources include:
Counseling Center (610) 861-1510
Health Center (610) 861-1567
Religious Life (Chaplains) (610) 861-1583

Additional confidential local, state, and national resources can be found on the College’s Title IX Support Resources web site.

Responsible Employees

All other staff and faculty at the College, including Resident Advisors and Campus Police officers, are considered responsible employees with an obligation to report incidents of sexual violence to the Title IX Coordinator.  When a responsible employee receives information about an alleged incident of sexual misconduct, they share information with the Title IX Coordinator or designee so that individuals most knowledgeable about the options outlined in this policy can support the complainant. Responsible employees can report in person, by email, by phone, or by using the Title IX Reporting Form and may face consequences for failure to report.

Reports can be made to Campus Police by phone at 610-861-1421 or in person at 119 W. Greenwich Street. The Moravian College Police Department operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and can connect complainants with local police.

ADVOCATES for Survivors of Sexual Violence

The ADVOCATES for Survivors of Sexual Violence are available 24/7 for immediate support by texting or calling (484) 764-9242. A female advocate will answer, but male advocates are also available upon request. The Advocates are a group of Moravian College faculty and staff trained to listen and answer questions, provide information and resources, and even accompany survivors for medical treatment. Reports to the Advocates are handled in a manner designed to respect and maintain privacy to the degree possible; Advocates report aggregate statistical data to campus police and connect survivors with the Title IX Coordinator who will work with them to understand remedies and resolution options for their case, ensure the safety of the campus community, and comply with legal responsibilities. Although Advocates are responsible employees who must inform the Title IX Coordinator about the information they receive, complainants may choose to contact the Advocates anonymously to ask questions about options and resources without providing identifying information.

Family Support and Emergency Notification

Complainants are strongly encouraged to share information with their families so that they may provide comfort, love, and support at such a traumatic time. In order to create a more supportive climate for reporting offenses of this nature, College policy stops short of requiring parental notification when students are 18 years of age or older and able to make this decision for themselves. However, if a student is so seriously injured that they are physically unable to make this decision, an administrator may contact a parent, guardian and/or emergency contact person.

Amnesty

Moravian College strongly encourages a culture of reporting sexual violence. The College recognizes that students who have been drinking and/or using drugs surrounding an incident of violence may be hesitant to report due to fear of potential consequences for their own conduct. Therefore, reporting parties and bystanders acting in good faith are offered amnesty and will not be subject to student conduct allegations for alcohol and/or drug use at the time of the reported incident.

Retaliation

It is a violation of College policy to retaliate against any person making a complaint of sexual misconduct or against any person cooperating in the investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct. For these purposes, retaliation includes intimidation, threats, harassment, and other adverse action threatened or taken against any such individual. Retaliation should be reported promptly to the Title IX Coordinator and may result in disciplinary action independent of any sanction or interim measures imposed in response to the original allegation.

Rights of the Complainant

  • To access campus and local support services, including the ADVOCATES for Survivors of Sexual Violence at 484 764-9242 (24 hours).
  • To have every effort made to provide confidentiality throughout the resolution process.
  • To have every effort made to provide freedom from intimidation or harassment.
  • To request a change of academic or living situation, transportation or working situations, while proceedings take place.
  • To request a "no contact" order with the other individual(s) involved while proceedings take place.
  • To remain present during any conduct proceedings where information is being presented.
  • To have an advisor of choice (individual chosen by the complainant who may provide support but not participate directly in the resolution process).
  • To be protected against evidence of past sexual history (not involving claims of assault) during the process except to the extent permitted by College conduct process or by law.
  • To be informed in writing of the outcome of the hearing.
  • To request an appeal of the outcome of a hearing.
  • To make up any academic work missed as a consequence of the trauma and the conduct proceedings.

Rights of the Respondent

  • To access campus and local support services.
  • To have every effort made to provide freedom from intimidation or harassment.
  • To request a change of academic or living situation, transportation or working situations, while proceedings take place. Interim restrictions, such as suspension from classes or residential facilities, may be imposed to protect the campus community.
  • To request a "no contact" order with the other individual(s) involved while proceedings take place.
  • To remain present during any conduct proceedings where information is being presented.
  • To have an advisor of choice (individual chosen by the respondent who may provide support but not participate directly in the resolution process).
  • To protect themselves against evidence of past sexual history (not involving claims of assault) during the process, except to the extent permitted in the College conduct process or by law.
  • To be informed in writing of the outcome of the hearing.
  • To request an appeal of the outcome of the hearing.
  • To make up any academic work missed as a consequence of the trauma and the resolution process.

Resolution Options

When an alleged violation of this policy is reported to the Title IX Coordinator, a preliminary investigation will be conducted by the Title IX Coordinator or designee. This will typically consist of a conversation with the reporter and/or complainant to ensure the complainant is aware of all interim measures and resolution options.

Interim Measures

The Title IX Coordinator or designee works with complainants to arrange appropriate measures to ensure student and community safety. Interim measures can be requested and implemented at any point. The Title IX Coordinator will maintain the privacy of the complainant’s report to the degree possible while working with other campus resources to provide these measures. The specific measures that will be implemented will vary based on the circumstances of the situation but may include:

  • No Contact Orders
  • Victim advocacy
  • Housing assistance/relocation
  • Counseling
  • Health Services
  • Safety Resources
  • Academic Support
  • Change in work or class schedule
  • Change of supervisor
  • Consideration of leave requests

Interim restrictions, such as suspension from classes, employment or campus facilities, may be imposed upon the respondent to protect the campus community pending the outcome of an investigation.

Request for Confidentiality

If the complainant does not wish to pursue a College conduct process and/or requests that the complaint remain confidential, the College will attempt to honor this request. In such cases, the College may still take steps to limit the effects of the alleged behavior and prevent its recurrence. The complainant will be informed, however, that the College’s ability to take action may be limited. The complainant will also be informed that an investigation and conduct process can be requested in the future but that information may be more difficult to acquire as times passes.

There are circumstances under which the College will not be able to fully honor the request of the complainant. Factors impacting this decision include past reports or records of similar behavior by the respondent, a determination that there is a perceived threat of harm to the community or any of its members, or legal requirements the College must follow. A complainant will be informed if a decision is made to proceed with an investigation that may compromise the confidentiality of the complainant’s identity or go against the complainant’s preference.

Criminal Investigation

Complainants may choose to file a report with Campus Police. Depending on the circumstances, criminal investigations may be handled by a Bethlehem Police Detective. Complainants may choose to pursue a criminal investigation before, after, concurrently, or independently of the College’s internal resolution options described in this policy.

College Investigation

Complainants may request the College take action to resolve the complaint. The process is intended to be thorough, equitable, and timely. College investigations generally take up to 28 calendar days and reach resolution within 60 calendar days, unless good cause exists to extend this timeline. Incidents of sexual misconduct are typically investigated by the Title IX office and then forwarded for formal resolution to either the Office of Student Development (for student respondents) or Human Resources (for employee respondents). Regardless of which process is used, the rights of the parties outlined in this policy will apply.

In some situations, complainants may choose to pursue informal resolution options. Decisions about which process is most appropriate will be made in consultation with the Title IX Coordinator. A full investigation may or may not be necessary to proceed with an informal resolution. Cases involving sexual assault, however, are not eligible for mediation as the sole resolution process.

When appropriate, the Title IX Coordinator will assign an investigator(s) who will reach out to the complainant for an initial interview within 3 days of the request. The investigator(s) will meet separately with the complainant, the respondent, and any relevant witnesses identified by either party or are otherwise determined to have information relevant to the investigation.

Once all parties and witnesses have been interviewed and documents reviewed, the investigator(s) will complete a preliminary report that will be shared with the parties. The parties will each have an opportunity to submit a written statement to the investigator(s) within 3 days of receipt of the preliminary report. These statements serve the purposes of allowing the parties to address any perceived factual errors or omissions and to disclose any information that was not previously known or available. The investigator(s) will review these statements and determine if any additional investigation needs to be done and/or any changes need to be made to the report.

A final report will then be shared with the complainant and respondent before being forwarded to the appropriate decision-making body (based on status of respondent) to determine responsibility for the allegation(s). It should be noted that, when violations of other College policies allegedly occurred in conjunction with sexual misconduct violations, the procedures in this policy may be used to address those collateral behaviors as well.

Sanctions and Remedies

If a respondent has been found responsible for violating this policy, an appropriate set of outcomes will be determined. The following factors may be considered when determining outcomes:

  • The nature, severity, and circumstances surrounding the violation
  • The respondent’s disciplinary history
  • The need to bring an end to the reported behavior
  • The need to prevent the future recurrence of the reported behavior
  • The need to remedy the effects of the reported behavior on the complainant and the community

For student respondents, guidelines have been created to indicate when violations are likely to result in suspension or expulsion from the College. Students who are not dismissed from the College will receive developmental and/or restrictive sanctions intended to respond to the needs of the parties and the situation. Students who are suspended may also be given additional sanctions that must be completed prior to and/or after their return to the College.

Disciplinary action for College employees is described in the Employee Handbook and Faculty Handbook.

Remedies that were implemented earlier in the process may be revised and/or extended at this stage of the process. Based on the outcome, additional remedies may be implemented at the discretion of the Title IX Coordinator. Examples of additional remedies are:

  • Training and education on issues related to sexual misconduct
  • Increased security measures in designated areas
  • Updates to policy or procedures

Contacting the Office for Civil Rights

Any concerns regarding the application of Title IX law should be directed to:
U.S. Department of Education
Office for Civil Rights
100 Penn Square East, Suite 515
Philadelphia, PA 19107-3323
(215) 656-8541
OCR.Philadelphia@ed.gov

Acknowledgements

Moravian College is grateful for the numerous professional resources made freely available by their creators that are continuously consulted in an effort to keep this document in line with the best practices in the field of sexual violence prevention and response. These include The NCHERM Group/ATIXA Model Policy and Procedure for Civil Rights Equity Grievance Resolution, The ATIXA Gender-Based and Sexual Misconduct Model Policy and Model Grievance Process, The NCHERM Group Model Code Project, the Association for Student Conduct Administrators (ASCA), and colleagues and documents from a variety of institutions of higher education.

Questions about this policy should be directed to Title IX, titleix@moravian.edu.